to the moon, athena
AusGamers caught up with 2K Australia and Randy Pitchford to discuss the recently revealed Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and why Australia is making an impact on the moon. Click for more!
Welcome to Planet Nexus
We take a brief dip in the MMO pool with Carbine Studios' WildStar, and find out just what Planet Nexus has in store for us. Check it out in our preview for more!
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!
Trial By Dirt Bike
We take a look at the fourth title in the Trials series, and the first to hit next-gen platforms. Does it live up to the name? Find out in our review!
Thursday, 3 April 2014
Post by Dan @ 01:08pm 03/04/14 | 1 Comments
As its annual BUILD developers conference today Microsoft revealed Universal Windows Apps to streamline the process of creating applications that can run on the Windows desktop, tablet and phone platforms. A blog post discusses the tools and intentions in greater detail:
Windows Phone 8 brought the same core set of operating system components used by Windows 8 to the modern UI of Windows Phone. Today we’re taking an even bigger step with Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update by empowering developers to create universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime.

Since universal Windows apps run on the same Windows runtime, developers have a common way of building and architecting apps for phones, tablets and PCs; from how they handle suspend and resume and do background processing, to the way they manage in-app security.
Developers of universal Windows apps will be able to choose whether they want to charge per-app or per-device for apps across the various platforms.

Perhaps most interesting is that Microsoft has expressed plans to extend the universal windows app concept onto the Xbox One console, which would surely open to door to many more non-gaming applications on that device than are available today.
We’re enabling universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime today, and we know we have more work to do, including expanding the range of devices running universal Windows apps so developers can reach more customers in more places, from Xbox One and the Internet of Things scenarios, to millions more desktop Windows users. We also continue to strive to make the app development, submission, and management process faster and easier.
Even more details on the universal windows app functionality can be found in this second detailed blog post.
Post by Eorl @ 01:06pm 03/04/14 | 0 Comments
Guild Wars 2's upcoming April Feature Pack is just under a fortnight away, but looking at ArenaNet's most recent teaser, it looks like this content pack may be one of the more significant updates the game has seen since its release.

Since beginning the rolling updates on March 20th, the developers have revealed a number of upcoming changes to Traits, Skins, Crits, Slots, PvP as well as some other more fluff game systems. Today's latest post details a rather large milestone change for the game, the introduction of a "Megaserver System." This new dramatic change will dramatically alter how players populate various zones across Tyria, including dungeons and PvP. ArenaNet are hoping that by merging all servers together into one giant server, friends and guildmates will be more consistently placed together on the same busy map and boosting the more quieter ones.

Currently Guild Wars 2's server system is simple enough, with server world's being separated and any full zone pushing players into that server's "Overflow." Through the new megaserver, overflows will be abolished - instead each version of a zone will have equal standing, allowing it to be populated by all players from any home server.
"You will simply arrive in a map and be assigned to the version of that map that makes the most sense for you as selected by the megaserver system we’ve developed. This new system takes your party, guild, language, home world, and other factors into account to match you to a version of the map you’re entering. This will increase the odds that you’ll see the same people more often and play with people of similar interests."
Of course, the idea of one large server bringing together the entire region playerbase is a solid theory, questions still remain as to how this practice will work. Some of those have been answered in a short FAQ, though more specific ones - like how boss timers will work or the more obvious question on World vs World - will be answered in a separate post later in the week according to ArenaNet.

The new megaserver system won't be introduced in one sweeping change, the official website suggests. Instead, players will see the system rolling out across level 1-15 zones, main cities and the PvP lobby. That will all begin happening on April 15th, when the Feature Pack is released. You can find out more on all the new systems coming in the massive update over here, including a complete rundown of the megaserver functionings.
Post by Eorl @ 12:38pm 03/04/14 | 29 Comments
Australia's very own local Call of Duty team Trident T1 Dotters has found its way into winning fifth place and taking home a prize of $75,000 during the 2014 Call of Duty Championship this past weekend in Los Angeles.

The win has dubbed the team "Koala Duty" by the global eSports community, with Trident T1 Dotters having come out of nowhere to beat Faze - the top ranked team in their bracket of group play - before heading to the Championships. Further cementing Australia’s place in eSports, Trident were the only international team represented in the top six teams, with all other finalists from North America.

The local team surprised all at the championships by winning six matches total and losing only two matches to top ranked Teams EnvyUs and Optic Gaming who placed 2nd and 3rd respectively. The prize pool winning of $75,000 has marked the largest prize for any ANZ eSports team, and hopefully this means further eSports support for our local gaming scene.

