Watch_Dogs is the Latest Fall Game to be Delayed to 2014

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It was just one week ago that we learned Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze’s launch day was being pushed back from November to February, and now there are more delays. Unfortunate news for most, as the highly anticipated “Watch_Dogs” has been delayed to Spring of 2014. Ubisoft recently stated they are delaying all versions of its innovative adventure into next year. The game was first unveiled at E3 of 2012, and since then, it has stormed electronic shows with its impressive tech and ambitious Hollywood storyline. A representative for the development team at Ubisoft gave the following statement:

“Our ambition from the start with Watch Dogs has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next-generation of gaming. It is with this in mind that we’ve made the tough decision to delay the release until Spring 2014.

We know a lot of you are probably wondering ‘why now?’ We struggled with whether we would delay the game. But from the beginning, we have adopted the attitude that we will not compromise on quality. As we got closer to release, as all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place in our last push before completion, it became clear to us that we needed to take the extra time to polish and fine tune every detail so we can deliver a truly memorable and exceptional experience.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you. We thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the way you respond on the web, at events, press conferences and during other opportunities we have to interact. Your passion is what drives us. We can’t wait to see you in Chicago next Spring. We are confident you’ll love this game as much as we love working on it. Our long term goal is to win the next generation. These are tough decisions we are making today.”

[Source – Eurogamer]

 

Splinter Cell Blacklist Wii U Gets Much Needed Patch

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Ubisoft has finally released a patch for the Wii U version of Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Earlier this month, I reviewed the game and praised its high marks but had also mentioned some bugs that kept popping up. Areas that needed the most fixing was the online portion of the title – more directly, matchmaking issues. Check below for the full list of updates and fixes, as detailed from Nintendo Life:

General

  • Fix timer and progress bar for Daily Challenges
  • Fix misc. issues with Gone Dark challenges
  • Fix misc. issues with guards shooting sticky camera and not engaging search behavior

Single player

  • Fix Nouri not following Sam in rare conditions in Private Estate mission

Co-op

  • Fix animation glitch when sliding down a ladder and immediately throwing a grenade
  • Fix mission preview image not updating when cycling through different missions in the settings

Spies vs Mercs

  • Extraction: Fix Intel stuck on weapon when a client is dropping it twice in a row
  • Extraction: Fix potential exploit where an ammo box placed in front of the Intel drop crate would allow to skip the “securing the intel” animation
  • Fix not being able to invite more people to Private Match after playing a match in a mode where the maximum number of players is lower than the maximum number of players for the new mode
  • Fix Drone Hunter points not awarded when blowing up the drone with certain gadgets
  • Fix waypoint staying red when Pandora settings are ON and a hacker has been killed
  • Fix accessing an empty menu when trying to view the Customization Screen or match Settings right when the countdown reaches 0
  • Fix general host migration issues
  • Fix rare cases of Spies falling out of maps
  • Fix spawning with no weapon and unable to shoot when pushing the stick forward during the character selection screen until the match starts

[Via Nintendo Life]

Splinter Cell: Blacklist Review (Wii U/PS3/360): “The Stakes Have Never Been Higher for Fisher”

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Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the latest entry into the Splinter Cell franchise, and is the direct sequel to 2010’s Splinter Cell: Conviction. Developed by Ubisoft Toronto, the long-awaited sequel has finally made its way back to a Nintendo platform, as well as the PS3 and 360.

Story: 4/5

Taking place several years after Splinter Cell: Conviction, Sam Fisher is now heading up operations at Fourth Echelon. The President of the United States had previously shut down Fisher’s former employer, Third Echelon. Sam and his team are now taking orders directly from the President in their high-tech airship headquarters (Paladin) reminiscent of the Normandy in Mass Effect. Fisher and the team can quickly fly to different locations all over the world, and they will need to. A terrorist organization called “The Engineers” is seeking to remove all “US” forces from foreign countries. They announce a nationwide countdown that when reaches zero, will mark a terrorist attack somewhere in America. This will continue to happen until the US withdraws troops and intelligence people from foreign soil, and it’s up to Sam and Fourth Echelon to stop this. The plot draws close to real world issues, and it is this fact that keeps the story engaging.

