By now you might have seen reports on the possibility that Activision is interested in buying Take-Two Interactive, which owns Grand Theft Auto V developer Rockstar, and 2K Games, which publishes Bioshock, Borderlands, and other big game series. There's little evidence that it will happen, but according to Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey, the deal would make a lot of sense.
"For Activision, acquiring Take-Two Interactive would be a no-brainer, in our view, circling some of the strongest development talent and owned IP in the world, within a company that has nearly $1 billion in cash and trades at a comparably lower multiple," Hickey said in a report published Friday.
According to Hickey, Activision's and Take-Two's interests align at least in part because of a shared interest in the movie business. In December, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff stated interest in movie adaptations of the company's games, and Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser has previously mentioned they've explored Grand Theft Auto movie deals in the past. Hickey adds that Activision may be in the process of forming an internal movie studio to adapt its games, and that this could in part be related to an "emerging romance" between Activision and Take-Two that could lead to an eventual acquisition.
Hickey also cites the decline of World of Warcraft subscribers, increasing competition against Activision's Skylanders franchise from Disney Infinity, and possible Call of Duty fatigue as reasons for Activision to acquire Take-Two. Owning Red Dead, Borderlands, and other games along with a potential movie adaptation of Grand Theft Auto "would seem like a very smart move for Activision," he said.
For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
You only have to read our reviews of Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition and Sacred 3 to find out which game is the better action-RPG. Still, both games have been significantly streamlined when compared to the previous entries in their respective series', with much of this design refresh made to better support couch co-op gameplay. With such a thing becoming increasingly rare, let's look at both games to determine not which is the better action-RPG overall, but if one facilitates local, same-screen play better than the other.
Couch co-op games bring different logistical requirements to those that are played online with each player at a separate console or PC. Because of this, we'll be looking at these games through the lens of the following three criteria: how well they support drop-in/drop-out play, how many people can play at once, and how well each game manages the screen space each player needs.
With a couch co-op game, all you want to do is flop down on a cushion, boot the game up and get everyone in and playing as quickly as possible. Things like multiple accounts, login screens, connection issues and whether everyone knows what button does what get in the way. In Diablo III, each player on the one console can login with their own PSN or XBLA character, even if they don't own the game--they just need a free PSN or Xbox Live account. If someone doesn't own the game themselves, they can create a new character that is stored locally and boosted to the level of the other players. The important distinction here is that local character only has its stats scaled--it still actually starts at level one. This means it won't die at the slightest touch, and can still dish out some decent damage while waiting for some better gear to drop.
Unfortunately, that gear is still locked behind level requirements. Though this local character will quickly find better weapons and armour, they won't be able to actually wear it for a while. What results is a character that feels underpowered for about an hour, but this passes after they are quickly power-levelled by the other party members.
Sacred 3 does a better job of this. However, this is due to the fact that its own loot system, and class customisation, has been streamlined even further than that of Diablo III's. Sacred 3 only rewards new loot at the end of each quest, and because that loot is rewarded at a fixed time in a character's progression, there's no need for it to have a level requirement. Similarly, skills in Sacred 3 are unlocked in a fixed order. Because of this, Sacred 3 doesn't require its second player to ever save their character; when dropping in, they select their class to create a brand new character each time and are immediately scaled up to the party leader, without any adverse side effects like those suffered in Diablo III. For couch co-op, this works far better.
It bears mentioning that Diablo III supports four players in couch co-op, while Sacred 3 only supports two. In order to reach Sacred 3's maximum player count of four, you need to be playing online. However, you can still use the second player's locally-created character in online play, thereby allowing two people per-console or per-PC to play in a single game.
Diablo 3's support for mixing local characters with online play is less straightforward. On current-gen consoles, at least one player needs to have an Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus subscription to let locally-created characters play in online games. On PS3, PlayStation Plus is not required at all, and local characters can play online without any issues. On Xbox 360, every player needs their own Xbox Live Gold subscription to play online, otherwise the game will be forced into LAN mode, which means you can't play against other people. Depending on your setup, these restrictions could be limiting if you and a buddy want to play against two other distant friends. But, given that we're looking at how well each game supports couch co-op specifically, the ability to have four players on the one console puts Diablo III in the lead.
