Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Release Date Info for The Last of Us and BioShock Infinite

I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that one of the most highly anticipated games in recent memory has finally been given an official release date. The bad news? Another highly anticipated game has been delayed.....again. So what would you like to hear about first? The bad news? Well, in the words of the great farm boy/pirate Westley, as you wish.

The bad news is that BioShock Infinite has been delayed yet again, this time until March 26, 2013. This news came directly from Creative Director and Co-Founder of Irrational Games Ken Levine. In an interview about the delay, Levine was quoted saying, "When Rod Fergusson came on board, we looked at the game. He was there for about a month and he said, 'look, I've been looking at the schedule and looking at the game and frankly you could really benefit from another three or four more weeks for polish and bug fixing.'"

"We talked about it. I knew I'd probably get beat up in the press a little bit about it. But at the end of the day, if it's going to make a better game we're going to do it. So the new date is March 26. That's my bad news."

This marks the second delay for BioShock Infinite, as the game was originally supposed to be released in October of 2012. After the first delay was announced, two key BioShock Infinite developers left the company. Delays can severely hurt a game, though they can also do wonders for it as well. A game that is released later than originally announced can benefit from not having the bugs and having more polish, though the game has to be worth the wait. Interestingly enough, the original BioShock was delayed and it turned out just fine.

Now on to the good news! The good news comes courtesy of the Spike TV Video Game Awards. During the awards show, Naughty Dog released a brand new trailer for its incredibly anticipated action-survival-horror game The Last of Us. Ever since the first trailer for this game appeared, gamers have been chomping at the bit to know exactly when they will be able to play what could very well be 2013's Game of the Year. Well, aside from showing off a ton of new game footage, including more characters and our first real look at the mutants (is that what they are?) in the game, the end of the trailer debuted the official release date for the game, which is May 7, 2013.

That's right, about five months is all that separates you from playing The Last of Us. Needless to say I was giddy with excitement when I saw this trailer. I mean, this game actually made me go out and buy a PlayStation 3 for crying out loud. I, and so many others, have extremely high hopes for The Last of Us and I think I speak for everyone when I say it's about darn time we get a release date! Check out the Spike TV VGA trailer below. There's also a new gameplay trailer for BioShock Infinite from the VGAs as well.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Two Very Different Versions of the Next-Gen Xbox Coming

More rumors about the next generation Xbox console have surfaced recently, this time in the form of how the gaming system will be marketed toward consumers. According to recent reports, the next generation Xbox console will come in two highly different models that are designed to appeal to two very different groups of gamers on the spectrum.

The first console model is the one that gamers have been waiting for and expecting. It will provide a true, next-gen gaming experience, allowing you to play all of the newest titles as well as any Xbox Live Arcade game. In addition to that, you will have access to all the latest and greatest apps that have recently taken the Xbox 360 by storm, allowing you to watch all of your favorite movies, listen to music, catch up on all the latest sports scores and more. 

The other version is targeted more toward the casual gamer. It will use Windows 8 as the basis for its operating system and will be unable to run any Triple-A titles, which means no playing the latest Halo, Gears of War or Call of Duty games. It will, however, be able to play downloadable games from the Xbox Live Arcade marketplace. In essence, this version will function like a set-top box and give you access to the growing variety of Xbox entertainment apps, like Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, Vudu, etc... There are also reports of an "instant on" feature that will allow you to resume whatever you were doing with little downtime.

These new reports come from The Verge, which cites multiple sources that are "familiar with Redmond's (Microsoft's headquarters) plans."Moreover, The Verge also claims that this two-model approach is part of a larger strategy by Microsoft to ensure that its core Xbox software is scalable to run on a plethora of different devices. There are even rumors of having a Microsoft phone that delivers a full Xbox Live experience, though that is probably a long way away. 

This marketing strategy by Microsoft is actually quite brilliant. It allows the company's console to appeal to two completely different cores of consumers. On the one hand, hard core gamers longing for the good ol' days when a gaming console was strictly used for gaming will be drawn to the traditional model, while people who really just want an entertainment hub and something to play fun games with family or friends can have that too, presumably at a lower price point. Both models are expected to be announced sometime in 2013 and become available before the end of that year. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Silicon Knights Ordered to Collect and Destroy Unsold Copies of Too Human and X-Men: Destiny

Ever played Too Human or X-Men: Destiny? Chances are probably not, and there's good reason for that. The games were cataclysmic disappointments when they were released. What makes that even worse is that both games were highly anticipated and had gamers really looking forward to playing them. Aside from not being standout games, these games also have a few other things in common, most notably the fact that both were made y Silicon Knights and that both games have been ordered to be destroyed completely.

Silicon Knights, the studio behind both of these games, recently tried to sue Epic Games, developer of the insanely popular Gears of War trilogy, over claims that Epic's Unreal graphics engine was an incomplete product that Silicon Knights used to develop both of these games and was the reason behind the failure of both games. Needless to say, Silicon Knights lost and, in addition to paying a hefty fine to Epic, the courts though that Silicon's punishment (cue Bane impersonation) must be more severe.

According to a recent ruling by the North Carolina District Court, Silicon Knights has been required to "cease producing and distributing" and "recall and destroy" all unsold copies of Too Human and X-Men: Destiny along with The Box/Ritualyst, The Sandman and Siren in the Maelstrom, the last three being unreleased titles, at its own expense.

In addition to that, the judge also ruled that Silicon Knights is responsible to pay Epic an additional $278,000 in court costs, $2.09 million in attorney fees and $2.3 million in pre-judgement interest. If you add that to the $4.45 million that Silicon Knights already owed Epic then that brings to overall total costs that Silicon Knights owes Epic Games to around $9 million.

According to a statement from an Epic Games' spokesperson, "Epic Games appreciates the court's careful consideration of the motions and is gratified by the order." The interesting thing is that this ruling comes over five years after Silicon Knights originally sued Epic, alleging that the Unreal engine didn't work as it was supposed to. Epic counter-sued and then the case went to trial earlier this year. The worst part about the entire suit is that even if Silicon Knights had won, it would only have been awarded $1 per claim.

If you have ever wanted to play wither Too Human or X-Men: Destiny then you better get your copy fast because all the ones still in stores are poised to be collected and destroyed pretty soon.

Source: IGN - Silicon Knights Ordered to Destroy Unsold Unreal Engine 3 Games
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

G4 Turns on Fans, Cancels AOTS and X-Play in Lieu of "More Sophisticated" Entertainment

In an unprecedented move, the popular cable channel G4, which is known for being the center for all things popular in gaming, comic books, pop culture, movies, nerd and geek culture, has decided to cancel arguably its two most popular programs, Attack of the Show and X-Play. This news comes as the channel undergoes a rebranding that will turn away from the very source material that made it popular in the first place, gaming.

The final episodes of both shows will air in December of this year, leading up to the finales that will have rotating guest-hosts for AOTS joining current hosts Candace Bailey and Sara Underwood and X-Play hosts Morgan Webb and Blair Herter. Guest hosts will include the likes of John Barrowman, Michael Ian Black, Josh Meyers, Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel and Horatio Sanz.

