Sony has teased a God of War sequel announcement with a new image.
The image, below, published on the official PlayStation Facebook page, asks the question: "Will vengeance bring redemption?"
And there's a date: 19th April 2012 - next Thursday.
Speculation is rife the image relates to Sony's long-rumoured God of War sequel, which has been spotted on a raft of developer CVs and online shops over the last 12 months.
Adding weight to this is the appearance of the letters "GOW" in the image's full URL. More specifically, "gowa_fb", which perhaps stands for "God of War announcement Facebook", or "God of War: unannounced subtitle".
Last year magazines and online shops suggested God of War 4 was set for launch in September 2012. Job advertisements suggest developer Sony Santa Monica will implement multiplayer into the series for the first time.
God of War 3 launched early 2010 as a visual showcase for the PlayStation 3. Sony Santa Monica has said it did not mark the end of the action-packed blockbuster series. "This is not the end of God of War," studio boss John Hight said. "This is definitely the end of the trilogy, but we're [going to] continue to do God of War games.
"We're [going to] be very careful about what we do. We're the keepers of the franchise and we don't want to see it ruined or polluted."
I played Cafeteria Nipponica until my fingers bled.
It isn't quite as extreme as it sounds. The screen on my phone has been cracked for the best part of the week as a result of some goon walking into me when I was taking a photo of some ducks. It hasn't shattered yet, but the cracks have been slowly spreading further up the screen, and I caught my index finger on the edge. At first, I thought it was just a scratch and played on, until eventually I realised that the thin smear of red on the screen wasn't the result of a disgruntled customer going all D-Fens on my ass.
It says something about Kairosoft's magic formula that I was compelled to continue. In my review of the developer's recent Android hit Dungeon Village I mentioned the little feedback loops and constant positive reinforcement as a powerful, almost narcotic hook, but there must be more to it than that.
I think it's because there's something incredibly satisfying to efficient micromanagement.. It's hard not to be efficient in a Kairosoft game, particularly in its early stages, because it gives you the opportunity to experience a rare sense of order in our often chaotic world. Call it the Tetris effect.
It's much harder to fail in Cafeteria Nipponica than Tetris, but that's hardly a surprise when games are keener than ever to garland us with virtual rewards. We can be delicate little flowers, you see, and we don't like being reminded how useless we are. So Kairosoft makes games that give us constant pats on the back, where setbacks are glossed over, and triumphs are regularly, cheerfully heralded.
Perhaps that's why, whenever a new Kairosoft title launches, half of the responses on Twitter and in forum posts are delivered with a silent groan. It isn't just the knowledge that we're not going to enjoy a meaningful social interaction for the next 48 hours or so, but the fact we know it's bad for us. Yet we can't resist. It's a very real addiction.
The Achievement list for upcoming Xbox Live Arcade adventure Fable Heroes has, predictably, leaked online (courtesy of X360A). It's the first list of game awards to feature the new 400 Gamerscore cap for XBLA titles.
A quick scan of the list reveals the locations players will get to explore. Plenty of familiar Fable place names feature.
THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD.
The game world appears to boast two versions of each level: one set in regular Albion and another in Dark Albion.
The list's biggest reward comes from completing all of the Dark Albion levels, which will net players 40G. You'll get 10G for completing Fable Heroes' chicken-flavoured mini-game, meanwhile.
Along with an expanded 400G limit, XBLA titles can now feature up to 30 individual Achievements, something Fable Heroes also takes advantage of.
Fable Heroes launches on XBLA on 2nd May. A full list of 30 awards lies below:
Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto has admitted he wishes he had designed Angry Birds, the hit gaming phenomenon now available on practically every non-Nintendo platform.
Nintendo's legendary developer revealed he enjoyed playing the game, praising its simple controls and "exciting" combination of game elements.
"Angry Birds is a very simple idea but it's one of those games that I immediately appreciated when I first started playing," Miyamoto told Hookshot, "before wishing that I had been the one to come up with the idea first."
"I mean, obviously I want to be the one creating the most convincing, surprising game ideas," he added.
"It takes a little while to get used to the controls, I think, but once you've mastered them, you have a lot of precision. To make the interface and controls work that well and intuitively... well, I think a lot of work went into getting that right."
Angry Birds has yet to appear on a Nintendo platform, despite the touch-screen controls of the DS and 3DS.
"Obviously, if the developer had created the game for Nintendo DS the controls would have been even better, but what can you do?" Miyamoto concluded.
Digital platform GOG.com has questioned the frequent sales on rival online shop Steam, saying heavy discounting sends the wrong message to gamers.
Managing director Guillaume Rambourg and marketing boss Trevor Longino told Rock, Paper Shotgun that Steam discounts can devalue the games included in them.
"Selling games at too high a discount - one often sees discounts above 80 per cent off here and there - sends a message to gamers: this game, simply put, isn't worth very much," the pair said.
"Of course you make thousands and thousands of sales of a game when it's that cheap, but you're damaging the long-term value of your brand because people will just wait for the next insane sale. Slashing the price of your game is easy. Improving the content of your offer when you release your game, that's more ambitious."
Steam, the biggest PC digital platform, has seen huge success in recent years from its sales, and developers have benefited as a result. Steam's witnessed five million people online at once, and has 35 million active users.
GOG.com, owned by the distribution and sales arm of Witcher 2 developer CD Projeckt, has emerged as an improving contender alongside other rivals such as EA's Origin.
Rambourg said his focus was to convince gamers to fork out their hard-earned cash on the day games are released by adding value - something it believes is better for developers and better for gamers.
