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News articles search results of Rory Young

Battlefield Hardline delayed into 2015, further work on "multiplayer innovation" and "stability" cited

3 comments Rory Young - 5:07pm (PST) Like Share

I can't even blame them, looking at how packed October is already

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Coming out of E3's big Battlefield Hardline reveal, somewhat spoiled by early leaks, Visceral Games and EA decided to measure fan support by launching a beta. The beta, well, it could have gone better. Do to ongoing issues with Battlefield 4 and a Hardline beta that was found lacking in new gameplay experiences, fans let EA and Visceral know their thoughts. That's putting it lightly. It seems, however, that EA was listening. Battlefield Hardline has now been delayed from October 21 into 2015.

In a letter to the community, DICE VP Karl Magnus Troedsson said that the delay is a direct result of the community's response to the Battlefield Hardline beta:

"Back at E3, we launched a beta for Hardline — we wanted to not only show you the game, but to let you play it for yourselves. Millions of you jumped in and had a great time. As a result, the Visceral Games team learned a lot from players about what they wanted in the game. We’ve been pouring over the data and feedback, and have already been putting a lot of it right into the game and sharing it directly with you.

This feedback also spurred us to start thinking about other possibilities and ways we could push Hardline innovation further and make the game even better. The more we thought about these ideas, the more we knew we had to get them into the game you will all be playing. However, there was only one problem. We would need more time. Time that we didn’t have if we decided to move forward with launching in just a couple of months."

This comes as a rather surprising and mature decision from a company who has had its fair share of decisions made in direct contradiction to fan requests. I don't think there's a single Battlefield player at this point who will be disappointed in the next release being pushed back in order to make a better, more polished experience. That's especially true if it means the current Battlefield will thus get more attention with regards to patching.

Three specific areas were cited by Karl regarding what Visceral and DICE want to work on before they're happy with Battlefield Hardline being released to the public. They do have a shortlist of specific changes that they've either already addressed or are planning to address, but these three pillars are much larger in scale. That also means they're less concrete in terms of what exactly will be changed/added.

These three pillars are:

  • Multiplayer Innovation
  • Single Player Story Depth
  • Stability

With regards to each pillar: Karl says that they plan on implementing ideas direct from the community with regards to additional  new feature ideas, but whether they'll truly be innovative is another matter entirely; specifically, Karl wants to support a "deeper 'crime revenge' story experience" in their single-player campaign; stability is as stabilitty does, so when Karl says the team has learned from Battlefield 4 all one can really say is, "Prove it."

When a developer says they need more time to make their game better, they are always right. If there's an instance in development history where someone's sayd, "We need more time to make this game better," and then it turned out worse, then it's a unicorn among the herd. Battlefield Hardline will be better in 2015 than it would have been in October 2014, and that's all that matters.


Assassin's Creed Unity's first 'Experience' trailer lays the hyperbole on thick, still looks great

0 comments Rory Young - 12:18pm (PST) Like Share

Notre Dame shall be climbed and conquered, it must be so

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Perhaps it would be best to turn the audio entirely off and enjoy this Assassin's Creed Unity trailer, titled "Experience" and listed as the first in a series, to its full potential. I say that not because the music and sound effects of the trailer are low-quality, they're actually as impressive as ever, but because Creative Director Alex Amancio lays on the hyperbole like Nutella on white bread. It's thick. If your game didn't look amazing, Alex, I just might hold it against you.

The "Experience" trailer does a great job of showing various ways in which Assassin's Creed Unity has evolved on the experience provided in its predecessors. Shown in the video are examples of the tools Ubisoft uses to build cities and some of the resulting architecture. Lighting and ambient effects like fog and shadowing are also clearly improved. Everything has been touched up, from crowd animations and intelligence, to the parkour and fighting skills of each assassin.

