Assassin’s Creed Franchise Taking a Breather

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has seen its share of bad publicity with the last couple of games released. Assassin’s Creed Unity was a fiasco of magnitudes and while Syndicate did better, it failed to reach the same sales records as previous games. Both Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed have gotten a bad name and it looks like they’re pulling the breaks in order to take a breather and get the series back on track.

According to multiple anonymous sources which have provided credible leaks in this franchise before, we won’t see any new game in this series in 2016 at all. The next Assassin’s Creed game will instead come in 2017, giving the developing studio a little more time to come up with a fix for a broken game.

Now when I say broken game, I don’t refer to the trouble with Unity, but rather the whole concept. Assassin’s Creed is caught between the casual and hardcore gamers and with a product that doesn’t satisfy either one in the end. The original stealth approach has been replaced with a more straight on slaughter mode and the introduction of more and more firearms also disgruntled a lot of users. Not to mention the ship battles in Blag Flag, that while cool seemed totally out of place in the game.

One of the anonymous sources also leaked some information on the new games location and setup, but that wasn’t confirmed by any of the other sources. But according to this source, the new Assassin’s Creed game coming out in 2017 will be set in Ancient Egypt with the protagonist being a (former) slave. The project is codenamed Empire, but that will most likely not be the official name. The new game is said to

The new game is said to get a Witcher 3 feel with player progression and a freeform combat system. The environment is described as extremely colourful and with very little parkour. Both of these things might be something that will leave the hardcore fans disappointed. There will be horses and ships to travel, but no naval combat, oh and you’ll get a pet eagle like the one known from the Far Cry franchise.

While I think that it is great that Ubisoft is taking a breather to rebuild a damaged and what used to be one of my favourite game series, I’m not convinced that what has been leaked so far will change much. It’s just not the same game anymore.

As bonus information, I can add that it looks like Ubisoft will use the opening created by this to release Watch Dogs 2 instead, but that’s just another rumour so far.

Mighty No.9 Release Date Confirmed

8 Bit and 16 bit side scrolling games. The classics that are remembered by many as the start of their gaming lives are due an update and Deep Silver and Comcept look to do just that with the release of Mighty No. 9.

The game has been plagued by delays, to the point where even the demo that was promised was pushed back by the companies involved. Finally, Deep Silver and Comcept have come forward with a release date, that resides less than five months from now.  In America, you will be able to get Mighty No. 9 on the 9th February with the whole world gaining access on the 12th.

The concept of a side scroller was made famous by games like the Megaman series. You are challenged by aesthetically different environmental hazards and enemies as you jump, climb and shoot your way to the boss awaiting you at the end of the level. Defeating them will grant you access to their weapon, allowing you to complete the level and any subsequent levels with their abilities.

With 9 initial levels followed by 3 later on, you’ll be able to play a variety of levels and see who is best suited to what weapon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alhQ3cmIGT8&feature=youtu.be

With a variety of levels and options available, platforming games often make appearances at tournaments where speed running is the flavour of the day. Challenging your friend to see who can complete a level faster and with the better score is always a nice challenge and one that is rarely done without a smile.

Thank you DSO Gaming for the information.

Image courtesy of DualShockers.

Russian Government Officials Say No To Internet Tax

First it was Hungary that proposed the internet tax, that as we recall didn’t end all too well well. Now the next East-European country tried the same, an internet tax for every citizen that has a connection of one sort or another. What might sound like a smart idea to get rid of piracy and pay off the media lobby, the result is the same as with communism: A great theory, but one that just doesn’t work in real-life.

Earlier Sergey Fedotov had proposed a tax of 25 rubles to be added every month, a sum that doesn’t sound like much, but it would account for an 5% increase on the average internet connection costs. And looking at the broader picture, if passed it would bring in close to 860 million dollars. “We believe that this amount would cover the interests of all holders, which are represented in the Russian digital market. We are talking about movies, music, and literature,” – said Fedotov.

But it looks like the State Duma doesn’t agree with this, or just doesn’t want to experience what went on in Hungary during the protests and riots. According to reports they shut down the proposal this morning as they voted against the Introduction of charges for the use of internet.

