Gamefront: Weekly Network Update 65 (week 22, 2012) - News - FileFront News Posted by: Danny on 06-04-2012 @ 05:15
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Here it is the 65th version of the Weekly Gamefront Network News Update, the news part of the update covers the news side of the Network and the Gamefront Main site over the past week. There has been a fair bit of news from the Main site including a lot of trailers, reviews, previews and a lot more, with a lot of interesting articles this week. However you can find more news from the main Gamefront site - Here. Again my apologies for the absence of the inside over the last few weeks, unfortunately I hit the "crunch period" of the project that i was doing at work and had no time out of work, but next week will include gamefront's coverage of E3.
We would love to hear any suggestions that you have; if you see something that you would like to be added to the Weekly Network Update, or you have any suggestions that you think may improve the Network Update then simply drop me an email at Danny[at]filefront[dot]com (please put "Network Update" as the subject though ).
Also If you like the Network Update please feel free write a comment as I would love to hear any critism, or support (constructive though please as this is the only way that I know how good or bad the insider is and it would help me to improve this further).
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Gamefront News: 38 Studios Employees May Be Even More Screwed Than We Thought
How bad can things get? That’s a question former employees of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer 38 Studios are probably asking themselves in the wake of news that their former employer may have left them with more than just a hole in their resumes.
As the whole world now knows, at the center of the shocking collapse of 38 Studios is a 75 million dollar loan from the state of Rhode Island, meant to entice the developer to move operations from Massachusetts, bringing much needed jobs to a state that suffers America’s second-highest unemployment rate. Those jobs would obviously include people who already worked for the developer, which is why 38 Studios created an internal program to help employees relocate. Details are sketchy, but that program apparently had the employee authorize 38 Studios to sell their home on their behalf. Unfortunately, in yet another sign that things at the top may have been very shady indeed, the Verge is reporting that ‘several sources’ confirm that many of the homes in question were never actually sold.
Already reeling from receiving bounced paychecks on May 15, not to mention the immediate cessation of health care benefits when they were laid off, these employees are now on the hook for a second mortgage they thought was already taken care of. One former employee reports that they only found out because “The bank contacted them this week to ask why they mortgage wasn’t being paid”. The total number of affected employees is unknown, but whether a large or small number, it raises serious questions about how employee relocations were managed. What, precisely, was 38 Studios doing with employee property if they weren’t selling it as promised? And how were they covering the matter up? The employee cited above claims they were told outright by 38 Studios that their house had been sold. Presumably this would have come with some kind of corroborating documentation. Only a fool would accept word of mouth on something that could destroy your credit.
“By the way, if you don’t have a PS+ subscription, now is the time to get one. For real. Just get 3 months if you aren’t sure. Trust me.”
So says SCEA PlayStation®Plus Content Manager Ross Macgrath on Twitter. What’s he talking about? He isn’t saying, but rumor has it that Sony’s big E3 2012 press conference reveal is that they’re upgrading Playstation Plus, and plan on offering “proper integration with PS Vita.” This revamping of Plus will apparently also include ‘top tier’ games offered for free, whatever that means, games exclusive to Vita, and cloud storage for game data on your Vita without having to plug in to your PS3.
Whether or not these changes will make Playstation Plus a better experience is up for grabs. It’s clunky, hard to navigate and doesn’t do much that XBLA doesn’t already do better. And considering XBLA’s new layout, that’s saying something. Reportedly, Sony’s E3 press conference, scheduled for June 4 – and yes, I’ll be in attendance – will largely focus on this. We’ll let you know what transpires.
We’re only one week away from the biggest show in the gaming industry: E3 2012. How will you get all your E3 coverage? All you need to do is tune in to Game Front.
We’re sending our team right into the heart of E3 to bring out all the news, interviews, and hands-on game previews you want to hear about. Whether you’re into new AAA titles or the hottest indies, we’ll be telling you exactly what’s awesome (and what’s not) at the show.
Now I can finally tell you a very special secret that we’ve been keeping here at Game Front. We’ve brought on a very special celebrity video host for our E3 coverage this year. You may have seen him on TV in shows like ‘Big Bang Theory’ or in his web series, ‘TableTop.’
Yes, that’s right. Wil Wheaton is anchoring our video coverage from E3 2012. You’ll be able to see all his videos on our E3 channel…which we’re launching today.
You can get to it by clicking that convenient button up there in the header (It’s the one that says “E3″). In the lead up to the show, we’ll be telling you what you can expect, what to watch for, and what we’ll be doing. Keep your eye on the E3 channel for these stories, and make sure you check it daily for updates during the show. Yes, there’s even a spiffy slider that will feature all of Wil’s content from the show floor.
If there’s something specific you’d like us to try and find out at the show, drop it in the comments below. We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to get an answer to every question, but we’ll certainly try to answer as many as possible.
We’re looking forward to an awesome E3, and we hope you join us to see everything cool that comes out of it!
