Let’s finish it – the Gears of War 3 campaign trailer

The campaign trailer for Epic’s upcoming blitzkrieg, Gears of War 3, is out showing off a bit more of what players can expect from the single-player storyline aiming to finish the trilogy.

The last time we left Cole and Fenix, they had managed to drown the Locust with the sea and stop the early extinction of mankind. Now it looks like Fenix’s father is still alive and you can bet that he’ll be doing everything he can to rescue him.

That means it’s going to be an action packed thrill ride to who knows where, one filled with colossal creatures, ruins, and more glowy Lambent. Will you be ready when it emerges on shelves on September 20th? I know I’ll be.

Starcraft II – Heart of the Swarm trailer rolls out, but don’t hope for a release date yet

A short tease was released for the next chapter in the Starcraft II saga, Heart of the Swarm. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the game might actually be coming out this year. Earlier this month, Activision had their quarterly financial call in which Thomas Tippl, COO and CFO of Activision Blizzard, had said:

“As I mentioned on our last call, given Blizzard Entertainment has not
confirmed the launch date for its next global release, our outlook at
this time does not include a new game from Blizzard in 2011. Should
Blizzard not release a major title this year, we would expect, for
planning purposes, to launch a minimum of 2 Blizzard titles in 2012.”

Of course, that only says that Blizzard hasn’t said anything yet about dates so they’re planning on two Blizzard titles in 2012 if they don’t pull the trigger this year. It’s a safe guess that the two titles could be Heart of the Swarm and the long awaited Diablo III.

One odd thing about the trailer. It was posted on Gametrailers, then pulled. It didn’t take long for it to show up elsewhere, though, with the Gametrailers intro stripped out (but you can still see the watermark). Check it out while it’s fresh.

Disney Universe game announced

Disney has found another way to capitalize on its popular animated and live-action characters: “Disney Universe,” a multiplayer game scheduled for a fall release.

From Disney Interactive entertainment:

In Disney Universe,
players can select from more than 40 classic and contemporary Disney
character costumes, including Alice (“Alice in Wonderland”), Mike
(“Monsters, Inc.”), TRON (“TRON: Legacy”) and Stitch (“Lilo &
Stitch”) to explore six different worlds inspired by legendary Disney
and DisneyPixar films.  Each world will allow players to experience objectives and missions that follow Disney and DisneyPixar
movie storylines.  Players will select a character-based costume, with
each costume offering a specific tool that changes and grows in power as
players adventure through the gameDisney Universe offers frenetic gameplay, multiplayer with up to three friends and slapstick humor that will appeal to players of all ages. 

Disney Interactive announced the game as a release for Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii and XBox 360.

From the get go, Disney Interactive is also announced plans to sell a lot of DLC for this title. This writer has no objection to DLC as long as players get their money’s worth and aren’t nickled and dimed with small bits of content. Free advice to publishers: Bundle your DLC like a good PC expansion pack and customers will like you more.


L.A. Noire Addendum: True Life Stories

L.A. Noire is one of the more interesting video games I have ever played not simply because I enjoyed most of what the game’s development team put into the title, but because it brought to mind so many memories – not all of them pleasant – of experiences I have had during my journalism career.

This is not a second review. It’s more of a self-indulgent column about some ideas that came to mind while playing L.A. Noire. Take it for whatever you think it’s worth.

Playing and writing about L.A. Noire led me to wonder how my time as a
news reporter may have made my experiences with the game different from
those of other reviewers whose careers are more firmly rooted in the
gaming and entertainment media.

I have never been a full-time crime reporter – let alone worked in
law enforcement – but I have had at least a glimpse of the
grimier side of California life over the course my newspaper years.

What follows are some stories to explain why I found L.A. Noire to be more affecting on a personal level than other games I highly admire, such as those within the Legend of Zelda, Fallout and Mass Effect series.
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Sega swinging swords like Shinobi for Nintendo 3DS

The “Shinobi” franchise will return to the Nintendo 3DS, Sega announced today.

