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Here is what has been making news: New Releases, Football Manager 2012 piracy, TERA’s Discovery Edition, Xbox TV, Assassin’s Creed III Single Player Event, Black Ops II in Record Books, Mirror’s Edge 2, THQ CEO Resigns, GTA Vice City iOS, IDF Ranks: The Virtual Army “Game“, Hulu Meets Wii U, Mass Effect Prequel vs Sequel, Sega Classics.
November 25th – December 1st
Monday, Nov. 26th
Beach Whale will be available for the iPhone and Android.
Tuesday, Nov. 27th
Run Sanity will be available for the iPhone.
Mass Effect: Omega will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault will be available for the PS3 and PS Vita.
American Mensa Academy will be available for the 3DS.
Wednesday, Nov. 28th
Under Defeat HD will be available for the PS3.
EverQuest: Rain of Fear will be available for the PC.
Miner Wars 2081 will be available for the PC.
Jewel Master: Egypt 2 will be available for the NDS.
Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition will be available for the PC and Mac.
Thursday, Nov. 29th
Frozen Hearth will be available for the PC.
Far Cry 3 will be available for the PC.
Aero Porter will be available for the 3DS.
Invasion of the Alien Blobs will be available for the NDS.
Friday, Nov. 30th
Assassin’s Creed III will be available for the Wii U.
Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition will be available for the Wii U.
Ben Ten Omniverse will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, NDS, and 3DS.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be available for the Wii U.
Darksiders II will be available for the Wii U.
Kareteka will be available for the PS3, PC and iPhone.
Red Johnson’s Chronicles: One Against All – Part 2 will be available for the PC.
Classic Games Overload: Card and Puzzle Edition will be available for the 3DS.
Disney Epic Mickey 2 will be available for the Wii U.
Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade will be available for the Wii U.
Jett Tailfin will be available for the 3DS.
Far Cry III will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
FIFA 13 will be available for the Wii U.
Stronghold Crusaders HD will be available for the PC.
Cloudberry Kingdom will be available for the Wii U.
Funky Barn will be available for the Wii U.
Close Combat Panthers in Fog will be available for the PC.
Kylie Sing and Dance will be available for the Wii and Wii U.
New Super Mario Bros. U will be available for the Wii U.
Nintendo Land will be available for the Wii U.
Nintendo Wii U 32GB Zombie U Bundle will be available for the Wii U.
Rabbids Land will be available for the Wii U.
Real Heroes: Firefighters 3D will be available for the 3DS.
Rise of the Guardians will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, NDS, and 3DS.
Rugby League Live 2 will be available for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Skylanders Giants will be available for the Wii U.
Sports Connection will be available for the Wii U.
Tank! Tank! Tank! will be available for the Wii U.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition will be available for the Wii U.
Transformers Prime will be available for the Wii, Wii U, NDS, and 3DS.
Trine 2: Director’s Cut will be available for the Wii U.
Victorious: Taking the Lead will be available for the Wii, and NDS.
Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper will be available for the Wii U.
WinX Club: Magical Fairy Party will be available for the NDS.
Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2013 will be available for the Wii U.
ZombiU will be available for the Wii U.
Zone of the Enders HD Collection will be available for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Prevention helped hiring
According to Miles Jacobson, studio director, seventeen new developers were hired at the U.K. studio, Sports Interactive. The primary reason for the new hires is reportedly due to their ability to prevent the piracy of Football Manager 2012. The 2012 release, according to Jacobson, was much more difficult to crack which led to a period of time where the game was not pirated and the studio was able to reap the revenue benefits.
Jacobson admits that the extra sales the studio was able to get was put back into the company allowing them to hire more staff. This seems to me to be a perfect example of why pirating hurts not just the companies but individuals and gamers. Without the extra staff (who now have jobs in a very tight hiring economy) the current staff would be working harder for no extra pay and the gamers would be getting a game that was lacking in a way that it wouldn’t have been if the studio was fully staffed.
Jacobson reports that “The new game has a new system being used, and as of the time of talking the Beta hadn’t been cracked. If we can hold a few more weeks, it would be a benefit to retail and ourselves. And ultimately for the consumer, because once again if we do much better this year, we will invest that back into the studio, take on more people and do more features.” The studio expects this year’s Football Manager to be the best selling the studio has seen yet. The game launched for PC and Mac on November 2nd.
Includes higher level cap
For those who are giving Bluehole Studio’s massive multiplayer online role-playing game TERA a try, publisher En Masse Entertainment recently announced TERA’s Discovery Edition. The Discovery Edition lifts the seven day play limit and adds a higher level cap.
