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Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013

  

Ubisoft Confirms THQ Montreal Acquisition

Confirming part of an earlier report, Ubisoft announces the acquisition of THQ Montreal along with the publishing rights to South Park: The Stick of Truth, seemingly in spite of the contention of South Park Digital Studios that the rights to the game are not transferrable. It is apparently not clear if this marks designer Patrice Desilets' return to Ubisoft after a a departure that lead to some litigation. Here's word:

Today, Ubisoft announced the acquisition of THQ Montreal as well as the publishing rights for the upcoming South Park: The Stick of Truth video game, being developed externally by Obsidian.

"This deal adds experienced developers to our internal creative teams at a key moment in the cycle of the video game industry," said Yannis Mallat, president of Ubisoft Montreal.

THQ Montreal In addition to the team at THQ Montreal, Ubisoft also acquired a new, yet-to-be announced IP in development at the studio. THQ Montreal will join Ubisoft's development teams, already the second-largest in-house development staff in the world with 26 studios in 19 countries and more than 6,250 people dedicated to video game production.

South Park: The Stick of Truth South Park: The Stick of Truth is being developed by Obsidian Entertainment, the studio behind Fallout: New Vegas, and is scheduled for release in calendar 2013.

This acquisition has no material impact on Ubisoft's current fiscal year (2012/13).

Path of Exile Open Beta

Grinding Gear Games announces today open beta testing is now underway for Path of Exile, their upcoming action/RPG. Since there will be no character wipes going forward, this can be considered a soft launch for the free-to-play game. Here's word:

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:

  • A dark and deep action RPG
  • Build unlimited unique characters on a gigantic skill tree
  • Combine over 110 skill gems to create unique combat strategies
  • Explore a dark and gritty world rendered from a fixed 3D perspective
  • Download and play for free, but never 'pay-to-win'
  • Explore randomly generated levels for extreme replayability
  • Craft weapons, magic items and even end-game maps to become more powerful
  • Cooperate or compete with thousands of other exiles in a persistent online world
  • Ascend online ladders in every game mode
  • Battle in PVP tournaments for worldwide recognition

Crysis 3 Open Beta This Month

EA announces beta testing for Crysis 3 will commence on January 29th for the Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 editions of Crytek's first-person shooter sequel. Here are details on testing:

Beginning on January 29 and ending on February 12 the Crysis 3 multiplayer beta will feature two of the eight modes included in Crysis 3. In Crash Site, players must secure and defend specific locations, earning points along the way for kills and their ability to hold those locations. The exciting, all-new Hunter mode makes its debut in Crysis 3. This asymmetrical, time based mode pits two players vs. ten (two vs. 14 on PC) in matches that begin with two cloaked hunters stalking 10 opposing CELL troopers. Armed only with enhanced Nanosuits and the lethal Predator bow, hunters must systematically stalk and kill the CELL operatives, who in turn must work together as a team as they fight to stay alive before the round ends. The twist is that once a CELL trooper is killed, that player will then respawn as a hunter, joining the others in their attempt to eliminate the remaining CELL operatives before the clock strikes zero. The Crysis 3 multiplayer beta will also showcase two of the game’s twelve visually stunning maps, Airport and Museum. Both will provide players a taste of the lush, urban rainforest and tactical sandbox that awaits them under the Liberty Dome of New York City.

Also included in the Crysis 3 multiplayer beta is the New York Feed, a brand new in-game social feed that will showcase the accomplishments of gamers and their friends while offering dynamic challenges to complete. Crysis 3 multiplayer also contains exciting new gameplay features including Rip & Throw, which allows players to interact with the elements of the environment to use as weapons or shields as well as the chance to control the Pinger, a fearsome alien tripod war machine that can be used to devastating effect.

Steamships Ahoy - Strike Suit Zero

The Strike Suit Zero Website announces that Strike Suit Zero is now available on Steam, offering the chance to play Born Ready Games' transformery space action game. The game is on sale for 20% off, and the announcement also includes word to expect OS X and Linux versions later this year. The update also has details on how Kickstarter backers can collect their copies, and word for those whose confirmation emails with missing codes that this is all being sorted now. Here's word on the game:

Strike Suit Zero promises to delight fans, due largely to the fantastic talent on board its development team. The game features jaw-droppingly detailed mecha and spaceship designs by renowned mecha designer Junji Okubo (Steel Battalion, Appleseed), and a wonderfully atmospheric score created by Paul Ruskay (Homeworld) and Kokia (Tales of Innocence, Origins: Spirits Of The Past),

With Oculus Rift support planned for later in the year, Strike Suit Zero is set to be one of the most exciting gaming projects of 2013.

