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I don't think anyone truly thought EA was being honest with consumers when they stated that only a complete overhaul of SimCity would allow the game to not be online (aka, have offline single player). Mounting evidence, and now finally access to a completely offline debug mode where the entire game is playable, suggest EA is just talking out their ass.

First, Rock Paper Shotgun had an anonymous inside source explain this:

"The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing," claims RPS' source. "They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they’re doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they’re not doing anything. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise. It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless."

Of course, anonymous inside sources don't mean a whole lot... that is until a fan proves these sources to be 100% correct. More inside.

I definitely have had some fun with Call of Duty: Black Ops II on my Wii U. It has a fairly active online community and all of the modes are very pick up and play. It's nice when I don't want to take things too seriously or when I don't have a lot of time to game. In many ways, that makes it sort of a casual experience, since anyone can really play and feel like they are accomplishing something. It reminds me a lot actually of Goldeneye back in the N64 days.

John Gibson, President of Tripwire Interactive (Folks behind Killing Floor and Red Orchestra 2), talked extensively to PC Gamer about how Call of Duty is ruining the FPS generation of players these days. The main reason? It's taken what was previously a hardcore only experience and turned it into a mainstream casual style genre. Don't believe that? Think Call of Duty is a hardcore gamer's game? Hop inside to see why that's not the case.

It's no secret that the modern gaming market is a lot less stable than it was a few years ago. I was hoping to write a lengthy editorial on this very subject, but the brilliant minds at CleverNoobs have just done so in video form! This feature takes an in-depth look at the gaming crash of 1983 and the parallels between it and today. Discussing the effects of DLC, online gaming, and retooling old games, CleverNoobs explains why the current market is in a state of upset and what we can all do to try to avoid it—and even why a crash may ultimately be a good thing. CleverNoobs has done a wonderful job at explaining the state of the industry, and as educated gamers, this is an essential video to watch.

SimCity's launch has been extremely shaky, to put it mildly. Some claim its the worst video game launch of all time; but either way, things sure have been troublesome. The critical consensus on SimCity thus far is that it's a good game, if it works. Getting it to work being the key factor.

SimCity has been struggling with back-end server issues, to such an extent that EA even halted advertising on the game. The good news is that huge strides are being made in improving the underlying issues. The number of players in the game has now doubled; server response is 40 times faster; and server down times have been reduced.

For the full progress report, straight from the blog of Maxis' Lucy Bradshaw, read on.

Coming right after a week where Ubisoft leaked everything from a game's name to its announcement trailer before its official reveal, you'd expect they would get the situation under control, but Ubisoft has managed to leak yet another Assassin's Creed-related image. As you can see above, the image displays the logo for "Assassin's Creed: Phoenix Rising." It's hard to imagine Ubisoft would flood the market this much with new big-budget Assassin's Creed titles, so perhaps this is another Vita game à la last year's Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. Or perhaps this is has something to do with the Assassin's Creed film? Time will tell what Phoenix Rising really means—so long as this isn't a masterfully crafted prank.

Due to ongoing server issues since its release last week, Electronic Arts yesterday halted its online advertising campaigns for SimCity. EA also sent out an e-mail to its affiliates, as per their Origin's LinkShare program, asking that they "please stop actively promoting the game until further notice."

With the game's servers failing to meet player demand, developer Maxis has acted to improve gameplay by deactivating some features, and is working on improving "server stability."

The e-mail sent out yesterday states that EA Origin has "deactivated all SimCity text links and creative and we ask you to please remove any copy promoting SimCity from your website for the time-being." Hit the jump for more of the e-mail and a response from Maxis General Manager Lucy Bradshaw.

Anita Sarkeesian is attempting to tackle a rather prolific topic: Woman in video games. The above video is part 1 of massive series of videos she will be putting on on the topic to reach her ultimate conclusion. The video project was funded via Kickstarter and so far, so good in my book. The above video touches upon a common trope used not just in games but in all areas of the media. Sure, it hurts at times seeing Miyamoto thrown out there as one of the godfather's of this movement in games, but it's not far from the truth.

I think it's nice too where she says she too grew up on these same games and she enjoys playing them, so it's not like this topic is necessarily about the games design. This topic is strictly about how woman are depicted in gaming. We gladly look forward to the next part in the series. It's a very touchy topic, but I think she has done a good job touching base on it so far. Oh, and for those that want to mention how in Double Dragon she helps beat the boss in the end - so does Zelda, it doesn't mean she's not a damsel in distress.

Everyone by now is at least remotely familiar with the indie phenomenon Minecraft. Though Minecraft is available on PCs and mobile devices, the only home console the game has been available on has been Xbox 360 for quite some time. This is due to an exclusivity deal developer Mojang has with Microsoft, but as revealed in a recent interview, that all could change sometime soon. Jens Bergensten, lead designer of Minecraft: Pocket Edition, had this to say:

Microsoft has an exclusivity deal for consoles. When it runs out we’ll consider Minecraft for PlayStation, but Wii U is very unlikely.

