Gators before Feminists: Wikipedia is one of the most viewed sites on the internet, it presents itself as a bastion of facts but recently it appears that the organization’s “highest governing body” is too thick to see through a ploy by GamerGaters to undermine the site and rebrand their message and instead of protecting the integrity of the editorial staff they are blocking five feminist editors from editing anything relating to gender and basically let the same folks who thought “Five guys” jokes were funny to white wash their history. Until this is addressed we should not support this organization and I have to say, I’m probably not going to donate to them ever again. (Source The Guardian)
Yeah… about being “Security Experts”: The last few weeks have seen a host of arrests of Lizard Squad team members due to their inability to lay low. Turns out this week they are also on the receiving end of an attack that has ended with their list of customers being leaked and the ever so careful folks at Lizard Squad stored the information in, wait for it, plain text. Someone was saying something about reaping and sowing. (Source Engadget)
“Holograms”, streaming games, Cortana, Spartan and the list goes on: Earlier this week Microsoft held a conference to announce some of the newer features of Windows 10 and show the face to the audience. What we got was more than a lot of folks expected. We got a Battletoad t-shirt (hint hint), we got a new Xbox interface that also included Xbox to PC streaming and the acknowledgement of a concerted effort to allow for PC to Xbox streaming, a cross platform initiative with Fable Legends, the confirmation of unified Xbox One to PC to Slate to Phone apps, DirectX 12 making our eyes bleed, a view of Windows 10 for phones and the most mind blowy item of all… Holograms! (Well not really but that’s what Microsoft is calling them.) The Hololens appears to be the culmination of the “Wearable interface” technology they have been researching for some time and looks to be positioned as a response to Google Glass (and not the Oculus Rift). I have to admit my favourite quote regarding the Hololens was that it was what “Flavor Flav would do to a computer”. We also found out that Microsoft will be providing Office 2016 free to users with a native client on all Windows 10 devices and the operating system itself will be free to all Windows Phone 8 users and free to Windows 7 and up users for at least the first year. Honestly, I thought I was in Bizzaro world when I read an article that called Microsoft “exciting” and “sexy” and Apple “boring”. It’s like we’re in 2000 but the Mirror Mirror universe version of 2000! There’s a lot of links since there was a LOT of coverage so enjoy! (Sources Joystiq here, here, here and here, Engadget here, here and here, Polygon here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, CNET, Eurogamer, Wired, Microsoft, Fable Legends, Major Nelson)
Since his departure (which I suspect wasn’t entirely on his terms after his flubbing of Fable 3) he’s taken every opportunity available to trash his former employers. Given the fact that his most recent project Godus went pay to win and that’s pretty much the only real game he’s created (and no Curiosity doesn’t count) since he left it doesn’t really speak well of him. The man is synonymous with the concept of “over hyping” and has become basically an industry joke (alongside Lord British) as a man who doesn’t seem to be aware of his failings all the while claiming to be acutely aware. Anyhow, he’s saying Microsoft shouldn’t over hype the Hololens technology. Given they’ve shown one demo video it’s hard to tell yet but it was even more understated then the hype video Google put out for Google Glass but this really does strike me as a pot calling a kettle cookware. (Source Gamesindustry.biz)
Not all nice: With all the Microsoft Love going on this week there was a continuation of the walk of shame that the Master Chief Collection continues to do, first it forgot it’s jacket, then it forgot its wallet, now it appears to be walking back again because it forgot its keys. In what seems to be the final big patch 343 Industries is looking for testers for a big patch to the match making system focusing on Preview members with a lot of involvement with the Halo community and game. It looks like they are really trying to do this right. Now if they CAN do it right is a different story that only time (and this beta) will tell. (Source Joystiq)
Blizzard, keeping it classy: Whatever one may think of Blizzards hits and misses with the 10 year anniversary of WoW here this is a pretty classy move on their part. Blizzard have sent out incredibly detailed statues to 10 year members fans for nothing. These are pretty hefty looking pieces of kit to boot, this isn’t some cheap thrown together trinket and it appears to be a really nice acknowledgement of the fact these are people who have given them each about $1,800 dollars over the last ten years (not including expansions and micro-transactions). Pretty cool Blizzard, this is why everyone likes you guys. Expect to see at least one of these statues on eBay by end of next week. (Source Polygon)
Don’t get cocky kid: A while back we saw a bunch of LucasArts games hit Steam, this included classics such as Knights of the Old Republic, Dark Forces and Republic Commando. This week saw a new wave including Knights of the Old Republic 2 (do yourself a favour and install the fan patch for this), Fate of Atlantis (see our Sarah’s review) and most excitingly the X-Wing games! Most interestingly of all, none of this is on steam but all on Good Old Games. Interesting! (Source GOG, Polygon and Joystiq)
Patching and Pride: Dragon Age: Inquisition continues to make news with the release of the new PC patch with a host of fixes but also GLAAD singing their praises for their work in the game and its representation of LGBT characters giving them a “Special Recognition” award. It’s awesome that GLAAD are seeing that games can be a positive effect and hopefully one day they’ll work their way in to the main categories along with other mediums. (Source Bioware, Gamespot and Polygon)
Once more in to the breach: One of the “fun” things about the release of new console generations is the first couple of years that are littered with re-releases (which is followed at the end of the generation by the inevitable remasters). With this generation of games it’s even easier since the high resolution assets for many games were already in the hopper for the PC releases so now it’s just a fresh coat of paint and some new nuts and bolts beneath the hood to get them out for the new consoles which is exactly what’s happening with The Handsome Jack Collection a collection of both Borderlands 2 and Borderlands The Pre-Sequel along with all DLC bundled together and set loose on the Xbox One and PS4. So if you are one of the few who didn’t get these games or more likely you are twitching for your Tiny Tina fix since you moved to the new shiny you can now have the best of both worlds.
