Homefront IP Is On The Move Once Again With Crytek In Trouble

Well, Homefront is in the news again and unfortunately it’s due to another set back.

Initially reported in June over on Kotaku, reports indicated a growing unrest at Crytek studios (like Crytek UK) due to missed paychecks, cancelled projects, and a general lack of communication from the headquarters in Germany. Publicly, we weren’t getting much information outside of the default line that everything was okay. Now we know that things are not okay.

homefront_game_occupation

Yesterday, Crytek announced that it had sold the Homefront IP, a property it worked hard to purchase back during the THQ auctions mind you, to Koch Media/Deep Silver who was serving as publisher on the upcoming title, Homefront: The Revolution. Seeing the signs on the wall when the game’s director resigned and to prevent a total collapse of the project, Deep Silver jumped in to scoop up the IP and related assets. Development will continue at the newly created Deep Silver Dambuster Studio. As you’d expect, staff members from Crytek UK will be moving over to the Dambuster team to continue working on The Revolution.

“As we look to cement Crytek’s future, this strategic deal with Koch Media would allow us to continue with our ambitious goals to become an online publisher,” Crytek Founder and CEO, Cevat Yerli said in a statement. “With Warface, Arena of Fate and HUNT, we believe we have the perfect portfolio and teams to make that happen. We would like to thank all our staff – past and present – in both Nottingham and Austin for their contributions to the company, and we wish all the very best to anyone who may no longer be under the Crytek banner moving forward.”

I don’t want to call the Homefront IP cursed or anything but the amount of hardship and transition the property has seen in it’s lifetime is pretty interesting. It began life at Kaos studios and released in 2011 to mixed reviews but financial success. At this point, THQ was beginning to feel the squeeze of poor business decisions and decided to shutter Kaos and move the sequel to Crytek to handle. As we all remember, THQ couldn’t save itself and completely fell apart with it’s entire portfolio going to a bankruptcy auction, where it was again saved by Crytek as they purchased the IP outright. After going dark for around three years, ‘The Revolution’ was revealed at E3 2014 and gained a good amount of attention for stripping away the elements that didn’t work in the first game and presenting something new and intriguing inside that universe. Unfortunately, the positivity quickly faded as the financial troubles and employee unrest began to circulate around the internet in June. Hopefully now that it’s with Deep Silver, things can stabilize for this IP.

If you need another example of the situation that Crytek is in, yesterday they also announced that the Crytek USA (made up of former Vigil employees) team in Austin suffered layoffs as well. The studio loss was so deep that only a handful of people are left and will serve as a support house for third party studios that license Crytek’s CryEngine toolkit. Their game, Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age, is being moved to the studio in Frankfurt to continue development. It’s a sad end to a new studio made up of people who gave us the Darksiders games.

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My Time In The Destiny Beta With Updated Thoughts

Destiny_Beta_logo

The much anticipated Destiny beta has come and gone and from what I’ve been reading, it was a huge success for Activision and Bungie. While I was unfortunately away on vacation for the majority of the access period, I did manage to squeak in some time with it. Below I’ve compiled some updated thoughts on the experience.

Rather than rehashing my experiences here, I’ve decided to focus on the new elements to the beta and maybe even things that Bungie managed to fix/update from the alpha version. If you want a basic rundown of Destiny and how it plays, definitely have a look at my Alpha impressions from June first then make sure to come back here to see what’s new.

Random Thoughts
If you remember in my Alpha post, I felt like Destiny was an experience that was more of a slow burn in the fact that it required some time to get used to everything before you started experiencing the joy of it.

What I found interesting is that the beta managed to completely shatter that line of thinking for me. The beta proved to be (what I felt) easier to understand in concept and in gameplay. I was no longer struggling with certain things about the game and features that were once a little confusing, now made sense. Could it be because I played the alpha version first? Maybe. Things just felt tighter, more focused, and in addition to now having a story to prop up the gameplay certainly helped the overall experience. I rolled a Titan this time around, having used a Warlock and Hunter during my time with the alpha version. I will say that I enjoyed playing as all three classes, each feeling powerful in their role. It’s going to be a tough decision which class to create first once September rolls around.

