Category: News

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.


The week in news: 12/12/2012

It has been reported by Eurogamer that Nintendo of Europe are restricting the purchase of Wii U content that is rated PEGI 18+ (our equivalent of an R18+ rating) to the hours between 11PM and 3AM.  Restricting the sale of adult content within this 4 hour bracket is thought to be an extra preventative measure against exposing children to adult material.   Games such as Assassins Creed 3 and Zombie U are examples of games that are rated PEGI 18+.   Allowing third parties to develop adult oriented games for the Wii U was a conscious decision by Nintendo, who have in the past marketed themselves as a family friendly company.


Tens of thousands of gamers worldwide are unable to play their favourite games online  after host Gamespy discontinued support for dozens of games permanently and without notice.  Gamespy, which was recently acquired by mobile game developer Glu, has faced a severe backlash online with their Facebook page bombarded with hundreds of messages from frustrated players.   Gamespy have issued comments stating that since the publisher of the game has discontinued support from the game, it is not financially viable to host servers or matchmaking services for these titles.  Games affected include SWAT 4, Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, star wars battlefront, Hidden and Dangerous 2  and Microsoft Flight Simulator 10.


Zynga, the social gaming developer of Farmville, the Ville and Zynga poker, has applied for a gambling license.  Currently, Zynga Poker allows players to purchase chips using real currency, but winnings can only be redeemed as virtual funds.   This process will allow Zynga to begin trading as a gambling service in the US, but plans are already in motion to allow Zynga to operate as a gambling service in the UK through a partnership with online gambling company


Blizzard has revealed that they have a console version of popular PC title Diablo 3 up and running at their studios.   Though it is not an officially supported project,  an executive at the company said that he hoped that they could develop it to the point where it became one.

The Week In News: 28/11/2012

A truck containing every single copy of the PC version of Assassins Creed 3 to be sold in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg has been stolen by thieves.   Ubisoft has passed on the serial numbers of the stolen software to retailers and blacklisted them from online authentication.   The launch of the game was not affected, but those who purchased the limited Join or Die edition of the game missed out as they are unable to be remanufactured.


A revised version of Nintendo’s original Wii console has been revealed by Best Buy Canada.  The console – called the Wii Mini – will not feature Wi-fi or gamecube backwards compatibility but sports a smaller design and a price point of 99 canadian dollars.   Nintendo has not officially released any information about the console, and it is unknown whether there are plans to make the Wii Mini available outside of Canada.   The Wii’s successor, the Wii U, is set for release in Australia this Friday.



New DLC for Bioware’s epic space opera Mass Effect 3 is available for PS3, 360 and the PC.  Titled Omega, the content will focus on Aria, the Pirate Queen.


Bethesda has confirmed DLC for Dishonored will arrive on the 11th of December.   Dunwall City Trials will add 10 new challenge maps to the first person, supernatural stealth game.   Story based DLC has also been announced and is due for release in the second quarter of next year.


The Queensland Government has this year faced severe criticism from numerous sectors, but now it can now expect the scorn of gamers as well.  Polygon has reported that the Queensland government has no plans to implement the R 18+ rating until the 7th of February, over a month after the January 1st deadline set by the federal government.    This year gamers across Australia rejoiced when the Attorneys-General of all states and territories unanimously agreed to introduce an R rating for games,  ending over a decade of lobbying from gamers across the nation and  abolishing Australia’s status as the only Western country lacking an adult rating for videogames.   Queensland’s failure to pass legislation means that after the first of January, R-rated games will most likely be sold in Queensland stores, but without any laws in place to regulate their sale, minors will be legally able to purchase them.


Unsubstantiated rumour corner:

The Verge has reported that Microsoft are planning to release a set top box that would feature the media delivery services of the current Xbox but lacking the ability to play games.  The device would launch alongside the next generation of consoles using the Xbox branding, and would act as a rival to Apple TV.   Please note that this article is a rumour only and Zed Games is unable to confirm it’s legitimacy.

Download TF2 Arcade for free!

Like TF2? Of course you do! And now that it’s free to download from Steam there are no excuses not okay what is probably one of the finest team-based FPS games ever created.

Eric Ruth loved TF2 so much he decided to create his own version of the game, re-imagined as an arcade style, side-scrolling beat-em-up!

Check out the link for an interview with Eric, as well as the full version of the game to download (free of course).


“Innistrad” Magic Pre-Release this weekend


Magic: The Gathering:

The first expansion of the new block “Innistrad” launches next week, but this weekend magic players worldwide get their first taste of the new set.

The horror themed set introduces a few new mechanics and brings back some old ones. Probably the most interesting new addition are “Double Faced Cards”; these represent creatures (or planeswalkers) that can transform into other, more powerful forms. For example, a human shepherd that transforms into a werewolf if certain conditions are met.

For MTG veterans, Pre-Releases are the best way to get the new cards early while having fun exploring the new content. For magic newbies, Pre-Releases are a fantastic introduction to the game because of the non-competitive atmosphere and the level playing ground.

Ace Comics & Games at Annerley are holding events all weekend, starting tonight at midnight with the traditional “Midnight Draft” for those hardcore players who simply cannot wait until Saturday to play with the cards.
Then on both Saturday and Sunday, registration begins at 10:30am for the Sealed events.
Ace Comics & Games

For those planning on attending, be sure to check out the VISUAL SPOILER ahead of time to get familiar with the new set.

Portal is free to download until Sep. 20

I’ll spare you the cake jokes, but if you haven’t already: grab the original PORTAL off steam! Normally 10 bucks. until Tuesday it is free. Valve are hoping that the game and it’s awesome sequel will become part of educational curriculum due its logic and physics based gameplay. Play it! and when you beat it, play PORTAL 2!