I guess this has become the regular thing for me now, wrapping up the gaming news of the week with one, long post on the weekend. From now on, I’m going to try to stick to a schedule, and have it posted every Friday evening. Here’s what we’ve got for this week…
Burial at Sea: Episode 1
Leading off this week is the news of the release date for Bioshock: Infinite‘s DLC, Burial at Sea: Episode 1. It’ll be available on all formats on November 12th. That’s a lot sooner than I had expected, but I’m not complaining!
Here’s the press release with all of the details:
“New York, NY – October 25, 2013 – 2K and Irrational Games announced today that BioShock® Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1, the second add-on content pack for the award-winning BioShock Infinite, will be available for download worldwide* on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and Windows PC starting November 12.
BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1, developed by Irrational Games, the studio behind the original BioShock and BioShock Infinite, features Rapture as you’ve never seen it before—a shining jewel at the bottom of the ocean, built almost entirely from scratch in the BioShock Infinite game engine. Join Booker and Elizabeth in a film noir-style story that places them in a shining, pristine Rapture on the eve of its fall from grace. Explore the underwater city, try your hand at a grift or two, and even encounter some old “friends” from the original BioShock.
The combat experience has been rebalanced and reworked with a greater emphasis on stealth and resource management that merges the best parts of BioShock and BioShock Infinite. It includes a new weapon, an old favorite weapon from the original BioShock, the return of the weapon wheel, a new Plasmid, new Gear, and Tears.
BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1 will be available via online marketplaces on all participating platforms starting November 12, and can be purchased separately for $14.99, or as part of the BioShock Infinite Season Pass. TheSeason Pass, which is currently available for purchase, contains $35 of playable content for $19.99, including both Burial at Sea episodes, the previously released Clash in the Clouds add-on pack, as well as the Early Bird Special Packthat has powerful weapon upgrades, exclusive gold weapon skins, and infusion bottles to upgrade player abilities.
“This is a love letter to the fans, but it’s also the beginning of a story that will give gamers a new perspective on the BioShock universe,” said Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games. “With Burial at Sea, we built a Rapture not from BioShock and BioShock Infinite scraps and pieces, but with environments almost entirely crafted from scratch.”
Still in development at Irrational Games, and also included in the Season Pass, is BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 2, which brings gamers something they have been asking for since they first met the character of Elizabeth: the chance to see the world through her eyes and face challenges as she would. In this second episode of Burial at Sea, players will experience a new storyline, and a new stealth-oriented gameplay experience.
The previously released add-on content pack, Clash in the Clouds, allows players to take Elizabeth and Booker through a series of unique and intense challenges, and combine the diverse toolset of weapons, Vigors, Gear, Tears and Sky-Lines in all-new ways. This combat-focused content features 60 Blue Ribbon challenges in four stunning new environments. By completing challenges, players will delve deeper into the world of BioShock Infinite via the Columbian Archeological Society, gaining access to Voxophones, Kinetoscopes, concept art and more.”
Mass Effect 3‘s The Citadel DLC is my favorite DLC of the year so far, but I have a feeling that Burial at Sea is going to give it a run for it’s money. I can’t wait to go back to Rapture next month!
One other news item worth mentioning is that Ken Levine, aka Mr. Bioshock, won a lifetime achievement award today.
Check out the press release:
“The Golden Joystick Awards presented by Green Man Gaming today announces that Ken Levine, BioShock Creative Director and Co-Founder of Irrational Games, will be bestowed with a special Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s ceremony.
For the first time in its 31 year history, the Golden Joystick Awards will honour an individual for their lifetime’s work by celebrating Levine’s creative accomplishments ranging from1999’s System Shock 2 to 2013’s BioShock Infinite.
Recognised as a luminary of the gaming world, Levine led the creation of the five-million-unit-selling, multiple-game-of-the-year-winning BioShock. As the highest-rated first-person-shooter of all time, the masterpiece helped spark the ‘games as art’ debate. Levine’s latest game, BioShock Infinite, released in March this year, has already won 88 awards and has sold more than four million units to date.