What I Liked/Surprised Me

More Loot!
Like Pavlov’s dogs, I’ve been conditioned by games such as Diablo and Borderlands to feel a visceral thrill opening chests and other containers and seeing items pop out of them. When a game promises loot, I expect to be over burdened with chests, gear and places to plunder. The Destiny alpha let me down in this regard, but the beta actually featured more items and even a few chests to open. Granted, the game doesn’t go crazy with items, you’re gaining loot at a decent pace to the point where you’re constantly upgrading your character. It’s probably for the best because who wants to have five cracked boots in your inventory at one time? At least the content in Destiny is meaningful and beneficial to your current character level.

Darkness Zones
One of the newer additions to the beta were these “Darkness Zones” which typically cropped up during the last sections of the campaign missions. Upon entering the area, it added a layer of challenge to the mission where dying meant you’d have to tackle this section again from the start. No respawning here, you’d have to play it safe if you wanted to make it out alive. I found it to be an interesting twist and one that definitely altered my playing style. With regenerating health, you can typically run, gun, and take chances but in these Darkness Zones, doing that will more than likely result in restarting the zone. I am curious to see if this feature was just being tested on a wider scale or if it’ll really be in every story mission like the beta. I can also see it being a pain point for solo or inexperienced players so I’d have to imagine that it wouldn’t be a constant feature.

Stronger Narrative
While the alpha was focused more on gameplay, the beta gave folks a greater glimpse at the final Destiny product complete with cutscenes, plot points, and overall a stronger narrative to sink your teeth into. While I already knew I enjoyed the gameplay, seeing the story elements play out was a nice added layer and really made me want to see the whole package. The cutscenes look great, your character actually has a voice, and the universe that Bungie has created seems like it’s going to feature a number of interesting twists. While I can’t quite comment on the story overall, the beta did a great job of giving me a taste of things to come and really kept me wanting to see more. There’s a lot of stuff going on between your character, the world you’re in, and the Traveller and I can’t wait to see how it all ties together in September.

Peter Dinklage
Yes, the much maligned “The Wizard Came From The Moon!” guy has gotten a make over so to speak for the beta. While the Moon Wizard line is removed completely, his voice has also been enhanced with a sort of distortion filter over it which helps him sound a bit more robotic and A.I. like. Overall I never really had an issue with his voice work, but the difference in the beta is noticeable making his character more enjoyable.

Concerns/Dislikes

No Pause
If you’re a parent of young children like me (or a parent in general) then this aspect may drive you a little up a wall. Unfortunately, you’re not able to pause the game at any point, so if you have a screaming child, you have to decide right then and there what to do. Now, I understand the reasons behind this. It’s an online game with multiplayer elements, so it would be like trying to pause a game of Team Deathmatch in Call of Duty or something. It’s just not possible, though when you’re on a solo mission, you kind of feel like it should be.

I was also going to write about being tired of exploring Old Russia and its Cosmodrome considering the zone had been featured in both the alpha and beta tests. My initial concern was that this would be the only Earth based zone, but after doing a little digging, I found out that the retail version of the game actually has a lot more of Earth to explore including places like the European Deadzone and Old Chicago to name a few. I’m pretty happy at this news which doesn’t even count all of the other planets and moons you’ll be able to travel to as well. Destiny promises to be a massive game in scale, probably bigger than we can even imagine.

September cannot come soon enough!

If you had a chance to run around in the beta, let me know what you thought down in the comments. Would love to hear from you guys.

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The Release Date Shuffle: Which Games Are On The Move?

I think it’s fair to say that October was going to bend and break a lot of wallets this year. For some reason publishers and developers decided that October was the perfect month to release their game, creating a sort of logjam. Take a look at October 7 for example. One week ago, there were 5 higher profile games being released on that date: Dragon Age Inquisition, Shadow of Mordor, Alien: Isolation, DriveClub, and NBA 2k15. Granted, that’s not everything that’s being planned for release on that day, but you get the picture.

Something had to give right?

With Comic-Con coming and going this past weekend, we actually learned that some of the planned October games are no longer in their pre-determined spots, with one even missing 2014 entirely. Honestly, with the amount of content on the way in October alone, this is only a good thing. So lets have a look at who’s on the move, shall we?

Lets hit the bad news first. The delays.

For those of you looking for a new Battlefield fix, it won’t be this year. Battlefield Hardline, being developed by the Dead Space studio, Visceral Games, was recently pushed from it’s October 2014 time slot into a less clear ‘early 2015′ window. EA did provide some details on why the game was delayed and it seems to have hinged on a lot of player feedback they had received during the beta period.

