Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Telltale struck earlier this week with its unique take on the Borderlands franchise, but Tales From the Borderlands isn't all that on the studio's plate. There's still a Game of Thrones game coming and it now has a release date.

Telltale tweeted earlier today that the first episode of Game of Thrones would arrive next week. "Iron From Ice" will hit PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4 on Tuesday, December 2. It'll arrive on Xbox One and Xbox 360 (as well as PS4 in Europe) on Wednesday, December 3, while it'll touch down on iOS the next day.

Game of Thrones follows the HBO series and will take place between seasons 3 and 5, putting players in the role of the noble House Forrester. If you missed the teaser for the new series last week, we'll present it to you again below.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Just because it's Thanksgiving in the United States doesn't mean the rest of the world stops turning. In fact, the fine folks at CD Projekt Red are offering a handy way to ignore your family while they argue politics at the dinner table. Simply take out your mobile device, because The Witcher Adventure Game is out today.

The Witcher Adventure Game is the board game adaptation of the beloved franchise. Four of the Witcher characters will be available to select, as they run through the world exploring, questing, using diplomacy, and fighting monsters. Players can opt to team up with friends or simply stab them in the back.

The Witcher Adventure Game is available now on the App Store and Google Play store for $5.99. If you'd rather play it on a bigger screen, it's also out today on Steam and GOG.com for a few more bucks.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

If you're out enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday, Nintendo would like you to have something waiting for you when you get back. The second Hyrule Warriors DLC featuring another batch of characters is out today and filled with new additions.

The Twilight Princess Pack features Midna in her true human form, as well as some new weapons and costumes for Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf. The DLC is going for $7.99 or as part of the $20 Season Pass. The latest update also increases the level cap to 150 and allows players to carry 999 of an item.

There's no English language trailer at the moment, likely because... well... it's Thanksgiving. But there is no such holiday being celebrated in Japan, so here's a Japanese trailer!

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Exo Zombies mode has teased about prior to the game’s launch, and today, Activision and Sledgehammer Games are finally ready to share not only some information regarding the mode, but also a brand-new trailer that highlights the game mode.

Sledgehammer Games expects the first chapter of the Exo Zombies game mode to be released along with the Havoc DLC pack in early 2015. The developer shares the inclusion of a zombie mode actually didn’t come about until the team was wrapping up Advanced Warfare, when the team started playing around with the idea of what would happen if zombies were mixed with the title’s exoskeleton gameplay. The result is what will soon be available, Exo Zombies, which Sledgehammer is calling “an entirely new breed of zombies and an entirely new co-op experience” that’s unique to Advanced Warfare.

Those who are looking to kill countless zombies within Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare can choose to either purchase the Havoc DLC pack when it becomes available, or decide to purchase the title’s season pass, which will include the pack along with others.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, it appears that the newest update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been deployed.

Patch notes from 343 Industries are currently unavailable, but according to the Halo subreddit, the patch is available now and coming in at about 523MB.

Studio head Bonnie Ross previously issued an apology on the Halo Waypoint website earlier this week for the Master Chief Collection's continued woes. She also acknowledged serveral matchmaking issues, along with other issues regarding the campaign, UI, and other areas. Ross stated that multiple server-side tweaks would be forthcoming.

Shacknews will update this post with the latest patch notes as soon as they become available.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, it appears that the newest update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been deployed.

Patch notes from 343 Industries are currently unavailable, but according to the Halo subreddit, the patch is available now and coming in at about 523MB.

Studio head Bonnie Ross previously issued an apology on the Halo Waypoint website earlier this week for the Master Chief Collection's continued woes. She also acknowledged serveral matchmaking issues, along with other issues regarding the campaign, UI, and other areas. Ross stated that multiple server-side tweaks would be forthcoming.

Shacknews will update this post with the latest patch notes as soon as they become available.

Update: The patch notes are now live on Halo Waypoint. They include:

Matchmaking

  • Made improvements to the way the matchmaking system handles player matching
  • Made improvements to the team selection process to improve team balancing
  • Made an update to the party system to improve searching with parties (2+ players)
  • Made further improvements to how matchmaking progress is communicated to the player
  • Made an update to ensure that players do not enter a non-joinable state after searching for a match
  • Made an update to ensure that the “Game Session” UI does not persist after leaving a matchmaking lobby
  • Resolved a variety of incorrectly displayed matchmaking prompts vImproved matchmaking roster presentation during team creation phase to remove roster flickering
  • Corrected a “connecting to host” message that incorrectly displayed during the matchmaking searching phase
  • Made an update to ensure that FFA players do not appear as if they are on the red team in the pre-game lobby

