April Fools: Valve Signs Console-Exclusivity Deal With Nintendo

In what might be the most game-changing agreement to ever hit the industry, Valve and Nintendo have announced an deal that will make the Wii U the only place to play console ports of Valve games, including the upcoming Dota 2, Counterstrike: Global Offensive and “any future Half-Life or Portal episodes”. No word on how much Nintendo paid for this deal but it signals that they are serious about reaching out to the hardcore gamer demographic that critics maintain have largely been abandoned by the Japanese superpower.

Valve head Gabe Newell said in a statement, “Nintendo is always pushing the industry to new and exciting places and we at Valve like to think we do the same. By pushing together, perhaps we can usher in a new era of quality gaming on both PCs and consoles.” Mr. Newell also went on to say that, “Nintendo doesn’t care about high-powered graphics and neither do we. It’s a perfect fit for us and we look forward to blowing everyone’s minds with what we have to show at E3.”

Valve made waves last year with Portal 2’s feature that allowed Playstation 3 owners to play the game’s co-op mode with PC gamers, but this news far surpasses that innovative feature. There were rumors that Valve itself was looking to get into the console business, but it appears they are happy to enter into a marriage with Nintendo rather than go to the party stag. I’m pretty stunned and as a console-only gamer, it puts the Wii U at the top of my list of consoles to buy. What say you?

50 Ways Assassin’s Creed 3 Will Amaze You

assassins-creed-3

Assassin’s Creed 3, the first game since the 2009 title to make an acutal numerical leap, looks to be making a lot of impressive changes to the formula. If you’ve been worried about AC3 and whether or not it will breath new life back into the franchise, take heart, because this list of 50 Assassin’s Creed 3 facts posted by Kotaku will give you the biggest of mind boners.

The article goes over all the different features being adding in to AC3 including how the game’s two towns, New York and Boston, will work, and it details the hunting that the player will be able to engage in. It also describes how you can assassinate a bear, and if that doesn’t sound like Game of the Year material to you, you need to get your brain checked.

In addition to these juicy details, there’s also some stuff that only hard-core developers or engine-fanatics would find interesting, like the amount of bones in the character’s faces and that fact that Assassin’s Creed 3 will have “twice the production capacity of the Ezio trilogy”. There’s also a lot of stuff about how new protagonist Connor will strike from the trees and how he will get involved with the Assassin Order, so even if you’re kind of “meh” on AC3 I still recommend checking this list out.

What do you guys think of the list? What are your favorite segments? Anything that worries you? What are you hoping to see in Assassin’s Creed 3?

Source – Kotaku

The Banner Saga: A New Kickstarter Challenger

Although it’s already starting to become cliche just how many people are using Kickstarter to fund any damn thing in the world (why do people need $30,000 to produce a podcast – seriously), every now and then a project will rise above all the noise and show us something very cool.

On the heels of Double Fine’s Adventure game, The Banner Saga, by Stoic, promises us a Strategy RPG title, made by industry veterans, which happens to feature a mature story and some truly breathtaking art. Seriously, just the visuals alone were enough to sell me on the project, before even reading any of the impressive facts about it. I’ll let you watch the trailer.

The game is scheduled for release in June 2012, and just $10 nets you Chapter 1 of the game. I have to say, the whole thing really has impressed me, and I’ll probably be throwing some support their way – plus, it’s based in Texas, which is awesome.

What are your guys’ thoughts on The Banner Saga? How do you feel about the new fad of putting everything on Kickstarter? Go!

Source – The Banner Saga on Kickstarter

Borderlands 2 Promises Pimped-Out PC Version

borderlands 2 pc version

If you’re like me and you played the original Borderlands on the PC then you were probably disappointed by how much the game reeked of “console-itis”. The signs of a hasty port were everywhere and the game suffered for it. With a new Borderlands on the horizon, Gearbox decided to kick their PC support into overdrive and threw up a love-letter from everybody’s favorite (sarcasm) robot Claptrap, listing the features that will be in the PC version of Borderlands 2.

While this is a very nice gesture on behalf of Gearbox (and I hope they carry all this over to their other release this year, Aliens: Colonial Marines) it just strikes me as how odd it is that features that should be included on the PC SKUs of games like FOV sliders and offline LAN support are now considered to be extras by the developers. If anything demonstrates how far down the chain PC gaming is in terms of priority these days, it’s this.

Sure, a lot of the items on the list are things that PC gamers take for granted, but we just don’t get that kind of support these days. Usually these things are added in by mods, so at least Gearbox is taking the time to add that to the game.

