You will have, obviously noticed that last week we had no news on Sunday and that this week we actually had no news on Wednesday either. And there are very good reasons for both of these things. As you might be aware I am in the middle of my exam period and I’m finding it a little more difficult to make the time to do the news. But don’t worry, after next week things ought to return to pretty much normal as both me and Tim will be finished.
And so we’ll need to come up with an excuse other than “We are lazy sons-of-bitches!”
Also, we are still playing around with our new “4 posts per week” system and have decided to only have one session of news on most weeks. While you might still see some Midweek News at some point in the future, for now we are going to be doing two reviews a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Anyway, “reasons” over! Let’s see what’s been happening in the world of video games for the last two weeks.
Rayman Legends sequel in the mix?
Ubisoft have recently registered a bunch of internet domains with the name Rayman Legends. It’s well known that following the surprisingly good reception of Rayman Origins last year that Ubisoft are most likely working on a sequel for the game and now, if these domains are to be believed we now know what it’s going to be called.
While Ubisoft have yet to formally confirm that they are working on a sequel to the game it is one of the more solid rumours that suggests they are indeed working on it. There has even been some marketing information about the sequel so really now all people have to do is wait for Ubisoft to simply announce the game.
It seems it’s impossible to keep secrets in the video game industry… Although Ubisoft have had this problem before of things leaking out before they were supposed to…
Former STALKER team developing Survarium openly with fans
The developer of the famous S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game GSC Game World has been recently brought back to life in the form of a new company called Vostok Games which has been formed by the team who were creating S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 before it’s cancellation. They have now announced that they are in the process of developing a new game called Survarium which will be similar in spirit to the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game by also being set in a post-apocalyptic setting.
The game will be a free-to-play MMOFPS and will be set in a post-apocalyptic world as opposed to merely a small area, devastated by ecological catastrophe. The team at Vostok Games are also intending to develop the game openly with fans. Working on feedback and ideas from fans they will be doing their best to bring out a new and exciting game for them to play.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in then I would suggest that you skip to the bottom where I have posted the first in a series of Developer’s Diaries that Vostok have produced (it’s the first video in the videos section).
It might be worth saying at this stage, that as I remember S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was one of the most visually impressive games I’ve ever seen and it pretty much destroyed every PC that ran it on it’s highest settings. Tim could probably tell you more about it though as he owned the game and I didn’t.
Torchlight 2 – pre-order bonus
If you are one of those who, like our Nick, is looking forward to Torchlight 2 more than to Diablo 3 then you may be interested to know that the pre-order details for the game have been announced by Runic Games, along with the prices. The game will cost £14.99 / €18.99 / $19.99 or whatever your local equivalent is.
You can pre-order either on Steam or at Perfect Entertainment. If you pre-order the game on steam you will get a second copy of the game for free, what’s more they are also offering a system where you can buy four copies of the game so that you can get your friends in on the magic and mayhem as well.
The game is now nearing completion apparently so you might want to get on your bike if you intend to buy the game. Pre-orders are usually worth it!
Dishonored preview details and screenshots
Dishonoured the game about betrayal and assassination, set in a steampunk world and given to us by Bethesda is already shaping into a game that I am extremely excited about (and that’s not just because of the trailer). Despite the fact that those silly Americans have gone and spelled “Dishonoured” wrong (yes there’s meant to be a bloody U in it) I genuinely think that this might be one of the properly big games of 2013 worth waiting for.
The game is set in the fictional city of Dunwall and never before has there been a city which is such a hive of scum and villainy. You will play as Corvo former bodyguard of The Empress (with a capital on the “The”) and have been falsely accused of her murder. Which is why in the trailer you see Corvo cooling his heels in the deepest dungeon they could find. You are then given some magical power in the form of a possessive tattoo by a man known as The Outsider, you also get an awesome mask but maybe you got that on your own. On a side note, even from the trailer despite helping our wronged protagonist it ought to be clear from the off that this Outsider chappy is clearly going to end up as some sort of boss fight.
Anyway, Corvo then sets out to rid the city of the corruption and villainy which first placed him in jail (and probably had the Empress killed). It’s a quest for vengeance unlike any other, except all those other games where the main character’s only motive is vengeance but I digress.
The city itself see’s the influence of English and Scottish architecture, it was even originally planned to be set in 17th Century London, and has been influenced by real world cities like London and Edinburgh. In fact despite the prolific American accents in the game, the facial styles and features of the NPCs and main characters have actually been heavily influenced by the anatomy and morphology of real British citizens. So while they may sound like men from the Big Apple they will probably secretly support Man U.
