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Crystal Dynamics, developer of Tomb Raider, will be debuting a new game at E3 next week.
The information, which appears in the GameTrailers’ schedule of events states that Crystal Dynamics will appear on TV channel Spike to announce their new game at 11am-noon PST (7pm-8pm UK time).
Crystal Dynamics revealed it was working on at least two separate titles as of August 2013, one of which is a sequel to Tomb Raider intended for new-gen systems. The studio has kept quiet about what the other project might be.
Crystal Dynamics executive producer Scott Amos said in June 2012 that it was starting “with a blank page” in creating its next project.
Crystal Dynamics’ Legacy of Kain series has been revived in the form of War for Nosgoth, a free-to-play assymetrical shooter developed by Psyonix.
Last weekend was Grand Prix Manchester, the only Magic: The Gathering Grand Prix in the UK this year. You will recall a few weeks ago, I wrote how GPs are fun for everyone and that I would be there.
Despite losing my win-and-in for day 2, I had a great time in the Main Event and participating in side events over the whole weekend. The saying goes “A picture is worth a thousand words”, so here’s a 9000 word essay:
(Click on an image to view it and its caption and use the arrows to browse the album)
Whilst I happily concede that I’m better at many things than photography, hopefully my small album shows the sheer scale of Grand Prix events. It is also worth noting that Block Constructed is not Magic’s most popular format, and had it been a Standard, Modern or Limited event, the attendance would have been even higher. However, the Tournament Organiser and Wizards staff did an excellent job choosing the venue and it would have comfortably held more people.
To find out when the Grand Prix circuit is next visiting your country, click here.
Swarms of the undead will be taking over Steam Early Access in what is possibly the greatest number of zombies ever seen in a game.
Indie developer Loren Lemcke has teamed up with UK independent publisher Mastertronic to bring Over 9000 Zombies! to Steam Early Access this July.
Over 9000 Zombies! is a retro-style, top-down zombie shoot ‘em up. The zombie apocalypse has arrived and you must annihilate them to survive. Tons of AI enemies powered by Zombie Swarm Intelligence launch themselves in marauding hordes of fiendish pests for insane zombie killing action! Choose from a massive array of weapons, build a fortified base with automated turrets, and blast the relentless rogues to cling on to life as long as possible. The crisp clockwork breakbeats conceived by Clearside Music create a cavalcade of sound that punctuates your murderous missions with its increasingly intense dynamic. Call for reinforcements with cooperative multiplayer that lets friends join your fight against the multitudes of zombies!
Loren Lemcke, developer, commented: “The greatest plague of our society is not hordes of zombies, but those who kill zombies thinking it is justified because there is no humanity left in their souls. I contend we humans are not that different from our zombie brethren. Do we not also hunger for the unobtainable? Do we not also grasp and claw at any shred of happiness of which we happen to catch scent? Are we not also inspired by the brains of great men and women? Please, my brothers and sisters, if you choose to slay zombies, hear my simple plea: do it not because of our minor differences, but rather, do it because it is fun.”
Andy Payne, CEO of Mastertronic, said: “When we first saw Over 9000 Zombies! we knew that Mastertronic should be the meat shield for this wonderful game. I am glad Loren let us be part of this apocalypse.”
Over 9000 Zombies! will be unleashing soon on Steam Early Access for Windows PC.
Independent UK developer Rebellion has given its social media followers a heads up to NOT buy its award-winning World War Two shooter, Sniper Elite V2 in the coming week.
The advice on artwork for the Sniper Elite and Rebellion Facebook pages show the series’ signature Eagle symbol with the tagline “Don’t buy V2 this week” while tweets and posts on the Sunday re-iterated the line:
“We’d advise against buying Sniper Elite V2 on Steam in the next few days, but we WOULD advise scoping out potential snipers to play with … news soon.”
On Friday Rebellion teased a ‘significant’ announcement for their award-winning Sniper Elite franchise, promising to extend the reach of the series to a new audience. They also confirmed that the news would not centre on the forthcoming Sniper Elite 3 due June 27th.
