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.
Official Twitter account for first-person shooter series says "big announcements are coming soon"; reveal event to last one hour.
Other Site Blogs
GameSpot Versus Beat the Pros Edition is a way for GameSpot members to test their skills against super star pro gamers. From FPS to...
It's a bustling week on Xbox Live, as new items landing in the storefront include new content for Fallout: New Vegas, Crysis 2, and Shift 2: Unleashed, as well as the Games on Demand release of Fable III and Sega's rally car game.
Leading the pack this week is the Honest Hearts (800 Microsoft points, or $10) content for Fallout: New Vegas. The action in the content takes place in Utah's Zion National Park and sees gamers leading an expedition that is swamped by a roving tribal war party. Players are then charged with escaping to the Mojave, battling the belligerent nomads in the process.
Also out today is new content for sci-fi first-person shooter Crysis 2 in the form of the Retaliation map pack (800 Microsoft points, or $10). The content introduces four new killing spaces to the shooter, which include Park Avenue, Transit, Shipyard, and Compound.
Racing fans looking to add to Slightly Mad's Shift 2: Unleashed can grab Speedhunters (800 Microsoft points, or $10) today. The content adds two new racing branches, 14 fresh vehicles, and six tracks to the racing world. The two new branches for Shift 2 are Drag and Standing Mile. Drag tasks racers with achieving the greatest speed over a quarter-mile stretch, and Standing Mile has gamers in pursuit of the highest speed over the course of an entire mile.
Gamers looking to become a king or queen can pick up Lionhead's role-playing game Fable III ($40) today via the Games on Demand page. The well-reviewed Xbox 360 version's digital version comes in tandem with the release of the PC edition, which was delayed last summer.
Finally, debuting Wednesday on Xbox Live Arcade will be Sega Online Rally Arcade (800 Microsoft points, or $10). The title will feature elements that played heavily into Sega Rally Revo and its arcade complement, Sega Rally 3. According to the publisher, gamers will find all of the features found in those two titles, including Championship Battle Mode and Time Attack. The game will also feature online multiplayer races for up to five. Thirteen rally cars will be available to choose from, all rendered with high-definition graphics.
Over the weekend, Sony brought the PlayStation Network back online after nearly a month of downtime. However, though the online service is back, the latest batch of downloadable content for Fallout: New Vegas won't arrive as regularly scheduled.
Announced earlier this month for a simultaneous release on the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3 on May 17, the $10 Honest Hearts downloadable content for Fallout: New Vegas has been delayed indefinitely for the PS3.
In a short statement on publisher Bethesda's blog, it was announced that the content had been delayed due to "recent issues surrounding the PlayStation Network." Unfortunately, Bethesda did not offer any sort of timetable as to when the content will arrive.
As for the Honest Hearts content, it takes place in Utah's Zion National Park and sees gamers leading an expedition that is swamped by a roving tribal war party. Players are then charged with escaping to the Mojave, battling the belligerent nomads in the process.
For more on the title in question, check out GameSpot's review of Fallout: New Vegas.
Epic Games went over the top with its Gears of War 2 collector's edition bundle in 2006, offering a life-sized replica of the game's iconic chainsaw-bayonet rifle, the lancer. For Gears of War 3, Epic appears to be approaching the game's Epic and Limited Edition bundles in a more conservative fashion.
The centerpiece of this year's $150 Gears of War 3 Epic Edition will be a limited-run Marcus Fenix statue. Designed by Epic Games art director Chris Perna and fabricated by Triforce, the statue weighs 3.7 lbs. and measures 11.2 inches by 8.9 inches.
The Epic Edition also includes a behind-the-scenes book by Tom Bissell, which offers 96 pages of interviews, photos, and concept art. Gamers will also find some in-game content by way of the Infected Omen Weapon Pack, which includes multiplayer skins for the lancer, retro lancer, hammerburst, sawed-off shotgun, and gnasher shotgun.
The Epic Edition will also include all of the contents of the $80 Limited Edition. The headline pack-in for this package is the Octus Award Box with Octus Service Medal, which is a life-sized replica of the honor given to scientist Adam Fenix for his work on the Hammer of Dawn. The bundle also includes a code redeemable for the Adam Fenix skin in multiplayer, personal records of Marcus' father, and a fabric COG flag.
Gears of War 3 will be available for the Xbox 360 on September 20. For more on the Epic and Limited editions, check out Epic's latest developer diary, below.
