Bungie composer Marty O'Donnell has announced his departure from the company, and it wasn't voluntary. O'Donnell's statement:
I'm saddened to say that Bungie's board of directors terminated me without cause on April 11, 2014.
Bungie has since issued a statement wishing O'Donnell well in his future endeavors, but the whole situation seems very strange. O'Donnell is one of the real rock stars of game music, and his work on the Halo series is hugely popular among fans of game soundtracks. He is generally thought to be one of the major forces behind the evolution of Western game music in the last two decades. In the past few years he's been working on the music and audio for Destiny, and has even collaborated with Paul McCartney on a prequel arrangement called Music of the Spheres. Which makes his firing all the more unusual. There is clearly something going on here to which we're not privy, something significant enough to end one of the more successful partnerships in the industry.
This week brings us the first Trials game to grace a PS console, Trials Fusion for the PS4. FFXIV: ARR officially launches this week, so that should keep many occupied. Backgammon, of all things, makes its way to all three platforms, and the Vita finally catches up and gets its own version of Dead Nation. No Heroes Allowed makes the leap from PSP to Vita, this time in the form of a free to play puzzle game. Finally, Plus members get Castle of Illusion for the PS3 for free along with a slew of discounts. The full update from the PlayStation Blog:
Trials Fusion Digital Deluxe Edition ($39.99)
Trials Fusion ($19.99) [With Demo]
Backgammon Blitz ($7.99) [With Demo]
Pure Chess ($7.99)
Pure Chess Complete Bundle ($14.99)
That Trivia Game ($9.99)
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Collector’s Edition ($59.99)
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn ($39.99)
inFAMOUS Second Son Official Soundtrack (PS4, Free)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($59.99) [Pre-Order]
Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion Xl ($19.99)
Beyond Two Souls ($59.99)
EA Sports 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil ($59.99)
Castle of Illusion Sega Genesis Bundle ($14.99)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows ($14.99)
Backgammon Blitz ($7.99) [With Demo]
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($49.99) [Pre-Order]
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All Stars Battle ($49.99) [Pre-Order]
War of the Vikings has been playable in beta for a bit now, and from what I've been told it's a fun multiplayer game. To uhh... celebrate that Paradox has released what might be the single most boring trailer for anything containing a Viking that I've ever seen.
Not everyone was a fan of the original Blood Bowl computer game, but I quite enjoyed it. In the turn based mode it was mostly a note for note translation of the tabletop experience. I am personally hoping the sequel does something similar. At the very least this trailer shows dramatically improved visuals.
Respawn used a studio retrospective panel at PAX East to announce the first piece of premium content for Titanfall. The DLC - dubbed Expedition - will be released for all platforms in May at a cost of $9.99. The pack includes a trio of new maps - Swampland, Runoff and War Games - that extend the campaign and the narrative. The DLC will also introduce some tweaks to wall running, including the ability to wall run on trees, and to change the elevation of your wall run. There will also be new 'zip vines' to help traverse the maps.
That's the premium content, but Respawn is also adding new content for free. These additions include new Burn Cards, new game modes - including 2v2 Last Titan Standing - and what Respawn are calling 'Riffs.' Riffs are odd game modes that will be available for limited periods which could become permanent if they prove popular enough with the playerbase. Similar to Left 4 Dead 2's mutations.
Gamestop's sale page continues to not be very one link friendly, but there are several notable deals on the first page. Games like Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, The Tropico Series and others are all on discount.
We don't know much about Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth other than that it's Civilization in space, but holy moley I am definitely interested. The game is even coming out this year! Look for it in the Fall.
[Update] - Both Joystiq and Polygon have interviews with the designers of Beyond Earth. The biggest change (beyond the setting) is the end of the Tech Tree and the beginning of the Tech Web. Since we don't have the luxury of history to help describe the order in which discoveries are made, the future tech you'll be researching will be laid out on a web rather than a tree. Which means players at the very end of a game will generally cap out at 70% of the tech researched. The Tech Web is also roughly split into three 'affinities.'
The harmony affinity is for players who believe that they should become part of the new alien world. The supremacy affinity is harmony's opposite and favors technological advances like robotics and environmental domination over assimilation. The purity affinity uses "science and research," according to Brenk, to look back at humanity's past and culture and want to preserve humanity as it was and treat their new planet as a new Earth.
So there's lots to do. Make sure your affairs are in order before Civ Beyond Earth launches in the fall on the PC, Mac and Linux.
Robot Entertainment returns to the world of Orcs Must Die. But this new game isn't just another tower defense/action game. No, Orcs Must Die Unchained is a MOBA with collectible card game elements too! It's buzzword nirvana!
