, | News
shadow_realms

Electronic Arts and BioWare Austin have announced Shadow Realms, a multiplayer game with persistent roleplaying elements. Players will take the role of either four customized adventurers with special powers fighting for the forces of goodness, or the evil Shadowlord as part of the highly original-sounding Shadow Legion. Characters will build experience and progress over the course of the episodic narrative. Jeff Hickman, general manager of BioWare Austin, likened the game’s 4v1 structure to old-school roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons.

“This game brings us back to our roots in the realm of classic Pen and Paper RPG, but also delivers something that’s completely new and innovative for our fans.”

The Shadowlord player controls creatures, sets traps, and will cast spells to antagonize the hero characters. While it’s not a full “dungeon master” experience since BioWare ultimately controls the storyline, it may offer more opportunity for bad guy roleplaying than Mass Effect.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News
reedus

Sony announced P.T. an “interactive teaser” at Gamescom, that is available on the PlayStation store for gamers to try out. It didn’t take long for internet sleuths to figure out the answer to the mystery by playing through the jump-scare game. It’s a sneaky announcement for Silent Hills, produced by Guillermo del Toro, Hideo Kojima, and starring Norman Reedus. Walking Dead fans and Silent Hill devotees now have a new reason for being excited.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News
tears_it

In the mood for some fancy footwork? Sony made some announcements at Gamescom that involve a fair amount of body grooving. DayZ, the infamous open-world survival-horror game that’s as much about zombies as it is dancing with no pants on, is coming to PlayStation 4. If dancing with swords is more your thing, Ninja Theory revealed Hellblade, a Heavenly Sword meets Celtic myth mash-up. Still dancing? Check out Until Dawn, a horror title that was originally made for the Move controller. (Remember those things?) It’s now been retooled for the DualShock 4. Waggle away! Hollowpoint is a four-person co-op hybrid 2D/3D shooter that requires fancy moves on the sticks to stay alive. Fans of Tearaway on the PS Vita will be jazzed to hear that Tearaway Unfolded is coming to the console cousin. Finally, Sony pointed out that console warriors have a reason to do a jig as they confirmed that they’ve sold ten million PlayStation 4 consoles to consumers worldwide. Now that’s got a beat and you can dance to it!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News
Rise-of-the-Tomb-Raider

The first big news out of Gamescom is from Microsoft, and it’s not good for PlayStation owners. Square Enix has partnered with Microsoft and is making Rise of the Tomb Raider an exclusive to Xbox One and Xbox 360. According to Xbox UK’s Dom Carey, this is not just a timed exclusive. Darrell Gallagher, head of Crystal Dynamics, posted an apologetic message to fans of the franchise shortly after the disappointing news broke. The developer explained that they chose to partner with Microsoft for the support they could give.

This doesn’t mean that we’re walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC. Those are great systems, with great partners, and amazing communities. We have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming to those platforms this December, and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is available on PS4.

Rise of the Tomb Raider will launch for the holiday season in 2015.

Update: Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has admitted to Eurogamer that the Xbox exclusivity is for an unspecified duration.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | Movie podcasts
Into_the_Storm_podcast

What could possibly go wrong with doing a found footage take on Jan de Bont’s classic tornado chasing romp Twister? Listen to find out. Then, at the 49-minute mark, we report for duty to discuss our favorite movie women in the military.

Next week: Life after Beth

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News

This is Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer. It’s got guns to shoot, levels to grind, and jetpacks. Swoosh! Jump up and fly gruff military guy! Fly away to safety!