Thanks to Sergnoff via Teksyndicate forums for providing us with this information

Disneyland and Walt Disney World Become No-Fly Zones

Ever wondered why there aren’t many aerial photos of Disney’s theme parks around? Gizmodo has just complied information that they’ve become highly protected no-fly zones quite some time ago. These prohibited air spaces are said to come around for other reasons than general terror threat.

Flash back to 2003, Disney had successfully talked Congress into declaring the airspace around its theme parks as a no-fly zone. This reportedly came at a good time due to Congress passing big spending bills all centered around the war in Iraq, meaning Disney were able to sneak in their bill which had been on the table for a long time. The space in question actually includes a three mile radius around Disneyland and Walt Disney World, not just the buildings themselves.

According to reports, the main reason they wanted this passed wasn’t due to threat of bombing, photography or bird poop – it’s due to aerial advertisements. We further learned that other theme parks don’t get no-fly zone privileges, even if a terror thread is possible. A Disney spokeswoman, Leslie Goodman, announced at the time of the bill passing:

 “The sole and exclusive motivation for seeking these restrictions is for the safety and enjoyment of our guests”

She went on to explain that this restriction was targeted at things such as “banner ads from trial lawyers” and pilots “buzzing the parks.”

Due to this ruling, there was over 100 aerial advertising companies that were effectively shut down from operations, seeing them lose business until breaking point. However, you’re not plastered with advertisements while you’re trying to enjoy your triple priced hot dog and find your lost third son in the crowd.

Image courtesy of Travel Channel

Chip Company FTDI Silently Bricking Clone Chips

Chip manufacturer FTDI has admitted that a silent update they issued has been used to brick clones of their FGTI FT232 chips.

The FT232 is an extremely common chip found in various electronic devices, therefore some clones are most certainly present through different manufacturers. Unfortunately for us, the 99%, there’s no real way of telling if your device has a clone chip installed. That is unless you’ve recently had your device bricked.

Obviously there’s an outrage at the way this situation has been handled by FTDI, who’ve utilized a Windows Update to deliver a driver update that bricked all cloned FT232 chips. What this driver actually does is a simple reprogram of the USB PID to 0, rendering the chip dead instantly.

Still a bit confused about why you should care or where the chip comes in to daily life? FTDI’s chip is quite often seen on devices which contain USB-serial port hardware capabilities, used to add a USB serial port to a device or project. Popular hardware Hacker website, Hack A Day, added:

“The FTDI FT232 chip is found in thousands of electronic baubles, from Arduinos to test equipment, and more than a few bits of consumer electronics. It’s a simple chip, converting USB to a serial port.”

FTDI has since admitted to bricking these cloned microchips, claiming it is justified due to them being illegitimate clones of their original device. They went on to explain that they do not intend to target users, but the manufacturers using said chips. Unfortunately for FTDI, they aren’t aware that the end users actually have no idea if there is a cloned chip in their device or not.

Image courtesy of Arduino

Apple’s iPod Classic is No More

But wait, there’s more! As we’re all busy “running around like a headless chicken” over Apples announced release of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus, iWatch and Apple Pay – a very special and original Apple innovation has slipped into the shadows.

When searching for a MP3 player for myself in 2010, I had the tough task of finding an alternative that meant I could store copious amounts of data wrapped up into a suitable interface. Now, I’m no Apple fanboy (currently Galaxy S4 user), but the iPod Classic was the only thing I could find at the time to suit my needs. Unfortunately, the old 256mb pen drive sticks of yesteryear would no longer ‘cut the mustard’.

Fast-forward to September 2014 and take a second to look at Apples iPod section, and can you see what’s missing? No official statement has been seen from Apple about this as of yet, but it seems that they are just planning to kill the iPod classic off silently without causing a stir. This marks the end of an era, gone but not forgotten.

So that now begs the question, if you’re still looking for a dedicated MP3 player with large scale capacity and a screen to boot, what are your options. Or is the age of the MP3 player dead as phones now reign supreme?

