Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark Pits Bay’s Bots vs. Cybertron's Bots… For Some Reason
Today’s NYC Toy Fair saw Activision and Hasbro reveal the next video game foray in store for everyone’s favorite robots — no, not Jaegers; how dare you? — the Transformers. But this follow up to 2012’s Fall of Cybertron may, uh, surprise you in one very unexpected way.
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark depicts a clash between two worlds. The first being the Gen 1 inspired mythos introduced to us in High Moon’s third-person shooter War for Cybertron; the second being Michael “EXPLOSION” Bay’s divisive silver screen universe.
If you share my opinion on Bay’s trilogy (soon to be extended into a quadrilogy), the discomfort you’re experiencing is your disappointment, incredibly, blossoming into physical pain.
Don’t rub your bruises yet, friend-o. The blows aim lower: High Moon Studios is not handling development duties on this installment. Rather, Edge of Reality, a dev most known for banking on successful ports (including Mass Effect for PS3 and a litter of Tony Hawk's), is tasked with merging the Cybertron series and Bay's GMC-dominated franchise. I call it CyberBay.
Don’t get me wrong here. High Moon’s resume hasn’t gone without blemish. They even committed a virtual crime against the Autobots when they tried adapting Dark of the Moon, the result of which being catastrophically mundane. But their redemption in Fall of Cybertron was so triumphant, so marvelously entertaining, it became instantly impossible to see another studio roll out Gears-esque, mechanical slaughter quite like High Moon did.
I’ve nothing but well wishes to Edge of Reality, though. I may not love the concept, but I’m definitely for the proposed stat progression that spills across both single and multiplayer. And the game’s Extinction Mode — a new play on the nearing-ancient Horde Mode — means there’s a good chance replay value is to be had long after you complete the CyberBay campaign. So long as they respect the gameplay that made High Moon’s games work, that is.
Rise of the Dark Spark will be extremely hard to avoid upon release since it’ll grace the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Commodore 64, Wii U, and the 3DS. I’ll leave it up to you, dear reader, to figure out which one of those is a Decepticon lie.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Trailer Is Spectacularly Un-amazing
So, here, I present to you the second official trailer for Beenox’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The first was a teaser trailer, which is a lot like someone slapping a slice of hot pizza out of your hand just as you’re bringing it to your mouth, so it doesn’t count in my book.
Let me power through some preamble: Spider-Man’s my favorite superhero, bar none. Beenox, despite some blemishes (I mean Edge of Time), has delivered on some pretty entertaining Spidey outings.
Though not flawless, their original Amazing Spider-Man movie tie-in was fantastic fun; webslinging was awesome, the Web Rush system worked in a snap, the combat was… well, mediocre. But the game got a lot right. Open-world and Spider-Man is a winning combo hard to stray from. It was goddamned ridiculous that you were literally able to sweep New York City clean of crime in the endgame — leaving you with jack and shit to do besides use the game as a webslinging simulator — but still, fond spot for the effort.
But this trailer for ASM2 is just off somehow. The graphics are unpleasant, the lighting is murky, and Spidey moves around as if someone swapped his skeleton for a wire hanger. The footage just zapped my excitement for the game. I didn’t envision Spidey’s first swing onto next-gen to look this woefully unpolished, especially for a game that’s only got a few months before it’s in the can.
The whole “Alpha-Beard Kraven trains Pete to be a hunter” bit; that could work. It doesn’t restrict the game to the film’s plot and is a fun little play on an old rivalry. In theory, there’s hope here. Beenox hasn’t put out anything truly dismal under the Spider-Man brand yet. Yet. I’ll keep an eye on it for you, web-heads.
Destiny Launches Globally on September 9th, 2014
"We first shared the design pillars of Destiny less than one year ago. We promised to redefine what players should expect from a Bungie game. We said we wanted to change the way people play games together. We set our bar high. For us, Destiny represents a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Bungie’s “shared-world shooter” — the first title coming out of the studio’s gates since 2010’s Halo: Reach — has finally been dated. Destiny finds a home on both current and next-gen consoles, releasing for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, and PS4 simultaneously.
The public beta for the game begins Summer 2014, starting on Sony’s systems first.
From Zombies to Aliens - Call of Duty: Ghosts' Extinction Mode Revealed
Our nation has been invaded by extraterrestrial creatures intent on wiping our collective gene pools off the map of existence. Our only defense? Four-player co-op!
Infinity Ward’s run on the Call of Duty series usually serves as the straight-laced dose of military action while Treyarch pumps out their games with whacky shit like B-List celebrities fighting zombies and an after credits performance by a digitally rendered Avenged Sevenfold (I traded in my copy of Black Ops II without regret or feeling).
Now, IW is joining the genre-bending fun with Extinction Mode; a four-player co-op mode that replaces the undead from Zombies with — get this — aliens. I’ll forever lament a game called Ghosts for not featuring a first-person ghostbusting mode, but the ghoulie wheel was spun and chance said it wanted aliens.
