In addition to looking at the lighter and weirder side of the game industry, System Update provides the latest information on weekly console updates, DLC, game-specific updates, and other game-industry flotsam and jetsam.
Xbox maker acknowledges "confusion" exists around secondhand games for next-gen platform, doesn't deny fee will be required to play secondhand titles.
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Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception will welcome a new game mode in March, the developer has announced. The co-op Shade Survival game type for the adventure title will debut as downloadable content next month.
Outside of publishing the DLC's first screenshot (at right), Naughty Dog did not share further information regarding the content, save for calling it "fiery."
Gamers won't have to wait until March to get their hands on new content for Uncharted 3, however. The Flashback Map Pack 2 was released today on the PlayStation Network as a free download for Fortune Hunters' Club members, or $10 otherwise. That content includes four multiplayer maps from previous Uncharted games sporting new lighting effects, as well as other visual updates.
The co-op Shade Survival mode will also be a free download for members of the Fortune Hunters' Club, a pre-purchase system that gives players all Uncharted 3 DLC at a discounted rate.
How much is too much to pay for a collection of toys? eBay bidders for Activision's Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure have weighed in with their wallets and are offering close to $1,000 for rare Skylanders toys.
Bidding on an eBay listing (spotted by Game Informer) for a collection of six rare gold- and silver-hued Skylanders toys has reached $948 from 32 bids as of press time on Friday, with more than a day left to go. The characters themselves are available at retail for about $10, but not colored gold and silver.
The eBay seller is based out of the United Kingdom, with shipping fees estimated to cost around $50, before any applicable additional charges.
During its financial report last week, Activision said it had sold 20 million Skylanders toys. Additionally, a new Skylanders title--Skylanders Giants--is due out this fall. As its name suggests, that game will feature larger Skylanders characters, as well as some that light up.
For more on Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, check out GameSpot's review.
Money can't buy love, but it can buy a $100 in-game engagement ring in Team Fortress 2, Valve has announced.
To mark Valentine's Day, the studio has made available a $100 "Something Special for Someone Special" in-game engagement ring. According to Valve, "it's basically useless."
After purchasing the ring, players can gift it to whomever they wish. The ring will appear in that person's backpack, and that lucky gamer will be prompted to accept the proposal. When the proposal is accepted, the entire Team Fortress 2 community will receive a message including both person's names and whatever the buyer decided to title the ring.
After that, Valve said the gift becomes two identical diamond bands, which players can don as they play Team Fortress 2. The ring is untradeable, and Valve did not say what would happen if the proposal was rejected.
When the PlayStation Vita hits store shelves in the West next month, gamers may have an even bigger selection of games to play than Sony intended. Today, videos have surfaced online showing a way in which PS Vita owners can use their PlayStation 3's Remote Play functionality to stream ostensibly any game onto their portable device.
As reported by Eurogamer, the feat is performed by way of a hack to the PlayStation 3's firmware. Users must jailbreak their PS3s and then install firmware v3.55. In this version of the PS3's operating system, the PS Vita is regarded as a mobile phone. A full explanation of the workaround can be found in the Spanish-language video, below.
The PS Vita's compatibility update with the PS3, better known as firmware 4.0, arrived during the first week of December. In addition to Remote Play functionality, the update allowed PS3 owners to copy content such as games and music to their PS Vitas.
Sony had not responded to a request for comment on the matter as of press time.
The Child's Play Gala and Auction has become an annual event to encourage end-of-the-year donations to benefit children's hospitals. This year's affair helped raise almost one-fifth of 2011's total goal.
Proceeds from the Sixth Annual Gala and Auction raised $351,000 for sick children around the country, bringing the charity's donation total to $1.95 million for the year. This figure is just shy of the year's donation goal of $2 million and $250,000 short of last year's total.
Among the highest bid items in the auction were a Half-Life Gravity Gun replica, which went for $21,000, and a copy of Nintendo World Championships Grey #60 that sold for $11,500. One winner also secured a guest role to be drawn into a Penny Arcade comic strip. The price? $10,000.
Those wanting to donate this year can still do so by texting "GAMERS" to 50555 for a one-time direct $5 donation. For more on the organization or to donate, visit the official Child's Play website.
Veteran gaming publication GamePro has announced it will be closing both its print and online editions as of December 5, with the November issue to be the magazine's last.
The publication announced the news via its website with the following statement:
"Thank you for your loyalty, support, and participation in the GamePro.com community. At noon on December 5, 2011, the U.S. version of GamePro online will shut down as an independent site. GamePro will become part of PCWorld.com, offering gaming news, reviews, and how-tos from the PCWorld team. Thank you to the entire GamePro staff for their hard work and dedication."
