Friday, 14 January 2011

Ed Boon Wants to Know Who You Want For Mortal Kombat DLC

By Mark

Ed Boon (co-creator of the Mortal Kombat series) has asked via twitter what fans would want for possible DLC additions to the upcoming Mortal Kombat 9 which is ‘re-brutalizing’ the series and taking it back to its core. The tweet reads:

‘Seriously guys. Tell me your order of preference for a DLC character. Rain, Shinnok, Kenshi, Robo-smoke, or new character?’

While these characters aren’t exactly big names, at least the team is planning and willing to add in more content to the game. So there’s Rain (named afterPrincesong ‘Purple Rain), Smoke, was a carbon copy of Scorpion only grey and made his d├ębut in Mortal Kombat II as a background character to return in Ultimate Mortal Kombat III as a fully playable ‘dismember-er’. Shinnok made his debut in the action adventure spin off title Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero and is a former Elder God. Finally there is Kenshi, a blind swordsman who came to fame in Deadly Alliance.

All seem to have their own pros and cons, which would you want to see? Or would you prefer someone totally new?

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Sledgehammer Games to Make Next CoD Title

By Mark

According to a recent job listing it appears that it is indeed who are stepping up to bring us the latest entry to the franchise. The ad was posted on the 5th of January and while we were formerly lead to believe that the studio may have been working on a 'third person' style game, the posting clearly states FPS development.

The ad reads "Would you like the chance to build and drive the studio community management effort for Sledgehammer and the next Call of Duty game? If so then we want to hear from you!"

If you're wondering what the studio has developed prior to this then you'd be left with a simple answer...nothing. Sledgehammer was founded in late 2009 by former EA Studio Visceral Games (of Dead Space fame) employees Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey. Information as to what setting or other particulars are still unknown so look out for more information as it comes.

THQ Has a New Face, Say Hello

By Mark

THQ has been around a long time now and are the publishers behind more recent titles like: Red Faction, Saints Row, UFC Undisputed and the upcoming close to home FPS Homefront. It seems they felt the need for change and to kick it off they have redesigned their logo, opting for a more modern feel.

Executives at THQ have said that the logo "epitomizes the change, innovation and creative growth that are the cornerstones of the new THQ," and while I may not necessarily agree with any meaning behind a logo, this certainly gives a different feel. Especially when you compare with the old logo, which in all honesty was pretty dreary.

 Compare away! New versus old, which is better?

X-Men Destiny Details

By Mark

Silicon Knights (the studio behind previous titleToo Human have finally released some details on their upcoming game X-Men Destiny Official Xbox Magazine.Previously we’ve only seen two rather short trailers that promise players control over their ‘destiny’ and leaving us with assumptions that it may be an action RPG affair.

The details found in the magazine further push home the fact that the developers want choice to play an important role as they want to place an emphasis on the “tough decisions that an average X-Man has to make”. Not something one thinks about everyday right? The game will be set during a period were the ‘anti mutant’ movement is at an all time high and crime rates are through the roof, in addition to this the X-Men will have suffered a great loss just to add more problems to the fray.

Among the details one of the more interesting ones was the fact that players will be controlling the offspring of a ‘human zealot’ that claims mutants are ‘nature’s greatest mistake’ and will be given a choice between three different characters. What’s cool is that each of these three have been officially added into the X-Men canon. Getting over to the gameplay side players will use what’s known as ‘X-Genes’ to modify their abilities and ‘decision moments’ will be just about everywhere.

You can also expect to meet some familiar faces along the way such as Surge, Quicksilver, Gambit (really hope it’s the comic gambit and not that fool from the Wolverine film) and Magneto, no release date is solidly set yet but when there is we’ll let you know

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Ghost Trick - Launch Trailer

By Mark

A launch trailer for Phoenix Wright creator's latest game Ghost Trick has been released as the game is due to hit stores this Friday. In case you haven't been following our coverage of the game the title has players take the role of a spirit who must discover the secrets of his murder before he disappears forever. Gameplay includes puzzles and adventuring not to mention its distinct art direction.

