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Friday, Nov 14, 2008

  

Spaceships Ahoy - Space Trader – Merchant Marine

Meridian4 and Hermitworks Entertainment Corporation announce that Space Trader – Merchant Marine has shipped and this trading sim/FPS is now available at retail stores and on most online distribution channels. Word is: "As a Trader, you will attempt to amass a fortune beyond your wildest imagination, buying and selling commodities and taking up arms against the oppressors or even accepting bounty missions, hunting down crime bosses and their thugs." The announcement is accompanied by a batch of new screenshots.

Testament of Sin Renamed; Ships

City Interactive announces Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual is shipping to North American stores. This is the adventure/mystery game that was revealed with the title Testament of Faith, which was quickly changed to Testament of Sin. Here's the announcement, which does not offer an explanation for the title change:

White Plains, NY- Nov 14, 2008 City Interactive, a North American publisher of PC and console-based video games, today announced the release of its latest adventure/mystery title - Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual (formerly "Testament of Sin.") In Chronicles of Mystery, players' detective skills will be pushed to their limits as they travel the world in an attempt to unravel an ancient mystery and save a fellow archaeologist before it's too late.

Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual is a classically-styled adventure title from the team that created the well-received Art of Murder: FBI Confidential. The story follows archaeologist Sylvie Leroux as she travels the Mediterranean in search of her Uncle, a fellow archaeologist who was researching a sinister mystery. In Chronicles of Sin: The Scorpio Ritual, players will visit exotic and historic locales including the Vatican, Malta and Istanbul in their quest to find Sylvie's uncle. Players will seek clues and solve puzzles as they travel the game's lushly rendered 3D locations.

Huxley Delayed

Big Download reports that the North American launch of Huxley is delayed until the first half of next year. Webzen's subscription-free Unreal 3-engine MMOFPS was previously supposed to launch this year, but word is the extra time is being used to work out localization issues.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Patch

A new Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 patch is available, to update the real-time strategy sequel to version 1.04. This offers some multiplayer enhancements; names in multiplayer lobbies are now alphabetized, and ladder and statistic reporting has been improved. The new version is available via the in-game updater, and manual patches are also available on the Command & Conquer Website. The English patch is mirrored on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, and Gamer's Hell; and some or all of the international patches are mirrored on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

Kingdom Under Fire II Trailer

The first trailer from Kingdom Under Fire II is now available, offering some gameplay from the upcoming action/RTS sequel. The clip is posted on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

New Half-Life 2 Fistful of Frags

The Fistful of Frags Website now offers a new version 2.1 beta of this Half-Life 2 modification set in the wild, wild west. Word is: "First of all, we have completely redone the animations for Colt Navy, coachgun, Smith carbine and Henry rifle! There is also some important modifications done to bow, there´s only one bow type which fires any kind of arrow, and is also available a new arrow type. Fiery arrows aren´t very western like but we ensure they are hilarious, fun and make possible some new tactics too. Finally, the bug which prevented servers to be displayed in Steam´s server browser is fixed."

Football Manager 2009 Authentication Fixed

Videogaming247 reports that Sports Interactive says all issues owners of Football Manager 2009 have had with authentication have been cleared up. They've already apologized for the problems with authentication, which was an unfortunate turn of events considering how they went out of their way to tout the strengths of their new DRM solution.

Op Ed

Evening Previews

  • The Last Remnant on IGN.
  • Love on Eurogamer.
  • Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim on IGN. New developer diary.
  • The Music of Blizzard Entertainment: Echoes of War on Kotaku.
  • Need for Speed Undercover on Edge Online.
  • Prince of Persia on GameSpy.

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Mobilization

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Into the Black

NFS Undercover Into Movie; Motion Chair Support

The latest in the flood of movies from Need for Speed Undercover is the introductory sequence from the street-racing sequel, which is expected to go on sale next week. The clip is available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell. Also, this press release (Adobe Acrobat-format) announces a deal between Black Box and D-BOX to include D-BOX Motion Code into the Windows edition of Need for Speed Undercover (thanks Mike Martinez and TheHDRoom): "D-BOX Motion Code technology is proprietary software that powers a range of Motion systems featuring high performance actuators designed to provide real-time response to on-screen action." The D-BOX Gaming Products Section outlines the elaborate chair peripherals that take advantage of this motion technology.

