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How do ya like them apples? Crash Bandicoot coming to Steam

It’s time to break crates, store up your apples and dodge some polar bears. Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is coming to all current gen platforms, including PC.

The Crash Bandicoot series was originally released between 1996 and 2010 with various spin off’s such as Nitro Cart and Tag Team Racing.

Crash Bandicoot

When you hear Crash Bandicoot is coming to Steam

Between 2011 and 2016 there was little activity from the franchise until Sony announced that they were remastering the main trilogy. The remastered N.Sane Trilogy released in June last year for the Playsation 4. The remaster reportedly shipped a respectable 2 million copies worldwide and was well received by fans and critics alike.

Sony released a small but informative trailer showing Crash and other memorable characters.

Watch the trailer for the remastered trilogy

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“Call of Duty Black Ops 4” merchandise appears on Gamestop listing system

Could Call of Duty Black Ops 4 be announced soon? Judging by several screenshots that have surfaced on the internet, it is entirely possible.

An anonymous source posted the pictures which show lanyards and T-shirts on system but with zero in stock.

Call of Duty Black Ops 4

The screenshots were taken from Gamestops internal system

The next instalment in the Call of Duty franchise is expected to return at somepoint this year. However, Activison has not released any information so far.

Call of Duty Black Ops 3 was released back in 2015 so it’s inevitable that Black Ops should make a return soon.

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Metal Gear Survive flops in the UK Charts

Metal Gear Survive is currently ranked 6th place overall on Chart-Track. This only tracks physical copies sold but is a telling sign of the reception Survive has received.

The game sits below EA’s  UFC 3 and just above Sony’s Shadow of the Colossus, both of which received more positive reviews from critics.

Digital sales are more difficult to track but according to SteamMetal Gear Survive currently has 5,202 players which is the current peak number. Let’s bear in mind the game only released 6 days ago but combine this with the ‘mixed’ reviews, it is not boding well.

Take a look through the Steam reviews and you will find criticisms predominantly about micro transactions and the lacklustre game play.

“Don’t buy this game at full price, it’s a sad, empty and dull game that could have been good. Microtransactions are running amok in this game to the point it hurts.” one reviewer says.

The Metal Gear spin-off see’s players transported to a hostile world where they have to scavenge and defend themselves against hostile creatures.

The pre-launch beta received an equally mixed reception from fans and critics who found the gameplay lacklustre. Many fans were also angry at how the developers treated Hideo Kojima, a potent driving force who departed while Survive was still in development.

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Age of Empires Definitive Edition

Summon the minute men! Age of Empires Definitive Edition released

One of the most popular RTS franchise of all time is getting a HD makeover. Age of Empires Definitive Edition is now available on the Windows 10 store. The new release promises overhauled graphics, sound effects and according to the website “a smooth UI experience rebuilt from the ground up“.

In a post announcing the release, Adam Isgreen (Creative Director at Microsoft) says “We created Age of Empires: Definitive Edition as a homage to all Real Time Strategy (RTS) fans and to PC gamers everywhere…the Definitive Edition brings back the original feeling of Age of Empires, but better than ever.” 

The original Age of Empires was released in 1997 by Ensemble Studios and proved to be a commercial success. Ensemble Studios subsequently developed Age of Empires II in 1999. Microsoft acquired Ensemble in 2001 and the studio released Age of Empires III in 2005. Ensemble Studios closed down in early 2009, shortly after the release of Halo Wars and many fans feared that this spelt the end of the AoE franchise.

However a high definition version of Age of Empires II sparked renewed hope amongst empire builders, despite the remake receiving mixed reviews. This was mainly due to the lack of changes in game mechanics.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition

Fans will be happy to hear that this remastered version doesn’t just tweak the graphics and sound effects but also reworks some long requested changes to the game mechanics. This extensive list includes the ability to change the population cap in the pre game lobby, the ability to zoom in and out, setting rally points and various unit queuing mechanics.

For those who want to pick a fight with fellow empire builders, Age of Empires Definitive Edition also includes online modes for up to 8 players.

And it seems the good news doesn’t stop at just Age of Empires I. In the same post, Adam Isgreen mentions that definitive edition of Age of Empires II & III are being worked on but no release date is in sight. This follows on from an announcement last August that the long awaited development of Age of Empires IV  is underway in the capable hands of Relic Entertainment.

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Max Payne

Remedy’s new game, codenamed “P7” is expected to be released next year

A surprise to be sure for fans of the studio that brought us the Max Payne series and Alan Wake, Remedy Entertainment announced in an earnings report the plans for the near future. Their next game, code named P7 has moved from pre-production to full production.  Ilta-Sanomat, a Finnish media outlet states that the release date is sometime in 2019.

