Borderlands 2 Mechromancer gets released a week early
Chalk up another point for Gearbox. Hot off the heels of the official Borderlands 2 release, the developer had planned to release one more character class to the game after the fact. Gaige the Mechromancer – and her plucky floating robot DeathTrap – were planned to drop into the harsh wilds of Pandora sometime next week, but it seems the folks at Gearbox were a bit too eager to get her there. Randy Pitchford let the news drop on his Twitter account early this morning that the Mechromancer is actually available today, just about a week earlier than intended.
You can’t really argue with getting more content ahead of schedule, and in this case it’s a great opportunity for people to take another look at Borderlands 2. I haven’t had the time to play it in a week or two, especially with juggernauts like Dishonored and XCOM releasing today, but for those of you who are still entranced by the myriad of guns and legions of psychos, Gearbox has fired off a nice little present to keep you hunting for that Vault.
[Source: Twitter via Randy Pitchford]
Valve Software inviting (local) fans to test games, hardware prototypes
File this one under the “Hype-o-Matic” folder: Valve Software appears to be gearing up for the next phase in whatever products they’re cooking up in their cavernous offices. We’ve known they’ve been working on some sort of hardware for a while, as well as a few unreleased games that probably have a “3″ in their titles, but now Valve’s made a much more public declaration regarding getting people to test them out. To that end, they’ve set up a nice little survey that asks players some rather general questions about what types of games (and Valve games ) they play, as well as more interesting queries like “How often do you beat/finish the games that you play?”
While it might not be anything big like the rumored Steambox the Internet-At-Large thought they were working on for a while, I’m pretty excited to see what they are working on. Valve has a pretty decent track record when it comes to tinkering with things after the fact, but if these playtesting sessions result in better hardware and, in some alternate universe, a release for Half-Life 3, I can’t push people to that survey page fast enough.
Oh, it’s worth mentioning that their offices aren’t really that cavernous. They have a wonderful kitchen on the fourth floor that I took a bottle of Vitamin Water from once.
Have no fear: Microsoft Banana Dollars aren’t going away
A few days ago, a report from the Verge suggested that Microsoft would be phasing out their oft-maligned Microsoft Points/Banana Dollars/Rickenbackers currency in Windows 8, relying on good old fashioned real money in the future. As luck would have it, that’s not entirely true. A new update, also from The Verge, informs us that the points aren’t going anywhere as far as the 360 is concerned. While Windows 8 users can use plain ol’ cash, 360 users are still going to have to finagle with the Banana Dollars.
This seems needlessly confusing, although from the looks of things this is the first step in actually getting rid of the Microsoft Points scheme for good. I can’t imagine it’d be very easy to just go full-stop on switching out your currency system mid-generation, and as such having the currency stop working on one platform while keeping it active on the older one is about as solid a decision as you can make. The weird thing here is the dichotomy between Windows 8 and 360 users: if you want to buy things from the Marketplace but don’t want to convert over to MSP, you’re going to have to go about it on a machine running 8. I have to wonder if this switch will apply to XBLA games and DLC as well, or if that’ll be totally locked out from the currency switch until the next-gen consoles hit. Only time will tell.
[Source: The Verge]
Visceral Games gearing up for a MOBA
IGN uncovered a really interesting set of job openings over at Dead Space developer Visceral, all of which point at the Redwood City-based developer moving toward a free-to-play MOBA game. They specifically note a Global Community Manager and Game Designer in the spots they’d like to fill.
The idea of another MOBA coming out isn’t too surprising giving the astonishing success of games like League of Legends and Dota 2. The fact that it’s coming out from a studio known almost entirely for single player-centric titles is a bit stranger, but more free-to-play games aren’t the worst thing we could have to divide our attention between. It’s still too early to speculate on what the game might be, of course, but if I can hope, I’d like to see something that breaks away from the Defense of the Ancients mold a little more, something in the vein of Super Monday Night Combat. One can dream.
Dyl-Questing – The Best Thing I Read Today: Trendspotting
Over on Rock Paper Shotgun, wordsmith Alec Meer takes a look at some of the major trends that have cropped up over the course of this crazy year in video games. F2P games, MOBAs, a revival of old ideas, the whole list is chock full of concepts that have dominated the gaming conversation in 20doz. As we come to the end of this console generation, it seems that games might be getting a little more self-aware in the process. It’s a terrifying, wonderful future.