Editor’s Note: This is the GameSentral Rewind, a daily recap of the top gaming headlines.
Ubisoft outlines E3 2015 plans, game lineup
At E3 2015, Ubisoft will showcase Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege and The Division, and “a few big surprises,” according to the publisher.
The company’s E3 2015 press conference will be held on Monday, June 15 at 2:45PM PT (5:45PM ET, 11:45PM GMT), and will be broadcast live on YouTube, Twitch, and the company’s Uplay service. Actress and comedian Aisha Tyler will return to emcee the press conference.
Ubisoft will also let fans see and play its latest games during the show at its Uplay Lounge, which is at SkySpace on Los Angeles’ Bank Tower’s 71st floor.
Skylanders SuperChargers adds vehicles this September
Skylanders SuperChargers is the latest entry in Activision’s Skylanders franchise, and will introduce vehicles when it launches on September 20.
“I think each year it feels like we’re doing the biggest and best push toward innovation. Each one of them, at that point in time, felt like a giant step forward.”
-Josh Taub, Activision Skylanders senior vice president
Kaos, the Skylanders’ adversary, is up to his old shenagigans again in SuperChargers, unleashing the Doomstruction, a doomsday device that feeds on the sky and threatens to tear the Skylands apart. Master Eon prepared for this calamity by putting together a special squad of Skylanders with vehicles.
The Skylanders need to retrieve the Thunderous Bolt, which is located in the Cloud Kingdom, but the area’s leader, Lord Stratosfear, has made a deal with Kaos, so the SuperChargers will need to defeat Kaos’ forces to secure the item they’re seeking.
The Cloud Kingdom lives up to its name with thick mist obscuring much of the area and dissipating as you walk through it. You’ll also have to blow on storm horns placed throughout the level to clear the clouds away.
SuperChargers introduces a total of 20 SuperCharger Skylanders, with each one having its own associated transportation. Hot Streak, a fire-type racecar, is connected with Spitfire, but every vehicle is compatible with all of the over 300 Skylanders figures that have been released to date.
In the driving section, your focus is to get from beginning to end while avoiding obstacles and picking up gear bits along the way. You can spend those items on upgrades for your vehicle. SuperChargers also offers many alternative routes, according to Vicarious Visions – SuperChargers’ developer – senior executive producer David Nathanielsz. In addition to changing a vehicle’s appearance, mods alter attributes like speed, acceleration, and handling.
If you use a vehicle with the SuperCharger that it’s associated with, the vehicle will be more powerful in the game and you’ll unlock a set of special mods that’s exclusive to the pairing.
You’ll need a sea vehicle to play the game’s water segments, however, you can play Skylanders SuperChargers with only Spitfire and Hot Streak – which come in the game’s starter pack, according to Activision representatives.
With 20 vehicles across land, sea, and air, Vicarious Visions came up with a wide variety for each kind of transportation, beginning with thinking of “every single type of vehicle you could imagine driving, according to Nathanielsz.
“It was that back-and-forth between, ‘How many vehicle fantasies can we imagine?’ And then, ‘How do we deliver each of them throughout the levels in the game?’”
-David Nathanielsz, Vicarious Visions senior executive producer
All seafaring vehicles in SuperChargers can both skim on the surface of water and dive beneath it. These vehicles could leap off of or dive into waves in order to avoid threats.
Eight of SuperChargers’ 20 figures are returning characters, including Stealth Elf – a fan-favorite that debuted in Spyro’s Adventures.
“[Fans will] feel like they’re playing her for the first time again.”
The Sky Slicer jet can paint multiple targets and fire missiles, and packs bombs as well. Skylanders SuperChargers’ sky sections will also include dogfights with 360-degree control over your aerial vehicle. While the game supports no more than one vehicle at a time, co-op mode is still available with one player piloting, and the other serving as a gunner.
Players will have to buy at least one sea and one air vehicle, in addition to the included Hot Streak, to experience all that Skylanders SuperChargers has to offer.
Skylanders SuperChargers’ new toys feature fine details like a ladder on Dive Bomber’s side and silvery tips on Stormblade’s features. Some of the vehicles also have moving parts – like Dive Bomber’s propeller and Hot Streak’s wheels – to facilitate playing with the toys outside of the game.
“Kids have been playing with these toys off-portal for a long time, and we can embrace that. It’s that they want to experience their characters and bring them with them. And so this takes that to a whole ‘nother level, with the ability to be able to actually play in a way that they play with other vehicle IP.
“I think kids really appreciate originality and creativity, coupled with high-quality experiences.”
