Category Archives: Gaming

EA has Acquired Respawn Entertainment



Electronic Arts (EA) announced an agreement to acquire Respawn Entertainment, a leading independent game development studio and creators of AAA shooter and action games including critically-acclaimed Titanfall franchise.

EA states that Respawn brings to EA the proven leadership and studio talent behind Titanfall and Titanfall 2, two of the most highly-rated shooter titles in the last five years. The acquisition builds on a successful publishing partnership between Respawn and EA, with multiple projects currently in development – a new title in the Titanfall franchise, a game set in the Star Wars universe, and a VR gaming experience.

Respawn will join EA’s Worldwide Studios organization, a global creative collective of leading game development studios.

CEO of Respawn Entertainment, Vince Zampella, posted a letter on the Respawn website that provides some information about the acquisition.

While it wasn’t necessary, going with EA made a lot of sense. With Titanfall and Star Wars, EA has been a great development partner that supports us and doesn’t interfere with our process for making games or studio culture. EA will provide more resources, access to new technologies, and expertise that we can tap into to that will help us make better games, and Respawn will retain the same creative freedom and culture we’ve always had. We’ve been talking closely with the leadership with EA and we share their values and vision for the future of being a developer-focused company that puts the players first.

He goes on to say that he will still be running things at Respawn, and that he will also be part of the studio leadership team at EA. He states that there will be no layoffs or major organization changes with Respawn, and that all games currently in development are continuing as planned.


Razer and Blizzard Made D.Va Gaming Peripherals



Razer is the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers. Blizzard is the creator of the popular Overwatch video game. The two companies have partnered in order to create gaming peripherals based on D.Va, a character from Overwatch.

The Razer Abyssus Elite is a mouse that comes with true 7,200 DPI and tracking at 220 inches per second (IPS) as well as an acceleration of 30 G. Users can switch between left and right handed button configurations. The mouse has 3 hyper response buttons and an exclusive D.Va design. It is available now, and priced at US $59.99.

The Razer Goliathus is a mousepad that has an exclusive D.Va design. The mousepad weave is pulled taut to create a slick and seamless surface that enables the D.Va Razer Abyssus Elite to glide over it quickly with zero hinderance. It is a soft cloth design that maintains its flatness no matter how many times it is rolled up and unrolled. It is available now, and priced at $19.99.

There is also a D.Va Razer Meka Headset (which is listed on the Razer website as “coming soon”). It is an iconic headset that resembles the one that the D.Va Overwatch character wears in-game.


Evertoon has been Acquired by Niantic



Evertoon was created to democratize storytelling. Their mission was to enable video creation for anyone with stories to tell, regardless of their looks, race, or age. Evertoon announced that it has been acquired by Niantic, the company that makes Pokémon GO.

Evertoon posted a blog in which they announced they had been acquired by Niantic. They also explained what happens to the Evertoon videos.

Through the course of our company, we learned a great deal about building community and social experiences. We’ve gotten to know other companies who would derive great value from this. Today we’d like to share with you that Niantic has acquired the Evertoon team. We will be adding a social platform to Niantic’s amazing roster of games, including Pokémon GO, Ingress, and future titles. We’ll also be contributing engineering leadership experience. Niantic’s games are unique in bringing people together in the real world, and we’re excited to weave our expertise into them.

Niantic confirmed the acquisition of the Evertoon team in a blog post of their own. The Niantic post also states that the Evertoon team will be helping Niantic with building social systems that benefit Niantic’s entire community.

Evertoon will be put into offline-mode as of November 30, 2017. People who download the latest version of the iOS Evertoon app from the App Store will be able to use offline-mode to continue making animated videos on their phones.

As of November 30, 2017, Evertoon will remove the community component of the product, and older versions of Evertoon will no longer work. There are instructions on the Evertoon post that explain how to download the videos you already shared to the Evertoon feed.


Runic Games has Closed



Runic Games is the creator of Torchlight, Torchlight II, and Hob. On November 3, 2017, Runic games announced in a tweet that linked to a blog post that they had closed. The post was written by Studio Head Marsh Lefler.

It’s been over nine years since a rag-tag team of 17 developers helped open Runic Games. We’ve been so lucky for the community that has supported us and made us successful. Thanks to that support, we have had the chance to meet and work with the best people in the world. Our team here at Runic has released three successful games, and over that time we have seen many changes; team members got married, kids were born, but the most important thing is that we have become a family.

