Coming as no surprise to anyone, USAToday reports that Guitar Hero: Metallica will be coming to a system near you in 2009. Complete with DRM, we assume. Check out the full interview with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett and GH:M lead designer Alan Flores.
Geneforge 5 Now Available For Mac December 8, 2008
The Exile Trilogy was followed by the Avernum series, which was basically a higher-tech remake of Spiderweb’s fantasy RPG. Geneforge came later, casting you as a Shaper with the power to create, control and destroy creatures who may or may not have native intelligence.
As I said, I’ve yet to play Geneforge 5, but I look forward to doing it. If you don’t want to wait and you’re a Mac user, check out Spiderweb’s truly epic demo. PC users, you’ll have to hang on until March.
5th Cell Scribbles For The Moon December 6, 2008
As promised, game developer 5th Cell announced their next DS game on Friday in an IGN exclusive. The game is Scribblenauts, an incredibly ambitious title that will have players scribbling words onscreen to solve puzzles in a platfoming-type adventure.
The level 5th Cell showed featured main character Maxwell scribbling the word “ladder” to make a ladder appear to scale a great height. I think I could easily spend a few hours scribbling “puppy”, “kitty”, “mouse”, and any other critter that came to mind, just to see if they’d appear. This would seem to fit with the game’s tagline of “Write Anything, Solve Everything.”
Check out this gameplay footage from 5th Cell, which is so entertaining I will even forgive them the horrendous error of writing “100’s” with an apostrophe.
For even more scribbly goodness, head over to IGN for their exclusive interview with 5TH Cell’s co-founder and creative director Jeremiah Slaczka.
Oh Boy, More Sonic Crap December 1, 2008
Continuing their cavalcade of “We Don’t Care If You Like It, We’re Just Going To Put Out A New Game Every Month Instead of Doing What The Fans Want And Doing An Actual Retro Game”, Sonic Team has released new screenshots from the upcoming Wii game Sonic and the Black Knight. You can check those shots out over at Kotaku if you like, I’m not wasting space with them here.
In the last few years Sonic has gone to Pseudo-Arabia to make it with a human chick, spun off a gun-toting Shadow, searched deep into his RPG roots, and become a freakin’ werewolf – excuse me, werehog. In fact, he’s done everything but run around really damn fast for 4 hours and collect rings while freeing cute bunnies and saving Chaos Emeralds! For the love of Ceiling Cat and all that is HOLY, Team Sonic, make a damned SONIC game!
Thank you. That is all.
Preview: Hands On With Mirror’s Edge November 7, 2008
With only a week remaining until its North American release on the XBox 360 and PS3, it is time to delve into Mirror’s Edge. We’ve been playing the demo here at the Weiner and we’ve got some pretty interesting stuff to report.
Mirror’s Edge is a new twist on an old genre – it is a first person parkour game. As per Wikipedia:
Parkour (sometimes abbreviated to PK) or l’art du déplacement (English: the art of movement) is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment—from branches and rocks to rails and concrete walls—and can be practiced in both rural and urban areas. Parkour practitioners are referred to as traceurs, or traceuses for females.
The protagonist is a courier named Faith who takes to to the rooftops to deliver important packages in a world where information on the ground is locked up tight. Faith’s world is detailed in shining white with spare primary colors, notably red, indicating your path. That isn’t to say that the game is linear, but instead the bright accents give you a sense of direction when your body is hurling through space.
There is some fighting in Mirror’s Edge, but the action centers on Faith’s movement through the levels. Weapons are generally used to get out of a jam and then tossed, because combat will slow you down too much.
The demo feels solid. The jump buttons are on the shoulders, which gives your motion a more organic feel as you maneuver through the sky. They offer a couple different configurations, but the default has (Jump/Duck-Slide) mapped to the LB/LT and (Punch/Kick) to RB/RT. (Although RB will also do quick turns.) It takes a moment or two of getting used to, and then it really feels smooth.
There is a definite sense of urgency to the missions, which makes it feel even better when you hit your jumps and turns and swings just right. In that way it feels like a well-designed platformer, and the pleasure you derive from play is oddly similar to what you might feel when flawlessly completing a level in a Mario game.
