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Thursday, Aug 09, 2012

  

Ships Ahoy - Max Payne 3 DLC

Rockstar Games announces the release of the Local Justice Pack for the PC edition of Max Payne 3, along with several other pieces of DLC for the third-person shooter sequel. Here's the deal:

The Local Justice Pack for Max Payne 3 is now available for PC today via the in-game store.

Featuring three new maps for
Max Payne 3 Multiplayer based on areas from the game’s intense final chapters, plus the M4 Assault Rifle, the Light Fingers Item for faster looting and a new São Paulo Police multiplayer faction, the Local Justice Pack will be available for one week only at a discounted price of $5.99, before reverting to its normal price of $7.99. Of course, anyone that purchased the Max Payne 3 Rockstar Pass will receive this pack (and all other Max Payne 3 DLC) free of charge.

Also available today for PC, all the pre-order and retail downloadable content, including:

  • Cemetery Multiplayer Map ($1.99)
  • Special Edition Pack ($1.99)
  • Silent Killer Loadout Pack ($1.99)
  • Pill Bottle Item ($0.99)
  • Deadly Force Burst ($0.99)
  • Classic Max Payne Multiplayer Character ($0.99)

All these items are also available for free to anyone that has purchased the Max Payne 3 Rockstar Pass. If you have the Steam version of the game and own the Rockstar Pass, the content should automatically show up in your game once you restart.

U.S. Retail Game Sales Continue Decline

NYTimes.com has the report from the NPD Group on retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories in the U.S. for July (thanks Neutronbeam), confirming indications they have dropped for the eighth consecutive month (though digital sales continue to rise). Word is:

Overall sales fell 20 percent to $548.4 million, according to research firm NPD Group.

Sales of consoles and portable software — the video games themselves — fell 23 percent from a year earlier to $278 million.

Sales of hardware fell 32 percent to $151 million. Accessories sales rose 8 percent to $137 million.

WARFRAME Trailer

The WARFRAME Website now features a new trailer from WARFRAME, offering the first look at some alpha gameplay footage from Digital Extremes' upcoming free-to-play shooter. Here's word: "Feast your eyes on the very first Gameplay footage for Digital Extremes new F2P game, WARFRAME. 4-player Squad Co-op, PvE third-person shooter action IN SPACE! I think we need more hyphens and abbreviations to help describe the game, what do you think? Take note, the Alpha Gameplay footage starts at about the 40s mark of the video so make sure to watch it all the way through." Continue here to read the full story.

Dishonored Creative Kills Trailer

The Bethesda Blog now offers a new "Creative Kills" trailer from Dishonored, showing gameplay from Arkane's upcoming stealth/action game. Word is: "The latest Dishonored video showcases just a few of the ways that you can eliminate your enemies using the flexible combat system. Creatively combine supernatural abilities with the weapons and gadgets at your disposal, including self-induced friendly fire and the ever-popular mobile rat bomb." Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

  • English Country Tune on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Kalypso Collection on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Kalypso Media Digital on Steam. Save up to 75%.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: After Aperture (Portal Fan Film). Thanks Ant.

Battle.net Security Breach

Battle.net announces an "important security update," revealing Blizzard has discovered "unauthorized and illegal access into our internal network." As a result, they recommend that North American users change their passwords, though they say they believe that the information retrieved "alone is NOT enough for anyone to gain access to Battle.net accounts." They also have written up an Important Security Update FAQ with all the details on this, including the surprising news that "information was taken that could potentially compromise the integrity of North American Mobile Authenticators," which will lead to a software updates.

Epic Forms Impossible Studios from Big Huge Ashes

Epic games announces they've established a new development house in Hunt Valley, Maryland called Impossible Studios, which includes former employees of Big Huge Games, following word that Epic was looking into a way to assist the studio that was left in a lurch following the sudden demise of parent 38 Studios. Here's the deal:

Epic Games, Inc. announces the opening of Impossible Studios, a company comprised of highly skilled, senior-level game development talent. Based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, Impossible is the latest addition to Epic’s network, which includes corporate headquarters in Cary, North Carolina; ChAIR Entertainment in Salt Lake City, Utah; People Can Fly in Warsaw, Poland; Epic Games Korea in Seoul, Korea; and Epic Games Japan in Yokohama, Japan.

Founded in June, Impossible brings world-class game development expertise and creativity to Epic’s growing team. With heralded roots in real-time strategy and role-playing entertainment software, Impossible brings its own distinct design and technical sensibilities to Epic’s portfolio of games and game technology across major platforms.

Led by studio director Sean Dunn, Impossible’s first project is the touch-based action role-playing game “Infinity Blade: Dungeons” for iOS. “Infinity Blade: Dungeons,” which was conceived at Epic’s Cary studio, is being developed in collaboration with Epic and ChAIR under Impossible’s roof in Maryland.

Continue here to read the full story.

