This year’s Battlefield series entry — Battlefield 4 — is headed to PCs this fall. The game wasn’t given other platforms, but logic dictates it’ll arrive on the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 successor. Apparently, since only Sony’s next-gen console is a known quantity and Microsoft’s staying mum, EA isn’t sharing other platforms yet (but hey, it’s probably PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox). The game’s being built on the latest iteration of DICE’s Frostbite engine, though no other details were given about the engine just yet.
Like previous Battlefield entries, EA-owned Swedish game studio DICE is at the helm, and Battlefield 4 remains planted in current times (unlike the pseudo-future of Call of Duty‘s latest entry, Black Ops 2). A beta for the game will go live some time this fall, and folks who bought last year’s Medal of Honor: Warfighter are automatically part of said beta. We’ll have more info as EA offers it up, but color us not surprised if Battlefield 4 makes a reprise appearance at Microsoft’s still undated Xbox 360 successor unveiling.
Update: EA also released a 17-minute gameplay demo of the game’s prologue section, played on a PC. It features a squad of four soldiers on the run from Russian spec-ops militants in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. You’ll find it just beyond the break.
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Anyone who’s ever had a nice brisk bike ride through a snowstorm is likely to cringe a bit at the above image. Though the gentlemen pictured is looking forward to the summer season for other reasons — that’s when the Recon heads-up display he’s testing is set to get a bigger reveal. In the meantime, we’re stuck staring at the above image of HUD-equipped sunglasses and wondering precisely what it all means — aside, of course, for the company’s move off the ski slopes.
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A new job listing over at Microsoft has revealed when the outfit is planning to serve up the next iteration of its smartphone OS. According to the post, work on the current version is being finished up and they’re “getting ready for our next release targeting the holiday of this year.” Presumably, the update will be part of the wider Blue umbrella of tweaks for Windows. Though a vague “next release” doesn’t offer any details in terms of features, it’s likely the OS will carry a significant set of changes as the team in need of a developer is responsible for the Start screen experience, the shell, first party apps and more.
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The Wii U launch sort of came and went, didn’t it? I mean, it’s a nice console, but it certainly didn’t cause any major waves. In fact, Nintendo only sold 57,000 units in January. For those who don’t track game console sales numbers — and why would you — that’s bad. Very bad.
The Wii U, at least so far, has underwhelmed consumers. There isn’t a killer application just yet, and despite some interesting innovation with the touchscreen controller, no one is sitting in his living room, staring at an empty space in his entertainment rack, thinking, “You know what I need? A Wii U.”
And now we’re all waiting so see what Sony does with the PlayStation 4. Rumors are that they’ll do what Sony always does: Pack a ton of technology into a package that will be expensive — but cost less than it should — in order to get early adopters on board. It’s actually possible that by the time this column is posted, Sony will have already released details about its upcoming hardware and you’re too busy oohing and ahhing about frame rates and visual controllers.
I hope so. It’s clear that we need new hardware. We’re desperate for something amazing. We need a new hardware war, something to get us fanboys off our heels. Faint rumors about Microsoft’s next console, images of possible new PS4 controllers and buzz about anti-DRM features have me interested, but I’m not getting the sense that people are bouncing around message boards, gritting their teeth and hungry to get their hands on a new console this year.
Perhaps it’s because the last generation of hardware is still quite serviceable. I still use my PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on a regular basis. The PS3 is my go-to Blu-ray player and I’ve been grinding my way through Ni no Kuni. The Xbox 360 does my Netflix and media playback duties and is also my choice when it comes to playing shooters given Live’s solid performance despite throngs of screaming fools.
At this point in the previous hardware generation, I was more than ready for new hardware. Shadow of the Colossus was dragging the PS2 to its limits. I wished at the time that I was playing it on more powerful hardware. Meanwhile, the giant Xbox was clearly ready for better networking features in order to do all Microsoft wanted to do with Live, and who didn’t want a prettier Halo? Meanwhile, the GameCube desperately needed to be replaced by something more innovative and competitive.
All three companies delivered. The powerful PS3 is still the best Blu-ray player on the market, Xbox Live is the best gaming network outside of Steam and the Wii remains an excellent party device.
I’m worried, though, that this next generation will just be more of the same. The PS4 certainly sounds powerful, but what can it possibly do that will blow our socks off? There isn’t a new optical format to get excited about. The new Xbox will most likely also be a powerhouse, but instead we’re hearing more about how Microsoft could be appeasing publishers with some strict anti-DRM measures. We all saw what Nintendo did: Innovate a little, but keep the Wii brand name and deliver a better — but similar — experience.
