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Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013

  

Splinter Cell: Blacklist in August

A new trailer on IGN offers live action footage (of U.S. presidents, no less), gameplay, and cinematics from Splinter Cell: Blacklist. This concludes with an official release date for the next installment in the stealth/action series, saying it is due for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on August 20, 2013, and touting bonuses for preordering. They also have some updated box art for the game.

Max Payne 3 DLC Next Week

Rockstar Games announces they will release Deathmatch Made in Heaven, on January 22nd for the Windows and console editions of Max Payne 3, the final DLC for the third-person shooter sequel:

On January 22nd, we’ll be bringing you the final Max Payne 3 DLC pack for all platforms and it’s an action-packed doozy stuffed with new co-op and competitive modes, plus other awesome treats for Max Payne 3 Multiplayer.

Stay tuned in the coming days as we’ll be revealing what’s in the Deathmatch Made in Heaven Pack in greater detail – but as you can see in the pack’s official artwork above, Max and Passos will no doubt have their hands full…

The Deathmatch Made in Heaven Pack will be available in all territories on January 22nd for 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE and $9.99 on PC and PSN in North America (this pack will be available for PS3 players in Europe on January 30th). Of course, Rockstar Pass owners will receive this content at no additional charge.

Wargame: European Escalation for OS X

Steam News announces the Mac OS X edition of Wargame: European Escalation is now available:

Wargame: European Escalation is now available on the Mac!

Wargame: European Escalation is an intense and spectacular Real Time Strategy game, where realism and strategy are brought to the front lines. With a phenomenal range of vehicles and units (over 350 different models), build your army and enter a huge military campaign across Europe of the 80's, as the Cold War is about to become World War 3.

Drox Operative Beta Patches

New beta patches for Drox Operative are now available on this page to update the Windows and OS X editions of Soldak Entertainment's action/RPG to beta version 1.001. Word is: "This patch makes selling components to a race improve their economy, improves component spawning, makes thrust boosts much better, and fixes a bunch of minor issues." This page has a detailed change list.

On Sale

Op Ed

Ars Technica - Did President Obama just order the government to study video game violence?
Sure, it's a bit galling that video games continue to be a political football that seems to be inextricably linked to violent rampages in our national discourse. And the thought of wasting any tax dollars on what is a thoroughly settled scientific question shows just how broken the political process can be. But let's keep things in perspective. Video game violence is an extremely small part of an extremely wide-ranging proposal by the White House to deal with gun violence on multiple fronts.

Cracked.com - The Truth About Guns and Video Games.
All right then, I guess we as gamers have only one recourse: We stop denying our role in the larger problem of gun violence altogether. Nobody's buying it anyway. You can spout studies and statistics all you want, and your debate partner will turn around and see a 10-year-old in his living room mowing down a village full of Arabs with a technically accurate machine gun, proudly rattling off the virtues of its fire rate and reload times. Gamers look ridiculous when we flail about, trying to deny that a fourth grader who understands the benefits of burst fire and knows to hold his breath while sniping is a bit disconcerting. Just like movie-goers look ridiculous if they say James Bond movies portray a pistol as anything other than an excellent solution to the problem of people who are in James Bond's fucking way. Just like music fans look ridiculous when they insist that all the gang violence glorified in giant, flashy colors in every other rap video has no effect on the children watching them.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Gone Gold - Aliens: Colonial Marines

The Gearbox Software Community Website has the news that Aliens: Colonial Marines is gold for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, saying the first-person shooter will launch for all three platforms on February 12th. Here's the announcement:

Exciting news -- Aliens: Colonial Marines has gone gold on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360!

When we first announced the release date for Aliens: Colonial Marines back in May 2012, Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford noted that the development had progressed to the point where we could see the end and be very confident in both our vision for the game as well as our launch date.