Hear What MK Devs Have to Say About Johnny Cage

By Mark

In the latest video to come from the developers of Mortal Kombat they muse aloud their thoughts upon character Johnny Cage.

Aside from talking about how confident he is they also give insight to what they'd say to him to bring him to reality, aside from some more normal comments one lady says she'd just kick him in the nuts. Lovely!

Mortal Kombat - Johnny Cage Trailer
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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Bulletstorm - Last Call

By Mark

Here's a surprise video from People Can Fly for Bulletstorm, it's entitled 'Last Call' and was linked to people via Rooster Teeth so being with them obviously has benefits.

The video pokes a little fun at a certain competitor but in a good way and we also see some more crazy gameplay. Check it.

For those inclined to know this is how the link to video was revealed to them

Catherine Trailer 5

By Mark

Someone over at Atlus must be releasing these videos too quickly or something, the amount of PV's for Catherine that are falling out is ridiculous.

On the bright side, we get to see more of the game and this PV is the strangest one yet. The live action segments are people answering the question 'Do you want to get married?'  so what you see is their reaction. One of the couples is then asked, 'So, would you like to get married to your current girlfriend?', upon answering the text on screen reads:

'You unsure lambs will get stabbed by your girlfriend.'

Which is inkeeping with the themes displayed so far as Vincent's uncertainty and worries about marrying Katherine are driving him insane, to the point of ending up sleeping with the other Catherine. It's okay if you're confused, honest.

We also see Vincent is forced to make a choice and this choice is: 'is marriage the start of life or the end of life?', what happens once this is answered we don't know but at least we know there will be some choice over the narrative. Here's the vid.

Dragon Age 2 Dev Diary

By Mark

Hawke is the main feature of this new dev diary by Bioware on their upcoming RPG Dragon Age 2. Details on the main character and his/her rise to power can be found in bags here so get watching if it's information you seek.

Monday, 10 January 2011

RPGs of 2011!

By Mark

As a lover of all things RPG it comes as no surprise that my attention has now shifted to focus on what lies ahead for fans of the genre be it from a Western or Eastern perspective. I’ve decided to write this article on just seven of the upcoming games that are on the horizon of 2011 so let’s take a quick look.

Two Worlds 2

Up first is Two Worlds 2 and I choose to write and inform you of this first as its release date is at the beginning of next month, the 4th of said month to be precise. Some of you may see the title and run for the hills but that’d be a misjudged, maybe even stupid decision. The original Two Worlds may not have been a stellar title, nor may it have been a great game but its heart was in the right place and the fact that it has been given another chance in the form of a sequel could be a case of righting some wrongs. Developed by the same Polish developer Reality Pump it’s clear they’re are trying to push forward and make a much better experience than the predecessor and it shows. Everything from graphics to combat to sound direction has been improved and while the voice work may not be excellent around the horn, there are some good performances that keep the standard.

So what’s it all about? Taking place just 5 years after the events of the original and the hero is once again being thrown into a struggle to save the land of Antaloor and finds himself having to trust a mysterious prophet named Cassara. Only in doing so can he find the path to save not only his own skin, but his sister (Kyra) as well. You’ll meet many characters ranging from Ed Teal, the most infamous and cunning pirate ever to have sailed Antaloor's seas to Dar Pha, a woman part of the rescue squad that saves our hero in the opening sequence.

It may not sound like the greatest story to pass but the improvements upon gameplay and the game world should do enough to make Two Worlds 2 a decent starting RPG for 2011 if you’re willing to give it a chance.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

CD Projekt RED is bringing us the next instalment of The Witcher and the latest chapter of Geralt’s story. The developers have even gone to length of creating their very own in house engine for the sequel instead of running off a modified version of Bioware's Aurora Engine. Now using the RED Engine the developers have been enabled to be much more specific in the creation process and have been given a new lease of freedom.