This Invasion: Earth flavored horde mode has you fending through waves of unfriendly E.T.’s while you eviscerate the hives that spawn them. The classic Zombies suite of base fortifying and item hunting return in addition to an upgrade system and character specific classes, each with their own abilities (that just may be the saving grace keeping Extinction from being the tired Zombies clone it’s already teetering towards).
Destiny Beta Arrives Early 2014, Called a “Massive Undertaking”
It’s starting to hit me. Bungie is back. And what they’re bringing with them is best quantified between “pants tightening” and “mind blowing.” That’s right: it’s pants blowing.
Though, some waiting is required before the world races into Bungie’s MMO-FPS hybrid, Destiny, due out sometime in 2014. But!While supplies hold out, your pre-order at a participating retailer gains you access to Destiny's beta planned for the Spring. Bungie community honcho, Eric Osborne, labels the beta a “massive undertaking,” and I'm inclined to agree. The beta, which will be available across all platforms the game is on, encompasses way more of Destiny's open-world than a paltry few disjointed sections.
"The Destiny beta, in many ways, is being treated like a full product launch,” said Osbrone in an interview with GameSpot. “We can’t just carve out three competitive multiplayer maps this time around. We’d only be gathering data on one facet of the overall experience — one that is the least resource intensive and most well understood by our team. Destiny demands more.”
Bungie wants to include rich, sprawling destinations in the beta for you and your friends to explore, introducing players to the core emphasis on discovering unique story elements, treasure, and engaging in “face melting action.” More importantly, Osborne wishes to stress test the game under the harshest conditions imaginable: by slamming Destiny into a wall of human interaction.
We can, and do, perform a lot of small to large-scale testing, but nothing beats a turbulent sea of gamers smashing up against our code, services, and content,” says Osborne. “No amount of prediction or intuition can account for the delightfully random human element that will ultimately define Destiny.”
Destiny, the first title out of Bungie’s doors since 2010’s Halo: Reach, releases for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One next year, and is the first part of a proposed ten year cycle for the sci-fi franchise.
Check out this absolutely pants blowing trailer for the game called The Moon.
Call of Duty Preorders Weakened By Impending Consoles
Something interesting is happening to the once mighty COD and Activision is putting the blame squarely on Sony, Microsoft, and your fickleness.
More specifically, Acti says the soon-to-be next generation — which encompasses the unreleased PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (if nobody looks Wii U in the eye, it won’t try to join the conversation) — is negatively affecting preorders for their annualized money bath, Call of Duty.
Eric Hirshberg, Acti’s CEO of Publishing, revealed that Call of Duty: Ghosts’ preorder numbers are nowhere near “the record-setting pace” Black Ops II cemented before its November release last year. Could it…Could it be that the gaming masses have grown tired of purchasing a rehashed, increasingly formulaic product year-over-year? Are gamers finally at the boiling point where they’re wisely using dollars withheld to send both a message and a plea for inspired, innovative gameplay once mo—
"Our quantitative consumer research indicates that hesitation amongst past COD pre-orderers is primarily due to not knowing which platform they will be playing on, which is natural at this time in the console transition.” Oh. I guess there’s also that. Thanks for clearing that up, Eric. Indecisiveness hath wounded the beast it seems.
It’s an interesting dilemna Sony and MS have presented third-party publishers with. Over this past generation, publishers have taken to relegating one-off’s or shaky IP’s to smaller digital affairs and focused their efforts into building sequel spewing franchises because their business models have morphed into almost totally relying on guaranteed cash-in’s.
Besides a shortlist of annual sports titles, you didn’t really see these yearly blockbusters running towards the PS3 and 360’s launch. Now, we’re witness to companies like Ubisoft and EA packing up their totem titles like Assassin’s Creed and Battlefield, hoisting them over their shoulders, and making the journey to a brave new, next-gen world.
But missed preorders almost definitely won’t mean missed sales when Ghosts launches (like clockwork) this Holiday. The third-party, Activision included, has a contigency against the very same install base they fought and bled to root over the course of this generation. Of the three heavy hitting franchises mentioned in my rambling, all have current-gen counterparts being made available for the unwilling and undecided hesitant to go next-gen.
I think the upward battle ahead pushes the first-party into the frontlines more than the third-party. Any angle you approach it, it’s not a matter if games will sell — because they will. It’s a matter of where games will sell. Why cry over spilt milk, Activision? (If ”crying” in this instance means issuing a sales report and the “spilt milk” refers to low preorders on a multi-billion dollar video game…Listen, I wasn’t formally trained in metaphors. Lay off me.)
"Now consider that these Internet Tough Guy rants and demands are not unique to CoD, but exist everywhere, in many gaming communities. This is why the world often does not take gaming seriously; this is why gamers are assumed to be immature, whiny assholes. Because the immature, whiny assholes are louder.”
