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Bungie fires Halo composer Martin O'Donnell  (update)

Halo series and Destiny composer Marty O'Donnell was fired by Bungie's board of directors last week, the composer revealed via his personal Twitter account tonight. "I'm saddened to say that Bungie's board of directors terminated me without cause on April 11, 2014," O'Donnell wrote. O'Donnell composed music for Oni, as well as the Myth and Halo series. He joined Bungie in 2000 as audio director after working on Myth 2, Oni and Halo: Combat Evolved's scores on a contract basis with his company TotalAudio. During his time at Bungie, O'Donnell directed voice talent and sound design for the Halo trilogy, Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST. He often collaborated with TotalAudio partner and now in-house audio design lead at Bungie, Mike Salvatori. O'Donnell, Salvatori and Paul McCartney...

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Half-Life record breaking speedrun clocks in under 21 minutes

Quadrazoid, a speedrunner group, has set a record Half-Life run time with 20 minutes and 41 seconds, shaving minutes off the previous record of 29 minutes and 41 seconds. The run was completed on the hard setting with seven team members doing runs: quadrazid, CRASH FORT, coolkid, pineapple, YaLTeR, Spider-Waffle and FELip. The run is composed of 317, 249 segments and 107 saves/segments were made "only to cause and abuse save glitches." "Starting back in the summer of 2010, the estimated time for this run was thought to be roughly 27 minutes," quadrazoid wrote on the YouTube video. "However, after almost four years of painstaking planning, theory crafting and execution, we have arrived at our final time, smashing all of our wildest expectations. Not only do we owe this new...
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Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn registrations exceeds 2 million worldwide

The total number of registered accounts for Square Enix's revamped massively multiplayer online game, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, now exceeds 2 million worldwide, the company announced today. Famitsu reported last October that the game reached more than 1.5 million registered users worldwide. However, Siliconera pointed out at the time it was not transparent how many of the figure were active users of the relaunched version. Final Fantasy 14 was originally released in September 2010 and was revamped to address its crippling issues. It relaunched with server congestion problems as A Realm Reborn last August on Windows PC and PS3. A Realm Reborn was released to PlayStation 4 on April 14 following a beta test phase and then a brief in Early Access period on the console. Users...
Review
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6.5

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles review: passing by

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles comes 10 years after the original Tales of Symphonia launched on the GameCube. Chronicles brings together the original and its Wii sequel, Dawn of the New World, to commemorate that 10-year anniversary. With this re-release, Namco is giving a whole new generation of RPG fans a chance to play one of Tales Studio's most warmly regarded creations in high definition for the first time. Long-time fans might be eager for an excuse to replay Tales of Symphonia, while a whole new generation of RPG players may have never been exposed to it to begin with. Unfortunately, neither Symphonia nor its sequel benefit much from the makeover. Tales of Symphonia stars a diverse group of fighters led by wannabe-macho-man Lloyd. His friend Colette has been chosen by the...
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Jane Jensen's Moebius: Empire Rising now available for Windows PC and Mac

The latest story trailer for Moebius: Empire Rising, third-person mystery adventure game from Gabriel Knight series designer Jane Jensen and her Pinkerton Road Studio, is available now for Windows PC and Mac for $29.99. The title can be purchased from online distributors such as Steam, GoG and GamersGate. Those who purchase the game through the Phoenix Online Studios Store are eligible for 20 percent off using a discount code. iPad and Android versions are due for release shortly. The game centers on protagonist Malachi Rector, an antiques specialist, genius and sleuth with a photographic memory. He gets caught up in a worldwide government conspiracy when he is sent to Venice to investigate the murder of a young woman. Running at 15-20 hours, gameplay in the puzzle-centric Moebius c...
Culture
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Swedish politicians compete in StarCraft 2 tournament ahead of election

A group of politicians in Sweden took part on a StarCraft 2 tournament this past weekend to "raise awareness about eSports in politics, and politics among gamers," The Daily Dot reports. The tournament, called Politikerstarcraft, was created by Jonathan Rider Lundkvist in 2010. Lundkvist was a member of the Swedish Pirate Party, which formed in 2006 to focus on issues like net neutrality, censorship, copyright and patent reform. Politikerstarcraft is held just for fun, but the 2010 winner Mathias Sundin coincidentally won the tournament for his party, which ended up winning the election that year. This year's tournament was the second Politikerstarcraft held, and featured commentary from Swedish StarCraft 2 casting duo Living on the Ladder. Participants included candidates for local...
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GaymerX may no longer hold annual conference, but it's far from over

