Shacknews - John Keefer

A few days ago, it was rumored that Sony could be closing SOCOM developer Zipper Interactive. Sadly, it now appears the reports were true.

In response to the rumors, Sony released the following statement:

"Sony Computer Entertainment can confirm the closure of Zipper Interactive, a Seattle-based internal game development studio that has been part of the global development operation of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS).

"The closure is a result of a normal cycle of resource re-alignment within SCE WWS. Zipper has completed all work associated with its most recent project, Unit 13 for PlayStation Vita. Zipper titles MAG, SOCOM 4 and Unit 13 will continue to be supported, including the new Daily Challenges in Unit 13."

(via Game Informer)

This news comes on the heels of yesterday's announcement of 118 layoffs at Vigil and Relic. Hopefully, those affected by all these layoffs will find work again soon.

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Shacknews receives a slew of new screenshots and trailers for upcoming games everyday. The most anticipated titles receive their own post, because we know you're eager to see that content. For the rest, we have the Daily Filter, a place to feature all of the media we add to our enormous database on a daily basis.

Today's Filter features a flashback trailer for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition, an alpha highlights trailer for Planetside 2, and much more!

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition

Planetside 2

We also have a cover curse trailer for NHL 13, a tank mayhem trailer for Prototype 2, a developer diary for Ridge Racer Unbounded, a Team Ghost trailer for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier, a developer diary for Lollipop Chainsaw, and new screenshots for World of Tanks, and Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat. Be sure to check out additional trailers and screenshots on each game page!

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

The weekend sweeps in like a drunken Santa, spilling presents from its torn sack. PC games going cheap at digital distributors this weekend include Trine 1 & 2, the first two Mass Effects, Bastion, Gotham City Impostors, the Tropico series, Anno 2070, pre-orders for Darksiders II and Binary Domain, and heaps more.

Here's our selection of this weekend's PC deals:




Get Games

Good Old Games

Green Man Gaming

You need to apply the single-use voucher code PROMO-FESTI-VAL20 to get these pre-order prices:

Humble Bundle

Pay what you want for a bundle of Avadon: The Black Fortress, Canabalt, Cogs, Snuggle Truck and Zen Bound 2 for PC, Mac, Linux and Android, with Steam keys for most. Pay more than the average price to get Swords & Soldiers too.


Indie Gala

Pay what you want for a bundle of Future Wars, Greed: Black Border and Trapped Dead. Pay above the average price to also get Flatout, Grotesque Tactics, and Twin Sector.


Shacknews - John Keefer

EA Sports is changing the way European soccer fans can get their gaming futbol fix based on the European Football Championship every four years. Instead of the traditional standalone UEFA Euro title this year, the 2012 version will only be available as DLC for FIFA Soccer 12.

The goal is to make the popular FIFA 12, which has already sold more than 10 million units, a year-round experience, EA Communication Manager Steve Frost told Gamasutra. "We felt this was the best way to extend that experience and deliver fresh new content to our fans."

The idea behind the move is to keep people excited about FIFA.

"We expect that some fans who may not have FIFA 12 will want to play Euro 2012 and therefore purchase both, but the bigger opportunity for us is to offer our loyal and passionate FIFA fans new content," Frost said.

The Euro 2012 expansion DLC with be available April 24.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Cipher Prime's Kickstarter fund ended today, with the Philadelphia-based developer raising close to $70,000 for Auditorium 2: Duet. The crew credits the tremendous response to their fanbase and game sites that helped point people to the funding page.

"On Tuesday we all left the office for home shortly before midnight, pretty confident that we'd make it at some point during the night," said Associate Developer Andrei Marks. "Then we were all up until about one in the morning, texting each other like teen-age girls until we breached $60k. Verizon and AT&T probably did more celebrating than we did."

Cipher Prime has already started laying the groundwork for the game with some early prototyping, and it plans on restructuring its development tools, Marks said. One big goal is to add multiplayer.

Also, look for Duet's music to be "much different" from the original Auditorium. "We're going to be a little more ambitious here, and try and give the players greater freedom in creating unique music with each other as they play the game," Marks said. "We're looking to compose much more and much better music for the game, and part of the Kickstarter money will go toward the purchase of high quality instrument libraries."

Marks said he hopes the title will be ready for Christmas release.

Shacknews - John Keefer

It's not too often you hear about aborted game projects five years after the fact, but Insomniac Games decided to offer a little bit of history when it updated it's Facebook timeline to include a project it started work on in January 2007.

Entitled 1080Pinball, it was supposed to be a downloadable game that ran at 1080p and 60fps. Insomniac wanted the most realistic pinball physics to date, taking such things into account as the weight of the ball and the friction of the table. For quite awhile, the company had a number of pinball machines in the office, and even created a (Pin)Ballz music video just for fun (see below).

