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Monday, May 16, 2005

  

Game Movies- Sink the Hood Website

An Enigma: Rising Tide: Sink the Hood teaser website is online, holding place for a full launch to follow E3. The site offers an E3 teaser movie in four different variants, some or all of which are mirrored on 3D Gamers and FileFront. Also, the Codename Panzers: Phase Two E3 movie is now available, showing off Stormregion's upcoming World War II real-time strategy game. The movie is available on 3D Gamers and Gameguru Mania.

Evening Q&As

  • Call of Duty 2
    Opening Up the Action in Call of Duty 2 on GameSpy is a Q&A about Infinity Ward's upcoming World War II shooter sequel with Grant Collier, Vince Zampella, Zied Rieke, Steve 'Funkydooda' Fukuda, and Jason West: "Usually, a level will have some sort of "story" to it or sequence of events that should happen -- you have to take over a town, and hold up to a counter-attack, that sort of thing. Instead of making you go through the exact same route every time, you take out building #5 over here and then this building over here, the hotel or whatever, and try and seize all these structures in this area, so it offers more replayablity. Basically, the gameplay does follow some order of events, but within that structure you're able to sort of freestyle."
  • The Witcher
    The Witcher Q&A, Part 1 on GameBanshee talks with the CD Projekt Team about their upcoming RPG, while RPG Vault's The Witcher Update Q&A likewise talks about the game with Michal Kicinski as they prepare to show it off at E3: "For the last 12 months, we've put great effort into our work, which has resulted in a huge progress. We've introduced a new, charismatic protagonist - Geralt, we have rewritten the combat sequences and perfected the game's graphics. The list of new features comprises the introduction of Kriterion Karma real-time physics and ragdolls, soft dynamic shadows, light reflections and refractions, advanced pixel shader-based special effects, dismembering the opponents, characters' mimics in dialogue sequences and engine-based cutscenes."

Evening Screenshots

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

New America's Army

The promised "Q-Course" update for America's Army: Special Forces is now available, bringing the Unreal-engine shooter to version 2.4. Details on the new version can be found in the announcement from earlier today, where there's word on new randomization features, four new Special Forces missions, and two new weapons. Due to an engine upgrade there are no patches for prior versions, so the full 855 MB version 2.40 client download is available on 3D Gamers, AusGamers (Australia), FileFront, FileShack (registration required), Gameguru Mania, Gamer's Hell, GameSpot DLX (registration required), and Worthplaying.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Announced

id Software and Activision announce Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, a class-based multiplayer shooter in the works at Splash Damage to debut at E3. The game will be built on a new technology from id called MegaTexture™ "that crunches millions of polygons and a gigabyte-scale texture into a single, seamless and un-tiled landscape with unique detail down to the square inch or the un-obscured distant horizon" (though the Splash Damage Website clarifies this is on top of the DOOM 3 engine). Accompanying the announcement is a (massive) first screenshot, and here's word, which does not include a release date or target platforms:

Santa Monica, CA – May 16, 2005 – id Software™ and Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced the development of ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS™. Developed by Splash Damage and built on id Software’s new MegaTexture™ rendering technology, ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS pits the armies of Earth against the invading alien Strogg in the ultimate online strategic shooter. Featuring strategic team play, persistent character promotions, day and nighttime combat missions, and the universe’s most powerful weapons and vehicles, ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS transports players to the front lines of an epic new war for Earth.

“For years, fans have enjoyed incredible battles on the Strogg home planet; but with ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS, we’re taking players back to the war that started it all – the Strogg invasion of Earth – where the choice is to fight with the humans or the alien Strogg in a massive campaign for survival,” said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. “Like all great id Software games, ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS unites bleeding-edge technology, a fantastic universe, and meticulously balanced gameplay to deliver an engrossing and futuristic gaming experience.”

“We have been so proud of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory’s™ rave reviews, ‘Game of the Year’ awards, and massive fan-base, so to work with id again in developing ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS is an amazing opportunity.” states Paul Wedgwood, Lead Game Designer and Owner of Splash Damage Ltd. “The stories of the Strogg invasion of Earth have always fascinated me, and now through ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS, we’re able to bring this incredible war to life with an uncompromising level of detail and realism.”

