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Wednesday, Dec 02, 2009

  

Alganon "Soft" Launch

Quest Online announces the "soft launch" of Alganon, their fantasy-themed MMORPG, offering discounts to new players. There's a launch message from David Allen on the game's website and a soft launch video on their channel on the YouTube. There's also an Alganon Launch Day Interview on ZAM News talking with Jim Younkin, the game's community manager. Here's part of the announcement:

"During this Soft Launch process, players can purchase Alganon at a 50% discount and can also gain additional discounts on the monthly fee," said David Allen, President of Quest Online. "Alganon is a warm, vibrant and inviting world players want to be a part of. We've got something really special here players can be a part of for years to come, especially as the world grows through the numerous planned free expansions."

Supporting the Soft Launch of Alganon is the unique MyAlganon community system (http://www.myalganon.com, offering a number of features to bring players together including groups, SMS message updates, stream communication, and large-scale repositories of characters, guilds, and game information.

Ships Ahoy - Sacraboar

The Games Company announces that Sacraboar is now available in stores worldwide, with the retail version offering exclusive content not present in the digitally distributed edition of this real-time strategy game, including brand new missions and a soundtrack. Here are some new Sacraboar screenshots, and here's word: "With all your tactical abilities and a huge fantasy army in Sacraboar you hunt for trophies in the ground-breaking “Capture-the-Pig” mode and steal the valuable objects from your rival’s camp. Thanks to an intuitive resource management system you don’t waste any time with tedious construction phases or complicated base setup. Instead you can directly round up your troops and bring together a powerful force enabling you to overcome your opponent as early on in the game as possible. The integration of role playing elements also allows specific updates of your units with special abilities like mighty spells."

Edge of Twilight Not on the Edge?

Destructoid follows up on the rumor that developer Fuzzyeyes studio was effectively closed, saying that steampunk RPG Edge of Twilight is still on the way, though the statement they received indicates the game is not currently in development at Fuzzyeyes. They report the game is postponed, but not cancelled, saying: "Currently, outsourcing teams are hard at work on keeping development ticking until the main studio can take over again, so hopefully things will be back on track early next year."

Free WAR Transfers

Mythic Entertainment announces the promised free character transfers are underway in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning to rebalance servers for Mythic's MMORPG. They warn: "There are cases where you may lose items if you do not properly prepare your character for transfer," and point the way to this forum thread "for everything you need to know about server transfers."

US PC Game Retail Sales Sag

Pachter- 'Annus Horribilis' For Publishers, As U.S. PC Game Retail Plummets on Gamasutra reports on disappointing year-to-date sales figures in the US, including the following revelation from Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter about PC sales: "PC game retail software sales in the U.S. were down 38 percent year on year to $27 million for October 2009, a previously undisclosed number." Though Wedbush failed to predict this level of decline, they offer new projections for the future: "While we expect software sales growth to return to positive territory in November, we expect a reversion to negative sales growth in December, as the music category appears to be down significantly. Once we’re past the holidays, we expect solid sales gains each month through October 2010. If we’re right, we think that multiples for the group will begin to expand, and we anticipate that the video game publisher group will outperform the market as a whole substantially during the first quarter of 2010."

EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate Testing

The EverQuest II Players Website is now accepting applications to beta test the Sentinel’s Fate expansion for EverQuest II. Word is: "Please remember that registering for the beta program does not guarantee admittance. It only puts you into the pool from which we will randomly select participants. Also, in order to participate, you must agree to our Non-Disclosure Agreement (we send ninja monkeys after you if you leak info before the NDA is lifted) and have an account in good standing." Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Smith & Tinker Cuts

VentureBeat reports that Smith & Tinker has laid off about 30% of its workforce, approximated as 15 of a staff of 50 at the web-based toy maker formed by FASA founder Jordan Weisman. They have a statement from the company that reads in part: "As many startups do, we staffed aggressively early on to meet deadlines for launching our product online and at retail this year. These layoffs are needed to bring our organization to a healthy operational size for the remainder of this year and 2010."

On ECA Cancellations

A post on The Consumerist alleges that the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has made it difficult for members who want to opt out of the trade group, saying the ability to turn off membership auto-renewal has been removed from the organization's website and that phone cancellations are no longer being accepted. They also give voice to complaints that discounts on games at Amazon were used as an incentive to boost membership, but these discounts never materialized. ECA-owned website GamePolitics has a response to this from ECA head Hal Halpin, who explains the changes were due to members attempting to exploit promotional codes and repeatedly leave and rejoin the organization.

