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Tuesday, Oct 14, 2008

  

Ships Ahoy - FIFA 09

This press release announces that FIFA 09 is now available in North American and Asian stores for Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, and mobile. A playable demo is available (story) for those looking to kick around a sample of this football/soccer simulation, and here's a bit from the release announcement: "With 500 new animation sequences and all-new collision and shielding systems — representing the biggest innovations to the multiplatform EA SPORTS soccer engine in four years — FIFA Soccer 09 delivers more responsive, intelligent and realistic physical action on the PlayStation 2 system. The new collision detection system with 360 degree coverage enables players to behave according to their physical attributes where player speed, direction and strength determine everything from the severity of the collision to the outcome of possession. Changes to the animation system reward the skillful gamer during one-on-one situations between attackers and defenders."

Far Cry 2 Preorder Discounts

The Far Cry 2 Website announces they are now offering $5.00 off on Far Cry 2 preorders through the Ubisoft Digital Store, addressing complaints that arose when preorders on Steam announced that same $5.00 discount.

On the WoW Patch

Today's version 3.0.2 patch for World of Warcraft includes Blizzard's new achievement system, and there's an Achievement System FAQ on WorldofWar.Net with details on how this works. Also, most of the character changes from testing of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion were not included in today's new update, and WorldOfWar.Net has word from Blizzard saying these changes will be rolled out on November 13 with the release of the add-on. Finally, on a semi-related note, WorldOfWar.Net quotes Mike Morhaime saying Blizzard still has a goal of annual World of Warcraft expansions, but they admit they are probably unlikely to be able to keep up with that schedule.

F.E.A.R. 2 Movie, Medkits Return

The F.E.A.R. 2 Website has a link to a new movie showing off the elite power armor in the upcoming horror-themed shooter sequel. The site also references the F.E.A.R. 2 Blog mentioned yesterday (story), that describes why Monolith decided to back away from console-style health regeneration in favor of medkits, acknowledging the way health regeneration negatively impacts gameplay (not to mention that it kills puppies).

Mirror's Edge: The Trilogy?

On Mirror's Edge has a detail we missed from the Mirror's Edge video interview on AusGamers mentioned here over the weekend (story). When asked about a sequel to the acrobatic action game DICE's Owen O'Brien indicates their current story is "kind of a trilogy" which just cover's Faith's story, while they feel the franchise is ripe for further expansion beyond a trilogy "to take the story in other directions." DICE is familiar with sequels as a steady stream of Battlefield games demonstrates, but of course the first game probably needs to succeed to justify follow-ups.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment Video

There's a Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment First Look on GameSpot previewing the upcoming expansion for Ironclad Games' 4X space strategy expansion. Included is a video offering the first look at the add-on in action.

Evening Previews

  • Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment on IGN.

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Consolidation

Mobilization

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

World of Warcraft Patched

The promised version 3.0.2 of World of Warcraft is now live, paving the way for the upcoming release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for Blizzard's MMORPG. The Current Patch Notes Page now reflects the new version, and for those looking to manually update the game, the patches have begun appearing, though this will take some sorting. There's a full version 2.4.3 to v3.0.1 US/MX patch on AtomicGamer and an accompanying version 3.0.1 to v3.0.2 US/MX Patch on AtomicGamer. There are also the final parts of each update for those who have already obtained the partial update via the background downloader, the version 2.4.3 to v3.0.1 US/MX patch is on AtomicGamer and the version 3.0.1 to v3.0.2 US/MX patch is on AtomicGamer. There is also what seems to be a full version 2.4.3 to 3.0.2 patch on ActionTrip. On a related note, there's a new Jeffrey Kaplan Video Interview on WorldofWarcraft.Net discussing the Wrath of the Lich King add-on.

Gold - Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

EA announces that Conquer Red Alert 3 is gold, and that the PC edition of the alternate-history RTS sequel will invade stores on October 28, while the Xbox 360 edition will ship a couple of weeks later, on November 11. The announcement also outlines the contents of the Premier Edition, as well as a preorder campaign for both the Standard and Premier editions that includes a copy of Red Alert 2, an exclusive skirmish map, and more. Also, "as an additional bonus, everyone who purchases either the Premier Edition or regular version of Red Alert 3 will receive a “Women of Red Alert 3” poster and a redemption code for the Kossar’s Helm, an exclusive in-game item for EA and Mythic Entertainment’s critical hit Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Using this traditional Soviet hat turns your character into a bear – you don’t want to be seen rampaging through WAR’s capital cities without it!"

