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  1. Among all the announcements in Sony's Paris Games Week press conference was a new trailer for EA and DICE's upcoming Star Wars Battlefront. The new footage highlights several different planets, including Tatooine, Sullust, Endor, and of course, more of Hoth (which was first shown in the E3 2015 trailer). Also introduced for the first time are Leia, Boba Fett, Han Solo, and last but not least, Emperor Palpatine himself. Admiral Ackbar is also heard rallying the troops for battle; perhaps we'll get to hear him say, "It's a trap!"? Regardless, the game looks solid as ever; let's hope everything plays just as good as it looks in the trailer. Star Wars Battlefront is set to release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 17. Does the newest trailer make you more excited for Star Wars Battlefront?
  2. Hey, you remembered that EA previously announced Mirror's Edge 2, right? Well, surprise! The game is losing the numeral from its title, and unfortunately, is no longer a sequel either. Today, EA updated the website for Mirror's Edge 2 to reflect the name change and explanation behind it. Now dubbed Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, it's intended to serve as a sort of reboot/reimagining that will reintroduce the game to a whole new generation. The game's senior producer Sara Jansson wrote the following about the update on the Mirror's Edge website: "Mirror“s Edge has always had a special place in the hearts of all of us at DICE. The first game had a lot of promise. It was unlike anything else in terms of the gameplay and style — it had a unique soul. But as much as we loved that game, we knew it could be more. So that“s what we have set out to do as we introduce Mirror“s Edge to a new generation. The team has spent a lot of time re-evaluating every aspect of the game and making it a new experience. This is not a sequel, this is not Mirror's Edge 2. We have landed on a vision that honors the first game — pushing the boundaries of first person movement and diving deeper into the story behind our heroine Faith — but also brings a lot of great new, interesting gameplay and features to the experience for our players." So there you have it. New name, not a sequel but a reimagining of sorts. While this may be disappointing to some fans, it's good to see that EA is at least willing to continue to support the Mirror's Edge universe for now. Expect to hear more about Mirror's Edge: Catalyst at E3 2015 next week. Source: Mirror's Edge (via Kotaku) What are your thoughts on this new development with Mirror's Edge?
  3. The team at Swedish developer DICE revealed the first footage of Star Wars: Battlefront during EA's E3 presentation today. The trailer presented detailed the developer's journey in creating a Star Wars game that fans will love. They visited the Lucas Archives as well as the original filming locations to capture every minute detail from the original movies. Not only that but they wanted to understand the "emotions they evoked." Unfortunately, the trailer ends teasing more in spring 2015. While that is a long way off, what they have thus far is impressive. Here is the teaser trailer fresh from E3: The other Star Wars projects EA has in development were not shown during the presentation which is somewhat disappointing. It's possible that they are waiting until closer to the release of Episode VII in 2015 to show more. For now, stay tuned to Game Podunk for all your Star Wars news. Excited to finally get a glimpse of next gen Star Wars?
  4. In today's interesting tidbit of news, Penny Arcade's Jeff Kalles, who once worked at Nintendo of America, revealed to Nintendo World Report that DICE pitched Battlefield as an exclusive for the Gamecube to the House of Mario. What's even more interesting about this is that Nintendo actually loved the pitch, but the deal never got far because the company didn't have an online strategy in place yet. Of course, developers usually pitch to different companies all the time, so it's possible Sony and Microsoft could have been approached as well, but the idea of Nintendo being into something like Battlefield really stirs the imagination of what could have been since it's so unlike them nowadays.