What do you guys think of Borderland 2’s promised PC version? Does it get your engine running? What do you think of these features now being considered “bonuses” of a kind? Go!

Source – Borderlands 2 website

Diablo III Has a Release Date

Diablo 3

Zounds! After a week of nothing but Mass Effect 3 ending talk, it seems that there’s finally some news worth posting about — Diablo III launches on May 15th. So two months from today, PC gamers everywhere will be enjoying the great tastes of hack-n-slash dungeon crawling that have been missing since Diablo II came out in June of 2000. Almost a dozen years, gents.

While there was originally a lot of clamor about the art style of Diablo III and some bickering about whether or not it would see the console light of day, all that seems to have died down in recent months. I’ve had a chance to play literally just a few minutes of the beta, but plan on playing a little more now that the game has a proper date. Needless to say, I’ve been missing this type of game for years now – it’s strange that nobody’s really done it as well as Diablo II has all those years ago.

So now, the big question: is anyone else as pumped about this as I am? Who’s going to be grabbing this on day one? Go!

Source – VG247

Today’s WTF: The Petition to Change Mass Effect 3’s Ending

mass effect 3 endingWell, here it is people. The point where I begin my slow descent into quitting video games. I’ve moaned about the entitled attitudes of gamers before, but this absolutely takes the cake. Mass Effect 3 hasn’t even been out a damned week and there’s already a petition to get BioWare to change the ending of the game.

I haven’t beat the game yet (I’m holding out until my Galactic Readiness is 100% in every sector) but I have heard some grumblings about the less than satisfactory way the Mass Effect trilogy wraps up. Sure, not every trilogy has a perfect ending, but demanding that the developers change their vision is a new one.

So far I’m really enjoying Mass Effect 3, even if I have problems with it. The game doesn’t exactly put its best foot forward but the further you get into the game the better it gets and some of the missions are really fun. True, some of the side missions are pretty boring “horde” scenarios but it’s not that big a deal.

I’m trying really hard to avoid spoilers which is why I’m linking to the Kotaku post instead of the actual poll on BioWare’s social site. I looked at the poll and almost spoiled myself, so I’m mad at these Gandalfs for more than one reason. I mean, how would BioWare change the ending? It wouldn’t be in a free patch, that’s for sure. What do you guys think about this? Do you have a (spoiler-free) opinion on the ending?

Source – Kotaku

Project KARA Demo Shows Off the Uncanny Valley

Have we reached the Uncanny Valley yet, gentlemen? The place where robots or animation start to get creepy, because of the way they mimic life but happen to be just off? Who knows, but some of the results on the way there are interesting to watch.

Quantic Dream, creators of Heavy Rain, just debuted a new tech demo at GDC this week known as Project KARA, the story of a robot/AI that accidentally becomes self aware during production. Unlike their last project, KARA was created by use of full performance motion capture, rather than separate body/facial animation capture. The quality of the performance is rather impressive (even if the writing always isn’t) in this piece – and what’s more impressive is that all of this is being handled in real time through the PS3.

Cage has noted that this isn’t tied to a specific project at all, but rather a demonstration of where they’d like to go with their next project. What do you guys think of this short? Uncanny Valley territory? Impressive? Lame? Go!

GamerSushi Asks: Mass Effect 3 Roll Call?

Mass Effect 3

Huh. Things were super quiet on the GamerSushi front yesterday. I wonder why that could be… Who knows, but I do hear that this science fiction role-playing game called Mass Effect had its trilogy-ending release drop yesterday. I’m not sure, but I think it was kind of a big deal – although none of us were playing it.

OK, you got me. I totally know what Mass Effect 3 is. I’m sure I had you guys fooled, but you are much too cunning. Anyway, Mass Effect 3 arrived yesterday to much rejoicing from gamers all over the world, and this one in particular. To say that I love the Mass Effect series is nowhere near the proper amount of statement required for a set of games that I feel has defined my console-playing experience this generation. Say what you will about the choices Bioware has made, but I adore this series, its atmosphere and its well-crafted universe.

My guess is that plenty of you do, too – if my friends list was any indication. When I signed on nearly everybody on it was partaking in Mass Effect 3 in some way, shape or form, and I couldn’t help but get that twinge of release-day giddiness. There’s nothing quite like all sharing in the same experience collectively. While I didn’t get to play as much as I wanted yesterday, I managed to get past the intro and subsequent first mission, and I have to say that I’m a fan of the gameplay changes so far. I didn’t have the weird bug that some are having involving the migration of their old Shepard, so that was all fine for me. Can’t wait to jump back in tonight.

