Alan Wake 2 Revealed: The Game We’ll Never Play

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The original Alan Wake on the XBox 360 was a mind-melting, thrilling and addictive gameplay experience.  The sensation of locking down a horrifying nightmare-version of an angry screaming hunter with a flashlight before blasting him into dust with a shotgun was nothing short of euphoric for me.  It wasn’t just the eerie environment or the tight-as-hell gameplay that I fell in love with, it was the narrative.  The story that sang a love song to The X-Files while drizzling references to Twin Peaks all over it’s plot twists and environment was something that I simply could not get enough of.

And then it happens.  That ending.  That gut punch, cliffhanger of an ending.  It didn’t anger me, it chilled me to my core and had my mind run wild at all of the possibilities that were now open for the next game in the series. I couldn’t wait.

Last year Sam Lake, the man who created Max Payne, modeled for Max Payne and would go on to create Alan Wake, made a very sad announcement.  The Alan Wake 2 project was dead.  Their new game Quantum Break was still moving ahead but their supernatural thriller about a paranoid author was going to have to end at a lone spin-off game released in 2012.

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This brings us to Polygon’s excellent exclusive on the Alan Wake 2 that never was.  The website was able to sit down with Sam Lake and discuss everything from the story and environment they had mapped out for the game, the elements that were carried into Alan Wake’s American Nightmare and Quantum Break, Lake’s excitement for the return of Twin Peaks and X-Files and even the possibility of continuing the Alan Wake story by bringing in other groups or studios.

It’s a wonderful piece and a must-read for any fan of the series.  It also includes a video that gives you the closest look at Alan Wake 2 that we’ll probably ever see.

Go check it out right now.

And if you love good video games, horror, The X-Files, Twin Peaks, The Twilight Zone, Max Payne, Stephen King or just a really good story then I strongly recommend that you experience Alan Wake for yourself.

Please give it a chance, you will not regret it.

LEAK: Ryu from Street Fighter; Fire Emblem’s Roy coming to Smash Bros.

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It sounded pretty crazy at first but it’s looking more and more likely to be true-

Street Fighter character Ryu may be an upcoming DLC fighter for Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Super Smash Bros. 3DS.  With all the excitement of Mewtwo, Lucas and the new fighter ballot, people have begun to dig through and decrypt today’s new Smash Bros. update.

Redditor shinyquagsire23 uncovered some major revelations:

Ok, so I just got the latest update decrypted, and I think I have some news which might be rather interesting.

First things first, new sounds. In /romfs/sound/bgm we have a slew of new sounds (and some old ones from prior updates since each update overwrites the other). The list is:

  • snd_bgm_F27_AIR_MoriStage_3DS.nus3bank
  • snd_bgm_H12_BW_Sentou_Zekrom_Reshiram_3DS.nus3bank
  • snd_bgm_SF01_SF2_Ryu_3DS.nus3bank
  • snd_bgm_T09_SDX_PupupuLand_3DS.nus3bank
  • snd_bgm_V01_PAC_PacMan_3DS.nus3bank
  • snd_bgm_Z80_F_Mewtwo_3DS.nus3bank
  • snd_bgm_Z81_F_Ryu_3DS.nus3bank
  • snd_bgm_Z82_F_Lucas_3DS.nus3bank
  • snd_bgm_Z83_F_Roy_3DS.nus3bank

Now obviously the biggest sticklers are Ryu, Mewtwo, Roy, and Lucas. Not sure who Ryu is (although if anyone does know, please tell),. However, Roy most intrigued me. Did they update the koopa kid’s sound for some reason? Or is there more?

So I converted the 4 sounds which most stuck out to me:

Most of these are victory screens, all but the first Ryu sound file which seems to be a new stage. Now here’s the kicker: Roy’s victory theme is the Fire Emblem victory theme.

Yes, we’re getting Roy back guys!

I’ll continue exploring around if I can, it’s a bit late here unfortunately and I might not be back for a while though.