As the invasion begins, players choose to battle as one of five unique classes in either the EDF (Earth Defense Force – humans) or the barbaric alien Strogg armies, each augmented with specialist weapons and combat hardware. Troops utilize over 40 conventional and futuristic vehicles, deployable structures, and defense systems like quad-bikes, tanks, and alien walkers for epic ground assaults; or helicopters and anti-gravity ships to lend firepower from the air. Throughout each battle, teams establish bases, deploy defense structures, artillery, radar, and advanced forward-command systems into enemy territory while constructing and demolishing obstacles to speed progress and gain a tactical advantage over the enemy.

With realistic dynamic lighting and shadowing from headlights, searchlights and even the moon, battles can be fought during the day or night; while accurate simulation of the atmosphere, weather, and vegetation combine to create an unparalleled degree of realism. Battlefields are perfectly rendered using MegaTexture, a totally new rendering technology developed by id Software that crunches millions of polygons and a gigabyte-scale texture into a single, seamless and un-tiled landscape with unique detail down to the square inch or the un-obscured distant horizon.

Players can take on class specific missions or join a fireteam to utilize advanced command and communication options, including voice-chat and the game’s context sensitive mission order system. With bitterly contested multi-battle campaigns, each soldier fights not only for victory, but to gain valuable skills, special rewards for team-play, and persistent military promotions and medals. ENEMY TERRITORY: QUAKE WARS will debut at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Activision’s booth #1224 in the South Hall.

Dogtag Revealed

Digital Jesters reveals development of Dogtag (thanks Tiscali Games), an upcoming special ops-themed first-person shooter in the works at Diezel Power due for the PC and next-generation consoles in Q2 of next year. The first screenshots from the project are online, and here's the deal:

A Marine battalion has been sent in to replace a retreating rebel faction. A few weeks later, intel confirms that the colonel leading the battalion had engaged in a mutiny against central command with the support of some or all of the troops under his command. His reasons, at this stage, are unknown.

An elite Special Ops Squad is sent in under your command. Your team’s mission: Arrest and retrieve the command structure behind the rebellion. If retrieval is not possible, neutralize the battalion command. Can you still pull the trigger when the enemy is your friend?

Features

    • Intense urban combat in ultra-realistic modern day city and industrial environments
    • Unique cover based gameplay - use every aspect of the environment for defensive manoeuvres and utilise blind-fire tactics to destroy the enemy.
    • Tactical squad based movement against an enemy who knows all your moves
    • Face an entire battalion of soldiers, equipped with the latest military hardware, vehicles and weaponry
    • Marine vs. Marine as the distinction between good and evil disappears
    • Proprietary game engine with full environmental and player collision physics, dynamic shadowing and global illumination light mapping

Blizzard Acquires Swingin' Ape

Blizzard Entertainment Acquires Swingin' Ape Studios announces that Blizzard has completed acquisition of the developer currently at work on Starcraft Ghost. Swingin' Ape will continue to work on Blizzard console titles going forward. Financial terms of the deal are not being revealed.

America's Army Update Today

Uncle Sam sends along their plans for a version 2.4 update later today for America's Army: Special Forces, the military first-person shooter. The lengthy announcement describes plans for the Q-Course update, which will include a combination of random spawns with random and dynamic objectives, "carryable" objectives, random extraction points, four new Special Forces missions, and two new weapons.

Site Seeing - UT2007

The Unreal Tournament 2007 Teaser Website is now live (thanks Frans), dedicated to the upcoming installment in Epic's shooter series. There's nothing there at the moment except for logos and links to Epic, Midway, and the ESRB.

Gold - ER

Legacy Interactive announces the completion of ER, the game based on the hit hospital television series of the same name. The announcement gives the game's availability as later this month, which EBgames further narrows to May 31. Here's the deal:

Hollywood, Ca., (May 16, 2005) – Legacy Interactive, known for its expertise in developing entertaining PC games based on the hottest properties on television, is pleased to announce that the upcoming title ER, has gone gold and been released to manufacturing. Shipping later this month for PC CD-ROM, the ER game is licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and will be published by Legacy Interactive and distributed by Vivendi Universal Games. ER will have an SRP of $29.95.

ER captures the intensity and unpredictability of the award-winning television series. With celebrities Noah Wyle, Mekhi Phifer and Sherry Stringfield lending their voice and likeness to the game, fans will get a chance to interact with their favorite characters from the show. Starting as a newly hired intern at Chicago’s County General Hospital, the player’s skills are quickly put to the test as they come head-to-head with challenges ranging from the day-to-day drama of the emergency room to the frenzy of widespread toxicological epidemics. The player will also have to take on hospital politics and establish personal relationships - even romances!

