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Leaked images confirm Mickey, Mulan, Tron and Pixar's Inside Out part of Disney Infinity 3.0 line-up
With Disney Infinity becoming an annual franchise after last year's Marvel Super Heroes release, fans are already speculating as to what the theme of the 2015 release of the game will be. While Disney Infinity 3.0 doesn't have a title yet, though it's largely speculated to be Star Wars themed, a Chinese retailer has leaked what's assumed to be the first wave of figures for the release. 11 new figures will be joining the already large pool available to Disney Infinity players, most which shouldn't be too surprising.
The 11 figures all fit into the category of recent big Disney releases, announcements, or ongoing content.
- Headlining the 3.0 wave of figures will be Disney's perennial mascots, Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It's more of a surprise that they've lasted this long without being added! Mickey and Minnie are starring in what must be monthly cartoon shorts on Disney's "DisneyShorts" Youtube channel.
- Next up is Mulan, who we just learned will be starring in her own live-action film (official announcement pending). Disney's has also unlocked the vault to offer the Mulan Blu Ray, DVD and digital movie for the time being.
- Olaf is still popular from his Frozen days, but now we know Frozen 2 is in the works as well. I wish the silly snowman would just melt, but his Disney Infinity figure looks solid enough.
- Pixar's upcoming film, Inside Out, will see all five of its emotion-themed protagonists join Disney Infinity. Meet Joy, Disgust, Sadness, Fear and Anger are all getting their own figures.
- The biggest surprise of hte group are two characters from Disney's Tron franchise. Both protagonists from the 2010 film Tron: Legacy are getting figures, Sam Flynn and Quorra. It might have something to do with the Tron: Legacy sequel starring Quorra named Tron: Ascension that begins filming this October.
That wraps up the 11 figures that have been leaked. Keep in mind that these are Disney Infinity 3.0 exclusive characters, meaning they won't be backwards compatible with the original game or Marvel Super Heroes. It's also important to note that these are not going to be the bundled-in figures with the game either, meaning they'll likely be sold individually. The main Disney Infinity 3.0 theme has yet to be unveiled (come on, Star Wars).
Expect further details on Disney Infinity 3.0 in the months to come, as well as official confirmation regarding the different figures that will be part of the game's release.
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I'd laugh if all imperial stormtroopers had to shoot in third-person mode
European retailer GAME has themselves an exclusive deal with EA to publisher a series of four developer diaries for Star Wars: Battlefront. Today saw the release of the first of those developer diaries, a short affair that largely covers the few details given out during last week's debut of Battlefront's first cinematic trailer. There were a couple of extra details which slipped through though, including the first still image of third-person perspective within the game.
Additionally, quite a bit of the focus in the trailer was in promising extensive levels of "authenticity." The team at EA Dice, like many teams working on Star Wars projects, traveled to the infamous Skywalker ranch to research various materials used in the original production of the films. From lightsabers to stormtrooper helmets, EA DICE wants everything in their game to be as accurate to the source material as they can manage.
Most of the rest of the trailer shows off footage from last week's cinematic trailer featuring a battle taking place on Endor. I keep hoping each tim I watch it that I'll see an Ewok somewhere in the treetops, but no luck so far. They also went out of their way to remind everyone that Battlefront will feature battles of up to 40 players and that the Battle of Jakku will be available for free post-launch, something being taken from the upcoming Star Wars movie.
As for that third-person still shot, well, it's about what everyone expects. It's the game in third-person, which will certainly be a boon for console players and certain classes or class actions in general. It's always hard to take these still shots seriously until we see 100% game footage, as you never know what's been touched up. Gosh, it does look good though.
Star Wars: Battlefront will be comign to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One November 17 later this year. Expect three more developer diaries in the weeks and months ahead, which hopefully talk about gameplay in a bit more depth. This will work for now, I suppose.