The founders of Infinity Ward and Activision have reached an out-of-court settlement over bonus payments for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
According to tweets from LA Times reporter Ben Fritz, the case has been dismissed and all claims between Jason West and Adam Zampella, the founders of Infinity Ward who were suing (and sued by) Activision, have been dropped. Reportedly, the terms of the settlement are being kept “strictly confidential.”
The claims against Activision made by 40 other Infinity Ward developers have also been dropped.
As Fritz reports, we don’t know the terms of the settlement or the amount of money that has changed hands between the two parties, although presumably Activision paid the developers, as the original lawsuit was over bonuses promised for the development of Modern Warfare 2 (as well as awful working conditions during the process). If the settlement was large enough, Activision would have to disclose the amount, although it could be structured in such a way as to get around the disclosure requirement.
If I had to guess — and I’m about to — I’d say that we’ll never know the terms of the settlement, and we’ll probably never find out how much West, Zampella and the rest of the developers got from Activision. Court documents released to the public recently have been painting a picture of Activision that’s not flattering — testimony from a former information technology director even alleged that Activision higher-ups had asked him to break into email and cell phones of the Infinity Ward devs in order to “dig up dirt” on them. Activision was starting to look very, very bad in this case.
Gamefront News: Activision Hiring for Next-Gen FPS; Modern Warfare 4?
Activision is hiring additional developers for Modern Warfare creator Infinity Ward to work on an online FPS for next-generation consoles. The listings suggest the game may use the Unreal engine and feature destructible environments — both a first for the franchise.
It’s a fair bet that this unannounced game is a sequel to the Modern Warfare franchise, unless Activision really surprises us with a new IP.
The job listings are as follows:
Senior Network Engineer:
Senior Gameplay Engineer
Senior Technical Animator
Senior Technical VFX artist
The PC version of Dark Souls, known as the “Prepare to Die” edition, will be heading to Steam.
Players who petitioned for the game to come to PC were disheartened when Namco Bandai announced it would only be available for Games For Windows Live. Another, somewhat smaller petition circulated, but it appears that Namco got the hint, because it just announced that the game would be released through Valve’s online platform. Expect it on Aug. 24.
So that’s awesome.
[Update] As S.T.A.L.K.E.R. pointed out in the comments, a Steam release doesn’t mean GFWL isn’t included, and details are still a bit sketch in terms of whether GFWL is still being used in Dark Souls or not. The Steam release is at least a step in the right direction, although whether players will get Steamworks, like they want, rather than GFWL remains to be seen. Even so, my mistake for implying it was more than that. [End update]
Meanwhile, while the Prepare to Die edition will pack a bunch of extra content that will be packed with the game when players buy it on PC, the extra content will be heading to consoles as well — but not for a while. The pack is known as “Artorias of the Abyss” and will run users $14.99 on Playstation 3 or 1,200 MS Points on Xbox 360. It’ll also include the new areas, enemies and NPCs that PC users are getting.
Here’s a new teaser trailer for the Prepare to Die Edition.
Yup, all the cool things we thought were going into the Aliens: Colonial Marines Collector’s Edition are, in fact, available in said edition. It’ll run you $99 — here’s the list of stuff that’ll be in it:
Resin Powerloader statue.
Four multiplayer characters based on the movies — Hicks, Drake, Apone and Hudson.
Extra character customization options.
Exclusive weapons — Phase Plasma Rifle and Sonic Electronic Ball Breakers.
Exclusive level — USMC Firing Range.
USMC Dossier — includes mission brief, USS Sephora schematic, Recruitment card, LV-426 recon photo, USCM iron-on badges, USCM graduation certificate.
Xenomorph “Hive” packaging.
Oh god, I must have it.
Star Wars: The Old Republic associate lead designer Emmanuel Lusinchi has admitted that the MMO market is a tough nut to crack. In fact, it’s the toughest of them all. In an interview with PC Gamer, the BioWare developer confessed how difficult it is to work with an MMO team, especially when it comes time to let some of them go, as we saw recently with the Old Republic team.
“The MMO is the toughest part of the game industry without a doubt and we live in tough economic times in general,” Lusinchi said. “On a personal level it’s quite difficult to to have people that you’ve been working with for a long time that you know personally, you go to their barbecue and you meet their families and it’s never easy. I doubt it’d be easy in any industry for anyone, but it happens.”
In spite of the recent layoffs, the designer remains confident in the Star Wars MMO, claiming to still have one of the biggest teams in the industry and boasting of a detailed plan that will keep the game ticking for the rest of the year. He said players want a service with new content and new systems, items that BioWare is serious about delivering in the future.
Star Wars: The Old Republic had a strong start and it was certainly a lot of fun to play, but I personally ran out of interest for it after sinking time into the initial campaign for my chosen character. I feel history will eventually justify those who believed The Old Republic should have been a single-player game. It’s been struggling to justify a subscription fee despite being a great game because, as far as I can tell, its content is worth paying an initial entry fee, but not subsequent ones. I guess we’ll have to see what the future holds, but I’m skeptical that it’ll be keeping the subscriptions up for much longer — at least, not without further losses to the userbase.
