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Friday, Jan 11, 2013

  

Borderlands 2 Gear Up Weekend

The Gearbox Software Website has word there's phat lewt to be had in Borderlands 2 beginning now in the "Borderlands 2 Gear Up Weekend" (thanks nin). Here's word:

Gear up for the release of Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt -- the third campaign add-on for Borderlands 2, arriving January 15 -- with special in-game events this weekend!

The festivities begin today, January 11, with Vault Hunters reporting an influx of powerful shotguns throughout Pandora. To join in the fun, simply boot up Borderlands 2 while connected to the internet and start looting before the supply runs dry -- based on current conditions, expect the excess to be exhausted on Saturday, January 12 at 10:55AM CST / 4:55PM GMT (What time is that for me?).

What will tomorrow bring? Check back on GearboxSoftware.com at 11AM CST / 5PM GMT (What time is that for me?) to find out!

Ravaged Free Weekend

Steam News announces this is a free weekend for Ravaged, which is also on sale:

Play Ravaged for FREE starting now through Sunday at 1PM Pacific Time. Plus, save 66% until Monday at 10AM Pacific Time during the Weekend Deal!

The Scavengers are an overpowering band of murderous savages hell-bent on taking every last inch of land and every critical resource for themselves. They will stop at nothing. Their success seems certain unless someone can rise up against them. The Resistance is the world’s last best hope and humankind’s only chance to restore civilization. Days before the Apocalypse, these freedom fighters were able to seek shelter deep below the Earth, gathering just enough to survive. Finally, they are ready to emerge and rebuild the planet. But it’s a new world, overrun by the miscreants and madmen, warlords and hapless refugees. Only the most savage can survive.

Gratuitous Space Battles Expands

Gratuitous Space Battles: The Outcasts is now available as new DLC for Gratuitous Space Battles, Positech's space strategy game. This includes 10 new ships, six new equipment modules, and a pair of new scenarios.

Double Fine in THQ Mix

Distressed Debt Investing tweets that Double Fine is one of the companies vying for one or more of the IPs being sold off as part of THQ's bankruptcy proceedings: "THQ: Both Warner Brothers and Double Fine productions have asked for bankruptcy filings in the THQ case." Thanks VG247, who also note that THQ declined the opportunity to appeal its delisting from the NASDAQ stock market.

Dead Space 3 Dev-Team Edition

EA Gear now offers sales of the Dead Space 3 Dev-Team Edition, a limited edition version of the game they say "is squarely grounded in-fiction" (thanks VG247). This includes a region 1 version of the game, but they also have an add-on version which does not include the game, just the goodies. Here's word on what the version with the game includes:

  • 13" SCAF Tin Crate
  • 8" Ployresin Black Marker Statue
  • Aluminum Data Pad
  • Med Pack Water Bottle
  • Bound SCAF Jotter
  • 3 SCAF Posters
  • 6 Peng Postcards
  • 96 Page Mini Art Book
  • A copy of Dead Space 3 on the platform of your choice (PC copies are disc only; we are unable to provide a downloadable version)
  • DLC: First Contact bundle (includes the First Contact Suit and Negotiator weapon for precise dismemberment)
  • DLC: Witness the Truth bundle (includes the Witness the Truth suit and tactical Evangelizer weapon)

On Sale

Thanks nin and Joystiq.

  • Alice: Madness Returns The Complete Collection on Amazon.com. Save 60%.
  • Darksiders Franchise Pack on Amazon.com. Save 67%.
  • Digital Game Factory Collection on GOG.com. Save 60%.
  • Doom 3: BFG Edition on Gamefly.com.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Hitman: Absolution on Gamefly.com. Save 50%.
  • Rage on Gamefly.com. Save 75%.
  • Saints Row the Third - The Full Package on Amazon.com. Save 58%.
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron on Gamefly.com. Save 66%.
  • Viking: Battle for Asgard on Steam. Save 66%.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Gone Gold - Omerta – City of Gangsters

Kalypso Media USA announces the Windows and Xbox 360 editions of Omerta – City of Gangsters are gold for North America, and due in stores February 12th. "We are thrilled to be able to release yet another great strategy IP with Tropico 4 developer Haemimont," says Mario Kroll, Vice President, Kalypso Media USA. "Omerta – City of Gangsters will let players choose brass knuckles and tommy guns, intimidation or bribes, or a combination of all of these, to carve out their own criminal empires on the Atlantic City Boardwalk." Kalypso recently also announced an OS X edition of the game, which will support cross-platform multiplayer with the Windows edition when it follows sometime this quarter. Here's word on this opportunity to start your own boardwalk empire:

Omerta – City of Gangsters is a simulation game with tactical turn-based combat. Taking the role of a fresh-off-the-boat immigrant, with dreams of the big life, the player will work his way up the criminal hierarchy of 1920’s Atlantic City, New Jersey. Starting with small jobs, his character recruits a gang and expands his empire by taking territory from other gangsters. Eventually he establishes his own crime syndicate and becomes the de facto ruler of Atlantic City.

