Electronic Arts announces the release of Dead Space 3 in North America for Windows and consoles, saying that this will be followed next month by the release of Awakened, the first DLC for the third-person shooter sequel:
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Feb. 5, 2013 – The tense, frightening and action-packed fight against the Necromorphs returns – but this time gamers don’t have to go at it alone! Visceral Games™, an Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) studio, today announced that Dead Space™ 3, the first big entertainment blockbuster of 2013, is now available at retail stores in North America and on Origin.com. Heralded by more than 30 press outlets including USA Today, Forbes, NBC News and IGN as one of the most anticipated games of 2013, Dead Space 3 introduces an innovative drop-in/drop-out feature, all-new weapon crafting system and takes players on a thrilling ride through the terrors that lie hidden in deep space and the unforgiving ice planet of Tau Volantis. Dead Space 3 is an International hit having received a 9.0 from Multiplayer.it in Italy, 9.0 from AusGamers in Australia, 8.8 from 3DJuegos.com in Spain and a 9.75 from Game Informer magazine in North America. As a result of these four, the game is launching with an average score of 91, and being raved by Game Informer magazine who said Dead Space 3, “[is] one of the best games of this generation.”
Visceral Games also announced today that gamers can extend this brutal adventure in March with Dead Space™ 3 Awakened, an all-new digital download pack. In Dead Space 3 Awakened, players will experience the franchise’s darkest chapters as the Necromorph battles become even more gruesome and terrifying than ever before. The pack will be available in March on the PlayStation®Network and PC via Origin.com for $9.99 and Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for 800 MS Points.
The Elder Scrolls Website has word that the Dragonborn DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is now available on Steam for the PC edition of Bethesda's RPG sequel. This page has all the details on the add-on, and here's the overview:
With this official add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, journey off the coast of Morrowind, to the island of Solstheim. Encounter new towns, dungeons, and quests, as you traverse the ash wastes and glacial valleys of this new land. Become more powerful with shouts that bend the will of your enemies and even tame dragons. Your fate, and the fate of Solstheim, hangs in the balance as you face off against your deadliest adversary – the first Dragonborn.
Stardock announces Legendary Heroes, the first expansion for Elemental: Fallen Enchantress, their fantasy-themed strategy game. This is planned for an April release as an expansion for Fallen Enchantress owners and as a standalone release for new users, and continuing their compensation for the problematic release of Fallen Enchantress forbear Elemental: War of Magic, it will be free to those who preordered Elemental from Stardock in 2010. A public beta test is planned for next month. This page has details and screenshots, and here's word:
PLYMOUTH, MI - February 5, 2013 – Stardock announced its first expansion pack for its popular fantasy strategy game, Fallen Enchantress. The expansion, Legendary Heroes, adds new monsters, new champions, larger maps, new tactical battle maps and re-imagines the role of heroes in the world of Elemental.
“One of our goals with Legendary Heroes is to tie together the destiny of your kingdom and those of your champions,” said Derek Paxton, lead designer of Legendary Heroes.
In Fallen Enchantress, champions were recruited through exploration. Once recruited, they could go on quests, acquire magical items, gain experience and choose new talents. Paxton continued, “In Legendary Heroes, the champions seek you out based on your fame. Your kingdom gains fame through a variety of means and as a result, the player’s affinity with champions is now tied to the choices their Kingdom as a whole makes.”
Legendary Heroes also expands on the critically acclaimed gameplay in Fallen Enchantress. New types of monsters such as liches, skeletons and worse begin to appear in the world. New quests, a new scenario and much larger map sizes are now available.
Infinite Game Publishing announces the addition of Pretty Baby, the newest hero mech in MechWarrior: Online, Piranha Games' online mech shooter. This is part of a major update to the game that includes "the long-awaited Death Screen and a fantastic new 'end of round' screen," as well as the ability to chat before a match begins. A 2013 February Developer Update has details on these and other changes, and this trailer shows off the new mech.
