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Top 5 Biggest Surprises from the E3 2014 Press Conferences

E3 is, without a doubt, one of my favourite times of the year. I love seeing all the new trailers, listening to enthusiastic devs chatting excitedly about their new projects, and the never-ending news cycle of announcements.

Most of all, though, I love the Press Conferences - those indulgent, corporate pantomimes full of flashy lights and dubstep, where middle-aged businessmen do their best to convince us that they're just as excited for the latest entry in an annual franchise as they were last year.

If we're being honest, they're really just 1-2 hour live informercials, full of wild promises and capitalistic jargon. And yet, once the lights go down and that first developer logo flashes on the screen, admit it, you're hooked. Because, after all, what it's really about, behind all the dramatic bollocks, is the games.

Before they start, pundits and viewers alike make predictions and proclamations about what will be shown and by who, but every year there are always a handful of announcements and appearances that catch us off guard; that surprise and excite us in equal measure, and that become the talking points with our friends for days.

Here's my pick of the biggest surprises to come out of this year's E3 press conferences:

1. Halo: Master Chief Collection

Yeah yeah, I know, "it's not PlayStation." Who cares? This is my list, I'll do what I want.

For a few months now it has been rumoured that a Halo 2 HD remaster was in the works, and in the last two weeks it was leaked that a Halo Collection for Xbox One might become a reality. When it was announced at Microsoft's conference, however, I don't think anyone had any idea just how truly comprehensive the collection would be.

Bundling every main Halo game in the franchise to date, the Master Chief collection presents all four games in their entirety! That's right. Full campaigns, full multiplayer suites with dedicated servers, all DLC content, a host of new features and additional content - even Forge mode for the much-loved Halo 2 - and all presented in stunning 1080p at 60fps.

This was easily the biggest news out of Microsoft's E3 showing, and a great reason to consider buying an Xbox One.

2. Far Cry 4 Co-op Reveal

Far Cry 3 was one of the best-received shooters in recent years, so it wasn't the least bit surprising when Ubisoft announced a sequel, Far Cry 4, last month. Many expected Ubi to show it at E3, and when their press conference started, the french publisher did just that. The 5 minute clip showed the opening moments of the campaign, and introduced us to the game's main antagonist, Pagan Min (played by the incomparable Troy Baker). The trailer was interesting, and certainly looked very pretty, but I needed something more to hook me, and so that segment left me largely unsatisfied.

And then it was Sony's turn...

At the Sony conference, Ubisoft debuted actual gameplay for their upcoming open-world shooter, and it looked gorgeous. But that's not even the best part! As the mission progressed, the player we'd all been watching was seamlessly joined by a friend, and all of a sudden the single-player campaign was now co-op!

The pièce de résistance was the announcement that, on PlayStation 4, friends would be able to join you in your campaign at anytime, without needing to own a copy of the game themselves! 'Nuff said, really.

3. Rainbow Six Siege debut

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six is a gem of a franchise that has been with us since the late 90s. The strategic shooter series was last seen in 2008 in the form of Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, but in November 2011, Ubisoft decided to preempt a leak by announcing Rainbow Six: Patriots, debuting preliminary gameplay footage which had a number of fans very excited.

Following the announcement, however, Patriots suffered a number of development setbacks, and soon faded into development hell. Rumours of the games demise circulated, and in December 2013 they were all but confirmed when Ubisoft finally spoke about the game, revealing that Patriots "had to be remade," and that it might not even be called 'Patriots' anymore.

As I sat down to watch Ubisoft's press conference, I was mostly occupied by thoughts of Assassin's Creed: Unity, maybe a new Rayman game, and a desire to see something, anything, about the rumoured Assassin's Creed: Comet, so when Ubi president Yves Guillemot came on stage to show "one more game," a Rainbow Six game was the furthest thing from my mind.

The footage displayed was pre-alpha, and most likely tightly scripted, but Rainbow Six Siege has quickly leapt to the top of my list of most-anticipated games, evoking a more hardcore version of Counter-Strike's Hostage Rescue mode that really appeals to me.