  5. Harrison Lee

    Review: Battlefield 4

    Developer: EA DICE Publisher: Electronic Arts Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One Release Date: October 29, 2013 ESRB: M for Mature Another year, another big-budget modern military shooter vying for your wallet. This time it's EA's Call of Duty competitor, Battlefield, with the fourth numbered installment in the mega-hit franchise. Battlefield 4 boasts an overhauled destruction engine, improved visuals, a reworked single-player campaign and the massive scale of previous entries, but is any of it enough to justify your hard earned cash? Much like Battlefield 3, BF4 is all about the chaotic online multiplayer. Despite a new writer at the helm and a renewed focus on the characters, the single-player campaign feels a bit like an afterthought. The good news is that the narrative, while military fiction nonsense, is at least more focused and directed than the haphazard tech demo that was BF3's campaign. Players will assume the role of protagonist Recker as he and the rest of Tombstone squad attempt to thwart an impending war between the US and China. Missions range from close-quarters combat aboard a dying aircraft carrier to a beach-head assault on a major Chinese airfield. As you might guess, most of the campaign is a string of intense set-pieces populated with lots and lots of shooting and explosions. The improvements over BF3 are readily apparent in the dialogue, character chemistry, technical enhancements and a better sense of pacing. All that said, BF4's campaign is essentially the same solo shooting gallery you've come to expect. While the addition of basic squad commands is a welcome change, it does little to alter the overall experience. The campaign is short, clocking in at 3.5-4 hours on Normal difficulty; it doesn't overstay it's welcome and can provide a few entertaining moments if you're in the right mindset. Just don't expect anything on the level of Modern Warfare or Black Ops II. The entire focus of BF4 - multiplayer - is the sole reason you should have any interest in purchasing the game. The scale is breathtakingly massive, with tanks and aircraft thundering about wide, expansive maps. New combat watercraft have been added, providing a brand new battlefield in the sea. Waves are lovingly rendered in 3D and allow for boats to hide and use cover behind wave swells. Watching infantry, boats, jets, helicopters and various land vehicles all duke it out is incredibly impressive in DICE's proprietary Frostbite 3.0 game engine. The most-heralded feature of BF4 is the terribly-named "levolution", which is touted as the future of dynamic maps. While bringing down a skyscraper or blowing open a dam is awesome the first time around, levolution doesn't always have the biggest impact on gameplay. It's only on maps where water can flood the ground level that BF4's map design significantly alters. When it does, however, combat becomes more frantic and intense because the pace and flow of the battle evolves, creating an experience unlike anything else on the market. The "only in Battlefield" advert campaign is surprisingly indicative of the in-game presentation. Game modes include the ever-popular Conquest, Domination, Team Deathmatch and new Obliteration. The former trio are exactly the same as BF3, with the new mode tasking players with bringing bombs to several objects to score points. Obliteration was my least favorite of game types on offer; I typically stuck to Domination or Rush unless I was feeling really adventurous. Regardless of whichever mode you choose, BF4 will likely have something just right for you. Make sure you at least experience a full-scale, 64-player Conquest match at least once before you die. It's absolutely exhilarating. Map design is absolutely on-point this time around. My favorite is the easy-to-love Paracel Storm. It features violent waves, islands to seize control of, a beached battleship that provides additional anti-air support and fantastic naval combat. The weather effects are absolutely gorgeous here and really showcase BF4's attention to detail. Other maps like Golmud Railway and Dawnbreaker offer unique experiences, whether it's a roving capture point on a train or street-by-street inner city grudge matches. Combat feels faster and is more evenly balanced this time around. Sniper rifles are as powerful as ever, matched by a great selection of assault weapons and light machine guns. Most of the classes can mix and match unlock weapons, though the signature guns are still class-centric. The one major change in the class system is the addition of C4 to the Recon's armory. As a result, Recon has become my go-to for almost every long-range engagement due to its versatility. Engineer is also a great choice because of its anti-armor capabilities, crucial in vehicle-heavy Conquest maps. The multiplayer is so refined and entertaining that it's a shame the campaign wasn't shown the same level of love and attention. The single-player is by no means bad, but when compared against the online component, one has to wonder why DICE even bothers. Battlefield is best when it doesn't try to ape Call of Duty because it offers a unique experience that Call of Duty could only dream of offering. At least the campaign is supplemented by fantastic visuals and audio. The newest incarnation of the Frostbite engine offers beautiful particle effects and enhanced textures and lighting. The audio has also been improved, providing the guns a punchier, clearer sound. In addition, the voice-acting is well done and the ambient battle chatter is pitch perfect. Few shooters are as atmospheric as BF4, and DICE is to be congratulated on a spectacularly beautiful game. Sadly, BF4 is still quite buggy in spots. While this launch has been considerably smoother and more stable than BF3, I've still encountered no less than 3-4 crashes every time I start playing. It seems to be sporadic and server-involved, which means the most important part of the multiplayer desperately needs attention. If the servers are foggy and bugged, BF4 stands to infringe upon the reputation of its best component. All that said, it's still better than any other recent EA launch (especially when compared against SimCity). The bigger issue I have with BF4 has nothing to do with the technical composition. Rather, it's the fact that the game doesn't do much to innovate or change the formula. While the new maps, combat tweaks and visual enhancements are great, the lack of good new game modes and a less-than-stellar campaign have left me wanting. This should have been what BF3 was, yet I have to purchase a brand new game to get the same fundamental experience. The good news is Battlefield isn't an annualized franchise so I don't feel the same franchise fatigue as I might about other popular shooter series. Is BF4 absolutely worth your money? If you enjoy a multiplayer experience unlike anything else on the market and want to show off some snazzy visuals, the answer is an overwhelming yes. Even if you only have a passing interest in shooters, BF4 is the biggest, best thing on the market that isn't ArmA III; few games are as gorgeous, well-thought out or explosive as it. While it might have some technical issues and doesn't do much to rock the boat, it's still a great package in the end. Pros: + Exciting, large-scale combat + Improved single-player campaign + Snazzy production values + It's classic Battlefield Cons: - Campaign is still meh - Technical issues - It's classic Battlefield Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Battlefield 4 is an exciting, intense shooter that does what virtually no other game can. It's unique, explosive and beautiful.
