Category Archives: Video Game News

New Disney Infinity Figures Leaked

Around last Thanksgiving, I found myself getting into Disney Infinity; Disney’s venture into the toys-to-life craze. In the game, players creating various types of content (such as races or combat scenarios) in a sandbox environment, and their creations can be shared with other players online. The video game has you collecting figures of your favorite Disney characters in real life so you can play as them.

A second wave of figures was released last fall; which included not only classic Disney characters such as Tinkerbell and Stitch, but Marvel characters as well. While Disney has yet to announce anything about the third installment of toys, it appears that Disney already has a number of them ready to go. A Chinese retailer called Taobao has leaked some of the characters that will be release along side the 3.0 edition of the game.

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Although the listing for the figures has been removed from the sight, a number of sites have saved pictures of the characters that were leaked. Among those revealed were Frozen‘s Olaf, classic Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Mulan, Sam and Quorra from Tron: Legacy, and even characters from the upcoming Pixar move Inside Out. Not only are the figures revealed, but the designs for the flyers and packaging is as well.30figureleak_1024.0

This prompts me to ask whether or not Star Wars characters will be coming to Disney Infinity this year. With the new Star Wars movie coming out in December, it only makes sense that they would release the characters to coincide with the film. Plus, I’m pretty sure a lot of fans are eager to see them in the game.

At this point, I’m really curious about what new things the 3rd edition of Disney Infinity has in store for us. The 2.0 update added various additions to the game; such as an improved ability system for characters, enhanced creation tools, interiors and more. What will be brought to the table this year?

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March’s “Games with Gold” are Pretty Amazing

xbox-games-with-gold-listXbox Gold Members can get their hands on two awesome games for free this month as part of the “Games with Gold” program. Tomb Raider is currently being offered till March 15th, while Bioshock: Infinite will be available from March 16 – 30.

 

potential-banner-2Tomb Raider, starring the famous Lara Croft, is the 2nd reboot of the popular franchise. In what is regarded as an origin story, Lara and her friends are shipwrecked on an island called Yamatai; off the coast of Japan. The island is inhabited by a violent cult that worships a deceased Shaman Queen named Himiko; who’s believed to have cursed the island. Lara must use wits and courage to survive as she and her friends struggle to find a way off the island. Tomb Raider combines exploration, puzzle solving, combat, and even stealth to give players the great sense of adventure the series is known for.

 

Bioshock-Infinite-Wallpaper-Full-Images-DesktopBioshock: Infinite is a first-person shooter set in early 20th century America. Players assume the role as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent who is sent to the floating air city of Columbia to rescue a young woman named Elizabeth. Elizabeth has the ability to open “Tears” in the space-time continuum; a gift that the two soon realize will only make their escape more difficult. These powers play an active role in the game, as Elizabeth can use them to aid the player in combat and exploration. While it’s gameplay is almost identical to that of previous installments, Bioshock: Infinite‘s story and setting make it stand out as a thrilling tale.

 

Both Tomb Raider and Bioshock: Infinite were some of 2013’s biggest blockbusters. If you missed out on them, now is your chance to grab a copy.

Elder Scrolls Online Lost it’s Subscription Fee, but What Does that Mean for Players?

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If you have been following The Elder Scrolls Online like I have, then you probably heard that Bethesda is finally launching the game on consoles on June 9th as The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. Tamriel Unlimited is also an update that coming to the PC version of the game on March 17th. The significance of this update is that the subscription fee for the game is being remove entirely. That’s right, you’ll now be able to explore Tamriel with your friends without having to pay a monthly fee.

Since ESO was originally first announced, fans and other gamers (myself included) have wondered how long it would last on a subscription based model. A number of other big MMOs, such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, have ditched their subscription model to become free-to-play and many other online games are simply being released as such. So Bethesda’s decision to remove ESO’s subscription fee wasn’t much of a surprise.

I could go on and talk about why companies are choosing to do this, but that is not the purpose of this post. Today, I’m focusing on the changes that are coming to ESO’s business model. I also hope to address concerns people may have about these changes. After all, not everyone has had a good experience with free-to-play games.

Now I should make it clear that ESO isn’t actually going free-to-play, but rather buy-to-play. In other words, you simply have to buy the game in order to play it – much like Guild Wars 2. The decision to keep the price tag is understandable, as the company needs to make back the money it spends on development. But Bethesda can’t rely on the money they make from selling ESO. After all, they can only sell so many copies of the game before everyone (who wants want anyway) has it. Just how are they going to sustain themselves?

One of the ways Bethesda plans on doing this when Tamriel Unlimited launches is through the Crown Store. Using real money, players will be able to purchase a currency called crowns to spend on cosmetic and convenience items – such as costumes, potions, and mounts. For those who are worried about the consumable items from the Crown Store making the game pay-to-win, they are not as powerful as the items you can find or craft in the game. Another good thing is that the cosmetic options will be account bound; meaning that if you buy a pet for one of your characters, it will be available for all your other characters and any ones you make in the future.

