Start getting the band back together. Harmonix has announced Rock Band 4 will be hitting the PS4 and XB1 this holiday season.
And the answer to your first two questions are yes, and a qualified yes. Firstly, you'll be able to get all of tracks you owned for previous Rock Band titles free of charge on the new game so long as you keep within your console family (PS3->PS4, 360->XB1). Since there is a bit of work required to port all of these thousands of tracks, they won't all be available at launch, but if you bought them on an older Rock Band title, you will get it for free on the new title when it launches. Secondly, Harmonix is working with both Sony and Microsoft to make sure any legacy instruments you have will work on the new game. They haven't yet nailed down how that will work - meaning what sort of adapters, if any will be needed - but they're aiming to make that happen.
Of course there will be new instruments available too - again, from Mad Catz - although the keyboard is being retired in favor of a more 'core' band experience. Hardware options will be kept pretty minimal, with the 'pro' instruments and similar high end widgets absent this time around. Harmonix want Rock Band 4 to be the platform from now on, so no yearly releases and arms races. You'll also notice that EA's name is nowhere to be found, and it seems like Harmonix is self publishing Rock Band 4.
Harmonix will be at PAX East starting tomorrow, and we'll learn more about the game in the coming months.
The main Maxis studio in Emeryville, CA has been shut down by owner and publisher EA. The studio came to prominence in the 90s on the strength of Sim City and subsequent Sim-related spinoffs.
Recent years had seen the studio's output drop, with only three titles developed primarily at the Emeryville studio hitting store shelves since 1994: Spore, Darkspore, and 2013's SimCity. Main development duties on arguably the studio's biggest hit - The Sims - had been shifted to EA's main Redwood City campus starting with Sims 3, and apparently only had limited duties on last year's Sims 4.
We should also not be shocked that such an announcement comes during GDC and just before PAX East, possibly the second biggest news cycle in gaming after E3. Publishers have done this before with studio closings in the hopes the news would pass under the public's radar.
WARNING! If you listen to this trailer, you WILL get the song stuck in your head. In fact, you may find yourself compelled to hum the song softly, or even start singing. Truly, the devs behind Magicka 2 are evil incarnate.
Magicka 2 will be released May 26 on the PC and PS4 at a cost of $14.99. Not a vampire.
GDC kicks off in full today, but Valve wanted to prime the pump (pun!) last night with a few early announcements.
First and foremost in my mind is Steam Link. This is their method of streaming Steam content from your PC to your TV. Connect the box to your entertainment center, and you'll be able to play Steam games from your living room, without needing to buy a new computer or lug hardware around. Steam Link will be available this fall for $50 standalone, or $100 bundled with a Steam Controller. As someone who decides which platform on which to buy a game based at least in part on if it's a 'desk' game or a 'couch' game, this is something I'm very interested in.
The other big announcement was the Source 2 Engine. The original Source is over a decade old at this point, and while it has progressed admirably over the years - both Dota 2 and Titanfall use it and both look pretty good - it's time to replace the old girl. Valve also announced that the engine would be available for free to content developers, a stance in line with current versions of the Unreal and Unity engines. Outside of announcing "a Vulkan-compatible version of the Source 2 engine," the company had little else to say about the engine, although we can assume more news will be forthcoming at GDC this week.
Valve currently has a lot of their revenue streams tied up in Source 1 titles - Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike Go and of course Dota 2 - which makes the transition to a new engine dicey. While other publishers generally release new installments of their big titles every year or three, Valve has struck gold with an iterative approach to their titles. While I think fans would react to a new Team Fortress with gusto, I don't think that would go over as well with the CS:GO and Dota 2 fanbases. Could Valve make Source 2 versions of both games, even though the effort required to port all of the cosmetics and such would be monumental? Not to mention the effects such changes could have on such eSport-focused titles. Or do they keep them plugging away on Source 1, and release all new versions five years (or more) down the road?
