Monthly Archives: January 2015

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Capcom Producer Talks Street Fighter V Charlie Nash and Roster

Street Fighter V Producer Yoshinori Ono has offered some insight into the character roster building process for the upcoming Capcom fighting game in an interview at the Taipei Game Show 2015.

Ono says community input is being considered regarding the roster and potential returning characters, according to a translation of Famitsu provided to Shoryuken. However, he expressed a desire to keep the Street Fighter V roster smaller in an effort to provide an easier point of entry for new players, as well as to keep development production costs down.

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Game of Thrones: Book 6 Not Coming Out This Year

If you were hoping to read The Winds of Winter, the sixth volume in Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice, this year then you can stop hoping now. Martin's publisher HarperCollins has announced there are no plans to publish the highly anticipated novel in 2015.

To help soothe the pain, HarperCollins will publish A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms -- an illustrated collection of the official prequel novellas The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight -- in October.

“I have no information on likely delivery,” HarperCollins' Jane Johnson told The Guardian. “These are increasingly complex books and require immense amounts of concentration to write. Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers.”

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Rose Byrne Will Return for X-Men: Apocalypse

Producer-screenwriter Simon Kinberg says actress Rose Byrne will reprise her X-Men: First Class role as Moira MacTaggert in the forthcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.

Byrne's CIA agent character sat out X-Men: Days of Future Past, meaning it will be roughly twenty years since Moira last encountered the X-Men when she appears in the 1980s-set Apocalypse.

“She’s a significant character in the movie,” Kinberg told Entertainment Weekly. “We ended First Class with Charles

having wiped portions of her memory of her experience with the X-Men. They are, essentially, strangers to her when she meets them.”

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Metal Gear Rising Sequel Teased for PS4

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance might be getting a sequel if a trailer for PlayStation 4 games shown at the 2015 Taipei Game Show is any indication.

A NeoGAF user spotted the brief image of a number two with a design reminiscent of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s logo. The image appears briefly in an archived Twitch live stream of the show and is sandwiched between The Order: 1886 and Driveclub at the 2:46:40 mark.


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How World of Warcraft Got its Groove Back

World of Warcraft’s a curious creature. In the 10 years it’s been around, Blizzard’s MMO has been a genre-defining prodigy, an out-of-touch relic, and everything in between. From Leeroy Jenkins to the birth of the word “pwn”, WoW even managed to transcend video gaming and enter the world of popular culture proper. The last few years, however, have seen a slow but steady decline in subscriber numbers, with a lot of former players inexplicably keen to see the game’s demise. The release of Warlords of Draenor seems to have reversed everything, with former players returning at an impressive rate and subscriptions rising above the 10 million mark for the first time since the September 2012 launch of Mists of Pandaria.

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Dying Light Review

Oh, Dying Light, how I love you. I love the way you let me leap across rooftops and climb tall towers like an acrobat with endless supplies of energy. I love how I can dropkick a zombie and watch its flailing body knock over others like a fleshy bowling ball. I love looking over my shoulder as I run through the darkness, only to see a crowd of undead sprinting towards me, growling hideously and baring their ghastly teeth.

But oh, Dying Light, how you irritate me. I hate you for the gunners that ambushed me as I swam underwater, because there was no way to know how to react until I emerged and discovered that I wasn't meant to peek my head out--not yet. I hate you for that time you filled the screen with so much haze and bloom during a boss fight that I couldn't see properly. I hate that sequence when you made me leap from one pole to another, because you made it hard to get a good look at my surroundings, and your button prompts are hardly generous. And I hate these moments most because your systems are strong enough to let the open-world gameplay do the heavy lifting. The harder you try to direct the action, the weaker you become.

Fight or flee? It's a decision as old as humanity itself.

If you count yourself among the Dead Island fandom, your expectations are already set. You understand developer Techland's inconsistencies, and you are prepared to disregard the chaff so that you may reap the grain. Dying Light spawns from the same pile of mutated freaks as Dead Island, but it establishes its separate identity early on. The first difference to become clear is in tone: where Dead Island's story was difficult to take seriously, Dying Light sets the stage for a dark drama with a city overrun with infected victims, and a desperate populace anxious for hospice and aid. There are light touches here and there: you stumble upon The Bites Motel, for instance, and magazine covers and other details offer plenty of sight gags. But you are meant to be fearful and cautious, and you are meant to empathize with the survivors working so hard just to stay alive, let alone thrive.