Described by legendary film director Guillermo del Toro as ‘one of the best world creators in any of the visual forms’, Levine is also penning a screenplay based on the sci-fi tale Logan’s Run for Warner Bros.
Upon hearing the news, Levine took a moment to contemplate the time he has spent in the industry: “In most fields, people begin their careers being inspired by others. In turn, they hopefully end up inspiring others. The great thing about the still-maturing nature of video games is you get to be inspired by the work of novices and veterans alike. We’re all figuring out day by day exactly what the medium is capable of.”
Tim Clark, Group Senior Editor – Golden Joysticks and Future Games says: “From spaceships infected with extraterrestrial intelligence to the brutal politics of a city beyond the clouds, Ken Levine’s games transport players to new worlds that are as rich as they are dark. Best known for the critically-acclaimed BioShock series, his exploration of player choice and consequence, as well as his dizzying imaginative design work and storytelling, continues to be a huge influence on game makers around the world. As this year’s BioShock Infinite proved, Levine is one of the most interesting creators working in games – and its fitting that he should be the inaugural winner of our Lifetime Achievement award.”
The Golden Joystick Awards are the world’s most popular and credible games awards and celebrate the very best in the gaming industry. Levine was selected for the honour by a group of gaming experts made up from Future’s enviable portfolio of games brands, including CVG, GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, Official PlayStation Magazine, Edge and PC Gamer. The award will be in addition to the 15 fiercely contested gamer-voted categories, including Most Wanted in association with Playfire, Best Gaming Moment in association with Absolute Radio, Best Gaming Platform in association with Digital Spy and The YouTube Gamer Award.
Levine has just wrapped up his work on BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1, the new add-on content pack for BioShock Infinite and is currently working on BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 2, which brings gamers something they have been asking for since they first met the character of Elizabeth: the chance to see the world through her eyes and face challenges as Elizabeth would.
The Golden Joystick Awards will take place at The Westminster Park Plaza on Friday 25th October, 2013. For more information on the Golden Joystick Awards, visit: www.goldenjoystick.com“
Congrats to Ken Levine! Well deserved!
Killzone: Shadow Fall
For the upcoming PS4 launch game, Killzone: Shadow Fall, I’ve got a story trailer to share:
Basically, Shadow Fall looks awesome. I can imagine the tension and conflict would be pretty high with Vektans and Helghast living together on the same planet and that’s what this game is going to explore. I’m really looking forward to playing this game and it’s only weeks away, y’all!
The devs of Killzone: Mercenary released a video discussing the game’s story:
They give some cool background information on the game. If you’re a Killzone fan, you definitely want to play Mercenary. In case you missed it, check out my review of the game here: http://stephenwrhodes.com/2013/09/16/review-killzone-mercenary/
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Next up, we have a gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Ghosts:
This trailer definitely has me hyped up about Ghosts. I had forgotten about that awesome looking space sequence. It looks very Gravity-like. Just a suggestion, but I think they should play this song during that scene:
I’m really looking forward to Ghosts. I’ve got a feeling that this will be the best CoD in a while. One main reason for that feeling is that it was written by Stephen Gaghan. He’s an Emmy Award winning writer and I think he should provide just what the CoD franchise needs: better story/writing. They’ve got FPS gameplay figured out and maybe Gaghan will help them take the story to the next level. Anyway, I will be reviewing the PS3 version here. I’m hoping my review will be up before or on the release date, but I’m unsure at this point. Just a reminder, that release date is November 5th!
FPS Freek Phantom
Going along with the Call of Duty theme, Kontrol Theme has announced a special tie-in product called, “FPS Freek Phantom”. It looks pretty cool. I will be using these on my controller while I play Call of Duty: Ghosts, and release my review of them at the same time as my review of the game.
For more info, here’s the press release:
“ATLANTA, GA – Oct. 22, 2013 – KontrolFreek, creators of the popular FPS Freek®, Speed Freek™ and other performance gaming accessories, today unveiled the FPS Freek Phantom in honor of the upcoming release of Call of Duty: Ghosts for Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation consoles. FPS Freek Phantom is available to fit the current and next-gen consoles.
