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Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

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Tales from the Borderlands Released; OS X Edition Delayed

Steam News announces the release of the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands, Telltale's episodic game based on Gearbox's shooter series. The Windows edition came out as planned, but a news post warns that the OS X edition is "temporarily delayed," saying they are working on getting it out ASAP. Here's a launch trailer along with word on the game:

Tales from the Borderlands is a five part episodic game series from the creators of The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series. Set on the unforgiving world of Pandora after the events seen in Borderlands 2, this is a story full of Borderlands’ trademark humor, following two adventurers on their quest for greatness.

Steamship Ahoy - Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

The revived Sierra label announces the release of Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, as the Windows, Linux, and OS X editions of the shoot-em-up is now available on Steam. Here's word on the new installment in the series:

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is an exciting evolution of the fast-paced twin-stick shooter gameplay the Geometry Wars franchise helped define nearly a decade ago. While the game’s look should be immediately familiar to hardcore fans, it features new 3D action and gameplay modes, a dedicated single-player campaign with 50 levels and revamped online cooperative and competitive multiplayer. It also adds five unique companion drones, new power-ups, electrifying boss battles and community leaderboards. There are also Classic Arcade modes available for those still hungry for the original Geometry Wars experience.

Steamship Ahoy - Haunted House: Cryptic Graves

Atari announces the release of Haunted House: Cryptic Graves, saying the spooky remake is now on Steam for 15% off. The Haunted House website features details and media, and here's a brief description:

Inspired by the classic Atari hit of the same name, the new Haunted House: Cryptic Graves™ is a terrifying, first-person, adventure-horror game filled with cryptic puzzles, supernatural entities and paranormal activity.

You are Anya Graves, heir to Abaddon Grange, the estate of Zachary Graves - a notorious occultist and collector of all things supernatural. As the mysteries and terror of Abbadon Grange unfold, your true powers will awaken, along with a long-dormant evil...

Assassin's Creed unity Patch Three This Week

The Assassin's Creed blog has details on a third patch for Assassin's Creed Unity, saying this will roll out for Windows and consoles this week. The new version is said to include over 300 fixes, including framerate improvements, though they say more improvements in this area are in the works. Here's word:

Thanks to your collaboration and support via our Customer Support channels and this Live Update blog, we have assembled Patch 3 and are preparing to deploy it on console and PC this week. The rollout itself will begin tomorrow (Wednesday November 26) on PS4 and Xbox One and later this week on PC.

Patch 3 includes over three hundred fixes designed to improve your Assassin’s Creed Unity experience. While you might notice some improvements to framerate as a result of Patch 3, we still have a future patch planned to further address framerate concerns.

On Sale

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Evening Safety Dance

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Into the Black

Dead or Alive 5 Last Round for PC Revealed?

An ESRB rating is now online for Dead or Alive 5 Last Round for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 (thanks DSOGaming). Here's what they list for the game that earned it an "M" rating:

This is a fighting game in which players engage in martial arts battles against a large cast of characters. Players mostly punch and kick opponents during fast-paced rounds of combat. Some fighters use special attacks involving swords, throwing weapons, or magic; matches are accompanied by battle cries and exaggerated impact effects. Cutscenes also depict instances of violence, such as characters getting struck down with swords in slow motion. Most female fighters are dressed in revealing outfits (large amounts of cleavage); their breasts frequently jiggle while standing or fighting. Some bikini-style costumes (with narrow strips of cloth) barely cover fighters' bodies, exposing large amounts of breasts/buttocks; one hologram-like figure appears to be nude—though her reflective skin obscures any discernible details (i.e., nipples or genitalia). In some sequences, players have the ability to zoom in on female fighters' cleavage and/or posterior and take pictures.

Steam Gift Trade Policy Changes

A Steam Community announcement details changes Valve is making to the ability to trade gifts on Steam to curtail the abuse of the system by third-party key resellers. Here's what's different:

All new games purchased as a gift and placed in the purchaser's inventory will be untradable for 30 days. The gift may still be gifted at any time. The only change is to trading.

We've made this change to make trading gifts a better experience for those receiving the gifts. We're hoping this lowers the number of people who trade for a game only to have the game revoked later due to issues with the purchaser's payment method.

