Excitement, building... first off, I've just sprinkled down some salt on this news, remember, rumor, rumor, rumor. Nothing is fact in this world until we see, hear, feel or experience it for ourselves, until then it's pure faith. In the technology industry, there are so many insiders, "upstream sources" (still need to get me a few of those), and "leaks".
Today, we have some news from SemiAccurate, that talks of the next-generation Xbox chip, "Oban" that has reportedly just taped out. Charlie goes into some serious detail, and for as much flak he gets, he is right a fair bit of the time, and I enjoy his style, so on with the news. It has been reported that the new Xbox Next/720 "Oban" chip is in initial production with sources at a foundary confirming that the Oban wafters starting running in the final days of last year.
Sources at Redmond, when questioned, responded with "Who the f*&$ told you that? I am going to f#*&ing rip someone's head off". You don't say that if it's rumors, that aren't true, so SemiAccurate could be onto something here. More sources as Microsoft said that the initial order for Oban chips was for 10K wafers. Oban is supposedly being built by IBM primarily, which means an x86-based chip is out of the question.
It seems as though Eidos Montreal's kinda-secret-but-kinda-not Thief 4 will sport online capabilities, and be built upon the foundation that is the Unreal Engine 3 graphics engine. This is according to the resume's of some of the developers, which were uncovered on LinkedIn, and were posted on NeoGAF.
One resume belonged to Colas Fievet, an online programmer for Thief 4. His duties between August 2009 and December 2010 included "networking, gameplay, debugging", plus "online and offline tools on Thief 4". The previous Thief games never included online play, so Thief 4 with online play would be a first of its kind for the series.
Other CVs referenced Thief 4 running on Unreal Engine 3, which is a surprise considering Eidos Montreal used the Tomb Raider engine for their popular Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Other information included mentions of "shops, escape gates, public zones", and that the game will include a "hub".
EA really want Origin to work, Battlefield 3 was good enough to swing millions of players into the arms of EA's latest digital distribution service, and now their latest RPG, Mass Effect 3 joins the ranks. BioWare have confirmed Mass Effect 3 will not be made available on Steam, and that on the PC, it will require an Origin install for all versions.
BioWare's community manager, Chris Priestly, said on the company's official forums:
Origin is required for the PC versions of Mass Effect 3, both physical and digital. During initial release Mass Effect 3 will be available on Origin and a number of other 3rd party digital retailers, but not on Steam at this time. Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to deliver patches and other downloadable content.We are intent on providing Mass Effect to players with the best possible experience no matter where they purchase or play their game, and are happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with our consumers.
Another game, another PC kick in the nads. Syndicate, from Starbreeze Studios and EA, arrives next month and to tie you over, they've released a four-player co-op demo. The Syndicate preview allows you and up to three of your friends to play one of the game's nine co-op missions (called "Western Europe") in its entirety with an objective to infiltrate a rival syndicate, Cayman Global.
The mission requires you to take out a Colonel, take some technology blueprints and force his people back across the Atlantic. The demo is available for a limited time starting this month and will be made available on the Xbox Live Marketplace (for gold members only) and the PlayStation Network. No word on whether there'll be a PC version.
It seems as though Remedy are working on a new AAA title, with a job advertisement on their official website listing:
Remedy Entertainment, the creator of Max Payne® and Alan Wake®, and one of the leading independent game studios in the world is now looking for a Gameplay/AI Programmer for a groundbreaking AAA console project.
We want your help in taking our artificial intelligence, character & enemy behavior to the next level. You will be working on the next iteration of Remedy's in-house engine that was previously used in Alan Wake and Alan Wake's American Nightmare.
It would seem as though, from that advertisement, that this new project isn't just Alan Wake DLC, but an entirely new project. One of the best bits of that is they're after an "AI Programmer", which could be interesting to see how it fleshes out over time. The ad goes onto say that Remedy is looking for "[e]xperience on AI algorithms related to, for example, path finding, obstacle avoidance, decision making, group cooperation or planning". It seems as though this new AAA console game might be shared with another co-operative AI player.
We could see an Alan Wake sequel, but I would be pushing toward a new IP. As new information comes out, you can be rest assured we'll be here to deliver it.
Futuremark Game Studio have just confirmed the release date and pricing for the PC and iPad versions of their upcoming orbital tower defense game, Unstoppable Gorg. In case you've forgotten what Futuremark's Unstoppable Gorg is all about, check out the gameplay trailer below.