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Gameplay: 5/5

Splinter Cell: Blacklist truly feels like an evolution from prior entries, in particular Conviction. There’s a taste of the classic Splinter Cell in here, but it never goes farther than that. The game pushes forward with a deeper concentration on more chaos and action. Additionally, it brings a new difficulty mode called “Professional”. This mode will strip you of ammo stockpiles and increase enemy AI, as well as prevent you from killing certain enemies. AI throughout is generally good, coupled with attack dogs will surely give any veteran player a run for their money in difficulty. There are 10 main story missions that each can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to an hour depending on your difficulty setting.

Variety is key to the success of Blacklist’s gameplay. Ubisoft clearly took a page from Bioware’s mission style and gameplay of Mass Effect. While on the Paladin (4th Echelon headquarters), there are side missions specifically given to you by certain crew members. Some of these missions are used to flesh out the story. The tie-in with Mass Effect is that most of these missions are about recovering a piece of technology or weaponry that is used to continually upgrade your flying headquarters. This can become addictive, as you want to always keep your ship upgraded because it aids you on the battlefield when in missions. Some of these missions are playable in solo offline play, but others are co-op missions only. Note: the Wii U version supports online co-op play only and not offline split-screen play.

This is gonna hurt.

This is gonna hurt.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist gives you a wide array of choices as to whether you want to be stealthy or a loud brash action hero. Initially, each and every single player mission revolves around stealth. It is up to you whether you will progress that way. The environments are large enough to allow individual playing styles for each gamer, and the in-game scoring system will reward those who play these certain styles. As I stated earlier, you can in fact suit up with machine guns and explosives and blast your way through levels, but it will ramp up the difficulty. When playing the more traditional way of stealth, you will earn Ghost scoring points. If you play using a mix of stealth and action you will obtain Panther points which are granted for playing down the middle. Ubisoft has made sure each mission feels unique and diverse.

A lot of this game takes place on the airplane headquarters itself. The location acts as a central intelligence hub where Sam can walk around and interact with his fellow team members at Fourth Echelon. You can also customize, upgrade, and plan new missions from here. Interacting with different team personnel will open different menus, whether it be the stereotypical computer nerd Charlie, who handles your gear upgrades, or Isaac, a field ops solider who is frustrated from being benched from missions while your campaign takes place. At the completion of each mission, if you wish you can actually call your daughter, Sarah, to fill her in on your current status, and get information about your family back home. This serves to create a very human element, in a game that otherwise stays very intense and violent. Lastly, the cash you earn from each mission can be used to customize your weapon loadouts and outfits. In addition, the Wii U version does contain excessively long load times throughout the campaign, and some clock in at over 50 seconds. You eventually get used to the loading, and for most should become irrelevant halfway through the game.

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Playing the missions through the Strategic Mission Interface (SMI) opens a world map giving players access to all aspects of single player, co-op and competitive modes. Additionally, there are mini-game style missions that take place on the world map, challenging your geographical skills. These missions involve paper chase trails around the map that indirectly connects to the single player story. When completed, you will receive a generous cash reward that can help you speed up your upgrade progress, rather than just relying on single player missions. Certain missions will have moments of choice, where you must decide to show forgiveness or no remorse upon a current target. This helps engage beyond the usual methodology of a typical stealth game, while also adding a certain level of personality. The downfall with this is that different decisions still result in the same outcome regardless.

There are some exclusive features for the Wii U version of this title that are aided with the use of the GamePad. First up, several gadgets which you can choose to equip in the loadout screen have “exclusive Wii U GamePad integration.” During normal play, your GamePad’s screen will function as Fisher’s inventory, and all you need to do is tap on an item to equip it. Fisher’s “snake cam” and “goggles” also uses the GamePad’s screen to show you in first-person what Sam can see. You can even zoom-in by pinching the screen like an iPhone or tablet, and mark enemies by tapping on them. Controlling a remote-operated mini-drone with a camera via the GamePad’s gyroscope is also fun, intuitive and responsive. The classic sticky-cam (a staple of the series) is also controlled by the gyroscope of the GamePad. When an enemy is around a corner, just throw a sticky cam and use the GamePad to see and rotate around. At times, you feel like a government agent using a tablet displaying classified data or surveillance footage. These are just some of the aspects that truly make the Wii U version distinct from the other two versions. I couldn’t help but notice, that when playing the Xbox 360 version, I missed the ease of having my weapons and gadgets all mapped out in front of me via the GamePad. When playing the 360/PS3 version, you will have to pause the action and swap through items, which can occasionally become a nuisance.

Just one of the many touches that makes the Wii U version excel.

