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Tuesday, Oct 28, 2008

  

GTA4 PC Delay?

Amazon and GameStop both now list December 2, 2008 as the release date for the Windows edition of Grand Theft Auto IV, as noted on Joystiq. These dates are occasionally accurate, and if they are in this case, this represents a delay for the PC version of the open-world action sequel, which was announced with a November 18 release date.

Ships Ahoy - WWII Battle Tanks- T-34 vs. Tiger

WWII Battle Tanks- T-34 vs. Tiger is now available on GamersGate, about a day later than expected. The new World War II armored combat simulation was announced for release yesterday, but there was a problem with missing serial keys that had to be corrected before making the game available. Now that this is cleared up, the game is now on sale. Here's a bit on the game: "The player can experience the battlefield from within the Russian T-34 and the German "Tiger", with fully animated 3D interiors and playable Driver, Gunner and Commander positions. The tanks' dynamics include realistic physics, accurate ballistics and elaborate damage models. Interior models feature historically accurate gun-sight optics."

Football Manager 2009 Gold, Demo Plans

Sports Interactive and SEGA Europe announce that Football Manager 2009 is gold for both Windows and MacOS and that both editions will be released on November 14 along with Football Manager Handheld 2009 for the PSP. This is discussed on the Sports Interactive Forum, where they are up-front about the game's use of SecuROM, and discuss their reasoning in light of recent anti-SecuROM backlash (thanks Abb_ie). They also announce that two different playable Windows and MacOS demos will be released on Sunday, each offering a half-season of gameplay, and word is saved games from the demo will be compatible with the full release. The demo will come in "vanilla" and "strawberry" variants, and here is the explanation:

The strawberry version of the demo includes player pictures and club badges, with quickstarts for the world’s biggest leagues, giving players a chance to try out their skills in leagues from multiple countries. This version of the demo will also include all language translations for the game. The strawberry demo will be available to download from midnight on Sunday 2nd November from Steam (PC only) at http://store.steampowered.com and via www.sigames.com as a torrent or direct download, with bandwidth for the direct download provided by GameShadow.

The vanilla version of the demo is English language only, and features the English and Scottish leagues, with no player photos or club badges in order to reduce the size of the download. The vanilla demo is being released exclusively from midnight on Sunday 2nd November via the News Of The World website at (www.newsoftheworld.co.uk).

Cross Fire Beta Signups

The Cross Fire Website is now live as a home to G4BOX's upcoming free to download and subscription-free multiplayer first-person shooter. The site is offering the chance to qualify for "special preferential access" to the upcoming Cross Fire closed beta. Everyone who registers for their forums between now and October 31 will qualify for the beta, which they say will get underway in early November.

Wow, 11 Million WoW Players

Blizzard Entertainment announces that World of Warcraft has passed another threshold, and Blizzard's MMORPG now boasts over 11 million subscribers worldwide. This means if the game was a state, it would be the eighth largest in the US, larger than Michigan, or Georgia. If WoW were a country, it would have the 75th largest population in the world, larger than Belgium, Portugal, or the Czech Republic. The announcement is accompanied by a job offer: "To keep pace with the continued growth of World of Warcraft as well as development on other Blizzard Entertainment games, the company is currently hiring for numerous open positions. More information on available career opportunities at Blizzard Entertainment can be found at www.blizzard.com/jobs."

White Gold: War in Paradise Movie

A new White Gold: War in Paradise movie is now available to show off the eye candy in this nose-candy themed first-person shooter under construction at Deep Shadows. The clip is available on the Deep Shadows Website, though it's hard to figure out what's going on there without a working knowledge of Russian. The clip is also mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Competition

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Mobilization

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Into the Black

Left 4 Dead Demo Only One Week

Valve announces a 10% preorder discount for Left 4 Dead for both Windows and Xbox 360, confirming yesterday's revelation of early demo access for those who preorder. The most interesting part of the announcement is word that the demo will only run for two weeks for those who preorder and one week for those who don't, saying: "The demo concludes on November 18, when Left 4 Dead will be made available at retail outlets across North America and worldwide via Steam." Here's the deal:

October 24, 2008 –Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress, and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (Steam and Source), today announced a special promotion granting those who pre-order Left 4 Dead early access to the official demo.

Left 4 Dead is the new survival action game from Valve that blends the social entertainment experience of multiplayer games such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress with the dramatic, narrative experience made popular in single player action game classics such as the Half-Life series of games.

Early access to the demo begins Thursday, November 6 on both the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC. This pre-order promotion applies to all Steam PC pre-orders and all Xbox 360 and Windows-based PC pre-orders from participating retailers in North America. The demo will feature single player and co-operative modes, supporting 1 to 4 player games.