Steamships Ahoy - Defense Grid: Containment

Steam News announces the release of Defense Grid: Containment, new DLC for Defense Grid: The Awakening, Hidden Path Entertainment's tower-defense game. This coincides with a 50% off sale on the game and its previous DLC as well as the release of a free map pack. Here's word:

Defense Grid: Containment is the all-new expansion to the award-winning tower defense game: Defense Grid: The Awakening. The Containment DLC provides players with many hours of new content including 8 new maps, a new story, two new characters (voiced by Firefly’s Alan Tudyk and E.R.’s Ming-Na Wen), and 32 new challenge modes. Containment’s story line picks up right where The Awakening left off, and leads the player on a new adventure that opens up exciting future possibilities as well.

Defense Grid: The Awakening is also releasing 4 new maps designed and chosen by community backers for free! The new maps can be accessed by registering your email from the Community Level Campaign in Defense Grid: The Awakening.

To celebrate the launch of the Containment DLC and Community Levels DLC, Defense Grid: The Awakening is 50% off and all previous DLC is 25% off!*

*Offer ends January 30th at 10AM Pacific Time

War of the Roses Free DLC

Paradox Interactive announces the release of the Gallowglass Mercenary Pack, a new free automatic update for War of the Roses that adds some medieval Scottish units to the melee action game. This trailer shows off the pack, and here's word:

Covered in mail and ready to cut down Englishmen for cold hard coin, the Scottish Gallowglass mercenaries brought brute force and fighting spirit to the battlefields like none could. Now is your chance to become one of them, with the Gallowglass mercenary gear pack, which includes the Gallowglass mail armor and helmet. Two new axes are also available to wield, along with the deadly Halflang Sword, ready and able to slay any Englishman in its path.

MechWarrior Online Gets New Mech and More Bitching

Infinite Game Publishing and Piranha Games announce the release of a new Death’s Knell mech in the store in MechWarrior Online. They also have expanded the role of the voice of Bitching Betty by returning the game's original startup sequence: "Reactor Online. Sensors Online. Weapons Online. All Systems Nominal." Details on the new mech are on this page, and this video shows the startup sequence.

Battle Academy: Operation Husky Announced

Matrix Games announces Battle Academy: Operation Husky, saying this expansion for their strategy game is imminent, and that they are seeking beta testers. Here's word:

We are excited to announce the imminent release of Battle Academy: Operation Husky. This new expansion covers the Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, which began on the night of 9–10 July 1943, and ended 17 August, adding extra Axis and Allies units and a brand new Sicilian terrain set.

Slitherine is looking for beta testers for the PC version of this Battle Academy expansion. To sign up for the beta head to Slitherine’s beta signup page and submit your application!

The Old Republic Rise of the Hutt Preorders; Trailer

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website has a new trailer showing off the upcoming Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion for the Star Wars MMORPG. They also announce the pack is now available for preorder, carrying the following incentives for the advance commitment:

  • The Dr. Oggurobb Hutt Holostatue: Train under the illustrious Hutt scientist Dr. Oggurobb with this portable training device that he created in his own image.
  • "Scourge of the Hutts" Title: Republic and Imperial forces that adorn this title will be revered across the galaxy.
  • The Makrin Seedling Mini-Pet: Get your very own Makrin Seedling to follow you around and creep out your enemies! Possessing bark-like skin and grass-like nerve-rich tissues that blend in perfectly with Makeb’s environment, the Makrin Seedling has a distinguishing and eerie look!

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Q&As

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: People vs. Winter. The bus!

THQ Sale Results?