The ninth control stick adapter in the KontrolFreek FPS family, FPS Freek Phantom was developed for the competitive Call of Duty player who demands the ultimate in precision and control match after match. FPS Freek Phantom’s advanced rubber compound and white-on-white, laser-etched skull-themed concave thumb surface is designed for improved accuracy, comfort and grip. The extended half-inch height added by FPS Freek Phantom provides 40% more linear motion, enhancing control and increasing target acquisition to get the most out of all medium to long-range armaments like light machine guns and assault weapons, all while reducing hand and thumb fatigue.
“Call of Duty: Ghosts is one of the most anticipated games of the year, in a very exciting year for gamers,” said Ashish Mistry, President and CEO of KontrolFreek. “The FPS Freek Phantom was explicitly designed to perform in medium-to-long-range combat situations typical of the Call of Duty franchise, continuing KontrolFreek’s dedication to enhance the game experience for every gamer, no matter what game they’re playing.”
In addition to FPS Freek Phantom, KontrolFreek is now accepting pre-orders for the next-gen versions of some of its most popular existing products including Ultra, FPS Freek Snipr and CQC Signature, all slightly updated to fit PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles that will be released in November.
FPS Freek Phantom complements the release last month of two new products: UltraX, a black on black dome-shaped KontrolFreek and FPS Freek Vortex, which pairs two different thumbstick heights and styles in one package for more leverage, accuracy and better grip and maneuverability.
KontrolFreek FPS Freek Phantom retails for $13.99 and is available now for Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 controllers, and for pre-order for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 onKontrolFreek.com. KontrolFreek products are made in the United States and are sanctioned for tournament play.”
I’ve never used anything like this before, so I look forward to trying them out for the first time with Ghosts!
Batman: Arkham Origins
Arkham Origins came out today and I’ve got the launch trailer to share with y’all:
Origins looks pretty good, especially considering that Rocksteady didn’t make it. I want to play and review it, but I’m still unsure that I’ll be able to get my hands on a copy anytime soon.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate also came out today, but I couldn’t find a launch trailer for it. I did find a new gameplay walkthrough video that WB Games released:
I didn’t personally want to watch this video, because I don’t want anything spoiled. I am also hoping to play and review Blackgate, but just like the main Origins game, it’s up in the air.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Ubisoft has released a 9 minute long trailer for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Check it out:
We’re only days away from Black Flag. I hope it’s as good as it seems! As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll definitely be reviewing this game, but I’m not sure exactly when yet. Soon, though!
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD
In other Assassin’s Creed news, Ubisoft has given release dates for Liberation HD.
“Aveline is almost ready to make her console debut. The first playable female Assassin initially appeared on the PlayStation Vita and her story, Assassin’s Creed Liberation, will soon be available for download on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Explore the streets of New Orleans, ancient Mayan ruins and treacherous swamps as you fight to defend slaves and hunt down the mysterious Templar known only as “The Company Man.” Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD is fully remastered and has a few new gameplay mechanics up its sleeve.
Aveline will also make an appearance in Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, in her own series of missions. If you have already purchased the Assassin’s Creed IV Black Season Pass for the PS3 or the Xbox 360, for a limited time you will receive $5 off the already low price of $19.99. Pre-order now so you can take advantage of that deal. Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD will be available on PlayStation Network on January 14, 2014; Steam on January 15, 2014; and on Xbox Live Arcade in January 2014.“
So, there you have it! For Playstation people like myself will be getting first on January 14th! I hope that means that we’ll be able to play it on the PS4.
The Wolf Among Us
Yesterday, Telltale Games announced that The Wolf Among Us will be coming to PS Vita and iOS later this Fall. They released a new trailer for the game that announces that and showcases accolades for the game.
