|Massively's hands-on with WildStar's character creation
Eliot tinkers with character customization, judging WildStar's somewhere between the extremes of World of Warcraft and City of Heroes. Expect an expert opinion on hair styles and body sliders.
|Massively's hands-on with WildStar's housing system
In the wake of the latest housing demo, Gavin explains the differences between sockets, plugs, and buff boards, and then repeats rumors of a strip club for small stuffed animals.
|Massively's hands-on with WildStar's Engineer
Justin is a sucker for Engineers: "This is my rifle and this is my gun; this is for fighting and this is for statistical improvements that help my gearscore for the inevitable raid gating."
|Massively's hands-on with WildStar's Medic
Eliot covers the feel of WildStar's hard-to-master melee healer and his role in the overall environment: "Sure, I had moments of frustration, but I certainly wasn't ever bored."
This is Portabliss, a column about downloadable games that can be played on the go.
Gym memberships see a sharp spike in January, due to fitness-minded New Year's Resolutions. Gym attendance typically sees a sharp decline in March, as the Resolute realize how boring getting in shape actually is. Goals like "decrease my chance of diabetes" or "lose 10 pounds" are admirable, but often fall short of keeping people motivated to do enough exercise to attain them.
With that in mind, Six to Start has crafted The Walk, a fitness app (Android, iOS) with a more manageable intent: Get up off the couch, get moving. Not a lot, just a walk down to the corner shop, maybe, or around the block. The Walk's predecessor, Zombies, Run! cast you in the role of a survivor of the zombie apocalypse, sent out on missions to gather supplies, rescue other survivors, and unravel a larger mystery, running all the while. Not everyone can run, however, and many of those who can find the notion utterly intimidating, so The Walk is a compromise. All you have to do is walk.
The story of The Walk begins with a shady group called The Burn setting off an EMP in Inverness. A bit of mistaken identity leaves you holding a unique package that could quite literally save the world if you can manage to get it out of the city, but police have put up checkpoints everywhere and they are serious about defending those borders. A handler communicates with you via a special earpiece, giving you instructions and guiding you towards your ultimate destination. Episodes take as much as an hour to complete, and you'll receive an achievement for completing them in one go, but you can do them in whatever size chunk you like. Story-advancing audio clips unlock every few minutes, so even short jaunts feel worthwhile. The Walk's goal is to increase the amount you walk every day, easing you into a more healthy lifestyle; I haven't had it for long, but can vouch for its ability to suck you into its narrative.
You can watch your progress on an overhead map, unlocking scenery items mentioned in the story by tapping small squares on the screen as you pass them on your route. Choosing longer, more out of the way paths will reward you with collectibles that fill in a bit of back story or add to the world's lore in some way, and snagging everything in a chapter gets you yet another achievement. The visuals aren't particularly interesting, but you're not really meant to be looking at them for long. Unlike Zombies, Run!, which integrated your playlist into the story's audio, The Walk isn't something you're meant to pay attention to the entire time you're moving. It's best suited to urban commuters, hoofing it from subway to work, or students ambling across campus. The Walk acts as a pedometer, measuring how much time you spend walking, then applying that to the mission you're currently on. The best way to experience The Walk is to turn it on, go about your business, get to your destination, check in with your progress, listen to the audio clips you've unlocked, and put it away again.
The Walk's story and rapid rewards do a good job of encouraging you to keep going, and more importantly, the app makes you mindful of how inert you are over the course of your day. The one big downside to The Walk is that you can't turn off the app mid-chapter or you'll lose your progress in the current mission, and keeping it running in the background drains your battery. Not dramatically, but if you're hitting Twitter or texting friends over the course of the day while The Walk is active, you'll notice the hit on your battery life. The solution is simply to finish off missions in one fell swoop, and a slider allows you increase or decrease the amount of time it takes to complete an episode.
The Walk probably isn't enough by itself to get you active, but for those already interested in being less sedentary, it's a fun way to track your progress and feel good about whatever movement you've managed to squeeze into your day. If you already do a lot of walking or use a pedometer, The Walk's story and awards spice up your step-tracking with some danger and intrigue: Who are The Burn? What's in the package? What on earth is a curly wurly and why would I want one?
