If the rumors are to be believed, AOL, the parent company to Joystiq, is considering shutting down the decade-old website.
While exact details are thin on the ground, the folks at Joystiq appear to be handling it well:
Originally Posted by Joystiq
We do not comment on rumor and speculation," one staffer told us, wishing to remain anonymous, preparing for their lucrative PR career. Others are still trying to figure out next steps. Another anonymous staffer said, "We're still working until we can't.
Why the rumored closure?
Originally Posted by Recode
[It's all] part of an extensive house-cleaning of its under-performing content properties that is taking place over the next weeks.
PAX South was the venue Gearbox used to announce a release date for Homeworld Remastered. You'll be able to grab the strategy cult classic on February 25. The package includes both the remastered and original versions of Homeworld 1 & 2, plus access to the "Homeworld Remastered Steam Multiplayer Beta."
Microsoft held a kick-off event for Windows 10, and as you'd expect there's a fair amount of news to digest. Let's start with the flashiest, and yet most ephemeral announcement: Microsoft Hololens.
Instead of making a VR headset, Microsoft has instead gone with AR: augmented reality. The Hololens glasses & headset include clear lenses onto which are projected images in such a way that they appear to exist in the regular environment around you. So more Google Glass than Oculus Rift. The official Hololens site is now live, but Microsoft is not talking about price or release other than to promise that it will be released "during the lifetime of Windows 10." I should note that could be anytime from later this year to the heat death of the universe, so don't pre-order just yet.
From reading several reports of demos at the (carefully choreographed and controlled) event, Hololens sounds cool. I've long though HUDs or AR headsets have much greater potential than VR or closed input headsets. But some of the claims are just a bit too bold to be trusted. Any device of this type will seem like a world beater upon announcement, but the end product almost never lives up to the hype. Just look at MS' previous reveals of the Xbox 360, the Kinect, Win 8, and even the Xbox One. Many of the features promised at those events never came to pass, and I have to assume that Hololens will face a similar fate. Still, it's a fascinating idea, which is why people are talking more about it than all of the other reveals from the event.
Speaking of which, onto other, more concrete announcements.
- Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for (legal) owners of Win 7, 8, 8,1 and Win Phone 8.1 for the first year of it's release.
- It will be released to consumers later this year.
- Microsoft's Cortana digital concierge will be standard on all versions of Win 10.
- The long rumored revamp of IE has the codename 'Project Spartan', so everything will be Halo-themed from here on out apparently.
- Xbox One games can be streamed to any Win 10 machine, including mobile devices. Win 10 will also get Game DVR and other Xbox apps.
- Fable Legends will have cross-play between Win 10 and XB1
The next major Playstation 4 exclusive has gone gold. Ready At Dawn's The Order 1886 will be launching February 20, exclusively on the PS4. Within a month you'll be able to shoot zombies in the face as a descendent of the Knights of the Round Table in steampunk Victorian London. It's about the most video game concept of all time, but the trailers have steadily improved over the last year, so I have high hopes for this one.
In a move that lies somewhere close to 'inevitable', Bethesda has announced that Elder Scrolls Online will be ditching it's subscription plan. The slightly renamed Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited - which includes the base game plus all currently released updates and content additions - will launch on March 17 on the PC, with XB1 and PS4 versions coming June 9. All previous subscribers will be upgraded to the Tamriel Unlimited version of the game at no charge, while new players will just have to pay the retail price of the game to play ($59.99).
New players will make a one-time purchase of the game and play, without restrictions, for as long as they like – without game subscription fees. Tamriel Unlimited will be supported with special, optional downloadable content available for purchase and an in-game Crown Store for convenience and customization items. Regular updates and new gameplay will be offered to all players to enjoy free of additional charges.
Players who have been paying the subscription fee will be automatically enrolled in ESO Plus, which provides "exclusive in-game bonuses, a monthly allotment of crowns to use in the store and access to all DLC game packs while a member." So if you don't want to keep paying the sub, you have to affirmatively opt out.
Give me an inch and I'll take a mile. More, actually. I'm not sure how it came up, but no doubt I brought it up, but the topic of the Burnout franchise was mentioned and I just ran with it. I could talk about the game for house. It didn't help that a former Criterion developer was in the chat room during the conversation.
I'm headed to PAX South for the weekend and we talked a little bit about that...or as much as could be said about something that doesn't seem to be on the radar for most folks, including publishers and developers. It's a bit slim. Still, the rest of the guys WILL do a show this Saturday. And I'll try to call in during that time and talk about the very few appointments I've made (Homeworld Remastered just made today).
Speaking of, if anyone else is going to PAX South please let me know! It'd be great to meet some listeners and Coggers!