USA Today has more 2012 game sales figures from the NPD Group, following word last month that sales of physical discs and consoles declined 22% compared with 2011. The new results include digital sales: "Breaking down the 2012 spending, NPD says that consumers spent $7.09 billion on physical video game and PC game software, a 21% drop from 2011, and $5.92 billion on digital games (full game and add-on content downloads, subscriptions, mobile games and social network games), a 16% increase. An additional $1.79 billion came from spending on used and rented games, NPD says. Total spending in 2011 amounted to $16.34 billion, NPD says. The increase in digital game spending in 2012 wasn't enough to offset decreased physical game spending."
For its third quarter fiscal 2013, GAAP net revenue was $415.8 million, as compared to $236.3 million for its third quarter fiscal 2012. Non-GAAP net revenue was $405.0 million, as compared to $236.3 million for the year-ago period. GAAP net income from continuing operations was $70.9 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, as compared to $14.2 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, for the year-ago period. Non-GAAP net income was $78.8 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, as compared to $29.0 million, or $0.27 per diluted share, for the year-ago period. As of December 31, 2012, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $448.7 million.
The strongest contributors to net revenue in the third quarter were the release of NBA 2K13, continuing sales of Borderlands 2, the release of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and catalog sales led by Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. Catalog sales accounted for 22% of Non-GAAP net revenue. Revenue from digitally delivered content grew 244% year-over-year and accounted for 23% of Non-GAAP net revenue, driven by offerings for the Borderlands franchise – particularly digital sales of Borderlands 2 and its add-on content, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and NBA 2K13.
Eurogamer has word from Take-Two's post-earnings conference call, where it was revealed that sales of Borderlands 2 are approaching the six million mark. They also have details on the Borderlands 2: Add-On Content Pack mentioned in the earnings report. Word is this will comprise all four of the DLC packs for the shooter sequel when it is released on February 26th for Windows and consoles for $29.99.
Square Enix's Q3 financials (Adobe Acrobat format) show a ¥5.7 billion net loss, which Joystiq tells us equals about $61 million. Word is sales are up, however, and the company is projecting a profitable fiscal fourth quarter. Word is this will be driven in part by "full-scale commercial services for major MMO titles."
The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) announces the D.I.C.E. Summit is now underway at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, gathering "the best and brightest minds from the interactive entertainment industry." The festivities will include a pioneer award for the creators of Zork and the hall-of-fame induction of Valve's Gabe Newell:
Hall of Fame Inductee: Living video game legend, Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve Corporation, will be the 17th inductee into the AIAS Hall of Fame. Recipients demonstrate the highest level of creativity and innovation, resulting in significant product influence on a scale that expands the scope of the industry. The AIAS Hall of Fame honor is annually bestowed on game creators who have been instrumental in the development of highly influential games and moving a particular genre forward, and Gabe’s leadership in founding and managing Valve, creator of SourceTM game engine, Steam, and award-winning game franchises like Half-Life®, Counter StrikeTM, Left 4 DeadTM, PortalTM, and Team FortressTM have done much to push the interactive entertainment industry forward.
Pioneer Award Recipient: Infocom co-founders Dave Lebling and Marc Blank will be honored with the 2013 AIAS Pioneer Award, which is reserved for individuals whose career-spanning work has helped shape and define the interactive entertainment industry with the creation of a technological approach or the birth of a new genre. As innovators, storytellers, game designers and programmers, Lebling and Blank have inspired a generation of gamers and game designers over a broad spectrum of games and genres with their contributions to interactive fiction and text-based adventure games such as the Zork and Enchanter series.
A post on reddit by Timothee Besset reflects on his years at id Software, where he worked on programming projects and Linux ports until his departure a year ago (thanks Ant via LinuxGames). In discussing his departure he says id lost interest in the PC, and him leaving is not the reason for there not being a native Linux build of RAGE:
I wasn't able to allocate time to work on native Linux or OSX builds for idTech5 stuff in the last few years I spent there (basically after idTech4 Doom3/Quake4/ETQW). There were plenty of reasons that led to me leaving, but me staying wouldn't have changed much in that regard.