BioShock Infinite Gets GoW Producer

Kotaku has a follow-up to yesterday's announcement about a couple of departures from the BioShock Infinite team, clarifying their comment at the time they have "heard that development on BioShock Infinite has hit choppy waters" (thanks nin). They say they've received reports that two different multiplayer modes have been cut from the upcoming shooter, and that it's now unclear whether the game will include multiplayer, noting this was a priority to prevent the game being and instant trade-in upcoming completion like the original BioShock. They also say the team has struggled to achieve gameplay that lives up to the game's impressive E3 demonstration: "All the same, the Infinite demo made a stunning debut despite the fact that the team was wrestling with the most basic elements of the game, from the story to the level design to the AI programming to how to design the sidekick character of Elizabeth, who can magically conjure weapons and in other ways affect the environment." Finally, they report that Gears of War producer Rod Fergusson is taking over from departing Tim Gerritsen, though they have been unable to get either Epic or Ken Levine to comment on this, in spite of getting Levine on the phone to discuss these matters. Here's his reply to their question about whether fans should worry about the state of the game:

"It's always challenging when you're trying to make a game that does a lot of different things," Levine said, noting that designers can be drawn back toward what is safe and familiar. "Trust me, there are plenty of things in this game—either it was the Skyline [a roller-coaster-like apparatus that players can use to zoom about the levels] or Elizabeth—where there were movements in the team to get rid of them. Because they are the most challenging things." He said that these challenges have been much of the reason the game has been in development for such a long time.

The Witcher 2 Mod Kit Details Next Week

CD Projekt RED announces they will be attending Gamescom 2012 in Germany next week, demonstrating a toolkit for creating modifications for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, their action/RPG sequel . The SDK is called REDkit (not to be confused with the exploit kit of the same name), and they say more details about this will be revealed at the time, in the meantime calling it "the best tool for modders to create complex and non-linear adventures in the world of The Witcher 2."

Diablo III Patch Info Incoming

A new post on the Diablo III Forums outlines five different articles they are working on to prepare Diablo III players for the upcoming patch to update the action/RPG sequel to version 1.0.4, saying these will be posted "in the not-too-distant future," though there's no real hint about when the patch will go live. They say they are cooking up a high-level summary of planned system changes, an outline of Legendary item improvements, an update on how Magic Find is changing, a preview of how each class will change, as well as the full patch notes.

Free WOOT DLC for Magicka Released

Paradox Interactive announces the release of WOOT, new DLC for Magicka that's now automatically available for free to owners of the action/adventure game, adding four new PvP maps, three challenge maps, new items, and more. Here's word:

Paradox Interactive have good news and bad news. The good news is that an all-new DLC pack, entitled Magicka WOOT, has been released , adding lots of new maps, items, and spells to the Magicka pantheon. The bad news is that the guy in charge of collecting money won’t leave the TV because apparently there’s a major sport event on, so Paradox has no choice but to let everybody have the new DLC completely free of charge. Upon reflection, maybe that’s only bad news for Paradox.

Magicka: WOOT allows players to join their favorite robed rapscallions as they make their way to a wizarding competition, only held once every few centuries in the land of Midgard. Aspiring sorcery athletes can face each other in the “Olympus Onslaught” PvP maps, trying to out-survive one another in the ever-changing Elemental Roulette arena, or try to stave off trench-foot in the Pool of Undeniable Moisture. Once those grudges are settled, wizards of all nations can band together for the Triathlon of Terror, skating across a strangely fiery patch of ice and dodging bottomless pits. We should probably mention that nobody told the monsters the Triathlon was in progress, so your chances of survival are pretty slim.
Continue here to read the full story.

U.S. Digital Sales Up

The NPD group offers some information in advance of the release of its July report, revealing digital sales in the U.S. for the second quarter of this year are up 17 percent over the same period last year, reports MCV. They say this is not enough to offset corresponding losses of physical sales. "In the second quarter of this year, sales of content in a digital format have grown 17 percent over Q2 2011," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "While this growth is in stark contrast to the declines in new physical software and hardware sales, the size of digital sales is not quite large enough to offset these declines, leading to an overall drop in consumer spending in Q2 by 16 percent."

AI War: Ancient Shadows Beta; Pre-purchases

Arcen Games announces that Ancient Shadows is now in beta testing in preparation for the release of this fourth expansion for AI War: Fleet Command, their real-time strategy game. Those interested can pre-purchase this now at a 20% discount, which also grants immediate access to the beta. This page has details, screenshots, a sample of the soundtrack, and downloads. Here's word: "The latest addition to AI War is awesome for several reasons highlighted by the arrival of Champion units. With the expansion you can now set a player to the "Champion" role and instead of a home command station and all the usual stuff a player starts with they get a single modular ship. The ship is already massive and poweful [sic] when you start, and can upgrade modules as you progress and gain expereience [sic]."

Prevent Gaming Interruptions

DNDstation is a new application intended to minimize or eliminate the ways a PC can interrupt one's gaming experience, preventing background programs from taking focus. "This is a very useful application for gamers because it eliminates the inconvenience caused by other software programs that pop-up some window over or determine games to exit full-screen," says Product Manager Andrei Ciubotaru. "The problem becomes extremely annoying in multiplayer games where interrupting the gaming experience might result in player's character getting killed, losing progress of the game or diminishing performance." A 30-day trial version is available.

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

I got a note from Network Solutions asking for feedback on my experience with their tech support the other day. Luckily I had already written out a brief essay to send them, so I guess I get the satisfaction of telling them how dissatisfied I was, and can only hope that the criticism can be used constructively. If not, at least I got to vent.

Vented Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Pro Motocross Racer.
Aeon Defense.
Links: 7 Amazing Video Games We'll Never Get to Play.
Stories: What 'The Jeffersons' Taught Me About Being an American.
Images: Tender Moment Between Man And His Sick Dog In Lake Superior.
Media: Portal 2 - Meet The Cores.
Incredible! Plane crash video from inside cockpit. A little gruesome.
Bane After Batman.
Girl walking on a roof. Impressive view.
Auction: Game Store Owner Selling Everything He Owns for $3.5 Million.
The Funnies: Summer Heat Cartoon - Savage Chickens.



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