Activision held a global media event (which can be watched here) to talk about all the special features of the new Call of Duty multiplayer. Sledgehammer Games has the reins of this installment and the major change is verticality. Exosuits and jetpacks allow players to traverse the arenas in all new ways, which means a reassessment of what works and what doesn’t. The class customization from Black Ops II is back and has increased from “Pick 10″ to “Pick 13″ allowing greater flexibility. Scorestreaks from Modern Warfare 3 are returning, but with modifiers that can change the rewards like an option to add rockets to turrets. The biggest progression change is item drops. Yes, loot has come to Call of Duty in the form of Supply Drops that can give players cosmetic skins as well as rare weapons with increased stats. You’ll have to grind for that bacon-themed Uzi now!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare launches on PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 on November 4th.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News
it_a_trap

Hollywood and Silicon Valley converging to create the future of entertainment! What could go wrong? Plenty. Thankfully, we got over our obsession with grainy full-motion video, but not before hundreds of interactive movie games shipped in the 1990′s. While there were some standout entries like Mad Dog McCree (recently spoofed by The Gunstringer: Wavy Tube Man Chronicles) most of the genre was filled with dreck like Quantum Gate and Thunder in Paradise. King among the pile of terrible FMV games was the infamous Night Trap. It’s a perfect example of everything that was wrong about these productions. The marketing and controversy promised sexy slumber party shenanigans and scary vampire ninja attacks, but what players got was Dano Plato just before she went off the deep end and gameplay that made Pachinko seem deep.

The remains of Digital Pictures, the original developers of Night Trap, want to bring its special brand of terrible to a new generation of game systems. Night Trap ReVamped needs $330,000 of Kickstarter pledges to translate all the goofy stop and go video tomfoolery to PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

The ability of computers and gaming platforms to display richly vibrant and full-res video has finally caught up with the vision we had almost thirty years ago of what full-motion-video products ought to look like: interactive television which, despite all the promises, has never arrived.

Night Trap LLC will explore the possibility of bringing all of Digital Pictures’ library into the modern era if this Kickstarter is successful. Imagine it! Kids can enjoy Power Factory Featuring C+C Music Factory and Sewer Shark just as much as we all did when they first appeared on the Mega-CD. If we had to play this garbage, they should too.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | Game reviews
Thunder_Alley_review_1

I can’t say I don’t like NASCAR racing because, frankly, I don’t care enough about it one way or the other. I mean, rednecks, cars turning left, the South, har har, and all that. But I honestly have no idea what the deal is. I wouldn’t know Dale Earnhardt from Mario Andretti. I couldn’t care less about NASCAR. So why am I playing a NASCAR boardgame?

After the jump, days of Thunder Alley. Continue reading →

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News
redux_redux

When 4A Games and publisher Deep Silver announced the Redux versions of Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light in May, they also announced that owners of the current games would get a 50% discount on the new releases. The reaction from fans was not universal praise. Many people wondered why they’d have to pay at all for what seemed to be a fancy patch? 4A Games has responded to the outcry by pointing out that Redux required a substantial investment of resources to develop. According to them, Metro 2033 was rebuilt entirely in the new engine and they feel that a 50% discount on the new version is “more than fair” for the work they did.

Regarding the same discount on Metro: Last Light Redux, which 4A Games admits did not entail as much work, logistical and technical challenges prevented them from offering a deeper discount. In addition, they pointed out that the Redux package will include all the DLC.

But we understand that for those of you who already had the DLC, the offer is not as compelling – again, we are not pretending this is as significant an overhaul as Metro 2033. And we did consider alternatives – e.g. 50% if you only owned the base game, 75% if you owned all the DLC – but these ideas raised a number of practical / logistical challenges.

In the end, a flat 50% discount was judged to be the simplest, fairest solution. Ultimately, you are free to vote with your wallets.

Keep your ammo if you don’t want to trade, Ranger! The Underground is a harsh place!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News
L4D3-HighRes

Valve updated Dota 2 last night. Along with alpha mod support, parts of the game were apparently updated to the long-awaited Source 2 engine. People seem pretty excited by this. Rumors of Source 2′s existence have swirled around Valve for years. Obviously, they had to update the engine to keep with technology, so the fact that it actually exists isn’t stunning. What is odd is that Valve seems to have stealth launched it through a Dota 2 update.

Unfortunately, for people looking for new gee-whiz ultra awesome graphics, there’s not much to see yet. Because Dota 2 still uses the same assets as before, there isn’t anything exciting yet. You’ll have to dig through code to see what has people all excited. Mainly it’s a “2″ at the end of some file names. Woohoo!

Rejoice gamers! Source 2 is here. Half-Life 3 should be right around the corner, right? Hello? Anyone?

