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Friday, Mar 30, 2012

  

Ships Ahoy - PC Rayman Origins

Ubisoft announces that the PC edition of Rayman Origins is now available via digital distribution, offering the chance to play the platformer sequel on Windows systems. Here's the deal:

Players can control Rayman in the solo campaign, or have up to three friends join in or leave any time the game as Globox or as one of the two Teensies in the offline multiplayer mode. There are 60 vast levels of 2D platforming gameplay to explore suited for all ages and all playing styles. Players can unlock new abilities progressively and return to previous levels to discover new paths and secrets.

SEGA Cutting Jobs, Games

SEGA says it will be cutting jobs in North America and Europe and will be cancelling titles due to a downturn in business that's caused them to slash their financial projections for the year, reports GamesIndustry International. They have an announcement from SEGA to this effect, though this only details the IPs not being cut, leaving us to wonder what games will be cancelled. "We conducted detailed reviews of earnings projections for titles targeted toward the U.S. and European markets and decided to narrow down sales titles from the following period and after to strong IPs, such as 'Sonic the Hedgehog,' 'Football Manager', 'Total War' and 'Aliens' which are expected to continue posting solid earnings," reads the press release. "In accordance with this, we are canceling the development of some game software titles."

War Thunder Closed Beta

The War Thunder Website announces the launch of closed beta testing of this upcoming air combat MMOG. Here's word from publisher Gaijin Entertainment: "The multi-staged beta test will allow tens of thousands of players to become better acquainted with the War Thunder universe, giving fans of the project a chance to contribute to the game’s development. Closed beta test servers will be open 24 hours a day, meaning that players who have been invited can join the game at any time. To start, participants will have access to more than 100 aircraft models and several different locations, with new content added continuously throughout the test period."

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

  • Activision Treasures on GOG.com. Save 50%.
  • Bastion on GameFly. Save 50%.
  • Droplitz on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Dungeons of Dredmor Complete on GameFly. Save 53%.
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter on GameFly. Save 50%.

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Wasteland 2 and Obsidian

The Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Page has news that InXile plans to collaborate with Obsidian on their upcoming Wasteland sequel, which ensures the participation of designer Chris Avellone, who has worked on the Fallout series that succeeded the post-apocalyptic RPG. They stress that this will only happen if they hit the $2.1 million funding plateau, but this seems like a foregone conclusion, as they are over 80% of the way there at over $1.7 million pledged with more than two weeks remaining in their fundraising campaign. Here's a bit:

For those of you who don't know who Obsidian or Chris Avellone are, they are the bulk of the brains who worked on Fallout 1&2, Icewind Dale and Planescape Torment when I was back at Interplay. More of the band is back together to make sure we bring you a fantastic RPG. Chris is going to help push the density and literary content of the game.

The original Wasteland was an important game to Chris as he recently stated, "Wasteland is one of my favorite RPGs of all time, and when Brian asked if I wanted to work on the sequel, I jumped at the chance. While I've worked on Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas, getting the chance to work on the spiritual predecessor to the Fallout franchise is a honor."

While the programming work will remain with us here at inXile, we are looking to use a host of tools that Obsidian has created which will help us get assets into the game faster. The faster we can implement and iterate on content, the deeper the game and the more varied choices the gamers can make.

Worms Revolution Announced

Team17 Software announces Worms Revolution is the next installment in their squirmy turn-based strategy series, saying it will be released for PCs and consoles in the third quarter of this year. Here's word:

In 1995 gamers were introduced to crazy world of Worms™, the madcap, turn-based strategy game from the twisted mind of Andy Davidson. Fast forward seventeen years and everyone’s favourite invertebrates are back!

Team17 is proud to announce the forthcoming release of Worms™ Revolution. The game has been developed from the ground up and features a completely new game-engine. Exciting new features and challenges have been introduced whilst old favourites such as the Super Sheep and Holy Hand Grenade remain to thrill fans worldwide.

Epic Mickey 2 Coming to PC & Mac

GameInformer has word that Epic Mickey 2 is coming to Windows and OS X as well as consoles when the platformer sequel is released this fall. The original Epic Mickey from Warren Spector's Junction Point Studios was a console only title, but the sequel will apparently include a hybrid PC/Mac release. No further details are provided at this time, though Eurogamer.net has some non-platform-specific comments from Warren Spector about the game. Full disclosure: MrsBlue works for the Walt Disney Company.

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition OS X Plans & Cross-Platform Gaming

The Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition Website announces Overhaul Games' upcoming Baldur’s Gate overhauls will be coming to OS X this summer (thanks The Patches Scrolls). They say the Mac version will "include a variety of Mac OS X specific features, including widescreen and iCloud support." No, we didn't know widescreen support was an OS X specific feature either. Technically a PC edition of the game has not been announced, but it is mentioned in this tweet from Trent Oster revealing they plan to support cross-platform multiplayer play:

Yes, it will be compatible multi-player cross-platform. We had a Mac, iPad and PC joined into a game together.

