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Shacknews - Steve Watts

Assassin's Creed 4 has been officially (if reluctantly) confirmed by Ubisoft, but the Internet isn't quite done plundering nuggets of information about the game. A bit of simple digital trickery fooled the teaser site into giving away a few details before its time: an October 29 release date and a few more platforms.

DarkZero (via Joystiq) noticed that adding a letter to the end of the URL teaser site bypassed the countdown clock and went straight to the premiere trailer. The trailer hadn't been put up, and Ubisoft seems to have removed the words now, but the information is out.

In addition to a the release date, the site also mentioned that the game is coming to "next-gen consoles." That would be the newly-announced PlayStation 4 and presumably whatever Microsoft has cooking, which is unsurprising given Ubisoft's general tendency to jump on new platforms.

After two rounds of the Internet outing game details, the trailer set to debut next week is running out of surprises. Let's just hope that the new protagonist's ship isn't this leaky. Arr.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Defending towers is so passé; let them burn! Heck, raze them yourself! No, tower offense is where 'it' 'is at', and Anomaly: Warzone Earth developer 11 Bit Studios is delivering another dose of path-pushing action with Anomaly 2. Announced yesterday, the sequel's coming to PC, Mac and Linux some time from April to June.

While Warzone Earth showed first contact with invading aliens, it's all but over in Anomaly 2. You'll be leading convoys through an occupied earth, dodging or destroying towers in your way. Oh, it all sounds very grim, but every unit can now morph into a fancy mech form so at least humanity will go out with a bang.

Anomaly 2 also brings a new multiplayer tower offense vs. tower defense mode, along with a tarted-up graphics engine and multiple endings. Look, a mostly-cinematic announcement trailer:

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Metro: Last Light has been slightly delayed as it switched publishers in the wake of THQ's collapse, but not massively so. New publisher Deep Silver today announced that it'll arrive on May 14 after a little extra work, back a bit from the planned March launch. 4A Games' post-apocalyptic FPS is headed to PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

"The new release date is the ideal way to strike the balance between bringing the best out of Metro: Last Light and not keep the fans waiting longer than necessary," Dr. Klemens Kundratitz, CEO of Deep Silver's parent company Koch Media, said in today's announcement.

"We won't leave that time unexploited and will work closely together with 4A Games to make the game even better. It will receive all the attention it deserves."

Koch Media paid $5.8 million for Metro as THQ sold off its franchises and studios. Koch Media also picked up Saints Row developer Volition from THQ, for $22.3 million. The new Saints Row is still on track to launch this year.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Microsoft has released yet another Xbox 360 SKU to retail. The "Spring Value Bundle" includes a 250GB Xbox 360 with two games: Darksiders 2 and Batman: Arkham City. In addition to the standard wireless controller, wired headset, the bundle will also include one month of Xbox Live Gold for $299.

If you're thinking to yourself, "that's not an especially great deal," you'd be correct. Last year, Microsoft launched a similar "Holiday Bundle" for the same price. Those bundles also included two games in addition to the standard 250GB model. But hey, maybe you want to follow the advice of this Xbox Dashboard ad, and buy a second Xbox.

Xbox 360 is fun!

Shacknews - John Keefer

Total War: Rome 2 likes to show off big battles, and the newest trailer shows off one of the most decisive battles of the Roman era. The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in Germania in 9AD saw more than 15,000 Roman troops routed by Germanic tribes led by a former vassal of Rome.

The trailer focuses on bits of the battle, using the in-game engine, and gives an idea of the scale of the huge conflict. The Roman troops, led by their commander, Varus, marched into an ambush laid by Arminius, an advisor to Varus, but of Germanic heritage. Arminius was able to unite the Germanic tribes to repel the incursion, defeating the Romans so soundly that Varus fell on his sword rather than accept the defeat. Upon hearing of the debacle, Roman emperor Augustus supposedly banged his head against the walls of the palace, wailing the line you hear at the opening of the trailer: "Varus, give me back my legions."

The game, being developed by the Creative Assembly for Sega, is expected to come out on PC later this year.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Some games bridge gamers together in new, unexpected ways. Others have us wax philosophy, while others make us push us to uncomfortable moral grays.

Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is not going to be one of those games. And that's totally okay, producer Greg Rizzer argues. "We still as gamers need to be able to appreciate a Michael Bay-esque type of experience," he said. "And using all this new technology we have, why not?"