This review is based an iTunes download of The Walk, provided by Six to Start.
Super Crate Box, from Vlambeer, is an arcade action game where players must battle waves of encroaching enemies while collecting crates – which have weapons inside of them – on a multi-tiered 2D level. We found the PS Vita installment to be the definitive version.
Fuel Tiracas, a PS Mobile launch game from FutureLab, is a resource-management puzzle variation on the classic Whac-a-Mole carnival game. Players must boot up generators in the correct order so the titular planet of Tiracas can have breathable air.
To grab either (or both) of these games, simply head into the PlayStatin Mobile section of the PlayStation Store on PS Vita or, if you're on a PlayStation Certified device, simply head into the PlayStation Mobile store.
Amplitude Studios launched its dungeon defense game Dungeon of the Endless on Steam today. The alpha version of the game is available through Steam Early Access through two packs, both currently 25 percent off. The base-level Pixel Pack version is currently $9.74, whereas the Founder Pack is $14.99 and grants players access to additional ships, heroes and 50 percent off coupons for Endless Space and its Disharmony expansion.
Dungeon of the Endless, billed as a roguelike dungeon defense game, is set in the Endless Space universe and has players opening doors, gathering goods and decimating enemies before their equipment is destroyed. Amplitude Studios divulged the game's inception, which occurred during a late-night, drunken brain-storming session, at Gamescom.
As we reported earlier, this patch adds a free toolset to Grand Theft Auto Online that allows players to build their own drag strips, killing fields and myriad other combinations of vehicles and explosives. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Race, Rally Race and the weaponized GTA Race game types are available for players to modify. Developer Rockstar has included a tutorial that should load automatically the first time you attempt to build something within the toolset, and it "highly recommends" that players sit through the whole thing. From there however, you're free to build to your heart's content.
Alongside the new toolset, today's free update also includes a "a host of new fixes and updates for Grand Theft Auto 5's Story Mode and GTA Online," including higher cash payouts in missions with increased difficulty, and an option to lock deathmatch games to specific weaponry.
Halfbrick Studios will launch its next game, Colossatron: Massive World Threat, on December 19, the developer announced in a new trailer. The game was first announced in July at PAX Australia for iOS, though the Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride developer's latest announcement now includes both Google Play and the Amazon App store as the game's other destined platforms.
Colossatron gives players the ability to smash through cities as a giant robotic snake, thwarting resistance efforts from one General Moustache and his army. Halfbrick promises a "chaotic campaign, epic boss fights, devastating weaponry, survival challenges" and other features in the mobile game. No price was listed for the game.
There's no indication whether these features will make their way into the Android app, which is currently at version 1.0.3. We've followed up with Valve and will update this post if we hear back.
The Steam mobile app launched early last year as a free download on Android and iOS. You can use the app to talk to your Steam friends, browse the Steam store and peruse community groups.
Officially titled "Bit.Trip Presents ... Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien," Runner2 is a game in which your character runs, constantly and with no regard for his or her personal safety. It's your job as the player to use a few simple maneuvers (jumping and sliding, for example) to ensure that your on-screen pal doesn't meet a grisly death by dashing off the side of a cliff or sprinting into something sharp. It's a simple formula, but as the cult success of Bit.Trip Runner and the console iterations of Runner2 demonstrate, it's also incredibly addictive.
The Vita version of Runner2 is said to be identical to its console counterparts, right down to its DLC offerings. The Good Friends Character Pack DLC (an addition that allows you to play as the protagonists of Psychonauts, Spelunky and other esoteric hits) will be available alongside Runner2 when it launches on December 17.
On debut, the game will set you back $10 on the PlayStation Network Store, while the DLC is priced at $3. PlayStation Plus subscribers can expect a discount on both, with the game being reduced to $8 and the DLC to $2.09.
After applying the update, players will now receive ten lives after getting a Game Over, compared to the five lives that players started out with pre-patch. Our review cited a lack of opportunities to earn extra lives as a major drawback in Sonic: Lost World, as players can easily run out of lives in the difficult later levels, leading to frequent and frustrating restarts.
