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Alone in the Dark Delayed to September

According to a feature in this month's Games For Windows magazine, Eden Games' Alone in the Dark (PC, PS2, PS3, X360, Wii) has been pushed back to a September 2008 release.

The feature, which details infamous delays and cancellations in PC gaming's history, lists Alone in the Dark's "estimated arrival time" as September of this year, six months behind its currently projected release window of this coming March. Read more »

"Man, why did they have to go and Jap up the game? The original game was awesome, and the ..."
- Omaha    See all 10 comments


Holiday Contest of Doom Conclusion

Related Topics – Atari, Activision, Valve, Konami, Bethesda, Contests

While we did announce the winner of the Shacknews Holiday Contest of Doom yesterday, what we didn't announce were those who took away spoils in the sweepstakes from submitting an entry. Picking one winner wasn't easy, so with the assistance of my buddy the random number generator we came up with the answers. Those results follow: Read more »

"i really need to start reading the front page again; didnt even know there was a contest :("
- mrsparil    See all 37 comments


Holiday Contest of Doom

Related Topics – Atari, Activision, Valve, Konami, Bethesda, Contests

Games are what bring us together, and the holidays are what hopefully give us a nice end and new start to the year. Here at Shacknews, we too wish to acknowledge the festive gaiety of the season with a whole slew of prizes and a contest worthy of your time. We're asking you to recreate your favorite scene from a game and to give it a holiday theme. Interpret this directive as objectively or abstractly as you like, but humor, cleverness and skill should be the key ingredients of your entry.

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"Terrorists win!!! Hope you do to, that’s a cool entry. "
- dangerdoggie    See all 153 comments


Tempest, Sensible World of Soccer on XBLA Wed.

Related Topics – Atari, XBLA, Games: Console

Modern updates of two old-school classics hit the online Xbox Live Arcade this Wednesday, December 19.

Selling for 400 Microsoft Points ($5), Stainless Games' revisiting of Atari's Tempest adds all sort of fancy graphical effects to the tunnel-based shooter. Of course, the original graphics are included as well.

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"Seriously? /slaps forehead Try the other way round..."
- Saruya    See all 10 comments


Atari Moves Forward in Restructuring, Settles with FUNimation

Related Topics – Atari

Troubled North American game publisher Atari has completed the first steps of its restructuring process. The company's CEO recently resigned after mounting losses forced Infogrames to enact a serious restructuring plan.

The company borrowed an additional $4 million from BlueBay High Yield Investments to allow Atari "to meet its holiday season financing needs," according to the announcement. Undoubtedly, these financing needs include the company's settlement with animation studio FUNimation over royalties owed for properties associated with Dragon Ball Z. Read more »

"So who's left stuck on the Atari label? Epic Games was the highest-profile developer publishing ..."
- the archvile    See all 2 comments


Neverwinter Nights 2 Module Q&A

Related Topics – Neverwinter Nights 2, Atari

RPG Vault has posted the first Neverwinter Nights 2: Mysteries of Westgate development diary. Alan Miranda and Luke Scull of Ossian Studios go over some of the new content found in the module, which will be published by Atari.

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Asteroids Bombard XBLA Wednesday

Related Topics – Atari, XBLA

A combo pack of Atari's arcade classics Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe mark this week's Xbox Live Arcade release. Bundled as one game, the titles will arrive on the download service this Wednesday, November 28, selling for 400 Microsoft Points ($5).

Included in the rock-smashing bundle are both modernized HD graphics and the classic titles' original vector-based visuals, along with something called "throttle monkey" mode.

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"loved the original asteroids, if this captures that old feeling and also delivers with that new ..."
- araczynski    See all 2 comments


Atari CEO Resigns, Publisher Licenses Test Drive to Parent Company

Related Topics – Atari

New York-headquartered Atari announced the resignation of CEO David Pierce today following mounting losses that forced the company to secure a $10 million loan from Paris-based parent company Infogrames. Infogrames recently initiated a restructuring plan for its subsidiary, which saw the ousting of several members of the board of directors. It's safe to assume Pierce's removal resulted from Infogrames' desire for drastic change as well, as chief restructuring officer Curtis G. Solsvig III has taken over as interim CEO while the company searches for a replacement. Atari also announced its complete withdrawal from the production business, with the American company now focused solely on publishing and distribution. In light of this, Atari has given up the license for the Test Drive series of games to Infogrames for further development of the franchise. Atari received $5 million in advance royalties for the exchange.

