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Thursday, Mar 28, 2013

  

Next Week's Borderlands 2 Patch Details

The Gearbox Software website now offers the promised additional details on the upcoming patch for Borderlands 2, as well as further word on DLC plans for Gearbox's role-playing shooter sequel (thanks nin). Here's word:

Exciting changes are coming to Borderlands 2 on April 2, 2013!

As you may have heard, the team has been hard at work to raise the level cap -- an effort that required re-balancing, re-tuning and re-testing the entire game -- along with adding a third playthrough, more ammo upgrades, additional backpack slots and more!

Here's what players on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 can expect that day:

Changes in 4/2 Software Update (Free)

  • Adds new items to the Black Market:
    • One additional ammo upgrade for each ammo type, at 50 Eridium each.
    • Two more backpack storage space upgrades, at 50 and 100 Eridium respectively.
    • Two more bank storage space upgrades, at 50 and 100 Eridium respectively.
  • Increases the maximum amount of Eridium players can hold from 99 to 500.
  • Adds a new playthrough balanced for top-tier play: Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode.
  • Various bug fixes.

Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack
(Free with Season Pass, $4.99 / 400 Microsoft Points separately)

  • Raises level cap to 61, allowing characters to gain 11 additional levels.
  • Characters gain a skill point with every level from 51 to 61, for a total of 11 more skill points.
  • Powerful new "Ancient" E-Tech relics and rare Pearlscent-grade weapons can be picked up in Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode.

Check back soon for a detailed look at the gameplay changes in Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode along with details on the various bug fixes in the update, and don't forget there's more to come for Borderlands 2: Krieg the Psycho, a new playable character, arrives in May with the fourth campaign add-on (included in the Season Pass) hitting by the end of June!

SimCity 2.0 Plans

The EA Forums have an update from SimCity senior producer Kip Katsarelis with word on plans for an upcoming version 2.0 patch for the city building game (thanks IncGamers). Here's a chunk:

We've been heads down addressing the key issues we’re seeing reported from our community. This includes city rollbacks, lost progress, and the return of features like Cheetah Speed and Leaderboards. Like you, we want all of these resolved ASAP, which is why they are the top priorities in our studio. Matter of fact, we have all of these in a QA environment, giving them a thorough test before we release them back to you, the fans.

On top of this, we’re also working on a number of bug fixes and other overall improvements that we’re planning to include in future Updates. Just last week we released two Updates 1.7 and 1.8, which included traffic fixes and other general improvements. For the future, in Update 2.0, we’ll be addressing the Recycling Center bug, fixing the fire engine clumping, improving the efficiency of Street Cars, and increasing the radius of river water. We’re also fixing the tuning on Casinos and are making them more profitable. These are just a handful of the substantial changes coming in Update 2.0.

Keep in mind, if you don’t see a particular fix present in an Update, this doesn't mean we’re not working on it, or we’re not aware of it. Our team is constantly getting reports about the top issues being raised and this is helping us prioritize what we need to address. There are some issues that are more challenging and will take more time. If you have feedback, please visit our forums. In the meantime, we’ll continue to address the top issues in our updates. We’ll keep working while you’re playing.

Total War: ARENA Announced

Creative Assembly announces Total War: ARENA, a new free-to-play installment in their Total War series of strategy games. This does not yet carry a release date, but they are accepting beta tester applications on the Total War website, saying they are "looking for gamers to help craft their vision of a detailed, deep, multiplayer tactical experience." Here's more:

Total War™: ARENA will be CA’s first title in a F2P model, representing over a decade of strategy gaming expertise and a new spin-off for the Total War series. Offering players the chance to pitch history’s greatest commanders and their armies against each other in massive team-based battles, ARENA will focus entirely on online multiplayer, mixing elements of RTS and MOBA gameplay.

Ships Ahoy - TACTICAL INTERVENTION

Tactical-Intervention.com announces that TACTICAL INTERVENTION is now LIVE (sorry) live, offering the new tactical shooter from Counter-Strike co-creator Minh "Gooseman" Le "We're thrilled to finally release our game that we've been working on for far too long. T.I. gave me the freedom to implement some features into an FPS that I've always wanted to do, so I'm excited to see the gaming community check it out," says Le. "We look forward to seeing Tactical Intervention grow in the coming years and have plans for continually improving the game experience in the form of new content and improvements to gameplay - and guns, lots of guns." Here's word on the game:

Developed by the legendary FPS designer, Minh Le and FIX Korea, fans have long-awaited the release of TACTICAL INTERVENTION since Le's departure from Valve years ago. Learning from his previous work, Le was able to implement all-new features that he had always wanted to work into an FPS. With the infamous Highway Mission, players will climb into the driver's seat, shoot hanging out of vehicle passenger windows, all while chasing after the same target. Players can also call in attack dogs to come to their aid, and even make use of tactical rappel ropes to gain the upper hand on the opposing force. They will also have to be conscious of civilians who can be taken as hostages and used as human shields. It is up to you and your team to strategize, execute, and eliminate your target. TACTICAL INTERVENTION places team-based tactics and hardcore, fast-paced gameplay at the forefront of battle.

