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Friday, Feb 17, 2012

  

Ravaged Announced

2 Dawn Games reveals Ravaged, an upcoming post-apocalyptic vehicular first-person shooter (and remember, you can't spell Ravaged without R-A-G-E). The website has details and images from the game, a recent video developer diary, an older one, and word they are now accepting preorders, which will allow access to the game's beta testing. Thanks Joao.

Layoffs Strike Starbreeze

Starbreeze Studios is cutting 25 jobs, reports GamesIndustry.biz (registration required), saying they follow the completion of the Swedish developer's Syndicate shooter for EA. They also note that Peter Tornquist will resign from Starbreeze's board with no replacement planned. "It is sad that we are forced to make staff cutbacks affecting employees," says Starbreeze CEO Mikael Nermark. "But we have to reduce staff after the final delivery of the Syndicate."

Tomes of Mephistopheles Alpha

The Tomes of Mephistopheles Website now offers sales of the alpha version of this first-person action/RPG/dungeon crawler "with randomly generated, virtually infinite persistent game world." Buying the game in its unfinished state will obviously help fund its completion, but will also guarantee getting the game at its lowest possible price (thanks Bumadar). Here's a trailer, and here's word on the game:

Tomes of Mephistopheles is a first-person action-RPG dungeon crawler. With its fast-paced fluid combat, a multitude of medieval and magical weapons, an in-depth custom spell system, and randomly generated persistent worlds, ToM is a pinnacle of the genre. Seeking the sinister Tomes, you will forge a path through the dungeons using anything that becomes available to you, while attaining skill and power along the way by exploring, questing, and crafting unique equipment and tailoring spells for yourself.

Features: Crawl through vast, procedurally generated dungeons and overworlds. Use explosives or other means to create your own path through a destructible world

This is an alpha funding project. By purchasing Tomes of Mephistopheles right now, you will be getting at at the lowest price possible, you will be able to download early alpha version immediately after the purchase and will be granted all future updates for the title for free, including final release of the game.

CD Projekt RED on Their New Engine

Eurogamer talks with CD Projekt RED about their future plans, confirming indications late last year that they have two AAA titles in the works for release in 2014 and 2015. The conversation touches on advances in their new "Red" game engine, which will be capable of taking advantage of PC advances as well as the next generation of consoles.

On Mass Effect 3 DRM

BioWare's Casey Hudson offers reassurances to gamers by way of Computer and Video Games that the use of Origin does not mean Mass Effect 3 will be burdened by intrusive DRM. They say the game will use a one time online activation, and will allow an unlimited number of installs. Here's more from Hudson:

We use Origin, and it's interesting because really, it's just a way to get access to the online and digital features that, you know, generally, PC games have now. I think people are going to be fine with it.

"I think that the people who try Mass Effect 3 on Origin will realise that it's not an intrusive DRM scheme," he added. "It's just a way for you to sign up for the online services that you're going to get on an ongoing basis through Mass Effect 3.

"Just like you get with any other kind of online digital distribution, or multiplayer or whatever. It's not something that requires you to always be online - you can play Mass Effect 3 offline."

Fallout 3/Oblivion Bundle

The Bethesda Blog announces plans for a new double pack combo that will bundle The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3, two of their RPG sequels. The packs will be released in North America on April 3rd for Windows ($19.99) and Xbox 360 ($29.99).

On Skyrim DLC

Speaking with Kotaku, Bethesda's Todd Howard discusses plans for DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, saying each DLC pack will "feel closer to an expansion pack." There is also discussion of other smaller releases interspersed along the way (though Horse Armor goes unmentioned), and a discussion of ambitions besides DLC for tweaking and enhancing the game.

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

  • Age of Wonders Games on GOG.com. Save 50%.
  • Wolfenstein on Steam. Save 75%.

Evening Consolidation

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Evening Safety Dance

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etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Best. Technical College. Ad. Ever. Thanks Dakslf.

Mass Effect 3 Demo for All

The Mass Effect Website announces the early access period has concluded for the Mass Effect 3 demo, and this sample of BioWare's action/RPG sequel is now available to all. Word is: "The demo for 2012's most anticipated game is here! Experience two spectacular levels from the single-player campaign, along with intense four player co-op multiplayer matches."