  6. At long last, we finally have a new Star Wars Battlefront title in the works as revealed by EA at their E3 press conference earlier today. Not much is known about the project, other than that it is being developed by DICE on the Frostbite 2 engine and that it will be coming to Xbox One and PS4. The brief teaser shown at the conference shows what appears to be the planet Hoth and a snowspeeder crashing through the fog as laser fire shoots by. Eventually the camera pans up and shows the foot of an AT-AT walker coming down and fades to the game's logo. Are you excited for a new Battlefront game?
  7. Have you been checking out the DICE coverage we've done so far? Keynotes broke the news of a Valve-related movie, Ouya's partnership with Double Fine, and David Cage's "rules" to help the industry all came out on the first day. Today we saw two big keynotes, one from Warren Spector and one from Gabe Newell. If any of this had made you want to watch some DICE action live then you're in luck. Just a few hours from now the 16h Annual DICE Awards will take place. Even though none of us may be there, we can all give it a watch on Machinima where the ceremony will be streamed live. It will air at 7PM PST/8PM MST/9PM CST/10PM EST. Hopefully if you're in none of those time zones and care about watching then you know how to figure out when the show airs. Chris Hardwick, founder of Nerdist, is hosting the event. Popular games such as Journey and The Walking Dead are nominated for a variety of things, although it remains to be seen if they will be favorites (but they probably will be). Let's just hope that the ceremony is better than some other video game awards show that shall remain nameless.
  8. With the second day of DICE came Gabe Newell's keynote. Over the course of half an hour, he discussed a great deal of things pertinent to tech-savvy folks. From Steam to Apple, and living room PCs to cloud computing, he touched on many topics which deserve some thought. Gamers in particularly may like to hear what he said in regards to Valve's own Steam Box. Let's go over Steam Box-related content first. Newell expects that as consumers adapt to the whole "living room PC" concept we will see more products made for that market. There will be three tiers of machines from good, better, to best (with prices to suit each one). The Steam Box will be one of those inexpensive endeavors although consumers may always opt for a luxury item instead that runs Steam Big Picture mode. How can a Steam Box be cheap? With reliance on streaming over the network, the actual Steam Box will not need to be incredibly powerful. If anything, a user's current desktop PC is the thing that would be upgraded. Although Newell thinks that local streaming units in a home will work very well, he isn't confident about services such as OnLive. He outlined that while these products do work, they will fail if they ever see widespread interest. Since everything is streaming over the internet it would quickly get overrun if many users took to the service. Interestingly, Newell believes that Steam and Greenlight are not the way that their platform should be handled. There is always such a backlog of software being updated that the output is not nearly quick enough. Eventually, he hopes to see the service as completely modifiable by users, similar to how user-generated content is now a fully accepted part of Team Fortress 2. Community output is and always will be quicker (and of higher quality) than what Valve themselves could do in the same timespan. Gabe Newell touched on other topics and his keynote was quite interesting overall. If you're interested in hearing him speak instead of reading my paraphrased words then check out the recording of his talk right here:
  9. Following his recent unemployment and the closure of his Disney-owned studio, Junction Point, Epic Mickey's Warren Spector gave a speech at DICE 2013. In his speech, he assured gamers that he wasn't ready to retire, as he has games he still wants to make. This speech began with Spector saying that he wasn't there to discuss "the elephant in the room," Disney Interactive, the recent closure of his studio, or the past eight years of his career. The only thing he'd say on that matter was that he worked with some great people on some amazing projects. After a simple "it's all good," Spector went on to give his actual speech about "The Graying of Gaming," which he refers to the aging gaming population that he is a part of, and discussed his disinterest in retirement. "I had a little wake-up moment last week in the wake of events," he said. "One of my programmers said, 'Why don't you just retire?' The answer was easy: I still have things I want to make. I'm not ready to go live on a farm." Spector continued to say how unsure he was as to how many more games he'd be able to make, but that his tastes in game designing have "changed dramatically" since he began his career as a game designer. Making games about armored men with big swords or alien-bashing space marines are not the kind of things that interest him. "I want content that is relevant to my life, set in the real world," Spector said. "If we're going to reach a new audience, we have to stop making games for teenage boys, or even teenage girls." Spector went on to mock Grasshopper Manufacture's recent title, Lollipop Chainsaw by displaying an image of the game on the screen behind him as he stated, "There are some games that should just not be made." He then continued by displaying images of Heavy Rain and The Walking Dead, saying how developers should celebrate diversity and "the ordinary" in terms of design. Finally, Spector closed with, "Put aside geekish things, and be guided by passion," followed by a display of his LinkedIn profile on the back screen. How do you feel about Warren Spector? Do you think he should retire, or are you excited by the games he might bring to the table?
