Shacknews - Steve Watts

Mark your calendars, open world crime fans. Grand Theft Auto 5 has been given an official release date of September 17 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The announcement gave no mention of the rumored PC version.

Rockstar acknowledges that this is a delay from its spring release window, which it attributes to giving the game additional development time.

"Grand Theft Auto V continues to push the series forward in new ways; Rockstar North are creating our deepest, most beautiful and most immersive world yet," said Rockstar founder Sam Houser in the announcement. "We are very excited for people to learn more about the game in the coming months."

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Halo 4's Spartan Ops season is heading towards a climax, with only three episodes left. A newly released trailer promoting next week's episode 8 shows just how dire the situation is getting as we approach the finale.

Prometheans have been assaulting the Infinity, leading the battles to slowly shift from primarily Covenant to new enemies. This episode, titled "Expendable," sees the fallout as the UNSC forces try to fight back the enemy and understand what they're after. It even shows the Promethens apparently abducting Dr. Halsey. The name has ominous overtones: Will the UNSC sacrifice one of its most brilliant (albeit rebellious) minds?

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Splash Damage's self-funded PC shooter Dirty Bomb is entering closed alpha today so those of you in the Founder's Club can check your e-mail shortly to see if your key has come yet. Meanwhile, the developer has released new footage to show off Echo, its analytics system.

You can sign up at the official site. You could also purchase your way into immediate access for a cool $120, which grants you some bonuses like a founder's tag, art book, and soundtrack.

The trailer shows how the developer has already used Echo to alter some maps in its pre-alpha testing, in response to factors like disproportionate deaths in certain parts of the map.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

The physics acceleration revolution may have failed long ago, but Nvidia's keeping the dream alive for romantics by cramming its PhysX tech into games whenever it can. A new Hawken trailer shows the effects of PhysX in the in the free-to-play stompy mech shooter, much the same as any other PhysX game: a big confusing mass of particles which look out of place.

Yes, if you play Hawken with PhysX enabled you can look forward to shields giving off turbulence particles which conceal what's behind them, explosions raining particles which don't fit with the rest of the art, and huge lumps of debris littering the battleground. You need an Nvidia graphics card to see any of this, of course, unless you hack past the arbitrary block PhysX has against AMD cards.

Hawken is currently in open beta, slated to officially launch early this year. Hit the official site to register and play.

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Happy Wednesday, Shackers. It's January 30, 2013 with Late Night Computing.

The different unlockable game modes for Dead Space 3 are pretty interesting. A single life for the entire game, especially. Having a limited number of saves is one thing. One life, though? That sounds like a mode made for masochists. Provided the game is longer than ten hours, of course. Sign me up! I'll see your challenge defeated, Visceral.

News bits:

  • Research in Motion (RIM) rebrands itself BlackBerry, and releases the first official BlackBerry 10 units including the Z10. [via The Verge]

  • A federal judge rules that Samsung's infringement on Apple's patents was not "willful" in nature. [via ArsTechnica]

  • Speaking of patents, Apple is granted a trademark for the layout of its retail stores. [via Yahoo!]

  • As the debate over gun control continues, a Department of Homeland Security analysis of mass killings since 1999 reveals an archetype of the perpetrators. [via Wired]

  • The Disney Animation Studios presents the full animated short Paperman, for free. [via Youtube]

Chatty posts of the moment:

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

  • "What office stereotype are you, and why? Are you the Golden Child? The Storyteller? The Lunchtime Nailclipper? I think I'm the Prankster. I take great joy in messing with people and making them laugh during the workday. Leave your computer unlocked? My Little Pony wallpaper. Leave your phone unlocked? Phrases like "the" turn into "headrush is king". I also love to slowly rise over cube walls so that just the top of my head and eyes show, staring until the person freaks out." [by Head Rush]

  • "Can we do some Book Recommendations? I like scifi/fantasy, and I read a lot. I have read almost every major series, and most major authors. I won't go into detail, but my favorite books are The Name of the Wind, Ender's Game, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Are there some lesser known series I should be looking at?" [by Cottc Cid]

Nightly file:

    Wizardry Online client downloader 1.0. "Wizardry Online is the most hardcore fantasy MMO ever created. The difficulty level is insane. The dungeons are brutal. There is no auto-healing. You will earn your levels. Your crimes taint your soul. Your allies could betray you at any moment. And when you die, you die forever. Are you ready for the challenge? " Download the client here.