The player strategically manages his business and his minions in a real-time format, slowly but steadily increasing his influence over the city. The player sends his henchmen out on missions ranging from assassinating an informant, to raiding a warehouse, springing a friend from prison, robbing a bank or attacking a rival gang’s hideout. Nobody is above the law in Atlantic City, so it always helps to have a little cash handy to bribe a policeman or pay off a politician.

The turn-based combat in Omerta – City of Gangsters focuses on the tactical command of “The Boss” and his henchmen. Cover and stealth are essential parts of any shootout in the game. Finding the best vantage point to gun down an enemy, while taking cover from a hailstorm of bullets, can be just as satisfying as sneaking quietly behind a foe and taking him down.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct in March

Activision and Terminal Reality respond to last week's release of a trailer for The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct that turned out to be unofficial with the release of some new details about the upcoming first-person survival game, along with a brief official trailer. The video does not contain any gameplay footage, but does feature actors Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker revealing a March 29th release date for this game featuring their characters of Darryl and Merle Dixon (the 28th is a Friday and the trailer has a European PEGI rating, so its altogether possible the North American release date will one of the surrounding Tuesdays). We also have some new details on gameplay to share:

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct brings the authentic, heart-stopping horrors of The Walking Dead to life in a way that’s unlike anything the series has ever seen. Terminal Reality’s upcoming video game is an all-new, first-person, do-whatever-you-need-to-survive game based on AMC’s Emmy award-winning series. In the game, players assume the role of the mysterious, crossbow-wielding survivor Daryl Dixon, alongside his overbearing brother Merle, on a haunting, unforgiving quest to make their way to the supposed safety of Atlanta.

FEATURES

Continue here to read the full story.

NPD 2012 Results

The latimes.com has some year-end reporting from the NPD Group with sales figures for the game industry in North America in 2012. Word is sales of physical discs and consoles declined 22%, compared with a 9% drop the previous year, as the transition to digital distribution accelerates and the current console generation hits the geriatric stage. Here's more:

Total spending in the U.S. on physical game products was $13.26 billion, according to NPD Group. The research firm did not estimate the annual total including other avenues for game spending, but did say that used games, rentals and digital formats accounted for about half of total spending in December.

The bestselling game of the year was "Call of Duty: Black Ops II." Annual sequels in Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard's military shooter franchises have been the top-selling video games for four years straight.

Op Ed

The Atlantic - How the Video-Game Industry Already Lost Out in the Gun-Control Debate.
As it happens, that's just what happened to games (and popular media more generally) in the NRA's good guy with a gun response to the Newtown shooting. Guns aren't a factor in gun violence for the NRA—rather, games, media, and law enforcement failures must take the blame. Once the terms of the debate are set like this (and set they very much were thanks to the over-the-top bravado in this press conference) then it's very hard to extract oneself from the debate without shifting the frame, without changing the terms of the debate.

I certainly believe that the White House would like nothing more than to see an end to mass gun murders in America's elementary schools. But the fact remains that gun violence takes place every day, all across this country, at a rate of dozens of deaths a day, and as the leading cause of death among African-American youth. But when the vice president establishes a task force on gun control and violence that includes the media industries that the NRA has once again chosen as their patsies after a particularly heinous and public example of gun violence, all it can do is shift attention away from guns.

IGN - Let's Talk About Violent Video Games.
Distinctions between games for adults and those for kids are fairly clear these days, thanks to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). Formed in 1994, the ESRB rates all video games as a guide for parents similar to the way movies are rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Games are rated ranging from E for Everyone and T for Teen to M for Mature, 17+.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding that games are only for children. This needs to change for the 'violence in games' dialogue to advance.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • ADATA DashDrive UD310 Jewel-Like Flash Drive on ProClockers.
  • CM Storm Quick Fire TK Keyboard & Inferno Mouse on t-break.
  • Cooler Master Silencio 650 Mid Tower Case on Mad Shrimps.
  • Fractal Design Node 605 on techPowerUp.
  • FSP Aurum 92+ PT-650M 650W 80 PLUS Platinum Power Supply on TweakTown.
  • Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H Motherboard on Hardware Secrets.
  • Mionix Naos 8200 Gaming Mouse on TweakTown.
  • MSI GT70 Limited Dragon Edition - 17.3" on Gaming Laptop Review.
  • SilverStone HE02 on Vortez.
  • Steelseries Flux headphones on RBMODS.
  • Vogel's LCD WALL MOUNT Superflat EFW 8105 S 19”-26 on Mad Shrimps.

etc.

