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Thursday, Mar 29, 2012

  

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Dropping MMO; THQ Cuts

THQ announces a change in direction for Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium, saying this will no longer be an massively multiplayer online game, as originally planned, but will rather be "an immersive single player and online multiplayer experience with robust digital content, and engaging community features." They say details on release timing and platforms will come at a later date. They also announce this has consequences for their staff, as it will cost over 100 jobs: "As a result of this change, team sizes at two THQ internal studios will be reduced by 79 full-time employees at Vigil Games in Austin, Texas, and 39 employees at Relic Entertainment in Vancouver, B.C." Here's the reasoning behind the shift away from the MMOG model:

“As previously announced, we have been actively looking for a business partner for the game as an MMO. However, based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features,” said Brian Farrell, President and CEO of THQ Inc. “Because we believe strongly in the high-quality and vast creative work that is in production, this is the right decision for both our portfolio and for gamers devoted to this powerful property.”

Battlefield 3 PC Patched

The Battlefield Blog post about the Battlefield 3 patch has been edited to announce the PC edition of the patch is now available. The post offers highlights of the new version like the new commo rose and improved mini-map. Here's word: "Today, we rolled out the big Spring game update for Battlefield 3 on PC! The focus of this massive package is to make the game more stable, fairer, and more balanced. You can find a comprehensive change list this earlier post. The ~1.6GB update is available now."

Prince of Persia Source Code Rediscovered

Jordan Mechner's Blog announces the discovery of the long-lost source code for the original Prince of Persia, saying: "I will now begin working with a digital-archeology-minded friend to attempt to figure out how to transfer 3.5″ Apple ProDOS disks onto a MacBook Air and into some kind of 21st-century-readable format." The story of how the source was discovered is pretty funny:

My Dad (yep, the same guy who composed the music for the original Karateka and Prince of Persia) called from New York to tell me he was doing some spring cleaning and had shipped me a carton of old games and other stuff of mine he’d found in the back of a closet.

The carton arrived yesterday. My jaw dropped when I saw what was inside.

No, I don’t mean the stacks of Spanish Drosoft versions of POP and Karateka (though those are cool too, especially if you have an Amstrad computer with a cassette player). I mean those three little plastic 3.5″ disk boxes nestled among them… which appear to contain the ORIGINAL APPLE II SOURCE CODE OF PRINCE OF PERSIA that I’ve been searching for, off and on, for the past ten years, pestering everyone from Doug Carlston to Danny Gorlin and everyone who ever worked at Broderbund, and finally gave up hope of ever finding.

I KNEW it wasn’t like me to throw stuff out!

Trine 2 Hardcore Mode Added

Steam News announces that Trine and Trine 2 are both on sale this weekend. To accompany the news, Frozenbyte announces a new hardcore mode for Trine 2, good news, since hardcore seems to be everybody's favorite type of core. Here's word:

"The Hardcore Mode is our thanks to our most hardcore fans, and a throwback to the good old days," Frozenbyte CEO Lauri Hyvärinen says, and continues: "This is for the fans who thought the Tower of Sarek level in the first game was just right in its pre-patches state, for those who really want an extra challenge from the game. The Hardcore Mode adds a big value to replayability, especially in online and offline co-op, and really means you have to work together or face game over."

"P.S. We take no responsibility for broken relationships attributed to the Hardcore Mode."

Assassin's Creed III Preorders Killing It

Ubisoft announces the success of their preorder program for Assassin's Creed III. To paraphrase Jack Nicolson's Joker, they're shipping them out a whole new door:

Ubisoft® announced today that Assassin's Creed® III, releasing on October 30, 2012 in North America, is on track to become the highest pre-ordered game in the company's history.

After only three weeks of the game being available for pre-order in North America, Assassin's Creed III has made history for Ubisoft in North America with reserves for the title being higher than any previous Assassin's Creed game in the same time period. Assassin's Creed III has more than 10 times the U.S. pre-order total that Assassin's Creed Revelations had in the same time period, and the game has already reached Assassin's Creed Brotherhood's life-to-date U.S. pre-order total. Assassin's Creed III is on track to match the life-to-date U.S. pre-order figures for Ubisoft's previously most pre-ordered game, Assassin's Creed Revelations, by E3 in June.