On November 11 the demo will be made available to all Xbox 360 and PC and gamers, with no obligation to purchase. The demo concludes on November 18, when Left 4 Dead will be made available at retail outlets across North America and worldwide via Steam.

This pre-order promotion is scheduled in concert with the previously announced $10 million consumer launch campaign that spans television, outdoor, print, and online advertising.

“Every time someone plays Left 4 Dead, we witness the most overwhelmingly positive reaction that we’ve seen from any of our games,” said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. “This gives us tremendous confidence in the product and why we’ve taken the game on the road, produced this pre-launch demo, and invested more advertising dollars on the title than any prior release from Valve.”

Playable in single player, co-operative, and multiplayer modes, Left 4 Dead is one of the most anticipated releases of 2008 and winner of numerous pre-launch awards, including Best of E3 from multiple outlets.

For more information, please visit L4D.com or www.steamgames.com

Call of Duty: World at War Beta Live

Call of Duty Headquarters announces the multiplayer beta for Call of Duty: World at War is now live for both Windows and Xbox 360. Here's word on testing Treyarch's upcoming military shooter sequel: "In order to participate, you will need to sign up as a CallofDuty.com member. Xbox 360™ gamers in the U.S. can also pre-order Call of Duty: World at War at any GameStop retail location or online at gamestop.com (while supplies last) to get your beta code." Downloads of the Windows beta client are mirrored on AtomicGamer, Big Download, FanGaming, FileFront, FilePlanet, Fileplay, and Gamer's Hell.

Tomb Raider: Underworld PC Demo for Halloween

The Xbox 360 Tomb Raider: Underworld demo became available on the Xbox LIVE marketplace today, and Eidos follows this up by announcing their plans to release a playable demo for the Windows edition of the action/adventure sequel this Friday, October 31. Here's word on the demo, which will be available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish: "The demo will have players travelling to the western coast of Thailand - the second destination in Tomb Raider: Underworld - to experience a taste of the adventure that is to come. Gamers can master steep coastal cliffs, navigate perilous and crumbling ruins, evade vicious wild animals and use state-of-the-art gear such as the grapple or the new Field Assistance System to create and uncover paths that will take players deep into the challenging wilds of Thailand."

Ships Ahoy - Red Alert 3

Red Alert Is Back! EA Ships Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 to Retailers Worldwide Today announces the Windows edition of the next installment in the alternate history real-time strategy series is shipping today, though they list October 30 as its North American and European in-store date (the Xbox 360 edition is expected on November 11). Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 includes a free "Women of Red Alert 3" poster and a code for Kossar’s Helm, an exclusive item for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, and there's a Premier Edition which includes exclusive multiplayer maps, a behind-the-scenes documentary, the Red Alert 3 soundtrack and a beta key to a future Command & Conquer game. Word is: "Like all games in the series, the events of Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 revolve around time travel and its consequences. The game begins with a doomed Soviet Union on the brink of defeat to the Allies. Two desperate Soviet generals and a brilliant scientist travel back in time to change history and restore the glory of Mother Russia. At first their mission appears to be a resounding success, but they quickly realize that their actions have created an alternate timeline where technology has followed an entirely different evolution, and a new superpower has been thrust onto the world stage – The Empire of the Rising Sun. Gamers will get to experience the three-way struggle between the Soviets, the Allies, and the Empire from each faction's unique perspective, following three distinct storylines and with each campaign being fully enabled for co-operative play, connecting with a friend online** or with one of nine different in-game co-commanders. The game also features skirmish and multiplayer for up to six players."

Hellgate: London Saved?

HellForge, a Blizzard-centric blog, reports the possibility that Hellgate: London may continue on in some form, even though NAMCO BANDAI has announced January 31, 2009 as the last day of service for the action/RPG. They point to an older post on Game Espresso, a blog dedicated to HanbitSoft, that reports: "But the good news is that Hellgate will go on with the new crew. HanbitSoft announced that T3 Entertainment recruited some of the best developers from Flagship Studios, Blizzard and formed a team with developers of their own. They will be carrying on where the last crew left off. Hellgate also decided to go partly FREE in Korea. Don't be too excited. It's not ALL FREE." This lead them to a post on the Korean Hellgate London website, which conjures up an error at this point (we can't figure that out, our Korean is rusty), but they have posted an image of the update, which has a message in English from HanbitSoft and Redbana USA. This leads to speculation that the game may have a future beyond next January for western audiences. The conclusion of this post reads: "More information is forthcoming, in the meantime, stay alert: the Hellgate will soon re-open, and your valor will be needed once again." Thanks N4G.

