January 19th, 2010
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Mass Effect 2 Platinum Hits by Electronic Arts
DescriptionThe second chapter in the Mass Effect trilogy takes you to the darkest reaches of space, where you must uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of humans across many worlds. Prepare yourself for a suicide mission to save mankind. Travel the galaxy to assemble a team of soldiers and combat specialists, and launch an all-out assault on the heart of enemy territory.
The statue takes on the shape of one of the many fortified turrets you'll find in-game that players are tasked to destroy. Sure, it might not be one of the characters, or one of the monsters but this is pretty cool too. According to one reddit user, it even plays some iconic music from the game itself.
The tower stands at around 29 feet (almost 9 meters)--and in order to illustrate the sheer enormity of structure, the offices in Brazil decided to release a video:
In a statement released by the offices, Robert Iervoline, the general manager, explained the purpose of the tower:
We decided to create it so that League of Legends players can have even more interaction with the game and share this experience with your friends.
League of Legends and its publisher Riot Games are no strangers to bringing elements of the game to life. But what makes the tower so fascinating is the fact that it's not just confined to an office or a studio this time. It's out in the open fields, which transforms it into a gathering place for fans of the game--a way for fans to have real interactions with the world of League of Legends. (I mean, doesn't it just look like it could be from a portion of the map of Summoner's Rift?)
And if you're interested in seeing the statue, fear not. According to the same statement, it'll be visiting other cities in Brazil outside of São Paulo after this weekend.
Here are some pictures:
You can play Need for Speed at the EA booth in Hall 6 during show hours August 6-9 (see this post for a specific list of times). Gamescom attendees will get to customize their car in a virtual garage, and then take it out onto the streets of Ventura Bay (a fictional version of Los Angeles) and cruise around in free mode, or try out some pre-set events.
The new Need for Speed will also be featured in EA's press conference at Gamescom, which begins at 12:30 AM PDT / 3:30 AM EDT on August 5. Developers will take to the stage to show off new footage and reveal fresh details--maybe we'll finally get to see about the highly touted story?
A "full reboot" of the Need for Speed series, the new game is currently in development for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The game is scheduled to launch on November 3.
We played the new Need for Speed at E3--you can read our impressions here.
The Grand Tournament will introduce 132 new cards to the game, as well as an all-new minion power, called Inspire. We sat down with Hearthstone art director Ben Thompson to talk about the process behind designing art for the new cards, and what players can look forward to in the new board.
"As with all adventures and expansions, [The Grand Tournament] is coming with a new board to help sell the vibe of the game and bring it to life further than even the cards can," Thompson said.
"There's all new clickables on each of the corners. That includes the archery stand in the lower-right corner, you've got your food tent in the lower left because any time you're at a tournament you've got your food tent where you have to go get your edibles. There's the crowd in the upper left that have a number of different reactions, some of which interact with gameplay. And in the upper right corner you've got your knight's tent, where they can prepare for the next tournament. There's a little bit of snow, because it's in Northrend. But this is our version of Northrend where spring has come and there's flowers and everything involved in there as well.
"With the archery down there, you can test your skills with getting a bulls-eye--fun stuff happens when you hit a bulls-eye or better. You've got your target dummy as well, in terms of being able to whittle away at him. Sometimes arrows go astray and may do him some damage too. Your food tent doesn't just serve pies, there's other stuff to consume. The audience in the upper left is my favourite, just because for the first time they're interacting with gameplay; they commiserate with you when you get hit for a lot of damage, they cheer for you when you do a lot of damage. If you hit above a certain numeric amount on a hero, they start putting in their two cents and scoring you on how good that hit was. In the upper right, you have that fun weathervane… You can start twiddling away at things like the banners and flags and stuff. From small to large, all the clickables are there that you can interact with, including that roasted ham in the bottom left which, careful that you don't let it burn!"
"This will be a weapon card where you're going to be able to give a weapon to a hero. Any time we do weapon cards we try to be very clear--it's got to be something that reads very definably as a single weapon and not focused on the character holding it, or on the spell surrounding it. Rather, the difference between daggers and axes and what not. So obviously this is something that is a poisoned blade. It feels like a short dagger, so probably very rogue-like in its usage. Typically, item cards can be a little more difficult in some cases for artists because they don't have the character behind it and all the different armour and stuff like that.
