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Here is what has been making news: New Releases, Xbox One, No Man’s Sky, Lords of the Fallen, Halo 3, Habitat, Borderlands 3, The Evil Within, Far Cry 4, Elder Scrolls Online, Super Smash Bros. Tournament, Natural Doctrine, WWE 2K15.
July 13th – July 19th
Monday, July 24th
Infinity Runner (2014) will be available for the PC.
Schein will be available for the PC.
Light will be available for the PC.
Tuesday, July 15th
Crimsonland will be available for the PS4.
Abyss Odyssey will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Wayward Manor will be available for the PC and MAC.
Shantae: Risky’s Revenge will be available for the PC.
Sharpe Investigations: Death on the Seine will be available for the PC.
Wednesday, July 16th
Magic: Duals of the Plainswalkers 2015 will be available for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, iPhone and Android.
No developer kits
The plan for the feature that would allow retail Xbox One units to become developer kits has been killed. According to Martin Fuller from the Xbox Advanced Technology Group, “We were in the early stages of Xbox One looking at the idea of a retail kit that could be turned into a development kit, and vice versa. In the end, although that was a very admirable goal, it hasn’t happened unfortunately. Can’t tell you the specifics of exactly why not.”
This is just the latest in Microsoft’s series of message shifts. Back in July, 2013 Marc Whitten, Xbox Corporate VP had stated that Microsoft’s “vision” was that “every person can be a creator” and “every Xbox One can be used for development”. He did add that the development feature wouldn’t be available at launch but would be in a firmware update later. Back in December Chris Charla, head of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox self publishing program, had stated that they were “working very hard to get [registered developers] development kits and making sure everything works fine.”
Fuller reports that there are “no plans” to implement the feature in the future. However, studios applying to the ID@Xbox programmer will receive two free developer kits from Microsoft.
New details revealed
Sean Murray, co-founder of Hello Games, recently discussed some of the gameplay and mechanic concepts the studio is creating for their ambitious new open-world title, No Man’s Sky. Murray states that the developers are avoiding sticking the game into a traditional genera because the game itself is to be defined by the player.
Murray explained that the game’s scope is massive, although this isn’t something that will be fully comprehended upon the game’s launch. The studio will be continuing game development after launch. “We don’t want to prescribe what people do. So we’re not going to say this is a game about discovering creatures, or killing dinosaurs, or flying a ship, or becoming a fighter, or a pirate or a bounty hunter. But loads of those things are possible, not everything is possible, and when we ship the game not everything will be possible, but this is a game I think we’ll be making for a while”.
Murray gave a brief explanation of the core gameplay mechanics, including the weapon you will be using and character upgrading. “[The weapon] you have is kind of like an upgradable multi-tool, which you can upgrade in various different ways depending on how you play. So if you’re mining, or attacking, scanning, exploring or whatever. We want that to feel futuristic and reasonable powerful, it kind of defines your character in that RPG way. And then your suit can be upgraded to have more armor, or health perhaps, or to survive longer under water or in a toxic environment or whatever. There are things like that the core gamers are used to.”
While the gamer’s activity is primarily up to the player, there is a central antagonist available for gamers to contend with, described as a “malevolent force.” Although he didn’t elaborate on it, Murray did state that there will also be a contained, more traditional, multiplayer experience. “There is this thing, which I’m not going to talk about now, that is a plan for multiplayer, for people to have a more traditional multiplayer experience within the game. And that’s something we’ll deal with further down the line that is exciting, but that’s not something that’s core to the game now.”
Release date announced
The action RPG inspired by Dark Souls, Lords of the Fallen, is scheduled to launch in the U.S. on October 28th and in Europe on October 31st for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Tomasz Gop, executive producer, explains that the world and difficulty for the game Lords of the Fallen came out of Dark Souls, the skill tree was influenced by the Borderlands series. The game’s combat will be fast-paced, however, you will also need to use unique strategies to beat your enemies.
More information will be revealed as the game gets closer to launch.
Easter Egg just discovered
As most Halo gamers know, Halo 3, which was released in 2007, has some rather awesome Easter eggs. There is the hovering picture of a dancing man, a weird monkey family and many other well documented Easter eggs. However, up until recently, one has remained undiscovered.
Users on Beyond Entertainment created a video of what is believed to be the last Halo 3 secret. The Easter egg is a happy birthday wish for the wife of one of the developers. If you hold the thumbstick down on the main menu on December 25th, the screen will zoom out to show a Halo ring coming out of the mist. If you look closely you can see “Happy Birthday, Lauren!” written on the side of the ring.
