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Report: Tencent preparing to take over Clash of Clans developer, Supercell

Chinese internet giant Tencent is in talks with Supercell’s majority shareholder, SoftBank, about a potential takeover deal. …

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Report: ISP now blocking online games in Morocco due to VoIP ban

Word is spreading this week that Maroc Telecom, one of the largest ISPs in Morocco, has blocked access to many online games as it tightens its existing ban on VoIP (voice over IP)  traffic. …

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Report: The Talos Principle Sequel Has Been Confirmed

Last year, Serious Sam developer Croteam took its experience with first-person games in a different direction. The result was The Talos Principle, a philosophical puzzle game that was received well by critics and the public.

Speaking at the Nordic Games Conference today, the studio has apparently confirmed it is working on a sequel. The news came via a tweet from Damir Durović, managing director of Reboot Mag, who was in the audience.

No specific details have been revealed, including timing. We’ve reached out to Devolver Digital, which got back to us immediately. “Ask them where Serious Sam 4 is,” the company told us.

There’s a backstory here. In the months leading up to E3 2014, Devolver (which has a long, fruitful relationship with Croteam), was under the impression that the studio was working on Serious Sam 4. The team dripped assets to Devolver, starting with screenshots and a flythrough gif.

Devolver was starting to get worried, though. There were no renders for Sam, enemies, or even guns. 

Just a couple of months before E3, Croteam uploaded a playable build. It wasn’t Serious Sam 4, though. It was The Talos Principle, and Devolver was happy just the same. While that humorous official comment doesn’t really tell us much, it gave us an opportunity to explore the relationship between the two parties and tell this story. The takeaway? Croteam could be working on The Talos Principle 2, and Devolver is so hands off with its longtime partner that the surprise might not just be for fans.

Haven't played The Talos Principle? Check out our review to learn more.

[Source: Damir Durović on Twitter via Twinfinite]


Our Take
The Talos Principle features some challenging puzzles, and while the comparisons to Portal are fair, the two games are wildly different. The Talos Principle features a heavier tone with strong philosophical leanings, creating an entirely different feel. All of that is to say that it’s worth checking out, and more just like it would be welcome. – The Feed

Report: Techland Working On New IP & Possibly Dying Light 2

In an interview with Eurogamer, CEO Paweł Marchewka of Polish developer Techland (Dying Light, shown) mentioned that the company is working on two new games, with heavy speculation that one of them is Dying Light 2.

The first Marchewka says is a large open-world fantasy title with "RPG elements" that also contains co-op multiplayer. Despite the shared fantasy elements, Marchewka says that this new title is not Hellraid, which was put on hold.

The other title is being handled by Techland's internal studio in Wrocław, Poland – the one who did the first Dying Light. Although the CEO wouldn't say whether the new title being done at Wrocław is specifically Dying Light 2, in the interview Marchewka did mention a direct sequel for the series. The PR manager for the studio also said that the Dying Light franchise was "more important for us" than fellow Techland-developed property Dead Island.

While Techland made the first Dead Island, Deep Silver owns the IP, and has partnered with Sumo Digital for the upcoming Dead Island 2.

Marchewka says that both of its new games have been in development for about a year and should be released with three years.

The company has also promised to support Dying Light through 2016.

[Source: Eurogamer]


Our Take
It's good to hear a company talk relatively openly about its plans, giving fans a road map of current and future projects. – The Feed

Report: Warner Bros. Working On Spin-Off Movie For Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn

After the disappointing performance of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice at the box office, Warner Bros. is said to be focusing its resources on the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. The film, which turns the spotlight on the bad guys in the DC Universe, features such stars as Jared Leto as The Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is considering giving Robbie's Harley Quinn her own spin-off in the form of film that would focus on DC's female heroes and villains.

While THR was unable to obtain too much more information, the outlet did learn that names like Batgirl and Birds of Prey could be involved in some unclear capacity. According to the report, Robbie's research for her role as Harley in the Suicide Squad film led her to fall in love with the female characters of DC Comics. From there, she worked with an unnamed female writer to develop a story that Warner Bros. reportedly picked up.

No further details were made available through the report, but if Suicide Squad is the success that Warner Bros. hopes it is, this move would make sense for the studio as Robbie's Harley Quinn has been a centerpiece for all of the trailers we've seen so far. Suicide Squad hits theaters August 5.

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter] – The Feed

Report: Fable 4 Concept Inspired By Jules Verne, Legends Cost $75 Million

As we continue to mourn the loss of Fable developer Lionhead Studios, new information has emerged on the developer’s long history and tragic fall. An extensive eulogy written by Eurogamer’s Wesley Yin-Poole reveals the struggles and triumphs of Peter Molyneux’s Guildford studio.

The extensive story, which includes anecdotes from named and anonymous sources reveals two pieces of what might have been for the Fable franchise. With Microsoft pushing the studio toward Kinect and free-to-play, fans are still waiting for a proper numbered sequel.

According to Eurogamer’s discussion with former Lionhead art director John McCormack, a pitch for an Unreal Engine 4-powered Fable 4 would have taken players to a steampunk neo-Victorian setting. The game’s main town, Bowerstone, would have been modeled after London, complete with Jack the Ripper and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde characters. According to McCormack, the pitch was declined as Microsoft shifted Lionhead toward a service model.

The result was Fable Legends, the now-canceled free-to-play, four-vs-one game set in Albion’s past. According to Eurogamer’s sources, before cancellation the game had rung up expenses totaling approximately $ 75 million. This is exceedingly high for a free-to-play game, as that model requires nimble, reactive decisions that take into account player adoption, attrition, and growth commensurate with user buy-in.

