I hope you get all the games you want and all the accessories that come with your tech stuff. Be safe this New Years and hopefully we'll see you after 2012.
Save Often guys and gals.
 
One of this year’s more welcome surprises was director Gareth Evans’ martial arts thriller The Raid.  Though Evans likely had plenty of offers on the table in the wake of The Raid’s success, he chose to move forward with a direct sequel as his follow-up.  The Raid star Iwo Uwais is already confirmed to return in the more ambitious sequel, titled Berandal, and now Evans has unveiled a list of actors who will be joining the pic.

Julie Estelle (Macabre) has been set in the role of Hammer Girl, with Alex Abbad (Merantau), Marsha Timothy (The Forbidden Door), Mathias Muchus, and Tio Pakusadewo rounding out the cast.  Silat practictioner Cecep Arif Rahman was also previously announced as starring in a major role in the film.
 
I’ll be honest right from the start; I haven’t played a lot of games this year. Not from a lack of time or interest, but because of money. I just have not had the money to dedicate to gaming. In retrospect it’s a necessary sacrifice but it is always hard to walk passed a GameStop or a gaming aisle in a store. Nevertheless I am quite knowledgeable of the games released in 2012 and I can still give you an adequate opinion on some of the best games to hit shelves.

Best Damn Games of the Year

DOTA 2

Dishonored

Mass Effect 3
The Walking Dead
Hitman: Absolution
Journey

Winner: The Walking Dead

Best Damn Action Adventure Game of the Year
Sleeping Dogs
Assassin’s Creed III
The Walking Dead
Dark Siders II
Spec Ops: The Line
Hitman: Absolution
Super Mario Bros U
Dishonored

Winner: The Walking Dead

Best Damn Strategy Games of the Year
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Crusader Kings II

Winner: XCOM

Best Damn Original IP of the Year
Sleeping Dogs
Dishonored
Lollipop Chainsaw
Journey

Winner: Journey

Best Damn Co-OP Game of the Year
Borderlands II
Diablo 3
Epic Mickey 2

Winner: Borderlands 2

Best Damn Soundtrack of the Year
Mass Effect 3
Journey
Nintendo Land
Sound Shapes

Winner: Jouney

Best Damn MMOs of the Year
Guild Wars 2
PlanetSide 2
Rift: Storm Legion
World of Warcraft: Mist of Pandaria

Winner: Guild War s 2

Honorable Mention: Star War: The Old Republic.
I know this game isn’t valid for the nomination because it’s a 2011 game, but I just started playing it this year and it’s amazing and I’m enthralled entirely.

Best Damn RPGs of the Year
Torchlight II
Dark Souls
Diablo III
The Witcher 2
Mass Effect 3
The Last Story

Winner: Mass Effect 3

Best Damn Graphics of the Year
The Witcher II
Borderlands II
Halo 4
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Far Cry 3

Winner: Far Cry 3

Best Damn Single-Player Shooter
Borderlands 2
Dishonored
Far Cry 3
Max Payne 3
Spec Ops: The Line

Winner: Dishonored

Best Damn Multiplayer Shooter
Hawken
Natural Selection 2
Tribes: Ascend
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Halo 4

Winner: Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Best Damn Indie Games of the Year
Journey
Mark of the Ninja
The Walking Dead
Slender

Winner: The Walking Dead

Best Damn Fighting Game of the Year
Dead or Alive 5
Persona 4
Soul Caliber 5
Tekken Tag Tournament II
UFC Undisputed 3
WWE 13

Winner: Tekken Tag Tournament II

Best Damn Digital Download Game of the Year
Minecraft
Trials Evolution
The Walking Dead
Mark of the Ninja
Unfinished Swan

Winner: The Walking Dead

Best Damn Studio of the Year
Ubisoft
Gearbox
Bethesda
343 Industries
Telltale Studios
Square Enix

Winner: Telltale Games

Worst Damn Games of 2012
Resident Evil: Raccoon City
ZombieU
Trasformers Fall of Cybertron
Asura’s Wrath
The Expendables: The Game
Amy
Stell Battalion: Heavy Armor
 
Press Release:
AGOURA HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 19, 2012-- THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI), a leading worldwide developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software, today announced that it entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with a “stalking horse bidder,” affiliates of Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., to acquire substantially all of the assets of THQ’s operating business, including THQ’s four owned studios and games in development. The sale will allow THQ to shed certain legacy obligations and emerge with the strong financial backing of a new owner with substantial experience in software and technology.

