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Patch for The Last of Us coming Tomorrow (Video Added)

TLOU Screen 4

The Last of Us multiplayer gets some serious updates today with the deployment of patch 1.03. The patch rolls out across all regions tomorrow, issuing several multiplayer fixes. In addition, a brand new game mode is being added to the suite, called Interrogation.

Interrogation is an objective game mode where both factions attempt to interrogate the opposing forces during the match, in an effort to unlock the enemy lockbox.

For more details on Interrogation mode, and the additional fixes deployed in patch 1.03, read on.

 Single-Player Fixes
  • Fixes for “It’s me” and “By any means” cinematics in the Cutscene Viewer.

Multiplayer Addition

  • New game mode — Interrogation

Interrogation is a 4v4, two-part objective game mode where rival factions vie to find and open the other faction’s lockbox, stealing the supplies inside. Each team must first achieve five interrogations of players on the other team.

Players can get interrogations by shivving an enemy, or getting an enemy into the down state, then pressing triangle while next to them. Once your team collects five interrogations the location of the enemy’s lockbox will be revealed. Your team must attempt to open the lockbox before the other team can collect five interrogations and open your lockbox first. Whichever team opens the opposing team’s lockbox first wins.

Multiplayer Fixes

  • Revive range has increased slightly (about 1 meter). It’s more difficult to crawl out of range when a teammate is reviving you now.
  • Players can prevent opponents from finishing Executions/Interrogations so that the opponent does not receive Parts for the special Execution/Interrogation. The downed player will still lose their life, but this makes preventing Executions/Interrogations more helpful to your team, as you prevent the other team from gaining Parts.
  • Matchmaking update: players should find opponents around their level of experience more often, and teams should be balanced more evenly.
  • Item cache locations adjusted for balance on University, High School, Lakeside, and Downtown.
  • Starting cameras adjusted so they show your player with greater frequency.
  • Item cache disbursement tweaked so additional items are given out more fairly.
  • Winning a Survivors match by a count of 4 rounds to 0 now means your team will get more bonus parts for winning the match by that margin. This applies for games with scores of 4-1, 4-2, etc. as well. Rewards are tiered by how dominant your team is. This system is in place for Interrogation mode as well.

That’s all for patch 1.03 — expect a lot more to come over the next few months in future patches. Keep reporting any issues on our technical forums, and let us know what you think!

Be sure to check the forums this weekend and post your thoughts on patch 1.03. Talk with us and we’ll reward good thoughts. Participate in the thread and you’ll earn a cool, digital The Last of Us prize. See you online!

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New Splinter Cell Blacklist Trailer

New Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix Trailer released

Coming to PS3 September 10th

SQUARE ENIX ANNOUNCES EARLY ACCESS & OPEN BETA DATES FOR FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 8, 2013) – SQUARE ENIX today announced the open beta test and early access dates for FINAL FANTASY® XIV: A Realm Reborn. New users will be able to participate in the open beta test from August 17ththrough the 19th, both for Windows PC and PlayStation® 3 system, giving players the opportunity to dive in to the massive-scale RPG’s final testing phase. In addition, fans that have pre-ordered the game will receive early access and be among the first to play the game beginning August 24th.

During today’s FINAL FANTASY XIV Letter from the Producer LIVE, Naoki Yoshida (producer and director) also shared some upcoming incentives to get players even more excited for launch:

·         Veteran Rewards – Enjoy various bonuses based on how long you have been a FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn subscriber (30, 60 & 90 days). By starting with a 90-day subscription, players receive all 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day bonuses at once.

·         Companion iOS App – A free companion app, “FINAL FANTASY XIV: Libra Eorzea,” planned to arrive a week after launch

·         Welcome Back Campaign – Players who registered FINAL FANTASY® XIV 1.0 can play FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn for free until Monday, September 9.

Set for an August 27, 2013 release, FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn will be available for $39.99 on the PlayStation® 3 system and $29.99 for Windows PC. A free 30-day trial is also included for new accounts. Monthly subscriptions for new accounts start at $12.99. PC specs for final product may change; please refer to the pre-order website for details.

To pre-order FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn and gain early access to the final game, visit:http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/product/.

Related Links

Official Homepage: www.FINALFANTASYXIV.com
Official Twitter®: @FF_XIV_EN
Official Facebook® page: https://www.facebook.com/FINALFANTASYXIV
Official YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/FINALFANTASYXIV

FINAL FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn is rated T (Teen). Please visit the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) website at www.esrb.org for more information about ratings.

About Square Enix, Inc.

Square Enix, Inc. develops, publishes, distributes and licenses SQUARE ENIX, EIDOS® and TAITO® branded entertainment content throughout the Americas as part of the Square Enix Group. The Square Enix Group operates a global network of leading development studios and boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property, including: FINAL FANTASY, which has sold over 100 million units worldwide; DRAGON QUEST®, which has sold over 62 million units worldwide; TOMB RAIDER®, which has sold over 35 million units worldwide; and the legendary SPACE INVADERS®. Square Enix, Inc. is a U.S.-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

More information on Square Enix, Inc. can be found at http://www.na.square-enix.com/.

FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN © 2013 Square Enix, Ltd.  All rights reserved.  FINAL FANTASY, the FINAL FANTASY logo, DRAGON QUEST, FINAL FANTASY XIV: LIBRA EORZEA, SQUARE ENIX, the SQUARE ENIX logo, SPACE INVADERS and TAITO are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Square Enix Group. “PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment. Windows is a registered trademark of the Microsoft group of companies. All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

The State of Gaming July 2013

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We’re coming off of a slow down in gaming news, and no one will deny that, in fact the hype/excitement for next generation of consoles is starting to diminish, for me anyway and I am sure some others. I mean sure this past weekend gave gamers at the Comic Con event a chance at an eyes on look at Watch Dogs, but other than that, since E3 it’s been fairly quiet on the next gen front in terms of any real news about the games, not including pre-order incentives, books, or any other real exciting or useful information on games moving forward outside of Grand Theft Auto V but I’ll get to that later because I want to start out with my main points before I go into the future.

This lack of new info has led to slow times for gamers, many of whom want to hear about next generation games, or just video game news in general. These companies have a chance to capture an undivided group of people who game, gamers are a rare breed, they want info now, not later when the developers or publishers decide to release it, they’ll think the game isn’t any good if these developers are afraid to show the games off.

I think NBA LIVE ’14 suffers that now, especially with the PS3/Xbox 360 versions of these games getting canceled 2 straight releases now with NBA Elite 11 and NBA LIVE ’13 both being canceled after NBA LIVE or Elite 12 wasn’t even made because EA took a year off to make the best game possible. So now with a chance, and a damn good chance with the lack of new information released by publishers this month, the EA NBA title had a chance to steal the limelight and EA never took it which to me is a lost opportunity to prove that NBA Live is back, and not just for name sake.

