It’s that awesome time of the week again - That’s right - Alistair Friday! Hope you enjoy this week’s artwork and quotes :)
Alistair Quotes of the Day:
“Swooping is Bad…”
“You know, one good thing about the blight is how it brings people together.”
“No, you first! I try to be polite to grandmothers!”
Happy Alistair Friday!
By Alex Co | May 27, 2011 |
If you liked Modern Warfare 2’s Spec Ops mode, you’re in for a treat! It looks like Modern Warfare 3 will have a robust Spec Ops mode and we have the first details.
Spec Ops in MW3 will have its own progressive ranking system, online matchmaking and leaderboards. If that’s not enough, we also learn that there’s also a new survival mode that plays out on multiplayer maps.
Survival mode seems to be just like Gears of War’s Horde mode; or to be more specific, Black Ops’ zombie mode.
USA Today has been able to get their hands on the game mode and here’s what they have to say.
I teamed up with Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin for a couple tries at Spec Ops’ new Survival mode on a map currently called Dome, a derelict Cold War-era desert radar command bunker.
As we dispatched ever-increasing waves of enemies, I discarded my pistol for a shotgun. Rubin passed me some in-game currency and I bought and installed a turret to keep the evildoers at bay, while I watched for attack dogs.
After a few waves, the attack dogs became suicide bomber dogs that exploded a few seconds after you shot them. The next wave brought the kamikaze soldiers who exploded similarly.
Robert Bowling, Infinity Ward’s creative strategist added, “”All that stuff really fleshes out Spec Ops and adds in a lot that we know our fans are going to love, some of the most addictive aspects of Multiplayer.”
There will be multiple enemy types as was seen in MW2 and the mode will have an unlimited number of waves.
Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin closed it out by saying, ”we added Spec Ops as the third game mode,” he added, “That is really stepped up this time. It is really a stronger leg of the tripod.”
Modern Warfare 3 is being co-developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games for a November 8 release.
On Monday May 23, Activision released their much anticipated reveal trailer for the all-new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Right away, our audience and other parties asked us if we were going to do a breakdown and since we just like to pull these things apart to see what kind of work is being done, we couldn’t say no.
While we normally are able to knock these out and get them online scant hours later, our friends at Infinity Ward/Sledgehammer threw us a challenge as they changed locations and countries in this whirlwind presentation. We wanted to make certain of what we were saying and culled together input from across Active Duty and Veterans of the US Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, as well as the British Royal Army and even a former French Gendarme assist from the field! (Thanks @ViX3nS)Lets start with a disclaimer:
We at Off Duty Gamers realize that this is a GAME and that this is a TRAILER for a GAME which isn’t out yet and exists in a virtual world that has the potential to follow or deviate from the real world. We mean these analysis as a way to review the work that we as current and former members of the military appreciate as developers work to bring the gaming world some pieces of real military life. We do not hold these developers to any standard than the one they themselves set. To date we have had no assertions of ‘real’ or ‘accurate’ depictions so anything we point out here is merely for you the reader to learn a little about our world through gaming. As we said before, there is a lot to cover in this video, no doubt some may say this is unnecessary and boring (this isn’t for those people) but still, we want to educate and entertain so we may have skimmed through things. Comment at the end if you feel we missed something you feel has real value, we really appreciate that interaction. Lastly, we provide this breakdown as a stand alone item which is not meant to compare it to any other product.
