Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

June 2012

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Sega Set To Close Several Offices Citing Big Losses

June 28, 2012

Ever since the Dreamcast took out Sega's hopes as a console maker, and Sega departed the console wars to focus on making some exciting games--who didn't enjoy Crazy Taxi, especially the full-size arcade cabinet version?--Sega's been somewhat on the decline. The newest word out of Sega doesn't make things any better, and heavily features words like "losses" and "layoffs".

Sega's European arm is looking to close offices in France, Spain, Germany, Benelux and, in an non-European development, Australia as well. No one's sure just how many employees are affected by this development, but any layoffs are tragic all the same.

Sega hasn't had a good run of things in recent years, but they're not without their pluses as well.

Mass Effect's Next DLC Said To Involve Leviathan

June 27, 2012

After just yesterday encountering the newest downloadable content for Skyrim--which, by the way, is every bit as impressive as I'd hoped it would be--it seems another major franchise isn't planning to be counted out. Word is starting to circulate about the next installment of downloadable content, this time for Mass Effect 3. The title in question is said to be called Leviathan, and the plot on it is nothing short of amazing.

Leviathan is rumored to be around a rogue Reaper who manages to spend the better part of a decade indoctrinating a Batarian colony. Naturally, Shepard doesn't much care for this, and as such, will set out to put paid to the rogue Reaper and recover the Batarian colony.

Of course, considering the ending of Mass Effect 3, which for the most part people absolutely despised--me included--it will remain to be seen just how many people will be interested in playing more of a game that already ended terribly.

My Time With The Dawnguard--Skyrim's New Expansion

June 26, 2012

Well, folks, today was the big day, and for those of you who laid down your 1600 points and got signed in, Skyrim's newest expansion Dawnguard awaited you. So far, this has been quite a trip indeed.

First, a bit of background. My character, a gent by the shockingly simple name of Tongs (who will become a character in a book should I finally manage to get the time to write it), is a level 57 character, a master smith with a passion for the Daedric War Axe. It's packing a dual enchantment of setting things on fire and simultaneously stealing souls, and with his free hand, Tongs likes to toss fire around with the Flames spell. Considering that Tongs will be going up against vampires, this should make him more than ready.

When the Dawnguard handed over the crossbow, an old friend I thought long gone from the Elder Scrolls lineup, I was very happy indeed.

Skyrim: Dawnguard Lands Tomorrow--Are You Ready?

June 25, 2012

This is the first time that I've been excited for downloadable content to hit since, well, probably since Lonesome Road. One thing's for sure, the Bethesda lineup has spoiled me rotten, and waiting for Dawnguard has been a long, strange trip that will finally end tomorrow.

My Microsoft Points are ready to go, there's a case of Pepsi cooling in the fridge, and I am ready, folks. More than ready to take on the newest adventure in the Elder Scrolls saga.

Today is a little bit different from the ordinary, as I give you a bit of a history lesson. Way back in the depths of the early 2000s, I had an Xbox. Original Xbox, complete with that whopping great XBOX HUEG controller that everyone complained about, but I never saw a problem with. See, I had big hands.

Resident Evil 6 Drops Huge New Gameplay Video

June 21, 2012

For those of you hoping the Resident Evil series could redeem itself following the disastrous outing that was Resident Evil 5--not to mention the godawful slop that was Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City--Resident Evil 6 is looking pretty sweet indeed. At least, that's the story provided by the recent new gameplay video that emerged around the title.

The gameplay video in question is almost 19 minutes in length, giving users a prime opportunity to get caught up with everybody's favorite Raccoon City police officer turned kind-of mercenary, Leon S. Kennedy. Considering the video kicks off with Leon putting a bullet in the head of a very famous personage turned zombie, you know we're going to be in for one amazing ride.

Indeed, the video showed off some very impressive moves, with Leon taking on a host of zombies in a parking garage, before eventually discovering that the zombie problem was much more widespread than he expected it to be. It was a terrific look, and frankly, I'm hopeful that this new version, with some new inventory management systems and the like, can keep this momentum up and be just as much fun to play as it was to watch.

I'm a little distressed by the setup, however, with Leon blocking large parts of the action by his position on screen, but from the look of things that didn't pose so much of a problem as may be expected.

Lingerie Football League Game May Hit Shelves, Eventually

June 20, 2012

You may not be familiar with this brand name already--or at least, you may not want to admit to being familiar with this brand name already--but for those of you who are, the LFL--the Lingerie Football League--may be making its way to game systems across the United States and beyond.

