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Friday, Aug 12, 2011

  

Dragon Commander Announced

Belgian indie developer Larian Studios announces Dragon Commander is the next project from the creators of the Divinity series, saying this will be a "game of massive dragon combat, epic turn-based strategy and immersive role-playing" when it is released next year for Windows and consoles. The game is set in the same universe as their Divinity series of RPGs, though they also say is uses "an original Art Nouveau/Steampunk world that is unlike anything Larian ever created before." The Dragon Commander Website is now online, offering this teaser trailer, and the Dragon. Commander Facebook Page. Here's a bit on the game:

Taking on the role of the legendary first Dragon Knights, the most illustrious heroes in the history of the Divinity™ universe, players will take command of vast armies in their quest to conquer the empire. With the help of engineers and wizards, they will seek to give their armies both a technological and magical edge, and together with their friends and allies they’ll plan massive war campaigns. Once the enemy comes near, spectacular dragon combat awaits, with power, speed and tactical insight determining who will be victorious.

No Always On DRM for TrackMania 2

TrackMania 2 will not use Ubisoft's intrusive always on DRM, reports Rock, Paper, Shotgun. They received the following explanation from Ubi on the scheme used in Nadeo's racing sequel: "You’ll need to register online once when you install the game. You’ll then be able to play without an online connection."

Guns of Icarus Online Announced

Muse Games Announces Guns of Icarus Online, an upcoming MMO airship combat game set in the skies above a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The game does not yet carry a release date, but the Guns of Icarus Online Website is live with some details and a cinematic teaser trailer. Here's a snippet from the game's description:

The wasteland is a tough place, but you won't be alone. Every ship can have multiple human or NPC crew members. With a flexible skill and leveling system, every crewman brings something unique to the ship. No one sits idly during a firefight. Expect to find your pilot putting out a fire or your mechanic manning the guns at any moment. With many airships to outfit, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, it will take a competent captain to make the most out of each trip. Dangers will be lurking everywhere and they won't just be pirate ambushes; expect to find opposing players out hunting for your cargo as well.

RAGE Using Steamworks

Bethesda Softworks tweets a confirmation that id Software's upcoming first-person shooter will use Steamworks: "Since folks are asking... we can confirm that RAGE will use Steamworks on PC." Thanks Shacknews.

F1 Online: The Game Announced

Codemasters announces F1 Online: The Game, a free-to-play MMO Formula One racing game set to launch early next year. The game will be played in your web-browser from a top-down perspective. The F1 Online: The Game Website is online, offering some screenshots and signups for future updates. Word is: "F1 ONLINE: THE GAME will give players the chance to be the driver and the team boss in a game that combines intuitive top-down racing gameplay with a rewarding management game as players create and manage their own team."

Frozen Synapse AI Not Cheating

The Mode 7 Games Blog responds to accusations that the AI in Frozen Synapse cheats during single-player games in their simultaneous turn-based strategy game. The post offers a simple experiment to demonstrate that the game's AI does not peek at the player's plans before deciding on its own moves. Thanks Morris.

New Dawn of War II - Retribution Beta Patch

The Dawn of War II Community Website has word on the release of a new version 3.17.0 beta patch for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution. The 3.17.0 Release Notes have details on what this changes in Relic's real-time strategy sequel.

Bridge It Adds ATI Support

Chronic Logic now offers a new version of Bridge It that is updated to support ATI graphics cards (in the past it only supported NVIDIA). Here's a description of the game: "Set in the picturesque surroundings of sparse deserts and dense forests it is your task to strategically design and construct an engineering masterpiece. Watch in eager anticipation as unsuspecting motorists, heavy freight trains and tourist riverboats approach. Will your solution stand up to the test or will tons of mangled steel be sent plummeting into the river below?" Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Gotham City Impostors Customization Trailer

A new trailer from Gotham City Impostors shows off character customization in the upcoming online first-person shooter, demonstrating the myriad types of bogus Batmen and not genuine Jokers that can be created in the game. Here's the embedded version. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Save an additional 20% on your next purchase on Green Man Gaming by using the code "SUNNY-SAVER-20PEC" on checkout. Also, Little Indie is a new online store for independent games.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

MDK 2 HD Next Month

Interplay Entertainment and Overhaul Games announce MDK2 HD, saying this updated version of the action/adventure sequel released by BioWare in 2000 will become available next month exclusively through Overhaul's Beamdog portal for $14.99 USD. This refresh includes new graphics as seen in these screenshots as well as new audio, all in the spirit of the original thanks to the participation of several BioWare veterans like Cameron Tofer, Russ Rice, Sean Smailes, and BioWare cofounder Trent Oster, all of whom were involved in the development of MDK2 (MDK, of course, stands for Marvelously Demonic Kittens). This page has more details, and here's a bit from the announcement:

August 12 – Edmonton, AB, Canada. MDK2 HD. Enough said! Or… maybe not. The fine chaps at Interplay Entertainment Corp. and Overhaul Games are pleased to announce the impending launch of MDK2 HD, bringing Interplay’s wacky action-adventure to a new generation of gamers. With a visual overhaul that would make a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon wail with jealousy, as well as a wide range of gameplay tweaks and reworked audio, MDK 2 HD will launch exclusively via Beamdog.com in September for just $14.99.

