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Here is what has been making news: New Releases, GTA Online, PS4, Dead Rising 3, PAX East 2014, World of Warcraft, GameStop Event, SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!, Next Call of Duty, Xbox One Music, 2K Bundle, LEGO: Lord of the Rings, Ubisoft Online Pass, Grand Turismo 6.
November 10th – November 16th
Monday, November 11th
Need for Speed: Rivals will be available for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and PC.
Tuesday, November 12th
Barbie Dreamhouse Party will be available for the Wii, Wii U, DS and 3DS.
Battlefield 4 will be available for the PS4.
Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, and PC.
Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus will be available for the PS3.
NBA 2K14 will be available for the Xbox One, and PS4.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I don’t Know! will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, and PC.
Transformers Ultimate Autobots Edition will be available for the NDS.
Frozen: Olaf’s Quest will be available for the NDS and 3DS.
XCOM: Enemy Within will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, PC and MAC.
DuckTales Remastered will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii U.
Transformers Ultimate Battle Edition will be available for the Wii.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will be available for the PS4.
Just Dance 2014 will be available for the PS4.
FIFA 14 will be available for the PS4.
Madden NFL 25 will be available for the PS4.
SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow will be available for the PC and MAC.
Wonderbook: Book of Potions will be available for the PS3.
Wonderbook: Walking with Dinosaurs will be available for the PS3.
Wednesday, November 13th
Blood Knights will be available for the PS3, and PC.
Thursday, November 14th
SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow Expansion Pac will be available for the PC.
God Eater 2 will be available for the PSP, and PS Vita.
Jewel Pet: Café de Mahou No Cooking! will be available for the 3DS.
Friday, November 15th
Angry Birds: Star Wars will be available for the PS4.
Deadfall Adventures will be available (in UK) for the Xbox 360, and PC.
LEGO: Marvel Superheros will be available (in UK) for the PS3, PS Vita, Wii U, NDS, 3DS, and PC.
X Rebirth will be available for the PC.
XCOM: Enemy Within will be available (in UK) for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
NBA Live 14 will be available for the Xbox One, and PS4.
Super Motherload will be available for the PS4.
Emergency 2014 will be available for the PC.
Killzone: Shadow Fall will be available for the PS4.
Knack will be available for the PS4.
The PlayRoom will be available for the PS4.
Just Cause – Double Pack will be available for the Xbox 360.
Resogun will be available for the PS4.
Tomb Raider Triple Pack will be available for the Xbox 360.
Kane and Lynch Double Pack will be available for the Xbox 360.
Tiny Brains will be available for the PS3, PS4, and PC.
Doodle Jump Adventures will be available for the NDS, and 3DS.
Boulder’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition will be available for the PC.
Call of Duty: Ghosts will be available for the PS4.
Deus EX: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut will be available for the MAC.
Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack will be available for the PS4.
Warframe will be available for the PS4 (PS Network).
Girls Fashion Shoot will be available for the 3DS.
Mario and Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be available for the Wii U.
Contrast will be available for the PC.
Rockstar recently confirmed that they have started compensating player’s accounts with 500,000 GTA$. If you logged into GTA Online during October you should have already noticed the funds deposited into your account.
The funds were originally meant to arrive last month, however, Rockstar wanted to be sure it had fixed all of the bugs before delivering the GTA$. They feel they have accomplished that goal with the most recent patch 1.05 which will prevent you from losing progress if there is a cloud outage or network problems.
Rockstar also posted, “A big thank you to GTA Online players worldwide for your continued patience and understanding and we will continue to keep you all updated.”
Apps at launch
By the time the PS4 launches on November 15th, over 20 games (digital and retail) will be available for the console. However, there will also be some non-game related apps available at launch as well.
According to the PlayStation Blog, the apps that will be out at launch include, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, Crunchyroll, EPIX, Hulu Plus, NBA Game Time, Netflix, NHL GameCenter, Redbox Instant, VUDU, and YuppTV.
These will all be free to download but most of them do require a separate subscription fee.
Frame rate explained
According to Josh Bridge from Capcom Vancouver, their Xbox One launch game, Dead Rising 3, runs a native resolution of 720p. “We are 720p, upscaled to 1080p, and we run at a 30 frames per-second lock. We have to be locked because it’s about the feel of combat. You’ve got to have that predictability of button presses.” In other words, if the frame rate was any lower, your game would be much slower to respond to your inputs.
