Yes, yes, it’s a 3D action-RPG, made with a 3D engine. That’s not what this news concerns.
No…this news concerns the fact that Risen 2 will fully support Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology! So if you happen to have that on your gaming rig, you’ll be able to enjoy some piratey RPG goodness in a somewhat more immersive way.
Risen 2: Dark Waters will be available on April 27, 2012 for Windows PC, on May 22, 2012 in the USA and Canada and on May 25, 2012 in European countries for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3.
Risen 2: Dark Waters will be available via digital distribution for PC, and for both PC and consoles as a retail version, as well as a Collector’s Edition in certain territories.
RPGWatch calls the delay, which is basically a month in duration, “small”. I’d argue that a whole month exceeds the definition of “small”, but that’s just me.
INCGamers sat down with Pete Brolly from Deep Silver to discuss Risen 2. A couple notable excerpts worth mention here include his comments on the nature of Risen 2′s open world:
IncGamers: How would you describe the way Risen 2 is set out? It’s not open-world in the same sense as Skyrim, but it’s certainly not linear either.
Pete Brolly: It’s definitely open-world. The difference is, though… in Risen 1 you start the game and you’re free to go anywhere, and we got a lot of complaints that there wasn’t enough explanation. We didn’t want people to get lost at the start of Risen 2 so it’s a bit linear early on as you play through missions that introduce you to the world.
Then, on the second island, it’s all opened up and a bit more is explained. And then on the next island you get your own ship and you’re free to travel anywhere you like. So, no matter what the mission, you can go anywhere at any time.
Risen 1 was a like a funnel, where it started out open world and got more linear. In Risen 2 that’s reversed.
And here’s a rather intriguing comment on how skills in the game work:
PB: If you choose the Voodoo option then you’ll lock yourself out of some Inquisition missions, as well as some skills that you could potentially learn. You will still be able to use your pistol and ‘dirty trick’ skills if you choose Voodoo, but you won’t increase your firearms abilities enough to use rifles, muskets or shotguns.
On the other hand, you will get the Voodoo skills and missions.
IG: What are some of those Voodoo skills?
PB: New dialogue options open up where you can actually manipulate NPCs, so you can pluck a hair from their head and make a Voodoo puppet based on that person. You can then use that to take on a quest.
For example, one mission might involve a ship that needs to be taken over but is guarded by enemies. You could fight them yourself or you could take over the commander and use him to dismiss the troops.
On one hand, they’re opting for the rather hard-core approach of locking you out of whole skill trees if you choose to side with one faction over the other. But not, or so it sounds, in a way that makes you feel like it’s a punishment.
I’ve already made my own thoughts known where the demo for Mass Effect 3 is concerned. But if you’re looking for what actual gaming press websites had to say about it, RPGWatch and GameBanshee have aggregated a few lists of notable commentary.
The basic gist of the Legacy System in The Old Republic is that you can create what is essentially a family of characters whom the game will label and treat as related. If you create alternate characters (“alts”) on the same server once your Legacy has been established, they’ll automatically be treated as Legacy characters.
When you first gain access to the Legacy System (which happens once you complete the first chapter of the single-player campaign for any one character), a second experience bar appears on the game’s interface, which tracks your “Legacy Experience” points; you gain Legacy XP at a reduced rate compared to base XP. But (and here’s the kicker) all your alt characters, even freshly-created ones, all feed into a common Legacy XP pool.
To this point, there have been no rewards granted for gaining Legacy levels, but that is evidently set to change in future SWTOR updates.
Razer naturally had something Mass Effect 3-related to announce:
Award-winning developer BioWare, a label of Electronic Arts Inc. along with Razer, the world leader in high performance gaming hardware, reveal today peripherals and gear created for the highly anticipated Action RPG Mass Effect 3. Fans of the Mass Effect series can arm themselves for the all-out galactic war with the Razer Mass Effect 3 Edition peripheral line which includes a Razer Imperator gaming mouse, Razer Vespula dual-sided gaming mouse mat, Razer BlackWidow Ultimate gaming keyboard, Razer Onza Tournament Edition Xbox 360 controller, and Razer Chimaera Xbox 360 gaming headset. The cutting-edge peripherals will give fans of the series a competitive advantage in the epic battle to save the galaxy from the ancient alien race known only as the Reapers.
