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Friday, Sep 28, 2012

  

Valve Denies Nexon Rumor

There's a Valve interview on VG247 talking with Valve's Chet Faliszek about life at Valve, and what they are up to, including a discussion of VR tech. On a related note, GamesIndustry International has a response from Chet to yesterday's rumor that Nexon was bidding to acquire Valve, to which he responds: "There's no thoughts about that - everyone likes working there, we like working together we like the culture we have and the way it works because of all the parts of it. We're not changing any of that, we're pretty happy. We're doing OK." When asked if he could explicitly deny the rumor, he responded: "Yeah!"

No Federal 38 Studios Charges

The Washington Post has word that the U.S. Attorney's office in Rhode Island has stated there will be no federal charges following "a narrow and focused review of 38 Studios to see if any federal laws were broken, including bank fraud" in relation to the studio's financing and closure. They also note that the Rhode Island State Police are continuing to investigate whether any state laws were violated and that the state Economic Development Corp. has also hired a law firm to "investigate whether anyone might be held financially liable for the deal."

Indie Royale Bundle

Indie Royale now offers The Oktoberfest Bundle, a collection of six games to be had on the cheap. Here's word on the contents:

  • Hector: Badge of Carnage Trilogy (from The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games and co-creator Straandlooper)
  • Adventures of Shuggy
  • Chime
  • Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble
  • The Witch's Yarn
  • The Network

Strategic War in Europe 1945 Free DLC Announced

Wastelands Interactive announces plans for free DLC for Strategic War in Europe offering alternate history scenarios beginning in 1945. There is no release date yet for the DLC, which will be free besides requiring the original game. Here's word:

The new DLC, labeled Strategic War in Europe: 1945 is adds several features to the game, but primarily focuses on a new Post-War 1945 'What-If' scenario between the Allies and USSR with other minor communist countries joining the fight.

Features Include:

  • Post War 1945 'What-If' Scenario
  • New Campaign that spans three years of gameplay
  • Nuclear Weapons
  • Monthly Turns
  • Focused Land Battles between Red & White Star
  • Dozens of Choices designed to push the 'What-If' situation on this war front.

Will Allies be able to achieve what Napoleon once did? The conquering of Moscow? Will the Reds be able to reach the Atlantic coast?

Will Patton beat Zhukov's? Will Stalin rule all of Europe?

On Wasteland 2 Writing

The Wasteland Chronicles has a new blog entry written by Brian Fargo about Wasteland 2, inXile Entertainment's upcoming RPG sequel (thanks Cutter). He apologized for the lack of communication, saying he's been focused on the game's script, going on to explain why getting this done early in development is so essential:

I have been very focused on getting the first pass at all the writing complete by October. The thing that is most critical in creating a deep and re-playable experience is for us to have plenty of iteration time on the game. There is simply no substitute for allowing plenty of time for us to play the game over and over thus allowing us to hone in on the things that people are going try in the world. A wonderfully written script is not valuable if it is delivered too far into the development process. This game is going to be much deeper than most people realize and I will go out on a limb to say it is nearly impossible for two people to have the same experience playing through the game as there are so many nuanced decisions. The caliber of writing is very impressive and for those who wanted an M rated experience… you will be more than satisfied. We don’t pull any punches on the subject matters of a dark post apocalyptic world. My attitude is that if you going into a genre that has expectations then GO THERE.. all the way. It is for the same reasons I tend to love all the great shows and writing that I find on Showtime and HBO and find myself turned off by the material on network television. I don’t like to see pandering to a mass audience for my TV shows and I certainly won’t allow this game to soften up a rough world.

Drox Operative Beta Patches

This page now offers new version 0.922 beta patches for the Windows and OS X editions of Drox Operative, Soldak Entertainment's upcoming action/RPG. Word is: "This patch allows you to see the race's technology and as usual fixes a bunch of small things." Complete details are in this change list.

On Sale

  • The Binding of Isaac on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Cortex Command on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Square Enix Squad on GOG.com. Save 60%.
  • Total War Weekend on Steam. Save 25%.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: TSA Agent Found With ABC IPad. Thanks Ant via reddit.

Nexus 2 Kickstarter

This Kickstarter looks to raise capital for development of Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken, a sequel to the space-based real-time tactics game Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. The developer for the project is Most Wanted Entertainment, which was formed by members of Mithis Entertainment, the now-defunct developer of the original game, and their goal is $650K to create the sequel. Here's word:

The creators of the original game now have a unique proposal for you… to participate in the development, by pledging funds that will allow us to begin production of the next instalment in the Nexus story.

