bitComposer Entertainment follows up on their recent tease with the announcement of Air Conflicts: Vietnam, confirming suggestions in their teaser trailer that they are crafting a Vietnam era aerial combat game. This game is being developed Games Farm, creators of the previous installments in the series, and it will once again offer an arcadey flight model when it is released for Windows, Linux, OS X, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in Q3 of this year. Here's word:
Air Conflicts: Vietnam offers the popular combination of flight simulation and arcade gameplay. In the course of the game, the player controls over 20 accurately simulated fighter jets and helicopters from the Vietnam War era. In certain missions, the player has to leave the pilots seat temporarily to operate the guns and defend against attacks. If several fighter jets take part in a mission, the player can equip and upgrade them individually, as well as control the entire squadron. Air Conflicts: Vietnam offers a variety of missions and a compelling story set against the background of one of the best-known and most controversial wars in modern history.
There can’t just be winners in war! Immerse yourself in the compelling and emotional story and experience, alongside heroic moments, the darker side of war.
Experience the Vietnam War, one of the most explosive and violent wars of all time, up close! Witness the experiences of a brave U.S. Air Force pilot and immerse yourself ever deeper in the story thanks to the dramatic musical score.
In addition to fighter jet missions, there are also new, special helicopter missions to complete.
Take control of entire squadrons! Control all of the airplanes in your squadron.
Equip your airplanes and helicopters with realistic weapons! All possible combinations of airplanes (or helicopters) and weapons are based on real models.
A realistic setting combined with arcade gameplay! Every airplane can only be loaded with a limited amount of ammunition. However, you can compensate for this by switching between different airplanes in your squadron.
A game that never gets boring! Play different single-player and innovative multi-player modes.
Choose from a massive arsenal of military machinery! The game includes over 20 different airplanes and helicopters from U.S. and the Russian side.
Jet Set Games announces that Steam now offers the Windows and OS X editions of Highborn, updated versions of their turn-based strategy game that's already available for mobile devices. There's no demo, but the game is on sale for the first week for 25% off. Here's word on the game and the port:
“Many of Jet Set’s employees have a long history of building strategy games for the PC, and it feels great to be developing for this platform again,” said Rade Stojsavljevic, president and co-founder of Jet Set Games. “We chose to bring Highborn to Steam, not only to satisfy our customer’s demands, but also because we knew we could take advantage of the processing power of the PC to really showcase the amazing graphics and improved gameplay that we’ve put into this re-imagined version of Highborn.”
In Highborn, players are treated to two strategy games that combine to offer an intelligent, tactical experience without the frenetic play of a traditional RTS. Players move forces around an overhead map to secure spells and combat support, then dive into 3D combat to deploy those advantages against an unsuspecting enemy. All the fun and fighting is set against an irreverent tale, filled with wacky heroes, witty dialogue and wild assumptions.
A new update 17 is now live in Dungeons & Dragons Online, bringing new content and other enhancements to Turbine's D&D MMORPG. The update is titled "Return to Gianthold," and ties in with the release of a new Ruins of Gianthold Adventure Pack, which is free to VIPs. The Release Notes have all the details on the new version, as well as a birthday giftbox for players: "DDO is turning 7 years old this year, and we're celebrating by giving a gift to all our players! A birthday giftbox will be placed in the inventory of all characters created prior to Update 17. Simply activate the box to open a list of lovely gifts and pick the one you like best!"
Square Enix announces an "early 2014" release date for Murdered: Soul Suspect, an adventure game that tasks players with solving their own murders, which can often make it difficult to interview suspects. The game is coming to Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, and the official website is online, offering a cinematic trailer to whet our appetites. The game also has a Facebook Page and a Twitter feed.
A tweet by GameStop indicates the CEO of the games retailer got the chance to see Battlefield 4 behind closed doors, saying "Got to see Battlefield 4 today and all I can say is WOW! Thanks @EA for the sneak peek. Can’t wait for you all to see it." This seems like a leak, since a next installment in the shooter series, however inevitable, is not yet announced, but VG247 notes that Electronic Arts is one of the many accounts that have retweeted this, suggesting they are comfortable with this revelation.
The Humble Bundle folks announce Humble Bundle Mojam 2, the second annual Mojang event, will take place starting at noon eastern time today. This involves developer Mojang along with indie friends Grapefrukt; Ludosity; Oxeye Game Studio; Vlambeer; and Wolfire Games, splitting into small teams to create games based on fan suggestions in a marathon 78 hour coding session. These games will then be offered for sale in a new bundle with 100% of the proceeds will go to charity. A livestream of the proceedings will begin at noon on The Humble Indie Bundle website.
