Neoseeker : News

Monday, Jan 26

EA's annual Madden NFL Super Bowl simulation predicts a Patriots victory over the Seahawks, 28-24

7 comments Rory Young - 2:12pm (PST) Like (2) Share

Simulated Bill Belichick may or may not be as clever as real life Bill Belichick

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Super Bowl XLIX is less than a week away from its February 1 kickoff. By now both New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks fans are tearing up internet message boards and comments, arguing over who will be the victor of American football's most prestigious event. Luckily, they won't have to argue any longer, because Electronic Arts has run their annual Madden NFL simulation and have predicted a victor. Congratulations to the Patriots, who will defeat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.

The game was won in the final seconds of regulation, whereupon the Patriots' offense took the field after a Russell Wilson interception. According to EA, with just seconds left on the clock Tom Brady connected with Julian Edelman for a game-ending score. Considering that half time had the Seahawks ahead 17-14, the storyline for Super Bowl XLIX absolutely became about the throwing arm of Tom Brady conquering the simulated Seahawks defense. I think we can all assume there's no way to truly simulate Seattle's crowd noise and atmosphere, however, so maybe the real life Seahawks still have a chance.

This year's simulation was run on a copy of Madden NFL 15 for the Xbox One, which considering Microsoft's headquarters is near to the Seattle Seahawks could raise a few eyebrows. Madden, however, is developed in Florida by EA Tiburon, so hopefully they two corners of the USA balance each other out with the teams meeting to play in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. It's not noted whether or not EA runs the Super Bowl simulation multiple times and picks the most dramatic conclusion, but maybe it's best we don't ask these questions.

Super Bowl XLIX airs on Sunday, February 1. The New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks will kickoff at 6:30 EST, 3:30 PST. Madden NFL 15 is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Update: Dear god, EA accurately predicted the final score. Time to hid in your bunkers, everyone. This is surely a sign of the apocalypse.


Bungie learning from 'mistakes' made in Destiny: The Dark Below, so stay positive

10 comments Lydia Sung - 9:08am (PST) Like (1) Share

Dev names a number of mistakes they won't make again

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Is there a more controversial yet popular game than Destiny? Well, Bungie is still listening and taking player critiques to heart. After the release of Destiny's first expansion, The Dark Below, a good percentage of the community made a fuss over some of the changes that were implemented. More specifically, many players weren't too happy to find their old raid gear made obselete by vendor items, and the process of upgrading old Exotics involved having to reset all existing progress for a fresh redo.

The good news is that the good people of Bungie are taking notes, and the prevalent complaints inspired by The Dark Below are being heavily considered with their next expansion. When someone on NeoGAF recently made a crack about the two aforementioned issues, game designer Luke Smith interjected to refute the statement.

Originally, user "rodiard" joked, "The announcement of how upgrading exotics and purchasing new vendor gear works in HoW will draw first blood."

In response, Smith noted these mistakes won't be made a second time. While he can't verbally commit to anything regarding what future updates will bring, he does at least offer some reassurances by promising that the "mistakes made with the DLC1 reward economy will not be repeated." Here is Smith's post, in full:

No it won't.

Nothing specific to announce at this time, but the mistakes we made with the DLC1 reward economy will not be repeated:

Mistakes like:

  • Vendor gear invalidating the effort of VOG Raiders
  • Upgrading an Exotic reseting its talents

Our philosophy about rewards/loot continue to evolve as we see how players play and react.

We will continue to improve acquisition stories and frequency (My understanding of the perception is that Crota's End drop rates are much improved vs. Vault of Glass: footnote below), lessen the grind and get players to the fun parts of their arsenal faster.

On CE drop rates vs. VOG:
The Forever 29 meme was a killer for us.

We sat down and talked about the rewards for VoG and the rates vs. CE and ended up with the following:

  • increase drop rates globally in CE: we wanted dedicated players to be around 32 or real close by the time Hard mode came out.
  • increase the variability of perks that a given piece can roll.
    the goal here: players would reach 32 easier than 30, but would have more customization and options to build the perfect set (in terms of stats, perks, weapon affinities)

The part where this didn't work as well as we'd hoped is with the Shard economy. Shards are a are a barrier between you and equipping a sweet new piece of gear.

We want fewer barriers to equipping upgrades. The shard economies erect these barriers between players and the new piece of gear they just got.

We're not intending to adjust the shard economy for this Tier -- we don't want to invalidate player effort (again). But removing the barrier between that new drop you're excited to get and actually being able to equip it as a member of your arsenal are something we will do going forward.

The next DLC, House of Wolves, is expected to arrive in March.


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.


  • 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


  • 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
    • 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


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


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


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