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Guardians of Middle-Earth: the perils of MOBA

Monday, 3 December 2012 15:39 GMT By Dave Cook

Guardians of Middle-Earth is the incoming MOBA title from Monolith Productions. VG247′s Dave Cook speaks with the team to learn how hard it is to craft a perfectly-balanced MOBA.

“You could clearly see the steely concentration and unwavering expressions on their faces. These guys were firmly plugged into the pinnacle of twitch gaming, where the slightest break in focus would most certainly spell disaster. There was no mucking about here, this was pro-gaming at its purest.”

There was a massive crowd of people sitting cross-legged on the floor, staring in awe at an impossibly large HD screen. Every so often a flurry of movement would prompt polite, reactionary shouts from the audience. The throngs of people sitting there were diverse in age, but they were all hypnotised by the common spectacle unfolding in front of their eyes.

Underneath the screen were two clear-walled rooms and within them were some of the greatest MOBA players to walk the Earth, but I honestly couldn’t have told you their names. This was Valve’s ‘International’ competition at gamescom last year, and the players in the glass booths were sat there playing DotA 2. It was a new scene to me, entirely foreign at the time.

You could clearly see the steely concentration and unwavering expressions on their faces. These guys were firmly plugged into the pinnacle of twitch gaming, where the slightest break in focus would most certainly spell disaster. There was no mucking about here, this was pro-gaming at its purest.

I stood there next to the glass rooms, looking up at things I couldn’t even begin to fathom on the screen, a myriad of complex and intricate game mechanics that I couldn’t even pretend to understand, let alone follow with any degree of coherency. But I glanced over at the crowd again to see their eyes darting around, following the action as it unfolded on screen.

The door behind me opened after a good 20 minutes of waiting, and trying to understand what was happening on screen ahead of my interview inside. I had a one-to-one chat with Gabe Newell booked, and it was to specifically talk about DotA 2. Even though I had researched the game to the best of my abilities, I was still trying to come to terms with the phenomenon that is ‘MOBA.’

I slunk inside to a lush back room, decked out like a fancy lounge and the interview began without hesitation. But while we spoke about DotA 2′s legacy, conception and the involvement of IceFrog, Newell’s concentration kept on breaking, and he continually looked away whenever something big kicked off on the screen next to him.

He’d look away, and behind me, outside, I’d hear roars from the crowd as the match entered its eleventh hour. Someone was losing. I couldn’t tell who, but it had grabbed Newell’s attention. So I sat there, politely waiting for my turn to speak again as he became utterly absorbed in what he was seeing, eyes darting around as if they had a mind of their own.

Then he’d turn to me again and ask where we had left off, like a hypnotist’s guinea pig being snapped out of some kind of waking dream. What is it about MOBA games that has – quite rapidly – hooked a large cross-section of the PC gaming public? Right now DotA 2 is the most-played game on Steam, and more MOBA titles are popping up with each passing month.

Newell’s fixation is a fitting testament of how the gaming populace is becoming absorbed in this gruelling, highly competitive genre. The next MOBA game to launch is Guardians of Middle-Earth, a Lord of the Rings title by Monolith Productions that will attempt to bring the top-down MOBA experience to PS3 and Xbox 360 this week.

As it is predominantly a PC genre, I simply had to ask Monolith’s producer Bob Roberts and senior producer Ruth Tomandl why the team chose to launch Guardians of Middle-Earth exclusively on consoles, and forego the keyboard and mouse set-up that has become almost symbiotic with the genre.

Presumptions

As competitive as they are, any MOBA title worth playing need to have a balanced playing field. Without it, exploits and top-tier characters can run amok, coercing ‘win-all’ strategies and giving players an unfair advantage during matches. Monolith knew about these dangers all-too well, and decided to hire a group of local MOBA pros to help them balance their Guardians and item-set.

Roberts explained to me that when Monolith first let its hired pros loose on the game code mid-development, they very quickly tore it down and began finding balancing problems. They then offered solutions of how the studio could improve the project, underlining just how vital a fair balance is when developing a MOBA game.

“We targeted a bunch of guys who were really competitive MOBA players in the area to come by and just be full-time balance testers for us on this game. We’ve never actually done that before, and it was absolutely critical to feeling as solid as we are about the game being balanced right out of the gate.