Alex's commentary, however, seems more focused on describing a game bigger than life. "Unlocking a new era of gaming," is an actual description he uses for his game. Hell, I'm all for building hype, Alex, but let's keep things in perspective here. Much of what's being shown isn't a drastic improvement over Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, so let's not pretend Unity is breaking any ground. I'd love to know the specifics of what Ubisoft wants to improve. I think a lot of gamers would find more value in those specifics as opposed to generalities and hyperbole.

All that aside, the gameplay in the trailer look awesome. I love the way that the assassin parkour is looking, what with the leaping from buildings and then picking up the trailblazing half-way down the side of a building. The crowd beating on soldiers with household items looked rather fake, but it's still a fun way of letting the crowd be more involved in the environment. Also, dear god, did everyone see Notre Dame? It looks... so beautiful. I want to climb that building forever.

Assassin's Creed Unity is planned for release on October 28 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox One and PC.


Dance Central Spotlight takes the stage Sep. 2, $9.99 with 10 songs exclusively on Xbox One

8 comments Rory Young - 10:26am (PST) Like Share

Perfect for those like myself who only dance alone in the dark

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Dance Central should be well known among Xbox owners these days. Harmonix alone has created a justification for the Kinect technology that Microsoft has pushed as hugely important peripheral for their consoles. Starting September 2 Dance Central will be making the leap to the Xbox One, sadly too late to help Microsoft continue to justify bundling the Kinect 2.0 with the console. It's too bad, because yet again with Dance Central Spotlight Harmonix looks to have created another game based entirely around actual real-life body movements. I think they call it dancing.

With Dance Central Spotlight Harmonix will be trying something new. Oh, the gameplay will still be just like fans of the franchise will recall. The difference will be in pricing and how gamers can pick the title up. See, Dance Central Spotlight will be a digital-only release that costs a mere $9.99. It's clear that Harmonix is hoping to get as many gamers in the through the front door without requiring a huge expense. Dancing is for everyone, and now it's super cheap too.

That $9.99 digital release will come packaged with 10 songs for players to dance to. Not exactly a full-price title's library of music, but for $9.99... to get a full product and 10 hit song? That's a pretty great deal. I wouldn't be surprised if Harmonix is taking a hit on development costs with that price, just in the hope of people buying DLC down the line.

Here are the 10 songs that will be packaged in with the $9.99 digital release of Dance Central Spotlight:

  • Avicii –  "Wake Me Up" 
  • Cher Lloyd – "I Wish"
  • David Guetta ft. Sia "Titanium"
  • Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz – "Talk Dirty"
  • Kid Ink ft. Chris Brown – "Show Me"
  • Lorde – “Royals”
  • OneRepublic – "Counting Stars"
  • Pharrell Williams – "Happy" 
  • Rihanna – “Diamonds”
  • ft. Justin Bieber – "#thatPOWER"

Beyond that, more than 50 additional songs will be available on the Dance Central Spotlight "Music Store" on release date. Pricing for individual songs has yet to be announced. 

Dance Central Spotlight will be available starting September 2 as a digital-only release for the cost of $9.99, exclusively on Xbox One. The game will include the 10 songs listed above and then further music can be bought at DLC through the game's music store. Looking for a great reason to keep your Kinect on Xbox One? This is it.


Warframe's Update 14 goes live, Mirage Warframe just the start of Digital Extremes' largest update yet

5 comments Rory Young - 1:12pm (PST) Like (2) Share

The amount of content in Update 14 is no mirage

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Warframe's success is both well deserved and yet surprising too. While the PC release of the game is certainly well-received, the fact that Warframe was one of, if not the first free-to-play title on PlayStation 4 certainly helped elevate to free-to-play shooter to another level entirely. As a result of their success with Warframe, Digital Extremes can continue to produce a bevy of great free content. Today marks the release of Update 14, Warframe's largest update yet.

The most striking difference in Warframe will be most felt by players who won't even realize a change has been made -- new players. A new quest has been created to introduce players to the game and guide them through their first steps with their Warframe of choice. The new player experience will be compounded with a reimagined user interface and menus. These reworks will create a new class of Warframe players who have started the game with an entirely new experience compared to veterans.

