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Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009

  

Call of Pripyat in Q1 2010

bitComposer Games' S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Website now has a Q1 2010 release date for the upcoming S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Game, throwing cold irradiated water on hopes of an imminent release since the game just went gold in Russia. They also offer system requirements for the game:

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Minimum
OS: Windows® XP
CPU:
2.0GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon™ 2200+
RAM:
512 MB
GPU:
128 MB RAM DirectX® 8.0 compatible Card e.g. GeForce 5700 or Radeon 9600

Recommended
OS: Windows® Vista®
CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 or AMD 64 X2 5600+
RAM:
2 GB
GPU:
512 MB RAM DirectX® 9 or 10 compatible Card e.g. GeForce 9800GTX or Radeon HD4850

Fallen Earth Rises

FALLEN EARTH, LLC announces Fallen Earth is live and accepting new players into their self-titled MMORPG thanks to the joys of digital distribution, as the boxed version is not expected on store shelves until the end of this month. Here's the full announcement:

Raleigh, NC -September 22, 2009 - FALLEN EARTH, LLC announced the commercial launch of its self-titled massively multiplayer online (MMO) game today. The game is scheduled to reach retailers nationwide by September 30. Additionally, fans can download Fallen Earth digitally from Direct2Drive, Steam and the Fallen Earth store for instant access to live service today.

"The thoughtful development and diligence of our team is realized in a physical product, and that's exciting," said Jessica Orr, product manager for Fallen Earth. "We are pleased to add another avenue of purchase for our fans in conjunction with our existing digital sales."

Fallen Earth combines the accuracy of first-person shooter style games with the depth and character advancement of a role-playing game. The game features a classless advancement system, a real-time crafting system in which players can make 95 percent of in game items, six unique factions, 70 towns and more than 1,000 square kilometers of zoneless territory to explore. Set in 2156 after the deadly Shiva virus and nuclear holocaust devastated the Earth, survivors are left with the choice to rebuild civilization and rise above the destruction or to embrace the chaos and tear down what's left of the old world.

Fans can gain immediate access to the game today by digitally downloading through Direct2Drive, Steam and the Fallen Earth store. All purchases offer a free 30-day subscription. Check individual web sites for purchase offers and terms.

Obsidian on Alpha Protocol Role-Playing

The Obsidian Forums have posts from Obsidian's Matthew Rorie to tidbits in the leaked SCEA documents (thanks Shacknews), this one in particular responds to allegations that Alpha Protocol is not enough of an RPG:

And yes, I believe the gentleman in the quotes works for SCEA. As for what he said, obviously we enjoy any feedback that we can get, but without knowing how much of the game he played (and I seriously doubt that someone as busy as a product evaluator for Sony is going to be playing through an entire game if it's as long as Alpha Protocol), it's hard to judge what he meant by those comments. Suffice to say that Alpha Protocol is going to tickle your RPG tastebuds when it's released.

QUAKE LIVE Updated

The QUAKE LIVE Forums outline the changes in the latest update to id's free online shooter. The new version includes gameplay changes, new console variables, and fixes for a bunch of Mac issues and a Linux bug.

ASCIIpOrtal Released

Cymons Games has the debut release of ASCIIpOrtal, the ASCII-tastic puzzle game that uses the Portal concept. We've linked to movies from this project once or twice, and the release version includes the ability to make maps using (what else?) an ASCII editor as well as the full source code.

Junk: Battles Launches

Gamasutra reports Junk: Battles is the debut title from Antic Entertainment, a new developer formed by DICE founder Fredrik Liljegren. The game is a subscription-free, browser-based real-time action/strategy title where users build ships to do battle online, with stat progression and ship upgrades to satisfy our OCD. The article refers to all this in the future tense, but the Junk: Battles Website is online and the game is already underway.

Champions Online Status

Champions Online Website has word on the issues they are currently working on in Cryptic's superhero MMORPG, one involving critter damage and the other a problem with item stats.

On Sale

The Direct2Drive offers seem to all be North America or US only.

  • Complete Strategy First Catalog on GOG.com. Save 50%.
  • Risen on Gamestop.com. Save $10.00. Thanks Big Download.