For years Bungie has been teasing Halo 3 fans about the fact that there remained an undiscovered mystery in the game. When asked once if Bungie was surprised at fan’s ability to find Halo 3′s Easter eggs, a representative stated, “There is one Easter egg in Halo 3 that I don’t think anyone has found — I stumbled across it in code a while back. It only happens on a specific day… so good luck.”
Later, a fan had asked about the proudest moments in Bungie employees’ careers, Adrian Perez, senior engineer, stated, “Showing my wife the Easter egg I put in the Halo 3 loading screen for her — the one that nobody has found yet.”
However, we will never know if all of the secrets have been found. At one point the Bungie community manager stated, “You will never find them all. We cannot give you hints. If we did, those eggs would lose their magic.”
There is much speculation that Bungie’s new project, Destiny, will also be full of Easter eggs.
Build space shuttle
As one of the humanity’s last remnants, you are charged with building a safe and stable habitat that will carry humans across the universe. Given the state of things due to deadly nanomachines, the materials you use are scavenged from random junk, garbage and debris that was shuttled into space years ago. It doesn’t look too impressive, but it is the last hope for humanity.
You can pick up Habitat now through Steam Early Access. You will start with a space shuttle that has two rocket boosters strapped to it. You will find that your Engineers are your loyal workforce, eager to weld trash together as long as it means you will eventually find a better home out there in the stars.
The resource you need to hire more engineers, fire your weapons and power your propulsion system is called omni, which you earn by connecting junk to your habitat. You will want to choose your design carefully, throwing your habitat together without rhyme or reason could get you into trouble, especially if you find a killer cloud of nanomachines coming toward you. You will need to make a hasty exit, so testing out different rocket configurations and evenly distributing weight on the right and left sides of your ship will be important activities for your engineers to complete.
Habitat can have a goofy, sandbox play style, but do remember it is still in its early access stages. 4gency, the development team, has outlined their plans for the game on their old kickstarter page.
Gearbox “scared” by it
Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software, has expressed unease about the idea of Borderlands 3. He explains that the third in the series would need to be “so crazy and so big” that he doubts they could launch a game worthy of that ambition. “There’s a point where it’s like, ‘What should the next Borderlands be? Should there be another Borderlands, and what should it be?’. We had that discussion and there was this weird mixed bag. On one level it’s like, ‘Woah’. If you’re going to do something that’s called Borderlands 3 and it’s going to be done in this next-generation environment, there’s a whole bunch of ideas that come around of what has to happen in order for that to live up to what that needs to be.”
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel scheduled for this fall has raised the bar for a potential Borderlands 3 game. The Pre-Sequel was principally developed by 2K Australia. Pitchford explained that their involvement “changed the nature of the pressure of what Borderlands 3 had to be for us. If there’s going to be a Borderlands 3 and what that would be. We imagine what that might be, and frankly it scared us. It’s like, ‘That’s so crazy and so big that I’m not sure we can succeed’.”
Gearbox hasn’t ruled out Borderlands 3, however, the studio is currently focusing on a multiplayer arena shooter, Battleborn, for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. There is a possibility that Borderlands characters may appear in Battleborn. Randy Varnell, creative director, stated, “I won’t say that we haven’t talked about [including vault hunters]. But it’s really important that Battleborn is its own universe first and that it has its own tone and its own style and that it can grow its legs. But it is a universe. It’s a vast universe with who knows what. It’s set way, way in the future and so I can’t say that [vault hunter characters] would never happen…”
Censored in Japan
Tetsu Takahashi, general manager for publisher ZeniMax Asia, explained that when The Evil Within releases in Japan it will be censored in order to receive an acceptable rating from the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization. However, Japanese gamers will still be able to see the game in all of its gore, as designers had intended, if they pre-order the game. Pre-ordering will provide them with a DLC pack that will make the gore available.
Takahashi stated, “If we were to make it the same way as the foreign version, it’d be rated CERO Z and we felt that it’d be best to release it the way the creators make it. However, that would limit the sales and advertising, so we’d lose the opportunity to reach out to as many customers possible.”
The CERO Z rating is equivalent to North America’s rarely used Adults Only rating. Because of this ZeniMax, Bethesda Software’s subsidiary, shot for a CERO D rating, basically a Mature rating, and include the “Gore mode DLC” code for those who pre-order the game to download.
According to Takahashi the modifications “won’t have an effect on the game itself.” Additionally, given the “vast amount of preorders” he felt the modification was a natural option for them. It isn’t clear yet if the DLC will be available later to those who haven’t pre-ordered the game.
Now scheduled for an October launch, The Evil Within was delayed earlier this year. For gamers outside of Japan, the game won’t be censored.
Map is same size as FC 3
The highly anticipated open-world game, Far Cry 4, will have about the same size world map as Far Cry 3 had. Alex Hutchinson, game director, Ubisoft decided to focus on building a world that felt more “alive” rather than simply giving players more space to explore in.
