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Friday, Feb 08, 2013

  

Impossible Studios Closing

A Message from Tim Sweeney on the Epic Games Community Website announces Epic is closing Impossible Studios (thanks nin via Kotaku), the developer they formed just six months ago with staff from Big Huge Games, which went under as part of the bankruptcy of 38 Studios. The Epic Games founder explains "it wasn’t working out," and as a result, the iPad game Infinity Blade: Dungeons is now on hold. Here's word:

We’re closing Impossible Studios.

When former members of Big Huge Games approached Epic last year, we saw the opportunity to help a great group of people while putting them to work on a project that needed a team. It was a bold initiative and the Impossible folks made a gallant effort, but ultimately it wasn’t working out for Epic.

In addition to providing Impossible Studios employees with 3 months of severance pay, we’ll be giving the team the opportunity to form a new company with the Impossible Studios name and the awesome Impossibear logo.

This means that Infinity Blade: Dungeons is now on hold as we figure out the future of the project.

RAGE Tool Kit

The Bethesda Blog announces the RAGE Tool Kit is now available on Steam for those that want to work on modifications or other new content for RAGE, id Software's recent first-person shooter. Here's word, which notes these are "complex and aimed towards 'technically sophisticated and adventurous' modders":

Later today on Steam we will be releasing the official tool kit for RAGE – the same tools used to create RAGE and it’s DLC, The Scorchers. From the game’s world building tool, idStudio, to game maps and assets, the kit provides everything you need to get started with modding the first-ever idTech 5 title.

Interested? Before you start downloading the hefty 35+ GB file, the RAGE team has provided some documents to read. As described in the welcome document, these tools provided are complex and aimed towards “technically sophisticated and adventurous” modders.

    Welcome to the RAGE Tool Kit

    RAGE Tool Kit FAQ and EULA

To download the kit itself, be on the lookout for the RAGE Tool Kit in the Tools section of Steam (the same place you’d download Skyrim’s Creation Kit).

On behalf of everyone at id, we look forward to seeing your creations. If you have something to share, shoot us an email or share it with our id Software Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Diablo III Dueling Now Called Brawling

The Diablo III Forums have word that the upcoming preliminary PvP support in Diablo III has been renamed from Dueling to Brawling, to more accurately reflect the lack of meaningful outcome that a duel implies. Here's on this change in the upcoming version 1.07 patch for the action/RPG:

After reviewing feedback from the PTR, we've decided to rename dueling to brawling—a title we feel is much more fitting for the system. Rather than wait to announce this in the official patch notes, we wanted to let players know ahead of time, in part to reduce confusion and in part to explain the reasons behind the change.

While the system we designed for 1.0.7 was developed in order to give players a fun way to beat each other up in Diablo III, we've come to realize that "dueling" wasn’t the best name for it. Sure, it allows players to pummel, stomp, immolate, and hex fellow Nephalem (over and over again, if they so choose), but it's not a traditional one-on-one duel. It’s something much more wild and open-ended, where you can engage in 3-person and even 4-person free-for-all skirmishes with few restrictions. The system is all about letting players fight for the sake of fighting—you don’t need to worry about objectives, rewards, or scoring, and that’s exactly what we love about it. But again, that’s not really dueling; it’s brawling!

There's a lot of power in a name, and we think that the idea of a brawl more accurately describes the system we created. Heck, the NPC we added is even called Nek the Brawler, so we feel this re-branding must have been foretold in one of Deckard Cain’s prophecies. :)

This change will be reflected in the patch notes, as well as in all related game text fields once 1.0.7 ships. We’ve no further changes planned for brawling at this time, but we’re excited to see what kind of havoc players will wreak in the Scorched Chapel once the patch is released.

Evening Q&As

Evening Patches

On Sale

  • Test Drive Unlimited 2 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Ultimate Square Enix on GOG.com. Save 50%.

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Bleep Bloop: Angry Birds Merch. NSFW.

