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Monday, Jan 10, 2011

  

New Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Server

Planet Battlefield has word on a new R28 build of the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 server that's being rolled out to game service providers. This server-only patch fixes the invisible boat bug in Bad Company 2 and its Vietnam expansion (thanks Ant). The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

JoWooD Sues Koch Media

Austrian videogames publisher JoWooD, who just declared insolvency, is suing Koch Media, according to GamesIndustry.biz (registration required), saying they are "claiming the German firm had underpaid for 6.4 million JoWooD shares in 2006." The article quotes JoWooD saying "a final court decision will be rendered only after tedious proceedings that could last for several years." They also indicate the more pressing matter of their insolvency should not drag out that long, as they say they should come to an understanding with investors and creditors "within 90 days."

Stardock: Fixing Elemental Will Eat Its Profits

Stardock's Brad Wardell talks to Gamasutra about Elemental: War of Magic, the strategy game they've been working on fixing since its troubled release last year. Brad tells them that though the game was profitable from day one of its release, they are now projecting it will end up losing money by the end of second quarter of this year as they spend money on post-release support. "Elemental made its money back on day one and has continued to be profitable to this point," he tells them. "However, based on our projections we anticipate by the end of second quarter 2011 that Elemental will end up losing money overall as our objective is to spend what is necessary to ensure that the game meets the expectations of our customers." He concludes explaining the reason for all this effort: "While this short-term loss is unfortunate, it is crucial in the long term that PC gamers know that the Stardock name means quality and support."

Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth Demo

The Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth Website now offers a playable demo for this community created point-and-click adventure game intended as a companion to Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Word is: "Join our hero once again in this new and exciting version of our playable demo, featuring the beautiful & original artwork of the exotic island of Bimini! Using a unique storyline but including some relevant facts, you discover the paths to the mysterious Fountain! Enjoy several refreshed locations and don't forget - this is just a sample of what is to come. Be sure to LOOK OUT for future demo updates!" Thanks Ant via PC Gamer.

Aztaka Developer's Edition

The Citeremis Website is now selling the Aztaka Developer's Edition, through the end of this month, offering a special edition of their side-scrolling action/RPG that is at the forefront of their "quest for profitability." In addition to the DRM-free game itself, the Developer's Edition also includes the complete game source code, the game's soundtrack, and an "exotic French art book" (which used to be a euphemism for pornography, but we think in this case it really is an art book). All that extra content would normally command a premium price, but in this case, the whole shebang sells for 50% less than the game's normal price. They explain their quest for profitability as an attempt to recoup about $200K of development costs "borrowed from friends and family who trusted us."

SEGA Genesis Classics

SEGA announces a fourth collection of Genesis classics is now available at most digital distribution portals. Word is: "SEGA Genesis fans will once again be able to relive memories playing these golden oldies. This collection features games including the legendary Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Gunstar Heroes, Streets of Rage 2, ToeJam & Earl, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair and many more! These popular SEGA titles will be available via digital partners starting at $2.99."

Natural Selection 2 Interview

A new Natural Selection 2 interview on Hooked Gamers talks with Charlie Cleveland about their upcoming action/strategy hybrid. Along the way he explains the transition Unknown Worlds has made between mod team and full developer: "It’s been quite a journey. I’m not sure we have made the transition elegantly, but we are in very good shape now. We have learned a lot about funding and running a studio and continue to learn more every day. Many of the core talent from Natural Selection 1 is here (myself, Max and Cory) and the others that have other day jobs are still in the background, helping us test, do PR, customer support, etc. We also moved from Boston to San Francisco during the process - to find investors, to be near the gaming press, to make the talent search easier and because we wanted a change of scenery!"

TRON Evolution Interview

There's a TRON Evolution interview on Gamatomic discussing the movie tie-in game with David Patch of Propaganda Games and John Vignocchi of Disney Interactive Studios. Topics include the appeal for fans of the movies, the different versions of the game for different platforms, familiarity to Prince of Persia, RPG elements, and more.

Op Ed

IGN - Is Activision the Most Evil Company in the World? Thanks Ant.
But you are here to witness me proclaim Activision as evil, aren't you? I do think you can find this with numerous companies, but Activision seems to very much fit the definition: "Due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character." By this definition, Activision is evil. Because even if the acts themselves are not bad (some are more defensible than others), the fact that the gaming public believes Activision has done bad things (that's the "imputed" part) means they are, technically evil. Sorry, Activision!

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

It Came from CES 2011, Part 10

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Gearbox Denies Aliens Colonial Marines Story

Eurogamer has a follow-up to the report from over the weekend that EGM #244 has an indication that Aliens: Colonial Marines will not be released this year. While not coming out and saying the Aliens shooter will be released this year, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford does deny making any specific comments about when to expect it: "I am certain that I haven't discussed anything specific regarding Aliens: Colonial Marines with anyone beyond emphasising [sic] how passionate I am about the title and how committed my studio and I are to making it great." He goes on to say: "It looks to me like whomever made that post on NeoGAF made an interpretation that could be misleading or inaccurate."

