Shacknews - Steve Watts
Another Prince of Persia game may be on the way. A Ubisoft engineer teased an image pointing to an impending announcement for the next iteration of the long-dormant franchise. But given the speed with which the image (and his entire account) disappeared, it seems likely he jumped the gun.
A great deal of game endings below so watch out for heavy spoilers!
The Ending Of The First Prince Of Persia
source: Prince Of Persia Final Level
Nate And Elena In Uncharted 3
source: MiyuDevaughn's LP
Holding Hands In ICO
source: The Bridge Scene In ICO
The Ballroom Dance And Fireworks Scene in Final Fantasy VIII
source: MasterLL's LP
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts Ending
source: Thetwodud's LP
Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link's Ending
source: LaiSteve66's LP
Yuna And Tidus' First Kiss In Final Fantasy X
source: Final Fantasy Union
source: ka6Scope's LP
Katherine's True Ending In Catherine
source: theRadBrad's LP
The Ending Of The Secret Of Monkey Island
source: Monkey Island Wiki
The Ending Of Revenge Of Shinobi
source: jay4gamers1's LP
Mario Saves Princess Peach In The Enhanced Version Of Super Mario Bros. In Super Mario All-Stars
source: Artificialraven's LP, header pic is Limeknight's My Greatest Hero fan art on Deviantart
These are not the only lucky video game characters, so submit your picks with visuals in the comments below.
Jan 29, 2013
You've seen it before, back in August, but this production video says that the project's name is Osiris, adding to suspicions the game—whatever it is—is set in Egypt.
While most of the clip involves background footage showing actors used for motion-capture data, there are snippets of art and other scenes shown, especially towards the end.
The video was posted by Mark Kilian, and it was uploaded five months ago. It says it was commissioned by Ubisoft Montreal, the same mega-studio behind the Assassin's Creed series (and Far Cry 3).
You can watch it here.
UPDATE - Seems the project is "no longer moving forward". Bummer.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
Hey, remember Prince of Persia? So does Ubisoft. But that doesn't mean you can expect a new game in that franchise any time soon.
Ubisoft Montreal is the team responsible for both the 2008 reboot and the 2010 movie tie-in The Forgotten Sands. However, CEO Yannis Mallat confirmed that the series is currently taking a break. "I think it is fair to say that, right now, Prince of Persia is being paused."
Speaking to IGN, Mallat said that fans shouldn't be concerned by the franchise's status. "I'm not scared at all for Prince of Persia fans," he said. "We'll find something to entertain them with in the future. Prince of Persia is part of Ubisoft's portfolio. As a matter of fact, we sometimes iterate on franchises and sometimes we give them time to breathe and time to grow, or time to rest. Prince of Persia is as important as any other franchise for Ubisoft. As soon as we have something to show, we will."
He added that "we said the same thing for some other brands that suddenly popped up because a team is willing to do it." Let's not forget the 26 year gap between Zombi and ZombiU, folks.
Dec 26, 2012
At the beginning of January, British trade magazine MCV reported that the next Xbox and PlayStation would both debut at E3 2012. This did not actually end up happening, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was not slated to happen at one point. At E3, we did see next-gen tech demos for Epic's Unreal Engine 4 and Square Enix's Luminous Studio, as well as two major reveals sans any mention of specific platforms—Star Wars 1313 and Watch Dogs.
Microsoft's Next Xbox, Codenamed Durango
Two weeks later, IGN posted a rumor that pegged the next Xbox as being slated for a fall 2013 release and sporting a Radeon HD 6670-based GPU with graphics processing abilities six times that of the 360.
The very next day after the IGN story, Kotaku's own Stephen Totilo reported that industry sources told him the next Xbox will see a format upgrade to high-capacity Blu-Ray discs that work in tandem with some sort of anti-used game mechanism, and that a new, more accurate version of Kinect will ship with the console. Sources indicated IGN's estimate of a machine six times more powerful than the 360 was in line with Microsoft's intentions, but also cautioned that dev kits had yet to go out so any discussion of system specs was purely hypothetical. (Also of note: in early March, MCV's sources said Microsoft had moved away from Blu-Ray plans to some sort of disc-less console.)
