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H1Z1, and other SOE-developed titles, may be coming to additional platforms.
Sony Online Entertainment is no longer a Sonyjoint, according to an announcement released by the studio today. Venture capital firm Columbus Nova has purchased the developer from Sony, and rebranded it as Daybreak Game Company.
"We are excited to join Columbus Nova's impressive roster of companies," said John Smedley, president of Daybreak Game Company. "They have a proven track record in similar and related industries and we are eager to move forward to see how we can push the boundaries of online gaming. We will continue to focus on delivering exceptional games to players around the world, as well as bringing our portfolio to new platforms, fully embracing the multi-platform world in which we all live."
The studio, which had been a part of Sony since the mid-'90s, is best known for its work on the EverQuest series of MMOs, as well as Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies, and recent Early Access release H1Z1. In addition to H1Z1, the company had been working on at least two EverQuest-branded projects--EverQuest Next, and Landmark--which will continue to develop, albeit now with an eye toward multi-platform releases, according to a post by a Daybreak developer in the company's official forums.
If you're specifically wondering if this will mean Daybreak titles will end up on Microsoft's Xbox One console, studio head John Smedley has a tweet for you.
So what exactly does this mean for you? It will be business as usual and all SOE games will continue on their current path of development and operation. In fact, we expect to have even more resources available to us as a result of this acquisition. It also means new exciting developments for our existing IP and games as we can now fully embrace the multi-platform world we are living in.
So, there you have it. I ask you, Giant Bomb commenters, are you excited at the prospect of being able to play
can't wait to make Xbox One games!— John Smedley (@j_smedley) February 2, 2015
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The craziest Super Mario World Glitch Ever!!!
Speedrunning — the art of beating a video game as quickly as possible — is all the rage. Events like Awesome Games Done Quick, the most recent of which raised more than $1.5 million for charity, have become must-watch entertainment for legions of gamers.
Typically, speedruns involve players perfecting moves and exploiting glitches to warp through the game world, skipping huge segments of gameplay in a race against the clock. But what you’re about to see is a speedrun of a much different color. This is the “credits warp” glitch:
That’s the popular streamer SethBling. Though best known for making Minecraft videos, he’s playing Super Mario World for the SNES — or rather, he’s doing something no one has ever done before with it: recoding the game while playing it. Using a variety of seemingly innocuous moves, SethBling is essentially inserting tiny changes into the system’s memory that, when properly executed, jump SethBling past the final boss and directly to the game’s credits in about six minutes. I could try to explain how it all works, but I’d have to take a few programming classes first. And use about 5 percent more of my brain.
The glitch was initially discovered by fellow speedrunner Jeffw356, who performed it using an SNES emulator. SethBling, however, did it using an old-fashioned, run-of-the-mill Super Nintendo. He has since followed up this performance with a sub-five minute run, setting a new world record. Incredible.
Related: 10 Videos of People Beating Nintendo Games Really Freaking Fast
This may be worth more than your car. (eBay user Menaceone)
Video game collectibles are all the rage these days, but good luck finding a treasure as rare as the gorgeous copy of Stadium Events for the NES that ended its run on eBay Thursday night.
Posted by a former Nintendo employee, it officially sold for a hefty $35,100, topping the previous Stadium Events record price by more than $13,000. Not bad for a game that originally cost about $30.
Of course, very, very few gamers were fortunate enough to score a copy for that price during its brief release in 1987. Paired with the Family Fun Fitness mat (eventually rebranded as the Power Pad), the exercise game lets players compete in Olympics-style events like the 100-yard dash and the long jump, though no one really ever plays the thing.
That’s because it’s the Holy Grail of NES video games. Only 200 copies ever hit store shelves, and it’s believed that far fewer than that still exist.
The seller, eBay user Menaceone, told GameSpot that he spent 22 years working at Nintendo. After noticing a previous Stadium Events auction in 2011, he went searching for his copy.
“I told my wife, ‘I know I have that game,’ he said. “I collect a lot of different items, so after looking through several boxes I found it! Since I was still working for Nintendo, I could not sell this item for profit, which is a smart company policy. When I left in 2012, it was possible for me to sell this game.”