In short, these are probably going to be the most conservative game console updates we’ve seen yet. We’ll hear a lot about applications, digital downloads and better performance. We’ll have a hard time telling the difference between a game console and a set-top box. But what we’ll be left with might be underwhelming, and that’s going to be disappointing. Let me be clear: I hope I am wrong.
Maybe it’ll all be in the apps and the way they change the way we consume games and media. Maybe the new devices from Sony and Microsoft will allow us all to finally say goodbye to cable companies. Maybe we’ll never have to rent a Blu-ray disc from Redbox again.
Or maybe it’ll just be more of the same. Here’s hoping it won’t be. C’mon, Sony. C’mon, Microsoft. Get crazy.
Joshua Fruhlinger is the former Editorial Director for Engadget and current contributor to both Engadget and the Wall Street Journal. You can find him on Twitter at @fruhlinger.
Filed under: Sony
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Entering the market this week is the newly Food-and-Drug-Administration-approved Alipazone — brand name: Ablixa — an antidepressant drug of the “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class” that has been produced to treat major depression, and is prescribed off-label for other conditions. The logo, packaging, and advertising have been designed by Pentagram partner Emily Oberman.
When we were asked to redesign the logo for Ablixa we wanted introduce a human element to their identity so people relate to how it made them feel. We then added a sunburst “crown” to illustrate the feeling of security and happiness that surrounds the patient. Having never done a pharmaceutical logo before, we did a lot of research into what makes a successful logo / icon for an anti depressant and found that some representation of the human form and a symbol or sign of improvement or safety was often combined with typography that hinted at strength and a speedy recovery. We wanted to keep it clean and modern and create a figure that would appeal to both men and women. We used the shape of the pill itself to create the sunburst around our newly happy figure. We kept the purple and orange colors so maintain a continuity across the rebrand, but gave each a purpose: purple to represent humanity and gold to represent happiness and safety — like a warm glow.
— Provided text by Pentagram
The old logo had all the trappings of a generic-looking, um, generic drug: Optima, swooshes, and gradients. The new one now at least has all the clicés of generic-looking, brand-name drugs: Italic sans serif, ambiguous human shape, and meaningless bursts of happiness. Whether because this was done by Pentagram and deep down I want to give them some credit or because there is some actual merit to it, the typography is not that bad. The italic Futura bold works well, it is properly letterspaced, and the crossbar of the “A” adds a little edge to it. The human figure is less permissible — even more so when Emily’s own partner, Michael Bierut, has already debunked the benefit of employing “neutered sprites” — and the “crown” looks more like an explosion than any feeling of “security and happiness” that could be communicated. That it uses the shape of the pill is the only conceptual absolution it gets. If there is one successful approach to the crown it is in the TV spot shown above, where it interacts with actual people and the environment. In application there isn’t much of an identity, it’s just the logo repeated over and over; which is fine but I would expect more from Pentagram, specially if they are taking on big pharma projects like this, the least they could do is put a little more effort into it and not just cash, what I’m guessing, is a big check.
We were hired to create an identity for a fictional anti-depressant for the movie Side Effects, opening this Thursday, directed by Steven Sodebergh and written by Scott Z. Burns. Because of the central role it plays in the film’s plot, “Ablixa” had to look like a convincing pharmaceutical product with a vaguely sinister undertone. Our solution is a compendium of many of the clichés that define this genre. From the happy humanoid figure to the generalized sunburst motif (plus some gratuitous typographic customization) it’s meant to convey that sense of overwrought optimism that we’ve come to expect from multinational corporations that are trying too hard. The identity included a logo “redesign” (the filmmakers had created a placeholder logo that served as our starting point), marketing literature, a website, online ads, and a TV commercial. We take a great deal of satisfaction from reports that most people in the audience seem to believe that this imaginary drug is real.
— Project explanation from Emily Oberman. Congratulations: if you’ve read this far you’ve understood that the project is fictional and that Pentagram has actually answered the brief perfectly. For those of you that don’t read what I write: Suckers!
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Pebble has just informed backers that the very first orders will begin shipping today, though the iOS app is still pending approval from Apple. In the meantime, Android users will have access to a compatible app in Google Play beginning tomorrow — just in time to start using those freshly unboxed smartwatches.
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