Capcom felt they needed to provide an explanation prior to the game’s release because of the anger that arose toward Infinity Ward from internet users due to the 720p frame rate necessary for Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Mark Rubin, from Infinity Ward, responded to the upset users stating, “There’s no maliciousness, there’s no specific reason why one’s 720p, one’s 1080p. That’s just the way the optimization came out to. To keep a smooth frame rate we needed to be 720p on Xbox One. That being said, it is being upscaled to 1080p, so it is outputting 1080p on your TV, and for the most part the game does look really good.”
On November 7th a Tweet went out from the official PAX organizers that read “Sunday passes are gone! We are now entirely out of badges for PAX East 2014.”
PAX EAst 2014 will be held on April 11th – 13th at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. An official at PAX East 2014 explained that more tickets can’t be printed because of the fire code and safety regulations at the center. The event has already printed as many badges as the building can hold. One of the PAX organizers said, “The BCEC is a very large venue, but it’s not large enough to fill the entirety of the demand.”
PAX expanded from its main Seattle-based PAX Prime in 2010, making next year’s show the fourth in Boston since the expansion. During this year’s PAX East, Cliff Bleszinski, former Epic Games design director, gave the keynote address. It has not yet been disclosed who will be speaking, which games will be displayed, or which panels will be presented at the 2014 event.
“Significant and exciting” content change
During a recent earnings call to shareholders, Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard CEO, reported that they were currently working on “significant and exciting new content” for World of Warcraft. There was no specific release date provided for the new content but it is expected to be sometime early next year.
Additionally, Mike Morhaime, Blizzard president, reported that the company hasn’t ever had more resources dedicated to creating new WoW content than it currently has. “In terms of the content and developing, we have more resources focused on developing content for World of Warcraft than ever before. So we expect to continue having a long and happy life.”
Currently there are 7.6 million subscribers to World of Warcraft, making it the top subscription-based MMO out there. WoW launched in 2004 and has had four expansions since. The Burning Crusade in 2007, Wrath of the Lich King in 2008, Cataclysm in 2010, and Mists of Pandaria in 2012.
On Sunday November 10th, GameStop will be holding a special PlayStation 4 pre-launch event at their United States stores. The event includes a triple trade-in bonus credit when customers turn in used hardware (PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, and 3DS, gaming systems). According to GameStop, this results in “90 percent extra in-store credit on top of their system’s original value.” However, this special bonus counts only toward paying off an already pre-ordered PS4.
If you don’t want to trade in your current generation console, you can get an extra 30 percent in-store credit on all games, accessories, smartphones, and tablets, if you trade toward your pre-ordered PS4.
Note that GameStop has remained sold out on their PS4 pre-orders, so unless things change, you won’t be able to pre-order the system at GameStop at this time.
Besides the bonus credit, you will also be able to purchase the available PS4 games and accessories during the event. This includes the DualShock 4 controllers and other add-ons. Some of the stores will also have PS4 units available for customers to play.
On the evening of the PS4 launch, many of the GameStop stores will be open for the midnight release of the next-gen console. If you have pre-ordered the system you will be able to pick it up at 12:01 am.
There will be a similar event on November 18th for the Xbox One which launches on November 22nd.
Available for schools this month
Recently EA released an educational purposed version of SimCity titled SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! Designed by GlassLab. The game includes integrated lesson plans for teachers to follow.
Peter Moore, chief operating officer for EA, stated, “When we launched the reimagined SimCity, we always knew it had the potential to be used in a capacity beyond entertainment. Seeing SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! come to life in the classroom and encouraging the next generation of leaders to solve today’s real-world challenges is truly inspiring.”
The education game can be downloaded from a variety of distributors and requires an annual subscription. A single-user license is about $20 while a 250-user, four teacher site license costs about $650.
The first expansion for the game will be released for the PC and MAC November 12th and is titled Cities of Tomorrow.
Studio working on 2014′s game
Bobby Kotick of Activision Blizzard, recently confirmed that a new Call of Duty game, as well as new Skylanders titles, will be launching next year. While discussing the company’s recent financial outcomes, Kotich stated “We also expect to launch a new Call of Duty and Skylanders titles and a major new potential franchise with Bungie’s Destiny.”
There were no details given regarding the aforementioned titles, however, it is believed that Call of Duty studios Treyarch and Sledghammer Games are working on new entries in the series. Sledgehammer has recently reported that the new Call of Duty game is aiming for “hyper-realism” and will feature a “fresh new AAA aural experience.”
