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Jun 5 2014 12:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Round 10... Fight! A First Look at Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X

NetherRealm Studios breathed new life into the Mortal Kombat franchise in 2011 with the launch of Mortal Kombat 9—a game that not only returned to the IP’s gloriously gory roots but also added a robust fighting system that enabled the game to sustain a community of serious gamers over the long haul, after the initial blood-soaked novelty of tearing out a character’s spine and beating them with it had worn off. Now NetherRealm’s looking to build on its success in Mortal Kombat X, coming 2015. What can we expect?

[“Who’s next?”]

May 8 2014 3:00pm

Gaming Roundup: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Looks to Make RPG History

The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

CD Projekt Red, the Polish development studio for the critically acclaimed Witcher series, is no stranger to innovation in the realms of RPG narrative, graphics, and gameplay. The first two games of the franchise, The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings (based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s dark fantasy Witcher saga) met huge critical and financial success—a feat that enabled the developer to limit the size of their dev teams and build games at their own pace with an almost unheard-of level of autonomy in the industry. CD Projekt Red is currently hard at work on the trilogy finale, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and they’re looking to end the franchise with what they hope will be considered the greatest modern RPG to date.

[“Some fight for glory, justice, or gold. I fight for those I hold dear.”]

Feb 3 2014 6:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Explore an Open World Mordor in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor

Video game forays into Tolkien’s Middle-earth have generally met with mixed success over the years. The MMORPG The Lord of the Rings Online and its numerous expansions are generally considered the cream of a somewhat limited crop, though perhaps a reasonable argument could be constructed for the simple hack-and-slash appeal of EA’s movie tie-in trilogy. This past week, however, brought to light a new hope for those of us who prefer our Middle-earth fix in an offline format. Meet gaming’s latest entry into the Tolkien-verse: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

[“Run, you filth...”]

Jan 7 2014 9:00am

Morning Roundup: Batman Tackles His Most Delicious Case Yet!

Tiny Batman will not rest until he has purged Gotham City of its arch-fiend, The Zester! Artists Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida have found a wonderful way to play with their food in their project MINIMIAM, creating whimsical landscapes from donuts, melons, and marshmallows. While we loved their canteloupe-based Ridley Scott homage, our favorite was the iconic image of the Bat signal shining over a Gotham made of lemon cookies.

Morning Roundup would be happy to just talk about lemon cookies for the rest of the day, but there are more things to discuss! Like the Apollo 13 astronauts! And LEGO! And...Sherlock spoilers! OK, that one isn’t quite accurate, but Sherlock does spoil a few things in an adorable video below. Click away!

[Plus, math for novelists!]

Nov 12 2013 12:00pm

Sleeps With Monsters: The Best-laid Plans o’ Mice an’ Men

CS Friedman In Conquest Bar ...gang aft agley, as the poet says. And so have most of my plans for this column this autumn and winter. Back in spring I talked most hopefully of spending a month each reading the works of Sherwood Smith and Tanya Huff, and maybe taking some time to talk about writers from the Antipodes. I’m sorry if anyone was looking forward to that, since circumstances have conspired against that happening this year.

This week I had in mind to discuss a novel by C.S. Friedman (AKA Celia Friedman), called In Conquest Born. Originally published in 1986, it’s been reprinted since, and in 2012 received an audio version. It’s science fiction, the science fiction of space empires and psychics, battles and cultures in conflict.

[In which both IN CONQUEST BORN and HALO:FORWARD UNTO DAWN are spoken of]

Jul 8 2013 1:00pm

The Halo Kilo-Five Trilogy Will Conclude This January

Halo Mortal Dictata Karen TravissTor Books and 343 Industries™ are excited to announce the forthcoming January 2014 publication of Halo: Mortal Dictata by #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Traviss. Traviss has penned #1 bestselling novels in the Star Wars universe, as well as bestselling novels for the Gears of War franchise, and this winter she completes the “Kilo-Five” story, her trilogy set in the Halo® universe.

Based on the universe and characters from the multimillion copy selling Xbox video games, Mortal Dictata completes a trilogy set in the Halo universe, and ties into the story of Halo 4, which launched in November 2012. 

Read a chapter from Halo: Glasslands, the first book in the trilogy, and keep your ears open at this year’s San Diego Comic Con for more news about the Halo universe!

