We understand that you’re busy – whether busy playing games or working. It can be hard to keep up with what’s going on in the video game business; so if you haven’t been able to browse all your favorite gaming sites, then here’s a quick rundown of news related to Origin and/or its games.
The big news this week was the Need for Speed: Most Wanted. A re-imagining of the 2005 game with the same name (which was actually a launch title for Xbox 360), this newest version takes the core concept of the original version, but with modern production values and an open world environment a la racing games like Burnout Paradise or Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. As we get into the late stages of the current console generation, it’s nice to get a fresh update on a launch classic.
Today, EA and Crytek announced one heck of an incentive for pre-ordering Crysis 3: a free copy of the original Crysis. Crysis was a remarkable shooter, in that it was both a technical powerhouse (on a powerful PC running it at its highest settings, it looks about as good as a modern game, and it came out in 2007) and a fine sandbox game. While most first person shooters locked you down in narrow corridors, Crysis gave you a nanosuit (think of yourself as a fusion of Captain America and Iron Man) and simple mission objectives — how you completed these objectives was up to you. The original Crysis encouraged experimentation in gameplay that still resonates today; I personally would fill a truck with plastic explosives, and then drive around while turning on my nanosuit’s invisibility mode. Then I’d hop out while having the truck crash somewhere,bad guys would investigate where the truck crashed, and since they couldn’t see me, I would sneakily detonate the plastic explosives as they looked for me in the wreckage. Getting this fantastic game for free is quite a bonus on top of the other perks (extra weapons and abilities for your nanosuit) of pre-ordering Crysis 3.
Earlier this week, EA also revealed a release date for Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel. This gritty co-op shooter from Visceral Games (the studio behind the Dead Space franchise and Dante’s Inferno) will hit shelves on March 26, 2013. Like previous installments, it focuses on a pair of Private Military Contractors as they head down to Mexico to take on a relentless cartel lord. If you pre-order the game, you’ll get Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel Overkill Edition, which adds additional missions, weapons, and masks to make this war against drugs easier for you.
A few days ago, the secretive Rockstar Games ended some rumor and speculation by confirming that its next big game, Grand Theft Auto V, will launch in Spring 2013 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Very little is known about the game, besides the fact that it takes place in the Rockstar-version of Los Angeles called Los Santos (last seen in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas). There was also going to be a new trailer full of more clues and glimpses at gameplay, but said trailer got delayed due to Hurricane Sandy. Hey, we’ve waited a while to learn more details about the game; we can wait a little longer if that means the developers were staying safe as Sandy raged on.
In hardware news, today marked the launch of the iPad Mini. Boasting many of the features of the regular iPad, the smaller screen size—7.9 inches—has an interesting benefit: it’s essentially the perfect size for playing games on mobile. Sometimes, the phone feels a bit too cramped and crowded, and the 9.7 inch iPad can feel a bit large and unwieldy to effectively game with. The smaller form factor for the iPad Mini, along with other similarly-sized tablets like the Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7, puts it in the sweet spot of “large graphics but comfortable to hold while gaming.” Check out our gaming offerings on iPad if you manage to pick one up.
Retro gamers might be interested to catch Wreck-It Ralph in theaters this weekend. By “retro,” I mean, “gamers who know what an arcade is.” The movie has generally favorable reviews from critics at the moment, and while it might not be quite as good as a full-on Pixar movie, it looks a heck of a lot better than some other recent Disney movies like Home On The Range. I’m also a sucker for any movie that manages to squeeze Altered Beast and Burger Time references in it.
Finally, if you didn’t catch this already, here’s a whopper for Disney news: Disney is buying Lucasfilm and everything associated with it. That means Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, and even LucasArts. This isn’t just a big piece of gaming news—it’s big pop culture news. Most of the divisions will be “business as usual”, and if any further developments come up that remain relevant to us, we’ll update you. But go into the weekend realizing that Disney, Pixar, Marvel Comics, and now Star Wars all live under the same roof.