Today, we’re proud to announce that we hit every one of those targets, with the game's gold status indicating that all parties have examined the release candidate and signed off on the code as final and suitable for manufacturing, after which the game will be shipped to retail and propped to digital networks in time for launch on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 come February 12, 2013!

Now's the time to make sure you've got your pre-order locked in as participating retailers are offering in-game bonus content -- check with your local retailers and visit this page for more details.

Stay frosty, the next chapter in the Aliens story is almost here. Will you be able to fight the fear?

Fallout TV Series?

The United States Patent & Trademark Office Database has a Service Mark application filed last week by Bethesda Softworks for "Fallout," with the following explanation: "Entertainment services in the nature of an on-going television program set in a post-nuclear apocalyptic world." This may explain the recent tease by the voice actor who plays Three Dog saying "There may be more of the Dog coming!" Or it may be something else. Or nothing. Thanks Ausir via The Vault.

Indie Royale Snow Storm Bundle

The Indie Royale Website now offers the Snow Storm Bundle, offering a collection of indie games to while away your snow days. As always, you can cheap out for the low minimum or opt to pay more, with lower payments raising the price for future customers, and higher payments driving the price downward. There is also a bonus chiptune album for those who pay more than USD $8.00. Here's the summary:

Looking for some fun indie games to keep you warm on a cold winter's night? Look no further than the Snow Storm Bundle from Indie Royale, offering hours of enjoyment even if you're snowed in! Featured in this action packed bundle are 6 great indie games, valued at over $55, including a challenging science fiction point-and-click adventure from Wadjet Eye & XII Games, Resonance; a RPG-heavy city builder from Tilted Mill, Hinterland; Naked Sky Entertainment's 3D mechanical platformer, RoboBlitz; a high-speed and addictive arcade game, StarDrone, and more!

World of Tanks Update Status

Wargaming announces the version 8.3 update for World of Tanks is now live in Europe and Southeast Asia, and that this update adding Chinese armor to the MMO shooter will come to North America on January 17th and to Korea four days after that. Here's word from the company formerly known as Wargaming.net: "The game's latest evolution adds 17 steel machines used by the Chinese People's Liberation Army in the mid-20th century warfare. The lower tiers of the new tech tree feature a hotchpot of various foreign designs, including the first Japanese-made tank in the game - the Type 97 Chi-Ha. Heavy Soviet influences are reflected in the top-tier tanks, which also include a number of original Chinese models, some of which never went into mass production."

Diablo III 1.07 on PTR

Blizzard announces that the upcoming version 1.07 patch for Diablo III is now live on the Public Test Realm for the action/RPG sequel. The post has full details on how interested players can log into the PTR and participate. This is accompanied by this post, which offers change notes for the patch, which are not considered final until the patch goes live on the main servers. The notes discuss how dueling will work, how Nephalem Valor will no longer expire between acts, a doubling in base pickup radius, the removal of the resurrection timer, the removal of player "flinching" hesitations, an increase in Monster Power XP and plan drop rates, and players will now always begin in town on restarting a game. There are also details on UI and quality of life changes, bug fixes, Wizard and Monk buffs, the new crafting system, and much more.

Civilization V One World Expansion Clues

The Steam Apps Database lists a couple of entries in the Steam database for One World, which is listed as an expansion for Civilization V. This suggests, but does not confirm the possibility of an upcoming add-on for the turn-based strategy sequel. GameSpy asked Firaxis/2K for comment and were told "we do not comment on rumors or speculation." Thanks PC Gamer/Joystiq.

DmC: Devil May Cry PC Differences

As noted on Capcom Unity the console editions of DmC: Devil May Cry are now available, offering this brawler based on the series. This is not completely well received, so those contemplating the PC edition that's due in a couple of week can look to IGN for a discussion of how the PC edition differs from the console versions, covering controls and visuals, offering comparison shots between low- and high-resolution graphics.