Gone Gold - Approaching Infinity

Shrapnel Games announces Approaching Infinity is approaching, as the space strategy game is now gold, and is on track for release on Windows and OS X on December 15th. "Although we missed the Gold Date by one day, it had no effect on the projected release date of December 15th," says Tim Brooks of Shrapnel Games. "We are very pleased that we will begin shipping Approaching Infinity before Christmas. This is a fun, strategy oriented game of intergalactic exploration and makes a perfect Christmas gift." There's a chance to save 15% by preordering this month through the Shrapnel web-store, and you can sample the game through Windows and OS X demos on this page. Here's word on the game:

Approaching Infinity allows you to discover the wonders of space, from new planets to nebula to radiation belts. Encounter twelve alien races, each with their own agendas and quests. Become a trader and buy low and sell high. Send Away Teams on missions, both planetside and amongst space wrecks adrift in the cosmos. See new worlds and kill new life forms. This game is the absolute joy of sci-fi adventure on your computer.

Ultra Street Fighter IV Patch Plans

There are details on CapCom Unity of an upcoming patch coming to Ultra Street Fighter IV, CapCom's brawling game that seems to have entered an era of permanent post-release refinement. The patch updates the game to version 1.04 and will bring more new features, as covered in this description: "If you thought our support for USFIV for was going to stop anytime soon, let me be the first to tell you that you’re sadly mistaken. Shortly after Capcom Cup, we’ll be releasing a patch full of all the things that will make your USFIV experience that much more entertaining: Edition Select online, New training mode trials, Omega Mode (online and offline) and compatibility files for the Wild costumes."

The Crew Reviews Delay

UbiBlog has details on console beta testing of The Crew, while also explaining why the prerelease version of the open-world driving game will not be officially reviewed until it officially launches on December 2nd. Here's word:

For this very reason, The Crew will be available to media to begin their reviews when the game launches on December 2. There will be absolutely no embargo on any type of coverage once the game is available for sale. While we fully anticipate that you might see some reviews immediately at launch – largely built around the preview sessions we facilitated during the past months or the limited content of the closed and open betas – they won’t be based on optimal conditions or reflect the finished game. We sincerely hope everyone will take the time to customize their ride as they progress through all five regions, explore every corner of the map solo and with friends, dive into our competitive and cooperative mechanics, race to the end of the main campaign, choose a Faction and compete with your crew in Factions Wars, and so much more.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Morning Patches

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Just about done with the last of the leaves hanging around the BlueTower, something I don't always take as seriously as I have this year. I do have to admit that my temptation for fall cleanup is similar to the impulse I get whenever the lawn is simply overgrown... that a splash of gasoline and a well-placed match would save an awful lot of labor, and would be pretty spectacular as well.

Spectacular Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Mad Burger 3: Wild West.
Splitman 2.
Media: SUV Crashes into Brick Building, Building then Collapses on SUV.
Never Feed Your Cat Whipped Cream.
Follow-up: Plea deal for woman with 'stand your ground' defense. Thanks nin.

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Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Early Access

Early access to Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is now available through Steam, offering the chance to check out Richard Garriott's return to fantasy role-playing game design (and to Earth, for that matter). The game currently carries a 15% discount along with warnings that it is still in the pre-alpha stage of development. Here's word:

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is a new type of third person fantasy RPG that combines a single player narrative with a sandbox MMO. It is being created by a team that includes: Richard "Lord British" Garriott the creator of the Ultima series, Starr Long the original Director of Ultima Online, and Tracy Hickman the author of the beloved Dragonlance Novels and Dungeons & Dragons modules.

  • Episodic Content: Shroud of the Avatar will consist of five episodes that will tell a series of virtue based stories created by Richard Garriott and Tracy Hickman. All supported by a series of prequel novels starting with Blade of the Avatar. Forsaken Virtues is the first episode (this is what you are purchasing access to).
  • Single Player Offline Mode: Players will adventure through over 40 hours of story in an interactive world where their choices have consequences, ethical paradoxes give them pause, and they play a vital part in weaving their own story into the immersive world and lore surrounding them.
  • Selective Multiplayer Modes: If you want to go through the story online you can play with everyone in a single world with three different online modes (Single Player, Friends, and Open).
  • Classless Character System: Vast customization options with hundreds of skills and spells in over 20 different skill trees.
  • Skillful Combat: A new way to prepare and fight in an RPG by building custom decks of skills and dynamically activating them in combat.
  • PVP: Consensual with Open PVP flags, zones, and Guild Warfare.
  • Player Housing: Non instanced, finite, and embedded in the world with multiple group living options.
  • Player Driven Economy: Deep crafting system where the best items are made by players and player items are the main source of loot found in the game.
  • Pay Once to Play: No subscription fees. Each episode (released approximately annually) is a one time fee and everything in the game can be purchased with in game gold that can be earned (except for some exclusive backer rewards).
  • Social: Full Guild System, Highly Active Community and Player Owned Towns.
  • Crowd Sourced & Funded: Support the project by contributing content (and receive compensation) or by pledging (and receive exclusive rewards).
  • Open Development: Players help shape the game by giving feedback on monthly early access releases, videos, weekly updates, blog postings, forums, chat, etc.

