Button Mashing: MW3 DLC, Hitman Absolution, ME3 Characters & More

This is Button Mashing, Grizzly Bomb’s video game news headquarters. Previews, interviews, rumors and all the latest stories relating to the biggest games, all in one place.

I’m The Wozz, and here are the most important things you need to know for the week of January 16th, 2012:

Modern Warfare 3’s First DLC Hits Jan. 24 on Elite – (Side Mission)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Elite subscribers are about to get their first downloadable pack, featuring new maps and multiplayer content. The first bundle is slated to kick off what Activision and Infinity Ward call a “Modern Warfare 3 Content Season for Call of Duty Elite,” which essentially consists of 9 months of periodic DLC.

The process will dole out all of the game’s future bonus content as it is finished and ready to go, as opposed to lumping several of them together in less frequent, individual packets, as promised to all paid Elite subscribers.

This initial release will include two maps, Liberation (a take on NYC’s Central Park) and Piazza (an Italian villa), which will be playable in competitive multiplayer, as well as Spec Ops Survival mode.

On top of that, Infinity Ward’s creative strategist, Robert Bowling, mentioned that future packs will include more varied offerings, like new game types and Spec Ops missions, and even the possibility of new weapons:

It is something that we’ve looked at,” Bowling said. “All of that stuff is on the table for us when we’re looking at what sort of content drops we want to do throughout the season.” Bowling added that there’s “a bunch of other stuff we want to experiment with” for future Modern Warfare 3 content drops.

Along with the two above maps, premium Elite members will get access to three more between now and March. Later all of that content will be bundled together and released for the rest of the Xbox Live community. As of now there is no word on a release date for non-Elite PS3 or PC players.

A Full List of Mass Effect 3’s Cast of Characters – (IGN)

Mass Effect is hands-down the most character-driven video game franchise out there, if not for its stellar writing and RPG interactions, it’s because of its unprecedented ability to bring some of your old friends and enemies, complete with your full relationship history, into each subsequent chapter (providing you haven’t killed them all, of course).

This means that fans will be dying to know who is going to make a return in Commander Shepard’s final mission. Well, IGN has compiled a list of confirmed characters you’ll reunite with in your battle against the Reapers:

Ambassador Donnel Udina
Ashley Williams**
Captain David Anderson
Captain Kirrahe**
Conrad Verner*
Jacob Taylor*
Joker (Jeff Moreau):
Kaidan Alenko**

Kelly Chambers*
Liara T’Soni
Miranda Lawson*:
Mordin Solus*
Tali’Zorah vas Normandy*
Thane Krios*
The Illusive Man
Urdnot Wrex**
Zaeed Massani*

*If the character survived Mass Effect 2.
**If the character survived Mass Effect 1.

The list also includes a spoilery list of new characters you’ll meet in the upcoming game. I scrolled too far down and had one revealed that would have been a surprise, so beware of that if you click the link.

Hitman: Absolution Video Teases New Features – (Game Trailers)

Hitman hasn’t really held much of a presence of late, which is too bad because I have some vivid memories of toying around and experimenting with its wide open stealth gameplay waaay back when I was just starting to really get into the genre. Absolution could be the revival the series needs, and while a lot remains to be seen this feature does reveal some really great new mechanics:

The Io art director being interviewed stumbles on his words a few times, which is too bad, because don’t let that distract you; he’s got some great little reveals about the game’s tone and direction. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this.

Concept Art From Unmade Steampunk Batman Game – (IGN)

A graphic artist named Julie Farrell recently uploaded some concept work she did for the abandoned Gotham by Gaslight game. She writes:

“This was a game I was really looking forward to working on,” Farrell writes. “Unfortunately it was just a pitch. I had a blast creating the menus for this game, as steampunk is really quite unique, interesting and something I love to design. I created the bat logo from scratch and used a variety of different clockwork pieces and other metal pieces to construct it.”

While I like steampunk as a novel aesthetic, I’ve never fully understood it as anything more than a superficial gimmick – The kind of thing that makes me go “huh” when I come across it on DeviantART, before I move on with my life. I can’t say I’d be looking forward to seeing Batman rock a top hat and cane, but it would certainly be an opportunity to see Gotham from a new perspective.

Sony & Naughty Dog on the PS4 – (IGN)

With Nintendo making the first step toward the next console generation later this year with the Wii U, people are starting to wonder when Microsoft and Sony will take take the leap. While doing a press event for the Vita in London, Jim Ryan from PlayStation Europe talked about timing their jump to the next generation:

I think we would consider it undesirable to be significantly later than the competition.” But he said the company has plenty of work to do with its current generation. “There’s still a lot of unfinished business on PS3.

Meanwhile, Naughty Dog, the studio responsible for the critically acclaimed Uncharted series, talked about their worries regarding the next generation in an interview of their own. Co-president Evan Wells called the transition “a double-edged sword.

…the practicality of it starts to set in: this is going to be a lot of hard work… When you’re going to new technology, every day is a slog, progress is slow and it really takes a different kind of attitude and mentality to get through that kind of push and it’s not right for everybody.

“[The transition between the PS2 and the PS3 was] the period that Naughty Dog had its darkest days and we lost people on a weekly basis. People just couldn’t get through it.

Naughty dog is currently developing the highly anticipated title The Last of Us. Its trailer was one of the few standouts out of all the promos revealed at the 2011 Video Game Awards.

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