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Thursday, Aug 15, 2013

  

Arkane's Prey 2 Rumors Resurface

Kotaku has what are purportedly internal Bethesda Softworks emails saying Arkane Austin is working on a rebooted version of Prey 2, the shooter sequel that was declared "delayed," "not cancelled"," and "in limbo" over the course of last year. More recently, there was a rumor in May that Arkane was the new developer on the game followed by word a few weeks later that Human Head's version of the game was complete, but was not up to Bethesda's quality standards. According to Kotaku's allegedly leaked emails, Arkane Austin is working on a reboot of Prey 2 that they pitched as a "spiritual successor to System Shock 3," which is weird, because there is no System Shock 3. They seem quite upset that Bethesda might be unwilling to reveal their internal plans ahead of schedule in denying this rumor, puzzling "Why mislead the public like this?" They still show willingness to trust again, though, reaching out to Bethesda for more comment and receiving this reply: "We aren’t talking about what Arkane is working on and we have no new information to share on Prey 2."

Steamships Ahoy - Space Hulk

Danish developer Full Control announces the release of Space Hulk on Steam for Windows and OS X, offering the first video game in 17 years that's based on the Space Hulk branch of the Warhammer 40K tree. The strategy game supports cross platform play, which will also incorporate the upcoming iPad version upon its release. Here's the announcement:

August 15th, 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark - Danish independent studio Full Control today announced the release of Space Hulk, on both PC and Mac. Space Hulk is a digital turn based strategy video game adaptation of the 3rd edition of Games Workshop’s epic board-game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Space Hulk features a single player campaign with 15 missions based on the "Sin of Damnation" space hulk and head-to-head cross-platform multiplayer action. Available on digital download now on PC and Mac, Space Hulk is scheduled for release on iPad through the App Store later in 2013.

“As a studio that specializes in turn based combat, securing and remaking the Space Hulk franchise has been a dream come true, but one that has come with many responsibilities,” said Thomas Hentschel Lund, CEO of Full Control. “Completely faithful to the classic claustrophobic board game experience and players will need to use their minds as well as their muscle to defeat the Genestealers and progress through the dark labyrinth of the Space Hulk”.

Space Hulk Features

  • The first Space Hulk video game in 17 years - available on multiple platforms (PC, Mac and iPad)
  • Set in the hugely popular Warhammer 40,000 universe - official license of the legendary boardgame from Games Workshop.
  • Turn-based tactical strategy game based on the popular and iconic board game mechanics.
  • Blood Angel Terminators - Fight the ferocious Genestealers with heroes of the mighty Blood Angels.
  • Fearsome Genestealers with challenging AI - meet unforgiving hordes of Genestealers • Thematic 3D environment - experience the dark labyrinth of a Space Hulk as never before.
  • Single player campaign based on the "Sin of Damnation" space hulk - Take on the Sin of Damnation campaign, which includes 3 brand new prequel missions and the 12 missions from the classic board game.
  • Multiplayer head-to-head recreating the board game experience against a friend - get in the hot seat and battle it out with a friend.
  • Cross platform multiplayer between Windows PC, Mac and iOS - play asynchronous against friends and foes on multiple platforms.

Games for Windows Live Marketplace Closes Next Week

Xbox.com has word that the Xbox.com PC Marketplace, formerly the Games for Windows Live marketplace, will shut down on August 22nd. They explain that games and content purchased there will still be playable as before, but the sale of Games for Windows Live games will cease as of that date, though some games will continue to offer in-game purchases on a case-by-case basis. This change will coincide with the switch from MS Points to cash money, and they explain the implications of that. Probably most significant is the news that this means some games will no longer be sold anywhere, as they explain: "Games for Windows Live titles published by Microsoft are no longer available for purchase from any marketplace." Thanks Gamasutra.

Trion Closes U.K. Office

Trion Worlds is closing their European office in Guildford England, reports MCV, saying this is costing 10 employees their jobs. This is the second office Trion has closed in a short span, as it was just last week that we learned the company's San Diego office was closing, along with news that former Rift producer Scott Hartsman had returned to the company as CEO. "As part of its recent company realignment, Trion’s European publishing office based in Guildford, UK, will be closing down," reads MCV's statement from Trion. "European localized versions of Trion’s live and upcoming games will not be affected as all regional game development and support continues from Redwood City, CA."

On Sale

  • Dungeons and Dragons Gems on GOG.com. Save up to 75%.
  • PewDiePie on Humble Weekly Sale. Pay what you want and help charity.
  • Red Faction Collection on Steam. Save 80%.
  • Two Worlds Collection on Steam. Save 80%.

Op Ed

Polygon - Plague of game dev harassment erodes industry, spurs support groups.
Developers, both named and those who wish to remain anonymous, tell Polygon that harassment by gamers is becoming an alarmingly regular expected element of game development. Some developers say the problem was among the reasons they left the industry, others tell Polygon that the problem is so ubiquitous that it distracts them from making games or that they're considering leaving the industry.

The problem has become so pronounced that International Game Developers Association executive director Kate Edwards tells Polygon that the organization is looking into starting support groups and that while the harassment isn't yet having a major impact on game development, "we're at the cusp of where it could."

