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Final Fantasy XI Mobile is Nexon's adaptation of a long-lived MMO to portable devices

0 comments Rory Young - 8:12pm (PST) Like Share

One door closes, yet another opens

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As Square Enix announced Final Fantasy XI's final content updates and the closure of services for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360, another opportunity arises. Today the publisher and developer behind one of those most long-lived MMOs on the market announced that they've entered a partnership with Nexon... to bring Final Fantasy XI to mobile. Final Fantasy XI Mobile is planned for release in Japan, Korea, North America, and across Europe and Asia.

One does not simply port over a complex and radically gameplay intensive title like Final Fantasy to a tablet and wish players luck, however. Nexon will be completely restructuring the game optimizing features, content and combat for touch devices. Their goal is to provide a smooth experience, despite the removal of mouse and keyboard controls. 

Obviously anyone who has played Final Fantasy XI before is likely skeptical about this decision. How does such a challenging and intense MMO work on a tablet? Well, the game has existed on PlayStation 2 for years, which means the technology of modern portable devices should be able to run it without issue. The difficulty would be with combat controls and camera movement. When you're pulling an enemy who can wipe a party in a few hits, one awkward button press is the difference between life and death. I won't believe it can be done until I see Nexon's project in motion. 

Still, if somehow they can do it, it will be incredible to see 13 years of MMO made available to an entirely new audience. It'd breathe life into an MMO that may otherwise have been entering its last days. 

Final Fantasy XI Mobile is a separate and different title from the standard Final Fantasy XI. The changes made in porting the game are certain to be radical. Nevertheless, long live Final Fantasy XI.

Categories: PC Games Mobile Games
 
 

Nintendo enters the mobile game market through alliance with Japanese developer DeNA

14 comments Andy Lau - 6:06pm (PST) Like (1) Share

We knew this day was coming

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After years of speculation, Nintendo is finally bringing its beloved games and characters to the mobile platform with the help of Japanese app developer DeNA. The annoucement was made during a joint press conference, hosted by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata and DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu.

Nintendo says it will not simply port existing titles to smart devices but instead will create new games, emphasizing  the differences in controls between touch screens and gamepads. Although Iwata noted the decline in sales of the Wii U and 3DS, he says the company is still dedicated to supporting those platforms. Iwata declined to specfiy which Nintendo franchises will be going mobile.

Nintendo and DeNA will also be implementing a subscription system, spanning PCs, smartphones and Nintendo platforms. Not much is known about the upcoming service however, Iwata compared it to the recently defunct Club Nintendo Rewards program.

Nintendo and DeNA also entered a capital alliance that will have Nintendo acquire 10 percent of DeNA's stock for ¥22 billion yen, and DeNA acquiring 1.24 of Nintendo's stock for the same price. Following the announcement, Nintendo's stock skyrocketed to $18.22 per share, up 27 percent.

Categories: Mobile Games
 
 

Lost Within announced by Prey developers Human Head for iOS and Amazon devices

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

So long as there's a publisher, a proper thinking Human Head will develop any game

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Human Head has gone through quite the transition in recent years. From finding their own footing developing the Rune franchise to hitting their stride with Prey, then going on to work on titles like BioShock Infinite and Dishonored before their work on Prey 2 was shifted around and ultimately put on ice. Human Head is back in 2015 with a new game, but it's not what anyone expected. Lost Within is a survival horror title made for iOS and Amazon mobile devices.

I'll never begrudge a studio taking projects wherever they can, and it appears that for now the money for Human Head is coming from publisher Amazon Game Studios. Otherwise, I'd say it's pretty rare to see any game go out of its way to launch on Amazon devices. With the growth of VR on mobile devices, maybe the audience for core games on mobile is where there's new money. Maybe Human Head is ahead of the curve.

What matters isn't so much the platform as it is the game, of course. Lost Within looks to be first person survival horror where the player takes on the role of someone lost in an insane asylum. Cliche? Absolutely. The player will then be transported between to time-frames within the world, seeing the atrocities committed at the asylum as they occur as well as the results years later. Mostly though, judging from the trailer, it'll just result in scary looking dudes jumping out from behind doors.

