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Thursday, Jan 17, 2013

  

Ships Ahoy - Ghost Recon Future Soldier Raven Strike DLC

The Raven Strike DLC is now available for Ghost Recon Future Soldier, offering some throwback gameplay in the shooter sequel. The pack is available on the Ubisoft Online Store and other digital distributors. Here's word on what it offers:

The second downloadable content: Raven Strike DLC Pack is a throwback to traditional Ghost Recon gameplay. It features larger maps, complex missions and an increased level of difficulty. There are three campaign missions and a new Guerilla Mode map, each playable with up to four players.

Magicka Free Weekend, DLC, Sale

Steam News announces a free weekend is now underway for Magicka, coinciding with a sale on the game and the release of a new free DLC pack. Also, Paradox sends word that the game has now sold over 1.8 million units since its launch a year ago. Here' word on the free weekend and DLC:

Play Magicka for FREE starting now through Sunday at 1PM Pacific Time. You can also pickup Magicka at 75% off the regular price!

There's even more free action with the new DLC Free Jólnir's Workshop, A “chilling” new challenge with 20 waves of blizzards and beasts. Help Jólnir reclaim his workshop from all new creatures while battling the harsh weather at the same time.

More on CD Projekt RED's Upcoming Announcement

This trailer from CD Projekt RED features pen-and-paper RPG creator Mike Poundsmith explaining the underpinnings of the RPG system in Cyberpunk 2077, the upcoming computer RPG. There's also an extensive feature here on the making of the recent teaser trailer for the game. Speaking of which, we have more from CD Projekt RED studio head Adam Badowski on the hidden tease for a February 5th announcement, which many think will be related to The Witcher series:

Many gaming fans noticed the hidden message in one frame of the teaser trailer. “As you may know, Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t the only title we are working on. Those of you who watched the teaser trailer carefully know that something big is coming on the 5th of February. Everything will be clearer on that day. Right now I can only say that, for the first time in the history of our studio, it will be a fully open-world game (just like Cyberpunk will be). We also remember our games’ trademark engrossing and non-linear storytelling. In the studio, the strong bond of these two elements - an open world and a captivating tale - is what everyone is trying to achieve. Both Cyberpunk 2077 and the second game draw upon these two pillars to bring our vision of a perfect RPG to life,” comments Badowski

Legend of Grimrock Hints

The Legend of Grimrock Website has a recap from Almost Human on 2012 and a look ahead to what this year holds for them and their dungeon crawler (thanks Joao). This includes a hint about what's next, offering a couple of screenshots that look like DLC or an expansion. Word is: "We thought we could share with you a glimpse of some new exiting things we’ve been working on. But beware, this is only the tip of the iceberg."

TF2 Characters Get Racy

SEGA announces the upcoming release of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will include Team Fortress 2 among its collection of all stars:

SEGA® of America Inc. and SEGA® Europe are excited to confirm Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed™ will indeed feature characters from acclaimed developer Valve allowing players to race for first place as the Pyro, Heavy and Spy from Team Fortress 2. Available for PC digital download on January 31, 2013 Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed™ will also feature two other new and exclusive characters all of whom are available to play as from the start of the game.

Joining Team Fortress in the PC version of the game is the legendary Shogun of the Total War™ series from Creative Assembly™ and the enigmatic Manager Man from Sports Interactive™’s successful Football Manager™ series.

The Showdown Effect Trailer, Tagline Generator

Paradox has launched a new official website for The Showdown Effect, featuring a Tagline Randomizer that will make your day. Following that theme, they also offer a new movie trailer trailer from the upcoming action platformer from Arrowhead Game Studios. Those interested in participating in their open beta testing can sign up here.

Evening Q&As

On Sale

  • Anno 2070 on Steam. Save 60%.
  • Governor of Poker 2 - Premium Edition on Steam. Save 75%.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Legal Briefs

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: My dog can Skype! (Original). Thanks nin. Terriers are so awesome.

Jay Wilson Leaving Diablo III

The Diablo III Forums have an announcement from Jay Wilson that he is transitioning away from Diablo III to a different project within Blizzard (thanks IncGamers). He expresses pride in the project he's spent seven years on, though he has often served as a lightning rod for fan reactions to the game and how its design departed from previous installments in the action/RPG series. Here's a bit on what this means for the future:

The first thing I want to assure you all is that this will not negatively impact our ongoing support of Diablo III. The game was not made by one person, far from it, and the team that poured their passion and considerable talent into it isn't going anywhere. We have lots of things planned for the future, and those plans will carry forward as normal. I also won't be abandoning the team, and will remain available to them during the transition period while we determine who will take over duties as game director.