EDIT: I just looked into it, apparently Ryu is from Street Fighter

EDIT 2: Went ahead and ran a file listing on every updated file (although, granted, this also includes every update from before 1.06), txt file is here. Nothing too special, wouldn’t run to any conclusions from just a file list.

EDIT 3: Just to clarify, this is from a 3DS decryption, not Wii U. No idea what’s in the Wii U files, and I don’t have a Wii U to verify that.

EDIT 4: As some people pointed out, these could also be scrap files, no guarantees on anything yet. Really interesting though.

Edit 5: RIP Dropbox links. Might have to find another place to throw them.


OK, so it seems this whole thing exploded while I was away. Did some more investigating and got the rest of the audio files converted. One of them looks to be N64 Dreamland, an updated Pac-Man and Pokemon stage song, Ryu’s stage, a stage I’m not sure what it is (MoriStage_3DS), and then the 3 victory themes. Since Dropbox died last time, I zipped all the audio files into a MEGA download here. Also, just another note, but the thing I just realized is that in my 1.05 decryption the sounds folder was nonexistant, so all these sounds are new in one way or another.

EDIT: OK, so I’ve identified with the help of some of the other scene people some of the other songs which should match up with each file:

Interestingly enough, we have two kirby songs in here. New stage perhaps?

Yup, those are definitely the two songs used in the Dreamland stage on Super Smash Bros. for N64.  It sounds like we’re getting some DLC stages pretty soon.

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So not only is Ryu likely to be the next playable third party Smash Bros. character and we’re getting new stages, but signs are also pointing to the return of Fire Emblem’s Roy.  Roy’s last Smash appearance was also his first- in GameCube’s Super Smash Bros. Melee.  It would be pretty exciting to have him come back.

Crediar on twitter, who previously leaked Tingle as a playable character in Hyrule Warriors, also verifies these files.

For further confirmation, Ryu’s Smash Bros music and several other themes have been uploaded here.

It looks like Nintendo is planning to keep the Smash Bros. machine alive for a long time.  Thank god.

 

PS – here’s the best rendition of Ryu’s theme you’ll ever experience.

 

Find deals on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, 3DS and Smash Bros. amiibos on Amazon right now!

New Final Fantasy Dissidia fighter lets you play as Ramza from Tactics!

“Final Fantasy fighting game?  Are you serious?”

If you’re asking this question then chances are that you missed the lovely Dissidia series on the Sony PSP.  Dissidia: Final Fantasy was a gorgeous, featured-filled RPG-fighting game hybrid that reviewed highly but did not get the exposure beyond Japan that it probably deserved.  Dissidia asks the player to pick from a hero or a villain from each of the first ten Final Fantasy games, equip weapons and spells and take them on an FMV-filled journey to level up and take down evil alongside their fellow heroes and heroines.  Dissidia was so packed with extra gameplay features, summons, stages, songs and other fan pandering gifts that it would make Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai blush.   Eventually Dissidia spawned a sequel (012: Duodecim because Nomura decided the Kingdom Hearts titles weren’t confusing enough.  Duodecim was another PSP exclusive, retaining the same familiar tight gameplay while adding several new playable characters such as FFXIII’s Lightning and FFVII’s Tifa.

It has been long-known that Square Enix had been planning an arcade-based sequel but it wasn’t until today’s closed-conference that a very select crowd was exposed to a bevy of sweet details. First and foremost, the new game will be developed by Koei Tecmo’s Team Ninja, the same team responsible for the Dead or Alive series.  SiliconEra reports that new Dissidia runs on the PS4 core-engine, heavily suggesting that the game will eventually be ported to the console though the development team stressed that they wanted fans to experience it in the arcades first.

Running at a solid 60 fps, the fighter will introduce a new 3 v. 3 battle system without abandoning the series core gameplay roots.  Equipment and spells are still in use although summons will now be shared and assigned to a team of 3.  Finally, Square Enix and Team Ninja boldly announced that they game will feature over 50 playable characters in a growing roster that will benefit from system updates and free upgrades.  One of those 50 characters was revealed by renowned Final Fantasy art director and Kingdom Hearts creator Tetsuya Nomura to be Final Fantasy Tactics protagonist Ramza Beoulve.  This marks the character’s first appearance in the Dissidia franchise, sporting a slightly updated look that doesn’t stray far from his original design (see below).  Though he won’t be immediately available upon the game’s initial release this fall, we will see him in a major update shortly afterwards.