We’re once bitten twice shy at the following link.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new city builder game on the way. Cities: Skylines seems to be getting right everything that SimCity got wrong. Seems...is a really good word to use here. We’ll know in the next few days if we can eliminate that word, but in the meantime, we try to learn more about the game itself from Colossal Order’s Mariina Hallikainen. This is a studio who’ve been facing the community head on with their questions and concerns. And they are doing so because they saw what happened when Maxis didn’t do this the last time out. They are doing this because they know how gun shy the city builder fans are on throwing down money on another game.
If you want to know more about the game, listen to our interview in this episode. I’m personally excited for it, but I’ll admit, I’m still a bit skeptical of them getting it right. If anything, I think they’ll get it more right than SimCity did back in 2013.
Valve is joining forces with Taiwanese tech giant HTC to create a new VR headset they're dubbing the Vive. While HTC handles the tech, the headset will run on SteamVR software, and they promise a variety of games will be made or adapted to run on the Vive.
The headset will be based around a pair of 1200x1080 resolution screens running a refresh rate of 90fps. The front of the unit is fitted with gyrosensors, accelerometers, and laser sensors to help read your position in a particular space. Combined with a pair of "Steam VR base stations" which track your location, and you'll be able to walk around and explore virtual spaces. HTC and Valve are also making "ergonomic VR game controllers" worn on each hand to let you manipulate your virtual environment.
HTC says that dev versions of the Vive will be shipping in the spring, while the consumer version will be available for the holidays. More on the system will be announced at GDC this week.
So now you have HTC and Valve tossing their conjoined hat into the virtual reality/ augmented reality (AR) ring. They join Sony (Project Morpheus), Microsoft (Hololens), Samsung (Gear) and Oculus (Rift) in that field, plus at least a half a dozen lesser known products and systems. I'm starting to get a sneaking suspicion that tech and gaming companies think VR/AR will be the next big thing. Although we can't be sure of that until Apple makes one.
It's strange, but I have a deep affection for the story in the Mortal Kombat series. No other fighter really makes me give a damn about the story, but for some reason I liked the batshit insanity of the MK setting. There must be more people out there like me, because Netherrealm has released a story trailer for Mortal Kombat X. This installment jumps ahead 25 years, and features the children of several series veterans, including Johnny Cage & Sonya Blade's daughter Cassie, Jax' daughter Jacqueline and Kung Lao's son Kung Jin.
The series is introducing one interesting feature: each character will have three variations, each with different movesets. For example, Scorpion will have a Ninja, Fire and Demon movesets.
Mortal Kombat X will be released April 14 for the XB1, 360, PS4, PS3 and PC.
The whole "our project is [x] meets with [y] with a little [z] thrown in" can become a little trite after a while. But sometimes it gives the audience a quick idea of what exactly your game is, especially in a day and age where genre tags are becoming too simplistic. Which is why the best way to describe the upcoming indie game from Sigtrap is "Rogue-Like meets Descent". After all, that's a lot easier for a potential customer to grasp than "six degrees of freedom corridor shooter with procedurally-generated levels and a customizable ship."
Sublevel Zerohas a Steam page (not an early access title!) and should be out for the PC and Linux this summer.
Lionhead studios has announced that their asymmetric multiplayer RPG Fable Legends is going free to play.
Legends has you playing as either one of four heroes trying to complete a quest, or as the villain trying to thwart them by dropping monsters or traps in their way. With the new F2P model, a different quartet of heroes (plus a similar roster of traps and monsters for the villain) will be available to everyone for a two week period. At the end of each period a new set of four heroes rotate in and replace the older set. Heroes will retain any experience or equipment they acquire while on the bench, or players can use in-game currency to 'buy' that hero permanently.
The game will have two sorts of currency. Silver is earned in-game, while Gold is purchased with real cash. All substantive items - those which make a difference in-game - can be bought with silver, however some cosmetic items can only be acquired with gold. If this sounds familiar, it's more or less the same model Riot Games uses with League of Legends.
Lionhead is taking applications for the Fable Legends beta, but we don't yet have a release window on the game.
Via Eurogamer, we get a creepy and engrossing teaser for Hunger, an upcoming title from Swedish dev Tarsier Studios. The studio previously worked on various LittleBigPlanet add ons before being handed the reins of the Vita version of the series. There certainly seems to be a slight bit of LBP's aesthetic in Hunger, but whereas the former went for 'cute', the latter is trying for 'creepy.' Here's how the devs describe the game.
