Hearthstone arrives on the iPad

Blizzard's free-to-play card battler arrives on portable platforms

Blizzard has announced the worldwide launch of the iPad version of their free-to-play card game Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft.

The iPad version of Hearthstone was originally announced at BlizzCon back in November and was in limited beta until now.

The game quite deftly merges Warcraft's fantasy universe with an entertaining card-battling mechanic and should find a good audience on the iPad. Hearthstone arrives on the iPad

Blizzard are also planning a version of the game for Android tablets in addition toe the PC, Mac and iPad versions currently available.

Thanks Forbes.

Fable Anniversary design lead leaves Lionhead

Timmins thanks Peter Molyneux for giving him his first chance in the industry

Fable Anniversary lead designer Ted Timmins has announced that he is to leave Lionhead.

He made the news public on Twitter saying, “I’ve decided to leave Lionhead. This was a really tough decision, as I’ve had such an amazing time here! I’ve worked with incredibly talented people, had the chance to meet Fable fans in person and represent Xbox at some amazing events.”

He continued in a long series of tweets, “Lionhead has been such an integral part of my life, more than 1/3rd of it in fact! Which is why it’s a good time for change. There’s also something quite special that Fable 1 was the first game I was a part of, and Fable Anniversary is my last.” Fable Anniversary design lead leaves Lionhead

”Thanks to everyone at Lionhead, Xbox, all the fans, journalists and event teams that have made my time here so awesome,” he concluded. “Special thanks to @pmolyneux for establishing a company that would give a spotty 18 year old with no talent or qualifications a chance.” Timmins began working for Lionhead back in 2004 when he joined to work on Fable so it would only be fitting that he bows out after completing work on Fable Anniversary.

Thanks Joystiq.

Bungie lets their long-time composer go

O'Donnell states that he was let go without cause

Bungie has let go their long-time composer Marty O'Donnell.

The news was first announced by O'Donnell himself via Twitter saying, “I’m saddened to say that Bungie’s board of directors terminated me without cause on April 11, 2014”.

Bungie confirmed the news in a statement with a slightly more friendly slant saying,“For more than a decade, Marty O’Donnell filled our worlds with unforgettable sounds and soundtracks, and left an indelible mark on our fans. Bungie lets their long-time composer go

“Today, as friends, we say goodbye,” the statement added. “We know that wherever his journey takes him, he will always have a bright and hopeful future. We wish him luck in all his future endeavours.”

O'Donnell's impressive CV includes credits on Myst, Oni, Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: Reach and their upcoming title Destiny.

Thanks MCV.

Titanfall producer: I don't care about profits as long as folks enjoy playing the game

"We make games because we love them and we want other people to play them with us," says McCoy

Drew McCoy, producer on Titanfall, is not interested in profit margins as long as people enjoy playing the game.

McCoy stated, "I don't know if it's making a profit, I don't know if it's meeting sales expectations. I don't really care. I care that I worked on a game that I can sit down and enjoy playing. The fact that people enjoy it and it has made enough that we [get to] continue supporting it as a studio, that's to me a success. We make games because we love them and we want other people to play them with us."

Having said that Titanfall has done enough to justify EA securing the rights to publish a sequel even before the Xbox 360 version was released last week.The Respawn man does hope that Titanfall has done enough to provide an entertaining alternative to the big guns of the multiplayer FPS genre like Call Of Duty and Battlefield. Titanfall producer: I don't care about profits as long as folks enjoy playing the game

"I don't know if we've disrupted it,” he continued. “People are still going to make the cinematic 5-6 hour single-player, they're going to make the multiplayer, and maybe co-op that sandwiches in between. They're still going to throw 600 people at it, and do production values for production values' sake. But what I hope it's done is opened up designers to trying new things."