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"haha, yeah. It was crazy how many Atari t-shirts I saw in clubs a few years ago...."
- Ride-My-Rocket    See all 6 comments


Alone in the Dark Creeping onto PS2, Wii

Related Topics – Atari

Atari today announced that its upcoming take on the Alone in the Dark franchise will now hit the PS2 and Wii, in addition to the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Alone in the Dark will revive the famous survival horror franchise with a new gameplay structure and a fresh story. Assuming the character of Edward Carnby, players will be tasked with discovering a scary secret within New York City's Central Park over the course of a single night. The game will be structured like a television series, containing several "episodes" comprising 30-40 minutes of gameplay each. While Alone in the Dark is being developed by Eden Games, studio Hydravision will be in charge of porting the title to the PS2 and Wii. As you might expect, the Wii version will take advantage of the Wiimote and Nunchuck, allowing players to manipulate objects in real-time. Atari also sent along a few screenshots of the game on the Wii, which you can view below.

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"Again I must hope that Alone in the Dark gets made correctly to the Wii. But usually when a ..."
- Kolzig73    See all 2 comments


Indie Adventures: PixelJAM and Dino Run

Related Topics – Atari

Boom boom acka-lacka-lacka boom Open the door Get on the floor Everybody walk the dinosaur. For PixelJAM's Richard Grillotti, it's all about dinosaurs, Transformers, and old-school pixel art. Like most independent developers, he faces some steep obstacles. After his planned source of funding vanished without a cent, the artist behind all of PixelJAM's freeware Flash efforts--including the upcoming Dino Run--resigned himself to full-time employment in an unrelated field, just to get the bills paid. He's trying to get as much work done as he can on the company's games, but acknowledges that the balancing work with, well, work, can be rather difficult. Seeing as how I had already fallen in love with Dino Run, I caught up with Rich to learn more about PixelJAM and its games, the studio's future and his tips for other independent developers. Shack: Where did the idea for Dino Run come from? Richard Grillotti: I started sketching and I sketched dinosaurs. It just sprung up; the game is a very simple concept. I think maybe I was trying to think up a game with high action and high heartrate-inducing gameplay [laughs].

