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Monday, Apr 16, 2012

  

The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition Released

GOG.com announces the release of the promised Enhanced Edition for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, CD Projekt RED's action/RPG sequel. To celebrate, they have the original The Witcher: Enhanced Edition on sale for 50% off and The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings for 15% off (the Enhanced Edition is a free upgrade if you already own the game). Here's word:

The Enhanced Edition of The Witcher 2 features new locations, like the underground system of chambers beneath Loc Muine and a temperate forest in the Loc Muine mountains. A batch of new characters is introduced to the Witcher storyline. All new cinematics and cut scenes expand upon the story, including a new three and a half minute pre-rendered cinematic depicting the assassination of King Demavend of Aedirn, created by BAFTA Award winner and Academy Award nominee Tomasz Baginski.

In additon to more than 4 hours of extra gameplay, improved graphics, new characters, locations, quests, 36 minutes of new cinematics, GOG.com has added the Witcher comic book, new game map, game guide, manual, and soundtrack to your free goodies list, simply because we love you.

Note: This upgrade is available to everyone who has bought The Witcher 2, not just folks who bought it from GOG.com. The upgrade will be free to download from now until a few days after the apocalypse, and is available through the in-game launcher. Note that for faster connections and better error checking, we strongly recommend that you download your new copy of the Enhanced Edition through the GOG.com downloader

Jane Jensen's Moebius Revealed

The Kickstarter Page for Jane Jensen's Pinkerton Road announces the selection of the adventure game that will be developed as one of the rewards for supporting this "Community Supported Gaming" effort spearheaded by designer Jane Jensen. The game is Moebius. a point-and-click, third-person adventure expected around March of next year, presuming the project attracts the remainder of its $300,000 funding goal. The game will have a "2D graphic novel look," which perhaps makes the title an homage, as Moebius was the pseudonym of famed French comic artist Jean Giraud. Word is: "The game will have two modes: Casual Adventure and True Adventure. Casual Adventure mode includes hints, a hotspot revealer, and a simplified interface. True Adventure will be more of a challenge along the lines of Jane’s past adventure games (Gabriel Knight, Gray Matter)." The site has concept art, a trailer of Jane revealing the winning proposal, and new supporter rewards. Here are some further details on Moebius:

Moebius is a metaphysical sci-fi thriller in the vein of Fringe, Jane’s novel Dante’s Equation, and (of course!) Gabriel Knight. Antiquities dealer Malachi Rector hunts down artifacts all over the world and compiles dossiers on their history. He has a knack for sensing “the soul” of an object. After his upscale Manhattan store is destroyed in a fire, Rector is hired by millionaire Amber Dexter to investigate a series of events and document them in his meticulous way.

The first event is the death of a young woman in Venice, who was found hanging from a bridge. As Rector investigates her life, he soon realizes that this beautiful and talented young woman -- and the interrupted path of her life -- had great hidden significance. It appears that Amber Dexter and his associates are playing with the fabric of life in a way Rector never imagined possible. Even he, Rector himself, is part of a larger pattern.

Malachi Rector must figure out who is doing what -- and whether their intentions are for good or ill -- before he can decide whether to play his pre-scripted role or try to change the outcome.

On a related note, GOG.com is soliciting questions for an upcoming Q&A with Jensen.

Telepath Tactics Announced

Sinister Design announces Telepath Tactics, a multiplayer free-for-all set in the world of Telepath RPG, their recently released action/RPG. Word is:

Telepath Tactics features a gorgeous new art style, a totally redesigned UI, and a brand new combat engine that both expands upon and deepens what players saw in Telepath RPG: Servants of God. Matches feature elevation effects, status effects, random item drops, multiple play modes, and multiple elemental strengths and weaknesses for each of the game's 22 unique unit classes.

WoW Customer Service Changes Coming

Battle.net Support outlines customer support changes planned for World of Warcraft in the upcoming version 4.3.4 patch for Blizzard's MMORPG. Word is: "We are implementing brand new interfaces to report harassment, naming violations, and potential cheating. By building these reporting methods directly into the game client, you can automatically gather information on who you are reporting and what you're reporting them for. In addition, we've also added options to report bugs and submit suggestions for World of Warcraft."

