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MLP-Skyrim

Valve is allowing mod creators to charge money for their work. Valve, working with Bethesda, has opened up creator pricing in the Steam Workshop for Skyrim. According to the announcement, content creators can set their own pricing (including free) in the Workshop, split revenue with partners, and even fight each other with DMCA Takedown notices. Congrats modders! You’ve hit the big time! Enjoy protecting your content and wrestling for rights.

On the consumer protection side, Valve has also instituted a 24-hour refund policy for mod buyers if they aren’t satisfied with what they paid for. Not enough nudity in that Bubblegum Crisis mod for your taste? Get a refund and buy the mod that lets you marry a horse.

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power_player

Factions are coming to Elite: Dangerous. Frontier Developments outlined the upcoming Powerplay initiative in the latest newsletter to players. The feature will add factions to the game that players can join. Each faction, or power, will have goals that they wish to attain and territory to defend. Each week, powers will pay out credits, influence, perks, and other rewards to players in their faction based on performance. The missions and rewards for participating players will reflect the character of their chosen power.

For example, if a major economic Power sends in their traders for a financial takeover against a military powerhouse, the other side may be tasked with piracy missions to destroy or loot their cargo. You can always be a trader or a miner or a pirate for your own ends, but by joining a Power you’ll be afforded special rights and be rewarded for playing the way you already like to play.

The downside of joining a faction? Well, it will be open season on you if you come across a wing of ships on an opposing power. Also, powers don’t take kindly to players that shift loyalty. Leaving a faction may incur penalties like having a bounty set on you from your former group. Powerplay will be included in a free update to Elite: Dangerous.

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, | Games podcasts
Millennium_Blades_podcast

After establishing his CCG bona fides, Tom Chick talks to Brad Talton about his newest boardgame, Millennium Blades, which is currently enjoying a successful campaign on Kickstarter. If you’ve ever played a CCG, or if you’ve so much as pondered playing a CCG, or especially if you want to play a game about CCGs that isn’t actually a CCG, Millennium Blades is a game for you.

Play
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voltron

That’s one of the ships a player has built in the current beta of Galactic Civilizations III. People created some impressive stuff in Galactic Civilizations II, but just from looking through the screenshots in Steam, it’s obvious that folks will be going nuts in the newest game’s more robust ship creator. Star Trek vs. Star Wars vs. Babylon 5 vs. Battlestar Galactica vs. Flash Gordon vs. The Last Starfighter? It’s like everything in our own starship week crammed into a cage match.

Now, Galactic Civilizations III has an official launch date. Stardock announced that the third installment of their space 4X franchise will release on May 14th. In early access, it’s grown from bare bones turn-based space expansion game to an almost full-fledged star-spanning exercise in crushing puny humans. Bah, humans! With better ship creation, custom factions, strategic hex maps, 4-player online multiplayer, and an ideology mechanic, Galactic Civilizations III promises to have a modified YT-1300 light freighter’s cargo hold of improvements from previous games.

Galactic Civilizations III is available on Windows PC.

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, | Game reviews
Ironcast_review

I’m at the farmer’s market on a date with Kyanna, a busty single mother with creepily childlike features. She’s most interested in talent and least interested in romance. That means I want to focus on matching blue gems instead of orange gems. And because I’ve put a point of skill into my sexuality and flirtation, I get extra affection when I match red gems and green gems. I have a teddy bear I can give her to turn all the purple gems into pink gems, which build passion that makes my matches more efficient. But until I match enough green gems, I won’t have the sentiment to use the teddy bear.

After the jump, what does this have to do with Ironcast’s steampunk mechs? Continue reading →

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gta-iv-screenshot

How do you make a movie about Grand Theft Auto? The games themselves ape cinematic crime stories, so filming a gangster epic and tacking the Grand Theft Auto name to it would be covering old ground. The BBC has a better idea. Make a movie based on the conflict between those that wanted to ban violent video games and the people that made their living from creating games. Game Changer, based on David Kushner’s book Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto, will cover the battle between moral activists and Rockstar, the studio that turned lap dances, hookers, and shooting sprees into games. Daniel Radcliffe will play Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser. Bill Paxton will take on the role of Jack Thompson who, before his fall from grace in 2008, led the media fight against what he called “murder simulators” and video games.