I kid, but only a little. Trends in the industry are all leading towards more F2P titles, and a MOBA is the most obvious genre for that model. But the market is flooded with MOBAs (look, a TGIF MOBA! Steph from Full House versus Urkel!) and new entrants need a hook, so you throw in a CCG, which is also a staple of F2P games. I hope it's great and successful, but I worry about oversaturation.
In either case, while the game won't be launching until Q4, you can start playing now by joining the Founders Program, with prices ranging from $20 to $150.
Capy Games' Below was one of the indie games highlighted by Microsoft at their Xbox One unveiling. It was one of several indie titles announced as an XB1 exclusive, but the months afterwards there was some backlash against Microsoft's policies towards indie games, specifically the demand that all indie titles released on the XB1 be exclusive to the platform for at least a short time. Many indies were not terribly fond of that stipulation, and Microsoft has spent the last few months walking back parts of that policy. So it's not a complete surprise that Below's new trailer indicates that it's destined for Steam as well as Xbox Live. We still don't know when it comes out, but a playable version of the game will be on the floor at PAX East this weekend.
For those of you that haven't seen it - a pretty large bug was found in OpenSSL, the libraries used for SSL/TLS security transfers. The flaw is called heartbleed. You can check out information about it on www.heartbleed.com.
Anyhow - the reason this post is being made is that I wanted folks to know that CoG is NOT vulnerable to the bug, the server that the site is hosted on has been patched. No known issues were seen beforehand, but that's not a surprise as the site really isn't using SSL and sites that use SSL were the vulnerable ones.
I won't be leaving this notice up for more than a day, I just wanted to make sure folks were aware of the situation as some are panicking around the internet.
Sony and Naughty Dog are bringing The Last of Us to the Playstation 4. The creatively titled The Last of Us Remastered has been officially revealed, and will be available this summer.
TLoU Remastered will include 1080p output and improved models, lighting, textures and more. It will also come with commentary tracks from creative leads and actors, as well as all three DLC packs: the single player expansion, the Abandoned Territories multiplayer map pack, and the still unannounced Reclaimed Territories pack. There are also a host of pre-order bonuses, with extra ones for ordering via PSN. The game will cost the full $60 when it's released this summer.
We're live from a galaxy far, far away at the following link.
There are any number of satisfying outcomes that could have followed Amy Hennig's departure from Naughty Dog, and as lifelong fans of the Star Wars universe we've found ourselves as satisfied as could be. There are endless numbers of people who had some other dream job or personal project in mind for her, but we're frankly glad they didn't get their way. Star Wars - as a universe in general and a universe of games, in particular - has always held a special place in several of In-Game Chat's hearts, but the quality has dropped in recent years and by no small amount. Star Wars is in need of saving, and we expect Amy will play a part in its rescue.
Two days ago, it was a rumor. Today it's confirmed. Funny how news embargoes work in this industry. 2K Games has announced/confirmed Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, developed by 2K Australia and set for release this fall on the 360, PS3 and PC.
As mentioned previously, the game tells the story of Handsome Jack's rise to power, and takes place on the Hyperion moon base orbiting Pandora. You also get a quartet of new characters, all of which have been in previous games.
- Athena, the Gladiator: Uses her Kinetic Aspis, which is a shield that can absorb incoming damage, then convert it back into energy to use against enemies. Athena made her debut in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC for the first Borderlands game.
- Wilhelm, the Enforcer: Wilhelm was previously seen in Borderlands 2 as one of the first deadly bosses in the game.
- Nisha, the Lawbringer: The sheriff of Lynchwood from Borderlands 2, Nisha will be dealing out her own brand of justice, which we'll discuss further in the coming months.
- Claptrap, the Fragtrap: Wait - Claptrap? The goofy robot companion from Borderlands 2, now playable for the first time? Fragtrap is his character class? Well, you can play him too!
The biggest announced change is the actual moon environment. When out on the lunar surface, you have a limited oxygen supply that depletes over time. You either have to duck into a structure to refill, grab an oxygen pack, or walk into one of the bubbles of air littering the surface. That lunar environment also means lower gravity, which means jetpacks and more verticality than in previous Borderlands games.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel launches this fall on the 360, PS3 and PC.