May 23 2013 11:00am

Gaming Roundup: Meet the Xbox One

Gaming Roundup: Meet the Xbox One

Unsurprisingly, the gaming news du jour has revolved pretty exclusively around Microsoft’s official Tuesday unveiling of the Xbox 360’s successor: the Xbox One. While there have been months of build-up for this next-gen console, including its fair share of controversy and leaks of system specifications and features dating as far back as last October, the general public has not been able to set eyes on the device itself until this week.

[So what’s new? Is the always-online requirement an official reality? Click and find out.]

Apr 11 2013 5:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Will the Next-Gen Xbox Have an Always-Online Requirement?

Gaming Roundup Xbox Next-Gen Durango Always-Online

A series of reports claiming that the next-gen Xbox, codenamed Durango, would have an always-online requirement recently made waves around the gaming world, prompting many gamers to outrage and frustration driven by lessons seemingly unlearned from the launch fiascos of always-online AAA titles such as SimCity and Diablo III. It has certainly been an eventful week for Microsoft, to say the least—ranging from initial reports, to outspoken employees, to a firing, and now to a conflicting report. Let’s take a look back.

[Check your internet connection, then click to continue....]

Mar 12 2013 5:00pm

Halo: Silentium: String 1 (Excerpt)

Greg Bear

Excerpt Halo: Silentium: String 1In the last years of the Forerunner empire, chaos rules. The Flood—a horrifying shape-changing parasite—has arrived in force, aided by unexpected allies. Internal strife within the ecumene has desperately weakened Forerunner defenses.

Only the Ur-Didact and the Librarian—husband and wife pushed into desperate conflict—hold the keys to salvation. Facing the consequences of a mythic tragedy, one of them must now commit the greatest atrocity of all time—to prevent an unmatched evil from dominating the entire universe.

Read String One from Halo: Silentium by Greg Bear, out March 19th from Tor Books.

[Halo: Silentium: String 1]

Feb 13 2013 3:30pm

Halo: Silentium Book Text Holds Codes for Additional Halo Content

Halo: Silentium Book Text Holds Codes for Additional Halo ContentLeading up to the release of Halo: Silentium (March 19, 2013), Tor and 343 Industries will be sending out encrypted communications via bulletins and forums, which will allow Halo fans to unlock additional content. There will also be embedded data in the text of the Halo: Silentium paperback and e-book editions.

These communications will begin now, and continue on leading up to the March 19th release of Halo: Silentium. Check out a larger version of the cover, along with a synopsis of the story.

Dec 5 2012 11:45am

Tor Books Unveils the Real Cover for Greg Bear’s Halo: Silentium

The real cover of Greg Bear’s Halo: Silentium revealedTor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC—the largest publisher of science fiction in the world—and 343 Industries™ are excited to unveil the real cover art—previously hidden since it revealed too much about the now-released Halo 4—for the forthcoming hardcover and trade paperback edition of Halo: Silentium out on (March 19, 2013) by #1 New York Times bestselling author Greg Bear. The cover art is by Sparth, Robogabo, and Glenn Israel.

In Halo: Cryptum, Greg Bear began a three-book arc set in the era of the Forerunners, the ancient and enigmatic creators and builders of the Halos, which continued in Halo: Primordium. Now, in the last years of the Forerunner empire, chaos rules. The Flood—a horrifying shape-changing parasite—has arrived in force, aided by unexpected allies. Internal strife within the ecumene has desperately weakened Forerunner defenses.

[Read more]

Nov 6 2012 12:00pm

Six of the Best and Worst Anime Based on Video Games

Six of the Best and Worst Anime Based on Video Games

The main problem with talking about anime adaptations of video games is knowing where to start. Just go and look at this list over on Wikipedia and it’s clear that games have been a constant source of material for anime movies, films and direct to video releases for decades—there’s literally hundreds of entries, many of which are familiar names, while plenty of others will seem utterly alien to western gamers. 

[Insert coins to continue...]

Nov 2 2012 4:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Halo 4 Fever Rises

Gaming Roundup on Halo 4 Fever Rises

Fake coughs are starting to echo in offices around the world as Halo fans everywhere prepare for Master Chief’s return this upcoming Tuesday. The impending release of Halo 4 marks the first time a developer other than Bungie has made a major contribution to the Halo canon. So how did developer 343 Industries handle Microsoft’s most expensive video game ever, to date? Early reviews hit the net just yesterday and, well... see for yourself.

