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EA Acquires Respawn Entertainment and Titanfall

EA Acquires Respawn Entertainment and Titanfall

Despite working with EA for most of Titanfall’s lifetime, Respawn Entertainment wasn’t actually owned by the gaming giant. As of today, EA announced that it has purchased the California based developer and their mech-based FPS.

EA has been the publisher for all of Respawn’s games so far, which includes last year’s hit Titanfall 2. Also announced today was that the studio is working on a new Titanfall game, a third person Star Wars title, and a VR game that has not been detailed. Not much has been said about the next new Titanfall but Respawn previously expressed interest in continuing the series. Currently, the only details known about the Star Wars title are that it is being directed by Stig Asmussen, who was previously the director of God of War III. This is good news since EA recently shut down Visceral Games, the studio behind Dead Space that was also working on a Star Wars title.

The Offical Word

EA CEO, Andrew Wilson, said in a press release “We’ve seen firsthand the world-class caliber of Respawn as a development studio with incredible vision, deep talent, and an inspiring creative mindset,” He continued “Our longtime partnership is grounded in a shared desire to push the boundaries and deliver extraordinary and innovative new experiences for players around the world. Together, we’ve brought this to life in the Titanfall franchise, and now with the Respawn team joining EA, we have exciting plans to accomplish even more amazing things in the future.” (http://bit.ly/2hoC104)

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Why Did Respawn Sell?

In an open letter on Respawn’s website the CEO, Vince Zampella, detailed the decision to sell the company, which specifically notes that he will remain acting CEO. “While it wasn’t necessary, going with EA made a lot of sense,” he said. “With Titanfall and Star Wars, EA has been a great development partner that supports us and doesn’t interfere with our process for making games or studio culture. EA will provide us with more resources, access to new technologies, and expertise that we can tap into that will help us make better games, and Respawn will retain the same creative freedom and culture we’ve always had. We’ve been talking closely with the leadership at EA and we share their values and vision for the future of being a developer-focused company that puts the players first.” (http://bit.ly/2zK2uNt)

EA was an integral force in getting Respawn Entertainment off the ground after its founders, Zampella and Jason West, were fired from the Call of Duty developer, Infinity Ward. The deal cost EA $151 million dollars in cash and up to $164 million in equity. Performance indicators could also raise the cash figure by another $140 million.

While many may worry that EA will ruin the Titanfall series, it must be remembered that EA was acting publisher for the series already, meaning they made a ton of major decisions for the previous games already. This move makes sure the studio has the resources necessary to continue making great games for fans of their beloved series. It will be exciting to see what the talent at Respawn will make with the vast resources EA has to offer.

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So, About That Single-Player Star Wars Game

So, About That Single-Player Star Wars Game

News broke late yesterday, 10/17/17, that Electronic Arts will be shutting down Visceral Games. Well known for games like Battlefield Hardline and Dead Space, this studio was working on another highly anticipated title and people are worried about its future. Visceral has been developing a new action-adventure Star Wars game that EA compared to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. However, now with Visceral dissolving, the fate of this Star Wars project is up in the air.

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The studio was working on this single-player Star Wars game since 2013. It had a lot of people excited and EA expected to release the game in 2019 but now it has been pushed back without any information on when it could eventually be released.

A brief look at the E3 2016 preview of Visceral’s Star Wars project.

The Official Word

“Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe,” EA”s Executive Vice President Patrick Söderlund said. He continued to explain, “In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design.” http://bit.ly/2l0clZ1

This ‘pivot’ in design and the fall of Visceral forced other EA studios to take over the development of the Star Wars project. The shift in direction could create an interesting final product, but that would only be if it ever reaches market. Söderlund offered a few details on who will be taking lead on the project. He stated, “A development team from across EA Worldwide Studios will take over development of this game, led by a team from EA Vancouver that has already been working on the project,” http://bit.ly/2yuvQvK

Few Details But Many Questions

Electronic Arts may have offered extremely few details throughout the development process of the new Star Wars game but they did have an incredible concept and was working with some incredible talent. Amy Hennig, former Naughty Dog creative director was working on the new title, co-writing the Star Wars adventure with Todd Stashwick.  An update from the site Polygon, shed some light on Amy Hennig’s future at EA. A company representative explained, “We’re in discussions with Amy about her next move.” http://bit.ly/2yuvQvK

Our thoughts are with every team member affected by the closing of this renowned studio but EA did say they will be shifting as many of the team over to other projects in the EA family.  With the EA Star Wars project still in limbo as of now, Gigamax will be keeping a close eye out for any developments. Be sure to check back as the dust settles from Visceral Games closing.