Veterans and newbies alike will enjoy the user interface and menus rework, but that's not where the boons stop. All players will also now have their own personal spacecraft to make their own. The Liset, as it's called, can even be upgraded with various components and systems to make it a core part of every player's journey in Warframe (complete the quest "Vor's Prize" to gain access to spacecraft customization).

That's only scratching the surface of the Warframe Update 14 content. From here, things start to get out of hand:

  • Kubrow Pet - A new quest lets players collect a Kubrow egg, which they can bring back to their ship to raise. Depending on how the Kubrow is cared for it can become effective in combat in various different ways.
  • Mirage Warframe - This new Warframe excels at illusion and deception, summoning clones, creating traps, and using light and darkness in the environment to enhance her abilities.
  • Replayable Quests - A selection of replayable quests with unlockable difficulties will now be available (opens after the completion of the "Vor's Prize" quest).
  • Dark Sectors Multiplayer - Replacing the Solar Rails PvP mode, Dark Sectors is an objective-based team multiplayer match featuring up to four players against four players. 
  • Akzani, Silva and Aegis Weapons - Two new weapons are now available. The Azkani is the Mirage Warframe's preferred weapon, a set of dual pistoals that are fast firing. The Silva and Aegis weapon feature a sword and shield for melee players that like to get into the fight and stay there.
  • Additional Game Mode - Hive Sabotage, Exterminate and Survival game modes have been added due to the Infested overtaking Eris.

To summarize, while there's a bunch of new content designed to help new players get used to Warframe, there's even more content being added just for veterans to continue their adventures in. Weapons, a new Warframe, more quests, and plenty of game modes and even multiplayer. Update 14 has something for every kind of player.

Warframe is now available on PlayStation 4 and PC. It's free-to-play, so if third-person shooters set in sci-fi settings with insense melee and ranged action are your thing... who am I kidding? Warframe should be everyone's thing.


Goblin assassin and thief, 'Styx: Master of Shadows' has a summer story trailer to share

1 comments Rory Young - 10:53am (PST) Like Share

Someone tell Styx he needs to brood more and look sultry

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From Cyanide, the same studio behind Of Orcs and Men, comes a  game that aims to do Thief better than Thief. Introducing Styx: Master of Shadows, which is both his name and the title of his game. Styx is a goblin, obviously, but more than that he's a master thief as well as an assassin. His small stature allows him to sneak  and crawl into assorted places that Garret's large frame never would. Also, his barf is poison. Check out Styx's summer story trailer, released just this morning.

Styx: Master of Shadows is one of those games that slipped past my attention, and likely the attentions of many other gamers as well. Publisher Focus Home Entertainment does well for one of the "small guys," but with small studios and unknown IPs it's a bit like fighting against the tide. Still, Styx is a game following in the footsteps of another big release of the year, it looks very solid visually, and it adds a lot of fun mechanics. Plus, you have to support a game that casts a goblin as its protagonist. You just have to.

The other piece of the pie, story, may be Styx's weak point. Despite the trailer and its tendency to throw around fancy concepts like the world tree, amber, the myth of goblins and so on, I have no idea what's going on in this game. Who is Styx, what is he fighting for, and why should I care? What is this labyrinthine castle and why does it all look the same? I think Focus Home Interactive have a lot of work establishing what this game is, beyond something aping Thief.

Styx: Master of Shadows is slated for launch in September for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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Destiny's PlayStation beta is live, let's livestream some PS4 impressions [Update: Stream Over]

0 comments Rory Young - 9:36pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Embargo is up! Let's play some Destiny

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The Destiny beta has officially started for PlayStation gamers and I have done a poor job of clearing my schedule to play. Let's see, I've still got sleep marked down for every day of the beta, so that will have to be the first thing to go. Destiny's beta on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 won't last forever so I can't waste time now. 