[Prepare to burn through your sick days...]

Oct 22 2012 2:30pm

Release Date for Halo: Silentium Updated

Release date for Halo: Silentium changed to March 2013The release date for Halo: Silentium by Greg Bear, the final book in The Forerunner Saga trilogy which concludes this story of the the enigmatic creators and builders of the Halos, has been updated to March 19, 2013.

Silentium chronicles the last years of the Forerunner empire, when chaos rules. The Flood—a horrifying shape-changing parasite—has arrived in force, aided by unexpected allies.

[Read more]

Oct 19 2012 3:00pm

Gaming Roundup: “An Ancient Evil Awakens” as Halo 4 Goes Hollywood

Watch the new Halo 4 trailer

Last night’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon brought about the debut of a new, Hollywood-powered Halo 4 trailer. Produced by David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and directed by Tim Miller (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), the new CGI/live-action hybrid trailer provides a few hints as to plot direction and also teases the series’ new big bad – after all, Master Chief can only kick Covenant butt for so long until he requires a change of pace.

[“An ancient evil awakens...”]

Oct 15 2012 12:30pm

Wreck-it-Ralph Reveals Halo-Style FPS

Wreck-it-Ralph Clip Reveals Halo-Style FPS

In this new clip from Wreck-It-Ralph, the titular character finds himself inside of a FPS game called “Hero’s Duty,” which looks to be a kind of mash-up of Halo and Gears of War. Watch the cute scene below. (We love our mommas!)


Oct 5 2012 1:00pm

Gaming Roundup: The Madness of King George in Assassin’s Creed III

The striking image above comes with the Ubisoft press release that announces five downloadable content packs for Assassin’s Creed III. Three of the DLC packs will be single-player episodic content exploring post-Revolution history “as it could have been.” Namely, what if George Washington fashioned himself a tyrant instead of a president? It’s an intriguing romp into an alternate America. Evil George Washington is so much more interesting than yet another zombie mode.

As the October 30th release date approaches, Assassin’s Creed III is definitely one of the biggest games of the fall season. Never huge fans of the franchise ourselves, we have to admit that this installment looks like madcap, badass, gorgeous fun and the timeframe (and the historical research) for the story really makes it stand out.

In other gaming news: CliffyB leaves Epic Games! And watch the first episode of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.

[Would you like to know more?]

Oct 2 2012 10:00am

HALO: The Thursday War is Now Available!

Halo: The Thursday WarTor Books and 343 Industries™ are excited to announce the on-sale availability of Halo: The Thursday War by #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Traviss. Traviss, who has penned number one bestselling novels in the Star Wars universe, as well as bestselling novels for the Gears of War franchise, continues to explore the events following Halo 3 in this second novel in her Kilo-Five trilogy.

This March, Tor will also publish Halo: Silentium, the third and final novel in the Forerunner Saga by science fiction icon Greg Bear.  

[Read more]

Sep 13 2012 3:00pm

Gaming Roundup: PAX Prime 2012 Edition

Gaming Roundup: PAX Prime 2012 Edition

Seattle, Gilded City of Utilikilts, was once again host to thousands of gamers for the annual PAX Prime convention. Thus far, there have been no reports of controversy or rampant sexism, just a ton of cosplay and an exciting batch of new games from some of the industry's biggest (and smallest) studios.

And we got to play some of them.

[Firefall, Torchlight 2, Playstation All-Stars, and a delicious platformer punching its way to the top of critics' best-of lists...]

Jul 11 2012 2:10pm

Final Book in the Halo: Forerunner Saga Revealed!

Final Book in the Halo: Forerunner Saga Revealed!Tor Books has just announced the title, first cover, and release date for the third novel in the New York Times bestselling Halo Forerunner Saga, Halo: Silentium, written by legendary science fiction author Greg Bear. The first two books of the Forerunner Saga, Halo: Cryptum and Halo: Primordium are currently available in trade paperback, e-book, and audiobook. This newest book in the series will release in hardcover from Tor on January 8, 2013 alongside simultaneous audio and e-book editions.

[Read more]