I intend to play the game with a cheap little half-sized wireless mouse I picked up at a Wal*Mart in Wyoming, myself.
I just got back from Vegas. Now, I don’t really need an excuse to go to Vegas, but this time I had a good reason. You see, I was celebrating a major life milestone. As of last week, I have officially retired from BioWare. (I’ll give all you gamers a second to let that sink in. Just to be clear, the parting was completely amicable, and 100% my decision.)
For the past twelve years I’ve had the privilege to work at one of the best companies in the video game industry, side by side with the most talented and incredible group of people I’ve ever had the good fortune to know. I’ve enjoyed my time at BioWare immensely, but it’s time for me to move on.
I’m leaving to focus more time and energy on my novels and other non-video game related projects. But even though I’ll no longer be working on games for BioWare, I’m not going to be severing all ties with them. Many of my closest friends still work at the company, and I’m also in the process of writing the next Star Wars: The Old Republic novel, though I can’t say too much about it yet.
Karpyshyn has worked on numerous BioWare titles, from Neverwinter Nights onward, and is by any measure a very talented writer who rightly deserves to enjoy success telling his own stories.
Here was Joystiq’s take on it when it was first announced:
EA really wants you to know that Mass Effect 3 exists. Like, so bad. The publisher’s fervor for raising awareness about ME3 is so great that it’s strapping six copies of the game to six high-altitude weather balloons spread across the globe, and launching them into the literal stratosphere, which is effectively space when spoken in the same sentence as “balloons” and “video games.”
Paris, London, Berlin, New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas will all play host to one of these advertising airships, which are set to launch next week. Eventually though, these puppies are coming back down.
Each copy of the game is equipped with a GPS tracking device, and crazy people will be able to monitor the games’ positions on the official Mass Effect website. Once they land, whoever scrambles to a crash site first will get to keep the copy and play the game a week early, assuming the damn thing is still somehow intact.
No word on whether they’re actually calling it the “Space Edition” of Mass Effect 3, but that’s a label I’ve seen used in a few places.
Anyhow, as I said, these were all lanuched this week, and in at least one case the result was rather hilarious. Leave it to a strong wind and a tall tree to mess everything up, eh?
Buskell is the game’s associate producer, and Gaspur is the senior combat designer. As you can well imagine, the interview mostly focuses on topics like the addition of multiplayer, and changes to combat and class powers.
Ilum stands in PvP limbo. Camping hasn’t exactly vanished, it’s just shifted to immediately outside a faction’s base. Rather than an overwhelming bombardment of Force powers and missiles over the spawn point, there’s an almost-constant, uneasy standoff just on the border of the instant-kill line. It’s an improvement, certainly, but it’s still not fun. Ilum as it stands currently discourages aggression, because pushing the enemy into their base means you will get fewer kills. So instead of an all-out war, players tend to wait in specific locations, kill each other until one side has been pushed back a certain distance, then stop the advancement and let them regroup. It’s functionally not so different from Ilum’s original iteration.
Ilum, by the way, is one of the planets in The Old Republic, and then one for fairly high-level players as I recall. And, evidently, PvP there isn’t so much fun as it is tedious and stalemated. Which is rather like war, I suppose…and which is why players don’t like it.
And if you thought Reckoning’s “Houses of Valor” at-launch DLC was shameless marketeering, consider the fact that at least the Houses of Valor (and the seven or so associated quests) were just a minor side element in that game’s plot (and then one which, after a cumulative day of play, I have yet to encounter).