Company of Heroes 2 Closed Beta Next Week

Beta testing of Company of Heroes 2 will commence next week, announces the SEGA Blog, saying multiplayer closed beta testing of Relic Entertainment's strategy sequel gets underway on April 2nd as they gear up for the game's June 25th release date. Word is:

The closed beta playtest features the game’s critically acclaimed competitive multiplayer and skirmish gameplay, giving players access to six maps, 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 competitive gameplay, as well as the ability to play alone or with teammates against the AI. Players also get access to the first 40 levels of progression, and the ability to customize their loadouts to suit their play style using the all new Army Customizer.

This first phase of the closed beta will be open to pre-order customers only. There will be a second phase in the coming weeks where a wider audience will get a chance to take part. For more information keep watching http://www.companyofheroes.com.

The Company of Heroes 2 closed beta will be hosted on Steam and utilizes Steamworks match-making and friend lists. Players need the free Steam client to redeem closed beta access keys and play.

Steamships Ahoy - Dungeon Hearts

Steam News announces that Dungeon Hearts is now available, offering at a 10% discount on the puzzle/strategy game for the first week of availability. Here's word: "Dungeon Hearts fuses the strategy and pattern matching of puzzle games with the kinetic pace of action games. Align magical runes as they flow along the Fatestream to attack, defend, and conjure magic in frenetic battles against a bestiary of fantastic creatures out to use those same runes against you. Chain together multiple attacks and unleash powerful combos or call upon each hero's special attacks to devastate your enemies to survive the twists and turns of Dungeon Heart's evolving gameplay. Strike down all that stand in your way and level up your brave warriors as each foe grows more powerful than the last, culminating in the final battle with The Dark One himself!"

Shackleton Crater Kickstarter Craters

The Kickstarter page for Shackleton Crater announces the cancellation of the fundraiser for this lunar exploration game (thanks nin via Polygon), saying they are "reluctantly" ending their current efforts because: "Our passion for creating a game of lunar colonization has not been shared by sufficient people to realistically continue our Kickstarter campaign." They say their dream of creating the game is not diminished, and they will refocus their message: "As part of the feedback we received from everyone we realize that additional gameplay and game details are needed to effectively communicate our product."

MechWarrior Online Double-XP Weekend

The MWO Forums have details on a double-XP weekend that's now underway in MechWarrior Online. In short: "Developer Piranha Games and publisher Infinite Game Publishing announced today that hot on the heels of the Heavy vs. The World player event last weekend, a MechWarrior Online Double XP weekend begins today at 10 a.m. PT through April 2 at 10 a.m. PT and all players are invited to jump in and rack up the points – this is a perfect chance to use that Founder’s Premium time!"

Leisure Suit Larry in May

Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards is due in the second half of May, reports Joystiq after speaking with Replay Games CEO Paul Trowe at the Game Developer's Conference. They also say that after getting to play the Kickstarted remake, they found many of the puzzles from the original game are altered to the extent that you will not be able to fly through them based on familiarity. They say they are considering whether to follow with Leisure Suit Larry 2, but they have plans to release a free LSL-themed casino game before their next full project. Thanks nin.

Broken Age Teaser Trailer

The Broken Age website now offers a Teaser Trailer from Broken Age, the Kickstarter-funded adventure game by Tim Schafer and Double Fine Productions (and 90,000 of their closest friends). Continue here to read the full story.

GRiD 2 Trailer

Codemasters announces some additional cars that will be included in GRiD 2 when the racing sequel launches on May 28th. They also offer a "European Expansion" video to illustrate the point. Here's the deal:

The “GRID 2: European Expansion” video focuses on the European cars, clubs and locations. In Road Races on the Côte d'Azur, players speed through tunnels cut into sheer rock and tackle the climbs, plunges and hairpins set amongst some of the most stunning scenery in the world.

The Street Racing category is showcased in central Paris, which comes alive to the sound of roaring engines as cars blast down its magnificent boulevards, sling-shot around the Arc de Triomphe and speed past the Eiffel Tower. Track Racing is represented at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal which makes its console debut in GRID 2. Commonly known as Portimao Circuit, this state of the art, $250M track was opened in 2008 and has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most exciting circuits in motorsport, with constantly undulating asphalt and wide areas built for overtaking.

Continue here to read the full story.