Kotaku has what they say is the letter sent to all the (now former) staff of THQ by CEO Brian Farrell and president Jason Rubin. This outlines how some of the company's assets have been divided, noting that some properties remain unsold, including their publishing operation, Vigil, and some other IPs. Here are the details provided in the letter, which remain unconfirmed at the moment:

  • Yesterday morning, we received a competing bid for the operating business, along with Clearlake's offer, and numerous offers for separate assets.
  • During an auction process that lasted over 22 hours, the final conclusion was that the separate-asset bids would net more than a single buyer for the majority of the company.
  • Shortly, we will, present the results to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which must concur with our assessment.
  • The proposed sales of multiple assets is as follows :
    • Sega agreed to purchase Relic
    • Koch Media agreed to purchase Volition and Metro
    • Crytek agreed to purchase Homefront
    • Take 2 agreed purchase Evolve and
    • Ubisoft agreed to purchase Montreal and South Park

Ships Ahoy - The Cave

SEGA announces The Cave is now open for exploration, as Double Fine's new underground adventure game is now available via digital distribution for Windows, Linux, OS X, Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Nintendo eShop. Here's what's going down:

SEGA® Europe Ltd. and SEGA® of America, Inc. in a partnership with award-winning independent developer Double Fine Productions, today announced the digital release of the new adventure game, The Cave™. The Cave is available now for download on the PlayStation®Network, the Nintendo eShop on Wii U™, Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and Steam™ (PC, Mac, Linux).

“The Cave invites gamers on an underground adventure, filled with challenging puzzles and Ron Gilbert’s signature wit,” said Chris Olson, Vice President of Digital Business at SEGA of America. “Our collaboration with Ron and Double Fine has been a thrilling experience and we’re extremely excited about the outcome.”

“Bringing The Cave to life has been something I’ve wanted to do for almost thirty years,” added creator Ron Gilbert. “Being able to work with the amazing creative team at Double Fine, and with the strong support of SEGA, I’ve been able to make a longtime pet project a reality.”

Named GameInformer’s Best Adventure Game and Best Downloadable 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 adventurers, each with their own unique personalities and stories, and then descend into the mysterious depths of The Cave.

For more information please visit: http://thecavegame.com/.

Diablo III PTR Updated

Blizzard offers an updated set of PTR patch notes for the upcoming version 1.07 update for Diablo III. There is one new achievement listed along with a number of bug fixes for the action/RPG sequel, including some with the Public Test Realm itself. Arguably most significant is the change so that players are considered "elites" within the game, which will impact certain item effects in PvP combat. Looking beyond the release of this new patch in the live version of the game, a forum post from a Community Manager says Blizzard is working to address player complaints that characters are merely the sum of their gear:

We know that (for many players) it’s much more rewarding to gear up from items that you find while playing normally than it is to necessarily go through Auction House, and we’re working to make improvements in that area. There are a lot of ways we could attempt to reach that goal, and choosing the best one(s) to go with is not always a fast process. I want to encourage you all to continue to post your thoughts on the subject and I promise we will keep reading and relaying them.

Scivelation Next Year [Updated]

The Scivelation Product Section (in German) has a new release date for Scivelation, saying the single-player third-person shooter from Black Wing Foundations is planned for release by the end of this next year for Windows and "next-gen." The game was announced as due in 2010, and German site GBase.ch suggests the game's new release window might be to allow it to use Epic's upcoming Unreal Engine 4, but this is purely speculative. Update: Corrected this to say next year, rather than this year. Apologies for the error and any ensuing confusion.

Ex-Relic Boss Joins Activision

Alex Peters has taken the position of VP of Production at Activision after serving as studio head at Relic for the previous two years. The new job is listed on his LinkedIn Profile as noted by Develop. This news comes amid the sale of THQs assets, which include Relic. Develop notes that SEGA is widely believed to be the frontrunner to purchase Relic, but we should know soon enough, as an announcement of the results of the sale of THQ's assets is expected today.

Crusader Kings II Linux Released

Following a tweet from Fredrik Wester last week to this effect, Paradox Interactive officially announces the release of a Linux edition of Crusader Kings II, their strategy/RPG sequel. Word is: "The critically acclaimed title is the first ever game from Paradox to be launched on the burgeoning platform, and plans to bring other titles to Linux in the future are in the works. Crusader Kings II for Linux is currently available on Steam." Paradox also plans a live stream at 2:00 pm EST today on Twitch where Project Lead Henrik Fårahues will be showing off the game's multiplayer support.

Amazon Adds Microtransactions

Amazon customers can now purchase virtual goods and in-game currency through their Amazon accounts, reports Joystiq. This page has details on how this will work, also outlining the financial split for Kindle Fire and Android apps, saying developers will keep 70% of microtransaction revenue, and that they are currently waiving the $99.00 per year fee for listing. They say Windows, OS X, and web-based game developers should contact them for details.

