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Thursday, Oct 22, 2009

  

Ships Ahoy - SAW

Steam News and Direct2Drive announce the release of SAW, the video game based on the uplifting movie series about a serial killer/torturer with a flair for the dramatic (so the report we saw that this is a Steam exclusive was not accurate). Word is: "The game centers on Detective David Tapp who awakens in a decrepit, abandoned asylum. He has been captured by his longtime nemesis, Jigsaw. Obsessed with catching this serial killer, Tapp's mission has consumed him and ruined his family, resulting in divorce, mental imbalance, and abandonment."

Spice Road Announced

Aartform Games announces Spice Road, a trading and city management PC game planned for release next year. Here's word:

London – October 3, 2009 – Aartform, the software publisher, today announced a new game for Windows®: Spice Road. Currently in development by Aartform Games, an innovative new London games studio, Spice Road is scheduled for a 2010 release.

“Deep in the mountains and deserts of central Asia, where life is hard and death is sudden, thin trails of gold, silk and spice trace a web between the industrial forges of the West and the exotic climes of the East. You are a colonial governor in the 18th Century, building a town on the Spice Road in a time of war and discovery. More than spice travels your roads – musket armies, philosophies, and power plays that span the globe are at your control.” explains CEO Simon de Rivaz, “From palace to monastry, trade post to brothel – your town is worthless without the nobles, monks, merchants and whores that chose to live in it – and keeping them all happy at the same time is never simple.”

Spice Road will use the StormRaid™ engine to deliver a beautiful fully 3D rendered world on high-end DirectX® graphics cards.

Painkiller: Resurrection Demo Glitch

A post by JoWooD Entertainment to their forum says that the Painkiller: Resurrection demo released yesterday was an older version of the demo, which was not intended for release (which may explain its release in .iso format). Word is: "We are very happy about the feedback concerning the demo but we are also sorry because we accidently released an old demo version. We really feel sorry for that. Next week we will release a demo version in the actual quality of the final game. So stay tuned and sorry for the inconvenience." Thanks Ant and Eggtooth.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 PC Specs

Gamestop.com's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 listing now includes minimum system specifications for the PC edition of Infinity Ward's military shooter sequel (thanks Joystiq). Here goes:

Hard Drive Space: 16 GB free hard drive space
Operating System: Windows® Vista/XP
Processor: AMD 64 3200+ or Intel Pentium® 4 3.0GHz or better
RAM: 512 MB RAM (XP) / 1 GB RAM (VISTA)
Video Card : Shader 3.0 or better 256 MB nVidia® GeForce™ 6600GT / ATI® Radeon™ 1600XT or better

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed PC Specs

Blend Games reports the system requirements for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Ultimate Sith Edition, the upcoming PC edition of the Star Wars action game:

Minimal system requirements
     • Operating system: Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7
     • CPU: Dual-core CPU with 2.4 GHz (Intel core 2 Duo or Athlon X2)
     • RAM: 2 GiByte
     • Graphics card: Shader model 3 with 256 MiByte VRAM (Radeon HD 2900 or Geforce 8800)
     • HDD: 24 GByte + 1 GByte swap file

Recommended system requirements
     • CPU: Intel core 2 Duo 2.8 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 5200+
     • Graphics card: Radeon HD 4870 or Geforce 9800 GT

Supported graphics cards
     • Ati Radeon HD 2900, 3850, 3870, 4850, 4870
     • Nvidia Geforce 8800, 9600, 9800, 260, 280

RUSE & Multitouch

Computer and Video Games reports that Ubisoft's upcoming strategy game, R.U.S.E. will make use of Windows 7's multitouch support, which will obviously also require a multitouch-enabled display. They quote Ubisoft's John Parkes saying: "As a strategy game relying on a clean and intuitive interface built around the zoom, R.U.S.E. was the perfect candidate for Ubisoft to demonstrate how multitouch improves and streamlines the way games are played."