Read the rest @ http://www.offdutygamers.comModern Warfare 3 Reveal Trailer: ODG Analysis
By Rick Givens | May 26, 2011
This month CD-Projekt RED and Atari brought us the much anticipated release The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, sequel to The Witcher and based on the works of Polish author Andrej Sapowski of the same name. The game features some fantastic elements of dark fantasy, action and role playing that set it in a different field altogether from other similar games. This game was a pleasure to review, and will be a pleasure for you to play.Story
Assassins of Kings takes place some time after the events of the original game. The main character Geralt is a Witcher, a monster hunter selected at an early childhood to undergo supernatural augmentation and training, finds himself imprisoned and under interrogation by agents of the now dead King of Temeria, Foltest. Geralt as a member of the Royal Court was assigned as bodyguard to the King, and failed in his task of protecting him from harm. The game goes into a bit of a flashback here, as you take part in the siege, protecting the King and ultimately failing to keep him from being harmed by a ruthless assassin, who bears some strikingly familiar features. From there, Geralt manages to escape prison and team up with some comrades on a quest to clear his name. Along the way, you encounter and interact with a variety of characters, creatures and situations. You have a clear goal in mind, but along the way side quests and decisions all conspire to affect your outcome.Mechanics
Witcher 2 is unlike other similar fantasy role playing games. The combat and interaction system changes depending on the situation. You could be furiously clicking on your mouse for some hack and slash, or relying on your keyboard for hand to hand melee. Physical challenges such as aiming siege weapons and even arm wrestling at various points all require a different form of interaction. You’ve also the Meditation menu, a state you can reach for resting in a static location, mixing and drinking potions, or even improving your character traits from experience earned during the game. Other options such as the journal help you track your various, and many, quests or you can toggle the map to get better feel for your destination. One definite point of advice I can offer is to make certain you learn to select your Signs, a form of magical spell, and use them in conjunction with combat as this allows for some interesting combination moves and theatrical effects.
Another thing to pay attention to is your items menu. Not only do you have to go into the item menu and select which items Geralt has on hand, but you must also pay close attention to how much you are carrying. A bolt of cloth may not seem like much, but try running around with about 300 of them strapped to you…Nearly everything you pick up has value, and can be traded for or used to craft items of greater value and use. You can run through the environment looking for craftsmen, or learn the necessary skills yourself depending on what you need.Graphics
Certain details of the graphics engine are stunning. Vibrant colors and and almost realistic sway to terrain features lead me to love this. But I am pushed away a bit by some minor problems. First up is the opening chapter, where the cut scenes seem to be badly edited together. Over all they do a good job of pushing the story along, but cut off in the middle, fade to black, and then start back up. This problem doesn’t seem to present itself as much during the later chapters, and you pretty much forget it after that. Another issue is with the graphical overlays, which seem to appear suddenly during the cut scenes. Minute detail such as designs on clothing and certain facial features will not be present at times, and then suddenly appear almost as if they teleport. The overall effect is distracting, and takes away a little bit from the otherwise stunning scenes and gameplay.
In the end though, I have to say I was impressed overall with the cinematic and gameplay video. Oh, and on this note I will call your attention to the “M” MSRB rating…not only is there enough foul language to make a sailor blush, but a fair amount of full body nudity as well. I’m not shy, but I certainly didn’t want the children in the same room with me when I was playing it. Hell, I didn’t want my wife in the same room either…Gameplay
The amount of time needed to complete this game is hard to track. Every time I got into it, another interesting and complex quest would present itself, and I followed after it like a rabbit chasing a carrot. Nothing was really simple and straightforward, but required multiple steps, each of them challenging to complete the task successfully. Often, player interaction will determine the outcome of future events in the game, and you can choose to be a heroic swashbuckling good guy, or a complete jackass who takes everything he can. Me, I chose somewhere in between, and found it amusing I could just walk into someone’s room and take whatever I wanted, without them protesting. Guess they should lock their doors… Players should also note that the NPCs will react to you based on whether or not you have a drawn weapon. Funny, I always considered talking to a man holding a sword to be a brilliant idea. Regardless, sheath your weapons when walking around the town, otherwise everyone will run away except the Town Guard, they seem to make a beeline straight for you. With combat, I would suggest against engaging too many opponents at once for letting them surround you. Get caught with your back against a wall, and you need to get out quick, or whip out a tissue and start to cry.
One thing I did notice, right away after launching the game, was the nice little selection titled “Downloadable Content.” Ahhh, seeing such things makes my heart sing, and I earnestly hope CD Projekt RED is busy right at this moment crafting something else for me to enjoy.The Final Word
Just one word? That is impossible. Unless YES (!!) was an option! The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings will keep you entertained for hours. It’s challenging, rewarding and best of all entertaining. I hope CD Projekt RED keeps bringing things like this to the table…Score: 9/10
Rick is a News Editor for DeltaGamer, Freelance Writer, and a Staff Member for Off Duty Gamers. Currently residing in the US near Chicago, Rick spends more time writing about games than he actually gets to play them. Having served several years in the United States Marine Corps, and as a Law Enforcement Officer, his experience in weapons and tactics have led to an interest in their application in gaming, which dates back to the days of the Atari 2600 console. You can follow Rick on Twitter either through his personal account, @RickGivens or through @GunTotinManiac. Hilarity will ensue.