Continue here to read the full story.

Ghost Recon Online Assault Class Trailer

A new trailer from Ghost Recon Online is now available showing off Ubisoft's upcoming multiplayer shooter. This "Assault Class Overview" presents a look at the weapon types, special abilities, and team upgrades of the Assault class. Continue here to read the full story.

Game of Thrones: The Game Trailer

A new trailer showing off more of Cyanide's upcoming role-playing game based on A Game of Thrones, the fantasy-themed television series. This Game of Thrones: The Game trailer includes conflict, combat, and spontaneous human combustion. Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Team Assault: Baptism of Fire

Matrix Games announces the release of Team Assault: Baptism of Fire, and if you are guessing this is a tactical World War II strategy game, give yourself a prize. Here's word:

Team Assault: Baptism of Fire focuses on realistic, turn-based combat on tactical platoon-level scale. Players will experience realistic combat, utilizing more than 20 Allied and Axis accurately-modeled weapons that take into consideration of weapon accuracy, penetration versus cover, recoil and encumbrance. Soldier’s morale, cover, and using flanking maneuvers are just some of the factors players will have to keep an eye on.

Team Assault: Baptism of Fire also features nearly endless customization with a Force Builder to create custom squads for use in battle. Create new battlefields with the in-game map editor to create new tactical situations. Take the fight online to engage in battle against other players, complete with ranking system, using custom-created squads.

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

  • Gotham City Impostors on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Penny Arcade Adventures: Precipice of Darkness Combo Pack on Steam. Save 75%.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: 3 year old girl humiliates adult gamer. NSFW. Thanks Ant.

SimCity Online Requirement Clarified/Corrected

An edit to GameSpy's New SimCity Preview backtracks from the statement that the upcoming return of the urban planning series will only be playable while online. The preview originally confirmed this now-debunked report before being fixed: "Yes, you will have to register an Origin account in order to play, and yes, you must be online at all times while playing in order to start playing. EA has confirmed that you will not be kicked out if your connection is interrupted."

Epic Games Planning an MMOG?

Nixelpixel reports indications they've uncovered suggesting Epic Games is planning an MMOG. They have a CV for a game developer intern at Epic Games China listing "game developer on a next-gen MMORPG" as one of his projects, and one for a Game Play Programmer at Epic Games China who lists "Code for a next-gen MMORPG" as a credit. Thanks BeyondUnreal.

Ships Ahoy - Solar Struggle

The Solar Struggle Website has word that the Windows PC edition of this indie space action game is now available on LittleIndie. The game, which has seen great success on Xbox LIVE Arcade, is on sale at first at a 25% discount. They stress the effort they put into creating a proper PC version with the following new features:

  • Fully customizable keyboard controls
  • Mouse-optimized game menus
  • New graphics style
  • Higher resolution textures
  • Free choice of display resolution
  • Integration of the LittleIndie online platform

AirMech Trailer

Carbon Games announces plans to show off AirMech at PAX, including PAX-exclusive content for this free-to-play online action/RTS game. Word is: "AirMech is a fast paced, F2P game featuring competitive, coop, and solo game modes. Players pilot a variety of transforming robots each with their own special abilities, and field their own selection of units to support them. AirMech can be played right now in Chrome by visiting http://airmech.com or players can register for the closed PC test." This teaser trailer offers the first look at the game. Continue here to read the full story.