Cover image courtesy of Apple

HTC Apparently Canning Smartwatch Plans

More Smartwatch news! I know what you’re thinking – what could possibly be left? We’ve recently covered Apples iWatch release plans, rumored iWatch pricing and the vast range of big name companies getting in on the Smartwatch craze – but here’s something that’s a little of ‘column b’.

HTC was previously reported saying that they weren’t going to enter the Smartwatch market as they believed it wasn’t something worth their time. They originally planned a release, but canned the idea due to inflating costs and other things out of their control.

It was also reported that HTC were developing a wearable prototype that contained Qualcomm’s Mirasol display – a low-powered colour screen which can be viewed well in sunlight.

Whether these reports are true or not, it now seems confirmed that HTC are going to leave the Smartwatch battle to LG, Samsung, Apple and others to fight to the death – they’re going to continue working on their phones instead.

Smart decision or not? Let us know what you think of HTC”s plans to step outside the ring.

Image courtesy of Inside Android

Google are Replacing every Broken Nexus 5

Phones break all the time, whether they are dropped, flushed, stepped on, run over, thrown – you name it. According to some unfortunately Nexus 5 phone destroyers, the Google Play Store will send you a shiny new (refurbished) Nexus 5 for free.

This deal is valid only to U.S customers currently, so unfortunately the rest of us miss out. What’s even better? It doesn’t matter how you broke your original device – no questions asked!

We’ve learned though, this isn’t the first straight up replacement policy for smartphones (or all technology). Motorola and HTC offer free replacements alongside peripheral manufacturer Logitech being widely known for a straight up replacement policy even on their oldest gear. Googles swap deal is rumored to be due to Google wanting to clear a pile of Nexus 5’s they have in stock.

Is this a logical reason to go for the Nexus 5 over its Apple competitor? Quite possibly. It’s quite often that you see people wandering around with the infamous busted screen, unable or wanting to pay the few hundred-dollar replacement for a store to whisk it off to phone surgery. Or people being unwilling to learn how to replace said screen themselves.

It’s been said that this offer is available as a “one-time service to valued customers”, so make sure you put in your best ‘business voice’ when calling the centre!

Image courtesy of Android and Me

Facebook Scammers Exploit Robin Williams’ Death

Not too long ago, we reported on the tragic and unfortunate death by suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams.

Some people have now decided to utilize this tragedy for their own personal gain. You may have seen a ‘video link’ (as above) on your news feed recently, either though posts from certain Facebook pages or it being shared directly from your friends – do not click!

Once clicked, a webpage will open which forces you to share the link on your own timeline then complete a survey, after which it claims this video will be available to you. When the survey is completed, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, no Robin Williams video displayed and you’ve only managed to do one thing – give these guys ad revenue.

Unfortunately, this is another case of “social engineering” which basically means manipulating people into clicking malicious links. Quite often you’ll see things like “Doctors hate him!”, “You’ll never know what happens next!” or even “Click here for this one secret!” – quite often the titles are too good to be true.

So how do you spot out  a malicious advertisement in your news feed? We understand that it’s not always easy. As we said before, usually the information is too good to be true. If it’s shared directly by a Facebook friend it might be worth you sending them a quick message just to ask the legitimacy of their shared link – quite often they might not even be aware of whats going on.

So far this scam has over 24 million shares on Facebook and is growing.

Security expert and blogger Graham Cluley shares similar thoughts on this news:

“The scammers have no qualms about exploiting the death of a famous actor and comedian to earn their cash, and give no thought whatsoever to the distressed family he must have left behind”

Have you seen a rise in this type of marketing scam recently? How do you combat the issue personally?

Image courtesy of Yahoo

Yogscast Game Kickstarter Goes Downhill

Have you ever backed a Kickstarter project and wondered – what if this all ends up falling to pieces? Unfortunately for the backers of YouTube sensations Yogscast, this nightmare has become a reality.

After receiving $567,665 of their $250,000 Kickstarter goal, Yogscast in conjunction with Winterkewl games were set out to make a sandbox RPG titled ‘Yogventures’ with claims of it being “The game you’ve always wanted”.

The Kickstarter was launched in April 2012, enticing 13,000 people to donate a large total of $567,665 which, as stated above, is over double what they were originally asking.

