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2014-02-28
  If you were hoping the newly announced Tony Hawk game would be coming to consoles like the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, sorry, you're out of luck. The legendary skateboarder himself has confirmed in an interview with Bloomberg that the new project is coming exclusively to mobiles. "We're working on a mobile game now," Hawk said about his partnership with Activision for the new project. "We're working on a game for mobile devices this year." Hawk reiterated that he's enthusiastic about bringing the new Tony Hawk game to mobile because that's where people today are spending so much of their time. "We've never gone exclusively that direction yet so I'm excited because, with the amount of time people are spending on their phones and their tablets playing games, we've never had our own game in that space so I'm excited to provide one finally," he said. The new Tony Hawk game for mobiles won't be the first game in the series for smartphones and tablets, as a port of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is available right now on iTunes for $2. But from the way Hawk described the new game, it sounds like it's an original title, not a port of a previous game. Activision has yet to formally announce the new Tony Hawk game, but the publisher told GameSpot earlier this month that it will have more to share on the subject soon. The most recent game in the series was 2012's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, which was developed by Robomodo and launched for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. It's unclear which developer is behind the upcoming Tony Hawk game for mobiles.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
  The United States Congress this week released a blueprint for a top-to-bottom overhaul of the American tax system, offering up a variety of tax benefits for businesses. That's the good news. But the document, released by the House Ways and Means Committee, also calls out one major potential problem area for video game developers like Activision and Electronic Arts. The Tax Reform Act of 2014 includes an "improved, permanent R&D tax credit," which architects of the blueprint like Rep. Dave Camp (R-Michigan) say will give American companies the "certainty they need to compete against their foreign competition who have long had permanent R&D incentives." However, on page 24 of the Tax Reform Act of 2014, the document plainly states that this R&D tax credit will not be available for companies that make "violent" video games. The blueprint includes a provision for "preventing makers of violent video games from qualifying for the R&D tax credit." It's unclear what parameters would be used to decide what is "violent" and what is not or why video games were specifically called out. The very next page of the document states that the Tax Reform Act of 2014 will close loopholes and stop the practice of using the tax code to "pick winners and losers based on political power rather than economic merit." But, as The Washington Examiner points out, if every industry gets to keep the R&D tax credit except the video game business, how is that not picking winners and losers? In a landmark 2011 decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that video games--violent or not--are a form of art and are entitled to freedom of speech protections. The removal of the R&D tax credit for violent game developers would no doubt face an uphill battle given this precedent. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that he would welcome the beginning of a discussion concerning tax reform, but made clear that Congress isn't likely to make any real moves on the subject this year. Video games have been a topic of discussion in Washington for a long time, but the debate has risen to the fore following the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut. US president Barack Obama has even ordered research be conducted into the connection between gaming and violent behavior. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
  Microsoft's Xbox One self-publishing indie program ID@Xbox continues to grow. The company today named 65 new members to group, including the likes of Tony Hawk developer Robomodo, Castle Crashers creator The Behemoth, and Limbo developer Playdead. Writing on the Xbox Wire, ID@Xbox program director Chris Charla said with the addition of today's 65 new members, total enrollment in the program stands at more than 200 developers. Previously confirmed members include Crysis developer Crytek and Naughty Bear creator Behaviour Interactive, among many others. "Honestly, when I look at this list, all I can say is 'wow.' It's incredibly humbling to see so many fantastic studios there supporting Xbox One," Charla said. No ID@Xbox games have been released yet for Xbox One, but Charla said the first titles to launch through the program are currently going through certification. Charla also teased that Microsoft continues to look for new ways to "improve the creation process" for ID@Xbox members with new processes and tools. Updates on both fronts will come soon. Microsoft's long-term goal is enable every Xbox One console to be used as a development kit, the company has said previously. Charla's comments today certainly sound like he's teasing news about when this functionality might become available. Below is a list of the 65 developers joining the ID@Xbox program today. 