SimCity EULA to be Fixed

The SimCity Facebook Page has a follow up to the story we helped break on Sunday about worrisome language in the EULA for the upcoming SimCity reboot suggesting beta testers would lose access to all EA games for failing to report bugs in the beta (thanks Joe). Here's word:

Heads up, Mayors – it’s been brought to our attention that there’s been some confusion regarding the bug-reporting policy in the EA beta test agreement for SimCity.

Don’t worry – EA has never taken away access to a player’s games for failing to report a bug. In fact, we’re in the process of updating our agreement to make this point clear before the beta starts this Friday. If you have any more questions, read our FAQ: http://bit.ly/UCpuAA

Hope to see you in the beta Friday!

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Footage

A new trailer includes some footage of single-player play in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the upcoming expansion for StarCraft II, Blizzard's RTS sequel. Thanks Blizzplanet, where word is: "The B-roll shows all the new playable units in the expansion: 3D model and their abilities in action through gameplay clips. New Battle.net UI and features." Continue here to read the full story.

Cognition Episode 2 Trailer

This new trailer for Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller sets the stage for The Wise Monkey, episode two in Phoenix Online's adventure series, by catching us up on the events in episode one. Here's word: "FBI agent Erica Reed has an advantage when it comes to tracking a killer: an unusual set of post-cognitive abilities that help her sense how a crime unfolded. She also has a score to settle with the serial killer who took her brother's life three years ago. But vengeance takes a backseat in Episode 2: The Wise Monkey, when Agent Reed's fellow bureau members become targets. Can she find a deranged killer before it's too late, or is it just a matter of time before Erica herself falls victim to The Wise Monkey?" The developers plan a preview stream of episode two on Sunday at 7:30 pm EST on this fan's YouTube channel and they will hold an online launch party on their own YouTube channel one week from today on January 30th starting at 4:00 pm EST, and story consultant Jane Jensen is expected to attend. Continue here to read the full story.

Grand Theft Auto IV Event Friday

Rockstar Games announces a double live-streaming Social Club Multiplayer Event in Grand Theft Auto IV for three hours on Friday, offering prizes for participants:

This Friday January 25th, 11am-2pm EST / 4-7pm GMT, our latest live-streaming Social Club Multiplayer Event invades Liberty City for three hours of melees, mayhem, and mischief in Grand Theft Auto IV. Come look for our dev players in-game on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, or tune in to our double live-stream on the Social Club Multiplayer Events page. There you'll also find our Rockstar-hosted Social Club chat and the chance to win one of ten GTAV prize packs, each including the GTAV Logo Tee, GTAV Tee, and GTAV and Rockstar logo stickers, in our giveaway.

We'll play a mix of original GTAIV modes, as well as The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony multiplayer modes, and you don't need to own the Complete Edition to play in the event - you can join us whenever we're playing a mode that you have. Our devs will clear their friends lists beforehand, and you can enter the giveaway on this page under the Sweepstakes Entry tab.

Two of our devs will be streaming their GTAIV gameplay live on the Social Club Multiplayer Event page with a live chat, and a third video stream will run on our Rockstar Twitch page with a second hosted chatroom.

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

I may be losing out in my literal cold war with MrsBlue over grilling rights. You may recall I am attempting a strike to gain the right to put my man-stove on the deck for general convenience, but in particular to be more accommodating in the winter. She's holding firm on her resolve, and I may be the first one to blink on this and resume using the grill where it is before the spring breaks. I feel so weak.

Weak Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Battle for Darkness.
Stories: Voice of Charlie Brown arrested in California on stalking, other charges.
Science: Iron Man to Batman: The future of soldier suits. Thanks brother19.
Robot Serves Up 360 Hamburgers Per Hour. Thanks Slashdot.
What holds energy tech back? The infernal battery.
Media: The Portal Turret Song.
Honest Trailers - (Indiana Jones & The Crystal Skull).
Watch A Biplane Nearly Decapitate Two People. Thanks nin.
The Funnies: xkcd: Home Alone.
Follow-up: Manti Te'o Tells Katie Couric He Briefly Lied About Girlfriend After Hoax Discovery.

