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2014-10-22
Microsoft has published a behind-the-scenes video for Alien director Ridley Scott's upcoming Halo: Nightfall digital series. The video introduces you to some of Nightfall's characters--including protagonist Agent Locke--and also highlights the overall narrative. Nightfall stars Mike Colter (Million Dollar Baby) as Agent Locke, while Christina Chong (Star Wars: Episode VII) will also play a role in the film. Scott is the executive producer of Nightfall, which is directed by Battlestar Galactica's Sergio Mimica-Gezzan. Everyone who buys November's Xbox One game Halo: The Master Chief Collection will get access to Nightfall, though Microsoft has not yet announced plans to offer the series to everyone else. Locke, described as a "legendary manhunter," is the focus of Nightfall. The series will provide his backstory, which fans may want to pay attention to, considering Locke is also going to be a major character in 2015's Halo 5: Guardians. "A strange and treacherous world exposes elite UNSC operatives to a much deeper danger," Microsoft writes about Nightfall. Though Locke is a primary character in Halo 5, series protagonist Master Chief is also at the heart of the story, Microsoft confirmed recently after it was suggested that the company was looking to retire Chief and replace him with Locke for future games. In addition to Nightfall, Microsoft has tapped prolific film director Steven Spielberg to make a Halo TV series. This was announced back in May 2013, but we still don't know much about it. Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which includes remastered versions of Halo 1-4, launches on November 11 for Xbox One. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released free DLC for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor available today that lets players take control of a new character. You can now download the The Power of Shadow bundle, which allows you to take on the appearance of Sauron's servant, the Black Hand. The new playable character, who's an antagonist in the regular game, comes with three new Epic Runes that grant you new abilities. The One with Nature Rune makes you immune to poison attacks from Ukuk Captains or Ghuls.The Ascendant Rune give you double focus time for slow motion ranged combat.The Elven Grace Rune increases defense, which halves the damage of enemy strikes. Last week, the game was updated with a free photo mode, which allows you to remove the UI from the screen, capture an image, and tweak various settings--depth of field, tilt, field of view, etc. Shadow of Mordor was released in September to a positive reception on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, and you can read our review here. The game is slated to release on Xbox 360 and PS3 on November 18,   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
Online retailer NewEgg is currently selling PlayStation 4s on auction site eBay for $360, representing a nice savings of $40 over the console's normal $400 asking price. Shipping is free. According to the page, only a "limited quantity" of PS4 units at the discounted price are available. More than 400 have been sold since the promotion went live. The deal ends on Monday, October 27, or presumably when stock runs out. NewEgg's special PS4 deal is for the standard black console, not the white Destiny bundle. You're buying a brand-new PS4, which comes with the system, a DualShock 4 controller, an HDMI cable, a mono headset, and all power and charging cables. The PS4 celebrates its first birthday next month. The system has sold more than 10 million systems worldwide as of August, which is beyond Sony's expectations for the console. Most recently, the NPD Group announced last week that the PS4 maintained its lead over the Xbox One in the United States during September.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
The latest Sid Meier game, Civilization: Beyond Earth, launches later this week exclusively for PC. Mac and Linux players won't get to play right out of the gate, but Aspyr Media announced today that Beyond Earth will be available for those platforms through Steam and on Apple's Mac App Store sometime "this holiday season." Mac and Linux players can preorder a Steam code for Beyond Earth today through Aspyr's GameAgent.com. Preordering will net you the Exoplanets Map Pack as a free bonus. According to Aspyr, a prolific developer of Mac games, the Mac and Linux versions of Beyond Earth will "retain the same features and gameplay as the Windows PC version, while also offering cross-platform multiplayer via Steam." You can follow Aspyr's progress on the Mac and Linux versions of Beyond Earth through a special "Dev Diary" series at blog.gameagent.com. This is not the first time Aspyr Media has teamed up with Firaxis Games and 2K to bring a Sid Meier game to Mac. The developer was also behind the Mac versions of Civilization III, IV , and V. For more on Beyond Earth, be sure to watch the game's impressive intro cinematic (above), and then check out our previous coverage of the upcoming strategy game. Just yesterday, 2K announced that the Windows PC version is now available to pre-load, and that you can play Civilization V for free until October 23.         Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
