I must admit, I’ve always been curious as to how the uDraw tablet works. THQ’s drawing peripheral, er, thing, has been primarily focused at the young’uns, but this holiday season, the tablet will be brought to next generation consoles. The tablet will be designed specifically for the new systems, which makes sense given that the Wiimote plugs right into it, something not easily replicated with a Sixaxis. THQ isn’t giving any more details about the upcoming peripheral so we’ll just have to wait and see. Seeing how they’ve shipped almost two million of the little buggers, I’m assuming THQ knows what they’re doing. Then again, the announcement came alongside a mention of a $136M loss this quarter, so maybe not.
Paradox today announced the release of With Fire and Sword, the latest installment of the Mount & Blade series.
My game diary for this one isn’t over, but I did have to restart (long story).
OK, not a really long story. Basically I learned that I am really, really bad at Mount & Blade and wanted to start over so I could review the damn game at a somewhat reasonable speed. Sir Niklas was, quite simply. the worst 17th century Eastern European mercenary in history. Now, that WOULD make for a great game diary (woo boy…) but not a timely review.
Anyway, PR Ahead:
Take up arms, hire mercenaries, and build your own empire—the world is what you make of it. Paradox Interactive today announced that highly anticipated open-world sandbox RPG Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword has officially launched and is now available on all leading digital distribution platforms for $14.99. To celebrate, a launch trailer and the demo has been released!
With Fire and Sword, the third stand-alone title in the acclaimed Mount & Blade series, gives players the freedom to decide who both their allies and enemies are as they create their own world inspired by Henryk Sienkiewicz’s 1884 cult classic novel “With Fire and Sword.” Players will plan tactical takeovers, scheme which castles to siege, and battle rival armies with traditional weapons found in previous Mount & Blade titles, as well as newly introduced firearms such as muskets and pistols.
- Siege mechanics: storm the castle, blow up the walls, bribe an officer or poison the well/food to get past the defenses!
- New army and castle/town upgrade system ; The addition of firearms and explosives¨
- 15 new multiplayer maps and a new multiplayer mode, Captain Team Deathmatch in which players will command a squad of soldiers
- A setting based off the cult novel “With Fire and Sword” (1884) by Nobel- prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz
- Multiple endings for high replay-ability
The game is a stand-alone game created by the independent developers Sich Studios together with Taleworlds Entertainment based on the Mount&Blade: Warband engine.
Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword is now available on all leading digital download platforms for $14.99, with a retail release following shortly. The retail box price will vary on different markets depending on retail box content.
Download the Mount&Blade: With Fire and Sword demo here: http://www.fileplanet.com/219895/210000/fileinfo/Mount&Blade-with-Fire-and-Sword-Demo
Over at FortressAT.com, the other site I’m partially responsible for, one of our regulars has posted a rather chilling account of losing a loved one to gaming addiction . I’ve known “MJ” as I call him through the site for a couple of years and he’s tough as nails and super-critical, seeing him this vulnerable and really kind of at a loss for what to do is sort of disarming. This is pretty raw, emotional stuff and it deals with how sometimes games can cross over a threshold where they stop being fun pastimes and becoming something all-consuming, smothering, and harmful.
This is not some alarmist, Fox News piece about the dangers of gaming and it’s written by someone that plays a lot of games himself. Before anyone launches into the Gamer Defense Initiative, whereby games are absolved of any responsibility for this person’s actions, take a second to think about how many times you’ve played a game rather than doing something else that could have been more productive, social, or tangibly rewarding. Imagine doing that all of the time. That’s what it sounds like this person was doing. It could have been heroin or Gears of War, either way this person is someone who shouldn’t have been anywhere near games.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think video games cause people to do bad things any more than an Ozzy Osbourne record causes a kid to commit suicide or a Dungeons and Dragons game to incite someone to kill somebody. There’s extraneous, outlying causes including severe depression, dissociation, and other maladies that cause people predisposed to addiction or abberant behavior to cross the line. Games aren’t to blame in this story, but in a sense, gaming is. If only because it can be addictive, and it does hit a similar reward center that drugs or other addictive behaviors do.
Having been in and around games all of my life, owning a retail store selling them, and now running Web sites and writing about them professionally, I’ve seen more than my fair share of people that I’d class as game addicts. We probably all know someone who’s retreated into WoW games for months on end, or someone who’s played a Civilization game to the point where marriage and friendships are tested. I remember having a party once and I spent the whole thing playing Civ 2 while my friends were having fun upstairs. I’ve known many people who identify themselves by the games they play more than by who they are. I used to sell games to middle-aged men that would ask me if our credit card reporting put “games” anywhere on the statement. They had to have $200 worth of new games and didn’t want their wives to know. I had college kids coming in and spending the money their parents sent for food and expenses on 40k miniatures, claiming that they’d just eat dollar boxes of macaroni and cheese for the next month. “Being a gamer is expensive”, I had a customer say once.