Cataclysm Sells 4.7M in One Month

Blizzard announces sales of over 4.7 million copies of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm in the month since the release of the third expansion for their MMORPG, saying this represents "a new record for monthly PC-game sales." They also state that just before the cataclysmic launch of Cataclysm the game hit the 12 million subscriber plateau, saying this counts those still in their free month of access from purchasing the game and internet game room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days. They also point the way to their Career Opportunities Section as they look to continue to support the burgeoning World of Warcraft.

APB Reloaded Beta Instructions

The APB Reloaded Website outlines how to apply to participate in closed beta testing of the upcoming revival of the open-world sandbox game. They explain their goal is to recruit approximately 6,000 - 8,000 testers so they can get 800 players online at peak times during the closed beta, saying this will be sufficient to test system components before moving on to a bigger open beta.

EA Co-publishing The Secret World

EA and Funcom announce that EA will be co-publishing The Secret World, Funcom's upcoming conspiratorial MMORPG, though there is still no official release date for the game. "We are tremendously excited to be working with what is undoubtedly the world-leading games publisher for the past decade, and it is also a great testament to the fantastic work of our development team," says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. "The experience and the knowledge that Electronic Arts brings to the table will be instrumental in allowing us to realize the full potential of ‘The Secret World’."

Aion Patch Notes

The Aion Wiki has initial English patch notes for a new version 2.5 of Aion that's live on the Korean playtest server for NCsoft's fantasy-themed MMORPG. The new version includes the launch of the Academy Bootcamp, the Araka Farm, item enhancements, new pets, and more.

Bloodline Champions Drops VIP Memberships

The Bloodline Champions Website reveals changes being made to the business model for Stunlock Studios' and Funcom's upcoming arena-based PVP game (thanks Big Download). Word is they are removing the VIP membership option: "Based on our analysis of a considerable amount of player feedback during the beta for Bloodline Champions, we have decided to remove the VIP membership option from our offers. Some elements of the VIP membership will be given to everyone as part of the free offering. Other parts will be incorporated into Champion and Titan editions. We will continue to work on offering you the best service we can, for the best game out there." The complete outline of what they are changing follows. Continue here to read the full story.

UK Bestsellers

GFK Chart-Track has the top sellers in the UK for the week ending January 8, showing Football Manager 2011 in the number one spot. Also, the UKIE bestselling video games of 2010 list has the top titles for last year in the UK. Call of Duty: Black Ops tops the all formats chart, and here's the list of top PC games:

  1. Football Manager 2011
  2. Football Manager 2010
  3. The Sims 3
  4. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
  5. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

ArenaNet Retrospective

Our First Decade on the ArenaNet Blog features a trailer offering a retrospective on ArenaNet's first decade and ten years of Guild Wars. Word is: "For our holiday party we put together a retrospective video that reflects on what makes this studio such a great place to work, and we thought we would share it with you. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!"

Quote of the Day

"Well, that is an interesting question. I believe that as a commercial industry it became more ‘mature’ – i.e. bloated with far too much middle management all wanting their own slice of the pie and shareholders demanding never-ending short-term success – around 1995. However, I feel that creatively, from a software design point of view, it went from being a very powerful, innovative industry to a creatively weaker, me-too industry at about the same time. Put is this way: I was earning more money in 1994 and having more fun than I am now. So from my point of view, commercially, it has gone backwards because I am making less money, because the middle managers and their bean-counting overlords have largely disempowered the creative intellectual property generators from having sufficient influence and power within the industry." -- Sensible Soccer creator Jon Hare. Thanks Joao via Computer and Video Games.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Thanks Big Download.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

It Came from CES 2011, Part 9

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

In keeping with tradition, I forgot to wish Frans a happy birthday in time, as the occasion passed on Saturday. Happy birthday to our good friend, programmer, and proofreader, and while we're at it, happy belated birthdays to Stephen Hawking and Elvis.

Belated Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Humaliens Battle 2.
Corporation Inc.
Link: Videogame Lookalikes.
Stories: Heidi, the Cross-Eyed Opossum, Charms Germany. Thanks Neatorama.
China improves energy efficiency 20 pct in 5 years.
Horsemen rally to revive horse slaughter industry.
Images: Abraham Lincoln Riding a Grizzly Bear While Carrying a M-16.
APOD- 2011 January 9 - The Antikythera Mechanism.
Media: Beer Rip Off at Qwest Field - when is small really large.
Cee Lo's F**k You in Sign Language.
Elmo orders taco bell. Just say no, kids. Thanks Dave.
The Funnies: xkcd: Modern History.
Follow-up: Has overfishing ended? Top US scientist says yes. Thanks Digg.
Power Balance bracelets Maker forced to give refunds. Thanks reddit.
Director: 'Ghostbusters 3' Script Is Ready.
Nobody Wants "Wonder Woman".



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