Toys: PlayStation Optimus Prime Announced
Following on from the MegaDrive Megatron toy being made by Takara Tomy, they've now also announced an Optimus Prime toy based on the original PlayStation. Like the first...
The folks behind many fine gaming mice, keyboards and other products are cooking up a treat for MechWarrior Online. Razer’s still in development controller, named Artemis, was shown off at this past E3. You can see some pictures here.
As it is still in development, what you see here is likely to change somewhat from now to release. Though what we have now is quite lovely, if I don’t say so myself. From left to right we see a 12 key console with sliding throttle, a centre section featuring an 8 inch monitor to be used in conjunction with the game’s main screen, and finally an adjustable flight stick featuring force-feedback. The unit will also feature fully programmable button combinations (macros). For example; you would be able to bind one key of the 12 to fire a volley a missiles, followed by a barrage of laser fire, topped off with a peppering of autocannons.
We might also point out that this is the first time since the original Steel Battalion, that a mecha game has had a similarly complex controller of its very own (the recent HORI TwinSticks are pretty simple by comparison). We’re quite excited indeed and cannot wait to get our hands on this beauty.
As this year’s bizarre clusterfuck that is E3, there’s now finally some (supposedly) in-game footage of Lost Planet 3 in a pretty slick trailer (plus some nice screenshots). Despite the somewhat desperate attempts to emulate a Hollywood film, the whole setup does show the fact we have another middle of the road Unreal powered game on our hands. This is not to say that Unreal is a bad toolset, far from it, but that publishers tend to force developers to play safe and opt for functionally very standardised design. Though in this instance it feels more like Spark are leading Capcom down the garden path due to their lack of inspiration. Considering this developer’s pretty crappy portfolio up to this point and the fact we’re getting a Red Faction: Armageddon vibe from this, we’re expecting something functionally very safe but also deeply lacklustre. Thank fuckity there’s E.X. Troopers on the way. The full trailer is available for your viewing pleasure below.
What with this year’s E3 almost upon us and that means trailers. Hawken is no exception, as it’s clear their new marketing budget has been blown on a swanky live action trailer (shown below). PR crap aside, the last gameplay trailer (circa this year’s PAX) is looking pretty good. Though there’s still a crazy amount of v-sync issues going on, what the deuce is up with that? Functionally we’re still on the fence with Hawken though, whilst it does look pretty none of the gameplay we’ve seen or heard about has us really excited yet. Only time will tell and we’ll all know if the game is any good come the end of the year.
The recent alpha test for Mobile Suit Gundam Online has been given a full on report, coupled with a pretty interesting in-game video. In short, the game plays like a standard TPS, with WASD and mouse control (something you can pretty much deduce from the video below). Whilst it does look a bit dated what the game is doing technically is no mean feat; as it handles over a hundred online players per match. Our only real concern is the strange and rather excessive use of motion blur, hopefully that will get toned down at some point. Still no news on a release date for this but it’s expected sometime this year.
The second alpha test for Mobile Suit Gundam Online is now underway. With 5,000 or so testers the game now has a few more interesting features to boot. From the use of strategic weapons, such as nukes (that knowingly breach the Antarctic Treaty), to reinforcements in the form of battelships. They’ve also confirmed that if the number of players falls below the maximum amount that bots will make up the difference. What’s still the most compelling thing about all this though is that the game can have over a hundred players squaring off in one battlefield and sagely they’ve not opted for a photo realistic art-style either, so most people can run this on a semi-decent PC. It will be interesting to see how this does once it’s finally released to the public and it goes without saying that a Steam version would be totally sweet (as well as wholly unlikely).
Released in 1989 to little fanfare, Herzog Zwei, an action/strategy hybrid, was one of the most influential titles in video game history despite remaining relatively unknown to this day. Its major innovation was strategic gameplay in real time, with bases creating units that would be carried by your commander mecha’s fighter form into battle. This real-time aspect, the management of resources, and construction of units would inspire what is generally considered the first Real Time Strategy game, Dune 2, which would inspire Command & Conquer, which would in turn inspire Warcraft. Despite helping launch an entire genre, Herzog Zwei has unfortunately never received the modern update it so rightly deserved, other than an indie spiritual successor in Cyber Wing and a stealth homage by way of the brutally underrated Brütal Legend.