GamePro is a subsidiary of International Data Group. The magazine first launched as a monthly publication in May 1989, and as an online outlet in 1996. An IDG spokesperson told Industry Gamers that the closure of GamePro came as a result of a lack of advertising money, and resulted in a spate of staff layoffs. The spokesperson declined to comment on how many employees had been let go.
"The US editorial and business staff worked hard to earn a passionate, loyal following for GamePro and I am grateful for their dedication and hard work over the years," Mike Kisseberth, head of IDG's Consumer and Small Business media group, told Industry Gamers. "GamePro, like all businesses, must keep up with industry changes and economic realities."
According to Industry Gamers, GamePro will now work on creating "custom content for vendors and events," with the remaining editorial team being absorbed into PCWorld.com, also owned by IDG.
At its height, GamePro was such a recognizable brand with gamers that it received its own line of action figures, where toys of pseudonymous editors like Dr. Zombie and Major Mike were sold alongside game characters like The Legend of Zelda's Link and Sonic the Hedgehog.
While GamePro is folding, it did survive its primary print rival for much of its run, Electronic Gaming Monthly. That publication shut its doors in 2009, just shy of its 20-year anniversary.
Now that Minecraft has been officially released to the world, some players are taking things to the next level.
Minecraft enthusiast James Smith has created a mod that adds carbon emissions to the game. Activities like burning wood, planks, coal, tree saplings, and even cows are tracked via an in-mod tracker that instructs to an outside platform to calculate the number of emissions made, based on real Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change data.
Smith is an employee of AMEE, a data company that aggregates environmental and energy data to provide up-to-date numbers on greenhouse gases. The Minecraft mod uses AMEE's own data tracker--AMEEconnect--to measure the in-game emissions against those of the real world. As the carbon counter increases in the game, the mod changes the surrounding environment accordingly, dark skies and murky clouds included.
"Of course, there are also ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Plant a tree, and AMEEconnect will work out how much carbon was taken up by the tree growing, and reduce the tracker by that amount. After a long day of mining and smelting, you'll have to go plant a few trees to keep the weather nice," Smith said in his blog post about the mod.
For more on Minecraft, check out GameSpot's review.
Black Friday, the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season in the US, usually yields good deals on a range of hardware and software. This year looks no different, with retailers offering price breaks on all the major consoles and some of the latest big releases.
While Black Friday deals typically vary by store, most advertised deals on the PlayStation 3 are boiling down to the same package for the same price. Retailers including Best Buy, Kmart, Walmart, and GameStop are all offering the 160GB PS3 holiday bundle containing the system, Little Big Planet 2 Special Edition, Ratchet & Clank All 4 One, and 30 days of PlayStation Plus for $200 on Friday. Current 160GB PS3 bundles sell for $250. Additionally, the PSP-3000 will be selling for $100 at Walmart, Kmart, Meijer, and Toys R Us, a $30 discount off its standard price.
The Xbox 360 is also on deep discount starting this Friday with a wider variety of specials varying by retailer. At Toys R Us, Radio Shack, and Meijer, $200 will get consumers 4GB Kinect bundles (usually priced at $300). GameStop and Kmart will have base 4GB console packages for $140 (ordinarily $200), and those looking for a $200 option without Kinect can grab a 250GB holiday bundle with the system, Fable III, Halo: Reach, and three months of Xbox Live Gold at Best Buy and Sam's Club (standard price is $300).
With the Wii U expected next year, this will be the Wii's last holiday on shelves as Nintendo's main home console. Retailers are marking the occasion by dropping prices to a single C-note, with Walmart and Sam's Club both offering blue Wii consoles for $100.
The Nintendo 3DS will also be available bundled with a game at reduced prices this week. The new Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time bundles will be going for $180 at Best Buy, and Target will have the same deal on the Mario offering. Kmart, Meijer, Sears, and more will be offering these bundles at their regular $200 price, with $10 to $30 of store credit included.
For those who already have systems, there will be a number of software deals as well. Many recent high-profile titles will be going for less than $30 at various retailers. The under-$30 club includes Batman: Arkham City at Best Buy and Walmart; Battlefield 3 at Best Buy, Walmart, and Meijer; Gears of War 3 also at Best Buy, Walmart, and Meijer; and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception at Best Buy.
Many of the aforementioned retailers open at midnight on Friday, November 25, but times may vary by region and location. A more comprehensive list of game deals can be found at CheapAssGamer, and flyers detailing a larger swath of offerings from various retailers can be seen at BFAds.