McCoy added, "There's been some really colossal failures...there's been games that looked at what's popular and go 'oh, if we have this, people will buy our game.' And then it just completely fails, because they missed the reason as to why that game was good and they didn't try anything new. So I hope what Titanfall does, as a gamer and as someone who wants to see the industry get better and make cooler stuff, is try new things and not just try and copy what's good."

Thanks GameSpot.

Irrational Games seems to have pulled out all of the stops in creating the final piece of DLC for BioShock Infinite.

Elizabeth's cryptography skills were not faked it seems as one very diligent Reddit user has discovered.

Her abilities in decrypting Suchong's encoded messages are based in a real encryption that uses the atomic numbers of the elements in the messages combined with a Vignere cypher. Elizabeth's problem solving skills weren't fake in BioShock Infinite Burial At Sea

Former Irrational writer Drew Holmes highlighted the discovery on Twitter saying, “For any writer that thinks you can just make s**t up and nobody will notice... (Glad I did my homework!)”

Thanks Game Informer.

Massive Entertainment: Delaying Watch Dogs took courage

Delay shows Ubisoft's commitment to quality says Massive MD David Polfeldt

Massive Entertainment has praised their parent, Ubisoft on their decision to delay Watch Dogs.

They highlighted that the decision to delay Watch Dogs demonstrates the publisher's commitment to ensuring the quality of their releases remains high. It was an encouraging sign as for them as well showing that they will be supported in their aim to make The Division as good as it can be.

The studio boss, David Polfeldt said, "It’s tremendously important for us as a developer studio, to know that the owner and the publisher are ready to take that hit, and [the Watch Dogs delay] was a massive hit. I think their shares fell 25 per cent on the day it was announced.” Massive Entertainment: Delaying Watch Dogs took courage

“It takes so much courage to live through that day and still think that was a good decision,” he went on. “So for us in the development [side of things], that’s an important message that ultimately the management will back up the goals that we have, which is the game has to be great. That’s ultimately the end goal and then it’s a million times better if it’s on time, but if there is a choice between time and quality, then quality will win. If you look at Ubisoft you see a lot of people who have been in the company for over 20 years and that’s not very common today in corporate landscapes.”

Polfeldt concluded, “But I do think that one of the reasons is people believe that ultimately this company has a very positive agenda about putting out good entertainment products and we’re willing to back it up, we’re will to take a few hits and some larger risks to make sure quality is very high.”

The Division is aiming for a release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One later on this year. Watch Dogs is due to hit PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 on May the 27th.

Thanks Examiner.

More than a third of games bought on Steam go unplayed

Just over half of Half-Life 2's owners have actually played it

New data on the habits of Steam gamers has emerged highlighting some rather startling facts.

Over the last two months Ars Technica has bee carefully analysing publicly-available data on Steam's users and has come up with some impressive stats on Steam.

According to their data around 36.9 percent of all games bought on Steam are never played. Given that there are around 781 million games registered to Steam's users that's a pretty terrifying pile of shame. More than a third of games bought on Steam go unplayed

By way of an example Left 4 Dead 2 is the sixth most-owned title on Steam but of the 10.7 million owners 2.1 million have never even loaded the game up.

Half-Life 2 is even worst with 3.9 million of its 8 million owners having never played it. That's pretty shocking given that it's widely respected as one of the best games of all time.

The full analysis along with an explanation on how they compiled the data is available over on Ars Technica.

Tales From The Borderlands to use greed as a main source of player agency

Telltale looking to take advantage of the greediness of Pandora's residents

Telltale Games has revealed a bit more about how they are approaching adapting Gearbox's Borderlands series to their episodic adventure format.

Tales From The Borderlands will follow the adventures of con-artist Fiona and Hyperion worker Rhys as they attempt to make their way in Pandora, the only way anyone can.

"What we're trying to do is use money in the game as agency," says Telltale's Harrison Pink. Their hope is to tempt players with greed. Choices on whether to take the money or not will have consequences by opening up or closing off possible avenues in future situations. Tales From The Borderlands to use greed as a main source of player agency

This is apparent right from the start as players are immediately presented with an ill stranger and a briefcase full of money. Do you help him or do you take the money and run? As usual with Telltale's games every action has consequences.

