Here's a bit of games biz news out of Japan: Grasshopper Manufacture, the studio founded and overseen by No More Heroes creator Goichi "Suda51" Suda, is now the property of GungHo Online Entertainment. Grasshopper's currently in-development projects, including the recently discussed Killer Is Dead, are unaffected by the deal, and the studio will continue to operate under the same name as before.
GungHo is probably best known for its Ragnarok Online MMO (and the Ragnarok series), though you may have seen the company mentioned more recently, following the 2012 release of the PS Vita puzzler, Dokuro. The good news for Grasshopper is that the new owner brings more financial support and an outside set of eyes that will hopefully help keep projects on track with minimal undue interference.
Congrats to Suda51 and the entire Grasshopper family.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 launched with built-in YouTube streaming support, and now Twitch.tv is getting in on the fun as well. A morning announcement reveals the new partnership between Activision and Twitch, with streaming support for multiplayer games, player webcams, and audio commentary coming to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC versions of the game (no Wii U, sadly).
It's not clear in the press release exactly when the new feature goes live, but the wording certainly makes it sound like the switch will be flipped soon. Those who wish to stream will need an active Twitch account of course; having a presence on Facebook and Twitter helps as well, as the feature will automatically update your feeds whenever you're streaming, provided of course that you allow it to.
Ubisoft Montreal is working on something called Osiris that appears to be set in ancient Egypt. A leaked behind-the-scenes trailer (via All Games Beta) shows off some mo-cap work and flashes of concept art for the game, including looks at a pharaoh with arms outstretched and a plague of locusts.
Osiris is the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, though not so much in a Grim Reaper sort of way. It was believed that he presided over the afterlife, judging and granting entry to the dead and giving new life to things that grow in the ground.
This could well be the game that was originally pegged as the next Prince of Persia after a screenshot leaked in 2012. In somewhat related news, Ubi Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat recently said that "Prince of Persia is being paused" in an interview with IGN. The publisher has a lot of big franchises to juggle at the moment, and Mallat throws out a vague hint when he says "we'll find something to entertain them in the future." Could Osiris be what (or one of the things) he's referring to?
Upcoming follow-up, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For has finally found the titular "dame" in question: Eva Green has been brought on board to play the sexy, sinister Ava Lord.
Now, co-directors, Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez's violent, scuzzy, neo-noir pulp film has a gorgeous face to put on its posters. In this instance, that face will be Eva as Ava. Perhaps the most important character in the film, she will be introduced as a doting damsel in distress who reaches out to her ex, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) seemingly fearing for her life from her abusive gangster of a husband. However, we soon find out that the only things in distress are the hapless helping of men enchanted by her beauty who she uses, abuses, and kicks to the curb. After getting his heart broken by Ava years earlier, Dwight, despite his better judgment, is about to prove that no good deed goes unpunished as he is thrust into a web of sex, lies, and murder. -- Although, the sex might make it worthwhile.
According to Miller and Rodriguez in a joint statement:
"We've been wanting to tell this story for a very long time. Ava Lord is one of the most deadly and fascinating residents of Sin City." From the start, we knew that the actor would need to be able to embody the multifaceted characteristics of this femme fatale and we found that in Eva Green. We are ecstatic that Eva is joining us."
For Green, the role is a perfect fit as the raven-haired beauty with sharp blue eyes has played strong, manipulative women in the past with her career-making role as Bond Girl, Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, as woeful witch, Angelique in last year's Dark Shadows, and as Persian general, Artemisia in this summer's 300: Rise of an Empire. This role, however, may end up being both her sexiest and most wicked, yet.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For goes homicidal for love at theaters..in 3D on October 4.
The multiplayer beta for Crysis 3 launches today on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, and Crytek has a tutorial video that explains how it all works. It's an open beta, so all are welcome; the event will run from January 29 through February 12, 2013, ending a week before the game's February 19 release.
The Crysis 3 beta gives players the opportunity to sample two of the game's eight online modes, Crash Site and Hunter. Crash Site is a 6v6 point capture mode in which every carries the same equipment but defending teams get to grab a shield. Hunter is a variant on infected/zombie modes, with a pair of Nanosuit-equipped Hunters chipping away at a larger team of C.E.L.L. Operatives while each downed C.E.L.L. respawns as a Hunter.
BioWare seems to be hinting that fans have more Mass Effect 3 DLC to look forward to. Executive producer Casey Hudson and producer Michael Gamble took to Twitter yesterday (via Joystiq) to post a pair of new images clearly marked with the game's logo and some appropriately cryptic comments that reveal nothing but suggest much (second image posted after the jump).
