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Monday, Sep 15



Destiny level 26 raid 'Vault of Glass' approaches, Bungie details when and wishes everyone luck

4 comments Lydia Sung - 4:51pm (PST) Like Share (1)

Yeah, this is going to take a few tries

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The Vault of Glass is opening very soon in Destiny, and Bungie is dropping some last minute details so every Guardian can prepare themselves for death. Well, ideally death and loot. Either way, you and five friends can begin the adventure starting at 2:00 AM Pacific on Tuesday, September 16.

The raid has a level 26 requirement, so everyone in your Fireteam will need to be at least 26 in order to participate. The good news is that the Vault of Glass is a permanent fixture in Destiny, so you're not exactly on a deadline. Interestingly, the raid doesn't have a matchmaking function, meaning you'll need to manually assemble a team of six (two Fireteams) beforehand. This ideally ensures players will be better about working together.

Either way, the raid is going to be very long, and Bungie assures everyone that finishing it in one sitting will be very unlikely. The instance does save your progress, but you'll need to go in with the same Fireteam to pick up where you all left off before.

Good luck, because this is apparently "the most elaborate mission ever created by Bungie." Remember, that's 2:00 AM Pacific, or 9:00 AM GMT.

 
 

'Kaos Doom Challenge' adds Horde Mode/tower defense to Skylanders Trap Team, time to power level

1 comments Rory Young - 1:05pm (PST) Like Share

Can I capture a tower in a crystal?

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Toys for Bob and Activision revealed an upcoming feature for Skylanders Trap Team as they work hard to make it the best iteration of the franchise yet. In addition to capturable villains, crystals and playable mini-Skylanders, Trap Team will now also feature a Horde Mode/tower defense gametype named Kaos Doom Mode. Just another great way to level up one's Skylanders while at the same seeing just which Skylander makes you the strongest player.

The mode will allow players to build a variety of towers to help defend against waves of increasingly difficult enemies. I'm thinking Dungeon Defenders, but comparisons could also be made to EA's Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Mobs of "trash" enemies will be mixed together with more fearsome boss enemies, villains who pop out of Kaos' "Mystery Box of Doom." 

The mode absolutely looks fun, just from a general gameplay point of view. I've always been interested in something a bit more challenging in a Skylanders game -- something requiring teamwork between co-op partners. However, the mode also does the franchise another big favor by offering a further reason to players to keep playing the game after their Skylanders are all leveled up. Now all Activision needs to add is a leaderboard, or special unlocks for reaching certain waves. Then it'd practically be Destiny!

Skylanders Trap Team will be available starting October 2 in Australia, October 5 in North America, and October 10 in Europe for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, Wii, iOS devices and also the Kindle Fire. A sister title to Trap Team will also be available on Nintendo 3DS.

 
 

August NPD Number Crunch: Madden couldn't spur software sales as gamers snap up next-gen hardware

1 comments Leo Chan - 11:36am (PST) Like Share

PS4 remains top selling console eight months in a row

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The NPD Group last week confirmed that PlayStation 4 and Xbox One hardware sales once again accounted for much of the industry growth during the month of August. While console hardware sales grew a stellar 116 percent to $196.2 million USD last month, software sales conversely plummeted 22 percent to $231.6 million at US retail. NPD notes that combined sales for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles year-to-date remain 70 percent higher than their last-gen siblings. And yes, the PS4 still outsold the Xbox One. For the eighth consecutive month.

This is in spite of a major multiplatform game release in the form of EA's Madden NFL 15 last month. While the PS4 and Xbox One versions reportedly sold well, the last-gen flavors simply couldn't pick up the slack. It's becoming a bit of a trend in the industry, and sadly not even Madden could buck it. NPD points to PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii software sales in general dropping up to 57 percent.

On the other hand, Madden NFL 15 still managed to top NPD's software sales chart for August despite being available for only five days during the industry tracker's reporting period. Incidentally the only other August release that made it into the top ten was Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, also published by EA.

