Half-Life 2’s City 17 Rendered in Unreal Engine - Screens
Now dat’s pretty.
"Pikachu… Do you think God is a Pokemon?"
"Shit, I didn’t know you were an atheist."
New DLC Has Snoop Dogg Narrating Call of Duty: Ghosts Matches; “It’s the Coolest Game in the Hood” Apparently
Well, in just about the best news I’ve heard in 2014, a new personalization pack for Activision’s annual cash-in, Call of Duty: Ghosts, allows you to replace the multiplayer narrator with — and I am in no way shitting you — hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg’s smooth-as-thousand-dollar-velvet voice.
I’m uncertain what brought us to this reality. I understand micro-content; it makes sense for a corporation to further monetize their top selling product. I get that. And I understand personalization tweaks; for a few bucks, you can download weapon skins so people who don’t instinctively double-tap out of the Kill-Cam can see they were murdered by someone with style.
But Snoop to the Dee Oh Double Gee Dogg? Saying shit like “Squad Member active — a brother from another mother” and “Yeeahh, crizz-ay” during an online match? This is a stroke of idiotic genius. It’s completely stupid, yet I will purchase the voice-over pack with less hesitation than I’d have saving my own child from drowning. Just watch this video and try not to smile. Just fucking try.
Ghosts is a rather dry product — admittedly the least amount of fun I’ve had plugging into this series since Call of Duty 3 — butlittle stunts like adding Michael Myers and the goddamn Predator into the game provide the necessary flavoring that stops me from ejecting this vanilla wafer entry out of my collection.
The Snoop Dogg Voice-Over Pack, obviously trumping The Last of Us' Left Behind expansion as the most emotionally affecting piece of DLC this year, releases April 22nd on Xbox platforms, priced at $2.99.
Sony’s Selling All of its Square Enix Shares to Return to Profitability
But, hey, the PlayStation 4 is still killing it
Japanese juggernaut Sony, most famous for the globally known PlayStation brand — and for also making, I don’t know, headphones and a few movies now and again — is dumping its entire financial stake out of publisher Square Enix.
Sony holds 9.52 million shares in Square Enix, a sensual tryst that began in the early 2000’s. Once upon a time ago, before the word “timed” preceded “exclusivity,” Square’s Final Fantasy brand was nearly synonymous with PlayStation, especially helping Sony claim the dominance in Japanese households it still enjoys to this very day.
Sony’s equity is priced at ¥4.8 billion yen, or $47 million. The deal is expected to be closed as soon as tomorrow. The decision is the next of several moves the company has made to return itself to profitability. Since 2014 began, Sony has laid off thousands of workers, sold two corporate offices, and has even axed its PC division.
On the upside, the Sony PlayStation 4 has reveled in sales success, having sold 7 million units worldwide since launch, surpassing its next-gen competition, the Xbox One, by a slim margin. As an aside, I am currently a happy member of that 7 million club and I sing my PS4 into a gentle sleep, nightly.
"You’re my friend!"
"You’re my mission."
"Monsters I can deal with. This? Fuck this."
Witness the Rise of Handsome Jack in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Strap on your spacesuits and reload your guns — you aren’t on Pandora anymore, kids.
2K Games and Gearbox President Randy “The Man” Pitchford have turned rumor into fact this morning by announcing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Before you sharpen your Pitchford pitchforks over Randy’s firm statement that Borderlands 3 wasn’t in development (and it still isn’t), here’s a little context:
Borderlands 3 will happen, says Pitchford, but it’ll be a next-gen affair chasing after bigger, bolder design goals. The Pre-Sequel, on the other hand, is built on the Borderlands 2 engine and is meant to cater to the massive install base found on PS3, 360, and PC.
The Pre-Sequel, as it’s so oddly but, for this series, fittingly labeled, is plopped snugly between the time our first Vault Hunters cracked open the vault in Borderlands 1 and when our new heroes led a resistance against the sociopathic, goblin-faced Handsome Jack in the second game. It’s a sequel to 1 and a prequel to 2, ya follow? “Mid-quel”? I don’t know what you’re saying and, frankly, your made up word offends me. Moving on.
This go around, your battlefield has been moved from the wastelands of Pandora to the low-gravity, nil-oxygen moon orbiting the planet. Your team, as usual, is a rag-tag outfit of personalities, each possessing skills unique to their class. Instead of a group of vigilante Vault Hunters, however, this “new” cast serves under a way less murder-y Handsome Jack, Hyperion’s leader. While never-before playable, Borderlands fans should already know this lineup of characters.
Athena, a Crimson Lance soldier formerly seen in the DLC The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, returns as your “Gladiator” class. Her shtick? The ability to kinetically propel a shield at her enemies for high damage. The shield, once upgraded, can either serve you defensively or offensively, depending on your tastes.
Nisha, the “Lawbringer,” puts in her time as her boyfriend’s pistol carrying right hand before residing as Lynchwood’s oppressive, tortuous sheriff.
Wilhelm, Jack’s “Enforcer,” brings experience and brutality to the team. At this point in time, he hasn’t gone all Borg yet; mechanical augmentation can be seen, but he’s a far cry from the hulking, robotic monstrosity he ends up becoming in BL2.
Finally, Claptrap rounds out the cast in his first playable role in the series. Yes, it really is the annoying, dancing robot you ally yourself with by the second game. Yes, his perspective is only a couple of feet off of the ground. Claptrap will be your “Fragtrap” class, whatever that could entail.
As a heads up, Gearbox Software is not developing The Pre-Sequel themselves — 2K Australia will be handling that job. Already, they have interesting ideas that Randy himself says are impressively fun (low-gravity gunplay does seem thoroughly enjoyable). It’s not Borderlands 3, sure. But, upshot, it is more Borderlands, and I love me some Borderlands.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is set to launch sometime later in 2014. Check out the official gameplay reveal right here.
More Infamous: Second Son Fan Art
In the fleeting moments I’m allowed between setting up for PAX and sleeping (I think eating is somehow involved in there, too), Second Son has been my Me Time obsession.
It’s apparently the Guzzardi twins’ obsession as well. But where I simply gush, they go out and produce gorgeous, compelling artwork in celebration of Sucker Punch’s next-gen achievement. Check out the first batch of art we promoted hereabouts.
Is PAX Invading the Midwest?
Penny Arcade Expo, started in 2004, has become the biggest and most renown gaming festival in the ten short years since its conception.
Starting in Seattle, Washington, and branching out to the other side of the country with PAX East in Boston, the celebration of games, gaming, and gamers has even made a global footprint, launching PAX Australia in 2013.
With PAX East set to commence just next week, rumblings from the Expo’s top brass seems to suggest a new event may be announced very soon. The above image of an office wall adorned with clocks and countdown timers comes way of a tweet from PAX Business Manager Robert Khoo. Next to three of the clocks are logos for the established PAX events we all know and flock to.
A fourth clock remains logo-less, next to a blank timer. A keen eye will notice each clock is adjusted to each event’s regional time-zone. The blank clock is set to Central time. That leaves a bevy of cities in the Midwest open for a new PAX; a chance for thousands of new attendees to experience what I consider to be the pinnacle gathering of gaming culture in North America.
In the meanwhile, my own company, Glitch Gaming Apparel, is scrambling in preparation for next week’s megaton explosion of gamers at PAX East. Hope to see you folks there!
Burial at Sea and The Last of Us Fan Art
by Ben Lo