The patch additionally enables analog stick and button control for some of Sonic's Wisp powers, eliminating the need for motion controls and touch screen input.
You'll have the option of grabbing either the standard edition or a more elaborate and expensive collector's edition of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 when the game launches on February 11, 2014 for Xbox 360 and PS3.
The collector's edition will be available exclusively through the Square Enix Store for $90. It includes special packaging, a hardcover art book, a silver embossed pocket watch, Aerith Gainsborough "Midgar's Flower Girl" DLC costume and a copy of the game. Pre-ordering the collector's edition will also guarantee a Cloud Strife outfit and his iconic Buster sword for use in-game.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 is the third and final game in the Final Fantasy 13 series. It takes place 500 years after the ending of Final Fantasy 13-2, with protagonist Lightning awakening from a self-imposed hibernation 13 days before the world is about to end.
Meanwhile, the super-crazy but super-good Saints Row 4 plummets from its lofty PSN price of £50 to the much more affordable figure of £20 (€30/AU$340) - it's also staying discounted for 48 hours. If you're looking to shave off some more savings, a PlayStation Plus subscription razors a further 10 percent on both games.
Saints Row 4's final DLC mission pack, "How the Saints Save Christmas," is available for download now on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
The DLC includes three new story quests, a Christmas dubstep gun, a Red Rider BB gun (you'll poke your eye out) and some vehicles: the Flying Reindeer and Santa's Sleigh. In the story missions, the Saints aim to help Santa Claus, who has become trapped in The Matrix-like simulation that is the setting for the main campaign.
Owners of the Saints Row 4 Season Pass can snag "How the Saints Save Christmas" as part of that investment. Everyone else can grab the DLC pack for $7.
On average, crowdfunding projects raised $128,573 in the last six months, but as we examined in our last quarterly report, these mean averages can be quite misleading. By comparison, the median, or middle number in the data set for the amount of money raised by each of the 186 projects, is $25,188. Given that only six of the projects raised at least one million dollars, and just seven more raised at least $500,000 during that time frame, we can conclude that the average amount of money raised by crowdfunding projects in the last six months is positively skewed. Similarly, the median number of backers per project was 542 (a sharp contrast to a mean average of 2,691). Future project creators should take note, then: Your average Kickstarter or Indiegogo gaming project earns closer to $25,188, not $128,573.
Additionally, the data shows that strategy games like Hex and Warmachine: Tactics led the genre to the top of the list, as they earned the most money of the group ($6,901,527). Conversely, the adventure genre had the most successful projects, as 46 adventurous or narrative-driven games were funded in the last six months, such as Obduction and Armikrog. Action games had the highest number of backers (145,316), thanks especially to the highest-earning game of the group, Keiji Inafune's Mighty No. 9, which hauled in $3,845,170 thanks to 67,226 people.
Head past the break to see the top-earning games and breakdown by genre for the six-month period.
YouTube has confirmed it's taking a fresher, steely approach to videos flagged by its "Content ID Match" system, which will have an impact on monetization of Let's Play content. Prominent accounts such as TheRadBrad, TetraNinja and GhostRobo have received claims, which seem to be targeting music specifically. A YouTube representative told Game Informer that these claims are part of some policy updates to better help content networks be more transparent."Nothing illustrates the incredible growth and evolution of YouTube better than the enterprise class of businesses being built on the platform today," the statement reads. "As these networks grow, we're making product and policy updates that will help them operate at scale. We are also rolling out tools that will provide more transparency for creators and networks alike. This is part of our commitment to ensure that all enterprise partners can continue to thrive and be successful on YouTube."
Some publishers, such as Capcom, Deep Silver, Ubisoft and Blizzard, are asking users to contest the claims so they can quickly dismiss the dispute from their end, while others report a third-party account called 4GamerMovie is specifically targeting all Metro: Last Light footage. Another company called IDOL, which has been known to issue claims on a much smaller scale in the past, is also contesting YouTube videos.
Earlier this year, Nintendo issued mass claims for a wide number of Let's Play videos. While anyone is free to upload footage of a game to YouTube, those videos technically do not fall under Fair Use.