Futuermark also announced that there is a previously unannounced version coming out, appearing on Apple Mac-based systems. On top of the newly announced Mac version, Unstoppable Gorg will be released on PC, XBLA, and the iPad. Futuremark Game Studio also announced today that Unstoppable Gorg will be released as a Steam Play title, which will let users buy it just once and play it on both the Mac and PC.
RELEASE DATES, PLATFORMS AND PRICES
Windows PC and Apple Mac
To be released on Steam Thursday January 19, 2012
$9.99 (Steam Play - buy once, play on either PC or Mac)
To be released on the App Store Thursday January 19, 2012
Xbox LIVE Arcade
To be released in the first half of 2012.
I started my news posting with some Diablo 3 news, and I'm near the end with some more Diablo 3 news. Let's face it, we are all going to love it. Well, it seems as though Diablo 3's auction house will allow real-money trading (RMT) for items found in the real world.
The fact that this lets you trade in items and then "cash-out" to make some money, minus Blizzard's cut, caused Diablo 3 to clash with South Korea's anti-gambling laws. Blizzard sent Diablo 3 for approval, were rejected, re-submitted the game with this feature removed and it has been accepted.
But, we all know what that loot does to us, we want to find more... more, more, more. Just like Agent Smith said in the Matrix Reloaded, we all want more of it. But, will South Korean's still have that same lust for loot, if the monetary value is absolutely worthless? Where they can read on the Internet that other people have made X amount of money from Y item? Wouldn't it make them mad, bro?
Diablo 3 hitting the consoles has been a rumor for quite a while now, and unfortunately, that rumor is now fact. Blizzard admitted last year that they were experimenting with a console version of Diablo 3, but according to a tweet from a Blizzard community manager, Diablo 3 on consoles is all but confirmed.
A fan on Twitter asked "can you confirm or deny Diablo 3 coming to consoles?" with community manager "Bashiok" responding with "Yup. Josh Mosqueira is lead designer for the Diablo 3 console project". No more details or specifics were unveiled.
Now that news, I don't mind. As long as the game isn't like all other multi-platform releases where the PC controls suffer because of the slow movement of console controllers, and the slow response time of TVs, etc. But when Blizzard first revealed they were looking at bringing RPGs to consoles, director Jay Wilson actually said the game felt better in some ways with a controller, as opposed to a mouse and keyboard.
Our Mobile App of the Day is Fish Fury for iOS.
After taking over the rest of the world (and the App Store), the birds are heading towards one of the last piranha colonies. You are the only one who stand in their way!
Stop the bird invasion: eat 'em, ram them, slice 'em, whatever it takes to show 'em your 'Fish Fury'!
I've just moved house, and as most of you would know its hectic. The thing I hate the most? I haven't had any time to play Battlefield 3. Radeon HD 7970s are out, and it feels like they're here with a sole purpose to tease me. Like a lingerie model dancing in front of you and your hands have been cut off, you know what I mean?
Well, DICE's Alan Kertz has now come out and given some more information on a forthcoming Battlefield 3 update, and has had the following to say when asked the questions below, I've put his answers in bold.
- When asked if sniper rifles would be getting a fix in terms of their red dont/holo inaccuracy when trying to aim down sights: "Indeed"
- When asked if the game could get an RPG rocket that fired at real-life speed but with realist inaccuracy: "Generally I try to stay away from inaccuracy as a balance mechanic."
- When asked if there is any chance of the Support class getting Heavy Barrel option like in the beta: "Maybe on the clip based weapons. It would be an interesting choice for them."
(More in the full news post)
Our Mobile App of the Day is Tiny Tower.
Build a Tiny Tower and manage your bitizens that live there!
Tiny Tower lets you build a tiny tower and manage the businesses and bitizens that inhabit it!
- Make money to build new types of floors and attract bitizens to live and work inside.
- Special events and VIP visitors will earn you special perks as you build your tower towards the clouds.
- Customize the look and placement of each floor and the bitizens that live in them, and upgrade your elevator.
- See what is on your bitizens' minds by peeking at the "BitBook" virtual social network for your tower!
Tiny Tower is powered by Mobage, the best, free, social game network.
