Shacknews - Daniel Perez

2K and Firaxis Games have announced XCOM 2 is being hit with a three-month delay as it’s slipped from a November release to a February 5, 2016 release.

According to the XCOM website, Firaxis has set a high bar for the sequel to 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown, saying the studio needs a little more time to “make it the best possible game.” The developer wants XCOM 2 to have more depth, more replayability, and more investment in your soldiers and it hopes to do just that now that it has the additional time.

Developing...

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Lionsgate is currently developing a film based on the Borderlands video games.

The studio will collaborate with 2K and Gearbox Software on the project. Producers Avi and Ari Arad will be working on the film. The two were involved in the creation of such notable film franchises as Iron Man, Spider Man, Blade, and Ghost Rider.

No other information was given regarding the film, although we can’t help but assume it’ll offer a similar feel as 2015’s Mad Max film. We can also safely assume we’ll be enjoying the delightfully-chaotic planet of Pandora, which we hope Tiny Tina will be involved in some form.

[Via Variety]

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Cities: Skylines is scheduled to receive its first expansion next month, and today, Paradox Interactive has released the first trailer for its After Dark expansion.

The new trailer shows off some the cities in motion at night, giving us a glimpse at what we can expect from the expansion. Towns are expected to not only look differently at night, but behave differently as well. Citizens will go out to look for some new evening spots like nightclubs, bars, and more. Taxis will make sure citizens get home safely at night, while those who are too irresponsible with their night-time activities may find themselves in prisons.

Cities: Skylines - After Dark is scheduled to release worldwide on September 24 on PC, Mac, and Linux.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski announced his next project, LawBreakers, earlier this week. Today, we’re getting a first look at the game in action in a new trailer.

The LawBreakers gameplay trailer shows us one of the maps we can expect to play on called Grand Canyon 2105. The trailer introduces us to some of the characters in LawBreakers, which includes Kitsune the Assassin, Breacher the Gunner, Maverick the Skirmisher, and Cronos the Titan.

Each character has their own abilities and weaponry as Kitsune appears to favor knives for her attacks, while Breacher wields an assault rifle and a sentry gun over his left shoulder.

You can check out the gameplay trailer for yourself below. As of now, we know it's scheduled to release in 2016, but we don't know what platforms LawBreakers will be launched on. Based on today's trailer, we wouldn't be surprised if it comes to PC.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

In the ongoing arms race that is the "toys to life" genre, the warring factions have found and played to their strengths. Skylanders excels at solid action-platforming mechanics and Diablo-lite upgrade paths, while Disney Infinity banks on a huge swath of beloved characters and tends to offer better figure quality to boot. Disney Infinity 3.0, the Star Wars iteration we all saw coming from parsecs away, is not the game to challenge Skylanders on its own turf--but it does begin to close the gap. 

It Figures

Since the beginning of the series, Disney Interactive and Avalanche have had an eye for design when it comes to their figurines, so it should come as no surprise that this latest iteration continues the trend. Disney Infinity figurines tend to be not just game pieces but showpieces. Star Wars is front and center in this version, but I never find the fine detail on humanoid characters quite as endearing as the more cartoonish ones. Anger from Inside Out, in particular, is such a nicely designed little figure I'd gladly use him as a desk decoration even if I hadn't seen and loved the movie.

The figures modeled after real people, like many of the Star Wars and Tron figures, are still very visually appealing in their own way. Quorra from Tron and Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars are my personal favorites of that type. Many of the designs borrow heavily from the venerated Clone Wars cartoon, which fits the existing Disney Infinity style like a glove.

The Force Kind of Leashed

As Star Wars is the showpiece, it was the first playset I tried. I suspect many older Star Wars fans like me feel lukewarm about the Clone Wars era. The "Twilight of the Republic" set that comes with the game tells a simple, compelling mystery story that fits into the Clone Wars fiction, even utilizing some of its original and returning characters. The cutscenes were beautifully animated too, though undermined by an audio bug that would cut the voice acting from time to time.

Having played last year's Disney Infinity when Marvel was the marquee franchise, the improvements to the presentation were immediately striking. Disney Infinity 2.0 had a tendency to look too simplistic in some spots and jagged in others. Perhaps because Star Wars is known for its iconic environments, the studio really seems to have paid special care to making sure to capture the unique geographical qualities of each of the four worlds you visit. 

