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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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January 2016

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Can Conan Hack It In The Open World?

January 28, 2016

It seems like it wasn't so long ago that the immortal Robert Howard character Conan took a run at the video game market, going after the MMO market specifically. Now, it's trying another tack after the first round didn't work out so well, making a run at the open world market instead. Can Conan pull off a win in a world full of such titles?

Made by Funcom, the game is set to be called "Conan Exiles," and allows characters to "survive, build and dominate" as barbarians in a vast open landscape. Players will be able to enjoy single-player action if they'd rather be a lone barbarian, or if a more team-based environment is their speed, public and private servers alike will be on hand for gamers to combine forces against the wilds, and presumably, each other.

The game will get an early-access release this summer, reports say, followed up by a PC and console launch to follow.

Not bad, says I, but there are still more than a few unanswered questions vis-a-vis the whole thing.

Hoping for Word on Fallout 4 Mods? The Word of the Day is Soon.

January 26, 2016

Soon. Yes, soon. That's the word of the day when it comes to Fallout 4 mods, at least as reported via Twitter. Bethesda's got some plans to talk about Fallout 4 mods, and they're planning to spill the beans on this one soon, which is good news for those who've been in something of a drought of Bethesda word for a while now.

Fallout 4 is still impressing a lot of people, and little things are coming to light. The big points, however, like when console mods will finally arrive and when the DLC will start up in earnest, are a little less clear.

Overkill's The Walking Dead Gets Long-Term Bump Back

January 25, 2016

Bad news for those hoping for a good Walking Dead game that isn't episodic in nature; the Overkill release of The Walking Dead has been shifted clear back to the second half of 2017. While this isn't bad news in isolation, it's still a blow for anyone who was hoping for that sweet zombie-blasting action any time soon.

The good news is that the game will come with a little extra investment push; reports note that Starbreeze, the game's publisher, picked up a hefty $40 million in investment from Korean game maker Smilegate. Starbreeze gets to develop, publish and distribute the latest Crossfire title from Smilegate, and given that Crossfire has around 500 million users to date, that's a pretty big score. Plus, Starbreeze can in turn bring both PayDay 2 and The Walking Dead to Asian markets with Smilegate's distribution platform, which opens up a whole new market.

Xbox One System Update Puts New Focus on Social

January 20, 2016

A new year, a new system update; granted, we're about three weeks into the new year, but it's soon enough for a fresh system update for the Xbox One. So what's inside this exciting new system update? A big chunk of social development, reports say.

With the new update, reports note, users will be able to check on the contents of a party before joining it, to see if any names look familiar. Additions to the Achievements section include a new leaderboard for Gamerscore figures, which will allow users to show off just how big a Gamerscore they have against that of their friends. Pins on the Home screen can be rearranged, and the pins can even be launched offline.

The activity feed gets an update, as does a new ability to more readily join a Twitch broadcast in progress.

Things The Division Won't Have at Launch

January 19, 2016

There's some bad news afoot for those who are looking forward to March for reasons other than the likely end of "arctic air" events; new reports suggest that there will be a few things not arriving in The Division when it launches. While there should be more than enough to keep gamers happy for some time, the losses will no doubt be felt.

First thing that won't be arriving? Brooklyn. Yes, one of New York's favorite boroughs won't be making an appearance in the beginning of the game.

Final Fantasy XV Difficulty A New Twist

January 18, 2016

Final Fantasy games have long been known for changing things, such that sequels seldom looked much like their predecessors. The difference between Seven and Eight was about the same as the difference between Eight and Nine, just for an example. Final Fantasy XV, meanwhile, will likewise have a new twist to it: difficulty that can be changed almost on the fly depending on how you fight.

It's all about the battle modes, said designer Takizawa Masashi. Masashi noted that switching between different battle modes was essentially the same as changing difficulty levels, with action gamers given the ability to come out swinging, but those who preferred a slower-paced affair could engage in that kind of slower combat to taste.

That's novel, and in a series that's pretty much been defined by its novelty--for better or for worse--to pull off something particularly unique is not only unusual, it's also noteworthy.

An Early Look at Dying Light's New Expansion

January 13, 2016

While Dying Light was one of those games you can take or leave--at least, as far as I was concerned it was--the upcoming expansion is looking pretty sharp. Out at IGN they had an early look at the new expansion, "The Following", and while it looks fairly similar to the last go-round, it's got enough new to it to catch some eyes.

