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Thursday, Feb 17, 2011

  

NPD: 5% Industry Decline

NPD's data for January shows overall revenue for the game industry down 5% compared with January 2010, reports Gamasutra. Word is: "New retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories totaled $1.16 billion for the month. With PC sales excluded, the industry drew a total of $1.14 billion in revenue, down 4 percent from the year before." They also note: "Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops was the best selling new retail title for the third month in a row in January, after selling over 12 million units across five separate platforms in 2010." They also offer a list of the ten bestselling titles for the month of January:

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard) - Xbox 360, PS3, Wi, DS, PC
  2. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft) - Wii
  3. Dead Space 2 (Electronic Arts) - Xbox 360, PS3, PC
  4. Little Big Planet 2 (Sony) - PS3
  5. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco) - Wii, Xbox 360, PS3
  6. NBA 2K11 (Take-Two Interactive) - Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, Wii, PS2, PC
  7. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft) - Xbox 360, PS3
  8. Dance Central (MTV Games) - Xbox 360
  9. Michael Jackson The Experience (Ubisoft) - Wii, DS, PSP
  10. DC Universe Online: The Next Legend Is You (Sony) - PS3, PC

The Walking Dead & Fables Game Plans

AllThingsDigital has a confirmation of last month's rumor of plans for a The Walking Dead game, saying Telltale is working on a series of games based on the zombified graphic novels and television series, also revealing they plan another comic adaption: Fables. They don't have any detail on the games, as the article focuses on Telltale's business model. Thanks Gamasutra.

Metal Drift Relaunched

Black Jacket Studios has relaunched Metal Drift, the futuristic first-person vehicular sport/combat game that was first released via Steam in late 2009 amid the release of higher profile titles Borderlands, Dragon Age: Origins, and Modern Warfare 2. There is now a new version of the game for sale on Direct2Drive and GamersGate with some bug fixes as well as some improvements, including a new account system; a faster, more reliable new Master Server; new tank skins; and new East Coast and European dedicated servers. The game's original launch trailer shows off what to expect, and here's Black Jacket's explanation of the relaunch: "When we initially launched on Steam, it was tucked between Borderlands, Dragon Age, and Modern Warfare 2 releases. We were lucky to get the little press that we did at the time. We're re-launching now on new platforms and with an update to bolster and expand our community and hopefully get a little more attention at a slower time of year. We still think it's the most action-packed multiplayer game out there. Maybe not the best graphics ever, but you really can't beat the action." The list of changes and bug fixes follows. Continue here to read the full story.

RAGE Trailer

The official RAGE Website offers a new trailer from id Software's upcoming first-person shooter. The clip shows off the game's environments using gameplay and cinematics, and the website offers the following explanation: "We've released a new trailer for RAGE – featuring an original track, Burning Jacob's Ladder, by singer Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, Gutter Twins)."

TERA Trailer

There's a new TERA trailer on G4tv.com offering a tour of Mount Tyrannas in this upcoming MMORPG. Word is: "Just be warned, the tour gets a little scary with monsters standing around in a giant castle."

Mike Patton Returns to The Darkness

2K Games announces that former Faith No More frontman Mike Patton is reprising his titular role from The Darkness in the upcoming The Darkness II. "The story behind The Darkness II wouldn’t be complete or authentic without the character of The Darkness," said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. "Mike Patton brings a completely unique perspective to the role which is essential in creating the world of The Darkness." In addition to this role, Patton also voiced Nathan Spencer, the main character in the Bionic Commando remake, as well as roles as the voice of the Anger Sphere in Portal and as many of the infected zombies in Left 4 Dead.

Natural Selection Patch, Trailer

The Natural Selection 2 Website has word on a new Build 163 of Natural Selection 2 that's now available to beta testers of the upcoming action/strategy sequel. They also offer a new trailer showing off the patch, saying: "We thought we'd take some time to show you the biggest changes in detail. There a bit of a surprise in there..."

StarCraft II Interview

The StarCraft II interview on Games On Net talks with Blizzard's Dustin Browder, talking with the lead designer on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty about Blizzard's custom maps, map tools, Blizzard DotA, plans to change the custom map system, what Heart of the Swarm will bring to the story and ladder system of their real-time strategy sequel, and more.

Dead Space Interview

The Dead Space interview on IndustryGamers chats up Wright Bagwell to ask the Creative Director at Visceral Games about the Dead Space series. Specific topics include character development, designing Isaac, giving Isaac a voice in the sequel, the third-person perspective, the HUD and controls, the relationship between Isaac and Nicole, and more.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Operation Flashpoint: Red River in April

Operation Flashpoint: Red River is due for release in the U.S. on April 26 for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, reports GameSpot, where they say Codemasters' military shooter sequel will show up on European shelves the week before on April 21. They also offer some new details on the game's content, saying: "Codemasters has also issued more details about the game itself. The 10-mission campaign will be playable by up to four players in co-op, while a new Fireteam Engagements mode will present skirmishes for up to four players, including one where players face waves of enemies and another where they extract marines from a downed helicopter."

Bulletstorm Trailer

A new Bulletstorm 'Whip, Kick, Boom' Trailer shows off the action in "the ass end of space" which is the setting of the upcoming first-person shooter from People Can Fly and Epic Games. The trailer depicts a load of over-the-top gameplay, describing how Bulletstorm offers cool stuff to do, cool stuff to get, cooler stuff to do, and cooler stuff to get, all set to the soothing strains of Boom by P.O.D. Below is the embedded version. Continue here to read the full story.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood PC Date Correction & Add-on News

We have a corrected North American release date of March 22 for the Windows edition of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, which makes more sense than the March 17 release date mentioned earlier this week in the Ubisoft Forums, since games are typically released on Tuesdays in this region. We learned this after receiving an announcement from Ubisoft for The Da Vinci Disappearance, a new add-on planned for release next month for the action/stealth sequel. The announcement only mentions the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, so we contacted Ubisoft to ask if there are plans for a PC edition of this add-on. In reply we got a very indirect answer saying that more information on the PC version will be released next week, referring to the Windows edition of full game. When we tried to pin down an answer about the add-on, we were told more specifically that next week we will learn more about the PC version, "including specs, content, etc." We don't know any more than that, so there are two ways to read it: One is that they are not discussing a PC add-on right now because the PC edition isn't out yet, but the other is the possibility that the PC edition will actually include the add-on from the get-go, which would explain the reference to learning more about the "content" it will include. We'll find out next week.