For the record, following the announcement, Ubisoft officially confirmed that Patriots has been cancelled.

4. PSN game 'Entwined' announced, then released!

E3, in many ways, is like a strip-tease. There's a lot of looking, a lot of desiring, but not a whole lot of touching. Many of the awesome games on display won't be on shelves until 2015, so this next one was something I don't think anyone saw coming.

During their presentation, Sony announced a new digital title called Entwined - "a beautiful, addictive and abstract action/arcade game about two souls who are in love but that can’t be together. These souls are represented by a bird and a fish, which you must learn to control simultaneously. Over the course of nine lifetimes you will help these two characters come together with the eventual goal of uniting them for eternity."

At the conclusion of their segment, PlayStation's Scott Rohde dropped a bombshell: Entwined wasn't targeting a Q1 2015 release window; it wasn't coming out these Holidays; it was releasing, on PlayStation 4, right now, with PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions to follow shortly.

Now, you might not be interested in Entwined (and that's ok, lots of people don't have souls), but the idea of developers circumventing all the pre-release hype and pre-order bollocks in favour of just releasing their game should have everyone cheering. It's an important step for the industry, and its one I hope other studios emulate.

5. Grim Fandango remastered on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita

Out of all game genres, my favourite has to be the Adventure game. Over the past two decades the genre has transformed dramatically from text-based games like Zork to cinematic blockbusters like Uncharted, but I'll always hold a special place in my heart for Point-and-Clicks.

Back in their day, LucasArts were pioneers of the genre, and were responsible for some of the best point-and-click games of all time; games like The Secret of Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, and Sam & Max Hit the Road. Out of all of these fantastic games, however, my favourite of the whole bunch was easily Tim Schafer's Grim Fandango.

A black comedy noir heavily influenced by Latin American culture, Grim Fandango is set in the Land of the Dead, where the righteous pass through on their way to the Afterlife, while sinners are forced to take a four-year pilgrimage. You play as Manny Calavera, a travel agent at the Department of Death, on a quest to find the lovely Meche, after she's wrongly sent on the pilgrimage.

It's been over 15 years since its release, so naturally it's not a game anyone expected to hear about at an E3 conference, and that's exactly what Sony were counting on when Adam Boyes took the stage...

The response to the announcement of a Grim Fandango remaster was a huge roar from the crowd; one which was unquestionably drowned out by my own hysterics. I still almost can't believe it.

I'm not the only one surprised by what I saw from the E3 press conferences, so I'll let some of the other staff share their stories...

Nagflar: New Zelda

Ah, E3, the time of the year where we all expect publishers and developers to show us what they've got. As per usual, Nintendo was on the spotlight, but this time around for the wrong reasons: The Wii U has been failing to meet success, and they seem to want to continue supporting it. Naturally, that involves giving people games to play, but with everyone complaining about them being so stuck up their own asses (me being very vocal about it, too), just another entry on one of their 20 year old franchises wasn't going to cut it.

Today, they showed this:


I've been a huge Legend of Zelda fan for a while, having played every console game since the original, and even though I enjoy them immensely, every new entry brings with it repetition and the constant argument about it being the same game over again, which is obviously a huge issue, to the point that the last entry I actually paid for was Ocarina of Time back on the Nintendo 64.

This, however, looks and promises to be different. The open world itself is a very nice addition not really found on previous games, for even though Wind Waker boasted a massive world map, it wasn't exactly the most open-worlded thing out there. Let's add the fact that Nintendo is promising that you'll be able to complete dungeons in whatever order you wish and in different ways, and the formulaic repetitiveness of the franchise is already fading away, making this new title something different on its own right, and not just because it has a slightly different story or villain.

Then there's the artstyle, which looks similar to that of Skyward Sword, which was gorgeous (for even if the Wii's graphical prowess is that of a potato and put to shame by your average Texas Instruments calculator, the game still looked beautiful). The trailer above shows us just how good the world map is apparently going to look, with what appears to be in-game footage, so there's really no excuse to not be hyped for the new Zelda title (unless you're not a fan and/or a Nintendo hater). Now we just play the waiting game, and hope Nintendo delivers.