2K and Gearbox are bringing Borderlands to the current generation of consoles.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection brings both Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and all DLC for both games, to the Xbox One and Playstation 4 at a price of $59.99. The collection also brings 4 player split-screen play to the table for the first time in the series, and also lets you transfer all save data to the new game from an older version in the same console family (360>XB1; PS3>PS4).
Also coming at the same time is the limited edition $399 'Claptrap-in-a-Box Edition,' which includes the Handsome Collection in a steel case and 12 exclusive lithographs. Oh, and a remote control, talking, live-streaming Claptrap.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection launches March 24.
Nintendo is closing their Club Nintendo rewards program later this year. Gamers in North America have until March 31 to earn new Nintendo Coins, and until June 30 to redeem those coins for rewards. Products released after today cannot be redeemed for Coins. Nintendo promises a new rewards will be announced at a later date.
To help soften the blow, Nintendo promises to " add dozens of new rewards and downloadable games" to help Club members empty their balances.
2K Games and Firaxis have announced Sid Meier's Starships a download-only strategy title which explores some of the era after the events of the recent Civ: Beyond Earth. Slated for release early this year on the PC, Mac and iPad, "lets players command a fleet of starships as they embark on a series of missions to explore the galaxy, protect planets and their civilizations, and build a federation to ultimately usher in a new age of peace throughout the galaxy."
While the release never spells out pricing, the screenshots they've made available and the lack of a retail version leads me to believe Starships is more of a side project than a 'full' game.
Gamers who own Starships and Beyond Earth will see some still unspecified connectivity between the two. Firaxis will be revealing more on the game at the Firaxis Megapanel coming to PAX South this weekend.
The first cast of 2015 brings to the table a new host with a new format. We are calling this “King of Immortal Machines – Episode 1″ – We don’t know how many of these we will do, but certainly if we get good feedback from our listeners, it may spur us to continue this format throughout the year. The format is simple; think of it as a take of ESPN’s ‘Around the Horn’ with gaming news and topics. We go through 9 topics coming from the news and questions from our audience (if you want to submit a question see our contact links below). Each caster will discuss the topics and the host gets to choose which person makes the best argument based on passion, creativity, and ‘correctness’. We’ll tally up the points at the end of the show and whoever has the most points will hold the title ‘King of Immortal Machines’ (until next time).
The 9 topics for this show are:
What game should we be most excited for in 2015?
Is it a good decision for Valve to enter broadcasting market?
Far Cry 5: Dinosaurs & Vampires… are these themes a good idea?
What franchise/gaming trend are we tired of?
Are we excited to see an Assassin’s Creed movie starring Michael Fassbender?
Playing off this bit of news, what is the best video game movie adaptation to date?
What game do we want to see adapted into a movie?
Best boss battle ever?
Most disappointing boss battle?
So please PLEASE, give us feedback on the show – what you liked, what you didn’t like, whether you’d be interested in more shows like this. Whatever the feedback may be, we’ll take it, analyze it and continue to try to make the show more interesting and fun. Thanks for listening to King of Immortal Machines - Episode 1!
Hosted and Summarized by Steve [Dukefrukem]
Participants are James [Vigil80], Eric [Ravenlock] and Clayton [Voodoo]
Produced by Clayton [Voodoo]
A pair of very interesting games are free to play on Steam this weekend, with corresponding sales to entice a full purchase. Saints' Row 4 and Civilization Beyond Earth are both available now to play, or for $4.99 and $29.99 respectively.
Saints' Row 4 is one of my favorite games of the last generation. A series that had already embraced the absurd possibilities of the open world crime genre turns the volume up to 11 with superpowers, aliens and global computer sims. Civ Beyond Earth is a game I also enjoy, albeit with a few slight reservations. If you're a Civ fanatic, you'll enjoy it, but you also probably already own it. It's a lot of fun, but at times it feels less like a new game and more like a total conversion mod. But the freeplay should give you the chance to judge for yourself.
Nintendo's latest Direct presentation went live this morning (you can watch the whole thing here), and we're here to give you the highlights.
Firstly, Nintendo announced that the New 3DS XL will be released in North America on February 13 at a cost of $199.99. The New 3DS will come without a power cable, and for the time being there is no date for the smaller New 3DS in North America. A limited edition Majora's Mask edition of the hardware will launch the same day. [Update] Majora's Mask hardware will apparently not include the game itself.
For those who don't recall the announcement late last year, the New 3DS (N3DS) is actually a new platform, with added controls on the hardware, and new games incompatible with the old 3DS. But Nintendo doesn't want to give it a distinctive new name (learning nothing from the Wii/Wii U confusion) so we'll be stuck performing verbal gymnastics while discussing Nintendo's handhelds.
Onto the rest of the major announcements:
- As implied above, the 3DS remake of Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask will also be released Feb 13.
- A new Fire Emblem is coming to the 3DS, but no release window was given.