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013

Ships Ahoy - Max Payne 3 Deathmatch Made in Heaven DLC

Rockstar Games announces the Deathmatch Made in Heaven DLC is now available for Max Payne 3, adding new multiplayer content to the third-person shooter on almost all platforms in almost all territories. Here's word on the DLC and availability:

For more details on all these modes plus the new close-combat Weapons, Items, Unstoppable Burst, Grinds and in-game accomplishments, check out the official Deathmatch Made In Heaven page at the Max Payne 3 site.

We've also added the above original illustration of Max and Passos' Hoboken standoff to our collection of official Max Payne 3 artwork at the Rockstar Downloads page in all the customary sizes and formats.

The Deathmatch Made in Heaven Pack is now available everywhere on Xbox LIVE and PC, as will be out on PSN in North America once Sony updates the PlayStation Store later today (it will also be available to PS3 players in Europe on January 30th).

PC Resident Evil Revelations Plans

Capcom Unity reveals plans to bring 3DS Resident Evil Revelations to other platforms, including a Windows version via digital distribution on May 21st. The post includes some new screenshots, and the following details:

I think we're all in agreement that RE Revelations was pretty darn good, right? A little slice of horror, a bit of action, a claustrophobic cruise ship filled with nasty baddies intent on sucking your guts outta your face - y'know, typical Resident Evil stuff. But last year only 3DS owners could play the game and its co-op Raid Mode, so while it was well received, many of you had to sit and watch. But no more!

Revs will arrive this May (21 US, 24 EU) on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U as physical disc for $49.99, or as a digital version on PS3 and PC on launch day (with 360 and Wii U digital versions to follow). As you might expect, this new version will include online Raid Mode co-op, enhanced HD graphics and lighting - but it also contains a few new bells and whistles.

Namely Hunk! He'll be playable in Raid Mode, bringing his unique gas mask chic to the Queen Zenobia cruise ship and other Revelations locales.

This new version also adds a new enemy, a new harder difficulty, new Raid weapons and new Custom Parts that make your weapons even more formidable - handy in those harder Raid maps!

PC Project Temporality Plans

The Defrost Games Website has word that the PC is now the primary target platform for Project Temporality, a third-person action/puzzle game that began development for the Xbox 360 a couple of years ago. The release on PCs is expected around the end of this quarter or the beginning of next, and the game is now the subject of a Steam Greenlight campaign. There are more details on Indie DB, and this trailer shows off the new look of the PC edition. Here's word on what the game is actually about:

Project Temporality is a third person Action/puzzle game developed around the concept of single player cooperation. By manipulating time you create multiple versions of yourself, called time clones, that are working together to solve the puzzles.

Project Temporality is set in a dystopian future where mankind has used theories by Martyn J. Fogg to ignite Jupiter and create new habitable planets out of its moons. You are #87, an involuntary test subject at a mobile research base residing at the outskirts of Jupiter’s territory.

As you progress through the game you will be learning more about your backstory and your abilities. But most of all, you learn to think about time in a nonlinear way, which is necessary to solve the later puzzles.

Project Temporality is really all about trying to change the ways the player thinks about time. Instead of considering it a single arrow going forward as in physics, we are treating it more like a branching tree that can double back on itself and sprout new branches at your command.

Continue here to read the full story.

Shootmania Storm Delayed; Open Beta Next Month

Ubisoft announces that Shootmania Storm will not be released tomorrow as planned, saying Nadeo's multiplayer first-person shooter is instead now expected on April 10th. They also offer a pair of new screenshots while announcing open beta testing of the game will commence on February 12th. Here's word:

Today, Ubisoft® and Nadeo announced that ShootMania Storm, the online multiplayer first-person shooter, will be released on April 10. Starting February 12, the game will enter an Open Beta phase allowing the developers to receive more feedback from the community ensuring a higher level of polish before the release in April.

Developed by Ubisoft’s Nadeo studio, ShootMania Storm follows the footsteps of TrackMania, Nadeo’s successful arcade racing game, to present a new dimension in first-person shooter. As part of the ManiaPlanet system, ShootMania Storm puts players at the center of their gaming experience. To date, players have created more than 15 game modes and, already, more than 20,000 maps have been created by players using ManiaPlanet’s proprietary map editor.