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

Op Ed

Wired.com - Videogames Can't Afford to Cost This Much. Thanks nin.
I also seem to remember something about a global financial crisis and a deep recession that caused consumers of everything from homes to toothbrushes to stop spending so much money at retail. Experts still disagree on what caused the meltdown: Too much government meddling in markets? Fat-cat Wall Street bankers? I can’t be sure, but at this point I feel like Richard Browne would blame it on used videogames.

Evening Previews

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Crysis 3 Announced

Following recent clues, EA officially announces Crysis 3, saying the next installment in Crytek's first-person shooter series is due in spring of next year for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. "Crysis 3 is a thrilling mix of sandbox gameplay, advanced combat and hi-tech human and alien weaponry that shooter fans will love," said Cevat Yerli, Chief Executive Officer of Crytek. "Leveraging the latest CryENGINE technology, we’re able to deliver seven unique themes that offer stunning and visually loaded gameplay experiences. We cannot wait until people get their hands on the game." Though still a year off, they already outline three early multiplayer unlocks you can earn by preordering the Crysis 3 Hunter Edition (though the link they provide doesn't lead anywhere yet) as well as additional perks like a nanosuit module and an XP boost. Like Crysis 2, the sequel is set in a future version of New York City, here are some screenshots, and here's word:

Players take on the role of ‘Prophet’ as he returns to New York, only to discover that the city has been encased in a Nanodome created by the corrupt Cell Corporation. The New York City Liberty Dome is a veritable urban rainforest teeming with overgrown trees, dense swamplands and raging rivers. Within the Liberty Dome, seven distinct and treacherous environments become known as the Seven Wonders. This dangerous new world demands advanced weapons and tactics. Prophet will utilize a lethal composite bow, an enhanced Nanosuit and devastating alien tech to become the deadliest hunter on the planet.

EA Denies Layoff Rumor

An unconfirmed rumor on Startup Grind states between 500 and 1000 layoffs will hit Electronic Arts as soon as this week. They have a list of factors leading to this, including general business downturns, and specific recent aspects of this like disappointing sales of Battlefield 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic, and the expensive incremental marketing campaigns attempting to boost both games after launch. There's a follow-up to this on Develop denying this. "There are no lay-offs as such, we always have projects growing and morphing," reads a statement they received from EA, which also adds: "at any given time there are new people coming in and others leaving," but that the company "is growing and hiring, building teams to support the growing demand for digital games and services."

Origin Bans No Longer Cover Solo Play

A new Electronic Arts Account Suspension Policy indicates that being forum-banned from EA's Origin service will no longer result in being prevented from playing single-player games (thanks Blend Games). Here's word:

If you find yourself with a disabled account, please note that you can still play EA games in single-player mode. For PC games you will need to enable Origin's offline mode to play games with a disabled account. Go to the settings tab in Origin (the gear icon) and select Go Offline.

If your account has been disabled, please follow the instructions in this article if you wish to appeal the action.

U.K. Charts

The list on GFK Chart-Track of the 20 bestselling full-priced PC entertainment titles in the U.K. is now updated for the week ending April 14th. This week Skyrim returns to number one on a reasonably stable chart. The all formats chart is pretty consistent as well. This week FIFA Street returns to number one.

Op Ed

Ars Technica - Why are video game sales looking so weak lately? Blame Nintendo.
But the same probably doesn't apply to the Wii, which definitely had a longer way to fall than its competition. For years after its late 2006 launch, the Wii dominated both hardware and software sales charts. It did so primarily by attracting consumers that hadn't been a big part of the video game market beforehand. But around 2009, Creutz says, those consumers started shifting over to mobile phone and Facebook games in a big way, leaving Nintendo nowhere to go but down from its historical highs (this transition has also caused a lengthy dip in sales for the portable system segment that Nintendo has traditionally dominated).

Even with Nintendo reverting to the mean, though, there's reason to believe that the overall game market might not be in as bad shape as NPD's topline numbers suggest. The company's measurement of new retail sales leaves out the increasingly important market for downloadable games, including free-to-play titles that are bringing in big money on PCs and mobile phones. Even on consoles, NPD's core data doesn't include significant money brought in by downloadable content.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Cooler Master QuickFire Pro Keyboard on PureOC.
  • Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W PSU on TweakTown.
  • Cooler Master TPC 812 Performance Cooler on Ninjalane.com.
  • Epic Gear Meduza HDST Gaming Mouse & Hybrid Mousepad on eTeknix.
  • GIGABYTE B75M-D3H Motherboard Sandy Bridge Motherboard on eTeknix.
  • RAZER Naga Hex Expert MOBA-Action RPG Gaming Mouse on Mad Shrimps.
  • Toshiba Satellite L745-S4130 Laptop on Tech Review Source.
  • Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB Hard Drive on AnandTech and The Tech Report.

etc.