GaymerX, the video game conference that celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community in games, will no longer be holding an annual event due to resource limitations, but this doesn't mean the organization itself is coming to an end, according to co-creator Matt Conn. Writing to the GaymerX website, Conn said that the recent announcement that the organization will no longer running the convention does not mean the end of GaymerX as a whole. "It just means that we're no longer going to be holding it as an annual event," he said. "This year, we went all out with the venue and going to three days, the costs skyrocketed. And although attendance has been doing well, corporate sponsorship was just not at a level to sustain going this huge. "We're taking on a huge...
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Humble Mobile Bundle 5 includes The Cave, The Room Two

The latest Humble Bundle, the Humble Mobile Bundle 5, is available now and includes six games at pay-what-you-want prices. Buyers who pay below the average will receive DRM-free copies of Aralon: Sword and Shadow, Bag It! and R-Type 2; those who pay more than the average (currently around $4.70) will also get Carcassonne, The Cave and The Room Two. More games are expected to unlock in the future, which will also be available for those that paid more than the average. Games are available for Android devices; check out the trailer above for a quick look at each game. Those who purchase bundles can choose to split their contribution between game developers, bundle organizers and charity organizations. The Humble Mobile Bundle 5 will be available until Tuesday, April 29.
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Titanfall getting namable loadouts, filterable challenges and more

Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment categorizes free game updates into three categories, and game director Steve Fukuda took to the game's official website to tell players what features to expect in each — including loadouts you can name and filters to search through Challenges. The first-person shooter's first type of update is designed to "tend the garden and keep the weeds out," Fukuda wrote, and they take the form of "minor tweaks and fixes" like weapon balance and matchmaking changes. He refers to the second group as "convenience features," like the recent Party Colors feature that lets players identify others in the game and its lobby. "The next update will bring more convenience features such as: the ability to rename your custom loadouts and to make custom...
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Snoop Dogg voice pack coming to Call of Duty: Ghosts April 22

A Call of Duty: Ghosts Snoop Dogg Voice Pack will be available on Xbox Live on April 22, according to a video developer Infinity Ward released. The video shows snippets of voice-over work the rapper provided, including lines like "Rack up points by reaching the enemy portal, you dig," "Squad member active — my brother from another mother," and "Homies out the joint, it's party time." "What interested me most about the project is my voice can be connected with a game that's so hip and so hood," Snoop Dogg said. "It says a lot. It's associated with greatness." The voice pack will be released for other platforms at a later date.
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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare gets free 'Zomboss Down' expansion today

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare's latest expansion, Zomboss Down, is now available on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, developer PopCap Games announced today. Zomboss Down is the second free expansion for Garden Warfare, following March's Garden Variety add-on. The western-themed DLC includes eight new characters, such as the Law Pea and Sun Pharaoh, as well as a new multiplayer map for the Gardens and Graveyards mode called Cactus Canyon. The expansion also bumps up the level cap from 20 to 30. You can check out a trailer for Zomboss Down above, and read our full review of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare for more on the multiplayer shooter.
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World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition 1.1 update adds crews and more

The latest addition to World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition, the 1.1 update, gives players access to new vehicles, maps and the game's crew options. Crews must be assigned every time players purchase a new tank. Each crew has different skills; players can choose whichever crew they desire, though the game's "best option" will be highlighted for easy selection. When a crew is reassigned to a tank or class, it must be retrained through schooling or battlefield experience. Crews can only be assigned to tanks from their own country. For more on crews, check out the tutorial video above. "Crews are essential to success in World of Tanks," the video's narrator said. "Every tank needs a crew to operate it, or it will not be able to roll out to battle." Update 1.1 also adds five new U.K.-themed...
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NHL 14 simulation picks Boston Bruins as 2014 Stanley Cup champions

This spring, the Boston Bruins will win their second Stanley Cup in four years, according to EA Sports' simulation of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs in NHL 14. The Bruins, the best team in hockey during the 2013-14 regular season, defeated the San Jose Sharks four games to two in EA's simulation. They eked by the New York Rangers with an overtime victory in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals after taking down the Detroit Red Wings in the first round and the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask led the way, posting a 1.56 goals-against average and a 16-6-2 record with four shutouts in 24 playoff games. Last year's real-life Western Conference champions, the Chicago Blackhaws, were sent home in the second round by the Colorado Avalanche, who fell to the...
News
20 Comments

