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Saturday, Jan 19, 2013

  

Chris Taylor on Wildman

A Kickstarter update for Wildman follows up on news of layoffs at developer Gas Powered Games with a video from Chris Taylor explaining the situation at his company. He tells us that without the cuts, the company would have to immediately shut down if the Kickstarter failed, unable to fulfill any of its remaining obligations. Showing some emotion he says he was unwilling to gamble with people's livelihoods in this economy as the reason he mad that "tough decision." Chris then share another "tough decision," asking if he should continue the Kickstarter to see if the response to it improves so he can hire back the staff that wants to return, or shut it down and "call it done." They will tabulate votes from the comments to judge whether the campaign should continue.

Rob Pardo on Jay Wilson and Diablo III

Blizzard CEO Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo has added his thoughts to the forum post from Jay Wilson about leaving the Diablo III team. Rob expresses disappointment at some responses to this, expresses pride in the action/RPG sequel, restates Blizzard's commitment to refining Diablo III "until it is the best game in the franchise," and takes full responsibility for who the game turned out:

This thread saddens me greatly. I know that the Battle.net forums have earned a reputation for rough justice, but I do not believe justice is being served by how people are speaking about Jay’s departure from Diablo III.

I am very proud of the Diablo franchise and what the team was able to accomplish with Diablo III. As a gamer I have enjoyed the game and played for many, many nights with friends and family. I’m not, however, going to use that as an excuse. The Diablo community deserves an even better game from Blizzard and we are committed to improving it. We have a talented team in place and have no intention of stopping work on Diablo III until it is the best game in the franchise.

I’m the only person in this thread who has actually worked with Jay. I hired Jay to head up the Diablo project and had the pleasure of getting to work with him, both in building the team and designing the game. He has great design instincts and has added so much to the franchise with his feel for visceral combat, boss battles, and an unparalleled knack for making it fun to smash bad guys. I’ve worked with many, many designers at Blizzard and Jay is one of the best. He has a great career at Blizzard ahead of him and I guarantee that you will enjoy Jay’s game designs in future Blizzard games.

If you love Diablo as much as we do, then please continue to let us know how you feel we can improve the game. If you still feel the need to dish out blame, then I would prefer you direct it at me. I was the executive producer on the project; I hired Jay and I gave him advice and direction throughout the development process. I was ultimately responsible for the game we released and take full responsibility for the quality of the result.

Windows Grand Theft Auto V Listed

There's a listing on Amazon.fr for a Windows edition of GTA V, the next installment in the open-world action series. It is not clear if this is an error, or just a premature revelation of an actual PC edition of the game, which remains unconfirmed. Thanks VG247.

Windows Antichamber Opens This Month

The antechamber to Antichamber will open later this month, as Joystiq reveals a January 31st release date for the Windows edition of this indie puzzle game. "After several years of obsessively watching people play and trying to get inside their minds, refining and then watching some more, this is what I've discovered," says developer Alexander Bruce. "And it's finally time to share that with the world." Thanks nin.

Saturday Previews

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Friday, Jan 18, 2013

SimCity Beta This Month

The SimCity Website is accepting registrations to test the upcoming reboot of the urban planning series. Here's word on the beta, which will run from January 25-28:

The day that Mayors have been clamoring for is almost here - Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) today announced that the SimCity™ beta will run from January 25 – January 28. Those who previously signed up are already in consideration for access to the beta, limited slots are still available for late applicants. Eager fans who want to get an advance look at SimCity have a limited time to sign up at www.simcity.com/beta before the application process ends at 2am, GMT on January 21. Developed by Maxis, SimCity will be available March 8 and is available for pre-order right now.

“It is always an exciting moment to share a game that is still in development with its biggest fans prior to launch,” said Lucy Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA’s Maxis Label. “This beta will help the team improve the live service aspects of SimCity to ensure a smooth and user-friendly experience at launch. I want to thank everyone for signing up - we are excited to share one of our most beloved franchises with our fans.”