Inventory management plays a major part in Diablo III. For the console versions, only one player is able to view their full inventory screen at a time, thereby making other players wait their turn until they're done fiddling with weapons and magical runes. This completely interrupts gameplay and quickly becomes tedious. To compensate for this, a barebones list of new items is available to cycle through on the directional pad without bringing up a full-screen window. However, not enough information is displayed about the exact stat bonuses each item provides, and it's difficult to get a sense of what each new rune does from this menu alone. It's inevitable that each player will eventually have to stop everything and sort through their full inventory at regular intervals. This routine rapidly becomes tiresome.
Sacred 3's streamlining makes its own inventory management far less of a headache for other players. Because new items and skill modifiers are only unlocked at the end of each quest--never during combat--the game provides a set moment for you to manage your inventory, at the only time you'll ever need to manage it. Further to this, both players in couch co-op mode can see and sort through their own inventories on the screen at the same time as each other, with no need to stop and take turns. This is a far less painful experience than that of Diablo III, but it's one that's likely made possible because of its streamlined approach to loot and skill selection.
While Sacred 3 makes headway in the inventory management space, Diablo III does a far better job of managing each character's physical location during combat and exploration. The game will smartly teleport any player who wanders too far to the edge of the screen back toward the rest of the party. Because all players need to be kept on screen, this means that one player can walk away to get a snack, and the others can continue exploring because the absent player will be teleported along with the group. Sacred 3 includes no such system, so if one player stands idle at the edge of the screen, the other player will be completely unable to move forward until they return.
Though Diablo III is a superior action-RPG to Sacred 3, whether it’s a better couch co-op game isn’t as immediately apparent. Having four players take on the Prime Evil on the same console makes for a great time, but it’s time beset by constant inventory management interruptions and the need for all players to have their own characters for the smoothest result. Sacred 3’s lack of four-player support on a single system is annoying, but if you’re only planning on playing with a single friend, then Sacred 3’s streamlining makes for a more painless couch co-op experience.
Formerly exclusive to the Xbox One and Xbox 360, Peggle 2 will release on the PlayStation 4 on October 14, publisher Electronic Arts has announced.
First released on Xbox platforms in November 2013, PopCap's sequel to its simple but immensely satisfying take on pachinko was one of the games available at launch for the Xbox One. EA said that it was a timed exclusive at the time, but didn't say when it will release on other platforms until now. However, EA didn't have an update on when Peggle 2 will come to PC and mobile devices.
During a conference call with investors in July, EA CEO Andrew Wilson referenced a "much-anticipated new Peggle game" for mobile that is in the testing phase. Back in May, EA launched a version of a new, free-to-play Peggle game on the iOS app store in markets like New Zealand and Singapore. It's a common for publishers to test mobile games in smaller markets before launching worldwide.
GameSpot reviewed Peggle 2 favorably, giving it an 8/10 for its engrossing mechanics and scoring system, and charming music, sound effects, and visuals. Be sure to check out our full review and previous coverage.
At long last Dota 2 welcomes its most notoriously explosive personalities: Techies. Now every forest trail, every escape route, and every creep camp can become your most devilish trap. Of course, if your foe steps lightly (or has a Gem of True Sight, or upgraded their Necronomicon) they might dodge your well-placed mines, avoid your ensnaring stasis traps, and sidestep your hidden remote explosives. But even when they're finally face-to-face with the giggling trio, they'll still need to contend with your deadly suicide detonation. When Techies are around, nowhere is safe!
