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Thursday, Oct 15, 2009

  

First Borderlands DLC Announced

2K Games announces the first DLC for Borderlands, even though Gearbox Software's role-playing shooter isn't due until next week. The DLC called The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned is due for release by the end of this year. Here's word:

New York, NY - October 15, 2009 – 2K Games announced today that the first piece of downloadable content for Borderlands™, The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, is planned for release later this year for all available platforms for $9.99 (800 Microsoft Points). The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned is in development at Gearbox Software and is the first in a series of downloadable expansions that will enhance the Borderlands mayhem in fun and exciting ways.

Tasked with keeping the workers of Jakobs Cove alive, Dr. Ned (who is not related to Dr. Zed from Fyrestone) does his job a little too well, creating zombies and other abominations that now run rampant in this region. Players will have to work alongside Dr. Ned as they embark on a quest to cure the inhabitants of Jakobs Cove in this full-fledged expansion filled with new enemies, new quests and rare loot drops.

Gold - Painkiller: Resurrection

JoWooD Productions and DreamCatcher Games announce Painkiller: Resurrection is gold, and will be bringing the pain to North American stores on October 27:

Toronto, Canada. October 15, 2009: JoWooD Productions and DreamCatcher Games proudly announce Action Shooter for Windows® Painkiller: Resurrection has gone gold. The Austrian development studio Homegrown Games has just wrapped up production on the latest sequel in the successful Painkiller series and the game will hit stores across North America on October 27th.

Get ready to take on Purgatory (and the various creatures inhabiting it) as you take on the role of ‘Wild Bill’ Sherman who gets drawn into the endless War between Heaven and Hell… a devilishly hot hell-ride of a game!

Gearbox Attending Borderlands Midnight Madness

Gearbox Software announces they will be attending the midnight madness launches for Borderlands at two GameStop locations in the greater Dallas/Ft. Worth area for the game's release next Tuesday:

Gearbox Software will be personally attending the midnight releases of Borderlands on the night of October 19th/20th at two GameStop locations. We would like to invite gamers in the DFW area to come join us!

Lines will start forming around 10pm. The Plano location will have a 4 player lan setup available to play starting around 9pm.

Plano, TX
2201 Preston Rd
Plano, TX 75093-2306

Ft Worth, TX
6245 Rufe Snow Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76148-3321

Depths of Peril Patch & New Demo

The Depths of Peril patches page now offers new patches for Depths of Peril, updating the Windows and Mac editions of Soldak Entertainment's action/RPG to version 1.015. This change list outlines what's new and different. There are also updated version 1.015 demos for Windows and Macintosh on this page. The Windows patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell; while the Mac patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell. Both versions of the demo are mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

X3: Terran Conflict Patches

Manual patches of the X3: Terran Conflict update released yesterday via Steam are now available for the non-Steam editions of the space combat simulator. The EGOSOFT Website offers info and downloads, and the version 2.1 to 2.5 update is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls while the full version 2.5 patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. There's also a version 2.11 patch for the Mac edition that seems to be new, this can be found on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls.

Dreamkiller Patched

Steam News announces the release of an automatic update for Dreamkiller to fix the display of leaderboards for the horror-themed first-person shooter when they contain more than 100 entries.

MW2 Co-op Killed for Killing the "Experience"

VG247 quotes Infinity Ward’s Rob Bowling explaining that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was to contain a full co-op mode, but this was axed for the dedicated co-op structured missions of Spec Ops. Here's why co-op was killed: "But it really broke the cinematic experience, took the immersion out of it, out of the story and the pacing and everything we’d spent so long crafting. It just ruined the experience we were aiming for, so we took it out, kept the single-player for that one player intact and polished it." There's also a new Modern Warfare 2 Infinity Ward Interview Video on GameVideos and a Spec Ops Mode Interview video on GameTrailers.

LOTRO Siege of Mirkwood Trailer

A new trailer from Siege of Mirkwood shows off the upcoming expansion for Lord of the Rings Online, Turbine's Tolkien-inspired MMORPG. You can find the trailer on FileFront and Gamer's Hell.

Splinter Cell Conviction Trailer

The Tokyo Game Show walkthrough video for Splinter Cell Conviction is now available, offering another look at the next installment in the stealth adventures of Sam Fisher. The clip is available on ActionTrip, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

PT Boats: Knights of the Sea Trailers

Two new trailers are now available for PT Boats: Knights of the Sea, showing off the upcoming game that allows you to get in touch with your inner JFK or Quinton McHale as skipper of your own PT Boat. There is an intro trailer, which can be found on FilleFront and Gamer's Hell, and there's a gameplay trailer, which is posted on FileFront and Gamer's Hell.