Out of the Blue

Well, my daring picks last week were as almost disastrous as could be imagined once the word "daring" entered the conversation. My only winner was the Seahawks, but that's good enough for me, since I've heard enough of RG3's perspective just how great everybody thinks he is to last a long time. We still have Ray Lewis doing that, but at least he's done more to earn the enormous self-respect that's his favorite topic of conversation.

Here's what I was able to piece together of last week's results: Verno 4-0; LiTh, Sepharo, Creston, Rigs, and Mag 2-2; and Blue, Jivaro, and Cutter 1-3.

Here goes for the divisional round: Broncos, Seahawks, Patriots, and Packers.

Divisional Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Qoosh.
Stories: Actor has terminal cancer: Wilko Johnson will not undergo chemotherapy.
ABC to look at 'Star Wars' live-action TV series.
Son Of Hobbit Scribe J.R.R. Tolkien Finally Speaks Out. Thanks nin via Dubious Quality.
Science: The Science of the "Friend Zone".
FDA warns that Ambien's effects could linger in body.
Media: Puppy vs. Orange. Thanks nin.
The "Knife Guys".
Guy catches mouse, releases in countryside, aaaaand...
The Funnies: Dilbert.

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013

Cyberpunk 2077 Trailer - New CDP Reveal Next Month?

This trailer offers the promised (sort of) first look at Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED's upcoming sci-fi RPG. On a related note, VG247 has word that freezing frames in the trailer reveals text saying CD Projekt RED is "about to reveal" a "project, which is much closer to being completed" than Cyberpunk 2077. "It will also be a fully open-world game with an intense story," the tease goes on to say, before suggesting this is Witcher-related by adding "You can probably guess the game we’re talking about." Apparently "all will be clear" on February 5th. Finally, CD Projekt RED sends along some further details on the game, introducing the concept of "Braindances," which are "digital recordings of a person’s experience." Here's word on the new cinematic trailer:

“The teaser shows how the Psycho Squad might acquire a new member. The Psycho Squad specializes in combating “psychos” – individuals who overuse implants and substances that boost or otherwise alter the human body. There comes a point when they overdose on these innovations, and their bodies start to rebel against their biological body parts as well as against all things organic around them. Simply put, they start killing people, who they now derisively call 'meatbags.'

Continue here to read the full story.

Harpoon - Ultimate Edition Patch

Matrix Games announces a new version 3.11.1 update is now available for Harpoon - Ultimate Edition, the naval strategy game. Word is: "This comprehensive update adds in an updated Database, perfect for scenario creators and editors to tailor their scenarios to their choosing with more variety. The update also fixes and improves the Boarding and Takeover feature for those daring players that bring the fight to their enemies in the water just that much closer! Other additions include a new victory condition that requires the possession of certain units, which works similar to the Protect Unit victory condition." The patch can be found on this downloads page.

Op Ed

Gamasutra - How retail figures may point to a coming disruption.
These new developers and publishers can make a living, even thrive, selling games at $1 or $2 per unit on platforms like iOS and Android. They are inheriting those consumers who no longer buy traditional game systems and physical game software, reeling them in with inexpensive or even free-to-play software with in-app purchases. These games simply cannot deliver the experience that Call of Duty can on a console, but they don't have to. They just have to be good enough and priced low enough for consumers to buy them.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Capcom Vancouver's Zombieless Game Plans

The Capcom Vancouver Website has a very general tease for "Capcom’s next big game." The studio formerly known as Blue Castle Games participated in development of Dead Rising 2, but the one clue about the new game us that it will not actually contain zombies. There are no further details, as they look to enlist more developers, saying: "We’re just getting started with the game so this is a great chance to really get your hands deep into the design." Thanks Eurogamer.