You can check out more on the 2014 Call of Duty Championships including a recap of the weekend over on the official website.
Post by Eorl @ 12:04pm 03/04/14 | 0 Comments
While Nintendo's Wii U home console may be struggling to keep its head above the water, Nintendo's handheld business is still trucking along nicely with today's announcement of a new Pink 2DS to coincide with the Kirby: Triple Deluxe launch in May.

The pink and white handheld device will be launching alongside the Kirby title on May 17th for Australia, and presents itself in a rather eye-catching colourful design, complete with a white stripe across the side and back of the system. Accompanying the pink 2DS is a a new silver Nintendo 2DS Carrying Case, available for purchase separately on the same day.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe will be available on May 17th, and provides a platforming experience full of colourful landscapes and enemies big and small for Kirby to inhale, including certain foes which he can suck up and then copy their unique abilities.



Post by Eorl @ 11:34am 03/04/14 | 0 Comments
The honored El Presidente has declared that Tropico 5, the latest title in the long-running franchise from developer Haemimont Games AD, will be available globally on PC come May 23rd.
You, as El Presidente, will first take control of the infamous island of Tropico during early colonial times and then guide it through the centuries as the world changes and moves ever forward. You must tackle the changing needs of your people, as well as opposing governments and factions, and thus lay the foundations for your own dynasty. As you move through your years in office you can promote members of your extended family on the island to positions of power: such as ambassador, commanding general or even Supreme Ruler, to ensure your legacy thrives through the eras.
Alongside the wealth of new features that includes advanced trading mechanics, technology, scientific research tress and island exploration, Tropico 5 will also be adding four player cooperative and competitive multiplayer. Viva El Presidente as they say.

An Xbox 360 and Mac version is also in the works, though publisher Kalypso Media has only announced a tentative Winter timeframe. PlayStation 4 fans can expect Tropico 5 to appear on their system sometime during the later part of the year. A Steam Linux port is also being worked on, though Kalypso has said that will release "with the respective new hardware."

Post by Eorl @ 11:04am 03/04/14 | 0 Comments
Daylight, the procedurally generated first-person horror that relies on your cellphone as a means of light source, has been pushed back to April 29th developer Zombie Studios has announced today.

"Let's not mince words," read a note from the developer. "First news you need to know about Daylight is that we had to delay the release date by several weeks. Here's the thing: the way Daylight is developed is completely different because of its procedural generation. In a lot of ways it really helped the team by streamlining the environment creation, but it's taken extra time to make sure all the scare cues are properly implemented for maximum player effect."

To help ease the pain of waiting, Zombie Studios will be offering the game at a cheaper price of $9.99 to those on PlayStation 4 with PlayStation Plus, come the launch of the game. This discount will last for two weeks, and those pre-ordering on PC right now can also grab the game for the cheap price of $9.99.

Post by Eorl @ 10:17am 03/04/14 | 4 Comments
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and developer Monolith Productions has today announced that Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will be hitting shipping to consoles and PC come October 7th, complete with a pre-order bonus pack as well.

Fans eager to get the drop on Sauron will find that pre-ordering secures your "Dark Ranger" exclusive pack, complete with a Dark Ranger character skin that "embodies Talion's darker side." The pack also includes a "Test of Power" challenge mode that will face you against Sauron's captains, where defeating them will earn you powerful runes to gain a head start, and access to an exclusive leaderboard for the challenge mode.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor delivers a dynamic game environment where the player orchestrates their personal plan of vengeance as they bend Mordor to their will. The game begins on the night of Sauron’s return to Mordor, as his Black Captains brutally execute the Rangers of the Black Gate. Players become Talion, a ranger who loses his family and everything he holds dear, only to be returned from death by a mysterious Spirit of vengeance. As Talion’s personal vendetta unfolds, players uncover the mystery of the Spirit that compels him, discover the origin of the Rings of Power and confront the ultimate nemesis.
A story trailer was also revealed today, showing off the quite devastating effects that our main protagonist Talion has and a bit of a backstory as well. Check it out below.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will be available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Post by Steve Farrelly @ 09:03am 03/04/14 | 10 Comments
Well, this is a nice morning surprise. Blizzard has decided to spring news on the ANZ region that Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available for download on iPad.

"Hearthstone’s player base has already grown to more than 10 million accounts registered following the official Windows and Mac release, but we saw that a few people online were holding out for the iPad version,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment via press release. “Instead of calling those folks up individually, we figured we might as well let everyone know that the global iPad rollout for Hearthstone has begun, and pretty soon it’ll be available everywhere. The game is a natural fit for tablets—we encourage everyone to check it out on their couch, in their backyard, in a coffee shop... or anywhere else they take their iPads.”