OXM has a 13-minute video from Aliens: Crucible, the Aliens RPG in development at Obsidian before the project was cancelled. A clip with some animations from this game surfaced this week, but this clip includes work-in-progress gameplay. Thanks VG247.
I came across something that pointed out that today is "Love Your Pet Day." It's not possible to love anyone more than we love Hudson the wonder dog and the Gunnar-man around here, but it seems like a worthy cause, so I'm willing to put in some extra effort to try and see how it works out.
Developed by Crytek and powered by the proprietary cutting edge CryENGINE technology, Crysis 3 is the next installment in the award-winning Crysis franchise. The series is known for its spectacular visuals, dynamic, open gameplay and its signature Nanosuit that grants players unique powers to assess, adapt and attack in any situation. In Crysis 3, players return to the fight as Prophet on his quest to save mankind. Set in New York, the city has been encased in a Nanodome that has turned this once thriving metropolis into a veritable urban rainforest teeming with overgrown trees, dense swamplands and raging rivers. Seven distinct and treacherous environments become known as the 7 Wonders. This dangerous new world demands advanced weapons and strategies, including the enhanced Nanosuit which provides players a tactical advantage. In addition to the powerful Nanosuit, players wield the devastating Predator bow and cutting-edge alien weaponry to become the deadliest hunter on the planet.
Crysis 3 also contains a robust multiplayer experience featuring 12 visually stunning maps and eight heart-pounding gameplay modes including the all new Hunter mode. An asymmetrical, time based mode, Hunter mode pits 2 players vs. 10 (2 vs. 14 on PC) in matches that begin with two cloaked hunters stalking 10 opposing CELL troopers. Armed only with enhanced Nanosuits and the lethal Predator bow, hunters must systematically stalk and kill the CELL operatives, who in turn must work together as a team as they fight to stay alive before the round ends. The twist is that once a CELL trooper is killed, that player will then respawn as a hunter, joining the others in their attempt to eliminate the remaining CELL operatives before the clock strikes zero. Crysis 3 multiplayer will also feature the debut of the New York Feed, a brand new in-game social feed that will showcase the accomplishments of gamers and their friends while offering dynamic challenges to complete.
Irrational Games announces that BioShock Infinite is gold, as Ken Levine says the console overlords have evaluated Irrational's shooter sequel, and deemed it fit for its planned release on March 26th. Irrational also offers a new "Lamb of Columbia" Trailer, described like so: "To clear his debt, Booker DeWitt must rescue a mysterious girl from the sky-city of Columbia. But who is this girl? What makes her so powerful, and why are so many willing to do anything to keep her from escaping? More importantly... what price will you pay to set her free?" Here's what Ken has to say about the new game:
Nobody has ever built a game quite like this. It’s a shooter, but a shooter that brings you to very uncomfortable and dangerous places. I can’t demand that you play the game; I can promise you, however, that once you have, it will be an experience you won’t soon forget.
Who is Booker, and what is the debt that drives him to Columbia? What are Elizabeth’s powers and why has she been locked up since she was a child? Why does Booker have the letters “AD” branded into his right hand? And what, in God’s name, is the Songbird.
Columbia is a city teeming with mystery. I’m glad to say that one mystery is over: On March 26th, you will be able to play BioShock Infinite.
Activision cut about 30 jobs globally today, reports Kotaku, where they have an official statement about the layoffs from the company. They originally heard these centered around Call of Duty: Black Ops II developer Treyarch, but Activision tells them that this is "a minimal reduction in staff to better align our development talent against the needs of DLC development. The release of the DLC will not be impacted by this move." They do confirm other cuts, however, saying these mostly come in areas dealing with licensed games. Here's the deal:
In 2013, we expect to release fewer games based on license properties and as a result are realigning our structure to better reflect the market opportunities and our slate. Approximately, 30 full-time employees have been impacted globally, which represents approximately one half of one percent of Activision Blizzard's employee population. We are offering those employees who are impacted outplacement counseling services.
Paradox Interactive announces the release of March of the Eagles, saying the strategic Napoleonic wargame from Paradox Development Studio is now available through most digital distributors. The Release Trailer offers a look at the game, and this page shows where it is available for purchase. Here's word:
Take control of one of the great powers of Europe and push for land and naval dominance in a decade swirling with fire, smoke and dark acts of betrayal as each nation pushes towards its objectives.
