Monthly Archives: April 2014

Ubisoft lining up Assassin’s Creed movie director

Talks are underway with Justin Kurzel to direct the upcoming Assassin’s Creed film, Deadline reports.

Kurzel is relatively unknown, having only directed a few projects to date. Most recently, he worked on a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender–set to play the lead role in the Assassin’s Creed film–in the eponymous role of Macbeth.

According to Deadline, New Regency and Ubisoft Motion Pictures have yet to sign Kurzel to a deal, “but they are eager to get this film started, so it’ll come soon.”

The Assassin’s Creed movie has been in the works for some time now. Fassbender, known best for his roles in movies such as Prometheus, Inglorious Basterds, X-Men: First Class, and 12 Years a Slave, has been attached since mid-2012. (He’s never played the games, if you’re wondering.) Later that year, the movie was fast-tracked, and soon after playwright Michael Lesslie was brought on as a writer.

The movie was reportedly set for release in May 2015, but was delayed late last year until August 7, 2015. We recently learned the movie will be re-written by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, though whether that will push the release even further back is unknown.

Assassin’s Creed is just one of six Ubisoft properties the company is attempting to base a movie on, the others being Ghost Recon, Watch Dogs, Far Cry, Splinter Cell, and Rayman’s Rabbids. Films based on games are notorious for falling apart before they are released, so it remains to be seen how many of these will actually come to fruition.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
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Xbox One coming to China this September

Microsoft announced today that it plans on releasing the Xbox One in China this September.

Microsoft’s corporate VP of marketing and strategy for devices and studios, Yusuf Mehdi, wrote in a statement, “Launching Xbox One in China is a significant milestone for us and for the industry, and it’s a step forward in our vision to deliver the best games and entertainment experiences to more fans around the world.”

This will make the Xbox One the “first-ever game console with OTT functionality in China.” OTT in this sense refers to over-the-top content, which is content delivered over the Internet (like movies on Netflix) where the ISP is only responsible for transferring data and not controlling the media transmitted.

The announcement follows the relaxation of China’s 14-year ban on video game consoles. China also recently disclosed their console games censorship rules, noting that games will not be allowed to promote drug use or violence. And statistics released at the Games Marketing Summit earlier this month revelead that China is a large potential market where the number of gamers surpasses the total population of the US.

Microsoft formed the joint venture company E-Home Entertainment with BesTV in September last year to release a streaming console, and Enwei Xie will head up Xbox China as the group’s general manager.

Regarding the partnership, Dazhong Zhang, senior VP of SMG and chairman of E-Home Entertainment wrote, “Via our cooperation with the world’s leading team, we will continue to develop video games fused with Chinese culture and provide further distribution support for locally produced Chinese video game content to the world.”

“Our joint venture is committed to providing opportunities for creators to unleash their imaginations for games, online education and fitness experiences for China and beyond,” wrote Medhi in a further update. “As part of our partnership, E-Home Entertainment is investing to establish an innovation program that will enable creators and developers to build, publish, and sell their games on Xbox One in China and in other markets where Xbox is available.”

Xbox announced earlier this year that they have shipped 5 million Xbox Ones across the 13 countries where the console is available, which “represents more than 60 percent greater sales than Xbox 360 in the same time period.” By September, the Xbox One will be available in 42 countries.

Justin Haywald is a senior editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @JustinHaywald

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Vita system update coming tomorrow, expands PS4 connectivity

In addition to this week’s big PlayStation 4 system update, the PlayStation Vita and the mobile PlayStation App are also getting updates.

The Vita 3.15 system update is scheduled for release at roughly the same time as the PS4 1.70 update tomorrow, April 30. It’s much less feature-heavy than its PS4 counterpart and focuses on connectivity with the PS4. Automatic Device Registration is introduced, allowing the two systems to be automatically paired so long as they are both online and the same user is signed in on both of them. According to Sony, this will make it easier to take advantage of PS4 Remote Play on Vita, as well as other Vita-PS4 features.

Last month, the 3.10 Vita system update was released, adding a new calendar app, support for more software icons on the home screen, and the ability to record voice messages.

The PlayStation App update, said to be coming during the “launch window” of the PS4 and Vita updates, is already out on iOS. It enables push notifications, allows PSN profile pictures to be changed using photos stored on the phone or tablet (here’s hoping that doesn’t result in a sea of inappropriate profile pictures), and allows friend requests to be sent via email or text message.

The full list of changes, courtesy of the iOS App Store:

  • Notification alerts are now supported.
  • Thumbnails are now displayed for screenshots and video clips that are posted to Twitter or Facebook as activities.
  • Resolutions for iPad 2 and iPad mini are now supported.
  • Pictures you take on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch can now be set as your profile picture.
  • You can now send a PSN friend request to your friend using email or text.
  • Stability during use of some features has been improved.

The previously announced 1.70 PS4 firmware update will be out tomorrow; it allows for HDCP to be toggled off, expands video sharing features, and enables preloading for unreleased digital games, among other things.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
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Ahead of E3, Microsoft registers "Xbox AB" domains

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, a Microsoft representative issued a statement to GameSpot on the new domain games.

“Microsoft often acquires various domain names as part of its ongoing business strategy, but beyond that we have no comment.”

The original story is below.

Microsoft has registered new domain names for something called Xbox AB. The two new domain names, and, currently resolve to a Bing search page. According to WHOIS documents, Microsoft registered the domains yesterday, April 28.

