The guys at Gearbox have done all right by their fans, from fill-in work on established series, such as the Half-Life expansion Opposing Force, to their original IP: the Brothers in Arms series of tactical WWII shooters. Now they’re teaming with comic publisher Dynamite to release a series of comics based on the latter franchise. I’m kind of intrigued by this; Dynamite has made some fun books, lately, such as the Red Sonja ongoing. Drawing from the quasi-realistic material of the Brothers in Arms games could make for a gripping book. We don’t know the creative team, yet, but Dynamite has had relationships with a number of high-profile writers and artists, so that’s not a concern. Hey, maybe they’ll get Tycho and Gabe to return to the franchise and do it!
With scans of the next issue of Game Informer starting to hit, images of the new guitar controller for Rock Band are propagating around the web. Evil Avatar has a few high-quality ones, where you can see the replica Fender Strat, which looks quite a bit less like a Fisher Price toy, thanks to the clever concealing of the primary colors that mark the fret buttons. I think it looks pretty sweet, and I’m upset at myself for having no choice but to buy one of my own when the game hits. I mean, it’s got effects toggles, and five more fret buttons you can use to two-hand tap. I’m a sucker.
1up has a story about third-party peripheral developer Talismoon, whose Tiltboard technology will provide motion-sensing capabilities for the Xbox 360. It’s not that elegant of a solution, really; the motion-sensing in the controller replaces one of the pad’s analogue sticks. Also, the kit that Talismoon is selling will be only for the hobbyists, since it requires cracking open a 360 controller and burning yourself with a soldering iron.
The world of alternate-reality gaming is getting another hit, thanks to Microsoft’s new campaign for Halo 3. I’ve never been abel to get closer than an arm’s length to ARGs, but Destructoid has a good run-down of what is being offered (and what is being required of the players) in the new game, dubbed "Iris."
A pair of small game releases that are worth mentioning: Geometry Wars is now available on Valve’s Steam service for a mere $2.50. Grab it quick, because after June 22nd the price will increase to $3.95, and I’m not sure you can afford that. Also, this week’s Xbox Live Arcade game will be Band of Bugs, by the same developers who brought Outpost Kaloki X and Cloning Clyde to the service. I didn’t get wrapped up in either of those two, but Band of Bugs will be a turn-based strategy on the insect scale, and I’m already drowning in fond memories of SimAnt.
With less cause for celebration, the recent Tomb Raider: Anniversary collection will shortly be headed to the Xbox Live Marketplace. However, for some reason, before you can play it you’ll have to own a copy of Tomb Raider: Legend. Why? I sure as heck don’t know. Some of the big guns with Rolodexes are investigating, so maybe we’ll know soon.
Finally, a serious note from Game Politics. It appears that Manhunt 2 is being effectively banned from retail in the United Kingdom. While no blacklist statement has been issued, the British Board of Film Classification has refused to rate the game, which spells death for the game in the Old Country (analogous to how getting an NC-17 rating on a film in the States means miniscule theatrical support.) This would raise a lot more eyebrows if the refusal to rate was a sure thing; however, the same steps have already been taken, back in 1997 on the game Carmageddon, and that refusal was overturned on appeal. In other words, Rockstar can brandish "Banned in Britain!" labels on the copies sold over here.
An unfocused, silly look at forbidden teen witch love. — By Patrick Cooper