“No matter what the testers figured out to be the best possible strategy that they could think of, and was over-powered for a couple of days, someone else on the team would figure out a counter to it. That strategy would then become dominant for a couple of days, and it cycled around like that whether or not we changed any balance.”

He added, “They definitely had things right out of the gate that they were immediately creating hilarious, mocking imagery for, and messing around”, in reference to archer Legolas, who was in the top-tier when development began, easily trumping the rest of the game’s character roster. As such the testers created internal memes at the studio, essentially mocking him to the point of re-balancing.

Regardless of the good-natured barbs being slung around the office at Monolith’s presumptuous balancing, the studio took the pro players’ feedback fully on board, as these were guys who had lived and breathed MOBA games for a good few years, and if anyone knew how to fix a balancing issue, it was them.

One of the biggest complaints from was Monolith’s decision to forego an in-game store – a common feature in other MOBA titles. Roberts explained the studio’s choice, “I think that they came into it with one idea, and at this point we’ve all developed a better idea of what exactly the bones are that really make this the deepest genre that most of us have played.

“For example, at the start everyone was nervous about not having an in-game store like the other MOBAs do. But by the time we got to this point of balance, they realised how much better they could counter and strategise with the elements that were there, and the items being purchased between matches.

“They ended up not really missing that, as it feels like it has every bit of depth as the games they were playing in their free time.”

It makes sense of course, as creating too many purchasable items is the same as adding in a wide range of game-changing variables, and if anything that would only serve to tip the games balance too far in either direction. Monolith’s strategy was to keep things pared bad but not necessarily dumbed-down.

I likened it to Dishonored developer Arkane Studios, who often spoke with the press about why Corvo’s skill set was so limited. The rationale given was that the studio could get more diverse use out of a focused range of abilities rather than a sprawling move list full of tacked on features that felt weak by comparison.

The same thought process applies here, and both Roberts and his team were committed to working alongside the pro players to create a game where every character and item had a counter, and where no one element or mechanic trumped the rest without reprisal.

Balance

The team then entered a long, iterative process of simply playing Guardians of Middle-Earth for many weeks and fixing new cases of unbalance as they emerged. Roberts talked me through the process, “The basic idea is that, if they can sink time in and really practice a particular combo – say five guardians that really compliment each other really well , and the perfect item build – that there is always a counter for that.

“So no matter what the testers figured out to be the best possible strategy that they could think of, and was over-powered for a couple of days, someone else on the team would figure out a counter to it. That strategy would then become dominant for a couple of days, and it cycled around like that whether or not we changed any balance.

“That’s the point we got to where it feels like a good equilibrium for this type of competitive game, because with any competitive multiplayer, you want it to not be about individual champions or items. It’s got to be something that where the community will find emergent counters to strategies, and keep things cycling around on their own.”

“We did also build a system for having a lot of our balance database saved in cloud storage, that you’re going to download every time you launch the game. It’s a very small, quick update that doesn’t have to go through certification, so we can update it every day, every week – however often we need to if we see critical balance issues.”

It went on for many weeks, but with each passing session Monolith was getting closer to attaining the balance it needed to get the game on par with other MOBA titles. Roberts explained, “Every week those guys would rank all the guardians in buckets like, ‘These guys are all the top-tier, these guys are middle-tier, and those guys are in the bottom-tier that no one ever wants to play.’ By the time we’re shipping, everybody has evened out. There’s no one in the bottom tier any more.

“But just in case, we did also build a system for having a lot of our balance database saved in cloud storage, that you’re going to download every time you launch the game. It’s a very small, quick update that doesn’t have to go through certification, so we can update it every day, every week – however often we need to if we see critical balance issues.”

This method of pushing updates to PSN and XBLA foregoes the need for certification. Because if a new, unchecked instance of unbalance is discovered, gamers simply won’t stand for it, and will want it fixed as soon as humanly possible.

The cloud method allows for quick updates when needed, and is becoming increasingly popular among developers on both formats, as Tomandl told me, “There are other developers that have done it, and I know that other XBLA games have done it. But I know there are also other game where, players have run into issues or glitches that could not be fixed by patching in data, so we were careful so that anything involving numbers or any sort of guardian strength could be tweaked using that patch.”