According to, which was one of the first outlets to produce the story, both shows will have farewell episodes that will include former guests and hosts returning as well as re-airing favorite segments from the past, including AOTS' coverage of the San Diego Comic-Con and X-Play's coverage of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

According to General Manager of Media for G4 Adam Stotsky, "Attack of the Show and X-Play have been important for G4, and we want to acknowledge the creative people who have helped inspire and showcase the phenomenon of gamer culture. With more than 3,000 episodes aired between them, we have more than enough great material to honor these innovators and their amazing contributors as we bring both shows to a close."

There are rumors floating around that G4 may be looking to partner with Esquire or another men's magazine, like GQ, as it moves forward into quote "more upscale, sophisticated guy TV space."Possible new names for the channel include G4Men, as well as some other truly pretentious names.

Feedback from the G4 community has not been positive in the slightest, with many fans of both shows claiming that this move is the nail in the coffin of G4, who has accrued some controversy in recent months with the sudden and distasteful release of Adam Sessler, the former co-host of X-Play and one member that had been with the channel since way back in the day when TechTV was still around and the exodus of Attack of the Show host Kevin Periera.

Some messages on the comment section of this story on G4's website include things like "Without these shows is G4 even a channel? Why would anyone watch it without these shows?" and "I'll just say what we're all thinking: Screw you G4. You turned your backs on the fans who made your network successful in the first place." One comment went as far as to rename the channel MTV4, which in my opinion is a pretty big insult.

I, for one, am truly saddened by G4's decision to do this and am pretty mad that the channel thinks that the true fans that made G4 what it is today are not "sophisticated enough". The silver lining here is that maybe the likes of Candace, Blair, Morgan and Sara can move on to bigger and better things, much like Adam and Kevin did. I wish them all the best and I thank them for the endless amounts of entertainment that they have given not only myself, but the entire gaming community as a whole over the past 10 years.
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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Custom Mass Effect N7 Armor to Make Any Reaper Run and Hide

Ready to see the coolest piece of video game cosplay ever? I thought you would be. If you have ever had the dream of strapping on the N7 armor made famous by Commander Shepard from Mass Effect and taking on some of the most dangerous beings in the known universe then your dream could very well become a reality thanks to BioWeapons.

BioWeapons gives you the ability to purchase your very own set of N7 armor, a direct replica of the type seen in the Mass Effect video games. The best part about this armor is that it isn't your run-of-the-mill generic Halloween shop costume. This stuff is durable, high-grade replica armor that has the look and feel of the game.

The armor is made up of sturdy, lightweight EVA foam and comes with extra long adjustable Velcro and nylon strapping allowing it to fit almost anybody. Each armor set is also hand-crafted piece by piece, meaning there are absolutely no molds or mass production, so you will have to wait about 2 to 3 weeks to get yours. The full armor set includes a chest piece, back piece, shoulder pieces, bicep pieces, forearm pieces, gloves, cod piece, thigh pieces, shin/calf pieces and a replica M8 rifle. In addition to that, the back has customizeable LED lights that run on AA batteries. You can choose from either red or blue lights.

The only down side here is the price. The full armor set, including the M8 rifle, will cost you $1,250. However, considering the quality, attention to detail, the handpainted design and the replica rifle, this isn't a bad deal. You can buy different groups of pieces separately. The torso set (everything from the waist up) will run you $650 while the leg set will cost you $350. If you want the full armor without the M8 replica, you will only have to pay $950. The rifle by itself will run you $350.

Those prices are for the male version of the armor. There is also a female version which is slightly more expensive. The torso set for the female armor costs $700 with the legs costing $400, the full set sans the rifle costing $1,050 and the full set with the rifle costing $1,350. The additional $100, according to the site, is due to the fact that the "female armor has more compound curves and takes longer to construct."

According to the site, payments can be made via PayPal or mail/money order by special arrangement. Since this is a really expensive piece of cosplay, I decided to email the creators of the armor with a few questions of my own. The site says one size fits most. I am 6'5" and roughly 250lbs so I wanted to see if this would fit. I also wanted to see how payment plans would work. As of writing this article I have yet to hear back, though I will update whenever I get more information.

Regardless, this is definitely one incredible set of armor. If you are looking for the perfect cosplay then this is something you should definitely look into if you don't mind spending the cash. Full details on the armor set can be found here. There are a lot of other custom pieces on the site, including some Blue Sun armor also from Mass Effect and some other cool stuff as well.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Microsoft Unveils MyAchievements, Actually Rewards You for Your Gamerscore

Hey! You know those points you get for achieving....well....achievements on Xbox Live? Of course you do because since you figured out what they were you have been wondering what in the world they are even good for. Well, up until recently, the only thing they were good for was to show off to your friends about how many games you play and how good you are at them. However, Microsoft is finally putting those points to use and rewarding gamers for their gamerscores.

Microsoft just unveiled the all new MyAchievements program, a program that is set to offer rewards to gamers based on the amount of achievements they have completed and the coinciding gamerscore that comes with it. MyAchievements is only available to Xbox Live Gold members and is separated into three different categories, or levels, based upon the amount of achievements you have completed and how high your gamerscore is.

The first level is labeled Contender. This rank will be given to gamers who have a gamerscore between 3,000 and 9,000G. The Champion rank is reserved for those gamers that have a gamerscore between 10,000 and 25,000G with the final rank, Legend, being reserved for those gamers that have a gamerscore of 25,000+G.

Aside from having a fancy rank that you can show off to your friends, each rank will also offer you a special gift during the month of your birthday. In addition to that, Champion level players will receive a 1% rebate on Xbox Live Marketplace purchases (in addition to the birthday gift) while Legend level players will receive a 2% rebate in addition to their birthday gift.

The new MyAchievements program is simply a continuation of Microsoft's Xbox Live Rewards program. The Xbox Live Rewards program offers up Microsoft Points in exchange for taking surveys and launched back in 2010. If you haven't already signed up to be a part of MyAchievements (and I can't think of any reason why you wouldn't) then you can do so now by clicking here. Joining is free and you get rewards....what could possibly be better? (Side note: Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I just happen to fall in the Legend ranking....oh yeah).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nintendo Announces Pricing and Launch Dates for the Wii U

For some reason unbeknownst to me, Nintendo has decided to create yet another gaming console. If you ask me, Nintendo should just stick to making handheld systems, but I digress. The Wii U (because Nintendo couldn't think of a better name for their console than to add a "U" onto the name of the last one) is poised to launch on November 18th in North America, on November 30th in Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and on December 8th in Japan.

The Wii U comes in two variations, the Basic and Premium. The Basic model comes with 8GB of memory, the console, a gamepad, sensor bar, HDMI cable and AC adapter (U.S. version) and will cost you $299.99. The Premium model comes with 32GB of memory, the console, gamepad, sensor bar, charging cradle and stands for both the console and gamepad. In addition to that, the Premium model comes with Nintendo Land and will run you $349.99.

The Premium model also comes with a Nintendo Network Premium subscription, giving you discounts on Nintendo games bought online. According to the company, this is a reward program that gives you points for digital purchases in the Nintendo eShop. The credit is valued at about 10% of the original Nintendo eShop price and can be used against future purchases once you reach a minimum of 500 points.

