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Here is what has been making news: New Releases, League of Legends, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Halo: Nightfall, Sentris: The Evolution, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Crew, Disney Infinity, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, Atari: Game Over, Firefly Online, Gigantic.
July 27th – August 2nd
Monday, July 28th
Making History: The Great War will be available for the PC.
Tuesday, July 29th
Terrian Sega: KR-17 will be available for the MAC.
LEGO Ninjago Nindroids will be available for the 3DS and PS Vita.
The Last of Us Remastered will be available for the PS4.
Rogue Legacy will be available for the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita.
Firefall will be available for the PC.
Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds will be available for the PS Vita.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky will be available for the PC.
Elite: Dangerous will be available for the PC and MAC.
Wednesday, July 30th
AirMech Arena will be available for the Xbox 360 (Live Arcade).
Sharknado: The Video Game will be available for the iPhone.
Thursday, July 31st
Pinball FX2 will be available for the Xbox One.
Cloud Chamber will be available for the PC and MAC.
Kick-Ass 2 will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
XType Plus will be available for the Wii U.
Son of Nor will be available for the PC, MAC and UNIX.
Accel Knights 2: Full Throttle will be available for the 3DS.
Lovely Planet will be available for the PC.
Dark Horizons: Mechanized Crops will be available for the PC.
Friday, August 1st
Scared 3 will be available (in UK) for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Epigenesis will be available for the PC.
Ban the jerks
When I think of rude gaming communities, the community of League of Legends is the first to come to mind. And frankly, saying it is rude is being polite. Developer, Riot Games, has been trying some interesting approaches to fixing the problem. In some cases it has worked while in others it has not.
Currently Riot is testing out a new combination of human review and “machine learning” in order to identify and punish what Riot Games calls “extreme cases of toxicity.” Examples of this would be intentional feeding or flaming, racism, death threats, and homophobia. The aim of the test is to discover how many false-positives are returned. If the new program proves that it works, we can expect to see more bans for people who are pulling the gaming experience for others down. Such bans would last anywhere from two weeks to forever.
Besides the toxic behavior, Riot is also trying to tackle the issue of complaining about a ban. If the new system catches you attacking another player and you complain and try to debate your innocence, Riot, in an attempt to be “fully transparent,” will publish your chat transcripts.
Riot Games has been asked by some players why they have chosen to take such an aggressive stance, especially when the focus had been on reform. According to Riot, “the key here is that for most players, reform approaches are quite effective. But, for a number of players, reform attempts have been very unsuccessful which forces us to remove some of these players from League entirely.”
The new system test has already begun on at least one server, according to RiotLyte the lead designer of social systems. They will be rolling the new system test out one server at a time to monitor its effectiveness.
RiotLyte posted on LoL Reddit explaining, “In the past, we’ve avoided publicly naming and shaming players; however, we’ve learned in recent months that being transparent is extremely critical to the playerbase’s trust in our systems, so we’ve decided to do a compromise. If players complain about unfair bans for this particular system (so, have a ban year code of 2500), we’re going to be fully transparent and posting the chat logs that resulted in the ban.”
Riot will be addressing this effort in more detail in the near future. They also plan to address another system that deals rather “severely” with “Leavers/AFKs.” They will provide this information using “the usual channels like the League forums.”
You go Riot!! This is the kind of active stance I love to see developers taking to help make the gaming community more user friendly.
Sony Pictures recently announced that on June 10th, 2016, the very first movie based on the Uncharted game series will be making its way to the theaters.
Seth Gordon, the Uncharged film’s director, recently stated that they will begin filming the movie early next year. As of yet, a lead actor hasn’t been cast. At one point, Mark Wahlberg was going to be playing Nathan Drake, however, that fell through when the previous director left the project.
Gordon has stated that he “love[s] the complexity and frankly the sophistication of the storytelling in the game.” He doesn’t want to simply retell the game’s story, saying, “I feel like the people who play the games and know them well don’t want to just see the same story told. You want extra shades.”
Currently Naughty Dog is developing a new Uncharted game titled, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, for the PS4. There is no release date and no information on if it will be tied to the released of the film or not. Can someone explain how the film industry can tell us the date of a movie being released two years ahead of time while the game industry can’t give us a release date for a game?
Protagonist actor announced
The protagonist Agent Jameson Locke in the live-action miniseries, Halo: Nightfall, has been announced as Mike Colter. Colter is best known for his role in The Good Wife, a CBS drama.