But that example is perfect because it is companies like EA Sports have been slow rolling out news for Madden post E3, and the NHL 14 info has been minor at best, I think gamers want more important information than the “cover boy”. Sure the cover is important to know, but the whole cover vote just drags the process on for far too long. As it is, they’re over promoting the NHL 94 mode in NHL 14 instead of rolling out any new important info, which is a little odd given the game is about a month from having the demo drop (I am guessing either August 20 or August 27 for the demo release going off of prior NHL demo drops), and 7 weeks from release EA is wasting time to build up hype for its game. With Live the Life mode still to be announced, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I feel that the EA NHL team needs to also address concerns from NHL 13 including slow menu’s and redundant auto save slowing down the Be a GM mode in which is currently a solid mode, but it can be better with proper fixes mainly to do with stability issues. And don’t take my complaints about NHL 13 as I don’t like the game, because even with it’s issues I am constantly playing it. But the game feels rushed and unfinished, and that is why I rag on the game so much, but I do love the game overall on the ice, and I am very much excited to get my hands on NHL 14. 

That is just one example company, the problem is that all companies are doing this. Bleeding little information when it has much more it can show, and that is where the problem lies. Or maybe it is just me and my agenda, I just felt like after E3 gaming companies should have had enough games to talk about that it should have been coming out with a bunch of information from all directions for multiple games for a long time.

But it seems as if EA, Ubisoft, and so on have been pretty slow with information. For example, outside of the video released yesterday for Need for Speed Rivals, when was the last time you heard anything about the game? The week of E3? Sorry but that is not going to keep gamers excited to hear more about the game, I mean as it is the we lack details about NFS: Rivals and it is due out in November.

It’s been six weeks since E3 and very little has come out about these games we saw at E3 or even games announced before E3. I think the weeks after E3 would have been a good time to discuss in good detail about Next Generation games before the big long window of new games starts to hit in August. Now publishers need to mix in the next generation news with current generation news in the coming months which will be kind of hard with Grand theft Auto V, Saints Row IV, Madden 25, NHL 14, and Battlefield 4 for PS3 and Xbox 360 coming up very soon and a great amount of details expected to drop about those games and a lot of others not even mentioned.

To get an idea of what games are coming and what games need to release new information, take a look at this brief release calender is full of games slated for release from August to October even before the PS4 and Xbox One hit later this year. This is to give you a taste of what I mean just look at this list. We have Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Saints Row IV and Madden 25 coming down the pipe in August, NHL 14 and GTA V in September, and WWE 2k14, Battlefield 4 and NBA 2k14 in October all coming out for the current generation of consoles. November is expected to be a big month as well in terms of releases, with the next generation consoles expected to drop, next generation games expected to drop including Watch_Dogs and Battlefield 4 for next generation consoles, the games are expected to be out on the PS3 and Xbox 360 by then.

So the release calender is full, and it seems like we don’t have a lot of details about the games upcoming soon.

But as I write this I am thinking about that last statement for a minute, and I admit it was wrong because we know a decent amount on the September games I named above, but because of the slow rate of release, it just seems like very little has gotten out when there seems to be so much that still needs to be said about them.

For example, if that 50 things you need to know about NHL 14 that game informer posted last month has any sort of credibility, then we should hear more about GM Connected, Be a GM, and Live the Life mode still to come, and just 4-5 weeks until the demo should be out, so EA might need to rush that out with the pace they’re going at with these gameplay improvement blog releases.

And then for GTA V, we still need to find out about how online is going to work, but other than that we know as much as we’ll find out until release I think even if I feel like they could go into changes made into the game such as what they’ve done, if anything, to the police difficulty in GTA V, the police in GTA IV are a joke sometimes driving into center dividers or just not being able to catch up at all, so I hope they detail the changes made to GTA V in the future.

So while this blog started out with a negative tone in a way, I think overall the state of video games is great, and will be much better in the future once the PS4 and Xbox One release and we can start talking about the launch games for each console. And we’re only going to have more to discuss this time next year with what should be the first non-NCAA College Football title, NHL 15 should be announced and have news on the next gen versions coming up in the fall of 2014, the second next gen Madden should be on the radar for an August 2014 release, and overall sports games should finally fully make the next generation jump which includes MLB ’14 the Show which will be out by this time next year.

The reason for the negativity mainly has to do with the fact that I just wish there was more to report in all areas, it’s been a long dead six weeks of nothing here.  And that isn’t to say that I am not excited or looking forward to these games upcoming because I am. But I think the marketing teams at these companies are dragging their feet when it comes to releasing any worthwhile material for any gamers to get excited about, and I think overall that is hurting the hype for upcoming games and that is bad because personally my excitement level, or hype for these upcoming consoles has died down, and I think with the slow trickling of information on the PS3 and Xbox 360 games on top of that hurts my overall immediate excitement for video games as we speak when it should be a super exciting time for games as a whole leading up to what should be an even better time in November with the PS4 and Xbox One coming up.

Surely my excitement will come back, I have no doubt about it, especially once I am holding a controller to a next generation console for the first time, however as we speak, I feel a little underwhelmed with all of the information coming out about these games listed here. With release dates closing within a month or two away there should be more excitement to grab on to, and I haven’t felt much excitement about a game since Rockstar Games released the gameplay trailer for GTA V a couple weeks ago and the only reason I got remotely excited is because I liked that weapons wheel you saw in the video and the blogs from Game Informer talking about the weapons customization, it is things like that I like.

While these details as little as they may seem, make me very excited to play GTA V, part of this is bought upon by a combination of two things. Firstly The Last of Us had a part of the game where you can combine weapons and make some pretty destructive weapons with that engine, and secondly the TV show Sons of Guns where they modify guns to be what the client wants, so when I saw the scope of the customization options I thought of that show and was like “yeah, that should be awesome” and we’ll have to wait and see what happens, but I am excited to try the weapons customization in GTA V because with GTA VI surely to be made for next generation consoles at some point, Rockstar has a chance to really work on that part of their games and it should be an awesome experience on next generation machines.

But what Rockstar did was create hype for GTA V with just a short video, and I just picked apart one detail of a close to 5 minute gameplay video, and that is exactly it. Other companies aren’t giving the gamers much to focus on. Their hype either flat out fails to impress, or it is not enough to really break through like Rockstar did. Rockstar picked the perfect time to release the information if you think of it, because within a couple weeks there should be more stuff about several games coming out, which means Rockstar will have competition then, but two weeks ago, it wasn’t there, and Rockstar took advantage.

I don’t want to ramble on for to long here, but I did want to write this piece, I wanted to vent a little with the lack of information coming out, but also get an idea of what others think about the lack of information coming out. Has it sort of killed your excitement to? Comment below to let me know what you think.

