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Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012

  

Darksiders II Delayed

The Darksiders II Website announces a shifted release date for the upcoming fantasy sequel, and the game is now expected in August (thanks Gamer's Hell). They have a Q&A about this development, which they describe as "great news" for the developers. Here's the announcement:

Once again we want to welcome you to the new Darksiders II website. Being a part of our community means you will be the first to know when new trailers, screenshots, announcements and updates around Darksiders II are released.

The rumor-mill has been churning with speculation recently, so we wanted to put it to rest first here with our core fans: Darksiders II will be moving to release globally in August 2012, rather than June as previously announced. It’s just a short delay, but we promise the game you’ll have in August will be well worth the wait!

This is great news for the team at Vigil, because it allows additional time for polish and to ensure that all aspects of Darksiders II meet the high-quality bar the team is targeting. In game development, more time is always a good thing for quality and the Vigil team is dedicated to providing the definitive Darksiders experience.

The Secret World Web-Game

The Secret War Website is online to offer a "browser-based online social experience" in conjunction with The Secret World, Funcom's upcoming MMORPG. The website follows the game's distinctive themes, and offers the chance to unlock in-game items:

The Secret War is a browser-based online social experience inspired by the conflict between the secret societies in Funcom’s upcoming MMORPG, The Secret World. In the game, players get to actively spread the influence of their chosen secret society in an interactive experience that tracks each secret society’s level of power in the world. Players begin by taking a unique personality test to determine which secret society they belong to; the Templar, the Illuminati, or the Dragon. By recruiting Facebook friends as agents and deploying them to different countries, players increase the influence of their secret society across the globe.

Assisting their secret society in the bid for world domination helps players climb the ranks of power and unlock a variety of in-game items for The Secret World; including clothes, weapons, elixirs and more. Players can earn access to the upcoming Beta Weekends for The Secret World, a trip to Montreal to meet the development team behind the ground-breaking MMO; and even have their name embedded into The Secret World at launch.

TERA Open Beta Weekend

En Masse Entertainment announces they will be holding open beta testing of TERA this weekend, and participants who have preordered the MMORPG will be able to carry over progress from this beta weekend into the game when it goes live. Here's the deal:

In preparation for the May 1 launch of its intense action MMO, TERA™, En Masse Entertainment is excited to host the game’s open beta weekend, which takes place from Friday, April 20 to Monday, April 23.

Players who want an early taste of TERA’s beautiful world and visceral combat can try the game’s all-new playable prologue. As the game begins, the first explorers to the mysterious Island of Dawn are shipwrecked and attacked by demons the moment they land. Players reach the beach, then struggle to regroup before the demons descend upon the survivors.

Continue here to read the full story.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Trial Weekend

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website announces tomorrow will kick off a Weekend Pass Free Trial for the Star Wars MMORPG. As before, this trial is open only to those who have not participated in a previous free trial. Full details are on this page and in this FAQ. Thanks Joao.

Crusader Kings II Patch

A new patch is now available for Crusader Kings II, updating the strategy sequel to version 1.05. The patch can be found through the digital distributor where you got the game, the game can auto-update itself, and there is also a manual patch on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls. The Change Log outlines the lengthy list of what's different.

The Dark Eye - Demonicon Website

The Dark Eye - Demonicon Website is online as an official home to this upcoming action/RPG. The site offers information, forums, and media, including some new screenshots.

Op Ed

Thanks nin.

The PA Report - How Valve “devalued” video games, and why that’s great news for developers and players.
Those seem to be wise words, and gamers are increasingly sensitive to the price of the games they play, but when you look at the data you see that Valve has done something magical: The company has found a way to charge less, and earn more. This isn’t a purely selfish move, as developers also praise the pricing structure of these sales. The issue of game pricing is much more complex, and mysterious, than most are willing to admit.