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Interviews

Evening Previews

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Guardians of Middle-earth for PC This Month

In a press release that mentions neither Tolkien nor The Lord of the Rings, WBIE announces Guardians of Middle-earth for PC, an upcoming Windows edition of Monolith's MOBA game that's already out for consoles, saying Zombie Studios is handling the PC port. This will be released via digital distribution on August 29th as a base version for USD $19.99 or as a $79.99 Mithril Edition which includes all 36 playable Guardians and more. They also announce that those who own one of the console editions are entitled to a free Steam key for the base edition. Here's part of the announcement:

Windows PC players will soon be able to battle through Middle-earth via the wildly popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre. Gamers will have access to Guardians of Middle-earth’s 36 original playable Guardian characters, earnable through gameplay and in-game currency. Players will have access to three modes and six maps including The Shire, Goblin-town, Mirkwood and Survival gameplay previously introduced as downloadable content (DLC). Exclusive to the PC version of Guardians of Middle-earth, there will be 36 alternate Guardian skins available for purchase through Steam. Guardians of Middle-earth for PC will support Steamworks integration, Big Picture full controller compatibility and Raptr integration for live streaming matches.

Continue here to read the full story.

Nether Announced

Phospher Games announces Nether, a survival/horror MMORPG planned for early access release for Windows PCs this autumn. The Nether website is live, where players interested in early access can register, and view the following illustrative quote from the Book of Ephesians in the New Testament of the Bible: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world." Here are some screenshots, and here is word:

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The first details were released today for Nether, the upcoming, online survival-horror game from developer Phosphor Games and game production company Nether Productions. A persistent-world, massively multiplayer online game based entirely in an urban setting, Nether challenges players to survive day-to-day while trying to uncover the truth behind the apocalyptic event that has changed mankind forever. Nether is slated for release in the fall of 2013 for the Windows PC platform.

“Our focus is to veer away from some of the ‘traditional’ survival-horror offerings in order to provide something new for the genre, with a great urban setting, a different type of story and an experience that excites us as fans and will be something definitely fresh and new for gamers.” “Our team has a strong and varied background that includes the creation of post-apocalyptic titles, so we’re really excited about Nether,” said Chip Sineni, Creative Director at Phosphor Games. “Our focus is to veer away from some of the ‘traditional’ survival-horror offerings in order to provide something new for the genre, with a great urban setting, a different type of story and an experience that excites us as fans and will be something definitely fresh and new for gamers.”

In Nether, players are thrust into a decimated, post-apocalyptic city where the remaining human population has degenerated into a chaotic state of lawlessness. A pervasive sense of evil looms over the land as people struggle to survive and rumors circulate of vile, demonic creatures that roam the cities to claim any souls still living. As one of the few remaining survivors, players must decide if they will Prey or Pray as they use skill and cunning to obtain food, weapons and other supplies necessary for existence while trying to determine whether or not to approach and trust other players or go at it solo.

Nether is currently in Alpha phase, with early-access planned for this fall. Players can visit http://playnether.com to be notified of updates and other information as well as sign up to be among the first selected to access the game. More information on this title can also be found at http://facebook.com/playnether or on Twitter @PlayNether.

GTA Online Trailer

Rockstar Games now offers the GTA Online Official Gameplay Video from Grand Theft Auto V, showing co-op and competitive multiplayer support in the open world sequel, and talks of additional official post-release and user-created multiplayer content. Here's word:

Watch the new Official Gameplay Video for Grand Theft Auto Online - which shows how we've taken the fundamental GTA concepts of freedom, ambient activity and mission-based gameplay and made them available to multiple players in an incredibly detailed and responsive online world.

In Grand Theft Auto Online, you'll have the freedom to explore alone or with friends, work cooperatively to complete missions, band together to participate in activities and ambient events, or compete in traditional game modes with the entire community, all with the personality and refined mechanics of Grand Theft Auto V.

Access to Grand Theft Auto Online is free with every retail copy of Grand Theft Auto V and launches on October 1st.

Continue here to read the full story.

Tropico 5 Announced

Kalypso Media announces Tropico 5, a new installment in the island dictator series, where players will once again take on the role of benevolent dictator El Presidente. The sequel is in development at Haemimont Games for release for Windows, OS X, Linux, and Xbox 360 next year, and the new twist here will be the inclusion of multiplayer support for the first time in the series, as up to four players will be able to play it together cooperatively. The Tropico 5 website is already live, offering a teaser trailer in newsreel style showing El Presidente gloating about the success of his floating city of Columbia island nation of Tropico. Here's word:

Packed with a whole host of new gameplay features and all new artwork designed from scratch, Tropico 5 takes the series into a new and exciting direction – dynasties!

You, as El Presidente, will first take control of the infamous island of Tropico during early colonial times and then guide it through the centuries as the world changes and moves ever forward. You must tackle the changing needs of your people, as well as opposing governments and factions, and thus lay the foundations for your own dynasty. As you move through your years in office you can promote members of your extended family on the island to positions of power: such as ambassador, commanding general or even Supreme Ruler, to ensure your legacy thrives through the eras. As your influence and wealth grows, so do the threats to your burgeoning island superpower. Can you survive both World Wars, prosper through the Great Depression, rule as an iron-fisted dictator through the Cold War and advance your country to modern times and beyond? From the 19th to the 21st century, each era carries its own challenges and opportunities.