A few weeks back, Deviant Art user Christine Schott blew the Internet’s mind with her series of proposed Mass Effect hoodies based on popular characters – and Ashley* – from Commander Shepard’s squads. The series is nearly a complete set, including Tali, Liara, Garrus and more. And they look pretty great – even the Ashley hoodie – which makes their lack of actual existence painful.
Until now. Schott has confirmed that BioWare will be producing a line of actual hoodies based on her designs. “I had a talk on the phone yesterday with a couple of people who are part of the team that make official mass effect apparel,” Schott said on her Deviant Art page. “[I]t was agreed their designers will be taking on the hoodie project!” She was quick to point out that the hoodies we consumers will eventually be able to buy are probably going to differ from her concept art. “[A]fterall (sic) I’m no true designer and haven’t got the slightest idea what looks good on clothing and what doesnt. I just conceptualized the idea. they will be redesigning the hoodies, and will sell a few as a trial run, and if it goes well more hoodies will be added I’m sure.”
The good news, besides the fact that I’ll soon be able to wear a Garrus hoodie, is that Schott will be paid for her designs. “I am being compensated for my work,” she says. “[T]he details are also being worked out.” You wouldn’t believe how often boutique designers and artists have their work stolen by bigger entities – Forever 21 is particularly notorious – so it’s wonderful that Schott will earn money for her efforts. If BioWare manages to deliver an actually good revised ending for Mass Effect 3, they might just win back my affections.
Table Top gamers who didn’t cut their teeth on Dungeons & Dragons – and there are a few of us, I swear – have a reason to celebrate today, as it has been announced that Witcher and Witcher 2 developer CD Projekt’s next project is a video game set in the Cyberpunk 2020 universe.
The new game was announced today at CD Projekt RED’s Summer Conference. Though specific details about what to expect in the final game were not shared, what was shared shows plenty of promise. Cyberpunk 2020 game will be designed for “mature and demanding players” and, they’re promising, will feature non linearity and “a complex and gripping story.” Players will be able to create unique characters from among different classes, “be they blood-thirsty mercenaries or cunning hackers” Like the Witcher series, “players will face morally ambiguous choices, their actions influencing events in the world at large and the fate of the individuals they encounter.”
With Crysis 3 announced and further details expected to arrive next week at E3, you may just be in the mood for some quality time with good ol’ Crysis 2. For anyone who hasn’t played the series’ second installment — or is a diehard fan — the Crysis 2: Maximum Edition will give you the full experience and then some.
Available digitally for the PC via Origin.com and third party digital retailers starting May 29, 2012, the Crysis 2: Maximum Edition features all the content found in the Crysis 2: Limited Edition plus two previously released DLC packs, Retaliation and Decimation, all for $39.99.
The Maximum Edition offers 9 additional multiplayer maps, 2 new weapons, bonus XP, weapon skins and attachments, and unique dog tags that were not included in the standard retail package for Crysis 2.
Crusader Kings II is shaping up to be the addictive PC game of 2012. With plenty for RTS fans and history nerds alike, it is almost a replacement for the moribund Civilization series which, I am going to say out loud, was kind of ruined by Civ V. But as awesome as the game is, it’s so far only allowed players access to European nobility, which means you’re only able to play one side of the complex political, social and personal struggles that led to the Crusades in the first place.
Until now, that is. The Sword Of Islam expansion pack has just been announced, and it looks incredible. It adds Muslim lords to the game, which means access to the Middle East and Africa, and includes completely different character traits and political traditions that affect how laws, marriage, holding, traits , titles and more will work. And speaking of Africa, Sword of Islam includes the Mali Empire. See our look at 4 historical eras in dire need of video games for why this is the best ever.
The official Dead Space website has featured a new short film in the style of a graphic novel that drops a new character and a new setting into the Dead Space 3 universe.
You can check out the video below, which is all about one John Carver, a soldier on an apparently populated planet called Uxor. From what can be gleaned from the video, Uxor is the home of another of the Dead Space universe’s important and malevolent Marker artifacts — this one apparently being the fourth, according to the film — and comes under attack during the course of the film. Necromorphs, the Dead Space mutated monsters, also show up, as one might expect.
The Carver story is interesting for two reasons: 1. It’s left unfinished, suggesting that there’s more (probably in an upcoming game); 2. It suggests a new character for the Dead Space universe. Couple that with the rumors we’ve been hearing about a possible cooperative gameplay experience in Dead Space 3 involving series protagonist Isaac Clark and a new character, and you have a situation in which it looks like Visceral Games and Electronic Arts are trying to introduce us to Isaac’s new partner.
The film itself isn’t all that long, so it’s tough to be sure exactly what function Carver performs in the larger frame of Dead Space. He’s a little different from Isaac, though, and he’s got a distinctive look. It doesn’t seem too far-fetched to expect him to show up again in the future, probably in some kind of playable form.
Witcher franchise developer CD Projekt RED is announcing a new RPG right now, but while the details about that are developing, there are also a few things for you to go claim right now.