Agent Locke first appeared as a featured character in the teaser image for Halo 5: Guardians. According to Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries, Locke will have “a key role in Halo 5: Guardians.” His backstory and origin will be discovered in Halo: Nightfall.
The Halo miniseries is being directed by Ridley Scott, the director of Alien. You can expect to see the debut episode of Halo: Nightfall sometime in early November, around the time when the Halo: Master Chief Collection is launched on November 11th.
New kind of music game
Samantha Kalman, designer of Sentris: The Evolution, states that the inspiration for the music game came from her experiences playing in a band. Kalman explained in the original Kickstarter Campaign Video, “Making music is a feeling unlike any other. It’s an intense emotional rush, being surrounded by music that’s coming from inside you and your friends. The first time I experienced it, I knew I needed to find a way to share it with everybody.”
Unlike rhythm games such as Rock Band, Sentris isn’t about duplicating a pre-existing song, rather, it gives you the musical frameworks, requirements to meet, then sets you free to string together sounds any way you wish. A completely different experience from most other music games. As you drop sounds into place to create your own song, you also move toward solving each level’s sound puzzles.
The game gives you complete freedom in how you approach it. Kalman explained, “One thing that’s been interesting to me is the gap between beginner and expert play. I get to see a lot of beginner play, and everyone is a beginner when they first play the game, and the way it gets talked about is being a very meditative experience, but it becomes less true as you get more advanced. When you become an expert player in Sentris, a huge element of what makes that true is that you’re performing your own music. You become more of a real musician as you get better at the game.”
Kalman is getting the help of some established musicians to create some of the higher levels in the game. As she continues to tweak the overall structure of Sentris she is focused on the final form she wants to achieve. “Right now I’m feeling really positive about embracing an album model,” she said, “where the tutorial is an album, and then, I’m working with Disasterpeace and Danny [Baranowsky] and Symbion Project, so, like, here’s a Disasterpeace album. And here’s all these different songs that were made for the game for you to play. And here’s a Danny B album. And then I’m also making level editors and instrument editors so that anyone can make an album as user-generated content and share that with people.”
While there seems there will always be some work to be done on the game, Kalman expressed some eagerness to see how people respond to it in August when it becomes available on Steam Early Access. “Depending on how large the community becomes, I’m expecting to be in Early Access for about six to eight months, and be finishing features, adding many more levels and more music, high-quality recordings of all these analog instruments, and figuring out the right shape for the game, before launching it early next year.”
Release delayed – again
Once again BioWare and Electronic Arts has announced that the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition will be delayed. The game is now expected to launch for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC on November 18th in North America and November 21st in Europe.
While this delay is over a month later than last announced, the first delay was a year longer than planned. Originally the game was said to launch last fall. According to Mark Darrah, executive producer, the team needs some added time to work out some bugs and polish up the game. “This last bit of time is about polishing the experience we want you to see. Ensuring that our open spaces are as engaging as possible. Strengthening the emotional impact of the Hero’s choices. And ensuring the experience you get is the best it can be in the platform you choose to play on. We appreciate the enormous support we’ve received from all of you to get to this point, and while this extra few weeks may not seem like a lot, I know the game you’ll play will be all the better for it.”
Exploring the open-world
The open-world formula for The Crew will be similar to what you expect from a Ubisoft game. The driving game’s world is lavish and colorful and filled to the gills with things to do and minor challenges to undertake. The Crew will send you from one location to another as you take on tasks. It will be easy to become distracted from the main task as you encounter the many side tasks you can do.
In The Crew you will find that there is always something new to do, a new waypoint to get to, a new goal to achieve, a new cutscene to view, and a new vehicle to drive. It’s a virtual smorgasbord of activity, anything from delivery missions, drag racing, off-road chases, street racing and so, so much more.
From the very beginning of the game you will be on the move, involved in a chase, moving you onto your next mission. Each mission you complete will reward you with parts to trick out your ride or perk points you can use on upgrades.
The Crew is a huge, highly detailed, open-world game that is currently in closed beta. We can expect to see the game released sometime this November.
Guardians of the Galaxy confirmed
Rocket Raccoon and Groot, two of the stars of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film, were recently teased as new characters in a Disney Infinity trailer. Just the other day Disney Interactive made the official announcement that Guardians of the Galaxy will be getting its own playset for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes.
The full set of playable characters will include Drax, Gamora, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and Star-Lord. As with earlier Disney Infinity characters, these will also be playable in the game’s Toy Box 2.0 mode.
