hacking towards release
We've endured two delays to get here, but Watch_Dogs is finally within release sights, and ahead of that event we go hands-on with the latest build. Read on for our full thoughts!
inquisitive minds
AusGamers managed to catch-up with BioWare's Cameron Lee, an Aussie expat who serves as a producer on Dragon Age: Inquisition. Check out our full interview!
oracle of ages
Batman: Arkham Knight is set to be Rocksteady's final in the Arkham series, so it's fitting that it's just so damn big. And Batmobiles. Nuff said. Click for more!
to the moon, athena
We caught up with 2K Australia and Randy Pitchford to discuss Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and why Australia is making an impact on the moon. Click for more!
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Friday, 25 April 2014
Post by Eorl @ 08:51am 25/04/14 | 5 Comments
With console fans having faced death multiple times now in From Software's Dark Souls sequel, PC players are now being given the chance to test their strength against the rather difficult RPG with the launch of Dark Souls 2.
Dark Souls I I immerses players in a bleak setting full of danger and adventure while allowing them to discover what lies beneath the anguish and pain that engulfs the world. With Dark Souls II, Tokyo based developer FromSoftware has taken steps to enrich players’ experiences through improved visuals, life-like animations and dynamic lighting, while preserving the game’s core tenants to provide challenging gameplay and deliver true emotional elation from each hard-fought victory.
The sequel brings some rather much needed changes to the PC version, including more advanced graphical options and native keyboard/mouse support. Compared to the original Dark Souls, the sequel also offers a smooth 60FPS for all those eager to get the best eye candy.

“FromSoftware really went the extra mile with Dark Souls 2 in order to make it the legitimate heir to Dark Souls, which was quite a challenge,” said Mathieu Piau, EMEA Marketing Director at Namco Bandai Games Europe. “No other game can quite compete with the DARK SOULS franchise when it comes to delivering a profound yet exhilarating gaming experience! As one of the most awaited games this year, Dark Souls 2 promises an immensely rewarding adventure for those prepared to Go Beyond Death.”

Dark Souls 2 is now available on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Those looking to gain the best performance can find popular modder Durante's downsampling tools to further enahnce your experience, plus a NeoGAF user has outlined how to get the PlayStation 4 controller working.

Thursday, 24 April 2014
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:28pm 24/04/14 | 5 Comments
It might seem like a "duh" headline or comment, but in the world of Triple-A development, this sort of transparency is very rare.

"The game wasn’t finished. We thought we could [release], we were working really hard and pushing and doing a lot of hours, then at some point we had to make bad decisions," reveals Watch_Dogs lead game designer Danny Belanger. "If [we] wanted to ship this thing we had to kind of cut corners, not finish something properly. And I mean there’s a lot of expectation. We didn’t want to ship something that wasn’t finished."

If you've read our recent hands-on preview, you'll know that the delays look to have been worth it. The full interview with Danny also covers off more on multiplayer and the connected world as well as the team aiming for a 50/50 split between the campaign and side-missions.

Click here for our full Watch_Dogs interview with Danny Belanger.
Post by Eorl @ 02:23pm 24/04/14 | 0 Comments
Ubisoft's upcoming RPG, Child of Light, utilises the rather beautiful UbiArt Framework engine seen in the latest Rayman games to deliver a gorgeous looking artistic title inspired by classics like Final Fantasy. To drive home the old-school sensibilities, Ubisoft is delivering a soundtrack filled with delicate, distinct melodies and rousing orchestral themes.

Canadian singer and pianist Cœur de Pirate is the brain behind Child of Light's soundtrack. In addition to partnering with Cirque Du Soleil to establish the game's visual style, Cœur de Pirate was integral in establishing the RPG's musical identity.
Meet Cœur de Pirate, who composed the music for Child of Light, as well as audio designer Huge Bastien as they discuss how the magical sounds of Lemuria came to life. Created by the talented team of Ubisoft Montreal using the UbiArt Framework, Child of Light is an RPG inspired by fairy tales.
The game will be available on April 30th for PC, Wii U, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360, but you can download the soundtrack via Bandcamp a day earlier on April 29th to get an early taste. It's also available for pre-order now.

