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Thursday, Mar 04, 2010

  

Pure Futbol Announced

Ubisoft announces Pure Futbol, an association football/soccer game to be released this May, offering multiplayer support in a "new and unique vision of soccer video games." The announcement does not reveal target platforms, but we have learned from Ubisoft that the game is expected for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Here are some screenshots and renders, and here is the game's debut trailer. The complete announcement follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Shaun White Skateboarding Announced

GameInformer.com has word on Shaun White Skateboarding, an upcoming variant that adds wheels and removes the snow from Shaun White Snowboarding. Details are scant, but they say the game is due this holiday season. No platforms are announced, but WorthPlaying tells us they've confirmed with Ubisoft that the game is headed to the PC as well as consoles.

Metajets: Extreme Turbulence Released

The Metajets Website offers Metajets: Extreme Turbulence, a jet-fuelled casual aerial racing game based on an animated television series called MetaJets that's already popular in Asia, and is heading to Canadian and U.S. television soon. The game is available for free for both Windows and Mac, and it can be played offline as well as online. This press release has all the details, and here's a portion: "Two games in one, Metajet’s cutting edge 3D graphics and non-stop action will keep players on the edge of their seats. The game’s Race Mode has twelve different tracks and its Mission Mode offers a dozen assorted undertakings. Pilots can play offline in the game’s Practice Mode to hone their skills, or compete online in Career Mode to unlock new content and test their mettle against players across the globe! Top Guns can see their rankings on the Online Leader Board."

NVIDIA Driver Issue

StarcraftWire.net relates warnings from Blizzard that the just released version 196.75 drivers have faulty fan control software, causing intermittent framerates from overheating. They are recommending reverting to the previous drivers. Here's word:

We're getting reports where users are getting intermittent low FPS after installing these drivers. It seems that it is related to the fan control included in these drivers not working correctly and is causing the video card to overheat on 3D applications. This will affect Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft and StarCraft 2 Beta. Please uninstall the drivers and revert back to the older ones.

Windows XP: http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp_196.21_whql.html
Windows XP 64-bit: http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp64_196.21_whql.html
Windows Vista/7 32-bit: http://www.nvidia.com/object/win7_winvista_32bit_196.21_whql.html
Windows Vista/7 64-bit: http://www.nvidia.com/object/win7_winvista_64bit_196.21_whql.html

More information can be found on threads such as these:
http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=161525
http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=161503

Black Prophecy to be Free-to-Play

The space-themed MMOG Black Prophecy will be a free-to-play online game, announce gamigo AG and Reakktor Media, as gamigo now owns the global distribution and publishing rights for the game, which is expected to enter closed beta testing next month. They say: "A lot has happened in the development of Black Prophecy in the past few weeks. The biggest change has been the new direction as a free-to-play online game, previously unheard of for a game of this quality. Among other things, a crafting system was added and the layout of the game world was opened up. In-game dialogue will be recorded by professional voice actors. The one-and-a-half hour long orchestral soundtrack provides a rich and varied score of background music."

Star Trek Online Brouhaha

There is a bit of an uproar on the Star Trek Online forums, where many users are upset by a Star Trek Online promotion they say included 60 free days of game-time (in addition to the 30 days included with the purchase of the game) that was later rescinded. This has lead to this 300+ page thread and this 200+ page thread complaining about the situation. If you don't have the patience for over 500 pages of forum posts, you can check out this post that attempts to summarize the situation. Thanks Brian.

Who Wants to be a Gaming Millionaire?

Nexon America announces the launch of The Nexon Initiative, offering "an ambitious new program that will provide up to $1 million to support the next generation of game developers." Word is: "Game developers selected by The Nexon iNitiative program will earn a share of the $1 million to support the game’s development as well as a chance at a Nexon publishing contract. The Nexon iNitiative finalists will be selected and contacted by June, 2010."

Defense Grid: The Awakening Free DLC

A new Defense Grid: The Awakening Update on Steam adds DLC support for the strategy offering, along with the release of a new free DLC pack called Borderlands. The new version also includes upgraded leaderboard performance and some bug fixes. Thanks Big Download.

