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Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

As expected, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is getting a sequel. But it's not called Final Fantasy XIII-3. Nope. Today, Square Enix announced the end of this unexpected trilogy with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

Coming in 2013 to PS3 and Xbox 360, Lightning Returns will conclude Lightning's saga--something we expected after the "to be continued" ending offered in the previous game. Once again, the game promises to evolve the series, adding more dynamic character control, letting you duck for cover and move your character while in combat.

Intriguingly, the game world will end in 13 days--a concept that harkens to The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. According to Andriasang, Lightning will be "even stronger" than in the first two games. Square Enix promises that this version of Lightning will more closely resemble the image portrayed in Final Fantasy XIII's original concept trailer.

The game will offer some sort of Facebook connectivity, but what that will entail has not been disclosed. Perhaps when the game's Facebook page goes live, we'll find out.

(P.S. Still no word on Final Fantasy Versus XIII, folks.)

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

It's August 31, 2012, and a Friday, and a holiday weekend. Let's do this Late Night Computing thing and rock out with some barbeque.

Settle in for an extended weekend, Shackers. PAX Prime 2012 is also upon us. Expect a ton of exciting news next week! But with that, I'll leave you to it. Enjoy your extracircular activities, food, and gatherings my friends.

News bits.

  • Morgan Freeman tries his hand at Duke Nukem. [via Youtube]

  • How did your favorite video game get its name? Check out a list of thirteen classic titles and learn their origins. [via mental_floss]

  • Bored this weekend? Troma Entertainment releases 150 B-movie films for your enjoyment on Youtube, including The Toxic Avenger. [via Techdirt]

  • Speaking of movies, Netflix on-demand streaming takes up to a quarter of all Internet data in North American. My god, it's full of stars. [via Yahoo! Finance]

  • With Amazon's Kindle Fire permanently out of stock, new models are surely on the horizon. Is this the first look at the new backlit Kindle and Fire tablet? [via The Verge]

Chatty posts of the moment.

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

  • "Kickstart Friday 2012-08-31. I’m always looking for interesting Kickstarter style campaigns, where people are working towards their dream. Do you know of any great ones? Are you involved in anything like this? (on kickstarter, indiegogo, or other?)" [by Nation]

  • "Shack, what's some of your favorite videogame music of the last 5 years? Personally, I love the Bionic Commando Rearmed soundtrack. In particular the menu music." [by CheesePlatter]

  • "What is your least favorite sub-genre of gaming? Even though I somewhat enjoyed it when Warcraft 3 came out, I just can't get into DOTA-style games. It seems like the same game whether it's LoL, DOTA2, Smite, or Heroes of Newearth. Also, generally, I find tower defense games annoying too, with a few stand outs like Plants vs. Zombies." [by pigvomit]

Nightly file.

  • Fibrillation demo 1.0. "Fibrillation is a first person philosophic horror with elements of mysticism for a runthrough in one breath. You’ve got only one chance to play through the whole game with no saves. The main character is called Ewan. He is wandering about mysterious places trying to find a way out. Hallucinations? A trap of mind? Life in the balance? Haunted by his own fears, the main character has to make sense of it all and find a way out. Passing through all of these obstacles a player will face a choice that will influence the end of the whole game and Ewan’s destiny." Download version 1.0 for Windows.

Media.

Halo 4 War Games Capture the Flag gameplay:

343 Industries releases some new b-roll footage of red and blue playing a friend round on the map Exile

ZombiU gets slightly more undead at PAX Prime 2012 with some new gameplay footage, a few lucky players hit the closed beta of Otherland, F1 2012 shows off some new improvements for this years iteration, Nadeo and Ubisoft announce ShootMania Storm is free to play in this trailer, a new round of battle profiles for Guardians of Middle-earth are probably worth a view, the Ultimate Team is shown off for NHL 13, and Perfect World Entertainment blows the doors off PAX Prime 2012 with new trailers for Neverwinter and RaiderZ.

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Hey Shackers, how're games treating you today? I've been stuck in the same blasted spot in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron for several days now and am contemplating notching down the difficulty from hard to medium. I have a feeling it's only going to get more difficult from here, and I'm tired of getting stuck in cinematic death loops. They aren't quite as bad as Too Human's death scenes, but annoying enough. Maybe once I get some barbeque in me this weekend it'll help me power my way through.

(Click any editor's name to visit their Twitter page. Follow Shacknews on Twitter for regular updates.)

  • Garnett Lee: A three-day weekend of gaming goodness ahead means I’m going to finish Lost Odyssey, seriously; I mean it. Of course I’m also going to play Guild Wars 2, Madden NFL 2013, and who knows what else. I have convinced myself that three days of fun must last at least as long as three work days do, right?

  • John Keefer: I'm into nostalgia at the moment. All this talk of Planetary Annihilation has gotten me interested in the original again. So I'll be playing Total Annihilation. I also found Mass Effect 3 on sale, so I suspect I will be quite busy this three-day weekend.

  • Andrew Yoon: Resident Evil 6 just came in...