They simply lost interest towards the PC in general during the idTech5 cycle, and they don't have anyone there with Linux chops anymore. But Valve seems to be doing great at bringing AAA Linux stuff to the market now, and there's plenty of indies doing high quality stuff. So here's to the new generation :)
CD Projekt RED officially announcesThe Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, following the revelation earlier today of plans for a new installment in the RPG series next year. This new trailer accompanies the announcement (though this does is show off the game's title) and here's a bit, including word this will be the final installment in the series:
CD Projekt RED has officially announced the title of their next upcoming game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Further, they've announced that this, the ultimate game in the series, will also be the final Witcher game from the studio. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt combines CD Projekt RED’s trademark decision-based storytelling flair with a living open world larger than any other in modern RPG history.
“The captivating and non-linear story of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt takes place in a rich, truly open-world environment. A world which is thrilling to explore, full of daring adventures, momentous quests, memorable characters, and unique monsters. Players will freely travel through woods, lakes, mountains, cities and villages. Each region is inhabited by distinct populations with their own customs, legends and problems. The world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is 30 times bigger than The Witcher 2," said Adam Badowski, head of the studio.
“Imagine playing a dark fantasy game with the same great non-linear story as in the previous Witcher titles, but now told in a world you can explore freely with no artificial boundaries. The war-ravaged world is so huge that to reach farther places you will need to ride a horse or sail a boat to get there. A world where your choices have truly epic consequences. From the development side, this goal is extremely demanding. Our team had to make significant design changes and our tech had to be rebuilt. But we believe that this will lead to a completely new level of non-linearity and a whole new, richer gaming experience. As a gamer, I would love to play this kind of RPG, and I think this is what many players are waiting for. This is our dream come true at CD Projekt RED, and we hope it will be the same for you!” adds Badowski.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the final episode of the award-winning RPG series and the last part of the legend of Geralt of Rivia. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the most robust and breathtaking game ever created by CD Projekt RED. Open-world, free-roaming exploration is an adventure in itself as the player will gallop through war-ravaged lands, sail misty waters and track down dangerous beasts for money. An improved combat system will allow players to feel like a real monster-hunter, a witcher who uses his superior senses and fighting skills to survive in a dark fantasy world--while he embarks on a quest to save his loved ones. The new core mechanics of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt immerse the player in the experience completely, with no Quick Time Events, only intuitive RPG gameplay. horizons to keep pushing the boundaries of what we can create."
The TERA Website now offers free access to TERA: Rising, kicking off the promised free access to the MMORPG. Here's word:
SEATTLE – February 5, 2013 – En Masse Entertainment™, a player-driven publisher focused on delivering fun and innovative online games, today announced that TERA™: Rising, the next evolution of the award-winning action MMORPG, is now live and available for play without charge throughout North America. To celebrate the new chapter of TERA, En Masse is launching new in-game content, new servers, and an action-packed cinematic trailer which can be downloaded below.
“TERA: Rising ushers in a new era in Action MMO gaming where players can dive into a deep MMO with the best action combat in the genre without having to pay a dime,” said Chris Lee, CEO of En Masse Entertainment. “The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive and our community is eager to greet a new wave of gamers checking out TERA for the first time. The brand new content is going to be engaging for both the new and existing players alike – creating a fun and dynamic environment we haven’t seen before in TERA.”
In-game content launching today includes an all-new wave-based dungeon and a PvP battleground map. The multi-level Crucible of Flame dungeon will challenge players with a series of epic, high-level battles, and PvP players can jump into an all-new three vs. three battle arena. Two new game servers, one PvE and one PvP, also launch today to give players the option of joining a fresh server or one with an existing community.
