Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 14.11.12

Cliff Bleszinski, better known as CliffyB, has received a mysterious package in a hotel room he is currently staying at. The package contained a phone with a Ubisoft background and one phone number in it. CliffyB told his twitter fans that he would ring the number saying “I do have a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me an asset for people like you.”

What started off as a breeding ground for indie titles now seems to be the only form of submission to the digital distribution service, Steam. This is a bold move by Valve as it means not only the bedroom developers but also the big hitters will have to submit their game to Greenlight.

Halo 4 earned $220 million on the day it launched. This isn’t quite as much as Halo 3 or reach but it is still an impressive figure. Microsoft reckons its juggernaut franchise is on track to hit its $300 million global sales target within its first week, thrusting lifetime sales for the Halo franchise passed the $3.38 billion mark.

Of course the other big release lately is Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2. The game is Amazon’s most preordered game ever beating last year’s Modern Warfare 3. Amazon said it “shattered” the previous record. The company wouldn’t reveal any further details on the launch or preorders of Black Ops 2.

Valve president Gabe Newell has has revealed Valve is working on a next generation successor to the Source Engine. Newell also confirmed the Source 2 engine would be completely new, instead of just another update for nearly ten year-old tech. Source made its debut in Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life 2 in 2004.

Mass Effect 4 will run on DICE’s Frostbite engine, the latest version of which was used in Battlefield 3. There also seems to be a lot of interest in being able to play as different alien races, similar to the style of Dragon Age:Origins.

Bungie release Halo: Reach Noble Map Pack trailer

Halo: Reach Noble Map Pack

Bungie has released a trailer for their upcoming Halo: Reach add-on map pack. The Noble Map Pack trailer shows Halo: Reach multiplayer action taking place on the three new maps: Breakpoint, Anchor 9 and Tempest.

The three new areas in the Noble Map Pack look like a lot of fun. You can watch the Halo: Reach Noble Map Pack trailer below.

You can find out much more about the new Halo: Reach DLC in this blog about the Noble Map Pack.

The Noble Map Pack for Halo: Reach is set to be released on 30th November for 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live.

Halo: Reach made $200 million dollars on its first day on sale, and easily topped the charts. Will the release of the Noble Map Pack see a resurgence in the success of Bungie’s shooter? Or will Halo: Reach find itself beaten with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops? And will you be downloading the new maps?

You can leave your thoughts on The Noble Map Pack for Halo: Reach here on the Train2Game blog or on the Train2Game forum.

UK Charts: Medal of Honor out guns FIFA

Medal of HonorMedal of Honor has topped the UK Charts in its first week, despite the ‘Taliban’ controversy that dogged its journey to release. However, this doesn’t seem to have put gamers off, with the Medal of Honor reboot achieving  the biggest ever launch in the series history.  It also achieved what some would see as the impossible byknocking FIFA 11 down to second place in the GFK Chart-Track All Formats Software Chart.

FIFA 11 had sold an impressive 2.6 million units worldwide in its first week, and then last weel comfortably held off the challenge of rival PES 2011. However, it seems that the men with guns in Medal of Honor have proved too strong for FIFA 11.

Ubisofts’ Just Dance 2 has made an impressive debut in third place. The original proved to be more of a slow burner, first entering the charts in 30th before going onto strong sales.

In fact, Just Dance 1 reappeared in the top ten as recently as last week. Nintendo’s Wii Party has jumped from tenth to fourth place, showing that the more casual titles can still guarantee big bucks.

PES 2011 has had a somewhat disappointing week dropping from second to fifth, while F1 2010 also falls two places down the table from fourth to sixth.

Dead Rising 2 had been in third place in each one of its three weeks in the chart. Unfortunately for Capcom, this feat couldn’t be completed a fourth time with Dead Rising falling down to seventh place. Halo: Reach also continues its steady decline down the UK Chart, dropping to eighth place after topping the charts only one month ago.

A third new entry enters the top ten this week with anime title Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 entering the chart in ninth place. Castlevania: Lord of Shadows completes the top ten, having dropped from its entry position of six.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West drops out of the top ten after just one week, falling to eleventh. This is a shame for Ninja Theory who spent three years developing the game. Meanwhile, the Borderlands Game of the Year edition has entered the top 40 in 35th place. Could the promise of a Duke Nukem Forever demo in future have encouraged sales?