"In the storied saga of Dredger's Bight, no business has ever been more reviled than Techies Demolitions. Then again, Dredger's Bight no longer exists. Nor does Toterin. Or even Trapper Town. In fact, if one were to track the history of Techies Demolitions they might notice that shortly after Techies appear, towns tend to disappear.Like every inevitable disaster surrounding Techies, the obliteration of Dredger's Bight began with an invention. Tasked with designing a safer way of detonating explosives in the mines beneath the city, pyrotechnic prodigies Squee, Spleen, and Spoon developed their most outlandish creation yet: a button which, when pressed, would trigger a distant device to spark a fuse.Overeager to test their invention, the trio stuffed barrel after barrel with flamesalt explosives, piling every corner of their tiny workshop high with the newly developed remote bombs. From this stockpile they plucked a single payload, burying it in a far away field. As they cowered in a ditch, Spleen pressed the detonator button. Yet after a moment, nothing happened. Confused, he stood up, pressing his button again and again until, finally, an explosion tore a hole in the field. Elated, Squee and Spleen turned toward home just as a massive wave of sound and force arrived to knock them over.Bewildered, their ears ringing from the unexpected blast, they gathered in the dingy miasma to see a smoking ruin where their workshop once stood. Chunks of wood and stone continued to fall as the yawning crater before them slowly deepened into an expanding pit. The whole of Dredger's Bight shuddered, and then gradually started to slide into the mines below as its panicked residents fled.Sitting at the edge of their sinking home they grinned and giggled, as giddy at the possibilities as they were oblivious to the scorn of their former neighbors. They wondered only one thing: how could they trigger an even bigger blast?"
"In the storied saga of Dredger's Bight, no business has ever been more reviled than Techies Demolitions. Then again, Dredger's Bight no longer exists. Nor does Toterin. Or even Trapper Town. In fact, if one were to track the history of Techies Demolitions they might notice that shortly after Techies appear, towns tend to disappear.
Like every inevitable disaster surrounding Techies, the obliteration of Dredger's Bight began with an invention. Tasked with designing a safer way of detonating explosives in the mines beneath the city, pyrotechnic prodigies Squee, Spleen, and Spoon developed their most outlandish creation yet: a button which, when pressed, would trigger a distant device to spark a fuse.
Overeager to test their invention, the trio stuffed barrel after barrel with flamesalt explosives, piling every corner of their tiny workshop high with the newly developed remote bombs. From this stockpile they plucked a single payload, burying it in a far away field. As they cowered in a ditch, Spleen pressed the detonator button. Yet after a moment, nothing happened. Confused, he stood up, pressing his button again and again until, finally, an explosion tore a hole in the field. Elated, Squee and Spleen turned toward home just as a massive wave of sound and force arrived to knock them over.
Bewildered, their ears ringing from the unexpected blast, they gathered in the dingy miasma to see a smoking ruin where their workshop once stood. Chunks of wood and stone continued to fall as the yawning crater before them slowly deepened into an expanding pit. The whole of Dredger's Bight shuddered, and then gradually started to slide into the mines below as its panicked residents fled.
Sitting at the edge of their sinking home they grinned and giggled, as giddy at the possibilities as they were oblivious to the scorn of their former neighbors. They wondered only one thing: how could they trigger an even bigger blast?"
Arcana item set for Techies. (Purchase by SEPTEMBER 30th to receive an 'EXALTED' quality on this set)
"Techies Demolitions proudly unveiled their latest commission: The Swine, the most powerful cannon ever designed. Yet during its first frantic use aboard a homebound galley, the Swine's awesome blast tore its host ship asunder, rocketing the cannon itself backwards toward the shore. It was found days later, deeply embedded in a rocky cliffside just below its makers' workshop."
Includes The Following Items
Comes with the "Explosive Burst" Prismatic Gem. Colour preview below. This is the same setup as Terrorblade's Arcana, you will be able to swap out the ambient colours with different Prismatic Gems.
Watch out for that mine!
Inscribed stat tracking gems for the following triggers:
A trio of dynamite commentators, a rocket-strapped courier in a greevil costume, and a HUD skin covered in explosives. What do they have in common? They're all part of Techies' Bombastic Box! Peek inside Techies' Bombastic Box to find the new Techies Announcer, as well as a Nilbog the Mad Courier and the Detonation HUD Skin.
Includes an ambient particle effect.
"It's a fight to the death with an ever-evolving lineup! Each player begins the match with a random hero, and becomes a new hero after every death. But don't wait for your favorite fighter to come along: each team may only lose 40 heroes before their players will cease to respawn. If a team loses all 40 of their heroes, or their Ancient falls, the match is over. Ready to fight what you can't predict?"
