Civilization 5 Getting Big Changes In Gods & Kings Expansion

Firaxis Games left Civilization 5 in a good place after the Gods and Kings expansion pack, though it seems like additional tweaks may be coming soon in another DLC drop, called One World. The title was spotted and posted about on the 2K Games forums (via Joystiq) by users exploring the ever-reliable Steam database listing.

Peeks at the Steam database have, in the past, offered advance reveals of imminent Steam releases like Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery and the Mac version of Call of Duty: Black Ops. As far as Civ 5 goes, there's nothing more than a title to be gleaned from the database listing. One World may well be nothing more than a few new civs, or it may be another full game revision on the scale of Gods and Kings.

We've reached out to 2K for comment and will update this post accordingly when we hear more.

2013 Games Preview: Tomb Raider

Posted January 16, 2013 - By Adam Rosenberg

2013 Games Preview: Tomb RaiderRelease Date: March 5, 2013

Developer: Crystal Dynamics

Publisher: Square Enix

Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows

Lara Croft has long been one of gaming's most recognizable mascots, though the Indiana Jones-inspired treasure hunter is being remixed for 2013. Regular franchise developer Crystal Dynamics is hitting the reboot button on Croft, with a fresh, new origin story to play through in the upcoming March 2013 release, Tomb Raider.

What We Know:

The rebooted Tomb Raider finds a 21-year-old Lara Croft freshly out of school and off on a sea voyage. She's off to find herself and establish a presence in the world, not unlike so many other recent graduates. The journey takes a dark turn when Lara's ship is cut in two by a violent storm, leaving her and her fellow survivors stranded on a remote tropical island.

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Seven years. That's how long it took three Finnish brothers to create Kastlevania 4, a feature-length LEGO-fied film inspired by Konami's Castlevania series (via Kotaku). The finished product clocks in at 146 minutes. That's longer than Star Wars, people!

The whole movie is delivered in the creators' native tongue, though English-language subtitles are included as well. This is crazy-impressive, as you'd probably hope it would be after seven freaking years of development. It's also entertaining. Set aside some time to give it a look.

Final Fantasy: All The Bravest Revealed For iOS

Final Fantasy: All the Bravest is the latest bid from Square Enix to deliver compelling content for Apple's iOS platform (via All Games Beta). The just-announced imminent release (it's out already in New Zealand's App Store) is a combat-focused RPG using the Active Time Battle system that was a key component of older Final Fantasy titles. You earn XP as you win battles in All the Bravest, eventually unlocking new character slots that allow you to grow your party.

Combat is entirely touch-based, with each character's ability to act dictated by an ATB gauge. There's also a "Fever" mode that can be activated every three hours, allowing players to attack freely and repeatedly without worrying about the ATB gauge. In addition to gathering characters, you'll also unlock 20+ familiar Final Fantasy "jobs." An in-game store lets players purchase premium content like familiar characters from the series -- randomly selected with each purchase -- and additional game stages inspired by several of the PS2-era Final Fantasy titles.

The price of the U.S. version of Final Fantasy: All the Bravest hasn't been confirmed, but it's listed at $4.19 in the New Zealand App Store.

Killer Is Dead Concept Art Hints At Futuristic Setting, Angry Godzilla-Man

Grasshopper Manufacture has at last revealed some details about Killer Is Dead, the latest ultraviolent endeavor cooked up in the brain of Goichi "Suda51" Suda, in the latest issue of Famitsu (via Siliconera). The game was first announced back in April 2012, but the latest info dump amounts to the first substantial look at the game beyond its title and top-level goals.

Killer Is Dead follows Mondo Zappa, a full-time assassin who brings down miscreants around the globe under the direction of a secretive agency. Zappa wields a katana with his right hand and an assortment of firearms with his robotic, transforming left hand. That gun arm powers up over the course of the game, and Zappa is able to use it to absorb enemy blood, which powers up an Adrenaline Burst super-slash attack.

The article offers a bit more info up about Zappa's supporting cast, but says little more about the gameplay. Killer Is Dead is currently confirmed for release this summer on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 under Kadokawa Games' publishing banner in Japan. No word on plans for a U.S. release, but Suda51 games do tend to make their way here eventually.


2013 Movie Preview: The Wolverine


Posted January 16, 2013 - By Joseph Baxter

2013 Movie Preview: The Wolverine

Release Date: July 26
Director: James Mangold
Rating: Not Yet Rated

On his own and disillusioned with life, Wolverine finds himself in Japan where the love of a woman entangles the claw-commanding mutant into a battle with a powerful crime syndicate.

What We Know:

Set sometime after the disastrous events of X-Men: The Last Stand, in which he was forced to kill Jean Grey, the woman he loved, Logan (Hugh Jackman) is flying solo, left in a serious existential funk regarding not only his mysterious past, but his mutant-healing-factor-endowed immortality. While it's a state that many people would covet, for this Wolverine, he realizes that anyone he tries to befriend or love will grow old and die in front of him.

