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EVO 2014 Championship Series side tournament schedule, from Persona 4 Arena to Mortal Kombat 9

2 comments Rory Young - 12:23pm (PST) Like Share

8 games not enough? How about another dozen?

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Shoryuken isn't a huge organization; a small team can only organize and hold so many tournaments at one time. It's no surprise then that for EVO 2014 Championship Series the fighting game community has decided for itself that eight games isn't enough. As a result, there will be a dozen (more than a dozen?) side tournaments going on throughout the weekend. Unfortunately, Shoryuken doesn't keep track of these tournaments. In fact, it's almost impossible to find information on all of them anywhere.

As a fan of EVO myself, I couldn't just sit back and not have a schedule up for all of these great tournaments. That's why I'm putting together this schedule of side-tournaments for the EVO 2014 weekend. Not all games may necessarily be here, as there are a lot of side tournaments, and not all information on each tournament will be here either. This is just my best effort at organizing a list of places to watch these tournaments. If you want to play in them, EVO attendees, you're on your own.

Without further ado, here's the schedule for EVO 2014 Championship Series' side tournaments. Oh, and all times listed will be Pacific coast time (PDT), which is three hours earlier than east coast time (EDT). For Ultra Street Fighter IV, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Smash Bros. Melee, King of Fighters XIII, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Injustice: God Among Us and Killer Instinct see the main EVO post.


Friday

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EVO 2014 Championship Series begins, fighting game tournament opens with Melee and Street Fighter

7 comments Rory Young - 11:18am (PST) Like (1) Share

One of the best streamed gaming events of the year

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If MOBAs aren't your thing, then how about three days of the biggest fighting game tournaments of 2014? EVO 2014 Championship Series  has begun, featuring eight different main games and a bevy of side tournaments as well. We're talking about Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Killer Instinct, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, King of Fighters XIII, Super Smash Bros. Melee and then the big daddy of them all, Ultra Street Fighter IV.

Today's focus will be on both Ultra Street Fighter IV and Super Smash Bros. Melee, as both games will have their entire pools, quarterfinals and semi-finals burned through in preparation for the finals on Sunday. In between the gaps, however, will be the entire Tekken Tag Tournament 2 tournament as well as plenty of Injustice: Gods Among Us. Again, the only final played today will be for Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

The schedule will be split between three different streams provided by tournament host Shoryuken. Almost all of the action will be featured on the main stream, and almost no action will be featured on the third stream. Still, just for folks who know exactly what they want to watch, we've got the full schedule which we'll post below our main stream embed.

If folk can only show up for one day, make it Sunday. There is seriously nothing like watching the finals for these fighting game tournaments. It will fill your gaming heart with eSports joy. Enjoy EVO 2014, everyone! Make sure to comment about what games you're excited about.

Main Stream - Second Stream - Capcom Fighters



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Gearbox Software's 'Battleborn' announced, FPS battle arena from the Borderlands 2 teams

7 comments Rory Young - 11:24am (PST) Like Share

What a lame title for a really cool looking game

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Gearbox Software pulled a surprise, post-E3 announcement out of their hats today with the reveal of Battleborn. From the teams that put together Borderlands 2 and probably all of Gearbox's other junk too, Battleborn is a first-person shooter battle arena set in a space opera setting -- think Star Wars-style fantasy. Five heroes versus five heroes in what looks to be a Dota 2 type of good vs. evil scenario. And of course, it just reeks of that amazing Gearbox personality. 

That's not all! Come on down! Battleborn isn't just a battle-arena game, it's also a co-op shooter, including what Gearbox's zany floating head Randy Pitchford describes as a, "hobby-grade co-op campaign." I'm not entirely sure what that means, but it sounds like a great supplementary experience to the multiplayer mode... or is it modes?

What's been revealed about the multiplayer is pretty standard for the MOBA genre these days. Front and center in the discussion is the term "eSports" which these days is meant to thrilling moment to moment gameplay with a strategic layer meta. Basically, it means it's fun to watch and fun to follow in addition to being fun to play. Exactly what sort of features Gearbox plans to implement to supplement the eSports claim, such as spectator mode, replays and soon, is yet to be revealed.