Though the language here doesn't imply that this contract will end any time soon, the fact that they're discussing the contract's end is certainly telling. This quote, however, got me wondering exactly which console Bergensten was referring to as "PlayStation" and why the Wii U is such an unlikely candidate, and it turns out that the situation may not be so simple with the Wii U. Head past the jump to read more.

You all, no doubt, know PETA by now—the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA has been known to publicly attack media and games, such as Mario's tanooki suit or Pokémon Black and White Versions, rather than rallying against corporations who actually mistreat living, breathing creatures as opposed to their fictional counterparts.

This time, PETA is taking their complaints to the high seas in protest of whaling in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

"Whaling—that is, shooting whales with harpoons and leaving them to struggle for an hour or more before they die or are hacked apart while they are still alive—may seem like something out of the history books, but this bloody industry still goes on today in the face of international condemnation, and it’s disgraceful for any game to glorify it. PETA encourages video game companies to create games that celebrate animals—not games that promote hurting and killing them." — PETA

The complete oversight in comprehension, however, is what upsets me about this call to action. In depicting whaling in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Ubisoft is by no means trying to glorify the harpooning and subsequent abandonment of animals and revive the practice in modern day. Instead of encouraging gamers to go out and hunt whales, Ubisoft is trying to paint a historically accurate picture of the times in which to place fictional scenarios, and in my mind, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag has had the curtain lifted today and despite some early leaks we have learned a heck of a lot about the experience today. For starters, it will be coming to all available consoles including the PlayStation 4, which will feature some exclusive content (which is par for the course) and enhanced visuals over the PS3, 360, and Wii U versions of the game. However, knowing what platforms it comes on is far from what all of you are wanting to hear about right?  Right, so head inside to get the full scoop.

Getting tired of the cheesy Wii U puns yet? Me too... and yet, I still can't resist the urge to use them whenever I have the chance. How bizarre.

Anyway, Mass Effect 3's penultimate DLC, Reckoning, arrived February 26th for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC (February 27th for the PS3 in Europe). As a multiplayer DLC pack, it includes a host of new characters, weapons, and mods. Characters include the Geth Juggernaut, Female Turian Raptor, Talon Mercenary, and Alliance Infiltration Unit. Weapons include the Geth Spitfire Assault Rifle, Venom Shotgun, and Lancer Assault Rifle, and new equipment and weapon mods include the Geth Scanner and Assault Rifle Ultralight Materials. To find out more (including why the DLC isn't for U), hit the jump.

Here we are a full day before the big reveal and we are already unveiling the world premier trailer for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. I admit that I wasn't looking forward to the high seas pirate adventure, but after seeing some of the story setup I must admit I am intrigued. Sure, likely none of what we see is actual gameplay, but that doesn't matter this early in the game. Fact remains, it looks fantastic and like another must buy for me later this year. It is slated for PC, 360, PS3, Wii U, and next-generation systems.

Today, CDProjekt confirmed the final installment in The Witcher series would make its way to the PS4 in a press release. They also gave us 14 more screenshots to show off the wonderful world they are constructing in a 100 hour romp that is sure to thrill us for much of 2014. The screenshots are likely from the PC version of the game, but they are stunning to say the least. In a few cases it appears the lens flair is a bit off, but it will likely be cleaned up by the time the game releases. Either way, it's definitely something to marvel at.

We are going to be flooded with new information come Monday for the next iteration of Assassin's Creed, but that doesn't mean some crafty people haven't already uncovered some details thanks to a page that was discovered on the official website. Unfortunately, Ubisoft has since rectified the problem, but we have the above screenshot testifying to its existence. The biggest news to be gleaned from the page since the Trailer wasn't working is that the release date is October 29th, and it plans to also release on next-gen consoles. 

Of course, many have been speculating that most of this years "biggest" titles could be on both current and next-gen consoles, which does make upgrading to the next console definitely not seem as imminent. The real question is how long this trend continues. With rising developer costs and an already established fan base, is possible we could see cross-generational games for another couple years?

It also speaks volumes that some people aren't ready to move on. As much as developers like Ubisoft clamor for a new generation, they aren't completely jumping ship either. It has yet to be seen if consumers are ready for a new generation, but so far the developers seem unwilling to drop support in favor of a new console outside of the Wii U, where none of the new games outside of possibly Just Dance will appear on the old Wii console. Oh, we also have a piece of new art to show you as well.

Ubisoft has officially confirmed Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag with the release of the first piece of official box art. It's immediately noticeable that it contains references to Pirates, which confirms pretty much every rumor that has been circulating for weeks. Ubisoft also confirmed an "official" unveiling of the game Monday morning, around 7am CST. Naturally, we will be here to bring you all the latest details about the next AC adventure.

Are you excited? This is the quickest turn around for a numbered venture in the series yet. It is now slated for the Wii U, Xbox 360, PC, and PS3. The rest of the box art is after the jump