- A selection of Wii games will be coming to the Wii U in downloadable form, starting with Super Mario Galaxy 2 (avail now) with Punch-Out (Jan 22) and Metroid Trilogy (Jan 29) also dated. Each game will be available for half price the first week of availability.
The rest of the announcements can be seen at Polygon
While the rest of the gaming world watches the new Nintendo Direct (we'll have a story on that later, promise), WBIE and Netherrealm have dropped what I believe is the first real gameplay trailer for Mortal Kombat X. We get a pretty good look at the combat, interspersed with cinematics and character moments. It looks great, as all of Netherrealm's titles have since their re-founding at Warner Bros. I'm a bit of a lapsed fighter fan, but this one may tempt me back.
Mortal Kombat X will be released April 14 on all of the usual suspects.
The team at Turtle Rock Studios have revealed the DLC plans for Evolve, and frankly they're a mixed bag.
First the good news: all future DLC maps for the game will be made available across all platforms for free. That means if members of your gaming group buy the DLC and you don't, you'll still be able to play the game without being shunted off to a distaff playlist. That's one of the major gripes about DLC packs for modern shooters: they splinter the userbase.
Now onto the bad news: a season pass has been announced that gets you four new hunters and three new monster skins for $24.99, $5 less than if purchased separately. $25 is a lot for four new characters and a trio of cosmetic items
In other, lets call it 'neutral' news, gamers who pre-order the game will get the 'Monster Expansion pack' for free. The 'pack' consists of one monsters skin at launch (Savage Goliath) plus the fourth monster (the Behemoth) when it becomes available later in the year. Non pre-ordering types will have to pay $14.99 for this content later on.
Premium DLC is part of the package for modern retail games. What matters is how the company handles that content. Most don't do a great job on that front. Taking steps to prevent the fracturing of the userbase is a good step, but that ultimately means gamers will be paying a lot for relatively spartan content on the DLC pack(s).
Evolve launches February 10 on current gen platforms, with an open beta on the Xbox One from January 15-19.
We’re gaming in our golden years at the following link.
One of the things I love about doing the show the way we do it now has to be the ability to take phone calls. Emails are great and so are tweets and other means of getting in touch with us, but the live phone calls give us that direct, instant contact with our listeners. And sure, we run the risk of getting the idiots from time to time, but those are few and far between. I mention this because of the calls we got on this week’s show, specifically from two older gentlemen that called us to talk gaming. One was a player of Fallout 3/New Vegas while the other was an avid WoW player. Both of them in their 60s. It isn’t a myth or anything that older people are gamers, in fact it’s very well known even if you only look at the early years of the Wii. I think, for me, it was more the fact that you don’t really hear from them so having two people call in to talk about gaming with us was a wonderful moment. And a reminder that most of us on the show aren’t far from being those people ourselves. And I don’t really have a problem with that after hearing from people already there.
The first bit of DLC for Far Cry 4 drops today, and this one is all about the timer.
Escape From Durgesh Prison gives the gamer (or gamers, as it can be played solo or co-op) 30 minutes to escape from the titular lockup. The trick is, you start the mode with no weapons or gadgets, and you have to spend time re-equipping before the final battle. Oh, and Ubisoft has also introduced permadeath in this mode, so if you die, you start over from the beginning. It sounds like a real departure from the base Far Cry game, but one which could be really interesting.
Escape From Durgesh Prison can be purchased singly for $9.99, or as a part of the $29.99 season pass.
For gamers below a certain age, this will seem like retro nonsense. For gamers above a certain age, it will hearken back to their childhoods.
The Internet Archive has added a collection of over 2,500 MS-DOS games to their collection, all of which can be played in your browser. Now some of them may not play well in your browser (and results will likely be worse on mobile browsers), but it's still an astounding archive of gaming history.
Ubisoft has announced that the Dead Kings DLC module for Assassins' Creed Unity will be released next week (Jan 13). Dead Kings was originally set for release last year as part of the Unity season pass, but problems with Unity's release led Ubisoft to release it for free.
On a semi-related note, the Assassins' Creed movie has been officially delayed to December 21, 2015 after it became clear that it wouldn't be ready for release this summer. A holiday launch is often a vote of confidence from film studios, but this also puts it in theaters a scant week after the new Star Wars flick, which could be a very tough spot for a film like Assassins' Creed.
We’ve got some strange perspectives at the following link.
I can’t really explain why it is I do the things I do regarding games I really, REALLY love. Something about if you never play them then you’ll always have them to look forward to. It’s really stupid, and I freely own up to that, but it’s odd. I play a game I really enjoy and after it’s done, it feels a bit empty. I explain this a lot better in the show, so hopefully you’ll take a listen there for a bit of context as to why and how. It isn’t anything I find a solution for or even seek one out. It’s just an odd quirk of mine - one of the many, I imagine.
Outside of that strange reveal we talk about our hauls from the Steam sales and what will either become a recently played game or another stack to the backlog.