Monday, Jun 15
It's the RPG franchise that no one expected to be turned into a franchise. South Park is back and they're making a sequel. Introducing South Park: The Fractured but Whole, where Cartman and gang stop playing pretend fantasy adventures and start playing serious -- serious superheroes. South Park: The Fractured but Whole has no currently planned release window, but will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. And of course they've already opened up pre-orders, because Matt Stone and Trey Parker are a*******.
The New Kid will return once more, this time as a superhero, to join Cartman, Kyle, Kenny and Stan to fight a new evil. Or should I say Mysterion, Toolshed, Human Kite, Mosquito, Mint Berry Crunch and The Coon to battle Professor Chaos. Actually, who even knows what they'll be up to. Probably something really stupid. They're just dumb kids after all.
Laurent Detoc, president at Ubisoft, explained why they decided to throw money at South Park Studios until they decided to make another RPG:
"By successfully mixing outstanding comedy with excellent gameplay, South Park: The Stick of Truth created a game genre: the Comedy Role-Playing Game. Our teams worked hard, laughed hard, and players loved it so we’re back to collaborate on the fantastic world created by Matt, Trey and the talented group at South Park Digital Studios with South Park: The Fractured but Whole."
Funny story, but when Matt Stone and Trey Parker finished South Park: The Stick of Truth they vowed to never make another game again. The experience of building an RPG from the ground up, coupled with the issued the ran into with the closure of their publisher THQ, showed them how absolutely painful making a game could be. And this is coming from the guys who made a movie entirely with puppets. When asked why they decided to come back, they said they kind of figured it out at the end of The Stick of Truth's development cycle. Personally, I'm betting it was more about the free money.
Unfortunately South Park: The Fractured but Whole is being developed internally at Ubisoft, with Obsidian being left out of the equation. This is extremely disappoint news, since it was the fact that Obsidian developed the first game that made it so meaningful to players. Obsidian has proven that they want to make tried and true experiences and that they're dedicated to their fans. It's hard to trust Ubisoft the same way, but you know that if Matt and Trey trust Ubisoft enough to make another game then it most at least be an alright situation. I still feel terrible that Obsidian isn't involved, though.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. There's no currently planned release window, but I'd say that 2016 is probably as good of a guess as any.
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No one was sure if BioWare would be ready to unveil their next Mass Effect project during this year's E3, but lo and behold Electronic Arts opened their press conference by announcing Mass Effect: Andromeda. Unfortunately the RPG won't be available until holiday of 2016 (more than a year away, curses), but at least we now have a name and a look to go along with our anticipation. More than that, Mass Effect: Andromeda's teaser trailer gave us all something to ponder -- the brief flash of an N7 logo on the uniform of a masked character. What are you doing to us, BioWare?
BioWare has since confirmed that the character which we see in the trailer will not be the playable protagonist of Mass Effect: Andromeda. The character we'll be playing is human and customizable as expected, as either a female or male, and will come from Andromeda naturally. What does that mean in terms of the N7 character we did see? BioWare also confirmed that the events of Andromeda take place far away from those of the original trilogy, and also long after. That is to say, everyone from the original Mass Effect trilogy should long be dead. Yet there's that N7 logo, staring us in the face.
Also returning, and equally confusing to the N7 logo, is the MAKO vehicle. Most people hated it in the original Mass Effect, but some people loved it. Another few hated it but have since decided to praise it, effectively giving the MAKO cult popularity. Its return will give players the opportunity to revisit the original game in spirit. Perhaps if the MAKO is amazing in this latest game, people will recall it much more fondly in the original game as well. How the MAKO made it to this place will unfortunately remain a BioWare secret for the time being.
Mass Effect: Andromeda remains quite the mystery, but at least now we can put a name to the project. We can put a time on it too, because Mass Effect: Andromeda will be coming out on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One starting in the holiday season of 2016.
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Ready for Assassin's Creed: 'allo Guv'na? Assassin's Creed: Fish and Chips?
Ubisoft's press conference is coming up super quick! Electronic Arts ran a little long, so I'm rushing to get Ubisoft's post up before 3:00PM Pacific Time. Considering very little of Ubisoft showed up at Microsoft's big Xbox press event earlier this morning, I'd say Ubisoft has saved their best for this afternoon.