All of a sudden that sprung up. "Dinosaurs! And you've got to escape this wall of doom! Cool, that sounds fun." That's essentially what the game is. We've added a lot of detail to it, because just running up and down hills would have been kind of boring. Now we're in the process of, "What challenges can we add? What can we do to make every moment of the game exciting?" Shack: Where do you get inspiration for your games? Is there some message you're trying to convey? Richard Grillotti: Not so much, not yet. In some future games, I'm starting to really consider ways to put some subtle messages in, good things that people can take away with them somehow, for betterment, for awareness of consciousness or appreciation of life, I don't even know. I'll just sit down and design characters, playing with the style, seeing what springs up. Suddenly, I'll see this thing I made, and I'll be like, "Look at that guy, he's got a lot of personality." Ratmaze was pretty easy, he sprung out and it's like, "Yeah, yeah, look at him, he wants to go eat cheese." I made one little green guy, and for some odd reason, he seemed like he wanted to garden. So we got this platform [idea] in our minds, for this little green guy that dances in Ratmaze. We want him to have his own little single-screen platform activity game in which he'll be doing some gardening. Other times I'll just be like, in this pen and paper sketchbook, "I want a game where you have to move fast and have to use your reflexes," and then I'll get an idea for a car racing game, and we've got a pinball game we want to make. Some stuff springs from just a general idea of the kind of game we want to make, and then the form it takes will just reveal itself over time. Shack: What struck me most about Gamma Bros. was that it was obviously inspired by classic shooters, but had modern, rather forgiving, gameplay. Is that the approach you're trying to take? Richard Grillotti: We like the pixel style for whatever reason. It's embedded in our psyches. I've always had this desire to see more Atari-type games, more Nintendo games that never existed. So in a way, I'm moving on as if 3D didn't exist.
The gameplay definitely has got to be fresh and new and exciting. It has to be something I'd want to play, because I do go back and play the old games. I'll play a Nintendo or Atari and be all excited, and then I'll play a game I used to love. Within five or ten minutes, I'm like, "Okay, next game." Most of them, particularly the old Atari games, do not hold the appeal [they once did]. You start to see these things you'd like to have seen in these games. As far as forgiving goes, for Gamma Bros., at first it was hardly unforgiving. We were going to have one shot, you're dead, the end. In time, I was like, "Miles, um, that's not cool. This game is going to make people mad. They're going to get so far and just die? No." I kept playing and playing while Miles was building, and we talked about it, and we lived together at the time, so it was easy to go back and forth. Every time I got frustrated with the game, I'd tell him about it, and then we'd discuss ways in which we could avoid that and keep people with hope and without frustration [laughs]. Shack: Do you all still live together? Richard Grillotti: No. I'm in Eugene, Oregon, [Flash programmer] Miles Tilmann is in Chicago. Our friend Mark DeNardo, who does the music and sound effects, he's in New York. It works though, we've got Skype going and we talk a lot. The internet helps quite a bit. I think we'd get things done faster if we did live together, but it's just not the way it is, so we'll just have to make things work the way they are. Shack: How did PixelJAM come about? Richard Grillotti: It kinda converged. I'd always had an interest in abstract pixel art and animations, since about '95 or '96. So I put up this site, I bought PixelJAM.com somewhere around that time, and it was [and still is] an abstract pixel art site. Around 2003, maybe 2004, sometime in there, I started doing a project for a fashion show--I was invited to contribute some artwork. I decided I wanted to make some pixel [art of] models, it was going to be projected on these external windows, really huge windows. I made these models and I worked in a style of trying to get as minimal as possible, and finally found something I really liked and made all these pieces for that. Then Miles saw them, and we both had the similar idea that it would be really cool to see them move and walk around. I took one of the characters, made a male version with that style, and made it walk. Miles took it and put it in Flash and basically made it work with the arrow keys and we were amazed. We were like, "Wow, let's make a game." Shack: How long has each game taken?
Richard Grillotti: Ratmaze took about a month or so, month and a half. Ratmaze 2 took about a month. Gamma Bros. 2 took like six months. We weren't working full-time eight hour days on these. Some weeks we'll work like 60 hours [on the games] and some weeks we won't work on them at all. If we can crank out a decent simple game in three months or so, I think that's not so bad. We do want to make some that are going to be a little bit longer. We don't want to go into the year-long or longer development cycles. We want to continue to make games, and we don't want to get burned out. So we're going to do our best to keep things six months and under, if possible. Shack: Now, you're animating all of these pixels by hand, right? Richard Grillotti: Oh yeah. Painstakingly. With love. Shack: Can you talk about the difficulties you've experienced with that approach? I remember you were telling me about some of the issues you had animating a moon rover. Richard Grillotti: Oh wow, that thing. That was a unique challenge. That's for our upcoming game, it was supposed to be after the dino game, but we're gonna do Gamma Bros. 2 instead, because we figured it's definitely time.
So, the moon game, you're basically going to be hanging out on the moon. You know, jumping around in moon gravity. In the game, there's a moon rover, and we wanted [the animations] to be fluid. We've got rolling hills, and so it basically had to be a fluid motion from 0 degrees to 90 degrees, and then you can just repeat that to the other quadrants to make a full circle. Usually, the challenge comes from the fact that I'm using so few pixels. If I had made the thing use twice as many pixels, it would have been much easier. Shack: So you're animating these in Photoshop? Richard Grillotti: Yup, Photoshop CS2 is what I've got. It has an animation window to it, so that's helpful. I used to work between Photoshop and ImageReady, and there was some color pallette differences between the two, which I never understood because they're both [from] Adobe. I'm really happy that they integrated that into Photoshop. I just do things frame-by-frame. For example, in Gamma Bros., where they jump in their ships--it happens really fast, but I think that took about 6 to 8 hours just to get them from standing in front of the ship and into the ship, frame-by-frame, trying to maintain a fluidity to it. That's a personal challenge I've been taking on. I am using pixels and I'm keeping it old-school style, but I also want to have it be organic and smooth and natural. That's pretty