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Thursday, Apr 19, 2012

  

Human Head Off Prey 2?

Human Head has not worked on Prey 2 since November, reports Shacknews citing a "source who asked not to be identified." According to their story, the developer on the first-person shooter sequel stopped working on the game as a negotiating ploy to get a better deal with ZeniMax, and that today's announcement that Prey 2 is delayed suggests a new developer may be announced for the project as a result. That would also explain why Human Head recently raised the possibility of developing Rune 2, and the Shack story indicates Human Head's negotiations to work on a high profile project are going well. They also have the following noncommittal response from ZeniMax to questions about all this: "we aren't commenting on the game's development beyond what was said in the statement that was released this morning."

Sniper Elite V2 Demo

The Sniper Elite V2 page on Steam now offers a playable demo for Rebellion's upcoming sharpshooting sequel. There's no word on what this sample of the game includes.

Ships Ahoy - Mount & Blade Warband: Napoleonic Wars

Paradox Interactive announces the release of Mount & Blade Warband: Napoleonic Wars, the latest DLC for Mount & Blade Warband, which brings the real-time combat of the series into 19th Century Europe. On a related note, there's also a new patch for Mount & Blade Warband to update it to version 1.151. The patch should be available automatically, and there are manual downloads on AtomicGamer and The Patches Scrolls, and this forum post has the patch notes. Back to Flying Squirrel Entertainment's new DLC, here's what Napoleonic Wars adds to the game: Continue here to read the full story.

0x10c Teaser Trailer

A 0x10c teaser trailer sets the stage for Mojang's upcoming space adventure game, describing a far-flung future in a manner that's best described as awesome, in the most completely Sagan-esque sense of the word. Thanks VG247.Update: Apparently this is a fan-made trailer. Continue here to read the full story.

New Arma 3 Territory Revealed

The Arma 3 Website now has a reveal for Stratis Island, one of the territories in Bohemia Interactive's upcoming first-person shooter sequel. Word is: "Situated in the North Aegean and stretching over 19 square kilometres, Stratis adds geographical variety and expands the game’s massive military sandbox. The reveal is supported by a brand new trailer, screenshots and info on the Community Alpha!"

New X-Motor Racing & Demo

The X-Motor Racing Website now offers a new version 1.36 of X-Motor Racing, the indie racing simulation. As usual, this is accompanied by an updated version 1.36 demo, which includes the following changes:

  •  Improved RPM control code
  • Added "No Steering Wheel" feature
  • Added global FFB adjustment
  • Added FFB adjustment for the each car
  • Added TireLoad data to SDK

Shadowrun Returns Exclusive Level Follow-up

The Kickstarter Page for Shadowrun Returns follows up on the previous update about making a special level in the game exclusively for backers if they reach the $1.5 million level. As we noted at the time, not all the responses to the idea of exclusive content, and the new update says they've heard this, and changed the plan accordingly:

Your generosity of spirit and your support for people who aren’t (yet, we hope) involved in this Kickstarter really says something important about the Shadowrun Community and we’re proud to be a part of it. But we still want to say “thank you” to everyone supporting the project and putting their faith in us.

So here’s what we’re going to do: If we’re lucky enough to get to $1.5m, we’ll create that story and make it available only to backers but for an exclusive period of time. Then, we’ll open it up so that everyone can see how the dots between Jake and Harlequin are connected.

On Sale

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Prey 2 Lives; Delayed

The Bethesda Blog has an update on Prey 2, Human Head's upcoming first-person shooter sequel that was rumored last month as having been cancelled. Word is the game is not cancelled, just delayed beyond the end of this year:

Development of Prey 2 has not been cancelled but the game will not be released in 2012 as planned. The delay is due to the fact that game development has not progressed satisfactorily this past year, and the game does not currently meet our quality standards. Prey 2 has shown great promise and we regret disappointing our fans. We have made a substantial investment in game development to deliver the experience fans want. We are determined only to release the AAA game that fans rightfully expect, and are unwilling to compromise our quality standards to meet a release schedule.

DiRT Showdown and Demo Next Month Bringing New Label & Hub

Codemasters announces a May 29th release date for DiRT Showdown, the continuation of their rally racing series that has been driving towards a May release since it was announced late last year. The game will be the first release under a new Codemasters Racing label, and the release will be supported by a playable demo on May 1st and RaceNet, a new online hub for Codemasters Racing games. Word is: "The demo will feature a solo and multiplayer event and will be available from Xbox Live Marketplace, PlayStation Network and Steam on PC." They also announce a special "Hoonigan" edition of DiRT Showdown is now available for pre-order from Walmart, featuring in-game bonuses items, and they offer a new Ultimate Hoonigan trailer to celebrate the news.

Starbreeze Acquiring Overkill

Syndicate developer Starbreeze plans to acquire Overkill Software, the fellow Swedish studio behind Payday: The Heist, reports GamesIndustry International, saying Starbreeze will be floating some new stock to fund this: "The acquisition is contingent on the sale of 200 million new shares in Starbreeze, which will be released on or about June 15 2012. Starbreeze will also implement an incentive program of 42.8 million stock options for employees of Overkill." They connect this back to their recent Starbreeze interview where CEO Mikael Nermark spoke of the company's goal of owning its own IP.

