Lucia looks at the industry: March 15

Obsidian layoffs could mean trouble for “South Park”

The report from Joystiq states that Obsidian eliminated 20-30 staff members, and a tip from an anonymous source to Joystiq cleared up the confusion just a bit. The tip said this: "Another project canceled, this time for a future next-gen project and the layoffs impacted that team, plus the existing South Park team. Approximately 20-30 people from all disciplines, including one person who started yesterday, as well as one who started last week."

Obsidian won’t comment on stories regarding their staff.

More details on “Assassin’s Creed III”

If you want an illustrated tour of the “Assassin’s Creed III” world, saturated with knowledge of locations, wilderness and characters, this Game Informer preview is for you. See how cities will be incorporated into the traditional “Assassin’s Creed” model as well as the battles and wild parts of colonial America you’ll explore while playing as young or adult Conner.

Bethesda hiring for iOS

According to a new job listing on the company site, "Bethesda Game Studios is looking for experienced iOS programmers for unannounced games." Bethesda chose not to comment on the listing. Source: Game Informer and Bethesda.

Upcoming release dates

You guessed it. This is a new feature to be adorning the “Industry” blogs about games with announcements about confirmed release dates.

“House of the Dead 4”: This PSN title lands on April 17 in the United States for $9.99. This is a PSN-exclusive title and has never appeared on a console. Features include Move capability, Trophies, multiplayer and ranking/grading systems. Source: IGN.

“Diablo III”: Blizzard confirmed this PC release date as May 15. Source: Game Informer.

“Ratchet & Clank Collection”: The collection, containing “HD remasters” of all the original games from PlayStation 2 (meaning “Ratchet & Clank,” “Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando,” and “Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal”) will release in the fall for North America. The game will feature 3 Platinum trophies and online multiplayer for “Up Your Arsenal.” Source: Game Informer and IGN.

“The Walking Dead”: This downloadable title will hit PSN, XBLA and PC/Mac/iOS in April. This first entry will contain the first five episodes of the popular TV series and the rest of the episodes-into-games will follow “regularly.” Source: IGN.

Review of previews

“Dust 514”: Want to find out more about the free-to-play MMO shooter? Check out this IGN video preview with ex-Battlefield staff.

Review of reviews

“Shoot Many Robots”: In IGN’s review, the title is described as having potential for flashy and content-rich “lighthearted shooter inspired by old-school action games,” but that potential is blown with a mindless control system and irritating action.

“Major League Baseball 2K12”: Game Informer’s review pitches this game as the bug free version on “2K11” they always kind of wanted. Although the game is largely unchanged from last season, the animations are improved and graphics are showing their age. Added features are novelties and the game is merely a passable experience.

Rumor mill

THQ’s “1666”: THQ trademarked this as “video game software,” and rumors has it that it could concern the Great Fire of London (an event that destroyed 70,000 homes). THQ declined to comment. Source: IGN.

Fun video

If you want to see the youngest first-person shooter player, it’s this Chinese 2-and-a-half year-old. Found by Kotaku on a Chinese site, the kid has better PC gaming dexterity than I do (although that might not be saying much).

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