ER is the first game to utilize Legacy Interactive’s STORI game development technology. This highly-developed technology facilitates the creation of engaging and distinctive story-telling capabilities. With ER, Legacy Interactive is utilizing this technology to create a one-of-a-kind gameplay experience which combines open-ended “sandbox” play with mission-based directives, all building from the ER universe. The combination of both gameplay mechanics makes for an authenitic ER gaming experience.

Supreme Ruler 2010 Demo and Patch

This Strategy First Downloads Page (thanks Frans) features downloads of the first patch for Supreme Ruler 2010, a 3 MB download offering a new "German Advance" mission, new "future" units, AI diplomacy improvements, better low-end video hardware support, and more. The same page also offers the official demo for BattleGoat Studios' just-released strategy game. Here's the description of the 96 MB download: "This demo is a fully functional version containing three scenarios and two missions; it supports Single Player and Multi Player gameplay. (Matchmaking using GameSpy is planned but not available yet). The Demo Version does not include any 'Campaigns', and it also does not include Nuclear Weapons."

Falklands War: 1982 Demo

The Falklands War: 1982 Downloads Page offers a playable demo of this wargame based on the relative brief conflict between Britain and Argentina. Here's how the 16 MB download is described: "This demo includes two scenarios: a tutorial that covers a SAS raid on Pebble Island, and a regular scenario detailing a British attack on Argentinean defensive positions."

Jagged Alliance 3D Lives

Game Factory Interactive sends word that reports that Jagged Alliance 3D has been renamed African Alliance (story) are erroneous, and that African Alliance is a new and separate project, being developed concurrently with both Jagged Alliance 3D and the similarly titled Jagged Alliance 3:

Jagged Alliance 3D was not canceled! Its development runs according to the schedule and very soon the audience will see new details of the project. As it was stated before, Jagged Alliance 3D is the sequel of the famous series of tactical turn-based games, presenting the new level of quality and following the best traditions of previous games. The unique turn-based system, high game world interaction, true physic and well-know characters - everything to make happy even the most zealous fans of JA.

Moreover, Mist Land development team is preparing to start the Jagged Alliance 3 (logical JA2 sequel) development. This project is on pre-production stage now and more information on it will be available later.

At the same time Mist Land South is in developing real time tactical strategy titled African Alliance. The official presentation of this project will take place at this year E3 show. This project has original story-line, unique style and characters and it’s not related to Jagged Alliance series. As far as we understand, this unannounced project was the reason that brought chaos to news lines and provoked false gossips about “one more Jagged Alliance”.

African Alliance will be announced in the nearest time. And official page of this project, where you could find more info about the game, will be open soon and could be found on Mist Land’s website! So, watch for our news and wait for official press-releases!

Journey to the Center of the Moon

The Adventure Company unveils Journey to the Center of the Moon, an upcoming project from Kheops Studio that's (sort of) based on a Jules Verne novel. Here's the announcement, which carries no release date:

Toronto, May 16, 2005. The Adventure Company, a leading publisher of PC adventure games, today announced it will publish Journey to the Center of the Moon for Windows®. A captivating graphic adventure based on legendary author Jules Verne’s From the Earth the Moon, this game will debut at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo.

In this not so distant past, the far side of the moon conjured up the most fascinating theories. Even some of the world’s greatest scientific minds believed that our natural satellite had an atmosphere that could, and did, support various life forms. Based on the premise of Verne's novel, Journey to the Center of the Moon follows as a group of scientists create a space capsule with the intent of landing on the moon’s surface. Where as in the novel, their mission fails, leaving them floating high above the lunar surface, in this fascinating adventure, they succeed!

As scientist Michel Ardan, players are able to wander the surface of the moon in an unstable but breathable atmosphere and witness the explosion of plant life at dawn. Players will explore fantastic locations including the space capsule, the lunar surface, an ancient temple, and other mysterious ruins. They will also encounter a subterranean civilization inside the moon, as well as the Selenite City, the home of an ancient but highly intelligent race, the Selenites.

With each step of the journey, questions arise as to the fate of the Selenite people: Did they deteriorate, like so many of the statues they left behind? Did they leave the surface to seek refuge in the center of the moon? Once players answer these questions, they may find their way to back to earth with news of their fantastic discoveries.

The game features a variety of ingenious puzzles and a unique, built in Intelligence Management system. Actions made by the player throughout the game, as well as the puzzles they solve, are awarded points, raising their score and earning the respect of the Selenites. Along the journey, players will interact with a huge cast of mysterious characters and creatures.