The checkpoint system is reasonable, which is good. You’re going to plummet to your death 20 or 30 times while getting the hang of this thing. The time trials are not nearly as forgiving – the demo’s “qualifying time” of 2:00 will take more than a few tries.
All in all, Mirror’s Edge looks like it has come together well, and shaped up quite a bit from when we saw it at PAX. Check out the launch trailer here and enjoy the game when it comes out next week.
Preview: The New XBox Live Experience November 4, 2008
Are you experienced? As Jimi rock and rolls in his grave, Microsoft prepares to roll out their “New XBox Live Experience” on November 19th. First announced and shown at E3, the NXLE is essentially a giant Dashboard update, which means that ready or not, it is coming to your system in two weeks. In response to a “can I keep my old system?” FAQ, Microsoft replies, in near-Orwellian fashion:
“Why would you want to? The New Xbox Experience is the same experience you had before and so much more! As a matter fact, the blades that people have come to know and love are integrated directly in to the guide button so that every aspect of the Xbox experience is always only one button click away. The new Xbox experience is built with community as its foundation and requires everyone to upgrade.”
Microsoft is touting NXLE as the “ultimate social entertainment experience”. Apparently concerts, clubs, coffeeshops, and the like are done for good. But enough of slagging on the change for change’s sake. What’s new?
First up, move over Miis. Avatars are here. Immediately after downloading the new interface you will be asked to create an avatar, which will take the place of your gamerpic and will be used in games ranging from Scene It! to . . . Scene It! 2.
Next comes Themes 2.0. This PS3 Home-esque feature gives you your own little piece of virtual real estate. Each graphic you see in a theme ties into the overall effect, and there are rumors of purchaseable theme items for that “special touch”. People with friends can invite them into the Friends Channel to host an avatar party, complete with dressup dolls and pudgy unicorns. Ok, I made that last part up. Still love your Penny Arcade blades theme? Microsoft assures us that we won’t lose our old gamerpics and themes, but as of this writing, they “haven’t given out specifics about how your Gamerpics and Themes will be used when the update launches”.
One of the biggest new features, both in terms of impact and hard disk space, is the new Netflix on Demand feature. If this works like the PC version, XBox Live users will be able to watch any of thousands of movies on their large shiny TVs without having to wait for a disc to arrive in the mail. This feature requires membership in the Netflix unlimited subscription plan and, I’d imagine, sufficient hard disk space to store the data. This should become interesting to Comcast subscribers, who have a shiny new bandwidth cap.
Where does this leave “Arcade” and “Core System” users? Microsoft states that “to download the update, Xbox LIVE members will need to have at least 128MB of memory available. However, we recommend having a hard drive for the best experience.” Right. So upgrade now, folks, lest ye be judged.
All in all, I think that some of these changes are decent. The streamlined interface will be nice after the learning curve, and avatars look fun, if useless. The big draw is really Netflix, and we won’t know how well that actually works after launch. Here’s hoping they can keep the system up longer than Sony has of late with Little Big Planet.
Preview: Star Wars: The Old Republic October 25, 2008
This week Bioware finally let out some details about the worst-kept secret in PC video games: that their secret MMORPG project is related to their hit title, Knights of the Old Republic.
Welcome to SWTOR, or “Swatter”, as we shall pronounce it.
The new game, is set 3,500 years before the rise of Darth Vader, and 300 years after your adventures as Revan in the original KOTOR. Players will be thrust into a world where the real Sith Empire has finally emerged from hiding on the fringes of the galaxy and delivered a major defeat to the Republic. While the two sides are technically at peace, it’s clear that a new war between the Republic and the Empire is in the offing.
The Galactic Republic stood for generations as a bastion of peace in a galaxy of warring star systems. Protected by its stalwart Jedi guardians, the Republic held the greatest hope for the progress of civilization and galactic unity.
Deep in unknown space, however, a mighty Sith Empire was forged, led by dark Sith Lords who dreamt of galactic domination and vengeance against their ancient Jedi enemies. After centuries of preparation, the time came for the Sith to make their return.
Bioware’s official website is sparse on details, without even an expect ship timeframe or base system requirements. All we can do at the moment is oogle at the pretty concept pictures hosted at the site.