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Tuesday, Nov 08, 2011

  

Skyrim Preloads; Diary

Preloads are now underway on Direct2Drive and Steam for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, allowing those who have pre-purchased Bethesda's RPG sequel to get most of their download out of the way before the game's release on Friday. To help pass the interminable hours between now and then, a new diary is now available called Reaching New Heights: The World of Skyrim. This includes a write-up on the work that went into creating Skyrim's aesthetic. This is accompanied by some screenshots, an audio podcast, and a new The World of Skyrim trailer. Continue here to read the full story.

Take-Two Financials; XCOM Delayed

Take-Two Interactive's Second Quarter Fiscal 2012 Results are in, showing losses, though these are not as great as had been expected: "For the second quarter of fiscal 2012, net revenue was $107.0 million, as compared to $245.0 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2011, which had benefited from the releases of Mafia II and Sid Meier's Civilization V, and the post-launch performance of Red Dead Redemption. GAAP loss from continuing operations was $47.3 million, or $0.57 per share, for the second quarter of fiscal 2012, as compared to GAAP income from continuing operations of $8.0 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, for the year-ago period. Non-GAAP net loss was $39.4 million, or $0.47 per share, as compared to Non-GAAP net income of $18.4 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, for the year-ago period." Looking forward, they express high hopes for GTA5, though they do not specify when this was expected. They also say "2K Games now expects to release XCOM during fiscal 2013," which is a delay for the X-Com-based shooter, which was previously expected in Fiscal 2012. This means the game is now expected between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013.

Activision's Financials - More Drop WoW

Activision's 3Q Earnings are now online, crunching some pretty large numbers. Word is: "The video game publisher earned $148 million, or 13 cents per share, in the July-September period. That's up from $51 million, or 4 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 1 percent to $754 million from $745 million. Adjusted earnings were $87 million, or 7 cents per share, in the latest quarter — above the 2 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet were expecting. Adjusted revenue was $627 million, above analysts' expectations of $565 million." On a related note, Blizzplanet has a recording of the post-earnings conference call and the related slideshow. Included is a slide listing "multiple potential blockbusters" in the pipeline, including a Diablo III expansion, two StarCraft II expansions, and a Call of Duty digital game for China among and the upcoming "new Blizzard MMO." Other details include that World of Warcraft is now "down" (relatively speaking) to 10.3 million active subscribers, and they are preparing to beta test the Diablo III real-money auction house soon.

Orcs Must Die! Lost Adventures DLC Released

Steam now offers Lost Adventures, the promised DLC for Orcs Must Die!, Robot Entertainment's action/strategy hybrid. The pack is being offered for $2.99 USD, a 25 percent discount, between now and November 15th. Word is: "Conquer a new series of five challenging fortresses. In Lost Adventures you’ll travel from the depths of the Pit to the narrow passages high over the Great Gorge. The Lost Adventures are five of the most deadly rift assaults the War Mage has ever faced." Here are the details: Continue here to read the full story.

StarCraft II Patched

The StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Website announces the new version 1.4.2 patch is now live in the RTS sequel. The various versions of the manual patch are mirrored on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls, and here's the change list: Continue here to read the full story.

More Fallout MMORPG Legal Stuff

Duck and Cover has a follow-up to yesterday's update about the latest legal wrangling between Bethesda and Interplay over a Fallout MMORPG. They offer a response from Interplay to Bethesda's motion in limine. Word is: "Now Interplay has fired back. filing their own motion in limine in order to try and stop Bethesda from producing new evidence in the form of an expert witness that was not at discovery. The expert witness is Thomas Bidaux, former Director of Product Development at NCSoft Europe and now a founding partner at consulting firm ICO Partners. Interplay's lawyer, Mr. Gersh, has attempted to work out an arrangement to depose Bidaux, but Bethesda has been less that cooperative." They offer all the legalese surrounding this. Someone call Denny Crane!

League of Legends Season 2 Change Plans

Riot Games announces changes for League of Legends season two, saying their MOBA boasts 15 million players. These changes include the addition of Ranked Teams and Summoner Spell changes. The latter changes are intended to change how some play the game: "With Season Two, Riot is making some changes, including removing two spells: the underused Rally and Fortify; and the addition of two more: Surge, which grants ally players a powerful aura, boosting their combat effectiveness; and Promote, which dramatically enhances the power of an allied minion (Promote is being introduced to classic League of Legends after making its debut in League of Legends: Dominion)."