Many people are wondering about the games that the Wii U will be offering on launch day and whether or not Nintendo has decided to step away from the family-friendly entertainment offered by the Wii. Launch day games (at least in Europe) have been confirmed as New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, FIFA 13, ZombiU, Rayman Legends, Mass Effect 3 and Call of Duty Black Ops 2. A definitive list for the U.S. launch has yet to be announced, though it will probably be similar to the European list.

The biggest shock with the announcement of the Wii U was that Bayonetta 2 would be on the console. While many people will be thrilled to see a sequel to the highly popular game, they will be utterly crushed to find out that it is a Wii U exclusive! This came as a major shock to almost everybody, mainly due to the fact that a sequel for a game that was extremely popular on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 won't be showing up on either console.

I can't say I'm personally excited about the Wii U. While the tablet/controller hybrid gamepad is a very unique and innovative idea and will undoubtedly have some cool workings with certain games, I can't help but feel like the Wii U is going to be the iPhone 5 of Nintendo. What about you? Are you excited for the Wii U? Do you think Nintendo is going to look more towards the hardcore gamer with this console unlike how it did with the Wii? Sound off in the comments section below!

Source: IGN

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gears of War: Judgment Announces New Free for All Multiplayer Mode

So anybody who has braved the exhilarating, yet extremely frustrating (at times), world of Gears of War multiplayer knows that it plays a lot like the campaign. You pop from cover to cover, waiting for that exact perfect moment to strike at your enemy. You spend a lot of time hiding and trying to outflank and outsmart your foes in order to gain a tactical advantage. While that is all fun and good, the next installment in the Gears of War franchise, Gears of War: Judgment, looks to take all that strategy and curbstomp it into the ground.

Enter free-for-all, the newest multiplayer mode in Gears of War: Judgment. The big difference here is that, as the name insinuates, everybody is fighting everybody. No teams, no help, no mercy. It's one big brouhaha of chainsaws, boomshots, digger launchers and bloody goodness. Instead of trying to gang up on your enemies, you basically just point and shoot because no matter who you see, what race they are (human or locust) or what character they are playing, they are your enemy and they will NOT hesitate to ram that retro lancer bayonet right through your gut and toss you to the side like a dirty towel.

While the multiplayer maps in the previous three Gears games have been designed for you to use cover, gain tactical advantages and outplay your opponents as a team, the maps in Judgment have been designed for FFA. In addition to that, these maps appear to be a bit smaller than some of the epic setpiece maps we saw in Gears of War 3. That makes FFA perfect as you probably won't be able to take two dive rolls without running into someone trying to cut you in half. Just hope you're the third player running into a dual between two others, allowing you to be THAT guy, you know, the one that comes in and just wipes out both guys who have be weakened by each other.

FFA also seems like it will be a good way for players to hone their Gears multiplayer skills. Most people, I find, tend to shy away from trying new things in Gears multiplayer because they don't want to let their team down. In FFA there are no teams so there is nobody that can get mad at you for going 1 and 10 three matches straight. This freedom allows you to experiment with different weapons and find out what combo of shotgun and assault rifle best fits your play style. Speaking of learning, there are a few changes to the mechanics of Gears of War in Judgment that differ from the previous games.

One thing that is different is that you no longer have to use the directional pad to switch between weapons, something a lot of players will be excited about. I can't tell you how many times I died because I thought I switched to my shotgun and ended up having my pistol out instead. The Y button is what you use to switch weapons now and throwing a grenade is as easy as tapping the left bumper. This may seem like standard controls for any other shooter out there, but seasoned Gears players may feel a little awkward at first.

FFA looks to be an amazing new addition to Gears and one that many players have been asking for. What's more is that there are still a lot of gameplay modes left for Epic to announce, further increasing the anticipation for the next game in the Gears of War franchise. We all knew that Gears of War 3 wouldn't be Epic's last outing with the series and we're extremely happy about that. Check the video below for a taste of what the new Free-for-All mode is all about.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mass Effect 3's Leviathan DLC to Alter Game Ending

There has been a ton of controversy surrounding the ending of Mass Effect 3. BioWare compromised, however, by releasing an extended ending via DLC. While multiplayer DLC has been coming out pretty steadily, the first bit of single-player DLC is right around the corner. While it may seem like Shepard's story won't get easier with incoming DLC, BioWare is willing to compromise if you get the Leviathan add-on.

Completing the DLC will create an additional rift in your ending while also adding tons of Easter eggs, subtle changes and references to its story when you reach the Extended Cut conclusion. The Leviathan DLC pack will cost $10 and is coming out soon. Here's a brief rundown on the plot.

Admiral Hackett has been running black ops missions across the galaxy to hunt for an elusive creature known for killing Reapers. Nobody knows where it is, though when a Citadel scientist named Bryson picks up the trail, he is promptly murdered. After that, his loyal assistant blacks out and shoots himself, completely unaware of his actions (indoctrination perhaps?) From here its Shepard's job to track down The Leviathan.

Fans of the game have been hassling BioWare to make combat more difficult and The Leviathan DLC definitely ramps up the difficulty. Tight corridors make it difficult to plan strategies, especially when Brutes are charging at you left and right. Another intense moment comes from charging a door with power cells in order to open it. The tense part is that you have to continually go back for power cells as the power slowly drains away.

From early tests The Leviathan seems to be an action-packed, intense add-on to an already intense and action-packed game. I can't see this significantly influencing the overall ending of the story, though every additional detail just adds to the already incredibly rich story. The Leviathan DLC will cost you $10 when it is released.

Source: IGN - Leviathan Add-On Will Change Mass Effect 3's Ending
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Steam Summer Sale 2012!

It's back and better than ever! Steam's Summer Sale is currently in full swing, offering some of the best PC games on the market at ridiculously low prices. In case you are completely oblivious to gaming, Steam is the online direct to download PC game service from Valve that allows you to purchase and install games directly to your PC without ever having to leave your house. Not only does Steam regularly have the latest PC games to release but it also has a ton of classics too and is one of the only places you can find many PC games.

The Steam Summer Sale is Christmas in July for PC gamers. During the sale, Steam offers ridiculously low prices on just about every single game in its library. Daily deals are where you will find the lowest prices. For example, I recently purchased three games from the Steam Summer Sale. I bought Portal 2 for $4.99, Total War: Shogun 2 for $7.49, Plants vs. Zombies GOTY Edition for $2.49 and the extremely popular indie game Dear Esther for $3.74 (game soundtrack included). That's three amazing games for under $20! But there is a lot more where that came from.

Like I said, Steam has special deals for each day of the sale. Today's deals include: Gratuitous Tank Battles for $6.79 (66% off), Krater for $7.49 (50% off), The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings for $15.99 (60% off), Fallout: New Vegas for $4.99 (75% off), Amnesia: The Dark Descent for $4.99 (75% off), Sniper Elite V2 for $24.99 (50% off), Plants vs Zombies GOTY Edition for $2.49 (75% off), Indie Bundle VIII for $9.99 (75% off) and Alan Wake for $7.49 (75% off).

If you missed a day of the sale then don't worry because Steam has some carry over time as well. You can still get the previous day's deals as well, though they won't be available for long. Yesterday's deals include 75% of Age of Empires Online, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Thief: Deadly Shadows, Indie Bundle VII, Super Meat Boy, Carpe Fulgur Collection, Total War Mega Pack and L.A. Noire as well as 25% off Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion.

