Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Ooh, aren't holidays with the family trying? Skip all that fuss by logging onto Guild Wars 2 to celebrate this secular period of colder weather in the Northern hemisphere. With its Wintersday festivities kicking off on Friday, ArenaNet has shared the event timetable and a new trailer teasing the treats to come.

The event page has the full rundown, from snowball fights to a Winter Wonderland jumping puzzle. The toymaker Tixx will be slowly touring Tyria in his honking great airship to deliver gifts, but come December 20 it'll be overrun by naughty toys bent on smashing the workshop. Only you can save Winterval!

Guild Wars 2's microtransaction store, The Black Lion Trading Company, will be jazzed up for the season too, selling new festive town clothes and merry weapons.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

EA's banged on about how urban planners will be able to connect cities in SimCity, and now demonstrates that nicely in a new six-minute video. Each city can hook up with neighbouring cities, run by you or your chums, to import and export resources like electricity and policing, or just to be friends I guess.

Each city is in a region with other empty parcels of land, which you and yer mates can found new cities on. If you want to keep your main city a glimmering shrine to the excesses of gambling, as lead designer Stone Librande has in this video series, you can pollute a new city with cheap coal power plants to send electricity your way. Librande hands that city over for a friend to run, then supplies it with policing from his, while relying upon its fire service. Handy thing, the world.

SimCity is coming to PC and Mac on March 5, 2013, developed by Maxis.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Propose something nostalgic and people will whip their wallets out, but ask for help with something new and you may lose all faith in this so-called culture. Fortunately, the phenomenal Sportsfriends managed to narrowly hit its crowd-funding target in the final day, after an awful struggle. Rejoice! J.S. Joust and several other wonderful, wonderful local multiplayer games will receive a proper release.

The Kickstarter campaign ended yesterday with $152,451, just over its $150k goal. Half of the funding arrived only in the last few days, and it only leaped across the finish line with 9 hours left.

Sportsfriends is a merry big bundle of competitive local sport-ish games. Along with the wonderful first-person shover J.S. Joust, which uses PlayStation Move controllers to govern a big game of shoving, it packs Hokra, Super Pole Riders, and BaraBariBall. These fine games have been big on the indie event scene but hard to get your hands on for keeps.

With funding secured, Sportsfriends will be formally released for PC and PlayStation 3, starting October 2013-ish. Thanks, Internet, for bringing some hope to video games.

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Monday, December 10, 2012. Is it the weekend yet? Ugh.

How was your weekend, Shackers? Boring? Good! Those are the best times to catch up your backlog, especially given all the new games due out in the first quarter of 2013. Assassin's Creed Revelations has been my game of choice. Though, something just feels off about this one. Maybe it's the change of locale? I've no idea. Or, I've just played these titles too close together to fully appreciate them.

News bits:

  • What does the year 2030 look like? Superhumans, instant cities, along with all types of other crazy stuff. I did ask for this. [via Wired]

  • What does the Internet look like over in North Korea, where the government controls every bit of information? [via BBC]

  • After Earth, by Gary Whitta and M. Night Shyamalan, is teased with an early 2013 release. [via Den of Geek!]

  • The best, or possibly worst, quotes of the year 2012. Politicians, politicians everywhere. [via USA Today]

Chatty posts of the moment.

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

  • "The Christmas break/vacation time is rapidly approaching. Instead of asking what your gaming backlog looks like, instead, I ask thee...What are you planning on playing over the break? Are you trying to knock out Dark Souls? Maybe another run through of Borderlands 2? Baldur's Gate: EE?" [by MercFox1]

  • "MONDAY DISCUSSION That one feature you're hoping comes along in the "next-generation" of gaming/consoles. What is it?" [by eonix]

Nightly file.

  • Recruits demo 1.0. "Recruits is a squad based top down shooter. Inspired by games like Cannon Fodder, Alien Swarm and Jagged Alliance Recruits puts players on the front lines of the battlefield to accomplish your missions through any means necessary. Fast paced and packed with explosions, Recruits offers a wide variety of features that allow you, and your friends to take command of the action and lead your men to victory." Download the demo for Windows.

Media.

Dark Souls II cinematic trailer:

Oh, you saw the debut trailer already? Tough! Watch it again, and this time notice the haunting soundtrack.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Based on BioShock Infinite's box art, you'd think it's about some shotgun totin' dude that loves burning American flags or something. Yeah, fight the man!

It's an oddly generic box, one that makes the game seem like "generic shooter 2013" and not the next "Ken Levine joint." Sure, Booker is wearing a dapper tie, but it feels like something is missing in this rather boring cover art.

Apparently, the decision to use such boring art was intentional. Creative director Ken Levine admitted that the cover is meant to appeal to "frathouses and places like that."

