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Jack Gardner
The actor behind Game of Thrones' Tywin Lannister, Charles Dance, will be lending his voice to the character of Emhyr var Emreis in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. As the Emperor of Nilfgaard, Dance's voice conveys the authority and power appropriate to a man who holds the power of life and death over all in his lands. 
 
 
The Witcher 3 launches on May 19 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Perhaps players can expect another Rains of Castamere situation?
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
A new 2.5D side-scrolling stealth action platformer from Ubisoft lands tomorrow. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China stars Shao Jun, which fans might already be familiar with from the 2011 animated short "Assassin's Creed: Embers." Shao Jun stands as the last remaining member of the Chinese Brootherhood. Now she returns to her homeland to restore the Assassins and exact her revenge against the people who stole her life. 
 
Two more titles are planned for the Chronicles series, India and Russia. More details coming on those in the near future. 
 
 
This has been a bit of a stealthy lead up to release, following the low-key announcement two weeks ago. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China will be available tomorrow, April 21, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
There will also be an open beta beginning May 19. Who else is ready to throw down fisticuffs with the heroes and villains from across Blizzard's history? 
 
At launch, Heroes of the Storm will contain over thirty playable characters and seven different battlefields. Each battleground will be unique with different goals and challenges. Post-launch, players can expect to see more heroes and maps being added, along with a variety of skins and mounts.
 
The open beta will follow the conclusion of the Heroes of the Dorm collegiate eSports tournament. Students from over 400 schools will be participating with hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition on the line. The championship will be held on April 26 at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in LA. It will also be televised live in prime time on ESPN. More details should be available as the event approaches.
 
 
Heroes of the Storm will be launching on June 2 for PC. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! 

Jack Gardner
The curtain has fallen. EA and DICE unveiled the first substantial trailer for the next-gen reboot of the beloved franchise. 
 
Players will be able to battle across the Galaxy on planets like Hoth, Endor, Tatooine, and Sullust. Like previous games in the Star Wars Battlefront series, expect to be able to pilot a variety of vehicles running the gamut from speederbikes to AT-ATs. Another returning feature will be the ability to take on the role of powerful figures in the Star Wars universe, like Darth Vader or Boba Fett. 
 
Players will be able to swap between 3rd and 1st-person perspectives while fighting as either the Republic or the Empire in online multiplayer supporting up to 40 players or offline in single player or co-op through a crafted series of missions.
 
 
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there will be space combat maps like in Battlefront 2, but there is always hope for post-release additions through DLC. Even though space combat appears to be off the table for now, players will still be able to get their TIE fighter fix. Spacecraft like the X-wings, Y-wings, and even the Millenium Falcon will be able to take to the skies and dogfight for aerial supremacy. 
 
“Like so many others around the world, everyone at DICE is a tremendous fan of the Star Wars universe,” said Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir, senior producer of Star Wars Battlefront. “To be working on a Star Wars project and knowing we are helping to represent the universe we love to our generation and a legion of new Star Wars fans is truly an honor. Thanks to the access and knowledge shared with us by Lucasfilm, and the passion and talent of our team, we plan to deliver an amazing game that puts you right in the middle of the Star Wars battles you always imagined playing.”
 
DICE is even offering a tantalizing pre-order bonus for hardcore Star Wars fans: Early access to the Battle of Jakku, an important battle that occurs after the Battle of Endor and precedes the events of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Those that pre-order will be able to play on the two maps set on Jakku come December 1st, while those that don't pre-order will have to wait for the conflict to unlock for free on December 8th.
 
Star Wars Battlefront is slated for release on November 17 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
2K has confirmed a report from a Kotaku source that it will be shutting down its Australian studio in Canberra. All employees have been laid off, though the publisher has stated it is looking to help those affected find additional opportunities.
 
2K Australia was one of the final AAA developer based in Australia. Originally a part of Irrational Games as Irrational Canberra, it was spun off into 2K Australia after 2K purchased Irrational in 2006. It worked on all three BioShock titles and most recently released Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! to critical and commercial success.
 
Unfortunately, it appears that the costs of operating out of Australia was a significant factor in the studio's closure. 2K offered the following statement to help clarify the situation:
Our hearts and prayers go out to those who've lost their jobs. 

Jack Gardner
The teaser site reported last week has finally gone live and a new Star Ocean is on its way to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. A trailer exploring the history of the franchise and teasing its future has also appeared and you can view it below:
 
 
While the trailer doesn't tell us much beyond the title of the next game, a leak in Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, the prologue translated by Kotaku, offers more insight into what Star Ocean 5 will be about:
According to Gematsu, three characters were revealed in the Famitsu leak as well. The protagonist of Integrity and Faithlessness will be Fedel Camus, a defender of his village and specialized fencer. Miki Sorvesta is Fedel's childhood friend and has a sisterly affection for the hero. Finally, there is Lilia, a young girl who has lost her memories and emotions.
 