Set at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, "March of the Eagles" is a wargame friendly to newcomers to Paradox Development Studio’s stable of award-winning strategy titles, while still having the streamlined diplomacy perfect for cutthroat scheming for both newcomers and veterans alike. Go forth to the battlefield and take on your friends and rivals in multiplayer games for up to 32 players, that will have you not talking to each other for weeks afterwards.
Frictional Games offers a new status report on Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, including a new release window for the horror sequel that was delayed from its planned release last Halloween. They say they have a final build of the game, but will be doing enough polishing, tweaking, porting, etc., that they do not expect to release the game until "around Q2 2013." They explain: "How come a game meant for Halloween 2012 has been delayed for so long? Originally we thought it would be a short, experimental game set in the universe of Amnesia, but thechineseroom had a vision that was bigger than that. As their work progressed, the potential for a much greater project emerged. What we ended up with is no longer what we had first imagined, but a fully fledged Amnesia game. A different kind of Amnesia, but definitely not a short experiment." Thanks Eurogamer.
Battlefront.com has details on Fortress Italy: Gustav Line, an upcoming expansion for Combat Mission Fortress Italy, the World War II strategy game. The new add-on will be based on the battles for the Italian mainland, and they offer screenshots and all sorts of details on the units players will command and the battles they will fight. This does not yet carry a set release date, but they say they will begin accepting preorders "in the coming weeks."
Daedalic Entertainment announcesThe Night of the Rabbit, a stylized adventure game coming to Windows and OS X in May of this year (the website says the 28th, while a note we received says the 29th). Here's word, which makes this sound like Harry Potter meets Alice in Wonderland:
Accompany Jerry as he travels this mystic world and unravel the Marquis' sinister secret. 12 year old Jerry's greatest dream is to become a wizard. During the final days of summer vacation this dream seems to become reality: a tall, elegantly dressed rabbit, the Marquis de Hoto, appears out of thin air and offers Jerry an apprenticeship.
Both of them venture into a fantastic world; a world where talking animals and magic, mysterious creatures dwell. But as the spell of the vile wizard Zaroff takes hold of the people and the world itself, Jerry's magic adventure turns into a nightmare. And slowly the boy comes to realize, the enigmatic rabbit had his reasons to make him his apprentice.
Will Jerry and his friends, Plato and Kitsune, succeed in foiling the Great Zaroff's schemes? What sinister secrets does the Marquis try to hide? The answers are buried deep within the dark woods of a mystical world...
A new Kickstarter looks to raise $65,000 to develop Mage's Initiation, described as "A Classic Sierra-style Adventure/RPG." While skepticism of living up to that high standard is understandable, developer Himalaya Studios has reason to invoke Sierra's legacy, as they are the outfit behind freeware King's Quest and Quest for Glory remakes under the name AGD Interactive. Here's word on the game:
Sixteen-year-old D'arc has spent most of his life training in the elemental arts, in hopes of becoming a respected Mage of Iginor. Now he must prove himself by succeeding in three tasks around the perilous Iginor countryside. With the storytelling and puzzle solving of an adventure game and the customization and stat building of an RPG, Mage's Initiation is a unique hybrid that will be experienced differently by everyone who plays it.
The MechWarrior Online Forums offer patch notes for a new version 1.2.190 update that's now live in the multiplayer mech shooter. The new version includes a new Alpine Peaks environment, which is outlined in detail on this page, and five different variants on the Trebuchet Mech are now available in the MechLab, and this page has details on those. The new version also has bug fixes, performance improvements, and Phase III of MatchMaking. Here's word on that: "The Match Maker will form the best balanced match in terms of both skills and Mech classes of all players involved, and new cosmetic items allow you to proudly display your favorite house faction with Faction Holograms for your cockpit. Dominating the battlefield has never looked so good."
The stillalive studios website has details on Son of Nor, an upcoming action/adventure in the works for Windows and OS X (and "probably" Linux). The indie team behind the game says they've made a good deal of progress on the game in the past few weeks, and offer an official game introduction trailer said to be more of that "pre-alpha" footage. Here's word on the game:
Son of Nor is an action adventure with puzzle elements involving supernatural abilities like telekinesis, terraforming and elemental magic. The game takes place in Noshrac. A harsh desert world where humankind is at the brink of extinction. You play a Son of Nor, a mage with telekinetic powers and the ability to bend the elements to your will, trained to defend the remaining humans from the onslaught of the Sarahul Empire and the perils of the desert. Solve puzzles using your telekinetic powers, venture through long forgotten temples, terraform the desert and fight to the death alongside your friends in this co-op fantasy action adventure.