This feedback also spurred us to start thinking about other possibilities and ways we could push Hardline innovation further and make the game even better,” a post on EA’s Battlelog reads. “The more we thought about these ideas, the more we knew we had to get them into the game you will all be playing. However, there was only one problem. We would need more time. Time that we didn’t have if we decided to move forward with launching in just a couple of months.

Considering the kind of rocky start Battlefield 4 had, perhaps this delay to Hardline will be for the best for the game and for reassuring fans that a launch like that won’t happen again.

The bad news continued for EA who then delivered another blow by announcing that the next much anticipated entry into their Dragon Age franchise was also being pushed out of it’s October 7 release date. Dragon Age Inquisition instead will now be releasing on November 18, so not a huge delay but one that will surely disappoint fans. Reasons for the delay were much more vague and no specifics were given.

Typically, we only hear about games getting pushed back, so when a game gets pushed forward, it’s a wonderful surprise. Thankfully, in this case, it’s the game that seems to be sweeping critics by storm, Shadow of Mordor. Perhaps in an effort to get away from the (former) October 7 crush of games and to capitalize on all of the good press and excitement, Warner Bros announced that it has moved the highly anticipated title forward by a week to September 30 in North America and October 2 for the rest of the world. Now that is a change I can get behind!

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Where’s My Video Round Up?!?! (And Other Assassin’s Creed News)

If I’ve done my job right this past week, then you probably didn’t realize that I was on vacation and off-the-grid, unless you know me then this post is already spoiled. I made sure to have enough interesting (I hope) content lined up for you this week to keep you distracted. That is until today rolled around.

You see, the Saturday Video Round Up has been a staple here at Gamer Crash for about as long as I can remember. It’s a feature that takes an entire week for me to put together and as you can now guess, I wasn’t around to actually assemble it. So I humbly ask for your forgiveness and instead would like to present to you a brand new video from the Assassin’s Creed team as they detail some of the new features coming for their new next-gen only Assassin’s title, Unity. Hey, one video is better than no videos, right? Enjoy!

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My PlayStation Share Photo Album

It’s kind of odd yet funny in a way. One of my favorite aspects of the PlayStation 4 is that silly little share button on the controller. I find a sort of joy in capturing screenshots or videos while playing. To that end, you could easily call inFAMOUS Second Son an enabler as they added a photo mode to the game which made capturing screenshots so incredibly easy and fun. It’s one of the more simpler elements to the console and yet, it’s also one I find so compelling.

With that said, I figured I’d take some time now to share with you all some of the screenshots and videos I’ve captured so far including content from Watch_Dogs, Transistor, and a few others. It’s such a simple yet fun feature to the console. Enjoy!

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Captured Videos

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Beginner Tips: Using the Xbox One and PS4 Record Features

To me, one of the best aspects of this new generation of systems is how easy they make capturing video. For those of you who have been playing games for a while, I’m sure you can pinpoint a few times where you do something great or see something totally crazy happen in a game and only wish you could have somehow recorded the moment to show other people. Thankfully, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One now make this dream an easy reality.

I’m using these features quite regularly (probably more than I figured I would), but I will admit trying to use these features successfully was a little obtuse at the beginning. Certain aspects of these sharing features were either not explained well or just not documented clearly enough. So, in an effort to provide some community service to you all, I figured I’d lend a helping hand and share some tips for both systems. Come back tomorrow for a look at what I’ve captured so far.

Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.

Xbox One
I have to hand it to Microsoft, they really made the video capture process super simple and thankfully it’s been well documented and talked about from the beginning. Being able to record video clips on the Xbox One was a natural and fun process. What the system doesn’t do as well as it’s PlayStation counterpart is capturing screenshots. It’s a little more in depth than just pressing a button, but we’ll get tot hat. For now, the following tips will be your best friend for capturing that epic moment on the Xbox One.

“Xbox, Record That”
The phrase that everyone with a Kinect should know, saying this particular phrase will record the last 30 seconds of gameplay for you. So if you do something cool and you want to share it, say that phrase and it’ll be yours to keep and then upload via Upload Studio. Granted, now that Xbox One can ship without Kinect, this phrase will only be available to those with a sensor (obviously).

Snap Upload
Lets say you want to record something longer than 30 second. For that, you’ll need to first boot up the game and then snap the Upload app. If you have a Kinect, you can say the phrase “Xbox Snap Upload” as well for the same effect.