Our vision is clear: we have a full design for a truly worthy successor to the original game, one which will take forward the story of mankind’s expeditions to the hostile reaches of interstellar space, and bring it up to date with state-of-the-art visuals and even richer gameplay.

War of the Roses Live Stream Next Week

Paradox Interactive announces plans for a TwitchTV live stream on October 2nd to celebrate the launch of War of the Roses, Fatshark's Danny DeVito-free multiplayer action game. They say: "War of the Roses is barreling onto PCs everywhere on Tuesday and soon-to-be knights can join Paradox Interactive as they count down to the title’s release on Steam. Starting at 5pm GMT / 9am PDT on October 2, Senior Producer Gordon Van Dyke will host a live stream where players can chat with him pre-launch and then challenge the good sir knight in-game upon its launch. Accompanying Van Dyke will be a slew of guests, including internet personalities Tejbz, Maven, and 2GD, who will also join the fray come launch time, and will battle it out online with those deemed worthy. Or, just by whoever finds out which server they’re on."

Diablo III PTR Patch Notes Updated

The Diablo III Website has updated Public Test Realm Patch version 1.0.5 for the upcoming patch for Blizzard's action/RPG sequel. A number of additional planned changes are highlighted, including a doubling of legendary item drop rates.

Ships Ahoy - Call of Duty: Mac Ops

Aspyr Media announces the release of the Mac OS X edition of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Treyarch's military shooter sequel. This also includes the First Strike Content Pack (first-ish, in this case) with four additional multiplayer maps and the Ascension zombie experience, and the Rezurrection Content Pack is also available as a separate purchase.

Loren The Amazon Princess Expansion

Winter Wolves Games now offers The Castle of N'mar, an expansion for Loren The Amazon Princess, their fantasy-themed role-playing game. The expansion is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux, and requires the original game to play. A playable demo is provided, and here's a bit on the add-on: "The expansion enriches the core game by adding thrilling non-linear quests into unexplored lands, several new playable characters, and brand new quests that give more insight into existing party members. You'll want to replay the game again and again with the many new endings now available – and the harrowing choices you'll need to make to get them."

Shadow of a Soul Delayed

Turkish developer Vivec Entertainment announces a delay to the release of Shadow of a Soul, saying the Windows and OS X first-person horror game is now due in May 2013 after being originally announced for release next month. "Ever since the first trailer of the game, 'The Room,' was released on December 20, 2012, the response from gamers has been uniformly positive and encouraging," says Ferzan K. Aygen, CEO of Vivec Entertainment. "As an indie developer, I want to create a game that is worthy of all the support I've received thus far. I've decided to postpone the release in order to fully achieve my goal of creating an intense and scary game."

Library of Congress Games Interview

An interview on The Library of Congress blog (I know, right?) talks with David Gibson, one of the technicians involved in curating the library's growing collection of video games. He explains that their collection is benefiting from a recent change in the copyright process that requires submission of a full copy of each game, discusses the process of storing game boxes for posterity, and outlines their struggle with making the games accessible to researchers without endangering the ephemeral elements of their packaging.

Farming Simulator 2013 Trailer

This trailer from Farming Simulator 2013 opens up the garage to show off the various tractors and combines available to players in this agriculture simulation that's coming to Windows PCs next month. Word is: "All the biggest brands including Case IH, Deutz-Fahr, Lamborghini, Grimme, Amazon and many others are all featured in the game, offering players a large selection of vehicles and tools to drive and use. From tractors to harvesters, drilling machines to balers, and every other tool and vehicle imaginable, each category features a complete range of authentic machines, modeled and animated in accurate detail." Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

Bitmob - Classic games don't always hold up.
No lie, some games simply don't age well. They were products of their time, and time moved on. The very first Tomb Raider revolutionized video games in several ways, and its rigid, on-the-grid puzzles and auto-aim gunfights were fun at the time. But when developer Crystal Dynamics remade it a decade later as Tomb Raider Anniversary, they upgraded the gameplay to reflect how I game now; modern designs, greater flexibility, more control. I loved playing Tomb Raider in 1997, but I couldn't go back to it now. I'd play the 2007 version instead.