PC Black Ops Night on Friday

One Of Swords has word that Activision's Dan Amrich plans to slum with PC gamers this week with some Call of Duty: Black Ops II multiplayer action:

PC gamers, I hear you! Many have requested that I do a Black Ops II night on PC soon, so let’s make it sooner than soon — let’s make it actually this Friday, January 18, from 6pm PT to 8pm PT. My Steam ID is OneOfSwords (have you joined the group?) and I will look to clear some room on my friends list, as that is the easiest way to find me. That said, I will likely be hanging out in my usual Domination lobbies, maybe moving to Party games later in the night — so if you are not on my friends list, just try surfing a few lobbies. And if you haven’t read the PWS FAQ, it’s probably worth a skim. See you Friday!

World of Warcraft Hotfixes

Blizzard announces the latest hotfixes applied to World of Warcraft since the release of the version 5.1 patch for the MMORPG. This includes changes to creatures and quests along with a bug fix.

Op Ed

Forbes - Fun with Reductio ad Absurdum, the NRA and Video Games.
Is it because the media is a corruptible influence? Here’s a hint. It’s because we love real life guns so much as a society that violent shooter games are so popular. A society that is inherently fascinated with violence creates violent media, it’s not the other way around. And say what you will about this debate, but a kid playing a video game where he shoots a gun is safer than a kid who is shooting an actual gun, even just at inanimate objects. Compare a kid playing Call of Duty five hours a day to one who goes to the shooting range for the same duration. Which one might be better at hitting real world targets? Adam Lanza was a crack shot, and it’s more than a little bit likely it was from his time spent with his mom on the shooting range than it was from his hours spent playing Starcraft.

Morning Q&As

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

We had a surprise this morning, as we got hit by a snow storm overnight. I think it was a surprise at least, I don't actually pay that much attention to the weather. The good news for me was that MrsBlue needed to get such an early start that it was impractical for me to shovel us out in the pre-dawn darkness, so she took a taxi, allowing me to get to clearing our snow in a more leisurely manner.

Leisurely Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Squidy 2.
Stories: Calif. teacher with past in porn loses appeal.
Science: NASA exploring glider-based rocket launcher.
Coughs often last longer than patients expect.
Images: What did we tell you about kids and laptops?
Media: Inglewood Police Chase (Wait for it..).
How to squeeze inside a giant balloon - a tutorial? Handy.
Five second Study Party.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday

Disney Infinity Announced

Disney Interactive announces Disney Infinity, a game platform in development at Avalanche Software they call their "most ambitious gaming initiative" which will allow "players to both experience original adventures in some of their favorite Disney and Pixar worlds and to build their own worlds using the power of their imagination." This is set to roll out in June for consoles and a phased rollout will follow "across mobile and online devices throughout 2013." The Disney Infinity Website is already happily counting down the seconds, and will continue to do so over the next 136 days, and it also offers this trailer introducing the concept, and the game logos this concludes with do not include a PC logo, so this may not be among the online devices the game will support. "Disney Infinity introduces a new way to interact with the best of Disney on one game platform, both now and in the future," said John Pleasants, co-president, Disney Interactive. "With this innovative approach to gaming, Disney Infinity will bring to life new characters, stories and environments from The Walt Disney Company over time in a way that will delight fans and gamers alike." This project has inspired immediate comparisons to Activision's Skylander‘s franchise, and VG247 notes a Forbes article with a quote from Activison saying this has them flattered, but that they are "well positioned to continue leading the category."

Ships Ahoy - Assassin’s Creed III: The Battle Hardened Pack

The Ubisoft Online Store Online as well as places like GameStop PC Downloads and Steam now offer Assassin’s Creed III: The Battle Hardened Pack, a multiplayer expansion for Ubisoft's assassination sequel:

The Battle Hardened Pack extends the Assassin’s Creed® III multiplayer experience with three new playable characters and maps, plus awesome bonus items! Become the influential Governor, the resilient Highlander, or the fearsome Coyote Man. Journey through Charlestown, Fort St-Mathieu, and Saint Pierre as you stalk your enemies and fight to protect your team. Rally your troop, discover your power in numbers, and ignite the revolution!