The new character set will release sometime this fall.
Launching in December
Scott Amos, executive producer at Crystal Dynamics, recently announced that Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris will release on December 9th for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Regarding the reason for what seems like a long wait, Amos stated, “We look at this game and we put it together in a way that we just love it. It’s a fan favorite, it’s something that we want to do right.”
This follow-up to Guardian of Light plays about the same, combining Lara’s world with top-down, twin-stick shooting and co-op play. The big difference is that you can now play with up to four in co-op as Lara is joined by Carter and imprisoned Egyptian gods, Horus and Isis.
According to Crystal Dynamics, both online and local co-op will be available at launch.
Documentary by Xbox
You may recall that last April Microsoft led a dig in a New Mexico landfill in search of the rumored buried Atari game, E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial. The purpose was to see if the rumors were true and develop a documentary on the dig.
Microsoft recently released a trailer for the first part of the documentary series, Signal to Noise, titled Atari: Game Over. Signal to Noise, tells the story of Atari, one of the fastest growing companies in American history and how it ended up burying thousands of unsold copies of their failed game E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial.
Howard Warshaw, the game’s creator, and other Atari employees are interviewed throughout the film, as are many of those who were involved in the Microsoft sponsored dig which unearthed the buried copies of several Atari games and hardware.
Microsoft recently announced the shut-down of Xbox Entertainment Studios, responsible for the production of the documentary series. Microsoft assured that the shutdown won’t have an impact on Signal to Noise or Steven Spielberg’s Halo TV series, Halo: Nightfall.
You can expect to see Atari: Game Over air on Xbox sometime this fall.
Original cast gives voice to the game
According to developers Quantum Mechanix Inc. and Spark Plug Games, the actors who portrayed the renegade crew in the sci-fi TV show Firefly will offer their voices to the new game Firefly Online.
Nathan Fillion has already added his voice as Captain Malcolm Reynolds, as has several of the other original show’s actors such as Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, and Ron Glass. A few others are preparing to do the same soon, according to the game’s official Facebook page.
The game, like the show, is about customizing your ship, recruiting a crew, and completing missions. The game was originally announced for iOS and Androis, however, Firefly Online will be coming to PC and MAC via Steam. This change has pushed the release date to the Spring of 2015.
Recently the developers stated, If there is a downside to all this shiny is we have A LOT more work to do. There are many hours’ worth of new material we’re adding to the game, about 20 actors we need to turn into 3-D models and literally dozens of new scenes that must be blocked and animated.”
As a fan of the sci-fi TV series Firefly, I am looking forward to firing up this online game early next year.
New competitive PC game
Recently independent developer Motiga announced their free-to-play PC game, Gigantic. While it may resemble a MOBA game, Motiga describes it differently.
James Phinney, Motiga’s vice president of product development, was the lead designer for StarCraft and Guild Wars. Phinney explained, “It’s not really a MOBA. I think when people talk about MOBAs there is a very specific DOTA lineage that they are talking about.”
In Gigantic you are put in the role of a single character with a third-person view, similar to Gears of War style. Phinney went on to explain, “What we’re making is a game that’s a cross between a third-person shooter and an action RPG. It’s an attempt to take characters and mechanics from many genres and bring them together in an all-star battle royale. You’ve got a character that clearly takes its lineage from fighting games, or one that takes more of its mechanics from new wave, more recent action-MMO combat, or a character that’s just a straight-up sniper from a shooter. And we bring them all together into a strategic battle. So playing the game, the actual experience of it, is actually not at all like a MOBA.”
One of the abilities you will possess in the game is to make a comeback, even when you are losing. Phinney explained that Gigantic lets you incorporate the use of a focus ability which he describes as “sort of blatantly ripped off of fighting games.”
Focus ability can be built up as you deal damage or take damage. Eventually as you build up enough you will have the opportunity to make a dramatic comeback. You won’t be overly powerful, but will have an increased opportunity to do something which will turn events in your direction. Phinney explained, “They still have to use it, they still have to land it, and they still have to choose the right time to turn things around.”
Your goal in Gigantic is to down the opposing team’s Guardian, “a giant creature that plays off console boss monster mechanics, in terms of working it into a state of vulnerability, dodging a certain pattern of attacks.” You won’t have direct control of your Guardian but the creature will respond and move based on the opportunities the game presents. Your Guardian is there to assist your team.
Gigantic will be launching for the PC next year as a free-to-play game.