It's that time of week again folks when we huddle around the glow of our computer monitors, soaking up the warm and delicious electronic goodness. It could be raining or sunny outside, it could be the middle of the night or the middle of the day but we neither know nor care because we have video games news to distract ourselves with. And it's a rather large batch of it as well! We've got some beta sign ups for you to explore, some updates, some new games and some lawsuits. As usual in the gaming world it's always awesome and always worth paying attention to.
Or at least the stuff I'm about to show you is... Also, in previous Endweek Newses I have been giving you the news in a bit of a haphazard order with no real structure to it. From hence forth the oldest stories will be at the top of the post with the most recent at the bottom. Also, remember to check out the separate news post where I talk about intriguing new games, release dates and shove a bunch of awesome videos in your face. Enjoy!
Shoot Many Robots: Arena Kings beta opens up
Demiurge Studios, the developers of it's successful platform-shooter Shoot Many Robots, is making a free-to-play spin-off of Shoot Many Robots. Entitled Shoot Many Robots: Arena Kings the game will be released on Steam at some point in the future and will feature much of the same style of gameplay which Shoot Many Robots provided. Lot's of guns and I imagine a lot of insane combat.
The major difference with Arena Kings will be that the focus of the game will be mostly on PvP:
"We're taking our favourite parts of Shoot Many Robots and stirring in PvP competition and gameplay that's constantly evolving,"
says lead designer Will Jennings
"It's like a big tasty vegetarian stew with lots of guns in it, but also alive and mutating and fighting other soups."
Wait hang on... Did he say vegetarian? Well okay, I guess it's going to be completely POINTLESS then! But seriously if you liked the original game then you might want to head over to the official beta sign up page here!
Ubisoft creating dedicated Assassin's Creed 3 DLC team
Ubisoft have announced that they are creating a team especially to create continuous, episodic DLC for Assassin's Creed 3. Supposedly after launch the company means to supply an awful lot of top-notch DLC for their game. This will be coupled with the company's first venture into the "Season Pass" concept which can be bought along with pre-orders of the game and will give access to all DLC created for the game. This will include "an exclusive discount on all upcoming digital content, additional single-player missions and additional multiplayer packages".
In a way the whole concept reminds of the Spartan Ops DLC which will be offered along with Halo 4, I wonder if indeed it will be as good as Ubisoft promises.
Project Holodeck - A step towards Virtual Reality
Project Holodeck is what appears to be one of the first steps towards a virtual reality gaming experience that I have heard from in a while. We're all used to the Playstation Move, Kinect and Wii by now and it's worth admitting that while certainly a step forward, none of them have been particularly good (although I understand that sometimes incorporating elements of the kinect into normal console games for the 360 can have amusing results). Now though groups from the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering and the School of Cinematic Arts have come together to try and create a virtual reality gaming suite using off the shelf hardware and software and make it accessible to the general public.
Honestly a lot of what they say goes over my head but I understand that they are using an Oculus Rift for the screen, a playstation move for tracking head motion and a Razer Hydra (whatever that is) for limited motion tracking. They also are mostly using software in the form of the Unity Engine. Honestly rather than let me try and explain it to you, you are better heading either the the Eurogamer article or the official website to learn more about it. Just trust me when I say that it all seems pretty cool and that I really wonder whether it will actually be any good.
Torchlight 2 essentially 4 times bigger than original
To increase the build up and hype for Torchlight 2 the soon to be released top-down RPG by Runic Games the company have released the above infographic which highlights the changes between the games. With three times as many monsters and six times as many areas the game will be almost four times the size of it's predecessor.
Someone should really tell these guys that it's not the size of the game that counts... Although, come to think of it, in an RPG it often kinda is...
Portal 2 - Now in SPAAAAAAACE!!
It's comforting to know that even in the most high tech and quite possibly most serious of jobs that there are still gaming fans who love to make little references to their favourite games and mess around a little. Case in point, the above picture was actually supplied by an anonymous NASA employee and is a panel for the International Space Station which lifted off a couple of weeks ago aboard a Japanese HTV-3 resupply mission for the Space Station. The panel features the Space Core from Portal 2 and is absolutely fantastic. I wonder how many rules the employee broke when he secretly laser engraved the little core onto the panel which is now orbiting Earth.
Skyrim Update 1.7
This is just a quick post to inform you all that the latest update for Skyrim went into beta on Steam a couple of weeks ago and will soon follow on the consoles. The update doesn't feature anything spectacular and only includes a bunch of new bug fixes, however your luck is in if you own a PS£ because when the PS3 version is released it will include the mounted combat that you lot missed out on in patch 1.6.