So it’s time for a roll call, fellas and ladies. Who got Mass Effect 3? How much did you play yesterday? Did any of you deal with that save file character issue? What are your spoiler-free thoughts?

Assassin’s Creed 3 Reveal Trailer Shows Tree Running

Get it, because it’s called “free-running” but it’s in trees? Ah, never mind. UbiSoft just released the official reveal trailer for Assassin’s Creed 3 showing our new hero Connor (nee RatohnhakĂ©:ton) tearing apart a British patrol then watching a battle between the Redcoats and the Continental Army. This trailer is supposedly all in-engine, making it even more impressive. The fluidity of motion promised for the hand-to-hand combat also comes through in this video with Conner recreating the forest scene from The Patriot to some extent.

Well, I’m sold. It’s kind of funny how life works in regards to what I write on this site and what things happen in the games industry. At any rate, what do you guys think about the Assassin’s Creed 3 trailer? Does it give you more hope for the newest entry? Any secrets that you noticed?

First Halo 4 ViDoc Shows the New Chief and Multiplayer

Microsoft’s internal Halo studio, 343 Industries, just released the first developer documentary for this fall’s Halo 4. I know that just yesterday I posted about avoiding the gaming hype cycle, but this is our first full look at the new Master Chief and the visual direction of Halo 4 as well as a peek at multiplayer. While I expect that we’ll be seeing one of these a month until launch (at least), getting our eyes on the Chief’s new suit is worth it.

Halo 4 definitely has its own style going for it and the Chief seems to have undergone a major revision since we last saw him in Halo 3. One of 343’s talking points is that they wanted the Mjolnir armor to feel like part tank and part fighter jet, sleek yet imposing. I’m also really digging the design of the Spartan IVs that we’ll be controlling in multiplayer. The whole new look also comes off as very “Mass Effect” to me with the segmented armor plates and carbon fiber patterns. What do you guys think of our first look at Halo 4? Feeling the stirrings of desire? Can 343 actually pull this off?

Rumor: Is Valve Working on a Gaming Machine?

Valve Steam

We should really start taking points or placing bets on the things that we spitball on the GamerSushi Show. Eventually, we’d make ourselves some money or score some major Internet achievements or something. As it is, it’s nice when news comes out that we’ve already discussed.

The particular news item I’m referencing at the moment would be that of the rumored Valve gaming console, which has taken tech and gaming sites by storm over the weekend. The Verge wrote of this rumor just the other day, when writer Joseph Topolsky reported that Valve has in fact been working on a game machine for the living. While some are calling this a “console”, it actually sounds more like an affordable PC gaming rig, with Steam at its core. Continue reading Rumor: Is Valve Working on a Gaming Machine?

Assassin’s Creed 3 Will Revolutionize America

assassins creed 3 box art

The video game industry is as sound as a sinking ship, it seems, as every big title gets broken before its official announcement date. We’ve known about the existence of Assassin’s Creed 3 for a long time, but now we’ve got the official image of the new Assassin and a time period.

Assassin’s Creed 3, coming out this fall, will take place during the American Revolution UbiSoft revealed today on the heels of various websites leaking art assets for the upcoming threequel. While our new protagonist doesn’t have a name, the rumor is that he is Native American, a theory that is supported by his chosen weapons of bow and arrows and a tomahawk. The box art shows the Assassin wearing a time-period white military jacket pinning a British soldier to the ground, so we can make a pretty good guess as to what his allegiance will be.

The current release date for Assassin’s Creed 3 is October 30, 2012 with more information about the title coming March 5. What do you guys think of this announcement? Are you down for a new time period? Are you a little pissed that Desmond will spend yet another game spinning his wheels?

Source – Game Informer

Killzone 3 Multiplayer Goes Free to Play

Killzone 3 Multiplayer

Well played, Sony.

While there are a number of troublesome trends in the video game industry (as many of you have noted in the Mass Effect 3 DLC discussion), every now and then someone just gets it right. I think because of the anti-consumer nature of the industry at times, it becomes that much more potent when a company does something on our behalf, or something that goes against the grain.

Today, Sony launched a totally free version of Killzone 3’s multiplayer mode for download on PSN. Yes, Killzone, one of their staple franchises. You can play the game with friends, kill random strangers, and even rank up – although past a certain point you’ll need to pay money for continued experience and trophies. Again, that’s hours of entertainment for the grand total of free ninety-nine.

