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Bungie's relationship with NASA has been a "constant source of inspiration" during the development of upcoming shared-world shooter Destiny. As part of the studio's latest Mail Sack feature, Bungie said it is in awe of the aerospace agency.
"We don't speak to NASA, they speak to us," Bungie said. "Were pretty star struck, and they continue to be a constant source of inspiration for us."
Dr. Craig Hardgrove, from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, visited Bungie's offices in January. Hardgrove has worked in planetary space exploration since 2004, assisting on the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. He is also a self-professed gamer.
Writing on Twitter this weekend, Hardgrove said, "Just saw the Mail Sack. Here's 1/2 of your wish," with an accompanying link showing a sunset on Mars.
It is not clear what Hardgrove and Bungie discussed during his trip to the developer or what the other half of the developer's wish may be. A Bungie representative was not immediately available to comment on the nature of the NASA-Bungie relationship.
Bungie's Destiny is an all-new universe from the studio that created Halo. It will be published by Activision Blizzard and is
The game features a number of extraterrestrial locations that NASA would have a refined knowledge of, including Mars and Venus. More information about Destiny is
Its Wii-exclusive follow up
Hideo Baba, manager of the Tales series, told Spanish website Koi-Nya the two-game collection would be "a representation of the dreams and hopes of the fans, who have long been wanting it" but would offer no addional details.
GameSpot awarded Tales of Symphonia an 8.8 upon its original release in 2004. "Fans of Japanese role-playing games will take to its style and the depth of its battle system, and those curious about the genre and who loathe the idea of turn-based battle and scads of random encounters will appreciate the quick fighting pace. While the story may rely a bit too much on cliché, the ride is still worthwhile. If you have a GameCube and like RPGs, you definitely need to check out Tales of Symphonia,"
GameSpot has approached Namco Bandai for comment.
It is the second game of the year to manage three weeks at number one, following BioShock Infinite back in March.
FIFA 13 is fifth, BioShock Infinite sixth, Assassin's Creed III seventh, and Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins eighth.
The highest new entry of the week came from The Walking Dead in ninth, a disc-based version of Telltale's episodic game based on the comic series that was previously available digitally.
Luigi's Mansion 2 landed in tenth, denying new release Persona 4 Arena a top 10 finish in its first week on sale.
The Top 20 UK chart for the week ending May 11:
1. Dead Island: Riptide
2. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
3. Tomb Raider
4. Injustice: Gods Among Us
5. FIFA 13
6. BioShock Infinite
7. Assassin's Creed III
8. Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins
9. The Walking Dead
10. Luigi's Mansion 2
11. Persona 4 Arena
12. Far Cry 3
13. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
14. God of War: Ascension
15. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
17. The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim
18. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
19. Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City
20. Grand Theft Auto IV
Publisher NCsoft has released its latest earnings report, which shows that sales for the company were down in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.
The report said that company sales were down 35 percent and net income was down 49 percent compared to the previous quarter. However, when compared to the same period in 2012, sales were actually up 31 percent and net income was up 322 percent due to strong showings from Guild Wars 2, Lineage 1, and Aion.
Guild Wars 2 accounted for 21 percent of sales in the first quarter, while Blade and Soul accounted for 9 percent and Aion with 16 percent. 13 percent of NCsoft's sales total worldwide were from North America, while 8 percent of it was from Europe. 64 percent of its sales were from its home country, Korea.
NCsoft managing director Seong Chan Nah added that the publisher was planning on a Guild Wars 2 expansion pack, though its release date had yet to be finalized. For more information, check out the full report here.
Diablo III production director John Hight announced on the Battle.net forums that all profits made by Diablo III players who exploited last week's gold-multiplying bug will be donated to charity.
The proceeds made through the game's real money auction house by the suspended or banned players will be given to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. This includes the player's sale proceeds and Blizzard's transaction fees.
As reported previously, the bug allowed players to duplicate gold from stacks of a million to 10 million via the game's real money auction house. This in turn made Blizzard shut down the auction house temporarily from May 7 until late last Friday on May 10. According to the forum post, only a few players had the funds to take advantage of the bug, with 415 of those players using the bug for personal gain. Players who were caught exploiting the bug were either been banned or had their account rolled back.
About 85 percent of the duplicate gold had been removed, according to Hight. Efforts to remove more duplicate gold from the economy are currently underway, as doing a complete rollback will bring the game's servers down and delete all player progress.