According to Levine, the results of a tour surveying gamers that don't read sites like this one were disparaging. "Not a single one of them had heard of [the first BioShock]." Levine was then struck with this revelation: "For some people, [games are like salad dressing... I use salad dressing; I don't read Salad Dressing Weekly. I don't care who makes it, I don't know any of the personalities in the salad dressing business."

Levine told Wired that he was "heavily involved with" the design of BioShock's original cover, but admitted that it wasn't effective at attracting a more casual audience. "For the people who aren't informed, that's who the box art is for."

Box art connoisseurs will probably want to skip the PS3 version of the game, as it is littered with even more marketing messaging than its other platform counterparts.

The PS3 version of BioShock Infinite proudly touts its exclusive promos

Shacknews - Ryan Calavano

The Walking Dead was the big winner at the 2012 VGAs, taking home five awards for Game of the Year, Best Downloadable Game, Best Performance by a Human Female for Clementine, Best Adapted Video Game, and Best Studio for developer Telltale Games. The VGAs also packed plenty of new trailers and here they are in case you missed them. Finally, when The Phantom Pain debuted with a VGA trailer on Friday, something seemed suspicious. The award show had devoted a fairly lengthy amount of time (and Adam Scott hype) to an unknown game from an unknown studio. Before you could say "Big Boss," the Internet was digging in its heels to unwrap the mystery.

You can also watch this episode on YouTube. And, don't forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes as they go up.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The Xbox Live Arcade version of Minecraft has been a breakout success on the platform, but it's missing one key thing: an ending. That's all set to change once Title Update 8 hits.

Play XBLA reports that "The End," in which the player warps to a void area to battle an Ender Dragon, will come with TU8. But first up will be Title Update 7, which will bring about animal breeding, potion brewing, enchantment tables, a mushroom biome, and nether fortress. On Twitter, 4J Studios revealed a few additional details. You'll earn XP every 30 points, rather than 50, and you can bank it by mining, crafting, and breeding animals.

No release timing has been announced for the updates, but they tend to be spaced a few months apart, so it may be a while yet before Xbox players can experience "The End."

Shacknews - Steve Watts

As you wait for Rockstar to drip-feed more information on the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 5, you can pay a visit to the series' earlier skewed representation of California. A PS2 Classics release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is coming to the PlayStation Store with tomorrow's update.

No price is mentioned on the PlayStation.Blog, but if it follows in the bloody footsteps of GTA3, it will cost you $9.99. Or in San Andreas money, 1/10 of a hospital visit.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

If you missed Games Workshop's recent reissue of Space Hulk, or simply enjoy purging aliens from derelict space ships, good news! A new video game adaptation is in the works for PC, Mac and iOS, staying true to the classic turn-based Warhammer 40,000 board game but packing lovelies like a co-op mode and cross-platform play.

Space Hulk sees Space Marines clad in their finest and fanciest Terminator armour boarding hulking great derelict ships to clear out an infestation of naughty Tyranid Genestealers. It's attempting to recreate the tense tabletop experience, with Games Workshop saying "It's a turn-based game that emulates the look and feel of the board game, but with full 3D animation."

Along with 12 missions based upon the 'Sin of Damnation' campaign from Space Hulk's third edition, it'll pack cross-platform co-op and competitive multiplayer, and a level editor to share cruel creations with chums across the Imperium of Man.

Electronic Arts released a Space Hulk adaptation way back in 1993, and a sequel in 1995.

The new one is due in 2013, developed by Frontline Tactics maker Full Control. Don't miss the delightfully retro official website and announcement trailer:

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Valve boss Gabe Newell says that now that Steam's Big Picture mode has launched, the addition of Linux support is the next crucial step in developing its own hardware plans. The company already appears to be preparing itself with increased support for Linux in its games.

Newell told Kotaku that once Steam Linux is out of beta, and Big Picture can run on the Linux platform, it will give the company more flexibility to make its own hardware without using Windows as its backbone. The head of Valve has been critical of the Microsoft OS recently.

To that end, Engadget reports that the company has been updating select Steam games with Linux support as it continues to test the OS. Ubuntu is reportedly the most supported distribution available so far.

Once Linux and Big Picture are playing together nicely, Newell said that both Valve and other companies will create PC boxes meant for the living room. "We'll do it but we also think other people will as well," he said. "Certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room. The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions, and customers can find the ones that work best for them." He also said these boxes could compete with the next-gen consoles coming from Microsoft and Sony.

Speculation surrounding Valve's approach to the hardware market kicked off with a report of a Steam box, which the company claimed were just Big Picture prototypes. More recently, the company has talked about developing hardware, though it wasn't clear if it was referring to experimental solutions like wearable computers.

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