  When Mass Effect director Casey Hudson announced his departure from BioWare in August, he said he was preparing to "take on a new set of challenges" for his next endeavor. Now, he's hinted that what's next on his plate could involve the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Hudson posted an image on Twitter of an Oculus Rift headset with the caption: "It begins." He also mentioned @Oculus in the tweet, which featured the hashtag #VR. It certainly sounds like whatever Hudson is doing next will involve VR, but he hasn't announced any official plans and or tweeted again since the initial tease. There are a number of possibilities regarding what Hudson's tweet might mean, the first of which is that he is working on a game/app/experience using Oculus Rift. It's also possible that he's joined Oculus VR itself, though the Facebook-owned company tends to herald high-profile new hires with official announcements, and none have been made so far about Hudson.     Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
Feeling generous? Dying Light developer Techland has announced a special bundle for the upcoming game that lets you buy four copies of the game for the price of three on Steam. You can then gift the other three copies to friends--earning yourself some serious brownie points. The Dying Light 4-Pack bundle is available today through Steam for $180. Normally, you'd need to fork over $240 to buy four copies of Dying Light. Dying Light has a handful of multiplayer modes, including co-op and the asymmetric "Be the Zombie" multiplayer mode. "It's always good to have someone at your side when the Night Hunter invades," Dying Light producer Tymon Smektala said in a statement. Following a delay out of 2014, Dying Light launches January 27 in North America, January 27 in Australia and New Zealand, and January 30 in Europe and Asia. The game--which will offer 50+ hours of gameplay--will be available for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3,PlayStation 4, and PC. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
Back in September, developer Insomniac Games confirmed that upcoming Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive would run at 900p/30fps. Now, the studio has revealed that it had the game running at 1080p during development, but chose 900p in part because the lower resolution allowed the developer to create more on-screen mayhem. The end result, according to creative director Marcus Smith, is a game so stuffed with action that Transformers director Michael Bay would be proud. "Why would you want less action on screen? That's insanity," Smith said when asked in an IGN video why the studio chose 900p over 1080p. "900p works perfect for us. We spent a lot of time comparing and contrasting. We had it running at 1080p, we'd play it; we had it running at 900p, we'd play it and they didn't look considerably different. But the things that you could draw on screen were a lot more, and we wanted to draw a lot more on screen. More action, more better. Michael Bay would be very proud." Also in the interview, Smith reveals that while Sunset Overdrive will not support free roam co-op at launch, this could be added to the game through a post-release expansion. If that doesn't happen, it could show up in a sequel. "Never say never," Smith said. Sunset Overdrive launches in the US on October 28 as an Xbox One exclusive. The game, which is published by Microsoft, will be accompanied by a $400 Xbox One bundle that includes a white system (and matching white controller) and a copy of the game. This is notable because it will represent the first time Microsoft will publicly offer the Xbox One in a color other than black. For more on Sunset Overdrive, check out GameSpot's previous coverage. You can also test-fire some of the game's over-the-top weapons through a special interactive website called Walter's Workshop. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
Microsoft will launch its own smartwatch in the next couple of weeks, according to a new report from Forbes, which cites unspecified sources who are reportedly "close to the project." The gadget will reportedly have health-monitoring capabilities such as a heart rate tracker. In addition, it is said to work across different mobile platforms, and you apparently won't have to charge it very often. Forbes reports that a single charge will last for more than two days of "regular use." It remains unclear what Microsoft's rumored smartwatch will be called or what it will cost. In addition, there was no mention in Forbes' report today about Microsoft's smartwatch featuring any compatibility with Xbox 360 or Xbox One--or gaming at all, for that matter. This is not the first time we've heard about a new smartwatch from Microsoft. Back in April 2013, The Verge reported that Microsoft's Xbox team was testing such a device, and had been for about a year at the time. The device is said to feature a 1.5" touch-enabled screen. If Microsoft is in fact working on a smartwatch, it won't be the first time the company has done so. Microsoft launched a range of SPOT smartwatches in 2004 that used radio signals to pull in news, weather forecasts, and stock quotes. These devices were discontinued in 2008. In September, iPhone and iPad company Apple announced the $350 Apple Watch, a sleek-looking device that won't be released until 2015. If Forbes' report is accurate, Microsoft's smartwatch will launch in the lead-up to the busy holiday shopping season. Microsoft was not immediately available to comment when approached by GameSpot sister site CNET. For more on Microsoft's wearable endeavors, be sure to read CNET's full coverage.     Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
