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[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. 

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Is Visceral Dropping More Hints About Its Upcoming Star Wars Game?

Update: A few weeks ago, Nolan North talked openly about what he knew of Visceral's upcoming Star Wars project, saying "…if you’re a big fan of Amy Hennig and her styles of stories, the big
thing about her is she’s gone to EA and is going to reboot a brand-new
Star Wars franchise in the style of Uncharted." That comment lines up with the images that employees from Visceral have been sharing on social media since the game's development began. Replace Nathan Drake. Add Han Solo. Again, this is all speculation, and no one has confirmed North's comments yet.

Visceral's Scott Warner hasn't slowed on social media, either. He's giving fans a good look at the decorations in Visceral's office. Most of the images point to Han Solo. Here are the latest photos:


The Falcon looms over production of the game.


Employees can now wipe their feet on Han.


Warner tweeted this image with the message "This is where the fun begins."


This shot was used for a job posting.


A new stuffed toy in the office.


A bounty hunter lurks near a window.


Warner posted this image of Han Solo from LucasArts' Mercenaries with the message "Chewie, we're home…"

Original Story: We've known Visceral Games has been working on a Star Wars game since 2013, and more recently that former Naughty Dog alumna Amy Hennig is co-writing this secret project with Todd Stashwick, an actor who can currently be seen in Syfy's 12 Monkeys; he's also the co-creator of the comic book, Devil Inside. We also know that Scott Warner is directing the project. Warner's past credits include work on Battlefield Hardline, Halo 4, and Mercenaries 1 and 2.

What game they are building is anybody's guess. While speaking with Fortune in early 2014, Electronic Arts' CEO Andrew Wilson compared his company's approach to the Star Wars property with Warner Bros.' work on the Batman Arkham series. "What Warner Bros. did with Batman was take the core roots of that
IP and manifest that inside the walls of Gotham City and delivered an
interactive experience that had real ties to what you would see in the
films and what you had read in the comics, while having its own life
because it could provide such deep and more immersive storylines,” he told Fortune. “When we look at the Star Wars properties that’s how
we’re looking at it. We’re not trying to build a game that replicates
the storyline of any particular film.”

From that subtle tease we can guess that Visceral is working on a new story, but we don't know when it will take place within the Star Wars timeline. Over the last year, Stashwick, Hennig, Warner, and voice actor Nolan North, have tweeted a number of images and comments that all share similar themes: the mains being Han Solo, the Millennium Falcon, and a Star Wars version of a pirate flag. The pirate flag in particular is getting great mileage in Visceral's office.

Take all of this with a Costco-sized barrel of salt. It could mean nothing in the end, but it is cool to see the team's excitement for the project, and Visceral's studio transform into a creative lab for a new Star Wars experience. Here are the images I found interesting:


The first image Stashwick shared when signing on to work on Visceral's Star Wars project.


Another image Stashwick shared a month later of famed smuggler/pirate.


An image of Hennig hanging out with Emily Rose, North, and Stashwick in front of the pirate flag.


Warner shows off Visceral's office. Note: The flag and the Millennium Falcon.


North having a little fun on Twitter.


A new addition to Visceral's office.


Warner teasing the flag.


Hennig's Twitter image is of the Falcon. Her May 4 tweet: "We'll be your scoundrels. Pchoo pchoo!"


Stashwick's May 4 photo. Note the "I'll be your scoundrel" shirt, Han Solo, and the flag.

 

Our Take
We don't want to speculate too much on what these images could mean, but there's an obvious common theme running throughout these teases and shots of the studio. Earlier in the year, Star Wars fan sites like Star Wars 7 News ran unconfirmed rumors that Visceral was working on a Han Solo game. While we didn't feel there was enough evidence to run the rumor at the time, these images line up with earlier claims. I think I speak for all Star Wars fans when I say how exciting it would be to step into the boots of our favorite smuggler. 

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Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront lead Game Critics’ E3 award noms

In the wake of E3 2015, its interesting to note that Bethesda’s Fallout 4 and Electronic Arts’ Star Wars Battlefront picked up multiple nominations for this year’s Game Critics Best of E3 Awards. …


Gamasutra News

EA Accepting Applications For Star Wars Battlefront Closed Alpha On PC

Hot off a well received E3 demo, DICE is prepping the Star Wars Battlefront closed alpha. Now is your chance to join the test phase that starts on July 2.

If you're a PC player interested in spending some time on Hoth during these hot summer months, you can throw your stormtrooper helmet in the ring by visiting this page. Registration closes on June 30, so don't sleep on this chance if it piques your interest. Players are being chosen at random.

No closed alpha plans have been announced for Xbox One or PlayStation 4 yet. You can read our latest impressions of the game here

 

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GI Show: Batman: Arkham Knight, E3′s VR Wars, Dave Grossman

On last week's GI Show we came at you from E3 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The crew covered the big talking points of the show up to that point, but there's still a lot to say about the impressive virtual reality experiences from Oculus Rift, Sony, and others. Warner Bros. Interactive's hotly anticipated Batman: Arkham Knight is also out this week and we have a good long chat about the ups and downs of being Gotham's dark hero.