Codemasters unveils F1 2013

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CLASSIC CONTENT TO STAR IN F1™ 2013 
Trailer Teases F1 2013’s Classic and New Season Content,
Now Showing at www.formula1-game.com
Los Angeles – July 15, 2013 – Codemasters® today announced that F1™ 2013 will launch worldwide this fall for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft®, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC. This year’s title will feature a new gameplay mode called F1 Classics giving fans the chance to race classic cars on iconic circuits against legendary drivers for the first time in Codemasters’ award-winning series.
To mark the announcement, Codemasters has released a trailer teasing some of the iconic cars that will be featured in F1 Classics, showcasing a brief evolution of FORMULA ONE cars through the years to present day. The video is now playing at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0-F8pjswEA
Developed by Codemasters as part of an exclusive multi-year deal with Formula One World Championship Limited, the game will be available worldwide in two editions: F1 2013 and F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION.
F1 2013 will feature all the cars, circuits and star drivers from the 2013 season, allowing gamers to race as Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes and Sergio Perez in the McLaren-Mercedes for the first time, and includes all of the new drivers, updated rules, tyre changes and remodelled handling to authentically reflect the challenge and exhilaration of racing 2013’s stunning roster of FORMULA ONE™ cars. A range of game enhancements, split-screen and online multiplayer, plus new and returning game modes deliver the most complete FORMULA ONE experience in videogame history.
F1 2013 gives FORMULA 1™ fans the chance to compete against legendary drivers in cars from different eras of FORMULA ONE with a range of classic content from the 1980s. F1 Classicsallows players to race iconic 1980s cars from Williams, Lotus and Ferrari against drivers including Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Emerson Fittipaldi and Gerhard Berger, with more to be announced, on classic circuits Brands Hatch and Jerez. Classic content is also available in a range of other game modes, including split-screen and online multiplayer modes.
The premium F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION delivers even more classic content with two additional content packs featuring content from the 1990s and additional circuits to be enjoyed in F1 Classics and other game modes. The 1990s pack includes classic cars from both Williams and Ferrari and drivers such as David Coulthard, Jacques Villeneuve, Eddie Irvine and Alain Prost and others.
The two packs included in F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION will also be available as optional DLC for players of F1 2013 shortly after release.
To further extend players’ FORMULA ONE experience in the game and beyond the box, RaceNet, Codemasters’ free online community hub, is fully integrated with F1 2013F1 2012 launched with RaceNet in beta mode and has already seen over 36 million races completed by registered members. In F1 2013 RaceNet, which launched in full with GRID 2™, will offer connected players regular in-game challenges, community-wide challenges, visual stats and game progress updates to compare with their friends. Access for players is free via desktop, mobile or via dedicated apps allowing players to stay connected to their F1 2013 experience and their progress in other Codemasters racing games, wherever they are.
To get all the latest F1 2013 news straight from the studio, race over to www.facebook.com/formula1game or follow the team on twitter at www.twitter.com/formula1game.
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MEDIA INFORMATION:
fortyseven communications for Codemasters
Jen Chong
323.658.1200
ABOUT CODEMASTERS
Codemasters, the award winning video game developer and publisher, has a 25-year heritage. With titles distributed globally, Codemasters is a leading developer and publisher of driving and racing entertainment games including DiRT, GRID and the official FORMULA ONE series of video games including the BAFTA award-winning F1 2010, F1 2011 and F1 2012. Codemasters employs over 500 people and operates multiple development studios from its Warwickshire HQ and Birmingham sites in the UK with a further art studio based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Codemasters is a winner of the coveted Grand Prix Award from the Develop Industry Excellence Awards, an award bestowed on the company felt by Develop to have contributed the most to the games medium in recent times. In March 2010, Reliance Big Entertainment Ltd. (RBEL), a part of India’s Reliance ADA group, acquired a 60 per cent shareholding in the company, alongside existing investor, Balderton Capital, the leading European venture capital firm. For more information on Codemasters’ product portfolio, please visit www.codemasters.com. Join in the conversation with @codemasters on Twitter or Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/codemasters.
 
© 2013 The Codemasters Software Company Limited (“Codemasters”). All rights reserved. “Codemasters”®, “Ego”® and the Codemasters logo are registered trademarks owned by Codemasters. “Codemasters Racing”™ and “RaceNet”™ are trademarks of Codemasters. An official product of the FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.
 
The F1 FORMULA 1 logo, F1 logo, F1 FIA FORMULA 1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP logo, FORMULA 1, FORMULA ONE, F1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX and related marks are trade marks of Formula One Licensing BV, a Formula One group company. Licensed by Formula One World Championship Limited. All rights reserved.
 
All other copyrights or trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are being used under license. Unauthorised copying, adaptation, rental, lending, re-sale, arcade use, charging for use, broadcast, cable transmission, public performance, distribution or extraction of this product or any trademark or copyright work that forms part of this product is prohibited. Developed and published by Codemasters.
 
 “PlayStation”, “PLAYSTATION” and “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox LIVE are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. NINTENDO DS, Wii AND THE Wii LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NINTENDO.

Deus Ex: The Fall out now on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

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Los Angeles (July 10, 2013) – Square Enix., today announced the release of DEUS EX: THE FALL™, available exclusively from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Winner of seven “Best Mobile/iOS Game” awards at E3 2013*, DEUS EX: THE FALL is the beginning of a new journey in the DEUS EX® series. Set in 2027– a golden era for science, technology and human augmentation, players step into the shoes of Ben Saxon, an augmented former British SAS Mercenary desperate for the truth behind a global drug conspiracy threatening his life.

 

Developed by Square Enix’s Mobile division in Europe, in collaboration with the original DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION® team at Eidos-Montréal and N-Fusion, DEUS EX: THE FALL is a full story driven action-RPG and the first DEUS EX in the series to be developed for and released on mobile and tablet devices.

 

“We’re excited to bring the DEUS EX universe onto a new platform and allow more gamers to experience the franchise,” said Jean-Francois Dugas, Executive Game Director at Eidos-Montréal.  “We’ve worked hard to create a true DEUS EX experience for mobile and tablet devices and we’re really pleased with what we’ve achieved.”

DEUS EX: THE FALL is available for $6.99 from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, or at the iTunes App Store.

DEUS EX: THE FALL is currently available on iPod Touch 5, iPhone 4S and above, and iPad 3 and above. The game will be available on iPad 2 in the near future.

For more information about DEUS EX: THE FALL, visit www.DeusEx.com/TheFall or the Facebook page www.facebook.com/DeusEx and YouTube channel www.youtube.com/DeusExOfficial.

*DEUS EX: THE FALL was awarded “Best Mobile/iOS Game” of E3 2013 by IGN, Gaming Trend, Game Chronicles, Pop.com.br, Technology Tell, Gamesource.it and Game World Navigator.

 

About DEUS EX: THE FALL
Praised for its in-game art and cinema-quality storyline, the DEUS EX series has garnered critical acclaim from the media and consumers alike. DEUS EX: THE FALL is a story driven action-RPG and the first mobile DEUS EX in the series.

DEUS EX: THE FALL is set in 2027– a golden era for science, technology and human augmentation, but also a time of great social divide and global conspiracy. Powerful corporations have seized control from governments and command the drug supply needed by augmented humans to survive. In this chaos Ben Saxon, a former British SAS Mercenary who underwent physical augmentation, is desperate for the truth behind the drug conspiracy. Betrayed by his private military employers, the Tyrants, not only is his own life at risk, but for all augmented humans, time is running out.

About Eidos-Montréal
Founded in 2007, Eidos-Montréal is a leading video game development studio in Montréal. Embracing the philosophy to always pursue excellence in the development of games and create immersive, captivating experiences for players, Eidos-Montréal made its mark on the video game world with the release of its first video game, the critically acclaimed and best-selling DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION®. Eidos-Montréal is part of Square Enix Europe.

About N-Fusion
N-Fusion Interactive is an independent video game development studio located in New Jersey, about an hour south of New York City. The company was formed in 1997 with the goal of bringing new and exciting entertainment experiences to a wide audience. Since its inception, it has continued to expand its portfolio across a wide range of console, PC, and mobile platforms.

