2K Australia in Canberra Shuts its Doors; #2KAusJobs Hashtag Created to Help Those Affected

Earlier today a source confirmed with Kotaku Australia that 2K Canberra, the studio that most recently brought you Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, would be closing its doors. It was confirmed that the entire studio would be shut alongside every staff member losing their jobs.

2K provided Kotaku with a statement citing the reasons for this:

We can confirm we have taken steps to begin the studio closure process for 2K Australia in order to better manage ongoing development costs while improving the working proximity of our creative teams. We are very grateful for the team’s valuable contributions to numerous 2K projects, and are working with affected staff to explore reassignment opportunities where possible.

Sources also confirmed to Kotaku that the studio was planning a move to Melbourne to attract new talent but this ultimately led to the departure of many high levels within the company to leave. A hashtag on Twitter has been created, #2kAusJobs as well as a Google Doc listing possible roles available in an effort to hopefully allows those affected.

Saints Row IV: Re-Elected for PS4 Recalled in Australia

Earlier today, QV Software has informed Australian retailers to pull copies of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected for PlayStation 4 from their shelves due to a manufacturing issue, which has caused the incorrectly classified version of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected to be released in Australia.

Major gaming retailers in Australia, both EB Games and JB Hi-Fi have removed all listing of the PS4 game from their corresponding websites.

Customers are encouraged to return their PlayStation 4 copies of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected to their place of purchase for a full refund. Retailers are being sent correctly classified copies of the game as replacements and will arrive soon.

PICKS OF PAX – Australian Expo Edition

The Best Things About PAX Aus!

PAX Australia 2014 was a brilliant expo that showcased both the amazing talent we have here in Australia of those making games, and the nationwide community that enjoys them. For three days fans descended upon the Melbourne Exhibition Centre to play the best in Indies and AAA titles, as well as chill out with board games, panels and good food.

Picks of PAX is my way of looking back on the great weekend I had, chronicling the best of the Expo and games from my time at the event.

First, the Expo itself.


The Signs

‘Welcome Home’. Before you even walked in the doors of PAX, the Melbourne streets around the Expo had taken upon the feel of it. Signs hung around the venue with messages like “why your IT guy is out sick” and “we’re back, with less tents”. These little signs made me chuckle more than once and were widely shared across social media, it was great to see that the organisers put this extra effort and community touch into their promotion, making it fun and enjoyable before PAX even began.


The Panels

If there’s something I wish I could have seen more of at PAX, it would be the panels. The couple I visited were really well put together and provided a lot of thought provoking discussion. I heard a lot of good reports from others, but between clashes and media appointments I missed a fair few. You could attend PAX and just hop panel to panel for the three days, barely touching the show floor, and still have an amazing time. Lucky for me, and for those of you who didn’t end up at PAX, a lot of the panels were streamed on Twitch and available to watch right now right here, on PAX’s Twitch channel.

The Booths

The big hitters on show at PAX had equally huge booths, ranging from League of Legend’s stage to showcase local matches and Oceanic finals to Ubisoft’s maze of screens and AAA titles. This year booths were given to a huge range of companies, with even Harvey Norman and the Australian Classification Board (mostly unmanned for the weekend) getting their own stands.

One of my favourites was Wargaming’s booth, filled with a tank, a stage and plenty of computers to play on. Another of the cooler ones was Media Molecule’s booth in the Indie area, decked out in all sorts of papercraft creatures in true Tearaway style. All in all, the booths managed to be really different and despite the crowds I never had too much trouble navigating them!


The Cosplay

For a convention without a cosplay competition, there sure was a lot of cosplay. It was really impressive to see so many people decked out as their favourite characters on the show floor. Thanks to the large presence Riot Games had at the expo, a vast majority of the outfits were characters from League of Legends. Similarly, Borderlands cosplay were not in short supply, thanks to the presence of Randy Pitchford and the recent release of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The cosplay was one of those awesome things that served to really amplify the atmosphere of a convention. Wherever you went around PAX you saw characters you knew and loved, be that in the hallways, outside or even in the Crown food court nearby!

The Handheld Lounge; Clear your Streetpasses or even take a nap!

The Community

In my opinion, the best part of the entire convention was the community. From the exhibitors to the developers, the con-goers to the cosplayers, PAX has to be the most positive show I’d ever attended. Kotaku published an article on why PAX was the perfect antidote to the negativity and clashes going on in game culture, and I couldn’t agree more. Everyone was friendly, accepting and enjoying the wonderful world of games, tabletop and indies together.