GameInformer.com tips off that the cover story for the March issue of Game Informer magazine will officially reveal The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, thenotcompletelyunexpected next installment in CD Projekt RED's fantasy-themed RPG series. Subscribers can expect the new issue in abut two weeks, and in the meantime they have this video with the developers discussing the project, and offer the following details on the open-world game, including the suggestion that this will come to unannounced console systems as well as Windows when it's released next year:
Our March cover story gives a world-exclusive peek into the next generation of RPGs with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This standalone sequel takes the fascinating stories and characters, non-linear plotlines, and difficult decisions that the franchise is known for and puts them all in an open world 30 times larger than the previous game – an enormous setting even larger than Skyrim's vast expanse, made possible with the new REDengine 3 technology that developer CD Projekt RED is debuting with the game. Our huge feature dives into everything The Witcher 3 has to offer, and it's a lot: the detective work that precedes deadly combat when monster hunting, storylines that weave and twist together between political intrigue and otherworldly menaces, and a tired hero who wants to set things right but can't put down his swords until his conscience allows – if it ever does.
Coming in 2014 on PC and "all high-end platforms available" (CD Projekt RED isn't saying flat-out that it's a next-gen game, but it's a safe bet that new console announcements in the coming months will define the term "high-end platform"), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt stretches from stormy islands to war-torn forests and a sprawling dark fantasy metropolis without a loading screen anywhere to be found.
A comment on reddit has follow up to comments made almost exactly one year ago by Markus "Notch" Persson about being willing to fund Psychonauts 2, a sequel to Double Fine's adventure game. Notch explains what's changed: "I somewhat naively thought 'a couple of million' was two million. I had no doubt in my mind that a Psychonauts 2 would earn that money back easily. Turns out they wanted 18 million dollars, haha. I don't have the time at the moment to even try to get educated enough to make an eighteen million dollar deal. Perhaps in some distant future when I'm no longer trying to make games, I could get into angel investing. I've made one private investment into a game so far, at 100k, and it's frankly a lot more work than I thought." Thanks VG247 via PCGamesN.
Paradox Interactive announces those interested in pre-ordering Impire can head over to this page for links on where to get Cyanide Studio Montreal's upcoming strategy game that "traps players in the not-so-intimidating form of a scheming imp and then tasks them with overtaking an entire kingdom." This trailer offers a look at gameplay, described with the following: "The first-ever playthrough for Impire , dubbed 'Imps Exposed', has been unveiled today, showing several minutes of raw, uncut footage from the first scenario of the dungeon management title. Within the playthrough, players will get a glimpse at some of the base-management options and cutscenes, as well as a preview on how to dispatch troublesome humans who venture into the Impire." Here are details on preorder bonuses:
Two pieces of bonus DLC will be granted to players who pre-order Impire, including the “Creatures of the Night” pack, adding new fearsome monsters to their underground armies. Vicious Victorian Vampires will stalk the dungeon halls, walking their undead poodles, and nasty Medusas will stop enemies in their tracks. Plus, pre-orderers will be able to raise the demon of their choice with the “Black and White” pack, granting new in-game skins to their Imp – a sinister, pale white, or the darkest shade of black.
DayZ Blog now offers a new video developer blog for Bohemia Interactive's upcoming standalone game based on the DayZ zombie modification for Arma II. Word is: "Rocket and Matt provide a quick overview of some new elements of the DayZ Standalone project. Includes the new engine support for clothing, the revised loot spawning mechanics, and some new areas on the map." Continue here to read the full story.
As odd as it is to have two major national holidays so close together, today is IHOP National Pancake Day, just two days after Super Bowl Sunday. I'm a big fan of pancakes: cooking breakfast was the gateway to whatever other cooking I do to this day, so I will have to celebrate the occasion by turning out a stack or two, though a free serving of pancakes is tempting (especially since it supports charity), but with the nearest IHOP a half-hour away, it will be a lot quicker to make them.
