News articles search results by Dom Cook
World of Warcraft expansions always have a hard time getting into China, like in the case of Burning Crusade, in which "questionable content" delayed its overseas release. The content in question included some torture sequence, another problems being the abundant use of skulls and corpses.
Chinese government regulators with the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and the Ministry of Culture (MOC) initially revoked Chinese online game publisher NetEase's application for BC. The ban was later lived, and NetEase was fined for "gross violations" of regulations. The WoW expansion was also heavily edited (blood changed from red to black, skulls removed from spikes, etc.) to meet these regulations.
Wrath of the Lich King faced similar changes, including character/creature model edits, like changing a bone dragon into a normal one. Chinese WoW gamers will finally be getting the second expansion later this month.
NetEase CEO William Ding reassured the community that Wrath of the Lich King will still be a fantastic expansion, despite whatever changes were made:
"World of Warcraft is one of the most popular online games among Chinese players, and we believe that the new content in Wrath of the Lich King will generate even more excitement. We are fully prepared on all fronts to provide great service and support to all of the new and returning players throughout China, and we look forward to welcoming them to Northrend."
At least this means the Chinese WoW players will get Cataclysm too, at least in a few years.
Ever dreamt of playing a Dynasty Warriors MMO? Well, now you can! Online games publisher Aeria Games just started closed beta registration.
First announced at TGS '09, Dynasty Warriors Online was planned as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, but it looks like Koei (now Tecmo Koei) had a change of heart; the beta will be PC-only, with no word on the original PS3 plans.
DWO will be totally free-to-play once released and boasts 24-player PVP battles, including classic DW peons as bots. In addition, players will have an in-game level system and a variety of battle modes, from "solo challenges to territorial control and conquest."
It'll still feature the same fast-paced crazy action Dynasty Warriors fans have come to expect from the series, and the visuals look pretty good for a free-to-play MMO too. Check out the video below, and when you're hyped up enough, head on over to the beta sign-up page.
Coming to the Rock Band Network and Hot Topic
The latest Xbox LIVE activity records show Indie title I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1 has sold over 300,000 copies, mirroring LIMBO's recent achievement on XBLA. Just five months ago, Ska Studios' popular zombie game sat around 200k copies, proving it to be an enormous success.
The New York-based studio, led by James Silva, was content with their game's modest listed price of 80 Microsoft Points; it's not surprising so many people willing to try the game. This simple yet addictive top-down shooter has quickly gathered a cult following, because after all, zombies are pretty dang popular with gamers nowadays.
Ska Studios also announced that they'll be celebrating the sales record by releasing the game's extremely popular theme song for the Rock Band Network store, for the same price as the Indie game: a buck.
Another possible 'buy one, get one free' deal
Remember when THQ were giving away free copies of Red Faction: Guerilla with Darksiders earlier this year? Well, if you like free games, you could be in luck if you plan on pre-ordering Red Faction: Armageddon.
A THQ representitive mentioned at Gamescom this week that the recently announced Red Faction downloadable "racer" Red Faction: Battlegrounds might be a pre-order bonus for Armageddon.
"No price yet. They are talking about possible pre-order specials. It's possible, hasn't been finalized yet, that if you pre-order Armageddon you may be able to toss this in as well. They obviously want to keep it as low as possible."
If you're not keen on tossing money down on a pre-order or would rather pick up the games separately, Battlegrounds will likely be priced between $5 and $10 USD. But hey, who doesn't love free games?
Several years ago, Valve boss Gabe Newell called the PlayStation 3 a "total disaster." Yet the company did a complete 180 this week, when project manager Erik Johnson stated that Valve takes Sony's console very seriously.
"PS3 is incredibly important to us. We don't feel that the PS3 users had the Valve experience that we like to deliver. So in that case it's incredibly important to us."
It's highly likely that he was referring to the disaster that was The Orange Box. While the bundle did get ported to the PS3, it received no support from Valve due to lack of in-house resources, and EA eventually took over.
In 2007 Newell expressed his preference for Xbox 360 and PC over PS3, as the latter was unfamiliar territory for developers at the time. He went as far as suggesting Sony attempt a "do-over." Newell has since regretted his attitude towards the PS3, and made amends earlier this year when he announced the eagerly anticipated Portal 2 and Steamworks for PS3. He claimed that this version would be the best console version.
