Shacknews - Steve Watts

Update 2/8/13: Gearbox has officially announced the "Bug Hunt" mode for March, but did not mention an exact date or price. Wal-Mart purchasers will get this pack for free. The same announcement also confirmed a Season Pass for all platforms.

Original Story - Aliens: Colonial Marines will be getting a Season Pass' worth of DLC. But what will that actually entail? A retail leak may give us an idea.

An ad from retailer Wal-Mart was spotted on the Gearbox forums, promoting a new mode called "Bug Hunt," which challenges the player to "take on waves of increasingly difficult enemies" with a group of friends. Described as a "$14.99 Value," this add-on could be a bonus that Wal-Mart is offering.

Shacknews has contacted Sega regarding the mode, and will update as more information becomes available. While we wait to hear back, check out a new trailer below.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Zynga's FarmVille empire is expanding beyond Facebook and 7-Eleven. The ubiquitous social farming game is set to be an animated television series, produced by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand).

"FarmVille is one of the most exciting brands out there today and its cross-platform opportunities are endless. I am thrilled to be expanding the brand with existing fans and also engaging a whole new audience," Ratner said in a statement acquired by Deadline.

Given Ratner's track record, it seems entirely appropriate that Ratner would work on a FarmVille show, while J.J. Abrams moves on to do a Half-Life movie.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

This year's Call of Duty game is expected to fall short of the lofty sales figures of Black Ops 2. While little is known about Call of Duty 10, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg told investors today that the game will be shipping Q4 this year, meaning the franchise has not missed a single year since its debut in 2003.

Hirshberg argues that the lowered expectations for this year's game isn't necessarily from brand fatigue. Instead, the "ongoing console transition" is giving the company reason for a more conservative estimate. It's unknown if this year's Call of Duty game will be available on next-gen consoles--or if next-gen consoles will even be available by year's end.

Shacknews - John Keefer

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is Terminal Reality's FPS prequel to the TV series. Activision has release a new trailer (official, this time) showing off the brothers Dixon, and also revealed some of the retailer-exclusive pre-order bonuses you can get.

GameStop will include the Herd Mode Challenge, where you kill wave after wave of zombies to try for a high score. Reservations will also include a keychain molded in the shape of an ear. Amazon offers the Walker Execution Pack, which includes five special melee weapons.

The game will be coming to PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 19, and to Wii U on March 26.

Shacknews - Nikole Zivalich

Say goodbye to Connor. Say farewell to America. The next Assassin's Creed won't follow the model established by AC2. Instead of having a spin-off game continuing Connor's story, Ubisoft's next Assassin's Creed game will actually take place in an all new time period with a brand new hero. Then, Rayman Legends was due in just a few scant weeks on the Wii U, but the game has now been pushed all the way to September. The good news, at least for those who don't own a Wii U, is that the game will be available on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as well. Finally, "Both a Portal and Half-Life movie are things I want to see," J.J. Abrams said, noting that he's well aware of the pitfalls other game-to-movie adaptations have faced.

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

Shacknews - John Keefer

If you're holding out hope for a cloud gaming initiative within Steam, don't bet on it. Valve managing director Gabe Newell is not a fan of the service, saying during his DICE 2013 keynote today that it is "more of a feature for demos and spectation, and not as a core architecture for delivering value to consumers."

Newell said that cloud gaming is great for caching and saving on network resources, but ignores the fundamentals of IP costs. "There's always this 'let's ignore the fact that you have this network cost,'" he said. "Cloud gaming works until it becomes successful, at which point it falls over from its own success. As soon as everyone starts using a continuous network connection to get its applications, consumer IP pricing is going to go through the roof."

He also said that latency is a problem with the service in that it puts compensation for it at the center of the network instead of on the edge where he thinks it belongs. "We believe that latency sensitivity is going to increase in the future," Newell said. "The ability to do local high-speed processing will become more important than it is right now... We actually think there is going to be a bunch of hardware in the future where you have more sensitivity than a human does to latency and putting that functionality at the center of the network will actually be impossible."

In the end, Newell said he will continue to be skeptical of the whole process. "If you really just want to have a standard client out there that's not a full-blown game engine, there are much better approaches than sending video."

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

XYLA Entertainment has put their latest release, Rush Bros., up on Steam Greenlight. The game crosses platforming and competitive racing and puts it in a one-on-one forum. Players race to the end using either the techno-heavy soundtrack or any MP3 from their own personal music library--with each of the game's levels reacting to the background beats.

"Rush Bros. isn't procedurally generated from your music," explains Rush Bros. creative lead Ian Boswell. "We chose to take a more real-time analytical route with the game by adding in elements to the levels which are influenced by the beat of any song used--spike traps on pistons, saw blades, shock waves, moving platforms, lasers, electric fields, and hovering platforms will move, deploy, fire, and perform actions to the beat of whatever song is playing. If you change songs mid-game they will adjust to meet the new song's beat. This allowed our levels to follow a flow of difficulty, as well as have themes, tell stories, involve puzzles, and have a deeper level of play afforded to standard platforming games."

