Call of Duty: Black Ops Will Have Post-Launch Support, No Online Passes

10 Sep 2010 | Posted by | 7 Comments


EA recently launched a new initiative a while back in which a unique code (such as Bad Company 2′s VIP or Mass Effect 2′s Cerberus Network) would incentivize purchasers not to trade their games back in by offering exclusive access to downloadable content (used game buyers would have to pay a fifteen dollar fee to access such a service). EA Sports also branched out with their own version of this program with the Online Pass, a one-time use token that would allow gamers to play the online portions of upcoming sports titles like Tiger Woods and Madden. Naturally, there was a bit of a backlash, but EA is just trying to protect itself from the ravenous jaws of the used game industry. So far, this is the only solution put forward by a publisher to actively combat trade ins, but is it the best one?

Enter Mark Lamia of Treyarch Studios, currently the developer of the upcoming Black Ops and potential savior of the Call of Duty series’ image amongst gamers. He maintains that a strong multiplayer segment and good post-launch support is the key to keep people playing your game long past the point of considering a trade-in. Teryarch still has a section of their studio working on keeping World at War fun, and they expect to dish out a lot of content for Black Ops. Instead of moving on immediately to the next project, they will be focusing on keeping fans engaged in the hopes that they’ll continue playing without gimmicks like VIP passes and online access codes, even if you bought the game used. With the new additions to multiplayer features like Wager Matches, replays and bringing back dedicated servers on the PC, Black Ops looks like it’s shaping up to be a proper title.

What do you guys think about his statement? What incentives would keep you from trading a game in? Online codes for first time purchasers, or a lot of DLC regardless of how you came by the title?

Source: MCV

FireFall, the Free-To-Play Sci-Fi MMO

10 Sep 2010 | Posted by | 2 Comments

Somehow I missed this game during my time and PAX, and now I am made to rue my mistake. I think I might have glanced the booth for this title once or twice, but I passed it over in favor of games that were of a known quantity. What a fool I was. Apparently, in my ignorance, I was missing out on a fantastic demo for a free (our favorite word) sci-fi MMO. Not just free to play online, or what have you, but costing a total of zero dollars to download and install. Made by veterans of both World of Warcraft and Tribes, this MMO hopes to lure you in with its appealing price tag and then gain its profit back through microtransactions. While this model works well in Asia, it has yet to really take hold here in North America (with a few exceptions). This game may be the one to do it though. Take a look at the video and see for yourself:


For a game that’s being dished out for free, this is looking pretty fantastic. It’s a combination first and third person shooter with the requisite RPG elements. You can fly around in your ship, upgrade your ridiculous looking suit, and take part in randomly generated quests (the village siege at the end was an example of that). What do you guys think of FireFall? Does it catch your fancy? Any reservations about the microtransaction aspect? You’ve got a while to think about it, as the release date is set for Fall 2011. Tell us your thoughts!

Portal 2 Co-Op Demo from PAX

9 Sep 2010 | Posted by | 4 Comments

A few weeks ago, Valve released a brief Portal 2 co-op trailer. While it didn’t show us any actual gameplay, it finally gave us a small but illuminating look at what the game might entail for the many Portal fans that are dying to play with one another.

Over the weekend at PAX, though, Valve did even more: they brought a Portal 2 co-op demo with them for the world to see. As Mitch mentioned in his PAX 2010 round-up, there are definitely a few surprises to witness here. For one, instead of splitting the portal guns between the two players, both can each create both sets of portals, adding a layer of complication to the puzzles. There are some other surprises there, too, but I’ll let you guys see those for yourselves.

If these puzzles are any indication of how the later co-op puzzles could escalate, color me excited. Who else is dying to play this even more than before? What do you think of the gameplay they showed?

Valve Regrets Love Affair With 360, Moves to Open Development

9 Sep 2010 | Posted by | 7 Comments

team fortress valve heavy
A few years back, around the release of The Orange Box and Left 4 Dead, Valve was really going hard for Microsoft. They were trotting out quotes left and right saying how LIVE was the wave of the future and that the PS3 wasn’t really a good choice for developers. Fast forward to 2010, and opinions are changing. Back in July, Valve head honcho Gabe Newell swaggered out on stage at Sony’s E3 presser and announced that not only would Portal 2 be coming to the PlayStation 3, but it would be the premier version of the game. Naturally, some hyperbole is expected at E3, but Valve seems to be doing a neat about-face in regards to their console preferences.

