Train2Game News: Ultimate Warrior returns!

ultimate-warrior-wwe2k142K today announced the emphatic return of Ultimate Warrior to the ring – virtually – in WWE 2K14, the forthcoming installment in the flagship WWE video game franchise.

Making his long-awaited arrival from Parts Unknown, the self-professed “Founding Father of Life Intensity” will be an exclusive playable character for those who pre-order the game at any participating retailer for the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft or PlayStation3 computer entertainment system.

“Immortality is inspiration, pure and simple. An example to others that they, too, can do things larger than the life they are actually living, and Ultimate Warrior was the pure embodiment of this belief, in what has proven to be a very attention-getting and inspiring way,” said Warrior. “It was my good fortune to be his creator and performer, and I am humbled by all those fans who’ve not only kept his legacy alive, but deepened it over time. In WWE 2K14, Ultimate Warrior’s creed, ‘Always Believe,’ lives on.”

Making his WWE debut in 1987, Ultimate Warrior garnered worldwide attention and became a pop-culture phenomenon for his iconic music and ring entrance, zealous personality, boundless energy and dominant in-ring prowess. Though he faced many rivals throughout his career, including Honky Tonk Man, “Ravishing” Rick Rude, Sgt. Slaughter, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Undertaker, perhaps his most celebrated match was against Hulk Hogan in “The Ultimate Challenge” at WrestleMania VI on April 1, 1990. Warrior defeated Hogan that day to unify the WWE Championship and Intercontinental Championship, becoming the first WWE Superstar ever to hold both titles simultaneously.

“There has never been another WWE Superstar quite like the Ultimate Warrior – his intensity and energy is unmatched, and his legacy is undeniable,” said Chris Snyder, Senior Director of Marketing at 2K. “Fans love him, opponents fear him and everyone can agree that he’s one of the most iconic Legends in WWE history. Pre-ordering WWE 2K14 is the only way we mere mortals will ever have a glimpse into the greatness that is Ultimate Warrior.”

Become Immortal – 2K’s lineup of premier sports simulation titles expands with the company’s upcoming release in the renowned WWE video game franchise, WWE 2K14. Developed by Yukes for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 system, WWE 2K14 is positioned to be the most electrifying, authentic and comprehensive WWE video game experience to date. WWE 2K14 will be released on October 29, 2013 in North America and November 1, 2013 internationally.

You can enjoy the Ultimately amusing Trailer below:

Train2Game News: Games Industry News- 05.07.13

Xbox360 DashboardIt’s Friday so it is time for the end of the week games industry news round up!

Microsoft has begun inviting Xbox Live members worldwide to participate in the public beta for its 2013 Xbox Live Update for Xbox 360. The update will include improvements to overall performance and the ability to conduct transactions with local currency, as Microsoft Points will be retired later this year. To join, interested 360 owners should look for the Xbox Beta Program tile on the home hub of the Xbox Dashboard and once the places are filled the beta will be closed to the public. You will be required to sign an NDA for security reasons.

In celebration of summer, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announces that all its mobile games in the App Store are priced at £0.69 this week including Man of Steel, LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7, Batman Arkham City Lockdown, Scribblenauts Remix, LEGO Batman DC Superheroes, Midway Arcade and Bastion. Man of Steel, Batman: Arkham City Lockdown and Scribblenauts Remix are also available on Google Play at the same low price.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced the Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition is available for PC from Steam and other digital download portals. Originally developed by NetherRealm Studios, led by Mortal Kombat co-creator and creative director Ed Boon it has been adapted for PC by High Voltage Software. If you have always wanted to try your hand in Mortal Kombat, now is the time.

2K unveiled the WWE 2K14 cover art featuring WWE Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The official reveal, which took place during an episode of Monday Night Raw, showcased cover artwork designed in partnership with “The People’s Champion.” The cover art reflects The Rock’s physicality and signature in-ring pose. To further celebrate, 2K recently launched a consumer contest for the opportunity to create alternate cover artwork to be included with WWE 2K14 retail copies. “I am exceptionally grateful to be chosen for the cover of WWE 2K14 and serve as the first cover Superstar under 2K’s leadership,” said The Rock.

Square Enix has released a new Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII trailer dubbed “The Divine Task”. The latest video reveals more about the game’s story, including the appearance of supporting character Hope. Lightning Returns was revealed at the Final Fantasy 25th anniversary event in 2012 and is billed as the last entry in the “Lightning saga”. The Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII’s release date has been confirmed as February 11, 2014 in North America and February 14 Europe on Xbox 360 and PS3. You can enjoy the trailer, here.