Roberts added, “It’s really the same system as ‘Message of the day’ feeds. It’s really just using that same technology that people have been using for a long time. I think a lot of developers realised they could but more interesting data in there”.”

It’s a smart system and it helps to convince me that Monolith is up to the task of delivering a rock-solid MOBA experience. But given the nature of the Lord of the Rings license and the character therein, it seems as if each Guardian is forced into a particular class by association of what we know from the films.

Roberts agreed, but these presumptions from the Peter Jackson’s movies actually helped keep character design strict in the name of balance, “It was just so iterative. There’s the license to consider as well, so really the starting point was two-fold right off the bat. The first question was, ‘What classes and general roles do we want people to play on the battlefield?’ and then making sure we never designed two guys within that class to be alike. This genre is about the individual feeling different.

“The second consideration was the IP and making sure that ‘that guy’ feels like the specific character that he is, and that everyone’s familiar with. For example, making sure that Gandalf doesn’t feel like a giant melee attacking character”

Tomandl added that character creation was a company-wide process at Monolith, as a large consensus was needed to ensure that the team got each Guardian’s skill-set and behaviour nailed down.

“One of the first things that happened on the project back when it was three people working on it, was that the creative director sent an email to the whole company and said, ‘Hey, if you were playing a Middle-Earth MOBA what kind of character would you like to play, and what would their abilities be?’ That led to a lot of brainstorming and I think that was one way to start – to just get opinions – and people had a lot of ideas.”

Roberts also said, “We started by making characters actually feel like the character they are, and then once we had that settled in it was all about the balance team and iteration, the daily grinding and just playing for many, many hours.”

But even as Monolith got closer to striking a solid balance, the pros were still unrelenting and honest in their feedback, as Tomandl suggested, “They were an outspoken team too, and I think that helped as they said something whenever they felt an area could be improved, who their favourite character was, and what they thought of them.”

Battle

We had been talking for a good 20 minutes and while I was starting to understand MOBAs a little better, I still wanted to know more about how a typical battle plays out, and how that cycle compares to other MOBA games out there.

Roberts offered me a basic scenario, “The battle evolves over the course of the match. Matches are between 15-20 minutes in length and they have distinct phases that you’ll get familiar with. If you’re familiar with other MOBAs, there are similar levels that are on ‘fast-forward’ in our game, so matches won’t last an hour.

“The early game is going to more about one-on-one or two-on-two battles, so you’re going to find the character on your team that best compliments your abilities.

“It’s got all the hallmarks of a classic five-on-five MOBA structure, such as figuring out what the major team roles are, the need to spread out your damage between close and ranged – so that whatever the enemy strategy is, you’ve got a counter for it.”

“So if you play like a guy like Gollum – who skulks in the bushes, jumps out for a quick strike, then runs back – then he’s going to pair really well with someone who can stun enemies or root them in place. That’d be someone like Galdriel or Éowyn who has good healing or co-op team buff abilities. That’d work really well.

“Legolas is a pretty good character to solo with, as he has range and a lot of abilities that speed him up as we as slow down his enemies. He can use those aggressively if he’s in a good position, or use them defensively if he’s trying to escape.

“That’s the early game – one-on-one, two-on-two – but once you get mid-to-late game, you start rallying a bit more and teaming up to engage in larger battles. That’s when it gets crazy, and you have to make sure you’ve got a more balanced team composition across the board, and that everyone knows what their roles are.

“So if you have someone who’s going to absorb a lot of damage, the big warrior type, then that person should basically go in first and try to absorb as much damage as they can, while Legolas stays at the backlines to pick off people from a distance.

“It’s got all the hallmarks of a classic five-on-five MOBA structure, such as figuring out what the major team roles are, the need to spread out your damage between close and ranged – so that whatever the enemy strategy is, you’ve got a counter for it.”

“I think a lot of MOBAs are still finding their feet, and still figuring out how the while pro tournament works. It’s certainly a huge scene, and we’ll see what happens, but we certainly held some small tournaments at E3, PAX and gamescom.”

It’s clear that there is so much to consider when playing a MOBA game, so much ad hoc thinking and twitch control that demands your full attention. It’s an intimidating scene make no mistake, just as something as fiercely competitive as Call of Duty is to someone who never plays shooters.

