Month: March 2016

Don't Starve gets Shipwrecked Expansion Today

Don’t Starve gets Shipwrecked Expansion Today

Don’t Starve’s newest expansion, Shipwrecked, is available today.

In Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked, the game’s protagonist, Wilson, finds himself stranded on a tropical island. Wilson must learn to survive in a brand new environment filled with new environments, seasons with different weather patterns, and deadly new creatures.

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The new tropical archipelago is just as brutal and uncompromising as the original environments of Don’t Starve. Players will find the islands are packed with plenty of ways to die, including deadly creatures, poisonous environmental hazards and as the game’s title recommends, starvation.

New Features brought to the table in Shipwrecked include new craftable boats for oceanic adventure, a new world packed with new resources and creatures, new tropically inspired seasons and a brand new array of gadgets and recipes.

Don't Starve gets Shipwrecked Expansion Today 1

Shipwrecked is currently available as DLC for Don’t Starve. The expansion is exclusively available on PC.

 

Black Ops III Announces Eclipse DLC 2

Black Ops III Announces Eclipse DLC

Call of Duty: Black Ops III has its newest batch of DLC. Titled Eclipse, Treyarch Studios livestreamed the reveal on their official YouTube channel, as well as on the PS4 Live Event Viewer. The DLC launches April 19 on PS4.

Eclipse includes four new multiplayer maps and a new Zombies experience. The maps are named Spire, Rift, Knockout and Verge and they differ greatly.

Spire takes place in a futuristic sub-orbital airport terminal set far above the clouds. The map features a clean, high-tech environment. One wrong move and players could be sent plummeting back to Earth. While, Rift is a futuristic military complex suspended rail system for players to navigate. The map takes place over an active caldera that poses a constant threat to players.

Black Ops III Announces Eclipse DLC 1

Knockout sets the stage for a brutal kung fu tournament in a traditional Shaolin Temple. It is a mid-sized map that features mid-range engagements in the temple’s exterior and close-quarters combat in the 1970’s styled interior. And Verge is a re-imagination of the classic Call of Duty: World at War map, Banzai. Verge is set in a distant post-apocalyptic future, with two warring factions constantly at the other’s throat. The map features a central bridge, fortresses, tunnel systems and waterfalls open for players to explore.

The Zombies experience is called Zetsubou No Shima, which sees the heroes of Black Ops III Zombies travel to a remote Pacific island. The island features a secret laboratory that was used for some very shady experiments. The lab is a Division 9 facility that used element 115 to experiment on humans, animals and plants.

Eclipse launches first for PS4 on April 19, and roughly one month later for Xbox One and PC. It is unknown whether the DLC will be available on PS3 or Xbox 360.

The pack costs $14.99 to buy individually, and is part of the $50 season pass.

Eclipse is the second of four DLC packs promised for the Black Ops III season. The first pack, Awakening, released on PS4 in February.

When Hard Mode is Too Soft 6

When Hard Mode is Too Soft

I remember a conversation I had with fellow CG writer Brendan Quinn, during our second year at the Journalism Academy together. We were discussing Dead Space and I had said while I thought it was a good game, I never found it all that scary due to the massive amounts of health, ammo, and money you can stomp out of necromorph’s chests, not to mention how there’s a save point and store around every corner. I concluded by saying it’s hard to be scared when you’re an overpowered badass shooting up the USG Ishimura, to which Quinn responded: “well you should’ve been playing on Hard Mode.”

I’ve never understood “Hard Mode” in games, typically because I’ve never found them all that “hard.” Take, for example, Bethesda’s details for Fallout 4’s new Survival Mode, which is supposed to be the “hardest difficulty the game has to offer.” Some of these difficulty features include:

  • Only being able to save when sleeping in a bed
  • Taking and dealing more damage from and to enemies
  • Not being able to fast travel
  • Added status ailments like hunger, thirst, disease and fatigue

When Hard Mode is Too Soft

All these things might sound like they make a harder game, but much like the Hardcore Mode in Fallout: New Vegas, in practice they are more tedious than anything (and the last thing Fallout 4 needs is more tedium).  Explain to me how not being able to save conveniently adds more challenge to the game when I’ll still be able to drop into stealth, shoot someone with my unsilenced sniper-rifle and remain hidden.