Sega announced today that the first of five Alien: Isolation post-release expansions, Corporate Lockdown, will be released on October 28. It features three "challenging and terrifying" maps for Isolation's Survivor Mode, and will sell for $8. It's included with the $30 Isolation DLC pass. The three new maps included with Corporate Lockdown are Severance, Scorched Earth, and Loose Ends. The expansion also marks the arrival of Gauntlet Mode, a new mode that challenges players to complete all three maps back-to-back without dying once. A new playable character, Seegson Executive Ransome, is also featured in Corporate Lockdown. The next four Isolation DLC packs are called Trauma, Safe Haven, Lost Contact, and The Trigger. Each features a new playable character, as well as new maps and modes. Specific release dates for those expansions were not announced, but Sega says all should arrive by March 2015.     Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
American rock band Metallica will perform at BlizzCon 2014 next month, Blizzard Entertainment announced today. The band will perform the Saturday evening concert, taking place November 8. If you can't attend BlizzCon 2014 in person (tickets are sold out), Metallica's performance will be streamed live for BlizzCon virtual ticket holders. Those are on sale now for $40. "We're thrilled to have Metallica blowing out our speakers at BlizzCon this year," Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said in a statement. "After two full days of epic gaming and intense eSports action, an earth-shaking concert is the perfect sendoff for everyone at the show and watching from home." Last year's musical act was Blink 182. Other bands that have performed at BlizzCon in previous years include The Offspring, Foo Fighters, Ozzy Osbourne, and Tenacious D, among others. BlizzCon 2014, a celebration of World of Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, and other Blizzard franchises, takes place November 7-8 at the Anaheim Convention Center. This year's event will feature panel presentations, tournaments, contests, and hands-on time with Blizzard games. More details about BlizzCon 2014, including a full programming schedule, will be announced ahead of the show next month. Check back with GameSpot for more.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
  Count Hyrule Warriors among the games that will work with Nintendo's line of Amiibo figures--the Link one, at least. Nintendo announced on Twitter today that the Link Amiibo figure will work with Hyrule Warriors, which previously had not been included on the short list of Amiibo-compatible games. Unfortunately, we don't know exactly what the figure will do in the game; Nintendo has talked about hypothetical features in other games (place a figure on the GamePad and that character becomes playable in Mario Kart 8, for example), but it hasn't offered much in the way of hard specifics. It's saying absolutely nothing about Hyrule Warriors' use for Amiibo, only promising that more info is on the way. #amiibo figure Link will be compatible with #HyruleWarriors. Stay tuned for more info. pic.twitter.com/7mPQkfppuq " Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) October 21, 2014 Link is among the first wave of Amiibo figures launching in November for $13 each. These figures include NFC connectivity, allowing them to be recognized by the Wii U GamePad, similar to the way Skylanders toys work with the Skylanders portals. Hyrule Warriors is already available on Wii U, having launched in September. There's no word on if it will work with the Link Amiibo immediately upon its release, or if the game will need to be updated in order to do so. Previously, Nintendo said Super Smash Bros. for Wii U would be the first game to offer Amiibo support, with Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Party 10, and Yoshi's Woolly World also to support them in the future.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
In a bid to bolster the authenticity of 2015's Rainbow Six Siege, developer Ubisoft Montreal sought help from real-world special operations soldiers. The developer wrote on its blog that it invited GIGN operators to its office to play Siege to help verify that it was approaching the game in a way that would accurately reflect how actual soldiers go about rescuing hostages. "While a lot of people on our team are veteran FPS developers, at the end of the day we're just gamers and consulting with the real operators helps make sure that we're doing it right," Ubisoft said. "We get to ask them a lot of questions and get great feedback. Interestingly enough, they told us that if given a choice to protect a teammate or a civilian, the GIGN operator would protect the civilian. That's some serious dedication to preserving life and we wanted to emulate that kind of passionate commitment in the game." GIGN is a division of the French Armed Forces that specializes in hostage rescues. Depictions of GIGN soldiers have appeared in numerous game franchises, including Counter-Strike, SOCOM, and Call of Duty. In Siege's Hostage Rescue mode, one team of defenders is holed up in a building with a hostage in their possession. The other team must locate and extract the hostage (in a certain amount of time) or kill all enemy players to end the round. Game designer Chris Lee said the fact that hostages can take damage and die means players must plan their moves with precision. "You have to be careful when trying to breach into the area where the hostage is," he said. "You can't just throw a frag or any explosives near the hostage without a second thought. You have to be very careful where you aim your weapon as well. It greatly increases the tension around the hostage, which differentiates it from other types of objectives." Once you locate the hostage, one player on your team will need to escort him or her to the safety zone. The player who is doing the escorting will be more vulnerable, in that they move slower and can only use a pistol. Ubisoft said communication and teamwork will become "paramount" at this stage to complete the objective. "This stage in particular can be one of the most anxious parts of the whole round," the developer explained.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
