Gamefront: Weekly Network Update 55 (week 04, 2012) - News - FileFront News Posted by: Danny on 01-30-2012 @ 14:26
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Here it is the 55th version of the Weekly Gamefront Network News Update, the news part of the update covers the news side of the Network and the Gamefront Main site over the past week. There has been a fair bit of news from the Main site including a lot of trailers, reviews, previews and a lot more, with a lot of interesting articles this week on new consoles, piracy and even a real wipeout model!. However you can find more news from the main Gamefront site - Here
We would love to hear any suggestions that you have; if you see something that you would like to be added to the Weekly Network Update, or you have any suggestions that you think may improve the Network Update then simply drop me an email at Danny[at]filefront[dot]com (please put "Network Update" as the subject though ).
Also If you like the Network Update please feel free write a comment as I would love to hear any critism, or support (constructive though please as this is the only way that I know how good or bad the insider is and it would help me to improve this further). Also I should mention that the comments section is not for complaining about the bugs of the network sites, most of these we do know about and are with the Break.com Tech Team , also again this is not the place for comments about the bugs, I myself do not have the ability or the knowledge to fix them, although you can use our forums to post your comments here - http://forums.filefront.com/filefront-com-help-center-1272/
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Gamefront News: Iwata: Wii U Definitely Coming To Major Markets By The End of the Year
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced today that the Wii U will make its way into stores in time for the holiday shopping season in major markets — North America, Europe, Japan and Australia.
That’s about what we expected, to be honest, once it became clear that the new thingie wouldn’t make it out before the summer. So, no surprises here, and the status quo is maintained. Your move, Microsoft.
While we like to feature mods here at Game Front, both by spotlighting individual mods and with Top 10 lists, we decided to go a different route this time and celebrate some of the most iconic mods we’ve seen throughout the years.
This list is by no means extensive, so feel free to let us know what mods you would have added.
Over the course of more than a decade in business, GameFront has hosted all kinds of files — some big, some small; some useful, some useless. For popularity and sheer awesomeness, though, it’s hard to beat the mods. Many of modding‘s most epic, recognizable names have called our servers home — keep reading to find out which.
10. Generals Mod 2 (Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 – Yuri’s Revenge)
9. Galactic Warfare (Call of Duty 4)
8. Red Orchestra (Unreal Tournament 2004)
7. Fall From Heaven (Civilization IV)
6. Third Age: Total War (Medieval 2: Total War)
5. Forgotten Hope (Battlefield 1942)
4. Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul (Oblivion)
3. Garry’s Mod (Half-Life 2)
2. Desert Combat (Battlefield 1942)
1. Counter-Strike (Half-Life)
Counter-Strike really deserves a category by itself. Created by Minh “Gooseman” Le and Jess “Cliffe” Cliffe, the mod was first released way back in 2000. Since then, it has gone on to redefine shooter games and shooter culture, spawning a raft of sequels, including the forthcoming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, due out sometime later this year. Counter-Strike’s incredible popularity derives from its frantic pace, infinite replayability, and emphasis on skill, though its social success at LAN parties and in internet cafes cannot be overlooked. Deep down, we’re all either terrorists or counter-terrorists.
For more including videos and download links for all of the above please click below
Context: Earlier this week I attended a preview event for the forthcoming Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2, which was originally released in 2011 as a PC-exclusive. Coming to XBox 360 on April 17, it’s a dark, visually-stunning and challenging RPG, and console gamers are lucky this is happening (read my hands-on to see why, you lucky bastards).
I caught up with two gentlemen from CD Projekt at the event, Marek Ziemak (Level Artist) and Macief Szczesnik (Lead Combat Designer) to talk about the console translation, and the topic of piracy came up. Because I asked about it. Check out their response below, it’s pretty good.
And I have say, even though CD Projekt’s anti-DRM stance and “trust people” attitude isn’t a new thing, it’s still refreshing to hear it again here. Hooray for game developers trying to make their products extra good so people buy them, instead of building elaborate (read: easily cracked) DRM schemes that irritate legitimate gamers.
Game Front: Did Witcher 2's estimated 4.5 million illegal downloads on PC influence the decision to bring the game to the Xbox 360?
Gamefront News: 2K Marin Founder, BioShock Artist Pitching Unannounced New IP to Studio
There might be a new IP coming out of 2K Marin in the future, springing from the head of the studio’s co-founder and the lead artist and level architect on the BioShock series, J.R. Hogarth de la Plante.
According to Hogarth de la Plante’s resume, he and four other directors from 2K Marin are internally pitching the IP. The resume entry doesn’t really include much else — we don’t have a name or description of the idea, we just know that Hogarth de la Plante hopes to get it made, and that it would give 2K Marin something to work on once it wraps up XCOM. If it’s going to feature crazy people who mutilate their own faces, I think I speak for the entire gaming community when I say, sign me up. For shooting those guys, I mean.
Capcom has posted a version of the Resident Evil 6 announcement trailer that has an introduction by Hiroyuki Kobayashi, and he says that more than 600 people have worked on Resident Evil 6, with 150 of those being at Capcom HQ in Japan.
For perspective, know that about 300 people worked on Black Ops. So Capcom is clearly anticipating that RE6 will be the mother of all blockbusters this fall.
