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Thursday, Jan 20, 2011

  

Bethesda: RAGE Demo Doubtful

Bethesda PR VP Pete Hines tells VG247 that it is unlikely we will get a playable demo for RAGE, id Software's upcoming first-person shooter. "It’s something we look at for every game and we do it where possible and where appropriate,” Hines told them today. "But to be perfectly honest, from a technical standpoint, it isn’t always possible. I don’t see a demo for RAGE on the cards." He adds: "I guess it’s not a zero percent chance, but it’s somewhere down on that end of the spectrum." This represents a significant change for id, who were acquired by Bethesda parent Zenimax in 2009, as all their games through QUAKE were released as shareware, and every one of their games since QUAKE II have had playable demos.

Sledgehammer Hitting Modern Warfare 3?

Activision has recruited Sledgehammer Games to assist with the single-player portion of Modern Warfare 3, reports the Los Angeles Times, saying they've learned this from "people familiar with the situation." While MW3 has not actually been announced, they say "the title is well into production and is expected to come out in November." They report: "People close to the matter said Infinity Ward is working closely with Sledgehammer, which is led by a team recruited away from Activision's rival Electronic Arts Inc. The two studios are equally sharing duties of producing the single-player portion of the game, the sources said," adding: "Activision has also brought in Wisconsin-based Raven Software, which is working on the online multi-player elements for Modern Warfare 3, sources said." They note that this could have a domino effect of delaying development of another Call of Duty spin-off to be developed by Sledgehammer. Sledgehammer was formed in November 2009 by Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, formerly of Visceral Games.

Torque Acquired

Graham Software Development announces the acquisition of the Torque software division of InstantAction, and a relaunch of GarageGames.com for the distribution and support of the Torque engine. They offer a January Product Update explaining their roadmap, which involves dropping TorqueX at the end of next month, the discontinuation of iTorque 3D, and no plans for significant updates to Torque 2D. And this blog post announces more of their plans, which include a price cut: "You've been patiently waiting and the time has come. GarageGames is back! We've changed our name back to GarageGames and we are dropping the prices on all products to $99.00 to celebrate our new direction and return to our indie roots. It's been a storied ten years for the GarageGames name and we are looking forward to ushering in the next decade."

Blizzard Not Killing World of StarCraft Mod

Blizzard now offers a statement on the news that they had a video taken down for the World of StarCraft modification. "It was never our intention to stop development on the mod or discourage the community from expressing their creativity through the StarCraft II editor," Blizzard said in a statement found on Gamasutra. "As always, we actively encourage development of custom maps and mods for StarCraft II, as we’ve done with our strategy games in the past." Blizzard also expresses interest in seeing how the mod turns out, and say they have invited the author (who is apparently being courted by Riot Games) to their campus to meet the development team.

Moto Racer 2 GOG.com Issues

GOG.com has word that they've discovered Moto Racer 2 has some significant gameplay issues caused by remnants of the game's DRM that are still present. They assure everyone they are working diligently to fix this, but since they cannot be sure when a fix will arrive, they are offering anyone unhappy with having purchased the racing sequel a credit for another game. In the meantime they are not offering the game for sale until it is fixed.

Natural Selection 2 Trailer

The Natural Selection 2 Website now offers a trailer from Unknown Worlds' upcoming action/strategy sequel. Word is: "This video is a few days old but does a great job highlighting something we've spent a lot of time on, and very little time showing to you: the alien atmosphere." The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

  • Brink on Bethesda Blog. Dev Diary #5 – Chris Sweetman on Audio Design.
  • Skulls of the Shogun on PC Gamer.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: 30 Years of First-Person Shooters. Thanks Joker961.

