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Sega to institute layoffs, early retirement program as company continues to struggle

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Sega (which officially does business under the Sega Sammy Holdings name) has been dealing with financial difficulties for some time, but it looks like their latest round of problems will result in some big changes for the company.

Sega’s Board of Directors met this morning and hammered out a restructuring plan that they believe will help the company’s financial position in the future. Unfortunately, a key part of that plan will involve an unspecified number of layoffs and a voluntary early requirement program that the company will offer to 300 employees. Some of the layoffs will come from Sega of America, which will be moving from its current headquarters in San Francisco to a smaller facility somewhere in Southern California.

The restructuring, which is expected to be completed by the Summer, will also lead to a new focus on downloadable titles developed for smartphones and the PC. Sega is also heavily involved in big budget and mid-tier on consoles and the PC, but it’s currently unknown how this plan will affect the company’s internal development teams.

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Life Is Strange launches tomorrow… so here’s the launch trailer

Dontnod’s Life Is Strange will be released for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One tomorrow, so the developer wants to get everyone ready by releasing a launch trailer for the game.

Life Is Strange is an adventure game that follows Max, a teenager who can rewind time, and Chloe, her best friend who always seems to be in danger. The game forces Max to make choices about when and where to use her powers to save Chloe, and sometimes this creates disastrous results. However, those results also include a quirky story that fans of indie movies will probably love.

Dontnod plans to tell Life Is Strange’s story across five episodes, so if you like what you see, get ready for a lot more of the game.

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Ermac force punches his way into Mortal Kombat X

NetherRealm Studios streamed the latest “Kombat Kast” through Twitch this afternoon and it revealed yet another Mortal Kombat X character… Ermac. Gone is Ermac’s palette-swapped red ninja garb and in its place is a hooded outfit that is likely meant to resemble a monk’s robe. But I think it’s safe to say that Ermac definitely did not take a vow of non-violence.

Like Reptile before him, Ermac reuses many of his special moves from 2011’s Mortal Kombat in Mortal Kombat X. His telekinetic powers return, as does his flying ability and his Force Ball. These special moves are well represented in Ermac’s three style variations: “Spectral”
(Gains ability to fly and unique attacks from the air), “Mystic” (Gains the telekinetic abilities Tele-Lift and Tele-Push), and “Master of Souls” (Gains Soul Ball and the ability to Vanish to avoid damage).

Be sure to watch the “Kombat Kast” linked above for even more Mortal Kombat X action and don’t forget that the game will be released for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on April 14.

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WB Games announces Lego Jurassic World and Lego Avengers

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WB Games has announced that Lego Jurassic World and Lego Avengers are both in development at TT Games for the 3DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Both games will be released in 2015, though the Avengers game will debut a bit later than you might expect.

Lego Jurassic World will launch in June, just ahead or just after Jurassic World‘s theatrical opening on June 12. The game will include levels based on all four films including Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, and Jurassic World. Most important of all, do you realize what this means? Lego Muldoon mumbling “Clever girl…” before getting eaten by Lego Raptors!

Meanwhile, Lego Avengers will be released in the Fall, presumably around the same date as The Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s Blu-ray/DVD debut. Like Lego Jurassic Park, Lego Avengers will include levels based on The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Finally, WB Games made two other Lego-related announcements this morning. First, the publisher confirmed that Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin will be available for the 3DS and Vita on March 24. And second, they revealed that Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will be released for mobile devices this Summer.

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Get bonus XP in Evolve by playing Evolve: Hunters Quest, a mobile match-3 puzzler

Quick, grab your phone or tablet, because 2K Games has just released a free-to-play companion app to Evolve for mobile devices. But if you were looking for a little shooty shooty on the go, you might be disappointed. Evolve: Hunters Quest is actually a match-3 puzzler. Available through the iTunes App Store, the Google Play Store, and the Amazon Appstore, Evolve: Hunters Quest will offer 100 missions and the ability to earn Mastery Points which can be spent in the PC, PS4, and Xbox One edition of Evolve to level up your favorite characters:

Evolve: Hunters Quest is a match-3 puzzle combat game based on the Best of Show E3 award winner, Evolve. Use match 3 tokens of the same color to unleash devastating attacks on your enemies, and fill up energy bars to activate hunters’ special abilities. Earn Mastery Points to rank up your character in both the mobile and console games. Explore the planet of Shear in search of new wildlife and monsters. Discover and complete your collection of exotic wildlife in the Bestiary, and earn unique art for the Evolve console game. Enhance your Evolve skills by watching your multiplayer match replays from a strategic top-down view, and devouring intel in the Game Changer. Evolve: Hunters Quest lets you continue your Evolve experience from anywhere!

Evolve will be released on February 10.

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Dying Light, Grim Fandango Remastered, Life Is Strange Episode 1, more added to PS Store

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It’s all about the undead in this week’s PlayStation Store update:

  • Zombies figure prominently in Techland’s Dying Light for the PS4. The first-person survival game incorporates a day/night cycle and gives parkour moves to the player-controlled characters.
  • The afterlife of the undead is the focus of Grim Fandango Remastered, a PS4/Vita Cross-Buy re-release of the popular adventure game from Tim Tim Schafer. Only Manny Calavera, a travel agent at the Department of Death, could make Limbo this exciting.
  • The first episode of Dontnod’s Life Is Strange (available Friday on the PS3 and PS4) introduces us to Max, a woman who is able to bring people back to life thanks to her ability to rewind time.

Two decidedly un-undead games were also added to the Vita storefront this week. There’s the wacky RPG antics of HyperDimension Neptunia ReBirth 2: Sisters Generation and the dark puzzle-platforming of Nihilumbra.

More information on all of these games can be found after the break and a full rundown of this week’s new game add-ons and discounts can be found at the PlayStation Blog. (more…)

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Reptile hisses his way into Mortal Kombat X

NetherRealm Studios has partnered with IGN to release the latest trailer for Mortal Kombat X and it features a character reveal of one of the franchise’s favorites… Reptile!

The original secret character is back with a scaly costume that looks both fresh and familiar. Almost all of Reptile’s classic special moves will be included in Mortal Kombat X including Acid Spit, Power Slide, Invisibility, and Force Ball. He’s also got a new tongue stunner that looks like a ton of fun.

Mortal Kombat X will be released for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on April 14. The game is expected to include at least 28 characters, so we’re going to be reporting on a lot more of these character reveals over the next three months.

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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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