THQ offered us a peek at a playable version of its downloadable Red Faction spin-off, the four-player vehicular combat action game Red Faction: Battlegrounds, at this week's Tokyo Game Show. What did we learn?
Well, not too much more beyond what was featured in the downloadable game's debut trailer. Red Faction: Battlegrounds is a frantic, competitive arcade action game, a top-down perspective take on Twisted Metal-style car combat. Vehicles, mechs, tanks and weapons lifted from the Red Faction franchise will make an appearance in the game, like the mini-black hole spawning singularity gun.
But some Red Faction standbys—and some of the series' not so common weapons—won't be making an appearance in Battlegrounds. Here's a quick rundown of what won't be available in the game's arsenal. Believe me, I asked.
1. Cars with hammers attached to them
2. A gun that shoots hammers
3. A giant ostrich mech
Fortunately, the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network game doesn't appear to suffer for those absences. The hands-off demo we saw at TGS looked like a fun arcade experience, one on par with the planned $5 to $10 USD price THQ is expecting for Red Faction: Battlegrounds. With persistent rankings, leaderboards and planned downloadable content post-launch, this spin-off title might make the wait for the next fully-fledged Red Faction game a bit easier.
The game is expected to ship "a couple months" before Red Faction: Armageddon arrives in May 2011. Battlegrounds is planned to includes tie-ins to that title that THQ is still yet to detail.
Guillermo Del Toro, the man behind movies like Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone, has said he wants to make video games. Could he be making them with THQ?
That's the impression you get reading an interview over on Eurogamer with THQ's Danny Bilson, where he says:
We're not announcing anything but I can tell you Guillermo del Toro and I are very close friends. He lives about two miles from our office. I'm not confirming anything, but we have a lot of shared vision. We both spent a lot of time in the film business.
Now my PR person is about to smack me upside the head. If we were to do a game with Guillermo and Volition, I would really support that in a big way, personally. But we're not announcing anything yet. I'm not telling you what type of game it is or anything like that, if we were to do something. But I can tell you... [Bilson is muted].
...But he and I are good friends. We get along great. We have a lot of shared sensibility. He's a big fan of my previous work in the film business and I'm a big fan of his current work in the film business. He plays a lot of videogames and he lives practically next door so we hang out a lot and have a lot of fun.
What an odd thing to say. It's like he wanted to make an official announcement, back-pedalled to just wanting to give a hint, then got stuck halfway and did both.
It'd be fascinating to see what Del Toro could bring to games, seeing as he's both a passionate gamer and a guy as renowned for his vision and creativity as his raw film-making skills.
THQ on everything [Eurogamer][image credit: Getty]
The first downloadable Red Faction game was officially named and detailed earlier today, but publisher THQ is making its latest game announcement officially official with new Red Faction: Battlegrounds media.
The Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network game is coming in 2011, courtesy of developer THQ Digital Studios UK and Volition. Four players can go head to head in vehicular based Martian combat, pitting tanks versus mechs versus "fast-attack vehicles" in a handful of game modes. The requisite Red Faction demolition is also included at no additional charge.
Red Faction: Battlegrounds will be playable at Gamescom 2010 this week, so we'll let you know what we think soon enough.
The question over the weekend was "Is THQ working on a downloadable Red Faction game?" The answer on Monday morning is "yes!"
Speaking at GDC Europe today,THQ Digital creative director Don Whiteford has revealed Red Faction: Battlegrounds to be a downloadable title for the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, which unlike the last (and upcoming) Red Faction games - which are all about hammers and ostriches - is about vehicular combat.
It's being worked on by the same studio behind Juiced, with a top-down view and up to four players able to play on a single screen. Sounds like Micro Machines, only with exploding bridges!
THQ, publisher of the Red Faction series, recently registered a domain for Red Faction Battlegrounds. That, plus word the publisher is working on a Red Faction game for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, equals a rumor.
The series' next title, Red Faction: Armageddon, is due out next year, and reports have the publisher cranking out a smaller-sized offering with no release date yet. But some also are speculating this could be the name of a Red Faction game for the Nintendo 3DS.
