Next Tomb Raider teased in GameInformer?

Could the much deliberated ninth Tomb Raider game be finally announced December 6th? That’s what the internet is alluding to after GameInformer (via Eurogamer) placed a teaser advert in their magazine. It simply said “A survivor is born” and the date of December 6th. Typing in asurvivorisborn.com into your browser of choice brings up a page with the very same teaser. Hmm. For many months, even years, it’s been rumoured that the next Tomb Raider would feature a shipwreck and a younger version of Lara, exploring tombs off the coast of Japan.

Is the tease relating to a new Tomb Raider or has some other franchise been ignored in light of Lara’s popularity? We’ll find out in three weeks.

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Battlefield Play4Free first details and teaser

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Following on from the popularity of Battlefield Heroes, EA have announced Battlefield Play4Free, combining some of the most popular maps and features of the franchise’s console and PC games. Up to 32 players can join the online skirmishes that will allegedly have photo-realistic graphics and be a serious competitor for console shooters. Senior producer James Salt explains more: “We broke new ground in 2009 with the launch of Battlefield Heroes; a game that has 6 million registered players worldwide. Now we are complementing that arcade shooter with a core, realistic Battlefield shooter experience that fans have been clamouring for. Battlefield Play4Free is for serious shooter fans who are looking for a premium – but free – experience that rivals top console titles.”

Odd that he’d put a PC only game up against those on a console. I would imagine that the number of other free-to-play PC shooters will in reality be their biggest competitors. Nevertheless, Battlefield Play4Free sounds like a promising game using maps from Battlefield 2 and the classes of Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

A closed beta begins November 30th and budding players can register today at the official site. The full game is said to go live in Spring 2011.

5th Cell reveals its next game, Hybrid

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Taking a rather different direction for their next game, developers 5th Cell have announced they’re working on an XBLA title called Hybrid that is set in a post-apocalyptic world. And if that doesn’t sound like a lot of recent releases, Hybrid is also a third-person shooter.

The game’s official site suggests the idea of joining one of two sides; Paladins and Variants as the site is split into two areas. What I can gather from the faux online journals, the Variants seem the more technologically advanced but both entries read as if written by beings that were not human but do have interactions with them.

Without going too deep into teaser information, what 5th Cell have revealed so far is enough to get the juices of interest positively flowing. In order to stand out from the increasingly crowded genre of post-apocalyptic shooters, Hybrid is said to deliver “a completely new gameplay experience never seen before in the genre”. Games like Super Scribblenauts and Drawn to Life show that 5th Cell definitely have the capabilities to make completely new gameplay experiences but the third-person shooter is a tough one to master. Even more so when it’ll be the first console game from 5th Cell.

Hybrid is set for a 2011 release on Xbox Live Arcade.

Dragon Age 2 debut trailer is here!

Vodpod videos no longer available.After much deliberation and angry forum posts, BioWare have revealed a debut trailer for Dragon Age II that is as epic as it is exciting. While it maybe a pre-rendered CG movie, it teases a bit more back story about main character Hawke and when his eyes glow red, you’d best stay out the way. After the fighting and superb digital cinematography, the trailer states that signing up to the newsletter via www.dragonage.com unlocks an exclusive in-game weapon, so you may want to head on over their then.

The spirit of Dragon Age looks to be intact as does the gore but of course, this is just a hint of the game with specifics yet to be revealed. For now it’ll do just nicely to get them juices flowing for March 8th 2011 when Dragon Age II is scheduled for release.

BioShock Infinite announcement and trailer

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Ken Levine had been tight lipped about what project he’s kept himself busy with after BioShock 1 but at a 2K press event he finally revealed that his Project Icarus is actually BioShock Infinite. The announcement trailer took me a little by surprise as I didn’t expect Levine to be making another game in the Big Daddy sporting franchise but this time around, the premiss is less about finding out who you are and more about rescuing a girl named Elizabeth. But backing things up, BioShock Infinite is somewhat of a prequel being set in 1912 in the cloud city of Columbia. At the start of the twentieth century, Columbia was built within a deadly secret – is was a heavily armed fortress. Things start to go wrong and the city disappears providing a perfect setting for a video game. BioShock Infinite puts players in the role of one Booker DeWitt, a disgraced detective of a protection agency called Pinkerton who has been shipped off to Columbia in order to save young Elizabeth from the perils within. But Elizabeth isn’t quite the helpless princess figure but actually very powerful and the two form a bond, combining their abilities for one goal – flee the city before it comes tumbling to the ground.

The trailer shows considerable similarities to the original BioShock with a primitive Big Daddy character, plasmid-type powers, an eerie score and the idea of a fallen city (though in this case quite a literal meaning). However, the likeness is more on a conceptual level, after all it’s called BioShock Infinite so you’d expect – and want – those kinds of features. Levine commented on just how different things will be: “In order to explore the floating city of Columbia, we needed an entirely new engine. To bring Elizabeth to life, we had to build brand-new animation and AI systems. To create wide-ranging indoor and outdoor firefights at 30,000 feet, we had to rethink, rebuild and expand the BioShock arsenal. The only thing gamers can be certain of is this: the rules of the BioShock universe are about to change.”

BioShock Infinite isn’t coming until sometime in 2012 for Xbox 360, PC and PS3 so we have a while yet to ponder of its contents. There’ll be plenty more details to come yet and this year’s GamesCom will play host to the public airing of gameplay footage so stick around for that one. I’m so glad that the BioShock universe didn’t end with the second game as its a franchise that provides some great first person shooting in a truly believable world. Can’t wait!

{Thanks Giant Bomb for additional information}

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon announced for consoles

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Forget all those super realistic flight simulators, if you want a bit of arcade fun with a generous helping of cheesy acting, Namco Bandai’s Ace Combat series offers just that and today the publishers announced the next home console release. Coming 2011 to Xbox 360 and PS3, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is a welcome return for franchise fans who have only had portable versions since 2007’s Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (not that they’re bad however, with the PSP releases proving very successful). And the fact that this new game is without a number looks to be of significance too if the teaser trailer is anything to go by. There’s a greater pace to the action and dogfights with the planes weaving through skyscrapers. The addition of helicopters and use of gun turrets excites me the most about Assault Horizon as their mechanics will be considerably different to airplane combat. I hope that developers Project Aces do away with the timed segments that littered previous titles and stick to intense, large-scale skirmishes. Though right now, I’m not being picky and am happy to see one of my favourite franchises making a HD comeback.

Punch robots in Vanquish

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Okay, so the Bayonettanews‘ wasn’t all that special but lets, look beyond that to the next Platinum Games release, Vanquish. As we’ve seen in previous trailers, the game has the insanity that makes a Platinum Games title so very entertaining and reveals a little more of the story behind main character Sam, who somehow manages to uppercut a robot. What’s not to love?!

Vanquish is out October 22nd on Xbox 360 and PS3 in the UK whereas US gamers get it a couple of days earlier on the 19th. Lucky devils.