Arts & CultureVideo Games

Is Valve’s HTC Vive a step toward virtual reality? Read this week’s recap

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood gives us a reason to return to the castle.

One of last year’s biggest surprises for shooter fans had to be the exceptional Wolfenstein: The New Order, which breathed new life into a franchise that had been plagued by decades of sub-par remakes and sequels. The game’s dedication to a polished, smart and replayable single-player shooter experience won it near universal acclaim, and now Bethesda is prepared to dish out a bit more Nazi-slaying action. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a chronological prequel to TNO, designed as a shorter experience. The adventure will drop BJ Blazkowicz behind enemy lines in a Nazi castle, ripe with action and classic genre movie style. The game will retail for $19.99 on PC, PS4 and XBox ONE. You can watch the full trailer here in preparation for the game’s launch on May 5.

Valve announces new hardware, new consoles and a whole new engine.

Valve is a highly mysterious company in the realm of video games. The creators of Half-Life, PortalDota 2 and the Steam PC distribution platform don’t often make big announcements, but when they do, they tend to do them all at once. Such was the case with this week’s Game Developer’s Conference, which is currently happening in San Francisco. First up was an announcement that Valve would be partnering with smartphone manufacturer HTC to produce their first virtual reality headset, the HTC Vive. Similar to Oculus’ Rift headset or Sony’s Project Morpheus, the Vive is a head-mounted display that promises to take you deeper into digital realms than ever before. Valve had more hardware to present, including new Steam Machines (gaming PCs for the home console market) and a device called Steam Link to wirelessly stream PC games to a TV. But even bigger than the console race might be the announcement of a whole new gaming engine, Source 2. The previous Source engine was Valve’s in-house platform that runs its most successful games, as well as many other third-party applications. While the announcement of a development engine may not sound like much, anything that may lead to the announcement of a new Valve game is bound to spark excitement.

Spore, SimCity developer Maxis bites the bullet.

Electronic Arts has a long, dirty history of buying out successful small studios, pushing it to its limits and killing it off after the release of an underperforming title. It’s occurred with the teams behind classics like SkateCommand & Conquer and Ultima, and it seems the time has come for Maxis to meet its maker. The studio, founded by Will Wright, which birthed such legendary PC franchises as The SimsSimCity and more, had its doors shut this week. While EA will keep the Maxis brand active for continued development on new The Sims titles, the original studio based in Emeryville, California is no more.

Follow Chris Berg on Twitter @Mushroomer25

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Chris Berg

Chris Berg