WildStar: Carbine Studios is Hosting a Beta Weekend for Everyone

WildStar

Carbine Studios announced today that the following WildStar beta weekend, 18th-20th April, will be accessible for everyone with a beta key. This means that WildStar’s pre-order is not a restriction for this event, as it happened in the previous beta weekends. To take part of this beta key event, players must pick a serial key from one the multiple gaming media sites, as Community Manager Mark Hulmes stated:

We have another Beta Weekend approaching and we wanted to provide a list of all the partner websites giving away weekend keys (so you can be sure they are legit!). If you know a friend who is still on the fence about pre-ordering WildStar, get them to grab a key from one of the sites listed and introduce them to the wonderful world of WildStar this weekend!

WildStar UI 2.0 Patch is arriving this week, so there will be plenty of new things to test in the upcoming event. Check the full list of WildStar’s partners and how to get your free serial key. This MMORPG will launch on June 3rd, 2014 on PC.

Beta Weekend approaching and we wanted to provide a list of all the partner websites giving away weekend keys (so you can be sure they are legit!). If you know a friend who is still on the fence about pre-ordering WildStar, get them to grab a key from one of the sites listed

Watch Dogs: Citizens Will Be Fully Simulated to Create the Ultimate Living City

Dogs

Ubisoft has been promising an extraordinary level of next-gen features in its upcoming action-adventure game, Watch Dogs. And that’s exactly why the company postponed the release date, to ensure every aspect of the game came out as it was initially intended. One of these reasons was the fact that Chicago wasn’t ready yet. More, the citizens’ mobility and reaction levels needed further mapping. Animation Director Colin Graham and his team used the additional time to solve this “big data problem” and create advanced rules to realistically organize citizens all over the city. But the ultimate living city concept couldn’t be achieved without proper mapping and a complete simulation, as Graham explained:

You have to think about it like a big data problem. We had to create certain rules about where to put people. (…) That’s the next-gen approach to creating a living city. It’s all simulated.

Watch DogsBut action and mobility are not the only concerns. Reaction is also important and no less crucial in the creation of a virtual city. In Watch Dogs, citizens will have a programmed consciousness to react to players’ commands. But it only becomes more complex. In scenarios where there are multiple incidents happening simultaneous, people will react differently, explained Graham:

If you pull out your gun, what level of reaction do they go to then? Some people will react to your gun and others will react to the people that are panicking. They haven’t seen you. They don’t know what’s causing it. But they do know something’s up.

Furthermore, if Aiden Pearce is seen in action during criminal events, it will most likely decrease his reputation among civilians and the media. People will believe what they see. So, even if players’ intentions are the best, the result might not be accordingly.

Destiny: Bungie Releases New Screenshots and Presents ‘The Tower’

Destiny

Bungie has unveiled today one of the main stations of the upcoming sci-fi action role-playing game, Destiny. The Tower is a wide and technology advanced station that will allow players to interact with each other and perform all kinds of equipment upgrades, as the company stated:

In the Tower, you can show off your Guardian and upgrade the awesome gear you acquired on your last mission.

In this safe zone, players can also organize themselves in small groups to journey and protect what’s left left of Earth. While staying at The Tower, it’s possible to access to new and exclusive missions, since the universe of Destiny will be mainly focused on dynamism and interactivity. Furthermore, Bungie has launched two new screenshots exposing the beauty and the quality of Destiny’s visual engine, Umbra 3. This new engine will proportionate a realistic global illumination and a real-time dynamic lighting with stunning effects.

Destiny
This is an entrance image of the freshly unveiled station, The Tower. With this image it becomes clear that The Tower is no ordinary station. The dimension and richness of the scene foretells its importance.
Destiny
A nocturne landscape image exposing Destiny’s visuals and effects described by Bungie as: “The Moon will be consumed by darkness.”

Destiny is a hybrid game that will combine role-playing and first-person shooter elements. The release date is scheduled to September 9th, 2014 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Watch Dogs: Aiden Pearce’s Family Story Unveiled

Dogs

Watch Dogs release date is getting closer and Aiden Pearce’s story is finally getting some fresh updates. Ubisoft has recently unveiled the protagonist’s tragic story and how his family background will affect the upcoming narrative. Despite being single with no children, Aiden has two young children to protect. His niece, Nicole Anne Pearce, was accidentally killed by the men pursuing him, leaving young Jackson Kent and Lena Violet with no mother. Aiden Pearce has built an extensive criminal record over the years, including computer fraud, illegal possession of a firearm and grand larceny. Ubisoft didn’t specific which crime was responsible for endangering all his family but it’s rumored that he simply messed up with the wrong people. However, Pearce is now looking for revenge and he won’t stop until he finds those responsible for murdering his niece, as Lead Writer Kevin Shortt stated:

He works for himself and that gets him into trouble, he makes mistakes and his family gets hurt. His niece ends up being killed because some people are looking for Pearce and his niece is accidentally killed. So, he’s haunted by the guilt behind this. He’s trying to find the people responsible for that.