Regardless the genre is booming, and I ask Tomandl why Guardians for Middle-Earth is launching right now, at this time, and why Monolith feels the genre is receiving increased notoriety as of late.

“It definitely appeals to people who really like feeling competent,” Tomandl suggested, “and really like being competitive. I think it gives them a perfect balance to do both, because it’s really skilful. It’s like in shooters, which are about your skill at aiming, your skill in knowing the map, at your skill at understanding classes.

“There’s also that connection to your character, as I think there’s a lot of genres where you don’t really get that. You do somewhat in RPGs, but in RPGs you have about three to seven classes to choose from. But there’s a lot in picking a unique character.

“I think that with some of the more recent console shooters that have a lot of depth, there haven’t been a lot of console games with that level of depth and competition, and so I think MOBAs will give console gamers another option to play that type of game.

“I think a lot of MOBAs are still finding their feet, and still figuring out how the while pro tournament works. It’s certainly a huge scene, and we’ll see what happens, but we certainly held some small tournaments at E3, PAX and gamescom.

“It was really fun to see people learning the teamwork of the game, forming strategies and really competing. They were hardcore, and they got very good at the game in a very short space of time, so I’m really excited to see what they do once it’s out.”

Monolith won’t have long to wait as Guardians of Middle-Earth launches on PSN and Xbox Live Arcade from December 4th, and getting it into the hands of the MOBA elite at large will prove to be a real stress-test of its competency among the genre. Again, if the game’s balance is off by a significant degree, it’s likely that seasoned players will come down hard on it.

But the team feels confident that it has thoroughly researched the genre, and with the help of its hired pros, has become ingratiated into the circuit, in what has truly been a process of practical doing, instead of theoretical thinking. An artist doesn’t make a masterpiece by just reading about art after all, they have to get their hands dirty and do it.

Monolith’s hands are plenty dirty with MOBA knowledge, but can it deliver? We’ll know as soon as the reviews land. Stay tuned for our score round-up this week.

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2 Comments

  1. Man_s

    Interesting article. Good to know that they can balance the game quickly and more easily. The other MOBA take on consoles, Awesomenauts, suffered dearly from a lack of updates which are crucial in such a genre, which is a shame since it’s a great game. Hopefully this one will competently carry the MOBA torch on console.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. redwood

    does this game have an offline multiplayer?

    #2 2 years ago

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  • LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers out this year

    LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers have been announced by Warner Bros., the former was outed by Toys R Us and then teased at the end of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, if you recall. LEGO Jurassic World encompasses all four Jurassic Park films and will be made available in June for 3DS, PC, […]

  • Pokemon, Super Smash Bros. top Nintendo’s million units sales list for Q3

    Nintendo has posted a list of titles which have sold millions of units as part of its quarter three earnings release. Global unit sales of 3DS titles for the nine months ending December 31, 2014: Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: 9.35 million (life-to-date, same) Super Smash Bros.: 6.19 million (life-to-date, same) Tomodachi Life: 2.11 […]

  • How to take a screenshot on Xbox One: a lesson in frustration

    Trying to do just one simple thing seems to have 360 steps with Microsoft – why is the Xbox One’s functionality such a car crash? “The Xbox One’s definition of usability is in fact the exact opposite – this is a console designed to make life inconvenient for its players unless they sign up for […]

  • Game of Thrones’ Westeros is being made in Minecraft by 125 people

    WesterosCraft, the project dedicated to creating the entirety of Game of Thrones’ Westros has resurfaced. There are more than a few ambitious Minecraft projects, but hardly any as impressive as WesterosCraft. We first came across it all the way back in January 2013, but it looks much better now. “I would say the world is […]

  • Dying Light exploit gives you unlimited money and items

    Dying Light has been out for just over a day and an infinite money and item exploit is already out there. A simple exploit has been discovered in Dying Light that lets you duplicate weapons, all of which you can sell for profit. Win/ win. YouTuber PowerPyx lays out the steps in the handy video […]

  • Sunset Overdrive concept art is as jovial as the game itself

    Sunset Overdrive is a colourful game which is partly due to its concept art. The concept art featured below is created by Vaughan Ling, one of the concept artsists who worked on Sunset Overdrive. Anyone who’s played the game will immediately recognise the locations, weapons, character designs and general atmosphere of the game through these. […]

  • Get an extended look at the PS4 version of Project CARS

    The PlayStation 4 version of Project CARS has been shown in 1080p 60fps. The video below is captured by racing game enthusiasts Team VVV from a preview build. You can see different racing disciplines being demonstrated here, on different circuits. The game’s impressive visuals get even better when the weather gets worse.