The full  GfK Chart-Track All Formats top ten for the week ending October 16th is as follows

1. Medal of Honor (EA)
2. FIFA 11 (EA)
3. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft)
4. Wii Party (Nintendo)
5. PES 2011 (Konami)
6. F1 2010 (Codemasters)
7. Dead Rising 2 (Capcom)
8. Halo Reach (Microsoft)
9. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 (Namco Bandai)
10. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (Konami)

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the Top 10? What do you think of Medal of Honors’ achievement despite the controversy and mixed reviews? Who is going to own up and say they bought Just Dance 2? And why has Enslaved: Odyssey to the West slumped so quickly?

Also, with Fallout: New Vegas released this week, will Medal of Honors’ position on top be short lived?

You can leave your thoughts on Medal of Honor, Fallout: New Vegas or any of the above here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Halo: Reach DLC maps announced and dated

Halo: Reach logo

Microsoft has announced the first DLC pack for Halo Reach. The Halo Reach: Noble Map Pack, will feature three new multiplayer maps., the official Halo: Reach website states that the Noble Map Pack will be available on Xbox Live and “retail locations” from November 30th at a cost of 800 Microsoft points. The Noble Map Pack will contain all new Achievements worth a total of 250 Gamerscore points.

You can see the first pictures of the additions to Halo: Reach from the Noble Map Pack below.

The official description of the Halo: Reach Noble Map Pack from Bungie says:

“Our DLC team has been hard at work these last few months, cloistered together in the heart of the studio preparing three new multiplayer maps for your Halo: Reach multiplayer pleasure. Though they’re still putting the finishing touches on what we’ve now dubbed the Noble Map Pack as we speak, we’ve been itching like crazy to show off the trio of maps for quite some time now. Today, you get your first good look. The Noble Map Pack will be ready for download on November 30th for 800 Microsoft Points.

The fight for humanity continues on a galactic scale. From a frozen xeno-archaeology site harboring secrets centuries old to an orbital anchor defending the stars high above planet Reach to mysterious places far, far beyond, the Noble Map Pack injects three new explosive environments into the multiplayer battlefield, each designed to reinforce all of Halo: Reach’s vital warfronts, from small scale engagements to massive Invasion battlegrounds.”

You can see the descriptions of the new Halo: Reach Noble Map Pack levels below, and get a glimpse of their designs. You can see more pictures of the new Noble Map Pack levels on the  official Halo: Reach website.

Halo: Reach Noble Map Pack TempestTempest – “Though we may never fully understand these devices, it is not our nature to leave ancient stones unturned.” This abandoned shoreline facility bends both sea and sky to an unnatural purpose, but the ground itself has quickly become another all too familiar battlefield. Though the two opposing symmetrical bases may never reveal their ancient purpose, both now offer makeshift shelter and access to strategic routes perfectly suited for small and large scale skirmishes alike.

Tempest supports 8 – 16 players and offers a variety of modes including Free for All, Team Slayer, Team Objective and Big Team Battle. Tempest also provides players with a huge Forge palette, allowing them to create new custom map variants that can be shared with the community-at-large.

Halo: Reach Noble Map Pack Anchor 9Anchor 9 – “Orbital dockyards provide rapid refuelling and repairs for a variety of UNSC vessels.” Within the confines of this low orbit dry-dock, UNSC craft undergo rapid repair and rearmament in support of the enduring war effort.  But for the small squads of infantry who now fight over the mirrored interior hallways and open central hangar bay, this platform no longer provides any safe harbour – whether the close quarters combat is occurring inside or out of its artificial gravitational field.

Anchor 9 allows 2-8 players to face off in game variants including Free for All, Team Slayer and Team Objective.

Halo: Reach Noble Map Pack BreakpointBreakpoint – “ONI officials believe the data buried within this artefact is key to our survival.” Atop this icy precipice, the Invasion continues. These modular archaeological labs were never intended to withstand such a large-scale onslaught of Covenant military power, but the information being extracted here may prove vital to humanity’s survival. In response to the imminent Covenant threat, UNSC ground and air assets have been deployed to bolster entrenched Spartan countermeasures.

This dig site must yield salvation, or it will become a grave. Breakpoint offers multiplayer mayhem for 8-16 players, and supports the Invasion and Big Team Battle game variants.

Halo: Reach made $200 million dollars on its first day on sale, and easily topped the charts.