Just one of the many touches that makes the Wii U version excel.

As Sam creeps through the darkness, a green light on his shoulder tells the player that he’s covered in the darkness. It can be over in a flash, but the smooth nature of movement around the environments helps that flow greatly. Mark and Execute can be used to quickly eradicate a few enemies, as you only need to silently kill a few to fill the meter up, but it can also be used to track movement, along with the radar that you unlock. Customizable/upgradeable goggles can eventually allow the ability to track footprints. This aids in letting you track enemy patrols. As I mentioned earlier, Sam’s appearance is customizable too. Each piece of clothing from his suit can be enhanced, increasing his stats for stealth and armor. Every single weapon is upgradeable and has a healthy variety of options for each. Blacklist even gives you the option to upgrade your accessories as well, such as the tri-rotor “flying drone”. When using this drone or a sticky camera, the GamePad will immediately display the video and not the TV. It is a very cool and integral feature that distinguishes the Wii U version from the rest. The single player story will take you anywhere between 8 to 12 hours depending on the difficulty. If you choose to do more side missions to earn cash and greater upgrades, than the later number can easily go past 15 hours.

If the extensive single player wasn’t enough, Ubisoft has brought back Spies vs. Mercs. Classic mode is a simple 2 vs. 2 game where one team must hack three terminals, as the other team tries to stop it happening. Blacklist adds a new version of this that increases the player count to 4 vs.4. This mode doubles the amount of players while enabling the full customization features from the single player campaign. Extraction is another mode that is basically a Deathmatch. Then there is Uplink Control, which is a king of the hill mode. These four online modes are sure to keep gamers busy for a quite a long time. Spies vs. Mercs mode is a marvelous mode that will keep you enthralled the longest. It helps to have a dedicated group of friends on your list also.

Splinter Cell Blacklist Wii U Gameplay 1

Upgrading Sam’s equipment is essential throughout the experience.

Graphics: 4/5

Blacklist is a gorgeous production regardless of what platform you purchase it for. However, there are some blemishes that keep it from reaching near perfection. I reviewed the Wii U version of the game, but after careful research have concluded that there are similarities and differences among all the console versions. All three versions suffer from stiff animations on a lot of the NPC characters. Unfortunately, it is more noticeable only because the rest of the game (for the most part) is very beautiful to look at. The 360 and PS3 version seem to suffer from screen-tearing, regardless of installation or not. The Wii U version occasionally will drop one or two points in frame rate, which is hardly noticeable to the human eye, but I must mention it in the interest of equality. Additionally, cut scenes often had some lip syncing issues that did pop up more than a few times on all platforms. Aside from these shortcomings, whether in daylight or darkness, the game looks terrific. The transfer from the TV to the GamePad on the Wii U version is incredible. Visually on the GamePad, the game loses a notch at the most, but still manages to look amazingly pretty on there.

This is easily one of the best visuals I’ve seen on the Wii U in general. The inside of your control center on the Paladin really makes you feel like you’re flying aboard a mobile ultra-stealth air carrier with a team of experts around you. The textures within environments are near perfect, and the lighting effects of course play a huge part in the game. The environments tend to feel alive and real, which many sandbox games today just can’t accomplish. Back in 2010, SC: Conviction was a world that felt alive and open, even if you had a linear path, and in Blacklist, it’s even more apparent. This factor alone easily makes you feel more engrossed in this alternate world of spies and terrorist that most ordinary citizens will never see, nor experience. Despite some inconsistencies, the world of Sam Fisher has never looked better.

Splinter Cell Blacklist Wii U Gameplay 3

Sound: 5/5

Disappointingly, the voice acting of Sam Fisher, Michael Ironside was not allowed to return and reclaim his famed role of Sam Fisher. I must say that this man’s voice is what made the franchise what it is today. Mr. Ironside brought such a deadpan and black comedy sense of humor to the role of Sam that his presence is easily missed here. Ending on that note, I have to say that Eric Johnson does a great job of trying to deliver a cold and calculating protagonist that’s sole concern is only the mission at hand. Sam Fisher feels authentic again and as vicious as he has to be. The supporting cast delivers convincingly genuine Hollywood dialogue with only a sprinkle of cheesy thrown in (thankfully its only a sprinkle). The script is well executed, hitting all the notes of a serious plot that is further intensified through a cast that are reading their lines with passion. The soundtrack combines a 24/Homeland feel that adds perfectly in the background to the “race to the clock” war storyline.

