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Four great games that will be overshadowed this holiday season

The 2015 holiday season is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever with games like Star Wars Battlefront, Halo 5, Call of Duty Black Ops 3, and Fallout 4 on the way. But this huge surge of incredible AAA games on Xbox One, PS4, and PC is making the market tough for other games to record a more than solid Q4.

The aforementioned games may very well be fantastic, but there are others coming that would be top selling games any other year. Here are just a few that gamers can’t forget about.

Just Cause 3

Avalanche Studios seems to have finally perfected the Just Cause formula over the nine years the series has existed. Just Cause 3 (which I got the change to play at NY Comic Con) takes a good look at what fans of the franchise have loved and turns them into more refined features.

The first Just Cause game was on the fringe of being a good game with solid ideas that were made infinitely better in Just Cause 2. The sequel offered better grappling hook mechanics, more destruction in the environment, and a larger world.

And this upcoming third game? It offers better grappling hook mechanics (three-way grappling hook), more destruction (fully destroyable bridges, refineries, and more), and a larger world… and a new feature to keep the gameplay fresh and evolving. A wing-suit has been introduced and in conjunction with the parachute and grappling hook players can virtually fly — pulling themself across the terrain as they glide by.

Just Cause 3 launches December 1 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC retailing at $59.99.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Ubisoft has bordered on the line of oversaturating the market with Assassin’s Creed games, but the quality of them is (normally) worthy of being mentioned in this list. Syndicate brings a slightly darker feel to the excellent Assassin’s Creed engine running things.

Now set in Victorian London just as the industrial revolution changes the landscape of western society, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate looks to have an interesting narrative taking on another setting seldom explored in gaming. Despite the enjoyment fans of the series surely will find in it, this is a prime game to miss it’s target sales numbers (especially considering gamers seem to be growing tired of the year-after-year releases of the games).

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate launches October 23 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Rainbow Six: Siege

Though the recent beta has done a decent job creating some excitement for the first Rainbow Six game since Vegas 2 back in 2008, Rainbow Six: Siege is flying relatively under the radar despite it bringing back the classic realistic/intense style of the franchise to the new generation.

Rainbow Six thrives around player communication and strategy, and gamers looking for something that contrasts to the casual Call of Duty/Battlefield games. Rainbow Six is not a game in position to reach the same level as those games sales-wise simple because of the nature of the game, but any other year this game could be a top 3 game being sought after by way more gamers.

Rainbow Six: Siege is coming to Xbox One, PS4, and PC on December 1.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Microsoft was banking on Rise of the Tomb Raider giving it an advantage in exclusives this holiday season, but with so many multi-platform titles it’ll be tough for Tomb Raider to make a significant dent in the market. There’s no question though that the quality of the game will be fantastic. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition currently available on Xbox One offers one of the best most exciting narratives.

The adventure game has been a consistent icon in gaming — especially with it’s prevalence on the PlayStation 1, and Microsoft would have struck gold if this game was not poised to be overshadowed by other games this holiday season.

Rise of the Tomb Raider releases November 10 with timed exclusivity on Xbox One.


Which of these games are you looking forward to the most during this holiday season?

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PlayStation 4 is finally $349

Early holiday for gamers

It was only a matter of time before Sony delivered the proverbial slice in its flagship console’s price tag from its debut price of $400 to Microsoft’s competing $349 mark.

John Koller, Vice President of Platforms Marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America, announced the console’s first price cut Thursday on the PlayStation.Blog:

“Since the launch of PS4, we have been thrilled with the amount of gamers jumping into the world of PlayStation for the first time. If you haven’t made the jump yet, and you’re starting early on your holiday wish list, I have good news – we’re dropping the price of the PlayStation 4 system in the U.S. and Canada. Starting tomorrow, October 9, you’ll be able to pick up PS4 starting at the new price of $349.99 USD / $429.99 CAD (MSRP).”

This move is geared toward continuing Sony’s reign atop the consoles sales with a slew of interesting holidays bundles hitting shelves in November, some of which include Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Bundle (10/9), Limited Edition Call of Duty Black Ops III 1 TB Bundle, and of course, the mecca of PS4 bundles, Star Wars Battlefront Bundle.

