China Toy Fair


PlayStation 4 Available Now, With New Games and Ways to Play

PS4The PlayStation 4 system is available in the U.S. and Canada with a lineup of more than 20 first- and third-party games, including titles such as Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall. The PS4 will have a library of more than 30 games by year’s end.

Game developers will be able to create huge, interactive worlds in smooth 1080p HD resolution, thanks to the PS4’s PC architecture, which includes an enhanced Graphics Processing Unit and 8GB of GDDR5 unified system memory. The system also takes social connectivity up a level: By pressing the “Share” button on the Dualshock 4 wireless controller, images and videos can be shared with other players through the PS4’s Dynamic Menu, or on social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, and internet streaming services such as Ustream and Twitch.

The PS4 also integrates second screens, including the PlayStation Vita system, smartphones, and tablets. Using the PlayStation app, available for free on the iOS App Store and Google Play, these devices can be used to look at maps while playing an adventure game, purchase a PS4 game, and more. In addition, through Remote Play and Wi-Fi on home networks, gamers can now play most PS4 games on their PS4 Vita while the TV screen is being used for something else.

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Available for PlayStation 4

AssassinsCreedBlackFlagUbisoft has announced the availability of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag on the PlayStation 4 in North America. Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag is the first Assassin’s Creed game to be on the next generation consoles. On the PlayStation 4, gamers will be able to use Remote Play to stream Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag to their PlayStation Vita handheld entertainment system via Wi-Fi.

For a limited time, when gamers buy the disc or digital version of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag for PlayStation 3 they can download a PlayStation 4 digital copy from the PlayStation Store for a discounted price.

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag will release on Xbox One and Windows PC on November 19.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to Release Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of MordorWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is developing a next-generation, third-person action game based on a story of vengeance and redemption set in Middle-earth. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has gamers take on the role of Talion, a character who’s resurrected by a spirit of vengeance after his own life was taken. He’s empowered with many abilities and his main mission is to destroy those who have wronged him the night his family was slain in front of him.

Although the background of the game stays the same, each player can create his own experience through the Nemesis System. Enemy relationships and characteristics are shaped by each player’s actions and decisions during gameplay. Gamers are even able to craft their own battles, enemies, and rewards within the Mordor world that adapts to and remembers their choices.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is in development for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 by Monolith Productions and Middle-earth Enterprises.

Skylanders Swap Force Released on Next-Generation Consoles

Skylanders.Swap.ForceActivision Publishing Inc. has released Skylanders Swap Force on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems in North America on November 12. This version of the game is optimized for next-generation game systems, and features a graphics engine that delivers high-resolution visuals.

Similar to Skylanders Swap Force on other consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions allow gamers to transform 16 Swap Force characters into more than 250 by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys. Players can also utilize their entire collection of characters from Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants in the new game.

Angry Birds Star Wars Comes to Home, Handheld Gaming Systems

angrybirdsRovio Entertainment Ltd. and Lucasfilm Ltd., in association with Activision Publishing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc., have launched Angry Birds Star Wars for home and handheld video game systems. Angry Birds Star Wars brings the struggle between the Rebel Birds and Imperial Pigs to new audiences on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Wii and Wii U systems, and the Nintendo 3DSAngry Birds Star Wars will also launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Twenty newly created levels join the more than 200 stages already available from the original mobile release of Angry Birds Star Wars. This latest version brings cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes, letting players team up or square off. Moreover, this expansive edition exploits the unique capabilities of each game system to deliver a distinctive experience tailored specifically to each platform, including sharp and colorful, high-definition visuals, achievements and trophies, leaderboards, voice command support through Kinect for Xbox 360, and touch-screen controls on Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PlayStation Vita.

The next-generation versions of Angry Birds Star Wars maintain these core features while introducing new play and interface elements exclusive to each system. The PlayStation 4 system’s adaptation makes full use of the DualShock 4 controller’s touchpad to offer precision, touch-screen handling, and full support for PlayStation Move in both single-player and local multiplayer modes. Players can also easily record and share their accomplishments with the world with the PlayStation 4 system’s automatic screenshot and video capture options. [Read more...]

