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Is Mortal Kombat X the end for the Mortal Kombat franchise?

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NetherRealm Studios has an ambitious plan for Mortal Kombat X‘s Story Mode. After recreating the first three entries in the long-running franchise for 2011′s Mortal Kombat, Ed Boon and company want to visit the far-flung future in next year’s sequel. Ultimately, the campaign will send the player 25 years into the future, but Mortal Kombat X will begin by examining the direct aftermath of Shao Khan’s defeat in the previous game. From there, NetherRealm will check in on characters both old and new in five-year intervals. So after this epic bit of storytelling, what do you do for an encore?

IGN asked Ed Boon this question at Gamescom today and the answer is that this could be the end of the Mortal Kombat saga:

“One thing that’s certainly on my mind after jumping ahead 25 years, is I don’t know where we’d go from here,” Boon tentatively begins. “We wanted to do something bold, and this is a bold new story, despite the fact it’s the tenth game. But when you jump ahead 25 years it’s like… what do you do now? Do you jump in time again? Do you go back 25 years? Do you introduce a whole new cast? We’ll worry about it when we reach it, but I do think it could be hard to continue, if we do another one.”

While Boon might be willing to walk away from the franchise, the hard reality of financial success may force the developer to reconsider. The 2011 reboot became the best-selling game in the entire franchise and if Mortal Kombat X lives up to the early hype, it may sell just as well. If Boon really is out of ideas, WB Games might “persuade” him to think harder.

But that’s all far in the future. Check out the IGN interview and read up on some of the neat ideas Boon has for Mortal Kombat X.

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Geometry Wars 3 coming to PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One; first screenshots inside

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I think it’s safe to say that if you’ve played Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 for any length of time, finding out that Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is in the works is like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day all rolled into one. But what do Sierra and Lucid Games have planned for the threequel? Thankfully, IGN is on the ground in Cologne, Germany with the first preview.

According to the report, Geometry Wars 3 will expand the horizons of the series in new ways. Instead of a flat plane, Dimensions will warp the playing field into 3D shapes such as spheres, cubes, and cylinders. Players will be able to completely circumnavigate the shape and fire bullets all the way around:

Right from the very first stage, Dimensions was as hectic and maddening as the Geometry Wars I fell in love with back on the 360. Additions such as a customizable drone ally, landscapes that morph throughout the round, and bullets that fire all the way around the circumference of a level make each round even more chaotic, but the smart design, easily-digestible color pallette, and UI make sure that the action never becomes truly disorientating.

Wow. Each level in Dimensions will also include its very own leaderboard and a variety of special objectives that players will have to complete to earn Stars. Like many games nowadays, Stars are the currency required to open up new levels and modes in Dimensions. Finally, IGN was able to confirm that the game will appear on the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One before the end of the year.

If you’d prefer to see it for yourself, you can find Geometry Wars 3′s first screenshots after the break. And by the way, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is January 27. (more…)

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BioWare reveals the game “You’ve Been Chosen” for is called Shadow Realms

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BioWare has been teasing out new trailers for their “You’ve Been Chosen” project for a few weeks now. We knew that the game was set in the modern day and centered on superpowers in some way, but the developer was saving the full reveal for Germany’s Gamescom event. Today, BioWare’s Austin team unveiled Shadow Realms, their new 4v1 RPG.

With its 4v1 structure, BioWare wants to make Shadow Realms resemble the pen-and-paper RPGs that many gamers grew up on. Four players will battle hordes of monsters as Hero characters while the fifth will control the Shadowlord, a evil mastermind who can set traps, possess monsters, and cast spells in opposition to the Heroes:

In Shadow Realms, Modern Heroes on Earth are being awakened and recruited, because of magical powers they never knew they had, to fight in a new and dangerous war against the Shadow Legions of Embra. The Shadow Legions, who have been battling on Embra for years against the members of the Radiant Empires, have gained new strength with the coming of a powerful, unknown force that we call the Shadowlords. And, they have just figured out how to leave Embra and invade Earth.

BioWare will release Shadow Realms episodically through EA’s Origin service, though a release date for the first episode wasn’t announced. Prospective players are encouraged to visit the game’s official website to sign up for a closed alpha test. Once you’re there, you can also read up on some behind-the-scenes secrets courtesy of the BioWare team.

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War Review: A Valiant Effort

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At first glance, Valiant Hearts: The Great War seems bizarre at best and flippant at worst: a cartoon-style puzzle game set during the ugly brutality of World War I. But fortunately, looks are deceiving, as Valiant Hearts is one of the most intriguing (and dare I say it, educational) games of the year. (more…)

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Activision reveals Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer mode in new trailer

Activision’s decision to switch to a three-team development cycle for the Call of Duty franchise was to give each of the teams more room to shake things up. Sledgehammer Games is attempting to do their part by massively revamping the multiplayer experience in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. And by “revamping,” I mean that they’re adding in a ton of sci-fi touches like mech suits, invisibility devices, and jetpack jumps:

With the all-new exoskeleton, players can boost jump, dodge, dash, slide, slam and more as the action goes vertical, while using future-tech, cutting-edge capabilities and a brand-new weapon class as part of nearly 350 custom weapons. Offering a new reward system, including more than 1,000 in-game player rewards, and nearly limitless customization options that create more than two billion unique player combinations and more, the title offers the most in-depth, robust and advanced Call of Duty multiplayer experience ever on both next generation and current generation systems.

Also, the much loved Pick 10 create-a-class is back with even more customizable options than before with Pick 13. Gamers can now choose their favorite scorestreaks, which are fully customizable, and include them in their preferred class, raising the bar on personalization from top to bottom. The introduction of co-operative scorestreaks also allows friends to experience Call of Duty multiplayer together in a new way, as for the first time ever, two players can now join a scorestreak and work co-operatively.