His copy is remarkable in that it’s still factory sealed and has been formally rated an 85 (“Near Mint”) by the Video Game Authority. It’s even stored in an acrylic, archival case to protect it from UV rays.
That case couldn’t protect it from a fraud-infested ride through eBay, however.
Initially posted Jan. 5 for $5,000, open bidding quickly shot that price into the stratosphere. Within a few days it was at a ludicrous $100,000 — too good to be true, in fact, as most of those bids were from trolls eager to screw up the auction. As explained by video game collector and Wired scribe Chris Kohler, this is commonplace for video game auctions.
“Sadly, what often happens when an eBay auction for a rare videogame like this starts drawing attention, the auction gets trolled,” he writes.” Bidders, some using burner accounts, start placing bids they never intend to follow through on. If you look at the item’s bidding history, you can see where the legitimate bids end and the trolling starts: Right around the $30,000 mark, where bidders start placing a series of incremental bids just to poke the item’s price up a little higher bit by bit.”
Eventually only preapproved bids were counted, bringing the price down to a more reasonable level.
While $35K is a high mark for Stadium Events, it’s not the most paid for a single game. That honor goes to a prototype Legend of Zelda cartridge, which went for a whopping $55,000 back in 2012.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been denied classification by the Australian ratings board, a move that will essentially prevent it from being sold in most marketplaces in the country. According to the report, which was obtained by Kotaku AU, the denial comes at least partially as a result of a particular scene in the game's opening, which depicts a female character being sexually assaulted. As the ratings board's description of the scene graphically states:
If the description of this scene is familiar, it's because it's been a topic of discussion before. Cara Ellison wrote about her discomfort with the scene and its context within the game in a preview for PC Gamerback in 2013. Series designer Dennis Wedin discussed the scene in an interview for Rock, Paper, Shotgun shortly thereafter, explaining its existence within the framing device of an "exploitation film" based on the events of the first game.
In the sequence of game play footage titled Midnight Animal, the protagonist character bursts into what appears to be a movie set and explicitly kills 4 people, who collapse to the floor in a pool of copious blood, often accompanied by blood splatter. After stomping on the head of a fifth male character, he strikes a female character wearing red underwear. She is knocked to the floor and is viewed lying face down in a pool of copious blood. The male character is viewed with his pants halfway down, partially exposing his buttocks. He is viewed pinning the female down by the arms and lying on top of her thrusting, implicitly raping her (either rear entry or anally) while her legs are viewed kicking as she struggles beneath him. This visual depiction of implied sexual violence is emphasised by it being mid-screen, with a red backdrop pulsating and the remainder of the screen being surrounded by black.
This depiction of implied sexual violence exceeds what can be accommodated within the R18+ classification category and the game is therefore Refused Classification.
Hotline Miami 2 publisher Devolver Digital responded to the rating refusal via a statement on the company's website, expressing displeasure with the ratings board's decision, and decrying what it believes is an unfair representation of the scene in question.
Devolver has posted the sequence in question online. The video includes both versions of the scene a player could see, depending on which option they choose from the opening prompt.
First, to clear up any possible misconceptions, the opening cinematic that was first shown in June of 2013 has not changed in any way. We also want to make clear that players are given an choice at the start of the game as to whether they wish to avoid content that alludes to sexual violence. The sequence in question is presented below in context, both after choosing the uncut version of the game and after choosing to avoid content that alludes to sexual violence.
Second, in response to the report itself, we are concerned and disappointed that a board of professionals tasked with evaluating and judging games fairly and honestly would stretch the facts to such a degree and issue a report that describes specific thrusting actions that are not simply present in the sequence in question and incorrectly portrays what was presented to them for review.
Though we have no plans to officially challenge the ruling, we stand by our developers, their creative vision for the storyline, its characters and the game and look forward to delivering Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number to fans very soon.
Australia has a long history of refusing classification to overtly violent or sexual games. Between 1993 and 2012, the country had no equivalent to the ESRB's M rating, and games have often been edited for content in order to gain classification. Most recently, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Saints Row IV, and State of Decay have all had to resubmit edited versions in order to acquire ratings.