Leading the pack this week is Chrono Trigger (800 Wii points, or $8) on the Virtual Console. The game focuses on a main character named Crono and his friends Lucca and Marle. When inventor Lucca's teleportation experiment inadvertently sends the friends back in time, they discover an ancient evil that will one day ruin their world, and so they set out to fix it.
The game featured a wide variety of fantastical environments throughout its multitude of time periods, and its storyline was typically twisty for a Square Enix role-playing game. It was developed by a team led by Dragon Quest series creator Yuji Horii, Dragon Ball artist Akira Toriyama, and composer Yasunori Mitsuda.
Switching to the WiiWare download space, Nintendo added two new items today, the first of which is Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix (500 Wii points, or $5). From Natsume, the game has players dancing their way to saving the troubled Monster Town. The game also sports a multiplayer mode where up to four gamers can dance together.
The other new item out today on WiiWare is a demo for Lead the Meerkats. The full game casts players as one of the savanna's little creatures and retails for 1,000 Wii points, or $10.
Gamers looking to grab a new game to take on the go have three new options to download today from the DSiWare hub, the first of which is Big Bass Arcade (500 DSi points, or $5). From Big John Games, the title has players taking to the water to catch as many slimy fish as possible. The game sports seven distinct lakes, nine different lures to use, three tournaments, and 42 total events.
Also out now on DSiWare is Word Searcher 3 (500 DSi points, or $5). The word search title has players testing their minds in 100 distinct levels. The game sports multiple categories, including astronomy, currency, and rivers. Further, each puzzle is scrambled upon completion, meaning that no puzzle will be repeated.
The last new game out now is Hellokids - Vol. 1: Coloring and Painting (200 DSi points, or $2). From BiP Media, the title has gamers coloring in 150 drawings. The game also sports three difficulty levels as well as a Freehand Drawing mode, where players can create whatever they wish.
Tekken 6 may have come out in 2009, but it was still Namco Bandai's best-selling game throughout 2010. Given that enthusiasm for the franchise, Namco Bandai will be bringing the franchise back to the realm of video, announcing today plans to release the Tekken Blood Vengeance anime in the US this summer.
Rendered in full CG and 3D compatible, Tekken Blood Vengeance features a screenplay written by Dai Sato (Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex). Digital Frontier (Resident Evil: Degeneration, Appleseed) is producing the animated film, and Youichi Mouri will serve as its director. Mouri is no stranger to the fighting universe, having also directed the opening cinematics for Tekken 5 and Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion.
Blood Vengeance will be set in Namco Bandai's long-standing Tekken universe, where the world's top fighters compete for supremacy in the Mishima Zaibatsu-sponsored The King of Iron Fist tournament. Winners of the tournament are then offered control of the Mishima Zaibatsu financial corporation.
The animated film isn't Namco Bandai's only transmedia effort for the franchise. In September, Anchor Bay Entertainment picked up the rights to distribute a live-action adaptation of the franchise, starring Cary-Hiroyuki Takagawa, Lateef Crowder, and Gary Daniel. According to Amazon, the film is due for a Blu-ray release on July 19.
For an idea of what to expect from the film, check out Namco Bandai's teaser trailer below.
Publishers Electronic Arts, THQ, and possibly Sony have already made their cases against used-game sales by charging secondhand gamers $10 for access to everything in their games. And now, it appears Rockstar Games is also entering the contingency next week with its 1940's detective thriller.
According to an Xbox Live release schedule issued by the publisher, next Tuesday, May 17, Rockstar Games will release an 800 Microsoft point ($10) "L.A. Noire Rockstar Pass" on Xbox Live alongside L.A. Noire.
The description of the content notes that gamers who purchase the content will be able to take the "L.A. Noire experience to the next level." Unfortunately, further information on the matter was not available. However, a Rockstar representative told GameSpot, "We'll have more information to share about [the Rockstar Pass] pretty soon."
It is unclear as to what Rockstar's Pass will offer. However, one possibility is that it will provide access to the various retailer-specific preorder content, which has been confirmed as becoming available at some point after the game is release.
L.A. Noire is due out on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on May 17. The title follows Detective Phelps as he becomes entangled in a violent web of vice, corruption, and crime in 1940's Los Angeles. Players jump into the seedy underworld of the metropolis and are tasked with solving a series of murders in what Rockstar describes as an "open-ended challenge."
For more on the upcoming title, check out GameSpot's most recent hands-on preview of L.A. Noire.
