Everyone loves a mystery, don't they? I mean, why else would news about the discovery of Loch Ness Monster bones be trending on my Facebook feed right now?
It's this week's Eurogamer Show. Or is it...?
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7th June 2011
Astute readers may remember that Trials HD contained loads of cryptic easter eggs and fourth wall-breaking riddles. Naturally, developer RedLynx decided to continue this trend into 2012's Trials Evolution, only this time it's gotten much, much more ambitious.
Tropical shooter Far Cry 3 has now sold more than 4.5 million copies, publisher Ubisoft has announced.
The company's Q3 financial results also revealed that PlayStation Vita exclusive Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation had scored 600,000 sales. Just Dance 4 boogied past the 8 million milestone.
All of these were dwarfed by the phenomenal success of Assassin's Creed 3, which has now sold 12 million copies - a 60 per cent increase on Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 were more popular on Xbox Live in 2012 than Halo 4.
Apparently the release of Trials Evolution's latest DLC pack has been timed to coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar. Hence "Riders of Doom". All of which points to Ubisoft having supreme confidence in developer RedLynx's production scheduling, if you ask me. After all, you couldn't exactly say "it's not the end of the world" if they missed the release date.
Then again, while there are a few levels with an apocalyptic tinge to them - including one set under a starry sky full of marauding UFOs - there are just as many that seem to have nothing to do with the alleged theme. Among the tracks that make up the DLC's new Big Sands region you will find a race through a sawmill, a series of ascents through ancient Greek ruins, a strangely colourless tribute to BioShock Infinite's city in the clouds, and even a Halloween level. So you do get the impression that the whole Mayan calendar thing may have been a convenient retrofit rather than a guiding principle.
Still, who need a coherent theme when the levels are this good? Riders of Doom initially seems to offer slightly less bang for your buck than Origin of Pain, with just 20 regular tracks (four of which are impossibly difficult Extreme challenges), a handful of new supercross multiplayer courses, five tournaments (comprised of tracks from elsewhere in the DLC) and 10 new Skill Games. But the quality of the track design is typically fantastic, many of the new Skill Games are actually really good, and it's all yours for just 400 Microsoft Points (around £3.40).
So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody's having four pints at lunchtime then trying not to be sick while racing round Poundland in search of a last minute Secret Santa present for someone about whom they know nothing except name and gender. And at least one of those is in doubt. Ho ho ho!
Trials Evolution will be expanded in a second DLC track pack, Riders of Doom, sometime in December on Xbox Marketplace.
Priced 400 Points (about £3.40), Riders of Doom is themed around the end of the world.
It contains 40 new tracks set in the post-apocalyptic Big Sand Lands, with a powerful new bike for your garage.
As much as I love Trials Evolution - and for those of you who weren't around in April, I love it nine times out of ten - I have strayed from its charms in recent months. I've been busy wrapping my brain around Fez, mining the shifting sands of Spelunky, and subjecting my various gaming disc trays to a rotating cast of shooty and sporty pleasures. For a year at the end of a generation where everything is supposed to be a brown shooter with a "3" on the end of it, it's been surprisingly hard to keep up with all the good stuff.
So, if nothing else, the release of new downloadable content pack Origin of Pain is a great excuse to check in on Trials Evolution again and see how people are getting on with the level editor. And you know what? It turns out people are getting on very well with it. The complex tool that developer RedLynx used to make the game in the first place has now passed through the hands of thousands of dedicated amateurs, and their seemingly endless creativity and ingenuity is all available for you to sample. There are challenging new technical tracks to inch your way over tread by tread, and a host of quirky full game concepts that wouldn't look out of place being sold separately on the Indie Games channel.
RedLynx is understandably proud of its community, and draws attention to some of its best handiwork in a boxout on the game's main menu. But the sheer depth and quality of its fans' output does mean that Origin of Pain has a lot to live up to. After all, with so much free high-quality entertainment tucked barely a menu away, why spend another 400 Microsoft Points just to get a couple of dozen official new levels and a few trinkets?
Trials Evolution's Origin of Pain DLC will be available tomorrow on Xbox Live Marketplace, Ubisoft has announced.
A group of late-thirties men are gathered around the Trials booth at Ubisoft's Digital Days event in Paris, and they're all talking about the same thing. They're all talking about playing Trials, of course, but more specifically, they're talking about playing Trials with their kids. Young children love RedLynx's stunt gauntlet as much as grown-up children, by the sounds of it. Even Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynx's head honcho, admits he plays with his three-year-old - Ilvessuo junior working the gas while Ilvessuo senior controls the balance.
It's not surprising to see where the love comes from: Trials remains a wonderful interactive museum of head injuries and spinal fractures, and there's nobody on earth who's too old, or too refined, to not enjoy the sight of an extreme sports type spinning through the air arms flailing before relaxing, indelicately, into the brittle embrace of a nearby tree. RedLynx is currently hard at work with a selection of other Ubisoft studios bringing both Trials HD and Trials Evolution to the PC in the form of Trials Evolution: Gold Edition, and while the team's promising a package that's optimised and spruced up for its return to its home platform, it's also found the time to create new DLC for the 360 crowd. Face-planting on a concrete pipe must seem like a sweet release after that kind of workload.
