The third and final episode in South Park's Game of Thrones-style, next-gen console wars storyline aired last night, wrapping up with Kenny as an anime princess, the Black Friday mob, George RR Martin on a horse and a Red Robin wedding. And it includes a line that would fit in most Game of Thrones episodes: "Whose betrayal is this?"
We usually hate to spoil the ending of anything, but in this case it's both obvious and harmless: The episode closes with an ad for Ubisoft's South Park RPG, The Stick of Truth. The US audience can check out all of the drama at South Park Studios.
"This lets us have a much more stable environment, because no one has to be laid off. Before they're done with their projects, [staff] can just be assigned to something else, without having to move," Stardock CEO Brad Wardell told Gamasutra.
The basic idea is that Stardock would find other work within its network of studios and "lease" the employee, without them having to move, which should theoretically help the organization retain talent, reduce costs, and create a greater sense of job security.
We've seen versions of this concept before, most notably from Ubisoft and Activision, which have several studios working on annual projects like Assassin's Creed or Call of Duty, respectively. This is a newer concept for a smaller publisher to test across different projects.
Anything that helps us reduce the use of the always-depressing "layoffs" tag is fine by us.
"This was not an easy decision, but one guided by our desire to centralize development in our Vancouver studios. We are working closely with all employees affected by this change to identify open positions in other studios, and we remain committed to doing business in British Columbia." Microsoft's Vancouver studio, Black Tusk, is currently working on the next "big" Micosoft game.
The formation of the Victoria, BC office was part of a $1 billion investment in Xbox One. This initiative saw Microsoft forming multiple studios across the globe – London, Victoria and Washington – and securing 15 exclusives for the Xbox One's first year of existence.
In a statement to Polygon, Microsoft said the studio's closure would not cause the cancellation of any projects the studio was working on, whatever they may be. "We did not cancel any projects rather we centralized our development efforts in BC to our Vancouver offices."
Gran Turismo 6 will include microtransactions with in-game credits that players can acquire using real money, but Sony said the transactions are "not required" for players to advance in the game. In a statement to CVG, a Sony spokesperson said the publisher will "not penalize players for not making transactions (they still have access to everything) and it is completely optional." The microtransactions are so optional that players won't be prompted to buy-in during the game "at all."
"As with previous installments of Gran Turismo, users are able to earn in-game credits and unlock additional cars by competing in races or event challenges," the spokesperson said. Players will be able to purchase credits in increments of $500,000 on PSN to speed up the process of unlocking content. Sony also provided the opening cinematic for the Gran Turismo 6, which players can see firsthand when the game launches tomorrow on PS3.
Yoshida announced his departure in The Art of Bravely, a Bravely Default art book released in Japan this week. Yoshida explained that he will continue to work with Square Enix on the upcoming Bravely Second, but will no longer be directly employed by the company.
Yoshida's distinct artwork defined games like Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy XII and the 2006 Nintendo DS remake of Final Fantasy III. One of his most recent projects, Bravely Default, is due for a North American release in February.
If you loathe fiat currency and love independently produced games, you're in luck. Ouya is now accepting bitcoin payments for its Android-powered microconsole, making it easier to support indie developers without using a credit card. A sense of superiority over your fellow humans is optional, but recommended.
Currently, bitcoins are only accepted for the Ouya unit itself -- the platform's online storefront only allows players to buy games with a credit card. Company co-founder and CEO Julie Uhrman notes that PayPal support for store purchases is coming soon.
These new shots also give a glimpse at the game's Blue Phantom mechanic, which allows you to enlist the help of online players during combat. A YouTube user helpfully demonstrates how useful/terrifying Blue Phantoms can be during gameplay with this murderous little vignette, inexplicably accompanied by vocals from Randy Newman.
Square Enix unleashed five trailers for its Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster remakes today. The trailers hone in on two of the games' chraracters, Wakka and Rikku, and also show battles and blitzball matches, both prettier than their respective PS2 games. The final video of the bunch highlights the first game's iconic moment between Yuna and Tidus at the Holy Springs.
The PS3 version of the remastered compilation was delayed to March 18, 2014 in North America and March 21 in Europe with details of the Vita version's new release date yet to come. Square Enix is on track to launch both on December 26 in Japan.
Two Tribes' puzzle platformer Toki Tori is waddling its way to PS3 on December 17. The PS3 port, which is a recreation of the original game by Playlogic, will include PlayStation Move compatibility, a new exclusive game mode with 16 levels, updated graphics and stereoscopic 3D support.
Toki Tori has been quite successful for Two Tribes, the developer has announced in the press release past the break. Across its multitude of platforms, Toki Tori has been downloaded over 1.8 million times.
In Toki Tori, players guide a newly-hatched chick named Toki Tori. A mysterious force has abducted the eggs of Toki Tori's unborn siblings and whisked them away to a strange castle, so Toki Tori sets out to rescue them – just like any good big brother would.
Capybara Games is bringing its radical 2D run-and-gun game, Super Time Force, to Xbox One in addition to Xbox 360, and aims to launch both versions simultaneously. The game will be self-published on Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program and has a new launch window of early 2014.
