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Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011

  

Darksiders II Announced

THQ officially announces Darksiders II, saying the action/adventure sequel is coming to Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 sometime next year. Here's word:

Darksiders® II follows the exploits of DEATH, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, in a weaving tale that runs parallel to the events in the original Darksiders game. This epic journey propels DEATH through various light and dark realms as he tries to redeem his brother WAR, the horseman who was blamed for prematurely starting the Apocalypse in Darksiders.

Featuring a dramatically larger world, full weapon and armor upgrade systems as well as bigger and more challenging dungeons and vast array of new enemies and bosses, Darksiders II strives to improve on every aspect of the original hit.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Free Weekend

Steam News announces that preloads are now underway for a free Call of Duty: Black Ops weekend that gets underway tomorrow. Here's word:

Activision will be hosting a Free Weekend for Call of Duty®: Black Ops! Pre-load the game now and be ready to play when the free weekend starts on Thursday, June 2nd at 10am Pacific Time.

Click here to start pre-loading, or visit www.steamgames.com/about to install Steam.

The Free Weekend of Call of Duty®: Black Ops will let you play the entire multiplayer portion of the base game.

Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime DLC

Steam now offers the Challenge Pack DLC for Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime, adding new content to the movie-based action/adventure. Word is: "Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime Challenge Pack brings hours of a new single player experience to this ghost-hunting adventure and has 2 new modes! Lonely Hero allows you to play through any unlocked level without the help of others and Arcade Mode limits the number of lives to see how you skills line up on a distinct Global Leaderboard."

Playable Catwoman in Batman: Arkham City

A Batman: Arkham City preview on GameSpot has a pre-E3 look at the upcoming sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum. This includes the revelation that the Catwoman will be a playable character in the game. They offer a video interview that includes some shots of the character, showing her unique abilities. Word is: "The team wanted to ensure players wouldn't feel as though they were controlling Batman with a curvier skin. As a result you can expect decidedly different ways to get around the city, examine the environment, and fight with enemies. Since she lacks a nifty cape and grapple line, Catwoman will take a much more physical approach to getting around that relies on her trusty whip, parkour-like moves, and good old fashioned climbing and jumping. The demo highlighted the nimble and graceful way Catwoman will get around, and teased what appears to be a scoring system for how she moves around. During the demo as Catwoman picked up speed and made her way across rooftops we saw point totals appear at points during her leaping. Ginn noted the points will be awarded based on a players skill for moving through the city." Thanks Jason.

Serious Sam 3 BFE Trailer

IGN now offers a reveal trailer for Serious Sam 3 BFE, CroTeam's upcoming first-person shooter prequel. The clip shows gameplay will be at least as Mental as before, and concludes saying "no cover, all man," promising a release this summer. Thanks VG247.

Hawken Trailers

There are a pair of "Design Goals Walkthrough" trailers from Hawken on GameTrailers, showing off gameplay from the upcoming UDK mecha shooter, and hearing from the developers about what to expect. Here's part one and here's part two.

The Mummy Online Website, Trailer

A new website for The Mummy Online is live, offering an online home for BigPoint's upcoming game based on The Mummy movie franchise. The site offers information on the game as well as a bunch of screenshots. There's also a new trailer for the game. Word is to expect the game to launch this fall.

DiRT 3 Patch Plans

The Codemasters Forums have the patch notes for the upcoming first Windows patch for DiRT 3, the latest installment in the rally racing series (thanks The Patches Scrolls). They also note: "Patches for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game along with an additional patch for the PC are also currently in development, and further details regarding these will be provided at a later date once the patches have been completed and passed the submission process with Microsoft and Sony." The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Crysis 2 Patch [Updated]

A new patch is now available for Crysis 2, updating Crytek's first-person shooter to version 1.8 with fixes and new graphics options, though but is not the DirectX 11 patch we were recently told to expect "very, very soon," though it was mistakenly reported here as such initially (apologies for the error and any problems it may have caused). The promised new patch for Crysis 2 is now available, updating Crytek's first-person shooter sequel to version 1.8 while adding DirectX support. You can read the full patch notes on MyCrysis, and in addition to the game's automatic update function you can find manual on AtomicGamer, GamePron, Gamer's Hell, The Patches Scrolls, and WorthPlaying.

