Santa Monica, CA - March 5, 2015 - Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) has been named to Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For® list in 2015, marking its first-ever placement on the prestigious list.
"We have always considered Activision Blizzard to be one of the greatest places to work," said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. "To be recognized for it by others is gratifying and rewarding but being acknowledged as a great place to work by our own people means more to me than just about anything. They are the reason we are being recognized today."
Activision Blizzard's rich history includes combining the most talented developers and publishers in the entertainment industry, Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment, to create today's largest and most profitable western interactive entertainment publishing company that employs over 7,000 people globally. The company's talented employees have created some of the most popular and beloved entertainment franchises in the world including Call of Duty®, Destiny®, Diablo®, Skylanders®, StarCraft® and World of Warcraft®, which have been played by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
"In our early days, we were selling the office furniture just to make payroll. Today, we're one of the largest and most successful entertainment companies in the world - and that's entirely due to the exceptionally talented, inspired, driven, and hard-working people at Activision Blizzard. I couldn't be prouder of their accomplishments," added Kotick.
It’s official: Harmonix is getting the band back together.
The maker of music games like Fantasia and Dance Central is reprising its once-massive Rock Band franchise after a five-year hiatus. It will release Rock Band 4 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this fall. You heard right: Plastic guitars. Living-room karaoke. It’s all coming back. Devotees will be thrilled. But will it play in Peoria?
Harmonix doesn’t want fans to start over, the game’s lead developer Daniel Sussman told WIRED in a meeting in advance of today’s announcement. So Rock Band 4 will work with whatever songs you’ve already purchased through your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 versions of the game. Harmonix is moving them all to the new-generation version of the game. With more than 2,000 songs in the catalog, that’s a lot of music to play on day one.
IGN has a write-up detailing various game-play elements to be found in Avalanche's upcoming Mad Max game:
Avalanche Studios has unveiled a large amount of gameplay details for its upcoming open-world Mad Max game...
Mad Max will have "soft" borders, meaning you'll be able to travel beyond the limits of the in-game map. However, venturing into this space, known as The Big Nothing, is incredibly dangerous. This area doesn't contain any food or water, and is filled with deadly sandstorms. If you're able to survive more than a few seconds, you'll occasionally find rare auto parts for Max's Magnum Opus...
Mad Max will hit next-gen consoles and PC on September 1 in North America and September 4 in the UK.
More details in the article. Definitely worth a read.
Alright, so let's take another crack at this one. I'll be on Steam this Saturday from 1-3 PM PST (3-6 PM EST). The flavor of the week is Red Orchestra 2 and Insurgency. Additional details after the break. Anyone else who wants to group up on their console or game of choice is welcome to buddy up here.
Stardock is proud to announce Ashes of the Singularity. A new real-time strategy game from the team that helped bring you Sins of a Solar Empire, Civilization IV, Civilization V and Galactic Civilizations.
Take command of the vast forces of the Post-Humans or the sentient AI substrate in a conflict that spans the galaxy. Control massive armies across entire worlds presented with epic fidelity and scale unlike anything that has ever been attempted in a real-time strategy game previously.
Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games and a singer/songwriter of ice and fire, today published a completely fair-use trailer for Magicka 2, the forthcoming magick-mixing game for PC and the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system. The trailer, containing all-new gameplay and allegedly new ideas, celebrates the upcoming launch of Magicka 2, which will arrive on PC and PS4® on May 26, 2015. The game can be pre-ordered on PC beginning today, with PS4 pre-orders starting soon, according to the alarm Paradox has set on its Night Watch. Magicka 2 will be available for $14.99 on both platforms.
The primary Maxis studio in Emeryville, CA--the developer behind games like SimCity, Spore, and the early Sims games--been shut down, Electronic Arts confirmed today.
The news first came to light when SimCity designer Guillaume Pierre tweeted, "Well it was a fun 12 years, but it's time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door. #RIPMaxisEmeryville."
EA has since confirmed the news with GameSpot, saying in a statement, "Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to our studios in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki, and Melbourne locations as we close our Emeryville location. Maxis continues to support and develop new experiences for current Sims and SimCity players, while expanding our franchises to new platforms and developing new cross-platform IP."