CES 2012: Mad Catz have just introduced a very interesting looking console controller. Enter the Mad Catz officially-licensed Major League Gaming (MLG) Pro Circuit controller for the Xbox 360. How is this different to any other controllers, you ask? Well, Mad Catz teamed up with Major League Gaming for one, and second, they engineered a high-end Xbox 360 gaming controller that must be not just seen, but used in order to appreciate.
It sports slip-deterring rubberized grips, a robust braided cable, and just looks beautiful. One thing that Mad Catz have changed up is that the directional pad and thumb sticks are, wait for it, modular. You can rip these puppies out and swap them around! If you like your Xbox 360-style controller, keep it as is. If you like the PlayStation 3-style (where the thumb sticks are side-by-side), then pull them out and change it. Feel like a cool kid? Well, keep it custom and do it your own way.
CES 2012: We RumorTT'd about this a few days ago, but speaking at a "roundtable with reporters" at CES, Sony's Kaz Hirai answered a question about the possibility of the PlayStation 4 being shown off at E3 later this year. Hirai said:
Andy (House) is absolutely right in that we are not making any announcements at E3. I've always said a 10-year life cycle for PS3, and there is no reason to go away from that.
Now, I'd like to go on record and call BS on this statement of a "10-year cycle", and at least bet we'll see a PS4 before the PS3 has been out for 10 years. Also, wouldn't it be perfect to pretend to let your guard down "hey guys, we're not teasing the PS4 at E3", while Sony are sitting there waiting for Microsoft to either unveil a new console, or hold off expecting Sony to not have anything.
Not only are new consoles needed because the current-gen consoles are ageing (we're in a Full HD era playing sub-HD games at sub-30fps), but Nintendo will catch up and even surpass them in terms of technological capabilities when the Wii U launches. What a slap in the face to the "HD gaming era" we supposedly entered. Sony and Microsoft need less than 5-year cycles, considering the tech pace smartphones and tablets are jumping at.
CES 2012: Sony's PlayStation Vita has been confirmed by Sony's Kuni Suzuki to arrive on AT&T's 3G network come February 22, 2012. The PS Vita is set to include the biggest software lineup in the history of the PlayStation, with the biggest amount of apps available to the device as it launches.
Both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity are included, as we already know. The PS Vita will have two data plans with AT&T, with no term contracts. The two plans include 250MB and 2GB of data for $14.99 and $25 per month, respectively. Both plans will be month-to-month, which can really excite those who don't want to feel locked in with a 1- or 2-year contract.
Glenn Lurie, president, emerging devices for AT&T says:
The data plans for the PlayStation Vita will give gaming enthusiasts a convenient and seamless path to connect to a nationwide mobile broadband network while gaming on the go. We are looking forward to providing PlayStation Vita users the ability to experience a new era of portable gaming through wireless integration. This introduces an entirely new gaming experience, with access to popular social networking sites, right on the device.
As a huge, huge fan of original two Max Payne games, I can't help but think this is pure marketing speech here, but I have my fingers crossed anyway. VG247 had a quick quote from Remedy Entertainment's Oskari Hakkinen praising Rockstar's work on the new entry into the Max Payne series, Max Payne 3.
Rockstar threw a copy of Max Payne 3 over the Remedy, who made the original two games, to see if it lived up to the franchise, where Remedy said:
We've been blessed with being able to actually see the game and give some feedback. We've been meeting with Rockstar and looking at Max 3 - it looks absolutely phenomenal - the nice thing is we've been giving our feeling on the game but at the end of the day we don't have to do any of the heavy lifting, which is nice. Rockstar don't make bad games, so you already know it's going to be good. Just like we hope the Remedy brand is a seal of quality, you know that Rockstar's brand is a seal of quality. It's been nice to be part of the process, but we don't want to take any of the limelight. From what we've seen it's going to be absolutely fantastic.
CES 2012 - So as Jen-Hsun Huang gets into the gaming segment of their CES press conference, a FPS is loaded, and the camera for the big screen moves over to a couple of guys off to the side of the stage are connected via LAN, but it seems there are three actual players!
As the discussion continues, Jen-Hsun Huang starts talking smack to the two individuals, and asks them why are you getting hit so much, who is doing all that damage, who is doing all the PWN'ing on this match? While this is going on, the large screen was showing the odd man out's view of his screen, and the player in question was handing out punishment with little damage to his own character.