Splinter Cell Blacklist Wii U Gameplay 6

Overall Score: 19/20 = 9.0 out of 10

Splinter Cell: Blacklist is truly a worthwhile, first-rate experience. It has its faults in certain areas, but it is easy to forget them while playing the adventure. Bringing back the classic Spies Vs. Mercs was a wise choice that is sure to please many SP: Conviction alumni. For $60, you are getting an above-average length single player campaign that encompasses a riveting plot and cast. All this, while welcoming gamers of all crowds, whether the stealth or the action player, you will find your niche with open arms. Blacklist is a summer blockbuster with value that will extend beyond the season. This a great addition for the Splinter Cell franchise, and a fantastic Wii U title. A special nod of recognition must go out to Ubisoft for their continued support of Nintendo, and their recognition in the Wii U’s potential on the world stage of gaming.

PROS:

+ Gorgeous visuals

+ Riveting Plot

+ Choices, Choices, Choices

+ Spies Vs. Mercs is Back

CONS:

– No Ironside

– Load times can be extreme for the Wii U version

– NPC facial animations can be stiff

Copy purchased by author for review purposes. Review based on Wii U version.

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Cloudberry Kingdom Review (PS3/360/Wii U): “The Most Sadistically Awesome Platformer”

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Over the course of gaming history, 2D platformers have really become a staple genre that gamers of all kinds can enjoy. Ever since the days of Super Mario Bros. gracing the NES and Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis, we’ve seen a plethora of platformers impact the industry. Within the last half-decade, we’ve seen some stellar 2D platformers made by indie developers, such as Braid, Limbo and Outland. Pwnee Studios, an indie developer created by childhood friends Jordan Fisher and TJ Lutz, have worked together to bring about a 2D platformer that’s for the masochist called Cloudberry Kingdom. Is this a kingdom worth venturing?

When you start off the game’s story, you’ll be treated to a cutscene of the hero, Bob, trying to rescue the princess (where have we heard this before). However, instead of the cheery tone we’re accustomed to in Super Mario, we’re seeing that Bob is a tired, frustrated hero and that the Princess could care less that she’s being rescued from the evil king. Naturally, things aren’t so simple for Bob, as he’s thrown off a cliff by the evil king and forced to continue his tireless journey of rescuing the princess. From here, the game’s story mode begins. Cloudberry Kingdom plays precisely like you would expect a 2D platformer, with a few twists. You’ll have to traverse your way through deadly obstacles to reach the next level, with each ramping up in difficulty obstacle-wise, and each level takes only 15-40 seconds to complete. Controls are standard fare and nothing complicated by any means, with the A button used for jumping and Y button to use the exit door at the end of a level. Sounds pretty simple and straightforward enough, right? Well, here’s the thing. Bob dies in a single hit and has no weaponry to defend himself. If any obstacle or enemy hits Bob, he’s dead and it’s either back to the beginning or checkpoint. Levels are all cleverly designed to have a specific line that you can do that avoids death entirely, but I’ll touch more on that in a bit.

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Over the game’s eight chapters, there will be 40 levels of hardcore platforming action in each chapter (320 levels total). The obstacles all range from spinning fireballs, swinging spike balls, spikes that pop from the ground, lasers, etc. You’ll start off simple, just acclimating to the controls and feel of the game. However, things will quickly spin out of control when you play as various phases of Bob that change the mechanics and physics entirely. Every set of 10 levels, you’ll play as a new phase of Bob, such as Wheelie, Double Jump, Jetpack, Phase Bob, Tiny Bob, Fat Bob, Gravity Bob or even a Spaceship! For example, playing as Wheelie has Bob strapped to a stone wheel and will have the physics of a heavy wheel. Tiny Bob will make Bob gain more height, while Fat Bob makes him get less height than normal and is more prone to getting hit by an obstacle. Phase Bob will actually have Bob constantly morphing from Fat to Tiny, making traversing through levels a true challenge of timing. Playing as a Spaceship is really cool too, bringing back that feeling of playing something like R-Type or Gradius (granted you can’t shoot anything, but maneuvering it is fun).