Aliens: Colonial Marines Season Pass and Bug Hunt DLC Announced

SEGA announces a Season Pass program for Aliens: Colonial Marines, the first-person shooter from Gearbox Software that's due next week, saying this will offer four upcoming DLC packs for almost 40 percent less than the cost of purchasing them individually. The announcement also includes word on the first DLC release, confirming yesterday's report that this is called Bug Hunt, and is due in March. Here's word:

SAN FRANCISCO & LONDON (February 8, 2013) - SEGA® of America, Inc., SEGA® Europe Ltd., Gearbox Software and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products announced today a Season Pass promotional program for their highly anticipated release of Aliens™: Colonial Marines on February 12, 2013 worldwide.

Customers who purchase the Season Pass at participating retailers online or in store will receive all four upcoming pieces of downloadable content, which will feature new campaign as well as multiplayer content, for PlayStation®Network, Xbox LIVE® and STEAM for $29.99/£19.99/€29.99/$29.99/2400 Microsoft Points. The Season Pass will give gamers access to all four upcoming packs of DLC, as they become available, at almost 40% savings over the individual purchase of the content.* SEGA, Gearbox Software and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products are set to announce further details on the content and release dates of the downloadable content soon. Additionally, the companies announced the game’s first post-launch downloadable content. Scheduled for March 2013, Aliens: Colonial Marines’ first additional content pack, “Bug Hunt” will throw players into an all-new multiplayer mode where they have to take on waves of increasingly difficult enemies in three brand new maps based on environments from the ALIENS film.

Aliens: Colonial Marines will bring new levels of bone-chilling suspense and adrenaline-filled action to the renowned franchise, as the authentic addition to the ALIENS franchise canon. The game’s stunning visuals and adrenaline pumping action will deliver a breathtakingly immersive four-player drop-in drop-out cooperative campaign and expansive competitive multiplayer with four different modes (Escape, Survivor, Team Deathmatch and Extermination). Providing an innovative, asymmetrical competitive multiplayer experience, Aliens: Colonial Marines lets players fight in first person as the ultimate badasses – the United States Colonial Marines - or in third person as the universe’s deadliest killers – the Xenomorphs. Plunging into familiar and new environments from the iconic film franchise, players will have to fight the fear and face the true horrors of the ALIENS universe.

Aliens: Colonial Marines will be available in stores across the globe on February 12, 2013 on PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC. A release date for the announced Wii U™ version will be revealed at a later time.

Obsidian Pitching New Star Wars RPG

Obsidian has pitched LucasArts on the prospect of creating another RPG based on Star Wars, following their work on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords, a sequel to BioWare's prequel role-playing game. EA's use of The Old Republic setting seems an obstacle to revisiting that setting, but Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart tells Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "There’s a lot of different eras in Star Wars, and that’s what we would focus on." He goes on to describe the time period they envisioned when they pitched the game to LucasArts. "We pitched a between-Episode III and Episode IV game," he explains. "Because we think that timeframe is super interesting. It’s the fall of the Republic, the extermination of the Jedi, it’s Obi-Wan going off and making sure Luke is OK. You have the Sith, but you have the extermination of all Force users except for very, very few. So it was an interesting time to set a game, and you know, Chris Avellone came up with a really cool story." A complication is that Disney's acquisition of LucasArts took place since that pitch, but Urquhart hopes this is all still in play, expressing confidence in what he calls one of the "top three pitches we’ve ever come up with," saying LucasArts was very enthusiastic, and that it's "something we’re still hoping for, even with the Disney/Lucas stuff going on."

SimCity Closed Beta 2 Next Weekend

The SimCity Blog has word that a second closed beta testing weekend for the urban planning reboot is planned to begin on February 16th, and saying those interested should register on this page before signups end on Monday. The article is mostly a FAQ for the new round of testing, clarifying that it will be for Windows only, that testing will only run for 24 hours, and that the main purpose of this is to stress test the servers. Thanks Polygon.

Origin for OS X

Electronic Arts announces an OS X edition of Origin, which is now available for Mac owners through the Download Origin Page. Word is this features dual-platform Windows/OS X support like their competitor Steam added a few years back:

But Origin for Mac will offer additional value to gamers who play on both PC and Mac devices: dual-platform play for select EA titles. With dual-platform play, gamers will buy a game once and be able to download it for both PC and Mac (if the game is available for both platforms). After purchasing the game via Origin on one platform, as soon as a player logs into their other device, the game will appear ready for download in the Origin “My Games” tab.