Gatherings & Competitions

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 great news from my buddy Devicer, as his cat Josie showed up yesterday after being missing for almost two weeks. Anyone who knows her wouldn't be that surprised that she was able to take care of herself out in the country on her own through heavy thunderstorms and cool autumn nights, as she is that classic tough alpha cat (she used to try to pounce on Hudson the wonder dog in hilarious Cato versus Inspector Clouseau scenarios), but she's also a 16 year-old housecat, so hope was beginning to fade with every passing day. She's by far my favorite cat in the world, so I am overjoyed that this story has a happy ending. It's just too bad she can't tell us what happened.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Jacksmith.
Links: Warping Through Star Trek: The Next Generation's 25 Years With Ronald Moore. Thanks nin.
Celebrities with the Highest IQs.
Stories: U.N. chief duped by prank call from fake Canadian PM.
Higher risk of divorce when men do housework, Norwegian study finds.
Science: What does the Higgs boson look like?
Experimental medical implants perform tasks then dissolve.
Images: Alien Facehugger Bong Is Amazing, Horrifying.
Media: Smart car with Hayabusa engine.
Jimmy Fallon and Jerry Seinfeld During The Commercial Break.
Diablo 3: Night of 1000 Errors.
Practical Examples of Murphy's Law. Lesson? Always record amateur construction.

Thursday, Sep 27, 2012

Mists of Pandaria Sales Disappointing?

VentureBeat has estimated sales figures for the just-released Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft by way of investment bank Lazard Capital Markets, where they estimate the MMORPG expansion has sold between 600,000 and 700,000 copies at retail since launching this week. This estimate does not include digital sales, but they add that "Lazard analysts believe Pandaria's digital sales won't make up for its poor retail performance." Word is: "Historically, each new World of Warcraft expansion has outsold its predecessors, Lazard said, but sales of Pandaria are down 60 percent from the previous expansion pack, Cataclysm, which has sold 3.3 million units since its launch in December 2010."

Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons Announced

505 Games and Starbreeze Studios announce Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons, a game previously known as P13, saying this "emotionally-charged" game is coming to PCs via Steam and to consoles in the spring of next year. The game's official website is online with this trailer showing off the game's Unreal engine graphics, which are also on display in these screenshots. Here's word on the game:

A man, clinging to life. His two sons, desperate to cure their ailing father, are left with but one option. They must set out upon a journey to find and bring back the "Water of Life” as they come to rely on one another to survive. One must be strong where the other is weak, brave where the other is fearful, they must be... Brothers.

505 Games in partnership with Starbreeze Studios and filmmaker Josef Fares will release Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons - previously known as P13 - for Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and for Steam in spring 2013.

Continue here to read the full story.

Might & Magic Heroes VI: Danse Macabre Released

The Might & Magic Heroes VI Website announces the Danse Macabre adventure pack for the strategy sequel is now available in The Official Ubisoft Online Store, as is the Might & Magic Heroes VI Gold Edition which bundles the game and Danse Macabre along with the previously released Pirates of the Savage Sea adventure pack.Here's the Danse Macabre feature list:

  • Over 10-hours of intense and epic adventure: Experience an original and exclusive, breathtaking story starring the fan-favorite “Legacy” Hero and discover new secrets of Ashan.
  • New artifacts and bonuses: Unlock a new spectacular Dynasty weapon, an Artifact Set, a unique Building, a Hero, and for the first time in the saga, a pet!
  • Rediscover the richness of the M&M Universe: a unique scenario map, based on “Xeen”, a famous legacy world of the Might & Magic Universe.
  • Experience the unique mix of Turn-Based Strategy & RPG: Explore extra-large adventure maps, collect tons of resources and build extraordinary cities. Perfect your tactics to level-up your heroes, recruit troops & ready them for combat on exclusive battle maps.

Swords and Sorcery - Underworld GOLD & Demo Released

The Older Bytes Website now offers online sales of Swords and Sorcery - Underworld GOLD along with a playable demo of this game that harkens back to the classic dungeon crawlers of a bygone era of gaming. Word is: "The Gold Edition features extensive additions of new content, enhanced graphics and interface and new combat rules and tactical options that heighten the challenge, complexity and unpredictability of the game’s action compared to earlier editions." This trailer shows off the game, and the demo is mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

GRID 2 Gameplay Trailers

Two new trailers for GRID 2 offer the first looks at gameplay from Codemasters' upcoming racing sequel, showing racing on the streets of Chicago and along the California coast taken from an alpha version of the game. Word is: "The Chicago video features a Street Racing stage where muscle cars, including the Camaro SS, Z06 Corvette and Boss Mustang, charge through skyscraper-lined streets and chase through tunnels. The California Coast video follows a head-to-head, point-to-point duel between a contemporary Boss Mustang and a classic Mustang Mach 1 on a tight and twisting sprint for the line." Continue here to read the full story.