Splash Damage's Free-to-Play Plans

Splash Damage announces plans to develop free-to-play games under the label WarChest, saying the first such release will be an iOS RTS game called Rad Soldiers. Gamasutra reports on visiting the developer to learn about this project, and when they asked about the switch from PC shooters to mobile strategy game, Splash Damage's Paul Westwood explains that they plan free-to-play PC games under this label as well:

"It just happens that, as WarChest's first release, this game happens to be on iOS," he answers. In fact, the studio has a free-to-play PC title on the way later this year, and a free-to-play console game coming next year.

"The reason we chose iOS first for WarChest, and the reason we chose this genre first is that it's the most straightforward way for us to build multiplayer that is asynchronous," he continues.

"So in a first-person shooter, for example, it would be very difficult to create an asynchronous first-person shooter that was compelling, because part of what makes FPS compelling is that they have this very visceral feedback loop that happens - I shoot, I hit or I don't, if I hit you I get immediately rewarded. That's quite important."

Pro Cycling Manager 2012 Announced

Focus Home Interactive announces Pro Cycling Manager 2012 and Tour de France 2012, as Cyanide's bicycle racing simulation returns in June with Pro Cycling Manager 2012 for PCs and Tour de France 2012 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Here are some screenshots, and here's word:

Strengthened by the feedback and lofty expectations of last years’ players, the 2012 Tour de France console game is packed with improvements and new features. Improved graphics, new controls, realistic AI and, for the first time ever, a multiplayer mode awaits racing fans the world over. New models for riders, brand new teams and more beautiful scenery will grace both the PC and console games, which share top-notch graphics and production. To get a first look at the excitement, check out the very first screenshots of the games!

Saints Row: The Third Lifts THQ

THQ Investor Relations offers the company's preliminary fiscal fourth quarter financial results, saying they will conclude the year with a $76 million cash balance they say "significantly exceeds prior guidance." They have also raised their net sales expectations to reflect stronger than expected sales of UFC Undisputed, "continued strong net sales" of Saints Row: The Third (which they say has shipped in more than four million units to date), and "higher-than-expected digital sales, largely driven by the robust digital content of Saints Row: The Third."

Guild Wars 2 Beta Event Next Weekend

ArenaNet announces April 27-29 will be the first of their beta testing weekend events for Guild Wars 2, their upcoming MMORPG sequel. Here's word on the event, which is open to those who have preordered the game:

NCsoft and ArenaNet, the developers of Guild Wars 2, are excited to announce the first public Beta Weekend Event for Guild Wars 2. From 27th-29th April, hundreds of thousands of fans who have pre-purchased Guild Wars 2 will get their first chance to explore the world of Tyria.

The only way players can guarantee access to Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Events is to pre-purchase the Guild Wars 2 Collector’s, Digital Deluxe, or Standard/Digital Editions. In addition to access to our Beta Weekend Events, players will receive three-day Headstart Access prior to launch and the exclusive Hero’s Band in-game item. Pre-Purchase is available at buy.guildwars2.com or from selected retailers.

Sledgehammer COO: CoD "Transcends Entertainment"

An interview on GamesIndustry International talks with Sledgehammer COO Michael Condrey about working on the Call of Duty franchise. He knocks a few softballs out of the park and offers reflections on working on such a huge franchise, his lack of concern that working on one series will pigeonhole them, and his belief that fans have an endless appetite for new CoD content, saying the game "sort of transcends entertainment in such a massive way."

Gary Grigsby's War in the East Patch

Matrix Games offers a new patch for Gary Grigsby's War in the East, updating the World War II strategy game to version 1.06.06. Here's the deal on the new version: "The update brings with it a small batch of fixes to the AI and some data and scenario changes to continue to make War in the East one of the most engaging strategy games out there on the market. An updated English manual in the patch also includes all the rule changes since release. The patch also includes 1.06.05 changes to the Don to the Danube expansion scenarios. This latest patch will have to be run again if Don to the Danube is added at a later time."

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

We recently found some ground Moroccan lamb at a local grocer, which put a bug in my ear to try this as part of a hamburger mix, as I usually use 100% ground beef. The result was mixed, but very interesting. The interesting part is the grilled spiced lamb created exactly the flavor I was expecting. The mixed part is how it was not mixed, as starting with ground beef and ground lamb made it hard to blend the two adequately without over handling the meat, and it seems clear that using different varieties in a ground meat situation would benefit from being ground together. In the end it turned out pretty much as I expected: I'll likely just stick to beef for the burgers, but I really want to find a use for that lamb... perhaps just as lamburgers.

R.I.P.: Men at Work musician Greg Ham found dead.

Lamby Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Dash'n Knights.
Links: Coachella announces all-hologram festival featuring only dead people. Thanks nin.
Stories: Man protests airport security - naked.
Science: LEGO's Used to Aid in Synthetic Bone Generation. Thanks Netta.
Media: Epic Rap Battles Of History. NSFW.
The Art of Film & TV Title Design.
Remote Controlled Rat In Brazilian Clothing Store. Cammed dressing rooms?
Auction: Tough Times: GSA Auctions Top-Secret US Navy Stealth Ship. Thanks Cog.
The Funnies: Dilbert. Thanks dakslf.

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

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

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

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

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.



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