    Still on sale (previously reported)
     
  • Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Assassin's Creed Director's Cut on Direct2Drive.
  • Celtic Kings: Rage of War on GoG.com. Save 25%.
  • Dark Void Preorders on GameStop. Outlines the preorder bonus.
  • Drakensang: The Dark Eye on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Elven Legacy on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Eve Online: Apocrypha on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Madballs on Steam. Save 20% plus a free Guest Pass.
  • MDK on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • PlanetSide: Aftershock on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Spellforce Platinum on GOG.com. Save $2.00.
  • Titan Quest Bundle on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Tropico 3 Pre-purchase on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Unreal Tournament 3 Black Steam. Save 60%.
  • Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition on Steam. Now $1.99.
  • Unreal Deal Pack on Steam. Save 60%.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Awesome R2-D2 Houses Eight Game Consoles and Projector. Wow. Thanks Mike Martinez.
Also, Happy Elephant Appreciation Day. Thanks Ant.

Demigod Patched

As announced on the Impulse Forums, the promised new patch is now available for Demigod to update Gas Powered Games' action/strategy game to version 1.19. The new version, available automatically through Impulse, adds replay support, balance changes, other adjustments, and bug fixes.

World of Warcraft Patched

As noted on the World of Warcraft Website, a new patch is now available for World of Warcraft to update Blizzard's MMORPG to version 3.2.2. Here are the full patch notes, and downloads of a manual 3.2.2 for the English edition of the game are available on Big Download, FileFront, and The Patches Scrolls, and various other localized patches are mirrored on FileFront and The Patches Scrolls. The US Mac patch is mirrored on Big Download. Here's word on the update from the official website:

After years of lurking in her lair, battling brave adventurers who travelled from afar, Onyxia has been reborn -- and she’s stronger than ever before. To commemorate the upcoming fifth anniversary of World of Warcraft, the classic Onyxia raid encounter has been updated in the newly released patch 3.2.2.

        • Onyxia has been retuned to offer new challenges to level-80 players (in both 10- and 25-player modes) while keeping the fundamental experience of fighting her intact. Beware the Deep Breaths!
        • Onyxia will now drop new level-80 gear featuring the aesthetics of loot from the original encounter.
        • The luckiest adventurers will have a chance to receive the Brood of Onyxia, a very rare 310%-speed mount modeled after the Brood Mother herself.

Empire: Total War Patched

Steam News announces a new update is automatically available for Empire: Total War, offering the promised version 1.4 update for Creative Assembly's RTS sequel. The update included balance changes, bug fixes, and two new historical battles (Battle of Rossbach and Battle of Fontenoy) playable in single-player and multiplayer play.

Order of War MP Demo This Week

Following today's announcement that Order of War is in North American stores comes word that a multiplayer demo for the World War II RTS game is due later this week, after a delay prevented its planned release last Tuesday. A single-player demo is already available, and here's word on the multiplayer demo and its release through GameSpy (presumably FilePlanet): "The multiplayer demo will include two of the game’s multiplayer maps -- Manor House and Across the Canyon – and will allow players to take on the role of the Americans, Germans or Soviets (playing as Soviets not available in single player mode). Each nation features about 20 units of historically accurate planes, artillery, infantry and tanks. The objective of multiplayer is simple – total domination of all Control Points and total annihilation of the enemies’ units. The multiplayer demo will be exclusive to GameSpy and uses their DRM."

The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom Announced

Ubisoft Maps Out The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom is the announcement that a seventh installment in The Settlers series of strategy/management games is under development in the Ubisoft Blue Byte studio for release next spring. The Settlers Website has a teaser trailer combining live action and gameplay, here are some screenshots, and here is a bit of the announcement:

SAN FRANCISCO – September 22, 2009 – Today Ubisoft announced the development of The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom, the next iteration in the popular multi-million selling strategy game franchise for PC. Scheduled for release in spring 2010, The Settlers 7: Paths to a KingdomTM gives gamers the opportunity to choose the best way to lead their kingdom to victory, in a rich environment set in middle-Europe during the early Renaissance.

