Another year, another Blizzcon, another three trailers for games without solid release dates. Starting off above you can see a cinematic from Diablo III, where Deckard Cain's niece Leah has a pretty nasty nightmare about Asmodan, a spider-frog with a nipple ring. For some reason, I'm not too enthused about this particular lesser evil: I guess I'm Team Belial. However there are probably a few more twists in the game itself. I mean, the game is still called Diablo, right?
After the break, Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm makes the most out of Tricia Helfer's voiceover, as well as showing some of the new units that I'm sure enthusiasts have been dying to get their hands on. Or maybe dreading. I don't know what StarCraft fans are like anymore! Anyway, the story seems pretty dramatic, which has always been weird to me because outside cut-scene, the characters on the screen are so teeny-tiny, it's like a soap opera for ants.
Lastly the next World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria is basically introducing Kung-Fu Panda to the game, minus the Jack Black. Watch the video to see a glimpse of the long rumored Pandarans in action, as well as some of the new Monk-class moves. It's too bad Panda Express doesn't deliver, as that would probably be a pretty good corporate tie-in. I think it's cool that they're countering The Old Republic's Jedis and force powers with adorable chubby ninja bears, but don't know how much it will help them hold onto subscribers.
As promised, Persona 4: The Animation has started up, and Sentai Filmworks, along with The Anime Network and Hulu are simulcasting it for Americans just hours after it airs on Japanese TV. It looks to be a pretty faithful adaption of the game, well, as faithful as you can get considering how much player choice affected the experience. Plus the main character talks! Madness. The first episode's been getting mostly positive notes from what I've seen, but you'll have to judge for yourself. It's not going to shatter genre conventions, but for a cartoon where magical teenagers summon demons to fight giant monsters, it's got its charms.
I believe the video above is geolocked to the US, but separate companies are streaming it in the UK and France. Canadians, check out The Anime Network's website directly if the video above doesn't work.
As promised at E3, starting today Subway stores will be offering early access to the entire Uncharted 3 multiplayer game. Just go in, buy a 30 oz drink, pour it out since you probably shouldn't have that much HFCS or artificial sweetener at one time, scratch off the code and you're in! This isn't a beta, it's the real deal - any progress you make in the game will carry over once the retail disc is released November 1st, which is also when the early access ends for folks who haven't ponied up for the full game.
That's not all, there are also Subway exclusive bonuses. Have you ever wanted to see Nathan Drake make the $5 Footlong hand sign? Of course not, that's stupid. You probably also don't really want to dress your multiplayer characters up in Subway t-shirts and hats, or win some strange Subway-related virtual items. If you do maybe you should reexamine your priorities. But they're there anyway! There are also some useful and/or not embarrassing perks, like one-time use game boosters and special Naughty Dog branded weapons.
Despite the awkward Subway shoehorning, this is a pretty cool promotion. I can't say I was blown away by the beta experience this summer, but given a month of practice I might find my attitude changing. Or not, but based on experience, at least Uncharted 3 will likely have a pretty great single player game to fall back on.
After the break check out Nathan Drake fondling an eerily superimposed Subway drink and sandwich in the official television ad for the promotion.
Or a bounty hunter, a smuggler, or whatever Star Wars-related job you want to take, because Bioware's finally dated Star Wars: The Old Republic for December 20th in North America, and December 22 in Europe and related territories. BioWare co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk announced the news as part of their keynote for the Eurogamer Expo in London. Muzyka effuses:
This is an incredible moment for everyone at BioWare and our partners at LucasArts who have dedicated their lives to build this extraordinary game. We appreciate the patience from the millions of fans who have been waiting for the game's release.
Preorderers will still get early access to the game, although it's not stated exactly how early that access will be. They've previously hinted that copies of the game, even digital ones, will be strictly limited at first to prevent the servers from completely collapsing under the weight of demand. Also revealed was the pricing structure: the first 30 days of the game will be free, but after that it's $14.99 a month. If you're a bit more confident, you can buy three months ($41.97) or six months ($77.94) at a time, saving you $3 and $12 respectively.