What's most striking about Battleborn is of course its style and personality, a very Gearbox focus for the game considering the developers past with the visually outstanding Borderlands series. At first it might be easy to call out Battleborn as aping Dota 2's visual style, only in space, considering the main hero featured in the trailer looks a lot like Windrunner in Samus' Zero Suit. The more that's shown, the easier it is to see Battleborn is making its own identity. I see themes of Star Wars' Jedi, Hellboy's clockwork Nazi, steampunk, Warcraft, and that's not even beginning to analyze the evil side either. Until actual gameplay is shown, it will be difficult to make any sort of controversial claim.

I will say that, personally, I'm already digging the style of Battleborn. It's not just that I love future-based fantasy settings, which I do, it's that every character shown isn't just a pile of tropes. Sure, some of them have obvious character design inspirations, but they're each particularly unique in many regards as well. Even dual-saber Jedi dude, who is just such a freaking Jedi, looks completely different than expected. Plus, man, it means so much that all off the women shown (I think there are three revealed so far) aren't sexualized beyond all reason. I've seen zero boob windows so far. God bless you, Gearbox.

Battleborn is, unfortunately, planned for as late as a 2016 release. However, as with all battle arena style games, I think it's safe to say that a lengthy beta will be taking place. That beta could, potentially, start any time between now and that eventual 2016 launch. Oh, and cheer up console gamers, Battleborn is announced for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Note: Game Informer had the initial announcement for Battleborn with their monthly cover reveal, and will be featuring new Battleborn content announcements throughout the week. I'll post the cover here, because it's all sorts of badass, and source their Battleborn hub so everyone can keep track.



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Destiny's multiple editions revealed, including Ghost Edition at $150 with model, SteelBook and DLC

20 comments Rory Young - 11:00am (PST) Like Share (1)

The wallet pains weren't supposed to start until September!

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Considering Destiny is all about the loot drops and looking like a badass, it wouldn't make sense if Bungie didn't release a couple of Collector's Editions, right? In celebration of Bungie Day, the team's anniversary celebration, they've revealed just that. Introducing Destiny's Digital Guardian Edition, the Limited Edition, and the Ghost Edition, each more bountiful (and likely more expensive) than the latter. It's a digital content consumer's dream come true.

First, however, it's probably a good idea to mention that Destiny's first digital Expansion Pass has also been announced. The pass will come included with each of the different Collector's Editions, which you'll find is a very good deal for anyone already planning to pick the game up. Destiny's Expansion Pass will include two packs of content, Destiny Expansion I: "The Dark Below" and Destiny Expansion II: "House of Wolves." Each expansion will cost $19.99 when it launches, or come as a $34.99 Expansion Pass bundle. It will be that much cheaper bundled with one of the Collectors Editions, however.

Back on topic, Bungie has announced three Collectors Editions. The Digital Guardian Edition has no retail copy, the Limited Edition packs both a fun box of loot with even more digital content, and the Ghost Edition has all of the above in addition to more real loot including a Ghost model. We haven't even reached the fall and already the money is flying out the window. Respectively, each Edition will cost $89.99, $99.99, and $149.99.

Let's get to what's included in each Edition already. We'll go from content included in all three down to content only in the Ghost Edition:

Destiny Digital Guardian Edition, Limited Edition and Ghost Edition

Destiny Limited Edition and Ghost Edition

  • Limited edition SteelBook case
  • Guardian Folio
    • Arms & Armament Field Guide
    • Postcards from the Golden Age
    • Antique Star Chart

Destiny Ghost Edition

  • Ghost replica:  "featuring motion-activated lights and voice recordings from award-winning actor Peter Dinklage, voice of the Ghost character, the player's personal companion in the game"
  • Letter of Introduction
  • Golden Age Relics, including a photo, patch, sticker and two "Chrome slides of the Traveler"

Again, Destiny's Digital Guardian Edition will cost $89.99, the Limited Edition will cost $99.99 and the Ghost Edition will retail for $149.99. Considering the stand-alone game will be $59.99 and the Expansion Pass $35.99, both the Digital Guardian Edition and Limited Edition should automatically be a price consideration for players.

If this article wasn't already much too long I might expound on how Destiny has a lot to prove charging $20 apiece for each individual content expansion. Yet there's a part of me that really hopes they won't be taking advantage of players and putting out a glorified map pack with a couple of co-op missions. I really do hope they release substantial expansions to the game. Bungie's never been the most trust-worthy DLC purveyor, however.

Destiny will be available starting September 9 on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. Expect more information on Destiny's beta starting soon.