Fallen Earth on Impulse

The Fallen Earth Website announces Fallen Earth is now for sale on Impulse. This is apparently the metrosexual edition of the MMORPG, as it comes with bonuses of Fancy White Boots and a Snazzy White Hat, which will boost your armor stats, but also earn you derision if you wear them after labor day.

BioShock 2 Rapture Edition

The Cult of Rapture announces the BioShock 2 Rapture Edition is now available for preorder in Europe. Word is:

Selected retailers throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand are now accepting preorders, starting today, of the "BioShock 2 - Rapture Edition" which consists of a copy of BioShock 2 and a 96 page hardcover art book.

This edition will be available on February 9th, 2010 for Xbox 360, PS3 and Games for Windows LIVE. Just like the BioShock 2 Special Edition, it will be limited to a single production run.

The Old Republic Books

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website has word on some literary offerings to support the upcoming Star Wars MMORPG in addition to already announced plans for a Threat of Peace graphic novel. They announce that Threat of Peace author Rob Chestney is penning a new, original The Old Republic short story for online publication at StarWars.com along with plans for two novels: "Next July, Del Rey Books will publish in hardcover Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance, a novel by bestselling author Sean Williams. Now in the early planning stages is a second novel set in the Old Republic time frame, written by Paul Kemp, author of the forthcoming Crosscurrent."

Star Trek Online Trailer

A new "Belly of the Beast" trailer for Star Trek Online shows off some peaceful exploration intense spaceship combat in Cryptic's upcoming Trekkie MMORPG. The clip is posted on GameTrailers, GameVideos, and WorthPlaying.

Dark Void Trailer

A new trailer for Dark Void offers a dramatic look at some environments and some unexplained gameplay moments from Capcom's upcoming airborne action game. This clip is unusual in that it features no jetpack flying. This trailer can be found on GameVideos, GameTrailers, and WorthPlaying.

APB Podcast

The APB Podcast Episode 14 offers part two of a look at "The Organisations of San Paro," in RealtimeWorlds' upcoming open-world crime game, accompanied by narration explaining things, though there's not a lot of in-game footage included. The clip is available on the YouTube. Thanks Massively.

Impulse Weekly Top 10

On Sale

Day two of Direct2Drive's game-a-day 24 Days of Christmas promotion.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

etc., etc.

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: New Tiger Woods Videogame (thanks Ant). Also, Rogue Warrior: Featuring MC Mickey Rourke - Funky Credits Theme (thanks superannuation) NSFW.

Also, thanks to Dr.Del for catching today as the 10th anniversary of the release of Quake III Arena. I thought today's date seemed familiar, but when I poked around I missed that.

EU Warrior Epic to Close

The European edition of Warrior Epic will shut down on December 21, with EU operator GOA saying "the game hasn’t achieved the player population we had hoped for." The US edition of Warrior Epic will continue on, and GOA suggests European players who want to continue playing the subscription-free MMORPG can use the US server. They also say: "In the coming days, you will receive a personal email containing a loyalty-package to thank you for your time spent with us in Providence. We hope we will see you in our other games! We thank you for your loyal support of Warrior Epic to date, and hope that you enjoy all that is to come from the game on the US servers." Thanks Eurogamer.

The Scourge Project Goes 3rd Person, Due This Month

Tragnarion Studios announces they will release a Windows edition of The Scourge Project via Steam later this month, with an Xbox LIVE Arcade release to follow in March of next year. This Unreal-engine game was announced in 2007 as a first-person shooter, but in the over two years since we've heard anything about it, the first-person perspective was ditched in favor of the third-person view, which can be seen in this batch of new screenshots. Here's a bit from the announcement:

The Scourge Project will use Epic´s Unreal® Engine™ for their new multiplatform shooter featuring a unique focus on co-operative narrative and gameplay. The Scourge Project will be a story-driven 3rd person shooter game built from the ground up for co-op, where up to 4 players each experience a personal story whilst playing together as a squad. The Scourge Project will be distributed digitally for PC via Steam in December 2009 and for Xbox Live in March 2010.

