Kotaku has an article about DOOM 4 development being "off track," reporting "multiple sources" say the shooter sequel is not close to complete after five years of development that included a reboot, and describing rising tensions between developer id Software and parent Zenimax. The reboot occurred in late 2011, and is the one part of the story that has an on-the-record comment, as Pete Hines of Bethesda Softworks (also a Zenimax company) confirmed this for them. "An earlier version of Doom 4 did not exhibit the quality and excitement that Id and Bethesda intend to deliver and that Doom fans worldwide expect," Hines said in a statement for the site. "As a result, Id refocused its efforts on a new version of Doom 4 that promises to meet the very high expectations everyone has for this game and this franchise. When we’re ready to talk about the Doom 4 Id is making, we will let folks know." The article offers dire, though unconfirmed anecdotes from their sources, describing attempts at a more cinematic game derided as "Call of Doom," power struggles merging the RAGE team into the project, and organizational issues leading to an exodus of talent from the developer. Word is the game is not very close to complete, and is now planned for the next generation of consoles, and that Zenimax is putting a lot of pressure on id, with the threat of closure or becoming an engine developer if DOOM 4 fails to meet expectations, which are apparently quite lofty, as apparently id was told by Zenimax executives that the game could and should be as big as Skyrim.
With a couple of days left in their campaign, inXile entertainment's Kickstarter for Torment: Tides of Numenera announces that Chris Avellone is now part of their design team, as the project has surpassed the $3.5 million goal to add the Planescapte Torment designer to the project. They also offer all sorts of other goodies: A tech engine trailer, a couple of screenshots, a bunch of additional backer rewards, a couple of developer videos, and a new Torment: Tides of Numenera Vision Document.
Though tragic, the destruction wrought by the escaped sentient plasma known only as Ms. Splosion Man looked to be contained to the lands of XBLA. Big Science picked up the pieces, and that which was once sploded has been rebuilt. Dangers that should never have been forgotten have faded into memory. But today, Twisted Pixel Games announces terrifying news. Ms. Splosion Man survives, and her outbreak will spread further than even the most dire forecasts had predicted, with a splode radius large enough to reach Steam, Games for Windows LIVE, and Windows Phone, once thought a safe haven against this agent of devastation.
Reports are trickling in from several sectors, hinting at mutations Ms. Splosion Man has undergone while travelling between the different platforms.
Each version of the game has been optimized for each respective device’s performance. The Steam and G4WL versions, available now for $9.99, feature a separate Multiplayer campaign, giving players 50 additional levels to play and a new ending to unlock with up to three friends in both online and offline co-op. The Windows Phone 7 version, available for $2.99, features all new touch controls designed to make pocket sploding as fun as ever.
Disney has shut down seminal computer game developer LucasArts, reports Kotaku, saying over 150 jobs have been lost amid the cancellation of Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313. They attribute this to a reliable source, and a confirmation can be found on GameInformer, where they have a comment from a representative from LucasFilm saying the cancellation of Star Wars 1313 is not absolute, as they will be looking to license games like that planned action/adventure in the future. "It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans. We still believe in the video game industry, we still will provide Star Wars games, we're just looking at different models rather than internal production... They're evaluating everything. There's always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing," the rep told them. "It's super sad. It's a terrible day. I want to make sure everyone realizes that there still will be Star Wars games out there."
The Company of Heroes Facebook page has word that closed beta testing of Company of Heroes 2 is now underway, as promised. First participants are those who have preordered Relic's upcoming World War II strategy sequel, but the plan is to open this to more players in the coming weeks. The game is expected for full release in late June.
Capcom Unity now offers some new screenshots from the upcoming Windows PC edition of Resident Evil 6, showing how the visuals in the horror shooter exceed those of the console editions. The post also outlines system specifications for the PC edition, which are fairly modest: Continue here to read the full story.
Telltale Games announcesPoker Night 2, confirming the sequel revealed in a recently leaked image and keeping the announcement live past April 1st to confirm it's real. The listing says "coming soon," and shows Claptrap, Evil Dead's Ash Williams, and more among the competitors in their fictitious man-cave, where GlaDOS is the new dealer (I'd watch her carefully). The announcement trailer offers a cinematic where the game's poker players express their individual personalities. There's no gameplay, but presumably that will look like poker. This page offers details, including word that Omaha will be included along with Texas Hold 'Em this time around.
Master of Magic is a true gem among strategy games, it offered almost unlimited possibilities for enjoyable play. It gave players the freedom to create fantastic worlds and release the power of magic. Worlds of Magic will follow the same exciting path and share the spirit of that genuine classic. Although the game has been under development for almost a year, the team has recently decided to focus exclusively on it, creating a Kickstarter project which has been launched on April 2nd, seeking funds to complete this exciting title. Worlds of Magic will be available, according to our estimations, in January 2014.
Paradox Interactive announces the release of Cities in Motion 2, offering a sequel to this simulation that puts players in charge of keeping the roads rolling, as Heinlein would say, in this urban mass transit sequel. This announcement offers a launch trailer and the following word on the game:
Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games and qualifier for a frequent rider discount, today released Cities in Motion 2, the transit simulation and design game for PC and Mac from Colossal Order Ltd. Cities in Motion 2, which is available today at digital retailers worldwide, will challenge players with the task of designing, building, and maintaining an efficient and affordable mass transit network for a variety of growing, dynamic cities. A new launch trailer has also been released, offering a glimpse at new features in the sequel such as vivid day/night cycles, new vehicles and transit hubs, and more.
GamesIndustry International points the way to a reddit thread about a consumer complaint about Sega Europe and the use of misleading footage of Aliens: Colonial Marines to market the shooter sequel, which failed to live up to what was seen in the trailers. The thread links to this image purported to be a response from the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority saying they have upheld this complaint, and will enforce disclaimers to accompany these trailers warning of the discrepancy. The letter claims this information would be reflected on the ASA website as of a week ago, but this does not seem to be the case. A visit to the SEGA Europe YouTube Channel does show the Colonial Marines trailers there have a sort of disclaimer as of this writing: "The trailer footage shown uses the in-game engine, and represents a work in progress." It's not clear when this was added, or if it is to satisfy an ASA demand, but these blurbs are not included with the same clips on the Sega of America YouTube channel.
Okay, so for the record, it looks like we had one April Fools' gag as a real story, which we can lay off on the SF Chronicle. It also looks like a couple of real stories were reported as jokes: the BBC's report of the flea circus wiped out by a cold snap was true, according to the BBC, at least, though if I were them, I wouldn't want to admit that made the news cut. Also, apparently the Adobe Blank OpenType Font is a real thing too, but you can't tell me that Adobe isn't just intentionally messing with us here.