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Bungie terminates Halo series composer Martin O'Donnell

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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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...
Culture
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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...
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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...
Report
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From gatekeepers to guns for hire: The new role of indie game publishers

The role of a publisher used to be simple, although the business itself is complex. They would fund your game, they would make sure it was released on consoles or the PC and in exchange they would often own the intellectual property behind the game and take a cut of profits. You needed a publisher to get on consoles and to make sure your game found an audience. They held the keys to the kingdom. This is no longer the case, and the idea of what a publisher does or doesn't do, or whether they're ever needed for smaller developers, is rapidly evolving. "We are a publisher for developers that don’t need one, and I think that’s the first thing everyone needs to know: You don’t need one," Nigel Lowrie, of Devolver Digital, told Polygon. "Once you’ve established that, I think...
Culture
27 Comments

Can you play Pong with Titanfall's vortex shield? Yes, say mythbusters

One month after its launch, and after thousands of hours spent playing the game, certain "myths" have emerged about Titanfall. This video busts a couple of them, but it confirms that the vortex shield can be used to "play" a kind of Pong between two titans. If two titans have the shield equipped and charged, they may use it to infinitely pass a rocket back and forth, as YouTube's DefendTheHouse demonstrates. But a titan cannot melee a flyer. And it cannot destroy a dropship when falling from orbit - unless the dropship is close enough to take splash damage from its impact. DefendTheHouse does mythbusting episodes for other popular series, including Grand Theft Auto 5, Halo 4, and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Deals
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Xbox 360 Gold subscribers get a Batman-themed sale this week

This week's Xbox 360 sale is live, offering discounts to Xbox Live Gold subscribers on games and add-on content set in Batman's home city through April 21, 2014. Gotham-themed discounts include: Batman Arkham Asylum for $4.99, 75 percent off Batman Arkham City for $4.99, 75 percent off Batman Arkham City Harley Quinn's Revenge for $2.49, 75 percent off Batman Arkham City Arkham City Skins Pack for $1.24, 75 percent off Batman Arkham Origins: Deathstroke Challenge Pack for $2.99, 50 percent off Batman Arkham Origins Infinite Earths Skins Pack for $2.49, 50 percent off Batman Arkham Origins Initiation for $3.49, 50 percent off Batman Arkham Origins New Millennium Skins Pack for $2.49, 50 percent off Batman Arkham Origins Season Pass for $9.99, 50 percent off Gotham...
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Terraria 1.2 update live on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PS Vita April 17

Terraria's major 1.2 update hits Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita April 17, developer Re-Logic announced on the game's official Facebook page. The overhaul to the 2D sandbox, which rolled out to the Windows PC version last October, will be free to all Terraria owners. Update 1.2 for consoles includes the same features that was released to Windows PC, except with a handful of console specific differences. The hefty update introduces a slew of bug fixes, improvements, new recipes and items. Changes to the graphics, NPC, mechanics and gameplay are also included. You can read the full change log on the official Terraria forums. Re-Logic's adventure sandbox game was first released on Windows PC in 2011, and is currently available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS and...
Video
13 Comments

Child of Light's latest trailer walks viewers through the world of Lemuria

The latest trailer for Ubisoft's fairy tale-inspired Japanese-style role-playing game Child of Light introduces players to Lemuria, the world in which young pink-haired heroine Aurora sets off on her journey. The video above briefly flies through a handful of environments Aurora will travel through — villages, forests filled with insect-like enemies, damp caves, rocky cliffs and ancient ruins. The little girl will run, float and fly through this world, collecting treasures, fighting off beasts and looking for a way to return home to her father. Child of Light will launch on April 3 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Check out previous videos detailing the game's artwork and soundtrack, as well as our interview from PAX East with Child of...
News
27 Comments

Crysis and Crysis 2 on PC losing online multiplayer in GameSpy server shutdown

The Windows PC versions of Crytek's first-person shooters Crysis and Crysis 2 will lose their online multiplayer modes as a result of the GameSpy server shutdown slated for next month, according to a post on the Crysis forums. GameSpy Technology announced earlier this month that on May 31 it would shut down many of its servers, which host online functionality for several dozen titles across console, mobile and PC. In a post on the Crysis forums, the company revealed that it would not be looking into migration options for Crysis and Crysis 2 on Windows PC, resulting in the complete shutdown of online functionality for these titles with GameSpy's decision. However, the company noted that multiplayer in the console versions of Crysis 2 remains unaffected. "The single-player campaigns in...
News
12 Comments

How you craft Child of Light's story as you play

Ubisoft Montreal's Child of Light looks like a 2D side-scrolling platformer, and most of those games are all about mechanics; if there's a story, it's usually a static tale that doesn't have much to do with playing the game. But Child of Light lead writer told Polygon at PAX East 2014 that when he and creative director Patrick Plourde were designing the title's concept, they wanted story and gameplay to be deeply intertwined. "I believe that gameplay is central to an interactive experience; otherwise, it should be a movie," said Yohalem. He explained that when Ubisoft greenlit the platformer, which is inspired by elements such as eastern European fairy tales and Japanese role-playing games, the publisher allowed him and Plourde full creative freedom. The duo decided to shy away from a...
News
44 Comments

Titanfall's first DLC is called Expedition, hits with three maps in May

Titanfall, Respawn Entertainment's first-person shooter filled with giant mechanical robots, will get its first pack of downloadable content, called Expedition, this May. The DLC's story will take place after the multiplayer campaign. A map called "Swampland" will be set among the ruins of "archaic alien technology" and include trees for wall running. A second map called "Runoff" includes water. The third map is called "War Games" and is based in the game's training simulator. The announcement came at a PAX East 2014 retrospective panel that covered the game's development. Respawn's developers also said that free updates headed to the game include new burn cards and multiplayer modes. They're also researching removing the HUD for video capture, a fan-requested feature. Other...
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