4gency A Crowd of Monster Alientrap Games The Behemoth BetaDwarf Big Ant Studios Bloober Team Blowfish Studios Brain in a Jar Brushfire Games Cherry Pop Games Ltd Codeglue Code-Monkeys Compulsion Games Crunching Koalas Deco Digital Empty Clip Studios Escalation Studios EXOR Studios FarSight Studios Fatshark Flix Interactive Four Door Lemon Ltd Frambosa Frima Glass Bottom Games HB Studios Headup Games Heart Machine Holmade Games Humble Hearts LLC I Fight Bears Implausible Industries Iridium Studios iSquared Games Ltd Larian Studios Mediatonic MeinMein Mighty Rabbit Studios Mimimi Productions nDreams Ltd NeocoreGames No Goblin n-Space Piwot Pixel Balloon Playdead Rebellion Relentless Software RetroCoders Ripstone Robomodo Ska Studios Smudged Cat Games Ltd Snowrunner Spry Fox Tiny Castle Studios Toxic Games Vector Unit Vertigo Games BV VooFoo Studios Warhorse Studios WaterMelon Xona Games Zoë Mode   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
Like so many things, it started with Die Hard. At a preview event on Wednesday, Square Enix executive producer Naoto Sugiyama told me that the seed of inspiration that would grow into the game Murdered: Soul Suspect was planted when the game's creative director, Yosuke Shiokawa, was watching the 1988 action classic. The film's hero, John McClane, will seemingly stop at nothing to thwart the criminals who have taken over Nakatomi Plaza and rescue his wife and the other hostages in the process. But what if McClane got killed, Shiokawa wondered? Would he stop then? What if McClane's determination were so strong that not even death could stop him from accomplishing his goal? True to this inspiration, Murdered: Soul Suspect began its development as a much more action-focused game than what it is today. But as Sugiyama told me, the narrative hook, the idea of a detective trying to solve his own murder, seemed so interesting that it only made sense to bring that to the forefront of the game and let players experience that investigation for themselves. So now, that investigation is the focus of the game. Having just been rudely murdered by a killer whose attack sends him plummeting out of a fourth-floor apartment, the now-ghostly Salem, Massachusetts, cop Ronan O'Connor cannot move on from this world and be reunited with his beloved (and similarly deceased) Julie until he has resolved the business of his own unsolved murder. Sugiyama said that some people accuse the developers of copying the conceptually similar game Ghost Trick, but in fact Murdered has been in development since well before Ghost Trick's release. The game I played at the event reminded me more of L.A. Noire than of Capcom's colorful adventure game. Ronan may be a modern-day cop, but he has an old-fashioned sense of style, and the investigations I spent most of my time engaged in felt similar to the crime scene investigations in Team Bondi's 2011 game. However, Ronan's status as a member of the recently deceased gives him a few abilities that L.A. Noire's Cole Phelps could only dream of using. For one thing, unlike Cole Phelps (and, you know, real people), Ronan is no longer impeded by walls. You can walk right through them as you poke around any interior. You can't walk through just any wall in the game, though, and just as I was wondering why, the game presented me with its narrative justification for this gameplay limitation. Not long after being killed, you meet a young woman whose clothing tells you that either she was killed while rehearsing for a high school production of The Crucible or her spirit has actually been lingering in Salem since the witch trials of the late 17th century. She explains that spirits can't pass through the exterior walls of any building that the people of Salem have consecrated. Once you get in, though, through an open door or window or other opening, you can laugh in the face of every wall you meet. So, playing through an early investigation in the game, I wandered freely around the apartment in which I'd been attacked, looking for evidence that would help me piece together the killer's intentions. The question I was there to answer, "Why was the killer here?" hovered in blue letters in the center of the apartment. Using my reveal ability, fragments of ghostly figures could be filled out to reveal moments from the past, and I soon found ethereal images lingering in the apartment of the killer stalking a teenage girl who might have witnessed him committing an earlier murder. Solving the investigation was then a matter of answering the question "Why was the killer here?" by selecting the most relevant clues (the searching killer, the hiding witness) from among all the clues I'd found at the scene. Ronan O'Connor has had better days. Ronan also has the ability to pop into people's bodies and listen to their thoughts, or try to influence those thoughts by planting images taken from clues he's discovered. I needed to use this technique to solve an optional side investigation; the