Youtuber Deltia’s Gaming gives an in-depth look at how the Crown Store functions in the game. He even shows all the items that players will be able to buy, so it’s worth watching if you’re interested:

A new premium membership called ESO Plus will also be made available. This service will grant members crowns to spend in the Crown Store, access to all of ESO’s DLC (for the duration of their membership) and a 10 % bonus to experience and gold gain, crafting research, and inspiration. Now some people will be worried that the passive bonuses will make the game pay-to-win, and I understand that. However, Bethesda said this won’t change how current progression in the game plays out; members will simply get to the end game a little faster.

Finally, Bethesda’s guide to ESO Plus (linked to above) also revealed that they will be releasing game packs in the future, although they didn’t specify what they will contain. I’ll assume that these packs will include new areas to explore, new quests to take on, and new items to obtain. Based on the DLC that was made for previous Elder Scroll games (such as Dawnguard for Skyrim or Shivering Isles for Oblivion), this is safe to expect. As for the addition of new abilities or classes, Bethesda may save those type of features for expansion packs; assuming they have plans to make any that is.

Bethesda’s decision to remove ESO’s subscription fee has me excited, as I will be able to return to the game without worrying about a monthly fee. Granted, not everyone shares my enthusiasm as some are worried about the implications the upcoming changes will have. The skepticism isn’t a surprise when you look at the methods some companies have chosen to make money off of free-to-play games. But Bethesda doesn’t seem to be going down avenue that these companies have. They are just an trying to make the game more accessible and encourage previous players to return.

But now I am left with a question. When the gates to Tamriel reopen and I return, what’s going to keep me there?

Skyrim Hearthfire DLC Announced

Skyrim fans will be happy to know that more downloadable content is coming to the game next week. Besthesda has announced that the new Skyrim add-on Hearthfire is being released September 4th for 400 Microsoft points. The DLC won’t be adding new epic quests to the game, however. Rather than focusing on the adventurous part of Skyrim, Hearthfire focuses on the simulation.

Hearthfire will allow players to buy land in Skyrim and build their own house; as opposed to buying one of the pre-built houses in the game. You will be able to customize the house to your liking and add a variety of furnishings. These include stables, forges, alchemy gardens, enchanting tables, armories, shrines, mannequins, and a taxidermy. Various staff can be hired to perform tasks for you; such as a carriage driver to transport you around Skyrim, a steward to look after your home, and even a bard to entertain you. Finally, the ability to adoption and raise children is being added to the game as well.

A lot of fans who enjoyed Dawngaurd (previous downloadable content) might be turned off by Hearthfire’s lack of adventurous content. They might not care for the simulation content Hearthfire will add to Skyrim. As for me, I think this expansion looks really cool and will add some new fun to the game. Who doesn’t like the idea of owning their own personal estate? Besides, it will be nice to have something to do besides fighting monsters and completing quests.

The Sims 3 Seasons Announced

This might surprise some of you a bit. Back in June, EA announced The Sims 3: Supernatural expansion pack; which is set to come out September 4 next month. It won’t be long until another expansion comes out however. EA has announced The Sims 3: Seasons, which will be released on November 13th this year.

Just as it’s name suggests, The Sims 3: Seasons adds seasons and weather the game. You can expect to see blankets of snow in the winter, leaves falling in the autumn, sun tans in the summer, and rain storms in the spring. Real life holidays will be added as well; such as Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July, and Easter (all though they will be called something different in the game). There will brand new activities too; including snowboarding, soccer, bobbing for apples, pumpkin carving, and swimming in the ocean. For more information, check out The Sims 3: Seasons web page.

While I’m quite ecstatic about this expansion, I’m surprised at how soon it will be released. It’s set to come out 2 months after The Sims 3: Supernatural; which comes out in a month! However, The Sims 3 development team have been working on the Seasons expansion pack for a while (it hasn’t been easy creating a weather system for the game), so I doubt it’s been hastily thrown together. It looks awesome and should add a lot of content to The Sims 3!

Are you excited about The Sims 3: Seasons? What are you excited about the most?

Star Wars: The Old Republic Going Free-to-Play this Fall

Last month I mentioned how Bioware was offering a free trial for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The trial allowed players to try a small portion of the game with some restrictions. This free trail won’t be lasting much longer however. Bioware has announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic is going free-to-play this fall.

While the free-to-play version will allow non-subscribed players to have full-access to the game’s story content, other content will be restricted to them. For example, some of the character creation options (such as species) won’t be available for Free-to-Play players. Free-to-Play players are always behind Subscribed players in the login queues as well. For more information, check out the Subscription vs. Free Features page on the Star Wars: The Old Republic website.

