Missing Pieces: EA says it innovates 'too much,' final Halo 3 easter egg found, and other must-know gaming news
It's time to strap on your digital boxing gloves—Evo, the massive annual fighting game tournament, is this weekend in Vegas. If you're not going, you can always watch the action on Twitch, or just sit inside and read about this week's video game news.
The last Halo 3 Easter Egg is found, new games were announced by Cliffy B and Gearbox, and EA says it innovated "too much" with Dungeon Keeper—this is your gaming news update for the week of July 7.
Why were you upset about EA's shoddy Dungeon Keeper sequel released on mobile earlier this year? Was it because of the stilted gameplay? Or maybe because of the ludicrous number of microtransactions—an amount so impressive, the UK recently proclaimed EA can't advertise the game as "free" anymore.
Of course not. EA Mobile exec Frank Gibeau knows why you didn't like it. As he told GamesIndustry International, it's because Dungeon Keeper "innovated too much."
I swear, it's like EA wants the title of "Worst Company in America" back.
Back at E3 I was treated to three different Oculus Rift prototypes, the most impressive of which was a conversion of the Alien: Isolation demo for virtual reality. Crawling through air ducts listening for the alien was quite a bit scarier than when I played the demo on a normal screen.
Count me amongst those sad to hear it was a prototype and nothing more—there are no current plans for Alien: Isolation to feature Rift support. There go my plans for October.
There was also a huge controversy about preorder content this week when Sega announced it reunited the original Alien cast for special preorder missions. The blowback was so crazy that Sega eventually confirmed the content will be released to everyone post-release—though when and for how much is still under wraps.
Cliff Bleszinski has officially returned to the games industry after leaving Epic Games back in 2012. The project that brought him out of "retirement" is called BlueStreak, and it's a free-to-play arena shooter. So far the only other details we have come from this single piece of concept art:
Meanwhile, Epic Games—where Bleszinski became famous—is also working free-to-play arena shooters, thanks to the upcoming Unreal Tournament successor and the all-new Fortnite, which PCWorld contributor John Gaudiosi played in a pre-alpha state in North Carolina.
In response to a question about whether Rock Band will ever return, Harmonix's Alex Rigopulos told GameReactor, "We think about it all the time because we love Rock Band, and we're waiting for just the right moment in the new generation of consoles to bring it back."
Considering Rock Band is one of the biggest casualties sustained by my boxed-up and stowed Xbox 360...well, the time is soon, hopefully.
ZeniMax Asia announced it's censoring some of the gore in the Japanese version of The Evil Within in order to avoid the country's equivalent of the ESRB's Adults Only rating. Instead, according to Famitsu by way of Siliconera, DLC will be available for all preorders that allows people to re-enable gore. It's unclear whether the same DLC will be made available to people who didn't preorder, or how much it might cost if so.
I can't imagine how you could censor the game—at one point in my demo of The Evil Within I was literally waist-deep in a pool of blood. Did they turn it into chocolate syrup? Fill it with puppies?
Gearbox, the makers of Borderlands, announced a new project this week: Battleborn, which is sort of a cross between a shooter and a MOBA apparently? I don't know. The trailer is more stylish than informative, so all we can do is go off what Game Informer says.
Either way, it's not the Borderlands 3 announcement you were probably hoping for. Maybe we'll see more of this one at PAX in August.
It's better to burn out than it is to rust
This week Activision officially merged Neversoft with Infinity Ward, sacrificing yet another body to the ever-hungry altar of Call of Duty. The studio commemorated the merger by burning an effigy of its infamous eyeball logo.
I'll remember the studio fondly forever thanks to their work on the Tony Hawk series, though Gun and Guitar Hero III were also damn good. Time to blast Superman and kickflip through the Warehouse one more time.
Easter on Christmas
It's been seven years since Halo 3's release, and the last of its Easter eggs has finally been uncovered by the folks over at Beyond Entertainment. A while back, in a fan Q&A, one Bungie employee said "There is one Easter egg in Halo 3 that I don’t think anyone has found – I stumbled across it in code a while back. It only happens on a specific day…so good luck."
December 25 is the day, apparently. If you click both thumbsticks on that day, the loading screen zooms out a bit and you can read a birthday message to a "Lauren." This follows from what we learned in another Bungie Q&A when someone asked "What is your proudest moment in your time at Bungie?" and an employee responded "Showing my wife the Easter egg I put in the halo 3 loading screen for her – the one that nobody has found yet."
It's amazing it stayed hidden this long, what with the Internet's penchant for finding things that aren't supposed to be found.
The biggest news of the week: Grim Fandango is returning to PC, officially.
Now that that's out of the way...Microsoft isn't giving up on the Xbox, the Kinect v2 gets a $200 price on Windows and a launch date, Flight Simulator is getting revived by the studio that makes Train Simulator, Oculus bought RakNet and announced a date for its upcoming VR conference, and the Amazon Fire TV makes for a shoddy gaming console.
We also have that preview of Epic's upcoming Fortnite and a review of the Digital Storm Vanquish II. And don't forget to hop on the awesome Humble 2K Bundle for deals on Specs Ops, BioShock, and more!