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Tuesday, Apr 09, 2013

  

Minimum Announced

A Minimum website is online, heralding development of this "action packed free-to-play shooter set in a stylized world of endless possibilities" coming soon to Steam from TimeGate Studios, most recently implicated in the he-said/she-said co-development of Aliens: Colonial Marines along with Gearbox Software (thanks Polygon). A FAQ is online with word on the game, saying early access will begin on April 16th. The also have a trailer showing the game's minimized, texture-free look. Here's word on how they are looking to crowd-source ideas for where they take development from here:

For us, MINIMUM is a different type of game. We’ve been on this journey of creativity and discovery and we’ve learned just how multi-faceted a world we were creating: this limitless, unbound opportunity that every member of our team contributed into. We’ve only scratched the surface so far, we know this. The trick has been to unhinge ourselves by not limiting ideas to any one person, but rather crowdsourcing ideas from the entire team. Now, the best way for MINIMUM to realize its potential, we believe, is to bring you – the players, the fans – to the development table with us.

This is our promise to you. We believe in MINIMUM, and want your Influence, your ideas and your creativity to steer us. Not only will we listen, as every other developer promises to do, but we are also creating a mechanism to empower you, just as our entire team is empowered. The fun, the heart of MINIMUM is no longer just ours, and we can’t wait to see where we collectively go from here.

So keep an eye out for MINIMUM’s Closed Alpha launch on Steam’s Early Access channel very soon. Until then, browse around our site, take in the info that’s available, and start chatting with us on the forums. We’re thrilled to have you here and can’t wait till you can play the game!

Continue here to read the full story.

Lost Planet 3 in August

CapCom Unity outlines the preorder bonuses for Lost Planet 3, offering video showing the various perks in action. They also have images for each of the offers that all say "Available August 27." The third-person shooter sequel was previously expected on June 25th, and there's no word on why this has changed, but a Capcom rep told Eurogamer it was due to "business reasons." So at least we know it isn't personal.

Divinity: Original Sin Kickstarted

The Kickstarter page for Divinity: Original Sin announces that the campaign to raise $400K to polish up Larian Studios' upcoming Divinity RPG is a success with two weeks still remaining. They include this trailer to offer thanks from the team (literally the entire team) and to highlight what they plan on doing with the funds, including adding weresheep. They are starting to talk about stretch goals, and in the meantime confirm the game will be coming to Linux and OS X as well as Windows.

Divinity: Original Sin is an open-world, traditional RPG featuring turn-based combat and single-player and cooperative gameplay, in which the actions and choices of players have true significance and consequences. It will ship with the editor that was used by the developers to make the game, making it the first game in a long time to sport an RPG editor that supports multiplayer.

Continue here to read the full story.

Europa Universalis III Chronicles for Free

Gamefly.com now features Europa Universalis III Chronicles as a free download, offering a gratis copy of this RTS bundle that normally sells for USD $29.99. The offer is good through 1:00 am EDT on Friday, or "while supplies last" in the following territories: United States, Canada, Mexico, American Samoa, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Barbados, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cayman Islands, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guam, Honduras, Haiti, Jamaica, Japan, Cambodia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Korea, Republic of, Saint Lucia, Northern Mariana Islands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Province of China, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Venezuela, Virgin Islands, British, Virgin Islands, U.S., and Samoa.

EA "Wins" Consumerist Poll Again

The Consumerist has word that EA has triumphed for a second consecutive year in their annual "worst company in America" poll, beating out the likes of Bank of America, Ticketmaster, Comcast, Walmart, Time-Warner Cable, ATT&T, and a late run by Carnival Cruise Lines. They conclude their write-up by suggesting the higher-ups at EA reflect on the following question:

When we live in an era marked by massive oil spills, faulty foreclosures by bad banks, and rampant consolidation in the airline and telecom industry, what does it say about EA’s business practices that so many people have — for the second year in a row — come out to hand it the title of Worst Company In America?

SimCity Cheetah Speed Returns

The SimCity Facebook page (thanks Polygon) has word that Cheetah speed has returned to the city builder, as it continues to emerge from crisis mode. They say version 2.0 of the game nears:

Yes, it's true -- we've recently brought back Cheetah Speed. We're also working on Update 2.0, so stay tuned for more info.

