It is that time of week where once again I delve into the grim and gritty business of video game news. It’s a cut-throat world out there, a game eat game world. A world in which only the fittest and most awesome games survive. And Call of Duty of course (OOoooh! ZING!). But seriously, it’s not really that bad (well not for everyone) and we’ve got some pretty interesting bits and pieces of news to regale you with today. Also I want to make it clear that the above video is indeed sort of relevant to this post as you shall find out later (if you read through this!)
So, what’s new Gamers?
The biggest news in the world of gaming right now is that the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012, otherwise known as E3 2012 will be taking place from this Tuesday to this Friday (from the 5th to the 7th of June). With this in mind, developers and publishers alike are vamping up their revealing and teasing in order to drive us all into a frenzy for their various products which will be revealed at the biggest video games convention in the world. Unfortunately MMGaming were not invited on the grounds of being “simply too awesome” and would “cause all other press members to feel bad about themselves”. Well seeing as it is in the name of saving other people’s feelings we aren’t too bothered about not being invited… We’re bigger men than that…
Mass Effect 3 – Patch Notes, Redemption AND some Awesome Clothes
The first awesome piece of news for Mass Effect fans is that Bioware is actually working on turning the above, fan designed Mass Effect hoodies into the real deal. DeviantArt user Christine Schott designed the above set of awesome Mass Effect clothing and now Bioware is actually taking the design and are going to produce proper clothes from them. Now according to Christine herself these are probably “nowhere near the final product” but Bioware are taking her designs and after changing them and producing them they are going to start selling them. That is absolutely bloody awesome! I can see why they would want to sell these though, because I want one… Almost as much as I want that fabled Assassin’s Creed hoody which doesn’t really seem to exist…
Now for some actual Mass Effect news based on the game. First off I will mention that we have a trailer for the Mass Effect: Rebellion DLC which is down with the other trailers and videos (as it always is). Now, you might also have had to download an update for your Mass Effect game some time earlier this week. That was Mass Effect 3 update 1.03 which introduced a massive amount of bug fixes for the game (you can see the full list here). The major changes for the game are that Bioware have introduced an “Anti-AFK” system designed to stop people from going AFK in Multiplayer matches (it kicks them after two minutes of inactivity, without any of the credits or experience they would normally earn). Another major change was to fix the Vanguard class who’s “Charge” power made them occasionally warp out of the scenery of the map and float away from it.
Now, the update did not fix everything (the ending for example) but Bioware have explained that they are going to be bringing out more updates and why they haven’t fixed everything yet here.
Kingdoms of Amalur 2 was in production
Last week I spoke about the very sad news that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developers Big Huge Games and their parent company 38 Studios were going under and had laid off all their staff. It seems that this news is even sadder because as well as being in the process of developing an MMO titled Project Copernicus which looks absolutely amazing, if the screenshots are anything to go on, the studios were also working on a sequel to Kingdoms of Amalur itself.
It is simply a shame that these games will most likely never see the light of day. Project Copernicus will almost certainly never be released (as, barring a miracle, 38 Studios is done for) but there is still a slight ray of hope for Kingdoms of Amalur 2. Supposedly 38 Studios actually originally bought Reckoning off of THQ so perhaps KoA2 could be sold on and developed elsewhere, but unless this occurs then we will never have the sequel which is a massive shame. The game would apparantly have featured “better graphics, no loading, expanded and improved combat animations, fewer branching quests and greater effect on the world by players” all of which sounds pretty cool. Especially in the world of Amalur.
It is a shame that the game could never see the light of day, even if I wasn’t completely sold on KoA in my review of it.
New Gears of War confirmed!
I am currently feeling very smug and very prophetic and wise. When I played and reviewed Gears of War 3 I remember thinking that it seemed like a nice way to tie off the series. However, I also remember thinking that Halo didn’t finish after it’s third and “final” game so I felt absolutely certain that Gears would see another instalment.
Well… Guess what?