“Our vision with Origin is to connect your gaming universe online, and today we’re taking a major step in expanding our service to reach Mac-based gamers worldwide,” said Michael Blank, Vice President of Production for Origin at EA. “In delivering great game content, connecting the Origin service across PC, Mac and iOS devices, and offering great value to gamers with dual-platform play on select EA titles, Origin is making it easier than ever before for gamers to connect and play anytime, anywhere.”

Origin for Mac launches with a catalogue of hit titles from EA and publishing partners available for immediate purchase and download, including Dragon Age™ 2, Batman: Arkham City, LEGO Harry Potter and The Sims™ 3. In a special launch offer and to celebrate more than a decade of The Sims, players can enjoy huge savings across The Sims 3 franchise on Origin. The Sims anniversary sale gives players a chance to download The Sims 3 base game, plus numerous expansion and stuff packs via the new Origin for Mac application for as little as $10. These ‘simtastic’ savings on Origin are available for a limited time, so players should act fast.

Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey Kickstarter

This Kickstarter looks to fund Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey, the upcoming Dreamfall sequel from Red Thread Games (thanks Joystiq), a developer founded by The Longest Journey creator Ragnar Tørnquist, using a license for the adventure series granted by Funcom. The game seeks $850,000 for the project, and they offer a trailer along with the following pitch:

Dreamfall Chapters continues and concludes the gripping story of Zoë Castillo, the Dreamer.

Revisiting familiar locations and characters, and introducing new sights and sounds, new faces, new game mechanics, new thrills and challenges, Dreamfall Chapters takes the player on an emotional, exciting and challenging journey -- from a dystopian cyberpunk future, through the mysterious and dreamlike Storytime, to the magical landscapes of Arcadia.

We aim to recapture the heart and soul of The Longest Journey and to improve on the immersion and game mechanics of Dreamfall in order to bring you a fitting, satisfying and emotional conclusion to the Dreamer Cycle.

  • Experience a deep and complex storyline that continues the epic saga of The Longest Journey and concludes the Dreamer Cycle that began with Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
  • Explore a beautiful, rich, detailed, interactive and living world that mixes a cyberpunk vision of the future with magical fantasy, along with a broken and decaying dreamworld
  • Play as three different characters, all on journeys across worlds, through life, and into their own hearts and souls
  • 3D point-and-click interface and engaging puzzle gameplay designed for fans of adventure games

Journey is AIAS Game of the Year

The Academy Of Interactive Arts & Sciences announces the winners of the 16th annual D.I.C.E. Awards, where top honors went to PlayStation 3 exclusive Journey, which won eight awards, including Game of the Year, Outstanding Innovation in Gaming, and Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction (all in spite of apparently nearly going under during the game's development). The game also won Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition, which plays into the fact that the game's soundtrack is nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (in case this inspires your curiosity, no, the classic rock band Journey never won a GRAMMY). Telltales's The Walking Dead game shambled off with four awards of its own, including Downloadable Game of the Year. Here are some select winners:

Action Game of the Year
Borderlands 2

Outstanding Achievement in Story
The Walking Dead

Downloadable Game of the Year
The Walking Dead

Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year
Mass Effect 3

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year
XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Adventure Game of the Year
The Walking Dead

Game of the Year
Journey

Why Borderlands 2 Level Cap is Still 50

Gamesbeat sat down with Gearbox Software's Randy Pitchford to discuss Borderlands 2, and say they plan to publish the entire conversation next week. In the meantime, they have posted a portion of the interview where they explore their agenda of getting the level cap raised, as it remains at 50 after three DLC releases, as opposed to the original Borderlands, which had two level cap increases. Randy admits they didn't plan very well for the cap raises in the original role-playing shooter, calling them mistakes. He then frankly admits they didn't really plan for an increased cap in the sequel either, which is why they are not repeating their mistake, and are still approaching how to raise the cap, saying: "It’s a big challenge. It’s a big undertaking. It’s not going to just turn on. It’s a thing we have to work ourselves through." Here's more, including an indication that console limitations may play a part in this as well:

That’s by design. Some of those things start to become game-breaking. This has actually created a huge problem for us. We designed the skills really well this time, but we did, for better or for worse, make a lot of the decisions with the knowledge that there will be no more skill points available to put into any trees after you reach level 50. We knew the impossible configurations. Some of the design exploits that. Some of the impossible configurations, if they were possible, would break the game. Sometimes very literally. “Oh, that’s gonna blow memory. Your Xbox will crash.”

