You may have noticed there was no Weekend Roundup last week. That’s because nothing noteworthy happened that we hadn’t reported on in some way. But this week I for one believe we may be gearing up for a good swell of announcements and teases because of the upcoming PAX East, which helps to kick-off the season of major game-related events where all the biggest news comes from. This may not be the period in which many good games are released, but it’s always my favorite time.
PAX East is starting this Friday:
The east coast version of the Penny Arcade Expo will begin in Boston, Ma on April 11 and continue until the 13th. PAX was founded as a purely video-game-centric event in Washington State where many of the gaming industries top companies are based. One of them, Microsoft, is scheduled to hold an Xbox panel on day 2, but they could also use the event to further discuss their recent shift to supporting PC games by utilizing Steam and possibly, finally, talk about the impending closure of the Games For Windows LIVE servers. Valve doesn’t appear to have anything planned for PAX, and both Nintendo and Sony have confirmed to not be participating; likely opting instead to wait for E3 2014 which will begin on June 1. What will be going on is a series of panels and discussions about games and the industry in general by a few of the larger studios as well as a couple of game tournaments. A focus on Indie games will also be featured, showcasing some of the more promising up-and-coming developers. You can read the entire three-day schedule for PAX East HERE. Tickets have been sold out for quite some time.
Bioware to talk about Dragon Age and Mass Effect at PAX East:
Even if no big announcements are made at PAX East, it’s still a great outlet for developers to talk about their craft and let us gamers in on what they are up to now. Bioware has released their PAX schedule, which looks to provide some fairly intimate insight into the daily goings-on at one of the biggest studios in the industry. Developer signings, portfolio reviews, and behind-the-scenes events are set throughout all 3 days. A panel dedicated to Dragon Age will be the first held by Bioware on day 1 and will include a question-and-answer segment. At the end of day 3, Bioware will end with a panel entitled “From Relay to Relay: Exploring the Mass Effect Universe”. Both of these panels may only be retrospectives on the two series, but a new entry in each one is known to be in development by Bioware with Dragon Age: Inquisition expected for release in the fall. The next Mass Effect game is much further away and no real details have been provided yet. It should be noted that Bioware is owned by EA and any game they release could very easily be Origin exclusive.
Watch Dogs Season Pass leaked – will use UPlay:
Speaking of draconian DRM-systems, the Steam product page for Watch Dogs has been updated and now shows that the game will use Ubisoft’s Uplay service. That means a Uplay account will be required and may also force you be online at all times. If that hasn’t made you disinterested in the game, you might like to hear that Gamestop has listed and detailed the Watch Dogs Season Pass pre-maturely. Only entries for the 4 console versions of the game are listed and are set at $19.99, which apparently is 25% less than the already planned DLC items it will include. Among those items is “a unique Single Player Campaign featuring a new playable character plus more missions, weapons, and exclusive content”. Sounds like Ubisoft may be doing something similar to the Freedom Cry DLC and stand-alone package for Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag which acted as a separate campaign starring a unique protagonist. Content exclusive to the PS4 edition of Watch Dogs is also known to be planned. With all the exclusive packs floating around for this game, it may be best to wait for a complete edition to be released if you can wait that long.
Borderlands 2 prequel detailed and given a funny name:
When 2K confirmed the rumor of a prequel to Borderlands 2, they do so without going in to any detail at all about it. But now, Gearbox has released an official announcement for the game which will be called Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The game appears to be nearly identical in gameplay and look to what we’re familiar with but will take place between Borderlands 1 and 2, will tell the story of how Handsome Jack became what we know him as now, and will be set on one of the moons of Pandora called Elpis as well as on-board Handsome Jack’s space-station; both of which were visible at nearly all times during Borderlands 2. The 4 playable characters in the game are all Lieutenants in Handsome Jack’s army and all have appeared in the series before. One of the characters is a Claptrap unit outfitted for combat called Fragtrap. Low gravity areas have also been confirmed with jet-packs being the primary mode of transportation in them, and a new elemental effect will be included in some guns in the form of cryo-damage. The game has been given the release window of Fall 2014 for last-gen consoles and PC. Attendees at PAX East can see the game firsthand on day 2. An off-shoot game in the series, Tales From the Borderlands, is being developed by Telltalle Games who made the Walking Dead season 1 and 2.