Saturday, 1 December 2012

NEWS: Saturday Roundup

Welcome to the Saturday Roundup, a weekly roundup of all the important news going on in the gaming world. If you’re sick of gaming websites' content turning more and more casual, or trying to pass off a single sentence and a link to a cool picture they saw on deviant art as ‘news,’  you've come to the right place. I aim to consolidate and summarize only the stuff that’s most important to gaming enthusiasts. It’s a mix of hard news, interesting features, and other tidbits that I feel like you guys would enjoy. Let’s see what’s been going on this week:

  • The humble... THQ bundle? The humble bundle team are taking a break from promoting great indie developers and are now using the muscle of a big name publisher to support their charity. You, as a gamer can profit from this, by picking up fantastic games from their library (including Saints row: The Third and Metro: 2033) on the cheap! However, Ben Kucheka of the Penny-Arcade report says that this might be a nefarious step backwards for the humble bundle. The tenants of the bundle have, before now, been: to support indie developers, support charity, and offer DRM free versions of games to fans. Two of those three tenants has been lost with this not-so-humble bundle.
  • Bioshock: Infinite will not have a multiplayer mode. Ken Levine confirmed this on his twitter earlier this week. Many gamers felt that Bioshock 2's multiplayer mode was both tacked on, and actively went against the feeling and atmosphere of Bioshock. It's good to hear that this time around the team will focus on what makes Bioshock so memorable - the singleplayer story.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic recently went free-to-play. You may no doubt be wondering how the 'free-to-play' mode stacks up against the unburdened subscriber mode. YouTube user HaasGaming has a look at what restrictions free-to-play players can expect. TL;DR? You get the full 1-50 story experience, but are severely gimped on everything else, with some restrictions (such as decreased XP gain and limited use of transport options) just being downright cruel.
The original Bioshock did not have a multi-player mode
  • The 3DS may experience a price cut in the near future. Been holding off buying Nintendo latest handheld? You may want to hold on a little bit longer, as gamingbolt covers a rumor that Nintendo will soon issue a price cut, with the original system dropping to $139, and the XL, while not being reduced per se, is getting a bundle with Mario Kart 7 for $199. The price cut for the 3DS will reportedly come into effect on December 9th.
  • Baulder's Gate enhanced edition was released this week. Baulder's Gate is a western RPG standard, and the game that first put Bioware, of Mass Effect and Dragon Age fame into the spotlight. Overhaul games have been hard at work on the enhanced edition, which adds a wealth of new features and content to the original game, and runs in the latest version of Windows.
  • Square Enix's Tomb Raider reboot will have a campaign lasting 12-15 hours. This is very good news to hear, as a lot of action games these days are lucky to even break the 10 hour mark for their singleplayer campaign. The bad news? Lara will have the dreaded 'regenerative health' made popular by the Call of Duty games, and won't be able to swim at all. Swimming played a big part in previous Tomb Raider games so i'm a bit sad to see this go. Tomb Raider is scheduled for a March, 2013 release.
Will the new Tomb Raider reboot sink or swim?

  • Naysayers claim that PC gaming is dying every few years, yet indie developer Cold Beam Games certainly don't think so, as this week they announced that the PC version of their hit rhythm game Beat Hazard sold more than every other platform COMBINED. Indie developers have long applauded the Steam platform, which with the recently released greenlight makes it easier than ever for small timers to publish their breakout game.
The  Wii mini
  • Nintendo announces the Wii Mini. The first redesign for Nintendo's popular console will arrive on December 7th and retail for $99.99. The catch? The console cannot connect to the internet, nor play gamecube games. This cuts it off from the growing library of WiiWare and Virtual console games. It's also, bizzareley, exclusive to Canada, although I'm sure that exclusivity will wane in coming months.While Nintendo are no strangers to redesigns, (the DS had 3 and the 3DS has already received one) it does seem odd to release a revision of the Wii now, so soon after the launch of the WiiU. I have a feeling that many kids asking Santa Claus for 'the new Wii' are going to be in for a shock on Christmas morning.
  • Speaking of the WiiU, has it already been hacked?!?! This video demonstrates the homebrew channel, which is used to run numerous homebrew applications, including some that can by-pass region locks and other DRM enforced by Nintendo, running on the system. At this point it's more of a proof-of-concept, but it just goes to show that hackers are always one step ahead of developers.
  • Grand Theft Auto V will not be available on PC at launch, but 100,000 (and growing) fans hope to change that. There's a petition going around that implores Rockstar games to release the game for PC. While all GTA games have eventually seen a PC release, the wait is usually quite long, with the PC version of GTA IV, for example, coming out a full seven months after the console releases. Rockstar have stated that there are 'no plans' for a PC version at this time.
  • Get your fix of new Battlefield 3 content just in time for Christmas. Aftermath, the game's 4th DLC pack will release on December 18th. As well as a series of post-earthquake themed maps, new weapons and modified vehicles, the pack boasts the new 'Scavenger' gamemode.

    "Scavenger mode – an objective based conquest where players must brave the environment armed with only one sidearm, as they try to find more powerful weapons in an attempt to survive with their squad."

    It is available for $14.99 individually, or $49.99 as part of Battlefield 3: Premium, which includes all previously released DLC packs, as well as a fifth, unreleased pack. I stopped playing BF3 shortly after Back to Karkand was released, so I'm not sure how much the game has changed back then. Is it worth coming back to? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
The crossbow - one of the new weapons in Aftermath
  • To all you Zelda fanboys out there, gametrailers have done a full timeline. Be warned, the episode is 30 minutes long. I'm not the biggest Zelda fanboy (my favourite Zelda game was Spirit Tracks...) but I've enjoyed it from time to time, and you can bet your bottom dollar we'll see a new instalment of the series on the WiiU in the near future.
  • Lastly, Minecraft is being used to aid UN regeneration projects. Minecraft is indie gaming's little engine that could, proving that you don't need a big budget publisher to play with the big boys. It's influence has spread from the gaming world to the real world, as the UN are using the build-anything sandbox to model development plans for over 300 places over the world, so residents can see how the landscape will change.
So that’s the news for this week. Be sure to subscribe to my twitter for up-to-date news and blog updates, my youtube channel for gaming videos, check out my new digs over at non-fiction gaming for my regular Wednesday article, and check back here every Saturday for more news!

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