Valve is used to making amends for their mistakes, specifically when a large number of fans are affected. Once the PS3 crowd joins the Valve bandwagon, the studio will have won over a massive chunk of the gaming community.
Upcoming free-roam action game Mafia II has been getting its fair share of controversy lately, but it doesn't stop there. UNICO National, an Italian American service organization in the United States with the aim of promoting and enhancing the Italian-American community, have decided to challenge publisher Take-Two Interactive regarding the portrayal of their people in Mafia II.
UNICO president Andre' DiMino called the game a "pile of racist nonsense" and openly attacked Take-Two, saying they're "directly, blatantly and unfairly discriminating and demeaning one group to the exclusion of all others. We are demanding they halt release of the game and cleanse it of all references to Italians and Italian-Americans."
He also sent a letter to Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick requesting a meeting and advising against using Italians and Italian-Americans in Mafia games, because it furthers the "denigrating stereotype of organized crime being the exclusive domain of Italians and Italian-Americans."
Zelnick responded to UNICO, telling them that the Italian-American gangster genre is "a subject that for decades has been featured in movies, television shows and novels. Neither UNICO nor any other organization purporting to represent Italian-Americans has seen or played Mafia II."
Take-Two refused to give in to UNICO's demands. Zelnick concluded saying that he "fully and completely stands behind their creative teams and products, including Mafia II."
Nippon gamers can choose between the standard version or Limited Edition with five DLC cars and a 308-page book for ¥7,980 ($93). On top of that, there's the recently revealed 'Racing Pack,' which includes a Titanium Blue 160GB PS3 bundle and a Limited Edition copy of the game.
The Racing Pack is priced at ¥35,980 ($421), and it's actually a pretty good deal, unless you already own and love your PS3. As with the white edition, however, don't expect to see the blue console outside Japan. If you've got money to burn, importing is still an option.
Gran Turismo 5 comes out November 5 in Japan. Both North America and Europe get the game a few days earlier, on November 2.
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Believe it or not, cheating and hacking is against Rockstar Games' code of conduct. So starting next Tuesday, August 24, they'll begin hunting down violators through PSN IDs and Xbox LIVE Gamertags, searching for hacked save files. Guilty gamers have a week to turn a new leaf.
Hackers who want to avoid banishment must delete all their saved data, then play the game online for Rockstar to confirm "you're playing clean." And in case you're wondering, those who took advantage of the rapid XP gain exploit a few weeks ago won't be affected by any of this.
Let this be a lesson to those cheaters out there; the Rockstar marshals are watching, and hackers will be hanged.
Something special on offer for series fans
With the release of Fable III looming closer, fans of the series might be interested in Fable: The Balverine Order, a novel written by novelist and comic book artist Peter David, and set within the Fable universe.
The description of the book reads:
The days of magic and adventure are fading away, giving way to the age of industry and science. As the aged last Hero sits upon the throne of Albion, two friends-the privileged Thomas and his loyal servant, John- set out for the East in search of a legendary beast: the vicious, rarely-seen balverine. But their desire for adventure may be their ultimate undoing-because their quarry has just found them...
To sweeten the deal, each copy of The Balverine Order ships with a download code for a unique Fable III weapon. Whether or not the weapon somehow ties The Balverine Order to the Fable III storyline-wise is unknown at this point, but it's possible considering how Fable II's actions affect Fable III.
According to Amazon.com, Fable: The Balverine Order will release on October 5 for $9.99 USD. Fable III is still scheduled for an October 26 release.
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Lucky Mac users can get in on the adventure
A closed beta was opened earlier this year for LEGO Universe, an upcoming MMO based on the popular play-sets.
Apple users with a code and no access to a Windows computer were out of luck, considering it was PC only. Fortunately, it's now avaliable on Mac for all to enjoy.
If you were already testing on PC, but prefer Mac, simply download the Mac beta client and log in with your existing account.
However, don't expect to be playing it all the time -- play time is restricted to specific days. Even if you manage to get a beta code now, you won't be playing until August 17 at 2 PM EDT / 20.00 CEST.
According to the official website, "it won't be long before the game servers will be open 24/7," which is great for those who wish to play it non-stop.
LEGO Universe is scheduled for an October 26 release, but if you're really keen, pre-ordering off the website will let you play as early as October 12.