spirit of a young woman who had been murdered couldn't move on from this world until she learned what had become of her body. By planting a thought of the young woman in the mind of a grumpy old man who lived in a nearby apartment, I got him thinking about the night that his wife, furious at the noise that the young woman and her partying friends were making, flew off the handle and attacked the victim. Then I popped into his wife's body and planted a thought of the attack in her head, which led to her spilling the beans--as part of her internal monologue--about what had become of the young woman's body. Now that's what I call good police work. If Murdered: Soul Suspect can consistently use sound logic in its investigations, and can fashion the process of piecing together the details of Ronan's murder into a satisfying mystery tale, Airtight Games and Square Enix could be on to something here. The gameplay felt a bit rough to me; button prompts to uncover clues were sometimes finicky, causing me to miss important details at times even though I'd been standing very close to them. But it's good to see a major release on the horizon that owes a great deal to point-and-click adventures and that's more interested in engaging your mind than your reflexes. I'm looking forward to uncovering more of its mysteries when the game is released in June. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
  During a recent interview with GameSpot, representatives for Square Enix and Airtight Games explained why Murdered: Soul Suspect is 1080p on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and discussed the reasoning behind not releasing the upcoming action game for Nintendo's Wii U. Explaining the decision to make both the Xbox One and PS4 versions output in 1080p, Airtight Games chief creative officer Matt Brunner said, "We're trying to keep a consistency across all the platforms." Square Enix producer Naoto Sugiyama confirmed that both versions output in native 1080p and are not upscaled to the higher resolution. Presumably, however, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game will output in something less than 1080p. We also quizzed Brunner about why Murdered: Soul Suspect is not coming to Wii U. According to Brunner, the best Wii U games are the ones designed from the ground up for the system. "In all honesty, all the Wii U games I've ever played, the only good ones are the ones that are made specifically for [the Wii U]. And this just doesn't fit," Brunner said. The Wii U also has a small install base, relative to consoles and PC. The Xbox 360 and PS3 have combined for more than 160 million sales to date, while the Xbox One and PS4 together total more than 8.3 million systems sold worldwide so far. As for the Wii U, that system has sold only 5.86 million units as of December 31. Murdered: Soul Suspect launches this June for consoles and PC. The game is set in Salem, Massachusetts, the location of the Salem witch trials in 1692, which saw public executions of those convicted of witchcraft. The story begins with protagonist Ronan O'Connor's death at the hands of an unknown assailant. He must then interrogate the ghosts of Salem to learn more about his killer. For more on the game, be sure to read GameSpot's just-published hands-on preview.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
  Wolfenstein: The New Order, the upcoming installment in the iconic shooter series, will run in 1080p on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Bethesda has confirmed. Bethesda marketing executive Pete Hines told GameSpot today that the 1080p resolution for both platforms is its native resolution. It's not upscaled from a lower resolution, as is the case with the Xbox One version of Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Ghosts. In addition, Hines confirmed that Wolfenstein: The New Order runs at 60 frames-per-second on both the Xbox One and PS4. As such, both versions should have visual parity, but we won't know for certain until the game launches on May 20. Wolfenstein: The New Order is currently in development at Swedish studio Machine Games and is coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. Preordering the game guarantees you a place in the upcoming beta for Doom 4, which is now known simply as Doom. For more on Wolfenstein: The New Order, be sure to check out GameSpot's hands-on preview of the game from editor Maxwell McGee.     Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
Sony revealed the PlayStation Plus free games of March today through the official PlayStation Blog. We don't have individual release dates, but titles tend to roll out early in the month. PlayStation 4 owners will have access to Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition, a revamped edition of the game previously released for PS3 including "updated visuals and controls." PlayStation 3 owners will have access to: Tomb Raider: Last year's gritty Lara Croft reboot.Thomas Was Alone: a quirky, shape-based platformer.Lone Survivor: Director's Cut: A side-scrolling indie horror game. And PlayStation Vita owners will be able to download: Unit 13: a third-person shooter that includes two-player online co-op.Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite: The PSP version of the monster-killing simulator, which also happens to be playable on your Vita. PlayStation Plus is Sony's subscription services for all of their consoles. A standard one-year membership costs $50 and nets users access to a collection of free games like the above, although you lose access if your subscription expires. On PlayStation 4, a Plus subscription is required to access online multiplayer. To that end, the PlayStation Plus games from February will expire soon, so if you're a member and you still haven't downloaded Outlast, Metro: Last Light, PayDay 2, or any of the others, you might want to get on that.     Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
