Neoseeker : News

Saturday, Jan 24



The Bard's Tale IV is finally coming, as first sequel is announced in almost 30 years

3 comments Lydia Sung - 10:11am (PST) Like Share

Brian Fargo leading project, will be using Kickstarter

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Brian Fargo has announced that he will be working on The Bard's Tale IV, the first real sequel to the beloved franchise in 27 years. InXile Entertainment is planning to take the project to Kickstarter for funding, as well.

Details on The Bard's Tale IV are scarce right now, though Fargo did confirm that the developers would be taking many ideas off the original. The last true Bard's Tale game was The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate in 1988.

"This project has always been really personal to me," Fargo commented, when speaking to IGN. "It was a game that put both me and Interplay on the map, back in the day. And it's also the franchise that launched inXile."

The story will send players back to Skara Brae, though the devs will be taking a different route with the gameplay for greater "combat diversity and depth." As for his decision to turn to crowdfunding, Fargo noted that this would ensure the game can be tailored specifically for the people who will be playing it, rather than having to worry about mass market appeal.

Categories: Console Games PC Games
 
 

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns expansion pack confirmed, ArenaNet to add Guild Halls and more

9 comments Lydia Sung - 9:34am (PST) Like Share

Update New features announced at PAX

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Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns was confirmed today at PAX South in San Antonio, Texas. A trailer (below) debuted during the panel, effectively removing the brakes on the Guild Wars 2 hype train.

ArenaNet confirmed, first and foremost, that they would not be raising the level cap or adding a new armor tier, with co-founder Mike O'Brien stating a desire to release content with substance rather than create a false sense of progression. 

The new area is called "Heart of Maguuma," filled with new maps and a "tremendous" amount of space, as described by Colin Johanson. Players will be able to move above the jungle on the canopy, the floor of the jungle, and deep underground.

Here are a few features ArenaNet mentioned, updated as more is revealed.

PVE

  • New endgame progression: Mastery System
    • Example: Players go to a new zone like the jungle, with new monsters and creatures. As such, you will "master the skills and abilities you'll need to dispatch them. The jungle is a world unto itself." The longer you stay in the jungle, the more skills you master.
    • Complete elements of the story, explore maps, earn achievements, and so forth to earn Mastery Points
    • Mastery abilities are accountwide and available for all your level 80s
    • Confirmed Masteries:
      • Gliding, by way of hang gliding as a means of exploring the jungle
      • Lore mastery by understanding new languages
      • New abilities to overcome some of the new bosses in Heart of Thorns, for more combat depth
      • Regarding legendaries: Mastery system will allow "you to build out collections that send you on epic journeys throughout Guild Wars 2," which then reward precursors. And yes, there will be new legendaries and new precursors.
  • Specialization System for professions! Here are some examples:
    • Rangers will be able to "grow themselves to become a Druid," unlocking the ability to wield a staff and learn new skills for the Druid specialization
    • Necromancers will be able to equip greatswords with their new specialization
    • New specializations will be revealed later
    • Things to note: the reveal trailer seemed to hint at Mesmers with shields and Engineers with hammers as well
  • New heavy-armor profession: the Revenant
    • Rytlock will be returning as the first Revenant ever in Heart of Thorns. He can control the powers of the Mists, a throwback to the caster Ritualist class in Guild Wars.
    • Heavy armor profession, channeling abilities into weapons and abilities
    • Revenants will be able to channel "legends," like major characters of Guild Wars past

PVP

  • World versus World will be getting a brand new Borderlands map to the existing rotation
    • Objectives will become overall more important to the WvW experience
    • Keeps in the new Borderlands will be "themed," such as the earth keep. Controlling them will activate their defenses, such as parts of the earth keep raising the ground to defend it. The fire keep will feature magma pools.

  • Competitive PVP to receive new Stronghold game mode
    • Teams fight for control of supplies, and supplies can be spent to acquire troops
    • Reminiscent of GVG: Players can form Guild Teams in Stronghold Mode
  • GUILD HALLS
    • Gird. Your. Loins.

Tragically, no release date was given for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. Let the hype train continue on its current course.

Categories: PC Games
 
 

Friday, Jan 23



Transistor wins Neoseeker's Game of the Year 2014

61 comments Rory Young - 9:43am (PST) Like (4) Share

Here are Neoseeker's top 10 games of 2014, ranked in order of favor

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In the past few weeks Lydia Sung and I have highlighted the ten nominees that Neoseeker's editorial team decided on for our Game of the Year award for 2014. Each spotlight felt like opening a door into who we are and what we believe in as critics in the video game industry. The nomination process itself is, and you might be surprised by this, a grueling and exhausting endeavor. Yet after the nominees are decided, a sense of serenity takes over. This is perfect. It really could not be any different.

