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Here is what has been making news: New Releases, Keep Last-Gen, Escape Dead Island, Transformer’s Universe, Super Time Force, Murdered: Soul Suspect, Dungeon Keeper, Assassin’s Creed, BioShock Rip-Off, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth, Hitman Go, Hearthstone Tournament, Pokemon Center.
July 6th – July 12th
Tuesday, July 8th
One Piece: Unlimited World Red will be available for the PS3, PS Vita, 3DS and Wii U.
MouseCraft will be available for the PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PC, MAC and Linux.
Another World will be available for the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita.
Saints Row IV: National Treasure Edition will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Sacra Terra: Kiss of Death will be available for the PS3.
Wednesday, July 9th
The Escapist will be available for the PC.
MouseCraft will be available (in UK) for the PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PC, MAC and Linux.
Thursday, July 10th
Leo’s Fortune will be available for the Android.
Quest for Infamy will be available for the PC.
The Red Solstice will be available for the PC.
Xbox 360 and PS3 not dead yet
We all know that there will come a time when you will simply have to purchase one of the new next-gen consoles if you want to keep up with new games. However, now is not the time.
There are many reasons to delay a purchase of one of the new consoles for a while. Both Microsoft and Sony continue to offer monthly free games for their last-gen consoles through their premium programs, Games with Gold on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation Plus on the PS3. There is currently no indication that these programs will be ending anytime soon for either console. The games are nothing to scoff at either. For example, Microsoft recently offered Dark Souls and Super Street Fighter IV to their Gold subscribers, while Sony offered Dead Space 3, Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, and DmC: Devil May Cry to their Plus subscribers.
Besides free games, there is a plethora of very good cheap games available for both last-gen consoles through retailers such as GameStop. One perfect example is Gears of War 2, which you can pick up used for a mere $1, or Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Halo 4, or Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for less than $10. Other than small downloadable games, finding retail games that cheap on the Xbox One or the PS4 just can’t be done.
Compared to the number of next-gen consoles sold, five million Xbox Ones and seven million PS4s, there are well over 80 million last-gen units out there. This means you are going to find more gamers occupying lobbies of cross-gen games on old consoles than the new ones. This means a much larger multiplayer base for the Xbox 360 and PS3 than you will find on either of the next gen consoles.
Another reason to hold onto your last-gen consoles is that third-party publishers are aware that there are still many of us gamers who haven’t jumped onto the “latest and greatest” bandwagon. For publishers, this means that there is still a large customer base playing games on last-gen, therefore, it makes sense for them to develop cross-gen games for the next few years at least.
Additionally, developers are still making last-gen exclusive games which won’t be available on the Xbox One or the PS4. For example, throughout this year you can pick up Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn, Saints Row IV: National Treasure Edition, Scared 3, Risen 3: Titan Lords, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and Kingdom Hearts: 2.5 Remix to name just a few last-gen exclusive games.
But what about next year? It is true that we will begin to see the decline of last-gen gaming, however, there are still many high-profile games launching in 2015 on the Xbox 360 and PS3. You will be able to pick up games such as Dying Light, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat X, Mad Max, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Persona 5 to name a few.
Even as 2015 draws to an end, there is still a good chance that there will be more games available for last-gen consoles. Late last year Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s chief marketing and strategy officer, stated they would “continue to invest in Xbox 360.” He added that, “if you look at 360, that platform lasted for seven to eight years and it’s going to go for another three years. It’s incredibly profitable now in the tail.”
Only a few days ago Scott Rohde, the head of PlayStation software product development in America, stated that all long as it was profitable we will continue to see games for the PS3. Rohde explained that “all the different parts of the world just adopt new technology at different rates. We don’t know how long the PS3 tail will last. We don’t know how it will be compared to the PS2. The PS2 lasted very deep into the PS3 cycle. There was a broad price difference between PS3 launch and PS2 end of life. We don’t know where all this is going to go, but we will continue to support the PS3 through first and third parties as long as there is a good business there for us.”