What has been removed for the “From Ashes” DLC is just…I’m glad I pre-ordered the edition of the game I did, and so will have unfettered access to it. Had I not done so, there is a possibility I’d be furious. I think it will depend on what they do with the new squad member who is central to the DLC. If they turn out not to use him well, I might be more upset at having the DLC than I would have been not having it.
On the other hand, if he’s as critical as reason suggests he should be…
RPS reports on the findings of Destructoid’s Chris Carter. Carter some numbers, adding up what it would cost to obtain all currently-announced DLC for the game. This includes things like hardware purchases for various hardware+DLC tie-in deals.
The number he arrived at: $870 USD
I will love to hear what everyone has to say about that number.
Such reviews as these will be moderately spoilery, although not egregiously so since they are from mainline gaming sites, who are likely subject to NDAs. What details have emerged, however, suggest that the main campaign of Mass Effect 3 will run about 20 hours, with another 20 or so hours of side missions which will add to your in-game ability to effectively combat the Reapers.
Which means I’ll be able to put down Reckoning‘s 200-300 hour-length story for a week to finish ME3, and then dive right back in before I forget anything about my charater’s progress.
BioWare community manager Jessica Merizan waded into the swamps of Reddit just recently, subjecting herself to the vissictitudes of an “Ask Me Anything” thread. Naturally, “From Ashes” was front and center:
What is your personal opinion on the day 1 DLC situation- do you believe it is acceptable?
If that isn’t really a question you can answer, then what do Bioware think about the reaction in the community to the announcement of the day 1 DLC?
I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there and I wish the guy who made the initial video about it would have had an open mind before jumping to conclusions based on a leak we weren’t ready to address. Since I’m a BioWare employee, I know people won’t automatically trust me, but I hope people will consider that it wasn’t cut content from the larger game. I was in Edmonton when we were finishing the game in November/December and I was in Edmonton again last month when they were working on the Day 1 DLC. It definitely was only possible to do because the main game was in certification (which means we had to wait for people to test it and make sure everything was good etc before we could get the greenlight to sell it). I also played the game WITHOUT the DLC in my first playthrough and honestly, it’s an awesome addition but I was more than happy with what I was given in the game. It’s bigger and more expansive than ever. Of course, I understand the concern but I hope we can all have an intelligent conversation about it and cover what the facts are in this situation.
Hope that helps a little bit. This is an awkward format to answer this question, but I know I could explain it if you were sitting next to me on a couch with some coffee/tea
IO9 doesn’t so much pose the question (actually echoing Pop Bioethics), as beg it and answer strongly in the affirmative. And in some ways, I agree with them. Consider:
In nearly great popular science fiction universe, there is a flaw. Born of systemic bias, the flaw is one that fundamentally undermines the narrative that carves its way through the characters, species, technologies and worlds that populate any given sci-fi story. Our greatest stories set in space often reference the flaw with oblique references to a long forgotten species, cataclysmic events, or godlike entities. Something is wrong with the universe, but we cannot place it.
Consider the canon of epic science fiction universes. Like a black hole one can see the flaw by observing the light cast in those moments that confront it at its edges: the series finale of BSG, Q’s tests of Picard, the Butlerian Jihad, the Buggers, the Borg, the obliteration of Alderan by the Death Star. Yet ultimately each of these narratives turns away, unable or unwilling to withstand the abysmal gaze emanating from the depths of the universe. The flaw in every science fiction series is that they shy from the deep horror of the existence of intelligent life in infinite spacetime – save for two: the one that brought first brought it to our attention and the one that sees this horror as the framework for reality.
The flaw is a simple one: the assumption that life has meaning, that intelligent life has a purpose, and that humanity contributes anything to the universe. H.P. Lovecraft, a man “against the world, against life,” refused to assume the universe was good.
