DayZ Release Date and Price Hike Confirmed

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since the release of DayZ into Early Access on Steam! The former Arma mod which evolved into a multiplayer zombie survival and/or dystopian stress simulator. The game has slowly been running through the process of improving itself as a standalone game. Now Bohemia Interactive has announced a finalized release date of “the first half of 2016,” as well as a roadmap for patches/updates throughout 2015 leading up to that date.

Along with a release date and update previews for DayZ is the announcement that beginning on December 1st, after the Steam sale ends, the price of DayZ will jump to $35. Bohemia says that this slight increase from its current sale’s price is to ease people into the reality that DayZ’s 1.0 release will retail at $49.99/€39.99 or your local equivalent. That’s a pretty significant increase for what has already been a pretty costly game, despite the game being in Early Access, a price Bohemia has largely gotten away with by being so dang popular.

Here is Bohemia Interactive’s outline for updates going forward into 2015.

Q1 2015

  • Basic vehicles
  • Advanced loot distribution
  • New renderer
  • New Zombie AI
  • Basic stealth system (zombies and animals)
  • Diseases
Q2 2015
  • Advanced vehicles (repair and modifications)
  • Advanced animals (life cycle, group behavior)
  • Player statistics
  • New UI
  • Player stamina
  • Dynamic events
Q3 2015
  • Traps
  • Barricading
  • Character life span + soft skills
  • Animal predators + birds
  • Aerial transport
  • Console prototype
Q4 2015
  • Animal companions
  • Steam community integration
  • Construction (base building)
  • Beta version, expected price €34.99 / $43.99.
That’s a ton of new stuff! And a $50 price tag is nothing to sniff at. Surprisingly, despite a long and bumpy road through early access, the hype around DayZ has rarely slowed. The game remains consistently in the top 10 games being lpayed on Steam, with around 25,000 average concurrent players per month. It’s even in the top 10 as of this post, duking it out with the likes of Civilization V, Counterstrike, Skyrim, and easily exceeding Advanced Warfare’s total players. We can only expect that playerbase to increase as the game moves forward, especially with the Playstation 4 release on the horizon, although the date for that remains TBA.

If you were ever interested in playing DayZ for yourself, now is your best bet to get it at its early access price-tag.

Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire Sell 3 Million

Recently released 3DS games Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire together sold more than 3 million copies across Japan, the US, and other territories during the three-day Nov. 21-23 period.

The Pokemon Company confirmed the figure with Siliconera. 1.5 million copies were sold in Japan alone, with the other 1.5 million coming from the US and other markets.

Importantly, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have not yet been released in Europe. Sales of the handheld role-playing games are likely to grow further when they are released there November 21.

Pokemon is a powerful, enduring brand, but some questioned whether fans of the series would flock to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, given they are remakes and not brand new games. Strong initial sales, however, suggest that there indeed is a market for such games.

Ubisoft Giving Out Free DLC, Additional Games As Assassin's Creed Unity Apology

Ubisoft has confirmed that plans for an Assassin’s Creed Unity season pass have been changed a bit. The pass was slated to include the “Dead Kings” campaign, new missions, and an entire new game.
Assassin’s Creed Unity has been plagued with problems since its November 18 launch. The title has had a number of bugs and glitches that have impacted play, including one crash that is caused by adding friends to the in-game social list.
In a note to fans, Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat addresses the problems the title has faced and what the publisher will do to make it right for purchasers. Every player will receive the Dead Kings DLC free. Anyone who has already bought into the season pass will receive another Ubisoft game from a select list of titles, including The Crew, Far Cry 4, Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag, Rayman Legends, and Just Dance 2015.  Redemption details will be available soon.
"Unfortunately, at launch, the overall quality of the game was diminished by bugs and unexpected technical issues," Mallat writes. "I want to sincerely apologize on behalf of Ubisoft and the entire Assassin's Creed team. These problems took away from your enjoyment of the game, and kept many of you from experiencing the game at its fullest potential."
Ubisoft has already announced details on the next title update, called Patch 3. Another is in the works, as well.
"In addition to the latest patch and this offer, we are committed to delivering further fixes for other issues you’ve raised," Mallat writes. "In the meantime, please keep your feedback coming – it has been both humbling and incredibly helpful as we continue working hard to improve the overall quality of the game. We are hopeful that with these forthcoming updates, everyone will be able to truly enjoy their Assassin’s Creed Unity experience."

