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Weekly News Round-Up 17/4/10

What the hells been going on?

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On The DL(C)

And so the diabolical downloadable content machine chugs on, this week bringing news of some much needed Zombie content in the form of a campaign titled The Passing, for Left 4 Dead 2, due to infect next week, boasting 3 new maps and the cast from both the original game and the sequel – It’s expected to cost around 560MS and be totally bloody free for PC users.

The latest outing for our chum Sam Fisher, Splinter Cell: Conviction, has just been released along with the announcement from Ubisoft that they’re gonna be dropping free DLC every week (new guns, skins etc) beginning April 15th, though they’ve not announced any substantial price-laiden content yet.

Also up this week, for both the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PSN, is the Skate 3 demo, which is definitely worth a look in, and obviously essential for any skate fans out here lamenting the self-initiated demise of the Tony Hawk franchise.

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Respawned!

To absolutely nobody’s surprise, the Activision/Infinity Ward absurdities continue to drag on, causing some distressed on-lookers to give their two cents: Jake Biegel, developer for Insomniac who knows a folk or two at IW, had this to say on the subject, when speaking to PSM3 “I was totally horrified for my friends and called every one of them asking what the hell was going on” – too right, Mr. Jake!

Former IW heads Vince Zampella and Jason West have given Activision the proverbial finger it deserves and returned to EA (from where they left many years ago during the original Medal of Honour’s development), forming a brand new development studio Respawn – very appropriate I might add. EA, also eager to stick it to Bobby Kotick and his buddies, have granted the studio full control and rights on whatever IP it goes with, in a bid to act as the protective parent, in full knowledge that the whole industry is watching. As it was last week, so it is now; many words are flying back and forth between Activision, IW and the rest, but this week we’ve had some alternative input, most comically, from EA “We don’t have the time to comment on the many lawsuits Activision files against its employees and creative partners,” Oh snap. We’ve also had sources from inside IW claim the studio is dead after the almost daily walkouts from important members, the others deny this claim. Whatever the situation it is, it’s clear from this re-imagining of the MW2 credits by CVG, that the studio can never be the same again.

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The Market

The NPD research group released the data for march, and thanks to some much cleverer people than me, we can see that total industry sales are up 6% to $1.52bn for the year, despite an overall 7% decline for the US. Over in the UK, the market has dropped 7.8% for the first quarter of 2010, despite a boatload of triple A titles, apparently due to overall lower consume expenditure and lower demand for the (dreaded) Wii. More specifically, looking at the major companies, Sony is pleased with high demand for the PS3, even though there are shortages, and a very successful launch of God of War 3, smashing, roaring and being sexually suggestive its way through the benchmark set by GoW2 by 32%, shifting 1.1m units this month. Microsoft are equally happy larrys, claiming various figures such as having had 65% of BFBC2 sales for the 360, and as such, are simply waiting to bring E3 on.

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Peaks, Leaks & Rumours

Rejoice, for unless you have a heart of stone, your quota of cuteness and innovation combined, will be well and truly filled soon enough, by the military grade adorability that is LittleBigPlanet 2, for it appears that it will in fact be happening, despite Sony’s ‘no comment’ policy. The musician Ochre tweeted that he’s licensed a song for LBP2, although the message has now been deleted, and so this mishap seems to substantiate the previous rumour caused by a Sony rep a short while ago. Some LBP fans are skeptical as to whether the franchise needs continuation, writing off a sequel as an act of Sony beating the cash cow, but I have a little optimism – Media Molecule will have to bring something brand new to the table to warrant a sequel.

OXM UK have revealed to the world that Fable 3 will allow you to impregnate your friends; Xbox Live friends to be more specific, though you can impregnate real friends should wish to/hold a grudge. But it gets better – as if Lionhead thought that wouldn’t evoke enough boyish giggles – your in game relationships will incorporate the Natal touch system, allowing for the most creepy experience they can possibly offer.

The Official UK Playstation Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Ben Wilson, has teased a new open-world, user-generated content game to be released later this year, in their podcast. Ostensibly this mystery game allows players to create their own missions and share them – very intriguing indeed, unfortunately we’re just going to have to wait and see…curse the concept of patience!

Alan Wake is finally upon us, and after a gruelling six years in development, you’re probably hoping it better be pretty damn good. Well hope no more, for GameStar have treated us to the first 11 minutes of the game, which has already gone gold, to wet your lips for the European release of May 14th.

Wouldn’t a Bioshock MMO be pretty awesome? probably, and that’s why there’s rumour circulating, thanks to Destructoid, that 2k Marin are making such a game. The possibilities are huge, and it seems very plausible the Bioshock universe could be expanded in a convincingly interesting way, however this is very much a baby rumour, with no feet to stand on as of yet, so I’ll keep you posted.

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For Your Consideration

In this section I hope to bring up some interesting looking games that are in development, and any new information I can gather, so you can decide whether to be excited about them or not.