The last Mass Effect 3 DLC, Omega, was released in late-November 2012. Not long after the story DLC's release, a BioWare forum post from designer Jos Hendriks (via Eurogamer) confirmed that "it's all hands on deck" for the Omega follow-up, with the full writing team of eight collaborating on something. Presumably a larger something than previous Mass Effect 3 DLC releases have offered.
It appears that the upcoming sequel to last year's The Amazing Spider-Man could have another iconic antagonist to add to its rogues gallery. According to The Hollywood Reporter, actor, Paul Giamatti has been in talks to play the immense, unstoppable, super-powered assassin, Rhino.
If the news indeed pans out, the Sideways and John Adams star, Giamatti will be the second belligerent baddie set for film, presumably joining Jaime Foxx as spark-shooting sinner, "Electro." Additionally, the report indicates that actress, Felicity Jones has joined the cast for a role that has yet to be specified. Although, given her age, look, and resume, the role could very well be for "Betty Brant," the beleaguered secretary of the Spider-Man-hating Daily Bugle boss, J. Jonah Jameson. (Played by Elizabeth Banks in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy.) If it is the case that Jones plays Betty, it would create an opening for Jameson, which would also be a critical new casting decision.
It will certainly be interesting to see where Rhino fits into the puzzle of this film. In the comics, the character was previously a low-level thug in the Russian Mob named Aleksei Sytsevich who, looking to line his pockets, gets the opportunity to be a guinea pig in an experiment to create a sinister super-soldier on the behalf of some shady benefactors. Exposed to extensive radiation and chemicals (the true hallmark of super-power origins,) Aleksei's body becomes bonded with a crafted super-durable armor made to look like a rhinoceros.
What is Game Day 2013? That's what Sony wants you to ponder as you watch the above 16 seconds of... something. The clip was posted on the official PlayStation YouTube account yesterday with no supporting info. All we have to go on is a date at the end of the clip, February 1, 2013. Otherwise known as "this Friday."
The safe bet seems to be that this is a God of War-related announcement, based largely on the woman in the clip's Greek-ish dress and the ash that starts to swirl around her toward the end. Why the secrecy though? It's not like you don't know that God of War: Ascension is coming in March. And what does "Game Day 2013" mean? All will be revealed soon enough.
In an uncharacteristic move, Apple revealed its latest iPad this morning via press release as opposed to staging a media circus. The new addition to the fourth generation lineup announced in fall 2012 is less an upgrade than it is a modification, with fourth gen tablet horsepower pairing with a 128GB storage capacity, the highest that Apple has ever offered for iPad.
The new iPad is otherwise the same as what's currently available, sporting an A6X processor and a 9.7-inch Retina display. It seems that Apple is targeting data-dependent businesses as customers, with the press release going on to run through some of the top apps that crunch through storage space quickly. A 128GB capacity doubles the current high of 64GB.
This new iPad goes on sale on February 5, 2013. It will be available in both black and white, at $799 for a Wi-Fi-only tablet and $929 for Wi-Fi/4G.
Virtual Console game saves on your Wii won't be able to transfer over to Wii U Virtual Console ports of the same game, Nintendo confirms (via Kotaku). Company boss Satoru Iwata revealed the first details of the Wii U's Virtual Console plans during the latest Nintendo Direct video stream, and he made a point of mentioning even that the Wii U releases have been developed separately, due to the unique capabilities of the new console.
Games purchased and downloaded onto your Wii can still be played on Wii U by transferring that data over to the new console. Such content can only be accessed from the Wii U's Wii Menu, which is basically a separate OS for the older console built accessible right from the Wii U's main menu.
Once the Virtual Console launches on Wii U in spring 2013, you'll also have the option of re-buying previously purchased NES and SNES games at a reduced price ($1 and $1.50, respectively).Old saves won't carry over, but Wii U VC titles will be accessible from the console's main menu and also offer new features like restore points and second screen play.
Release Date: December 13 Director: Peter Jackson Rating: Not Yet Rated
Our adventurers continue towards The Lonely Mountain, taking them on a path through giant-spider-filled forests, the sylvan kingdom of the Wood Elves, to a human-inhabited city on the border of their destination besieged by a gold-hoarding giant fire-spewing dragon.
What We Know:
After being safely delivered away from an Orc ambush, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), and the company of 13 Dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) can now see their destination of The Lonely Mountain in their sights, but the adventure has only just begun. Thankfully, they come across a powerful new ally in a giant axe-wielding warrior named Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt). Hailing from an ancient race of shape-shifters, he uses that ability to transform into a vicious black bear. He's friendly, though, and provides them a much needed break, which they'll need for the next deadly leg of their journey.