  Bethesda announced in January that its upcoming subscription-based MMO The Elder Scrolls Online had received an M-for-Mature rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a determination the company did not agree with--despite every other recent entry in the series being M-rated--but would not challenge. Now, the ESRB product description for The Elder Scrolls Online has been published publicly, giving insight into why the game earned an M-rating. The ESRB's main content descriptors note that the game contains "Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence." But it's the ESRB's complete ratings summary that sheds a better light on the M-rating. As you can read in the below text, The Elder Scrolls Online features sexual innuendo in its dialogue ("In his mind, she would be the sheath to every knight's blade"), bloody depictions of severed heads, and drinking games that result in the character's blurred vision and impaired speech. This is a multiplayer online role-playing game in which players assume the role of a warrior in the fantastical world of Nirn. As players explore open-world environments, they can perform various quests and complete tasks. Characters use swords, arrows, axes, and magic attacks (e.g., lightning, fire attacks) to kill human-like and fantastical enemies (e.g., orcs, demons, giant insects). Players engage in melee-style combat, hacking and slashing at various enemies; battles are highlighted by cries of pain, impact sounds, and blood splashes. Some sequences depict large amounts of blood streaming up-close as vampires attack/feed on characters. In some quests players have the ability to mount creatures' severed heads onto pikes; some environments depict corpse piles or skeletons hanging from torture devices. Text descriptions or dialogue sometimes contain references to sexual material and/or innuendo (e.g., “She...raped the men as cruelly as Bal had ravished her”; “In his mind, she would be the sheath to every knight's blade”; “No sweetmeat for you”; But it is huge! It could take me all night!”). During the course of the game, alcohol (i.e., wine, mead, ale) can be purchased and consumed by the central character; one sequence prompts players to engage in a drinking contest, resulting in the central character's blurred vision/slurred speech. The ESRB rating also mentions that because The Elder Scrolls Online is an online-focused game, players are likely to be exposed to user-generated content that cannot be rated. Bethesda said in January that it will not challenge the rating or change the game's content to achieve a different rating. "The game we have created is the one we want our fans to be able to play," Bethesda said at the time. It's unlikely that Bethesda is sweating the rating too heavily. After all, the last Elder Scrolls game--The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim--also received an M-rating and went on to sell more than 20 million copies. Still, for concerned parents, the M-rating might be the key decision factor in buying the game or not. The Elder Scrolls Online launches for PC and Mac on April 4, with a release for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to follow in June 2014. The game carries a $15/month subscription. On PS4, the game will not require PlayStation Plus, but the Xbox One version will mandate that players have an Xbox Live Gold account.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
  Rockstar Games today announced that the next major free update for Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer mode for Grand Theft Auto V, will launch next week and bring with it a host of new downloadable content. The Business Update, as Rockstar is calling it, will arrive on Tuesday, March 4 on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. The update will introduce new sports cars like the Albany Alpha, Dinka Jester, and Grotti Turismo R; a new airplane called Vestra will also be available. Grand Theft Auto Online's Business Update will also introduce two new weapons: the Heavy Pistol and the Special Carbine. The Vestra   The Business Update also brings with it new formal and business casual attire like suit jackets, slacks, glasses, heels, and blouses. "All-business" hairstyles and money-themed tattoos, alongside new masks, will also be available. All new vehicles and weapons from the Business Update will be available to players in both Story Mode and Grand Theft Auto Online. In Story Mode, the weapons will show up in your inventory and