Marvel Heroes: BLACK FRIDAY Will Be the End, Gazillion Fires Everyone, Shutting Game Down in Two Days

     Only five short days after the announcement that Gazillion was closing its doors and Marvel Heroes would be no more as of December 31st, we've received even worse news.  In a spectacularly awful move, Gazillion has fired all of their hardworking staff the day before Thanksgiving via an internal email to their employees.  What makes this so much more awful is the fact that the firing of the employees leaves them without severance, PTO payouts, and no insurance according to Andrew Hair, who before today was a Gazillion gameplay engineer, and confirmed by one of Gaz's former game designers- Brian "Asros" Waggoner.

     It's been leaked from ex-developer Winterthur (@Zurick on Discord) that the Marvel Heroes (Marvel Heroes Omega) will NOT be playable until December 31st, but will in fact end in a mere 2 days (on November 24th) making it a true Black Friday- and in a feat of villainy Gazillion will be giving us the true Omega Update as the game vanishes from our lives.
     While my long-standing and deep appreciation for Marvel Heroes is extremely disappointed in its far too swift server shutdown, my heart and condolences go out to all the awesome Gazillion employees that kept us happily entertained for the last 4 years both in game and on the official forums- they were the real heroes in this, and they have a tough time ahead after CEO Dave Dohrmann's (he of the inappropriate sexual conduct scandals, harassment, and accusations) email destroyed their Holiday season.  It's sad to say, but it looks like instead of taking responsibility, Dohrmann would rather ruin the lives of everyone around him- and tanking any hope of Gaz reaping the rewards of all the great things that were on the horizon for the game.

     There is a very little hope left for the game to be salvaged, though there IS some hope still, there's a petition for Marvel and Disney to save the game, (and on twitter) perhaps under different leadership it could be bought up and given new life, perhaps it will be forgotten and ignored by The House of Mouse- either way, try to show your support for the devs that worked tirelessly for these last few years in whatever endeavors they choose to pursue in the future.  Thank you for all the great memories.

     Sources [ Massively OP ] via [ Reddit ]


Marvel Strike Force: A NEW Mobile Marvel RPG Coming in 2018

     After the sad news of the epic MMO Marvel Heroes Omega being shut down on December 31st, Marvel Entertainment has announced a new mobile game arriving in 2018.  The new game is a free-to-play (with IAPs of course) mobile role-playing game featuring squad-based action being developed by FoxNext Games's Aftershock Studio (this will be their first game).

     The story follows Earth's mightiest heroes assembling against a long-forgotten Kree Eternal named Ultimus, who has become a general in the Kree Empire.  Being an Eternal he shares the same power source as Thanos, and as a Kree he follows warriors such as the religious Kree zealot Ronan The Accuser, and he has realized that Earth is a threat to the the existence of the Kree empire and he has come up with a plane to deal with it.  With his sights set on Earth, Ultimus' goal is to conquer not just Earth, but by every Earth in every dimension by using his technology to controls the minds of all the heroes.

    Aaron Loeb, FoxNext Games President of Studios, has said they are trying to liken the game to fantasy sports teams, where players can draft from a large cast of famous Marvel characters, ranging from Captain America and Doctor Strange to Guardians of the Galaxy like Drax or Rocket Raccoon, or even some of the Defenders like Daredevil and Luke Cage.

    The Creative Director for FoxNext Games, Jason Bender, has described the game's tactical range and gameplay as:
"There is immense depth of strategy across characters and squads, which typically have 5 characters on the field at a time. Players will build a force of around 70 characters, with even more to be revealed! 
Every character has to collect a variety of gear in order to grow stronger, and they have 3 to 4 unique abilities each. As abilities improve, new mechanics will unlock and reveal new tactical options. For example, Daredevil might start out attacking a single target at a time, but will quickly grow to chain his martial arts maneuvers to multiple enemies in a single attack." 
     The game will also launch with at least one player-to-player mode- being a highly competitive, but friendly arena allowing players to test their mettle against each other and earn rewards as they climb the ladder to the top- as well as the promise of a wide variety of more PvP modes planned.  In addition there will be alliances to aid in strengthening teams and collecting new gear and upgrades.

     It should be noted that Marvel Strike Force clearly resembles Marvel Avengers Alliance 1 & 2, both of which were shut down in September 2016, and definitely appears similar to another current Disney owned property's product- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, and by the sounds of it, ` will also rely on the gacha system of gathering characters and building them up, which is something I truly loathe.  I've got to admit, it looks like a better game than Contest of Champions, (Strike Force's art style is actually extremely similar to C.o.C.'s) but nowhere near as fun as the full 3rd person action of Future Fight.