As you traverse each level, you’ll notice there are blue crystals that can be collected. If you collect all of them in a level, you’ll get a “Perfect” status and earn an additional 10 crystals on top of what you collected. So what are the purpose of crystals you ask? Well, by pressing the X button, you’ll open up a Powerup Menu, which allows you to purchase a specific item to help you out with completing a level. The first item, which looks like “Terminator” Bob has you watch a video of the level to see the perfect path and timing you need to complete the level. The second item (which costs the most amount of crystals) will actually show you the exact path you need to take, as well as a dark object that goes along it to show you the exact timing of the path you should take. This item proved to be immensely helpful, especially with the precision required in later levels. The last item is a time clock that enables slow-motion, making everything except Bob move at a crawl. These items definitely help in their own respects and I never felt the need to be stingy with cashing in crystals for them since you keep collecting them.

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Aside from the game’s Story Mode, you will have access to Arcade and Free Play modes as well. In Arcade, you can choose between four different modes: Escalation, Time Crisis, Hero Rush, and Hybrid Rush. Escalation is essentially endurance, where you’re given 15 lives to start with and must get through as many levels as possible. You can get extra lives by collecting set amounts of crystals during the run. Time Crisis starts you off with 15 seconds to last before Bob explodes. As you race to the exit of each level (which are much shorter than usual), you must collect crystals to add precious time to the clock. Hero Rush and Hybrid Rush are much like Time Crisis mode, but both with distinct ways to play. Hero Rush has Bob changing his phase type in every level, while Hybrid Rush has Bob shifting into a combination of phases per level (such as being Wheelie and Phase Bob at the same time).

Free Play has a more customizable aspect to it. You’ll be able to choose a location, game type, hero style, difficulty, length of the level and how many checkpoints you’d like. The difficulty can not only be adjusted for players of any level, but can be completely customized to your liking. Want an incredibly simple level that has not a single obstacle? You can do it. Want a level that has more objects on screen that seems like there’s almost no room to move through? You can most certainly have that as well. The game’s AI has been designed to randomly generate a level that’s 100% beatable, which is incredibly impressive. Another customizable feature that’s really fun to play around with is Hero Factory. Here, you will actually customize the base, jump type and shape of Bob, while also tweaking every attribute to a tee, such as the acceleration, max speed, size, gravity, falling speed, jump length, number of jumps, etc. You can even fine tune your settings by testing it before going into the actual level. The options are simply endless.

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Cloudberry Kingdom is a vicious game in terms of difficulty, but why play it alone? You can have up to 4 people playing at once, all racing their way to the exit of these challenging stages. Each player can even customize Bob the way they want him to look. Whether they change the color of his suit, what kind of beard he has, his cape color (or no cape at all), and even the lining of his cape, there’s a solid amount to customize. I came across someone’s screenshot on the Miiverse where they practically replicated the look of Dr. Robotnik (sorry, his name is not Dr. Eggman in my book) from Sonic the Hedgehog. Playing in multiplayer makes this already chaotic game even more chaotic, but is an absolute blast. There’s even a co-op mode in Free Play where all the players are tethered together and must coordinate with each other to reach the end of the level. This alone will provide plenty of good laughs amongst friends.

Visually, Cloudberry Kingdom has a “flash” look to it, with very clean and vivid colors, as well as fluid animations. Environments and characters are nicely designed and the game itself runs incredibly smooth, never dropping the frame rate at all. The only odd animation that seems unpolished was Bob’s double jump, which had zero animation to it and was simply a “standing” animation while moving up. Cutscenes have a different visual style, representing a paper mache look. It’s actually pretty cool and works quite well for the visual aesthetic. Audio wise, this game has a bumpin’ soundtrack that’ll definitely engage the player further into the game. The soundtrack was composed by Blind Digital and Peacemaker…and damn is it a sweet soundtrack. They provide techno tunes that really get you pumped for wanting to complete a level. As I type this review, I’m listening to “Evidence” by Blind Digital (my favorite track in the game)…it’s that’s good. Although, I wish there was a way to change the song with a simple button press. On the flipside, the sound effects are pretty generic, but nothing bad by any means. Oh, and voice acting wise, Kevin Sorbo plays Bob…yes, the dude from the live-action Hercules TV show back from the 90s.

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Cloudberry Kingdom is an excellent 2D platformer that’s so sadistic, it makes the hacked Mario games look easy at points. However, the game’s stages are all designed to be 100% beatable thanks to the AI designed for the game. It’s an endless platformer alright, and one that you’ll be endlessly returning to, whether by yourself or with friends. The clean visuals, bumpin’ soundtrack and just downright addictive gameplay make Cloudberry Kingdom a must-own for any platformer fan.