Of course, most of you who have an eye on the game are probably waiting for the gays to get patched in, something Bioware has promised will be coming after the game's release.
Remember way back, before the main game was even in our sweaty hands, Bioware and Felicia Day teasedDragon Age: Redemption, a webseries based on a brand new character to the Dragon Age II universe? If you don't, that's all right. You're human, you're allowed to forget things sometimes. Anyway, about 8 months after that announcement we're not only getting the webseries, we're also getting a new expansion for the game, Mark of the Assassin. It's an abundance of something!
Assassin stars Day as her character from the webseries, Tallis, an elven assassin, and also puts Hawke in a fancy little suit for a little while. Varric's back narrating, and I think I can see a few of the game's companions in one of the cut scenes, but it's not clear how much else they'll have to do considering you'll probably have to keep Tallis in your party for the story to work.
Felicia Day's been great as a sweet, shy scientist on this summer's episodes of SyFy's Eureka, but with all her sass and jumping and stabbing, it looks like Tallis may let her show a bit more range. Mark of the Assassin will be hitting PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on October 11 for $10. It's not clear exactly where you'll be able to catch Redemption, but I'm sure you won't have much trouble finding it.
Vampires are nothing new to the Elder Scrolls series, so it's not entirely surprising that in Skyrim you'll be able to take on the curse of the kindred - something that's been in previous games, and even hinted at in Fallout 3. The sequel may be taking things to a new level, though, basically turning vampirism into a sub-class, with special abilities as you level. Todd Howard, the game's executive director, explained at PAX:
You can contract that disease, and if you wait long enough, you'll become a vampire and that's a whole other mode of playing the game. There are various levels of being a vampire, the sun will effect you more the more powerful you get, and you can sort of control your vampirism by feeding on people when they're sleeping.
Charming. Something tells me we wouldn't be in the midst of a huge vampire craze if they just went around sucking on folks while they were sleeping. Or maybe they'd have a whole new fanbase? Anyway, it sounds like it could be fun, but potentially tough if you're constantly having to feed, duck inside for half the game, or carry around some really heavy duty parasol. Same sex marriage, turning people into vampires - Bethesda really isn't scared of Fox News, are they?
After the break, watch the video of Todd "revealing" vampires in Skyrim from the floor of PAX.
WayForward's been good to Nintendo. Maybe a little too good, as their critically acclaimed games, almost exclusively made for Nintendo hardware, rarely reach the sales heights they deserve. Perhaps that's why they've been branching out a little recently, with a port of Mighty Flip Champs as a Playstation Mini, and Bloodrayne: Betrayal for XBLA and PSN. Now they're taking one of the best DSiWare games and bringing it to iPhones and iPads. Shantae: Risky's Revenge is a sequel to the cult classic Gameboy Color game Shantae and although it got great notices, was a bit handicapped by the relatively low use of the DSiWare store. As the developer explains:
Shantae is famous for three things; high ratings, hips that don't lie (whatever that means), and being difficult to find. We're bummed when we get letters from gamers who want to play it, but don't have the means. So, moving to iOS should help fix that.
Fans of Zelda, Metroid, or campy pirate ladies and genies are advised to check it out. The game is getting retina display support (but don't expect full HD) and is being optimized for virtual joypads, but will also support Fling and Fling mini joysticks. No price is mentioned, but the game is still $12 in the DSiWare store. Look for it to hit the appstore in the next few weeks.
As usual, this Thursday's Futurama featured plenty of nerdy jokes, including a Kinect inspired game console and Bender water-cooling himself to keep from overheating. One bit, however, might sound familiar to folks who followed Sony's lawsuit against a hacker named George Hotz, or geohot.
The plot of the episode revolves around the Professor's young clone Cubert overclocking Bender to make him better at World of World War II. This incurs the wrath of Mom, Bender's manufacturer, who has both the Professor and the boy arrested for violating a licence agreement. At one point in the video above (which I'm pretty sure only works in the US, sorry everyone else), the two exclaim:
Prof. Farnsworth: Oh God! I clicked without reading!