     Marvel Strike Force [ Pre-Register Now ] and it will debut in 2018.

     Related Posts [ Future Fight ]

     Sources [ Marvel News ] [ Variety ]


THQ Nordic Releases Titan Quest: Ragnarok: A Whole NEW Expansion Pack

     In a completely surprising move, THQ Nordic has not just announced, but released a brand new expansion to the action-adventure RPG classic game Titan Quest today called Ragnarok!

     The last new expansion for the game came out just over a decade ago with March 2007's release of Titan Quest: Immortal Throne.  Now, Titan Quest's new fifth act, Ragnarok, brings our heroes into the cold and harsh lands of northern Europe, from the dark forests of Germany all the way to Asgard.  We'll encounter the Celts, Northmen, and even the Asgardian gods themselves in the largest act so far.  The glorious world of antiquity can be explored

     Players will have a plethora of new quests to complete featuring new weapons and gear, new enemies and bosses, a new 10th mastery, and even the most important cold-weather ability- wearing pants!
Become a Runemaster, a magical warrior fighting with both, spells and weapons.
Combine newly learned with existing masteries for a total of 45 combinations.
Reach level 85 and maximize your character’s potential.
Find new and powerful gear, from colorful Celtic shields to famous weapons of Germanic legend.
New relics and charms for crafting, and a new option to improve even legendary items.
New thrown weapons strike the balance between range and speed!

A wider variety of regional styles and color dyes.
Finally: wear pants!

New shaders and graphical effects.
Improved ragdoll physics.
Improved UI and combat feedback for total information.
Improved control customization.
Improved modding tools.
     This is certainly a wonderful surprise for fans of Titan Quest.

     Note: the Ragnarok expansion requires Titan Quest: Anniversary Edition to be played.

     Play Titan Quest: Ragnarok via [ Steam ]
          It 's 25% with a current price of $14.99 (regularly $19.99) Offer ends Nov. 24th.

Marvel Heroes Omega: My Thoughts on Disney Officially Shutting it Down


     After 4 and a half years of having some serious ups and downs, Marvel Heroes is finally being closed.  Over the last month many of us long time players have been speculating about this possibility on the forums, the first news broke from Kotaku letting them know Disney/Marvel is parting ways with Gazillion.

     As a Marvel representative stated in an email to them:
“We regret to inform our Marvel Heroes fans that we have ended our relationship with Gazillion Entertainment, and that the Marvel Heroes games will be shut down. We would like to sincerely thank the players who joined the Marvel Heroes community, and will provide any further updates as they become available.”
     Later AgentPilot posted an official statement from Gazillion on their forums:
"We’re sad to inform our players and our entire Marvel Heroes family that Marvel Heroes Omega will be shutting down. The Marvel Heroes servers will stay on until Dec 31, 2017, and we’ll be removing real money purchases as soon as possible. Players will be able to play the game entirely for free once this sunset period commences. We will share the exact date things go completely free as soon as we can. 
We’ve had the privilege of entertaining and collaborating with our players for over four years. We’re extremely humbled by that privilege and wanted to get this message out: Thank you. Thank you to our players, our tireless employees, and everyone involved in the life of Marvel Heroes, Marvel Heroes 2015, Marvel Heroes 2016, and Marvel Heroes Omega."

     Gazillion has been in a very turbulent times ever since David Brevik (of Diablo 2 fame) departed the company in January 2016 (check out these threads, the tone of the forums drastically shifted), and having other Gaz employees like Doomsaw and Ryolnir go was another huge hit- resulting in a quick downhill slide of the game.  Former long-time Gaz Community Agent Fenixion posted his own decision to leave on the forums on Halloween definitely gave us more worries, as well as Agent Vapor's departure.
     Really, the only good to come out of this was the surprise return of former Gaz employee Doomsaw to the forums.  He swung through and found he still had moderator privileges, but they were quickly stripped even with no other Gaz members posting anything.  Since no Gaz employees were doing or saying anything, he voluntarily went and tried to raise hope and bring levity to the forums.
     Much more recently is the highly inappropriate sexual misconduct issues concerning Gazillion's CEO Dave Dohrmann, and the fallout it's having on the rest of the staff and company. [ More references: 1, 2, 3, 4 (at about the 1.5hr mark) ]  And then Gazillion going completely silent shortly after this. [ Great video by DisKingdom about companies (Gaz particularly) going silent. ]  The long awaited and promised Omega patch, along with numerous other things like the costume closet, the Halloween event, and Thor Ragnarok tie-in pack, never arrived for the scheduled Oct. 27th date.