Journey to the Center of the Moon is developed by Kheops Studio with an anticipated ESRB of ‘T’ for Teen and “12+PEGI.” For more information, visit www.adventurecompanygames.com.

The Sacred Rings Announced

The Adventure Company announces The Sacred Rings, a sequel to Aura: Fate of the Ages. Here's word on the game, being developed by Streko-Graphics and slated for release this fall:

Toronto, May 16, 2005. The Adventure Company, a leading publisher of PC adventure games, today announced it will publish The Sacred Rings, the sequel to Aura: Fate of the Ages, for Windows®.

The Story:
Since ancient times, a clan of Keepers has guarded a collection of sacred rings that, when united with several hidden artifacts, grant the holder infinite power and immortality. When a rival clan, led by Durad, makes known its intention to obtain this power for an evil purpose, the Keepers send their prized student to uncover the artifacts and deliver them, along with the rings, to Grifit, the Old Master. Umang’s journey leads him to the portal of a world unknown even to the powerful Keepers.

In The Sacred Rings, the portal transports Umang to Manula Valley and a series of truths are revealed. To his dismay, Umang discovers that this world was once inhabited by the Keepers, hundreds of years ago, until it was taken from them by Durad and his clan. More disturbing, it is revealed that Umang’s arrival in Manula Valley is just one more step in a plot manipulated by Durad to bring Umang and the rings one step closer to evil. He must now outwit Durad’s powerful forces to complete his quest and return the sacred rings to his clan.

Game Features:

    • Easy to navigate mouse-driven, point-and-click interface.
    • More than 25 inventive cerebral puzzles and challenges.
    • Three vast worlds to explore: No Man’s Land, Manula Valley, and the Keeper’s Land.
    • Proprietary engine blends together beautiful pre-rendered graphics and environmental interaction with immersive special effects.
    • Non-linear style of gameplay with multiple choices that can affect the journey’s outcome.
    • More than 40 minutes of incredible cut-scenes.
    • More than 400 beautiful locations to fully-explore.
    • A fully realized cast of characters to interact with.
    • An astonishing musical score with 8 varied themes to compliment gameplay.

Cell Factor Announced

The CellFactor Website is online, heralding production of an upcoming first-person shooter in the works at South-American developer Immersion Software & Graphics. The game utilizes the Reality engine that's been in the news lately, though other details like a projected release date are not provided. Word is:

CellFactor is an FPS set in a warfare industrial atmosphere. As the plot develops, you'll gain access to other two main characters as well, each one with distinctive singularities in the game play. You'll count with a great amount of traditional and experimental weapons, and even your character will get more powerful as the game goes along.

Gold - MetalHeart

The MetalHeart Website (thanks Frans) has word that MetalHeart: Replicants Rampage is gold, and undergoing a final prerelease test. It's not clear what territories the announcement covers, as this is all it has to say:

Akella and Numlock Software are glad to inform you that the post-apocalyptic RPG MetalHeart: Replicants Rampage is complete! The gold master is sent for the final prerelease test. The exact release date will be announced next week. Please feel free to explore the Metalheart web site to find the comprehensive information concerning the game.

Updated Mythic Blades Demo

The Cartel Games Website now offers a "new and improved" version of the Mythic Blades demo (thanks Frans). Word is:

A new Improved Mythic Blades Demo has been released. The 17.0 MB Demo features 2 playable characters. Choose to play as the powerful Minotaur or the graceful Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons. The new demo is slightly easier for the new player to get into the game. Enjoy!

OpFP2 Renamed Armed Assault

Operation Flashpoint 2 VTV page now offers a teaser saying "Armed Assault Coming Soon," revealing a name change for the shooter sequel formerly known as Operation Flashpoint 2. The teaser then redirects to armedassault.com, a domain owned by Bohemia Interactive Studios. The site no longer bears the Codemasters logo, so the name change may indicate a change in publishers as well. Thanks Tiscali Games.

DOFUS Coming

DOFUS, the successful MMORPG made in France sets out to conquer the world… is the press release announcing plans to market this oddly named MMORPG outside its native France:

Ankama Studio announces the world release of DOFUS, a massively multiplayer role play game on Internet. This international version will be available on the first of september 2005. Armed with the rising success of DOFUS French-speaking version, Ankama Studio takes the world by storm with the international launch of its MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). Available in French since September 2004, DOFUS is yet a reference in France and French-speaking regions of Canada, Belgium and Switzerland.