difficult, because pixels don't lend themselves to smooth and organic. Read on to learn the perils of trying to fund game development through the sale of Transformers on eBay. _PAGE_BREAK_ Shack: Did you have any past experience or instruction with pixel animation, or was it all self-taught? Richard Grillotti: I never learned anything about pixel animation, that was all self-taught. I did have some experience in the past, also on a computer, just hand-drawn frame-by-frame kind of stuff. In the beginning, it was very intimidating. I would say, "Wow, we're going to make games, now I have to animate this stuff and I don't know anything about it and I don't know if I can do it," but I just kept trying. There were some days I'd pull my hair out for about four or five hours or two days or whatever, I'd say, "I can't do this, there's no way I can do this." Then I'll just keep trying it, and usually at some point, some a-ha moment pokes through, "Ah, I get it, I can do this little challenge I've been working on and not getting." It usually involves a bunch of failure, but these days, I'm doing a lot better with reducing the amount of failure before success, just through experience. Shack: I understand you tried to finance your games by selling your Transformers collection?
Richard Grillotti: Before I moved, I had started, a year or so before, to purge stuff out of my life. When I was a kid, I was a serious collector. I started realizing it was all a horrible anchor, I just wanted to have next to nothing, only what I really use to survive on and create with. I had sold a bunch of things on eBay the previous holiday season, and decided to put all my Transformers up as one monstrous collection. There's like, 400-plus figures, with all their accessories, and boxes, and tech specs, and booklets. I went ahead and launched the auction at the same time the movie launched, I thought it was a good plan. Somebody won it for $21,000. It blew me away. He just never paid for it. I never shipped it or anything, they're actually in Chicago all ready to go in six huge boxes. He kept promising and promising and kept giving me all these excuses, and I gave him two months--it was way too long. Finally, I was like, "I'm about to run out of money," I'd been living on credit, thinking that once he paid, I'd be able to pay off all this debt I'd been incurring. I didn't really have much before I moved out here, I was reaching financial low points. Shack: So the idea was to live off the money and develop games. Richard Grillotti: Right. I even put that in my auction, I'm like, "Okay, here's the deal, this is my plan. I'm not gonna go buy a sports car. I'm not gonna be frivolous with this." I actually did try relisting the auction in September, but it didn't even go up beyond $6,500 or so. That was disappointing. I'd be happy to make $10,000 on it, or even less at this point, because anything I make would allow me to work for at least a few months on our games. That's part of the whole putting time into PixelJAM thing. I can't put it into a full-time job or this PixelJAM thing falls apart. It needs our serious attention and time. Shack: How do you plan to make money? Richard Grillotti: We're going to try a few different approaches. For Dino Run, since we're entirely self-funded, we get total control over it. Ratmaze 2, for example, we got a sponsorship from Crazy Monkey Games, but beyond that, we don't make any money off Ratmaze 2.
Sponsorship's good in a pinch, but we're trying to make more where we can keep the game [going]. We won't launch Dino Run without our own high score table to link back to, because there is some kind of advertising revenue on a page like that, where people people visit constantly. We're also going to do a multiplayer version of Dino Run with XGen Studios. Stick Fighter Arena was one of their games, they have a really good thing going and they can support themselves, they have a company. Their games actually pay the bills. We're gonna throw a multiplayer game out there, and hopefully if it's got a lot of really high replay value, we'll be able to do some ad-sharing through that. We actually licensed Gamma Bros. to an online multiplayer site, something for kids, to have the game in the game, where kids can come across Gamma Bros. in the online universe and play it. Shack: What are your plans for the future of PixelJAM?
Richard Grillotti: We'd love to get onto Xbox Live Arcade, other sites, and even cell phones. InstantAction looks like a great platform to be involved in, and hopefully we'll get involved there when we have something that will work for them. I'd go pretty much wherever with it, especially if it would make us some money. Not that money is the end goal, but more like, a sufficient income. It'd be great to make some money, it'd be great to get some people involved, but really what's most exciting is the idea of the games we can create and the experiences. All the un-thought of experiences in games are pretty exciting too. There's so much potential. I'd love to make some 16-bit looking games. Probably wouldn't go too far above that, like maybe old-school computer-style games, that'd be great. I'm also going to make some super minimal stuff. If we want to do any games that are non-pixely, non-retro, we'd probably do that under a different name, because we also do have ideas that wouldn't lend themselves to this style very well. Shack: If people wanted to volunteer, how could they contact you? Richard Grillotti: They can e-mail us at e-mail us at pixeljamgames@gmail.com or just go to our site. We welcome people. We're pretty picky about what kind of work would be going into our games, so people have to be pretty good at what they're doing. If someone wanted to help, I would certainly welcome it, I'm pretty sure Miles would too. Our credits are so small, you'd definitely get noticed at the end of a game. There are like, four names. Shack: Any advice for up and coming independent developers? Richard Grillotti: One big one is, for your first game, don't bite off more than you can chew. Keep it really simple and small. Make tests, almost like film shorts, try some shorts out to get some experience.
It's more satisfying to produce and finish things, especially in the beginning. If you just go and go and go, you might burn out and never finish anything. We're using Flash, it's pretty accessible. Distribution is great, it's online, anyone can play, it's not platform dependent. There's a lot of Flash portals out there. It kinda hurts us that we don't have a C++ programmer for Xbox Live Arcade, because we think Gamma Bros. 2 would be a great game for that platform. We do have a game in the works, about bees, where you use the mouse to control movement. That would be a really good one for the Wii. Good luck. Don't give up. Be willing to take all the hard work you've put into something and just let it go and start something new and fresh, if that's what feels right. Sometimes people get trapped putting so much time and effort into this thing, and really, it just starts to kill them. Just let things go, and go for it. All things PixelJAM can be found at PixelJAM.com. For more on the company, check out its official blog and the personal sites of artist Richard Grillotti, programmer Miles Tilmann, and composer Mark DeNardo.