What Ubisoft games can folk expect? The Division is a certainty, along with Assassin's Creed: Kippers & Tea, I mean Syndicate, as well as Rainbow Six Siege. We learned earlier that Rainbow Six Siege would come packaged with some classic Rainbow Six 360 games what with Microsoft's pending addition of backwards compatibility. As for surprises, well, I'm actually not sure. Ubisoft will definitely have something to show. Could we see a Watch Dogs 2 announcement, or possibly a Prince of Persia reboot? The suspense is killing me. I just hope they don't spend 40 minutes talking about sports and mobile games. That would be embarrassing.
Stick here for the Ubisoft Twitch embed of their E3 2015 press conference, as well as a live chat tied directly to your Neoseeker forum account. That means you need a Neoseeker account in order to see and participate in the live chat, if you're wondering why it's missing. Ubisoft starts at 3:00PM Pacific Time and will be followed by Sony's event at 6:00PM Pacific Time. That'll be the end of the events for today, but Square Enix, Nintendo and the PC Gaming Show will finish up the press events tomorrow. Oof, we're not even half way done, are we?
Can I farm grunts behind the base while the team does the real fighting?
Halo 5: Guardians single-player gameplay has been the focus of Microsoft's marketing push so far, but 343 Industries is going to take their opportunity at E3 2015 to start talking about multiplayer. This morning during Microsoft's E3 press conference 343 revealed their plans for an all new multiplayer mode named Warzone. Warzone features maps up to four times the size of standard maps, but players will need that extra space because the mode will be mixing PvE into PvP. Yes, Warzone maps will feature PvE objectives including huge PvE boss battles all while your opponents remain a constant threat.
For those running the numbers, Warzones will be 12v12vAI. That's right, 24 live players will be in each map. For those that might have worried that the PvE elements of the map would be too overwhelming, I think that 24-players number should sate their worries. And while they didn't officially confirm it, the trailer seems to tease piloted Pelicans and Phantoms -- though that could just be a canned animation for when AI spawn. We can always hope, though. Let's just cross our fingers that 343's matchmaking service can match up 24 players in as fast a time as any other game type.
Dare I say it, but 343 seems to be channeling a bit of Titanfall here. Titanfall's main multiplayer mode featured a similar set-up where maps spawn fodder AI enemies, as well as supplying each team with their own titan drops which can be set to roam as AI attackers and defender. It was honestly the best part of Titanfall as it both empowered even the worst player and added so much more activity than a standard PvP match does. Titantfall didn't really have the breadth to keep players super invested in the system, but I'm betting Halo certainly does. Even for single-player only Halo players, Warzone is something to be excited about.
Halo 5: Guardians is planned for release on October 27 exclusively on Xbox One. I'd expect news on a Warzones multiplayer beta to come up in the weeks or months ahead.
Star Wars: Battlefront for sure, but will a Mass Effect surprise show up as well?
Electronic Arts' E3 press conference is almost ready to begin! The stream is scheduled to start at 1:00PM PT, following up Microsoft's press event from this morning and preceding Ubisoft's later today at 3:00PM PT. EA one revealed one big game during Microsoft's press conference, focusing mainly on EA Access instead of their 2015 line-up. Hopefully that means they're saving their big announcements for their very own press conference. Since EA's a much closer partner with Microsoft than they are with Sony, it doesn't make much sense for them to save anything for this evening.
What games can we expect from EA today then? They've already announced Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, so expect them to unleash the big guns now. I'm talking about Star Wars, of course. Star Wars: Battlefront gameplay is a must show for the publisher. Plus, there's the potential for another one or two Star Wars reveals if they've been able to put together the trailers. Maybe Visceral's game? Or maybe just the mobile game that connects Episode 6 to Episode 7? Then they've got Mirror's Edge Catalyst too, which they've already been teasing. Sports is a given as well, as is Need for Speed. Then for the big, surprising closer? It's got to be Mass Effect. That's the dream, at least.
Feel free to stick around and watch the EA livestream below and jump into our live chat as well. You'll need a Neoseeker account to participate in the chat, though. Every post will be recorded in the forums like you were posting in a normal Neoseeker forum conversation. Welcome to the future! And remember that Ubisoft's press conference will follow this afternoon at 3:00PM PT, with Sony's event closing out the evening at 6:00PM PT. Ah, what a day for video games.
Friendly AI dogs are cool, but what about robot cats? AI people?