By Catriona MacDonald | May 13, 2011
As a woman who has had an avid interest in gaming since she was but the tender age of seven years old, I have been begged, over my adolescent years, to ask: what makes me so different from the majority of my fellow females when it comes to gaming?
Could it be that I have merely not run into many of these elusive female game fanatics very often? Could it be that where I am from, there are not many? Could it be that games are not marketed correctly for women to become interested? Or could it be that there are simply a lot less women playing games than men?
In my experience, they are all true to an extent.
If we take a look at the industry as a whole, the percentage of women working as part of the games industry in the United Kingdom has dropped from 12% to 4% between 2006 and 2010. To begin with, 12% is not an awful lot considering that in the UK population in 2007 there were 31 million women compared with 29.9 million men, but for this percentage to dwindle to 4% really does strike me as odd. There has been speculation that long working-hours and poor childcare services are to blame, but many of us do not believe that to be the sole cause. For example, the number of female medical students in the UK outnumbers men 3:2. Working as a doctor would be testing in terms of childcare and long hours, yet women are drawn to it. I have no doubts that anyone who studies medicine is hard working and determined, but this only points to the conclusion that perhaps it is simply waning interest which is deterring us women from work in games.What could be the cause of this lack of interest?
In my opinion, it is a mixture of the way that women have been represented in games and the male-oriented marketing which accompanies a new release.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of female characters who are strong, sassy and ready to fight, because that is who we want to be, right?
Thinking back to some early representations of women in games, several recurring female characters spring to mind. The popular Super Mario Bros. series of games for Nintendo consoles has forever featured a side-lined female character: Princess Peach. Princess Peach is probably most well-known for being kidnapped by the games’ primary antagonist, Bowser, and subsequently rescued by the protagonist: Mario. I am aware that the Super Mario series is light-hearted, colourful and appealing to a lot of young women, but this recurring ‘damsel in distress’ may not be doing wonders for our reputation in games.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of female characters who are strong, sassy and ready to fight, because that is who we want to be, right?
Speaking solely for myself, a character like Lara Croft, of the popular Tomb Raider series doesn’t really appeal to me. I would rather play as a male character than a female one who was much more attractive than I am in reality. It may be petty, it may typical of my gender, but it may just explain why women have mixed feelings towards the amorous adventurer. Lara Croft, in principle, has some characteristics which women would be happy to represent them: she is independent, fearless and maintains her own femininity; however, I think it is safe to say that the design of her…ahem…appearance veered slightly towards male interests.
Not only are these two lovely ladies well-known across the globe, they have been accredited with ranks in GameDaily’s ‘50 Hottest Game Babes’ (with Princess Peach ranking 48th and Lara Croft taking the title, unsurprisingly).
Looking through the aforementioned top 50 ‘Game Babes’, I came across female characters whom I had actually enjoyed playing as, characters I admired for their honest portrayal of women (such as Zoë Castillo, protagonist of Dreamfall, second instalment of The Longest Journey series) and certainly not ‘babes’ who would be immediately noticed for the apparent sexual aura surrounding their fully clothed, animated, figures. There does, however, exist a Top 25 Gaming Hunks, a point in the right direction (however petty) for women, but sadly I was not particularly interested in the attractiveness of male video game characters.
Something I’ve also learned about the recent sexualising of the games industry is that Playboy has taken an interest in publishing pictures of naked female characters from video games in their magazine. This may be surprising to some, but to others it makes perfect sense: a large percentage of Playboy readers are male young adults who are more than likely to be big video game players. So surely we can understand if some women are bewildered by an industry where they are represented by these unrealistic beauties who, despite not even being real people, make it into the top shelf magazines. So what do women want from a game?
It seems that because sometimes we, women, are hard to please in terms of character design, we should seek out games in which we create our own characters as avatars of our heroic selves. Put more plainly, women are drawn towards games such as the Sims. I certainly understand the thrill of creating your own character as I am a huge RPG fan, myself. The difference between most standard RPGs and one like the Sims is that RPGs often have an element of combat to them (yes, I’m aware that Sims will brawl from time to time), perhaps this illustrates that women, as genteel as we are, do not have much of an interest in fighting. Eureka!
