Monthly Archives: April 2010

Activision Announces Call of Duty: Black Ops

Remember when I said that the next Call of Duty game would “most likely” be set during the Vietnam War?

Yeah, well…  Sorry about that.

Activision announced today that the next game in the Call of Duty series will be “Call of Duty: Black Ops”.  As previously expected, the new game will be developed by secondary Call of Duty studio Treyarch.  On the other hand, rumors and loose indicators that that the new game would be set in Vietnam turned out to be misleading, as the title strongly indicates a modern setting.  In their press release, Activision declares “Black Ops” to be; “an entirely new chapter in the groundbreaking and record-setting, No. 1 first-person action series of all-time.”  The decision to follow Modern Warfare 2 with another modern-themed game makes sense, maximizing any and all similarities between the two to draw a larger return audience.

In their release, Activision also dated the new game, and apparently they will be keeping their promise of making “Call of Duty” an annual phenomenon:  “Black Ops” will be in stores on November 7th.

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Halo: Reach Beta Screens

So the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta opened up to a limited number of users yesterday.  For all of you out there drooling at the prospect of playing the game even a second earlier, here are some really nice screenshots.  The wide-scale beta opens on May 3rd.  The full game, however, won’t drop until some time in September.

Super Mario Bros Crossover – BEST. CROSSOVER. EVER.

What could be better than playing Super Mario Bros on NES?  Playing through Super Mario Bros as Mega Man!  Exploding Rabbit has made the best flash game ever.  In “Super Mario Bros. Crossover”, retro game fans can play through the original Super Mario Bros using iconic NES characters; the roster includes Link, Samus, Mega Man, Simon Belmont OR Bill from Contra. (Also Mario, but who wants to do that?)

At first glance, the idea might not seem that inventive.  Right now, you’re probably saying; “Changing appearances?  That’s not so great.”  Well, in Super Mario Bros Crossover, each character has their own abilities – Mega Man can shoot and Slide, Simon Belmont can use a whip and throw axes, and so on.  In other words, playing through as each character is a unique experience.

It’s awesome.  Go play it.

http://www.exploding-rabbit.com/games/super-mario-bros-crossover/

Steam For Mac Dated

Steam for Mac will launch on May 12th.  THAT IS ALL.

Master Chief Sings

It looks like Master Chief is out of a job.  Bungie confirmed that there aren’t going to be any new Halo games at least ten years.  Plus, he’s not even in Halo: Reach.  What’s a Spartan to do?

Well apparently he’s been thinking about it, and Master Chief is getting a jump on making the transition from heroic cyborg to…  80’s pop singer.

Who knew that Master Chief would be a Phil Collins fan?

Bungie and Activision Sign 10-Year Publishing Contract

Halo developer Bungie had made it quite clear in recent months that Halo: Reach would be the last game in the Halo franchise for the foreseeable future.

If you didn’t believe them…  Well, now you have proof.

Bungie has agreed to give Activision-Blizzard exclusive publishing rights to all games the studio develops for the next ten years.  Though the terms of the deal were not fully disclosed, The agreement seems to revolve around the establishment of a single AAA franchise, to be published across multiple platforms; “Activision will have exclusive, worldwide rights to publish and distribute all future Bungie games based on the new intellectual property on multiple platforms and device.”  It was also made explicitly clear that the deal calls for a “partnership”, rather than a merger or aquisition:  Bungie will remain completely independent and retain complete creative control of their projects.  When asked why they chose to work with Activision, Bungie president Harold Ryan said that the studio was looking for a producer with “global reach” and experience publishing games on multiple platforms.  If nothing else, Activision has both of those things in spades.

The question everyone’s asking now is; “What is the new IP”?  No one knows, but according to Activision COO Thomas Tppl,”Bungie has been working on this project for awhile.”  Bungie staff are keeping tight-lipped about everything not Halo: Reach related, but have indicated that the series will be something completely new (Sorry Marathon fans), it will be big and it may or may not be a shooter.  When asked what genre this new series would fall into during an interview with Kotaku, Bungie Community Manager Brian Jerrard said; “Looking back on our pedigree we’ll definitely be building on the strengths that have helped Bungie to get where we are today.”  Technically, that could mean a lot of things:  Realistically, it means the game is going to be an FPS.  Meanwhile, other rumors are already surfacing, such as the idea that the new series may be subscription-based, but both companies are keeping quiet about what’s in store.

On a different front, this news only strengthens recent the likelihood that Activision will seek to dissolve Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward, which has been the cause of series of problems for them in recent months.  With a strong new franchise from Bungie, there seems little reason to keep the studio open, seeing as it is a shadow of what created the most-successful game of all time.

Games For Thought will keep you posted as details of the deal and the new franchise arise.  Given that the series is already being developed, it’s totally possible that we get a little taste – or at least a name – during E3 this June.

UPDATE:  Remember what I said about the possibility of getting more info about Bungie’s new series at E3?  Well, apparently it ain’t gonna happen.  Bungie community manager Brian Jerrard, speaking with Edge this time, says that there will be absolutely no new information about the project this year’s show.  Jerrard emphasized the fact that Bungie is still working on Halo: Reach, which won’t actually be finished until this fall.

BananaCraft

Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring… Bananaphone!

Dead Space 2 Trailer

Check out the first video of Visceral Games’ Dead Space 2.  The preview continues the ink blot motif established by the original teaser images released late last year, showing off crazy necromorphs and a red-eyed (marker-powered?) Issac Clarke.  Dead Space was a very well-implemented take on classic survival horror gameplay – lets hope the sequel is as good at keeping gamers on the edge of the seats as the original.

Though EA hasn’t announced an official release date, it’s almost certain that the game will not be released until 2011.

Rumor: Activision to Dissolve Infinity Ward After Next MW2 Map Pack

In an interview with CVG, Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey predicted that Activision will shut down “Modern Warfare” developer Infinity Ward after the launch of the second “Modern Warfare 2” map pack.  Infinity Ward – a subsidiary of Activision – has been at the center of a major industry scandal, beginning with Activision firing the team’s creative leaders, Jason West and Vince Zampella.  Since then, approximately a quarter of the 100-man development team have left the studio, many of them leaving to join West and Zampella’s new EA-Sponsored studio, Respawn Entertainment.  Between that and a pair of lawsuits aimed at them, one from West and Zampella and another from Infinity Ward’s employees, it would come as no surprise if Activision decided that cutting their losses was the prudent decision.

Hickey predicted that Activision will divide the development of “Modern Warfare 3” between multiple studios.  Though he didn’t mention the non Modern Warfare Call of Duty developers Treyarch and Sledgehammer, they are certainly the likely candidates.  Then again, looking at Treyarch’s track record, let’s hope Activision decides to hand their flagship series over to more… prestigious developers.

Live Action Halo: Reach Ad – “Birth of a Spartan”

It seems like the best things to come from “Halo: ODST” were those live-action ads Microsoft made.  Well, they’re continuing the trend for Halo: Reach.  Titled “Birth of a Spartan”, the trailer shows how a Spartan III is made.  Halo: Reach drops September 1st, but for everybody who bought ODST,  the “Reach” multiplayer beta opens on May 3rd.

UPDATE:  Here’s the extended version of the trailer.  Frankly speaking, the longer version doesn’t add anything particularly interesting – the same event transpires, but with extra camera work.  That said, feel free to check them both out and see for yourself.