At his lowest point, an old flame summons Logan to Japan for mysterious purposes. However, the Land of the Rising Sun has plenty more in store for our ambivalent ass-kicker than he could possibly imagine. It seems that Logan's former love, Mariko Yashida (Tao Okamoto) has been whisked back to her home country and was forced by her crime boss father, Shingen Yashida (Hiroyuki Sanada) into a sinister marriage of convenience with one of his criminal associates, Noburo Mori (Brian Tee). Despite her own feelings of obligation to her father, Mariko reaches out to Logan in a move that would undoubtedly lead to a whirlwind of adamantium-aligned destruction when he arrives in full Wolverine mode.

With Mariko unsure where her loyalties lie, Logan becomes the primary target for her vengeful father's ire, thrusting him into battles with his honor-obsessed sword-swinging subordinates, crimson-clad ninja clan, The Hand, and Mariko's powerful mutant half-brother, The Silver Samurai (Will Yun Lee). However, things get even more interesting when a mysterious and beautiful assassin named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) injects herself into the colossal cluster of crises when she lends her help to Logan. While her overall motives may be questionable, one thing is clear: She's got the hots for our hero, compounding this dire dilemma with a possible love triangle.

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Game/Toy Hybrid, Disney INFINITY, Coming in June

Who would win in a race between Dash from The Incredibles and Cars' Lightning McQueen? Who is stronger, Mr. Incredible or Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc.? Disney Interactive gives you the chance to find out as they've announced Disney INFINITY, a new game that allows you to take control of Disney characters old and new and explore open worlds from Disney and Pixar classics. Using actual character figures of Disney's popular line-up, players can combine the many worlds of Disney across all major consoles, mobile devices and online. Think Activision's Skylanders, only with the vast history of Disney characters and properties.

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Hands On Tomb Raider Multiplayer Preview AKA LOST Deathmatch Mode

When we think of Tomb Raider, "multiplayer" isn't traditionally the first word that jumps to the front of our psyche, so we were curious to see how the recently announced multiplayer component plays out in the game's universe. Joe Khoury, Producer at Eidos Montreal, shared with us how they wanted to really bring in pieces from great multiplayer experiences and customize them to work within the Tomb Raider universe, while still creating something unique. They've definitely brought an experience that feels familiar to play, but it's also fresh and genuinely fun to experience.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us Arrives In April

Injustice: Gods Among Us, the DC Comics fighting game from Netherrealm Studios and publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is now confirmed for release on April 16, 2013, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. Fans will have three options to choose from when the game launches: the vanilla $60 release, a $99.99 Collector's Edition, and a newly announced $149.99 "Battle Edition" (exclusive to PS3/Xbox 360).

The previously announced Collector's Edition includes a statue featuring Batman, Wonder Woman, the Fortress of Solitude, and the ship that Superman escaped Krypton in, as well as an Injustice comic book, a free download of the Justice League: Doom animated film, and three in-game skins based on The New 52 looks for Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Oddly, the Battle Edition skips everything other than the in-game skins, but it sweetens the deal with an exclusive controller.

The Injustice: Gods Among Us Fight Stick is plastered with artwork from the game. The bottom of the Fight Stick is made out of non-skid foam (for improved tabletop play). Players also have the option of locking out Start/Select/Guide buttons during combat and adjusting the lighting for the buttons and the joystick. You can see the Xbox 360 version in the image up top.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance might not be out until February 19, 2013, but you'll be able to try the game for yourself as early as next week when a demo is released for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live on January 22. The demo features the same playable content that was included as a bonus in the Zone of the Enders HD Collection, so it's nothing that hasn't been out there already.

Joining the news of the demo's release date is a new seven-minute trailer that highlights some of the game's slice-tastic action. Watch as Raiden effortlessly flays a squad of robocops and a pair of mechs that look like they could have come from the Enders series. As it turns out, it doesn't matter if you're made of meat or metal; Raiden's sword can still slice you to little bits.

2013 Games Preview: SimCity

Posted January 15, 2013 - By Adam Rosenberg

2013 Games Preview: SimCityRelease Date: March 5, 2013

Developer: Maxis Games

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platform(s): Windows / Mac OS X

Will you be a benevolent mayor, working to keep taxes down and offer a deep well of city services for your constituents to draw from? Or will you go the route of a despot, choking the populace with crippling tax rates and building pollutant-producing power plants in the heart of your residential community? Maybe you'd prefer to play God, smiting the innocents for nothing more than sheer amusement? All of this is possible -- and plenty more -- in Maxis Games' revived take on SimCity.

What We Know:

The new face of SimCity is both familiar and forever changed. The game's heart remains the same. Players are still given a barren stretch of land on which to erect anything from a small, sleepy little town to a bustling metropolis with a population that numbers in the millions. You'll still deal with issues ranging from the conventional -- power needs, city services, tax rates, public happiness -- to the completely insane, such as meteor strikes and giant monster attacks.

