Archive for April, 2013

, | Games

metastasis_3_5

Adam Foster has posted a director’s cut version of his Half-life 2 mod Minerva to Steam for everyone to easily enjoy. No more fumbling with separate pack downloads! It’s still free but Foster has tweaked puzzles, fixed bugs, and given the whole thing a nice coat of polish. The mod made waves when it was first released for being one of the best (and first) user-made singleplayer add-ons for Half-Life 2 that followed Valve’s design sensibilities. In fact, it’s so good, the mod got Foster a job at Valve!

You’ll need to own Half-Life 2: Episode One on Steam to play Minerva. You can find the mod here.

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, | Games

GearsofWar

“Maaaaaarrrrriiiia!” Variety reports that Scott Stuber, of Bluegrass Films, has agreed to produce the Gears of War movie. He will develop a script in cooperation with Epic Games. Stuber most recently produced Ted and Battleship. Hopefully, these will be inspirational to Stuber so that the Gears movie will be hilariously crude and explosively dumb.

New Line originally had the movie rights, but after failures to get production started, they let the property revert to Epic who has since been courting filmmakers to commit.

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, | Games

West-and-Zampella

Respawn Entertainment, the studio started by ex-Call of Duty bosses at EA after they split from Activision, will release a game exclusively for the next-gen Xbox according to sources speaking to Kotaku. The game, currently known by the working project title Titan, will be a futuristic shooter that features multiplayer battles with giant mechs and infantry.

While the details of the game came to us from one source – a source who is in a good position to know what the deal is with Respawn’s game – their assertion that the game is destined only for Microsoft console hardware was consistent with information another source gave us earlier this month. That other source had also told us that Respawn’s game would only be for the Xbox brand. It is possible that the game could be a timed exclusive, but neither source indicated that was the case.

Respawn Entertainment’s founders, Vince Zampella and Jason West, had reportedly wanted to make a shooter set in the future when they were in charge of Infinity Ward, but Activision demanded they make more Call of Duty games set in modern times.

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, | Movie podcasts

rear_explosion

Is this modestly budget character-driven thriller Michael Bay’s Fargo, his Once Upon a Time in America, or his Love Guru? Listen to the Pain & Gain podcast to find out. At the 34-minute mark, this week’s 3×3 points out the best fingers in movies.

Next week: Iron Man 3

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, | Games

IllumiRoom is as close as we’ll get to Ray Bradbury’s The Veldt in my lifetime. It’s one of those wacky proof-of-concept things from Microsoft Research that makes you instantly want it when you see it regardless of the practicality.

There’s an official document, but it’s filled with techncial stuff that makes my head spin. Spatial augmented reality? Radiometric compensation? I just want to shoot stuff and watch the explosions come out of my TV screen and onto my walls. How many souls do I need to sacrifice to make that happen?

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, | Games

Korean_appeasement

Before today, I didn’t know that K-pop was a thing. I’d heard of J-pop. Japanese pop music. But there was Korean pop, pre-Psy? Who knew? Not only do I now know it’s a thing, but I’m dangerously close to actually considering the possibility of maybe looking into the option of perhaps buying Kara’s latest album, Step. Oh, look, it’s $12 on iTunes. Kara is a K-pop group that really took off in Japan, hence their inclusion in a Vita rhythm game called DJ Max Technika Tune, in which I am now level three (3!) at listening to them and watching them prance around glittery stages in cute little costumes. Well, trying to watch, but my finger keeps getting in the way as I poke at the gameplay bits.

There might be other musical artists in DJ Max Technika Tune, but I’m not sure.

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, | Games

hellraid

Techland has announced Hellraid, a first-person hack & slash game with system generated online challenges. The game can be played in singleplayer, but it sounds like co-op with three other hellraiders may be more fulfilling. Techland has added a points-based rewards ladder to Dead Island style co-op gameplay, which could be exactly what the system needs to mix things up.

Fighting hordes of hellish monsters is far more exciting when you do it with friends. To make it even more satisfying we’ve added an element or coopetition between the players. Each action in the game, be it killing a monster or helping a dying companion, is rewarded with points. The best players will receive special rewards and climb up the leaderboards.

“Coopetition” is a term that I sincerely hope does not catch on. I’m still getting used to freemium and phablet.

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, | Games

pgatour

Kotaku reports that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 15 is “not happening” for any platform and that the decision to cancel the title is part of the strategy implemented after the disasterous earnings results that ended with CEO John Riccitiello’s departure. The game was supposed to have been outsourced to give the in-house development team two years to work on Tiger Woods 16 for next-gen systems, but will instead be skipped entirely to save money.

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, | Games

theater of war mode

Relic has announced a new mode to Company of Heroes 2 called Theater of War which consists of additional co-op and singleplayer challenges that will put your real-time abilities to the test. The pack launching with the game is called Theater of War 1941 and will feature nine unique missions each for the German and Soviet sides with units and abilities based on the time period.

Greg Wilson, Producer of Company of Heroes 2, commented, “We get a lot of requests from fans to showcase specific conflicts from the war and it isn’t always possible to fit these into the campaign. Theatre of War gives us the opportunity to deliver these new gameplay experiences to our fans.”

Quinn Duffy, Game Director commented, “Theatre of War acts as a perfect bridge between the game’s single and multiplayer content providing a high level of re-playability and helping to introduce traditionally solo players to the online elements of the game.”