Wired.com - We Don't Need Game Publishers, Hardware Makers or Retailers.
But something critical has changed. While publishers, retailers and hardware makers might still be adding value, they are no longer required. Using the miracle of the internet, game creators can make videogames — good ones! — and sell them to game players without any involvement from traditional publishers, retailers or hardware makers. And when creators don’t have to put their work through the gauntlet of middlemen, with everybody down the line taking their cut of the profits, they can sell those games much more cheaply.

The PA Report - The ugly side of Kickstarter- the risks in backing game dev campaigns are greater than you think.
Of those projects that do manage to ship, some will be good games and some will be awful, with most winding up somewhere in the middle. This is the reality of game development in the real world, and projects funded by Kickstarter are no different. The unfortunate truth is that many backers of game projects are buying the ability to wait 18 months to play a mediocre game.

Evening Consolidation

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Into the Black

Link of the Day: World Amateur Radio Day. Thanks Ant via Slashdot.

R.I.P.: Dick Clark, Legendary Producer, Has Died. Thanks DrEnter.

Indie Royale Spring Bundle

The Indie Royale Website now offers The Spring Bundle, a new collection of indie titles following their escalating minimum price structure. The new bundle includes Unstoppable Gorg, Depths of Peril, Tobe's Vertical Adventure, Inferno+, Slydris, and Ballistic. Those paying a certain amount above the minimum will also receive Danimal Cannon's chiptune music album "Roots."

Retailer Leaks Dead Space 3 and NFS: Most Wanted 2 Hints

A since removed BT Games Product Page offered preorders for Dead Space 3, the not-yet-announced third installment in the horror/shooter series (thanks Strategy Informer). The dust barely settled on this they then popped up a preorder page for Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2, a seeming reveal of another unannounced title. This South African retailer is becoming quite notorious for loose lips, as they have previously exposed plans for the Jak & Daxter HD Collection and multiplayer support in Mass Effect 3 though premature announcements.

Diablo III Beta Open to All Battle.net Accounts?

Posts on NeoGAF and the Diablo III Forums offer widespread reports that anyone with a Battle.net account is being permitted entrance into the Diablo III beta test. Blizzard just announced yesterday that beta testing of the action/RPG sequel will be wrapping up at the end of this month in preparation for the game's release on May 15th. Thanks VG247.

Space Rangers HD: A War Apart Announced

1C Company announces Space Rangers HD: A War Apart, СНК-Games' upcoming re-master of the universe of Space Rangers 2: Rise of the Dominators and Space Rangers 2: Reboot that will include an all-new campaign. Release of the RPG/RTS/adventure hybrid remake is expected by the end of this year, and a preliminary Space Rangers: A War Apart Website is online. Here's word:

MOSCOW, Russia - April 18, 2012 - Leading Eastern and Central European publisher, 1C Company, is proud to announce the development of Space Rangers HD: A War Apart. The legendary series returns, in full HD glory, and with new material offering a pirate's point of view with new gameplay. This title remasters the universe of Space Rangers 2: Rise of the Dominators and Space Rangers 2: Reboot and allows players to revisit those games or take part in a thrilling new story.

Space Rangers HD takes place in 3300AD. Our galaxy is invaded by the Dominators, combat robots that come under the influence of an alien technology. The player finds themselves in a living, breathing world where they can engage multiple activities: fight in space and hyperspace, buy and sell goods, accomplish government missions, liberate planets from the Dominators in 3D RTS battles and complete text adventures leading to unique plot twists and rewards. The game ending is not set and players may find a victory of either side at the end. Everything depends on the actions taken in this developing world where anybody can live the life of a pirate as well as that of a hero.

Continue here to read the full story.

Dead State Status Report; Kickstarter Plans

A Q&A thread on the Iron Tower Studios Website offers a state of the franchise report for Dead State, since we haven't heard much about the zombie RPG since a recruiting post alsmost six months ago. They answer questions about details on how the game will operate, and discuss their upcoming plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help complete the project. Thanks Acleacius.