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Sources:

https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/17/16490960/ea-closing-visceral-games-star-wars-game-delayed

https://kotaku.com/ea-shuts-down-visceral-games-1819623990

https://www.ea.com/news/an-update-on-the-visceral-star-wars-project

Star Wars Battlefront 2: EA Details Space Combat

Star Wars Battlefront 2: EA Details Space Combat

The next big gaming press conference, Gamescom, is opening its doors next week and as a preview, EA detailed what plans they have for Star Wars Battlefront 2. To start off, EA will release a brand new trailer and give a live demonstration of the upcoming Starfighter Assault mode. This new variant of combat is a new experience for the sequel after many fans complained that the first game’s aerial fights were a bit lackluster.

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EA’s plans for the new dog fighting mode go far beyond that of the first games. Starfighter Assault itself is a multi stage mode that features ships and characters from the first three Star Wars movies (4,5,6). The demo the development team is showing off will be fought on Fondor: Imperial Shipyard map. EA also detailed that there will be fighters, bombers, and ships that will be unique to certain heroes.

Building It Better From The Ground Up


The gaming studio also wants fans to know that flying will be a better experience overall in Star Wars Battlefront 2. Some of the ways they plan on improving aerial combat include better controls, deeper customization, and making ship selection role based which impacts team gameplay. The gameplay reveal will happen on August 21st at 12:30 PM ET and 9:30 AM PT.

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Fondor: Imperial Shipyard will be one of the maps available to players looking to try out the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront 2 beta in October. Dog fighting won’t be the only combat featured in the beta, a more standard Battlefront 2 mode will also be playable on the Theed Galactic Assault map.

As for Gamescom, the event runs from August 22-26th in Cologne, Germany. It is by far one of the biggest international game conferences and manages to pull in hundreds of thousands of gamers and industry experts each year. Plenty of news is set to come from this year’s event so be sure to keep checking back with Gigamax for all the latest updates!

Sources:

https://www.ea.com/en-gb/games/starwars/battlefront/battlefront-2/news/space-battles-gamescom

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Star Wars Battlefront II New Trailer & Details

Star Wars Battlefront II New Trailer & Details

Following a leak from earlier last week, EA officially launched the trailer for Star Wars Battlefront II. In a surprising twist, the story will take place from the perspective of the Empire following the events of  Return of the Jedi.

The trailer offers a look at various cinematics throughout the game and shows characters from various eras of the series. Some of these iconic heroes and villains include Rey, Yoda, Kylo Ren, Darth Maul and Luke. This is an attempt to correct one of the major criticisms of the last game, which was that battles only occurred in the original trilogy.

EA followed up the trailer with more details going over their plans for the game at last week’s Star Wars Celebration. After the lackluster launch of the previous title, Electronic Arts has taken fan criticism and turned it into a completely new experience for the series that covers both single player and multiplayer.

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The Story We All Deserved

The story follows the adventures of an Imperial that goes by the name Iden Versio, a female storm trooper in inferno squad, a special ops group for the empire. After watching the Death Star explode from the ground at the battle of Endor, she swears revenge on the rebels and seeks to keep the Emperor’s war raging on. Inferno Squad is made up of  an array of different troops like snipers, pilots and commandos capable of completing the toughest of assignments. Iden is a well rounded protagonist, able to switch between any of the roles. This means players will be able to experience all the facets of the game in the story.

EA hasn’t forgotten multiplayer though, DICE is building the online component for the upcoming shooter and it’s the biggest project they’ve ever tackled. Capturing moments from every era of Star Wars lore, Battlefront II is a celebration of the series 40th anniversary. DICE plans on making everyone feel like a hero this time around attempting to capture the hero’s journey that is prevalent in the movies. From Storm Troopers to Jedi, everyone will have the chance to feel like they’re making a difference.