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It is unknown whether or not we can expect to see additional Tactics characters (Delita anyone?) but we may learn more when the game is exposed to the public for testing on April 17th.

Take a look at the official press release and feast your eyes on the new trailer below- though you might want to turn down your volume because that (admittedly awesome) rock remix of the Dissidia theme is going to punch you in the ears:


Find deals on Dissidia and other Final Fantasy titles on Amazon right now!
…and you haven’t explored the Final Fantasy Tactics series, do yourself a favor and pick up Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions.

Rock Band 4 Announced for Playstation 4 and XBox One

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Harmonix has officially announced the return of the Rock Band franchise.  The development team behind Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero 2 and the Rock Band series is promising that Rock Band 4 will be available later this year on both XBox One and Playstation 4.  Sadly, there are no plans to release the game on Nintendo Wii U or PC as of this time.  It seems that they are initially planning to roll out the game on successors to consoles where the franchise performed historically better in sales.

The good news is that all of your previous instruments will still work with the new game even though Mad Catz is working on new peripherals for Rock Band 4 as well.  Even better, Harmonix is currently working on a project to make sure that all of your downloaded songs will be available for the new game as well!

Finally, Harmonix has included a very handy FAQ addressing the more popular concerns about the game on their website.

See below:

Q: When is RB4 coming out?!
A: Rock Band will be out this year. Stay tuned for more specifics in the coming months.

Q: What consoles is RB4 coming out for?
A: Rock Band 4 will be released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Q: Why not Wii / Wii U / PC?
A: Due to shifting production priorities and capabilities of the studio, we don’t currently have plans to release RB4 on the Wii / Wii U / PC simultaneously with Xbox One and PS4. While we genuinely appreciate the support of Wii Rock band users over the years, and the increased interest from PC gamers, the truth is that we had to prioritize opportunities on other platforms with historically larger RB audiences.

Q: Will my old DLC work on the next gen console of the same type, i.e. PS3 -> PS4?
A: Yes! Content purchased from the store or exported from a disc will transfer over to the new generation of consoles at not addition cost as we make that content available.

Q: Will my old DLC work if I bought a different next gen console, i.e. Xbox 360 -> PS4?
A: Cross platform DLC compatibility is not entirely within our control, as DLC ownership is managed by the 1st parties.

Q: Will my old hardware work?
A: We’re already working closely with Mad Catz, Sony, and Microsoft on solutions for letting you use legacy hardware on new consoles. This is a challenge on both the software side and hardware side, but something we’d love to happen. We’ll have more information on this in the coming months.

Q: Will you be making new hardware?
A: Yes we will! You can preorder a new PAX East exclusive guitar if you come by the Harmonix booth! We’re working with Mad Catz, who has a lot of history with RB gear, and we’re excited to get more instruments back into the world.

Q: Will there be any new instruments, i.e. a tuba, accordion, mouth harp, etc?
A: We’re concentrating on the core band that people are most familiar with (guitar, bass, drums, and mic) rather than expanding on the types of playable instruments in RB4.

Q: What will the new Rock Band cost?
A: Sorry, but we’re not talking about pricing at this time.

Q: What instruments will be playable? Wiill RB4 have Pro guitar and keys?
A: Rock Band 4 will focus on the core experience and the roots of the franchise – guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. There will be no Pro Guitar or key support in Rock Band 4. We will continue to support “Pro” mode for Drums.

Q: What are the new features?
A: We’re not quite ready to reveal the evolutionary features of Rock Band 4, but we’re excited to show you in the coming months how we’re expanding the core gameplay you love.

Q: Will you be bringing back [Random Feature X]?
A: We’re not quite ready to reveal the feature set of Rock Band 4 yet, but keep posted for more info!

