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The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC 'delayed a bit'


End of year, it looks like
Jul 01
// Dale North
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC gets delay news in the form of a Facebook response to a fan. When asked about the release date, XSEED responded:  Nobody wants that game released ASAP more than us, but afraid ...
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Looks like Samsung wants to get into the VR headset space


It would be focused for mobile devices
May 23
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Engadget is reporting that Samsung is getting into the virtual reality headset business. The VR headset is being developed by Samsung's mobile division, and it's set to be announced sometime this year. Apparently there's some...
Oculus photo
Oculus

Oculus wants a billion people in the largest MMO ever


A million people in VR isn't cool. You know what's cool?
May 06
// Brett Makedonski
Roughly 1.3 billion people use Facebook, and Oculus strives to eventually put the vast majority of those users in virtual reality. Oculus VR's CEO Brendan Iribe recently described the company's lofty vision for "the largest M...
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The Last of Us concept artist teases something with artwork


Ellie?
May 05
// Dale North
Marek Okon worked as a concept artist on The Last of Us. He posted a piece of art on his Facebook account with the text "let me tease you something... Its coming." To me, this looks like Ellie from The Last of Us. But this co...
ZeniMax vs. Oculus VR photo
ZeniMax vs. Oculus VR

ZeniMax seeking compensation over the Oculus Rift


Asserts Carmack worked on IP while at id that went into the headset
May 01
// Jordan Devore
id Software parent company ZeniMax Media has sent a "formal notice of its legal rights" to Oculus VR and Facebook over intellectual property worked on by chief technology officer John Carmack while he was still at id that Zen...
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King settles The Banner Saga and CandySwipe trademark disputes


Yay!
Apr 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Oh hey good news! King stopped being idiots and settled the trademark disputes they had over the word "saga" and "candy" with a couple of small studios. Stoic Studios, developers of The Banner Saga, released a statement last ...
Star Citizen photo
Star Citizen

Star Citizen's Chris Roberts responds to Oculus buyout


Also, Star Citizen hit the $41 million funding mark
Apr 01
// Alasdair Duncan
Facebook's acquisition of the Oculus Rift company was a shock to say the least, and whilst industry figures have expressed cautious optimism over the buyout, there's still a sense of unease as to what the social media giant h...
Oculus RIFT photo
Oculus RIFT

Facebook's Oculus acquisition has led to death threats


And John Carmack opens up on the purchase
Mar 31
// Steven Hansen
Don't make death threats. Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey said that employees and their families have gotten death threats since Facebook bought the company. Stop doing that, any terrible persons that might be reading this....
Oculus photo
Oculus

Michael Abrash leaves Valve for Oculus VR


He wants to create the Metaverse
Mar 28
// Jordan Devore
Following Valve virtual-reality engineer Atman Binstock's departure to work for Oculus VR, another Valve employee, Michael Abrash, has made the jump. He joins the company as its chief scientist. Abrash wrote a blog post about...
Frog Fractions 2 photo
Frog Fractions 2

Frog Fractions 2 adds $2B stretch goal to buy Oculus VR back from Facebook


Already 0.0022% of the way there!
Mar 27
// Darren Nakamura
The big news of the week was Facebook's surprising purchase of Oculus VR, the company behind the crowdfunded virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Naturally, the denizens of the Internet (over)reacted unfavorably, and Minecraf...
Devil's Third photo
Devil's Third

Devil's Third gets a new logo, more info coming 'this year'


What's another six months or so, right?
Mar 27
// Chris Carter
It feels like Devil's Third, action veteran Tomonobu Itagaki's latest venture, was announced forever ago. That's probably because it was, and after all these years, we haven't gotten much info at all on what the game is actua...
Oculus RIFT photo
Oculus RIFT

Oculus post Facebook acquisition: 'We promise we won't change'


Hopefully the new ownership won't cause an...oculus RIFT
Mar 26
// Steven Hansen
You know who else promised they wouldn't change, Oculus? My third husband. But two years after a trip to Nepal and he's thirty pounds heavier, balding, and a born again Christian. That's not what I signed up for. No matter yo...
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Oculus Rift version of Minecraft canceled because of Facebook acquisition


'Facebook creeps me out.'
Mar 25
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Markus "Notch" Persson has canceled the Oculus Rift version of Minecraft due to the just announced acquisition deal of the VR company by Facebook. Why? Because as Notch stated, "Facebook creeps me out." Hey, it's his company....
Facebook buys Oculus VR photo
The deal is happening in Q2 2014
Facebook announced today it has reached an agreement to acquire virtual-reality headset maker Oculus VR, Inc. for approximately $2 billion -- spread across $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock...

