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Thursday, Aug 11, 2011

  

Might & Magic Heroes VI Delayed

Although a September 6 release date for Might & Magic Heroes VI was reaffirmed just two weeks ago, a post on the Ubisoft Forums reveals a delay for the turn-based strategy sequel, which is now expected on October 13 (thanks Gamer's Hell). Here's word:

During the first phase of the Beta you were very active and provided us with very valuable feedback: your suggestions about general balance, factions balance and bug reports were very useful to us. Thank you!

Thus, we took the decision to delay the release of Might & Magic Heroes VI in order to secure a bit more time for the dev team to take into account your comments and deliver the best quality game.

Might & Magic Heroes VI will be released on October 13th.

The Beta will reopen on August 16th. All fans who preordered the game via a regular retailer or won a key in a community contest will be able to play. During this second phase of the Beta more maps (solo and multi) and features will be available. We will keep you informed about it in our further news.

Dawn of Fantasy Dawns Next Month

The Dawn of Fantasy Twitter feed has an announcement from a few days ago revealing a release date for this MMORTS game from Reverie World Studios and 505 Games. Word is: "Dawn of Fantasy will hit store shelves in North America one month from today!" Since this was posted on August 6, presumably this means September 6, which is a Tuesday, typical of North American game releases. For those interested, the game's open beta got underway today. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

July Retail Game Sales Drop

VentureBeat has the NPD group's report on July retail videogame sales figures, showing the predicted sharp declines. Overall, sales for the month dropped 26%, which they say is the industry's worst month since 2006, though they point out: "While it may seem like the game industry is in a funk, these sales numbers reflect only retail sales. Other digital sales – including used games, rentals, online games, mobile games and social games — show constant growth." Here are some numbers for your crunching pleasure:

Total video game hardware, software, and accessory sales at retail stores were $707.7 million in July, down 26 percent from $961.3 million a year ago. Overall console video game sales (excluding PC games) were $687 million, down 20 percent from $855.3 million a year ago.

Game hardware sales were $223 million, down 29 percent from $313.8 million a year ago. And game software sales were $336.2 million, down 17 percent from $403.3 million a year ago. Accessory sales, which in earlier months this year were up thanks to strong sales of Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensing system, were $127.8 million, down 8 percent from $183.1 million a year ago.

If you throw in the sales of PC, console and portable games, the total is $356.9 million, down 30 percent from $509.3 million a year ago. That means that PC games are also suffering pretty bad right now.

RAGE Trailer

The Bethesda Blog now offers RAGE Behind the Scenes, Pt. 6: The Sound and Art, the final installment in this series. The clip offers a look at the game's harsh environment and discussion of gameplay from the game's developers. The clip also highlights the voice work of John Goodman.

On H+ in Deus Ex: Human Revolution

An interview on GameShark speaks with Jean-Francois Dugas of Eidos Montreal about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, ambitiously discussing the elements of transhumanism in the upcoming action/RPG prequel. Here's a bit on that topic:

Once again, transhumanism brings a lot of hope in terms of improving who we are but it also brings a lot of questions because we can look at who we are from a natural position where we are what we are and we should stay like that. So now we’re entering in to ethical problems and moral issues and depending on the background of different people they have different opinions on the subject.

I think with the game we’re trying to reflect those different opinions through the story and through the characters you’re going to meet in some of the missions and let the player explore it in some of the decisions they’re going to have to make. It’s about getting the player into that fantasy and getting them to answer the questions and figure out what they think about it. It’s in the background but it also comes to the forefront during the missions where you’re asked to do things and have to make a decision. I’m trying to stay very vague because I don’t want spoilers; these issues are some of the most impactful in the game.

Sid Meier's Civilization V Patched

Steam News announces the availability of a new automatic update for Sid Meier's Civilization V with a bunch of bug-fixes and other changes for the turn-based strategy sequel. The list of what's changed follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Star Ruler Patch

Blind Mind Studios now offers a new patch for Star Ruler to update their sci-fi strategy game to version 1.1.0.0. Downloads of the patch can also be found on AtomicGamer, The Patches Scrolls, and Worthplaying. Word is: "This is a bugfix patch, and will be the build shipped on the retail discs in September." The full change log is reproduced below. Continue here to read the full story.