Neverwinter Founder's Pack trailer:

See the exclusive content coming to the Founder's Pack for those who decide to pony up a bit of cash for Neverwinter.

The Warframe beta gets its sixth update with a new trailer, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance shows off its High-Frequency Blades, MLB 13: The Show discusses the changes to its hitting mechanics, Antichamber launches with a new trailer, Crysis 3 releases its fifth feature episode, and Hawken prances about in its PhysX trailer.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Sony has revealed a lot more details on Killzone: Mercenary, which was announced for Vita at Gamescom last year. Developed by Guerrilla Games, the game will be coming on September 17, and will be set just after the end of the original Killzone.

According to the PlayStation Blog, the player will be cast as former UCA soldier Arran Danner, a merc faced with some tough choices after a mission he is sent on goes awry. The game features nine hour-long missions in single-player, with multiplayer having supporting up to eight players and three different game modes, including Warzone.

Check out the new trailer below for some gameplay. You can expect more details as soon as we have them.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault has been available for the PlayStation 3 since November. The cross-buy game was also set for Vita, but that version's push to January disappointed some fans of the series. You might notice that January is almost over, with no sign of the game on Vita -- Insomniac has noticed that too.

A now-pulled post on its Facebook page (via Polygon) expressed some frustration with Sony's silence on the subject of a Vita release.

"Insomniac cannot make any comment about the game," the post read. "We have repeatedly asked Sony and Tin Giant for an update to share with our fans. They have not provided any update we are allowed to share.

"We are sorry for any disappointment, but there is nothing we've authorized to release publicly. Trust us in that we share your frustration, and have been passing your comments on to Sony, we also advise you contact Sony directly to share your disappointment and frustration."

The post seemed more than a little passive-aggressive, so it's not difficult to understand why it might have been pulled. But it does raise the question of why we haven't heard any word of the Vita game. The port is reportedly being handled by Tin Giant, while Insomniac works on new content like maps and multiplayer skins. Whenever the Vita version does come, its cross-buy status will mean current owners will get the portable version for free. The PS3 version is currently available on the PlayStation Store.

Shacknews - John Keefer

The talent loss at struggling social game company Zynga continues as the company's chief game designer Brian Reynolds has resigned, saying he is looking to get back into the nitty gritty of game design.

Reynolds, who led the design for FrontierVille and headed up Zynga's Baltimore studio, confirmed in a Facebook post that he wanted to work with a small team again and get back to "hands-on" game design. He said his almost four years at Zynga was "exciting to be there at a time when new rules being written for a new industry." He didn't go into any detail but promised in a tweet that he would be "back soon."

Zynga acknowledged the departure in a statement (via Polygon): "We appreciate Brian's contribution and we're proud of the deep bench of creative leaders who are leading the next wave of game innovation at Zynga," said Steve Chiang, Zynga's president of games.

Reynolds joined Zynga after he left developer Big Huge Games in 2009 when it was acquired by 38 Studios. Prior to that, he had worked on such RTS classics as Rise of Nations, and Civilization 2 and Alpha Centauri while at Firaxis.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Sleeping Dogs appears to be getting another round of downloadable content, themed after the upcoming Chinese New Year. A brief glimpse of footage and Trophy information outs it as "Year of the Snake," which just so happens to actually fall on February 10. If we had to place bets, we'd say the DLC will hit sometime around then.

The footage was discovered in the game directory after the most recent DLC release. On top of that, Trophies from Exophase (via Eurogamer) mentions "Year of the Snake" by name. It awards baubles for joining a bomb squad, defeating cultists, finding hidden collectibles, and completing side-missions.

Shacknews has contacted Square Enix regarding the DLC. Check out the footage for a look at what we can only presume are the cultists.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Steam Greenlight continues to plug ahead with more games vying to become breakout stars, but Valve has tweaked some things under the hood to make for a smoother experience as well. A new update includes options to make it easier for users to keep an eye on the games they're interested in, and more detailed stat information for developers.

The update notes includes the ability to skip items in your vote queue, which will remove them for a month and then reshuffle them into your vote queue. Or, if you want to go back manually, you can find them in the "Items to Revisit Later" menu. In addition to Favorites, you can now "follow" an item to be notified of updates from the developer. You can also create a collection of your favorites, and post announcements to others browsing your collections. Plus, if you want to spread the word about a game, the update includes social media hooks.

Developers, meanwhile, get a more detailed set of stats to show how many people are looking at their game or software, how many people are voting, and the stats on a timeline. Check out Greenlight to get started with the new tools.