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Marvel and Telltale partner with plans for a first game in 2017, focus on storytelling

8 comments Rory Young - 5:34pm (PST) Like Share

Please don't be Howard the Duck, please don't be Howard the Duck

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As if Telltale wasn't getting around enough already, today at an event in San Francisco Marvel announced a partnership with the adventure game developer. The wording around the announcement implies that Telltale will be working on multiple games across multiple Marvel properties. The first of these games will be released in 2017, but any further details were held back.

Other early details from the event involve Marvel Games creative director Bill Roseman describing his goal of helping to create authentic games that are both "exquisite" and "sexy." Peter Phillips, executive VP and general manager of interactive and digital distribution described how Marvel is focused on storytelling. To sum up, a lot of Microsoft executives said a lot of boring marketing schlock with very little value, perhaps implying they had no idea what a partnership with Telltale really meant.

So, we must make some assumptions on our own. First is that we won't be seeing any Marvel adventure games until 2017 because Telltale has such a large back-log. With The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones performing so well, Tales from the Borderlands building an audience and an upcoming Minecraft game in the works, Telltale's freakin' set. They have to be very happy both creatively and business-wise. Either Telltale would have to drop some of those properties to make way for Marvel, which is doubtful, or they've got some expanding to do. That in itself would explain the 2017 release window for a first game.

The second thing we can assume is that Telltale's Marvel games will continue to be adventure titles. Not only is Telltale getting no room to breathe and iterate on their gameplay, but the reason they're bagging these huge partnerships is because properties like Marvel and Game of Thrones like what they're already doing. And why not -- I'd personally love a Spider-Man, X-Men, or Avengers story in adventure game format.

Expect more information on Marvel and Telltale's partnership in the months to come -- maybe not even until 2016. Let's focus on getting Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands out this year, right guys?

 
 

Blizzard to attend Gamescom 2015 with over 500 game stations, including Overwatch

2 comments Andy Lau - 3:47pm (PST) Like Share

Overwatch will be playable for the first time in Europe

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Blizzard will be attending this year's Gamescom in August with its largest exhibition in the history of the convention. With three upcoming games and others receiving recent updates, Blizzard is going to be showcasing just about every one of their current titles, from Overwatch to StarCraft II.

Attendees will have more than 500 game stations at their disposal to see what Blizzard has to offer, and this will be the first time European fans have a chance to play the highly anticipated team shooter Overwatch. The game was first revealed at BlizzCon 2014 and made playable for the public at PAX East this past February. Heroes of the Storm, which will be released June 2, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor will also have playable booths. Legacy of the Void will likely still be in its beta phase during Gamescom, as Blizzard previously stated it expects a longer testing period for this release.

Blizzard will also be hosting competitive matches, live entertainment, costume contests and other activies at the convention. Announcements regarding the five games featured are also expected. Gamescom 2015 will take place at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany August 5-9.

Categories: PC Games Mobile Games
 
 

Warhammer 40,000: Regicide's haunting opening cinematic seems more than the chess game deserves

2 comments Rory Young - 12:46pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Games Workshop sure knows how to make a cinematic trailer, at least

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Warhammer 40,000: Regicide is a chess-based strategy game. It takes place on an 8x8 grid and is heavily inspired by chess movements, though with an added layer of tactical combat more akin to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Regicide is coming to both PC and mobile devices, which is to say it shouldn't be considered of the same scale as other Warhammer titles like Space Marine and Dawn of War. Enter Regicide's "Campaign Opening Cinematic."

The cinematic trailer focuses on one A. Karthus, a soldier of some sort who has secured an ambiguous "site." Over a 19-day period we see A. Karthus come into confrontation with some sort of voice within his head, a voice the he says will eventually kill him. It's difficult to tell what is actually going on where A. Karthus is located, beyond the fact that he's definitely going all sorts of crazy. It's a very haunting, thrilling trailer for being a simple log from a soldier who doesn't seem to be doing much.

A question should be in everyone's mind right now: this, for a chess game? This is the type of cinematic that would befit a huge game, something of impressive scale. This is the kind of cinematic Games Workshop wants at the forefront of its Warhammer video game efforts. But, it's for a chess game? I mean, it's a very nice looking chess game with some over the top animations and so on, but how does this dramatic of a cinematic fit at all with the game? Was this released for the wrong game? Is that what happened here?

Warhammer 40,000: Regicide is planned for release on PC within the next few months, with an iOS and Android release to follow. 

Update: Warhammer 40,000: Regiscide will be available via Steam Early Access beginning May 5. Some early details from the single-player campaign were also included in the press release:

"Free to Early Access purchasers, the Regicide - Angels of Blood campaign will be revealed in multiple acts throughout the Early Access. The campaign opens with Guardsman Karthus and his fellow troopers garrisoned the Phaedrus Orbital Station above Hethgar Prime."

Guardsman Karthus' chapter will be the first of eleven such chapters, matched by eleven different playable clans within the game. 

Categories: PC Games Mobile Games
 
 

Hearthstone now available on iOS and Android phones, get a classic card pack by going mobile

1 comments Andy Lau - 5:23pm (PST) Like Share

Play your first mobile game for that bonus pack

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Blizzard's popular free-to-play collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available on iOS and Android phones. A mobile version of Hearthstone was initially anounced back at BlizzCon 2013 and planned for 2014, but ultimately suffered delays. Now the game's interface has finally been optimized for smaller screens.

Players' card collections are tied to their Battle.net account, so you can feel free to play from a PC, Mac, tablet, or phone without losing progress. Blizzard is also offering a free classic card pack to users, both old and new, who complete their first game on a mobile device.