New OpenDUNE

The OpenDUNE Website now offers a new version 0.6 of OpenDUNE, the open source re-creation of Dune II, Westwood's classic real-time strategy game. The new versions addresses a critical bug in the previous version, address a CPU usage issue, and fixes sound support. Thanks Ant via CNCCC.

New Via Digital Distribution

Games

Patches

  • Dead Horde on Steam.
  • DEFCON for MacOS on Steam.
  • Pirates of Black Cove on Steam.
  • Star Ruler on Steam.

On Sale

  • EDGE on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Frozen Synapse on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Kalypso Anniversary Pack on Steam. Save 70%.
  • Kalypso Anniversary Pack + Jagged Alliance- Back in Action on Steam. Save 70%.
  • Kalypso Anniversary Pack + Tropico 4 on Steam. Save 60%.
  • Kalypso Anniversary Pack + Jagged Alliance: Back in Action and Tropico 4 on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Mata Hari on Steam. Save 50%.
  • The Sims 3 Generations on Direct2Drive. Save 66%
    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 Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: The Blood and Awesomeness-Soaked Trailer that Conan DESERVES! [NSFW]. Sold! Thanks Neutronbeam.

Battlefield 3 Will Require Origin

It seems yes is the answer to the question of whether Battlefield 3 will require the use of EA's new Origin service, even for users who purchase a physical copy of DICE's upcoming military shooter sequel. A question on Twitter directed at Global Battlefield Community Manager Daniel Matros asked "If we get the DVD version of BF3 do we still have to use Origin?" This was followed by another attempt, asking: "What about the rumors spreading on the forums that we need origin to play BF3 if we have the DVD?" These inspired the following reply: "Yes those 'rumors' are true :)." Thanks Teddy via BF3Blog.

TrackMania 2 Next Month

Following yesterday's news about TrackMania 2: Canyon beta access for those who preorder Nadeo's racing sequel, Ubisoft announces the game's official release date is September 14. Word is: "

TrackMania2 Canyon builds upon the successes of the prequel with updated graphics, realistic racing features and an expanded network infrastructure, while still maintaining the intuitive gameplay, captivating racing modes and familiar community instruments that made the series so unique. TrackMania² Canyon is the first title to be released on ManiaPlanet, the new gaming system giving players access to innovative and enjoyable online games.

Frozen Synapse Demo and Sale

A playable single-player Windows demo is now available for Frozen Synapse, offering a sample of Mode 7's simultaneous turn-based strategy game. The demo includes a randomly generated Skirmish along with three "specially selected" missions from the single-player campaign. The demo is available on Steam, where the game is also on sale for 50% off through Monday. There is also a standalone demo, and this is mirrored on AtomicGamer and Worthplaying, and Mac users should not despair that there's no OS X demo yet for the multiplatform game, as word is: "A Mac demo will follow very soon once its surface becomes so shiny that small insects slide comically along when they attempt to land on it."

Steamships Ahoy: Two Civilization V DLC Packs

Steam News announces the release of Civilization and Scenario Pack: Korea and Wonders of the Ancient World Scenario Pack, the two promised new DLC packs for Civilization V, Firaxis' turn-based strategy sequel. Here's word:

The Korea Civilization and Scenario Pack brings you both the Korea Civilization and the new Scenario: The Samurai Invasion of Korea. Rule the world as Sejong, King of the Choson Dynasty, with your invincible Turtle Ships and Hwach’a artillery!
The Wonders of the Ancient World Scenario Pack adds three new wonders: The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Statue of Zeus, and the Temple of Artemis.

Save 25% when you buy them together in the Korea and Wonders of the Ancient World - Combo Pack

End of Nations Free-to-Play

Trion Worlds announces that End of Nations will be a free-to-play game, saying this approach to Petroglyph's upcoming MMORTS game "underscores Trion's commitment to its players to match premium games with their optimal business model." The announcement reveals there are actually three different ways for players to choose their level of financial commitment to the game, as in addition to the F2P model, they are also offering optional premium subscriptions, as well as a boxed collector's edition to be sold in stores which will be "packed with a cool selection of both physical and digital extras." The announcement concludes with a free-to-play FAQ explaining the move, offering reassurances that the game will not be "pay to win," that free players will have access to the entire game and will not be level-capped, and that since most items in their store will be purchasable with "End of Nations Wealth" (earned in game) as well as cash, "no money or credit card is needed to play or succeed."