Personalization in video games is nothing new. Character creators have allowed gamers to customize their avatars for decades, but a new service is offering to create whole individualized gameworlds--for the right price.
According to the New York Times, the new service, called Amuse Me, was created by the editor-in-chief of Amusement, Abdel Bounane, and offers customized experiences at three different levels of luxury.
Amuse Me's cheapest offering customizes faces, appearances, backgrounds, and more of the main elements of six different preexisting games for €20 ($27) per modified element. The second level of customization runs from €1,000 ($1,350) to €10,000 ($13,500) and offers a built-from-scratch game. It allows the customer to choose from a group of 10 designers as well as a range of game genres, and it includes a two-hour consultation session.
For the true spendthrift, the "art game" deluxe option offers an original "intricate universe" built by a team of artists and runs up to €50,000 ($67,500). The final game will be delivered on a tablet and may feature custom hardware.
The first orders for Amuse Me's service have already come in, and at least two projects have been delivered thus far. Florent Deloison, who serves as an artist on the project, equated its offering to having a personal portrait panted. "In an era of standardized mass production, true luxury is the uniqueness of an object. This could go as far as conceiving a game where each level would be based on the structure of your DNA," said Deloison.
Konami's Metal Gear Solid series is no stranger to other games, having crossed over into franchises like Ape Escape and Super Smash Bros. However, the stealth action series isn't limited to digital tie-ins, as Konami has announced the first board game crossover for the series, Risk: Metal Gear Solid Limited Edition.
Based on the 2008 version of the board game, Risk: Metal Gear Solid will layer in elements from the games like black-market weapons, mercenary boss characters, and the submersible battleship Outer Haven, which allows for invasions to come from new directions. The game will also include 275 playing pieces customized to represent five rival private military companies and packaging with new art by Metal Gear Solid franchise art director Yoji Shinkawa.
The game is being produced by USAopoly, which makes versions of classic games like Monopoly, Yahtzee, Jenga, and more with popular licenses like Futurama, Star Trek, and various NFL, NCAA, MLB, and NHL teams. Preorders for the game will open up on USAopoly's official site October 3, with a $50 price tag attached.
If there's one defining characteristic to Adam Jensen, the protagonist of Square Enix's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, it's that the guy knows how to rock a trench coat. Gamers can test their own "trench quotient" starting tomorrow, as Square Enix and Musterbrand have unveiled a new clothing line based on the game's fashions.
The highlight of the line is a trench coat based on that worn by the game's protagonist, Adam Jensen, but the offerings extend beyond outerwear. Once the collection goes live, gamers will be able to order a variety of short- and long-sleeve shirts inspired by Human Revolution, and even a pair of Deus Ex jeans.
Some of the clothes and accessories--like the trench coat--will be based on those worn by characters in the game. Others will be merely inspired by the game, but without a specific counterpart therein. The Deus Ex: Human Revolution clothing line will be available for customers in North America and Europe from its own online store.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution debuts on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC this week. For more on the game, check out GameSpot's review.
Few of the potential matchups offered by a Street Fighter-Tekken crossover are as patently obvious as lifelong bear wrestler Zangief versus lifelong bear Kuma. Capcom is halfway to making that dream match a reality, as the publisher today released a new trailer for Street Fighter x Tekken, featuring gameplay of a handful of newly confirmed characters, including Kuma himself.
Sporting his bright red bandana, Kuma enters the fray on the Tekken side of the roster alongside the sunglasses-clad ninja Raven. Balancing things out on the Capcom side of the roster are a pair of Street Fighter III veterans in the lithe ninja Ibuki and the mammoth man-mountain Hugo.
The trailer also goes into the game's new fighting systems, including the various ways to tag characters in and out, often times midcombo. The clip also shows off chain combos similar to those of the Darkstalkers series, as well as tag team Cross Art super moves. Finally, the trailer shows off the Cross Assault feature, which allows for a player to call in both members of a tag team to swarm an opponent for a limited time.
Street Fighter x Tekken is expected to launch for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PlayStation Vita next year. For more on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.
One such title leads Nintendo's downloadable store update this week. That game is Hudson's Super Adventure Island II (800 Wii points, or $8) on the Wii Virtual Console. Originally released on the SNES in 1994, Super Adventure Island II has players controlling the portly Master Higgins, adventuring from island to island in search of his lost wife, Tina.
Also out now for the Wii via the WiiWare download hub is Kyotokei (500 Wii points, or $5), an action adventure game from Microforum. The title has players controlling brothers Kyo and Kei, fighting to end the reign of the nefarious witch Rika through dark swamps, cold mountains, and dangerous caves full of lava.