God, that’s such a ridiculous number. 600 people! Damn.
If you’re curious what else Kobayashi had to say, I’ve embedded the video below for you.
The first batch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfar 3 DLC became available to subscribers to Activision’s Call of Duty: Elite this week, and players discovered something disheartening: DLC they downloaded on their Xbox 360s was locked to a single profile.
This is troubling because Activision has said that Elite downloads will be available for consoles with multiple users — meaning you wouldn’t have to download DLC twice in order for you and, say, a sibling or girlfriend to play MW3 on the same console but with a different profile. Luckily, it appears that the single-profile DLC issue is on the way to being fixed.
Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling sent a statement to Joystiq saying the DLC issue would be fixed, according to a report.
“We understand that ELITE Premium Members on Xbox Live who purchased the latest DLC Content Drop for Modern Warfare 3 are unable to access that content while signed into other profiles on the same console that originally downloaded the content,” Bowling said. “This is unintentional and we will work to get an update out as soon as possible that corrects this issue and allows you to continue to enjoy the new maps.”
Yesterday, we spotted a temporary change to the Aliens: Colonial Marines website that stated the game would release in Fall 2012. Within hours, “Fall” was changed back to “Spring,” leading us to question whether a miscommunication had resulted in a preemptive reveal that the game would be delayed.
Today, SEGA today confirmed it is delaying the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines until later this fall.
SEGA and Gearbox Software said in a statement sent to Game Informer:
Aliens: Colonial Marines is a process of creativity and invention and those don’t necessarily follow the structure of an assembly line. While setting clear goals, deadlines and predictions is helpful, they are often subjective. We don’t want to sacrifice the creative process just for the sake of following a blue print. We prefer to have the creative discovery shape that blue print because our goal is to make a great game, and we are prioritizing this goal over the previously targeted date.
Maybe you have a great machine already, or you’re looking to build one. Chances are you’ll have an AMD graphics card on it. Relevantly, AMD has released the latest update for Catalyst, AMD Catalyst 2.1. This new software suite updates Catalyst control center and Vision Engine Control Center, and the AMD display driver, and promises to improve performance, reliability and power. In case you’re curious, AMD Catalyst is compatible with AMD’s desktop, FireStream and chipset product families. Among the improvements in this update:
* Random corruption in Call of Duty IV when the Edge Detect filter is enabled is fixed.
* The occasional black screen error in Portal 2 3D mode fixed.
* Random Civilization V crashes when run in DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 mode fixed.
* Random crashes in Resident Evil 5 and Just Cause 2 after enabling the ‘Edge Detect’ filter fixed.
* Battlefield 3 no longer hangs when MSAA is enabled; random hangs in Saints Row: The Third also fixed.
* Dragon Age 2 texture flickering problem in DirectX 9 mode fixed.
When you downloaded the new Modern Warfare 3 maps for Call of Duty Elite subscribers, you were told: “You can use this item on the first Xbox 360 console you downloaded it to. Access to this item will also be granted to all users on this first console.” But is that really the case?
Some users on the Call of Duty forums say it is not. They say that only the profile that has the Elite subscription can use the new maps; other profiles cannot.
I can’t speak to this, because I don’t have Elite, but I doubt folks would outright lie about this. In the meantime, we’ve requested comment from Activision and Microsoft.
Internet users, rejoice! After months in which it seemed that increasingly outspoken opposition fell upon apparently deaf ears, the battle against the House of Representatives’ Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its counterpart in the Senate, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), finally worked. In quick succession, the Obama administration confirmed its opposition to SOPA, the infamous January 18th blackout dominated the news and major tech players reluctantly walked back their prior expressed support for the bills. When Congress finally killed the bills last Friday, it seemed a mere formality, and served as astonishing proof that our political system isn’t as broken as we often fear.
But as good an excuse to celebrate as the death of SOPA and PIPA is, it’s time to put the champagne glass down. Like recently turned zombies, they’ll be back from the dead sooner than we think, and if the past is any indicator, they’ll be worse than before. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
First, remember that SOPA and PIPA were not the first attempts by Congress to kill the Internet. Numerous prior attempts have been made over the years; in 2010, it was a bill proposed by Patrick Leahy called Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. That bill contained several disturbing provisions, including a seriously broad definition of “infringement,” a DOJ Internet blacklist and broad DOJ power to take down websites accused of infringing, and technical requirements that would have impacted web security and even the basic architecture of the Internet. It was effectively killed when fellow Democrat Ron Wyden did what Leahy apparently could not – remembered who his actual constituents are – and basically prevented the bill from coming to a full Senate vote at the end of 2010, mostly killing it.
A new hero has emerged on the Dota 2 battlefield — well, “new” may be misleading. You’ll recognized Bone Fletcher, AKA Clinkz, from the original DOTA, and as of today, he’s playable in the Dota 2 beta.
An agility-based hero, Bone Fletcher is a ranged ambusher with abilities focused on facilitating hit-and-run tactics. Wind Walk, for instance, makes Clinkz invisible and increases his movement speed for 20 seconds, while Strafe greatly increases his attack speed for a short duration, and Searing Arrows adds bonus fire damage to each attack to allow him to hit fast and hit hard. His ultimate, Death Pact, lets him consume a unit to gain a temporary health and damage buff.