Q: Will you have songs by [Random Band X]?
A: We’re not talking about the disc soundtrack just yet, but you can bet it’ll be awesome. Over 2000 songs spanning over 500 artists already exist in Rock Band catalog and we’re committed to expanding that and supporting the game post-launch with DLC, and we’re always looking for new bands and sounds, so keep the suggestions coming! Let us know what you want at RockBand.com/request

Q: When will you have more news about RB4?
A: Soon! Keep posted to our social channels and the Harmonix forums for updates.

Q: When can I preorder RB4?
A: You can sign up for preorder notifications right now at RockBand.com/preorder!

UPDATE: Plants vs. Zombies 2 Update Fixes “Music Blocking” Issue!

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UPDATE:

Credit where credit is due, Part 2 of Frostbite Caves was released last week and it fixes the sound issue that I complained about back in January.  Players on both iOS and Android devices alike are posting that they are now once again able to enjoy their podcasts and music while playing the game.

I just want to tip my hat to PopCap for making the correction.

Thanks guys, I’m enjoying the new stages!

Review Plants vs. Zombies 2 on the App Store and let them know you appreciate the fix!

Banjo-Kazooie Spiritual Sequel Confirmed; First Details Revealed

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After months and months of teasing through mysterious Twitter account MingyJongo, it looks like we’re finally going to get our first look at the spiritual sequel to Banjo-Kazooie on Thursday.

Former RARE-employee and game composer Grant Kirkhope is responsible for lending his music making talents to the golden age of the Nintendo 64, creating music for Goldeneye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, Perfect Dark,  Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Killer Instinct Gold and Donkey Kong 64.  Kirkhope left RARE about five years after Microsoft took over, shortly after lending his work to the Banjo spin-off Nuts & Bolts and the Viva Pinata series.

Recently Kirkhope has been teasing Banjo-Kazooie fans about a new project.  The very same project that MingyJongo has been seemingly promoting through a unique brand of Twitter-based viral marketing.

Playtonics, a new game developer comprised of former RARE employees, makes no bones about who they are.  Take a look at their suspicious-looking logo and hilarious motto about a “rare breed of games” on their official website.  Cute.  They also describe their team in a little bit more detail:

Ahem. Currently we’re a sextet of artists, programmers and designers – sort of like The Pussycat Dolls with computer science degress – with one thing in common; we were all once core member of famous UK studio Rare, where we helmed franchises such as Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong Country and Viva Piñata.

We’ve got the bloke who programmed Donkey Kong Country, the character designer behind Banjo and Kazooie, and the artist who made your console fit to burst with lavish environments across a decade’s worth of adventure games.

Playtonics isn’t revealing any major details until the new issue of EDGE Magazine hits on Thursday, but we do know a few tidbits for the time being. The game is said to be a 3-D platformer akin to Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, featuring a completely new set of protagonists (that appear to be a bird and a dinosaur? Maybe?).  The game will receive early access treatment through Steam.  Other consoles are not announced, though the development team at Playtonic games explicitly express their wish to work with Nintendo once again.

There’s a history of working with Nintendo so we’d naturally love to see our game on a Nintendo platform. If people tell us to make Wii U our target console platform then we’ve got the flexibility to do that.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the teaser image left by Playtonics on their website.  Do you see the dinosaur and bird or have I completely lost all my jinjos?

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Full details will be revealed in EDGE Magazine on Thursday, February 12th.
Keep checking Playtonic’s official website and twitter account for more details.

Check out some sweet Amazon deals on N64 RARE classics like Banjo, Goldeneye, Diddy Kong Racing and more!

SEGA SEQUEL: New Toejam & Earl Game In The Works

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This one definitely slipped under my radar.
According to the official Facebook page, a brand-new Toejam and Earl game is currently in production.

Just a week ago, the Toejam and Earl Facebook page posted this message:

Greetings from Funkotron! We haven’t been posting as often lately because we’ve gotten really busy with the new TJ&E game. We will be making some announcements in a probably 3 or 4 weeks, when we have something we can show, and will be able to share lots of information with you.

