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From Bioware Blowout to XIO Footage - News Roundup 20th June 2010

Jonathan Lester
BioWare, Forcetek, Nintendo 3DS, Star Wars The Old Republic, XIO

Star Wars The Old Republic: Bioware Blowout!


Bioware has revealed a deluge of details about their upcoming MMORPG based on the KOTOR universe. It's roundup time!

  • SWTOR's singleplayer will be "far, far bigger" than any previous Bioware game. Not only will the singleplayer have an enormous amount of content, but it will also have an Origins backstory system that changes depending on your chosen class (much like Dragon Age)... that affects the entire game. Apparently, you won't see the same events twice if you play it through as a different character.
  • Revan and the Exile's loose ends will finally be tied up. It's about time. KOTOR 1 and 2 may have wrapped up their specific story arcs fairly well, but were extremely reluctant to tie in these events to the Star Wars universe in general...or hint at what happened afterwards. Luckily, writing director Daniel Erickson has confirmed that The Old Republic will answer most of our questions as well as ground the series into the Star Wars canon. Also, he's coyly avoided stating that Revan and The Exile are dead...so they might be making an appearance!
  • SWTOR isn't out to kill World of Warcraft. Apparently, Bioware are just trying to create a great game that'll give us hours of online Star Wars shenanigans. With any luck, their strong singleplayer will attract a whole new audience into the world of MMORPGs... though it'll take some seriously impressive publicity and pricing to poach a significant option of WOW's player base. [VG247]

3DS To Get SNES Revival

megaman 2

We're absolutely psyched for the 3DS' upcoming arsenal of new games and three-dimensional N64 ports, but apparently we'll also be witnessing a retro revival. The demo reels feature such classics as Mega Man 2, Castlevania, Urban Champion, Kid Icarus, Yoshi's Island, Smash Ping Pong, Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros., Tennis, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Mystery of Murasame Castle (phew).

These classic titles will be given a new 3D lease of life with 'pop-up book' style effects, but Nintendo are currently being very cagey about whether they'll be released separately or as part of a bundle package. Personally, I predict that these titles will be downloadable, low cost offerings with the minimum of graphical upgrades. [1UP]

Forcetek XIO is Armed and Ready!


Remember the Xio? We recently informed you that Forcetek were bringing the gauntlet portion of their exoskeletal motion control peripheral to E3... and we're delighted to bring you some footage of the Xio in action.

Whilst we're still not sold on the concept (in fact, even the official demonstrator was making a real hash of the MW2 training pit), it's gratifying to see that it works. We're especially impressed by the melee action that mimics a slash or stab. [Thanks, SeriousZone]

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!