 

About Square Enix, Inc.
Square Enix, Inc. develops, publishes, distributes and licenses SQUARE ENIX®, EIDOS® and TAITO® branded entertainment content throughout the Americas as part of the Square Enix Group. The Square Enix Group operates a global network of leading development studios and boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property, including: FINAL FANTASY®, which has sold over 100 million units worldwide; DRAGON QUEST®, which has sold over 61 million units worldwide; TOMB RAIDER®, which has sold over 35 million units worldwide; and the legendary SPACE INVADERS®. Square Enix, Inc. is a U.S.-based, wholly owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

More information on Square Enix, Inc. can be found at http://na.square-enix.com/.

Breaking Down: Game Informer’s 50 things we know about NHL 14

Tuesday Game Informer released it’s 50 things we know article. In it multiple things were covered from gameplay, skating, deking, Be a GM, and GM Connected. Below I will break it down in sections.

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GENERAL GAMEPLAY

  • As expected, NHL 14 is not headed to next-gen consoles. The only platforms the game supports are PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
  • According to EA Canada, the overarching focus for NHL 14 was properly balancing aggression, speed, and skill – the three qualities the studio believes make hockey a standout sport.
  • Given the increased focus on checks and dekes, some fans have expressed worry that NHL 14 will be too arcade-like and lose the sim aspects that drew them to the series. Ramjagsingh assured us this is not the case. “All of the great gameplay depth and the creativity that we talked about through this entire generation about giving players the tools, we focused on all of that stuff as well,” he said. “The stuff you’re hearing about right now is just focused on trying to make the game more accessible so people are able to have fun with our game, without sacrificing any of the depth. All that depth is still there, and there is a lot more new depth as well that people will see as they play the game.”
  • EA Canada says its spent a lot of time working on the AI and systems to make sure the core gameplay experience on top of the new features continues to improve.
  • Though the primary focus for NHL 14 is on cleaning up player physics with the introduction of FIFA’s Player Impact Engine, EA Canada has tweaked the puck physics as well. You won’t see as drastic a change as you will with the players, but EA is working to make more realistic bounces, tip-ins, and deflections.
  • To improve neutral zone play, EA says it spent a lot of time tweaking puck support. The  Real AI introduced in NHL 12 is being tweaked to script sequences and breakouts for two- and three-man play through the neutral zone so they get more realistic motion. This should result in more varieties of approach.
  • EA felt the poke check was too powerful last year, and now that hitting has more of a defensive tool they are dialing back the effectiveness of the poke check. Large players may benefit more from being physical, and smaller more agile defenders have a better success rate sticking with the poke check.
  • EA Canada hasn’t made any tweaks to the faceoff mechanics for NHL 14, though they are making it easier to win draws on lower skill levels.
  • Puck pickups and pass targeting are being tweaked as well. The passes should be more in line so it should be easier to lead a player properly if you aim correctly.

One thing I like it where it mentions that EA has been working on AI and systems, last year I feel EA did a solid job implementing the new systems, but the EA was still too passive, and not as aggressive as I would have liked to have seen, so hopefully that is worked on as well to make you make quicker decisions and pay for not being able to read a play. These things may sound minor but if the guys EA Canada had the balls to make the AI super tough across the board including online even if it is too hard for some rookie players than they wouldn’t need Godlike goalies. That isn’t to say goalies are Godlike as it is, but the need to make them much better wouldn’t be as important.

The physics engine is not all about the players, they also worked on puck physics, so maybe that means a little more sloppiness in some areas of the game. It seems like gamers want it to be polished and crisp, but hockey is also about sloppiness from time to time, so that is a great thing that the puck will be bouncing more and they worked on deflections and tip ins just as long as the tips don’t always go in, like tips wide of the net, or over the net.

The tweaking of poke checking is okay with me, I turn the poke checking sliders down typically when I do custom settings because I feel like poke checking is too effective, and with it being easier to hit you don’t need to make as many poke checks, so if EA can make it harder to poke check it can be a win-win for all gamers.

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SKATING/DEKING

  • For its second year, True Performance Skating is being adjusted to address some fan complaints. When a players reaches his top speed it should no longer feels like you are turning the Titanic when turning.
  • Defensive players have been given more mobility to allow them to better shade attacking skaters. More mobile defensemen Kris Letang can pivot more quickly to change directions faster than they could in NHL 13, and you can strafe to cut off angles of attack.
  • The main reason EA added the one-touch deke system was to make dekes more accessible. The loose puck deke system, which is still in the game, requires you to plan your move in advance. The new system is much easier to use in a read-and-react situation. If you can tell the defender is going in for a big hit, you can quickly deke out of the way. This makes stickhandling more of a game within the game.
  • Don’t expect to deke your way down the ice like Pavel Datsyuk every play with every player, however. Players with less stick handling ability won’t have the efficiency of movement that danglers have, resulting in more turnovers.
  • Tapping the left trigger results in a spin move. From here the game reads the left stick and the direction you are going and then picks the right direction for you to spin.
  • All the other one-touch dekes are on the left bumper. Depending on how you are using your left stick and the situation on the ice, the game picks from a variety of moves.
  • You can string moves together as well, but at the sacrifice of speed. For instance, if you attempt more than two spin moves in a row your forward essentially comes to a standstill.

I like the idea of making it easier to turn when going top speed, I just hope that it isn’t to easy, because at top speed you cannot cut the way you would if you were going at a slower speed and cutting across, so to me there is a fine line to be had I hope EA knows what that is. I love how the defensemen have better mobility to “shade” the skaters, this and the strafing mentioned in the one touch dekes diary will make playing defense so much easier. And that will allow for some of the goal scoring to be toned down, which will counter balance the shooter part of this coming up.

SHOOTING

  • A lack of goal scoring was once again an area fans called out in NHL 13. For this year’s game, one of EA’s big focuses is goal-scoring balance. One engineer has spent the entire year working on goalies so users see more realistic goals. EA says you can expect to see more pucks squeak through under the goalie’s arms and in the five-hole.
  • The other big change in goal scoring is EA wants the players to be rewarded more often for reading the goalie and shooting in the right spot.
  • The default skill level now allows players to score more frequently to bring the goal total up to a realistic level.

I’m actually kind of baffled that EA would make scoring easier, as a vet of the series I feel like it is too easy to begin with.

But I hope the aforementioned defensive ability washes out whatever EA did to make the scoring easier. We’ll have to wait and see but this was truly a head-scratcher.

But I think there can be a good balance if this engineer did his job properly and helped the goalies get better at angles, lateral movement, and reading the play without having to go into the desperation dives that lead to wide open nets. Again I am trying to give EA the benefit of the doubt but goaltending has always been sort of EA’s NHL series issues, and if they truly made it easier to score how will people react? I think this is where the other parts of the game can be a huge benefit if the execution is down pat.

CHECKING

  • The developer diaries previously told us that speed and momentum were accounted for in the new collision system. EA Canada confirmed to us that size matters just as much. The dev team uses Boston Bruins big man Zdeno Chara as the test case to make sure he’s an immovable force when tiny forwards try to throw a check.
  • The size differential requires you to play the game a different style if you are in control of a smaller team like the Montreal Canadiens or a large team like Chara’s Bruins.
  • The board play remains largely the same as last year, but EA Canada said the new collision system makes it tougher for little guys to win pucks if they get pinned against the boards.
  • Listening to fan requests, EA Canada wants penalties to be more realistic in NHL 14. Expect boarding and interference to be called more frequently, and to see a bigger variety of penalties called in general.
  • FIFA’s player impact engine was a positive addition to the franchise, but the strange player animations it sometimes delivers also has created some of the most embarrassing (but mainly hilarious) glitches we’ve seen in years. In porting the system to hockey and tuning the game, however, the NHL teams says they have seen very little of the crazy limb flailing.
  • The development team spent over a month focusing on unrealistic hits from behind and awkward hit animations when both players are going the same direction. This should hopefully clean up this frequent point of contention we had with NHL 13.

