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Minecraft on consoles gets female character; Sony platforms receive Simpsons Skin Pack

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Mojang made three big Minecraft-related announcements today…

First, Mojang has announced that all console players will be able to play as Alex, a female character, beginning Wednesday. According to Mojang’s Owen Hill (writing on the company’s official website), Alex was added to the game because “jolly old Steve doesn’t really represent the diversity of our playerbase.” All eight “Alex” skins will be available as a free update on the PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

Alex has been available for PC players since last year.

Today’s second big announcement is that The Simpsons Skin Pack will be available to download on PlayStation platforms this Wednesday. It’ll be priced at $2.99 and include 24 of your favorite Springfieldians.

Finally, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition will receive 30 additional Achievements that were introduced to the game in Minecraft: Xbox One Edition. A few extra music tracks will also be included in this update.

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Watch Shigeru Miyamoto play Mario Maker on GameCenter CX

Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto recently appeared on GameCenter CX (AKA Retro Game Master) to take part in a unique challenge presented by host Shinya Arino. Nintendo gave Arino early access to Mario Maker and the host was able to create one of the most deranged Mario courses I’ve ever seen…

Cannons belch a neverending stream of Coins!
Giant Koopa Troopas pop out of Question Blocks!
Springboards bounce on top of other Springboards!
Cats and dogs! Living together! It’s mass hysteria!

Thankfully, some kind soul has posted the segment on YouTube for all the world to see. Miyamoto admits defeat after several tries, but you can tune in to Arino’s successful run at 5:00 into the video.

Mario Maker will launch exclusively for the Wii U in September.

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Batman: Arkham Knight “All Who Follow You” Trailer… Play as Robin, Nightwing, Catwoman

As promised, Rocksteady Studios released a new trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight, which confirms gamers will be able to play as Robin, Nightwing, and Catwoman in the upcoming game. Taking a page from Grand Theft Auto V, Arkham Knight’s “Dual Play” mechanic will allow players to “switch seamlessly between The Dark Knight and his allies.”

After watching this trailer, I’m more convinced than ever that Batman is going to need all the help he can get. He may be “Vengeance” and “The Night,” but the Arkham Knight has a whole army…

Batman: Arkham Knight will be released for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One on June 23.

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Rumor: Gears of War remake developed by Splash Damage coming to Xbox One

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Microsoft has gone back and forth for over a year now about the possibility of a Gears of War remake on the Xbox One. According to a new report on Polygon, it looks like the pendulum has officially swung back to the “let’s do it” side.

Citing unnamed sources close to the project, Polygon said the remastered game will include “updated visuals and reworked cutscenes.” After the story went to press, an additional update revealed development on the game is currently taking place at Splash Damage. The developer, best known for Brink and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, recently posted a variety of job listings on their Careers page looking for employees to work on a “very well known and highly popular AAA title with next gen technology.”

Microsoft acquired the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games last January. At the time, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer said, “I think if you look at what we did with 343 and getting them up to speed for Halo 4, you can maybe anticipate some things that are similar to that.” Many people assumed this meant a Gears of War remake was on the way, just as Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary was released shortly after Microsoft purchased the rights to Halo from Bungie.

Rod Fergusson, the Studio Head of Black Tusk Studios, seemingly put the kibosh on this rumor (via Twitter) last month. But Fergusson specifically said there was no “Marcus Fenix Collection” in development, which means he was telling the truth if only the first game is being remade.

Whatever happens, we’ll probably find out for sure at this year’s E3 Expo… if not earlier.

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Konami cancels Silent Hills but says “We will continue to develop series”

goldenpixel2014-ptKonami has issued a statement on the future of Silent Hills to GamesRadar and it seems to corroborate all our worst fears.

First, Konami confirmed that Norman Reedus will no longer be involved with the game. In a statement, the publisher said their contract with the actor had expired. Possibly related to Reedus’s departure, Konami also stated the “distribution period” of PT had expired. The “Playable Teaser” was added to the PlayStation Store last year, and is scheduled to be delisted this week.

The Silent Hills project has likely been canceled as Konami made no specific mention of the future of the project in their statement. Though they were quick to clarify that “the Silent Hill series” will continue.

Director Guillermo Del Toro, who would have collaborated with Hideo Kojima on the game, was disappointed by this news. Yesterday, he told an audience at the San Francisco Film Festival that Silent Hills featured “truly cutting edge stuff” and that it was being designed to “[****] with your brain really bad.”

So, to recap, Silent Hills is dead and an unrelated Silent Hill 7 will probably soon enter production.

UPDATE: Konami revealed to Game Informer that Silent Hills has officially been canceled: “Also, in response to what Del Toro said during the Q&A, Konami is committed to new Silent Hill titles, however the embryonic Silent Hills project developed with Guillermo Del Toro and featuring the likeness of Norman Reedus will not be continued.”