Tropico 3 Announced

Kalypso Media announces they have acquired worldwide rights to Tropico 3 from Take-Two Interactive, and they will release the third installment in this PC strategy series in summer 2009. Tropico 3 will be based on the original Tropico, and development is being handled by Bulgarian developer Haemimont Games (Rising Kingdoms, Imperium Romanum, Grand Ages: Rome). They hope to appeal to newcomers as well as fans of the series, promising "state-of-the-art graphics, complex gameplay similar to the other titles in the series and a comprehensive multiplayer mode." According to Kalypso Media's Simon Hellwig: "The Tropico series is a great IP which we are excited to continue. The game will be the biggest project Kalypso has realized so far in its short history and we are focussing on achieving a worldwide PC hit with this brand. The acquisition of Tropico along with other key licenses is fundamental to our future growth."

New Evochron Renegades

The Evochron Renegades Website now offers a new version 1.958 of Evochron Renegades, StarWraith 3D Games' space trading and combat game. This improves memory efficiency and specular effects along with a couple of tweaks and bug fixes. As usual, the new version is a triple-threat: A full installer, a trial version/demo, and a patch for older versions. There is also a corresponding updated dedicated server.

Hydrophobia Delay

Eurogamer reports a delay to Hydrophobia, as Blade Interactive has thrown some cold water on plans to have the submersive survival action/adventure flood store shelves by the end of this year. The self-published game is now expected in March 2009, but no reason for the setback is provided.

Blue Mars Beta Delay; Launch Plans Revealed

Eurogamer has a developer update on Blue Mars, Avatar Reality's "massively multiplayer virtual world" that is using Crytek's high-octane CryENGINE2 engine. The game virtual world (think Second Life on Mars) was originally to enter beta testing later this year, but this new report says the beta test will begin in January, 2009, and it is expected to run around three months. They also announce a full launch is expected in April, 2009.

Massive and Ubi's MMOG Plans

Kotaku has a follow-up to news from earlier this week that Ubisoft has acquired Massive Entertainment, quoting Ubisoft President and CEO Yves Guillemot saying Massive will play a key role in Ubisoft's MMO strategy, though their first efforts will be less, well, massive, referencing "light" MMO games that are popular in Asia. Interestingly, Yves conflates Massive's RTS experience with MMO development: "We just bought it from them since those guys have Blizzard so they didn't need that studio as much as we do, and those guys are extremely strong in RTS (real-time strategy), so they are going to help us also get closer to the MMO space. Our goal there is to go first with light MMOs...that have been extremely popular in China but are also coming in the U.S. and Europe and are generating lots of good revenue, so our goal is first to start with light MMOs, and then in the future also come with RPG and RTS, also in the MMO space."

WoW, Level 80!

Nymh of EU Drek'thar first to level 80 on WoW Insider has a bit on someone who managed to hit the level cap in the new World of Warcraft expansion while most players were still getting the shrink-wrap off their copies. There's no word on whether Blizzard has dispatched a party of youngsters armed with the Sword of a Thousand Truths to take her down. Thanks nin. On a semi-related note, there's a Video interview with Mike Morhaime on Ten Ton Hammer talking with the Blizzard CEO during the Wrath of the Lich King launch event in Manhattan, discussing the growth of their MMORPG and the state of the games industry.

Age of Conan Updated

Issue #19 of the Age of Conan Newsletter announces the Ymmir's Pass update is now live in Funcom's barbaric MMORPG, and game clients will automatically update when players log in. Word is: "Ymir's Pass is an entirely new Cimmerian outdoor region. Not only will you explore a vast new area of land, you will also have the opportunity to explore a dramatic storyline by completing a series of new and exciting quests. As you gain levels and unravel the mysteries of Ymir's Pass, you will also get access to a new dungeon - The Amphitheater." The newsletter also includes a guide to the new content, reflections on the new update from designer Joel Bylos, and a letter from game director Craig Morrison on the future of the game, "DirectX 10, more dungeons, item revamps - it's all there!"

