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Tuesday, Jul 1

CD Projekt drops The Witcher Battle Arena teaser trailer, announcing new Witcher mobile MOBA

1 comments Lydia Sung - 9:30pm (PST) Like Share

And it's coming out later this year

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CD Projekt today announced The Witcher Battle Arena, a free MOBA that's based in the Witcher universe and destined for mobile devices. Yes, CD Projekt is making a free-to-play Witcher-themed mobile MOBA, and it's actually coming out pretty soon. Later this year, in fact.

While most of us are waiting eagerly for CD Projekt to finish up The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Fuero Games have been hard at work on Battle Arena. The game will feature a 6-player setup, where participants must "capture and hold three conquest points in short, intense and action-packed skirmishes." Killing your fellow players is entirely okay and encouraged. Player customizations should also make these fights much more interesting, since CD Projekt and Fuero are really pushing the whole player-built experience. Both the teaser trailer and artwork on the official website show familiar faces, like Letho, Iorveth and Saskia.

The Witcher Battle Arena is expected to come out sometime in Q4 2014 for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows tablets. Think this is something fans can get excited about?


Warface comes westward, one of Russia's most popular free-to-play shooters enters Steam beta

5 comments Rory Young - 4:12pm (PST) Like Share

Crytek's betting you're going to love it

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It may or may not be saying much, but Warface is one of the most popular games in Russia. The free-to-play shooter had as many as 9 million players in Russia and the surrounding eastern European countries. Now, amidst a growing concern that Crytek is having financial troubles, the game is coming westward. Today Warface is kicking off its PC beta on Steam. Download and play as soon as you please.

In order to not trample over veteran Warface players, Crytek will be splitting off "channels" for rookie players. This means that newer players (rank 1-10) won't be paired up with the hardcore folk. I'm sure that will come as a relief to both sides of players. The "Professional" channel will still be open to all ranks (1-70) should folk feel like diving into the deep end of the pool.

Otherwise, everyone should go ahead and check out this game. While I can't speak to the longevity of the title as a free-to-play experience, I can say that in my time with it I was outrageously impressed with the visual. Crytek makes games look good, and with modern realistic shooter visual is as important as anything. And if 9 million Russians think the shooting is good too, then that's something.

Check out Warface's open beta on PC today via Steam. It's free-to-play and at the very least will give look pretty. Well, that, or it will make your PC catch on fire.

Categories: PC Games

Escape Dead Island is a 'Survival Mystery' bridging the story between Dead Island and its sequel

5 comments Rory Young - 12:59pm (PST) Like Share

You'll take more zombies and you'll love it

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When Dead Island was released, I doubt anyone expected the progeny that would come from it. Yet here we are, Dead Island 2, Dead Island Epidemic, and now a new "survival mystery" game just announced, Escape Dead Island, all in the works. Whatever it is about Dead Island, it's spreading quickly. No one is safe. 

What exactly is Escape Dead Island then? The basics are that it's a third-person, single-player title that explores the mystery of the zombie outbreak behind the franchise's story. Story actually seems to be the game's primary focus, as it will bridge the gap between the original Dead Island and Dead Island 2. It's not an adventure game in the same vein as Tales from the Borderlands though. Escape Dead Island, at least from the gameplay we're shown, is definitely action-oriented.

Combat will primarily focus on melee attacks, leaving behind the shooting that's more familiar in the franchise. Early descriptions of the game say there will be variety of weapons at the player's fingertips to smash in zombie skulls with. That's pretty hardcore of cliff to go up against zombies with only melee weapons, right?

However, there does seem to be a thicker layers of story-telling going on. Protagonist Cliff Calo seems to be losing his mind. He's experiencing deja vu to a degree of insanity, because the experiences he's reliving are unlike anything found in reality. Zombies! Zombies are the root of all evil. Also, a lot of other crazy stuff is certain to happen, leading directly into the events of Dead Island 2.

Escape Dead Island is planned for release on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later this year. Retailing for $40, Escape Dead Island has a lot to prove in order to justify its cost, considering it looks to be about the quality of a mediocre DLC pack at this point. Just keepin' it real.

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Guild Wars 2 Season 2 out now, screenshots show off 'Gates of Maguuma' zone, allies and enemies

4 comments Lydia Sung - 10:44am (PST) Like (1) Share

Update Explore the fallen Zephyr Sanctum in a whole new zone

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Update: Guild Wars 2: Gates of Maguuma has gone live. Visit the official site to see more screenshots.

