Culture
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Optimus Prime is no longer just a truck, he's a PlayStation

Toymaker Takara Tomy is re-imagining Optimus Prime as a heroic robot that transforms into the original PlayStation for a new toy that will release next year. Sony Computer Entertainment Japan and Takara Tomy announced the "Optimus Prime featuring Original PlayStation" today as part of a dual anniversary celebration: 2014 marks the 30 year anniversary of Transformers and the 20 year anniversary of the PlayStation brand. Takara Tomy has another Transformer based on a video game console in the works. The toymaker will release the Mega Drive Megatron, a Sega Genesis that transforms into Optimus Prime's Decepticon nemesis, later this year. The PlayStation Optimus Prime is due for release in early 2015. Takara Tomy will also release a series of 1/6 scale toys based on the lineup of...
News
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Skylanders launching more powerful premium figures this fall

This fall, Activision will launch Skylanders Eon's Elite, a premium toy line featuring eight new collectible figurines of the franchise's most beloved heroes, the company announced at San Diego Comic-Con today. The line will launch with two figurines, Spyro (above) and Chop Chop (below), with the remaining six Eon's Elite figures to be picked from the roster of the game that started it all, the original 2011 Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure. In the lore of the Skylanders universe, these eight heroes have been selected for their "undaunted courage and commitment" in defending the Skylands for immortalization in special metallic figures with new decorations and a gold base. The Eon's Elite figures will also be up to three times more powerful in-game than typical Skylanders, the biggest...
News
23 Comments

Two Ubisoft developers watched a goat sacrifice while researching Far Cry 4

Two Ubisoft developers journeyed to Nepal to research the inspiration for Kyrat, the fictitious Himalayan setting for Far Cry 4, and while there they ended up observing the ritual sacrifice of a goat. The scene plays out in this, part one of a documentary filmed by Vice Media and shown at a Far Cry 4 panel at Comic-Con 2014. It happens off camera at 4:05 but it might make some uncomfortable. Mark Thompson, the game's narrative director, and Phil Fournier, the associate producer, made the journey with Vice's Krishna Andavolu. (Vice and Ubisoft also collaborated on a pirate-history documentary to promote Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.) When they arrived in Kathmandu, they caught a rumor there was to be an animal sacrifice, and they found the event. It was a sacrifice of thanks a man...
4 Comments

Far Cry 4's director details how its free multiplayer trial will work

The creative director for Far Cry 4 explained how the game will let those who don't own the game participate for free in co-operative multiplayer with a friend who does. Originally discussed at E3, Far Cry 4 will give buyers of the game 10 codes to give to friends. That downloads enough of the game to play online in Far Cry 4's open world with the friend (but not in campaign missions). Asked how long the code would last, Alex Hutchinson didn't give the Comic-Con 2014 panel a specific timespan, but it will depend on the friend who owns the game being online. "The inspiration came from the Super Nintendo days, and the way you tried out games then was to go to a buddy's house and sit on his couch and play," Hutchinson said. "How long you got to play depended on how long his mom let you...
Video
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Tour the next great Metroidvania with its developer

Bodie Lee has had an idea since he was a child — a strange, fantasy world where playing with time is just a part of every day life. Now Lee is bringing that idea into reality in the form of a gorgeous, exploration-heavy action-adventure game.Lee joined me to record a playthrough of his demo for Timespinner, which you can watch above. While the game is far from done — he's currently aiming for a November 2015 release — Lee already has the basics of gameplay down and a strong art style as demonstrated in the demo. If you like what you see, you can check out the Timespinner Kickstarter, which has just over a day left until completion.
Video
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Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty - Overview video

Many, many Mudokons died to bring you this Overview video.I mean, it's not really our fault; in Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty, those little guys are squirreled away all over the place. Also, if they step on one landmine, they're toast. Drop one crate on 'em, and they're goo. Shoot them just a few times with a possessed enemy, and they drop like a sack of bricks. It's like, come on, Mudokons! It's like you're not even trying to get rescued. To see our absolute failure as saviors in action, check out the Overview video posted above.
News
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Report: Walmart canceling Destiny Ghost Edition pre-orders 'due to a supply issue'

Walmart is canceling pre-orders of the Ghost Edition of Destiny and replacing them with the cheaper Limited Edition, according to a post on NeoGAF. A NeoGAF member posted what appears to be a screenshot of an email from Walmart to a customer who pre-ordered Destiny's Ghost Edition on PlayStation 4. The $149.99 package includes a replica of a Ghost (the player's companion robot), a letter of introduction from developer Bungie and "relics" from the Golden Age of Destiny's fiction. "Unfortunately, due to a supply issue, we will be unable to fulfill [your order]," the email reads. "We would like to offer you a substitution with the Limited Edition, which is a comparable item." Destiny's Limited Edition, which does not contain the aforementioned goodies but comes with everything else in...
Opinion
212 Comments

Want to win the console war? Here's how

Isn't it about time the console companies finally figured out the big, big secret about making a successful games console?You and I know this secret, but if the likes of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony understand it, they seem to let it slip their minds from time to time. The trick is to make something that people want to buy; not something that companies want to sell. The trick is to make sure that you are selling games consoles and not high-falutin' super-boxes. Undoubtedly, Xbox One was launched as something that its creators wanted to sell, rather than something an appropriately sizeable number of people wanted to buy. Must Read Why you should wait before buying a new console Microsoft spent much of 2013 telling anyone who would listen that Xbox One was more than a...
Analysis
11 Comments

Is Sniper Elite 3 the first shooter that is boring on purpose?

