EA announces that Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is now available in North American stores for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, saying: "One of the most exciting parts of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is the innovative feature we like to call Autolog. It allows you to connect, compare and compete with your friends. It keeps the competition between you and friends at the heart of the game." The announcement includes this trailer showing off the game. Not wasting any time, they also announceShift 2 Unleashed, an upcoming sequel for Need for Speed SHIFT that for some reason will not be using the Need for Speed part of the title (though we predict it will be added back at a future date when this is identified as a tactical error). The game is due in Spring 2011 for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, and here is how it's being described: "SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED features an all-new rendering engine with a massive graphics overhaul that puts the player in the heart of the racing action. With an innovative helmet camera view simulating the physical experience of driving at 200mph, the thrilling experience of night racing and authentic degradation of tracks and cars, this is tomorrow’s sim for today’s adrenaline fueled racer. SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED also incorporates the next generation of Need for Speed Autolog - the groundbreaking network that connects friends for epic head-to-head races and compares player stats for the ultimate social racing competition." This trailer accompanies the announcement, a stylized clip that brings to mind a demolition derby. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.
Atari plans on following their Haunted House remake with a new version of Yar's Revenge, an Atari 2600 game from the early 1980s. According to Big Download, the game is expected early next year for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, and will feature anime-style art, massive aerial battles, multiple endings, and two player local co-op support. They also have a brief cinematic trailer from the game.
A new patch is now available for Zombie Driver to update the undead automotive game to version 1.2.2. In addition to the usual changes and fixes, the new version also adds the promised free expansion to introduce the game's new Blood Race mode. The download is available from the Zombie Driver Website and it is mirrored on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls. Owners of the Steam version can sit tight, as the game will update itself.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is delayed, and is now expected for release on May 17, 2011, as noted on the Witcher Website, where it says: "This Thursday, during our live web conference, we'll have some BIG news for you, including pre-order details and contents of the Premium and Collector's Editions, which you'll be able to grab on or around May 17, 2011!" Eurogamer has some follow-up quotes: "We've decided to move the launch date back a few weeks to afford us more time to polish the game," said project lead Adam Badowski. "Of course, we know that players would like to get the game as soon as possible, so we hope that they will forgive us! We strongly believe that the extra time spent polishing the title will be well worth the wait." On a related note, GameStop jumped the gun on this Thursday dealie, and posted a page for the Collector's Edition today. This has since been yoinked, but not before it was noted by Big Download, where they say besides the game itself, the CE will include the Vernon Roche Commando Jacket, a unique in-game item which "noticeably boosts player's sword-fighting abilities," as well as a behind-the-scenes DVD, the soundtrack CD, playing cards with a special rulebook, two papercraft figures, and more. They say this all carried the eye opening price-tag of $129.99 USD.
Gray Matter, the long-in-development RPG from Gabriel Knight creator Jane Jensen is now available via digital distribution in Germany through Amazon.de and Gamesplanet. According to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the German edition also includes English voiceovers, so it may be playable for those who don't speak German, but the game is still expected in the U.S. and U.K. in February.
This forum post announces a new update automatically available for Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2, adding DLC support and a number of bug-fixes. This has not been without its problems, however, as the Ubisoft forums has complaints from users who have lost unlocked content after updating. Thanks The Patches Scrolls.
The Natural Selection 2 Website has patch notes for a new build 154 of the alpha version of Natural Selection 2, which is available to customers who have preordered Unknown Worlds' upcoming action/strategy sequel (thanks joao). The new version, which should be available through Steam, adds Havoc physics and significant framerate improvements among other things. The full change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.
The Crystal Ball of Michael Pachter on The Escapist interviews the outspoken game industry financial analyst about his work. They learn a bit about the nature of his work and his methodology, as well as the overall purpose of all that analysis. They also touch on his hit-and-miss predictions, though he proudly claims he's been ranked number one in earnings accuracy three times among all tech analysts. He also addresses the ill-will often expressed towards him on gaming forums, but also explains how he uses the gaming press: "Investors should [listen to me] because I'm really good, but look, I use the press," he admitted when I asked why we should listen to him. "It's a symbiotic relationship. I try to give you guys what you need, and I use the press to promote myself so that more investors want to talk to me. That helps me get paid more money."
IndustryGamers has a confirmation from Activision that they are looking for a buyer for Bizarre Creations, the U.K.-based racing game developer they acquired in 2007. "Over the past three years since our purchase of Bizarre Creations, the fundamentals of the racing genre have changed significantly. Although we made a substantial investment in creating a new IP, Blur, it did not find a commercial audience," an Activision spokesperson tells them. "Bizarre is a very talented team of developers, however, because of the broader economic factors impacting the market, we are exploring our options regarding the future of the studio, including a potential sale of the business."
The first DiRT 3 video developer diary is now online, where the developers on Codemasters' upcoming rally racing sequel answer fan-submitted questions about the game. The clip also offers the first in-game footage from DiRT 3, showing the Audi Sport Quattro Rally negotiating a forest stage at the game's new Finland rally location. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.
The Bloodline Champions Website has news that Funcom is now accepting preorders for Bloodline Champions, Stunlock Studios' upcoming free-to-play arena PvP game. There are two SKUs on sale, a Champion Edition and a far pricier Titan Edition, which offers almost all the benefits of a VIP subscription. Here is the latest trailer from the game, and here's word on the incentives being offered for preorders: "Customers who pre-order now will receive rewards in the form of 16 unique weapon skins, 16 avatars (portraits) and the exclusive in-game title 'Dawnbreaker'. In addition to this anyone pre-ordering will be given immediate access to the game which is currently in closed beta. The game will move to Open Beta on December 15th."
