Modern Warfare 3 Leaked

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One of the most anticipated games this year, Activision’s Modern Warfare 3 joins its predecessors — Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2 — in the pre-release piracy box. Modern Warfare 3 is due out in stores on November 8.

Dean Takahashi reports on Venture Beat that a thief had physically stolen one of the discs from the two-disc set from a distribution warehouse where copies are being stored. According to the story, it’s disc 2 of the set for the PC and apparently it’s started to circulate.

The story also reports that Activision is actively seeking the pirates with one posting on Craigslist on being forced to delete or destroy his copy of the game or face immediate fines. Apparently, Activision has stepped up its game on being able to track who has what if the posting is to be believed.

Gamespot had also commented on the report by pointing out that simply having the second disc isn’t enough to play the game somewhat mitigating fears over a rash of spoiler filled vids raining down from Youtube such as what followed Crysis 2.

Estimates can vary on how much of an impact this might have on sales, yet few doubt that MW3 will be a titanic windfall for Activision’s coffers when it hits. Piracy is still piracy, though it arguably did little to dent the record breaking numbers of copies sold for either Modern Warfare 2 or Black Ops when they were released. However, an estimate on revenue lost due to the piracy of Black Ops reportedly tops $200 million that could have gone to Activision. Certainly nothing to sneeze at.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities who has often been quoted in the gaming press for his forecasts on associated trends, has estimated that MW3 will sell “16 million units by the end of the fourth quarter” and “another 8 million next year”.

Grand Theft Auto 5 gets a huge logo

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Rockstar greeted everyone hitting their homepage today with a dramatic flourish by revealing a huge, Grand Theft Auto V logo and word that a trailer is coming on 11-2-11.

It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that we knew Rockstar was working on it in some capacity and hopefully the trailer will be more than just setting the logo and still shots of the game to music. But Rockstar has been relatively quiet in the last few years on GTA, so any news at this point will undoubtedly set the ‘net ablaze with speculation.

Whatever the case might be, I’m excited. Despite GTA IV’s flaws, it was a ton of fun, though I’m hoping that they add in more worthwhile rewards for collecting things. And an NPC relative who does more than ask to go out bowling.

Review: Batman – Arkham City (PS3)

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Rocksteady’s Arkham Asylum was heralded by many as the most definitive Batman game ever made up to 2009. It garnered accolades from many and even from the Guinness Book of World Records as “The Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever”. Even with its flaws, it was an enjoyable romp as one of DC Comics’ most iconic characters, though the incredible hype machine had also cast a shadow over the sequel.

Stringing up bad guys on rafters and beating everyone down with the Bat’s martial expertise in a game soaked with as much respect for the source material as it was from the animated series was great fun in Asylum, so getting a sequel was almost a foregone conclusion especially given the ending. Two years later, here we are with Arkham City. And the good news is that it’s polished with the lessons Rocksteady had learned from the first game.
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BlizzCon 2011: Diablo 3 – Soulstone Trailer

Of course, what would Blizzcon be without some mention of Diablo 3. Blizzard’s dungeon crawler is currently in beta but a firm release date is still in the air.

The latest one shows Deckard Cain’s daughter poring over his notes to discern some meaning from the knowledge he has left behind, eventually stumbling on a villainous vision of apocalyptic terror. In other words, it’s likely that you’ll have to fight what you will see in the trailer below.

It’s also rated Mature, so be warned.

BlizzCon 2011: Starcraft 2 – Heart of the Swarm gets a new trailer

Also out from Blizzcon is a new trailer showing off a bit more of the story in the next installment of Starcraft 2. It’s spoiler worthy stuff meaning that if you haven’t finished the first game, Wings of Liberty, you might want to avert your eyes as it picks up right after the ending with former Zerg queen/Terran Ghost operative Kerrigan finally returning home, so to speak, for revenge.

Wings of Liberty focused on the Terran story and Heart of the Swarm is going to be all about the Zerg along with adding a number of new units to spice things up online. All in all, it looks like RTS players are going to be playing with new and improved Zerg swarms when this breaks.

BlizzCon 2011: World of Warcraft gets…Pandas?

At Blizzard’s Blizzcon in Anaheim, big announcements were made not the least of which was the introduction of a new race to World of Warcraft – the Pandaren.

The race has been used before as an April Fools joke in the past with Warcraft 3 in 2002. In 2005, the Pandaren Xpress was jokingly referred to as an upcoming in-game service wherein players could order out for Chinese food without leaving their PCs. And now it looks like Blizzard has actually made it real.

The jokes were taken in stride by Blizzard’s fans who were fascinated by the idea and loved the humor that the developer wasn’t shy about sharing.

This time around, the announcement has met with some decidedly mixed opinions across several forums. Reading through the thread at PC Gamer, for example, doesn’t seem to have the kind of glowing response that one might expect with one poster believing that this is the point at which the MMORPG has “jumped the shark”.

A thread on the official forums is also filled with mixed opinions, though many are just thankful that Blizzard has continued with its stellar support with another juicy expansion that brings in more than just another race but a host of other additions including pet vs. pet battles, a new land to explore, and plenty of nice art to gawk at.

Whatever you decide for yourself how to take this news, WoW fan or not, it’s coming, so get prepared by watching the official preview below.

Batman: Arkham City leads today’s new games

Batman: Arkham City easily ranks as today’s most anticipated new game.

The sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum includes appearances by classic Batman villains like the Joker, Riddler and Poison Ivy. The game also features voice acting from Mark Hamill, who played the Joker in “Batman: The Animated Series” and writing from Paul Dini, a wordsmith who contributed his talents to that terrific show.

Batman: Arkham City is released for PlayStation 3 and XBox 360. The game’s PC release is set for Nov. 15.

A list of more games out can be found here. Among the other new releases, I think the most intriguing is Rocksmith, a title billed as more of a guitar instructional than a game per se.