"Heavy discounts are bad for gamers, too," he said. "If a gamer buys a game he or she doesn't want just because it's on sale, they're being trained to make bad purchases, and they're also learning that games aren't valuable.
"We all know gamers who spend more every month on games than they want to, just because there were too many games that were discounted too deeply. That's not good for anyone."
Rambourg admitted, though, that sales encourage people to try games they're not sure about. He called for a "happy medium" between the two extremes, something that gives gamers "a chance to take a risk without feeling like they've gotten a bad deal, and pricing things so cheaply that you tell gamers, 'this game I made isn't worth very much.'"
Last month Minecraft maker Markus "Notch" Persson said it was a good thing that Valve's Steam had a serious competitor in EA's Origin.
"I think it's a bit dangerous to only have one digital distribution platform like Steam," he said.
"I love Valve, but out of principle, I find the idea of one platform a bit scary. So I like that there are others competing - for example, Desura and Impulse, who recently got bought by GameStop. It's a good thing that there are more."
THQ's staunchly traditional arena shooter Nexuiz has now entered a public beta on PC, with the port of the Xbox 360 game - itself a port of an open-source PC game that began life as a Quake mod in 2005 - adding dedicated server and DX11 support.
The PC version introduces a handful of other improvements over the Xbox 360 version, including an increase in the game's speed to make it a more frantic experience.
Nexuiz launched on Xbox Live Arcade in March this year, though wasn't particularly well-received on its release. "Nexuiz leans too heavily on residual player goodwill, built up by older and better titles," said Dan Whitehead as he worked towards a 5/10, "but doesn't add enough fresh ideas of its own to escape those warm, fuzzy shackles of nostalgic indulgence."
Here's hoping that it finds its true home back on PC. The final version of Nexuiz launches there on May 3, and the beta can be found here.
The Vita version of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection does not include Peace Walker, Konami has confirmed to Eurogamer.
As was pointed out to us, the game was announced as such - Peace Walker was never intended to be included in the HD package.
But that hasn't prevented some gamers from expressing their disappointment at the news. The home console version, already out, does include the up-rezzed port of the PlayStation Portable game. It may be the case that file size limits for Vita games, which, as dictated by Sony, must be available to download as well as buy in shops, prevented Peace Walker's inclusion.
Konami did confirm, however, that the HD Collection includes Metal Gear 1 and Metal Gear 2, released on the Japan only MSX2 console in the early eighties and re-released as a component of the 2005 PlayStation 2 game Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.
That brings the collection to a total of four games: Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2, Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3. The HD Collection is out in Europe in the summer.
Upcoming Pokémon sequels Black 2 and White 2 will feature new main characters and a number of fresh locations to explore.
Set two years on from the original Black and White, the new DS sequels see the Unova region partly covered in ice, forcing the action into new areas of the map.
New playable characters, gym leaders and a new rival will feature, while the game's events kick off in a fresh location, Hiougi City, Serebii reports.
The sequels will focus on the legendary ice Pokémon Kyurem, likely the cause of the region's recent temperature drop.
Black 2 and White 2 are set to launch first in Japan on 23rd June. The games will get an "autumn 2012" release in the UK.
BioWare has blamed Sony for the lack of Mass Effect 3 multiplayer promotions on PlayStation 3. PC and Xbox 360 gamers get another event, Operation Resurgence, this weekend.
The regular promotions have run since Mass Effect 3's launch and granted access to in-game packs of multiplayer items.
PlayStation 3 gamers have yet to be included in these events. BioWare has not publically explained the reason for this despite repeated questioning from fans on the game's official forums. The developer has however now firmly pointed the finger of blame at Sony.
"Unfortunately, we are not yet able to offer our Multiplayer Challenge weekends on PlayStation 3. Sony has not yet approved the promotion," EA community manager Eduardo Vasconcellos wrote on the official BioWare blog.
"We continue to work with them to find a compromise, but until then, Sony will not allow us to run the same Multiplayer Challenges on the PlayStation 3 that we run on Xbox 360 and PC."
This means that PlayStation 3 gamers will, once again, miss the latest event. Scheduled for this weekend, Operation Resurgence will tie in to the new Resurgence DLC, offering 10 per cent more experience when playing on the free expansion's new maps, plus a guaranteed character unlock from one of the new classes.
In an unrelated issue, PC and Xbox 360 players are still to receive their rewards from the previous multiplayer event, Operation Raptor. Prize distribution has been halted after BioWare revealed some gamers had gained multiple packs. A fix was said to be coming this week.
Mass Effect 3's latest title update can cause the game to crash upon loading, rendering the title unplayable for those affected.
The issue appears to be centred around the Xbox 360 version of the game, although some PlayStation 3 users report similar problems.
Some players who have installed the 4MB download are then been unable to load Mass Effect 3's main menu. The game will often enter an endless load cycle while attempting to contact EA's servers or simply crash the console completely.
Gamers last night flooded the @MassEffect Twitter account and official BioWare forum with complaints after the title update went live, alongside the new free multiplayer Resurgence DLC. BioWare responded that it was "aware of issues" and appealed for help from users to fix the problem.
Users have meanwhile begun prescribing their own fixes for the game: loading Mass Effect 3 while disconected from Xbox Live, clearing the system's cache, swapping game discs and sheer persistance have reportedly fixed the issue for some people, while others remain affected.
The title update was designed to mend Mass Effect 3's face import problem, a fix that BioWare's community coordinator Chris Priestly previously admitted had been a while coming. "A new patch gets heavily tested by BioWare, EA, Microsoft and Sony before it can be released to the public," he explained. "We all want to be sure that it fixes the issues it is supposed to fix and doesn't start any new issues."