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NCsoft shutting down City of Heroes and its developer

NCsoft will shut down California-based MMORPG developer Paragon Studios and its flagship game City of Heroes, as part of the publisher’s efforts to realign its focus and publishing support. Founded five years ago as NCsoft NorCal (and rebranded as Paragon Studios in 2009), the team was formed to take over City of Heroes from its original developer Cryptic Studios after NCsoft purchased the property. City of Heroes was one of the first superhero-themed 3D MMORPGs …

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Final Fantasy Dimensions: Prologue Impressions

Square Enix has released Final Fantasy games on mobile devices before, but today marks the first time that North American gamers aren't just getting a port of a previously available entry. Final Fantasy Dimensions' design goes back to the golden age of Japanese RPGs, and I played through the prologue to see if it stacks up to the classics.

Dimensions liberally borrows art, plot, and gameplay elements from the 16-bit era of Final Fantasy – specifically FF IV and V. The story especially feels like it was lifted straight out of Final Fantasy V, since it focuses on a young swordsman and his friends who live in a small village that owes its prosperity to the mysterious powers of a nearby crystal. Then some oracles foretell a disaster, and the group heads out to save the crystal from impending doom. That covers the entire story of the prologue, which took me about 90 minutes to finish.

Due to a rocky launch, I couldn't play anything past the prologue. In short, all chapters were supposed to release today, but an unspecified problem with in-app purchases is preventing users from buying any additional content. On the plus side, the prologue is free, and it gives players a good idea what to expect from further chapters when they are eventually available for purchase.

As a fan of old-school Final Fantasy, I really enjoy the overall vibe of Dimensions. The soundtrack and visuals take me back to my favorite RPG era. I saw frogs, tree stumps, lizards, and goblins that looked like they were based directly on the monster designs from Final Fantasy IV. That's not a bad thing; the appeal to gamers' nostalgia is one of the primary strengths of dimensions. The dialogue, character introductions, and story arc would be right at home on the SNES.

The combat system isn't winning any points for turn-based innovation, since the auto-battle command is usually the fastest way to get through the random encounters. You can slow things down if you want by manually inputting commands, but only a few fights require any form of strategy. Most of the time, you just select attack anyway, so you may as well get it over with.

I'm hoping that combat evolves as the game progresses. That's going to depend entirely on the job system, which is not available during the prologue. The sections of the menu that reference jobs point to a system similar to Final Fantasy V, so I can't wait to see how Dimensions' battles open up.

Also, I should note that, unlike The World Ends With You, Final Fantasy Dimensions is a universal app. That means you can buy it once and play it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The game is also coming to Android in theory, but that version was supposed to come out today alongside the iOS release. That didn't happen, so Android gamers will have to wait for now.

I'm excited to see where Final Fantasy Dimensions goes from here, and I'm hopeful that the tedium of combat will be alleviated with a compelling job system. But even in its current form, the prologue is worth checking out for any gamers who have fond memories of 16-bit role-playing games. – The Feed

Aliens: Colonial Marines to include 4 vs 4 competitive multiplayer mode

Gearbox and SEGA have announced that Aliens: Colonial Marines will include a team-based competitive multiplayer mode named “Escape”.

This mode will pit four players, playing as Marines, against four other players, playing as Xenomorphs, in an intense  match of hunter and hunted.

The recently released pant-wetting trailer for the mode reveals a class-based system in which players can choose from a variety classes available for each team. Each class will have its own set of perks and abilities that the player can learn to use to his/her advantage. Customization of has not been explicitly mentioned by Gearbox or SEGA .

Aliens: Colonial Marines will be available for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC all over the world on February 12 2013.

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Take this code and go play the Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault beta

Take this code and go play the Ratchet & Clank Full Frontal Assault beta

The next Ratchet & Clank – Full Frontal Assualt – isn’t just the usual third-person platforming and shooting affair we’re all so used to from Insomniac Games. Well … it still has all that stuff, it’s just also got a thorough base defense aspect the developer is hoping you’ll beta test ahead of Full Frontal Assault‘s “fall” launch.

That beta, as it turns out, is going on right now (through next week). We’ve got some codes for you going out on our Twitter feed, and we’ve also got a link to this handy site where you can procure your own, should your hands not be speedy enough to catch a code otherwise.

Oh, also, the image above is full of codes that totally work (albeit for probably a super limited time). So there’s that.

