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Here is what has been making news: New Releases, Zelda, Hello Games, GTA Online, World of Warcraft Hackers, World Record Holder, League of Legends, Hail to the King: Deathbat, PS Vita, Tomb Raider, Halo: Spartan Assault, Dragon Age: Inquisition, New Mass Effect.
December 29th – January 4th
The following games are scheduled for release in the final quarter of 2013.
Tuesday, December 31st
The Dark Eye Demonicon will be available for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Supreme Ruler 1936 will be available for the PC.
Deadly Walkers will be available for the PC and MAC.
Gomo will be available for the PC.
Phantasy Star Online 2 will be available for the PS Vita, PC, iPhone and Android.
Your Diary will be available for the PSP and PC.
Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-bit Land will be available for the 3DS.
Death Incorporated will be available for the PC and MAC.
Battle Worlds: Kronos will be available for the PC, MAC and UNIX.
Among the Sleep will be available for the PC and MAC.
A Good Day to Die Hard will be available for mobile.
Don Bradman Cricket 14 will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
EverQuest: Call of the Forsaken will be available for the PC.
Carmagedon: Reincarnation will be available for the PS4 and PC.
Power Rangers Megaforce will be available for the 3DS.
Pool Nation FX will be available for the PS4.
Strife will be available for the PC.
Soulcalibur: Lost Swords will be available for the PS3.
Basement Crawl will be available for the PS4.
Lord of the Rings Online: Helms Deep will be available for the PC.
Fable Anniversary will be available for the Xbox 360.
Confirmed for Super Smash Bros.
Nintendo recently revealed that the 20th playable character in the upcoming Super Smash Bros for the Wii U and 3DS will be the princess of Hyrule, Zelda. You will recognize this version of Zelda as coming from Twilight Princess. Other playable princesses from Nintendo will join her, such as Rosalina and Peach. Link, in a few different versions, will also be joining them on the battlefield.
Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS was announced in January 2013 at Nintendo Direct. We still don’t have confirmation on its release date. All we know is that it is coming sometime in 2014.
Hit by flood
This holiday weekend brought some devastating circumstances to Hello Games studio. Hello Games is the developer out of London who brought us the Joe Danger series and is currently working on No Man’s Sky. The day before Christmas the team hit Twitter with news that their office had been devastated by a flood.
The banks of the river Wey broke during a huge storm that moved through the UK. The resulting flood roared through the studio damaging equipment and property. We don’t have a full assessment of the damage yet, nor any indication if anything can be salvaged, however many residents, businesses and emergency services in the area were out of power over the holiday.
One of the first tweets by Hello Games was around 4:30pm on Christmas eve, “Oh god, Water moves really quick. Hello Games has been totally flooded. Everything in the office has pretty much been lost L” The following morning, about 12 hours later, another tweet came explaining a little of what had happened, “A river broke its bank nearby yesterday and A LOT of water flooded in really quickly. A biblical amount. It was coming in the windows!” Shortly after another tweet from the team indicated the optimism the studio fosters, “We’re taking stock today, but already I know we’ll come back stronger – all we’ll need is a place to work and a machine to work on ”
Hello Games is a small indie studio with fewer than ten employees. The team had recently announced a new Joe Danger line for mobile platforms called Joe Danger Infinity. Earlier this month they had revealed a trailer for an amazing looking project titled No Man’s Sky. The game is designed to give a unique experience built completely on procedurally generated, massively multiplayer worlds.
The team seems to have kept their sense of humor and concern for humanity throughout the whole experience as evident in tweets such as “A lifesize cardboard cut out of Joe Danger went floating past face down. Poor Joe. He’s taking this the worst.” And “Massive thanks to everyone who tried to help here today. We have learned that laptops float sometimes.” As they determined that they had done all they could do and it was time to leave their water logged studio the team tweeted, “Leaving now and letting firemen to help real people (all the houses around us with kids and xmas) – rather than us drowning to save a hdd ”
We are glad everyone is safe and wish all at Hello Games the best of luck. I’m sure that in the coming days as they make efforts to rebuild and recover, we will have more news about the team and their projects.
Christmas presents for fans
Rockstar had updated GTA Online to celebrate Christmas with a number of special events and items added to the game. Los Santos was given a dusting of snow, making driving a bit treacherous. Through January 5th you will be able to pick up seasonal-themed accessores such as Santa hats, elf shoes and jackets, reindeer antlers, snowman masks and more.
