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Guild Wars 2: Paid tournaments and custom arenas coming “in the near future”

October 15th, 2012

Guild Wars 2: Paid tournaments and custom arenas coming “in the near future”

Guild Wars 2 systems designer Jonathan Sharp has outlined the future of the game’s Structured Player vs. Player component, in a blog post on the official site. Using a torturous iceberg metaphor, he revealed that the first things fans can expect are paid tournaments and custom arenas, both of which require the use of gems (a currency you pay for with real money).

At the moment, we’re making do with free tournaments, which reward the top 4 players with glory and rank points, currencies that come fairly low down in the Guild Wars pecking order. Paid tournaments, on the other hand, will offer greater rewards, including tournament tickets and even gems. To compete, you need to stump up gems and come as part of a group.

Guild Wars 2: Paid tournaments and custom arenas coming “in the near future”

In order to practice for these events, you will be able to rent custom arenas, modify their parameters, and use them as private, password-protected training areas. If you wish, you can also fight private battles against rivals of your choosing. As with paid tournaments, there’s no mention of either the cost or the roll-out date, but we can expect them “in the near future”, which coincidentally is when most modern sci-fi is set.

From the changes, it’s clear that ArenaNet are aiming to make Guild Wars 2′s sPVP more akin to an eSport, even if it’s one that lacks certain features commonly associated with them. Sharp hints that these much-requested features are on their way, even if they aren’t ready to be shown off or talked about yet. “We know leaderboards are important. We know the ability to spectate matches is important. We know larger tournaments are important. We know streaming is important.

“Paid tournaments and custom arenas will be coming online in the near future – paid tournaments will come first, followed by custom arenas. And when we’re done with those, we’ll start working on other features to add. Guild Wars 2 competitive PvP is taking its first steps, teams are starting to organize, and some key features are about to start showing up. But are we done working on it? Hell no. The way we see it, Guild Wars 2 sPvP may be shipped, but it’s far from finished.”

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Battlefield: Bad Company to become TV show, scripted by Alias writer

October 15th, 2012

Battlefield: Bad Company to become TV show, scripted by Alias writer

Deadline are reporting that Fox are going to develop an “action comedy” TV series based on Battlefield: Bad Company. Writing duties will fall to John Eisendrath, one of the pens behind Alias and, among other things, Beverly Hills 90210. Also in the mix are Sony TV and Adam Sandler’s production company, Happy Madison.

DICE’s Patrick Bach and EA’s Patrick O’Brien will also be sticking their oars in, but, to hear Deadline describe it, the plot will depart from the games’, with the four loveable rogues choosing to escape military life and head into the private sector, only to be betrayed and hunted by their nefarious commanding officer.

It’s sort of an odd IP to pick up given that a) they seem to want to make The A-Team instead, b) most people play Battlefield for the multiplayer and b) the enjoyably silly but perfunctory singleplayer plots were a rather brazen amalgam of film and TV influences in the first place: everything from Three Kings and Aliens to Larry the Cable Guy.

As to whether this heralds the return of the troublesome foursome to gaming, DICE have been evasive. The question was put to Lars Gustavsson during a recent live chat to celebrate Battlefield’s anniversary.

“Last we heard from the misfits in Bad Company was a postcard in June from Bahamas where Haggard and the group had opened up a beach bar,” he said, before adding, “will keep you posted… ;)

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New study suggests link between teenage aggression and violent games

October 15th, 2012

New study suggests link between teenage aggression and violent games

Researchers at Canada’s Brock University claim to have discovered a link between violent games and aggression in teenagers, stating that long-term players of such games are more likely to engage in hostile behaviour. As reported by The Telegraph, the psychological study took place across four years, asking 1,492 teenagers from eight different schools to report their aggressive behaviour – such as punching and kicking each other – over the entire time. Their answers were then correlated with data of how often they played violent video games, with the results suggesting a link between the two.

The study, published in the Developmental Psychology journal, claims that “Sustained violent video game play was significantly related to steeper increases in adolescents’ trajectory of aggressive behavior over time”, and also that non-violent video games conversely “did not predict higher levels of aggressive behavior over time”. According to The Telegraph, the trend continued after other factors were taken into consideration, such as “gender, parental divorce and marijuana use”.