The entire story is absolutely worth reading. You can do so over at Eurogamer

With more of this information surfacing, the question remains: what is Microsoft going to do with the franchise? We learned yesterday that the company refused to sell it along with the studio. Hopefully, when the time is right, we'll be able to return to Albion.

[Source: Eurogamer]


Our Take
Not only is this a fascinating retrospective on a storied studio, but it illuminates business decisions that put Lionhead’s problems in context. Microsoft doesn’t look great in Eurogamer’s piece, though without all the pieces it would be unfair to lay blame exclusively at the publisher’s feet.

This is as much a human story as it is a dissection of a failed business. And that reminder is a valuable one for those of us who love the medium. – The Feed

Dark Souls III Leads The Pack During A Slow Month In April NPD Report

As everything quiets down for the road to E3, April is usually a quieter month for the gaming industry, and not even Dark Souls could save us from a dip in overall game sales.

Overall, hardware and software sales were down this April when compared to last year. Hardware sales dropped 23 percent since last year. In spite of this, both the Xbox One and PS4 are trending over 40 percent higher in overall sales compared to where the PS3 and Xbox 360 were at this point in their lifespan.

In terms of software, there weren’t too many high performing titles. A few exceptions are Ratchet & Clank and Dark Souls III, which were both the best launches for their respective series. Dark Souls III, in particular, sold nearly double what Dark Souls II did during launch. However, compared to April of 2015, this year just couldn’t compete. Mortal Kombat X, in particular, was such a strong selling title in April 2015 that its sales exceeded the sales of every game released in April of this year by 18 percent.

While overall numbers were down, Microsoft seems to have had a good month.

“Thanks to our fans, April 2016 was the best month in history for global engagement on Xbox One, driven by the greatest games lineup, including the critically-acclaimed Quantum Break, Dark Souls III, and Tom Clancy’s The Division,” says Microsoft’s corporate vice president of marketing Mike Nichols. “We received a strong response to the Gears of War 4 Versus Multiplayer Beta last month, which lasted two weeks and attracted more than 1.6 million unique players who helped us test and shape what is expected to be our biggest game of the year…We look forward to sharing more on our vision and plans for continuing to deliver the best gaming experience on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Live this year at E3 in June.”

Here is the full top ten software list for February 2016:

  1. Dark Souls III (PS4, XBO)
  2. Ratchet & Clank (PS4)
  3. MLB 16: The Show (PS4, PS3)
  4. The Division (PS4, XBO, PC)
  5. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC)
  6. Minecraft (XBO, 360, PS4, PS3)
  7. Quantum Break (XBO)
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops III (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)
  9. NBA 2K16 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3)
  10. Star Fox Zero (Wii U)


Our Take
Slumps like this are not a big deal; they’re bound to happen and are nothing to worry about. Last April was fairly strong, so it’s not surprising that this year couldn’t compete, and hardware sales are strong overall. I’m also not surprised that Dark Souls III sold well, but I am happy to see Ratchet & Clank high on this list. I’m also glad that Quantum Break seems to be performing well. Finally, Grand Theft Auto V's staying power really speaks to the quality of Rockstar's work. – The Feed

Report: Madden 17 Focuses On Franchise Mode, Delivers Deluxe Editions

Madden 17's cover star will be revealed today, but a leak from the official Xbox online store appears to show some more tantalizing details about the game.

Operation Sports uncovered the listing at the store – some of the links for which may have already been removed at the time of this writing.

Here's the game's description from the store:

Take your team all the way in Madden NFL 17 with a renewed focus on Franchise mode, putting you at the center of your team's Championship run. Arm your team for gridiron glory on both sides of the ball with the most balanced gameplay to date, featuring all-new ball carrier feedback cues, defender fake out mechanics and an innovative, authentic defensive AI system. Madden NFL 17 is the most complete Madden…ever.

Pre-ordering any of the apparently three versions of the game will get you goodies. Pre-order the standard edition ($ 59.99) gets you nine Madden Ranked tickets (used in the series' Draft Champions mode) and up to seven Madden Ultimate team pro packs. The Deluxe edition ($ 79.99) pre-order offers 30 Ranked tickets and up to 10 MUT all-pro packs, while the Super Deluxe edition ($ 99.99) ups the ante with 30 Ranked tickets and up to 30 all-pro MUT packs. All pre-orders also offer a month trial of EA Access.

[Source: Xbox Store, Operation Sports]


Our Take
That this is from the official Xbox store makes it seem legit. The franchise changes – whatever that encompasses – is welcome and overdue, and we'll have to see if the somewhat generic gameplay promises make as big of a difference as the above description seems to indicate. We should know more at E3 in mid-June. – The Feed

Report: Offers Were Made For Lionhead, But Microsoft Wouldn’t Sell Fable IP

On March 7, Microsoft announced it was entering a consultation period with Fable developer Lionhead to determine the studio’s fate. On April 29, the studio closed, ending its 20 year legacy. But it might have gone differently.

According to a report from Kotaku UK, Microsoft had a number of suitors for the Guildford studio. The hangup was that the Fable franchise wasn’t part of the deal.

Because these matters are confidential, we don’t know who was allegedly interested. We also don’t know exactly how much money was on the table, but given the report, it seems the interest hinged on the IP.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment, and we’ll update should we receive a response.

[Source: Kotaku UK]


Our Take
While this would have been a glimmer of hope, it may not have saved Lionhead or the jobs. If the IP was on the table, it’s safe to say that there is a possibility that a buyer would have nabbed the IP and shuttered the studio anyway. 

Right now, we can only hope Microsoft is hanging onto Fable because it has plans. And with luck, any future endeavor will honor Lionhead’s legacy. – The Feed

Australian Parliament report calls for renewed game industry funding

Australian parlimentary report recommends reinstating funding developers with grants and loans to boost the local game biz, and adding tax breaks for bigger studios. …

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