Having seen that portion improve by leaps and bounds, I was slightly disappointed by the combat. Even with the guiding hand of Ninja Theory, the motions still feel stiff and disconnected. ANimations don't flow into each other smoothly. You can feel Ninja Theory's influence with some of the combos, but otherwise it's very similar and flawed in the same ways as the previous game. It's also continuously galling to me that the primary attack button is nonsensically mapped to Triangle. At this point it may just be a legacy issue with old games, but it just feels so strange.

There's also the matter of differentiation, though that's ultimately not Ninja Theory or Avalanche's fault. The Clone Wars era was filthy with Jedi, and while they do have some minor differences, all Jedi are essentially sword-wielders. It would've benefited the story as well as the playset to include a blaster character--random and clumsy as it may be.

Toying with Emotions

Speaking of differentiation, though, the Inside Out playset is a great example of how flexible this engine can be. It's a full-fledged, and rather long, platforming game consisting of both 3D and 2D stages. Both versions of play feel completely natural, and the platforming design even gets ingeniously tricky in ways that scratched my old-school itch. 

I also have to give Avalanche credit for an unusually pro-consumer move in the Inside Out set. Each of the personified emotions has its own unique abilities, but without counting on consumers owning all the figures most studios would resign to vanilla stage design. The Inside Out set instead has "costume change" stations wherever another special ability is needed, so you can reasonably make it through the entire game playing as just one character. I appreciated the studio making that possible, without compromising some of the more clever platforming puzzle opportunities created by the different abilities.

I played mostly as Anger--partly because his long-range attack is really powerful for the sparse enemies you encounter in the set, but mostly because he's voiced by the inimitable Lewis Black. Also, again, the figurine is a thing of beauty.

Taking Over

If the Star Wars and Inside Out playsets seem to indicate a clear line between combat and platforming, you have the right idea. They do feel like walled gardens in practice, both in terms of sheer mechanics and in the continued insistence that we can't mix franchises within their own playsets. All of those walls are broken down in the new Toy Box Takeover expansion, a charming set of add-on missions that mix combat, platforming, and light loot grinding with A.I. companions as rewards. Best of all, the franchises can intermingle as they please in this mode, letting you finally have that Yoda-Mulan team-up you've always dreamed of. Or maybe that was just me.

The Toy Box itself feels largely similar, right down to the various (seemingly arbitrary) character models that serve as tutorials for the different content types. I've always been a passive observer who has never considered himself a gifted level creator. This year's Toy Box certainly does pack some improvements, like custom pathing, but now comfortably in its third incarnation the system is getting tweaks instead of overhauls.

Out in Force

Thankfully, the same can't be said for the package as a whole. While I wish the combat had undergone more dramatic changes, better combos do help it inch its way towards a more naturalistic feel, and the achievement of combining it with a flexible platforming engine makes any omissions pretty forgivable. The Inside Out and Toy Box Takeover sets are the standouts for me, and show a promising future for this series. If it keeps iterating on ideas like those, Skylanders may find the war encroaching on its land.


This review is based on a retail PlayStation 4 retail copy and several playsets and figures provided by the publisher. Disney Infinity 3.0 will be available in retail stores on August 30, for $64.99. Extra figures are priced at $13.99, and Playset expansions are $34.99. The game is rated E-10+.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Producer Adi Shankar has announced he’s working on a “super violent” Castlevania animated mini-series that is expected to be dark and satirical.

In an interview with Collider, Shankar reveals the team behind Adventure Time and The Fairly OddParents have acquired the rights from Konami for the project, which will be based on the story of Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse. While the original Castlevania would seem like the most logical choice for this series, Castlevania 3 is chronologically the earlier game in terms of its narrative.

Shankar reveals the animated series will be influenced by some well-known anime like Akira, Ghost in the Shell and Ninja Scroll. He expects there to be a lot of violence and gore in the series as the goal will be “to bring hard hitting anime to the America” and to be the first animated series directly geared towards adults.

The announcement doesn’t come with an expected release date nor do we know where it will be made available. Hopefully we’ll get the answers to these questions in the near future as an adult-oriented Castlevania animated series sounds right up our alley.

[Via Collider]

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Tonight has been a huge night for indie gaming on Nintendo platforms. Nintendo continues to assert its seriousness towards this sector of gaming with tonight's Nindies@Night event from Seattle, the home of this weekend's PAX Prime. A slew of trailers hit the Nintendo YouTube channel just a short while ago and Shacknews is catching up with all of them.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge

Developer Renegade Kid's follow-up to its 2013 platformer is inching closer to release. Max's latest adventure has been targeted for Summer 2015 for a while and this latest trailer appears to show that it's closer to being finished than ever. More of the Mutant Mudds platforming appears to be in place, which will send Max solving puzzles and collecting coins across both the foreground and background. With 40 new levels and some massive bosses, this looks to satisfy those that are expecting the level of challenge from the previous Mutant Mudds game.