Overall Score: 9.0 out of 10 = BUY IT!

Copy purchased by author for review purposes. Game tested on the Wii U.

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Hang in There Wii U Owners, The Drought is Over!

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The past seven and a half months has not exactly been a high point for Team Nintendo. However, I think the tide is turning finally. Looking at the lineup for Wii U exclusives coming this fall and early next year is impressive. Coupled with third-party developers, it is safe to say that the Wii U has the largest lineup of all current and next-gen consoles for the next six months. It was recently reported that Nintendo has filed for a renewal of the “Eternal Darkness” trademark. There are two possibilities here for this: The first being that they are ensuring no other company can ever touch their beloved GameCube classic, or use the title for a future iteration. The second possibility is the more hopeful one, and that Nintendo is supporting the possible sequel “Shadow of the Eternals”. If this comes to be true, then Nintendo will have one mature-rated exclusive that needs no publicity due to its already cult following. Or on the other hand, needs as much publicity as possible showing Nintendo is trying to cater to a “core” market.

If that wasn’t inspiring enough for Wii U owners, Activison announced last week that Call of Duty: Ghosts will be shooting its way to the Wii U this fall. This was a shock to many after the “lackluster” sales figures of Black Ops 2 on the Wii U. Regardless, it is a much welcomed turn of events. Aside from this, check out the list below at Nintendo’s line up for fall of 2013 and early 2014 titles. If you are a Wii U owner, this is quite an impressive list to say the least.

2013

  • August 4th – Pikmin 3  (Exclusive)
  • August 13th – Angry Birds Trilogy
  • August 13th – Duck Tales Remastered
  • August 20th – Splinter Cell: Blacklist (rumored to be the optimal version)
  • August 25th – New Super Luigi U – Retail Edition (Limited Rare Quantity Exclusive)
  • September 3rd – Rayman Legends
  • September 15th – The Wonderful 101  (Exclusive)
  • September 24th – Scribblenauts Unmasked: DC Comics Adventure  (Exclusive)
  • September 30th – Deus Ex: Human Revolution- Director’s Cut
  • October 2013 – The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD  (Exclusive)
  • October 2013 – Sonic: Lost World  (Exclusive)
  • October 8th – Just Dance 2014
  • October 25th – Batman: Arkham Origins
  • October 29th – Assassins Creed: Black Flag
  • November 2013 – Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze  (Exclusive)
  • November 5th – Call of Duty: Ghosts
  • November 19th – Watch Dogs
  • December 2013 – Super Mario 3D World  (Exclusive)
  • December 2013 – Wii Fit U (Exclusive)

2014

  • Mario Kart 8  (Exclusive)
  • Super Smash Bros.  (Exclusive)
  • Bayonetta 2 (Exclusive)
  • Shadow of The Eternals (TBA)

New Splinter Cell: Blacklist trailer

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The excitement is building as Splinter Cell: Blacklist is now just one month away from launching on the PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. The developers have promised to make use of the GamePad in intuitive ways, which is a welcome statement after the round of negativity the Wii U has endured in these past months. This new trailer shows a terrorist group threatening the United States military, and the homeland. Cue’s Sam Fisher to go all out, sneaking, stabbing, shooting, and occasionally disappearing into the shadows.

EA, Ubisoft Explain Lack of Wii U Support

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Wii U owners are likely frustrated over the lack of support from bigger developers and publishers compared to the PS3 and 360, from delayed patches and DLC to outright absence of certain games on the console. It’d be easy to cast the blame on corporate greed and money-hungering, but as EA and Ubisoft have recently pointed out, in this case it’s a legitimate concern.

EA Labels President Frank Gibeau elaborated, saying a limited number of Wii U sales is bottlenecking their game sales.

“Look, the only thing they can do to fix it is to sell more boxes… The Wii U, we shipped four games. We shipped Madden, FIFA, Need for Speed and Mass Effect. In fact, the last Need for Speed shipped 60 days ago had a pretty good Metacritic. It was a good game. It wasn’t a schlocky port, we actually put extra effort into getting everything to work. And it’s just not selling because there’s no boxes.”