MDK2 HD follows the antics of loveable janitor Kurt Hectic, mad-scientist-type Doc Hawkins and the gun-toting, six-legged, potty-trained mechanical dog, Max, as they attempt to thwart yet another alien invasion of Earth. Players experience unique gameplay as each of the three characters, progressing through 10 wildly varied levels in this galaxy and beyond!

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Announced

Noting the first beta of the Counter-Strike modification for Half-Life was released almost exactly 12 years ago (it was actually June of '99, not August), Valve officially announces Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO), a new multiplatform installment in the Counter-Strike series of tactical shooters planned for release early next year on Windows and OS X (via Steam), PlayStation Network, and Xbox LIVE Arcade. The game is in development at Seattle-based Hidden Path Entertainment, and Valve plans to show it at this year's PAX Prime and London Games Festival Eurogamer Expo 2011 (Valve sent a subsequent correction about the second show). Here's the announcement, which shows this news may have been rushed due to the premature revelation of the project, since it is dated tomorrow:

VALVE ANNOUNCES COUNTER-STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE (CS: GO)

Next Gen Console, PC, and Mac Release Targeted for Early 2012

August 13, 2011 - Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO).

Targeted for release via Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and Steam (for PC and Mac) in early 2012, CS: GO will expand upon the team-based action gameplay that it pioneered when it was launched exactly 12 years ago (CS beta 1, August 1999).

CS: GO features new maps, characters, and weapons and delivers updated versions of the classic CS content (de_dust, etc.). In addition, CS: GO will introduce new gameplay modes, matchmaking, leader boards, and more.

"Counter-Strike took the gaming industry by surprise when the unlikely MOD became the most played online PC action game in the world almost immediately after its release in August 1999," said Doug Lombardi, VP of Marketing at Valve. "For the past 12 years, it has continued to be one of the most-played games in the world, headline competitive gaming tournaments and selling over 25 million units worldwide across the franchise. CS: GO promises to expand on CS' award-winning gameplay and deliver it to gamers on the PC as well as the next gen consoles and the Mac."

CS: GO is being developed by Valve in cooperation with Seattle-based Hidden Path Entertainment. The title is targeted for release in early 2012 and will be playable at this year's PAX Prime and Eurogamer Expo 2011.

For more information, please visit http://store.steampowered.com/app/1800/

Eidos Montreal: Deus Ex: Invisible War a "Cautionary Tale"

While many gamers revere the original Deus Ex as one of the great games of all time, its prequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War is not held in nearly such high regard (in fairness, Invisible War shows a respectable score of 80 on Metacritic, though this pales in comparison with Deus Ex's stellar 90). With Eidos Montreal on the verge of releasing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, some gamers have expressed hopes that this prequel will be closer in execution to the original DX, rather than the follow-up.

It turns out the developer is sympathetic to this sentiment, as nin sends along a post on the Eidos Montreal Tumblr Blog (thanks VG247) where this point is, quite diplomatically, addressed in an answer to the following question: "Did your opinion on DX:IW change through development? It seems most of the fan community hated it. Did you incorporate any ideas at least in part inspired by Invisible War? Or was it entirely ignored?" Here's the reply from "Frank," presumably game designer Frank Lapikas:

My personal opinion of it did not change, no.

Have I played it? Yes. Through the end.

I’m glad to finally have this question.

We’ve tiptoed quite a lot around the issue of Invisible War, but we’ve never fully answered people who wanted to know how much of it we actually used as inspiration.

I shall do this here and now.

My aim is not to start a flame war. But if we’re to peel back the curtain on how this game was designed, I want to be truthful.

And the truth about Invisible War is that I personally did not get as much enjoyment out of it as I did the original Deus Ex.

Looking at Invisible War was a cautionary tale. The game showed us how some apparently simple design decisions such as universal ammo could alter the essence of what Deus Ex is.

When you look at IW, all the staples are there: the future, augs, weapons, a conspiracy, dialogs, stealth, side quests, etc. Yet it doesn’t feel quite right.