Prince of Persia Source Code Leaps to Freedom

Jordanmechner.com announces the recently rediscovered source code for Prince of Persia has been rescued from their ephemeral home on some ancient floppy discs, and is now available for download from GitHub. He goes on to discuss the reasons for going to such extra effort to make all this come together, the value of digital archaeology, and his suggestion that developers backup their backups. The read me accompanying the source download explains that Mechner has no issue with people studying and compiling the code, but that this does not grant any rights to create or distribute Prince of Persia games, as the rights to the franchise remain firmly in the hands of Ubisoft.

Morning Consolidation

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Out of the Blue

I'm shooting to get updates online a bit earlier, so I thought I'd mention it on a day when I succeeded to some degree. Now I need to figure out what to do with all the worms this early bird business has produced.

Wormy Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Wasteland - Play the DOS rpg game Wasteland online. Thanks Cutter.
Billy Makin Kid.
High Vaultage Games.
Links: Crazy Expensive Stuff From The New York High-End Audio Show. Thanks Dark Roasted Blend.
Sci-Fi Short Story- 'Press Enter to Execute'. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Stories: George Washington named Britain's greatest ever foe. Thanks Neatorama.
‘Idol’ Losing The Young Viewer Battle To ‘The Voice’. Steve Tyler should get his grandkids to watch.
Sleepy Air Canada pilot thought Venus was a plane. Thanks Boing Boing.
Science: Why you suck at estimating – a lesson in psychology.
Images: This PC is not a lie.
Clouds Hate You WIN.
Don’t feed the trolls.
Media: Check out this rock medley honoring video games.
Dallas Tornado RAW video Throwing Semi Trucks. Thanks The Flying Penguin.
The GOD of Scramble With Friends.
The Funnies: Just THINK Of What I Can Do To Your Internet Street Cred.
Follow-up: Happy Birthday David (NEW Prometheus Viral!). Thanks Cutter.
NASA Space Shuttle Discovery’s spectacular final flight.

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012

Diablo III Beta Ending; Monk Trailer

The Diablo III Website has a new feature on the Monk class in Blizzard's upcoming action/RPG sequel, pointing the way to this reveal with details and a new trailer. They also announce the beta test for the game is drawing to a close in two weeks:

In preparation for the launch of Diablo III on Tuesday, May 15, the beta servers will be brought offline on Tuesday, May 1. At that time, all beta accounts and character information will be reset. Leading up to Diablo's May 15 launch date, players will only be able to create comments and forum posts on the official Diablo III community site if they have pre-purchased Diablo III or have a StarCraft II or an active World of Warcraft game license attached to their Battle.net account. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to stay tuned to this website for exciting news and updates regarding the upcoming release.

The Settlers Online Launches

The Settlers Online is now live and out of beta, celebrating the full launch of this free-to-play online strategy game with a name change to The Settlers Online: Castle Empire. They celebrate the launch with a new in-game event "bringing new quests, adventures, special buildings, a new general and a Raving Rabbid statue." Here's an overview of the game:

Developed by Ubisoft Blue Byte, The Settlers Online: Castle Empire combines the popular gameplay elements of The Settlers franchise with brand new features suited to a persistent, web-based browser game. Players are able to settle a new city and join thousands of gamers already online to create or join guilds, trade resources and acquire and exchange bonuses to help each other out along the way to building a mighty kingdom.

Mercenary Ops Announced

Kalends Publishing announces Mercenary Ops, an Unreal-engine third-person shooter planned for launch this summer on Windows PCs. The Mercenary Ops Website has art and info, and here's a bit on the game:

Like other third-person shooters, Mercenary Ops implements cover-based mechanics and an active reload system as the foundation of the game's design. Along with these familiar gameplay elements, the developers added the precise control and aiming abilities found only on the PC. In addition, the game was enhanced by adding destructible cover, an encumbrance system and maps designed with multiple threat vectors to shake up the stop-and-pop gameplay often found in third-person shooters.