Lady Gaga has been credited as having her finger firmly on the pulse of pop culture, and that keen sense of what's hot has apparently led her to the realm of video games. Today, the Associated Press is reporting that Lady Gaga will exclusively debut new tracks from her upcoming album Born This Way in Zynga's popular Facebook game FarmVille, which boasts 46 million unique users a month.
To access the tracks, players will be required to perform a certain number of tasks to hear one new track per day from May 17-19. Other tracks that aren't exclusive to Zynga's social-oriented agriculture game can also be unlocked leading up to the album's May 23 release date. The tracks can be heard in a farm called GagaVille. The AP's report did not indicate which tracks would be available for unlock in the game.
Zynga and Lady Gaga will also be partnering on an album-giveaway opportunity, whereby gamers can pick up a digital copy of Born This Way and an in-game unicorn by purchasing a $25 game card through Best Buy. Purchasers will also be entered into a contest to win a spot in the singer's next video shoot.
Additional Lady Gaga-branded items can be had by playing other games developed by Zynga. Lastly, those who play Zynga's Words With Friends will have a chance to win concert tickets and signed albums.
Nolan Bushnell made his name as the founder of Atari, but the entrepreneur has in recent years attached his name to a number of obscure one-off gaming projects. The latest of these is Anti-AgingGames.com. Today, the website announced that Bushnell's latest effort will be as its adviser and "chief game visionary."
A brain-training website claiming to be the first based on science, Anti-AgingGames.com is targeted at "mentally healthy" people aged 35 years and older. The site specializes in games designed to maintain mental acuity, and Bushnell teamed with a number of neurobehavioral scientists in their creation. These games have been designed for short-burst sessions, and the site plans to update its catalog regularly.
"It has been disappointing to watch video games become increasingly violent and complicated over the years and lacking in fun, socially engaging and educational features," said Bushnell, who has previously spoken out against the current game industry. "I have long believed that video and computer games could be highly effective, fun educational tools and I am pleased to see more activity on that front."
Anti-AgingGames.com was cofounded by onetime NASA scientist Elizabeth Amini, who also has a background in cognitive science. Bushnell's son, Brent, also bears a cofounder title, along with serving as the company's chief technology officer. The site plans to donate 20 percent of its pre-tax profits to organizations involved in Alzheimer's prevention research.
Anti-AgingGames.com launched today, and users can subscribe to the service for $12.99 a month.
This week, Microsoft loads up its virtual marketplace with new content ranging from an Atari revival title to SouthPeak's stealth action game.
NASA is planning to launch STS-134 on May 16, but gamers themselves can blast off tomorrow via Star Raiders (800 MS points, or $10) on the Xbox Live Arcade, according to a tweet from Microsoft's director of Xbox Live programming Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb.
Besides having upgraded graphics, the new Star Raiders will have an all-new, episodic storyline. In terms of gameplay, it will retain many elements from the original, including galactic tactical maps and space warps, but it will add new elements, such as customizable spaceships and "radical battle transformations."
Also debuting on the Xbox Live Arcade tomorrow will be Gatling Gears (1,200 MS points, or $15), a twin-stick shooter set in the steampunk sci-fi Mistbound universe. In the game, players will dodge sinkholes, fight off walker units, and battle against clans in an effort to defeat an evil corporation.
Switching to the Games on Demand page, four new titles are available to download today, the first of which is military first-person shooter Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising ($20). Also available now in the hub is Codemasters' off-road racing game Dirt 2 ($30).
Crytek's sci-fi first-person shooter Crysis 2 debuted in late March to a warm reception. Now the developer has announced the game's first batch of add-on content, which comes in the way of new maps for its multiplayer component.
Crysis 2's Retaliation map pack will debut on May 17. The content--which publisher Electronic Arts has not priced--will debut for the Xbox 360 and PC, and it is composed of four new environments for the game's multiplayer component.
EA had intended to also release the Crysis 2 add-on for the PlayStation 3 on May 17. However, Sony has said it doesn't expect the PlayStation Network to return to service until May 31.
The new killing spaces are Park Avenue, Transit, Shipyard, and Compound. For a look at the new environments in action, check out the trailer below.
For more on Crysis 2, check out GameSpot's review.
On May 17, Rockstar Games will release the 1940's detective thriller L.A. Noire for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 after years of development. The publisher has announced that on that same day, a pair of albums for the game will premiere on iTunes.
According to Rockstar's announcement, the L.A. Noire: Official Soundtrack was inspired by the "sweeping orchestral scores of the great films of the 1940s" and was recorded at London's famed Abbey Road Studios. It was composed by Andrew Hale, who also composed the score for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Further, additional tunes on the score were composed by Woody Jackson, who worked alongside Bill Elm on the Red Dead: Redemption soundtrack.