The technology of the future in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare wouldn’t be complete without advancement in weapon technology, beginning with the debut of a directed energy class of weapons. This all-new weapon class for Call of Duty uses the power of focused energy to overcome enemies and relies on tactical heat management instead of reloads. Players can test out this new class, along with all their weapons, on the new Virtual Firing Range, a brand new feature that allows players to instantly test-drive their favorite weapon loadout with the click of a button before the next match starts.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will also include a comprehensive create-a-character mode known as Create-An-Operator that will allow players to “personalize their soldier however they want.”

Finally, Activision has announced that a special “Day Zero Edition” will be available to those who pre-order the game. Available one day early, on November 3, the package will include the game itself, two custom weapons, and double XP on “Day Zero.” For the rest of us plebes, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be available on November 4 for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

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2K has unveiled the Pharrell-curated NBA 2K15 soundtrack

nba2k15-boxPharrell Williams has completed his curation of the NBA 2K15 and 2K Games announced the final tracklist on their Facebook page today. As you’d expect, there’s plenty of Pharrell to be found on the soundtrack. The “Happy” singer has three songs on the soundtrack as well as a featured credit on another. There’s also appearances by Lorde (“Team” ), Lauryn Hill (“Doo Wop (That Thing)”), Snoop Dogg (“Drop It Like It’s Hot”), and Depeche Mode (“Personal Jesus”).

I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t expecting “Personal Jesus.” Here’s the full soundtrack:

  • A Tribe Called Quest – “Scenario”
  • Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force – “Planet Rock”
  • Basement Jaxx – “Hot ’n Cold”
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “River Styx”
  • Busta Rhymes – “Dangerous”
  • Clipse – “Grindin’”
  • Death from Above 1979 – “Romantic Rights”
  • Depeche Mode – “Personal Jesus”
  • Junior – “Mama Used to Say”
  • Lauryn Hill – “Doo Wop (That Thing)”
  • Lorde – “Team”
  • Major Lazer (featuring Pharrell Williams) – “Aerosol Can”
  • Missy Elliott – “On & On”
  • No Doubt – “Spiderwebs”
  • OneRepublic – “Love Runs Out”
  • Pharrell Williams – “Hunter”
  • Pharrell Williams – “Can I Have It Like That”
  • Pharrell Williams – “How Does It Feel?”
  • Public Enemy – “Shut ‘Em Down (Pete Rock Remix)”
  • Ratatat – “Seventeen Years”
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Suck My Kiss”
  • Santigold – “Creator”
  • Snoop Dogg – “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
  • Strafe – “Set It Off”
  • The Black Keys – “Everlasting Light”
  • The Rapture – “House of Jealous Lovers”
  • The Strokes – “Under Cover of Darkness”

2K has created a Spotify playlist if you’d like to listen to the soundtrack right now. Or you can wait until October 7 when NBA 2K15 is released for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

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Sierra returns with Geometry Wars 3 and King’s Quest

We knew that Activision had plans to revive the Sierra publishing label as their indie games arm, but I don’t think anybody quite expected this. As part of their announcement revealing Sierra’s return, the publisher confirmed that Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions and a King’s Quest remake are in the works.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions will be available this Fall and its currently in development at Lucid Games, which is a team comprised mostly of former employees of Bizarre Creations. If you remember, Bizarre Creations was the original developer behind the first two Geometry Wars games:

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is an exciting new evolution of the fast-paced, frenetic Geometry Wars gameplay fans love, and will introduce full 3D action and both cooperative and competitive multiplayer for the first time in the franchise. In addition to a full single-player campaign with 50 unique challenges and over 10 battle modes – five of which are brand new to the series – Geometry Wars3: Dimensions features dynamic and persistent progression, offering players a consistently new experience each time they play.

As for King’s Quest, it will be developed by The Odd Gentlemen (The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom) for a 2015 release:

King’s Quest is a fully reimagined version of the fan-favorite Sierra game fit for both the old and new generation of King’s Quest players. Huge fans of the original King’s Quest series, The Odd Gentlemen are crafting a charming new adventure with an awe-inspiring art style, engaging puzzles, and a wondrous interactive narrative brimming with humor. In the new story, King Graham – revered as the greatest adventurer to ever live – shares his life’s adventures with his curious granddaughter, Gwendolyn. It is through these tales that Gwendolyn discovers the true greatness of her grandfather.

It’s unknown exactly where Geometry Wars 3 or King’s Quest will land, but Pete Wallace, the Studio Head at Lucid Games, said that their game will launch on “more platforms than ever before.” And with Sierra’s plan to release games through Xbox Live, the PlayStation Store, and Steam, that could be a lot of platforms.

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Focus your eye laser on Kano’s Mortal Kombat X debut trailer

Ed Boon’s big Mortal Kombat X reveal for this week’s Gamescom convention got released a tad early, giving us our first look at an older (but still badass) Kano.

Like every character in Mortal Kombat X, Kano will be available in three variations. The “Cutthroat” variation will feature powered-up attacks and knife combos while the “Cybernetic” variation mixes things up with multiple eye laser and grenade attacks. The most unique of Kano’s three variations is clearly the “Commando” variation, which features close-range grappling attacks that bring out the wrestler in the gangster.

Longtime fans are no doubt thrilled that Kano is making a comeback in Mortal Kombat X and his inevitable Story Mode confrontation with Cassie Cage will surely bring the fireworks. Mortal Kombat will be available for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One in 2015.

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