August 2014 Top Ten Software Sales
  Game Publisher Platform Release
1. Madden NFL 15 Electronic Arts PS4 / PS3 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 08/2014
2. Diablo III: Reapear of Souls Blizzard Entertainment PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 08/2014
3. Minecraft Microsoft Game Studios / Sony Computer Entertainment Xbox 360 / PS3 05/2014
4. The Last of Us: Remastered Sony Computer Entertainment PS4 / PS3 07/2014
5. Call of Duty: Ghosts Activision PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U / PC 11/2013
6. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U / Vita / 3DS / DS / PC 10/2013
7. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Electronic Arts PS4 / PS3 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 08/2014
8. Watch Dogs Ubisoft PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 05/2014
9. Battlefield 4 Electronics Arts PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 10/2013
10. The LEGO Movie Videogame Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U / 3DS / Vita 02/2014
 
 

Microsoft buys Mojang and Minecraft for $2.5 billion, Notch and founders exit company

34 comments Rory Young - 11:34am (PST) Like Share

Two. And. A. Half. Billion. Dollars.

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This morning both Microsoft's Phil Spencer and the leadership at Mojang Studios confirmed the Minecraft developer has been purchased for $2.5 billion. While the deal itself could be considered to have been "leaked" earlier last week, today marks the release of official statements from all parties involved. Phil Spencer, Markus Persson (Notch) and the project leaders from Minecraft have all let loose their thoughts. The good news is that everyone seems optimistic and excited about the future.

Why not? $2.5 billion is a disgusting amount of money that shows just how highly valuable the Minecraft property is.

Before going into the details behind the acquisition of Minecraft, I think it's perhaps important to prioritize the discussion revolving around Minecraft itself's future. For the foreseeable future, all versions of Minecraft will continue to be supported and developed, including the PS Vita version of the game. MINECON will also continue next year, providing a convention just for Minecraft fans and content creators. As of right now, Microsoft has announced no plans to change the direction of the ship.

Microsoft, apparently, just saw the opportunity to pick up one of the most important games in the industry and jumped on it. That's not to say their reason are entirely altruistic, of course. Phil Spencer claims that Microsoft plans to recuperate their $2.5 billion by July of 2015. They obviously have some big plans for Minecraft. Unfortunately those plans are currently unclear, but should become apparently in the months to come.

Microsoft's purchase of Mojang is understandable, but why would Notch and Mojang want to sell in the first place? The answer might be surprising. In a letter to his fans, Notch goes into detail about his need to escape his own creation. He admits that Minecraft has grown beyond anything he can handle, anything he wants to be a part of. Notch selling Mojang is his escape. The sale likely took place as a result of Microsoft being just one of a few who could afford Mojang, as well as their close relationship with the company born from the work bringing Minecraft to Xbox 360.

In his letter, Notch announced he is leaving Mojang. Also departing will be Mojang's other two founders, Carl Manneh, and Jakob Porsér. Notch plans to return to developing small, prototype projects and avoiding anything "big" for the rest of his life:

"As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately."

...

"I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change."

The future of Mojang's other properties, including Scrolls, is up in the air. In Mojang's official letter, however, it seemed like there was a certain wariness, a level of insecurity over the deal. It's noted that no one's sure who will continue to work within the company or will be switching projects. "Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone’s interests," is a particularly worrying quote, since it seems to imply that Mojang isn't 100% sure that's not exactly what Microsoft will want to do.

Stay tuned for more news on the future of Microsoft, Mojang and Minecraft in the months ahead. I have a feeling this is only the start of the drama.

Categories: PC Games
 
 

Friday, Sep 12



Xbox 360 Special Edition Blue Bundle spotted, includes two Call of Duty's and coming in October

10 comments Lydia Sung - 5:50pm (PST) Like Share

Something blue for the holidays

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A blue Xbox 360 will be coming out next month on October 7, bundled together with the two most current Call of Duty games. Looks like Microsoft isn't giving up on last gen just yet, which isn't surprising considering how much bigger the install base is compared to the current, shinier generation.