"It's often challenging to get the artist to do a weapon such a way that feels compelling and interesting and also still fit that World of Warcraft feel. In this case I think that they did a good job of that and it feels properly imposing while still feeling of Hearthstone, which is fun and big chubby shapes.
"Some of these weapons are based off World of Warcraft existing items, if you look at Doomhammer, that's a very iconic weapon. Because of that we want it to feel exactly like that, albeit, maybe our version of it. Other times, we'll often provide the artists with a series of references of other blades that are like that so that they can get a general idea."
"This is a character that ties to a previous character seen not only in World of Warcraft but Hearthstone as well. If you think of Lord Jaraxxus, the character that comes into the Warlock decks, replaces your hero, 15 points of health and changes your hero power and everything in the process.
"People who play World of Warcraft will know Lord Jaraxxus as the mis-summoned accident of Wilfred Fizzlebang. When you interacted with him in World of Warcraft, he summoned this great creature to try and do battle with you. In the end he summoned a warlord, somebody he has no ability to handle. It ends up being his doom, and then you have to fight Lord Jaraxxus in the game. We've kind of had a nod to that here where the shadow of Lord Jaraxxus is seen behind Mr. Fizzlebang. He seems pretty confident of himself, even though Lord Jaraxxus probably has other plans."
"This is an example of giving power to things like totems, because the Inspire power is about building on the powers of not only other minions.
"I love this race in World of Warcraft, they just have a fun innocence about them even though they're very steadfast fighters, they have just a fun bumbly quality about them as well.
"I think they work really well in Hearthstone, but in this case this is pointing towards totems and the powers that they have based on inspire as a hero power, kind of buffing them and giving them more presence in the game."
"Lock and Load is basically a power that changes the whole look and feel of the game when it's going off. It allows you to cast a lot of different Hunter spells simultaneously.
"Basically the art description for this was somebody that was going to use every bit of ammo at their disposal all at once. It's got kind of Rambo-meets-gnome quality here. It's a lot of fun to see when it comes into play in the game, but even if you look at the golden animation of this card, where the art is animated, it's really awesome because Max Ma, who is one of our UI artists, did a series of bullets cascading out of the guns and it's got this sense of awesome life to it."
"This one has become one of the marquee pieces for The Grand Tournament, for obvious reasons. I mean, the whole idea behind the Grand Tournament is that it's the unexpected champions from across Azeroth and all the races. The idea being that maybe the original tournament was put together by the noble and honourable humans but very quickly all these other races wanted to get involved too.
"So you've got some less-than-honourable and less-than-noble or even less expected versions of champions from across Azeroth such as Orcish pirates on overgrown parrots. I like this piece quite a bit in that it leans so heavily into what we in Hearthstone really try to get in our game throughout which is delightful surprise, lots of charm, lots of attitude in a kind of fun-loving way that's never really over-the-top or epic, other than epically charming. I think this guy captures all those things. It was one of those art descriptions that kind of came up where once we had assigned it to the artist it was just, 'okay, say no more, I know exactly what we're going to do here.' And it actually ended up being used as an image in our cinematic for The Grand Tournament. We couldn't be happier with how it turned out."
"Frost Giant is very much one of those denizens of Northrend that people who played World of Warcraft and played the original Argent Tournament setup will recognise. They were some of the original foes that you had to go crush and beat, be it through quest lines or otherwise.
"We've kept some of the content from Northrend and from the Argent Tournament as we moved to The Grand Tournament where it made sense to do so. This is one example. While we're no longer trying to put together the best band of people to kill the Lich King, there are trials that aren't jousting or battles of combat or archery. It's sometimes going and finding a big bad foe in the North and defeating him and bringing back proof of your trial. Knight's trials are still very much a thing in your medieval fantasy of Northrend."
"This one's a fun one as well. This is one that starts to really point out the different feelings of a champion and what it means to be a noble knight on their steed, or in this case, on her steed. This was actually done by our in-house Team 5 concept artist Jomaro Kindred.