More Than 60 Xbox 360 And Xbox One Games Marked Up To 85% Off

Ahead of Black Friday, Microsoft has marked down a huge collection of digital games, with more discounts planned for the day after Thanksgiving.
You can check out the whole extensive list here, but below you will find just a small sampling of some of the bigger highlights. Some of the games are discounted for everyone; some you will need an Xbox Live Gold account to take advantage of the sale.

Xbox One
Strider - $7.49
Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition - $34.99
Rayman Legends - $19.99
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag - $34.99
Killer Instinct Ultra Edition Season 1 - $20
Xbox 360
Strider - $7.49
DmC - $9.99
Devil May Cry HD Collection - $9.99
Resident Evil 4 - $6.49
Super Time Force - $8.99
Slender: The Arrival - $4.99
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - $4.94
Red Dead Redemption - $7.49
Gears of War 3 - $4.99
Gears of War 2 - $4.99
Gears of War - $4.94
Battleblock Theater - $7.49
Batman Arkham City - $4.99
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - $9.99
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z - $15.99
Burnout Paradise - $2.99
Mirror’s Edge - $2.99
Just Cause 2 - $4.94
Borderlands - $4.99
Borderlands 2 - $4.99
Bully - $3.74
For more Black Friday help, head here.

[Review] Dragon Age: Inquisition

These days, it isn’t enough to be the biggest, the boldest, or even the most badass when it comes to AAA gaming: first and foremost, the game has to work to win approval. The past few weeks have shown that not only is universal acclaim hard to come by, but the more established the franchise, the more divisive changes (or a jump to next-gen) prove to be. So it’s a particularly pleasant surprise to see Dragon Age:Inquisition succeed in nearly every respect.

Boasting an open world that could only have been possible with brand new hardware (and years of work) and a story that illustrates the strengths and eccentricities BioWare has made their trademark, Inquisition is not only the most cohesive expression of the Dragon Age series to date, but without question one of the best games of this year, and one of (if not the) best open world RPGs in years.

The game and its developers didn’t come by that achievement easily, having attempted many changes with the previous game in the series that failed to go over well with critics or existing fans of the studio’s past RPG titles. Their next-gen successor seems to be a rare case where both BioWare and EA took their lumps, went back to the drawing board, and set out to address nearly every criticism directly. The result comes closer to being ‘the sequel to Dragon Age: Origins that fans dreamed of’ than even those fans dared to expect.

It isn’t just the existing fans of the series that needed to be pleased, however. The developers themselves acknowledged that the overwhelming mainstream success of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim didn’t just raise the bar for seamless game worlds and random encounters, but meant supporting and engaging all new types of players. It’s hard to know how well they’ve succeeded in the latter (since the mystery of Skyrim‘s success still persists), but BioWare has managed to craft a similar experience without compromising their own values or design philosophies.

Though the varied and highly-detailed game world is an accomplishment for the series (given Dragon Age II‘s segmented environment), it’s not the star of the game in the way that Skyrim was to even casual players. There are moments, to be sure – when a rocky tunnel gives way to a coastline vista, or the perpetually sunny snows of the Frostback Mountains – that will show just what’s possible on this generation of consoles; but before long, awe gives way to familiarity.

That might be a criticism for some games, but as we mentioned before, Inquisitiondoesn’t exist to simply stun with visuals. As the leader of the titular Inquisition, players are sent on a mission that puts every one of the game’s locations in peril. The world is still staggeringly beautiful at times, but it merely works to immerse players in the story (and experience) BioWare has crafted, not overshadow it.