To me, saying a game is hard implies that there is challenge; something to test my reflexes and wits in interesting and complex ways. That’s my problem with these so-called “Hard Modes,” they never add any real challenge to a game. They create what I call “faux difficulty,” contriving a sense of challenge by making things seem more difficult than they actually are.

It was something I noticed most when my sister tried The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Having never played A Link to the Past or Between Worlds she jumped right into Hero Mode, and throughout the majority of her starting of the game, she was constantly screaming in frustration because one hit from enemies meant death, which meant she’d lose whatever item she’d borrowed for a dungeon and have to grind for rupees to get it back and continue on in the dungeon. Now how exactly does that make the game more challenging? The enemy AI remains the same, the puzzles are all the same, and while the placement of dungeon rooms may be different, for my sister jumping in sight unseen, this is meaningless.

When Hard Mode is Too Soft 1
When Hard Mode is Too Soft 2
When Hard Mode is Too Soft 3

While some may argue that the challenge comes from not getting hit, in most games this is next to impossible. To have such an incredibly severe punishment for getting hit and/or dying doesn’t make the game challenging, it makes it monotonous. There’s no real challenge in a game when, rather than dying in three hits you die in one. There’s no real challenge when, on the first level, you’re fighting enemies that belong on the tenth.

To me, a hard mode should be things that actively change the landscape of the game. In a game like Zelda, Hero Mode would provide more elaborate puzzles, intricately designed dungeons, and cunning enemies; things that actually challenge the player to think harder, navigate better and fight smarter. Now I don’t claim to know a lot about game design so however difficult this may be to program is beyond me, but to make a game truly “hard,” it needs to provide real challenge. Not getting hit just isn’t a real challenge.

I look at a game like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. While you can access a difficulty setting upon completion, what was already on offer made for a perfectly challenging game. Competent AI, balanced damage output/intake, and an incredible amount of strategy and planning that challenged your wits. For those looking to play on “easy mode,” MGSV did not restrict you from running in guns a’blazin like Rambo, so difficulty is only limited to how you want to play the game.

When Hard Mode is Too Soft 4

I look at a game like Bloodborne, a game that balances frustrating difficulty with reasonable player progression and weapon management. It’s a game that demands patience and planning, and punishes anyone who thinks they can jump into this game as if it were God of War. But it doesn’t make expert players feel comfortable either; beasts can best even the most seasoned hunters. Bloodborne doesn’t hold your hand, but offers an amazing frustration vs. payoff system, rewarding your struggle with the sweet satisfaction when you finally destroy a boss. It’s a game that throws you into the fire, and demands that you either become flame retardant, or go back to Super Mario.

If you ask me, the whole concept of “hard mode” should be removed from games. Much like “lives” in a Mario game, it’s an archaic system leftover from the days when you couldn’t fit more than an MP3 on a game cartridge and companies had to invent elements to extend gameplay. How they’re still getting away with doing that in the modern day, I’ll never understand.

 

Final Fantasy XV News Roundup

Final Fantasy XV News Roundup

After plenty of leaks and rumours, Square Enix announced it will release the 15

th

main Final Fantasy game on PS4 and Xbox One with a current release date of September 30, 2016.

Final Fantasy XV News Roundup 6

The game was originally announced almost ten years ago at E3 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and was re-branded as Final Fantasy XV at E3 2013.

The developer also released a trailer, “Reclaim Your Throne”, on the official Final Fantasy XV YouTube channel, which introduced players to the gorgeous open-world environment in the game. The trailer features a modern rendition of an iconic song for the series, Stand By Me, which was re-imagined by Grammy-nominated Florence + The Machine.