Don't stress too much, Xbox fans. The beta will be coming to Microsoft's platforms before too long, too. Expect the Xbox beta to begin on July 23. Both bets will be closing at the same time though, so hopefully everyone's had their fill by July 26. Yes, yes, PlayStation folk have more beta time, because Activision has some sort of fancy deal with Sony, but it's not really too severe. The PlayStation beta will be down on July 21 and 22, so really PlayStation gamers only have about four days extra over the Xbox fans. When Destiny launches on all platforms September 9, all will be fair.

However, not many people care to wait that long to see what Destiny is all about, plus there are some folk who are still on the fence over whether Destiny is worth picking up at all. That's why tonight I'm going to livestream some early impressions of the beta. I'm not a particularly hardcore console shooter player or anything, though I do love my RPG and cooperative mechanics, so it should be a good measuring point for all sorts of gamers to see whether Destiny is their style.

I will say that I did play in the Destiny alpha some time ago and enjoyed myself very much, despite the relatively contained amount of content. I expect to be similarly in love with the beta. Don't let that fool you into thinking this stream/early impressions will be all lovey dovey and free PR though, because I couldn't not be critical if I wanted to. That is to say, without the slang, that I will be speaking my mind and laying it straight. Destiny's not a perfect game, so it's best to know what's good and what's bad before you put down $60, or $90, or what was it... $150 for the Ghost Edition? Too rich for my blood.

Have fun and please join in on my chat. My name's Rory, but you can call me bluexy if that fits your fancy. I hope you enjoy Destiny as much as I'm going to.


Fatal Frame: The Black Haired Shrine Maiden announced for Wii U, pictures last forever

9 comments Rory Young - 2:38pm (PST) Like Share

Is that Dagger from Final Fantasy IX?

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What happens when you mix Japanese anime sensibilities with classic Japanese horror stories and then make a game out of them on the Wii U? Why, Fatal Frame, of course. It's long been theorized that another Fatal Frame title on the Wii U was inevitable, seeing as the GamePad's touch-screen would work so well with the franchise's reliance on viewing the world through a camera. Fatal Frame: The Black Haired Shrine Maiden is just that title, coming to Japanese Wii Us starting September 27.

The latest Fatal Frame's protagonist just so happens to be a young girl with a special and terrible power. She's able to draw the dead out of the spiritual world, where they're unseen, and into reality. As befits the brand, somehow a camera is able to help our protagonist discover these spiritual beings, as well as protect her from harm. It all adds up to scary ghosts doing violent things, while the game forces the player to not look away by forcing them to use the camera to protect themselves.

As for the setting, our protagonist, due to her abilities, is sent to a mountain with obvious, erm, ghost problems. There are graves and haunted shrines, as well as a big lake and lots of streams and damp areas. Apparently this abundance of water is a theme in the game, either for story purposes or just to get the protagonist and her sheer clothing wet. Japanese game, folk. Prepare for some mild perversion.

My personal issue with the game is the platform preference. Don't get me wrong, because I think the Wii U and its GamePad are perfect for Fatal Frame. What I'm worried about what kind of success Fatal Frame will find on the platform. Will it be cheaply made? Did Koei Tecmo make it around the Wii U's launch and then just sit on it due to the platform's lackluster sales? I'm kind of afraid this game will be terrible.

Fatal Frame: The Black Haired Shrine Maiden is planned for release in Japan on September 27. No plans to localize the game elsewhere in the world have yet to be announced.


Microsoft closing Xbox video programming studio as part of 18,000 layoff restructuring

7 comments Rory Young - 1:50pm (PST) Like Share

No announcements regarding changes to in-development games

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Microsoft announced today their planned restructuring that will lead to as many or more than 18,000 layoffs. While the breadth of the layoffs is quite obviously wide, it's unclear how the restructuring will directly effect the Xbox division of the company. One Xbox studio, however, has already reportedly been slated for closure. Xbox Entertainment Studios, started in 2012 to produce gaming-related video programming, and its 200 employees will soon no longer be a part of Microsoft.

IGN is reporting that Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, has confirmed the studio's closure himself:

"As part of the planned reduction to our overall workforce announced today and in light of our organization’s mission, we plan to streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox. One such plan is that, in the coming months, we expect to close Xbox Entertainment Studios."

