Category Archives: News of Console and Games

Get Titanfall for free when you buy an Xbox One

Microsoft to bundle a download code for Titanfall with Xbox One hardware purchases, while stocks last.

Microsoft will release a limited edition Titanfall Xbox One bundle when the game launches on May 11, the company has announced.

Included in the bundle is a standard black Xbox One, the Kinect, a wireless controller, wired headset, a download code for Titanfall, and a one month Xbox Live Gold subscription.

The included controller is not, however, the limited edition Titanfall controller. But the machine does come in some fancy Titanfall packaging.

“To celebrate the launch of Titanfall, we wanted to do something special,” said Xbox exec Yusuf Mehdi. “For those of you who are already fans of Xbox One, we hope this will encourage more of your friends to join you on day one for Titanfall on Xbox One. If you’ve been waiting for the biggest game of the generation before purchasing your Xbox One, this special, limited time offer is perfect for you.”

The bundle will be sold at the same price as the Xbox One: $499, €499, and the machine’s new UK price of £399.

Supplies of the machine will be available while stocks last, and preorders for the machine will go live today.

Titanfall will launch for Xbox One and PC on March 11. An Xbox 360 version is also in the works.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Makes Top 10 Début in UK All-Format Charts

The highest new entry of the week

After being pushed back from a Holiday season release, Retro Studio’s Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze arrived in Europe and North America on 21st February. The UK chart results covering its opening weekend of sales are in — reflecting physical retail purchases only — and the platformer has managed to swing a positive start.

The UK all-format charts have DK’s adventure coming in 9th place, a decent performance in the face of many multi-platform games; it was the highest new entry of the week. In the single format chart it actually secured 4th position, behind two iterations of The LEGO Movie Videogame and Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition. LEGO was a dominant theme — back in the all-format results — too, with an extraordinary nine titles in the top 40; it’s also worth noting that of the latest movie title’s iterations the 3DS version was third behind those on Xbox 360 and PS3 (a solid result) while the Wii U SKU came in behind the PS4 but above the Xbox One.

In terms of further exclusives duking it out in the all-format chart, a number of the evergreen 3DS releases have dropped out of the top 40; just Pokémon X & Y remain, with X in 27th place and Y in 30th.

Considering the all-format and individual format results together, it’s been a solid opening salvo for Retro’s platformer; perhaps as expected it hasn’t defied the odds and stormed to the top, but it’s keeping company with franchises and multi-platform releases still selling strong numbers.

Let us know your thoughts on these results, and whether you picked up Tropical Freeze in its launch weekend, in the comments below.

Hacking Group Claims To Have Discovered Wii U Homebrew Exploit

The Wii U Hax HQ, yesterdayHack to the future

Every piece of gaming tech is potentially hackable, but so far the Wii U has proven to be a tough nut to crack. There have been attempts of course, but according to Nintendo these have come to nothing.It would now appear that the situation has dramatically changed. A hacking group known as “Wii U Hax” has revealed that it has found an exploit to access the Wii U hardware — through the Wii mode, at least — and is proudly claiming that this is beginning of the Wii U homebrew scene.

It’s not known if the hack grants full access to the hardware, but Wii U Hax believes that the exploit can’t be patched by Nintendo without releasing a new hardware model of the console.

System integrity has always been a key aim for Nintendo — especially after the piracy-packed days of the DS and Wii — and the company has clearly made things harder with the 3DS and Wii U. System updates can be effectively employed to block any potential weaknesses, but if what this group of hackers is saying is correct, this is one hole that may be impossible to plug.

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes contains just a fraction of the world map which will be available in The Phantom Pain

“Ground Zeroes has a relatively small field compared to the main game, which is hundreds of times larger,” franchise creator Hideo Kojima said on Twitter, as translated by Siliconera.

If you’re worried this means Ground Zeroes is small, the developer has said in the past that The Phantom Pain has “enormous volume”, so it could still be pretty hefty.

Kojima offered a few other snippets of information, noting that Ground Zeroes if both a prologue to Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and a tutorial to Metal Gear Solid in general, which is ‘transitioning to a sneaking simulator’.

Ground Zeroes does not include the real-time effects of The Phantom Pain, but does contain a variety of missions set at different time of day, he added, and featuring different play styles. It’s due on PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One at the end of March, and is a budget release designed to give fans something to chew on while The Phantom Pain’s lengthy next-gen development continues.

Microsoft building an ‘Xbox Reading’ app for Windows 8

xbox logo (verge stock)

Microsoft has already built Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps for Windows 8, but the next target is books. A recent Microsoft job listing, discovered by Chinese Microsoft blog LiveSino, notes that the software giant is looking to hire a software design engineer to build “a groundbreaking interactive reading app on Windows, which incorporates books, magazines, and comics.” Potential candidates would join the same Music, Video, and Reading (MVR) team that has already shipped two built-in Xbox branded apps for Windows 8.