Larrydavidsavatar: Dead Island 2

I was surprised to see this delightfully goofy trailer for Dead Island 2 come up, mainly because many, myself included, thought that Dead Island spiritual cousin Dying Light had developers Techland busy over at Warner Bros, as well as the fact that I considered 2013's flawed Dead Island: Riptide to be the actual Dead Island 2. But here it is, in the hands of Yager and Deep Silver instead, and harnessing the grunt of PS4 to boot.

A blood and sun-drenched California will be Dead Island's new setting, one that seems quite large in comparison to the previous games.

Hopefully Yager don't leave in quite as many bugs as Techland did with Riptide, because I would genuinely be excited to play a better looking, more expansive, bug-free Dead Island. Zombie Drive-By anyone?

So what about the press conferences this year surprised you? Let us know in the comments below.

For all your E3 news, head on over to our Official News Hub, where we're collecting all the major announcements and trailers coming out of the L.A. Convention Center.

Official E3 2014 News Hub

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again. The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014 is upon us, and with it, the dozens of game announcements, trailers, and other newsworthy items.

As all the latest info comes out of E3, our staff will be posting it right here on Every E3 news post will be archived here in this thread, so bookmark this page if you're looking to stay informed in the coming days.

To avoid cluttering the forums, please refrain from posting any new E3-related threads. We understand your excitement and desire to share your enthusiasm with others, but if everyone posts it will result in utter chaos. Any unofficial E3 threads will be closed, unless permitted by staff (see below for more information).

If you have a news tip, please send it to one of our News Team (staff contacts can be found here) or post it here in the comments, along with the source. If your tip has not been acted upon within 1 hour of being submitted, you will be allowed to post it yourself.

E3 2014 Press Conference Timetable

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Useful Links
The PS3Trophies Chatbox. Come chat with other members as the magic of E3 unfolds!

The official E3 Twitch Channel will stream everything as it happens, live.
The full broadcast schedule can be found here.

The IGN E3 Hub.

The Gamespot E3 Hub.

Live Blogs! For those of you unable to watch the press conferences, IGN will be live-blogging the Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, Sony, and Nintendo presentations.

Top 5 Biggest Surprises from the E3 2014 Press Conferences

News Posts
Day 1

Full Microsoft Media Briefing

Full EA Media Briefing

Full Ubisoft Media Briefing

Full Sony Media Briefing

Day 2
Full Nintendo Media Briefing

Surgeon Simulator PS4
Far Cry 4 Kyrat Edition
Alien Isolation 'Survive' Trailer
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
Bloodborne is PS4 Exclusive, New Details
Killzone Shadowfall Intercept DLC
Doom Teaser Trailer
PlayStation Now FAQ

Day 3

Coming soon...

Day 4
Coming soon...

Madden NFL 15 - Gameplay Trailer

EA SPORTS has released the debut gameplay trailer for this year’s Madden NFL 15 and is expected for release on August 26, 2014 in the United States and three days later in Europe.

The trailer is an expansion of the initial Luke Kuechly teaser trailer, showing the Panthers defender getting some action on the field against the Seattle Seahawks in Madden NFL 15.

The Madden NFL 15 website has also been updated with new feature information about this year’s game, including:

Deliver on Defense

Set the tone on defense with more control thanks to an all-new arsenal of pass rush moves, contain the open field with intuitive tackling mechanics, and play as a team with redesigned zone and man coverage logic all while being immersed in the play from the other side of the line, with defensive player lock cameras. Madden NFL 15 delivers on defense.

NFL Films Inspired Presentation

Relive the greatest moments in games played with dynamic pre-game and halftime shows , and get your all-access field pass with NFL Films inspired in-game camera angles dropping you right in the heart of an NFL game. Gain a new perspective of the game with six new gameplay cameras to toggle through pre snap on every play. Madden NFL 15 NFL inspired presentation.

Know Your Opponent

Call your plays with confidence using data from millions of online games played by Madden gamers and test your new found skills through intense challenges and conditions in The Gauntlet. Madden NFL 15 gives you the advantage to know your opponent.