Gears of War: Judgement is the next game in the series, revealed by Game Informer. The next in the series by Epic Games is supposedly being developed by Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly. The front and back covers of the next month’s issue of Game Informer feature GoW squad-mates Baird and Cole in chains held by the COG, while the back cover shows the Locust being generally naughty. Now as we destroyed the Locust and the Lambent in Gears of War 3 (spoiler alert… you destroy the Locust and the Lambent at the end of Gears of War 3) there is no way this game is set after the previous one, so it makes sense to think that Judgement might well be a prequel to the Gears series. Honestly, my excitement for the game isn’t as high as it should be. After feeling a little disappointed by GoW3 I just don’t think I’m sold on the series any more… We shall have to wait and see…
The Humble Indie Bundle V
The Humble Indie Bundle, there’s a name we haven’t mentioned in a while. Well honestly they have absolutely outdone themselves with this latest Bundle. The fifth proper Humble Indie Bundle where you pay whatever you want with the money going to developers, the Bundle itself and to charity this time gets you some absolutely fabulous games. For whatever sort of money you want you will get Limbo, Psychonauts, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. All of which are absolutely fantastic games. Also if you “beat the average” (the average price paid for the bundle) which is currently $7.84 you also get Bastion. Now that’s what I call a deal my friends!
Skyrim Dawnguard DLC news
The first proper batch of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC is on it’s way and we’ve already got a trailer down below for you to check out. The expansion, which seems to be about Vampires and other dimensions (possibly one of the planes of Oblivion?) will be available for 1600 Microsoft points and looks absolutely awesome. Although that kind of goes without say, after all Skyrim does awesome in the same way that I do awesome… EASILY!
Even more interestingly, the large expansion pack will actually have an open beta for Xbox 360 users only. You can sign up on the official Dawnguard website for the chance to have you name randomly chosen and get completely free and early access to the full Dawnguard expansion, even the achievements! Now it is classified as a Beta so I’m not sure if you will keep the expansion, but I’d say trying it is better than nothing! I’ve already signed up! Here’s hoping…
Elder Scrolls Online – Why it won’t look like Skyrim and why it has Public Dungeons
The developers of The Elder Scrolls Online (I’m going to start call this TEScO from now on by the way), Zenimax Studios, have insisted that TEScO won’t look as good as Skyrim. Quite simply because it can’t. Not within the bounds of realism anyway. An MMO has to be more accessible for those using computers which are not top of the range, and even those that are top of the range might well struggle to fit in over 200 characters into the screen if it had graphics like Skyrim. As such, the graphics are being dialled down, and not every single piece of the game will be unique, there will be more reliance on set-pieces and set buildings and interiors. They are using a method called “stylisation” which is a technique which will allow the pixel-restricted MMO to still “look good and interesting”. The graphics will instead be closer to the styles of World of Warcraft and Fable, although they do not intend to lose the gritty and grimy feel of the textures of Skyrim. It does make sense really, to expect more would be fairly ridiculous (especially if they manage to make those 200 player strong battles) but to say that this was done in hopes of unifying Skyrim, Oblivion and Morrowind… Let’s not lie here Zenimax…
The director of the game, Matt Firor has also explained his reasoning behind the decision to include public dungeons in TEScO. A public dungeon is the same as any normal dungeon or instance with harder than average mobs and better loot. However, anyone and everyone can enter the dungeon at the same time. There will be instanced dungeons and raids for end-game content but Matt Firor explained that he loved the open dungeons of games like Everquest. He also went on to say that the dungeons will be soloable but it will be difficult, so it’s a way of making people socialise and meet up in a new and different way to other MMOs. At least with a combination of instanced and public dungeons, surely nothing can go wrong?