Here is the full list of changes and updates:
Below is the full list of fixes:
- General memory and stability optimizations
- Fixed crash related to new water shaders
- Fixed rare crash related to dragon landings
- Fixed logic error with loading screens from add-ons (Xbox 360)
- Using vampiric grip and swimming no longer prevents swimming animation from playing afterwards
- Improved recognition with Kinect voice commands (Xbox 360)
- Kinect-enabled dragon language shouts for French, German, Italian and Spanish work properly (Xbox 360)
- Fixed issue with Dawnguard Kinect-enabled dragon shouts for French, German, Italian and Spanish (Xbox 360)
- vFixed issue with Dawnguard Kinect-enabled dragon shouts for French, German, Italian and Spanish (Xbox 360)
To take part in the beta on Steam you just need to follow these simple instructions:
- Log into Steam
- Click on Steam in the upper menu
- Select Settings
- Under the Account tab, go to the Beta Participation section and select Change.
- A drop down menu will appear. Select Skyrim Beta.
- Select OK.
- Steam will now restart. After Steam restarts, Skyrim will be updated to the Beta version currently available.
Diablo 3 wizards - Engage Invuln
A couple of weeks back a number of people discovered an exploit in Blizzard's top-down RPG Diablo 3 which allowed wizard characters to become completely invulnerable. This allowed player who used the exploit to safely farm the hardest difficult level of Diablo 3 for gear for using and selling. The exploit involved using the Teleport and Archon abilities and was described as follows:
- Step 1: Select Teleport - Fracture. Bind it to a key
- Step 2: Select Archon, tested with Improved Archon
- Step 3: Hover your mouse over or near your charcter
- Step 4: Press Teleport
- Step 5: QUICKLY! Press Archon
Update as of Tuesday 23rd: As of the Tuesday following the discovery of the exploit Blizzard has rolled out a hot-fix for the problem, so for any would be wizards out there, sorry folks but you missed your chance.
Fifa 13 - Might actually be different...
Honestly when it comes to any sports game or driving game one of the biggest issues I have with them is that they always release new games in the series quoting big changes to the system and gameplay which will make everything super amazing and awesome. And then of course the game they supply is essentially the same game they supplied the year before and the year before that. Nobody does this quite like Fifa where EA have been churning out a game every single year (with the year wrong of course) and the only difference has been that different players are in different teams, to correspond with the real word.
However, it would appear that Fifa 13 might actually have some new and interesting game mechanics, some of which actually sounded amusing to me! I know! Shock, horror!
Now, just to make sure that you know I am paying attention, there are changes to the AI and to the ball control of the game. The football will apparently bounce a little more realistically instead of simply automatically gluing itself to players feet, so that makes it harder to control and more realistic. The AI has also been made smarter at attacking and defending as now the footballers will not just anticipate where the player wants to pass but will try to anticipate a few passes ahead as well. I do wonder though whether this requires knowledge of the tactics of football, because honestly whenever I played Fifa 11 or 12 I NEVER planned out a single move.
Anyway, enough drivel! You are here because you actually want to hear what it was that caught MY attention here. The answer is simple, if you buy the game and utilise the Kinect on the Xbox then the game will start registering any profanity used by the gamers. Having played Fifa with some seriously into football and Fifa friends I know that the language is often, well let's be kind and say, rough. However now, if you use a Kinect and spend your time swearing at the referee and the game in general the referee will slowly become more biased against your team and will be more lenient to your opposition. It will also take into account local dialects and slang all the way from the US to here in the UK. Honestly the whole system just sounds absolutely hilarious and actually made me look up from the news of good games for about a minute. But only a minute.
If you, for whatever reason, would like to learn more about the "new stuff" that Fifa 13 will contain you should head over here to Eurogamer.
Company of Heroes - Weather System
Relic Entertainment's upcoming RTS Company of Heroes 2 will apparently be using it's new Essence Engine 3.0 and "ColdTech System" to great effect by putting an interesting amount of focus on the weather your world war 2 soldiers will face. Taking place on the Eastern Front of World War 2 soldiers can die in the intense -40 oC cold in mere minutes and so in order to keep them alive you have to build fires. As well as this snow will melt a certain amount depending on it's proximity to said fires. And if that wasn't enough, the more snow and ice which confronts your troops the slower and more ponderous their movement will be, this is coupled with a mechanic which tracks snowfall as well as the tracks made by your various units and I suppose it means that depending on the rate of snowfall the tracks will slowly or quickly disappear.
While it may not strike you as the most news-worthy story I do think it actually sounds pretty interesting and will add a new layer to the world of RTS. No longer will it all be about how many of the biggest tank you can build in 10 seconds but it might actually start including tactics and planning!
Quantum Conundrum DLC - The Desmond Debacle and IKE-aramba!
Quantum Conundrum, the puzzler from Airtight Games, who's biggest claim to fame is that it was developed by someone who also worked on Portal 2 is now going to be provided with two batches of DLC. The Desmond Debacle and IKE-aramba are the two in question with the former arriving on the 31st of July on PC, the 15th of August on Xbox and the same week on PS3. IKE-aramba on the other hand will be released on the 28th of August on Steam and the 12th of July on Xbox (with a release on PS3 sometime that week as well). Both batches of DLC will cost $2.99 (or 240 microsoft points) and both will be set in undiscovered wings of your crazy Uncle's mansion. Because it's only too easy to not notice a massive section of a house you been living in.