Today's the day! Guild Wars 2: Gates of Maguuma will be going live today, kicking off the long-awaited Season 2. In advance of the actual patch, ArenaNet released some new screenshots showcasing the new explorable zone, the Maguuma Wastes. Brave the sandstorms and Inquest forces, earn some sweet cosmetic rewards.

Here lies the Zephyr Sanctum, once a beautiful sight and now little more than rubble. While our Living Story heroes gather once more to aid the relief efforts alongside Seraph forces and players, the opportunistic Inquest are already combing through the remains. Remember those crystals all over the ships? The ones we use in the racing events across the Sanctum? Well, the Inquest want those crystals and the power they contain.

What's actually pretty fun is that players will be able to find and use these crytals too, bringing a taste of Sanctum Sprint to PVE. Much of the zone is designed to accommodate these special abilities, resulting in some interesting vertical environments. 

Since the new zone is still in the Maguuma region, many of the non-asura enemies should be rather familiar. In addition to the Inquest threat, players will have to fight off Nightmare creatures, while seeking allies among the hylek.

Getting into the Wastes isn't going to be easy though. Massive vines try to keep adventurers at bay, and events throughout the day will allow players to launch assaults against the bizarre vegetation; and if there's one thing Guild Wars 2 players are good at, it's zerging.

Here are some of the key features to expect, broken down. Note the new scarf and goggles rewards, plus the new Story Journal launching today.

The Fall of the Zephyrites
The Zephyrites are in need of your aid! After they departed from the Labyrinthine Cliffs and the festivities there, the Zephyrites met with trouble in the air. You’ll need to find the ship and its inhabitants and figure out what went wrong. 
Digging Deeper
Meet up with Marjory, Kasmeer, Braham, Rox, and Taimi and Scruffy to investigate what’s causing such a commotion and how it’s connected to the fallen Zephyr Sanctum. It’ll take courage and no small amount of teamwork to get to the bottom of things!
Against the Inquest
The commotion in the Maguuma region has garnered the attention of the notorious Inquest. As you venture through Dry Top, keep an eye out for Inquest devices and operatives. They’ll stop at nothing to reach their nefarious goals, so you’d best be prepared for a fight!
Elite Achievements
Once you’ve completed the storyline for Gates of Maguuma, you’ll unlock access to challenging achievements that will push your wits and skills to the limit! Perform daring feats of valor, strength, and sheer guts to prove your worth and unlock rewards! Read more about the Story Journal feature that’s making all Living World story content permanent!
Rich Rewards
This release brings in a whole passel of new rewards, including new crafting materials. Refine Ambrite into sheets to be used in crafting gear with bonuses to Toughness, Healing, and Vitality, or harvest cacti to create delicious new dishes! You’ll also have a chance to find the new Adventurer’s Spectacles and Adventurer’s Scarf, which can be combined to create the stylish and functional Adventurer’s Mantle!
The Living World
The Living World has given Guild Wars 2 players a regular cadence of new game content delivered through seasons, similar to a television series. Players also now have access to DVR-like functionality with the Story Journal, a feature that gives them the ability to save and revisit each new episode they log into to build a growing library of the game’s endless storyline.  ArenaNet has released more than two dozen Living World updates, with each release introducing new story, characters and game play that expand on the rich lore of the Guild Wars universe.

Now all we have to do is wait for the patch to actually roll out. In the meantime, enjoy more screenshots below, or see the trailer that first teased the Zephyr Sanctum's brutal demise. For those of you who can't actually remember how Season 1 went, ArenaNet has a video for that, too.

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Categories: PC Games

Xbox LIVE chief enforcer Stephen Toulouse joins Gears of War development team at Black Tusk

3 comments Lydia Sung - 4:04am (PST) Like (1) Share (2)

Becomes director of community engagement, so be nice

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Stephen Toulouse, formally the director of Xbox LIVE policy and enforcement, will soon be keeping the peace among Gears of War players. Just this weekend, Toulouse revealed his plans to join up with Black Tusk Studios as their director of community engagement, putting him right in the middle of development for the next Gears of War game. 

In a recent update on his personal blog, Toulouse mentions being a huge fan of the series and expresses his excitement over his involvement at Black Tusk, the studio working on the upcoming Gears title for Xbox One. Although his new role pertains mostly to the community (read: dealing with player conduct), he's actually in a very good position to shape how the next Gears of War turns out, namely by relaying feedback and questions from the fans directly to the developers.