BioShock 2 Patch

A new patch is now available for BioShock 2 to update the submerged first-person shooter sequel to version 1.5. The download is mirrored on AtomicGamer, GamePron, Gamer's Hell, The Patches Scrolls, and WorthPlaying.

Armada 2526: Supernova Patch

Matrix Games announces the release of a new patch for Armada 2526: Supernova to update the space strategy expansion to version 1.03. Word is: "The update comes with some improvements to how the AI handles relations with other players, various tweaks to gameplay, a fix for an issue with saving games, and some additional bug fixes as well." Mirrors can be found on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and WorthPlaying.

The Sims 3 Windows and OS X Patches

The Sims 3 Website offers new patches to update the Windows and OS X editions of The Sims 3 to version 1.22 as well as patches for the OS X editions of the various expansions for the lifestyle simulation. The Windows patch for The Sims 3 is mirrored on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls, and the various OS X patches are mirrored on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls. Players will be pleased to learn that: "Body hair can now be applied on male Sims, from head to toe."

New Via Digital Distribution

Games

Patches

  • Steam client on Steam.
  • Team Fortress 2 on Steam.

On Sale

  • All DLC on Direct2Drive. Save 15% with code "EXTRAS" at checkout.
  • Dead Space 2 on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Grand Theft Auto The Complete Package on GamersGate. Save 50%.
  • Midnight Club 2 on GamersGate. Save 70%.
  • Still Life on Steam. Save 20%.
  • Still Life 2 on Steam. Save 20%.
  • Thief: Deadly Shadows on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Ultimate Crime Thriller Collection on GamersGate. Save 25%.
  • VVVVVV on Steam. Save 50%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

DiRT 3 Charity DLC

The Games For Windows Marketplace now offers the Colin McRae Vision Charity Pack, which is new DLC for DiRT 3, the latest installment in the rally racing series that used to bear the late driver's name. The pack is 160 MS Points ($2.00 USD), and all profits from it will be donated to the Colin McRae Vision Charity. Word is: "The Colin McRae Vision Charity Pack features a Ford Escort Mk II, the iconic 1970s Rally car made famous by Colin McRae, plus five liveries." The release is accompanied by a Tanner Foust on DIRT 3 gameplay trailer and the DiRT 3 Developer Q&A video Part 4, which is described like so: "This developer Q&A video features DiRT 3 technical consultants Ken Block and Kris Meeke, WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen and key development staff recalling their own memories of the late, great Colin McRae. Viewers are also taken behind the scenes at Battersea Power Station, which was turned into a real life level from DiRT 3 for Ken Block's latest Gymkhana driving video."

Might & Magic Heroes VI Beta This Month

Ubisoft announces plans to launch beta testing of Might & Magic Heroes VI on June 28th. All they have to say about this for now is: "All fans who pre-order Heroes VI will receive a key to access the Beta and be among the first to experience hands-on time with multiple single-player and multiplayer maps." The news is accompanied by this trailer, which highlights what to expect from the beta of the next installment in the turn-based strategy series. The embedded trailer follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Age of Empires Online in August, Pricing Details Revealed

The Age of Empires Online Website announces this free-to-play online continuation of the Age of Empires series of RTS games will officially launch on August 16. They have word on what the game will provide for free: "With its launch, the game will feature two of the greatest ancient civilizations – the Greeks and Egyptians – and offer more than 40 hours of gameplay for free!" There are also details on GameSpy on premium pricing for the AoEO, saying Premium Civilization Packs will be $19.99 USD, Pro Civilization Packs are $19.99 USD, Booster Packs are $9.99 USD, and Empire Extras will be $4.99 USD. This cinematic trailer shows the game's conflict between the Greeks and the Egyptians.

Modern Warfare 3 MP Rumors

There are rumored details from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on Kotaku, whose "sources" (apparently neither "reliable" nor "close to the situation") describe the upcoming installment in the military shooter series to its predecessors. Word is the game will feature changes to killstreaks and perks, and they offer several specific examples. They also say the controversial Tactical Nuke killstreak will be removed, and that the game will not include a zombie mode, as that is a signature component of Treyarch's contributions to the Call of Duty series.

