It is not unreasonable to want pets in violent third-person shooter video games. The team at Digital Extremes doesn't think so, as the new (and rather major) Warframe update includes pets, as well as other substantial additions. These include a better opening tutorial and user interface, a whole new Warframe class, new modes and quests galore.
"You wanna be a space ninja?"
That was the cry Digital Extremes PR settled on at PAX when tempting booth loiterers to play Warframe, a PvE third person shooter involving space ninjas. Turns out, because booth loiterers are only human, the answer was a resounding yes.
The game is currently in open beta and has been since March. You might have seen it hovering around the periphery of the Steam most-played top ten and, occasionally, venturing in. With its ninth update the developers announced 3 million registered accounts and you might see anything from 10,000 to 30,000 concurrent players on its servers.
The ninth major update for free-to-play sci-fi shooter Warframe has just gone live. It brings a new addition to the robo-ninja roster with NOVA, which was created in part by The Design Council. They're a shadowy cabal of the game's community supporters, and were put in charge of deciding the Warframe's theme: anti-matter. At least if any universes implode, you'll know who to blame.
A new content update to Warframe adds blades, buildings, and more to the Digital Extremes third-person action title. Update 8.0 Rise of the Warlords brings new locations to the game universe for clan and coop play, and also introduces—for the first time—some rusted-out, enemy-packed Grineer starships to explore.
Star Trek: The Reboot 2: The Movie: The Game pulled its Gorns out of its pointy ears the other week, but that was in a silly Making Of video that featured lots of in-game footage of Kirk's famous alien sparring partner, but precious little of William Shatner himself. Sure, he's been replaced by Chris Pine for the recent films/upcoming game, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a little Shat now and again. Here he is, in the latest trailer, sitting down with an actual Gorn to play a game of Star Trek, before the two inevitably come to blows. This is apparently in advance of some sort of co-operative shooter, but now I'm more interested in a Shat/Gorn fighting game and I won't rest until somebody (Capcom?) makes one.
In preparation for our not-too-distant subjugation by skull-faced machine-men, I thought I'd bone up on the latest advances in electro-brain design and stop by this year's GDC AI summit. Kicking off the summit was a trimuvirate of talks about the AI behind PCG-fave XCOM, stabby sequel Assassin's Creed 3 and the super-shiny “space ninjas with machine guns” shooter Warframe. The talks showed a fascinating variety of uses for AI: XCOM's combat AI was the most immediately familiar, but supremely clever in insinuating the personality of enemy types - and a far cry from the use of AI to determine Connor's foot placement in AC3. Warframe, meanwhile, deploys AI as a dungeonmaster, cobbling together levels from pre-built components to fit the needs of its players. It's smart stuff. Perhaps... too smart? Read on to unpick alien plans, parkour and player-centric dungeon design.
Digital Extremes isn't just working on naked space dinos. It's also busy with bringing us armored space cyborg ninjas in Warframe, its co-op third-person shooter showing up later this year. It hit open beta earlier this week, and Nvidia has shared a tech trailer showing off the slick PhysX effects owners of its cards can glimpse while cartwheeling off walls and stabbing things with nano-swords.
Trekkies have a special fondness for the Gorn, but here's a few facts for the less-familiar: the Gorn are giant space lizards. They appeared rarely in the TV shows, but the race's debut in the 1967 Original Series episode "Arena" went down in history as one of the most awkward man-vs-man-in-a-monster-suit fights ever televised. They're now a major enemy in the video game counterpart of JJ Abrams' upcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness film, and developer Digital Extremes wants the wrathful reptilians to pose a considerable threat beyond their wonderful fashion sense.
Even as the red rock of the planet materialised beneath their feet, they understood. Spock turned away and gazed at the horizon. He knew the odds even before joining Starfleet. He'd entered them into a multi-layered risk assessment matrix. He'd estimated the number of transporter trips he'd likely be required to take during his career, and weighed that number against the likelihood of a glitch. Kirk was silent. There was so much to say, but no way to say it. His friend had bathed in the cosmic rays beyond conventional reality, and shrunk in the wash.
Or he's just STANDING FAR AWAY. Either way, I've picked the only moment of the new Star Trek trailer that isn't exploding. That's because this is the game based on JJ Abrams glittering movie reboot of 2009, which has morphed into a third person cover shooter in the hands of developer, Digital Extremes. RPS have spotted a new trailer, which you can find below.