     It's extremely disappointing to hear, but honestly the PC player base had been dwindling from being essentially neglected for the console ports after the "Biggest Update Ever" shit all over the game (the BUE essentially prepped and simplified the game to be ported)- while it made a lot of good starts, it completely ruined the way a great many of the characters could be played, eliminating the vast variety of character play styles and shoe-horned them into essentially only one viable build for each character.
     Gaz pretty much ditched the extremely loyal PC player base for the potential for new console players and it was an absolutely terrible choice.

     I'd previously written that, "It's the only game I've made an effort to play at least a half hour a day for the last year.  It's just amazing and it keeps getting better.  Thank you Gazillion.  Marvel Heroes 2016 is a must play for fans of any Marvel properties."  In all reality, I probably put in a thousand plus hours.  The original launch was a mess, but the game progressively made it amazing by the 2016 iteration, and until the Biggest Update Ever, was easily, without-a-doubt the best Marvel game ever made.  Sadly, after the BUE (and the changes in leadership and direction) the game never got back to what it was and what it could've been.

     It'll be very sad to see this game go, but honestly they could still make a few bucks by compressing what they can and makingthe game able to play on disc or download with private servers.  Sell the game as old games were, a whole item, playable without an internet connection.  Hell, just the Danger Room section itself could be sold (obviously we'd need to be able to keep all the crap we've already unlocked/bought) as a game in itself.  It'd also need to have the Hydra damage bugs toned WAY down, which should've been fixed a year ago.
     Though it makes me wonder if Disney and Marvel will still hold all the programming and assets and whatnot, and if they might bring in a new team to possibly relaunch the game somewhere down the line.
     As for me, I'll probably get a good couple weekends of play in on this, and go back to hyping the only other Marvel game I play every day- Marvel Future Fight.

     My own Marvel Heroes account link [ MrJRB ]

     Related-ish posts [ Future Fight ]

     Sources [ Massively OP & 2, 3 ] [ Kotaku ] [ HiMyNameIsLeo ] [ MMORPG ]

Morphite: Finally Arriving on Android Next Week!

     I've been following and reporting on Morphite since the beginning, nearly a year and a half ago.  Posting on it both here, and over at Droidgamers (1 & 2), and when they announced the release date I was overly excited!  But that excitement was quickly quashed when Crescent Moon Games said that it was only hitting the Nintendo Switch, X Box One, PS4, and Steam in September, then in October for iOS users, and is with the curse of Android gaming, we were going to have to wait a while longer after that.

     Considering it was originally hyped as game for the mobile market, it's been a long, long wait for this glorious game.  If the reviews on all the other systems are any indication, Morphite's arrival on Android will be well worth the wait.  We will finally have a decent combination of Metroid Prime and No Man's Sky in the palms of our droid gaming hands for some action-packed space adventures.


Slaughter 2: Prison Assault NEW Trailer

     The first Slaughter game was a genuine surprise for mobile gamers.  It came out of nowhere from creator/developer Ray Spark (aka Venomized Art).  He brought us a truly sublime 3rd person shooter for mobile.  I've said over and over that Slaughter had great controls, tons of action, loads of fun, and even some oddball Borderlands-esque humor all crammed into our pocket.
     Then I found out he announced a sequel and was downright ecstatic, and with each new teaser my excitement grew.  Now, as we inch ever closer towards launch day, we've received yet another great new trailer showcasing some awesome footage featuring new locations, hints of the story, and even a peek at some of the improved combat- and it certainly looks amazing

     Where the first game put players in the shoes of a mercenary named Russel fleeing a town populated with hordes of madmen, the sequel places you on the opposite side of things and into the role of one of the Special Forces soldiers that crossed paths with Russel.  It has also been confirmed that Slaughter 2 will at some point cross-over in terms of story with the first game.

     Spark has said the game will have better graphics, animations, and a bunch of new weapons and enemies.  Slaughter 2: Prison Assault is set to be about twice the length of its predecessor in terms of gameplay, along with a bunch of additional trivia, texts, and in game secrets to uncover! 

     Slaughter 2: Prison Assault will be available "SOOOOOOOON!"*

     The first Slaughter is currently available for $.99 on [ Google Play ] [ iOS ]

*This new trailer was listed as being for a Google Play technical preview.


