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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

  

The Witcher 2 Preloads

GOG.com announces that only six days remain to preorder The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Digital Premium Edition from their site. They also announce that as of now preorder customers are able to download about 95% of their DRM-free version of the upcoming RPG sequel. Word is: "Pre-order now to grab the full exclusive bag of goodies with all of the bonus material: a virtual version of the collector’s edition artbook, the whole soundtrack with 4 unreleased tracks exclusive to GOG.com, wallpapers, avatars and a photo tour showing the behind the scenes work of your favorite CDProjekt Red team. Last (but not least!) you get one of five epic RPGs for free."

Brink Patch Plans

There's a teensy patch for Brink automatically available through Steam, but there's also a post on the Bethesda Blog outlining patch plans on all three platforms for Splash Damage's new shooter. Here's word on the Windows edition:

In other PC news, we’ve also been working closely with the guys over at Bethesda Softworks to identify and solve any hardware compatibility issues that people have been reporting. For the AMD graphics card owners out there, make sure you’ve installed the latest AMD video drivers as that will solve a fair few of the visual and performance issues out there. Similarly, if you have an NVIDIA card and are experiencing issues with the game, make sure you’ve got the latest NVIDIA video drivers installed.

The next game update for the PC version is already in the works, and includes a fix for the FOV issue some of you have been reporting on the forums, among several other things. We’ll have more information to share on that soon.

Brawl Busters Announced

Rock Hippo Productions announces Brawl Busters, an online multiplayer third-person action game in development at SkeinGlobe that was previously known as Project Plan B. The Brawl Busters Website is online with information and a trailer, also offering signups for an upcoming closed beta test. Here's a bit on the game:

Players will find five unique character classes including the Slugger, the Firefighter, the Rocker, the Boxer and finally, the Blitzer. With its signature funky visual style, the game will offer seven exciting maps and will also feature a huge variety of customization options including body type, gender, weapons, costumes and accessories along with the ability to upgrade weapons and costumes with new abilities. Brawl Busters will feature an intense Training Mode, Challenge Missions, leader boards and persistent stat tracking.

Fallout: New Vegas DLC Trailer

The Fallout Website now offers a set of new screenshots from the Honest Hearts for Fallout: New Vegas, as well as a new trailer from the upcoming DLC for the action/RPG sequel. The post also points the way to this overview of Honest Hearts.

Capcom on PC Gaming

The Capcom Blog has an update on Capcom's plans for an increased focus on PC gaming. Here's a bit:

Over the years, the producers have continued to learn lessons about the PC gaming market and how it differs from that which they know well on the console side of the house. Something that’s important to understand is that the PC gaming market in Japan is rather small historically so their personal experiences with PC gaming are often different from those of Western developers. On the plus side though, the online gaming scene in Japan is growing rapidly. Capcom develops and operates Monster Hunter Frontier which is one of the largest, if not the largest online PC game in Japan.

PC gaming's profile is growing at Capcom. Both the US and our European teams continue to request PC SKUs for new titles. We've got more titles coming with PC versions than ever before (e.g. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, etc.). At green light meetings, our Japanese COO and the head of the consumer and online software business increasingly request a PC version if one is not being proposed at the outset of a project.

Free WW2 Campaign for SC: WWI The Great War

Battlefront.com has details on 1939 Storm over Europe, a free bonus campaign in the works at Fury Software to add a little World War II to Strategic Command: WWI The Great War, their World War I strategy game. "While having lots of fun designing and then playing the WWI game on the new large scale map, it kept occurring to me that this map would also be ideal for WWII scenarios. In fact it would be a crying shame not to take advantage of this amazing opportunity that we have here for a grand scale WWII campaign," says Fury Software lead designer Bill Runacre. "There is plenty of room for manoeuvre, the Battle of the Atlantic is an engrossing game of cat and mouse, and the Blitzkrieg through Poland, France, the Balkans and then into the USSR and elsewhere really is a totally new and fresh experience."

Call of Juarez: The Cartel in June?

Amazon, Target, GameStop, and Walmart all list a June 28 North American release date for Call of Juarez: The Cartel, Techland's upcoming sequel that brings the wild west shooter into the present day. This is not official, as there's no confirmation of this date from Ubisoft yet, but the fact that all four stores list the same date suggests it may be accurate.