Far Cry 4 Patch

Steam News announces the release of a new patch for Far Cry 4, which updates the shooter sequel to version 1.4.0, addressing an issue that caused a black screen and another that triggered a gray screen. Here's the deal:

Patch 1.4.0 has been released, and is now available for download.

Patch Notes:

  • Fixed the "black screen" issue PC players were experiencing when certain USB peripherals were plugged in.
  • Fixed the "grey screen" issue some PC players were may have encountered after the Outpost Master Mission.

If you are still experiencing a black screen on launch, please contact Customer Support...

Total War: ATTILA in February; Special Edition Detailed

SEGA announces a February 17, 2015 release date for Total War: ATTILA in all territories, also revealing preorder bonuses for the next installment in Creative Assembly's strategy series. Here's word on those bonuses as well as details on a special edition to be released in North America:

Release Date:

The global release date for Total War™: ATTILA will be February 17, 2015 across all territories on both physical and digital formats.

The game is now available for pre-order from the SEGA Store http://download-store.sega.com/eshop/total-war/rome-2-4474.html

Pre-order Bonus:

Players who pre-order from participating retailers will receive Total War™: ATTILA’s first downloadable content for free alongside the game on release day. This first DLC, The Viking Forefathers Culture Pack, adds three additional playable factions to the game: The Danes, The Jutes and The Geats.

These warlike Norse factions have their own unique battlefield and naval units, missions, cultural and factional traits, and are poised to launch southwards from their icy homelands on campaigns of raiding, looting and conquest.

The Viking Forefathers Culture Pack will also be available to purchase separately from February 17, priced at £5.99/€7.49/$7.99.

Special Edition:

The Total War: ATTILA Special Edition, which will be the only physical retail edition available in North America, contains items not available in the digital version. These are:

  • Attila The Hun Biography
    • Written by Nic Fields and published by renowned military history specialists Osprey Publishing, this brand-new Attila The Hun Biography is based on the latest academic research and theories. Beautifully illustrated with maps, archaeological photographs and specially commissioned artwork, it details the life, times and dark deeds of one of history’s most infamous warlords. This biography is only currently available as part of the Total War: ATTILA Special Edition.
  • Reference Guide Poster
    • This double-sided poster features original Total War: ATTILA campaign map artwork on one side, and a comprehensive playable faction reference guide on the other.
  • Viking Forefathers Culture Pack
    • Whether pre-ordered or purchased at launch, the Total War: ATTILA Special Edition includes this significant pack of content featuring three additional playable Norse factions.

Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer

A new trailer from Batman: Arkham Knight shows off some key features from the upcoming action/adventure sequel. Here's word on the clip, which kicks off a three-part series: "The video, titled The Official Batman: Arkham Knight – Ace Chemicals Infiltration – Pt. 1, highlights new game features including the new Fear Takedown maneuver, as well as the seamless integration of the Batmobile into gameplay and Combat Mode. Watch as Batman takes on Arkham Knight’s henchmen to rescue the remaining ACE Chemicals plant workers and stop Arkham Knight from executing The Scarecrow’s plans." Continue here to read the full story.

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Into the Black

SpellForce 3 Announced

Nordic Games announces SpellForce 3, saying they have established a studio called Grimlore Games in Munich to develop a third installment in the SpellForce series. SpellForce was originally created by now defunct studio Phenomic, but Nordic says Grimlore is staying true to the SpellForce pedigree, saying: "Grimlore Games comprises of experienced developers, graphic artists and designers who have worked on titles including The Settlers 2, Knights and Merchants, Cultures and - of course - SpellForce 2." There's not much more for now except this mission statement:

The rich talent pool in Munich was a key factor in deciding the new studio’s location. Many young and highly skilled developers gather in Munich who, in the coming months and years, will complement the core team at Grimlore Games. The studio will focus on PC games for core gamers, specifically the role-playing and real-time strategy genres.

Irrational is Hiring

Apparently rumors of the demise of Irrational Games have been greatly exaggerated, even if they were based on an official announcement from the studio founded by Ken Levine saying they were "winding down" operations. It seems they are getting wound up again, as their Careers at Irrational page now lists two open positions (thanks Lazygamer), one for an IT manager, and the other for a senior programmer with a focus on "AI & Gameplay." This latter listing has word that "Unreal Engine 3 and 4 experiences highly desirable," and features the following overview if you want to comb for hints about what's up:

Irrational Games is currently looking for a Senior Programmer that is equally experienced in architecting and implementing AI and Gameplay systems. This position will work directly with the Lead Programmer, along with the Animation, Art and Design teams to create fun and interesting AI opponents and gameplay elements for our next title. This position will also be responsible for additional core responsibilities including, but not limited to general gameplay features, tools, engine technology, and build systems.

