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By 25 May 2012 | Categories: news

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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer shuts down
 
38 Studios and its subsidiary Big Huge Games, which were behind the very good Kingdoms of Amalur title, have apparently become the victim of a monster that couldn’t be slain by magic, melee or sneaky means: insurmountable debt.
 
Sadly, the sudden defeat meant the untimely demise of the jobs of some 400 workers. According to The Escapist magazine, which leaked the official letter sent by the company, employees were informed that they had been laid off via email owing to the company experiencing “an economic downturn."
 
"To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a companywide lay off is absolutely necessary. These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary. This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012," the letter stated.
 
The move comes after 38 Studios defaulted on its payment of its $75 million loan to the Rhode Island Board of Economic Development and missed making its payroll at the same time. Despite subsequently paying its debt, this could not stop senior executives, including the company’s chief executive Jennifer Maclean, from leaving the company, which along with its economic woes, was a nail in the studio’s coffin.
 
It also means that Project Copernicus, a massively multiplayer online game that was in the works, will likely be shelved, unless it, and the KOAR IP, is resurrected from the Well of Souls, or rather, the Pit of Obscurity. Here’s hoping it is.    
 
 
Delays, delays, damn delays!
 
What do Bioshock Infinity, Tomb Raider, Colonial Marines and Devil May Cry have in common? They have all been delayed until the beginning of 2013.
 
Following Irrational Games’ announcement that it was delaying Bioshock: Infinity from its October 2012 timeframe to February 2013, Aliens: Colonial Marines received a push to the same time period.
 
Lara Croft’s reappearance in the Tomb Raider reboot has similarly been put on hold until the first quarter of next year, apparently to give the developers more time to add an extra layer of quality to the game (possibly to match that extra layer of mud on Lara’s face?).
 
The other reboot on this list, DmC: Devil May Cry, by the developers behind the excellent but under-appreciated Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, has similarly been pushed to a release date of January next year.
 
Metro: Last Light (see below) and Prey 2 have experienced a similar fate. All this means that the load on action gamers wallet’s just got a lot lighter, for this year at least, and the line-up for next year is now looking that much more stellar.
 
Thankfully, Halo 4, Darksiders 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 are all on track at this point for release this year, meaning that there is still plenty games to lay claim to your hard-earned cash, and perhaps even more preciously, your time, in the rest of the year.   
 
 
Oh, the horror, on the 3DS
Now here’s a game that can either be amazing or fall flat on its face. Spirit Camera: The cursed memoir is an upcoming horror title for the Nintendo 3DS, using the portable console’s camera as an integral part of gameplay.
 
It blends the story with your environment via augmented reality (AR), helping to free a girl called Maya from an evil curse.The camera is used as the mysterious “Camera Obscura”, with an AR book called the Purple Diary shipping with the title. Unlocking the mysteries of the book, you’ll find spirits that can either hurt or help you, and a number of mini-games and puzzles.
 
It’s heading for a fright night on our shores on the 6th of July. Check out the trailer below to see if this can work for you.  
 

Head to the Metro, again
 
2010’s Metro 2033 had a strong following and was one of the better FPS that landed on our desks that year. Yesterday the live-action launch trailers (see first video below) of the follow-up, Metro Last Light, were launched.
 
Last Light takes place a year after the first title and residents of Moscow are still living in the Metro stations beneath the city. They are not only locked in battle with mutants, but also with other stations, with nothing less than an all-powerful doomsday device up for grabs.
 
The live action trailer shows how residents ended up in the Metro, but reveals very little about the new game. So for some in-game footage we’ve included a second trailer, with an appropriate soundtrack provided by Portishead. We think it’s looking great, so hopefully Metro Last Light haven’t succumbed to the dreaded sophomore slump.
 

 

 
Skyrim update brings mounted combat
 
Along with the expected bug fixes, the forthcoming update to Skyrim will apparently bringing yet another highly requested feature, namely mounted combat.
 
According to Bethesda’s blog, the new feature will be arriving for free. Players of the PC version can access the feature already, by opting into the latest Steam Beta Update, the company explained. The company promised that it would let console players know when the feature becomes available for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions.
 
Bethesda further reiterated its  ongoing commitment to “supporting the game through free updates, and mod tools”, and promised it had some “great stuff” to show, along with more details on its first piece of DLC, Dawnguard, in the near future.
 
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time sneaks onto PS Vita
 
For PS Vita owners there is certainly much to look forward to. Along with the impending Gravity Rush (which has received very favourable reviews following its release overseas), it was announced this week that Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time will also be released on the PS Vita alongside its PS3 release later this year.
 
According to Joystiq, the Vita version will apparently be cross-save compatible with the PS3 version as well as boast a few augmentations that take advantage of the Vita’s myriad of control schemes.
 
Even more tantalising, Sanzaru Games hinted that it was considering whether buying one version would come with complimentary access to the other.
 
New Darksiders 2 gameplay video reveals The CrowFather
 
In case you are as excited about Darksiders 2 as we are (thankfully still on course for release in August), a new video shows yet another distinctive character you can look forward to encountering, while showing the opening to the forthcoming sequel.
 
More importantly, the video below shows how much more agile Death is as compared to the first game’s protagonist War. Hit the video below to see why the action title deserves a spot on your radar if it isn’t already.
 
 
Contributions by Mike Joubert.

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