Tales From The Borderlands is due to be released some time later this year.

Thanks OXM US via IGN.

Broken Sword 5 Episode Two launches today

New Broken Sword adventure gets its slightly delayed conclusion

The final part of Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse is available from today on PC, Mac and Linux.

The new crowd-funded entry in the Broken Sword series was broken up into two parts so that developer Revolution could get it into the hands of backers that much quicker and now they are happy to bring the conclusion of Nico and George's latest adventure to players.

“We were delighted with the reception Episode One received from the games’ fans.” says Charles Cecil, founder, Revolution Software. “Episode Two takes the gameplay to another level – those who have already experienced Episode One will revel in the conclusion to the tale, while new gamers can enjoy the game in its entirety. Episode two ramps up the level of drama, as well as the difficulty level, as the game progresses: the second part starting with George and Nico having to dodge shotgun fire – with George then meeting his ultimate nemesis – a belligerent goat!” Broken Sword 5 Episode Two launches today

“I am extremely proud of the game and delighted that we have had the opportunity to build a direct relationship with our fans,” Cecil added. “The release of the game represents the conclusion of an amazing journey in self-funding, through the generosity of our Kickstarter backers, and to publishing the game under the Revolution brand.”

Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse Episode Two launches at 6pm BST today on Steam, GOG and Get Games for PC, Mac and Linux. Both episodes are available for 18.99 GBP. The PS Vita, Android and iOS versions will follow shortly.

Jade Raymond: “There still isn’t a game where you get to play an old lady. That’s my dream.”

Raymond believes even teenage boys want more from their games than bikinis and guns

Jade Raymond has been speaking of the dangers of treating gamers like idiots.

Ubisoft Toronto's creative director has stressed that not all gamers are adolescent boys and even they want something more from their games than big explosions and nearly-dressed women. “I don’t like the assumption that all people who play games want big chainsaws and women in bikinis,”Raymond began. “It’s like, really? Not all gamers are teenage boys, and even teenage boys want more than that.”

She continued, “I really love traditional action movies – I almost don’t care how bad it is if there are big things exploding – but even those films have become more interesting in terms of complex leads. Look at Iron Man.” Jade Raymond: “There still isn’t a game where you get to play an old lady. That’s my dream.”

“The video game world is improving, too. We’re seeing some variety. Grand Theft Auto has been doing a good job picking interesting main characters in recent years – like the new-immigrant underdog,” she added. There still isn’t a game where you get to play an old lady. That’s my dream.”

Thanks The Grid.

Tomb Raider sequel details surface in Crystal Dynamics job vacancies

Numerous vacancies open up on the next title in the series

Some new details have emerged on the as-yet unannounced Tomb Raider sequel that is in the works at Crystal Dynamics.

These have appeared courtesy of a few vacancies that have opened up at the development studio. Postings have appeared for a cinematics lead, environmental artist, community manager, combat systems designer, systems designer and QA manager for the next Tomb Raider game.

The combat systems designer will be required to "build combat systems that directly apply to a 3rd person cover based action adventure game." Tomb Raider sequel details surface in Crystal Dynamics job vacancies

"Design responsibilities include but are not limited to Enemy AI, combat behaviors, stealth, player weapons and tools, cover and melee based mechanics,” the posting continues. “These responsibilities require a high degree of knowledge and experience between code and content, as well as showing demonstrable on screen progress to from concept to ship. Both theory and hands on work will be required."

This new Tomb Raider is in development for PC, PS4 and Xbox One and that is about all that is known on the game.

Thanks GameNGuide.

NHL 14 tips Boston Bruins to take the Stanley Cup

EA Sports hoping to predict the outcome of this season's NHL play-offs

In keeping with EA Sports' tradition of using their games to predict the outcome of the year's big sporting events they have used NHL 14 to predict who'll win this year's Stanley Cup.