Part of what caused Valve to change their mind about the X-Box 360 is that the development cycle for the system is very closed off. If you’re not familiar with Microsoft’s certification process, it is a very stringent battery of tests that need to be done internally by Microsoft before anything gets released to LIVE. This adds to the time needed to get patches out, even the critical ones. Microsoft also has a habit of insisting that downloadable content costs money, something Valve has preferred to avoid. The PS3, on the other hand, presents a much more open development platform for Valve, something they’re eager to utilize.

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Why You Should Go to PAX: Big Daddy Dances to Poker Face

7 Sep 2010 | Posted by | 8 Comments

There are very few occasions in which cosplay and win could be used in tandem with one another, but I think we’ve found it. Why is that, you ask? Because there is a video from PAX of a Big Daddy playing Dance Central, the dance game for XBox Kinect.

Also, he’s dancing to Poker Face, which ups the scale of humor to dangerously toxic. And the reasons for me to be jealous for attendees continues to grow…

Bioware Dishes Enormous Helping of Mass Effect 2 Player Stats

7 Sep 2010 | Posted by | 10 Comments

Mass Effect 2

One thing that developers have been able to do within the last decade of gaming is to monitor player behavior in ways that were unprecedented before the online era. As someone a bit into user statistics myself (both for my job and as a hobby), I understand the desire to see how users are behaving, and I’m sure with something as robust as a sci-fi opera RPG like Mass Effect 2, the results are sometimes different to what was originally anticipated.

Enter Bioware, who has just recently released a whole smattering of interesting stats from Mass Effect 2. For instance, did you know that somewhere out there, a couple of PC gamers played ME2 a total of 28 times? You probably didn’t. That’s because it’s insane.

Check a few other statistics you might not have known, after the jump!

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PAX 2010 Round Up

5 Sep 2010 | Posted by | 8 Comments

pax2010 So, PAX 2010 has come and gone, and I’m glad that I finally took this year to go down and experience it. I saw a lot of games before their release and some cosplay that I could have gone without. Of course, such a big event deserves a bigger write up, so steel yourselves and jump into my PAX 2010 Round-Up Spectacular! In this post I’m going to be covering the games that I saw with the pictures going up in a separate post once I sort out and re-size the photos.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Brings Wager Matches

2 Sep 2010 | Posted by | 9 Comments

After eating my words about Call of Duty: World at War — a game I doubted for months on end — I have had an up and down relationship with Call of Duty: Black Ops. You see, occasionally I find myself excited, really enjoying some of the glimpses I get to see. And other times, I wonder if the series is getting close to jumping the shark, so to speak.

However, I might be back on the optimistic side after the brand new footage Treyarch revealed this week, showing off the new wager multiplayer mode that they’ve included in Black Ops. Basically, it’s a game mode where you take the currency you’ve earned in multiplayer matches and gamble it against other players. There are a variety of ways to do this, including single shot rounds, knife gametypes and even one where each kill upgrades your weapon up to a new tier. Really, you need to see it yourself.

Did this excite anyone else? Or just me?

Batman: Arkham City has Beautiful Screen Shots

1 Sep 2010 | Posted by | 6 Comments

batman arkham city
Consider us blessed, fellow gamers, as some kind soul has posted screen shots for RockSteady Studio’s upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum follow-up Arkham City. I don’t know what they’ve done to the engine this time around, but the screens are looking really good. If I had to guess, I’d say this is a capture from the PC version of the game running on a super-beefy rig, but with still images this good, I’m not complaining. The new pictures also give us a look at the redesigned Harley Quinn, Two-Face and a, I’m almost ashamed to say it, very sexy Catwoman. More delicious Bat-Screens after the jump!

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The Mass Effect 3 Wish List

31 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 8 Comments

Mass Effect 2

I’ve made no secret of my favorite titles of this great gaming year of 2010 so far. Red Dead Redemption, Limbo and Mass Effect 2 are all currently gunning for “game of the year” status in my eyes, with an especially close race between those first two. We’ve said it a million times around here – Mass Effect 2 is spectacular and simply must be experienced for its storytelling, choices and Bioware’s original universe.

Naturally, there are several gamers out there gunning hard for Mass Effect 3, and already giving thought to certain qualities the title should possess. In fact, GamesRadar has put together a list of what they want to see in Mass Effect 3. Without spoiling too much, I think it’s a really great list of things that would be awesome for the next edition, particularly the idea of the “Dark Shepard” clone, gunning around the galaxy and ruining your good (or bad) name. This could easily work, seeing as how we know that Cerberus has Shepard’s DNA. I also like the idea of making Shepard’s backstory a more central part of at least one major sidequest.

For me, I would love to see bigger parties but also a few momentous and game altering choices in more moments than just the big ending mission. Something that Dragon Age: Origins nailed was a few “holy crap” moments sprinkled throughout the game, rather than bunching them up at the end the way Mass Effect 2 did.