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"I even like their site. Its very neat. Its cool that they have Easter eggs on the site."
- phipple    See all 5 comments


My Horse and Me PC Demo Released

Related Topics – Atari, Demo, Nintendo DS

Struggling publisher Atari has just released a PC demo of W!Games' equestrian lifestyle game My Horse and Me (PC, Wii, NDS), which we have put up on FileShack for all you horse lovers out there. Described by Atari as a "unique gaming experience for anyone with an interest or passion for horses," My Horse and Me features "the most accurate horse models and animations yet realized in a video game," "a richly rewarding game play experience," and "a beautiful backdrop of charming indoor and outdoor environments." The first PC and Wii title from Amsterdam-based developer W!Games includes first and third person perspectives, horse customization, a championship mode, and various mini-games, such as grooming. W!Games promises it will be the "perfect training tool for practicing disciplines that riders face in real life." My Horse and Me hits Europe on Nov. 23 in PC, Wii, and Nintendo DS flavors, with a North American release slated for next year. The PC and Wii versions were handled by W!Games, with Mistic reining in the DS edition.

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"maybe he was point out that being anal is and ill risk to take"
- aeg1x    See all 84 comments


Atari Losses Mount, Future of Publisher Looking Grim

Related Topics – Atari

After delaying for months their quarterly financial report, the reason has become clear: Atari today announced a net loss of $11.9 million for the three months ending on July 30. By holding off on its recent quarterly report, and still missing the extended deadline by one day, Atari risks being delisted on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The global video game publisher has been on the ropes for some time now. Facing growing financial instability, Atari recently grabbed up $10 million in credit to continue its operations into the holiday season. After selling off studios such as Shiny Entertainment, and many of its major properties like Driver and Stuntman, Atari may also now potentially lose its lucrative Dragon Ball Z license in a legal fight with anime distributor FUNimation. The company's recent 2006 financial statement reported a staggering $69 million net loss over the fiscal year, leading Atari to state at the time: "The uncertainties caused by these conditions raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern."