Writer committed to preserving movie-game integrity
In a recent interview, horror film producer Don Carmody (Silent Hill, Resident Evil: Apocolypse) mentioned the state of the sequel to the 2006 Silent Hill movie.
Things aren't going well due to writer Roger Avary's legal problems following a one-year prison sentence in 2008. Avary had been arrested and charged for driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter. Carmody explained the state of the project as being "a little stalled."
The project is a mess, but the team plans to finish the film regardless.
The original plan was Roger writing and polishing the screenplay, and when he had finished his thing, we’d begin full-blown preproduction. I’m not sure what’s going on with that. We know we want to make SILENT HILL 2 and have a basic outline for it. We’ll have to see.
According to the Ventura County Sheriff's website, Avary had already been released. We'll have to wait and see whether he will be continuing his work on the project, or passing it on to another writer.
Carmody said earlier this year filming would begin in late Spring next year in Toronto. But it's possible the Silent Hill 2 film adaption may never see the light of day.
Short term effects can still give you a headache
3D is a relatively old technology that recently took off again due to the current trend of 3D in the cinema. After the announcement of the Nintendo 3DS earlier this year at E3, 3D appears to be taking over the gaming industry. Sony were the first on the scene to release Stereoscopic 3D video games on the PlayStation 3, along with the release of Sony 3D Bravia televisions. Microsoft could possibly be getting in on 3D gaming in the future as well.
Creating the illusion of depth, 3D has caused some people to experience imbalance, nausea, and headaches. Naturally, the public was quick to question the permanent health risk of 3D technology. However, such worries might actually be unfounded.
In an interview with Dr. Mark Borchert, an LA-based ophthalmologist named by the LA Times as one of the best doctors in SoCal in 2009, he mentioned that it is unlikely to cause permanent damage:
"It's not likely to cause any permanent harm to vision. There are people who get uncomfortable with it, and get eye strain or headaches, or on much rarer occasions, a sense of imbalance or nausea, but there's no evidence it can cause permanent harm to your vision or use of both eyes together or anything like that."
Borchert did go on to mention that he was unsure of the effect of 3D gaming on younger children. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime recommended that children under the age of seven avoid 3D gaming altogether. Borchert explained why ophthalmologists have no answer to what the long-term effects on kids would be:
"Children are not born with the ability to use both eyes together, they do not have any true binocularity at birth, and they certainly do not have stereoscopic vision."
Young gamers are a sizable portion of Nintendo's target audience, but the 3DS has a slider that allows users the option to turn the 3D effect up, down or off -- it'll be up to the parents to monitor their children's 3D gaming.
Current data may be proven wrong in the future, but for now, you can stop worrying. Some of us might still avoid gaming in 3D, on account of some nasty migraines.
Double Fine's first downloadable title takes place on Halloween
Double Fine CEO Tim Schafer is well-known for his whacky game creations, like Psychonauts and the more recent Brutal Legend. Now the development studio has announced Costume Quest, an RPG/Adventure to be released in partnership with THQ.
Costume Quest takes place on Halloween and revolves around young trick-or-treaters as they collect battle stamps, points, cards, take quests from strangers in the neighborhood and, of course, gather candy. Most of which is used for power-ups in Combat Mode where battles appear to be surreal and take place in the hero's imagination. The kids become more powerful, giant, exaggerated versions of their costumes.
For instance, the kid dressed as a robot becomes a giant blue mech, while the kid dressed as a knight becomes something reminiscent of White Knight Chronicles. They'll be able to use these powers to fight various monsters in suburban neighborhoods, shopping malls, and a carnival. Players will be able to customize their four-man party to an extent by finding costume pieces around the map.
The project is the brainchild of Double Fine lead animator Tasha Harris, and she will be leading the project. Costume Quest is in isometric view and has been compared to old-school SNES games like Earthbound and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Naturally Tim Schafer is on board, so expect to see creative wackyness throughout. Don't expect Brutal Legend 2, but it is supposedly unique, funny and warm. With a unique premise and packed with charm, Costume Quest could become a must-buy this fall.
Schafer implied that even though their upcoming projects are download-only games, Double Fine's standard of quality will certainly not drop:
"We wanted to make a big impression with these, our first downloadable games ever, so we are coming out swinging with two great adventures from two of the most creative minds in the company."
