The game-o-sphere is still saturated with Mass Effect 3 trailers and news (they launched copies of the game into space!), but we’re not ones to let anything slip through the cracks or be overshadowed as there were plenty of awesome things happening this week.
In this week’s Roundup, Rockstar shows off Max Payne’s new duel wielding system with some killer screenshots in addition to giving the lowdown on a mobile version of the original game, Minecraft says no to Vita, Obsidian ponders a Kickstarter and asks fans for suggestions, the spirit of Panzer Dragoon lives on with Crimson Dragon, and Ubisoft offers a killer deal for Assassin’s Creed: Recollection. Let’s rock this!
Video Game News
1. Project Draco Is Now Crimson Dragon
The Kinect shooter, developed by Grounding, has officially changed its name from Project Draco to Crimson Dragon, which is hardly a surprise given that early screens of the game showed player riding a crimson-colored dragon — so there you go. If a flying dragon shooting game sounds familiar, it’s because Panzer Dragoon creator Yuki Futatsugi is also behind the project. Crimson Dragon is getting an M rating for mature audiences, making it the second game in the Kinect library to receive one next to Rise of Nightmares — good news for players who are bored by Kinect’s current abundance of kid-friendly selections. Mark Robinson of Eurogamer had this to say in his preview of the game:
“As a Kinect-exclusive game, Project Draco is smart as well as compelling, a game that’s as aware of the controller’s limitations as it is of its potential.”
No release date is set at the moment, but it sounds like Panzer Dragoon fans should expect a fun experience from a game inspired by it.
2. No ‘Minecraft’ Coming To Vita
Minecraft is available on just about every device gamers can think of, but there is one device that Mojang has confirmed they have “no plans” of bringing it to: The PS Vita. The news came as a surprise since the Sony Xperia Play, the PlayStation Certified mobile phone (with the best commercials ever), got Mojang’s Minecraft: Pocket Edition. Last summer it became the Android Market’s most downloaded app globally. This doesn’t mean Minecraft won’t ever come to the Vita but clearly the studio isn’t showing interest at the moment — probably because they have other things on their mind right now, like the courtroom drama still going down with Bethesda over the collectible card game Scrolls.
3. ‘Kingdoms Of Amalur’ Dev Is Happy With Current-gen Consoles
In an interview with Official Xbox Magazine, lead designer of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Ian Frazier admitted that developing for the Xbox 360 was “significantly easier” than it was on the PlayStation 3. After buttering up Xbox, he went on to state that he’d “love another generation of Xbox,” but as a developer he enjoys working on platforms that were “mature and stabilized.” He admitted that the player inside him was excited by the possibilities the next generation could bring, however learning a new system would make development more difficult — contrary to current platforms that he describes as, “really, really easy to develop for at this point.” Frazier didn’t expect huge leaps for new consoles at first, however, stating:
My best guess is that it won’t be completely crazy new things, but mostly a graphical upgrade. We’ll see.
If other developers share Frazier’s feelings that current-gen consoles have become a cakewalk to develop for, then perhaps they have reached their limits. An easier development process could mean faster game turnover (i.e. more games), but if developers have pushed current consoles as far as they can, it might also indicate a need to move on.
4. Obsidian Asks Gamers What Kickstarter Funded Project They’d Like To See
Obsidian Entertainment game designer Chris Avellone tweeted a question posed to the gaming community asking what kind of project they would want to see if Obsidian decided to use Kickstarter. Using the Obsidian forums, fans are encouraged to share their ideas, or requests, with the company — and some have really jumped at the opportunity. Posts range from simple one-line requests, to entire lists with much longer descriptions. The question of whether Kickstarter funded games were to become a trend was posed many times following the success of Double Fine Adventure — but it appears as if we have our answer. The forums start with a mention of the, now famous, Kickstarter campagin.
All of Double Fine’s success from Kickstarter has been inspiring. I GUESS PEOPLE LOVE THOSE CLASSIC ADVENTURE GAMES AFTER ALL*.
Avellone went on to state that, “The idea of player-supported funding is… well, it’s proof certain genres aren’t dead and sequels may have more legs than they seem. And the idea of not having to argue that with a publisher is appealing.” Later, Avellone wrote a response to the community saying he tabulated all of the current responses and sent them to the owners of Obsidian, since he claims this was a personal interest and doesn’t guarantee Obsidian’s support. If it does work out, however, this could officially be the start of said trend — in which case publishers should beware because it would appear that there is a future for games made for gamers, funded by gamers.
