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In honor of the anniversary of H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday in 1890, Eldritch, the blocky oh-so-cute survival game has added Steam achievements, leaderboards, and another free mini-expansion. The Asylum update gives horror fans the opportunity to visit the lovely halls of insanity, where I’m sure nothing bad can possibly happen to them.

Eldritch also happens to be the Steam Daily Deal! It’s as if the stars are aligning.

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By now you’ve probably seen the bonkers YouTube advertisement for Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL 15. If you haven’t, check it out because it’s three minutes of absolute crazy. It starts with Kevin Hart and Dave Franco’s Madden rivalry and before it ends, there are DJ bears, Conway warbling in a silver dress, and a house fire. While it may appear to be nothing but a self-indulgent mess, EA Sports VP of marketing Anthony Stevenson tells GamesIndustry that they have a plan and it will keep the 26-year-old Madden brand strong. Through polls, data gathering, and trend-watching the money men in marketing have come up with this strategy to reinvent how EA Sports communicates to the younger generation. It’s all about YouTube.

“You’re not going to attract a new audience with a feature. You’re going to attract a new audience by catering to what they’re passionate about, which in this case is football, competition, and the celebrity talent they like that are in the creative… The goal with TV and digital is we want to get a new audience who’s not going to be attracted by ‘Hey, we’ve got a brand new way to do playcalling.’ That’s not going to appeal to them. What we’re trying to do is make them reconsider Madden, as, ‘Hey, Madden’s a cool brand. They get it. I love to compete, so this might be something for me.’”

Science kids! It’s important. Plus, you get to see Kevin Hart slap Dave Franco.

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Hellgate, the infamously divisive 2007 action roleplaying game from now-defunct Flagship Studios, may be coming back in a new incarnation. After publisher Namco pulled the plug on the game in 2009, they sold the rights to South Korea’s Hanbitsoft which made a free-to-play version for Asian markets called Hellgate: Resurrection. Westerners could play the game, but it wasn’t marketed to them as the previous retail release was considered a toxic brand by many. That may soon end. Redbana Corporation, Hanbitsoft, and T3 have posted a Steam Greenlight listing for Hellgate Global which will include everything from Hellgate: Resurrection and a new Tokyo update.

Hellgate Tokyo continues the story of the London Resurrection. Heroes start in Tokyo Base, and continue on to different locations as they progress through the story. Tokyo is composed of 24 new levels, with new named monsters and boss monsters.

The update will also include two new horde modes, with one intriguingly named “Cow Room” for fans of old Blizzard in-jokes. Has it been long enough that gamers can forgive the sins of the original game? Judging by the images posted by the publisher, not much has changed in demon-infested London. Clunky effects, stiff character models, and groan-inducing repetitive assets still abound. Perhaps Tokyo will offer more?

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, | Game reviews
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When I used to regularly play videogames on a LAN, Diablo and Diablo II were cornerstones of our LAN gaming. I’d have a single copy spawned across as many as six computers. We’d each have characters we were leveling, and I often had to shuffle character files around to different computers.

“I’m the level 30 amazon who is on that computer that he’s using, so I need her over here on this computer.”

“Okay, what was the character name and I’ll find the file.”

“Uh, I don’t know.”

It was part of the charm of gathering locally to play videogames, along with maintaining six computers. It was another era. But the Diablo was a big part of what made it worthwhile. These days, we play boardgames when we gather locally. These days, you have to use the adverb “locally” when you talk about physically gathering. These days, get off my lawn.

After the jump, wait, come back! I was about to talk about Diablo III on the PS4! Continue reading →

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reaper of souls ps4

Sony’s 2013 E3 press conference was the exact moment I knew I’d be buying a Playstation 4. It was also the exact moment I knew I’d be buying a Vita for the second time.

I had abandoned my first Vita the previous year due to a lack of compelling games. But the PS4 itself promised good indie support and none of Microsoft’s then draconian policies. I also preferred Sony’s exclusives over Microsoft’s first party stable. But what really pushed me over the edge and back into the waiting arms of the Vita was remote play.

After the jump, is that a devil in your pocket? Continue reading →

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All you really need to know to be excited by Conflicks, an upcoming real time strategy game for the PC, is that it’s from the guys who made the superlative Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves. But if that’s not enough, check out the above video for a brief history lesson on stuff that I don’t remember learning in school. Developer Artifice Studio will reveal information about the gameplay at a later date, but if they manage in the gameplay even a tenth of the humor and originality from that trailer, count me in.

Viva la cluck!

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Star Citizen, the galactic fund-raising machine, has surpassed the $50 million mark. In fact, the total money pledged so far stands at $51,123,228.00 and shows no sign of slowing. The jaw-dropping budget milestone for Cloud Imperium Games’ ambitious space MMO development came as the developer opened the Constellation model of starship for sale. These larger ships can be crewed by multiple players and start at $150.00 for the “back-to-basics” Taurus. If you just can’t choose which to get, the Connie Super-Pack offers all four ships and a 10-inch physical model for only $1,000.00!