Candy photo
Candy

King files to abandon its ridiculous 'Candy' trademark


Finally, a reason to use this image
Feb 25
// Jordan Devore
I'm as tired of hearing about Candy Crush Saga developer King's trademarking of the word "Candy" as the rest of you, but this is the update many of us have been awaiting: King has filed for express abandonment of the over-rea...
Candy Crush Saga photo
Candy Crush Saga

CandySwipe developer writes sad open letter to King


Candy drama ain't so sweet
Feb 14
// Brett Makedonski
CandySwipe, a match-three mobile game based around confectioneries, looks a lot like Candy Crush Saga. The premise, assets, and name are all wildly similar. That's not much of a surprise though; the mobile market is full of s...
'Candy' trademarked photo
'Candy' trademarked

King Candy: Candy Crush dev trademarks word 'candy'


Candymon
Jan 20
// Steven Hansen
Candy Crush developer King has trademarked the word "Candy." Snicker all you want, it happened. King filed the trademark for "Candy" as it relates to games (and clothing!) almost a year ago and, as Gamezebo has found, the tra...
Evil Genius photo
Evil Genius

Evil Genius is back on Facebook of all places


Play the open beta
Dec 19
// Jordan Devore
I love me some Evil Genius. Enough that I'm willing to try Evil Genius Online, which is Rebellion's free-to-play approximation of the classic base-building game. It's playable now in open beta on Facebook and while it's got t...
inFamous: Second Son photo
inFamous: Second Son

Check out the new inFamous screens with neon powers!


Next-gen beanie graphics!
Nov 25
// Alessandro Fillari
We're seeing a ton of inFamous: Second Son media lately. After the release of the recent trailer, the floodgates have opened, so to speak. And now, the Facebook page for the game has released a set pictures showing off the ne...
Xbox One recording photo
Xbox One recording

Microsoft shows off Xbox One's recording and sharing


Xbox, record that.
Nov 19
// Joshua Derocher
Major Nelson, the poster child for the Xbox, posted a video showing how the recording function will work on the Xbox One. In it, Kyle Lampe uses his voice to command the Xbox One to record gameplay, edit the clip, and upload...
Candy Crush Saga photo
Candy Crush Saga

Sweet stat: Candy Crush Saga's been installed 500M times


I bet your mom's one of them
Nov 15
// Brett Makedonski
Have you heard about this tiny, up-and-coming indie game called Candy Crush Saga? If you haven't, welcome to the Internet, and I'm flattered that this is the first thing you chose to read. If you have, don't feel special; it ...
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Sega lets you pick which Transformers Arcade stage to see


Vote on Facebook
Sep 30
// Dale North
Earlier this year, Sega was caught quietly testing a new Transformers arcade game in China. The robo-cat is out of the bag now, so they're asking fans on Facebook to vote on which bit of gameplay they'll show first.  Oh,...
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Facebook is now a mobile game publisher too


That mobile money
Jul 31
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Facebook has announced a new mobile gaming publishing program. They're looking for small and medium-sized developers in order to "take their mobile games global." So far Facebook has ten developers on board, though TechCrunch...

Gamers urge Nintendo for a playable Zelda

Jul 03 // Jim Sterling
I can really see no reason why this shouldn't be a thing. Whatever your feelings on gender representation in games might be, I think we can all at least agree the kidnapped princess thing is more than a little played out. It'd be fantastic to see Zelda have far more agency in her own story, and if that means making her playable, that'll be all for the better.  People merrily flipped out during E3 when it was revealed Princess Peach would be playable for the first time in forever in Super Mario 3D World, while Zelda herself has proven no stranger to kicking ass in the Super Smash Bros. series. Meanwhile, enterprising coders have done the legwork and made Zelda playable on their own time, so it's not like people don't want it.  Obviously, Nintendo will do what Nintendo will do, because Nintendo is Nintendo and that's what it does. I would definitely be on board for a game actively starring the princess, though, and it's very clear I'm far from the only one who would.
Playable Zelda petition photo
Hell, her name's in the title!
Nintendo is being asked by fans to make Zelda, the eponymous princess of the Legend of Zelda series, a stronger and more influential character. Responding to Eiji Aonuma, who said he'd consider a playable Zelda if fans reques...