To me, this is a bold and brilliant move by the company that just a few years back tried to tell us their Heavenly Sword player was worth a staggering fee of $599 with a straight face. This is basically the equivalent of Microsoft announcing that Halo: Reach’s multiplayer was going free to play. Obviously, the business side of this is that Sony hopes that it will encourage gamers to buy DLC packs, maps and so forth, but I think the results will be interesting to watch. A number of MMOs didn’t become profitable until they went free-to-play, so I can only guess that this will have a positive effect for Killzone 3 as well.

What do you guys think of this decision? Would you like to see other companies pull something similar with their big franchises? Go!

Source – CVG

The GamerSushi Show, Episode 42: My Videogame Girlfriend

Welcome back to the GamerSushi Show, ladies and gents. Due to some scheduling and life stuff, we’ve gotten a tad behind on releases, so this episode was recorded a few weeks back – on Anthony’s birthday, no less. Because of that, Mr. Taylor skipped out to go celebrate getting a year closer to death, while the rest of us drank things and talked about video games.

The main topics we discussed were the Mass Effect 3 demo, fixing the Zelda franchise and great endings. Beyond that, we play a game of Buy/Sell about topics like Team Ninja, Apple gaming and more – all of which result in my inevitable and recurring victory, as always.

Listen up! Rate! Be merry! Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Episode 42: My Videogame Girlfriend

Mass Effect 3: From Ashes and Why We’re To Blame for DLC

mass effect 3 from ashesI was on the fence about posting an article about the whole Mass Effect 3: From Ashes brouhaha, but an article I read over on Forbes’ website changed my mind. The article is called “Why the Exploitation of Gamers is Our Own Damn Fault” and in it author Paul Tassi examines the recent trend in DLC which, instead of being an expansion pack model, seems more like content cut from the complete game and dolled out piecemeal after launch.

While he makes a couple of statements I don’t particularly agree with, he is right in saying that we’re to blame for current DLC. As he points out, everything that’s happening with post-launch content is an economic experiment. As much as we complain about being “exploited” people are still buying products, so once again money is trumping our outcry.

The title of the article is more than a little sensationalist, but the message underneath it is sound. EA only cares about money and they’re testing us to see how far they can go. For every person who buys From Ashes on day one, that’s another chink in the armor of the old-school method of selling games.

For those of you who are interested, Total Biscuit offers an opposing viewpoint to Mr. Tassi in a video where he explains why he thinks BioWare has gone too far with Mass Effect 3.

I think pinning the blame on BioWare is unfair, but there you have it. Two different opinions regarding this whole debacle. Personally, I don’t see what the big fuss is about From Ashes. It’s extra content for people who have paid an extra 30 dollars to get the Collector’s Edition of Mass Effect 3, and it’s available for people who didn’t, or couldn’t given the rarity of the CE, pick one up.

So what do you guys think about From Ashes? Who’s right, Paul Tassi or Total Biscut? Are you boycotting Mass Effect 3, or is this whole thing being blown out of proportion?

Source – Forbes Online, Total Biscuit

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 41: ‘I’ for I Don’t Care

Welcome, friends, to Episode 41 of the GamerSushi Show, in which we say silly things about video games. As opposed to the rest of our podcasts, which are only super srs in nature. This thing was actually recorded all the way back on February 9, so you can listen to it with amusement and think about how wrong and naive we were all those weeks ago. Oh, the things we’ve learned since then. The places we’ve been. The games we’ve played. It was a different time.

Anyway, you’ll hear a couple of the technical difficulties that we had throughout this cast. Namely, that our Internet connections were goofing with the Skype call, making us sounds like robots every now and then. In addition, I had nearly a whole bottle of wine throughout the recording, so I just gradually transform into a troll over the course of it.

When we’re not robots, however, you’ll notice a number of sweet gaming topics, which range from Kingdoms of Amalur to the Double Fine Kickstarter to Final Fantasy XIII-2 and more. After all that, we play a game of grades in which we act all high and mighty about the whole industry. True story.

So yeah, check it out, everyone. And don’t forget to rate! Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 41: ‘I’ for I Don’t Care

Is Mass Effect the Best Sci-Fi Franchise of Our Time?

pop bioethics mass effect

With Mass Effect 3 on hot approach, it seems that related articles are crawling out of the woodwork. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that’s we’re prone to sensationalism here at GamerSushi, there’s no denying that we’re jonesing pretty hard for that game.