Check out the video below for a deeper look into Cœur de Pirate's composing process, a taste of the music, and a broader look at Ubisoft's audio philosophy.

Post by Eorl @ 01:44pm 24/04/14 | 2 Comments
Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley has confirmed players will not be able to purchase performance enhancing items in the upcoming zombie-survival free-to-play MMO H1Z1.

In a post on the game's dedicated subreddit, Smedley revealed the team had come to several conclusions following its first monetization meeting regarding how Station Cash (the game's premium currency) will be applied. "We will NOT be selling Guns, Ammo, Food, Water... i.e. That's kind of the whole game and it would suck in our opinion if we did that," Smedley wrote. "Nor will we sell boosts that will impact [that point]."

The team will instead sell wearable items in addition to those that can be found and crafted in the game, which they feel will be a "good, fair revenue generator."

In keeping with the survival theme, Sony does plan to allow players to loot items from one another, including those purchased with premium currency. However, the looting player will only receive a copy of the item with limited durability, while the player that purchased the item will keep their original unbreakable version.

The president of SOE also outlined several new game details, including first and third-person perspectives with vehicles in third-person only. Smedley also commented on the rather common comparison to DayZ, stating that H1Z1 "is a survival in a Zombie Apocalypse game. So is Day Z. [Bohemia Interactive] have made a brilliant game (first I might add). They have a great vision for it and can count myself and most of the people on our team as fans and contributors."

Check out both the monetisation Reddit post and the Q&A post for a whole smorgasboard of info on the game, and hopefully we'll be seeing some more solid gameplay soon.
Post by Eorl @ 01:31pm 24/04/14 | 0 Comments
Star Wars: The Old Republic’s early access to the Galactic Strongholds expansion has been delayed, according to a letter from senior producer Bruce Maclean on the official website.

The expansion was set to add player housing to the game in the form of Strongholds, as well as Guild Flagships - huge flying bases where you can convene. According to Maclean, subscriber early access has been moved from June 24 to August 19 so the development team at Bioware can add more features such as a Tatooine Homestead stronghold, and more. He states that for GS to truly feel like an expansion, "it needs to include the full set of features including those originally coming later in the year."

BioWare has also moved the deadline date for subscribers who are looking to get early access rewards. It's now July 15th instead of May 11th, meaning that you'll need to sub up by the former date if you want the Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace with three additional rooms and the other promised goodies. After the August 19th subscriber early access period, preferred early access and the official launch will follow in September and October.
Post by Eorl @ 10:53am 24/04/14 | 11 Comments
With The Elder Scrolls Online now passing its third week of being officially available to the public, developer Zenimax Online has taken time out of their rather busy schedule to reveal some further details on the upcoming Craglorn content.

The new behind-the-scenes video takes a rather in-depth look specifically at 12-player Trials, which are the equivalent of raids but with a slight twist: you'll only be given a set amount of resurrections between your 12 players. With this constant reminder lingering over your party, you'll want to gather up the very best of your friends or guild to complete the rather challenging content. Of course, there is a silver lining to the difficulty: additional rewards will be granted to those who defeat the weekly challenge with one of the top times across the megaserver.

Those expecting to spend hours and hours going through the 12-player Trials will be glad to hear that this isn't the case, instead the expected completion time is around 90 minutes. Check out the video below for a further look into the content.

Alongside the Craglorn update, Zenimax Online boss Matt Firor has taken to the game's forums to outline the very first "State of the Game Address" to players, detailing just what exactly the team are working on. Of the bug fixes, tweaks and changes to the core content, Firor also notes the developer's ongoing war against black market activity in the game - a problem that now accounts for up to 85 per cent of customer service calls and emails.

"Please know that we are doing everything we can to combat the gold spammers and bots - especially ones that 'camp' dungeon bosses," Firor wrote. "I play the game every day; I see them too, and yes, they drive me crazy."

Developers have faced a "daily running battle" with gold spammers since launch, he added, "moving them from global chat, to in-game email, to creating bogus guilds and inviting players - and we continue to take measures to keep them away from players, even when it isn't always apparent that we are."

The post is rather long, so wander over to the forums for a full look at what players can expect from the future of Elder Scrolls Online, including hints towards the Craglorn update hitting the Public Test Server in the next week or so.