"I've been hiding, I confess. I've been shadowing the Gears forums and looking at people's thoughts. I don't just want us to make the best next generation Gears of War game ever, I want to make sure that everyone playing the game today feels just as good today and down the road in their investment into our amazing world as we do. There's a Gears nation out there. I'm a part of it and it's amazing."

Oh, he's definitely invested in the game and its players. Toulouse even offered up several ways of contacting him, should you happen to be curious or concerned about the next Gears of War. They can be found in the original blog post on his website.

Interestingly enough, former Gears of War lead designer Cliff Bliszinski announced yesterday his return to game development. That he would return to Epic Games seems less than likely, however.


Monday, Jun 30

Saints Row clothing becomes a reality, rep the 3rd Street Saints with awesome but pricey looks

6 comments Lydia Sung - 10:57pm (PST) Like Share

Seriously, that jacket would look great on me

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Saints Row now has its own clothing line, and it actually looks pretty good. Publisher Deep Silver partnered with clothing manufacturer Insert Coin, a company known for making video game apparently, to create some 3rd Street Saints themed items, from jackets to polos. None of the items are particularly cheap, either.

The selection isn't very large, but it's nonetheless tempting for Saints Row fans, particularly that 3rd Street Saints jacket bearing the gang's colors and emblem. The jacket, go figure, is the most expensive of the bunch, coming in at $77. The purple hoodie comes in second at $56, with the polo shirt and Genki leggings being third in terms of price at $42. The two plain t-shirts are each $30.

3RD STREET SAINTS JACKET ($77) – Stilwater. Steelport. Planet Earth. The Galaxy. Everyone everywhere wants to be a Saint...Being a Saint is much more than just being part of a gang - it's a way of life. And now fans can live the dream and sign-up to the Saints, by rocking this awesome varsity-style jacket… Saints 4 Life!

SAINTS FLOW ($30) – When saving the world, Saints need the maximum amount of refreshment and that is why real heroes drink Saints Flow! That and all those deliciously dangerous chemicals and additives of course. This super sleek tee celebrates the classic taste of Saints in style.

GENKI leggings ($42) – Everyone loves the cleverest cat in town – especially when that town is Steelport, USA! And if gamers don't love the world's favorite Super Murder Cat then, well, let's just say we wouldn't want to be in their shoes. Fans can show their loyalty to the Professor with these super-ethical leggings.

PROFESSOR GENKI'S SUPER ETHICAL REALITY COMPLEX ($30) – Genius comes in many forms, but there aren't many that can match Professor Genki. Part cute celebrity, part sadistic scientist, Genki is definitely not to be underestimated - or trusted. But he is a very a fashionable feline - and only this tee will give Saints MAXIMUM T-SHIRT ULTRA-JOY!

STEELPORT SAINTS hoodie ($56) – Steelport isn't just the new home of the Saints, it's the heart of their entire Empire. It might be rundown, it might be poverty-stricken, it might be crumbling down, but Steelport is definitely where the heart is. Celebrate its association with the Saints with this epic hoodie.

GAT polo ($42) – One man defines the Saints. One awesome man. A legend. And his name is Gat. Johnny is so much more than just another member of the Saints, he symbolises all their strength, power and attitude. This simple elegant polo celebrates everyone's favorite Saint in style.

You can head over to the Insert Coin website to grab the items. Should the actual Saints Row games be of greater interest, then just wait for the Saints Row IV National Treasure Edition coming later in July. The bundle brings together the Saints Row IV game along with all its DLC, with a discounted price of $30.

That jacket looks awesome though. Seriously.

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Categories: Console Games PC Games

Former Gears of War developer, industry personality Cliff Bleszinski to begin making games again

1 comments Lydia Sung - 6:46pm (PST) Like Share

He's coming out of retirement, apparently

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After a rather lengthy hiatus, Cliff Bleszinksi is ready to start making games again. Word of his impending return after nearly two years of absence comes directly from his personal Twitter, of all places, and he seems to have more information to share in the week ahead.

Aside from being lead designer for the first three Gears of War games, Bleszinksi (popularly known as "CliffyB" for a time) also had a rather memorable personality that helped propel his celebrity status within the industry. In 2012, however, he announced plans to step away from the gaming industry and development, as well as his departure from Epic Games. Pretty crazy news, at the time.

At any rate, you can read the message Bleszinksi posted below. Apparently we're not supposed to call this his "comeback."