So Train2Game, do you think the Noble Map Pack will bring Microsoft even more Halo: Reach success? Will you be investing in the new maps? Or do you think the maps featured in the Noble Pack should have just been included with Halo: Reach on release?

Leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

UK Charts: FIFA 11 tops table

FIFA 11FIFA 11 has become the third biggest ever game launch in UK history. Oh, and FIFA 11 has also unsurprisingly taken top spot in the GfK Chart-Track All Formats Software chart.

The achievement means that FIFA 11 is the strongest ever launch in FIFA history, with the only other games with more successful launches being Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV.  FIFA 11 was released on Friday, with various UK retailers attempting to offer consumers the best deal. The record breaking, chart-topping achievements of FIFA 11 mean that last week’s number one, F1 2010, has dropped to second place in the UK chart.

Capcom’s Dead Rising 2 remains in third position, moving ahead of Halo: Reach which drops two places from second to fourth.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock moves up one to fifth place. Ryder Cup fever has played a part in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 re-entering the top ten in sixth position.

Sony PlayStation Move game Sports Champions drops from fifth to seventh, while pushing Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands down one more position to eighth. Toy Story 3 still remains in ninth place. PC exclusive title Civilization V occupies the final place in the GfK Chart-Track top ten, having entered in fourth last week. Former chart topper Mafia II drops out of the top ten and into eleventh place.

The full GFK Chart-Track top ten for the week ending October 2nd is as follows:

1. FIFA 11 (EA)
2. F1 2010 (Codemasters)
3. Dead Rising 2 (Capcom)
4. Halo Reach (Microsoft)
5. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (Activision)
6. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 (EA)
7. Sports Champions (Sony)
8. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (Ubisoft)
9. Toy Story 3 (Disney)
10. Civilization V (2K Games)

Looking to buy FIFA 11? Check out this link to see where you can get the best deals.

So Train2Game, which of you have got your hands on FIFA 11? Was it always inevitable FIFA 11 would top the charts? And with PES 2011 released this week, will FIFA 11 still be top of the league next Monday? Could Enslaved: Odyssey to the West be a contender?

You can leave your thoughts on FIFA 11, the UK chart and any of the games in it, here on the Train2Game blog or on the Train2Game forum.

UK Chart: F1 2010 takes top step from Halo: Reach

F1 2010F1 2010 has taken pole position in the GFK Chart-Track chart in its first week on sale, knocking Halo: Reach down to second place.

In an extremely impressive debut week, F1 2010 outsold second place Halo: Reach and third place Dead Rising 2 combined. The result makes F1 2010 the first Formula 1 game to top the charts for almost ten years when F1 2001 took the title. F1 2010 has sold more than ten times the Formula 1 game from 2001. Codemasters are sure to be popping open the champagne.

Microsoft’s Halo: Reach sees an 80% drop in sales from its hugely successful debut week and drops down to second position. The multiplatform Dead Rising 2 enters the chart in third, while the PC only Civilization V impressively makes its debut in fourth.

Sony PlayStation Move game Sports Champions drops three places to fifth in its second week on release. There’s another new entry at number six, with Activision Blizzard’s sixth Guitar Hero game, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock sneaking ahead of seventh placed Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Prince of Persia drops two places from fifth.

Mafia II and Toy Story 3 are the biggest losers inside the top ten, with both of the past chart toppers dropping five places each down to eighth and ninth respectively.  The Collector’s Edition of online only Final Fantasy XIV takes tenth spot, with the standard edition set to be released in the coming week.

Red Dead Redemption drops from tenth to thirteenth, marking the first time Rockstars’ western has been outside the top ten since its release in May.  Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, Just Dance and Kane & Lynch 2: Dogs also all drop out of the top ten.

The full GFK-Chart Track top ten for the week ending September 25th 2010 is as follows:

1. F1 2010 (Codemasters)
2. Halo: Reach (Microsoft)
3. Dead Rising 2 (Capcom)
4. Civilization V (2K)
5. Sports Champions (Sony)
6. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (Activision)
7. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (Ubisoft)
8. Mafia II (2K)
9. Toy Story 3 (Disney)
10. Final Fantasy XIV (Square Enix)

If you’ve yet to try F1 2010 , you’ll be able to see it for yourself as the game will be playable at the Eurogamer Expo at Earls Court, London  this weekend.

Train2Game will be giving away the new PlayStation Move controller with a PlayStation 3 320GB slim at Eurogamer 2010.