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation Patched

Steam News announces the release of a new automatic patch for Painkiller: Hell & Damnation, The Farm 51's first-person shooter. The change notes are pretty extensive, outlining balance changes, bug fixes, level improvements, the UI, and multiplayer.

New Warzone 2100

The Warzone 2100 Website now has new versions 3.1.0 of Warzone 2100 for Windows, OS X, and Linux, the latest stable versions of this freeware real-time strategy game. Word is: "This release has been very long in coming, and brings along over 2 1/2 years worth of bug fixes and improvements." The downloads are mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

MechWarrior Online Double XP Weekend

Infinite Game Publishing and Piranha Games announce the release of a new Spider mech to MechWarrior Online, their free-to-play multiplayer mech shooter. This comes with word that this will be a double-XP weekend in the game:

Infinite Game Publishing and Piranha Games launched one of the fiercest and quickest Mechs into the InnerSphere today as the Spider Mech made its way into the MechWarrior Online store. Available now, Spider is one of the most maneuverable and agile of all Light Mechs with a whopping eight jumpjets and an unmatched turning radius. Spider pilots can create nightmares for pilots of heavier Mechs on the battlefield; this is the time to watch your back!

In addition to the Spider becoming available, an exciting 3-day in-game event is coming Friday, January 18 at 10 am Pacific – the first-ever MechWarrior Online Double XP event. Scheduled to run the duration of the weekend, MechWarrior pilots will hunker down at home in order to defend and conquer in the InnerSphere. The event concludes on Monday, January 21 at 10 am Pacific. To truly maximize XP earning potential, MechWarrior pilots can stack up other XP-boosting techniques such as their Founder benefits, Premium Time and Hero Mech XP-boosts to unlock powerful pilot enhancements quickly.

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Gary Busey Explains Hobbits. Thanks Ant.

Crusader Kings II Expansion, DLC, and Patch Released

Paradox Interactive announces the release of Crusader Kings II: The Republic, the third expansion for Crusader Kings II, the strategy/RPG sequel. In related notes, a new patch is now available to update Crusader Kings II to version 1.09 (this extensive post outlines what this does), and PC Gamer notes a Fredrik Wester tweet about Linux support in the series: "Dear Twitter followers, it seems I haven't told you that Crusader Kings 2 is available for Linux." In addition to The Republic expansion, two smaller DLC packs are also now available on most digital portals. Crusader Kings II: Songs of Prosperity contains three new songs, and Crusader Kings II: Mediterranean Portraits contains thousands of unique face combos for male and female characters. Here's word on The Republic:

Crusader Kings II: The Republic introduces the great merchant Republics of medieval Europe as playable entities for the first time. A fresh, new experience from playing as a feudal region in Crusader Kings II, players adopt the role as the head, or Patrician, of one of the five great merchant families in the Republic as they build trade posts and expand provincial empires while attempting to assert dominance over the other rival families, Republics and feudal lords.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Patched

The StarCraft II Website announces that a new version 1.5.4 patch is now automatically available for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard's real-time strategy sequel. This is moot at this very moment, as Battle.net is down for scheduled maintenance (perhaps the installation of this very patch), but in the meantime, players can read about changes the new version brings. Here are the patch 1.5.3 notes, and here's an overview: Continue here to read the full story.

The Witcher 3 Hint?