Post by Dan @ 10:06am 24/04/14 | 2 Comments
Slightly Mad Studios, the UK-based developer known for the Need for Speed Shift games has announced a November 2014 release window for Project Cars, its ambitious independently-funded racing game.
Create a driver, pick from a variety of motorsports, and shift into high gear to chase a number of Historic Goals and enter the Hall Of Fame. Then test your skills online either in competitive fully-loaded race weekends, leaderboard-based time challenges, or continually-updated community events.

Featuring world-class graphics and handling, a ground-breaking dynamic time of day & weather system, and deep tuning & pit stop functionality, Project CARS leaves the competition behind in the dust.
Along with the launch date -- which covers PS3, XB1, PC (Windows and SteamOS) and Wii U -- is a new trailer; check it out below.

Post by Dan @ 09:54am 24/04/14 | 3 Comments
The rumour mill is suggesting the imminent reveal of a new game in the long-running Price of Persia franchise from publisher Ubisoft, with French website Le Portail du Jeu Video claiming word from sources that it will be presented in 2D, building on the UbiArt engine used in the recent Rayman games and the upcoming Child of Light (thanks VG247).

The rumour appears to have been further corroborated by Ubisoft Reflections engineer Drew James, whom VGLeaks reports posted the image below on his Twitter feed. Suspiciously, the message was then deleted, and his account completely disabled.

If Ubi does have more Price of Persia in the works, we'll most likely be hearing more about it at the annual E3 expo in a couple of months.

Post by Eorl @ 09:54am 24/04/14 | 0 Comments
Sony Online Entertainment announced today that it has delayed its "All-Access Pass" subscription plan to April 29th. The company previously delayed its launch from April 6th to April 23rd, but this week it delayed it one more time. Why another delay? To ensure that the transfer to the "All Access Pass" subscription system is seamless, says SOE.

"In an effort to ensure that the transition to the new All Access membership plan is as seamless as possible, we are going to be taking a little more time to test," reads a statement on the official SOE forum.

"So, we will be pushing the launch date of All Access to Tuesday, April 29th. Because of the portfolio-wide nature of this plan, this may prevent us from doing any individual game updates in EverQuest, EverQuest II, PlanetSide 2, and DC Universe Online. These updates will resume normally after the All Access launch."

The All Access Pass was revealed as a blanket approach to the struggling concept of MMO subscriptions, where players can pay a flat fee of $14.99 to gain access to all of SOE's MMO titles. This means that Pass subscribers will get access to top-tier membership levels in SOE's major PC games including EverQuest, EverQuest II, DC Universe Online, PlanetSide 2, Vanguard: Saga Of Heroes, and others. SOE also announced plans to add Dragon's Prophet to this list in the near future, as well as upcoming titles EverQuest Next and Landmark.
Post by Eorl @ 09:21am 24/04/14 | 4 Comments
Ahead of its launch next month, Ubisoft has revealed a brand new eight minute gameplay video for their hacking title Watch Dogs, showing off just what you can expect in the multiplayer portion of the game.

The gameplay video takes a glimpse into three distinct and very exciting looking modes including Online Hacking Contracts, ctOS Mobile Companion App, and Competitive. Each of the three modes offers players the chance to invade their friends and foes, causing havoc as they complete contracts or the chance to utilise the mobile app to play overlord and spawn police chases as players try to escape.

Check it out in action below, and let us know your thoughts on the video in the comments. Watch Dogs will be available come May 28th for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Post by Steve Farrelly @ 09:07am 24/04/14 | 1 Comments
AusGamers was recently invited to get hands-on with an almost finished build of Watch_Dogs to prove those delays were worth it, and to have one final look at the game before it's released next month.

Naren Hooson took on the difficult task of hacking this newest build of the game for us, and despite not being able to do donuts in any of the cars, felt like the wait has been worth it. He discusses character progression, how the city feels alive, driving and evasion, multiplayer and the second-screen appearance and more.

Click here for our latest Watch_Dogs hands-on preview.
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Post by Eorl @ 04:40pm 23/04/14 | 5 Comments
Yes, you read that right, free. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad developer Tripwire Interactive has announced through their Steam community that the World War II realistic FPS will be free starting tomorrow on Steam, with 24 hours to claim the offer.

