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The Sims 4 Heads To The Great Outdoors

Get your Sims out into nature this January with the Outdoor Retreat game pack.

The pack comes out in early January for $ 20, and takes your sims to a new location complete with campfire songs and bear costumes.

Outdoor Retreat is part of what developer Maxis is calling Game Packs. These differ from the Stuff Packs of the past, which contained themed costumes, furniture, etc. According to the game's official blog, Game Packs provide "new gameplay features" as well as clothing and the like. We'll have to see exactly what's in store, as the developer is promising more details on Outdoor Retreat before its release.

The Sims 4 also recently offered up two new career paths, and you can find out more about Maxis' thoughts on post-release content and the game's problems in Kim's talk with producer Ryan Vaughan.

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The Creation Of Evolve’s Monsters

Evolve's player-controlled monsters can't just be a target for the hunters – they have to be fun and interesting in their own right. In the fifth and final installment of its behind-the-scenes video series for Evolve, developers at Turtle Rock talk about how they made playing as a monster in the game a compelling experience.

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Evolve is set to release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 10.

For more information on Evolve, watch the first, secondthird, and fourth episodes of this video series, and check out our special coverage hub.

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University in Spain Puts Up Pac-Man Statue

Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain has erected a Pac-Man statue as tribute to the gaming icon and the university's game development program.

The sculpture is over two meters high, and the commencement ceremony was attended by the Japanese ambassador in Spain, the university's dean, and local city representatives, among others.

The university is the first in the Madrid region to offer a video game development degree.

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Reader Discussion: Which Free Ubisoft Game Are You Getting?

Ubisoft has started giving away a complimentary game to season pass owners (prior to November 25) for Assassin's Creed Unity as a makeup for the game's many problems. What's it going to be?

The games are being offered because the company decided to give away the game's Dead Kings DLC to all players as an apology, but because season pass holders already effectively paid for the DLC, they are now getting one of the following free games: Far Cry 4 (shown), The Crew, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Watch Dogs, Rayman Legends, or Just Dance 2015.

Which of these are you getting? Please post in the comments section below.

If you're eligible for your free game, head over to Ubisoft's redemption site.

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Weekend Warrior 12/19/2014

This is the last weekend to buy Christmas gifts, so naturally the Game Informer staff will be spending it playing games (There's plenty of time for shopping on the 24th). And with games like Far Cry 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Shadow of Mordor still on our plate what else would we have time for? What are your gaming plans for this weekend? Let us know in the comments below!

Mathew Kato (@MattKato): Been playing Madden 15 after some time off, and finding that I'm a horrible QB. So I think I'm going to be playing a bunch this weekend simply to brush up on what I should do. Makes me chuckle whenever I throw a bad INT how much I rail on real-life quarterbacks for their mistakes.

Tim Turi (@TimTuri): This weekend I’m going to be diving into Halo: Master Chief Collection, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and perhaps a little Far Cry 4. I’m also facing the tough decision of whether or not I want to continue with Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’m about halfway through, so I feel a little committed to it at this point. But I can’t help but wonder about all the games I’d enjoy playing more with the dozens of hours I’d save.

Jeff Marchiafava (@GIJeffM): I’ve already submitted my Top 10 Games of the Year list, which means this weekend I can play whatever I want. That’s probably going to include more Far Cry 4, along with some Shadow of Mordor and Dragon Age. Come to think of it, this sounds a lot like every other weekend, Top 10 list or no.

Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner): My family’s holiday festivities begin this weekend and run into the new year. I won’t have much gaming time, but when I do find windows, I plan on finishing The Banner Saga (on my phone), and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Late-night movie watching includes Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Maze Runner and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Jeff Cork (@GIJeff): I finally beat Dragon Age: Inquisition this morning, so I can take that off my to-do list. Sure, it says I'm free to explore the world and all that nonsense, but after 67 hours I'm ready to pack it in. That'll free up a bunch of time to do other things, such as working my way through Geometry Wars 3: Dimension's adventure mode. I may also get around to checking out Telltale's Game of Thrones thing, too. And, as always, Smashsmashsmash.

Ben Hanson (@Yozetty): This weekend I'm most likely going to play some more Drawful and Fibbage as they have consumed my social life at this point. Other than that, I'm going to my grandma's 90th birthday party so I'll most likely play my annual play through of Doom 3 with her. I also bought an Amiibo today for some reason (Yoshi… I guess) so I'm looking forward to training him up in Smash Bros. or whatever the kids are doing with these dumb things. Have a good weekend!

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Reader Discussion: Do You Prefer Episodic Structure?

Telltale delivers all of its games in episodes and Resident Evil Revelations 2 is adopting the structure. Do you prefer it?

I understand the advantages of episodic delivery on the development side of video games, but as a consumer and player, I much prefer the traditional "everything at once" delivery. My game playing opportunities usually appear periodically and unpredictably in large chunks rather than on a consistent schedule, as episodic games favor. Also, having to leave a game behind for a few weeks and then re-enter it breaks the immersion and also forces you to relearn how to play the game.