Brink Diary

Brink Developer Diary #3 on the Bethesda Blog is written by Ed Stern of Splash Damage, who explains their IDC (Instant/Deep Context) design process, for their upcoming first-person shooter. This emphasizes the "Show, don’t Tell" concept, and he describes how this process was applied to the design of their Ark, described as "a combined luxury eco-resort and floating R&D lab, producing new materials and technologies." He sets the stage for the game's basic conflict: "Security fight to save the Ark. The Resistance fight to escape it. And looking around the place, it’s not hard to see why both sides believe they’re right."

On Sale

  • All Mac Games on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Grand Ages- Rome on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Patrician III on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • Spore on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • Street Fighter IV on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • World War 2 - Time of Wrath on Impulse. Save 33%.

    Still on sale (previously reported)
      Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Crysis 2 Screenshots

Crytek has released the first two screenshots from Crysis 2, their upcoming first-person shooter sequel. The shots show a couple of looks at the kind of impact a guy with a nanosuit can have on New York City.

Activision's Modern Warfare Lawsuit Response

G4tv.com has more on the legal tussle between Activision and Vince Zampella and Jason West, describing Activision's hunt for documentation to support their allegations of "breaches of contract and insubordination" by the former Infinity Ward bosses. Meanwhile, Kotaku has the court documents from Zampella and West's lawsuit against Activision, in which they accuse their former publisher of "Orwellian" moves, saying the company is attempting to withhold royalties, stating this is: "not surprising, given that Activision is run by a CEO who has been publicly quoted as believing that the best way to run a videogame studio is to engender a culture of 'skepticism, pessimism, and fear' and who prefers to pay his lawyers instead of his employees." These papers outline the control over the Modern Warfare games in the Call of Duty series ("any Call of Duty game set in the post-Vietnam era, the near future or the distant future") granted to Zampella and West, and more. Meanwhile, G4 also has word from Activision in response to the lawsuit, expressing disappointment that the pair have responded to their threat of litigation with litigation:

"Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless. Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth. In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executive who holds a position of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans."

Just Cause 2 Demo

Steam now offers the promised playable demo for Just Cause 2, the action sequel from Avalanche Studios. (thanks Derek). Here's word on the demo, which requires DirectX 10:

The Just Cause 2 demo features a massive 35 square miles of the Lautan Lama Desert, a vast expanse of stunning, sun-scorched scenery taking up just one of the many islands in the 400 square miles of the Panau archipelago. Packed with towns, villages, military installations, mountain ranges, missions and more, the demo will feature an astonishing amount of activities for the player... and opportunities for adrenaline-fuelled chaos are limitless.

Continue here to read the full story.

Shank This Summer

EA and Klei Entertainment announce that EA will be publishing Shank this summer for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, offering a cinematic brawler they say features a "unique art style inspired by graphic novels and golden age comics." Here are a pair of Shank screenshots, and there are interviews related to the announcement on Gamasutra, GameSpot, IGN, and Kotaku. Here is an official description of the game: "Taking place in a stylized, modern-Western setting, Shank tells a classic betrayal story directed through a sophisticated cinematic lens, with addictive action gameplay found in classic 2D side-scrolling games."

Deus Ex 3 Image

A post to the Eidos Forums offers a new "official" image from Deus Ex 3, the upcoming action/RPG prequel. The shot shows an extreme close-up of a Zippo-style lighter, which will apparently redesigned in the future to plug the holes in the windscreen. The accompanying post says: "I can't say a darn thing about this other than people who like to go into details will shortly have some new material to dissect." Thanks Destructoid.

No PC DeathSpank?

EA Partners announces they will be publishing DeathSpank, the upcoming adventure game from Hothead Games designed by Ron Gilbert, renowned for his work on the Monkey Island series. The bad news is that the announcement seems to indicate there will be no PC edition of this game, saying DeathSpank will be released this year through Xbox LIVE Arcade and the PlayStation Network. Here's word on the game: "The game casts players in the role DeathSpank, the Hero to the Downtrodden, a Vanquisher of Evil and Defender of Justice as he fulfills his life-long destiny and searches for a mysterious and magical item only known as "The Artifact". Along the way he'll rescue a few Orphans, defeat a local tyrant and tumble headlong into the even deeper mystery surrounding the legendary Thongs of Virtue in an epic adventure game that includes collecting loot, crazy puzzle solving, witty dialogue, collecting loot, over-the-top animations, fun, accessible action combat, and of course, collecting loot."