Combat in Mercenary Ops puts an equal emphasis on both competitive play and team-based cooperative missions. In competitive multiplayer, up to 16 players can faceoff in five different, intense game modes, while in co-op, teams of 3 - 8 players take on hordes of AI controlled enemies and mini-bosses in a fight for survival.

Dishonored Trailer

The Dishonored Website now offers the debut trailer from Dishonored, a mostly cinematic look at Arkane Studios' upcoming steampunk shooter (thanks Chris). The post about this on the Bethesda Blog offers an updated description of the game:

Dishonored casts you as a supernatural assassin driven by revenge. You are the once-trusted bodyguard of the beloved Empress. Framed for her murder, you become an infamous assassin, known only by the disturbing mask that has become your calling card. In a time of uncertainty, when the city is being besieged by plague and ruled by an oppressive government armed with strange technologies, dark forces conspire to bestow upon you abilities beyond those of any common man.

In Dishonored, creatively eliminate your targets with the flexible combat system as you combine the numerous supernatural abilities, weapons and unusual gadgets at your disposal. Pursue your enemies under the cover of darkness or ruthlessly attack them head on with weapons drawn. The outcome of each mission plays out based on the choices you make.

Continue here to read the full story.

EverQuest F2P Stats

SOE offers some statistics to show the impact of the recent change in EverQuest to a free-to-play model:

  • Join the Fun! - Concurrent usage is up 40% since going F2P
  • Flourishing Economy - 125% increase in Item Sales
  • Quest with More Players - Unique log-ins have increased by 150%
  • Get Your Game On - EQ registrations have increased 3.5 times since F2P
  • Pointed Ears, It Is - The most popular Races purchased are Dark Elves and Drakkin
  • EQ Players Have Class - The most popular Classes purchased are Necromancers and Shaman
  • Time to Mount Up - The most popular Mount purchased is the Black Pegasus (AKA Onyx Skystrider)

Analyst: Blame CoD Decline on PC/Wii

Following up on a recent report that suggests sales of Call of Duty; Modern Warfare 3 are trailing behind those of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gamasutra has a statement from an analyst blaming this on the game's afterthought platforms, the PC and Wii (thanks Joao). Word is: "Cowen's Doug Creutz said in his latest report that while life-to-date Modern Warfare 3 retail sales are indeed down 4.6 percent year-over-year compared to Black Ops, sales of the game on the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms are actually slightly up year-over-year. However, large declines in sales of the versions of the game for Nintendo Wii, handheld platforms and PC have driven the overall decline, he suggests."

World of Warcraft Patched

The World of Warcraft Website announces a new patch is now live, bringing Blizzard's MMORPG to version 4.3.4. The new version implements the new customer support changes outlined in an earlier post.

Telepath RPG: Servants of God Patch

Sinister Design announces the release of a new patch for Telepath RPG: Servants of God, updating the action/RPG to version 1.815. In addition to some fixing some bugs, word is: "This patch speeds up the early game, making it possible to go off and explore sooner."

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

  • Ancients of Ooga/Cloning Clyde Bundle on Steam. Save 66%.
  • RAGE on GameFly. Save 85%.
  • The Walking Dead on Steam. Save 10%.

Evening Previews

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etc., etc.

Into the Black

Grim Dawn Kickstarter

A new Kickstarter campaign by Crate Entertainment looks to fund the competition of development of Grim Dawn, their upcoming action/RPG (thanks nin and Grudgebearer). It was just a couple of weeks ago that they described plans to release the game as a work-in-progress like Minecraft, but now they are turning to crowd funding to turn up the heat, saying: "While we could still finish a fine little game on our own, that would be rough around the edges but very fun, we believe there is a much greater potential that could be realized if we were more adequately funded and staffed. So we're hoping you can help give us some proper funding so that we can get the team together, start making faster progress and ultimately release a bigger, better game for you and everyone else." Here's word on the game:

Grim Dawn is an action role-playing game for PC and a spiritual successor to Titan Quest. For the past two years a small team of former Iron Lore veterans at Crate Entertainment have been developing Grim Dawn with their own, improved version of the Iron Lore engine and tools; the same technology used to create Titan Quest.