The first is a free backup copy of The Witcher that you can claim with your CD key for the title. If you purchased The Witcher from any place at any time, you can head over to gog.com/witcherbackup, enter your key, and grab a backup copy of the game right now. And it’s DRM-free. So that’s kind of awesome.
Second, while you’re on GoG.com and if you haven’t picked it up yet, you can grab a copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings for just $30 for the next week.
Once we return from E3 2012, we’ll have exciting news and specific information about Dishonored. Until then, this is what we’ve got to offer: a variety of pre-order bonuses offered by various North American retailers, should you decide to put some money down on Bethesda’s supernatural shooter before it’s released on October 9th. Check out the list below for the bare-bones specifics, and the image gallery for a more in-depth look at exactly what things like a “Backstreet Butcher Downloadable Upgrade Pack” actually entail.
We now know a little but more of what we can expect at this year’s QuakeCon (happening in Dallas from August 2-5). In a press release issued earlier today, Bethesda announced the Doom 3 BFG edition, available this Fall on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
The BFG edition features both 2004′s DOOM 3, as well as the Resurrection of Evil add-on, launched in 2005. Both have been fully remastered, but better, the will feature “The Lost Mission,” seven new levels with hours of content (including a new weapon, the armor-mounted flashlight). Improved rendering and lighting, fully optimized 3D, achievements and trophies and checkpoint saving have been added. In addition, the disc will include Doom 1 and 2 in their original form.
No release date has been confirmed, but the game is scheduled for Fall, 2012. You can bet we’ll be getting our hands on this at QuakeCon.
(click the link below for more - its a bit big for the insider - Danny)
It has come up before: is E3 losing its relevance? Do game companies really need to dump a huge amount of money into the convention every year? Does it really help sell more games?
ESA, the organizer of E3, came out against critics who have claimed that the show is losing touch, saying pretty clearly that E3 is not, in fact, irrelevant.
“Folks haven’t even seen what’s going to take place. The fact that Zynga and GREE are going to be there is reflective of a show that is very much relevant,” said ESA Senior Vice President These firms are talking specifically about mobile and social.
“If E3 was losing relevancy we’d be having a fire sale on exhibit space, but it is the opposite, we are packed to the gills. I think it’s going to be one of the strongest shows we’ve had in a long time.”
So there you go. E3 is on the cutting edge and companies are clamoring to be there. It might be a little early to start pronouncing the death of E3 just yet.
Then again, BioShock: Infinite won’t be there this year. But Game Front will be!
Now that Infinity Ward’s Jason West and Vince Zampella and Activision have settled their lawsuit out of court, thus denying the gaming press months of delicious airing-of-dirty-laundry, we can all get back to the important business of constantly pointing out the high achieving mediocrity of Activision games. Well, not quite. First we need to check in and see what the interested parties have to say.
Hmmm, nothing it seems. The terms are confidential. But that hasn’t stopped the other party in this legal mess, Electronic Arts, from offering up their opinion on the matter. Fresh from their own settlement with Activision, in a statement given to Kotaku, an EA spokesman served up this little bon mot:
Activision’s refusal to pay their talent and attempt to blame EA were absurd. This settlement is a vindication of Vince and Jason, and the right of creative artists to collect the rewards due for their hard work.
You know what else is absurd? Trying to figure out who to root for in a cat fight between Activision and EA. OHSNAPSON.
MMORPGs have been caught up in the genre’s standard quest formula for years, and it would be a shame if The Elder Scrolls Online followed that same recipe. Fortunately, the game‘s developers have assured us that they’re looking to innovative content delivery with meaningful choices for the player to make.
Speaking to Edge Magazine, game director Matt Firor explains:
“The way our content is set up is that there’s always a meta story going on, usually two or three. You get these little groups of content – usually about thirty minutes or forty-five minutes. Each one solves the question you went into it with, but it’s generally asked two or three new questions, too. When you log out and log back in you still have that question to get back onto.”
Creative director Paul Sage goes on:
“When we’re putting quests together, we get together in a room, and we look at an area, and we work out what the story is for that area. At the end of the day, a quest is a story: I want at the end of this quest to save this town from a werewolf invasion. On top of that, we put choices – you head into town to fight the werewolves, and then, hey, there are these people barricaded in a church. Do you want to help them out, knowing that, if you do, something else won’t be available to you?
“We spend a lot of time trying to work out how to give the player interesting choices like that. I’m okay with people being frustrated with not seeing the cool thing, as long as the thing they did was still cool. When both things are cool, people have bought into the experience. It’s when they don’t care we’ve lost them.”
I was devastated when I first heard that a TES MMO was in the works, thinking it would run the franchise into the ground. But the more I hear about it, the more I’m assured that the developers are keeping true to the series.
DICE’s Battlefield Premium service, intended to compete directly with Activision’s Call of Duty Elite, won’t be available – if the rumors are true – until June 4th, one day before E3. DICE still hasn’t officially confirmed this thing yet, but for now we’ll assume it’s a done deal. That’s probably a good assumption, because the British and Danish CoolShop outlets have posted prices and details associated with Battlefield Premium, and so far they look legit.
