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The best in Japan: CEDEC shares 2015 award nominees

CEDEC has shared the nominees for its annual awards across five categories, including popular games like Final Fantasy XIV. It’s a peek into how Japan’s industry works. …

Gamasutra News

‘Indiependence Day’ promotion shines light on dev struggles

Indie dev consultant Dan Adelman has launched a campaign to help indies sell more games over the U.S. upcoming holiday weekend — at full price. …

Gamasutra News

Popular Toys To Life Racer Goes Into Overdrive This September

Slot car racing has come a long way since I was a kid in the 1980s. Thanks to the efforts the robotics company Anki, now kids can control their cars with Apple or Android smartphones, fire weaponry to gain the upper hand during a race, and drive against several different A.I.s when their friends aren'A.It around. After a big holiday season last year that Anki says landed them the number two slot in the toy category on Amazon, the company is doubling down with an improved product.

Under the guidance of former Skylanders creative director Joby Otero, the Anki Overdrive hones the effort of its predecessor by allowing players to create custom tracks and retrofit their cars with new weapons and upgrades. You can play with up to four players, but if you're short on human drivers each car is outfitted with a microchip that allows it to compete on its own with several different racing strategies. Overdive comes with a full campaign to compete in against A.I. drivers.

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The Anki Overdrive is slated to hit retailers on September 20. The $ 150 starter pack includes two cars and 10 track pieces that players can assemble to their liking thanks to their magnetic connectors. Additional cars and track pieces will be made available as well to expand your racing experience. The modular track also works with older Anki cars. 


Our Take
The $ 150 price isn't cheap considering you also need to have a smartphone to play the game, but the promise of customizable tracks and a full game campaign may make this one of the highly desired luxury toys of the holiday season. – The Feed

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Arrives On Wii U In North America

The Legend of Zelda underwent an enormous change with the Nintendo 64. Today, you can relive that experience on your Wii U, as Ocarina of Time hits the virtual console.

Because this is virtual console title, it’s the Nintendo 64 original. If you’re looking for something with more recent updates, it’s the 3DS version you want.

Nintendo has priced the title at $ 9.99. You can download it right now.


Our Take
While Ocarina of Time doesn’t hold the same magic for me as it does for others (I’m a Link to the Past guy), this is great news. Many call this the best of the franchise, which means Nintendo is likely to see the money roll in. – The Feed

[Update] Star Wars Battlefront Alpha Leak Pulled (For Now)

Update: EA has filed a copyright claim, removing the footage from YouTube. We suspect more will pop up throughout the weekend. We'll share them if they emerge.

Original Story:

If you want to check out this Alpha footage from the Star Wars Battlefront, you might want to click the play button now. It’s likely not going to be up for very long.

What you’ll see (if you were fast enough), is a mission on Hoth. The soon-to-be banned user plays as a Snow Trooper on Hoth, tasked with keeping uplinks offline.

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There is also some AT-ST footage, if walkers are your thing. Star Wars Battlefront will be out this fall. The Alpha, for those who received an invitation, runs through Monday, July 6. For more, check out our impressions from E3.


Our Take
If you miss this one, chances are people will be posting footage throughout the weekend. We'll try to get you as much as we can. – The Feed

League Of Legends Developer Riot Games Invests In Curse

As the video game industry develops, the opportunity for complementary product relationships expands. Yesterday, League of Legends developer Riot Games made an investment of an unknown amount in Curse.

In addition to its Gamepedia service (a home for video game wikis), Curse operates a secure voice over IP service called Curse Voice. The application is currently in beta, and recently expanded from PC to include Mac, iOS, and Android.

“Riot really believes in what we're doing and where we're going,” writes Curse CEO Hubert Thieblot. “This investment boosts our efforts to continue creating what I believe to be the best communication tool in gaming.”

About a year ago, Curse was put in a challenging position with regard to the portion of its community that also plays League of Legends. Two features were deemed to be in violation of Riot’s rules (automatic timers and automatic chat joining), with the developer going so far as to ban anyone using the client.

“When the application begins directly connecting you with dozens of other people in unfiltered (and untrackable) voice chats, it can make for a huge negative player experience in a space where we can’t help,” Riot said at the time. “No software should interfere with the League of Legends player experience between when you press “Play” and the end of game screen.”

Curse altered its product to comply, removing the timers and changing the way the voice chat app works. Today, the relationship has clearly evolved with financial ties now existing between the two companies.

Curse does not indicate how much the investment is worth, and both it and Riot are private companies, the terms may not be revealed. Via its Twitter account, Riot directed people to Curse’s brief statement on the matter.

We inquired with both companies on what this might mean for a formal relationship between League of Legends and Curse Voice (which is already a partner with Hi-Rez Studios’ Smite). 

“This is an investment in Curse because Riot believes in the team and the experiences they’ve built for players,” a Riot representative told us via email. “We’re not announcing any League of Legends development roadmap plans (or feature plans) right now.”

