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Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006

  

GRAW2 Revealed, Assassin's Creed & BiA: Hell's Highway Delayed

This Ubisoft press release (thanks Frans) offers some financial results, updated release dates for a couple of games, and revelation of plans for Ghost Recon: Advance Warfighter 2. The following update on their fourth (fiscal) quarter 2006-2007 outlook says GRAW2 is due by march 2007, while Assassin’s Creed and Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway will follow at some point after that:

• Ubisoft today announces the launch in the fiscal fourth quarter of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter™ 2, which will capitalize on the first episode’s success (more than 2.4 millions copies sold).
• This launch will take the place of Assassin’s Creed™ and Brothers In Arms Hell’s Highway™, which will now strengthen fiscal year 2007-08.
• 7 additional games will be available on the Wii™, including one non announced new brand, bringing the total number of games available to 14 by the end of March 2007.

Guild Wars PvP Editions

Guild Wars Support (thanks Guild Wars Slovenija) has word that their online store now offers the Guild Wars PvP Editions, offering PvP play in ArenaNet's MMORPG without the PvE grind. Word is: "The Guild Wars PvP Editions give players instant access to all the PvP action that a campaign has to offer. Available through the online Official Guild Wars store, the PvP editions allow you to create PvP characters from that campaign, and give you access to the full skill list for each profession."

Ships Ahoy - F.E.A.R. Extraction Point

Sierra announces that the Xbox 360 edition of F.E.A.R. is gold, and set to ship on Halloween, and that TimeGate's Extraction Point expansion for the PC edition of Monolith's first-person shooter is shipping to stores today:

Shipping today, October 24th, F.E.A.R. Extraction Point kicks off where the original game ended – with a bang. Once the hunter, now the hunted, your new mission is simple…escape. The Replicas are no longer your only nemeses, as powerful supernatural entities are wreaking havoc on everything and anything that crosses their path. You are trapped in a desolate city and your road to freedom hinges on the ability to destroy all that gets in your way. All new locations, weaponry and enemies combine to take the F.E.A.R. franchise to new levels of action and suspense in this first expansion pack for F.E.A.R. PC.

Steaming Ahead

Valve announces the addition of four new titles from 2K Games this week to the Steam service, with more to come, saying: "PC versions of Sid Meier's Civilization IV®, Sid Meier's Civilization III®, Shattered Union and Sid Meier's Pirates!® will be available later this week via Steam. Details regarding future 2K titles available via Steam will be announced at a later date." They also announce the release schedule for Dark Messiah of Might and Magic via the broadband service:

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is coming to Steam® this week for just $49.95. In North America, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic will be made available via Steam at 10 am EDT this Wednesday, October 25. Outside of North America, the game will be made available at 10 am GMT this Friday, October 27.

The Late Show

A Dark Messiah of Might & Magic release trailer is now available, as the first-person action/RPG heads to stores. The clip runs over two minutes, offering gameplay and cinematic sequences. The download is available from Ubisoft Germany (thanks Frans). Also, the Specnaz 2 Website now offers a new video preview of the upcoming shooter sequel, the clip is an 18 MB download. Finally, a new RTL Skispringen 2007 movie showing off the Skispringening in the coming installment in the German ski-jumping series is available on 3D Gamers.

Site Seeing

The Arthur and the Minimoys Website is live, offering a multilingual home to Atari's upcoming cross-platform tie-in with Luc Besson's upcoming animated film of the same name. The Flash site offers game info, media, and more. Thanks Frans.

El Matador Patch

The El Matador Website offers downloads of a new patch for Plastic Reality Technologies' third-person action game. The 40.6 MB patch brings the game to version 1.1, addressing a number of bugs and other issues. Thanks Frans.

Evening Q&As

  • Genesis Rising
    Stargamer.net's Genesis Rising Q&A talks with Goran Milisavljevic of Metamorf Studios about their upcoming space strategy game: "Well, the story is not so much theological as it is critical of the human nature when it comes to what we believe is sacred. In the story, humans rule the galaxy with the excuse that it is ‘God’s will’. Humans have created machines that self reproduce and grow just like any other life form. The distinction between the human creations and humans themselves grows faint. They are playing god, and the humans want to become gods as the ultimate goal."
  • RPG Roundtable
    RPG Vault's RPG Roundtable #6 - Part 2 continues this group discussion among role-playing game developers comparing current games to the genre's classics.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Legal Briefs