They have simulated the entire play-off battle in this season's NHL predicting that the Boston Bruins would take the San Jose Sharks in six games allowing the former Calgary Flames legend Jarome Iginla to lift the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career.

The simulation also indicated that both the Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning would be swept by the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens. NHL 14 tips Boston Bruins to take the Stanley Cup

It also suggested that last year's winners, the Chicago Blackhawks would go out in seven games to the Colorado Avalanche and Boston would face New York in the Eastern Conference Finals again in a seven-game thriller.

Thanks GameFocus.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel not as big as Borderlands 2

Randy Pitchford indicates it may sell at a reduced price

Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford has revealed that 2K Australia's first stab at the Borderlands series won't be quite as big as Borderlands 2.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is set in between Borderlands and Borderlands 2 and Pitchford has revealed that it will be somewhere in between the two previous games in terms of size as well as in terms of story content.

“It comes in the fall, at the time of year that games like to come out, and we’re still getting a grasp on scope,” Pitchford said. “It’s pretty big. I don’t think it’s going to be as big as Borderlands 2. It might be as big, or a little bigger, than Borderlands 1. It might be kind of in between the two.” Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel not as big as Borderlands 2

“As far as price point goes,” he continued, “I don’t think that’s set in stone yet. It should be priced correctly, so we’ll have to see what happens in the market and understand the actual total value proposition that’s being offered. But I’m the developer. The guys at 2K will figure that out.”

Thanks PC Gamer.

Interceptor teases their Duke Nukem game minus the Duke Nukem references

New developments on the saga of Gearbox vs 3D Realms

It seems there has been a new development in the argument between Gearbox and 3D Realms over who owns the Duke Nukem IP.

The new game that 3D Realm's new studio Interceptor was working on, Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction has re-appeared minus the Duke Nukem references in a new teaser site.

The countdown timer is counting down to a date in just under a month from now indicating that 3D Realms and Interceptor are preparing to unveil the game as a new title without Duke Nukem starring. Interceptor teases their Duke Nukem game minus the Duke Nukem references

Development on Mass Destruction was shelved earlier this year when Gearbox mounted a lawsuit against 3D Realms over their use of the Duke Nukem name.

Thanks Polygon.

Respawn outlines more upcoming improvements for Titanfall

Studio working on 'nose art' features among other things

Respawn has announced their plans for the future support for Titanfall across the board.

In a new blog entry, the game's director, Sean Fukuda outlined a selection of improvements emphasising that they are focussed on improving the current experience rather than tacking new features on.

Balances and tweaks include improved scoring for attacking players in Hardpoint, rebalancing tweaks for the Titan's 40mm Cannon and Quad Rocket weapons. More matchmaking improvements are also on the way. Respawn outlines more upcoming improvements for Titanfall

There's more coming in the way of Private Match features and competition-oriented features as well as “convenience features” like the Party Colours feature which allows players to easily identify their fellow party members in the lobby and in-game.

Fukuda also promised that they are working on a new nose-art feature to allow players to customise their own Titans. 

CCP cancels World Of Darkness, lays off some staff

"We could not deliver the experience that we aspired to make" says CCP CEO

CCP has announced that they have decided to cancel development on their other project known as World Of Darkness.

The project had been in development for the best part of the last eight years at CCP's Atlanta studios but it hadn't seemed like it was anywhere near a release announcement. As a result of the game's cancellation 56 staff have been let go from CCP Atlanta.

CEO of the Icelandic developer Hilmar Petursson said, "The decision to end the World of Darkness MMO project is one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make. I have always loved and valued the idea of a sandbox experience set in that universe, and over the years I’ve watched the team passionately strive to make that possible.” CCP cancels World Of Darkness, lays off some staff

“To our current and former employees and fans of World of Darkness,” he continued, “I am truly sorry that we could not deliver the experience that we aspired to make. We dreamed of a game that would transport you completely into the sweeping fantasy of World of Darkness, but had to admit that our efforts were falling regretfully short. One day I hope we will make it up to you.”

