Endweek News – Gods and Kings, Mass Effect 3 gets some delicious DLC, Assassins Creed 3 shenanigans and Relationships are Tricky…

I write this news post in the early hours of the morning as it was meant to be up yesterday. I do promise that I will try and be more punctual about these but the end of lectures and classes at University have put me in a holiday/lazy mood. Which when combined with my inherent laziness is difficult to overcome. However, let’s crack on and do the news from the last couple of days.

What is going on in the gaming world?

Halo 4 – Cortana Revealed

The image at the top, courtesy of GameInformer, is the new concept art of Cortana for 343 Industries’ Halo 4. There isn’t really much more to this news story as there aren’t any more images (that I could find).

I would like to say though, when comparing her to some images of Cortana from Halo 3 it does look like some things have changed. She’s less shiney and blue for one thing. But there are two prominent features in particular that… cough… “Stand out”…

Although, so far in Halo she has certainly been proving the rules and teachings of Barney Stinson. I wonder how far beneath the Vicky Mendoza diagonal Cortana actually falls… That crazy hologram…



Assassin’s Creed 3 – Screenshots and Location, Location

Creative director at Ubisoft, Alex Hutchinson, has made a response to the internet outcries about the location for Assassin’s Creed 3. I say outcry, I mean some people clearly weren’t happy with it and he’s responding to them (I was convinced the second I heard about using a tomahawk), but I don’t know how big this was.

However large it was, Alex has indeed responded to the most voiced setting requests of Egypt, Feudal Japan and World War 2 as being absolutely horrible settings for an Assassin’s Creed game and actually just plain boring.

Of course, this made the internet a little bit raging and so he has since clarified that the two most requested settings (Feudal Japan and World War 2) are familiar backdrops for any gamer and so to make something new and exciting within them would be a challenge and perhaps not an exciting one. He has also said that both he  and writer Corey May would like to do a game set in India, which would certainly be completely different and unusual from most game settings.

In a way I do agree. Not only do I not think that Feudal Japan just wouldn’t be that great a setting for the Assassins but I personally think that World War 2 would be unbelievably tricky to design a decent Assassin’s Creed game in (what with all the bombs and guns going about the place).

Of course, if you are listening to the internet Alex, do a game in Victorian Britain! I want to see London, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh full of smoke and soot and industry. I personally think it would work (and it would make sense in the context of the Templars always going to the centre of the world’s power).

As well as this little tiff over the setting, Ubisoft (god bless ’em) have managed to have more screenshots of AC3 leaked onto the internet… This must be their firewall’s day off again… These ones show a little of the classic gameplay style we have all come to recognise from Assassin’s Creed and a bit of a colonial battle! Ooo! Exciting!

Gears of War Exile – Blasted into Oblivion

Nobody knows what Gears of War Exile is/was. All that’s known is that Epic Games WAS working on something called Gears of War Exile but design director Cliff Bleszinski has now revealed that the studio has cancelled the project and no more work will be done on it.

There has been some speculation of course, a Kinect Gears of War title is one of such speculations. But nobody really knows what the project was and Epic Games won’t be revealing anything more. So if you knew about this and were hoping for some more badassery from the COG it looks like you are out of luck.

Dark Souls coming to PC

The PS3 exclusive title from Japan’s Namco and successor to Demon’s Souls will be getting a port to the PC with a release date some time in August. I can already sense the grinding of teeth and the frustration of nerves as people repeatedly get killed by every monster over and over…

Torchlight II – “Ideally” one month after Diablo

Once again this is only a short piece of news where the title literally says it all. However, in order to prove to you how imaginative I am I’m going to say it again (albeit in a slightly more complex way). Developers Runic Games have recently announced that they want their action RPG to follow about a month after the release of Blizzard’s Diablo 3.

While this is all well and good it suddenly strikes me that Diablo 3 is also an action RPG and they both seem to be of the “top-down hack-and-slash” persuasion. While I can understand wanting to please fans and getting the game out there it seems that maybe, just maybe, Runic might have a bit of a tough time with this particular release…

I’ll post a trailer for the game down in the trailer section for you to have a little look at some of the gameplay.

Civilisation V gets an Expansion

Nick posted all the way back in February about the upcoming expansion for Sid Meier’s Civilisation V which, along with a lot of interesting new content, will reintroduce religions to the world-domination strategy game. The expansion, named Of Gods and Kings will be released in the US on the 19th of June followed by a release on the 22nd everywhere else.

It does apparently add an awful lot of content and even as someone who doesn’t own the game I have to admit I’m rather intrigued about the whole “Victorian Sci-fi Scenario” that everyone keeps quoting. If you want to find out what the game will contain the I would suggest you jump over here to 2K Games official blog.

Producer behind the Witcher 2 unveils new project

I say “unveiled” like we are hearing a lot about this project that senior producer for the Witcher 2, Tomasz Gop, has announced. What has been announced though is the genre of the game, the setting and a possible release date. And some rather lovely concept art up at the top there… Seriously let’s all just take a moment to stare at it and hope for some awesome…

Aaaaah… Lovely! Where was I?

Oh yes. Being developed by a German studio Deck13 and published by City Interactive the game will be a multiplatform RPG inspired by Dark Souls and will be released for Xbox, PS3 and PC some time in 2013. The game will be set some 1000 years after the death of a god who’s enormous corpse has formed a mountain dividing the world in two. Each side of the mountain the society has it’s own distinct philosophy and supposedly you will be picking a side fairly early in the game.

