The BioWare Blog has an update from BioWare Montreal on the next installment in the Mass Effect series of action/RPGs, announcing their studio is taking the helm of the next game. Word is they will be working with the Edmonton studio and the Frostbite 2 engine from the Battlefield series to make and installment that's "respectful of the heritage" of the series:
To ensure a proper and effective transition, we’ll continue to be supported by the Edmonton studio through the game’s development, working with and learning from them on some critical initiatives. On top of that, Casey remains the Executive Producer, but he will have a Project Director under him, working in Montreal, leading our development team and making day-to-day decisions for the game. We all care very much about Mass Effect and make our decisions based on what’s best for the game.
There is really not much I can tell you about the game right now, except that it will be built with the amazing technology of Frostbite as its foundation, enhanced by many of the systems that the Dragon Age III team has already spent a lot of time building.
The other thing I can tell you is that, while it will be very respectful of the heritage built over the course of the first three games, with the original trilogy now concluded and the switch over to a new engine, we are exploring new directions, both on the gameplay and story fronts. You can still expect the pillars the franchise is known for to be fully intact though, including diverse alien races, a huge galaxy to explore, and of course rich, cinematic storytelling.
Eurogamer talks with Crytek's Cevat Yerli about the next installment in the Crysis series, though details are hard to come by at this time. He also tells them this will not be named Crysis 4. “I wouldn't name it Crysis 4 at this stage because it would be misleading,” he explained. “We want to finalise Prophet's story and Crysis 4 would imply the story just moves on.”
A new update #16 is now live in Dungeons and Dragons Online, Turbine's MMORPG. This page has details on what's new. In short: "Dungeons & Dragons Online’s newest update is now live! Continue the adventure as you discover that Oriphanun Huntsilver is not the only disappearance. His journal, containing a fabled Nether Scroll, has also vanished and the Harpers are in need of your help to retrieve it. Use caution as you voyage down the High Road, as Netherese agents will stop at nothing to gain possession of the Scroll."
Matrix Games announces the release of Commander - The Great War, the World War I strategy game. Here's word on the game:
Players can now assume command of the Entente or Central Powers from the start of the war in 1914 to its conclusion in five grand campaigns on a huge hex campaign map that stretches from western USA to Africa and Arabia in the south, Scandinavia to the north and the Urals to the east. Players can encounter more than 40 unique historical and what-if events triggered by their actions on the campaign map, which offers near limitless replay value. Attach historical commanders to exploit their unique strengths (and avoiding their weaknesses), research and develop technology to gain an advantage against your enemies with superior technology such as airships, bombers and machine guns. Command 18 different types of unit types on the battlefield in your struggle to gain victory or stave off defeat. Players can also take the fight online against human opponents on Slitherine’s revolutionary PBEM++ system for easy matchmaking and setup.
NVIDIA now offers new beta version 310.54 GeForce reference drivers for NVIDIA graphics cards. The beta includes Windows 8 support, and in spite of the beta status, is also the recommended driver for a couple of upcoming PC games: "This is the recommended driver for the best experience in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Assassin's Creed III, providing up to 26% faster performance in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and up to 18% faster performance in Assassin’s Creed III, as well as smooth, shimmer-free graphics with TXAA antialiasing in both games." Thanks Charles.
LambdaGeneration has word on Valve's software engineering efforts based on a video of a visit to Valve by some members of 4chan's /v/ (thanks Joao). This seems to offer the first concrete word on hints that they are working on a new game engine. Here's their transcript of the pertinent passage:
Fan: Is Valve potentially already working on a new engine?
Fan: Source 2? Could or… could not be?
Gabe Newell: We’ve been working on Valve’s new engine stuff for a while, we’re probably just [incomprehensible, subtitled as: "waiting for a game to roll it out with"]
Fan: Is it going to be more than just an extension to Source? Is it an entirely new engine?
Researchers have discovered what's called "a serious vulnerability" in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, reports Computerworld from the Power of Community (POC2012) security conference in Seoul in an article that also notes a different vulnerability in Crytek's CryENGINE 3 (these are two separate issues: Modern Warfare 3 uses Infinity Ward's IW Engine, derived from id Software technology). Researchers from security consultant ReVuln demonstrated a denial of service attack that could be used to crash a Modern Warfare 3 server, before using the game Nexuiz to show how running the server for a CryENGINE 3 game can be used to launch a remote shell on a client computer (thanks Ant via Slashdot). It sounds like they are holding out for a payday based on their discoveries:
The first problem the pair presented is a denial-of-service vulnerability in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, made by Activision. Auriemma showed in a video how the server administrator received a warning when he remotely crashed the server running the game.