Lost Within will be available spring/summer 2015 and launch on the Amazon Fire Phone, Fire Tablet, iPhone and iPad.

Categories: Mobile Games
 
 

'Atlus Mugged' trailer teases Tales from the Borderlands' March 17 launch for Episode 2

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

Kids, don't stick strange flash drives in your neural USB slots

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Rhys and Fiona have only fallen into deeper trouble after the events of Tales from the Borderlands' first episode. Episode 2: Atlus Mugged is a full week away from its March 17 release date and let's just say things aren't looking any simpler for the two adventure game protagonists. Today Telltale Games shared a teaser trailer for the next episode, and between holographic Handsome Jack, hooded assassins and the bloody indigenous life of Pandora -- people gonna die.

That's what people do, says Handsome Jack. That's what people do.

While the humorous tone of the Borderlands franchise is absolutely ingrained in every bit of Tales from the Borderlands, so is Telltale's dedication to meaningful storytelling. Rhys and Fiona are complex characters and you know that if Telltale has gone to the effort of making a game starring them, then there's a conclusion to their stories that is certain to be entertaining. Luckily the journey there should be a hell of a lot of fun. I swear though, if hologram Jack takes over someone's body so he can come back in another sequel I'm going to boycott.

Be warned, as in all Telltale games this trailer has spoilers. If you're planning on picking up Tales from the Borderlands - Episode 2: Atlus Mugged, then maybe wait for March 17? Or dive right in, because this is a tasty appetizer.

 
 

Hearthstone goes adventuring in Blackrock Mountain, 31 cards to be added

5 comments Rory Young - 2:40pm (PST) Like Share

First came Naxxramus and now Blackrock Mountain awaits

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Blizzard seems to be settling into a pattern of content releases for their awesome card game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The first major content release after launch was the Curse of Naxxramus adventure, then came the full Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion, and now we've come full circle with Blizzard's second adventure mode. Over the weekend Blizzard unveiled Blackrock Mountain. Pre-orders for the adventure start March 19, with the release date as yet unannounced.

The adventure add-on will mirror Curse of Naxxramus in many ways. The expansion will be split into five "Wings" which will initially be released one  at a time, one each week for five weeks straight. Each wing will be set in a different zone within Blackrock Mountain, featuring bosses thematically tied to their wing and holding unique cards to prove it. Only by fighting through each wing will players unlock the all-new cards that are part of Blackrock Mountain -- 31 in total.

Only a handful of cards have yet been revealed by Blizzard, but a trend is already emerging. Of the five cards shown, two are Dark Iron Dwarves, two provide buffs for holding a Dragon, and one is  a Dragon. The Grim Patron is my favorite, a 3/3 Dark Iron Dwarf that summons another Grim Patron if it survives taking damage. Everyone who has gone through Blackrock Mountain in World of Warcraft might remember fighting a few (or many) grim patrons before.

Other additions include tthe return of Class Challenges, nine of which are included in Blackrock Mountain and each rewarding a class-specific card upon completion. Each Wing in the adventure will also come with a "Heroic Mode" now as well. After finishing the win one time around, players can take on the Heroic Mode. Expect even well-traveled Hearthstone players to have difficulties with this high-difficulty challenge.

Then of course there's pricing. Each Wing of Blackrock Mountain will cost either 700 gold or $6.99 individually. However, as with Naxxramus there will also be bundles available which will offer a bit of a discount. No type of purchase will make the Wings come out any faster than their one-wing-a-week schedule. No type of purchase will unlock cards for a player automatically. Buying a bundle of wings will drop the price by $2 per wing, or $5 each -- all five will be $24.99.

Pre-orders will begin for Hearthstone's Blackrock Mountain adventure expansion on March 17, with pre-orderers receiving a special molten cardback for being fans. No official release date has yet been announced. Check out pricing details and the pre-order cardback in the header image, as well as the five revealed cards in the gallery of this post.