The steampunk feel is one I heartily approve of as it is threaded into this world Masterfully. The only other steampunk game I can name off the top of my head (Bioshock) had one of the best atmospheres of any game I’ve ever played so I wonder if it will pay off here. The world runs off magic and whale oil, horseless carriages shepherd the rich through the run down city on pre-set rails. Loudspeakers are everywhere yelling about curfew and about reporting incidences of a plague which causes sufferers to weep blood and attack other men. And through all this, the major security of the town the Tallboys (seen in the trailer and in the screenshot at the top) are expected to keep the peace on their massive mechanical stilts. Heavily armoured and carrying a shield and an “electro-bow” they remind me an awful lot of the walkers from Half Life and probably do just as good a job at keeping the peace. As well as the Tallboys, barriers are present between districts of the city (again seen in the trailer) which cause those who aren’t allowed to pass through them to explode in chunks of gore.
The game itself is not a massive open world but rather will be a set series of levels which you will have to traverse to get to your targets. The game is also all about choice in the paths you take to reach your targets. And I don’t just mean the Hitman style paths of “use gun” or “use knife” but you will use magic, the environment, knives, grenades, crossbows and all manner of devious and wonderful ways to kill your targets. In a preview of the game which featured a high class brothel called The Cat’s House you can cause one of your targets to scald to death in a steam room or you can sneak through the rafters, blowing out candles to reach him and finish the matter in a more personal method.
As well as supposedly having a massive variety in the ways you can kill your targets the surroundings and atmosphere of the game will be doing it’s best to seem vibrant and alive. The NPCs won’t be simply pieces of furniture, guards won’t simply patrol the same stretch of corridors over and over again like automatons. Instead if leave well enough alone, you will see small stories playing out with NPCs interacting with each other and the environment. It sounds like the sort of truly immersive environment I which I can see myself really buying into.
I’m going to try my damnedest to not big the game up too much in my mind to try and keep my expectations at a realistic level. But I have to say that what Bethesda seem to be hoping to achieve is something I am very much looking forward to experiencing. It’s gonna be good!
By the way, if you want to see some more awesome and impressive screenshots of the game then head over to Joystiq (here) for a few which show off the game and it’s combat.
New Portal 2 DLC
Valve has announced that the release date for the Portal 2 DLC which will allow you to create your own mutliplayer maps will become available on Mac and PC on the 8th of May (a couple of days away now).
Perpetual Testing Initiative, as it is called, will feature a “simplified puzzle maker” which will allow players to publish their own tests onto the Steam marketplace where other players will be able to download, play and vote on them.
There has been no news about the Console version of the DLC, much to my despair. Happy testing everyone!
God of War: Ascension Screens and Details
Sony have announced after a long period of speculation that the upcoming prequel for God of War will feature a multiplayer feature. The multiplayer mode will feature an online and an offline battle mode for up to eight players and their customisable avatars to duke it out surrounded by Ancient Greek mythology. The game, according to Sony, “combines the brutal gameplay and large-scale battles that God of War is known for to create a competitive experience like never before”. Impressive claims.
Despite this they insist that the campaign mode will not suffer for the addition of a multiplayer mode. It will apparently be a little bit shorter than previous games, but only by a little. For a short preview video of footage from the multiplayer you should skip to the videos section at the bottom. As well as that you might want to check out these screenshots courtesy of Eurogamer.
Halo 4 Live Action series coming soon
Ahead of the release of Halo 4 this Autumn Microsoft are planning to release an exclusive Live Action series of videos on Machinima and Microsoft’s Halo Waypoint. Halo4: Forward Unto Dawn as the series is called will play out over 5 weekly instalments, each at about 15 minutes long, in the run up to the new game being produced by 343 Industries.
The series tells the story of how the Master Chief inspired a young cadet who will become the commander in chief aboard the UNSC Infinity spaceship. The character will provide a flashback style experience to the start of the war between the humans and the Covenant as well as tying in with the Halo 4 game. It’s supposedly a way to get new people into the Universe without feeling like there is too much they’ve missed out on.
As well as this, Microsoft are pouring an awful lot of money into the features, more than they have any Live Action series before and it could apparently become the stepping stone for a full length Halo movie.
Skyrim DLC at last!
Skyrim, despite not having said much about it recently the game has still been very much in our hearts and minds. It’s worth mentioning while we are on the topic that in recent months over 13 million player made mods have been downloaded by players across the globe wanting to have Space Cores in their Skyrim. That in itself is really rather impressive, and you have to once again just sit back and appreciate the modding community of the Elder Scrolls.
But on to the more important news!
Bethesda have finally announced the first piece of major DLC for Skyrim which will release this Summer. Entitled Dawnguard we have nothing to go on except the teaser image above. All we do know is that it will come out in Summer and will release on Xbox first before coming to PC and PS3.
YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!!!
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Another one?
Some of the biggest news of the last week was Activision and Treyarch announcing that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and stating that it will be released on November 13th on Xbox, PS3 and PC. We have the official trailer (down in the video section) and quite a few teasers and information already. The game will feature quadrotors (as seen in the above image) and will apparently be set during a 21st Century Cold War with new and futuristic warfare and technology. It will also feature a horse riding level.