One of the best things about the Steam Summer Sale, however, is pack deals. Pack deals are packs of some of the most popular games under a certain developer. These packs are generally about the cost of a full price game under the sale, but considering you get anywhere from 10 to 30 games, it's worth it. Packs currently available under the sale include: Square Enix Hit Collection, 2K Collection, Activision Hits Collection, Ubisoft Collection, Railworks 3 Collection, Rockstar Hit Collection, Kalypso Collection, Star Wars Collection, 1C Collection, Super id Software Pack, Focus Hit Collection, Meridian4 Collection, Strategy First Collection, THQ Collection, PopCap Complete Pack, Nordic Hit Collection, TellTale Collection, Valve Complete Pack, MumboJumbo Collection, Stardock Collection, Paradox Collection, Cyan Complete Pack Bethesda Collection and SEGA Hit Collection.

Steam users can also vote on what games they think should go on sale and for how much. Steam puts three games on the side of the store with the discount percent and asks you to vote on what you want! The three games up now are Dead Island (66% off), Total War: Shogun 2 (75% off) and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (75% off). The community's choice for today's game (which was voted on yesterday) is The Longest Journey for $2.49 (75% off).

If you consider yourself a PC gamer in any sense of the word, you NEED to check out the Steam Summer Sale. With all the incredible deals that are being offered I guarantee you will find something that will tickle your fancy. But hurry! The Steam Summer Sale ends July 21 so get your games while they are still on sale!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Activision Announces The Walking Dead FPS

When Telltale announced that it was creating a video game based on The Walking Dead, fans of the comics and show were ecstatic. That hype eventually dimmed when people learned that it would focus more on the comic book than the AMC series and would also be a sort of point-and-click adventure puzzle game instead of a zombie horror survival shooting game a la Left 4 Dead. Well, those disappointments can be put to rest as Activision has just announced that it will be producing an FPS based on The Walking Dead TV series.

The game, which is being developed by Terminal Reality, will center around the characters of Daryl and Merle Dixon with players taking control of Daryl as he and his white-power preaching brother make their way across Georgia to Atlanta in search of the rumored safe haven from zombies. As Daryl, players will attempt to avoid detection by the walking dead, which are able to hunt by sight, sound and smell. You will have to choose whether to sneak by and be stealthy or to go full on "Daryl" and bash in the head of every walker you come across.

Be warned, though, if you choose to fight your way through the game, you will have to be cautious. Supplies will be scarce and you will need to meticulously manage your food, ammo and other supplies in order to survive. In addition to walkers, Daryl and Merle will also encounter other survivors and characters that will either help or hurt the backwoods brothers. Whether or not these players accompany Daryl and Merle is completely up to you and, according to Activision, "represents just some of the major decisions that will constantly be made while fighting to survive."

The game is set for an actual, physical store release, another way it differs from Telltale's downloadable, episodic game system. Activision has stated that players can expect the game to come out on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC sometime in 2013. Other than that, details are scarce, though the official website for the game is up if you want to check it our for yourself. No word has been released about multiplayer, though it would seem likely, considering there are two characters, Daryl and Merle. Possible drop-in/drop-out co-op? Only time will tell.

Source: G4TV - The Walking Dead FPS Announced

IGN - Activision Reveals Walking Dead First-Person Shooter

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Full Diablo III Refunds for South Korean Players

People waited years for Blizzard to release the next installment in its incredibly popular Diablo series Diablo III. Unfortunately, when the time finally came for that dream to become a reality for players, things didn't go so smoothly. The game's launch was plagued by overloaded servers, connectivity issues, excruciatingly long wait times and multiple crashes and errors that left many players feeling jaded and disheartened.

Blizzard heard the cries of its community, however, and jumped into action by furiously working on a patch to combat these problems. The patch has since been released and many of the problems have subsided, unless you live in South Korea, that is. Blizzard has recently confirmed that it will begin offering full refunds to Diablo III players in South Korea due to connectivity problems, crashes and slow connection speeds from overcrowded servers that are still tormenting the community in that country.

The problems are so bad in South Korea that the South Korean Fair Trade Commission went as far as launching an investigation last month after it was inundated with complaints from users affected by the problems. Even though Blizzard stated at that time that it wold not provide any compensation to the gamers, South Korean consumer protection laws state that users must be granted a refund for any product that has a problem not cause by the customer.

A new post on the Korean Diablo III site says that players who are less than level 40 will be able to submit for a full refund between June 25 and July 3. Any player who is less than level 20 can also return the game up to 14 days after purchasing it from this point forward. In addition to that, players will receive a free 30-day trial for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

Blizzard did add additional servers to Korea earlier this month in an attempt to fix the issues faced in the country. Almost two-thirds of Diablo III  traffic in Asia comes from South Korea, but Blizzard misjudged the user volume when creating servers for the game.

Source: IGN - Blizzard Offers Full Diablo III Refunds in South Korea

Monday, June 11, 2012

MLG's Spring Championship - an eSports Benchmark

Major League Gaming's Spring Championship took place this past weekend in Anaheim, California and it is being seen as a major benchmark in the eSports world. eSports like Starcraft II are well known for being extremely popular in the east (specifically South Korea) but is being more recognized in the west, with the MLG Spring Championship being a big step in that process. With millions of viewers showing up and tuning in (MLG shows 4.7 million unique online viewers with a peak of 437,000 concurrent views, 20,000 live spectators, and a total of 5.4 million hours of video watched.) even well-established Korean Broodwar players like Flash and JaeDong have stated that this event is more than what they are used to.

"I got to talk to Stork, Flash, JaeDong, SoulKey, Bisu among others and unanimously everyone has said that the hype here at MLG and in America surpasses what they see in Korea... When I asked them to compare this to them playing in Korea in front of their stadiums, in front of the air hanger, on the beach when there were like 10,000 players there... because they were all Broodwar players and are so used to those large crowds... they still say that the crowds at MLG and in Anaheim have blown them away compared to what they have experienced in Korea." Slasher from

That is such a huge statement coming from these players because these guys are the stars that see the biggest crowds in Korea and even they are saying that this event is more impressive. MLGs success may have been due not only to Starcraft II (and the fact that Korean Broodwar legends were going to be competing) but also to other eSports games like League of Legends, Mortal Kombat and Soul Caliber V. Even with big eSports titles like Halo being dropped from the MLG event, the outcome was bigger than ever. This is big news for the development of eSports here in America.

I had the pleasure of watching several of the Starcraft II matchups and it was very competitive and entertaining. Several matches that went to the third round were nail-biting (yes, even eSports can be nail-biting). The most memorable for me was Stephano's loss to MarineKingPrime (MKP), Sase's victory over Stephano, and then of course the final of DongRaeGu (DRG) vs Alicia. It was awesome to see a Protoss player make it all the way to the championship round. I even enjoyed DRG vs MKP, even though DRG beat him 2-0.