Modern is a Magic: The Gathering format that allows players to use cards printed from 8th Edition onward. Following the success of the Event decks released with each set getting players into the Standard format (an annually rotating format), Wizards have released a Modern Event Deck. The Modern Event Deck is designed to allow players to get started in the strategic and complex Modern format. As a result, it contains more powerful cards than its Standard Event Deck counterpart.
The Modern format is one which Wizards are keen to push and get more people playing – there is one Pro Tour annually run in Modern and a season of Modern Format Pro-Tour Qualifiers. However, a large barrier to entry into the format is price; cards can be twice or three times as expensive in Modern as they are in Standard, due to both the cards’ power level and more limited availability. The Modern Event deck aims to alleviate this by giving players access to a ready-made 60 card deck with 15 card sideboard at a set price of $75 (RRP).
The deck, March of the Multitudes, is a black/white token strategy that uses token makers, such as Lingering Souls and Spectral Procession, and disruptive elements like Tidehollow Sculler and Inquisition of Kozilek. The strategy has been a fairly competitive deck in the format since its inception and the choice of black/white tokens by Wizards is a sensible one – tokens have proven to be a popular mechanic with newer players.
I tested the deck a few times against various top strategies within the format and the results were interesting. While in the past Standard Event Decks have often done well against the less focussed Decks but struggled against the top decks, March of the Multitudes is a deck with game. Despite being a ‘budget’ version of an existing strategy, it is able to put up a good fight against top performers like Splinter Twin, Jund and Melira Pod. The inclusion of Sword of Feast and Famine gives it a great deal of power against the black/green based decks when drawn.
Alongside the Sword, the ‘chase’ mythic in the deck is Elspeth, Knight Errant – an extremely explosive and powerful way to make a creature into an evasive and large threat. The 4 Lingering Souls and 4 Spectral Procession, combined with the Raise the Alarms and Shrine of Loyal Legions ensure that the deck always has a good number of threats. However, with only 3 Tidehollow Sculler and 2 Inquisition of Kozilek, the disruption side is lacking and the control match-ups suffer as a result.
Wizards were always in a tough position with the card choices in the Event Deck. Modern is a format where some individual cards cost more than the $75 RRP of the deck, so from the outset it was known that the deck wouldn’t contain Tarmogoyf ($180), Dark Confidant ($75) or Cryptic Command ($50). Once it was discovered the deck would be black/white tokens, people were clamouring for a copy of Marsh Flats ($40) to be included. The issue with putting this card in though, is that the deck would then be purchased primarily by people looking for Marsh Flats and ‘trade value’ within the deck – which is not the product’s intention.
It is likely this reason that the deck’s manabase is so awkward. Over half of the deck’s allocated rares are in the land slots, which contain both strategy staples (Windbrisk Heights and Vault of the Archangel) and odd picks (City of Brass). The decision to include City of Brass over Godless Shrine is one of the two, in my opinion, erroneous choices by Wizards. Both cards have seen print recently, but Godless Shrine is routinely used in traditional black/white tokens lists, while City of Brass is better suited to decks with three or more colours where more efficient ‘colour fixing’ is unavailable. Furthermore, with 4 Isolated Chapel, there are not enough swamps or plains for them to reliably enter untapped without replacing the City of Brass with Godless Shrines.
The other strange omission is Hero of Bladehold – a card not prohibitively expensive on the secondary market, but one that is often used in competitive versions of the deck. It too could have been included in the deck (likely at the expense of Shrine of Loyal Legions) and if some rare slots needed to be reduced, the Caves of Koilos number could have been sacrificed, reducing the amount of damage the manabase inflicted to the player in games.
Overall, I think Wizards did a good job choosing a new player friendly strategy and cards that would allow the deck to be purchased solely by its target audience. Had it contained too many expensive cards, the price would have been gouged and the ultimate purpose of the deck thwarted. Some of the card choices are odd, or suboptimal, but at $75 it’s not easy to make a competitive deck, with rarity restrictions that new players would enjoy. The deck also contains some important reprints to increased general supply, such as Inquisition of Kozilek and Zealous Persecution.