The Steam page for Brȕtal Legend now reveals a release date for the Windows edition of Double-Fine's musical action/strategy game, saying it will be available one week from today on February 26th. Rock, Paper, Shotgun (thanks nin) has some quotes from a recent interview with Tim Schafer exploring the premise that the game finally coming to PCs three years after its console release may be fortuitous, as a success could lead to Double Fine pursuing some ideas for additional content they were unable to at the time of the game's initial release since they were then under the control of Electronic Arts.
Tim talks of an RTS control mode and additional multiplayer content, noting it's unlikely they could add additional single-player content since it would require re-engaging all the original game's expensive voice talent. He even discusses the possibilities of microtransactions being added, though Double Fine stresses it would proceed with caution should any attempts to add content come to pass out of sensitivity to what might seem like a money grab. "I started in the industry when people were like, ‘PC gaming is dead! Consoles are the future.’ And for people who stuck around through that time, they felt really abandoned," explains technical director Nathan Martz. "They felt like publishers and developers didn’t care. So I think a lot of that frustration and anger comes from this feeling of ‘I cared about this thing when you didn’t. And now you’re trying to take advantage of it. Do you actually even care?’ So we want to show people that we do care. We’re bound by the laws of physics and finance, so we can only do so many things. But we really, really want to respect the platform as much as those people do."
Blizzard announces details on BlizzCon 2013, saying the next installment in Blizzard's annual (not counting last year) gaming convention will take place in Anaheim, California this November:
IRVINE, Calif. – February 19, 2013 – Gather your guildmates, muster your minions, and summon your swarm! Blizzard Entertainment today announced plans for its seventh BlizzCon® gaming convention, taking place Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. For two epic days, members of Blizzard’s gaming community from around the globe will descend on Anaheim to meet, play, and celebrate their shared passion for all things Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo®.
“BlizzCon gives us a chance to connect with our players and share our latest projects in a very personal way,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “Members from all of our gaming communities have helped make this event bigger and better every time, and we look forward to meeting up and celebrating with them in November.”
In addition to serving as a gathering place for Blizzard Entertainment gaming communities, BlizzCon will offer attendees a chance to enjoy:
Hands-on play time with the latest versions of Blizzard Entertainment games
Global finals for Blizzard eSports, featuring top pro gamers from around the world
In-depth discussion panels with Blizzard game developers and artists
Competitive and casual tournaments for players to showcase their talents
Community contests with great prizes
Commemorative merchandise based on Blizzard Entertainment’s game universes
More activities and attractions to be announced
The previous BlizzCon was held in Anaheim in October 2011. Tickets to the event sold out in seconds, and highlights included the unveiling of the fourth World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria®, and an epic closing concert featuring rock legends Foo Fighters.
Further details about BlizzCon 2013, including ticket availability and pricing, will be announced on the official BlizzCon website (www.blizzcon.com) as the event draws closer. Those interested in attending the show in person can make advance hotel reservations now and receive special BlizzCon rates by booking through the BlizzCon hotel website.
Ubisoft announces the availability of The Infamy, the first installment in The Tyranny of King Washington, the three-part DLC pack for Assassin's Creed III, the stealth/action sequel. Here's word on the release, which is available individually, or as part of a season pass of all three episodes:
SAN FRANCISCO - February 19, 2013 - Today, Ubisoft® announced the launch of The Infamy, the first episode in the three-part Assassin's Creed® III The Tyranny of King Washington downloadable content series for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows® PC.
In the first episode of The Tyranny of King Washington, our hero, Ratonhnhaké:ton, awakens from an unsettling dream to find, despite his efforts to deliver justice in the newly founded United States of America, that a new king has been crowned: George Washington. The Infamy takes gamers through the beginning of the journey to dethrone this new king.
Assassin's Creed III The Tyranny of King Washington continues in two more episodes: The Betrayal and The Redemption, releasing March 19 and April 23, respectively.
Each episode of The Tyranny of King Washington can be purchased individually for 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE or $9.99.
The three 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 via the Xbox LIVE® online entertainment network for Xbox 360, or $29.99 on PlayStation®Network and Windows PC. The Season Pass will include the Tyranny of King Washington campaign and the previously released Hidden Secrets and Battled Hardened packs. It can also be purchased at GameStop and Best Buy.
All Assassin's Creed III downloadable content packs will also be available through the Nintendo eShop on the Wii UTM system from Nintendo.
Assassin's Creed III is now available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 system and Wii U. For Windows PC gamers, the Assassin's Creed III Deluxe Edition is available as a digital download and includes all future downloadable content.
