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Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013

  

Deus Ex Domains Spied

A tweet by supererogatory has word that Square Enix has registered domains for DeusExTheFall.com and DeusExTheFall.net, so just days after we learned that the recently uncovered Trademark for Deus Ex: Human Defiance is probably for a film, we have a renewed chance to speculate about a follow-up to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the hit action/RPG. Thanks VG247.

EA: Dead Space Rumor "Patently False"

GameSpot has a very brief response from EA to earlier reports that it was walking away from the Dead Space series based on disappointing sales of Dead Space 3. They initially declined to comment, but now say the report is "patently false," adding: "While we have not released sales data for Dead Space 3, we are proud of the game and it continues to be an important IP to EA."

More on Thief

The Eidos Montreal Community has more on the release of new details about Thief, the new installment in the Thief series of stealth games. There's also an info dump from the new Game Informer on NeoGAF (thanks VG247). Here's part of what Eidos Montreal has to say about the game:

For those of you who might be new to the franchise, Thief is Eidos-Montreal’s latest title. There is a rising tide of fear in the City that created and defined Garrett, hatred saturates every stone and whilst the rich prosper, the less fortunate face misery and repression. Ravaged with disease and famine, the people wait for something to change.

You take on the iconic role of Garrett, the Master Thief. In this first-person adventure featuring intelligent design, you will be able to take full control and freely choose your path through the game’s levels, using strategy and intuition to decide how to approach and overcome each challenge. Garrett must step from the shadows and uncover the truth before his world is torn apart forever.

Thief will be available in 2014 for PC, PlayStation®4, and other next-generation consoles.

Ships Ahoy - The Showdown Effect

Paradox Interactive announces that The Showdown Effect is now available in North America for Windows and OS X, offering Arrowhead Game Studios' take on "a world where every single action movie from the 80s and 90s is happening concurrently." This release trailer attempts to show off such a world in under a minute, and they plan a Twitch live stream of the game on Thursday at 2:00 pm EST. Here's the announcement:

NEW YORK — March 5, 2013 — Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games and an abuser of diplomatic immunity, today released The Showdown Effect, a new multiplayer action title from Arrowhead Game Studios. In a world where every single action movie from the 80s and 90s is happening concurrently, players must shoot, slash, dive, roll, punch, and quip their way to victory to become the last cliché standing. The Showdown Effect is available for PC and Mac in digital stores worldwide, for a list of retailers please check out www.theshowdowneffect.com/buy.

Witness The Showdown Effect — the impossible chaos that occurs when an amnesiac clone, a grizzled cop, an inscrutable martial arts master, a plucky teenage genius, and other action hero archetypes are thrown together in a pile of guns, explosives, and assorted bludgeons. Featuring stylish 2.5D graphics, fast-paced white-knuckle gameplay, TwitchTV integration, and an endless supply of one-liners, The Showdown Effect allows up to 8 players at once to go head-to-fist in a variety of free-for-all and team-based game modes.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Announced

Activision Publishing announces Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, a download-only brawler coming to Windows (via Steam), Xbox LIVE, and PlayStation Network this summer. Here are some screenshots and a launch trailer, and here's word:

Activision Publishing, Inc. today announced that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™: Out of the Shadows, a new, digital download-only video game inspired by Nickelodeon’s new hit animated series, will be available this summer. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a third-person brawler game set in New York City, taking gamers through articulated, true-to-life environments filled with action-packed adventures as Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Featuring an original hyper-realistic 3D-style, gamers can experience four-player online co-op play while stomping out the Foot Clan and unleashing turtle torment on any foe that gets in their way.

With an immersive world, deep character development, and an intuitive, skill-based combat system built around combo-driven action, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows puts ‘Turtle Power’ in players’ hands.

More on Diablo III 1.0.8 Plans

Following up on his Diablo III Developer Journal from earlier today, Blizzard designer Travis Day made forum post saying one more thing they will work on after an upcoming version 1.0.8 patch is to change the way class-specific items can roll non class-appropriate primary stats in the action/RPG sequel. He also outlines three changes planned for Diablo III version 1.0.8 besides the "indentify all" function mentioned earlier (actually he hedges a bit, saying these are things "players can hopefully expect to see as soon as patch 1.0.8"). Word is they will be increasing Inferno mob density in Acts I, II, and IV, adding a multi-craft option, and now that they are moving players away from the auction house, adding the ability to see if auction items benefit your character. Here's word: Continue here to read the full story.