The Old Republic goes Free to Play
Now here's a news post which should be of interest to a large number of you. Following an unfortunately bad first year for Star Wars The Old Republic (SWTOR) the game will be switching to a completely free-to-play model and will no longer rely on subscription. To prepare for this the game will go on sale this August for $14.99 and new players will be provided with a month's worth of free gameplay. As well as this, existing players will be provided with a number of bonuses, some based on the amount of time they have played before the change. For every month prior to the end of July existing player will received 150 Cartel Coins along with a further 200-250 coins for every month played in between the 1st of this month and the change in model. Until the new model is introduced and the subscription method is completely scrapped Bioware have been using a "play for free until level 15" option, which seems to be a method of trying out the free-to-play method.
They should have paid attention to one of the wisest Star Wars characters: "Do or do not, there is no try".
Ada Wong playable in Resident Evil 6 - So are monsters
Capcom have announced that after you play through the Resident Evil 6 campaign as Leon, Chris and Jake you will be able to play another stand-along campaign as Ada Wong which will allow you to see the campaign from outside the perspective of the main three characters (or at least that's how the developers described it). Apparently the special thing about her is that she uses a crossbow!
Honestly I do not understand the FPS fixation with the crossbow and I would like to have a little rant about that and how it's completely pointless (excuse the pun) however I was, as I started drafting up my rant, distracted by another snippet of news for RE6.
Apparently after you have completed the main campaign you will also gain access to a game mode called Agent Hunt in which you will take control of one of a number of different zombified or demonified monsters and appear in another persons game in order to fuck up their shit. players will be warned of the existence of another player controlled monster but won't be informed who it is. Worse several players at once can appear in your game and can work together to really make your life hell. While it's an interesting idea and could be really cool, I can't help but think it would leave the door open for griefers everywhere to just leap onto other people's game and utterly destroy them over and over again.
Guild Wars 2 - PvP not about the gear hunt
ArenaNet have announced that unlike in games like World of Warcraft where better equipment means you are better at PvP equipment will have very little bearing on the PvP of Guild Wars 2. Even if a player against you has better or worse gear it will still be a level playing field and as such it will probably be more based on the skill of a player and way their teams interact. There will be aesthetic rewards but no "power rewards" from PvP as well.
The whole idea of the system is that players will be able to jump into PvP from a very early point and that PvP will be easy to watch as well and easy to understand, and not based around number crunching of DPS and armour and penetration, etc, etc. Despite the desire to have players jumping into PvP from the get go ArenaNet want to continue their trend from Guild Wars 1 and have an obvious professional level of gamers as well. I can't pretend to understand how they are going to go about this so I will just nod and say "ooo interesting" and then go back to my front door and wait for my pre-order to arrive.
Dawnguard reaches Steam
Just a quick post to let you all know that Dawnguard has finally arrived on Steam for £13.99 / $19.99 and unfortunately for you PS3 users out there Bethesda have announced that they feel that the PS3 version of Dawnguard is still just not quite ready yet. Bethesda have said that they just aren't satisfied with it yet and they want everyone to enjoy the experience that is Dawnguard. So I think it's reasonable to assume that in the PS3 version if you get hit by a vampire you get knocked out of the map in some bizarre glitch.
World of Warcraft Movie gets a new writer
I don't know what it is but it seems that every week when I look for news to share with the world I discover that somehow the gaming industry has been working on another film adaptation of a game and I am only just discovering that. This week's discovery is that Legendary Entertainment has been working with Blizzard on a World of Warcraft film. Also apparently the film's production was in trouble after writer Sam Raimi left the project, however now it appears it has been saved by the introduction of a new writer Charles Leavitt.
I am experiencing very conflicted feelings right now. On one hand I know that all film adaptations of video games end up being disappointing but on the other hand I can't help but naively think that maybe with World of Warcraft they could get it right. I mean there is a wealth of lore and story to use for a film, perhaps it WILL be awesome! They might even make it really authentic and have someone Leeroy Jenkins at some point during the film... Oh be still my beating heart...
Planetside 2 Beta Begins
If you are one of those who are looking forward to Planetside 2 then you should really head over here where sign-ups for the closed beta started a while back. It's uncertain how long it will take for players to get a chance to play the game but what is certain is that it the beta will begin late today on Monday the 6th of August.
So if you are wanting to jump into the game you had better get yourself in gear!
Spelunky on your Browser
Before I finish off today I wanted to let you all know that now via the wonders of HTML 5 we can all play the fantastically amusing treasure hunting and perma-dying mining game Spelunky in our browsers. Darius Kazumi, a developer from the HTML5 games division for Bocoup converted the game to the HTML 5 format. The conversion was apparently very quick and despite a few bugs here and there is probably still the same fun and amusement filled game as it used to be. You can head over here to try it out!