Little else has been said since the posting but included with the statement were a handful of drawings (below) that appear to be early concept art for the purported sequel. This game will actually mark the fourth Toejam and Earl outing since their first adventure on the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive in 1991 (5th if you count Ready, Aim, Tomatoes).  Designed by Greg Johnson, the first title was a well-received co-op dungeon crawler starring two alien rappers trying to make their way back home.  The game spawned two full-fledged sequels- 2D platformer Panic On Funkotron and the lesser known XBox exclusive Toejam and Earl III: Mission to Earth.

While we wait for an announcement and pray that it’s not a crappy F2P mobile endless runner, take a look at this concept art.

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Check out deals on all three Toejam and Earl games on Amazon!

New details, gameplay trailers for Pokémon fighter “Pokkén Tournament”

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Announced in 2014 Pokkén Tournament is an arcade-fighter being developed by the team behind the Tekken and Soul Calibur games.  Initially we were only given brief footage of Lucario fighting Machamp but this morning we’ve been treated to new footage, a trailer and a wealth of brand-new gameplay details.

It would appear that Pokken Tournament is not just a straight-up Tekken style fighter but rather a more complex and Pokemon-inspired than previously thought. Your character, a Pokemon trainer, first selects a Pokemon based on the grading of your preference.  Pokemon fighters are categorized into three different grades: Field offense, Duel offense and Resonance Burst. When the game begins the two Pokemon are placed on opposite ends of a large 3D field.  In this mode, your character can fire off special attacks, jump, run and dodge in full 3D.  When the two characters get close enough, the game leaves it’s “field mode” and enters into “duel mode”.  In duel mode the camera becomes fixed and the game will feel more closely related to Tekken in terms of combat-style.  Your characters also have a Resonance Burst, a character-specific move similar to an “ultra” from the Street Fighter series or a “final smash” from Smash Bros.

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When selecting your Pokemon before each mach, you also have the option of selecting a Pokemon partner to assist you in the match.  These support characters can be summoned during combat and provide a variety of moves to defend you or damage the other character. Buttons during gameplay are for “Light Attack”, “Heavy Attack”, “Guard”, “Throw”, “Support” and a button simply referred to as “Pokemon” (which likely employs unique special abilities).

Thus far the game is only confirmed for arcade release but I strongly expect a Wii U port will be announced shortly after.

Take a look at some gameplay videos:

 

Super Mario World Record Broken Using Insanely Involved Glitch

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This gentleman has taken the world record for best time in Super Mario World without using an emulator or any tools to assist him.  He played it directly on a Super Nintendo and beat the game in one sitting.

He did however, use an insane, complex and overly involved glitch.  By effectively “hotpatching” and rewriting the game’s code using certain items and animations, Twitch user SethBling was actually able to warp directly to the end credits of the game.  It’s difficult to explain as effectively as he does so see for yourself below:

Do NOT Download Plants vs. Zombies 2 Update

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Warning: do not download the new Plants vs. Zombies 2 update “Frostbite Caves” if you enjoy listening to music while you play the game.  You will no longer be able to.  In fact, the new update not only blocks iTunes tracks from playing in the background but also podcasts, Spotify and any news or YouTube apps as well.

This may not sound like a big deal at first until you realize what this means.  People who take public transportation to work will no longer be able to listen to an audio book while squashing zombies, folks who listen to to Sirius radio for music or classic tapes of Howard Stern trading barbs with Eric the Actor will look for other games to play instead, some people even use baby monitor apps while playing games or browsing their iPhone- the new update will block this as well.

On a device for making phone calls and listening to music where “gaming on the go” has become massively successful, this is a senseless misstep.  Hopefully it was a glitch or an error but it seems pretty intentional especially since the app also blocks the iOS’s nifty quick menu’s ability to play background audio.  It doesn’t help that  reading the details of the new update before downloading it will not warn anyone of this either.  They make absolutely no mention of it.

Are other devices enjoying this experience-ruining addition or is it exclusively iOS?

Hopefully it is fixed soon, I really enjoy playing this game while listening to podcasts every morning before work.  Until then, I’ll be switching over to any of the other 50,000+ games that don’t suffer from this massive flaw.

 

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