Switching fronts, four new titles are now available in the 3DS eShop and DSiWare hubs, the first of which is Avenging Spirit ($3) for the 3DS eShop. Released originally on the Game Boy, the title has players assuming the role of a ghost and working to rescue the protagonist's kidnapped wife.
Also out now is Go! Go! Kokopolo (800 DSi points, or $8) for the 3DS and DSi. In the title, players control Kokopolo, a "hyperactive" wildcat, and must travel across 80 stages in 10 worlds to hunt down those who awoke the cat from a slumber.
The last two titles out now for the 3DS and DSi are farming simulation title My Asian Farm (300 DSi points, or $2) and Gamelion's adventure game Crazy Hamster (200 DSi points, or $2).
Lastly, 3DS owners who wish to score the 20 free GBA and NES titles promised to them for being "early adopters," have until 11:59 p.m. EDT to connect to the 3DS eShop to get the games.
Though Harmonix is planning to get gamers off the couch and dancing for a second time with Dance Central 2 this fall, the developer is not abandoning the original just yet. Harmonix has announced the latest add-on content for Dance Central 2, slating songs from James Brown, Sean Paul, and Lloyd to arrive next Tuesday.
On August 16, gamers can grab James Brown's "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine, Pt. 1," Sean Paul's "Get Busy," and Lloyd's "Get It Shawty" for 240 MS points, or $3 each.
As was announced at the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, these tracks, and all other previous Dance Central DLC, will be playable in the upcoming sequel Dance Central 2. For more on the original Dance Central, check out GameSpot's review.
In May, the rumor mill churned out speculation that Milla Jovovich would star as Alice in a fifth Resident Evil movie called Retribution, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Now, a new report has word on the project, backing up everything that was rumored.
According to Bloody Disgusting, the new Resident Evil flick is indeed titled Resident Evil: Retribution and stars Jovovich as Alice. Anderson will direct the movie based on the screenplay that he penned. Additionally, the report suggests Retribution will see Alice globetrotting to destinations like Canada and Japan.
Lastly, the report suggests that Sienna Guillory--who was reportedly set to play Jill Valentine--is no longer with the project and that a replacement is currently being cast. Retribution will reportedly be filmed in 3D and is slated to hit theaters on September 14, 2012.
The most recent Resident Evil movie was Resident Evil: Afterlife, which debuted in September 2010. It has grossed nearly $300,000,000 worldwide according to statistics from Box Office Mojo.
The next Resident Evil game will be Slant Six's Resident Evil: Raccoon City, a squad-based third-person shooter. Capcom expects to sell 2.5 million units of the game, and it's scheduled for release on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 this winter.
Bethesda announced in May that gamers would be able to journey down Fallout: New Vegas' Lonesome Road in July. However, the add-on content didn't make it out that month, and it won't see release in August either, the publisher today confirmed.
Writing in the New Vegas forums, Bethesda senior producer Jason Bergman announced that the Lonesome Road downloadable content has been delayed. The developer said "circumstances outside our control" have forced the studio to push the content's release at least until September. Bergman didn't offer a new release date for Lonesome Road but did say the team is working to get it released "as quickly as possible."
Though Bethesda did bring gamers unfortunate news of the delay today, the developer also released the first screenshot from the content (above). It shows a battered road with a highway sign that reads "High Rd. 1/2 mile."
When it is released on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, the $10 Lonesome Road DLC will see gamers being contacted by the original Courier Six, who refused to deliver the Platinum Chip at the beginning of the game. Gamers will be offered the reason for his refusal if they agree to venture into the Divide, which has been ravaged by earthquakes and hurricanes.
Sony's recently announced PSN Play promotion makes its debut two weeks from today, but gamers won't need to wait that long to grab new wares on the PlayStation Network.
Leading the way this week is a new character for NetherRealms' bloody fighting game Mortal Kombat. Legendary killer Freddy Krueger is now available to download for $5. Krueger appears in Mortal Kombat with his trademark knife glove, as well as his familiar red-and-green-striped sweater and tattered hat. He's also outfitted with his own move set, two unique fatalities, and a story ending for the game's Arcade Ladder mode.
Also now available on the PlayStation Network is Ubisoft's Far Cry 2 ($30). The game trades in the original's tropical locale for wide-open African plains, replete with megalomaniacal warlords, destructible environments, dynamic weather effects, and 50 square kilometers of open environments.
Players looking to try before they buy can pick up two new demos today. Football fans can try their hand at Madden NFL 12 via a new sampler that has players reliving the 2010-11 NFC Championship, which pitted the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers at Solider Field in Illinois.