The British price will be £34.99, while the Danish price will be €34.99. So, expect it to cost $34.99 in the US. In addition, the service will come with the following benefits:
* 20 Maps
* 20 New Weapons
* 10+ New Vehicles
* 4+ New Game Modes
* 30+ Assignments
* 20+ Dog Tags
* “Premium Benefits”; skins, camos, early access to all DLC.
Of course, until this is confirmed officially, take it with a grain of salt. I suppose we only need wait a few more days.
The upcoming issue of Game Informer features some kind of Gears of War reveal on its cover, and rumor has it that Epic Games will be talking about the next installment of its incredibly muscular third-person shooter at E3 2012 next week.
Epic has said that Marcus Fenix’s story ended with Gears of War 3, so expect this to be a game about a new character — one who is…also a prisoner…it appears. Here’s what we know: Cliff Bleszinski and the rest of the Gears team are back to work on it; and it’s coming to Xbox 360 and isn’t being held up to wait for Unreal Engine 4.
With a reveal coming in the next Game Informer, it’s possible we’ll be able to see something of the new Gears at E3 2012, and there’s some speculation that the game could see a 2013 release. Keep an eye on all the Game Front E3 coverage and we’ll bring you anything worth knowing from the floor of the convention next week.
The latest issue of Game Informer has revealed that the next installment of the Gears of War franchise is going to feature Delta Squad members Damon Baird and Augustus “Cole Train” Cole, and will be called Gears of War: Judgment.
The title, combined with the art we’re seeing of Baird and Cole being led off in shackles by COG soldiers, suggests they got into some trouble. The cover also features the Locust horde, an interesting choice on Epic’s part, seeing as the end of Gears of War 3 [SPOILER ALERT] seemingly includes the genocide of the entire Locust race by the main characters. Perhaps that’s why Baird and Cole are under arrest? [END SPOILERS]
We’re hoping/expecting to find out more Monday at Microsoft’s Pre-E3 press event, so stay tuned.
GOG knows what gamers want: quality games at low prices. Sometimes, they’re even free — offering Fallout for zero dollars brought 1.2 million fans to the website over the course of 48 hours, making them one of the 500 most-trafficked sites in the world for that brief window.
Presenting today during the CD Projekt RED Summer Conference (see our coverage of Cyberpunk, CD Projekt’s new AAA title), the downloadable game site touted their upcoming line-up — five titles that offer something for everyone.
The presentation began with two acknowledged classics. Starting today, GOG is offering Sid Meier’s Colonization (the 1994 original) for a mere $5.99. It may not be as small as the sum that Peter Minuit paid for the island of Manhattan, but when you’re buying hours and hours of strategy enjoyment, it’s quite the bargain.
For more action-oriented players, GOG has a busty bundle: Tomb Raider 1, 2, and 3 for $9.99. Plenty of time to play them all before the series reboot comes out in 2013.
One of the main motives behind GOG’s March rebranding was the desire to offer new games. Today’s presentation revealed three new titles, which could not be more different:
Retro City Rampage looks like Grand Theft Auto 2 on 8-bit crack. It’s been sweeping up awards (including an Independent Games Festival prize), and appears to be the kind of adrenalized chaos its title implies. Buy it for the old-school gameplay, gleefully exaggerated violence, and winking in-jokes; the game is available for pre-order at $14.99
Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftover’s is much more inscrutable. The GOG presentation showed an extended trailer, which covered the basics: the game is a 3D, physics-powered platformer, and players will use some sort of sci-fi tool to slice through parts of the environment, reconfiguring it to suit their purposes. The strange art and writing, not to mention the relevance of “Grandpa,” are left unexplained.
For fans of 90′s-style adventure games, GOG has Resonance, an intriguing title with an attractive pixel-art look and a spooky sci-fi atmosphere. Players will take control of four different characters (shades of Day of the Tentacle) and tackle a variety of unique puzzles, eventually attaining one of the game’s multiple endings. This looks like a game to watch, and interested players who take advantage of GOG’s discounted pre-order (at $8.99) can help themselves to a four-hour gameplay demo that should whet their appetites for the full release.
I’m pretty sure that the power system at Rockstar Games HQ runs on concentrated speculation. Why else would the company refuse to confirm a launch date for a game everyone knows is probably coming out in October, if not to spark a constant, steady stream of analysts and industry observers claiming to have unlocked the Da Vinci Code of gaming? Rockstar must therefore employ PhD level intellects for the project of generating hype, because their total silence on the game has done nothing but get analyst after analyst to make unfounded, yet authoritatively-issued, statements about the future of the long awaited Grand Theft Auto V.
Enter Analyst firm Sterne Agee. Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia released a statement to the press on Friday making some rather bold claims about the game’s prospects for success. He expects GTA V to sell about 14 million copies during the initial launch window. Granted, that isn’t an insane number. GTA IV sold about 13 million during its first year, and in the 4 years since launching in 2008 has sold about 20 million copies. That is similar to the astonishing success of GTA games of the previous generation, and is almost certain to bear out.