Dishonored pre-order details
That other, very exciting game coming from Elder Scrolls creator Bethesda, Dishonoured has had the pre-order details revealed in a number of different shops and locales. Unfortunately these are only the US pre-order details with the UK and European details coming at some point in the next few weeks. Still, you can have a look now if you are from the US at this list of what retailers across America are offering:
- GameStop – Arcane Assassin downloadable upgrade pack, Dishonored tarot cards
- Best Buy – Shadow Rat downloadable upgrade pack, Whale Oil USB lamp
- Amazon – Backstreet Butcher downloadable upgrade pack
- Walmart – Acrobatic Killer downloadable upgrade pack
- Target – Smartphone Dishonored decal
Star Wars 1313 Announced
Following a leak at LucasArts they have revealed that they are in the process of making another Star Wars game: Star Wars 1313. The above teaser image of the game shows an Imperial Shuttle in the style of the original trilogy so perhaps this game will be set during the better years of the Star Wars movies (I will confirm right now, the original trilogy is better, the Universe itself is ALWAYS good though). A press release on the game says that the game will be set on “Level 1313, a ruthless criminal underground deep below the surface of the planet of Coruscant” and that you, the player, will control “a deadly bounty hunter as he uses an arsenal of exotic weaponry to hunt down his marks and uncover the truth surrounding a criminal conspiracy.” The game will supposedly be based more on the darker side of Star Wars that can only be found in the extended Universe. It will also be a “third-person cinematic action game” and will be “dark and mature” which actually sounds sort of the direction I wish LucasArts would take more of their games. Of course… This might remind an awful lot of you of The Force Unleashed except with a bounty hunter instead of a dark Jedi… And you’d be right!
Konami Announces Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
In order to raise excitement and interest before E3, developers Konami have released a cinematic trailer for their game Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. Aside from the trailer and the announcement of the game itself there hasn’t been any other details revealed as the developers intend to (like a great many people) reveal more at E3.
Release dates – confirmation and narrowing it down
First up on the release date schedule is Quantum Conundrum which has finally had it’s release date announced! Airtight Games will be releasing the awesome looking puzzler on the 21st of June for the PC although there hasn’t been any further announcements on the XBLA and PSN versions other than “this summer”.
Next we’ve got the Battlefield 3 major expansion pack “Armored Kill” (they spelt armoured wrong of course) which will introduce “all-out vehicle warfare on huge maps” to the Battlefield game. EA have announced that the expansion pack will become available this September. It is the second major expansion for Battlefield 3 with the first, Close Quarters, releasing sometime this month.
Next up we’ve got a narrowed down release time for Maxis’ return to power in the latest SimCity. With further details probably coming during E3 this game has now been given the release window of February 2013.
And finally, we have a combined announcement, trailer and release date from Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics. They are making a new game in an already long running series featuring every gamers favourite busty, standard video-game girl Lara Croft. That’s right, entitled imaginatively “Tomb Raider” this game sees a younger and far more battered Lara Croft trying to survive on the Island from Lost (or something similar) and has a release date of the 5th of March 2013 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. You can scroll down to the bottom for the trailer as well!
Rift: Storm Legion
The successful MMO Rift by Trion will have it’s first expansion pack, Storm Legion, released some time during the Q4 period this year. The game is based around a crazy cat lady (except replace “cat” with “dragon”) Crucia and her plan is to invade Telara using some Infinity Gate (of all things). And this is probably not a good thing…
The expansion will more than triple Rift’s current size with a further two continents and oodles of new quests, mobs and whatever else Trion can think of to throw at it’s subscribers.
DotA 2 confirmed as Free to Play
Valve have announced, via the DotA Store that Defence of the Ancients 2 will indeed be free to play like it’s major competitor League of Legends. The Dota Store which has been launched ahead of the game’s release some time later this year allows the community to craft and sell items to other players. And these items can already be bought by players in beta and they will then carry over to the official release. That said these items are all purely cosmetic and Valve have been quick to reassure people that DotA 2 will not be a “pay-to-win” game with real world money giving your characters any advantage in game.