The other new demo out now is a single-player trial for Ubisoft's upcoming racing game Driver: San Francisco. Looking ahead, a multiplayer demo for the game will arrive next week. Driver: San Francisco will be released in full on September 6.
Lastly, gamers looking to add to their copies of Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon can grab two new downloadable content packs today. The Death From Above Jet Armor Weapon Pack ($3) adds 15 new weapons and the Pounds of Pain Battle Armor Pack ($3) adds another fresh 15 killing machines.
A full list of the week's deals and new PlayStation Store content, including themes, wallpapers, demos, discounts, and add-on content, is available on the PlayStation Blog.
Though the summer season is winding down, Microsoft's Summer of Arcade five-game promotion is still heating up this week on Xbox Live.
Leading the pack this week is Fruit Ninja Kinect ($10), which lands on Xbox Live Arcade tomorrow. The fourth of five games in the Summer of Arcade promotion, Fruit Ninja Kinect is a motion-control-enabled version of the popular title for mobile platforms. Halfbrick's latest version of Fruit Ninja challenges players to slice up airborne produce while avoiding bombs.
Gamers looking to add a new character to NetherRealm's bloody fighting game Mortal Kombat can download Freddy Krueger (400 MS points, or $5) today on Xbox Live. Krueger will appear in Mortal Kombat with his trademark knife glove, as well as his familiar red-and-green-striped sweater and tattered hat. He'll also be outfitted with his own moveset, two unique fatalities, and a story ending for the game's arcade ladder mode.
Players looking to try before they buy can pick up two new demos on Xbox Live today. Football fans can try their hand at Madden NFL 12 via a new sampler that has players reliving the 2010-11 NFC Championship, which pitted the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers at Solider Field in Illinois.
The other new demo out now is a single-player trial for Ubisoft's upcoming racing game Driver: San Francisco. Looking ahead, a multiplayer demo for the game will arrive next week. Driver: San Francisco will be released in full on September 6.
Lastly, gamers can grab new Games on Demand titles today on Xbox Live. Four new full-game downloads are now available: You Don't Know Jack ($30), World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars ($20), Record of Argarest War ($30), and Adrenalin Misfits ($40).
Civilizations may come and go, but for the fifth installment in Firaxis' turn-based strategy, they just keep coming. Today, 2K Games said Korea's Chosun Dynasty will be the subject of Firaxis' latest add-on for Civilization V, joining other such postrelease additions as Babylon, Denmark, Polynesia, and Mongolia on August 11.
Firaxis has placed Sejong the Great (1397-1450 AD) as the ruling figure atop the Korean civilization. The fourth king of the Chosun Dynasty, Sejong is credited for fostering the creation of Korea's written language, as well as expanding the country's boundaries through an emphasis on public welfare, science, and technology.
To highlight the Korean dynasty, players can engage in the Samurai Invasion of Korea scenario. It posits the invasion of Korea by Japanese warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and players will be able to defend their turf using Sejong's Turtle Ships and Hwach'a artillery.
Along with the Korean expansion, Firaxis is releasing a new Ancient World Scenario Pack on August 11. The pack introduces three new ancient wonders: the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Statue of Zeus, and the Temple of Artemis.
The Korea add-on and Wonders of the Ancient World Scenario Pack run for $4.99 each. Alternatively, gamers can pick up both packs at once for $7.49. For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Civilization V.
The summer season is coming to an end, but Microsoft's Summer of Arcade promotion is going strong, adding the third of five games to the download hub today.
Leading all releases this week is Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (1,200 Microsoft points, or $15) on Xbox Live Arcade. From Fuelcell Games, the 2D action adventure offers an imaginative look at the Shadow Planet worlds, playing home to surreal environments and deranged enemies.
Gamers looking try before they buy can grab a demo for Rugby World Cup 2011 today. In the sampler, gamers can play a match between England and South Africa, as well as get a first look and feel for the new rugby game. When the game launches in full later this year, players will be able to choose from 20 nations fighting to hoist the Webb Ellis Cup.
Xbox Live users not satisfied with their current gamertags can change their digital moniker for 560 Microsoft points, or $7. This represents a savings of 30 percent from the usual 800 Microsoft points, or $10. The price drop promotion expires on August 8.
Sports game fans can grab the recently announced EA Sports Season Ticket ($25) today on Xbox Live. The year-long Season Ticket gives members early access to Madden, NCAA, NHL, FIFA, and Tiger Woods games, a 20 percent discount on downloadable content, and more.
Lastly, Microsoft added one new Games on Demand title to the hub today, last summer's coldly received Steven Gerrard-fronted Pure Futbol ($20).