We’ve listened to years of feedback from the Titan Quest community and continue to do so every day on the Grim Dawn forums as we strive to improve upon past performance and make this our greatest work yet. The creation of Grim Dawn is guided by traditional design and old school sensibilities, with innovation only in the areas where we feel it truly improves the game and isn't just a gimmicky back of the box feature.

Something Growing at The Farm 51

Nordic Games reveals that Polish developer The Farm 51 is working on a new unannounced project. They don't offer any details yet what the NecroVision developer is creating, though they note that the team includes contributors to Painkiller and The Witcher. "In The Farm 51, we found a great partner with a lot of experience and a highly passionate team - just like us - with regards to one of our upcoming key titles," says Reinhard Pollice of Nordic Games.

Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Concludes at $3M+

The Kickstarter Campaign for Wasteland 2 has concluded, with inXile entertainment's post-apocalyptic RPG sequel taking in well over triple its initial USD $900K goal. The finally take listed on the website is $2,933,197, though a note on Shacknews states that this does not count almost $110K in PayPal pledges, so the final total exceeds $3 million. Update: Apologies for misstating the "kick forward" principle at first, which is a pledge of 5% of the project'a eventual profits, not these pledges. Thanks Alex.

Microsoft Not Dropping GFWL

Since Microsoft plans to include Xbox LIVE functionality in Windows 8, Neogamr approached them asking if this meant a possible end to the Games for Windows LIVE service, since there is some obvious overlap between the two. The reply was no, offering the perspective that Age of Empires Online and "Microsoft Flight" are targeted at "the core PC gamer." Here's word:

Answer is no, Microsoft continues to support the Games for Windows platform, but we are making new investments in Metro style games. For the core PC gamer we launched “Age of Empires Online” last year and “Microsoft Flight” on February 29.

When it comes to the living room, Xbox 360 was the number one selling connected TV device in 2011 and we have 40 million Xbox LIVE members. We are committed to delivering extraordinary entertainment experiences across devices in a uniquely connected way. Xbox LIVE on Windows 8 is a milestone in that journey. With the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you’ll get a taste of some of the features we’re bringing with Xbox on Windows, but we’ll have more to share later this year as we get closer to launch.

Star Trek Footage

There's a Star Trek Preview on IGN that includes a teaser trailer for Digital Extremes' upcoming co-op action game based on the sci-fi film reboots. The clip is heavy on action, showing Kirk and Spock doing their best Kane and Lynch impression, running around and shooting everything in sight. The clip concludes reconfirming we should expect the game in "early 2013." Thanks VG247.

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Out of the Blue

Today is the last day to file one's taxes on time here in the U.S., the deadline being 48 hours later than usual thanks to the 15th being on a Sunday. The way electronic filing has taken over this process seems takes some of the drama out of this, however... I guess I'll never again experience the striking scene I remember from years ago at the giant main post office in Manhattan on filing day where there were people crammed into every available space actually filling out their tax forms on the spot to put them in the mail. Talk about tension filling the air!

Taxing Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Flashcat.
Cruel Balls.
Links: World's most exasperating alarm clock. Thanks Neatorama.
Stories: Boston marathon runner survives Heartbreak, beats the heat.
Man attempted to rob three banks with a toilet plunger. Thanks Neatorama.
Science: Tupac "hologram" merely pretty cool optical illusion.
Evolution in motion: organisms once stuck to rocks can now evade predators.
Images: Breathtaking new photos of Space Shuttle Discovery preparing for its final flight.
Media: Christopher Walken Plays Skyrim.
Why the scariest sci-fi robot uprising has already begun.
Double Dutch Dog. I double-dog dare you to do that. Thanks dakslf.
The Funnies: The primary difference between North and South Korea. Thanks Digg.



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