Yes, it makes sense. Quite a lot of women do not enjoy boxing, wrestling, …cage fighting, etc. perhaps for the reason that they might just get labelled ‘manly’, or perhaps they simply do not care for fighting. I am aware that a lot of women enjoy a good first-person shooter or combat-based RPG, but for those who don’t, perhaps there should be room for more immersive, creative, visually pleasing, but non-combat-based sector of role-playing games available?
As far as marketing goes, many adverts which appear on prime time TV slots are for the popular games which generally seemed to be aimed at fans who are already aware of the franchise, though some ads seem primarily to focus on their target demographic of teenaged boys.
A recent ad. campaign which comes to mind is that of Dead Space 2, I recall that the tagline was “Your mom hates dead space 2”. Now, I know for a fact that my mother would dislike Dead Space 2 and it is likely that a lot of other peoples’ mothers would too; but, some might argue that this was a direct message to the consumer that women would not enjoy this game. I understand that the mothers this was aimed at are probably middle-aged and it is unlikely that they would play many (if any) video games at all. Looking to the future, however, I would certainly like to think that if I became a mother I would still be welcome to slice off nightmarish, transformed human-alien limbs and bask in the carnage of it all.
Customers would often assume that I, being a woman, would not be able to recommend games to them, and often acted as though I hadn’t actually played a video game in my life.
Could there be pressure, however, for women to join in playing more ‘manly’ games in order to have more in common with their boyfriends/partners? I certainly think there might be, when ‘how to’ websites such as WikiHow feature instructions on ‘How to get your girlfriend to play video games’. I found this set of instructions to be condescending, to say the least. The reason for this is that women should be inspired to play video games through their own interest, something which the games industry as a whole should be promoting more of, rather than the interests of pleasing a chauvinistic boyfriend who would rather his girlfriend didn’t complain when he plays his games console for so-many consecutive hours.
This WikiHow article gives the impression that males don’t expect females to have much of a knowledge of any video games excepting online (what I assume to be flash) games and colourful adventures such as the Super Mario series; but who would we blame if that was actually the case?
I have, in my working life as a sales assistant in a popular high-street games shop, come across this sort of attitude personally. Customers would often assume that I, being a woman, would not be able to recommend games to them, and often acted as though I hadn’t actually played a video game in my life (sometimes actually asking me this). Now, I am not a radical feminist, I don’t often complain about inequality of the sexes, but I understand now that if women were to be more proportionately represented in gaming, we wouldn’t face this sort of ignorant behaviour.
I do feel it only appropriate to illustrate that there are so many notable women who have valued, enviable roles in different sectors of the industry, some of whom holding key roles working on the games which I consider to be my favourites (Alyssa Finley, Laura Fryer, Susan O‘Connor, to name a few). These women are looked up to by countless aspiring females, and are a credit to our gender, but I feel that there should be just as many of these women as there are men.
The games industry needs to align itself with a more rounded, well-proportioned audience (no pun intended, after the mention of Lara Croft) and this cannot be achieved if numbers of female staff in sectors of the games industry continue to dwindle. We need to encourage more women to lend a hand not only in the making of these games but in selling them to like-minded women, who simply want to play a well-crafted game with believable characters who we feel comfortable playing as. After all, I understand that work in the games industry or even playing games is not everybody’s cup of tea, some people will never take an interest in it: but surely in the industry which is rapidly outgrowing the film industry, we women should get our fair share.
femshep.com is a social hub devoted to the female incarnation of Commander Shepard from the BioWare game, Mass Effect. Find femshep photos, videos and fan fiction, or become a member and post your own. Also, use the chat to socialize with other FemShep fans.
David Silverman is asking you guys if you want to see Jane Shepard in her own ME3 trailer.
GO TO TWITTER AND TELL @dsilvermanea THAT YOU’RE VOTING TO SEE THAT SHIT HAPPEN
Or go here and tell him directly on his page: http://twitter.com/#!/dsilvermanea/status/72868038927585280
Spread the FemShep love!!!!