  10. Some big names have taken to the stage of DICE 2013 in its opening day. Gabe Newell, J.J. Abrams, and David Cage have already had their say on various topics. Alongside those juggernauts was Julie Uhrman who you may recognize as the Ouya CEO. She had her own time to shine as she revealed some new big names that are on board to support the upcoming system. She announced that Double Fine Productions is on board to bring some of their games to the Android-based platform. Recently released The Cave will see release on it, but more interestingly, so too will Double Fine Adventure. This game, currently going under the name Reds, is the one which took Kickstarter by storm last year. It was a massive success reaching far beyond its goals and helped catapult Kickstarter as the place to go for crowd funding projects. What's so special about the release of Reds on Ouya? Well, it will be the only console to receive the game during its launch window. It is still set to come to PC, of course, but those hoping for immediate XBLA or PSN launch will be disappointed. This doesn't rule out the game hitting systems later, but there is still some degree of exclusivity. Is Ouya on track to be a positive influence in the gaming world or does it need more games to make it stand out?
  11. David Cage is a man who seriously enjoys discussing video games. His company, Quantic Dream, has come out with a handful of games that were well-received as well (Heavy Rain). Today he got up on the DICE stage and discussed what he felt needed to be addressed. According to Cage, the games industry behaves like teenagers because it is scared of "growing up". As such, he offered up nine ways that, if followed, would push the games industry toward real growth and acceptance. Here are the titles, with descriptions for some of the concepts below: Make games for all audiences Change our paradigms The importance of meaning Become accessible Bring other talent on board Establish new relationships with Hollywood Changing our relationship with censorship The role of the press The importance of gamers Cage does not see the games industry as devoted to making games for everyone. There are games for children, teens, but what of adults who do not want that same media? Adults are not catered to due to the paradigms in the industry which assert violence as the only method of value. If the industry can get away from violence, then we can see games for more people made available. He also would like to see games made more accessible. He did not go into accessibility in regards to disabled players, but players who are not comfortable with standard "tough" gameplay and controllers. In making games for everyone, we would also need some games which exist without trying to force difficult obstacles onto a player. Of course, games exist to counter his claims, but they are not the norm. Then Cage brings up censorship. It is true that many games are not able to reach their full potential due to the ESRB, as well as outside eyes on gaming, but my view is this is a point which the industry cannot take on fully by itself. Those in the position of rating games must learn to rate them as they would films, and even then, movies are often robbed of their initial integrity due to the MPAA. Unfortunately, the games industry itself won't be able to take care of these issues. Finally, he raves a bit about the importance of gamers in the equation. Gamers must not "buy crap" in order to see good games come out. Of course, this is based on Cage's own perceptions of what a bad game is. Regardless, the points are ones that many have espoused before, just not at DICE. There's good points and bad points, but at the end of the day developers will go with what keeps their company afloat, regardless if it's best for gaming as a whole.
  12. Unbeknownst to many gamers, today is the start of the annual DICE conference. It's not E3 or GDC, but DICE is a gaming-focused summit all the same which kicked off in Las Vegas today. The opening keynote pushed both Gabe Newell of Valve and director/producer/screenwriter J.J. Abrams together where they spoke about many things, including making a movie. The big news was dropped very succinctly by Newell: "We're going to try and figure out if we can make a Half-Life movie or a Portal movie together." J.J. Abrams is certainly no stranger to "geek" related media, and of course, Newell controls some very hot gaming properties. Although it is doubtful they have worked together very much at all on any movie yet, the seeds are planted. Whether it be a Half-Life or Portal film, gamers will probably become very excited, if they aren't already. Which do you think would make a better movie: Half-Life or Portal?
  13. Although EA's Origin service is not as loved as Valve's Steam, they are still working to gain a larger audience. If you don't yet have an account thanks to Mass Effect 3 or the recent "free game" discount, then maybe this deal will entice you to join. Origin currently has Battlefield 1942 available for free to all members. Why? This marks the tenth anniversary for the Battlefield series and so DICE decided to run a little promotion. DICE Vice President Magnus Troesdsson had this to say about the game: "When we launched Battlefield 1942 ten years ago, we had lofty ambitions to create a first-person shooter that would push the boundaries of innovation, creativity and design. We evolved the FPS gameplay formula by introducing the world to all-out warfare via land, air and sea. Since the beginning, the reception to the Battlefield series has been incredible thanks to our amazing fans." Battlefield 1942 was the start of the franchise which has since spanned many spin offs and main series titles. The latest in the series is Battlefield 3 which launched last year, with "Aftermath" DLC coming out later this month. If you're interested, the link is here, although remember that an Origin account is required to use this game download.