Guild Wars 2 beta weekend
ArenaNet have announced that the second Guild Wars 2 Beta weekend will start this coming Friday (the 8th of June) at 8pm UK time (8pm GMT). The servers will then stay open to Beta players until the following Monday the 11th of June when they will close at 7.59am GMT. Players will be able to reunite with their characters from the previous beta and they will be able to experience a variety of gameplay improvements, implemented after fan feedback. Lucky bastards…
Assassin’s Creed lawsuit – The saga comes to an end?
American author John L. Beiswenger has apparently succumbed to my threats and general tutting and tsking under my breath as he has dropped the lawsuit against Ubisoft over claims that the company stole their idea for Assassin’s Creed from his novel Link. Gametrailers, who were also cited in his suit have settled with the man with an undisclosed amount of money whereas he has completely dropped the lawsuit against Ubisoft “without prejudice”. He does however still have the right to pick up the lawsuit and claim at a later date if he so wishes. However, it’s a deep sigh of relief all round as Ubisoft is still able to produce and develop the third instalment in the epic and COMPLETELY ORIGINAL Assassin’c Creed games!
It’s also worth mentioning that Ubisoft themselves are now undertaking legal action against the author himself. The company issued the following in a statement with their decision:
“Ubisoft believes this suit was frivolous and without merit, and is seeking a ruling to prevent future related claims.
“We are proud of our creative teams and will continue to vigorously defend the intellectual property they develop.”
As well as wanting to prevent any other legal action against their team and their games Ubisoft want the author to cover all the costs from the short court case. Essentially the whole thing seems like a way of Ubisoft saying “Fuck you, our idea was original and our writers came up with it themselves. How dare you accuse us of this?” and then they probably started swearing. I might keep up with this latest development, but honestly with Assassin’s Creed 3 safe my interest is now waning and it doesn’t really involve video games any more…
Trailers and Videos
We’ve got some absolutely lovely and awesome videos and trailers for you to feast your eyes on here folks. And I mean seriously… Some top quality shit! We’ll start with what has to be the most teasing trailer for a game in existence which has filled me with a complete fever of excitement for whenever we hear more about it. My friends… I want you to brace yourself for the trailer for the all new, the all improved, it’s the return of STANLEY!! *insert angelic choir here*
Following that we have an absolutely awesome and actually quite hot new cinematic trailer for Hitman: Absolution. It features hot girls dressed as nuns, killing, explosions, guns and an awesome fight scene. As well as an odd “Requiescat in pace” moment reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed.
Following that we’ve got an awesome trailer for Guardians of Middle Earth (which I imagine will all too possibly be an average game) and, to my amusement, a trailer for LEGO Lord of the Rings (which could well be pretty fun actually). We follow this with a short but cool trailer for War of the Roses (which on the flip side could well be an AWESOME game!). Check em out!
After that we’ve got a new trailer for Dishonoured which features the first look at the gameplay which is definitely worth a look for all video game enthusiasts. Honestly it’s surprising just how excited this game has me, in such a short time as well… Then we’ve got the trailer for Skyrim: Dawnguard, which is less awesome as a trailer but I am looking forward to it just as much. And then we go from Skyrim DLC to Mass Effect 3 DLC with a trailer for the Rebellion DLC Multiplayer pack.
Then, just before you all leave, we have the brand new trailer (which looks to be completely made using gameplay footage) for next years Tomb Raider, and it has to be said that it looks like it’s taken an awful lot of inspiration from Uncharted… Although this time the main character has boobs!
And then before I lose you all, take some time to watch an amazing short film based on the internet and gaming sensation… A mentor of mine (even if he’s not aware of it) LEEEEEEROOOOY JEEEEENKIIIIINS!!!
Oh my god he just ran in…
Song of the Week
Actually, I lied. I’m not quite done with you all yet! You see, we’ve seen the work of Lindsay Stirling before when she did a Legend of Zelda medley on her violin which almost made me interested in the games (and it’s not just because she’s fit). Well now she’s teamed up with singer Peter Hollens to make an awesome cover of the Skyrim theme song! Although in fairness… The Skyrim theme song just lends itself to awesome in a way that the music from Legend of Zelda just doesn’t…