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Oculus VR is doing quite well right now, all without having any consumer hardware on the market, and no sign of such a thing until at least the second half of 2014. This hasn't stopped game developers from jumping on board the truly next-generation of gaming.
CCP, the developer behind the huge title 'EVE Online' has just announced a multiplayer space combat spin-off dubbed EVE: Valkyrie. EVE: Valkyrie has been molded around a tech demo that CCP called EVR that saw EVE: Online ooze into the virtual reality goodness that is Oculus Rift. At the moment, details are skimp, and it's unknown if EVE: Valkyrie will work without Oculus Rift.
The developer decided to make EVE: Valkyrie thanks to the huge fan reaction to EVR, with CCP chief executive Hilmar Veigar Pétursson saying: "From the moment this year's Fanfest attendees first got their hands on EVE-VR, the question has been, "When can I have this? What started as a passion project by a small, incredibly talented group of CCP developers became one of the most highly anticipated games of the year, before we even announced it."
EVE: Valkyrie will reach PCs in 2014 and is under development at CCP's Newcastle-based studio.
According to ZeniMax Online Studios' general manager, Matt Firor, The Elder Scrolls Online will require a $14.99 monthly subscription fee. Firor added: "We'll talk about further discounts, etc. later, but for now, we are very happy to finally announce our model. It's very simple - you pay once per month after the first 30 days and the entire game is available to you."
Firor did say that ZeniMax would offer up discounts if gamers purchase multiple months at a time, and the developer will be supporting game time cards. The ZeniMax GM also said that the decision to require a "flat fee for continued, unlimited access" would allow the developer to remove "sacrifices" that other pricing models would've forced them to do. Firor continued:
We're building a game with the freedom to play - alone or with your friends - as much as you want. A game with meaningful and consistent content - one packed with hundreds of hours of gameplay that can be experienced right away and one that will be supported with premium customer support. Charging a flat monthly (or subscription) fee means that we will offer players the game we set out to make, and the one that fans want to play. Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren't willing to make.
If you've been waiting for the first expansion to Diablo III to drop, Gamescom 2013 is the time for the announcement. The first expansion for Diablo III has been dubbed "Reaper of Souls."
Reaper of Souls will introduce a bunch of new content, including a new act, a new character, two new games modes (Nephalem trials and Loot runs) and a continuation of Diablo III's story arc that goes deeper into Diablo's mythos. Reaper of Souls chronicles the twisted fate of Malthael, who is an Archangel who fell from his position as the Archangel of Wisdom from the Angiris Council, who is a powerful sect that rules the high heavens.
The new character in Reaper of Souls is the Crusader, which looks like a mix between Diablo II's Paladin and Diablo III's Barbarian classes. The Crusaders are heavily armed and have stacks of armor, and should come with some nifty abilities. The description of the Crusader states they will reap "heavy, heavy damage."
Crytek has announced a next-gen CryEngine, which is an evolution of their top-tier graphics engine. Crytek has taken this launch with a different attitude, offering commercial game licensees with up-to-date access to the latest features that CryEngine has to offer.
The new CryEngine has support for current and next generation platforms, including the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC and the most surprising of all: Nintendo's Wii U. This is a surprising move, considering EA won't be releasing any Frostbite-powered games on Nintendo's 'next-gen' console. Hopefully Wii U-based developers will jump onto using the new CryEngine, and fast.
Today, Origin announced that it has started offering full refunds on EA-published Windows or Mac games if you decide you no longer want it within 24 hours of the first run. "If something doesn't work out - you aren't riveted by the storyline, or sucked in by the action, or even just if the game doesn't play well with your video card - we've got your back," EA said in a statement.
To obtain a refund, you must simply apply within 24 hours from the first launch of the game or within seven days from when it was purchased. Pre-ordered games can be returned for a full refund within seven days of the game's release as long as it was purchased from Origin's digital storefront. This gives Origin a clear advantage over other digital game dealers as it is the only service with a solid 100 percent money back return policy.
Earlier today at the Gamescom event taking place in Germany, Microsoft announced that it will launch Project Spark in beta form for Windows 8 in October. For those of you who have never heard of Project Spark, it amounts to an inception-like video game development tool within a game that allows players to build custom worlds, developed characters, and render custom animations all from an Xbox One or Windows 8-based PC.