This is one of the several reasons why I almost never refer to myself as a gamer and in fact I think it’s a negative term almost on par with “pothead”. Is there really anything different- on a fundamental level- between sitting in your living room playing an MMORPG or multiplayer FPS all day and smoking weed to the exclusion of doing anything else? I love games, I love gaming, but I know where the limits of fun lie. I think most people that enjoy games do and the overwhelming majority of people that pick up a control pad or roll dice do so and understand that games and life are not one in the same. But there are people out there who don’t, and every time I see those news stories about some mother that let a kid die so they could play Farmville or I hear about someone who’s marriage is in trouble over gaming it makes me sick.
I just received a press release from Bethesda detailing the next three bits of Fallout: New Vegas DLC that are on their way from Obsidian and Bethesda. They’re slated to come out once a month over the next three months (starting with May) and will run $10 each (or 800 MS points in the case of the Xbox). Here’s the word from the release:
Available on May 17, Honest Hearts takes you on an expedition to the unspoiled wilderness of Utah’s Zion National Park. Things go horribly wrong when your caravan is ambushed by a tribal raiding band. As you try to find a way back to the Mojave, you become embroiled in a war between tribes and a conflict between a New Canaanite missionary and the mysterious Burned Man. The decisions you make will determine the fate of Zion.
In Old World Blues, releasing in June, you will discover how some of the Mojave’s mutated monsters came to be when you unwittingly become a lab rat in a science experiment gone awry. You’ll need to scour the Pre-War research centers of the Big Empty in search of technology to turn the tables on your kidnappers or join forces with them against an even greater threat.
Lonesome Road, available in July, brings the courier’s story full circle when you are contacted by the original Courier Six, a man by the name of Ulysses who refused to deliver the Platinum Chip at the start of New Vegas. In his transmission, Ulysses promises the answer as to why, but only if you take one last job –a job that leads you into the depths of the hurricane-swept canyons of the Divide, a landscape torn apart by earthquakes and violent storms. The road to the Divide is a long and treacherous one, and of the few to ever walk the road, none have ever returned.
UPDATE: You can now download the Red Faction: Armageddon demo off of Xbox Live.
I cannot remember the last time I was this “confused” about a game that I wanted to play and one that is so close to being ready for consumption as Red Faction: Armageddon.
I loved RF: Guerrilla with all of my building crashing heart and have seen demos of Armageddon, read previews, and even spoke to others who have also seen it and yet I still have absolutely no idea what to expect when it ships in June. Of course I’ll be at E3 when it’s out so I won’t be able to play it until I get back and then I’ll be on vacation the week after the show as the family travels to Yellowstone where I am sure I will be fighting bears with only my wits and a knife.
I saw this over at RPS today and thought it worth a mention.
Now, understand, every time I see Cyanide Studios in the name I get all tense and have Blood Bowl AI flashbacks and start to weep. I still have plans for Blood Bowl, but I still see Cyanide and think “damn it.” This is the same thing I feel about the Game of Thrones strategy title the company is making. They are going to have to show me they know how to program AI before I get excited.
This new RPG is developed by Todd’s favorite developer: Spiders. Seriously, the name of the developer is literally “Spiders” which has to be the best studio name ever. Cyanide is created with “Concept and Production”.
The game itself sounds like a two-person team, one playing the veteran orc soldier and the other the goblin. I have no idea if this in in fact a co-op game but I get that vibe from reading the website.
It’s still a ways off, but there’s some more pics here: http://www.spiders-games.com/news/335
Episode Four of the bloodiest web series around delves into the background of Kitana and Mileena, Mortal Kombat’s pair of scantily clad female fighters. This is the first episode that really gets into the more fantasy-esque parts of MK and I have to say, the combination of live action and animation works. I have no idea if any of the origins are canonical, if Mortal Kombat even has an established canon, but I am entertained, and that’s all I’m looking for.
Word on the street is that Nintendo is going to publish a small number of copies of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D so as to not repeat the fate of Spirit Tracks which apparently landed in bargain bins quickly after release. Spirit Tracks was a pretty damn good game, so this surprises me. However, Ocarina is, literally, the highest rated game of all time, so are they really concerned that it won’t sell? Well, any way, here’s a trailer to enjoy while you frantically dial up your retailer of choice to inquire about preordering.