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"Unlikely - the talent fled the house years ago. What they WILL buy is any IP still owned by Atari."
- Pixel_bc    See all 16 comments


New Alone in the Dark Trailer

Atari has released a new Alone in the Dark trailer, showing ingame footage set in Central Park. Developed by Eden Games, the new Alone in the Dark is set for release on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 some time next year.

Get the Flash Player to see this player. Mercury subscribers can also use the HD stream.

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"yeah, jeez. just show us the path you'll have to take through the scenery, a full list of ..."
- verminer    See all 20 comments


Atari, Bethesda-Parent ZeniMax Snag Funding

Related Topics – Atari, MMO, Bethesda

In separate announcements, both ailing publisher Atari Inc. and Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media have secured significant bundles of cash to continue operations. New York-based Atari, owned by Paris-headquartered Infogrames, received $10 million credit from Infogrames shareholder BlueBay High Yield Investments, and Providence Equity Partners bought $300 million worth of Maryland-based ZeniMax's preferred stock. But the $10 million won't come close to solving Atari's problems, whose parent company recently announced plans for a major restructuring after Atari filed a delayed fiscal year 2007 report detailing a $69.7 million loss. The announcement from Atari described the $10 million credit as "a first step in securing financing to build inventory for the 2007 calendar holiday season and for day-to-day working capital needs," though it added that "additional financing is being sought." ZeniMax, on the other hand, has a much brighter outlook, with the $300 million planned to "fund future growth, increase game development and publishing, facilitate acquisitions, and finance massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs)," according to the announcement.

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"The cost of making EVE and keeping the servers running is also a lot less than the cost of ..."
- ease one    See all 11 comments


Pong Inventor Nolan Bushnell Labels Modern Videogames "Unadulterated Trash"

Related Topics – Atari

While electronic gaming pioneer Nolan Bushnell hasn't tried his hand at "serious" game development in years, he still had some strong words for the industry in a recent interview with Electronic Design. "Video games today are a race to the bottom. They are pure, unadulterated trash and I'm sad for that," said Bushnell. The fired-up Atari founder has most recently worked to create a series of interactive restaurants titled uWink. The restaurants feature touch-screen terminals with which patrons can order food and drinks, and also play games, movie trailers, and videos. "We used to have families sit down and play a game together," added the 64-year-old Bushnell. "A lot of video games today are very isolated. You don't see mom and dad, sister and brother, sitting down like they used to play, say, Monopoly. That represented good mentoring time for families that just isn't happening now." Bushnell's career has been infamously punctuated by bad business decisions. After inventing Pong and founding Atari in 1972, he sold the company to Time Warner for a paltry $28 million. In the early 1980s, Bushnell took out large loans based on the value of Chuck E. Cheese stock to fund other projects. He resigned from the Pizza Time Board of Directors in 1984, as Chuck E. Cheese filed for bankruptcy. Despite his exile from the gaming field at large, Bushnell still seems passionate about the industry he once helped to create. "My personal favorite is Breakout," said Bushnell. "It is one of the games that everyone loved. It was very satisfying to play. It was like breaking down walls. And it was a metaphor. The world is better when you break down walls. Walls separate people. The more inclusive we can be, the better we can be as a species."

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"He must also hate T.V. and Movies, and books that weren't meant to be read to children."
- psycho100    See all 77 comments




Top Games

  1. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  2. Resistance 3
  3. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
  4. Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  5. DayZ
  6. MX vs. ATV Supercross
  7. Hearts of Iron IV
  8. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  9. Frozen Synapse
  10. Trials Fusion

Most Anticipated

  1. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  2. Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  3. DayZ
  4. MX vs. ATV Supercross
  5. Hearts of Iron IV
  6. Batman: Arkham Knight
  7. Survarium
  8. Kerbal Space Program
  9. The Walking Dead: Season Two
  10. Frozen Endzone

Top Rentals

  1. Grand Theft Auto V
  2. Beyond: Two Souls
  3. Batman: Arkham Origins
  4. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  5. Call of Duty: Ghosts
  6. Battlefield 4
  7. NBA 2K14
  8. Diablo III
  9. Madden NFL 25
  10. The Last of Us