I like what I have seen from the checking system, I can’t even really comment on it until I play it. I will comment on the fact that they want to push towards having more penalties, I feel like this is a great thing, especially more so towards the offline modes where the CPU gets away with murder.

But I also want to see the CPU throwing hits, even dirty hits, it would make the games more balanced if the CPU got physical, and played with an edge as well.

NHL14-MTL-BUF-prust-kaleta-fight2-WM-resize

FIGHTING

  • EA’s biggest focus for the new enforcer engine was to make fighting more realistic and more within the moment. The players not engaged in the fight now stay on the ice and the players on the bench no longer disappear.
  • The new fighting engine has a better understanding of why players drop the gloves in real life and thus does a better job of making fights happen naturally during the course of the game. You can still pre-plan a fight or get into a post-whistle scrum, but if you target a star player for a check and leave him a disheveled heap on the ice your antagonist may not have the option to avoid the fight with his on-ice bodyguard or another player that takes offense to the hit.
  • Once a fight starts you see all players on the ice react accordingly. If tough guys are on the ice they start to pair up. Less violent players may go down on one knee to watch the skirmish.
  • Some fighting mechanics are integrated directly from EA’s excellent Fight Night franchise. Tall guys like Chara could get in a fight with a smaller player like Martin St. Louis. You can now throw punches before the players enter a clinch. Once you are tangled up, you can throw uppercuts, rabbit punches, and hooks. Your offhand can be used to tug the player into position for a knockout punch. This is an especially effective tool if a long-armed guy is matched up against a much weaker player.
  • To properly balance the fight, the enforcer engine looks at fighting ratings, size, and strength of the player. Bigger, stronger players drain more of their opponent’s health meter when landing a punch than a smaller guy like Henrik Sedin would. However, EA says a really skilled user who masters the fighting mechanic could still pull off a David vs. Goliath upset.
  • The fighting system works the same in the EASHL as well. EA isn’t sure yet if the players outside of the central fight will be able to pair up and drop the gloves, but it’s something they want to include if possible.

The fighting system has me excited, admittedly I like to goon it up from time to time so this is a welcome change for me. I am interested if there will be multiple fights at once on the ice, if they want to add it then it is an encouraging sign that we may get it. Which could also mean the removal of the fight limit, which drives me nuts, since there is no need to cap it off at five fights, if I am playing Montreal as Boston and there is a dirty game going on, then all hell should be able to break loose. So line brawls and the removal of the fight limit could be a great feature to add. Same with the checking, I can’t comment on the feature until I play the game either by demo or release copy, probably the demo.

GM CONNECTED

  • The troubled GM Connected online experience is coming back with a few tweaks to improve usability.
  • One NHL developer spent almost all year working to improve the cripplingly slow menu navigation. GM Connected now runs at a much faster speed comparable to what you see in the front end of the offline Be A GM mode.
  • EA added several tools to improve the minute-to-minute experience of being in an online league. GMs now have a schedule that shows who has played games in the league instead of depending on the messaging system to check that.
  • The revamped messaging system now allows GM-to-GM as well as GM-to-commissioner messages. You can also counter-propose trades directly from your mailbox or refresh the mailbox without exiting the menu.
  • You can now decline and accept trades from the trade detail screen.
  • New commissioner improvements include an “invite to league” functionality and surfacing gamertags so it’s easier to tell who is controlling which team.
  • EA has added a time period in before the league starts so teams can make trade offers and other roster alterations before stepping on the ice for their first game.

Obviously the menu system needed to be improved so I am glad to hear that they are working on it, it would have been bad to see them not support a mode has potential to be an insanely fun league to run and be part of but the first year of it with it’s speed made it a bit of a nightmare to start, a lot like the first year of the EASHL but only this time I wasn’t on the EA forums having do deal with all of the complaints from the GM Connected.

The messaging system is also a welcome addition, I think this will make the league more functional in terms of not having to hop from one menu to another and so on. The counter proposals for trades is huge. It was a pain in the neck having to remember and redo the trades with players swapped in or out of the trade to accommodate what the other GM wants.

Adding a decline/accept function to the trade details screen is huge, it again makes for less menus to hop through, which saves time and aggravation.

The addition of time to the start of the league is a cool idea. That will make doing quick moves before the season that much more critical.

One thing I’d also like to see that isn’t mention is that if a player is added to one trade offer then his name on the trade players list should be blacked out for any other trade offers, it is hard to remember who was put in a given trade, so adding this would make it easier to remember.

BE A GM

  • Even though Be A Pro is getting the biggest makeover of all the game modes, EA Canada claims it has done quite a bit to the GM mode as well.
  • Both GM Connected and Be A GM add many of the changes implemented in the new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA. The changes include new salary cap and floor calculations and the ability to trade part of salaries. Since the development team doesn’t have many real-world examples of how teams plan to use these new rules, they are working with the NHL directly to understand the parameters of the new guidelines.
  • You can still buy players out, but EA is still discussing whether or not to include the special buyouts that NHL teams can enact this offseason and next to get under the downsized salary cap.
  • NHL 14 is not adding the free agent interview period like the real league is implementing.
  • Last year’s questionable trade logic isn’t being scrapped, but EA has added new trade difficulty slider that should lessen the restrictiveness of the GMs who last year would only willingly part with prospects and over-the-hill players in the last year of their contracts.
  • EA is still tuning the trade logic on top of the new slider functionality as well.
  • Players now improve during the season, though some only grow in the offseason. This adds another layer to the progression system. This should help you see young players’ skills progress more steadily instead of waiting for the offseason to know if he’s NHL ready.
  • First-round draft picks are more likely to get skill jumps much earlier in their careers. Like last year, lower-round players won’t likely reach the NHL skill level until they are in their mid-to-late 20s.
  • Skill progression doesn’t take into account player performance on the ice or the amount of playing time they receive in the minors as much as EA Canada would like it to in the future. This means you don’t have to worry nearly as much about high-round draft picks sitting behind career minor leaguers on your AHL team as you would in real life.
  • EA isn’t doing much to change player regression, so the older players won’t have a major drop-off in skills.
  • The GM firing option is now a league setting. You can turn that off or on at any time.
  • EA has some plans for tweaking the front-end menu system, but it isn’t going into details on that right now.

One of the things at the top says EA is adding many of the new CBA items into the Be a GM and that is great. Ideally they’d also add long term and short term IR so that teams can get cap relief to call up players if they’re towards the top of the salary cap. Another thing it said was teams have the ability to trade parts of a salaries, this is interesting since I am not sure how this actually works, so this may be one of those things that I wouldn’t even know how to use or take advantage of.

EA is discussing whether to add special buyouts, I think that they should, but only if it is done within the special guidelines of the CBA otherwise it could be a nu-sense especially if they also add it to GM Connected.

EA has added a trade difficulty slider, which is both good and bad, it can be good if people want it harder to pull off rip-off trades, but also bad if people slide it all the way down and rob the CPU ultimately ruining the experience for themselves.