"It was one of the first pieces he did for the game. This one was a lot of fun because it was really about getting a strong female character who is representing not just her race but her class and getting her on a steed and showing how powerful they could be. It ended up coming out really awesome."
"This is one of my favourites. Steve Prescott was the artist on this. Steve has this natural ability to play with environments and natural subject matter in a way that makes them really fun and compelling.
"In this case, he got to take all this nature-inspired subject matter and put them into a living totem golem. It just feels very unique and very of Hearthstone while still occupying some place in World of Warcraft's lore.
"I love this piece to death. I love that there's also an original painting out there; he's one of the few people that we have as an artist who doesn't paint digitally, he actually does acrylics in this case. Somewhere, somehow, this painting is out there and it's a beautiful piece."
"Maiden in the Lake is another good example of how we've gone through all these different mythoi. If you look at Arthurian legend and the Lady in the Lake, the one who gives King Arthur his sword, then carried over into World of Warcraft, and is now being represented in Hearthstone, it's just a really nice lineage of fable or mythology that's carried through. It helps cement in place the idea of that nobility, honour, and knighthood, in the same way that King Arthur did so many years ago. It gives you a nice feeling of a strong mythology or a strong place in history.
"I like the idea that this is a great example of a strong female character in a place of power, but not like over-power, or dominating in any nature. It's just a strong female character where a strong male could have worked as well. Because it's the Maiden in the Lake and it's got that strong mythology behind it, it's even stronger still. We try and do that whenever we can, really. Break the tropes where knights are men, and maidens are female."
"Ball of Spiders is one of those fun, horrific, and arachnophobic nightmares come to life. Ball of Spiders always was this fun sell idea in Hearthstone from years back. This idea of a spell that just gets out of control very quickly and becomes a problem for you no matter what. We always refer to a problem as like a ball of spiders; it's just going to come and unravel on you and you're not going to know how to handle it. It's one of those internal jokes to the team that became a card and a spell."
For high-resolution versions of the images shown, click through the gallery below.
This week's question is:
When we spend our time playing video games, there are moments along the way that we find music from them that we absolutely love. From catchy 8-bit tunes that we can't get out of our heads to sweeping orchestral themes that move us in the most profound ways, what's your favorite song from a video game? Here's our top picks.
It didn't feature very prominently, only a small sample of it looped on a broken radio in an out-of-the-way room, as I recall, but even that small snippet of "Exile Vilify" in Portal 2 was enough. I sought out the song online, downloaded it, and it now occupies a cherished place in my musical rotation. I don't think I've even listened to other songs by The National; the haunting, soul-stretching strains of that song sustain me.
"Epona's Song" from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. When my daughter was born, I didn't know any lullabies and for the life of me couldn't figure out what to "sing" while I cuddled and swayed my child in an effort to convince her to go to sleep. One night I just started humming it. I could almost see the C-buttons in my mind as I starting harmonizing for my daughter. It's now one of her favorites.
"Nothing Hurts Now" by Magnet. Dreamfall: The Longest Journey was punctuated by Magnet tracks and this one landed just after the protagonist had given her all to a quest and discovered she had lost more than she found. It's a devastating moment and being that I am known to cry at everything, this part always gets me. I've played Dreamfall several times but I always feel like I'm right there with Zoë when she's crying on her bed and Magnet underpins the mood with lyrics like, "Nothing hurts now that didn't hurt before, so I won't pretend that it was the end of the world."
This is an incredibly difficult question, mainly because I'm a music nerd. One song that always gets me pumped for the day is "Spar King" (sparking?) from the opening of Tekken 5. The boys and I used to sing this in class and make the dumbest jokes from it, mainly because the lyrics we found online did not make sense of any kind. One particular line which was suggested, "destiny or terebi" and "rice cooker" always had me in stitches. Regardless of its poor lyrical content, the song has always evoked fond memories of goofing off in class and hanging out in arcades with my friends.