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Once that is done, you can start recording and either have the timer run out after 5 minutes or stop the recording at any time. Unlike PlayStation, Xbox (at the time of this writing) records up to 5 minutes of gameplay. For you voice activation fans, the commands to say are, “Xbox select, Start Recording” and then “Xbox select, stop recording”.

Keep in mind that to switch windows, double tap the middle button on the Xbox controller. You’ll also want to save your video clips in the Upload DVR as unsaved gameplay clips do have an expiration date on them.

PlayStation 4
Honestly, out of both systems Sony’s console is the one that seems to have the most questions surrounding video capture. Sure, we all see the big “Share” button on the controller and capturing cool screenshots is a breeze, but how do you capture video? Let the following tips guide you!

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“Share”
This one is a little obvious considering that there’s a button on the face of the controller named “Share”. It’s through this button where everything happens.

Pressing the button once will bring up the share menu screen which will allow you to change your share settings, broadcast gameplay, upload a screenshot, or upload a video. That’s all well and good, but where do I record?

The PlayStation 4 is always recording you. Sounds freaky I know, but let me explain. In the share menu, pressing the square button on your controller will actually save the last ‘X’ amount of gameplay you just played. X in this case represents the amount of time you have specified in the share settings, so by default, it’ll be the last 15 minutes of gameplay.

Let’s say though, you know something cool is coming up and you want to be proactive about recording. Not a problem. Double tap the share button and the system will start recording from that point forward up to the amount of default time you specified for your share settings. To end the recording, just press the share button once and press square to save it to your hard drive. *IMPORTANT* Keep in mind that by doing this, it’ll overwrite your last 15 minutes of gameplay that was being recorded at the time.

So as you can see, even though it’s not explained terribly well on the console, taking screenshots and videos on the PlayStation 4 is incredibly easy.

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Soundtrack Central: Late Spring 2014 Edition

With so many games hitting retail shelves, I figured I’d time to take a look back and pick out a few more with some great music. To me, a game’s soundtrack is a pretty underrated component. Not only can a poor soundtrack bring down the entire experience, in some cases, it can even elevate the core game. In any case, who doesn’t like some catchy and excellent audio?

So prep your ears and crank the volume as a trio of awesome soundtracks await you below.

Fantastic Chicago cityscape shot

Watch_Dogs
I won’t lie, I didn’t expect much from the soundtrack on this one with the focus squarely on the game’s open world and gameplay moments but over the course of my playtime with it, the soundtrack really began to grow on me. It’s not a soundtrack that immediately stands out, but meshes with the gameplay really well. Since this is a game that deals with hacking and technology, you’ve probably already guessed that the music leans towards the electronic side, which would be accurate. From what I’ve found, Brian Reitzell’s score is dripping with atmosphere and tension, fitting extremely well with the action taking place on the screen.

Recommended Tracks:
Ghosts of the Past
Donovan
Vigilante
Hackers
Creepy Caller

shovel_enemiesShovel Knight
I had an inkling that this title would be featuring a special soundtrack and I’m going to have to pat myself on the back with how right I was. Composed by Jack “virt” Kaufman with assistance by Mega Man 1 composer, Manami Matsumae, the Shovel Knight soundtrack taps into the very best chiptune music giving the game a very classic and retro feel. The songs are catchy and will be stuck in your head long after playing. There’s no better example of this than Strike The Earth! which is chiptune music at it’s finest. In fact, I’m still humming this out loud almost on a daily basis. The same can be said for pretty much the entire soundtrack to be honest. If you enjoyed the music from the NES/Genesis/SNES era, you’ll find a lot to love with this one.

Recommended Tracks:
Strike The Earth!
An Underlying Problem
La Danse Macabre
Flowers of Antimony
High Above The Land

Honestly though, the whole thing is amazing in my opinion. The good news is you can listen to the whole thing and even purchase it if you like. Make sure to click here.

Cloudbank_transistorTransistor
Brought to life once again by Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett, Transistor takes on a whole different sound than it’s predecessor in Bastion. Gone are the western inspired trip hope sound, replaced by a beautiful rock and roll sound complete with driving beats, orchestral moments, a touch of electronic synth and powerful guitars. The music of Transistor plays a major role in the game almost walking the line hand in hand with the gameplay on the screen. There’s not really much else I can say about it beside go listen to the whole thing right now, it’s fantastic.

Recommended Tracks:
Old Friends
We All Become
Coasting
The Spine
Apex Beat

Just like Shovel Knight, the entire soundtrack is definitely worth a listen. Click here to experience the magic.

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