A few weeks after that, sources told Kotaku that the next Xbox carried the codename of "Durango," which was seemingly confirmed by a late February tweet from a Crytek technical designer. This is possibly my favorite rumor of the year, if only for the reason that it taught me how fun it is to type the word "Durango."
In mid-May, a recruitment firm's postings appearing to divulge details of some of Microsoft's internally developed Durango titles were discovered. One posting, for a nameless South East England studio that was almost certainly Lionhead, described their next title as an "new IP" RPG that fuses single-player and multiplayer to create an nonlinear MMO-like experience wherein both manners of play influence a dynamic narrative. Another hinted that a Midlands studio that was almost certainly Rare is planning on exploring new action or shooter IPs in addition to continued Kinect Sports releases.
Much to Microsoft's chagrin, what might have been a two-year-old internal roadmap document for Xbox leaked roughly a week after E3's close. In addition to a holiday 2013 launch date for both the console and next version of Kinect, the document touted SmartGlass-esque capabilities, eventual cloud content accessibility, and most curiously, a set of virtual reality glasses codenamed "Fortaleza."
Sony's Next PlayStation, Codenamed Orbis
In mid-February, SCEA head Jack Tretton put a kibosh on any speculation of a 2012 PlayStation 4 reveal, explaining that it would be a distraction to his own business operations for the year.
On this PlayStation 4, in late February sources said that Sony would be abandoning the much-vaunted Cell processor, and opt for a AMD-developed graphics chip in the system.
About a month later, Kotaku heard the next PlayStation is slated for a holiday 2013 release and is codenamed "Orbis," which was a subdomain on Sony's developer site until slightly after the story was published. Sources also divulged that the system currently had a AMD Southern Islands GPU and a AMD x64 CPU, will not feature PS3 backwards compatibility, and will employ an anti-used games mechanism like that of the next Xbox. Portfolio sketches from a design firm that apparently worked with Sony on Orbis seemingly hinted at Kinect-y and Smartglass-y functionality.
IGN reported in early April that the Orbis' custom could be based on AMD's A8-3850 APU and Radeon HD 7670 GPU, suggesting performance parity between the Durango and Orbis if one is to believe previous rumors.
A few days prior to E3, The Wall Street Journal reported that Sony briefly considered abandoning any sort of physical media for the next PlayStation before ultimately passing on the idea. However, the company's acquisition of cloud gaming firm Gakai in July is certainly an overture to this ambition. (Sony's keenness for Gakai was, of course, a rumor circulating in late May.)
While neither Sony nor Microsoft have announced their next consoles, rumors of several cancelled first-party projects in development for those systems circulated in 2012. The studios closed by Sony this year-Zipper and Studio Liverpool-were apparently working on three now-canceled titles for the next PlayStation: a stealth game and new Wipeout from Liverpool, and a shooter from Zipper. In March, Microsoft apparently cancelled a next-generation title from Obsidian Entertainment codenamed Project North Carolina, which Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart vaguely described as an original open-world title in a recent interview with Kotaku.
Unless something changes in the very near future, Orbis and Durango will be on store shelves this time next year. It seems like a plausible conjecture to think a reveal might occur at special events in advance of E3 so that Microsoft and Sony could dominate their own tech news cycles with their announcements, rather than becoming another element in a media circus. Spring perhaps?
Hours after Bethesda announced Prey 2's delay in 2012, Shacknews posted a report with sources claiming that developer Human Head intentionally stopped work on the game in November 2011 as they were unhappy with the terms of their contract with Bethesda and hoped to use the work stoppage as leverage to get a better contract. (In light of this story, the cancellation of Human Head's Prey 2 talks at GDC suddenly made a lot more sense.)