Zynga photo
Zynga

Zynga shutting down Draw Something developer OMGPOP


More layoff news
Jun 04
// Jordan Devore
It came out this week that social gaming giant Zynga had laid off 520 employees (approximately 18 percent of its global workforce), which ended up meaning full office closures in some cases. Joining the shutdowns in New York,...
eBay Germany <3 Wii U photo
eBay Germany <3 Wii U

eBay Germany supports Wii U's lack of restrictions


It's a deep burn
May 27
// Tony Ponce
Whoever manages eBay Germany's Facebook page must be a huge Nintendo fan -- or at least is a master at capitalizing on current gamer worries and frustrations. It's apparent that Xbox One is charting a dark path, and the jury'...
OZombie photo
OZombie

Zombies in Oz?! American McGee reveals more on OZombie


There's no place like the Safe House, There's no place like the Safe House...
May 26
// Jason Cabral
From the creative and somewhat disturbing mind of American McGee comes the reveal for his latest title; a twisted take on the classic tale of Dorothy in OZombie. Since the beginning of May, the OZombie Facebook group has been...
Mega Man reboot? photo
Mega Man reboot?

People actually like the Maverick Hunter reboot concept


Fans call for Capcom to revisit the project
May 22
// Chris Carter
Some time ago, we learned off a rather odd project from Capcom -- a gritty Mega Man X FPS idea that never saw the light of day. Yep, Keiji Inafune gave ex-Retro Studios alumni the idea to re-imagine Mega Man similar to Metroi...

Review: Plants vs. Zombies Adventures

May 20 // Chris Carter
Plants vs. Zombies Adventures (Facebook)Developer: PopCapPublisher: PopCapRelease: May 20, 2013MSRP: Free (with microtransactions) The first thing you might notice about Adventures is that it features a city-building aspect, albeit on a very small scale. You'll start off in your tiny town, with one house to your name, as you wait at intervals for the house to "fill up" with Coins, so you can buy plants on go on missions.Yep, right away the game introduces an "energy" mechanic that so many of us loathe in social games -- but I'll explain why it isn't the worst thing the world in a moment. As you start to complete each set of stages, you'll unlock more quadrants in your town to expand upon, and thus, more room for buildings, which means more Coins, and so on. Your hub world basically serves as your interactive zen garden, as it hosts everything you'll need to actually keep playing the game. You'll grow plants here (for a Coin fee), and each plant has a waiting time (from one minute to over an hour) depending on how strong it is. The good news is for the most part, the bulk of the plants you'll need (the standard Peashooter, the long range Aspearagus and the sun garnering Sunflowers) only take a few minutes tops to grow, and cost a minimal amount of coins. This could just be a time sink that influences you to make real world purchases to keep playing, but Adventures actually lets you do a few things that keep the fun going outside of decorating your town. Mostly, you have the option to defend your houses from invading zombies, as well as visit other friend's towns and invade them with your own chosen set of enemies. While you ultimately still have to wait a while to earn Coins to buy plants to actually go on missions, you can mess around on these side excursions as you wait, which helps. Okay, so you hate the idea of tending to a town -- what about actually playing the game? Adventures is not a classic PvZ experience -- it plays out more like a classic isometric tower defense "world tour," as you progress level by level, unlocking new plants as you tend to your town meta-game. It's more simplistic in the sense that you can't create "mazes" and only set plants beside roads, but there's still a decent amount of strategy to it. Plus, the basic PvZ experience is still present, in that you need to build Sunflowers to earn Sun currency to place more plants on the map. Specifically, you cannot bring more than five of each plant type with you, and you can only bring six plants total -- so in a sense, the game forces you to pick the optimal loadout for each map. It's a double-edged sword, as it offers a neat way to challenge you, but can feel restrictive. The layouts for each stage tend to showcase a decent amount of variety at first, but after a while, some of the stages tend to blend together. Where the game's strategy element really shines though is through the use of "sprays," enacted by clicking on certain objects in combat. It sounds like a small addition, but the ability to both spray your own plants to power them up or spray enemies to freeze them for a few seconds is huge. At the cost of 25 sun, you have the power to do either function, and it can absolutely make or break a run. Many times I've stopped an enemy right at a choke-point at the exact right moment, or failed to boost a plant that had an enemy go just out of their range, only to lose the round. While placing towers in the right areas is still a major part of the strategy, there is a twitch element to it, and I really like that -- it also allows you to do something when you've already planted everything, which keeps you in the action. There are microtransactions, but I haven't really felt like they were necessary, and I never once hit a pay-wall in all of my travels. The major issue instead is wait-walling (massive amounts of wait-walling if you just want to do missions, as most of you will), as you have to wait to earn Coins, wait for plants to grow, and repeat the process as you run out of towers to place. Zombucks (earned through beating levels, they allow you to fix up your town and invade others), Coins (earned through farming buildings, which buys you plants), and Gems, which are the strictly real-money currency that can be used to buy either of the former currencies. Although Adventures sleazily tries to get you to buy and spend gems at every turn, even going so far as allowing you to buy "that one last extra difference making plant" in the middle of a stage -- again, they're not really required for the most part, as you can still get through the game with a solid mix of basic plants, and a few advanced ones. In what could have been a really annoying sleazy addition, you need to seek the help of friends to enter the next world (thus propagating the cult-like "conversion" factor that hurts the integrity of many social games) -- but thankfully, you can pay a nominal Zombucks fee to just skip the process entirely, making friends a mostly optional endeavor. Plants vs. Zombies Adventures is fairly inoffensive fun, and serves as the appetizer to PvZ 2's main course. The implementation of sprays makes combat a bit more interactive, and there's a decent variety of plants to keep your strategy liquid. It could stand to implement a more forgiving energy mechanic, but unlike many other social games, it at least gives you something to do while you wait.
PvZ Adventures review photo
It's not PvZ 2, but it's a decent romp
The Plants vs. Zombies IP is a particularly interesting case. After creating one of the biggest casual hits of all time in 2009, Popcap kind of just sat on the property, keeping quiet about future plans despite its popularity...

