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Tuesday, Feb 15, 2011

  

Retail Amnesia in N.A. Next Week

THQ will be publishing a retail version of Amnesia: The Dark Descent in North America, reports IGN. Word is the game, which is currently only available through digital distribution, will hit store shelves on February 22.

Total War: Shogun 2 Demo Next Week

The Total War Website announces to expect a Total War: Shogun 2 demo on Steam next week (thanks Big Download). Here's the deal:

LONDON (15 February, 2011) – SEGA Europe Ltd. today announced that the eagerly awaited demo of the next title in the critically acclaimed Total War™ series, Total War: SHOGUN 2™ will be available on Steam from 22 February 2011.

SEGA and The Creative Assembly are proud to let gamers everywhere know that a demo for Total War: Shogun 2 will soon be available on Steam. The demo will allow all armchair samurai to test their skills in epic land battles and on Total War: Shogun 2’s gorgeous new campaign map.

Ships Ahoy - R.U.S.E. The Pack of The Rising Sun DLC

Steam now offers The Pack of The Rising Sun, new DLC for R.U.S.E., Eugen Systems' RTS game, which is required to use the new content. Here's what to expect: "The Pack of The Rising Sun gives you the opportunity to command the Japanese Army in solo and multiplayer modes. You will also make the most of 28 new units and factories in 3 exclusive operations dedicated to the Imperial Japanese Army (Gold for the Brave, Ostfriesland, and For Honour)."

Painkiller - Redemption This Month

DreamCatcher Games and JoWooD Entertainment announce a February 25, 2011 release date for Painkiller - Redemption, also confirming our belief that this Painkiller expansion is a standalone release, and does not require Painkiller to play. The announcement also includes this new game overview:

The kingdom of heaven is threatened by a ruthless army from hell. Two champions, Daniel and Belial, who we already know as the two previous heroes of the series, combine their forces and join the never-ending battle between good and evil.

“It demands quite a bit of skill to confront the countless hordes of monsters – to vanquish them you can equip some really crazy weapons“, says Markus Reutner, International Product Marketing Manager at JoWooD. “We also have the right soundtrack for the fast-paced action because the atmosphere is particularly important when countless monsters attack you without mercy. An insiders' tip for Painkiller friends as well as for new fans!“

StarCraft II Patched

Battle.net has details on a new patch for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty which is now available automatically to update the real-time strategy sequel to version 1.2.1. The new version includes matchmaking and editor improvements. The release notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

EVE Online: Incursion Updated

CCP announces the launch of EVE Online: Incursion version 1.2, the latest update to their science fiction MMORPG. Here's word:

Today EVE Online: Incursion 1.2 was deployed to Tranquility, the EVE Online server, continuing CCP's new content deployment strategy of smaller, more frequent content patches in order to deliver optimizations and features to players as soon as they are polished. Incursion 1.2 is the thematic successor to Incursion 1.0, which brought a host of changes with the prioritization help of the Council of Stellar Management, a player-elected representative body of EVE's 350,000 pilots. A team of dedicated EVE Online developers have declared war on hundreds of "quality of life" improvements and are working their way through them throughout the Incursion release cycle. Today's release addresses often-requested optimizations including enhancements for clones and jump clones, market improvements, the return of character capturing in game and much more. A full list of improvements can be found here.

ATARI Financials

ATARI's financial reporting (Adobe Acrobat format) is online for the nine months ending December 31, 2010. Here's the summary: "Atari, S.A. announces consolidated 9-month revenues for fiscal year 2010/2011 (April 1 st to December 31 st , 2010) at €41.0 million (a 55.7% decline year-onyear), compared to the same period in the FY 2009/2010 when Ghostbusters: The Video Game was released on multiple console and handheld platforms. Revenues are consistent with the full year current operating income guidance for fiscal year 2010/2011 and result from (i) the focus on selling fewer but more profitable games and (ii) the strategic shift towards online gaming, a market segment where Atari intends to benefit from new growth drivers." Thanks Big Download.

RIFT Beta Opens, Tweet Your Friends

The promised open beta test event is now underway in RIFT, offering the chance to try on Trion's upcoming MMORPG for size. Word is you can also Tweet from within the game: "Tweeting from Telara couldn’t be easier. After entering your Twitter login info in the settings menu, players can simply type “/tweet” into in-game chat and update their feed. Achievements are tweeted automatically by default, but the option can be switched off in the settings menu."