Bhatia also agrees with Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz, that GTA V will be coming out in early 2013. This prediction is based on Take-Two’s financial predictions for their current fiscal year (which ends March 31, 2013); those predictions include approximately 450 million in revenues from Rockstar games that aren’t actually itemized in the statement. The obvious conclusion is that they’re assuming a GTA V release in the current fiscal year and, maddeningly, are refusing to announce it just yet.
I’m not a seasoned analyst, but I’ll say what I always say when these guys predict an early 2013 release date for GTA V: Rockstar’s corporate parent Take-Two has all but erected a giant billboard over October, 2012 that says INSERT GTA V HERE. This isn’t speculation, it’s fact. They’ve moved around not one but two major games, and put them squarely in the early-2013 window. It seems absurd to even consider that Take-Two would want Grand Theft Auto V to directly compete with BioShock 3. Which is why, until Rockstar finally gets off their ass and confirms the launch date, my money is squarely on october 23, 2012.
The image you see here is the teaser for the E3 2012 trailer for Hitman: Absolution. The trailer won’t drop until next week, but the image gives us a lot to unpack. Namely that there are a lot of suggestively hot looking women in silhouette. As the series has typically not trafficked in Bond cliches, we suspect it’s meant to suggest something unrelated to the single player campaign.
So, this, combined with the Sniper Challenge predating the main game, can mean only one thing, we speculate. Hitman: Absolution is going to have multiplayer. I know, I know. This is a bold prediction, given that it is extremely rare these days for games to have multiplayer added to them whether or not they’re needed. So maybe I’m wrong, and the E3 trailer will instead be about how the story involves Agent 47 tracking down, rescuing, and then bedding a bevy of hot women. Sure, that’s it.
Italian retailer 16Games’s website has reportedly revealed the hiding place of an upcoming Hitman HD Collection title for the Playstation 3, which will include three elder Hitman titles.
According to Eurogamer, the collection will include Hitman 2: Silent Assasin, Hitman 3: Contracts and Hitman: Blood Money, much like the Hitman Triple Pack released for Playstation 2 back in 2007.
The collection includes the second, third and fourth games in the series, leading up to Hitman: Absolution. We don’t know what the prices will be like just yet, unfortunately, but it seems we can expect the HD Collection around Nov. 20.
According to Joystiq, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 2 was in pre-production at 38 Studios’ Big Huge Games before the studio shut down.
Elements allegedly being tested for the sequel included higher graphics quality across the board, no loading screens between zones, expanded and improved combat animations, more branching quests and greater effect on the world by players.
The news gets worse: not only is the future of the series grim, but there will be no further support for the current Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Lead designer Ian S. Frazier left a heartfelt forum post explaining what could have been:
Lots of rumors about Battlefield Premium have flooded the Internet recently. However, aside from an early June launch date and what appears to be a firm 39.99 price point across currencies, we know precious little. That may have changed however, thanks to a NeoGaf poster named excaliburps, who has posted what is either a leaked fact sheet for the service, or an incredible forgery.
According to the sheet, the June 4th launch is confirmed, and members will get early access to expansion packs, priority access to BF3 servers, exclusive events, and a $49.95 price for US users. There’s more of course, but rather than waste your time telling you about it, here’s the sheet itself: (click the link below for more - its a bit big for the insider - Danny)
Hang on to your lightsabers, folks. The next game set in the Star Wars universe will buck the conventions of the series by being – wait for it – rated only for gamers 18 and up.
Star Wars 1313 is set in a “never before seen dark and mature world”; players will take on the role of a bounty hunter in the deepest depths of the criminal world of the capital of the galactic republic. “Named for Level 1313,” the announce says, “a ruthless criminal underground deep below the surface of the planet of Coruscant, the game puts players in control of a deadly bounty hunter as he uses an arsenal of exotic weaponry to hunt down his marks and uncover the truth surrounding a criminal conspiracy. Star Wars 1313 emphasizes epic set pieces and fast-paced combat with a hero who uses human skills and gadgets, rather than supernatural Force powers, to make his way through this dangerous world.”
I’m genuinely curious to see how Star Wars translates to the mature gaming rating. To get the M rating, you’ll need prodigious swearing, or sexual themes, or extreme violence, or some combination of all three. The series already features villains who casually genocide the universe, but I can’t imagine it not being hilarious, rather than cool, to see someone holding a blaster drop an f bomb. And sex in the Star Wars galaxy? Seems about as much of a thing as fire under water. I’m pretty sure George Lucas reproduces by budding anyway.
It seems to me that when you take away lightsabers, the Force, casual interstellar travel, Galactic politics and the whole Sith v Jedi thing, and build a game around an emphasis on techy solutions to life and death problems, what you’re left with is an everyscifi setting indistinguishable from properties like Perfect Dark and Deus Ex. That might be a good thing. The Star Wars universe has been creatively moribund since the end of the Thrawn trilogy. Turning into a setting rather than a mythos might kickstart things, though I predict much sniggering.