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Aiden Pearce’s family tree – Nicole Anne Pearce (niece), Jackson Kent Pearce (grand-nephew), Lena Violet Pearce (grand-niece).

As Pearce investigates Chicago’s networks using his hacking abilities, he ends up discovering a bitter reality – things are much more complex than he ever imagined. According to Kevin Shortt, there’s a larger criminal scenario running in the stages of Chicago and Pearce’s niece was just one murder among many others:

Aiden Pearce has been pulled into the whole situation [surveillance-control system] where he’s trying to protect his family but at the same time, he’s starting to realize who are the people that have been threatening his family. There’s something bigger going on. There’s a lot of secrets being held and being used as a commodity.

Now, what’s left to know is what kind of people are those. Are they dealers, hackers or perhaps, corrupt politicians? And what criminal activities are they evolved with? Apparently, killing is no issue so it has to be a really ruthless mafia group. There are indeed many secrets to be unveiled but one thing is for certain, as long as vigilante Pearce is out there they won’t get away unpunished.

Civilization: Beyond Earth First Details Are Impressive (Trailer & Screenshots too)

Civilization

It’s time for a new Civilization game this year and fans of the series will surely be pleased to hear that Sid Meier is taking his game in space, once again. Titled Civilization: Beyond Earth, the game is the actually the second in the series to take place on a planet other than Earth: Alpha Centauri, released back in 1999 was the first one to take the Civ series on another planet.

This time, things seem to be a bit different an more challenging. In Civilization: Beyond Earth, players will start with an Outpost on a planet far, far away and their goal will be to survive. Exploring new planets and keeping the colonists safe from the alien threats will be also part of the game and personally, I can’t wait to see it happen!

Here are the top features announced for now:

Seed the Adventure: Players will establish a cultural identity, select a leader and sponsor an expedition by assembling the spacecraft, cargo and colonists through a series of choices that directly impact starting conditions when arriving on the new alien planet.

Alien World: Exploring the benefits and dangers of a new planet filled with dangerous terrain, mystical resources and hostile lifeforms unlike those of Earth, players will build outposts, unearth ancient alien relics, tame new forms of life, develop flourishing cities and establish trade routes to create prosperity for their people.

New Technology Web: Reflecting forward progress in an uncertain future, technology advancement will occur through a series of nonlinear choices that affect the development of mankind. The tech web is organized around three broad themes, each with a distinct victory condition.

New Quest System: Quests are infused with fiction about the planet, and will help guide players through a series of side missions that will aid in the collection of resources, upgrading units, and advancing through the game.

New Orbital Layer: Players will build and deploy advanced military, economic and scientific satellites that provide strategic offensive, defensive and support capabilities from orbit.

From what it seems, we’ll have more of a campaign type of game, but I am sure that the old “build your own game” mechanic won’t be removed from Civilization: Beyond Earth – the development team is certainly not planning to kill the game, right?

A trailer presenting the upcoming game has also been released and you can check it out below, even though, as you might expect, there’s no actual gameplay footage in it:

There are also a few screenshots from the upcoming game launched, showing us a bit of the colorful alien planets we’ll explore:

civ beyond earth3

civ beyond earth2

civ beyond earth1

Fortunately, Civilization: Beyond Earth is expected to hit stores by the end of the year, which means we’ll be exploring and trying to build civilization on alien planets very soon.

Watch Dogs: Mobile Application Will Be Free

Dogs

The upcoming action-adventure game Watch Dogs will feature a mobile application, the ctOS Mobile. This software will allow players to directly connect via mobile devices to the world of Watch Dogs. Ubisoft hasn’t specific which features will be subsequently available but regardless what this application can or cannot do, it won’t cost any money. According to Creative Director Jonathan Morin the ctOS Mobile will be mainly focused on challenging players to perform real-time activities:

@Jonathan Morin: The app is “ctOS Mobile” but it focus on challenging console/PC players with real-time gameplay. Ho and its free ;).