UFO Online - Fight for Earth Second Beta

The second beta phase of UFO Online - Fight for Earth is now available, showing further progress on this browser-based tactics game. Here's word on the new beta:

  • Significantly expanded PvE content (two new aliens, new loot system, missions more dynamic with random spawns and maps)
  • Completely overhauled base that provides a better overview, more interaction and visual feedback
  • Increased tactical depth through character target zones with varying amounts of armor
  • Improved user interface with additional features to increase ease of use (drag & drop, direct control by double-clicking)
  • Comprehensive tutorial that explains all of the games most important features in 10 minutes
  • Improved graphics effects in general and weapons effects in particular
  • Optimization of the performance, especially in the Flash part of the game

Sniper Elite V2 Assassinate Hitler Trailer

A new trailer from Sniper Elite V2 shows off a preorder incentive from the upcoming stealthy sharpshooting game. The clip shows an opportunity to be the inglorious basterd who heroically ends World War II early. The concept can be summed up my Private Jackson's quote from Saving Private Ryan: "What I mean by that, sir, is if you was to put me and this here sniper rifle anywhere up to and including one mile from Adolf Hitler... with a clean line of sight... Pack your bags, fellas. War's over. Amen." Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Cubemen

3 Sprockets now offers Cubemen, a tower defense/RTS game for Windows, OS X, and iPad 2/3 described as "a fast paced, action packed, original 3D Tower Defense game that mixes TD with RTS in single player & online multi-­player awesomeness." The Windows/OS X editions are available on Desura and Steam, the OS X edition is on the Mac App Store, and the iPad edition is on the iTunes App Store.

Morning Consolidation

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Out of the Blue

Trying to find the perfect replacement grill is turning out to be a slow process. Every time I do any poking around online I find more choices to complicate the matter. I'm not complaining, though, it's sort of fun to see all the different approaches being taken to the same concept, with as many grills showing their genius in simplicity as those where complexity is the claim-to-fame.

Famous Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Escape From Melakka.
Solar Rift.
Links: 8 Seemingly Harmless Toys That Were Yanked Off the Shelf.
Stories: CBS Blocks Use of Unused ‘Star Trek’ Script by Spinrad. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science: Hot, crowded, and running out of fuel- Earth of 2050 a scary place.
Milky Way Harbors Billions of Planets Where Life Could Flourish: Study.
Images: Movie Villains in Their Golden Years.
Media: Skyrim Hoarders.
Indie Game: The Movie Spoof.
Dark Knight Rises LEGO Trailer.
Follow-up: Ron Burgundy's "Anchorman" Announcement. Thanks nin.

Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012

Another Mass Effect 3 Bounty Weekend

BioWare announces "Operation Raptor," another bounty weekend in Mass Effect 3, which will get underway at 8:00 pm EDT on Friday and run through 8:00 am EDT Monday. This is for the PC and Xbox 360 editions, and word is they are hard at work to add support for future events to the PlayStation 3 edition of the action/RPG sequel as well. Here's word on the event:

Rally your allies for this weekend’s Operation Raptor by promoting at least two characters to your single player campaign. All promotions will result in an increased N7 rating.

  • Allied Goal: Promote 150,000 characters. Victory Packs awarded to all players upon successful completion.
  • · Individual Goal: Promote 2 characters. Commendation Pack awarded to individual players upon successful completion

Commendation Packs will be awarded to individual soldiers who complete their training and a Victory Pack will be awarded to everyone if the Allied Goal is achieved. Packs will be available to download the following week.

Additionally, a 10% XP bonus will be applied during this timeframe! Now’s the time to shoot for two level 20 characters and build up your N7 rating with this weekend with Operation Raptor!

Max Payne 3 Multiplayer Trailer

Rockstar Games now offers a new trailer from Max Payne 3, the upcoming third-person shooter sequel. The clip shows off multiplayer action from the game, as word is: "see how Max Payne 3 Multiplayer brings the franchise's combination of highly responsive and cinematic shooting action to the realm of online multiplayer across a range of game modes, the implementation of Max’s signature Bullet Time® special ability and how we utilized the third-person perspective - allowing players to connect with a character they can see while still retaining full fluid control during gunplay."

Path of Exile Stress Test Weekend

The Path of Exile Website is counting down to the launch of a public stress test for this upcoming multiplayer action/RPG. There is a FAQ with details on what content will be offered, how to get the game client in advance, and more. They say feedback from the test will help prepare for their "permanent open beta."

Legends of Aethereus Beta

Closed beta testing is now underway for Legends of Aethereus, ThreeGates' upcoming multiplayer action/RPG. Here's a bit on the game: "The game offers fans of hardcore PvP combat the ability to challenge other players in their own arena, while giving Hack-N-Slash Action players fun expeditions to fill their time while they level up their characters for battle." This trailer offers beta test footage.