The current word says that YUKEs, a Japanese developer, has picked up the license to the Lingerie Football League. YUKEs has previously handled some major sports titles like WWE 12 and Undisputed 3, so there's no cause for alarm that a shady lesser developer is going to get claws into this franchise.

In fact, YUKEs' stated goal with this venture is to capture "the essence of the intensity, speed, beauty and on the field action of LFL football", so it sounds about as credible as it can get.

Of course, some might think the concept of a Lingerie Football League video game will wind up as Dead Or Alive: Extreme Beach Football--the jokes I could make about physics on this front are myriad and a little unnerving--but considering the previous record that YUKEs brings to the proceedings, it's a fair bet that, while skin will indeed be visible, it won't be gratuitous. At least not more gratuitous than the concept itself demands.

As to a release date for the Lingerie Football League game, well, there's not one of those out so far. Though it's a fair bet that it will make its way to shelves at some point, it's likely going to be an object of at least some controversy when it actually makes its play.

Beyond: Two Souls Looks To Add More Star Power

June 19, 2012

For those who aren't yet convinced that video games aren't an art form, there's one thing that might fill the bill. There's word out there that Beyond: Two Souls is looking to add another fairly big name in voice acting, specifically, Willem Dafoe.

Dafoe, who is probably most recognizable as Norman Osborn in the Spider-Man series, is apparently in talks to play an as yet undetermined role. Naturally, Sony wasn't talking about just what was going to happen with this one--when asked by the folks at Joystiq, Sony said that they didn't comment on rumors--so the exact nature of Dafoe's involvement in the game is as yet unknown, and may never come to light.

Still though, between this and earlier reports that Ellen Page was looking to come onboard, it gives the video game industry a little extra note of gravitas.

Xbox 720 Release Date, More Possibilities Come To Light In Leaked Document

June 18, 2012

A new document has recently come to light about the potential future of the Xbox 720, and if even half of it actually comes to pass, the way we think of gaming is about to be fundamentally changed, and sooner than we may expect.

The document, a hefty fifty six page affair, spells out some very impressive points about what should be expected with this one, and perhaps the biggest point of all: pricing and release dates. According to the document, which has since been slapped with some legal action on Microsoft's part, we can expect the next Xbox to show up sometime in 2013, and will sell for $299. It will come with support for Blu-ray, 3D, concurrent apps, and an impressive hardware loadout including either six or eight ARM or x86 cores running at two GHz each.

That by itself is unexpected; some earlier projections had put the new Xbox version to hit sometime in 2015, and seeing a console launch at $299, after seeing many consoles launch at $500, is a definite surprise.

Rifftrax Branches Out into Video Games

June 14, 2012

For those familiar with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew, and the downright tragedy that was their final few seasons, you may already be familiar with Rifftrax, the clever end-run they pulled around the copyright system. Now, they've expanded the Rifftrax system to, of all things, video games.

Rifftrax was a system that allowed the guys behind it to make fun of modern films in the grandest MST3K tradition by, instead of watching a movie and mocking it, releasing  separate MP3 files to be played on a completely different device in tandem with the movie itself. The effect worked very well indeed, but then, they discovered the video game market, and promptly went to town.

A montage of titles tackled included something from the Mega Man franchise, specifically Mega Man 8, (today's special episode: Mega Man hits a wino with his car), a bit of Final Fantasy X, some of Sonic's horrendous new game, and more besides. Developed in conjunction with the crew out at Joystiq, the combination managed to hit just ahead of the E3 event, which is why we're taking a look at this one now.

It's a clever idea in no uncertain terms, and it's great to see the MST3K guys back for more fun.

Max Payne 3 Cheaters Get Lockdown In Cheater's Jail

June 14, 2012

We've seen a lot of different ways to take on cheaters. We've seen games that suddenly and horribly ratchet up difficulty levels, we've seen direct ejections, we've seen direct objections complete with humiliation. But Max Payne 3 is going to do something a whole lot more interesting with cheaters, specifically, it's going to put them on ice for a while in a good old fashioned cheater hoosegow.

Basically, should a user be found using modded games, hacked saves, or any other measure designed to gimmick the leaderboard, they'll be shipped off to what's being called the Cheater's Pool, where they'll be able to continue playing...but only against other cheaters. There will, however, be an opportunity for users to recover and get back into the mainstream, but those who get sprung from the Cheater's Pool into mainstream gamer society and then cheat again will be permanently locked into the Cheater's Pool, where they will never again be permitted to play with anyone besides cheaters ever again.