Ain't nothin' like a good ol' Rapture to get the party started
Much like Sony helped From Software keep making great games by bringing Bloodborne to the PlayStation 4, they're also keeping The Chinese Room working too. After Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs didn't bear the weight it was hoped to, Sony and the British studio partnered to bring Everybody's Gone to the Rapture to PlayStation 4 instead of PC. Today the latest trailer for the unnerving first-person title has been released, but oddly enough a release date is still yet to be found.
With this latest trailer, The Chinese Room says they're aiming, "to go small and intimate with this one, be a bit different with it." The focus is on story and tone, which is why the trailer itself is rather uneventful yet still stirring. It's the kind of trailer worth watching a few or a dozen times, because of how it's styled. The intention is for the watcher's eyes to wander, as there's no clear focus. The more detail the watcher takes in, the better they're immersed in the experience being created.
I have to say, even after the numerous times I've watched the trailer, I have no idea what's going on. The implication being that the people in the game have gone through the "Rapture," the second coming of Christ where the faithful have ascended to heaven. How that fits into what the player will be doing in-game, however, is completely unclear. I respect that The Chinese Room is aiming for mystery. That's a big part of their games. Still, I want to know what I'm buying here, especially after Machine for Pigs, and these trailers haven't done that yet. It does look beautiful though, I'll give it that.
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is planned for release this summer. The game is apparently entering "beta" soon and a release date is in the works, but you never know until you know. Hopefully we'll hear more soon. Let's hope Sony Santa Monica is helping The Chinese Room with their previous schedule-keeping issues. Make sure to check out both the trailer and a song that has also been released.
The force has truly been awakened, or should I say a-leak-ened
Today saw the reveal of an all new trailer for upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens and with it a waterfall of exciting things for video game fans. An updated Star Wars: Battlefront website openly provided the first official in-game screenshot of the game. The end of the Star Wars trailer teased an as-yet unseen cinematic trailer with a short, small clip. Then, unintentionally, the source code of the Battlefront's website revealed what we've all been waiting for: a release date.
An unused description within the code reads as follows, and keep in mind that it's code taken from the "News" portion of the site:
"The latest news and updates for Star Wars Battlefront. Available November 17, 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC."
Obviously, it must be said that until the official word comes from Electronic Arts or EA DICE, this leak must be treated as a rumor. Though this about as official as it gets without being in a press release. It's literally coming from an official EA source, however unintended the publication of it may be. The date even lines up perfectly with standard holiday releases, as it falls on the Tuesday a week prior to Black Friday.
Let's be realistic here. Star Wars: Battlefront is going to get a huge marketing surge by coming out a month prior to Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting theaters. There is no world in which EA misses the holiday sales surge, especially considering their prior willingness to release rather broken games to make that window. Too far?
November 17 is the date to watch for Battlefront fans. Ahem, at least that's the rumor. The officially unofficial until it's official rumor. Star Wars: Battlefront is just 7 months away, everyone. Oh, and don't forget the big reveal tomorrow, which is likely to be that cinematic trailer teased in Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer from this morning.
Watch for the Star Wars: Battlefront teaser clip at the end of this Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, and make sure your annotations are on!
As ever, Australian AAA development will rise again
Australia's largest game development studio has closed today, as 2K has confirmed that their offices in Canberra are no longer open. 2K Australia, popular developers of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Freedom Force, and Tribes: Vengeance, began as a sister studio for Irrational Games. Now, however, they'll be following their old partners into dissolution. All employees at 2K Australia will be laid off in the process.
Regarding why the studio is being closed, 2K references that costs of operating at the Canberra studio were too high to continue. A source in contact with Kotaku Australia says that the initial plan was to move the studio to Melbourne where costs would assumedly be lower. However, after a number of high-profile staff left the studio as a result of the planned move, 2K ultimately decided that the only option would be closure.
2K provided a statement regarding the studio's end:
"We can confirm we have taken steps to begin the studio closure process for 2K Australia in order to better manage ongoing development costs while improving the working proximity of our creative teams. We are very grateful for the team’s valuable contributions to numerous 2K projects, and are working with affected staff to explore reassignment opportunities where possible."