Gatherings & Competitions

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

  • AI War: Alien Bundle on Steam. Save 75%.
  • AI War DLC on Steam. Save 75%.
  • AI War: Fleet Command on Steam. Save 75%.
  • ARMA titles on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Call of Duty (Mac) on Mac App Store. Save 50%.
  • Call of Duty 2 (Mac) on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Call of Duty 2 (Mac)  on Mac App Store. Save 50%.
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Mac) on Mac App Store. Save 50%.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Thanks Frans.

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Evening Legal BriefsEvening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Modern Warfare (John Mayer Parody). NSFW. Thanks Ant.

Ubisoft Financials; New Assassin's Creed Game Next Year

Ubisoft's first-half 2011-2012 financial reporting is now available, showing First-half sales of €249 million, which they say beats their targets, and a current operating loss of €49 million, a net loss excluding non-recurring items of €31.6 million, and a net loss of €37.1 million, which they characterize as: "Stronger financial performance." They also say this confirms their targets for full-year 2011-12. There's also word on Gamasutra from the company's follow-up conference call where Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot states that they expect the upcoming Assassin's Creed: Revelations to suffer a "double digit decline" in sales compared with Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, going on to confirm they will be offering another new Assassin's Creed title next year, though no details were provided about the next installment in the stealth/action series.

Skyrim Now on Sale in the Netherlands?

Some retailers in the Netherlands may be in Dutch with Bethesda, as Inside Gamer has word (in Dutch) that several shops in the region are now selling The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in advance of Friday's embargo date for the RPG sequel. They offer a photo of the game and a receipt as proof of what's happening. Thanks Acleacius via Kotaku. Update: A poster in our forums reports also finding the game on sale in Paris, France.

Ships Ahoy - L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition

Rockstar Games announces the Windows PC edition of L.A. Noire is now available in North America as the L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition, which bundles all the DLC from the console editions of the detective thriller. They offer an L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition launch trailer, and the following details:

L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition is available today across North America today via retail stores and digital distributors, including Steam, Amazon, Direct2Drive and OnLive (look for it Friday in Europe and Australia).

In addition to the original full game, L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition for PC includes a multi-use code to access all the previously released downloadable content from the original console versions, including the “Nicholson Electroplating” Arson case, the “Reefer Madness” Vice case, “The Consul’s Car” Traffic case, “The Naked City” Vice case and “A Slip of the Tongue” Traffic case.

Developed by Rockstar Leeds, the PC version of L.A. Noire runs on a wide range of PCs and features increased resolution and graphical detail along with keyboard remapping and gamepad functionality, plus support for NVIDIA 3D Vision for an even greater sense of interaction and immersion. For system specs and more details visit www.rockstargames.com/lanoire/pc and be sure to look for an all-new Official PC Launch Trailer later today commemorating the release.

Is WoW Jumping the Panda?

An interview on Wired.com is a conversation with World of Warcraft production director J. Allen Brack conducted during BlizzCon 2011. They discuss the new pets and the upcoming expansion to determine if the MMORPG has jumped the shark, or in this case, the panda. Here's his take on whether kung fu pandas are a shark-jumping moment:

We don’t really worry about that because we really feel that our fans are going to be really excited about it. We have the community that’s really excited about what we’re doing.

The team is really excited about doing it. So that’s really what’s important. When it comes out, it’s going to be great. I can understand the concept of “Why isn’t there a big bad guy?” in this expansion? But how many times can we say, “This bad guy is going to destroy the world now and this time it’s serious? No, this guy, he’s really, really, really, really bad!”

So taking a break from that was very conscious and just having a very different tone. Instead of Horde and Alliance, we team up to defeat the big evil. It’s about the discovery of this new land and how the conflict of the Horde and Alliance influences that. With [the continent of] Outland [in the Burning Crusade expansion] and then with Northrend [Lich King] we had these self-contained areas where players came for an adventure in the higher level. That was really successful.

With Cataclysm, we didn’t have that. It was very much focused on redoing the entire levels 1-60 experience. You didn’t have, “This is the high level area.” So that’s something we actually want to get back to, that kind of experience and that kind of visual.

