Monthly Archives: April 2013
Open-world action games are a dime a dozen these days, but there’s just something about GTA. Whether its the impeccable song choices, the scathing social commentary or just some brilliant writing, there’s a flavour to a Grand Theft Auto game that’s all its own. And these trailers have it in spades.
Franklin’s arc looks set to be a return to the war between Grove Street and the Ballas that featured prominently in San Andreas, while Trevor…is almost certainly insane. In a good way. There’s a man who’s clearly read How To Win Friends And Influence People. Despite Franklin and Trevor each being callbacks to earlier GTAs in their own way, I have to say that the one I’m most interested in right now is Michael. The Ulysses character is nothing new, but in the hands of Rockstar? It could be something great.
Microsoft’s long-awaited reply to the PlayStation 4 will finally be unveiled in just under a month from now. Here’s the official announcement from Major Nelson:
On Tuesday May 21st, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment. On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on Xbox.com, Xbox LIVE and broadcast on Spike TV if you are in the US or Canada.
On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.
We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve been working on.
A New Generation Revealed
Xbox Campus, Redmond WA
Tuesday, May 21st @ 1p ET/10a PT/17:00 GMT
This is going to be very exciting indeed. Much like this amazing GIF, found on The Verge’s forums:
Now, be honest – if it did that, you’d forget all about that always-online thing.
So Gearbox Software was the highest bidder in the auction for the Homeworld license.
While the identity of the winner was kept confidential until yesterday’s announcement, we already knew who the runners-up were – Stardock, the guys behind Sins of a Solar Empire. And in third place was Paradox Interactive (known for Majesty, Magicka and, most recently, the best trailer of 2013), who graciously conceded defeat via the following tweet –
We finished 3rd in the Homeworld auction; I would have loved to work on that IP but wish the winners all the best and hope for a great HW3
— Fredrik Wester (@TheWesterFront) April 19, 2013
A great Homeworld 3 – now, I don’t know much about Mr. Wester, but he’s rather effectively summed up what every Homeworld fan has wanted since 2003. Of course, since THQ’s tragic demise, question marks hung over the future of the franchise, let alone any possible sequel; now, at least, we’ve got room to hope on both those fronts.
However – and this is the bit that concerns me – is Homeworld in safe hands?
The answer, quite clearly, is no.
Leviathan Warships blows everything else out of the water with one of the best trailers you’ll ever see
Did you think that you were above being seduced by a combination of smooth jazz and so-awful-they’re-genius puns? Leviathan Warships says hi, and promises to buy you dinner next time.
We’re only in April, but I’m calling it now – best trailer of 2013.
…I swear, I had my clothes on at the beginning of this video.
Game Informer’s May cover story has been revealed to be Batman: Arkham Origins. The official announcement says:
As the title suggests, the game takes place years before both of the previous Arkham titles when a young, unrefined Batman encounters many supervillains for the first time. On our full cover image below, fans will recognize the assassin Deathstroke, who appears for the very first time in a core Arkham game.
Here’s what we know:
- Rocksteady Studios isn’t making Arkham Origins (!) – Warner Bros. Games Montreal will be taking the reins on this one.
- Eight of the world’s foremost assassins have come to Gotham City on Christmas Eve
for carolingto kill the Bat (and then maybe caroling).
- Arkham Origins will be the first Arkham game to actually take place on the streets of Gotham (as mentioned in the developer video I’ve embedded after the break).
- Batman: Arkham Origins will release on October 25th for the Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
There’s a lot to talk about here. No Rocksteady, and no Paul Dini? That’s worrying enough, but when you consider that the man tasked with “heading up the vision for Arkham Origins” is Eric Holmes, best known for “being the lead designer of open world action hits The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Prototype” – that, right there, is when I started to worry. Still, as long as they don’t deviate too much from the foundation that Rocksteady’s laid down, we’ll get a good game.
Another sour note rings out, however – Mark Hamill’s stated that he’s done voicing the Joker, which leaves two possibilities. We’ll either be getting a prequel Arkham game with a ‘young, unrefined’ Batman that will not feature the Clown Prince; or, somebody new will step into Hamill’s cavernous shoes. Neither of those prospects is terribly appealing. Still, Deathstroke could be an extremely capable Big Bad if given the right treatment, and he’s been sorely under-used so far.
Personally, I’m finding the lack of any mention of next-gen platforms to be rather interesting. Of course, they could be saving that for a later announcement – maybe sometime next month? – but it does leave the door open for a Rocksteady-made Arkham City sequel for next-gen consoles, which would be…eggcellent.
Of course, we then run the risk of Bat-saturation (baturation?) but that’s chance I’m willing to take.
And it’s about as dark and stealthy as you’d expect. No gameplay here, just eye-candy – and one notable difference. Stephen Russell won’t be reprising his role as the voice of Garrett, and fans of the Thief franchise are already up in arms about it – sound familiar?
Drama aside, it’s great to see Thief returning, whatever form this numberless game takes.
Official statement follows:
After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.
Well. I’m genuinely at a loss for words. It’s a sad fact of these economic times that studios close and hardworking people lose their jobs, but this…this is LucasArts! This was my childhood; and I know millions of people probably feel the same way.
To twist the knife even further, all in-development projects have been cancelled; including Star Wars: First Assault and – the unkindest cut of all – Star Wars 1313.
All the doomsday prophets who were in full voice when Disney’s acquisition happened would seem to be vindicated. The truth is, though, that this may not be the end for the franchises we loved – if Disney sells those IPs, there’s still a chance that we might see faithful sequels from other studios. XCOM proved it was possible last year. The fate of 1313 is murkier, and the scarcity of optimism surrounding that game means that all we might ever see of one of the most exciting games of E3 2012 are those two glorious trailers. With that gone, all we can do is hope that this might not be the end for the franchises we grew up playing.
There is, however, no escaping the fact that this is the end of LucasArts. And you will not find sadder words on this blog.
If that isn’t one of the most iconic cover styles in gaming, I don’t know what is. Oh September, you just can’t get here fast enough.
And, really, that alone should be enough to get you to watch it. It’s minimal and pretty bare-bones on actual information, but it certainly looks like there might be something very promising here. The site provides a little more back-story:
Long March Industries (LMI) is a ruthless interstellar megacorporation that owns all rights to LM-27, a mysterious and hostile desert planet littered with the buried wrecks of ancient starships. LMI oversees a galactic gold-rush as prospectors and fortune seekers converge on LM-27 in search of the untold riches buried in its burning sands. In this persistent multiplayer game, players command a fleet of massive vehicles as they explore, salvage and fight for fortune and survival in the world’s first planetary-scale social strategy game.
You can sign up for the beta here.