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Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Jerks, it's time for the weekend. So stop reading Late Night Computing for November 30, 2012 from work.

Hurray, the weekend! I've got lots of climbing to do in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, which I intend to finish before getting my paws on Far Cry 3 early next week, and plan to spend some time with Hotline: Miami and MechWarrior Online. I haven't hopped into my thunderous robot since the last patch, so it's time to play with the new camouflage options. What are you all playing?

News bits:

  • The founder of the wonderful Khan Academy proposes a new type of college for this century. [via Chronicle of Higher Education]

  • Why is it that tech companies consistently dominate lists detailing the best places to work? Find out. [via ReadWriteWeb]

  • Why telling a story, truthful or not, helps to activate important parts of your brain. Start conjuring up some new fan-fiction! [via BufferApp]

  • Where, exactly, did Cyber Monday originate? Will it continue to be so prominent in the future? [via Inc.]

  • Flexible screens are on the horizon as manufacturers gear up for 2013. CES should be rather interesting next year. [via BBC]

Chatty posts of the moment.

Make sure you log-in and check your filters if you can't see the following:

  • "A few days ago I made a thread asking what everybody's personal GOTY list was but today I'm interested in hearing what was everybody's biggest, most profound gaming disappointment in 2012. I expect to see a lot of ME3 and D3 responses but who knows, maybe we'll find someone who really didn't like Assassin's Creed 3 or that Amalur game. If you could explain your choice a little that would be great too." [by The Grolar Bear]

Nightly file.

  • Black Snow 1.05 for Half-Life 2: Episode Two. "Take the role of John Matsuda, the last surviving member of the Prometheus 1 crew responding to a distress signal from Amaluuk Station, Greenland. He must find a way to escape the station while struggling against unknown malevolent forces. BLACK SNOW have been in development since early 2012 and have finally managed to release! But alas, enough talk - grab your gear and ready yourselves for a long and dark winter." Download the mod here.

Media.

Tomb Raider The Last Hours Episode 3: Sound of Survival trailer:

Jason Graves is announced as the Tomb Raider composer in the third Last Hours episode.

Miner Wars 2081 also launches with two new trailers, DUST 514 discusses vehicles once more, and Total War: Shogun 2 gets a new clan pack.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Story has always been a defining component of BioWare's RPGs, and it was one of the major strengths of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Since going free-to-play, what does the future hold for the MMORPG?

"If anything, The Old Republic's transition to a free-to-play game will create more opportunities to advance the epic story arcs and interesting characters we introduced when the game first launched," lead writer Hall Hood said.

Speaking to Massively, Hood added: "While we don't want to spoil any of the surprises, we can say that players have a lot to look forward to in the future. The war between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire is only getting started, and there are powerful new factions rising up to make trouble for both sides."

Hood stopped short of talking about specifics, but he did name a few of the factions that he might be referring to: the Hutt Cartel, the Dread Masters, and the Shroud. It seems like each of these are threats to the players to introduce new enemy types and missions, rather than new playable factions, but you never know. Maybe they'll let us play as a gross space slug.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

If you want to buy an awful lot of games for very little money, this is your lucky weekend. It's bundles, bundles, bundles galore, crammed with loads of lovely games.

Here's our selection of this weekend's PC deals:

GameFly

GameFly's Focus Home Interactive sale includes:

Amazon

  • Acthung Panzer Karkov 1943 + Gettysburg: Armored Warfare + Hearts of Iron III Collection + King Arthur Collection + King Arthur II + Victoria II + Victoria II: A House Divided mostly Steam) - $7.49 (94% off)

  • Crusader Kings II + Magicka + Magicka DLC bundle + Sword of the Stars Complete + Sword of the Stars II + Victoria II (all Steam) - $9.99 (93% off)

  • Crusader Kings II DLC bundle + Majesty Gold + Majesty 2 Collection + Warlock: Master of the Arcane (all Steam) - $5.99 (90% off)

  • Commander: Conquest of the Americas + CCotA - Colonial Navy + East India Company Collection + Naval War: Arctic Circle + Pirates of Black Cove + PobC - Origins DLC + Ship Simulator Extremes + Victoria II + V2: A House Divided - (all Steam) $9.99 (94% off)

  • Dark Souls: Prepare To Die (Steam) - $26.79 (33% off)

  • Defenders of Ardania + DoA DLC + Majesty Gold + Majesty 2 Collection + Warlock: Master of the Arcane + WMotA DLC bundle - $9.99 (90% off)

  • Mount & Blade - $3.75 (75% off)

  • Mount & Blade: Warband - $5.00 (75% off)

  • Mount & Blade: Warband - Napoleonic Wars DLC - $2.50 (75% off)

  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword - $2.50 (75% off)

  • Mount & Blade + M&B: Warband + M&B: With Fire and Sword - $7.50 (75% off)

Bundle Stars

Pay $6.68 for Men of War: Vietnam, Off-Road Drive, Reign: Conflict of Nations, Death to Spies: Moment of Truth, Death Track: Resurrection, Star Wolves 2, Real Warfare 1242, and Real Warfare 2: Northern Crusades. All must be activated on Steam.