“Nadeo’s model of development has always been to be very close to the community,” said Anne Bondel-Jouin, Managing Director of Nadeo Live. “Following the release of the Beta 2 in December, we received a tremendous amount of information from the very active ShootMania community. For a living, online multiplayer title like this the work is never done, but these extra few weeks will allow us to polish the game further and release it to the level of quality we think our players deserve.”

ShootMania Storm is already very active on the e-sports scene, recently participating in the IPL 5 tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada and MLG in Dallas Texas. In March, ShootMania Storm will be included at PAX East and will return to Las Vegas with IPL 6. More details on future ShootMania Storm events will be available in the coming months.

ShootMania Storm’s pre-order offer is still available until April 10 at http://www.ShootMania.com.

Guild Wars 2 Plans

NCsoft reveals further details about the first update for Guild Wars 2, which should go live on January 28th in the MMORPG. Here's an overview:

  • A new storyline will play out over the coming months, one that all players can enjoy
  • New achievement currency for daily/monthly achievements and new items you can buy with the new currency. There will also be rotating daily achievements every day of the week
  • Guesting to allow playing with friends on different worlds.
  • One Week, Two-Team PvP Tournaments and a new PvP Map permanently added to the rotation
  • Several more game improvements and balancing enhancements

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Revolution Trailer

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Website now offers a new comedic live-action trailer starring Peter Stormare as The Replacer (his most memorable role since Karl Hungus) promoting the upcoming release of the Revolution DLC for the military shooter sequel. Word is: "One of the most robust and diverse DLC offerings in Call of Duty history, Revolution includes four all-new Multiplayer maps, a new Zombies Co-Op map, a brand new Zombies game mode and a bonus Multiplayer weapon."

Birth of Rome Next Week

AGEOD announces The Birth of Rome, a standalone expansion for their Roman empire turn-based strategy game Alea Jacta Est. Since Rome wasn't built in a day, this is due one week from today on January 29th from Matrix Games. Here's word on the game, which does not require Alea Jacta Est to play: "Birth of Rome offers a level of historical accuracy and detail never reached before in a video game. Birth of Rome is a true simulation where players are challenged to create armies and fleets, organize and maneuver them, sustain and reinforce them. All the time taking into account military, economic, political and diplomatic parameters."

Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Patched

A new patch is now automatically available for Elemental: Fallen Enchantress to update Stardock's fantasy-themed strategy game to version 1.2. The Elemental Forums has details on what's new:

  • Significant AI strategy updates based on strategies employed by players
  • Spawned resources (like iron, gold, wheat) are more common but seeded further away from starting locations
  • Powerful monsters have been adjusted to be less common in habitable areas but more common in the barren lands between factions
  • Default number of players increased based on map size
  • Lots of UI and gameplay fixes based on player reports and feedback

Chris Taylor on GPG, Wildman, and Publishers

An interview on Eurogamer talks with Gas Powered Games boss Chris Taylor about Wildman, layoffs at GPG, and what the future holds, further clarifying what lead the company to the precipice. He describes the kind of financing the game will ultimately require and why the Kickstarter is for less than that, how they have brought back some key people, and more. He also has some choice words for game publishers, saying one of the company's burdens has been 11th hour game cancellations by publishers, saying one of these came a month ahead of beta testing.

Evening Q&As

On Sale

  • Far Cry 3 on Amazon.com. Save 30%.
  • Far Cry 3 Deluxe Edition on Amazon.com. Save 25%.
  • LEGO The Lord of the Rings on Steam. Save 50%.
  • The Sims 3 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Terraria on Steam. Save 75%.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

  • Irrational Games announce BioShock Infinite: Mind in Revolt, an e-book prequel for BioShock Infinite available to those who preorder the game through Amazon

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Divers capture amazing dolphin-rescue on video. Thanks nin.

Stick of Truth Sticking Point in THQ Sale

This legal objection (Adobe Acrobat format) filed in Delaware poses South Park Digital Studios' objections to THQ's plans to sell South Park: The Stick of Truth today along with the other assets as part of THQ's bankruptcy. The company says the license THQ was granted for the game is non-transferrable, and that it is still owed $2.2+ million. This reply (Adobe Acrobat format) filed by THQ (spotted, like the first brief, by NeoGAF) asks the court to overrule this motion. Thanks nin via Joystiq.