As a covert operative sent to the city of Harran to recover a secret file, you find yourself in over your head, playing triple agent as you run errands for the city's two primary factions while radioing information to your agency's head honcho. Death is always in the air, not just because the infected have overrun the city's two sizable explorable areas, but because the survivors are so weary, so close to defeat. Dying Light lumbers through one cliche after another, but it's perfectly palatable: expressive faces and decent voice acting make the story beats and cutscenes worth paying attention to, even when the specifics--the antihero with a heart of gold, the doctor close to discovering a cure, the power-hungry villain--fall solidly within been-there, done-that territory.

In the dark--but never alone.

Dying Light also sets itself apart with its parkour system, which sees you running across the city from a first-person perspective. It takes a short while to get used to climbing onto ledges, which requires you to be looking at them in the proper way. But then it's off to the races, and you're running across rooftops and sneering at the zombies below, most of which can't handle the climb. Rushing through the open world this way is terrific, due to solid (if not quite excellent) controls and well-constructed climbing and leaping paths, particularly in the game's second half, which takes place in the city's vertically-minded old town. Even better, the parkour energizes moments of great tension. Far Cry comparisons are easy, given how you unlock a few of the game's safe houses by climbing tall towers. But the climbing requires more finesse and situational awareness than it does in Far Cry 4, and some of the towers are outrageously tall, making the entire endeavor an anxious exercise in precision.

And tension is yet another aspect of Dying Light that sets it apart from its zombie-game peers. When night falls, particularly dangerous and fast zombies roam the city, and the entire timbre changes. It's best to circumvent the vision cones of those baddies and avoid direct confrontation, but you're occasionally mobbed in spite of your careful movement. These undead are more persistent than the Liberty City police department, so the best option is to run, run, run until you lose them. You can hold a button to look behind you and see how close they are, and doing so can be startling when you see the incoming horde. It's been some time since a zombie game legitimately scared me, but that look-behind-you move reveals some creepy sights. During the day, you scamper around and, occasionally, confront your infected fears. Once the sun has set, you slink and sprint, trying not to catch the deadly eyes of nearby volatiles.

Burn, beautiful zombies, burn.

Throw in a three-pronged upgrade system that makes you stronger and more agile as the game progresses, and you have the foundation of a great game. Alas, Dying Light flounders too often for it to achieve greatness, though it's poised to develop the same cult following that so many Techland games do. This is a surprisingly long game stuffed with, well, stuff, yet your role for too many hours is to play errand boy--a role so demeaning that even lead character Kyle Crane remarks upon it. Go flip a switch. Go collect crayons, or mushrooms, or coffee. As the first act draws to a close, Dying Light has taken a turn for the worse: each time the game grants you structure, it struggles, to the point where you might wish the gofer quests would return, because the ones that have taken their place are either frustrating slogs, or simply bad ideas.

The slog arises because these simple tasks require you to cover a lot of real estate. As fun as it is to move through Harran, the parkour doesn't carry the game alone. The other problem with Dying Light's first half, as dumb as it may sound, is the zombie crowd itself, which is not powerful enough to provide a huge challenge, but is too powerful to wholly ignore. The undead become annoyances--children that wave their arms around and demand attention while the game asks you to once again take to the streets so you can pull a lever.

Firearms are powerful, but it's best to use them against human foes.

The bad arrives when Dying Light embraces ideas that have an air of cleverness, but have you crying out "what were you thinking?" as implemented. There is the time you quaff a potion intended to temporarily disguise you from the undead, but it reverses your movement controls. And so death might very well ensue depending on when you drink and how quickly you adjust to the surprise. There is the time you descend on a zip line and let the game drop you at the very end of it, only to take a good amount of fall damage. There's a garbage pile a few feet before the end that you can leap into, but the limited field of view when ziplining, and the general visual bleariness, mean you probably won't know it's there until you've lost half of your health bar, and you're cursing Techland for not noticing how these elements don't quite work together--or worse, for not caring.

These are just a few examples of the frustrations that set in. Once the second act arrives and you enter old town, however, there's a moment of revelation when you gaze upon the district and take in its beauty. The slog has been set aside, and excitement for new navigation blossoms. Depending on how you spend the skill points you earn, you gain access to a grappling hook that provides so much stimulation that you wish you'd gained access to it even earlier. Then again, Dying Light gets occasionally lost in "ideas" even in the second half--shooting segments that lack tightness, confrontations with multiple kinds of big baddies that have you flying backwards and getting poisoned simultaneously, and so forth. You've got the tools to succeed, at least, even when the fun meter drops: upgradable weapons starting with knives and baseball bats and working up to machetes and ice picks, along with throwables like grenades and molotov cocktails. Those weapons degrade quickly, but there are more of them scattered around than you will ever need.