 



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Categories: PC Games Mobile Games
 
 

Game Freak and Sega collaboration reveal teased for March 11, dinos, elephants, and hand grenades

25 comments Rory Young - 3:10am (PST) Like Share

Anything Game Freak can put together is magical in my book

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RPG Site has received a postcard from Sega and Game Freak... err, Sega and Game Freak? Apparently Game Freak, developers of Pokemon and HarmoKnight, and Sega, the publisher who has recently declared their dedication to the mobile platform, are collaborating on a secret project. Back to this postcard -- the text on the front implies a March 11, 2015 reveal date for the project.

That's not all that's on the postcard, however. Hidden on the edge of each side is what can only be described as bits of cartoon animals. On one side is the tail end of a dinosaur, wearing a belt with a bag attached. On the bag is an emblem of a peanut. On the other side we see the trunk of what's clearly an elephant, picking up a peanut from a bread crumb trail of them. However, one of the peanuts has been replaced by a grenade. What all could it mean?

March 11 will answer our mystery, I believe, but until then I'll provide a bit of speculation. Sega's involvement heavily implies that the game, whatever it may be, is mobile. The fact that RPG Site received it could imply some sort of small RPG experience, or it could just be a coincidence in that Pokemon is an RPG and the site has covered that so they might cover this. That's all! I have no gameplay speculation. Warring dinosaurs against warring elephants? A strategy game with little soldier animal units? We'll see.

 
 

Game of Thrones - Ep. 2: The Lost Lords heralds the coming of more ice and blood, Feb. 3 is launch day

6 comments Rory Young - 6:47pm (PST) Like Share

Step one: kill everyone; step 2: kill everyone else

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Telltale Games' take on Game of Thrones continues with the release of Episode 2: The Lost Lords starting February 3. The first episode in the six episode series was very well regarded, with Telltale shifting the direction of their adventure games to include several protagonists. No longer is the player solely focused on the consequences of their decisions for just a single character, but rather for half of a dozen now. The Lost Lords will push that even further, where each choice sends out waves to change the lives of those even far away.

Today sees the release of the launch trailer for Ep. 2: The Lost Lords, showing off some of the tension-building content found within. Everyone hopefully understands that this trailer is thick with spoilers, both for the first episode of Game of Thrones and of course the second episode where the content of the trailer is actually coming from. Don't even start the video, as someone's face alone could spoil whether they have lived or died through the events up to that point.

By now everyone should understand that everyone dies in Game of Thrones anyway, so maybe spoilers are a moot point.

Now that the folk who are avoiding spoilers should be gone, it's safe to say that yet again we're teased with appearances from stars of the Game of Thrones television show in this episode. Tyrion Lannister makes another appearance, as well as Jon Snow up on the wall. Maybe there's another or two, but the faces aren't as immediately noticible as these specific two. At least we can trust those few won't die, right?

Rejoin the story of the Forresters when Game of Thrones - Episode 2: The Lost Lords is released on February 3 for the PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 3. The episode will then come to Xbox One and Xbox 360 and February 4. Finally, it'll arrive on iOS and Android devices February 5.

 
 

Sid Meier's Starships announced for a spring 2015 release, Firaxis' next turn-based strategy release

2 comments Rory Young - 2:30pm (PST) Like Share

Off of the planet and out into space, we go

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It seems that instead of expanding on Civilization: Beyond Earth, Firaxis has a new direction they'd like to go in. Today the strategy game developer announced a new project, Sid Meier's Starships. As expected, it's a turn-based strategy game, but instead of taking place on a colonized planet it will bet in... SPACE. Players will control a fleet of spaceships, moving from planet to planet and meeting all obstacles head-on, ultimately building a confederation of planets.

Sid Meier mentions that he sees Starships as the natural evolution of Beyond Earth, seeing humanity take to the stars after colonizing a new planet:

"When designing Starships, I was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of Civilization: Beyond Earth. What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars? What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth? My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration."

There are a couple of notable things here to say after this quote. First, it's weird that Sid Meier is tying Starships to Beyond Earth, yet Starships is not a Civilization title. Yeah, I didn't notice the lack of a Civilization in front of Starships at first either, but now that I see it it's kind of confusing. Second, Starships is planned for release in early 2015. That's less than half of a year after the launch of Beyond Earth.