Which Final Fantasy has the best soundtrack? The best Final Fantasy game, of course. Final Fantasy VI. No, you're wrong. So many great tracks, but "The Decisive Battle" was the one I really latched onto. I spent tons of time trying to perfect the piano collection rendition of it and almost flunked out of my actual music exams. Also massive shout out to the whole Gitaroo Man soundtrack, which is still the greatest rhythm action game ever. Ever.
Have you heard the Dragon's Dogma title screen theme? It. Is. Incredible. I popped that game in for the first time and just sat on the screen listening to the title theme for the full four(ish) minutes it lasts. I couldn't understand a single thing the main singer of, who is a Japanese man singing in English, said, but the energy behind it was enrapturing. It's the same kind of passion and commitment that made the Daytona USA theme an earworm. It's a kick ass track.
F-Zero X has the best worst metal music ever I've ever heard; a slightly revolting monaural crescendo of lo-fi pig slaughter mixed with genuinely sufficient guitar riffs, all compressed onto a slither of cartridge space. The best track of them all is the one that plays on the Fire-Field level, but much like with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club and Dark Side of the Moon, F-Zero X's appalling soundtrack can only be fully understood and appreciated in its entirety.
"My strategy is more around our own first-party franchises, and investing in franchises that we own, and probably fewer exclusive deals for third-party content," he said. "I want to have strong third-party relations, but paying for many third-party exclusives isn't our long-term strategy."
One of Microsoft's most high-profile third-party content deals is for Rise of the Tomb Raider, which will launch this November first on Xbox One and Xbox 360, before coming to PC and PlayStation 4 in 2016.
Spencer went on to say having Rise of the Tomb Raider in Microsoft's lineup this year is "great." But he also said you'll see Microsoft focus more on first-party content going forward. This will be evident at Microsoft's Gamescom briefing next week.
"This year, the fact that we're shipping Halo 5, Gears of War, Forza 6, Fable, we can only do that and build that best lineup we've ever seen really on the back of franchises that we own," he said. "It's great to have Tomb Raider as part of our lineup, but investing in first-party, you'll see more of that at Gamescom next week, is really core to our strategy."
Spencer's comments could be interpreted as a dig at Sony. Earlier this year, PlayStation executive Andrew House said third-party content deals, such as the ones the company has in place for Destiny, Street Fighter V, and Call of Duty: Black Ops III, are integral to the company's business plan. This is an especially important area for Sony this year, House said, because the PS4 first-party lineup is "a little sparse."
What do you make of Spencer's comments? Share your thoughts below.
In addition, don't forget that one of July's two games for Xbox One, So Many Me, remains available until August 15.
Even if you don't have an Xbox 360, it's worth claiming the last-generation titles through the Xbox web store, as 360's Games With Gold titles may eventually be playable on Xbox One through backwards compatibility.
Video game movies have a history of questionable quality, and there is no guarantee that the upcoming Assassin's Creed film will buck the trend. But director Justin Kurzel thinks Assassin's Creed could make a good movie because of its deep, historical story full of intrigue and spectacle.
"Because I think there's so much underneath it," Kurzel told IGN when asked why he thinks Assassin's Creed might make a good movie. "I don't think it's your typical shoot-em-up game. I don't think it's your typical one-dimensional game. It has a heart and a history to it."
Kurzel went on to say that the "human" part of Assassin's Creed's story might help the movie be appealing to a wide audience.
"The whole idea of memories and the whole idea of we are made up of who comes before us and within us we carry the DNA of our ancestors and we have access to those ancestors and they somehow speak to who we are now--that is just an incredibly strong, human kind of curious thing, so I think that there is something there that's really original and really fresh and it's no wonder it has 90 million players," he said. "There's got to be something more than just the fun of playing it. There's definitely a culture to it that people really respond to."
The Assassin's Creed movie begins shooting later this year ahead of its expected release in December 2016. It stars veteran, esteemed actors Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Michael K. Williams.
Kurzel's latest movie, a new version of the Shakespeare classic Macbeth, opens in theaters in October. The movie stars Fassbender and Cotillard in the lead roles.
Assassin's Creed is one of more than a dozen video game movie projects currently in development. Check out GameSpot's new image gallery to learn about the others.