Curse provided no additional comment, but assured us that we’d hear more when there was more to share. “This is, of course, exciting and positive news for us,” Thieblot writes in Curse’s statement available online. “We've known Riot for a long time, and know that Riot, like us, cares very deeply about the core gamer. I'm excited and confident that this will be good for Curse and for the millions of players we serve via Curse Voice.”

[Source: Curse, Inc.]


Our Take
While Riot and Curse aren’t talking about specifics or what this might mean for the future, it does position the latter quite well. Riot will want to see return on its investment, and that likely means giving Curse more visibility. Whether that comes in the form of a formalized or official partnership remains to be seen (and neither party is willing to talk yet). – The Feed

Leland Yee Pleads Guilty To Racketeering, Faces Up To 20 Years In Prison

Former California state senator Leland Yee pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering yesterday, stemming from corruption charges that he faced earlier this year. Yee is known within the games industry as the author of a bill that prohibited the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed it into law, but it was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Yee’s guilty plea acknowledged that he made illegal transactions that greased political wheels with campaign contributions. Some of those deals include giving contributors preference to state contracts, setting up introductions between donors and political influencers, and making an official proclamation on behalf of a group with possible criminal ties.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the game legislation in June 2011 for violating the First Amendment. Yee didn’t stop talking about violence in video games, however, particularly when it came to their effects on young people. Yee said in an interview that “Gamers have just got to quiet down. Gamers have no credibility in this argument.” Yee later apologized, saying he should have chosen his words more carefully. "I have a lot of respect for many gamers – many are on my staff and in my family – but the industry has profited at the expense of children."

Sentencing is set for October 21, and Yee faces up to 20 years in prison.

[Source: The Sacramento Bee]


Our Take
People tend to suspect that politics are a dirty business, and stories like this simply confirm the worst. That doesn't make it any less disappointing, even if you take Yee's position on video games out of the conversation. – The Feed

Comcept Teases New Project That Just Happens To Use The Word ‘Legends’ A Lot

Comcept and animation house Studio 4C are planning to make an announcement for something called “Red Ash” at Anime Expo this weekend. The studio headed by Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune was careful to pepper the tease with the word “legends,” which might be a hint.

Comcept is getting set to release Mighty No. 9, which is a not-so-subtle riff on the Mega Man series. The visuals featured in the video below (along with the word “legend” appearing multiple times) give some glimmer of hope that Mega Man Legends might be getting a similar treatment.

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It’s worth noting that the Japanese name for Mega Man Legends is Rockman Dash. Red Ash shuffled just a bit gets us to “Re-Dash.” It’s still too early to get your hopes up, but if you lament the cancelation of Mega Man Legends 3, this might be one to keep your eye on.

While there’s nothing concrete to point to yet, you won’t have to wait long for details. The reveal is set for Saturday, July 4 at Anime Expo in Los Angeles. For more from Inafune, you can read our E3 interview, during which we discuss Mega Man Legends 3.


Our Take
It wouldn’t be at all surprising for Comcept to return to the crowdfunding well for another title (especially with the "Studio 4C's challenge" bit at the end. I’m curious about the Studio 4C connection and the presence at Anime Con. This might be a trans-media project and not just a simple game announcement. – The Feed

Humble Bundle Offering Fallout, Mass Effect, And Other Video Game Comics

Humble Bundle is teaming up with Dark Horse to offer a collection of video game comics and art books at extremely low prices. As always, payments support charity.

At the “pay what you want level,” you’ll get Fallout: New Vegas – All Roads, Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon, EVE: True Stories, Tomb Raider: The Beginning, and The Art of Remember Me. If you pay more than the average ($ 7.54 at the time of publication), you’ll get The Guild Volume 1, Halo: Initiation, The Art of BioShock Infinite, and Valve Presents Volume 1: The Sacrifice and Other Steam-Powered Stories.

Finally, if you pay $ 5 more than the average, you’ll also get Mass Effect: Foundation Volume 1 and Dragon Age Volume 1: The Silent Grove. More books will be added before this bundle ends on July 15.

Your contribution can support (in part or in total) the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. You can check out the offerings on Humble’s website.  

While you’re there, be sure to claim a the free comics that are on offer. – The Feed

Rare Replay’s Jet Force Gemini Has “Retooled” Widescreen

In a tweet earlier today, Rare showed off a screenshot of Jet Force Gemini from their upcoming Xbox One exclusive Rare Replay:

It seems the original Jet Force Gemini's widescreen option has made it onto the Xbox One intact, along with some significantly improved visuals. Jet Force Gemini is just one of 30 games featured in the collection, which also include Battletoads, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark, and Banjo-Kazooie. Rare Replay releases for the Xbox One on August 4. Check out our E3 coverage of the game for more.


Our Take
Like Rare said, there's only so much you can do when bringing a 16-year-old game to an eighth-generation console. The screenshot in their tweet looks great, though. I hope the rest of the games make the jump to Xbox One as successfully. – The Feed