To that point, you shouldn't be surprised if you see a job posting for a game director on Diablo III, as we want to make sure we explore every opportunity to find the best possible leadership for the project. We're looking forward to finding this person and hearing what kind of fresh ideas they can bring to the table.

I'm proud of Diablo III, and despite our differences at times I will miss the community that has formed around it. I feel I have made many mistakes in managing that relationship, but my intent was always to provide a great gaming experience, and be as open and receptive as possible, while still sticking true to the vision the Diablo team has for the game.

I know some of you feel we fell short of our promise to release the game "when it's ready." While we're not perfect, we try to make the best decisions we can with the information and knowledge we have at the time. That doesn't mean we always make the right decisions, but if we made a mistake then I feel we've made an exceptional effort to correct it.

Steam Strategy Guides Launch

Valve announces the launch of Steam Guides, offering player created strategy aides:

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the launch of Steam Guides, a new capability of the platform that allows players to create and/or find guides for their favorite games or Software titles on Steam.

Steam Guides lets players create and share guides, walkthroughs, and tips for their favorite games or software to help others who might be stuck or who simply want to learn more about the game. Players may easily create guides through Steam, where they may upload images, add screenshots, and embed YouTube videos. Guides are then quickly accessible through Steam, via the Steam Community and in-game via the Steam Overlay.

Warface Closed Beta Underway

Trion Worlds announces closed beta testing of Warface is underway, preparing the way for the release of Crytek's free-to-play shooter this spring. Thos interested in participating are urged to sign up on the Warface Website. Here are some details:

Trion Worlds, the leading publisher and developer of premium games for the connected era, today kicks off the closed beta for Warface, the upcoming free-to-play shooter, in cooperation with renowned developer and co-publisher Crytek GmbH (Crytek). Warface will be accessed through GFACE®, Crytek’s social entertainment platform that is designed to enable its users to play games together live and to discover and share entertainment content with friends. The Warface beta servers are scheduled to be open from January 17 at 9:00am PST / 5pm GMT until the official Warface launch in Spring 2013.

“Trion Worlds and Crytek have been working closely to bring Warface to Western players looking for a first-person shooter with striking graphical detail and unsurpassed gameplay – for free,” said Dirk Metzger, General Manager Publishing at Crytek. “We look forward to making the experience even more engaging as waves of pre-registered players are invited to join the Closed Beta and play their part in shaping Warface ahead of its final launch.” Players looking for fast-paced, exhilarating multiplayer and co-op gameplay, from one of the world’s most renowned first-person shooter studios, who have not yet registered can still do so at: www.warface.com.

The game casts players as part of Warface, a select unit of elite warriors that have banded together to fight Blackwood – the ruling brute-force government. Featuring intense first-person shooter co-op and competitive multiplayer gameplay, with regularly added new content, Warface gives players plenty of level-up opportunities and various upgrades, keeping you on your toes and forcing you to switch up your combat strategies in the heat of battle.

Learn more about Warface at www.warface.com

Trials Evolution: Gold Edition in March

Ubisoft announces a March 21st release date for Trials Evolution: Gold Edition, the upcoming Windows edition of RedLynx's signature racing franchise. This comes with word that the franchise has sold more than four million copies on consoles to date. Here's word on what to expect from the PC version:

Trials Evolution: Gold Edition will include the complete, critically acclaimed game Trials Evolution, specially enhanced for PC, plus all of the Trials HD tracks, recreated using Trials Evolution's graphics and physics engine. All the features that are the foundation of the unique Trials experience will be included in the game:

  • Global Leader Boards
  • Local and Online 4-Player Multiplayer
  • Robust and Powerful Track Editor
  • Indoor and Outdoor environments
  • Bike and Rider customizations
  • More than 129 Tracks

Democracy 3 Announced

Positech Games announces Democracy 3, a new upcoming installment in their political strategy series. The game is to ship sometime this year, so we can expect more details soon. In the meantime, there's an accompanying post on Cliffski's Blog discussing the series, and here is what we know about this for now:

Positech Games is today announcing that their next game will be a sequel to their popular and unique political strategy game Democracy 2. In a sudden flash of revolutionary inspiration, the new game will be called... Democracy 3.

A lot has changed in the world of politics since Positech first suffered the mental anguish of programming Democracy 2. We have had a global credit crunch and financial crisis, the occupy movement, the Arab spring, and mobile phones have got slightly smaller, then larger again.