Oddly enough,  Spencer confirmed that several Xbox Entertainment Studios executives will be staying on with Microsoft despite the studio's closure. This includes Nancy Tellem, the studio's President, who will be retained and "remain committed to to original programming already in production." Both Halo TV, Steven Spielberg's production, and Halo: Nightfall will continue development.

Few of the studio's productions every had the opportunity to come to life. Their documentary regarding the great gaming crash of 1983 was certainly the most notable project, in which the company dug up a portion of the desert in search of buried E.T. cartridges. Other productions included bringing the Call of Duty Championship, Miss Teen USA and the VGX awards to Xbox Live. What other projects lay in store will likely never come to light.

The only other mention of how the restructuring will effect Xbox was Spencer stating that, "we plan to streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox." That is to say, that he said very little on the subject. Expect to know more as soon as we do.

Our thoughts go out to all Microsoft employees affected by today's announced layoffs. Let's hope each will be back working on a project they're passionate about before long.


The Walking Dead: Season 2's fourth episode, 'Amid the Ruins,' available starting July 22

2 comments Rory Young - 12:24pm (PST) Like Share

If you aren't caught up, then stay far away

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Telltale Games is very, very busy. They've just wrapped up The Wolf Among Us with one heck of a season finale, they're hard at work on Tales from the Borderlands on top of early work for Game of Thrones, and now here they are preparing to release the penultimate episode of their flagship adventure game's second season. Starting July 22 The Walking Dead: Season 2's fourth episode, Amid the Ruins, will be released. How does Telltale still have the energy to even wake up in the morning?

Let's all be honest here. Everything we could say about The Walking Dead up to this point would be a huge spoiler. This game is all about stuff happening and mentioning even one of those happenings would be unfair to the rest of those happenings. Many of those happenings are even directly referenced in the trailer for Amid the Ruins. That means that if you're not caught up on The Walking Dead, don't even be here, yo. Go and play the game already!

Amid Ruins, The Walking Dead: Season 2's fourth episode, will release on PC world-wide and PlayStation 3, PS Vita in North America starting July 22. On July 23 the episode will be released on Xbox 360 and on the PlayStation platforms in Europe. Finally, it will be available on iOS on July 24. The stand-alone episode will cost $4.99, though it can also be acquired via the full-season pass.


Persona 4 Arena Ultimax's eighth new character is Marie, Persona 4 Golden's 'Aeon' link

4 comments Rory Young - 9:33am (PST) Like (1) Share

More characters are still expected to be announced!

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Another day, another Persona 4 Arena Ultimax  reveal, bringing the total amount of all new characters to eight. Everyone put your hands together for Marie, the Persona 4 Golden exclusive character who helps the protagonist reveal the power of the Aeon Arcana. Of course, Marie is also included on Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, but what Persona character isn't?

Marie has been revealed over at the official Famitsu website, which should explain the watermarks on each of the images we're featuring in this story. While the initial details for what kind of fighter she'll be are quite lost in translation, I believe she's described as an elusive, technique-focused character. That is, she controls the space around her with unique abilities, including pulling junk out of her bag.

Beware Marie going full Kusumi-no-Okami on an opponent. Beware the fog, beware the fog!

Unfortunately, it seems like Marie won't be included with the game, instead released as DLC post-release. At least, that's what it says for the Japanese release of Ultimax. Who knows what will be in store for the North American launch. In store. Get it? It's DLC. Ha!

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is planned for release on September 30 in North America, following up the Japanese release on August 28. One month for full localization is pretty solid! The fighting game will be coming to both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 -- no PS4 or XONE, unfortunately. Or, players can probably fly over to Japan and play the arcade version of the game right now. It's been out since 2013, though likely without all of these great new characters.

Here's one of the latest Japanese trailers for Ultimax, which covers a lot of the features to be included in the game.

Thanks to Rabla for the tip! Check out his thread for a more in-depth look at Marie's reveal.

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