Category: News

Friday news

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Queensland Government has passed complimentary legislation allowing R18+ rated games to be legally sold in Queensland. The changes to the legislation were enacted at a federal level in January and were passed by all other states and territories at the same time.     The delay means that Queensland was officially the last western territory to create an adult rating for video games.   The first R18+ rated game expected to hit the shelves will be God of War: Ascension for the PS3.

 

A lawsuit filed against Activision by Guns N Roses frontman Axl Rose has been thrown out of court. Rose filed the claim in 2010, stating that he licensed the song “Welcome To The Jungle” to Activision for use in the game Guitar Hero 3 on the condition that the game did not feature former Guns N Roses guitarist Slash, or his new band Velvet Revolver.  When Guitar Hero 3 was released, not only was Slash in the game, he also appeared on the cover, and the soundtrack contained three Velvet Revolver songs.   The judge dismissed the lawsuit because it was filed too late, almost three years after the release of the game.

 

Rayman Legends has been delayed for a second time. Originally slated to be a launch title for Nintendo’s Wii U late last year, the game was previously delayed until April but has now been pushed back again and is set for  release in September this year.   First announced as a Wii U exclusive, it’s been revealed that the cause for the delay is so that the game can be simultaneously released for the Wii U,  the XBox 360 and the PS3.

 

Ron Gilbert, the creator of Monkey Island, will open the first ever Australian Penny Arcade Expo in July this year. Gilbert will deliver a keynote address on the first morning of the expo, which is commonly known as PAX and is being held in Melbourne.  This year will mark the first time that PAX has been held outside of the United States.

 

Journey, the acclaimed PS3 exclusive, missed out on a Grammy award. It was nominated in the category of Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media but lost out to the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Journey is the only game to have ever received a Grammy nomination.

 

Candi’s Quickies:

Brett Ratner, director of the Rush Hour films and X-Men 3, has signed on to produce a television series based on Farmville.

 

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, founders of  Bioware (responsible for Dragon Age and Mass Effect) are set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers awards next month.

 

A Youtube app for the PS3 has been released in Europe and Australia.  The app will allow users to view their subscriptions and control the app using a smartphone or tablet.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Announced!

CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has officially been confirmed and is already slated as a “must see next generation RPG”.

The game is said to cover three different plot levels:

  • Lowest Level: Free-form activities such as crafting, monster slaying (which seems to be more extensive in the third iteration), and going on quests. (There are over 100 hours of hand-scripted quests. These include helping villages and engineering the succession of the Skellige kings. Though, I think the latter would apply to the Next Level.)
  • Next Level: The political situation of the Nilfgaardian invasion is resolved through a core plot line for each area, including Skellige, Novigrad, and No Man’s Land.
  • Final Level: Geralt’s main storyline, his search for his loved ones, and the chase of the Wild Hunt.

Outside of completing missions or mini-games, there will be no chapters or acts to slow you down. It’s set in a world that is said to be a whopping 20% bigger than Skyrim and will take 30-40 minutes to completely cross on horseback without a single loading screen. There are hugely significant weather effects that could influence your travel, too – clouds are fully modded as real and volumetric instead of being paint on a skybox.

On the ground, monsters and bandits alike will savagely attack anyone they deem hostile. If you go to a town and choose not to save them from attacking from bandits, the village might end up abandoned when you next return.

Along with an enormous world that Geralt seems to have significant influence over, crafting, combat and inventory systems have all been completely re-worked. It is set to release in 2014 and will be the conclusion to the trilogy. Pick up this months Game Informer magazine for more information!

Friday News

A video released by Sony on their blog today has hinted that the PS4 may be unveiled as early as the 20th of February. The date has been set aside for a Playstation conference event to be held in New York City.   While the video only mentions a date and not much else, text attached to the video reads “see the future” and “be the first to know”, so we can be forgiven for jumping to conclusions here!

 

 

The World of Warcraft film adaptation now has a director attached to it.  Duncan Jones, director of Source Code and the son of David Bowie, will direct the film which has been scripted by Blood Diamond writer Charles Leavitt.   The film has a budget of $100 million.

 

 

Blizzard has released a video demonstrating the social features of the upcoming Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm.   The game has a release date of the 12th of March 2013.

