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Shadow of Mordor and Dragon Age 3 lead all nominees at 2015 SXSW Gaming Awards

sxsw-logoAnother major award show has announced their 2014/2015 nominees and, once again, Dragon Age: Inquisition and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor lead the pack. This time, we’re discussing the 2015 SXSW Gaming Awards, where each game has secured five nominations apiece.

Naturally, both games are competing for the Game of the Year prize, alongside Bayonetta 2, Dark Souls II, and Shovel Knight. Dragon Age: Inquisition was also nominated for “Excellence in Gameplay,” “Excellence in Technical Achievement,” “Excellence in Narrative,” and “Excellence in Design and Direction.” Shadow of Mordor is up for most of the same secondary awards, except swap out “Excellence in Gameplay” for “Excellence in Animation.”

The winners of the 2015 SXSW Gaming Awards will be announced on Saturday, March 14 as part of the SXSW Gaming Expo, which runs from March 13th through the 15th in Austin, Texas. The first list of nominees can be found after the break. (more…)

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The Witness reaches “Puzzle Complete” milestone, but still no release date in sight

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As one of the first games presented during the PlayStation 4’s unveiling, it was originally assumed that Jonathan Blow’s The Witness would be a launch title for Sony’s new-generation console. But here we are in the first month of 2015 and the Myst-inspired puzzler is still no where to be seen. But it looks like the development team has just reached a major milestone.

In a post on the game’s News Blog, Blow wrote that The Witness is now “Puzzle Complete,” meaning that all of the game’s 677 puzzles and “high-level creative decisions” have been completed. The developers said that there’s still work to be done on some “story stuff” and “the menu system,” but for the most part, all that’s left is polishing and playtesting:

It does *not* mean that the game is done. We still have a lot to do! But it *does* mean that the nature of the work changes and becomes simpler, because we don’t have to be making high-level creative decisions any more. It is now much more about turning the finish-the-game crank (making sure stuff plays well and polishing it up) for anything related to game design, modeling and texturing.

However, the bad news is that The Witness still doesn’t have a release date. So we’ll all just have to continue to wait patiently for the game, which will launch first for the PC and PS4, then on iOS, and on “other platforms” after that.

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Telltale will release Game of Thrones: The Lost Lords in two weeks

Episode Two of Telltale’s Game of Thrones adaptation is almost ready for release. The developer unveiled the debut trailer of the second episode, The Lost Lords, today. Here’s what gamers can expect, but if you haven’t completed Episode One you may not want to read any further:

House Forrester is in disarray. Their liege lord and his heir are dead, and Ironrath is occupied by Whitehill soldiers. The survival of the family depends upon those who are left.

Placed at King’s Landing, the epicenter of intrigue, Mira Forrester must weigh her loyalty to Margaery Tyrell against the needs of her family, while choosing how to play the political games of Tyrion Lannister. One misstep could spell doom for Mira and her entire family. To the far north, Gared Tuttle finds that the wall and its crows hold little love for a squire from the Wolfswood, but finds kinship in the bastard son of Ned Stark.

Gared must prove worthy of becoming a ranger in order to carry out the mission given him; one that is vital to the future of those he serves. To the east, Asher Forrester, the exiled son, is called back to Westeros to aid his family, but how can one man help when the Boltons rule the north with an iron fist? Meanwhile, an unexpected source of hope returns to the Forresters, but Ironrath is no place for the weak.

Game of Thrones: The Lost Lords will be available to download in two weeks. PC, PS3, and PS4 players will be able to play it on Tuesday, February 3 while Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners will have to wait until Wednesday, February 4. All five platforms will receive The Lost Lords before Android and iOS owners, who will be able to download it on Thursday, February 5.

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Sid Meier’s Starships promises turn-based space combat on PC and iPad

Sid Meier and his team at Firaxis Games have announced that they’re going back into space with Starships, a turn-based strategy game in development for the PC (Windows and Mac) and iPad. But we won’t have to wait too long to try it out as the game will be released sometime in “early 2015.”

“When designing Starships, I was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of Civilization: Beyond Earth. What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars? What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth?” said Sid Meier, Drector of Creative Development at Firaxis Games. “My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration.”