Skill progression looks like it will be a work in progress for future games, I personally don’t have an issue with the progression stage of the game. I have other worries about the mode more than player progression. Player regression I feel needs a little work so that players who aren’t that great fall off faster then say a player like Sidney Crosby who will still be a very solid player even when he is older. So as you can see there are things I feel can be tweaked in terms of regression.

I am interested in hearing about the front end menu, will it be a physical change, or a stability change? I’d like to see both, but I want to see the stability change more so. Lets put it this way, there is no way I should be able to sim an entire 162 games of baseball with injuries off faster than I can an 82 game NHL season with injuries on.  I think part of what can help is if there was a decrease in injuries in the mode, not only is it not that realistic, it is also annoying and time consuming. Add in the AHL and that only doubles the time you put into it. Which is why I think EA would be wise to have line change settings for both the NHL and AHL, that way if you’re more concerned with the NHL team then you can let the CPU run the AHL team. Or the exact opposite if that’s your thing.

9 New GTA V Screenshots released

Looking Forward to the Transition to Next Gen Consoles: Part 4

PS4 controller

The week before E3 seems like the it is the perfect time to write a piece as to why I am excited to get my hands on these new consoles. As you saw in the first three parts of this series we did a look back, and a look forward to E3 so now lets look forward at what we will have about a 6 months with the next generation consoles assuming that the ps4 comes out in November and is the first one out. And while that may seem like a long time, it isn’t really that long at all.

Xbox One

Xbox One

First off if we’re going to talk about the excitement of the consoles that will be new for the next generation of video games, we need to look at the specs that we know. The consoles to no ones surprise will be much more powerful than current generation consoles which to be clear would be the PS3 and Xbox 360. The Playstation 4 is sixteen times more powerful than the Playstation 3 with 8 GB of DDR5 ram than the 512MB of DDR3 ram on the PS3. And the Xbox One has 8 GB DDR3 RAM over the Xbox 360’s 512 MB DDR 3 RAM. The Xbox One will also has double the memory space and cloud storage so space should never become an issue for the mandatory game installs that Microsoft seems to like now. If you have no idea what any of the above really means then don’t feel bad, I am not entirely sure either. What I am sure of is that video games moving forward should be much more advanced than it is now because the developers have more room to work with on the RAM and have more hard drive space to use up for in game saves should they need it.

And if you really start looking back to where you come from in video games we’ve come a long way. Consider the old Atari console and compare it to Playstation 3 and you can see which console is benefiting from years of technology advancement. And now we’re at a point to where the Playstation 4 and Xbox One will change video games again compared to Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Battlfield 4

Battlfield 4

So what can we hope this extra power does? Well from the looks of it, it already is making the games more advanced visually, for further proof of that check out the screen above for a recent Battlefield 4 screen and within the screen it shows the sun, a realistic explosion at looks like it could be some type of oil refinery, and if you look to the left you’ll see the sun hitting a wet surface and glowing off of a set of tires and the rubble from the explosion off towards the right near the bottom of the screen. You just would never get that level of detail in this generation because of the limits.

But that is what I expect from these consoles, in terms of sandbox games it should lead to more visual evidence of the carnage that you cause, such as bullet casings littered on the ground, the bodies of the victims stay in the same spot where they were gunned down or run over, with the expansion of the ram things like this should be doable. I expect to see a lot more as more games get deeper into the console cycle and developers can start taking full advantage of the hardware and they start to really push the next generations limits. Other visuals would be realistic damage to cars in racing games and games like Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto.

For sports games I don’t think it is overkill to expect surface deterioration in sports games, such as shoddy ice conditions in hockey and ripped up field conditions in football, soccer and baseball during the course of the season if it goes untreated. There is no reason these visual improvements cannot be done, they have a lot more power to add these small but important visual improvements. I think the important thing for sports games in terms of visuals is a nice looking presentation during the game and a good looking and responsive menu screens throughout the game. 

Another thing that I am excited about is the 1080p, I expect games to be running smoothly in 1080p resolution on the PS4 and Xbox One consoles. Which means the game setting on your TV might become useless. The thing I find interesting is Sony is not trying to push the 4k with the PS4 with it’s line of 4k TV’s coming out. But I think once the PS5 comes out it will be there if not with even more advances in television technology.

Anyway moving on, it isn’t only scratches, dents, and explosions that I am looking for in terms of visuals, along with visuals need to have proper gameplay. For example if you’re playing a game with it raining or snowing, not only does it have to look good, but the gameplay also needs to be there otherwise it is all meaningless substance without any actual reward for playing through the game.

Watch_Dogs

Watch_Dogs

In terms of gameplay for sandbox and war games, I hope this means bigger levels that you can get into and out of. To further elaborate, in current generation consoles you can only enter certain buildings and it is typically not a high amount of buildings. So I hope that we can enter more buildings and make the most of the open world that it gives you. Who doesn’t want to be in one apartment and having a shootout with someone in the complex across the street? It would make for some interesting stuff I think. Along with more areas to go in and raise a little hell, I hope they give us more assets to do it with, such as new guns, and more capacity for holding bullets. Speaking of bullets and weapons, we should be able to see the main character changing clips and magazines on his weapon. I don’t think that is in any of the sandbox games I have played, so adding that would add an element of realism to a game that could benefit from the little things.

I would also like it to have realistic explosions. For example, if I blow up an oil rig or oil tank (which should be possible with the right weapons) I want it to have massive fires and have the fire departments go out to the scene but stay on that situation for a long time putting it out and you can see it slowly get put out over the course of time say 8 minutes (1 hour per minute of gametime like in Grand Theft Auto). And once it is put out there should be burn spots in that location, this would really add to the replay value of the game because it would let you go back and see the carnage afterwards.

I just covered weapons, I didn’t even touch the topics of cars or any other topic that could have been covered here. So lets get into cars real quick, I want to see an improvement in realism in driving for sandbox games on the next generation of consoles. I feel like driving is to easy in sandbox games, granted like in real life I suck at driving in them but still, there seems to be no risk/reward factor for ruining your car. If you car looks like the middle of an accordion then you probably should not be able to 1. operate the vehicle 2. outrun the police, so adding a risk/reward factor would make the game more enjoyable and challenging.

Need for Speed Rivals

Need for Speed Rivals

Also in sandbox games, I feel like the police are to easy to shake off in police chases. I feel more adrenaline when I am being chased on Need for Speed Most Wanted then I do when I am being chased in Grand Theft Auto IV, and it shouldn’t be such a stark contrast. However, maybe sandbox games can take a page from Criterion Games book and add road blocks and spike strips to sandbox games, it would add a new element and it would make the chases a little less predictable. Also missing is proper PIT maneuvers, that or they flat out miss them completely. Surely I think in Grand Theft Auto’s case they do this to add a little humor to their game, but the real laugh is at them. At least it should be.

I would also like to see more on the screen, I would love to be able to play online with hundreds if not thousands of players on the same map, for example, can you imagine playing Saints Row or Grand Theft Auto and having the ability to have a huge number of people on the same map either dressed as police, or as robbers it would be fun and enjoyable to play.