Hi-Rez Studios have announced a weekly tournament series for battleground game
Teams who are interested in participating can register for a single region and compete on a weekly basis. Games are streamed live on Twitch, and kick off at 12pm EST on Saturdays in North America, and 9am EST on Sundays in Europe.
A list of team brackets, live-stream details, and additional information can be found on the SMITE website.
SMITE is a third-person multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game. Players control a character inspired by mythical deities alongside their team. Each team fights to control the arena, and works toward defeating the opposing team's NPC boss.
EA Sports executive vice president Andrew Wilson has sold his entire stake in Electronic Arts.
As revealed in an SEC document filed Thursday, Wilson has sold all 32,085 shares he held in the company at $21.42 each, earning himself more than $687,000.
Wilson now holds zero shares in EA and is the only EA executive in such a position. All other EA executives listed on the publisher's website carry stock in the company.
An EA representative declined to comment on Wilson's stock sale or give an update regarding the executive's status at the company moving forward.
After announcing an
They closed Wednesday
If Wilson had cashed out earlier in the week, he would have received thousands of dollars less, as EA shares bounced between $17 and $18 on Monday and Tuesday.
EA shares are continuing to climb today, up 3.19 percent (+0.69) to $22.33 at press time.
SyFy has renewed postapocalyptic alien TV show Defiance for a second season. Thirteen additional episodes have been ordered and will air in 2014.
The news comes just four episodes into the show's
Not only will Defiance the TV show live on, but the game is also set to grow. Developer Trion Worlds announced this week that five downloadable content updates are coming to the game in 2013, the first of which will introduce the Castithan species.
This $10 update will allow gamers to play as the Castithan species and will unlock a new story mission line and a new Battle Arena game mode. The update also brings a new four-player "truck of doom," as well as new pursuits and a Charge Weapons starter pack.
New Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 achievements and trophies are also up for grabs in the content. For a full rundown of content and features included with the Castithan expansion, check out the post on the game's website.
Gamers who don't wish to pay $10 for the Castithan expansion will still receive new content via an update. It will add access to a new open-world game mode called Sieges, as well as a player-versus-player map titled Military Academy, among other things. Check out the full post for more.
Defiance launched in April and has seen
Steam's peer-moderated indie game submission service Greenlight has received over 2 million votes since its launch last August, Valve has said.
Hosting a chat for indie developers earlier in the week--with a summary provided by indie developer Crunching Koalas--Valve said it was also "actively looking into" publishing the Steamworks API so that developers could prepare their games for full Steam support ahead of when they are officially greenlit. No time frame for when this might be implemented was given.
The publisher also said that it would like to greenlight more games on Steam, but that it was unable to do so at present. "Unfortunately, we have limited resources at the moment," said Valve, "so we cannot ship every game that we want. We're working toward having an open platform that Gabe [Newell] has talked about, but we're not there yet."
Greenlight currently has "hard technical limits" as to why more games cannot be published using the service, but a "bunch of people" at Valve are said to be working on making the process easier. Valve recently said it would greenlight indie games in smaller, more regular batches.
Some developers challenged Valve on the amount of interest the Greenlight service brought to their games, saying that submitted projects are seen by a base level of roughly 15,000 people unless they are linked to from external media.
"We cannot force people to vote if they don't want to," said Valve in response.
Tom Tomaszewski, co-founder of Crunching Koalas, applauded Valve's intentions with the chat but criticised the publisher's willingness to engage with indie developers. "It was a good idea to gather for such a meeting, and it's definitely a step in the right direction," he said, "but the execution was really bad. No hard feelings for guys at Valve, but the first official Valve Greenlight Chat was a complete waste of time."
Sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal (via Polygon) have indicated that the Xbox maker has created designs for a "simple" non-gaming set-top device that will stream video and "other entertainment options."
However, Microsoft is reportedly not sure how or if it will move forward with the device.
The unnamed sources said the Xbox TV device has gone through "several" design iterations, including "recent" prototypes that operated with Microsoft's Kinect technology.
A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal and to GameSpot.
Microsoft's overall ambition is to create "common experiences" between multiple products, the sources said, similar to the ecosystem in which Apple's various products exist.
The company has begun to lay the groundwork for this initiative by telling its development teams to write applications using recently developed coding standards. The goal of this effort is to simplify the process by which developers can create programs for various devices, whether it be an Xbox, a smartphone, or a PC, the sources said.