Hutchinson stated, “With Far Cry 4, we felt that the map size for [Far Cry 3] was really good. Maybe you can even go slightly smaller. And instead of going bigger area, we would focus on density. So for me, it was try to pack in more events where you come across NPCs, more events where you come across enemies doing unusual stuff.” The thought of “going bigger” was exciting to Ubisoft when initially planning the game. Hutchinson reports, “There’s always a desire to go bigger in open-world games because it just feels cooler. That sense that if it’s bigger then there is more to do; if it’s bigger there’s more to explore.” But the final decision was that Far Cry 4 should have a “denser” world rather than a larger one.
There is also a new element added to the game called Karma Events. Karma Events are side missions where you perform tasks that help out the local population. According to Hutchinson, Karma Events should add to the feeling of “life” and “density” to the game.
A few more interesting pieces of information about the game include the fact that it is located in the Himalayas, therefore, there instead of sharks there will be demonfish and honey badgers. You can also expect an avalanche moment in the game, although you won’t be able to trigger an avalanche yourself. Additionally, there will be no split-screen co-op, however, there will be a head-to-head multiplayer mode. Hutchinson also said that on some of the cinematics you will be able to interrupt them using an action. He adds that these actions will be hidden so you won’t receive a prompt for them.
Finally, although Far Cry 4 won’t have any playable female characters, Hutchinson says the game is “packed to the gills” with women. You can expect to see the game launch for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC on November 18th.
Update 3 info
There will be an update to The Elder Scrolls Online arriving in August. According to Zenimax Online, Update 3 will have several new features and changes to the MMO such as options to customize guilds, a large revamp of the Veteran Rank system and balance tweaks in zones.
The long term plan is to remove the Veteran Points system from the game and replace it with a new system that is “based on new character customization and growth mechanics.” The details of this change will be revealed later this year.
Hosted by Nintendo
The very first Super Smash Bros. tournament for the 3DS will be hosted on July 25th by Nintendo at San Diego Comic-Con. The event will begin at noon at the Nintendo Gaming Lounge.
The preliminary round will involve groups of four, the winner of each group will advance to the final round where there will be a number of one-on-one battles. The tournament is operating under a first-come, first-serve basis and will have a limited number of slots. If you are interested in participating in the event you will need to sign up at the Marriott Marquis and Marina on the day of the event.
Super Smash Bros. will be launching on Oct. 3rd for the 3DS and later for the Wii U. The tournament’s action can be seen live-streaming via Nintendo’s Twitch channel.
PlayStation’s hardcore strategy game
Expect to die if you play Natural Doctrine. Natural Doctrine is a game familiar to those who follow the Japanese gaming industry, but if you don’t you should know that it is Kadokawa Games’ first internally developed game created by Final Fantasy Tactics and Ogre Battle franchise veterans. And, as you can tell by the first line of this paragraph, it is very difficult.
According to Kensuke Tanaka and his team, the creation of Natural Doctrine was approached with one simple thought in mind, today’s strategy RPGs lack challenge and quality. The team wanted to change that situation.
While not exactly a “pretty” game, and not a game with a whole lot of story-line, Natural Doctrine focuses on mechanics. The game takes place on a variety of maps split into grids, however, the grids are much deeper than one would think. Like Final Fantasy Tactics, you will find obstructions getting in your way at times, but Natural Doctrine introduces a new way to stack characters on the same block in the grids you can combine offensive and defensive powers called the “linking” system. This linking system is at the core of the game, you will need to link often or you simply won’t make much progress.
An example of how the linking system works can be seen in a situation where you can throw four of your characters into a single square, concentrating your power and using the various special skills of each character.
Despite the fact that the game is difficult, it isn’t as difficult as when it was first released in Japan. Kadokawa finally had to include a patch that softened the difficulty a bit after complaints that the game was “insanely difficult.”
Natural Doctrine will be coming to North America for the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita on September 16th and in Europe on September 19th.
John Cena on cover
Last year the WWE game franchise moved from THQ to 2K Sports and benefiting from Visual Concepts, the developers behind the NBA 2K series. There wasn’t much available on the game at E3, but what was available suggested that the game is getting a huge upgrade.
John Cena, officially the game’s box art star, Hulk Hogan, Bray Wyatt, and Cesaro are just a small chunk of the game’s roster. Thanks to Visual Concepts’ body scanning tech, the wrestlers’ facial features and skin tone look so much more realistic.
Even the commentary is getting an upgrade to match the commentary style of NBA 2K’s narrators. WWE personalities Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler recorded their commentary concurrently, which makes a more natural exchange, adding more reality to the sport.
The game will be out sometime late October, so we hope to get a good view of the game before then.