Train2Game News Mass Effect Andromeda

Today the Andromeda Initiative calls on brave explorers to take their first steps on a 600-year journey to find a new home. 
A new welcome and orientation video gives recruits a briefing on the Arks which will transport the races of the Milky Way to the new galaxy, as well as details on the Nexus and the Pathfinders who will be leading the mission. 

The opening of the Andromeda Initiative also coincides with the release of the official cinematic reveal trailer for Mass Effect™: Andromeda. In it, fans will discover the first story details, as well as glimpses of the game’s protagonists and some crew members. Those eager for more information can look forward to the world gameplay reveal coming in December.

Additional Andromeda Initiative briefings will be made available in the coming months covering topics like planetary exploration and settlement, weapons and biotics training, first contact protocol and more. Those who complete all trainings and briefings will be automatically rewarded with an in-game item when Mass Effect: Andromeda launches in Spring 2017.

Mass Effect: Andromeda gives players the chance to be the Pathfinder, charting a course in a dangerous new galaxy in search of a new home. Meet and recruit all-new and interesting characters in an epic space saga, and pit your team against terrifying enemies and creatures singularly-focused on your destruction. Utilize verticality and boosted jumps to even the playing field, as well as destructible cover and brand-new weapons and Biotics to make combat more thrilling than ever. Utilize the most flexible progression system ever in the Mass Effect franchise to build the Pathfinder exactly how you want, focused on the abilities and skills that will make you virtually unstoppable.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is developed by BioWare™ and will be available in Spring 2017 on Origin™ for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Train2Game News: Early Mass Effect concept art

Mass Effect Concept ArtVeteran BioWare designer Matt Rhodes has posted an array of Mass Effect concept art from throughout the sci-fi trilogy. This of course includes spoilers!

It is a fascinating look at the early days of the series and some of the initial concepts.

The art, posted on Rhodes’ blog, includes designs dating back to the series’ origins. It covers concepts about Tali and what her face looked like under the mask, an interesting story twist involving Shepard and a creepy looking creation of the Mass Effect 2 boss.

Matt Rhodes said about his role as a concept artist “The role of a Concept Artist is the role of an explorer, tasked with charting a world without sunlight. You start off with your reference and research. These are well established base camps.

“They’re well lit, highly populated and safe. The better your reference the better your bearings will be. The artist’s job is to start at base camp with a bag of torches and run furiously out into the darkness. Every doodle, sketch, painting and storyboard is a torch lit somewhere out in the black. You mostly find weeds and rocks out there. But if you keep pushing you sometimes find a rich landscape that can hopefully become a new basecamp.”

You can enjoy his concept art in the link below including some concept art for Dragon Age as well. It is an interesting look through his process.

Train2Game News: Xbox360 Ultimate Game Sale!

Xbox 360Train2Game students with an Xbox360 will be happy to hear that they have a great game sale this month!

On Xbox360 today you can pick up Borderlands 2, Assassin’s Creed 3, Far Cry 3 and Max Payne 3 for just £8.99 each which is incredible value for some of the last years biggest games. There’s a range of offers which last all week too including Bulletstorm, Crysis and the first Mass Effect.

Some of the games offered over the week are as follows:

  • Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway – £4.49
  • Far Cry Instincts: Predator – £4.49
  • Crysis – £4.49
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 – £4.49
  • WWE 13 – £13.99
  • Mass Effect – £4.49
  • Prey – £2.69
  • Bulletstorm – £4.49
  • Dragon Age: Origins – £4.49
  • Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga – £14.99

This month will also see a new free game offered by Microsoft in there lead up to the launch of the Xbox One. If you are an Xbox Gold member, you can pick up XBLA tower defence game, Defence Grid: The Awakening for free instead of its normal 800msp price tag, saving yourself £6.80.

The game will be available until July 15 when a different game will be free to download.

Offers will change every day in the sale over the next week so make sure you keep checking back to see what is on offer, you could pick up that game you’ve been wanting for a low, low price.

Train2Game News: Mass Effect 3 infographic

Mass Effect 3 With the close of Commander Shepards story, Bioware have released an infographic detailing everyone’s choices in Mass Effect 3.

The graphic shows that despite the vocal popularity of the female Commander Shepard only 18% actually played as her and the most popular character is Liara.

The info-graphic was released on Bioware’s Facebook page and obviously contains some spoilers.

Mass effect 3 info-graphic

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 21.11.12

A trailer for the next Borderlands 2 DLC has been released. It is full of explosions, carnage and hilarity. From the looks of the trailer, Tiny Tina is back which is great news, she is a highly amusing character. When I heard about this DLC I was worried it was going to be another “Moxxis Underdome” but luckily it looks like it’s a proper campaign. You can enjoy the trailer here.