Also this week saw the release of some details regarding the China only Borderlands Online which consists of four classes (all of which will sound familiar to fans) including the Soldier, Hunter, Siren and Berserker. The first betas will start on the 23rd and run through the 27th so if you’re in China and want to get in on the action you have a couple days left. (Source Business Wire, Joystiq and Massively)
Ground control to Major Tom: Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth was a title that may found a bit disappointing, a little too like Civilization and not quite enough like Alpha Centauri it didn’t quite pack the punch people had hoped. Well it appears that’s because a lot of work was also going in to Sid M’iers' Starships which is a 4x Space Combat sim in the vein of MOO (one can think). Watching the trailer it doesn’t explicitly say it but seems to imply it is a sequel to Beyond Earth and 2K are even hinting that there may be connectivity between Starship and Beyond Earth (shades of the Endless series). (Source Joystiq)
It wouldn’t be another week without Star Citizen: During a recent BAFTA Masterclass presentation Chris Roberts dropped a little knowledge on the audience. Mainly that based on current trends the game looks like it will hit 100 million in funding before it even gets released to the wild but more interestingly was the timeline with a spring beta for the FPS and planetside exploration, Arena Commander 2.0 in the summer and the story based Squadron 42 hitting players in the fall and even the persistent universe component being ready by the end of the year with a full commercial release in 2016. I have to admit this does have me a bit excited though it is important to point out RSI have been a bit fuzzy when it came to hitting targets in the past so it’s best to expect delays and enjoy the treat of hit targets. Now if I could only get the game to recognize my G13 and bind keys properly I’d be golden! On top of this exciting news we also got the release of the public test universe (PTU) to the general public for Arena Commander. So if you want to be on the bleeding edge of development (aka the stuff that crashes a lot) you now can! (Source Joystiq, Polygon, RSI and VG247)
The way back machine: Remember back in 2011 when everyone hated Sony because they had crappy security and a bunch of hackers compromised everyone’s accounts? Well it looks like if you are an American you are FINALLY going to be compensated for the potential sale of your credit information and identity to Russian mobsters. If you live anywhere but the US well sucks to be us, we don’t count because it was a US case. I’m sure now that it’s been settled some industrious solicitor or barrister will take up the cause elsewhere. (Source Eurogamer)
Steamy action (of the steampunk variety): The highly anticipated title The Order 1886 has been in development since 2010 and finally hit gold on Monday. To celebrate a story trailer was released. With the release date of February 20th quickly approaching this is turning in to a must buy!