In addition to original compositions, gamers will hear over 30 licensed period tracks from such noted artists of the era as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and Thelonious Monk.
The other album, L.A. Noire: Remixed, is the result of Rockstar's partnership with Verve Records. The publisher described it as a "unique EP" compilation of six jazz tunes remixed by DJs, producers, and remixers, including DJ Premier, Dave Sitek, and Truth & Soul.
Rockstar did not note a price for either album in its announcement or say if the two albums will be available anywhere outside of Apple's iTunes digital delivery platform.
For a deeper look at the soundtrack and a free streaming track, check out the latest installment of GameSpot's Sound Byte blog.
First out of the gate on DSiWare today is Mighty Milky Way (800 DSi points, or $8). From WayForward, makers of Shanate: Risky's Revenge and the revamped A Boy and His Blob, the game has players soaring through space as Luna, creating and destroying planets to solve puzzles. They'll also have to avoid the watchful laser eyes of a space-borne T-Rex.
Also out now on DSiWare is Go Series Tower of Deus (200 DSi points, or $2). The latest in the Go Series franchise, Tower of Deus tasks players with scaling a tower before time runs out. Gamers will destroy enemies through 40 distinct levels before the game is over.
The last new DSiWare game out now is Whack-a-Friend (200 DSi points, or $2). From Agetec, the game has players snapping pictures of their friends (or any other object) using the DSi's camera and then using that image as a target to whack.
Switching to the WiiWare download destination, Nintendo added just one new game to the spot today. Interplay's MDK2 (1,000 Wii points, or $10) has players attempting to reclaim Earth from a nefarious alien force. Gamers will play as Kurt Hectic, but they will also need to control Dr. Hawkins and the six-legged robot dog Max in the BioWare-developed action game originally released on the PC and Dreamcast back in 2000.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit organization that grants all sorts of "wishes" to children with life-threatening medical issues, has received a hefty donation from Blizzard Entertainment. This week, the foundation said that the studio behind the Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo franchises raised $800,000 for its coffers.
According to the statement, Blizzard raised the money through sales of an in-game pet for World of Warcraft, its massively multiplayer online role-playing game with some 12 million subscribers worldwide. Specifically, Blizzard has donated 50 percent of sales for the $10 Moonkin Hatchling pet between November and December 2010.
Additionally, Blizzard welcomed two Make-A-Wish kids to its Irvine, California, development fortress on April 29, which has been dubbed by the foundation as "World Wish Day." The two kids and their parents were given an "exclusive learning experience" with the World of Warcraft development team, which included seeing how the game is made.
This isn't the first time Blizzard has donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Last February, Blizzard donated $1.1 million to the foundation and welcomed 15 kids to its studio for a deeper look at World of Warcraft.
Blizzard is also involved in charitable works for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief effort. From now until July 31, gamers can purchase a $10 Cenarion Hatchling World of Warcraft pet and see 100 percent of the proceeds go to the American Red Cross' efforts.
Frontier Developments chairman David Braben helped shape the gaming industry with the seminal PC space trading sim Elite, but now he's hoping to shape society at large. The developer has unveiled a prototype of Raspberry Pi, a new computer small enough to be mistaken for a USB thumb drive and economical enough to cost just $25.
The computer will sport a USB port on one end and an HDMI port on the other for hooking up to a TV or other monitor. Plans right now call for the unit to include a 700MHz processor, 128MB of SDRAM, and free open-source software like the Ubuntu operating system and the programming language Python.
Raspberry Pi is expected to be just the first offering from The Raspberry Pi Foundation, a UK registered charity "which exists to promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and to put the fun back into learning computing." The group is also designing Raspberry Pi with the intention that it could be implemented with a touch screen to create an inexpensive tablet computer, and hopes it will be used in both developed countries and the developing world.
"A lot of things have been obfuscated these days, in the sense that you can't get at them," Braben told the BBC News. "There's so much between you and doing something interesting or creative that gets in the way. Hopefully this will be one of the pieces that helps change that."
Ideally, Braben said the computers could be given away to British schoolchildren to help them engage in the creative side of things they previously knew only as consumers. The group hopes to roll out its first offering within 12 months.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum has since February been soliciting gamers' opinions on the most creative and influential games of all time for an upcoming exhibit devoted to the interactive medium. Today, the US-funded institution announced the results of that polling process, selecting 80 games from five different eras spanning the past 40 years to be a part of the Art of Video Games exhibit.