Anyway, what do you guys think? What are some things you’d really like to see in the next Mass Effect game?

Source – GamesRadar

The Digital Future?

30 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 9 Comments

PSN LogoA new development over the last few years for the gaming industry has been the advent of digital distribution on a large scale basis, beyond just downloadable bonuses. Through platforms such as Steam, XBox Live and PSN, games are being delivered to us entirely differently than they were even just a short decade ago. So what is the next decade going to bring?

Back in 2006, former Sony exec Phil Harrison was quoted as saying that he would be surprised if the PS4, the next iteration of the Sony black box, would have a physical disc drive at all. That comment caused some interesting conversations in its wake, but current Sony exec Kaz Hirai has recently weighed in on the matter as well. In an interview with MCV, Hirai had this to say:

“We do business in parts of the world where network infrastructure isn’t as robust as one would hope… There’s always going to be requirement for a business of our size and scope to have a physical medium. To think everything will be downloaded in two years, three years or even ten years from now is taking it a little bit to the extreme.”

I know that there are differing opinions on this issue out there. On the one hand, the idea of an all digital future at some nebulous point down the technology timeline is an exciting prospect, with instant access to all forms of entertainment. On the other hand, there is a part of me that likes physical copies of everything I own. To prove that I, you know, do in fact own it. There’s also the risk of things like the recent debacle with the PSP Go, where adopters of hardware without physical disc drives run the possibility of getting screwed.

So what do you guys think? Are you looking forward to an all digital future? Or do you prefer to keep a physical copy of what you own? I think this question is already answered in many ways for PC users who download via Steam, but go ahead and jump in anyway. Would you do this for all of your entertainment, based on your experience with Steam? Go!

Source- MCV

Half-Life Movie Would Come Direct From Valve

29 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 13 Comments

half_life_movieThe transition from a video game to a movie is a tricky one, a notion that we have explored in the past on our sweet podcast. It seems that the only people who are capable of making a movie based on games are the developers themselves, but they lack either the necessary components or the capital to make a feature film. Valve Software, who we all know as the studio behind Half-Life, Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead, has stated that they’d like to try their own hand at making a Half-Life movie, saying that they were approached by a bunch of Hollywood types with horrible interpretations of the Half-Life saga. Here’s part of the quote given by the man himself, Valve’s CEO Gabe Newell, on what happened with the Half-Life movie:

Where we got into this direction was after Half-Life 1 had shipped. There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they’d bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of.

Sound like typical Hollywood, doesn’t it? So, if Valve didn’t want Half-Life handed off to a big studio, they would just have to do it themselves. Gabe also explained that the Team Fortress 2 “Meet the Team” shorts were a small part of the build-up to a full-fledged film.

That’s when we started saying ‘Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we’d have to make it ourselves.’ And I was like, ‘Make it ourselves? Well that’s impossible.’ But the Team Fortress 2 thing, the Meet The Team shorts, is us trying to explore that

Valve has been stating for a while that they would like to get into the business of comic books and movies, and recently they’re been taking a lot of steps in that directions. The Meet the Team shorts are getting longer and bolder, and almost every Team Fortress 2 update has had a comic associated with it. What’s your opinion on Valve’s stance towards the Half-Life movie? Do you think they could pull it off? What sort of stuff would you like to see come from Valve in the future?

Source: PC Gamer

Assassin’s Creed:Brotherhood Walkthrough Confirms Flag Collection

27 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 12 Comments

The closer we get to November, the more I know in my heart that I will not be able to refuse the siren’s call of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. While I do have my doubts about the quick turn around time, everything I’ve read about the game, from the single-player to the multiplayer, seems to paint it in a good light. I’m especially willing to give it a go after I watched this video, which details some of the single-player mechanics along with how you will be managing your Assassin’s Guild.

Pretty neat, no? Originally, I thought that confining the game to just Rome would severely limit the scale, but it turns out that I might be wrong. Sending my Assassins all over Europe to start riots and kill targets sounds like a lot of fun, and bossing people around is always a good time. What do you guys think of the video? Are you anticipating Brotherhood? Also, as you may notice by the title of the article and the little snippet in the video, the much maligned flag collecting is back. You may commence your complaining (or celebrating, if that’s more your thing.)

Today’s WTF: Before Left 4 Dead, Valve Worked on a Fairy RPG

27 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 3 Comments

Tinkerbell BraaaaainsYes, you read the title of the article correctly. You know, some daily WTFs are so absurd sounding that they practically speak for themselves.