5. Ubisoft Reveals ShootMania Storm
Ubisoft announced some new details for the upcoming ShootMania Storm, an online PC multiplayer FPS from Nadeo Studio, the creators of the ManiaPlanet line of games (QuestMania and TrackMania). ManiaPlanet is a network gaming system that allows users to organize, create and exchange data with others. Players have an abundance of creative freedom amongst an entire economic and social system.
Their latest game in the lineup is ShootMania Storm, which Ubisoft has announced will feature map editing capabilities, allowing players to customize, design and share creations across the community, using the MediaPlanet system that will be releasing in 2.0 very soon. The ShootMania Storm open beta is scheduled to release in the upcoming months.
6. Zynga Lost Money Even Though 58.5 Million People Play Its Games
It won’t come as a shock to learn that, last year, Zynga ruled the top five most played games on Facebook, meaning about 54 million of the approximately 800 million users are playing Zynga games in their Q4 alone. The free social games thrive on microtransactions, which scored the company $1.07 billion in 2011. Despite the mad cheddar raked in last year, the company ended up with a net loss of $404.3 million due to a pay out of $510 million for “stock-based compensation expense for restricted stock units issued to employees” compensation when it went public, according to Business Wire. Zynga games don’t show any signs of slowing down and they are still pulling in some heavy cash so this small hit will probably barely leave a mark.
7. New Hasbro Toys Based on Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
The third-person shooter, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron developed by High Moon Studios and published by Activision are getting their own toy line. Hasbro, who has been making Transformers since they were first introduced in 1984, has decided to include characters from the game as part of their Transformers Generations Deluxe line launching this fall. The characters included are a collection of five Decepticons who combine, Voltron style, to form the formidable Bruticus, like they do in the game — this “combiner” mode adds one more to the traditional two the series is known for. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is the the follow up to the War for Cybertron, a semi-successful title for High Moon Studios, that follows the events of the civil war on Cybertron. Look for this line of toys when it launches this fall.
8. New Max Payne 3 Screenshots Show Duel Wielding Madness
Max Payne is all about shooting up a place and the series have implemented several devices to keep the gun-toting action flowing and exciting with Bullet Time, Shootdodge and dual wielding. In Max Payne 3, Max is now able to dual wield any combination of single-handed weapon to unleash even more carnage. Players can choose a classic pairing of pistols or switch it by throwing in a revolver or submachine gun. Rockstar is treating fans with a selection of high def screens focusing on this new duel wielding feature and they couldn’t look sweeter.
9. Warcraft Monopoly and Risk: Starcraft Announced
Fans of the popular Blizzard games will have another way to play strategically in the Warcraft and StarCraft universes. World of Warcraft Monopoly will feature iconic locations such as Twilight Highlands, Grizzly Hills and Swamp of Sorrows – in place of Boardwalk and Park Place are likely to be replaced with faction capitals Orgrimmar and Stormwind. Gamers are invited to choose which player tokens should be included in the game by voting through their Facebook poll. Houses and hotels will be represented by Warcraft towns and cities and a red and blue die for the Horde and Alliance. Not sure what will be done with free parking, however, since everyone in the online game stop their mounts pretty much anywhere.
Risk: StarCraft allows players to choose between Terran, Protoss or Zerg factions to fight in the Koprulu Sector and save the galaxy — or destroy it, whichever suits them. There will be 3 play modes and over 290 custom playing pieces.
USAOPOLY will be releasing the games in specialty stores across the country soon. Warcraft Monopoly will retail at $39.95 and Risk: StarCraft will retail at the suggested price of $49.95.
10. Assassin’s Creed: Recollection Free For iPad
The folks at Ubisoft are offering a fantastic limited-time offer for their new iPad game Assassin’s Creed: Recollection. Right now it is available for free on the App Store. This installment in the Assassin’s Creed franchise takes advantage of the large multi-touch interface the iPad provides – allowing fans to experience things in a whole new way, as a real-time board game. Throughout the 20 mission narrative experience, players will use cards to navigate through a journey that takes you from Barcelona to Constantinople, which is now Istanbul (why they changed it, I can’t say). Check out the gameplay details in the App store and grab the game while you can as this offer, like most good things, is for a limited time.
11. Mobile Version Of Original Max Payne Incoming
In a post on Rockstar Games‘ website, where they answer fan questions and comments, some curious gamer asked for news about the original Max Payne for iOS. Rocksteady responded with a simple “yes”, before stating this:
The original Max Payne will be our next release for mobile devices. We will have an official announcement soon confirming the release date, but you can expect it to finally be released sometime in the next couple months.
There you have it, plain and simple, just the way we like it. While fans wait, they might want to indulge in Grand Theft Auto III, which released for the iOS and Android devices last year.
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