The game’s support page stats that the Discovery Edition is a free trial for those who want to give the game a whirl. “We have improved our previous free trial by increasing the max level players can play up to, as well as removing the 7 day restriction so you can play on your own time and not worry about using up the free trial time!”
The new level cap is 28, however, the amount of gold you can collect and the number of characters you can have per server are still restricted. If you want to sign up for the free trial, visit the official website. If you had an account prior to the Discovery Edition being implemented your account is automatically updated for you.
Due out next year
There have been several people, apparently informed via Microsoft, who have reported that Microsoft’s next gaming-focused hardware will be an Xbox TV device. The Xbox brand set-top box is slated for release sometime next year, likely late in the year.
Reportedly, this device is planned to be a “low-cost” alternative to the rumored Xbox 720. The device will run on a modified version of Windows 8 and will support casual rather than “full” Xbox game titles. Apparently the hardware specifications haven’t been finalized yet, however, the box will include a chipset that allows the device to be “always-on” so that it boots up quickly, giving “near-instant access” to TV and other channels of entertainment.
Apparently, there are sources stating that Microsoft is also working on an Xbox-branded tablet and smartphone. One Microsoft representative recently was reported to state that “Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the console lifecycle by introducing controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships.” Adding that Microsoft is “always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention.”
Leave No Witnesses competition
The “Leave No Witnesses” single player competition event for Assassin’s Creed III is currently underway. As the title indicates, the gamer is tasked with killing off as many enemies in the single-player campaign as possible. If you’ve already completed the Assassin’s Creed III campaign, you can replay the game and side quests in effort to participate in the competition.
The top scoring gamers on each of the platforms (Xbox 360, PS3, and PC) will get themselves an Assassin’s Creed III Season Pass. Ubisoft will also be giving away a Season Pass to a random gamer on each of the platforms. It should be noted that the event has not been announced for the Wii U version of the game.
The Assassin’s Creed III Season Pass gives you access to all DLC for the game. If you don’t win a Pass through the competition, you can purchase one for $30.
135 hours in a row
Publisher Activision saw its Call of Duty: Black Ops II title set a sales record, but that isn’t the only record that the game set. News.com.au recently reported that a 28-year-old Australian man named Okan Kaya set a Guinness World Record for a video game marathon. He played Black Ops II multiplayer for 135 hours and 50 minutes, straight through. Prior to that, two Canadian gamers had held the record at 120 hours and 7 minutes of straight game play. New Guinness specifications allow you to take 10-minute breaks every hour. Kaya reports that they can be taken in chunks as well, so that three ten-minute breaks would give you a half hour break from gaming.
Kaya stated that he wasn’t able to get sponsors for his attempt at the record because many retailers simply didn’t want to be associated with “addictive gaming.” Kaya’s employer, 4Cabling, did however let him use the company meeting room to try for the record.
There had to be witnesses who proved he had beat the record, so every four hours hew witnesses were brought in and video was taken. That documentation has been sent to Guinness adjudicators who will be verifying the world record attempt, and either confirm or deny the record. Results are expected within a week or two.
When Kaya had begun his five and a half day Black Ops II marathon he was ranked somewhere in the millions. At the end of his record attempt he was ranked at 29th. In the end he stated “It was a lot of fun, but I’m glad it’s over.”
Rumors of development are true
For years there have been rumors floating around cyber-space suggesting that Mirror’s Edge 2 was in development. Now we finally hear from the Swedish developer, and former EA employee, Bob Cousins some confirmation that the rumor is true. On November 21st Cousins tweeted “It is general knowledge in the Stockholm dev scene that Mirror’s Edge 2 is in production at DICE.”
Cousins’ tweet was a response to a report in the Official Xbox Magazine which stated that DICE was moving away from Battlefield projects. Patrick Soderland, EA Games’ vice president, reported that there are currently about 300 employees at the Stockholm studio and they are not all “working on Battlefield things.” Adding that “we don’t want to become a Battlefield factory.”
Stockholm admits that if DICE were to tell their developers that Battlefield games would be the only thing they
would be working on during their time at the company, their time would be limited. “The minute we start saying ‘you’re going to make a Battlefield game for the rest of your life’, they’re going to go someplace else. So for them to make great Battlefield games there need to be other things for them to do as well. That’s why we have people who move around quite a bit. And then obviously we have a boatload of people that just want to make Battlefield because they love it.”
A beta for Battlefield 4 will be launching in late 2013. The studio is also believed to be working on Battlefield: Bad Company 3.
And another one bites the dust
After nearly four years, the chief financial officer and vice president of THQ, Paul Pucino, has recently resigned and left the publisher. THQ is reported to be weighing their options to fill Pacino’s role, although there are currently no candidates named.