"Introducing the Gallery of Triumphs! Now whenever you accomplish certain feats or complete challenges in Dota 2, you'll be awarded a trophy you can show off in your Dota profile. Did you conquer your Fantasy Dota League? Earn a trophy. Finished the Ten Hero Challenge from The International Compendium? Earn a trophy. Of course, that's not all. There are several trophies ready to be earned, with more on the way!"
The new trophy section can be accessed from your player profile.
The gallery is setup like a trophy cabinet and supports multiple pages.
Details will be displayed in a tooltip when hovering over the trophy.
A popup will notify of a new trophy or when you level it up.
The three current trophy categories.
The trophies will display specific stats on them.
The current set of trophies can be seen below from their strings.
"Do you have what it takes to win a match with every hero? Prove it! Open your Dota profile to begin the All-Hero Challenge and be assigned a random warrior to take on the road to victory. Claim glory, and then move on to the next. Each hero challenge shows you the average number of matches it took for all players worldwide to win with that hero, and to complete the entire All-Hero Challenge, so you'll know how you stack up. Finish the All-Hero Challenge to earn a new trophy to display in your Gallery."
A random hero will be assigned for you to use in your next match up, complete the all-hero challenge and earn a trophy.
Your current hero challenge will display a new icon over the hero card when you're on the pick screen.
"The game hasn't even begun, but already victory seems certain. Equip the Assured Victory Shout in the Action Item slot in the Global Items section of your Loadout and, before the horn sounds and the battle begins, tell the world that this match is in the bag. If your prediction is right and victory comes your way, you'll earn one point for your Victory Prediction gem. If you're wrong, it resets to zero. Predict correctly to earn enough points, and you'll find a new trophy for your Gallery."
When equipped you will see an action item on your UI that can be used before the horn blows. The action will disappear after that stage.
"The enemy flees while one, two, three heroes fall before you. Triple Kill! Those who purchased this year's Compendium for The International will be able to enjoy a new type of multi-kill banner effect that celebrates their most deadly plays. Equip the Battle Glory Kill Banner in the Custom Kill Banner slot in the Global Items section of your Loadout, and then see your screen shine as you fight your way to a Rampage!"
Spice up your killing sprees with the new "Battle Glory Kill Banner".
"Hearing the right song at the right moment can often turn the tide of battle. Owners of this year's Compendium for The International will have access to epic new music composed by award-winning artist Chance Thomas. Once you equip The International 2014 Music Pack in your Music slot in the Global Items section of your Loadout, you'll be ready to ride off into glorious battle!"
Behind the scenes at the making of The International 2014 Music Pack Video:
"On the 9th and 10th of October, ESL will be transforming the Theatre at Madison Square Garden into the place to be for Dota fans from all over the world. The event will feature eight teams from three different regions. 4 European, 3 North American and one Chinese team will make their way through the qualifiers and secure themselves a spot for the finals in New York! "
"Teams from Japan will compete in the second Japan Dota Cup to become champions!"
"VietDOTA League Season 2 is an online tournament that contains of three tiers: Premier League, Amateur League and Girl Dota Showmatch. All compete for a prize pool of $1000!"
"Turkish E-sports scene reveils the first season of the KONTAKT Electronic Sports League where teams will battle for a $4000 prize pool. "
"A free to spectate yearly tournament organized with the help of the volunteer translators on Steam Translation."
"Teams participate in the first season of the Megalodon Starters League for cash and hardware prizes!"
"This is a free to spectate league for the Computer Science department at KMUTT University."
"PinoyDota Online Battle is back! Now on its 3rd season seven qualifying amateur teams will face the defending champion MSI-EvoGT.TRIC for a P40,000 prize pool!"
"The most talented players in North America compete in the classic in-house league format for four weeks."
"The Persian Gulf Cup pits the best teams from the Persian Gulf region against each other for a prize pool of $1000! Bundle includes the Immortals Pride set!"
Includes Legion Commander's Immortals Pride
"The 2014 National Electronic Sports Tournament has 16 teams compete in a qualifying round where one of them will go to an 8 team grand final for a $160,000 prize pool! Bundle includes the Blaze Armor set!"
Includes Ember Spirit's Blaze Armor
Alt-clicking on an item in an enemy hero's inventory now informs your teammates that the enemy has that item.