Retaining the branching dialogue trees and ‘delayed consequence’ system the narrative seems to be strong just as it was in the original and it’s also rumoured that there will be 16 different endings to see so replaying is a given. Adding to the replay value is the different ways a player can approach each level, as it’s been shown through developer diaries that choice plays a big part in not just conversation but execution of gameplay as well. Combat is also changed, veering away from the ‘mouse timed’ style combat in favour of a more action RPG approach. Add into this more than average voice acting and graphics and we could be in for a real treat. The game launches in May for the PC.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Tipped as a prequel to the original games Deus Ex: Human Revolution is looking to bring back the franchise, make it appeal to a broader audience and keep original fans happy all at once. Here’s the synopsis for the game: during the year 2027 (25 years before Deus Ex) Nanotechnological augmentations have yet to be developed and biomechanical augmentations are the current state of the art. The main character, Adam Jensen, is a private security officer with Sarif Industries, a leading company that specializes in these augmentations. After he witnesses a chilling attack on his company which leaves him horribly injured and forced to undergo augmentation to survive ‘the conspiracy’ begins.

One thing I love about this game already is the art direction; Human Revolution fuses together cyberpunk and renaissance and it makes for a beautiful game world even if you’re traversing the back streets. Players will visit a total of 5 different major locations some of which include Detroit, Shanghai and Montreal and in addition you will have your own apartment where Jensen’s secrets and items can be stored.

The developers have tried to bring the game to the modern age and in one way they have done this is to shift to a regenerating health system to ‘keep the game flowing’ instead of constant break ups to find medkits etc. Third person aspects can be seen from close up instant kills and a new cover system and other changes to gameplay is intuitive AI, for example: every enemy squad will have an identifiable squad leader who will direct the team's actions. If the leader is killed, the squad falls into disarray. Enemies will also react to subtle player decisions, such as a change in behaviour or weapons. I could go on and on about why you should be interested in the game but let’s leave it at that for now.

Dragon Age 2

Dragon Age 2 centres around the main character named Hawke, known to be a survivor from the Blight and the Champion of Kirkwall, who rises to power throughout the story. In the format of a framed story, Hawke's tale spans over a decade throughout the game and the player writes the history that will change the world forever. This take on storytelling is new for Bioware and allows them to be more creative with the story that is unique to each individual player.

Taking the game in a more action packed direction combat wise Bioware are looking to make the fighting element much more appealing to look at as well as execute. Player characters can now be seen flipping into combat with much better animation and added finishing moves to make for a more cinematic display. The main character is also now fully voice acted and can only be a human unlike in Origins where you could change race, this was so that the developers could focus on telling a more direct and focused narrative about the rise to power of Hawke. The game also now features a Mass Effect styled dialogue wheel but with more emphasis on emotion and the way the lines are delivered.
While not making leaps and bounds graphically, any fan of the original shouldn’t be put off by any changes made so far as the core of what made Dragon Age: Origins so great is still there in its entirety, it just looks a little different is all.  Look out for DA2 on March 8th/11th.

Mass Effect 3

Another Bioware sequel now except this time a sequel to what I felt was the game of the year for 2010. There’s little known about the game for now apart from the tentative synopsis we have which is: ‘Earth is burning. Striking from beyond known space, a race of terrifying machines have begun their destruction of the human race. As Commander Shepard, an Alliance Marine, your only hope for saving mankind is to rally the civilizations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take back the Earth.’. Aside from this we have also seen a small teaser from the VGA 2010 show where a British soldier taking cover in Big Ben taking a shot while describing how all planetary defences are destroyed or regrouping. As Reapers touchdown in London he states "If Shepard doesn't bring help soon, there won't be an Earth left to save.” Then we see Shepard aboard the Normandy turn around.