To enter the prize draw, pick up a entry form at Stand 12 in the Career fair. We look forward to seeing you there.

So Train2Game, is it surprising to see F1 2010 knock Halo: Reach off the top step after only one week? Will Codemasters’ F1 2010 suffer a similar fate when FIFA 11 is release at the end of this week? And how do you think the other entries will fare?

Leave your thoughts on F1 2010, or any of the other games in the top ten, here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

UK Chart: Halo: Reach is Number 1 – No one is suprised.

Halo: ReachHalo: Reach has inevitably claimed the top spot in the GfK Chart-Track All Formats chart following a hugely successful first week on sale. Halo: Reach has given Microsoft their biggest ever launch week and the fifth biggest ever game launch in the UK.

Over 300,000 copies of the Xbox 360 exclusive Halo: Reach were sold in the Microsoft title’s debut week. The only games to have more successful launches in the UK are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the PlayStation 2, and Grand Theft Auto IV on the Xbox 360. A combination of impressive review scores and heavy marketing has therefore paid off for Microsoft and Halo: Reach.

It’s another new entry at Number two with PlayStation Move title Sports Champions claiming the position after the motion controllers release last Friday.

The combined success of Halo: Reach and PlayStation Move Sports Champions has bumped 2K’s Mafia II down to third. The mob shooter had previously been top of the pile for three weeks following its release towards the end of August.

Toy Story 3 is once again a non-mover, remaining in fourth for the third week in a row, while Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands jumps four places up to fifth.  Prince of Persia has overtaken a fellow Ubisoft title on its way up the chart, passing Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X 2 which drops from second to sixth.

Meanwhile, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days drops four places to seventh, Just Dance re-enters the top ten in eighth, while PlayStation Move support helps Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 climb from 17th to ninth. Red Dead Redemption is a non-mover, remaining just inside the top ten in tenth spot.

R.U.S.E and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions both drop out of the top ten following their debuts.

The full the GfK Chart-Track All Formats Top 10 for the the week ending September 18th 2010 is as follows:
1. Halo Reach (Microsoft)
2. Sports Champions (Sony)
3. Mafia II (2K Games)
4. Toy Story 3 (Disney)
5. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (Ubisoft)
6. HAWX 2 (Ubisoft)
7. Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (Square Enix)
8. Just Dance (Ubisoft)
9. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 (EA)
10. Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar)

So Train2Game, no one is surprised that Halo: Reach has dominated the chart right? Will it remain at Number 1 for the foreseeable future? Or do you think one of this weeks big new releases – Dead Rising 2, Formula 1 2010, or Civilization V – will mount a significant challenge to Halo: Reach?

You can leave your thoughts on the UK chart or Halo: Reach here on the new look Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Halo: Reach makes $200 million worldwide in first day

Halo ReachHalo: Reach has become the most successful entertainment launch of the year, according to Microsoft. The company say that the Xbox 360 exclusive Halo: Reach made $200 million in just its first day on sale.

The launch of Halo: Reach on September 13th saw fans worldwide queuing up at midnight launches to be among the first to get their hands on a copy of the game.

Microsoft say that the launch of Halo: Reach eclipsed the whole three-day opening weekends this years biggest films including Toy Story 3 and Iron Man 2.

Meanwhile, Chart Track have released figures that show Halo: Reach sold 330,000 copies here in the UK during its first day on sale. That already makes Halo: Reach number ten in the list of all-time best-ever weekly sales for an individual title in the UK, and of course there’s still six more days to add to the stats.

Of course, Microsoft will have expected Halo: Reach to be a massive success, giving the popularity of the Xbox 360 exclusive series, and the sheer amount of marketing behind it.

Whatever the reason behind the success of Halo: Reach, it’s good news for the games industry which has seen the market slump to pre-Nintendo Wii levels.

UKIE Director General Michael Rawlinson has therefore praised the Halo: Reach sales numbers:

This is excellent news for the video games and interactive entertainment industry, demonstrating how games sales continue to increase despite difficult economic circumstances.

“With one in every three people classifying themselves as gamers, and with over half of UK households containing at least one video games console, the UK video games market is in great shape for the future.”

So Train2Game, what do you think of the success of Halo: Reach? Is it well deserved? Will Halo: Reach hold onto the title of biggest entertainment launch of the year? Or will a certain Call of Duty: Black Ops’ be the new champion after its release on November 9th?