Of course, lots of publishers register tons of trademarks just to have 'em handy in case they like them down the line.
THQ Registers New Red Faction URL [GameSpot]
NASA and Microsoft have teamed up to deliver an amazingly detailed view of Mars to Microsoft Research's free Worldwide Telescope application, with images so detailed you can almost see the Google Maps camera cars roaming about the surface.
The Worldwide Telescope is a nifty little Microsoft program, available for free download or as a Silverlight browser app, which combines data from the world's most powerful far-seeing machines into one comprehensive virtual telescope. You can look at the stars in the night sky over your house, or explore deeper into the solar system, where you can check out the surface of Venus, or Jupiter and its moons.
But not quite as comprehensively as you can view Mars.
The new Mars experience included in the Worldwide Telescope utilizes more than 13,000 images from a variety of NASA spacecraft in order to produce "the most detailed, highest quality images ever taken of the Martian surface."
Downloading and installing the application will put a "WWT | Mars" icon on your Windows desktop, along with the normal Worldwide Telescope icon. Clicking on it gives you instant access to a wide variety of recent and historical pictures of the red planet, from Nathaniel Greene's pencil map from 1877, to images taken with today's ultra high-tech equipment.
Some of the most impressive visuals, as Mashable points out, come from the University of Arizona's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment. Stitching together the thousands of one-gigapixel images taken by a remote imaging camera mounted on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter provides us with the most detailed map of Mars ever created.
The program is pretty amazing, especially considering the price (free). You can explore on your own, or select a guided tour to download documentary-style explorations, some fully-voiced, covering of The Ages of Mars, the history of Mars landings, and more.
Red Faction Armageddon is the follow-up to last year's surprise hit, Guerilla. Those hoping for more free-wheeling action under a Martian sky may be in for a rude shock.
The game's instead gone underground, having made a sharp turn at Survival Horror Boulevard. Sweeping vistas are being swapped out for underground chambers, and while this may seem a regression from Guerilla's open-world mayhem, remember that a large portion of that game's "world" were actually inaccessible corridors.
THQ's plans for a Red Faction movie may be just the beginning for the Martian sci-fi smash 'em up. The SyFy network-produced made for TV movie may eventually become its own ongoing series.
NBC Universal cable network Syfy is planning a "major expansion of its Syfy Games unit" this year, writes Broadcasting & Cable, which includes more than just the De Blob animated series and Red Faction movie. SyFy is hoping its "big Syfy Saturday movie" turns out to be a "great back-door pilot."
Meaning, the Red Faction's two-hour-long pilot begets a fully-fledged series, similar in style to the science fiction network's Battlestar Galactica, which started life as a mini-series.
Broadcasting & Cable says the deal between THQ and SyFy goes even further, with the SyFy Games division helping to produce "the next iteration of the Red Faction video-game series" and WWE Smackdown, to which THQ holds video game rights, going to SyFy in the fall.
How many of you one-million-strong Red Faction fans are excited?
Just because a game isn't a AAA franchise doesn't mean it can't work as a movie. Take Hitman, for example. OK, bad example. How about Red Faction!
Publisher THQ is looking to get a movie adaptation of the franchise off the ground, figuring it's been long enough since Total Recall for the world to embrace a new story about gun-toting colonists and explosions on Mars.
It's part of a new strategy by THQ, following the lead of other studios like Capcom and EA, where games are approached as not just games, but as media properties. So an upcoming Red Faction game, for instance, would begin development at the same time a movie project based on Red Faction got off the ground, the two would be linked, and would be released at the same time.
This kind of thing has happened before - Enter the Matrix springs to mind - but hopefully the results in this instance would be better. And while a Red Faction movie is yet to be officially unveiled in name, in discussing the multimedia strategy, THQ's Danny Bilson told CVG that an imminent reveal on the publisher's policy will centre on the franchise.
A number of Red Faction games have been released over the past decade, most focusing on the struggle between Martian miners and military forces from Earth. There's always a big emphasis on blowing up not just people, but buildings as well.