The Scourge Project will come on a 2 episode bundle with more than 5 hours of gameplay spanning 4 complete levels, up to 4 Player Co-op Campaign Mode, 4 Unique Playable Characters to choose from, an arsenal of weapons and special abilities, thrilling boss-fights and environmental puzzles. The Scourge Project will have multiplayer modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag and Frontiers, all of which allow up to 16 Players.

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Server

A new server is now available for Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, allowing the hosting of multiplayer Windows servers for Techland's wild western shooter. They are calling this a dedicated server, but it actually requires the full game be installed, as word is: "Installing this file will allow you to host a dedicated server to support Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood PC multiplayer games. The dedicated server will requires the full game to be installed first and updated with the v1.1 patch and supports custom maps made using the Content Creation Pack." The 396 MB download is available on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and WorthPlaying.

Direct2Drive Top 10 [Updated]

Direct2Drive announces the ten bestselling games sold through their service for the week of November 22-28. This list was originally erroneously listed as being for Impulse, apologies for any confusion that caused.

  1. Dragon Age: Origins
  2. Dragon Age: Origins Digital Deluxe Edition
  3. The Sims 3 World Adventures
  4. Crysis Maximum Edition
  5. Torchlight
  6. Borderlands
  7. The Sims 3
  8. Tropico 3
  9. Resident Evil 5 Capcom Entertainment
  10. Aion

Medal of Honor Announced

EA announces the promised revitalization of the Medal of Honor franchise, with the announcement of Medal of Honor, confirming rumors that the next installment in the military shooter series will be set in the modern day and revealing that DICE will be assisting with the game's multiplayer component. The Medal of Honor Website has been updated and carries a Fall 2010 release window for the game, and they promise more details on December 12 at Spike's VGAs, and there's a very brief Medal Of Honor Teaser on Game Trailers. Here's a bit from the announcement:

Guildford, UK – December 2, 2009 – Medal of Honor™ returns to the front lines, this time in today’s war. For the first time in the franchise’s 10-year history, Medal of Honor is leaving the WWII theatre and putting players in war-torn Afghanistan. Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) today revealed that in 2010, Medal of Honor, an all-new first-person shooter game, will introduce the Tier 1 Operator: a relatively unknown entity directly under the National Command Authority who takes on missions no one else can handle. The development team has been working closely with Tier 1 Operators from the US Special Operations Community since the earliest stages of development to create the most authentic modern war experience. Inspired by real events, Medal of Honor reveals the mission of today’s most elite soldier – his will, his mindset and his uncompromising professionalism.

Medal of Honor is being built with a best-in-class single-player campaign. The Medal of Honor development team at EALA has been hand-selected by the studio leadership of General Manager Sean Decker, Executive Producer Greg Goodrich and Senior Creative Director Rich Farrelly. To compliment the single-player experience, EALA has enlisted the multiplayer expertise at EA DICE. This team will develop the multiplayer experience of Medal of Honor. These two studios are coming together to deliver a world-class Medal of Honor that is poised to re-set and re-boot the franchise for a new generation.

First MW2 Patch "A Big One"

Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling tweets about plans for the first patch for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, offering a status report with 18 characters to spare: "First title update will be a big one. We've been taking notes since release and working. I'll post details before it ships."

More on Gunhead

Following the revelation of development of a project called Gunhead at Electronic Arts Vancouver, we received more information about the game from a developer who wishes to remain anonymous, who describes being pitched the project around six years ago. "On the off chance you were interested in more info on this EA project, the gist of it is that the main character is a guy whose head is a gun. That's it," he tells us. "EA has been trying to get this game made for ages now. ... It was a pretty lame idea, and we had no real interest in developing it for them. Every so often, I hear it pop up here and there, and it makes me laugh that they are still trying. I really must wonder who's baby the idea is for it to not have died a well deserved death yet..."

Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade, a real-time strategy game set during the third crusade (1189-1192) planned for release in the second quarter of next year. Some screenshots and concept art accompany the announcement, and here's an excerpt:

Players will have the opportunity to take on this challenge as either Richard the Lionheart, set to invade and take back the treasured Holy Land once and for all, or as the great Saladin, who patiently waits and prepares his people for the oncoming invasion.

Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade invites players to rewrite history through controlling and upgrading leaders and their armies, guiding various historical factions through political events, collecting relics, and unlocking new content in a feature-rich campaign set to take on the strategy genre by force.