You can leave your thoughts about Halo: Reach here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Halo: Reach finally released

Halo ReachStores across the world opened at midnight last night to celebrate the launch of the much anticipated Halo: Reach. Here in the UK, hundreds of people queued up in the early hours to be some of the first to get there hands on Halo: Reach, the latest game in Bungie’s highly successful series.

Halo: Reach is the fourth instalment of the Xbox exclusive shooter, and comes three years after the release of Halo 3. However, Halo: Reach is not a sequel but rather prequel to the previous instalments of the Halo franchise.

Halo 3 was the biggest selling video game of all-time, a record now held by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Microsoft will be hoping that Halo: Reach can repeat the success of Halo 3, having invested an extra 60% in marketing spending according to Xbox 360 Director Stephen McGill. The entertainment and devices director told MCV:

“Halo: Reach is extremely important for us. Not just from a revenue and business perspective, but Halo is such an iconic franchise and one that has delivered huge innovation with every release.”

Meanwhile, Editor of GameSpot UK Guy Cocker told the BBC that Halo: Reach is “quite a big deal” and is by far the game that Xbox 360 owners are most excited about right now.

“We’re able to track activity and Halo: Reach is the most popular game on the site right now,”

“In comparison to Halo 3 though, I’m not sure how well it will go down.

“It’s had a good critical reception, but Microsoft are certainly spending a lot of money promoting the game.”

Halo: Reach certainly has had a great critical reception with its current score of 92% on Metacritic.

The Halo series games have sold over 34 million copies since the original was released on the Xbox, and analysts suggest that a Halo game could once again encourage people to invest in one of Microsofts consoles. Anita Frazier, an anal list at research firm NPD said:

“If hardware sales react in a similar fashion to what was experienced when Halo 3 was launched in September 2007, September could be a huge sales month for Xbox 360 hardware. We can expect big numbers to be reported with September results.”

Halo fans may have only been playing Halo: Reach for a matter of hours, but already Bungie have had reports of cheaters.  The developers say that they’re ready to ban any Halo: Reach players caught cheating.

“Our team is standing at the ready behind the sights of our fully operational Banhammer Battlestation. We take the Reach online experience VERY seriously.”

The Halo: Reach midnight launches echo similar events for the release of Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty earlier this year.

So have any Train2Game students got your hands on a copy of Halo: Reach yet? Perhaps you attended a Halo: Reach midnight launch event? If you don’t own an Xbox 360, do you think the release of Halo: Reach could encourage you to do so?

And have you spotted any cheaters yet?

You can leave your thoughts on Halo: Reach here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

UK Chart: Mafia II remains top

Mafia IIMafia II holds on to number one spot of the charts for the third consecutive week in a vastly shaken up GFK Chart-Track top ten. Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 sees massive boost in sales, jumping eight places from eighth to second position.

Square Enix’s Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days drops one position down to third this week, while Disney’s Toy Story 3 is still selling strongly and is a non-mover in fourth place.

The biggest jumper this week is Nintendo’s Tetris Party Deluxe which jumps almost 20 places from 23rd to fifth.

However, that boost doesn’t make Tetris this week’s biggest mover with Metroid: Other M disappointingly dropping twenty eight places from twelfth to fortieth in just its second week.

Things are tight between this weeks new entries into the chart, with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep and R.U.S.E. debuting at sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Meanwhile, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands stays in ninth place while Red Dead Redemption drops from fifth to tenth, the Western’s lowest position since entering the charts in May.

Just Dance, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Sniper: Ghost Warrior and Wii Sports resort all drop out of the Top Ten this week, will any of them make a return?

The full top ten of the UK Software Chart for the week ending September 11th is as follows:

1.       Mafia II (2K Games)
2.       Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X 2 (Ubisoft)
3.       Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (Square Enix)
4.       Toy Story 3 (Disney)
5.       Tetris Party Deluxe (Nintendo)
6.       Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (Activision Blizzard)
7.       Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (Square Enix)
8.       R.U.S.E (Ubisoft)
9.       Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (Ubisoft)
10.      Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar)

So Train2Game students, has anyone played this weeks new releases in the form of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, or R.U.S.E? If so, what do you think? With Halo: Reach being released this week, do you think time is up for Mafia II?

Is there anyone who doesn’t think Halo: Reach will be a must buy?

As usual, you can leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or over on the Train2Game forum.