the three cars will be available in your garage. For Grand Theft Auto Online, the weapons can be purchased at any Ammu-Nation store while the cars can be bought from Legendary Motorsport and Elitas. Finally, Rockstar said it will share further details about a special Business Update weekend event in the near future. The developer also teased that it will soon have news to share regarding Online Heists, the Capture Creator update, new Assassination and Flight School missions, and "much more." The "much more" could be referencing the story mode DLC currently in development for Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar Games announced this content in December, teasing that upcoming expansions for the game will launch in 2014 and continue the story of Michael, Franklin, and Trevor. l Predecessor Grand Theft Auto IV welcomed two post-release expansions: The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
  Following a positive fan reaction to BioShock Infinite's 1999 Mode, developer Irrational Games announced today that an even more challenging "1998 Mode" will be offered for upcoming expansion Burial at Sea - Episode 2, which launches for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 25. "In Burial at Sea--Episode Two we put a focus on balance and stealth mechanics," Irrational Games creative director Ken Levine said in a statement. "As we were developing this new style of gameplay, we started to see people self-impose non-lethal playthroughs. Given the fan reception of 1999 Mode, we thought it would be cool to give them another way to play Burial at Sea that challenged their mastery of stealth tools." The 1999 Mode, as you can see in the image above, is inspired by the stealth series Thief (which originally launched in 1998) and challenges players to complete the content without killing anyone. Burial at Sea - Episode 2 is set in the original BioShock's underwater city of Rapture and puts players into the shoes of Elizabeth. It follows Burial at Sea - Episode 2, which GameSpot scored a 5/10, with reviewer Kevin VanOrd saying: "Burial at Sea seems a prime example of the tail wagging the dog, and the result is an adventure with fantastic sights and sounds that don't come together in a meaningful way." Last week, Levine surprised many when he announced that Irrational Games was "winding down," meaning all but 15 staffers had lost their jobs. Levine is working on a "smaller, more entrepreneurial" project for Take-Two with those remaining at the company.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
  What do Walter White, Frank Underwood, and Pikachu have in common? Soon you'll be able to watch all three via Netflix Instant streaming. The Pokemon Company today announced today that hours' worth of Pokemon movies and TV shows will be available for streaming on Netflix starting this Saturday, March 1. Here's a breakdown of the Pokemon content available via Netflix streaming beginning on Saturday. TV shows: Pokemon: Indigo League (US, Canada, UK, and Ireland only)Pokemon: Black and White (worldwide) Movies (available worldwide): Pokemon the Movie: Black - Victini and ReshiramPokemon the Movie: White - Victini and Zekrom A limited offering of Pokemon media is already available through Netflix's standard by-mail DVD service, but the new content is the first to be available via streaming. Of course, you'll need a Netflix streaming subscription ($8/month) to enjoy the content. Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuchGot a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
  It was bound to happen eventually. A new mod has brought the worlds of Flappy Bird and Grand Theft Auto together at last and the results are incredible. YouTube user "taltigolt" published a video today highlighting the creation of modders "julionib" and "quechus13," wherein the rules of Flappy Bird are applied to Grand Theft Auto IV. In the video, we see GTAIV protagonist Niko Bellic wearing a Flappy Bird-style mask and flying through the world, hitting pedestrians on the head to earn points. Running into objects like telephone poles means you die, and your score starts back at zero. The original Flappy Bird--which was removed from app stores worldwide by its creator this month because it was "too addictive"--was known to be ludicrously difficult. And this GTAIV mod keeps that spirit alive. Though the conditions are obviously different, hitting pedestrians on the head is no easy task, as they are always on the move, whereas Flappy Bird's green pipes never moved an inch. The mod will be released publicly this weekend via its creator's blog.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