Source: EaSports

Don’t Starve: Giant Edition Coming to PS Vita

Klei Entertainment is happy to announce that Don’t Starve: Giant Edition is coming to PlayStation Vita and will include both Don’t Starve and the Reign of Giants Expansion. Now, they're not sure of an exact release date yet, but it’s happening.

Don’t Starve: Giant Edition will include the original Don’t Starve along with all of the updates currently released on PC and PS4, including the multi-leveled caves update and the discoverable “Adventure Mode” that puts your survival skills to the test with multiple randomly-generated unique worlds as you try to escape your wild and strange prison.

Along with the original version of Don’t Starve, you’ll also get the Reign of Giants Expansion included, so Vita players will get access to the original nine characters and two new additions. Play as Wigfrid, a stage actress who went a bit too far with method acting on her latest role, an ancient Valkyrie, or Webber, a young boy who lives inside the spider who tried to eat him long ago.

The Reign of Giants expansion adds new seasonal challenges including the torrential rain falls of spring and the blistering heat of summer. You’ll also get new procedurally-generated biomes filled to the brim with new creatures and gatherables that will either help you survive — or kill you. Oh, and Giants.

The game will also take advantage of Vita’s touch features. Navigation for menus, maps, items, and crafting are all touch friendly, or you can use the classic button navigation.

Source: Playstation Blog

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX Release Date Announced

It was announced during the 4th quarter of last year that Square Enix would be coming out with Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX. Well, the release dates have finally been announced.

Those wanting to return to the Kingdom Hearts universe can do so this December. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX will release for PS3 on December 2, 2014 in North America, and December 5, 2014 in EU.

Furthermore, Square Enix, specifically, co-director of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX, Tai Yasue, will be responding directly to questions posted on the Kingdom Hearts Facebook page, as part of their Square Enix Presents broadcast at E3 on June 10, 2014, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM PST (-7:00 GMT). There will also be another another Kingdom Hearts discussion by other Square Enix staff on June 11, 2014, 2:00 PM PST (-7:00 GMT).

Lastly, you may want to watch to the end of this trailer.

Source: Square Enix.

Battlefield: Hardline Official Trailer & Release Date

Visceral Games brings its critically-acclaimed storytelling swagger to an all new cops and criminal fantasy inspired by some of the most popular TV crime dramas. Battlefield: Hardline will release October 21st, 2014.

Source: MP1st

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Pre-Order Details, Trailer Unveiled

CD Projekt Red, creators of the Witcher series have unleashed a huge amount of details today for their upcoming game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Today we finally know the release date for the title will be February 24th, 2015.

In addition, we now have details about the 2 physical release editions of the game.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt box contents
- A Blu-ray™ Disc with the game (DVDs on PC)
- An exclusive CD with the official soundtrack
- The official, developer-created “Witcher Universe – The Compendium”
- A beautiful, detailed map of the in-game world
- A set of unique stickers
- A stylish, protective sleeve

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Collector’s Edition box contents
- All the contents from the standard edition of the game
- A giant, 33x24x26 cm (10”), 100% hand painted, Polystone figure of Geralt of Rivia battling a Griffin
- An exquisite, collector-grade Witcher medallion
- A one-of-a-kind SteelBook™ box
- A two-hundred-page artbook, containing breathtaking art from the game
- Huge outer and inner Collector’s Boxes you can store your Witcher merchandise in!


Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Gameplay Sneak-Peek

As part of episode 11 of the webcast Kojima Station legendary Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima presented a new video sneak peek on the PS4 version of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Source: DualShockers

51 Details About DriveClub That May Blow Your Mind

As you might have noticed in recent trailers, Evolution Studios’ forthcoming PS4 racer Driveclub really is a looker. But until you see it up close it’s hard to appreciate just how much effort the team has gone to ensure it really pushes at the boundaries of gamers’ expectations.


1. NASA data was used to accurately map out the night sky — so wherever you are in the world you’ll see the correct star constellations for your location.

2. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the northern lights — it’s possible to see the aurora borealis from the northern tracks in Norway, Scotland, and Canada.