Call of Duty Shenanigan Allegations

Kotaku reports an intriguing twist on the ongoing legal battles between Electronic Arts and Activision and between Activision and former Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella. They have an email that was released as part of court filings that could be considered a smoking gun for Activision's claims that EA interfered in their business. On March 2, the day of the release of DICE's Battlefield Bad Company 2, an internal email from EA/DICE's Lincoln Hershberger to other EA executives, including gaming boss Frank Gibeau, suggests that a delay to the release of the Stimulus Pack map pack for Modern Warfare 2 was engineered with the assistance of Modern Warfare 2 developer Vince Zampella to avoid directly competing with Bad Company 2. The mail opens saying: "A couple months ago, I asked Vince to hold back their map pack until after we launched. (He owes me one,). "Given that they've already made a billion, he was cool with that, obviously (Activision CEO ) Kotick took it as being belligerent." They also have a response to this from EA spokesman Jeff Brown, who says the email was a joke: "This was obviously sarcasm," he told them. "It's clear from the email this was a joke and they never spoke. We explained this to lawyers at Activision – who apparently don't have much of a sense of humor." Thanks nin.

Hearts of Iron III Expansion and Hearts of Iron Card Game Announced

As part of their extensive Paradox press conference coverage there's news on PC Gamer of plans for a new Hearts of Iron III expansion called For The Motherland. The World War II strategy expansion will include a deeper political system with the ability to stage coups, and a quicker pace that should allow games to be completed in a single evening. On a related note, they also have word on Hearts of Iron: The Card Game, a free-to-play digital card game that puts players in the role of Allied or Axis tank commanders. No release date for either is offered.

Salem, A F2P Permadeath MMORPG Announced

Reporting from a Paradox Interactive press conference, a story on PC Gamer has details on Salem, a newly announced free-to-play MMORPG set in New England during the colonial era when suspected witches were used as firewood. They say the game is due sometime this year, and they make note of a fascinating aspect of the game's concept, permadeath: "The game puts emphasis on a player-driven world that promotes crafting skills. Even more interesting, when your character dies he’s gone forever, leaving all your creations to be pillaged by other players." A Salem video interview with Bjorn Johannessen explains how this works. The trailer also follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Mount & Blade - With Fire and Sword Announced

PC Gamer has word from a Paradox Interactive press conference today on plans for Mount & Blade - With Fire and Sword, a new expansion for the medieval combat game. The game will be set in 1653, and will feature muskets, as well as "an actual storyline to follow in singleplayer." Word is: "As a mercenary leader, you’ll either be able to make alliances or go lone-wolf. Enhanced siege mechanics bring a new level of gameplay, with the ability to bribe a guard to open the door, use gunpowder, or even poison the food supply during sieges." They say this is due this spring, and this trailer has a first look at gameplay. The embedded version of the clip is below. Continue here to read the full story.

Gettysburg: Armoured Warfare Announced

Another story on PC Gamer from the Paradox press conference announces Gettysburg: Armoured Warfare, a free-to-play multiplayer RTS/FPS in development at Radioactive Games. The game will be set in an alternative universe and feature persistent armies on a massive scale. The title apparently comes from the alternate universe, as their version of the US Civil War will be fought with tanks and armored blimps. There's no word on when this is planned for release.

Pirates of the Black Cove Announced

PC Gamer reports from today's Paradox Interactive press conference on a new real-time strategy game called Pirates of the Black Cove. The game will allow players to "plunder [their] way across the Caribbean," and it will offer some of those RPG elements that are part of so many of today's RTS games.

Frontier Layoffs, The Outsider Not Cancelled

A story on Rock, Paper, Shotgun reported a rumor that The Outsider was cancelled, and followed that up with word from Frontier Developments' David Braben that seemed to confirm the cancellation of the ambitious techno thriller as well as some layoffs, as he said: "We have had to change priorities because of requirements on other unannounced projects. Some people have been moved, and we are very sad to have made some people redundant." A subsequent story on Develop also spoke with the creator of Elite about the news, and while Braben again confirmed layoffs, he tells them The Outsider has not been cancelled. "There is still publisher interest in the project, and we haven’t cancelled it," Braben told them. "The priority has been reduced, but we’re still working on it." When asked for clarification he added: "A publisher has not cancelled the project."

EA's Campaign for PC Gaming?

Electronic Arts has registered campaignforpcgaming.com, though there is no indication yet of their goals for the new domain. While EA has continued to release Windows versions of their games, they have a noticeable aversion to PC demos, and they are not a member of the PC Gaming Alliance. Thanks Big Download.