  GameSpot's early access reviews evaluate unfinished games that are nonetheless available for purchase by the public. While the games in question are not considered finished by their creators, you may still devote money, time, and bandwidth for the privilege of playing them before they are complete. The review below critiques a work in progress, and represents a snapshot of the game at the time of the review's publication. DayZ claims to be a zombie game, and it's true that you can occasionally find the undead scuttling about like drunken ravers looking for double high fives. If you have a weapon, you can slice them up like so much sushi, or you can try to outrun them in a high-stakes match of cross-country racing. (That's usually the smarter approach.) But they're about as common as smiles in Dark Souls right now, and oddly enough, this works in DayZ's favor. In fact, DayZ's emptiness renders it about as close to a video game version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road as there's ever been, because the current emphasis is on interactions with people rather than with putrefied riffraff, though sometimes I think I wouldn't mind if the former were taken out altogether. In this frightening, desolate landscape, your goal is simply to stay alive by scavenging for food and weapons, finding proper shelter, and fending off anyone who threatens your survival. There's no easy way to orient yourself if you've forgotten Arma II's fiddly control scheme; mMere seconds after my first spawn into the world, I found my poorly customizable avatar being slapped around by a zombie, and he died an undistinguished death around 30 seconds later while I dug around in the escape menu reacquainting myself with generally nonstandard button maps for pulling out weapons and hitting things with them. DayZ lets you use a controller if you wish, but it's even more cumbersome and not worth the effort. Later spawns dumped me in the middle of broad fields near the coast that led to crimson barns, towering construction cranes, and deserted buildings. The colors and textures for the post-Soviet nation of Chernarus are far richer here than they were in the original Arma II mod, and the derelict beauty serves as a nice contrast to the dangers it conceals. New, too, is the ability to enter almost every building and rummage for weapons, food, and the occasional antibiotics. No music distracts you from the desolation, and the sound design manages to evoke the fear that every creek of sheet metal might be death on the way. Chancing upon a town can be terrifying; for all the promise in those once-cozy homes and their picketed yards, there's a chance they'll deliver deaths that you never see coming. DayZ works so well as a survival sim because it puts few barriers between you and the world around you. Gone are the tidy health and stamina bars that sneak into the corners of similar first-person games; instead, DayZ gnaws at your confidence with little nags like "My stomach grumbles" or "I feel like having a drink." And then there are the messages you never want to see, such as "I feel nauseous" or "I can feel warm blood on my clothes." There's a system behind all this--get shot, and you slowly lose blood unless you bandage it--but the numbers stay hidden. DayZ wisely reserves its menus for essentials like its inventory, which now sports a drag-and-drop option in an improvement over the mod. The inventory itself expands greatly once you discover items with pockets like knapsacks and hoodies, thus delivering some of the satisfaction the discovery of these items would likely yield in real life. Bohemia Interactive knows it has made a game that's chiefly about foraging, and it usually gets the experience right. Zombies number so few that it's possible to go half an hour without seeing one, and when you do, there's a good chance you'll see it running through doors or even vanishing under the terrain. The low population lends an air of reality to DayZ; many games feature zombie populations more suited to New York City than to cozy rural villages. The sparse undead populace is just as well, given that dealing with them is rarely a rewarding endeavor. Zombies tend to rush you from hundreds of yards away the moment you enter their line of sight, and shooting at them with the laughably few guns available only attracts more. But it's not really the zombies you have to worry about. They're stupid things, usually killable with a hefty axe blow if you happen to have an axe on you. (Provided, that is, that the axe doesn't bug out and fail to make contact.) It's the other players who instill the most fear. Sometimes you come across a nice one, and a sense of camaraderie emerges as you scrounge through buildings and take out the undead together. Most of the time, however, they're out to kill you. Some play nice at first, and then lead you into ambushes where unseen snipers shoot you down. Still others may trick you into coming near, and then try to bury an axe in your face because they like the look of your hoodie and want it for themselves. Attempting to hide from and survive against humans with actual intelligence elevates DayZ to new heights of tension and unpredictability. I suspect most of those players are bored. DayZ presents some memorable moments in its current state, and when you do find people who are willing to work and survive with you, you could create bonds so deep that your friendship might carry over into the real world. But DayZ loses its edge many hours in. You learn the tricks of finding new gear and weapons, and you learn which towns to avoid and which to ransack. Each respawn leaves you more experienced and thus stronger, and that confidence seems to encourage a desire to harass the newer players and loot their pitiful belongings. By the time you've