SteamWorld Heist

Here's another follow-up on an acclaimed indie game, with Image & Form Games' SteamWorld Heist looking to continue where SteamWorld Dig left off. Captain Piper is recruiting a band of robots to scavenge a desolated planet and engage in 2D turn-based combat.

The trailer below shows off the 3DS version in action, but SteamWorld Heist is also set to hit Wii U, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC, and mobile devices this fall.


Hive Jump

Not a lot was known about Graphite Lab and Black Lantern Studios' Wii U-exclusive 2D action collaboration. But the first gameplay footage of Hive Jump appears to be reminiscent of a Super Metroid-type of game, right down to a Metroid-style map that's displayed on the Wii U GamePad. The key difference, however, looks to be that this adventure will feature four-player co-op. Four friends will team up to explore the Hive's interior, collecting treasures, tools, and blasting aliens while flying around on jetpacks.

Hive Jump is coming exclusively to Wii U in early 2016.


Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty

Nintendo is lagging behind on the latest installment of the Oddworld series, which was originally announced way back in June 2013. Publisher Oddworld Inhabitants acknowledged the delay back in October, citing issues with the limited hard drive space of the 8GB model Wii U. Nonetheless, this homage to Abe's Oddysee now appears to be back on track if this trailer is any indication. Oddworld Inhabitants also added a walkthrough of the first area, which has also been included below. Still no word on its release window, however.


Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

It's been almost two years to the day that WayForward posted a Kickstarter for Shantae's next adventure. But a good genie can't be kept down, as WayForward is debuting Shantae: Half-Genie Hero's first demo at PAX Prime. In the meantime, here's the game's first trailer.


Tumblestone

Shacknews first got wind of Tumblestone back at EVO 2015 and now it's making an appearance this weekend at PAX Prime. A Match-3 on the surface, Tumblestone is far more devious than that, requiring players to match colors three at a time, with no unlike color matches allowed. This leads to some frantic multiplayer battles, as players will more often than not end up having to start over. To get an idea of how this looks, check out the trailer below. Tumblestone is coming to Wii U, but it will also hit PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and mobile devices in 2016.


Action Henk

It may have been easy to miss Action Henk's debut on Steam earlier this year, but now his toy-riffic world is coming to Wii U. The idea is to prove Action Henk's superior speed by racing against all comers. And those comers just happen to be a bunch of action figures. Lead Henk across dozens of courses, all of which take place in a child's bedroom. It looks like a vivid, imaginary world, as evidenced by the trailer below. Action Henk is coming soon to Wii U, but if the trailer really has you curious, check it out on Steam right now.


Year Walk

Simogo's Year Walk got something of a following when it released last year on PC and mobile devices. But the Wii U version is getting something a little different in the form of formal GamePad support. Players will be able to interact with the game's many puzzles using different facets of the controller, including the touch screen and motion sensors. Get an idea of how it'll be used in the trailer below.


Starwhal

This one can also be seen as Nintendo arriving late to the party, but Starwhal still makes an immensely fun multiplayer game. It should also be a little easier to get into, given Nintendo's wide array of controller options. On top of that, Starwhal on Wii U will get the exclusive Blastopus omode that will see one GamePad player attempt to exterminate all Narwhals by dropping bombs on them. Starwhal is coming this fall to Wii U.


The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Now here's an interesting one. There was a lot of controversy about The Binding of Isaac on a Nintendo platform, with censorship issues raised over the past couple of years. But earlier this year, creator Edmund McMillen confirmed that his roguelike would indeed hit Nintendo platforms completely intact. In fact, this version will also feature an additional 20 challenge runs. For more, check out the trailer below.


FAST Racing Neo

If Nintendo isn't going to make a new F-Zero game, then perhaps the indie gaming community can fill that gap with this hyper racing game from developer Shin'en Multimedia. Up to four players can get behind the wheel of a futuristic hyper-fast anti-gravity vehicle, blazing across some gorgeous environments. Eight players can also go at it via online multiplayer. Estimated for a Q4 release, FAST Racing Neo will be exclusive to Wii U, adding a little further speculation that this could be the closest Wii U owners get to an F-Zero.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Kerbal Space Program officially launched on PC earlier this year, but developer Squad has been taking the game to new and unexplored horizons. The latest one will see the space flight simulator come to Wii U.