It also apparently is influenced rather heavily by Kingdoms of Amalur and Batman: Arkham City alongside Dark Souls, so it will be taking ideas from the right places at least. Sounds interesting if nothing else.

War of the Roses – developer’s diary

While it may not be a game you are particularly interested in or are following to any degree I would like to call you back and tell you to watch the following two and a half-minute developer’s diary of War of the Roses. The game being developed by Fatshark and published by Paradox is an online mutliplayer set during the medieval War of the Roses (a rather apt description I saw on Youtube would be Battlefield: 1482).

After suddenly jumping onto my radar after watching this short video I have to say I am already really rather interested in the game. It looks absolutely fantastic. The gameplay looks amazing and the graphics look better. Plus the whole idea behind it is also something that I would love to do. I mean, surely we’ve had enough first-person shooters involving modern soldiers or futuristic Space Marines?

The video involves mostly talking a little about the ranged combat that the game will involve and how Gears of War was actually one of the influences on the design of it. Definitely worth a look guys:

Mass Effect 3 – DLC and a New Ending

I actually have a couple of bits of news, both featuring upcoming DLC for Mass Effect 3, here and so I have (in traditional lazy style) pressed them together into one little subsection.

First off is the the Resurgence Pack DLC which is set to come out on the 10th of April in the US and the 11th here in Europe. It’s a multiplayer map-pack which includes two new maps and six new multiplayer characters and even some new guns. You can check out images of both the weapons and the characters here as well:

This map pack will for the low, low price of nothing what-so-ever so good news Mass Effect fans! Lovely content which we DON’T have to pay for!

As well as this Bioware have announced that all this talk of “content initiatives” and clarifying the ending for fans of the series will produce fruit as they are working on new content, cut-scenes and epilogue scenes for Mass Effect 3 which will expand upon the ending of the game which so many were disappointed with.

Dubbed “The Extended Cut” this content will be released sometime in the Summer and will also be completely free. It will also be the last content that the company will make involving the ending of the game so if you still don’t like the ending even after it has been “more personalized” for you then, well, tough! That said, it is rather nice to hear of a company making such an effort to keep their fans happy and they aren’t even charging for it! I personally hope it satisfies all those who were unhappy with the ending, because by that logic it ought to keep me happy too!

EA – The Worst Company in the America and Relationships are Tricky (part 3)

Like in the above section this little bit contains two pieces of news centred around the large video game publisher EA.

In case you hadn’t heard, EA has been voted, by The Consumerist (a customer watchdog website), as the worst company in America winning “The Golden Poo”. And while I may not entirely agree, especially as they beat the Bank of America and other companies of a less than savoury nature (p.s. read this article at Rock, Paper, Shotgun for an in-depth discussion of why the choice doesn’t entirely make sense) their reaction does seem a little concerning.

Their reaction, in short, is that they do not seem to be concerned  by this at all with their Corporate Comms chief saying: “We’re sure that British Petroleum, AIG, Philip Morris, and Halliburton are all relieved they weren’t nominated this year” and “We’re going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide”. Now following the opinions of the RPS article I just mentioned it would, of course, have made more sense if one of the evil companies in the world won the award, you know for being evil rather than just irritating people, but EA’s reaction does seem to be a little along the lines of “we’re going to continue doing what we were doing beforehand”.

Even if their actions are not really evil and are simply money-grabbing it’s certainly quite a stance to take that they are just going to brush off the “award” and continue as before. Surely they ought to at least try to present a nicer face to the world, you know… Work on bettering themselves…

While the first part of this section was me expressing my concern over EA’s action, this second piece of news is something in which EA has my full support and I heartily commend them on their actions.

Essentially, EA and Bioware have been getting an awful lot of complaints, several thousand apparently, about the inclusion of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) characters and relationship options in Mass Effect 3. That’s right. People are protesting the inclusion of the option to be gay in Mass Effect 3.

The complaints include threats of boycotts should the LGBT options not be removed and are based around the “reasons” that the inclusion of the LGBT options are part of a conspiracy to destroy the minds of the precious children.

EA thankfully did the completely right thing here and told the protesters that they would not be removing the options or characters from the game, at all. Of course, I think they didn’t quite go far enough seeing as I assume none of the responses included the phrase “fuck off and die in a fire”.

Seriously though what sort of moronic individual can possibly spew this sort of hate and vileness? It’s not only something I revile but something I simply cannot understand that someone would be so ridiculous and retarded. Honestly, even knowing these people exist puts me into a dark mood and writing about them is making me positively mutter dark and evil threats.

While I’m all for freedom of speech and that people have the right to their opinions. I would also like to point out YOUR OPINIONS ARE WRONG!!

P.s. Die in a fire!

Recent Trailers

Now that we are over the serious part of the news (especially that last, super-serious part) it’s time for some awesome in the form of traileryness!

Let’s enjoy a trailer for Torchlight 2 showing off some of the Gameplay for the top-down, action RPG followed by the Narrative trailer for Spec Ops: The Line. And finally, Joystiq posted a trailer for the enhanced edition of The Witcher 2 and I couldn’t find it on Youtube… So I decided to post a slightly older one which does indeed look just as cool and makes me wish I had room for another game in my heart this year!


Song of the Week

Finally, to prove that I don’t spend ALL my time locked in front of a computer monitor staring at video games and news of video games (it’s really only about 96%) this week the Song of the Week triumphantly returns honouring the new/second series of Game of Thrones with the theme song of the series remastered into something even more awesome! Enjoy!

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