The deck comes with a spindown life dice and 80 custom sleeves. It’s possible some will still complain about the lack of ‘value’ within the deck, but I spoke to my Local Game Store owner and the deck has been fully pre-ordered, primarily by players who do not currently play Modern. In Wizards’ eyes therefore, the deck is a success and I personally hope it leads to similar products in future.
From June, Xbox One owners will be able to increase storage by using external hard drives.
The June update will allow HDDs of 256GB or greater to connect via USB 3.0 and be used to store full games as well as DLC.
The update is also set to include the ability to display Xbox Live friends’ real names as opposed to just Gamertags.
“Since our launch of Xbox One last year, we’ve been hard at work to continue making Xbox One the best destination for all your gaming and entertainment experiences,” Larry Hryb said.
“Because of the way we’ve designed the Xbox One platform, we’ve been able to continually improve the product for you with a more regular cadence of system and app updates. Your feedback for what you want most has been our guiding light for these updates, and will continue to be as we work to bring the fan-favourite features you want most.”
If you like Magic: The Gathering, then there is always a place you can go to play; be it the kitchen table for casual play with your mates, your local game store for Friday Night Magic Tournaments (FNMs) or over the internet on Magic Online. One of the best things about the game is that no matter what level of competitive play you enjoy, there’s nothing to stop you attending any event and one of the best to attend is a Grand Prix.
If the kitchen table is where your mates play, one step up is FNM where the locals play. Above that are Pro Tour Qualifiers and other regional tournaments, which often see people travel the country to attend. Grand Prix however, are National tournaments and people from all over the world fly to go to them.
Grand Prix are spread over two days, where players need to win at least 7 of 9 matches on Day 1 to qualify for Day 2. The top 150 players on Day 2 win cash prizes and the top 4 (or 8 depending on turnout) win invites to the illustrious Pro Tour. The majority of Grand Prix also have video coverage, so if you do well enough you might get picked for a feature match where thousands will be able to see you play!
But what makes Grand Prix great is that they aren’t solely about the main event, they are as much a convention as they are a tournament. In attendance at every Grand Prix is at least one artist who has done the art for some beloved cards. Players can visit the artist booths to get cards signed, altered or even buy prints to hang on their walls.
Plenty of Pro players attend the Grand Prix also so if you follow the Pro Tour you can meet your favourite players and maybe they’ll even sign a card for you. In addition to Pros and artists, numerous retailers will have stalls set up selling a plethora of Magic items, from sleeves and deckboxes to rare and expensive cards. Whether you want to grab a few dollar rares to complete a collection or that $400 Chinese Foil Liliana of the Veil you’ve been saving up for, Grand Prix stalls are the place to be.
You might be wondering “once I’ve visited the artists and the stalls, if I got knocked out of, or didn’t participate in the main event, what do I do all weekend?” Fortunately, Grand Prix have your every need covered as throughout the weekend you can sign up for drafts and constructed events that will start as soon as there are enough participants. As well as regular Block drafts, Grand Prix let you play Chaos Drafts, an exciting draft format where every player is given 3 random boosters from any time in Magic. In Barcelona, I took part in one and had Champions of Kamigawa, Betrayers of Kamigawa and Mirage, while my buddy had Scars of Mirrodin, Dissension and Torment – a great time was had by all in the pod.
In addition to these side events, Sunday gives players the chance to enter the Super Sunday Series tournament, where the prize is a trip to the Wizards headquarters in Seattle (including flight and accommodation) to participate in an invitation only tournament with huge cash prizes. Wizards are renowned for not giving out tours of their office apart from some exceptional circumstances – this being one of them.
As you can see, in any Grand Prix weekend there’s a huge number of things going on in the event hall to keep you occupied and don’t forget, you’ll be in a huge city with the opportunity to go sightseeing! In a few weeks’ time, I’ll be heading to Grand Prix Manchester, so if you’re going I’ll see you there!
With every new set, Wizards of the Coast release an Event Deck. These Event Decks are designed for relatively new players looking to make inroads into competitive play by providing a 60 card deck with 15 card sideboard designed to put up a fight at local FNMs and Game Day.
The deck is designed to be played straight out of the box at a more competitive environment than the Intro decks, and as such includes 10 rares compared to the former’s 2. Wrath of Mortals is the Journey into Nyx Event Deck and features an array of blue and red cards with the ability to play an aggressive role or a more controlling one against fast aggro.