The bundle, known as the Xbox 360 Special Edition Blue Bundle, will apparently be exclusive to Wal-Mart and the Microsoft Store in the United States. No other regions or retailers were mentioned. Upon release, the bundle will be going for $249.99, a tempting price for many consumers looking to grab an impressive holiday gift or just anyone not yet ready for an Xbox One (or PlayStation 4).

Included with the console itself is a controller with "arctic blue accents," one month of Xbox Live Gold, a 500GB hard drive, plus a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Call of Duty: Ghosts. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare won't be out by November 4.

 
 

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS receives a demo, fight through the Club Nintendo barrier Sept 19

26 comments Max Navarro - 3:46pm (PST) Like Share

A demo appears!

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Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 3DS is launching on October 3 in North America, but Nintendo is giving fans the opportunity to get a tiny sneak peek at the friendly, but still competitive, fighting game with a free demo. Until September 19, when everyone will be able to access a limited-use demo, Nintendo is offering select Platinum-level Club Nintendo members the chance to play a small version of the game an infinite number of times.

The new demo features five playable characters of new and old, like Mario, Link, Pikachu, Megaman, and Villager. In addition, smashers have access to one rather popular stage, Battlefield, and local multiplayer. All this may seem limited at first glance, especially compared to the full title and everything it has to offer, but think about it: Megaman is playable! What could possibly be cooler than that? He is a rather smashing character, after all.

Don't worry about being left out though. Nintendo realizes that even the craziest, most passionate Smash Bros. players have friends, and as such is giving away four codes -- one to keep, three to share with companions -- to each member that receives an email from them. Everyone deserves a chance to beat their friends with a shovel at least once. If you feel really left out, Nintendo has promised to make the demo available to all 3DS owners starting September 19, just a few weeks before the game's official release.

Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 3DS can be purchased digitally or as a card starting October 3. For the most avid Smash Bros. fans out there, Nintendo has also announced that the snazzy special-edition Nintendo 3DS XL with Smash characters and logo on it will be available when the demo goes public. Unfortunately, it does not come pre-packaged with the game, but buyers can at least download the free demo as some sort of novelty.

Categories: Handheld Games
 
 

ArcheAge enters Early Access, 4-days of Patron-only access before free-to-play goes live September 16

1 comments Rory Young - 2:05pm (PST) Like Share

Pack up your donkey, it's a land grab!

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ArcheAge has run the gauntlet and arrived at the finish line. After a long and profitable Alpha, where players could buy in via $50, $100 and $150 "Founder Packs," followed by a beta period ending in some cash shop controversy, full release is here. Well, not full release. Today marks the launch of ArcheAge's Early Access, a 4-day head-start for purchasers of a a Founder Pack that will not be wiped going into the game's full launch.

Basically, this 4-day period is a reward for those who invested in ArcheAge. Come next week the full free-to-play experience will be available to all and the hordes of unwashed heathens will devour everything they come across. This period will allow the most dedicated of players to build their houses, plant their farms and get a lead on levels so they don't have to worry about laggy zones when the servers get run over at full launch.

Founders Packs are still available for those who want to get in on the Early Access action. They're a tad expensive, mind, though they do come with some quality digital content. At this point, however, it's probably smarter to wait until launch and then subscribe to the game's Patron status,  then spend a few dollars here or there for extra Cash Shop goodies. The full value of a Founder's Pack is lost when there's no more beta access. For now, Founder's Packs are just for collectors who showed up late to the party.

Founders, get in the game and go build your houses! Time's a-wastin'! It's not competition with free-to-play players anyone should worry about, it's competition with other Founders!

ArcheAge is a free-to-play MMO (soon) for PC developed by Korean studio XL Games and localized for western audiences by Trion Studios. It has a heavy, heavy focus on crafting and open world PvP, with a lively action-based combat system. It still has all of that great PvE content too, from dungeons to a robust setting and lore, but if you're not out on the Arcadian Sea getting in on that pirate action and stealing trade packs, then why play ArcheAge at all? Full, free-to-play launch is September 16.

