GameSentral Rewind #021: June 5, 2015

Editor’s Note: This is the GameSentral Rewind, a daily recap of the top gaming headlines.

XCOM 2 coming this November

xcom-2

XCOM 2, the sequel to 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown, will be released this November, according to publisher 2K Games.

At launch, it will be a Windows-exclusive, but it will launch on Mac and Linux at a later date from Feral Interactive.

FIraxis Games is developing XCOM 2, the same studio behind Enemy Unknown and the Civilization series. XCOM is now in a guerrilla operation in which humanity is secretly fighting back against the aliens that took over Earth and installed an Advent government 20 years after Enemy Unknown.

XCOM 2 will bring new features like stealth tactics, procedurally generated maps, and mod support, along with new aliens and five updated soldier classes.

“The feedback from the passionate XCOM community played an important role in the development of XCOM 2, driving us to push the visual, gameplay, and replayability boundaries of what a strategy game can be. We’re thrilled to implement long-time fan requested features such as procedural levels and modding support, as well as adding more of what makes XCOM great like new aliens, enemies, and soldier classes.”

-Jake Solomon, XCOM 2 creative director

Halo 3: ODST remaster now available for Master Chief Collection buyers

Halo 3: ODST’s remastered re-release that was promised to Halo: The Master Chief Collection buyers after its botched launch, is now available to Xbox One owners who played the game between November 11th and December 19th, 2014.

Codes were sent out alerting Master Chief Collection owners of its availability. Those who purchased the collection after December 19th can get it for $4.99 in the Xbox Store/

This remaster does not include any multiplayer modes, according to developer 343 Industries, and only features the original game’s campaign.

Lego competes with Minecraft with Lego Worlds, now in early access

legoworlds

Lego Worlds is a sandbox game powered by Lego bricks that is developed by TT Games and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, according to a new Steam listing.

The game, which is now in Steam Early Access, is only playable in single-player right now and lets you explore the brick world and unlock new discoveries “from cowboys and giraffes to vampires and polar bears, to steamrollers, race cars and colossal digging machines.”

Players can use the multi-tool to shape environments and alter any world to your liking by raising the terrain to create mountain ranges, or entering the Brick-by-Brick editor to build anything your heart desires. You can also save your creations to build with them again.

Worlds can be populated with characters, creatures, models, and drivable vehicles.

Lego Worlds embodies the physical, Lego brick-building fun that consumers have enjoyed for decades, on a digital platform that deliver an entirely new type of experience with the beloved bricks. From the brick-by-brick editor, to discovering an expansive range of items, characters, and creatures to populate your worlds – the creative possibilities are endless.”

-Tom Stone, TT Games managing director

 

“In Lego Worlds, players have the freedom to alter procedurally generated worlds and create anything that can imagine one brick at a time, or use prefabricated structures to customize their environments. Large-scale landscaping tools are available to modify terrain quickly and easily. Entire worlds and creations are brought to life with characters and creatures that interact with each other as well as the player in unexpected ways. From helicopters to dragons, motorbikes to bears, there are always interesting ways for players to explore the vast worlds and discover hidden treasures. Fans of the LEGO building sets will be rewarded with a select number of commercially available sets that can be unlocked in-game during Early Access, with many more to come in future game updates. Future plans will offer multiplayer and sharing features, for friends to experience each other’s worlds and show off their creations.”

-A press release announcing the game

Here’s the full feature breakdown:

  • Uncover hidden treasures in environments ranging from fun to fantastical
  • Make worlds come to life with customizable characters
  • Race, soar, zoom, and ride on a variety of vehicles and creatures
  • Build any world you want using the brick-by-brick editor tool and prefabricated Lego structures
  • Modify terrain with the multi-tool
  • Customize characters in a variety of outfits and options
  • Play with a select number of real-life Lego sets
  • Export your creations and save them to use again
  • More content, features, Lego play sets will be added in future updates

The game is available now for $14.99.

Ubisoft retires Frag Dolls team

frag_dolls.0.0

The Frag Dolls, Ubisoft’s in-house, all-female group of professional gamers who have advocated for women in games for over a decade, have disbanded. The team is being retired, according to Frag Dolls founder Morgan Romine on the group’s website, saying that “the world of video games has moved on.”