Possibly, this application won’t just allow players to connect and check how’s the virtual world of Watch Dogs at that precise moment. It will most likely display simple features involving hacking activities and alternative mini games that don’t require a console or PC. It’s known that it will feature several mini games like chess and poker. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an incorporation of the same games in the mobile application.

Dragon Age Inquisition: BioWare Ensures a New Level of Environmental Realism

Dragon Age

BioWare has unveiled additional details regarding Dragon Age Inquisition’s environment mechanism. According to Lead Environment Artist, Ben McGrath, the power of the Frostbite 3 game engine and next-generation technology will provide a new level of realism. The improvement and enhancement of already existing features through displacement mapping will intensify the immersion, depth and vivacity of the incoming virtual scenarios, as McGrath explained:

Displacement mapping adds a new level of realism to the environment. Normal maps [in previous-gen technology] brought great detail to surfaces, but displacement mapping actually pushes those details out so you can see them in the silhouette. The place where it’s probably the most noticeable is on terrain. Pebbles, sand ripples, cobblestones, and other details all pop out from the terrain and make it far more detailed than ever before.

Another technique being mastered by the environmental department is the interactive waters in levels, whose main purpose is to create a more accurate displacement of water in its natural form. Water will certainly receive a special treatment in Inquisition since even the smallest details have been considered, as McGrath stated:

Interactive water is one of the key things we’ve added to next-gen. It’s got realistic reflections, and also realistically ripples and splashes as you walk through it.

Dragon Age Inquisition will ensure that all ecosystems are alive and living, it will be as real as possible without ever forgetting the Inquisitor’s influence in the world. According to BioWare, all zones will be affected by the ongoing conflict and the impact will soon or later become visible.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor System Requirements Revealed

Mordor

Although there’s still a nice bit of waiting left to do for Monolith’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, the developers already know the system requirements for the PC version of the game and shared them with us through the Steam service.

Strangely, the Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor system requirements appear to be a bit more demanding than the Watch Dogs system requirements, with Ubisoft’s title being considered the better looking one. Either way, here are the Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor system requirements:

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor Minimum System Requirements

OS: 64-bit: Vista, Win 7, Win 8
Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom II X4 965, 3.4 GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 | AMD Radeon HD 6950
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Hard Drive: 25 GB available space

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor Recommended System Requirements

OS: 64-bit: Win 7, Win 8
Processor: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz | AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 | AMD Radeon HD 7970
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Hard Drive: 40 GB available space

You certainly need a solid computer to run the game on high details, but the good news is that you still have time to prepare, as Middle-Earth: SOM launches on October 7.

Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Confirmed

Xbox

Gamers are demanding backwards compatibility on the Xbox One – and it all makes sense, since we did pay a lot of money for our Xbox 360 games – and finally Microsoft decided to talk a bit about this and confirm the Xbox One backwards compatibility in the latest Microsoft Build Developer conference.

Since the X-One, just like the PS4, is not natively backward compatible, there will be the need of some sort of emulation to make older games work on the new console. Frank Savage, Partner Development Lead at Microsoft on the Xbox One’s use of Windows technology said that the company is working on creating such a feature, but it’s a bit difficult and it will take some time:

“It turns out to be hard to emulate the PowerPC stuff on the X86 stuff. So there’s nothing to announce, but I would love to see it myself.”

It would be nice to see that happen sooner rather than later, and I’m curious to see if Microsoft will manage to make it happen before the indie teams who are actively working at figuring something out.

New Dragon Age: Inquisition In-Engine Screenshot Is Breathtaking

Dragon Age

BioWare are offering us just bits and pieces on the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition – a character here, a character there – and today they decided to brag a little bit with what the game’s engine can deliver and released one (JUST ONE!!!) in-engine screenshot. A beautiful one, I might add.

Looking more like a well made painting or just a photo of a serene area somewhere in the world, this new Dragon Age Inquisition screenshot clearly shows the best trees in video game history, plus an insane level of detail. And since everything has been brought to life by the game’s engine, we have all the reasons to be happy about the upcoming release. Check out the in-engine screenshots below:

dragon age inquisition in engine screenshot

Of course, there are doubts regarding the actual quality of the graphics in the game itself. The engine might be able to produce such eye candy, but probably we won’t get something identical during the gameplay. At least not the huge majority since you probably need a super computer to run the game at insane levels. But we’ll see when the game hits the stores – or even sooner if BioWare decides to give us more than bits and pieces and launches a full in-game gallery for our eyes to feast.