What about you? Do you like playing games in crafted chunks spread out over a long period of time? Or do want everything all at once so you can make as much progress as possible?

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Solitary Journey – The Axiom Verge Story

Many artists find comfort in collaboration. Where one de sign er is weak, another is strong. Even the leanest indie studios often seek help, having a friend assist with programming, outsourcing the art to a third party, or hiring a professional musician for the soundtrack. Few designers are talented enough – or crazy enough – to attempt to create a full game from scratch entirely on their own.

Tom Happ is that kind of crazy. Inspired by some of the best 8- and 16-bit games from his childhood, this designer has toiled tirelessly for nearly half a decade, creating the code, the sound, the art, and the story for Axiom Verge. Sacrificing sleep, personal relationships, and career security, Happ has laid it all on the line to prove that he has what it takes to make a complete game.

[Editor's Note: This feature originally appeared in Issue 260 of Game Informer Magazine]

The Accidental Designer
Happ originally tried to major in physics, but realized he wanted to make games after he was inadvertently enrolled in a computer science course in college. The budding designer switched his major to computer programming, but after graduation Happ had little luck finding a game programming position, so he joined a graduate program for computer animation. Ironically, after spending all this time learning to animate, Happ’s first industry job came as a programmer for Red ­Eye ­Studios.

The added schooling had the unintended benefit of giving Happ a more holistic understanding of the game development process. As both a programmer and an animator, Happ understood how the assorted elements of a game came together during development. After nearly 10 years in the industry, working on titles like Crash Nitro Kart, NFL Street 3, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09, Happ felt a growing itch to create a game entirely on his own. He knew he had the talent; all he needed was the dedication and the time.

Happ started collecting his thoughts on paper in 2010 – not in words as much as in form. “I actually created 90 percent of the art assets for Axiom Verge before I’d ever written a line of code,” Happ says. “I knew I’d get distracted later on if, while coding, I had to switch context and start ­drawing ­again.”

A child of the ‘80s, Happ wanted to create a game that paid homage to many of his favorite games from the 8- and 16-bit era classics. He dreamed of a game that would mash the combat of Contra, the grapple mechanic from Bionic Commando, the vehicle sequences from Blaster Master, and the iconic discarmor weapon from Rygar into one ­super ­game.

As development continued and ideas coalesced into code, the game started to take on its own personality. “As I drew the maps it started to look more like the original Metroid,” Happ says. “I really liked the idea of tiled environments that actually looked like tiles. I decided the main weapon would be more versatile as a firearm rather than melee, and I started to incorporate a variety of weapons like what you have in shoot 'em ups.” Then there were the meta elements, which Happ kept coming back to, such as the idea of letting players intentionally glitch ­their ­game.


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Watch A Walking Dead Pinball Machine Come Together

Stern Pinball is the oldest running pinball machine maker in the world, and it does most of its work out of a factory in Chicago, Illinois. Get a virtual tour of the company's headquarters and watch them construct a Walking Dead table before your very eyes. Now you never need to go to Chicago.

The Awesomer recently visited the Stern Pinball factory and filmed 3,500 parts and 1/2 a mile of wire get reworked into The Walking Dead pinball machines. For more on Stern Pinball read our Behind The Wizardry feature where we interview Stern’s director of marketing, Jody Dankberg.

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343 Industries Remaking Halo 3: ODST Campaign, Says Sorry

If you're still feeling a little raw about all the problems that Halo: The Master Chief Collection has had since launch, 343 Industries is hoping that a remake of Halo 3: ODST will help rebuild a friendship with the company.

In a recent blog post on Halo Waypoint, Head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross continued to apologize for the problems that gamers have experienced with Halo: The Master Chief Collection since launch.

Next week, 343 Industries will release an update that will add 10 episodes of the cooperative experience “Spartan Ops” for Halo 4. Also – as a way of saying thank you to fans – 343 Industries will also give away the following to gamers who have played Halo: The Master Chief Collection online at any time since launch:

  •  1 Month of Xbox Live Gold
  •  Exclusive In-Game Nameplate
  •  Exclusive In-Game Avatar

Most importantly however, 343 Industries has already started work on remaking the Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer map Relic and Halo 3: ODST as free downloadable additions, which will release sometime in the – hopefully near – future.

[Source: Halo Waypoint]

 

Our Take
This is a nice way to say thinks. 343 Industries did some damage to the reputation and to fans' trust with the release of The Master Chief Collection, so it's nice to see that they're taking these problems seriously.

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Here’s The Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer Recreated In Grand Theft Auto V

During modern times in a galaxy based on a fictionalized version of the west coast…

YouTube channel Powerlight-13 took the endlessly parodied and recreated Star Wars teaser trailer and added a Grand Theft Auto twist. Overall, it's really well done, especially the flying sequences. You can check out the video below.

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For more on the Star Wars teaser trailer head here to see what video games you should play to experience the trailer's moments, and here for arguably the teaser's best parody.

[Source: Powerlight-13 on YouTube, via Kotaku]

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