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The Wolf Among Us concludes July 8 with 'Cry Wolf', fifth episode of Fables game has Bigsby go bad

1 comments Rory Young - 12:33pm (PST) Like Share

He'll blow the whole damn house down

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How bad really is the Big Bad Wolf? In the season finale for Telltale Games' The Wolf Among Us it seems like we'll be finding out, and it won't be too long before players get to experience that for themselves. Telltale Games announced today that the fifth and final episode of The Wolf Among Us' first season will be released starting July 8. Titled "Cry Wolf", expect the Fables adventure game to go out on a bang that's certain to impact in the same way The Walking Dead's first season did.

In Cry Wolf Bigsby is expected to come face to face with a "dark force" feeding off of the dregs of Fable society. Odds are it's not going to be any sort of typical showdown. Odds are there's going to be a lot of drama, a lot of emotional tension, and probably Bigsby showing off why he's really known as the Big Bad Wolf in some parts of town. Or maybe not, and that in itself could have dramatic consequences.

That's really the magic of Fable, the same as it is with The Walking Dead. The premise of each world is enough to drive consistent, brilliant stories. Instead, however, each world simply serves as a catalyst of sorts to push people in directions we'd never have expected of them. Bigsby, like Clementine and Lee before her, is one of the best realized characters in a game in recent memory. He's a man-wolf acting as a sheriff of a town of otherworldly creatures, but Telltale has turned him real. I'm startled every time I play another episode.

I'm not ready for The Wolf Among Us to be over. Please, please let there be a second season already in the works.

The Wolf Among Us finale, Cry Wolf, will be launching on PC, Mac, and PlayStation 3 (North America) starting July 8. It will then come to  PlayStation 3 (Europe) and Xbox 360 on July 9, followed by an iOS release July 10. Time to marathon Episodes 1-4 all over again in preparation.



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Lindsey Lohan suing Rockstar over Grand Theft Auto V parody character Lacey Jonas

12 comments Rory Young - 11:41am (PST) Like (1) Share

Won't somebody think of Lindsay Lohan?

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Everyone knows that Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series is filled to the brim with parody. Pop culture in specific is often parodied, and celebrity is a big part of that. Unfortunately, one particular parody has not sat well with a certain pop superstar who is fading out of the spotlight. Lindsay Lohan, or rather Lindsay Lohan's lawyers, are now suing Rockstar over what they claim is the unpermitted use of her likeness.

Grand Theft Auto V's Lacey Jonas is certainly a diva, but Lohan says she is an "unequivocal" reference to herself. According to the Associated Press, Lohan's suit further claims that Lohan's been recreated from her voice down to her clothing line. That's in addition to her own likeness,of course.

Odd are Lohan was certainly an influence in the creation of the Lacey Jonas character, perhaps even the primary one. Proving that in court, followed by proving that parody law doesn't take precedence here, is another matter entirely. Considering Rockstar has a mountain of experience with frivolous lawsuits and the funds to back up the defense of their property.

Lohan is likely fishing for a settlement. It's unclear whether that would work in Rockstar's favor, however. Since their games rely so heavily on parody, it seems unlikely that they'd be willing to hand out settlements to everyone that feels like they've been wronged. 

Expect more news on Lindsay Lohan suing Rockstar over using her likeness in Grand Theft Auto V as the story develops. A picture of the character can be seen being hand-cuffed in the header image of this story.

 
 

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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July's Games With Gold cuts Xbox One games to one, nabs Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition

5 comments Rory Young - 1:26pm (PST) Like Share

Living in luchador luxary

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Erm, well, this is a surprise. Microsoft has revealed their July line-up for Games With Gold and, well, they've already cut down their monthly Xbox One games from two to one. After an invigorating June leading into E3 where both Halo: Spartan Assault and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood we both made available on Xbox One, Microsoft apparently decided that was too much of a good thing. I'd guessed they were trying to impress for E3, but I didn't think they'd then pull the rug.

No insult intended to the remaining Games With Gold titles. They're each exceptional and there will be many of gamers excited to give them a run. Here's July's Games With Gold line-up for Xbox One and Xbox 360:

Xbox One

  • Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition

Xbox 360

  • Gotham City Imposters
  • BattleBlock Theater

Just a month after Microsoft they were focused on "Games, games, games!" going forward, here they are chopping their free offerings on Xbox One in half. Of course, it must be taken into consideration that Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition will effectively be launching as a Games With Gold title. This is a brand new edition of the game, so there's no doubt that Xbox One gamers will get some great value out of that. 

