Over the weekend, some supposed new screenshots of Beyond Good & Evil 2 - or at least BG&E2's tech demo - look to have turned up. Interestingly, while they share the same setting as the last screens (and the tech demo video), these actually have star Jade front and centre, and show sequences not depicted in prior looks.
Sadly, as good as this looks (or as weird, since all the tech seems decidedly human and contemporary), we probably won't get our hands on a second BG&E game until the next generation of home consoles.
Fresh Beyond Good & Evil 2 screenshots [VentureBeat, thanks CV1!]
Bar none, Hong Kong outfit Hot Toys make the most realistic action figures on the planet. So it's nice to know that, with The Avengers destroying box office records all over the planet, Hot Toys has the license to produce large, expensive and very fancy figures based on the movie.
Nearly every major character in the film is or will soon be available (and we've even seen some already). Indeed, four of the are being thrown together in the one pack that's being given away, with Kotaku readers able to hit up this link to enter the draw to win a bundle including Nick Fury, Captain America, Hawkeye and Thor. The same link will also let you know how to get your hands on Tony Stark's Mark VI figure, which is limited to only 3000 pieces worldwide and won't be available in stores.
Below you'll find pics of the four bundled figures, the Iron Man Mark VI and the newly-announced Loki, who'll be out in December and cost $210. Wondering where Black Widow and Hulk are? They're coming a little later...
You buy games at GameStop. You buy games hardware at GameStop. You may sometimes even buy a magazine or action figure. Very soon, though, you'll be able to add something a little unexpected to the list: mobile phone plans
The multinational games powerhouse will soon, in the US at least, turn itself into a telecommunications provider, offering a range of pre-paid and contract-free deals that rely on the user bringing their own phone to the table (GameStop won't, at least for now, be offering phone + plan deals).
Prices range from $5 to $55 a month depending on your data. Oh, and GameStop's plans will operate on AT&T's network.
I'm trying, real hard, but I cannot think of a single reason why anyone would want to do this.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier arrives this week, giving Dragon's Dogma a tough act to follow. PlayStation Move title Sorcery also finally arrives on shelves.
• Mario Tennis Open (3DS)
• Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PS3, 360)
• Dragon's Dogma (360, PS3)
• Sorcery (PS3)
• Men in Black: Alien Crisis (360, Ps3, Wii, 3DS)
• EVE Online: Inferno (PC)
• Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC)
• Joy Ride Turbo (XBLA)
• DiRT Showdown (PC)
• Iron Front—Liberation 1944 (PC)
If you thought you had discovered everything in Batman: Arkham City or, if not, it could be found on GameFAQs or in some other corner of the web, well, that's not so, says the game's studio. There are still "three or four" secrets in the game that no one has yet found, the game's director said in a panel discussion at London this weekend.
"Some of them we put in there that were really obscure were found within a week," Sefton Hill told London's Kapow! Comic Con, reported IGN. They didn't think anyone would solve Scarecrow's code, for example, but it was cracked in two days.
"But there are still three or four things that people haven't seen—some of them very subtle things," he said. One of them was in the game's demo, which "nobody has found - it's in there if you look hard enough."
Trolling? Or truth? Good luck finding out.
When the Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton unloaded nine home runs and 15 RBI in a week—in any postseason series, both figures would set records—we heard it again. The cliché says this type of feat is only seen on your living room couch. And if that's the case, I'd like to ask what game is being played. Because it's not really the state of the licensed sports video game market at present.
In one realm, we are a long way from the days of R.B.I. Baseball or Hardball!, in which a game that aspired to simulation quality, played on standard difficulty, regularly delivered 10-run, 20-hit games for human-run teams, and human-controlled players could finish a season with 100 stolen bases and home runs.
Bot more importantly, in another, arcade-style and secondary licensed titles are becoming less common, thanks to production costs and customer expectations that naturally increase as the gaming hardware gets more advanced. 2K Sports' inability to make enough money even with something well regarded like The Bigs is a reason many expect the label's parent to soon declare it will part ways with Major League Baseball after seven years. In fact, that could come during Take-Two Interactive's quarterly investor call on Tuesday.
