Wolfenstein: The New Order Dated, Trailered, and Slapped with Doom 4 Beta
The Bethesda backed, MachineGames developed reboot of id’s famed Nahtzi killin’ vidja game officially has itself a date.
Wolfenstein: The New Order, which sees B.J. “Blast-to-Bits” Blazkowicz launching a counter-offensive against the Nazi force that’s conquered the free world since winning World War II (History 101 Spoiler: didn’t actually happen), will release May 20th on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and the Xbox Uno.
Here’s the kicker: pre-ordering a copy of the game gains you beta access to the next Doom… Which, until this point, has been all quiet on the western front. Bethesda didn’t care to specify what the beta entailed — though its existence seems to strongly suggest Doom 4 is being fitted with some kind of multiplayer.
All that’s clear is that new copies of Wolfenstein will include a voucher good for whenever they decide to open the beta.
I suspect a lot of you couldn’t have cared less about The New Order before hearing that bit of news, but the above trailer had enough visual flair, quality voice work, and black humor to catch my attention. But if the game’s anywhere in the same state it was when I got a hands-on back at last year’s QuakeCon, the gameplay’s going to need some screws tightened before its launch in May.
Irrational Games is Closing Down
This is a helluva head turner, given the Massachusetts-based studio’s recent successes.
The studio responsible for creating the original Bioshock as well as last year’s sensational piece of digital art, Bioshock Infinite, is closing its doors. Ken Levine, the developer’s most prominent figurehead and creative visionary, revealed his reason for shuttering a studio seemingly at the peak of its career:
"Seventeen years is a long time to do any job, even the best one. And working with the incredible team at Irrational Games is indeed the best job I’ve ever had. While I’m deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished together, my passion has turned to making a different kind of game than we’ve done before. To meet the challenge ahead, I need to refocus my energy on a smaller team with a flatter structure and a more direct relationship with gamers. In many ways, it will be a return to how we started: a small team making games for the core gaming audience."
This new, refocused endeavor will only be taking fifteen Irrational employees aboard — the rest, unfortunately are being let go — and, according to Levine, will exclusively publish content digitally.
Founded in 1997 by three former Looking Glass Studios employees, Levine included, Irrational’s legacy spans titles the likes of System Shock 2, Freedom Force, and SWAT 4. In 2006, Take-Two purchased the studio, publishing their industry celebrated, publicly revered Bioshock series under the 2K Games label. Subsequently, the future of Bioshock franchise, now estimated to have made over a half billion dollars in revenue, is in 2K’s hands.
Irrational’s last effort will be Bioshock Infinite's Burial at Sea: Episode 2; the final expansion to their last game. My best wishes go out to the studio’s team members. Thank you for the many, many hours we’ve spent lost, enthralled, and loving your worlds.
"I’m not going to fuck around with you like Valve does with Half-Life 3. Look. We know we want it and we know it should exist, but we don’t know what it is yet.
But we are doing things in Borderlands that we’ll announce soon, that are good, and that I think people will be really excited about if you love the franchise.”
— Randy Pitchford, CEO and President of Gearbox Software, updating Polygon on the status of a Borderlands 3.
Oh, Randy. I salute you. You can check out Mr. Pitchford’s full interview with Polygon here. The basic jist is that, no, Gearbox isn’t working on a Borderlands sequel right now because no single great, extravagant, kickass idea has emerged just yet.
Slap that frown off your face, though. With projects like Tales From the Borderlands in gestation, you’ll be back on Pandora faster than you can say “Get ready for bad touch!”
Master Chief Unofficially Confirms Halo 2 Anniversary
Remember that massive list of Xbox related leaks that hit the web oh not so long ago? The one that seemed too good to be true yet, suspiciously, Microsoft was lawyering up over? Welp, another bullet point rumor has seemingly come true.
Steve Downes, the gravelly voice behind our beloved Master Chief’s helmet for nearly thirteen years now, says we’ll be seeing a Halo 2 Anniversary Edition released later this year, as prophesied in the leak. Unfortunately, we’re getting the remake in lieu of a proper sequel to Halo 4.
In a yet to be posted interview with GameZone, the sometimes DJ, sometimes savior of the Earth commented on 343 Industries’ next installment saying, “I think you may be ahead of yourself on Halo 5. I wouldn’t expect anything until 2015.” However, “What you can look forward to this year is an anniversary edition of Halo 2.”
It fits. This year does indeed mark the tenth anniversary of Halo 2 (my god, I need to start getting serious about my will). Mr. Downes didn’t specify which system(s) we’d see the remake on, but according to that rumor monster of a list, we should expect it out on Microsoft’s latest and greatest, the Xbox One.
Giving more credence to the leak, Downes also backs up Halo 5's slip into 2015 (the Big M originally was dead set on pumping out Chief's new adventure in '14).
I’m obligated by the journalistic gods to inform you none of this information is official. But seriously. If you’re not going to believe Halo news straight out of Master Chief’s mouth, what’s it going to take?
UPDATE: IGN took a minute to reach out to Steve Downes about his revealing quote. His reply? That GameZone misquoted him. Downes claims he merely said he heard some rumblings online about there possibly being a Halo 2 Anniversary and that he didn’t intend on implying he had any inside info in the least.
