The toys came to life, and it was cool when they did. Almost four years after Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure let kids place action figures on an NFC device to make them playable in a grand adventure game, what seemed like a goofy idea turned out to be a great one. There's something undeniably wonderful about seeing your toy come alive. That idea is also an absolute gold mine. The Skylanders series broke $2 billion in 2014, just weeks after Disney Infinity became its first major competitor. Now Warner Bros. is releasing Lego Dimensions, a massive mash-up of different pop culture icons rendered as little toys to use in one of Traveller's Tales popular Lego game series.
Coming right on time after Microsoft's leak a few hours ago, some pre-E3 Sony news just popped up. An FCC filing reveals two new versions of the PS4 are on the way, and one of them is its first to come stock with a 1TB hard drive inside, twice the size of the current one. PlayStation gamers have already been able to crack the system open and swap in a larger/faster storage unit, but if you'd prefer to skip the hassle the option of having one from the jump will be nice, and current games fill up a 500GB unit all too quickly.
Mobile gaming doesn't mean low-power gaming according to Acer and Intel. The companies have joined forces to produced the first 14nm Atom x7 processor-powered (AKA Cherry Trail) Android tablet. The gamer-centric Predator 8 has the Acer Quad-Audio system with four front-facing speakers and the aggressive design sense (sharp angles, red, black and grey color scheme) that's been prevalent in PC gaming. The Gen8 Intel graphics should render 3D and video with less of the stuttering that pulls you out of your gaming experience. We didn't get a chance to play with the tablet, but it should be on the market in the next few months.
It's not E3 yet, but Microsoft has taken the wraps off of this limited edition "Independent Developers Pack" Xbox One, in Australia of all places. Besides packing download tokens for five ID@Xbox (Hand of Fate, Threes!, #IDARB, The Jackbox Party Pack, and Never Alone) and DLC add-ons for two others (Warframe, Smite beta) it also has the new Xbox One controller with integrated headphone jack that we've been expecting. In Australia, the bundle is priced the same as any other Kinectless XB1 pack, at $499AU. There's no word on a launch for the US or anywhere else, but with the big gaming conference just a couple of weeks away, we should hear more soon.
Update: It looks like Microsoft removed the reference to a new controller from its store page, but we have a picture of the listing as it originally appeared after the break. That detail may not have been intended to leak this early, but we'll check to see if there's any other information.
The NX console isn't the only product Nintendo's working on behind the scenes, naturally. Via a Direct Micro video session, the company has now shared an outlook of its game plan for this year and beyond -- though we're sure it's not telling us everything. Most notably, Nintendo revealed the Dr. Mario franchise is making a comeback with Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure, which will be launching for the 3DS on June 11th (exclusively in the eShop). But there's more: Bravely Second is finally coming to North America, where it's going to be available on the 3DS sometime in 2016.
Carrier, the latest map for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's Exo Zombies mode, is a seafaring vessel infested with hordes of ravenous former-humans. Since it's on the open seas, of course the ship has a tank with a monstrous, toothy shark just chillin' inside. The shark isn't the intended star of this trailer -- Bruce Campbell and the zombie-slaughtering gunplay is -- but anything with that many teeth is sure to steal the show. See for yourself below. Exo Zombies Carrier is part of the Supremacy DLC pack, due to hit Xbox Live on June 2, with additional platforms to follow.
Prepare for permadeath. XCOM 2, the sequel to 2012's wonderfully rich strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is due to hit PC in November. XCOM 2 comes from publisher 2K and developer Firaxis Games, the very same team behind Enemy Unknown. They've been teasing a big announcement with a website for the Advent Administration, a futuristic government that advertises gene therapies and other technologies that rid humans of all illness -- but the site has been hacked with messages that suggest all is not as rosy as it seems.
Yes, those rumors of Lego building a direct competitor to Minecraft were true: meet Lego Worlds. The sandbox game has launched on Windows through Steam's Early Access program for $17, and promises to do more than just let you sculpt buildings and fight off critters. You can alter the terrain on a large scale, and access ready-made drivable vehicles (including dragons) to get around the procedurally generated landscape. Not too surprisingly, there's also a big tie-in with Lego's real-world plastic bricks. You can play using a handful of old-school and current Lego sets, and more are promised down the road. Don't be surprised if you're eventually buying digital blocks at the same time as their physical counterparts arrive.
Walking onto the roof of the Shangri La Hotel in Santa Monica, California, I was nervous and curious to see Rock Band 4. After all it had been five years since Rock Band 3. Would it still feel good? Is this really the right time to bring back Harmonix's brilliant karaoke video game, with its comfy plastic instruments and catalog of songs? After playing it and then talking with Greg LoPiccolo, one of the creators of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band, my fears were laid to rest. Under a thick smear of sweet rock and roll, of course.