What does the deck do?
The core of the deck is the synergy the creatures have with the instant speed damage (burn) spells. Young Pyromancer, Guttersnipe, Spellheart Chimera and Chandra’s Phoenix all reward you for using your spells by providing you with either more power, cheaper spells or a recurring threat. The singleton Ogre Battledriver can create a powerful threat in combination with the Young Pyromancers, as every Elemental will be a 3/1 haste instead of a 1/1.
If the game goes long then Aetherling, one of the most powerful late game threats in recent times, will make you the heavy favourite to win. The two Divinations and Steam Augury will help you draw more burn spells or threats, keeping you ahead when both players’ resources have been depleted.
What could be improved?
Playing with the deck, the Oracle of Bones seemed weak and would be better served as another Chandra’s Phoenix as a more resilient and cheaper haste threat. The oddest inclusion in the 75 however, is the Anger of the Gods. Every single creature in the deck, with the exception of Aetherling dies to it. Furthermore, it has anti-synergy with Chandra’s Phoenix (exiling it forever) and Young Pyromancer (destroying all tokens). The card would be better served as a second copy of Mizzium Mortars instead.
Aside from the two ‘weak choices’ above, the only other criticism of the Journey into Nyx Event Deck is the lack of value within it. In the past, Event decks have always had a “chase value rare” within them – from the first ever one (Verdant Catacombs) to more recent ones (every deck since the release of Return to Ravnica has contained a rare land or expensive creature). No single card in Wrath of the Mortals is worth more than $2 on the singles market and while this will prevent its price being gouged above the recommended retail price, it also means a similar list can be built without needing to buy the Event Deck. The deck also only contains 2 cards from the new set, despite the new set having a relevant dual land, which (lightning?) strikes me as odd.
So Izzet worth it?
Nevertheless, despite the ‘value’ of the deck, it is still better than purchasing each card individually as it comes with a deckbox and spindown lifecounter as well as an insert to help teach you about some of the intricacies of the deck’s strategies. It may not be the best Event Deck released in the last few years, but it is definitely great fun to play with and at just $25, a great pick up for new players looking to go to their first tournaments.
The Journey into Nyx Event Deck, Wrath of the Mortals, goes on sale May 23rd, 2014 – just in time for the Game Day Tournaments that weekend.
Ubisoft Montreal are working in unity with 9 other developers on Assassin’s Creed Unity.
In a financial presentation, it was confirmed that ten different wings of Ubisoft studios and its subsidiaries are working on the next game in the flagship series.
With Montreal as lead developer, they are joined by studios in Toronto, Quebec, Annecy, Montpellier, Kiev, Singapore, Shanghai, Chengu and Bucharest.
Ubisoft Quebec and Singapore have worked with Montreal in the past on previous AC games, most notably Brotherhood.
It is as yet unknown which, if any, are working on the unknown Xbox360 and PS3 Assassin’s Creed game.
Unity is set on PC, Xbox One and PS4 for release in Q4 2014 and will be based in Paris during the French Revolution.
Despite the director of upcoming PS4 racing game describing microtransactions as a “plague”, DriveClub will contain them.
“It’s been a hot topic of late inside gaming, and we’ve been very keen to take on board the feedback from gamers and make sure we don’t upset anyone,” DriveClub director Paul Rustchynsky said.
“What we’ve done is make sure that the progression system is really straightforward, really simple and gives you access to a lot of content really quickly.
“If you want to unlock a car immediately, you can pay to unlock that car straight away but it’s not a consumable microtransaction. We don’t let people buy Fame, for example and spend lots and lots. The idea is if you want to shortcut things you can do – it’s identical to what we did in Motorstorm RC. So if you played that, you know what we’re doing here.”
Last month Rustchynsky tweeted a link to CVG’s review of Trials Frontier which labelled the game a “microtransaction monstrosity”, adding that: “Even Trials has been infected by this plague.”
When asked by another Twitter user if Driveclub would be free of IAPs, Rustchynsky replied “absolutely”.
Looks like he may have spoken too soon.
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