Assassin's Creed II Diary, AC3 Tease

A new video developer diary from Assassin's Creed II is now available, discussing the topic of "progression" in Ubisoft Montreal's upcoming stealth/action sequel. The clip is available on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, and Gamer's Hell. No minstrels were actually harmed in the making of this trailer. Also, forward looking Computer and Video Games asked Ubisoft Montreal studio boss Yannis Mallat if they have decided on the setting of Assassin's Creed III and were told "oh yeah."

HISTORY: Great Battles Medieval Trailer

Slitherine Strategies has released a teaser trailer for HISTORY: Great Battles Medieval, War Drum Studios' upcoming strategy game where going medieval on your enemy is par for the course. The clip can be found on the YouTube.

On Sale

  • Aion on Direct2Drive. Save $5.00 with the code 5OFFAION at checkout.
  • AI War: Fleet Command on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • ARMA 2 on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Baseball Mogul 2008 on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on Amazon and Walmart. Includes a $20.00 credit. Thanks Big Download.
  • Elven Legacy on Impulse.
  • Europa Universalis III Complete on GamersGate. Save 64%.
  • Nemesis of the Roman Empire on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • Pahelika on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • Red Faction Guerrilla on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • Restaurant Empire on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • Warlords Battlecry III on Impulse. Save 33%.

    Still on sale (previously reported)
     
  • Alganon on Direct2Drive. Preorder and get beta access and in-game items.
  • Borderlands on Direct2Drive. Save 10% on preorders.
  • Borderlands on Steam. Save 10% on pre-purchase of the game or the four-pack.
  • Crazy Machines series on Steam. Save 25%.
  • Cricket Revolution on Steam. Save 10% on pre-purchases.
  • Dark Salvation on the Mangled Eye Studios Website. Only $9.99 or $19.99 for the disc version.
  • East India Company on GamersGate. Save 52%.
  • Gratuitous Space Battles on Impulse. Save 13% on preorders.
  • Ground Control Pack on GOG.com. Save 30%.
  • Hollywood Pictures II on GamersGate. Save 50%.
  • JoWooD Games on GOG.com. Save 30%.
  • Light of Altair on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Nemesis of the Roman Empire on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • SFI Mission 4-Pack on the Strategy First Website. Four games for $19.99.
  • Spiderweb Software Store. All games 10% off through October.
  • Team Fortress 2 on Best Buy and FRYS.com. Only $9.99. Thanks Johnny.
  • THQ Classic FPS Bundle on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • Torchlight on Steam. Save 10% on pre-purchases.
  • Warlords Battlecry III on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • Wolfenstein on Amazon. Save 41%.
  • World of Goo on 2D Boy Website. Name your own price.
  • X-Com Complete Pack on GamersGate. Save 40%.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

  • LEGO Universe on ZAM.

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

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Into the Black

Link of the Day: CCP: HTFU - Permaband. NSFW.

Star Trek Online Closed Beta Underway

The Star Trek Online Website announces that closed beta testing has commenced for Cryptic's Trekkie MMORPG, saying: "Star Trek fans will soon be able to join Starfleet, defend the Federation and promote peace within the war torn Alpha Quadrant. Closed beta is a particularly exciting time during the development of a game; the Cryptic team of developers is looking forward to getting user feedback." Here's word on the test:

We're happy to announce that we've entered Close Beta as of today, October 22! If you've signed up, keep an eye on your email, as we'll periodically be inviting people to join in and share their feedback. Additionally, if you look to the right of the page, the "Closed Beta" application graphic will change to indicate you've been accepted, if you've in fact been accepted. (It'll read "ACCEPTED" in big, bold letters.)

If you haven't signed up yet, head on over to the preview application, create an account if you haven't and sign up!

Dragon Age Journeys Launched

Though its launch has been prematurely announced in a number of places, Dragon Age Journeys just went live, offering a 2D Flash game tied in with Dragon Age: Origins, BioWare's upcoming RPG. As noted yesterday the free Flash game will allow you to earn rewards for the full game when it is released.

