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We've got some good news and some bad news this week at Video Games Plus. The bad news? Big time publisher THQ is closing some development studios and cutting back some of its video game franchises, and Sony is temporarily putting the brakes on "Twisted Metal." But since we like going out on a high note, we'll also tell you about all the cool re-releases coming out next month, a nightmare of a new character out for "Mortal Kombat" and Valve's interactive way of releasing a new "Left 4 Dead 2" map.
THQ Closes Two Studios, Cuts "MX vs. ATV"
Video game publisher THQ had a big shakeup recently which will have massive effects on the company’s future game catalog.
The company laid off 200 employees and shut down two game studios as part of what it’s calling a “strategic realignment” and announced that it’s going away from "licensed kids’ titles and movie-based entertainment properties" -- it would also cut its racing franchise “MX vs. ATV."
This news comes in the wake of the publisher’s closing of the studio responsible for first-person shooter “Homefront” in June and a recent statement that implied that the Red Faction franchise was also dead in the water. THQ said it will instead focus on an "emphasis on high potential categories" at its five internal development studios which include THQ Montreal, Vigil Games (Darksiders) Volition (Saints Row), Relic Entertainment (Company of Heroes, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine), and THQ San Diego (WWE All-Stars).
Twisted Metal Delayed Until Early '12
Looks like you’ll have to keep your combat car in the garage a little bit longer. The highly-anticipated reboot of “Twisted Metal” for PlayStation 3 is being delayed until early 2012, said the game’s creator David Jaffe on the PlayStation blog. The game of vehicular combat was originally scheduled to ship out in October, but could use “the extra time needed to polish our demented baby until it shines,” said Jaffe.
Jaffe went on to say: “It sucks bad when games miss their announced launch dates. We’re gamers too and we know how annoying it is. It’s disappointing and frustrating and it really takes the wind out of your sails if you’re a fan that has been looking forward to playing a title for a long time. Thing is, you gotta trust me when I tell you that -- with this extra time for tuning and polish -- the game is going to be so much better than it already is.”
We saw a short demo of “Twisted Metal” at E3 and we were impressed with the manic, over-the-top action so we're thinking this one will be worth the long wait.
The Month Of Re-Releases
Ready or not, here they come. Again. September is quickly shaping up to be the Month of the HD re-release. A quick scan of next month’s upcoming game release calendar reveals four re-releases of some of gaming’s biggest hits.
First up is “God of War Origins Collection” for the PS3 on September 13. Origins is a compilation of “God of War: Chains of Olympus” and “God of War: Ghost of Sparta,” both of which were originally released for the PSP. Now they’re being remastered in high definition and given the snazzy 3D treatment.
But the big re-release holiday unofficially falls on September 27 with the following titles hitting stores on the same day:
- “ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection” (PS3)
- “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Classic Trilogy HD” (PS3)
- “Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD” (PS3, Xbox 360)
To the cynical, re-releases of old properties are nothing more than a calculated money grab (just ask Star Wars fans), but we’re excited about playing these past titles with a fresh coat of high-def paint.
Valve Getting Fans Involved In Map Release
Speaking of the old becoming new again, Valve is letting fans get involved in their attempt to bring back the rest of the original “Left 4 Dead” maps into “Left 4 Dead 2.” This weekend’s new update to the L4D2 contains a new version of the Terminal map for Dead Air.
To encourage testing on the map, Valve created a new achievement called Connecting Flights that can be unlocked by playing a complete game of Versus in Dead Air. When 60,000 people earn the achievement, the beta version of the map Blood Harvest will be released the following weekday.
"60,000 is going to be hard," the L4D2's team wrote on their official blog. "You can't rage quit and you need to work together."
Guess you better round up 59,999 of your best friends and get to work.
Freddy Claws His Way into Mortal Kombat
Are you ready for some Immortal Kombat? Dream warrior Freddy Kreuger, the horrific star of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies, is the final character to make the “Mortal Kombat” roster cut and is now available for download on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network .
Freddy can go all Wolverine on his opponents and use his razor-sharp claws, but he’s also been given a variety of other attacks that range from teleporting around levels in gusts of flame and raising blades out of the ground to putting enemies to sleep with globs of goo that drop from the sky. His basic Fatality has him warping his defeated foe into the Dream Realm, leaving in their wake a geyser of blood.
Freddy can be purchased for 400 Microsoft Points or for download as part of the Microsoft Season Pass. He is also available for $4.99 on PlayStation Network or as part of the newly-released “Mortal Kombat DLC Warrior Bundle” where all four DLC characters can be purchased for only $14.99. Get him if you dare.
Follow Ryan Smith on Twitter: @RyanSmithWriter