So you see, there is no need to abandon your current last-gen console and plop down big bucks for the “next big thing.” You can still get the most out of your last-gen gaming for a few years yet. In fact, if you will recall, both the Xbox and PS2 continued to have new games added long into the life of the Xbox 360 and PS3. There will come a time when purchasing a next-gen console will make sense, but that time is not now.
New stealth zombie game exclusive to old-gen
After being washed up on a tropical island, Cliff Carlo finds his reality breaking down as he discovers the island is infested with zombies. Playing as Carlo, the protagonist in Escape Dead Island, you will discover that you too have some difficulty determining what is and what is not real. Yes, there are zombies to battle, but the real battle happens inside your own mind.
The baffling narrative construct is designed to keep you questioning what is real in this newest Dead Island game from publisher Deep Silver. Unlike the original Dead Island, Escape is defined less by combat and your hero is not immune to the zombie virus. Because of this, you won’t be able to take out half a dozen zombies wielding a led pipe, you will need to utilize a much more stealthy approach to your zombie encounters. But then, not every encounter will lend itself to stealth. You will have to confront special zombies, boss zombies.
You will also want to do some careful exploration of the environment. Collecting certain tools like a rope or a club will give you the ability to access previous areas you couldn’t before. So there will be some backtracking to do as well.
Your immediate goal is to meet up with your companions on the beach. The problem is, once you get there, you find they are not. You are met instead by a crushing blow which renders you unconscious. When you wake up you find the craziness continues .. what is real, what is not? You find yourself with your companions who insist you have been unconscious since the shipwreck, the problem is, you still have all of the items you collected prior to reaching the beach. Neither you or your companions can explain this oddity.
But the game isn’t about just the craziness or stealth zombie hunting, the game also allows you to snap photos of your environment, just one of the games many collectables. The purpose of this shutter-bug activity is to gain evidence against those who engineered the zombie outbreak.
Escape Dead Island will be available for only for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC later this year. Dead Island 2, the more mainstream sequel, will be available for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Deep Silver is also working on an MOBA titled Dead Island: Epidemic.
The upcoming free-to-play MOBA from developer Jagex, Transformers Universe, is currently available as BETA for anyone to play. All you will need to do is to register at the game’s site, once registered, you are on your way to transformer gaming.
The BETA opened on July 4th and will be running “until further notice.” Jagex stated on site, “The community throughout our closed beta period has been absolutely fantastic, providing us with great feedback. We’re looking forward to seeing new players from all around the world join us in the ongoing faction war between the Autobots and Decepticons.”
Coming to Steam
Once exclusive to the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Super Time Force will be coming to the PC through Steam sometime during this summer. According to developer Capybara Games, the side-scrolling, time-bending shooter will be available in a package titled Super Time Force Ultra, or STFU. No specific release date has been announced yet. Capybara has only stated that it will be available in the “not-so-distant” future and that the PC version will include some “very cool” new features.
Super Time Force launched originally last May for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One and received a decent review praising the game’s time manipulation mechanic and level design.
Developer shuts down
On July 2nd, Airtight Games used their Twitter account to say goodbye and thank fans for their support writing, “Thanks to all of the fans, family, friends and colleagues who supported us and made the last 10 years possible.” They also gave a shout-out to those whom they had worked with in the past, writing, “Thanks to all of the amazing people that worked on Dark Void, Quantum Conundrum, Murdered, Soul Fjord, Pixld and DerpBike.”
All of this means that the doors to the development studio who brought us Murdered: Soul Suspect have closed for good. It has only been a month since Murdered: Soul Suspect was launched for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC.
The studio recently sold their equipment at a “heavy discount” and last April they had laid off 14 of their employees, sighting “necessary restructuring” as the reason. The studio had been looking for partners to help fund development.
