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Thursday, Aug 02, 2012

  

Activision Blizzard Financial: WoW Subs Drop to 9.1M

Activision Blizzard's Quarterly Financial Results beat analyst projections due to strong performance of the new installments in the Diablo and Skylanders series. The company is raising its outlook for the full year, in spite of word that World of Warcraft has shed another 1.1 million subscribers since their last report, leaving the MMORPG with only about nine million more paying subscribers than the typical such game: "Second-quarter sales, excluding changes in deferred revenue, rose 51 percent to $1.05 billion and beat the $837 million average of 19 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Total revenue fell 6.2 percent to $1.08 billion. The company’s “World of Warcraft” multiplayer online game lost 1.1 million subscribers in the period, finishing at 9.1 million."

Ships Ahoy - PPC Skyrim Dawnguard

The Bethesda Blog has word that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard is now available on Steam, offering Windows users this DLC for the RPG sequel. This update for PS3 owners explains that version of the DLC is being held back because of dissatisfaction with its performance on that platform. Here's word on the pack:

Dawnguard™ is the first official game add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® - the 2011 Game of the Year. The Vampire Lord Harkon has returned to power. By using the Elder Scrolls, he seeks to do the unthinkable - to end the sun itself. Will you join the ancient order of the Dawnguard and stop him? Or will you become a Vampire Lord yourself? Featuring an all new faction questline and locations, the ultimate choice will be yours.

LucasArts President Departs

GamesIndustry International has word that LucasArts president Paul Meegan has stepped down, shortly after the departure of Clint Hocking. They say his role is not being filled right away as: "in the interim, two members of LucasArts' leadership team have stepped up to co-lead the studio. Kevin Parker will be focused on business operations while Gio Corsi will be focused on studio production." Here's the official statement on this:

"Paul has been a valuable member of the Lucasfilm leadership team and we wish him the best in his future endeavors. We remain committed to our current projects and will be re-evaluating LucasArts' leadership needs to ensure that we make the right decisions to keep the studio focused," said Mich Chau, President and Chief Operating Officer, Lucasfilm.

"LucasArts has come a long way and I'm extremely proud of what the teams have accomplished," said Meegan. "We had a great E3 with Star Wars 1313, and have other exciting projects in the works. It's been a privilege to be a part of Lucasfilm. I wish the company all the best."

Ships Ahoy - Combat Mission: Fortress Italy

Battlefront.com announces the release of Combat Mission: Fortress Italy, which offers Windows and OS X gamers the latest installment in this strategy series. Word is this will be followed by a patch for the first game in the series and a demo: "A 2.0 Upgrade will also be available separately for the first game in the series, Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy, within a couple of months. A free demo of CM: Fortress Italy will be released within a couple of weeks. Customers who preordered and customers who order a mail delivery now can expect the hardgoods to begin shipping within 10-14 days." Here's the deal on the game: Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

  • BRINK on Steam. Save 25%.
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth on Steam. Save 25%.
  • Commander Keen on Steam. Save 25%.
  • DOOM 3 on Steam. Save 25%.
  • The Elder Scrolls Collection on GameStop PC Downloads. Save 60%.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Fallout: New Vegas on Steam. Save 25%.
  • Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition on Steam. Save 25%.
  • Quake III Pack on GameStop PC Downloads. Save 33%.
  • Quakecon Bundle on Steam. Save 78%. Includes TF2 items.
  • RAGE on Steam. Save 25%.

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Olympic Lens Cap Fail.

Rise of the Triad Revival Announced

Apogee Software kicks off QuakeCon by announcing a Rise of the Triad "rebirth," marking an unexpected first-person shooter revival from an unexpectedly still-extant publisher. Word is the game is in development at Danish developer Interceptor Entertainment using the Unreal Engine 3 and Steamworks, and it will feature a single-player campaign as well as full multiplayer support. They offer a reveal trailer (NSFW), announce the launch of the game's website (it's currently producing "403 Forbidden" errors, but that should be sorted soon), and that they will be showing the game off at QuakeCon. Here's word:

Today at QuakeCon, Apogee Software and Interceptor Entertainment announced the rebirth of the cult-classic first-person shooter, “Rise of the Triad” - vowing to make it bigger, better and more ludicrous than ever before. Powered by the industry-leading Unreal Engine 3 from Epic Games, “Rise of the Triad” includes a full single-player campaign, a fully featured multiplayer experience and so much more.

The first trailer for the upcoming title can be seen at Machinima.