Not DLNA but better than a kick in the teeth: The PS4 is sorely lacking in media options, with no CD support and the only MP3 support being from external media and not over the network you’re kind of limited. Those who had extensive digital libraries with the PS3 were until this week pretty much hosed, while music is still off the table video has found new life. Following in the footsteps of the Xbox One (who got this along with full DLNA support almost two months ago) Plex has made its way to the PS4. If you have a great big library of MKVs of all your DVDs and Blu-rays ripped to your PC you can now watch it on your PS4 but only with the purchase of a Plex Media Pass (which is not that bad only 40 dollars for a year or 150 for lifetime support). Install the server on your PC and the client on your console of choice and you can now stream on all consoles. The fact there’s clients for every major mobile and computer OS is an added bonus. Having used it on Xbox One, PS4 and PC I have to say the PC is the best experience with the most robust interface while both the Xbox One and PC lack filtering and many of the key features and the PS4 in particular feels a bit jerky with poor implementation of fast forwarding and required transcoding as many CODEX are not supported natively by the console. That said it’s solid and better than the previous option. (Source Polygon and Joystiq)
Another week and another Destiny post: Destiny is the title that just won’t go away, in further proof that some gamers take their games way too seriously a Destiny fan who is a self-proclaimed “sun dial enthusiast” dropping some pretty impressive knowledge they were able to deduce by the shadows that the Tower was located in the southern hemisphere and the behaviour of the sun was consistent with that of an equinox. Using that data they were able to subtract the altitude of the sun from 90 degrees and eventually led us to 29 degrees south latitude which only leaves South America as an option. So, it would appear, that we escape to Brazil. There are worse places to escape to. This week also saw the hard mode to Crota’s End added to the game and subsequently beat on the first day and then later beat in under 30 minutes. Next DLC Bungie better really up the difficulty levels. (Source Polygon here and here)
The inevitable: It happened to Star Wars The Old Republic, it happened to The Secret World and it was bound to happen here as well. This week Bathesda announced that The Elder Scrolls Online would be coming to consoles but they would be dropping their subscription fee and going to a “Buy to play” model with micro-transactions. Basically despite extensive critical claim and an apparently robust fan base they are becoming Guild Wars 2. Not a slam on Guild Wars 2 but the experiment with the MMO format really appears to be struggling to continue in the post-recession and post free to play world. (Source Bathesda, Polygon and Massively)
And speaking of MMOs that didn’t make it: Remember APB? Remember how it lasted only a few months before imploding? There was a comeback where a third party bought up the assets and salvaged the game (sort of) and released it as APB: Reloaded but very little was heard about it. Apparently it’s doing well enough that the cops and robbers MMO sim is coming to PS4 and Xbox One. Huh! (Source Polygon and Joystiq)
There are only so many ways to spell awesome but it appears Strafe is one of them: Strafe is a recently kickstarted game that is looking to recapture some of the madcap nature of 90s FPS games. The game just looks mad as a hatter and like a lot of fun and with the kind of humour from this trailer it seems like the kind of thing I can get behind. (Source Polygon here and here and Kickstarter)
Never really much of a point: Club Nintendo in Japan has always had some awesome rewards including limited edition games and all sorts of sweet swag, in North America not so much. I once got a calendar… it was kind of lame so it came as no surprise when this week Nintendo of America killed the program to replace it with a “new rewards program” with the pending replacement sounding much more like the kinds of rewards seen in Japan. That said, if you want to use up your coins you have until March 31st before they disappear in to the void of virtual reward currency. (Source Joystiq)
The Screamy Game: Sega and Creative Assembly recently announced the sales numbers of Alien: Isolation. For the first time in years a game based on the Alien universe has come together and not resulted in law suits (unless you count a class action suit over soiled underpants). (Source Joystiq)
Old school fun: Back in the day 27 years ago we saw the release of one of the most fun games in the Fantasy Genre The Bard’s Tale. A mashup of D&D and Wizardry it was the object of much enjoyment around the Commodore 64s in my grade school. Well 27 years later we are seeing the first official sequel (not counting the 2004 reboot) with The Bard’s Tale 4. Unfortunately it looks like it will be a Kickstarter project so details are scarce right now but InXile has enlisted the help of Brian Fargo the creator of the series which leads me to hope this will be a true continuation of the series. (Source IGN and Brian Fargo)
PAX South: It is starting to seem like PAX is a never ending event, one PAX ends another begins. This time we have PAX South which will see gameplay from the new Homeworld Remastered on Sunday the 26th, we’ve seen the announcement of an expansion to Guild Wars 2 and more. For a complete breakdown of news check out Polygon’s rolling update here or the official PAX Twitch stream. (Source Polygon, Escapist, Penny Arcade, Gearbox)