Much like the Zelda article I posted a couple days ago, this essay on Mass Effect has been making its rounds today. It’s not about fixing the series, though, but rather examining why Mass Effect is the greatest science-fiction universe of our generation. It’s a very long read, but just like the Zelda article, it’s worth it. The author, Kyle Munkittrick, picks apart the many facets of Mass Effect and analyzes everything from the medium it’s presented on to its messages and philosophies.

One of my favorite parts of the article is where the writer touches on my favorite conversation from Mass Effect one, and maybe the whole series: the point of Virmire where you encounter Sovereign and realize that Saren is merely a pawn in this living, almost god-like, ship’s plan to destroy all sentient life in the universe. That’s part of what the philosophy of Mass Effect is, according to the author: the universe is large and uncaring, and what place does humanity have in it. By extension, what place do you as Shepard have in humanity?

I really like the recent surge in quality video game essays recently, ones that take a look at our hobby through a more refined lens. It proves that there’s more to video games than just explosions and scantily-clad women, so I hope this pace keeps up. What did you guys think of the article?

Source – Pop Bioethics

Renegade/Paragon

Renegade and Paragon

In preparation for the glorious release of Mass Effect 3, gamers everywhere are enjoying a taste of the game’s demo tonight and throughout the rest of the week. With an offering of both single player and multiplayer, it’s giving everyone a chance to see what all the hype (and in some cases, the fuss) is about. To join the Shepard spirit, we thought we’d debut a new feature, a brainchild of the good sir Anthony Taylor. Because he’s cool like that.

This feature, titled Renegade/Paragon, is a look at the video games industry through the brutal cut-and-dry scope of the Mass Effect universe. Here, we grade certain entities and rate them as either Paragons — bastions of light and purveyors of all that is good and true — or Renegades — bringers of gloom, doom and every corridor of evil in between those two. Afterwards, you get to make your own calls on the situations.

Let’s get started. Who are the current Paragons and Renegades in the industry? Continue reading Renegade/Paragon

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 40: A Pile of Lies and Shadows

This podcast is just a tad late this week, but I figured we’re doing good if we managed to get it up early in the weekend. Hey, at least it’s better than leaving you guys podcast-less for almost half a year, right? That’s what I thought. Also, Mitch and Anthony start things off with an extra special intro they worked up for all of you. It’s fairly entertaining.

In this edition of the GamerSushi Show, we chat about the Mass Effect 3 Co-op trailer, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Saint’s Row 3. On top of that we play a game of Fill in the Blank, where we grade a variety of topics like Miyamoto taking a backseat at Nintendo, no next gen consoles in the near future and Zynga’s supposed shady dealings (on which this podcast derives its name). All in all, it’s a pretty decent show, and hey, we even fit in 6 more minutes of Resident Evil 6 talk – because why the heck not?

In next week’s podcast (which we recorded last night), I drink through most of a bottle of wine while we talk even more about Final Fantasy XIII-2, Double Fine and Kingdoms of Amalur. Stay tuned, gents and ladies.

Listen. Rate. Enjoy. Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 40: A Pile of Lies and Shadows

GamerSushi Asks: Jamming with Skyrim?

Apparently this is the week where all of our wildest gaming dreams come true. OK, that might be stretching it a bit, but at least a few of our gaming wishes seem to be coming to light. Between Battlefield 3 rumors, Double Fine’s Kickstarter Adventure and Notch talking Psychonauts 2, we’ve got kind of a lot of things worth salivating over. But that’s not all!

You see, DICE 2012 is underway right now, featuring a number of sessions from well known people in the field of interactive entertainment, including none other than Skyrim boss Todd Howard himself. Last night, Todd Howard gave Skyrim fans the world over a bit of a tease, something to get their heads spinning as we look forward to future DLC.

The Skyrim Game Jam is a week-long project where developers at Bethesda were challenged to come up with and implement one feature that they’d love to see in the enormous open-world RPG. While Howard cautioned that some of these things are just tests and might not ever see an actual release, the possibilities are enough to keep people excited about where the game could possibly go. Howard showed a reel which boasted all the things that the developers came up with in just one week’s time, ranging from mounted dragons (!) to seasonally changing foliage. Go ahead, see for yourself.

Although this power gets abused quite a bit, it’s still pretty cool that we live in a time where developers can retroactively incorporate fresh new additions to gameplay that might need some polishing. So my question to you guys is this: which of these features would you actually want to see in the final game? Also, if you could add a reel of features like this to any other game, what would you do? Go!