Like previous entries in the Star Ocean series, combat will take place in real-time. Integrity and Faithlessness will offer seamless transitions into and out of battles.
 
While Star Ocean 5 is coming to PlayStation 4, it has primarily been developed for PlayStation 3 and the PS4 version will be a port that may or may not take advantage of Share play features.
 
No word yet on when we could expect to see Star Ocean 5 release in North America. Longtime fans will be happy to know that series developer tri-Ace is helming this next installment, so we can be reasonably sure that the project is in capable hands.

Jack Gardner
Following the announcement of an all new Rock Band last month, many people wondered whether or not we could be seeing a new Guitar Hero as well. Activision confirmed today that FreeStyleGames, the developers behind DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2, will be bringing a new Guitar Hero to consoles this fall and it doesn't look like anything we would have expected. 
 
 
 
Live crowds and performers? This could be awesome in either a genuinely great way or a hilarious FMV way. Either way, I'm interested to see how this plays out. The press release heralds the live-action experience as "a quantum leap forward in immersion and realism," so take that how you will. 
 
Guitar Hero Live will launch this fall alongside GHTV, a playable music video network. Guitar Hero players will be able to play along with 24-hour channels of the latest music. It continually updates to keep a fresh rotation of music videos. Multiple channels will be available as well as themed shows. Additionally, players can purchase music videos to play on-demand.
 
In a surprise move, Guitar Hero Live will also be playable on tablets and smart phones. Exactly how that works or what that will mean remains to be seen.
 

 
Guitar Hero Live features a redesigned controller with two rows of three buttons. This redesign was motivated to mimic how people actually play guitar and FreeStyleGames assures players that this new layout will be easier for newcomers and more satisfying for veterans. It is currently unclear whether this new Guitar Hero will work with older guitar controllers.
 
Some of the artists being touted for Guitar Hero Live include: The Black Keys, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Gary Clark, Jr., Green Day, Ed Sheeran, The War on Drugs, The Killers, Skrillex, The Rolling Stones, The Lumineers, Carrie Underwood, Pierce the Veil and Blitz Kids, with many more bands to be announced in the coming months.
 
On top of that, if any of you are in the area of one of these three Best Buy locations, you'll have the chance to play Guitar Hero Live before its release this fall.
 
April 14, 2015: Best Buy Theatre, New York City, 6pm - 9pm April 18, 2015: Best Buy Store, Union Square, New York City, 1pm - 5pm April 18, 2015: Best Buy Store, Torrance, CA, 1pm - 5pm  
Guitar Hero Live will be launching fall 2015, for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, and select mobile devices that are TBA.

Jack Gardner
For the next six days, GOG.com is running a sale for bundles of, you guessed it, good old games. 
 
The sale will see discounts on bundles of up to 85% off. It opens with the Hasbro RPG Bundle for 80% off (including Planescape: Torment, Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale) and Lucasfilm point-and-click adventures at 75% off (Sam & Max Hit the Road, Secret of Monkey Island, Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis).
 
Up to four new bundles will be revealed every day. Beyond that, the tower is a mystery, so expect to see more news, offers, and unexpected goodies to be dropping between now and Sunday. 

Jack Gardner
Focus Home Interactive and Spiders, the developer behind RPGs Mars: War Logs and Bound By Flame, return to form with The Technomancer. Set on a cyberpunk, dystopian Mars in the grips of a war over precious water resources, players are thrust into the role of the Technomancer, a warrior proficient in both mundane combat and the use of cybernetic magic. Uncertain of their past and pursued by the Secret Police, players will need to stay on the move while unraveling the secrets of their past and abilities.
 
The Technomancer will run through a variety of locations: Cities lost in ice, shanty slums, and technology scavenging tribes gone mad. While the human enemies will pose a considerable threat, so will the other lifeforms of Mars.
 

 
The Technomancer takes after Dragon Age: Inquisition, offering a real-time combat system backed up by skill trees, equipment, and companions. A conversation system accompanies most scenarios, offering more diplomatically inclined players a chance to flex their people skills. Dialogue can also be had with allies who join the Technomancer, giving glimpses into their backgrounds and building relationships.
 
Spider touts that The Technomancer will have up to five different endings based on the quests that players fulfill and the choices they make. Some choices will determine which companions will join the Technomancer's cause.
 
On top of all that, Spider will be implementing a crafting system that changes the visual appearance of weapons and armor along with their stats.
 

 
The Technomancer is currently expected to release in 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Jack Gardner
A new teaser site has popped up on from Square Enix. The site features little in the way of clues, but the background of a foreign planet with the characters "S_AR 01 01" are leading many to conclude that a new Star Ocean game could be in the works. 
 
The only other parts of the page are a Twitter feed following #sqex_secret and buttons to share the page on Facebook and Twitter. Sharing the page through those buttons adds the message "NEXT 2015.04.13." It looks like we will be receiving answers this coming Monday. 
Until then, I'll be holding out hope for a new Star Ocean because I remember watching dragons fight spaceships in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time and it was awesome.

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