A Game of Dwarves Website; Contest

A new A Game of Dwarves Website is online as home to Zeal Game Studios' upcoming vertically challenged management game. This includes a call for submissions for dwarf names to be included in the game when it's released next month:

Dwarves need fine, strong names and now players have the chance to have their own made-up name included in A Game of Dwarves. Starting today, dwarf fans out there can submit their entry by visiting the official Facebook page for A Game of Dwarves. Thereafter, Paradox Interactive and Zeal Games will randomly select five names to be included the final version of the game.

To participate in the competition to name your own dwarf, please visit: http://goo.gl/vOyPL

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

I Am Weapon and Demo Released

The Sigma Team Website now offers online sales of I Am Weapon along with a playable demo of this action/tower defense hybrid. The demo is mirrored on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell, and here's word:

The world of nightmares is mysterious and amazing, it scares and fascinates at the same time. The laws of real world are not valid in here. Here you are absolutely alone and it seems there are too many secrets to reveal... And this dreadful feeling as if somebody is constantly watching you.

What if you become filled with the nightmares and the only chance to save yourself are the memories - the only thing that connects you with the real world. The fragments from your real life are in danger – so is your future! Protect the memories by any means, otherwise it's all over.

I am weapon - is a game, comprising all the best from Action and Tower Defense genres - destroy the monsters, improve the skills, buy new weapons and build up defense constructions, that will help you to get out of the dream world and understand the reasons of what has happened.

You got used to see them in a circus and laugh at them. So now it all changed the other way round. Don't let them laugh at you! Be the weapon to win the fight with your nightmares in totally absurd dream!

Ships Ahoy - Jagged Alliance: Crossfire

Kalypso Media announces that Jagged Alliance: Crossfire is now available from North American retailers, offering a boxed version of the standalone expansion to Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, their remake of the tactical RPG Jagged Alliance 2. Word is: "The game takes players to the mountainous country of Khanpaa, where they must battle another group of mercenaries who have enslaved the populace for reasons unknown. Players will equip, train and deploy teams of mercs and plan out battles in real-time or in the "plan 'n go" mode." Here's a feature list:

  • Tactical combat at its finest, using the enhanced “Plan ‘n’ Go” system of plotting your team’s moves strategically, then executing them in nail-biting real time
  • 10 new mercenaries round out your team, offering a roster of more than 50 unique combatants with unique skills, weaknesses and quirky personalities
  • 10 new maps, set in the unforgiving, frozen mountainous countryside will challenge your planning skills – rocky mountain terrain, narrow valleys and icy cliffs will provide new cover opportunities, chokepoints and offer optimum ambush points
  • 15+ hours of gameplay across a brand new campaign with a broad variety of missions
  • New weapons, enemies and equipment – supplies are scarce, and your mercenaries will have to make the most of outdated weapons, limited supplies and equipment
  • Enjoy the Jagged Alliance series as never before with vastly improved graphics, enhanced AI behavior, a polished interface and numerous performance and gameplay updates

Notch Knocks Win8: Minecraft Certification in Doubt

A tweet by Minecraft creator Markus 'Notch' Persson relates an exchange with Microsoft about Windows 8 and the indie sandbox game: "Got an email from microsoft, wanting to help 'certify' minecraft for win 8. I told them to stop trying to ruin the pc as an open platform." He follows this expressing his distaste for the process and the new OS: "I'd rather have minecraft not run on win 8 at all than to play along. Maybe we can convince a few people not to switch to win 8 that way.." Thanks Computer and Video Games.

Korean Valve Bid?

"Will Asian online game publishers Nexon and NCsoft buy blockbuster publisher Valve?" asks VentureBeat in an article based on a rumor in a "major" Korean publication. Joongang News reports Nexon and Valve met in Hawaii yesterday to discuss a possible merger. Nexon was also involved in acquisition rumors earlier this year when reports emerged it was bidding on EA. Valve's Gabe Newell has expressed no interest in selling the company when previous such rumors have emerged, but neither company has commented on this report yet.

