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This week in video games: April 11, 2016

This week: Gears of War 4 gets a release date and its beta approaches; the list of Games with Gold for April; the lowdown on Fallout 4 DLC; and the list of games releasing this week. But first, Nintendo gets into social media with a new “game”, Miitomo.

Turn yourself into a Mii character with Miitomo

Nintendo has released it’s first product for a device it doesn’t own. But it’s not really a game.

Miitomo, a free download available for Android and iOS, is more like a social-media app. You start by creating an avatar, or “Mii” in Nintendo-speak, which you then use to interact with friends and which interacts with you.

Part of the engagement that Nintendo has conceived of has your Mii asking you questions, which the Miitomo system then compares with the responses of others.

The app has voice-to-speech capabilities, too, so you can dictate responses and your Mii will talk to you in whatever bizarre synth voice you want to create for it.

And although the app is free to download, Miitomo will let you spend real money if you want to. There are a bunch of different virtual currency systems that you can use to do things in the app. You can shop for new outfits for your avatar, for example, and background environments.

Like any other social-media app, Miitomo is as good as your network. If you’ve got plenty of friends who are Nintendo fans, you’ll get much more out of this than others.

For the rest of us, we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see Nintendo games appear on our smartphones. But they are coming.

Dead Space, Sunset Overdrive are Games with Gold for April

Games with Gold, which grants Xbox Life Gold members with free games every month, this month features fantastic adventure game The Wolf Among Us (from Telltale Games), which is available until April 30.

EA’s stellar horror Dead Space, available until April 15, joins the list of Xbox 360 games that can be played on Xbox One, thanks to the system’s backwards compatibility.

Saints Row IV, the over-the-top open-world action game, will be available starting April 16 until the end of the month, also backwards compatible.

And you can download the outrageous “awesomepocalypseSunset Overdrive starting on April 16 and until May 15.

Second Fallout 4 add-on coming soon

On March 22, players in the Fallout wasteland were given the chance to build their own robot companions with the Automatron add-on.

Wasteland Workshop, the second of three downloadable content packs announced for the game from Bethesda Softworks, comes out soon. It lets you capture creatures from the wasteland that you can then tame.

The third pack comes in May; Far Harbor includes a new landscape to explore in the form of an island off the coast of Maine.

The three content packs are available together with the season pass, which also includes additional Fallout 4 content that hasn’t yet been released.

Releasing this week

* Bravely Second: End Layer from Square Enix for Nintendo 3DS

* Dark Souls III from Bandai Namco for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One

* Ratchet Clank from Insomniac and Sony for PS4

 Gears of War 4 releases on October 11, beta starts April 18

 Gears of War 4, in development at The Coalition here in Vancouver, is being released on Oct. 11.

Exclusive to Xbox One, the first-person shooter, first announced at E3 last year, features entirely new characters, including JD Fenix, the son of the primary protagonist of the first trilogy.

But the game is still set on the planet Sera, which gives the game a sense of history, as events take place some 25 years after Gears of War 3.

Fans eager to see what the new game will be like can get their chance starting on April 18, when the mulitplayer beta begins for anyone who’s played Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on either their Xbox One or Windows 10.

The Gears 4 beta becomes available to all members of Xbox Live Gold starting on April 25.

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