3. All clouds are full 3D models to ensure accurate light diffusion from the sun. They’re calculated at massive distances in a fully volumetric form, so thin clouds cast lighter shadows than dense storm clouds, and their color impacts the feel of the landscapes and cars.

4. Skies are uniquely generated every time you play, so just like in real life you’ll never see the same sky twice. Unless you’re replaying somebody’s challenge, in which case it’ll replicate exactly to ensure a level playing field.

5. You can play with settings to speed up or slow down the day/night cycle. With some circuits taking over a couple of minutes per lap, at 60x accelerated speed with a judicious choice of start time, it’s possible to experience two sunrises and sunsets in one race. Both of which will be completely different to each other.

6. Clouds react dynamically to different wind speeds. This is then converted into a ground wind speed which accurately interacts with all vegetation, overhead cables and other environmental features, based on their height from the ground.

7. Waves and rippling on the surface of lakes is dynamically linked to wind speed, which affects how clear reflections are in the water.

The Environment

8. High resolution NASA data was used to accurately map landscapes and mountain formations — which were then tweaked to ‘improve’ on their natural beauty and make them perfect for high-speed racing.

9. The team spent weeks out on location and covered a minimum of 200km every day to get a feel for each country’s roads and atmosphere. They captured thousands of photos and recordings along the way, in all weather conditions and different times of day.

10. Road tarmac textures are hand-modelled rather than tiled or tessellated. Stones and bitumen are all placed and then rendered procedurally to give realistic surface detail with huge visual variety and no repeating detail on any road surface.

11. Each location has a draw distance of up to 200km to the horizon and even simulates the curvature of the earth in both skies and terrain. Distant landscapes are built out and fully modelled, instead of “painted on,” to ensure that they support the dynamic, volumetric nature of the skies and lighting.

12. All environmental light sources are independently generated with different properties. The team sampled the color and intensity of individual streetlights, house lights, and even camera flash bulbs, which you’ll see best in any of the Indian tracks at night.

Flora and Fauna

13. Some tracks boast more than 1.2 million road-side trees — and this number keeps going up as the artists try to out-do each other as development progresses.

14. There are more than 100 different varieties of trees, bushes, mosses, and flowers. The team consulted botanists at Kew Gardens to learn which plants would naturally grow in each location.

15. Wildlife is realistically tied into the day/night cycle. You’ll see flies and butterflies only during the day, and moths and bats only at night.

16. One of the India tracks features a tea plantation with a sprinkler system that turns off and on at set times during the day.

17. The Indian track Chungara Lake boasts a 19,000-strong flock of pink flamingos, all behaving independently of each other.

18. …and look out for the seagulls in Scotland, roosting crows in Norway, Canadian geese, and vultures in Chile!

19. Spectators are placed in realistic spots where they would feasibly enjoy a good view of the race. This is done by hand, by Neil Sproston, a senior track designer who’s a real life race enthusiast. Neil regularly clambers over walls and fences in pursuit of a good viewing spot for a real life race. Duly, Evo leveraged his expertise!

20. Spectators dress for the weather — if it’s a cold night, expect them to be sporting hats and gloves.

The Cars

21. A typical Driveclub car is made up of 260,000 polygons. The staggeringly detailed cars you see in promo videos are the same models you drive in the game — they’re not pre-rendered CG versions.

22. Each car takes approximately seven months to create — from initial licensing, reference collation, CAD data processing, asset production, physics modelling, through to the final car in-game.

23. Evolution snapped in excess of 1,000 photos of the interior and exterior of every car as part of the reference gathering.
24. Pagani employ seamstresses to accurately match up the symmetrical carbon weave on the cars bodywork, and even add the “Pagani” name to their small screw heads. These nuances are accurately reproduced in-game.

25. The same 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) engineering data that the manufacturer uses to factory produce each vehicle has been used by the development team to create each car.

26. More than 500 different material types are available to designers to apply to the vehicles.

27. The cars have realistic layered paint materials — base metal or carbon layer, primer coat, base color coat, two metallic paint coats, clear top coat, etc. — which can all be stripped away individually as part of the damage system.

