Watching a city buzz at night time is awesome—all the cars, all the lights. It's hard not to feel awe. It's even better if you're watching a city's downtown though. Things seem to move at a different speed, almost.
Here is a video of a downtown in the upcoming Sim City; it's buzzing at 'cheetah' speed. Boy is it beautiful.
Cheetah speed [oceanquigley]
One of the sad and somewhat odd outcomes of today's big auction of top games and studios from game publisher THQ is that no one—not EA, not Activision, not Take Two, not Bethesda, not Ubisoft... no one—made a bid for the action-game series Darksiders and Vigil, the studio that made those games.
Look, even here at Kotaku the Darksiders games aren't uniformly loved. But some of us dig them and we can now share the bittersweet news that some very talented game developers dig them, too.
Here's Atsushi Inaba, the head of Platinum Games, makers of Bayonetta, Vanquish and other cool action titles:
And here's a translation, via our own Brian Ashcraft:
"In THQ's studio and IP selling off auction, Darksiders is unsold? [We] wanna buy it...on the cheap..."
Earlier today, some of us half-kidded that Nintendo should have snatched up Vigil. The Darksiders games are, more or less, an M-rated love letter to Zelda (please don't read that the wrong way!). Nintendo obviously didn't go for Vigil. If Platinum did? Or even went just for the series? We're not rooting for people to be out of work, but either result would be fascinating.
We're following up to see what could come of this.
This Wednesday edition of Kotaku's The Moneysaver catches all the offers, promotions and bargains that can't wait until the weekend. The Midweek Moneysaver is brought to you by Dealzon.
• Yesterday's release Ni no Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch (PS3) is $57.99, free ship from J&R. Only two bucks off, but this is the only retailer with a discount. No sales tax except in NY.
• The Secret World (PC download) is $10 at Origin (next best $30). This MMO recently changed to the subscription-free model similar to Guild Wars 2.
Sega Genesis and Retro Sega Games are on sale at Green Man Gaming and activates on Steam. The Mega Drive (aka Genesis) collection is $1.50 for a single series, with each series including 10 games. Includes classic series such as Golden Age, Streets of Rage, and Shining Force.
• SEGA Megadrive Collections is $1.50 for each pack (10 games each pack)
• SEGA Retro Bundle is $16.87 (includes all 5 Genesis packs plus the 5 games below)
• NiGHTS into Dreams HD is $5.36 (next best $10)
• Jet Set Radio is $2.72 ( list$10)
• SEGA Bass Fishing is $2.44 (next best $9)
• Crazy Taxi is $2.44 (list $9)
• Space Channel 5: Part 2 is $2.44 (next best $9)
Microsoft Store is offering 1600 Xbox 360 LIVE points ($20 value) with the pre-order select Xbox 360 titles for $59.99 with free shipping. Microsoft recently added Gears of War Judgment to the eligible titles.
• Feb. 5 release Dead Space 3 Limited Edition
• Feb 19 release Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
• Feb. 26 release Bioshock Infinite
• Mar. 5 release South Park: The Stick of Truth
• Mar. 15 release Tomb Raider
• Mar. 19 release Gears of War: Judgment with a Classic Hammerburst Weapon and Alex Brand Playable Character
• Mar. 19 release Crysis 3 Hunter Edition
• Mar. 26 release Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel
• Mar. 31 release Lost Planet 3
• Mar. 31 release Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14
• Spring 2013 release Grand Theft Auto V
• This week Toys 'R' Us has a "Save $20 off 2 Wii U games" sale on titles priced $49.99 or more. [Dealzon]
• Darksiders Franchise Pack is $19.99 (next best $40). Includes games I & II, 11 DLCs, and the Season Pass.