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CoD: Black Ops 3 “World Reveal” trailer is here… 11/6 release, pre-order beta confirmed

Call of Duty: Black Ops III‘s “World Reveal” gameplay trailer is now available for all to watch and we certainly know more about the game now than we did a week ago. For starters, the rumors from Friday are true. Black Ops III will indeed launch on Friday, November 6 for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and those who pre-order the game will receive access to a multiplayer beta test. This doesn’t mean the game won’t be released for the PS3 and Xbox 360, but Activision only wants to talk about the current-generation version today.

So what does Treyarch have in store for this far-future sequel? First of all, Black Ops III will bring a four-player cooperative campaign to the franchise for the first time. Players will also be able to augment their soldiers with a variety of futuristic tech and do battle with a army of Terminators killer cyborgs. Let me turn it over to the Activision Games Blog for a second to fill us in on the rest:

Call of Duty: Black Ops III will thrust players into a dark, gritty future, where cybernetics and biotechnology have given rise to a new breed of soldier. Empowered by Direct Neural Interface (DNI) technology, players will assume the role of Black Ops soldiers that are interconnected, faster, and more lethal than ever in a new four-player co-op campaign and a completely redefined multiplayer experience.

With a new momentum-based, chained movement system that allows players to move fluidly through environments and maintain constant control of their weapon, Call of Duty: Black Ops III is packed with new multiplayer features. In addition to a new weapon customization system that lets players create unique weapon variants, Call of Duty: Black Ops III introduces the new Specialist system, which lets players choose and rank up nine elite Black Ops soldiers, each with their own unique look, personality, backstory, and devastating weapons and abilities.

Finally, Activision revealed that Treyarch’s signature Zombies Mode will be back with “its own unique story and XP progression system.” More details on Zombies Mode will be announced later this year and we’ll surely learn a lot more about Call of Duty: Black Ops III as we get closer to this year’s E3 Expo.

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Guillermo Del Toro and Norman Reedus no longer involved with Silent Hills

goldenpixel2014-ptLast night, the San Francisco Film Society presented Guillermo Del Toro with the Irving M. Levin Directing Award for 2001’s The Devil’s Backbone. Del Toro spoke took the stange afterwards and, in addition to talking about his illustrious film career, confirmed that he is no longer involved with the development of Silent Hills. According to photojournalist Matt Hackney: Del Toro said, “It’s not gonna happen and that breaks my greasy heart.”

While it sounds like the game has been canceled, IGN is reporting that Del Toro’s representatives are stressing that only the director’s involvement with the game has ended. They said the decision to cancel or continue with Silent Hills ultimately rests with Konami, and the publisher hasn’t made an official statement on the game’s status since its announcement.

However, this news comes just a few days after Konami announced (via the game’s official website) that PT, a “Playable Teaser” of Silent Hills that was added to the PlayStation Store last year, would no longer be available to download as of this Wednesday, April 29. The removal of PT from the PlayStation Store and the probable cancellation of Silent Hills also lends more credibility to the rumors that Hideo Kojima will leave Konami after the completion of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Though, again, all of that is technically in the realm of speculation.

Del Toro has been trying to break into the video game industry for over a decade now without much luck. In 2010, he teamed up with THQ to produce Insane, a horror game with Lovecraftian influences. THQ canceled Insane in 2012, but the director retained the rights to the game, so something could still happen with it someday. The same can’t be said for Sundown, a zombie game in development at Terminal Reality that was permanently canceled in 2006.

UPDATE: Norman Reedus, who was all set to star in Silent Hills, said on Twitter that Silent Hills is as good as dead. While we still haven’t heard official word from Konami, I think it’s safe to say the game has been canceled.

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Weekly Warp-Up: Pre-Pre-E3 2015 Edition

No, that’s not a typo. Welcome to the Weekly Warp-Up, your weekly wrap-up of the biggest and the best articles posted at Warp Zoned this week…

Ah, late April. That time of year that’s still too early to be considered “pre-E3,” but it’s close enough to the big show that publishers start talking about some of their big-but-not-too-big projects.

Projects like Telltale’s Collaboration With Marvel Entertainment, which is still in the extremely early stages of development and won’t be released until 2017. Then there’s the announcement of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, the next game from Patrice Desilets, the creator of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Finally, Sega and Creative Assembly have finally officially announced Total War: Warhammer, which has been in some form of semi-secret production for several years now.

Elsewhere on Warp Zoned this week, we sat down with Chainsawesome’s Jean Simon Otis to talk about Knight Squad, their upcoming Bomberman/Gaunlet mashup. We also reviewed the awesome mobile puzzler Shades and offered up a how-to guide for prospective Kickstarter creators with Kickstart This! 10 Pointers To Get More Gold For Your Game.

More news from the week that was can be found after the break. (more…)

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