The Elder Scrolls Online Beta Signups

The Elder Scrolls Online Website is now accepting applications to beta test Bethesda's upcoming MMO installment in their RPG series. This announcement has details along with this cinematic trailer, saying: "Please be aware that this is just beta sign-ups. Once our first beta test begins, we’ll make sure everyone knows—watch our official website, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter for an announcement about the first round of invites." Here's the official announcement:

Bethesda Softworks® and ZeniMax® Online Studios today announced that beta signups are now open for The Elder Scrolls® Online at ElderScrollsOnline.com. Interested gamers simply have to go to the website and register for a chance to play. Selected beta registrants will be granted early access to beta test the game. They will be among the first to experience this epic world with others in one of 2013’s most highly-anticipated releases. Timing and details of the start of playtests will be provided at a later date to those who register.

“We’re really excited to get the game into players’ hands,” said Matt Firor, game director of The Elder Scrolls Online. “We receive invaluable feedback through the beta process, and that helps us ensure that the game will be one of the best online gaming experiences ever offered -- one worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise.”

The Elder Scrolls Online brings the award-winning Elder Scrolls experience online for the first time. Using ZeniMax Online’s Megaserver technology, players will join one connected world with a built in social network that lets them stay up-to-date with everything their friends are doing. Megaserver technology avoids the hassle of shard selection and makes The Elder Scrolls Online one of the most socially enabled games ever created. Whether playing alone, or with hundreds of friends, players can develop their own style of play as they embark upon an epic quest across Tamriel.

Continue here to read the full story.

Firefall Public Beta This Weekend

Red 5 Studios announces this Friday will be the first of three planned public beta weekends for Firefall, offering a 48 hour opportunity to play the upcoming MMOFPS. This will be open to all users, no key required. "After successfully completing a few controlled stress-tests late last year, we’re excited to move into the next phase," said James Macauley, Vice President of Development, Red 5 Studios. "This will be the first time that we’ve opened up Firefall’s servers to everyone. We’re really looking forward to gathering a bunch of new feedback and data that will help us build up to launch this year." This new trailer offers a look at gameplay, this page has all the details on the beta, and here's an itinerary for the beta weekend:

  • Skillshot Contest (Video) – Record and submit an epic skillshot video for a chance to win a prize pack filled with Firefall SWAG and Razer™ gear
  • Skillshot Contest (Screen) – Screencap a stylish skillshot for a chance at being featured on the official Firefall Facebook page
  • Community Unlock – Play during the weekend to unlock an exclusive, customized Battleframe decal
  • Livestream – Join a special episode of Firefall Live on TwitchTV to see Athene and Reese owning the competition with their own skillshots

Continue here to read the full story.

Wildman Status Report - GPG Retaining Some Staff?

A new update to the Kickstarter campaign for Wildman has another video from Gas Powered Games honcho Chris Taylor offering the latest on attempts to fund the action/RPG which will ostensibly save the company from the financial abyss that's already resulted in some layoffs. Chris speaks of being encouraged by the progress towards their funding goal and discusses their efforts at getting the word out with more updates later this week, including details on "Project Mercury" (not to be confused with the identical codename for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning), which he says "is the platform we hope to deliver the modules on," suggesting a further explanation would be useful. On a related note, we got a note from a reader saying a friend at Gas Powered Games was asked to stay on for another month when he went to clean out his desk yesterday. This unconfirmed report also says there are other employees who are voluntarily working on this project to see how things shake out.

Dead Space 3: PC Enhancements? No. Microtransactions? Yes.

A new video interview on games.on.net talks with producer Shereif Fattouh about Dead Space 3, Visceral Games' upcoming survival shooter sequel. The focus of their conversation is the addition of co-op mode to the sequel, which they describe as being like watching a scary movie with a friend. They also highlight the response they got when asking if the Windows edition of the game will have any features that take advantage of a PC's more powerful hardware. They were told this will be a straight port with no support for DirectX 11, no higher resolution textures, and no support for graphics features not found on the console editions. In other Dead Space 3 news, OXM has word from developer Visceral that the game will include microtransactions, though they stress that letting the game chip away at your wallet is optional. Here's a bit:

"You can absolutely choose to ignore the in game micro-transactions," associate producer Yara Khoury told OXM in an interview, following a two-hour hands-on. "I think it's made for people who aren't necessarily as savvy as others with exploration, or maybe they just don't want to spend the time to go and find resources, and they want to maybe upgrade faster."