"The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom brings The Settlers franchise to the next level of the strategy-sim genre, employing the core mechanisms that made the series a success while continuing to innovate in new areas that will give gamers the ability to craft their own unique, thrilling experience,” said Adam Novickas, director of marketing for Ubisoft.

Developed by the Ubisoft Blue Byte studio located in Düsseldorf, Germany, The Settlers 7: Paths to a KingdomTM brings a fresh, innovative design to the franchise, while reintroducing the strong game mechanics and deep gameplay that are hallmarks of the highly acclaimed Settlers series. Players will easily become engaged in an exciting campaign, skirmish maps or multi-player challenges in a world of lush forests, open meadows, fast flowing rivers, and high mountains.

German Wolfenstein PC Recall

A post on PC Games that can be roughly translated here says Wolfenstein is being recalled from German shelves due to the inclusion of some swastika images, which are verboten in Germany. A statement from Activision is expected in the coming days. There's also a report on this on Planet Wolfenstein, where they point out the fact that the Wolfenstein teams from Endrant and Raven have both been laid off may complicate creating an edited version.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Patch

The version 1.1 patch for Batman: Arkham Asylum should now be available on Games for Windows LIVE, among other things adding PhysX support to the superhero game (there's a new video on the YouTube with comparisons with and without PhysX). A manual version of the patch is also available thanks to The Patches Scrolls, available on FanGaming, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, The Patches Scrolls, and Strategy Informer.

Ships Ahoy - Order of War

Publisher Square Enix announces Order of War is now available in North America, offering a World War II real-time strategy game developed by Wargaming.net, with Square Enix saying this is their first release of a western-developed game outside of Japan. If you want to check the game out, a playable demo was recently released, and here's a bit from the press release:

ORDER OF WAR is a historically accurate, World War II real-time strategy game that takes the genre to new heights. Massive-scale battles and epic warfare are brought to life with cinematic intensity as players are challenged to take command of vast numbers of infantry, tank battalions, heavy artillery and aircraft. Planning multi-pronged strategic assaults, players will navigate their ways through missions based on key historic events and operations from 1944.

The single-player mode can be played out in two campaigns. The first features American forces versus German forces as they land on the beaches of occupied France on D-Day. The second lets players change sides, commanding German forces in Poland battling against the mighty Soviet Army and in France battling American troops. The multiplayer mode can be played in either LAN or Internet mode, powered by GameSpy® Technology. With battles on six maps from campaign mode, multiplayer allows gamers to play as the Americans, Germans or Soviets with the objective of total domination of all Control Points and total annihilation of enemy units.

ORDER OF WAR is the first of several upcoming titles from Square Enix that are being developed through partnerships with North American and European development studios, including SUPREME COMMANDER® 2 by Gas Powered Games® and FRONT MISSION EVOLVED™ by Double Helix Games™. These titles mark the dawn of a new strategic direction for Square Enix, publishing a broader variety of western-developed games across different genres.

Aion Live

Today is the launch day for NCsoft's fantasy-themed MMORPG Aion in a number of territories, including North America. Massively has a couple of helpful resources for the game: A WoW player's guide to Aion and The Aion server queue survival guide.

Team Fortress 2 Guard Dogs?

The Team Fortress 2 Blog hints at upcoming plans for Team Fortress 2, reproducing some paperwork related to a new guard dog class for the teamplay shooter, or more specifically, #1308 - 'GUARD DOG' Item Retrieving, Cannon-Appended Canine Unit." The accompanying Guard Dog Update (which is not on the TF2 Blog) has full details on the dog's uses, which are offensive, defensive, and support (including being a Jarate dispenser). The update includes a complete list of related achievements, but looks like it is likely a spoof. According to a forum post here: "This fake update gained immense popularity on the steam user forums just over the last few days, so much that Valve decided to do a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of it on the main blog."

Need for Speed SHIFT Patch

The first patch for the PC edition of Need for Speed: SHIFT is now available. The update for the racing sequel adds two important changes: full menu mouse navigation support, and multiplayer support for Local Area Networks. There are two patches on the Need for Speed, one for North America, and the other for European territories. Both patches are mirrored on The Patches Scrolls.

