Off-Duty Game News Roundup 12/20/13

12/20/2013 Off-Duty Game News Roundup

'Rainbow Six' Patriots Scrapped and Restarted

Players were introduced to "Rainbow Six Patriots" with an emotional, gut-punching demo. The game promised to forego foreign threats and focus on a theoretical homegrown American insurgency. With recent economic turmoil in mind, this topic didn't seem outlandish. But, that was back in 2011. There hasn't been any news regarding the game until now.

Apparently the original game was scrapped and the team is trying again. Laurent Detoc, the Ubisoft North American president, said, "We had a core team. They had a good vision. They got started, and then the game wasn't working. So [they had] to start again." This delay shouldn't come as too much of a surprise given Ubisoft's recent announcements. "Watchdogs," an anticipated cyberpunk open-world game, has been pushed back multiple times, and other projects that aren't part of the Assassin's Creed franchise have been delayed, changed, or potentially canceled. 'Warhammer Online' is No More, Refunds Being Offered

According to Mythic, they didn't want to try taking down "World of Warcraft" with "Warhammer Online." In their words, they wanted to be to "World of Warcraft" what Led Zeppelin was to the Beatles. Unfortunately their efforts weren't enough to carry "Warhammer Online" as far as they had hoped; as of two days ago, the servers have officially shut down. There are many reasons why an MMO closes, but "Warhammer Online" managed to stay online longer than many others. To give players a proper farewell, Mythic added new endgame content. If you have any questions about refunds, check out Mythic's FAQ.

'Diablo III: Reaper of Souls" Release Date Revealed

Despite controversy surrounding "Diablo III," Blizzard's demon-slaying franchise will power on with a new expansion, "Reaper of Souls." Aside from a gorgeous pre-rendered cinematic which sets the scene for the expansion, players have a number of purchasing options to consider. The Digital Standard Edition will only include the expansion for $39.99. This can be upgraded to the Digital Deluxe Edition for $20 more which contains additional armor, weapon-transmogrification recipes, a spectral hound minion, three more character slots, unique portraits for Battle.net, decals for "Starcraft II," and a Treasure Goblin pet for "World of Warcraft."

If you buy the Collector's Edition, a retail exclusive, you'll be treated to everything in the Digital Deluxe Edition as well as a Malthael mouse pad, a hardback art book, and a Blu-Ray/DVD disc set featuring interviews with the development team and community members. This can be purchased for $79.99 at certain retailers.

There's a New 'Star Wars' Space Combat Game for PC

With Disney's acquisition of the Star Wars franchise, gamers have been wondering what's to become of LucasArts video game projects. Although certain titles might have been scrapped, there's been a lot of hype and excitement around the announcement of "Star Wars: Battlefront 3." To add fuel to that fire, Area 52 Games is releasing a brand new project: "Star Wars: Attack Squadrons." The game is billed as a free-to-play (FTP), PVP-only flight combat game. This formula has been used successfully by other studios before, but with scant information, there's no way to tell whether Area 52 will milk their new title's potential. Aside from a lackluster trailer, all we know is that the game is free to play, includes three PVP modes, allows for ship customization to "upgrade" and "personalize," offers points after successful matches to unlock more content, and will provide regular updates.

Although FTP games are relatively new, the success of titles like "World of Warplanes," "Tribes: Ascend," and "MechWarrior Online" is undeniable. The tough part is to avoid free-to-win monetization, as well as including upgrade and customization trees that are exciting for players to unlock. Hopefully Area 52 Games has studied why some FTP games succeed while others fail, and will deliver an experience gamers and "Star Wars" fans alike can get excited about.

'Space Marine: Eternal Crusade' Offers Free Short Story

One of the most appealing aspects of the Warhammer 40,000 franchise is its deep world building. Every element of 40k is rich with potential for storytelling, and its renowned grim, dark grit has been enticing gamers and military sci-fi lovers for over two decades. So, it comes as a pleasant surprise that Anthony Reynolds and Graham McNeil, Black Library veterans both, are creating the narrative background for "Eternal Crusade."

The "Eternal Crusade" website recently released a free short story from Graham McNeil titled, "Space Marines: descent on Arkhona." If you're a fan of 40k, you'll enjoy the standard Ultramrine-on-Tyranid affair. If you've never heard of the Warhammer 40,000 franchise, however, McNeil's story is an excellent starting point.

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