However, if you want to obtain the limited edition Star Wars bundle, which includes the Darth-Vader themed console and DualShock 4, you will still have to shell out $399. But let’s be honest, do you want to argue with the Sith Lord over prices?

PlayStation 4 dominance

The PS4 is simply on fire, currently holding 50 percent of the console market. It has shipped over 25 million units as of July 31 and outsold Xbox in August for the fourth consecutive month. In fact, the PS4 has sold more than the Xbox and Wii U combined.

Xbox head Phil Spencer admitted in an interview with Videogamer, he’s unsure if Xbox could ever catch the PS4.

“You know, the length of the generation… They have a huge lead and they have a good product. I love the content, the games line-up that we have.”

As of October, PS4 console sales are estimated at 25.4 million, passing the original Xbox which sold 24 million worldwide.

Last year, Microsoft marketed the Kinect-less Xbox One for the holiday season as $349 and made the price permanent in January. But although the price change boosted sales for Microsoft, it did not slow down the PS4.

Sony has sold the PS4 for $399 since its launch.

It’s also interesting to note the differences between this generation and last generation.

The Xbox 360 launched with two separate versions — Core ($299) and 20GB model ($399) as well as Sony — $20GB ($499) and 60 GB ($599) — which was a bit pricey.

Xbox proceeded to create Arcade, Pro and Elite versions, each with new price tags. Meanwhile, PlayStation 3 received its first real price cut three in a half years after its launch when Sony introduced the PlayStation 3 Slim 120 GB for $299.

Sony put all its money into its launch and it seems what looked like an interesting race two years ago has turned into a lopsided affair. With the Black Ops III beta being “the most successful beta in the history of the PS4” and an exclusive Star Wars Battlefront bundle being offered only on the PlayStation brand, you can bet PlayStation’s owner base will grow over the holidays.

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The end of Joel and Ellie? New characters a possibility for The Last of Us 2

The Last of Us has made waves as one of the best modern games to ever release and the developers at Naughty Dog have certainly had the idea of a second game in their head since the first title’s launch on the PS3 back in 2013.

In an interview with PlayStation Magazine Naughty Dog’s creative director, Neil Druckman, revealed that Uncharted 4’s development impeded on his and Bruce Straley’s desire to get to work brainstorming the next The Last of Us.

“…we were brainstorming ideas for The Last Of Us 2 with new characters; ideas for TLOU 2 with Joel and Ellie; ideas for a sci-fi game; ideas for a fantasy game, and building prototypes for each one of those ideas. And just as we were getting close to settling or narrowing that list down, we were asked to work on Uncharted 4.”

With a team as small and concentrated as Naughty Dog it’s understandable that The Last of Us has taken a backseat to Uncharted 4, but that doesn’t mean some things are being brewed by the dev. Nolan North, Joel’s voice actor, confirmed the existence of a TLOU 2 last week at MetroCon.

Apparently Naughty Dog wasn’t quite expecting North to talk about the game at all according to Druckman. “…that was kind of a surprise for us for him to say that. I was like “Oh, he knows more than we know [about] what we’re doing next.’ We joked about it afterwards during shoots and stuff.”

North also announced that he has not been approached (yet) for any other work from Naughty Dog besides’ Uncharted 4.

Though with the revelation of these type of stories in the same time frame it’s likely that Naughty Dog truly hasn’t gotten too deep into the TLOU 2’s development. It’s a possibility that not even they know if Joel and Ellie’s story will continue in some fashion in the next game.

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Resident Evil themed third-person shooter to release on PS4 and PC

Capcom’s continued flood of Resident Evil branded games is bringing another title to the market — this time a third-person shooter with faster and more intense action.

Umbrella Corps takes players into the battles and history of the Umbrella Corporation with many of the environments being derived from the Resident Evil universe. The game will be solely multiplayer with team-based battles.

The initial playable demo will give fans and critics the opportunity to play a 3v3 One Life match at the Tokyo Game Show September 17-20.

The game will offer a variety of close-quarter combat game modes all designed for fast-paced gameplay.

“…players can compete online in a variety of unique close quarter battle modes. Each adrenaline-fueled match will be short and brutal and is designed for quick and engaging play.” – Capcom Press release

The title will be a console exclusive on PS4 along with its release on PC.