Legends of Pegasus Announced

Kalypso announces Legends of Pegasus, a new Windows PC 4X space strategy simulation in development at Novacore Studios for release by the middle of next year. These four screenshots offer a look at the game, and here's a description: "The 4X space simulation will put players in control of the last surviving humans, as they explore space in a quest to expand their galactic empire. Players will conquer and explore an incredibly detailed 3D universe as they use economic, diplomatic and scientific means to expand their empires. Through a deep technology tree, players will unlock new technologies to customize their ships and prepare their fleets for the next alien encounter…be it hostile or friendly." The feature list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Wargame: European Escalation Early, New Trailer

Here is a new "summer" trailer from Wargame: European Escalation, Eugen System's Cold War real-time strategy game. The clip is accompanied by word that the game is due for release this November, after being announced for Q1 2012. Here's word on the clip: "Dive into the heart of a spectacular battle between the forces of NATO and the Warsaw Pact for over a minute of breathtaking conflict! Witness helicopter air raids, infantry and tank deployment, waves of gunfire and fire-scorched landscapes; war has never been so realistic! The level of detail given to each unit, combined with the impressive IRISZOOM™ system that allows a continuous zoom from global view to the heart of the action, continue to push immersion to new heights." The clip is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Alpha Centauri TMs

GameSpot notes new trademark applications by Electronic Arts for Alpha Centauri, one for "entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game," and another for "computer game software." Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is the sci-fi turn-based strategy game released to much acclaim back in the twentieth century (and recently rereleased on GOG.com), so the obvious implication is that this somehow relates to a revival of that. On the other hand, GameSpot notes that EA has filed trademarks for several vintage games without seeming to pursue developing them, with the possible exception of ongoing reports that Starbreeze is developing a Syndicate revival for the Syndicate trademark EA filed one year ago.

Uncut Red Orchestra 2 for Australia

Following the recent report that a "low violence" edition of Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad might be in the works for Australia comes word from Tripwire Interactive that the uncut original version of their World War II first-person shooter sequel has been approved for sale down under with an MA15+ rating as Aussie gamers wait for their new R18+ rating to be instituted. Word is:

After some initial concerns about ratings in Australia, Tripwire Interactive are happy to announce that Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad has been rated MA15+ ["Strong war violence, Gaming experience may change online"] by the Australian Government Classification Board, with no cuts required. Nice job by Lace Mamba Global in the UK and AFA in Australia.

For all you Australians, the game is now available uncut to pre-purchase through Steam, Direct 2 Drive, Gamers' Gate, Green Man Gaming and all good retailers in Australia!

Sniper Elite V2 PC Plans, New Trailer

Missed this the other day: Rebellion announces plans to bring Sniper Elite V2 to Windows PCs, after originally only announcing console versions of their World War II third-person sharpshooting sequel. Saying this is due to "an overwhelming response from PC gamers," they are self-funding the Windows edition, and Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley offers reassurances that this will not simply be a quickie port, as it "will be built specifically for PC to take advantage of the more flexible and powerful hardware, with strong support directly from Rebellion." This will be distributed digitally through Steam and Rebellion is seeking partners for a retail release. On a related note, this trailer, titled "one bullet can change history," offers a look at the "kill cam" in Sniper Elite V2.The embedded version of the clip follows this explanation of what we're seeing:

The trailer premieres the unique ‘kill cam’, which rewards a ‘good’ shot by explicitly demonstrating just how destructive a sniper’s bullet can be – following it along its path before switching to slow motion X-ray detail to show its actual effects on the target’s skeleton and organs. The kill cam rewards good gameplay but reinforces the chilling impact of the sniper on the battlefields of World War Two.

It also demonstrates the distinctive direction of Sniper Elite V2– this is no ‘run and gun’ shoot ‘em up. Players must carefully thread their way through the ruins and complete covert missions, otherwise hordes of German Wehrmacht will come running.

Continue here to read the full story.

