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Here is what has been making news: New Releases, Titanfall Alpha, Animin, DC Universe Online, Loadout, Total War: Rome 2, Tetris, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, Hitman, Grand Theft Auto V – Online, The Last of Us: Left Behind, Adam’s Venture Chronicles, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Steam Early Access, Plastic Surgery for Barbie, Ouya.
January 19th – January 25th
Monday, January 20th
KickBeat will be available for the PC.
Tuesday, January 21st
Chess 2: The Sequel will be available for the Android.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PS Vita.
Might and Magic: X Legacy will be available for the PC.
Wednesday, January 22nd
OlliOlli will be available for the PS Vita.
A Wizard’s Lizard will be available for the PC.
Insurgency will be available (in UK) for the PC and MAC.
Thursday, January 23rd
Might and Magic: X Legacy will be available (in UK) for the PC.
Insurgency will be available for the PC and MAC.
Friday, January 24th
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z will be available (in UK) for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PS Vita.
Registration closed – public opinions forbidden
There was a possibility that you could get the chance to play Respawn’s highly anticipated shooter before its release in March. Titanfall alpha test registration has recently opened for the Xbox One. However, a newsletter on the official site indicates that the registration for the Alpha has closed. If you are interested in receiving “gameplay features, videos, discounts, special promotions, and more!” you can sign up for their newsletter.
According to Respawn’s Twitter account, “As some of you are asking, we are doing a limited technical test. It is not a beta, and we don’t have any beta news at the moment.” Only a small number of players were given access to the alpha.
There won’t be any information coming from the players in the technical test as Respawn has tweeted that any information or opinions coming out of the alpha are “Strictly not sharable.” Naturally, human nature being as it is, that doesn’t mean that some information won’t leak out at some point. But we shouldn’t expect any official gameplay videos coming out of the Alpha.
While we still do not have word on when a beta will be open, Vince Zampella, the studio’s co-founder, had stated earlier that they are “definitely” thinking about holding a beta.
Titanfall will be launching in North America on March 11th and in Europe and Australia on March 13th for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC. Apparently PlayStation and Nintendo fans won’t be seeing the game on their consoles, however, there is a chance that any sequels could hit those consoles as well.
Real-world digital pet
Animin, developed by Figure Games, is a series of digital pets that appear in the real world using augmented reality technology. The little critters won’t be available until the end of this year when they will be available for your Smartphone or tablet.
As with any digital pet, you will evolve the little critter from an infant onto adulthood by the typical means. You will need to feed them, heal them when they are sick, and play mini games with them to keep them happy.
Joe Kletz, the director, stated, “We have extremely exciting plans to develop Animin, extending the core Animin AR app into an online role playing game featuring your Animin avatar with ties to social networking, instant messaging, VR gaming and much, much more.”
Animin is also going to be featuring a built-in instant messaging system that will let you talk with your friends. It will also have voice recognition, presumably meaning only you can talk with your “pet.”
If you have been hoping for a way to quickly make changes to your DC Universe Online character, you are in luck. The latest addition to the MMO is the Armory, a Base item that quickens the process of switching character builds.
Armories are considered consumables and give you the ability to save your character builds. You will be able to do gear changes, loadouts to skill and power points, change roles, styles and colors. This eliminates the need to visit a Respec Chamber.
There are restrictions however. Each Base is limited to four Armories, which means you cap out at 16 total. You are free to switch to one of four “active” Armories at any time as long as you are not in combat. While in combat you are subject to a cool down period.
Once you have completed a mission, you are awarded a free Armory. Naturally there are more available on the marketplace. A single Armory will cost you $6, however, you can get a four-pack at a discount of $20, or an eight-pack for $32.
Launch date announced
Loadout is a free-to-play first-person shooter by Edge of Reality that will be launching January 31st. Its main hook is the weapon-crafting system. The system allows you to invent and customize your weapons into a strange formation. For example, you could create a shock-absorbing rocket launcher that has a remote control scope.
You will be able to earn new weapon parts, character customizations, accessories, and equipment as you gain prestige and riches. The more you play the game, the more you will have to customize, and there is an endless number of possibilities, setting yourself apart from your rivals.
You can play Loadout now through Steam’s Early Access program. There will also be an open beta in a few weeks, according to the developer.
Assembly kit beta is live
SEGA has recently made the official Assembly Kit available in the Tools section of Steam, allowing for easier modding of Total War: Rome II.