GamersGate

Get Games

GG's stealth sale includes:

Get any two of the following games for $15, or the whole lot for $30. All must be activated on Steam.

  • Alien vs Predator

  • Binary Domain

  • Jet Set Radio

  • Renegade Ops

  • Shogun 2: Total War

  • Sonic Generations

GOG

GOG's Nordic Games sale includes:

Green Man Gaming

GMG is offering a 35% off voucher if you pre-order certain games. Also, discounts:

Groupees

Pay at least $1 for Eschalon: Book One, CeVille, Paranormal, and Monarchy. Over $5, you'll also get Dawn of Fantasy, Worms Reloaded, Two Worlds Epic Edition, Gorky 17, and Earth 2160. Some can be activated on Steam.

Humble Bundle

Pay what you want for Darksiders, Metro 2033, Red Faction Armageddon, Company of Heroes, CoH: Opposing Fronts, and CoH: Tales of Valor. Beat the average price to get Saints Row: The Third too. All must be activated on Steam.

You can also Pay what you want for some of Double Fine's prototype games. Beat the average price for a bonus prototype.

Impulse

  • Air Aces: Pacific - $3.99 (80% off)

  • Dawn of Fantasy - $14.99 (50% off)

  • Heavy Fire: Afghanistan - $7.99 (60% off)

    Rome: Total War + RTW: Alexander + Medieval: Total War + MTW: Kingdoms + Empire: Total War + Empire: Total War DLC + Napoleon: Total War + NTW DLC + Total War: Shogun 2 + TWS2: Fall of the Samurai + TWS2 DLC + Total War Battles: Shogun (some Steam) - $41.24 (75% off)

  • Storm Over the Pacific - $5.99 (80% off)

  • World War 2: Time of Wrath - $4.99 (75% off)

Indie Gala

Pay what you want for NecroVisioN: Lost Company, Imperial Glory, and XIII Century: Gold Edition. Beat the average price to also get Men of War, Men of War: Red Tide, Cryostasis, Star Wolves 3: Civil War, King's Bounty: The Legend, and another two mystery games. Most can be activated on Steam.

Indie Royale

Pay what you want for The Dream Machine, Puzzle Agent 2, Children of the Nile, Anomaly: Warzone Earth, and Adventure Apes and the Mayan Mystery. Most can be activated on Steam.

Steam

As well as being on sale, Endless Space is free to play this weekend, until 1pm Pacific on Sunday. Hit this to install it through Steam.

Shacknews - Ryan Calavano

The first expansion pack for XCOM: Enemy Unknown lands on PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and PC December 4th. As previously announced, "Slingshot" adds three new missions to the campaign set in China, promising to add a bit more structure and narrative to the mostly randomly-generated game. Then, assuming we don't all die in fire due to Mayan prophecy, the next Thanksgiving will fall on November 28, 2013. If a new report is to be believed, that means we're less than a year from the launch of Microsoft's next console. Finally, Halo 3: ODST was one of Bungie's last games before separating from Microsoft to work on its next universe. Apparently, the company knew what it was planning for the future well in advance--so much so that it sneaked an easter egg into the now-three year old game.

You can also watch this episode on YouTube. And, don't forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes as they go up.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Just in case Telltale's episodic adventure hasn't quite sated your appetite for The Walking Dead, yet another episodic game has hit the iOS App Store. The Walking Dead: Assault is a more shooty approach at the series, teaming up four players against an onslaught from the undead.

Unlike Telltale's series, Skybound's adventure follows events directly lifted from the comic book. Episode one begins from the moment Rick awakens in the hospital, through Atlanta, and ends with the first major camp invasion. Along the way, you'll be able to control Glenn, Shane, Carl, Andrea, Lori, and others.

Future episodes will recreate other key moments of the series, and will introduce Michonne, Tyreese, the Governor, and more. The first episode is available for $1.99, but will go back to $2.99 after the "introductory" period is done.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The Android-powered OUYA console is on track to send out its first consoles by the end of the year, and the company has shared a few more details about its planned console roll-out. The consoles are being referred to as developer consoles, but the full consumer versions later will allow development as well. They're set to ship out on December 28 for those who backed the Kickstarter, and will arrive within a few days.

The OUYA site also notes that the first consoles to go out will have some extra goodies, as well as a revised version of Android Jellybean aimed at optimizing it for a big screen. On December 25, those who ordered the console will get a link to activate their account and gain their preferred usernames. If two or more people claimed a popular name, OUYA will grant it to the person who backed it first.

