Blockham City: Lego Batman 2’s Open World Trailerfied

Awww, they're restrained by the laws of gravity. That's cute.
I must admit to having never owned any of the Lego <Insert Crucial Portion Of Your Childhood Here> games, but goodness, this Lego Batman 2 trailer makes a persuasive argument – and not in the traditional Batmanner of hurling me off a two story building and breaking my legs, either. Score! Among other things, it touts a rather astounding 500 square mile open-world city, which looks suitably drenched in rain and atmosphere, given the subject matter. But then a man gets hit with a pie, allowing me to handily sum up everything these games stand for in two sentences. Also on display: Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and the greatest hero of all: spoken words. Also, Superman. Traverse significantly less than 500 square miles to reach the shockingly enticing trailer after the break.

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A Rant: Enough Of Single-Player MMOs

Not The Elder Scrolls Online, it's Skyrim. Obviously.
According to The Elder Scrolls Online game director Matt Firor, the series’ online spin won’t be quite as social as expected. At least, not completely. “We have a whole part of the game that’s 100% solo, and that’s the main story,” he explains to an invisible interviewer in this Game Informer video. “Everything you do is solo and the world reacts to you that way.”

Isn’t it about time we just admitted this isn’t actually a good thing?

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From Dust Now Playable From Browsers

Turns out, the beginning of the world looks a lot like the end of the world.
Yesterday, I noted that I haven’t played many god games lately, so I suppose it only makes sense that some RPS-reading deity would start flinging the things at me. “Know my burden,” it seemingly bellows from on high. “With great power… you know the rest.” And hey, remember that neato whizz-bang pow space streaming technology that allowed Bastion to run in your browser – as if by teleporter from Mars and also the future? Well, it’s back to from said future, this time with Ubisoft’s once-DRMed, still poorly ported From Dust in tow. So maybe it could’ve brought a better god game, but still, I can’t entirely knock something of this fidelity when it’s playable in my browser almost instantly.

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Latest Tribes: Ascend Update Brings Back Disco

RIP
You may have noticed something amiss in the above image. No? Are you sure? Then you might have Synesthesia: Disco Edition. And though that image and its accompanying video seem silly, they’re actually quite touching – given recent incredibly unfortunate events. It is, then, extremely awkward for me to now transition into discussing Cool Guns in a Rad Videogame, but, uh, here I go. Tribes: Ascend‘s “Staying Alive” update – whose name is all at once right and wrong in so very many ways – focuses on the Brute with two guns, a new pack, and more (!).

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Blizzard Tries To Reassure Hack Victims, Results Vary

Perhaps the next version of the Authenticator should be a real-life Barbarian who physically assaults all hackers within a 30 mile radius.
Because the universe loves comedic irony, Diablo III’s online infrastructure specifically put in place to keep out cheaters and hackers is currently being besieged by cheaters and hackers. Yesterday, Blizzard acknowledged the issue, and today, the damage control process has officially begun. From where I’m standing, though, it leaves out one very important step: the part where it, you know, actually solves the problem in the long run. Perplexingly, the multiplayer-loving megalith has opted to calm players by pointing out that account compromises skyrocket with new game releases, ala WoW expansions. Fair enough. But why, again, is it supposed to be reassuring if it keeps happening?

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XCOM: Release Date Unknown: FPS Slips To ‘Fiscal 2014′

You're so pretty, but we can't touch you.

I hope you’re all now familiar enough with the Walker Principle to have assumed that XCOM wouldn’t be released on its stated release date. As surely as the Sun rises in the morning and floats off into outer space, there was no chance the concerning FPS remake of the classic strategy game would appear on the 6th March 2012. And you’d have to be a fool to then believe it could come in the months after, last November’s slip pushing it into 2K’s “fiscal 2013″. Well, now only two months into that mad-money-date, it’s been announced as slipping again, this time all the way into fiscal year 2014. Which starts next April. Because of the reasons.

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Are Social Games Really Social? Games?

FEAR US FOR WE ARE GIANTS.

