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  1. The team at 343 Industries working on Halo 5: Guardians is ready to offer more information about the coming January update for the shooter, called Infinity Armory, which will deliver a variety of new content for free to all those still engaged to the experience. The official site says that the studio is planning to introduce a wide range of improvements to all modes of the game, with new maps, improved roles and a better experience for Warzone, including a new set of rules for idling that have resulted in more bans for gamers who are affecting the experience of other members of the community. The Halo 5: Guardians featured playlist for the current weekend is Rocket Party, which features direct hits as instant kills, unlimited ammo, continuous ammo, improved jump height, better damage resistance and a higher rate of recharge for the thruster. 343 Industries states, "These settings make this game type full of explosions, chaos, unorthodox jump routes, and a whole lot of panicking and thrusting - not necessarily in that order - which I won’t make any jokes about. Lastly, the playlist will be featured, and as a reminder, we’ve doubled the XP you receive from featured playlists based on feedback earlier this month." The two new maps that will be featured in Infinity Armory are called Riptide and Urban, the first being a new take on Fathom for Arena, and the second one designed for the Warzone Assault experience and set on Noctus. According to the developers, Urban aims to make it more terrain- and vehicle-focused than previous offerings, and the action takes place at night, making it easier for gamers to set up ambushes. The studio is also tweaking the weapon despawn to 20 seconds from 5 without any impact on frame rate. Halo 5: Guardians is also getting a special Achilles set In order to access the new body armor for their character, gamers will have to get to level 3 in all the Kill Commendations, and the helmet requires all Kill Commendations at level 5, with the player having to be part of a Spartan Company in order to access the rewards. 343 Industries is also offering some hints about the other items and the new REQ cards that are coming to Halo 5: Guardians as part of Infinity Armory. The studio is also announcing that they are planning to bring the Arena side of the shooter to the Winter X Games before the end of January, with eight of the top teams in the world features and segments of the matches showed on ESPN. Halo 5: Guardians is set to get monthly content and gameplay updates all through the year, with all the new maps and items offered for free to the entire community. Players can also spend real-world money to enhance their collection of REQ cards, and part of the revenue is being used by 343 Industries and Microsoft to fund the prize pool of the World Championship finals that are taking place in March.
  2. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen has been ported for the PC players, and it’s launching tomorrow, but there’s already a mod for it. Dragon's Dogma was developed and published by Capcom back in 2012, for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4. But there was also a version renamed Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen, an enhanced edition of the original that contains a new zone and that was launched in 2013 for the same platforms. Capcom came out of nowhere last September 2015 and announced that it would release the game for PC players, surprising everyone. They didn’t just make a straight PC port; they also added a lot of options for people who want to mess with the graphical settings and introduced support for high resolutions. And of course, it’s running in 60 FPS. “The PC version will feature stunningly high-res graphics and improved fidelity, as well as support for both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers, as well as a traditional keyboard and mouse control scheme,” Capcoms says on Steam. The really good news is that someone made a mod for Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen before it was even released. The official launch date is January 15, but someone posted on Reddit a GIF with a mod that shows the image of Gabe Newell, Valve’s boss, on a shield. A few users had access to the game several days ahead of launch, and it looks like it’s not all that difficult to make changes to it. https://youtu.be/YOeKPFM9LQU
  3. The developers in charge of Fallout 4 at Bethesda are announcing that a new beta patch for the open world title, labeled 1.3, is now live on Steam, available to all those interested in trying out the changes that are still being tested by the company. Gamers who want to get the new update will have to go to the game in their library, get to the properties tab and then select the new beta from the dropdown list before waiting for the title to download and apply it. Beta patch 1.3 for Fallout 4 offers a new HBAO+ setting for ambient occlusion as well as Nvidia card only weapon debris effects, designed to enhance the look of the title. Gamers will also be able to see the status menu for all the settlements, making it a little easier to handle their development, and gamers will also find it easier to navigate the Workshop mode. A full list of all the changes made by patch 1.3 to Fallout 4 can be seen by clicking on the button at the end of this article, with the highlights being improvements to memory use and stability as well as a tweak that means copper is no longer used when building wires. Bethesda is not saying when it plans to make the new update an official one on the PC and how long it will take for the tweaks to also be introduced on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. Gamers who try out the beta version of the patch should also offer their feedback if they find bugs or other mechanics that are not working properly to allow the development team to improve the experience before the official launch takes place. The title had plenty of issues when it was launched, but Bethesda has been trying to eliminate them all before it starts delivering any sort of expansions. Fallout 4 is set to get downloadable content later in 2016 Patch 1.3 will certainly bring some players back to the open world experience for their second or their third playthrough, but the best way to ensure the title stays interesting in the long-term is to offer DLC. So far Bethesda has offered no information about the packs that it plans to introduce, but the company is already selling a Season Pass that covers all the content that will be introduced this year. The fan community has been speculating that the company will introduce new storylines that will take place after the end of the main narrative as well as extra options for the settlement system, which represents one of the biggest innovations of the game but feels a little underdeveloped. Fallout 4 is an open world role-playing game with a focus on action sequences that allows players to explore a world centered around Boston and decide its future and which one of four factions will emerge victoriously. The game shipped more than 12 million units in the first 24 hours after it was launched in the fall of 2015.