Party, Lobby, and Custom Games

  • Made an update to ensure that custom game settings persist between matches
  • Made an update to ensure that player’s player emblems load correctly when returning to lobby
  • Made an update to improve nameplate and emblem display
  • Improved the display of emblems in the “Games Session Details” screen
  • Made improvements to parties to ensure that parties are merged when the host joins another player and “brings party”
  • Made an update to improve party stability after completing a matchmaking game
  • Made an update to ensure that players are joinable after playing a matchmaking game

Stability

  • Made a variety of updates to improve UI stability
  • Resolved stability issues that occurred while viewing medals in “Player Details”
  • Made an update to prevent stability issues caused by controller disconnects
  • Made an update to improve post-game-carnage-report stability
  • Made an update to address in-game stability for Halo 2
  • Improved matchmaking stability while searching with parties (2+ players)
  • Addressed a crash that could occur after searching in the Halo 2: Anniversary Rumble playlist
  • Resolved a variety of miscellaneous stability issues to improve overall performance

Achievements

  • Made an update to ensure that the “Zealot” achievement is unlockable
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Shacknews readers and listeners of the Chattycast may know that we have a few WWE SuperCard aficionados on the staff. So certain 'briefcase' types may be interested to hear that a new update for the wrestling card game is now available, which adds a significant number of changes.

The new 'Survivor' rarity level is the new hotness, surpassing even the Legendary rarity. So get ready to go on the hunt for these cards, which will center around the normal roster of cards like John Cena and The Rock. New Manager Support cards and WWE 2K15-themed cards will also make their debut with this update, offering the opportunity for some new animations. There are 24 new in-ring moves to be seen now, offering some variety to watching cards do battle. The update will also include rebalanced rewards and improved drop rates, which will hopefully make the grind feel less like a chair to the skull.

WWE SuperCard is free-to-play and available on the App Store and Google Play store.

Shacknews - Shacknews Promotions

Don’t wait until this Friday to get in on all of the great gaming deals. Shacknews Deals continues its efforts to bring you some spectacular savings on this weeks must have gaming gifts. Today we have have something special lined up for you. It’s a bit of nostalgia with a twist of modern technology...

The NES30 Bluetooth gamepad gives you everything you need to relive the glory days of gaming without the bulky console and stacks of dusty cartridges. Every detail of the NES30, right down to the graphics printed on the front, is meant to mimic the original NES gamepad design. The only difference here is Bluetooth or USBconnectivity, 2 additional action buttons and 2 shoulder buttons which help to make this controller compatible with games from a variety of systems.

TOP FEATURES

  • Classic NES look and feel
  • Connects via Bluetooth or USB cable
  • Multiplayer support
  • Reprogrammable keys
  • Compatible with iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Wii and emulated games
  • Rechargeable battery with 20+ hours per charge

For product specs and what comes in the box when you order one (or two) of these bad boys, head over to the Shack Deals product page by clicking here! The sale ends Cyber Monday.

Shacknews - John Gaudiosi

As a testament to how far mobile video games have come, Kingdom Rush launched back in 2011 as a PC browser-based game. After becoming a hit franchise with Kingdom Rush Frontiers across Steam and mobile devices, developer Ironhide Game Studio has created a prequel with Kingdom Rush Origins. The franchise is known for blending tower defense and role-playing gameplay. Game designer and co-founder of Ironhide Alvaro Azofra talks about the new game in this exclusive interview.

What were your goals heading into this sequel?

Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers have become very popular games and the community keeps asking for more content. Kingdom Rush Origins gives us the opportunity to make the franchise stronger, of course, but also build upon the world of Kingdom Rush by expanding the story and try new game play ideas and concepts that we couldn't add on the other games.

On the other hand, the team at Ironhide has grown so much since the first Kingdom Rush. It’s very different to start working in a small team of 3 to 8 than when you are part of a family of 18. You can do a lot more and a lot better but the developing process is quite different. It was a learning process for everyone in the team and it was a great experience.

What’s the storyline in this mobile game world?

Kingdom Rush Origins takes place years before the events of the first Kingdom Rush game. This time you defend the ancient elven lands from an all-out attack, while fighting a greater evil and learning the story that led to the creation of the gem of power.

What impact has fan feedback had on this sequel?

Our fans are our most valued source of information and we are always looking for their feedback to improve on what they liked and either fix or drop what they didn't like. Also, we are very aware of their suggestions and try to implement them in the game while at the same time add some surprises in the mix.

Can you talk about the gaming experience and how it utilizes tablets like Nvidia Shield Tablet and smartphone functionality?

Although Kingdom Rush Origins is a 2D game, it can be pretty intensive on mobile devices and tablets. For this version we added different profiles, so more powerful devices will enjoy improved game effects while low end devices sacrifice a bit of the eye candy in favor of smoother game play. Users of the Nvidia Shield Tablet should have a top performance and enjoy the game in all its beauty and glory.