When night falls, particularly dangerous and fast zombies roam the city, and the entire timbre changes.

Dying Light succeeds when it remains confident in its systems. The combat isn't as fulfilling as it is in Dead Island--you won't be breaking any arms--but out in that wild world, you aren't meant to wade into the horde anyhow. What drives the action is the promise of discovery and self-improvement. There are locks to pick and supplies to nab before the opposing faction gets to them. The balconies harbor new people to meet, who share their stories if you stick around long enough to hear them. When a zombie or six draw near, you swipe, kick, and bash until the blood is flying and the grunts are silenced, and you can return to your pillaging. Dying Light most often approaches greatness when it allows you to improvise your own tune instead of clumsily trying to conduct the entire orchestra.

That a game of such wild fluctuations can still give rise to so much fun speaks well of its high points. Those peaks rise even higher when other players are involved, and you have a few friends (up to three) join you, distracting the speedy virals while you take care of a ground-pounding beast swinging his giant hammer around. Competitive zombie invasions are liable to have you tensing your muscles even further invasions when they turn the game into a nighttime arena. This is Be the Zombie mode, and while using your tentacle to grapple your way around as a zombie is enjoyable, it is the tension you feel as a hunted human that makes these moments stand out. You can tweak your setting to allow or disallow these sudden multiplayer matches, and there's no shame in wanting to explore without distraction. But if Dying Light's nighttime pressures appeal to you, allowing zombie attacks further extends that drama.

I am rooting for Dying Light's success, even as I shake my head at its avoidable foibles. I understand it, I get it, and so I find pleasure in it even as it disappoints me, even when I land between a fence and a rocky cliff and get stuck there, even when I don't grab a ledge or pole after a jump for reasons that I can't quite understand. My dearest Dying Light, I am so grateful for your specialness, for it shines through even when I am prepared to damn you to hell.

Game of Thrones: Season 5 Photo Gallery

Not only have HBO released the trailer for Game of Thrones: Season 5, but we have 18 new photos for you from the new season as well. In these photos, you'll see returning favorites like Tyrion and Arya, plus new characters like Doran Martell and the High Sparrow.

Check out all the new Game of Thrones images in the gallery below.

Game of Thrones: Season 5 Photo Gallery

Game of Thrones: Season 5 premieres Sunday, April 12th on HBO.

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Opinion: Hype Isn’t Always a Bad Thing – Hype is Hope

Hype's gotten a bad rap.

True, things can definitely get out of control when frothy-mouthed marketers promise life-changing miracles to get all of us to take notice of a game nearing release. We all know the dangers of over-hype – and yes, we’re all a little guilty of sometimes getting a little too caught up in the excitement. To be perfectly clear, I do not mean to defend flagrantly false or misleading advertising, and I certainly do not recommend that you pre-order games on blind faith. After all, if people don’t wait for reviews before buying games, I’m out of a job as IGN’s reviews editor. You should absolutely always wait until reviews are in and gameplay footage is available before throwing money at a game, no matter what’s been said ahead of launch.

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Black Sails: What’s Next for Eleanor & Max

Black Sails returned this past week, for another big season of pirate-era intrigue and I recently sat down with two of the stars of the show, Hannah New and Jessica Parker Kennedy, to discuss what to expect as Season 2 progresses.

The actresses spoke about new threats and obstacles, the evolving positions both of their characters have in the show's world and the complicated relationship and history ex-lovers turned reluctant business associates Eleanor and Max share.

IGN: You got a very early renewal for Season 2 and now you’re already working on Season 3. It must be great knowing that you have the network behind you in that way.

Jessica Parker Kennedy: Yeah, it’s always so much easier to know so soon. It’s easier to plan if there’s other projects happening. Every actor’s dream is to have work and every actor’s struggle is the fact that you never know when you’re going to work again or what you’re going to be working on, so the security in it is a very nice thing.

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Breaking Bad’s Skylar to Star in New Crime Series

Anna Gunn, best known for her role as Skylar White on Breaking Bad, has signed on to star in the upcoming Criminal Minds spinoff.

Gunn will play an international law expert and talented linguist, named Ally Lambert. According to Deadline, Lambert is "smart, capable and an indispensable part of the team that makes sure bad guys worldwide don’t slip through the murky waters of international law."

Anna Gunn Gunn in AMC's Breaking Bad.

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