Every fall, Blizzard fans from around the world gather in Anaheim, CA to see just what Blizzard has on tap for the coming year at Blizzcon. Well, every fall except this one. Blizzard has just announced that they will not be holding Blizzcon this fall.
Before you panic, there’s definitely a reason behind this. Blizzard also announced today that they will be holding this year’s Battle.net World Championship in Asia towards the end of the year. The simple fact is that Blizzard pretty much just doesn’t have time to put together a massive conference, run an international e-sports competition and oh by the way release Diablo 3, a WoW expansion and a Starcraft 2 expansion. In a blog post, Blizzard had this to say:
We’re also heavily focused on getting Diablo III, Mists of Pandaria, and Heart of the Swarm into players’ hands as soon as possible. In light of our jam-packed schedule, we’ve decided to hold the next BlizzCon in 2013.
No doubt this is a huge letdown for Blizzard fans everywhere, but cheer up – Blizzard says that Blizzcon will return in 2013. Until then, bring on the Pandas!
More major changes have come to Diablo 3, this time in the form of the nixing of two game systems: Scrolls of Reforging and Companion Pets. While these features may be reincarnated post-launch, they presently weren’t working as intended.
Community Manager Nethaera said:
In both cases these are features we felt were underdeveloped and just not quite good enough for the game in their current state. The companion pets felt like they were mandatory to maximize play efficiency and some of the pets were too cutesy for the gritty, dark world of Sanctuary. Neither of those are issues we felt like we could solve without a lot of additional work, and we’re trying to close in on a solid release date for the game, not move further away. When weighing these systems against releasing the game, we decided to cut these scrolls and stay on track for the game’s release.
Blizzard recently made a huge change to some of the game’s core mechanics — attributes, specifically — and any other major overhauls would no doubt significantly delay whatever the company’s target release date is. If companion pets were becoming mandatory, that goes against Blizzard’s core philosophy with Diablo 3: focusing on viable builds, not optimal builds.
Full disclosure: I have read all of the Mass Effect tie-in novels. Even so, I really hate the genre of video game licensed books. They’re uniformly written terribly, featuring god awful characterizations (and this is even taking video game standards into account!), ultimately offering readers the worst of both worlds: books you can’t read and games you can’t play.
I might have to change my mind on this, slightly, because Random House imprint Del Rey has announced that the upcoming Hitman: Absolution prequel novel, Hitman: Damnation, will be written by prolific former James Bond author Raymond Benson. Benson is notable both for being the fourth author to write Bond novels (following Kingsly Amis and John gardener) and for being the the first American to do so. His adaptations of Pierce Brosnan’s Bond films aren’t good, but his original Bond novels are actually great fun. This won’t be Gore Vidal, but it might just mean the prose will be good for once.
Hitman: Damnation is set between the events of Hitman: Blood Money and Absolution, and features agent 47 in serious trouble after a job killing American politicians goes sideways. It will be in stores this summer.
Remember that bill that California Gov. Arnold “It’s not a tumor” Schwarzenegger and state Congressman Leland Yee pushed through last year? It was the one that said games couldn’t be sold to minors in California — which is already enforced by most every retailer going — and which was struck down by the Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision that ruled it unconstitutional. Brown vs. EMA was the case, and it was the landmark ruling that recognized video games as art.
Now that we’re all back up to speed, we can get to the matter at hand: California has been ordered to reimburse the Entertainment Software Association, which was the plaintiff in the lawsuit to fight the law, for its legal fees for the case. And that figure stacks up to be about $950,000, billed to the California taxpayer. Thanks, Leland Yee and the goddamn Terminator.
Couple postives: first, California negotiated that number down from the originally requested $1.1 million, so that’s good. But in total with reimbursements from another case in 2008 with the same law (which have already been paid), Cali dished out $1.327 in reimbursed legal fees to the ESA. Which means we California taxpayers made some lawyers very happy.
Criterion Games is making a video game, that much we know. And the studio’s creative director Craig Sullivan says they’ve got something “BIG” to “share” with us in the next few months.
Now, that’s “BIG,” not “B1G,” which is the weird shorthand for the Big Ten. So when he says “BIG” he literally probably means big, rather than that they’re working on a college sports game. That would be pretty sweet, though, if they were. I’d like to see a legit non-sports game studio work on a sports game for once, just to see what they could bring to the table.
So what could this be? Well, it’s probably an open-world racer, and it just might be a new Need for Speed game. An open-world Need for Speed game? Holy cow.
The next installment in the Digital Combat Simulator series has been announced: DCS: P-51D Mustang. With an expected 2012 release, this installment features one of the best and most well-known fighters used by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.
The P-51D will be the first aircraft in the Flying Legends series that focuses on historical aircraft that have set benchmarks in combat aviation. Possessing excellent range and maneuverability, the P-51 operated primarily as a long-range escort fighter and also as a ground attack fighter-bomber with bombs, rockets, and machine guns. The Mustang served in nearly every combat zone during WWII, and later fought in the Korean War.