According to the publisher, the shutdown will "not impact our plans for The Sims." The first expansion pack for The Sims 4 is still on the way, with "a full slate of additional updates and content in the pipeline."
Best of luck to those laid off. I hope they find a home soon.
March 4, 2015 – Warsaw, Poland/ Today Techland announced that the second content drop of the Season Pass for Dying Light will launch on March 10. The Ultimate Survivor Bundle brings a collection of unique items to the quarantine zone, including blueprints for four one-of-a-kind weapons: The Constable, the Night Club, Lacerator, and Buzz Killer. On top of that, the bundle comes with three distinctive character outfits: the Ninja, Urban Explorer, and Special Agent. The Ultimate Survivor Bundle will be available across all platforms as a part of the Season Pass offer or separately at 4.99 USD/ 4.99 EUR / 3.99 GBP.
Also on March 10, a new free update for Dying Light will be released. Along with various improvements to the game’s performance, gameplay balance, online functions, and visual fidelity, patch 1.4 will introduce a specially designed Hard Mode, allowing players to add extra challenge and realism to their game. Furthermore, the update adds an additional tier to weapon rarity level, extra rewards for completing the game, more character outfits, and dozens of new weapons. All content of patch 1.4 will be available for free on all supported platforms.
Stardock has announced Servo, an upcoming real-time strategy game from the ex-Ensemble developers (Dave Pottinger and Bruce Shelley) at BonusXP.
Plymouth, MI – March 4, 2015 – From the minds behind some of the most iconic PC games in the last two decades comes an incredible new title: Servo, a real-time strategy game that marries the persistent progression of gathering and equipping scavenged loot with intense RTS gameplay. Created by ex-Ensemble Studios developers at Allen, TX-based independent studio BonusXP and published by Stardock, Servo is now available for pre-order at http://www.servogame.com/store for $19.99. Servo will enter Early Access in the coming months before its release later in 2015 and is being demoed at this year's Game Developer's Conference in booth 2655.
Servo puts players in command of a team of far-future mercenaries who pilot their immensely powerful giant war machines, called Servos, in dangerous missions to profit from the deadly but valuable Bloom that consumed Old Earth centuries ago. Though humanity fled the doomed Earth decades ago, the way home has recently reopened – and the mysteries lying dormant in Old Earth’s ruins will change humanity’s fate once again.
All of Servo’s modes demand players master the economic, tactical, and strategic layers that make up the backbone of deeply involved real-time strategy gameplay. Capture Bloom sources to power global upgrades and Servo-supporting drone armies in order to win competitive player-versus-player games. Survive wave upon wave of terrible Bloomspawn attacks through skillful coordination with friends in co-op battles. Unravel the mysteries of Old Earth by overcoming the unique challenges in each of the 25 story-based missions.
Win or lose, every battle unlocks new parts to equip onto your Servos. Void Beams, Hydra Launchers, Nemodium Blades, and much more can be slotted into the dozen-plus slots on each Servo. Designing a team of Servos that works well together to execute your strategies – and can react to the new challenges each match brings – is as important as building up an economy or landing a perfect rocket swarm.
The team behind Servo includes longtime Ensemble Studios and Age of Empires veteran Dave Pottinger and respected strategy mind Bruce Shelley, whose design credits include Civilization, Railroad Tycoon, and Age of Empires.
Click on the headline to watch the announcement trailer.
Sony has announced that the PlayStation 4 has hit the Magic Number, selling over 20 Million units.
Sony has found another reason to sing praise for its PlayStation 4 console, this time in celebration of surpassing 20.2 million cumulative console sales through March 1, 2015. The latest sales figures underscores the PS4's place in history as Sony's fastest and strongest selling console in the history of PlayStation.
The more than 20.2 million unit sales is over twice as much as the 10 million Xbox One unit sales Microsoft last reported, though that was all the way back in November of last year. Millions more have undoubtedly been added since then, as Microsoft's been enjoying quite a bit of success, particularly since making permanent a price cut to $349.