The Xbox 360 games, however, are rather a mixed bag. Gotham City Imposters is free-to-play on PC these days and BattleBlock Theater just went through a Steam Sale charging just $2.50. Basically, neither game is of particular high value. That doesn't mean they're poor games, quite the opposite in reality, but it just continues to be a curiosity to me that Microsoft isn't pushing to properly compete with Sony's PlayStation Plus.

Hopefully Xbox gamers will be pleased with the selection for Microsoft's Games With Gold in July. Great free games packaged in with a service everyone was buying anyway is hard to argue with. 

 
 

Here's NHL 15's cover athlete, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins rocking full beard

4 comments Rory Young - 7:08pm (PST) Like Share

The greatest honor a hockey player can ever receive

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EA Sports' poll to decide the player who will represent NHL 15 on the cover of the game has been decided. Everyone put your hands together for the Boston Bruins' very own Partrice Bergeron, pictured in his full beard phase. While the final box art has yet to be confirmed, it will most certainly sport Bergeron's face when it hits shelves on September 9.

Bergeron came to he crown by defeating several foes one on one in several polls over the past weeks. The opponents for Bergeron included Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks, TJ Oshi of the St. Louis Blues, and finally PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens in the finals. The final number of people voting were not mentioned, but odds are they were impressive. Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens fans never like to lose to each other.

NHL 15 will be available starting September 9 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. 

Thanks for the tip, LesleyPro_04!



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Areal revealed from ex-S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developers [Update: Fraud accusations gain credence]

12 comments Rory Young - 5:47pm (PST) Like (1) Share (1)

Update Fraud allegations from Vostok Games arise

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Update 3:  A post in the Survariam forums by Vostok Games PR Manager Joe Willburn claims that the Areal Kickstarter's claim of employing ex-S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Metro Last Light developers is fraudulent. Willburn states that:

"We have contacted GSC's lawyers regarding this fraudulent claim of being the developers of Stalker and Metro Last Light. Please do all you can do ensure people know these claims are false."

Vostok Games rose from the ashes of GSC Game World after the cancellation of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, after GSC's dissolution in 2011.

Source: Survarium Forums


Update: Despite our reservations about the project, Areal's Kickstarter has now gone live. Check out the Kickstarter for yourself and make sure you're aware of the state of the game before you donate!

Update 2: As pointed out by kin333x in the comments, the goal has since been raised to $50,000, which still seems insanely low giving the scope and size of the project. Still, it's a change, which shows that the team is at least listening. I think the small adjustment shows more that the Kickstarter creators either have little faith in their project to succeed, or fear to request too much money should the project ultimately fail for one reason or another.


What happens when you take a group of the core developers behind the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise and put them into a new studio with headquarters in Las Vegas? How about big ideas? West Games has been formed, and West Games' first title revealed. Introducing Areal, an post-apocalyptic, open world, horror and survival shooter. West Games is hoping that pitch line alone is enough for folk to crowdfund their game. And lets be honest, it's going to work.

The premise of the pre-production title should make gamers wary, however. Very little, if any, gameplay from Areal was shown during the Kickstarter pitch. Rather, the pitch includes a ton of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. footage, but without sourcing or referencing the game itself as the footage is played. Then the real crux, that West Games is asking only $30,000 to make Areal. How any team of developers could make a so-called AAA game when there appears to be very little finished with only $30,000 is a huge mystery. It's all quite suspicious.

Obviously, considering the pedigree of the developers and the sort of game they're pitching it's unlikely that the title will make $30,000 or less. Maybe the developers just want to ensure that they don't reach for a larger goal and fall short. Maybe the want it all. That seems like an exploitation of the system, and dishonesty towards consumers, but that's their choice I suppose.

All the potential controversy aside, who wouldn't want another S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game from the original developers? They've got GSC Game World's head designer for every game in the series, Yuriy Negrobov, the gameplay designer from Metro Last Light and several of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. titles, Peter Dushynskyi, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2's engine developer. They have the pieces for an indie success story, but as always it's about deliverables and not promises.

Stay tuned for more information on Areal, including the start of the game's Kickstarter, on June 26. Until now, keep those wallet's stowed and those minds questioning. The title is planned for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

 
 
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