It’s not immediately clear why Microsoft is building another reading application, but The Verge has confirmed with one source familiar with the company’s plans that Microsoft is planning to build the new app. Microsoft already ships a separate “Reader” app for Windows 8, so it’s possible that the company is planning to redesign and rebuild it with Xbox branding. The existing Reader app is a fairly basic viewer with support for PDF, XPS, and TIFF files. Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps run across Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, but it’s not clear from the job posting whether Microsoft is also porting the new reading app to its Xbox consoles.

MICROSOFT’S OFFICE TEAM ALSO BUILDING A READER APP

Microsoft’s Office team is also developing its own separate “Office Reader” app for Windows 8. Office Reader is designed to be a cross-format tool for consuming different types of content, including PDFs and textbooks. Microsoft’s Office Reader app is being developed by the Office team at the company, not the Music, Video, and Reading team. Microsoft’s Kirk Koenigsbauer demonstrated the Office Reader app during an employee-only company meeting last year. Both the “Xbox Reading” and Office Reader applications have not been announced yet, but Microsoft is expected to ship its Office Reader app later this year.

The promise of books, magazines, and comics integration suggests this upcoming Xbox-branded reading app could be the first full example of Microsoft’s Nook investment. The software-maker partnered with Barnes & Noble for a $300 million investment in late 2012, but Microsoft has not yet integrated the Nook services into its own apps in any meaningful way. Aside from a Nook Windows 8 app, the promise of accelerated “e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices” has not yet come to fruition.

NASCAR 14 skipping PlayStation 4 and Xbox One because of install base

The latest title in the NASCAR franchise, NASCAR ’14, will launch on current-gen platforms because next-generation market share doesn’t yet justify the cost of development, Eutechnyx’s EVP, Ed Martin told Extra Mustard.

According to Martin, “the nail in the coffin” to bypass the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was when SCEE CEO Jim Ryan announced last May that Gran Turismo 6was debuting on PS3 and not PS4 because of the current console’s install base. Ryan explained at the time that the PS3 has an install base of 70 million units, while “on launch day we’ll have an install base of zero units” for the PS4.

“It costs us about $6 million to develop a next-gen version of NASCAR,” Martin said. “You have to sell an awful lot of copies in order to meet the development costs, on top of all the licensing. There are about 4-5 million worldwide combined units of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so it just doesn’t add up for us right now. We own the rights, and we absolutely have plans, but it won’t be later this year.”

Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of the Gran Turismo racing series, mentioned last year that Gran Turismo 6 may head to PS4 post-holiday season. He stated that the “best scenario” was to focus on the PS3 version, downloadable content and updates, possibly followed by a PS4 release.

NASCAR ’14 will feature official teams, tracks and drivers from the racing sport. It will also include a career mode, as well as league competition with rankings, statistics and challenges. The NASCAR Highlights mode lets players race in real-life scenarios from NASCAR’s current season. Developed by Eutechnyx, who also created NASCAR: The Game 2013 and NASCAR The Game: Inside LineNASCAR ’14 is due for release on Xbox 360, PS3 and Windows PC Feb. 18 for $49.99.

Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

Post updated to include current franchise logo: 1/27/14– 10 a.m. PST

Today we’re excited to announce that Microsoft Studios has acquired the rights to the “Gears of War” franchise from Epic Games, including rights to all existing and future games, entertainment experiences and merchandise. In addition, we are excited to announce that Black Tusk Studios in Vancouver, BC will take over development of the “Gears of War” franchise and that Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on the “Gears of War” franchise, will join Microsoft and play a key studio leadership role at Black Tusk on the development of the franchise going forward. We had a chance to chat with Phil Spencer, Head of Microsoft Studios, Hanno Lemke, General Manager of Black Tusk Studios at Microsoft Studios, and Rod Fergusson about the big news.

Why did Microsoft purchase the “Gears of War” franchise?
Phil Spencer: It all comes back to our commitment to Xbox fans. The “Gears of War” franchise has a very strong, passionate and valued fan base on Xbox. Over twenty-two million units have been sold across all “Gears of War” titles worldwide, grossing over $1B dollars (US). This franchise, and these fans, are part of the soul of Xbox. By acquiring this franchise, Microsoft Studios will continue to offer them more of their favorite games and entertainment experiences from the “Gears of War” universe.