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News
bro_bro

Broforce, the blow-everything-up indie platformer on Steam early access, has always felt like a video game version of The Expendables movies. Lots of 80′s action characters destroying hundreds of enemies in over-the-top scenarios held together by the bare elements of story? Check! It’s certainly better than the official movie tie-in game released in 2012. The two worlds have come together at last with The Expendabros, a free game promoting the release of The Expendables 3.

Of course Broforce began a little while after Expendables 1, and obviously was pretty heavily influenced by the movie. Coming full circle and making a game for them was pretty surreal, and really exciting.

Contrary to how these marketing synergies normally work, Developer Free Lives says they didn’t get any money from Lionsgate to make The Expendabros. The game was created as a fun way to test out some ideas like storytelling cutscenes, mini-game events, and new enemies that may eventually make their way into Broforce. If any fans of The Expendables play Expendabros and decide to buy Broforce, Free Lives probably wouldn’t mind.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News
Wing-Commander-3

Synchronicity isn’t just a Police album. It’s a lifestyle! Here at Quarter to Three, we like to think we’re movers and shakers with the pull to influence multi-million dollar enterprises, but the truth is that we’re rambling along doing whatever we think is interesting to us at the time. In this case, the stars have aligned to create a pretty awesome example of synchronicity. Our latest pick for the Classic Game Club is Wing Commander 3, and lo and behold, it’s now free on Electronic Arts’ Origin service! Enjoy Mark Hamill, Ginger Lynn Allen, and more animatronic feline masks than anyone sane needs for free!

Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger is free on Origin until September 2nd. If you want to believe Quarter to Three did this for you, that’s cool too.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News
Assassins_Creed_Rogue_TemplarVSAssassinCaptain

Ubisoft has unveiled Assassin’s Creed Rogue through Game Informer. While the publisher moves forward with Assassin’s Creed Unity for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, they will release Rogue on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In Rogue, players will step into the parkour hoodie of Shay Patrick Cormac, a former Templar, as he plys his skills on various targets. Unlike the previous ship-based Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Rogue takes place during the Seven Years’ War along the North Atlantic coastline of America, including visits to the Appalachian River Valley and New York. Presumably, the plot ties into Unity’s French Revolution setting. Plus, there will be ice and puzzles. And aliens.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue will be available “exclusively” on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on November 11th.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | News
junta

Tropico 5 will not be sold in Thailand. New Era, the Asian distributor for Tropico 5, has announced that Thailand’s Board of Film and Video Censors has determined that Tropico 5 contains material that could potentially “affect peace and order in the country” and has banned the sale of the game. Publisher Kalypso Media has confirmed that it will not contest the ban, but added that previous games in the series were approved and remain on sale in the territory. Kalypso’s Stefan Marcinek noted the irony of the situation.

“This does sound like it could have come from one of El Presidente’s own edicts from the game.”

Tropico 5 was released worldwide on May 23rd, a day after Thailand’s military launched their successful takeover of the country.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare
, | Games

Adweek, a venerable publication that covers the world of advertising, has put together a cute video of some of Kevin Spacey’s appearances in commercials. The Academy Award winner — I’m just assuming since I can rarely remember who actually has and hasn’t won an Academy Award — has shilled for American Airlines, E*Trade, and some bank I’ve never heard of and can’t even spell.

But among the clips from commercials, Adweek includes cutscenes from the upcoming Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. How are these ads? Granted, they’re used in ads. But they’re not ads. They are scenes from a work of entertainment in which Spacey performs. They’re no more ads than the scenes used in commercials for House of Cards, American Beauty, or Horrible Bosses, none of which appear in Adweek’s cute video.

It’s really disheartening to see the videogame industry growing up and going so frequently unacknowledged. For instance, it really bothers me that publications so often put videogames in the technology category, alongside stories about mobile phones, Facebook’s latest shenanigans, and the ongoing uninterest in Google Glass. That’s not where videogames belong. They belong squarely in the entertainment section of any publication that cares enough to inform its readers about the current state of entertainment.

But at least most publications don’t mistake videogames for commercials. You’d think Adweek of all folks wouldn’t be the ones to get that so wrong.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare