Tag Archives | Gaming

Halo 4 Creative Director Quits, Citing Halo Fatigue

Interesting interview over at Kotaku, in which Ryan Payton, a creative director for Halo 4, explained why he’s leaving Microsoft’s 343 Industries to start his own studio.

The short version: Working on Halo was burning Payton out. “I don’t regret one day of it. But after a few years, there came a point where I wasn’t creatively excited about the project anymore,” he said.

Kotaku makes clear that Payton doesn’t think Halo 4 will be a bad game. And while he didn’t disclose specifics about the popular Xbox 360 shooter’s next sequel, I get the impression that Halo 4 will follow a familiar formula. “The Halo I wanted to build was fundamentally different and I don’t think I had built enough credibility to see such a crazy endeavor through,” he said.

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Adventure World: A Zynga Game With a Goal

At a glance, Adventure World looks most other Zynga games — colorful, cartoony, isometric, with lots of things to click on. But Adventure World has a rare quality among Zynga’s social games: you can beat it.

Zynga is best known for open-ended simulations. In Farmville, for instance, you cultivate an ever-expanding plot of land. In CityVille, you cultivate an ever-expanding metropolis. In Mafia Wars, you cultivate an ever-expanding criminal empire. Whereas these games provide a sandbox, Adventure World offers structure — and a break from Zynga’s usual theme of resource management.

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Don’t Call Walmart’s Xbox 360 Price Cut a “Rollback”

Walmart says its $50 price cut on the 4 GB Xbox 360 with Kinect bundle is temporary, not a permanent “rollback” as advertised. The sale price will be honored until September 5 or while supplies last.


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If PC Gaming Needs Saving, Razer’s Blade Isn’t the Savior

Earlier this week, a maker of computer gaming peripherals named Razer took out a big ad in the Wall Street Journal that claimed PC gaming is not dead. The ad promised to “bring a new age of openness and innovation to all gaming” with a new product unveiling on Friday.

So here we are. Razer’s hyped up product turned out to be the Razer Blade, a $2,799 gaming laptop with a 17-inch display, cutting-edge specs and an eye for design. Inside, there’s a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-2640M processor, Nvidia GeForce GT555M graphics and 8 GB of RAM. The outside is built from a solid slab of aluminum that Razer wants to shave thinner than a MacBook Pro. A customizable touch pad and set of LCD keys are on top, next to green backlit keyboard.

PCWorld’s Nate Ralph got a demo of the laptop and liked what he saw. So did Kotaku’s Joel Johnson, who wrote that the Razer Blade “might not just be the future of PC gaming—it may be the future of PCs.”

Maybe for him. But when I think of the future of PC gaming, I don’t see one that’s dominated by portable gaming rigs with price tags of $2,000 and up. I something completely different.

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Xbox 360 Price Cut: Microsoft Won’t, Walmart Will

When Sony announced a $50 price cut for the Playstation 3, I assumed Microsoft wouldn’t rush to do the same with the Xbox 360. The console is sitting on top of the sales charts in North America right now, so there’s no immediate need to drum up sales by slashing prices.

But that’s not stopping Walmart. A leaked flyer, provided to Joystiq, shows that the Xbox 360 4 GB bundle with Kinect will get a $50 price cut to $249 on August 28. The leaked flyer doesn’t show any price cuts for other Xbox 360 models or bundles.

Microsoft has distanced itself from the rollback. “Walmart made an independent decision to implement this temporary price cut,” the company told Joystiq. “We’ve made no announcements about price drops, and do not discuss our pricing plans in advance.”

I buy the claim that Walmart is acting alone. But while Microsoft calls it “temporary,” Walmart’s circular says nothing of the sort. And if the retailer can afford to roll back the price, I wonder how long it’ll be before other retailers — and Microsoft itself — do the same.

My gut still says that any price cuts on Microsoft’s end will be designed to sell more Kinect units, ahead of a big software push for the motion-sensing camera. New games like Dance Central 2 are on the way, and the Xbox 360 dashboard is getting a redesign with deeper Kinect support.


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Deus Ex PC Discs Get Free OnLive Version; GameStop Yanks ‘Em Out

Gamestop isn’t winning any fans today for its decision to remove a free streaming OnLive copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution from the boxed PC version of the game.

Publisher Square Enix had partnered with the streaming game service OnLive on the promotion. But because OnLive is a threat to Gamestop’s retail business, company management ordered employees to throw away the vouchers before selling the game. “GameStop’s policy is that we do not promote competitive services without a formal partnership,” the company said on its Facebook page. Hundreds of angry comments followed.

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More Shake-Ups Rumored for Nintendo 3DS

Something’s brewing at Nintendo headquarters. According to Gamasutra, the company is planning a news conference in Tokyo on September 13, with only one topic of discussion: the future of the Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo’s newest handheld device had a troubled launch, with slower sales than expected. That prompted Nintendo to drop the 3DS price from $250 to $170 earlier this month. In a letter to early adopters, Nintendo said it had to cut the price to boost sales, ensuring that publishers would support the new hardware.

Now, Nintendo is rumored to be planning even bigger changes. French site 01net reports that Nintendo may redesign the 3DS with a second analog stick and a reduced emphasis on glasses-free 3D. This model would launch under a new name in 2012, the site’s unnamed sources said.

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Videogame History Museum Needs Help From Gamers

One of my favorite parts of E3 this year was the Classic Gaming Expo, an exhibit packed with decades-old gaming systems and arcade cabinets, many of them playable. The group of collectors that put it together is still seeking a permanent home in the Silicon Valley, under the name Videogame History Museum, and needs about $5,000 more on its Kickstarter campaign to make it happen.


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Hey, What Happened to Video Game Company Rivalries?

Over the last few months, Electronic Arts and Activision have been fighting a war of words over their respective shooters, Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which are set for a showdown this holiday season.

A small sampling: EA CEO John Riccitiello said he wants Call of Duty to “rot from the core.” Activision’s publishing boss Eric Hirschberg responded by saying EA’s negativity was “bad for the industry.” Most recently, EA spokesman Jeff Brown fired back: “Welcome to the big leagues Eric — I know you’re new in the job but someone should have told you this is a competitive industry.”

The bad blood has been good publicity for both games, I think (although EA’s Battlefield 3 probably needs it more, hence the harsher attacks). But it makes me wonder, where have the good old game console rivalries gone?

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Cross-Game Voice Chat on the PS3? Never.

Five years after launching the Playstation 3, Sony has admitted that the system is not technically capable of cross-game voice chat.

Cross-game voice chat is the ability to speak with multiple players at the same time, regardless of what they’re doing on the console. On Xbox Live, it’s one of my favorite features, because allows you to coordinate a play session with a friend with ease or have a conversation while playing different games.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said memory restrictions preclude the PS3 from ever having cross-game voice chat. Games gobble up all of system’s available RAM, leaving none for voice chat at the OS level.

“Once a game gets RAM we never give it back,” Yoshida said. “It’s not possible to retrofit something like that after the fact.”

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