Let's go back to 2004, the last year before exclusive licenses spoiled the buffet of options for sports video gamers. In that year alone, EA Sports released two versions of NFL Street. Midway, now defunct, published NBA Ballers and MLB SlugFest: Loaded.
The year before, 2003, had seen NBA Street 2 from EA and NHL Hitz Pro NFL Blitz Pro and another Slugfest from Midway. In a two-year stretch, the four major North American sports leagues combined for seven titles, all of them alternate arcade-style offerings.
These were the halcyon days of sports video gaming, for reasons more than just MVP Baseball and NFL 2K5 and the fact Madden was, yes, very good. So what happened?
• Sports leagues started realizing the value of their license. The exclusive license the NFL sold to EA Sports in 2004 is best known for killing off NFL 2K. But then Major League Baseball followed suit with the third-party exclusive it granted to 2K Sports, and the NBA for a time was said to be considering the same approach, later backing away. A broad effect of this shift was to drive out both the means and the will for competitors to get a cut of the action through arcade-style offerings
• For the license holders, better hardware made the bets more expensive and riskier, in addition to the premium paid on getting the rights. Just as the MLB and NFL exclusives were taking shape, the Xbox 360 released, and it caught both EA Sports and 2K Sports flatfooted in their NFL and MLB offerings on it. As the major labels struggled to shore up disappointing simulation offerings, there were no licensed arcade-style sports titles for the Xbox 360 in its first year of release. In its debut year, the PS3 got NBA Street Homecourt and The Bigs. The rise in production costs has helped create a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby the only labels that can afford to strike a licensing deal are also the only ones that can afford to make them look any good. A tanking economy has taken care of the stragglers.
• Finally, the dilution of the arcade-style sports catalog has a lot to do with leagues being more circumspect about how they are presented in video games. These are, necessarily, outlandish affairs. I am still astonished at how the NBA lifestyle was depicted in NBA Ballers, not because it was offensive—but because of how sensitive that league has since become to its players' conspicuous displays of wealth, power and fame. NFL Blitz was driven away by the league's exclusive deal; when Blitz returned, the league forbade late hits, owing to the increased scrutiny of concussions and head injuries in the meantime.
The next console generation is practically assured by 2014. Scuttlebutt suggests that all the major developers have the kits in their studios. I've been told more than once that EA Sports' biggest priority is not getting caught out, like it did in 2005 and 2006 with the Xbox 360, a shift that dealt cruel blows to both Madden and NBA Live.
What does that mean for the diversity of offerings? In one sense, it would suggest that secondary titles like NBA Jam are going to take a powder while a publisher gets everything right with the main product—especially as smartphone gaming has emerged as a cheaper development alternative still delivering profitable add-on products for a license holder.
But if you look at where arcade-style games have published lately—NHL 3-on-3, NBA Jam: On Fire Edition and NFL Blitz, it's mostly been as downloadable titles. FIFA Street, reviewed poorly, may be the last licensed arcade title to release on a disc. And it's a mortal lock that the next console generation is going to drive even more first-run content, if not all of it, to the consumer through digital distribution. This wasn't fully in place as the PS3 and 360 got off the ground.
We won't see the diversity of offerings that we did in console sports gaming's golden age. But the frequency of alternate titles may pick up as the prestige of being stamped on a disc becomes decreasingly relevant. Whatever hardware will be announced, if any, at E3 in two weeks, this bears watching.
If you've got any Dragonborn T-shirts, bumper stickers or other crap up on Cafe Press or Etsy, now might be the time to hold a clearance sale. ZeniMax Media just submitted a trademark application for that term, joining the recent filing it made for "Fus Ro Dah," presumably for the same purposes.
They're not screwing around, folks. Also, earlier this week, the maker of "Dragon Shout for Skyrim," a map annotation application for iOS devices said he received a copyright infringement notice. His app has not yet been removed from the iTunes store but it has now slashed its prices to the super low price of "free," now that the server costs for the game's social features have been paid.