Categories: PC Games
 
 

Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire trailer debuts Mega Rayquaza, demo confirmed for western release

33 comments Rory Young - 7:52am (PST) Like Share

Stupid Wally, looking all cool with his Mega Gallade

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An all new, content filled Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire trailer has just been released and man, why does Nintendo have to do this to me early on a Friday morning? First, a quick summary. We've got Mega Rayquaza being debuted, official confirmation that the Mega leaks from earlier this week are all real, plans to bring a Special Demo of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to North America and Europe, confirmation of the Pokemon Bank and Pokemon Global Link's return, and did I mention Primal Kyogre and Primal Groudon have some crazy new abilities? And don't even get me started on what Team Magma is up to. 

Let's start off with the Primal Kyogre and Primal Groudon news. Both of these so-called "reversions" will be acquiring exclusive abilities that should turn a few eyes. Primal Groudon picks up the "Desolate Land" ability that changes the weather to extremely harsh sunlight and prevents the opponent from switch it while it's ongoing. Yes, that means all Water-type attacks will go squelch. Similarly, Primal Kyogre uses Primordial Sea, changing the weather to heavy rain which will squelch Fire-type attacks.

Additionally, Primal Groudon picks up Precipice Blades, "a powerful attack that can hit multiple opponents with an upward surge of sharp rocks,"  and Primal Kyogre gets Origin Pulse, "an attack that can slam multiple opponents with water massed into ballistic orbs." Banned? Banned.

Next up is the confirmation of four Mega Evolutions being added in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Mega Camerupt and Mega Sharpedo will be working for Team Magma and Team Aqua, respectively. Mega Camerupt gains the ability Sheer Force when evolving, raising the power of all attacking which have an additional effect (though those effects are then lost). Its stats will all increase, though at the expense of Speed. Mega Sharpedo gains the Strong Jaw ability when evolving, raising the power of attacks like Crunch. Makes sense. Depending on which of the two games  folk pick up, they'll be beating on one of these two Megas.

Also Mega Evolving on a 3DS soon is Mega Gallade who will be wielded by a young trainer named Wally, who comes from Petalburg City. Nintendo implies that we'll be seeing Wally throughout our journey, as we'll see his Ralts go big an strong, eventually reating Mega status. Gallade's Mega form gains Inner Focus, preventing flinches. Its Attack and Speed will also be boosted, which I think means it's a terrible Pokemon and no one should use it ever except for me. Yes, that is what this means.

Our last Mega update, there's a Mega Pokemon I missed in my last update -- Mega Rayquaza. Not much has been shared about Mega Rayquaza, beyond that he, "is somehow related to the mystery of Mega Evolution." Also, it's a big, bad-ass looking snake monster, so there's that.

  

Finally there are a couple of smaller announcements which should put a smile on a few Pokemon trainers' faces. There's now confirmation of a Special Demo Version of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire coming to both North America and Europe. No dates for the demo's release have yet been announced, but Nintendo did say that players will require a code to access the demo. Perhaps it will be tied to the upcoming Pokemon X/Y distribution events?

Not surprisingly, both the subscription-based Pokemon Bank and Pokemon Global Link will be making a return in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. It's not like Nintendo would create these cool things and then leave them out of their new games, right?

To close out this ridiculously long article (why, Nintendo, why?) there's a brand new Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Pokemon Omega Ruby trailer to check out. The trailer shows off Primal Kyogre and Primal Groudon's new abilities, as well as showcasing the four latest Megas in action. It's  definitely worth checking out.

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire will be available starting November 21 exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS.



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Magicka 2's sing-along karaoke trailer has Vlad promising goblin slaughter and 'working netcode'

1 comments Rory Young - 7:09am (PST) Like Share

I, erm, I don't think Vlad's rendition can be beaten

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In typical Magicka fashion, Paradox Interactive and Pieces Interactive have released an all-new sing-along karaoke trailer for Magicka 2 and oh man is it terrible -- in a mostly great way. Back are the live-action dudes in their colorful wizard robes, back is Vlad, and brand new is actual gameplay and also poorly photoshopped dancing goblins. It may not be entirely funny, but it's 100% Magicka.