Then we do the process all over with just ten nominees. Recently Lydia and I took to a voice call and recorded our deliberations as we ranked each of our nominees from ten up to number one. One game, having survived a gauntlet of direct comparisons to 2014's best and most amazing games, comes through at the end. One game that we feel best represents Neoseeker and ourselves. This is our example of what games should be -- need to be -- in 2014 and beyond.

That game is Transistor

Lydia's written already on why Transistor belongs here and I certainly can't match that in another paragraph. All that needs to be said is that Transistor is a stunningly beautiful game, no matter which direction you look at it. There's purpose in every design decision, intent in every dotted "i".  What is the Transistor? It's in the asking and answering of this question where Lydia and I fell in love with Supergiant Games' second title. With the way it grabbed onto us, there's really no letting go.

Hey Red. We're not going to get away with this are we?

Neoseeker's Game of the Year 2014 Nominees

  1. Transistor
  2. Shovel Knight
  3. Destiny
  4. The Banner Saga
  5. Dragon Age: Inquisition
  6. Dark Souls II
  7. Child of Light
  8. Wolfenstein: The New Order
  9. Sunset Overdrive
  10. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

If you're interested in the process that led to Transistor winning Neoseeker's Game of the Year award for 2014, Lydia and I recorded a podcast -- well, it's a video of our podcast -- where we decided the ranks of the top ten games. You'll have to deal with my cold looking visage for a couple hours (I'd recommend running it in the background), but hopefully by the end you'll see how we reached our decisions. Even if you don't actually agree.

Thanks to the Neoseeker editorial team for working through a year of games with me to ultimately select just one title for Game of the Year. Thanks to the Neoseeker community for their unending patience -- a Game of the Year 2014 award in January 2015? Thanks to all of our readers who make sharing our love of games the addiction that drives us forward. Most of all, thanks to the game developers, publishers, and all of the hard-working industry folk who make this dream a reality every day of every year.

Neoseeker's Game of the Year Awards are decided by our editorial team, which includes editors Lydia Sung (@RabidChinaGirl), Rory Young (@bluexy) and Leo Chan (@bulletbutler), with contributions from writers Matt Newbould (@newbouldm), Greg Gin, and Andy Lau (@linkinpork).



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Neoseeker's Official Community Game of the Year 2014 Award Winners

34 comments Rory Young - 7:56am (PST) Like (1) Share

Neoseeker's Nintendo community dominates the awards, as per tradition

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The votes are in and the awards have been decided. Neoseeker's community, or at least the members willing to take the time to sort through the nominations and actually vote, has spoken. The official Neoseeker Community Game of the Year 2014 Awards are finalized. And many other ways for me to say that we have our award winners. Right here. In this post. These are the awards. For the community. The community's awards. Congratulations to our winners. Of the awards. From Neoseeker's community.

Neoseeker's Community Presents its Game of the Year for 2014

  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U 

Runners Up (tie):

  • Wolfenstein: The New Order
  • Transistor

Achievement

Best Original Game of 2014

  • Shovel Knight 

Runner Up:

  • Bravely Default

Best Visuals of 2014

  • Child of Light  

Runner Up:

  • Far Cry 4

Best Story of 2014

  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc 

Runner Up:

  • Wolfenstein: The New Order

Best Music of 2014

  • Pokemon Alpha Sapphire/Pokemon Omega Ruby 

Runner Up:

  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U

Best Multiplayer of 2014

  • Mario Kart 8 

Runners Up (tie)

  • Titanfall
  • Destiny

Genre

Best Action Game of 2014

  • Bayonetta

Runner Up:

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Best Adventure Game of 2014

  • The Wolf Among Us 

Runners Up (tie):

  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Best Platformer of 2014

  • Shovel Knight 

Runner Up:

  • LittleBigPlanet 3

Best RPG of 2014

  • Pokemon Alpha Sapphire/Pokemon Omega Ruby 

Runner Up:

  • Dark Souls II

Best Shooter of 2014

  • Wolfenstein: The New Order 

Runner Up:

  • Far Cry 4

Best Horror Game of 2014

  • Alien: Isolation 

Runners Up (tie):

  • P.T.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's
  • The Evil Within

Best Fighing Game of 2014

  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U  

Runner Up:

  • Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Best Racing Game of 2014

  • Mario Kart 8 

Runner Up:

  • Forza Horizon 2

Best Sports Game of 2014

  • Football Manager 2015 

Runner Up:

  • FIFA 15

Best Puzzle Game of 2014

  • BattleBlock Theater (PC) 

Runner Up:

  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Misc.