Franchise Hockey Manager Preorders Get Beta Access

The OOTP Forums have word that beta testing is now underway for Franchise Hockey Manager, the hockey game the developer of Out of the Park Baseball announced in 2011. The beta is open to all who preorder the game (at a 25% discount off full price), and this post from last month outlines the state of the game's development and what to expect from the beta, also pinning down a specific release of September 3, 2013. Thanks Trevor.

Strike Suit Zero Patch Adds First-Person View

Born Ready Games announces the release of the third patch for Strike Suit Zero, continuing their fine-tuning of the kickstarter-backed space flight combat game based on community feedback. New features include a full cockpit/first-person view, difficulty levels, checkpoint saves, and a reworked targeting system. This trailer shows off the new stuff, and also shares the full patch notes in the description. Continue here to read the full story.

MechWarrior Online Patch Adds Offline Testing Grounds

A new March 2013 Creative Director Update for MechWarrior Online has details on a new content update that's now live in the MMO mech combat game. This includes what Piranha Games and Infinite Game Publishing call "arguably the most important feature to date," an offline Testing Grounds mode to allow players to refine their approach to battle before entering the actual battlefield, which would surely draw the approval of Sun Tzu.

New NVIDIA Beta Drivers

NVIDIA now offers new beta version 314.14 GeForce reference drivers for NVIDIA graphics cards. Word on the new driver is it: "Increases performance by up to 23% for GeForce 400/500/600 series GPUs in several PC games vs. GeForce 314.07 WHQL-certified drivers. Results will vary depending on your GPU and system configuration." There are new drivers for Windows Vista/7/8 32-bit, Windows Vista/7/8 64-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, and Windows XP 64-bit/Windows Server 2003 x64. Thanks Charles.

Steam Box Prototypes in "Three to Four Months"

"We'll be giving out some prototypes to customers to gauge their reactions, I guess, in the next three to four months," Valve's Gabe Newell tells the BBC when asked about progress on their "Steam Box" hardware initiative, though he makes no mention of how hardware is impacted by Valve Time. He explains what they are currently working to overcome, which include heat issues (perhaps something you're invoking when you name your hardware a Steam Box) and controller issues, as they are still exploring using controllers for biometric feedback. Thanks Engadget via VG247.

Sam Raimi on the Warcraft Film

Ain't it Cool News points to an interview on Vulture where Sam Raimi discusses the Warcraft/World of Warcraft film he was once set to direct before leaving the project (thanks Cliff). Here's his explanation of what went wrong:

Robert Rodat was working on the script, and it was taking a long time. I think they were getting a little antsy at Legendary, the production company. Actually, what happened was even more complicated, so let me go back a little bit. First, they asked me if I wanted to make it, and I said, "Yes, I love World of Warcraft, and I think it would make a great picture." So I read a screenplay they had that was written by the guys at [Warcraft developer] Blizzard, and it didn't quite work for me. I told them I wanted to make my own original story with Robert, so we pitched it to Legendary and they accepted it, and then we pitched it to Blizzard, and they had reservations, but they accepted it. Then Robert wrote the screenplay, and only once he was done did we realize that Blizzard had veto power, and we didn't know that. And they had never quite approved the original story we pitched them. Those reservations were their way of saying, "We don't approve this story, and we want to go a different way," so after we had spent nine months working on this thing, we basically had to start over. And Robert did start over, but it was taking too long for the people at Blizzard, and their patience ran out. Honestly, I think it was mismanagement on their behalf, not to explain to us that the first story was vetoed long ago. Why did they let us keep working on it? Were they afraid to tell me?

Gatherings & Competitions

On Sale

  • Bundle #4: Fire and Ice on Bundle Stars. Pay what you want.
  • Darksiders Franchise on Steam. Save 66-74%.
  • Legacy of Kain Collection on Steam. Save 75%.
  • RPG Maker VX Ace on Steam. Save 50%.
  • SimCity on Gamefly.com. Save 20% with coupon code from Dealzon.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Iron Man 3 -- Official Trailer. Thanks Ant.

World of Warcraft Patched

The World of Warcraft website offers version 5.2 patch notes, saying the Thunder King is now live in Blizzard's MMORPG. This post rounds up a bunch of Blizzard's articles with all you need to know about the new version, and here's the overview:

Patch 5.2: The Thunder King is now live! Lei Shen has consolidated his power on the Isle of Thunder, and if he’s not dislodged, his reborn army will threaten all of Pandaria. But the return of the Thunder King is good news for you, because it means that new challenges and triumphs await in our latest major content update. A massive new zone, a new raid, server-wide events surrounding the siege on the Isle of Thunder, new factions, world bosses . . . and more. Brace yourself for the storm.