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

I was walking the dynamic duo of Hudson the wonder dog and the Gunnar-man today when we saw a neighbor's cat and as we passed their house, Rusty is a shaggy orange tabby that is one of Hudson's sworn enemies, presumably based on occasional transgressions into our backyard. I braced for a jolt as her bull rush reached the end of the leash, but instead there was a comical little pop, and she just kept going. Rusty, thankfully, tried to hide in the bushes, rather than run, which I'm pretty convinced saved his life, as I was able to get to the scene immediately and restrain my prey-crazed pooch. Once the situation was under control, I was able to assess what happened. I had clipped the leash to the delicate little ring that held her tags to her collar, rather than the sturdy ring made for that purpose, so it was no surprise she got free: the chances of this little ring with the strength of a paper-clip holding her were pretty non-existent. Thankfully my oversight didn't result in any casualties, and I will certainly be more careful in the future.

Broken Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Link of the Evening: Tankball: Like Paintball, But in Tanks.
Stories: Dilbert Creator Gets Voice Back.
Children aghast as pelican swallows pigeon whole.
Science!: Marketing and Mind Control.
Life on Mars? Maybe We Missed It. "Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know?"
Russia can repel asteroids to save Earth: official.
Images: Feed a Pigeon, Lose a Finger.
Microwaved CDs on Tesla coils.
Media: 8-Bit Half-Life 2. Thanks Ian.
Pranks That Scare Montage.

Ships Ahoy - Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

Ubisoft announces that Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is shipping, and Arkane's Source engine action/RPG in the Might and Magic setting should hit North American store shelves this week:

SAN FRANCISCO – October 24, 2006 – Today Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, announces that Dark Messiah of Might and Magic™ has released and will be at North American retailers this week.

“Dark Messiah of Might and Magic successfully blurs traditional lines and defines a new approach to action-RPGs for the modern PC gaming audience,” said Tony Key, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. “Dark Messiah of Might and Magic’s breakthrough game design, combined with the technology and graphic capability the Source Engine brings, signals an exciting new direction for the Might and Magic brand.”

Developed in conjunction with Ubisoft, Arkane Studios (for single-player), and Kuju Entertainment (for multiplayer), Dark Messiah of Might and Magic puts players in a first-person perspective, allowing them to encounter ferocious combat within a dark and expansive fantasy environment.

Powered by an enhanced version of the award-winning Source™ Engine created by Valve to power its Half-Life®2 video game, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic allows players to immerse themselves in an environment that responds and envelops them like never before, thanks to the Source Engine’s exceptional technological enhancements in areas such as character animation, advanced AI, real-world physics and shader-based rendering.

Dark Messiah Might and Magic ships with an ESRB rating of “M” (Mature). The game is available for PC at the manufacturer's suggested retail price of $49.99 for the standard edition, and $59.99 for the Limited Edition.

For more news and information on Dark Messiah Might and Magic, please visit the game’s official website at www.mightandmagic.com.

Empire at War - Forces of Corruption Ships

Star Wars: Empire at War - Forces of Corruption Ships to Stores announces the availability of Petroglyph's Star Wars RTS expansion. A demo of the add-on is available (story), and here's word on the retail release:

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LucasArts and Petroglyph today announced that Star Wars Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, the highly-anticipated expansion for Star Wars: Empire at War, has shipped to retail stores in North America.

In the award-winning and best-selling Star Wars: Empire at War, players controlled an entire war for the Star Wars galaxy as the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire. Now, they will face off against both of them in Star Wars Empire at War: Forces of Corruption as a brand new third faction. As Tyber Zann, players will stop at nothing as they seek to further the sinister agenda of the Zann Consortium and become the most notorious criminal leader since Jabba the Hutt. With all new tactics like piracy, kidnapping, and bribery, players can control the shadowy forces of corruption in their attempt to rule the Star Wars underworld.

WoW: The Burning Crusade Delay

The WoW-Europe.com Forums (thanks ActionTrip) has word that the Burning Crusade expansion for World of Warcraft is now due in January 2007:

PARIS, France -- Blizzard Entertainment® today announced that the release date for World of Warcraft®: The Burning Crusade™, the highly anticipated expansion for World of Warcraft, will be in January 2007. By adding a few extra weeks to the development cycle beyond its original target date, Blizzard will be able to extend the closed beta test and further refine the new content that will ship with the game.