Confessions of an EA Viral Marketer?

A thread on reddit sums up a 4Chan discussion with someone claiming to be a viral marker for Electronic Arts prior to his recent dismissal. He outlines his job trolling websites to create good press and deflect bad press, and makes a number of claims about EA, the most significant being they are on the verge of acquiring another company. This is all to be taken with a grain or more of salt, of course, but Blend Games' summary of the summary (how meta) notes an interesting aspect of all this: "What's more is that when he reveals a former forum name, posters instantly recognize him as a guy who had been defending Mass Effect 3, Star Wars The Old Republic and Origin for several months, even using Origin to hand out free games during a brief marketing campaign, meaning he's either legit or one of the most dedicated trolls ever."

Line of Defense Blog; Comic

The World Of Line Of Defense is a new developer blog detailing progress on Line of Defense, 3000AD's upcoming MMOG. On a related note, 3000AD and DC Comics announce plans for a comic book tie in with the game:

WESTON, FL– March 28, 2012– 3000AD, INC and DC Entertainment welcome comic book fans to the edge of conflict. Designed by videogame veteran Derek Smart, Line Of Defense, developed by 3000AD, takes place in a rich environment where Galactic Command is deep in conflict with opposing forces hell bent on taking over the resources of a distant planet and apparently building a super weapon while they’re at it.

A special limited-edition,“First Issue” comic based on this upcoming videogame will be featured at the DC Entertainment booth at San Diego Comic-Con this year, as well as E3 and several other trade shows during the year. It will also be made available through various online outlets.

Continue here to read the full story.

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On Sale

  • Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! on Steam. Save 66%.

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etc., etc.

New AMD/ATI Reference Drivers

AMD now offers new version 12.3 Catalyst reference Drivers for AMD/ATI graphics cards. The new drivers add support for a number of new products, and include the following mostly game-related changes:

  • AMD Catalyst Control Center startup issues/delays have been resolved
  • Elder Scrolls: Skyrim : No longer displays flickering and texture corruption with Anti-Aliasing enabled
  • Alan Wake : A system crash is no longer experienced when running the game in DirectX 9 mode with Crossfire enabled.
  • Far Cry 2 : A random system hang is no longer experienced when running the game at high in game setting.
  • Tom Clancy HAWX : No longer crashes after task switching with MLAA (Morphological Anti-Aliasing) and Anti-Aliasing enabled.
  • Furmark Benchmark : No longer crashes when launched in High Performance mode.
  • Quake 4 : No longer display corruption after task switching when run in High Performance mode
  • XPlane : Textures no longer exhibit flicker and corruption.

Mistborn Announced

Little Orbit announces plans to create a game based on Mistborn, the bestselling series of epic fantasy novels by author Brandon Sanderson. The Mistborn Website is online for the game, which is expected next year for Windows, Xbox LIVE, and PlayStation Network. Here's word:

Little Orbit revealed today that they will be bringing bestselling author Brandon Sanderson’s epic fantasy series Mistborn to games late next year for PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Windows PC and Mac.

Mistborn is set in a dark world of ash, mist, and gothic fantasy creatures, dominated by a seemingly immortal villain known as the Lord Ruler. It also follows individuals who use a powerful rule-based magic system known as Allomancy that allows them to temporarily enhance their physical and mental abilities by ingesting and “burning” flakes of metal. Those who have the ability to burn a single metal are called Mistings, and those who can burn all metals are known as Mistborn.

The upcoming RPG video game will feature an original storyline created by Sanderson, set several hundreds of years before the first Mistborn novel, and will focus on a unique combat system that puts Allomancy into the hands of gamers. Players will suit up as Fendin “Fiddle” Fathvell, an arrogant young nobleman who must quickly master his newfound Allomantic abilities before forces at work can destroy his entire family.

Continue here to read the full story.