PS4 Sales Reach 25.3 Million: The PlayStation 4 continued to soar this week, as Sony revealed a new lifetime shipment tally for the new-generation console. During their respective latest quarters, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One by a very large margin.
Fallout Was "Basically Done" Before Bethesda Even Announced It: Bethesda's Pete Hines says there is no more time to add new features between now and the game's launch in November. All that's left to do is fix bugs and polish. Good luck!
Mafia 3 Confirmed: After years of rumor and speculation, 2K Games officially announced Mafia 3 this week by way of a cryptic teaser image. The full reveal is slotted for next week at Gamescom. Tune in!
Ever wonder what Mad Men's Don Draper thinks about Destiny after its first year? You're in luck, as this funny parody video lets us know.
Tomonobu Itagaki is not holding back in discussing his upcoming Wii U exclusive Devil's Third. He says in a new interview with Famitsu that he believes the action-shooter-brawler will be a "breakthrough" for the industry, and one that "takes shooters to the next level."
Australian developer League of Geeks has announced that its "fantasy board game come to life," Armello, will launch on September 1 for PS4, PC, Mac, and Linux. The final version of the game will be playable before then, however, as League of Geeks is taking it on the road to PAX Prime.
Guacamelee developer Drinkbox announced this week that its next game, Severed, has been delayed. It was previously expected to launch this summer, but Drinkbox needs "a few additional months" of playtesting and tuning to ensure it's the best it can be. "We also need sufficient time to add more memes and dumb jokes."
Polygon has an excellent, deep-dive feature on the upcoming Gears of War Ultimate Edition. The story is packed with intriguing details about the game and even some teases about the future. Check it out here.
Naughty Dog did a nice thing for a fan whose father recently passed away. Get the full story here.
It sure sounds like Ubisoft chose the right director for its upcoming Assassin's Creed movie. Check out this interview with director Justin Kurzel over at IGN, in which he talks about his love of Assassin's Creed and more.
Blizzard's new PC shooter Overwatch isn't even out yet, but it's already generating some excellent fan cosplay. I mean, my goodness, check it out.
Crackdown fans, this one is for you. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has confirmed that gameplay footage for the new Crackdown game for Xbox One will debut at Gamescom next week during the Microsoft briefing. It's set for August 5.
This week, there was a lot of talk about evil robot overlords. Veteran game designer John Carmack, however, is not afraid--so long as the robots we create are laser-pointing droids that keep squirrels off our lawns. I can get behind that.
Here's the first trailer for Chicago-based developer Phosphor Games' upcoming PC title Corpse of Discovery. The game is described as "thought-provoking" and featuring procedurally generated worlds. What's that look like in action? Take a look at the video below.
Bigmoon Entertainment has announced a new "dark fantasy" turn-based RPG for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The game is called Demons Age, and in it, players will explore ancient ruins and dungeons while battle against monsters. Look for Demons Age in Q1 2016. Read more about it here.
Tanks invaded Xbox One this week, as Wargaming launched the Xbox One edition of its popular free-to-play tank game World of Tanks. It's available now and even supports cross-platform play with the Xbox 360 version. There's also better graphics and a new PvE mode. Read more about it here.
The next episode in the Gears of War Ultimate Edition behind-the-scenes series has arrived. Check out the video below to hear directly from developer The Coalition about how they going about respecting the original but also pushing things forward with better graphics and more.
Deus Ex and Epic Mickey designer Warren Spector has written an in-depth blog post for Gamasutra about The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games. It's a good read, and may make you think about Telltale (and probably Spector) differently than you did before.
Have a great weekend! Gamescom starts next week...buckle up.
"Blizzard--and the community that surrounds it--has defined almost my entire adult life, and I am just so absolutely grateful to all of my friends here for having such an incredible and positive impact on who I am, and who I am yet to become," he wrote. "I don't think I've had to make any decisions as difficult as the one to leave Blizzard, but a new opportunity has come my way, and I've decided to take it."
Whipple, a self-described "rabid gamer," said he's looking forward to a future when he can be surprised by Blizzard's announcements like everyone else.