Preview: Plants vs. Zombies Adventures

May 10 // Chris Carter
Plants vs. Zombies Adventures (Facebook)Developer: PopCapPublisher: PopCapRelease: May 20, 2013MSRP: Free (with microtransactions) Adventures has a pretty straight-forward setup: you'll have access to your own town (much like FarmVille -- wait, where are you going?), which you'll manage and build, and there's an opportunity to go on "Road Trips" which are essentially missions. As you take on more and more missions, you'll unlock new areas (and thus, more plants, content, buildings, and quests) in your town. Sound simple enough? Missions themselves are a tad different than the core game. Instead of an intimate grid-based setting, they take place on an isometric-style map, and feel like more of a traditional tower defense experience. Each plant has a different attack radius or ability just like in the core Plants vs. Zombies, and for the most part it plays out in the same way despite the change in view. Sunflowers still earn you sun, plants still need a certain amount of sun to build, and so on. There are a decent number of new plants -- some of which may make it into Plants vs. Zombies 2. One major change I actually enjoyed more in Adventures is the new spray mechanic. Using increments of 25 sun, you can choose to either increase the range (or use a hidden ability) of one of your plants, or freeze an enemy zombie for a few seconds. It adds a lot of strategy and can easily mean the difference between a win or a loss, even later in the game. While most social games would enact a paywall fairly early, these sprays help break down that wall and add more of a skill element to the experience, which is welcome. But of course, this is a social game, and you can't just go willy nilly and do missions all the time. The way PopCap "gets you" is by requiring players to go back to their home base of operations to create more plants. For instance, in order to use standard Peashooters and Sunflowers, you have to grow them at your home plot (it takes 60 seconds for standard plants to grow), and each plant costs a certain amount of Coins. So how do you earn Coins? By gathering them at structures in your town, which refill at periodic times (on average, they run on a two-hour timer). Normally this would result in a paywall of some sort, but I haven't experienced a hard paywall yet in many hours of play. Plants vs. Zombies Adventures has a lot to do, which is partially overwhelming, but it also (mostly) alleviates the annoying "wait-wall" (energy mechanic) found in most Facebook or social games -- depending on how enjoyable you find the other activities in the game. When you're waiting on Coins for missions, you can spruce up your town, invade other towns, defend your property from encroaching zombies, or do quests, like creating a certain amount of plants, or upgrading buildings. While a lot of people will most likely want to just go out and do missions all the time (you can't), at least there's some sort of option here. For instance, at one point where I'd normally have to wait an hour or so to earn more Coins to buy plants, I invaded a friend's town and stole Coins from his settlement, giving me enough money to do a few more missions while my Coin cache went back to normal. In order to actually do all of these things, you'll need to utilize three forms of currency -- Zombucks (earned through beating levels, they allow you to fix up your town and invade others), Coins (earned through farming buildings, which buys you plants), and Gems, which are the strictly real-money currency that can be used to buy either of the former currencies. To elaborate, Zombucks are the bread and butter of building a better town. You'll be able to clear out debris -- and thus, plots for buildings -- erect more coin-gathering buildings, and so on. Again, Coins are the lifeblood of actually playing the game, because without them, you can't buy plants, and as a result can't actually embark on missions. Coins follow the typical FarmVille-esque "wait then harvest" scheme, but it's a lot less sleazy and more upfront. Every few hours, your buildings will generate enough coins to handle a massive amount of stages -- at least five in the early game. Depending on your tastes, Plants vs. Zombies Adventures may be up your alley. The good news is while there is some form of an energy mechanic, there's a lot to do while you're waiting. Stay tuned for our full review shortly after launch, which is currently slated for May 20.
Plants vs. Zombies photo
A more traditional tower defense on Facebook
Well, Plants vs. Zombies Adventures certainly came out of nowhere. Many people feared it was actually the rumored Plants vs. Zombies 2, but alas, this is a completely separate project held entirely within Facebook. I can't ta...


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