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Never Alone leads the 2015 Games for Change award nominees

The New York City festival dedicated to celebrating games’ positive social impact has announced its list of 2015 award nominees and its “Game Changer” award winner, Tracy Fullerton. …


Gamasutra News

Fable Legends Is Free-To-Play, Borrows League Of Legends Model

Update: Lionhead has shared some information on its own site about what players can expect. In addition to being able to purchase heroes, you'll be able to buy customization options.

You'll earn silver for playing, but gold can be purchased with real money. These currencies can be spent on heroes and customization items (some only with gold). Villains will be able to purchase new creatures and traps with silver or gold.

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Original Story:

Lionhead Studios has confirmed that Fable Legends, its upcoming take on the 4-vs-1 approach, won’t cost you anything to start playing. The title will be free-to-play rather than a retail or premium digital game.

Speaking with Kotaku UK, Lionhead creative director David Eckleberry confirmed the business model. Fable Legends will borrow from the MOBA model of rotating heroes. 

Four will be available at any one time, and if you choose to keep playing after they are off the free roster, you can pay. When those characters to rotate back in, you keep your experience and equipment you’ve earned for them. “We’re taking on a lot of risk,” Eckleberry told Kotaku UK “I accept that and so does Microsoft, but there’s no risk for you, as a player."

The title will launch with a number of missions, with expansions planned. Lionhead says that there won’t be traditional free-to-play paywalls or recharging energy. Whether there will be an in-game currency that can be earned to unlock characters (like League of Legends offers) has not yet been revealed.

The title still has an amorphous 2015 release date, as Lionhead plans to grow the ongoing closed beta (which is under NDA). It was announced at a recent Windows 10 event that the title will allow cross-platform play for Xbox One and PC users. For more, check out our preview from E3 2014.

[Source: Kotaku UK]

 

Our Take
I’m not the least bit surprised that Fable Legends is going free-to-play. Unfortunately, it does mean the title won’t have the splash of a major retail outing. 

I’m interested to see how Microsoft builds to the game’s release. Will it treat Fable Legends like a full-priced title or leave it to wither like Project Spark. 

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Square Enix Bringing Final Fantasy Record Keeper Mobile Game To The West

DeNA and Square Enix have announced that Final Fantasy Record Keeper is coming to the West. The title features scenes from acrosss the Final Fantasy franchise, and heroes from a number of titles.

Players that sign up on the official website will also have the chance to unlock new characters, including Tidus from Final Fantasy X. The video below shows just how the active time battle (ATB) system works. 

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Final Fantasy Record Keeper will be out this spring as a free download. For more (and to sign up for more information), visit the game’s website.

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Test Chamber – Duelyst

Counterplay Games' upcoming free-to-play digital collectible card game Duelyst combines style with tactical strategy as players face off and make plays on a grid. While the digital trading card game market is getting more and more popular, Duelyst is striking out with a tactical core that's not found in many, allowing for fast-paced matches with positioning and board control as a focus.

Join Daniel Tack, Wade Wojcik, and Counterplay Games' Keith Lee for a few rounds and a walk around the various factions and playstyles in this episode of Test Chamber!

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Check out more Test Chambers by clicking the banner below or by visiting our hub.

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Donkey Kong Land, Country Roll Onto Virtual Console

Nintendo has released a barrel-blasting series of games onto its 3DS and Wii U Virtual Consoles. The first three entries in the Donkey Kong Land and Donkey Kong Country games are now available for download.

Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble, are available for $ 7.99 apiece. The first game was a milestone in its day, presenting pre-rendered characters that were unlike the vast majority of games on the SNES.

Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Land 2, and Donkey Kong Land III were all fun portable riffs on the series, but the most noteworthy thing about them is they shipped on yellow carts.

All were developed by Rare, so we can only assume that the "Publisher Nintendo" bullet point on each game's Virtual Console landing page is a consistent typo.

The games were made available on the UK's Virtual Console late last year, and North American audiences are getting the games as well as an accompanying promotion. If you buy one or more of these titles before March 3, you can get 30 percent off the eShop purchase of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on Wii U or Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D for the 3DS. If you want to fully lose your mind, Donkey Kong style, you can download an NES Donkey Kong theme for your 3DS, too.

 

Our Take
If you like playing Mr. Kong in Smash Bros., you can thank Donkey Kong Country. Before that series re-imagined the character, he was dangerously close to becoming second-tier has-been. Donkey Kong Country gave him a makeover as well as most of his trademark moves. Think of that game every time you grab an unsuspecting doofus in Smash and walk off the stage with him in your arms.

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PSA: Sony Announces 8-Week PlayStation Plus Spring Fever Celebration

Sony has announced the 2015 Spring Fever sale, featuring eight new digital-only games. Along with the sale announcement comes release dates for a number of upcoming titles.

Each of the titles carries a 10 percent discount for PlayStation Plus members. The deal extends through the first week of launch.

Here’s the lineup:

  • March 3 – Helldivers (PS4, PS3, Vita)
  • March 10 – Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4, PS3, Vita)
  • March 17 – Jamestown+ (PS4)
  • March 24 – Metal Slug 3 (PS4, PS3, Vita)
  • March 31 – Axiom Verge (PS4)
  • April 7 – Bastion (PS4)
  • April 14 – Titan Souls (PS4, Vita)
  • April 21 – Shovel Knight (PS4, PS3, Vita)

Helldivers, Hotline Miami 2, Metal Slug 3, Titan Souls, and Shovel Knight are cross-buy. Bastion and Axiom Verge will be launching later on Vita and will retroactively be part of the cross-buy program.