Most people have trouble flying the jets in Battlefield 3; it takes true skill to work a flight sim.
Seems publishers cannot get enough of this online pass idea, with even a single-player RPG like Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning getting one.
Electronic Arts’ Kingdoms of Amalur online pass is worrisome, though, signaling a shift we’ve been seeing from publishers — away from holding back things like multiplayer, and toward holding back actual story-oriented content. The Amalur online pass, as Destructoid reports, locks up a full questline made up of seven individual quests; buy the game used and that questline will run you $10, the standard going rate on online passes for other titles.
Amalur isn’t the first game to close off some single-player content behind a pass, but it is perhaps the most troubling. RAGE had an online pass included in the game that gave players access to a few hidden sewer areas, but no actual story content. Batman: Arkham City walled off the Catwoman playable content with a pass, but that wasn’t strictly necessary to get the full story out of the game (although it’s a huge bummer not to have).
THQ has fallen on uncertain times lately. Sure, Saints Row: The Third is a pretty decent success, but they’ve also been subject to rumors of their impending collapse and a terrifying drop in stock value (it’s below 1$). Will they survive? We don’t know. We’d like them to, if only to guarantee more Saints Row games, but things are looking unsteady.
Adding to that perception is a blistering, anonymous open letter sent to the media and to THQ’s board of directors from someone, or some ones, calling themselves “The Formerly Mismanaged”. The Former Mismanaged claims to be a former employee writing on behalf of “Current and Ex-Employees, Shareholders, and The Public”, and if the information in the letter is true, THQ has big problems. The letter excoriates the company’s business practices, decision making and management, lamenting that having THQ on one’s resume “is not a point in your favor.” It describes an absolutely broken corporate culture, one that ought to feel intimately familiar to anyone who knew, or paid attention to reports from, people who worked for recently failed companies like MySpace.
THQ’s cheapee approach to development – “they find a hot license, make a cheap game, barely advertise it, and make money.” – was singled out for particular scorn. It once worked well for them, the letter says, but is irrelevant to the current marketplace. Despite this, the letter continues, company management still relies on the strategy. Another problem pointed to is THQ’s habit of buying smaller developers “without strategic reasoning or specific plan on to use them.” CEO Brian Farrell was called out by name. “The beginning of the end,” the letter claims, “came years ago as Brian Farrell lead an executive team to acquire a large number of studios,” and further claims that the company’s poor performance and missteps are largely his fault.
Chart tracker GfK Chart-Track has determined that FIFA 12 has sold so many copies in the United Kingdom that it is now the top money maker in sports game history in that nation. They don’t say how many copies it sold or how much money it made or what record it beat, so we’ll just have to take their word for it.
I, for one, am skeptical of this, because you’d think if this were true then EA would have sent me an email about this at some point. But they haven’t, and so I’m left wondering. Wondering wondering. Your move, EA.
The Guild Wars 2 world is getting a little more fleshed out as ArenaNet has just posted a big run-down of information about a race that’ll appear in the game, known as the Jotun. The lengthy blog post over at Arena.net details their tragic, crappy history (they rose to become powerful and civilized by conquering people, before what was essentially racism, civil war and eugenics collapsed their society and destroyed a great deal of their history and knowledge).
ArenaNet says in the post that while the Jotun have been seen in Guild Wars before, the developer wanted to make the race more than just drooling, club-wielding huge guys. Read the rest of the detailed write-up on the Jotun over at ArenaNet’s website, or just click here.
VG247 spoke with Insomniac CEO Ten Price at SMU yesterday. He told them this:
We won’t be making any more Resistances.
So that’s that. The folks at Insomniac had previously discussed, just a few months ago, handing off the franchise to another developer, and we thought it would be possible that that would happen sooner rather than later since they weren’t contracted for Resistance 4. And I guess “sooner” was the correct call to make.
Insomniac’s next project is the multi-platform co-op shooter Overstrike, and they’ve got a relatively new studio in North Carolina that’s only put out Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One so far. They have plenty of production capability, so expect them to have one or two more games in the pipeline soon enough, and you would expect one of them to be another Ratchet & Clank game. Or at least that’s what I would expect. I would also expect a new game announcement from them at E3.
Activision has rolled out a schedule of all the planned Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 downloadable content coming out this year, and there’s quite a bit of it. Among the normal stuff — maps, mostly — are a few interesting gems: specifically, game modes and Spec Ops missions.
You can see the full calendar here, which documents what month content will be hitting (which is marked “Elite Only,” I assume referring to the scheduling, since premium Elite subscribers get stuff earlier than regular players). The schedule shows off the 20 DLC pieces Infinity Ward and Activision has promised, but as to just when all this stuff will be available (specifically to PC gamers) is a tough call. As it appears right now, the hierarchy is as follows: Xbox 360 Elite subscribers; Elite subscribers on every other platform (and possibly regular players on Xbox 360); regular players on every other platform. The standard deal between Activision and Microsoft on DLC exclusivity is one month, so expect about that much delay before you MW3 DLC makes its way out to PC for download.
Word of “an upcoming triple-A simulation style game” in the works by Maxis comes via a job posting on GamaSutra. Little else is known, other than the fact that the title is being developed for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Online Multiplayer, Mac OS X, and Windows.