As for actual game details all we have so far is that the game's director, Casey Hudson has said that over 1,000 variables from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 to shape how players experience the final chapter of Commander Shepard’s story. We can be sure to expect the return of the fantastic cast, voice acting, gameplay and visuals we’ve seen in the past games and can only sit and wait in agony for the game to land later this year.

The Last Story

The only Wii title and also only JRPG to be on this list is The Last Story which is being developed by Mistwalker Studios and for a Wii title especially, the game is looking really great. The story and gameplay are in the most capable hands of Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and his team that brought us Lost Odyssey and with the original score being handled by Nobuo Uematsu you can’t help but be excited if you’re a JRPG fan.

The game will take place on Ruli Island, governed by Count Alganan and located at the entrance of a harbour which serves as the only entrance to a mountainous continent and players will control a group of mercenaries who come to the Island seeking work. The lead character is named Elza; he lost his family as a child and works as a mercenary to survive while he dreams of becoming a knight. While hoping the narrative is great, there is also a totally original battle system that at times looks like a hack and slash variant of a third person shooter which may sound strange but it looks like a lot of fun. Other details include some form of online modes that are separate from the narrative and a ‘gathering’ system for items in game.

This is at least one JRPG worth looking at for 2011 and I only hope it’s not the only one worth playing.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Recently announced at the VGA 2010 show and there is only a handful of information at the moment. Skyrim is a sequel to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and the story takes place approximately 200 years after the events of the latter game. The game is set in the titular land of Skyrim, a province of Tamriel, the continent on which all the games in the series have taken place. At the time of the game, the King of Skyrim has died, provoking civil war amongst the native Nord race. The war is the last in a sequence of events (depicted in each of the previous games in the series) that fulfil a prophecy foretold by the Elder Scrolls; the Nordic god Alduin arises to destroy the world.

We know that players take the role of the last Dovakhiin (a dragon hunter) and that they must stop the terrible events that are to unfold. Skyrim will run on an all new in house developed engine by Bethesda that focuses on improving animation of characters when compared to previous games by the studio as well as including ‘dynamic snowfall’. Players no longer choose a class archetype in favour of a more dynamic system like the Fallout series, you now level based on how you play therefore granting players more freedom to act how they wish instead of conforming to a class type or suffering for trying something else.

By the sounds of it Skyrim is shaping up to be a fantastic title and is definitely one to look out for later this year.

So that's just some of the great looking RPGs coming our way in 2011, there are of course a lot more in the niche market to look out for and some bigger ones I haven't covered here. What are you folks waiting for?

Portal 2 to Feature Motion Control

By Mark

Bit of a weird one now. Portal 2 is confirmed to feature some motion controlled levels using Razer's Hydra motion controller for PC which are essentially a pair of PS3 Move controllers.

They will apparently be used in levels and special puzzles where players need to stretch a cube to construct makeshift bridges and weights. The Hydra version of Portal 2 will launch sometime early next year.

Not really sure what to think but here you can see the motion controls at work

Source - CVG

Paper Mario 3DS Trailer

By Mark

Mario again, this time in the shape of Paper Mario 3DS as someone has taken a video of the latest trailer played at the Nintendo World even this past weekend.

The new take on the game this time around is 'stickers' as you will be collecting these and then placing them upon the map to unlock new areas and they'll also be affecting the outcome of battles. Nothing groundbreaking but it's something to keep it fresh.

The 3DS launches in Japan next month and here are the games to accompany it (prices are in yen):

Nintendogs + Cats (4,800)
Winning Eleven Soccer 3D (5,800)
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (4,800)
Samurai Warriors Chronicle (6,090)
Puzzle Bobble 3D (4,980)
Ridge Racer 3D (6,090)
Battle of the Giants: Dinosaurs 3D (5,040)
Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracles (5,980)

Mario Kart 3DS Footage

By Mark

Behold. Somebody has captured a video of Mario Kart 3DS in its entirety and showcases some gameplay. It's pretty standard fair for Mario Kart really: power ups, ink, shells, bannanas and nice looking tracks to go at.