Diablo III Item Change Plans

A new Developer Journal offers the promised post from Blizzard designer Travis Day on their views on items in Diablo III, and how they plan on improving them going forward. He discusses making legendary and set items more powerful, increasing build diversity by changing items, and the idea of having players find fewer "rare" items in exchange for an increased possibility of finding some that are worth using. He also discusses the idea of creating more fun "gold sinks" and the possibility of players being able to modify existing items, and their goal of having players feel the need to farm monsters to succeed, rather than the auction house. He also notes that while most of what he's discussing is long-term, they plan on adding an "identify all" option in version 1.0.8.

Thief (4) Details Inbound

GameInformer reveals their April cover story to be about the Thief reboot in the works at Eidos Montreal that was was announced as Thief 4, but now seems to be simply titled Thief. They offer some artwork that's part of a rollout of assets (which appears may have been usurped already (thanks nin)) along with a video previewing their coverage. Here's word:

Series hero Garrett returns to the Gothic, industrial metropolis known simply as the City to steal any and everything that will make him richer. Unfortunately, the City is broiling with social tension as it is ravaged by a plague and lorded over by a political tyrant known as the Baron. In order to survive his adventures, Garrett will have to pay attention to his environment and make use of the may possible paths through each of the game's levels.

Square Enix plans to release Thief for PS4, PC, and other next-gen platforms sometime in 2014. Check out our coverage trailer for a taste of all the content you can look forward to absorbing over the next month.

BioWare San Francisco Closed?

GamesRadar reports that BioWare San Francisco has been closed, costing 25-30 employees their jobs, saying they learned this through a "source within the company." The social/mobile games studio developed Dragon Age: Legends for Facebook (which eventually became an offline game and the browser-based Mirror's Edge 2D, launched three years ago. As of now, this report remains unconfirmed. Thanks nin via Joystiq.

Dead Space 4 Cancelled?

Videogamer.com reports development of Dead Space 4 has been cancelled by Electronic Arts (though a next installment in the shooter series has yet to be announced) based on poor sales of Dead Space 3. They attribute this unconfirmed rumor to "a source familiar with the unannounced project" speaking on the condition of anonymity, who tells them the game was in preproduction at Visceral Games, and that a small team at Visceral Montreal was working on prototypes for the project. Their source says Visceral Montreal was closed as a result of the game being cancelled, which supports a report from a couple of weeks ago where a former Visceral Montreal employee claimed the studio's entire staff was let go. They contacted EA for comment, and were told the company does not comment on rumor or speculation (except when they chose to).

Ships Ahoy - SimCity; Refunds Offered for Launch Issues

EA announces that the Windows edition of SimCity is now available in North America, saying the OS X edition of Maxis' urban planning reboot will follow sometime this spring. The SimCity Website has a blog post from Kip Katsarelis where the Senior Producer on the project offers some thoughts on what to expect. The first review scores are up on Metacritic, where it has so far received much acclaim from critics, while the user score scrapes along the bottom, as many gamers are using this opportunity to voice disapproval of the game's DRM, which requires it to be played online. On that topic, the Origin twitter account has a steady stream of tweets explaining delays in distributing and unlocking the game though the Origin service, which is struggling with the demand, at various times saying the delay to unlock the game would span 90 minutes to as much as four hours. Polygon has word from Origin global community manager Marcel Hatam that the service is still struggling, and they note a post on the EA Forums sympathizing with frustration at the delays, and offering refunds for unhappy customers. They explain that they understand how important pre-loads are to a smooth launch, and apologize that they could not put this knowledge to use in this case, saying: "This didn't come together for SimCity unfortunately, for which I again apologize." Here's part of the release announcement:

Everything is intelligently simulated in this new SimCity, from all of the Sims in a city, to every kilowatt of power pulsing through a region thanks to the powerful GlassBox Engine. It is the most expansive city management game yet where multi-city gameplay across regions delivers a larger playing field. No longer are players relegated to playing one single city, now they can manage and play up to 16 cities at once. Each city can have different specializations; they can share services and trade resources; they can help or even hinder each other; every decision a player makes in each city has impact in the broader region. It’s up to the player to decide where and how they play.

For the first time in the series multiplayer is added to the gameplay giving players a new dimension to the game, as decisions impact both the city and the region, creating new ways to play by collaborating or competing to earn achievements. Underpinning SimCity is a live service that simulates real-time updates and pushes them to players in the form of new challenges and achievements. Players will track their progression alongside their friends and the world for the most polluted city, the richest city and more. Whether players play by themselves, with their friends or with the rest of the world, SimCity will challenge players to create the city of their dreams answer the question – what kind of mayor will you be?

