Gearbox Software now owns Homeworld – where do we go from here?

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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.

 

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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.

The Dark Knight returns in 2013 with Batman: Arkham Origins

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:

  1. Rocksteady Studios isn’t making Arkham Origins (!) – Warner Bros. Games Montreal will be taking the reins on this one.
  2. Eight of the world’s foremost assassins have come to Gotham City on Christmas Eve for caroling to kill the Bat (and then maybe caroling).
  3. 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).
  4. 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.

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Thief’s debut trailer creeps out of the shadows

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.

 

 

Disney shuts down LucasArts

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.

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It’s okay to stare at the official cover art for Grand Theft Auto V

Cha-ching.

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.

Here’s a teaser for Hardware, by the creators of Homeworld

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.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is now official, here’s the debut trailer

Bringing to an end one of the lengthier sagas in video game announcements, a bandage-swaddled Hideo Kojima took to the stage at GDC to officially announce Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The above trailer features footage from both the earlier Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes trailers, confirming that both ‘games’ were merely smokescreens. Kojima also played through a section of the tutorial on stage, which I’ve linked to here:

Click on past the break for a rundown on everything we know about Metal Gear Solid V.

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17 minutes of explosive Battlefield 4 gameplay is (totally) eclipsed by Bonnie Tyler

Look, EA, DICE, whoever – I’m willing to buy that Battlefield 4’s spec ops dudes have been throwing themselves off buildings for years, until they’ve built up an immunity towards fall damage and can treat a collapsing factory roof as nothing more than a mild annoyance. I can also believe that – in a touching homage to those fallen G.I. Joes at the back of the cupboard – these fine soldiers now come with detachable limbs that can be severed with merely a flick of a (friendly) knife, thus making battlefield – hah – surgeries but a moment’s work.

But do you really expect me to believe that these men, these highly trained professionals, can’t turn a goddamn radio off?

That’s the sort of rookie mistake that Call of Duty wouldn’t make, you mark my words.

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What it took to make BioShock Infinite

To herald the long-awaited launch of BioShock Infinite, Irrational Games tweeted the above picture. It’s always nice to get perspective on the effort that goes into making a AAA game, which is something that we gamers don’t always know too much about. Sadly, I haven’t yet managed to get my hands on the fruit of Irrational’s labours, but the initial response has been rather positive.