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> Bulletstorm

Bulletstorm is a brand new shooter, being developed by Epic and People Can Fly studios, due for release in the distant future of last part of 2011. EA’s new title stars Grayson Hunt, exiled as a mercenary is a distant part of the galaxy in the 26th century, “surrounded by hordes of mutants” with a weapon reward system and online multiplayer promised. VG247 have a more in depth description, as I’ve no space in my brain to be hyped about such a new and distant game due to the unrelenting transience of thought and concentration my generation is attributed.

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> Ghost Recon: Future Solider

Ubisoft’s successful shooter franchise is due to receive another installment this Autumn, complete 4 player co-op and four distinct player classes: Recon, Commando, Sniper and Engineer. As one might expect, the story revolves around a Russian terrorist group, but it’s difficult to blame them for the lack of originality in that respect. There’s an in depth interview with the producer over on Gamespot.

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> Gears of War 3

Even with the fact that, thanks to an Xbox Live scheduling error, everyone knew about it, Cliff Bleszinksi, lead designer at Epic, nevertheless marched onto Jimmy Fallon the other night with the announcement of Gears of War 3. The enthusiastic Cliff confirmed the much speculated sequel, along with one or two details including the introduction of a 3rd faction in the epic war, the Lambent. The game is set to launch April 2011, “probably” April 8th, to be overly specific and with the promise of four player co-op, building off of the great co-op experience GoW already offers, we could be looking at a great blockbuster. Here’s the debut trailer!

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> Halo: Reach

Reach once again makes it into For Your Consideration, simply because you should be considering it this often and because Bungie and nice enough to reveal plenty of content for all to salivate over. This week Bungie told 1UP about some of the game modes including:

  • Headhunter – basically collecting skulls, and dieing drops skulls.
  • Stockpile – capturing 4 neutral flags and returning them to base.
  • Generator Defense – attack or defend, three on three.
  • Invasion – six on six vehicle frenzy.

If you crave the full scoop, head over to 1UP and watch this trailer. There’s also a scraping of further Halo news, or rather never to be news, for it’s become apparent that Microsoft were at one point shovelling cash into a Halo MMO project, designed to compete with WoW. However due to the unanticipated success of the Wii, they cut their $90 million losses short, in order go down the motion control route – probably a better call.

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The Corporations Own Your Souls

No this isn’t the part where I reveal my conspiracy theories and show off my tin foil headware, because it’s utterly true – well, kind of. The UK game retailer GameStation legally own around 7,500 of its customers souls after altering its online purchasing process terms and conditions to include a somewhat satanic clause. Customers were even given a check box option to forgo loosing their humanity and get a bonus £5 gift voucher, but only 12% did so. The April Fools-esque stunt was supposedly performed to prove how few people read the small print, but I suspect more malicious motives (future proofing for the apocalypse arrives?).  However, they will now be contacting the aforementioned customers to advise them that they are not going to claim these souls.

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Tiger’s Wood

It appears D-Dub Software are cashing in on Tiger Wood’s unwise decisions and bringing out a Tiger Woods Affair Tour ’10 game. It’s pretty self explanatory, but it essentially involves sleeping with people you shouldn’t be, getting drunk and fighting – what a wonderful world we live in. The game can be downloaded at the infamous eBaumNation for not one single penny.

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Loose Ends

Here’s the stuff I couldn’t be bothered to give extra attention to: Firstly we must pay homage to the original Xbox Live, as it is now, no more. Most memorably, it was host to many a Halo 2 deathmatch and good times were had – that is all. The upcoming PSP game, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker will be sold fully complete with all the Kojima-spawned mad brilliance you could wish for in the US and Europe this summer, but we can’t say the same for Hideo’s home, Japan, where they ratings board has cut a crucial scene. Kojima, being a great, but clinically insane artist is naturally very angry. So, top tip: buy Peace Walker in the west. Finally, some moron in Connecticut, who was also a crime suspect used Xbox Live to threaten his victim, and was promptly arrested – who ever said Video Games are bad for us? They catch fricking criminals!

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Awesomeness From Around The Interwebs

This section is designed to replace my failed Weekly Picks articles, which showcase awesome (usually) video game related awesomeness myself or others have discovered. First up is a web series called Hey Ash, Watcha Playin’?, which is pretty unique in terms of game related comedy, if not to everyone’s taste. The series revolves around Destructoid writer Anthony Burch and his captivatingly insane sister, Ashly. It certainly weighs on the surreal side, so it’s nice to see one show that avoids obvious gags, but not every episode is spot on. However, if you like this kind of madness, you’ll probably shit yourself laughing.

Secondly, we have a ridiculously well made fan film for Modern Warefare, considering its budget. Made for just over $200, Frozen Crossing follows the mission of Spectre and Dust. Enjoy

Next, we have my weirdest pick; skip to the next one if you don’t feel like indulging my odd tendencies. Don’t Trust No Damn Robot is a blog about robots, and how they’re going to kill you and me, and everyone:

Finally, a few trailers from the never ending stream of awesome trailers for Naughty Bear, the game the combines teddy bears and slaughter. Including a Blair Witch parody, the crazy bastards behind this game continue to outdo themselves, at least in terms of advertising the game.

April 17th, 2010
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