Worried that Duke Nukem Forever will come out, and then Duke Nukem Foreverer will launch just as the sun collapses and devours the earth and all that you hold dear? Well, no worries there, since 3D Realms has relinquished its Duke Nukem privileges. (Also, happily, you’ll be long dead before the sun ever goes Pac-Man on our humble little power planet, so hooray for that too!) From this point forward, Borderlands developer Gearbox will be handling all things Nukem – not just Forever.
“Fifteen years ago, Duke Nukem 3D helped launch my professional video game development career,” said Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford. “The Gearbox Software team and I are ecstatic that we have grown to a position to be able to pick up and carry the torch and help Duke rise back to glory in his time of need. Fans of the legendary hero and all the incredible talent that have ever helped him all deserve the very best support that we can bring.”
So, everyone wins, right? Well, mostly everyone. Surely 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard – the man who pumped mountains of his own money into Forever – can’t be entirely thrilled that someone else is signing their name on his handiwork. Well, shows what we know, because he also thinks the franchise is in good hands.
“Gearbox was the only home appropriate for the Duke Nukem brand. Their vision for its future direction is exciting and unbelievable. I personally cannot wait for fans to see their unique take on the franchise. This will be a win-win situation for everyone involved, especially the fans,” Broussard said in a press release.
What’s this odd sensation? Is it… optimism? For Duke Nukem? The thick layer of ice that once coated our cold hearts has finally melted, it would seem. The reason? Hope, perhaps. Or maybe global warming. We really hope it’s that first thing, though.
There are some things that just make you stop and wonder: “Is this the beginning of the end?” Things like global warming, widespread war and poverty, and – of course – the mystifying popularity of Twilight. And then there are things that make you quit your job and spend all your money on a tour of the world's greatest steakhouses, because – damn it all – the four horsemen of the apocalypse are banging down your door right now. Thing numero uno? Duke Nukem Forever's rapidly approaching release date.
Yep, you read that correctly. Duke Nukem Forever's landing on shelves this time. For real. The reason? Gearbox Software – they of Borderlands and Brothers in Arms fame – have started cracking the whip on Duke's notoriously meandering development cycle, and they're making sure the game finally waltzes out the door in time for a 2011 release.
"It's coming in 2011. It's coming in 2011. It's absolutely going to come, and we will have it shipped. We brought you Borderlands last year. We know what we're doing. It's coming on the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 and Windows PC," said Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford during the big unveiling.
But this is Duke Nukem Forever we're talking about. What reason do you have to believe there's not just another 12 year delay waiting around the corner to ambush you the second you get your hopes up? Well, the game's playable at the Penny Arcade Expo, for one. Right now. Look! Here are some videos! You can watch (or read about) Duke Nukem taking a nice, relieving pee this very moment. Let it soothe your fears just as it soothes him.
Ewww. That was a pretty weird sentence. Good thing the apocalypse is happening any day now, or we'd probably never live it down. And on that note, we're making our exit. We've got steakhouses to tour, after all.
Sony has been teasing PlayStation 3 console owners that a firmware update slated for September would inject support for Blu-ray movies in 3D, but now it appears users will have a wait just a little longer. Citing un-named sources, Fudzilla says Sony has decided to push the update back a month.
There's no word on why the update is being pushed back until October, only that it is. When it does come, however, it will open the door to a variety of 3D rendering-related content, including 3D YouTube videos and PlayTV broadcasts. It's expected that the 3D upgrade will also support the add-on HDTV/DVR device Sony offers for the PS3.
If you've somehow managed to avoid the avalanche of controversy pouring down on Medal of Honor, here's the gist: you can play as Taliban in the game's multiplayer. Not “the insurgents.” Not “the guys who look suspiciously like Taliban but totally aren't, no really.” Nope. This time around, Medal of Honor's ripping its inspiration straight from the headlines. That, however, didn't fly with GameStop's stores in military bases.