Spending hours acquiring and completing quests is still possible, but even if the scripted narrative fails to grab players, the variety of gameplay and mechanics that form its overall structure serve to break up the monotony in ways that Skyrim never attempted. Spending a day in the wild might be tempting, but for the Inquisitor, there’s always a pressing matter at hand.

The most frequent change of pace comes in the game’s combat, adhering to the typical level design of the past, while adding re-spawning encounters in many of Inquisition‘s larger environments. The tactical approach to combat detailed in several gameplay walkthroughs works just as promised, letting players tackle combat up close and personal, swapping between party members, or removed, executing commands and passing time as quickly or slowly as desired. The controls fall short of elegant or intuitive, but there’s no question that fans got the added level of control they demanded (for better or worse).

We could speak for hours about the many thrills and satisfaction that comes through crafting armor and weapons, or the mix of awe, terror and humor that rose when stumbling across a dragon embroiled in battle with a giant, but it wasn’t combat, or even the Inquisitor’s mission to save Thedas from the mysterious Breach spewing forth demonic forces that BioWare had in mind when promising to give players more power than ever before.

Combat encounters might be gruelling, but it’s the decisions made in the Inqusitor’s war room, and among his top advisors that will have players setting controllers down while they weigh their options. From small to world-altering, the choices never stop coming; Templars or Mages? Diplomacy, or righteous action? The issue of whether choices ‘matter’ if they don’t greatly affect the outcome (they do) is still debated, but be warned: the buck stops with the Inquisitor, and every decision comes with consequences.

Those consequences may be limited to the relationships between the players and their followers. The writers were aiming for organic relationships, and the story and context do much to achieve them; there are no easy answers, but players will be less likely than ever to reload saves in an attempt to ‘game the system’ and avoid the disapproval of some party members.

The supporting cast is rendered with enough texture (and flaws) that even the right decision – in the player’s mind – will be questioned by a trusted follower. Whether due to the nuanced political situations at play, or the power granted to the player from nearly the outset, they too might buy into the belief that their decisions aren’t to be questioned by those serving them; and maybe – just maybe – think less of those characters who do.

That that’s even possible speaks to the efforts of the writers to humanize (for lack of a better term) nearly every character encountered. Fictional multi-faction politics aren’t the stuff of thrilling intrigue (look to Star Wars: The Old Republic for evidence), but enough faces are given to the plot to allow players a way in, assuming they’re interested. The plot won’t be flawlessly-paced for everyone, but the writers’ subtle hand pays dividends.

There are few studios as committed to representing their entire fan base as accurately as possible as BioWare, and Inquisition stands as a triumph in that regard as well. This is a game where a majority of the player’s advisors are women; where the sexuality of some – not all – is pivotal to their identity and story; and where the gender of others is left entirely ambiguous. Knowing when to comment on those decisions – and when to make no comment whatsoever – leaves soap boxes out of the equation, replacing them with compelling characters from a variety of walks of life.

With a critical path story line alone that takes up to 50 hours to complete, BioWare has gone above and beyond the demands and expectations placed upon them (while charting a course that we hope Mass Effect will also follow). We’ve yet to play through everything the game has to offer, but the level of polish and nuance in what might amount to half of the overall experience is enough to drive the point home.

After dozens of hours of Inquisition under our belt, it’s safe to say that players won’t need to explore every corner of the game to make the experience worthwhile – they’ll simply want to.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is available now for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

PSN Co-op Sale Marks Down More Than 30 Multiplayer Games

It's that time of year when everything is slightly cheaper than usual for a brief period of time, and the PlayStation Network is no exception.

Below you will find a large collection of games currently on sale on the PlayStation Network dubbed, "The Co-op Sale." In the list below you will find the name of discounted game, the platform, the PlayStation Plus sale price, followed by the non-PlayStation Plus sale price. You can also find the full list on the PlayStation blog.