The Sims 3 Ambitions Announced

EA announces plans for The Sims 3 Ambitions, an expansion pack expected this June for the lifestyle simulation sequel, offering new careers for your charges to toil away at while you play games. Here's word: "The Sims 3 Ambitions allows players to pursue a variety of exciting paths and careers in their Sims’ lives that in turn affect their overall gameplay experience and neighborhood. While on the job, the player has direct control over their Sims’ work and can choose how to spend their days. Players can opt to make house calls and save lives as a doctor or choose the devious route and test experimental medicine on patients, be the hero firefighter tackling raging infernos or smashing everything in sight at the victim’s home with an axe, or take a shot at solving cases as an investigator, nicely convincing sources to divulge secrets or roughing up perpetrators in a dark alley to get information."

Alganon Goes Subscription-Free

The Alganon Website announces that this MMORPG from Quest Online has moved to a subscription-free business model, saying players will still need to purchase the game itself, but they have dropped subscription fees in favor of microtransactions. For players who have pre-paid for subscriptions they outline plans to bestow "tribute" (the game's currency) on subscribers and outline preliminary details on the Tribute Market System (TMS), which will serve as the foundation of Alganon's new real-money transaction framework. They also announce the patch many were expecting on March 1 is "not done baking," and that patch will be released during the week of March 11 and that the Tribute Market System will launch before the game officially goes live the week of April 8.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Announced

Square Enix Europe's Crystal Dynamics announce Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, a new installment in the Tomb Raider series (which is apparently becoming the Lara Croft series), planned for release through digital distribution later this year. This comes quite quickly after word to eventually expect more news on the future of the series. The Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Website is online, though it only offers newsletter signups at the moment. We attempted to pry loose details on target platforms and whether this is coming to the PC, but were told that the scant details in this announcement are all they are revealing at this time. "This is a really exciting project for Crystal Dynamics, we have created something completely new and very different to what people might be expecting," said Darrell Gallagher, General Manager of Crystal Dynamics. "Lara Croft is such an iconic character in videogames, with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light we have created what we believe is a truly original digital experience." They say the project will be shown off "strictly" behind closed doors at the Game Developers Conference beginning on March 9.

Ex-Infinity Ward Bosses Sue

BusinessWeek reports fired Infinity Ward cofounders Jason West and Vince Zampella are suing Activision, which is probably not the litigation Activision said to expect when they dismissed the pair earlier this week. West and Zampella filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday, claiming breach of contract and wrongful termination. They are seeking at least $36 million and control over the Modern Warfare subset of the Call of Duty franchise. According to West and Zampella's lawyers: "Activision terminated their employment weeks before they were to be paid substantial royalty payments as part of their existing contracts for ‘Modern Warfare 2.’" Activision declined their request for comment.

Divinity II Add-on Announced

A post to the Larian Studios Forums from DTP's community manager announces Divinity II: Flames of Vengeance, an expansion for Divinity II - Ego Draconis, Larian's RPG sequel planned for release for Windows and Xbox 360 before the end of the year, continuing the story of the dragon, and offering "a solid overhaul" of the performance and graphics of the game's engine (thanks TheMysterD). She quotes Larian's Swen Vincke saying: "The player picks up the story of the dragon knight and guides him to his ultimate destiny. Along the way several accounts are settled, and the answers to many questions in the Divinity universe revealed." A later post by Larian founder and CEO Vincke adds some details on what to expect if you've already played the original game or if you haven't, saying the pack is already fully playable and they are shooting for an August/September release, which is narrowed to August by this subsequent press release. Here are the first Flames of Vengeance screenshots, and here's word from Swen's post. Continue here to read the full story.

Ubisoft: DRM Not Cracked

Responding to numerous reports that their online DRM has been cracked, Ubisoft informs Edge Online that the digital rights management in Assassin’s Creed II and Silent Hunter 5 has not actually been cracked. Word is: "Please know that this rumor is false and while a pirated version may seem to be complete at start up, any gamer who downloads and plays a cracked version will find that their version is not complete." Thanks Joker961.