Thewitcher.com has an update on the REDkit beta, which is testing the upcoming mod tools for The Witcher 2. The update seems deliberately devoid of any new details, and seems to be an excuse to post the related image, which is reinforced by this reference: "Oh, and if you are wondering what’s that in that picture above – well, we’ll leave it for your imagination to answer. :)" The forum participants have quickly answered that this is Geralt's sword hilt, leading to speculation that this is related to the recently teased reveal coming on February 5th that many are assuming is related to The Witcher series of RPGs, possibly The Witcher 3. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Guild Wars 2 Sells 3 Million; Future Plans Outlined

GuildWars2.com offers word from ArenaNet's Colin Johanson about what the coming months hold for Guild Wars 2, their MMORPG sequel, accompanied by a video on the same topic. The post is pretty long, going into their philosophy in outlying how it will be realized this year, and giving detail on subjects like world events, rewards, WvW combat, and more. This comes along with word from ArenaNet on the game's retail success, as they announce Guild Wars 2 has sold over three million copies to date. Continue here to read the full story.

The Cave This Month

SEGA announces a January 23rd release date for the Windows edition of The Cave (as well as the Mac and Linux editions, thanks DrEvil) Double Fine's upcoming Ron Gilbert-designed adventure game. That is the same day to expect the Xbox LIVE Arcade edition, and the day after the game is released for PlayStation Network and the Wii U eShop. Word is: "Named GameInformer’s Best Adventure Game of E3 2012, The Cave is a new adventure game from Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion creator Ron Gilbert, and Double Fine Productions, the award-winning studio behind Psychonauts and Brütal Legend. Players can assemble their team of three from seven unlikely adventures, each with their own unique personalities and stories, and then descend into the mysterious depths of The Cave."

Steam Greenlight Adds 10 Games

The Steam Greenlight Blog announces the latest projects to be approved for sale on Steam, saying more than 60 titles have now been green lit by this program since it launched in August. Here's a full list of Steam Greenlight games, and here are the newly added ones:

  • Akaneiro: Demon Hunters
  • Asylum
  • DLC Quest
  • Eador. Masters of the Broken World
  • La-Mulana
  • Leisure Suit Larry
  • MaK
  • The Age of Decadence
  • Unepic
  • War For The Overworld

BioShock Infinite PC Details & Specs

Irrational Games has details about PC support in BioShock Infinite, their upcoming first-person shooter sequel. They discuss the ability to use the mouse and keyboard or one of three different setups for traitors using controllers. There are also details on graphics, including support for DirectX 11, noting that the game's "unadulterated, full-resolution textures" result in a three DVD installation, saying they "hope you will appreciate the jaw-dropping detail our amazing team of artists lavished on the game." This also reveals PC specifications, both minimum and recommended:

MINIMUM

  • OS: Windows Vista Service Pack 2 32-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 DUO 2.4 GHz / AMD Athlon X2 2.7 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Hard Drive: 20 GB free
  • Video Card: DirectX10 Compatible ATI Radeon HD 3870 / NVIDIA 8800 GT / Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
  • Video Card Memory: 512 MB
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

RECOMMENDED

  • OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1 64-bit
  • Processor: Quad Core Processor
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Hard Drive: 30 GB free
  • Video Card: DirectX11 Compatible, AMD Radeon HD 6950 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560
  • Video Card Memory: 1024 MB
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

Bohemia Interactive Devs Make Bail

Helpivanmartin.org has word that Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, the pair of Bohemia Interactive developers arrested in September in Myrina, Greece for Espionage, have been granted the bail they were previously denied, and are headed home to the Czech Republic (thanks VG247 via Dean Hall's Twitter). Here's word on what's going down from their translation of a Czech article:

As a result of repeated dealings, today the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras informed Czech PM Petr Nečas over the telephone that the two Czech arrested by Greek police because of supposed photography of military objects on the island of Lemnos have been released. Both can now return back to the Czech Republic. PM Petr Nečas expressed appreciation for the efforts of PM Antonis Samaras and thanked him,” said Petr Nečas’ spokesperson Michal Schuster on Tuesday.

Both men aged 28 and 33 years, who work for a video game-producing company Bohemia Interactive faced up to 20 years in prison if they were convicted.