2K Australia began as Irrational Canberra in the year 2000, where it began work supporting Irrational Games on projects including Freedom Force, Tribes Vengeance and SWAT 4 for various publishers. After Irrational's acquisition by Take-Two Interactive in 2006, the studio was soon renamed to 2K Australia. Despite the name change, the studio would go on to support development of the original BioShock. From there their projects included BioShock 2, BioShock Infinite, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified and finally the first solo project -- their final project -- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
Unfortunately 2K Australia will become another sad tale in Australian game development, one which includes the closure of studios including THQ Australia, Team Bondi, and Irrational Games. Let's start a Kickstarter in the hopes of Halfbrick Studios taking on new talent for a AAA, narrative-driven and cinematic Fruit Ninja.
As ever, we at Neoseeker wish the best to all of the talented developers from 2K Australia now looking for work. With luck, you'll each find a new home and project which continues to drive your passion for games within a short window of time.
Tekken, SNK, Tatsunoku, Namco and now Super Smash Bros.
A 3DS tinkerer on Reddit has uncovered something special for Super Smash Bros. fans to think about. While decrypting the code for the fighting game's latest patch, 1.05, several sound files were discovered which were previously not there. Some of these were tied to DLC characters Mewtwo and the recently revealed Lukas. In addition to these two DLC characters, two other unannounced characters also had sound files added: Ryu from Street Fighter and Fire Emblem's Super Smash Bros. veteran Roy.
Is it possible that Nintendo accidentally pushed some files tied to upcoming DLC releases? It certainly seems so. After the sound files were converted to something we could listen to outside of the game, it's hard to deny. The sound files are in fact victory tracks. As in, the songs that play when characters win a round of Super Smash Bros. The existence of these tracks implies that somewhere Nintendo is at least experimenting with making these characters playable.
I've got to flag this story as a hard rumor right now, however, as shinyquagsire23 is so far the only person able to verify the existence of the files. He is, however, confirmed to be a rather well known 3DS "tinkerer" and can be verified as such just by his Reddit comment history alone. Without some secondary sources though, I'd recommend maintaining some healthy skepticism.
Even should the decrypted data be verified from Super Smash Bros. 3DS' 1.05 patch, it's best to keep in mind that nothing is official until it comes directly from Nintendo or Capcom. That Ryu might be added to the game behind closed doors does not mean that he can't be cut and left on the development floor. Same with Roy. Maybe Nintendo will decide to rush out some DLC from the community vote, rather than these guys.
Now that we've covered our bases regarding how Ryu and Roy are just rumored characters -- how awesome would it be to get them? How crazy would that be? A Street Fighter character being added to Smash Bros. is a cross-over that I think everyone in video games can support. Not to say Roy isn't a great addition as well, but come on, he's no Ice Climbers. Hopefully we get some official confirmation from Nintendo or Capcom soon!
Our time has come again, kings and queens of the plastic guitar
Activision couldn't just stand around and let Harmonix reboot the plastic peripheral-based rhythm genre without them. Today Activision announced a reboot of the Guitar Hero franchise. Introducing Guitar Hero Live, developed by the DJ Hero studio FreeStyleGames, a modern pressing of the reset button the the guitar-playing franchise that kicked off an era of popular music games. While not reinventing the wheel, Activision is hoping Guitar Hero Live's changes will kick off a new era of music games.
Two core experiences are being advertised for Guitar Hero Live, one being the core experience of the base game and the second intended to give longevity to the experience. Let's start with the former. Guitar Hero Live is, well, live. The "single-player campaign," if we can call it that, is essentially a first-person "live-action" experience. The player will be put on stage and play in front of a "live audience." It can almost be said to be a full-motion video game, though I imagine it's a bit cleverer than that.
The second half of the Guitar Hero Live equation is the music video library, which Activision is calling the Guitar Hero TV network. It's a collection of "continually updated" official music videos spanning all sorts of genres which players will be able to play through. Examples shown include Best Days of My Life by the American Authors and Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men. This mode will include multiplayer features for local players or asymmetric leaderboards the world over.