As well as a wealth of other new features, including advanced trading mechanics, technology, scientific research trees and island exploration, Tropico 5 will add cooperative and competitive multiplayer for up to four players for the first time in the series' history! Viva El Presidente!

Features of Tropico 5

  • The Eras - From the 19th century to the 21st, each era carries its own challenges and opportunities. Begin your reign during colonial times and advance your nation through the modern era and into the future!
  • The Dynasty – Each member of El Presidente’s extended family is present on the island and may be appointed to key leadership positions, earning skills and experience in their assigned roles.
  • Research and Renovate - Advance your nation by discovering new buildings, technologies and resources. Transform your old buildings into modernized, hyper-efficient designs worthy of an economic superpower!
  • Advanced trade system and trade fleet - Amass a global trade fleet and use your ships to secure import/export trade routes to neighbouring islands and key nations.
  • Explore your island - Discover what lies beyond the fog of war. Send prospectors to look for new mineral and ore deposits, but be wary of hostile animals and native tribes.
  • All new art - All artwork is reworked to provide Tropico 5 with a distinct historic visual identity. Choose from over 100 unique buildings from each of the individual eras.
  • Cooperative and competitive multiplayer – Up to four players can build up their own cities and economies on any given island map. Players can share resources and citizens, or declare war on each other.

Continue here to read the full story.

Jump/Boxer and Demo Released

The Blaze Epic website now offers Jump/Boxer, and independently developed side-scroller inspired by martial arts and parkour. The game is a wallet-friendly USD $3.00, and there's a playable demo to see if it's worth the risk (there is also a discount for bundling this with one of their previous games. This trailer shows the game's throwback 8-bit style graphics, and here's a description: "The reason why this retro indie-game matters is that it takes the 8-bit action-platformer formula and brings into the modern-day, keeping the 8-bit aesthetic and feel while using design choices seen in games of recent history. The mix of the pixel-art using a limited color palette, choppy animations, and chiptune music with unlimited lives, closer check points, and regenerating health allows for an authentic 8-bit experience without the frustrations of those golden-era days." Continue here to read the full story.

Genre Fusion Mashup Kickstarter

The Concursion Kickstarter seeks to fund a five-genre mash-up of a Platformer/Shmup/Hack-n-Slash/Evasive Aerial Exploration/Top Down Maze game. That sounds impressively ambitious, as does the picture painted with this description: "If Mario met Gradius, in beautiful Pac Land, while Strider grabbed a jetpack and explored throughout the stars. All of this at once." Booyah!

Cognition for OS X

Phoenix Online Studios announces that Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is now available for Max OS X. Each episode is listed separately, so here are links to Cognition Episode 1: The Hangman, Cognition Episode 2: The Wise Monkey, and Cognition Episode 3: The Oracle. On a related note, there are also now iPad versions of Cognition Episode 1 and Cognition Episode 2. Here's a refresher on the game: "Each Cognition episode is a self-contained investigation that also advances Erica's story and brings her closer to avenging Scott's murder. With traditional "point and click" gameplay, a stylized graphic novel aesthetic, and a gritty story that grips you and won't let go, this modern adventure is a must-play for fans of mystery games like Gabriel Knight, interactive narratives like Heavy Rain or The Walking Dead: The Game, supernatural serials like TV's Fringe, and CSI-style crime dramas."

Rise of Venice Trailer

This video is the Gamescom trailer for Rise of Venice, the trading simulation Kalypso Media plans on releasing this fall. Here's the deal: "The trailer showcases the political machinations of the game world, where it's more than just about making money, but also about "who you know"." In Rise of Venice, you will be challenged to sail the seas of a lush 3D world, trading goods, while also working to earn the votes of the "Council of 10", a group that can make or break your political career." Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I did some adventuring yesterday that got away from me and took too much time, which was the bad news. The cool news is that one of my accomplishments was visiting a welder and having him fix a bracket that holds a muffler in my decrepit Corvette. The goal with this 100K+ miles car has always been to avoid sinking money into it as it soldiers on in its second decade of service, so the fact the mufflers have a built in bracket for this became a big problem when they eventually broke off, as a proper replacement would involve replacing the entire exhaust system, which would be a lengthy (expensive) installation of an expensive part. Instead my friend Devicer found me a welder who fixed my broken makeshift bracket temporarily while he works on fashioning me a pair of new brackets. A local muffler shop had already told me neither of these things could be done, so the fact that he found both projects so manageable (if not trivial) was refreshing. And the fact that he charged me $5.00 for welding the broken bracket was shocking in the best possible way.

Shocking Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Dr. Flammenwerfer.
Knight Runner.
Links: The world's craziest contraband.
Science: Welcome to the future: New Zealand approves permit for jet pack.
Media: 2013 World Yo-Yo Contest Champion. Wow!!
Iron Man 3 Bloopers.



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