If you ever wanted to channel your inner Admiral Kirk, Firaxis has revealed that Starships will include a series of turn-based space battles and players will be required to manage an entire armada of starships:

Sid Meier’s Starships challenges players to build a planetary federation by exploring the galaxy, expanding its influence and domain, researching futuristic technologies and engaging in deep, turn-based tactical space combat with an armada of uniquely customizable starships. Each new campaign will feature its own distinctive galactic strategy map of worlds with dynamically generated tactical combat missions that will enhance the game’s replay value.

Finally, Starships will connect with Civilization: Beyond Earth in some way and players who own both games will discover some form of “cross-connectivity” between the two games that will “enhance and expand the depth of both game experiences.”

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor leads the way among 2015 DICE Awards nominees

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The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences have announced the nominees for this year’s DICE Awards and, just like the GDC Awards, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is leading the pack. Monolith’s expansion of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings garnered nine nominations including “Outstanding Achievement in Animation,” “Outstanding Achievement in Game Design,” “Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction,” “Outstanding Achievement in Story,” “Outstanding Innovation in Gaming,” “Outstanding Technical Achievement,” “Outstanding Character,” “Adventure Game of the Year,” and “Game of the Year.”

Shadow of Mordor will be competing against four games for the top prize. Rounding out the category are Bungie’s Destiny, BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition, Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4, and Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. All told, 56 games received a nomination in at least one category.

This year’s DICE Awards have added a new category to the festivities, the DICE Sprite Award, in an attempt to recognize work done by smaller studios. The Banner Saga, Hohokum, Monument Valley, Threes!, and Transistor will be competing for the inaugural DICE Sprite Award, which honors “innovative gameplay and experiences.”

The full list of nominees can be found after the break and don’t forget to tune in to Twitch.TV on Thursday, February 5 at 7:00 PM (Eastern Time) to find out the winners. (more…)

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Warp Zoned’s 2014 Golden Pixel Awards: Honoring Our Favorite Games

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With the PS4 and Xbox One entering their first full year on store shelves, 2014 turned out to be a bit of a transition year. A lot of games were delayed into 2015 and a few others were delayed even further. With the other two consolemakers taking a step back in 2014, it was Nintendo’s time to shine and the wizards behind the Wii U responded with nearly a dozen major titles. But that doesn’t mean the PS4 and the Xbox One (or the PS3 and Xbox 360, for that matter) went hungry in 2014.

There were plenty of great games to go around last year and you can read all about them as we hand out our annual Golden Pixel Awards… (more…)

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor leads the pack with 5 nominations at 2015 GDC Awards

gdcawardsThe nominees for this year’s Game Developers Choice Awards have been announced and, unsurprisingly, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor leads the way with five nominations, including “Game of the Year.”

Shadow of Mordor will compete for the top prize with other four multi-category nominees including Alien: Isolation, Bayonetta 2, Destiny, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Believe it or not, the next-most-nominated game, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, was actually shut out of the “Game of the Year” category. The Astronauts’ mystery title was nominated for “Best Narrative,” “Best Audio,” the “Innovation Award,” and “Best Debut.”

Alien: Isolation (“Best Visual Art” and “Best Audio”), Destiny (“Best Audio” and “Best Technology”), and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (“Best Design” and “Best Handheld/Mobile Game”) are each up for two additional awards while Bayonetta 2 is also up for “Best Visual Art.”

A complete list of the nominees for this year’s Game Developers Choice Awards can be found after the break. And be sure to check back for a look at the winners, which will be announced on March 4 during the Game Developers Conference.

[Source: GamesIndustry.biz] (more…)

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This War of Mine, The Talos Principle, 80 Days lead nominees of 2015 IGF Awards

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The Independent Games Festival has unveiled the nominees for their 17th annual awards show, which will take place on March 4, just before the GDC Awards during this year’s Game Developers Conference. Leading the way is Inkle Studios’ 80 Days, which was nominated for three awards. 11 Bit’s This War of Mine and Croteam’s The Talos Principle weren’t far behind, as each garnered two nominations apiece.

All three games will be competing for the “Seumas McNally Grand Prize” against Klei’s Invisible Inc., Team Outer Wilds’ Outer Wilds, and Patrick Smith’s Metamorphabet.

You can find a complete list of finalists and honorable mentions for all six awards (including “Excellence In Visual Art,” “Excellence In Narrative,” “Excellence In Design,” “Excellence In Audio,” and the “Nuovo Award”) after the break. (more…)

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