  4. The Division is entering the final stretch before its March launch date, with gamers getting ready for a beta stage that will take place at the end of the month. Thus, the team at Ubisoft is eager to make sure that the title offers more than a simple mix of third-person shooter mechanics and MMO elements. In a new interview with VG247, Magnus Jansen, a creative director working at the Massive team, explains that the classless design will be used to make sure that each player chooses a role but also has the options to change it as they learn more about the title and about the kind of gameplay moments they love. The Division makes it easy for players to adapt by switching gear when they find a new tactical situation, and Ubisoft claims that it wants to offer a wide variety of tools to appeal to a large audience. The developer also explains that there's no difficulty scaling in the open world, which means gamers are encouraged to find areas where they can take out enemies and level up before tackling the hardest missions, with the end-game centered around the Dark Zone. Ubisoft aims to make The Division a solid single-player experience for those unwilling to group with others, with ten core missions that can be experienced by those playing alone and many other side-quests that give them the options to improve their characters and get more gear. To expand replayability, the team is also introducing a Hard mode for all missions. Jansen adds, "One of the cool things we do is that once you hit the max level - level 30 - suddenly the whole Dark Zone re-populates with all-new content and challenges suitable to that level. And now the entire Dark Zone, instead of being segmented where you explore further and further north, the whole Dark Zone is repopulated completely for you to tackle openly again." The Division will have two separate in-game markets Players looking to get access to the best possible items and mods for their weapons will need to deal with vendors in the open world while also getting ready to brave the dangers of the Dark Zone to get special currency and deal with an alternate set of potential sellers. Ubisoft has also said that it wants to deliver regular and free updates for the game as well as paid downloadable content packs. Jensen points out that no microtransactions, allowing people to get access to special gear or to get experience faster, will be available in The Division, despite wording that suggested their presence being featured on the official PlayStation Store page for the game. The title can be enjoyed on the PC, the Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4, but there are no plans to introduce cross-platform play. Ubisoft has not yet said what kind of content will be featured in the beta, which will test the core infrastructure for the shooter and MMO mix while giving a larger group of players a chance to experience some of the main mechanics.
  5. A new video was leaked for Tom Clancy's The Division, and in Italian for some strange reason, but it gives players a good idea of what’s coming for the single-player campaign. The full English trailer was just made available by Ubisoft UK. Ubisoft is trying to keep Tom Clancy's The Division on track for its launch in March, and it looks like they will be able to respect that launch date. They have already delayed the game a couple of times, and it’s beginning to become rather frustrating. We have to remember that Tom Clancy's The Division was announced almost three years ago. The Division is using a new game engine called Snowdrop and it looked amazing at E3 2013, but three years later it’s no longer all that impressive. In fact, some of the users have noted that the graphics seems to have been downgraded in the meantime, but without the actual game, it’s difficult to tell. Ubisoft has already done this with Watch Dogs, so it’s not inconceivable. In any case, the new trailer showcases the post-apocalyptic New York and reveals some single-player gameplay. Most of the gameplay we’ve seen until now was from cooperative modes and was not all that revealing. Tom Clancy's The Division will be launching on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on March 8 if the world doesn’t actually enter a real apocalypse scenario https://youtu.be/Jrvdv55chXs
  6. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is probably the best game of 2015 and it already received a major expansion. An Enhanced Edition has been spotted online, but it hasn’t been confirmed by the studio just yet. The developers from CD Projekt are known for the fact that they release Enhanced Editions for their games, so the fact that their latest The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt title is getting one is not all that unusual. Enhanced Editions usually integrate all of the DLCs and Expansions that have been released and a ton of enhancements, but it’s not clear whether that will happen. The second and last DLC for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is called Blood and Wine, and it’s scheduled for a Q1 2016 launch. That means that it could be from January through March. The information about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Enhanced Edition was revealed via NeoGaf, and it reveals a February 5 launch. It means that it’s quite likely that Blood and Wine might be launched before that. Three different online websites list The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Enhanced Edition, so it’s quite possible that it might be true. Now that the information has been released, it’s likely that CD Projekt will come forth and either reveal or deny that it’s happening. The two major DLCs for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are called Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine.
