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Mass Effect 4D Theme Park Ride Opens Today, See New Video and Images for It

The Mass Effect 4D theme park ride, called New Earth, is scheduled to open today at California’s Great America amusement park.

Some were invited to see the ride early, including the team at California Coaster Kings, which has a report up that shows off some new images and offers more details on the ride (via Eurogamer).

As announced previously, the attraction–which was produced in partnership with EA and BioWare–boasts the “world’s largest and highest definition LED screen.”

Here is what California Coaster Kings had to say about it:

“The visuals are both carefully constructed and brilliantly high definition. The LED technology accomplished a crispness pixels could never hope to. In addition, the fact that Electronic Arts and BioWare developed and animated every frame from the ground up makes it not only as authentic as the games, but also gives the Mass Effect universe a new entry and welcome expansion.”

The site added that audio is also top-notch, with a surround sound system that features 70 speakers throughout the theater. The attraction also includes cameos from popular Mass Effect characters such as Garrus, Grunt, and Commander Shepard–and their voices were done by the original actors apparently.

As for the action itself, you sit in a seat (no restraint) and embark on a “holographic journey.” There is also a live actor who provides details about what you’re seeing and more.

“To have a real person interact with a digital effects makes them much more tangible,” the site said. “To have a bridge between the two worlds really goes a long way as far as immersion.”

For a closer look at New Earth, check out the video above. Additionally, you can read the full report at California Coaster Kings, which also includes a series of images.

California’s Great America is located in Santa Clara, California. All the details about park hours and pricing can be found on the park’s website.

Mass Effect isn’t the only video game to get its own theme park ride. Plants vs. Zombies, another EA franchise, is getting its own “intra-active 3D game experience” at Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Here’s When the Overwatch Beta Starts

Blizzard has announced the start date of the closed beta for its upcoming team shooter, Overwatch. The closed beta will kick off on October 27 in the Americas region, with a small number of testers to get regular access to the beta. More players will be gradually added to the testing phase. The closed beta test phases will be coming to the Europe region next, and the Asia region will be getting it at “a later date.”

Blizzard will also be conducting numerous Beta Test Weekends for a second, wider group of players. These will be for the purpose of testing the server hardware to make ensure “they can withstand the assault.” The Beta Test Weekends will be available for various parts of the world, and the first one will kick off not long after BlizzCon ends.

The Overwatch beta will be accessible from the desktop client for Windows users only. Selected users who are invited to participate in the closed beta phase or Beta Test Weekend will receive an email with further instructions. Participants will be chosen from users who have opted in to the beta on their account.

Overwatch was first announced in November last year, debuting with a Pixar-esque introduction video. The game is Blizzard’s first new franchise in 17 years. More recently, the studio release new 1080p gameplay footage featuring the characters Hanzo, McCree, Mercy, and Zenyatta. Overwatch does not currently have a release date, but is being developed for Mac and PC.

The Overwatch beta kicks off shortly before the start of Blizzcon, which takes place on November 6-7 this year. GameSpot will be covering announcements from the event as they roll out, so be sure to stay tuned to the site for more information.

Silent Hills Cancellation Makes No F**king Sense, Says Guillermo Del Toro

Pans Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Pacific Rim director Guillermo Del Toro has discussed the experience of working on Silent Hills with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, saying that many of the ideas they came up with for story later appeared in games such as The Last of Us, giving him confidence they had something special.

Speaking to horror site Bloody Disgusting, Del Toro said the game would have been “remarkable.”

“We had a great experience and had great story sessions with hundreds upon hundreds of designs,” he said. “Some of the stuff that we were designing for Silent Hills I’ve seen in games that came after, like The Last of Us, which makes me think we were not wrong, we were going in the right direction, The thing with Kojima and Silent Hills is that I thought we would do a really remarkable game and really go for the jugular.”

In April 2015, Konami confirmed it had cancelled plans to develop Silent Hills, a move which Del Toro believes “makes no f**king sense.”

“We were hoping to actually create some sort of panic with some of the devices we were talking about and it is really a shame that it’s not happening. When you ask about how things operate, that makes no f**king sense at all that that game is not happening. Makes no f**king sense at all.”

Although Konami initially declined to comment on the cancellation of Silent Hills, it later released a statement.

“Konami is committed to new Silent Hill titles,” it said, “however the embryonic Silent Hills project developed with Guillermo del Toro and featuring the likeness of Norman Reedus will not be continued.”

It added: “In terms of Kojima and del Toro being involved, discussions on future Silent Hill projects are currently underway, and please stay tuned for further announcements.”

In addition to Del Toro and Kojima, it has been revealed that renowned manga creator Junji Ito–widely believed to be one of the masters of Japanese horror–was also working on Silent Hills.

Del Toro has said he doesn’t plan on making another game, but is still in touch with Kojima.

Friday the 13th Game Revealed, Dev Promises Blood, Guts, Gore, Brutal Kills

Jason Voorhees recently appeared in Mortal Kombat X as a DLC fighter, but now he’s getting his own new game. Gun Media and developer Illfonic have announced Friday the 13th: The Game, a third-person, asymmetrical multiplayer game for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The hook is that one player controls Jason Voorhees, while seven others take control of camp counselors who are attempting to survive the night.

