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Thursday, Apr 11, 2013

  

Free Hyperspace Pinball

Gamieon announces that Hyperspace Pinball for Windows and OS X is being offered as a free download on Desura between now and April 22nd. Here's word on how this combines an arcade shooter with a pinball machine:

Hyperspace Pinball combines the controls of pinball with the game play of an arcade shooter wrapped up in a universe of aliens, explosions and more! Travel through the solar system flipping shots while earning bonuses, power-ups, enhancements and achievements like a pinball wizard! Fight your way through bosses and special enemies like anti-balls, spinners and shooters on your way to planet Earth for the final showdown! If you're good enough, you can even compete for the top score against other players; even on other platforms! Do you have what it takes to save the galaxy? Find out with Hyperspace Pinball!

Cubemen 2 Content Freed

This Steam Forum post outlines how developer 3 Sprockets is dealing with unhappiness at how the game was marketed showing gameplay that could only be enabled through in-game purchases, saying they will make all the themes and skins shown in their prerelease screenshots and trailer free:

  1. All skins and themes that we use in our store page screenshots and trailer will be permanently free within the game.
  2. For the duration of our launch week sale on Steam, all new and existing Cubemen 2 customers have a "GET FREE GIFT" button in their Customisation menu where they can claim ALL of our current skins and themes for free.

    This button will disappear for everyone next week, so update and click it soon!
  3. We will be fully refunding every customer that bought any of our in game purchases since we launched. We will be processing these over the next few days, and we appreciate you patience while we work through the rather long list.

Ubisoft Buys Related Designs

Ubisoft announces they have acquired the remaining stake in Related Designs, the German studio that has developed many games in Anno series. Ubisoft acquired a 30% stake in the developer in 2007 as part of the purchase of the Anno franchise, and apparently liked it enough to put a ring on it, so to speak. Here's word:

SAN FRANCISCO — April 11, 2013 — Today, Ubisoft announced the acquisition of Related Designs, a leading German development studio for PC strategy games, including the critically-acclaimed AnnoTM franchise. Ubisoft previously owned 29.95 percent of the company and is acquiring the remaining 70.05 percent in a cash transaction.

Established in 1995, Related Designs is a highly accomplished studio known for creating the award-winning PC titles Anno 1701TM, Anno 1404TM, Anno 2070® as well as real-time strategy games such as No Man´s Land and Castle Strike. As part of Ubisoft, Related Designs’ experienced 65-person staff will continue development of the browser-based free-to-play MMO game Might & Magic® Heroes® Online, and will work on future titles in partnership with Blue Byte, a Ubisoft studio.

“Bringing the talented teams from Related Designs into the fold at Ubisoft is a mutually beneficial evolution of the relationship that we’ve had with this great studio for the past six years,” said Odile Limpach, managing director at Ubisoft’s Blue Byte studio. “This extremely fruitful cooperation can now advance thanks to the joint teams of Blue Byte and Related Designs more easily sharing experiences and resources. Together we will continue developing awesome games, including Might and Magic Heroes Online, which we hope will become a leading free-to-play title for Ubisoft.”

“We’re happy to formally join Ubisoft,” said Thomas Pottkämper, managing director, Related Designs. “This move validates our longstanding partnership and provides our teams with additional resources to expand upon their great work.”

EA Layoffs

EA has laid off an unspecified number of employees today, reports Polygon, saying most heavily impacted was their Montreal-based studio that focused on mobile games. "EA is sharpening its focus to provide games for new platforms and mobile," a spokesperson told the site. "In some cases, this involves reducing team sizes as we evolve into a more efficient organization. These are difficult decisions to let go of good people who have made important contributions to EA, and whenever possible we retrain or relocate employees to new roles. Streamlining our operations will help ensure EA is bringing the best next-generation games to players around the world."

AMD Bundle Adds Blood Dragon

The AMD Game Blog has word that AMD's Never Settle Reloaded bundle program now includes Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, the 1980s homage Michael Biehn vehicle. Word is: "By May 1, any customer that has ever redeemed a code for our Never Settle Reloaded promotion is going to receive a FREE GAME KEY for Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon by email. Or, if you have a Never Settle Reloaded postcard with a code you’ve not yet redeemed, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon will be added to the games on the postcard when you finally register the code." Thanks Ryan.