Out of the Blue

We're apparently getting an odd one-day heatwave here in the northeast today. This is poor timing, as there are going to be some miserable runners in today's Boston Marathon, but of course, misery is part of the fun in a marathon. This is nothing compared with the weather in the middle of the country, where they've been having tornadoes. Stay safe out there!

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Links: 10 Nerd Dreams That Will Never Come True.
Installed Coffee Faucet FTW. One nerd dream does.
Stories: Granny 'Drug Kingpin' Busted in Oklahoma.
Images: Gamer Is Having A Kickass Summer.
Everyone hates robochat.
The World’s Nerdiest Bathrooms.
Media: James Burke takes a ride on the Vomit Comet.
Firefighter Helmet Cam Captures Rescue Upclose and Personal.
Cats in Space.
Follow-up: The Harsh Reality Of Trying To Bring Firefly Back.

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012

Space Quest Creators Plan New Adventure

The Two Guys from Andromeda Website declares the return to gaming of Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy, creators of Sierra On-Line's classic Space Quest series (thanks Kotaku). They announce that following their "brief 25+ year hiatus" they are preparing to create a new space adventure, and they are making use of social media to involve the audience in the direction of the game, though interestingly, have not yet opted for the trendy Kickstarter route just yet. Loyal reader nin points out an interesting aspect of this in a Rock, Paper, Shotgun Q&A from all of five days ago where Al Lowe and Paul Trowe suggest a Crowe/Murphy reunion was unlikely, so apparently the rapid pace of change in the world of game development even extends to dealing with a 35 year-old intellectual property.

Rune Revival?

A Rune Facebook Page is online to celebrate Human Head's hack-and-slash game of large men with huge axes to grind. It offers art and other assets from the original, and a post suggesting a sequel, saying: "We are considering a sequel to the cult hit classic Rune!" A year ago Human Head was announced to be working on Prey 2, but unconfirmed rumors surfaced a couple of weeks ago that this shooter sequel is cancelled. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Shadowrun Returns $1M Milestone

The Kickstarter Page for Shadowrun Returns celebrates the $1,000,000 in pledges Harebrained Schemes' upcoming Shadowrun revival has attracted. This results in this trailer explaining how these funds will be used to add more elements to the game, and outlining their next goal, saying if they reach the $1.5 million mark they will construct a "backer's only exclusive mission" as a "little reward." The clip concludes saying they have "some pretty twisted ideas" of what to do if they receive even more funding (as if "more elements" wasn't twisted enough). Interestingly, some of the comments express unhappiness at the prospect of exclusive content for backers.

Steam Top 10

Here's Valve's weekly report of the ten bestselling titles on Steam:

  1. Legend of Grimrock
  2. Wargame: European Escalation
  3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  4. Max Payne 3
  5. Sins of A Solar Empire: Rebellion
  6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  7. Might & Magic Heroes VI
  8. Sniper Elite
  9. Age of Empires Online
  10. Left 4 Dead 2

Gatherings & Competitions

Sunday Previews

Sunday Mobilization

Sunday Metaverse

Sunday Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

As I thought, I did not do any grilling yesterday. I did, however, find a way to turn my prohibition from the deck into a positive, by proclaiming the area where I cook to be the sovereign state of Manstovia, where I have sole authority. This declaration proved successful, at which point I ambitiously annexed the neighboring territory of Hammock-land, which seems a natural extension of my new monarchy, and this land-grab was also successful. My eastward progression will have to end there, as Hammock-land borders on Hudson's territory, and she's guarded it far too well for nearly a dozen years now to take it away from her. But I am satisfied: I still may not be able to cook on the deck, but it's good to be the king.

Royal Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Amigo Pancho 2.
Under Neath.
Snowball: excellent and addictive Flash pinball.
Links: Medical Reviews of House. Thanks Boing Boing.
Stories: Nolan Talks "Knight" IMAX, 3D & Film.
Science: Physicist Uses Math to Beat Traffic Ticket. Thanks Neatorama.
Images: My favorite Hulk.
Media: Battlefield 5 on Google Glasses.
It's Too Heavy. And the Oscar goes to...
This is How You Load a Dishwasher.
The Funnies: FoxTrot.
Brevity.



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