Gratuitous Space Battles Expansion Released

One-man development studio Positech Games announces the release of The Tribe, the promised downloadable content for Gratuitous Space Battles, the space combat tactics game. A trailer and some screenshots are on the Gratuitous Space Battles Website, where the add-on is being sold for $5.99. Here's a bit:

The tribe is an expansion pack for our indie strategy game 'Gratuitous Space Battles' for the PC. The pack adds an extra playable race to the game, complete with shiny new spaceships to blast apart in gratuitous slow motion. As well as new ship hulls, the game adds two new missions and a scattering of new tribe-specific modules to reflect their emphasis on 'strong hulls and weak shields'. It also introduces the first use of kinetic weapons.

Twilight for Edge of Twilight?

Unreal Engine 3 steampunk RPG Edge of Twilight ceased development "months ago," is the rumor reported on Kotaku, where they attribute this report to a former employee of developer Fuzzyeyes studio, subsequently adding a supporting comment from another alleged former member of Fuzzyeyes. They also say this Australian developer has effectively shut down at this point. Edge of Twilight was announced for release this year for Windows and consoles, and was said at the time to be deep in development. The Edge of Twilight Website is still online.

New Empires of Steel Beta Demo

A new beta demo for Empires of Steel is now available, offering an updated sample of this global domination strategy game. The demo includes two maps and the full map editor, though you cannot save maps. The new demo also includes an auto-update function for future patches. The demo can be played freely for 180 days, after which time it will expire. The download can be found on Battlefront.com and mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, The Patches Scrolls, and Worthplaying.

Hours of War Open Beta

Sauma Technologies announces open beta testing is now underway for Hours of War, their browser-based MMO World War II strategy game. The beta is free to play, but the game will have subscription fees when it goes live. Here's a bit:

Hours of War is a unique browser based game, providing the opportunity for strategy gamers and military history enthusiasts to participate in epic WWII battles, where historical accuracy is one of the key components. There is a wide range of WW II games on the market but Hours of War brings a completely new dimension to the genre where human players on both sides determine the outcome of the game in massively multiplayer environment. Current scenarios include the Normandy 1944 battles, and upcoming battles include “Market Garden” the Airborne landing in Holland, “Battle of the Bulge” Germany’s last offensive in the Ardennes, and “Tali-Ihantala” the Soviet mass offensive against Finland on the Carelian Isthmus in 1944. Currently our officers, the players, are fighting 2 hour battles where games are available 24/7. During 2010 game will include battles and campaigns that will take even weeks to complete.

S.H.M.U.P and Demo Released

Indie developer Aaron Styles announces the release of S.H.M.U.P along with an updated demo for this arcade space shooter. The game and demo are available on the S.H.M.U.P. Website along with a trailer showing off the game. Word is: "S.H.M.U.P puts you in command of up to fifteen independent ships, defending your wall against a never ending collection of enemies and massive bosses. To aid you in your defence, you have access to a plethora of upgrades and awesome exploding, homing missiles. S.H.M.U.P features chip tune inspired music from Bart Klepka (http://www.myspace.com/bartklepka) and Multifaros (http://multifaros.info.se/). The game also features Twitter integration and extensive modding capabilities."

Empires in Arms Patch

Matrix Games announces the release of a new patch for Empires in Arms, the turn-based Napoleonic strategy game. The new version 1.07.01 patch is available on this page, and here's word: "The comprehensive update will bring all previous versions of Empires in Arms up to version 1.07.01 and comes with an updated manual both in-game and in PDF form, a handful of rule tweaks, bug fixes, and a few AI improvements. The update also includes a major new PBEM security feature which pre-rolls combat dice to prevent cheating by re-playing a combat engagement."

More on Mythos Plans

The Mythos interview on MMORPG.COM talks with Eric Liu of Redbana about plans revealed yesterday for a North American release of Mythos, the online action/RPG from defunct developer Flagship Studios. The conversation concludes with an outline of plans to update the game:

Multiple zones are being re-worked and upgraded, providing players with more to do and interact with. There are also plans to offer continuous updates to keep the Mythos world fresh and constantly expanding. We’ll be introducing new weapons and armor, new quests, new zones, and completely new races and classes in the future.

In the future, we’ll be revealing the Mythos development news on the newly launched Mythos website, Mythos.com. For now, fans can go there and sign up to get the latest details on then game as they become available.