Game developers who didn't snag a first run of the console will be able to use a web portal to download the development kit and upload games to the OUYA service. And those who want an OUYA username can get it after Christmas as well.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Spark Unlimited hasn't had the best track record, having worked on the poorly-reviewed FPS games, Turning Point and Legendary. It was odd that Capcom would assign such a shaky developer on the Lost Planet franchise. But lo and behold, Lost Planet 3 proved to be one of the surprise hits of E3. Capcom producer Andrew Szymanski discussed how this surprising alliance formed, and admitted that even Capcom was skeptical of giving the game to the team at first.

Speaking to Siliconera, Szymanski admitted that he wasn't entirely confident in Spark at first. "Honestly speaking, when I saw their name and looked up their track record, I thought, 'What am I getting myself into?'"

Spark proved themselves capable by showing off a prototype for an unreleased game from a team member new to the studio. And in spite of the studio's shaky history, the demo was impressive enough to land the job. "Software doesn't lie. You can make up a bunch of smoke and mirrors with art and video, but when you actually have a piece of software running on a 360, that you play, you can't lie with that. It either plays well and looks good, or it doesn't."

It's unclear if that prototype has evolved into the game Capcom is now marketing as Lost Planet 3. The radical new mechanics and surprisingly rooted presentation proved to be a refreshing change from the last two games in the series. Szymanski is hopeful that LP3 can prove to be Spark's big break. "There's something to be said for a developer who has the skill, butâ€"for any number of reasonsâ€"hasn't had the ability to show that."

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

"This may sound pretentious, but I don't like being thought of as 'the Metal Gear guy,'" Hideo Kojima laments. The success of his Metal Gear series has propelled him into the spotlight as one of gaming's leading luminaries. However, Kojima's other franchises--Boktai and Zone of the Enders, for example--have failed to replicate that success.

"There's a lot more I can do."

Of course, there's benefits to working on such an iconic franchise. "The Fox Engine, for example, took a lot of time and money [to create]; we were only able to develop it because it was intended for the next Metal Gear," Kojima told EGM. And if Kojima gets his way, perhaps the visually impressive new engine could power non-Metal Gear games in the future.

The Metal Gear games also give Kojima a safe place to experiment with new gameplay ideas. Ground Zeroes, for example, represents a radical shift in Metal Gear's design. "In the next game, I'm introducing concepts intended for entirely new intellectual properties using the Metal Gear brand," he teased.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Everybody likes free things, especially epic gear. This weekend, Gearbox Software is giving away 10 more golden keys per platform for Borderlands 2 that unlock a special loot chest in Sanctuary.

One special Shift code will be showing up on the official Borderlands 2 Facebook page and the Gearbox Twitter feed every few hours, and each will remain active for only three hours. Each code will get you one golden key. Here's the schedule:

  • Today: Post at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET), Active until 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET)

  • Today: Post at 9 p.m. PT (midnight ET), Active until midnight PT (3 a.m. ET)

  • Saturday, December 1: Post at 3 a.m. PT (6 a.m. ET), Active until 6 a.m. PT (9 a.m. ET)

  • Saturday, December 1: Post at 9 a.m. PT (noon ET), Active until noon PT (3 p.m. ET)

  • Saturday, December 1: Post at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET), Active until 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET)

There will be separate keys for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but grab them from both places each time and you'll end up with 10 chances to upgrade your gear for when you take on Mr. Torgue's challenges, or just save them for the next round of DLC coming from Gearbox.

Xbox 360 players can check out Major Nelson right now for a code.

Shacknews - Jeff Mattas

For November's final Weekend Confirmed, Garnett Lee, Jeff Cannata, and "Indie" Jeff Mattas are joined by Jake Kazdal of 17-BIT Games, the indie studio behind the upcoming strategy game, Skulls of the Shogun. Far Cry 3 gets much love from Mattas, Cannata talks about his joyous return to Darksiders 2, and Garnett gives an update on his slog through the final hours of Lost Odyssey. The lively discussion includes a whole lot more, before the crew's Finishing Moves and post-show TailGate cap things off.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 141: 11/30/2012

Subscription Links:

Here's a handy pop-up player so you can listen from right here on the page. Let us know how it works for you.

If you're viewing this in the GameFly application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 141 directly.

Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here's the timing for this week's episode:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 - 00:00:35 - 00:30:35

    Whatcha' Been Playin Part 1 - 00:31:05 - 00:57:57

    Whatcha Been Playin Part 2 00:58:25 - 01:30:07

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News - 01:30:40 - 02:02:22

    Tailgate - 02:03:05 - 02:10:41

Follow the Weekend Confirmed crew on Twitter, too!

Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Jake Kazdal @jkooza

Remember to join the Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page and add us to your Facebook routine. We'll be keeping you up with the latest on the show there as well.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, Club Tipsy on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page, and follow him on twitter @delriomusic.

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