 

 

Rockstar has today announced the official release date for Grand Theft Auto V.  Originally expected in April 2013, the revised date is the 17th of September 2013. GTA V will be available for the PS3 and 360, PC and Wii U versions are yet to be announced. Below is the official statement from Rockstar’s website: 

 

Dear all

Today, we have an official release date to share with you: Grand Theft Auto V will arrive in stores on September 17, 2013.

We know this is about four months later than originally planned and we know that this short delay will come as a disappointment to many of you, but, trust us, it will be worth the extra time. GTAV is a massively ambitious and complex game and it simply needs a little more polish to be of the standard we and, more importantly, you require.

To all Grand Theft Auto fans, please accept our apologies for the delay, and our promise that the entire team here is working very hard to make the game all it can be. We are doing all we can to help ensure it will meet if not exceed your expectations come September – we thank you for your support and patience.

Yours,
The GTA Team

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nintendo Direct Announces New Zelda Games

Nintendo Direct has officially announced a few things that might make us all rethink our doubts about the Wii U – for starters, they’ll be releasing two Zelda games in the upcoming years.

One of these new games will be a remake of the GameCube original, Wind Waker, in high definition for the Wii U. A series of bright screenshots have been released and the game is set to come out in the middle of the year. Nintendo announced that the reason for the remake is an estimated long development time for an entirely new Zelda game.

While details on the new game are quite sparse, Eiji Aonuma, the director of Legend of Zelda, announced that they have a focus of re-thinking the conventions of Zelda games. He specifically mentioned that they would like to reconsider the need to do dungeons in a specific order, and the need to play alone.

The Wii U console will also see many worthwhile updates this year, such as cutting down load times and the time it takes to get back to the menu. An update in Spring will also bring in the Wii U Virtual Console service.

THQ closes, IP’s sold off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, THQ auctioned off most of it’s IP’s to several other developers and announced that they will be closing the company for good.  Here’s the full text of the memo that was sent to THQ employees, via Kotaku:

 

 

To All THQ Employees:

We now have the answers we’ve been seeking through our financial restructuring and Chapter 11 case. While much will be written, here are the facts of the bids and auction that occurred t:

  • Yesterday morning, we received a competing bid for the operating business, along with Clearlake’s offer, and numerous offers for separate assets.
  • During an auction process that lasted over 22 hours, the final conclusion was that the separate-asset bids would net more than a single buyer for the majority of the company.
  • Shortly, we will, present the results to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which must concur with our assessment.
  • The proposed sales of multiple assets is as follows :
  • Sega agreed to purchase Relic
  • Koch Media agreed to purchase Volition and Metro
  • Crytek agreed to purchase Homefront
  • Take 2 agreed purchase Evolve and
  • Ubisoft agreed to purchase Montreal and South Park

We expect these sales to close this week.

Some assets, including our publishing businesses and Vigil, along with some other intellectual properties are not included in the sale agreements. They will remain part of the Chapter 11 case. We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible.

What this means for employees

We expect that most employees of the entities included in the sale will be offered employment by the new owners. However, we cannot say what these owners may intend, and there will likely be some positions that will not be needed under the new ownership. You should receive notice this week or early next week if the new owners intend to extend employment to you. Please note that the terms of your new employment, including pay and benefits, may be different from the current terms of your employment with THQ.

If you are an employee of an entity that is not included in the sale, we regret that your position will end. A small number of our headquarters staff will continue to be employed by THQ beyond January 25 to assist with the transition. THQ has sufficient resources to pay these employees for work going forward, and we will be contacting these employees immediately to ensure their continued employment during this transition period. We are requesting the ability to offer certain severance pay to minimize disruption for employees of non-included entities as they determine the next steps in their careers.

We know you will have many questions about this news. We’ll be meeting tomorrow when we return to talk through this announcement and to answer any questions you have. You will receive a benefits fact sheet and FAQs with answers to some questions that may be on your mind. Please review these materials closely.

A personal note

The work that you all have done as part of the THQ family is imaginative, creative, artistic and highly valued by our loyal gamers. We are proud of what we have accomplished despite today’s outcome.

