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Tuesday Newsday: The ends of several eras

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Harmonix has decided that 275 consecutive weeks of Rock band DLC is enough.

Harmonix has decided that 275 consecutive weeks of Rock band DLC is enough.

Weekly Rock Band DLC to end after five years

The plastic guitar game may have falling from its once lofty pedestal, but Harmonix, the legendary studio that made Guitar Hero for Activision and then Rock Band for Electronic Arts, never stopped supporting their flagship franchise.

Harmonix has offered new downloadable songs every week for an unbelievable 275 continuous weeks - 4,000 tracks in total, and they never missed a single week. Sadly, this era is coming to a close, with Harmonix announcing that April will mark the end of regular DLC.

All is not lost, however, as Harmonix has given fans some reason for hope in an open letter to the community. "While we’re no longer actively pursuing content for release, we still have the technical capability should the right band and the right opportunity arise," the statement said. "We don’t have anything planned for release at the moment, but it’s not something we’ve ruled out."

The final Rock Band song will go online on 2 April, including "what we feel is an appropriate track for the final release". Place your bets, everyone. End of the Line by the Travelling Wilburys? Final Countdown by Europe? I'm Outta Here by Shania Twain?

Seven year old becomes youngest ever mobile game developer

Got a great idea for a mobile game that you just know could be bigger than Angry Birds if you could find the time to make it? Well, prepare to feel even more like a woeful under-achiever: a seven year old girl in a science and technology school for gifted children in the US has almost certainly just become the youngest person ever to make a complete, playable mobile game.

The exact details are a little murky, mostly because mainstream newspapers have been reporting on it and mangling the technical specifics, but it seems that Zora Ball of the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School in Philadelphia made a complete and playable mobile touch-screen game from scratch as a school project.

I did some digging, but I couldn't find official confirmation that the game had been published in a service like the iOS App Store of Android's Google Play. Whatever the specifics are, it's still an impressive achievement. Apparently, the school not only teaches lots of science, maths, and technology, but it also instils children with a love of learning.

Here's to you Zora; I hope you'll have a big, bright future.

Planescape: Torment to get an unofficial sequel with the original designer on board

They may not own the rights to the Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting Planescape, but that's not stopping game studio inXile and designer Colin McComb from making a belated sequel to fan favourite RPG Planescape: Torment.

The new game will be a "spiritual sequel" rather than a true official follow-up, not least because they are leaving the original's D&D setting behind and shifting the action to the freshly-Kickstarted world (and rule-set) of Numenara, designed by roleplaying game legend Monte Cook. Since they do not have the rights to the original name, the new game has been called Torment: Tides of Numenara.

Despite the shift of setting, the new RPG rules, and the loss of the official licence, the designers promise that this game will go on asking the questions that were so central in Planescape: Torment: What is life? What is the nature of a living being? Does a single life matter?

In the long term, there will be a Kickstarter campaign to fund development, but for now the creative team is just releasing tasty details and slowly building up the hype.

Game site 1Up.com closes down

A decade ago, when the idea that websites run by amateurs and semi-professionals could give gaming news and criticism comparable to our beloved magazines, one of the great examples was 1Up.com. Amid a depressingly large amount of quick-fix journalism and dodgy writing, 1Up was a example of how to do gaming news professionally.

Sadly, 1Up is no more, as parent company Ziff-Davis has decided to reshuffle its assets and consolidate its brands. In one fell swoop, 1Up.com, GameSpy.com, and UGO.com were all closed down. Staff were either let go or rolled into existing staff at Ziff-Davis's flagship gaming news site IGN.

There isn't a lot of money in games journalism, so I am sure it is sound business to roll multiple brands into one, but it is still a sad loss for fans of quality games criticism.

Do you have a hot tip for a gaming new story? Send it to DexX at SPYourTurn@gmail.com.

- James "DexX" Dominguez

twitter DexX is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez

19 comments so far

  • I viewed Obsidian's Project Eternity as the spiritual successor to Planescape Torment, but having two around isn't a bad thing :D

    I'm neutral towards 1UP's closure. Neutrality towards a gaming site is a quite high for me as I nearly hate every other gaming journalism site (since I'm willing to engage in the community here, that's a bit of high praise from me XD). The low of the low for me is IGN, GameSpot and Eurogamer. Oh and forgot to add EGM there. Kotaku is pretty bad too. No offence to you DexX, but my opinion of gaming journalists isn't very high ever since I met a couple of them at the 3DS Launch Party (couple that with how I generally look down on reviews). Smug beyond belief, ignores everyone who isn't 'relevant' (which included my friend and I as we were competition winners rather than journalists) and I distinctly remember one case where a journalist didn't care about anything else going on and spent the whole time trying to hit on, what was her handle on that show, Rei? that used to be on Good Game.

    Commenter
    Raito
    Date and time
    February 26, 2013, 6:24AM
    • If your talking about their old anchor lady then yup that was Rei. IIRC she did an internship and a stint at remporary editor for Kotaku AU when Mark was on holidays. She's currently writing for Polygon at the moment.

      She's my hero :D

      Commenter
      RocK_M
      Location
      I want chinese take-away!
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 11:22AM
  • IGN, argh!

    I didn't know 1UP, but I know IGN and Gamespot (as they are the sites I often avoid).

    Pretty good effort from Harmonix to release every week. That reminds me, I still need to pick up Rocksmith too.

    Commenter
    Joka
    Date and time
    February 26, 2013, 8:52AM
    • Couldn't me more excited about a new Torment. Seriously considering getting on board the crowdfunding bandwagon on this one - and not a coincidence that inXile are also doing Wasteland 2, the sequel to the Fallout precursor.

      Commenter
      azzski
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 9:23AM
      • Search on Youtube for the 1UP Show, especially the theme song. It got canned during 2009 when UGO bought 1UP, so that was pretty bad but this is just as bad.

        Just quickly on those who bash the big sites/game journalism (I'm one), this ain't the time. During the 90s/00s these publications were small and insignificant and thrived on page visits from those young enough to remember those times. You and me. They write something you don't like or do something you think 'goes against' something - they should be told in no uncertain terms and allowed the chance to better themselves, not this.

        My sympathies go out to anybody and everybody affected.

        Commenter
        Leigh
        Date and time
        February 26, 2013, 10:24AM
        • A damn shame that a great and focused site like 1Up gets shuttered while the rubbish that is IGN lives on =/

          I will miss that website it had the most eclectic mix of articles and features from retro games, chiptunes, RPGs (both western and jrpgs!) and fairly balanced reviews and articles. All while not being completely saturated by ads and whatnot.

          Now I need a new games related website to visit =(

          Commenter
          RocK_M
          Location
          I want chinese take-away!
          Date and time
          February 26, 2013, 10:51AM
          • damn I didnt know 1up closed down. I actually really liked their reviews and it was always the 1st place I would read when thinking about getting a game on launch . the reviews were always fair and felt unbiased

            Commenter
            mongey
            Date and time
            February 26, 2013, 11:14AM
            • A little ironic, 1UP is out of lives.

              Commenter
              BlindSquirrel
              Date and time
              February 26, 2013, 11:30AM
              • not really

                Commenter
                Luigi
                Location
                Italy
                Date and time
                February 26, 2013, 12:25PM
            • Following on from Rock_M - I'm curious as to what gaming sites does everyone here visit? Which ones are worth visiting / avoiding?

              Personally, I only go to a few gaming sites - like 1up, Gametrailers and even Kotaku/IGN if i have nothing else to do...

              Commenter
              beatdan
              Date and time
              February 26, 2013, 12:49PM

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