Airtight Games had opened their doors back in 2004 and gave us games like Murdered: Soul Suspect, Soul Fjord, and Quantum Conundrum. They are best known for their 2010 action game Dark Void published by Capcom.
UK rules EA must stop ads
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the agency in charge of regulating advertisements in the UK, recently rendered a judgment stating that Electronic Arts cannot continue to run ads which describe their mobile game, Dungeon Keeper, as a “free” game.
The judgment deals primarily with an email ad for the game which repeatedly refers to the game as being “free.” Technically it is true, however, the free-to-play model used makes it impossible to enjoy playing the game without spending real-life money on in-app purchases.
Someone “who understood that gameplay was severely limited unless in-app purchases were made,” had filed a complaint with the ASA. The complaint “challenged whether the ad was misleading because it omitted significant information.”
In response to the complaint, EA asserts that “gameplay without in-app purchasing is not severely limited.” They also stated that “all the features referenced in the ad were available during free play and that not all of them were gated by a timer.” According to EA, it is possible to earn all of the three types of currency in the game using “normal in-game engagement and activity over time.”
While EA’s assertions are, again, technically true, many of those who play the game know that the amount of time it does take to earn the amount of game currency, called gems, which premium (paying) players can buy with real-life money, is significant.
Last February Peter Molyneux, designer of the original Dungeon Keeper, spoke out shortly after the game was released stating, “I felt myself turning around saying, ‘What? This is ridiculous. I just want to make a dungeon. I don’t want to schedule it on my alarm clock for six days to come back for a block to be chipped.” Molyneux was referencing the long waits that players must endure unless they spend gems.
According to the ASA, EA provided data which suggests that significant progress has been made in the game by non-paying players. While the ASA does acknowledge that it is possible to play the game without spending money, they believed it is “extremely likely that players would reach a position where they would be unable to take any further meaningful or progressive action in the game until a timer had finished or been skipped, and that these periods would become longer and more significant, and the cost of skipping increasingly higher, as the player progressed.”
Furthermore, based upon the ad, the ASA felt “players would expect the gameplay progression and their ability to advance to be unhindered by unexpected and excessively onerous delays, and we therefore considered that the length and frequency of these countdown events was beyond that which would be reasonably expected by players.”
As a result, EA’s Dungeon Keeper ad “must not appear again in its current form.” EA must make sure that their ads for the game make it clear there are “limitations of free gameplay” and must describe the “role of in-app purchasing with regard to speeding up gameplay.”
Andrew Wilson, EA’s CEO, admitted that they had “misjudged the economy.” He added that, “For new players, it was kind of a cool game. For people who’d grown up playing Dungeon Keeper there was a disconnect there. In that aspect, we didn’t walk that line as well as we could have. And that’s a shame.”
Development studio changes
According to Michael Burk of Ubisoft, “Quebec is taking on the role of lead studio for a future next-gen AC game because they’ve built up the experience and the talented teams to do so, thanks in part to their close work with Montreal on previous AC titles (from Brotherhood through Unity). They’re committed to bringing something new and creative to the franchise.”
While the Assassin’s Creed franchise is undergoing a shift, the Montreal studio isn’t permanently backing away from lead developer position. Burk explained, “Montreal will continue to be a lead studio for other AC titles, and Montreal and Quebec will continue to collaborate with each other and with other Ubisoft studios on future games’ development. That’s key for making sure each Assassin’s Creed title offers a fresh perspective, with new context, new stories and new characters, for players. Montreal is our largest studio and has plenty of creative capacity to focus on many of our biggest brands, including Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Rainbow Six, Watch Dogs and more.”
The Quebec studio has contributed to the Assassin’s Creed series starting with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and have worked on AC: Revelations as well as DLC for Assassin’s Creed III and Black Flag. Nicolas Rioux, managing director of Ubisoft Quebec, stated, “Since 2010, our understanding of the franchise has increased each year. We have the confidence of the brand team and also from Ubisoft to take leadership of an upcoming Assassin’s Creed title. The team is ready for the next big step.”
