Most Recent: PC

The Scarecrow takes over in Batman: Arkham Knight’s “Gotham is Mine” trailer

John Noble has brought eccentricity and menace to his roles as Walter Bishop on Fringe and the Horseman of War on Sleepy Hollow, but only his voice is required to strike fear into the heart of Gotham in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight. Noble will play Jonathan Crane (AKA The Scarecrow) in Rocksteady’s trilogy-capping entry of the Arkham series. And like on Fringe and Sleepy Hollow, he has a plan.

In this new trailer, dubbed “Gotham is Mine” by the developers, The Scarecrow reveals how he will bring together Batman’s greatest rogues. Two-Face, The Penguin, The Riddler, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and the all-new Arkham Knight will join forces to kill the Dark Knight once and for all.

Will they succeed? We’ll all find out together on June 2, when Batman: Arkham Knight launches for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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Valve and HTC team up for the Vive virtual reality headset

A new player has joined the virtual reality wars as Valve and HTC have announced that they will collaborate on the creation of Vive, a virtual reality headset that will use Valve’s SteamVR technology. A “developer edition” of Vive will be available this Spring and a consumer version is expected to launch this Fall. The Vive will be on display at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco where it will join a very crowded marketplace that includes the Oculus Rift, the Samsung Gear VR, and Sony’s Project Morpheus. The Vive’s official website includes more details about the device, including a claim that it will eliminate the “jitter” found in other headsets:

A 1,200 by 1,080 pixel screen in front of each eye, with refresh rates of a blistering 90 frames per second, displays photorealistic imagery that fills your field of vision in all directions, eliminating the jitter common to previous VR technologies and transporting you to another world.

A special two-handed controller will allow players to interact with objects in the simulation and optional SteamVR “base stations” can be paired with Vive to create a 15×15 area that players can use to walk around their virtual world. So who will be creating these worlds? Valve has partnered with three developers (so far) to create content for Vive including Cloudhead Games (The Gallery: Six Elements), Dovetail Games (Microsoft Fight Simulator), and Fireproof Games (The Room).

More will surely sign up in the coming days.

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Mortal Kombat X adds Mileena and three entirely original characters in new Story Trailer

The Mortal Kombat franchise has always included an extensive backstory that chronicles a mythology involving hundreds of characters and stretching back several millennia. This April’s Mortal Kombat X will push the plot 25 years into the future as Mileena attempts to control Outworld in the aftermath of Shao Kahn’s defeat.

Previously, NetherRealm Studios said that this flash-forward would involve the offspring of several Mortal Kombat favorites including Cassie Cage, the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. In this new “Story Trailer,” we’ve learned that Cassie will lead a new generation of heroes against the forces of evil. This new generation, who will be mentored by the older generation, includes Jacqueline Briggs (the daughter of Jax), Takashi Takeda (the son of Kenshi), and Kung Jin (a descendant of Kung Lao). With the story in place, as you might have guessed, Mileena has also been confirmed as a playable character.

I’d definitely recommend watching the trailer more than once as its chock-full of little details like blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos from Sindel, Rain, and Shinnok as well as an unmasked (and human) Scorpion. At this time, it’s unknown if any of these kombatants will be added to Mortal Kombat X as playable characters.

Yesterday, NetherRealm released a separate Mortal Kombat X trailer confirming Brutalities, so be to check that out as well.

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NetherRealm is adding “more than 100″ Brutalities to Mortal Kombat X

As part of today’s “Kombat Kast,” NetherRealm Studios has confirmed that Mortal Kombat X will feature the return of Brutalities, the ultra-bloody finishers that were first included in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. However, unlike the extra-long mega-combos of old, these Brutalities more closely resemble the classic Fatalities found in the first three Mortal Kombat games. More than 100 Brutalities will be included in Mortal Kombat X, so expect each character to have at least two-to-three different ways to dispatch their opponent.

If you’re interested in learning how Brutalities work in Mortal Kombat X, I recommend watching the “Kombat Kast” above. But if you’d rather skip straight to the blood and guts, GameSpot has taken every Brutality shown during the “Kombat Kast” and re-edited them into a concise three-minute trailer.

Mortal Kombat X will be released for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on April 14. And expect the next character reveal, which might be Johnny Cage, to happen tomorrow.

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Fable Legends will be Free-To-Play on Xbox One, PC

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This is a bit of a surprise. Microsoft has announced that Fable Legends will be available as a free-to-play game on the PC and Xbox One.

According to the game’s online FAQ, Microsoft and the development team at Lionhead Studios have decided to make Fable Legends free-to-play to “open the exciting world of Fable to more players.” However, they’ve stressed that this will not make the game pay-to-win as players will be able to “play through it beginning-to-end without having to spend any money.”

So how will Microsoft make money off of Fable Legends? By selling a variety of customization options and permanent access to the game’s Heroes. Like Killer Instinct, a rotating set of characters will be available for free. But players may purchase any of the other offered Heroes at any time. And some Heroes will even be permanently unlockable through regular play. Purely cosmetic items to enhance the look of your Heroes will also be available through the Xbox Games Store or Windows Store.

