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Thursday, May 05, 2011 Cinco de Mayo. Happy Birthday Wolfenstein 3D.

  

Dead Block Announced

Digital Reality announces Dead Block, calling this a "unique" zombie defense game for Windows, XBLA, and PSN to be released "later this year." The Dead Block Website has images and a trailer, and here's a bit on the Unreal Engine 3 game:

Dead Block focuses on innovative defensive gameplay in which the few remaining survivors, Jack Foster (a construction worker), Foxy Jones (a traffic warden), and Mike Bacon (a perpetually hungry boy scout) have formed an unlikely alliance to protect themselves from the invading undead. Hiding in various shelters around town, they avoid Zombies by building blockades, setting fiendish traps or – as a last resort – using their weapons to fight.

In addition to 10 Single-player levels the game offers up to 4-Player, Split-Screen Multiplayer with an additional 8 Multiplayer co-op levels where players can fight side by side with their friends.

RAGE Mods Will Be All the Rage

During a recent press event, id Software's Tim Willits revealed that level design and modification tools for RAGE will be included with the upcoming first-person shooter. Tim explains all you need to do is "Pull down the console, type 'id studio,' then press enter. Then, bam, there’s all the tools we use," reports PC Gamer. "Building levels from scratch is more difficult," he explains. "Because we have a layer system in some of the levels. I can foresee somebody modding up Wellspring and adding different characters, giving them different voice-over." That said, the editor will support creation of new levels, as Tim says: "It’s built into the engine."

Witcher 2 AU Censorship

Shacknews has a statement from CD Projekt indicating that the version of the Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings sold in Australia will be censored:

In order to obtain the rating in Australia, CD Projekt RED was unexpectedly obliged to make small changes to game content relating to the topic of sex as a reward. Since these changes are quite minor, especially relative to the total amount of content, they are unlikely to significantly affect the overall play experience.

Din's Curse Patches

The Din's Curse Patches Page offers new version 1.024 patches for the Windows and OS X editions of Soldak Entertainment's action/RPG. This page has all the changes, which consist of balance changes, bug fixes, and polish.

Quote of the Day II

"When I think about it, if you go back and look at the original Call of Duty, how they built that, the first Call of Duty didn’t do 18 million units. The franchise was built over time, building a quality consumer experience and supporting it well. And hey, there’s a lot of room between 2.6 million units and 18." -- THQ CEO Brian Farrell on Homefront's prospects of CoD's level of success.

On Sale

Save 50% on a large list of games on the THQ Online Store. All preorders on Direct2Drive are 10% off.

  • Dragonsphere on GOG.com. Save 100%.
  • FUEL on Games For Windows. Save 50%.
  • Hydrophobia: Prophecy on Steam. Save 15%.
  • Mass Effect on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Mass Effect 2 on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Mass Effect 2 Digital Deluxe Edition on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Men of War on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Men of War: Assault Squad on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Men of War: Collector Pack on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Men of War: Red Tide on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light on GamersGate. Save 60%.
  • Tomb Raider Anniversary on GamersGate. Save 60%.
  • Tomb Raider: Underworld on GamersGate. Save 60%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Age of Empires Online Beta Mania

Update: Thanks for all the interest in the giveaway, but our supply of beta keys is finally exhausted. Those interested in checking out the beta test of Age of Empires Online can head over to the Games For Windows Marketplace between now and 3:00 pm EDT on Saturday to gain access. There have been reports that the beta will conclude on Saturday, but we're told this is not the case, and the beta will continue past then. It's not completely clear if these signups will enable you to play past that point, however, so those looking to hedge against that possibility can reply to this thread and request one of our still-substantial supply of beta keys, and we'll send one along. As before, Games for Windows LIVE is required. Update: Thanks for all the interest in the giveaway, but our supply of beta keys is finally exhausted.

Assassin's Creed Revelations Announced

Ubisoft announces Assassin's Creed Revelations, saying the fourth installment in the stealth/action series will represent the "final chapter in the Ezio trilogy" when it is released this November for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. They offer a logo and a piece of artwork from the game, and say to expect more revelations at E3. In the meantime, here's a chunk of the announcement:

In Assassin’s Creed Revelations, master assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of his legendary mentor, Altaïr, on a journey of discovery and revelation. It is a perilous path – one that will take Ezio to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where a growing army of Templars threatens to destabilize the region.