BioWare Interviews

Dragon Age: Origins - The Interviews on Gaming Nexus offers a pair of audio interviews with BioWare to discuss Dragon Age: Origins, their upcoming RPG. One interview chats with Doctors Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka "about how the company has changed over the years and some of the ideas and concepts behind Dragon Age: Origins." The other talks with lead designer Mike Laidlaw, "that covers more information about the game and among other things about how he thinks people will deal with the mature themes in Dragon Age: Origins."

Gatherings & Competitions

On Sale

Steam's THQ Week will offer a sale on one THQ title each day this week. Also Dealzon reports an Amazon Console sale: Buy two, get one free.

  • Beyond the Spirit's Eye on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • Circus Empire on Impulse. Save 30%.
  • Company of Heroes Tales of Valor on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • Crazy Machines series on Steam. Save 25%.
  • Hollywood Pictures II on GamersGate. Save 50%.
  • Light of Altair on Impulse. Save 20%.
  • Saints Row 2 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Street Fighter IV on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • Sword of the Stars: Ultimate Collection on GamersGate. Save 67%.
  • X-Com Complete Pack on GamersGate. Save 50%.

    Still on sale (previously reported)
     
  • Adam's Venture on GoGamer. Save 34%.
  • Bionic Commando on GoGamer. Save 25%.
  • Borderlands on Direct2Drive. Save 10% on preorders.
  • Borderlands on Steam. Save 10% on pre-purchase of the game or the four-pack.
  • Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood on GoGamer.
  • Champions Online on GoGamer. Save 20%.
  • Cricket Revolution on Steam. Save 10% on pre-purchases.
  • Dawn of War Complete Pack on Steam. Save 50%. Sale also applies to individual titles.
  • DCS- Black Shark on GoGamer. Save 18%.
  • Death to Spies: Moment of Truth on GoGamer. Save 34%.
  • East India Company on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Eufloria on Steam. Save 25% on pre-purchases until October 20.
  • Fallout 3 on GoGamer.
  • Grand Theft Auto- The Trilogy on GoGamer. Save 24%.
  • Gratuitous Space Battles on Impulse. Save 13% on preorders.
  • Guild Wars Trilogy on GoGamer. Save 40%.
  • Machinarium on Direct2Drive. Preorders save 25%.
  • Metal Drift on Steam. Save 20% on pre-purchase and get beta access.
  • Nemesis of the Roman Empire on Impulse. Save 47%.
  • Painkiller: Resurrection on Steam. Save 10% on pre-purchases and get PK: Black and PK: Overdose free.
  • Raven Squad on Steam. Includes a free copy of Legendary.
  • Raven Squad: Hidden Dagger on GoGamer. Save 38%.
  • Risen on GoGamer. Save 26%.
  • SFI Mission 4-Pack on the Strategy First Website. Four games for $19.99.
  • Sid Meier's Civilization IV- The Complete Edition on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Spiderweb Software Store. All games 10% off through October.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars- Republic Heroes on GoGamer. Save 34%.
  • Supreme Ruler 2020 Gold on GoGamer. Save 34%.
  • Team Fortress 2 on Best Buy and FRYS.com. Only $9.99. Thanks Johnny.
  • Terminator: Salvation on GoGamer. Save 67%.
  • THQ Classic FPS Bundle on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • Tropico 3 Pre-purchase on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Tropico 3 on Direct2Drive. Preorders save 10%.
  • Wanted: Weapons of Fate on GoGamer. Save 60%.
  • Warlords Battlecry III on Impulse. Save 47%.
  • Wolfenstein on Amazon. Save 41%.
  • Wolfenstein on GoGamer. Save 50%.
  • X Blades on GoGamer. Save 40%.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition on GoGamer. Save 63%.

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Captain Kirk has taken too much f***ing LSD. NSFW. Thanks Digg.

Dawn of War II Patch Notes

Steam News announces the release of an automatic update for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, Relic's RTS sequel. This probably went live yesterday, as it mentions The Last Stand, yesterday's DLC. Here's word:

    • Added The Last Stand, a new arcade survival mode where teams of three fight waves of increasingly deadly enemies

    • Added new unique wargear, abilities and effects to the three heroes in The Last Stand

    • Added The Last Stand leaderboards

    • Hero progress is stored online and is associated with a player's gamertag

    • Added (2p) Quest's Heresy map

    • Added (4p) Hydris Chasm map

Alpha Protocol Delay Explanation

SEGA of America has issued an announcement about the new Spring 2010 release date for Alpha Protocol, this coming over two weeks after first indications the espionage-themed RPG was being delayed, and over a week after the release date it obviously already missed, though the date on the Alpha Protocol product section was changed to "Spring 2010" last week. The announcement explains the reasoning for the change:

“Alpha Protocol is a new take on the RPG genre and from day one the team has been working to make Alpha Protocol a truly unique game for players to experience.” says Feargus Urquhart, CEO of Obsidian Entertainment. “We’re very happy that SEGA has made the decision to hold back the shipment of the game in order to give it the best chance at becoming the publishing success that we at Obsidian and our partners at SEGA are striving for”.