Additionally, there will be movie and game franchises on sale during each of the weeks. They are:

  • March 3 – Lego (games), The Hobbit (film)
  • March 10 – Saints Row (games), X-Men (film)
  • March 17 – Assassin’s Creed (games), Transformers (film)
  • March 24 – God of War (games), Spider-Man (film)
  • March 31 – Batman (games and film)
  • April 7 – Dragon Age (games), Lego (film)
  • April 14 – Grand Theft Auto (games), Planet of the Apes (film)
  • April 21 – Call of Duty (games), Taken (film)

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[Confirmed] The Gold Mario Amiibo Is A Retailer Exclusive

Update: Nintendo has announced that the Gold Mario Amiibo will launch alongside Mario Party 10 on March 20. It will be available only at Walmart. It appears that pre-orders were available for a brief time on the company's website, but no longer. If you're interested, you may want to plan to be at Walmart early on March 20.

Original Story:

Earlier this month, listings for silver and gold variants of the Mario Amiibo from the upcoming Super Mario Bros. line appeared online. It seems that the latter of these is soon to be a reality and a retailer exclusive.

A Reddit user by the name of “pituvision” snapped the image below that labels the Gold Mario figure as a Walmart exclusive. Given Nintendo’s propensity for retailer Amiibo exclusives (Rosalina at Target, Lucario at Toys R Us, Meta Knight at Best Buy, and Shulk at GameStop – Disclaimer: GameStop is Game Informer’s parent company), this fits right in line with previous strategy.

Click to enlarge.

We’ve reached out to Nintendo for more information. We’ll update should we receive a response.

[Source: Reddit, Images: NeoGAF user Zonic (above), Reddit (below)]

 

Our Take
Given the run of retailer exclusives, this certainly wouldn’t be a shock. I hope it does signal a change in approach for the company, though.

Retailer exclusive variants are much more reasonable than limiting characters to specific chains. Activision does this well with Skylanders, with Legendary versions at Toys R Us, Nitro versions at other retailers, and even glow in the dark varieties at others. This helps ensure players find the characters they want, even if not in the exact deco they’d prefer.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Heroes Of The Storm May Be Your Perfect MOBA

Well, here we are – I’ve reached level 40 in the Heroes of the Storm closed beta, the current cap. Blizzard’s take on the MOBA genre is fast (games last around the 15-20 minute realm), accessible, and a blast with friends, which is a far cry from the rather rickety tech alpha that we saw a while back. When I’m discussing solid entry points to the genre with players considering taking the plunge, Heroes of the Storm is always at the top of the list. But it’s not just for prospective genre players taking a fun dip; the game has plenty of competitive aspects going for it as well – it may not be as technically challenging as some of the current big players in the genre, but solid teamwork remains a crucial factor. Let’s look at a few ways Blizzard has changed the formula to accommodate a wide range of players.

One of the first important factors is the concept of shared experience points. While your character in each game will level up, all experience goes to the team – you’ll never have a situation where some poor support is down in the dregs at level 2 while a crazy player on the other team with many takedowns is level 10, creating a terrifying discrepancy. Teams level up together, so all players on a side will be level 8 or 10 at the same time. This still creates meaningful gaps, as a two-to-three level difference in team experience provides a significant advantage to the leading team, and a reason for the lower team to wait for an opportune moment to try to shift the advantage back – generally by picking and choosing a defensive team fight, an ambush on one or two stragglers in the jungle, or a big map objective completion.

Another major factor is the lack of in-game stores to purchase weapons or armor – all upgrades are level based, taking a large degree of the complexity found in other MOBAs out of the equation directly. Players that have a tough time handling more abilities can stick to passive upgrades, but those more familiar with the genre may branch out into active abilities, essentially creating faux-items that can produce potent effects on cooldown.

Players are also eased into this system by only being allowed a few choices for skillups for a few rounds with each hero, as each character needs some account-level experience in order to unlock their full roster of upgradeable skills. This can feel needlessly restrictive for veterans of the genre, but it’s a welcome addition to get new players in and picking skills during a match without being overwhelmed with many choices when time is a crucial factor – they won’t spend much time at all sitting in base trying to decide which ability to pick.

What else is going on in Heroes of the Storm? Join us on page two…


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SolForge Launches A Single Player Campaign

Digital trading card game SolForge is adding a single player campaign mode into the mix, launching today alongside the upcoming Reign of Varna expansion. While multiplayer battles and tournaments have been the focus of Stoneblade Entertainment's game thus far, the campaign mode will allow players to take on thematic encounters and earn some of the most sought after cards.

These missions will come in several varieties – some allow players to use their own constructed decks, others will have more structured challenges to take on with provided decks or force players to use special deckbuilding rules.

Players can select missions to take on that will earn them currency, packs, and other awards. At launch, six missions will be available, with another batch coming shortly after featuring another similar set. New missions will become available on a regular basis, including event style "Weekend Warrior" content that will have a limited duration and special rewards.

This all rolls out with a sort of mini-tutorial, which should allow new players to better understand the factions available in the game and get some additional tutelage as they explore some of the lore aspects behind each faction.

Our Take
It's becoming quite competitive in the digital card game space, and single-player campaigns and content are nice to have in addition to standard multiplayer fare.

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Contrast Developers Announce We Happy Few, Complete With Creepy Smiles

Compulsion, the studio behind PlayStation 4 launch title Contrast has announced a new title that is sure to put a smile on your face. Or else.

We Happy Few takes place in the town of Wellington Wells, a too-perfect “retro-futuristic” city in 1960s England, in which everyone has smiles permanently in place. As you’ll see in the trailer below, those that are out of place or unhappy aren’t entirely welcome.

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No platforms have yet been announced for We Happy Few, but we’re going to get a look at PAX East.

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