A new Kickstarter Campaign from Tom Hall's Pieces of Fun is attempting to raise $400K to develop Worlds of Wander, a planned as a program to allow gamers to create their own platform games. Word is this is to include Secret Spaceship Club, a game called a "spiritual successor" to Commander Keen, the platformer Hall designed in the dawning days of id Software. Interestingly, this project seems to be separate from Loot Drop, the studio Hall co-founded with John Romero, and was the brand on the Tom Hall/Brenda Brathwaite Kickstarter that was cancelled due to lack of interest. Here's word on this project:
Commander Keen’s creator, industry veteran Tom Hall, is announcing his return to fun, funny sci-fi platforming, and he wants to bring you ALL with him! Not just to play but to CREATE A GAME EASILY yourself! WORLDS OF WANDER is a PLATFORM GAME CREATION TOOL that lets you build and share levels, worlds, and whole game experiences with other players. But making a game can be daunting, so it starts with a COMPLETE GAME for you to mess with -- the spiritual successor to Commander Keen -- SECRET SPACESHIP CLUB!
Tom is making SECRET SPACESHIP CLUB with this tool and then giving you the game to play, AND all the data to play with! This game will return to the quirky, funny, clever Tom Hall universe in style, and give you lots of concrete, useful data to start with. It's easy to make a game when you start with one! You never leave the game environment -- the editor is built in! Start in easy mode and just mess with something already made for you. It’s that simple!
The Anodyne Website announces the release of Anodyne, a new indie adventure game that took an honorable mention in the Independent Games Festival Student Competition. A playable demo was released last September (which, like the game, requires Adobe AIR 2.6+), and the game is the subject of a Steam Greenlight campaign. Here's word: "In Anodyne, you explore and fight your way through nature, urban and abstract themed areas in the human Young's subconscious, evoked by a 16-bit-era visual style and a moody, dream-like soundtrack. The gameplay is reminiscent of Link's Awakening, with world design influenced by games such as Yume Nikki."
This new trailer offers a new developer diary with a further look at Silent Hunter Online, Ubisoft's upcoming multiplayer submarine combat game. Here's the latest on the game: "Silent Hunter Online is a free-to-play, browser-based multiplayer submarine simulation game developed by Ubisoft Blue Byte. For the first time in the Silent Hunter series, players will command multiple submarines at the same time. Manage your fleet, construct new U-boats and replenishing supplies are all important aspects of your duties as a fleet commander, and you can access the bunker and depot of your home base at any time to do this." Continue here to read the full story.
This Kickstarter from Triptych Games seeks $50K in funding for Fuzzy Slaughter, a co-op beat-em-up that would be the first original IP from this developer that created the Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty and Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt DLC packs for Borderlands 2. Here's the premise:
It's a proven fact: the cuter they are, the better they taste. But the test subjects of the PITA! Sandwich cute-meat breeding program have had enough. It's time to bust out of the labs, grab some friends, and wreak havoc on the murder machines.
But PITA! isn't going quietly. They've hired an army of Rats, Armadillos, and other guys too ugly to put on bread. The Fuzzies will need every ax, chainsaw, and flamethrower they find to fight back. Fight through forests, farms, city streets, and across the globe to get to PITA! Sandwich headquarters. Throw baddies into wood chippers. Free your fellow Fuzzies and a host of Sexy Bunnies before PITA! can put them on a plate!
The Kickstarter for Akaneiro: Demon Hunters has concluded, just barely hitting the $200K funding goal for enhancing this action/RPG from American McGee and Spicy Horse Games. The game is currently available through the Akaneiro: Demon Hunters Website, but the kickstart will help enhance the game's support for co-op and other platforms such as Linux. Here's word from the announcement:
The $204,680 pledged means that the Spicy Horse team can speed development time and devote more resources to features like co-op gameplay, crafting, Linux support, and the much-anticipated iOS and Android versions of the action RPG.
"We spent most of the weekend on the Akaneiro launch and helping push the Kickstarter over the finish line, so we haven't had a chance to work out an exact roadmap yet, that's something we'll be looking at in the next few weeks" said American McGee, CEO of Spicy Horse Games.
