This is the Halo Mega Bloks game you’ll never play

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At some point in 2013, n-Space, the journeyman game developers responsible for a ton of licensed Nintendo ports of third-party titles, was secretly hard at work on an Xbox 360 game based on the Halo Mega Bloks property. This video from Andrew Borman of PtoPOnline shows how far along the project was before it was cancelled. Codenamed “Haggar” while in development, the Halo Mega Bloks game would’ve been a knock-off of the popular Lego games from Traveller’s Tales, but with the addition of Halo’s campaign structure and a cooperative multiplayer horde mode. Unfortunately for fans of Master Chief and low-budget brick building, the game would never make it past the final hurdle. Development ended when Microsoft’s focus shifted from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One.

In March 2016, n-Space was shuttered after 21 years in the industry.

If it wasn’t tough enough for you, XCOM 2 is getting longer and better

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The Long War 2 mod is coming for XCOM 2. According to Firaxis, the popular mod, originally made by Long War Studios for XCOM: Enemy Unkown, is coming to the PC version of XCOM 2. Welcome news for fans of making the fight for humanity tougher. In related news, Long War Studios will henceforth be known as Pavonis Interactive. Check out their snazzy new site here.

When it was still Long War Studios, Pavonis partnered with Firaxis to make official mods for XCOM 2 like the Long War Alien Pack, and Long War Toolbox.

Your next Mass Effect multiple choice could happen as early as March

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Mass Effect Andromeda is launching on March 21st in North America, and March 23rd in Europe. BioWare’s announcement dropped the official release dates and pimped the ambitious nature of the science fiction dating sim. No need to worry about quality. BioWare’s own team says it’s great.

Over this holiday break, developers at BioWare took home a version of the game in what we call the “holiday build”. This is a longstanding studio tradition that goes back to the early days of the original Mass Effect. Many load up a PC or console and go home to play as much as possible at their leisure. Coming back from holiday, the feedback has been great. Getting the endorsement from members of our studio, many of whom played key roles on the original trilogy, was definitely a key factor in helping us lock in on the date.

You can read the Quarter to Three review of Mass Effect 3 here.

It’s Planet Coaster versus RollerCoaster Tycoon in more ways than one

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When Atari and Nvizzio Creations launched RollerCoaster Tycoon World on November 16th, one day before Planet Coaster’s release date, everyone knew it would be a lopsided battle. RollerCoaster Tycoon World’s development had multiple development studios and at least one full project reboot. Planet Coaster had Frontier Development’s pedigree and a solid early access record. Once both games launched, it was clear that the critical winner was Planet Coaster. Now that the dust has settled, Frontier is on the attack again. This time, it’s going for a legal win. TMZ reports that Frontier Developments is suing Atari for $2.2 million in unpaid royalties from RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. Eurogamer confirmed the report with Frontier’s David Walsh.

“We can confirm Frontier is currently pursuing a complaint against Atari. We have attempted to resolve this issue without legal action since April 2016. We have so far been denied our contractual right to audit by Atari, and we are unfortunately left with no other way to resolve our concerns. We are unable to offer any further comment while the matter is subject to due legal process.”

Chris Sawyer, the owner of the RollerCoaster Tycoon property, sued Atari in 2005 for a similar monetary grievance. The suit was settled out of court in 2008.

As if you didn’t have enough reason to stay away from Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius

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The free-to-play Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius for mobile platforms will guest star real world singer Ariana Grande. The pop star revealed her rabbit-eared videogame incarnation to her fans, even including some work-in-progress animation. For those unfamiliar with Ariana Grande’s work, you can watch a video of her singing in her bunny outfit here.

Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius is available on Google Play and Apple iTunes. There’s no word on when Ariana Grande will invade the game.

Remember DOS boot disks? That’s how serious Microsoft is about PC gaming.

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Microsoft may be adding a feature to Windows that minimizes other application needs to improve game performance. As reported by Windows Central, the “Game Mode” seen in test builds of Windows 10 lets the operating system prioritize a videogame over other running software and diverts resources as needed. Analysis suggests the mode works similarly to how the Xbox One handles the protocols for games versus other applications. How much of an improvement users can expect is unknown, or if the Game Mode feature will be available to games outside of those from the Windows Store.