While the Quebec studio has begun work on a new Assassin’s Creed game, there are no details available on that project. The only official announcement is about Assassin’s Creed: Unity which will be launching on October 28th for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. However, Ubisoft states they are not abandoning last-gen gamers just yet as there is a separate game in the works for the Xbox 360 and PS3 where you will be able to play the role of a Templar. But again, no word on when we can see that launching.
Fox News rips off BioShock logo
During a recent Fox News broadcast about immigration, which had the provocative title ‘Defending the Homeland,’ a logo flashed across the screen which bared a striking resemblance to the BioShock Infinite logo. The Fox News version shares similar color, shape, and use of stars as seen in the BioShock logo.
Social media being as it is, it didn’t take very long at all for the news about the logo to reach Ken Levine, creator of BioShock. Levine wasted no time responding to the logo rip-off on Twitter, with a sarcastic, “Glad to help, Fox. Glad to help.” He then went on to post, “It’s not the irony of that Fox news thing that bothers me so much. It’s the typesetting.” Levine called the entire situation deeply ironic since the game focuses on vilifying immigration and where racial segregation is status quo.
The right-leaning Fox News version of the logo was used to illustrate an interview with the governor of Texas about immigration. While there is speculation that this was all just a coincidence, it is highly unlikely that is the case.
Release date announced
The latest entry in the Sid Meier’s Civilization franchise will be launching for the PC on October 24th. If you pre-order the game you will net yourself the Exoplanets Map Pack, adding six custom maps which were inspired by real exoplanets.
Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is the spiritual successor to 1999′s Alpha Centauri. The game gives us a whole new frontier to explore. Its sci-fi theme begins where Civilization V takes off, with you heading toward your new home in the stars.
Update adds airport mission
An Airport chapter update has brought fifteen new levels and new mechanics to Hitman Go. The update also features a civilian mode that lets Agent 47 stay undercover until players make their first move, you can also skip a move if desired.
There are also new high-alert guards with the ability to watch two lines at the same time added to the game. You will also find automated walkways which can take Agent 47 straight to extended locations, adding yet another layer of challenge to the game.
No women allowed?
The International e-Sports Federation’s (IeSF) sixth World Championship will be happening in Finland in November this year as part of the Assembly Summer 2014 event. Until recently, if you are female, your chance to compete in the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Street Fighter 4, or Dota 2 was nil. The IeSF had designated the competitive events as “men-only.”
The federation is located in South Korea and has participated in gender segregation for some time in what they call an “effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sport.” However, according to Markus “Olodyn” Koskivirta, who runs the Finland qualifier, all of the other tournaments run at Assembly Summer 2014 are “open to all genders.” Koskivirta stated that “the Finnish eSports Federation is currently lobbying for the equal rights of male and female players in the IeSF tournaments.” Indicating that the Finnish Federation does not share the same view as the South Korean Federation.
Now we have learned that the “men-only” designation has been over-turned and competition is open to all genders. It seems there is no good reason and no place for gender segregation in eSports. We applaude the IeSF for taking the action necessary to correct their error and for being open to community feedback.
Good luck to all competitors!
Online store opens soon
A new online Pokemon Center is expected to open on August 6th, allowing American fans to indulge in making store purchases. Similar to other Poke-Centers across the world, this one is not an infirmary for your sick or wounded Pokemon, it is strictly a store.
Some items that are already available as we await the countdown to the grand opening include a Pika-plush toy for $13, a Mewtwo tumbler for $17.50 and a pack of keyrings for Eevee and its evolved forms for $24. Each week prior to the grand opening new items will be available on site.
Also kicking off in August is a new concert tour which features the series music. The first Pokemon: Symphonic Evolutions concert is scheduled for August 15th in Washington, DC at the Warner Theater. If you miss that one, a second concert is planned in Philadelphia, PA at the Mann Center on September 19th. You can get more information about the concert tours here.