The Diversity Lounge, a place that really helped foster this atmosphere, contained several booths including one for the charity group ‘Medic‘, working with Special Effect, a group who help disabled people to enjoy games, in the UK. It also showcased games that encouraged diversity, with one of my favourite indie games ‘Never Alone’ on show there. They even had panels and tournaments running in there during the expo, creating a really encouraging space that I feel symbolised a lot of what PAX was about.

All in all, PAX Australia was an incredible experience. From playing tonnes of fun and interesting games to meeting new people and bonding over shared loves, the show was really something special. I’d like to thank everyone involved in organising, exhibiting and even attending for making PAX Aus such a memorable expo. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Jayden Perry ©2014

Nintendo Unveils the ‘New 3DS’

Nintendo Announces New 3DS Models in Japanese Stream

Tonight, Nintendo has absolutely blown me away with its new 3DS models, dubbed ‘New 3DS’ and ‘New 3DS LL’. These models come with a wealth of new features, as well as some cool new aesthetic options for gamers.

These new models have:

  • The addition of a ‘Z’ stick on the right of the touch screen, above the A, B, X, and Y buttons, as seen on the old N64 and Gamecube controllers. This will replace the ‘dual analogue stick’ peripheral for the original models.
  • ZL and ZR triggers next to the L and R triggers on the back of the 3DS.
  • SNES themed colour scheme onA, B, X, and Y buttons.
  • Gamecard slot, headset jack, stylus and holder and power button are now located on the front rim of the 3DS.
  • Inbuilt NFC reader for Amiibo support; simply place the Super Smash Bros figures on the 3DS’ touch screen to activate.
  • Micro SD port and support.
  • Enhanced 3D allowing 3D effect to be seen from multiple angles, great for watching others play.
  • Lighter than previous models.
  • A faster CPU and ‘faster downloads from the eShop’
  • A dual screen browser that will allow you to view pages across both screens.

On top of all this we also have a dock and a range of faceplates to customise your New 3DS with, as well as two limited editions; a Monster Hunter 4 themed bundle and a Super Smash Bros console. Have a look at the gallery below for a huge amount of screens from the stream!

As yet there is no word of an Australian or European release date, but we’ll keep you updated.

Oh, and by the way, Xenoblade is coming to 3DS.

Are Your Gaming Profiles Safe? (Update: 28/8/14)

Update (28/8/14): As exclusively reported by Gamespot, Trion Worlds have stated that there was no “compromise” of their security, rather their systems were infiltrated by a very particular kind of info bot. This bot uses a computer’s IP address and searches for commonly entered username/password combinations, then uses this information to make unauthorised purchases “legitmately” through your account. All those effected are being refunded as soon as possible, and Trion advises all customers to change their passwords, and to not use the same username and password combinations across multiple online services.

Original Article

Account security might be one of those things you brush off, thinking “like anyone would ever hack me?”

I thought the same, until I found myself down $170 I never spent, taken from a recently hacked Trion Worlds account. So, the OXCGN team and I would like to extend our most genuine warnings to gamers, to go through all their accounts and ramp up the security, remove credit card details that don’t need to be connected, and keep yourselves safe from hacking and fraud. Gamers are often the victims of hacking and fraudulent purchases, and now, from personal experience, I can warn you that it is more than worth your time to beef up your account security.

Trion Worlds have responded to similar claims as my own on twitter, stating that all fraudulent purchases are being promptly refunded. If you are a victim of the Trion Worlds hackings, be sure to send an email support ticket to Trion Worlds immediately through support@trionworlds.com.

Don’t be a victim of hacking and fraud; change your passwords regularly, add all available security features, and remove bank details from your accounts.

SMASH! 2014 is Happening this Weekend!

Sydney Anime and Manga Show!

This Saturday anime and manga fans from all around will be flocking to Rosehill Gardens Raceway for SMASH, a huge anime and manga show in Sydney,  Australia. This two day event will be host to an incredible amount of amazing cosplay and useful industry panels, as well as three international special guests and all the merch you could dream of.

The first of the international guests, Reika is a cosplayer from Japan, coming to SMASH for the first time. She’ll be doing a signing and a panel on both saturday and sunday!

Reika as Jean from Attack on Titan

The second guest is Toshihiro Kawamoto, co-founder and director of Studio Bones, a company made famous for animes like Full Metal Alchemist, Space Dandy and Gundam. You can catch him at art panels and signings over both saturday and sunday.