Carmageddon Max Pack on GOG.com

GOG.com now offers a Carmageddon Max Pack, a DRM-free bundle of Carmageddon and its Splat Pack expansion as they anticipate Stainless Games' release of Carmageddon: Reincarnation. This kicks off a weekend promotion where they are offering sales on games with upcoming sequels:

GOG.com have also prepared a fantastic promo that will start this Friday and last throughout the weekend. All gamers who are biting their nails in anticipation for some of the most fascinating releases of 2013, including the new Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, and possibly THI4F, can buy the originals that made all the series so successful. The first three games featuring Lara Croft are available in a nice Tomb Raider 1+2+3 DRM-free package for only $3.99. The first Hitman game, Codename 47 can be sniped down for $2.39, and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin for $3.99. All three Thief games, Thief Gold, Thief 2: The Metal Age, and Thief 3: Deadly Shadows are available for $3.99 each. Other notable titles form the SquareEnix promo include Deus Ex series, Anachronox, and Legacy of Kain series-all 60% off, this weekend only on GOG.com. Visit GOG.com tomorrow for the Square Enix promo.

UFO Online Stress Test Tomorrow

The creators of UFO Online - Fight for Earth are planning a closed beta stress-test for this browser-based tactical MMOG beginning tomorrow, offering prizes to participants, including a gaming PC and other hardware from Alienware. Those interested should keep an eye on this thread for further details, and take note of the following "universal key" to gain access: "7YWZ4EV5PFDA942V3MJ9".

World of Warcraft Free Character Transfers

The World of Warcraft Website announces Blizzard is now offering free character transfers in their MMORPG:

We’re providing free transfers off of realms that are currently seeing high queue times. If you’re on one of the below realms and would like to avoid waiting in queues to play, you can take advantage of these free transfers. We’ve done our best to match realm types and time zones for a smooth transfer process.

The current transfers will go until approximately 9:00 a.m. PDT, October 4. Please be aware that, due to the unpredictable nature of free transfers, we may close down any transfers at any time and without warning if the destination realm becomes full. If you plan to move with friends or your guild, we suggest that you coordinate the effort to reduce the chance of any stragglers being left behind.

Although free Guild Master Realm Transfers are not possible at this time, these free character transfers will allow you to retain your guild membership and reputation, provided the guild master completes a Guild Master Realm Transfer to the destination realm first, and does not change factions.

Linux Steam External Beta Plans

The Valve Linux Blog announces they will begin internally testing Steam for Linux next week, and will begin admitting external testers next month, saying: "Things have been going well. We will be having an internal beta starting next week, and a private external beta for 1,000 users sometime in October." Here's word on where they are with this:

The private external beta will include:

  • Steam
  • One Valve game
  • Support for Ubuntu 12.04 and above

It will not yet include:

  • Big Picture mode
  • Additional Valve games

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

There's good news for tackle football fans, as the NFL and the referees' union have reached a tentative deal, and tonight's game will be officiated by professionals, rather than the well-meaning but frightfully incompetent replacement refs. This might have impacted last week's outcomes if it had happened in time for those games, but either way, the number of crazy upsets make this an interesting season to have challenged folks to pick games. This is evidenced by Creston and Jivaro tying for best record for the week at 8-8 (imagine if we were using the point spread!), while Mag and I were 7-9, and Cutter followed two weeks of dominance with a disastrous 4-12. Here are my pre-caffeinated picks for this week: Ravens, Falcons, Patriots, Lions, Texans, Chiefs, 49ers, Seahawks, Cardinals, Broncos, Bengals, Packers, Bucs, Giants, Cowboys.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Portal 2D.
Stories: Is the Texas Twang Dyin', Y'all? Other Accents Blend In.
Man Finds Lost Finger in Trout.
Incredible 1,000 year old Buddhist statue made from a METEORITE.
Science: Hyperloop: Billionaire Tech Mogul's New Idea Could Revolutionize Travel Forever.
Cyborg Roaches Could Be Future Emergency Responders.
Air Force sets first post in ambitious Space Fence project.
Media: Realistic Fighting Game. NSFW.
Honest Trailers - The Avengers. Thanks JDreyer.
There is no Escaping... Gangnam Style Dance: SKYRIM.
Jimmy Fallon: History Of TV Theme Songs.
Follow-up: Viral photo helps 19-year-old arthritic dog recover.
Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English. Thanks brother19.



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