According to the folks at Activision and Treyarch the game will feature a visual overhaul to make it the most visually satisfying CoD yet. As well as this they plan to make the game (and I quote from the publishing CEO, Eric Hirshberg):
“Hands down, this is the most ambitious Call of Duty ever. We are bringing disruptive innovation to the franchise and we are doing it on several fronts. We’re pushing the boundaries technologically, graphically, and from a narrative and gameplay perspective.
“At the same time, we need to stay true to the epic realism, authenticity, heart pumping adrenaline, and cinematic action that so many people love and expect from a Call of Duty game. Treyarch’s vision for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will redefine the Call of Duty franchise for the future – both literally and figuratively.”
As well as all these promises the game will apparently feature player choices which will cause dramatic affects in the game and offer branching storylines.
Me, I’m taking what they say with a pinch of salt. Call of Duty has never been much more than an impressive shooter at best. It does what it does well, but it has never really offered innovation or truly outstanding performances. While I’m willing to accept that this is the most ambitious Call of Duty yet, my scepticism about the series has yet to be lifted (the fact that the trailer looked like it could have been made a couple of years ago didn’t really help that).
Assassins Creed early concept art
Ubisoft have recently published quite a few images from a gallery of early concept art from the original Assassin’s Creed, before they had even started production, created in 2004, three years before the game’s release.
The game was supposedly going to be a Prince of Persia spin-off with Altair originally supposed to be a bodyguard of the prince as a small child. The concept art also hints at the fact that they originally had intended to include co-op play into the game, which has yet to appear in any Assassin’s Creed (but will apparently be making an appearance in Assassin’s Creed 3).
It’s something of a blast from the past if you ask me and it never ceases to surprise me how much games can change throughout the course of development. Here we have a Prince of Persia spin off which has grown into one of the most well known and best series on consoles these days (if you ask me anyway).
For the majority of the concept art you can toddle over here to Eurogamer.
Elder Scrolls Online announced
If you ask me, the biggest news of the last two weeks has to be that Bethesda have finally announced the heavily speculated MMO of the Elder Scrolls: The Elder Scrolls Online. The game will be produced in collaboration with Zenimax Game Studios and will be set a further 1000 years after the events of Skyrim and will feature the attempts of a Deadric Prince, Molag Bal, to incorporate Tamriel into his own plane of Oblivion.
There isn’t much to go on yet except a traditional Elder Scrolls teaser trailer and the facts that it will include Elder Scrolls style exploration combined with MMO social features and PvP. But the studios are apparently hoping that the result of years of development will pay off and make it the best MMO made to date.
There has actually been, already, a fairly diverse reaction to this. First off there were people who fanboyed out and started throwing money at the screen of my laptop (still haven’t found all of it) but then there are those who believe that the style MMO style of gameplay simply won’t fit the story and role-playing heavy universe of the Elder Scrolls. And in a way, I actually agree. I’m definitely excited to see how the game will turn out, but I am definitely not as excited as I am for Dawnguard or if they had announced an Elder Scrolls VI.
Valve not planning any announcements at E3
Today’s final piece of news before we get onto the visual awesome provided by the wide variety of videos is a particularly sad one. Put simply Valve have annoucned that they are NOT planning to announce any new products this year at E3. That means no Half Life 3, no Portal 3 and no Steam Box.
Aside from more information on current know projects (like Counterstrike: Global Offensive and DotA 2) there will be nothing new from Valve this year.
No Half Life 3?
Anyway, now that the news is over we can get down to supplying you guys with around two weeks of awesome in the form of video game trailers, developers diaries and teasers! Plus, if you scroll a little further we actually have a Song of the Week for you guys to sink your teeth into!
First up we have the first Vostok Games developers diary of Survarium, followed by a brief one and half minutes of footage featuring the multiplayer of God of War: Ascension. Next we have the official trailers of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (which is fairly average) and the teaser for the Elder Scrolls Online (which sets my pulse racing and my breath racing). Next up is another trailer for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier featuring Gunsmith addicts (recommended for those of you that like guns). Following that we have a five minute interview with two of the main voice actors for Hitman: Absolution AND the official gameplay trailer for the game!
After we that we have a rather intriguing new reveal from Ubisoft for a game called Silent Hunter Online, which features Submarines and a deep voice-over. Finally we see the Diablo 3 TV advert which features clips from several previous trailers.
Song of the Week
Now that we have got all that awesome out of the way, if you feel you can handle some more then I’ll tell you that we have another song by Malukah to show to you guys. If you’ve heard any of her previous stuff then you should be well aware that this is not to be approached lightly and you should only listen to this if you are sure you have not had any of your daily recommended dose of awesome.