It’s time to play catch-up on a few key games that are releasing later this year and share some fun news bits for some of our recent favorites. We’re going to look at how Namco hopes to grow the Dark Souls player base with more confidence and more money spent its sequel, a new IP from Guerrilla Games, a World War Z movie tie-in, the awesome War Thunder WWII MMO going next-gen, and updates on The Last of Us, new Steam features, Borderlands 2 DLC, and a new themed 3DS.
Read on for the details and a few more stories.
Triple-A Dark Souls
Dark Souls, the spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls, managed to stand its ground against Skyrim for being unique and challenging. Needless to say we were not surprised when Dark Souls 2 was officially announced in December during the Spike Video Game Awards.
PR director Lee Kirton spoke with OXM about the followup and in the interview happily stated that Namco isn’t playing it safe anymore, and will invest significantly Dark Souls 2’s marketing budget, reiterating that they’re “treating this as a massive, massive triple-A title.”
“We’re going to go guns-blazing with it, and hope to God that it works,” he continued. “We’re going after people who love and adore Dark Souls, while hopefully widening the net a little. I’m not saying that every Skyrim player’s going to be jumping on Dark Souls, but it would be nice if some of them did. It’s a different game, sure.”
Hopefully this doesn’t mean they’re abandoning the series’ roots in terms of gameplay, but then again, From Software hasn’t led fans wrong yet in the Souls franchise.
Next-Gen War Thunder
We’ve not written about Gaijin Entertainment’s free-to-play online WWII combat flight sim titled War Thunder on Game Rant but a few of us have tried its open beta, and we loved it. It was far superior to Wargaming.net’s World of Warplanes – also in beta. We didn’t see this coming but the title is actually being developed for Sony’s PlayStation 4.
War Thunder launched its flight mode first, but it’s going to include FPS gameplay and armored vehicle combat (teaser up top). The PS4 version will release this holiday season as a PS4 launch window title. Gaijin Entertainment’s Creative Director Kirill Yudintsev:
“We’re convinced that our cooperation with Sony will not only make the War Thunder franchise better, but it will give our fans a new level of gaming experience that will figuratively blown their mind. Partnering with Sony Computer Entertainment is the most natural progression for the War Thunder brand, from our hugely successful beginnings on PC with more than 1.5 million players, to our recent announcement that War Thunder is under development for mobile devices. We are excited to bring WarThunder to the leading next-generation platform, the PS4.”
Thing is, you really need a joystick to play flight element of the game properly – at least on, PC. PS4’s DualShock 4 controller will lend itself well to the FPS elements when they’re added to the main game though.
The Last of Us is Gold
Naughty Dog Co-President Christophe Balestra shared an excited Instagram image for gamers looking forward to the developer’s first non-Uncharted game in years. One of our most anticipated games of the year The Last of Us has gone gold. Development if complete for the retail version and it’s in production for its release next month.
Steam Trading Cards
Valve announced yesterday the beta launch of a new Steam feature, called Steam Trading Cards. It’s a system that rewards players for playing games with game-specific cards that can be collected for little bonuses, not unlike achievement unlocks. Players can get badges, profile background, coupons, emoticons and more. The service is launching for Don’t Starve, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2 and Half-Life 2 but will quickly expand to include more games.
Borderlands 2 Going Psycho
The sixth playable character for Borderlands 2 is now available to download as part of the Psycho Pack DLC which costs $9.99 (800 Microsoft Points). The character’s name is Krieg and he’s got psychotic multiple personalities, to go along with his Buzz Axe Rampage attack skill. His Bloodlust skill tree lets players stack combat bonusus, be even more insane with his Mania skill tree, or light everything and anything on fire with his Hellborn skill tree. President of Gearbox Software Randy Pitchford:
“On behalf of the development team at Gearbox Software, I want to thank the fans of Borderlands 2 for the love and engagement that allows us to invest our hearts and time into supporting the game with an entirely new player character, Kreig the Psycho. Our fans now get the opportunity to step into the shoes of one of the most iconic characters in the Borderlands franchise as they slice their way through Pandora on the hunt for new loot!”
Guellerra’s OTHER Game
One of the most impressive looking games showcased during the February 20th PS4 reveals was Killzone: Shadow Fall. It wasn’t long after that we heard from game director Steven ter Heide over Twitter that the game’s single-player campaign had been finished for months, meaning most of the team not working on closing the game and polish, were working on something else.
So, looking at these Guerrilla Games presentation notes found on NeoGAF, it’s of no surprise that the developer has another unannounced game in development. They’ve been working on the Killzone series since 2004, so a new IP for the developer is a big deal. Is it one of the still-unannounced PS4 exclusives to be announced at E3?
Mobile Nintendo gamers and Pokemon fans… who live in Japan, a new themed model of the 3DS XL is coming out, with a nifty Eevee design. Eevee can evolve into 8 different other Pokemon and featured prominently in PokÃ©mon XD: Gale of Darkness and PokÃ©mon Conquest as a starter character.
World War Z Movie Tie-in
Remember last week when we spoke about the changing landscape of licensed video games, specifically movie tie-ins? Pacific Rim has a downloadable game on the way, and much like Iron Man 3, World War Z is getting a mobile tie-in, proving yet again that publishers and studios realize how bad rushed, overpriced tie-ins really are. World War Z releases for Android and iOS on May 30th. Chip Sineni, Phosphor Games Studio Director:
“We were excited to be able to use the cutting-edge Unreal Engine 3 to bring World War Z to life. Our goal was to build Paramount a AAA game, and with that came all our favorite bells and whistles, like ambient occlusion lighting, multipass blended textures, and hordes of enemies to fight.”
Do mobile tie-in games qualify as “AAA games”? It does look exciting from the brief trailer, and it includes 28 “visceral” levels, “intense” combat, “engaging” puzzles, upgradable weapons and armor, an unlimited challenge mode. Holy marketing buzzwords, Batman.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.