Shortly after Rebellion Entertainment completing Sniper Elite 3, Jason Kingsley, the studio’s CEO and creative director, brought the game home to let his partner have a look at it. They have both visited firing ranges, and she’s a good shot in real life, he says, so he figured she might enjoy it.One evening, as she began a new mission, Kingsley got up, went to the kitchen, made a pot of tea, poured himself a cup and returned to the living room. She hadn't shot anyone. She hadn't even moved. "I said, ‘What are you doing?'; she said, ‘I'm listening and watching,'" Kingsley recalled. "I said, ‘It's been 12 minutes! You've actually — I've made a cup of tea — I've come back in and you're still in the same place! "And she said, ‘Well, yes, I'm just being very careful,'" Kingsley said. The...
News
10 Comments

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes arrives Sept. 23

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, the next entry in the Disney-based, toy-filled franchise, will launch for  iOS, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on Sept. 23, Disney Interactive announced today. Disney Interactive announced the 2.0 Edition of the game in April. The game introduces a variety of Marvel super heroes, from the Avengers to Guardians of the Galaxy. As of today, those interested can pre-order the game for a bonus Marvel figure. In Disney Infinity, players control popular characters from Disney's vast vault in a sandbox world. The game uses physical figurines, which players place on a an Infinity Base to activate. In Toy Box mode, players can craft their own worlds complete with items, characters and more. The original Disney Infinity...
Report
7 Comments

Indigenous groups seek games company to tell endangered stories

Inspired by media interest in a game about Alaska Natives, indigenous groups around the world are seeking ways to bring their own cultures to video games. E-Line Media, Upper One Games and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council are putting the finishing touches to Never Alone, a game that draws heavily on the Inupiat culture of rural Alaska. Following heavy publicity for the game, including NPR and the Los Angeles Times, other groups that represent indigenous communities are looking to tell their stories through games. Both E-Line and CITC have set up a new operation called World Games that will release games based on cultures that have hitherto struggled to find a voice. Interest has so far come from Hawaii, Azerbaijan and Siberia. "It's really resonating to the point where other...
News
45 Comments

Sony agrees to $15M settlement in 2011 data breach class action [update]

Sony today agreed to a $15 million preliminary settlement in a class action lawsuit over its 2011 data breach, which led to the theft of names, addresses and possibly credit card data belonging to 77 million user accounts. Sony agrees to $15M settlement The security breach took place in April 2011 and shut down Sony's PlayStation Network for several weeks. The company publicly apologized for the breach in May of that year and offered PSN users free games, but this wasn't seen as enough for some customers who sought a class action lawsuit. Authorities in the United Kingdom also fined Sony £250,000 ($396,000) for a "serious breach of the Data Protection Act." "If you are responsible for so many payment card details and log-in details, then keeping that personal data secure has to be...
News
13 Comments

Up to half of Redbox game rentals translate into game sales (update)

An increasing number of people are streaming and downloading video games, but this doesn't mean the end for physical goods, nor does it spell trouble for game rentals — that's according to Redbox's director of video games, Ryan Calnan. Redbox currently has automated rental kiosks for DVDs, Blu-ray discs and video games at more than 35,000 locations across North America and offers game rentals for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. Select markets also offer games from the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U. During the company's first quarter for this year it topped 200 million rentals, of which video games accounted for two percent. While this number may seem small, Calnan told Polygon it's actually a big deal for the games industry. "We have a 20-50 percent conversion rate...
Video
3 Comments

Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty gameplay video - The first 10 minutes

If you don't remember offhand just how punishing the original Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee was, let the recently released remake Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty serve as a stark reminder. The revamped title pulls no punches, tossing landmines, hostile wildlife and gun-toting monsters at you in generous quantities — often while you're attempting to jump over a buzzsaw-lined pit, or negotiating a maze of motion-sensor alarms. If you need a refresher, check out the gameplay video posted above, which shows off the game's opening 10 minutes. Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty is out now on PlayStation 4, and is in development for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U and PC.
News
45 Comments

Far Cry 4 avoids the 'white savior dudebro' pitfall

In some ways, Far Cry 4 is a product of Far Cry 3's missteps."We don't create our games in a vacuum," C.J. Kershner, one of the script writers for the game, told me at a recent PlayStation event. "We were aware of the discussions happening about Far Cry 3. People identified some problems." What sort of impact did that have on Far Cry 4, I asked. "Our protagonist is not the white savior, not the dudebro," Kershner said. "He's not coming back to his hometown to help. "Your basic objective is to fulfill your mother's last wishes, to scatter her ashes in her home country." And that was one of the things that interested Kershner in the game. "The thing that drew me most to the project was that the basic objective was human, very relatable," he said. "That feeling was sort of driven home...
News
7 Comments

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris launches Dec. 9

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, the sequel to isometric action-adventure game Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, will launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC Dec. 9, IGN reports. In Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, Lara and her rival Carter are cursed after breaking into an ancient temple. Along with demigods Isis and Horus, they set out to defeat the evil Set and break their bad luck. In a step up from the previous game, Temple of Osiris will feature co-op play for up to four people. The game's predecessor was released in 2010. Unlike other Tomb Raider games, it focuses heavily on multiplayer gameplay. Players compete for loot while working together to solve puzzles and smack down enemies. Crystal Dynamics announced Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris at E3...
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