The generous revenue for Star Citizen hasn’t just been used for snazzy marketing materials for starship sales. Cloud Imperium Games revealed that racing will be added to version 0.9 allowing players to compete for the 2944 Murray Cup by zipping through space-lanes. The developer also released a teaser for the planned first-person combat mode.

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, | Movie podcasts
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At least Life after Beth is no Warm Bodies. Join us for a discussion of Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza as two people young and in love, even though they’re not all alive. At the 59-minute mark, we dig into our favorite graveyard scenes in movies.

Next week: A Most Wanted Man

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, | Features
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[Editor's note: Every two weeks, we'll pick a classic game to play and discuss. Then the choice of the next game will be made by a randomly selected participant from the current discussion. It's like a book club, but with videogames. We'd love to have you join us. Register for the forums and hop into the discussion! This week's choice, by Otagan, is Command & Conquer Red Alert.]

They call me ‘Killer,’ but I live only to serve the People, and the People’s history will judge me.

-Joseph Stalin

The venerable Command & Conquer Red Alert is the 1996 sequel to Westwood’s legendary Command & Conquer. Eschewing the pseudo-modern setting of its predecessor, Red Alert is based around an alternate history wherein Albert Einstein invents the “Chronosphere” after the end of World War 2 and uses it to travel back in time, assassinating Adolf Hitler before he rises to power.

After the jump, let’s do the time warp again. Continue reading →

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Gwent is a card game in the fictional world of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. According to lore, it was invented by dwarves and is played in taverns across the lands. Players of The Witcher 3 will be able to sample Gwent in-game, but only buyers of the Xbox One Collector’s Edition will get a physical set of cards to play the game in real life. Distributor Bandai Namco and developer CD Projekt RED announced the Xbox One exclusive also includes a physical cloth map. CD Projekt RED co-founder Marcin Iwinski explained that the physical version of the card game was made a reality with Microsoft’s help.

“Now we’ve got Gwent in every copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as an in-game experience for free on every platform, and a physical version in the Xbox One CE, how awesome is that?”

The Collecter’s Edition content that will be shared across platforms are the game itself, a medallion, an art book, a steel case, and a statue of Geralt of Rivia making best friends with a griffon. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt launches on Xbox One, PS4 and PC in early 2015.

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, | Games podcasts
D3_PS4

Brandon Cackowski-Schnell and Tom Chick consider whether Blizzard has made the definitive version of Diablo III for the latest generation of console systems.

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Hi there, my name is Tony Carnevale. For years now, America has been clamoring for me to record video footage of myself playing through Kingdom: The Far Reaches while I say silly things about it. Clamor no more, for here it is!

This version of Kingdom: The Far Reaches was released in 1995, as a repackaged version of a 1984 game called “Thayer’s Quest”, which was originally released in arcades and for a home laserdisc game console called Halcyon that only had two games ever. That even makes the Wii U’s library look vast! Join me on my quest to, uh, save the kingdom, I guess. And also to figure out what the hell is going on.

I’ll be doing one of these videos each month, playing a different game each time. See you in September!

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Allen Murray, co-founder of AtomJack, has been working in video games for ten years. During that time, he worked on Plants vs. Zombies 2, multiple Halo games, Marathon: Durandal, and helped make the Xbox Live Arcade ecosystem. Part of that early work on Xbox included the bane of gamers – advertising. In fact, as Murray recollects, he’s the main guy responsible for those dreaded banner ads on your console home screen. His tale begins with his innocent suggestion to Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb that there should be a way for the team to promote Arcade content to gamers.

“Wait, banner ads? Like on websites?”
“Sort of, but these aren’t like ads for Mt. Dew or anything, these are just…”
“No way.”
“What?”
“Gamers are gonna hate ads. No way.”

Despite the initial thumbs down from Major Nelson, Murray felt they really needed a way to highlight game releases on the Xbox 360. Through persistence, Murray was able to get the Banner of the Day concept off the ground. Ten short years later, and the Xbox interface is a bewildering chock-a-block of advertising! Let this be a lesson to do-gooders. The road to Hell and all that.

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Starbreeze Studios and developer Overkill have revealed they are working on a game based on The Walking Dead. Coming in 2016, Overkill’s The Walking Dead will combine the co-op first person shooter elements the developer has made (in)famous in Payday 2 with the hordes of zombies Walking Dead fans love to hate. In the announcement video, series creator Robert Kirkman gives the project his thumbs up and extends a free gift to current players of Payday 2. From some of the details, players can expect further associations between the two games.

Payday 2 and Overkill’s The Walking Dead are two separate games – but, in true Overkill spirit, we’ll make some unprecedented crossovers. When Washington falls, what will Dallas do? If you own Payday 2, you can answer this question in Overkill’s The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead’s popularity knows no bounds!

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