DC Unchained: Delayed to 2018

     After it was revealed at Comic Con Seoul, the upcoming mobile action-RPG game DC Unchained has been oddly missing from the news.  In late October however, the developers released some potential bad news for the title.

     Due to some financial woes, DC Unchained developer FourThirtyThree, Inc (4:33 Creative Labs), a one time top South Korean developer, has reported massive net losses since 2014 with  great competition from mobile game giants like Nexon and NetMarble (who make the Marvel comics equivalent game called Marvel Future Fight).  Since the announcement 4:33 has had to make huge alterations to their business model after having no break out titles in years.  They had an emergency board meeting to discuss and plan a new business strategy, which includes a move away from creating 3rd party and move towards more self-developed IPs and titles, as well as reductions in manpower in marketing and publishing roles.  While 4:33 have said there's been no restructuring, they have offered employees the opportunity to retire from the company.

     The company has stated that any games that already have 3rd party deals will remain unaffected.  With that, they've got Blade 2, Boxing Star, and DC Unchained on the way to hopefully alleviated the financial troubles.  Part of the announcement mentioned the fact that DC Unchained will not hit the expected release of late 2017 in time for the release of the Justice League film, but rather the game will be released in 2018- and it has been confirmed to be coming to western markets for certain.

     Sources [ MMO Culture ] [ NewsNews ]


Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Voice Cast Announced & Worrisome Changes


     Yesterday, Nickelodeon announced the voice cast for their upcoming 26 episode 2D re-imagining of the TMNT series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

     The cast all sounds pretty good so far.  We'll be getting Omar Miller as Raphael, Ben Schwartz as Leonardo, Josh Brener as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith as Michelangelo, Kat Graham as April O’Neil, and lastly TMNT vet Eric Bauza as Splinter.  I'm particularly pumped for Brandon Mychal Smith's Michelangelo, and curious to hear Bauza as Splinter after he voiced Nickelodeon's current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Tiger Claw.

     And with the cast comes the official plot summary:
     Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo on all-new adventures as they seek to unlock the mystical secrets of New York City. From the tallest skyscraper to the dankest sewer drain, the Turtles will encounter absurd new mutants and battle bizarre creatures all while enjoying their favorite slice of pizza. 
     Tapping into mystic, ninja powers they never knew existed, the four brothers must learn to work together and navigate the perils of the modern age and hidden realms in order to fulfill their destiny to become a team of heroes.

     Now comes the parts that worry me.  With the re-imagining of the Turtles, comes the changes.  With all iterations some changes can be great, and there shouldn't really be problems with those, but there are always some that don't really quite make sense.  Such is the case with the fact they are seemingly altering a piece of the brothers' foundation of their relationships. That part is a little irksome to say the least.
     While Michelangelo, Donatello, Splinter, and April all remain in their archetypal roles, Leonardo and Raphael are apparently being swapped which makes little sense. 
     From Nickelodeon's source article, they say, "Raphael, as the oldest and physically biggest brother, he is now the leader and his enthusiasm and bravado puts him front and center for most of their bizarre adventures; Leonardo, the self-professed ‘coolest’ brother possesses irreverent charm and a rebel heart." 
     What bothers me is the fact that Nickelodeon is completely changing the foundation of these two.  Since the beginning, I've always seen all four brothers as representing very distinct archetypes, and with the alteration of two, that changes the team's entire dynamic.  Raph has been the fire of passionate emotion, Leo was the more level-headed water, constantly flowing and seeking a true balance, Don was the stable Earthly, logical mind, Mikey is the airy heart, wild and free- and Splinter connected them all as the spiritual core. 
     Think of how these fundamental character principles effect the group's relationships- and for a great reference, look at how Avatar: The Last Airbender uses the same core ideas with their own characters as elemental Benders.  This shift will put the emotion in the role of leader instead of the less turbulent flowing of water and that goes against, not just the TMNT's own history and precedent, but flies in the face of mythological/archetypal basis- Raph's pure emotion shouldn't rule, in the same way that Mikey's heart or Donatello's pure logic shouldn't lead the team.  It'd be the equivalent of having an instinctually Id driven person, without the guidance of the Super Ego (Leo), balancing the pure unconscious (Mike), Id (Raph), and rational Ego (Don).  This is something that will eat at the back of my mind for a while, and is definitely something more for me to ruminate on to possibly flesh out more and explain better.

     As a lifelong Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, but I'm going to be very, VERY skeptical going in to the show.

     Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is set to premiere in 2018 on Nickelodeon.

     For related posts [ TMNT ]

     Source [ Nickelodeon ]