Running from 5pm GMT on January 25 until 8am GMT on January 28, the SimCity beta offers fans the chance to play a one hour slice of the game** and to deliver feedback that will help shape the final product. As a live service, SimCity will continue to provide updates that evolve the experience, delivering a dynamic platform that grows and expands over time.

Skyrim Dragonborn Next Month

The Bethesda Blog has word that the Windows and PlayStation 3 editions of the Dragonborn DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be released next month. The PC edition is expected on February 5th and the PS3 edition does not have an exact date, but they say all three DLC packs should be out for Sony's system by the end of February.

Dungeonland This Month

Paradox Announces a one week setback to Dungeonland, saying the game will get some last-minute polish before it is released on January 29th:

Today we're announcing that upcoming hack ‘n’ slash title, Dungeonland, will have its launch postponed by one week. Originally slated for release on January 22, the irreverent co-op game will be available on leading distribution channels come January 29.

As we continue our quest to ensure game experiences on day one are as pleasant as possible, we're making a few last minute updates before releasing the game to the masses. We work around the clock for our devoted community, and we appreciate everyone’s patience here as we get things finalized.

Gas Powered Games Layoffs

Gas Powered Games has laid of some staff shortly after the launch of their Wildman Kickstarter seeking $1.1 million for a new action/RPG. This is reported by Kotaku, who confirmed that the company has cut some staff with honcho Chris Taylor after getting wind of them through the grapevine. Taylor did not confirm the extent of the layoffs, however, so there are dramatic elements to the Kotaku report which remain speculative, as one source told them these were due to the Kickstarter underperforming, while other sources have told them that almost everyone who worked for the company was let go. There's a follow up to this on Gamasutra. "The studio is still operating, but we had to slim WAY down to conserve cash reserves," Chris Taylor confirmed for them, confirming some earlier comments that they are all in on Wildman: "We spent all the last dough that we've had, and the last several months working on it. So we're betting the company on it."

Might & Magic Heroes VI Shades of Darkness Preorder Bonuses

Ubisoft reveals the bonuses for those who preorder Might & Magic Heroes VI Shades of Darkness, the upcoming standalone expansion for Might & Magic Heroes VI, their strategy sequel. Those who preorder via the Uplay shop will receive a Master of all Darkness pack containing:

The Angel of Death pack – an exclusive hero and his weapon:

  • The exclusive hero Belketh
  • His unique weapon: the Dragonbone staff

The Dynasty Armory pack – two dynasty weapons:

  • the Dragon Flametongue
  • the Perfect Silksword

An Exclusive Dynasty Weapon:

  • The Staff of Sar Aggreth

World of Warcraft PTR Updated

Blizzard announces changes to the upcoming version 5.2 patch for World of Warcraft on the Public Test Realm for the MMORPG. The notes now include additions and deletions dated yesterday reflecting the most current state of the update. The lastest update about this patch suggests it's still weeks from going live.

Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space Patch

The Infinite Space Website has a new patch to update Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space to version 1.30. Here's word on what this changes in Digital Eel's spacey sequel: "The update swaps Eelmix for OpenAL, fixes a potential crash bug involving alien fleets without homeworlds (Tchorak, Ravian) and tweaks/brightens up the ship graphics a little to make them more visible."

On Sale

GameSpot notes that THQ games are no longer available for preorder on GameStop PC Downloads due to "uncertainty of delivery."

Evening Q&As

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Wildman Footage

The Kickstarter page for Wildman offers a second update about Gas Powered Games' proposed evolutionary action/RPG. They respond to requests to see the game in action with Video Update #1 showing prototype gameplay and featuring Chris Taylor overcoming his camera shyness to answer further inquiries about their plans. Oddly the in-game footage is shot second-hand off a monitor, allowing us to pretend this is leaked shakycam footage of an E3 presentation or something illicit like that. Continue here to read the full story.

Vendetta Online Kickstarter

This Kickstarter seeks funding for an iPad edition of Vendetta Online, Guild Software's multiplatform space combat MMORPG. In addition to this new tablet version, they outline other goals that will impact the game in its entirety: "All players and platforms share the same universe within Vendetta Online, so iOS users will rub elbows with those on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and WinRT. Beyond iPad support, the Kickstarter could also help fund the next major expansion of the title's gameplay, including enhanced player-owned capital ships and territorial conquest, and is scheduled for completion near the end of 2013."

