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Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 Happy Waitangi Day (New Zealand)

  

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Announced

The Astronauts announces The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the first game from this new developer formed last year by the founders of Polish studio People Can Fly. This game is the first we can recall to lay claim to the genre of "Weird Fiction Horror," and it is currently expected this year for Windows PCs, making use of Epic's Unreal Engine 3, as well as "exciting new technology," of which they mysteriously say: "the details of which we will reveal in the coming months." The announcement includes a screenshot and this teaser trailer, and here's word:

Inspired by the weird fiction stories and other tales of macabre of the early 20th century, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a game to be played at night, alone, and in headphones. With The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, The Astronauts – a team comprised of People Can Fly (Bulletstorm, Painkiller) veterans – aim to evolve immersive storytelling in games. It’s set for release on PC via digital distributors in 2013.

As a detective with the supernatural ability to visualize scenes of lethal crimes, you investigate the kidnapping of a young boy, hoping to save him before it’s too late. The investigation leads you to a beautiful mountain area, where you come across a severely mutilated body of one of the kidnappers. Using both your paranormal skill and modern detective tools you discover the mystery behind the trail of corpses in the valley, the roots of an ancient force ruling the area, and the fate of the kidnapped boy.

“What we care about the most is that the players feel like they’re really there. Immersion is our number one priority," said the game’s designer, Adrian Chmielarz. “It’s a game about exploration and discovery. We’re not abandoning the gameplay – on the contrary: we’re trying to strip it down to the bone and make sure it’s always meaningful and truly makes the experience better.”

Leviathan: Warships Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Leviathan: Warships, a strategic action game for Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android that will allow for cross-platform play between all four when it is released later this year. Here's a trailer, and there are details on the game's product page. Here's word:

NEW YORK — February 6, 2013 — Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games and a wearer of lifejackets, and developer Pieces Interactive today announced the forthcoming release of a new tactical action game, Leviathan: Warships, for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android platforms. The game, which challenges players to assemble customized fleets of warships and weaponry, will feature cross-platform gameplay across all supported platforms, allowing battles to be fought from nearly any computer, tablet, or location. With a full co-op campaign and several player-vs.-player (PvP) maps ready to put fleets to the test, Paradox reminds players that their tablets will not function as floatation devices.

In Leviathan: Warships, players will choose from a wide array of ship and weapon types to build a personalized fleet and fight battles in a unique blend of action and turn-based gameplay. Captains can take their time to plot out their turn, assigning moves and attacks to their ships, and then witness the chaos of battle as each fleet engages their maneuvers in simultaneous action sequences. With Leviathan: Warships, Paradox puts the sea in the cloud, allowing players to start a session from their tablet and continue their cloud-saved skirmish from their computer, challenging foes on any available device.

Assassin's Creed III DLC Episodes Dated

Ubisoft announces the release schedule for The Tyranny of King Washington, the three episode DLC series for Assassin's Creed III that's based on the evil version of George Washington, who presumably wears a Van Dyke (or at least a goatee). The first installment in this series is due for the stealth assassination sequel in about two weeks. Here's the deal:

SAN FRANCISCO - February 6, 2013 -Today, Ubisoft® confirmed the release dates for all three upcoming episodes of Assassin's Creed III - The Tyranny of King Washington. This three-part single-player experience will let gamers discover an alternate history of the events following the American Revolution where George Washington has succumbs to the temptation of infinite power and crown himself king

  • Assassin's Creed III - The Tyranny of King Washington: The Infamy will be available on Microsoft's Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PCs on February 19
  • Assassin's Creed III - The Tyranny of King Washington: The Betrayal will release on Microsoft's Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PCs on March 19
  • Assassin's Creed III - The Tyranny of King Washington: The Redemption will be available on Microsoft's Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PCs on April 23

In the first episode of the Tyranny of King Washington series, our hero, Ratonhnhaké:ton, awakens from an unsettling dream to find that, despite his efforts to deliver justice in the newly-founded United States of America, a new king has been crowned - George Washington. The Infamy will take gamers through the beginning of the journey to dethrone King Washington.

The three upcoming episodes of the Tyranny of King Washington are available through the Assassin's Creed III Season Pass, which is available for purchase for 2400 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE or $29.99 on the PlayStation®Network and Windows PC. It can be purchased at GameStop and Best Buy. Each episode of The Tyranny of King Washington will be available for purchase separately as a single DLC pack for 800 Microsoft points or $9.99.

Skyrim HD Pack Updated

Bethesda Blog has details on an update that's now available on Steam for the free HD texture pack for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:

In a continued effort to support our PC fanbase, we’ve released a Steam update to Skyrim’s (free) HD Texture Pack. In addition to high resolution textures in the main game, the update adds improved textures for Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and the newly-released Dragonborn.

Before you download, make sure your PC has the horsepower to support it. Make sure your system requirements exceed Skyrim’s recommended specs before attempting to install, and that your PC has Windows Vista/7, a minimum of 4GB of system RAM, and a DirectX 9.0c compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with at least 1 GB of RAM and the latest drivers.

If you already have the Skyrim texture pack, be aware that you’ll be downloading an update that’s approximately 4.7 GB in size.