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New Systems Coming To Battlefront II

Heroes will now be offered with a new resource system that has yet to be detailed but will allow more people experience these powerful characters. Classes are also making their way back into the game from the old PS2/Xbox era games. These roles are officer, assault, heavy and specialist as well as droids like the Trade Federation’s talkative battle droids. Of course everything will be themed for the era it represents, so players won’t see an Imperial soldier on the battle of Kamino.

Space battles are also making a return to the game and ships are being treated like character classes. Upgrades can be unlocked through use of these iconic vehicles such as X-Wings, TIE Fighters, Boba Fett’s Slave One, Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon and Obi Wan’s Jedi Star Fighter.

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What We Still Don’t Know

DICE and EA have yet to announce any multiplayer modes but the larger maps will have support for up to 40 players. Maps will include locations like Theed, Starkiller Base, Takodana, Hoth, Yavin, Tatooine, Endor and Kamino. While the trailer shows clips from within the game, no shots were shown from a first person perspective or of any actual game play so fans still have a lot to look forward to.

It seems as if the studios working on Battlefront II are trying to rectify all the issues people had with the previous entry. Where the first lacked content, the sequel seems to come packed with a wealth of experiences that seek to immerse players in the Star Wars universe. DICE also announced that their will be no season pass for the game and their DLC plan will be detailed shortly. Maybe the studio will learn from popular shooter, Overwatch and support the game through free updates and make money off of loot boxes. Whatever they decide to do, Gigamax Games will be covering all the news and updates regarding the game so don’t forget to keep checking back!

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Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

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LEGO® STAR WARS™: The Force Awakens

May the Brick be With You

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the latest entry in a long line of Lego themed Star Wars video games and while it doesn’t do much to change the formula that defined the previous entries in the series it takes what it has been doing successfully since the first game and fine tunes it to make it the most smooth and refined version of the Lego Star Wars saga. The game carries all the whimsy and humor that one would expect from a story with a lego themed narrative all while remaining relatively true to the seriousness that the movies hold.

Long term Star Wars fans will be delighted to know that not only does the game cover the lore of The Force Awakens but also expands upon it in ways one would not expect such as who exactly Lor Son Tekka is and what his motivations are, and the answer to where exactly Han Solo got those Rathtars from. Characters are not in short supply either, a roster of over 200 characters is available to be unlocked as you play through the story the only downside being that not all of these playable figures are unique, in fact most of them are carbon copies of others with a fresh coat of paint. Despite characters feeling similar it is still enjoyable to be able to play as a character that is commonly known such as Luke Skywalker and then immediately switch to someone as obscure as Crokind Shand.

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LEGO® STAR WARS™: The Force Awakens

While much of the game stays true to the formula that has worked so well with previous lego games some returning fans may notice some differences in this entry such as the inclusion of multiple hub areas as opposed to the one hub area that is typically located in between levels. While this makes the game more diverse in its areas it also makes getting the collectables a little more tedious by making you travel back to these areas after unlocking all the characters to get some of the gold bricks you may have missed. Speaking of collectables the game keeps the same formula sticking with your standard Red Bricks, Minikits, and Gold bricks and it’s safe to say that picking up and finding all of these is still insanely fun and satisfying.

Much of the concern behind Lego games is that they may be too easy or feel too childish and while there is definitely a more lighthearted feel to the game it in no way should dissuade potential fans from getting into it. The colorful world and happy feel to the game is actually a refreshing turn of course from the darker more gruff games that flood the market today. Voice acting also remains which may also come as a relief to people looking for a more serious feel, albeit sometimes the voice acting does seem a little out of place but makes up for it by adding lines that were not in the movie iteration. One unfortunate but humongous downside that was experienced during our playthrough was a glitch that occurred for no apparent reason that wiped our save file and made us restart the entire campaign, but hopefully this issue has been patched by the time this review is up.

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LEGO® STAR WARS™: The Force Awakens

Lego Star Wars is another great entry to the Lego games franchise that is as accessible to pick up by young and new fans of the series as it is intriguing and nostalgic to older and more mature fans of not only the Lego games but of Star Wars as well. The game remains familiar while also adding more lore to the Star Wars canon and is an absolute pleasure to not only play through once but also play through again in free play either by yourself or with a friend in online or local co-op. We here at Gigamax highly recommend this game to anyone who has ever expressed any interest in Star Wars or Legos as well as anyone looking for a relaxing game to play that just melts off stress with it’s wonderful sense of humor.

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