GRID 2 Multiplayer Details

Codemasters sends along details about multiplayer support in GRID 2 and how the upcoming racing sequel will utilize their new RaceNet service. Here's the rundown on how this will all work, since this info isn't present on the GRID 2 or RaceNet websites:

GRID 2 Multiplayer Modes
Whether players want to dive into a quick race online or in two-player split-screen, specialize in their favorite event or become one of the best cross-discipline racers in the world, GRID 2 offers a multiplayer experience that revolves around the gamer’s play style and choices. GRID 2’s wide-range of game modes can be played online with up to 12 players, including custom races based on player preferences and choosing from pre-defined playlists to jump straight into the action. Players can modify their cars with upgrades and make their mark on the grid by customizing their car with a simple yet powerful livery editor that offers up to 6 billion different combinations. New anti-griefing technology includes player grouping, so gamers who like to trade paint will be brought together online while clean racers are more likely to find similar drivers in their online sessions.

Game modes: Race (Including LiveRoutes™), Endurance, Drift, Touge, Checkpoint, Face Off, Time Attack. Global Challenge events also includes Overtake and Power Lap.

RaceNet
RaceNet, Codemasters’ free online browser-based extension which tracks players’ races, rivals and rewards, launches fully with GRID 2 and is the beating heart of the game’s multiplayer mode. RaceNet will go far beyond visualizing progress in-game and will provide players with new objectives, rivals and rewards for progress. Players can also track community stats, leaderboards and participate in weekly Global Challenge events. RaceNet can be accessed on a player’s desktop, tablet or mobile device and will have dedicated apps set to release around launch. Players can sign up today and get ready for GRID 2’s launch by visiting www.racenet.com.

Continue here to read the full story.

Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall Trailer

The Dishonored website now offers a new trailer showing off gameplay from The Knife of Dunwall add-on that's due next week for the stealth/action game. Here's word on the add-on:

In The Knife of Dunwall you take on the role of Daud, the legendary assassin who killed the Empress, and access his weapons, gadgets, allies and supernatural abilities. After assassinating the Empress, and forever changing the fate of Dunwall, you embark on a search for redemption. The Outsider reveals the key to your atonement, but who—or what—is Delilah? Accompanied by the Whalers, your loyal band of mercenary assassins, your search will take you through never-before-seen districts of Dunwall as you face off against new and terrible foes. Employ a unique arsenal of new weapons and powers that enhance Dishonored’s dynamic combat, mobility and stealth systems. In the struggle to hang onto the last shred of your humanity, the choices you make will ultimately determine your fate.

The Knife of Dunwall is slated for release worldwide on April 16, 2013 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC for $9.99 (or 800 Microsoft Points). For more information on Dishonored or The Knife of Dunwall please visit www.Dishonored.com.

Continue here to read the full story.

Black Ops II Uprising "Mob of the Dead" Trailer

A new trailer shows off the goodfellas versus deadfellas gameplay in the "Mob of the Dead" mode in the upcoming Uprising pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Word is: "Four mobsters find themselves trapped on the notorious Alcatraz Island. They soon find out though that they are not alone in the prison cell blocks. Chazz Palminteri, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Madsen, and Ray Liotta star in one of the most frightening Zombies experiences yet." Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Evening Patches

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Top DHS checkpoint refusals. Wild. Thanks loonybomber.

PlanetSide 2 Certs Gone Wild

The PlanetSide 2 Forums have details on a new patch that's now live in SOE's MMOFPS sequel, describing a bunch of gameplay changes. The initial post is followed by another adding that: "A certification grant has been done for players who purchased duplicate weapons on multiple characters." Unfortunately it seems this process has gone awry, as a post on reddit has word from disgruntled players that far too many of these valuable "certs" are being handed out (further detailed in this thread), and that bugs and "randomness" seem to be behind players receiving huge cert grants in spite of being unaffected by the bug the giveaways were intended to redress. There's talk of wanting Sony to undo this, which may not be practical, but in the least the initial reddit poster suggests: "SOE should approach anything dealing with certification points with far more caution in the future, especially giveaways that are tied to station cash transactions." Thanks fawker.

New Jagged Alliance Coming

Danish independent developer Full Control (Space Hulk) announces a licensing agreement they've entered into with bitComposer Games for a new multiplatform title in the Jagged Alliance series. Details are pretty scant for now, here's the full announcement:

Copenhagen, Denmark - April 11th - Danish indie studio Full Control today announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with bitComposer Games to develop and publish a new undisclosed multiplatform title in the Jagged Alliance franchise.

“Jagged Alliance fits perfectly into our company strategy and portfolio as the game to do after we ship Space Hulk. It is one of the 3 games besides X-Com and Fallout that really defined the entire genre and is part of our DNA”, said Thomas Hentschel Lund, CEO of Full Control. “We are honored and excited to have been the confidence given by bitComposer to give the series a fresh new take whilst staying true to the core mechanics.”