However, as they continue on, Gandalf throws everyone a bit of a curveball when he abruptly ditches the group to tend to that whole "Necromancer" business down in the dark stronghold of Dol Guldur; a pressing matter after evidence has lead him to believe that a powerful force of evil has returned to Middle Earth. After dealing out some advice, he sends the group on their way.
Now without Gandalf's wisdom and guidance, Bilbo, Thorin, and the group must rely on their own instincts through the dark forests of Mirkwood, as they are chased by hordes of gorging giant spiders, only to be captured by the company of the Wood Elves under the rule of King Thranduil (Lee Pace), the elven sovereign father of Legolas (Orlando Bloom, reprising his role). The hospitality there, despite their almost angelic aesthetic, is equivalent to a shotgun-toting redneck who found whippersnappers on his property.
Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our five favorite games this week:
GAME OF THE WEEK RAVENSWORD: SHADOWLANDS
Ravensword: Shadowlands is the highly anticipated sequel to Ravensword: Aralon, and even though we thought that one couldn’t get any better, Ravensword 2 has met all our lofty expectations and then some, offering an expansive world filled with magic, adventure, and lore. Tyreas is under siege after a war against the dark elves goes wrong, and it’s your destiny to seek the three Ravenstones that will provide passage to the Shadowlands, where you’ll confront the demon trying to rip the world asunder.
If you’ve been looking for the equivalent of Skyrim on your iOS device, Shadowlands is the closest you’re gonna get, with jaw-dropping environments, open-world exploration options, and loads of quests and combat to slake your RPG lust. There’s even the requisite character customization at the game’s outset and the ability to purchase and furnish houses. Both options are pretty impressive, especially for a mobile title.
The controls, combat, and leveling mechanics smoothly propel the game forward, and the storyline is engaging (albeit a bit recycled from standard fantasy tropes). The talent system is well balanced, and we love that it lets us mold characters to our desires instead of forcing us into one particular skillset. Ravensword: Shadowlands is a stellar iOS game and sets the bar for mobile RPGs delightfully high.
As kids, we were obsessed with Choose Your Own Adventure books, so we're thrilled that after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Underground Kingdom has gone live on the App Store. It’s an interactive storybook that brings the CYA series into the digital age, with the original author of the series, Edward Packard, on board and providing his favorite stories to Visual Baker Studios for translation into interactive Gamebooks.
Underground Kingdom revolves around a deep crevasse in Greenland, where it's rumored that a black hole at the center of the earth is potentially a portal into a vast, strange world inside our planet. It’s up to you to navigate the book and choose wisely during your travels. This interactive book is a brilliant re-imagining of the original series, and we're hoping to see more Gamebook releases as time goes on.
Full disclosure: The writer of this article was totally a Kickstarter backer of Underground Kingdom, because CYA books wrote much of her youth.
Wow, Wide Sky is a weird game. Created by one man, Marcus Eckert, Wide Sky delves into the strange world of laboratory testing, ropes, and hedgehogs. According to the game, hedgehogs “have wicked souls and need guidance,” and you’ll help occupy them with rope training and swinging from the clouds. Like we said, weird. But also oddly awesome in its own way.
Obviously, you can’t just swing around for no reason, so Wide Sky adds in a collecting element via orbs in the sky. Breaking them and grabbing the shards is the name of the game, and you’ll have a set time in which to do it for each level. There are a variety of ropes (some with special powers to activate in-game) that provide unique challenges while you play, and though it all sounds bizarre, Wide Sky comes together in a very charming way, making it a worthy title for your iPhone or iPod.
Wave Trip is a musical game unlike most we’ve ever played on iOS. And it’s hard. We’ll explain that in a bit, but before that, you should probably know what Wave Trip is all about. This is a little side-scrolling game where you’ll control a ship, collect stuff, and avoid hazards. Normally, this would seem pretty status quo, but when you mix in a song that unfolds as you collect coins and other objects, it takes the game into a cool, abstract place we’re really into.
It’s a pretty fun concept, and the artwork is just the right amount of abstract to match the game content. However, there is a crazy learning curve in Wave Trip, one that may frustrate newer iOS gamers and even turn off veteran players. It takes a good while to “get” the looser control scheme, but overall, it’s a solid effort that’s worth checking out, especially if you love a challenge.
This is a whole week of beautiful and strange games, and SuperSight continues that trend with a quirky little title that began as a flash game. You play as a warrior learning how to achieve “Clear Sight” through a series of challenges atop Mount Wrong. As you play, you’ll learn new abilities to aid in your quest for “Clear Sight” and replenish your ability pool with coins collected from beating up bad guys.