New AMD/ATI Reference Drivers

The AMD Support Hub now offers new version 13.1 WHQL-certified reference drivers for AMD/ATI graphics cards. These offer new a 3D settings and profile management user interface, all the performance improvements and bug fixes introduced in the Catalyst 12.11 beta 11 along with Ubuntu 12.10 production support. They also offer a new standalone un-installation utility that will remove all traces of an existing Catalyst installation, since graphics card drivers can be difficult about things like that. All the downloads are neatly grouped on this page.

Codemasters Faces Layoffs

Codemasters is undergoing a consultancy that could result in layoffs, reports GamesIndustry International, saying that cuts would center on the company's digital and publishing efforts. They say a "strong source" tells them about 80 out of 500 positions may be cut, mostly from Codemasters' Southam studio responsible for racing games. They also have an official comment: "As the Company realigns its operations to focus on areas of increased strategic importance and decrease resources in areas that are not delivering value for the business, the Company has proposed the restructure of certain aspects within its digital development and publishing units in line with future product strategy," reads the official statement. "As a result of the proposed restructure, the Company has therefore entered into a period of collective consultation with the affected employees. The restructure is not company-wide and is not anticipated to impact the development of its core console and PC titles such as GRID 2 or its annual FORMULA ONE title."

WoW PvP Gear Preview

Blizzard unveils new details on changes coming "in the relatively near future" to PvP gear in World of Warcraft, their MMORPG. They outline the reasoning for changing how gear is handled for PvP beginning with the upcoming version 5.2 patch and give an idea of the changes this will involve. All this is explained by the general goals of "making PvP more accessible and less punishing, gearing more consistent and flexible, and flattening the power curve out over the course of a season."

Akaneiro: Demon Hunters Beta Extended

Open beta testing of Akaneiro: Demon Hunters will be extended through January 22nd, reports VG247, so there is more time to act for those interested in this upcoming/RPG from American McGee's Spicy Horse Studios. To sign up for the beta, head over to this page.

New Evochron Mercenary

This downloads page now offers an updated version 2.288 of Evochron Mercenary, the space combat and exploration game from indie developer StarWraith 3D games. Here are the changes in the new version, which is also available as a trial version: Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

Huffington Post - Video Games Hold No Answers.
If there was any truly meaningful link between homicide and media exposure from any source, then by now one would have seen a whole body of supportive forensic research being used in our courts. If any of this research being trotted out now held even a glimmer of hope for a person accused of murder, attorneys all over the country would be mounting vigorous defenses based upon this connection -- but we haven't. And the reason we haven't is that the connection between the psychological and behavioral dynamics of youth homicide and violent video games and violent movies is simply not there.

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

  • The EU edition of DragonNest begins closed beta testing on February 27th…
  • Pirate-themed, browser-based MMOG Kartuga is also now accepting beta signups…

Out of the Blue

Happy Internet Freedom Day. Thanks GamePolitics. And thanks Internet.

Well, with three more games left in the NFL season I have no chance of getting even in the playoffs. A perfect run from here on out would just even me up for a 1-3 week last week, but what can you do? Yes, pick better, I know. Speaking of picking better, almost everyone else faired better than I. Here are last week's results: Verno, Topevoli, sauron, and Creston 3-1; dj LiTh, Jivaro, Cutter, and Batman 2-2; and mag was also 1-3.

This week: Patriots and 49ers.

Free Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Westerado.
Dr. Vile: The Greater Good.
Stories: Rumors Of "Gremlins" Being Rebooted.
Clash guitarist [sic] Joe Strummer honored with plaza in Spain. Thanks Walter Ego.
Te'o mentioned 'girlfriend' twice recently.
Science: Tiny pill joins the battle of the bushfires. Thanks Slashdot.
Armstrong admits doping- 'I'm a flawed character'.
Media: How The Hobbit Should Have Ended.
Portal's "Still Alive", Performed By Guild Wars 2.
Skyrim Moving Company.



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