  • Battle Pod is the Star Wars arcade game you’ve waited your whole life for

    Star Wars: Battle Pod is an arcade game that lets you replay the battles of the original trilogy, and features an incredible cockpit. If you’ve never played a game at an arcade before, Star Wars: Battle Pod will definitely be the one to change your mind. It’s an arcade cabinet out of a classic Star […]

  • CoD Exo Zombies: how to unlock the Ride of the Valkyries Easter egg

    To no one’s surprise, Exo Zombies mode in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has some Easter eggs. The first Exo Zombies Easter egg, of surely many more to come, has been discovered. It’s a musical one that involves Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. How you unlock it is not as convoluted as you might […]

  • Dying Light is sub-1080p on Xbox One, full 1080p on PS4 – report

    Early analysis of Dying Light on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has revealed a few technical details about both ports. Digital Foundry has produced some analysis of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports of Dying Light based on some early testing. Both versions manage a solid 30 frames-per-second, only dipping below that in […]

  • Battlefield 4 Second Assault DLC free to all EA Access members

    EA is offering Battlefield 4′s Second Assault expansion free to anyone with an active EA Access subscription. Anyone with an active subscription to EA Access can download the Second Assault expansion pack for Battlefield 4 starting January 29 and through February 28, free of charge. All you need to do is find it on the […]

  • The Witcher 3 is getting optimised, but no visual downgrade

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is in the final stages of development and developer CD Projekt RED is making sure optimisation work doesn’t impact the game’s visuals. The Witcher 3 art producer, Michal Stec, spoke to Eternity in an interview and was asked whether the team will downgrade the visuals to get better performance. “No. […]

  • Can’t download Dying Light on PS4? Here’s a fix

    If you’ve bought Dying Light on PS4 and you’re having trouble downloading it, you’re not alone. Here’s how to beat the bug. Techland’s Dying Light is stumbling out of the blocks a little this week, with many PS4 users experiencing problems with their full-game downloads. A bug’s to blame. Your console thinks you’ve already installed […]

  • What The Witcher 3 owes to Skyrim – and how it surpasses it

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt owes more than a nod to Bethesda’s Skyrim. I went to see The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and had a great time. I went in a fan of the books but not very experienced with the first two games. I came out with The Witcher 3 top of my gaming […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online has great monsters

    Dragon’s Dogma Online looks pretty rad – an undesirable quality in a game unlikely to come west, from our perspective. The first Dragon’s Dogma trailer was released this afternoon; admire its beauty below. The free to play online RPG was announced for PC, PlayStation 3 and PS4 overnight, but Capcom doesn’t intend to bring it […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X map about five times the size of last game’s

    Xenoblade Chronicles X is not a small game. This week’s Famitsu has a feature on Xenoblade Chronicles X giving some details on Monolith Soft’s next RPG and first Wii U game. According to Siliconera‘s translation of reports on the feature, the game’s map is about five times the size of that in Xenoblade Chronicles. The […]

  • Take on Mars expected to hit beta in April

    Take on Mars, the space sim from Bohemia Interactive will soon be reader for wider consumption. According to a new Take on Mars development roadmap, the sim will go into beta at the start of April, with full release expected in June. The project is currently available via Steam early Access, but between now and […]

  • Can you guess the next Mortal Kombat X character reveal from this fatality audio clip?