It made us realize that it would be very easy for us to screw up Human Revolution. We had a fine line to thread after all.

So in essence we used IW and compared it to DX1 in order to operate a “course correction”; which means we reverted most decisions in IW in favor of what DX1 had done.

From my knowledge (and sometimes defective memory), there is nothing in Human Revolution that comes from invisible War alone.

Doesn’t mean Invisible War was a bad game.

But it’s not the game we were trying to live up to.

Counter-Strike Global Offensive?

A post on the Steam Users' Forums points to posts on the ESEA Facebook Page, ESEA News, reddit, and cadred.org saying that Valve is working on a Counter-Strike game called Counter Strike: Global Offensive. This has inspired all sorts of speculation, which may be cleared up soon, as the post says we should expect more information on this today. The indication that this is credible comes from Valve's Jess Cliffe, as the first post referred to the game as Counter Strike: Global Operation, and Cliffe posted a correction saying: "Counter Strike: Global Offensive." Thanks Crispydave via ESFI World.

Nuclear Dawn Trailer and Pre-Purchase Incentives

The Nuclear Dawn Website now offers a launch trailer from InterWave Studios' upcoming Windows/OS X Source-engine FPS/RTS hybrid, and announces pre-purchase incentives for the game. They narrow the game's previously announced September release window to September 25, and say that those who pre-purchase the game at a 10% discount before closed beta testing commences on August 25 will receive an untradeable Veteran Medal and gain access to the beta. This page offers all the details on what to expect from Nuclear Dawn.

World of Warcraft Patch Notes

The World of Warcraft Website offers notes for an upcoming version 4.2.2 update for World of Warcraft that's now live on the Public Test Realms for Blizzard's MMORPG. The notes just contain a few bug fixes, so these must be changes that require a client update, and can't be part of the game's now-frequent server-side hotfixes. Thanks Ant.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection Trailer

This trailer from the upcoming Rezurrection DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops that adds more zombie combat to the military first-person shooter sequel. The clip features the developers at Treyarch explaining what's going on and lots of gameplay footage, including combat in the low-gravity environment of the pack's Moon map. Here's the embedded version. Continue here to read the full story.

Jagged Alliance Online Trailer

Here's a new Gamescom trailer from Jagged Alliance Online, showing off cinematics and gameplay from the upcoming web-based MMOG installment in the tactical/action/RPG series. We haven't heard much about the game since it was announced at this time last year for Gamescom, and it will be playable at this year's show, which kicks off next week. The game's original announcement said to expect its release this year, which may still be the case, as the trailer concludes saying "coming soon." The clip is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

New Evochron Mercenary

This downloads page offers a new version of Evochron Mercenary, updating the space combat and trading sim to version 1.508. As always, the new version acts as the full game, a playable demo, and a patch to update previous version. The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

The Armchair Empire - An Open Letter to Mike Morhaime.
Ubisoft may have set the precedent, but there is a rather different set of factors involved with Diablo III. The most obvious is that the community was not strictly locked into the PC as the platform for titles like Assassin's Creed II, and public comments in the past from Yves Guillemot and other executives at Ubisoft have expressed a strong desire to divest of themselves of any presence in the PC market. Blizzard does not have that degree of flexibility. The days of The Lost Vikings and Blackthorne are long gone. The PC is the only platform you have invested in, whether that's Windows or Mac, and there is no other place to go. For better or worse, you've tied yourself to a single platform, and forcing this scheme onto the community without the benefit of alternate platforms will not result in millions of fans falling in line like good little sheep to be fleeced. You may get some, but nowhere near what you were expecting. The rest will either forsake the game, and Blizzard by extension, or they will turn pirate.

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

Man, it can be really aggravating to see stories on other gaming websites based on stories from here with no attribution, considering how religiously we credit those sites in return. Thankfully there are still many sites with a more communal spirit in this regard, but seeing the yoinked posts on other sites is downright depressing. C'mon guys, fair is fair!

Sorry for the whining, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time in the 15 years of operating this site that I've brought this up.

Unfair Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: NeoPods. Thanks Daniel.
Heaven or Hell 2.
Army of Ages.
Links: When Coaches Had Class. Thanks Cutter.
Stories: Marvel Bribes Retailers to Destroy DC Comics. Thanks Boing Boing.
US military loses contact with hypersonic aircraft.
Sesame Street pair Bert and Ernie 'will not marry'.
Science: Hydrogen made by enzyme is faster and cheaper.
Simulate proton smashing with updated LHC@home.
Images: Futurama LEGO Model.
Media: Mythbusters Sabotage.
STAR WARS XXX- teaser #1. SFW.
Cheeky Monkeys Steal Your Sunglasses.



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