There's no current word on how far away the Android and Windows tablet versions are, or the mobile release, but with the iPad version out in the wild, we're going to venture a guess as soon.

We have a review of the PC version of the game already up, but we'll take a look at the iPad version too, so keep an eye out for a platform update on the game.

Click here to directly link to the game in iTunes.
Post by Dan @ 08:44am 03/04/14 | 4 Comments
Online retail giant Amazon has unveiled it's long-rumoured set top box/home console, with the Fire TV device hitting its store for North American customers today for $99. No word yet on potential Australian available, but Amazon's previous hardware releases have generally arrived here several months after their US launch.

Defying some of the recent rumours, the Fire TV takes the form of a slimline box similar to Apple TV, rather than the diminutive HDMI dongle style of other competitors like the Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. There's also no sign of the rumoured cloud streaming games on offer.
Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box that connects your HDTV to a world of online entertainment. With a huge selection of TV episodes and movies, voice search that actually works, plus exclusive features like ASAP and Amazon FreeTime, it’s the easiest way to enjoy Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, music, photos, games, and more.
Hardware wise, the Amazon Fire TV looks to be packing quite a bit of grunt for its size. It's Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064 SOC platform contains a Qualcomm Krait 300 1.7 Ghz quad core CPU and dedicated Qualcomm Adreno 320 GPU as well as 2GB of 533MHZ LPDDR2 RAM, which dwarfs the performance capabilities of the likes of Chromecast and Apple TV. The Bluetooth remote control includes a microphone for voice-search functionality.

The device's primary function is as a streaming music and video player, but videogaming is also a central feature. Fire TV owners have the option of playing games with either the media remote, linking up an on-screen controller in a custom-built Smartphone app, or purchasing a more traditional Xbox-like game controller separately for US$39.99.

While Amazon seemed to avoid mention of it in its announcement, much like the Kindle Fire tablet range, the Fire TV appears to be built on a custom fork of the Android platform, and the apps and games shown so far are all what you might expect on a mobile platform rather than a specialised games console or PC.

According to Amazon, thousands of games will be available from the Fire TV's app store by May, with an average price around $1.85 and a great many free-to-play. The vast majority of these are expected to be ports of Android mobile games, already counting the likes of Minecraft Pocket Edition, Asphalt 8 and Telltale's The Walking Dead among them, but Amazon also appears to be heavily investing in its own games content for the device, announcing a tower defence title Sev Zero and showing a demo reel of other works in progress.

Amazon Games Studios recently acquired Killer Instinct developer Double Helix Games, and notable games industry figures Clint Hocking (Far Cry 2 Creative Director), and Kim Swift (Portal Co-Creator) have since revealed their new roles at the company





Wednesday, 2 April 2014
Post by Eorl @ 05:48pm 02/04/14 | 7 Comments
Caffeine is a new PC horror title from local Adelaide developer Dylan Brown that takes place on an interstellar caffeine mining space station, and is inspired by the likes of F.E.A.R and Condemned. The game is utilising Epic's latest Unreal Engine 4 and looks every bit as terrifying as it sounds.
The Year is 2097, the Earth is over-populated and is lacking resources.

The most consumed drug is caffeine and companies have countless outposts among the stars mining the resources required to quench the endless thirst of Earth's population.
One of the big focuses for Caffeine is the fact that the game won't have any weapons, instead taking a leaf from Amnesia or Dear Esther by putting you on a rather horrifying interactive ride. Brown describes Caffeine as "primarily be a Sci-Fi Horror game, but at the same time employ[ing] a strong focus on both adventure and narrative and will include some smart puzzle game play."

Brown has launched his game onto IndieGoGo, looking for $80,000 to bring Caffeine to life, though has also pushed the game over to Steam Greenlight. So far the project has raised just under $2,000 with 43 days left to go so pull out those wallets if you feel like giving yourself a scare. You can check out the teaser trailer below, and a demo is also available over here.

Currently Caffeine is looking to support Windows on launch as a 100% DRM-free version, though Brown has mentioned that Mac and Linux may see a release depending on funding. A PlayStation 4 version may also see the light of day depending on funding as well.

Post by Eorl @ 04:09pm 02/04/14 | 1 Comments
Carbine Studios' much anticipated sci-fi MMO is nearly upon us, and to help you, the potential player, understand what WildStar is all about we decided to spill our virtual guts on just what makes this game tick.

In the past month of closed beta test weekends, both Warren "Khel" Carroll and myself have had the chance to check out a number of features present on the planet Nexus, including the very curious action-orientated combat. Sadly we won't be touching on that subject just yet, but to begin with we have a large catalog of impressions waiting to be read.

As both MMO enthusiasts, we understand that these types of games just can't be previewed or reviewed in one sitting compared to your typical single-player RPG. We plan on getting into further detail soon enough on dungeons, PvP and specifically the combat, but for now move those eyeballs over to our preview of the world of WildStar.
Post by Dan @ 03:18pm 02/04/14 | 0 Comments
Following yesterday's trailer that offered an overview of the full contents of Call of Duty: Ghosts' upcoming Devastation DLC, including the peculiar Predator cross promotion, Activision has released another that focuses just on "Mayday" the new addition and second episode of the game's cooperative Extinction mode.
Following the events of Nightfall, the Quick Reaction Force team has been sent in to investigate a high-tech ghost ship adrift in the South Pacific. They will find new weapons and items to aid their fight against the alien horde. But new terrors are also abound, such as the insidious wall-crawling "Seeder" and the skyscraper-sized "Kraken." The epic four-part Extinction series returns with the all-new Episode 2: Mayday!
Watch the video below for some hot kraken action.

Devastation launches on April 3rd for Xbox One and Xbox 360, as always with "other platforms to follow".

Post by Eorl @ 02:28pm 02/04/14 | 2 Comments
Cliffhanger Productions has launched its turn-based tactical multiplayer RPG Shadowrun Online via Steam Early Access, giving wannabe deckers and samurai a preliminary look at their dystopian cyberpunk future.

After the result of a rather successful Kickstarter campaign, Shadowrun Online takes place 20 years after the events of last year's Shadowrun Returns. The game builds on the previous storyline with new settings, characters and missions available to players. The developers intend to offer a co-op campaign by the final versions release, with an in-depth PvP component to boot alongside an array of item and character customisation options.

As usual with the Steam Early Access program, Cliffhanger Productions notes that the current version is rather bare on the features planned for release. This is the most basic early access version - it contains four missions and a 1 vs 1 player PvP, but no character creation, progression or anything else yet - this will all come in time," the developer warns. "We want to make sure the basic combat gameplay works well before we pile more features on it."

Shadowrun Online is available at a price tag of $29.99, however it is available at $20.99 thanks to a 30% discount for the first week of sale.

Post by Eorl @ 12:48pm 02/04/14 | 3 Comments
Valve has officially announced the details for their fourth annual Dota 2 tournament, The International, which will hitting the KeyArena in Seattle starting July 18th.

Tickets for the event will go on sale starting Saturday, April 5th at 8:00 AM AEST for those eager to head over seas. Four-day tickets start at $99USD, with floor seating at $199 and $499 for the VIP ticket. Six days of playoffs will begin on July 8th, which VIP ticket holders can also attend, and those spending big will also get access to an exclusive meet and greet and Valve's after party.

This year there will be 11 teams invited directly as well as four Regional Qualifiers taking place May 12th through the 25th. The winner of each Qualifier will receive an invitation, with the four runner-ups competing in Seattle for the final spot. A list of times can be found on the official website.

A Compendium is expected to make a return, with Valve planning to announce details shortly for this year's tournament. Last year the company introduced the digital interactive programme to fans of the MOBA, which also boosted the total prize pool to a whopping $2.8 million. Swedish pro team Alliance were the winners of last year's event, grabbing a $1.4 million prize after beating Na'Vi in the best-of-five final.

Post by Eorl @ 11:39am 02/04/14 | 0 Comments
A new update is currently in the works for inFamous: Second Son that will add a small handful of additions and bug fixes based on player feedback, according to the latest PlayStation Blog post by Sucker Punch co-founder and producer Brian Fleming.

One of the biggest features to come in the path will allow players to change the time of day after beating the game for the first time. Currently the day is set to a afternoon period, but with the new update you'll be able to change it to any time including turning on weather. In addition players will also be able to turn the HUD on or off, something Fleming notes will be rather useful for those hitting that share button.

The final major feature for the patch includes an option to cap the game at 30 frame per second. "Internally we prefer the unlocked frame rate, but we recognize that some players find it distressing," Fleming wrote. "So we'll provide a way to ensure the game is not bumping up over 30FPS, if that's how you prefer to play."