"As 2013 waned and the ruckus around new consoles got louder, we decided that launching on both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 would be the best way for Super Time Force to get out there," Nathan Vella, Capy co-founder and president, told Joystiq. "We really believe in our game, and we're happy that ID@Xbox gives us a chance to bring it to players who made the jump."
Capybara Games is also working on another Xbox One game, Below, but that's being published by Microsoft Studios, as is the Xbox Live Arcade (Xbox 360) version of Super Time Force. "Between Super Time Force and Below, players will get the chance to see two very different games from our studio. Super Time Force is easily the most action-packed and ridiculous game we've ever made, while Below is, without much exaggeration, on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. Having these two vastly different games coming from our studio is a huge point of pride for us."
Super Time Force will launch "a few months into 2014" while Below's launch date has not been announced.
The Pan European Game Information (PEGI) system reports an age rating of 7 for the supposed Vita version of Into the Nexus, while Brazil's ratings board also suggests that a Vita port is in the works. The ratings submissions follow up on a Vita listing at Amazon France earlier this year, reported by PlayStation Universe.
The PlayStation 3 version of the game was found to list a Vita edition in its trophy set upon its launch last month, but Sony has yet to comment on the possibility of a release for its portable platform.
Final Fantasy 8, the soapiest of the series, which is saying a lot when you remember Final Fantasy X2 exists, is available now on Steam. Join Squall and company as they blow through (when not halted by summoning animations) a classic JRPG adventure against an evil sorceress.
The Steam version also includes Chocobo World, a Pocket Station (device not released outside Japan) game that synched with the core game. According to the Steam description, "It is possible to play Chocobo World directly from the launcher after booting up FF8 and by fulfilling certain specific conditions in the main game you will also be able to synchronize data between the two games."
The game is priced at $11.99, same as Final Fantasy 7, which is also available on Steam.
Originally released in 1993, The Shadow and the Flame featured creative, difficult puzzle-platforming gameplay in the same vein as its 1989 Apple II predecessor. A mobile remake hit iOS and Android in July, which will likely serve as the base for the upcoming GameStick edition.
Funded by a successful Kickstarter project earlier this year, the GameStick met with a series of delays before finally hitting store shelves last month alongside the PlayStation 4. The GameStick is currently available at GameStop and other retailers.
Still, the 3DS gets two 3D-enhanced Sega classics in Sonic the Hedgehog and Altered Beast, and there are a few other bits and bobs, too. There's also a week-long 30 percent sale on Donkey Kong games, including Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. on both 3DS and Wii U, Donkey Kong 3 on Wii U, and Game & Watch: Donkey Kong Jr. on 3DS.
As ever, you'll find the full list of new releases snoozing past the break.
Microsoft spokesman Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb walks players through the Xbox One control scheme, covering a few shortcuts and tips involving voice commands and the console's fancy new controller. One major update to the Xbox One is the controller's menu button – the one with the three horizontal lines in the right-center of the faceplate. It's case sensitive, acting as a "right click" to pull up different options depending on which app you're hovering over.
Major Nelson also covers a few handy voice commands, such as saying "Xbox, Select" to highlight all of the speakable options on any page. We covered that phrase and a few other gems in our review of the Xbox One, under the subhead "On Kinect."
The PlayStation 4 patch is a field dressing. It fixes the "one-hit kill" bug, enables audio in video capture and should fix a crash that occurs when "having a very large amounts of Friends." Let's gloss over the face that a core competence of Battlefield is supposed to be playing with lots of friends.
DICE notes, "We are already working on the next PS4 update that will contain more fixes and have a bigger focus on game stability. Stay tuned."
The Xbox One patch is still planned for this week.
Assassin's Creed Pirates, a mobile adventure for iOS and select Android devices, is ready to cast off today for $4.99 of your booty. If you thought Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag was channeling the spirit of Sid Meier's Pirates!, this one is straight-up going for it. Also, what are Creed Pirates?
The game has players taking on the role of Alonzo Batilla, focusing on the seafaring elements of Black Flag, as they "manage their crew, upgrade their ship, recruit new crew members" and go plundering other boats that dare cross the path of a pirate.
That means Euro-types can pick up F1 2013 on PS3 for £16, and the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for £12 on Vita. If they're PlayStation Plus subscribers, there's an additional 10 percent discount to be had, too.
"These titles were selected on the same criteria we have been using in the past," reads Steam's statement on the approved century. "Votes in Greenlight give us a hugely valuable point of data in gauging community interest along with external factors such as press reviews, crowd-funding successes, performance on other similar platforms, and awards and contests to help form a more complete picture of community interest in each title."
The full list of games coming to a Steam near you can be found here.
"Unfortunately we have still not received any acceptable offers," reads Moorfields' statement. "So as a result we may be forced to close the remaining 91 stores affecting 808 employees."
Blockbuster UK's tumultuous year, which has seen the company go into administration twice, over 400 stores close, and thousands of employees lose their jobs, will likely end with it finally being laid to rest. The store's demise leaves the country's high street games retail in a perilous state, with major players GAME and HMV still recovering from their own financial struggles from the year before.
PlayStation Network (PS4)
Fully armed and operational.
Fully armed and operational.
Fully armed and operational.
Fully armed and operational.
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Latest episode: Friday, November 22nd, 2013