What does your game brings new to the franchise?

We are improving every aspect of the game, from the art to the game mechanics. Although we prefer not to change the core game play, we greatly improved the stage specials, tower abilities, enemy powers, heroes and in-game upgrades. The highlight here is that every hero unlocks a unique third player spell, and that really changes the approach on how you play each stage.

What excites you about what you can accomplish in mobile gaming today?

There are so many things to be excited about. On one hand, the diversity provided by mobile gaming allows us to make the games we love. There’s also the fact that there are so many players that can now access our games and enjoy them, giving us instant feedback. All of this contributes to the creation of better, funnier games. It’s a great time to be a game developer.

How do you feel you're pushing things forward with this game?

A bigger team allowed us to really push the envelope in terms of art, level design and balance. This is our most complex, fast-paced, ambitious game to date, and we really devoted ourselves to make it as amazing as it could be. Sometimes going forward means to make a leap of faith, and sometimes it means to stay on course and keep building upon your previous work. We took the second alternative and let me tell you, we couldn't be happier with the results.

How do you see Android TV opening up new opportunities for game developers?

It is still too early to know. There could be a lot of potential, but we'll have to wait and see.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Warning: Contains some spoilers for Tales From The Bordelands Episode 1: Zer0 Sum.

The next great Pandoran tale kicked off yesterday on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 3 (and today on Xbox One) with the arrival of Tales From the Borderlands. It's the first official jump into post-Borderlands 2 lore, revealing a world without the villainous Handsome Jack. It also marked the introduction of the story's extensive cast, each with their own quirks, motivations, personalities, and back stories.

The first episode, Zer0 Sum, is just the beginning of their tale. With Telltale lined up to deliver four more episodes of this particular Gearbox narrative, Shacknews is offering a peek into who each of these characters are and where their stories might be headed.

Rhys

Co-protagonist Rhys is Borderlands' representation of the everyman. If you're an adult, you've likely witnessed workplace politics in one form or another. You've likely watched the office jerk either suck up or bully his way to the top. And you've likely been passed up for an accolade you feel you truly deserve. That's Rhys' story in a nutshell and that's exactly why he's taking his destiny in his own hands.

Rhys fancies himself as the smartest person in the room, often to his detriment. He wrangles up his Ocean's 11-style backup with Vaughn and Yvette, but he mostly plays the rest of his plan by ear, which gets him in a lot of trouble. He tries to smooth talk his way out of certain situations, but often winds up getting nowhere and sometimes, it even gets him knocked unconscious.

Visually, Rhys bears a resemblance to Handsome Jack, which is not a coincidence. Many of the dialogue options will parallel just the type of thing that Handsome Jack would say. It's clear that Rhys can either resist the temptation of corrupting power or cultivate it to the point that the story will eventually make him the next Handsome Jack. Where his story goes and how he manages his close friendship with Vaughn and his uneasy alliance with Fiona is ultimately up to the player. And whatever the player decides may or may not take Rhys down Handsome Jack's path.

Fiona

Fiona is a total con artist from the very beginning, forced into that lifestyle due to her harsh upbringing in the cave city of Hollow Point. She's pulled many scams with the help of her sister Sasha and her father figure Felix, but Rhys' arrival with a $10 million briefcase looked to be the score of a lifetime. It didn't quite work out so well, especially when one of her schemes backfired and the fake Vault Key she brought in was shattered. Things got even worse when an actual Vault Hunter showed up and the speaker-powered Bossanova absconded with the briefcase.

This is what kicks off her tenuous alliance with Rhys, though she never takes a step without remembering the lesson that Felix instilled in her: Don't trust anybody. It looks like the player will have plenty of opportunity to play her off as a cutthroat thief, but likewise have the chance to progress her to the point that she strays from Felix's teachings. The ending of the first episode signals that Fiona will need Rhys and Vaughn's help to get the ultimate prize at the end of the story. The question is whether the player will have her develop a bond with the Hyperion twosome over the course of the forthcoming episodes or take the first opportunity to stab them in the back?

Another thing to look out for is the lone bullet that Felix supplies. Fiona gets more than one opportunity to use it during the first episode. If the player opts to keep it, it'll be interesting to see what other opportunities Telltale provides for her to use it. It may come in handy. On the other hand, if the player already used it, will they wish they hadn't?

Vaughn

Vaughn is the money man, so to speak. As Hyperion's accountant, he's the one that pulls out the $10 million that's supposed to allow Rhys to pick up the Vault Key. Needless to say, this doesn't quite go as smoothly as planned.

