Yeah, that's right, it's that day. Congratulations, if that's your thing. Now can we just not make a big deal out of that for once? There's gaming news to discuss.
Are you a Twisted Metal fan who forgot to pre-order and didn't get the Axel DLC? Have you been waiting for it to hit PSN so you can buy it and toss away that extra couple of bucks? The good news is that it hit earlier this week. The even better news is that it's still free. So go get it now. While you're at it, show your Twisted Metal love by pre-ordering Starhawk (May 8th). The pre-order bonus for that one is a download code to get yourself an Outcast version of Sweet Tooth, complete with large machete, maniacal grin, and (green) flaming hair.
Rockstar is the latest publisher to combine two of my favorite things - games and comic books. Max Payne 3 will be getting a comic tie-in from Marvel Custom Solutions. There will be a limited print run, but this is primarily a digital release. Rockstar's Dan Houser and Remedy's Sam Lake are writing the three part story, while pencils and inks are being done by Fernando Blanco. Greg Horn is on covers. The story will provide more back story on Max, tying in events from the first two games and leading up to the release of the third. The first issue will be a free download through the Rockstar News Wire, Max Payne 3 website, and other digital comic services. Look for the game on May 15th.
Despite Namco Bandai's crossing over with Capcom, they don't seem to be learning any bad habits from them. Tekken's producer, Katsuhiro Harada, stated recently that he will never charge for DLC characters in the franchise. While this certainly seems to come in response to the recent controversy over Street Fighter x Tekken's 12 paid DLC characters already being on the disc, Harada assures it is not an attack on Capcom. According to Harada, "Tekken has never had DLC before and charged for it. This isn’t really directed at Capcom, I have always said this, but I see the characters and their move sets as chess pieces - they are essential items necessary in the game and we would never sell any of those individually." He further elaborated that he would do paid DLC, but only for non-essential items, like costumes or music. Pre-order bonus characters would also be a possibility, but only with the promise that they would be available to everyone at no charge soon after launch. We'll see how well he stands by these statements when Tekken Tag Tournament 2 releases in September, and whenever their planned release in the crossover, Tekken x Street Fighter, hits.
EA has been silent about the possibility of Dead Space 3, while gamers know the third entry is inevitable. Somehow, without an announcement from EA, a South African online retailer, BT Games, has made pre-orders available. They've also started taking preorders on the unannounced Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2. Are these mistakes? Eagerness? Or do they know something we don't? Hard to say for sure, but this is the same retailer who outed Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode and Jak & Daxter HD Collection before anyone at the owning companies had talked about it publicly. So, take that for what it is. Or isn't. But don't forget that E3 is only about six weeks away.
How do you celebrate 50 years of a movie franchise? Well, if you're James Bond, you do it with another new movie, Skyfall, and collective video game, 007 Legends. The game will feature playable scenes from Bond's 22 film history, and his 23rd coming this November. While scenes will be featured from all of his outings, the overarching storyline will be tying together six of the films. Four player split screen multiplayer will, of course, be included. Kinect functionality is also expected. This should give you all the lovely ladies and Walther PPK you can handle. Look for it October 16th, just before Skyfall hits theatres on November 9th.
THQ has been suffering financially as of late, with Saints' Row The Third finally giving them a much needed boost. That piece of good fortune is slightly tempered by the recent announcement of a delay for Darksiders II. The delay from its previously announced June 26th was sort of expected with Danny Bilson (THQ's Executive Vice President of Core Games) recently stating the game wouldn't be released "before it's done." The new release window is set for August, to "ensure we meet the high quality threshold that we are committed to achieving,” according to the publisher. I often meet these delays with an unhealthy amount of pessimism. In this case, I'm inclined to give THQ the benefit of the doubt. I seem to be the only person in the world who didn't enjoy the first Darksiders, which could simply have been my own frame of mind at the time. The franchise could very well be the savior or slayer of the ailing company. It makes sense to take the delay over the bad reputation that can come from poor quality.
The weeks of rumors and a recent leak on Amazon has led to the announcement (apparently ahead of schedule) of God of War: Ascension. Considering how the third game ended it's not suprising this isn't a numbered sequel. Instead, it appears to be a prequel. While still featuring Kratos, it's very possible it will also have a co-op mode featuring his brother, Deimos. That's still speculation for now, but look for a live streaming event on the PlayStation Blog and Facebook next Monday, April 30th. The event will be hosted by the game's director, Todd Papy. You can check out a short video on the PS Blog now.