Train2Game News: Games news round up – 22.02.13

Barack Obama speaks at the Rodon Group in PennsylvaniaIt’s the end of the week so Train2Game News will bring you some of the news stories of the week!

United States president, Barack Obama, revealed he was in favour of computer programming lessons in schools as part of a Google+ discussion. He said computers and videogames excited youngsters and spurred them on to learn. He referred to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, saying he taught himself to program due to his interest in games. He said he wanted people to understand the principles involved in a career in videogames such as maths, science and design.

Following the troubles THQ had they have sold the rights to the WWE video game series to 2K. 2K are more than familiar with sports titles having previously developed the entire NBA series of games since 2011. The series, which will continue to be developed by Yukes in Japan and will combine the studio’s signature gameplay with 2K’s commitment to authenticity in this years WWE ’14.

In addition 2K Games and Irrational Games today announced that production of downloadable content has recently begun for their forthcoming BioShock Infinite and revealed details of the BioShock Infinite Season Pass. Three all-new add-on packs are in development that will provide hours of additional gameplay and continue the player’s journey in the sky-city of Columbia with new stories, characters, abilities and weapons. The BioShock Infinite Season Pass will be available on March 26, 2013 when the game is planned to launch.

Despite Sony showing the currently-available PS Move controller being used with PS4 during the console’s unveiling event on Wednesday, the firm says the new console will not support the use of the standard DualShock 3 controller. The reasons are unclear since the DS3 controller uses the same industry-standard Bluetooth 2.0 tech as the Move controller to connect with PS3, which suggests PS4 will have Bluetooth 2.0 capabilities.

Commander Shepard’s story is finally coming to an end with the announcement of the last bit of single player DLC. Available on March 5th, Mass Effect: Citadel will see Shepard “explore and discover new locations across the vast, deep-space station” while reconnecting with some recognizable characters from the series past. Mass Effect was truly a great game, a save game that lasted six years across three games. Commander Shepard and the crew of the Normandy shall be missed.

Train2Game News: WWE 13 Review

WWE 13 came out earlier this month and I got to play it for the very first review on Train2Game News.

The first thing I dived into was the career mode. If you have played WWE games before then you know it is normally a Road To Wrestlemania involving current day superstars. This time however it’s different

You get to play through the famous 90’s Attitude Era.

The career takes you from the Rise of DX seeing the meeting of Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who would go on to be known as Triple H, and the Heart Break Kid, Shawn Michales, up to Wrestlemania 15 with all the excitement in between.

As someone who never got to experience the Attitude Era of Wrestling as I am a recent fan it is a brilliant career mode for me. Playing through some of the iconic matches like the Calgary screw-job where Vince screwed Bret Hart and seeing the Big Show, still then known as Paul White, rip through the ring during the steel cage match between Vince McMahon and the Rattlesnake Stone Cold Steve Austin, you can really enjoy the Attitude Era.

As for the rest of the game it is very much the same as previous WWE games with some added extras and improved graphics.

You still get the WWE Universe mode with this games sizeable roster and the same match types as before with the addition of an I Quit match. You can now also perform “OMG Moments” which are an enjoyable feature where you can use your finisher to perform exciting moments like smashing your opponent through the crowd barriers.

Single player game play is fairly smooth with the occasional hiccup here and there but the multiplayer is still quite clunky. Troubles with targeting players and clear visual bugs still occurring, at one stage as Edge stood up his arm seemed to fall through his body leaving him quite contorted.

Over all the game is as always one for Wrestling fans, it certainly won’t be drawing in a new audience with the game. If you are a Wrestling fan though I would highly suggest this game as I feel it is the best one so far, purely for the great enjoyment I got from the Attitude Era.

If you are a fan of WWE then live the revolution!

 

Train2Game News: WWE 13 Trailer

The new WWE game from THQ boasts an incredible roster including many fan favorites such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, The Rock and CM Punk.

An official press release describes the game:

“Positioned to offer the most authentic, extensive and fervent experience to date, WWE ’13 will transform gameplay through WWE Live, a brand-new audio and presentation system designed to produce the most authentic and vibrant commentary, sound effects and crowd participation levels ever heard in a WWE videogame. In addition, players will experience the atmosphere, spectacle and fervor of a WWE live event through attention-grabbing Spectacular Moments, including ring breaks and barricade crashes.