Starting from the earliest era, the Smithsonian exhibit will feature the likes of Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, and Utopia. Games from this era were pulled from the Atari 2600, Colecovision, and Intellivision. The second era spotlights the NES, Sega Master System, and Commodore 64, with representative games including Sid Meier's Pirates, Super Mario Bros., and Marble Madness.
The third era concerns itself with Nintendo's and Sega's feuding SNES and Genesis systems. From the former were drawn Nintendo staples such as Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, while the latter included Phantasy Star IV. Sony enters the picture with the PlayStation in era four, while Sega bows out with the Dreamcast.
The fifth era concerns itself with the two most recent generations in gaming, encompassing Nintendo's GameCube and Wii, Microsoft's Xbox and Xbox 360, and Sony's PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. The era also includes a variety of popular PC games, such as Portal and Minecraft.
The Art of Video Games exhibit will open in Washington, DC, on March 16, 2012, and will run through September 30, 2012.
Era 1: Start!
Pitfall II: Lost Caverns
Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Era 2: 8-Bit
The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate
Attack of the Mutant Camels
Sid Meier's Pirates!
Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Mario Bros.
The Legend of Zelda
1943: The Battle of Midway
Sega Master System
Spy vs. Spy
Era 3: Bitwars!
Phantasy Star IV
Dune II: Battle for Arrakis
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Mario World
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Era 4: Transition
Super Mario 64
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Chu Chu Rocket!
Panzer Dragoon Saga
Panzer Dragoon II: Zwei
Sim City 2000
Metal Gear Solid
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy Tactics
Era 5: Next Generation
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Microsoft Xbox 360
Mass Effect 2
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved
Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II
Metroid Prime 2: Echos
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Star Fox: Assault
Super Mario Galaxy 2
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Sony PlayStation 2
Shadow of the Colossus
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Sony PlayStation 3
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Additional Games (available for short play in exhibit, not included in vote)
Super Mario Bros.
The Secret of Monkey Island
World of Warcraft
Lara Croft is expected to return to the silver screen in 2013, marking a full decade since Angelina Jolie last portrayed the Square Enix-owned action heroine in Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. While it remains to be seen who will replace Jolie in the lead role, GK Films today announced Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby will be the writing team to put words in her mouth.
Fergus and Ostby are perhaps most known for adapting Marvel Entertainment's Iron Man comic for the big screen in 2008. The two also worked on the Oscar-nominated script for Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men, as well as Warner Bros.'s proposed adaptation of the heralded Japanese anime Akira.
GK Films, which acquired the rights to create a new film franchise based on the Crystal Dynamics-created property in March, said that Fergus and Ostby will be going back to Lara Croft's roots with the first installment in the planned series.
"We aim to write an origin story for Lara Croft that solidifies her place alongside Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor in the pantheon of great female action heroes," Fergus and Ostby said in a statement. Crystal Dynamics has previously noted that its next game set in the Tomb Raider franchise will also tell a Lara Croft origin story.
GK Films has previously announced that Graham King and Tim Headington will serve in producing roles for the film. Actors have yet to be cast for the film.
PlayStation 3 gamers eager to launch into Resistance 3 already know that they have the opportunity to secure a multiplayer beta test slot by picking up a copy of the now-available SOCOM 4. Now, those eager to get an advanced look at the game's single-player story arc also have an option prior to the PS3-exclusive shooter's September 6 ship date.
G4 reports today that those who pick up the Blu-ray release of Columbia Pictures' Aaron Eckhart-led spring blockbuster Battle: Los Angeles will gain access to a 30-minute playable demo for Resistance 3. Battle: Los Angeles' Blu-ray release is scheduled for June 14, and the demo can be accessed from the movie's disc.
In the sampler, gamers will join protagonist Joseph Capelli and a companion as they journey down the Mississippi river on a boat, passing through the flooded town of Wrightsburg, Missouri. For an idea of what to expect from the Resistance 3 demo, check out GameSpot's preview of the level.
Resistance 3 is set in an alternate reality during the year 1957, after the US is overrun by a hostile alien race called the Chimera. It will follow the aforementioned Capelli, an ex-soldier, who is hiding out from the Chimera with his family and several other survivors. Besides offering 3D and PlayStation Move support, the game will boast several multiplayer modes for up to 16 people.
Rockstar has been pushing into a number of different media to promote the release of Team Bondi's L.A. Noire. Last month, the Take-Two subsidiary demoed the cinematic crime drama at the Tribeca Film Festival, the first game to be shown in such a way. Rockstar also believes L.A. Noire's plot stands up in the literary realm, as the publisher today announced a short story anthology for the game.