“Since the inception of Alpha Protocol, SEGA has recognized the potential for the game to establish itself as an AAA title.” says Masanao Maeda, President and COO, SEGA of America, Inc. “We’ve worked in conjunction with Obsidian Entertainment in making the decision to move Alpha Protocol’s ship date to spring 2010 to ensure that we have the best game possible at launch.”

Left 4 Dead 2 Demo Details

Valve announces details for the Left 4 Dead 2 demo, reminding us that early access to the demo is reserved for those who preorder the game, even though they obviously won't need to be sold on the co-op zombie shooter sequel at that point. The demo will include part of the "Parish" campaign, and be available for preorder customers as promised on October 27, for all PC owners and Xbox LIVE Gold members on November 3, and for all other Xbox LIVE members on November 10. There is no indication that this demo will expire when the game is released like the demo for the original Left 4 Dead did, but we have contacted Valve for clarification about this in case that was omitted from the announcement, and we will follow-up if we learn anything new:

Oct 15, 2009 - Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced details and timing for the demo of its upcoming zombie thriller, Left 4 Dead 2.

The Left 4 Dead 2 demo will feature gameplay taken from "The Parish" campaign, set in the New Orleans French Quarter. Playable by 1 to 4 players over local or Internet connections on both the Xbox 360 and PC (with two-player split screen available on the Xbox 360), the demo features all the new boss infected zombies and all the new melee weapons included in the full product.

Those who pre-order the game (at participating retailers or via Steam) will obtain early access to the demo on October 27. The demo will then be made available to Xbox LIVE Gold members and all PC gamers on November 3. Then all Xbox LIVE members will obtain access to the demo on November 10.

Galactic Command Online; 3000AD's "Last Game"

The Galactic Command Online website now heralds the coming of Galactic Command Online, the MMOG that 3000AD started teasing at the beginning of this month. The game will follow 3000AD's focus on space and planetary combat, and it is said to be "due to be released between Q4/2010 and Q1/2011," offering both a microtransaction-supported subscription-free mode as well as premium subscriptions. 3000AD also tells us this is intended as their last game, not because they are leaving the game business, but that they foresee supporting this over the years going forward with expansions and other updates. The website offers some pre-alpha screenshots and a pre-alpha video trailer along with an extensive FAQ covering various aspects of the project. Here's the bulleted feature list:

    • Seamless space and planetary game worlds with the ability to travel between space and planets seamlessly.
    • Real time twitch (no dice rolling) based action gameplay.
    • Trading and exploration are complimentary and not a primary focus of gameplay.
    • Twelve player races and eight careers to choose.
    • Short career path with each career having the ability to reach a high rank rapidly and without an endless grind.
    • A vast number of player controlled crafts including capital ships (carriers, cruisers, transports), fighters, vehicles etc.
    • Basic and intuitive trading model with ability to trade with NPC units, space stations, planetary bases and other players.
    • Player fleet owned space stations, planetary bases and cities.
    • Ability to build a variety of assets based on career and rank. No complex crafting.
    • Space flight combat action as well as first person, aerial and vehicle combat action on planets.
    • Full 3D cockpit/bridge interface for all player controlled assets.
    • Over 100+ player controlled space and planetary assets ranging from planetary vehicles to massive battleships.
    • First and third person perspective gameplay.
    • Ability to exist in first person mode inside stations.
    • Ability to exist in first person mode inside capital ships (carriers, cruisers, transports) supported via add-on expansion module.
    • Supports a variety of controllers including mouse, joystick, analog gamepads, XB360 Controller For Windows etc.

NFS SHIFT D-Box Support and Patch Plans

The Need for Speed Website has news that support for D-Box chairs is included in the first patch for Need for Speed: SHIFT, though it's not entirely clear if this was part of the patch that was released last month or has been added into an updated version of the patch, as at one point they say: "Imagine our surprise when the dev team told us the patch also include [sic] support for D-Box chairs," but later saying "Just to be clear; this is not a new patch, but an update to the first patch released last month." It seems likely that this is just an update to the patch notes, as the patch they are currently offering is the exact same size as it was when it was first released. D-Box adds to immersion in racing games by tilting as your virtual car corners, and it's a little surprising support for it was patched in, as it was included out of the box in NFS Undercover. Word is they are also working on a new patch as well: "We are currently working on a second patch for PC and will have some info about the availability soon."