Dead Space Ships

This press release has word that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions of Dead Space are now appearing in North American stores, while the Windows edition will be available in North America next week on October 20. The science fiction-themed survival/horror game is expected in European stores on October 24 for both Windows and consoles. Word is: "Set five hundred years in the future, Dead Space follows the story of Isaac Clarke, a normal systems engineer, who is sent with a small repair team to restore communications aboard an immense mining ship, the USG Ishimura. Once onboard the vessel, Isaac discovers that the crew has unearthed an ancient and malevolent alien presence far beneath the planet’s surface and brought it onboard. It’s a living nightmare onboard the Ishimura, which has turned into a floating bloodbath, as the crew has been unspeakably mutilated and infected by an ancient alien scourge. Clarke’s repair mission becomes one of survival as he fights not just to save himself, but to return the artifact to the planet at any cost." Also, there's a Dead Space launch trailer on the Dead Space Website, mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and MyGameTrailers. There's also an "Art, Gore & Creature" developer diary movie on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell. Finally, Glen Schofield's new Dead Space developer diary is posted on Edge Online.

Gold - Far Cry 2

Ubisoft announces that Far Cry 2 is gold, and the now-complete first-person shooter sequel is expected in stores for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on October 21. On a related note, there's a German-language report on PC Games translated from the French Ubisoft Shop suggesting the shooter sequel will use the much reviled SecuROM for copy protection. We have inquired to Ubisoft about this, but have yet to receive a response, we'll post an update if we do. Meantime, here's the description of the game that accompanies the gold announcement: "Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Far Cry 2 will be the newest innovation from Ubisoft in the world of next-gen first-person shooters. More than just a visual and technological achievement, Far Cry 2 immerses players in an entirely new kind of gaming experience. Running on a tailor-made new gaming engine, Far Cry 2 features non-scripted enemy Artificial Intelligence, entirely destructible environments, dynamic fire and storm effects, and multiplayer gameplay, all in a completely open world 50km2 environment. Players will find themselves immersed in a war-torn, African state, where they will be forced to make deals with corrupt warlords on both sides of the conflict in order to survive and move ever-closer to their primary objective – the Jackal. Players must identify and exploit their enemies' weaknesses, neutralizing their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning, and of course brute force."

LEGO Batman Demo - Updated: Corrupted

To the brick-poles, Robin! A playable demo for LEGO Batman is now available, providing a sample of the new game based on the exploits of a LEGO-fied dark knight. Update: Reports that the installer exits with an error have been confirmed, so the download links have been pulled until a working version is posted.

Ships Ahoy - Europa Universalis III: Complete

Paradox Interactive announces Europa Universalis III: Complete is now available in North American stores, offering a bundle of the grand strategy game along with its Napoleon’s Ambition and In Nomine expansion packs that will be released in Europe on October 17. Word is: "Europa Universalis III: Complete includes expansion pack content that extends the playable timeline to encompass historical periods ranging from the Byzantine Empire, The Hundred Years’ War, and the French Revolution, as well as advanced mission options and trading systems. New gameplay features like rebel uprisings, influential religious figures, and the ability to conquer Europe and overthrow the Holy Roman Empire add new layers of strategy to the game."

Supreme Ruler 2020 Patch

A new Supreme Ruler 2020 patch is now available to update BattleGoat Studios' strategy sequel to version 5.4.1. Included in the patch is a new "Saudi Invasion" scenario as well as new units, new missions, interface enhancements, and more. The download is available AtomicGamer, FileFront, and The Patches Scrolls.

SouthPeak Buys Gamecock

MCV reports that independent games-oriented publisher SouthPeak has purchased similarly indie-focused publisher Gamecock. Word is the titles in development under the Gamecock umbrella will now be released under the SouthPeak label, including Mushroom Men and Legendary, which are due this quarter. They offer quotes, from both sides of the deal: SouthPeak CEO Melanie Mroz is "excited," and Gamecock CEO Mike Wilson is "thrilled."

Pickups Beta

Multiplay UK announces the launch of a beta version of Pickups, an online service to form pickup teams for online gameplay. After the teams are filled, a game launches, and players are even given a Ventrilo server to facilitate communications. This is a free service, though not all planned features are implemented at this point in the beta testing.

Quantum of Solace Movie

A new launch trailer is now available for Quantum of Solace, paving the way for the launch of this James Bond game on November 4. The clip samples the game's voice acting, environments, multiplayer support, and lots and lots of shooting. The movie is available from ActionTrip, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and MyGameTrailers.