WWE ’13 will also debut a franchise-first single player campaign based on an unparalleled and groundbreaking period in WWE history: the “Attitude Era.” Set during a time of pure raucousness, grandiose personalities and colossal revolution, players will focus on eight purveyors of attitude during the famed television “Monday Night Wars,” including WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin.”

I am a big fan of WWE and have been playing the games for many years. I am incredibly excited for this.

Enjoy the trailer and then join the revolution.

The game is released 2-11-12

Train2Game at Gamescom: WWE 12 interview with Lead Gameplay Designer Brian Williams

Train2Game was at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from 17th August to 21st August. In this interview, we caught up with WWE 12 Lead Gameplay Designer Brian Williams to talk about new features in the upcoming game. Williams also revealed how he started in the games industry and gave Train2Game students advice on how to get in. Read the full interview below, or listen to it on Train2Game Radio.

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

REVIEW: WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011

Smackdown vs Raw 2011 logo

It must be tough working as a developer on a yearly franchise. They know that they’ve made important changes to the game, but the tweaks might be so subtle that gamers don’t recognise that this is the case.  This year however, Yuke’s have made a special effort to ensure that Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 works differently to previous games in the franchise. The controls have been tweaked, Career Mode has been replaced by an all inclusive WWE Universe, and there have been changes to the Road to Wrestlemania story mode. The good news is that these changes are generally positive, and Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 will likely be a welcome addition to any WWE fans game collection.

The biggest change in gameplay is the new physics system that has been introduced for WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011. Objects now react more realistically in a variety of situations.  No longer will that table just be moved out the way by unseen forces if your Superstar performs a move near it. Your opponent (Or indeed you) could end up going straight through the table as it smashes into little pieces.  Other ‘foreign objects’ also act more realistically in WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011. Ladders for example will lean against the ropes, against the ring, and a variety of other places allowing you pull off a wide variety extreme moves. The new physics system certainly makes WWE Smackdown vs. Raw feel more realistic – if you can call pro-wrestling that! – and special match types are a lot more fun as a result.

Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 Image 1

Well, maybe it isn't so going to be so fun for Drew Mcintyre there...

Yuke’s have also made changes to specific match types for WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 with Hell in a Cell in particular the most improved.  The ‘demonic structure’ is now a full replica of its television counterpart. Now there is more than one persons worth of space between the ring and the cage, and weapons can be pulled out from under the ring for even more carnage. Of course, you can still get out of the cage in – this time by smashing your opponent through it – and unleash further mayhem outside and on top of it.

Ladder Matches have also changed for WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, but they still prove somewhat frustrating. You don’t need to spend as long wrestling with the belt/briefcase/prize of choice above the ring, but your opponents need to practically unconscious to give you enough time to do so. Ladder match AI can sometimes go awry as I saw in a Triple Threat match between myself, Vladimir Kozlov and Chris Jericho. My Superstar was out for the count, Kozlov was trying to grab the briefcase and Jericho just stood there and let him do it! Still the AI of WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 generally works well overall – if less so in Tag Team Matches – but seasoned players will need to ramp the difficulty up to Hard or even Legend for a proper challenge.

Perhaps the most significant change for WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 is the introduction of the WWE Universe.  The WWE Universe essentially combines Exhibition Matches and a Career Mode into one and the game will react according to how you play. The outcomes of matches will change rankings, determine future matches on the in-game schedule (though you can change or just simulate these if you’re not interested) and will create alliances and enemies for superstars. Of course, titles can change hands too but the challenger needs to be high enough up the rankings when a Pay-per-view comes along in order to do so.

WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011 Hell in a Cell

That surely isn't going to end well for Jack Swagger.

Naturally, with this being the WWE rivalries and interference play roles in WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 and they’ll develop you play matches in the WWE Universe. For example, playing a match as Matt Hardy vs CM Punk ended up with Drew McIntyre attempting to interfere, leading in turn to Big Show running down to the ring in order to even the odds. Matt Hardy and Big Show’s relationship improved because of this and they could eventually go on to form a tag team. Relationships between superstars plays a big part in deciding what cut scenes occurring before, during and after matches in WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011. Enemies could assault you on their way to the ring, or after a match. In turn your allies could run to your aid, or even betray you . It’s all rather unpredictable but that’s what makes the WWE entertaining, and it’s a welcome addition to WWE Smackdown. vs. Raw 2011.