"However, during the Kickstarter, we asked the players what they wanted and they decided: They want co-op and crafting now and Linux and tablet (iOS/Android) support as soon as possible. While we didn't make our stretch goal, we heard the 'don't forget us!' from Ouya supporters loud and clear."
McGee added, "Over the coming weeks, we'll be taking a look at what it takes to implement these features and get them out in a timely manner. We've also still got contributions coming in on the Paypal page, which may influence which features wind up where on the plan."
A new version of the 3DMark benchmark program is now available for Windows, and coming soon to other platforms, as this is designed to allow cross-platform testing, in case you want to compare the performance of your PC to your smartphone. The new version is also available on Steam for 25% off (remind me to tell you whippersnappers about the old days when benchmarks were free), and there is a free version available to demo the program. There are also write-ups about the new version on Legit Reviews, MajorGeeks, PC Perspective, and TweakTown.
Breaking into the calm before the Swarm, Battle.net announces the Heart of the Swarm Launch Page is now live as home to the upcoming Heart of the Swarm expansion for StarCraft II, Blizzard Entertainment's action/RPG sequel. The site is ticking down the 35 days until the pack launches on March 12th, offering the following explanation of the festivities it will host:
Blizzard Entertainment will be preparing for the onslaught with a worldwide broadcast spanning 24 hours leading up to the launch of the game. StarCraft players are invited to join us at official events in Melbourne, Australia; Seoul, South Korea; Versailles, France; and Irvine, California; or catch the celebration online. Top StarCraft II pro-gamers will play Heart of the Swarm show matches with your favorite casters narrating the action. We'll also feature live demonstrations of new features in Heart of the Swarm, showcase videos and community content, and give away great prizes.
Developers will also be present at other official launch events – check the list of locations for information about all these events, and stay tuned to this page for more details about the global launch celebration, coming soon.
Paradox Interactive announces Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods, an expansion for the strategy RPG Crusader Kings II. This is expected in Q2 of this year, and will include a number of user-requested enhancements. This trailer offers a look at the add-on, and there are details on The Crusader Kings Website. Here's a feature list:
Religious Turmoil: Restore the Old Gods to prominence through sacrifice and divination, or force the pagans to convert through new missionary missions
Earlier start: 200 years of more gameplay with the special 867 AD bookmark
Rebels With a Cause: Rebels are no longer faceless rabble, but led by defined characters with specific agendas
Adventurers: Watch as landless younger sons and charismatic warriors raise armies
Pillage and Prosper: Loot provinces and burn cities to the ground – lest your warlike people grow angry during extended peacetime!
Heathens: Convert them or play as them and survive, reforming your faith to stand the test of time
Prepared Invasions: Declare your intent to invade a rich target, and watch adventurers and opportunists flock to your banner
Unholy UI: A new pagan interface is available alongside all-new events, decisions, and units
The latest listing on GfK Chart-Track counts off the 20 bestselling full-priced PC games in the U.K. for the week ending February 2nd. One through three remain the same, with Football Manager 2013 continuing to kick ass, while StarCraft II re-enters at #19 and the sole new entry is Omerta: City of Gangsters at #18. Things are more dynamic on the all-platforms chart, where Hitman HD Trilogy enters at number five and there's a new sheriff in town, as Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch enters the chart in the number one position. Till next week, I'm Casey Kasem. Keep your feet on the ground, and keep on reaching for the stars.
Happy Groundhog Day! No, wait. that's not right... Okay, congratulations to the Ravens (except Ray Lewis) and their fans for winning the Super Bowl. It turned out to be an exciting game, though not as exciting as it would have been had the 49ers completed that comeback, especially with the conspiracy theories that would have provoked based on the wacky power outage. Oh yeah, and that last play was holding, if not pass interference. As Steve Mariucci would say, "bummer."
Okay, on to next season: The Giants pick 19th in the draft, which kicks off in late April. Kansas City Chiefs, you are officially on the clock.