Rockstar has tapped eight writers to craft stories based in L.A. Noire's world for inclusion in the anthology. Pulitzer Prize nominee Joyce Carol Oates is the most recognizable of these names, which also include Megan Abbott, Lawrence Block, Joe Lansdale, Francine Prose, Jonathan Santlofer, Duane Swierczynski, and Andrew Vachss.
The collected stories will feature many of the characters and cases that play out in the game itself. Plotlines teased by Rockstar include an actress craving Hollywood fame, as well as tales of broken heroes and prototypical Noir villains.
As for the game, L.A. Noire follows Detective Phelps as he becomes entangled in a violent web of vice, corruption, and crime in 1940s Los Angeles. Players jump into the seedy underworld of the metropolis and are tasked with solving a series of murders in what Rockstar describes as an "open-ended challenge."
L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories will be available as an e-book through major retailers beginning June 6, and an excerpt of Megan Abbott's "The Girl" is now available through Rockstar's website. The game itself is expected to arrive for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on May 17.
It's a bustling week on Xbox Live, as Microsoft updated its virtual storefront with a heap of new digital content, including the latest map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops and a demo for the upcoming third-person shooter from Volition.
Leading the charge this week is the Escalation (1,200 MS points, or $15) downloadable content for Call of Duty: Black Ops. The DLC includes four multiplayer maps: Hotel, set "on the roof of a Cuban luxury hotel and casino against the vivid backdrop of old Havana"; Convoy, which offers up "intense, close-quarters combat at the scene of an ambushed US military convoy"; Zoo, set in a derelict Soviet-era animal park; and Stockpile, which is set in a small Russian town that contains secret facilities housing weapons of mass destruction.
Also included in the Escalation pack is a new level for Black Ops' zombie mode, called Call of the Dead. It will feature a storyline inspired by famed horror director George A. Romero and will feature the voices of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Danny Trejo, and Romero himself. The zombie-slaughtering co-op level features a '70s movie aesthetic that sees four action stars fending off hordes of zombies on and around a ghost ship.
Switching to the Xbox Live Arcade lineup, Microsoft will add two new games to that download destination tomorrow, the first of which is Moon Diver (1,200 MS points, or $15). Created by Koichi Yotsui (Strider), the game is set in the 22nd century, after a technological uprising sees all manner of inanimate objects rebelling against their makers. Amid this turmoil, an elite group of ninjas--known as Moondivers--rise up to reclaim the world for humanity.
Moon Diver features many of the classic tropes of the side-scrolling beat-'em-up genre, including massive bosses and waves of enemies. However, it also includes modernized graphics, a leveling system, and four-player local or online co-op.
The other new XBLA game due out tomorrow is Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury (800 MS points, or $10). Missile Fury mixes arcade shooter action with puzzle-solving gameplay. Missile Fury also features more than 100 stages and a level editor tool that lets users create and share with friends.
Available today from the Games on Demand hub are two new titles, the first of which is Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops ($60). The other new full-game download now available is Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia ($40).
Gamers looking to try before they buy can download two new demos from Xbox Live now, the first of which is for Volition's upcoming third-person shooter Red Faction: Armageddon. The other new sampler now available is for Traveller's Tales' Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean.
Exposure is always a concern with nuclear fallout, and Bethesda succeeded not at all in avoiding it with New Vegas' upcoming downloadable content packs. In January, word slipped out that its first add-on--Dead Money--would be followed by three more DLC packs, a fact that Bethesda confirmed in early February. Today, the publisher detailed just what gamers can expect from the add-on packs.
Honest Hearts will lead the three-pack, arriving for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on May 17. The action takes place in Utah's Zion National Park and sees gamers leading an expedition that is swamped by a roving tribal war party. Players are then charged with escaping to the Mojave, battling the belligerent nomads in the process.
In June, Bethesda will release Old World Blues. The add-on pack sees gamers forced into partaking in a gruesome science experiment that also offers a closer look at the Mojave's mutated-monster contingent. Gamers will be presented with the option of battling the maniacal scientists or joining with them to fend off "an even greater threat."
Lastly, the Lonesome Road DLC will drop in July. In it, gamers will be 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.
Developed by the recently layoff-struck Obsidian Entertainment, the three add-on packs will each cost $10 (800 Microsoft points). All three are set for simultaneous release for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on their respective ship dates.