The details concerning P7 are hard to come by and Remedy’s website does not provide much detail other than a brief description quoted below:

“A cinematic third-person action game set in a new Remedy-created universe, P7 features an intriguing story with a cast of memorable characters. The game structure offers a long-lasting, story-driven gameplay experience and the deepest game mechanics yet in a Remedy game. P7 is a multiplatform title published by 505 Games.”

A lengthy list of current job vacancies follows this list. Job roles include a “Senior Game Designer” and “Animation Programmer”. It suggests that Remedy will be busy for the near future, even reaching out to former employee’s of Hanger 13 via Twitter.

While we can guess the scope of the projects ahead, it is more difficult to see what P7 will become further down the road. The various job postings indicate that this will be a shift away from Singleplayer, story driven content like Max Payne or Quantum Break. From one description a requirement is to create “compelling, innovative online game modes.”

Perhaps P7 will be a shift more towards the likes of Destiny?

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Is it game over for the Lootbox? Hawaii introduces new legislation

Over the past couple of years, the called Lootbox has risen to the fore as a new way of increasing sales for a game. Hawaii has announced aims to curb these electronic gambling systems. The lawmakers in Hawaii argue that these lootboxes are psychologically damaging and exploitative.

Lootboxes are an in-game item that can be bought for real money containing various items, some being rarer than others. The items you buy are not revealed until the box is open. Some people fear that players who use these lootboxes could become addicted to gambling.

The release of Star Wars Battlefront II in November 2017 caused huge outrage amongst fans when it was realised that powerful upgrades for characters could only be obtained through lootboxes, not through just playing the game itself.

Lootbox

Further controversy embroiled the game, when players discovered legendary characters such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader through steep gameplay requirements but could be unlocked quicker by purchasing in game currency which could then be used to unlock the characters.

Consequently, a comment by an EA representative on Reddit is now credited as the most downvoted comment of all time.

The backlash further escalated, from fans to EA and Disney and even sparked debate among politicians around the world. Politician Chris Lee of Hawaii even made a video about the controversy.

These kinds of lootboxes and microtransactions are explicitly designed to prey upon and exploit human psychology in the same way casino games are so designed.” Lee

said at the time. “These exploitive mechanisms and the deceptive marketing promoting them have no place in games being marketed to minors, and perhaps no place in games at all.” 

The four bills introduced by Hawaii are a direct result of this backlash. Two of the bills, House Bill 2727 and Senate Bill 3025 would force game developers to label those games containing randomized lootboxes and, more importantly, disclose the probability rates of each reward.

The other two bills focus on prohibiting the sale of games which contain randomized purchase boxes to anyone under the age of 21. Chris Lee is once again spearheading the legislation and explained more than half the U.S states are pursuing a form of lootbox oversight legislation.

Despite the controversy, it is hard to ignore just how profitable the lootbox can be. Last week, Activision Blizzard announced that their game Overwatch made $4 billion in micro transaction sales alone.

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Battlefield 1 Apocalypse

Battlefield 1 Apocalypse DLC released for premium owners

Battlefield 1 Apocalypse is now out for Premium Pass players across all platforms. The full release of the DLC is coming in next two weeks and is the fourth and final DLC for Battlefield 1.

The latest DLC promises to be the most exciting yet and contains a large amount of content for players to sink their teeth into.

“The war to end all wars, but there’s no end in sight. Enter a living hell and participate in the most brutal battles of the cataclysmic Great War.” reads a blog post from Dice.

The DLC contains 5 brand new maps “The bloody, muddy hell of Passchendaele and the Austro-Italian clash of Caporetto portray two of the most infamous battles of World War 1, where you’ll go over the top to conquer bitterly-contested ground. The scenic wheat fields by River Somme transform into a nightmare after devastating artillery barrages.” introduces the blog.

Apart from these three battlefields, two maps are specifically for aerial combat for the dedicated pilots among the players. Razors Edge and London Calling give players the chance to test their flying skills over a mountain range and fight planes and airships above London.

The DLC also brings new melee weapons, 6 additional guns and new gadgets (including an AA rocket gun). There is also additional assignments and medals to unlock, plus additional ranks.

For those who have to wait a little bit longer for Battlefield 1 Apocalypse, take a look at some official screenshots below.

 

Battlefield 1 Apocalypse Battlefield 1 Apocalypse Battlefield 1 Apocalypse Battlefield 1 Apocalypse

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