StarCraft II Interviews

The StarCraft II Trilogy Interview on Voodoo Extreme asks four questions of Blizzard's Bob Colayco about the announcement that StarCraft II is being split into three different games (story). They ask about the timing of when this plan was formed, whether they fear brand dilution as a result, and their release schedule. There's also a Chris Sigaty Video Interview on StarCraftWire.Net on a variety of related topics, including Battle.Net 2.0 features and when alpha testing will begin.

On Half-Life 2: Episode Three Scheduling

The Interview with Valve's Doug Lombardi on Kikizo goes into a good deal of detail about Left 4 Dead, the upcoming multiplayer zombie shooter, as well as the episodic follow-ups to Half-Life 2. Doug says they may begin revealing information about Episode 3 "at the very end of the year." On that topic, he does admit that the gap between Episode 2 and Episode 3 will be the longest yet: "Yeah, the next time you play as Gordon will be longer than the distance between HL2 to Ep1, and Ep1 to Ep2."

Blizzard Refund Problem

The Consumerist reports a tale of consumer woe from a user who purchased Diablo II online via the Blizzard store and has been unable to secure a refund, even though customer service acknowledged he was not able to download the game. Apparently this is blamed on shortcoming in their system, rather than an unwillingness to supply a refund, and the user was told he'd have to wait for the "functionality to become available" to return his money. The consumer-oriented site offers the advise to protest the charges though your bank should you find yourself in a similar spot. Thanks Ant and Digg.

Morning Consolidation

Kivi's Underworld Open Beta

Open beta testing of Kivi's Underworld is now underway, offering the chance to help with the development of this upcoming casual hack-and-slash action/adventure in the works at indie developer Soldak Entertainment (Depths of Peril). The beta is available on this page for both Windows and Mac, but carries the following disclaimer: "It's not a demo yet, but if you want to help test and make Kivi's Underworld a better game, download one of the open beta builds. If you do download and play either of these, please give us feedback by sending us email or posting on our forums."

Demigod Interviews

RPG Vault's Demigod Interview talks with Mike Marr about Gas Powered Games' upcoming action/strategy/RPG dealie. They discuss the game's ambitious blend of genres, the story and setting, role-playing and customization, and the proverbial more. There's also a Q&A with Mike Marr on GameZone, discussing things like camera views, game balance, demigod types, and more.

Empire: Total War Interview

Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Empire: Total War Interview chats up Creative Assembly's James Russell about the next installment in their large-scale strategy series. Topics include the game's historical setting, the significance of the addition off naval battles to the series, changes to ground-based combat, AI improvements, graphical improvements, and the number of small details they've improved.

World of Goo Interview

The Tastes So Goo-d- 2D BOY Interview on Rock, Paper, Shotgun is a Q&A with 2D BOY about World of Goo, the independent developer's project that's now launched for online purchase from Beanstalk Games, Direct2Drive, and Steam. They discuss the unusual nature of the game, and the terrifying transition from the relative safety of the cubicle to the relative uncertainty of independence: "Back in school, we always thought the halls of EA would be filled with plastic balls and tricycles and stuff, since it’s a game company, which means it’s essentially Santa’s workshop. But that wasn’t the case. The halls were filled with carpet and disillusionment. And time-worn tracks leading to the bathroom and coffee machines. Even so, I was really lucky that my whole job was to make a bunch of colorful disposable rapid prototypes every week or so. All I had to do was make people happy. But it was all for a small audience. By going indie, and making our own game, I’m hoping we can reach more people. We’ll see. Our game launches today, and we’re terrified."

Competitions

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

I forgot to mention yesterday was Columbus Day, it's one of those occasions that's easy to overlook, as I don't know anyone who gets the day off or anything. On the other hand, the news was pretty slow, so maybe it is a big holiday in the games business or something.

Discovered Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Red Cross ERU game. Thanks UserFriendly.
Links: 6 M-rated LEGO videogames coming out soon. Thanks evlo211.
Battlestar Galactica Case Mod by Boddaker.
Stories: Under ‘No Child’ Law, Even Solid Schools Falter.
Ringo 'too busy' for autographs.
Bringing Oysters Back to Town.
Science: Doubling of Vitamin D for Children Is Urged.
More genetic baldness links uncovered.
'Yeti hairs' belong to a goat.
Media: AVGN Vs. Nostalgia Critic - The Final Battle. NSFW.
Awesome letters chosen on Wheel Of Fortune.
Music using ONLY sounds from Windows XP and 98!.
Follow-up: National Debt Clock draws worried glances, reactions.
the Funny: xkcd.



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