Underneath it all, there is the Cosmic Horror of Sovereign, The Collectors, Saren’s indoctrination, and the Keepers. Mass Effect has not one but two entire species — the Keepers and the Collectors — that exist as mindless drones at the beck-and-call of the Reapers. It is herein that the great flaw of the universe so often unaddressed by science fiction is elevated and exposed by the narrative of Mass Effect. The Reapers are biomechanical equivalents of the Elder Gods of H.P. Lovecraft. If the xenomorphs in Alien had a deity, it would be a Reaper. Inconceivable, immortal, uninvolved super-beings that are not divinities per se, but so far beyond our realm of existence as to drive insane those who encounter and worship them. The seat of being, the mind, becomes rent apart and irredeemably misshapen to bend to the whims of a malevolent ancient life form.
The resulting slaves, the Keepers and Collectors, act without thought, remorse, or concern. And they become all the more horrible once they are fully revealed. The Keepers are thought to be beneficent until it is revealed they serve not the inhabitants of the Citadel, or even the Citadel itself, but the purpose of ensuring the Citadel will serve the cyclical apocalypse. The Collectors are revealed to be the remnants of the Protheans – the foundation species that was thought to be the galactic civilization in the wake of which Citadel Space had formed. Instead, Mass Effect exposes the very basis of intelligent exchange in the universe, the Mass Relays, to be a Trojan Horse. Reality is a ruse. Progress a lockstep, well-treaded path to oblivion.
The Reapers and their cyclical destruction of civilization represent one of the most nihilistic interpretation of intelligence in the universe ever presented. Mass Effect answers Fermi’s famous question, “Where is everyone?” with a matter-of-fact, “They have been consumed.”
Now, at the same time as it tells a mostly Cosmicistic tale, Mass Effect does flip the script somewhat. The Protheans figured out, too late, how to avert the main trap that the Reapers had set, and despite the seemingly hopeless disparity in technology, there exists a threadbare reason to hope that this time around, the combined might of the various galactic races might just be enough to drive the Reapers back (albeit at staggeringly high cost).
And lowly humanity will be at the forefront of that fight; in fact, they are central thereto. We do not get the option, after all, to have a Turian Shepard.
This trailer includes some footage from the E3 trailer for the game, and given the way its release was staged over the course of a couple of weeks — with bits of footage being added with each iteration — one suspects that in the end it was all prepared as one massive trailer and chopped up for later release.
IGN has an interview with The Doctors BioWare, Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka. Nothing incredible, but there are a few interesting comments on the challenges of building games that offer meaningful choices to players.
There are a number of volunteers who have taken it upon themselves to translate the smash hit indie game into various languages, and who have access to the game’s source repositories.
Well, a few days ago, anyone who downloaded the Afrikaans snapshot build would have been treated to this bit of lame-assery:
As the Escapist reports:
Recently-promoted head developer, Jens Bergensten, apologized for the incident and pinned the blame on a “prankster” hiding amongst the multitude of volunteer translators working on the game. “Sorry about that =( I thought I had banned that user,” read one of his tweets.
The offending translation has since been removed, and the forum topic that originally it pointed out has been shuffled off this mortal coil as well.
I’m also rather in agreement with the Escapist’s J.G. Carter, who asks if the N-bomb was honestly the best thing the prankster could come up with. I mean…really? You have the opportunity to punk Minecraft, and the best you can come up with is something that wouldn’t seem out of place in rap lyrics?
By which I mean, it found some kind of hitherto unrealized — or under-utilized — sweet spot in the tablet market, delivering a competent (and, I must say, very fine-looking) Android experience on more-than-just-decent hardware at an insanely competitive price point.
And people have just gobbled the thing up. To wit:
Since its launch in November, Amazon’s Kindle Fire has made some major gains in the Android Market, and now hosts more end user app sessions than Samsung’s popular Galaxy Tab devices. According to recently published research by Flurry Analytics, the Kindle Fire hosts 35.7 percent of all global Android app sessions (which are defined by the launch and exit of a given app), while the Galaxy Tab hosts 35.6 percent of these sessions…
I do actually quite like the Kindle Fire, more so than my Nook Tab. I kind of regret handing off the Fire to my wife now, in fact, because it beats the Nook Tab in almost every respect. Oh, sure, the Nook has more RAM, more storage, and a Micro SD expansion slot…but in terms of usability, the Fire wins hands down. It also looks nicer (from a form factor perspective) and has an absolutely marvelous UI.