Original Elite for Free

With the release of Elite: Dangerous nearing, the original 1984 version of Elite can be grabbed for free from the Elite: Dangerous Store (thanks Ant via a post to our forums by DangerDog), allowing the chance to see what the fuss is all about, or at least what it was all about back in a simpler, bygone time.  Here's the description accompanying the 30 year-old space combat game:

Experience the classic space trading game, Elite, as released on the BBC Model B in 1984, by Ian Bell and David Braben.

From the original box description:

"Command your Cobra space ship in a fantastic voyage of discovery and adventure, a supreme test of your combat, navigational and entrepreneurial skills.
Trade between countless planets, using the proceeds to equip your ship with heat-seeking missiles, beam lasers and other weapons - corporate states can be approached without risk, but unruly anarchies may be swarming with space pirates.
Black market trading can be lucrative but could result in skirmishes with local police and a price on your head!
However you make your money, by fair means or foul, you must blast onwards through space annihilating pirate ships and hostile aliens as you strive to earn your reputation as one of the Elite!"

“The game of a lifetime” Zzap! 64. May 1985.

U.K. Sales Charts

Dragon Age: Inquisition debuts at number one on the GfK Chart-Track chart of the 30 bestselling games in the U.K. for the week ending November 22nd. Far Cry 4 enters the chart at number two while last week's top-selling Warlords of Draenor WoW expansion drops to number five. On the all-prices console chart Grand Theft Auto V jumps back to number one from the #32 spot following its next-gen release. Far Cry 4 debuts at number two and the new Dragon Age joins at number five. Here's their full write-up, which says GTA5 is now the U.K.'s all-time bestselling game:

This week sees the return of Rockstar and Take 2 to No1 thanks to the Gen 8 Tuesday release of ‘GTA V’.

Even before this week the 360/PS3 versions of this game held the record for highest-grossing game in a week (£94m total UK estimate – week 38, 2013) and also the all-time UK revenue record, reached after just 28 weeks to overtake ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’. In terms of all time units ‘GTA V’ was right behind ‘Black Ops’, so much so that just the Tuesday sales of ‘GTA V’ on PS4/XO were enough to also claim the all-time unit sales record in the UK.

The other big event launch from Tuesday was Ubisoft’s multi-format ‘Far Cry 4’, the first in the series to launch outside of the traditional Friday launch day. The original ‘Far Cry’ launched as a PC-only game in 2004 and the series has been growing in sales success with each iteration, with ‘Far Cry 2’ launched in 2008 (360/PS3/PC) and ‘Far Cry 3’ arriving in 2012 (360/PS3/PC). ‘Far Cry 4’ is by far the most successful in terms of week1 sales, which bodes well for the Q4 sales season. Activision’s ‘Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’ (-41%) drops to No3 after 2 weeks at the top, followed at No4 by non-mover ‘FIFA 15’ from EA (+25%). There are more big new releases this week with a debut at No5 for EA’s ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’, selling almost exactly the same in week 1 as 2011’s ‘Dragon Age II’.

2K/Take 2 climb 13 places to No7 thanks to the new Gen 8 versions of ‘WWE 2K15’ (+554%) and Warner climb 12 places to No11 thanks to the new Gen 7 versions of ‘Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor’ (+204%).

Morning Patches

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Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

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Out of the Blue

It's a gloomy rainy day in this area, so I'm glad I got my leaf grooming taken care of before they all got soggy. The weather suits the occasion here, as it's a year ago today that Hudson the wonder dog passed on. This has me feeling sad, but I will try to push past this and try and recall all the happiness she brought us, and motivate to have a fun adventure out there with the Gunnar-man in spite of the rain.

Rainy Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Mercurial Story.
Age of Defense Mini 2.
Link: Lego's egalitarian instructions from the 1970s.
Stories: "Winnie the Pooh" Too Indecent For Kids?
'Haven' lands William Shatner for recurring role in 2015.
Media: "Jurassic World" Teaser Gets Teased.
Predestination International TRAILER 1 (2014) - Ethan Hawke Sci-Fi Thriller HD.
FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S 2 (Teens React- Gaming).
Unlocking a car with your Brain - Sixty Symbols.

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