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By Dennis Scimeca on December 22, 2014
How fitting is it to see a version of a megamansion built in the video game that earned a developer the money to buy said megamansion. Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of Minecraft, recently bought a mansion in Beverly Hills for $70 million. That crazy amount of money pays for a home that has its own movie theater and candy room. You can take a tour of the Minecraft version of the home, which looks like a blockified episode of Cribs, thanks to builder Dan Bovey's video on YouTube. Notch effectively bankrolled the new home via Microsoft's purchase of the Minecraft development studio for $2.5 billion. You don't need to worry about him paying for the upkeep, either, considering the cash he likely brought in on the franchise rights before the Microsoft buyout.
Telltale Games was teasing an unexpected announcement yesterday, and while I'd hoped for an X-Files revival, the company, instead, announced a partnership with Mojang to produce Minecraft: Story Mode.
Coming to unspecified consoles and other devices in 2015, Minecraft: Story Mode is "set in the world of Minecraft, the series will feature an original story, driven by player choice."
Of course, Minecraft doesn't have any real characters or plot to speak of, but none of that's stopping Mojang from investigating a Minecraft movie, too. Minecraft's community should prove good inspiration.
Minecraft: Story Mode joins Tales From the Borderlands and Game of Thrones as part of Telltale's lineup in 2015. We already know Telltale intends to continue The Walking Dead, but it's unclear when season three will begin, and there's no word yet on a second season of The Wolf Among Us.
Until we learn more, I leave you with this:
how many tales could a telltale tell if a telltale could tell tales— Michaelavoj Lutzižek (@WarrenIsDead) December 18, 2014
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Gaming Pioneer Ralph Baer Passes Away
Ralph Baer, creator of the first home console video game system, passed away over the weekend, according to various media reports. He was 92-years-old.
In 2006, Baer received the National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush.
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After quite a few testing builds and only a few weeks of development, Minecraft Pocket Edition 0.10.0 is now available for download on all platforms. The update has gone live on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon Market. The only one missing from the party appears to be Samsung Apps, who only has 0.9.5 (but who uses Samsung Apps anyways?).
Minecraft PE 0.10.0 isn’t the next big release that many were hoping for, but it brings dozens of worthwhile improvements to the game. Here’s the full changelog:
- Upgraded the rendering system to use OpenGL ES 2.0 (coming from 1.1), using OpenGL 3.0 where available.
- Ported tinted lighting from the PC edition.
- Ported the round fog from PC.
- Some performance increase on most devices.
- Mesa biome have gold at every height and can spawn mine shafts on the surface.
- Added dust particles falling from unstable Dirt and Sand.
- Added more wood types for fences and gates.
- Added a tweak-able brightness (gamma) setting to adjust the darkness of dark terrain.
- iOS Added a 64-bit build for compatible iOS devices.
- New double-sided lighting on entities and clouds that’s more coherent with the terrain.
- Enabled mipmaps on Android devices supporting GLES 3.0.
- New water shader.
- Water is now brownish in swamps.
- Faster rebuilding of chunks.
- Added smooth lighting on water and smooth color transitions.
- Huge mushrooms now spawn in swamps.
- Ignore swipes from outside the screen so exiting fullscreen/activating Command Center doesn’t turn the view.
- The selection overlay on vines/tall grass now has the correct shape.
- Added a selection overlay on Chests and Signs.
- The error messages when a World can’t be opened are now more informative about what happened.
- Enabled Day/night cycle in Creative.
- Fixed a crash when rendering Mob Spawners.
- iOS Fixed freezing when receiving a notification/showing the Command Center.
- iOS Fixed a crash/memory leak happening when showing the system keyboard – signs and the chat.
- Android fixed a corruption and possible crash when switching apps.
- Fixed the “spawning in the air” bug.
- Fixed a crash when creating lava during world generation.
- Water now pushes things!
- Fixed a white artifact on torches held in hand.
- Fixed holes appearing in the clouds.
- Fixed a brown artifact appearing on the bottom of Minecarts.
- Fixed a random crash in multiplayer.
- Fixed a possible crash when selecting double chests.
- The time of day is now more accurately synced in multiplayer.