To facilitate the sale, THQ and its domestic business units have filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The company’s foreign operations, including Canada, are not included in the filings. The company has obtained commitments from Wells Fargo and Clearlake for debtor-in possession (DIP) financing of approximately $37.5 million, subject to Court approval.

THQ will continue operating its business without interruption during the sale period, subject to Court approval of THQ’s first-day motions. All of the company’s studios remain open, and all development teams continue. The company remains confident in its existing pipeline of games. THQ maintains relationships with some of the top independent development studios around the globe. As part of the sale, the company is seeking approval to assume the contracts of these studios, and Clearlake will assume these contracts.

“The sale and filing are necessary next steps to complete THQ’s transformation and position the company for the future, as we remain confident in our existing pipeline of games, the strength of our studios and THQ’s deep bench of talent,” said Brian Farrell

, Chairman and CEO of THQ. “We are grateful to our outstanding team of employees, partners and suppliers who have worked with us through this transition. We are pleased to have attracted a strong financial partner for our business, and we hope to complete the sale swiftly to make the process as seamless as possible.”

According to Jason Rubin

, who joined THQ as President last May, “We have incredible, creative talent here at THQ. We look forward to partnering with experienced investors for a new start as we will continue to use our intellectual property assets to develop high-quality core games, create new franchise titles, and drive demand through both traditional and digital channels.”

Clearlake has agreed to serve as the “stalking horse bidder” for a Section 363 sale process, which allows other interested parties to come forward with competing bids. Aggregate consideration offered by Clearlake for the purchase totals approximately $60 million, including a new $10 millionnote for the benefit of the company's creditors. The company is asking the Court for a schedule to complete the sale process in about 30 days.

Consumers and retailers should see no changes while the company completes a sale. The new financing will support business operations throughout the period. THQ does not intend to reduce its workforce as a result of the filing, and employees will continue to work their usual schedules and receive normal compensation and benefits, pending customary Court approval.

As is the case after a Chapter 11 filing, THQ expects to receive notice from NASDAQ informing the company that its shares will be delisted from the exchange within nine calendar days of notification.

THQ is being advised by Centerview Partners LLC and FTI Consulting as its financial advisors andGibson, Dunn & Crutcher as legal counsel. Clearlake is being advised by DLA Piper as legal counsel.

Here are THQ's games with their new prospective homes:

● Turtle Rock Studios: Working title 'Evolve'

● THQ Montreal: Working title '1666'

● Relic Entertainment: Working title 'Atlas' 

● Vigil Games: Working title 'Crawler'
 

The Initial Announcement 

Bethedsa Zenimax announced the Elder Scrolls Online back in May, which is also when the first details started to creep out.

The Announcement Trailer

The first ever Elder Scrolls Online trailer arrived a day after the first announcement  The voice-over sets the stage for the MMO, but other than that there’s not much info here. Pretty logo, though.

Setting and World

According to Game Informer’s announcement, The Elder Scrolls Online will take place in the second era of Tamriel’s history, and the main quest charts the daedric lord Molag Bal attempts to take over the world.The Elder Scrolls Online’s main story will be a single player affair, you don’t see other players along the way.

Molag Bal is the prince of domination and the enslavement of mortals, so this probably isn't going to end well. His plane of Oblivion is said to be a ruined copy of the world: think Tamriel as we know it, but with lots of terrible graphics, glitched NPCs, and broken quests.

The second era is a fairly open part of TES history. All prior Elder Scrolls games have taken place in the third era, with the exception of Skyrim, which is set in the fourth. The sheer amount of lore in each game means that we already know a fair amount about thousands of years leading up to The Elder Scrolls Online, however.