  • Alice O'Connor: I'm entering a surreal and depraved world of sex and violence. And then I'm going to the cinema to see Videodrome. THE TWO ARE SEPARATE EVENTS; DO YOU SEE?

  • Jeff Mattas: I hope to finish Sleeping Dogs this weekend and dive headlong back in to Darksiders II. Because Death waits for no man. I also picked up Galaxy on Fire 2 HD on iPad for a buck. Not only am I enjoying it, but it reminds me how much I miss space sim-combat games.

  • Steve Watts: I'll be playing tiny snippets of dozens of games at PAX. I'll also be speaking at the Beyond Borders: International Game Controversies panel on Saturday, so stop by and say hey.

  • Ozzie Mejia: Tyria's a big place, isn't it? As a newcomer to the Guild Wars 2 world, I will continue exploring for your entertainment. Also hoping to meet up with my friend (a female Human named Binahsaurus) somewhere along the way, since her experience (translation: I got her addicted to GW in the first place) will prove a valuable guide.

  • Tyler J. Smith: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron continues to plague me, so I'm going to put it down for a few days and play the third episode of The Walking Dead. Though if episode two is any indication, I'll probably sit down and repeat all three episodes in a row after finishing episode three.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Nadeo's TrackMania games have traditionally ran under a free-to-play model of sorts, but TrackMania 2 Canyon shook that up by charging a cover price. It seemed ShootMania Storm would too. But, not so. Nadeo's first FPS will, in fact, return to the classic monetization model, publisher Ubisoft announced today.

Two modes will be made available for free: the Elite and Royal modes. Elite is a 3v3 team mode played in rounds of 3v1, where one player has a railgun and their three foes are armed with rocket launchers. Royal is a free-for-all deathmatch mode with maps built around one central control point, which triggers a crushing dome of death to move in and kill everyone in its wake.

This is all part of a plan to make ShootMania big on the competitive gaming scene.

To play all the other modes, you'll need to buy the full game. It'll cost $20 but you can pre-order now for $15.99, or cheaper in multi-packs. Pre-ordering also gets you into the beta test.

Look, here's a trailer accompanying today's announcement:

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Games aren't standalone products, folks. They're services. From Call of Duty Elite to Resident Evil.net, publishers are looking to expand game connectivity by offering online stat-tracking services. Namco Bandai is ready to jump into the fray with the World Tekken Federation, the first stat tracking service created for a fighting game.

Set to launch alongside Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for both Xbox 360 and PS3, the World Tekken Federation service will allow players to follow their own progress online with stats detailing wins, losses, percentages, characters used, etc. WTF stats will update in real-time, offering players an opportunity to analyze what teams work best for them. The WTF will also allow players to scout out the stats of other players all around the world, which promises to have ramifications for players of all skill levels. Tekken tournaments will be a little more interesting now that participants can study their opponents' teams and strategies at any time.

The World Tekken Federation will be free when Tekken Tag Tournament 2 launches on September 11 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Gotham City Impostors seemed set up to be free-to-play from the start, selling XP boosters, costumes, instant unlocks, and the like, yet it still had a $15 price tag. No longer, at least on PC. While the console editions curiously are still paid, Monolith's Bat-tastic FPS is free-to-play on PC through Steam from today.

Head on over to Steam to download it. While you're there, you can pick up some of those little microtransaction doodads for cheap, as Warner Bros is knocking 20% it all until September 7.

Our Steve was pretty pleased with Gotham City Impostors when he played, so give it a go.

Here's a delightfully cheesy new trailer to celebrate the launch:

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

For many, Labor (sic) Day weekend is a time of celebration and relaxation. Not for me, no, because digital distributors are running phenomonal sales so I'm still writing them up here, at my monitor, when I should be out dancing at this very moment. You're welcome.

Bargains this weekend include a bundle of Spec Ops: The Line and both BioShocks for $20; Deus Ex: Human Revolution for $6; Quantum Conundrum for $3; Battlefield 3 for $20; Mass Effect 3 for $16; all the Alan Wakes for $13; a bundle of Borderlands GotY, The Darkness II and DNF for $20; and other absurdly cheap things. For this, I work until I hurl obscenities at my monitor, for you.

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

GameFly

You'll need to use the voucher code 1GFT82012 to get these prices:

Amazon

Amazon's Labor Day Sale is really, really big. Please, spend hours rooting around in it yourself, if you please, but I'm only picking out a few deals here.

GamersGate

Get Games

Get Games is running a 'build your own bundle' thing, letting you buy any two of the following games for $15:

  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Augmented Edition (Steam)

  • Dungeon Siege III + DLC (Steam)

  • Red Orchestra 2 GotY (Steam)

  • Serious Sam 3 (Steam)

GOG

Green Light Bundle

Pay what you want for a bundle of Dino Run SE, Ichi, Muffin Knight, and Syder Arcade. Pay above the average to get Gunman Clive, Guerrilla Bob, Paper Monsters, and Samurai II Vengeance too.