"As a lifelong fan and rabid gamer it makes me giddy thinking about being able to sit in the audience at BlizzCon, watching a stream, or reading the newest blog posts, and seeing whatever's in store next--for the first time," he said.
Whipple did not provide any details about what his next gig is.
He leaves Blizzard on the eve of World of Warcraft's sixth expansion, which will be announced next week at Gamescom.
Parting gift: 26.5lbs of red Starburst. Enjoy. pic.twitter.com/v5vxDfudm5— Micah Whipple (@micahwhipple) July 31, 2015
Blizzard throws a nice farewell party. They tell me the "whiteboard card" was sarcasm. . . pic.twitter.com/L6WGDwC7cE— Micah Whipple (@micahwhipple) August 1, 2015
GTA 5 fan JulioNIB created the mod, which overhauls the game's HUD in addition to adding armor and weapons. It's a very impressive mod; the armor looks great and the animations seem to be both accurate and fluid. You can check out a video of the mod in action below.
This mod clearly gives you massive destructive power. It makes your character a functional superhero, able to take on an army of police officers and vehicles alone. Iron Man's arsenal of repulsor beams, missiles, and extremely powerful punches are usable in the mod, as well, letting you wreak havoc in Los Santos. My favorite moment in the video is when the modder flies into the sky, then shoulder-charges straight through a helicopter.
But even if you don't want to destroy everything in sight, the mod lets you soar around using Iron Man's hand and foot rocket boosts. The mod is still in development and isn't yet available for download, but it's shaping up to be a pretty awesome change to the GTA formula.
GTA 5 modders have changed the game in other cool ways recently. For example, one user is turning GTA 5 into an RPG, complete with skill trees and loot. Another added a grappling hook to the game. You can also watch GameSpot play with a whole bunch of different mods here.
In a presentation at the Chinajoy trade show which took place this week in Shanghai (reported by VentureBeat), Sweeney discussed how AR might come to affect many different parts of our lives. His basis for this belief comes from the nature of AR headsets, which let users move freely while still presenting information to them. "I believe that augmented reality will be the biggest technological revolution that happens in our lifetimes," he said. "Once you have an augmented reality display, you don't need any other form of display. Your smart phone does not need a screen. You don't need a tablet. You don't need a TV. You just take the screen with you on your glasses wherever you go."
Sweeney went on to argue that AR will come to dominate the technological landscape because of its mobility and potential applications. "With AR, you have a large field of view,” he explained. "Combined with [the] convenience of mobile, and the display is with you everywhere you go and you don't need anything else. Augmented reality will drive all things like chat, social networking, photos, videos, organizing data, modeling, painting, motion capture, and visual programming."
At E3 in June, we were able to go hands-on with Microsoft's Hololens headset, and we were impressed. Microsoft showed off a demo of an AR Halo experience, and it shared some more information and videos about Minecraft for Hololens. However, the headset is limited: recently, a video showed Hololens' field of view, which is currently very small.
In a post on the PlayStation Blog, community manager Jenny Lawrence discussed the game's companion app. Most notably, it will let players interact with the game's creative features on their mobile devices. In the game's original Vita version, players made designs using the handheld's touchscreen. Because of the limitations of the PS4's controller, these features are now usable on mobile devices.
In addition, this companion app effectively lets the PS4 version have the same camera functionality as the Vita version. On the Vita, the game used the handheld's cameras to let you import photos into the game to be used as patterns. The companion app lets players do the same thing using mobile devices. The game also has optional PS4 camera support that provides the same functionality.
The companion app also communicates with the game in real time, so if you customize your character in the app, the changes will immediately appear in the game. This also means that you can send objects into the game's world from the app. Lawrence wrote that this lets the game essentially have an element of asynchronous multiplayer--one person could play the game itself, and one person could add different items to the game from the app.
Interestingly, if you have a Vita, you can use the handheld as the second screen. Entering into the PS4 second-screen mode on the Vita while Tearaway Unfolded is running will let you use the companion app from the Vita.
Tearaway Unfolded launches September 8 on PS4. We found that the game makes great use of the PS4's controller.