The Assembly Kit will let you edit the game’s database to modify textures, animations, models, and campaign-game start positions. If you need a little help, there is example data packaged in with the kit. When complete, your creation is able to be uploaded to the Steam Workshop directly from the game.
Coming to next-gen
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Tetris. A new partnership between Ubisoft and The Tetris Company was recently announced. As a result, the classic game, Tetris, will be coming available for the Xbox One and PS4.
Tetris was originally developed by Alexey Pajitnov, a Soviet programmer. The game has sold well over 170 million copies and has been called one of the greatest games ever made. Over the years the Tetris license has passed through several hands, most recently EA who published a version of the game for mobile devices and the PS3.
The managing director of The Tetris Company, Henk B. Rogers, is optimistic about the new partnership with Ubisoft, stating “We welcome Ubisoft to the Tetris family. I am 100 percent sure they will develop one of the best versions of the Tetris game ever.”
Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft’s co-founder, enthusiastically stated, “We’re very excited to start working with this world-renowned brand, and can’t wait to combine Ubisoft’s expertise and all the capacities of next-gen consoles to create an exciting new Tetris experience for fans.”
Delayed .. again
Previously, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was expected to launch for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One on February 18th for North America and February 20th for Europe. However, EA recently announced that the game’s launch for those consoles has been delayed by a week. Now we can expect to see the game arrive on February 25th in North America and the 27th in Europe.
There is also a PC version of the game on its way, however, there is no launch date available at this time. Additionally, there are rumors that the game could be coming to the PS4.
The Xbox One version will have its own unique Boss Mode using Kinect and SmartGlass.
In an open letter to fans by developer IO Interactive, the first details about Hitman, currently in development for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC, were revealed. Apparently you will be “a globetrotting agent 47 at the prime of his career – the apex predator stalking his prey across the world, with the support of his long-term handler Diana Burnwood and the whole of the ICA.”
The open letter goes on to reveal that “The game concentrates on the core Hitman fantasy of using a wide range of tools to take out a diverse group of targets across expansive, exotic locations around the world. We’re packing in an extreme level of detail on the largest levels we have ever built for a Hitman game.”
According to the developer, the game is non-linear in design, “We’ve adopted an open, non-linear level design approach to the game, ensuring the game will play out across huge, checkpoint-free, sandbox levels. Our aim is to create living, breathing and believable levels which will allow gamers to play around with the AI to create those unique moments every fan of the Hitman franchise loves.”
Contract mode will be returning to the game as well. This will let you create and build challenges within the levels and then challenge your friends to complete them. You may also be happy to hear that 47′s “magic pockets” has been removed from the game. There hasn’t been a release date provided, but at least we now know that the recent rumor that the game has been cancelled is false.
Cheaters being hunted by Rockstar
Rockstar is getting serious about putting cheaters on notice. As they recently announced, anyone caught exploiting Grand Theft Auto V’s online mode by generating and distributing counterfeit in-game currently may find themselves playing in an “isolated cheater pool” where they will play with others who share their low moral standards .. i.e. cheaters. They also have a strong possibility of finding themselves banned from the game altogether.
Rockstar states that they have discovered a “small number” of GTA Online gamers who have created “game-breaking” amounts of GTA$. This resulted in disrupting the overall experience for other gamers. The counterfeit GTA$ was removed from the game’s economy as part of the game’s ongoing maintenance period. There will be updates to the game that will counteract whatever impact the fake GTA$ had on the game and its players.
Rockstar would like to add that if you “innocently” received any of the counterfeit money and played an honest game, you won’t be penalized, other than having the fake money removed. However, any purchases you made with the counterfeit money will remain yours to keep.
You can use the in-game reporting function to alert the developer of any in-game cheating at any time. Rockstar states, “We’re grateful for the community’s continued support in dealing with these issues and once again apologize to anyone that has had their Grand Theft Auto Online experience sullied by these exploits that broke the game’s natural flow. Please stay tuned for lots more news about GTA Online in the weeks ahead.”
Naughty Dog has recently confirmed that The Last of Us: Left Behind, the single-player DLC campaign, will be launching on February 14th.
Ashley Johnson, voice actress, described Left Behind as a “post-pandemic version of two teenage girls hanging out.” The DLC is a prequel to the main game that revolves around Ellie and her friend Riley.
The DLC will also include a bonus comic and PS3 dynamic theme and will cost about $15.