Campaign changes and music videos are all fun and good, but let's get to the dramatic changes -- Activision is changing the guitar. Yes, the classic color-coded, 6-button guitar is changing. Guitar Hero Live's guitar will be designed to take into account for what must have been a rather large complaint -- small hands can't reach all of the buttons. With the new guitar, the buttons will be in two rows rather than just a single one. Three buttons on top of three buttons, rather than six wide. It's so simple, but so smart.
Lucky for me, I never grew tired of the Guitar Hero franchise. I was playing all the way up until the end and excited for more. It's great to have it back. I will say some of the new changes have me extra excited though. The addition of first-person sounds really fun, especially with the possibility of VR headsets coming into play down the line. I'd love to experience an actual concert experience in full 3D, but that may not become a reality just quite yet -- especially with no PC support.
Guitar Hero Live is tentatively scheduled for release in autumn later this year. Expect the plastic guitar game to come to all manner of platforms (except for PC) including PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and even mobile and tablet devices.
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It's time to make the most of your opportunity, Spiders
Spiders and Focus Home Interactive have unveiled their fourth game made in partnership in as many years. In 2012 there was Of Orcs and Men, in 2013 Mars: War Logs, in 2014 it was Bound by Flame and today we're introduced to The Technomancer. A post-apocalyptic action-RPG, The Technomancer is planned to come to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2016.
Spiders continues to hunt for their breakthrough game and there's certainly evidence that The Technomancer may be their best opportunity yet. It's an unfortunate truth that Spiders' games up to this point have been wasted potential. Both Bound by Flame and Mars: War Logs have been intriguing games and Focus has done a great job showing their appeal pre-launch. The games themselves have not kept up their part of the bargain, failing to meet expectations. If that wasn't the truth, odds are we'd be seeing a sequel instead of another new IP.
Yet The Technomancer does start off with some favorable circumstances compared to its predecessors. For one, the game will seemingly have a much longer development period. Where both Bound by Flame and Mars: War Logs were put out within a year of the game previous (or less time), The Technomancer looks to have two-years of development being invested in it. We also see Spiders won't be burdened with learning new console development for the game, nor porting it to older consoles.
Of course, the most valuable asset Spiders has gained is experience. Hopefully that experience is telling them now, because it's certainly telling me, that they've got to step up their game with The Technomancer. How many studios get the opportunity to put together four new IPs in five years? How many get gamers to keep hoping they knock it out of the park?
The Technomancer is currently planned for release in 2016 for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Expect an action-RPG likely heavily adopting the systems from Spiders' previous games taking place on a dystopian Mars. See a style of cyberpunk-meets-Fallout where technology becomes indistinct from magic, where autocratic and tribal factions meet in the midst of monstrous indigenous lifeforms. And of course you, The Technomancer, lie somewhere in the middle.
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Back in black, baby. Activision and Treyarch put out a teaser trailer today confirming the date of 2015's big Call of Duty reveal. Don't worry, they're not being obuse or having us watch a silly countdown stream. In fact, they give us the title and world reveal date straight away. Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Treyarch's third game ine the self-contained series, will debut on April 26. What time? Who knows. This is an okay way to tease a reveal. Thank you, Activision.
What's significant about this year's Call of Duty release? I'll tell you what, because I can already hear the grumpy goons saying that they're tired of annual Call of Duty and even more tired of Black Ops. This year's special though. Treyarch is now the leading Call of Duty developer working with Activision, with Sledgehammer and Infinity Ward forming up behind them. Three studios means that the franchise now gets three years to put together their game instead of two. Yes, this will be Treyarch's first Call of Duty game with three years of development behind it, as opposed to World at War and the other Black Ops titles which only had two.
Will this three-year development cycle prove significant? Dear god I hope so. It'd be great to see them get to put that much more effort into an annual franchise, making each iteration that much more unique than its predecessors. There's always the chance that that's not the case though. Maybe Activision filled up their three-year cycle with side-projects. We do know Treyarch also handles Wii and Wii U development of the other major Call of Duty titles. That may be neither here nor there.