Release date is scheduled for this Halloween, but you probably expected that, right?
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Taking down mobsters, fighting for the sake of love
The long-awaited Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World video game was released today and leads this weeks PlayStation Store update. For those who are short on cash, the demo is always available for free. The games release coincides with the film release, but don't be fooled, because the game actually remains true to the graphic novels. It's a must for Scott Pilgrim and retro-style gaming fans.
As announced yesterday, PixelJunk Racers 2nd Lap has been released today, exclusive to PlayStation Plus members two weeks ahead of time.
Rockstar have released the first DLC pack in their four announced upcoming DLC for Red Dead Redemption, and the Mafia II demo is out. Additionally, more Dragon Age: Origins DLC was released if that happens to take your fancy.
Check out the full list below...
PlayStation 3 Games & Demos
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game ($9.99)
- PSone Classics: CTR: Crash Team Racing ($5.99)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game demo
- Mafia II demo
Add-ons & Expansions
- Red Dead Redemption - Legends and Killers Pack ($9.99)
- Naughty Bear by Episode 8 - Danger Bear (free)
- Dragon Age: Origins - The Golems of Amgarrak ($4.99)
- Dragon Age: Origins - Golem's Might (AKA The Reaper's Cudgel) (free with purchase of Dragon Age: Origins by The Golems of Amgarrak)
PSP Games & Demos
- Madden NFL 11 PSP ($39.99)
- Valkyria Chronicles II demo
PlayStation Plus Exclusive
- Qore Episode 27: August 2010 (Free to PlayStation Plus Subscribers, regular price $2.99)
- Red Faction Guerrilla Game Trial (Free and Exclusive to PlayStation Plus Subscribers)
- PixelJunk Racers 2nd Lap (Early Access for PlayStation Plus Subscribers; PlayStation Plus price $5.24, regular price $6.99)
- High Velocity Bowling (PlayStation Plus price $5.00, regular price $9.99)
- WipEout Fury DLC (PlayStation Plus price $7.99, regular price $9.99)
- UNCHARTED Eye of Indra Comic Bundle (PlayStation Plus price $1.25, regular price $2.49)
- Aero Racer – Minis (Free to PlayStation Plus Subscribers)
- Nebula Tunnels Theme (Free to PlayStation Plus Subscribers)
- 1942: Joint Strike – Sale (now $4.99, original price $9.99)
- Section 8 – New Sale (now $24.99, original price $29.99)
- Matt Hazard: Blood Bath And Beyond – Permanent Price Change (now $9.99, original price $14.99)
Yesterday at the Los Angeles Downtown Independent Theater, 29-year-old loan coordinator Jonas Neubauer was crowned the first World Tetris Champion by Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov himself.
Over 200 players turned up to the Classic Tetris World Championship event organized by Robin Mihara, the former Nintendo World Champion and a Tetris expert himself. The tournament was sponsored by Blue Planet Software, the Tetris licensing management company, with the original NES Tetris used for the competition. Tickets for the event were $10.00 entry for one attempt, then $3.00 per additional attempt.
When it came down to eight finalists, Jonas Neubaur came up against Harry Hong, a 25-year-old logistics specialist from LA. Neubauer won, snagging himself a nifty giant trophy and $1,000 USD in prize money.
The Tournament was filmed for a documentary titled Ecstasy of Order, and all attendees agreed to appear in the documentary.
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Fans may have a reason to get PlayStation Plus
Fans of the popular PSN title PixelJunk Racers -- the racing game that isn't a racing game -- will be getting a completely free update tomorrow for existing owners of the game.
The catch is that it'll be exclusive to PlayStation Plus members for two weeks, after which any non-subscribers will get the update. In addition, PlayStation Plus subscribers who don't already own the game will be given a 25 percent discount of the $6.99 price tag, if they do decide to purchase it.
Updates include trophies, a global scoreboard and downloadable ghosts. The difficulty was also tweaked for those who thought the original was too difficult. If you're perfectly okay with the game as is, the update does not overwrite the original, and you'll be given the option to switch between the two versions at any time.