Categories: Console Games PC Games

Pokémon: Symphonic Evolution announced, orchestral series reimagines classic soundtracks

12 comments Max Navarro - 6:31pm (PST) Like (6) Share (1)

Featuring Pikaconductor and the Pokéjam Squad

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The Pokémon Company recently announced the Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions concert series, a set of orchestral performances reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses tour. Scheduled for debut on Friday, August 15, 2014, Symphonic Evolutions will first be held at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C. Though a set list has not yet been announced, we do know that music from all of the main series titles will be reimagined for the season.

To create an event that doubles as a concert and a movie, The Pokémon Company has reunited creative producers from Symphony of the Goddesses. As an effort to appeal to video gamers and musicians, the orchestra will play various pieces from Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow through Pokémon X and Y while showcasing drawings and videos from the games themselves.

The entire concert series, currently including performances in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and some other unannounced locations, is set to serve as a "thank you" to all fans, past and present. J.C. Smith, director of marketing at The Pokémon Company, has stated that the team is "looking forward to seeings fans of all ages meeting up and enjoying this very special Pokémon orchestral event together."

As someone who attended The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, I know that this is, without a doubt, something to look further into as more details are released. The combined visual and auditory experiences, alongside the interaction with fellow fans, provide a truly magical evening that no gamer could ever forget. Oh, and the massive number of StreetPass hits did not hurt either.

The Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions concert series will premiere in Washington, D.C. on August 15, 2014, followed by a performance in Pennsylvania on September 19, 2014, with many more stops in between. Ticket details can be found in the source link below.


Dragon Age: Inquisition gets an official introduction to Solas, the elven apostate and bald recluse

18 comments Lydia Sung - 1:13pm (PST) Like Share

How many mages do we have now?

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BioWare is keeping the mage love strong today with another Dragon Age: Inquisition character spotlight, this time on the apostate Solas. He might look pretty familiar, even if the name doesn't ring a bell, with how frequently he's appeared in Inquisition screenshots up until now.

As an apostate, Solas is an undocumented mage who lives under society's radar; basically a rogue mage. But the elven caster seems to be a fairly decent person, having come out of hiding to join the Inquisitor's fight. He could have lived out the rest of his days in hiding, continuing his solitary education in magic and history, but with the Breach ruining his view of the sky and threatening the entire world, Solas realized that his quiet life would not last forever.

Here is the (official) entry for Solas found on the Inquisition website:

Solas has spent his life as an apostate, living in the wilderness well away from the civilized world and those who would shackle him for what he is. He mastered his magic without the help of tutors, spending years exploring the spirit realm of the Fade and coming to an understanding of its denizens that few others could claim. He would be happiest left alone to sleep in ancient ruins, searching for memories and knowledge that has been lost for ages, but the Breach in the sky threatens all worlds.

At a time when other mages flee into hiding, Solas has put his freedom at risk by emerging from the shadows to assist those who would combat the chaos. He will not stand idly by when his knowledge of the arcane could mean the difference between salvation and utter destruction. 

If nothing else, he might also be one of the more unique characters we've seen so far in Dragon Age, in terms of appearance. After all, how many characters can claim to resemble Nosferatu?

Joking aside, he looks and sounds like a rather interesting fellow. We'll get to meet him when Dragon Age: Inquisition comes out October 7 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

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Listen to the Guild Wars 2 Season 2 soundtrack by a live orchestra in beautiful preview trailer

3 comments Lydia Sung - 1:01pm (PST) Like Share

Sneak peek comes in the form of music

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Guild Wars 2 Season 2 is nearly upon is, as we crawl slowly toward July 1 one hour at a time. In the meantime, ArenaNet has another sneak peek trailer of sorts, this time focused on the music we'll be hearing with the new content.

In the video, Guild Wars 2 composer Maclaine Diemer shares with us his dream of hearing his work played by a live orchestra. Well, that does actually happen when ArenaNet go on a field trip to Germany, and enlist the aid of some talented individuals to create sweet, sweet music. Most music is better life, right?

Season 2 will be starting tomorrow with Gates of Maguuma, at which point Guild Wars 2 players will finally get to see what that blurred out region labeled "Maguuma Wastes" is all about. Hopefully more scenic than its name would suggest. We already know that the Zephyr Sanctum is going to be a focal point, while the Zephyrites endure what might just be the worst day of their lives.

The new season also means more improvements to the game, as Diemer briefly points out in the video.


Categories: PC Games