Time to reinstall: I’ve always struggled with MMO games, even the most engaging see my interest wane after a few months (Star Wars The Old Republic lasted the longest but well… it was Star Wars and Bioware). One of the games that I quite enjoyed but I just drifted away from was Guild Wars 2 a strong hybrid action MMO mixed with traditional MMO properties and the added more player friendly Buy to Play model (meaning light cosmetic and content micro-transactions supported by a purchase and expansion driven revenue structure). This PAX South the folks over at Arenanet and NCSoft have announced an upcoming expansion called Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. Unfortunately the expansion doesn’t have us returning to some of the faraway lands from the previous iteration’s expansions but one can hope those are coming in the future. I guess it’s time to reinstall now. (Source Guild Wars 2 here and here)
Getting Twitchy: Valve released an updated Steam client unlocking the broadcasting features so now you can stream your game without a third party twitch client. Unfortunately this will not stream to third party carriers like Twitch but Is a start of an in system service (that I’m sure will be monetized by the time the year is out). This also adds some minor bug fixes and tweaks. (Source Valve and Joystiq)
Speaking of the devil: It’s really easy to let your steam library grow rather large, a website called SteamLeft using How Long To Beat’s data has created a tool that will let you figure out how long it will take to complete all the games in your library. I’m pleased to say it’s still less than a year’s worth of game play 24/7 (but not by much). (Source Joystiq)
Beware the ides of March: Sony’s adaptation of the amazing Image comic series Powers by Brian Michael Bendis (which reminds me I gotta get caught up on that series) it proceeds at pace and this week we got the debut date for the series. Slated for release March 10th the first episode will be available to all PSN members with the full ten episode run being free to PS Plus members. Hopefully they will cover the Who Killed Retro Girl arc and bring it back for another season as this is a series that could be amazing (and it certainly can’t be worse than Nightfall). (Source Joystiq and Polygon)
But that’s not all: This week we also got to see the trailer for the Dead Rising movie Dead Rising: Watchtower, this is a bit of a mess when it comes to rights but let’s see if we can follow this the game is published by Microsoft and was designed by Capcom who had Contradiction Films produce the film which was then sold to Sony for global distribution who in turn are putting the film out on their Crackle platform (I’m guessing it’s not high enough caliber for their PSN platform). We also got a trailer for it this week which has a distinctly Sharknado vibe (though we get to see Rob Riggle as Frank West and I have to say it works). (Source Polygon)
Make it so: Simon Pegg is sort of the geek that everyone guy wants to be, he’s funny and sharp as a tack with a great sense of pop culture awareness that just brings everything home. Well, apparently, after the production mess in the wake of J.J.’s departure the folks at Universal want Simon to pen the script for the next Star Trek film Star Trek 3. Having “Scotty” write the film is pretty awesome since if anyone knows the lore and the importance of keeping true to the fans it’s the uber-fan Simon Pegg. Now, the only question is will there be a Coranetto in it? (Source Polygon)
Potential AWESOME: The Disney plan is to have alternating movies in the Star Wars universe every year with the “off” year being spin off properties like The Battle of Endor but… well not bad. Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) is slated to helm the first project due in 2016 and rumor has it he’s auditioning not just Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) but also Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) I mean seriously. Anyone one of them alone would be awesome but could all three be in it? (Source io9)
Marvelous News: In Marvel news we have a few tidbits, first we got some casting news for the next X-Men including Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) as a young Jean Grey, Alexandra Shipp (Ray Donovan) as a young Storm, and Tye Sheridan (Mud) as Cyclops atop the already confirmed Channing Tatum (22 Jump Street) as Gambit and Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) as grown up Apocalypse plus the previous cast! This is getting to be a big (and incredibly powerful) cast!
Further leaks have sprung that Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) is playing Ulysses Klaw in The Avengers: Age of Ultron though still no confirmation. But just look at that facial hair! It’s kind of obvious.
Lastly, and possibly this may not be so good news, Marvel have confirmed that after the Secret Wars event slated to run 2015 the Marvel Universe will not return to its regularly scheduled format. This is leading to a world “reboot” that will see many of the comics restructured (which could explain decisions like killing Wolverine, Deadpool and ending the Fantastic Four better to end them at a logical conclusion than drag them out). This has happened before though, generally things drift back in to a continuity but how much will return and how much of the old continuity will remain intact is unknown, will Steve Rogers still be retired as Captain America? Will Wolverine and Professor X still be dead? It’s hard to tell but now we at least know. All I know is if they end Ms. Marvel I will hate them forever.
(Source Polygon here and here and Comicbook.com)
Video Game Violence: People make a lot of assumptions about old people like they have sticks up their backsides or they are no fun or that they are all proper. Also many people make assumptions that video games cause violence in kids, well watching this video of seniors playing GTA V I have to say it certainly inspires them to acts of violence but they also seem to be pretty hep cats though some of them seem to relish it in a way that if I saw a kid acting like that I’d call a psychologist. (Source Polygon)