Lastly, Kotono Mishuishi will be in attendance thanks to the Japan Foundation. She has voiced characters in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Dragon Half and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, but it’s her role as Usagi Tsukino in Sailor Moon that has really made her an iconic voice actor. As with the other two guests, She’ll be doing panels and signings over both days of SMASH.

Other than these guests there will be plenty to do, see and buy, with an incredibly large amount of artists and vendors attending, including Madman, Hanabee and Mishelly88. Art prints, merchandise and a whole lot of manga will be for sale as always, so there’s plenty of opportunities to stock up the collection and nab some great bargains over the weekend. Make sure to drop by the maid cafe as well for a fun lunch!

You’ll also find SMASH has put on some fascinating and really beneficial panels for budding artists, cosplayers and creators.

Photography Credits to Phillip Cheung

Over the course of the show there are art competitions and events, cosplay life drawing and workshops on making manga, as well as beginner cosplay and prop tutorials. You can find the full schedule here!

There’s even a maid cafe.

So if you’re in the Sydney area, come on down to Rosehill Gardens for a great weekend celebrating anime, manga and geek culture! Doors open at 9:30 with panels and events beginning at 10am. Tickets are available at the door from 8am saturday. For any other info head to the SMASH website, and keep an eye out for the OXCGN crew there!

Jayden Perry ©2014

Is EA Access Worth Your Money?

Yesterday, EA announced a new subscription service called ‘EA Access’ coming exclusively to Xbox One. Gamers will pay a monthly or annual fee ($6.99 or $39.99 AU respectively) and will have access to what EA is calling ‘The Vault’, a collection of games from their back catalogue, as well as access to 10% discounts and pre-release trials for newer games.

Yep, you read that right: You’re paying for the ability to pay less for their games. If this sounds like PlayStation Plus or Xbox Games with Gold, that’s because it’s essentially the same thing, but exclusively with EA titles.

I already pay for PlayStation Plus, and have found incredible value in the service, though the idea of paying for a second discount service has never crossed my mind. Truthfully, it still hasn’t. Games such as FIFA and Battlefield are incredibly popular, and I’m sure will be the main marketing points for EA in their campaign to get gamers to care about this service, but one thing we have to remember is that we are still paying for the games.

EA Access

The best thing about PlayStation Plus and Xbox Games with Gold is that each month you are given access to a slew of free games – some old, but increasingly we are being given awesome games that are brand new to the platform – from a whole range of developers. I find the idea of having access to one publishers games for a price quite silly – and frankly it’s kind of scary. Think about one year from now, when Activision and Ubisoft have jumped on to this bandwagon as well, offer their own membership services and PlayStation Plus and Xbox Games with Gold are a shallow husk of what they used to be. Why would any of these publishers give their games away for free when they can charge the consumer for the right to pay less?

One thing to mention is that this is exclusive for Xbox One. Sony passed on the service, and were quoted as saying: ‘We don’t think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 (US) a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer”. Personally, I have to agree with Sony on this one. The only EA games that spring to mind that I would be interested in playing in the coming years would be the next Mass Effect, and if ever made, the next Dead Space – but that’s just my opinion. I know how big Battlefield, FIFA and Madden are, so if a gamer plays all of these titles it may be worth their while to pay to save a bit of money AND have access to a library of older titles.

When I say ‘older titles’ I mean those that are already available on Xbox One, as there has been no mention of whether you’ll be able to play ‘last-gen games’ with this service. Perhaps down the road, when more titles are available in ‘the Vault’ it could be worth it for me, but by then we will have access to PlayStation Now, which will grant access to multi-generation games streaming – as well as whatever competing publishers cook up to combat EA’s service.

Honestly, this feels like the next evolution of online passes to me, and I wouldn’t put it past EA to eventually make EA Access mandatory for online multiplayer for their games – but I’d love to hear your opinions? Feel free to comment in the comment section below, or send me a tweet at @deanypants.

E3 2014: Dead Island 2 Preview: “Cool and Kickass”

A New Direction for Dead Island

Set after the events of the original Dead Island and Riptide, the infection that started on the island of Banoi is now spreading all over the world. One such place that has fallen victim to this plague is California, and thus the United States Government has turned the state into a large quarantine zone.

They’ve also turned it into a ‘zombie filled playground’ for our new heroes to dive headfirst into. After the teaser trailer that premiered at Sony’s E3 presentation, we got to see that the new California is a much brighter and fun place than it’s darker predecessors. With Dead Island 2 the developers are opting for a tone described by them as “cool and kickass”; less dark and heavy than those before it but also not reaching the level of ridiculousness of Dead Rising 3.