Most Anticiapted Game of 2015

  • Star Wars: Battlefront  

Runners Up (tie):

  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Xenosaga Chronicles X

Best Character of 2014

  • Bayonetta (Bayonetta 2

Runner Up:

  • Iron Bull (Dragon Age: Inquisition)

Most Disappointing Game of 2014

  • Watch Dogs 

Runner Up:

  • Destiny

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone in the community who contributed to the awards this year. The awards are, ultimately, a reflection of the community and I think 2014 showed just how diverse our tastes really are. The Nintendo community rose up to claim the Game of the Year award for Super Smash Bros., yes, but that's also because the rest of the community was quite divided on what title to raise up as their own. Next year perhaps the opposite will be true.

Here's hoping for a 2015 filled with as many or more excellent games for our great community to arbitrarily give community awards to! Congratulations again to our winners and thanks again to Neoseeker's outstanding community for making this happen.



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Wednesday, Jan 21



The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited drops subscription in spring, console versions due in June

24 comments Lydia Sung - 3:03pm (PST) Like Share

In-game shop will keep the game afloat

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The Elder Scrolls Online will be going subscription-free starting March 17, less than a year after its debut last April. This "new" version of the Elder Scrolls MMO will be retitled The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, sharing the name with its upcoming console release on June 9.

Hey, we all knew this was going happen. To play Tamriel Unlimited, you'll still need to buy a copy of the game for PC, Mac, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4. The big difference now is that you won't actually need to pay a monthly fee to keep playing. Existing accounts -- even inactive ones -- will be automatically upgraded to the free Tamriel Unlimited version starting in March, when the PC and Mac editions go free-to-play. The console versions will, of course, already be using this subscription-free model.

With future content releases being free as well, financial support will come from the in-game Crown Store, which should be limited to convenience and cosmetic items. So nothing too crazy or stifling from a gameplay perspective, hopefully. I'm looking at you, TOR.

Here's a cinematic Zenimax released with today's announcement. While it should be fairly obvious that the CG trailer isn't indicative of how TESO actually looks, consider yourself reminded now.

 
 

League of Legends' Worlds 2015 will be held in Europe, a multi-city, multi-country event

5 comments Rory Young - 2:41pm (PST) Like Share

Final locations and dates are still being worked on

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Riot Games is, yet again, stepping up their game for League of Legends next World Championship event. 2014 saw the event come to Seoul, Korea and several event locations in the surrounding countries -- Singapore and Taipei for example. 2015 is going to go one step further. Today Riot announced that World 2015 will be held in Europe, as in the whole of Europe. Group stages, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals will be held in not just different cities, but also different countries. 

It's still too early, according to Riot, to reveal which countries and which cities will be featuring the biggest eSports tournament in the world for 2015. One can assume at least part of the tournament will take place in League of Legends' LCS home city of Berlin, Germany. The LCS shifted here just recently, moving from Cologne, perhaps due to plans to host 2015's Worlds. Berlin is of course a more populated city with better transportation options.

The event itself will begin in October, though if the Korean Worlds event is any indication World 2015 will potentially bleed into either September or November. Expect more concrete details in the months ahead.

I think most League of Legends fans will appreciate the shift from Korea to Europe this year. It will be a centralized time-zone, allowing North American fans to watch games prior to 2:00 AM and Asian fans as well without waking up as outrageously early (though I don't doubt some will be taking days off of work to watch). Hopefully we get to see just how widespread the popularity of League of Legends has become -- across Germany, Poland, France, England, and beyond.

Categories: PC Games
 
 

Fable Legends will support cross-play between PC and Xbox One via Windows 10

2 comments Lydia Sung - 1:50pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Closed beta will be taking place for PC version

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Microsoft announced today that Lionhead Studios' upcoming Fable Legends will feature cross-play between Xbox One and PC versions. Awesome? I'd say so.

News of the cross-play functionality came during Microsoft's Windows 10 event earlier today, where it was also revealed Fable Legends PC would support Direct X12. Heroes (and villains) will be allowed to play cooperatively or competitively across the two platforms as well.

"We think enabling people to play multiplayer games on Windows 10, across Xbox One and Windows 10, will unlock the potential of Xbox Live and grow the social network that's there today," stated Phil Spencer, head of Xbox.

Though he made no mention of the feature being included with any other specific titles, we will more than likely see cross-play utilized again. The PC version of Fable Legends will be included in future closed beta tests.