J.U.L.I.A. Trailer and Date Follow-up

Last night's blurb about the new J.U.L.I.A. trailer was completely awesome, except for the minor detail of not offering a link to the trailer itself. That story also noted that the original release window for the sci-fi mystery/adventure game has come and gone, but since then we received a reply to our inquiries about that, and were told the game is still expected this year and that beta testing will begin soon.

Gearbox Community Day

GearboxSoftware.com reveals plans for a free Gearbox Software community day in Dallas on June 11. Here's word:

Open to all, Gearbox Community Day is a celebration of our awesome fans, our history as a studio, the launch of Duke Nukem Forever, and of what lies ahead for Gearbox.

This will be your chance to play Duke Nukem Forever alongside the Gearbox crew before the game is released in North America. You'll get to hear the stories and meet the people behind some of Gearbox's biggest games, including Borderlands, Brothers in Arms, Aliens: Colonial Marines and more!

Better yet, you'll get to experience the first public unveiling of never-before-seen materials by Gearbox.

Lineage NA Servers Closing

The Lineage Website announces that the North American servers for NCsoft's MMORPG will be permanently shutting down on June 29. They offer apologies and outline plans to issue any appropriate refunds. As of now no new accounts can be created, no existing accounts will be billed any further, and all existing accounts in good standing will be re-enabled. They also outline plans for the game to "go out with a bang." Here's word:

Nyx, Jetzen, and Unicycle plan to go out with a bang. We will not be making any additional content updates, but we do have US Ruleset changes and lots of great events planned for the next two months. We want to give you every opportunity to make all of your remaining Lineage dreams come true. We hope that everyone will stick around to have fun with the game you love in the time we have left.

We know that we have incredibly loyal fans that have stood by us for the past ten years. As painful as it was, as a business, we had to make a very difficult, but necessary, decision. We thank you for your continued support. We want you to know that we will be offering you a chance to try other NCsoft games for free to express our gratitude for your years of loyalty to Lineage. Please click here for more details on Player Appreciation Rewards.

Thanks VG247 via MMORPG.com.

Mass Effect 3 Squad Scaled Down

Computer and Video Games has details from the new issue of Xbox World 360 magazine on Mass Effect 3, the next installment in BioWare's sci-fi RPG series. Word is they are scaling down the size of your squad from 12 players, with project director Casey Hudson explaining Mass Effect 3 will focus "on a smaller squad with deeper relationships and more interesting interplay." He also offers reassurances that this doesn't mean any of your surviving crew will be going away: "We're bringing everyone back - every main character is in Mass Effect 3 somewhere."

Tim Sweeney Interview

An interview on gamesTM chats with Epic's Tim Sweeney, discussing the Samaritan tech demo, next-generation consoles, and the future of video games. Here's a bit on the current state of PC gaming: "PC gaming tends to make a resurgence toward the end of a console generation, as the performance difference grows larger. This is certainly happening now; witness the rapid growth of Steam-distributed PC games. Whether the trend reverses with the release of new consoles is a function of the quality of the hardware and its appeal to gamers. Certainly, PC is a far better platform now than it was in 2005 when the current consoles staged a takeover of gaming. Capabilities like social networking and video editing, and platform improvements such as SSDs and good integrated graphics even on low-end PCs, mean next-gen consoles will have to truly excel in order to recapture their user base."

A Valley Without Wind Q&A

Arcen Games News has a few tidbits on A Valley Without Wind, their upcoming side-scrolling action/adventure. The update points the way to this external preview of the game, as well as an internal Q&A where they answer a few questions asked about the game in a forum post. Finally, they note that the game's Facebook page is online for your social networking pleasure.

Quote of the Day

"Yeah he was in that meeting. He was actually the biggest supporter for the delay. He was asking about what we wanted to do with the time, and he said there was no data to suggest a delay was going to hurt us, and that in fact all the stuff we said we wanted to do for the game made it sound like it was going to be really good." -- Valve's Josh Weier on Gabe Newell's reaction to delaying Portal 2.

Gatherings & Competitions

New Digitally Distributed Games

  • Family Farm on Impulse.
  • Star Raiders on Steam.
  • Steel Storm: Burning Retribution on Steam.