Umbrella Corps will release in North America and Europe early 2016 and will retail at $29.99.

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Digital gaming is on the rise; up 11% in August

Digital gaming is the future — or perhaps digital gaming is the present. As the disc-based, physical model of video games continues to shrink with the new digital-heavy approach of the Xbox One and PS4 it’s no surprise to see each month the market continue to expand.

SuperData‘s recent analysis shows nearly a billion dollars (exactly $979 million) were spent on digital games in the month of August — an 11% increase from where it was just one year ago.

PC gamers have been a steady source of revenue for digital gaming for many years even before the Xbox One and PS4 consoles with online stores like Steam and Origin.

PC gamers and console gamers accounted for $250 million of the $979 million and with many major titles like Fallout 4, Halo 5, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and more on the way, it’s a fairly safe bet to make this number is only going to go up.

SuperData suggests that this could be the biggest holiday-season yet for the digital gaming industry.

The latest Apple TV also comes into play a bit, and despite the excitement some may have for the additional gaming features in the console the limitations of the platform is far too great for it to take any sizeable chunk of the market.

SuperData explains that “…mobile gamers are just that: they prefer to play on their smartphone or tablet and are ultimately much less likely to switch to a large screen in their living room.”

The expectations for the Apple TV as a gaming console should be set very low. There is a slim-to-none threat of the platform threatening even Nintendo’s WiiU console let alone the major Xbox One, PS4, or PC gaming platforms.

Overall, gaming as a whole is in a fantastic place as a medium with the launch of YouTube Gaming helping popularity stay on it’s skyrocketing pace along with twitch.tv merging the video and interactive media together.

 

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Play Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows on September 17

Yacht Club Games has finally declared when Shovel Knight’s DLC will be released. Every version of Shovel Knight, which includes the 3DS, Wii U, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, and PC, is receiving a free update that will add a new campaign for the game called Plague of Shadows on September 17, 2015.

Read information about the game that Yacht Club Games has on their blog below.

Description

sk_PlagueOfShadows_02Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows is a free expansion for Shovel Knight, a sweeping classic action adventure game that won over 70 Game of the Year Awards in 2014. You play as Plague Knight, the villainous master of alchemy, in a quest all his own. Using his maniacal scientific mind, Plague Knight is seeking to concoct Serum Supernus, the Ultimate Potion. However, to retrieve these ingredients, he must extract them from his
former allies… the villainous knights of the Order of No Quarter! World class platforming, music, storytelling, and art all return in Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows; an explosive quest with a new play style, new story, new bosses, and more!

Features

An adventure featuring a New Star: Plague Knight!plagueKnight010

  • See your favorite game from a new point of view! Play as the explosive trickster Plague Knight with new story and gameplay!
  • Join Plague Knight on his quest to overthrow the Order of No Quarter! Become the ultimate alchemist… and maybe find some romance, too…

New Gameplay

  • Explode onto the scene as Plague Knight! Use explosives, bomb jumps, and alchemy to blast your way through the game in a whole new way!
  • Crafting Comes to Shovel Knight with the Alchemy System! Collect loot and use alchemy to craft equipment and power-ups
  • Collect new recipes and reagents to become the master of disaster!

Remixed Game Content

  • New objectives and enemies!
  • Brand new areas and new paths through classic levels!
  • New bosses!
  • Is your science up to snuff? Take on Plague Knight specific challenges with new Feats!
  • Prove your mettle in Challenge Mode. Take on speed run challenges, boss rematches, and other rule-benders… and expect some tricky puzzles too!

monaPotionarium480Yacht Club Games has also mentioned that you will need to complete the original game before you will be able to play the new campaign and Challenge Modes. However, if you have lost a save file or have repurchased the game on another platform, the developers are willing to offer a special code that unlocks the new content.

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Bethesda boasts depth of Fallout 4 announcing over 111,000 lines of dialogue in game

Bethesda’s games do an incredible job offering an unprecedented level of depth with massive worlds and personality-rich characters (and occasionally an overabundance of launch-day bugs). The upcoming Fallout 4 game from Bethesda is already being named in contention for game of the year with how much content is expected to be in the game and Bethesda’s twitter is adding even more excitement for fans.

