Rocksteady Ends Their Batman Trilogy in the Next-Gen Arkham Knight
All good things come to an end, and Rocksteady’s expert tenure on the Batman: Arkham franchise, going back to 2009, has been more than good. It’s been brilliant. If it wasn’t enough that their portrayal of The Dark Knight and his gothic kingdom is one of the best outside of the comics he was forged from — even rivaling the character’s film appearances — Rocksteady went ahead and set the bar for the entire superhero game genre higher than Everest.
Batman: Arkham Knight, being developed specifically for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, serves as the final act in Rocksteady’s Arkham trilogy (2013’s Arkham Origins was handled by another studio, but you knew that, you keen reader you). “This is the natural end for the story,” said the game’s director, Sefton Hill. “We really want to go out in style.”
Revealed in this month’s Game Informer, you’ll notice a greater emphasis on the Caped Crusader’s favorite means of ground transportation, the Batmobile, seen only in cutscenes in previous titles. Now you’re finally licensed to drive the beast yourself. Gotham’s open world is being greatly expanded to accommodate this unarguably kickass new feature.
What’s a hero without his villains? One full year has passed since the arm-breaking spree Bats went on in Arkham City. Batman once goes on the hunt for a rogue’s gallery featuring Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Penguin, and the Scarecrow. If this is the final chapter, one has to wonder which of these madmen might be taking a last bow.
Batman: Arkham Knight releases October 14th, 2014.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, the highly anticipated sequel to 2010’s imaginative, and successful, reboot came out this Tuesday and critics are raving that Dracula… kind of sucks.
Awash in a bloodbath of mediocre scores, one anonymous MercurySteam developer has come forward with some decently scathing remarks hurled at the studio’s troubled management in the hopes of explaining why Dracula’s latest bites (all right, all right, no more puns).
Lobbying their complaints through a user on a Meristation forum, the unnamed employee confessed that he went through his own personal “Hell” during the sequel’s development, fitted with hot coals of “shameful wages” and “everyday bullying.” And who oversaw this pit of torment?
“If there’s someone to blame here, that’s Enric Álvarez,” co-founder and owner of MercurySteam. “He is the person who has led a broken development based on his personal criteria, completely overlooking programmers, designers and artists.”
The employee goes on to lambaste Alvarez, stating that the studio director’s ego inflated after the first Lords of Shadow's success, to the point where he wouldn't greet lowly team members he'd pass by in the hall. A general mistrust of his own workers was intimated, as “most of the development team often found out features of the game through press news, rather than from the studio’s head.”
The employee also claims the studio’s internal structure was “archaic,” citing MercurySteam’s flawed engine as a key example. “Access for the new programmers to the source code to update or refurbish the engine is denied, so things are still done in a 10-year-old fashion.”
New hires supposedly knew even more than the bosses that hired them on, leading to a fractured, almost chaotic dynamic behind-the-scenes. “This structure only leads to a slow, messy and absurd development process, with the end result of Lords of Shadow 2 being a perfect example of what happens due to that.”
Despite his damning comments, the unnamed employee made sure not to disparage his fellow team members, saying that he hasn’t seen such passion and talent in a group, though their potential is forever marred at MercurySteam under the current regime. “If all those guys who are not allowed to be promoted due to our Jurassic studio leads had the chance to set the course of the company, our future would be so bright,” he said.
That future, unfortunately, may be in trouble. 35 employees were laid off after Lords of Shadow 2 went gold, according to this source, and more firings are on the table, especially given Konami’s alleged dissatisfaction over the final product.
“The vast majority of this team is aware that the game we’ve done is a real piece of shit that has nothing to do with the first one’s quality and production values… Nobody is surprised by the low reviews we’ve got.”
[My two cents on the issue follow beneath the break.]
Watch From Dreams - The Making of The Last of Us: Left Behind
DLC add-on’s are typically just that: add-on’s; an addendum that, honestly, isn’t a crucial component to the main experience, but serves as an extra caveat for fans hungering for more.
Left Behind is a groundbreaking triumph in that regard by serving as a completely necessary expansion to the core themes of loss, love, and survival prevalent in The Last of Us. It manages to be heartwarming one moment, and heart-wrenching the next, matching the ebb and flow of emotion found in the original campaign, while helping us find out who Ellie was and who she became.
If you haven’t played Left Behind, you’ll want to detour around the massive, capital-S Spoilers in this short doc. Otherwise, enjoy the insights and inspirations Naughty Dog put forth into the best piece of DLC this generation.
Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition Spreads to PS4 in March
From Super Stardust to Resogun, it seems Sony exclusive developer Housemarque doesn’t know how to do wrong. Few studios are able to take such simple gameplay concepts and create massively addictive experiences out of them.
Case in point: Dead Nation, a top-down, twin-stick shooter that has you blasting apart waves of the undead either solo or with a wingman. Released when download-only titles were nowhere near even half as prolific as they are today, the quality behind Dead Nation kept it atop the PS3’s sales charts for a ragged chunk of time.
Like the festering corpses roaming the game’s decrepit cities, Dead Nation cannot be killed — enter Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition, a remaster of the original game made specifically for the PlayStation 4. This resurrected edition features touched up graphics — in full on 1080p — tweaked controls adding a new quick weapon select, and comes packaged with The Road to Devastation expansion, previously only available as DLC, worked into the campaign.
It ain’t over till the fat lady shrieks. In addition to second screen implementation thanks to the PlayStation App, a new Challenge mode is being thrown in for expert zombie smashers, where you can dole out your best level runs to friends or play against an in-game avatar representing your buddies’ top hunts.
But the coolest new feature has to be Broadcast+. While streaming the game live, as you are want to do on PS4, viewers can actively vote on whether they want to positively or negatively impact your game. Maybe they throw you a bone and have extra ammo drops at your feet. But they’re way more likely to toss some shade your way and sic a horde of walkers on your ass. And it gets even funnier when they can activate “modifiers” like disabling your sprint button. Apparently in-game zombies fitted with viewers’ names can be shot at, so feel free to make frequent examples.
Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition re-releases March 4th and will be $14.99 on the PS Store or absolutely free with PlayStation Plus.
Will Capcom Announce a Dino Crisis Reboot This Year?
This old rumor kicks up every so often. Historically, it’s amounted to nothing. In fact, Capcom smacked down one such rumor just last year, stating that they’re focusing their attention on creating new IP’s (this statement was presumably made in front of a gigantic Street Fighter IV AE Turbo Ultimate Mix poster).
Here’s 2014’s obligatory rumor: According to the latest issue of Official Xbox Magazine UK, Capcom is headlong into production on a Dino Crisis reboot — a series thought extinct since 2003. What’s more is we’ll supposedly see a world debut at this year’s E3. Those slim details are all we have to go on, but Europe’s journalists have been running with it.
Given past disappointments, I’d keep your hopes grounded. There’s really not much to go on here. Why report it, you ask? Because I, and the rest of the free world that grew up in Spielberg’s CG dinosaur populated ‘90’s, really frickin’ want a new Dino Crisis game.
Again, tether those hopes, but I do happen to recall Capcom mentioning they would be reviving a classic IP this year… Dammit, my hopes got off the ground. Excuse me; I have to go shoot them down.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn Brings an Endless Waltz of Hack n’ Slash to the West
My childhood appreciation for the piloted mechs of Gundam lore combined with my weakness for repetitive hack n’ slash combat against massive hordes of moving fodder has allowed Tecmo Koei’s Dynasty Warriors: Gundam crossovers slip right past my usually unrelenting wall of cynicism.
But after buying into three below average games trickled with modest, barely-an-inch-forward improvements? …Good Gundamn am I ready to do it all again! Call it a guilty pleasure, if you want. I’m not here to excuse myself. Take this old adage to heart if it helps you understand: I likes what I likes.
This summer brings Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn, the fourth installment in Japan’s Gundam Musou series, to Western shores. Not without some shake-up’s in its release format, be warned. Gundam Reborn is dropping exclusively for the PS3 — no Xbox 360 counterpart this time — and it will only be made available as a downloadable title on PSN.
The fact that anything Gundam doesn’t find the same widespread appeal stateside as it does in Japan probably explains why we’re not getting a physical release (North America, after all, has far less to-scale Mobile Suit replicas dotting our parks than Japan does). Worse news hits the handheld community, as the PS Vita version of the game, including its cross-play functionality, is not being ported overseas.
If, however, you’re in the qualifying bracket to attain the game, the good news is that you can expect to man over 100 Mobile Suits along with the ability, for the first time ever, to pilot gigantic Mobile Armors. It’s a mecha wet dream turned wet reality.
The returning Official Mode centers on the Universal Century timeline, which spills across the continuity of eight different Gundam animes and features actual footage from the shows. Ultimate Mode, however, is a cross-dimensional free-for-all that sees you hacking through mechanical hordes using a mixed stable of Gundams from every timeline. But it just ain’t a mobile infantry without friends, though. Fans can also expect split-screen and online co-op to make a return.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn for PS3 will release digitally in the Summer while Europe can expect both retail and downloadable copies near the same time.