The men supposedly rerecorded and photographed strategic military objects to be used in an upcoming military shooter.

After Bohemia Interactive denied that its employees were in Greece and illegally obtained photos as part of their work, the Czech President Václav Klaus also sided with them when he sent a letter to his Greek counterpart Karlos Papoulias with a request for their release.

Ships Ahoy - Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt

2K Games and Gearbox Software announce the release of Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, the new DLC for the Windows and console editions of Borderlands 2, the role-playing shooter sequel. This is included for season pass holders, or available as a separate purchase for other owners of the game. Here's word on what this adds:

Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt takes place in Aegrus, the uncharted territory deep in the swamps of Pandora and features new appearances by familiar friends like Sir Hammerlock and Claptrap. It also introduces some all-new characters, like Hyperion Scientist Professor Nakayama, who wants nothing more than to derail your hunting trip. With Borderlands 2’s cheeky adventurer as their guide, vault hunters will explore the all-new environments of The Sun Swamps while on memorable quests to collect irresistible new loot and fight devastating new bosses, such as the cave-dwelling beast Thermitage. All the while, up to four friends will cooperatively hunt down new enemies such as the spider-like Two-Legged Drifters, flying Slagged Spores and insane Vampire Witch Doctors – that unleash swarms of blood-thirsty bats. Vault hunters beware: this is sure to be the most dangerous Borderlands hunt yet!

Indie Jam Bundle #2

Bundle Stars has launched "Indie Jam," bundle #2, the latest entry in the increasingly crowded field of indie game charity bundles. This features ten games, including Trapped Dead, Unstoppable Gorg, Grotesque Tactics, and two titles which are yet to be revealed at 95% off the full price if purchased separately. A portion of the proceeds will go to SpecialEffect, "Helping people with disabilities to enjoy computer games." This trailer offers a look at the bundle.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron XP Boost

The High Moon Studios Blog has a short announcement saying the rate at which players gain experience in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron will be "indefinitely" doubled going forward (thanks Computer and Video Games). Word is: "Fall of Cybertron players can now accelerate their multiplayer experience, indefinitely. The XP rate has been set to 2X. This is the perfect opportunity for new players to join the elite ranks or for experienced players to level up new classes."

Majesco Layoffs

Majesco Entertainment has closed its Boston studio amid company-wide layoffs, reports Develop, noting the Zumba publisher's recent disappointing fourth quarter as a factor in the moves. They say severance pay and restructuring costs will run from $700,000 to $1 million, and that going forward the company will focus on mobile games developed by their internal Southern California studio and external developers.

American McGee Interview

An interview on Gaming Nexus talks with American McGee of Spicy Horse about Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, their action/RPG that's currently in open beta testing and the subject of a current Kickstarter Campaign. They focus on the Kickstart, discussing the attention it's bringing to the project in addition to funding, the reasons for a fundraiser for a completed game, and thoughts on the future of crowdsourcing.

Aliens: Colonial Marines Commercial

The SEGA Blog offers a first look at an upcoming television commercial for Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox's upcoming first-person shooter. I keep trying to watch, but after owning a DVR for years, I keep reflexively skipping to the end. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Q&As

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

How weird is it that I talked about my Bolognese sauce obsession on the same day the BBC posted an article on the cuisine of Bologna with the humorous title Where vegetarianism is an exotic illness? Bologna sounds like my kind of place.

(Gripe removed - I hate griping.)

Meaty Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Fractured.
Stories: Natalie Wood may have had bruises before drowning.
Science: Reshaping the brain- scientists reprogram neurons after birth.
The clouds are alive as microbes fly unfriendly skies.
Images: Password Change.
Media: R´ha. Thanks HARDOCP.
Arrested Development Season 4 Trailer (parody).
The Really Useful Guide To Alcohol - Rowan Atkinson.
The Funnies: Whomp! - The Forbidden Pants. Thanks JDreyer.



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