Auriemma masked some details in his presentation so as to not give too much information away, but he and Ferrante are planning to release advisories on the two vulnerabilities next Tuesday, the launch day for "Black Ops II," the latest game in the Call of Duty series. Ferrante said they are willing to work with Activision but aren't going to volunteer the information, since their research is part of their business.
The second problem relates to CryEngine 3, a graphics engine developed by Crytek for use in its own and other companies' games.
Auriemma's demonstration showed an attack on CryEngine 3 within the game Nexuiz. The attack, at the server level, enabled him to create a remote shell on a game-player's computer.
The Mojang Website has word that the phenomenal success of Minecraft continues, revealing the indie construction game has now sold more than eight million copies on the PC. To put this in perspective, they note that according to the Wikipedia, this makes it the ninth bestselling PC game of all time, ahead of such luminaries as StarCraft II, Myst, and Diablo II. In response to this, Notch has provided a message, which is either encoded, or really badly mistyped: "69I960EHE0A4A0IVG0EHE02500R4R0G1T30PLJ00V6V0EHE0V1U01V10U5U0VGV0V4R."
A recent forum post by Microsoft employee Daniel Moth indicates that DirectX 11.1 is exclusive to Windows 8, much the way DirectX 10 was not released for versions of Windows before Vista, saying it is integrated into the new version of the operating system. Here's word on where this stands right now: "DirectX 11.1 is part of Windows 8, just like DirectX 11 was part of Windows 7. DirectX 11 was made available for Vista .... but at this point there is no plan for DirectX 11.1 to be made available on Windows 7." Neowin was told "we have nothing further to share" after contacting Microsoft for further comment on this. The biggest difference between DirectX 11.1 and DirectX 11 seems to be native stereoscopic 3D support, so this should not impact serious gamers anyway. Thanks VG247.
David Vonderhaar Tweets that players with legitimate copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops II will not have their stats reset, even if they start playing the military shooter sequel before its official release tomorrow: "FAQ. Will people be reset? A. Read the previously linked Security/Enforcement policy. Unless you are a bad person doing bad things, no. +" Thanks Polygon. Also, pcdev tweets that Treyarch is backing off on the hard line he recently took on not allowing an expansion of the field of view on the PC edition past 80 (thanks VG247), saying: "On the post-launch patch task list: 90 FOV #BlackOps2 #PC."
The list of the 20 bestselling full-priced PC entertainment titles on GfK Chart-Track is now updated for the week ending November 10th. The chart has no new titles, just a couple of re-entries. Football Manager 2013 retains the top spot, and the big mover is Borderlands 2, which jumped to number three after sitting at #17 last week. The all platforms chart has more action with the unsurprising entrance of Halo 4 at number one.
An interview on VentureBeat talks with David Chateauneuf of Red Barrels about Outlast, an upcoming horror game from this studio formed by former Ubisoft developers. At one point Chateauneuf describes Outlast's combat-free gameplay as Mirror’s Edge meets 28 Days Later. "Mirror’s Edge was definitely a good inspiration," he tells them. "We definitely like that feeling that you are actually the main character and not feeling that you’re just a camera floating in the air with a gun at the bottom of the screen. We definitely want [players] to feel more immersed by the experience. So by having to interact with the environment, we’ll put the player more close to the action. For us, it was really important. Really touching the walls, and interacting with different things. That’s something that we want to bring to the game."
A new patch is now available for Blood Bowl - Legendary Edition, updating the game that marries the violence of Warhammer with the strategy of football (or vice versa) to version 22.214.171.124. The patch is available on the Blood Bowl Forum along with the full patch notes, and the download is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls. As always, those who own the game through Steam should just let it update itself automatically, and similarly, a new update is now also automatically available through Steam for Blood Bowl - Chaos Edition to update that installment in the series to version 126.96.36.199. The patch notes for this auto-patch are also available on the forums.
As I mentioned yesterday, today is the official observation of yesterday's Veteran's Day here in the U.S. Yesterday was also Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, so these also may be observed today in some places, which may make for a slow day. We'll see. Anyway, once again here's a salute to vets everywhere.
Randy Pitchford tweets a response to a question about whether players can expect more classes for Borderlands 2, considering the success of the mechromancer DLC for the role-playing shooter sequel (thanks nin). For those unwilling to read through his entire answer, the indication is that there is indeed reason to be optimistic that they still plan on adding additional characters to the game. For those interested in the nuance, here's an exact quote of his reply: "yes."