The company’s track record hints at what we can expect:
For over 30 years, Maxis games have been known for their deep simulation, creativity, imagination, and unique style of gameplay. Maxis has created some of the world’s most popular franchises, including SimCity, Spore, and The Sims, one of the best-selling franchises in history.
Could we be in for another sequel to SimCity, Spore, or The Sims, or may Maxis unveil a completely new franchise?
Gamefront News: Hard Reset: Extended Edition Preview
The original, downloadable version of Hard Reset won plenty of fans with its great-looking, proprietary engine and its unique take on FPS combat. Throwing players headlong into a Blade Runner-style dystopia, the game then armed them with a pair of zany, chameleon-like weapons. With a a flick of the mouse wheel, your rifle can become a shotgun, and then a grenade launcher. Ditto the its partner, a versatile energy weapon that shoots everything from simple plasma bolts to powerful homing missiles.
Praised for its beautiful graphics and old-school gameplay, Hard Reset was sure to attract the attention of publishers. Kalypso Media stepped into the fray, working with Polish developers Flying Wild Hog on Hard Reset: Extended Edition, a boxed product that will offer an improved engine, new enemies, new environments, and more backstory. Most crucially, five new levels will add three hours of gameplay, taking the total playing time up to around eight hours.
Somebody sent me some cool Halo 3 machinima today called Halo: Eye of the Storm. It’s like 20 minutes long, but that’s OK. It’s worth nothing that this is campaign machinima, which means that have to rely on the AI a lot, which is kind of ridiculous if you ink about it. Here’s the video, should you choose to watch it, followed by some making-of info if you’re interested in finding out what kind of hell they had to go through to make it.
Now, making-of stuff. Here’s the info they sent me:
The painstaking creation of “HALO: EOTS” consisted of three stages, similar to the making of a live action film: pre-production, production, and post-production. In pre-production, the amazing assets of Halo 3's campaign, “The Storm,” were analyzed and used as the basis for writing a story which helped give the action dramatic structure and context. This story was then broken down into an elaborate shot list which would serve as the blueprint for the next step.
Indie game Magicka has reached its one year milestone, with 1.3 million copies sold. I still remember the first time I watched Total Biscuit and the Yogscast play the game repeatedly accidentally kill each other in hilarious ways. Affectionately nicknamed the “mage suicide simulator,” Magicka is one of the most amusing games I’ve seen.
To mark the occasion, the developers have cooked up a new Magick that will be free for all players: the Confuse spell. I have no idea what this spell does, but I’m sure it’ll lead to countless friendly-fire incidents.
What does the future hold for Magicka? An expansion, titled “the Other Side of the Coin.” In this latest addition to the Magicka universe, slated for release later this spring, wizards will trade in their hats and robes for black capes with giant 70’s collars as they take on the role of the “bad guys” by controlling Alucart the vampire and commanding his legion of necromancers.
Why do vampires have the same fashion sense as the Fonz?
Eagerly awaiting Mass Effect 3? This may keep you busy until then.
While the Mass Effect franchise isn’t mod-friendly, one industrious fan went about creating high-definition texture packs for the main cast of characters. Default character textures range in resolution from 512×512 to 1024×1024 — this mod quadruples the resolution, pumping them up to 2048×2048 and 4096×4096.
If you’re concerned about performance loss, the author also created an optimized version, which only doubles the textures. Still, even a double in resolution makes an appreciable difference.
In an interview with Gamasutra, Minecraft’s new lead designer Jens “Jeb” Bergensten stated his intentions to show modders some love by focusing on their needs.
We really need to open up the game for other developers to add mods, and share mods, and run servers more easily. So, what I mean is I will work less on features, and more on the engine part of the game.
It kind of feels silly of me to sit and work three days to add a new animal to the game when there are thousands of people who would like to spend three days to add an animal to the game, so that’s why I changed my priorities.
Unfortunately, it may be a while before a proper modding API comes to light, as Jeb explains:
We would have to put a lot of effort on the mod API because that will have to allow the game to really change.
We’ve already seen some fantastic Minecraft mods, and I can only image what will be possible once an official modding API is released. I’m sure this will be one of the game’s most anticipated features.
There’s bad blood between TERA developers Bluehole Studio and En Masse Entertainment and NCsoft, which has resulted in NCsoft filing a lawsuit in New York that could block the release of the MMO in the U.S.
Bluehole was founded by several developers who left NCsoft and were formerly part of the Lineage III team, with TERA being their first project. In the filing, NCsoft claims that the assets that went into making TERA weren’t created by the new studio, but were taken when the devs left their old jobs.
From the filing:
These individuals did not leave NCsoft empty-handed or with benign intent. To the contrary, they made off with copious amounts of confidential and proprietary NCsoft information, computer software, hardware and artwork relating to Lineage III.
Their business plan was simple and audacious: create a competing product using the very work they had done while at NCsoft, launch it themselves to great fanfare and acclaim, and, in the process, deal a crippling blow to their former employer.
This isn’t the first time former NCsoft employees have been accused of stealing from the South Korean company. Seven former employees were arrested in 2007 after being suspected of selling the Lineage III source code to a Japanese company, and employees were convicted in 2009 of stealing trade secrets.