Game Changer’s script was written by James Wood (Rev, Ambassadors) and will be directed by Owen Harris (Black Mirror, Misfits). No air date has been announced yet.

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Rock-Band-Players

Mad Catz is co-publishing Rock Band 4 with Harmonix. They’re not just manufacturing the new plastic instruments you’ll be jamming on, they’ll be in charge of global retail sales, promotions, and distribution for the game itself. Harmonix will still be responsible for digital sales of the game as well as track DLC. When Rock Band 4 was announced in early March, Harmonix said they were working closely with the platform manufacturers to make the old instruments work with Rock Band 4, but that the new instruments would offer many improvements. Mad Catz reiterated that sentiment.

As a hard-core Rock Band fan, I can honestly say this is shaping up to be one of the biggest games of the year, and music fans are just going to go nuts for what Harmonix is creating! Not only that, but I truly believe that we’ll be delivering the very best music game controllers you’ve ever played with. We’re working so hard to improve all the controllers in so many ways, we think you’ll notice the difference immediately and love what we deliver!

Rock Band 4 will face competition from the recently announced Guitar Hero Live. They are both scheduled to launch later this year for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but Guitar Hero Live will also be available for mobile platforms.

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mass_effect_quad

We all know another Mass Effect game is coming. The only question is what will the game be like? Will it be a futuristic elevator simulator? An off-road planetary exploration adventure? A third-person cover shooter with lots of sexy cleavage and derrieres? According to leaked marketing survey details from BioWare and Electronic Arts, we can expect the game to resemble Dragon Age: Inquisition quite a bit, except there will be a lot more collecting. And derrieres.

The next Mass Effect game takes place in the Helius Cluster (a cluster of 100s of solar systems in the Andromeda Galaxy), far removed by time and space from Commander Shepard’s heroic acts and the final events of the Mass Effect trilogy.

As a Pathfinder, who is totally not Commander Shepard, the player will gather resources and allies to combat The Remnant, who are totally not The Precursors, before their technology destroys the galaxy. Details of some features included the return of the all-terrain Mako, establishing settlements to spread influence, and high-level raid style gameplay. Multiplayer appears to be an iteration of the current style found in Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect 3.

Previous survey leaks revealed accurate information about Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Dragon Age: Inquisition prior to their official announcements.

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Desktop_Dungeons_Enhanced_Edition

Desktop Dungeons, the fiendishly clever anti-roguelike that got five stars from a certain hard-assed reviewer, is about to find its way to iOS and Android devices, where it’ll freely sync itself with your PC version.

But in the course of making it for mobile platforms, the folks at QCF Design came up with some new stuff they didn’t want to leave out of the PC version. So today’s Enhanced Edition is available as a free update. I’ll leave it to QCF to explain the new features in their own words:

* Secretly despise friends for already beating you on the Daily Dungeon leaderboards.
* Unlock a terrifying new building for your Kingdom.
* Discover the Rat Monarch and Chemist classes… and their reasons for visiting the Kingdom.
* Click through new quests and ignore exposition as it streams past you.
* Gleefully and accurately sling spells from the player-requested drag-to-cast and radial menus.
* Pages and pages of optimizations and bug fixes that are awesome but don’t sound cool when we put them in lists like this one.

The mobile versions will be out “by the end of May”.

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pewpewpew

There’s already an iconic moment for Star Wars fans in the new teaser trailer for The Force Awakens. It’s that part at the end where space pirate Commander Riker is standing next to Dr. Zaius and he says “We’re home.” That’s what the announcement of Star Wars: Battlefront feels like. We’ve known about Electronic Arts and DICE taking on big multiplayer in the Star Wars playground since a few weeks after Disney bought the whole lot from George Lucas, but it’s nice to finally tear away the tarp and see what they’ve been working on. It’s a Battlefield game!

It’s the Frostbite engine and explosions and next-gen super graphics with a jillion polys and plenty of pew-pew. Teams will square off against each other with Star Wars equipment and vehicles in familiar places like the forest moon of Endor or the snowdrifts of Hoth. EA will even offer a free map download just before The Force Awakens premieres that depicts a battle on Jakku, the desert planet shown in the latest movie trailer. And since Star Wars is all about pulp heroes and villains, players will be able to embody their favorite cosplay subjects like Darth Vader and Rebel Trooper #12. Basically, it’s all the fan-service you could want outside of a remake of Wrath of Khan starring Smaug.