Age of Wonders 3 Revealed

Dutch studio Triumph is reviving their Age of Wonders series of TBS/RPGs with plans to release Age of Wonders 3 this autumn, according to Eurogamer. The report is a bit vague, saying an OS X version is also planned, and "may" coincide with a Windows edition, and it's possible a tablet edition will also be made. There's also a bit of mystery about who is behind this, as there will not be a Kickstarter, and they are planning on unveiling their "big partner" for this in the future.

Sniper Elite V2 DLC Released

Steam News heralds the release of the Windows PC edition of the new Sniper Elite V2 - St. Pierre DLC for Sniper Elite V2, the sharpshooting sequel:

The St. Pierre pack for Sniper Elite V2 gives players access to a brand new single-player mission and the use of three powerful new weapons.

In this latest mission, players find themselves deployed to a small village in rural France where they must intercept and eliminate General Rodebrecht, a rising star in the German high command who many believe could turn the tide of war against the Allies.

Steamships Ahoy - Special Forces: Team X

Steam News announces the release of Special Forces: Team X, a new "team centric 3rd Person cover based shooter" from Blacklight developer Zombie Studios. They say: "The game features a unique map selection system, with the ability to shape the battlefield by selecting individual environmental pieces, resulting in over 100 map variations. STX supports asymmetric game play with 2-4 teams and 5 frenetic game modes. Customize your skills, weapons and character to tailor your tactics and performance in battle."

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Into the Black

Link of the Day: See the Real Models for the Archer Characters. Thanks nin.

Valve/J.J. Abrams Collaboration? Half-Life or Portal Movie?

Ars Technica has details from today's D.I.C.E. Summit keynote by Valve's Gabe Newell and Hollywood's J.J. Abrams where one of the topics was a game/movie collaboration. At one point Abrams says he has an "idea for a game that we'd like to work with Valve on" which inspired the following response from Newell: "We're also interested in working with you guys on movies. We're going to see if we can make a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie."

Steam Privacy Issue Fixed

A privacy issue has been corrected on the Steam Community Website that could expose details about users' games and activity, even when their profiles were set to private or friends-only. Ars Technica says they brought the problem to Valve's attention, and while it was never publically acknowledged, it is not longer possible to exploit it.

Jon Shafer's New Studio Announces At the Gates

This Kickstarter is attempting to raise $40,000 for At the Gates, a turn-based strategy game set during the decline of the Roman Empire. This will be developed by Conifer Games, a new studio formed by Jon Shafer, most recently of Stardock and lead designer on Sid Meier's Civilization V when he was at Firaxis.. Shortly after it was announced that Shafer was joining Stardock it was said that he would "bring additional modding expertise to the recently launched Elemental: War of Magic and will take the lead in designing the next as-of-yet unannounced Stardock title." Jon's LinkedIn profile indicates he left Stardock in September 2012 after serving as "project lead for an unannounced title." Back to At the Gates, they offer a trailer with almost 15 minutes of gameplay, and do a much better job than many Kickstarters of summarizing what to expect:

At the Gates is an empire builder similar to Sid Meier's Civilization. Starting with a small tribe, you must explore the world, exploit its scarce resources, and eliminate or outsmart potential enemies. The game starts simple but grows in complexity until you command a mighty economic and military powerhouse.

Over the course of a single game your tribe will migrate to more lush and bountiful lands, conquer and barter with other clans, work alongside the Romans, learn from them, and finally destroy them. Along the way, you'll need to master the art of war and craft cunning plans to strengthen your kingdom - all while enduring the worst mother nature can throw at you!

Continue here to read the full story.

John Carmack On Linux Gaming Support

A comment on reddit by id Software co-founder John Carmack (thanks Develop) follows the theme of a recent post by former id programmer Timothee Besset indicating that id's once-strong support for Linux gaming has waned. The post basically confirms and explains that premise, discussing how he sees a plausible path for Linux gaming via emulation on Steam, if "properly evangalized," but expressing skepticism about commercial native Linux ports:

However, I don’t think that a good business case can be made for officially supporting Linux for mainstream games today, and Zenimax doesn’t have any policy of “unofficial binaries” like Id used to have. I have argued for their value (mostly in the context of experimental Windows features, but Linux would also benefit), but my forceful internal pushes have been for the continuation of Id Software’s open source code releases, which I feel have broader benefits than unsupported Linux binaries.

I can’t speak for the executives at Zenimax, but they don’t even publish Mac titles (they partner with Aspyr), so I would be stunned if they showed an interest in officially publishing and supporting a Linux title. A port could be up and running in a week or two, but there is so much work to do beyond that for official support. The conventional wisdom is that native Linux games are not a good market. Id Software tested the conventional wisdom twice, with Quake Arena and Quake Live. The conventional wisdom proved correct. Arguments can be made that neither one was an optimal test case, but they were honest tries.