Another poorly kept secret announcement is apparently set for a few days later on May 2nd. This teaser image certainly indicates a Treyarch developed Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be the next game in the franchise. We'll find out for sure in a ocuple weeks.
HumaNature, the developer who created Toejam and Earl back when SEGA still made consoles, is apparently working on a Sony-exclusive title. Greg Johnson, CEO, recently posted an ad for a Technical Artist to work on the game. The most vital info seems to be the second paragraph: "As it happens, HumaNature Studios now has the good fortune of starting a new title directly for Sony that is cute and filled with quirky personality. It's also super innovative in the area of emotional AI and personality simulation. It designed for both male and female players, and will be marketed in the U.S. and in Japan." All of those buzzwords have their intended effect on me. I'd like to know more about the game.
If you haven't booted up and played Gotham City Impostors for a while, you probably should. A new update to the game has added a new map, a new mode (Bounty Hunter - a lot like "Kill Confirmed"), and new languages for your character. Best of all, as a title update, this is actually free.
Square Enix and IO Interactive have begun the marketing push for Hitman Absolution in earnest. The game will apparently focus on the town of Hope, SD. According to the press release, "Hope and its citizens are heavily influenced by local legend Blake Dexter and his company Dexter Industries. Coincidentally, with the arrival of Agent 47, the otherwise quiet town has become a bedlam of strange accidents and occurrences." Speculation is that these events may be linked to the first assassin, and we'll know more via the pages of Hope News Times. A new page of the newspaper is planned for a reveal each Thursday with an accompanying screen shot on Friday. We've got the first page (click for readable size) and will keep it updated each week in VGQH, but you can follow it yourself at The Barcode Society or through Hitman on Facebook.
Codemasters is looking to unify their racing brands through a collective a online portal and new branch of the company, Codemasters Racing. Creative name, eh. Focusing exclusively on the racing space, the new branch will launch with the release of DiRT: Showdown on May 29th. Their new online hub, Racenet, will give you a single, persistent online profile throughout all of their racing titles -like F1 and Grid. This profile will allow players to track stats, see how you shape up against online competitors, and compete in events that may win you extra content. Assuming that's all a free service, it sounds awesome. This isn't the first service of its kind we've seen, not even the first in the racing genre. If this console generation is the first to fully embrace online multiplayer, and they're getting this detailed with integration, what's on the horizon for the next gen?
According to an official statement from Bethesda, the rumors of Prey 2's cancellation are totally false. However, if it has been delayed out of 2012. According to the statement, "The delay is due to the fact that game development has not progressed satisfactorily this past year, and the game does not currently meet our quality standards." They are "determined only to release the AAA game that fans rightfully expect." If all you're looking to do is meet fan expectations, Bethesda, just go ahead and release it. Game breaking glitches, complete non-functionality on PS3, and a myriad of patches that don't fix anything (or make it worse) is all we expect now. We'll still buy it. Then again, according to insider reports, no development work has been done by Human Head since they stopped progress back in November 2011 to bargain for a better contract from Bethesda's parent company, Zenimax. With such a long hiatus, it's entirely possible the Zenimax will simply shift development to a new studio.
Risen 2: Dark Waters has also been delayed. Previously set for next month, it is now scheduled for release August 3rd. A new episode, The Air Temple, will also be releasing alongside it. It's unclear if this was a DLC announcement alongside the delay, or if the extra episode is a sort of apology for the delay. I'll update once I get some clarification.
If there's one thing Sony is good at, and they're actually good at a lot of them, it's making sure they're icons and mascots are clearly visible through cross-promotion. As if LittleBigPlanet Karting isn't enough of a crossover on its own, incorporating the Sackboy icon and art into what will essentially a new ModNation Racers from United Front, they're adding another mascot to the title as a preorder bonus. But it's not Nathan Drake, Cole McGrath, Kratos, or any of the other gaming mascots you normally associate with Sony. Instead, it's an actual person - Kevin Butler (VP of Many a Varied Thing). He's a pasty little Sackboy with his traditional businessman's haircut, shirt and tie, coffee cup, and an executive golf kart. This addition will come free by preordering through GameStop or Amazon. The game is currently scheduled for late October.
And that concludes the week's news. I'll admit to skipping some legal cases involving Bethesda and Ubisoft, but they both look like B.S. so it's probably not worth the arguments they'd inspire. If anything changes with them I'll have further updates in future editions of Video Game Quick Hits, which you can find every Tuesday and Friday here on Big Shiny Robot!