Can't wait until "arrow to the knee" gets trademarked.
ZeniMax files trademark for Dragonborn [Fusible]
Diablo III's long-awaited release this week—and its unfortunate launch-day server problems—demonstrated that PC-only titles have not lost the ability to dominate all of video gaming's conversation. And this was in a week that saw the release of Max Payne 3, another title that fans had been looking to for a very long time.
For better or for worse, this was Diablo III's week in the spotlight. Here are some highlights from nearly 40 stories Kotaku published about the game in the preceding week.
Yes, we know one of them was not the game's review. Rest assured that is coming very soon.
Diablo III is upon us, and while the more dedicated fans of Blizzard's action role-playing franchise are well on their way to total demon domination, players new to the series might need a little help getting started. More »
Diablo III comes out tomorrow. Which really means it comes out tonight at midnight. I'm excited to play it-more excited than I would have thought I'd be, to be honest. More »
We were all excited last night. After a 12-year wait, Diablo III, Blizzard's much-anticipated action-fantasy loot-fest, had finally arrived. It was sitting there installed on our hard drives, waiting for midnight to come, for Blizzard to unlock the game so we could play it. More »
It's a tricky thing, choosing an online handle. You've gotta stick with it forever, so the dumb inside joke or ironically stupid insult you choose will be your name forevermore. More »
To celebrate the release of what will probably be the biggest PC game of the year (sorry Crusader Kings II, I still love you), here's a big collection of concept and promotional art from Diablo III. More »
The rigamarole is always the same: Big game is released, problems ensue. But for Diablo III, the launch was bigger-twelve years in the making. And the problems? More »
You will die. Frequently. You will stare at your screen as it slows to a crawl, wondering when the whole machine will just black out and die. You will roll your eyes and groan as if somebody just cut you in line at the grocery store. More »
On the eve of the release of Diablo III, I've been hearing chatter about the great Diablo series from office colleagues who I didn't even realize were fans. More »
According to reports out of South Korea, some of the country's most talented (and fastest) players finished Diablo III in record time. More »
Diablo is one of Blizzard's tentpole franchises, part of a Holy Trinity of PC gaming that includes the universes of StarCraft and Warcraft. It's reverence is well-deserved, as Blizzard has done a fantastic job with all three games. More »
This is sure to rankle a ton of axe-grinders, which makes it remarkable the development team for Madden NFL 13 chose to poke this snake. But there will be a "Tebowing" celebration animation in the game this year, according to Mike Young, the game's creative director.
When one Tebows, he drops to a knee and puts a balled fist to his forehead, somewhat looking like the armor-lock pose from Halo: Reach. There's no signing of the cross or pointing to heaven, but because its namesake, the New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, is such a visibly religious person, everyone gets fired up about mixing religion and sport even though that has been done in the end zone for decades. The gesture has been parodied and co-opted by other athletes, even outside the NFL, since Tebow introduced it.
I reached out to Young for a clarification on this on Friday but didn't hear back. Madden and NCAA Football have, for a couple of years, had an animation where a player drops almost to one knee but he shakes his right fist, which is as close as the game has come to this so far.
Then again, maybe I'm making too much out of the potential for controversy here. Including President Obama in a White House ceremony (since 2010) is a much more provocative statement to his political opposition, and EA did it anyway. Still wondering if they'll do that in an election year. Remind me to ask about that at E3.
Madden NFL 13 to Include Tebowing [Operation Sports]
Not sure how I feel about "web rush" having seen this latest trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man. I'm sure everyone's going to call this a quicktime event mechanic, and that sequence where Spidey taps the stooge on the shoulder and then wraps him up does look scripted.
But as the game's executive producer explains, "web rush" itself is supposed to be a slowed-down map of points on the screen you can choose to zip to as Spider-Man, giving the player an easier handle on moving Spidey through the city or in combat without watering down the visual appeal of his acrobatics. Can't wait to see Stan Lee doing this stuff.
I guess we will find out when the game gets here on June 26. It's an old-school full-Ginsburg adaptation of a summer film, available on PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS and DS.