• Mass Effect 3 is $14.99 (list $30)
• Stacking is $7.49 (list $15)
• Psychonauts is $4.99 (list $10)
• Halo 4 with an Xbox LIVE 12 Month Gold Membership is $69.98, free ship (separately $80)
• Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (PC) is $39.99, free ship (next best $60)
• Hitman: Absolution (360, PS3) is $27.99, free ship (next best $40)
• Record of Agarest War Zero Limited Edition (360) is $19.99, free ship (next best $25)
Green Man Gaming
• Yesterday's release Rush Bros. is $11.96 (next best $15)
• Today's release Strike Suit Zero is $15 (list $20)
• Today's release The Cave is $11.25 (next best $15)
• Today's release The Sims 3: 70s, 80s & 90s Stuff Pack is $16 (list $20)
• Jan. 25 release DMC: Devil May Cry with $3 Credit or $2 Cash Back is $37.50 (next best $50)
• Jan. 29 release Dungeonland is $7.50 (list $10)
• Feb. 5 release Omerta: City of Gangsters with $3 Credit or $2 Cash Back is $25.50 (list $40)
• Feb. 12 release Aliens: Colonial Marines with $3 Credit or $2 Cash Back is $35 (next best $45)
• Mar. 5 release Tomb Raider with $2 Credit or $1 Cash Back is $33.75 (next best $45)
• Mar. 5 release South Park: The Stick of Truth with $3 Credit or $2 Cash Back is $45 (next best $49)
• Mar. 31 release Metro: Last Light with $3 Credit or $2 Cash Back is $45 (next best $60)
• Apr. 2 release Defiance is $45 (list $60)
• Apr. 23 release Dead Island Riptide with $3 Credit or $2 Cash Back is $30 (list $40)
• Virtua Tennis 4 is $12 (next best $15)
• Alpha Protocol is $12 (list $15)
• Endless Space: Admiral Edition is $12 (next best $30)
• Gemini Warsis $8 (next best $20)
• PID is $8 (list $10)
• Lucius is $4 (next best $20)
• Dark Void Zero is $1 (next best $5)
• Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (Wii U) is $46.99, free ship (list $60)
• LEGO Lord of the Rings (360, PS3) is $29.99, free ship (next best $40)
• THQ Mega Pack (19 PC download games) $24.99 (list $50)
• Bit.Trip Complete (Wii) is $12.85 (next best $20)
• Karaoke Revolution Glee: Volume 3 with Microphone (360) is $12.10 (next best $20)
• Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Wii) is $10.99 (next best $20)
• NBA 2K13 (Wii U) is $39.99, free ship (next best $56)
• Resident Evil 6 (360, PS3) is $29.99, free ship (next best $40)
• Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends (360) is $20.99, free ship (next best $27)
• Crosswords Plus (3DS) is $19.99, free ship (next best $29)
• Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) is $19.99, free ship (next best $40)
• Wonderbook: Book of Spells (PS3) is $17.99, free ship (next best $32)
• The Walking Dead Game (PC download) is $12.48 (next best $25)
• XCOM Enemy Unknown (PC download) is $39.99 (next best $50)
• Aliens: Colonial Marines Collector's Edition (360, PS3) is $86.76 (list $100)
• Xbox 360 Live 12-Month Gold Membership Card is $39.99, free ship from NewEgg. Next best is $49. [Dealzon]
• Xbox 360 4GB Console with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is $209.99, free ship from TigerDirect. Next best is $260. [Dealzon]
• Nintendo 3DS XL (Blue/Black) is $179.99, free ship from Best Buy. Next best is $200. The Flame Red non-XL 3DS is also available at $149.99. [Dealzon]
• Xbox 360 4GB Slim Console is $179.99, free ship and comes with a $20 gift card from Best Buy. Usually $200 for the console alone. [Dealzon]
• Sennheiser X320 Xbox 360 Gaming Headset is $89, free ship and comes with a 3 Month Xbox Live subscription from eBay Deals. Next best is $142. [Dealzon]
• Wonderbook: Book of Spells PlayStation Move Bundle is $44.99, free ship from Best Buy. Next best is $60. [Dealzon]
• HP Envy dv7t-7200 Quad Edition 17.3-inch laptop with Quad Core i7-3630QM, 1080p display, GeForce GT 650M 2GB, 8GB RAM, Blu-ray, Windows 8 is $978.74 with $9.99 shipping from HP. List price is $1,305.
• Dell XPS 8500 Desktop with a $400 coupon is $999.99. Comes with Quad Core i7-3770 (3rd Gen), Radeon HD 7770 2GB, 16GB RAM, 2TB HDD + 32GB SSD, and Blu-ray. Free ship from Dell Home. That's cheapest ever by $100.
• HP ENVY h8-1540t Desktop with Ivy Bridge Core i7-3820, Radeon HD 7570, 10GB RAM, Windows 8 is $849.99 with $9.99 shipping from HP. New low by $35. List price is $1,000.
As always, smart gamers can find values any day of the week, so if you've run across a deal, share it with us in the comments.
The Creator's Project series of videos continues, this time touching on the world of Far Cry 3. Specifically, they explore how a we've got the story—Jason Brody has to save his friends—and we've got the island's allure and beauty calling out like a siren. Both are intended; the video goes into why.