According to the post, we can expect the patch to be available at its earliest in two weeks time, though Fleming promises a further update as soon as the patch is ready to go. Until that time, you can check out AusGamers' review of inFamous: Second Son for our thoughts on the PlayStation 4 exclusive.
Post by natslovR @ 11:13am 02/04/14 | 2 Comments
Triumph Studios, developer behind the successful Overlord and Age of Wonders series, has released the third installment in the Age of Wonders series through both Steam and Good Old Games. As usual, GoG offers their version completely DRM-free.
The third Age of Wonders title revives the classic fantasy strategy gameplay of the original, where kings, queens, and dark lords battle for the spoils of an ancient paradise. This iteration adds RPG-inspired classes and specialization, letting rulers craft empires of their own design and craft their own unique strategies and play styles.
The studio has two versions available for purchase, either the standard edition for $39.99 or the deluxe edition for $49.99 which includes the soundtrack and a bonus standalone Dragon’s Throne scenario.

"After 39 months of hard work, we're finally letting our baby out into the world. We're excited to let people finally return to the game they loved so much," said Lennart Sas, Development Director at Triumph Studios. "The new classes and specializations let players choose to play the way THEY want, rather than being hemmed in by the typical fantasy restrictions."

Post by Dan @ 11:10am 02/04/14 | 0 Comments
Microsoft was widely criticised for giving too much air time to a raft of TV watching features at the expense of games when it first revealed the Xbox One console last year, which was seen as an even bigger misstep when it was learnt that most of those features would only be functional in the United States upon the console's launch.

It's now looking like that expanded TV functionality will be making its way to other parts of the world soon, with a new Xbox Wire blog post announcing that the Xbox One's OneGuide, universal remote features, and the extended suite of Kinect voice commands that goes with them are coming to Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K --starting with an invitational preview program for "select Xbox Live members" before being made publicly available.
Those select Xbox Live members will see:
  • An enhanced TV watching experience (that’s already available in the U.S.), which sees TV listings added to OneGuide, alongside Favorites and App Channels. This will work for people in Europe and Canada who have their TV connected to Xbox One via HDMI-in.
  • More control over Xbox One, their TV, and set-top box, including setting new recordings and watching recorded content from their DVR, all from a tablet or smart phone. Xbox SmartGlass also adds a cool new feature to show the most recently-watched channels.
  • New Kinect voice commands in Europe and Canada (already available in the U.S.) which let you control your set-top box and other AV equipment.
A video presentation with Xbox's Larry Hryb and Ben Smith talks about the features in more depth, but unfortunately neither the video or the blog bear any mention of Australia, so it looks like we'll have to continue to wait down here.

Post by Eorl @ 10:55am 02/04/14 | 0 Comments
While Techland may be working on the console and PC focused first-person slasher Hellraid, developer Shortbreak Studios has announced a new iOS adaptation that will take place within the same grim dark world.

Titled Hellraid: The Escape, the game will feature a separate experience from Hellraid. After a sorcerer obsessed with the dark arts imprisons your soul within a magical fortress, players must figure out who they are and how to escape. In addition to exploring and battling demons, players will solve "challenging puzzles - each one a fresh and unique experience." The game will also include cloud saves, achievements and free updates with no in-app purchases or pay-to-win elements.

Hellraid: The Escape will be exclusive to iOS devices and launches May 15th for $2.99. Check out the trailer for a glimpse at the action.

Post by Dan @ 10:46am 02/04/14 | 8 Comments
Expanding on the previous teaser trailer, a lengthier promotional video for Episode 3 of Telltale Games' upcoming The Wolf Among Us adventure game has been released on the official Xbox youtube channel.
After discovering damning evidence at a bloody crime scene, Bigby is just steps behind the prime suspect of a horrific murder, but he's not the only one; other forces in Fabletown will stop at nothing to protect their interests. Every decision matters and time is ticking in this thrilling third episode of The Wolf Among Us.
Oddly, the clip is referred to as a 'launch trailer', but no release date information has yet been forthcoming for any of the game's platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Check it out below, (or avoid if you're spoiler sensitive).

Post by Eorl @ 10:38am 02/04/14 | 0 Comments
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has today announced that their HD port of the handheld title Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is now available on consoles and PC.

Developed by Armature Studio, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate - Deluxe Edition will offer a more enhanced version of the core pillars seen in the previously released handheld version of the game, complete with high-definition visuals, an all-new map system, new enemy encounters, difficulty levels, and Batsuits. The Deluxe Edition will also include 5.1 surround sound support if you feel like hearing Batman all around you.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is set three months after Origins, where Batman is summoned to restore peace and order within the walls of Blackgate Prison. Players will explore the depths of the island penitentiary as Batman investigates and realizes that there is more to the henchman uprising than initially meets the eye.
The redefined version is available now on Steam for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the eShop for Wii U. A physical Wii U edition will be available come April. Warner Bros. are also offering an exclusive Zero Year Batsuit skin to those who register for a Warner Bros. ID (WBID) account.
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