According to a memo received by Kotaku, the decision to pull the game was made “out of respect for our past and present men and women in uniform.”
“As such, GameStop agreed to have all marketing material pulled by noon today and to stop taking reservations. Customers who enter our AAFES stores and wish to reserve Medal of Honor can and should be directed to the nearest GameStop location off base,” it read.
“GameStop fully supports AAFES in this endeavor and is sensitive to the fact that in multiplayer mode one side will assume the role of Taliban fighter.”
Usually, this is where we make some kind of opinionated and – we like to think – well-informed comment. However, seeing as we haven't served, we'd like to ask the following question: Men and women in the military, what are your thoughts on this? Is it as touchy of a subject as GameStop makes it out to be? Or is this just another example of political correctness gone too far?
Valve's track record with “surprises” is a bit dodgy – for every one Alien Swarm, there's a Portal 2 on PS3 – but it's still hard not to get a little giddy when Valve's Gabe Newell starts throwing around the S-word.
"I can guarantee you people are going to be surprised at stuff we do. That isn't going to stop any time soon. I'm just laughing because... people will be shocked again," Valve boss Gabe Newell told PC Gamer.
"We have three pretty big surprises in the next 12 months at least."
Shocked, sure, but will we also be awed, or will we roll our eyes and let out an exasperated “awww”? Knowing Valve, we're expecting the former. We've also got our fingers crossed for the most shocking Half-Life 2: Episode 3-related surprise announcement possible: “It's coming out eventually.”
We don't mean to laugh at your suffering, Final Fantasy XIV fans, but we have to admit that we find this whole situation pretty amusing. See, Square's slammed the brakes on its FFXIV open beta test, which was scheduled to begin on August 31.
“FINAL FANTASY XIV Open Beta Test, which is scheduled to begin at 19:00 (PDT) on Aug. 31, 2010, will be postponed due to a confirmation of critical bugs. New schedule will be released at a later date,” the developer wrote on FFXIV's official site.
So then, why are we conjuring up our hardest Gigglaga at your expense? Well, here's the thing: aren't beta tests all about sniffing out and squashing the daylights out of “critical bugs”? If we were to yank the phony costume mustache off this “beta test” guy, we're pretty sure we'd find our old buddy “glorified free promotional demo” underneath -- as we have with countless other recent "open betas." Can we just start calling these things by their real names already?
These days, it seems like every videogame and its Atari 2600 grandmother is getting a movie tie-in. But hey, games are awesome and so are movies, so where's the problem? Well, see, as it turns out, game movies are not awesome. Not in the slightest. So, is it Game Over for gaming's star on the Hollywood walk of fame? Not necessarily, says Valve's Gabe Newell. We just need to change up our approach, is all.
“Where we got into this direction was after Half-Life 1 had shipped. There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they’d bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of,” he explained to PC Gamer.
“That’s when we started saying ‘Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we’d have to make it ourselves.’ And I was like, ‘Make it ourselves? Well that’s impossible.’ But the Team Fortress 2 thing, the Meet The Team shorts, is us trying to explore that.”
And so, on this day, our dream of Jason Statham playing an illogically acrobatic, crowbar-kung-fu master Gordon Freeman – while wearing a phony beard, of course – died a quick death. We're not sure whether to be happy or incredibly depressed about that, honestly.
Hi there, valued Xbox Live Gold customer! Are there any sharp objects nearby? How about firearms? We're just the messenger, after all, and would rather not be shot for this one. So, are you calm? Have you followed the late, great Bruce Lee's teachings and become as water? Ok then, here it goes:
Beginning November 1, Xbox Live Gold will cost $60 per year. That's a ten dollar price hike, for those of you who don't read your credit statements. One month and three month subscriptions have also been increased accordingly.
So, why's Microsoft randomly kidnapping yet another one of your precious Alexander Hamiltons – especially after eight years of the same price point and Sony's constant “neener-neener" proclamations of free online multiplayer? Well, the long and short of it is that you're now getting a whole lot more stuff.