Microsoft's first big exclusive has been announced during their E3 2015 press conference and what do you know, it's a brand new original IP. Introducing ReCore. Plus, I don't think anyone expected it to come from Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune and his studio, comcept. After all, those guys are still hard at work on Might No. 9, I thought. Yet here they are not only with a new game, but a huge AAA exclusive for the Xbox One. Just when did comcept grow into the powerhouse that it now seems to be? However it happened, ReCore had one of the best debut trailers of the day and hopefully we hear more soon.
The game's debut cinematic trailer featured a young female protagonist exploring the a sandy wasteland. She takes shelter in some wreckage with her pet robot dog, a dog powered by a bright glowing blue orb. The pair seems to be salvaging, which perhaps implies that there will be some crafting or even building/city building in-game. That seems to be all the rage these days, anyway. Our heroes end up encountering some wild robots, shown to be evil by their glowing red power orbs. The dog sacrifices itself for the greater good, but lo, the blue orb continues to glow. The heroine takes the orb and slots it in another, larger robot sitting nearby and our pup lives again.
It's an interesting concept, the ability to take an AI construct and tie it to this orb. This orb can then be moved from shape to shape, allowing it to perform new actions. How this translates to gameplay is a mystery, a suspenseful mystery. It's exciting to think about just how these orbs might be used and how it's connected to the salvager that was the trailer's protagonist. I'm already pondering building a robot of my own, plugging in a power orb and seeing just what kind of creature I've created. Will ReCore allow us to become robot Dr. Frankensteins?
ReCore is tentatively scheduled for release in spring of 2016 exclusively on the Xbox One. Hopefully Keiji Inafune and comcept will have more to show of their secretive game throughout the rest of E3 or in the months to come.
Everyone expected Microsoft's studio, The Coalition, to roll out the Gears of War Remastered collection on-stage during their E3 2015 press conference. The leaks leading up to E3 this year saw to that. Not as many expected them to do that and then announce Gears of War 4 afterwards, but they did. The Coalition stepped right out and did a live demo (okay, maybe not live) of Gears of War 4 and closed it all off by saying that the sequel is tentatively planned for release holiday 2016. Gears is back, baby. To be fair, it felt a little bit weird without Marcus Phoenix and his gravelly voice.
The gameplay featured two characters, JD which was the player character and a woman teammate. Both were armored up in armor styled after the classic COG armor from the original Gears of War trilogy. Yet neither of the two soldiers was as muscled and large of body frame as Gears fans would likely expect. The Coalition has either decided that the body shape of the classic Gears isn't as important to the franchise as it used to be, or they're trying to show that in this time and setting, the soldiers aren't required to do as much physical labor. Lugging around their guns and armor was Epic's favorite reason for the juiced up COG soldiers.
Otherwise, the gameplay looked 100% Gears of War. In fact, the visuals didn't look like much of an upgrade over past iterations of the game at all. Chainsaw kills still threw huge blurry blood splotches, the atmosphere in general is rather dark and muddied, textures don't pop as we're in the post-apocalypse after all. It's almost like Microsoft rushed the game's development a bit and The Coalition ended up just picking up the same engine used for Gears of War: Judgment without iterating on it too much.
Don't get me wrong, it's great to see Gears of War back and The Coalition seems to be able to know what they're doing. But for a debut of Gears of War 4, the sequel to the oh-so-popular trilogy, to come out and not be extremely impressive visually, exciting from an action and gameplay standpoint, and completely vapid from a storytelling or lore perspective... well, come on. You can and should be doing better. I expect better things the next time Gears of War 4 is rolled out.
Gears of War is tentatively planned for release in holiday of 2016.
Things just never stay dead in the crazy worlds of Dark Souls, including the franchise itself as Microsoft got to be the first to officially unveil one of E3 2015's worst-kept secrets during its press conference this morning, Dark Souls III. The reveal was largely cinematic, but it confirms that series mastermind Hidetaka Miyazaki will be returning to helm the project after overseeing Bloodborne.
Early screens and gameplay details for the Dark Souls III were reportedly leaked last week. The imagery is certainly consistent with the feel of Dark Souls, and boy is Dark Souls III looking, well, dark. The reveal points to an early 2016 release for the third installment, at least for Xbox One. We expect to see a similar reveal (and hopefully further details) when its Sony's turn to showcase its E3 highlights later tonight.
Until then, Bandai Namco reiterates a few series staples in its YT trailer:
- Atmospheric visuals: Dynamic lighting and particle effects immerse you into a dark fantasy world of ruin.
- Interconnected Worlds: expertly crafted world encourages players to explore vast and breathtaking landscapes.