Square Enix Announces Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix

Kingdom HeartsSquare Enix Inc., the publisher of Square Enix interactive entertainment products in the Americas, has officially begun development on Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix. A follow up to the recently released Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, the title is slated for release next year.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix is a fully remastered HD compilation of the Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix for PlayStation 2 and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix for PSP. Both were previously exclusive to the Japanese market, and will be available for the first time in the Americas for PlayStation 3.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix leads into the anticipated Kingdom Hearts III, which is set to be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Video Game to Launch Next Spring

Oct14.SpiderManActivision Publishing Inc. and Marvel Entertainment LLC have revealed that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game is planned to launch next spring, alongside the Sony Pictures Entertainment feature film of the same name. Developed by Beenox, the action-adventure video game builds on the story of the previous video game, while taking on events of the upcoming movie. Players will also be given a free-roaming experience through an expanded and virtual New York City.

In The Amazing Spider-Man 2 players will assume the role of Spider-Man, but will choose to be a hero or a menace. Super Hero behavior is rewarded in the game and consequential when crime is not taken care of. The narrative will even give Peter Parker a greater role in the spotlight as he investigates the Marvel menaces threatening Manhattan.

The game will be available on Playstation4Playstation3Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS.

NBA 2K14 Now Available for Select Game Consoles

2K.LogoNBA 2K14, the latest installment of the NBA video game simulation from 2K Sports, is now available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC.

New features offered by NBA 2K14 include top Euroleague teams, as well as rosters powered by Stats, Inc. 2KSports has also incorporated game play upgrades, such as Pro Stick TM, new signature skills, and offensive and defensive improvements that further balance player interactions.

NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will be available at retail in North American on November 15 and November 22, respectively.

Skylanders Swap Force Continues the Franchise’s Reputation

This week, The Toy Book got a chance to preview Activision Publishing Inc.’s upcoming Skylanders Swap Force video game and toys at an after-school event in New York City. The original entry in the series, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, pioneered the idea of video games that interact with real-world toys. Now comes Skylanders Swap Force, in which special action figures can be disassembled into top and bottom halves and then reassembled into new characters that are playable within the game.

Skylanders SWAP Force, Stink ChargeThe game itself is as visually rich and immersing as previous entries in the series (although Playstation 4 (PS4) version takes the experience to a whole new level, but more on that later). At the demo, kids and their parents got to preview the levels, “Rampant Ruins,” a creepy jungle graveyard, and, “Winter Keep,” in which the Skylanders heroes have to retrieve a special device called the Illuminator—all while dodging huge flying snowballs. Each level features mini-games that vary in play style, keeping things from ever getting too repetitive. At one point during “Winter Keep,” the game switches from more traditional combat to a race through the sky along “rainbow rails.” [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: PlayStation 4, Early Games Have Something for Everyone

I am, at best, a casual video gamer. I played a lot of Nintendo and Sega when I was younger, but I haven’t been an active video game consumer since the PlayStation 2. Still, I like to keep up on what’s current, even if all the latest controllers vex me with their myriad of buttons, and what really interests me is whether I can download every game from my childhood. So when I was offered a chance to preview the upcoming PlayStation 4 (PS4) from Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (Sony), along with some games that will accompany the launch, I went after it the way Sega’s Altered Beast would have gone after a shiny blue orb released by the death of a two-headed white wolf – in other words, like it was pretty darned important.

PS4 for commentaryAbout the hardware: Along with the PS4 console looking more squared-off than its predecessor, changes have been made to the DualShock controllers that are intended to improve game play. The thumbsticks, for example, are more comfortable, and the trigger buttons are curved to accompany the index fingers better. More radical changes are the addition of a small touchpad—it’s utilized significantly in Sony’s Killzone: Shadow Fall game, which I demoed, but more on that later—and a Share button that allows players to send in-game images to social media sites including Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook.

Other hardware additions include a PlayStation Camera, which works in tandem with the DualShock controllers to let users interact with certain games by simply moving their controllers through the air. (More technical specifics on the PS4 can be found here.) [Read more...]