Future packs are planned that will present challenges from later in the conflict.

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, | Games

punch_like_an_Egyptian

…Eliza. From developer Lab Zero’s “playstyle speculation” section:

The ultimate attack-from-disadvantage character. Because of her kinship with her [skeletal] parasite, Eliza can control her own blood. Each time she is hit she bleeds, [Mortal Kombat] style, and the blood stays on the stage. Certain specials and supers can then use it.

Uh, eww? Wait, I meant, “Cool!” I think. Whatever’s going on with Eliza, she’s definitely not normal. See Lab Zero’s full-length concept art after the jump to check out assets that would make Portal’s Chell jealous. I can only imagine how she gets around with those!

The next round of voting to determine the fourth and final character in the upcoming Skullgirls DLC should begin shortly. Good luck, Annie and Sagan!

After the jump, are those real? Continue reading →

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, | Features

neon_future

Remember Ubisoft’s April Fool’s Day announcement for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon that turned out not to be a joke? The fifteen-dollar downloadable game out this week will presumably demonstrate that the Far Cry 3 engine is too good to be contained solely in Far Cry 3. It is apparently so good that it knocks itself back into a previous decade. This standalone release was inspired by the vision of the future realized on VHS tapes in the 80s. It therefore stars Michael Biehn. In other words, it came across time for me.

The add-on for Heroes of Might & Magic VI, Shades of Darkness, is apparently enough to merit its release as a standalone game, but like Blood Dragon, not enough to increment the Roman numeral. Ubisoft is at the forefront of numeric conservation.

Zeno Clash II — note the incremented Roman numeral! — is the latest installment in Chilean developer Ace Team’s first person puncher series, which began life over ten years ago as a Quake mod. You explore alien worlds and sometimes punch exotice creatures. Even if it’s awful, it will probably be better than anything you see on Syfy these days. Can you tell that I’m watching Defiance?

Deadly Premonitions will be re-released in the form of a “director’s cut”. Consider me surprised that the original release of this weird take on America and Twin Peaks wasn’t already its director’s cut. Did you know that you fight an axe-weilding jawa in that game?

Finally, if you have a Vita, it’s not dead yet. Soul Sacrifice is more than happy to drink up as much time as you want to give it.

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, | Games

irony-message

Pirates suck. That’s something we can all agree on. Unless you’re a dirty pirate, of course. Then you’re probably too busy enjoying DRM-free games to notice what other people think of you. Greenheart Games wanted to send a wake-up call to pirates, so they uploaded a “cracked” version of their casual game development game, Game Dev Tycoon, to torrent sharing sites. This version of the game was a bit special. Hours into playing it, pirates found their virtual game development company losing money due to piracy until they went out of business.

Boss, it seems that while many players play our new game, they steal it by downloading a cracked version rather than buying it legally.

If players don’t buy the games they like, we will sooner or later go bankrupt.

Predictably, players of the pirated version of the game took to various forums to complain about the in-game piracy ruining their games. Some even asked if there was a way to research DRM in the game to foil the virtual thieves. Irony unlocked!

Patrick Klug of Greenheart Games posted the results of their experiment one day after they started it. 93.6% of Game Dev Tycoon players were using the pirated version rather than paying $8 to play the game legitimately, or even using the free demo.

If you don’t care about all of this and just want to get a cracked and illegal version then we can’t do anything about that, but if years down the track you wonder why there are no games like these anymore and all you get to play is pay-to-play and social games designed to suck money out of your pockets then the reason will stare back at you in the mirror.

For extra Inception-like zaniness, Game Dev Tycoon is an homage (some say rip-off) of Kairosoft’s mobile game, Game Dev Story. Ride the kick back up the layers!

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, | Games

used_cars

Nintendo of America is selling refurbished handhelds via their official online store. They come with the same one year warranty as new products and “are guaranteed to be fully functional, but may have minor cosmetic blemishes.” Prices range from $169.98 for a Midnight Purple Nintendo 3DS bundled with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D to $99.99 for a Metallic Rose Nintendo DSi XL.

You can find these used systems selling for cheaper on eBay and other online shops, but they don’t come with a one year warranty from Nintendo, which carries a certain amount of trustworthiness that Llamalover2524 may not have.

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, | Games

double_cheesecake

In Soul Sacrifice, the Vita action RPG out next week, one of the spells is called Red Fruit of Lust. It creates a life-size poster of a hot nekkid chick with strategically placed hair and a skull. Which seems odd since I was under the impression M-rated games didn’t have to shy away from nipples and pubic hair. Well, okay, maybe they’re not ready for pubic hair, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen nipples in M-rated games. At any rate, it’s all very softcore, but the idea is that monsters will go “Va-va-voom!” while their legs kick up in the air and their eyeballs pop forward out of their skulls. In practice, they just take a few swipes at the poster, but those are swipes they aren’t taking at you.

Not since a Metal Gear Solid game has porn had such gameplay value. Snake used to drop girly magazines to distract guards, but I don’t recall the player every getting to see the contents of the magazines, which might have included nipples and pubic hair. Soul Sacrifice has additional varieties of distractions. There are variations based on food, money, and even hot dudes. The latter is a spell called Blue Fruit of Lust, and it creates a life-size poster of a shirtless dude whose nipples are fully exposed. In many ways, Soul Sacrifice has something for everyone.

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