Players of all skill levels will be able to jump right into Rush Bros., as the game uses standard platforming mechanics that are easily accessible to anyone. Evoking an arcade atmosphere, the game uses a classic control scheme with modern maneuvers, like wall jumping and power sliding. The idea is simply to reach the finish line before your buddy does. Solo players can practice taking on their friends through the single-player time trial mode.

Rush Bros. features 30 levels, each of which are shaped slightly differently depending on the music track chosen. Puzzles, obstacles, and traps will either display noticeable differences or activate at different paces, depending on the current track's beat and tempo. Death lasers and falling spike traps, for example, will activate at different times when using a fast-paced techno track compared to when using a slower love ballad. Random item pick-ups, like Speed Up and Double Jump, don't adhere to these beat-laden rules as much, but will help gain the advantage over opponents. These elements serve to make each race unpredictable, as well as fun to watch.

XYLA hopes to encourage multiple replays of Rush Bros. by using the variety presented in its level design and the multiple exits available. Competition is the name of the game in Rush Bros. with two DJ's entering and only one leaving the winner. "There's a lot of trash-talking and open communication amongst players of the game, which we cannot stress enough should absolutely be played in split-screen mode online or on the couch," added Boswell. "Players who want to play the game full-screen online can do so, of course, but the game is best enjoyed when you are able to keep an eye on your opponent whether they are behind or in front of you."

Rush Bros. is up on Steam Greenlight and is currently on sale through GameFly.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault was pitched as a cross-buy game. Although the PlayStation 3 version released in November, the Vita version was delayed. Unfortunately, it appears the portable release has been posposted yet again, but Sony is offering a free game for disappointed fans.

A post on the PlayStation.Blog gives word that, try as they might, Tin Giant's port of the Insomniac game has not yet reached "the standards expected by our fans." The new launch window is spring. Those who purchased Full Frontal Assault on the PlayStation 3 will not only get the Vita version, but also a free download of Ratchet & Clank: Deadlocked for their troubles. Deadlocked will be available when the Vita title launches.

Sony's silence on the matter came to a head a week ago, when Insomniac published a passive-aggressive (and quickly pulled) note on its Facebook page.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Amid weak Vita sales, Sony has cut its full year expectations on portable hardware sales from 10 million to 7 million. The company concedes that the Vita has seen "slow penetration" into the market, and hopes to change that by presenting a stronger software line-up for the system.

In an investor call, CFO Masaru Kato was frank about the Vita's prospects. "One thing is clear for us. In terms of profitibility we have to do a better job of promoting the Vita," he said. He did point out that the company didn't revise its forecasts on "mobile phones and home game devices," signaling more confidence in those areas of the games division.

According to GI.biz, the games division posted revenue of $2.86 billion, down 15% from last year. Vita received the most attention since it's the newest system on the market, but but sales of Sony hardware in general is in decline. Combined PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 sales were down to 6.8 million from 7.4 million last year. Portable sales actually increased from 2.4 million to 2.7 million, but that doesn't match the company's expectations.

Sony is expected to announce its next console at an event on February 20.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Capcom has a long history in the industry, and in its heyday was known for its variety of arcade machines. It only makes sense, then, that to celebrate the company's 30th birthday, it's banking on that legacy with the Capcom Arcade Cabinet. The collection of arcade games is set to start releasing later this month, and will include a total of 15 games in all. Two bonus titles available for those who purchase them all.

The games will be purchasable in set "packs" or individually, and each game will come with DIP switch functionality, art gallery, sound gallery, and a music player. The DIP switch settings let you adjust factors like lives or difficulty. You can turn on "Casual Mode" in case you just want to make it to the end, or "Training" mode to get infinite lives and improve your skills. The games will feature global leaderboards, a Japanese or international toggle, and online 2-player in select games. Finally, PlayStation 3 players will be able to capture gameplay footage and post it on YouTube, while Xbox 360 players can post screenshots to Facebook.

The first pack includes Black Tiger for free. The two bonus games that you get for buying all 15 are still under wraps. The games from each pack will go on sale individually when the next pack hits. Check below for the full list of releases with dates and prices.

Game Pack 1 - February 19/20 - $4.99

  • Black Tiger

  • 1943: Battle of Midway

  • Avenger

Game Pack 2 - March 5/6 - $9.99

  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins

  • Gun.Smoke

  • Section Z

Game Pack 3 - March 19/20 - $9.99

  • Side Arms

  • The Speed Rumbler

  • Exed Exes (Savage Bees)

Game Pack 4 - April 2/3 - $9.99

  • Commando

  • Legendary Wings

  • Trojan

Game Pack 5 - April 16/17 - $9.99

  • 1942

  • SonSon

  • Pirate Ship Higemaru

All-in-One Pack - May 21/22 - $29.99

...