No matter what on April 26 all eyes will be on Call of Duty: Black Ops III's website and social media. Let's hope it impresses, for all of our sakes.
It was only a matter of time, wasn't it? What with the success of Skylanders and Disney Infinity, and now Nintendo's amiibo too, how could LEGO not jump on the bandwagon? After all LEGO has partnerships with all manner of major franchises, including video games. It must have been The LEGO Movie with its "When Worlds Collide" premise that finally brought this all about. Introducing LEGO Dimensions.
LEGO Dimensions is the cross-media meeting of all of LEGO's many forms -- LEGO movies, LEGO video games, LEGO TV shows and of course the LEGO building blocks that started it all in the first place. What does that mean specifically for gamers? An all new title coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U on September 29 later this year. The game will allow players to scan certain LEGO Dimensions-branded toys into the game with a special, buildable portal.
The "Starter Pack" of the game will come bundled with everything a LEGO Dimensions newbie will need to start playing. It will include the game itself, the "LEGO Toy Pad" which allows players to scan in toys and object into the game world, bricks to build a LEGO Gateway around the toy pad, and three LEGO mini-figures compatible with LEGO Dimensions. These three characters are set and include LEGO Batman, LEGO Gandalf and Wyldstyle, co-star of The Lego Movie. Oh, and a little thing called the Batmobile is in there too.
Expect to see all sorts of characters as part of Lego Dimensions' base game story. Franchises already confirmed to be part of the fun include: Back to the Future, The Wizard of Oz, DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings, The LEGO Movie and LEGO Ninjago. Only purchased pieces will be playable in-game, however. Fans will have to buy "Level Packs," "Team Packs," and "Fun Packs" which include LEGO minifigures to scan in. Here are the currently announced figures, beyond the three included in the Starter Pack:
- Back to the Future
- Future Level Pack - LEGO Marty McFly minifigure
- LEGO Ninjago
- Team Pack - Kai and Cole minifigures
- 3 Fun Packs - Jay, Nya, and Zane minifigures (sold separately)
- DC Comics
- 2 Fun Packs - Wonder Woman and Cyborg minifigures (sold separately)
- The Lord of the Rings
- 3 Fun Packs - LEGO Gollum, LEGO Gimli and LEGO Legolas minifigures (sold separately)
- The LEGO Movie
- 4 Fun Packs - Emmet, Bad Cop, Benny, and Unikitty minifigures (sold separately)
- The Wizard of Oz
- Fun Pack - Wicked Witch of the West minifigure
More packs are planned to be announced leading up to the launch later this year and there are additional plans for more waves of expansion packs after launch and into 2016.
What's still up in the air, and probably what I'm most curious about, is pricing. Compared to Skylanders, Disney Infinity and amiibo, which all charge $10-$20 for each individual figure, I'd hope that LEGO could bring the price down tremendously for their figures. Maybe a Level Pack which includes additional in-game content might be pricier, but a Fun Pack? How great would a $2-$5 playable Wonder Woman be?
No matter the price, it's cool to see LEGO doing this. Selling LEGO kits which can be imported into a game is really cool. LEGO video games have been coming out for years, it's only appropriate that gamers get to use their LEGO figures inside of their games.
LEGO Dimensions will be available starting September 29 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U.
- Rumor: Super Smash Bros. update 1.06 hides files for Street Fighter's Ryu and Fire Emblem's Roy 
- New Nintendo 3DS gets Unity support 
- Insomniac Games sneaks out 'Slow Down, Bull' on PC today, supports Starlight Children's Foundation 
- Destiny update 1.1.2 nerfs Valus Ta'Aruc boss, already data mined for 'House of Wolves' details 
- Valve places limits on Steam accounts that don't spend money by locking most community features 
- Project CARS dated for release once more after many delays, now expected to arrive May 6 
- Mario Kart 8 to add faster 200cc racing class as free DLC alongside early DLC Pack 2 on April 23 
- Everybody's Gone to the Rapture has an unnerving new trailer, still no release date