As we learned thanks to Kotaku, Yogscast haven’t exactly had a squeaky clean past:

“Yogscast ran into some controversy when they announced a revenue-sharing program in which their personalities would make videos about games like Space Engineers in exchange for a percentage of revenue from the game. Many saw this as a serious conflict of interest.” Kotaku

Their fans were however able to put this behind themselves and funded this project with full confidence. It all began well, with the Alpha release announced in March 2013 with some rather large, and possibly unrealistic, game release features including:

  • Beautiful, randomly-generated game worlds that are different every time you start a new Yogventure
  • Fully shapeable terrain – with the ability for players to raise a mountain range or create a vast ocean; you can effortlessly shape your world however you imagine it
  • A wealth of novel building materials, creatures, NPCs and items
  • A rich underground to mine and explore – bristling with rare outcroppings of gems and crystals, hidden tombs and dark underground terrors that drop rare weapons and loot
  • A fully-fleshed out crafting system
  • An in-game physics engine that will even effect the blocks you place in your creations
  • The ability to customise your own unique avatar or play as one of your favourite Yogscast characters
  • Easy-to-use in-game modding API including in-game scripting
  • Ability for modders to have a chance to get their work added to the game
  • Regularly released video updates from the developers including the latest feature additions  

Soon after, the slippery slope started. On August 2013, they released a statement claiming financial issues:

“Unfortunately, that ate the majority of our budget while we worked in R&D so ever since December 2012 we have had to fund the development of Yogventures! ourselves. “What does that mean?” I can hear you ask. Well it means the team initially all took time off of our “day jobs” to dedicate to Yogventures, it turns out it was no where near enough time and we had to all go back to those day jobs and continue development on nights and weekends and lunch breaks and pretty much anywhere we can fit in a few hours to tackle the enormous amount of work needed. I’m proud of the team for sticking by the project despite our initial set backs and delays. It’s a testament to how much we all believe in this game and how much we really want to do a good job for all of you that helped Kickstart this company and get us off the ground and running! Hopefully in the near future, we will be able to expand even more and put even more time and effort into making Yogventures! what we all know it really can be, which is great fun!” Kickstarter

But never fear, the game was still being developed! Open BETA was released for the Kickstarters or for an optional buy-in of $30. The general consensus was quite positive and feedback was being accumulated – could this be the revival of a great project?

Unfortunately not. July 2013 saw the disbandment of Winterkewl games by their founder, Kris Vale who claims to have invested $25,000 and his marriage into this endeavour.

“I tried to cut all costs and continue the development even after the heavy losses of 2013 but the stress of trying to work full time and be full time on the game ultimately caused me to ruin my relationship with my wife, and she filed for divorce because I was so obsessed with finishing this game that she couldn’t take not seeing me anymore. When the divorce began I suffered a bit of a crisis personally and had to take a medical leave of absence from work. I almost lost my job too.
I’m deeply sorry that despite our best efforts we never reached a level of play-ability that inspired enough confidence from not only the community but even the Yogscast themselves. This is my fault, I agreed to every feature request we got because I didn’t want to lose the opportunity. I wanted so badly to make this project a reality I ignored the real-world risks to the point that I almost lost everything and worst of all I let you all down.” Reddit

With that heavy information in mind, Yogscast sent a letter to their funding group saying the game was no more. In this statement they said they will not be supplying refunds to backers and made this interesting statement:

“Although we’re under no obligation to do anything. Instead, we’re going to do our best to make this right, and make you really glad that you backed the project![sic]” Kotaku

Yogscast eased the pain by giving their backers each a copy to a game called TUG, which was developed by some of their friends. But can they just call it quits with no refunding or repercussions? As according to the Kickstarter FAQ, quite possibly not:

Is a creator legally obligated to fulfil the promises of their project?
Yes. Kickstarter’s Terms of Use require creators to fulfil all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfil. (This is what creators see before they launch.) This information can serve as a basis for legal recourse if a creator doesn’t fulfil their promises. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfil.” Kickstarter

So where did the hard-earned money actually go? Yogscast claims:

  • $35,000.00 Concept Art / Sky boxes / Environment Textures (Senior matte painter / concept artist from PDI Dreamworks)
  • $35,000.00 Concept Art / Character Designs / UI Design (Senior Character Designer Treyarch)
  • $35,000.00 Modelling (Senior Modeler from Dreamworks)
  • $35,000.00 Textures / Surfacing / Shader development (Senior Surface Artist from Dreamworks)
  • $35,000.00 Animation (Senior Animator from Dreamworks)
  • $35,000.00 Programming / Unity Development (Myself Unity Developer)
  • $15,000.00 Unity Developer part time / intern
  • $100,000.00 Programming / Application Architecture / Back-end Server Code / Voxel Engine (TBD, we were courting several programmers with lots of game experience over the course of the Kickstarter)
  • $3500.00 Legal Fees Contracts
  • $1500.00 Accountant Fees
  • $15000.00 Hardware (PC computers)
  • $5000.00 Software Licenses
  • $15,000.00 Escrow for expenses related to development like buying Unity Assets etc.
  • $50,000.00 Physical Rewards creation and Shipping

Vale released a statement claiming:

“In the end we negotiated that $US150,000 would be transferred to the Yogscast with the understanding that they would use that money exclusively to create and ship all the physical rewards, AND they would help hire the main programmer that we still didn’t have on the project” Kotaku

Where did this $150,000 end up? We don’t know. The latest update from Yogscast reads:

“Hiya,
We’re not ready to make a detailed statement about what happened with Yogventures. Winterkewl’s statement omits much and I would disagree with a number of points, but there’s no value in going into detail. Our only goal right now is to ensure that we provide the best possible experience for the backers that we can. I can honestly say this has been our goal throughout.
To keep things simple, the facts are:

  • Winterkewl failed to meet their promises with Yogventures
  • The Yogscast are doing their best to rectify this situation – TUG is only the first step
  • Any monies the Yogscast have received in connection with this project has been spent on this project
  • I would just like to say that this project was started when The Yogscast was just me and Simon making videos out of our bedrooms. We met Kris and trusted his qualifications and assertions that we could trust him with our brand and even more importantly, our audience. Needless to say, I’m upset and embarrassed, but strongly believe the backers will end up getting far more value and a far better result than they originally anticipated when they backed this project.

Lewis” Reddit 

Did you back this project? Are you happy with how it’s being handled? This has become quite the mess. Stay tuned to eTeknix for updates.

Image courtesy of Kickstarter

T-Mobile Users Now Able to Gain Data Free Access to Music

T-Mobile hit the market hard at Seattle’s Paramount Theater last night, announcing some big offers to end users.

Alongside their ‘free trial’ offer of an iPhone 5s to potential subscribers, T-Mobile have announced that their service will allow free data streaming to all top music streaming services, including:

  • Pandora
  • iTunes Radio
  • iHeartRadio
  • Slacker
  • Spotify
  • Samsung’s Milk service, and
  • Rhapsody

T-Mobile currently offers its consumers 1GB, 3GB or 5GB worth of full speed data allotment – go over this cap and you will be reduced to functioning on 3G speed. But with the announced change coming into effect, you’ll receive full speed unlimited service on these streaming services no matter if you’re over your cap or not.

Some people are claiming this service may be an issue to ‘net neutrality’ as offering this service for only a select few streaming companies helps give them a boost. Rdio is one main contender missing from this list as you may have noticed, but T-Mobile’s John Legere stated that these chosen stream services are not due to a business move or competitive angle. Either way it’s certainly a cop out for the smaller guys and Rdio alike. Legere also went on to state that T-Mobile’s plan is to include all streaming services in the future – whether realistic or not is up to you to decide.

All-in-all we’re sure that consumers are generally quite happy with this news because in our experience, streaming uses a lot of data!

What could this mean for premium streaming subscriptions? Currently in Australia Spotify premium subscriptions are quite popular, due to the ability to download music to your device and that streaming uses quite a high rate of data on our current low caps. Can the same be said for T-Mobile’s current target audience? Or can this be easily written off by Spotify as extra users, extra ad listeners and extra exposure?

Want to see your favourite streaming service added? T-Mobile have claimed they will be opening the next contenders up for customer voting.

Image courtesy of 9to5mac.