Global Agenda Beta Plans

The Global Agenda Forums have details on the next phase of closed beta testing for Hi-Rez Studios' MMOTPS, saying testing will resume from October 2-4. Word is: "This test will be open primarily just to those players that participated in CBT-1A and CBT-1B, with only small numbers of additional testers added." Global Agenda Access has a contest giving away a handful of keys for the beta.

Runaway - A Twist Of Fate Trailer

The Runaway - A Twist Of Fate Website offers a new teaser trailer from the upcoming installment in the Runaway series of adventure games. Word is: "This is the perfect opportunity for gamers to discover the characters who will be present throughout this exciting new adventure, and to notice that the gorgeous graphic style particular to Runaway that has enthralled gamers for years has been retained."

Planet Calypso Skill Bonus

Planet Calypso, the cash-money MMOG dealie formerly known as Project Entropia, announces a Second Golden Age Skill Bonus that runs through September 30. This offers the chance to double your take as a legit gold farmer: "For the next twelve days normal skill gain (experience points) in hunting, mining and crafting will be doubled. Since skills can be easily sold inside the game for actual money this is a chance to both build up characters and bank accounts. If you engage in hunting, mining or crafting activities during this promotion period, the system will automatically allot double skill gains to the activity related skill."

Fort Zombie Interview

The Fort Zombie Interview on Rock, Paper, Shotgun talks with Chris Stewart of Kerberos about Fort Zombie, the recently announced zombified action/RPG. They discuss the reasons for creating a smaller spin-off game, the switch to an action game from the space strategy genre, environmental variety, gameplay, the reason for a zombie game, and more.

All Aspect Warfare & Angle Of Attack Demo Patches

New patches are now available for the All Aspect Warfare demo and the Angle Of Attack demo, updating each to the same version 1.00.35 as the recent patches for the full games. The All Aspect Warfare demo patch is available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell; and the patch for the Angle Of Attack demo is available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Direct2Drive Sales Chart

Direct2Drive announces their sales figures for the week of September 13 through September 19:

  1. Aion Collector's Edition (Preorder) - NCsoft
  2. Champions Online - Atari
  3. Batman: Arkham Asylum - Eidos
  4. Fallen Earth (Preorder) - Fallen Earth, LLC
  5. BioShock - 2K Games
  6. The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena - Atari
  7. Need For Speed SHIFT - EA
  8. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - LucasArts
  9. Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim - Paradox
  10. Aion (Preorder) - NCsoft

Alganon Q&A

The Alganon Developer Roundtable #18 is a four question Q&A distributed by the developers of Alganon answering questions found in their forums about this upcoming MMORPG. The four topics are the Studies System, queuing studies, entertaining higher level players waiting for new content, and crafting versus loot drops.

Op Ed

Gamasutra - Clone Vs. Genre - When Art Imitates Art.
When does an idea become large enough to lose its identity and flourish into a full-blown genre? Perhaps it’s better said that the idea gains a new identity, one that’s more generally applicable.

Most recently, we stopped referring to "Tower Defense clones," and began discussing tower defense games as an entire genre, which has since been expanded to include a number of variations by companies as diverse as Square Enix and PopCap.

"Doom clones" stopped appearing around the time Quake came out, and we started to deal with the first-person shooter as a genre.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Happy last day of summer to those of us in the northern hemisphere, as autumn begins this afternoon. It was a pretty wacky summer, it never seemed to find its groove in these parts, with loads of rain and cooler than normal temperatures. And in spite of my jealousy, happy first day of spring for those below the equator.

Fallen Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Infinity Forever.
Crush the Castle - Players Pack.
Bloat.
Science: The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind.
Red Mars, Black Mars.
Images: SoCal Alarm Service About to Get a Letter from NorCal Games Publisher.
Hunting Space Invaders. Thanks Digg.
There, I Fixed It: Way Better Than A New Paint Job.
Media: The 7 Creepiest Simpsons Fan Tributes. NSFW.
The Transforminators.
TF2 Heavy rides the Tower of Terror.
Follow-ups: 'Dollhouse' season two trailer.



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