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Dead Island: Riptide Zombie Bait Edition Is Gross And Alarming

Dead Island: Riptide launches in April 2013, and while North American gamers can look forward to a Collector's Edition set that comes packed into a miniature suitcase, that's nothing compared to what's going to be available in the United Kingdom. Dead Island: Riptide Zombie Bait Edition is an Xbox 360-exclusive release for "select European countries and Australia" (according to a spokesperson) that comes with... wait for it... a bloody torso.

Sure, it's not an actual torso with actual gore leaking out all over your game center. Instead, it's a one foot tall statue of a completely dismembered female torso that's been stuffed into a two-piece bikini bearing twin Union Jacks right where you'd expect them to be. SUPER tasteful, right? That could be the bitterness talking though. After all, overseas gamers get to buy a game that includes A BLOODY HUMAN TORSO STATUE.

The set also includes collectible cards and an exclusive pack of weapon mods. Before you consider importing, remember that most Xbox 360 game releases are region-locked. Dead Island: Riptide comes to Europe on April 26, 2013, three days after North America's April 23 launch.

Diablo 3's PvP Duels Detailed In Blizzard Update

Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming v1.0.7 patch for Diablo 3 will add PvP duels to the game -- not Team Deathmatch though -- and a new post on Battle.net describes how it will all work. All duels must be initiated by conversing with Nek the Brawler at the inn in New Tristram. After speaking to him, all players in the party will be transported to the Scorched Chapel, a new zone created specifically for duels.

The Scorched Chapel breaks up into four different spaces: the church itself, a graveyard, a nearby river, and a lake. Duels will support up to four players in free-for-all combat, meaning it's every adventurer for him or herself during these fights. There's no scoring and no rewards structure for these duels; as Blizzard explains, the intent "is to provide players a safe, opt-in location where they can fight one another for bragging rights (or maybe science) without the potential for griefing as it existed in Diablo II."

Anything that diminishes the amount of griefing that occurs in the world of video games is a noble endeavor. Unfortunately, there's no word in the post on when v1.0.7 will go live.

Partners Ubisoft and New Regency took another step toward delivering the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie with news from The Hollywood Reporter that British writer Michael Lesslie has been hired to tackle the script. Lesslie is best known as a playwright, having written Prince of Denmark, a one-act prelude to Hamlet, and a stage adaptation of the Hollywood film Swimming With Sharks.

Lesslie has considerably less experience in the world of film, with four IMDb credits to his name, all for short films. You can hear his written words at play in the above short, Airlock, Or How To Say Goodbye In Space, directed by Chris Boyle and starring Michael Sheen (Tron Legacy, 30 Rock), Steven Waddington (The Last of the Mohicans), and Derek Jacobi (The King's Speech, The Borgias).

Here's a fun fact: Chris Boyle also served as the creative lead and director on Call of Duty: Black Ops 2's in-game live-action sequences. By my count, that gives Lesslie just a single degree of separation from the games biz.

2013 Movie Preview: Pacific Rim


Posted January 15, 2013 - By Joseph Baxter

2013 Movie Preview: Pacific Rim

Release Date: July 12
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Rating: Not Yet Rated

After a race of giant lethal leviathan have risen from beneath the Pacific Ocean to wreak destruction, mankind battles back by constructing giant piloted robots to clobber the maritime monsters back to the kelp beds from which they came.

What We Know:

One fateful day, mankind collectively learns that they are far from the top of the food chain on the planet when giant 25-story tall creatures called Kaiju (named after the Japanese mega-monsters of cinema,) emerge from a glowing portal deep beneath the Pacific Ocean and wage a campaign of pure destruction upon all that has been built. However, to tackle these mammoth marine-dwellers, engineers develop equally-large anthropomorphic robot constructs called Jaegers. Controlled via neural connection by two pilots on board the metal monstrosities, the Jaegers are armed to the teeth and ready to gut Gamera and grab Godzilla by the gonads.

Unfortunately, years into the war and millions of casualties later, it seems that those "Jaeger bombs" may not have been enough to floor the forces of the gargling giants completely. Turning to desperate measures, the military brass put their hopes on an on-the-skids former pilot looking for redemption named Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and a tenacious, but green noob of a pilot in Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). The oddball pairing bring startling differences to the table, but will need to learn a different kind of teamwork as the duo assume the controls of a legendary, but obsolete mech.

With the Kaiju's victory seemingly at hand, Raleigh and Mako must make the most of this old-school Jaeger and prove that sometimes victory can be drawn from the most unlikely of sources.

Filling the cast of this colossal crucible, are Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, and Ron Perlman. (Who, with Charlie Hunnam, makes this a Sons of Anarchy reunion.)

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