Jagged Alliance Online on Steam This Month; Changes Detailed

Cliffhanger Productions announces their plans to completely overhaul Jagged Alliance Online for the upcoming Steam release, saying they were not merely content to make this a "port" of the web-based game. After listening to players' reaction to the game they say they are "reworking nearly every facet of gameplay." Here's what they say to expect from the game's free-to-play release on Steam later this month:

  • Improved F2P model – all items in the shop are available through regular play, and can be earned more easily. All known pay-to-win tactics have been eliminated.
  • Total class, weapon, and armor rebalance - starting classes are more balanced, and changes to weaponry allow more freedom to customize a character to your play-style. Sniper with a heavy machinegun? Sure, why not?
  • Better PvP maps – more tactics and fewer Mexican standoffs.
  • Improved mercenary and gear rules – all mercenaries and gear are fully restored after each mission so you can immediately jump back in the game. Players should never be penalized for simply playing.
  • Action Point rebalance – increased Action Points, faster movement speeds, and reduced ready-costs make tactical maneuvering more important while creating a far more exciting gameplay experience.
  • Increased HitPoints, new critical hit rules, status effects, new exotic weapons and armor, improved AI, and more.

Batman: Arkham Origins Website

The Batman: Arkham Origins website is now online as official home to the newly revealed installment in the Arkham series of stealthy Batman games. The site allows you to sign up for updates, preorder the game, and read the press release announcing the game, which says:

Batman: Arkham Origins features an expanded Gotham City and introduces an original prequel storyline occurring several years before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. Taking place before the rise of Gotham City’s most dangerous villains and assassins, the game showcases a young, raw, unrefined Batman as he faces a defining moment in his early career as a crime fighter that sets his path to becoming the Dark Knight. As the story unfolds, witness identities being formed and key relationships being forged.

WoW Adding In-Game Browser

The World of Warcraft website describes how Blizzard is adding a "feature-limited" in-game web-browser to their MMORPG as a support tool in the upcoming version 5.3 patch. They hope players will help test this "new venture" on the PTR, and explain how it should help them support the game:

We’re adding a feature-limited web browser to World of Warcraft that will replace the in-game support system with a direct portal to the Battle.net Support site. Our aim is to give players in-game easy access to the site’s robust knowledge base and support contact system.

We’ve gone to great lengths to improve our website support systems and we want to offer access to all of its robust features in-game. The new browser will make it it easier to find information to help you resolve issues you’re experiencing or contact our representatives if you need a little extra help.

On Sale

Evening Patches

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: 'Elysium' Theatrical Trailer. Thanks nin via Kotaku.

Batman: Arkham Origins Revealed

GameInformer.com has a preview of the cover story from the May issue of Game Informer Magazine, revealing Batman: Arkham Origins, an upcoming prequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City coming to Windows and consoles on October 25, 2013. They offer this trailer where the folks from WB Games Montreal show off some concept art while talking about it being "humbling" to work on a "franchise of this magnitude" as they are "standing on the shoulders of giants" in following the success of Rocksteady's previous Arkham games. They talk of this being the first Arkham game set on the streets of Gotham City where "we have eight of the best assassins in the world who have come together in Gotham City on one night, Christmas Eve of all nights, to kill The Bat." The print edition of the magazine should be in subscribers hands in a couple of weeks, and in their Batman: Arkham Origins Hub will be home to details about the game they will share online. In the meantime, here's how they describe what they know:

Warner Bros. Games Montreal has taken the mantle of the bat from Rocksteady Studios this time around for Batman: Arkham Origins. WB Montreal has full access to Rocksteady's custom modified Unreal engine to capture the look and feel of the Arkhamverse. As the title suggests, the game takes place years before both of the previous Arkham titles when a young, unrefined Batman encounters many supervillains for the first time. On our full cover image below, fans will recognize the assassin Deathstroke, who appears for the very first time in a core Arkham game.

Diablo III 1.0.8 on PTR

The Diablo III website announces that the upcoming version 1.0.8 patch for Diablo III is now live on the Public Test Realm for Blizzard's action/RPG sequel. They offer full instructions on how to set yourself up on the PTR if you want to experience the improved monster density and other changes coming to the game. They offer a set of Public Test Realm Patch 1.0.8 Notes explaining all the changes, but at this point there's no indication of when this patch is expected to leave testing.

SQUARE ENIX on Tomb Raider Shortfall

This document (Adobe Acrobat format) offers an outline of a briefing from SQUARE ENIX about their revisions to their Consolidated Results Forecasts for the fiscal year ending March 2013. This includes a clarification of how the new Tomb Raider reboot managed to fall short of their sales goals in spite of setting a franchise record. Though the game sold 3.4 million units out of the gate, apparently they were expecting it to double that, projecting 5-6 million sales in an estimate they still felt was a conservative 80-90 percent of how the game would actually perform. Apparently their optimism was based on the expectation that the game would score highly on Metacritic (which it has, averaging 86 across three platforms), which would significantly boost sales, which it hasn't. They thought there were being similarly conservative in their sales estimates for Sleeping Dogs and Hitman Absolution, and were apparently similarly optimistic instead, as each of those games also fell short of their projections. Thanks Eurogamer.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Footage Leaked