Alt-clicking on the buyback button or your gold will notify your team of your current buyback status.
Bots are now more friendly.
Some updates to the in game private lobby system for broadcasters.
A new option is available for the upcoming release of the fight recap tool.
The loading screen tips have been revamped, you can see the full selection below.
Respawn string for when the team is out of lives.
New strings for the buyback status.
New string for the enemy item pinging.
Neutral creep kill message updated.
Strings for the new prediction taunt.
Backdoor protection now has description strings.
Ability string updates.
New ability lore strings.
Extra checks have been added to ensure tournament games aren't started without the ticket selected.
Strings for the unreleased team fight recap panel.
New notifications for successful player trades.
New Chat Emoticon section for the store.
New Inscribed Gems.
New trigger strings for the combat log.
The name of the Prismatic Gem that comes with the Techies Arcana.
Dee Bradley Baker has been credited with the voice work for Techies.
New/Updated loaded slot names.
The Compendium Stretch goal reward for new Mega Creep models is still underway.
Preview of the untextured Dire Mega Creep.
The majority of these sets only have item schema references and loading screens in the files at the moment. They will be found in a new Treasure chest known as the "Forged Fury".
No model or textures in the files. Just custom icons and a loading screen.
The particle files for the unreleased Bat are now in the files.
This set will be the one of the rare additional bonus items from the chest.
The rest of this set is missing from the files with the exception of his Demon Form and loading screen. Particle effects are place holders.
Also includes a new ambient particle effect.
This courier will be a rare bonus additional item in the unreleased Forged Fury treasure chest. You will also have an even rarer chance of unboxing an Unusual version.
Also includes a Dire version of the courier.
Both of these unreleased Arcanas are very much work in progress.
Shadow Fiend Arcana Arms - sf_fire_arcana
Still work in progress, this is not the Shadow Fiend remodel. I have used his old wings to attach the effect.
Arcana Currently Changes
Base Attack Preview
Shadow Raze Preview
Requiem Of Souls Preview
Requiem Of Souls In Game Preview
In Game Video Preview
A new unreleased Arcana for Kunkka that will transform him into a Viking.
Sword of the Norse King - kunkka_weapon_viking
Sword Particle Effects
Custom Viking Boat
Custom Viking Boat - In Game
The heads from the Starladder Tiny set have been updated to support facial flexing meaning his mouth will now move when talking.
The armoury image for the Crystal Maiden Immortal has been updated.
Windranger's portrait has been updated slightly. Her eyes are slightly more open on the new one.
Preparation for support to allow writing the Combat Log file to a file.
More work on the pregame showcase. Testing requires cheats enabled. Will have the option to use it in AP or CM for the moment.
The pregame showcase will now play one of the heroes voice lines as you can see in the video below.
The Battle Fury now has a sound effect.
It's A Mystery
Team Meat, the developer behind the hit 2D indie platformer Super Meat Boy, has announced Super Meat Boy Forever, a mobile version of the game it says isn't just "a simple endless runner."
"Our goal with Super Meat Boy: Forever is to design a new full length platformer for touch devices from the ground up to avoid tacking bad controls on an existing design," Team Meat's Edmund McMillen said in a post to the Super Meat Boy site. "We want to make something that embodies the original Super Meat Boy but is designed around a simple yet intuitive control scheme allowing for pinpoint accuracy and surprisingly deep controls without the use of multiple buttons/analog sticks."
McMillen, who said Super Meat Boy: Forever might be one of his best designs to date, added that the game isn't just a one button, endless runner like Temple Run, Canabalt, or many other similar games on the iTunes App Store, though it will have an endless mode with online high scores and daily runs. McMillen also promised that it will not use abusive monetization tactics to cheapen the experience.
The game will feature a full story, six chapters, and double the bosses featured in the original Super Meat Boy. It will also feature a full fledged dark world with dark warp zones and more playable characters from other indie games. Unlike the original Super Meat Boy, it will feature a randomly generated level structure.
Super Meat Boy: Forever will release "sometime next year" for phones, tablets, and PC via Steam. McMillan said it might come to other platforms as well later.
If you're at PAX 2014, you can check out Super Meat Boy: Forever for yourself at the Indie Megabooth.