Bethesda Game Studios announced that Fallout 4 would have 111,000 lines of dialogue. The preceding RPG Fallout 3 had just 25,000 in comparison and the fantasy RPG Skyrim had roughly 60,000. Both of those games are already heralded as being extremely rich with content.

Putting this in more perspective, Skyrim alone has over 1,000 individual characters and if the lines of dialogue were used in the same proportion of Skyrim, Fallout 4 would have closer to 2,000 individual characters.

However, perhaps one of the biggest aspects of dialogue adding to the massive amount of lines is the fully voiced main character which Bethesda is hoping will help add a more personal and emotional connection between players and the game world.

In an interview with Telegraph it was said that the two main voice actors for the main character — Courtenay Taylor and Brian T. Delaney — recorded 13,000 lines apiece. Without their contributions the lines of dialogue drops down to a tamer 85,000.

Still, the potential of 1,500 unique characters outside the main protagonist should excite fans.

Fallout 4’s November 10 release on Xbox One, PS4, and PC looks prepared to give fans the deepest world since Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind in 2002.

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Latest Mad Max trailer shows off in-game universe

Developed by Avalanche Studios and Warner Bros Interactive, Mad Max is reasonably expected to have a high level of turmoil going by the movie’s standards, and the latest trailer shows off exactly that in its launch trailer.

The game is being run on the same engine as Shadow or Mordor and Batman Arkham Knight so the gameplay is very similar, but the added energetic style with an overabundance of explosions and hand-to-hand combat give Mad Max a very definable and differentiating feel relative to those games.

While the universe is the same as that of the movie, this story takes players through a different narrative. Though Mad Max still “does what he does best” in the game in both combat and car customization — one of the more iconic aspects of the franchise.

The vehicle is a players best friend in this post-apocalyptic open-world desert so Avalanche Studios has been certain to include plenty of options and ways to tinker your car to make it your own.

Mad Max is available now on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, and PC.

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Homefront: The Revolution gameplay trailer showcases game’s progress since last bankruptcy

Homefront: The Revolution has had a rocky history with it’s original owners (THQ) went bankrupt, and then the company they were sold to (Crytek) moved them again due to “internal restructuring.”

Now the game’s developers at Deep Silver have finally come to something resembling a finished product and the latest “Red Zone” gameplay trailer shows off some fantastic visuals for the guerrilla-warfare focused FPS.

While this trailer does run in real time at 1080p, 60 FPS, it’s important to consider that it is run on a PC rather than the Xbox One console like the control scheme shows in the trailer. So the visuals may not look quite as spectacular on Xbox One or PS4, but even if these visuals are simply the height of what the game is capable of it still will look very good on whatever platform players choose.

The combat shows some great interactions between CPU players and the player in an open world, but Deep Silver also suggested in the past they’re hoping for equally immersive online multiplayer.

Combat looks to be smooth and polished with CRYENGINE running things. CRYENGINE boasts not only an excellent engine, but compatibility with Linux and Mac promises great gameplay on every platform.

Homefront: The Revolution is due to release on Xbox One, PS4, PC, Linux, and Mac in 2016.

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Borderlands movie being made by Lionsgate with same “in your face attitude”

2k Games’ Borderlands series has had tremendous success on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation and Lionsgate is hoping that success can translate into a role on the big screen. The movie studio announced in a public statement that they’re working on formatting the FPS for a live-action, feature-length film.

The Creative Director at Marvel, Avi Arad and his brother Ari Arad will be leading the project and both had very positive things to say about the Borderlands franchise in a recent public statement.

“Borderlands has a unique story-driven narrative energy and rich multi-dimensional characters that position it to become a singular motion picture event.”

Two chairmen with Lionsgate, Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger expressed their own positivity as well claiming they have “the right partners” and the “ideal creative team” to lead a Borderlands movie to success.

The positivity is warranted with the success that Avi Arad and his brother have had in the past working on the Ironman, Spiderman, and other Marvel movies.

Two of the most definable characterisitics of the Borderlands games are the cell-shaded art-style which compliments the exaggerated personalities. Both will be a challenge for Lionsgate to adapt for a live action film. The correct use of special effects as well as the best actors to portray whatever story they’d like to present will be crucial in representing the Borderlands universe fairly.

No release frame is yet ready, but the movie is likely at least 2 years away from word on a release.