To be honest, I’m not sure what to think about Star Wars: The Old Republic becoming a Free-to-Play game. While it seems to offer more content than the game’s current free trial, the upcoming Free-to-Play version seems to be just as restrictive. By the looks of it, I’d be better off becoming a Subscriber than playing the Free-to-Play version of the game. You know, this Free-to-Play move is probably EA’s attempt at gaining back some of the subscribers they lost. Who knows. We’ll have to wait till this Fall to see whether the Free-to-Play version of Star Wars: The Old Republic is any good or not.

Are you excited about Star Wars: The Old Republic becoming Free-to-Play, or are you leery of the restrictions associated with it?

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Release Date Announced

If you’ve been waiting for the next World of Warcraft expansion pack, you won’t havge to wait much longer. Blizzard has announced that World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria will released  this year on September 25th. In addition to the standard edition, a collectors edition will be released; which will include a soundtrack cd, an art book, a mousepad, and a behind-the-scenes dvd.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria adds a brand new continent called Pandaria for players to explore. There will also be a brand new playable race called the Pandaren, who are a group of anthropomorphic pandas. The monk class is also being added to the game, which has player’s characters fighting with their fists rather than weapons. Other new features include pet battles, challenge modes, scenarios, and a revamped talent system.

I’m rather stoked about the new expansion pack. The monk class looks awesome, the Padarens are really cool, and the new continent Pandaria is quite beautiful. To tell you the truth, Mist of Pandaria is what got me interested in World of Warcraft in the first place. Some people complain and say that this expansion pack is a rip off of Kung Fu Panda. As for me, I think it’s going to add some really nice things to the World of Warcraft.

Are you excited about Mists of Pandaria or do you think it’s a lame rip-off of Kung Fu Panda?

Game Developers Benefit From Steam’s Sales

Steam is an online game distributer that sells games in which you can download to your computer. These games range from big name franchises to smaller games made by independent developers. Steam has become popular with consumers thanks to its ease of use and the special sales it has from time to time. Its annual sales have recently been proven to be not only popular with consumers but with game developers as well.

Today, gaming website Gamasutra interviewed various game developers whose products had been discounted in this year’s Steam Summer Sale. Some of these developers include Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer (Torchlight) and indie developer Edmund McMillen (Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac). According to them, the sales not only helped increase revenue but also increased interest in their games. They found that consumers were even willing to buy their games at full price once the sales were over.

What makes this news interesting is the fact that not everybody is happy with Steam’s sales. In an interview with Gameindustry International, EA’s David DeMartini criticized Steam’s annual discounts; claiming it cheapens intellectual property. What’s funny about this is that David DeMartini is the head of Origin; an online game distributer is owned by EA. He was obviously  making a jab at his competitor in the interview. Based on how well developers are benefiting from Steam, though, I’m believe that Mr. DeMartini will have his foot in his mouth in no time.

Final Fantasy Versus 13 is Still Alive

Last weekend, rumors started flying around that Final Fantasy Versus 13 had been cancelled. The rumor was spearheaded by the popular gaming website Kotaku, who claims that several sources told them that the game is no longer in development. Naturally, the news upset many fans that had been waiting for the game’s release since it was announced back in 2006. Fans will be happy to know, however, that the rumors are not true at all.

Today, Square-Enix CEO Yoichi Wada confirmed on Twitter today that Final Fantasy Versus 13 is still in production. (Kotaku was kind enough to offer a translation) In his tweet, Yoichi stated “There’s someone making a false rumour that Versus was cancelled. Haha… just a minute ago, the regular Versus meeting ended. If you saw the presentation of the city, it’d knock you off your feet – lol.” Based on his statement, the game may be farther in development than people had perceived.

Despite being untrue, it’s understandable why the rumors of Final Fantasy Versus 13’s cancellation were started in the first place. Little has been said about the game since Square-Enix revealed it back in 2006. Being left in the dark for 6 years is bound to leave a bit of doubt in some people. Hopefully Suare-Enix will take a hint and prepare something to show fans that Final Fantasy Versus 13 is in fact still alive.

Minecraft for Xbox 360 Sells 3 Million Copies

My brothers love playing Minecraft. If you don’t know what Minecraft is, it’s an online sandbox game where you build all sorts of things and fight monsters that come out at night. Anyway, my brothers started playing it last year on the computer and bought the Xbox version of the game back in May. The Xbox version is quite popular apparently, as the game has sold over 3 million copies since it’s launch.

The sale numbers were announced on Twitter today by Minecraft’s creator, Markus Persson. What makes the triple platinum feat so impressive in my opinion is the fact that Minecraft is a downloadable title. Generally, I don’t see downloadable games selling as much as hardcopy games (with some casual games, such as Angry Birds, being the exception). The sales numbers for Minecraft suggest otherwise, however, so I may be wrong.

All though I don’t play Minecraft, I can see why it’s so popular. The game features a multiplayer mode that allows gamers to play with each other online. Combine that with Minecraft’s open-world gameplay and you got players making their own fun together for who knows how long. My brothers and friends keep suggesting that I should play Minecraft, so perhaps it’s time that I join them.