Star Wars: Battlefront is scheduled to launch on November 17th for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. UPDATE: Here’s the trailer.

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dividing_men

2011’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution presented players with the classic stealth or brute-force options during gameplay, except during the boss fights. Shoot or die was the only choice, and players that invested heavily in the stealth part of the game found those bits painful. Eidos Montreal outsourced those sections of the game to another developer, and it showed. This criticism dogged Human Revolution even after the “director’s cut” reworked the boss encounters to give less trigger happy players a leg up. While many players appreciated the work Eidos Montreal put into updating the Deus Ex universe, that one negative point really stuck in a lot of players’ minds.

With Square-Enix’s announcement of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the all-important question was asked. Would boss battles suck as much as they did in Human Revolution? Short answer: No. Game director Jean-Francois Dugas confirmed on Twitter that a true stealth solution would be possible throughout the game. Cybernetically enhanced protagonist Adam Jensen will be able to use his sneaky skills to deal with even the most heavily-armed bosses. Good news for players that want to tiptoe past the bad guys.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be coming to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC later this year.

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fps_guitar

The most striking thing about Guitar Hero Live is the audience. They’re not the cartoon characters they used to be. FreeStyleGames’ reboot of the Guitar Hero games features footage of actors on a set reacting to your playing. The third-person view is flipped around and now you’re looking out of the guitar player’s eyes. Mess up and the footage switches to people booing. Rock hard and the people cheer. Your band is filled with real people as well. No stylized video game robots here.

This “live” presentation allows Activision to integrate real music videos into a jump-in-at-anytime 24-hours a day feature called Guitar Hero TV. The “note highway” appears on the video, allowing would-be rockers the ability to play and compete against each other. It’s hoped that this will take the place of DLC tracks. The good news is that access to GHTV comes with the game. No subscription is needed. The bad news is that the footage of GHTV shows the player acquiring coins as they play. Will they be used as a form of F2P currency? Activision wasn’t ready to say just yet how they would monetize GHTV.

The new guitar peripheral (seen here) is also a big change from the old models. Instead of one row of multicolored buttons on the neck, it has a row of black buttons and a row of white buttons arranged one atop the other, with three buttons each. The idea being that it’s easier for new players to learn, but offers more challenge to veteran strummers.

Guitar Hero Live is coming this Fall to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and mobile platforms.

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gitoverhere

When I was younger, I was always in awe of the players that could pull off all of Mortal Kombat’s fatalities. It irked me that when I played those guys, I had to always settle for the normal match endings instead of doing something cool like freezing someone and shattering them, or harpooning them in the head. Is it back, back, front, back, up or back, back, up, front, back? Mortal Kombat offers players a path to easier fatalities – for a price. On the PlayStation and Xbox stores, fatality-challenged players can purchase either a 5-pack or 30-pack of expendable tokens that can be used in-game to turn the complicated finishing moves into two button inputs. These simpler kills have not yet appeared for sale to PC players. Players can always earn similar tokens in-game through play, but paying for them with real money offers a shortcut to impatient kombatants that just want to rip someone’s heart out now.

Mortal Kombat X is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC.

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Destiny’s second expansion launches on May 19th. The House of Wolves will add a second social hub for players to run around in, so they won’t just be hanging out in The Tower. The expansion from Bungie also adds more “epic” story, another high-level raid, and new Crucible maps. Like The Dark Below expansion, veteran players can expect some nigh-impossible scenarios that will be mastered in a matter of days by the truly hardcore. House of Wolves will be $19.99 on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One if purchased on its own. The expansion is included as part of the expansion pass.

Savvy readers will note that May 19th is also the multi-platform launch date of The Witcher 3 from CD Projekt RED. This sums up my feelings on the potential scheduling conflict. That’s not even figuring in the fact that Grand Theft Auto V for PC launches later tonight with the exclusive cinematic editor.

Update: Bungie has clarified that House of Wolves won’t include a new raid. It will instead add a new battle Arena called The Prison of Elders.

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