We've been talking a lot about Guardians of Middle-earth over the past few months, with a steady stream of character reveals and tutorial videos for the Tolkien-inspired MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) title. Though beyond the multimedia fanfare preceding its imminent release, Guardians of Middle-earth carries weighty ambition as the first true title of the genre developed specifically for consoles.
The MOBA is a notoriously delicate genre, requiring nearly constant post-launch supervision in order to maintain the balance of character power as player strategies evolve over time. That balance necessitates regular updates and patches, the kind of support that's seemingly at odds with the "closed system" of a console, which normally requires any changes be vetted by the manufacturer's certification process.
When we spoke with producers Bob Roberts and Ruth Pomandl last month, they briefly touched on their plan to issue real-time updates without needing to repeatedly pass through the lengthy and expensive, recertification process. In an interview with VG247, Roberts further explained the importance of fine-tuning character balance and how they intend to continue those tweaks after the title has gone live.
"We did also build a system for having a lot of our balance database saved in cloud storage, that you’re going to download every time you launch the game. It’s a very small, quick update that doesn't have to go through certification, so we can update it every day, every week – however often we need to if we see critical balance issues."
Over the course of the past month, Zen Studios has released a new blog post each week detailing the various character types players can expect to see in the upcoming CastleStorm. With the final entry posted last Wednesday, we've compiled all four entries right here for your convenience. Be sure to check the links to each blog post to learn more details about these characters and even tips on how to use them in-game.
Weekly Roundup compiles all the biggest news stories, reviews and features from the week into one handy post on the weekends.
Another week of Xbox Live Arcade brought to a close. It's been a relatively quiet one, compared to the mad dash of last week's seasonal sales. Though there isn't much to write home about in terms of marquee XBLA titles, there's quite a bit to look forward to in the coming weeks and months on Xbox Live Arcade. With so many big games coming down the pipe, what are you looking forward to getting your hands on?
We've now received a host of official details relating to the upcoming release of Capcom's popular 2D fighting game Darkstalkers Resurrection.
A compilation of two games from the cartoon-style, horror-pastiche fighting franchise Darkstalkers (specifically, Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge and Darkstalkers 3), Darkstalkers Resurrection will hit XBLA in "early 2013" for 1200 MSP.
While the games are said to be faithful recreations of their arcade counterparts, Capcom has included a variety of HD filter options and viewing modes. Reportedly, these viewing modes range from full-screen to an over-the-shoulder arcade mode, replicating the arcade experience.
If you aren't excited for The Cave yet, now is the time to start. This adventure from Double Fine will be releasing in January of next year, and …
If "people familiar with the company's plans" are to be believed, then Microsoft has a holiday 2013 release in mind for the Xbox 360's successor. Bloomberg was informed by anonymous sources that the console that's said to be codenamed Xbox Durango will make its way to retailers in time for next year's Thanksgiving.
Bloomberg's tipsters were, unsurprisingly given the sensitive nature of such information, light on details. The only other tangible morsel of information discussed was what Microsoft has yet to decide: where and when to finally show the console to the world. Microsoft is said to be wavering between pulling back the curtain at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June of 2013 and doing so at special event held specifically to debut the next-generation platform.
E3 seems the obvious choice, as the annual Los Angeles convention is usually the site of more major industry announcements than every other event held in any given year. It was not, however, Microsoft's choice for the initial Xbox 360 announcement. The current Microsoft console's coming out party was a May 2005 event all its own that was broadcast on MTV.
If we've learned anything from Back to the Future, it's that when messing around you need to avoid causing a paradox at all cost. Developer Capy Games has been experiencing this problem first-hand while designing Super Time Force, a side-scrolling shooter where death sends you back in time. Since multiple past version of yourself are on screen at the same time, what if your present actions accidentally change your past's fate? "It's not really an issue you can solve," lead programmer Kenneth Yeung told The Verge, "it's just something you have to design around."
One way they worked around the problem is by giving the enemies have preset behavior. This way, enemies will act the same way every time, preventing their behavior from changing and possibly causing a paradox. All moving and interactive objects function in ways as to avoid paradoxes as well.
"Maybe the next time you play you get there a bit sooner and the enemy will aim its gun at you and shoot bullets there. The problem with that is if you got there sooner there will be enemy bullets that exist in the timeline at a different time than they existed in all the previous timelines, which could result in guys dying."
Over the last two months, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Productions have, like a sagely Mr. Miyagi, or a learned Obi-Wan, tried to teach us the ways of the MOBA. Today, those lessons are complete, as the final video in the "MOBA Mastery" series debuts in preparation for the December 5 launch of Guardians of Middle-earth. The multiplayer online battler pits teams of Tolkien-inspired heroes against one another, utilizing their varied skills and abilities to achieve control of the environment, and sweep the leg of their opponents.
The fifth, and final, video brings together all the elements discussed in previous weeks, culminating with team strategy and how a match unfolds. If you've missed any of the previous weeks, you can find week one, two, three and four, by hitting those links, and part five after the jump.