New on GameTap

GameTap announces that the Black Edition of Unreal Tournament III is the new game for subscribers to their service. They also announce a boatload of games that are now in their free area: Project: Snowblind, Hitman: Contracts, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend, D.N.A., Sacred Gold, Magic Ball 3, Hitman: Blood Money, Beach Life, Infernal, and Turtix.

Killing Floor Free DLC and Free Weekend

Steam now offers the new free "Level Up" content pack for Killing Floor, which adds three new maps, seven weapons, and 20+ Steam Achievements to Tripwire Interactive's co-op zombie shooter. The free weekend for the game is also underway, so the game and its new content can be sampled by anyone with a Steam account. In addition to the 100% discount that the free weekend represents, the game is now on sale for a 25% discount if you are inspired to make a purchase.

"Leaked" Left 4 Dead 2 Trailer

A "leaked" Left 4 Dead 2 trailer called "Zombie Survival Guide HQ" is posted on the YouTube, offering a cinematic introduction to Valve's upcoming zombie shooter sequel. Thanks Dagok.

Avatar: The Game in December

Eurogamer has word from Ubisoft that James Cameron's Avatar: The Game will be released in December 4, two weeks before the release date of the Film on which it is based. That date is for the UK, so it seems likely the game's North American release date will be either December 1 or December 8.

New ATI Reference Drivers

The ATI Graphics Drivers & Software Page now offers new version 9.10 Catalyst reference drivers for ATI accelerators (not to be confused with the version 9.1 drivers released in January, ATI has monthly driver releases, and the version numbers are the year and month). Here are the release notes, here are installation instructions, and this blog update discusses the release as well.

League of Legends Beta Opens

Riot Games announces that the beta testing for League of Legends is now open to all entrants, and that beta accounts will carry over when the game's "pre-season" launches on October 27. Here's an excerpt:

LOS ANGELES — Oct. 22, 2009 — Riot Games, an independent developer and publisher of premium online video games, has invited all gamers to get a jump start in League of Legends before the game launches in “Pre-Season” on Oct. 27, 2009. New players can join the beta for free at http://signup.leagueoflegends.com and will be able to keep their accounts permanently.

League of Legends will operate in seasons to provide the best experience in competitive gaming. Operating in seasons provides an established set of champions and maps with a definite endpoint to competition, while also enabling new content rollouts outside of season play. The League of Legends “Pre-Season” will allow time for players to learn the game, build teams and develop advanced strategies and tactics, before the opening of Season One in the first half of 2010. Between now and the start of Season One, players can also look forward to the addition of clans, teams, tournaments, ladders, draft mode, as well as additional content such as new champions and maps.

Colin McRae: DiRT 2 Dated

Codemasters announces the unveiling of the DirectX 11 edition of Colin McRae: DiRT 2 at a Windows 7 launch event. In July it was announced that the PC edition of the racing sequel was being held back until December to implement DirectX 11 support, and this announcement offers specifics, saying the PC edition is coming on December 1 in North America, December 3 in EPAC territories, and December 4 in the UK. Here are some new screenshots, there's a Direct X 11 DiRT trailer on ActionTrip, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell, and here's a bit on DirectX 11 support: "Codemasters will take advantage of DirectX 11 features to add to the realism of the racing environment. Hardware tessellation will further improve the appearance of water and other surfaces as well as crowd animations. The performance of Shader Model 5.0 will aid in creating an even richer 3D experience, enhancing key image quality parameters such as depth of field, ambient occlusion and shadows. These DirectX 11 features, and many others, combine to deliver the most exciting and visceral racing experience yet."

Mytheon Website, Beta Opportunities

The Mytheon Website is live as home to Petroglyph's upcoming free online action/RPG. The site includes new details about the game, and they are promising the first 1,000 eligible users who register on the site automatic entrance into the game's upcoming closed beta test. Word is: "Mytheon offers a unique online game play experience that combines the best elements of the Action-RPG genre with strategic combat and collectability. Players will challenge legendary mythological gods by wielding potent and unique "Power Stones" that transform into spells, structures and creatures. Players can loot, forge, buy, sell and trade these stones among a vast online community, then cast the stones during epic battles that play out in a visually stunning 3D mythological world."