It has been our privilege to work alongside the entire THQ team. While the company will cease to exist, we are heartened that the majority of our studios and games will continue under new ownership. We were hoping that the entire company would remain intact, but we expect to hear good news from each of the separate entities that will be operating as part of new organizations.

For those THQ employees who are part of entities that are not included in the sale, we are confident that the talent you have displayed as part of THQ will be recognized as you take the next steps in your career.

Thank you all for your dedication and for sharing your talent with the THQ team. We wish you the best of luck and hope you will keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Brian Farrell Chief Executive Officer

Jason Rubin President

The week in news: 23 January 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atari USA has filed for bankruptcy.   The iconic developer, responsible for massively influential titles such as Pong and Centipede, has been in financial decline and is 50 million dollars in debt.   A source with knowledge of the situation said that Atari USA will sell it’s assets over the next 6 months and restructure itself as a mobile game developer.

 

Jay Wilson, the long running lead developer of Diablo 3, will be moving on to another project after 7 years on the title. Wilson said “I’ve reached a point creatively where I’m looking forward to working on something new,”.    The new project in question has yet to be formally announced by Blizzard.

 

Skyrim players who bought the game on PS3 will be getting some much needed love next month. The previous 2 expansions, Dawnguard and Hearthfire, as well as forthcoming expansion Dragonborn, are scheduled for a February release.   All three expansions will be available for 50% of the normal price for a week after release.

 

Bethesda, developer of Skyrim and the Fallout series, has filed a trademark for an “ongoing television program set in a post-nuclear apocalyptic world.”. While no official comment has been released by Bethesda, this strongly suggests that the company are interested in creating or licensing a TV series based on the Fallout games.

 

Sony Corporation has sold it’s 37 story New York office building for 1.1 billion dollars. Sony employees will occupy the office, located in the business district on Madison Avenue, for a further three years.

 

Unsubstantiated rumour corner:

Detailed specifications for both the next XBOX and the PS4 appear to have been leaked online. The website VG Leaks has published the specifications, which are far too lengthy and boring for us to broadcast.    Official announcements confirming the release of the next XBOX (codenamed “Durango”) and the next Playstation (codenamed “Orbis”) have not yet been made by either Microsoft or Sony, but are expected over the next few months.

 

According to a new report, the next Playstation will have a completely redesigned controller, eschewing the familiar Dualshock design in favour of an LCD screen and biometric sensors. The Dualshock controller launched with the original Playstation in 1997, and each subsequent console updated the design. The PS3 was originally to have a new controller design, dubbed ” the Boomerang” but this was dropped prior to launch.

The week in news: 16 January 2013

The first R rated video game to be released in Australia has been rated by the Classification Board of Australia.  The game, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge will be released for Nintendo’s Wii U console later this year, and will feature “high impact, bloody violence”.    The new guidelines allowing adult games to be sold in Australia came into effect on the first of January, though Queensland is the only state to not have passed complimentary legislation.

Also, Warner Interactive has confirmed that they will be submitting Mortal kombat Komplete Edition for classification in Australia.  The title was released last February in the US. The original release of Mortal Kombat was refused classification in Australia under the old guidelines.

 

The National Rifle Association of America has come under fire after releasing a shooting game just weeks after blaming violent video games for the Connecticut shooting which left 28 dead in December.  Earlier this month, a spokesperson for the NRA said in a statement  that violent media, such as games films and music, were largely to blame for the increase in gun violence in America, and that further tragedies could be prevented by increasing the number of concealed weapons in places like schools and universities.  The game, called NRA: Practice Range, is a first person shooter where the player can shoot at human shaped targets with a range of pistols, shotguns and rifles, including the assault rifle used in the Newtown massacre.

 

World of Warcraft players have raised over 2 million dollars to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy. The Hurricane hit the US East Coast last year, and thousands of people still are dealing with the aftermath.  Blizzard released a new pet, the Cinder kitten, which could be purchased for 10 dollars, with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the Red Cross hurricane relief effort.  In total, over 2.3 million dollars was raised.