The supposed Xbox TV device was first spoken of last year, when
Microsoft is widely believed to formally unveil its next Xbox during an
This announcement will "mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV, and entertainment." The event will be streamed through Xbox.com, Xbox Live, and Spike TV in the United States and Canada.
Drinkbox Studios' PlayStation 3 and Vita-exclusive platformer
Tomb Raider, Terraria, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Borderlands 2 rounded out the top five PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Network games downloaded via the US PlayStation Store.
Over in Europe, which charts PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Network titles separately, Journey was in second, followed by Hitman: Blood Money HD in third, Crysis in fourth, and The Walking dead in fifth.
Guacamelee also topped the PS Vita charts, followed by quirky role-playing game Soul Sacrifice. Dragon Fantasy Book was third.
The Nuketown Zombies and Revolution map packs for Call of Duty: Black Ops II were first and second in the DLC chart.
For the full Sony charts, check out the PlayStation Blog.
Valve has released an official update for Half-Life 2 that adds Oculus Rift support to the iconic first-person shooter. The update also adds support for SteamPipe, the platform's new content distribution system.
Valve programmer Joe Ludwig, who has led virtual reality development at the company, announced the news in the Oculus Rift forums this week (via Polygon). He cautioned that the port is "more raw" than a similar update for Team Fortress and that fan feedback would be appreciated.
"This port is a bit more raw than [Team Fortress 2] was when it shipped, so we would appreciate hearing about any bugs you find. Just like in [Team Fortress 2], this mode is experimental, so we really want to hear what you think."
Known issues in the Oculus Rift update for Half-Life 2 include the heads-up display being "dim and hard to read," and the "zoom UI shows up in a quad in the middle of the screen instead of on the edges of the screen."
Half-Life 2 is not the only game to now work with Oculus Rift. A modder this week posted videos to YouTube (via Kotaku) showing off how the worlds of Minecraft and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim look using the virtual reality technology.
The next Maxim-sponsored Gears of War: Judgment downloadable content has been revealed. Thanks to a partnership from the men's magazine, gamers can download a new multiplayer map--Dreadnought--for free beginning May 15.
The map is playable in Gears of War: Judgment's OverRun mode. Dreadnought is set on the CNV Pomeroy, a naval vessel where the COG transported captured Locust Berserkers in the months following Emergence Day. However, things quickly went awry.
"Little did they know that the Locust had waterborne beasts from the underground rivers of the Hollow, or that the Locust soldiers would use them so relentlessly to rescue the captured Berserkers," reads a line from the map's description. "The Pomeroy was corralled into a narrow channel and forced ashore, where the Locust sent a mass of troops to assault and overwhelm the beached vessel."
The multiplayer and single-player components of Watch Dogs will overlap "seamlessly," according to comments from Ubisoft made to the PlayStation Blog.
The cross-generational action game's multiplayer mode will be set in the streets of Chicago, like the rest of the game, though Ubisoft is not talking specifics just yet.
The developer's ambition is to break down the wall between single-player and multiplayer that has existed for decades, Ubisoft said.
Watch Dogs is
Set in Chicago, Watch Dogs puts players in the shoes of Aiden Pearce, a hacker who uses his smartphone to break into the city's central operating system to control things like security cameras and also to obtain personal information.
Frequent exposure to violent games can desensitize players to brutality, according to the results of new research.
The study, as explained by Health Day, focused on 30 teenage boys, aged 13 to 15, divided into two groups. One group played violent games for three or more hours a day (high exposure), while the other played such games for less than an hour (low exposure).
Researchers then tracked the boys' attitudes after playing a violent game (Manhunt) and a non-violent game (Animaniacs). Each game was played for two hours on separate evenings.
"Differences between the boys' reactions emerged later in the night after gaming. During sleep, the boys in the low-exposure group who played the violent game had faster heart rates and poorer quality of sleep than those in the high-exposure group," Health Day writes. "The boys in the low-exposure group also reported increased feelings of sadness after playing the violent game."
The study, published in the May issue of Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, concluded that both groups of boys exhibited higher anxiety and stress levels after playing the violent game.
"The violent game seems to have elicited more stress at bedtime in both groups, and it also seems as if the violent game in general caused some kind of exhaustion," said Stockholm University researcher Malena Ivarsson. "However, the exhaustion didn't seem to be of the kind that normally promotes good sleep, but rather as a stressful factor that can impair sleep quality."
The researchers concluded that the disparity between the two groups' responses suggests continual exposure to violent games could have a "desensitizing effect" on players.