This tone is mirrored by the goals of the main characters, each one being immune to the virus and heading into the quarantine zone to destroy zombies. This game isn’t so much about escape, this time it’s more about fighting back.

Players will be able to choose from four unique character classes, each with their own skills, abilities and fury attacks. If you purchase the game on Playstation 4 you’ll be able to select an exclusive additional class which has yet been unannounced. The four classes announced are the Hunter, the Berserker, the Speeder and the Bishop. The specifics of each class have not yet been announced, but from the images shown today we’ll have a speedy blade focussed class, a heavy weapon specialist, a ranged weapon class and a fourth class based around thrown weapons.

Deep Silver also announced a central character, ‘Max’, who drives the van featured in the trailer. He will be joined by his loyal pet cat, Rick Furry, in the adventure through California. This is the first time a real life cat has been motion captured in gaming, allowing Rick’s animations to be very realistic. The story behind this quirky duo is one of second chances. Upon seeing these ‘immune’ in California Max hops in his newly outfitted van to start a fresh life in California, hoping to help the immune and potentially find a cure for the spreading illness.

Besides zombies, our characters won’t be the only humans in the quarantine zone. The game will also focus on the human factions gaining power in the zone such as the raiders, escaped prisoners and even deserting military forces. These forces will challenge the player in new ways, often outfitted with powerful weapons and vehicles.

On top of introducing all these new classes, factions and characters, we’ll also be getting new ‘motorised’ weapons like hedge trimmers and hand saws. While this new type of weapon will be very powerful, they will all be powered by fuel, a resource you’ll have to collect, and will make a lot of noise, attracting nearby zombies. These are probably best saved for when you have no choice to fight loud and fast against the horde, unless of course you enjoy being swarmed by the undead! The developers also noted you will be able to dual wield in Dead Island 2, rushing in to fight off zombies with a sawn off shotgun and machete at the same time.

We’ll also see a whole host of new zombie bosses and types, and the developer, Yager, claims to have a new system implemented into the final build that will ensure no two zombies look exactly alike, adding to the immersion of the game. It will be very interesting to see just how different the variety in zombie design will be.

After being presented with all this new information we were treated to a live gameplay demo from a 2013 prototype build of the game. We were also shown in engine renderings of scenery and zombies taken from the most recent build. The graphics are looking quite good at this stage, but I expect we’ll see much more of the actual graphics in the lead up to Dead Island 2’s 2015 release.

The demo opened with us driving in Max’s van into suburban California, and then leads through houses and backyards in the area. This allowed the developers to really show off what is at the core of Dead Island games, the melee combat.

Dead Island 2 adopts the same combat style of it’s predecessors; that is to say it’s full of slicing and dicing zombies up close, lopping limbs and heads clean in gruesome slow motion. Not a lot has changed on the melee side apart from adding more moves and animations, as well as some cool abilities that will have you smashing zombies into the sky with you sledgehammer. It all looked very fun.

Ranged weapons seem to perform better in this game, especially with Yager at the helm. Their previous title, Spec Ops: The Line, was a third person shooter and you can see aspects of that in Dead Island 2’s presentation. New crossbows and guns can be used to devastating effect against zombies and humans alike. You’ll also be able to mod and upgrade your weapons on the go this time round instead of having to find a weapon bench, which is a nice new change.

Yager have worked well so far to implement noise into combat scenarios, as well as using the zombies to attack and distract enemies. By simply shooting cars with a crossbow to get the alarm going or causing an explosion you can draw a whole load of zombies, perfect to take out enemies deep in cover or to set up a dangerous trap.

Fire is another aspect of the title that has an interesting new implementation. In much the same way as we saw in Far Cry 3, grass and foliage can be lit on fire, causing damage to the environment and enemies. It’s a cool little feature that means you have to be more thoughtful in where you lob that molotov, making sure not to find yourself in a dangerous spot!

In terms of multiplayer, the game will offer the full open world and story experience to up to eight players at once. You’ll be able to ‘compete, cooperate or coexist’ in a social open world, but you’ll still be able to play completely solo or offline too.

It will be very interesting to see how this game turns out when we see more footage, and all the way up to release. For now, I’m optimistic. The game has a good studio at the helm and a solid foundation, I only hope that we see a better narrative in this title than in previous entries, and that it will do enough to really make it stand out as a new and improved Dead Island title. The game will be playable at Gamescom and PAX later this year and I’m very interested to see how it differs from and improves upon what was shown to us at E3 2014.

Dead Island 2 is coming to PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 later in 2015. You can check out the official box art below!