At its heart, Hunger is a simple idea. A young girl is trapped in a labyrinth full of monsters and wants to escape. It will be your job to help her do this. It’s a genre we’re calling ‘suspense-adventure’, on account of the fact that there will be plenty of both. Coupled with an unnerving ‘Dollhouse Perspective’, tactile controls, and characters with soft, dark centres, Hunger will take your hand and let it go at the worst possible moment!
No release window has been announced, but it's scheduled for release on consoles and the PC.
After a period of relative quiet, the hype machine for Batman Arkham Knight is beginning to turn over. Yesterday we learned (via an interview with Rocksteady founder Sefton Hill at IGN) that the game would carry an M rating, a rarity for such a high profile multimedia property. Today we get a new trailer and, if I'm not mistaken, the first announcement of a new release date: June 2, 2015.
The trailer looks great, even if most of it is likely pre-rendered. Batman's rogues - including Two-Face, Penguin, Harley Quinn, The Scarecrow - all look amazing. Rocksteady is calling this the finale of their trilogy ("ignore Arkham Origins, please!"), and they seem to be going for the grimmest and darkest version of the character ever coded.
Saruman's winged spies whisper that the eagerly-anticipated "The Bright Lord" DLC for last year's sleeper hit, Shadow of Mordor, launches this very day! Behold the trailer, and hear Tolkien spin in his grave across the pond.
Telltale Games today had a pair of big announcements this morning. Firstly, they've secured a significant investment from Hollywood studio Lionsgate. The deal will see the two companies collaborate on bringing new and existing properties to the game space and the TV set going forward. Lionsgate has become best known in recent years for teen-focused films and loud action flicks, including the Hunger Games, Divergence, The Expendables and Dredd. While no announcement was made, CEOs from both companies hinted strongly that some Lionsgate projects are headed into Telltale's care.
The second big announcement was Telltale's move to creating what they call "Super Shows." Each Super Show would have both an interactive and non-interactive component.
This is how Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner described the Super Shows to EW:
Each Super Show episode [the interactive game and the scripted episode] will be released as a package designed so that you can consume the interactive portion or watch the scripted show portion in any order you’d like. For instance, if you play the interactive episode first, certain elements of the scripted episode portion will be tailored to reflect some choices made in your interactive play through. If you watch the show before playing, some elements in the interactive portions may be presented differently than if you played first. The interactive episodes will never release without a scripted episode, they will always come out together.
The scripted, non-interactive segments could then be edited down into a final form and distributed via a streaming service after the 'season' is completed.
Telltale currently has four announced projects: the completion of the first seasons of Game of Thrones and Tales of the Borderlands, plus the third season of The Walking Dead and the new Minecraft: Story Mode. All of these projects are supposed to see releases this calendar year.
Rockstar announced on their very own Newswire that GTA V for PC will not be available on March 24th, as previously announced. The new release date is now April 14th.
Our apologies to PC gamers worldwide who have been counting down the days until the launch of the game, but a bit more time is needed to ensure that the game is as polished as possible, and to make certain that both Heists and the GTA Online experience are ready to roll out on day one for PC. As a gesture of thanks for your understanding, we will grant anyone who has pre-ordered the game an additional $200,000 in-game cash for use in GTA Online.
As always, we ask for the GTA PC community’s understanding and assistance in helping to report any concerns during the early days of launch when those inevitable initial teething issues arise on the new platform. If you do experience issues please visit Rockstar Games Support and send feedback to GTAOnline@rockstargames.com – we’ll be closely monitoring the situation and addressing any hitches as quickly as we can.
As a reminder for our PC folks, here are the specifications for GTAV on PC:
Minimum specifications: OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1, Windows Vista 64 Bit Service Pack 2* (*NVIDIA video card recommended if running Vista OS) Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5GHz Memory: 4GB Video Card: NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11) Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible HDD Space: 65GB DVD Drive
Recommended specifications: OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1 Processor: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHZ (4 CPUs) / AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4GHZ (8 CPUs) Memory: 8GB Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD7870 2GB Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible HDD Space: 65GB DVD Drive
Nothing wrong with delaying a game to make sure it works when released (are you listening, Microsoft and Ubisoft?). I suppose this also gives people a little extra time to upgrade their rigs.