The results of the Starcraft II championship are as follows:
1st: DongRaeGu (South Korea)
2nd: Alicia (South Korea)
3rd: MarineKing (South Korea)
4th: Sase (Sweden)

And the results of the KeSPA exhibition championship:
1st: Flash
2nd: Bisu
3rd: SoulKey / JaeDong

You can check out the results of the championship bracket here: MLG Spring Championship Results. These guys really are on a different level and I'm looking forward to more events like this one.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Best of E3 2012

E3, the greatest video game convention in the world, just wrapped up in California. The 4-day event was littered with video game debuts, live demos, teasers and some of the best games to hit the industry in years. I've never been to E3 (though it is on my bucket list) but I keep up with everything that goes on during the show as best as I can. There were some incredible games that were unveiled this year so I decided to pick my Best of E3 to show off what I think should be the most talked about games in the coming months.

Star Wars 1313

Star Wars 1313 is the newest game to hit the Star Wars franchise and man, does it look amazing! The title is derived from Level 1313, a subsection of the planet Coruscant where only the most ruthless of thugs, criminals and villains dare go. The game puts you in control of a deadly bounty hunter, allowing you to command an array of high tech weapons and gadgets to take down your foes. 

The game plays like a mix between Gears of War and the Uncharted series. You have stop-and-pop cover-based shooting mechanics (ala Gears) and movement and platforming puzzles (ala Uncharted). Players should really take to this game, even though the main character doesn't wield a lightsaber or utilize the Force, just like the highly popular game Star Wars Bounty Hunter that put you in control of the infamous bounty hunter Jango Fett. 

One of the biggest things that this game has going for it is the fact that the developers stress that you will not notice a graphical change when transitioning from a cut scene to the real game. And they're right. When the game was demoed, the only reason you knew the cut scene was over was because the HUD popped up on screen. It truly was beautiful. The game doesn't have a specified release date though it will be coming out for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC (most likely). 

The Last of Us

So, this game will be the sole reason I invest in a PlayStation 3. The game is exclusive to Sony's console and is a sort of post-apocalyptic survival-action game. The game puts you in control of Joel, a ruthless survivor traversing the Boston quarantine zone with Ellie, a 14-year-old girl who is tough as nails but too young to remember the world before it was destroyed. 

The game emphasizes stealth and critical decision making. Ammo is scarce and the AI will react accordingly. Brandish a gun at an enemy and watch them cower or panic, pull the trigger and hear the click of an empty clip and the AI will charge, knowing that you were bluffing. The best thing from the floor demo, however, is how Ellie plays. Instead of making the game one big escort mission, Ellie actually helps out, getting your back and distracting enemies while you move in for the kill. 

In the demo Joel and Ellie are making their way through an abandoned hotel that has some looters in it making camp. A fight ensues, though Joel is able to shoot most of the enemies. When the last one figures out Joel is out of ammo, he charges only to be hit in the head with a brick by Ellie. As he staggers, Joel moves in and takes the guy down. The best part is that none of it was scripted. Ellie reacted based on your decisions in the game which means that the next time you go through the level, things could turn out differently. 

The game is set for a 2013 release date exclusively on the PlayStation 3 and will definitely be a contender for Game of the Year. 

Beyond: Two Souls

If you liked Heavy Rain then you are going to love this one. Beyond: Two Souls is the next game to come from the Heavy Rain development team and promises to be very similar to Heavy Rain with a bigger emphasis on action. The story follows Jodie Holmes, a young woman who has been haunted by an invisible, powerful entity her entire life. Known only as "Aiden", the entity is able to interact with the physical world, follow Jodie's orders and communicate with the character. Oh, and it also plays as a second playable character.  

The biggest selling point here is definitely the graphics and the A-list talent behind the game. The graphics use the facial mapping that can be seen in L.A. Noire while A-list actress Ellen Paige will be voicing and modeling the character of Jodie. Basically, you play as Ellen Paige, which is definitely pretty sweet. This is another game that is influencing me to purchase a PS3 as it is also an exclusive. Expect this one out in 2013 as well. 

Watch Dogs

This game came completely out of nowhere and surprised everybody. Ubisoft really lit up the show floor when they not only officially announced the game but also showed actual gameplay footage, which looked amazing, by the way. The game is an open-world action game set to release on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in 2013. 

The gameplay focuses on hacking and surveillance as the game's protagonist, Aiden Pierce, can use any device tied to the game city's central operating system as a weapon against itself. This will definitely make for some interesting puzzle solving moments, but don't think that this game will be boring. The action was fluid and fast-paced and reminded me of a John Woo film with gunfights, hand-to-hand combat and jumping over car hoods (while simultaneously shooting a guy in the face, of course). Other than that not much is known about the game, though it is definitely on my Must Buy list. 

E3 was definitely a great show this year and these four games are only the tip of the iceberg. All of them were exclusive debuts for the show, aside from The Last of Us, though the gameplay demo was definitely a welcome addition. 2013 is shaping up to be an incredible year for the gaming industry and should see a revitalized interest in games and where they are headed in the near future. I just hope my wallet is ready for the next year because there are almost too many games coming to count. 
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

38 Studios Closes, Curt Schilling Lays Off Entire Staff

There was a lot of hype surrounding the game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which was developed by 38 Studios under the head of former MLB star Curt Schilling. The game was expected to be a fantastic mashup of action, hack-n-slash and rich RPG elements. Unfortunately, the game never really lived up to its potential or expectations. What's even worse is that it has recently been discovered that the entirety of 38 Studios has closed down.

According to a report from The Verge, 38 Studios has been closed and the company has, effective immediately, laid off every single one of its employees. Employees learned of the layoffs via an internal email which read:
"The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a company-wide layoff is absolutely necessary."
"These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary."
"This is your official notice of layoff, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012."
In addition to that, an employee (now claiming to be a former employee) relayed to Kotaku that not a single employee has been paid since April 30 and that company officials have not communicated the status of things to any workers throughout this entire process. Other insiders at the company noted that their health insurance has already run out.

This doesn't seem to be fake either as both Company CEO Jen MacLean and Senior Vice President of Product Development John Blakely have both updated their Linkedin profiles with 38 Studios referenced in the past tense. MacLean's resume says that she left the company in March whereas Blakely's resume has him listed with 38 Studios as recently as Monday. Also on Monday, Blakely attended a meeting of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation board to discuss 38 Studios' cash crisis with company founder Curt Schilling.

38 Studios was planning on releasing Project Copernicus, an MMO set in the universe of Kingdoms of Amalur,  though that seems highly unlikely at this point. While the loss of all these jobs in our current economic recession is terribly heartbreaking, the fact that the taxpayers of Rhode Island loaned Schilling and 38 Studios $75 million to fund their games is even more troubling. Should Schilling and the company declare bankruptcy, Rhode Island will be left holding the bill for the company.

Source: G4TV - 38 Studios Closes; CEO and Vice President Jump Ship
Kotaku - 38 Studios and Big Huge Games Shutting Down
The Verge - 38 Studios lays off entire staff
Yahoo! - Curt Schilling's 38 Studios lays off its entire staff
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Big Multiplayer Update Hitting Uncharted 3

The PlayStation Blog has just announced that Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, the third installment in the incredibly popular franchise for the PlayStation 3, will be receiving a huge update to its multiplayer system by the end of this month. The patch, which is known as patch 1.11, is only bringing changes to the multiplayer aspect of the game, which means if you are still playing the numerous different multiplayer modes in Naughty Dog's popular game then you may find something in this patch to like.