With more than 100 000 registered users and almost 15 000 total subscribers, Ankama Studio has accepted the challenge to carry out and market on its own a MMORPG.

Ankama will take advantage of the E3 Expo in Los Angeles to officialize its international display (May 17th-20th, 2005).

The first stage will be the recruiting of Anglophone testers in order to validate DOFUS new technical infrastructure. Registrations will open the 17th of May 2005 on the official site (www.dofus.com) and beta-tests will start in Summer 2005.

Morning Q&As

  • SWAT 4
    The SWAT 4 Q&A on Gamesplanet talks with Bill Garner about the latest installment in the tactical police shooter series: "One of the biggest changes is the interface. Given the complexity of the game and the considerable number of commands you can give to your squad, we felt we had to give this aspect an overhaul. In the end, we created a command interface that’s both intuitive and a blast to use. Being able to give your team advanced commands with a single click is very empowering. That said, we did our best to make sure nothing ‘disappeared’. To keep fans of SWAT 3’s interface happy, we’ve also included the 'Classic Command Interface'. A few other major changes include more less-lethal weapons, new multiplayer modes and a radically updated look thanks to our own custom enhanced version of the Unreal Engine."
  • Sparta: Ancient Wars
    Gameguru Mania's Sparta: Ancient Wars Q&A is a chat with Ingo Horn and Torsten Hess about IMC's upcoming historical RTS game: "Beside that it will give the genre some cool new ideas and elements that will be unveiled at E3! But for now, we already can tell you, that for example the player can vary its transporting units with its load. Based on the units, e.g. placed on a ship, the ship will be capable of ranged attack (archers on board), able to move faster (workers on board) or even be a siege ship (catapult on board). But beside this, you actually can see the units on board - so it is possible to fight against an enemy, while seeing what he has loaded on board. For all kind of tactics this is a very new feature."
  • Ankh
    The Ankh Q&A on AdventureDot discusses Deck 13/Rebel Games' upcoming adventure game with creative director Jan Klose: "Well, it takes place in a fictitious ancient Cairo, a magic place with lots of strange characters around. Assil, son of a rich pyramid architect, stole the key to a new pyramid to have a little party with some friends. This doesn't end well, however, as Assil becomes cursed with a Death Curse, given by an angry mummy. So getting rid of this curse before it's too late is his task in this wild adventure. Along the way, he meets lots of weird characters who either help him or try to steal the "Ankh" - the ancient Egyptian symbol of life - that he has stolen from said pyramid."

Morning Preview

  • Warhammer 40,000: Winter Assault on GameSpot.

Morning Screenshots

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

The Mod Squads

Game & Mod Development

Op Ed

Monday Game Reviews

Monday Hardware Reviews

  • ASPIRE X-QPACK-AL/420 Black/Silver Aluminum MicroATX Case w/ 420W PSU on TWEAKNEWS.
  • EPoX 9NPA+ Ultra (nForce 4 Ultra AMD) Motherboard on TweakTown.
  • i.Tech Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard on TrustedReviews.
  • Logisys Case-51W on Techgage.
  • Logitech Z-5500 THX Certified Digital Speakers on Xtreme Resources.
  • OCZ EL PC-3200 Gold Series Dual Channel Kit on ExtremeMhz.
  • PowerNotebooks PowerPro A 2:21 Laptop on GotApex.
  • SonicWALL TZ 150 Wireless Router on TrustedReviews.
  • Thermalright XP-90c Heatsink on PC Perspective.
  • Thermaltake Circlefire Front Panel on Gruntville.
  • Transcend JetFlash 110 512MB USB Flash Drive on bigbruin.

etc.

Out of the Blue

We suffered some downtime over the weekend, apologies about that. The site was actually up, but something went wrong with how the site was accessed via DNS, and so we may as well have been down. The fix was made in the wee hours of the night by Peter from UGO, and I'd like to offer him some heartfelt thanks for going above and beyond the call of duty for making a house call on the server in the middle of a Sunday Night, which was actually his second visit to the data center after trying earlier in the day.

We are experiencing Links. Please stand by! Thanks Mike Martinez, Ant, and EvilToast
Links of the Day: Star Wars Slots in Vegas.
MINI Cooper Limo. Thanks Jim.
Stories of the Day: Saturday Night Live mocks Oracle's sales force.
Hugging Ban Sparks Dispute at Ore. School.
Auction of the Day: Confirmed Genuine UFO Photograph Taken at 35,000 Feet.
Images of the day: Detouching 4.



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