An interview on the Red Bull Website about the imminent release of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition. Their caffeinated questioning leads to the revelation that we should expect a similarly enhanced remake of Baldur's Gate II next year (thanks VG247). Here's word:
With release just weeks away, it’s nearly at it’s end, but Oster plans to get stuck straight into revamping the sequel, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows Of Amn, which came out in 2000.
“We are committed to doing Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition,” he says. “The instant Baldur’s Gate is completed most of our team is ready to start work on [it], with a couple holding back to continue to add features and support the fans...We're planning on shipping [it] in 2013, hopefully before the end of summer. I want to enjoy some sun this year - 2012 was a write off.”
A THQ SEC Filing (Adobe Acrobat format) reveals more fiscal bad news for the publisher, following a a recent collapse of its stock. The filing reveals THQ is in default on a line of credit from Wells Fargo, leading to a delayed 10-Q filing, and a situation that sounds tenuous at best: "The Company is currently in discussions with Wells Fargo regarding the asserted defaults and believes that it will reach an agreement with Wells Fargo with respect to such defaults. Wells Fargo has continued to fund requests from the Company after September 30, 2012 while Wells Fargo and the Company attempt to reach an agreement. There can be no assurance, however, that the Company will achieve an agreement with Wells Fargo." Thanks nin via Kotaku/Polygon.
A lengthy post on the Roberts Space Industries Website offers new information on Star Citizen, the upcoming crowd-sourced space simulator from Wing Commander architect Chris Roberts (thanks Bruno and Matt). Chris describes his unrealized ambitions for an MMO version of Freelancer, and how: "With Star Citizen I was determined to combine what I wanted to achieve with Freelancer, with the personal experience that I think both Wing Commander and Privateer were so strong with." He goes into great detail on multiplayer gameplay and balance after outlining how multiplayer will dispense with the kind of shards of which he is not a fan:
In Star Citizen there is going to be one persistent universe server that everyone exists on. So you will never be separated from your friends, and if you want you’ll be able to join up and adventure together, you can. Due to the fidelity of the dogfighting and physics simulation we can’t however handle thousands of players in the same area of space. Even if you had enough internet bandwidth to handle the data going back and forth and a super computer for the server there’s no PC, even with quad SLI that could render that many spaceships with Star Citizen’s fidelity.
So the “magic” of Star Citizen’s multiplayer design is how we combine a persistent universe with a more traditional (and easier to implement) temporary multiplayer “battle” instance.
The way it works is that the persistent universe server, which we’re calling the Galaxy Server, keeps track of all players’ assets, group relationships and locations inside the Star Citizen universe. As the Galaxy server isn’t handling any realtime action it can handle our complete player base, which right now would be about 45,000 players, but is designed to be able to scale to millions if need be. The other key thing the Galaxy Server does is dynamically place players based on their location, skill level, alignment and player versus player (PvP) preference into battle instances. Think of a “battle” instance like a Battlefield 3 multiplayer session or a World of Tanks Battle with the key difference that the selection of players is done transparently and is “in fiction”.
The Descent to UDK Website reveals plans for a fan-developed remake of Descent, the six-degrees-of-freedom tunnel shooter from days gone by (thanks LittleMe). The UDK project is expected to be made available early next year, and this experimental gameplay trailer shows early progress towards that goal. Here is the project leader's outline of their first release:
a retelling of Descent's story
the original levels remade, with an emphasis on a thriller/horror atmosphere
remodeled and animated original robots with advanced AI
all the weapons from Descent with potential new ones mixed in
a high-detail Pyro-GX ship model with a 3D cockpit view
more diverse gameplay with a strong focus on the basics that made Descent great
NVIDIA's quarterly financials show a profit for the period. Word is: "Nvidia's Kepler architecture has trickled down to the majority of the firm's products including the high volume mainstream market in the past quarter. Now the company is reaping the rewards with third quarter revenue increasing by 12.9 percent to $1.2bn while profits increased by 17.3 percent to $209.1m." Thanks HARDOCP.
Happy first birthday to Skyrim! More significantly, today is Veteran's Day here in the U.S., though it falling on Sunday means the Federal holiday for this will be observed tomorrow. Here's a salute to the vets for their bravery and sacrifice, and an expression of hope that we can improve the way we support our returning soldiers, as well as an expression of hope that we can improve our diplomacy so there are fewer soldiers sent out there in the first place.