This year, Yuke’s have also made changes to the Road to Wrestlemania story mode for WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011. The biggest one of these is the fact your chosen Superstar can walk around back stage, interacting with other Superstars and performing mini challenges are essentially RPG elements. Completing matches, partaking in backstage ‘events’ (i.e. fights in the locker room) and finding hidden objects all give your Superstar experience points, which you can use to upgrade stats. It’s an interesting new system and it works quite well, but sometimes wandering between one end of the backstage area to the other in order to try and find someone to talk to (or pummel) can get tiresome. The lip syncing is completely off too which takes away from the ‘real’ life of a Superstar.

However, the actual stories in the WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 more than make up for the occasional lack of depth in the backstage area. There are five different Roads to Wrestlemania on offer each following a particular Superstar. You can choose John Cena (Yes, again.), Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Christian or a Vs. The Undertaker story. The last one allows you to play as one of four pre-determined Superstars, or one you’ve created yourself, as they try to end The Undertakers legendary Wrestlemania winning streak. Personally, my favourite Road to Wrestlemania story was Christians’ as it made me feel as I was watching WWE in 1999 all over again.

WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011 Royal Rumble

You'd think those two would be hitting eachother.

One odd thing about Christians’ story however is that it takes place on the ECW brand which was cancelled all the way back in February this year. There are also storylines that involve wrestlers who aren’t even on the books of the WWE anymore, and of course there are plenty of Superstars who’ve appeared this year that aren’t on the games already impressive roster. It’s a small annoyance, but one that could frustrate hardcore WWE fans.

Naturally, if you think someone deserves to be in WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 you can always attempt to add them yourself using the create a wrestler tool. This feature remains mostly unchanged from last year, but you can still expect thousands of fan created Superstars to appear online for download. The option to create a finisher has also been tweaked for WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 allowing you more freedom as to how you beat down your opponents.

Overall, Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 is an improvement over the previous irritations of the series. The improved physics of the weapons and combination of exhibition matches and a career mode into ‘The WWE Universe’ works well and makes every match played an interesting and enjoyable experience, even if they are occasionally let down by AI issues. Meanwhile, the Road to Wrestlemania storylines remain as enjoyable as ever, but the introduction of the RPG elements lacks some depth. Aside from that and a few other minor issues, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 a highly enjoyable game and is a must for any WWE Fan, and highly recommended as an enjoyable fighter for anyone else.

VERDICT: 8/10

WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 is available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 from 29th October 2010

You can leave your thoughts on WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011 here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Game over for television advertising?

Television, that box in your living room or bedroom that not only connects to your chosen games console, but also transmits them fancy moving pictures – or television programmes as they’re also known. Now, while television is of course still a massive form of entertainment in many households throughout the world, publishers seem increasingly keen to move away from advertising their games on the box.

Why? Well, some just don’t see TV as that relevant to video game marketing anymore. Speaking to thealistdaily, THQ’s VP of core games Danny Bilson said;

“One of the bigger questions we have to ask ourselves is how important is television? How important is television to a core gamer on a non-television brand? So I think television has some relevance on WWE and UFC because I consider those TV brands. But our other stuff, I question it severely.”

“It’s incredibly expensive, and what I can do with two million dollars, which will buy a few TV spots on a big sporting event, what I can do in outdoor, or on the web, or direct-to-consumer is way more exciting.”

“You know where I want to market? I want to market on Xbox Live. I want to market on PSN… Television is a big question mark for me.”

Mr Bilson does appear to make a good point, why spend millions on a television ad which non-gamers will not be interested in, when you can spend much less on advertising the game online?

EA share a similar view, and senior VP and head of European publishing, Dr Jens Uwe Intat recently revealed that they also plan to spend less on advertising with the intention of investing the saved cash into games development.

“Part of it will go online, but most of it will actually be invested into making good games – despite the fact that a lot of marketing money is spent on a Call of Duty or FIFA, when we look at our research, most people actually buy a game because of a referral from a friend.

“So the product quality at the end of the day is still the dominant criterion,”

Online games communities are ever expanding and it’s likely that a gamer will see more adverts online than they would on television, or as EA point out, hear about a game from a friend via word of mouth or perhaps an internet forum.

The very nature of online advertising also means that it’s easy for smaller independent Games Developers, Games Designers and Games Artist & Animators to market their games. Of course, a Train2Game student is unlikely to have the millions needed to fund a high profile television campaign at this time!

So, what are your plans for advertising your first game? How will you market your first creation? And do you think online advertising will become superior to its television counterpart?

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