put in around 20 hours, you know the secrets to crafting and making bandages out of old T-shirts. You're a survivor. You're a survivor, that is, with no job but to survive. That's the appeal of the alpha; since there are no objectives--and thus no hope--your only option is to keep surviving until death inevitably overtakes you. It's bleak, yes, but in many ways, it delivers a sense of realism you don't get in many zombie games (or open worlds in general, for that matter). Given time, there's a truly great and memorable experience waiting to be explored, one that will come into its own with new and better weapons and more interactive elements such as vehicles. But as Bohemia makes so clear from the moment you boot up DayZ, this is an alpha. It's incomplete, and it shows. Yet Chernarus is well on its way to growing into the clothes that the developer has stitched for it, and if you feel you've got the steely will necessary to survive, DayZ is ready to test it. What's There? A vast, explorable (but seriously unfinished) Eastern European map that captures the experience of living in a postapocalyptic zombieland. What's to Come? More zombies, animals for hunting, greater variety of gathering opportunities, cooking, better server architecture. What Does it Cost? DayZ costs $29.99 on Steam, although the developers discourage paying for it unless you are "prepared to handle with serious issues and possible interruptions of game functioning." And, yes, these things exist. When Will it Be Finished? There's currently no concrete release date, and Bohemia Interactive has repeatedly spoken of DayZ as a work in progress. What's the Verdict? DayZ oozes with potential, though some elements are either bugged, unfinished, or unimplemented. That said, it delivers uncommonly appealing survival experiences and risky player interactions that lend credibility to its pretty environments. It'll probably be great, but for the time being, it requires uncommon patience.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
Looks like Warner Bros has been tapped to be working on a potential Minecraft movie. Creator Markus "Notch" Persson revealed the news on Twitter earlier today. According to Notch's post on Twitter, an individual attempted to pre-emptively leak the news. The Minecraft creator followed up with, "I wanted to be the leak!" The crowdfunding campaign for a Minecraft-inspired full-length feature film was recently shut down. Developer Mojang's End User License Agreement (EULA) for Minecraft specifies that users cannot "make commercial use of anything we've made" or "try to make money from anything we've made." A documentary chronicling the development of Minecraft was produced by 2 Player Productions and released in December 2012. Other Minecraft licensing deals have included arrangements for various clothing, accessories, and toys. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-02-28
It's understandable some folks are unaware that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is the third and final chapter of a trilogy, what with it having a "2" instead of a "3" in the title. In fact, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate for the 3DS (also ported to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as Mirror of Fate HD) is the true second chapter, and there are a handful of events from it that play into the plot of Lords of Shadow 2. So, for anyone who has missed or forgotten the events of the first two games in the saga, consider this handy guide your one-stop shop for all things story related the Lords of Shadow series. Spoiler Warning! Reading this will completely spoil the best parts of the first two Lords of Shadow games' plots. Proceed only if you're willing to accept the risks therein! Castlevania: Lords of Shadow It's the year 1047, and the end of days is near. The holy Brotherhood of Light, defenders of good and opponents to the forces of evil, are on the brink of failure. The wicked Lords of Shadow have severed the channel connecting heaven and earth. Darkness, in all its forms, floods the land. A formidable brother of light, Gabriel Belmont, may hold the key to Earth's salvation. The spirit of his recently deceased wife, Marie, who fell at the hand of evil, idles in limbo. Neither dead nor alive, and painfully aware of the crisis at hand, Marie reaches out to Gabriel from beyond with the promise of a solution to right humanity's plight. Gabriel heads for the Lake of Oblivion, where the living can communicate with the dead if deemed worthy by its guardian, Pan. There, Gabriel meets Zobek, a founding member of the Brotherhood of Light, before conferring with Marie's spirit. The Lords of Shadow, who possess immense power and a fragment of a life-giving artifact, the God Mask, must be defeated, not only to restore peace on Earth, but also to revive Marie. Gabriel and Zobek set out on their own in search of the Lords of Shadow, and it isn't long before Gabriel finds himself in the land of lycans. He encounters Cornell, a powerful lycan lord, who bestows key info upon Gabriel: the three founders of the Brotherhood of Light, including Cornell's former self, are the reason the Lords of Shadow exist at all. When the good part of their spirits