In case you missed it, check out my review of Episode 1 here: http://stephenwrhodes.com/2013/10/21/review-the-wolf-among-us-episode-1-faith/
Grand Theft Auto Online
Rockstar Games made a few announcements regarding GTA Online today:
“THE GTA$ STIMULUS PACKAGEWe know many of you are anxiously waiting for us to show you the GTA$ Stimulus Package money we announced a couple weeks back. As mentioned in that post, we of course want to ensure that game progress loss issues are sufficiently sorted before distributing the GTA$ to everyone. We have a few more tweaks and fixes to make in a new title update that will hit sometime next week and then we will distribute the cash.THE BEACH BUM PACKComing in early November will be the first add-on content update, the Beach Bum Pack which will bring all-new beach themed vehicles and new weaponry that you’ll be able to use in both GTA Online and Story Mode. Plus new customization options for your GTA Online character including new tats, hairstyles and more. We’ll also be adding lots of brand new action-packed Jobs to play with Gang Attacks, Survivals, Last Team Standings, Parachutes, Deathmatches and Races that will have you bloodying up the waters and coastlines of the finest beach resorts across Los Santos and Blaine County.THE CONTENT CREATORWe are also working to bring you the debut of the first part of the GTA Online Content Creator this fall – giving players the ability to craft, publish, rate and play custom-made Deathmatch and Race Jobs. We’ll be keeping our eye open for exceptional ones that we’ll be stamping as ‘Rockstar Verified’ and will be featuring them here at the Newswire and as part of forthcoming GTA Online Social Club Events. Both the Content Creator and the Beach Bum Pack are free.SOCIAL CLUB EVENT WEEKENDSStarting in November will be the first Grand Theft Auto Online Social Club Event weekends which will bring special rewards and bonuses ranging from limited-edition in-game Event Crate Drops to in-game discount specials and even a special new GTA Online live-stream show hosted by Rockstar at the Social Club Events page and Rockstar Games Twitch page – plus prize pack giveaways of hard to find GTAV gear and more.Stay tuned as we hope to have more information with more details and specific timings on these content updates as well as on GTA Online Heists and the new GTA Online Capture the Flag mode to share with you next week. We will also have initial details on more additional content coming for both Story Mode and GTA Online in the next few weeks.”I’ve still yet to jump back into GTA Online, but I will eventually. I’m really impressed with Rockstar’s dedication and with the fact that they will be providing free DLC content to GTA Online. It’s definitely a good way to do business.
Finally, I’ve got a few PS4 news bites to share.
The first bite comes from the Playstation Blog and is regarding a Day 1 Update for the PS4:
“We wanted to shed some light on system software update version 1.50 for PS4, which will launch simultaneously with the system’s official North American launch on November 15th, 2013. By updating to system software version 1.50, you’ll be able to experience a variety of new features in addition to the basic functions of PS4.
The system software update 1.50 is approximately 300 MB, and will include the following features:
- Remote Play
Users will be able to access PS4 titles displayed on their living room TVs and play them on a PS Vita system over Wi-Fi networks by using PS4 Link (Depending on network environment or titles, remote play performance may vary outside of the home). We anticipate that most PS4 titles will be playable on the PS Vita system through Remote Play. The latest PS Vita system software version, to be released soon, will be required to use PS4 Link.
- Second Screen
Users can use the PS4 Link application for the PS Vita system, and PlayStation App for iPhone, iPad, and Android-based smartphones and tablets, to use these devices as second screens in supported titles. PlayStation App has the ability to enable users to interact with games with their mobiles devices. For example on The Playroom, a title pre-installed in all PS4 systems that requires PlayStation Camera, users can draw pictures on their mobile device screens and flick them towards the TV. The images then appear as a 3D object within the game.
- Record, take screenshots, and upload gameplay effortlessly
The PS4 system provides dedicated, “always on” video encoding systems that enables seamless uploading of gameplay. Users can share their epic triumphs by simply hitting the Share button on DualShock 4, take screenshots or scan through the last 15 minutes of gameplay, tag it and return to the game—the video uploads as the user plays. At the PS4 system’s launch in North America, users will be able to share their images and videos with friends on Facebook and screenshots with followers on Twitter, though users will need to sign up for individual accounts to use Facebook and Twitter.