“We appreciate the enthusiasm surrounding World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, and we’re excited about putting the finishing touches on all of the new content,” said Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We feel confident that the extra time spent polishing the game will result in the high-quality experience that our players expect and deserve.”

Blizzard began the closed-beta phase of testing on World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade earlier this month. The January 2007 release window will allow extra time for current beta testers to participate in the final stages of development and continue providing valuable feedback.

Further information on specific worldwide release dates, pricing, and other details will be announced in the near future.

Perimeter: Emperor's Testament Trial

Paradox Interactive has released a new playable trial for Perimeter: Emperor's Testament, offering another sample of the RTS game, saying: "The trial version is a deluxe demo that unlocks the entire game for 3 hours of uninterrupted and unrestricted gameplay. Players will be able to test the single player campaign consisting of 25 missions, delve into the phenomenal storyline, and experience the multiplayer function and much more." The download is available on 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

Ships Ahoy - Stronghold Legends

Take 2 Games (thanks Frans) announces the release of Stronghold Legends, the continuation of Firefly Studios' besieged strategy game:

New York, NY - October 24, 2006 - 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), and Firefly Studios, announced that Stronghold Legends for PC is now available in stores across North America and Europe. With more emphasis on strategy than ever, Stronghold Legends is an all new RTS adventure that builds on the successful Stronghold series by combining a range of gameplay innovations with exciting new multiplayer modes. Gamers can play as King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, Count Vlad Dracul, or the mighty Siegfried of Germany in twenty-six missions that span across three unique campaigns.

"Stronghold Legends offers a wide range of new content, while remaining true to the core game features that made its previous incarnations a hit worldwide," said Christoph Hartmann, President of 2K. "The series has sold more than 2 million units and we're confident fans will be pleased by this latest addition to the franchise."

Stronghold Legends, rated T for Teen, is available now for PC for $39.99. For more information on the title visit the official website at www.strongholdlegends.com.

Prey Sequel Plans

Game Matters, Scott Miller's blog (thanks Voodoo Extreme), in addition to the latest history lesson about how Apogee Software pioneered the shareware model, offers word that Prey has sold over a million copies, and that plans are already in place for a follow-up, saying: "There will be a sequel, and we think we have a interesting follow-up story to tell and some all-new innovations to bring new excitement to the table." This leads to a broader point that they will be expanding their role as an intermediary for smaller game developers:

So, going forward, 3D Realms will become a studio polygamist, teaming up with more than one studio, working on perhaps 4-6 external projects simultaneously, creating new IPs and hopefully helping more and more deserving, talented independent studios achieve financial independence, and the ability to call their their own creative shots in the future. I am hiring one or two additional IP Creative Directors to assist me in the management of these games. We've already been contacted by numerous highly qualified independent studios, and more are welcome to contact me. In a way, we're going back to our roots. Fun times ahead!

Just Cause Sequel Plans

Total Video Games says they have confirmation of plans for Just Cause 2, a sequel to Avalanche Studios' third-person action game. There are no specifics, but word is: "Speaking to Swedish publication Kong, representatives from Avalanche confirmed that Just Cause 2 is in the pipeline and that it will be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation3, and PC."

The Chronicles of Spellborn Delay

Spellborn International announces a delay to The Chronicles of Spellborn, their upcoming eponymous MMORPG. Word is:

Berlin, 24.10.06: Spooky Bob has made the Quarterstone Graveyard his regular haunt spot. Not because it is such a nice place, but because Spooky Bob needs to get some issues solved in the grand city of Quarterstone before he can enjoy his well deserved eternal rest.

The Spellborn developers have started a contest in which community members can send in a quest that will grant Spooky Bob his final rest. The best, most fun quest will be integrated into the retail version of The Chronicles of Spellborn.

To provide a perfect gaming experience, Frogster Interactive announces the release of The Chronicles of Spellborn for the 1st Quarter of 2007. In the recently started final development-phase, the Spellborn NV developing-team will apply a final layer of polish to the expansive game world and the innovative gameplay features.

The final Alpha version of the game will be finished on the 15th of November after which a final Closed Beta phase will start. An Open Beta phase with Fileplanet is planned for early Q1 2007.

Time Warner & SCi?

Report: Time Warner Moves In On SCi on Gamasutra offers rumors that Time Warner is eying a stake in SCi, the publisher that's been rumored to be in play since its acquisition of Eidos Interactive. Word is:

The Business story, though, quoting unnamed Wall Street sources, suggests that Time Warner initially attempted to acquire the company outright, before reducing the offer to a 20 percent share, which has now been negotiated down to 10 percent by SCi.