Oh, well. Rumor debunked, internet. But brake your warthogs, Spartans. IGN was then emailed the original interview that took place between the Chief and GameZone. Low and behold, Downes’ spiel about online rumors and this “possibly” talk are nowhere in sight. Curiouser and curiouser. Consider this rumor… bunked still?
New Titanfall Gameplay Makes the Last Seven Years of FPS’s Look Tame
If your address places you snugly beneath a rock, I can understand your confusion as to why the term ‘Titanfall' has the gaming populace shitting mech proportioned bricks. Watching all ten minutes of this video will bring you right up to speed and have you shitting bricks with the best of 'em.
This footage makes the countless matches of Call of Duty and Halo I’ve waged over the last seven years look about as exciting as your dentist’s just-as-old magazine collection (featuring choice issues of Dentistry Today and the People that covered Brad and Jennifer’s separation). Watching the player above jet up to building’s side, kick off, and finally land on a rooftop before spraying bullets into the opposition from his split-second vantage point is what I’ve been craving — yearning — from next-gen.
There is much hype keeping this game afloat. But this is shaping up to be one of those rare, miraculous moments in video games where the hype is, dare I utter it, well deserved. March 11th, Xbox One and PC people. March 11th.
Not soon enough? I like you. Register for the Titanfall beta here. Beta opens Friday, final invites will be doled out by Feb. 17th.
Fun fact about Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation — the game is playable from start to finish. With the core experience laid out, the developer is using the time between now and the game’s Q4 release date to polish, tweak, and refine the game.
I’m feeling pretty good about this one. It helps that it looks phenomenal. But I feel especially good that CA is approaching the material at a different angle and that, all around, even on Sega’s part, Isolation is being handled with the same meticulous care you’d show a newborn baby. Or a bomb capable of leaving a crater the size of Nebraska.
Skulltula Ambush & Goron Cave Guard by Nate Hallinan
Michael Myers Answers the Call of Duty
Infinity Ward is making my childhood dreams come true this month. They’re letting me wield a sharpened axe, don a menacingly emotionless visage of a mask, and sending me on a psychopathic rampage.
No, no, no, it’s not my dream to pretend to be a serial killer. My dream is to be a pop culture icon that happens to be a mass murderer. Subtle difference.
Yes, in detailing the first downloadable map pack for Call of Duty: Ghosts, among the ranks of urban and industrial battlegrounds (that are indistinguishable from the scores of urban and industrial battlegrounds that make up the DNA of this series), there was one oddball map that stuck out: Fog.
Fog is CoD's DLC as it should be: the designers letting their hair down and coding something ridiculous and fun simply for the hell of it. Siphoning the atmosphere and visual staples of countless horror movies before it, Fog is a darkened, dank slice of macabre geography featuring dead woods, a lonely, dilapidated cabin, and an Eli Roth approved torture chamber.
And that’s not even the cool part. Successfully complete an operation during an online skirmish and you’ll transform into a slasher flick icon — Michael Myers, straight out of John Carpenter’s seminal Halloween (mayhaps “Fog” is a slier reference to the director’s filmograhpy?). When Mikey hits the scene, you’ll know. The music takes a shift — featuring Carpenter’s now classic theme — and the chances of eating axe increase exponentially.
Call of Duty is no stranger to the weird — this is, in fact, a series that saw Danny Trejo and Sarah Michelle Gellar pistol whipping an undead George Romero just a couple of years ago — but it’s typically Treyarch gettin’ up to shenanigans while IW plays the straight man every other year. Ghosts being, in my opinion, the driest, by-the-numbers release in the franchise’s history, it’s nice to have a reason not to instantly forget this title like my mind has been desperately begging me to.
Does Michael Myers’ murderous inclusion make sense? No. There isn’t even an official implementation of the knife-only mode that fans have borrowed his name for. Does his inclusion make me happy? Shit yes; and that overrides logic.
Onslaught, featuring four new maps and a new chapter of Extinction, arrives on Xbox platforms January 28th. PlayStation users are likely to see the pack a month later.
Lords of Shadow 2 is Nearly Upon Us
Go ahead, revel in the next-gen and its succinct lack of titles to digest right now. The current generation still has some fight in it… or should I say bite?
MercurySteam’s imaginative and grandiose reconstruction of Castlevania lore is coming to a close next month. It’s bittersweet for me — though I crave a satisfying conclusion to the Lords of Shadow mythos, it means Mercury’s brief tenure on the franchise is at an end.
But it looks like they want to go out on a huge bang. The campaign, which pits Dracula’s fight against Satan in the (rustically) modern day, is promised to clock in near twenty-four hours. Gabriel’s armory has been expanded to include the life consuming Void Sword and the powerfully destructive Chaos Claws… as well as the ability to transform into a Smaug-caliber dragon. That’s right. You become that wickedly metal dragon up above.
All good things come to an end. And though Lords of Shadow still hasn’t jived with 2D purists in the fanbase (and probably never will), this sprawling, beautifully conceived reboot has definitely been a good thing. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 releases February 28th on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.