 

Deep Silver, developers of Dead Island Riptide, have apologised after a statuette that was to be included with the “Zombie Bait” edition of the game was deemed to be in poor taste. The statue (pictured below) depicts a dismembered female torso wearing only a union jack bikini.  No mention was made of any decision to cancel the release of the edition or the statue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unsubstantiated Rumour Corner

Announcements for the most anticipated consoles of the next generation could be made as early as March this year.   Both Sony and Microsoft have scheduled press conferences around the same time as the Game Developers Conference at the end of March.     While the content of the press conferences are unknown, industry analysts have predicted that both manufacturers would be wise to unveil their upcoming consoles ahead of e3, the world’s biggest videogame press event held in June each year.

 

The week in news: 9 January

Sony has patented a technology that could stop used games from being playable on it’s next console. The patent describes a technology that ties individual game discs with specific user accounts, rendering the game disc unplayable on any other console.  The application  of a patent does not necessarily mean that the technology will be implemented in the PS4, however many game developers have gone on record to say that the second hand game market is hurting the industry.

 

Graphics card manufacturer NVidia has announced a new handheld console, called PROJECT SHIELD. The device, which will be powered by the Tegra 4 processor, will run android applications and games via the Jellybean operating system. It will also be able to stream PC games to itself when used in tandem with a compatible PC.    Several photographs have been released of the Shield, which resembles an xbox controller with a flip up screen attached.   No word so far on the price or release date.

 

Nintendo has announced 2 new pokemon titles to be released for the 3DS in October this year.  Pokemon X & Y will feature a new protagonist and a fully 3d world, and for the first time in the series history will launch in all territories simultaneously.

 

Travellers Tales, developers of the licensed LEGO games, has revealed that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes will launch sometime in the third quarter of this year across nearly all platforms.  The game will feature an original story and over 100 Marvel characters including Spider-man and the Avengers.

Gearbox Refuses Offer To Develop New Call of Duty Game

An interview with a German site called KGN suggests that Borderlands developer GearBox Software have turned down an opportunity to develop a new Call of Duty game. Randy Pitchford revealed that the studio had been requested to develop the popular franchise’s next instalment, but he said no.

Pitchford commented that Gearbox will only develop a game “when we can contribute to an existing brand something new – a kind of unique perspective and a new approach,” (translation from German in Google Translate). He turned down Activision’s offer because he saw ‘no real challenge’ in taking the job, along with questioning the flexibility he might get from the publisher. Considering the franchise has achieved FPS dominance by repeating a similar formula every year, it’s reasonable to assume that Gearbox wouldn’t be allowed much creative influence over a new Call of Duty.

“You have to play by the rules of the series,” said Pitchford. “You have to do what is expected of a Call of Duty [game]. In this I see but no real challenge for us. It would not strengthen our reputation as a studio, it would not be really motivating for our team.”

It would have been a welcome change to see Gearbox develop a new Call of Duty, but Pitchford‘s refusal is neither surprising nor unreasonable.

The week in news: 19/12/2012

Seven thousand brand new Wii U consoles have been stolen in a warehouse robbery in Seattle USA. ABC has reported that after gaining access to the SeaTac Air Cargo warehouse, thieves used forklifts to lift palettes of the new console onto two semi trailers and left the scene unimpeded.   The stolen consoles have a retail value of 2.1 Million US dollars.  When asked about any anti-theft technology that would prevent stolen Wii U consoles from being used online, Nintendo declined to comment.  The thieves and the precious cargo are still at large.

 

Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga, has been identified by Bloomberg as the fourth worst CEO of 2012. According to the list, compiled by respected business professor Sydney Finkelstein,  Pincus has made disastrous missteps this year in leading his company, which has seen it’s shares fall 80 percent since March.  Zynga, who are the creators of Farmville, The Ville and Zynga Poker, have received consistently negative press coverage throughout 2012 which includes accusations of insider trading, the defection of numerous company officers and, most recently, copyright infringement.

 

Big Ant Studios, the Melbourne developer of Rugby League Live 2, has been put into voluntary liquidation. According to Kotaku, the studio had debts of nearly 7 million dollars that it was unable to recoup.  CEO Ross Symons said that this was a business restructuring and would not affect the employment of staff.

 

Violent video games have once again come under the spotlight in the US media. After it was revealed that the shooter who killed 28 people in Connecticut, USA played video games in his spare time, Fox News and the NRA have suggested that violent video games played a part in his decision to carry out the massacre.   No studies have conclusively proven that a link exists between violent behaviour and violent video games.