Oculus Rift Vision Correction Support

Update #17 to the Oculus Rift Kickstarter has word that the "pilot run" developer kits for the VR headsets are still on track to be released to developers next month. They also offer details on a change to the design to better accommodate vision correction, offering three sets of interchangeable eyecups and an adjustable viewing distance to compensate for nearsightedness or farsightedness. Word is: "This isn’t the perfect solution: the B and C cups won’t be ideal for everyone, but we’re hoping that they help some of the nearsighted developers. If you have other eye issues like astigmatism, the additional lens cups may not be sufficient. In short, your mileage may vary." They also offers loads of detail on their manufacturing process. Thanks Develop.

Metacritic Game Publisher Rankings

Metacritic offers its 2013 Game Publisher Rankings, revealing the companies behind the year's best reviewed games. The top ranking among "major publishers" goes to EA, where Mass Effect 3 got a 93 score and the lowest grade was 53 (however unfair) for Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Number two was Microsoft (falling from last year's top spot), number three was Sony, and number four was Nintendo. Activision/Blizzard moved up one spot from last year, an now occupies the number 10 position. The top "mid-size" publisher was Take-Two Interactive, followed by Telltale Games and Square Enix. Thanks Destructoid/VG247.

McDROID and Demo Released

The McDROID Website offers the release of McDROID, indie developer Elefantopia's debut strategy game for Windows, OS X, and Linux. They call the game the "colourful cel-shaded love child" of R-TYPE and Dune 2, and offer a playable demo to experience that firsthand. Here's word: "Control McDROID a modular weapon droid whose areas of expertize are combat and farming. Whilst travelling through the deepest darkest fringes of unexplored space, MCDROID’s shuttle collides with space debris and crash lands on the unchartered Planet M. Survival is paramount as McDROID defends the crashed shuttle and his only means of escape." The game is currently in a paid beta phase, and can be purchased through Desura and IndieGameStand, where it's currently on sale, and there is also a Steam Greenlight campaign to drum up support for its official full release.

WoW Currency Conversions

Blizzard announces currency conversions will be part of the upcoming version 5.2 update for World of Warcraft, their MMORPG. They explain the process, and offer the following overview: "Patch 5.2 introduces a new raid tier and PvP season, and so the higher tier currencies will be down-converted during maintenance. This time around there won’t be a soft cap, old Valor items aren’t changing to cost Justice, and we’re adding a new rank of PvP gear."

Hitman Movie Reboot Plans

Deadline.com has news that Fox is planning a Hitman movie reboot following the commercially successful (but critically, not so much) movie starring Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood, Justified). Word is the new movie, called Agent 47, will star Paul Walker (The Fast and the Furious, Another Fast and the Furious , Yet Another Fast and the Furious) and will mark the feature film debut of director Aleksander Bach, previously known for directing commercials. Thanks IGN.

Morning Previews

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Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Here's a little follow-up on discussions here of color vision deficiency since I brought up the fact that I am a "sufferer" myself. A Cure for Colorblindness? (by way of Ant and Slashdot) discusses a breakthrough that involves corrective lenses. This red/green enhancement comes at the expense of yellow/blue perception, so it's not without its issues (apparently it renders yellow traffic lights invisible), but it's an interesting bit of progress in an area where I never expected any. If nothing practical comes of this, I'd still be interested in experiencing this effect to see how the other half (or other 90%, technically) lives.

Colorful Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Notebook Defense.
Links: Kickstarter Open Source Death Star. Thanks nin.
Stories: Armstrong Under Criminal Investigation.
Science: Scientists 3D-print embryonic stem cells, pave the way for lab-made organ transplants.
Media: Honest Trailers - Skyfall.
What really happened to the power at the Super Bowl.
Panhandler Party.
Video Game Villain Therapy: Koopa Turtle (Super Mario Bros. Parody).
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013

Ships Ahoy - Dead Space 3

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.

Ships Ahoy - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn

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.

Fallen Enchantress Legendary Heroes Announced

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.

New MechWarrior: Online Mech

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.

More NPD 2012 Sales Analysis

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."

Take-Two Takes $400MM

Take-Two Interactive Software's Third Quarter Fiscal 2013 earnings are now public, showing the company pulled in a cool $400 million, allowing them to authorize the repurchase of up to 7.5 million shares their common stock. Here are the highlights:

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.

Borderlands 2 Sales Near 6 Million; DLC Bundle Announced

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 Losses

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."

Newell Entering AIAS Hall-of-Fame

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.

TTimo: id "Lost Interest Towards the PC"

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 :)

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Into the Black

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt Announcement

CD Projekt RED officially announces The 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."

Free TERA: Rising Launches

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.

The Witcher 3 Revealed for Next Year

GameInformer.com tips off that the cover story for the March issue of Game Informer magazine will officially reveal The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the not completely unexpected 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.

Notch Backtracks on Psychonauts 2 Support

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.

Impire Preorders

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 Video Blog

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.

Morning Patches

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Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

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Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

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etc.

Out of the Blue

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.

Syrupy Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Stop GMO 2.
Science: Economic forecasts no better than a random walk. Thanks Slashdot.
Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are king's. Thanks brother19.
Media: There is no one on the internet who hates cats more than this guy. Thanks nin.
One Man Army Dominates Airsoft Battle.
Fail Compilation January 2013.
Follow-up: Behind the scenes in the NFL control room during Super Bowl blackout.



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