Archive for April 22nd, 2013

Homeworld purchased by Gearbox in final THQ property auction

, | Games


THQ closed up last year, and the licenses for top-tier games like Saints Row and Company of Heroes were snatched up immediately. The auction for THQ’s less in-demand properties ended with almost $7 million being raised. (Contrast this amount to the figure paid by Sega for just Company of Heroes – $26.6 million.) Licenses were divided into six lots for bidding according to court documents.

Lot 1: Darksiders
Lot 2: Red Faction
Lot 3: Homeworld
Lot 4: MX
Lot 5: Titan Quest, uDraw, Summoner, others
Lot 6: Supreme Commander, Worms, Costume Quest, others

The sales will be finalized through the next few days so information will trickle out from various sources.

First up, space battle fan favorite Homeworld has been purchased by Gearbox Software. Let’s hope that whatever they do is more like the quality of Borderlands 2 and less like Aliens: Colonial Marines. This sale is especially interesting as it was the target of an unsuccessful bid from fans using Kickstarter to bring a port to iOS.

Update: Nordic Games Licensing AB bought Darksiders, Red Faction, and Lots 5 and 6 for $4.9 million. Gearbox paid $1.35 million for Homeworld. Finally, 505 Games purchased the Drawn to Life license for $0.3 million.

What is going on in Starseed Pilgrim?

, | Games


I partly admire Starseed Pilgrim, a colorful languid creation that might be the game design equivalent of poetry that doesn’t rhyme, for how it plays its cards close to the vest. It took me quite a while to figure out the first few steps, and that’s something you don’t see much in this age of hand holding and spoonfeeding. Instead of instructions, I got a snippet of verse that didn’t make a lick of sense until after I’d figured out what to do. It’s a rare game this willing to elude me for this long. Pacing is not on the agenda.

But it’s also a rare game that puts this much trial and error between me and progress. This color does that, that color does this, but not always in the direction I want, and now that block went to the wrong place and I think this sortie is all for naught, but I’m waiting to see if the pink blocks can grow fast enough, and hey, I didn’t know I could float, so maybe I should try a few more times. You will have no idea what this means if you haven’t played Starseed Pilgrim. You might have no idea what this means if you have played Starseed Pilgrim. And for all I know, it’s all about to be meaningless because Starseed Pilgrim is on the verge of doing something else entirely. So do I hunt down spoilers about how it all works, or will that just defeat the purpose? I had hoped to explore a lovely spare universe, but I think I’m in a game about exploring a set of rules instead.

ArenaNet releases Super Adventure Box mini-game for free

, | Games


April Fools’ Day gags on the internet are normally tired affairs that elicit a groan rather than a chuckle, but every now and then something truly inspired happens that takes on a life of its own. Remember the Tauntaun sleeping bag? Once people saw that joke, all they could do was think about how cool it would be to actually sleep in one and the pranksters were forced to get it made to sell it to eager little Luke Skywalkers.

The best thing to come out of the most recent April Fools’ Day was Guild Wars 2’s Super Adventure Box event. This isn’t some blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gag. It’s a full event mission with new graphics and level design all made to resemble a goofball 16-bit game. The joke commerical was pretty aces too.

Guild Wars 2 is continuing the old-school love by releasing a free version of the side-scrolling game in the commerical! Rytlock’s Critter Rampage is a bite-sized chunk of silliness made real. Have at it!

April 22: wallet threat level Z

, | Features


I, for one, am glad to have more Dead Island. So Dead Island: Riptide is hitting the sweet spot for me, especially since it’s pretty difficult early on. Yeah, sure, I’ve imported my high-level character from the original game but — surprise! — I got captured at the start and all my weapons got taken away. My captors also apparently took away all my memories of how to make homemade weapons to shock, fry, freeze, melt, fold, spindle, mutilate, and explode zombies. Which is fair enough. This is a sort of reboot in a new area of the same old tropical paradise gone wrong. I have no problem with a reboot. And this time I know to keep all the sticks of deodorant I find for when I remember how to made deodorant bombs.

Namco Bandai (Namco Bandai?) is publishing a Star Trek shooter made by Digital Extremes. I wouldn’t normally care (a Star Trek shooter?), but Digital Extremes’ last game was The Darkness II. Still, a Star Trek shooter? It doesn’t inspire confidence that the only name they could think up was Star Trek: The Video Game. Why couldn’t they take a cue from Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine, a game also out this week that looks like a combination of Pac-Man and a heist?

If you’re up for some serious strategy — I’m not real keen on the moniker 4X, but it fits here — Masters of the Broken World is this week’s fantasy flavor and StarDrive is this week’s sci-fi flavor. Lego City Undercover for the Nintendo DS is a miserably shrunken version of the excellent Wii game that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Dragon’s Dogma gets some DLC. Finally, the third and final installment of Assassin’s Creed III’s Tyranny of King Washington DLC is out this week.

Stare into the inky darkness of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

, | Games


Amnesia scared the beejebus out of me. I’m not ashamed to admit that I yelped like a little girl a couple of times when I first played it. Once I figured out that Amnesia had almost no penalty for dying, the terror wore off. It was still creepy, but I no longer went nuts every time the screen blurred. One of the most effective tools in its bag of tricks was the fact that you had to choose to put down your light whenever you wanted to do anything, exposing yourself to the dark. The dark was where your fears lived. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, promises to be another romp through creepy passages and scary rooms, but this time you’ll get the sounds of clanking industry around you thanks to thechinesroom’s development. They’ve published examples of the terror you’ll strain to (not) see soon.

Squint at the new screenshots after the jump. Continue reading →