Title, System, PS Plus Price, Sale Price

3 on 3 NHL Arcade, PS3 - $3.49, $4.99
Angry Birds: Star Wars, PS4 - $22.49, $24.99
Angry Birds: Star Wars, PS3 - $17.99, $19.99
Angry Birds: Star Wars, PS Vita - $17.99, $19.99
Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!!, PS3 - $14.00, $27.99
Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!!, PS Vita - $14.00, $27.99
Army of TWO The Devil’s Cartel, PS3 - $3.99, $4.99
Awesomenauts Assemble, PS4 - $5.39, $5.99
Battlefield 3, PS3 - $3.99, $4.99
Borderlands 2, PS3 - $4.54, $6.49
Bulletstorm, PS3 - $3.99, $4.99
Chaos Code, PS3 - $5.99, $7.99
Dark Souls II, PS3 - $19.59, $27.99
EA SPORTS UFC, PS4 - $13.99, $19.99
Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, PS3 - $8.99, $9.99
Far Cry 3, PS3 - $9.79, $13.99
Fight Night Champion, PS3 - $3.99, $4.99
LEGO The Hobbit, PS3 - $14.69, $20.99
LEGO The Hobbit, PS4 - $19.59, $27.99
LEGO The Hobbit, PS Vita - $9.79, $13.99
LittleBigPlanet, PS3 - $7.99, $9.99
LittleBigPlanet 2, PS3 - $7.99, $9.99
Lord of the Rings: War in the North, PS3 - $5.00, $9.99
Madden NFL Arcade, PS3 - $3.49, $4.99
Mercenary Kings, PS4 - $8.99, $11.99
NBA JAM: On Fire Edition & NFL Blitz Bundle, PS3 - $3.99, $4.99
NCAA Football 14, PS3 - $8.99, $14.99
Rayman Origins, PS3 - $9.79, $13.99
Rayman Origins, PS Vita - $13.29, $18.99
Rayman Legends, PS4 - $19.59, $27.99
Rayman Legends, PS3 - $19.59, $27.99
Rayman Legends, PS Vita - $13.29, $18.99
Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition, PS3 - $14.69, $20.99
Resogun, PS4 - $5.99, $7.49
Soul Sacrifice Delta, PS Vita - $14.39, $17.99
Surgeon Simulator: A&E Anniversary Edition, PS4 - $6.39, $7.99
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, PS3 - $8.99, $9.99
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2, PS3 - $9.79, $13.99
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, PS3 - $9.79, $13.99
TowerFall Ascension, PS4 - $7.34, $10.49
Trine 2: Complete Story, PS4 - $7.99, $9.99

New trailer for Destiny's The Dark Below glances at gameplay

After Destiny's cinematic introducing the story of the game's upcoming DLC, The Dark Below, leaked, Bungie opted to issue a more explanatory video. As seen on the video below, the developer diary-style trailer discusses the "one way trip" nature of The Dark Below's design. The trailer also introduces Eris Morn, the merchant and primary quest-giver that failed to defeat the DLC's main villain Crota in the past.

The Dark Below will launch on December 9 and adds new gear and maps to the game, which are also shown in today's video. The DLC will cost $20, and it is also part of the Destiny's $35 season pass program. Those that buy the expansion will also receive a new Sparrow vehicle capable of performing some fancy tricks.

PlayStation Plus Exclusive Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- PS4 Demo Coming Soon

PlayStation Plus PS4 subscribers will get a shot to try out the new Guilty Gear early.
Available exclusively to PlayStation Plus subscribers, a demo for the oddly titled Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- is coming to PlayStation 4 on Tuesday, November 25. The demo plans were revealed during a recent episode of the PlayStation Blogcast. You can skip to the 12:25 mark of the podcast to hear more.
The PlayStation Blogcast has a disclaimer on all of its episodes saying, "PSN game release dates are subject to change without notice," so it's entirely possible that this demo may not appear on Tuesday.