Dan Amrich, Activision Community Manager, lambasting the enraged and, in some cases, threatening verbal assault from certain “passionate” fans, doled out to a Treyarch employee in charge of Black Ops II's tweaks and balances.
Excerpt from Amrich’s plainly put editorial Stop Threatening Game Developers.
"The Ghosts Are Real" - New Cast, New Engine, Next-Gen Call of Duty
And now for the announcement that surprised no one today: Activision has officially revealed Call of Duty: Ghosts, this year’s entry into the military shooter franchise, releasing November 5th and headed up series creator Infinity Ward. That much anyone without internet access knew already thanks to some critical leaks.
What we didn’t already know is sure to excite fans, especially those growing tired of the series’ baby step amount of “innovations.” Ghosts is slated for release on both existing consoles as well as Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s soon-to-be-unveiled Next-Box. Because of this, Infinity Ward is using an entirely new engine for the game, finally retiring the one powering the last seven hundred Call of Duty’s.
Despite Infinity Ward’s involvement, Ghosts isn’t a follow up to Modern Warfare 3. The game features an all new cast of characters within a brand new setting. “Everyone was expecting us to make Modern Warfare 4, which would have been the safe thing to do,” said IW executive producer Mark Rubin. “But we’re not resting on our laurels.” Rubin explains that the transition to newer hardware was the perfect opportunity to reintroduce the world to Call of Duty through a new branding with new ideas.
Just what those new ideas are is up in the air. The first official trailer for the game is a live action teaser featuring precisely zero gameplay. But Activision promises way more, including actual gameplay, will be shown off right alongside Microsoft’s Next-Gen reveal event taking place on May 21st. Till then, here’s a corporate byline to make you feel all fuzzy on the inside:
"Infinity Ward is going all-in to create the next generation of Call of Duty worthy of the world’s greatest fans.”
Call of Duty: Ghosts Confirmed and, Better Yet, Dated
New promotional art circulating stores the likes of GameStop (I’ve never heard of ‘em; must be small time) has outed the latest installment of Activision’s annualized FPS breadwinner.
Once again under developer Infinity Ward’s reigns, Call of Duty: Ghosts, which is more than likely to have an official May 1st reveal, was also dated by the retailer art for November 5th of this year, falling in line with the release dates of the umpteen titles before it.
Not just an exceptionally badass subtitle, Ghosts is rumored to improve on the aging shooter’s formula through the addition of destructible environments (‘bout time), increased mobility options such as a new slide n’ shoot maneuver, and tweaks to smaller components like loading segments becoming playable.
The promotional art keenly fails to name which consoles this seeming Modern Warfare offshoot is coming to, but initial reports heavily suggest Activision is taking a multi-generational stance and launching Ghosts on both current and forthcoming systems. Personally, I’ll be watching closely how Acti looks to handle the shaky bridge between now and the next-gen, especially considering one of their first ventures will be their biggest franchise. More to come, folks, as this one develops.
Is Call of Duty: Ghosts Taking the Franchise Next-Gen?
Of all the places on the internet you could catch a leak, today’s big, ponderous rumor comes from Youtube by way of user Drift0r, a man that busies himself with uploading everything Call of Duty. Stressing (over and over) his source — supposedly someone close to development at Infinity Ward — was too legitimate not to quote, Drift0r quickly put together a video that may just out this Fall’s expected but unannounced installment of Activision’s yearly breadwinner.
Calling the game Call of Duty: Ghosts, it’s claimed this new sequel relates to the Modern Warfare universe but branches off on its own. Though Ghosts' setting is the future, much like Black Ops II, a major plot device makes it so players have to use archaic — or “modern” — weaponry instead of arsenals augmented with x-ray sights and other attachments twelve-year-old’s use to piss me off online.
Changes to gameplay touched on involve increased mobility including the ability to “slide and shoot” instead of simply diving to prone as well as players being able to peek around corners. Apparently rolling while prone is also being implemented (I can only envision players rolling around on the ground like they’re being wrapped up in invisible carpets — hilarious to watch and shoot at).
Destructible environments are also being toyed with. The feature doesn’t sound locked down yet — single-player might see more breakable geometry than multiplayer — but one example given was a killstreak chopper caving in a building after being shot out of the sky. Loading times, oddly but awesomely enough, are said to be replaced by “mini-games” that have players breaching or repelling onto a map instead of simply watching a countdown before a match. Modern Warfare's Spec Ops mode is also seeing the boot, usurped by a “new mode.”
The video’s uploader posits we may see an official announcement of Ghosts on or around May 1st, going on to report that the title might be a next-gen exclusive, gracing the PC, PS4, and “NeXt-Box” and not the current slew of established consoles what with their installed user base of millions (extremely far-fetched and yet…an insidiously great ploy to get people to buy up the new consoles). That last bit falls in line with rumoring ‘round the net that Infinity Ward was developing an unnamed title on next-gen hardware.
Until we hear otherwise, though, chase the entirety of this rumor down with a helping of salt. Then swallow the shaker. Grab pepper. Repeat.