Hearthstone debuted on the PC last year and was ported to tablets shortly after. Blizzard released the latest expansion, Blackrock Mountain on April 2. The game can now be downloaded from the iTunes App Store, Google Play, and Amazon App Store. Note that it requires iOS 5.0 or Android 4.0 with at least 1GB RAM to play.

Sadly, Windows Phone is currently not supported with this release.

Categories: Mobile Games
 
 

Activision's Guitar Hero Live reboot mixes first-person FMV concerts and a network of music videos

6 comments Rory Young - 12:04pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Our time has come again, kings and queens of the plastic guitar

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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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Layton 7 is a mysterious multiplayer card game, iOS/Android title involves fortune telling and vampires

3 comments Rory Young - 5:44am (PST) Like Share

This is not the Layton you're looking for

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Despite Level-5 officially ending Professor Layton's adventures in 2013's Azran Legacy, the development studio has decided to milk the brand just a little bit more. Layton 7, which is indeed the official title, was revealed in 2013, but has undergone quite the transformation since. The title is now an iOS and Android exclusive, no longer planned for 3DS at all, and has become a multiplayer card game

I wish I could provide a much more thorough explanation after that, but there's really very little to go on here. According to some early photos of a slide-show presentation from Level-5 at the company's annual Vision 2015 event, the game has clearly become a card game of sorts. Several of the screenshots also show multiplayer chatting with other players as part of the game. Finally, there's a single shot stating "Vampire Win" which perhaps implies the players have to root out the secret vampire amongst the townsfolk.

The game forming in my head seems to be something similar to the game known as "Mafia" which several different websites provide ways to play with other online gamers. Screenshots from the presentation show multiple cards that look as if they're assigning roles, which provides further evidence towards this Mafia idea, but without a translator it's impossible to tell. 

One thing's for sure, this isn't your standard Professor Layton title. Much like the other Layton game released on mobile from Level-5, this game takes the brand and makes something new of itself. Whether that be Mafia or some other oddball trivia or social game I don't know. There does seem to be a Professor Layton card within the game though. Yeah, that's rather like a slap in the face, isn't it?

Expect more information on Layton 7 in the months ahead, though it's unclear if at this time Level-5 has any plans to bring the game anywhere other than Japan.

Categories: Mobile Games
 
 

Fantasy Life 2, sequel to the 3DS RPG, announced to be iOS and Android exclusive

8 comments Rory Young - 3:54pm (PST) Like Share (1)

Apparently our Fantasy Life wasn't meant to be on 3DS

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Fantasy Life, Level-5's mix of fantasy RPG and simulated life a la Animal Crossing, may not have found the outrageous success of some of the developer's other major franchises. It's hard to compare to siblings like Yo-kai Watch and Inazuma Eleven. Nevertheless, Level-5 hasn't given up on the franchise. It will, however, be facing a transition. Today Level-5 announced Fantasy Life 2 would be coming to iOS and Android only.

The full title of Fantasy Life 2 contains the subtitle of Two Moons and The Village of God, according to the annual Vision 2015 event's reveal. While the lack of a 3DS version of the game is disappointing, the shift shouldn't come as too much of a surprise considering Level-5's new focus on the mobile platform. Beyond that, little seems to be changing in the game. It will again feature 12 "Life" classes to pick from, as well as a new "Village" with a larger focus on building up your own city.

Players will still be able to build up parties and go dungeon crawling. There will even be returning characters to make the experience even more familiar. So despite the new focus on building the city, most Fantasy Life fans should be very comfortable with the new game. Well, that's at least the perception that Level-5 is trying to create with this reveal. Whether or not the experience is entirely retooled for microtransactions or the like is yet to be seem. Let's not hold our breath.

Fantasy Life 2: Two Moons and the Village of God is planned for release on iOS and Android this summer in Japan. A localization of the game for North America or other regions has not yet been made. Don't be surprised if we end up waiting for Level-5 to measure the games initial success, port the game to 3DS for Japan and then consider localizing it for other territories. In other words, it may be a while -- if ever.

 
 

The Snack World is Level-5's latest cross-media franchise, coming to 3DS, iOS and Android in Japan

1 comments Rory Young - 10:32am (PST) Like Share

There's a distinct lack of snacks anywhere in this announcement or trailer

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Level-5's annual Vision 2015 event wrapped up with the announcement of their next major project, The Snack World.  According to Level-5, The Snack World will be a "hyper casual fantasy" cross-media franchise, which is to say that they're pulling out all of the stops right from the start. The Snack World will launch as a CG television cartoon, a manga, a toy line, a movie, and a game coming to 3DS, iOS and Android. 

Very little is known about The Snack World as of yet, as the focus of the presentation was in introducing the movie rather than the game. A teaser trailer shown introducing the stop-motion-esque visual style that the movie and show will take on, the main characters of the franchise including hero Chup, and the fantasy nature of the setting. For instance, Chup holds a sword and shield, while his friends bear a staff and a dagger respectively. Then there's the troll friend.

One would expect that the game will be some sort of RPG, but it's perhaps too early to make that call. Level-5 has been leaning towards more typical mobile fare in recent years, so if The Snack World turns into a pachinko game, a match-5 or Puzzles & Dragons-esque game, then I wouldn't be surprised. Let's all cross our fingers and hope that The Snack World will be more inspired by its Yo-kai Watch, Professor Layton and Inazuma Eleven predecessors.

My goodness, though, can Level-5 make great looking content. The animation in the trailer is outstanding. Though I have to admit it's a bit intimidating when Chup goes to the store and buys a new sword and shield for him to use in battle. Oh god, the microtransactions are already apparent.

The Snack World is currently announced only in Japan for 3DS, iOS and Android. Expect more news on the new franchise in the months to come. Hopefully Level-5 can work something out, perhaps with Nintendo, to get the game localized for North America. Hopefully that happens sometime soon, rather than two years from now.

 
 

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
 
 
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