A few major events could conceivably take place within the lifetime of an MMO beginning at this point. Around the time when the game will take place, Morrowind’s god-king Vivec is due to flood the entire region to kick out the invading Akaviri forces. That’d make for a pretty exciting world event.

It’s also an important period for Tamriel’s guilds. This is when the Dark Brotherhood forms out of the outlawed Morag Tong, and the Mages Guild is only a few hundred years old at this point.

How did the developers take inspiration from Skyrim and Oblivion? 
Well they have imported the layout of Cyrodiil from Oblivion to ensure Elder Scrolls fans find things familiar, but Skyrim will be a little different. While major landmarks and cities will remain, this is Skyrim long before the ruined world we know, and there’ll be very different stories to tell.

Introduction to the Basics

Factions & Guilds

The two factions announced so far are the Daggerfall Covenant (Bretons, Redguard, and Orcs) and the Aldmerri Dominion (Aldmer, Bosmer, and Khajiit). Players will choose a faction and race at character creation.
 
The Aldmerri Dominion is a authoritarian High Elven empire and a precursor to the black-robed villains of the same name in Skyrim. Their objective here is to subdugate all of the other races. They have three territories:
The Summerset Isles are the homeland of the Aldmer, located off the south-western coast of Tamriel.
Valenwood is a massive forest and home to the Bosmer. The wood elves are protective of their natural habitat and don’t build cities, so expect sporadic human settlements instead.
Elsweyr, the Khajiit homeland, has only formally existed for a few hundred years by the middle of the second era. It’s a mixture of desert and jungle, and it hides substantial Dwemer ruins.
 
Expect the Daggerfall Covenant to be a looser affiliation of races. “There is a lot of historical friction between the redguards and the bretons”, game director Matt Firor told Game Informer. In The Elder Scrolls Online, the Daggerfall Covenant will be composed of the provinces of High Rock and Hammerfell – but it’s worth bearing in mind that at this point in the fiction the areas was made up of dozens of smaller kingdoms.

A few hundred years later, in the event known as the ‘Warp in the West’ – a contrivance on Bethesda’s part to explain all of the competing endings for The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall – those separate kingdoms were magically remade into Daggerfall, Wayrest, Orsinium, and Sentinel. Its in this form that they’re better known, and it’ll be interesting to find out whether Zenimax’s more stable High Rock acknowledges this shift in the fiction.

The Elder Scrolls Online Gameplay

Player Vs. Environment

Unlike the single player Elder Scrolls games, The Elder Scrolls online will use an MMO style hotbar, but with a twist. The UI will be minimal, with players taking their queues from animations and other in world hints instead of a wall of text. Lead gameplay designer Nick Konkle says he wants to Look at the world, not at my hotbar”.

In our Elder Scrolls Online combat overview we learnt that abilities will work in a similar fashion to Guild Wars 2. You have six abilities, the first two are based on your weapon, the next three on your class and the final one is an ‘ultimate’ ability, extremely powerful, but you can only ever use one at once. Any class can use any weapon, so a Mage can carry a sword, and the more people he stabs, the better he’ll get at it. The idea is to let you craft your own playing style from a wide range of options.

Combat will be built around co-operative ‘synergy’ moves. Player attacks will spark effects that other players can exploit to create a bigger, flashier and more damaging attack.

Despite the MMO trappings, familiar elements from the single player Elder Scrolls games will be present. These include guilds, including the Mages Guild, and birthsigns. Skyrim allows players to switch birthsigns on the fly, and we don’t yet know whether The Elder Scrolls Online will go with this system or opt for the previous, chosen-at-character-creation model for assigning bonuses.

Player Vs. Player

The Elder Scrolls Online’s structure makes a lot more sense when you factor in the influence of Mythic’s 2001 MMO Dark Age of Camelot, which was produced by TES Online director Matt Firor. DAOC had three factions that occupied separate regions of the world, and those three factions clashed for control of territory in a central, neutral region.
In The Elder Scrolls Online’s case, that central region is Cyrodiil – the setting for TES IV: Oblivion. Like DAOC, the focus will be on laying siege to enemy fortresses. If it sounds a little like Guild Wars 2′s World vs. World PvP, that’s not a coincidence: ArenaNet have a few ex-Mythic developers on their team, too.