To extrapolate on this point a bit, there are a couple of thought I've had. Starships probably isn't going to be a game as big as Beyond Earth. That's just a matter of fact -- the team hasn't had as much development time on this project, unless they worked on it side-by-side with Beyond Earth. Perhaps we're looking at a Revolution-sized game instead. That could mean this is a more mobile-focused game, as it is announced for iPad.

Here's a bit of curiosity/speculation: does this mean we won't be seeing expansion content for Beyond Earth? If Firaxis is focused on putting out Starships, on moving out past the planetary colonization and onto building confederations of planets, it would seem to be so. I'm more surprised at this than disappointed. Beyond Earth wasn't a ground shaker, but expansions are easier to develop and Firaxis fans would be sure to pick it up.

Ready or not, Sid Meier's Starships is on its way to an "early 2015" launch on PC, Mac and iPad. 

 

Categories: PC Games Mobile Games
 
 

Polls open in Neoseeker's Official Community Game of the Year 2014 Awards, vote now!

47 comments Rory Young - 5:22pm (PST) Like Share

The best awards... ever

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Nominations have come and gone for Neoseeker's official Community Game of the Year 2014 Awards. That means that while the games nominated in each category cannot be changed at this point (you should have put your nominations in), you can now instead help decide which game wins each very, very prestigious award. Today we're starting the official vote to decide Neoseeker's Community Game of the Year 2014 award winners.

In order to vote, you'll need to go through the following categories and edit them down to just the category and a single nominee. I'd recommend copying the entirety of this list into a comment/post and just cutting out the nominees you don't want to win, but if folk have a more efficient method than that then by all means. Also, don't feel like you have to vote in every single category. If all you want to vote for is Game of the Year, then feel free to do that. Only votes in this post/forum thread will count towards the final tally.

All I can say is that while it may seem like a pain in the butt, just imagine what will happen if you don't vote at all and Pokemon just wins everything. Can you live in that world?I know I couldn't. Please take the time and vote and make sure your voice is heard in the Official Neoseeker Community Game of the Year 2014 Awards. They only happen once a year.

Fine Text: Only Neoseeker accounts made prior to the date of this post's publication and with at least 10 post count may vote. Voting will end at midnight PST on Sunday, January 18.

GAME OF THE YEAR

  • Bayonetta 2
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
  • Dark Souls II
  • Destiny
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • Shovel Knight
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth
  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U
  • Transistor
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order

ACHIEVEMENT

Best Original Game of the Year

  • Bravely Default
  • Child of Light
  • Crossy Road
  • Destiny
  • Shovel Knight

Best Visuals of the Year

  • Assassin's Creed Unity
  • Child of Light
  • Destiny
  • Far Cry 4
  • Transistor

Best Story of the Year

  • Child of Light
  • Dark Souls II
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
  • Transistor
  • The Wolf Among Us

Best Music of the Year

  • Hyrule Warriors
  • Persona Q
  • Pokemon Omega Ruby/Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U
  • Transistor

Best Multiplayer of the Year

  • Dark Souls II
  • Destiny
  • Mario Kart 8
  • Sportsfriends
  • Titanfall

GENRE

Best Action Game of the Year

  • Bayonetta 2
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • Hyrule Warriors
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Transistor

Best Adventure Game of the Year

  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
  • Dreamfall Chapters
  • The Walking Dead: Season 2
  • The Wolf Among Us

Best Platformer of the Year

  • Child of Light
  • LittleBigPlanet 3
  • Never Alone
  • Shovel Knight

Best RPG of the Year

  • Bravely Default
  • Dark Souls II
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
  • Pokemon Omega Ruby/Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth

Best Shooter of the Year

  • Destiny
  • Far Cry 4
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
  • Titanfall
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order

Best Horror Game of the Year

  • Alien: Isolation
  • The Evil Within
  • Five Nights at Freddy's
  • P.T.