The new DLC's called Origin of Pain, and it offers a whole tropical island to screw around on. The island's 4km by 4km, making it fairly massive by Evolution standards, and its 36 new single-player tracks - along with additional skill games and tournament stuff - are set amongst a surprisingly wide range of backdrops, from smoggy city centres to Shinto shrines, pirate bays, and even the odd circus pitch.
Xbox Live Arcade success Trials Evolution is to be expanded with its first DLC pack, Origin of Pain, publisher Ubisoft has announced.
The add-on is set to hit the Xbox Live Marketplace this autumn, priced 400 Microsoft Points (£3.40).
Origin of Pain will offer 36 new tracks, additional skill games and tournaments, a new BMX bike and "tons" of new course editor objects.
Someone, some one person, has recreated Super Mario Bros. World 1-1 using the modding tools of motorbike racing game Trials Evolution!
Ubisoft's sales for fiscal 2012 - 2013 - i.e. April to June this year - have increased 27.2 per cent over what they were at that time last year, according to a recent financial report.
The total sales came to €131 million (about £102 million) compared to the €103 (£80 million) recorded for the same period of 2011 - 2012.
The publisher singled out Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Trials Evolution as particularly hot items. The latter set a record for the highest grossing day one sales in XBLA history with over 100,000 units shifted. Between Trials Evolution and a host of free-to-play games, online sales went up 112 per cent to €27 (£21) million.
Minecraft and Trials Evolution are receiving free bonus content in honour of Microsoft celebrating its fifth year of the Summer of Arcade promotion.
Over 100,000 creations ready to download.
Mario Bros! Skyrim! Rainbow Road! Terminator 2!
The first title update for Trials Evolution will go live tomorrow, 30th May at 10am UK time.
Developer RedLynx will follow the patch by wiping the game's multiplayer leaderboards, a move deemed necessary to keep online records "fair and valid".
"We apologise for the multiplayer leaderboard reset," RedLynx stated on the company's official forum. "However, this step was deemed necessary to ensure the best multiplayer experience for all players.
Outstanding Xbox Live Arcade game Trials Evolution has motored to 500,000 sales in three weeks, publisher Ubisoft has revealed.
The game temporarily held the one-day XBLA sales record - and would continue to be a record breaker now it it weren't for the colossal arrival of Minecraft on Xbox 360.
Minecraft XBLA broke one million sales in one week.
RedLynx's acclaimed Trials Evolution has a rival: meet its PlayStation Vita lookalike, Urban Trials.
Trials Evolution developer Redlynx has deployed a fix for the game's user-made track listings, which previously caused popular courses to disappear from rankings.
Eurogamer showcases some of your finest creations.
In an age of cross-platform development, console exclusives are somewhat thin on the ground, and especially so on Xbox 360, where Microsoft has scaled back first-party studios, occasionally paring back on in-house engine development in favour of third-party middleware - so much so that the next Fable title is running on Unreal Engine.
Just over two and a half years ago, RedLynx released Trials HD on Xbox Live Arcade. Not only was it a brilliant game, it was a rare example of a 360 exclusive designed from the ground up to make the most of the console's unique architecture. Lead programmer Sebastian Aaltonen, one of the most gifted engine coders working on the Xbox platform, helped to define a game that was not only rampantly playable but also looked quite unlike anything else on the console: beautiful physics combined with pixel-perfect dynamic lighting, shadowing and material effects to produce a game that remains an stunning technical achievement to this day.
Stuntbike sequel Trials Evolution has racked up the highest grossing day-one sales in Xbox Live Arcade history, Microsoft has revealed.
The announcement was made via a post on the platform holder's PlayXBLA blog, though helpfully didn't come with any concrete figures to quantify the record.
Thanks to a Tweet from developer RedLynx earlier today we do know it shifted over 100,000 units, resulting in overloaded multiplayer servers.
You can't really say that the games industry has downtime any more, but there are a few months of the year - months like this one - when the high-profile boxed releases dry up and the traditional publishers and distributors take a breather before winding up for a crack at the next financial quarter. We used to call these spells "droughts", but frankly, the modern games industry makes a mockery of that term.
The Gigatrack is the longest circuit in the game and the best demonstration of the virtual texturing/megatexture technology utilised.
Frame-rate tests on Trials Evolution as it renders some of its most well-lit stages.
Performance Analysis video of Trials Evolution in its largest levels with the longest draw distance.
Performance analysis of Trials Evolution as it generously throws about masses of GPU-intensive transparency effects.
UPDATE: RedLynx has told Eurogamer that Microsoft has braced itself for a surge of activity today and over the weekend and has taken steps to prepare for it.
Ready your accusations of bias, because this week's Eurogamer.net podcast is a bit of an Xbox-fest - by accident, not design, we promise. That's if three awesome 360 sort-of-exclusives releasing in the space of six days is an accident! (It probably is.)