    Mortal Kombat X will have at least one very liquid-sounding fatality. NetherRealm is revealing Mortal Kombat X’s cats one character at a time, and has promised a new reveal during a community Twitch stream tomorrow. It also provided the following teaser video – it’s audio only, and apparently taken from a fatality sequence. What’s your […]

  • Nintendo Creators Program now recruiting YouTubers

    Nintendo has opened a Creators Program designed to ensure creators get a slice of ad revenue from videos featuring Nintendo assets. The Nintendo Creators Program will launch on May 27, but is currently in beta and taking registrations. This is Nintendo’s answer to the knotty question of YouTubers making money on videos featuring its assets […]

  • Xbox Live issues under investigation

    Can’t sign into Xbox Live? Microsoft is on the case. Xbox 360 and Xbox One users report being unable to sign in to Xbox Live. Microsoft is already aware of and working on the problem. “Our team is hard at work right now trying to get this resolved. Thank you for staying patient while we […]

  • Make money from your non-Valve mods with Steam Workshop

    Valve has opened the money-making side of Steam Workshop to third-party titles, giving enterprising modders more ways to make money. Steam now hosts curated Workshops for Dungeon Defenders: Eternity and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, the first non-Valve games to support the scheme. What that means is that community members can create, vote on and eventually even […]

  • Check out DmC: Devil May Cry’s new manual lock-on

    DmC: Devil may Cry developer Ninja Theory has released a video showing off the new, controversial lock-on mode. The new manual lock-on is causing quite a stir, although its reception is probably better than the white-wigged Dante who makes fans even more upset than the original makeover. “The primary purpose of this video is to […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes looks pretty fun

    Dragon Quest Heroes is yet another Omega Force take on an existing property – like Hyrule Warriors or the One Piece games. And it looks pretty sweet. We haven’t heard much from Dragon Quest Heroes here in the west because it hasn’t been confirmed for release outside Japan. This isn’t terribly surprising as we still […]

  • Square Enix to reveal new PS4 game this weekend

    Square Enix is doing something pretty mysterious right now. The Final Fantasy publisher is teasing something called Project Code Z. The project, which Square Enix is tweeting about in Japanese, English and German, is due for reveal at Tokaigi 2015 on Saturday. It’s a PS4 game, but that’s all we know. There’s a website you […]

  • Tetris has crowned its first known western Grand Master

    Tetris fans have a new western champion. Tetris is one of those gaming obsessions that goes much deeper than you might expect. For example, did you know that some versions of the game assess your performance and over you the chance to become a “grand master”? Turns out that’s a thing, and according to Polygon […]

  • Ken Levine’s next game teased as “sci-fi-ish” small, open-world RPG

    A series of tweets from BioShock creator Ken Levine has shed a sliver of light upon his next project. According to Levine he and his team are considering something a bit sci-fi and contemplating first-person mode. The team is developing the game for PC with a large in scope, expandable, systems-based narrative where more can […]

  • Become a lynx in new Shelter 2 trailer

    Shelter 2 casts players in the role of a lynx, which makes for quite a different experience to the badger of the first game. The first Shelter game had you evading predators, but in the second, you becomes one yourself. That doesn’t mean there are no dangers to face, of course. Judging by the trailer […]

  • Why King of Fighters 13 isn’t coming back to Evo

    Evo, the premiere western fighting game tournament, has dropped support for a few previously favoured titles. King of Fighters 13 had a loyal following, but isn’t featured in the Evo 2015 line-up. “Many things go into what games makes it to Evo, but the most obvious one is, ‘Is the community playing this game?’” Evo […]

  • An average Evolve match takes less than ten minutes

    Evolve players are pretty quick at hunting each other down. Evolve developer Turtle Rock has released an infographic brimming with statistics garnered from its recent beta test. One of the key takeaways is that all three monsters, and all four classes, are working as intended – their performance in game matches Turtle Rock’s designs. If […]

  • Super Mario Amiibo can be pre-ordered on Nintendo UK, Mario and Peach sold out

    The latest set of Amiibo in the Super Mario series is now available for pre-purchase through the Nintendo UK Store. Each of the following sports a red base and will run you £10.99: Bowser, Luigi, Mario, Peach, Toad and Yoshi. It looks like Peach and Mario are both sold out, though. All six can be […]

  • The Music of League of Legends Vol. 1 free to download now

    League of Legends has excellent music, and now you can have it too. The Music of League of Legends Vol. 1 collects 15 tracks from the MOBA’s history, and is available for free. You can grab the music from iTunes, Google Play or via direct download. Tere’s an example track below to get you in […]