  7. IO Interactive and Square Enix have revealed that the new Hitman game will be an episodic release, and the game launching on March 11 will only have two missions. IO Interactive is now in almost uncharted waters with their episodic content for the sixth Hitman game. As some of you have probably noticed, this seems like a reboot of the series, which is exactly one of the reasons the name is now simply Hitman, without any number or subtitle. The first Hitman release in 2016 is set for March 11, and it will only bring two missions for users, Prologue and Paris. Don’t worry, they are not going to charge full price for this, $15 (€15), which seems fair, although we don’t know how long these missions really are. Each new episode will be priced at $10 (€10), and five of them have already been announced for Italy, Morocco, Thailand, US, and Japan. This is where it gets really interesting. If you buy the first one with $15 (€15), and then each one as it’s launched, you’re going to pay $65 (€65). There is also a $50 (€50) upgrade pack that will give you access to all of the missions. Players can also purchase the entire game up front with $60 (€60). New Hitman economic model is risky Since this kind of model hasn’t been widely adopted (only Zen Pinball 2 is doing this with some success), it’s going to be interesting to see if it will be a success. “Whether you purchase the complete game or buy each episode individually, we want to remind the community that there will be no micro transactions in HITMAN. If you prefer to wait we will also ship the complete season on a disc at the end of 2016,” developers wrote. A Collector Edition will also be provided and it will include the game itself (the full game, as it is released), a 10” Agent 47 "Chessmaster" statue, a hardcover 60-page art book, curated by Art Director, Jonathan Rowe, and Agent 47’s iconic red tie and clip set. This edition will be available for pre-purchase soon from the Square Enix Store and will set you back $139.99 / €139.99 / £109.99. It also gives players access to the Beta, which started on February 12. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it’s a good business model and are you going to buy it? It’s worth mentioning that microtransactions won’t be used for Hitman.
  8. Marc Laidlaw, the writer for both Half-Life and Half-Life 2, has left Valve and he’s no longer involved in any of the projects. The name of Marc Laidlaw is not known to a lot of people, and he has never made a big deal out of the fact that he wrote both Half-Life titles and worked on the two episodes as well. Valve also didn’t really put his name forward, but they weren’t hiding him either. The information that Marc Laidlaw left Valve started to float around, and a Reddit user emailed him. Marc responded and answered all of the questions, even if his responses were not what people were expecting. It turns out that he just decided to move on from his work at Valve. He just wants to write again, on his own, and return to his Sci-fi novels. “I am no longer a full or part time Valve employee, no longer involved in day to day decisions or operations, no longer a spokesman for the company, no longer privy to most types of confidential information, no longer working on Valve games in any capacity,” wrote Marc in the email. He’s saying that he doesn’t know anything about Valve’s plans, and even if he did, he wouldn’t talk about it. From the looks of it, the next Half-Life game, if there is one in the cards, will be written by someone else.