The studio had defaulted on a $50 million loan from Wells Fargo Capital Finance LLC. The Finance company and the studio are currently in negotiation regarding forgoing action against the studio until January 15th of this coming year. THQ also announced that it is currently in talks with a financial sponsor whom they did not name and who may be willing to help them create some financial alternatives.
10th Anniversary launch date
Rockstar Games recently confirmed that next month you can expect Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to be reborn on iOS and Android devices. On December 6th the 2002 open-world action game will be celebrating its 10th anniversary and the mobile version will be available for $5.
The game will feature high-resolution graphics and a few added “enhancements” unique to the iOS and Android platforms. There will be an updated character model and lighting effects, gun firing and targeting options will be “more precise,” the control layout will be customizable and there will be support for Retina display devices.
The devices which will be compatible with this new mobile version include the iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, and iPhone 5, as well as the iPad and iPad touch’s 4th and 5th generations. There is a much longer list of Android powered devices which the mobile version will be compatible with.
Israel Defense Forces use gaming
Believe it or not, the recent social-media campaign conducted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) where up to the minute tweets were put out during its conflict with Hamas included gaming. The IDF’s blog (yes, they have a blog too!) features a virtual game titled IDF Ranks: The Virtual Army Game. This “game” encourages users to earn points and badges for spreading IDF content online through social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
The blog states that “IDF Ranks is an interactive game, directly implemented into all of the IDF’s social platforms, allowing you to be a virtual part of the IDF. “Every action you take–reading, commenting, liking, sharing, or even just visiting–will earn you points, and help you climb the ladder of IDF Ranks. Specific actions will win you beautiful badges, and one day you might even become the chief of staff of IDF Ranks.”
The game was added to the IDF’s blog last July, but recently it has undergone some criticism because it is viewed as a promotion of the current Gaza conflict. One critic stayed that it appears Isreal is simply enlisting people around the world into its military campaign. Jon Mitchell writes that “Innocent people are dying on all sides, and the IDF wants to reward people for tweeting about it. Israel has gamified war.”
Naturally an IDF spokesperson has denies the criticisms stating “In no way is ‘IDF Ranks’ meant to gamify Operation Pillar of Defense or any military actions during the operation.” However, another critic of the “game,” Amal Awad of Daily Life, stated “It’s impossible to fathom how anyone could justify this trivialisation of war. People are being killed, and the conflict is spiraling out of control, but observers can titillate themselves with a reward system for taking a side.”
One of the other issues that has been mentioned and generates added criticism is the fact that the game sits right next to a “Rocket Counter” on the blog. The counter shows the number of rockets that have hit Israel since last year.
Frankly, I had a bit of a moral struggle myself related to this topic. At first I was going to provide a link to the blog, but that just felt uncomfortable to me. It’s not like it is an actual game after all, like Awad and others have stated, the whole thing is set up in such a way that it does tend to glorify and give some kind of justification for war and killing. The truth of the cost to human life is simply lost in the whole thing.
Hulu Plus app now available
The Wii U is conspicuously missing Nintendo TVii, however, it does have support for Netflix and now it also has support for Hulu. Hulu Plus for the Wii U uses the system’s GamePad controller several ways. It can be used as a second screen displaying supplemental information about the shows being streamed. It can also be used to view the streaming content (movies, shows, etc.) in the same or other rooms, as long as you are in range of the Wii U console.
The Hulu Plus app gives you the current season programming from such stations as Comedy Central, ABC, NBC, and Nickelodeon. It also gives you the new Hulu Kids tab that will plug you into over 43 shows for children. You will pay about $8 a month to subscribe to Hulu, but it will then also be available to you on your PC, Smart TVs, and other game consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3).
BioWare questions fans about interest
Last week Casey Hudson, executive producer at BioWare, asked Mass Effect fans via Twitter how they felt about a prequel to the trilogy. “Parsing through your thoughts on the next #ME game. Would you be more interested in a game that takes place before the trilogy, or after?”
Last September BioWare announced a follow-up to Mass Effect 3, and last week it was announced that a project was in development under the direction of Hudson. Reportedly, the game will be “very respectful” of the Mass Effect history despite the fact that a new direction is being pursued for the series. Now all we have to do is wait and see just what exactly they are working on .. stay tuned for more details.
Coming to 3DS
The first in a series of Sega classic games is arriving to the 3DS. The 1985 shooter, 3D Space Harrier, will have the necessary treatment to 3D and widescreen, otherwise it is a straight port of the arcade game. Back in its day the game simulated 3D depth rather nicely so it should look even better some 27 years after its original launch.
It’s likely that Super Hang On, OutRun, and After Burner II will make their way to the 3DS as well, although there is no solid confirmation of that. We are eager to see just which games from Sega’s retro catalogue it will release next.