Co-hosts Ben Hanson and Tim Turi are joined by Andrew Reiner, and Game Informer's editor-in-chief Andy McNamara makes his premiere on the this week's show. The rundown on Arkham Knight and Lego: Jurassic World is a lot of fun, but Andy and Reiner's enthusiastic accounts of playing with all the VR rigs E3 2015 had to offer is a must-watch. We also bring back emails after last week's hiatus (send emails to [email protected]) and interview adventure game savant Dave Grossman. His resume brings him back to the early LucasArts days, working on titles like The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. He also spent nine years at Telltale Games and we talk to him about his experience working on Jurassic Park: The Game and how The Walking Dead's sucess changed the studio. Stay tuned to hear him share stories of his past at the Skywalker Ranch and his current audio espionage adventure game.

You can watch the video version of the podcast below, or subscribe to the audio version of the GI Show on iTunes.

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To jump to a particular discussion point, check out the conversational timestamps below…

1:30 – Batman: Arkham Knight

17:11 – Lego Jurassic World

23:50 – Comparing E3's virtual reality experiences

59:10 – Listener emails

1:23:40 – Andy and Reiner's favorite E3 memories

1:31:50 – Interviewing Dave Grossman about LucasArts, Day of the Tentacle, and Telltale's evolution


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Gears Of War’s Rod Fergusson On Judgment, Gears 4, And Remaking The Original

Shortly after the announcement of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, we got a chance to talk to studio head of The Coalition, Rod Fergusson, about remaking the original game for a new console generation.

Along with going into how much of the game has been truly rebuilt (a lot, it turns out), we also chatted about the most recent Gears release, Judgment, the line between nostalgia and modernization, and tried, unsuccessfully get in a few Gears of War 4 questions. You can check out the brief interview below, as well as more on the game by heading here.

You re-did all the motion capture and remade many other aspects of the game. Did you re-record the dialogue?

No, that was one of the things we decided to leave the same. We wanted to to really stay true to Gears 1. There's a fine line when you're dealing with a remaster to stay true to the nostalgia versus the modernization, and this was another choice towards nostalgia for the campaign, which was to really stay true to the dialogue. Those lines you remember, the way that Marcus said, "Nice!" or the way Dom said something – we wanted to keep that. Also, all the actors have aged 10 years and everything else. If we had gone back, we would have had a different sounding game and we didn't want that. We re-did the foley and we took the original soundtrack, which we didn't re-record, but we did remaster it in 7.1. There are a lot of things you will hear that are true to the original.

Since you didn't re-record on the dialogue, the story must be exactly the same?

Correct. The one thing we did do was take that PC content, the two hours of campaign, the journey to that station to catch the train that was actually cut for the release of the first game, and then were able to take that content and put it back in chronologically correct.

343 Industries remade Halo: Combat Evolved before diving into Halo 4. Is this a Microsoft requirement for working on its core franchises? Or just a good exercise to avoid diving in blind?

It had multiple advantages. One of things we looked at – part of being The Coalition as a diverse set of developers – one of the things was getting people soaked into what it is to make a Gears of War game. Remaking Gears of War meant we had to go in and reverse engineer and pick it apart and look at the scripting, understand the levels, the flow, what is cover spacing, what are the combat distances – it was sort of a boot camp for the team to get ready for Gears 4, and it was like, "Okay, I really understand what it's like to make a Gears game." And on the other side, we looked at it from a consumer and player side and we said, “Hey, we’re going to do Gears 4 and it is going to take multiple years. How do we get a Gears game on Xbox One faster?” And we said, “Okay, let’s remaster one – what’s the most impactful one?” And we felt like, go back to the original. It sort of serves as a bridge because there is somebody who, when we shipped in 2006 was seven years old who can now play it at 17, so there is a whole new audience and then there is the nostalgia audience as well. It’s kind of a gateway into it. It’s a ramp, you’ll see. It’s Ultimate Edition this year and then Gears 4 next year.

Throughout this presentation you reference Gears of War 3 as the modern baseline for the series. What are your thoughts on Gears of War: Judgment?

Oh we have lots of thoughts on Judgment. It’s a filtration process of what works and what doesn’t work. There were certain aspects of Judgment that were sort of – when you look at Judgment it was sort of a planning for the future in terms of trying things. Like what if we tried a first person shooter control scheme? What if we tried the ability to fall great distances? And try to streamline a lot of stuff? And we felt like some of that resonated and some of it didn’t. And that’s why we went back to the original control scheme and why we went back to a shorter fall distance.