The announcement came at tonight's Nindies@Night event, just blocks from PAX Prime 2015. The Wii U version of Kerbal Space Program will be put together in conjunction with the crew at developer Flying Tiger. This iteration of the game will allow Wii U players to use the Wii U GamePad as a cockpit to control their ship, a layout to create flight plans, or as a motion controller to steer their craft.

With the mod scene growing by the day, no word on how much of these custom creations will be supported in the Wii U version of the game. This will be a big question going into this version's release, given that the mod scene is arguably the heart of the Kerbal Space Program experience.

Kerbal Space Program will come to Wii U in early 2016.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The talk regarding Shovel Knight over the past week is his rumored entry into Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. That has not been confirmed at this time, but a little more fuel is being added to that rumor, because tonight, Nintendo announced that the hero would soon get his own Amiibo.

The announcement was made during tonight's Nindies@Night event at the EMP Museum in Seattle. This Amiibo will unlock exclusive features in both Shovel Knight on Wii U and 3DS. On Wii U, it will unlock a new co-op mode, while it will unlock exclusive Amiibo challenge levels across both versions of the game. That makes Yacht Club Games' effort the first indie game to receive an official Amiibo figure. On top of that, Nintendo is stating that the Amiibo will be used in future Shovel Knight games, which seems to hint at an eventual sequel.

Since a vast majority of Amiibo have been used for Super Smash Bros., don't look for the rumor of Shovel Knight's inclusion to the roster to die anytime soon. Stay tuned. In the meantime, players can look forward to Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, which Nintendo is stating will release in September. You can catch that trailer, as well as the reveal for the Shovel Knight Amiibo, below. The Shovel Knight Amiibo is coming soon.

Shacknews - Steven Wong

Sword Art Online, the light novel series that later developed into a popular young adult anime series in Japan, will soon release a new video game in the coming weeks called Sword Art Online: Lost Song. In it, you play as Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya, the main character from the series, as he explores wondrous online worlds with his companions.

The game is written by the same people who wrote the light novels and anime series, and involves a large group of people, mostly kids, who participate in a virtual reality massively multiplayer online game (also called Sword Art Online) using a sensory helmet called Nerve Gear, which stimulates all five senses directly through the brain. However, the players discover that they cannot log out of the game, and that if their avatars die in the virtual world, the helmets will kill them in the real world. The only way to escape is if someone makes to the 100th level of a tower and defeats the boss stationed there.

Lost Song puts a twist on the storyline by offering an alternate reality for fans to jump into. In this version of events, Kirito does not free everyone and continues to live out his virtual existence. It's difficult to tell what kinds of themes the game will address from the short demo, but it will pay a lot of fan service and stay true to the feel of the main series. The bright graphics stay true to the style of the anime series, and fans will be able to play as Kirito and other key characters from the series like Leafa and Asuna, or they can create an all-new custom character.

Additionally, since the game doesn't follow the story laid out by the light novels or anime series, players will be able to explore all new areas such as Svart Alfheim, marked by floating islands, creatures, and objects. Players can explore this word by walking around, or by using small fluttering wings on their shoulders to fly around. Flying also makes it easier to take on the more dangerous creatures flying around the world.

I was told that when playing solo, players would be allowed to have a total of eight characters in a party, seven of which are AI controlled, which seems a bit over-the-top to me. An eight person team seems like a small army in this role-playing world. However, its cooperative mode only supports 4-players, while PvP battles features 4v4 matches. For those wondering how player battles fit into the lore, consensual duels are allowed, and will not lead to the player's real life death.

The brief demo I played focused strictly on the game's combat, and had a field full of hostile creatures on the ground and air. The final game won't have enemies so densely packed together. Judging from this experience, Sword Art Online: Lost Song plays very similarly to most other action role-playing games. I just had to pick a target and unleash a variety of special abilities on them until they ran out of health, then moved on the next group. I wasn't entirely sure how to coordinate between my teammates, but I discovered that I didn't have to, since Kirito did a fine job of knocking enemies out of the sky on his own. I was able to float around, dive, and unleash a number of magical abilities. Other than that, there didn't appear to be much to the demo. I'm guessing that there will be a lot more to the game when it releases.

It's pretty clear that Sword Art Online: Lost Song caters primarily towards fans, but players unfamiliar with the series might enjoy the pretty graphics and meeting the host of characters. We'll have to see how well the aerial themed RPG takes off when the game releases on November 17th for PlayStation 4 and Vita.

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