Call of Duty Elite Web Series Planned

Subscribers to the recently announced Call of Duty Elite will get exclusive access to a "web TV" series based around the military shooter franchise, Activision's Eric Hirshberg tells the Guardian, saying: ""We have engaged some top Hollywood talent to create linear video content that will be exclusive to Elite members. That content is inspired by Call of Duty." They attempted to learn if this series is to be live-action or animated, and were told: "We're not going to give much more detail until we have something to show. That'll be later in the year." Thanks Computer and Video Games.

Interplay/Fallout Online Woes

A new SEC filing from Interplay indicates the company's financial woes continue, according to Gamasutra, and their continued operations are in jeopardy without an infusion of new capital soon. This threatens development of Fallout Online, the MMORPG at the center of an ongoing legal battle with Bethesda Softworks, as word is these money troubles may force them to cut their staff, which currently only consists of 11 employees (seven of whom are developers), or sell off further assets. Word is Interplay was down to $3,000.00 in cash on hand by the end of last year, compared with accumulated operating deficits of over $2.8 million, which includes unpaid compensation to the board of directors as well as back taxes and penalties. "We currently have some obligations that we are unable to meet without generating additional income or raising additional capital," the company warned stockholders. "If we cannot generate additional income or raise additional capital in the near future, we may become insolvent and/or be made bankrupt and/or may become illiquid or worthless."

New NVIDIA Drivers

New WHQL-certified version 275.33 drivers are now available for NVIDIA graphics cards. Among other things, the new drivers address a performance issue with The Witcher 2 running under the beta 275-series drivers and offer Windows 7 performance improvements for several PC games for GeForce 400 Series and 500 Series GPUs compared with the previous WHQL drivers. There are drivers for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 64-bit, Windows XP, and Windows XP 64-bit. Thanks Charles.

Aliens: Colonial Marines in Spring

SEGA and Gearbox announce a spring 2012 release window for Aliens: Colonial Marines, the upcoming first-person shooter based on the Alien/Aliens film franchise. This confirms the rumor that the game would not be released this year, in spite of a little misdirection. The news is accompanied by this piece of art from the game, as well as its E3 trailer, which includes no gameplay footage, but sets the story with some text on a virtual monitor and some dialog, concluding with an ominous cinematic. Here's a bit on the game's setting from the announcement:

Aliens: Colonial Marines begins with an ostensibly abandoned ship, the U.S.S. Sulaco, recovered in orbit around LV-426. Players lead a group of highly trained United States Colonial Marines as they board the deserted craft to uncover the fate of the crew. They will have to fight to survive unspeakable horrors and their own anxieties as they chase down the truth behind a galaxy-spanning deception that places humanity at the mercy of the most murderous and deadly species in the universe. Aliens: Colonial Marines features authentic environments, such as the surface of LV-426 and Hadley’s Hope, weapons inspired by the film series and is designed to provide an exhilarating and engaging new chapter in the Aliens universe.

Section 8: Prejudice Map Pack & Patch

The promised new Overdrive map pack is now available for Section 8: Prejudice, the first-person shooter sequel from TimeGate Studios. The Windows version of the pack is available on the Games For Windows Marketplace, where word is: "The Overdrive map pack comes with two new multiplayer maps, Abaddon and Sky Dock. Amidst the magma craters of Abaddon, protect a power cell facility built on a scalding energy source. Sky Dock is a crucial military base and space port nestled in the frozen tundra. Each map is playable in both multiplayer and offline play for all game modes. There are no refunds for this item. For more information, see www.gamesforwindows.com/Support/Billing-FAQ/." This trailer shows off the new maps. Along with the DLC, new patches are now available for the game, and the notes for the Windows patch follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution E3 Trailer

Here is the official E3 trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the upcoming installment in the sci-fi action/RPG series. The trailer features cinematics from the story, as well as gameplay footage, including some combat. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation Announced