Upsilon Circuit is a game you can play only once, and when it ends, it's gone forever

The husband and wife development team at RobotLovesKitty that once lived in a treehouse has a wild idea for its next project.Imagine a game you can only play once, where, when you die, you can never play again. Imagine an eight-player game that exists on a single server for several months and then, by design, disappears forever. Imagine a role-playing game where you can't upgrade your character, where you can't customize your character, but the people watching you can. This is Upsilon Circuit. RobotLovesKitty told us all about their ideas for the new game and showed us an early version at PAX East 2014. Alix Stolzer and Calvin Goble were thinking about permadeath. The everlasting death mechanic is nothing new. You can find it transcending genres in Firaxis Games' turn-based strategy...
News
1 Comment

Spring Fighter tournament returning to NYU Game Center June 7-8

The New York University Game Center will host its fifth annual Spring Fighter fighting games tournament June 7-8, organizers announced today. This year's tournament will feature free matches in BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, Marvel vs. Capcom, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros Melee, Super Street Fighter 4 and Project M, the fan-made Brawl mod that aims to make its combat more like Melee. Last year's tournament featured 64 slots each in three games, Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition, Tekken X Street Fighter and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom. Street Fighter and Sony Santa Monica veteran Seth Killian will attend the tournament again this year. Last year Killian interviewed 2D arcade fighting games champion Daigo Umehara, and this year he will return to profile popular Street...
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There Came an Echo's voice controls may be the best way to play

Using voice commands in games isn't something that gamers generally get excited about, usually because the commands fail too often or because speaking at a screen makes players feel silly. Yet Los Angeles-based Iridium Studios decided to design an entire game to be played with voice commands, and it's a real-time strategy title to boot — a genre known for control schemes that tend to be complex and work best with a keyboard and mouse. Some might think that full voice navigation would force developers to keep their game simple, but we didn't find that to be the case in a demo of Iridium's There Came an Echo during PAX East 2014. Iridium raised more than $115,000 on Kickstarter for There Came an Echo in early 2013, and from the start, the studio pitched it as a title built from the...
News
5 Comments

Indies don't know everything, and that's good for aspiring developers

Indie developers don't know everything about their own business, and that means that aspiring indies shouldn't talk themselves out of entering the industry, according to the "core team" behind the Indie Megabooth at PAX Prime 2014.Christopher Floyd, an indie developer who also serves as the Megabooth's operations manager, offered a unique brand of encouragement to those in the audience who want to make games. "My advice would be that, what I've learned over the last millennium (I don't know, however long I've been doing this), is that nobody knows what they're doing," Floyd said. "There is not a single person I've ever met in this industry who's like, 'Yes, I understand completely what is happening right now.' "If you want to get into the game industry and you're like, 'Maybe I don't...
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Dark Souls 2 speedrunner uses glitch to complete the game in just over an hour

Speedrunner and YouTube user Noobest completed a playthrough of From Software's punishing action role-playing game, Dark Souls 2, in about one hour and 15 minutes using the Shrine of Winter skip glitch. The Shrine of Winter skip, which must be done with the game's 1.00 version, allows players to skip gathering four Great Souls before venturing to Drangleic Castle, effectively cutting a large portion of the game. You can watch Noobest fly through the game's levels in the video above; more videos are available on the streamer's Twitch channel. Dark Souls 2 launched for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 last month. The Windows PC version of the game is slated for launch April 25. For more on the game, read our review.
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The Division dev on Watch Dogs: it's 'tremendously important' knowing when to delay

Delaying a game may incur additional costs and fan ire, but in the end it's important for a developer to recognize when a game needs additional incubation time for quality purposes, Tom Clancy's The Division managing director David Polfeldt told The Examiner. According to Polfeldt, it is "tremendously important" that developers and publishers know when to take a hit and delay a game. He said that Ubisoft's stock shares fell 25 percent the day the company announced its highly-anticipated open-world hacking game Watch Dogs had been delayed from October 2013 into 2014. "It takes so much courage to live through that day and still think that was a good decision," he said. "So for us in the development [side], that's an important message that ultimately the management will back up the goals...
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