Also through January 5th, Rockstar will be holding a sale offering a range of discounts on vehicles, apartments, and select weapons. Now may be your chance to get what you want if you have been having a struggle affording some goodies.
Put in prison
Ten men in China are now sitting in prison for about two years as a result of hacking and defrauding over 11,000 World of Warcraft accounts. The ring of hackers was led by a man named Chen. Later Zhu joined him and they began flipping stolen WoW accounts which they bought for about $1.
After Chen and Zhu acquired the accounts they emptied them out of all their gold and items then resold everything at an online auction for around $3. By the time officials had caught up to them they had earned themselves $10,800.
Zhu and eight accomplices received sentences of two years in prison and were fined $1,000 each. The mastermind, Chen, also got two years in prison and is ordered to pay a fine of $8,000. Illegally obtained goods and computers used by the hacking thieves were also confiscated.
Largest gaming collection
The new world record holder for the largest personal collection of video games is Michael Thomasson of New York. The 43-year-old man has a library of 10,607 games stored in his Buffalo, New York home. The past record holder named in 2010 owned 8,616 games.
Thomasson believes the games in his library actually number closer to 11,000 because after the official Guinness World Record counting crew had left, he found several more games he had stored away in his home. The game collection is worth somewhere between $700,000 and $800,000, however, Thomasson doesn’t have any intention to sell his collection anytime soon.
Besides games, Thomasson’s collection includes traditional consoles, including rare systems like the Casio Loopy and Apple’s Pippin console. “I have games on cartridge, laser disc. I have VHS-based games, cassette-based games,” Thomasson explained.
Thomasson teaches courses on game design, 2D animation, and video game history at Canisius College in Buffalo which affords him only about three hours per week of time to play games.
Teen makes terror threats faces prison time
Some time back we had reported on a teen who was placed in jail following an argument from League of Legends which moved onto Facebook. A motion to dismiss the case was denied this week, therefore the case against Justin Carter, 19-years-old, will be moving forward.
Back in March Carter was arrested as a result of terrorist threats he had made on Facebook following a League of Legends match. In his anger he posted that he was going to “shoot up” a school and “eat their still beating hearts.” His father reports that Carter followed the comments with “LOL” and “JK” however, a woman in Canada who saw his comments informed the police.
The posted comments came only months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, so there was still much sensitivity toward such kinds of statements. Carter’s attorney stated that his comments were “clearly” sarcastic, adding that prosecutors would know that if they took the time to examine the entire Facebook comment thread.
There hasn’t been a new date set for the case yet, however, if Carter is convicted he could face up to ten years in prison. One has to wonder if a brief bought of anger over the results of a game, sarcastic or not, was worth the effort. Be wary of what you post in public. This case proves that no matter how innocent, those comments can cause a significant change in your life circumstances.
Launching for mobile
Early in 2014 a mobile dungeon crawler featuring the artwork and discography of Avenged Sevenfold, an American metal band, will be launching for mobile devices. The game, titled Hail to the King: Deathbat, is a companion experience for the Hail to the King Machinima series.
M. Shadows, singer for Avenged Sevenfold, said, “We’ve been fans of games since we were kids, and we thought it would be fun to create one of our own inspired by our favorites. There are so many cool and innovative indie games being developed today, and we realized we could design and build the kind of game we’d love to play on our own. It is coming together amazingly well, and we can’t wait to share it.”
Just as an FYI, a variety of Avenged Sevenfold songs are featured in Call of Duty: Black Ops titles, such as “Carry On” in Black Ops II.
Sony’s shiny gem or imitation stone?
The good news is that both Joe Danger games have been announced for the PS Vita, at least we think that is good news. The problem is that more often than not, the PS Vita is becoming a dumping ground for old games rather than being considered a worthwhile platform in its own right.
Since its launch, however, the Vita has moved away from some of its troubles. It is no longer the over-priced, over specced, gameless handheld which few care to own. Now it is reasonably priced and even has a few decent exclusives in its line-up, either on their way or out now. The specs that were once considered higher than necessary are now seeing a stream of decent ports of the big console games.
Still, one typically buys into a console for the games that can’t be had elsewhere, the number of exclusive releases. A good console has a healthy balance of both exclusive games and multiformat games. Like the Wii U, the Vita does continue to have difficulty carving out its own niche in the gaming world. Yet, if we think about it, the 3DS began with similar problems, and in some ways continues but has gotten much better, as we expect the Vita to do as time passes.