Last year, Netflix thought it would be funny to spin off their DVD and blu-ray rental business into a separate entity called Qwikster, and this new thing would also rent you video games.
Netflix has since cancelled that whole Qwikster thing, because it was dumb, and Reed Hastings told investors today, according to The Verge, that the also don’t plan to ever rent video games. Awwwww.
That leaves GameFly as the reigning video game online rental thingie. There are a few others out there, but none really come close to matching what GameFly does. Netflix would have, though. It would have been a real competition.
The next installment in the Assassin’s Creed franchise will be set during the American Revolution and will feature a new protagonist, an anonymous source told CVG. The source went on to say that the game will be publicly showcased before March 31.
This allegation is not completely unfounded. Hints of an American setting have been observed since Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s ‘Da Vinci Disappearance’ DLC, in which coordinates to New York were distilled to players, and late last year, a Ubisoft survey asked fans where they’d like to see Assassin’s Creed go next, with the following option included:
“The confrontation between British colonists and native Americans during The American Revolution.”
Months ago, I created the image above as a farce, based on Phil Hornshaw’s piece on possible future Assassin’s Creed settings. I’m not sure how I’d feel if “Assassin’s Creed: Revolution” turned out to be reality.
Where would you like to see the next Assassin’s Creed set?
That new GTX 680 you’ve been waiting for? You may have it in your hands a month or two sooner than you expected.
According to a Chinese website, NVIDIA is pulling forward the GTX 680's release from March/April to February. While this hardly sounds like reliable evidence, this information allegedly comes from a source with a reputable track record, claims VR-Zone.
The GTX 680 is said to offer similar performance to AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 — aka the fasted single-GPU videocard on the planet — with a clock speed of 780 MHz and 2GB memory. The battle between AMD and NVIDIA is almost as fierce as that between Sith and Republic — and the fanboys are just as zealous.
What does Runic Games, Flagship Studios, Blizzard North, and Condor Studios have in common?
In an interview with Games Beat, Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer said that majority stakeholder Perfect World has been very supportive of the company’s endeavors since the beginning of their partnership, offering them autonomy while maintaining a high degree of experience in the kind of F2P MMO that Runic is interested in.
Games Beat asked:
Chinese game publisher Perfect World purchased a majority stake in Runic Games for $8.4 million. Why did you pick that partner?
Max Schaefer replied:
We weren’t sure exactly what form the company was going to take when we started up again, so my brother and I self-funded for the first few months while we went out and searched for who would be our best partner.
At the time our notion was to build an MMO and, in evaluating partners, who would help us make an MMO, because we’re a small company and we couldn’t run an MMO out of this office. We needed a partner who could help us with the infrastructure, operations, customer support, billing and all that. It seemed that Perfect World is the best alignment for us because of the MMOs they run in China, the numbers that they deal with are incredible. They really understand how to run these games efficiently and they have a lot of expertise in itemization. For MMOs we believe in the free-to-play item sales model over the subscription model, and it just felt like it was the best mix for us.
Fresh off the failure of SOPA is the frustrating realization that the video game industry is extremely supportive of such efforts. It’s consistent, naturally, with the industry’s constant attempts to redefine the relationship between customer and developer as renter/owner rather than purchaser/seller that has led to lawsuits and onerous copy protection schemes that do little to solve the problem of piracy but do much to impact the consumer experience. And now there is a disturbing new layer to the problem as details about the next version of Xbox emerge. If the reports are true, prepare to give up consoles forever.
Kotaku is reporting word a source that the next iteration of the Xbox may make it impossible to play used games. “I’ve heard from one reliable industry source that Microsoft intends to incorporate some sort of anti-used game system as part of their so-called Xbox 720,” Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo says. There is no word on exactly how this would work. Totilo theorizes a system linking specific copies of a game to specific XBLA accounts. Perhaps, though I can’t imagine the means of detecting a disk unless the user is forced to input individual serial numbers just to play a game, which would be a major pain in the ass, or the system has some built in tech that would jack the price up.
IGN has a report told to them by good old Sources about the GPU of the forthcoming Xbox console. Here’s what they said, followed by my sadness.
Following initial reports from tech blogs Fudzilla and SemiAccurate, our sources have confirmed that mass production of the system’s GPU will indeed begin by the end of 2012 but will not, however, be based on AMD’s 7000 series Southern Islands GPU. Instead, the processor will be derived from the 6000 series, which was introduced last year. More specifically, it will be akin to the Radeon HD 6670, which offers support for DirectX11, multidisplay output, 3D and 1080p HD output. The chip currently has a market price of upwards of $79.99.
It’s hard to figure out how to interpret that. Yes, the 6670 isn’t nearly as powerful as you would hope the next generation of console would be. Hell, I have a 6950 in my PC right now, and it’s been there for six months.
What this implies is that the increase in graphical capabilities will be only incremental from the current generation. That’s a maybe, though. The thing to remember is that the performance of the Xbox 360 probably already rivals that of a PC with a 6670 in it. Consoles, because they are dedicated gaming devices, get more gaming power out of hardware than a PC does.