Earlier this week in an interview with PC Gamer, Valve honchos Doug Lombardi and Gabe Newell let slip some rather interesting information about what the famed developer was doing just before they embarked down the path that helped them create the zombie sensation Left 4 Dead. This little exchange occurred when PC Gamer asks them what they think they’ve failed at:

Doug Lombardi: There were a few failed starts to build Left 4 Dead.
Gabe Newell: Well, there was the flying fairy game. Is that the one you were referring to?
Erik Johnson: That was just a different game that, when we stabbed it… (everyone laughs)
Doug Lombardi: … It turned into Left 4 Dead!

Huh? Apparently, this fairy RPG required mouse gestures to cast spells and such. Newell later went on to say “it was so clearly dumb that it made us say, ‘OK, what are we actually good at that we can do instead?’” However, sometimes you have to fail to learn truly valuable lessons. They went on from there to figure out that the focus should be on AI and the co-operative experience. Well, thank goodness for that little revelation.

Honestly, as ridiculous as this is, I wish more developers would take about the genesis of some of their greatest ideas. I’m sure that Valve isn’t the first studio to start down a really bizarre path only to fail and then find those gems worth polishing. It’s interesting because with movies we’ve gotten so used to special features that walk us through every step of the process. I wish we had more material like that when it comes to games, because the whole thing seems so mysterious to us outsiders.

What do you guys think about this? What games would you like to hear more development stories about? Go!

Source – PC Gamer

Two Years of GamerSushi

27 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 15 Comments

portal-cakeThere’s an old saw that I think we all know that goes “time flies when you’re having fun”, and I can’t think of anything more fun than video games. Seriously, it’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since GamerSushi started, because it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. Granted, I’ve only been posting on the site since last year, starting with the Battlefield 1943 PC delay, but I was commenting on the site before that.

I’m sure most of us came here from Smooth Few Films, but I don’t think that any of us could have predicted the cool community that would have grown around a few dudes talking about games. Honestly, this site has had some of the best discussion on the theory around gaming that I can think of, mostly because we take the time to read each others thoughts and we don’t get buried in a sea of fanboy-centric comments. We may disagree at times, but we’re all united in a love of gaming.

So, thanks to you guys for sticking around for two years, and thanks to Eddy, Nick, Jeff and Anthony for starting this website and keeping it going. It’s been an awesome ride so far, and there are definitely cool things on the horizon!

What about you guys? Any awesome discussions you remember, or a post that you really liked? Keep in mind that this is our birthday, so you’re allowed to shower us with praise.

Final Fantasy XIV and the Experience Cap

27 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 7 Comments

Final_Fantasy_XIVOne of the problems plaguing MMOs (and indeed all level-bases online games) is that players who have more time to dedicate to the game will outpace those of us who can only spare a few hours a week. This leads to some disparaging situations where overpowered players wipe the floor with other users in Player versus Player servers since they have the best gear and the stats to match. While some may decide that this is unfair, there’s really nothing the players themselves can do about it. Final Fantasy XIV, the upcoming fantasy MMO for the PlayStation 3 and the PC, is hoping to address this issue with the idea of diminishing returns.

The main way you progress in a Role Playing Games is through experience points, or EXP for short. It’s been this way since the dawn of gaming, and it’s not going to change any time soon. The more time you spend playing, the quicker you get points and the quicker you level up. With Final Fantasy XIV, this is going to change somewhat by limiting the amount of hours each week that you can earn one hundred percent of your experience. Basically, for eight hours of the week, you’ll get the full amount of EXP for quests and killing monsters. After that, though, your gains will start decreasing, eventually reaching a grand total of zero at the fifteen hour mark. This is on a weekly timer, so the experience clock resets every seven days. According to Square Enix, the idea behind this is that, in real life, no one could train at something for hours on end without reaching a plateau. Imagine lifting weights for eight hours a day? Eventually you’d run out of steam, and probably hurt yourself.

Naturally, this sort of artificial barrier is annoying MMO players, most of whom are dedicated to the point of playing more than eight hours a week. Think about it, if you played two hours a night, you’d be at the eight hour threshold before your knew it. An average World of Warcraft dungeon can take upwards of four hours, so this might be a problem in the making. The good news is that the EXP earned during the extra hours are banked as a surplus, but as of yet the developers don’t know what to do with them.

What do you guys think about this? I know we don’t have a lot of MMO players on the site, but as a former Star Wars Galaxies/World of Warcraft player myself, this limiting of player progression seems like it could hurt the game in the long run. I feel that, if you’re paying a subscription, you should play as long as you like with full returns, other players be damned. What do you think?