The effect is that the player doesn't have much guiding them toward the story—why should you care about people you don't really know? And in this way, Jason's inevitable decision to go out and enjoy the island is not only intended, but accounted for. No weirdness around what the story dictates versus what a player actually does.
Unless, of course, you played like I did, ignoring the island and sticking to the story. In which case this all kind of falls apart.
Still, they're interesting ideas.
Kill Screen Episode 4: The Open World of Far Cry 3 [The Creator's Project]
A whole bunch of people who pre-ordered Ni no Kuni are having all sorts of issues getting their copies of the PS3 role-playing game, which came out Tuesday.
We've been getting tons of tips about the pre-order issues for the past two days, and people have taken to publisher Namco Bandai's forums to complain. People who pre-ordered the special Wizard's Edition of the game from Namco's store tell us their orders remain unshipped, and in some cases, cancelled entirely.
There's even a big thread on the Namco forums titled "The (un)official 'What's going on with my order' thread." Check it out to see a big FAQ created by one of the Namco forum members, and plenty of angry complaints from people who have yet to receive the games they put down money for—or whose orders were cancelled with no explanation.
I reached out to Namco Bandai this morning to ask about these pre-order woes, but I have yet to hear back. I'll keep you updated as I hear more.
For some weird counter-intuitive reason, video-game versions of pinball fascinate me. Everything's essentially fake in games like Zen Pinball. There's none of the physicality that makes real-life pinball so fun. Yet, the ways that various developers approach the flippers-and-bumpers challenge can take you on a wild ride through flashy ideas and designs.
Momonga Pinball Adventures reminds me of the console games that would appear out of nowhere, with some member of a furry species as its star. The lead character here—a dwarf flying squirrel called Momo—stands as the sole survivor of his village after an attack by a flock of evil owls destroys it. He's looking to take out the foul flyers and goes on a journey to track them down, meeting up with other cutesy animals along the way.
MPA starts off feeling like it's almost too cute to bear. But the physics simulation—the heart of any virtual offering that wants to be take seriously as pinball—is sharp. The hits and angles feel real and bouncing around the level never comes across as inaccurate. Most of all, it's the swirling level geometry that will pull you in. Paths branch off into directions with tempting goodies, loop into hidden areas and vault you onto higher tiers of a level. The game essentially fuses the principles of an old-school 3D platformer into pinball, complete with boost strips, partner characters and mini-bosses that you'll need to take out to proceed.
I thought I was going to be turned off by the cloying sweetness of Momonga's visuals, but the level of challenge hooked me. Pinging off the geometry of levels is fun but it takes a mix of patience and twitch reflexes to send Momo where you want him to go. The flying segments interspersed with the pinball don't add much to the gameplay but they don't take anything away from the game's clever execution, either. Momonga Pinball Adventures makes for a surprising and welcome mutation of what you might expect from a video game version of pinball. Well worth a dollar to check it out.
[Update] A source with knowledge of the situation tells Kotaku that Take-Two will acquire the WWE license.
Earlier rumors had said EA Sports acquired the license directly from WWE before the auction of THQ's assets. EA Sports denies this. An EA Sports spokesman told Kotaku the label has no plans to get into WWE-licensed games.
The Twitter feed for the WWE series also just published this tweet:
News has broken out about the sale of THQ's assets and it looks like many of the defunct publisher's signature franchises have been acquired. But, surprisingly, some seemingly bankable properties haven't been snatched up.
Many of the titles mentioned in a previously published assets list were sold off today. Most conspicuously, WWE isn't mentioned in the list of sold-off franchises mentioned in an official goodbye letter from earlier today. The pro wrestling license was the source of annually released games, which ranked among THQ's top earners for years. Another installment of the WWE franchise was said to be in development, presumably due to hit shelves later this year. But so far, no suitors for the video game slice of Vince McMahon's empire have emerged.
Vigil Studios, the wholly owned dev group of the two Darksiders games, also hasn't found a home yet. The future for any further Darksiders games was nebulous and updates to the dev team's work on the Warhammer franchise were unclear as of a month ago.
Add the Red Faction franchise to those two entities too. While Dead Island publisher Deep Silver has acquired Volition and that dev studio's beloved Saint's Row series, it's still unknown where Red Faction—also created by Volition—will wind up.
In the letter that circulated to THQ employees today, exec leaders Brian Farrell and Jason Rubin said:
Some assets, including our publishing businesses and Vigil, along with some other intellectual properties are not included in the sale agreements. They will remain part of the Chapter 11 case. We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible.