On PC AvP

The Alien vs. Predator interview on Skewed & Reviewed is an interview with Tim Jones of Rebellion asking some basic questions about Aliens vs. Predator, the upcoming first-person shooter revival. There's another Aliens vs Predator Interview on IncGamers that also chats with Tim about the game, and they highlight the parts where Tim discusses the Windows edition, answering that it is not being "dumbed down" for PCs from the console versions, though the question seems to misunderstand the concerns of PC gamers that multiplatform games are "dumbed down" for consoles, which harms PC ports as a result. Anyway, that's what he was asked, so that's what he answers: "Our PC version will have the same game content as the console versions, but those with state-of-the-art PCs will really be able to show off how beautiful the game looks at high resolutions."

Hsu and Linn Back with EGM

This Press Release announces Dan “Shoe” Hsu and Demian Linn are returning to work with the revived version of Electronic Gaming Monthly, though they will also continue their work on Bitmob, the site they began after EGM was closed when UGO bought 1UP. EGM Media Group acquired the rights to EGM from Ziff Davis Media and is planning to re-launch the magazine in print, digitally, and online. A post on Bitmob has their inside perspective on this. Thanks Joystiq, who point to their September interview with EGM Now's Steve Harris for more on this.

Bad Company 2 and BF 1943 Specs

The Battlefield Blog has system specifications for the PC editions of Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 1943, which are the same, as the two military shooters share the same updated Frostbite engine:

Minimum Frostbite PC Specifications for BFBC2 & BF1943
Processor: Core 2 Duo @ 2.0GHz
Main memory: 2GB
Graphics card: GeForce 7800 GT / ATI X1900
Graphics memory: 256MB
OS: Windows XP
Free HDD space: 15GB for Digital Version, 10GB for Disc Version (BFBC2)
10GB for Digital Version, 4GB for Disc Version (BF1943)

Recommended Frostbite PC Specifications for BFBC2 & BF1943
Processor: Quadcore
Main memory: 2GB
Graphics card: GeForce GTX 260
Graphics memory: 512MB
OS: Windows Vista or Windows 7
Free HDD space: 15GB for Digital Version, 10GB for Disc Version (BFBC2)
10GB for Digital Version, 4GB for Disc Version (BF1943)

CDV vs GameCock

MCV reports that German publisher CDV has won a legal victory over Gamecock in CDV's claim that GameCock failed to supply four games in time for their planned Christmas 2008 release. CDV claimed advances of $7 million were paid for seven games to be released of the holidays, but that they gave notice to terminate the deal in November 2008 over failure to deliver four of these titles. Gamecock rejected this claim, eventually delivering the games and saying they were not late. The report indicates the court found in CDV's favor regarding three of the four games, and this empowers CDV to seek an injunction preventing Southpeak (GameCock owner) from selling the games in question, which are not specified.

EA on Digital Distribution

A story on Reuters covers their own Reuters Global Media Summit, quoting EA Chief Executive John Riccitiello on the digitally distributed future of the game business. "We're the world's leader in packaged goods games, we make more of them than anybody," Riccitiello says. "We're not suggesting that business is going away ... (but) there's this other thing that's growing." Riccitiello describes how a the recently announced 1500 layoffs at EA represent "an offensive, positive step towards the evolution of our business," saying a changing environment "means fewer titles, and needing less personnel against that side of the business." The article states: "EA currently publishes more than 50 titles and plans to cut that back to about 40 next fiscal year to focus on quality games. Riccitiello said he could see EA publishing even fewer titles going forward."

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Metaverse

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

It was on this day in 1942 that the first man-made nuclear chain-reaction was demonstrated in Chicago by Enrico Fermi in the world's first nuclear reactor.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Continuity. Thanks superannuation.
The Swords.
Dynamite Blast.
Images: The Adventures Of Mario And Luigi. Thanks superannuation.
Tony Hawk vs. GameRankings. Thanks Digg.
No Wonder This Computer Acted Screwy.
Media: My Mom's On Facebook. NSFW.
Tiger Woods Incident Gets Animated. Thanks Acleacius.
E.T.A. - Space Junk With A Twist.
Auctions: No Country for Old Typewriters - A Well-Used One Heads to Auction.
The Funnies: UserFriendly.



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