Path of Exile Closed Beta

Closed beta testing of Path of Exile is now underway, offering the opportunity to get in on this online-only action/RPG from New Zealand-based developer Grinding Gear Games (thanks Jamal). Here's word on the game's business model: ""Path of Exile is 100% free to play, for everyone, forever. Our website will allow the purchase of many in-game perks and aesthetic upgrades, but all of these are completely optional, and players can have a complete, fulfilling gaming experience without spending a penny." Here's a bit on the game itself:

Path of Exile immerses the player in a gritty and realistic art style that goes against the current industry trend of cartoony RPGs.

Our combat is especially visceral, with plenty of blood and gore. Position matters a great amount in our combat system. You can dodge projectiles and be blocked in by monsters.

Dawn of Fantasy Open Beta

Open beta testing is now underway for Dawn of Fantasy, the upcoming MMORTS game from Reverie World Studios and 505 Games. The game is set to officially launch next month, and here's word on the beta: "The newly-launched Open Beta stage will bring in 20,000 new players from all across the globe to test the game in its last month before release! Check out the newest Fantasy Friday media update for a glimpse of what testers can expect before claiming your open beta key here to be among the first to try out PvP field battles!"

Guild Wars 2 Sylvari Details and Trailer [Updated]

It's Sylvari week on the Guild Wars 2 Website as ArenaNet offers details on this race in their upcoming MMORPG sequel. They offer an article by Kristen Perry on Designing and Redesigning the Sylvari., an article by Angel McCoy talking about writing for this race, and this page features a new Growing the Sylvari trailer showing the Sylvari in action and offering more insights from the development team into the development process. Update: Their Sylvari Page was updated, and now features "new lore, wallpapers, screenshots, and a brand new video focusing on the enigmatic plant race."

World of Tanks Patched, Celebrates First Anniversary

The World of Tanks Website has details on a new version 6.6 update that's now live in this MMO armored combat shooter. The new version includes a new Siegfried Line map, new tanks, and more, and this page offers the complete patch notes. In other news about the game, Wargaming.net announces World of Tanks is celebrating the first anniversary since its launch, and now boasts five million registered users, and that on a daily basis they have over 172,000 players online concurrently. They also state that World of Tanks is becoming one of the disciplines in the international Electronic Sports League (ESL). "We didn't expect World of Tanks would become this popular," said Wargaming.net CEO Victor Kislyi. "The game's success has given us confidence we needed to continue our expansion into the world of online wargames."

300K Join Age of Conan: Unchained, Movie Tie-in Content Plans

Funcom announces that 300,000 new players have joined Age of Conan: Unchained in the first month since the barbaric MMORPG went free-to-play, doubling the game's revenue stream. "The launch of the hybrid business model has been very successful so far," says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. "The activity levels on the servers are booming with a fourfold increase in players during July, we more than doubled the revenue generated from the game, and we have experienced a positive development in subscriber numbers. This definitely gives us great hope for the game’s future." They also announce plans for new content based on the new Conan the Barbarian movie that opens next week:

To celebrate the revival of Conan the Barbarian on the silver screen, the ‘Age of Conan: Unchained’ development team are hard at work creating a unique, movie tie-in Adventure Pack titled ‘Savage Coast of Turan’. The adventure pack will introduce all new world areas, as well as monsters, characters and player equipment that audiences can experience in the movie as it hits theatres on August 18th.

World of Warcraft Hotfixes

The World of Warcraft Website lists another bath of hotfixes applied to the server-side of World of Warcraft as Blizzard continues to tweak the balance in their MMORPG following the version 4.2 update (thanks Ant). The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Ah, in a welcome change, the humidity around here eased up yesterday. I'd say right now we're up to about eight or ten hours on the chip scale, which is very pleasant.

Pleasant Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Symphonic Tower Defense.
Stories: Perseid Meteor Shower to be Hampered by Full Moon. Thanks Slashdot.
TBS Quietly Kills Lopez Tonight; Is Conan to Blame?
Science: This Drug-Detecting Straw Might Prevent Date Rapes.
Images: Cosplay Corner - Samara.
Scary Pictures of Steven Tyler.
The Do’s and Don’ts Of Dating Luke Skywalker.
Media: Valve Visit.
Mega Man Portal Gun of the Day.
NMA: Patent trolls get Farked with $0 settlement.
The Funnies: Nobody Likes Spider-Man At Metal Shows.
Follow-up: SETI Telescopes Will Resume The Hunt For Aliens. S.R. Hadden at work?



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