Notch on Psychonauts 2 "Hype"

The Word of Notch has a follow up on his well publicized overture to Double Fine productions about possibly supplying funding for Psychonauts 2. In spite of recent indications that this was a serious offer, this update is a bit of a reality check, as evidenced by the post's "Hype" title. Notch now says he actually "semi-jokingly" tweeted about funding a sequel to the adventure game, and shows a little naïveté about the attention his public actions attract: "Point is, stop hyping over this, internet! You’re going to scare me into doing things secretly instead of being open and transparent via twitter. I am incredibly scared of the very real risk of people feeling let down just because I took a chance at something that doesn’t end up panning out." He also offers what he sees are the facts in this situation, as he seems them:

  • Tim and I haven’t spoken much at all other than a couple of emails.
  • We mentioned meeting at GDC, I hope that will happen
  • I assume Double Fine will be very busy for many months with the kickstarter project
  • The budget for doing a Psychonauts 2 is three times higher than my initial impression
  • A couple of other parties have mentioned also being interested in investing in it
  • I would not be investing in this as a charity. It would be because I think the game would be profitable
  • And naturally, I wouldn’t want to have any creative input in the game. It would be purely a high risk investment in a project I believe in.

Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers Announced

bitComposer Games announces Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers, a sequel to Conflicts: Secret Wars, saying this arcade flight sim from Games Farm will offer "breathtaking flight action in the Pacific" when it is released in the second half of this year for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Here's word:

Eschborn, February XX, 2012: The battle in the Pacific during the Second World War is the central theme of the new arcade flight sim Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers. Players can fight on the side of America or Japan and experience the historic battles of the era right up close. The game was developed by Russian developers Games Farm, who also created the title's predecessor Air Conflicts: Secret Wars. bitComposer Games owns the worldwide publishing rights to the game, and Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers is scheduled for release in the second half of 2012 on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 and Windows PC in Europe.

Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers combines authentic Second World War settings and a fictitious story that will lead the player through the arcade flight sim. The starting point for all the flight missions in the campaign is an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, which the player commands as the captain of the ship. The player decides at the beginning of the game whether to engage in battle under the flag of the US Navy or the Japanese Imperial Fleet. In Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers the battles are also fought in the air, e.g. Pearl Harbor, Midway and Wake Island. Instead of individual aircraft, here the player can control entire squadrons and switch between them during the mission. Various single and multiplayer modes will guarantee long-lasting game fun.

Day 1 Tease - New MechAssault?

The Day 1 Studios Website now sports a new trailer called "Storm Warning," teasing an upcoming project from Day 1 Studios. The clip shows a glimpse of a mech, and the accompanying text saying that in 2012 "Day 1 Studios Returns to its Roots," leading to rampant speculation that this may signal a return of the MechAssault franchise. There's no indication yet when we can expect more on this. Thanks Hump.

Free StarCraft II Name Changes

The StarCraft II Website announces that in conjunction with their new BattleTag system, Blizzard is offering free name changes in the real-time strategy sequel:

With the introduction of the BattleTag system, we’re in the process of evaluating how they might be integrated into StarCraft II, and how they may impact character names in the future. Instead of making everyone wait until we know how that integration could affect a name change system, we’ve decided to provide an additional free character name change for StarCraft II players eager to pick something else. We appreciate everyone’s continued patience and look forward to sharing more information on the future of the StarCraft II service as it becomes available.

If you'd like to change your character name, log in to Account Management and choose your StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty game license. On your game license screen a "Character Name Change" button at the bottom will initiate the request. After confirming that you'd like to change your character name, simply log in to StarCraft II and you'll be prompted to select a new one.

Legends of Pegasus Website; Trailer

A new Legends of Pegasus Website is online for this 4X space strategy game in development at Novacore Studios. The site features a teaser trailer "which will give viewers a brief taste of the visuals to be featured in the game."

Gatherings & Competitions

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Morning Safety Dance

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Game Reviews

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Out of the Blue

This is the Presidents' Day weekend here in the U.S., which is supposed to be a holiday weekend. This is one of those occasions that I think of as a minor holiday that only schoolkids get off, but not only does MrsBlue have Monday off, but her office is having a half-day today as well, so maybe its more prominent than I think.

R.I.P.: Insomniac Programmer Michael Kuehl Passes Away.