Cities in Motion Demo

Publisher Paradox Interactive and developer Colossal Order offer a playable demo for Cities in Motion, their PC mass transportation simulator due for release next week. Here's what it offers: "Containing the tutorial mode from the game, the Cities in Motion playable demo covers one in-game year and gives players a tantalizing taste of the fun and addictive gameplay they can expect from the full release." The download can be found on ComputerGames.ro, FilePlanet, Gamer's Hell, and WorthPlaying.

Bungie MMO Shooter Rumor

Kotaku reports a rumor that Bungie's first project since their emancipation from Microsoft is Destiny, a massively multiplayer online first-person shooter with a science fiction theme. They attribute this to an anonymous source claiming to be a contract employee recently terminated as "part of a group of an estimated 30 non-salaried employees let go from Bungie" at the behest of publisher Activision Blizzard. Casting doubt on all this is an update on Bungie.net denying the publisher-ordered layoffs, saying: "Bungie has never been asked to lay off any employees or contract employees by our publisher, Activision-Blizzard, for any reason." They do not, however, address the game rumor.

Forsaken World Open Beta Next Week, Launch Next Month

This Forsaken World Video Preview features John Belliss, Perfect World Entertainment's director of marketing, discussing closed beta testing of Forsaken World, their upcoming free-to-play MMORPG, and new features they plan based on user feedback. He talks about the status of the beta, say it will be open to all comers on February 23. John also describes plans to add a new PvE server, more realms, and raise the level cap to 60 when this next beta phase begins, providing players with new content and more challenges. He also discusses longer-term plans to add things like an auction house and new PvP arenas, and confirms plans for the game to go live on March 23.

Shoot Many Robots Details, Trailer

Demiurge Studios offers the promised new details on Shoot Many Robots, their upcoming four-player co-op action/RPG they say will offer "tons of loot and great innovation on beloved run-and-gun game play" when it's released this year. They also have released a new trailer showing off the first gameplay from this action-packed side-scroller as well as this batch of screenshots. Says Demiurge's Albert Reed: "Our team created a vibrant, unique style for the game that’s beautifully rendered by Demiurge’s new game engine. Building a 'Robot Murder Simulator' has been a blast for us, and we can't wait to get it into gamers' hands." The embedded version of the trailer follows. Continue here to read the full story.

World of Warcraft Hotfixes

Battle.net has word on still more server-side World of Warcraft hotfixes, as they continue to play with the balance of the MMORPG. Thanks Ant.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Sells a Million

City Interactive announces that Sniper: Ghost Warrior has sold more than one million copies worldwide on Xbox 360 and PC in the seven months since the release of the first-person shooter. They say: "A lot of hard work and dedication by the entire City Interactive team went into the development of Sniper: Ghost Warrior, so we are understandably pleased about the worldwide success of the game," said Marek Tymiński, CEO of City Interactive. "This success is the perfect backdrop to reveal details about some of the fantastic games that we currently have in our development pipeline, including the sequel to Sniper: Ghost Warrior and a couple of unannounced projects."

CrimeCraft: BLEEDOUT Trailer & Q&A

Vogster Entertainment announces the release of a new trailer offering a short preview of Episode 8 of CrimeCraft: BLEEDOUT, and also offers an internal Q&A about the launch of the episodic BLEEDOUT expansion for this online third-person shooter. The interview discusses all the changes in the game since its launch about a year ago, and the trailer highlights the new episode to be launched on Saturday.

Op Ed

IndustryGamers - Why Game Publishers Don't Get It - Activision and Kotick Lost In a Time Machine.
So why am I picking on Activision? It’s nothing personal and Bobby Kotick has achieved incredible success over the years. He’s very fortunate to have Blizzard and Call of Duty delivering stellar results, but he seems lost in a time machine perspective of a past business model that will never return. First, he dismisses social, mobile and apps as a viable business. He said, “The place where you have the opportunities for growth is within the communities of franchises we control. We (Activision) don’t view the App Store as a really big opportunity for dedicated games. It’s a different question assessing [social games] as a business opportunity. Right now we don’t see an opportunity for us to participate in that market.”

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Spring training for the upcoming baseball season is underway, and the Mets' first exhibition game is next week. There's not much reason to be optimistic about the team's prospects at this point, but with snow and ice all over the place, the approach of the baseball season is uplifting anyway.

Uplifting Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Alphabet Shoot 2.
Highway Pursuit 2.
Orbital Guard.
Links: Minecraft-ish shirt. Thanks Batman.
Things Could Always Be Worse.
The World’s Greatest Movie Stunts.
Stories: "Terminator" Resurrected With Justin Lin.
Kansas judge says homemade seat belt doesn’t count. Thanks Neatorama.
Images: When Kindles Attack.
The Most Retro Cosplay You'll Be Able to Find.
Space Invaders Moss Mural.
Media: The future of dating.
WORST Facebook Profile Pics EVER.
Tow Truck Drivers Nearly Pull Off Perfect Scam. Thanks Boing Boing.
The Funnies: Dueling Analogs: Video Games Cause Violence.



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