Christian themed game coming to PS3
Adam’s Venture Chronicles is a Christian-themed episodic adventure game. Chronicles includes three previously released episodes, The Search for the Lost Garden, Solomon’s Secrets, and Revelations. Within the next month, according to a recent announcement by Vertigo Games and Playlogic, the franchise which was exclusive to the PC will be coming to the PS3.
The Adam’s Venture series is an Uncharted-style game that has you playing as Adam, a young explorer in the 1920s. Along with his friend Evelyn, Adam goes on a quest to find ancient artifacts. As they participate in their adventure, they have to outsmart the evil Clarivoix Corporation. There is over 10 hours of gameplay and more than 60 puzzles for you to solve.
The PS3 version, according to the developers, has been “polished and optimized.” The game will launch exclusively for the PS3 on February 4th in the United States and February 5th in Europe. You can expect to pay about $12. If you are a PS Plus member you can save about 20 percent for a limited time. All three episodes of the game sells on Steam for about $13.
Coming to PC
According to a recent announcement by developer Young Horse, on January 30th Octodad: Dadliest Catch will be launching for the PC, MAC, and Linux. You will be able to purchase the game on Steam, Humble, and GOG. No information yet on the price.
In this peculiar game you play as an Octopus who is trying to blend in with the rest of humanity. He has a human family and likes to wear a suit. Dadliest Catch is actually a spruced up version of the original freeware version of the game Octodad.
Young Horse reports that the PS4 version of the game is expected to release sometime in March.
Eyed by the big publishers
Because of the overwhelming success of such games as Rust and DayZ, Steam’s Early Access platform is getting a close look from AAA publishers such as Ubisoft. Last week Ubisoft announced that they will be bringing Ghost Recon Online, their free-to-play shooter, to Early Access later this year. The game is actually available through Early Access in Canada right now, however, Ubisoft plans to bring it worldwide sometime in the spring.
Corey Facteau, a Ubisoft producer, reports that it has been the company’s goal since Ghost Recon Online was first conceived for it to be brought to Steam. Facteau believes that Early Access will help the studio “fine tune” the game.
Most developers believe that releasing an unfinished game through Steam’s Early Access lets them be more transparent within the development process. It helps them to better incorporate feedback into the final product. The down side of doing this is that it gives the impression that publishers are only out to make more money as they charge for half-finished games.
We wonder how you feel about Steam’s Early Release program. Do you believe it is a positive move for developers or just another example of the greed of publishers?
Disturbing app removed
A downloadable game for Android and iOS devices that was inspired by Barbie and focused game play around plastic surgery has been removed from the app stores. Plastic Surgery for Barbie, has been called “sexist and disturbing.”
The game was apparently described as being “suitable” for children aged nine and over. You could make incisions with a scalpel and perform liposuction on an overweight woman who was labeled “ugly.” Your task, I guess, was to perform a variety of medical procedures to create a thinner, and apparently more desirable, version of the woman.
Even though Plastic Surgery for Barbie was pulled from app stores, there is a second game with a similar premise and graphics titled Plastic Surgery for Barbara. This version of the game is labeled as suitable for ages 12 and up.
Nigel Mercer, the former British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, reported to the BBC that the game is shameful and sends the wrong message to young women. Mercer stated, “This app blatantly and shamelessly uses child-friendly brand names [such as Barbie] to target young, vulnerable children and exposes them to sexist and disturbing rhetoric as the ‘game’ critiques the body of a cartoon character who does not conform to an unrealistic beauty standard.”
As would be expected, Mattel, the creator of Barbie, was quick to put distance between itself and the app, stating, “At Mattel, we take our commitment to children seriously and work hard to ensure there are no unauthorized uses of our brands that may be unsafe or inappropriate for children.”
Founding member quits
Muffi Ghadiali, a founding member of Ouya described as being instrumental in bringing the mini-console to market, recently left the company by his own choice. Ghadiali led the teams that were responsible for the design of the unit, its firmware, mechanical, electrical, and RF engineering.
A Ouya representative recently stated that “Ouya is focusing more on the next phase of the business and product development. We’ve made some recent changes including the departure of Muffi Ghadiali who was invaluable during the launch of Ouya. As is to be expected, Ouya is an ever-changing business, and as we continue to grow our needs shift accordingly.”
Android-powered, the Ouya initiated its life last year on Kickstarter. It soon became one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of the year, raising over $8.6 million. It was commercially released in June, 2013, although there isn’t much data on just how well it has sold up to this date.