New Evochron Legends

The Evochron Legends Website now has an updated version 1.158 of this space combat and trading simulation game, as well as a new playable demo and an updated dedicated server. The downloads are available on this page, and their news page has the full change list.

Oxygen Administration Fallout

Although the IP and staff of Oxygen Games were rescued from the company's insolvency when they were purchased by OG International (run by former Oxygen CEO Jim Scott), Develop reports that several developers they were working with are still owed money by Oxygen, and must deal with the company's administrators. They say: "Oxygen Games developers included Rebellion Studios, Magellen Interactive and Destineer Games, who produced titles including Cate West: The Vanishing Files and PDC World Championship Darts 2009." They also quote Scott as saying: "I’m not involved with the company now. I don’t think there were many developers owed [money], to be fair." GamesIndustry.biz has coverage of this as well, quoting a "disgruntled" anonymous source: "There's some fairly hefty bills outstanding and the question is how much of this has gone to the administrators, how much have they bought their own assets back for and what has been agreed to the creditors? Presumably, not anywhere near what it should have been."

BioWare Interview

The Greg Zeschuk interview on Games On Net (NSFW music) is a video of an interview with the BioWare cofounder that was conducted in Sydney last week. They ask Greg some reader-submitted questions, and the seemingly well-caffeinated doctor discusses Mass Effect 2 testing, differences between ME2 and the original Mass Effect, improving side missions, romance in ME2 and Dragon Age: Origins, character customization, user-created content in Dragon Age, and more.

The Agency Interview

The Agency interview on The MMO Gamer chats with Lorien Gremore, Lead Producer on SOE's upcoming espionage-themed MMOG. They cover topics like branching away from the fantasy theme, session-based gaming, replayability, the question of whether the Agency is a true MMOG, balancing expectations of MMOG player and shooter players, and more.

Machinarium Interview

The interview with Jakub Dvorský on Adventure Classic Gaming talks with the founder of Amanita Design about Machinarium, their adventure game that's due tomorrow. They discuss his background, the indie scene in the Czech Republic, the reasons he prefers Flash, puzzle design, Samorost and Samorost2, art style, music, games as art, and more.

Op Ed

The Escapist - Obsolescence Pending- Rating the ESRB.
After successfully weathering moral panics, evading legislation and surviving Jack Thompson, the ESRB must now contend with something altogether different, and it might turn out to be its Achilles' heel. Years of sameness can be grueling, but it also breeds familiarity, even mastery. Change, on the other hand, brings the unexpected, demands new tricks and reveals weak points you never knew you had. In this case, the changes are multiple: converging technologies, dissolving monopolies and a Web 2.0-infused games culture that's going to require a lot more than the ESRB's current disclaimer of "Online Interactions Not Rated."

Jezebel - Why Is Marketing To Female Gamers Considered Challenging?
Instead of paying attention to why women play certain games or speaking to women who identify as gamers, it appears that game companies prefer to work with stereotypes. This isn't something that is characteristic to the gaming industry - it plagues advertising in general, as we last discussed when talking about the Femme Den and their aversion to the "shrink it and pink it" strategy of marketers trying to reach women. This attitude runs rampant at all levels of game marketing, from the games that are even recommended to women down to store displays.

G4tv.com: Sessler’s Soapbox - Adventures in Storytelling.
"G4 Editor in Chief Adam Sessler dissects the art of storytelling in video games, where it’s been and where it’s going. Taking a look at Uncharted 2 and Brutal Legend as the best of the recent crop, Adam chats about what makes for a good story, and how dialogue and acting have vastly improved in games over the years. Yes, back in the day, the story just got in the way of the action, but now the story often drives the game. Why? What changed? Tune in and find out. Enjoy!"

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

  • Lead and Gold- Gangs of the Wild West on Blue's News.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Mobilization

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Consumed - The Cult of Mexican Coca-Cola (thanks j.c.f.) I still haven't been able to find the Mexican version, dammit. Also, count me as one of those who has always believed "the entertaining conspiracy theory that the 1985 New Coke fiasco was an intentional failure, orchestrated to distract consumers from an ingredient switch in Coke Classic."

Sweet Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Picma. Thanks Jay is Games.
Robin the Archer in Pixeland.
Trains.
Link: Amazon.com: Edgar's review of Tuscan Whole Milk. Thanks ^Drag0n^.
Stories: Airlines that charge fees lost more money than airlines that didn't.
Hospital error leads to radiation overdoses. Thanks Slashdot.
‘Lottery winner’ causes riot at coat store.
Science: Astronomers clash with US air force over laser rules. Thanks Gizmodo.
Images: Chocolate Fashion Show Offers Succulent Styles In Paris. Thanks Acleacius.
Media: Zod Kitchens.
34 Nutshots in 31 Seconds.
Snow kite boarder gets carried away by kite. Holy crap!



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