In terms of sports, it isn’t as difficult, they need to add better player physics, for example, if you tap someone from behind by tapping someone in the back on a tackle in football, he should not fall down on his face, he might be slowed down but should be able to regain his footing and keep running. In hockey player physics is going for a hit on a player that is bigger than you and what should happen is a slight bump especially if it is someone like Martin St. Louis hitting a Zdeno Chara, the contact should be light. But what about if Chara is off balance, then St. Louis should be able to at least knock him off his skates. In terms of baseball, one instance is having to players collide if they are both going for the same baseball and don’t make the effort to avoid one another.

I would also like to see realistic bounces of the balls or pucks on the playing surface, this is most prominent in baseball and hockey. In baseball anything can happen to the baseball, it can hit a bag, hit the pitcher, or roll down the line, hit a lip of grass and roll foul. It would be nice if this was better represented. Same can be said for hockey though with the pucks being deflected, blocked, and shot all the time, bounces and flipping in the puck is bound to be happen so I’d like to see it better represented in video games.

Along with ball and puck physics I hope that they can get rid of clipping, which is what happens when an object goes through a human in unnatural ways suck as hockey sticks through hockey players. Really this should be considered minor, but with the consoles new power it would be nice to see this addressed because it isn’t just that, this also happens when pucks hit the post, it hits an invisible space and it bounces out. So it isn’t just a little thing, it can be rather major in some games.

This is just some ideas I’ve had, if I had seen any gameplay in any next generation game I am sure I would have more to add to the list, but I think I did a good job scratching the surface on this issue for now. I am going to do a follow up after E3 to see if these have been implemented in any game and to what capacity, and which games.

Tomorrow is the last part of this series where we will look at the total overall picture of what games I am looking forward to not only for next generation, but this current console generation to.

Can you add to this list? If so what would you add to make the leap from the PS3/Xbox360 to PS4/Xbox One more organic (for a lack of better words) and enjoyable for you moving forward?

Might and Magic now in Open Development, details below

MMX_OPEN_DEV_KEY_VISUAL

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — June 6, 2013 — Today, Ubisoft announced that Might & Magic® X Legacy starts its Open Development phase with the availability of a dedicated section on the game website: http://www.mightandmagicX.com

Through this website, players will be able to join the game development, discuss game features with the developers & other gamers and participate in the creation of a unique dungeon by voting every week and bringing in their own ideas. All this with a simple objective: to develop a video game for the players and with the players.

Limbic Entertainment is an independent game development studio based in Germany and has been a third party developer for Ubisoft for around four years. Thanks to the Open Dev, the team is aiming to share its passion for the Might & Magic brand.

Might & Magic X Legacy is an authentic solo experience in the classic first-person RPG genre, with a turn-based gameplay system. By creating and leading a group of adventurers in and around the exciting city of Karthal, by battling powerful mythical creatures while collecting ancient magical treasures, players will determine the fate of the Agyn Peninsula.

Q & A on the project:

1. What is Might & Magic X Open Dev?

[Gary Paulini] The idea of Open Dev is to develop a video game for the players, with the players and by the players. Players can assist the developer in the game development, discuss features with the developers, vote for certain game elements and bring in their own ideas. We decided to start Open Dev as an experiment on Might & Magic X and we’ll be engaging the community through our dedicated website and forums.

2. Why are we proposing the Open Dev for Might & Magic X?

[Stephan Winter] We have always been working with our community. For Might & Magic X, we started to work with a small group of VIP fans (influential fans within the community i.e. webmaster of a fan website) who have done a great job of influencing the game development and have given great feedback. Recently we have been inspired by the philosophy of indie video-game developers who have defined a new way of presenting their games and entertaining the community, so kudos to them! Therefore, today we want to start collaborating with a larger community and open the door to everyone.

3. What can I do with Might & Magic X Open Dev?

[Hélène Henry] The Open Dev website will allow you to participate in the development of a unique dungeon. Every week you can connect to the Open Dev and vote for a new dungeon feature. Also, you will be able to read exclusive info on the game’s development and comment on it. Access to the forums will allow fans and developers to engage in a shared conversation about the direction of Might & Magic X. Everybody will have his own Open Dev profile which will detail achievements attained in the game for bragging rights on the website!

4. Who is behind Might & Magic X Open Dev?

[Stephan Winter] The Might & Magic X team (a mix between Limbic and Ubisoft people) will keep you updated on almost every detail of MMX development. We are looking forward to introducing our team members to you in the future.

5. How do I access the Might & Magic X Open Dev?

[Gary Paulini] Might & Magic X Open Dev will be open to everyone and accessible through a dedicated link at mightandmagicx.com. If you want to participate, log in with your existing Uplay account or click here to register a new Uplay account.

6. Does this mean you want a DRM or always-online copy protection in Might & Magic X?

[Stephan Winter] No, there will be no “always-online” copy protection! Buy, download, play, that’s it.
However, implementing Uplay is a Ubisoft corporate policy and Might & Magic X – Legacy will not be different from any other Ubisoft title. So yes, Uplay will be in and you’ll need to be online for ONE time activation.

7. What is the influence of Might & Magic X Open Dev on the game itself?

[Hélène Henry] Players who participate in Might & Magic X Open Dev will determine one Dungeon of the game. Moreover you will be able to contribute to mod support, game balancing changes, game design formulas, difficulty settings as well as decide on spotlights for the Open Dev. Inspire us, discuss with us and challenge us!

8. Why can we only vote for one Dungeon? And why can’t we vote for several features of the game?

[Gary Paulini] As this is a new way of working for us, we’ve limited the scope of the Open Dev to a single dungeon for the time being. However, this dungeon will be composed of numerous features that players will determine one by one each week, so contributors will have an input to many aspects of play. This way the dungeon will be proudly named the community dungeon in reference to its contributors!

Gary Paulini: Ubisoft Senior Producer
Hélène Henry: Ubisoft Producer
Stephan Winter: Limbic Entertainment CEO

About Limbic Entertainment
Limbic Entertainment is an independent game development studio based in Germany. Limbic’s core competences are game design, programming, hosting and maintaining games. Since Limbic was founded, the company has released more than 60 product versions, published in more than a dozen languages. Limbic has been a third party developer for Ubisoft for about four years now. Their latest work with Ubisoft was on Might & Magic® Heroes® VI Danse Macabre – DLC and Gold Edition. For more information, please visit http://www.limbic-entertainment.de.

About Ubisoft
Ubisoft is a leading producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products worldwide and has grown considerably through a strong and diversified line-up of products and partnerships. Ubisoft has offices in 29 countries and has sales in more than 55 countries around the globe. It is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge video game titles to consumers. For the 2011-12 fiscal year Ubisoft generated sales of €1.061 billion. To learn more, please visit http://www.ubisoftgroup.com.

PES 2014: The Dawn of a New Era

Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH has revealed that its forthcoming PES 2014 title will mark a new beginning for the popular series, with an all-new engine allowing for the most comprehensive advance for the PES range since its inception 

The PES Productions Team based in Tokyo have been developing a new approach to football for four years and can now confirm their new system uses Kojima Productions renowned Fox Engine at its core. The team have extended and enhanced Fox Engine to match the bespoke and complex demands of a football title.

Based on six founding standards, the new system has allowed every aspect of PES 2014 to be totally reworked, throwing off the shackles of previous limitations and allowing the PES Productions team to produce a game much closer to their vision of recreating the excitement and variety of a top-level match. The central theme of fluidity is based on the constant moving of players and switching positions which characterises the modern approach to football. PES Productions have looked at how matches ebb and flow, with player individuality key to a team’s success, and well-drilled tactics helping underdogs produce giant-killing feats.