Democracy 3 will be a massively improved and updated version of the game that will reflect changes in both gaming tastes and the world of politics. Despite sharing the basic GUI design of earlier games in the series, Democracy 3 is being built on a complete ground-up re-engineering of the custom-built neural network engine used to power the complex simulation beneath the hood of the game. Improvements will be equal parts graphical and simulation based, with greater freedom to use both private/free market solutions to problems as well as more accurate simulation of financial markets, voter cynicism and much more.

The ship date for the game is currently set as '2013'. (We would make a more precise prediction but it would be about as reliable as a government budget forecast).

You will be pleased to know that developer cliff harris finally decided not to change his name to 'fiscal cliff' as a PR stunt. More details to come over the next few months and also at www.cliffski.com. In the meantime, political animals can feast upon the political goodness of Democracy 2 at www.positech.co.uk/democracy2 or grab the existing game from steam at http://store.steampowered.com/app/218040/

No Tomb Raider Prelaunch Demo

Karl Stewart tweets the announcement that the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot will not include a prerelease demo, because they "don't want to spoil the story" (or maybe they don't want to take any more flack over it). Word is: "For all those @tombraider fans asking. There are no plans to release a demo of the game pre-launch. We don't want to spoil the story........" Thanks GamesRadar.

Halo 2 PC Server Shutdown Next Month

The Halo Bulletin has a lengthy post on the author's gaffe in not recognizing a YouTube star, details on season 2 of Spartan Ops, and word on next week's matchmaking playlist update (thanks Eurogamer). Buried way at the bottom is the announcement that February 15th will see the closure of multiplayer servers for the PC edition of Halo 2 (forever to be known as the game that failed to force you to upgrade to Vista). If you are impacted by this, then you and 19 other players are not at fault here:

To switch gears ever so slightly, we’re sad to report that the service end-date for Halo 2 PC Multiplayer will be February 15, 2013. We’ve been monitoring the population for months, and it’s been peaking consistently at approximately 20 players or less. Those that own this game can continue to enjoy Multiplayer over LAN after that date; however our network services will be turned off at that time. We love you, Halo 2 PC, and you will live forever in our hearts.

Disney Infinity Details, Including Pricing

There's more on Disney's newly unveiled Disney Infinity platform on Joystiq, including an apparent confirmation that Windows PCs are one of the project's target platforms. They have further details on how this will work, including first word on the physical toys which are part of all of this, as well as word on pricing, which is not modest: "After the starter pack with three figures, priced at $74.99, Play Sets will be available for $34.99, with Power Discs available in a pack starting at $4.99. It's not hard to imagine Disney leveraging Infinity on its other ventures as well: Go see Monsters University, get a special exclusive Power Disc. Go visit Disneyland, pick yourself up an exclusive figure. Disney's reps wouldn't confirm any plans like that, but they did smile and nod when asked." Thanks nin.

Free DLC with Dishonored Purchase

The Bethesda Blog announces that those who purchase Dishonored at a GameStop retail location will be rewarded for their retro shopping habits with a free copy of the Dunwall City Trials DLC for Arkane's stealth/assassination game: "Haven’t picked up Dishonored yet? Between now and January 27th, GameStop is giving away Dishonored’s first DLC, Dunwall City Trials, as well as the official game guide from Brady Games, to anyone that purchases Dishonored on PC, PlayStation 3, or Xbox 360."

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

Everyone was getting into the car this morning to take MrsBlue to the train when our neighbor from across the street emerged to head off to work. This is irresistible to Hudson the wonder dog, so our friendly pooch ran over to greet her, leading to an extended conversation/disengagement amid all sorts of neighborly pleasantries. It was only after I got back home that I realized that I was wearing pajama pants, which are decorated with flames and red chili peppers. I guess I can hope it was dark enough that she didn't notice, but I guess it's hard to imagine that she doesn't think I'm a little eccentric already.

Eccentric Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: King's Game 2.
Links: Doomsday Clock Holds at 5 'Til Midnight. Thanks Cutter and Alan Moore.
Science: First Known 'Social Chromosome' Found. Thanks Slashdot.
Possible New Species of Spider Builds Decoys of Itself.
Images: Random BMG photos.
Media: Parrot Singing In The Shower.
Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig presenting a Golden Globe.
Rally Driver Stops to Say Sorry.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Scientists Cartoon - Savage Chickens.
Twaggies Comic Strip.

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.



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