The game takes place in a “semi-open world” of Camp Crystal Lake from the film series. “It’s a classic horror fan’s dream, no shaky cam, no found footage,” developers said. “We want you to know we’re revitalizing the golden era of slashers, and putting you at the controls of each horrific, blood-splattered moment.”

Gun Media is looking to fund Friday the 13th: The Game on Kickstarter. A campaign for the game went live today, asking for $ 700,000.

Friday the 13th: The Game is actually an evolution of Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp. It was decided to make this a Friday the 13th game after franchise creator Sean Cunningham reached out to the development team.

“That’s when things got awesome,” the developers said. “Sean came to us in early 2015, but we quickly discovered these weren’t the normal business conversations you would have when you try to secure a license as important as Friday the 13th. It was totally different. It was a conversation built on mutual admiration and respect for what each had created.

“Sean immediately noticed the passion we had for Friday the 13th, and after several incredible meetings over the next few months, we decided to upgrade our plans for Summer Camp and embrace the Friday the 13th video game license,” they added. “After several incredible meetings over the next few months, Sean surprised us by offering the Friday the 13th video game license. It was literally a dream come true for a group of lifelong fans. He knew he could trust us with the most coveted horror IP ever, and we plan to make good on that promise to both him and you, the millions of loyal Friday the 13th fans around the world.”

As for why Gun Media is not seeking a traditional publisher relationship, the developer said violence, gore, and nudity “aren’t just concepts to consider–they’re necessities.” Partnering with a publisher meant that might have meant these elements would have to be toned down.

“We don’t want that. You don’t want that,” they said. “We’re not interested in compromising what made the film franchise so popular. We’re interested in building precisely what we, as fans, want. The ultimate Friday the 13th experience. Blood, guts, gore, brutal kills, and more. You want an experience true to the films, and so do we. It’s about creative control and delivering the best game we can. We want to share that control, with you, not a publisher.”

Friday the 13th: The Game runs on Epic’s Unreal Engine 4, and looks quite nice, even in its unfinished state currently. Check out some images in the gallery below.

The game was conceived as a multiplayer-only game, but Gun Media said it will consider a single-player campaign if the Kickstarter does well enough. There are a variety of stretch goals featured on the game’s Kickstarter page, but they are blurred out for now. These will be announced later.

Friday the 13th: The Game is tentatively scheduled to launch in October 2016. You can guarantee yourself a copy of the game by pledging at least $ 25. For lots more, be sure to check out the game’s Kickstarter.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III’s “Realistic” Difficulty Is One Shot and You’re Dead

The existence of a “Realistic” difficulty mode for Call of Duty: Black Ops III was recently discovered by the game’s achievement/trophy listings. Now, Treyarch has provided more details on how this uber-challenging mode works. Producer Jason Blundell tells XboxAchievements, “[In Realistic] you have one point of life, so if you’re shot once, you’re dead. It completely changes the way you play the game.”

He went on to say that surviving in Black Ops III’s four-player co-op campaign will require the coordinated effort of all soldiers. And patience. Lots and lots of patience, it seems.

“You all have to survive as a group,” he explained. “You end up respecting the level in a completely different way, and once gunfire opens up, everyone just drops to the ground, because if any one bullet hits you or a grenade goes off near you, you’re dead.”

Past Call of Duty games have featured Recruit, Regular, Hardened, and Veteran difficulty settings.

If you’re playing Black Ops III’s co-op campaign with computer characters instead of human friends, you may be happy to learn that the game’s AI has been completely rewritten to “make independent decisions,” Blundell explained. He added: “We have more types of AI than we’ve ever had before.”

For lots more on Black Ops III’s campaign mode, check out GameSpot’s recent preview.

Black Ops III launches on November 6 for all platforms. The last-generation versions of the shooter do not have a campaign mode, a point that will be made clear on the game’s box. In other news, a Treyarch producer apologized for a recent Black Ops III marketing campaign involving a fake terrorist attack.

Activision also has released stunning new trailer for Black Ops III’s zombies mode, Shadows of Evil, showing off the virtual versions of actors such as Jeff Goldblum, Ron Perlman, Heather Graham, and Neal McDonough.

Minecraft: Story Mode Episode One–The Order of the Stone Review

Narratives set within the universe of Minecraft aren’t exactly new. A quick search on YouTube reveals thousands of people already telling stories using the world and aesthetics of the hugely popular game (some more successfully than others). But Minecraft: Story Mode has something those thousands posting videos don’t: a pedigree in telling engaging, carefully crafted stories.

Minecraft: Story Mode comes from developer Telltale Games, a company that has played a more than significant role in the recent renaissance of the adventure game. This new game is a departure from Telltale’s recent, adult-focused stories: you won’t find murder, sex, or mutilated bodies here as you would in The Wolf Among Us, or get mired in the dark, oppressive drama of The Walking Dead. Rather, Minecraft Story Mode is squarely focused at a more general, family audience, offering a gentle adventure where the most pressing choice is which of your in-game friends to disappoint. This is certainly much more Goonies than Game of Thrones.