"We are so grateful for the enormous support from PlayStation fans worldwide, and we are truly humbled that gamers around the globe have continued to select PS4 as the best place to play," said Andrew House, President and Global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "We remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver unique and interactive entertainment experiences powered by the network and the PS4 system's deep social capabilities."
Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. announced today that the highly anticipated conclusion to the METAL GEAR SOLID V Experience, METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN, will be released worldwide starting September 1, 2015.
METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN is the series’ largest and most ambitious edition to date, expanding upon themes and content seen in the METAL GEAR SOLID V Experience prologue: METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES. Set within huge open-world environments, METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN is brought to vivid life with realistic weather patterns and day/night cycles. Thus, players can adapt their tactics to match the changing environment, creating an intuitive and non-linear gameplay experience. Similarly, a host of acclaimed METAL GEAR SOLID troops return in hugely advanced forms, including expanded CQC (Close-Quarter Combat) skills, vastly improved enemy AI, online elements that complement the single player campaign, and an all-new version of METAL GEAR ONLINE, a competitive multiplayer mode, included within the main game.
Click on the image for the screenshots and the headline for the press release.
Valve has revealed Steam VR, Source 2 and Steam Link at the Game Developers Conference today. GameSpot has the story.
Steam Link will enable game streaming from Steam Machines, PC, Mac, and Linux PC within a network. It will support 1080p gaming at 60Hz . Steam Link will be available this November for $49.99, and users can add $49.99 on top for a Steam Controller. Valve will announce worldwide pricing closer to launch date.
Valve also detailed two new technologies which will be part of its virtual reality headset, Vive; a "room scale tracking system" called Lighthouse, and a VR input system. Simply put, Lighthouse will help Valve's VR achieve higher resolution and higher speed tracking for a lower hardware cost. It will be available for free to hardware manufacturers who are interested. Vive will ship this year in April for developers, and November for consumers.
In addition, Valve revealed the Source 2 engine, a successor to the Source engine which powered games such as Counter-Strike and Half Life 2. Source 2 has been made with a focus on "increasing creator productivity." Source 2 will be free to content developers, allowing "gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favorite games." It will be compatible with Vulkan, the name of the graphics API Valve teased earlier this month.
More Valve coverage, and the official EvAv Peanut Gallery reaction after the break.
The PlayStation.Blog has been updated with the list of PS Plus free games for March 2015.
Another collection of excellent games joins PlayStation Plus this month, and you’ve come to the right place for details!
Starting things off on PS4 is Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee — New ‘n’ Tasty! This side-scrolling adventure reboots the PlayStation classic with new visuals, new sound, enhanced controls, and even more dark humor than before. Also coming to the PS4 lineup is Valiant Hearts: The Great War. This colorful puzzle game carries with it a heavy subject matter, as it follows four intersecting lives (and a loyal canine companion) during the first World War.
On PS3, gamers with PS Plus can download the critically-acclaimed Papo & Yo, alongside the wit-inducing Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments. And on PS Vita, watch out for OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood and CounterSpy.
These games will be available for Plus members when PlayStation Store updates later today.
Comixology is having a sale on various titles featuring the Joker. For those wanting to take a stab at the new Batman comics, the main Batman series by Scott Snyder is a great place to start! Multiple titles from that line are running for $0.99, so check it out! Via the official announcement:
In the wake of the epic Batman: Endgame storyline, the Clown Prince of Crime gets his own 99¢ sale! Featuring over 80 must-read Joker comics including Death of the Family and Batman: The Man Who Laughs, now is your chance to experience the stories starring Batman's most iconic villain in cinematic Guided View. Sale ends 3/9.
Xbox Season Pass holders now have early access to the Ascendance DLC Pack bonus weapons. The OHM directed energy hybrid weapon can switch between an LMG and Shotgun on the fly. Also included is the OHM-Werewolf custom variant.
EA is giving away Bullfrog's cyberpunk classic, Syndicate, on Origin for a limited time as part of its On the House program.