Free OnLive Console with Duke Nukem Forever

You can now preorder a Duke Nukem Forever PlayPass on OnLive, which is another chance to get a free MicroConsole for the cloud gaming service. The offer is good through June 13. Thanks Shacknews.

On Sale

  • Need for Speed SHIFT 2 on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Steel Storm: Burning Retribution on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Trapped Dead on Impulse. Save 50%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Previews

  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution on PC Gamer. The first ten hours.

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says. Thanks Kxmode.

MinecraftCon?

The Word of Notch has an update from the Minecraft creator wondering about the level of interest in a convention to celebrate the game's official launch on 11/11/11, perhaps to be held in Las Vegas. This separate post has a poll on where to hold this "MinecraftCon," and here's word from the original post, which also includes a poll gauging general interest:

We’re thinking about how to celebrate reaching the release on 2011/11/11. There’s also a significant lack of a MinecraftCon this year. Perhaps we can combine them?

So we’re thinking of perhaps setting up a MinecraftCon in Las Vegas on 2011/11/11, with all of Mojang going there, and us pushing out the final release live on stage or something. There’d be contests (costume, speed building, whatever else), Q&A sessions, parties and awesome food and such. This would be a great opportunity to both celebrate the release, and to meet the fans up close again.

It’d probably cost about 90 dollars per person, excluding hotel room and travel costs, although it’s possible we might be able to set up bulk deals with some hotel.

Operation Flashpoint: Red River Video Diary

A fourth video developer diary for Operation Flashpoint: Red River features the developers on Codemasters' upcoming military shooter sequel discussing changes to the game's command radial. They explain the effort they've put into simplifying its use, which now involves two layers, rather than three, and its greater degree of context sensitivity compared with Dragon Rising, with principle designer Tim Browne confirming that this is console-influenced by describing how it can now be operated by "two thumb movements." Word is the radial can now be operated while the player is moving, and that its design and some included tutorials are meant to be less intimidating to new players. They also discuss the addition of radar, a new waypoint system, graphic enhancements, and other elements intended to enhance the player's immersion. The embedded trailer follows. Continue here to read the full story.

No Fable III Windows Demo

The post by Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson which included an announcement of a Windows demo for Fable III has been edited to say this plan has been cancelled, as it now says: "I’ve been informed that a Fable III PC demo is no longer scheduled." Though that indicates a change in plans, a story on IncGamers adds a little confusion to the mix, as they say they were told by Lionhead that there was never a plan for a Windows demo in the first place, and that this is all a misunderstanding. Since the blog and Lionhead are both owned by Microsoft, it's hard to understand how such confusion could arise, but there you have it.

Prime World Announced

Nival Interactive announces plans to bring Prime World to North America and Europe from Russia, offering western gamers this fantasy-themed social strategy game with cross-platform support spanning Windows, OS X, Facebook, iOS, and Android. The English-language Prime World Website is online, and word is the new version of the game will be shown off at this year's E3. Here's a list of features to expect:

  • PvP Action - Knock out the opposition in different session-based battles, including a mode inspired by popular DotA mechanics
  • Heroes Management - Customize individual hero's talents to build a unique army to take into battle and trade valuable talents with other players
  • Terraforming - Gain advantages in the PvP battles with terraforming, an impressive visual effect that occurs when one team plants its flag to capture various control points located throughout the map
  • Mini Game - Conquer a fast-paced, action-puzzle game to provide valuable support to fellow warriors
  • Extraordinary Style and Setting - Enjoy the vibrant art style of Prime World, which is set in a new, creative universe

Fable III Windows Demo Next Week

The Coming Soon To The Xbox LIVE Marketplace post mentioned last night also includes a PC tidbit, saying a demo for the Windows edition of Fable III will be released on May 17 Windows demo, coinciding with the release of the full game.