You'll only be able to buy certain weapons at certain times, however. "Know that we are creating progression in terms of weapon crafting by only making available some weapon parts as you progress through the game. So it's not like 'oh I'm going to spend money now and I can be the most powerful player in Chapter 1.' "And another thing that is important to know is that you can buy things in the marketplace with in-game currency," Khoury continued. "Things that your scavenger bot gets you. So you don't have to spend dollars if you're a hardcore player and put a lot of hours in - you're going to be rewarded for that."

Atari S.A. Bankrupt Too

This statement (Adobe Acrobat format) follows word that the U.S. arm of Atari has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with news that the company's French parent Atari S.A. is likewise seeking a court-governed reorganization with a "book 6" filing in France. "In light of the current situation with BlueBay, we have decided to take what we think is the best decision to protect the Company and its shareholders, says Jim Wilson, CEO of Atari. "Through these ongoing procedures, and especially the auction process in the US, we will seek to maximize the proceeds in the best interest of the Company and all of its shareholders." Thanks NowGamer.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Opening Cinematic

The StarCraft II Website now offers the opening cinematic for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, showing off the expansion that's due for the RTS sequel in March. This sets the story for the add-on, which is summed up like so: "Whether you ultimately choose to play as Protoss, Terran, or Zerg, you simply must ask yourself one question: Who is Sarah Kerrigan?" Continue here to read the full story.

Free Primal Carnage with EVGA Graphics Cards

EVGA announces they are bundling a free copy of Primal Carnage (a $15.00 value) with the purchase of one of their GeForce GTX 670, 680, or 690 graphics cards ($379.00 and up). This offer is good globally for purchases as of yesterday, and inclusion of free copies of the multiplayer dinosaur action game will continue as long "as supplies last."

New Kickstarter Seeks to Race Back to the 90s

A new Kickstarter looks to raise a modest £10,000 to create The 90's Arcade Racer, a throwback to the days where men were men, even if they still occasionally wore shoulder pads. The game is intended for Windows, OS X, and Linux with possible OUYA support. Here's word on the project's inspiration: "The three that ate up most of my coins where Scud Race, Daytona USA and Indy 500, my goal is to recreate the feeling these games evoked from players by maintaining the colorful, vibrant look and sense of speed but with modern visuals and car handling models." The developer has no apparent track record, but has "worked on several big and small projects both as a 2D and 3D artist," and this fundraiser has attracted the attention of sites like Kotaku and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Thanks nin.

Assassin's Creed III Patch

Ubisoft support now offers a new patch for Assassin's Creed III to update the stealth/assassination sequel to version 1.0.2. The accompanying patch notes are quite extensive, outlining a number of bug fixes and balance changes. The download is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls.

Airline Tycoon 2 GOLD Next Month

Kalypso Media UK announces Airline Tycoon 2 GOLD, a new bundle of this management game expected for release on February 22nd. Here's a trailer for the new edition, and here's word on the alchemy that turned the game into gold:

Airline Tycoon 2 – Gold Edition brings an extensive list of new features to Airline Tycoon 2 - use cargo flights as a new source of income, or see if you can profit from last-minute flight bookings. Open branch offices around the world to increase your control of each territory. Airline Tycoon 2 is the long awaited sequel to the legendary tongue-in-cheek economic simulation that puts players in the role of CEO of an international airline! Airline Tycoon 2 challenges players to run a modern airline, design unique airplanes and grow a run-down carrier into a globally recognised company that passengers practically beg to fly. In the Gold Edition, you will meet some old friends. Italian bon vivant Mario Zucchero and German nit-picker Siggi Sorglos join the cast of this unique game. Airports worldwide are waiting to be explored, but beware– your rivals never rest!

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Out of the Blue

I suffered another football loss following this weekend's playoffs. I picked today in the pool for when I would get sick of hearing about the "Har-Bowl," but that storyline ran its course for me early yesterday. I'll still choose that over hearing any more about Ray Lewis, since, like Wes Welker's wife, I've been sick of that since about January 31, 2000.

Har-Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Synchronoir.
Links: A Video Game Made by the NRA (That Explains A Lot).
Stories: Chinese workers revolt over 2-minute toilet breaks.
Media: Far Cry 3 - Grenade Hunting.
Building to building jump with a helmet mounted camera.
The Funnies: xkcd: Debugger.
Savage Chickens.



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