 
 

Robert Bowling's studio Robotoki closes its doors, putting 'Human Element' survival game on hold

2 comments Lydia Sung - 7:26am (PST) Like Share

Small developer bids farewell with heartfelt letter and video

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This week is a sad one for the indie scene, as Robert Bowling's Robotoki studio shuts down, effectively putting its Human Element project on hold. According to an open letter by Bowling, the former Call of Duty creative strategist can no longer afford to self-fund the studio and their 2015 zombie apocalypse game. While negotiations to secure a publisher were underway, nothing else is going to happen unless the deal goes through.

Human Element was announced back in 2012 and originally slated for release this year on PC and current-gen consoles. The game would have supporting a number of playable characters, each with their own style of play, putting elements of RPG in this urban post-apocalyptic adventure. Robotoki also intended for Human Element to be a free-to-play title, while a premium version would be made available as well, hence the search for a publisher.

Bowling's letter can be read in its entirety below, followed by a two-minute farewell video from the Robotoki team. Both can be found on the official Robotoki website, under the title "So Long And Thanks For All The Shoes."

On April 9th, 2012 I left my highly paid, highly successful career as Creative Strategist of the Call of Duty franchise at Infinity Ward. A role I started a decade earlier after making the decision that I would settle for nothing less than doing what I loved.

My entire time there, I was in love with my job. I loved our fans, I loved our games, and I loved the team I was working alongside. Once we finished the Modern Warfare trilogy, I felt it was time to move on, to try my hand at independent game development and try to make something different.

Over the last two years, we made a lot of different.

We were actively negotiating a publishing deal for the premium version of Human Element but unfortunately I am unable to continue to self-fund the studio until that deal finalizes.

I want to thank every single person who supported us along this journey. It was an experience of a lifetime, and we learned a lifetime of experience.

I will never forget the friends we made, the experiences we created, and the lessons we learned.

The women and men who make the games you love are risking everything, and its worth it.

Support indie development, play experimental games, and continue to do what you love to do.

.beep .boop

Robert Bowling

 
 

Tuesday, Jan 20



Ori and the Blind Forest drops March 11, see gravity become a mechanic in this beautiful side-scroller

4 comments Lydia Sung - 5:07pm (PST) Like Share

One of the more vertical stages in the game

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Microsoft exclusive Ori and the Blind Forest won its share of attention at E3 2014 but was quickly delayed after. Today, we learn the side-scroller from Moon Studios will be released on March 11, putting it at just under two months from now. That's not too long of a wait, right?

To tide us over, a number of screenshots came with today's announcement, showcasing the Forlorn Ruins area from Ori, one of the game's more veritcal environments. What makes the Ruins more interesting is Ori's inability to double-jump. So how does a little spirit like Ori get around while hauling a glowing orb in his hands? Gravity.

Gravity can be utilized to move blocks to aid Ori's navigation or accidentally kill him, in an environment as drastic as Forlorn Ruins. Critical thinking skills will probably come in handy here, but seeing as how Ori and the Blind Forest falls into that classic Metroidvania genre, puzzles are a given.

On a more convenient note, Ori (the game, not the character) will allow players to save at any point in the game with a resource known as a Soul Flame. These will likely be limited in quantity or charges, but they're a nice crutch to fall back on when checkpoints are found so few and far between.

Expect to see Ori and the Blind Forest on March 11, 2015, for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.



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Community Spotlight: Mister MacPhisto's Top Games of 2014

3 comments Rory Young - 5:05pm (PST) Like (2) Share

Mister MacPhisto preaches the holy trinity of games, comics and movies

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As part of Neoseeker's Game of the Year celebrations for 2014, we're spotlighting several community members' lists of their favorite games from the year. These are are community-written articles and the opinions there-in do not necessarily reflect those of Neoseeker. With that said, we certainly believe they show just how diverse the tastes of the community are, as well as just how much everyone here on Neoseeker loves games -- from the writing staff through the moderators and down to the casual new members. Thanks to everyone for contributing.


Greetings! Mister MacPhisto here. Mere mortal to some, myth to others, sinister underworld scourge to a few (hi Gotenks!), friend to several, and walking pop culture encyclopedia to many (especially the comic books). I'm closing in on 12 years here on Neo (thanks to Redemption for a site that's like being in the mob... once you're in, you don't get out). Over that time I've been involved with several forums (some of my regular haunts have been much of the Lounges and Special Interest forums where I currently do some moderating), a varied moderating history (including an almost four year run as a super moderator).