“We were seeking a strong, independent, hard-working development partner to herald the eagerly-anticipated return of ‘Rise of the Triad’,” said Terry Nagy, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Apogee. “We have indeed found that partner in Interceptor Entertainment.”

"Apogee has given us a great opportunity with Rise of the Triad," said Interceptor CEO Frederik Schreiber. "We are all about fast-paced action and this was simply a perfect match for us as fans of old school shooters."

Set for release on PC via Steam late this year, “Rise of the Triad” is packed with features that are sure to melt your face off:

  • Step into the shoes of the H.U.N.T. (High-Risk United Nations Taskforce) with five unique characters, each with different play styles.
  • Blast through over 20 of levels of explosive single-player action.
  • Unique multiplayer maps bring back all the fun and excitement of classic ROTT.
  • The full arsenal of over-the top weapons is back, including the Flamewall, Firebomb, Split Missile, Drunk Missile and, of course, the Excalibat!
  • The maniacal modes return, too, with God mode, Elasto mode, Mercury mode, Shrooms mode and everyone's favorite, Dog mode!
  • Build your own levels, mods and share them with Valve's Steamworks.
  • Offline single-player and multiplayer allows for instant action.
  • Find tons of secrets, collectables, special events and hidden areas to explore.
  • Get more than 100 achievements to add to your score, which is tracked on our worldwide leaderboard and stat-tracking system.
  • ROTT is bloodier and more ludicrous than ever, with full character and enemy dismemberment.
  • The iconic original soundtrack has been completely re-forged in the fires of heavy metal!
  • Nostalgia abounds with the option to play with all the original sounds and music.
  • Built on fully-licensed Unreal Engine 3 technology, ROTT will run on low-end PCs and push high-end PCs to their limits!

For more info, visit RiseoftheTriad.net. Follow Rise of the Triad on Twitter and Facebook, and use hashtag #ROTT to talk about it!

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation Closed Beta

Closed beta testing is set to begin today for Painkiller: Hell & Damnation, Farm 51's upcoming horror-themed first-person shooter sequel. The forums have word they will be conducting "blitz" beta key giveaways in the forums and on the game's Facebook Page, where word is: "for all those who were not able to obtain a key, we will have more news coming up in this regard, so don't worry..." Here are some new screenshots, and here's word:

"Painkiller Hell & Damnation" is ready to hit the Beta phase, with hell due to be unleashed today.

Beta testers will have the opportunity to be among the first to trial the ultimate horror FPS with a limited-access closed beta. Registration is open at www.painkillergame.com, and the lucky ones might grab a key. The beta will run until the release, and will allow testers the exclusive chance to preview the game and give their much-valued feedback.

“We are very excited to open the Beta for selected users and are looking forward to the feedback sessions in our forum,” says Reinhard Pollice, Business and Product Development, Nordic Games. “The feedback from fans that played the original Painkiller is extremely important to us. It will give us a chance to interact with the community, as well as offering them exclusivity of being the first to play the game.”

The eagerly anticipated Hell & Damnation installment is powered by Unreal Engine 3 and continues the hardcore fast gameplay of the original "Painkiller". Players will be able to battle it out in the beta within 5 modes, including Single Player, Network Co-op, Deatchmatch and Team Deathmatch. It also features a Feedback button that links through to the Beta Forum so players can give direct feedback.

Beta keys will be available via media partners, Facebook and the Painkiller forums in the next couple of weeks. "Painkiller" encompasses everything that you’d want from an FPS. The gameplay is fast-paced and deadly, along with astonishing boss fights that requires the player to be tactical in order to destroy enemies.

Guild Wars 2 Stress Test Today

The Guild Wars 2 Facebook Page announces plans for a four-hour stress test today for Guild Wars 2, though this may not be a smooth experience due to how they are doing this (thanks VG247). Here's word:

We will be conducting a stress test on Thursday, August 2 from 12:00 Noon PACIFIC Time to 4:00 PM PACIFIC Time.