-Josh Taub on how Skylanders have succeeded without tie-ins with other properties
The lack of outside characters in the franchise means that every new figure is a surprise for players, according to Taub. For his nine-year-old son, much of Skylanders’ joy comes from opening a new toy and putting it on the Portal of Power to see what it does in the game.
“There’s no preconceived notion of what [a character is] supposed to do or how it’s supposed to act. All of that discovery and exploration is really fun for kids.”
Skylanders SuperChargers will be released on iPad, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One with a “different, complementary experience” being offered on Nintendo 3DS and Wii, according to Activision.
The $74.99 Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Pack comes with a copy of the game, a Portal of Power, and the Hot Streak, Spitfire, and Super Shot Stealth Elf toys. The 3DS Starter Pack will cost $64.99. Individual SuperCharger characters will sell for $12.99, while vehicles will cost $14.99.
Players who already have a Portal of Power can skip buying the Starter Pack for the first time and purchase the $49.99 digital Portal Owners Pack, which includes a downloadable copy of the game and in-game versions of Spitfire and Hot Streak.
Infinite Crisis shutting down in August
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has pulled the plug on Infinite Crisis, the DC Comics-themed, free-to-play multiplayer online battle area, just two months after its launch.
Development on the game has already stopped and the game is shutting down completely on August 14, according to an announcement on the game’s Steam page.
“This was an extremely difficult decision to make. On behalf of the entire Infinite Crisis team we want to thank all of you for your feedback, support and for joining together to create one of the best communities in gaming.”
Disney announces Playmation ‘digital play experience’
Disney has announced a new “digital play experience” called Playation, a combination of video games and physical active play that will feature interactive experiences based on franchises like The Avengers, Star Wars, and Frozen.
Playmation combines physical toys like a plastic version of Iron Man’s gauntlet that kids can wear on their arm, with an app for mobile devices and action figures that can be placed on a base station. Players can then take on missions in single and multiplayer modes, battling Marvel villains like Loki and M.O.D.O.K. with physical play.
In the gameplay demonstrated at a Los Angeles event announcing Playmation, Iron Man’s operating system Jarvis instructed kids to embark on a mission to take down Ultron using Stark-developed technology.
Other wearable toys showed by Disney Consumer products included a pair of giant green Hulk hands that could be used for smashing super villains.
The Playmation line of toys and games will launch for pre-orders July 7 for a November general launch with Marvel’s Avengers fueling the first set. Disney will follow with a Star Wars-themed set in 2016 and a Frozen play set in 2017.
Steam now offers refunds for digitally-purchased games
Steam is about to begin offering refunds within 14 days.
“You can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam – for any reason. Maybe your PC doesn’t meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought the game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn’t like it.
“Valve will, upon request via help.steampowered.com, issue a refund for any reason, if the request is made within 14 days of purchase, and the title has been played for less than two hours. Even if you fall outside of the refund rules we’ve described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we’ll take a look.”
-Valve, in a page announcing the policy
If you played a game for under two hours, you can get a full refund within two weeks, and you can also do so in other situations depending on Valve’s evaluation of the situation.
DLC will also be refunded with the same terms, although “Steam will be unable to give refunds for some third party DLC (for example, if the DLC irreversibly levels up a game character).”
Microsoft outlines Xbox, PC gaming plans at E3 2015
At E3 2015, Microsoft will give attention to gaming both on Xbox and on Windows, according to the company.
As previously announced, Microsoft will hold its E3 2015 press conference on Monday, June 15 at 9:30AM PT (12:30PM ET, 5:30PM GMT), which can be seen on Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox.com, Windows Phone, and on Spike TV.
Microsoft also plans to air Xbox Live Daily @ E3, providing “breaking news, exclusive announcements, new trailers, game demos” and developer interviews. That show will air daily June 15-17 at 4PM PT (7PM ET, 12AM June 16-18 GMT) and can be viewed on Xbox consoles and Xbox.com.
The company is also co-sponsoring this year’s inaugural PC Gaming Show at E3 2015. Xbox head Phil Spencer will be on hand to talk about Windows 10’s gaming applications, DirectX 12, and the Xbox app, among other topics, according to an Xbox Wire post.
Spencer will join other PC gaming influencers including DayZ creator Dean Hall, Blizzard Entertainment, Bohemia Interactive, Tripwire Interactive, Fullbright, Boss Key Productions’ Cliff Bleszinki, Devolver Digital, Nexon, Creative Assembly, Square Enix, CCP Games, and Paradox Interactive.