Now, those survey-based results could mean two things. That sustained periods of playing violent games might make teenagers more aggressive – or that teenagers with aggression problems might be playing more violent games. It’s funny how people tend to leap towards the first explanation. In either case, they’re playing games that presumably carry age restrictions – ‘violent games’ is a fairly broad term after all – so we’re essentially already regulating for this sort of thing. Putting this study aside, do you reckon that mainstream games are becoming too violent? Bearing in mind that the theme of E3 2012 was ‘grisly neck-stabbings’.

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Dishonored writer thinks his silent protagonist is better than Half-Life’s silent protagonist

October 15th, 2012

Dishonored writer thinks his silent protagonist is better than Half-Life’s silent protagonist

Ninjas taught us silence is the language of assassins, but a half-crazed, blood-soaked theoretical physicist demonstrated silence works just as well for everyone else. Although Dishonored’s Corvo Attano and Half-Life’s Gordon Freeman share a common penchant for reticence, Arkane writer Austin Grossman told Kotaku he’s rooting for his creation more than Valve’s beloved hero. Why? “I find Gordon creepy as hell,” he stated.

“I hate what Valve does with the silent protagonist,” Grossman explained. “I find it incredibly awkward and really creepy. The difference between Dishonored and how it works in Half-Life 2 is that it’s a lot more personal. I think you get that involvement because the character has personal relationships with people from the beginning. And it’s very clear that people have f***ed with you in a very personal way.”

Grossman contrasted the differences between Gordon’s silence as a coping mechanic against the events transpiring in City 17 and beyond with Corvo’s intentional muteness as an emphasis for the message conveyed through his actions. Grossman says Gordon’s encounters involve people “talking at him, about him, and sometimes even for him. He just happens to be in the middle of this whole thing.”

“I’m biased, of course, but I think Dishonored grips you much more viscerally and emotionally,” he continued. “And that’s on purpose. Corvo doesn’t talk, and I think it works because everybody knows what Corvo would have to say, His actions form a sort of speech, something like, ‘If I could kill the people who screwed with me…and if that includes you, then I’m going to kill you right now.’”

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Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm – Blizzard talk balance issues and banelings

October 9th, 2012

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm – Blizzard talk balance issues and banelings

The StarCraft IIs, they are a-changing. After two years, Blizzard have finally got the competitive balance of their space-set RTS just right. But just as they’ve massaged the numbers into place, just as they’ve buffed and nerfed it in the right spots to make the world’s premier e-sport, they’ve decided to smash it all up.

Heart of the Swarm is the second in the StarCraft II trilogy, and it will drastically change a game that has raised the e-sports banner high over the past few years. A game that a cadre of elite players depend upon for their livelihood. It must be a scary time for the developers.

But designer David Kim isn’t feeling the fear. “While it’s pretty scary, we’re also confident that we’re ready to go ahead with it. We have the experience of tuning units in the past – not only in the beta – but through patches. We think we’re prepared in terms of the things we have to look for.” Blizzard have it easier than some when it comes to this kind of tuning. A vast, competitive userbase plays on Battle.net’s ladders every day, and professional players are quick to determine the weaknesses and strengths of new additions. “Right now we have a small playtest group internally of the best StarCraft players across all of Blizzard,” Kim says. “Some of the players are from the Q&A team, some players are from the development team.”

Read more…

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Need for Speed: Most Wanted PC comes with many DX11 frills, supports more players online

October 9th, 2012

Need for Speed: Most Wanted PC comes with many DX11 frills, supports more players online

The PC version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted will be prettier, faster and support more players online than the console editions according to Criterion’s Leanne Loombe in an interview with Games.on.net. “The move to DX11 from DX9 has given us around a 300% improvement in rendering performance,” she says. “This has enabled us to provide an improved image based lighting model over the console version, as well as allowing us to run with higher detail shadows and reflections.

“The increased power of DirectX 11 hardware has also allowed us to implement features such as real-time ambient occlusion, and light scattering algorithms which are absent in the console version.”

Most Wanted PC will support 12 players in a multiplayer game, as opposed to just eight on the consoles. The DirectX 11 support allows for more shiny additions like “SAO, light scattering, high dynamic range motion blur, high resolution textures, advanced specular lighting models, headlight shadow casting, enhanced VFX quality, and enhanced shadow quality levels.”

If you’re keen to run Most Wanted on max settings, you’ll need a current quad core CPU with an AMD Radeon 6000series or GeForce 500 series card in the GPU slot.