- Sword action: diversifies combat action allowing players to craft their own unique play style.
- Unique Online System: Evolution of trademark online multiplayer functionality that seamlessly integrates online interactions into single player story.
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Telltale decided to beat Microsoft to the punch and make the big first announcement of the day. On Youtube's Live at E3 show with Geoff Keighley, the Telltale crew took to the couch and announced an upcoming The Walking Dead mini-series to be released later this year. Introducing The Walking Dead: Michonne, which explores where the popular The Walking Dead character disappeared to during an absence from the TV show/graphic novel. Will it tie directly into the ongoing seasons of the Telltale video game? I'd put my money on itt, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.
The announcement was unfortunately brief, so we didn't get too many more details out of the guys. They did, however, discuss the idea of a "Super Show." This concept mixes both an ongoing video game and a TV show playing at the same time. While Telltale didn't exactly say this would be the case with The Walking Dead: Michonne, they did say that more details would be revealed at the San Diego Comic Convention later this year. Could we potentially see a Michonne-focused TV show to go along with Telltale's mini-series?
"Michonne's complexity and range make her an ideal lead for the compelling interactive drama fans have come to expect from Telltale. With this mini-series, players will experience Michonne's challenges first-hand, and the choices they make will shape her journey. We're incredibly honored by Robert for the opportunity to share this untold story in The Walking Dead universe."
It's a bit disappointing to hear, as a Clementine fan and a Telltale Walking Dead fan, to be honest. I want more from the characters they've already established, not a further leaning towards the more mainstream TV show. But I guess Telltale has been wooed by the money and the excitement, which is hard to blame them for. I really do hope they do their best to tie the character into their own The Walking Dead universe, rather than simply appealing to the TV show audience.
The Walking Dead: Michonne will be released later this year as a mini-series. Exactly what a mini-series is compared to Telltale's normal format, I guess we'll find out. Expect it on all of Telltale's previously supported platforms. Expect more information soon.
If I have to pay an arm an a leg how can I press the drum pedal
A bit of news before E3 2015's huge Monday full of press conferences kicks off. Some internet detectives noticed that some Rock Band 4 retail listings have popped up at several retailers prior to the game's likely appearance during a press conference later today. What sort of details can we glean from the listings? First and foremost we have a release date, which may or may not be accurate. October 6 is the date, but it's best not to trust retailers with this sort of thing. What's more interesting is Rock Band 4's pricing. The box including the game, the drum set, the guitar and a microphone will cost -- hold your breath -- $249.99. Yikes!
For comparison's sake, the guitar-only bundle for Rock Band 4 will $129.99. That means that the drums and microphone are adding on another $120 to the overall price. You might be able to make your own plastic peripherals for cheaper. Guitar Hero Live, Activision's guitar-only music game, will cost only $99.99. Not exactly cheap, but $29.99 better than Harmonix's offerings. They're even outdone by themselves. The original Rock Band box with everything in the box was $169.99 and Rock Band 2's was $189.99. How are we to survive on the income of a rock and roller, Harmonix?
To be fair, Harmonix has previously said that they're partnering with Mad Catz for their peripherals for Rock Band 4 and that they're targeting a higher quality of controller than ever before. Mad Catz can certainly deliver that, and I've personally felt the effects of Rock Band's kind of crappy plastic instruments before. It's no fun trying to solder wires back onto your drum pads in the hours before a big party starts. Still, $249.99 is more expensive than whole platforms. You could get a 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for that price! You wouldn't sing Free Bird on it, but still.
Hopefully Harmonix comes out and makes us understand the higher price tag. I know plenty of folk who will buy in despite the Rock Band 4 price bump, if it proves accurate, but that's asking a lot of the rock and roll crowd they want investing in their game and peripherals.
- Bethesda to build a better Fallout 4 by learning from Skyrim's technical issues 
- Neoseeker's Best of E3 2015 Awards: Game of the Show 
- E3 2015: Kingdom Hearts III adds a Tangled world, teases some more Disney World powers 
- Trials Fusion's Awesome Level MAX DLC gameplay isn't too extreme, but does have cats on unicorns 
- Skyforge, F2P MMO collaboration between Obsidian and Allods, starts Open Beta on July 16 
- Steam, under community pressure, adds refund system 
- Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games hitting the slopes on Wii U, very cool 
- PlayStation Plus in July adds Rocket League on PS4, Geometry Wars 3 on PS Vita