This time, it’s EverQuest that is making the transition, beginning in March.
Of course, their doing so will probably double or triple the revenue generated by the game, in much the same manner as happened with Lord of the Rings Online. You read it here first, just in case it happens!
So far, it has 9.3 million registered users, and has generated around $100 million in revenue. The userbase is just under one quarter of Steam’s user base…which is actually pretty decent for a service that is only about one twelvth as old as Steam.
And hey, Origin is still growing. They added eleven non-EA publishers a while back, including CD Projekt Red, and will be adding seven more in the near future.
So for those of you who really freakin’ hate that sort of thing, here’s a game for you to throw your support behind!
“We want as little resistance or barriers to entry as possible,” Gamon said. “The co-op is equal billing in this. We wanted everyone who owns a copy of the game to have access to the entire product.” It’s policy for EA to include an online pass in all of its games. Curiously, this policy does not always extend to EA Partners games like Crysis 2 and Portal 2, both of which shipped without online passes. Meanwhile, Bulletstorm required a pass for its online co-op mode.
“Under normal circumstances it would have had an online pass, but because it didn’t have competitive multiplayer and because we wanted as many people as possible to be playing co-op, we got away with it,” Gamon added. “Maybe another reason for not having the Online Pass is we were confident in the scope of the online game.” Throughout the nine multiplayer maps, he says players can expect “a good six, seven hours” on a single playthrough. “That and the single-player campaign means hopefully we won’t see much in the way of early second hand sales and rentals…”
Why, Ubisoft? What did the fans of your games ever do to you?
Ubisoft are having a bit of a hardware reshuffle next week, according to Eurogamer, which means major disruption to their DRM servers.
Games that use Ubisoft’s always-online DRM system ping these constantly to reassure the publishers that you’re not a pirate. That means that next week’s switchover will render Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6 and The Settlers 7 unplayable for an unknown period of time. The servers are set to go down on February 7. Ubisoft don?t say when they?ll be back up again.
Other games will be playable offline, as long as you’ve completed the one-time activation process. If you haven’t, you won’t be able to activate them for the duration of the downtime. Big recent releases like Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Driver: Francisco, however, will stay online for the duration of the switch-over.
Ubisoft told us that their hyper-strict DRM restrictions (which extend to limited activations tied to your graphics card) are considered to be “a success.” They told us their anti-piracy measures had resulted in “a clear reduction in piracy of our titles which required a persistent online connection.” For many, next week’s server outages will only reinforce their decision to steer clear of Ubisoft’s games entirely.
A potentially habitable alien planet — one that scientists say is the best candidate yet to harbor water, and possibly even life, on its surface — has been found around a nearby star.
The planet is located in the habitable zone of its host star, which is a narrow circumstellar region where temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on the planet’s surface.
“It’s the Holy Grail of exoplanet research to find a planet around a star orbiting at the right distance so it’s not too close where it would lose all its water and boil away, and not too far where it would all freeze,” Steven Vogt, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told SPACE.com. “It’s right smack in the habitable zone — there’s no question or discussion about it. It’s not on the edge, it’s right in there.”
The researchers estimate that the planet, called GJ 667Cc, is at least 4.5 times as massive as Earth, which makes it a so-called super-Earth. It takes roughly 28 days to make one orbital lap around its parent star, which is located a mere 22 light-years away from Earth, in the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion).
“This is basically our next-door neighbor,” Vogt said. “It’s very nearby. There are only about 100 stars closer to us than this one.”
Interestingly enough, the host star, GJ 667C (Gliese 667), is a member of a triple-star system. GJ 667C is an M-class dwarf star that is about a third of the mass of the sun, and while it is faint, it can be seen by ground-based telescopes, Vogt said
Triple star system? Tatooine got nothin’. Also: I, for one, welcome our new Gliesian overlords!