“We can count it as progress that ‘girls playing games’ is no longer the source of surprise that it once was. We’ve said many times over the years that we hoped to one day see true gender equality across gaming communities, rendering an all-girl gaming team unremarkable. I won’t claim that we’ve reached gender equality, by any means; we still have a long way to go. But there has been progress enough that we’ve reached the clear beginning of a new era…

“We’ve always realized that the video game is a powerful medium that anyone from anywhere could learn to love, and it’s heartening to see that truth being recognized more broadly. We are proud to think that we might have played a small part in moving the needle on that dial.”

-Morgan Romine, Frag Dolls founder

Ubisoft founded the Frag Dolls in 2004 and has grown to over 20 members. At that time, they “weren’t really sure what the Frag Dolls should be, and certainly never imagined what it would become,” according to Romine.

“But we knew that [the group] hinged upon the common misconception that video games were boys’ toys. The essential appeal of the Frag Dolls emerged from those delightful moments of surprise when people discovered when women like us not only loved video games, we were really good at them.

“Sad as it is to see something we have loved so much, for so long, reach its final days, there is a sweetness in this simple closure. As the wide community of gamers grows up, we are beginning to learn how to incorporate this burgeoning diversity into our cultural identity. There are growing pains, like with any cultural sea change. But as we say goodbye to the Frag Dolls, we welcome the emerging world in which it will be taken for granted that women do, of course, play and love games, because video games truly are for everyone.”

-Morgan Romine

E3 will admit thousands of fans this year

E3

This year’s E3 will be a historic one. No, not only because it’s the trade show’s 20th iteration, but because there’ll be limited public access.

While the show has traditionally been locked to industry professionals, this year 4-5,000 fans will be invited into the Los Angeles Convention Center as invited guests.

“This year, for the first time, there will be prosumers in the halls.”

-Rich Taylor, Entertainment Software Association senior vice president of consumer and industry affairs

The ESA organizes E3. While fans have been let in through contests, according to the organization, this new policy is a first.

The passes, according to Taylor, good for full access to the length of the show, will be handed out by ESA member companies which are exhibiting on the show floor. The number of passes a company gets is based on its booth size, which determines their monetary contribution to the show.

“Member exhibitors each have an allotment of some passes that they are permitted to distribute to their valued customers.”

-Rich Taylor

The extra passes would cause a roughly 10 percent jump in the show’s attendees this year.

Black Tusk Studios renamed, Gears of War will be discussed at E3

the_coalition.0

Black Tusk Studios is no more. The Gears of War developer is now known as The Coalition, according to studio head Rod Fergusson.

The Coalition is both a reference to “who we are as a team and [Gears of War],” according to Fergusson. By that, he means the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) that’s part of the series’ fiction.

“When people hear 343 Industries, they associate it with Halo; when they hear Turn 10 Studios, they know that’s who makes Forza. Moving forward, when you hear The Coalition, we want you to think of Gears of War.”

-Rod Fergusson, The Coalition head

The studio’s new logo (shown above) was also unveiled, comprising a circle of Cs that allude to the Lancer’s, Gear of War’s iconic weapon, teeth.

“Rest in peace, Black Tusk Studios … and long live The Coalition.”

-Rod Fergusson

The Coalition will show off what they’re working on at E3, according to Fergusson. Microsoft will hold its E3 2015 press conference on Monday, June 15 at 4PM PT (7PM ET, 12AM Tuesday GMT), where The Coalition will show off their work.

Remedy CEO leaving to join Wargaming

Matias+Myllyrinne

Matias Myllyrinne is leaving Remedy Entertainment for Wargaming, developer of World of Tanks, according to GamesIndustry.biz. Myllrinne’s departure comes after spending 15 years with the studio and with Quantum Break’s launch being about a year away.

“The leap from Alan Wake to Quantum Break is close to 3x in terms of work alone. There is just a lot of ground to cover – certainly if you are building a new IP with new technology on a new platform.”

-Matias Myllyrinne, former Remedy Entertainment CEO

Myllyrinne desired a change of pace, not only in development but in where he resides. Wargaming is based in Cyprus, while Remedy is based in Finland.

Quantum Break’s development will not be affected by his departure, according to Myllyrinne. The Xbox One exclusive was delayed for marketing and timing rather than an issue with the game.

Myllyrinne was the studio’s CEO since 2008, joining the studio in 2000. His exact role and title at Wargaming will be announced in the coming weeks, according to Myllrinne.

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