Warframe! It's a name that calls to mind angry portraits battling together in a brutal yet artistic conflict. Sadly that isn't what the game is about. Warframe is actually a third person, free to play co-op shooter being made by the developers of the Darkness 2. On the plus side that means there's still time for me to trademark Art Shooter 2020: Da Vinci's Revenge.
Four arms: it was so obvious. It must be galling for other shooter developers. They’ve spent decades since Doom trying to work out ways to innovate on the FPS model, to make shooting people feel fresh and interesting again. They’ve tried vast open worlds and they’ve tried hurling Hollywood-size production values at projects, but the Darkness II manages it by just giving anti-hero Jackie Estacado four arms.
Well. Technically he only has two arms. These are his normal limbs, functioning as arms do in games where arms are only necessary to hold guns and occasionally fire them at swarms of enemies. He also has two demonic snake-tentacles.
Four arms are better than two when you're being assaulted by a city of gangsters. The Darkness 2 demo, now available on Steam, will gradually give you use of all your arms, just as soon as you've made it through the intro cutscenes, and the on-rails shooter bit, and a few more cutscenes. Thankfully the demo has been put together to give us an overview of some of Jackie's more powerful abilities, so it's worth persisting to get to the gorier bits. The pseudo-cell shaded look is a nice homage to The Darkness' comic book roots, too. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think. The Darkness 2 is out on February 7 in the US, and February 10 in Europe.
A trial for The Darkness 2 is heading to Steam on January 24 after a week of Xbox Live exclusivity, according to a post on The Darkness 2 site. Hopefully it'll give us a generous chunk of time with Jackie and his demonic arm tentacles. In the first game they could throw cars about, or detach to become slithery spies capable of tearing enemies' hearts from the shadows. It looks as though The Darkness 2 will be at least as gruesome as the original, but will wielding Jackie's Darkness powers be quite as satisfying?
We'll all get to find out in a couple of weeks. Hooray for demos! If you're already certain you'll like it, you can pre-order The Darkness 2 to get 10% off.
The latest Darkness 2 trailer shows more clearly the slightly cel shaded, comic-book aesthetic Digital Extremes are adopting for the sequel. The Starbreeze adaptation of the comic series was almost monochromatic, and Jackie's demonic arm powers needed darkness to recharge. In the trailer above he's marching through well lit areas with snakey whacking arms on full show, which suggests we won't have to take as much care and planning to get past all of those gangsters, seemingly quite happy to get into a fight with a demonic enemy wielding four arms and two guns. That's the trouble with goons. They never know when to run.
The new trailer for the Darkness 2, spotted on Blue's News, gives us a full recap of the horrible things that happened to Jackie over the course of the first game, which is nice, because the first game didn't come out on PC. It's your classic happy go lucky boy meets supernatural entity tale, really. Boy meets evil entity, boy is possessed by supernatural entity, grows evil arms, goes on rampage to avenge girlfriend and lives happily ever after. It looks as though the sequel will be even more violent than the first game, and will let us dual wield machine-guns and demonic arms. It's due out next February.
The Rock map pack will be heading to Homefront soon. It'll hit the Xbox 360 first, but we can expect it to appear on PC sometime thereafter. The pack will include four new maps, including one set on the prison island of Alcatraz from which there is no escape except death, or disconnection due to high ping. You'll find a summary of the maps below.
The first game was bound by dark magic to the console-boxes, but The Darkness 2 will be coming to PC, which is a good thing because there aren't many games that let you quad wield two demonic snake limbs with a brace of automatic weapons. Originally slated for Autumn, The Darkness 2 has now been pushed back to the gloomier winter months of 2012. We'll be flipping cars with monster limbs on February 7 in the US, and February 10 internationally. For more on the game, check out the official Darkness 2 site and the first trailer.
The new Star Trek game will be a third person action game set to continue the Kirk - Spock bromance initiated by the recent J. J. Abrams Star Trek reboot on the silver screen. It looks a bit like Mass Effect, but that's probably because the Mass Effect universe borrows so much from Star Trek. The footage above was taken from yesterday's Sony conference. The game is due out next year.
A new trailer for the Darkness 2 starts by showing the protagonist Jackie getting his hand nailed into a plank in a way that reminds me of something, I'm just not sure what. The real question though is whether there'll be anything as memorable to sitting down and watching the entirety of To Kill a Mockingbird with your girlfriend (as featured in the first game).
The Darkness 2 is due in October.
The Protector Trials DLC for Bioshock 2 is out on PC today. The pack includes a series of single player maps in which you defend a Little Sister from hordes of hungry Splicers. The DLC was originally meant to come out on consoles, but so many fans asked for it that 2K decided to restart development and release it for free on PC.