Ubisoft: Play Assassin's Creed 3 PC With A Controller

There's a preview of Assassin's Creed 3 on GameSpy with quotes from Ubisoft Montreal Creative Director Alex Hutchinson about what to expect from the stealth/action sequel. The author deserves extra points for the concluding Q&A expressing skepticism that the PC edition of the game will be released alongside the console editions. On another PC-related topic, they learn that their professed "love" and plans for "supporting" the PC does not include putting time into mouse and keyboard support (thanks Destructoid). Here's word:

Sadly the PC version won't get much special treatment, he admitted: "We're definitely supporting PC, we love PC, but I think it'll be PC with a controller. I don't see us investing hugely in a mouse and keyboard setup. I think if you want to play on PC and you want to play Assassin's Creed, you have a controller."

New SimCity Only Playable Online

The upcoming continuation of the SimCity series will require a constant internet connection to play, reports Joystiq. They have confirmed that the game will be sold through digital distributors other than Origin, but lead designer Stone Librande tells them players will need to be connected to EA's online service to play, even in single-player. Word is: "The always-on connection becomes necessary with the game's emphasis on multiplayer and regional impact, and the use of a global economy that all players can influence."

Iron Grip: Marauders Expands

ISOTX announces the release of the Atelian expansion for Iron Grip: Marauders, the MMO strategy game. This trailer shows off the new content, and here's an outline of what's included: Continue here to read the full story.

Paradox Game Demo Stream Today

Paradox Interactive's Twitch TV Channel will be showing a live demo of four recently announced titles today beginning at 2:00 pm EDT. They will be showing streaming gameplay from Dungeonland, A Game of Dwarves, Starvoid, and The Showdown Effect. Word is: "Each larger-than-life title will receive a presentation by their respective development team, including the viewing of the newest trailer, a walkthrough from the devs themselves, and a short Q/A session from the community via chat. Indie game fans won’t want to miss this opportunity to get a firsthand sneak peek of what’s to come, so be sure to tune in!"

Battlefield 3 PC Patch Tomorrow

Daniel Matros tweets that the PC patch for Battlefield 3 is expected tomorrow: "PC patch has a date which is tomorrow. Coming in hot we will go into maintenance mode from 9-11:30 CET. More details coming on the blog." Thanks VG247.

Miner Wars 2081 in 2012

The Miner Wars Website now offers an updated release date for Miner Wars 2081, or window rather, as they say the game will get a full release in the second half of this year. The current build of the single-player and MMO aerial combat game is still available as a prerelease preorder, and word is: "Rather than releasing quickly and all of a sudden, we would like to ensure the game has been polished and handles well. Instead of rushing to meet the deadlines (set by ourselves, actually), we want to move forward with a ‘will release when it is finished’ mentality"

Diablo III Class Video

The Diablo III Website offers another new "In-Development" video on Class Skills in Blizzard's upcoming action/RPG sequel. Word is: "Doing battle with the Burning Hells means fighting fire with fire, and this week’s videos are all about destruction. We’ve got skills to tear through demonic invaders with summoned zombies and locusts, pepper them with knives and arrows, warp their minds, blow their bodies apart, and more. Watch, enjoy, and remember: heroes use every tool at their disposal in the pursuit of victory."

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

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  • Fink version 0.32.4.1. Thanks Ant.

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

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etc.

Out of the Blue

Well my visit to Doctor Toothy got forestalled yesterday, as my car decided it didn't want to start. I kind of have myself to blame for relying on a battered 12-year old sports car with 110k miles on it, but it has never stranded me before, so I guess that can be forgiven. I'm rescheduled for next week, so I'll have to figure out what's up with the car between now and then.

Forestalled Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Kill the Heroes.
Ruder.
Links: Popular Games Viewed From a Different Perspective.
Stories: How Does America’s Tallest Man Buy Shoes? Thanks nin.
Gary Oldman 'thought he had lost' Batman film script.
Science: Robot Records Fish Farts. Thanks Neatorama.
Popcorn: The snack with even higher antioxidants levels than fruits and vegetables. Thanks TDW Geeks.
Media: Alternate Mad Men Intros.
Tenacious D - To Be The Best.
Follow-up: Earth heated up in medieval times without human CO2 emissions. Thanks Roger.



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