Thief Teaser Trailer

A 30 second trailer from the upcoming Thief game teases more information on the stealth revival next week, as it concludes saying "04.02.13 What's Yours is Mine." The clip just shows a candle being snuffed, but it is noted that this is in-game footage. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Evening Interviews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

New Assassin's Creed and New Splinter Cell in Development

Ubisoft Toronto is already working with Ubisoft Montreal on the next installment in the Assassin's Creed series to follow Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, since Black Flag is already old news after being announced last month. There's word on this on Polygon, who discussed the series with Jade Raymond, though as expected things are pretty vague with the release of Assassin's Creed IV still months away. "The thing that's great to me is that there is still some of my favorite people who, you know, we were in the trenches shipping that first one," she told them. "We lived through all of that stuff together and some of those guys are still on the franchise and have been there. So it's a just for me to work with some of those people again." She tells them her studio has five projects charted out to follow Splinter Cell: Blacklist, one of which will also be a new Splinter Cell game. Whether intended or not, the explanation of their myriad plans is a little muddy. Here's how they lay it out:

In all, the studio has charted out five titles that they will be working on once they ship Blacklist.

"We have two big collaborations coming that we're not talking about, on two of the biggest franchises at Ubisoft," Raymond said. "We also have two new IP."

The fifth will be within the Splinter Cell brand, she said.

Out of the Park Baseball 14 Next Month

OOTP Developments announces that April 15th is opening day for Out of the Park Baseball 14, the new installment in their baseball simulation for Windows and OS X. The game is still being offered for preorder, and in addition to a discount, preordering will also earn customers three days of early access. This page is where to preorder, offering the following rundown on the game:

In OOTP 14 you guide your team to glory. Set up your roster, trade players, draft the next superstar, negotiate with free agents, discover talent in the rule-5 draft, keep an eye on your minor leaguers, scout foreign countries or other leagues, it's all here. On top of the GM features, OOTP sports a great baseball simulation engine with stunning statistical accuracy and extensive play-by-play. It is widely regarded as the most realistic baseball game available, by far! You call all the shots from the dugout and see the game unfold before your eyes.

The Journeyman Project Trilogy Remake

The Journeyman Project Trilogy website is online as home to an upcoming Windows and OS X remake of The Journeyman Project: Pegasus Prime, a 20th century time-traveling Macromedia Director game. Adventure Classic Gaming looks at the project and how Presto Studios got the band back together to plan it along with some fans who have been working on porting the original. This video offers a discussion of the project by Jack Davis (the developer, not the MAD magazine artist).

Activision Shows Real-Time Character Demo

Real-Time Character Tech Demo video from Activision Publishing shows some impressive real-time face rendering technology in action. The accompanying notes sort of explain how this relates to face modeling tech recently demoed by NVIDIA, saying: "Yes, this is the same source data from ICT used by Nvidia at GTC, but rendered using a completely different tech." The caption on the video also notes this is "not actual gameplay," so our dreams of playing as a disgruntled, disembodied frozen yogurt customer are dashed once again. Continue here to read the full story.

PCGA on PC Market

We have a sign of life from the PC Gaming Alliance, where they announce the release of a pair of reports they commissioned on the state of the PC gaming marketplace they are tasked with supporting, which may reflect on the objectivity of their findings. The reports are for their industry members, but GamePolitics has a summary:

  • The global PC gaming software market continues to show strong growth in 2012, reaching a record US$20 billion - overall growth of 8 percent over 2011 and 90 percent growth since the PCGA’s first report in 2008.
  • China continues to be the largest and fastest growing market for PC games with record 2012 revenue of US$6.8 billion, a growth of percent. Mature game markets in Korea, Japan, U.S., U.K. and Germany all showed growth in 2012. Together these markets also increased revenue by percent in 2012, to $8.4 billion.
  • There are over 1 billion PC gamers worldwide and that number is continuing to grow as more PCs are connected online. Over 250 million of those gamers play what are defined as "core games."
  • The growth of mobile is helping the PC game business. The combination of mobile and PC as platforms is helping drive the growth of small self-funded teams that can develop more targeted products on a modest budget.
  • The PC game business will continue to grow at a pace of 6 percent CAGR to $25.7 billion by 2016. This growth is driven by growing access to broadband connections and the increasing ease of digital distribution delivery solutions and payment methods on a global basis.

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

  • Wargame AirLand Battle on Blue's News. British units revealed.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

I ran into the neighbor who was the other side of the incident in January where Hudson the wonder dog forewent the ample opportunity to kill his little dog in an unfortunate encounter. The couple of months that have passed, evidence of the winter, allowed for a friendly reconciliation, helped by how I spoke at the time with his wife to make sure everyone was okay and to apologize. I got to make my point to him that he needed to think through in advance how to deal with such encounters, and he got to apologize to Hudson several times for kicking her, which I'm sure she didn't even notice at the time, and she happily forgave him. The funny thing is that his dog no longer yaps at us from the house on our walks, and was completely silent from within during the conversation with his owner... I think his mistaken impression that he is mayor of the neighborhood has been corrected.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Siege Knight.
Links: Beauty and the Plague. Tearjerker warning. Thanks nin.
Punchable, hackable squidaliens to return in upcoming Independence Day sequel.
Stories: This Will Be Tim McCarver's Last Season At Fox. Can he take Joe with him?
Media: Hour Of Victory Is a Total Failure.
Terraria Trolls.
11 Signs You Suffer From Sleep Deprivation.
Follow-up: Global warming predictions prove accurate.



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