Embarrassed kids are amusing. A parent or authority figure co-opts a line or two of their lingo, and they act like it’s the cataclysmic end of everything they hold dear as foretold in The Prophecy. It is, to them, a corruption – a barely recognizable remnant of something they once loved that’s been chewed up, spat out, and then obliterated by a fortuitously timed meteor. It’s interesting, then, to watch fully (or at least, mostly) grown adults react the same way any time social games come up.

And yet, while the parent/grandparent parallel still applies, there is some reason behind social gaming’s reprehensible reputation. The overwhelming majority of the titles that gum up Facebook’s works bombard users with requests and notifications while waging a rapidly escalating war on their wallets. Worse, calling them “social” is a major stretch, seeing as friends in Zynga’s “ville” games or even Funcom’s The Secret War are less people and more currency. It’s almost enough to make you wonder if all those “incredible gaming possibilities” Facebook proponents tout are even real. That in mind, I spoke with Brenda Brathwaite and John Romero – whose company Loot Drop just launched Ghost Recon: Commander – about how the modern age has shaped social games and whether or not they’re having a negative effect on the people who play them.

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Let The Gameshow Commence: Bullet Run

this is a very silly image

The free to play FPS formerly known as Hedone is now the free to play FPS known as Bullet Run, or at least that seems to be the case. Either that or Acony have made two identical games with separate names and convinced Sony to put their logo at the beginning of one of them. It’s a shooty shooty gameshow which means I’m contractually obliged to mention SMASH TV and you can sign up for the beta now if that’s the sort of thing you think you might enjoy. This trailer may help make up your mind one way or the other.

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Defiance: From Small Screen To Other Small Screen

A man. Standing defiantly. Yesterday. In the future. Or something.

Alert! Alert! Words like “Transmedia” imminent! You have been warned! Ahem. Trion Worlds and SyFy have released a long video showing off their forthcoming game/tv hybrid thing Defiance, where the battles you fight might later appear on TV. It’s a bit like being a soldier, only there are aliens involved and Fox News will never try to make out that it’s in any way patriotic.

Here comes the video, and a few Things To Notice…

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Hack’n’Slash Fic: On Diablo III Difficulty and Dumbness

I’ve been playing Diablo III solo, in snatched time during the wee small hours of the last few days. Late to the party as always I know, but the urge to muse ‘pon what I’ve played so far was too strong to resist.

I was unlucky, and yet incredibly lucky, to be away during Diablo III launch week. That means I’ve missed the worst of the server troubles resultant from the blatantly mercenary and ill-considered always-online DRM for singleplayer. That means I’ve been able to simply login and play the thing, leaving my my mind free to consider Diablo III itself, rather than its nasty corporate trappings. Like I say: lucky.
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First Look: Company Of Heroes 2

Looking back, I should have known it would be the Eastern Front. The entire world may well know by now that Company of Heroes 2 is in development at Relic, due for release sometime in 2013, and if they’ve paid any attention whatsoever they’ll also be aware that it’s set on the Eastern Front with a campaign beginning in 1941. What they don’t know is that we are among the few outside the studio who’ve already seen the game in action and right up until we entered the briefing room, we had no idea when or where it was set.

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Play To Say: The Lighter Side Of CAPTCHAs

If there was cake there, she'd be a ****ing diva...

Very little bodes quite as ill as an attempt to make something boring ‘fun’. Learning. Taxes. Opera. It doesn’t really matter. At best, it adds an increasingly ignored diversion to an unwelcome task. At worst, the added glitz makes it even more irritating.

In unrelated news, Are You A Human is attempting to make CAPTCHAs fun.

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Chris Jones Talks Tex: Bringing Back Tex Murphy

Sans fedora. It's like Superman and Clark Kent.

As the current trend to Kickstart every adventure series I loved in the 90s continues, I jumped upon the opportunity to speak to Tex Murphy himself, Chris Jones. With the new FMV-driven noir science fiction adventure already well over halfway to its half-million goal, there’s cause to be optimistic for Big Finish Games’ project, Project Fedora, going ahead. And as Jones reveals, his team are putting in quarter of a million of their own money too. We talk about bringing Tex back, updating the genre for a modern audience, and why Jones believes FMV characters can connect to players in a way CG ones never can.

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