New ELSPA Ratings System

BBC News outlines a new video games rating system announced by Britain's Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA). The new system employs a color-coding scheme to help parents determine what are age-appropriate games for their children. The system is pretty simple, employing the three colors of a traffic signal, red for the "18" and "16" ratings, amber for the "12" rating, and green for the "7" and "3" ratings. This leaves open the distant possibility that a missing child with a "12" rated game could threaten US national security, triggering the dreaded triple amber alert.

Fallout 3 Warning

Gameplayer.au has a (spoiler-free) warning for Fallout 3 players, as they've identified a point that will lock players into the end-game, after which it will be game over man, as it eliminates the possibility of experiencing unexplored areas of the post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. They provide advice on managing your save games to ensure you do not get caught in this inadvertent "trap" before getting the full game experience, which is probably sage advice to follow for handling save games in general.

More on Avalanche Layoffs

Avalanche prepares to lay off 77 staff catches up with the news of job cuts at the Swedish developer we reported Friday, and gets more quotes on the situation from Avalanche CEO Christofer Sundberg: "I'm very positive that we'll get back on our feet again. But will we become a 160 employee studio again? I'm not sure. It just sort of became that way. I love working with these people but I hate growing because it becomes very industrialised and very impersonal. We started this company based on a passion to create games, not to run a huge business. Our focus is on original IP which we've done well with, but the industry is focused on licenses and sequels."

Morning Consolidation

Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3

As noted on the Fallout Website, Fallout 3 should now be available (to the minute) in North America for those willing to brave insanity by taking part in the midnight madness at participating Best Buy stores. Fallout 3 is Bethesda Softworks' continuation of the classic post-apocalyptic RPG series created by Black Isle Studios in the late 1990s. The Fallout 3 Overview outlines the game, while the Fallout FAQ looks to clear up any remaining questions. In an odd related note, BigDownload reports they and other sites were asked to remove Fallout 3 trailers from their downloads area "in connection with ESRB's advertising guidelines," but it's not very clear exactly which guideline is being followed here.

CodeWeavers CrossOver Giveaway

As outlined in this press release, one of the thresholds for The CodeWeavers Great American Lame Duck Presidential Challenge was passed when the price of gasoline in the twin cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota dipped below $2.79 per gallon. As a consequence, all through today, every visitor to their website will be given a free fully supported copy of one of their CrossOver products that facilitates cross-platform gaming emulation. There are other goals they have set for the outgoing US president, and they promise to give away more free software for each that's met.

Tim Cain Q&A

Carbine Studios Q&A Ten Ton Hammer raises some Cain with Carbine Studios by chatting with Tim Cain, Design Director on Carbine's mysterious upcoming MMORPG. He has to be pretty tight with details about the project, but he does outline its scope, saying, "The team is already over 60 people, making it almost twice as big as any game I have ever worked on, and we are still growing in size." He also has a very interesting answer to a question about competing with the 800 lb gorilla in the MMOG field: "I don’t view the MMO genre as locked down by WoW as much as it has been opened up by it. WoW has exposed millions of people to MMOs, and they are not all going to play WoW forever. As much as WoW got right, there are a large number of features that they didn’t implement, and I plan to focus on those as well as some features that weren’t as robust as they could have been."

The Dracula Blood Drive

Encore and the American Red Cross announce that five Red Cross blood centers in the Bay Area (Northern California) will be giving copies of Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon "while supplies last," to blood donors on Halloween as part of "The Dracula Blood Drive." Word is: "'Many donors have jokingly called our phlebotomists vampires so we decided to use the theme on Halloween,' said Sara O’Brien, Communications Manager of the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region. 'We love having this opportunity to provide a fun gift to help encourage potential donors to let us collect their blood so they can tell any vampires they already gave to the Red Cross.'"

Morning Previews

Competitions

Game Reviews

Hardware Review

Out of the Blue

Guys Succeed in Making a Palace Guard Laugh (thanks Ant). I was in England years ago and got a palace guard to smile, but we didn't have a video camera, and my girlfriend didn't catch it with her still camera. Funny thing is it was at a side entrance that was a bit out of the way, and I recall it looking very much like the post in the video (maybe that's where they exile the smilers). I'm not sure I should trust my memory on this though, because I can't really recall what I did to get him to crack, but it was actually not intentional, it's not like I was messing with him.

Smiling Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Draw-Play 3. Thanks Jay is Games.
Story: Gun Sales Thriving In Uncertain Times. Thanks brother19.
Science: Science finds a way to erase Wall Street's errors.
Earth's core getting colder (ScienceAlert)
Image: Master Chief Costume Looks Great, Will Break The Bank.
Media: Wii Music Cowbell Demonstration. Needs more cowbell.
The Funnies: Pearls Before Swine. Thanks brother19.



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