Dino Run SE

Green Man Gaming

You can get these prices all weekend with the voucher code GMG30-916H7-0TG16:

Then, from 3am on Sunday to 3am on Monday, you can get 25% off anything with the voucher DERHE-RRDER-RINGE. You might want to get, say:

Impulse

Indie Royale

Pay what you want, above a minimum price, for a bundle of Analogue: A Hate Story, Da New Guys, MiniFlake, Shattered Horizon, Super Amazing Wagon Adventure and Waves.

Origin

Steam

Shacknews - Garnett Lee

So what's new with Borderlands 2? Well, this trailer explains exactly what that number at the end of the title really means. Then, excited for Halo 4? We take a peek at War Game in this gameplay footage. Finally, what's new in this year's iteration of F1? Look at this dev diary.

Enjoy your three-day weekend. We'll be back on September 4th.

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

Here's reason to high-five. WayForward's take on the Double Dragon franchise is coming soon. And best of all, it will be included in PlayStation Plus' "Instant Game Collection" when it launches.

The game will be available on PS3 on September 11th for $9.99. (Presumably, it will be 800 Microsoft Points when launching on Xbox Live Arcade.) However, PlayStation Plus members will be able to download it for "free" as part of their membership until January.

Here's the retro throwback in action--in bro-op, of course:

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

If you missed the first Guild Wars 2 diary, you can read it here.

After introducing myself to the Sylvari and the Grove, it was time to begin exploring the surrounding area known as the Caledon Forest. I couldn't see myself venturing too far out, since I was still leveling up my character, but Guild Wars 2 offers more ways to earn XP than simply killing things. So I gave my XP meter a boost by exploring areas and finding unexplored points of interest.

Random NPC's had Renown Heart icons over their heads, meaning they had side missions for me. I could trigger these quests by talking to them, but I would soon find out that this wouldn't always be a necessary step. One of these tasks saw an NPC named Warden Annwyn ask me to defeat nearby fireflies and deliver their essence to her. While my character was still at a low level, nearby players helped out in taking them down. Fireflies proved to be weak foes, but things got a little hairy when neutral wildlife would get caught in the crossfire. Nearby moa birds that were hit would suddenly start charging angrily at me, so I'd start getting attacked from two fronts. Despite this wrinkle, this event was easy to complete thanks to the many players hanging around.

After exploring more of the area, I headed out to Morgan's Spiral, located in the southeast end of Caledon Forest. It was time to fight off a round of zombies! It's funny that even in a landscape defined by nature, luscious greenery, and wild flora, like something out of a fairy tale…I still have to deal with the undead! It's the trope that just won't die. However, I definitely needed the XP. Couldn't really continue my personal story without it.

My mesmer in natural surroundings.

So after taking a few deep breaths, I braced myself as hordes of undead creatures starting rising from the swamps, consisting mostly of Risen Thralls, Brutes, and Grubs. They each hovered around level 6 or 7, which made them easy fodder for a large group. The rush ended with a pair of abominations, each of which proved to be just as simple to dispatch. Again, having players all hanging around not only lends to the social aspect of GW2, but it makes these quests a breeze. Giant abominations don't stand much of a chance against a group of 20 to 30 questers.

I was then introduced to the dynamic questing element. A nearby event was unfolding, as an Asura named Agent Rexx was in the middle of an escort mission. As they crossed paths with me, I could decide whether to join up with them or walk away and do my own thing. Considering my need to level up some more, I opted for the former. After taking down a pair of abominations that got in our way, Agent Rexx made his delivery and I was credited with full XP and loot for taking part in the mission. It's neat to watch the world unfold around me and for surrounding side quests to take place in real time. It makes GW2's world feel organic.

The character that Rexx made his delivery to was an NPC named Warden Spy Alarin. Alarin informed me of a separatist group of Sylvari known as the Nightmare Court. The Nightmare Court reject the teachings of the Ventari Tablet and choose to embrace the nightmares found within the Dream. Think of them as the Sylvari equivalent of the Sith, choosing to join the Dark Side by embracing their negative emotions. Alarin asked me to infiltrate Briarthorn Den, disguised as a member of the court, to save prisoners that the sinister sect seek to convert to their cause. So it was time for some good old-fashioned espionage.

After donning my cunning disguise, I didn't waste much time in causing trouble with the Nightmare Court. I started picking fights with duelists and defeating them in one-on-one battles. This mission then focused on the espionage bit, as I tricked a guard away from his post before telling his prisoners to make a break for it. Afterwards, I comforted some captive hounds and made my way out, having sowed enough discord for one day. As much fun as the disguise was, it was time to continue my personal story.

This is just the beginning of my journey as a Sylvari, but I've already encountered undead forces and a darker half of the Sylvari race. The side missions all help support the main story, while also offering some much-needed variety. Next time, I'll continue my personal storyline and take the fight to the Nightmare Court. I won't have random strangers to fall back on for help this time around and I'll also have some tough decisions to make.


Shacknews' Guild Wars 2 diary series follows Ozzie Mejia's journey into NCSoft's online world. Read the ongoing series here.

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