Borderlands 2 Interview

Hard Edge Creativity: Defining Borderlands 2 on Gamasutra is an interview with Gearbox writer Anthony Burch and concept designer Scott Kester about Borderlands 2, their upcoming role-playing/first-person shooter sequel. Appropriate to their roles, they focus on the game's storytelling, as well as how the expectations based on the first game are impacting the second, the game's art style, and how much more content there is in the sequel compared with the original Borderlands.

PC Batman: Arkham City This Month

WBIE announces the release dates for the delayed Windows PC edition of Batman: Arkham City, the stealth/action sequel:

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today confirmed that the Games for Windows PC version of Batman: Arkham City will be available in North America beginning November 22, in Australia beginning November 23, in France and Benelux beginning November 24, and in other European territories beginning November 25.

Ships Ahoy - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Activision Publishing announces Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is now available for Windows PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, along with the accompanying Call of Duty Elite service, which is currently for consoles only, but will eventually come to PCs, albeit in a limited form. Here's a bit on the game:

Co-developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games, Modern Warfare® 3 delivers a full assault on gamers’ senses, including an intense single-player campaign that picks up immediately following the events of Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2 and escalates into World War 3, as well as groundbreaking upgrades to the beloved Special Ops like the all-new Survival Mode. Special Ops serves as the perfect springboard to Modern Warfare 3’s re-imagined multiplayer, featuring the series’ trademark visceral gun-on-gun combat, a revamped pointstreak system with the introduction of “Strike Packages,” devastating new modes like “Kill Confirmed” and other gameplay enhancements, new features and a bevy of new weapons, equipment, and perks.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Reviews

The reviews are rolling in for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Infinity Ward's and Sledgehammer's new installment in the military shooter series. The PC Gamer review is delayed, since it was next to impossible to figure out what format they would review, and following that theme, most of these are of console versions:. There are write-ups on 1UP, AusGamers, Computer and Video Games, Destructoid, Edge, Eurogamer, Game Chronicles, GameInformer, GameSpot, GamesRadar, gamesTM, Gametrailers, Giant Bomb, Guardian.co.uk, IGN, Joystiq, Official XBOX Magazine, RobotGeek, Shacknews, Telegraph, and VideoGamer.

Lineage Eternal (Lineage 3) Announced

Citing information on a WoW knock-off site, Massively reports NCsoft has revealed development of Lineage Eternal: Twilight Resistance at the G-Star 2011 conference in Korea. There aren't many details on the next installment in the MMOG series, but word is it "sports more of a Diablo-esque camera view and much more use of object-oriented gameplay," and will feature "drag-and-hold" combat, where you cast spells and mount attacks by dragging your mouse in a specific pattern.

A Valley Without Wind Update

Arcen Games announces several tidbits about A Valley Without Wind, their upcoming procedurally generated side-scroller. They say they have entered the game into IGF 2012 and they will be attending next week's MineCon. They also write about their beta, and how it can get you a discount: "The full version of A Valley Without Wind is available for pre-order at 50% off the launch price during early beta, with customers gaining instant access to the latest available build and all subsequent releases. An updated demo--complete with the aforementioned intro mission--is out now for download, and a huge batch of screenshots showing off what's new have been released as well." Finally, they offer details on a new intro mission they've added as a result of beta testing, saying: "The new addition should allow players to be more comfortable navigating around the world in the side view, become familiar with how buildings, surface areas, and undergrounds all work, and have the confidence to head out onto the world map on their own."

Op Ed

Game-Life - Why Buying Games at Launch Is a Fool’s Errand.
But why pay for all this content now? There will come a time, most likely during the holiday season, when the publisher releases a version of the game that will come with all this DLC included in the package, and that whole mess will be likely be sold for less than the base game cost at launch. Imagine that! All you need is a little patience and you can get a much larger game, with much more content, for much less money. The more content has been announced, the higher the chances of all that for-pay stuff being collected for one last retail release so the publisher can squeeze the last bit of money from its game.

The rule is simple: The more DLC released for a title, the better the chances you’ll save money by waiting and buying the game when the entire thing is collected for retail. You can opt out of every stupid nickel-and-dime scheme just by waiting a few short months.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

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