Cities in Motion Interview

A new Cities in Motion Video Interview offers a motion picture conversation with Mariina Hallikainen, producer on the upcoming mass transportation simulation set in several European cities. The clip features some gameplay footage along with information on the game. Here's a bit: "In the five and half minute video, Hallikainen describes some of the key features and gameplay elements that the development team has implemented in to the game including an underground view for the metro system, a first for a transport simulator. Another area that she says the team has worked hard on is the AI of the citizens that populate the four cities in Cities in Motion. All of them are individuals with names, a job, a place to live and they all have preferences on where they want to travel such as the golf course at the weekend, or going to the stadium to watch the match. The trick for the player is to get to know your citizens to see where they are going and to build your transportation system accordingly."

Quote of the Day

"Yes. Absolutely. There’s no other word for it except evil. Of course you can debate anything, but the general definition of evil in the real world, where there isn’t like the villain in the mountain fortress, is selfishness to the detriment of others or to the detriment of the world. And that’s exactly what [most of these games are]." Jonathan Blow on social games. Thanks Mike Martinez.

On Sale

  • Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Deluxe Edition on Impulse. Save 17% on preorders.
  • Just Cause on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Just Cause 2 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Konung III - Ties of the Dynasty on Impulse. Save 80%.
  • Shrapnel's Bundle of Fun on GamersFront. Save 75%. Air Command 3.0 BRAINPIPE, Salllywag, and Space HoRSE.
    Still (permanently?) on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: World's 4 Best Flyers Making Fun Of Other Flyers. Thanks Devicer.

Duke Nukem Forever and Steamworks

The Gearbox Software Forums announce Steamworks support for Duke Nukem Forever, their upcoming shooter sequel starring gaming's fair-haired boy. Here's word on what this means to you: "It means that regardless of where or how you buy Duke Nukem Forever on PC, your purchase will be tied to your Steam account, ensuring that you'll always be able to install a copy of the game even if you lose your disc."

Men of War: Assault Squad Demo

A playable demo for Men of War: Assault Squad is now available, offering the chance to sample Digitalmindsoft's standalone World War II real-time tactics expansion. The demo is available on Steam, but since it does not require a Steam account to play, it is also mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

Battlefield 2142 Patch

The Battlefield Blog announces the incredibly long wait for the version 1.51 patch for Battlefield 2142 is over, and the new patch is now official (thanks Silvanus). The new version removes the game's DRM and adds the maps Operation Blue Pearl, Yellow Knife, Molokai, and Strike at Karkand along with extra account security, a fix for NVIDIA drivers "to solve tinitus visual effect," and a fix for a hit detection bug. As noted on the EA Forums, the new patch is the same as the final beta patch, so folks with that do not need to download anything new. For everyone else they offer several download locations, and the patch is also mirrored on AtomicGamer, Fileshack (thanks Charles), and Gamer's Hell.

New Catalyst Reference Drivers

AMD support now offers new version 11.2 reference drivers for AMD/ATI graphics cards. The new drivers include Catalyst AI texture filtering updates, tessellation controls, morphological anti-aliasing support for the ATI Radeon HD 5000 Series, and new quality settings for Blu-Ray playback. They also include performance improvements for Call of Duty: Black Ops (up to 11% faster on ATI Radeon HD 5000 Series single card configurations with anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing enabled) and Batman Arkham Asylum (up to 4% faster on ATI Radeon HD 5000 Series single configurations with anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing disabled).

Darkspore Beta Begins

Maxis announces that closed beta testing of Darkspore is now underway, kicking off five weeks of testing of their upcoming action/RPG. Participants were selected from those who registered on the Darkspore Website, but there's still a chance to get in on one of the upcoming beta events for those who sign up now. To promote the beta they also offer this new trailer, which is also embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

PC Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Next Month

The Ubisoft Forums finally offer a release date for the PC edition of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, saying the Windows version of latest installment in the stealth action series is due on March 17th in North America and certain EMEA territories, and March 18th in the U.K. The post by Ubi's U.K. forum manager adds an amusing note: "And now you know, Assassins… and knowing is half the battle (the other half of which is destroying the Templars and gathering up the Pieces of Eden!)." Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Duke Nukem Forever Preorder Bonuses

The Duke Nukem Forever Pre-Order Page outlines incentives for preordering either the standard or recently announced Balls of Steel edition of Duke Nukem Forever, Gearbox Software's upcoming first-person shooter. North American customers preordering the game from GameStop for any platform will receive "Duke's Big Package," which includes "in-game EGO boost, Big Head Mode and T-Shirt pack," or from Wal-Mart to receive a Duke Nukem Forever trucker hat to get in touch with your inner Duke Kutcher. These bonuses are offered "while supplies last," but neither offer seems to be online yet.

Next Assassin's Creed Reveal in May

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot revealed plans to unveil the next installment the Assassin's Creed series in May during their post-earnings conference call, reports IGN. They say he referred to the new game as a "packaged title" to be released later this year. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

New Relic RTS Plans

THQ's Danny Bilson tweets about Relic's plans for a new real-time strategy game they plan to officially announce in August: "The big announce for the next Relic RTS should come in August...that's the plan." Thanks Computer and Video Games.