That tactic did not work, and the game is very much still in limbo. And at this point, it appears extremely unlikely that Prey 2 will ever see release. However, Human Head did recently put up some job postings asking for candidates with experience with open-world games and "crafting stories in the mystery genre," suggesting something else is afoot at the studio.
XCOM—As Developed By Irrational?
In late September, a reader who took a marketing survey tipped Kotaku on 2K Marin's controversial XCOM shooter reboot, which has virtually disappeared following the announcement of Firaxis' turn-based XCOM: Enemy Unknown earlier this year. Screenshots and details sent by the reader suggested that the game had shifted from an FPS to a third-person squad-based tactical shooter a la SOCOM. Interestingly, survey takers were asked about their feelings on XCOM being sold as a $30 downloadable game rather than a traditional $60 retail title, perhaps showing that 2K wanted to minimize their losses from the long-in-development title like Ubisoft's approach with I Am Alive.
XCOM has been in development in some permutation since 2006, and word of an Irrational-developed revival (at the time, 2K Australia was still Irrational Games Australia) first leaked in February 2007—a full three years before the game was even announced. The Irrational studio in Boston was involved in the project around that time, and assets in a former Irrational Boston artist's portfolio of "a highly stylized early prototype" for XCOM hint that this early version of the game was stylistically cartoonish and seemingly steampunk-influenced. (It is unknown if Ken Levine ever worked on XCOM directly, but he did say in a recent interview that "[he and his team] played around with something else for a couple of months" after Irrational finished the first BioShock.)
In May, 2K had pushed back XCOM's release to the company's fiscal year 2014 (sometime between April 2013 and March 2014), indicating that there are still some development issues with the game. The head of 2K Australia—who were then the primary developer of the game—departed in January 2011, and 2K Australia stopped working on XCOM late last year to support Irrational in the development of BioShock Infinite. Additionally, narrative director Jordan Thomas has been working in Boston on BioShock Infinite for most of 2012.
Plants vs. Zombies—A Shooter?
One of the stranger rumors of the year was an item Kotaku heard in the summer about a Plants vs. Zombies shooter in development at a new PopCap Burnaby team consisting of former EA Black Box employees. This new PopCap team is said to be working on a PvZ console game akin to Team Fortress 2. At the time the story broke, the game was still a few weeks away from an official PopCap greenlight.
But that greenlight appears to have been granted. In early November, a job posting for the team popped up on EA's jobs portal in relation to a "AAA console title" that seemingly utilizes Frostbite 2, and a multiplayer designer opening appeared in mid-October.
Rocksteady's Next Game
Around the time of Comic-Con, famed Hollywood trade Variety reported that the Rocksteady's next game will be a Silver Age-inspired prequel to the previous two Arkham titles dealing with the Caped Crusader's first encounter with the Joker. The game also apparently features Batman teaming up with other DC superheroes, and the earliest possible release date is sometime in 2014.
Variety says the title is the "the next installment in Rocksteady Studios' gritty videogame series," hinting that the Silver Age inspiration will be narrative, not stylistic. Personally, I think is a shame because a blend of the bright iconography of Silver Age comics (the onomatopoeic bubbles particularly) and Rocksteady's refined combat system would be utterly sublime. I found Arkham City's grit to just be exhausting after a certain point, and I would totally welcome a solid, LEGO-less DC game based around something lighter.
Unannounced Games From EA
Early in February, French gaming site Hardgamers discovered what appeared to be a publicly accessible wiki for EA Partners' fiscal year 2013 marketing plans apparently authored by EA's Director of Marketing, Phil Marineau. The document discussed a number of titles, including some that were unannounced including Respawn's yet-to-be-seen game, a possible new Populous, and Insomniac's social game Outernauts.