What many players that are familiar with the multiplayer aspect of the game will be happy to see is that The Lab is back. The Lab was a part of Uncharted 2's multiplayer. Essentially it is a playlist of game types that the designers of the game believe focus on being fun as opposed to competitive. In accordance with this mindset, patch 1.11 brings in a brand new map that only allows players to use the T-Bolt and Pistole weapons. It's a lot like the game play modes in Gears of War 3 that incorporate weapons like the Cluckshot, which was essentially the Boomshot but fired exploding chickens instead of rockets. 

Patch 1.11 also adds another new game mode called Elimination, as well as a whole host of Custom Game "Advanced Settings". These settings allow you to host a private game and tweak every aspect of it to fit your every desire. You can change starting weapons, respawn times, pickups, boosters, kickbacks and whatever else you want to change. This feature is great for parties and playing with a group of friends as it allows you to create totally outrageous games or serious competitions. 

In addition to all this new stuff, patch 1.11 also addresses small fixes and adjustments. One new addition is the fact that leaving a game or disconnecting or turning off your PS3 mid-game will attribute that game as a loss on your record, obviously to deter things like rage quitting. Game modes Plunder and Team Objective will no longer affect your permanent stats and the maps The Airstrip and London have had their intros removed, allowing you to jump into the action a lot faster. Finally, the Long Range medal has been tweaked so that you now only need to get 3 headshots at 50 meters instead of 3 headshots at 70 meters. 

If you're still playing Uncharted 3's multiplayer then you have something to look forward to in the coming weeks. Personally, I can't wait to see the hardcore players react to the changes. Hardcore players always seem to get really mad when developers change their game. Regardless, patch 1.11 drops sometime this month, so hit the comments below when it does and tell us what you think about the changes. 

Source: IGN - Massive Multiplayer Update Coming to Uncharted 3

The PlayStation Blog - UNCHARTED 3 Patch 1.11 Notes: The Lab Returns, Elimination Mode and more

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Confirmed, Coming in November

Well, the moment you have all been waiting for (or not been waiting for) has finally arrived! Black Ops 2 has been officially confirmed. Many of you out there probably aren't surprised by this, especially considering the amount of leaks and rumors that have come out about the product in recent months, but at least now you can know 100% that the game is coming, whether you want it to or not.

The "official" announcement of the game isn't scheduled until May 1st when the first trailer of the game will air during the NBA Playoffs. However, thanks to some pre-order reservation cards that popped up at Target, we now know the official title and release date of the game. Like many speculated, the game will be simply titled Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and is set to hit (at least) the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on November 13, 2012.

Now as far as I'm concerned, the Call of Duty franchise has grown a little stale. I was completely in love with Modern Warfare 2 and its multiplayer components but I found myself growing tired of playing the same game with different maps and (some) weapons when Black Ops and Modern Warfare 3 came out. Granted, I did like Modern Warfare 3 loads better than I did Black Ops.

In my opinion, Black Ops was a complete and utter disappointment. The graphics were atrocious, the gameplay broken and the multiplayer irritating. Now I did like some of the new additions to multiplayer, mainly the betting system and the few new game modes you could partake in. Though even those weren't enough to keep me entertained. Even Nazi Zombies, the insanely addictive and popular multiplayer mode made famous in World at War, was terrible and I freaking loved zombies in WaW.

For me, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 seems like a quick way to cash in on the Call of Duty name while gamers wait for Modern Warfare 4 to come out. With multiplayer shooters like Battlefield 3, Gears of War 3 and the upcoming Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (the closed beta of which is now live) adding so much innovation to the genre you have to wonder how long CoD can keep pumping out the same game with a different paint job.
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic Legacy Update 1.2 Now Live!

Star Wars: The Old Republic Legacy
The highly anticipated game update 1.2 has finally gone live for Star Wars: The Old Republic making available new Operations, Flashpoints, PvP Warzones, gear and the all new Legacy System. Game update 1.2 is by far the largest update to hit BioWare's insanely popular MMO since the game launched back in December 2011.

One of the biggest updates to the game is the new Legacy system. The Legacy system in The Old Republic allows you to link together all of your characters on a particular server in a sort of family tree scenario. The first character you get to complete the game's first chapter (for my Jedia Sage it was around level 35) becaomes the "head of the family". From here every other character on your server can be linked to your main character via the Legacy system.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Legacy Family Tree

You can make all of your other characters related by making them siblings, children, adopted children, spouses, allies or rivals, allowing all those gamers out there who really want to make their own unique story to do it. However, you do get different unlocks through the Legacy system as well. One of the coolest unlocks you get is species unlocks. For every character you rank to level 50, that species then becomes available to every single class in the game.

For instance, the Sith Pureblood race is restricted to the Sith Inquisitor and Sith Warrior classes but if you rank up a level 50 Pureblood Inquisitor, then on your next playthrough, you can run as a Pureblood Smuggler or Pureblood Trooper. This feature was designed to make players want to create another character and go through the whole ranking process again and again. Although, if ranking one character was all you wanted to do, you can always buy the other species unlocks with in-game currency.

Also added with the Legacy system is Legacy gear. As your Legacy rank increases, you can get special Legacy gear specific to your Legacy. If you're running through as a Jedi Sentinel and you are rewarded with some Legacy gear that would be perfect for your Bounty Hunter character, you can always mail it to that character via the in-game mailing system. BioWare is planning on doing big things with the Legacy system in the future, which is hinted at in the game's new Legacy window, giving you something to look forward to.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Operation Explosive Conflict A new operation, Operation Explosive Conflict, and a new PvP Warzone, Novare Coast, have also been added with update 1.2. I've yet to play Operation Explosive Conflict but here's a little snippet about the Operation from The Old Republic's website:

In Explosive Conflict, the legendary warlord Kephess has united two warring armies under his flag, declaring Denova's independence and proclaiming himself its ruler. Now the Republic and the Empire, each battling for control over the planet's vital resources, send their most powerful heroes to battle through the warlord's army of soldiers and mercenaries before facing off against Kephess himself for control of Denova.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Warzone Novare CoastI have played the new PvP Warzone Novare Coast. Novare Coast plays like the Alderaan Warzone with three massive turrets that each team will be vying for control of. According to the website:

In the Novare Coast player-vs-player Warzone, opposing forces battle for control of three mortar turrets that overlook a strategically vital beachhead. Control of the turrets means control of the beach, which very well may decide who takes control of the contested world of Denova!

Teams will need to control two turrets to win, just like Alderaan, which means a combination of offense, defense and teamwork is key. Of all the PvP Warzones this is by far my favorite one. The bright, outdoor beach scenario is fresh and entertaining and the ability for multiple teammates to take control of the turrets simultaneously to speed up the process adds extra tactics to the game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Legacy Tauntaun Ram PetAlong with update 1.2 there are a lot of bug fixes and tweaks as well as the addition of some new mini pets, one of which you get just as a reward for playing. As a special gift, players will receive the Legacy Tauntaun Ram Pet, which is both cute and terrifying at the same time. You will receive your pet via in-game mail by April 25th so keep checking your inbox for that. In addition to that, Level 50 players and players with a Legacy Level of 6 will also receive 30 days of playtime for free! Not a bad deal if I do say so myself. There are also Guild Banks and the addition of UI customization, something fans have been waiting for since launch.