  9. The team at Microsoft that's working on the future of the Xbox One is announcing that it plans to introduce a range of new features to the home console before the end of the year, with custom background music for the menus set to be added at some point during the summer season. The information comes from the official Twitter account of Phil Spencer, who leads the gaming division, and he says that his colleagues are constantly exploring the feedback coming from the fan community to see how they can enhance the functionality of the platform. The executive has responded to Snoop Dog's outrage over the recent Xbox Live outage, saying that he understands how important fans are for the future of the Xbox One and that a solid relationship with them is an investment and requires constant work. According to Phil Spencer, Quantum Break is at the moment in fully playable state, and the team at Remedy working on it needs to put the finishing touches on the experience before actually putting the game on discs. Recently, Microsoft has also teased an improved party feature for the Xbox One, which is supposed to be introduced in the firmware update that will arrive during February and might also include other new functionality. The January patch for the home console has not introduced any new features, delivering only unspecified fixes to problems that the community has recently flagged for Microsoft. The Xbox One is lagging in the sales department The most recent figures from the NPD Group are showing that the PlayStation 4 attracted more buyers during the month of December 2015 in the United States and is also leading the Xbox One for the rest of the year. Microsoft has recently announced that it is offering two new bundles to make its platform more interesting, one featuring Rainbow Six Siege from Ubisoft and the other that allows players to choose from Rare Replay, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Gears of War: Ultimate, and Forza 6 Motorsport. The company is also maintaining that it has no plans to introduce a price cut for the Xbox One during the year, although more packages with free games might be launched. Rumors are also talking about a lightweight version of the console, which might be revealed and launched in the summer, with a lower price and the ability to only use content downloaded from the Xbox Store. Finally, Microsoft aims to deliver more firmware updates in the coming months to improve features and to continue the integration with the Windows 10 ecosystem that started with the launch of the New Xbox One Experience in the fall of last year. Meanwhile, Sony goes on to secure exclusive content for the PlayStation 4, recently announcing that gamers who get LEGO Marvel's Avengers will have access to an extra 20 characters linked to both Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War. Competition between the two home consoles seems to be good for the industry as their combined sales are much higher than those of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at the same moment in their lifecycle.
  10. Nvidia has announced a new Tomb Raider GeForce GTX Bundle that will offer the game for free to people who buy some of the latest graphics cards. It is quite possible that the latest Tomb Raider features some of the Nvidia technologies, and the company is willing to pay to get the games in the hands of Nvidia users. It’s not something out of the ordinary, but it usually happens before the holidays and not so much in January. “You can grab the new game for free if you upgrade your hardware and buy a participating NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 980 or 970 graphics card or system, or a participating NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 980M or 970M notebook,” reads the announcement made by Nvidia. There is no information as of yet if Rise of the Tomb Raider includes Gameworks technologies, but since they recommend the 900 series to run it, it’s likely that some will be present. Rise of the Tomb Raider is expected to arrive on January 28, after being an Xbox One exclusive for a little over two months. It had a really good reception and it got some good grades on Metacritic, so it’s likely that the PC version will be just as good. It’s also interesting to notice that Nvidia uses a specific phrase in the announcement, and it says “definitive edition of Rise of the Tomb Raider,” but there is no indication that it’s something special or that the PC release will be notably different, with the exception of better graphics than its console counterpart. Redeeming the code on Steam from the bundle is made on the official geforce.com website, but you need to keep in mind that it won’t count as a preorder and you won’t be able to get the old Tomb Raider as well. https://youtu.be/GZ19JCTOGfI
  11. The NPD Group, which tracks physical sales for the video game industry, is announcing that the PlayStation 4 managed to outsell the Xbox One during the month of December in the United States, completing a year-long domination of the hardware market. We know that during the holiday period Sony's home console managed to move 5.7 million units to gamers all over the world, but it's unclear how many of them were linked to North American customers, and Microsoft is not offering any numbers of its own. The NPD Group, according to NeoGAF, does say that current-gen consoles are continuing to perform much better than the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, increasing their lead in the United States to 47 percent, a solid feat more than two years after they were initially introduced. Nintendo has once again failed to discuss the December sales performance of the Wii U or the 3DS, and might be unwilling to talk about the two devices as it focuses on the coming launch of the NX. Total industry spending for the month in the United States was 3.22 billion dollars (2.9 billion Euro), which is a decrease of 1.5% when compared to the same period of 2014, with both hardware and software showing a slight decline that increases in the accessory space unable to compensate for them. The PlayStation 4 is also the best-selling home console of the year 2015, according to NPD Group data, and total spending in the video game space was mostly flat, with a fall of 4 percent for hardware, a decline of 2% for software, and a growth of 12 percent for accessories. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is the biggest video game of both December and the year The first-person shooter created by Treyarch and published by Activision managed to perform better a lot of other entertainment launches, with only Star Wars: The Force Awakens able to generate more revenue in the United States. In December, the video game top ten includes Star Wars: Battlefront, from DICE and Electronic Arts, in second place, and Fallout 4 from Bethesda for the final podium position. The rest of the top ten is made up of: Madden NFL 16, NBA 2K16, Grand Theft Auto V, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, Minecraft, Minecraft: Story Mode - A Telltale Game Series, and FIFA 16. When the entire year is taken into account, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 remains the leader, but there are some changes to the rest of the chart, which includes Madden NFL 16, Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront, Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K16, Minecraft, Mortal Kombat X, FIFA 16 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. As always, gamers should be aware that NPD Group charts only take into account physical sales in the United States of America. Analysts believe that, in 2016, the big trends of last year will continue, with the two consoles from Microsoft and Sony continuing to offer bundles, firmware updates, and maybe price cuts to attract new customers.