Paradox Interactive announces Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom, saying the final expansion for Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim is expected on December 7 via digital distribution for $14.99/€14.99/£9.99. This trailer shows off the add-on for the fantasy-themed real-time strategy sequel, and here's word on what to expect:
In this final expansion, players continue the story from the land of Ardania. Only now the king has been overthrown and has fled the safety of his palace. With only his trusted advisor and his bedclothes to spare his blushes, the unseated king must turn to former enemies in order to reacquire the throne. Gather the gaggle of creatures, train them, equip them and send them forth. Order them to attack your betrayers and retake what is yours. Monster Kingdom contains a new eight mission campaign called “Exiles of Fate”. With a host of new buildings, heroes, abilities and guild powers to discover.
GamersFirst announces a confirmation of the rumor from last week that failed online shooter APB: All Points Bulletin is now the property of K2 Network, which will operate under the GamersFirst free MMOG label. The game from closed developer Realtime Worlds is slated to come back online in the first half of next year while they work on turning it into what GamersFirst COO Bjorn Book-Larsson calls "a true free-to-play game." They also have word that the deal means the developers from Realtime Worlds will be receiving their back pay. "We are obviously very happy to have concluded the sale but at the same time very much regret the loss of jobs as a result of the closure of Realtime Worlds," said Paul Dounis of restructuring specialist Begbies Traynor. "As a consequence of the IPR asset sale all outstanding wages and holiday pay claims will be met in full. GamersFirst is a pioneer in the free-to-play space, thus APB will be re-launched as a free-to-play model game rather than the previous retail model. People who previously bought the game can now look forward to playing it again once it’s back online."
VG247 interviews Peter Tamte, talking with the president of Atomic Games about a variety of topics, including their upcoming Breach. Along the way they ask about Six Days in Fallujah, and Tamte expresses hopes the controversial game will still see the light of day: "What we need is the funding to complete it," he tells them. "Six Days takes place during the most relevant event of an entire generation," he says. "Some people suggested, 'Why not just make it Six Days in Bullcrapistan?' We could have done that, but that would have taken away one of the reasons why we made the game, which was to recreate the specific stories of some people who are our heroes – I can’t do that in Bullcrapistan because it loses its context."
Electronic Arts' EA Play Label announces the release of Create, saying the puzzle game is now available throughout North America and Europe for Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 (featuring PlayStation Move compatibility), and Wii. Here's the deal: "Create is an expansive challenge-based game, with a nearly infinite set of solutions for the player to explore. The Challenge mode offers a series of puzzles with a specific goal to be achieved and provides a number of fun and creative objects to come up with a solution. Points are allocated based on the number of objects used, and the overall creativity of the solution. There are numerous types of challenges, from those where players will need to find the most efficient and elegant solution to others where players are encouraged to be as outlandish as possible."
Keen Software House announces they've signed a second investor for Miner Wars, their upcoming underground and space shooter. They say: "We are still negotiating with a few other investors, and are hoping to close it soon so we can focus more on game development. We feel that running independently of any contract with a publisher is better for everybody, so we want to have good financing for Miner Wars development." They also outline changes in the new alpha build of the game, which is available to players who preorder the game at a 70% discount.
PC Gamer interviews Hiromichi Tanaka and Sage Sundi, a couple of the FINAL FANTASY XIV producers, who discuss player unhappiness in how the MMORPG turned out. They offer explanations for some of the issues they are in the process of addressing, and discuss the time constraints they were under that prevented them from doing so pre-release, as they spent the beta period fixing bugs, and didn't have time for design issues. Much of what they say suggest the game was rushed, such as this: "If we had three more years (laughs), we would’ve had three more years worth of implemented content. But we had six months [from the first stage of alpha testing], so that’s where we are with the game."
SouthPeak Interactive's First Quarter of Fiscal 2011 Report is now available, offering the latest financial results from the publisher. They outline a down period from shipping fewer titles: "For the first quarter of fiscal 2011 ended September 30, 2010, SouthPeak reported net revenues of $1.4 million, compared with $16.7 million for first quarter of fiscal 2010 ended September 30, 2009. The decrease in revenues was primarily due to a decrease in the number of titles released for next generation platforms and fewer units sold for next generation platforms Xbox 360 and PS3, which sell at a higher MSRP compared with Nintendo DS and Wii. For the first quarter of fiscal 2011, gross profit decreased to $0.6 million, or 45% of revenues, from $8.0 million, or 48% of revenues, for the same period in fiscal 2010. The decrease in gross profit is attributable to the decrease in new release titles compared with the prior fiscal year period."
A new Bulletstorm trailer shows off more action from this first-person shooter in the works at Epic's People Can Fly Studio. The clip only runs about 75 seconds, but packs a lot of action into that brief span. Thanks BeyondUnreal.
The Dead Meets Lead Website now offers the first gameplay trailer from Keldyn Interactive's upcoming zombie game. Here's the explanation of what we are seeing: "The trailer follows the main character throughout a few maps, showcasing some of the aspects of the game, such as his ability to slam the ground, or shooting down zombies with his blunderbuss. Several enemies which has [sic] never been shown before are featured, among them several types of 'human' zombies, hounds-turned-zombies and the mystic voodoo priests. The video also displays the unique environment and the beautiful graphics of DML."
Off to the doctor for a physical this morning. After years of suffering with caffeine withdrawal during my pre-checkup fasting, last year my doctor admitted he thought it would be okay for me to have coffee before I came in. Since then I have cut down to a cup-a-day, so with a far-milder caffeine craving (which was the goal of cutting down), I've been able to hold off anyway, just in case there's some reason not to.