Alien Arena: Mercury Edition

The Alien Arena Website now offers a new version 7.65 of this free multiplayer shooter, which they dubbed the Alien Arena: Mercury Edition, as it includes many new features as well graphical enhancements, including "a much faster rendering game engine." Here are some major features of the new release:

  • Major improvements in map rendering speed
  • HD lightmaps
  • IQM mesh animation now handled in GPU for major peformance gains
  • Particle rendering optimizations
  • Fixed issues with ATI and shaders
  • Soft shadowmapping for vegetation and players
  • Cubemapping on mesh and map surfaces
  • New glass and water effects
  • Weapon switching has been made significantly faster
  • TCA now best two out of three
  • Various player models received poly increases for smoothness
  • New armor models

New Evochron Mercenary

The Evochron Mercenary Website features downloads of a new version 2.308 update for this space exploration and combat game. Available as a free trial as well as an update for registered users, the new version offers the following enhancements: Continue here to read the full story.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Preview Trailer

Battle.net now offers a second preview trailer from StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the upcoming real-time strategy expansion. The clip features community manager Kevin "Cloaken" Johnson outlining some of the features in the new add-on that provide new ways to play, and make the game more approachable to new players. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

The storm I mentioned yesterday didn't arrive last night as I thought, as I guess I wasn't up on the latest forecast. The winter storm warning is still in effect, and they say we're looking at 100% chance of snow today and tonight, and we may wake up to as much as two feet of snow tomorrow. We're well stocked here, so we'd have to be snowed in for a good long time before we'd have to choose it out to see which one of us we'd feed to the dogs first. Hopefully it won't come to that. And if you are in the storm track, here's hoping you are safe, warm, and well-provisioned.

Well-Stocked Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Free Rider 3.
Links: Star Wars Bloopers. Thanks nin.
Stories: Horsemeat lasagna recalled in Sweden.
Famed Delacroix canvas defaced at new Louvre.
Media: 321 Fight: Adulthood vs. Childhood.
West People Problems.
Follow-up: Lance Armstrong sued over $12 mln in Tour de France prize money.

Thursday, Feb 07, 2013

Ubisoft Results: AC3 Sells > 12 Million Units; New AC Coming

Ubisoft's Q3 2012/13 sales figures are now public, showing sales for the fiscal quarter ending December 31st were 23% higher than the same period the previous year, and saying this is above the upper range predicted for the period. Also, GameSpot covers the company's post-results conference call, where they revealed plans for another installment in the Assassin's Creed series, saying this will (naturally) be set during a different era, and is expected for release in their fiscal 2014, which runs from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. Back to their earnings, among other things, Ubisoft attributes the results to strong performance in the core segment:

An outstanding performance by the core gamer segment, driven by very high-quality games. Assassin's Creed® 3 was a record-breaking success with more than 12 million sell-in and digitally distributed units, representing an almost 70% increase over Assassin's Creed® Revelations. Far Cry® 3 was the highest-rated shooter game in 2012 for Xbox360 (with a Metacritic score of 90%), and delivered a much higher-than-expected performance, with already over 4.5 million sell-in and digitally distributed units.

Activision/Blizzard Reveals Profits, Unannounced MMOG

Activision Blizzard announces Fourth Quarter and Calendar Year 2012 Results, showing a better-than-expected outcome, showing record GAAP net revenues of $4.86 billion and record GAAP earnings per diluted share of $1.01 for the year. "We are very pleased to report that Activision Blizzard delivered the best performance in its history," says Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer, Activision Blizzard. "With better-than-expected net revenues, record operating margins and record earnings, and over $1.3 billion in operating cash flow, we continue to set the industry success bar. I would like to thank our incredibly talented employees around the world for their passion, drive and creativity, which continues to fuel our success." Strategy Informer reports that during the company's post-earnings conference call, two projects they are currently developing were mentioned: Blizzard All-Stars, the upcoming MOBA, and an unannounced MMOG, which should be officially unveiled at some point this year. It's not clear if this MMOG is the confirmed (but unannounced) Titan or one of the "lots of projects" that they aren't talking about.