In addition to Ezio’s award-winning story, the acclaimed online multiplayer experience returns, refined and expanded, with more modes, more maps and more characters that allow players to test their assassin skills against others from around the world. The latest chapter in the Assassin’s Creed saga also includes revolutionary gameplay, allowing players to manipulate the construct of Desmond’s memories and the Animus to decipher the mysteries of his past and gain insight into the future.

Bad Day at Black Rock

A twice updated story on Eurogamer reports job losses at Black Rock Studio, the Brighton-based, Disney-owned developer of various racing games, including Split/Second and Pure. The unconfirmed parts of the report include that about 100 positions are being cut, leaving a staff of about 40, and that about half the studio has been inactive since the end of last year, as follow ups to both Split/Second and Pure have been abandoned along the way. The confirmed part of the story is this statement from Disney: "Disney Interactive Studios confirms a reduction of its workforce from its Brighton-based internal game development studio, Black Rock Studios. The studio will continue its work on its current project."

The Old Republic Date Uncertain

Star Wars: The Old Republic is no longer listed on EA's release schedule, reports MCV, so it's now uncertain when to expect BioWare's upcoming Star Wars MMORPG. "We're holding the date for two reasons," EA Games boss Frank Gibeau stated. "First, we don't want to tip off the competition; second, we want more data from the beta test to guarantee a spectacular experience at launch." The Old Republic was given a Spring 2011 release window in January 2010, though an unconfirmed report early this year suggested the game would come in September.

RAGE "Shrouded Clan" Trailer

There's a link on the Bethesda Blog to a trailer from RAGE showing off five minutes of gameplay footage from id Software's upcoming first-person shooter. Here's word: "This time around, we take you into the Shrouded clan’s bunker with a mission to destroy the bomb caches." Below is the embedded clip. Continue here to read the full story.

Duke Nukem Forever Shrinkage Trailer

A new trailer from Duke Nukem Forever shows off Duke's bout with shrinkage in the upcoming first-person shooter sequel, presumably caused by the shrink ray, rather than cold water or juicing. Along the way the clip proves it's not the size of the Duke in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the Duke. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Brink Trailer

The Bethesda Blog now offers the promised final installment in the series of "Get SMART" trailers from Brink, Splash Damage's first-person shooter that's due for release next week. Word is: "Today we conclude our Get SMART Series with a video providing strategies to survive Brink’s battlefield. Learn more about effectively using command posts, turrets, mines and more."

Hawken Video Preview

There's a Hawken video preview on G4tv.com with a look at the upcoming UDK mech game and a conversation with Khange Le, the art director on the project, who explains the game's visual influences, gameplay philosophy, minimal customization, and more. Word is the game will launch with seven multiplayer maps and four "distinct" environments.

Quote of the Day

"I am particularly proud of EA's rapid growth and scale in digital and that our growth rate almost doubled that of the digital sector overall. We did it in a way no other competitor can, and in a way that best addresses the future opportunity in the market. We did it across multiple IP, across all the relevant platforms, from social to mobile to console, and across a variety of business models." -- EA CEO John Riccitiello.

World of Warcraft Hotfixes

Battle.net has details on new hotfixes now live on the server side in World of Warcraft, Blizzard's MMORPG. The update includes bug fixes as well as balance tweaks. Thanks Ant.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

  • Star Wars: The Old Republic on PC Gamer.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy Cinco de Mayo! As noted last year, this celebration of Mexican heritage is apparently far more widely celebrated here in the U.S. than in Mexico. According to the Wikipedia, the occasion started getting traction here in the 1980s when beer companies began promoting it. I'll drink to that!

Cinco de Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Cursed Treasure Level Pack.
Star Cannon.
Links: Fox Mulder's Wristwatch. Thanks Neatorama.
Stories: Who’s the Dog Hero of the Raid on Bin Laden. Thanks j.c.f.
Science: Autism epidemic? More likely we're just better at diagnosis.
GPS backpacks track NZ hedgehogs. Thanks brother19.
Gravity Probe B Project Confirms Einstein Space/Time Ideas. Thanks j.c.f.
Images: Family Dinner FAIL.
Familiar faces in World of Warcraft.
Media: Cliche.
Millionaire Blooper to end all Bloopers.
Farm tractor with Volkswagen Golf GTI motor.



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