Rise of Prussia Demo

A playable demo for Rise of Prussia is now available, offering the chance to sample the Seven Years' War strategy game that's due for release next week. The demo includes three tutorials and two scenarios; one a short invasion of Saxony and the other the first dozen turns of the grand campaign, including play-by-email multiplayer support. The demo is available on ComputerGames.ro, Gamer's Hell, and WorthPlaying, and this forum post is keeping an up-to-date list of mirrors.

Strategic Command: WWII Global Conflict Demo

A playable demo is now available for Strategic Command: WWII Global Conflict, offering the chance to play the World War II strategy game on a full world map in a scenario described like this: "With the German army at the gates of Stalingrad, Rommel advancing towards Alexandria and the Japanese Navy ready to strike at Midway, can the Allies ever hope to turn the Axis High Tide?" The demo limits you to two months of game time, and word is: "Multiplayer modes, saving and unit purchases are disabled in the demo but the campaign is playable against the AI as either side." The demo is available from Battlefront.com and it is mirrored on ComputerGames.ro, Gamer's Hell, and WorthPlaying.

War in the Pacific – Admiral's Edition Patch

Matrix Games has the release of a new patch for War in the Pacific – Admiral's Edition to update the World War II strategy game to version 1.01.02a. Here's the deal: "The new comprehensive 1.01.02a update comes with heaps of changes, fixes, and improvements including support for variable resolutions and even widescreen support. Gone are the days of 1024x768 – you can now see as much of the gorgeous map as your monitor will allow! Other changes include adjustments to anti-sub warfare and torpedo effectiveness, many interface improvements, gameplay improvements galore, and much more – well over 100 changes, fixes and improvements." The patch can be downloaded from this page.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Connectivity Fix

BASHandSlash.com outlines a fix for connectivity issues with the PC edition of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 that may be solved by manually updating PunkBuster. They also have word for users who pre-purchased the game through Steam on how to get the Limited Edition weapons. Thanks Joker961.

Din's Curse Beta Patch

The Din's Curse Patches Page now offers new beta version 0.907 patches for the Windows and Mac editions of Din's Curse, Soldak Entertainment's upcoming action/RPG. The patch notes have details on all the changes.

AIAS Mark Beaumont Scholarship

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences announces a scholarship in tribute to Mark Beaumont, the former COO of Capcom North America and Europe who passed away on February 23, 2010. The AIAS will award four yearly $2,500 scholarships to students pursuing of careers in interactive entertainment business through accredited universities. "Mark Beaumont exemplified the qualities that define success within the world of interactive entertainment. The Academy Foundation believes that encouraging young adults to pursue careers within the business of interactive entertainment is the most fitting way to honor Mark and his accomplishments," says Joseph Olin, president, AIAS.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Metaverse

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

I took the doggies to the trail yesterday and ran into the little dog Hudson the wonder dog recently traumatized by picking her up. I left the Huddy and the Gunnar-man in the car and got out to reassure the mom and daughter with the dog that Hudson was muzzled, which they appreciated. But when I opened the car, Huddy was on this little pooch in a flash, doing her best to abuse it in spite of the muzzle (which at least kept this from being life-threatening). It's now obvious I'm going to have to be extra careful about encountering this group in the future, as Huddy clearly considers this little pup some sort of vermin, rather than a fellow canine.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Wonderpills.
ImmorTall.
Sushi Cat.
Link: 7 Ways to Nap at Work. Thanks Digg.
Stories: Brooklyn brewhaha: Babies in bars.
Man assaulted, forcibly tattooed during home attack in Wollongong. Thanks j.c.f.
Forget Beer Pong -- Turtle Racing Is the Newest Bar Trend. Thanks Digg.
Science: The Fun Way of Scientifically Slicing a Pizza.
Monkey See or Is One Man’s Fix Another’s Enhancement?
How Britain is using classical music as a form of social control. Thanks Joker961 via Slashdot.
Images: Conan's Writing Staff As Bored As He Is.
An Alien Finds a More Comfortable Place to Emerge.
Media: Funny or Die's Presidential Reunion. Thanks nin.
Today Show: Sexual Wii Fail.



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