“I’ve always seen Final Fantasy as mythical, beautiful and epic,” said Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine. “Stand by Me is one of the greatest songs probably of all time and you can’t really improve on it, you just have to make it your own. For me it was just about bringing the song into the world of Florence and the Machine and the world of Final Fantasy.”

Final Fantasy XV News Roundup 1

Fans don’t have to wait until September to get a taste of Final Fantasy XV, as Square Enix has launched a “Platinum Demo” on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Games Store. The demo is a free download, and contains exclusive content that won’t be featured in the main game. Players will control the game’s protagonist, Noctis, “as he masters various weapons, magic skills and driving,” according to Square Enix. Anyone that completes the demo will gain exclusive access to Carbuncle, a magical creature from previous Final Fantasy games.

Final Fantasy XV News Roundup 3

Square Enix revealed Final Fantasy XV will come in three editions: standard, deluxe and ultimate collector’s edition.

The Deluxe Edition features steelbook packaging and bonus in-game content including a bonus outfit, a weapon, and a recolour for Noctis’ car. This edition will be available for $89.99.

Final Fantasy XV News Roundup 4

The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will cost $269.99, and is exclusive to The Square Enix Online Store. This edition of the game will be limited to 30,000 units worldwide and feature a hardcover art book, a soundtrack, the entirety of the contents featured in the Deluxe Edition, four extra in-game item packs, and an exclusive figure of Noctis by Play Arts Kai. This edition of the game will also contain the exclusive sixth episode of the Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV animated series.

Final Fantasy XV News Roundup 5

The Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV anime was also revealed during the Uncovered event. It will be a five episode story with an exclusive sixth episode in the Ultimate Collector’s Edition. The first episode of the series is available today.

On top of the anime, Square Enix revealed a trailer for a full-length CGI feature film focused on Noctis’ dad King Regis. The movie is titled Kinsglaive, and will release this year. It will feature the talents of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones actors, including Aaron Paul, Sean Bean and Lena Headley.

The Final Fantasy XV Uncovered event also debuted the first look at Justice Monsters Five, a mobile pinball game by Square Enix with RPG elements. The game will feature Noctis and some of the franchise’s most iconic monsters. It will launch this year for iOS, Android and Windows 10.

Final Fantasy XV will be available on PS4 and Xbox One on September 30, 2016. Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata said there are no current plans for a PC release.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to do simultaneous development on a PC and console version for XV. We had to focus on the console version and our goal was to maximize, optimize everything for the HD consoles. Once that’s done, then we will definitely take a good, hard look at PC and what we need to do, and consider all our options. But right now we aren’t decided, we’re still considering a lot of things,” Tabata told Engadget.

City Shrouded in Shadow Reveals Big Cameo 2

City Shrouded in Shadow Reveals Big Cameo

The new survival escape game, City Shrouded in Shadow, has revealed some new enlightening images that possibly include a certain giant robot.

The title is being developed by Granzella games and published by Bandai Namco.

City Shrouded in Shadow Reveals Big Cameo

Race through the stages on different vehicles or on foot as you avoid the giant shadows of the monsters threatening the city. As our protagonist, help save the heroine, Yuki Kano. You get to choose not only her starting outfits and hairstyles but your relationship to her, whether it be just friends or something more.

Of the known giants so far we have Godzilla, Ultraman and a shadow that looks suspiciously a lot like Unit-01 from Neon Genesis Evangelion.

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City Shrouded in Shadow will be available on PS4 and PS Vita.

Nintendo spokesperson Alison Rapp released from her position 1

Nintendo spokesperson Alison Rapp released from her position

Former Nintendo marketing officer Alison Rapp made a number of tweets Wednesday evening informing her followers of her termination, stating that she was no longer deemed “a good, safe representative of Nintendo”.

Rapp claims Nintendo made their decision based on her vocal thoughts about feminism, which resulted in her being targeted by people on gaming forums and places such as 4Chan and Reddit.

The tweets that followed from her details her side of what happened. They were collected and posted in a thread on NeoGAF.

