Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 05.04.13

lucasartsIt is Friday so it is time for another Train2Game game industry news round up.

The saddest bit of news this week was that the new owners of LucasArts, Disney, has shut down the company. LucasArts were responsible for making many of the Star Wars licensed games as well as other games such as Monkey Island. A LucasFilm representative suggested that properties such as 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault could still find a home via a third party.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment announced that the Injustice: Gods Among Us game is now available on the App Store. Developed from the ground up by award-winning NetherRealm Studios, this free-to-play mobile game delivers stunning graphics and a completely unique fighting gameplay experience. The mobile game features a collectible card mechanic and engages players in 3-on-3 tag team combat that pits many of DC Comics most popular icons such as Batman, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Aquaman and more against one another. Fans who also own the forthcoming Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 versions will be able to unlock content in the console versions that will be available in the mobile game, and vice versa, by registering for a Warner Bros. ID (WBID) account and playing the game.

Perfect World Entertainment Inc. and Cryptic Studios are pleased to announce that on April 30, 2013, the free-to-play action MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter is heading into Open Beta, allowing millions of players unrestricted access to the game world. Neverwinter is Cryptic and Perfect World’s proof that Western free-to-play games, when built from the ground up, can compete with even the biggest boxed subscription titles. On April 30, the companies invite all gamers to put that claim to the test. There will be no character wipes or restricted access after the start of Open Beta. Players can still become Founders through Neverwinter’s Founder’s Pack Program. Benefits include exclusive access to Beta Weekend 4, permanent in-game items that are unique to Founders, early access to Open Beta, and VIP perks. To take advantage of these benefits and to gain exclusive access to Neverwinter’s Beta Weekend 4, players may visit: http://nw.perfectworld.com/founderspack/

The latest set of downloadable content for Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II has been confirmed for an April 16th launch on Xbox Live. The pack will include four new maps as well as a new zombie mode, available for 1200 Microsoft points or free to existing season pass holders. The four new maps are: Magma, a modern Japanese village featuring volcanic eruptions; Encore, taking place in the aftermath of a London music festival; Vertigo, a futuristic high rise building in India and Studio, a Hollywood movie back lot which describes itself as a “contemporary remake of Firing Range” which was found in the original Black Ops. By far the most intriguing addition to the newest DLC is the new Mob of the Dead mode, which sounds interesting enough to breathe life into the unspectacular collection of zombie content available currently. In it you play as a prohibition-era mobster locked up in Alcatraz whose attempts to escape are “foiled by the rise of the undead.”

Finally, creators of the hit game Castle Crashers, have released a new game. Blocks, Cats, Hats, Betrayal! This is how The Behemoth have described their new game, Battleblock Theatre. This newly released game, that is currently only for XBLA, is all about platforming, a “story of geometric proportions”, several modes of online gameplay and a massive amount of replayability. It has over 450 levels, hundreds of unlockables to find, over 300 prisoners to free and The Behemoth is calling it their largest game to date. The Behemoth said they are considering future ports, just like they did with Castle Crashers, but since they are a small studio it would take them quite some time to port if they do decide to bring the game to PC or PS3.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 31.10.11

Possibly the biggest news this week is that Disney has purchased LucasArts for $4.05 billion. In doing so Disney now has the rights to everything in the Star Wars vaults. The plan is to release Star Wars episode VII in a couple of years time. LucasArts also makes some of the games in the Star Wars universe so this could mean changes in future games from the company. We will have to wait and see.

Grand Theft Auto V has finally had a release date confirmed. The highly anticipated fifth part of the saga will be coming to PS3 and Xbox360 in Spring 2013. There has been no mention of a PC release as of yet but it is common for Rockstar to release their PC versions several months later.

Another release date has been announced this time for Peter Molyneux’s Curiosity: What’s inside the cube. The release date has been given as November 7 for iOS and Android. The app will be free to download and play.

One of my most favourite games of this year is Borderlands 2 and it has just surpassed five million sales. The sales include retail and digital sales. Take-Two said it has become “one of the most successful releases in [subsidiary] 2K’s history”. In addition Borderlands Legends has been released for iOS today.

The Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 trailer hit the world on Monday. The trailer was directed by Guy Ritchie and has a cameo from Robert Downey Jr. You can watch the trailer here.

Kickstarter, the most popular vehicle for crowdfunding games development projects, is now available in the UK. Previously UK-based developers could only pledge, but not create projects, now they can seek funding on the platform.

A sequel to the terrifying Amnesia: Dark Descent has been announced with a creepy trailer to get you in the Halloween spirit. Frictional games have always asked for fans to record screams, whimpers and blood curdling shrieks to be put in to the game. You can email your screams to piggies@thechineseroom.co.uk. The trailer can be seen here.

Lastly in more worrying news the terrible storm, Hurricane Sandy, that has hit the US has knocked out Activisions data centers and shut down online play for a number of games including Call Of Duty and Guitar Hero. My best wishes go out to all those affected by the storm.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 10.5.12

The OnLive console is not dead according to CEO Charles Jablonski and UK general manager Bruce Grove. The new plan is all about forming partnerships to provide OnLive’s service, instead of relying on PCs and its own console.

The Volus race has come to Mass Effect 3 multiplayer with the new DLC, The Retaliation Pack. The comic relief character has been put in to the online game play to show the ever expanding war according to BioWare’s Chris Schanche. The new pack also sees the return of The Collectors to battle against.

Earlier this week it was announced that Windows 8 will primarily use real world currency over Microsoft points. This had the games world speculating that the Xbox Live Arcade was going to start phasing out MS points. Microsoft have announced this is not the case. XBLA will still use the previous points system.

Rovio and LucasArts have teamed up in an interesting combination to create Angry Birds Star Wars. The game will see the birds dressed as the main Star Wars protagonists and the pigs are going to be dressed as Storm Troopers and Darth Vader. The levels will be famous Star Wars locations such as Hoth and Tattooine. The game is being released November 8 for iOS.

IGN have brought their application to Xbox in the UK. The app is already available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the USA. The app offers content, shows and access to its pro-gaming league.

Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook has now surpassed one billion users. Since Facebook’s formation in 2004, it has seen more than 140 billion friend connections made, 219 billion photos uploaded, and 1.13 trillion likes. Facebook’s director of developer products said around a quarter of its active user base, about 230 million people, play games on the site in a month. He also noted that Facebook has more than 130 apps.

A one-man company, Cryptic Sea, has created a game called A New Zero. The game has no animation and only uses physics for any movement in the first person shooter. In addition, visuals are also procedurally generated, chopping Zero’s total size below a single megabyte. You can download the game from Cryptic Sea’s website.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II demo available now

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

The Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II demo is now available on Xbox Live for you to try. Don’t worry PlayStation 3 owners, you’ll be able to download a demo of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II on the PlayStation Network from tomorrow.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is the follow up to the 2008 original. The events of the sequel take place seven months after the events of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and year before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, the player once again takes the role of Starkiller, Darth Vader’s Secret Apprentice in the first game.

LucasArts recently released a suitably cinematic trailer for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II. It contains light saber wielding action, Starkiller, Darth Vadar, Yoda, Force Powers and Bobba Fett.  You can see the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II gameplay trailer below.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is scheduled for release in Europe on October 29th, for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and Nintendo Wii.

A  collectors edition of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II will also be available, containing:

  • Star Wars: Force Unleashed II video game in a collectable SteelBook case
  • Three exclusive challenge mode levels
  • An exclusive Ralph McQuarrie concept “Deak Starkiller” skin
  • An exclusive Lightsaber crystal
  • An exclusive MIMOBOT® designer 2GB USB Flash Drive
  • Digital art book, featuring insights into the art of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
  • Game script by Haden Blackman
  • Themed wallpapers

In a strange twist, last month LucasArts revealed hat Monkey Island’s Guybrush Threepwood will be available in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II. How the mighty pirate is unlocked remains unknown.

For more Star Wars action, you can check out this trailer for upcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic.

So Train2Game, if you own an Xbox 360 gamer, have you got your hands on the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II demo yet? If so how is it? Did you enjoy the original? And are you interested in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II?

As usual, leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.