Vaughn is somewhat neurotic, clearly unaware of what he's getting into by setting foot on Pandora. He's noticeably shaken by a lot of the violence that he witnesses up close, especially when it involves him getting dragged around like a rag doll. Given all of this, he's the type of guy that needs a lot of reassurance. A handful of Rhys and Fiona's responses will affect Vaughn's disposition and either help instill some confidence in him or make him regret ever coming along in the first place. Vaughn's personality will likely develop over the course of the next four episodes, as the harsh Pandora atmosphere may just toughen him up.

By the end of the first episode, Vaughn is squarely in Hyperion's crosshairs for his actions regarding the money. Rhys is even given the chance to betray him in exchange for his own safety. However the player decides to play this scenario will influence Rhys' relationship with Vaughn over the course of the narrative. One thing looks to be certain and that's that Vaughn is fiercely loyal to Rhys, who he sees as his best friend. But in a game that's all about trust issues and betrayal, can anyone assume for sure that Vaughn will remain loyal for the entirety of the story?

Sasha

An expert con artist in her own right, Sasha throws herself right into fray with the fake Vault Key that brings Rhys and Vaughn to Pandora. She can set up the con, but she'll often need Fiona's help to see it through to the end.

Sasha can improvise when things get hairy, as evidenced by her first interaction with Rhys and Vaughn. Like her sister, she's also inherently distrustful of people, a lesson she learned from Felix. Her suspicions can either be confirmed or alleviated depending on what the player does with Rhys over the course of the episode.

Sasha is also more attached to Felix than Fiona, as evidenced by her reaction to what happens at the end of the first episode. It looks to be something that could potentially fracture her relationship with her sister, but we'll have to wait until the next episode to find out.

Vasquez

Vasquez is the big bad of this series. When he got wind that Rhys was about to be promoted, Vasquez stepped in and murdered the man set to deliver the promotion and usurped the position for himself. He thought he had a Vault Key deal ready to go, to boot, though it ultimately turned out to be the fake that Fiona, Sasha, and Felix had lined up.

Vasquez's ruthlessness and arrogance are what cause Rhys and Vaughn to head down to Pandora to grab his Vault Key, but the villain's influence grows greatly over the course of the first episode. He quickly catches wind of Rhys' machinations and cuts off his resources, though he offers him leniency in exchange for Vaughn. However Rhys plays this situation may not matter, though. Vasquez is clearly someone that's not to be trusted under any circumstances.

The Hyperion mastermind's presence in the next four episodes will only expand further, as he's now actively on the hunt for Rhys and Vaughn. Once he learns of the score that Rhys and Fiona are lining up for, however, his pursuit will intensify that much more.

August

August is the man that organizes the Vault Key deal with Vasquez, only to find himself dealing with Rhys and Vaughn, instead. What he doesn't realize until later is that the Vault Key he has is a giant fake, a ruse orchestrated by Fiona, Sasha, and Felix.

August is a fairly powerful gang leader in Pandora, which is apparent after his first meeting with Fiona. So needless to say, he doesn't take deception very well. When he learns that he was duped on both sides by Fiona and Sasha, as well as by Rhys and Vaughn, August goes into an incensed rage.

While everyone eventually gets away, August isn't the type of person to forgive these transgressions. He'll also be on the hunt for Rhys and Fiona over the next several episodes, so expect to see his face again very soon.

Felix

Felix is an old grizzled con man and the one who raises Fiona and Sasha since he first found them as children. On top of teaching them how to pull smooth, seamless scams, Felix also teaches them the harsh lesson that nobody is to be trusted.

Felix is meticulous about his cons, frowning upon any attempt by Fiona or Sasha to improv their way through a grift. But make no mistake, if things take a twist, Felix can adapt quickly without losing sight of the goal. And as is made clear at the end of the first episode, he'll do whatever it takes to make sure he bags the big score.

Zer0

Zer0 is the wild card of this game and the only (living) returning character from Borderlands 2. Just when Rhys' Vault Key deal/Fiona's scam couldn't go further downhill, Zer0 busts in with Bossanova and his Bandit forces close behind. The fracas results in Bossanova taking the briefcase, which leads to Rhys and Fiona making their temporary alliance.

Zer0 shows up again later in the story, mostly ignoring Rhys, Fiona, and company to focus on his own task. That task has something to do with a mysterious artifact called the Gortys Project, which is tied to a vault. Zer0 isn't able to find it himself, but Rhys and Fiona unwittingly stumble upon it at the end of the episode. Now that they're following its path, expect Zer0 to come back later in the story. And next time, he probably won't be so helpful.

???

There's also one other character whose presence is felt at the end of the episode, alongside the Gortys Project. We won't mention who it is, but expect to see plenty of this character over the remainder of the story.

After all, without this person, there is no story, right?

...

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