Since then, Nintendo released an official statement about Rapp’s termination, stating it was to do with a conflicting second job and not the online criticism.

Nintendo spokesperson Alison Rapp released from her position

Rapp posted about the second job as well, claiming that having a second job (moonlighting) is accepted at Nintendo and is part of their policy. She stated she took a second job in order to pay off her student loans but did so anonymously.

Nintendo spokesperson Alison Rapp released from her position

Ever since the announcement, many high-profile individuals in the industry have shown their support online for Rapp and called out Nintendo for not standing up for her when she was the target of online harassment. Rapp has also stated that she is seeking new opportunities in Seattle.

Back in August, Chris Pranger, a Nintendo of America employee, was purportedly fired for appearing on the Part-Time Gamers podcast. This was supposedly done without permission.

Reuters Enriches Offering to Media Express Users by Adding Red Bull Media House Content

LONDON, March 31, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reuters, the world’s largest international multimedia news provider, announced today that Red Bull Media House will make a special collection of its sports and lifestyle content available to all users of Reuters Media Express. Digital publishers that are not currently Reuters subscribers can enjoy unlimited access to this content, plus up to ten free, ready-to-publish news items per month by registering with Reuters Media Express.

Reuters Media Express is the premier platform that delivers thousands of stories per day to over 3,000 publishers in broadcast, digital, and print. These clients, who depend on Reuters for access to coverage of global sporting and news events, will now be able to choose from a curated selection of the best content from Red Bull Media House.

Red Bull Media House is known for its inspiring and engaging content made to the highest production values. The multi-platform media company tells stories about captivating people and their groundbreaking ideas in subjects ranging from adventure, action sports, gaming to music and entertainment.

In the next year, Red Bull Media House will take fans to the front lines of mountain biking (such as UCI MTB World Cup Tour, Crankworx), motorsports (FIA World Rally Championships, Global Rally Cross, Air Racing, Moto GP, Dakar Rally), winter sports (such as Burton U.S. Open, FIS World Cup skiing), skateboarding, cliff diving, beach volleyball and surfing events, but also break dancing, music, arts and more. Expect inspiring and “beyond the headline” stories from prominent figures around the world like French WRC champion Sébastien Ogier, American skier Lindsey Vonn, Scottish BMX pro Kriss Kyle, US golfers Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson and Japanese snowboarding champ Yuki Kadono.

Robert Schack, Global Head of Sports and Strategic Projects for Reuters, said, “This is an exciting agreement for us because demand for action sports content continues to rise, yet many publishers lack the time or resources to produce or license it themselves. We’re delighted to be able to bring our customers the unique coverage in both sports and lifestyle that only Red Bull Media House can produce.”

Reuters
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider reaching more than one billion people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops, the world’s media organizations, and directly to consumers at Reuters.com and Reuters TV.

Red Bull Media House
Red Bull Media House is a multi-platform media company with a focus on sports, music, and lifestyle, offering a wide range of premium and compelling content. Around the world people are actively engaged with the content through the media company’s social channels and on a wide range of platforms including RedBull.com, Red Bull TV and The Red Bulletin. In addition, content is accessible and can be licensed for third party media through the Red Bull Content Pool.
Reuters
Pete Biggs
PR Manager
pete.biggs@tr.com
+44 (0) 207 7542 4214

Red Bull Media House
Jen Belongia-Barak
International Corporate Communications
jennifer.belongia-barak@at.redbullmediahouse.com
+43 664 887 49441

HUG#1998794

Mad Catz® Announces Saitek® X-56 Rhino H.O.T.A.S. Advanced Flight Control System™

SAN DIEGO, March 31, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (“Mad Catz”) (NYSE MKT/TSX: MCZ), a global provider of innovative entertainment products, today announced the debut of the X-56 Rhino H.O.T.A.S. Advanced Flight Control System™, the Company’s newest addition to its Saitek Pro Flight Range of PC-based simulation accessories.