We’re playing our games faster than usual at the following link.
The Order: 1886 has been taking a beating in the reviews and I hope we do enough in this episode to give you a bit of both sides. I may be confusing the people I’ve talked to about the game, but Nate didn’t come away from it as bad as I did. I also had other technical problems with the game that he didn’t. By the way, the length of the game isn’t anything we had a problem with.
Beyond that, we had a call about DLC, some tiny bit of pinball talk, and a pretty big announcement about a future episode that’ll we’ll go into more detail at a later date.
A video has emerged showing cutscenes and gameplay footage from a canceled Legacy of Kain game.
Tentatively titled Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun, it was in development at UK house Climax (Silent Hill Shattered Memories) with Crystal Dynamics overseeing the project. Development on the game was stopped in 2012 without ever being announced, but info on it eventually leaked out. A Square Enix rep later said it "just wasn't the right game, at the right time."
However, a NeoGAF member named Mamarobotnik has worked hard to bring video of the game to light, and now we have a 30+ minute vertical slice of the game, including a possibly NSFW cutscene.
There is some irony at the SE rep's description of it as not being "the right game, at the right time." From this video, it sure seems to have a lot in common with one of 2014's darlings: Shadow of Mordor. You have a spectral companion whom no one else can see, an open world full of structures to scale, and evolving abilities. Now I'm not saying it shouldn't have been canceled. I wasn't involved in the development of this or any other game. And to be fair, the last installments in the series were mediocre at best. But I have a deep and abiding affection for the Legacy of Kain/Soul Reaver series', and I want that series to return to greatness. A game set in that world with gameplay similar to Shadow of Mordor sounds like a sure-fire hit. Unfortunately it doesn't sound like that game is coming out any time soon.
All is not lost, as the multiplayer component of Dead Sun was largely adapted into the F2P title Nosgoth, from Psyonix Games.
While this instance seems pretty cut and dried, and I assume Microsoft will be removing the illegal copy of Darkest Dungeon post-haste, not all cases of this nature are so simple. GamerLaw has a great rundown of just how difficult it can be trying to convince digital storefronts that the software they're selling doesn't belong to the person selling it. Just saying "our game was up first, that proves we're the real devs" isn't always enough. Indie developer Vlambeer saw this when they released an early demo of their shooter Luftrausers, only to find cloned versions of the demo had been uploaded to all sorts of storefronts by unscrupulous sorts. Digital distribution has done great things for the industry, but in many ways it's still an unexplored territory, and we're still figuring out what works and what doesn't.
Four years ago, Techland released Dead Island, bringing everyone a bittersweet experience with interesting zombie killing horror action. Now, Dying Light has been released and the comparisons are impossible to avoid. Has Techland learned from mistakes made in Dead Island? Is bashing zombies over the head with a table leg as fun as it used to be? Why are we jumping around so much?
The crossover between tabletop gaming and electronic gaming continues unabated. Today we look at Warmachine Tactics, which looks to in a similar vein to XCOM, but with steampunk robots and mechano-knights. I'm not too familiar with the Warmachine board game on which the video game is based, but the trailer is pretty enough (I'm posting an earlier trailer which shows gameplay and saves us from the awful voice acting in the most recent one).
The next piece of DLC for the superb Shadow of Mordor has been announced. The Bright Lord is a prequel of sorts and puts you in the shoes of Celembrimbor, the elven wraith bound to protagonist Talion in the main game, 3000 years before the events of the game. In the DLC your powers will be a little different - better with the bow, but more fragile - as you complete 10 new missions. You'll also get a boss battle against Sauron, and the devs at Monolith say the "epic" boss battle is a direct result of fan feedback.
The DLC will also let you play as Celembrimbor in the main campaign, as well as give you the ability to earn level 30 weapon runes.
The Bright Lord is slated for release "soon", but a specific date was not announced at this time, nor was a price given.