The source code for the Destiny Pre-order Page has another indication that Bungie's upcoming online first-person shooter may come to PCs, or at one point was planned for PCs. The source includes a platformClasses variable listing several platforms besides the announced Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. These include the PC, as well as PS4, Xbox 720, Wii U, and PS Vita. Thanks VG247 via Nintendo Life.
The Société de transport de Montreal is considering legal action over a Counter-Strike map depicting the Berri-UQAM Metro Station in Montreal, reports The Escapist, citing Le Journal de Montreal (which returns a 404 "not found error for us at the moment). They say one of the map's authors, Diego Liatis, was contacted by the STM saying they do not want their "copyrighted metro network" recreated in the game for fear "the game could create panic among the city's public transit users," presumably by teaching terrorists the layout without them having to pay the $3.00 fare. Apparently the team behind this project was previously denied permission to recreate the subway station in the first-person shooter, and ultimately decided they didn't think they could be legally prohibited from recreating a public space in this way. Liatis says he's been threatened with a $50,000 fine plus court costs if the map is publically released, and The Escapist has confirmed with an STM representative that unspecified legal action is being considered. Thanks nin via Kotaku.
The Death Inc. Website now offers a playable prototype demo for Death Inc. to support the Kickstarter for this upcoming plague-infected strategy game. The demo is available for Windows, Linux, and OS X (there's also a Unity Web Player version), and is described as pre-alpha (which, as we've discussed before, does not actually seem to be a thing), so they stress that performance is not optimal and there may be bugs. Here's word on the game: "Play as Grim T. Livingstone, freelance Reaper, and unleash the plague on 17th century England. Ransack farms, ports and cities, topple knights and noblemen as you battle to increase your pestilential horde." And here's word on the demo: "This may be the earliest hands-on you have ever had at a game! Death Inc. has been in development for a total of 10 weeks. It is a tiny slice of what we hope to achieve with the game." Thanks PC Gamer.
Ars Technica - Sorry to say it, but keyboard and mouse are losing the FPS market. Let's start with the current best-selling franchise in all of gaming: Call of Duty. The best console-specific data I could find for the series of late was first-month sales statistics for Black Ops released by NPD back in 2010. Apparently the game sold 8 million copies on the PS3 and Xbox 360 combined and less than 400,000 on the PC. Even if the unreported digital sales on the PC were ten times as strong as those at retail, and assuming that PC piracy added another 50 percent on top of legitimate downloads, that would still mean there were roughly four console players using a controller for every three playing the PC version in the game's first month. That adds up to a deficit of millions of people for the mouse-and-keyboard crowd, and one that's likely compounded by other Call of Duty games.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Mouse & Keyboard Still A Major Player In FPS Market. Obviously Orland’s maths here is entirely fictional. But let’s play long with it. It’s critical to understand that the stated 400,000 really is just those sold at retail, into a PC market in the US and UK that’s strongly dominated by online sales (either by design or necessity, since finding a PC copy of a game in a shop is quite the trial). It’s reasonable to imagine it represents just a fraction of the real sales, so let’s go along with the guesses. Without piracy, we’ve got the PC representing, er, half the sales of the consoles combined. So that would be a roughly even split, a third each. (I’m sure that’s not realistic, but hey, these are the numbers being used to prove the PC is irrelevant to shooters!) Tack on our piracy and we’ve now got a huge majority of FPS players choosing the PC over either the 360 or the PS3. Even allow the two consoles to be added together, to truly get a representation of the methods of controls, and the estimate here is that 3 out of every 7 players is on mouse/keyboard. 43%. Almost half. And that’s despite everything mentioned above regarding the mainstream explosion of the console. Good grief, the PC is a massive force in FPS, and the Bungie comments couldn’t be more wrong! I’d say with this information, it’s pretty damned hard not to argue with Jones.
Gamasutra - What are video game previews for? Preview culture is of dubious merit to the games industry, too. These events are expensive. Publishers pay for venues, travel, accommodation, food, fancy USB keys full of assets, pens, messenger bags, swag. I don't believe the common complaint that this stuff sways writers -- we often get so much of it that we don't care to have any more, have been doing this long enough that a branded squeak toy isn't going to make us feel unduly positive.
But is all that cost worthwhile to the publisher as budgets skyrocket and staff cuts are everywhere? Is the lost time worthwhile, for devs who are tasked with frantically cobbling together stable pockets of preview build, pre-rendered trailers, media rehearsal, when they might rather be making their game?