Two of those aforementioned games obviously remain unannounced, and one could have very well been cancelled. We haven't seen anything else even suggesting that a new Populous is in development, and it would not be terribly surprising if the lackluster market performance of Starbreeze's Syndicate cooled EA's interest in externally developed Bullfrog revivals. Plus, the natural, logical extension for a Populous title in today's marketplace would likely be a freemium iOS or Facebook game—things that do not tend to have a long development cycle.
We also haven't seen anything of Respawn's debut title, aside from a cryptic blurry image or two last year. The most significant detail that we have about the game is an E3 2011 interview wherein EA's Frank Gibeau describes Respawn's game as a "sci-fi oriented shooter" designed to compete with Gears or Halo. Respawn's appearance on this wiki would suggest that, at one point, EA thought they would be kicking off the marketing campaign for Respawn's game during their 2013 fiscal year. (There are still three months to go in EA's fiscal year, but such a large announcement so early in the year seems unlikely.)
Shifts In The Rainbow 6: Patriot's Development Team
In early March, Ubisoft apparently removed the creative director, narrative director, lead designer and animation director from the upcoming Rainbow 6: Patriots. Ubisoft confirmed the removal of one of the aforementioned four leads-creative director David Sears-from the project, and it seems all those removed from the project have since left Ubisoft.
Given this apparent development, it probably is not surprising that we have not heard anything about the controversial title the entire year, suggesting there are some changes in store for the game. Between Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Splinter Cell Conviction and this, premature announcements and tumultuous development are basically a rite of passage for a Tom Clancy game these days.
Prince of Persia Reboot
Finally, what appears to be a still from early footage of a new Prince of Persia reboot popped up on that game's Ubisoft forum in August depicting what looks to be a black Prince in an Egyptian-y environment. The art style in the still resembles some mysterious images NeoGAF user Wario64 claimed to have received via Twitter in late May.
An early June story from a Russian gaming site Playground.ru claimed that Ubisoft accidentally showed a few journalists a new Prince of Persia trailer, which apparently portrayed a silhouetted heavily armed bald warrior, was intended to be shown strictly internally behind closed doors at E3. According to the site's source, the game is still at least a year and half away, and may crib influence from the God of War and Assassin's Creed franchises.
Dec 20, 2012
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Steam's holiday sale has started up, and is set to last through January 5. Today's initial offerings offer deals on a few games and the entire library of some series. These come alongside Flash Sales, a community vote for the next sale game, and various publisher packs.
Today's deals, which last through tomorrow at midnight, include Scribblenauts Unlimited for $19.99, Mirror's Edge for $4.99, Wargame: European Escapation for $9.99, and 50-75% discounts on various games in the Hitman, Borderlands, and Prince of Persia series. The current poll lets you pick between 75% off Limbo, Braid, or The Secret of Monkey Island.
Sep 6, 2012
Listen, I love Prince of Persia. With all that lovely animation and derring-do, Jordan Mechner's adventure games are well-loved for good reason. For those wanting to re-visit PoP's charms, the Wii Virtual Console get the 1992 SNES version.
But, guys: this Crazy Hunter game that appears in this week's Nintendo Download looks absolutely bizarre. Apparently you need to knock down tower-dwelling goats into a river, fish them out and stack them to the sky to grab hens that lay golden eggs. This doesn't seem like anything I ever saw on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom when I was growing up.
Did Marlin Perkins lie to me all those years ago?
Balloon Pop Remix
Platform: 3DS/3DS XL
Balloon Pop Remix takes the classic Balloon Pop formula and turns it on its head. Use the stylus to draw lines on the puzzle board and all the balloons in the line's path will pop, leading to mesmerizing chain reactions.
Prince of Persia
Price: 800 Wii points
Survive perilous levels, rescue the princess from the evil Jaffar and claim the royal residence before the hourglass is empty. Beware of obstacles such as unpredictable floors and ceilings, hidden spikes and walls of flames.