As we reflect on the success of digital games like Fez and Bastion, which point the way to a brave new future without discs and boxes, it's easy to forget that the idea behind Xbox Live Arcade was originally rooted in the past. It came from the days of upright cabinets like Ms Pac-Man - games that were best played alone, but with friends, who would compete to displace each other's initials at the top of a rudimentary leaderboard.
It's no coincidence that one of the very best Xbox Live Arcade games, Trials HD, had this concept at its core. It was you and your 2D stunt bike against the track - a lonely battle to extract as much grip, balance and momentum from cruel arrangements of wooden ramps, oil barrels and tractor tyres as your mastery of the economical controls would permit. But really, it was you against the guy above you on the leaderboard.
The game's masterstroke, however, was allowing you to review how the guy above you on the leaderboard came to reside there. By downloading replay data you could examine his route through the course you had just completed and, thanks to an on-screen recreation of control pad buttons, even observe how he was moving his fingers. There were no secrets between the best players and those chasing them. Every breakthrough went viral.
EG's Trials expert takes to the track.
Microsoft has announced release dates for a number of high profile Xbox Live Arcade titles, as part of its new Arcade Next season.
As detailed on its Major Nelson's blog, the XBLA version of Minecraft launches on 9th May, priced at 1600 Microsoft Points.
Stunt bike sequel Trials Evolution lands on 18th April, priced at 1200 Points. That's followed a week later by gory hack and slash effort Bloodforge, also for 1200 Points.
A listing for Trials Evolution appeared on the Xbox Marketplace yesterday, but has since been changed to a New Years Eve date some 787 years into the future. Default placeholder, or doomsday scenario for the game's army of followers?
The original page had showed a release date of 04/18/2012 which is 18th April in English. It's a Wednesday to boot, the traditional day of release for XBLA games, so perhaps we at last have a date for getting our hands on the long-awaited sequel to 2009's best-selling Trials HD.
Last month, developer RedLynx released a teaser trailer for the upcoming title, showing off an editor that allowed for pinball games, table football, oh and some rather good stuff with motorbikes in it. You can enjoy it again below.
My head is spinning. RedLynx has built upon Trials Evolution's predecessors so comprehensively that it's now scraping the heavens. Trials has been expanded in every way possible - local multiplayer joins online multiplayer joins an extensive reworking of leaderboards - and it will continue to expand well after it's finally released, its creation mode promising to churn out more and more content until the servers are switched off.
My palms are sweating. Trials has always set the heart racing, stretching your nerves out across a series of impossible inclines and falls, but Evolution adds a new level of suspense. Tracks can be hung in the skies, a generous draw distance letting you see every inch of the drop that awaits those with a clumsy throttle finger.
And I can't stop laughing. Trials always had a keen sense of slapstick, and now it's taken centre stage. It's a novel way of sweetening the thousand failures that underpin any extended game of Trials; fall off your bike, and the ragdoll rider will bounce limply across the scenery.
Create new courses, puzzles, FPS levels.
A remarkable new trailer for upcoming RedLynx game 'Trials Evolution' has appeared on the Xbox 360 dashboard.
But still no release date.
"Real fans" will want to wait for the finished version of upcoming Xbox Live Arcade game Trials Evolution - and not download the leaked version, developer RedLynx has said.
UPDATE: Trials developer RedLynx has taken to its forum to respond to the leak of Trials Evolution.
Inside Xbox has released a new video interview with Jason Bates, director of marketing and public relations at RedLynx. As well as showing off the track-editing features of the long-awaited Trials Evolution, Bates talks about the introduction of four-player racing.
Trials developer RedLynx has broken its recent silence over the release date of highly anticipated sequel Trials Evolution with an update on its Facebook page.
"Quick update on the Trials Evolution release date - obviously we did not make 2011, we are sorry about that," it began.
"We have been very busy with the game, but 2012 is the year. We can't say when yet, but we are super busy, so that's a clue. We hope to have a big announcement with a more solid release date within the near future.
Life at Trials HD developer RedLynx won't change now that it's a part of the Ubisoft family, according to co-founder and creative director Antti Ilvessuo, other than the fact that it will have more time to devote to making great games.
Trials HD developer RedLynx is now owned by Ubisoft, the French publisher has announced.
Trials Evolution may not be released on Xbox Live Arcade during 2011.
A pre-presentation video isn't usually the most exciting part of a game preview, but after that achingly brief teaser from E3 that offered only a sun-blushed glance at the new Trials, all eyes were on the big-screen.
RedLynx unleashes new Trials trailer.
Trials Evolution won't be another Xbox 360 exclusive to adopt Kinect, Eurogamer can reveal.
RedLynx shows new Xbox 360 title.
Trials HD has a successor: Trials Evolution for Xbox Live Arcade.
Evolution goes outside, swapping warehouse interiors for fresh air and a pretty day and night cycle.
Crucially, Evolution introduces a track sharing hub called Track Central. That means no more editing Friends Lists to get the latest community-made treasures thank goodness.