A post on Kotaku points to a video showing someone playing Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, the apparently real upcoming installment in the Far Cry series, though the footage has since been yoinked (oddly, at the request of the uploader, not Ubisoft). This continues a bit of a circus which began with the game's announcement being nestled within an April Fools' gag and the association of Michael Biehn with the project. At first this seemed like a console project, but the now-removed video was apparently from a PC edition. Thanks VG247

Star Wars: The Old Republic 2.0 Live; Rise of the Hutt Cartel Early Access Begins

The Star Wars: The Old Republic website announces that the early access period is now underway for the new Rise of the Hutt Cartel digital expansion for the Star Wars MMORPG. Also, as noted on this page, the new version 2.0 "Scum and Villainy" update is live for all players of the game. There are loads of details on the new version in the on this page, explaining the new level 55 cap and other changes.

Poker Night 2 Preorders

Steam announces they are accepting preorders of Poker Night 2, and they are upping the ante by providing everyone who goes all in on this blind a free copy of Poker Night at the Inventory, the first installment in Telltale's game hero poker game. Here's word on the sequel:

The chips are down and the ante is up in this sentence already bursting with poker clichés! Take the fifth seat in Poker Night 2, at a table featuring Claptrap (Borderlands 2), Brock Samson (The Venture Bros.), Ash (Army of Darkness) and Sam (Sam and Max series). Play to unlock new Team Fortress 2 items and win unique skins and heads for Borderlands 2! Your dealer is GLaDOS (Portal series), but at no point will you be considered as a candidate for a visit to Aperture Science’s Enrichment Center. Unless you lose.

Morning Patches

Morning Interviews

Op Ed

games.on.net - Ubisoft and PC gamers- This new relationship is not off to a good start.
It’s a broken system that Ubisoft is even cramming into its Steam titles, forcing you to launch uPlay even when you’ve purchased your game through Steam — or even Origin! Why would I want to use one DRM system that launches another? Why would I want to have to maintain all these different friends lists?

And now, we’re seeing that this system is so broken — so completely broken — that players can actually manually tear the curtains aside, using something as simple as a text editor, and see what they’re not allowed to have. Or even take other games they haven’t paid for!

This is really, really, dumb. Why are we using uPlay again?

Consumerist - EA Admits It “Can Do Better” But Blames Worst Company Success On Homophobes And Whiny Madden Fans. Thanks GamePolitics
In coming out and responding to its previous win — and possible repeat victory — EA had the opportunity to show the gaming community the respect it deserves, but instead has insulted its intelligence by asking it to accept that its quite obvious faults are really just minor problems and that the actual source of trouble are faceless, homophobic hatemongers.

IncGamers.com - The bird, or the cage: What BioShock Infinite says about choice and fatalism.
It’s an elegant meta-comment on the many, many people in the real world playing through BioShock Infinite, but also seems like a bit of a cheeky way of suggesting that the sort of choices offered in other games are ultimately meaningless if they bring you to the same point every time.

What’s your take on all of this?

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Okay, creepiness time, as the news is telling us to brace ourselves for the coming of "billions of cicadas," which will begin swarming around the U.S. East Coast in the immediate future, as we have come to the end/beginning of their 17 year cycle. This is going to be simultaneously really creepy and really cool.

R.I.P.: Celebrated Producer Andy Johns Dead at 61. To quote former Go-Gos member Kathy Valentine, of all people: "Crank up #ExileOnMainStreet and help send his soul off to the big mixing board in the sky."

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Furry Fighter.
Links: Texas Pinball Festival. Thanks Slashdot.
Stories: 5 tons of Nutella stolen. I suspect Frans.
Frog-phobic man awarded $1.6M over runoff flooding.
Ryan Gosling filmed bank robbery in front of real customers.
Science: For Private Manned Mars Mission, It's Make-or-Break Time. Get your ass to Mars!
Red meat chemical 'damages heart', say US scientists.
NASA funds telescope designed to spot Earth-like planets.
Images: VW's CEO Looked Pretty Happy About Those Topless Protesters. Thanks brother19.
Zap.
Media: Everything Bioshock Infinite Gets Wrong.
Jon Stewart Interview With George Carlin From 1997 Is Amazing.
Brilliant Coffee House Prank.
Dad Dancing at Stadium.
Auction: Darklands Video Game Original Cover Painting Fantasy Art. Thanks danull.
The Funnies: Penny Arcade - Perpetuity. Thanks nin.
ActionTrip Comic Strip- Never Offline.
Follow-up: The myth of the eight-hour sleep.



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