War of the Roses Free Version Launched

The promised free trial edition of War of the Roses is now live on Steam as a permanent demo for Fatshark's multiplayer melee combat game. Paradox Interactive offers instructions on how to participate, and sends along the following outline of how this differs from the full version of the game:

  • Four base classes to play with: Footman, Guardsman, Longbowman, and Footknight
  • Trial users play with consumers who own the full game as well as other trial users
  • Only default weapons and armor available
  • Two game modes: Team Deathmatch and Conquest (a static King of the Hill with multiple capture points)
  • All maps playable
  • In-game currency used for unlocks can be accrued but not spent, but if the game is purchased then the accrued currency can be used for unlocks

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Maps Workshop Opens

A new patch for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is now automatically available through Steam to update the ongoing beta of Valve's multiplayer shooter sequel. The patch notes are here, showing the notable change is the addition of the Steam Workshop for the game, and providing a bunch of support links. Valve also offers a Counterstrike: Global Offensive Workshop Blog with more details and a FAQ, as well as this announcement explaining what we should expect from all this:

With the Map Workshop you can find new maps, vote for favorites and subscribe to any map or game mode that you'd like. Steam will automatically download the map, and update it whenever the author makes a change. Workshop maps can used in quickmatches, private matches through Play With Friends, or even offline with bots.

Map makers can specify a wide range of gameplay-affecting settings. Stick to the standard CS formula, or create a totally new experience for players. Don't worry about trying something new or testing a unique feature because you can update your maps as often as you'd like. Players and servers that have subscribed will automatically get all new updates!

Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager Announced

Slitherine Ltd announces Buzz Aldrin's Space Program, which they say will be the "ultimate game of space exploration" when it is released for Windows, OS X, and iPads this June. We'll hope this will include a special moon landing skeptic punch-out mode, but that's not included in the following feature list:

  • Manage all aspects of your fledgling space agency from the 1950’s through to the Lunar landings in the first episode. Later episodes will add a permanent space station in Earth orbit all the way to the ultimate goal – a Manned Mission to Mars!
  • Create space programs and launch missions inspired by real programs such as the X-15 Space plane and the Sputnik satellite through to the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo manned spacecrafts and more!
  • Research and develop hundreds of mission components from 40 different program categories.
  • Develop your facility with advanced structures and upgrades including the Vehicle Assembly Building, the Mission Control Center and the Observatory.
  • Recruit and train astronaut candidates and assign them to missions.
  • Assemble an elite team of Scientists, Engineers, Technicians and Flight Controllers for the best chance of success.
  • Manage your agency's extensive budget.
  • Components can cause catastrophic failures. You must decide whether to abort or push on with each mission.
    Vast amounts of research ensure the huge database includes missions that launched and many more that never left the drawing board!
  • In Campaign Mode, manage your agency while pandering to the requirements of government to keep your position as Director!
  • Play in Sand Box mode to manage your budget with no politics involved.
  • Hundreds of components built in 3D and rendered out in exquisite detail allow you to follow the progress of your missions.
  • A historic advisor gives background information on the real missions and astronauts throughout the game.
  • Designed in consultation with Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot and the second human being to set foot on the Moon.

Victoria II Heart of Darkness Expansion Next Month

Paradox Interactive announces Heart of Darkness, an upcoming Joseph Conrad-inspired second expansion for Victoria II that will add a new colonization system and a new naval system to the Victorian strategy game when it's released next month. This page offers some screenshots and details, and here's the feature list:

  • Experience a brand new colonization system: Use your navy to expand your empire, compete against other colonial powers and struggle to maintain your overseas control. Colonial conflicts can spiral out of control and become international crises where they will have to be decided by diplomatic negotiations or risk costly wars.
  • Battle your enemies in the new naval combat system: Together with the new colonization system, your navies are more important than ever. We have revamped the entire naval combat system and made it much more detailed and exciting with a new system of gun ranges and maneuvering into positions for battles. New powerful battleships join the other classes of ships to bridge the gap to Dreadnoughts.
  • Prepare for International Crises: Around the world international crises continually call on the Great Powers to mediate and compromise, with war always being the last resort. As one of the lesser powers, use your influence to stir up the local flash points so you can use fleet footed diplomacy to get the Great Powers to right the wrongs that have been committed against your nation!
  • Follow the global events with the new newspaper system: You will receive reports on local and global events as well as the world's changing situation to keep up to date and get a greater sense of immersion. Over 60 newspapers, both historic and otherwise, periodically present you with the latest news reports of war, major events, royal gossip and other matters of interest.

Max Payne 3 Triple XP Weekend

Rockstar Games announces a doubleheader Social Club multiplayer event is now underway, offering triple experience points in Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3. They are offering some sweepstakes prizes, and outline how you may get to play with some of the developers.

Aliens: Colonial Marines Contact Trailer - Extended Cut

Gearbox gears up for next week's launch of Aliens: Colonial Marines with a new extended cut version of the contact trailer for the first-person shooter. Word is: "Underlined with a classical piece of cinematic music by Golden Globe nominated composer Clint Mansell, the trailer takes viewers on a vertical ride through the USS Sulaco with US Colonial Marines fighting for their lives against an incoming wave of Xenomorphs." Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

Tiny Little Frogs - RTS’s aren’t dying. They’re waiting. By Stardock CEO Brad Wardell.
The third phase games can be broadly described by the technology under them: 64-bit memory, massively multithreaded. And these 3rd phase RTSs will be breathtakingly beautiful to look at, have amazing scope and micro AI (sophisticated rules for units interacting with one another without human involvement) that is astounding.

Publishers aren’t approving these designs not because there isn’t demand. There is. The problem is you can’t make a game that only a fraction of the player base can currently play.

On Sale

Evening Patches

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Evening Consolidation

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Evening Metaverse

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Evening Safety Dance

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etc., etc.

Into the Black

Tomb Raider Gold

The Tomb Raider Facebook Page announces the new Tomb Raider is gold, and this attempt at a gritty reboot of the action/adventure series is scheduled for a March 5th release (thanks Gamer's Hell). Here's word:

Back in 2010 when we announced Tomb Raider we promised to break new ground for the franchise – to create an origins story that forges Lara Croft into a hero, and takes her on a journey like no other. I’m very happy that I can stand by those words today.

We’ve put everything into this game, and I’m certain we’ve created something that explores Tomb Raider’s history while pushing the limits in interactive storytelling and design. Development has spanned two studios, a pair of E3 stage demos, 50-plus magazine covers, 150 award nominations, nearly 800 fan art submissions, almost 2,000 blog posts, and over 50,000 replies from you on our forums.

And now it’s time to get the game into your hands. We sincerely hope you enjoy it. We think you will, We are immensely proud of this game.

28 days to go.

Job Post Spurs Dishonored 2 Speculation

A job post on the ZeniMax Careers Page advertises for a Senior Engine Programmer for Arkane Studios, calling for someone who is "(p)assionate about FPS and RPG games." They seek someone who best matches the following description: "Answering to the Technical Director, you will adapt, maintain and optimize the code for PC and next gen consoles. Multipurpose, you will deal with technology issues that will come up during production (animation, IO, audio, physics….)" Though it does not actually mention Dishonored, this all leads OXM to speculate this might be for Dishonored 2 for the Xbox 720, though to our experience, the phrase "next gen consoles" isn't really a reliable reference point due to loose usage. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Aliens: Colonial Marines "Bug Hunt" DLC Revealed?

The Official Xbox Magazine notes a photo on The Gearbox Software Forums of a Wal-Mart ad promoting new Bug Hunt DLC for Aliens: Colonial Marines, calling this a "$14.99 value," though not indicating what, if anything this will actually cost. It says this is due via download on March 19th, and offers the following description: "Team up with your friends to take on waves of increasingly difficult enemies in an all new game mode." Thanks VG247.