Best Fighting Game of the Year

  • BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma
  • Killer Instinct: Season 2
  • Persona 4
  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U
  • WWE 2K15

Best Racing Game of the Year

  • Drive Club
  • F1 2014
  • Forza Horizon 2
  • Mario Kart 8

Best Sports Game of the Year

  • FIFA 15
  • Football Manager 2015
  • The Golf Club
  • NBA 2K15

Best Puzzle Game of the Year

  • BattleBlock Theater (PC)
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
  • Ether One
  • Hitman GO
  • Peggle 2

BONUS

Most Anticipated Game of 2015

  • Evolve
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X

Favorite Character of the Year

  • Bayonetta (Bayonetta 2)
  • Butters (South Park: The Stick of Truth)
  • Iron Bull (Dragon Age: Inquisition)
  • Tekla (Wolfenstein: The New Order)
  • The Transistor, AKA "Subject Not Found" (Transistor)

Most Disappointing Game of the Year

  • Destiny
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • Thief
  • Watch Dogs
  • The Wolf Among Us
 
 

Neoseeker's Game of the Year 2014 Nominee Spotlight: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

5 comments Rory Young - 3:59am (PST) Like (1) Share (1)

Just wait until Hearthstone is playable inside World of Warcraft

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Neoseeker is celebrating 2014 by spotlighting its Game of the Year nominees one at a time. After each of the ten nominees has been revealed, the final award will be announced along with a podcast of the decision-making process. Join in the discussion, speculate on the nominees, and subtly persuade the editorial team which game deserves Neoseeker's highest award.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, despite its pedigree and outrageous success, is one of the titles that only just snuck into our Game of the Year nominees. Sadly, none of our team is frankly interested in diving into the free-to-play burn of a TCG -- as untraditional as Hearthstone is in that regard. Yet after much consideration there's no doubt in our minds that this card game deserved to be here. There's just nothing else like it, and that's just the simplest of reasons for why it's hugely successful and only growing in popularity.

The greatness of Hearthstone comes from its approachability, especially considering that we're talking about a collectible card game here. A new wave of World of Warcraft and free-to-play game players are able to jump into Hearthstone in a way they'd never have been able to do with Magic: The Gathering. Then, which I'm assuming is all part of Blizzard's master plan, is that Hearthstone is a perfect game to watch on Twitch. Whether it's a casual streamer or one of Blizzard's huge competitions, Hearthstone is fun to watch. I may have little drive to play Hearthstone every day, but I'm more than willing to watch more experienced do it instead.

I give Hearthstone a lot of crap, but really there's no way to deny that the game's core experience is brilliantly designed. Having multiple "classes" each with their own exclusive cards and complicated metas is immeasurably complicated. Yet somehow Blizzard keeps things incredibly fair. Blizzard's said that all classes when played by Master-tier players trend towards 48-52% win-rates -- when considering both playing first and second, at least. If Hearthstone was at all unbalanced, it simply wouldn't be successful.

Why Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft?

  • Card Gone Wild: If Blizzard had settled for just another trading card game, like say the World of Warcraft TCG, it would never have achieved the success that Hearthstone has found. What Blizzard did with Hearthstone is create the smartest visual experience a TCG has ever achieved in the video game space. The way the cards sit on the board, the way they animate through attacks or abilities, and even how the board itself is interactive all contributes to Blizzard's innovative efforts to bring a TCG into our medium.
  • Arena: Set aside any thoughts on Hearthstone's meta, balance or general gameplay, because there's one aspect that in our minds is infallible. Arena mode, where players builds a deck from largely randomized selection pools and then thrusts it into the arena to compete against players with similarly built decks for increasing rewards. Okay, so free-to-play mechanics prevent most players from playing Arena endlessly, which is crap, but that doesn't change that Arena is the best way to experience Hearthstone.
  • Blizzard's Touch: It's good to be the king. Hearthstone is a game that only Blizzard could produce, which I'm sure is something they had in mind. It's a wholly online game requiring huge a huge server foundation and a reliable player support team. More than that however, Blizzard's able to constantly maintain Hearthstone with bug fixes and balance changes at their own pace. That's not even mentioning their two huge content updates, Curse of Naxxramus and Gnomes vs. Goblins, released less than a year after Hearthstone's launch.

Somehow, yet again, Blizzard has managed to create a game unlike anything they've done previously and turn it into an outrageous success. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft may only have snuck onto our Game of the Year list in 2014, but that won't stop it from being hugely successful in 2015, 2016, and likely on for years to come. Something no other game on our list of nominees can believably claim. Hearthstone's excellence is unquestionable.

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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