Brash Closing

Variety.com reports that Brash Entertainment is shutting down operations, just a week after reports of layoffs for this publisher of movie game tie-ins. The report indicates the company lost $400 million in investments when co-founder Thomas Tull left the board, and the company simply ran out of money. The story also indicates that several games are left in limbo by this news, including Saw and Superman tie-ins.

Free Tomb Raider: Legend for Underworld Prepurchase & Valve Complete

Steam is now offering pre-purchase of Tomb Raider: Underworld through Valve's online service, and those who take advantage of this will receive a free copy of Tomb Raider: Legend to play in the meantime. This is not a buy-before-you-try deal for the next installment in the Tomb Raider series, however, as a playable demo is available. Word is: "For those who pre-purchase and already own Tomb Raider: Legend on Steam, you'll be able to give your free copy to a friend." In other Steam/Valve news, the Valve Complete Pack is now on sale (thanks jimnms), offering the entire Valve catalog (including Left 4 Dead) for $99.99, which is close to 60% off the cost of buying all those games individually. Update: GT points out Tomb Raider: Legend is also free via GameTap.

Morning Consolidation

Ships Ahoy - Pyroblazer

Candella Systems Ltd and Eipix Entertainment announce that Pyroblazer is now available, as the science fiction racing game can now be purchased via digital distributor Direct2Drive (they also say it's on Direct2Drive UK, but we can't find it there). Word is: "Set amidst the awe-inspiring locations of New Apeiron, players get the opportunity to race through a multitude of environments using a wide selection of anti-gravity craft known as Blazers. As the players fight their way through the championship, improved Blazers with better speed, handling and superior firepower become available. Players also have the ability to pick up weapon and ammo upgrades during the race, further enhancing their ability to land the killer blow. "

Football Manager 2009 Ships; Patched

Today is the launch day for Football Manager 2009, the latest installment in this long running football (of the soccer variety) simulation, and this forum post has details on how to properly authenticate the game (thanks Quboid). As noted in that post, the first patch for the game is also available, which brings it to version 9.1.0 (Build 26064). Patch notes for the new version can be found on the Sports Interactive Community Forums, and the patch itself can be downloaded from AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls.

GameRanger Goes PC

GameRanger, known for its support for the Macintosh platform, has launched a service for Windows users to ease the process of playing multiplayer games online. The announcement quotes GameRanger prez Scott Kevill explaining why this is necessary: "Many PC gamers end up avoiding multiplayer because of connection issues or because they simply don't enjoy playing faceless strangers as much as playing with people they know. It's about time something was done about it." Here's where the free GameRanger service fits in:

GameRanger achieves these goals by safely eliminating connection problems with routers, NAT and firewalls, and when coupled with full lobby support for over 500 games, allows you to easily play with the people you want in private or public games. Community and social networking features include profiles, friends lists, instant messaging, in-game voice communication, and competitive ladders/ rankings/ratings for the more adventurous.

Join up and tell your friends to start playing online with classics like Dungeon Keeper 2, Master of Orion II, Sacrifice and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri through to recent games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Civilization IV: Colonization, Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath and Dawn of War: Soulstorm.

Gatherings & Competitions

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Frans continues his stellar work on the techie stuff here. Today we unveil a separate mobile version of the site in response to requests from PDA users, which can be accessed via pda.bluesnews.com. This presents the news in a flat format similar to the HTML version of the site, for phones that can handle more than the card-based WAP standard. Whether you are a road warrior or a palm pilot (stop that or you'll go blind!), hopefully one or both of these will work for you.

PDA Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Mirror's Edge 2D Beta.
Retardo and the Iron Golem. Thanks Jay is Games.
Links: The Essential 007- A Recap of all 22 Bond Movies. A lot to disagree with.
007 James Bond techno gadgets- Which are real today?
Stories: Dead Parrot sketch ancestor found.
Science: First Pictures Taken of Extrasolar Planets. Thanks Jim, and Neutronbeam.
Pentagon Clears Flying-Car Project for Takeoff.
Images: First Image of Another Multi-Planet Solar System. Thanks j.c.f. See Science story above.
Alien LEGO.
Media: Half Life- Full-Life Consequences 2- What has Tobe done.
The Evolution of the Final Fantasy Victory Fanfares.
Mac's New laptop is so small



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