Every iteration of the game, everything got a bit smoother and responsive, and that’s really one of the big things we’ve taken away from Judgment, and I think 60 FPS speaks to it, is this idea of responsiveness. Just before I left Epic, that’s what we were talking about: be a shooter. Which means as much as you want to have a fantastic presentation and you want to have amazing animations and you want to have all these amazing visuals, at the end of the day what’s most important to a shooter is responsiveness. So how do we get that? What that means is, not every footfall is perfectly placed or animation doesn't go through every single frame so that you can get a weapon much faster and that's what it means to run at 60 FPS. When we look at it and we say, what is our baseline? What’s been the most popular in terms of TDM? Gears 3 is sort of the home for that, and what we do is we look at Judgment and see if there is anything we can cherry-pick from what resonated that was maybe overlooked because having a completely different control scheme could hide some of the things that were in there.

Are you answering any Gears 4 questions?

Not really. Her name’s Kate Kait – that’s about the only thing we can answer.

I want to know if it takes place on the same planet as the original Gears of War trilogy.

And you are not alone in that question.

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For more on Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, head here.

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ILM Experience Lab Bringing Star Wars Into Virtual Reality

A new video has released announcing the existence and showcasing the work of the ILM Experience Lab (shortened to ILMxLAB). The newly formed division of ILM and parent company Lucasfilm is exploring experiential interactive entertainment opportunities for Star Wars and other properties like Jurassic Park, with a particular focus on the use of virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift.

The video announcing the program shows off some early experiments, including a virtual reality program that allows a user to interact with a Velociraptor, as well as a very video game-like interactive Star Wars speeder sequence that sees the user zipping beneath the legs of a massive AT-AT walker. 

The new program is drawing on the talents of ILM’s story team, Industrial Light and Magic’s technical team, and the folks at Skywalker sound, all in pursuit of exploring new avenues for interactive engagement with these fictional universes. 

Beyond virtual reality, ILMxLAB is working on opportunities in augmented reality, real-time cinema, and theme park applications. The video makes no mention of any retail facing projects at this time, but with Oculus Rift now scheduled for a public release in 2016, there’s no doubt that this video is only a first step for ILMxLAB. 

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Our Take
It comes as no surprise that the highly successful Lucasfilm would be interested in tapping into new paths into entertainment, like those provided by virtual reality, but it's certainly exciting to see such a concerted effort underway by the company. With the technical know-how present at ILM, it’s not hard to imagine that some of the earliest virtual reality success stories may eventually come from this newly announced group.

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C-3PO And His Original Voice Coming To Star Wars: Battlefront

Anthony Daniels, who has played and voiced C-3PO since the very beginning, recently confirmed his involvement in Battlefront.

Daniels recently tweeted, "One day it's the hilarious YODA CHRONICLES: the next, the astounding BATTLEFRONT! (Just the ying and yang of being C-3PO at the microphone)." Adding to the confirmation, @EAStarWars shared Daniels' tweet writing, "We've got #C3PO."

Learning Daniels is playing C-3PO in the game is no surprise – he has played every iteration of C-3PO from the main films, to smaller appearances like the above mentioned Yoda Chronicles, The Lego Movie, and he will be appearing in the upcoming Disney Infinity 3.0 as the golden robot. What's more surprising and interesting is that C-3PO will be appearing in the new Star Wars: Battlefront. Most are saying he will probably appear in a few cutscenes, but I've got my fingers crossed for playable character.

 [Source: @ADaniels3PO, @EAStarWars, via Star Wars 7 News]

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Special Edition Podcast: Star Wars And Disney Infinity 3.0

We're closing things out on our month of exclusive content covering Disney Infinity 3.0 with a podcast steered by our community. We gathered your questions about the upcoming game from Avalanche Software and volleyed them at our special guest who is the vice president of production for Disney Infinity John Vignocchi. Listen to the podcast to learn more about how the team is changing things up for the third entry in the series and what you can expect to see from their showing at E3 this year. Thanks for submitting questions and we hope you enjoy the episode, you can also subscribe to The Game Informer Show on iTunes and listen to it there.


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Star Wars: Battle Pod Could Be Coming To A Living Room Near You

Bandai Namco's arcade game Star Wars: Battle Pod caught our attention when it was unveiled earlier this year. At the time, we weren't able to direct would-be pilots to where they needed to go to play it themselves. Today, we've learned that it could be as simple as looking in your house – provided you have the cash.

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The company is making the game available to consumers. Starting June 18, you can preorder your own 1,200-pound unit for the cool cost of $ 35,000. If that's not enough, Bandai Namco is also releasing special Premium Editions (below), which are themed to either the Rebel Alliance of Mr. Vader himself. For $ 100,000, you also get special carpeting (ooh!), a specially bound owner's manual (ooh!!), special leather seats (ooh!!!), and your special name on an engraved plate and in the game's credits (OOH!). Shipping and handling, unfortunately, are not included in the price.

The game features five stages based on moments from the classic trilogy, including the Hoth escape, assault on the first Death Star, Battle of Yavin, and more. Additional stages will be coming at some point in the future, in what could be the most expensive DLC of all time.

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