Game Replay: Elite Dangerous: Arena ships as combat-focused title

Gaming news summary for February 16, 2015

Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Frontier ships the Arena from Elite: Dangerous as a standalone title, Rovio soft launches a new Angry Birds game, the Sony PlayStation VR is claimed to have a release scheduled for the fall, and the season pass for Fallout 4 is going to raise in price from $30 to $50.

Frontier ships Elite Dangerous: Arena as separate multiplayer game

Potential players of Elite Dangerous who just want to fly around in space and destroy other ships in a dogfight now have the option to do that, without paying for the entire game. Frontier has started to sell Elite Dangerous: Arena on Steam for $7.50, allowing players to fight each other, without having to perform any in-game trading or exploration beforehand.

The Arena release is in fact a repackaging of the Close Quarters Combat element of the space game, but as a standalone title. Rather than risk their precious main-game craft, the Arena offers four combat-stye ships to use, with it quickly respawning after the player dies. Unlike the main game, which usually requires an investment of time heading into the hours, Arena is a more fast-paced game with matches that are over quickly.

The developer hopes it will attract new players intimidated by the main game's size, reports Rock Paper Shotgun, with Frontier CEO David Braben adding "It'll bring a different audience to the game as well." Braben also suggests players of Arena may wish to upgrade to the full game, with an offer of a discount based on Arena's cost for those who make the change.

So far, Elite Dangerous: Arena has only been released on PC, while the main game is out for both PC and Mac. It is unclear if a Mac release for Arena will be made available, though it is still playable on the platform in the original game.



Fallout 4 DLC detailed, season pass price rise imminent

Fans of Fallout 4 will have to act quick if they want to get the season pass cheaply, as Bethesda is raising the cost from March 1. The season pass, which will include three add-on pack releases, is currently being sold for $30, but will increase to $50 at the start of next month, with no changes being made to the content supplied within it at all.

The first DLC being made available will be Automatron, shipping next month for $10 according to Engadget. The add-on will see players fighting a horde of robotic enemies released by the Mechanist, though parts dropped from fallen robots can be used by the player for their own devices.

In April, players will benefit from the $5 Wasteland Workshop, which will allow for the creation of cages to capture the Wasteland's creatures, before coercing them to fight each other. The Workshop will also add new customization options for the player's settlement.

The third DLC, set to drop in May and will cost $25 outside the season pass, is called Far Harbor. Players will be able to search an island off the coast for a missing woman, in order to help the Valentine Detective Agency.




Angry Birds Action soft launches in New Zealand

A new game in the Angry Birds franchise has soft-launched in New Zealand this week. Angry Birds Action shifts the perspective from side-on to a top-down view of the action, requiring players to consider the direction rather than gravity, but still retains the same physics-based gameplay as the original releases.

TouchArcade suggests the game can be compared to Monster Strike, but is a more simplified physics puzzle game. Using a limited number of birds, players must hit targets and complete the levels without using all of their available "ammunition," with more birds made available for achieving certain objectives in the level.

It is unknown when or if the game will receive a global release, but considering the upcoming Angry Birds movie in the coming months, it is possible developer Rovio could ship it as a movie tie-in.


PlayStation VR arriving this fall, claims GameStop CEO

Sony's virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR, will be going on sale this fall according to the head of GameStop. CEO Paul Raines revealed in an interview concerning the virtual reality industry that the retailer anticipates Sony's attempt at a VR device will go on sale much later than its competitors and much later than originally thought, with both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets expected to ship this spring.

Speaking to Fox Business, Raines confirmed that the retailer is "in discussions" to sell both of the PlayStation VR competitors in the store, though it is unknown if the comments indicate GameStop has a deal to sell Sony's version at launch. If the device takes off, it would benefit GameStop greatly, as it will give a considerable boost to the retailer's existing high hardware sales.

Pricing is also unknown, but a previous interview with Sony executive Andrew House by Bloomberg suggested it would cost the same as a "new gaming platform." This most likely puts the PlayStation VR at around the same price as the current generation consoles were sold for at launch, and in the same ballpark as the Oculus Rift's $600 price tag.

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