In our Elder Scrolls Online interview the developers spoke about how important the PVP aspect is. They want everyone to be involved in the great war. Even if you don’t want to fight directly, you can still contribute in lots of ways, such as crafting gear for front line troops.

Free-to-Play or Subscription?

Some information about so-called Free to Play model
Free to Play model means that all players can play the game for free without paying regular fee. But F2P MMORPGs are not absolutely free. You must understand that any game is made just because developers want to make some money. It is business and if the game exists it must generate revenue. That’s why high level F2P games can not be absolutely free. For example players will have to buy updates with new content. Now you know that so-called “Free to Play” model is not absolutely free. FTP and Subscription-based games both require money. They just use different ways of doing it.

Can Elder Scrolls Online be free to play?

It is a serious question. If we assume that TES MMORPG will be a huge and long term project the answer is “No”. Elder Scrolls Online will hardly use F2P model. There are several reasons:

Subscription-based games can generate more revenue in long term but such projects must also be huge and interesting. Only interesting game can stimulate players to pay regular fee. Players have to feel that it worth paying. Elder Scrolls Online will be a huge long term project. There is no doubt that the game will also be interesting. If it is true the game will not be F2P.

F2P model is often used because it is easier to attract new players using F2P. It is obvious that FTP model is a little bit more attractive for players. But we do not think that TES Online will have problems with new subscribers. TES is popular and many people around the world will buy a subscription. Popularity is one of the main reasons for using Subscription model in TES MMO.

If Elder Scrolls Online uses subscription-based model we will see quality updates and interesting content. Developers will be able to create high quality updates because subscription-based games generate more revenue. More revenue means better content and updates. The MMO leader, World of Warcraft, is not free to play. That’s why new WOW updates are usually great.

Final overview
Elder Scrolls will most likely use Subscription method because it generates more revenue and allows to maintain and develop high quality game. But Bethesda and ZeniMax will have to do all their best to stimulate players to pay regular fee. What is your opinion?

Misc. Info

  • ~ There will be three distinct leveling paths. Members of the Ebonheart Pact will experience a different leveling experience than members of the Aldmeri, and so forth. Whether these “different” paths are copies remains to be seen, but on the map at least each Alliance has a different corner of Tamriel to roam about.
  • ~ Soul Gems are back, and will take a significant role in the form of crafting and enhancing items.  They were usable in our build, but we were told they were still very much Work in Progress.
  • ~ The Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guilds come after launch. The Fighters Guild and Mages Guild quest lines are both in for launch, but the other two more “shadowy” guilds will be added soon after the game goes live.
  • ~ There will be mounts and a travel system, but neither is ready to show the public yet. (This is rumored.)
  • ~ Classes are in, but they can be “free-formed”. Classes might throw off some TES purists, but the developers are taking care to make sure that each class can be played entirely to the specifications of each player.  Part of this relies on the ability of any class to wear any armor and use any weapon, and level up those skills accordingly.
  • ~ Along those lines, the Trinity is in ESO, but how the class system and the open nature of forming characters fit into this remains to be seen.  From what we could gather, your role in group play will changed based on your chosen gear set and what skills you place on your hotbar.  It makes sense then that changing both can and will effectively change your roll within a class. The developers told us more info on how it will all work will come soon.
  • Crafting materials are everywhere and you’ll find them in barrels, shelves, boxes, and so forth just as you would in any TES game.  You can steal from homes, and possibly even NPCs.  Which leads us to…
  • ~ The “Morality” system is targeted for launch, but might come after with the “Thieves Guild”.
  • ~ Combat is very much akin to recent TES games (Oblivion, Morrowind). There are normal and power attacks, blocking, and you will need to aim at your target to hit them. 
  • ~ The Hotbar. The hotbar can have six skills at any one time, leading players to tweak and change builds based on the situation.  This can only be done out of combat.
  • Each class has unique “Ultimate” skills. These skills are equipped to the “six” slot, and charge up through excelling at combat.  They are much more powerful than the normal skills/spells.
  • ~ There is also one consumable slot on the hotbar, assigned to the letter “R” on your keyboard.  You can put potions and other consumable items here, leading us to believe that potions will be a key part of survival, as they were in other TES games
  • ~ You can assign your stats during leveling. While it’s not quite like say, Diablo, you will get a point to put in Health, Magic, or Stamina each level.  Each point increases the stat by an additional amount per level. So players looking to be excellent mages will obviously want to focus on Magic.  Each stat pool has its own bonuses for spending points in it as well.
  • ~ Cyrodiil will boost players to max level. Beginning at level 10, players can start fighting for their Alliance in the massive open PVP region of Cyrodiil.  They won’t have the gear or skills of higher level players, but everyone who enters Cyrodiil will be scaled to level 50 so they can contribute.
  • ~ Gear and weapon skills level up, and give bonuses. Every time you use a weapon, or every monster you fight while equipped with a type of armor, you gain experience for that item. Even beyond level 50, you’ll be able to continue working on your weapon and armor skill paths.  Every type of weapon and armor has its own leveling path complete with perks and skills for getting better at using them.
  • ~ Skill Leveling On that same note, every class skill or spell has its own leveling path too, and gets better with use.  At a certain point you can choose between two “morphs” of that skill, effectively changing what it does.  And when you want to switch to the other form of a skill, you can as long as you’re out of combat.
  • ~ Housing coming post-launchIt won’t make the release day, but the devs were sure to remind us that it will come after launch and is a priority of theirs.
  • ~ It’s PVP may be more “sandbox”With a massive section of the game map (the entirety of Cyrodiil) being devoted to PVP with capture-able keeps, destructible walls, and towers, siege weapons, and so forth… the Alliance vs. Alliance system is more “sandbox”.  Players can even become Emperor, though perks for ruling are yet to be revealed. 

