Daily updates on video games and popular culture, along with Australia’s grooviest gaming podcast.

Time to run the Gauntlet again

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Tuesday 18 March 2014No Comments

Warner Bros today announced a new digital portfolio that will deliver spanking new downloadable games based on classic Midway and WB franchises as well as original IP. This digital only studio will kick things off with the return of the original four player co-op dungeon crawler, Gauntlet.

Despite some mediocre attempts at reviving the classic arcade series in the past there is one key reason for fans to be excited about this iteration: the game is being developed by Arrowhead Game Studios.  Arrowhead created the excellent Magicka, a wonderful update of the Gauntlet formula itself. Magicka proves that this talented studio has the chops to bring one of the world’s oldest gaming franchises back from the pits of obscurity.

Arrowhead is promising four unique characters, all based on the original game, all with distinct play styles. They have also stolen a few tricks from the Diablo playbook with the introduction of procedurally generated levels and some light RPG elements. “To us at Arrowhead, Gauntlet is one of the most defining games from our childhoods, and it’s amazing to be able to work with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment on a brand new version,” said Johan Pilestedt, CEO of Arrowhead Game Studios.  “Gauntlet is one of the original and best known video game properties and we are looking forward to creating a fresh, yet true to the original, take on a multiplayer masterpiece.”

Gauntlet is due on Steam later this year but in the mean time you can check out the (admittedly exciting) announcement trailer to help prepare yourself for a hopefully spectacular return from an arcade legend.

Watch Dogs now R18+

Posted by Erin Marcon On Monday 17 March 2014No Comments

Texting while riding? That ain’t legal.

Ubisoft’s open world espionage game Watch Dogs has already endured a bumpy ride to retail. In October last year, a production delay robbed the new console generation of its biggest third party drawcard (unless you count Zumba Fitness: World Party). Now, months ahead of the game’s launch, it has emerged that (contrary to previous classification advice) stores will not be able to sell the game to Australians aged 15-17.

The Australian Classification Board originally assigned an MA15+ rating to Watch Dogs, but as reported by Kotaku, it has now reassessed the game as R18+. Ubisoft has confirmed that it resubmitted the game for consideration following the inclusion of additional content. The Classification Board’s report notes that the higher rating is warranted due to a depiction of “sexual violence” in the new material.

Originally due in November last year, Watch Dogs is now slated for release on XBO, PS4, PC, 360 and PS3 on Tuesday 27 May.

Steam controller now a little more orthodox

Posted by Black Panel Staff On Sunday 16 March 2014No Comments

Relax. It’s still black.

With all of the hoopla surrounding the recent launches of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, it’s easy to forget that there is still another horse in this race (and a dark horse at that).

Having revealed its plans for your living room in September last year, Valve followed up with the initial wave of PC-based Steam Machines in January. As reported by Engadget, the evolution of Valve’s plans continued this week with the unveiling of a new iteration of its innovative control solution.

The first thing you’ll notice is the absence of the touch pad in the centre of the controller (as distinct from the two thumb-pads on either side). In a rather obvious concession to traditional game design, the controller now features four directional buttons and four face buttons.

The new design more closely mimics the layout of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers. This should ensure that it is able to comfortably accommodate the majority of today’s console releases.

There is, of course, no guarantee that this will be the final design.

Image credit: Engadget

The Black List 236

Posted by Black Panel Staff On Saturday 15 March 2014No Comments

Welcome to The Black List, your one stop shop for the stories published on the site this week.

SUNDAY REVIEW The Castle Doctrine > The Castle Doctrine is a multiplayer home-invasion simulator from provocative designer Jason Rohrer.  The challenge is to stay alive as long as possible, and continue to develop clever home security measures to protect your family and savings.  Naturally, home defences are funded by stealing from other households trying to do the same. It’s an off-putting scenario and not handled tactfully, but might appeal if you’re looking for something different. READ MORE

MONDAY NEWS The Last of Us heading to the big screen > After enthralling PS3 owners on the small screen, Naughty Dog survival horror epic The Last of Us may soon make the jump to the big screen. As reported by Deadline, the live action film rights have been entrusted to Screen Gems. A Sony subsidiary (much like Naughty Dog itself), Screen Gems is best known to genre fans as the company responsible for the Underworld and Resident Evil film franchises. Oh well. READ MORE

TUESDAY JUST ANNOUNCED Space Noir > Space is all the rage at the moment. From the enduring popularity of EVE Online to the crowd funding triumphs of Star Citizen, it’s clear that the idea of leaving terra firma still holds tremendous appeal. The latest game to reach for the stars is Space Noir, from developer N-Space and publisher Unity Games. READ MORE

WEDNESDAY JUST ANNOUNCED Costume Quest 2 > In the last three years, Double Fine Productions has issued no fewer than a dozen titles. This year is shaping up to be just as busy, with Broken Age already on the virtual shelves and the likes of Massive Chalice and Hack ‘n’ Slash still in production. Tim Schafer’s studio isn’t done just yet though. As reported by IGN, Double Fine is teaming with publisher Midnight City for a sequel to its whimsical fantasy RPG Costume Quest. READ MORE

THURSDAY NEWS The Witcher 3 delayed > Those who have been following The Black Panel for a long time will know my passion for the Witcher series. I loved the second instalment and it is easily one of my favourite games of the last five years. When The Witcher 3 was announced I was almost giddy with joy. The brutal, complex combat and engrossing and mature tale would be coming to an open world setting and I couldn’t be happier. However it seems I am going to have to wait a little longer to get my hands back on Geralt and crew because CD Projekt has announced a delay to the game’s release. READ MORE

FRIDAY JUST ANNOUNCED Grey Goo > This week Petroglyph unveiled a new sci-fi RTS known as Grey Goo. According to the press release, Grey Goo “draws on the best aspects of base building, unit management and all-out warfare for an all-new space saga, removing the tedium and frustration often associated with the genre and focusing on deep, engaging tactical systems modeled on vintage RTS gameplay.” READ MORE