Notably, however, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between exposure to violent games and desensitization to brutality. In addition, researchers explained that adolescents with "certain traits" may be more attracted to violent games than others.
Violent games have been a heated topic in the wake of the December schoolhouse massacre in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead. The shooter was reportedly a "
The mod toolkit for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was briefly available recently due to a mistake on the part of developer CD Projekt Red. Access to the tools has since been blocked.
"Just a word of clarification. We were running some tests on the website and it went public for a brief moment," CD Projekt Red community manager Marcin Momot wrote in the game's forums (via Edge).
Momot told gamers who were able to grab the Redkit to "have fun," noting that the files are official. The modkit will be released officially in full soon, he promised, though an official release date was not provided.
"Please give us just a little bit more time (it's almost here!)," Momot said. "We apologize for the confusion."
CD Projekt Red aims to simplify the modding process with the Redkit. The goal is to give users the tools to establish their own worlds, quests, and branching storylines. The Redkit is a spiritual successor to the Djinni toolkit for the original Witcher, though the interface and workflow have been refined in the update.
The Redkit includes access to all assets from The Witcher 2, including character models, textures, shaders, animations, and sound effects.
Xbox owner Microsoft this week appointed Amy Hood as chief financial officer. She will replace outgoing CFO Peter Klein and is the first female CFO in the company's history.
Hood joined Microsoft in 2002 and most recently served as CFO of Microsoft Business Division, where she oversaw all financial strategy and management of the $24.1 billion business. Hood also oversaw the execution of several acquisitions, including
"Amy brings the right talents and experiences to the role as we continue to strengthen our focus on devices and services," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement. "She has been an instrumental leader in the Microsoft Business Division (MBD), helping lead the transition to services with Office 365 and delivering strong financial and operational management throughout her time on the business."
Prior to joining Microsoft, Hood worked at investment firm Goldman Sachs in various roles. She attained a bachelor's degree in economics from Duke University and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University.
Hood is Microsoft's first woman to serve as CFO and one of four female executives at the company. Others include Windows CFO and chief marketing officer Tami Reller, Windows corporate vice president Julie Larson-Green, and chief people officer Lisa Brummel.
Rockstar North's controversial dark action game Manhunt is coming to the PlayStation Network next week, the company has announced.
The 2004 game,
Manhunt on the PSN will cost $9.99 / €9.99 / £7.99. It will be the latest in the growing catalog of PlayStation 2-era Rockstar Games titles coming to PSN, following Bully, Red Dead Revolver, and multiple Grand Theft Auto and Midnight Club games.
In addition, Rockstar Games teased that The Warriors, the 2005 game based on the 1979 gang film of the same name, will hit PSN "soon."
Speaking during its annual financial report, Sega revealed that the disappointing first-person shooter was slightly outsold by the cheery kart racer
Aliens: Colonial Marines is currently the
Football Manager 2013 also managed to shift 940,000 copies, while the currently Japan-only release of Yakuza 5 has shipped 590,000 copies in the publisher's home territory.
Elsewhere in the financial report, Sega said it made a 54 percent year-on-year increase in profits with ¥33.4 billion ($329/£214 million). Looking to 2014, Sega is hoping to make ¥47 billion.
Talking to Polygon, Silicon Knights chief financial officer Mike Mays declared that the studio was still alive. Despite the assurances, Mays would not say where Silicon Knights is currently located, what projects it's working on, or how many employees the studio currently has.
However, the studio did confirm it has closed its offices, downsized its staff, and sold some of its equipment. Some computers were even sold to Precursor Games, the new studio founded by ex-Silicon Knights staff.
"Silicon Knights was selling off extra assets to laid-off employees and we, along with others, purchased some of them," said Precursor Games CEO Paul Caporicci when asked. "Like so many others who have been laid off in this difficult economy, we are simply trying to turn a tough situation into something positive. This helps give us an opportunity with Shadow of the Eternals to give the gamers something that they have been wanting."
Precursor Games is currently working on Shadow of the Eternals,
Caporicci also asserted that Precursor Games hasn't inherited any of the Silicon Knights technology currently tangled up in a lawsuit with Epic Games. "We are a completely separate and independent entity and always have been," he said.
"Precursor is not and never has been a party to that case, and is not involved in it whatsoever. We purchased completely wiped clean machines, that is all. There is no basis for any liability or any claim against Precursor Games."
"We wish Silicon Knights the best of luck in their future," concluded Caporicci.