JoystiqTake this code and go play the Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault beta originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 31 Aug 2012 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Get a job: IO Interactive and others hiring now on the Gamasutra jobs board

In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra’s jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at IO Interactive, Demiurge, Studios, and others. Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site’s daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly. It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra’s network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on independent …

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Here’s Why Sleeping Dogs’ World Is Fun To Explore

My favorite game of this console generation is still Grand Theft Auto IV. I lose myself in open worlds, especially those with fast cars and soaring cityscapes. For these reasons, Sleeping Dogs has been on my radar for quite some time. After reading mixed reviews for the game, I went into it expecting combat to be the main attraction. Grappling enemies and dragging them over to environment props is certainly fun – especially when fish tanks, furnaces, and gates are nearby – but this ability is taking a back seat to the world itself. I'm having a great time steering clear of missions to explore Hong Kong. After spending hundreds of hours in various recreations of Los Angeles and New York City, it's nice to be in a new location. And I'm not just sightseeing. The game rewards players well for exploring the world. Here's how:

Hidden Boxes Contain Loot
Grand Theft Auto toyed with the idea
of rewards being delivered to a safe house for every 10 packages found,
but most collectibles hidden in open worlds don't reward players with
more than the satisfaction of finding something. Sleeping Dogs' hidden
boxes contain clothing and cash. Some of the
garments offer bonuses like the ability to shake cops easier, or a
percentage bump to melee damage.

(Please visit the site to view this media)
(Please visit the site to view this media)

Men with Mysterious Metal Briefcases…
…are clearly up to something, and must be taken out. My favorite technique: Beat them with their own briefcase.

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Gang Busts

One of the side activities in the game is tied to exploration. If you stumble upon a gang hideout, you'll be forced to take them down or flee. Once all of the gang members are knocked out, you can hack their surveillance system and then call in an arrest from your home television. Also, you can see I still have that guy's briefcase. It can be used as a weapon, or in my case, as a trophy that I proudly carry everywhere.

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Health Shrines
In addition to lockboxes, health shrines are hidden throughout Hong Kong. For every five stations that are found, a 10-percent health bonus is added. If you plan on completing the fight club side missions, you should track down as many of these as you can.

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Cops don't pay much attention to Hong Kong's crazy people. As you can see in the video, I assaulted three people and no one took notice – not even the drivers who clearly killed them.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Jade Statues

Every jade statue rewards the player with new combo moves that must be learned at the Martial Arts Club. There are 12 statues to track down.

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(Please visit the site to view this media)

All food items consumed in the game are discarded on the floor. This includes soup bowls and tea cups that shops clearly want back. This is a small thing to look forward to, but I love it!

(Please visit the site to view this media) – The Feed

Super Joystiq Podcast 016: Forza Horizon, Resident Evil 6, Metal Gear, PSOne classics

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This week’s Super Joystiq Podcast works on all sorts of devices, even the PlayStation Vita (side-loading optional)!

Richard, Ludwig, JC, and Dave kick things off with impressions of Dark Souls for PC, Forza Horizon, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Resident Evil 6, and Rock Band Blitz. If you were hoping to hear that Resident Evil 6 is looking better after a bit more time, we have some bad news.

In news, Alexander, Ben, JC, and Jordan hit the surprisingly big week of news including a cavalcade of Metal Gear announcements, Square Enix’s new “advergaming” experiment, the sad state of PSOne Classics on PlayStation Vita, Bastion‘s surprise release on iPad, Skyrim‘s Hearthfire DLC, Marvel vs Capcom Origins, and more.

Also, stay tuned over the next few days for full coverage from Pax Prime 2012.

Listen to the Super Joystiq Podcast:

A stream of the show and details about each segment is available after the break.

Continue reading Super Joystiq Podcast 016: Forza Horizon, Resident Evil 6, Metal Gear, PSOne classics

JoystiqSuper Joystiq Podcast 016: Forza Horizon, Resident Evil 6, Metal Gear, PSOne classics originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 31 Aug 2012 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Your game industry in your words, week of August 31

Gamasutra highlights choice quotes from game industry figures from the past week, including Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford, Spec Ops: The Line’s Richard Pearsey, and many others. In our original and exclusive interviews, analysis, and feature pieces over the past week, a wide variety of developers, publishers, and indies shared their thoughts on Kickstarter, motion controls, cloud game development, and more. This Week’s Noteworthy Game Industry Quotes “While the player may feel frustration due to a feature, …

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Sacred 3 Screenshots Are Full Of Dead Monsters

Alongside a plethora of dead monsters, you will also see loot, fantasy landscapes, and at least two people holding axes menacingly.

Sacred 3 is currently being shown off at PAX 2012, and publisher Deep Silver released a handful of screens to make sure that all of us who aren't able to attend don't feel left out. Check them out below. – The Feed

F1 2012 developer diary flaunts dynamic weather system and realistic visuals

Codemasters has released a developer diary for their upcoming race sim, F1 2012.

In the video, developers delve into details regarding the games visuals, audio, physics, and user interface. Previous F1 games, developed by Codemasters, were fairly well reviewed by critics, with most noting the games’ exceptional weather system. The developers’ comments in the video diary suggest that the upcoming race sim will be no exception, and will incorporate an even better weather system than the one found in previous iterations of the F1 series.

The developers’ also emphasize that they are trying to simulate real F1 broadcasts through their visuals, and the various camera angles available during race replays. One developer notes that players will actually have a hard time distinguishing game footage from real life F1 footage. Bold statement, but one you’ll probably have a hard time refuting after you watch the diary for yourself.

F1 2012 Developer Diary

F1 2012 is set to be released on September 21 2012.

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