Why did Epic Games agree to this acquisition?
Hanno Lemke: Epic has been a tremendous partner to work with, and it has been a privilege for Microsoft to be Epic’s publishing partner and work together to achieve the phenomenal success of the “Gears of War” games.  Epic remains great partners and good friends of Microsoft Studios.  In fact we will collaborate closely with Epic to ensure the inclusion of the Unreal Engine technology into the “Gears of War” franchise going forward remains consistent with the high quality fans have come to expect from the franchise.

Why was an as-yet-unproven studio like Black Tusk chosen to lead the “Gears of War” development over a more established studio?
Phil Spencer: Black Tusk has assembled a world-class team with deep experience and passion for the shooter space, and specifically the “Gears of War” franchise.  I am extremely confident that under the leadership of Hanno Lemke, Rod Fergusson and our other leaders in the studio, Black Tusk is well equipped to take on the future development of the “Gears of War” franchise.

Are there plans to bring anyone who worked on previous “Gears of War” games onboard to work on the future of the series?
Hanno Lemke: The news that Rod Fergusson is joining Black Tusk should be really exciting for fans of the franchise.  Rod has played a leadership role at Epic on all of the “Gears of Wars” games, he understands the franchise deeply but equally importantly he understands the fans of the franchise – what they love, where they want to see the franchise evolve.  Once the news spreads about the opportunities at Black Tusk, I’m confident we’ll see interest from a number of talented developers who share the same passion for the “Gears” franchise as the developers at Black Tusk.

When can we expect to hear more about the plans for the “Gears of War” franchise?
Hanno Lemke: We hope to be able to share more news about “Gears of War” later this year.

You’re moving back to Canada and back to working on the “Gears” franchise. Is it like a homecoming for you?
Rod Fergusson: I’m extremely excited to be joining Black Tusk Studios to oversee development on the “Gears of War” franchise. I’ve been privileged to work on a lot of great games with a lot of great teams, but “Gears” has had the most impact on me professionally and personally, so this really feels like a homecoming. I can’t wait to share more with you all soon.

Finally, Epic games shared the following statement on the acquisition:
“Epic Games has reached an agreement to sell the ‘Gears of War’ intellectual property rights to Microsoft.  We’re very proud of the franchise we built in close partnership with Microsoft over the past decade and are happy that this agreement enables Microsoft to forge ahead with the ‘Gears’ universe on their industry-leading platforms as Epic concentrates its efforts on new projects,” said Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. “Epic remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects.”

Battle Your Nemesis In Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

“Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor,” a prequel to “The Lord of The Rings,” delivers a dark story of retribution as players will assume the role of Talion, a ranger who loses everything on the night of Sauron’s return to Mordor. As Talion’s personal vendetta unfolds, players uncover the mystery of the Spirit that compels him, discover the origin of the Rings of Power and confront the ultimate nemesis.
With a dynamic next-gen game environment powered by the Nemesis System, players orchestrate their personal plan of vengeance as they bend Mordor to their will; ensuring a unique experience to all players. Every enemy players face is a unique individual, differentiated by their personality, strengths and weaknesses.Enemy encounters create personal archenemies specific to every gameplay session. Players must outthink each distinctively different enemy to infiltrate the ranks and dominate within the dynamic world that remembers and adapts to their actions and choices.

Sony Addresses The PS4 Save File Corrupting Error CE-34878-0

PlayStation 4 users have been struggling with the ambiguous CE-34878-0 error message for some time. Its symptoms have apparently worsened, and Sony has offered a statement about what it is doing fix the issue.

When asked for comment about the recent re-appearance of the error message a representative from Sony told Game Informer in an e-mail, “We are aware of the cases, and we appreciate your patience while we investigate.”

We encountered the error shortly after the console’s launch in our attempts to play Battlefield 4 online. At the time, the error message would appear preventing us from playing the game online, but now PlayStation 4 owners are encountering damaged and corrupt save files alongside the error message. A thread on Sony’s message boards, which was originally posted in December but continues to receive updates, has a large number of users claiming that save files for games are no longer working after the message appears for games like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Call of Duty: Ghosts and others.

In that thread, a community coordinator for Sony does offer some help in regard to error message:

If you are experiencing this ce-34878-0 error code, please close the application and then install the latest system software and game patch.

If the error occurs again, initialise the PS4 system after back-up of the save data and please also submit any crash reports after re-booting your console when the error occurs.

Hope that helps.

[Via: IGN]

 

Our Take
Sony’s statement – though welcome compared to silence – is troubling and doesn’t inspire much confidence for a speedy resolution. With issues like this it’s always difficult to ascertain if it is truly widespread, or if the few who have had the poor luck to run into the problem just happen to be very vocal in their justified complaints. Hopefully Sony can figure out what is happening and resolve the issue and (fingers crossed) restore the save files of those who have lost progress.