Mount & Blade Warband: Napoleonic Wars Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Mount & Blade Warband: Napoleonic Wars, a multiplayer DLC pack for Mount & Blade Warband in the works at Flying Squirrel Entertainment and Taleworlds Entertainment for release later this spring. This trailer shows off a little of what this will bring to the action/RPG, and here's word: "Napoleonic Wars will support multiplayer battles of up to 250 soldiers and enables players the chance to create a character from 220 unique units available, all hailing from five different European nations. Fight battles with your tried and true sabre or utilize newly introduced artillery pieces such as cannons and rockets in this historically accurate and immersive 19th century experience like no other." Here's a feature list: Continue here to read the full story.

Crusader Kings II Ruler Designer DLC Next Month

The Ruler Designer is another DLC pack announced today by Paradox Interactive, which will offer various character customization options for Crusader Kings II when it is released on April 17th for the strategy/RPG sequel. This trailer offers a look, and here's a bit:

With the new Crusader Kings II: Ruler Designer DLC all these are in your hands. Customize your character your way. Tweak and change any aspect of the character or even create an all new character and dynasty to play with. Create your portrait, change the name and dynasty and even customize your coat of arms. Change traits and stats at will and decide the size of the immediate family. The game that lets you choose your goals will now let you choose your character.

Ships Ahoy - Deadly 30

The Deadly 30 Website now offers online sales of this indie tower defense game from Headup Games. This trailer offers a look at the game. Word is: "Survive 30 nights of horror and zombie menace in Deadly 30! Rescue and recruit companions, upgrade your weaponry and fortify your position during safe daylight. At night defend you bunker and fight off waves of attacking zombies. 12 guns, 11 types of zombies, 25 achievements and thousands of ways to die!"

PlanetSide 2 Trailer

This new trailer from PlanetSide 2 offers a look at gameplay footage from an alpha version of SOE's upcoming MMOFPS sequel. Word is: "In this video Sony Online Entertainment Creative Director Matt Higby walks through some of PlanetSide 2's Alpha highlights from the most recent gameplay demo including examples of air combat, vehicle combat, infantry combat and an overview of maps and environments on the alien planet of Auraxis." Continue here to read the full story.

World of Tanks Patched

The World of Tanks Website announces the release of a new patch to update this MMO third-person shooter to version 7.2. The Release Notes have the details and this trailer shows the new version in action. Here are a few highlights of the new version: Continue here to read the full story.

March April Foolin' 2012 - Part 1

Op Ed

Ars Technica - Blocking used games unlikely to kill the console game market.
I admit that it's hard to predict exactly how much of a backlash would result from technical solutions that tried to block used games on new consoles, and how much of that backlash would actually affect overall revenues on those systems. But to suggest that the video game business would be rendered utterly unsustainable without the used game market probably goes too far.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • BitFenix Shinobi XL PC-Gehäuse on Technic3D. In German.
  • Enermax DreamBass Genie on PureOC.
  • G.Skill Ripjaws X F3 2133C9Q-32GXH RAM on Overclockers Club.
  • GIGABYTE HD 7770 OC Graphics Cards with CrossFire on Bjorn3D.com.
  • GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7970 OC 3GB Graphics Card on eTeknix.
  • Mach Xtreme Technology MX-DS Fusion 60GB SATA3 2,5" SSD on OverClocked inside. In German.
  • MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning Graphics Card on Guru3D.
  • MSI X79A-GD65 X79 Motherboard on eTeknix.
  • Noctua NF-F12 PWM Focused Flow Cooling Fan on TweakTown.
  • NVIDIA Kepler GeForce GTX 680 SLI Graphics Card on HARDOCP.
  • Samsung Chronos on HardwareLook.com.
  • SteelSeries Diablo III Mouse on Nikk Tech.
  • Super Talent RAIDDrive upStream 220GB PCIe SSD on The SSD Review.
  • VisionTek Ultimate 16GB DDR3-1866 RAM on PureOC.
  • Zotac GTX680 Graphics Cards SLI on Overclock3D.

etc.

Out of the Blue

I just got a press release that was obviously a joke, or sort of obvious, I have to admit at first I thought it was from a developer that had lost touch with reality. Then it dawned on me with April Fools' Day on Sunday, we may be due for much of the "hilarity" associated with the occasion today. I guess that makes sense, so in grand tradition, we'll try to separate the crazy true stories from the crazy false ones today and round up the jokes separately for your enjoyment.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Replaceable Blocks.
Zomboz.
Stories: Mega Millions Strategies Have Little Chance of Leading to Jackpot. Thanks Digg.
Media: Aperture Science Handheld Portable Device Demo Review. Thanks TDW Geeks.
The Funnies: Fallout Weight Issues.
Virtual Shackles: Choose Wisely.

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

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

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.



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