Free trial correction
Microsoft has recently made a corrective statement concerning their Xbox Music offer to Xbox Live Gold subscribers on Xbox One. Earlier they had stated that there would be an ad-supported free option for Xbox Music. However, Albert Penello, Microsoft director of product planning, clarified the earlier statement on Twitter saying, “I was wrong about Music on Xbox One: You get 15 free song plays then need Music Pass for ad-free streaming. No ad-supported streaming. Sorry!”
An Xbox Music Pass will cost either $10 per month or if you prefer a year-long subscription it will cost you $100. Xbox Music service officially launched back in October 2012 and Xbox Music apps for iOS and Android were released in September.
Bundles for holiday shoppers
Just in time for the holidays 2K Games announced four new $30 bundles with some of their biggest titles.
For the Xbox 360 and PS3, the Rogues and Outlaws Collection, which will only be available through Wal-Mart, features Borderlands 2, Spec Ops: The Line, and Mafia II.
The following bundles are available at Wal-Mart as well as GameStop, Best Buy, and Amazon. For the Xbox 360 and PS3 there is the 2K Essentials Collection which includes Borderlands, BioShock, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The 2K Power Pack for the Xbox 360 and PS3 includes BioShock2, Mafia II, and The Darkness II.
The last bundle they are offering is for the PC and is titled 2K Definitive Strategy Collection. This bundle includes XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Sid Meier’s Civilization V.
The DLC for the games within the bundles will not be included, according to a 2K representative who said, “In an effort to make these bundles as affordable as possible for fans, downloadable content is not included.”
Now available for iOS
Now, a year following its original release, LEGO: Lord of the Rings is available in the App Store for iOS devices. The game requires 3GB of available space if it is installed over Wifi. However, if you download it on a computer and then sync it with your device it will only require about 1.5GB of space.
The iOS version will cost $5 and includes over 90 characters, including Sam, Gandalf, Frodo, Legolas, Aragorn, Tom Bombadil, and others. It features two controller systems, the “Classic” and the “Touch Screen” features which you can swap between at any time. While it doesn’t include co-op play, the game does support achievements, and Game Center.
There has not yet been any mention of a release for either Android or Windows Phone devices.
No more online passes
According to a recent Ubisoft announcement, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag will be the last game that will use the Uplay Passport. Additionally, all gamers who own Black Flag, even if they purchased it used, will get a free Uplay Passport download from their choice of online stores. This will enable you to access the game’s multiplayer, social elements and campanion app.
A Ubisoft blog post stated that “The Uplay Passport program was initiated as a means of giving customers full access and support for online multiplayer and features, along with exclusive content, bonuses and rewards. However, games today are blurring the line between offline and online, between what is ‘single player’ and what is ‘multiplayer.’ Based on that and on the feedback we received from you, we recognized that Passport is no longer the best approach for ensuring that all our customers have the best possible experience with all facets of our games.”
Ubisoft is the second publisher to change its policy and distance itself from online passes. EA was the first to use the online pass and the first to publicly announce the removal of the pass. Well done to both publishers. Let’s hope that more will follow.
Real star mapping
If you look up in the sky in Grand Turismo 6 you will notice that the stars depicted in the sky actually correlate with the real-life star system. So on any particular track, at any particular hour of the night, the stars will appear as they would in our own real life sky.
Is this a big deal? Oh probably not. But on the geek scale it’s pretty sweet. However, on the gamer scale, not so much. Especially when you consider that there is a whole list of changes we would have rather seen in the game other than a real life star system in the night sky. The career structure in Grand Turismo has been, and continues to be, rather lackluster, the broken difficulty level where you can win races simply by purchasing all the upgrades for your car, and the ‘Standard” cars themselves, could all use some tweaking to make the game far more exciting than just looking up at the stars.
Apparently some of the ‘Standard’ cars from GT5 will remain, yes, they will have some enhanced graphics, some will have interior views, and all will be tunable and available for posing in Photo Mode, but I guess fixing some of the game’s most annoying aspects takes too much time. Oh wait, mapping every star in the solar system and sticking them into the skybox takes time too. So, what’s up? Why hasn’t GT6 moved into the next-gen category of graphics and game play like the majority of new games coming out onto the market? Why focus on stars rather than game play?
Yes, as a geek, I think the star thing is pretty cool, but fixing the cross-polygon trees, damage modeling, career system, and some of the other annoyances would be just as cool. Perhaps these things have been fixed and they just haven’t been announced yet. If that is the case, why highlight stars on the latest trailer rather than improvements to the game? I just don’t get it. Even so, I guess the star thing will have to occupy my sense of the “cool factor” in GT6 for now.