Building on the successful X-55 Rhino™ platform, the X-56 is designed specifically to address the advanced control requirements of the space simulation genre with new features that make spaceflight control more intuitive. With the addition of two analog sticks, one on each controller, the X-56 provides an additional four axes of control – ideal for the 6 degrees of freedom flight dynamics demanded by modern space simulation game titles.

Full 16 million RGB color backlighting enables gamers to customize the X-56 to match the rest of their gaming equipment; a feature that is increasingly essential across PC peripherals. Building on the success of the X-55, the new X-56 has been completely re-engineered from the ground up to address feedback received from the simulation community and incorporates new materials, increased switchgear life cycles and new graphics.

“The Saitek brand has always sought to deliver product innovation, quality and engagement for the global simulation community,” said Andrew Young, Chief Technology Officer of Mad Catz. “We are proud to continue that tradition and reaffirm our commitment to the PC simulation market and in particular the space simulation genre. While this new segment of the simulation market may be new to many enthusiasts, it is already gaining significant popularity and play.”

“Additionally, we believe 2016 will also be a key year for the adoption of virtual reality thanks to the introduction of both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Our X-56 Rhino directly addresses the needs of this exciting market as its control system is perfectly positioned for use while wearing a VR unit. Ultimately, we are confident that the Saitek X-56 Rhino will offer significant control advantages and greatly enhance the simulation experience for enthusiasts everywhere.”

For more information or to pre-order, please visit: www.saitek.com

About Mad Catz
Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (“Mad Catz”) (NYSE MKT/TSX: MCZ) is a global provider of innovative interactive entertainment products marketed under its Mad Catz® (gaming), Tritton® (audio), and Saitek® (simulation) brands. Mad Catz products cater to passionate gamers across multiple platforms including in-home gaming consoles, handheld gaming consoles, Windows PC and Mac® computers, smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices. Mad Catz distributes its products through its online store as well as distribution via many leading retailers around the globe. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Mad Catz maintains offices in Europe and Asia. For additional information about Mad Catz and its products, please visit the Company’s website at www.madcatz.com

Social Media
https://www.facebook.com/MadCatz.Global

http://twitter.com/MadCatz

https://www.youtube.com/MadCatzCompany

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Information in this press release that involves the Company’s expectations business prospects, plans, intentions or strategies regarding its future are forward-looking statements that are not facts and that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. You can identify these statements by the use of words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “should,” “plan,” “goal,” “believe,” and other words and terms of similar meaning in connection with any discussion of future operating or financial performance. Among the factors that could cause the Company’s actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include the following: the ability to maintain or renew the Company’s licenses; competitive developments affecting the Company’s current products; first-party price reductions; availability of capital under our credit facility; commercial acceptance of new in-home gaming consoles; the ability to successfully market both new and existing products domestically and internationally; difficulties or delays in manufacturing; unanticipated product delays; or a downturn in the market or industry. A further list and description of these and other factors, risks, uncertainties and other matters can be found in the Company’s most recent annual report, and any subsequent quarterly reports, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Canadian Securities Administrators. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to the Company as of the date of this release, and the Company assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events or developments. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of the Company and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

Mad Catz, the Mad Catz logo, Saitek, X-55 RHINO and X-56 RHINO are trademarks or registered trademarks of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc., its affiliates and/or subsidiary companies. All other marks are the property of their owners.

CONTACT: Mad Catz Communications:
Dave McKeon
Chief Financial Officer
dmckeon@madcatz.com or +1 (858) 790-5045

Investor Relations:
Joseph Jaffoni, Norberto Aja, Jim Leahy
JCIR
mcz@jcir.com or +1 (212) 835-8500
The Ten Best Witch Movies of All Time 17

The Ten Best Witch Movies of All Time

Recently, a lil’ horror movie called The Witch was released and caused quite a ruckus. Deservingly so, too. Rob Eggers’ film was one of the most striking horror debuts in recent memory. Combining art house drama with visceral thrills, the film is both intelligent and terrifying. It already feels like a contemporary classic and it’s nice to hear people saying such things about horror flicks once more.

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