If you prefer to play as the Villain, Creature characters, Traps, and Gates will also be available as separate purchases. As with Heroes, some Creature characters, Traps, and Gates can be unlocked by playing the game.

Fable Legends will be available for the PC and Xbox One sometime in 2015.

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CoD: Advanced Warfare Havoc Pack is now available for PC, PS3, PS4

Activision has announced that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare‘s first downloadable expansion, the Havoc Pack, is now available for the PC, PS3, and PS4. The Havoc Pack will include the first episode in “Exo Zombies,” Advanced Warfare’s co-op mode featuring Atlas employees versus an undead horde, as well as four competitive multiplayer maps:

Core: Deploy to the Gobi desert where the ravaged ruins of a nuclear fusion plant set the stage for a high-octane warzone. Take down enemies through the wreckage in long-range combat or get up-close and personal in the tunnels surrounding the central turbine. Activate decontamination drones using the map-based scorestreak to help clean out the competition.

Urban: Prepare yourself for brutal, high-speed combat in Dallas Ward 3, a future mega structure, funneling players into a close-quarters free-for-all. This modular compound’s verticality unleashes the exoskeleton’s capabilities. Stay focused during the timed event as blast doors alter the map’s flow and sightlines.

Sideshow: In the shadow of Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, this abandoned inn’s open layout amplifies its creep factor. Blast your way through the clown inn with close-quarters battles or use long-range site-lines from the mining facilities and natural terrain. Use the map-based scorestreak to activate the lights, music, and magic of the clown marquee and rain down a barrage of rainbow smoke-trailed cannonballs.

Drift: An idyllic ski resort high in the Rocky Mountains is transformed into a festive high-altitude playground, perfect for an all-out firefight. Make your way to the highly contested over watch in the glass observation deck or take a ride on the carousel to deliver 360 degrees of carnage. Players can use the map-altering timed event to their advantage as an avalanche of snow and debris disorients players, intensifying the battle.

The Havoc Pack is available to download as part of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Season Pass. It can also be purchased a la carte for $14.99.

UPDATE: In a post on their Facebook page, Sledgehammer Games has confirmed that the PC release of the Havoc Pack has been delayed until March 3 due to an “unexpected issue.”

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Insert Quarter: Did Batman: Arkham Knight Just Kill the Teen Rating?

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Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.

The gaming world was a tad surprised when Batman: Arkham Knight was awarded an “M For Mature” rating by the ESRB earlier this week, but no one has taken up the “Won’t someone think of the children!” mantle just yet. And that’s probably because the way that gamers treat a Mature-rated game is much different from the way moviegoers react to an R-rated film (to say nothing of the dreaded NC-17).

You might even wonder if this has signaled a shift away from the ESRB’s Teen rating (which has always been considered equivalent of the much-more-popular PG-13 for films). Few games carry a Teen rating in 2015 and nearly every critically acclaimed title of the past decade (BioShock, Red Dead Redemption, Fallout 3, Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto V, and many others) has been slapped with a scarlet “M.” Paul Tassi of Forbes believes the “T For Teen” rating is dead and that it’s unlikely anyone will notice or even care:

Unlike the movie industry, however, a game being rated M is not all that big of a deal. Movies will bend over backward to cut themselves down to PG-13 from an R in order to have a chance at dramatically increasing their box office haul, and there’s only one R-rated movie in the top 25 highest grossing films of all time, The Passion of the Christ. There are 16 PG-13 movies, by contrast, including the first four of the top five.

Gaming is a much different story, with rating hardly seeming to matter at all. M-rated games are routinely best-sellers, and comparatively seven out of the top 25 highest selling video games of all time are rated M, all split between Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty titles, with the non-M games mostly coming from Nintendo ’s E-rated stable. In fact, there isn’t a single T-rated game in the list.

The full article is available for your perusal at Forbes.

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HumaNature launches Kickstarter campaign for ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove

As promised a few weeks ago, Greg Johnson and HumaNature Studios have officially announced the fourth ToeJam & Earl game, ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove.

Johnson and his team have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the retro-inspired sequel. The developer, who originally created ToeJam & Earl back in 1991 with Mark Voorsanger, wants to refocus on what made the first game great while discarding the less-loved elements from the sequels:

Will it be like game one or game two, you ask? Well… (holding breath)… mainly like game one. We plan to go old school with this one. Fixed isometric camera, 2D sprites, simple controls, and an emphasis on coop play. It will also pull in some of the more beloved elements from game two, AND we have a list of exciting new gameplay elements planned as well.

Oh right, I almost forgot… and we’ll have funky music, and more funky music, and… then we’ll add in more funky music.

HumaNature is seeking $400,000 to complete ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove, which they’ll use to create a PC (Windows/Mac/Linux) version that includes four-player co-op play, a funky new art style, and “more fun features.” The plan is too eventually bring the game to as many platforms as possible, and the odds of that happening are good, as the campaign has already collected $100,000 in pledges with 29 days remaining. There’s currently no timeline on when Back in the Gorrve will be availabl if HumaNature reaches their goal, but you can find plenty of funky concept art and additional details at the Kickstarter campaign page.

Funky! OK, I’ll stop now.

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