ascended to the heavens long ago, their dark remnants ultimately transformed into the Lords of Shadow. Despite the separation between good and evil, the death of a Lord of Shadow also applies to his counterpart in heaven. Undeterred, Gabriel slays Cornell and collects the first part of the God Mask. He then travels to the land of vampires, defeating the second dark lord, Carmilla, before heading to the land of the dead for the final showdown with the lord of the dead. The lord of the dead commands three powerful necromancers, two of which are ultimately defeated by Gabriel before he confronts his third target. Gabriel prevails, and acquires the final piece of the God Mask, but something isn't right. He has not killed the true lord of the dead, but instead, he has killed the third necromancer in disguise. Zobek, it turns out, is the true lord of the dead. Long ago, he conferred with Satan, displeased with the fact that the power of darkness had to be shared among the other Lords of Shadow. Satan gave Zobek the Devil Mask and the power to sever the line between heaven and earth. Zobek set that plan into motion and used the Devil Mask to manipulate Gabriel into murdering his own wife. Marie had discovered Zobek's true identity, and by getting Gabriel to kill Marie, Zobek secured his secret identity, while also motivating Gabriel to defeat the other lords while in search of the God Mask. Before Zobek gets the final say, Satan appears and wrenches the mask from Zobek. In a twist of fate, Satan reveals that he was only using Zobek to acquire the God Mask in hopes of usurping heaven's throne. With his new target in sight, Gabriel confronts Satan, and ultimately wins, regaining control of the God Mask and freeing the souls trapped in limbo, including Marie. Before she departs, she explains that the God Mask only allows the owner to see through the eyes of God; Gabriel can't use it to bring her back to life. Lords of Shadow: Reverie and Resurrection Downloadable Content After Marie passes on, Gabriel is contacted by Laura, a girl he met while in the land of vampires. She informs Gabriel that the Forgotten One, an ancient evil, has awoken during the turmoil between heaven and hell and is attempting to use the chaos to his advantage. To get to him, Gabriel must take on the darkness that fills Laura. In this moment, she offers him her blood, and he accepts it, taking on her immortality and starting down the path toward his current identity: Dracula. Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate The story fast-forwards generations. Simon, son of Trevor and grandson of Gabriel, is on Dracula's trail after the slaying of his mother. Along the way, Simon recovers his father's sacred weapon, the combat cross, which was lost during his own attempt to slay Dracula, years ago. Simon arrives at Dracula's throne, combat cross in hand, before the game takes a step back in time. The next chapter opens on the vampire Alucard, rising from his tomb. Unsure of the events leading up to his new form, he looks into the mirror of fate. In it, he sees the one responsible for turning him into a vampire: Dracula. He travels to Dracula's castle and encounters Simon, never partnering with him, but twice saving him from sudden death nonetheless. Alucard eventually arrives at Dracula's throne just in time to interrupt Simon's arrival. Again, the game takes a step back, this time to Trevor Belmont, Simon's father. Trevor, with a wife and a newborn Simon to protect from the forces of evil, sets out to destroy Dracula, knowing full well that he's also killing his father in the process. The two meet, and Trevor loses. Before he ultimately passes on, he tells Dracula, formerly his father, Gabriel, that he is his secret son. Marie had kept him a secret from Gabriel, having learned of his destiny to become the evil lord he is today. Hearing this, Dracula has a change of heart. Before Trevor's life fades, he attempts to turn him into a vampire. Having seemingly failed to do so, he buries Trevor. Next, we see Dracula standing over his son's tomb. However, the grave marker doesn't read Trevor. Instead, it's marked for Alucard, the inverse of Dracula's own name. Having witnessed Alucard's rise from the grave earlier in the game, we know that Dracula was more successful than he realized. The game returns to where it left Simon and his father, Alucard, standing before Dracula in his throne room. The two take on Dracula and defeat him (as much as you can defeat an immortal), but the lord escapes before his castle begins to collapse. Simon escapes to the mountains where he witnesses his family's unfortunate legacy crumble before his eyes. Alucard seeks out the remaining fragments of his former weapon, the combat cross, and escapes with it before the ruined castle overcomes him. Thus ends our guide to the history of Dracula, Alucard, and the Belmont family, leading up to the events in Lords of Shadow 2. There are a lot of revelations to keep track of, and this trend continues through to the end of the saga's third and final chapter. What will ultimately become of the two immortal Belmonts? Don't ask. I don't want to spoil it! Info from Gamespot.com


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