According to this week’s Xbox Live activity chart, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition has been the first game to unseat Call of Duty: Blacks Ops since it launched in November of 2010 — outside of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, of course. The world building game debuted at number three last week, after enjoying an insanely successful launch, and its ability to give even Call of Duty a run for its money is testament to just how popular Mojang’s creation truly is.
Xbox pimp daddy Major Nelson also divulged via Twitter that this may be the very first Xbox Live Arcade title to reach as high as number 2 in the chart. Usually, the most played games on Xbox Live are your typical retail shooters, so it’s pretty remarkable to see a more humble digital offering climb to such giddy heights.
Unsurprisingly, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition remains the biggest selling XBLA title this week, followed by Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 and The Walking Dead. Great news if you like Minecraft. Inconsequential news — that will be treated as bad — for anybody who hates it.
While Modern Warfare 3 players on Xbox have already been playing Face-Off Mode since May 16th, Playstation 3 owners have been left in the lurch. This situation is due to be remedied on June 15th, when PS3 gamers will finally get a chance to delve into MW3′s latest free DLC pack, which features two new maps “Aground” and “Erosion,” designed for up-close and personal combat between small teams of players.
Call of Duty Elite Members and owners of MW3 Content Collection 2 will also receive two additional free maps. For more information on Face-Off, the trailer below has all the sights, sounds, and explosions.
The second public Beta Weekend Event for Guild Wars 2 is coming up, and players who partook in the first beta will be able to pick up right where they left off, without having to create new characters.
Scheduled to run from Friday, June 8th at 21:00 CEST until Monday, June 11th at 8:59 CEST, the beta will be available to everyone who pre-purchased the Guild Wars 2 Collector’s, Digital Deluxe, or Standard/Digital Editions. In addition to access to Beta Weekend Events, players who pre-purchase will receive three-day Headstart Access prior to launch and the exclusive Hero’s Band in-game item.
Pre-Purchase is available at buy.guildwars2.com or from selected retailers.
Max Payne 3 will be available for PC players Friday, giving you a few more days to snag it a as a pre-order on Steam. And if you do, you’ll get a bunch of multiplayer DLC for free.
Here’s the complete rundown:
Classic Multiplayer Character Pack
Contains eight playable multiplayer characters for Max Payne 3 Multiplayer, including fan favorites from the original Max Payne and Max Payne 2 like Max Payne from Max Payne 2, Mona Sax and Vladimir Lem.
Disorderly Conduct Multiplayer Weapons Pack
Includes the Hammerhead Auto Shotgun, G9 Grenade Launcher and Molotov cocktail for Max Payne 3 Multiplayer.
Pill Bottle Item
This loadout item provides you with the capacity to carry extra painkillers – helping you survive longer amidst the killing fields of online multiplayer.
Max Payne Retro Avatar
Customize your multiplayer avatar with this Classic Max Payne Character inspired by the original Max Payne.
So there you go. The Max Payne 3 PC edition sounds like it’ll really push your system if you have the hardware for it. Meantime, you can check out our review if you’re wondering whether to make this purchase or not.
I’ll admit that I’m just not a fan of Civilization V. I tried, I really tried to love it, but in every way that mattered they made a less engrossing, less addictive, less intuitive game that got rid of much of what worked so well in previous games, jettisoned beloved features while adding lame new ones, and that stupid one unit per tile rule guarantees you end up with screen spam late in the game. WEAK.
But what do I know? I think the series peaked with the Beyond the Sword expansion pack for Civ IV. Other people think III is the best of the best. Maybe you think I suck and so do they, and Civ V is just awesome. If so, then now is a good time to pick up the Civilization V game of the year edition. It’s on sale on Impulse for an incredibly low $12.95, marked down from $49.95. Yeah, I know, it’s Impulse. But still, sweet deal.
Anyway, what say you, Game Front readers? Let us know your thoughts on Civ V in comments. In the meantime, let me leave you with this excellent track from Justice’s last album.
One of the bigger rumors about Sony’s appearance at E3 2012, not including the Plus revamp, is that they’re going to announce a cloud gaming deal of some kind. Word was that Sony had reached a partnership deal with either OnLive, or Gaikai, one they’d confirm in their press conference on Monday, June 4. That alone would be a rather important development, but MCV is reporting that this could be way more far reaching than a simple partnership: it seems they’re gunning for a full-on acquisition.
MCV sources claim this acquisition “is close to being signed,” and will definitely be either Oakland-based Onlive, or Orange County-based Gaikia. If this pans out, it would be the first time that a major console manufacturer would intentionally unbuckle their hardware and original software, and it has the potential to rip through the console world like a broadsword. Sony could dramatically increase consumer access to their games, but possibly at the expense of fewer consoles sold. With PS4 still not even officially confirmed, a move like this begs speculation that they’re planning some kind of major shift away from their hardware business, and an tacit approval for an eventually-all digital world.