Internet site Inside Mobile Apps has a source inside Microsoft telling them that the detestable currency we’re all forced to use on Xbox Live, Microsoft Points, will be phased out this year, replaced by standard currency transaction.
This move is a long time coming, and so I certainly hope this report is the truth. I’d hate to have to journey into a bold new generation of video games still being forced to pay $10 for things that cost $7. Seriously, screw Microsoft Points. They were a terrible idea to begin with, and nobody will be sad that they’re gone, aside, perhaps, from Microsoft’s accountants.
When you pick up Resident Evil: Revelations for the Nintendo 3DS on its February 7th release date, check the spine of the jewel case for a good laugh. As you can see in the image above, the game has shipped with the word “Revelations” spelled “Revelaitons.”
Hey, I get it — spelling is difficult. Is it “i” before “e,” except after “c,” or when sounding like “eh?” as a Canadian would say? Or in this case, is it “i” before “t,” as in… well, nothing. This is just a glaring typo that somehow snuck past Quality Assurance. And we’re never going to stop making fun of Capcom for it.
People make mistakes. Well, not me, of course — I’ve nevre made a typo in my life. But how many people screwed up in order for this cover to be approved for shipping?
Well that was quick. Remember yesterday, when we brought news that Rocksteady, makers of the Batman: Arkham series was rumored to be working on a totally lame Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game? As expected, it is probably not true. Probably. VG 24/7 has reported that one of their sources, an “insider”, has dismissed this rumor, saying it’s made up, not true, false, as they say in factland.
However, before we breathe a sigh of relief – of sadness, if you actually wanted to play this, this source could be just some schmuck talking without having all the facts. Rocksteady has not made any official statement. Until they do, consider this story still in play. And seconding GameFront’s Phil Owen, please, please don’t do this.
You know when you kill the bad guy, but it turns out he was just a foil for a greater villain?
Well, SOPA may be dead, but ACTA has been lurking in the shadows this whole time, gathering strength and support for the final climactic battle — not just with the US, but with the world. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement seeks to establish international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement.
ACTA’s legal scope is as chilling as SOPA’s:
ACTA encourages service providers to collect and provide information about suspected infringers by giving them “safe harbor from certain legal threats”. Similarly, it provides for criminalization of copyright infringement on a commercial scale, granting law enforcement the powers to perform criminal investigation, arrests and pursue criminal citations or prosecution of suspects who may have infringed on copyright on a commercial scale. It also allows criminal investigations and invasive searches to be performed against individuals for whom there is no probable cause, and in that regard weakens the presumption of innocence and allows what would in the past have been considered unlawful searches.
United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea have already signed the treaty, and Poland will be doing so within the next few days. The European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland have to yet sign the treaty, but did profess their support and have until March 31, 2013 to sign.
The European Parliament allegedly has the final decision over whether the treaty will be dismissed or enacted, so don’t put down your torches and pitchforks just yet — there’s still more protesting to be done.
Terraria has been a successful experiment, selling over a million copies since its launch last year. That’s pretty good. So good, in fact, that its publisher, Merge Games, has announced that the $10 game will be getting a retail release on March 16. Really.
That seems… odd for a game so cheap. Obviously, a retail release means the price is going up; it’ll be £19.95 over there, and no price was given in USD. Expect, based on that UK price, it’ll be about $30 if it actually is released here.
This is really so weird. Terraria is probably worth the increased price, but it’s hard to imagine this actually being worthwhile for Merge in the age of digital downloads and PC gamers who would like to pay as little as possible for their games. Why buy Terraria at retail when you can get it for a third of the price online? Whatevs.
If you’re a map maker, here’s an opportunity for you to win a prize for your hobby. TF2Maps.net is hosting a level design competition for Team Fortress 2 that focuses around designing a map with an all new dynamic element that is interwoven with the flow of the map. Some sample dynamic elements include elevators, turntables, and rising bridges. While you’re welcome to include as many dynamic elements as you’d like, you’ll be judged on quality, not quantity.
The top 3 placing map makers will be rewarded with an in-game medal, misc item. The contest ends April 30 9:00PM UTC, and submissions will open one week before the deadline.
Creepy indie game The Binding of Isaac: The Unholy Edition will be released at retail on March 16, a special DRM-free version of the game which includes a free Steam gifting key, poster, soundtrack, and 40 page “Devzine.”
In his review, Game Front writer Phil Hornshaw applauded The Binding of Isaac‘s rogue-like gameplay, unsettling art style, and depth of itemization, though he found the game verges on frustrating difficulty at times. A DLC expansion is on the way, titled Wrath of the Lamb, that will add 50 percent more content, including new bosses, chapter, characters, and game mechanics.
A word of warning: this game is not for the faint of heart.
Confidential to Alan Wake fans who prefer your gaming the way god intended, on a PC: You’ll soon be able to play Alan Wake. Of course, you knew that already, but the means by which it would happen had not been announced. They have now. It was confirmed yesterday, in a post to the official Alan Wake website, that the porting of Alan Wake to PC will be handled by Nordic Games. That’s an interesting choice considering Nordic’s relatively low profile. Among other things, they’ve handled a semi revival of ArcaniA including ArcaniA: Gothic 4.