Time Warner’s interest in the company has been characterized as friendly, with SCi reportedly interested in the improved access it would gain to American markets, and Time Warner keen to have more control over the use of its many entertainment properties in the video game space.

War in the Pacific Patch

Matrix Games now offers a new patch for War In The Pacific, updating the World War II strategy game to version 1.804, called an incremental update, with a full update to follow. Word is: "The version 1.804 update fixes outstanding bug issues. The correction of the LCU leader handeling [sic] that was causing land experience to be increased to invalid levels as well as the crashes that were being caused by invalid pointer issues as well as fixing several other minor issues so that the players can concentrate on the game."

Site Seeing

A new RACE: The WTCC Game Product Section is live as Eidos Interactive's home to the imminent motorsports game that plays the RACE card (thanks Frans). Included is a scant collection of information about the game.

The Early Show

A new Marvel Ultimate Alliance launch trailer offers a final prerelease look at Raven's upcoming comic-inspired action/RPG. The almost two-minute clip is mostly cinematic sequences, available from 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

Morning Q&As

  • Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron
    High-Flying Dreams “Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron” Explores a Peanuts Fantasy on GameZone pops open a few root beers with Benjamin Cole and talks about the aerial combat game: We had access to the Snoopy license, and we were in the office talking about what would be cool to do with a Snoopy video game. The thing we always came back to was the story of Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron. It took a long time before we decided exactly what we were going to do, and make it a game that booth kids and adults could play. We decided that if we’re going to a Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron game, it had to be a flying aerial combat game that was easy but had enough gameplay involved for something that everyone could enjoy. So that’s where the idea came from – it was one of the most popular Snoopy stories that instantly had a game tied to it.
  • DANCE
    The DANCE Q&A on FiringSquad talks with Dave Perry about Acclaim's upcoming MMO of fancy footwork: "I've been a huge fan of dance style games for years. For this game we've been secretly working with incredible developers in China to be the first to bring a really cool Massively Multiplayer Online Dance game to the USA market. Like my other MMO project 2Moons, working with the team that develops this game has been interesting set of challenges to adjust the game for the American market. The game has some fresh elements, the socializing, shopping, competition and dating aspects are going to be bring people together, and then we’ll see how the community takes them and makes it their own."
  • The History Channel: Civil War
    The History Channel: Civil War Q&A on Strategy Informer talks with Jeff Muench and Chris Owen about the coming Civil War game: "One of the interesting things that I learned when researching weapons was that the Civil War was one of our nation’s greatest periods of military innovation as both sides were trying to find weaponry advancements to win the war. Weapons such as Gatling guns, repeating rifles, hand grenades and exploding artillery were used by both sides in the Civil War and are featured in the game. All of the weapons are authentic to the Civil War era and also include period muskets, revolvers, sniper rifles, sabers, and knives."
  • Scorpia
    Tales of the Rampant Coyote's Scorpia Q&A talks with the author of a long-running CGW column about adventure games and her new website.

Morning Previews

Morning Legal Briefs

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Mobilization

Morning Safety Dance

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Gatherings & Competitions

The 9th Annual Independent Games Festival announces their 2007 IGF Mod Competition Entrants. Thanks Diego.

Op Ed

Tuesday Game Reviews

Tuesday Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

What with the Smurfs that we baby-sit and the whole Blue thing, I can't believe I missed that yesterday was the anniversary of the Smurfs, making them an amazing 48 years old. It actually turns out that I am way behind on my knowledge of all things Smurfy, as this article on the anniversary references all sorts of theories that they were the source of communist propaganda and such. Who knew?

Happy Belated Smurf Day! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Play: Rubicon.
Links of the Morning: Error Message: Your Password Must Be at Least 18770 Characters...
SIRIUS Satellite Radio offers a free trial starting tomorrow. Thanks Jim.
PC Fryer. Thanks Donovan.
Story: Harrison Ford is Not Too Old.
Science!: Botanists Work to Develop Health-Inducing Purple Tomato.
Media: Onechan Bara VorteX trailer.
Roller Pigeons doing backflips.
Amazing stunt.
Follow-ups: Enron's Skilling jailed for 24 years.
Decision Soon on Hubble Repair Mission.
Teh Funny: FoxTrot.
Dilbert.



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