Then again, Onlive (for example) already requires a small bit of hardware. Acquiring them outright could simply mean making (again, just for example) OnLive available on PS4 exclusively, or indicates the creation of some kind of hybrid service plan. For all we know, an acquisition could be part of the rumored efforts by Microsoft and Sony to build tremendously invasive anti-used game tech into the next generation of consoles. We don’t really know, obviously, but I will be on hand at Sony’s press conference, and we’ll make sure you know what the truth is as soon as it happens.
Though still in beta, DOTA 2 has already surpassed Skyrim as the second-most played game on Steam. Prize money at the DOTA 2 International Championships later this year is a cool one million dollars. In stark contrast to that sum, Valve today made an announcement: DOTA 2 will be free to play.
Instead, gamer cash will flow through the Dota Store, where “items created by Valve and members of the community” can be purchased. If you’re eager to spend money now rather than later (and who isn’t, really?), Valve has you covered: “Early Access to the game is not required to purchase items before launch.” The official press release also includes this masterpiece of P.R. slickness, worthy of some modern Michael Ginsberg: “By making the game Free to Play, we hope to give gamers the ability to decide how – and how much – they want to invest in the game.”
At this point, the phrase “Free to play, not pay to win” is like “New Wave of British Heavy Metal.” It needs a recognized acronym, like “NWOBHM.” So in the future, when I say “FTPNPTW,” I hope you’ll understand my meaning. I’m sure DOTA 2 will be FTPNPTW. 60,000 gamers playing the beta simultaneously on May 7, 2012 were too.
THQ announced today two major changes in store for their business, each with powerful, if uncertain, implications for the future health of the ailing developer, and each something of a surprise.
First, the Agora Hills-based company announced that Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin has been appointed President of THQ, effective immediately. Rubin will report directly to CEO Brian Farrell, who in a press statement said of the appointment that “Jason’s proven track record in the industry speaks for itself, and he is one of the brightest minds in the business.” Farrell also referred back to a statement from THQ’s February, 2012 investor call, saying “We believe he can be a game changer and can contribute immensely to executing on our strategy of delivering quality connected core game experiences.”
In the investor call, THQ announced their intent to abandon kids games, casual games, even the MMO they were working on, all in order to deliver on their ‘core’ franchises, AAA games for serious players. After a brutal year that included closed subsidiaries, cancelled games, and lots of layoffs, Brian Farrell took a 50% pay cut, it was the best decision and Rubin, who recently left Fox Interactive, will oversee upcoming games like Saints Row: Enter The Dominatrix, Darksiders® II, and others due out in Fiscal year 2013.
Rubin’s immediate focus, however, will surely be preventing THQ’s removal from the NASDAQ exchange. In January, THQ was informed that because their stock price has been below 1$ per share for more than 30 days, they risk a delisting, a death knell for a publicly traded company. They were given 180 days, until July 23, to turn things around. That deadline is looming, and THQ announced today an unusual solution to the dilemma. They will be requesting what is known as a reverse stock split’.
Several days ago, Rift maker Trion Worlds sent out a mysterious box to several media outlets with the cryptic phrase ‘a storm is brewing’ etched on the top. What that meant was, previously, anyone’s guess (but don’t you dare say it has anything to do with the Starks and Lannisters), but the mystery may have been solved. Members of Rift user forums have uncovered legal docs showing that Trion has trademarked something called “Storm Legion”.
That is suspected to be the name of the next Rift expansion pack, and though Trion has yet to comment officially, commenters in the forums are already digging into the details and speculating about the possible plot. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one. And an umbrella.
Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Codex Complete Hotfix
Hotfix release for the Codex Complete mod is now available:
No new content, mainly fixes, adjustments and a few additions, as detailed below
Fixed Space Marine Heavy Armour Deployment
Restored all the correct Heroes files
Fixed Main Screen for Grey Knights
Removed Turrents and Mine-fields for Space Wolves
Grey Knights now have correct Land Raider variant models
Fixed Chaos Terminator icons
Fixed Banshee Exarch model
Corrected Blood Angel flying speeds
Balanced Adeptus Mechanicus tech speed
Adjusted Adeptus Machanicus vehicle strengths
Re-balanced Lost and the Damned Teir 4 units
Corrected Raven Guard unit availability
Fixed all greater daemon weapons (all available races)
Corrected Grey Knight research availability
Corrected Dark and Blood Angels Scout Sizes
Fixed Space Wolf Sky Claw icons
Decreased Necron Shard health
Slight AI tweaks for most races
Sorted Space Marine assault weapon icons
Fixed Dark Angels heavy weapons
Added Lascannon Upgrade to Chaos Razorback
Added Eldar nightspinner tank
Sorted Dark Eldar mandrake skin
Added Medic to command squad for Imperial Guard
Added plasma upgrades to Dark Angel Assault squads
Added flamer upgrades to Blood Angel Assault squads
Added Missile Launcher Upgrades to Ravenwing Support squads
Just extract to your soulstorm directory and play the mod as before.
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