- Broadcast and spectate gameplay
The PS4 system also enhances social spectating by enabling users to broadcast their gameplay in real-time to game fans around the globe, using Ustream and Twitch live internet streaming services (users will need to sign up for individual accounts to use Ustream and Twitch). There are two ways for users to view live broadcasts. First, the Live from PlayStation application on PS4 aggregates streams from all PlayStation users. Second, users can spectate friends’ PS4 gameplay from PCs, and applications such as Ustream, Twitch, and browsers, which are installed on their mobile devices. These applications can be easily started up via PlayStation App, and users can also use these applications to post comments to gameplay broadcasts. Furthermore, users with PlayStation Camera can stream camera images and microphone sounds along with their live gameplay broadcast.
- Play as you download
This feature enables users to play supported digital titles as they are being downloaded. The time it takes to begin playing will vary depending on game data size and network environments, and not all titles will support this feature When a game is purchased, users can start playing after PS4 downloads a portion of the data, while the rest of the game is downloaded in the background during actual gameplay. Games may be downloaded in stand-by mode.
- Multi log-in
A maximum of four users can log-in to a single PS4 system simultaneously. These players can use their own save data to play games, and also earn trophies on their own Sony Entertainment Network accounts even when playing a multiplayer game together on a single PS4 system.
- Party (Voice chat)
By using the Mono Headset bundled with the PS4 system, users will be able to chat with up to eight friends enjoying different applications or games. Furthermore, users can use Party to chat between PS4 and PS Vita systems.
- Face recognition and voice commands
Users with PlayStation Camera will be able to register their facial image onto their PS4 system, and login to their system using facial recognition instead of DualShock 4. Furthermore, users can use either the microphone of the Mono Head set connected to DualShock 4, or PlayStation Camera to navigate through the PS4 home screen (PlayStation Dynamic Menu) with voice commands to start up games and shutdown the system, among other features; please refer to PS4’s online manual for recognizable voice commands.
- Background music player
Users can enjoy gameplay while listening to music in the background with Music Unlimited, a cloud-based digital music service. Users can also voice chat with friends while listening to music. Learn more about Music Unlimited here.
- Online Multiplayer
PlayStation Plus members will be able to play PS4 titles online with other players via the network. PS Plus makes it easy for members to join available online multiplayer matches in a variety of ways, including the ability to easily join a game from a live stream broadcast or Party voice chats.
- Blu-ray Disc and DVD player
Users can enjoy not only gaming on their PS4 system, but also Blu-ray and DVD video contents. When using for the first time, users must connect to the internet to activate this feature.
Some features will not be available at launch, such as “suspend/resume mode” which is a feature that keeps the PS4 system in a low power state and promptly takes users back to their game. We will provide additional information about system software update version 1.50 and features available at the PS4 system’s North America launch, and features that will be available after launch, in the near future.”
I think we knew about all of those features already, but now we know that they’ll need an update to function. The only thing that I somehow had missed before this release is that the PS4 comes with a headset. I don’t know how I missed that before, but it’s a nice addition. I don’t have a headset for the PS3, but I had planned on getting one for the PS4. I may still yet get a better one, but I’m sure the included headset will be good enough for me for a while. Also, the broadcast and sharing part of the article reminds me. I plan to have some video coverage starting next month on my old YouTube channel, StephenRhodesTV. It’s been dormant for a while, but I want to get it going again, albeit with different sorts of videos than were previously on there. Some examples might include unboxings or gameplay videos. I don’t need the PS4 sharing for unboxings, but they’ll make it easier to do everything else that I can’t really do right now on the PS3.
By the way, that Playstation App that they mentioned? According to Computer and Video Games, it’s release date for iOS and Android phones is November 13th.
The last bit of news isn’t really a news item. It’s really just a hype video for the PS4, but I liked it.
21 more days until the PS4 release date…Can…Not…Wait…
So, that’s the news for this week! Did I miss anything? What are y’all playing this weekend? Did you pick Arkham Origins? I’ll be playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I’ve only played through it once last year and I’m in a Call of Duty mood. I’m also going to try and catch up on my comic reviews, so watch out for those to drop soon!