The development suite will let player-developers utilize a Kinect sensor to include voice and motion capture as well as allow players to capture facial animations and body motion to bring the characters they design to life. Users can also record their own face and superimpose it on an in-game character or record custom body motions, which they can then assign as a player's attack moves within a game.
Gamers also have the ability to fully customize the in-game world to build out that entire fantasy round they have always dreamed. The video above highlights some of the high level worlds and animations that are possible using Project Spark. Microsoft says that the closed beta will begin for Windows 8 devices in early October, and the Xbox One will receive Spark access sometime in January 2014.
Plants vs Zombies 2 released worldwide just five days ago and has already surpassed more than 16 million downloads, landing it at the top spot of EA's most successful mobile game launch in history. The sequel to the popular zombie killing game also found itself amongst some of the top grossing games on opening day the Apple App Store has ever seen.
"We are grateful and delighted with the incredible reception Plants vs. Zombies 2 has received from consumers around the globe," said Tony Leamer, Franchise Business Director for Plants vs. Zombies. "We certainly had high hopes for the game, but to see fans playing the game so quickly and in such huge numbers is truly amazing."
EA says that in the five days since launch, Plants vs Zombies 2 rocketed into the number one position in the App Store in over 137 countries worldwide on either the iPad or iPhone charts. It currently has an average rating of 4.5 to 5 stars throughout those countries and has received rave reviews from critics and consumers worldwide. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, it pits garden-variety plants against a horde of period correct zombies throughout different historical time periods. EA has released the game under its free-to-play model and we found it in the Apple App Store in seven different languages.
Today, EA and Maxis clued us in on the first details of what is expected to be one of the hottest games of 2014. The companies released the first gameplay trailer of the highly anticipated life simulator, The Sims 4. EA says that the game is built on an entirely new technological platform and that players will now be able to create and control an entirely new generation of Sims like never before.
This new technology allows game developers to build upon a foundation that allows the Sims to become more intelligent, emotionally rich, and relatable. Each of them evolves into something that is affected by the interactions and emotional states of other Sims. Now for the first time ever, each Sim is capable of having its own emotional state which is affected by the environment and other Sims around. As you saw in the video above, this makes for very dynamic gameplay. EA has officially opened pre-orders for The Sims 4 Digital Deluxe Edition on Origin, and you can grab your copy at Source #2 below.
Electronic Arts and DICE announced today the long anticipated Battlefield 4 Premium pack. EA says that this new pack provides an exclusive membership for Battlefield fans and will provide access to all of the scheduled expansion packs to keep the battle raging all year long. This includes the China Rising, Second Assault, Naval Strike, Dragons Teeth, and Final Stand expansion packs.
"Fan reaction to Battlefield 3 Premium has been nothing short of amazing. We are humbled to see more than 4 million people join in," said Patrick Bach, Executive Producer, Battlefield 4. "With Battlefield 4 Premium we continue to roll out the red carpet, treating our fans like VIPs with a massive amount of new gameplay, exclusive new content and even more benefits at an incredible value."
EA said that these new "Battlepacks" will add an all-new layer of persistence as well as a new element of chance to the multiplayer progression system . As players rank up, they will receive packs containing random combinations of new camo, dogtags, knives, XP boost, and gun attachments on top of all of the unlocks players will earn in-game through normal play . There are to be 12 bonus Battlepacks for Battlefield 4 Premium owners.
Battlefield 4 multiplayer will open a beta starting in early October and would be exclusive for Battlefield 3 Premium owners, Battlefield 4 Digital Deluxe Owners, and Medal of Honor Warfighter Digital Deluxe owners. Battlefield 4 will officially launch on October 29 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Battlefield 4 Premium Edition can be purchased for $49.99 at Source #2 below.
It looks like the Austin, Texas-based branch of Arkane Studios, the developer being Dishonored, have just started work on a reboot of Prey 2. The news is coming from a report by Kotatu, going off of a leaked internal e-mails from Arkane Studios' creative director, Raphael Colantonio.
One of the e-mails reads: "Austin has officially been green lit for its own project. Doing a new IP was not a possibility because it's adding risk to the challenge of growth, so after going back and forth with Todd, Harvey, Ricardo, we decided that Prey 2 presented an interesting opportunity if we could reboot it. Zenimax accepted our pitch which was 'the spiritual successor to System Shock 3."
This should come as a surprise, because Bethesda's VP of PR and marketing, Pete Hines, has said that Human Head's work on Prey 2 was "not up to our quality standards."