Legacy update 1.2 is now live and will download automatically the next time you launch the game so jump back on The Old Republic and start living out your Legacy!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Angry Birds Space Is Downloaded 10M Times

The highly anticipated Angry Birds Space was released by Rovio on Thursday, March 22 and a mere three days after its release the game developer announced that the space-themed version of the incredibly popular Angry Birds series has been downloaded more than 10 million times.

On Monday, March 26 Rovio made this announcement on its Twitter feed. Unfortunately, they didn’t say anything about how this release compares to the releases of the other Angry Birds games. However, according to reports, the last Angry Birds release, Angry Birds Rio, took ten days to hit ten million downloads.

The game was released for iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, Android devices, Macs and PCs. As of now, there is not a version of the game for Windows Phone, but according to Rovio CEO Mikael Hed, there will be a version available sometime in the near future.

Before the game’s release, Rovio worked hard on promoting Angry Birds Space. According to some, it might be the most expensive promotional campaign ever used for a mobile game, but all of the promoting really seemed to work because just a few hours after Angry Birds Space was released, it was at the very top of Apple’s App Store charts in close to 30 different countries.

The game has sixty levels, hidden bonuses and secret levels. There are also some important changes to the game, including gravity, which allows “players to use nearby planets to perform trick shots on unsuspecting pigs.”

iPhone users are able to purchase Angry Birds Space from the App Store for $0.99, iPad users can find an HD version there for $2.99, and the Android Marketplace offers a free version and a $0.99 version for mobile devices and a special Android tablet version for $2.99. The Amazon Appstore is also offering three versions of the game, a free, ad-supported version, a $0.99 paid version and a $2.99 Kindle Fire version. Of course, there is also a version of the game available for PCs and Macs for $4.99.

Sources: PCMag - Angry Birds Space Hits 10M Downloads in Three Days and Marshable Entertainment - 'Angry Birds Space' Downloaded 10M Times in 3 Days

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

How to Turn the Background Music Off On Your PS Vita

Do you own PlayStation’s new handheld console the PS Vita? Are you incredibly annoyed with the background music blasting out of its speakers? It is kind of ridiculous how loud the device is. According to PCMag, it's “mind-numbing noise at its worst and hideous elevator music at its best.”

However, there is a way to turn off the incredibly loud music. If it's driving you insane…literally, here’s what you should do:

1. Turn on the PS Vita.
2. Tap Settings and then Start.
3. Scroll down to Sound & Display and tap it.
4. Uncheck System Music and exit the Settings menu.

Sony launched the PlayStation Vita on February 22 in North America. With the device the company was able to bring “console-quality gaming” to a portable device.

As of February 26, Sony announced that 1.2 million units had been sold. Now, it’s important to keep in mind that the device had been available in Japan for over a month at that point. Still, those sales numbers are great.

The device also has a fantastic list of games available for users to play including BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend, FIFA Soccer 12, Gravity Rush, Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, Lumines: Electronic Symphony, Rayman Origins, Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Wipeout 2048.

If you're looking for a handheld device, the PS Vita should definitely be a device that you consider.

Sources: PCMag - How To Turn Off The PS Vita's Horrible Background Music, PCMag - The 10 Best PS Vita Games and Engadget - Sony updates PS Vita sales figures: 'over 1.2 million units worldwide', 2 million in software

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Assassin's Creed 3 Multiplayer and Dark Souls on PC

Two stories of particular interest (for me at least) have begun circulating the internet over the past few days involving two very popular game series: Assassin's Creed and Dark Souls. Granted, Dark Souls isn't a series but a sequel to the extremely popular, extremely difficult Demons Souls game for the PS3, but I digress.

The first announcement is in regards to Assassin's Creed 3. Everybody knew that a new Assassin's Creed game was slated for release in the Fall of 2012, though nobody knew if it was actually Assassin's Creed 3 or yet another chapter in the Ezio Auditore sub-series which began in Assassin's Creed 2, continued in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and (we now know) concluded in Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Thankfully, the new game is, in fact, Assassin's Creed 3 (even though it is technically the 5th game in the series).

There were a lot of rumors recently regarding Assassin's Creed 3 which led to leaked box art images as well as screenshots from an issue of GameInformer magazine. Ubisoft has confirmed that all those were real and even released a lot of Assassin's Creed 3 details, as well as a trailer, confirming that the game would take place on the American frontier during the Revolutionary War. However, one of the biggest additions to the Assassin's Creed franchise, multiplayer (which started in Brotherhood), wasn't talked about, until now.

According to an update on the Twitter and Linkedin accounts of designer Tim Browne, Browne has recently been given the job of Lead Game Design on Assassin's Creed 3's multiplayer. In addition to that, Browne specifically added that he will be working with Ubisoft Annecy. Ubisoft Annecy is the same team behind the multiplayer features of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood as well as Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and the team which also assisted on the multiplayer in Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Browne has worked as a designer for Codemasters for games like Dragon Rising and Operation Flashpoint: Red River.

Unfortunately, little is known about the multiplayer of Assassin's Creed 3 aside from it being a confirmed feature in the game. A product listing for the game on listed the game as having 2-4 player co-op as well as 2-8 player online multiplayer. That listing has since been taken down and no further details have been revealed.

The second bit of gaming goodness comes in the form of a possible PC version of Dark Souls. In case you missed it, Dark Souls is the highly popular sequel to the PS3 game Demons Souls and is literally the hardest game ever created, ever. This game will make you scream things at your television that you were previously unaware you were capable of screaming, especially when you try so hard to get past a certain part, taking as little damage as possible and saving all your consumables for that unimaginable boss battle ahead only for some random player in Japan 80x as powerful as you to invade your game and kill you in one hit...

All bitterness aside, a PC version of the game is coming, despite no official statement. "But how can you think the rumor to be true?" you might ask? Well, an early pic of next month's issue of PC Powerplay magazine shows the back cover of the issue with the words "YOU DIED" in the exact same style, font and color of the text that appears when, well, you die in Dark Souls.

If that isn't enough to convince you, a newly launched announcement on the game's Facebook page is also teasing a reveal about the game coming soon, or after enough people "Like" the Facebook page. In addition to that, all this comes after Namco Bandai, the creators of the game, cryptically commented on a Dark Souls PC release petition back in January. The game is rumored to be coming to the PC with added features that will be available for Xbox 360 and PS3 owners as DLC later, similar to what The Witcher 2 is doing on consoles.

Assassin's Creed 3 multiplayer and Dark Souls on the PC? Sounds like a pretty good year for gaming indeed.

Source: IGN - Assassin's Creed III Multiplayer Dev Revealed
G4TV - Dark Souls PC Release Is Coming, Probably is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ubisoft Releases Assassin's Creed III Details

Over the past few weeks, Ubisoft has released plenty of details concerning what will be featured in Assassin’s Creed III. The setting, the box art, some screenshots, the trailer and lots of other tidbits about the game have all been released.

Assassin’s Creed III will be set between the times of 1753 and 1783. Players will be able to explore the frontier that is between New York and Boston and stop in places like Lexington, Concord and Indian villages. The famous historical figures featured in the game will include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Charles Lee.