While the recent Telltale Games have hit the ground running when it comes to their narrative, this first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode feels like a slow start. The stakes, the characters’ motivations, and all of the pieces for the entire series’ overarching story only fall into place right at the end of episode one’s runtime, making it feel like an extended prologue rather than the first act of a grand adventure. This episode stopped just when I wanted it to keep going.

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That’s not to say I didn’t find any emotional investment in the few hours this first episode brings. There’s some gentle humor here, some dashes of excitement, and a reverence for the world of Minecraft that fans will no doubt love. A lot of the game’s nuance will be lost on non-Minecraft fans, but despite the narrative delving deeply into the original game’s mythos, it’s certainly not inside-baseball enough to alienate casuals . Main character Jesse and her friends get embroiled in a mystery involving the famous Order of the Stone, a group that defeated the powerful Ender Dragon but has since split up under mysterious circumstances. (In a nice touch, The Order of the Stone was part of the original name for Minecraft back in its early days). I don’t want to delve any more deeply into possible spoilers, but suffice it to say in this first episode alone, Jesse gets to interact with some iconic Minecraft creatures, visit a variety of locales, and even tangle with one of Minecraft’s most deadly and powerful creatures.

It helps that the main character here–Jesse (who you can choose to play as male or female)–serves as a proxy for a typical Minecraft fan. Jesse is enthusiastic about the world she’s in, excited about building complex structures from blocks, geeking out about going to Endercon– (an in-game convention that features a building competition–), and in awe of anyone with courage enough to brave the hostile environment of the Nether. Jesse, in other words, is every 10-year-old who watches Minecraft videos on YouTube. The other characters are more like archetypes: Axel, a gruff but big hearted friend; Petra, an adventurer who’s not adverse to taking risks; Olivia, a cynical but loyal companion; and Lukas, a rival that may or may not be on your side. These characters’ interactions are pleasant enough, with some witty conversation, good-natured ribbing, and some Minecraft in-jokes helping give the episode a genial feel (what is scarier? A zombie or a creeper?). The cast that brings these characters to life are uniformally excellent, with both Patton Oswalt and Catherine Taber as the male and female voice of Jesse perfectly selling that eager, fan aspect of the character.

Building is just a matter of button presses in Story Mode.

Everything in Story Mode–from the blocky visuals and menu fonts to the music and even the autosave indicator–looks like a direct lift from the original game. Aside from the characters having a bit more bend in their limbs compared to vanilla Minecraft, Story Mode looks, sounds, and feels like, well, Minecraft.

The gameplay, however, is typical Telltale: a mix of narrative choices (many of which have direct ramifications on how the story plays out), light puzzles, and quick time events. There are no major twists or turns in this first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode–it’s an amiable journey for Jesse and her friends, and if you’re a parent wanting to play this with a child, there’s nothing here in terms of questionable content. Your biggest choices tend to revolve around which of your friends to support, or which character to help in given (albeit stressful) situations. Everything–so far–seems black and white: the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, although some much needed gray is injected right near the end. It’s only a hint, but it’s a clear indicator that future episodes will carry more narrative complexity than this first episode contains.


But while the narrative takes its time to get to the point, there are several engaging sequences that require quick reflexes, including (skip to the next paragraph if you want to remain completely spoiler-free) fleeing from that aforementioned Minecraft big bad and riding on a minecart through the Nether. There are some sequences, too, that tie in the mechanical, building component of Minecraft proper into Story Mode. You won’t actually have to build anything as you do in Minecraft (all building is handled via QTE), but little tasks like creating a shelter when the characters find themselves outside at night and using a crafting table are nice touches that lend the game even more Minecraft flavor.

It’s that flavor that helps propel this first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode along, even when the story itself only begins to hint at the scope of the adventure ahead. It’s a pleasant start, packed with individual events but featuring little in the way of narrative propulsion. When I reached the end of this episode, I wanted more. I’m hoping that, like most outstanding Minecraft creations, Minecraft: Story Mode just needs a little more time to build.

Witcher 3 Hearts of Stone Limited Edition Delayed in North America

Customers who pre-ordered the limited edition of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone expansion in North America will have to wait a bit longer to receive their physical copies of the game. CD Projekt Red has apologised for the delayed release of the limited edition on its forums, which affects special boxed editions at GameStop stores “all over America.” The developer has said the delay was caused by “logistical problems” that will affect the delivery of the games for “several days” after its release date.

The forum post goes on to apologise for the inconvenience, and that the developer is working with GameStop to resolve the situation. In the meantime, users can still purchase the game digitally if they want to play it on its launch date.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone expansion contains over ten hours of new content, including new characters, monsters, a unique romance, and a new storyline that features player choice.

Hearts of Stone was very well-received in GameSpot’s review (although not as well as the original base game, which earned the elusive ten out of ten), with editor Mike Mahardy praising the game’s clever dialogue and storytelling, engrossing quests, and the depth of the game’s themes.