The countdown on Carmageddon.com has concluded, followed by the announcement of Carmageddon: Reincarnation, a new installment in the automotive mayhem series expected for release next year. The Carmageddon IP is now the property of Stainless Games, the team that created Carmageddon and Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now, with Stainless saying they are "actively seeking a partner with whom to move the project on to full production." The Carmageddon Website seems to be stuck in the slow lane, but when it loads it offers information, a retrospective trailer, forums, and more. Here's a bit from the announcement:

“Carmageddon: Reincarnation will feature the same black humour and comic violence that made the original game such a success.” said Neil Barnden, Executive Director and Stainless co-founder. “All the laughs, the crazy power-ups, and extreme destruction will return. We will make sure the existing fans get what they want and expect from a Carmageddon game, and a new generation discovers the delights of sliding into a Cunning Stunt.”

ThunderHawk Studios Formed by Mad Catz

Peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz announces the formation of ThunderHawk Studios, a new studio that plans to launch an MMO flight simulation next year. The announcement is very short, so here it is in its entirety:

SAN DIEGO-(BUSINESS WIRE)- Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (“Mad Catz”) (AMEX/TSX: MCZ) announced today the formation of ThunderHawk Studios located in San Diego, California. ThunderHawk Studios will focus on developing a series of MMO (massive multiplayer online) flight simulation games with the first game expected to launch in 2012.

“The addition of flight simulation games should leverage the market share leadership and global distribution enjoyed by our flight simulation hardware products,” said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. “The formation of ThunderHawk Studios is an important milestone as we pursue our longer term goal of expanding our participation in developing, publishing and distributing games.”

Pride of Nations Demo & Preorder DLC

The Pride of Nations Website now offers downloads of a playable demo for Pride of Nations, the upcoming 19th century turn-based historical grand strategy game. Word is: "The demo includes five tutorial levels for players to familiarise themselves with the game, along with 12 turns of the Grand Campaign." Publisher Paradox Interactive also announces free DLC as a preorder bonus for those who buy the game in advance of its release on June 7. Here's word on the DLC:

As a reward for anyone that pre-orders Pride of Nations on June 7th, the first DLC content will be given away completely free of charge. Set during the Spanish-American War of 1898, this brand new epic scenario covers the 10 months of the ’Splendid Little War’ fought between the USA and Spain. This is a fast paced scenario where the player playing as America bears the pressure of having to achieve total victory in the same time-frame as was achieved in reality, mastering naval operations as well as lightning fast land maneuvers. The Spanish-American War DLC will also be available to purchase post-release.

Commander Europe at War Grand Strategy 2.0

Matrix Games announces the release of Commander Europe at War Grand Strategy 2.0, which is available as a standalone purchase, as well as a free expansion for owners of MILITARY HISTORY Commander - Europe at War. Word is: "This expansion has taken years to produce and thousands of man hours from a dedicated collection of people from artists to programmers, manual writers and layout experts. The end result takes this great game to a whole new level." Among the changes listed are airborne divisions and para-drops, new units, and cross-platform multiplayer support for Windows versus OS X users.

Cryptic Sold

Atari's plan to sell Cryptic Studios has already been executed, as GamesIndustry.biz (registration required) has word that the MMO developer is now the property of Chinese online games operator Perfect World. Word is the developer changed hands in a cash transaction worth $50.3 million USD (€35 million/£30.4m).

Op Ed

Scott Adams Blog - Video Game Design.
All of this makes me wonder if I could come up with a hit video game idea by starting with basic human urges and designing up from there. The idea that immediately jumps to mind is a game that allows you to kill the rich and destroy all of their belongings. Let's say that in this game's imaginary world, human-like aliens have occupied Earth and become our overlords, residing in huge mansions, mating with Earth's most attractive women, and generally living like Donald Trump. You're part of the resistance, armed only with the blaster guns you captured from the aliens. Your mission is to destroy the handsome and powerful aliens that have acquired vast fortunes here on Earth. The main story line would sound noble - saving humanity from aliens - while the addictive element is the feeling of satisfaction you get by destroying the yachts, sports cars, and mansions of the rich alien overlords. Obviously this game would appeal to males more than to women.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

  • Diablo III on Blizzplanet.com. Class wallpapers celebrating one million Facebook fans.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

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