Shattered Horizon System Requirements

Futuremark Games Studio announces the system requirements for Shattered Horizon, their upcoming multiplayer PC first-person shooter, which will not support Windows XP:

Minimum Requirements:
Shattered Horizon requires DirectX 10 on Windows Vista or Windows 7. There is no support for Windows XP or DirectX 9.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 / AMD Athlon64 X2 5600+
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT / ATI Radeon HD 3870
GPU memory: 256MB
Hard disk space: 1.5 GB
RAM: 2GB
Sound: Windows Vista compatible sound card

Recommended Requirements:
Shattered Horizon requires DirectX 10 on Windows Vista or Windows 7. There is no support for Windows XP or DirectX 9.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 / AMD Phenom II X4 940
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 / ATI Radeon HD 4870
GPU memory: 512MB
Hard disk space: 1.5GB
RAM: 2GB
Sound: Windows Vista compatible sound card

THQ to Publish Metro 2033

THQ announces they will be publishing Metro 2033 in 2010, offering Windows and Xbox 360 gamers this futuristic first-person shooter from Ukrainian developer 4A Games (it looks like the planned PS3 edition has been dropped somewhere along the way). The game, first announced three years ago, is based on a "best-selling" Russian novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky. The game's official website features a new gameplay trailer, and here's a bit more:

The PC version supports NVIDIA® PhysX® technology to enhance the incredibly realistic worlds and provide even more immersive gameplay. Metro 2033 is scheduled for release in early 2010, and the first trailer is available to view on the official website at www.Metro2033Game.com.

"Metro 2033 will plunge gamers into a terrifying vision of the future," said Richard Williams, vice president of global brand management, THQ. "4A Games have worked closely with Dmitry Glukhovsky to deliver a unique game world, a compelling, cinematic story and an incredible, atmospheric experience to rival anything in the category."

“Metro 2033 boasts some of the most advanced graphics and PhysX effects we’ve ever seen,” said Ujesh Desai, vice president of GPU business at NVIDIA. “From what we’ve seen so far, this will be a showcase PC gaming title for 2010!”

Uncut Left 4 Dead 2 Aus Ban Holds

Games On Net reports that the appeal of the refusal of classification for Left 4 Dead 2 in Australia has been refused, so the uncut version of the game will not be for sale down under, where the censored version will be the only edition sold. Word is:

In the Review Board’s opinion, Left 4 Dead 2 could not be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification. The computer game contains a level of violence which is high in impact, prolonged, repeated frequently and realistic within the context of the game.

In addition, it was the Review Board’s opinion that there was insufficient delineation between the depiction of general zombie figures and the human figures, as opposed to the clearly fictional ‘infected’ characters. This was a major consideration of the Review Board in determining the impact of this game on minors.

Computer games classified RC cannot be sold, hired, advertised or demonstrated in Australia.

Star Sentinel Tactics Announced

Fabulist Games announces Star Sentinel Tactics, a sci-fi turn-based tactics game planned for release in the first quarter of next year where the player controls a squad of United Alliance Marines, as they battle to prevent a race of bloodthirsty reptilians from launching a devastating attack on our Galaxy. A batch of Star Sentinel Tactics screenshots accompany the announcement, and here's a bit:

Star Sentinel Tactics takes the proven gameplay of turn-based tactical combat, and invigorates it with exciting new ideas like eliminating CPU turn waiting, dynamic battles and narrative-driven missions. As well as dazzling 3D graphics and line-of-sight driven by a powerful physics engine, the game offers a cast of captivating characters and creatures, and an array of explosive weaponry. Each of the 28 hand-crafted missions will offer players a unique tactical challenge, from creeping silently past patrols in a dusty desert city to providing cover for heavy assault troops as they raid an alien mothership.

As well as a compelling single player campaign, the game will ship with a full-featured suite of editing tools, which will allow players to craft their own weapons, characters, missions and even campaigns.