Update: I’ve read that this only affects up to fifteen hours of each job class, so it’s not an account wide restriction. Definitely better than the heavy-handed maneuver it seemed to be.

Source: FFXIV Core

GamerSushi Asks: What Are You Playing?

26 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 13 Comments

Tomb Raider Guardian of LightIt’s been a few weeks since we’ve asked you all how your gaming minutes are being spent, so I thought we were about due for another helping of “What Are You Playing?”

For me, I’m trying to get through a little bit of the dreaded gaming backlog and all of its horrors, but I keep getting interrupted by Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, which I am completely in love with at the moment. If you’re unaware, it just released on Xbox Live Arcade last week, and is due out on the PC and PS3 next month.

I’ve never been a fan of the Tomb Raider series, but what they’ve done in this game is turn it into more of a top-down co-op Diablo style game, complete with puzzles, platforms and loot. It’s almost like Diablo meets Resident Evil 5, if that makes any sense at all. While the game doesn’t have online co-op at the moment, it will when it hits other systems in September. I’ve been playing the co-op locally with my brother, and we’re having a blast solving puzzles and doing the platforming. I can honestly say it’s already one of my favorite co-op experiences of this gen. If that’s not a glowing recommendation, I don’t know what is.

In addition, I recently completed Alpha Protocol, am moving to 3D Dot Game Heroes next, and hope to tackle Crackdown 2 before Halo: Reach drops on September 14th. Whew. Anyway, now it’s your turn. What are you playing? Go!

GamerSushi Asks: Leaks and Spoilers

25 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 6 Comments

modern warfare 2It’s a sad fact, but the early theft of video games is becoming more and more common in the industry. Giant games such as Modern Warfare 2 and Halo: Reach are being picked apart and distributed far ahead of their street dates, with spoilers running rampant. For example, Modern Warfare 2′s “No Russian” level was leaked about a month in advance of people getting hold of the game, and many argued that the reveal of such a controversial mission spoiled the plot. Even larger gaming sites got in on the leak, making such videos a front-page deal, drawing even more attention.

So, we have a question for you, the community. When video games break their street date either through piracy or simple error, do you actively go hunting for spoilers? If you’re the sort of person who likes to stay pure, does it irk you to see gaming websites posting videos that give away elements of the game?

College Course to Include Portal on its Syllabus

24 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 6 Comments

GladosOne of the things I remember dreading the most in each college course was the handing out of the syllabus. This loaded piece of paper captures your entire semester in paper form, telling you just how busy you are going to be, and exactly what you’re going to be doing. Add five of these together, and they become a horde of wild beasts. Although perhaps I would have felt differently if I were a student at Wabash College this year.

For the first time, a video game is appearing on a Wabash College syllabus as required “reading” for a course titled Enduring Questions, one that all freshmen must complete in order to move on with their college careers. Here is a little bit of a snippet about the course itself:

Enduring Questions is a required freshman seminar offered during the spring semester. It is devoted to engaging students with fundamental questions of humanity from multiple perspectives and fostering a sense of community. Each section of the course includes a small group (approximately 15) of students who consider together classic and contemporary works from multiple disciplines. In so doing, students confront what it means to be human and how we understand ourselves, our relationships, and our world.

Apparently, one of the faculty members is a gamer, and took the charge to think of unique non-text media examples to a great conclusion: Portal. To him, it addresses questions of individuality and the onstage performance of people versus their backstage identities, which perfectly sums up Aperture’s experiments in a nice, thoughtful and engaging way. He pitched this idea to the rest of the faculty, and they jumped aboard, and began testing distribution and Steam installation on a big level, to ensure that many freshmen could all do it as well.

To me, this is a huge and awesome step towards video games getting cultural and thoughtful recognition. It ranks right up there with the way that Shadow of the Colossus was handled in the movie Reign Over Me, as a man tried to deal with the deaths of his family through playing the game.

What do you guys think of this? If you were putting together a video game course list, what would you include on it? Go!

Source- The Brainy Gamer

Portal 2 Co-Op Trailer Shows Robot Buddies

21 Aug 2010 | Posted by | 4 Comments

Well, I hate to bombard everyone with so much Portal 2 news, but I doubt anyone really minds. The follow-up to Valve’s critically acclaimed title hits in February 2011, and in addition to having a more robust and lengthy campaign, it’s also going to add a new layer of replay value with co-op missions.

Honestly, I’ve been wondering how a co-op Portal game would work for several months now, as I’m sure many of you have. Well, wonder no longer, because Valve has provided a (very) brief trailer for Portal 2 co-op to give a glimpse of how it’s all going to work.

Also, I call the short fat robot buddy. I’ll fight you for him.