“As an Xbox LIVE Gold member, you can not only play blockbuster games, such as Halo: Reach with your friends online, you can also stream movies from Netflix and music from Last.fm right to your TV. You can even connect with friends near and far on Facebook and Twitter. Plus, you also enjoy exclusive discounts and early access to game demos,” said Microsoft, while also citing the upcoming additions of Hulu Plus, Video Kinect, and ESPN this holiday season.
Granted, some of those services require you to fork over additional subscription fees, but there's no doubting that Xbox Live Gold's a pretty slick service. The question, however, remains: is it pocket-change-worthy fool's gold, or is it the genuine, worth-$60 article? Also, what about people who bought their game consoles for, you know, games – and couldn't care less about Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, ESPN and the like? What's in it for them, if anything at all?
Tough questions, huh? So we'll let you do the heavy lifting on this one: Do you think Microsoft's decision to rip another rib out of your piggy bank is a fair one? Will you continue subscribing to Xbox Live Gold?
Runic, you speed demons, you! You've already beaten the devil himself to the punch twice, and now – against all odds – you're looking to add even more insult to injury. Speaking with Joystiq, Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer said that he fully expects Torchlight 3 -- not 2, which is slated for a Spring 2011 release -- to hit virtual shelves before Diablo 3 finally escapes from development hell.
"I really think we will, I'm not joking about it. I'll be the first to buy Diablo 3, I'm a huge fan. I just know what it's like over there," Schaefer said when asked if he thinks his third hack 'n' slash RPG will outpace Blizzard's.
"[Blizzard has] an impossible task. Blizzard can not get away with doing a Torchlight 1. If they put out a single player game, an RPG that's kinda stripped down for $20, people would say, 'What the hell happened to Blizzard?' They don't have that luxury. Everything has to be super epic. More epic than anything that's come before, more epic than World of Warcraft. They have to do that. It puts them in a really tough spot, I don't envy them. It has to be perfect."
Torchlight, meanwhile, is being developed by a smaller team that – according to Schaefer – will never grow beyond 40 people, with the goal of development cycles that last less than one year.
Honestly, though, we're just happy that both games exist. Diablo's big, bombastic, and epic, and Torchlight keeps us from forfeiting our miniscule sum of sanity while waiting for Diablo 3. It's Yin and Yang. Diablo brings the noise, Torchlight brings the funk. The balance of the world, it seems, revolves around two games about clicking everything that moves and playing medieval dress-up. Without one or the other, we would all surely be destroyed.
Have you ever heard of some awesome class about Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or why Lord of the Rings is totally better than Harry Potter, so suck it, losers, and thought, “Man, I sure went to the wrong college”? Well, you're not alone. Because unless you count yourself among Wabash College's proud few, odds are, making GlaDOS eat her hilarious words isn't doing your GPA any favors.
“Alongside Gilgamesh, Aristotle's Politics, John Donne's poetry, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the Tao Te Ching, freshmen at Wabash will also encounter a video game called Portal,” wrote professor Michael Abbott, who you may recognize as creator of the fantastic Brainy Gamer blog.
The course, titled “Enduring Questions,” is one of a few freshman seminars required for all freshmen. Its main focus is on the nature of humanity as depicted by a number of “classic and contemporary works from multiple disciplines.” And so, what better work for brainy college students than one of gaming's greatest brain-benders?
“My very first thought was Portal. Accessible, smart, cross-platform, relatively short, full of big ideas worth exploring. I played it again to be sure my impressions still held. No problem there. If anything, I admire the game more now than when it first appeared. A beautiful design,” Abbott wrote.
So, best college course ever or greatest college course ever? Now then, if only we could get our “Crowbar Physics Taught by That LHC Guy Who Looks Kinda Like Gordon Freeman” class off the ground. The practical applications are – as you'd expect – innumerable.