Path of Exile Open Beta This Month

Grinding Gear Games announces that open beta testing of Path of Exile begins on January 23rd, offering the chance to sample this upcoming action/RPG. "We're excited to have reached the point where we can finally throw open the doors and invite everyone in," said Chris Wilson, producer for Grinding Gear Games. "We have one of the best and most supportive communities on the Internet, and their input has been invaluable in making Path of Exile what it is. We hope they'll be delighted with all the new content." The open beta will introduce content from Act 3, and there will be no character wipes after it begins. Here's more on the game:

Path of Exile is a PC online action role-playing game set in a dark fantasy world. Featuring ethical microtransactions, the game is free-to-play, but not pay-to-win. Playing as one of six character classes, players find themselves banished for their past misdeeds to the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. There, they will encounter hundreds of species of opponents laden with loot and mysterious artifacts as they explore the abandoned continent.

Key features of Path of Exile:

Continue here to read the full story.

Borderlands 2 Patched

Steam News announces the availability of a new automatic update for Borderlands 2, updating Gearbox Software's first-person shooter sequel to version 1.3.1. Here are the patch notes:

  • Added support for text input using the gamepad for Steam's Big Picture mode.
  • Fixed a bug causing players to sometimes get stuck in the "Whoops" mission of the Captain Scarlett DLC.
  • Deathtrap can no longer restore an enemy's shields, even though it was hilarious.
  • Fixed a bug that caused off-hand weapons to sometimes deal improper damage while Gunzerking.
  • Addressed an issue where shotguns did not receive full damage boosts from skills and gear.

Elite: Dangerous Interview

An interview on PCGamesN hears from (David) Braben of Frontier (Developments) about Elite: Dangerous, the recently Kickstarted space simulation remake (thanks Polygon). This includes some details about the game, including a Sagan-esque billions and billions of stars:

The game will take place in a procedurally generated Milky Way hosting over 100 billion stars (including our own, and by extension, the planet Earth), each with anything up to one hundred bodies in them. A "truly giant galaxy of vast numbers" as Braben puts it.

Some other info-nugs the developer was happy to divulge: the game will begin some 50 years after Frontier: First Encounters, around the year 3300. And Thargoids, Elite's insectoid, warlike alien race, will definitely make their return (though in what capacity, Braben wouldn't reveal). In case you've forgotten what those bastards look like, here's one. If you're not legitimately terrified, congratulations, you are under the age of 30.

On a related note, Gamasutra offers a video from GDC 2011 where Braben discusses the development of the original Elite.

Aliens: Colonial Marines Trailer

The SEGA Blog now offers a new trailer of the alien hive from Aliens: Colonial Marines, showing how this environment is realized in the game, contrasting their concept art with the finished level. Word is: "The Alien Hive is a dark, imposing place of fear you won’t soon forget. Bring your friends and enter the hive in Aliens: Colonial Marines on February 12, 2013." Continue here to read the full story.

Oculus Rift Impressions

PCWorld and PCMag.com offer hands-on impressions of the Oculus Rift VR headset based on checking it out at CES 2013. Though Valve's Michael Abrash recently discussed technical hurdles standing in the way of making the gameplay part of virtual reality a reality, each site raves about the quality of the experience so far. Here's a quote from PC Magazine:

After the 3D effect of the Oculus Rift, the head tracking provided the most sense of immersion. I didn't just see objects with depth, I saw them as if I was looking at them with my own eyes. The Oculus Rift tracked every movement of my head as I looked around, tilting and shifting the picture appropriately. I found myself watching a snowflake fall from the sky and moving my head to follow it. I looked from high above my head down to the ground as the snowflake fell. I couldn't see my feet or any other part of my body, but, again, this is a software issue. The effect was still incredible.

The Citadel demo was the most detailed, but it wasn't interactive. That's why Oculus VR prepared another demo that put me in the action. I played a modified version of Unreal Tournament 3 that incorporated the Oculus Rift's head-tracking into the gameplay. The effect was incredibly immersive, making me aim with both my thumbs and my head to get bots in my non-existent sights. There were no displays in the game, which meant no reticle or health information. Again, this was just a proof of concept demo, and while I learned to aim with my head quickly, real games for the Oculus Rift will have to balance aiming and head-tracking and incorporate a reticle in the display.

PC Gaming Alliance Still Exists

The PC Gaming Alliance announces that HAWKEN publisher Meteor Entertainment is the newest member of this industry trade group. This also serves as a reminder that the group is still in existence, as the public is not privy to much information about its day-to-day activities. Update: Snarkiness aside, a True PC Gaming podcast from last month speaks with Intel's Matt Ployhar, the PC Gaming Alliance president. Word is: "Matt talks about piracy, EULA and the misconception of PC gaming cost."

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue



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