Think of this week as a time to breath a sign of relief after how nuts March was. That’s not to say there aren’t games, but there aren’t a ton. Strike Suit Zero is probably the week’s biggest game, but you can also download FFXIV on the PS4 now, so that’s up for debate. Otherwise, there’s not much. Stealth Inc does make it’s way to PS Plus for the PS3 and Vita and really should not be missed. Excellent game. The full update from the PlayStation Blog:
Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut ($19.99)
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Free to Download)
King Oddball ($6.99) With Demo
LEGO The Hobbit ($59.99)
Child of Light ($14.99) [Pre-Order]
LEGO The Hobbit ($49.99)
Sonic Unleashed ($19.99)
Child of Light ($14.99) [Pre-Order]
Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion Xl [Pre-Order]
Ubisoft's The Crew, once set up as a new-gen launch title, has re-debuted with a shiny fall release window.
When The Crew was announced at E3 2013, it struggled to find traction at a show that featured a Forza, a Gran Turismo, a Need for Speed and a Driveclub. That could be chalked up to the restrictions placed on producer Julian Gerighty, who was told not to call the game an MMO or an RPG by marketing executives. Except that is, apparently, what the game is, and trying to use euphemisms muddied the waters.
So the game is, in large part, about leveling up your character and their cars. It's also about banding together with friends and just making your own fun. You can create your own races and competitions in the game's open world, and just have at it. It's not quite Minecraft-levels of openness, but it seems like it could add a lot to the experience. The game itself takes place in a compressed and exaggerated representation of the US, so you can drive from New York to San Francisco, and instead of 40-50 hours of boredom and bathroom breaks, there's a lot of fun scenery and roads.
The Crew will be released this fall for the XB1, PS4 & PC.
As has become somewhat routine, Rock Paper Shotgun alerted us recently to an upcoming indie title seeking funding on Kickstarter. An upcoming turn based strategy RPG with roguelike elements - stop me if you’ve heard this one before. But Hero Generations is something a little different from the norm; while a single character’s life is, in roguelike fashion, perilously short (predetermined to be so, in fact), Scott Brodie wants to give us the chance to create a lineage of heroes. As our heroes age and achieve greatness, they will have the chance to find a mate and carry on through their offspring, passing traits, goods and fame down from one generation to the next. Intrigued, I asked Scott if he would take a little time to tell us a bit more about the game and his plans for it, and he generously agreed. Check out the full interview and leave your feedback right here.
A report from Game Points Now says that a new Borderlands game is in development for last-gen consoles and the PC. According to the same report, the untitled game will be a 'pre-sequel', taking place during the five years between Borderlands 1 & 2, and will be set on the moon of Pandora which had a giant 'H' base on it during BL2. The player characters will include a militarized Claptrap, as well as several unique characters seen in BL 1 & 2, and you can click the link for details on them.
There are a few caveats here. GPN is a site I'm none too familiar with, and although they're being linked by sites I do trust, their scoop should be taken with a grain of salt. You also have Gearbox head Randy Pitchford's assertion that that Gearbox is working on new IPs, and "Borderlands 3 is not in development." Of course, this new game wouldn't be Borderlands 3, and Gearbox wouldn't be developing it, so this wouldn't violate Pitchford's statement.
So, does it make sense? I think it does. By moving development onto another team, and by keeping it to last-gen platforms, you make it more financially viable. It's still a rumor at this point, but my gut says the core of the rumor is true, even if I'm not as sold on some of the details.
We're less than the sum of our parts at the following link.
We did our level best to present a lively discussion this week, but there's no getting past how awkward the hosts are without Scott at the helm. He was in hospital, flat on his back and high as a kite, suffering from a gruesome affliction. Those of us in the studio were more than a little uncomfortable, like lost children who needed an adult. Scott made it through his ordeal, somehow, and so did we, but our typically flawless (not really) execution wasn't to be had. In any case, we apologize for the lateness of this posting, but it couldn't be avoided.
Now I didn't quite see this coming. EA has announced that former Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig has joined Visceral games, and will serve creative director on their untitled Star Wars project.
Hennig is best known now as a producer and lead writer of the Uncharted series, but she also helped create the Legacy of Kain series among others at Crystal Dynamics and Naughty Dog.
While EA has not formally announced anything of substance for Visceral's Star Wars title, a steady stream of leaks and minor announcements seem to indicate that the game will be a third person adventure title. Just a couple weeks back EA CEO Andrew Wilson compared the game to Rocksteady's Arkham games, earlier leaks compared it to Uncharted. In the above linked article Wilson also said that the games won't be attached to the multitude of Star Wars films that will be in theaters over the next few years, and that lack of connection will give them more freedom during development.
We don't know how far into development the game is, or when a formal announcement will be made. We also know that EA DICE is working on a new Star Wars Battlefront game, but that is unrelated to this project.