Thanks Gamasutra.

Titanfall Expedition DLC announced

Expedition brings 3 new maps and an additional mini-campaign

The first pack of downloadbale content for Titanfall was announced at last weekend's PAX East.

The Expedition DLC is the first of three packs that are included in the game's Season Pass and will add three new maps to the game.

Three maps doesn't seem that much but they are linked together in a short campaign that follows on from the end of the Campaign mode included with the game at launch. Titanfall Expedition DLC announced

The blurb describing the Expedition DLC on the Titanfall blog says:

“In the wake of the Battle of Demeter, IMC Expeditionary Forces travel deep into Frontier space to recover from their recent defeat. On an uncharted world, the IMC begin construction of a new fleet operations base, using newly acquired water collection and filtration plants to support the new base. When drainage operations reveal ancient ruins and artifacts of an unknown origin in a nearby swamp, Spyglass activates an archaeological team to investigate the site. To maintain battle readiness at the new base, IMC Pilots use simulation pods to train for anticipated Militia raids, based on lessons learned in Angel City and IMC Airbase Sierra.”

Thanks Hexus.

Gearbox boss reckons Borderlands will die if they don't trust other developers with it

Gearbox working on bringing a new IP to life at the moment

Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford has stated that he believes that the Borderlands series could fade away in to gaming mists of time if they don't trust other developers to work with it.

Pitchford explained that all their current efforts are going into creating something new and they feel that they need to see what other studios are capable of doing with the series.

"The best way for us to kill Borderlands would be for us to not trust other people with it," Pitchford stated. Gearbox boss reckons Borderlands will die if they don't trust other developers with it

"Internally at Gearbox a lot of our effort is going towards creating new IP that we haven't announced yet,” he went on. “But we want to see and play more Borderlands! I really like the awesome imprint that 2K Australia has left on the world. I think it'll open future projects up to them.”

Pitchford added, “I don't know if it's possible for anyone to live up to the high expectations of the fans,” but 2K Australia is pouring its heart and soul into it."

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is in development at 2K Australia and is due out on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 later this year.

Thanks OXM.

Crysis and Crysis 2 PC online servers to close next month

Crytek's titles fall victim of GameSpy's service closure

Crytek has announced that the online multiplayer servers for both Crysis and Crysis 2 on PC are to close next month.

The multiplayer matchmaking services for both games were provided by GameSpy and are affected by the company's imminent service closure.

Crytek stated on their forums, "As of May 31 this year, the multiplayer modes in Crysis and Crysis 2 for PC will no longer be playable. The single-player campaigns in both games are unaffected by this transition." Crysis and Crysis 2 PC online servers to close next month

They went on, "We'd like to thank everyone who has taken up arms in Crysis and Crysis 2's multiplayer modes in the last few years, and apologize to the small but dedicated community of PC players who are still actively competing against one another."

Thanks GameSpot.

Guacamelee dev Drinkbox reveals their new game, Severed

New title heading to smartphones and tablets next year

Drinkbox studios, the developer behind curious luchadore Metroidvania adventure Guacamelee has unveiled their latest game.

Severed is a non-linear dungeon crawler which will offer players the choice of when and how they upgrade. It will use gesture controls in a similar way to Infinity Blade.

The story follows the adventures of a warrior who loses part of her arm. Along the way she can pick up new powers by severing parts of enemies and attaching them to herself. Guacamelee dev Drinkbox reveals their new game, Severed

Lead designer Greg Lesky said, "The high-level structure is kind of like a Mega Man structure I would say. You can go down one path, or you can try going down one path and if it's not really working you can go down a different path and try that path, get the new piece of armor or whatever it is from that path, and then try that first path again [as] you'll be more upgraded."