Eden Games on Strike

GamesIndustry.biz (registration required) follows up on recent rumors of plans for layoffs at Test Drive Unlimited 2 developer Eden Studios, saying 51 of the studio's 80 employees are facing the axe. Word is the French developer is holding a strike today to protest "Atari mismanagement," saying: "Restructuring plans have been following each others for 10 years at Atari. Each time the recovery project was beautiful and promising, and ended in a failure. We are sceptical about the proposed project." Here is their four-point agenda:

  • Communicate and interact with the CEO, Jim Wilson, who has never introduced himself to his employees.
  • Have a constructive negotiation on the terms of the redundancy plan, and not one-sided as is the case now.
  • Be sure that an employee of Eden Games is compensated the same way as an employee of Atari.
  • Have real visibility on the future of the studio after the restructuring, especially in giving us the financial records requested by our accountant.

Why Duke Nukem is Like The Beatles

There's a Randy Pitchford interview on Games On Net talking with the Gearbox boss about Duke Nukem Forever, their upcoming first-person shooter sequel. Along the way Randy explains how Duke is like gaming's Chuck Norris before going on to likening him to The Beatles: "I don’t know why, I don’t know why. I was thinking about this a lot, and I remember when I discovered The Beatles. I wasn’t born when they were big, I didn’t even exist when The Beatles were at their peak. Yet, I remembered when I discovered them, and I thought, 'It’s good. It’s good music.' I felt special that I’d discovered them, and I felt like I was cooler than some of my other friends that didn’t discover them as quickly as I did, because I knew that magic was there. I think there’s a lot of newer gamers that are kind of feeling that about Duke. They’re looking at that. I think that’s kind of helped him become a meme, and an icon. It certainly hasn’t been all the great games that have come out – because there hasn’t been any games! So there’s something else that’s special about this character, that has done it."

Portal 2 Tools Released

The Portal 2 Website announces the beta release of modification authoring tools for Portal 2, allowing the creation of custom content for the puzzle/platformer sequel. Here's word:

Today we're opening up the beta of the Portal 2 Authoring Tools to everyone! It's available as a free download for all owners of the PC version of Portal 2 and can be found under the "Tools" tab in Steam.

The Portal 2 Authoring Tools include versions of the same tools we used to make Portal 2. They'll allow you to create your own singleplayer and co-op maps, new character skins, 3D models, sound effects, and music.

Here's what's included:
- Updated version of Hammer, the Source level editor
- Updated Faceposer
- Example maps and instances to help build new maps
- Updated suite of command-line compiling utilities

If you want to get started on the beta, we suggest joining two mailing lists:
Portal 2 List
General Source List

This is beta software, so if you have any problems or issues, please send them to the p2mapper email list.

Get out there and show us what devious puzzles you've all been brainstorming!

Crusader Kings II Video Diary

This Crusader Kings II Video Developer Diary kicks off a new series of journals featuring thoughts on the upcoming role-playing/strategy sequel from its development team. This clip features Paradox Interactive's Henrik 'Doomdark' Fåhraeus discussing character relations in the game. He describes the game's departure from bilateral relations, saying they've changed to a unilateral approach to relations, where one faction can dislike another, without automatically being disliked back.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

MrsBlue changed jobs recently, so I am no long required to chauffeur her to and from the train station each day, which has reduced my opportunities to show off my gift of being a magnet for terrible drivers. Of course the fates have a way of maintaining balance, as I learned the other day was we drove down a local boulevard. A car coming from the opposite direction slowed at the gap in the median in order to make a left turn. Aware that I seem to be a particular target of bad drivers of the world, I watched warily as the car inched forward, and sure enough, it proceeded to attempt its turn about two car lengths in front of us. To say I had to stand on the brake to avoid an accident seems like an understatement: It's not easy to screech the tires with anti-lock brakes outside of the movies, but our stop sound like something right out of Hollywood, except for the blare of my horn. We stopped about three feet short of where the car sat in our path, and the chagrin was clear on the face of the other driver, who was a girl who looked all of 16, reinforcing every prejudice I have about allowing young people loose on the streets behind the wheels of cars. And you kids better stay off my lawn too!

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Sieger- Level Pack.
Reimagine.
Link: Buy your very own Minecraft grass cube. Not pixilated enough.
Story: Fox Renews Family Guy and The Cleveland Show.
Images: Starbuck and Starbuck in Starbucks.
Mexican Stormtrooper.
Media: Samuel L. Jackson Plays Black Ops. NSFW. Thanks Joker961.
Improv Everywhere at GEL conference.
Hayashi - Britain's Got Talent 2010.



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