Gibeau went on to say that Nintendo is a “good partner” and in spite of focusing on Xbox and Playstation for now, EA will continue to keep an eye on the Wii U and as soon as the situation changes, they are ready to jump back in and support it.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot had a similar sentiment, saying that the onus falls on Nintendo to increase Wii U sales before they’ll be ready to continue making games for the console. “We need more sold. They are coming with five of their biggest brands ever. And the Yen went down. So maybe they will take steps that will increase the number of consoles sold.”

Thankfully it seems Nintendo is keenly aware of the Wii U’s lower sales numbers, and they are hopeful that an assortment of quality first-party titles being released over the next year will boost console sales, providing the framework for third parties to boost their sales on the Wii U and justify resources spent on developing for it. Beloved franchises like Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, Smash Bros., Mario, and Zelda are on their way to the Wii U this holiday season and beyond, and many are sure to want to jump on board and get a Wii U of their own.

Charlie Scibetta, head of Nintendo of America’s corporate communications, had this to say: “We feel that’s our job to help drive that install base, and we haven’t had the software so far in 2013 that’s going to do that. But we’re confident between now and the holiday and again in 2014, we do have the software that’s going to grow that install base. And when that happens, we think that Wii U will be a far more attractive platform for third parties to want to publish on. The same thing happened on Nintendo 3DS that we think will happen on Wii U, which started off slow, but when the software came around, the hardware sales came. We’re looking for the same dynamic for Wii U.”

Assassin’s Creed Creator Fired by Ubisoft, Didn’t Leave

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Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Désilets certainly has a checkered past with Ubisoft, first leaving the company back in 2010 only to forcefully re-join the team after Ubisoft’s acquisition of THQ Montreal. It seems Patrice is no longer with Ubisoft again, though in a statement released today, it would seem that he and Ubisoft have differing takes on what happened. In Patrice’s words:

“Contrary to any statements made earlier today, this morning I was terminated by Ubisoft,” Desilets said. “I was notified of this termination in person, handed a termination notice and was unceremoniously escorted out of the building by two guards without being able to say goodbye to my team or collect my personal belongings. This was not my decision. Ubisoft’s actions are baseless and without merit. I intend to fight Ubisoft vigorously for my rights, for my team and for my game.”

His statement contradicts Ubisoft’s original announcement about his “departure”:

“The acquisition of THQ Montréal in January allowed Ubisoft to welcome 170 experienced developers, including Patrice Désilets, to our existing and renowned workforce. Unfortunately, since the acquisition, the good faith discussions between Patrice and Ubisoft aimed at aligning Patrice’s and the studio’s visions have been inconclusive. As a result, Patrice has left the studio. Our priorities remain with the teams already hard at work on projects in development. They are at the root of Ubisoft Montréal’s past and future successes.”

With Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag already in the pipe, this clash between Ubisoft and Désilets is sure to bring more attention to the franchise. One could assume that Patrice’s termination was based around some sort of disagreement between his team and Ubisoft’s executives, possibly over creative differences. No official word has been given yet, but stick with us as we report more details as they become available.

A Variety of “Watch Dogs” Coming this November

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Ubisoft’s highly anticipated open-world thriller, Watch Dogs, will hit shelves on November 19th. The game is confirmed for the PC ,PS4, PS3, Xbox 720, Xbox 360, and Wii U. It has been confirmed as a launch title for PlayStation 4, however, no news on whether it will be a Xbox 720 launch title as well. In addition to the standard retail game, there will be four special editions that come bundled with a variety of physical and digital goodies.

The “Dedsec Edition” comes with a figurine of hacker/main character Aiden Pearce, an artbook, soundtrack, map of Chicago, collectible Augmented Reality cards, badges and a collector’s box. Bundled DLC includes three single-player missions: Palace, Signature and Breakthrough.

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The “Vigilante Edition” will include the game’s soundtrack, the downloadable Palace mission and Aiden Pearce’s cap and mask for players to wear.

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Then you have the “Uplay Exclusive” edition, which will be exclusively purchased via Ubisoft’s online store, uPlay. It will come in a Steelbook case and include codes for all three downloadable bonus missions.

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Lastly, you will have most likely the most afforable of the special editions aptly titled “Special Edition’. This mode will just include the breakthrough pack. For more news on Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, stay tuned!

Splinter Cell: Blacklist – Wii U Features Trailer

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Ubisoft just released a trailer showing off the Wii U GamePad integration for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. It’s certainly a game that can be a great fit for the GamePad and the trailer shows some reasons why. Check out the latest trailer below!

Splinter Cell: Blacklist comes out for the PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360 on August 20th, 2013.