Crawling around sewers, through jungles and caves, all of this provides a sort of sense of size to things. Word is that this game is actually the same size as the original game, so there won't be any "Horse Armor" regrets with DLC here. It will even come with a new difficulty mode that's got a little extra juice in it, titled appropriately enough, Nightmare Mode.

The plot looks interesting enough, which is good, and when coupled with the size of the game, the good news for Dying Light fans is that this should be more of the same, and that's good news.

What Delayed Scalebound?

January 12, 2016

For those looking forward to Scalebound like I was, there's some bad news afoot, as the plans to release the title in 2016 have gone up in smoke. Word from Platinum Games says that the title is going to take a bit longer than expected, and it should now make its appearance in 2017.

Essentially, the concept is simple; Scalebound wants more time to add all the critical features it wants to bring to the table. The company cited "innovative features" and "thrilling gameplay experiences," though these are the kinds of things that gaming companies always suggest are on hand.

Scalebound won't be keeping things under wraps for 2016, though; reports suggest that the studio's planning to drop fresh information about Scalebound over the course of the year. Given that we really only saw this game emerge starting at last year's E3, a little delay isn't all that out of line.

Homefront: The Revolution Release Tipped For Release

January 11, 2016

The open world gaming revolution carries on in earnest, and new titles like Homefront: The Revolution are slated to hit and give us more to enjoy. A new tip has emerged about a potential release date for this title, and those interested may get it sooner than expected.

The new word came in from Target, of all places, who had set out $1 reservation cards, a kind of pre-order system with a minimal deposit that keeps a copy reserved in advance. This card, in turn, actually lists the game's release date in two separate spots: once just above the graphic, and a second time near the bottom of the card. It also informs buyers that those putting down the dollar get a free $5 gift card with purchase of card and game.

The date on the card, meanwhile, was May 17.

This is actually not too far off from what was heard previously, so the idea of a May rollout isn't out of line.

CES 2016: SteelSeries' Rival 700 Contains Strange New Feature

January 6, 2016

It would be easy to forget that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) event is taking place, but with this comes not only a flood of magnificent new consumer gadgets, but also a great new set of items for the gamer community. One of the first such items out of the gate is SteelSeries' Rival 700, a gaming mouse with one big--and strange--new feature.

The SteelSeries Rival 700 offers zero hardware acceleration, as well as an optical sensor that allows for one-to-one tracking accuracy, the perfect thing for those who need high precision. Resolution settings are adjustable, going to 16,000 counts per inch, and as little as one millisecond response time for essentially lag-free operations. It can track movement speeds as high as 300 inches per second, and even boasts a removable sensor module, allowing gamers to move to multiple options like a laser sensor later on.

Activision Blizzard Lands Major League Deal Buying Major League Gaming

January 5, 2016

It had been rumored for some time that Activision Blizzard was out to get its hands on Major League Gaming, and the official word arrived on Monday that the deal had been done. With this acquisition, reports suggested, Activision Blizzard was out to create no less than "the ESPN of eSports." Can it pull off such a feat, or is this doomed to disaster from day one?

Activision Blizzard will have plenty to work with, reports note, including as CEO Bobby Kotick put it, " incredibly strong and seasoned team and a thriving community."  Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard will be bringing in its "strategic position in competitive gaming," which will likely only be improved by the acquisition of MLG.

Earlier reports suggesting that MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni had left the company were proven false, as the Activision Blizzard reports noted that it was "...excited to add Sundance and the entire MLG eSports team," meaning layoffs were few, if any, which is always good news.

We all know that eSports has been on a rapid expansion upward in recent months, with loads of new players, new viewers, new sponsors and big new prize pools. With Activision Blizzard behind it--still holder of the biggest franchise around in World of Warcraft--it should be a great boost to MLG's already impressive fortunes. Just what Activision Blizzard will do with its new property is as yet unclear, but it's a safe bet we'll see a lot more Activision Blizzard games involved in the mix, and even some more promotion.

Ark: Survival Evolved--A Minecraft Killer?

January 4, 2016

The Xbox Game Preview program has brought out some interesting advance looks at some unexpected titles, and one of the most exciting just recently arrived. It's "Ark: Survival Evolved," and console gamers are getting their first taste of a game that may well be a better Minecraft than Minecraft itself.

If you haven't tried this game yet--and console gamers can get a time-defined trial, about an hour, I think, at no charge--you should. Players wake up on an unfamiliar stretch of beach with a strange gem set into their forearms. While the beach itself is beautiful, strewn with stones, trees, rocks, bushes and shrubs aplenty, it's also clearly hazardous, populated with dinosaurs and stranger things.

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