Sony is currently pushing the Vita’s services and tertiary uses as a device rather than the system’s games. While Vita owners can get free games every month (as can the “big” console owners), new releases are generally received after they have launched on other consoles, causing Vita owners to take a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Will your favorite game make it to Vita or not? This does not make for great incentive for developers to pour their resources into the brand new, exclusive games that the Vita needs so badly. For the device to be a success it needs immediate release along with the other consoles as well as exclusive content, good exclusive content.
Sure, remote play gives the Vita a fancy new role within the next generation of consoles, but it also gives those ported games a sense of being less valuable. Why buy a Vita version of a game when you can get the PS3 or PS4 version and stream it to the Vita? This tends to create a real lack of distinction between Vita games and games playable on other PlayStation devices.
Sony’s attempt to revive the PS Vita includes indie games, which seems to be running into similar problems as other games. While it is true that there are several sweet-looking indie games coming up for the Vita, most will also be available for the PS3, PS4, and PC rather than Vita exclusives.
On the flip side, the Vita does have a lot of promise. There is mass indie support, a steady stream of free games and remote play, all of which are incentives to own the device. You can make regular trips to the PS Store using those PS Plus bonuses increases the discoverability of some of Vita’s gems.
We hope that Sony’s current promotion of the Vita’s tertiary functions is only the current stage of a long-term plan of action. The Vita could have a bright future for both the gamer and the developer if Sony keeps its eyes on a long-term goal, not allowing Vita’s identity as a unique gaming machine to become watered down by hype.
Original (?) hits iOS
Tomb Raider fans can’t forget the original, the first time they played as Laura Croft, battling wolves and demons, solving puzzles, and all that is Tomb Raider awesome. Now you can play the original game on the go, wherever you go .. sweet!
But the original isn’t exactly the original. Extra content has been added. Two new levels which were always intended to be in the game but didn’t make it back then. The iTunes description states “We’ve not messed about with it, so it’s the full, unedited, unadulterated experience.” But that isn’t exactly true. The new textures are beautiful, but the old texture gave the environment a different feel, even a bit scarier than the new. What once appeared to be human skulls on the walls of a shrine, now appear to be etched in stone. Not nearly as spooky and sometimes, things left to the imagination are better overall. With the old texture, our minds filled in the blanks. Were those future explorers who’s skulls now adorn the shrine? Yes the new textures are beautiful but to some extent the aura of mystery is now missing.
Still, all that aside, I’m thrilled that one of my favorite old games is back. How do you feel about “remastered” old favorites of yours? Do you favor new updated textures or the old sometimes scratchy textures of the original?
Surprise! Microsoft has released Halo: Spartan Assault for the Xbox One a day early. The game was previously set for a December 24th release but in a seldom heard of move, it was released December 23rd instead. You can pick up the game via Xbox Live for $14.99.
In the Xbox One version the add-on “Operation Hydra” is included along with a cooperative game mode, Achievements, new weapons and new 1080p/60fps visuals.
Spartan Assault, originally launched on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 last July, bridges the gap between Halo 3 and Halo 4. The game explores the origins of the Spartan Ops program through the eyes of either Commander Sara Palmer or Spartan Davis, while at the same time giving us a deeper look into the back story of the Human-Covenant War.
Holiday build given to BioWare staff
BioWare employees got a bit of a treat over their holiday break. According to producer Mark Darrah, employees were able to take home Dragon Age: Inquisition’s “Holiday Build” which includes the main storyline, playable from beginning to end, over the holidays.
The build’s priorities, as noted in the BioWare Blog, includes getting all the gameplay systems working together and the back-end technology secured. Darrah explained, “Effectively, they are builds we create around the holiday break that are packaged in a way that allows the team, and other parts of BioWare, to play the game in as complete of a state as we can get it.”
The game is expected to release in the fall of 2014 for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
According to Aaryn Flynn, BioWare’s Edmonton and Montreal general manager, the next Mass Effect game is playable and moving along nicely. He recently teased us with a tweet saying “Great time playing the next Mass Effect game in Montreal. Ambitious. Beautiful. Fresh but recognizable. And fun!” And that has been it, nothing more has been shared, just the teaser.
There isn’t much known about the new game other than the story won’t relate to Shepard or the previous events within the last three games. The development duties of Mass Effect has been taken over by BioWare Montreal because BioWare Edmonton is working on a brand new IP.
We hope to hear more about the new Mass Effect game soon and will pass on any information we have.