Most Wanted is set in the open city of Fairhaven, which will operate a bit like Paradise City in Burnout: Paradise City. You’ll be able to drive any car you can find in the world and engage in time trials and other challenges on almost every street. An upgraded Autolog system will publicly grade your performance against your friends’, initiating lifelong rivalries that can only be resolved in a bitter fight to the death, or with a quick drag race down Fairhaven’s longest road.

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Far Cry 3 system specs revealed

October 9th, 2012

Far Cry 3 system specs revealed

With Far Cry 3, Ubisoft appear to be delivering a positively psychedelic take on the modern shooter. But just what kind of rig will you need to do justice to the experience of setting fire to a Komodo dragon while under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms?

Ubisoft have confirmed a November 29 release for Far Cry 3 in Australia and Europe, while the US will have to wait until December 4.

Minimum Specs

- DirectX9c graphics card with 512MB Video RAM Dual core CPU 4GB Memory

Example minimum 1 (NVidia/Intel)

- NVidia GTX8800

- Intel Core2 Duo E6700

Example minimum 2 (AMD)

- AMD Radeon HD2900

- AMD Athlon64 X2 6000+

Recommended Specs

- DirectX11 graphics card with 1024MB Video RAM Quad core CPU 4GB Memory

Example recommended 1 (NVidia/Intel)

- NVidia GTX480

- Intel Core i3-530

Example recommended 2 (AMD)

- AMD Radeon HD5770

- AMD Phenom II X2 565

High Performance Specs

- Latest DirectX11 graphics card

- Latest quad core CPU

- 8GB Memory

Example high performance (NVidia/Intel)

- NVidia GTX680

- Intel Core i7-2600K

Example high performance (AMD)

- AMD Radeon HD7970

- AMD Bulldozer FX4150

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First GRID 2 gameplay trailers released

October 9th, 2012

First GRID 2 gameplay trailers released

The racing-fueled programmers at Codemasters have been pretty busy of late, it seems. The crew recently pinned a bow on their latest racing game, F1 2012, and has just shown off another highly anticipated sequel, GRID 2, at the Eurogamer Expo.

GRID 2 seems to incorporate a lot of what we like about F1 2012, including, we’re guessing, the physics modeling behind a new TrueFeel Handling System. We’ve got a bit of a wait before we can test this out for ourselves – the new game is due out in the summer of 2013 – but there will be many a promo trailer to watch between now and then, including this first set of two.

In the first video, a new Ford Mustang Boss 302 and a vintage Mach 1 dice for position on a redwood-lined California coastal road. In the second, the streets of Chicago are the venue, and a Chevrolet Camaro SS, Corvette Z06 and a Mustang are included amongst the motive combatants. Scroll down to check them out.

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Titan’s team is over 100 people

October 8th, 2012

Titan’s team is over 100 people

While many Blizzard fans are preoccupied at the moment by pudgy pandas punching everything in sight, an interview by Curse with Blizzard vice president of game design Rob Pardo reveals that the development of its mysterious Titan MMO project is in full swing with a team that now numbers in the triple digits.

“We are definitely in the middle of development at this point,” Pardo said. “The team is over 100 people now.” He also explained core development started small in teams of two or three hashing out concepts before growing over the course of four years. Blizzard’s silence on Titan’s formation affords very few details beyond its confirmation as a new IP and it being in playable form since last year.

For more of Pardo’s thoughts on Pandaria and Diablo 3, check out the rest of Curse’s video interview.

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Blizzard “looking at free to play as an option” for StarCraft 2 multiplayer

September 25th, 2012

Blizzard “looking at free to play as an option” for StarCraft 2 multiplayer

StarCraft 2 lead designer Dustin Browder has been hinting at a free to play future for StarCraft 2 multiplayer. Speaking on a panel at the Valencia eSports Congress, spotted by PCGamesn, Browder admitted that Blizzard are “looking at free to play as an option for the multiplayer,” but don’t know exactly how to make money from it.

“We don’t know how we would monetise it. While it might be good fun for me to play against someone with only half the units available to them, that’s not going to be an enjoyable experience for them,” he said.

StarCraft 2 is hardly short of players, but it’s a difficult game to watch if you haven’t put in a few rounds and gotten to know the units a bit. A free client would remove a barrier for those that fancy following the sport without becoming entangled in the tough world of online SC2 competition. Would free SC2 MP be a good idea? How should they charge for it?

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