As for when the feature will be implemented, the suggestion is that users could see an announcement along with the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update.

Frog Fractions 2 is out now, but people have been playing part of it for years

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Frog Fractions is one of those weird internet in-the-know things. It’s like in the speakeasy days when you had to knock a certain way, then say a specific phrase to get to the good part of the bar with the bathtub gin and the smokey blues. You have to know about it to know about it. It’s the low-budget indie kickoff to the wave of introspective works that are as much about gaming as they are games themselves. (If you haven’t played it yet, it’s here and it’s free.) Players have been eagerly awaiting the sequel since the Kickstarter successfully closed in 2014. Their patience has finally been rewarded. Frog Fractions 2 is available on Steam hidden within something called Glittermitten Grove.

The funny thing is that some people have been playing Frog Fractions 2 since before the Kickstarter was even announced. There’s been an alternate reality game for Frog Fractions 2 in which fans have participated in, and in some cases contributed to, the development of the sequel. Did you know that there is a hidden Frog Fractions message in Campo Santo’s Firewatch? Over two dozen indie game studios cooperated with Jim Crawford, the developer of Frog Fraction 2, to hide clues for the ARG in their games. The ARG ran right up to the final reveal of Frog Fractions 2 and involved thousands of savvy clue-hunters scouring various sites, games, and even physical locations. Whatever Frog Fractions 2 may say about gaming, the journey has already been an instructive one for many.

RollerCoaster Tycoon just got a whole lot smaller

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RollerCoaster Tycoon is now available on mobile devices. Atari has just released classic, glorious, isometric RollerCoaster Tycoon on Google Play and the Apple App Store as RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic. Now your teeny-tiny park guests can vomit itsy-bitsy puddles onto even smaller sidewalks. The Wacky Worlds and Time Twister expansions are available as well! You want endless coaster physics and spreadsheets of numbers on your phone? Here it is.

As a bonus, RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic combines material from the first game and its sequel.

Roblox is one of the biggest games of 2016 that you’re not playing

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Roblox is ten years old. It runs on PC, VR systems, smart phones, tablets, and the Xbox One. It has 30 million active monthly players, with a regular 900,000 concurrent user count. It’s a Lego knock-off. It’s a game creation system. It’s a storefront for user-made in-game content. It’s a social sandbox playground. It’s a massively multiplayer juggernaut. It’s a gigantic hit and you’ve probably never even looked at it. Co-founder and CEO Dave Baszucki spoke with GamesBeat to reveal some surprising information about the game’s success.

Top creators are now pulling down $50,000 a month in revenue.

Baszucki is bullish on VR, predicting that gamers will embrace the social aspects of the technology. Roblox is free to play and available here.

Pour one out for the dead in Asheron’s Call

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Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2 are shutting down. Since its launch in 1999, Asheron’s Call has floated from Microsoft to Turbine to Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment. During that almost two decades long run, the sequel Asheron’s Call 2: Fallen Kings was published, shut down, then resurrected with the change in ownership. The original MMO was one of the first to offer monthly events and updates to players, and was considered competition to the king of online gaming at the time, EverQuest. Throughout the ups and downs of the market, Asheron’s Call has held on like a small candle on the windowsill.

We have had a phenomenally long run; one of the longest in the world of MMORPGs, and that in and of itself is a spectacular feat. We are proud of our legacy, and the entire Asheron’s Call team has been honored to adventure with you for nearly twenty years. We thank you very much for being a part of it.

It’s all coming to an end. On January 31st, 2017, both games will cease to exist.

Overwatch relationship fans are going to love the latest bit of character lore

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Blizzard has just confirmed the first LGBTQ character in Overwatch. It’s Tracer! That’s right, everyone’s favorite lightning rod for sexual controversy has a girlfriend according to Reflections, the latest installment of the official online comic. Tracer’s partner, Emily, doesn’t seem to be affiliated with the team in any way other than her relationship with Tracer, but her lore role may expand in further stories. At BlizzCon 2015, developers had mentioned that the Overwatch cast would feature sexually diverse backgrounds. That sound you hear is countless Overwatch fan artists gearing up for mischief.

There’s no word yet on Roadhog’s sexuality, but we can all hold out hope that the Roadhog and Junkrat stories are true.