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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Composer of Halo and Destiny soundtracks shown the door

Posted by Erin Marcon On Thursday 17 April 2014ADD COMMENTS

Could Martin O’Donnell actually be Master Chief?

There are few sounds more closely associated with the original Xbox than the ethereal soundtrack of Halo. The man responsible for this iconic soundscape, Martin O’Donnell, went on to score several further instalments in this bestselling series for Bungie.

In more recent times, O’Donnell has been contributing to the soundtrack for Bungie’s forthcoming Destiny, a project has seen him collaborate Beatles legend Paul McCartney.

Despite these past successes, O’Donnell and Bungie have this week parted ways in rather mysterious circumstances.

The former revealed the split by telling his Twitter followers that, “I’m saddened to say that Bungie’s board of directors terminated me without cause on April 11, 2014.”

The latter responded with “For more than a decade, Marty O’Donnell filled our worlds with unforgettable sounds and soundtracks, and left an indelible mark on our fans. Today, as friends, we say goodbye. We know that wherever his journey takes him, he will always have a bright and hopeful future. We wish him luck in all his future endeavors.”

Neither party has commented any further following these initial statements.

Vlambeer comments on Luftrausers controversy

Posted by Black Panel Staff On Tuesday 8 April 2014ADD COMMENTS

Some of the controversial imagery.

Having spend two weeks riding a wave of critical and commercial success, the team responsible for indie action game Luftrausers has taken time out to clarify one of the controversies surrounding its release.

Vlambeer this week acknowledged that some players have felt uncomfortable with what they perceive to be Nazi-inspired imagery in the game. Some of the art design certainly appears to be reminiscent of pulp depictions of German forces.

While Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail has apologised for any “discomfort” experienced by players, he emphasised that neither side in the depicted conflict were intended to represent real world nations or regimes.

“You’re not playing any existing enemy force, not the Nazi’s, not the Japanese, not the Soviets, not any force that existed,” he wrote.

According to Ismail, Luftrausers “takes place somewhere between the Second World War and the Cold War, or in an alternative reality in the ten to fifteen years after the Second World War.”

It will be interesting to see how this explanation sits with critics.

Naughty Dog’s loss is Visceral’s gain

Posted by Black Panel Staff On Monday 7 April 2014ADD COMMENTS


The dust had barely settled on Amy Hennig’s departure from Naughty Dog when speculation began as to her likely destination. The former Uncharted Creative Director this week popped up at Visceral Games, the EA subsidiary best known for its work on Dead Space. It appears that Hennig won’t be contributing to that particular property, though, or at least it won’t be her focus.

As revealed by Visceral General Manager Steve Papoutsis, Hennig will instead be overseeing a high profile licensed offering. “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Amy Hennig to our team at Visceral Games and EA as Creative Director on our Star Wars project,” Papoutsis wrote. At this stage little to nothing is known about the game in question.

For Hennig, Visceral’s forthcoming release seems to be something of a passion project. “Two amazing things entered my life in 1977 – Star Wars and the Atari 2600,” Hennig told her Twitter followers. “This opportunity is the confluence of the 2 most influential experiences of my youth, and I couldn’t be more excited to go on this journey.”

This will be Hennig’s second stint at EA, having contributed to Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf and Michael Jordan: Chaos on the Windy City during the 90s.

Image credit: MobyGames

Amazon offers another Android option

Posted by Black Panel Staff On Thursday 3 April 2014ADD COMMENTS

Haven’t we met somewhere before?

Apparently unperturbed by the limited market penetration of the Ouya, online sales giant Amazon is preparing to launch its own Android based machine. The Amazon Fire TV set top box will support a range of popular entertainment services such as Netflix and Pandora, as well as a selection of Android-powered video games. The system will retail for US $99.

The gaming aspect of the system will require at least one additional purchase. The US $39.95 Amazon Fire Game Controller features all of basic inputs expected of a modern controller, including dual thumb sticks, shoulder buttons and triggers, as well as face buttons and a d-pad. Amazon is also promising “up to 55 hours of battery life”.

As reported by CVG, Amazon Game Studios has secured the design talents of Kim Swift (Portal) and Clint Hocking (Far Cry 2). Appointments of this nature may help allay consumer scepticism about Amazon’s growing interest in gaming.

Available to order now, the system will support more than a hundred games at launch, with “thousands more” promised. The extent to which the device will cater to international audiences remains to be seen.