“We have been keeping an eye on Full Control for the last couple of years and have been suitably impressed with their take on turn-based tactical gaming and in particular their awesome work in bringing the classic Space Hulk franchise back to life”, said Wolfgang Duhr, Board of Directors of bitComposer Games, “We are excited to learn more about their plans for the franchise”.

Flashback HD Officially Announced

The Official PlayStation Magazine website now offers a trailer showing off Flashback HD, confirming rumors from January that a remake of the classic platformer is in the offing. The trailer says this will be "the sci-fi classic game - reimagined by the original core team." The clip concludes with a number of logos, none of which refer to the PC platform in any way, so it's possible the remake is not returning to one of its original platforms (and we're almost positive it's not returning to the Amiga). There's a video interview on Eurogamer talking with writer Simon MacKenzie about the project, according to their story and a headline on VG247 the remake is also coming to PCs, though where that tidbit originates is not mentioned. Continue here to read the full story.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Preorders; Trailer

A new official trailer (NSFW) is now online for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, the recently revealed comedic installment in the Far Cry series which seemed like an April Fools' joke before turning out to be a real game with an unintentional free preorder program (thanks nin). The clip reinforces the game's over-the-top style, which at times makes Duke Nukem seem subtle by comparison. Meanwhile, Steam News announces they are now accepting preorders for the game:

Far Cry 3 - Blood Dragon is Now Available for Pre-Purchase on Steam!

Pre-Purchase and receive the Far Cry 3 - Blood Dragon soundtrack when the game is released.

The year is 2007 and Earth has been ravaged by a nuclear war which erupted in the 90s. The east vs. west conflict has raged for generations, and humanity continues to struggle to progress after a disastrous decade. New paths for peace must be found, and the US cyborg army may have found a solution: a powerful bioweapon on a distant island. Your mission is to gather information and figure out what the hell is going on.

Continue here to read the full story.

Resident Evil Revelations Preorders & Bonuses

CapCom Unity announces that Steam is now accepting preorders for Resident Evil Revelations, noting that this is another of those escalating incentive deals where more preorders will recursively trigger greater incentives to preorder. The game is due on May 21st, and the first reward of an art book and soundtrack is already unlocked. The next tier would add a free copy of Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions, and the third tier is for a season pass with four additional DLC packs, though what these will contain is not revealed at this time.

Magrunner Website and New Screenshots

A new official website is online for Magrunner Dark Pulse, offering five new screenshots from the upcoming sci-fi Cthulhu game. Here's word on the game and the site:

Magrunner Dark Pulse, the action/reflection game developed by 3AM (Frogwares) for PC, Xbox LIVE® and PlayStation®Network, today celebrates the grand opening of its official website with 5 exclusive screenshots! Magrunner sends us to the near future, where technology will confront the Cthulhu Mythos as imagined by the renowned author of fantasy novels H. P. Lovecraft. The website of the game has also been optimized for smartphones and touch tablets, allowing players to access all the information about Magrunner, wherever they are!

The website contains absolutely everything players might want to know about Magrunner: details on its gameplay, its story, information about the protagonists, as well as many screenshots. New videos are also inbound, so keep an eye on the Media section of the website the weeks to come! Players will also be able to follow the newsfeed of the game in real-time: all the latest news, the activity surrounding the game on their favorite social networks, as well the developer's Dev Blog, where they will release regularly exclusive information.

Morning Interviews

Morning Patches

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

We had some rain last night and there's more in the forecast for today and tomorrow, but I'm not going to complain, as there are areas west of here still getting socked by snowstorms. If those storms avoid us I'll gladly live with some April showers, as it's finally gotten pretty warm around here. And this sanguine approach to the rain is in spite of how mother nature ruined my plans to grill a steak last night. What's worse, after getting rained out (or rained in, I guess) I decided to broil the steak in the oven, which I had never tried before, and my inexperience showed, as it came out decidedly medium well-done, which is a crime against beef. Oh well, live and learn... I'm pretty confident the next time I try that it will turn out better.

Well-Done Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: The King's League: Odyssey.
Links: World Record For Tightest Parallel Park Broken Twice. Thanks Devicer.
Stories: China pulls 'Django Unchained' on day of premiere. I would love to see Quentin's Chinese junket.
Tampa Bay Times issues funny ‘Star Wars’ correction.
Mysterious stone structure discovered beneath Sea of Galilee. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science: “Fantastic Voyage” microrocket technology coming to a body near you -- maybe yours.
Heart attacks: What you should know.
When it comes to vaccination, bad news is contagious.
Media: Why Shopping in a Video Game Universe Sucks.
What About Mouthwash?
How Animals Eat Their Food.



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