Arma III Alpha Released

Steam News announces the release of the Arma 3 Alpha, providing the promised early access for those who preorder the upcoming military shooter sequel from Bohemia Interactive. Here's how this works, which includes word on sale:

Purchase the Arma 3 Alpha now to receive immediate access to the Alpha, 3 Alpha Lite invites for your friends (available March 14th to June 18th 2013) as well as Beta access and the Full game upon it's release!

In the Alpha, you'll be able to explore Stratis Island, enjoy a taste of Arma 3's diverse gameplay, and team up with your friends to fight against enemies in 2 co-op mulitplayer scenarios! There are also 8 different vehicles featured in the Alpha and a collection of weapons to help customize your loadout.

In celebration of the Alpha's launch, we're also discounting all previous Arma titles! Now until March 12th at 10AM Pacific time, take 50% off the entire Arma and Arma II series of games!

Victory Kickstarter

This Kickstarter just launched by Petroglyph seeks $700K to fund Victory, the just revealed World War II action/strategy game. The Victory Website currently redirects to the Kickstarter, which offers this elevator pitch from Oksana Kubushyna, Victory project lead: "If World of Tanks, StarCraft and League of Legends had a baby, it would be Victory." There are interviews with Petroglyph about the project on Strategy Informer where they chat with lead designer Evan Humphreys and on IncGamers where they speak to an unnamed person or persons at Petroglyph, and receive the fairly standard reassurance about microtransactions: "Players will be able to spend real world currency on items in Victory. However, Victory is not a game about buying power – everything can be obtained by purchases with the in-game currency. It will be quite possible to be competitive without spending real money or grinding an extreme amount." Here's a feature list: Continue here to read the full story.

Blood Knights Delayed

Swiss site GBase.ch has word (in German) of a delay to Blood Knights, the vampire-themed action/RPG first announced last summer for release within the following couple of months. The game's release date has been a moving target ever since, and the latest is to expect the game on May 17th. The German-language Deck13 Forum includes a statement from Deck13-founder Jan Klose explaining that these setbacks have resulted from financial difficulties at publisher DTP, and that uncertainty about the date persists. Here's a cleaned-up Google machine translation of the explanation:

Unfortunately, the publisher of the game, DTP, which is responsible for the release, was unable to pay for several months. So we had to step in as co-publisher and assume many responsibilities that we had not previously planned. What's more, under these circumstances it was not easy to accommodate the game with all platform holders. That's what we have now achieved everything. Since we do not know exactly how long it takes until we get hold of any platform sharing, we are in a very uncomfortable situation to be able to announce any concrete release date. Amazon will still be always known data, but we can not confirm this from our site. It has no benefit for us, but only drawbacks for angry players like you. Even now is the publisher DTP is responsible for the exact release date. We hope that it only lasts a few weeks, because the game is completed at 99.9 percent and is waiting to finally hit the market. Jan.

Thunder Wolves Delayed

bitComposer Games announces Thunder Wolves is now expected in Q2 of this year, a delay to this helicopter action game from Most Wanted Entertainment, which was originally announced for Q1. The delay goes unexplained, and is not yet reflected on the game's official website.

Game Mod Causes a "Six Strikes" Strike?

When we all first heard about new "six strikes" plans being used by ISPs to identify copyright infringers, we all agreed it seemed like a perfect and foolproof system, but it seems our optimism may have been unfounded. Techdirt reports a reader getting a DMCA takedown notice saying he was infringing on some TV shows, claiming he was in fact distributing a Guild Wars 2 modification. All snarkiness aside, it's not clear how commonplace this is (trusting the report is accurate), or if it is an unusual error, but it certainly highlights concerns some have expressed all along about such a scheme. Thanks Ant via DSLReports.

Morning Q&As

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

As I mentioned the other day, I am more than ready for spring to have sprung. Seems to me this should be happening right about now, since the groundhogs predicted an early one, and were only about two weeks away from it being merely on-time. And no, the kids I see already walking around in shorts have not got me convinced, as they seem to have become something many of them wear 11 months out of the year. Brrrr.

Chilly Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Ms. Vision by Proxy.
Links: 'DRM Chair' self-destructs after 8 sittings.
6 Moments in Video Game Adaptations That Improved the Movie.
Stories: State lawmaker defends bike tax, says bicycling is not good for the environment. Thanks Slashdot.
Science: Training for spacewalks at NASA’s giant pool.
Auti-sim lets you experience the horror of sensory overload.
National Sleep Foundation poll finds exercise key to good sleep.
Images: Mancave of the Day.
Media: Mythbusters Jackass Theme Extended. Thanks reddit.
Bullet Head.
Volkswagen Golf engine pulling.
Follow-up: Monster hits back at lawsuit over 14-year-old's death.



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