A few seconds later Jen-Hsun Huang spills the beans and informs the audience that he has enlisted the help of the World's top FPS gamer, Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel! As you can see he was sitting in the audience with a lady holding his tablet as he delivered the pain to the other two LAN combatants.
One other cool thing about the time with Fatal1ty is when they brought him on stage. With the use of Splashtop on the Asus Transformer Prime, they booted Bethesda's latest title and even were able to take his level 27 character through a bit of dragon slaying in Skyrim. Of course it needed a base system to run from initially, but in the end, Fatal1ty discusses how flawless the feel and gameplay experience is with these devices...
Team VSB, a bunch of peeps who have built a feature-length Space Quest game called "Vohaul Strikes Back" is now available, and best of all: for free. Vohaul Strikes Back is a labor of love, with nearly 10 years of work going into the game.
It's also the first original Space Quest game of this scale since the official Space Quest 6 which was released all the way back in 1995. Vohaul Strikes Back doesn't include a voice pack, but Team VSB are working on one. If you'd like to help the team out with the voice pack, you can reach them through their forums.
You can check out their website here, and download the game (again, for free!) from here. I'm quite enjoying the amount of love these old-school adventure games are getting, now if we can just get updated Full HD versions of my favorite FMV games such as Night Trap, Under a Killing Moon and others, I'd be in nostalgic heaven.
According to anonymous, yet "reliable" sources have told UK games industry magazine MCV, that we should see the unveiling of Microsoft's Xbox 720 and Sony's PlayStation 4 at E3 later this year. If this were to happen, it would really hurt Nintendo who are setting to show off their next-gen Wii U.
Microsoft have been hinting more at the next-gen Xbox than Sony have at the next-gen PlayStation. But, Sony have reportedly been telling third-party publishers that they "won't be left behind in the next-gen arms race", so it would make sense of an unveiling of the PS4 at E3 2012.
Of course, rumors are just that, rumors. But, MCV's Online Editor, Ben Parfitt, said on his Twitter account:
Obviously we can't reveal our sources. But you have my personal word on this - the source is exemplary, 100% concrete, ultra high level'.
What do you think? Personally, we need next-gen consoles. I'm excited to see what they can do, and excited for the push it'll bring the stagnant PC gaming market.
This could be the beginning of something exciting, or eventually end up as nothing. But a job posting on Microsoft's careers website was seen by crimsonheadGCN of NeoGAF, where the job is a community manager position for a "new online PC Real Time Strategy game". Exciting, huh? The job posting is as follows:
Are you a passionate gamer with a deep understanding of social media and online communities? Microsoft Game Studios is looking for a web-savvy community manager with editorial and PR experience to drive engaging and innovative end-to-end user experiences for an exciting new online PC Real Time Strategy game. As a web and community PM, you will work closely with Team leads, Marketing and PR on strategic initiatives within our communities, and help evangelize our Game's story to the world.
Could we see a new Age of Empires game? Possibly a World of Warcraft competitor? Or something completely new? Whatever it is, let's hope that something good comes from it. Curious? Want to apply? Sure, click this link.
DICE are constantly tweaking Battlefield 3 and the latest news comes from Alan Kertz, Gameplay Designer at DICE, who has stated through a post on Reddit that there will be several changes to weapon attachments in Battlefield 3.
He listed various stat changes for the bipod, foregrip, suppressor, heavy barrel, and flash suppressor. Now we just need some more maps like the ones included in Back to Karkand, which feel like proper PC-made maps, well, because they are. The game is slowly getting perfected, which shows some strong commitment to longevity of the game from DICE. The full change list is below (and in the full story):
There were millions of smartphone activations from people who got iOS or Android-based devices over Christmas, but we have a very interesting number for Angry Birds fans. Rovio saw an amazing 6.5 million downloads on Christmas Day for its Angry Birds franchise of games.
This is nearly the number of total smartphone activations estimated to happen over Christmas, which makes it even more impressive. Rovio's Ville Heijari told AllThingsD:
We're really excited to have such a massive number of new people get acquainted with Angry Birds over the holidays - we have exciting new releases lined up for 2012, and can't wait to introduce them to the public.
The 6.5 million total is a combination of Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio, and also includes a mix of paid and free downloads. Christmas 2010 saw just two million downloads spread across iOS and Android.