Any gamers old enough to remember the arcade machines of the 1980s must have played Shinobi at least once. Shinobi was a super-hard side scrolling title that put players in the role of a ninja fighting hundreds of enemies, which is a description that could also describe Ninja Gaiden and many, many other games. Ninjas were big in the 1980s.

Shinobi survived into the 1990s and that decade’s competition between the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. Shinobi, of course, was on Sega’s side at the time.

It almost seems weird to see Sega making a game for a Nintendo product, but things have changed, although Sega reports Shinobi will stick to its side-scrolling roots for the Nintendo 3DS.

The game is scheduled for a September release.

L.A. Noire reviewed

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“If you think the atmosphere is thick in here, wait until you try the gas chamber.”
Det. Rusty Galloway, LAPD

L.A. Noire, in some of its best and most grim moments, is a title that reminds players that homicide is a part of American life.

Crime scene after crime scene, L.A. Noire forces players to confront the consequences of violence. In the role of Los Angeles Police Department detective Cole Phelps, players must examine the bodies of the dead and pursue their killers. The investigations can be a slow and deliberate process, and in playing Phelps’ part, players must try to think like a detective as they sift through clues and interview witnesses and suspects.

In this writer’s opinion, the question of whether games can be art is not a matter of if, but how. In L.A. Noire, developers and publishers Team Bondi and Rockstar Games, have put together an attractive game with top-notch voice acting and story that usually hits the right marks. All that can be achieved in cinema, and L.A. Noire’s storyline could have easily been written as a solid detective drama.

But despite being screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, L.A. Noire is not a movie and its merits as a work of art must be considered as a function of its merits as a video game. As such, if a work of art can be assessed in its ability to make its audience feel an emotional response or fire their own imaginations, L.A. Noire succeeds as a game and art by giving its players an opportunity to imagine what it is like to investigate a murder.

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New Fear 3 trailer: “Soul King”

A new trailer for the upcoming Fear 3 shows off its “Soul King” multiplayer mode, in which players begin each round of competition as ghosts who must possess other characters and collect their rivals’ souls.

Whoever finishes with the most souls wins. There’s a reason the franchise’s title is “Fear.”

Here’s a link the video on the game’s official site. It’s pretty bloody so it may be NSFW unless your job requires you to look at gaming footage.

Fear 3’s developer is Day 1 Studios and publisher is Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

The title is scheduled for a June 21 release for PC, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360.

Duke Nukem Forever Goes Gold (Or So They Say)

The fact that the world did not end on Saturday means there is an increased probability that “Duke Nukem Forever” – a title first announced in 1997 – will actually come out.

The wait for this game has been long enough to outlast at least two End of the World Predictions, and if it turns out that the world ends in 2012 (based on some unorthodox interpretations of the old Mayan calendar), gamers will have little more than a year to actually play the game.

Duke Nukem Forever’s publishers at Take Two Interactive announced today the title has gone gold, meaning it’s ready for a retail release. In honor of this allegedly momentous occasion, and the fact that I have a lot of work to do today on the Daily Bulletin’s and Sun’s business beat, I’m just going to post the full press release after the jump.

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Advert: Blake Griffin wants to be in Rage

Los Angeles Clippers star player Blake Griffin (The Clippers actually have a bona fide star and can now promote a guy who plays on their own team instead of advertising their opponents like they used to do) wants a guest spot in id Software’s upcoming shooter “Rage,” if this advertisement is to be believed.

It’s always cool to see a famous guy willing to poke fun at himself and jump over a tiger.

Rage, developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks, is set for a Sept. 13 release for PC, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360.

New “Hunted” video lays out sound design

Quick link to some new media for the forthcoming “Hunted: The Demon’s Forge.”:

Bethesda Softworks on Friday released, “Around Dark Corners,” featuring inXile Entertainment staffers discuss the “ambient and creepy” sound design and how to stimulate the sounds of flying arrows and blood splatters.

Hunted is scheduled for a May 31 release for PC, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360.