Nordic will be making the boxed version of Alan Wake PC (not the download only version). It will contain the complete original game as well as the two DLC packs, “The Signal” and “The Writer”. There’s no release date yet; likewise, specs have not been released. An announcement is promised “in the upcoming weeks”.
Context: Earlier this week I attended a preview event for the forthcoming Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2, which was originally released in 2011 as a PC-exclusive. Coming to XBox 360 on April 17, it’s a dark, visually-stunning and challenging RPG, and console gamers are lucky this is happening (read my hands-on to see why, you lucky bastards).
The MWE Emperor 200 PC work station is curvy, metallic, futuristic and probably awesome. I can see how a commenter on Kotaku’s gallery showing off the station might think that it, like cake and grief counseling, could be a lie.
With three 24-inch LED screens, an ergonomic leather chair and even its own air filtration system, it sounds like the Emperor 200 belongs in an Aperture Science Re-Education and Incentivization Testification Preparation Chamber, where you’re strapped down with your eyelids glued open, brainwashed by images of puppies getting stabbed or something. But it’s not. It’s just a $45,000 gaming rig that helps to minimize your physical movement, all but guaranteeing you do nothing but play Skyrim and The Old Republic until you’re too fat to ever move again.
Fans of Lara Croft, gird your loins for jiggling, sexy adventuring! The upcoming new Tomb Raider game has gone Alpha. That news was confirmed in the most recent Crystal Dynamics podcast, now up over at the official Tomb Raider blog. Alpha is projected to last for 2 months, at which point it’ll move on to Beta and the final stages of development, all but guaranteeing the reboot of the moribund franchise will be released early this summer. (It’s scheduled for May.)
So what do you think, GameFronters? Excited for the return of Lara Croft? Even if she won’t be having sexytimes? Let us know.
In the latest episode of the Crystal Habbit podcast, Crystal Dynamics confirmed a Mac version and a Collector’s Edition for Tomb Raider, while letting us know that no Wii U version will be released.
Karl Stewart, Global Brand Manager for Crystal Dynamics, said:
When we started developing the game we made a conscious decision that it was all about building the game for a platform and making sure the game was specific to that platform. Given that we’ve been working on the game quite a while before Wii U was announced I think it would not be right to try and port it across. If we started building a game for the Wii U we would build it very differently and we would build it with unique functionality.
Stewart went on to assert that, while a Mac version is planned, it may not release alongside the PC version:
We’re in the middle of discussions with a company looking to do just that. I’d love to be able to see it day and date with the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC release, but there is a technological aspect to it as well that we need to achieve. But yes, I want a Mac version because I love my Mac.
A Tomb Raider Collector’s Edition is a certainty, but may differ according to region:
Yes, it’s on my list and I’ve already been doing a lot of exploration so I can say with certainty that there will be a collector’s edition. The editions may be unique to specific territories however, because some areas have restrictions and so on.
It’s almost February game-sampling time on the Playstation Network. Sony and Eat Sleep Play are pushing through the Twisted Metal demo on Jan. 31.
Also coming Jan. 31: a demo for EA’s first-person shooter reimagining of Syndicate. Both demos will feature multiplayer play — Twisted Metal with you shooting other players, Syndicate with you teaming up with them to shoot digital people, as well as do other horrible and heinous things to them.
Syndicate’s demo is hitting Xbox Live on the same day (and a day later for both in Europe). Guess what, though — no Syndicate demo for PC. That just seems…well, stupid, EA. Just stupid.
Context: Earlier this week I attended a preview event for the forthcoming Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2, which was originally released in 2011 as a PC-exclusive. Coming to XBox 360 on April 17, it’s a dark, visually-stunning and challenging RPG, and console gamers are lucky this is happening.
Below is a summary of what I learned after spending a couple hours with the game.
What’s the deal with the Witcher games, anyway?
The Witcher games are RPGs, to be sure. Developed by Polish studio CD Projekt RED (CDPR hereafter), the games are set in a dark, seedy, violent fantasy world based on a series of novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski of the same name. The games star Geralt of Rivia, one of few “Witchers” still alive in the world. Witchers are badasses essentially, able to cast powerful spells and they’re ninjas with all manner of weaponry.
Like most RPGs, you meet a large cast of characters, you have to make choices (which affect the story’s outcome), and over the course of the game you’ll level up, find tons of gear and traverse a huge explorable world. Witcher 2 is one of those games, and it’s a very deep, very good one.
Our own Ron Whitaker gave it a 92/100 and said “no self-respecting RPG fan can afford to miss [it].”
Today we’ve discovered some videos of folks playing regular-ass PS3 games, like Battlefield 3, on their PS Vitas. How do they do this? Via remote play on a hacked PS3 with firmware 3.55.
Now, current PS3 firmware, 4.0, supports remote play on the PS Vita, but it doesn’t let you do it with all games. This hack does. In the future, though, all games will be playable this way with unhacked firmware, so this isn’t a big deal. It’s also not a big deal because, as you can see from the videos, doing it this way introduces a lot of latency. Nobody likes latency.
Stalker: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha is almost done.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha aims to bring back the game envisioned in the early days of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Development. Many of the cut locations, mutants, NPCs, etc... are being added back into the game.