Massively reached CCP Games for comment and received the official statement below confirming that the layoffs are real and that they are from the World of Darkness team:
"CCP today made strategic adjustments to the staffing on the team working on the World of Darkness project in Atlanta that resulted in the elimination of approximately 15 positions at the company. The change was due to our evaluation of the game's design and ongoing development needs. While this was a difficult decision, CCP remains committed to the franchise and our promise to make a compelling, rich, and deep World of Darkness experience."
Ubisoft Montpellier's manic side-scrolling platformer Rayman Legends is on its way to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 next year. So says ... Snoop Dogg?! Hi, Snoop! Didn't expect to see you there.
Originally announced as a Wii U exclusive, Rayman Legends is now more multiplatform than it's ever been, following up on this year's PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, PC and Wii U release with upcoming launches for next-gen hardware. The new ports feature upgraded graphics, reduced load times, and a selection of exclusive costumes on each platform. Xbox One players can access new costumes inspired by Ubisoft's Splinter Cell series and Far Cry 3's Vaas, while PS4 owners can look forward to a unique Assassin's Creed-themed outfit for Rayman.
The Xbox One version additionally includes 10 new challenges and time-limited achievements, while the PS4 edition features DualShock 4 touchpad support. Both ports will hit retail on February 25 in North America and February 28 in Europe.
Monument Valley is an optical illusion presented as a game – or a game presented as an optical illusion – starring Princess Ida as she travels alone, seeking forgiveness for a past misdeed. The levels twist and turn to create impossible pathways and shapes, allowing Ida to travel where she needs to go. It's due out on mobile devices "soon" from indie developer ustwo, and beta registration is live now directly through the studio.
Ustwo's past work includes mobile game Whale Trail and a handheld game with a murky history called Papa Quash. Ustwo pulled Papa Quash from the App Store last year following a cloning controversy – the game was commissioned by a third party to play like JS Joust, but it wasn't sanctioned by that game's creator, Die Gute Fabrik. The air was cleared in May and Die Gute Fabrik Lead Designer Douglas Wilson said he didn't harbor any ill will toward Ustwo.
Monument Valley takes cues from the mind-melting art of MC Escher, with gameplay influences from Zelda and Myst. That sounds like the right kind of inspiration to us.
While Obsidian offers no explanation for the new name, nor how these pillars grew to such a ripe old age, it has issued the above trailer. It describes the clip as a teaser, and while technically that might be true, there's far more footage of actual in-game content here than we normally see. Combat, spellcasting, biologically improbable huge spiders; it's all here, and the game's aesthetics look like a modern take on the Western roleplaying games of the late 1990s, typified by such classics as Baldur's Gate 2. Obviously that's by design as Obsidian's website is currently running a poll asking fans which late-90s RPG they'd most like Pillars of Eternity to resemble.
Additionally, if you happen to have put down some cash to fund Pillars of Eternity, you can now pay a visit to the game's backer's portal. This allows you to make further donations to the project, earmark your donations for specific purposes and select which backers' rewards you'd like to receive in exchange for your optimistic contribution.
Originally planned as a bonus level showcasing Sonic's transformation into Super Sonic after collecting the game's seven Chaos Emeralds, the Hidden Palace Zone was scrapped midway through Sonic 2's development. The level's remnants later surfaced in a prototype version distributed as a downloadable ROM file, sparking fan discussion and speculation for years afterward.
The mobile version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is developed by Sonic Retro members Simon Thomley and Christian Whitehead, creator of the "Retro Engine" that powered the multiplatform Sonic CD port released for Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, PC and mobile platforms in 2011. Whitehead is known to incorporate cut content in his modern-day Sonic ports; the recent Sonic the Hedgehog remake for iOS and Android featured an expanded debug mode giving access to items scrapped from the original game, and his Sonic CD adaptation hinted at a revival for Sonic 2's lost Dust Hill Zone.
The Hidden Palace Zone is featured in Sonic the Hedgehog 2's upcoming Android release, and is included in a free update replacing Sonic the Hedgehog 2's previous port on iOS. Both the new Android version and the iOS update are launching tomorrow.
Fully armed and operational.
Fully armed and operational.
Fully armed and operational.
What's In A Name
The Joystiq Podcast
Latest episode: Friday, December 6th, 2013