Unlike previous stress tests, we will be actively working on the game during the event, so you might experience connectivity problems or discover features that are not working as designed. Any issues you experience are a result of the rigorous conditions of the stress test, and are in no way representative of the state of the game at launch. By participating in this stress test, you’re helping us make Guild Wars 2 a better game. Thanks for your cooperation—we’ll see you in-game! ~RB2

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Patch/Content

The Ubisoft Forums announce plans for a patch for the PC edition of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier to update the shooter sequel to version 1.4 (thanks Charliebrownau). Word is the update will come down on August 13th, and will add new content as well as fixes, and that they are also working on adding Windows XP support further down the road:

Title Update 1.4

The next Title Update will be available on August 13th and features the following:

  • Compatibility, performance, stability, graphics improvements and more - taking your feedback directly into account;
  • Improved FPS on all configurations;
  • Fixes for several stability issues during map loading;
  • God-Rays no longer disappear;
  • Fixed some localization issues;
  • Fixed some issues causing the display of hint icons from X360 controller when disconnected.

We greatly appreciate your patience and we want to reassure you that we will do whatever it takes to resolve further issues in as efficient a manner as possible.

Exclusive content

  • Ghost Recon Future Soldier PC players will benefit from free exclusive content:
  • 2 exclusive developer weapon skins will be added to the game with the 1.4 Title Update;
  • In about one month, a second Title Update will be released with further improvements. This Title Update will also feature additional free bonus content including:
  • A special hardcore mode for the campaign;
  • Night variants of two adversarial maps;
  • The full original soundtrack of the game along with new desktop wallpapers and artwork will be delivered in the next few days through the Uplay client and will be available until August 13th: get ready to grab it while it lasts!

We would also like to take the opportunity to confirm that support for Windows XP is in progress, with the exact release date to be announced soon.

Oculus Rift Kickstarter

This Kickstarter is for Oculus Rift, described as "the first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games." This includes endorsement quotes from id Software's John Carmack, Epic's Cliff Bleszinski, Unity's David Helgason, and Valve's Michael Abrash and Gabe Newell (thanks Rob). Word is:

Oculus Rift is a new virtual reality (VR) headset designed specifically for video games that will change the way you think about gaming forever. With an incredibly wide field of view, high resolution display, and ultra-low latency head tracking, the Rift provides a truly immersive experience that allows you to step inside your favorite game and explore new worlds like never before.

We're here raising money on Kickstarter to build development kits of the Rift, so we can get them into the hands of developers faster. Kickstarter has proven to be an amazing platform for accelerating big and small ideas alike. We hope you share our excitement about virtual reality, the Rift, and the future of gaming.

Rush Bros. Kickstarter

This Kickstarter from XYLA Entertainment looks to raise funds to complete Rush Bros., a game coming to Windows and OS X and possibly other platforms. Word on the game is it is: "A music-driven racing game with classic platforming controls! Race through fun & challenging levels influenced by your own MP3 library." The goal of the Kickstarter is to raise funds to "cover the costs needed for the development of online Multi-player features which will allow users to compete against each other over the web in real time."

MineCon 2012 Announcement

This trailer announces MineCon 2012, saying sales and hotel registration for this second Minecraft-centric gathering "will start in the next few weeks" (thanks nin). Word is they are going to Disneyworld (Paris):

Last year's MINECON was held in Las Vegas to celebrate the launch of Minecraft. 5,000 people came out to play games, meet up with their friends, and have an amazing time with Minecraft fans from around the world.

This year we are bringing MINECON to Europe!

Op Ed

Gamasutra - How Much is Too Much Detail?
Could BioShock have had a hundred different types of door, each one perfectly suited to a given location? Of course, and it also could have had dozens of brands of ammo dispensor. The pretense of detail and realism is certainly compelling - but by limiting the palette available to level artists, Irrational Games created a game whose visual style was in direct service of not just the gameplay mechanics, but the needs of players in actually using those mechanics. Once you've performed an action, interacted with an object a few times, it becomes second nature - and the key goal of play summarily becomes problem-solving, not mere navigation.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

I have a vet appointment for the doggies today, so hopefully we'll begin to get to the bottom of the bloody stool I found, which will hopefully be not as dire as it sounds. Wish me luck, I've certainly got my fingers crossed.

Crossed Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Warflash 2.
100% Complete.
Links: Sriracha Rooster Sauce Lollypops.
"Vertigo" The Greatest Movie Ever Made?
Stories: Sim City- South Korea's $35 Billion Plan to Build a City from Scratch. Thanks brother19.
CBS Is Rebooting The Brady Bunch with a Divorced Bobby.
-X-Men- First Class: Sequel Title Set. Thanks nin.
Media: How Skyrim Should Have Ended.
Snoring dog wakes to the smell of food.
'Excited Train Guy' Goes Off the Rails While Filming Classic Locomotives.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens Comic Strip.
Follow-up: "Prometheus" Sequel Moving Forward.



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