Heyawake by Nikoli
With the Nikoli puzzle series, you can enjoy high-quality "sudoku" puzzles, created by Nikoli, who gave the world-famous puzzle its name. The Nintendo 3DS allows for the realization of simple and easy to play operability. "Heyawake by Nikoli" contains 50 Heyawake puzzles. "Heyawake" is a puzzle in which you fill in the spaces according to the rules. It's called "heyawake" ("split rooms") because the face of the board is divided into rooms. This puzzle first appeared in 1992, but a plethora of solutions have been developed, allowing for a very progressive puzzle. Each time you discover a new strategic move, your skills of solution will improve. To ensure your long-term enjoyment, we're prepared both a "Stage Clear" mode and a "Random" mode. In "Stage Clear" mode, you progress by clearing puzzles one by one, and in "Random" mode puzzles are generated at random. Please enjoy this high-quality "Heyawake" game.
Mad about the ...Hens that lay the golden eggs. Now this is true madness!!!
Capture the hens that lay the golden eggs that are scattered around the world.
By creating a giant tower tall enough to reach the clouds where the hens are.
How to build the tower?
Firstly: you must knock over some goats that rest on candy-made platforms scattered along the river.
Secondly: fish out the goats you have knocked into the water.
Finally, and this isn't easy, stack the captured goats one on top of the other until you make the tower and can reach the hens that lay the golden eggs.
With a super high-powered speed boat, and a crane with a hook attached for fishing and building the tower.
If you enjoy madcap adventures, do not hesitate to take the controls of our character Dundee the Mad Crocodile.
The Black Keys "Little Black Submarines"
Available on Nintendo Video on: Sep 4, 2012
This week Nintendo Video™ premieres The Black Keys' 3D video for their hit song "Little Black Submarines". Filmed during a secret show in Nashville, the video intimately captures the raw energy this band generates on stage.
Aug 24, 2012
That quote is one of the most famous opening lines in all of literature. Sure, its popularity is owed largely to being the first sentence in Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick. But that introduction is also memorable because you're learning about an important character from the very second you start reading.
Earlier this year, Max Payne 3 did the same trick, letting players know about Max's nihilistic wit and gallows humor before they ever fired a bullet or did a slo-mo dodge. If you never played a Max Payne game before, you still knew for the most part what kind of game you were getting in terms of mechanics. But the journey was about who you were playing as, which wasn't neccessarily something you could learn about just from shooting dudes.
I was reading an issue of Mark Waid's excellent run of Marvel Comics' Daredevil when I stopped to think about how great first-person narration is as a storytelling tool. One that games should use more of.
Look, let's acknowledge that games unfurl their experiences in different ways than books or other media. Games can deliver story through interaction rather than scripting. But, the ones that want to tell tales have a great under-used tool in voiceover narration. Most video games struggle with telling you about their characters. They stop the thing you've shown up to do—solve tricky puzzles, shoot lots of alien invaders, explore vast landscapes—to roll out a cutscene where you finally get to see emotions play out on the front of a character's face. That's usually where you get to hear about what's motivating a hero or a party member. And these moments usually bring the play of a game to a dead stop. No wonder people skip through them.
That's why the narration of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time or Bastion (which, granted, isn't first-person) works so wonderfully. You can still be bounding around a crumbling castle or hacking away at a random enemy while getting fed information about the protagonist and the world. Even Metroid: Other M—controversial as its version of Samus Aran was for some people—let you into that character's head in a way by virtue of narration that previous games hadn't. In fact, I've found that narration heightens the action with a personality-driven filter. I cared more about getting Max past a wave of enemies than, say, Master Chief because I'd had his voice and his pain ringing through my head before the shots rang out.
First-person narration gets used a lot in detective fiction and its very existence imparts a subliminal knowledge that the lead character makes it through okay. You're hearing the tale told after the smoke clears. Where that might rob some of the tension from the proceedings in a book or movie, you're the one that has to navigate to resolution in a video game. That character's voice becomes a catalyst for closure.
So, more narration, please. After all, if I'm going to spend 10, 20, 100 hours with a character, I better feel like I know him or her.