Romero and Hall Form Loot Drop

John Romero and Tom Hall have formed a new social gaming studio called Loot Drop, which has signed a publishing deal with social entertainment company RockYou, reports VentureBeat. Romero and Hall have collaborated several times in the past: After working together at Softdisk and Gamer's Edge, they were two of the four cofounders of id Software, and the pair also cofounded ION Storm and Monkeystone Games before working together at Midway Games. Word is Loot Drop is looking to release its first game by this summer: "Romero said in an interview that his goal is to push the boundaries of social games with creative game design. Under the deal, San Mateo, Calif.-based Loot Drop will make a game that RockYou will fund and publish. The target is to get a game out by the summer, Romero said."

Earthrise Intro Trailer

The Earthrise Media Section now offers the intro trailer for Iceberg Interactive's upcoming MMORPG. Word is: "The latest Earthrise video introduces fans to the thrill of venturing into the wilderness of Enterra alone to obtain new gear. The protagonist is an adventurer who rides a long way to an old, crafting terminal from the age of the Pioneers – a military grade technology currently only available to the government. Journeying into unknown territory at the risk of a potential ambush, the main character relies on his protection armor, shotgun and skimmer mount for safety. The antagonist is wearing speed armor and using the precision rifle to attack the protagonist and loot his possessions. The trailer also depicts the main character being awakened into the re-vesselment chamber. Fans can see the global insurance system that is maintained by Helix Corp., an independent, neutral company that is ready to return lost items to players if they have insurance, which can be very expensive. In Earthrise, players will always get a second chance to return to Enterra to seek revenge on those who have previously harmed them." The embedded version of the trailer follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Patch Adds New Cars

Patch # 2 for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is now available, updating the racing sequel to version 1.020 with performance improvements, bug fixes, and three new cars. The three free cars are the Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible, the Lamborghini Murciélago LP 650-4 Roadster, and the Dodge Viper SRT10 Convertible Final Edition. Be warned the new version is not multiplayer compatible with the old one. The patch is available on the Need for Speed Downloads Page, and mirrored on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Red Faction: Armageddon Trailer

THQ announces the relaunch of the Red Faction Website, which includes a new Red Faction: Armageddon section for the next installment in the groundbreaking shooter series. Included in the media section is a new gameplay trailer showing off the game. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Cryptic Lifetime Subs Sale

The Champions Online Website has news that starting January 25 lifetime subscriptions for Champions Online and Star Trek Online will be sold at a 20% discount until February 4, lowering the price to $239.99 USD. They say this is in celebration of the launch of Champions Online: Free for All and the one year anniversary of Star Trek Online. Thanks Shacknews.

Dead Space 2 Trailer Blowout [Updated]

There are no fewer than ten new Dead Space 2 trailers on the YouTube, offering a flood of gameplay from the upcoming horror-themed shooter sequel. The clips are Hacking Stasis Controls, Buying Weapons & Suit, Puker Attack, Big "Behemoth" Necromorph Battle, Hellish Mind Games, All Aboard the Freak Train, Wrong Day for Laundry, Always Be Prepared, Having Elevator Problems?, and Necromorph Surprise. Thanks Computer and Video Games. Update: Never mind, the videos have now been changed to private and the CVG story has been deleted outright. Presumably the men in black are on their way to wipe the memories of everyone who viewed these clips.

Metal Assault Announced

Aeria Games announces Metal Assault, an upcoming free-to-play, side-scrolling multiplayer shooter that's expected to enter closed beta testing this spring. Word is: "Developed by GNI Soft, Metal Assault is a fast-paced massively multiplayer online (MMO) 2D shooter that promises to win over hardcore and casual players alike with a sizable helping of exciting player-versus-player (PvP) and player-versus-environment (PvE) game modes. As an R.O.C. Operative, players will be able to explore the City of HERZ, run and gun across 12 dangerous maps and go on a series of gun-blazing assignments to unravel the mystery behind the explosion at R.O.C. HQ and the disappearance of the famed Professor Russell." The Metal Assault Website has details, screenshots, a gameplay trailer, and is accepting signups for the closed beta test.