"When everyone is asking, how do you stand out from another game? Well, I think it's pretty apparent how we stand out from another game," Rizzer explained to Eurogamer. The over-the-top action and absurd set pieces should help differentiate the game from the competition.

"Especially in the market today where every shooter is claiming to be the most realistic, one of the things that's starting to slip away is games are meant to be fun," Rizzer said, defending the franchise. Still, Rizzer does agree that the first two games might have had a bit too much machismo. "The previous Army of Two games had a real frat-boy-esque tone to them. We've kind of reeled that in a little bit, but we certainly wanted to still be over-the-top."

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Trials Evolution: Gold Edition isn't due until March 21, but waiting is for suckers. Ubisoft announced today that the beta has begun, and pre-ordering before March 14 will grant you access.

During the beta, Ubisoft and RedLynx will be hosting a track creation competition using the track editor. The best and brightest will be featured in the Track Central, and the creators will get some exclusive (but unnamed) prizes. Other features new to the PC Gold Edition include improved physics and visuals, and all 129 tracks from both Trials and Evolution.

Shacknews - John Keefer

It's time for a new bundle of PC games from Indie Royale, with this week's batch collectively called The Mash. This bundle of five titles includes something from Telltale Games, and no, it's not Sam & Max or The Walking Dead.

Telltale's comedy adventure Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People headlines the batch. Also included are the team-based airship game Guns of Icarus Online from Muse Games; a martial arts beat-em-up called Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior's Rise from Qoocsoft; the platformer KRUNCH from LeGrudge & Rugged; and Delve Deeper, a turn-based strategy game involving Dwarven miners, from Lunar Giant Studios.

The average price so far is $5.96, but paying $8 or more will get you Danimal Cannon and Zef’s Parallel Processing album for some easy listening. The bundle will be active until 5 a.m. PT (8 a.m. ET) on March 6.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

It doesn't take a highly-paid analyst to figure out that the games industry is rapidly changing. The rapid proliferation of indie and mobile games has drastically shifted focus away from consoles and onto more open platforms.

A "State of the Industry" survey conducted for the Game Developers Conference polled more than 2500 developers that plan on attending next month's conference. It shows that a majority of devs consider themselves "indie"--53%, to be exact. Only 20% of respondents are working with a publisher for their current project.

Developers are focusing most of their efforts on smartphones and tablets. Over half (58%) of developers plan on releasing their next game on a smartphone or tablet. PS3, on the other hand, is only getting support from about 13% of developers surveyed.

PC is also popular amongst developers, with 49% planning on releasing their next game on the platform. However, the most unpopular platforms for developers appear to be Nintendo systems: fewer than 5% of respondents said they are making a Wii U game, while only 2% surveyed are making a 3DS game.

Developers largely keep their skin in the game by using funds from their company's existing reserves, or through personal funds. However, developers are very interested in crowdfunding, with 44% planning on using a Kickstarter-esque service some time in the future. Considering the increasing number of "indies," perhaps that's unsurprising.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Nordic Games and The Farm 51, the publisher and studio behind Painkiller Hell & Damnation, have announced a new first-person adventure coming to PC and Xbox 360 on July 30. Titled Deadfall Adventures, the game is set in 1938 and has you racing against Nazis to obtain the Heart of Atlantis.

You'll be put in the shoes of James Lee Quatermain, escorting US agent Jennifer Goodwin to an Egyptian temple to retrieve the artifact. But the Nazi division Ahnenerbe, in charge of occult studies, is after it too. The globe-trotter finds temples across the globe in locales like the Arctic and Guatemala on his quest. As you might imagine, this involves taking down some Nazis, but the game throws in its share of puzzle-solving and exploration as well.

You might have noticed this sounds like an adventure movie in the realm of Indiana Jones, and that similarity isn't lost on the developers. "Deadfall Adventures marries the ethos of the Saturday morning matinee with the Summer blockbuster to create an original adventure which will grip players from start to finish," says Nordic managing director Klemens Kreuzer, in the announcement. "We're putting players into the heart of the action, just as they’d dreamed as children, staring at their heroes on the silver screen. It's fantastic to be working on Deadfall Adventures with The Farm 51 from the roots up; it’s going to be an exciting summer."

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