New AI War

The Arcen Games Forum has the release of a new version 2.0 of AI War: Fleet Command, culminating what they describe as their long-running post-release overhaul. They offer a trial version to check the game out, and an AI War 2.0 vs. 1.0, A retrospective to outline its evolution. They also announce that Direct2Drive and Steam have joined Impulse and GamersGate in offering sales of the game.

New Alien Arena

A new version 7.32 of Alien Arena is now available, offering an update to both the Windows and Linux editions of this freeware first-person shooter. Downloads are available on the Alien Arena Website. The new version fixes a critical bug when using Nvidia 191.xx drivers, adds dynamic world shadows using shadowmaps, new spawn effects, a new map, and more.

Mac Championship Manager 2010 Next Month

Beautiful Game Studios announces plans to bring Championship Manager 2010 to the Macintosh on November 13, offering the chance to play the latest installment in this association football/soccer series while still allowing you to think different. Word is: "Championship Manager 2010 on the Mac contains the same highly innovative features of its PC counterpart including; a bespoke 3D match engine with over 500 individual player animations created specifically for Championship Manager, a Set-piece creator giving users the chance to create their own unique free kicks and corners, Scouting Networks allowing users to set-up local networks in countries around the world and scout for local players and Practice matches helping users build and mould their perfect team or trial new players. The new features are more accessible than ever before thanks to the completely reworked user interface design."

Team Fortress 2 SDK Updated

The Team Fortress 2 Blog announces the Team Fortress 2 SDK now contains new models for your modding pleasure. Here's a bit:

With work on Left 4 Dead 2 calming down for us a bit, we were able to finish up something we promised you a while back—gathering up all the source files for the character models and getting them online. This'll hopefully let you guys get a lot more creative out there with your fan-made content. (We can't wait to see it.)

We've also gotten a lot of requests for models and props from the Meet the Team shorts. So we're happy to announce we've released the first set, from Meet the Sniper (note that these were made for the movies, and haven't been optimized for performance in maps, so keep that in mind). I've outlined some of these below.

Heresy War Trailer

The Heresy War trailer on the Pinnacle College Website with cinematics from this space combat game in the works at Dream Builder Studios. Word is: "Pinnacle College and game developer Dream Builder Studios have teamed up to offer budding video game audio professionals unprecedented access to the Heresy War game in development. To kick off the partnership, Pinnacle College hosts the premiere of Dream Builder Studios’ new cinematic trailer for the upcoming combat space simulator, Heresy War." We haven't heard much about this game since a playable demo was released 17 months ago. The clip is also available on GameTrailers.

The Secret World Interview

The Secret World Interview on UGDB.com chats with Funcom's Ragnar Tornquist about The Secret World, their upcoming MMOG. Topics include the game's story, combat, grinding, PvP, the game's three factions, conspiracy theories, and more.

Op Ed

Gamasutra - Are Publishers A Necessary Evil?
Developers and publishers often have a curious relationship. The best analogy I can think of is that of parent and child. The publisher or parent thinks it knows best, because it's been there before (shipped more games), and because "it's my money, so you'll live by my rules."

The developer or child is rebellious, and thinks it has all the answers. In many ways, it does know more than the parent, and is closer to what's innovative, but maybe hasn't figured out how to hone that energy yet. I could take this analogy further, with talk of advice, feedback loops, and misunderstandings, but ultimately, publishers have the money and the marketing, while developers have the creative spirit and know-how.

Destructoid - Nothing is sacred: Death of the story.
But videogames, from the programmers who create them to the users that consume them, have finally diverted from the typical conventions of the big, bad film industry to develop into their own medium, their own glorified art form that basks in deserved praise of player immersion and technological innovation. Why, then, do we still cling so desperately to the tried, true, yet tired course of linear storytelling? Yes, it provides the structure of a game -- a path for both designer and gamer to follow. Yes, reaching a conclusion provide one would hope -- some manner of catharsis that makes the previous hours battling of one's way to the credits feel worthwhile. But let's grow the f**k up, shall we?

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