Men of War: Assault Squad Open Beta to Resume

The latest Digitalmindsoft Newsletter announces plans to reactivate open beta testing of Men of War: Assault Squad once the official Steam group for the upcoming real-time strategy sequel reaches 20,000 members. They say when the beta resumes after that milestone they will also add the Soviet Union as a playable faction. There's also a new developer update on the game's DMS website talking about progress on the game since its first open beta, covering things like grenade behavior, new minimap features, balance changes on multiplayer maps, and more.

AIAS Nominees

The Academy Of Interactive Arts & Sciences announces their 14th Annual Interactive Achievement Award Nominees (Adobe Acrobat format). Games receiving multiple nominations include Red Dead Redemption, ENSLAVED: Odyssey to the West, God of War III, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Heavy Rain, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Mass Effect 2, Dance Central, LIMBO, and Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. The awards will be handed out during the 2011 D.I.C.E. Summit on February 10th in Las Vegas. The awards show will once again be hosted by Jay Mohr, and G4 will offer a same day webcast and a TV special on February 12th. The games up for game of the year are Angry Birds HD, Call of Duty: Black Ops, God of War III, Mass Effect 2, and Red Dead Redemption.

Evochron Mercenary Patched

StarWraith 3D Games announces an updated Evochron Mercenary is now available, updating the space combat simulator to version 1.208. As always the new version operates as a full installer, a patch for previous versions, and a playable demo. The update, which is required for multiplayer compatibility, is available on the game's downloads page. The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

NVIDIA Drivers and Upcoming Games

A post on the Overclockers Australia Forums has details on new game profiles in the newly released version 266.58 NVIDIA reference drivers. Included on the list are a number of games that are yet to be released, suggesting NVIDIA already has builds of these games, including Battlefield 1943, Bulletstorm, Fable III, RAGE, Red Orchestra: Heroes of Stalingrad, They, and more. Thanks Joao.

Op Ed

GameFront - Homage or Plagiarism?
I think part of the reason Gameloft gets a free pass (one I give them myself) is the total transparency with which these games are stolen, helped in no small part to the fame of the authentic products. Capcom copying ‘Splosion Man is bad, because ‘Splosion Man is an indie game from a small studio. Gameloft copying Halo is fine, because everybody knows what Halo is, and Bungie isn’t going to suffer in the slightest.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

It Came from CES 2011, Part 18

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

It was 30 years ago today that the Iranian hostage crisis ended on the day Ronald Regan was inaugurated as POTUS. Sometimes an anniversary like that will seem like it wasn't that long ago, but this one doesn't have that feel for me, as it seems like ancient history.

Ancient Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Temple Glider.
Robot Clashes.
Hack Slash Crawl.
Links: 13 of The Worst Names for a Hotel. Thanks dakslf.
Who is fixing your plane, and how?
The 7 Craziest -Sex Toys Used As Weapons.
Stories: Cat is summoned for jury duty in Boston. Thanks Neatorama.
Bull sharks seen in flooded streets. Thanks Slashdot.
Man sues neighbors over rude bird. Thanks Slashdot.
Science: New research confirms semen allergy in some men. Using a skin-prick test.
Sun Pelted by Icy Comet 'Storm'. Thanks dakslf.
Trying to Measure Dogs’ Scat-Sniffing Abilities. Thanks j.c.f.
Images: Throne of Gaming Cartridges. Thanks Joker961 via reddit.
Paintings by Jacek Yerka.
Media: Hipster Superheroes.
Neutral Buoyancy Cats.
Friend Request "Chat Windows?!" SuperNews.
Follow-up: "Spider-Man" Set Photos, Character Axed.
Villains of Nolan's Batman 3- A crazy cat lady and a wrestler. Thanks nin.
Ricky Gervais to reprise David Brent role on NBC's 'The Office'.
The Making of Tealy & Orangey.
Keanu Reeves talks about the "sad Keanu" photo. In British.



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