2014 in video games was a good time to be playing games. Big name franchises had new entries and re-offerings (or repackagings). New games and properties got heavy media pushes. Sure, not everything was a hit. Some things were let-downs and disappointments. At the same time, however, there seemed to be something for every type of gaming fan of whatever genre on whatever device could run a game. So many established games series I enjoy had some sort of new offering this year: Metal Gear Solid; Elder Scrolls; Dragon Age; Assassin's Creed; Diablo; Smash Bros; Dark Souls; Mario Kart. So much to see; so much to play. Other media franchises had new games which were of interest to me like Lord of the Rings: Shadow of Mordor or Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments. Like I said, it seems that there was several things for most, if not everyone.

My "best of" list is pretty simple and straight forward. Three games I enjoyed the most. Were other games better? Probably. But these were all ones that were the newest iteration of things that I had a strong enjoyment of. So at the end of the day, play what you enjoy. Don't worry about how many awards a game has won and such. Play what you like. And the following goes in no particular order.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Wha-the?! A movie game? Mac is off his rocker! Or off his loony meds again. Nah. Hardcore comics fan that I am, Webhead is my second favorite superhero. I've been enjoying Spidey games for YEARS, and even more so when it's New York City sandbox Spidey. Web-swinging is one of my favorite video game mechanics. Couple that with wall-crawling, then it's like listening to Johnny Cash sing about how he's been everywhere. I've played the Grand Theft Auto games quite extensively over the years and I think I've spent as much time playing around just web-swinging in Spidey games than I have causing random mayhem in GTA.

It's beyond just the movie though. You get more than Electro and the Green Goblin: The Kingpin; Chameleon; Kraven the Hunter; Carnage; Shocker; Black Cat. Some classic Spidey fare there. But it goes beyond that to things longtime fans of the comics will appreciate like Ravencroft and Jean DeWolf. Are there repetitive bits? Sure. Let's race to the other side of Manhattan to keep the Hero or Menace system shifting too far in the direction that Jolly Jonah Jameson wants it. Got to show off that power and responsibility for your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man after all.

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

Oh, come on! Another movie based game? Only partly. Dark Spark crossed over the Transformers movie franchise with the Transformers: War for Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron games (and plays like them too). In fact, you spend most of the game in the Cybertron continuity on Cybertron set between War and Rise. So transform at almost any time, use an arsenal of weapons, play a myriad of characters from the universe (or do the online and go mayhem that way). Oh, those weapons. Shredding your foes with massive, ricoheting gears? Fun!

You start out as Drift from the movie series and then BAM.... back to Cybertron. Play Jetfire as a sniper. Take on hordes of foes as the powerful Shockwave. Unleash the unstoppable fury of the combined form of the Combaticons as Bruticus... towering over armies of Autobots and crushing them all. Be a stealthy Insecticon as Sharpshot (Shrapnel) and take out Autobots. Be noble and heroic as Optimus. Or full of flash and style while playing as Jazz. Or perhaps, you just want to be Soundwave and have your minions do their work.

Weapons, weapons, weapons. Cybertronian machine guns, sniper rifles, shotguns to the more alien Transformer weaponry firing things like corrosive slime, thermo rockets, nucleon charge shots, corrupter chips (your target attacks their allies) or chain lightning... yes, chain lightning. ZAP! ZAP! BZZZT! And oh, the tech toys. Weapon upgrades. Drones. Lots of fun to be had.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

The prologue for the bulk of what is to come as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Sure, it's not a long game, but it's still Metal Gear, as well as Kojima showing what he has in store for us to come. We're familiar with the ideas: sneak; avoid detection; complete the mission. But the execution is a bit different. There're more bells and whistles. More polish. More options. Not just routes, but actually getting to drive as Snake (Big Boss) -- that's new. Sure, we've had the sort of driving of REX in 4, or the ride along and shoot in 3 and 4. Getting to drive around a base as Snake? New stuff.

New voice too. I'm sad to see David Hayter go, but at the same time this is a bit older Snake, but not yet the totally different from Hayter voice we heard from Big Boss in 4, so it makes sense for a transition voice in there. So in with Kiefer Sutherland. From Jack Bauer to Big Boss! I think he might know what he's doing with that type of character. Besides, he can do pretty well with just voice work. Phone Booth anyone?

At the end of the day, Ground Zeroes does it's job -- it reintroduces me to an old friend in Snake. Shows how things will work differently. Brings back some old allies. Introduces a sinister new threat. And hooks you with a sucker-punch to the gut. Is Phantom Pain here yet?

 

To sum up, 2014 had quite a bit of fun games to play (some you might need to look for beyond the big names), and play what you enjoy.


Mister MacPhisto is quickly approaching his twelfth anniversary as a member of the Neoseeker community. He currently moderates the ever-exciting Comics, Gundum, Music, and Movies/Films forums, though in the past he's held such lofty positions as super moderator on Neoseeker. Follow him here @Mister Macphisto.



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