The game was to feature original table designs, and even "a 'Gran Turismo' level of progression, deeper than any other Pinball game at the time." Unfortunately, Insomniac stopped developing the game in mid-2007 and said it has no plans to revisit it.

The developers will talk about the game on a future podcast, but in the meantime, enjoy the artwork they had created.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two has added two more platforms to its line-up: the PC and Mac. The console development is split between two teams -- Junction Point on the Wii version, and Blitz Games for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A separate game, Power of Illusion, is coming to the 3DS from developer Dreamrift.

Junction Point head Warren Spector confirmed the PC and Mac versions to Eurogamer, but didn't specify which team is working on them. He did talk about his studio structure, which is spread out around the world. "We have an enormous virtual team," he said. "It's not outsourcing. I've got to be clear about that. We have people in the UK actually building levels for us, under our direction. We talk to them every day. We drive all the creative, but we have an enormous virtual team."

And that speaks to the scope of the project. Between both console developers, Dreamrift for the handheld game, marketing, support, voice work, and cinematics makers, Spector says that "probably 800 people" are working on Epic Mickey in some capacity.

Check out our preview for more details about Mickey's epic sequel.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

If you listen to Weekend Confirmed, you probably heard Jeff Cannata raving about the Kinect functionality in Mass Effect 3. It was dubbed as "Better with Kinect," and that title doesn't seem to be an empty marketing gesture if BioWare's own enthusiasm for the device is any indication.

"It feels like the future of interactive storytelling," executive producer Casey Hudson told OXM. "You're just talking to a character, and you're going deeper into their conversation, asking them questions and telling them things and after it's over you pick up the controller, and it's a cold piece of plastic, and you think 'this is the old way, and what I was doing was the future'."

He says giving oral squad commands frees up your thumbs, but the company was particularly excited about the conversation system. "It's very fortunate how it works with the existing system, which is that we have paraphrases. Speak those paraphrases, and they trigger that line," he said. "Once you start doing that, you realise you're using different mental pathways to interact with the game. You're not pressing buttons to talk, you're talking to talk."

We're not sure what BioWare has up its sleeves next, but given the company's tendency to use conversation trees, using Kinect seems like a likely bet.

RIFT - Jeff Mattas

A new, official developer Q&A for Trion Worlds' MMO, RIFT, has surfaced, in which the developers address a number of common questions raised by fans. The array of topics touched upon is fairly eclectic, and include questions about the possibility of playing cooperatively with friends in other factions, whether or not Arenas will make it into the game, and even whether or not players will be able to to warm their avatars' chilly, virtual shoulders with cloaks.

Folks interested in playing RIFT with friends from the faction opposite their own may soon be able to do so, though Trion Worlds is still sussing out just how that will work. "We are exploring many different ways to provide players with opportunities to play alongside players from the other faction," the developer notes. "The first step in this process is, of course, the mercenary system. This has had the fantastic benefit of virtually eliminating PvP queue times. We do have other, grander plans in store, but I can’t go into details yet."

Expanding RIFT's "soul system"--which would include adding more souls, levels, or "callings"--is also something on the developer's radar, but envisions those changes as part of a more "large-scale," future update for "expanding the game further."

Arenas, on the other hand, go against RIFT's design ethos. "We have no plans for arenas at this time, RIFT is a massively multiplayer game and we really want to embrace the mechanics of getting large groups of players together and arenas are counter to that." However, Trion Worlds is doing some things to serve more competitive players.

"We are adding leaderboards to both PvE and PvP content complete with divisions and rankings so players looking to compete will have a great tool for measuring how badass they are," the developer states. "We've also got some exciting new PVP content cooking but it’s still too early for us to give any details."

"Cloaks of all types (Guild or otherwise) are something we really want to do," Trion Worlds writes in response to inquiring fans. They'd love to add them, you see, but not at the expense of gameplay performance. "RIFT is unique in the fact that we have many activities that encourage hundreds of players to play together and we don't want to negatively impact that experience," the developer states. "You all will be the first to know if/when we solve this particular problem since you know we could never keep something that exciting under wraps for long!" Pun intended, we think.

You can check out the complete list of topics and answers in RIFT's latest developer Q&A for more tidbits.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

You've had almost a year to practice your Fatalities and climb the Challenge Tower in Mortal Kombat, so the time is ripe to do it all again in miniaturized fashion. WB Games announced today that the PlayStation Vita version of the game is coming on May 1.

The game is mostly identical to the console versions, including all four DLC characters and 15 additional costumes from the get-go. It also adds a second Challenge Tower, with another 150 challenges. Many of these take advantage of the Vita's unique features like the touch screen. Plus, if you want to execute your opponent by slashing with your finger, you're in luck.

Andrew walked away impressed from his hands-on preview, and even thought some of the touch features had their own goofy charm.


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