I’m sorry to say that today will be Runic’s last day open. Our focus is on our family here, and helping them find a new place to call home.

The rest of the short post encourages people who are looking to hire “some of the best talent in the industry” to contact Runic by email. In addition, the post says that “there will be some news coming” for those who love the Torchlight series. Runic Games points out that they will keep their community and multiplayer services running.


Moira is the Newest Character to be Added to Overwatch



Among the many things announced at BlizzCon 2017 is the addition of a new character to Overwatch. Moira is not in the game just yet, but will be added “soon”. It is not clear exactly when she will become a playable character in Overwatch.

Moira O’Deorain is a geneticist who started out in Blackwatch (Overwatch’s covert ops division). Things didn’t work out so well, and she later joined Talon. This means Moira switched from being part of the “good guys” to being part of the “bad guys”.

The entertainment.ie wrote an article titled “Overwatch gets its first Irish character.” They point out that Moira’s base of operations is listed as: Dublin, Ireland; Oasis, Iraq. The same article states that Moira is voiced by Genevieve O’Reiily, who was born in Ireland. She played Mon Mothma in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Moira is a support character. She has biotic abilities that enable her to contribute to healing, or to damage, as needed. Her Biotic Grasp is a short-range ability she can use to heal allies that are in front of her. Or, she can use it to fire a long-range beam weapon that saps enemies health and replenishes her biotic energy.

Her Biotic Orbs are a longer-range option. She can launch a rebounding biotic sphere. It can be used either to heal the allies that run through it, or if it will have a decay effect that damages enemies.

Moira also has a Fade ability that allows her to quickly teleport a short distance, and a Coalescence long-range beam that both heals allies and bypasses barriers to damage her enemies.


Kobolds & Catacombs is Hearthstone’s Newest Expansion



The newest expansion for Hearthstone, Blizzard’s popular online card game, was announced at BlizzCon 2017. It is called Kobolds & Catacombs. The expansion can be preordered now for $49.99. The exact release date is unclear, but it will be sometime in December of this year.

Glorious, glorious loot is a huge part of the Kobolds & Catacombs story. Join us as we discover the troves of tempting treasures that Kobolds & Catacombs holds in store for you when it arrives in December.

Players who log into Hearthstone after Kobolds & Catacombs has been released will be granted one random Legendary weapon for free. Each Legendary weapon has its own flavor and unique power that reflects the class it connects to. All nine classes can seek out their own Legendary weapons.

There will be Unidentified Item cards that, when used, have the potential to turn into one of four varieties of the original card. The example given on the Blizzard website is a card called Unidentified Elixir. When used, it could turn into an Elixir of Life, or an Elixir of Fire, or an Elixir of Shadows, or an Elixir of Hope.

A Spellstone has been created for each of the nine classes. Heroes that add Spellstones to their deck can “awaken them from slumber”. Each one has a unique key. For example, the Spellstone might be empowered by gaining armor, casting spells, or overloading mana crystals. In short, this is a card that a player can make more powerful.


Blizzard Announced World of Warcraft: The Battle for Azeroth



Blizzard announced the newest World of Warcraft expansion during BlizzCon 2017. It is called World of Warcraft: Battle For Azeroth. The beta test is coming soon, and you can opt-in to it now if you are interested in being selected to participate.

It is very clear that this expansion is very much focused on the ongoing battle between the Horde and the Alliance. The tagline for the expansion is “Declare Your Allegiance”.

Azeroth paid a terrible price to end the apocalyptic march of the Legion’s crusade – but even as the world’s wounds are tended, it is the shattered trust between the Alliance and the Horde that may prove hardest to mend. As this age-old conflict reignites, join your allies and champion your faction’s cause – Azeroth’s future will be forged in the fires of war.

World of Warcraft: The Battle for Azeroth includes:

Six New Playable Races:

Players can earn the respect of six playable Allied Races. Doing so will unlock the ability for a player to create new prestige characters of that race. After an Allied Race is recruited, players can rediscover Azeroth through a revamped level experience that features zones that scale as your character grows in power. Complete the full leveling experience to earn a distinctive Heritage Armor set.