That seems to hint that THQ may yet find companies willing to take on the WWE franchise and Vigil. Kotaku has reached out to WWE representatives for comment and will update this story if we hear back.
The company famous for making step one in setting up your new computer removing the WildTangent Games App takes its casual gaming show on the road with Polar Bowler 1st Frame, the iOS extension of the original inner tube polar bear bowling PC game.
WildTangent is the casual version of Steam, giving potential players access to a large library of puzzle, hidden object and family-friendly fare, along with the odd discounted hardcore title. It's actually a rather nifty little service—I'm just not all that fond of its position as bloatware (unsolicited software) regularly loaded onto new brand name PCs and laptops.
Polar Bowler 1st Frame is WildTangent's first mobile game, bringing the full power of one of its most recognizable characters to bear in an ad-supported pin-toppler, because fans asked for it.
"Our Polar Bowler fans have been asking us for a mobile version of the game," said Matt Shea, executive vice president of product development at WildTangent, via official announcement. "Polar Bowler1st Frame is a natural choice for our first mobile title. We think our fans will enjoy it and we look forward to bringing them more mobile titles in the future."
I'm down, just as long as they don't start coming pre-installed on my phone.
Polar Bowler 1st Frame [iTunes]
The company's assets have been divided, pending final court approval: Sega agreed to purchase Relic (Company of Heroes), Koch Media has agreed to purchase Volition (Saint's Row) and the Metro property, Crytek has agreed to buy Homefront, Take-Two will purchase the unannounced game Evolve, and Ubisoft will buy THQ Montreal and the South Park game.
Here's the letter that THQ's CEO and president sent to all employees, passed along to us from a former THQ employee:
To All THQ Employees:
We now have the answers we've been seeking through our financial restructuring and
Chapter 11 case. While much will be written, here are the facts of the bids and auction
that occurred t:
- Yesterday morning, we received a competing bid for the operating business,
along with Clearlake's offer, and numerous offers for separate assets.
- During an auction process that lasted over 22 hours, the final conclusion was
that the separate-asset bids would net more than a single buyer for the majority
of the company.
- Shortly, we will, present the results to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which must
concur with our assessment.
- The proposed sales of multiple assets is as follows :
- Sega agreed to purchase Relic
- Koch Media agreed to purchase Volition and Metro
- Crytek agreed to purchase Homefront
- Take 2 agreed purchase Evolve and
- Ubisoft agreed to purchase Montreal and South Park
We expect these sales to close this week.
Some assets, including our publishing businesses and Vigil, along with some other
intellectual properties are not included in the sale agreements. They will remain part of
the Chapter 11 case. We will make every effort to find appropriate buyers, if possible.
What this means for employees
We expect that most employees of the entities included in the sale will be offered
employment by the new owners. However, we cannot say what these owners may
intend, and there will likely be some positions that will not be needed under the
new ownership. You should receive notice this week or early next week if the new
owners intend to extend employment to you. Please note that the terms of your new
employment, including pay and benefits, may be different from the current terms of
your employment with THQ.
If you are an employee of an entity that is not included in the sale, we regret that
your position will end. A small number of our headquarters staff will continue to be
employed by THQ beyond January 25 to assist with the transition. THQ has sufficient
resources to pay these employees for work going forward, and we will be contacting
these employees immediately to ensure their continued employment during this
transition period. We are requesting the ability to offer certain severance pay to
minimize disruption for employees of non-included entities as they determine the next
steps in their careers.
We know you will have many questions about this news. We'll be meeting tomorrow
when we return to talk through this announcement and to answer any questions you
have. You will receive a benefits fact sheet and FAQs with answers to some questions
that may be on your mind. Please review these materials closely.
A personal note
The work that you all have done as part of the THQ family is imaginative, creative,
artistic and highly valued by our loyal gamers. We are proud of what we have
accomplished despite today's outcome.
It has been our privilege to work alongside the entire THQ team. While the company
will cease to exist, we are heartened that the majority of our studios and games will
continue under new ownership. We were hoping that the entire company would remain
intact, but we expect to hear good news from each of the separate entities that will be
operating as part of new organizations.
For those THQ employees who are part of entities that are not included in the sale, we
are confident that the talent you have displayed as part of THQ will be recognized as you
take the next steps in your career.
Thank you all for your dedication and for sharing your talent with the THQ team. We
wish you the best of luck and hope you will keep in touch.
Chief Executive Officer
The sale of THQ's assets in federal bankruptcy court will be finalized today. Word is that the hearing begins at 3 p.m.
Rumors already are spreading as to where THQ's studios and the series developed there have ended up. More »