Mortal Kombat X promotional art featuring everyone’s favorite ninja spectre, Hanzo Hasashi, aka Scorpion.
Batman: Arkham Knight Falls into 2015
Get it? “Knight Falls”? Because Knightfa— All right, to hell with it. Thought I’d bring some Bat-Puns to the table since this announcement means it’s a dark day for the Dark Knight.
Originally meant to release October 14th this year, Rocksteady’s next-gen only end-cap to their Arkham Trilogy — probably my most anticipated game of the year (pre-E3, of course) — has been officially delayed into 2015. When in 2015? Sometime.
Delays seem to be as common as DLC and manual-less game boxes these days. But the last time Rocksteady was nervous about launching an unpolished product, they took six extra months and delivered unto the world Arkham Asylum in all of its Batman-y, freeflow fighting glory.
Besides, after E3 next week, something tells me the Fall season is going to be jampacked with things to burn my money on. It’ll be like a viking funeral. Except the boat is my wallet and the archer shooting flaming arrows at my money is the seventeen-year-old associate at Gamestop who doesn’t know they’re getting dropped after the season is over. Exactly a viking funeral in other words.
Toasty! NetherRealm Announces Mortal Kombat X!
After weeks of teasing from series ko-kreator, Ed Boon, and an indirect leak from a Sutherland of all places, today brings us the official reveal of Mortal Kombat X.
While targeted consoles haven’t been named, the tag to go along with the trailer states the sequel is “fueled by next-gen technology” to ”create an unprecedented Kombat experience” (To clear up any confusion, they meant to put “kreate”).
In a raw display of brutality and power between franchise poster-ninjas, Sub-Zero and Scorpion, the trailer shows off features heralded into 2011’s superb reboot including the bone-breaking X-Ray attacks.
More environmental destruction (a la Injustice) is seen, where opponents can be smashed about stages as well as break off pieces of a level, like a tree branch, and wielded as cudgels. Personal weapons — first introduced in MK4 — seemingly make a return.
Mortal Kombat X is slated for 2015. Say it with me now: IT HAS BEGUN.
Watch_Dogs Goes to Hell: “Madness” Gameplay
You drive a derby conditioned muscle car in the annals of Chicago’s hellish counterpart. Your mission is to drive over the damned denizens flooding the streets. They’re not hard to miss — their fucking skulls are on fire.
I don’t know how this mini-game, one of four Digital Trips, ended up in the final game. But, like the neon-soaked lunacy that was Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon before it, I’m not here to look a ludicrously awesome gift horse in the mouth. It’s like Mad Max meets Ghost Rider meets a glow-in-the-dark sheet of acid emblazoned with Scooby Doo’s winking cartoon face.
Here’s five or so minutes of Satan egging me on to detail my car in blood.
Next-Gen Gears of War: Sometimes Innovating Means Betrayal
"This isn’t a great way of phrasing it, but I always talk about shipping a sequel to customers as ‘managing betrayal.’"
After Microsoft bought up the rights to the Gears of War property from series curators, Epic Games, the company’s in-house development studio, Black Tusk Games, was quickly assigned the job of carrying the franchise to the Xbox One. Rod Fergusson, former production head at Epic, joins Black Tusk in keeping Gears' cogs turning.
Though Fergusson was put in place in order to keep the fabric of Gears — it’s identity, so to speak — intact, the producer wants to stray from the familiar. “They want something new but they don’t want something so new that it doesn’t feel like what they want,” said Fergusson to OSM. “But if you put out something that’s very familiar and is the same as the game they just had, then it’s like ‘I’ve already had this. This isn’t new enough.’”
Black Tusk basically wants to avoid Back to the Future Part III Syndrome. It’s a wise play. Fergusson’s philosophy on how to achieve this, however, is unique. “You actually have to betray them enough to give them something new and surprising but not so much that they disconnect, and I think that is a big thing that we have to focus on.
It’s how we can innovate and bring something new to the franchise while at the same time really proving that we understand Gears - that this is the franchise that you know and love.”
Fergusson has broken down for his team which core conceits of Gears have to remain unchanged versus rusty joints in the gameplay where innovation is needed. It may be a good long while before fans endure the betrayal of change, as Phil Spencer, Xbox’s new commander-in-chief, has stated he wants to give Black Tusk all the time in the world they require to evolve Gears of War for the Xbox One.
Double check for No Parking signs; nobody likes clawing their way out of a web-coffin.
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?