Cubert: And I slightly modified something I own!
Prof. Farnsworth: We're monsters!
Describing a joke in detail just makes it extra funny, right? Sony's case is a bit more complicated, but the parallels seem pretty easy to spot. Since this season started airing way back in June 2010 with long split down the middle, I'm not sure exactly when this episode would have been written and produced. There's a chance it's just a coincidence, or it's referencing some other corporate freakout: most companies aren't too thrilled when you tinker with their stuff's guts. The whole episode is worth watching if you've got it saved on your DVR or it pops up in a repeat.
According to an anonymous "tipster" (i.e. someone who lucked into an online survey and doesn't know the meaning of NDA), Destructoid has images of potential artwork for a sequel to Disney's Epic Mickey. They're also testing out a variety of names, most of them revolving around the concept of two, as this game would introduce co-op with one player taking the role of Mickey's "brother" Oswald the rabbit.
Epic Mickey wasn't the industry-shifting behemoth that one might expect from the pre-release hype, but I bet it sold better than you thought it did. There's no word on potential systems these might show up on, however the box shapes seem to imply they're not talking about handhelds. I wouldn't be shocked if they move the series off the Wii to the HD systems, or possibly the Wii U to try and keep their stable of Nintendo fans. Official game announcements aren't terribly common between now and the end of winter, so we may have to wait a while to get anything official about the game, unless this leak forces them into the open.
If you were worried TellTale's Jurassic Park game was just going to be Sam and Max with Dinosaurs, they're doing their best to convince you otherwise in the above trailer. Why it's not clear exactly where the player will take over, at least they plan on ratcheting up the tension with dinosaur attacks, mysterious tattooed thugs, and maybe even a roller coaster! It looks like the primary dino-antagonists will remain the T-Rex and (anatomically questionable) Velociraptors, but there look to be a few cameos from some of the less overexposed thunder lizards too. The game will be out for PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PSN on November 15th.
This is about a month old, so apologies if you've already seen it, but here's the most recent trailer for the upcoming Persona 4 anime series. The song, Sky's the Limit, is the show's theme, however this probably isn't the actual opening. It's pretty philosophical ("Even without doughs, our thoughts can be dope"), but it's got a bouncy beat too so don't dwell on it too long.
The show premieres this October in Japan, and there's no word whether anyone will be officially simulcasting the show in the US or other territories. Aniplex USA has Blue Exorcist and a couple other current shows up on Hulu and Crunchyroll right now, as well as some other, older shows in their complete runs. Perhaps if they think there will be an audience they'll bring it here themselves. On the other hand, NIS America, who licensed the last Persona series, Trinity Soul, took a couple years to bring the show to the US officially. That one's still only available in pair of relatively expensive DVD sets, or via premium streaming at Anime News Network, and it appears the streams may be expiring soon anyway. Let's hope that someone in charge over there sees the value of making this one a little bit easier to get legally.
If you're at all like me, I'm truly sorry. Maybe there's a pill you can take. But more to the point, if you're like me, you don't trust any promise completely until you see it with your own eyes or hold it in your hands. That's why, despite the fact that I've connected to the eShop on my 3DS a whole heap of times, in the back of my mind I've had this creeping doubt that somehow I wouldn't qualify for the 20 free games Nintendo is offering to early adopters (and folks who picked it up once the price started dropping a few days early).
For those of you with the same trust issues, Nintendo's set up a website where you can check and make sure that you're a 3DS Ambassador, guaranteeing you access to those free games once they start coming on Sept. 1. Simply plug the serial number on the back of your system into the web page below, and you'll get confirmation one way or the other. This could also be helpful for anyone looking to grab a used system in the next month or so. And yes, I did get the green text confirming I am a Nintendo 3DS Ambassador, which is an $80 load off my mind. Hopefully you'll get the same result; if not, you've got about ten days to find a sympathetic ear at Nintendo, or maybe a time machine.
Are you gay and working in the games industry? If you are interested in networking with other folks like you within the industry, try joining the Gay Game-Industry Professionals mailing list.
Click here for all the details!