Release Date

No official release date as of this posting. All that is said is that 2013 will be the year of release. Within that time I will guess that ESO will BETA test between March-May and release between June-August. September at the latest.
 
Twentieth Century Fox Film is moving forward with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for a May 23, 2014 release, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes star James Franco tells MTV that he hasn't heard anything lately from the production.

"I was going to be a small part of the next one," he said. "There was a moment when Rupert Wyatt was going to direct the second one. A lot of the human characters that were in the first movie were dead in the sequel that Rupert was going to direct. But there was one scene, between Caesar and my character, maybe even just like on a video that was left behind, but then a lot of things happened, like [former Fox co-chairman] Tom Rothman who was a big part of the first movie, left. Now Rupert's not a part of it so I don't know. My guess is I won't be in it. Nobody's talked to me since Rupert left."

Cloverfield and Let Me In helmer Matt Reeves is now directing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for the studio. The first film, released in 2011, earned $481.8 million at the worldwide box office.
 
Talking at a press conference for CZ12 in Kuala Lumpur, Jackie Chan said he is on board. "Sly had invited me to be in 'Expendables 2' but I was too busy filming 'CZ12' and couldn't make a commitment to the film. But he did extend his invitation to the third movie, which I agreed on the condition that I will be appearing as more than just a minor role with a few scenes."

He added that he hoped the third installment of the franchise would run along the lines of a 'buddy-buddy' movie should Chan be starring in it, to which Sylvester Stallone obliged.
 
Return to the Wasteland in The Scorchers, an all-new RAGE add-on from id Software – arriving on 360, PC, and PS3 next week for $4.99 or 400 Microsoft Points.

In this brand-new adventure spanning six all-new areas, you will fight alongside new allies to defend the Hager Settlment from a maniacal bandit clan known as The Scorchers. Along the way, you’ll participate in a new season of Mutant Bash TV, encounter new mini-games, and wield the overpowering and brutal Nailgun.

In addition to the new content, this DLC includes ‘Ultra-Nightmare’, a new high difficulty mode, as well as an ‘Extended Play’ option that allows you to play past the original ending of the game – giving you the opportunity to finish collecting items and achievements.