The domain names were spotted by NeoGAF. We don’t know anything else about what Xbox AB could be, but Microsoft’s decision to scoop up the names comes just 60 days out from the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo. We have reached out to a Microsoft representative for comment.

One NeoGAF member guesses that AB could stand for Augmented Body. A leaked document from 2012 suggested Microsoft was working on some kind of augmented reality technology, and the company even recently reportedly paid as much as $150 million recently to acquire wearable technology assets.

Microsoft has previously promised that E3 2014 will be one Xbox fans won’t want to miss. Could Xbox AB be part of their presentation at the show? We’ll find out in early June. E3 2014 runs June 10-12, but Microsoft is expected to hold in annual briefing on Monday, June 9.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

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GTA 5 unaffected by GameSpy shutdown; some Rockstar games not so lucky

Rockstar’s biggest game on the market right now, Grand Theft Auto V, will not be affected in any way by the shutdown of GameSpy’s servers at the end of May. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for some of Rockstar’s older games, including Max Payne 3, Red Dead Redemption, and Grand Theft Auto IV, some of which will see certain features soon become unavailable.

Rockstar announced today that its “teams are currently working to patch specific older titles to keep the transition as smooth as possible and minimize the impact to online-enabled play and your in-game experience.”

Most of its games will not be dramatically affected, with only leaderboards or Rockstar Social Club features being removed. While disappointing, those measures are preferable to the outright removal of multiplayer support, which is what’s happening in a handful of cases.

Those cases include the Mac version of Max Payne 3, the PlayStation 3 version of Midnight Club: Los Angeles, and all versions of Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition (including Dub Edition Remix). None of these three games will offer online multiplayer after May 31, or possibly sooner.

Meanwhile, Social Club website stat tracking and leaderboards are on their way out of Red Dead Redemption, GTA IV, and Midnight Club LA. In-game multiplayer leaderboards in the PS3 versions of Red Dead, GTA IV, and Midnight Club LA are on the chopping block as well, as are Social Club features in Beaterator and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on DS and PSP.

Rockstar’s support website lists the full details on the implications of the GameSpy shutdown for all of its games.

Other companies’ games are being similarly affected by the May 31 GameSpy shutdown. The PC versions of Crysis and Crysis 2 will lose their multiplayer modes on that date, as will a range of 2K Games PS3 titles, most notably Civilization Revolution and Borderlands. 2K has indicated it’s exploring ways to bring back multiplayer for those two titles, while EA has indicated it hopes to do the same with the early Battlefield games.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
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GS News – Watch Dogs Gets Cyborgs; Is Xbox One Still Game-Centric?

The push for GTA V to come to PC is 700,000 strong, Driveclub gets another delay, Microsoft makes promises, and what’s in the Watch Dogs DLC?

What is Grey Goo?

Besides a term for Earth’s destruction by self replicating nano-bots it’s also a RTS in development by former Westwood Studios designers that we had the chance to get a demo of at PAX East. Check out how some of the basic resource and base management work as well as a death beam touting epic unit.

PSN Golden Week sale discounts Persona 4 and Metal Gear HD Collection

To coincide with the week-long holiday in Japan, Sony has announced a Golden Week sale on the U.S. PlayStation Store that drops the prices of a variety of Japanese games for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Portable.

Beginning with the PlayStation Store update that went live today and running through May 5, the Golden Week sale drops the prices of more than 20 games by up to 50%. PlayStation Plus members get an even steeper discount, such as Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross for $3.49 each (compared with $4.99 for everyone else).

The sale includes a number of quality games, including personal favorite Persona 4 Golden ($19.49, or $14.62 for Plus members), Metal Gear Solid HD Collection ($19.99, or $11.99 for Plus members on PS3; $14.99, or $8.99 for Plus members on Vita), and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ($24.99, or $14.99 for Plus members).

The full list of deal is as follows (each game listed with its Plus price/sale price):

In addition to the extra discounts in this sale, PlayStation Plus members are now entitled to a free download of Vita shooter Velocity Ultra.

Heroes & Generals – Wars Aren’t Won by Tanks Alone Trailer

Check out the latest trailer for Heroes & Generals.

Titanfall dev co-founder Vince Zampella founds new mobile studio

Vince Zampella may be best known for working on console and PC games like Call of Duty and Titanfall, but he’s now making an investment in the mobile gaming market by co-founding a new mobile game developer called Nuclear Division.

Zampella, who co-founded Call of Duty creator Infinity Ward and more recently Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment, will not be leaving his position at Respawn, according to a GamesBeat report. Instead, he’ll serve “more as an investor, adviser, and board member” for Nuclear, which will focus on developing games aimed at the core gamer audience.

There was some thought put into the possibility of handling this through Respawn itself before it was decided the match didn’t make sense, given Respawn’s focus on console and PC games.

Stating that mobile’s growth makes it “silly to ignore,” Zampella said, “It’s a device that I play on because I always have it with me. It’s always connected. You’re engaged with it. There’s something you can do with that. I’m not saying one is better than the other, in terms of console versus mobile. It’s a different gaming experience. Both interest me.”

Nuclear is currently at work on more than one game, although with the studio only having started to come together earlier this year, it likely won’t be until 2015 that any of them are released.

Zampella has had a string of major successes, from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault to the Call of Duty series to Titanfall. With him now entering the mobile space, it should be interesting to see if, in his limited role, he’s able to once again help to produce a big seller–especially considering that many of the biggest mobile games have been designed for casual gamers.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
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