Peter Molyneux has announced that up to six new features could be coming soon for the experiment app Curiosity. The new features are currently on the prototype phase. Molyneux hasn’t released what they are yet but did give the clue ‘Badgers’. The new features have been designed by watching how people are using the cube. As of 3pm today 30 layers have been chiselled away.

The company behind The Walking Dead episodic series of games has had to move to a bigger premises. Telltale currently employ about 125 staff, but the new space will provide enough room for 160 employees, and the company is planning a hiring spree for 2013.

Microsoft’s further venture in to entertainment sees a new app coming soon which will turn your Xbox into a Karaoke machine. You’ll able to purchase singing time in blocks of two, six or 24 hours with your Microsoft Points. The app, simply named Karaoke, offers over 8000 tracks. You’ll be able to warble along to pop, rock and country tunes, plus some R&B and hip-hop tunes.

Windows Phone may not have the market share of Apple or Google, but it does appear to be winning in one key area for game developers: monetization. According to data from EEDAR’s 2012 Mobile Syndicated Reports, Windows smartphone users “consistently outspend their peers” with almost 10 percent of Windows gamers classified as “Whales” (those who spend more than $25 a month) compared to just four percent on both iOS and Android.

Sony has released the public version of the PlayStation Mobile SDK, allowing developers to create content for a wide range of devices and sell through the PlayStation Store. As well as PlayStation Certified Android hardware, developers can build apps and games for the PlayStation Vita, PSP and the PlayStation 3 with an annual license fee of just £60.

Artist, Andrew Ryan, has created some gorgeous character art by putting Mass Effect character in to the Dragon Age universe. The Normandy is a high dragon ridden by Joker, Garrus is an awesome crossbow-wielding knight, Jack’s a blood mage elf and EDI is a golem. Each character was designed separately before being combined in the final diorama. You can check out the pictures on his Deviant Art page, here.

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.

Train2Game News: Mass effect of Bioware ‘fathers’ on the move

Bioware has announced its plans for the future following the departure of their founding members.

Earlier in the week Dr Ray Muzyka and Dr Greg Zeschuk, the founding fathers of Bioware, left the company.

To reassure the world, the company announced what’s next in line for development. The biggest announcement was that of a new IP for the next generation of consoles.

Aaryn Flynn, General Manager of Bioware Edmonton and Montreal, said “Casey [Hudson, Mass Effect series boss] and his leads are putting together their vision for an all-new game set in a fictional universe, built from the bottom-up with all new gaming technology.”

Their next project to launch will be more DLC for the highly popular Mass Effect 3. They have said they will develop more multiplayer and single player content. The single player content is strongly rumoured to be set on the Mass Effect 2 location, Omega. The add-on should see players team up with angry asari Aria T’loak to retake her crime-laden home from long time antagonists Cerberus.

Bioware are currently looking in to how they can expand the Mass Effect series in to another game for the series.

The company have also been working on their other highly popular series, Dragon Age. The third instalment was announced a few days ago named Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. No more details have been released about the game to date.

Mr Flynn said about the departure of the Doctors “I know this might be concerning for some of you but the leaders at BioWare have had some time to think about it – to think about how the games, the fans, and the creative teams would move on without the two guys who started this organization back in 1995.

“We – including Ray and Greg – think the studio is solid and the team here is ready to embark on a whole new era of games.”

Train2Game news: Bioware exploring ‘experimental’ mobile market

Train2Game students will know that iPhone gaming as a whole has become big business with a number of publishers plotting a long term mobile strategy.

And while the Train2Game blog has previously reported that EA has detailed plans for mobiles, Bioware, who publish the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series’ under the EA, don’t have any specific plans for mobile, but it’s something they’re looking into.

“We’re doing more stuff. EA as a whole is doing more mobile games, and at BioWare we’re looking at mobile extensions for our franchises as well,” BioWare founder Dr. Ray Muzyka told Industry Gamers.

“Nothing to announce specifically right now, but mobile’s going to be one of the dominant platforms going forward.” added co-founder Dr. Greg Zeschuk

And he believes mobile will become as strong as traditional consoles.

“It’s going to be right up there with anything else – it already is in a sense. In terms of dollar share, maybe not yet, but we’re just starting down the hill on free-to-play on mobile devices. That’s a big thing right now. So yeah, we take mobile pretty seriously.”

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, free-to-play games generate a majority of App store revenue.  And Zeschuk believes the  free-to-play is a low risk environment to test out new ideas, with the prospect of failure not a catastrophe.

“One thing we’ve learned is that you need to lead with gameplay – making sure the core gameplay is really tight”

And another thing is just understanding the platform well enough that you really are state of the art in terms of what you’re delivering relative to what’s there.” said the Bioware co-founder.

“And sometimes it’s just experimental too, and on mobile with something of that scale it’s actually a lot safer to explore ideas,” he added.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Bioware looking into mobile? Is it a good area to experiment with?

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

[Source: Industry Gamers]