Obscure Announced

Focus Home Interactive announces Obscure, a 2.5D side-scrolling action game coming to Windows, Xbox LIVE, and PlayStation Network this spring. If the title strikes a familiar chord, that's because this is based on Obscure: Learn About Fear and Obscure II, a pair of survival/horror games released by now-defunct French developer Hydravision in the 2000s, and the developer on the new game is Mighty Rocket Studio, formed by former Hydravision staff, and seems likely this is the once-cancelled game the Wikipedia calls "Obscure D." This teaser trailer shows off gameplay from Obscure, which will feature local and online co-op as well as solo play. Here's word:

Obscure is unveiled today for the very first time, through a punchy video full of action, monsters, and hemoglobin!

Obscure for PC, PSN and Xbox LIVE is a pure, action-rich 2.5D side-scroller, drenched in the blood and caustic humor inspired by the teen and horror movie genres... a spirit that definitely shows through today's video!

Playable alone and in cooperative mode (local & online), Obscure lets you play as one of four unlikely heroes; students, each with unique skills and abilities that develop throughout the adventure. Geared toward action and all-out brawling, Obscure's combat emphasizes combos, follow-up attacks, and score-multipliers! Survive against packs of monsters trying to skin you alive, discover new weapons, and complete objectives throughout a variety of huge, non-linear levels. Overshooting the scores will earn you experience points to level your character up, unlocking new weapons, skills, and other devastating abilities! At any time, you can even get back to some of earlier levels to try your new toys and beat your scores!

Continue here to read the full story.

WildStar This Year

The WildStar Website now features a February "State of the Game" address for this upcoming sci-fi MMORPG, revealing plans to officially launch the game later this year. They take this opportunity to outline aspects of other MMOG releases they find unsatisfactory, and will look to redress with their own game. They also say this will kick off "metric boatloads of coverage from the press," and get things started by posting one, two, three different gameplay trailers.

BioWare: Mass Effect 4/ME4 References "A Disservice"

BioWare's Chris Priestly took to the BioWare Social Network to respond to speculation about the next installment in the Mass Effect series of shootery role-playing games (thanks Strategy Informer). In what seems evidence that the era of sequels is hitting a new era of oddness, he suggests calling the fourth installment in the Mass Effect series Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is a "disservice" to the game:

To call the next game Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is doing it a disservice and seems to cause a lot of confusion here. We have already said that the Commander Shepard trilogy is over and that the next game will not feature him/her. That is the only detail you have on the game. I see people saying "well, they'll have to pick a canon ending". No, because the game does not have to come after. Or before. Or off to the side. Or with characters you know. Or yaddayaddayadda. Wherever, whenever, whoever, etc will all be revealed years down the road when we actually start talking about it.

I do not call the game ME4 when I talk about it ever, bucause that makes people think of it more as "what happens after Mass Effect 3" rather than "what game happens next set in the Mass Effect Universe", which is far more accurate at this point. Obviously fans are going to speculate content, character and story until we actually reveal details in the years or months to come as you have almost no actual details, just don't get bogged down in "well how are they going to continue ME3...".

Morning Patches

Morning Q&As

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

It's a day of sports mourning for me, as the Giants have cut Ahmad Bradshaw, one of my very favorite players, and as important as any player in each of the team's two recent championships. The offseason can be rough on NFL players too. Poop. :(

Anyway, we're battening down the hatches here in the BlueTower, as a nor'easter is coming, and could be quite nasty, depending on the track it takes. Time to check the hot cocoa supply.

R.I.P.: Makeup master Stuart Freeborn of 'Star Wars' dead at age 98. Thanks nin.

Cut Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: 400 Years.
Stories: 'Star Wars' spin-offs- A young Han Solo movie, and a Boba Fett film.
Journalists Poop Their Pants On A Bus, Write About The Experience. Thanks Morris.
Postal Service to cut Saturday mail to trim costs. Extra junk mail on Mondays.
Science: Closest Earth-like planet 'stroll across park'.
Images: The 2013 Sony World Photography Awards. Thanks nin.
Media: When The Avengers Enrolled At Shermer High School.
Super Mario Busters.
Streak Free Shine.
Auction: "Rarer than rare" 1865 baseball card sells for $92,000.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Follow-up: How Mark Changizi conquered colorblindness with glasses. Thanks nin.



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