Voltron Game License

THQ has picked up the license to create a series of video games based on Voltron, from Voltron: Defender of the Universe, the 1980s animated series, reports Variety. The first game is expected to appear this fall in conjunction with a new series of cartoons that will reboot the series. The article also says a live action movie and (naturally) a new series of Voltron toys are also in the works.

More WoW Hotfixes

Battle.net outlines still more recent hotfixes in World of Warcraft as Blizzard can't resist the urge to continually tweak the balance in their MMORPG. This includes a partial fix for awarding the "Exalted" title, which is outlined further in this post. Thanks Ant.

Felicia Day's Dragon Age Web Series

A story on USATODAY.com has word on plans for a web series based on Dragon Age to be created by The Guild creator Felicia Day, who will write and star in the series. Word is: "Day's six-episode run, due to hit the Web this year, is set in Ferelden, the same fantasy land in which 2009's Dragon Age: Origins and the upcoming sequel Dragon Age II play out. In the Tolkienesque sword-and-sorcery adventure game, several races join forces to combat a scourge called the Darkspawn (think of them as cousins to the orcs in The Lord of the Rings)." Thanks MCV.

Crysis 2 Trailers

A new Crysis 2 Experience: Part 1 - Road Rage Trailer features Xbox 360 gameplay footage described like so: "Watch Alcatraz go head-to-head with CELL forces along the landmark FDR bridge in 'Road Rage,' the first installment of The Crysis 2 Experience" (it's actually the FDR drive, the FDR bridge is in Poughkeepsie). Also, a new Crysis 2 story trailer uses cinematics and gameplay footage to set the story for Crytek's upcoming first-person shooter sequel. The clip shows the destruction of the game's New York City setting, the subjugation of the city's citizenry, and the power of the protagonist's nanosuit 2. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Alice Madness Returns Trailer

A third official Alice Madness Returns trailer shows off more cinematic footage of the sequel to American McGee's Alice in the works at Spicy Horse. The clip features a bring-your-own-weapons tea party. Thanks Computer and Video Games.

Metal Assault Trailer

Aeria Games offers a new trailer and a set of screenshots and concept art from Metal Assault to show off some of the playable vehicles in this upcoming free-to-play side-scrolling multiplayer shooter. A description of some of the vehicles follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Gabe Newell Interview Part 2

Steamcast Episode #48 is online with the second part of the Gabe Newell/Erik "Smith" Johnson interview (part one was released last week). In addition to the audio interview in various formats, they offer show notes, a transcript, and a transcript in Acrobat format. Topics include the trend towards more game sequels than in the past, Gabe's inspiration to get into the game industry, their striking inability to address any questions related to the Half-Life franchise, Valve's long-term goals, their plans for mobile gaming, the success of Steam, OnLive, DOTA 2, having fun at work, their obsession with the Seattle Seahawks, new IP, and much more.

Op Ed

IndustryGamers - Call of Duty Is NOT The Next Guitar Hero.
In the days following the big news, there have been countless opinion pieces online, pointing to the fact that Activision milks its franchises to death, and with the doubling down on Call of Duty, that the heralded shooter franchise is next in line to be given the Guitar Hero treatment. And while there's always a risk of franchise fatigue for any publisher's big franchise, labeling Call of Duty as the next Guitar Hero would be a mistake.

The analysts IndustryGamers spoke with universally agreed that these are two very different situations, and Activision doesn't need to "learn" from the recent Guitar Hero outcome. If treated with care, there's no reason that Call of Duty can't last for a long time to come.

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Today would have been my Dad's birthday, the first that's come up since he died last August. This is a little sad for me, but not completely, as it provides a good opportunity to recall his life and how much I loved him, as well as how much I miss him. Happy birthday pop!

Reminiscent Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Ball of Steel.
Sundrops.
Amea.
Links: 6 Factors That Secretly Influence Who You Have Sex With.
7 Hottest Hacker Chicks in Internet History.
Stories: Diorite man extinguishes fire with snow blower. Thanks Slashdot.
At 5 Feet Tall, Biggest Known Crab Heads to UK. Thanks Dark Roasted Blend.
Science: Up telescope! Search begins for giant new planet.
Spinning black holes 'twist light'.
Images: NYC gives Optimus Prime a parking ticket.
NASA's Most Dazzling Images From The Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Media: Phases of the Moon. Thanks Jim.
Fan-made Avengers Trailer.
CBS reporter Serene Branson messes up Grammy news.
The Funnies: Brevity.



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