SuperSight combines a highly stylized look with a zen-inducing soundtrack, offering an interesting experience that’s neither totally relaxing nor overly adrenaline pumping. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is different. Since it’s free, we’re happy to recommend giving SuperSight a whirl. Don’t be surprised though if you don’t understand it. We’re still not sure if we do.
EA Sports' annual pre-Super Bowl sim is finished, and Madden NFL 13 favors the Baltimore Ravens to take down the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday in a 27-24 victory. If the Ravens win in real life, it will mark the fist time San Francisco loses in the championship game, having won in its previous five visits to the Super Bowl.
The Madden NFL series has had good success with picking winners in recent years. EA Sports' annual Super Bowl sims have been right for seven of the past nine years, with the only incorrect calls coming in 2008, when the Giants shut down the Patriots, and in 2011, when the Packers bested the Steelers. The simulations always use the most recent roster updates and depth charts for each team, with AI controlling both so player skill isn't a factor.
You can get a sense of how the simmed game went down in EA Sports' highlight reel above.
It appears that upcoming film adaptations for Ant-Man and Doctor Strange are in the works over at Marvel Studios for what is being referred to as "Phase Three" of their release planning. What does that mean exactly?
Well, just to drop a clue, we are now exiting what is considered the Phase One era, which culminated with The Avengers last year and ready to begin Phase Two, which will kick off with Iron Man 3 in May, continuing with Thor: The Dark World this fall, Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, and The Avengers 2 in 2015. Indeed, it appears that the studio is watching over the pacing of their comic book film releases diligently and cautiously. In a recent interview with MTV, studio head, Kevin Feige discusses details about this phase-centric release strategy:
"'Ant-Man' is definitely part of Phase Three," Marvel's Kevin Feige told MTV News during our recent interview. "Like 'Iron Man 3,' it's certainly set in the Marvel Universe, but it's also through the lens of Edgar Wright — which is the only reason we're making the movie." Adding:It's very much an 'Ant-Man' origin movie from the perspective of Edgar Wright and his co-writer Joe Cornish. It will of course be firmly planted in the MCU, (Marvel Comics Universe) but a different corner than we've seen before."
Regarding Doctor Strange: "'Doctor Strange,' which I've been talking about for years, is definitely one of them," he confirmed. "He's a great, original character, and he checks the box off this criteria that I have: he's totally different from anything else we have, just like 'Guardians of the Galaxy.' He's totally different from anything we've done before, as is 'Ant-Man,' which keeps us excited."
We've known for some time that the film debut of would-be Avengers member, Ant-Man will come on November 6, 2015, just six months after The Avengers 2 hits theaters. However, this latest revelation, besides confirming the Doctor Strange project, reveals that the story of the size-shaping Hank Pym (which will be directed by Edgar Wright) is considered an important watershed project for the studio, who will use it as their Phase Three kickoff. -- A far cry from the low-tier side project it was once dismissed as being.
The cast of upcoming franchise follow-up, X-Men: Days of Future Past continues to be growing into a family reunion returning of former residents of the X-Mansion. This time joining the plethora of powerful mutants are, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, and Ellen Page!
Over the weekend, director, Bryan Singer tweeted the identity of this latest trio of acquisitions. Of course, fans of Singer's previous trilogy of films (the last of which was directed by Brett Ratner,) know the players, respectively as Rogue, Bobby "Iceman" Drake, and Kitty "Shadowcat" Pryde. According to Singer:
Very excited to welcome #annapaquin, @ellenpage & @shawnrashmore to #XMen #DaysofFuturePast - thank you @BrettRatner for letting them live!
The film will be an adaptation of the popular time-travel-infused "Days of Future Past" comic book storyline from Chirs Claremont and John Byrne published back in 1981. In that story, the assassination of an anti-mutant senator alters the timeline, subjecting mutantkind to a future where they are hunted to near extinction by the giant robot Sentinels. Obviously, there are stark differences between the film canon and the comics and the specifics about how the storyline deviates are still unknown. (For example, Kitty Pryde was the main protagonist in the original comic book storyline. While Ellen Page is returning to play her, it's doubtful the film will focus on her character in the same way.)
However, what is clear, is that the younger "First Class" cast of James McAvoy's Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender's Magneto in the 1960's [*] will still remain the primary players, while the previous trilogy cast led by Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier, Ian McKellen's Magneto, joined by Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, will be set presumably in the present, battling the implications of the timeline disruption.
*Update: It has since been revealed that the timeline for the First Class cast will be set in 1973; ten years after the last film.
X-Men: Days of Future Past alters the space-time continuum without the benefit of a souped-up sports car to hit theaters on July 18, 2014.