In the dark and twisted cities of tomorrow, corporate syndicates compete for global dominance.
But the boardroom deals and corporate takeovers of the future look very different from today: they are lead by marketing directors who manage teams of half-men, half-machine cyborgs with no conscience and plenty of guns.
You are an ambitious marketing director in the Syndicate, hand-picked to lead a team of cyborg mercenaries. You work in the problem-solving department and you are damn good at "taking care" of problems. Some might say that violence is not the answer but you know better. There here are hardly any problems that you can't solve with a well-placed bullet. Collateral damage in the local population and infrastructure during the "negotiations" is, as always, acceptable. After all, what would you expect form the dystopian futuristic world run by mega-corporations?
Syndicate is Bullfrog's masterpiece of a game in which you aren't saving the world or protecting innocents. You just make sure that your employers get what they want. At your disposal are four cyborg agents, an impressive arsenal of weapons and gadgets, and a massive selection of cybernetic upgrades. You are free to unleash this power on a highly interactive map where you can blow up buildings, steal cars, light trees on fire, or just shoot stuff. Produced by Peter Molyneux himself, Syndicate is the essence of cyberpunk and, with its great music, stylized visuals, and mind-blowing atmosphere, it has earned its place among the best games of all time. Make sure to check out the game that secured Bullfrog's place in game development hall of fame.
HELLDIVERS is available today for PS4, PS3, and PS Vita systems on PlayStation Store.
HELLDIVERS™ is a hardcore, cooperative, twin stick shooter from the creators of Magicka. As part of the elite unit called the HELLDIVERS, players must work together to protect SUPER EARTH and defeat the enemies of mankind in an intense intergalactic war.
Turbine, the developer behind MOBA Infinite Crisis and MMO Lord of the Rings Online is taking a crack at mobile. Warner Bros. has handed the studio the keys to Gotham City for a new Batman: Arkham tie-in.
Details on Batman: Arkham Underworld are slim right now, but Warner Bros. says that players will build a hideout and recruit henchmen. If that sounds a bit like Supercell’s wildly popular Clash of Clans, it’s probably not an accident.
There are beta sign-ups available right now, and in order to register, you need to fill out a survey. Included is a question about other mobile games you have played. On the list? Supercell’s Clash of Clans and the follow-up, Boom Beach.
Turbine is also making a Game of Thrones mobile game for Warner Bros., but this one is described as a “combat strategy game.” as for DC fans, WB Games San Francisco is working on a collectible RPG called DC Comics Legends. These are in addition to the Mortal Kombat X tie-in game announced yesterday.
Blizzard has announced the WoW Token. From the official announcement via Battle.net:
Coming soon to an Azeroth near you: the WoW Token, a new in-game item that allows players to simply and securely exchange gold and game time between each other.
Players will be able to purchase a WoW Token through the in-game Shop for real money, and then sell it on the Auction House for gold at the current market price. When a player buys a WoW Token from the Auction House for gold, the Token becomes Soulbound, and the player can then redeem it for 30 days of game time.
Interceptor Entertainment and 3D Realms have announced Bombshell, an isometric action role-playing game coming to PC and consoles later this year.
Interceptor Entertainment partners with 3D Realms to bring the world Bombshell, an isometric action roleplaying game set for release on PC and consoles.
From the creators and producers of Rise of the Triad, Duke Nukem and Max Payne comes Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, bomb technician turned mercenary for hire. A fierce gunslinger with a personality as powerful as her mechanical arm, Shelly Harrison is set to blow her enemies away with skill and style.
Shelly lost her arm and her squad after failing to disarm an otherworldly bomb in what became known as “The Washington Incident.” Held responsible for the explosion, Shelly was discharged from the Global Defence Force and later approached by a private military contractor with the promise of a second chance: an arm constructed from technological remnants found in the wake of the incident.
Follow Bombshell’s quest for redemption as she fights through surreal alien worlds to rescue the President and save Earth using a growing array of special skills. With her own techtree upgrades, destructive weaponry and fierce combat abilities, Bombshell and her countless arm configurations make her the perfect soldier to stop the Kyrr, an evil alien race lead by diabolical scientist turnedmadman Jadus Heskel.