There's really not much of an occasion for the trailer's release. I like to think that Paradox just has a guy in the basement that they pay in hamburgers in Mt. Dew making these full-time. Now that it's out though, they have supposedly thrown together a bit of a contest. Create a karaoke video singing along with the Magicka 2 trailer, or parodying it, and win a prize. What's the prize? Who knows, because the official contest site is either dead or nonexistent. Come on, basement guy. No hamburgers for you.

Magicka 2 is being developed by Pieces Interactive, not the original developers Arrowhead Game Studios. Arrowhead's moving up a bit in the world, as they're currently working on the Gauntlet reboot as well as the PlayStation exclusive Helldivers. No worries though, because Pieces has everything under control. Not only did they produce DLC content for the original Magicka, they've also made awesome games like Fret Nice and Leviathan: Warships. A bit indie, yeah, but still good.

It's hard not to like the guys when they're making pot-shots at Magicka's netcode and altogether making fools of themselves in their Magicka 2 trailers. It's great to see them having fun with the franchise, which is really what Magicka is all about. 

Magicka 2 is currently planned for release on PlayStation 4 and PC starting in early 2015

 
 

Grand Theft Auto V delayed PC arrival is January 27, PS4 and X1 on track for November 17

10 comments Rory Young - 6:41am (PST) Like Share

You've waited this long, so why not wait a little bit longer?

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Rockstar decided to blow any potential Tokyo Games Show announcements out of the water before they could even start. The long awaited PC version of Grand Theft Auto V now has a release date, as well as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. More than a year later, PC Grand Theft Auto fans will finally get their hands on their game starting January 27. Before that, however, Rockstar and 2K will maximize profits by releasing the PS4 and X1 versions of the game on November 18 -- just in time for Black Friday.

Yes, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One seem to be getting priority here. It's crap, but that's just Rockstar and 2K's way of saying, "You're all dirty pirates on PC, so you'll get our game last and you'll love it." I'm sure they have hundreds of yes men who agree with research showing this is the proper way to do business. Eh, like Rockstar's ever cared what anyone's ever thought about their game or anything else for that matter (that includes their own employees).

The updated console release of Grand Theft Auto V will include "increased draw distance" and "higher resolution," sure, but apparently Rockstar has some more treats in mind. A year of extra development will do that for you:

  • New weapons, vehicles and activities
  • Additional wildlife
  • Denser traffic
  • New foliage system
  • Enhanced damage and weather effects, and much more
  • Enhanced radio selections with over 100 additional new songs and new DJ mixes from returning DJs across the game’s 17 radio stations
  • Rare versions of classic vehicles to collect from across the Grand Theft Auto series such as the Dukes, the Dodo Seaplane and a faster, more maneuverable Blimp
  • Activities including wildlife photography and new shooting range challenges, new weapons and more

Then they talk about Grand Theft Auto Online a bit, promising increased player counts in-game and the ability to transfer characters over to the new platform. All of the old Grand Theft Auto Online content will be in the new platforms too, as well as more content coming down the pipeline.

I joke because I care. Grand Theft Auto V is finally coming to PC, everyone! Pick up Grand Theft Auto V on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One starting November 18, or keep being patient and wait those two extra months to finally download the game on PC starting January 27. It's finally happening.

Oddly enough, Rockstar accompanied the platform release date announcement with an all new trailer. While there's nothing particularly revelatory about the trailer, it is worth noting that it was recorded entirely from in-game PlayStation 4 footage. Detail-oriented gamers should be able to spot the tech differences between this trailer and footage from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 versions of the game with a bit of analysis. I can probably sum up that analysis right now: GTAV looks ridiculously better on PlayStation 4 hardware.

 
 
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