The Sims 2 has lived a long and productive life. It was born, it made lots of friends, it worked at H&M for a period, and now it's ready to retire. In an email sent out to Sims 2 owners, EA claim that the game will "lose technical support" next week, on 22 July. As a concession to the game's owners, all copies registered digitally through Origin will be upgraded to the Ultimate Collection—a complete edition containing every expansion pack and "stuff pack" released for almost 10-year-old game.
I've been falling down an Arma hole recently, and so my initial reaction to this video was one of alarm. Driving tanks into the path of an oncoming train? Absconding with a flag while riding a jet-ski? Running willy-nilly into the incoming fire of your enemies? Riding a digger?! That's not how you do a war. Of course, that's also not the point. The point: to be a loud and explosive playground filled with destructive possibility. If this trailer's two minutes of action are anything to go by, the Dragon's Teeth DLC could be a success in that regard.
This trailer for Battlefield 4's forthcoming Dragon's Teeth DLC might only be 30 seconds long, but only around 10 of those seconds have been wasted showing logos or release dates—the rest is riddled with gunfire and explosions and a bit where a train carriage is knocked clean off a track. (Yes, there is a small explosion resulting from that.) Also pictured: the ballistic shields that will be added in the content pack, along with liberal use of speedboats and quad bikes.
The first part of Bioware's E3 demo for Dragon Age: Inquision was released (in video form) two days ago. It featured a dragon fight and, as such, was exciting. The second part of that demo features a castle. Naturally, it's a little bit less exciting. That's not to say castles aren't still somewhat exciting, but dragons are huge and monstrous and fun to hunt. Luckily for anyone wanting to see fourteen more minutes of the game, inside the castle are bad guys, battles and dialogue choices.
DICE are launching Battlefest, an event they describe as a "festival built for gamers". Picture crowds gathered in massive tents, raising their lighters in appreciation of an on-stage presentation on the merits of mid-range firefights with an AR160. And now forget that image, because this "festival" takes place entirely in-game. It begins this Saturday with a double-XP weekend.
October is several months away, so if you're eager to play Dragon Age: Inquisition then the anticipation may be starting to bother you. Well, here's a bone for you: 16 minutes of uninterrupted gameplay footage has been released. Originally aired behind-closed-doors at E3 last month, it shows exploration, tactical and not-so-tactical combat, and the freezing of bears to death.
No matter how tough or Greyspawn-ridden the world gets, most problems can be solved with a good hug. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that 90% of the original Dragon Age's grim fantasy story could have been avoided if the Grey Wardens had just given their age-old foes a lovely embrace, followed by a cosy chat to iron out their differences. That unfortunately wasn't possible in the first of Bioware's series, but you will be able to do some manner of hugging in Inquisition. Not with the Greyspawn - not even with those fluffy, cuddly werewolves - but with some of your companions. That and other titbits have emerged from a recent Q and A on the vowel-phobic Raptr, in which fans asked Bioware questions, and they answered. The juiciest morsels are below.
Sims fans are a bit miffed that The Sims 4 won't feature pools or toddlers, two seemingly small details that have nonetheless caused a fair bit of outrage over the last couple of weeks. I imagine much of the anger is less about which features are missing in 4, and more about why features present in previous entries haven't been included in this latest version—the worry being that EA might be holding them back for one of The Sims' many, many, many expansion packs. That worry probably won't be mollified by EA's latest blog post addressing the matter, but it does explain the reasons behind the decision not to include those two features. Essentially, it was a trade-off with the game's new AI, animation system, build mode, Create a Sim etc.
For the British, July 4th is a time for looking sheepishly at your feet as you're reminded of the, er, impoliteness of your ancestors. Then again, nearly every day is a time for that. For the US, it's an apparently much more festive occasion. And so, in honour of the day, Battlefield 4's CTE broke out the red, blue and white fireworks, and an appropriately raucous version of The Star-Spangled Banner. You can see all the Premium-only test client's celebrations, courtesy of YouTube user 'Jackfrags'.
Games for Windows Live might kinda sorta still be going for the time being (despite rumours that its death would occur on July 1st), but multiplayer server thingamajig GameSpy is definitely, definitely dead. EA's Command & Conquer games were among the casualties, but after only a short amount of downtime, C&C3 and Kane's Wrath, Red Alert 3, Generals and Generals: Zero Hour are once again playable online. This isn't EA's doing, but rather a community effort over at the aptly named C&C: Online. Details below.