Working from the ground up, PES Productions have strived to rework every element of play, creating a fresh and energetic new standard for football titles. In addition to noticeably improved graphics and seamless animation, the thrust of the new system’s power has been used to redefine the way football is played on a home system. Gone are the limitations imposed by dated animation systems and AI elements, and insteadPES 2014 boasts a central core that perfectly mimics the skill and awareness that elevates the world’s greatest players above their peers.

Six central tenets combine to establish PES 2014 as a new benchmark in football simulations, governing everything from the way the player receives and controls the ball, the physicality of play, and the “feel” of match-day: the rush and euphoria or crushing lows that experiencing an important games can bring. As such, the key pillars on which PES 2014 is based are:

  • TrueBall Tech: For the first time in a football simulation, PES 2014 centres everything on the ball: how it moves, and how players use it. First touch and sublime control are what set certain players apart from others. The ability to not only read a pass, but to be one step ahead and to know what is needed to gain yards on an encroaching defender. TrueBall Tech allows the player to trap or knock on a pass using the analogue stick with detailed barycentric physics determining the weight shift of the player and the height and speed of the pass, as to how the player’s body will automatically shape to receive it.

    Thus, the player has total control in determining how their body is angled to receive a pass, whereas previous football titles present the user with scant options. Instead, TrueBall Tech means that it can be chested or nodded past an opponent, flicked into space or to a team mate, while closer dribbling control is a much more personal attribute in the new game.

    The PES series has long since treated the ball as an individual entity, allowing the player huge amounts of freedom to pass into space, run on to a knocked-on counter, or produced short triangular passes to make space. TrueBall Tech adds even more freedom, with the player’s movements worked around those of the ball and, unlike any other football title, as opposed to the other way round. Players will be able to truly control the free-moving ball, use its pace or alter its movement to master close control in PES 2014.

    The result is a game that offers full 360-degree, two-footed control within several yards around the player. In addition to steering the ball with subtle movements, there is the ability to shield the ball from opposing players, use deft controls to wrong-foot them, and intuitive methods to master close control.

  • Motion Animation Stability System (M.A.S.S.): The physical combat between players is a vital part of any match, and the new M.A.S.S. component simulates the bodily contact between multiple players within bespoke animations that segue seamlessly into each other. Rather than a series of preset animations that occur under specific circumstances, M.A.S.S. acts instantly to any situation, with the reaction of a fouled player entirely dependent on the direction and force with which they are tackled. Dependent on factors such as their size and power, players will stumble but instantly recover if clipped, barge others off the ball, and use their stature to block players from possession. Similarly, PES 2014 now has more styles of tackle, as opposed to basic foot in or sliding types.

    Tackling also becomes more integral to PES 2014’s quest for realism, with clashes of players utilising the TrueBall physics to ensure the ball reacts as it would in a real game. As players fight for a 50-50 ball, their result challenge will see the ball bobbling into space, or emerging  at the feet of the triumphant player.

    The integration of the M.A.S.S. element has also facilitated new advances in one-on-one situations. The individual battles between key players can determine the outcome of a match, so particular emphasis has been made on such battles in PES 2014. Defenders will put greater pressure on the attacking player, by tussling for possession, standing back to restrict passing opportunities, or making the tackle. Likewise, attackers are faced with ether trying to outpace the defender while retaining possession, feinting to gain advantage, or passing, dribbling or shooting when space allows. The result allows for incredibly open games, where the attributes and skills of the players come to the fore in personal feuds all over the pitch.

  • Heart: Defining what makes football so engrossing is difficult. It isn’t a technical thing, but more an emotional hook. Matches can be imposing for visiting teams, as home support barracks the opposition, and acts as the infamous “twelfth man” by cheering their side on. PES 2014’s “Heart” aims to recreate the effects of team support, both on an individual player basis and across the entire team.

    Each player in the game now employs mental attributes in addition to playing styles and skills, and can be adversely affected when having a poor game. However, if an individual is not playing well, his team mates can rally round and will work to support him. Similarly, one moment of individual brilliance can produce a galvanising effect on team mates. The cauldron effect of a vibrant stadium will showcase the mood of the fans, with all-new sound effects combining with stunning AI systems to create a palpable match day atmosphere.

  • PES ID: PES 2013 set a new bar for realism, with its inclusion of the Player ID system. For the first time, players could instantly recognise a player by their faithfully recreated running and play styles. The way a player ran, moved and spread the ball about would be identical to that of their real-life counterpart, and PES 2013 featured 50 players that utilised the system.

    For PES 2014, that number will be greatly expanded, with twice as many stars featuring bespoke animations and AI.

  • Team Play: Via the new game’s innovative Combination Play users can set up a variety of different tactics in key areas of the pitch using three or more players. These players will make very different off-the-ball runs to exploit holes in the defence or midfield, using the flanks, curved runs, or overlapping play to make themselves available. These moves can be preset to key areas of the field, allowing users to exploit defensive weaknesses beforehand.
  • The Core: PES Productions have undertaken several years of consultation with PES and football fans to reproduce key elements of the series and implement a wide range of additional improvements.

    Visually, the game will benefit from an incredible level of acuity, from the weave of the kits, through to facial movement, and a new animation process that offers slick segues from one move to the next, with no pauses or restrictions on control. Stadia will be faithful to real-life, with the entrances to the pitches recreated, crowds that move during the course of the game The new system also allows for a new light-mapping effect, adding a natural look to the proceedings. The flow of a match has also been improved, with tactical decisions made on the fly, and the removal of cut scenes after specific events.

    Free kicks and penalties have also been radically changed. Control over free kicks has been expanded with decoy runs added and short passes now unrestricted. To counter, players can now move the position of their keeper for the kick, while the wall will react to the kick instinctively to block or deflect the ball.

    Penalties now use a target guide that is changed according to the kicker’s ability and where they intend to place the ball. The goal keeper can now opt to move ahead of the kick, sensing when the penalty taker is not particularly strong.

PES 2014 will also mark the first appearance of the recently-signed Asia Champions League, adding a wealth of officially licensed clubs to the competition; and the new game will also exclusively retain its use of the UEFA Champions League club competition, with other tournaments expected to be announced shortly.

Further details of PES 2014’s content – including all-new online elements – will follow, but the new game represents a quantum leap from what football fans have been used to.

“Thinking outside the box on an annual series such as PES is not easy,” explained Creative Producer Kei Masuda, “but the Fox Engine has allowed us to develop such a level of freedom that we are constantly realising ways of making PES 2014 a true representation of football. From the moment football fans pick up the controller and experiment with the close control, player movement and get to know how teams work and move, we are confident that they will see a game no longer limited by technology, but capable of growing with them and constantly surprising with the breath-taking quality they have to come to expect from the real thing.”

“All the materials we’re releasing are taken from current platforms and fully in-game, which is at about 70% completion. We want fans to get a true feeling of the actual product they’ll be playing on the console most own this year, not some marketing dream. Our new engine and systems are dedicated to the current generation of platforms, which will continue to be dominant in the market, but are fully scalable for future versions.”

PES 2014 will be released in 2013 on PlayStation®3, Xbox 360®, Windows PC and PSP®(PlayStation®Portable).

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