This may well be one of, if not the, most innovative way I've ever heard to counter the cheating scourge.

Diablo 3 Brings The Deals With A Real-Money Auction House, Now Live

June 12, 2012

The concept of gold farming has, alternately, amazed and horrified me by turns. I love the thought of people being able to make money by playing video games, by finding things and offering them up for sale so people can cut down on the time spent questing and grinding levels. While the exchange rates have been less than accommodating, perhaps even less than the game makers themselves who have cracked down aggressively on the sale of in-game items. Diablo III, meanwhile, has embraced the concept with a real-money auction house, and has just brought it online.

In order to use this service, however, users will have to have an authenticator tied to their account.

Halo 4 Brings Back An Old Friend--Or An Old Disappointment

June 11, 2012

Halo 4, which made its grand appearance out at E3 not too long ago, just got a little bit of extra information released about it. The news is not good for those who were hoping for more civility in gaming, but for those who were longing for the ultimate expression of pwning noobs, then your wait is over.

Yes, once again, the gentle art of teabagging has returned to Halo, as Halo 4 lets Master Chief once again squat repeatedly over defeated foes, as too will anyone else who defeats an enemy. But it's actually somewhat different than it's been in previous installments.

343 now refers to the practice as "victory crouching", but in perhaps the strangest measure, players will actually have the option to turn it off should they find the practice distasteful. So while everyone will be able to teabag--er, I mean, "victory crouch"--their opponents, all of said opponents will have the option to not witness the act.

Beyond: Two Souls Brings New Star Along

June 7, 2012

While many have found this year's E3 show to be underwhelming to say the least, there have still been some exciting bits to slip out for general consumption. Perhaps one of the most interesting comes out around the upcoming release of Beyond: Two Souls, and just who will be handling voice over duties for the upcoming title.

Beyond: Two Souls is already being compared to Heavy Rain, so fans of the psychological thriller kind of game should be in for a treat. As for the plot, the early word suggests that it's going to follow a young lady named Jodie Holmes, who has a special gift, if you can call it that. She's got a friend she calls Aiden, and the best way to describe Aiden is that he's "a powerful presence" that can follow instructions and interact with the physical world.

Watch Dogs Will Hit Both PS3 & Xbox 360, Says Developer Report

June 6, 2012

One of the biggest moves to come out of E3 has to be Watch Dogs, and while this quirky little idea that smacks of the weirdest in tinfoil-hat phenomena may have been a big hit at the show by itself, the more exciting news has to be about just where you'll be able to catch all this sweet sweet drama. The good news here is that, no matter what console you favor you'll be able to get in on this one yourself.

The reports have come in from the developers that the demo that hit E3 ran on the PC, but it will also make appearances on the Xbox 360 and PS3, and there's even some suggestion that a Wii U version may well hit later on. But that's only a suggestion at this point, as it's still said to be "up in the air".

The thing about Watch Dogs is that it's largely unlike many previous titles.

Nintendo Gets Some Attention With E3 Showing

June 5, 2012

With Nintendo's show finally in the bag, and many of the major E3 events concluded, it's worth checking out the rundown and figuring out where exactly the industry is looking to go as a result. For Nintendo, at least in the short term, the news is pretty good. But it may not stay good for long.

The big news that came alongside Nintendo's show was the revelation that, at launch, the Wii U would have both Mass Effect 3 and Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. Additionally, which came as little surprise to those involved, a new Mario also made its appearance and looked pretty sharp, bringing back some of that retro Mario feel as well as bringing in some new improvements.

While this is a fairly robust launch picture, it's impossible to note that these are last-gen titles, except for the new Mario.

Microsoft's More Of The Same E3 Event

June 4, 2012

It's E3. And that's the time when all the newest games and all the newest hardware modifications and whatnot make their grand debut. And this afternoon, I was watching the Microsoft event live, via the glory that is streaming video. And while for the most part I wasn't unhappy with what I saw, there was nothing particularly impressive about it either.

Microsoft showed off some less than spectacular fare, some refinements for their Bing-based entertainment center system (which is terrific and all, but so much of what would be free if it were accessed via PC suddenly costs just because you plan to go through Xbox), a tablet-based system called SmartGlass that was reasonably interesting in its own right, and of course, a slew of games.

While many gamers will find something enjoyable in the stack that Microsoft showed off--EA's lineup was predictably heavy on the sports games involving numbers like FIFA 13 and Madden 13--me, I wasn't blown away.

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