28. A full shader-driven procedural system is used to simulate car damage. Multiple layers of scratches appear in the most exposed areas and edges, revealing undercoat and bare metal or carbon. A parallax mapped dent layer provides minor crumpling, and a physics driven vertex deformation system is used for severe damage.

29. As you race, dirt and dust gradually builds up on the car, subtly altering its appearance.

30. Screen space reflections (SSR) are being used together with real time dynamic light probes to render vehicle lighting and reflections more accurately, as opposed to using outdated pre-baked cubes.

31. The car dashboard reflects onto the windscreen in bright light; and the car exterior reflects onto carbon interior panels.

32. Anisotropic lighting is used to simulate the effect of each individual thread in carbon fibre weave. The pattern of the carbon alters realistically with the lighting angle and surface curvature.

33. Headlights are modelled using multiple layers of reflectors and lenses that realistically reflect and refract the bulbs shining beneath.

34. Rainbow specular highlight effects can be seen in headlight lenses because thin film interference is utilized.

35. Animated active aero flaps are rigged up accurately and coupled with the physics system to operate exactly as they would in real life. The Pagani Huayra is one of the best examples of this.

36. Conversion of kinetic energy to heat is physically modelled to accurately render the temperature and glow color of brake discs.

37. The speedometer displays have been accurately reproduced for every car in terms of visuals, technical display output, and behavior (again, all hooked up to the in-game physics).


38. Each reference car was fitted with at least 16 separate microphones to authentically capture the sounds of the engine from 360 degrees, inside and outside of the car. Some had four mics on the exhaust alone.

39. In-game, the engine sound reacts to your perspective. Pan around a stationary car gunning its engine and the sound shifts with the camera position (relative to where the engine is).

40. When you race, the engine sounds are different based on which of the six camera views you choose — inside or outside of the car. You’re not hearing the same engine audio with a filter — it’s all recorded separately.

41. The recordings were so accurate that BMW and Mercedes-Benz AMG requested copies to replace their existing library.

42. In many cases, Evolution’s audio captures are the most high definition recordings of these cars in existence.

43. Bespoke sound effects were recorded for every action in the game. You won’t hear a single stock sample.

Handling and Physics

44. Although not a sim, Driveclub’s handling model is based on real world physics, using technical data about performance provided directly by the manufacturers.

45. To fine-tune the performance of every vehicle, a virtual “rolling road” test is used to check acceleration, top speed, weight distribution, and braking performance.

46. Aerodynamics are physically modelled. For example, activating DRS on the McLaren P1 affects the levels of downforce to increase top speed and acceleration.

47. Evolution worked closely with Thrustmaster to get the best possible feel on all their wheels. When using a supported wheel you get 1:1 movement between the steering wheel in your hands and the steering wheel in-game.

Artificial Intelligence

48. The AI drivers adapt their racing tactics and braking strategy based on pressure from players or other drivers. When alongside them, they will try to brake deeper into the corner.

49. AI drivers always try to predict overtaking opportunities based on the track, the performance of their car relative to opponents, and also how opponents are driving at any given moment.

50. When an AI driver has a car with KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) fitted, they will use the energy strategically at opportune moments to pass or block opponents on the track.

Load times

51. Despite all of the above, once selected a track will take no more than 15 seconds to load.

Source: Playstation Blog

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Scheduled for Release in October

Prepare to return to Pandora this October, with the release of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The game will focus on the events prior to Borderlands 2, chronicling Handsome Jack's rise to power. For the first time, players will get a chance to experience Pandora's moon.

Those that pre-order the game will receive the "Shock Drop Slaugher Pit" bonus content, which takes place on the moon. You will play in zero-atmosphere conditions while you gather loot for a new character in the Borderlands universe, TR4-NU, a former military recruiter gone crazy.

In true Borderlands fashion, The Pre-Sequel will continue with the drop-in, drop-out co-op play we're all familiar with. This installment will feature four new character classes, all new weapons, vehicles, locations, and JET PACKS!

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is scheduled for release in North America on October 14, 2014, and world-wide on October 17, 2014.

Source: IGN.

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