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Lord of the Rings Online

Five Years Of LOTRO Recapped In Video

Jonathan Lester
Lord of the Rings Online, MMO, trailer, Turbine

Five Years Of LOTRO Recapped In Video

Turbine has released a video diary to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Lord Of The Rings: Online (LOTRO to its mates), looking back at half a decade of development for the critically-acclaimed MMO. Though Turbine's title faced stiff competition, the quality on offer and its switch to a free to play pricing model helped attract a thriving player base, and one that's currently enjoying a festival of free stuff, new content and events. Check out the festivities here - and the video below.

Click here to

From Mutant Bash TV To Indie Dashboard Anger - News Roundup 2nd November 2010

Jonathan Lester
iPhone games, John Carmack, Lord of the Rings Online, News, RAGE: Mutant Bash TV, Xbox Live Indie Games

Carmack Details Mutant Bash TV: RAGE iPhone Spinoff

rage mutant bash

id Software's legendary Technical Director John Carmack wowed us all at this year's QuakeCon with an iPhone port of RAGE, their anticipated new IP. Tim Willets filled us in on some more choice details during our Eurogamer interview, but Carmack has now unleashed the big picture in a (very technical) post on the Bethesda Blog.

Entitled Mutant Bash TV, this standalone title will be a fast and furious FPS that focuses on immediate fun rather than canonical exposition. Score and multipliers will play a key role in gameplay, taking place in a brutal reality TV show set in the RAGE universe.

Beyond basic survival, there are pickups, head shots, and hit streak multipliers to add more options to the gameplay, and there is a broad range of skill levels available from keep-hitting-fire-and-you-should-make-it to almost-impossible. - Carmack

Sounds like fun- and a perfect fit for a handheld device. Unfortunately there won't be much hope for a full RAGE iPhone port, however, as Carmack continued to state that it would be a "hopelessly bad idea" despite the fact that it's technically possible. [BethBlog]

New 360 Dashboard Screws Indie Devs

indie no entry

As an rabid exponent of Xbox Live Indie games, I was utterly dismayed to discover that Microsoft have squirrelled the Indie Games channel behind yet another menu in the redesigned game marketplace. Despite the fact that this impressive stable of Indie developers are arguably the main unique selling point that the 360 has to offer (the jury's still firmly out on Kinect), their online presence has been buried alongside Game Room's bloated decaying carcass and behind the Avatar Marketplace!

Many Indie developers have railed against this new state of affairs, stating (rightfully) that the decreased visibility will negatively affect their sales. This rides on the back of months of poor Microsoft communication and broken sales lists that have dented Independent sales even further. Microsoft should be making the Indie Games service more visible and accessible- not hiding it! Remember, however, that you can also browse the catalogue and queue up demos or downloads in your web browser, here.

Oh, and don't you dare stop at the avatar marketplace on your way to the Indie Games. I'll know.

Mark my words, you haven't heard the last from me on this issue. I foresee a rant in the near future. In the meantime, why not check out our latest XBLIG Roundup and Chaos Gateway Competition!

UPDATE: Vote here to bring the service to Microsoft's attention! It'll only take a minute to register and will make a huge difference.

Inafune Delivers Parting Blows To Japanese Games Industry

Keiji Inafune may have given in his notice to Capcom, but that doesn't mean he hasn't finished running his mouth. In a series of parting blows to both Capcom and the Japanese gaming industry in general, the former R&D chief explained that the current system forces hardworking creatives to become salaried drones and encourages laziness.

In short, it's like a communist state. Working as hard as you can is your own loss. Not working hard becomes more advantageous. But doesn't that get in the way of making games? You can't make good games by just taking it easy. -Keiji Inafune to 4Gamer (thanks, NeoGAF)

Inafune went on to restate that Japanese developers are complacent compared to Western studios, and that he plans to form his own independent games company. [NeoGAF via VG247]

LOTR Online Goes Free To Play Today

lotr online

Just reminding you that Lord Of The Rings Online is now free to play in Europe. We brought you the news back in June, but the F2P model is now up and running. It's a big download, but probably worth a look.

Thanks to Janine for the tipoff, and silkhuk at Hot UK Deals for getting the word out!

From Exoskeleton MoCon to Black Ops' One Man Army - News Roundup 4th June 2010

Jonathan Lester
Call of Duty: Black Ops, Forcetek, Games news, Lord of the Rings Online, Motion Control, Treyarch, Turbine, XIO
Call of Duty: Black Ops

Treyarch: No Black Ops Campaign Co-Op


Previous Treyarch press releases and interviews have confirmed that Black Ops will feature four-player cooperative play... but apparently they were being very literal with their wordplay when they said that it would feature "singleplayer, co-op and competitive multiplayer". Speaking with MTV, Treyarch head honcho Mark Lamia has confirmed that the Black Ops' campaign will be a strictly solo affair (conflicting with several earlier reports).

“Single-player is the epic, cinematic, seat-of-your-pants thrill ride that you star in. Co-op is for when you want to have a blast with your friends, just sitting on the couch and having an awesome experience. We’re crafting unique co-op modes around that experience, but it is different than what people think.”

Considering that the trailers promise us a blockbuster-style cinematic experience, this isn't a particularly surprising move; and the smart money's on a standalone SpecOps mode. However, this is Treyarch we're talking about...and they have everything to prove. Personally, I'm secretly carrying a torch for Vietnam zombies. [MTV Multiplayer]

LOTR Online Goes Free-to-Play This Fall

lotr online

This one's half news, half deal and all good. Turbine's three year old MMORPG has been languishing behind its competitors- and with Bioware's Old Republic just around the corner, they've elected to completely revamp their pricing structure.

Lord of the Rings Online will be free to download and play this Autumn- and will make its money through microtransactions for premium content. Hopefully this will give the Turbine's RPG a new lease of life, and frankly, it'll be a lot better than many of the other free MMOs out there. [LOTRO]

XIO Exoskeleton will Debut at E3


As you know, the motion control war is well and truly on. Microsoft and Sony are going head to head in order to get us off the sofa, with Nintendo gradually digging into an uncomfortable defensive position. However, independent company Forcetek has come out of nowhere with all guns blazing... bringing us what they believe to be the next logical step in MoCon controller technology: a Full Body Exoskeleton.

Recently featured on an episode of Channel 5's Gadget Show, the XIO (pronounced zee-oh, in case you were interested) Exoskeleton is a lightweight device that straps to the user's and provides force feedback for the entire body. Originally designed to aid in physical therapy, the XIO has been adapted for videogame applications. Forcetek's Ryan Christoff explained the full story to 1UP:

"If you're punching somebody [in a boxing game] and you make contact with the other boxer, you would actually be able to feel it. You're going to feel it stop. Our resistance modules are going to engage and you're going to be able to feel that." -Ryan Christoff to 1UP

Apparently the XIO's shoulder unit will be debuting at this year's E3 linked to a playble PC demo- and it's likely that the greaves and chestplate will follow depending on the interest Forcetek manages to attract.

Christoff promises that the XIO's price will be "very competitive with what's out there already"... but considering that Natal will offer full-body motion capture without the need to strap into a restrictive suit, it'll be exploiting a very niche market. E3 will [1UP]

Okay...so we've got a glorified EyeToy, a Wiimote ripoff and a suit of armour vying for our money and attention... but I'm not convinced that Motion Control will genuinely offer us a gaming revolution. Processing power has typically been the primary driving force behind gaming innovation, after all. Would you buy the XIO...or any Motion Control peripheral for that matter? Let us know in the comments!