  • Super Bowl 49 update arrives on Madden NFL Mobile

    With Super Bowl 49 occurring this coming Sunday, February 1, EA Sports has updated Madden NFL Mobile with new feature enhancements and Super Bowl-themed Live Events. Updates include: League vs League Tournaments Obstacle Course Super Bowl Bonus Players Tom Brady and Richard Sherman Super Bowl Legends Super Bowl Moments Upgraded Auction House The Super Bowl […]

  • See Super Smash Bros.’ unused custom moves

    Super Smash Bros. was originally intended to have 16 custom moves per character. The final version of Super Smash Bros. only features 12 custom moves per fighter, but Nintendo left animations for some of the cut moves in place. A Youtuber called RED has dug these cut mvoes out of the brawler’s code, and displayed […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt contains 16 hours of sex scene mo-cap data

    Sex is nothing new to the The Witcher games, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is no exception. In fact, it contains 16 hours of sex scene motion capture data. Giggity. There’s a reason for the bedroom dalliances though, as Geralt is a flesh and blood human, or a modified human at any rate, with […]

  • Here’s the launch trailer for Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered

    A launch trailer for Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered has been released after an Amazon listing was revealed for it over the weekend. Key upgrades include: High-definition Graphics — All of the in-game textures have been meticulously recreated in HD for mobile and desktop. Widescreen Support – A true widescreen (not cropped) view strengthens the game’s […]

  • The open beta for Battlefield Hardline will be dated tomorrow

    The exact dates as well as more information on the Battlefield Hardline open beta will be shared tomorrow. This is according to the latest blog post from developer Visceral Games. “We’ll share the exact dates and info on the Battlefield Hardline open beta tomorrow,” wrote Visceral boss Steve Papoutsis. “Stay tuned, thanks again, and keep […]

  • Upcoming Hearthstone patch to apply balance change to Undertaker

    An upcoming Hearthstone patch will apply a balance change to the Undertaker card, Blizzard has announced. After the release of Goblins vs Gnomes, Blizzard said it kept an “eye on the state of game balance” as more matches were played using the additional cards. Released with The Curse of Naxxramas, Undertaker is considered an overly […]

  • February Games with Gold offers up Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

    The free games on offer in February via Xbox Live Games with Gold have been announced. Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One can download #IDARB during February. Xbox 360 users can grab Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons from February 1-15, when it will be replaced by Sniper Elite V2 from February 16 -28. […]

  • Kinguin blames unidentified Russian for deactivated Far Cry 4 keys

    Third-party game key seller Kinguin is issuing refunds to those who found their games deactivated through Ubisoft’s Uplay service. Customers which purchased keys for Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Far Cry 4, The Crew and Watch Dogs are affected. Kinguin said 4,600 customer tickets were submitted over the last 72 hours and 35 out of 3,400 of […]

  • Video Unlimited to be re-branded as PlayStation Video starting in February

    Like Music Unlimited, Sony’s Video Unlimited service is being replaced and re-branded PlayStation Video. PlayStation Video will become part of PlayStation Network to streamline digital services for the over 64 million PSN users. PlayStation Video and PlayStation Music will be added to PSN which is already a destination point for the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Plus, […]

  • Spotify arrives on PlayStation Music this spring, Music Unlimited closing

    Spotify will launch on PlayStation Network this spring as part of a new music destination called PlayStation Music. PlayStation Music is a replacement for Music Unlimited, and those with a PSN account can link to Spotify which can be used just for music, or when playing games on PlayStation 4. Existing playlists from current Spotify […]

  • Closed beta for Alone in the Dark: Illumination starts tomorrow

    The private beta period for Alone in the Dark: Illumination starts on January 29. Those who pre-order the game via Steam, will automatically be included in the beta, enabling them to provide feedback on the first campaign in single-player mode. An additional beta period will be announced in the weeks leading up to launch. The […]

  • Majora’s Mask Special Edition New 3DS XL available once more on UK store

    UK residents who want to get their hands on the shiny Majora’s Mask Special Edition New 3DS XL can once again pre-purchase it through the Nintendo UK Store. If you want one, you better hurry because units will likely go rather fast. Only one per customer is allowed, and once you drop £209.99 on it, […]