In order to gain access to the game all you'll need to do is open up Steam, hit that buy button and pay a whopping $0. Free games have never been easier. Following tomorrow's offer, Tripwire will also be putting their recent standalone title Rising Storm up for a free weekend, though this one is only free for the weekend.

If you can't wait until tomorrow, you can head over to the Steam page and grab it for $9.99, though free is always better.
Post by Eorl @ 03:36pm 23/04/14 | 0 Comments
Developer Bungie has unveiled a new website for their upcoming sci-fi online title Destiny, offering a large handful of new information and even gameplay footage plus some rather gorgeous looking WebM video clips to boot.

The site contains a nice summary of Destiny’s universe: the solar system was once bustling with life, forever changed by the arrival of the Traveler, a being that terraformed Mars and Venus allowing humans to colonise these planets in a time known as the golden age. However, as with any good story there is always a bad part to it, which was the Traveler's ancient enemy – a “powerful darkness”. The Traveler saved Humans, Exos and Awoken but now hanged above Earth, silent and immobile. Players must defend the city, defeat enemies, explore the ruins of the system, discover lost secrets – and “become legend”.

The new website also includes an overview for each of the four currently known planets - Earth, the Moon, Venus and Mars. Each of the locations includes a short description and a handful of screenshots that showcase the sci-fi world. A new Guardians section has also gone live, detailing each of the three classes available to players; Titan, Warlock and Hunter. New gameplay videos are also on offer, showing each class in action.

Destiny is coming to PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on September 9th. Check out the full website for more.
Post by Eorl @ 03:13pm 23/04/14 | 7 Comments
Minecraft developers Mojang have been slowly revealing new information on the next big update for Minecraft on PC, which will be majorly overhauling the terrain generation system. After dangling the digital carrot in front our faces, the team has finally revealed just what you can expect in terms of terrain generation in Update 1.8.

There are a total of 16 sliders which can be used to alter various aspects of Minecraft’s terrain generator, but Mojang has also implemented direct input for those wanting further tweaking. You also have complete control over things like the sea level and what structures you want to generate, including dungeons, fortress and even lava lakes.

“We’ve also supplied a set of seven presets that we think players will find interesting, including a world made of water up to the top of the map, and the return of floating islands,” said the developer. Check it out below.

Post by Eorl @ 02:41pm 23/04/14 | 0 Comments
A sequel to Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures will launch for Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U, Bandai Namco announced today.

Unlike the original Pac-Man but like its past predecessor, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 takes inspiration from the animated show of the same name. The game introduces a new storyline featuring characters Pac, Spiral and Cylindria in their quest to defend PacWorld from Lord Betrayus and his army. Players will also have the chance to explore the ocean floor and space, though sadly no 2D sprites or cherries are featured.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 will be available in Fall 2014. For a look at the game, watch the trailer below.

Post by Eorl @ 02:37pm 23/04/14 | 7 Comments
Sledgehammer Games' Call of Duty will be hitting consoles and PC sometime during this year, and to help start things off the developer has revealed a single screenshot showing off one of the in-game characters.

The image, posted by IGN, was revealed during a Game Developers Conference 2014 panel, Quest for Quality: Maximizing the Relationship Between Creative and Production, where Sledgehammer showed off the game's impressive character modelling techniques. While the image may only be just a portion of the character, it's being touted as showing just how next-gen the developer intends for their game to look.

Currently the unnamed project has yet to be formally announced, with Activision previously stating that this will be will be "next-gen first." Formats are at this time presumed to be PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One only, though we will probably see past-gen platform versions as well.

Post by Eorl @ 11:51am 23/04/14 | 0 Comments
Hearthstone developer Blizzard has revealed a new real-life initiative to encourage players of the collectible card game to meet in the real world (yes, outside) with Fireside Gathering events scheduled to begin on April 26th.

While your typical playstyle in Hearthstone is to gather around a virtual table and fight it out mono-a-mono, Fireside Gatherings invites players to assemble around real world tables to build decks, play tournaments and otherwise delve deep into the game. These events can range in size from 5-10 people in a small group to 100+ in a huge gathering, and require absolutely no minimum skill level. Those who do participate in any of the events will unlock a special card back titled “Fireside Friends”.