  12. Sony has revealed the games that are going to be available for PlayStation Plus users in January, and there are a few really interesting titles. If you’re a PlayStation Plus users, either on PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4, then you’ll get a number of free games each month. Some of these are really new, but there are usually a couple of good ones and the rest. “Get behind the wheel of a powerful tank or mobile attack jeep in this arcade-style, vehicle combat game. Inspired by the PS2 classic Hardware: Online Arena, Hardware: Rivals lets you challenge your friends or enter the online multiplayer arena on your own and experience epic vehicular mayhem,” reads the PlayStation blog. Here is the full lineup for January: Dragon Age: Origins (PS3), Grim Fandango Remastered (PS4, PS Vita), Hardware: Rivals (PS4), Legends of War Patton (PS Vita), Medal of Honor Warfighter (PS3), and Nihilumbra (PS Vita). As you can see, only a couple of them really stand out, and these are Dragon Age: Origins for PS3, which is rather old, and Grim Fandango Remastered for PlayStation 4, which is one of the best adventure games ever made. The games should become available starting today, but Sony hasn’t provided a specific hour, so if they are not ready yet just, check back at a later date. You should also keep in mind that Sony can also remove games from this list of free titles, so if you don’t play them now, you might not find them later. https://youtu.be/GMKOTe1g6UI
  13. In some of the weirdest gaming-related news of the start of 2016, the family of Jonas Savimbi, a rebel leader from Angola, is announcing that they are launching a 1 million dollars (890,000 Euro) lawsuit against publisher Activision because of the way the warlord was portrayed in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, a title that was first introduced in 2012. The children of the rebel leader are quoted by Eurogamer as saying that their father was not the barbarian shown in the narrative created by the team at Treyarch and acted as a capable political leader and military strategist. In the real world, Jonas Savimbi was one of the leaders of UNITA, an organization that had covert support from the United States to battle the communist government of Angola, which allied itself with both Cuba and the Soviet Union. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has a complex storyline that spawns two different timelines and has the player deal with the rebel leader during one level, where he is seen telling his forces to take out as many enemies as possible while using a big grenade launcher with one hand. Activision is saying that his portrayal of Jonas Savimbi is a positive one and is planning to fight against the lawsuit launched by his children. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is a long-term source of problems for the publisher, which fought a legal action initiated by Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama, who also objected to his portrayal in the story and sought damages. The lawsuit was dismissed by a judge quickly, and the most recent legal claim will probably be met with the same result. Call of Duty is the biggest franchise Activision publishes Black Ops 3 was the biggest entertainment launch of last year before the delivery of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and will continue to generate sales for the company through the coming months. On February 2, the publisher will deliver a new downloadable content pack called Awakening, which will be offered first on the PlayStation 4 and will arrive one month later on the PC and the Xbox One. Gamers who pick it up will get access to four new maps for the multiplayer mode as well as an extra episode for the zombie-based cooperative experience, with three more DLC deliveries planned for later in 2016. Treyarch has not said whether it also plans to deliver a major patch for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 at the same time to improve the core mechanics of the first-person shooter. A new title in the franchise is already in development at Infinity Ward and will be launched on the PC, the Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4 during the fall of this year. No information about the story of the game or the kinds of new features that will be implemented has been offered, with a reveal set to take place at some point in late spring or right before E3 2016. Until then, fans can enjoy the Call of Duty World League, with matches featuring the best teams in the world.