Severed is in development for smartphones and tablets but Drinkbox are also considering releasing on PS Vita, 3DS and Wii U. They are aiming for a release some time in 2015.

Thanks Destructoid.

It seems that Ubisoft has slipped a possible release date for the delayed Wii U version of Watch Dogs.

A listing briefly appeared on their North American UPlay store which indicated that Watch Dogs would be released on the Wii U in the autumn.

The listing has been altered and now reads just “2014” as the release date for the Wii U version. Accidental UPlay listing indicates a release window for Watch Dogs on the Wii U

Ubisoft is yet to comment on the leaked release window although it's not outwith the realms of possibility.

Thanks DualShockers.

Steam controller to launch in the autumn

500 games to support it by the end of the year

Reports coming out of last weekend's PAX East in Boston have indicated that Valve's Steam Controller will launch in the autumn.

An anonymous source told PC Gamer at the PAX East that the controller would be released in either October or November of this year.

The source also related that they have around 500 games that will be natively playable using the new controller. Steam controller to launch in the autumn

The controller saw bit of a redesign after the first 300 went out to beta-testers along with Valve's beta Steam Machines. Feedback indicated that backwards-compatibility would be better served by traditional X,Y,A and B buttons and a D-pad rather than the intended programmable touch-screen.

Bluepoint Games has revealed that the very useful option to lock Titanfall's framerate at 30fps on the 360 was added at the last minute.

The Xbox 360 version of Titanfall can run at 60fps and, without the 30fps lock the rate varies between the two framerates depending on how much is going on on-screen. It's probably one of the first games on current-gen machines to offer players the chance to lock the framerate to alter its performance.

Bluepoint president Andy O'Neill said, We’d set a 30fps cap for large scale test, and it had ‘stuck’ due to concerns about tearing with a variable frame-rate. While we were working on the day-one patch, we snuck in a 60Hz on/off option and didn’t tell anyone about it. It didn’t take Respawn very long to find it, and they much preferred the feel of the unlocked frame-rate like we did. EA found out about it a bit later [laughs]." Bluepoint snuck 30fps framerate lock into Titanfall on 360 at the last minute

“If you lock the frame-rate at 30 for too long during development for demos or stability etc, 30fps becomes the expectation and you’ll never ever hit 60,” O'Neill added.

Keep an eye out for our review of the 360 version of Titanfall later this week.

Thanks Eurogamer's Digital Foundry

Ubisoft has revealed that the Xbox One version of Trials Fusion will not run at full 1080p at launch.

In fact, at launch, it will run at 800p albeit at 60fps. A day one patch will give the game a further boost on Microsoft's new console bringing it up to 900p.

Unsurprisingly the PS4 version will run at 1080p from launch without the need of an optimization patch. Day one patch brings Trials Fusion up to 900p on Xbox One

Jason Bates of developer Red Lynx said back in February, "For the new gen systems, the target is 1920x1080 but we are still optimising for those systems so we have nothing definitive on the resolutions yet."

Trials Fusion is due out on PC, current and next-gen consoles on Wednesday 16th of April.

Thanks Eurogamer.

Titanfall will not be released on Games On Demand for Xbox 360

EA just couldn't get the downloadable version to run as well as the retail version

EA has announced that there will be no Games On Demand release for the Xbox 360 version of Titanfall.

The reason given for this is that the downloadable version of the game could not offer the same level of experience as the retail version.

The publisher stated on their help pages, “After extensive testing, we felt that it simply did not represent the true Titanfall experience and it was decided not to release a Games on Demand version.” Titanfall will not be released on Games On Demand for Xbox 360

The statement added, “As we never officially announced that Titanfall would be available via Games on Demand and the option to purchase it that way should have never been offered. We hope players understand this decision was all about quality and making sure you get the best Titanfall experience.”

Thanks MCV.