Thankfully, Carbon Games is bringing Herzog Zwei to the 21st century with a freemium game called AirMech. While still in alpha, and currently only playable in the form of an add-on for the Google Chrome browser, the game already has all the charm of the original and then some. Many were put off by Herzog Zwei’s almost impenetrable game mechanics, but the short tutorial and simple controls of Airmech allow you to get right into the action. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean the game has been dumbed down; it remains the same hectic mecha shmup crossed with the grand tradition of screwing your friends with a lightning raid of tanks right outside their headquarters.
A second alpha test for the upcoming Mobile Suit Gundam Online has been announced and outline over at 4Gamer. Set within the caves and jungles of Jaburo, players will have access to 6 new mobile suits as well. Whilst you can’t sign-up for the new alpha as yet, the report says that the official site will afford this sometime soon. It’s still looking pretty solid but what with the newly announced Gundam Battle Operation already undergoing it’s first closed beta, it will be interesting see how this visually bland version will fare.
There’s now a new and extended gameplay trailer for Hawken going the rounds (shown below). As always it’s looking good and pretty meaty but we’re still surprised at the amount of tearing still present. The team are also hiring pretty aggressively now too, so it seems that this game will be getting bigger by the looks of it. Either way this is still on track to being one of our most anticipated mecha games of this year. Here’s hoping these guys can pull it off!
Two new trailers have been released for MechWarrior Online in a move that will surely leave fans salivating every waking moment until the game opens up this summer. The first continues the hardcore soundtrack responsible for breaking thousands of necks as viewers headbanged in excitement during a Mech launch sequence, while the second features the developers talking about the game types that will be available at launch and how they’re designing the game so that the Mechs will fulfill certain roles on the battlefield. The two game types seem to be just the standard deathmatch and a variant with a limited number of spawns, which is admittedly somewhat disappointing. Better news is that the developers are well aware that past games have overwhelmingly favored the heavier assault-class Mechs, leaving humble scouts such as the Jenner at a severe disadvantage. While no concrete information was given, the devs claim the smaller, faster Mechs will have an important place on the battlefield. Here’s to hoping that the game comes with the infamous Narc missile, which allowed the other players on your team to get faster and more accurate lock-ons on targets you marked.
There was also a trailer released for MechWarrior Tactics, which I forgot to mention last time around because I thought it was the same thing as MechWarrior: Tactical Command for iOS. Mea culpa. How did we go from having no MechWarrior games in development to having three different ones so quickly? Is this what the Mayans predicted for 2012? Anyways, MechWarrior Tactics is a hex-based, turn-based, browser-based strategy game hewing more closely to the original Battletech tabletop game than the action-oriented MechWarrior interpretations, and allows players to put in their commands asynchronously–you can log in quickly, move your Mechs, and then log out without needing to wait for the other player’s response. If you’re interested, make sure you reserve your handle at the game’s official site — it’s a different registration than the one for MechWarrior Online.
Not only is MechWarrior Online still in development, the latest teaser trailer contains a weapons-grade payload of multiple fangasms. I won’t spoil it, but if you’ve been a fan of the MechWarrior series for a while now, you’ll be instantly having flashbacks of hitting Group Fire and preemptively mashing down the Reactor Shutdown Manual Override button. It’s been a long time, but it feels like we never even left the cockpit.
The newly mecha-curious among you will be pleased to know that it’s not all Old Guard fanservice. If the actual game looks half as good as this cinematic, this is quite possibly going to be the most beautiful free-to-play game out there. And it’s not just pixel counts on textures, either–the attention to detail on the DropShip’s prepping of the ‘Mech while it undergoes its startup sequence shows that someone truly cared. That Atlas isn’t unceremoniously dumped from a polygonal hanger bay, it’s got a proper launch sequence that can set a man’s soul aflame. The Atlas itself is redefined with the sillier elements cut out, striking an imposing figure as the Inner Sphere’s personification of death. Someone has done their homework; this could very well be a product that can compete directly with the mecha output of Japan.
The game is still slated for this summer, and if you’ve been following along at home with the amazing curiosity that is the official MechWarrior Twitter account, you might have a good idea why. Due to MechWarrior’s origins as the tabletop RPG BattleTech, the universe has an amazing amount of definition that makes even the venerable Mobile Suit Gundam saga jealous, and the Twitter account has been reporting on events in that universe in real time. This August will be the BattleTech universe’s August of 3049, a pivotal moment in BattleTech history where the shit hits the proverbial heatsink. If you’re new to the series, don’t look it up; i’s much better to experience the terror firsthand. But if you find yourself in the Free Rasalhague Republic when the game opens, run.