Microsoft on Tuesday announced this week's Xbox One and Xbox 360 deals that you can score if you have an Xbox Live Gold ($60/year) subscription. Three Xbox One games and ten Xbox 360 titles are discounted this week, including R.B.I. Baseball 14 and various racing games, such as Dirt 3, Need for Speed Most Wanted, and Burnout Paradise. Below is a breakdown of this week's deals, which are good through October 27. This is true for all with the exception of Dirt 3, which you can pick up at the discounted price until October 31. Xbox One: Forza Motorsport 5 Car Pass -- $30 (regularly $40) R.B.I. Baseball 14 -- $10 (regularly $20) Strike Suit Zero Director's Cut -- $10 (regularly $20) Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition -- $7.50 (regularly $15) Xbox 360: Burnout Paradise -- $5 (regularly $15) Burnout Revenge -- $5 (regularly $15) Darksiders -- $10 (regularly $20) Dirt 3 -- $10 (regularly $25) Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z -- $20 (regularly $40) Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Tenkaichi -- $15 (regularly $30) Need for Speed Hot Pursuit -- $5 (regularly $20) Need for Speed Most Wanted -- $20 (regularly $40) Need for Speed Undercover -- $5 (regularly $15) R.B.I. Baseball 14 -- $10 (regularly $20) Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
If you missed last night's episode of Monday Night Raw (or you simply tune out when matches are over to avoid being beaten over the head with social media and WWE Network promotion), you missed the debut of a new WWE 2K15 TV spot. Should you be hoping to see a lot of gameplay, it didn't offer much, but if you've ever wanted to hear John Cena's dramatic reading of a poem, it's your lucky day. Specifically, Cena reads Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" while we see clips of Cena, Hulk Hogan, Bray Wyatt, Antonio Cesaro, and Roman Reigns doing things like training and sitting in a boat. There's very little wrestling to be seen for a minute-long advertisement of a wrestling video game, but there are brief cuts to gameplay. We see Randy Orton delivering an RKO, Chris Jericho mid-Lionsault, and Bray Wyatt doing his best impression of a Deadly Premonition enemy. We got our first look at a proper gameplay trailer of 2K15 last month. What we've seen of the game so far looks very impressive, making it all the more unfortunate that the best-looking versions of the game (Xbox One and PS4) were delayed until November 18. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions land one week from today, on October 28. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-10-22
According to the film Fantasia, Mickey Mouse was not much of a sorcerer, but he's always been an enthusiastic conductor, which means that the mouse and I have a few things in common. One of many ways in which Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved differs from the film that inspired it is that it makes me feel both like both a fantastic conductor and a talented wizard, capable of not just manipulating the sounds of the orchestra, but of commanding sea life and city dwellers to do my musical bidding. To be clear, I've conducted both choirs and orchestras in my (former) life as a violinist and composer, and Fantasia does not replicate what it's truly like to conduct a symphony orchestra. Instead, the game is a flight of fancy, reproducing the furious gesticulations you perform at a stoplight when listening to public radio, or the spontaneous performance art that occurs when your latest favorite jam appears on your shuffled playlist. It resembles other rhythm games in the sense that it displays prompts on the screen in time to music, and you perform the appropriate actions within the necessary time frame. In games like Rock Band, success involves pressing buttons on plastic instruments; in Dance Central, it means performing dance moves and striking poses. In Fantasia, triumph comes from sweeping your arms up and down, and pushing them forward and back. (Needless to say, the game requires you to own a Kinect.) At last, a game has come that gives you permission to sway about in your living room, waving your hands about as if you're a wannabe Leonard Bernstein while Vivaldi's Four Seasons blasts from the speakers. Fantasia's musical selection does not just include well-known classical tunes--Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusic and Mussorgsky' Night on Bald Mountain among them--but also comes with modern music by way of contemporary hits from artists like Drake and Lorde, along with essentials from The Who, Elton John, Queen, and many others. It's likely you know most of these tunes, whether or not you've been to the symphony or turned on the radio in recent months. When the a capella harmonies of "Bohemian Rhapsody" spill from your television, you naturally understand the attitude you must take, even if you don't know exactly what motions the game will expect of you. It's one of Fantasia's many wonders that those required motions so beautifully complement the melodies and rhythms they accompany. When trumpet fanfares and wailing guitars fill the room, the game calls for dramatic sweeps and swift punches; when plaintive violins and cellos encourage quiet contemplation, your