Bombshell never lets up. Fast-paced shooting, roleplaying style mechanics and an exciting story evoke a level of depth and intensity the genre has never seen before. Bombshell blends first-person shooting controls with an isometric perspective, empowering the player to save the world with deadly speed and accuracy.
Click on the image for the screenshots and the headline for the trailer.
I wrote post mulling over the passing of two of my heroes (on completely opposite ends of the spectrum), Leonard Nemoy and Wayne Static.
I think the original Star Trek will be watched a hundred years from now. Roddenberry’s run had a huge impact on our dreams of space and just how much humanity can achieve. It’s a refreshing piece of fiction that often brims with optimism in the face of adversity. Nemoy’s character, Spock, exhibits a duality that allows him to comment on the strengths and failings of our species. Without a doubt, Spock is what Nemoy will be remembered as. Clearly, he was so much more. But his role as Spock had such an impact that he’s seared himself into our collective consciousness.
The whole thing got me thinking… We all mean something to someone, even if we don’t realize it. The challenge we all face is leaving a legacy that has a positive impact.
Epic Games has announced that Unreal Engine 4 is now available for free. Details below.
Unreal Engine 4 is now available to everyone for free, and all future updates will be free!
You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed.
This is the complete technology we use at Epic when building our own games. It scales from indie projects to high-end blockbusters; it supports all the major platforms; and it includes 100% of the C++ source code. Our goal is to give you absolutely everything, so that you can do anything and be in control of your schedule and your destiny. Whatever you require to build and ship your game, you can find it in UE4, source it in the Marketplace, or build it yourself – and then share it with others.
March 2, 2015 - Los Angeles - Tactical Simulations Interactive (TSI) today unveiled "Gateway" – a system that allows players to transfer their favorite characters across supported RPGs. The initiative will be rolled out in TSI’s debut title, Seven Dragon Saga – an original fantasy RPG for PC, Mac and Linux, based upon an original pen and paper role-playing system designed by former Strategic Simulations Interactive (SSI) alumni Keith Brors and David Shelley. Developers inXile and Harebrained Schemes have also announced support for Gateway, with more set to sign on in the coming months.
With Gateway, TSI is inviting RPG developers to take part in an initiative that hearkens back to the days of classic RPGs like The Bard’s Tale, Ultima and Wizardry -- a time when players could fully transfer their characters and parties into different games, without having to create them from scratch for each game.
"Gateway goes beyond being an import/export feature -- it represents a development philosophy that I enthusiastically endorse. By proposing and developing a data standard for game characters, TSI is establishing a stepping stone for independent CRPG developers to collaborate and share content and expertise. It is very much in the spirit of crowd funding and independent game development. As a fan of SSI's titles, I'm thrilled at their return through Seven Dragon Saga and am excited they are spearheading this initiative through Gateway,” said Kevin Saunders, Project Director, Torment: Tides of Numenera - inXile.
"I think there are a lot of gamers out there who've put a lot of time and effort into building their RPG characters and would love Gateway's export so they can continue their relationship," said Mitch Gitelman, Co-Founder, Studio Manager - Harebrained Schemes.
“We are really excited about the initial reaction to Gateway from the development community and, as gamers ourselves, we love the idea of carrying across our characters and adventuring parties into different RPGs," said David Shelley, Producer/Lead Designer, Seven Dragon Saga. "From a technical standpoint, we are proposing an independent app that avoids any issues with an existing game's user interface and makes it a quick process for developers to add to their games."
Paradox Interactive, a publisher and developer with plenty of initiative, today announced the forthcoming release of Knights of Pen & Paper 2, coming to PC, iOS, and Android devices. Knights of Pen & Paper 2, the appropriately named sequel to Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition, will bring players back to the table, where they can sit and simulate another, different table inside the game (which is about a game). Danger, intrigue, death, role-playing, and roll-playing will return when Knights of Pen & Paper 2 arrives on May 14th.
Click on the headline for more info and the trailer.