  • Nintendo Q3: 1.9M New 3DS models sold, Wii U lifetime sales hit 9.2M

    New 3DS XL has sold 1.3 million units as of December 31, 2014, Nintendo announced in its Q3 financial results today. New 3DS moved 580,000 units by the end of the same period. Lifetime sales of both systems combined total a little under 1.9 million. Combined global sales for current 3DS models available in Europe […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s exo zombies reanimate a familiar format

    Advanced Warfare’s exo suits manage to bring an undead format back to life. Dave Cook welcomes zombies back to Call of Duty. “The challenges start to spike early so seasoned zombie slayers needn’t worry about being coddled.” Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s first DLC went live this week, dropping four very solid maps for multiplayer […]

  • YouTube app and Maps will be removed from PS Vita

    Sony said that it will end support for the YouTube and Maps apps, as well as remove the “near” feature in an upcoming firmware update. Sony has revealed that a system update releasing in March will remove the Maps app and prevent the “near” feature from obtaining location address or display maps, making it redundant. […]

  • There is a Destiny loot cave Easter egg in Dying Light

    Dying Light is the latest game to take a jab at Destiny by having its own loot cave. Destiny’s infamous loot cave has been recreated in Dying Light, sort of. Of course the loot cave in Dying Light is only an Easter egg and doesn’t actually net you any loot. Instead, upon entering it, you […]

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 supports co-op in story mode, but only offline

    You can play the campaign of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 in co-op, but not online. 4gamer spoke to producers of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 and made out with a few details concerning story, setting and more. The site confirmed that while you will be able to switch between characters in the single player, and have […]

  • The Witcher 3 may have a permadeath “Insanity” mode

    Although not yet confirmed, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developer CD Projekt RED is working on a difficulty mode dubbed “Insanity” that will delete your save if you die. During Monday’s Twitch stream, the developer took a few questions from the chat and we’ve got a bunch of answers. There are many interesting little bits […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition is the most successful launch for BioWare, based on sales

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is responsible for the most successful launch in developer BioWare’s history, according to EA. During last night’s EA Q3 2015 earnings call, the publisher said that Dragon Age: Inquisition was the most successful launch for developer BioWare. Today, we get a bit more detail. “In particular, Dragon Age: Inquisition had by far […]

  • Here’s a walkthrough of one mission from Far Cry 4 Hurk Deluxe DLC

    Far Cry 4′s latest DLC pack, Hurk Deluxe, seems like good fun, judging from this video. The Hurk Deluxe Pack was released today on all platforms. It comes with five new missions. The video below takes a look at the “Call of the Wild” mission. In the walkthrough you’ll get to see some of the […]

  • Battlefield Hardline beta date confirmed on Xbox Store

    The beta date for Battlefield Hardline has popped up on the Xbox Store, confirming the rumoured date. The listing for the Battlefield Hardline beta is available for anyone to see right now on the Xbox Store. Granted, it’s for Xbox 360, but unless EA is starting this beta early on Xbox 360, this will pretty […]

  • GTA player flies jets backwards in impressive stunts

    Doing stunts with jets in GTA 5 can be impressive, but it’s nothing like flying them backwards. Making videos of your jet stunts has become too mainstream. Which is why the latest video from YouTube channel GTA5Videos is all about defying that. The video below features some insane stunts mostly done by flying jets backwards, […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare balance patch out, System Hack nerfed, HBRa3 buffed

    The latest patch to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is here with some major changes to game balance. Making good on the promise to nerf System Hack, developer Sledgehammer Games has released the latest patch to Advanced Warfare to do just that, and much more. The patch is out now on Xbox platforms, with PlayStation […]

  • Grinding three purples in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel may crash your game [UPDATE]

    Update: Gearbox Software has announced there’s currently a hot-fix in place for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as a temporary solution to crashes caused with the DLC update. Until a permanent fix can be made, the hotfix should correct crashing issues. All will be fixed in the next major game update. Original Story A bug that snuck […]

  • Havoc maps up the tempo for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

    Dave Cook dons his Exo suit to find the new Havok DLC maps a great change of pace for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Given that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare places great emphasis on verticality, it’s little wonder that Sledgehammer Games has designed the first of its four DLC map packs with elevation and […]