hands swish about in graceful arcs. If you're like me, you will be more concerned with matching the motions than looking elegant, at least on the first couple of attempts. Fantasia is forgiving in exactly the right ways, however, giving you credit for proper motions whether you perform a grand karate chop or lightly thrust your wrist downward. In time, I was just as concerned with how I transitioned from one move to the next as I was with matching the arrows on the screen. Unless the move calls for both arms, Fantasia typically doesn't care which arm you use, and an enormous part of the fun comes from experimenting with different methods of physically linking one motion with the next. At first, I approached Fantasia like a robot might, flinging my arms up, down, and forward as the game required. Now, many hours later, my arms craft figure-eights in the air and my hands flitter about like butterflies. Well, I might be exaggerating my own sense of grace--but at least it feels as though I have become one with the music, even if my perceived elegance is greater than the elegance an outsider would witness. (And word has it that I can look pretty clumsy while playing Fantasia.) Not only is that creature a glorious sight, but his candelabra horns are a musical instrument!Fantasia can be a bit of a workout, like a low-impact Dance Central. Fantasia is not just an elaborate game of Simon Says: you actually contribute to the soundscape as you play. Each song comes with three mixes in total (including the original mix), and while playing, you often have the opportunity to incorporate various aspects of those mixes together. You can stick to the original if you prefer, but doing so means you miss the pure joy of hearing a big-band version of Dvorak's New World Symphony. I don't love every mix--some of them are too reminiscent of the cheesy Hooked on Classics series--but for every mix that didn't gel, there were two that had me looking at the music in a new light and finding new ways to perform gestures. The watchtheduck mix of Cee Lo Green's "Forget You" (yes, I wish it were the uncensored version as well), for instance, plays so much with vocals and rhythm that you must renew your focus on the assigned motions lest you fall victim to the mix's abundant musical tricks. Should you play with a friend performing at your side, selecting a tricky mix is a good way to trip her up and earn a higher score. Mid-performance minigames also grant you control over the music by allowing you to create little melodies or rhythms by, for instance, moving your hand up and down a vertical keyboard of sorts, or by manipulating a ring that adds synthesized effects to a vocal or instrumental line. This aspect of Fantasia is a mixed blessing. On one hand, you can make some fairly random motions and end up adding an attractive musical line to the track; developer Harmonix ingeniously ensures that the notes and sounds you can choose fit within the harmonies and beats of the musical line. On the other hand, the tools' limitations can be frustrating, particularly when you lower your arms to save your melody and unavoidably glide through more notes or hammer on another drum in the process. It's best just to create something that sounds nice and be done with it, rather than to attempt a specific melody or drumline. When trumpet fanfares and wailing guitars fill the room, the game calls for dramatic sweeps and swift punches; when plaintive violins and cellos encourage quiet contemplation, your hands swish about in graceful arcs. The tracks are framed by a cute but throwaway story involving you, the wise wizard that cleaned up after Mickey's Fantasia disaster, a young woman named Scout, and a vague aura threatening the universe called "the noise." Given the masterful way Fantasia and its sequel tell their musical tales, it's disappointing that the story is such fluff, though it's fortunately over and done with before you know it. Nonetheless, the Fantasia legacy is not just about the integration of animation and orchestration, but about the fables that integration can share. Fantasia depicted a world of flowers dancing the troika and the hushed prayers of the deeply devout; Fantasia 2000 brought to life the story of the Firebird, whose death and rebirth is echoed in the natural world. I wish Fantasia: Music Evolved's story had mirrored the diverse emotional arcs of the films that came before. Nevertheless, the game is overflowing with charm, and the success of the story mode is not in the narrative but in the worlds it guides you through. You access songs through interactive portraits of undersea hijinks, arctic floes, and pastoral forests. These worlds are gorgeous playgrounds, letting you produce little melodies and patterns by manipulating creatures and foliage. Where most of Fantasia involves semi-scripted performance, these worlds represent musical improvisation; waving around to Missy Elliott is the concerto, and poking around in a busy city is the cadenza. The motion controls are rarely a problem, making it easy to enjoy the sights and sounds. I wish for more from Fantasia: Music Evolved, but that's because it is already such a delight to watch, to hear, and to perform. The game is more pop than Pachelbel; I have visions of entire Mahler symphonies released as future downloadable content, even though I know that Avicii and Lady Gaga are DLC priorities. Until that dream comes true, I am more than content with Fantasia, which makes me feel like a graceful performance artist, a skillful sorcerer, and a master musician all at once. Info from Gamespot.com


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