Horde Allied Races: Highmountain Tauren, Nightborne, Zandalari Trolls

Alliance Allied Races: Lightforged Draenei, Void Elf, Dark Iron Dwarves

Two New Continents

Kul Tiras is the seafaring kingdom that is home to Jaina Proudmoore. It is the new continent for the Alliance. Players can “untangle a web of betrayal and dark magic” as they explore new zones, fight sea pirates, and more.

Zandalar is the new continent for the Horde. It is a troll dominated territory. Players can encounter battle crazed blood-troll worshippers, gargantuan dinosaurs, and titan constructs. It includes new zones, including Zuldazar, the oldest city in Azeroth.

Uncharted Islands

Players can battle in groups of three and race against enemy players (or rival intruders) to collect the resources on an island. There will be “constantly evolving challenges”.

Warfronts

Players can take part in a large-scale, 20-player cooperative Warfront to claim a key strategic location. Build up your factions forces, lay siege to the objective, and battle enemy commanders. This is a PVE mode of the game that was inspired by Warcraft RTS battles.

 


StarCraft II is Going Free-To-Play



Blizzard announced that StarCraft II is going free-to-play beginning on November 14, 2017. They explain that when they say free-to-play – they really mean it.

Starting on November 14, you’ll have free access to the original Wings of Liberty single-player campaign and every Co-Op Commander, and will be able to unlock access to StarCraft II’s competitive multiplayer content for free.

Here is what will be available for free:

The original Wings of Liberty campaign
Experience the original epic campaign that kicked off the StarCraft II saga! If you picked up Wings of Liberty previously but haven’t come back to StarCraft II in a while, you will receive the second installment in StarCraft II’s campaign, the zerg-focused Heart of the Swarm for free. To claim it, you need to log in between November 8 and December 8, 2017.

Access to the ranked multiplayer ladder
Compete with other players to become the best, complete with all the multiplayer units from Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void. To unlock it permanently, you need to earn 10 First Wins of the Day in Unranked or Versus A.I. Play.

Current and upcoming Co-op Commanders
These are available to play for free up to level five, and the level restriction for weekly mutations have been removed. The Co-op Commanders Raynor, Kerrigan, and Artanis will remain completely free, meaning that you can keep leveling them to your heart’s content.

In other words, you will soon be able to play all of StarCraft II’s multiplayer, every Co-op Commander, and the entire first campaign in the single-player story, for free.


EA Announces Visceral Studio will Close



In a blog post titled “An Update on the Visceral Star Wars Project”, EA announced that their Visceral studio will close. This change, obviously, has an impact on the Star Wars game that the studio was working on.

Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe. In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to feedback about what and how they wanted to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design.

EA clarifies that they will maintain the visuals and authenticity of the Star Wars universe, and will focus on bringing a Star Wars story to life. The game, whatever it was, will be shifted to “a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency.”

As a result, EA states that their Visceral studio will be “ramping down and closing”. EA is already in the process of shifting as many of the Visceral studio team as possible to other projects and teams at EA. A team from EA Vancouver has already been working on the project, and they will lead a development team from EA Worldwide Studios (who will take over development of the Star Wars game).


World of Warcraft’s Hallow’s End Event has Started



The Hallow’s End event happens every year in World of Warcraft. It is clearly a Halloween-inspired event, and one that I personally find to be a lot of fun. Hallow’s End started today, October 18, 2017, and will end on November 1, 2017.

There are some new things added to the Hallow’s End event this year. One is called “Exquisite Costume Set: Xavius:, which looks like a demon. The other is a two-piece Horse costume. One player wears the head of the horse, and another player follows them around dressed as the tail of the horse.

There is a brand new pet called Naxxy. It is a small replica of Naxxramas, a giant necropolis that floats over two zones in World of Warcraft. Naxxramas is a raid dungeon. The way to obtain these special items is to collect in-game currency by trick-or-treating at the inns.

Perhaps the most interesting change has to do with the Headless Horseman battle. This year, players who have characters that are level 23 or higher will be able to queue up for the Headless Horseman encounter in the Dungeon Finder.

This change might give players a better chance at obtaining The Horseman’s Reins (a special, and highly sought after, mount).  Brand new players can get to level 23 in a reasonably short amount of time.  Players who have several low-level alts, that are at least level 23, can queue them up for the Headless Horseman encounter.  The Horseman’s Reins have to drop eventually…. right?