The official website lists all currently advertised gatherings, though it also offers you a quick guide on how to get your own Fireside Gathering out to the public. Sadly no Australian events are currently being held, but there's always a first.
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 11:35am 23/04/14 | 0 Comments
As promised, we have our full Dragon Age: Inquisition interview for you with Australia's own Cameron Lee, who serves as a producer on the game.

One of the major topics discussed beyond a lot of very geeky lore and narrative pieces, is the idea of hardcore invested Dragon Age players being able to carry over Saves from previous entries in the series, and that it is at this stage an unlikely outcome.

"Direct Save Imports... I just don't know," Lee says with a sigh. "I hope we get there, but right now I'm not too sure. There's so much work still to be done."

Dragon Age Keep will probably take its place, allowing players to look at hundreds of narrated choices to work out the exact path their previous character took through the games instead. You can sign up for the beta of Dragon Age Keep now, though apparently the current number of people is quite low.

The rest of the interview, as mentioned above, goes into a lot of lore and story behind the inquisition itself, as well as game-world politics and much, much more.

Click here for our full interview with BioWare's Cameron Lee.
Post by Eorl @ 10:41am 23/04/14 | 0 Comments
Riot Games, developer of the rather popular MOBA title League of Legends, has announced the newest champion to make its way to the selection screen: Braum, the Heart of the Freljord, who will take his role as support.

The announcement was made earlier this morning on the official site, which lists abilities, strategic overviews, and information about Braum's synergy with other champions, and some insight from the creator, RiotWrekz.
In lane, Braum functions most effectively as a reactionary or opportunistic support, constantly on the lookout for chances to apply Concussive Blows to the enemy duo. Accurate use of Winter’s Bite triggers the mark on targets who’ve wandered from their minion wave, while Braum can tag aggressive enemies with basic attacks before leaping back to the ranged safety of his marksman with Stand Behind Me. After applying Concussive Blows, Braum and his marksman have two solid options: either follow up hard and try to activate the stun, or zone the enemy and take up aggressive positioning. Concussive Blows is powerful enough to win almost any trade, while the threat of triggering the stun acts as a powerful deterrent, forcing the enemy marksmen away from valuable minion gold. Braum’s also a powerful asset during friendly ganks: by dashing to his jungler with Stand Behind Me, Braum’s able to get into the heart of the enemy duo. After they’ve been tagged with Concussive Blows, the jungler’s extra attacks accelerate the stun and help secure kills.
Braum's setlist involves a number of rather interesting support abilities, including his passive Concussive Blows that stuns enemies after a time. His other skills, like his ability to leap to a nearby ally and also raise his shield to negate damage should make a valuable support asset.

Braum is not yet live, though players eager to try him out can jump on the PBE server to test their mettle. Check out the full breakdown to see who he is best against and who he should avoid in a fight.
Post by Eorl @ 10:28am 23/04/14 | 0 Comments
BlizzCon, the two night gathering celebrating all things WarCraft, StarCraft and Diablo, will be held once again in Anaheim on November 7th and November 8th, Blizzard Entertainment announced today.

Tickets to BlizzCon will go on sale in two batches at $199 USD each, one on May 8th at 12PM AEST and the other on May 11th at 3AM AEST. In addition, a limited number of tickets to an exclusive pre-BlizzCon dinner to benefit Children’s Hospital of Orange County will go on sale May 15th at 12PM AEST, so set your alarm clocks and get that $750 USD ready.

For those who are unable to attend or just don't like crowds, Blizzard is also offering their usual "Virtual Ticket" service that provides a "comprehensive live coverage of the event via a multichannel Internet stream." In other words, you can stream BlizzCon from your home, though for a price. Additional details on the Virtual Ticket, including its price and programming information, will be announced later.

Blizzard also announced that this year it will resume hosting the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series. The top 16 players in the world will compete in a single elimination, best-of-five bracket, with the winner of a best-of-seven championship match taking home $100,000. More information on the eSports even can be found here, and the official BlizzCon site here.
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