What are you up to on July 15th? It's a Tuesday, so you're probably going to be either at work or at school for some of it, but EA are rather hoping you'll dedicate part to installing and playing Battlefield 4's new Dragon's Teeth DLC. That's according to a tweet (quickly deleted) by EA's Origin account, which revealed (then quickly unrevealed) that Dragon's Teeth will be out for Premium subscribers on that particular date. If true, then we only need to apply EA and DICE's usual two-week delay for non-Premium members to surmise that Dragon's Teeth will launch for everyone on July 29th. That tweet/untweet is after the break, along with a reminder of what the map pack actually involves.
Bioware have spent a lot of time showing off the locales of Dragon Age: Inquisition—likely hoping to reassure us it has more areas than just That Cave from Dragon Age 2. But locations are just one aspect of a Bioware RPG. The other aspect is who you'll be romancing. In a recent profile by Bioware's David Gaider, the studio introduced Dorian, their first "fully gay" male party member and the first gay character the lead writer has written.
Last month, DICE launched the Community Test Environment—a beta branch of the game that let Premium players test and give feedback on a variety of (much needed) updates. Soon, it'll be time for those improvements to invade the game proper. DICE recently rounded up some of the changes we can expect, including Rush mode tweaks, balance changes to Dragon's Teeth's Ballistics Shield, and, once again, "improvements to the 'Netcode'".
Despite including a revolutionary feature EA and Maxis are calling an 'offline mode', The Sims 4 won't manage to include all the stuff you might have liked about the previous games - namely Create a Style, pool-building, and spawnable toddlers, features that have been left on the cutting room floor and oh god that didn't sound right at all. The bad news was rather skillfully buried in a super-upbeat blog post outlining the game's included features, but if you peer closely (or scroll down to the comments thread beneath it) it soon becomes clear that something's amiss.
It must be hard being a robot-riding parkour space marine of the future. It's no longer enough to just kill your enemies; you've got to do it in weird ways. The next Titanfall patch will introduce "Featured Game Modes", which provide limited-time variations on the game's standard objectives. The first of these, "Marked For Death", challenge you to kill a specific enemy player, all while protecting your own VIP-pilot.
If you've played Mirror's Edge, the idea of a sequel that focuses more heavily on its combat probably sounds like the nightmare by-product of a dark, alternate timeline. In fact, according to DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson, it's the real future of our existing timeline. It's not all bad, though, as the studio are looking to refine and improve upon the first game's awkward fisticuffs.
Battlefield Hardline only has one more week in beta, so to make sure players see everything it has to offer all firearms and gadgets have been unlocked. This means you won’t have to earn your right to access things like the Ballistic Shield, Breaching Charge or Decoy: you can now access them in your loadout menu on Battlelog no questions asked. Meanwhile, several fixes and improvements have been made to the audio and netcode.
In another, more generous age, Battlefield Hardline might have taken the form of an expansion or even a mod - from our impressions of the beta, it doesn't exactly feel like its own game. We don't live in the late '90s, however - and until I perfect my time-travelling Ford Mondeo, we never will - so let's focus on Battlefield 4's actual DLC. Dragon's Teeth is the latest, and EA have spilled a few new details. Details like "it contains four multiplayer maps" and "there are five new weapons" and "you can have it two weeks early if you pony up for Battlefield 4 Premium". (They didn't use the word 'pony', but you get the idea.)
Battlefield 4 had a lot of things. It had a falling skyscraper, a crashing ship, a singleplayer campaign that wasn't as rubbish as it probably should have been. But all of these things were overshadowed by a series of bugs and performance problems that plagued the game long after its launch. Now, EA CEO Andrew Wilson has stated what many of the game's owners already know: "the situation we had was unacceptable".
Origin are currently giving away Peggle. It's a happy game about rainbows and Beethoven, and is therefore at odds with the majority of EA's catalogue. To redress the balance, they're also planning a free trial for a game about big robots and loud noises that go "SHHHHHLUNK". Titanfall will be free to download and play this weekend, and—while it'll take the majority of that time to download and install the thing—that should still leave a few solid hours of robo-falling, parkour-jumping action.