Prominent Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Captain Commander.
Arcane Arena.
Haters War.
Links: Some People Think This Sign Is Too Complex.
Stories: New-car smell may come from toxic chemicals.
Flamingo Air, Cincinnati Airline, Offers Mile High Sex To Customers.
Science: Chemical used in plastics and food containers linked to obesity and diabetes.
Images: Don’t Start Comparing Controller Sizes FAIL.
The Best Science Visualizations of the Year. Thanks Neatorama.
HTTP 404 Error: Wall Not Found.
Media: I’ll Call You Back.
World’s First Ski-Thru Starbucks.
Follow-up: World's Hottest Pepper: Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Proclaimed New Champion Chile.
Charlie Sheen: 'I'm Tired Of Pretending Ashton Doesn't Suck' On 'Two And A Half Men'.

Thursday, Feb 16, 2012

Wasteland Sequel Kickstart Coming

An article on IGN has word that, inspired by Double Fine's success, Brian Fargo's inXile Entertainment is planning a Kickstarter campaign to launch a Wasteland sequel for PCs and possibly other platforms, though this may not actually called Wasteland 2. Here's a bit:

He doesn't know if it'd be straight up called Wasteland 2, but he repeatedly emphasized that, despite having thought about it for only 48 hours, it wouldn't be a crazy genre change up. Wasteland, whatever its called, will be "100% faithful to its roots." This means a Wasteland game that "would be focusing on top-down, probably isometric, party based, skill based -- where if you'd just finished playing Wasteland and moved onto this you'd feel comfortable."

Ships Ahoy - PC Alan Wake

The Alan Wake Website announces the PC edition if Alan Wake is now available on Steam, where the Collector's edition is available for the standard edition price, offering the soundtrack from Remedy's psychological thriller along with all its DLC, an offer that's good until a week from today (and is also available through Impulse Driven). Here's an overview of the game:

When the wife of the best-selling writer Alan Wake disappears on their vacation, his search turns up pages from a thriller he doesn’t even remember writing. A Dark Presence stalks the small town of Bright Falls, pushing Wake to the brink of sanity in his fight to unravel the mystery and save his love.

Presented in the style of a TV series, Alan Wake features the trademark Remedy storytelling and pulse-pounding action sequences. As players dive deeper and deeper into the mystery, they’ll face overwhelming odds, plot twists, and cliffhangers. It’s only by mastering the Fight With Light combat mechanic that they can stay one step ahead of the darkness that spreads across Bright Falls.

With the body of an action game and the mind of a psychological thriller, Alan Wake’s intense atmosphere, deep and multilayered story, and exceptionally tense combat sequences provide players with an entertaining and original gaming experience.

Men of War: Assault Squad GotY Demo

The Men of War Website now offers a new playable demo for Men of War: Assault Squad Game of the Year Edition, the deluxe version of the real-time strategy sequel that's now available on Steam. Word is the demo "features two skirmish missions from original game with all released updates together with two new levels from DLCs." The download is mirrored on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

Modern Warfare 3 Free Weekend

Steam news has word that the promised free weekend for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is now underway, accompanied by a sale for the military shooter sequel:

Kick off the weekend by playing Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 3 for FREE starting now through Sunday at 1PM Pacific Time.

Additionally, pickup Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 3 this weekend only at 33% off the regular price! Sale ends Monday, February 20th at 10AM Pacific Time.

Dawn of War II: Retribution Patched

The Dawn of War II Website has word that a new version 3.19.1 patch is now live in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Retribution, Relic's real-time strategy sequel (thanks Gamer's Hell). The new version is available automatically through Steam, and while it goes unmentioned there, this forum post has these full patch notes: Continue here to read the full story.

Max Payne 3 Trailer

Rockstar Games now offers a new official trailer #2 for Max Payne 3, the upcoming third-person shooter sequel. The clip is a cinematic look at the events leading up to the new installment in the series.

Guild Wars 2 PvP Details

ArenaNet Blog has an update from Mike Ferguson on World vs. World conflict in Guild Wars 2, or as George would put it: When world's collide (thanks Cutter). In this post, Mike goes into great detail on the large-scale PvP they have planned for their upcoming MMORPG sequel:

From the earliest days of development, we knew that we wanted to include some form of large-scale PvP combat in Guild Wars 2, but how would it work? We knew right away that we wanted three teams fighting against one another on a series of huge maps in the Mists (our world vs. world battleground) and that each team would be composed of an entire server full of players. Including three forces in world vs. world acts as an excellent balancing factor, preventing one team from growing too powerful and ruining the competitive balance of the game. Two teams can gang up to counter a more dominant third team, a dynamic that simply isn’t possible with only two opposing factions.