PixelJunk Racers 2nd Lap features seven-controller offline support, making it a perfect game for parties or with a large group of friends. It has a variety of modes for those who want to play it as if it were a slot-car racing game, and modes for those people who like mini-games. President of Q-Games Ltd Dylan Cuthbert mentioned one particular mode:
There are all kinds of different rules to play with, for example in one rule all you do is hold the trigger down to “puff up” your car, release the trigger and your car flies along the track like a balloon, the goal is to get as far as you can without hitting anything.
So, anyone have thoughts on PlayStation Plus members getting updates weeks ahead of regular users?
Another classic Square game confirmed for PSN release
Producer Shinji Hashimoto has dug deep into the bag of Squaresoft classic PlayStation games and pulled out a 1997 Mystery Dungeon classic. Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon -- known as Chocobo no Fushigi Dungeon in Japan -- has been announced as the next game from Square Enix to hit PlayStation classics on the PSN.
No release date was announced, however the release of Final Fantasy IX, Legend of Mana and Dew Prism were all released within a month of Hashimoto's announcement -- expect to be roaming dungeons with everyones favourite fuzzy yellow bird soon.
Here's hoping that more Classic Final Fantasy titles are released to the PSN -- Final Fantasy VI, anyone?
Dead Rising Case Zero could be the first of many
Capcom CEO Haruhiro Tsujimoto has plans on increasing sales after a devastating 70 percent income drop over the last quarter. In an interview with Fuji Sankei Business Eye, Tsujimoto told of his plans to expand online paid content for gaming consoles.
Tsujimoto explained to Sankei:
"Once a game has been purchased, it's not the end. It's essential that we create a system to get players playing for a long time."
It's a little bit odd that he's only just realizing this now, considering gaming companies have been doing just that for awhile. Additional content post-launch can significantly extend the lifespan for a game. And as long as the content isn't on the disk already, gamers should be happy.
Capcom's first step forward in this direction is the Xbox 360 exclusive Dead Rising Case Zero. It's a prequel to Dead Rising 2, tying the first and second game together and showing how Chuck and his daughter wound up in Fortune City. While cleverly disguised as a prequel, it's effectively a paid demo. You can progress as far as level five, then transfer your character over to the full game later.
Case Zero is set to launch on August 31 for 400 Microsoft Points.
Several months ago we revealed a special edition for the eagerly anticipated Gran Turismo 5. An Ultimate Edition was rumoured, however this morning it was finally confirmed. At a whopping $349.99 NZD -- that's approximately $257 USD, almost the price of a Nintendo DSi if you want it in perspective -- the GT5 Signature Edition is truly for die-hard fans of the series who wish to reward themselves for the long wait.
- Special Signature Edition contoured metal case in black SLS AMG ‘Obsidian Black‘ paint finish.
- Exclusive branded SLS AMG 1:43 model car.
- GT Leather wallet including entry method into Signature Edition in-game competition to win real Mercedes SLS AMG vehicle (value €180 000)
- Branded USB key (containing GT and Mercedes trailers)
- Exclusive Polyphony designed dynamic theme
- 5 x Collector’s Edition 'ChromeLine' cars with performance enhancements and exclusive livery 6 x pre-order 'Stealth' vehicles (with same enhancements).
- GT branded metal key fob
- Signature Edition coffee table book
- 200 page drivers/strategy guide
Racing enthusiasts will definitely want to snap this up as soon as possible -- it is limited.
Gran Turismo 5 is due for a November 2nd release.
Here's the E3 video again for those who missed it, although if you're a fan you should have watched it over and over by now.
In today's interview with Japanese publication Famitsu, Capcom's Kaiji Inafune mentioned that a release overseas looks likely.
While he didn't mention any release date or solid confirmation, but he's definitely interested in bringing it to Western shores. In fact, the guy seems to be expecting it.
"I feel Monster Hunter can definitely succeed overseas. There's a high possibility that MHF will kickstart that," Inafune stated.
While Monster Hunter has always been a gigantic success in the Japanese market, it's never been a huge hit beyond Japan . That doesn't stop Capcom from trying anyway; Monster Hunter Freedom Unite was released outside of Japan in order to draw in more fans. And Frontier could really be a gigantic success overseas with it's online capabilities; so far, the only way to play this game online is over Xlink Kai or the PSP's Ad-hoc Party.
Now, with the 360 receiving Monster Hunter Frontier, the franchise will span across all consoles except Playstation 3. This coincides with Capcom's recent move toward Western markets through the Xbox 360 platform.