“You’re going to see cities that you’ve probably visited. This idea that it’s your history is very powerful…It’s not just going to a historical building now; it’s going to be a historical event…You will see the great fire of New York. You will visit Valley Forge as a location that is currently occupied by Washington’s forces. You will visit these places in the moment that they were important, and hopefully, experience the reason why we know where they are today. That’s the goal.”

The new assassin featured in the latest installment of the game is named Connor. His father is English and his mother is Native American. He has been raised with the Mohawk tribe. The Creative Director for the game Alex Hutchinson said that Connor is a “vision of quiet heroism and rugged pioneer skill.” He went on to say, “We want to explore this notion of duality…He’s of neither culture. If we’re going to talk about the American Revolution, we didn’t want you playing Mel Gibson from The Patriot, and we didn’t want you in a military uniform. The AC universe is one step back from all that.”

As Connor, players will be able to hunt animals and sell pelts in order to make money and survive. They will also have the ability to fast travel, which is a very good thing since the map is 1.5 times larger than the map that was featured in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Like previous Assassin’s Creed games, the notoriety system and the ability to earn money and property will be back.

The entire Assassin’s Creed franchise follows the story of Desmond Miles, a bartender in the year 2012, who comes from a long line of assassins. Desmond is captured by Abstergo Industries (the modern-day Knights Templar), which is searching for the location of several important artifacts. Desmond is forced to use a device called the Animus, which allows him to re-live the memories of his family members that came before him. In Assassin’s Creed III, Desmond will no longer be in a coma and will communicate with Connor via the Animus.

Assassin's Creed III will be released on October 30 and will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

If you are interested in seeing and learning more about the game, check out the trailer below:

Sources: IGN - Assassin's Creed III Details Revealed, PCMag - Ubisoft Reveals Trailer for Assassin's Creed III and Game Rant - ‘Assassin’s Creed 3′ Story & Character Spoilers

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Mass Effect 3 Has Arrived! (with a few bugs)

It has happened. The time has finally come. Mass Effect 3 has arrived. That's right, the extremely anticipated final chapter in the Mass Effect series has hit store shelves and fans of the game (myself included) have been flocking to midnight releases all over the world to be some of the first players to unlock their adventure and try to take Earth back from the dreaded Reaper invasion.

The Mass Effect series has added some incredibly fantastic innovations to gaming as a whole with a gripping story, characters that make you care about them and choices that actually have repercussions. If you don't know already, every choice you made in the original Mass Effect carried over into Mass Effect 2. If you decided to sacrifice one character for another, be nice to this person, mean to that person, go this route on a mission as opposed to the other, whatever it was, the consequences of those actions, good or bad, popped up in Mass Effect 2.

Likewise, everything you did in Mass Effect 2 carries over to Mass Effect 3, including what you did in the first game. Not more than 5 minutes into the game last night and I was already being hounded about things I did in the first game. It's innovations like these that really change the way you play a game. However, choices aren't the only things that carry over. Mass Effect allows you to create a truly unique and customized character. You choose the name, background, class and physical features and that is your Commander Shepard. The best part was that you can take that customized character, looks and all, right out of Mass Effect 1 and into Mass Effect 2 via your save files.

The same thing is true for Mass Effect 3, allowing you to take the single character you first started off with in the very first game all the way to the end, truly making the story and the endgame yours. However, this is where the first bits of bugs have started to show themselves in Mass Effect 3. Reports are coming from all over that Mass Effect 3's character import feature is requiring players to completely rebuild their character's face. The problem only seems to be surfacing with players that are using the same character they started in Mass Effect 1. If you made a character in the first game and played through the second without changing anything, then Mass Effect 3 will restore your appearance to the default settings. If you modified your character at all in Mass Effect 2, then you seem to be unaffected.

Mass Effect Producer Michael Gamble confirmed the issue via Twitter though nothing has been issued in the form of a fix as of yet. That isn't the only issue plaguing gamers in Mass Effect 3. Another issue that surfaced during launch was that gamers who tried to import their saves via the Xbox 360's cloud storage were unable to do so. EA has already confirmed that Mass Effect 3 does not accept Mass Effect 2 saves from the cloud but it also seems that local save files moved across consoles via the cloud are also unusable.

In order to get your cloud save to work, gamers must transfer the file back to the original hard drive and manually transfer it over to their new console with a USB drive or a transfer cable. EA released a statement about the issue saying that the company understands "this may be a great setback to those impacted who have been following the Mass Effect franchise over the years. We thank you for your patience."

However, these minor setbacks haven't stopped reviewers from giving the game top marks in almost every category. Gaming site IGN has given Mass Effect 3 a 9.5 out of 10, calling the game "Amazing" and adding compliments like "amazing story, solid combat, great characters and high replay value." G4's Adam Sessler gave the game the coveted 5 out of 5 score, noting pros to the game as "This is how you end a trilogy. Wide diversity for character options. Combat decidedly richer and challenging" with the only con given being "Small side quests can be teases."

A segment from Sessler's review reads:

"Here is one of Mass Effect 3's greatest tricks; as the final game in the series, it no longer has the lure of your decisions manifesting themselves in unknown ways in successive games and yet the decisions you make feel the most significant, perhaps because they are reflections of your own ethics."

Follow the links if you want IGN's Review of Mass Effect 3 or G4's Review of Mass Effect 3. I haven't played it enough to give a full review myself but what I have played so far has been gripping, emotional and action-packed, leaving me starving for more. Capping off a trilogy is one of the hardest things to do in any form of entertainment and Mass Effect has done so beautifully and, seemingly, effortlessly.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

BioShock Infinite Release Date Announced

On Thursday, March 1 2K Games announced the release date of the highly anticipated next installment of the BioShock series. BioShock Infinite will be released in the United States for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC on October 16. It will be released internationally on October 19.

BioShock Infinite won more than 75 awards last year at E3. Among those awards was the Game Critics Awards’ Best of Show. The BioShock series is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed gaming series to date. It has sold more than 9 million units across the globe.

"After BioShock, we had a vision for a follow up that dwarfed the original in scope and ambition," said Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games, in a statement. "BioShock Infinite has been our sole focus for the last four years, and we can't wait for fans to get their hands on it."

The original BioShock game that started it all was released in 2007. It was then followed by BioShock 2 in 2010. BioShock Infinite takes gamers to Columbia, a floating city in the sky. The city represents a fictional America in 1912. Booker DeWitt, a special agent, and his side-kick Elizabeth battle their way through the game in an attempt to escape Columbia.

In August 2010 2K released the trailer for BioShock Infinite. After the release, Levine offered a few more details about the game.

"In order to explore the floating city of Columbia, we needed an entirely new engine. To bring Elizabeth to life, we had to build brand-new animation and AI systems," he said. "To create wide-ranging indoor and outdoor firefights at 30,000 feet, we had to rethink, rebuild, and expand the BioShock arsenal. The only thing gamers can be certain of is this: the rules of the BioShock universe are about to change."

Sources: Market Watch - 2K Games and Irrational Games Announce Street Date for BioShock(R) Infinite and PCMag - BioShock Infinite Release Date Set for October is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!