Pre-certified Catalyst Reference Drivers

AMD/ATI Support now offers a new version 12.2 pre-certified Catalyst reference drivers for AMD/ATI GPUs. These offer a number of changes and enhancements, along with the following explanation of what pre-certification represents: "The AMD Catalyst™ 12.2 Certified driver (It is the same driver as the Catalyst 12.2 Pre-Certified, but will be officially Microsoft® certified) will be posted in late February or very early March 2012."

New Via Digital Distribution

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  • Alliance of Valiant Arms, TF2 promotion on Steam.

Gatherings & Competitions

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Evening Safety Dance

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etc., etc.

Into the Black

Civilization V Gods & Kings DLC This Spring

The 2K Games Blog unveils plans for Gods & Kings, a new expansion pack for Sid Meier's Civilization V coming to the turn-based strategy sequel this spring.

It will come as no surprise to those of you who are familar with expansion packs for previous Civilization games that Gods & Kings will add more techs, units, buildings, Wonders, and playable Civilizations. But what about the big brand new game elements that will change the way you conquer the world? Let me lay it out for you:

Continue here to read the full story.

Jagged Alliance Online Open Beta

The Jagged Alliance Online Website announces that beta testing is now open to all for this upcoming browser-based online installment in the Jagged Alliance series of tactical strategy games. This forum post has details on what the test involves, and how to get started playing. This trailer has a walkthrough for the game, and here's a bit on changes from the closed beta:

The advent of open beta testing will also bring a number of new features to the game: Defeated opponents now drop loot that can be collected by the mercenaries during the mission. When a player aims at an explosive barrel or crate, the explosion radius will be shown, making it easier to judge to results of one’s actions. Aiming at an opponent will now show which direction he is most vulnerable from.

2012 BAFTA Nominees

The BAFTA Website has the list of the 2012 nominations for their prestigious Video Games Awards. The candidates for Best Game are Batman: Arkham City, FIFA 2012, L.A. Noire, Portal 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Here are a couple of other categories:

Action

Assassin’s Creed Revelations
Batman: Arkham City
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Portal 2
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Artistic Achievement

Batman: Arkham City
L.A. Noire
LitteBigPlanet 2
Raymans Origins
The Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Tactical Intervention This Spring

OGPlanet announces that Tactical Intervention will launch this spring to offer the latest in tactical first-person shooter gameplay from Minh "Gooseman" Le, co-creator of the original Counter-Strike modification. Here's word:

Torrance, Calif.-February 16, 2011- OGPlanet, an innovative provider of Free-to-Play, multiplayer, online games, announced today it will be publishing the new tactical, team-based, first-person shooter, Tactical Intervention, developed by FIX Korea, in spring 2012. Tactical Intervention marks the return of one of gaming's most legendary creators, Minh "Gooseman" Le. Le co-created the iconic and legendary first-person shooter (FPS), Counter-Strike, which is arguably the origin of the modern, military, tactical, team-based FPS genre.

"I'm excited to share my latest project with my fellow gamers," said Le, lead developer on Tactical Intervention. "As my latest tactical team-based shooter, Tactical Intervention builds off of what I tried to accomplish with Counter-Strike. I think players will be excited about the innovations we've implemented in the game, especially the vehicle missions and new team focus."

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Previews

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Out of the Blue

It seems Linsanity has gripped the country, so you can only imagine how Linsane it is at this point in the New York area. It's to the point where my buddies have raised the concept of actually attending a Knicks game, a prospect we haven't entertained since the days of Ewing and Oakley. The kid is a turnover machine, but he also looks like a real player, and if it turns out he isn't, I hope you can forgive the hysteria from a basketball loving town that hasn't had the chance to root for a champion since Nixon was in office.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Gravity Duck 2.
Heir.
Stories: Man stricken eating 'Triple Bypass' burger.
NBC Orders Hannibal Straight to Series.
MushBooms - Level Pack.
Science: Extreme summer temperatures occur more frequently in U.S. now. Thanks Cutter.
How Interval Training Can Improve Health. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: Skyrim for Intellivision.
No, you fools...
Media: Awesome SoulCalibur V Graffiti Mural Created In London.
Beatbox flute & Cello in NYC Subway.
The Funnies: Mass Effect Valentine.



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