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Monday, Aug 19, 2013

  

No GFWL for Batman: Arkham Origins - GFWL & AOE Online Ending Next Year?

Batman: Arkham Origins will not use Games for Windows Live, reports IGN, saying WBIE has confirmed that the new installment in the stealth/action series uses Steamworks for achievements and multiplayer support. There was no multiplayer in the first two games in the Arkham series, but they both used GFWL for achievement tracking. This news comes shortly after news that the Xbox.com PC Marketplace (formerly the Games for Windows LIVE Marketplace) will close this week, and word from Capcom that Ultra Street Fighter IV will likewise drop Games for Windows Live after using this on previous games including Super Street Fighter IV. On the heals of all this, Polygon reports on a now-removed support update from Microsoft that announced the Games for Windows Live service will end in July 2014. Here's what they report the update said:

Games for Windows Live will be discontinued on July 1, 2014. Although it is available through Steam, Age of Empires Online requires features of the Games for Windows Live service. You can continue to enjoy all the features of Age of Empires Online as the service will remain 100% operational until July 1, 2014 when the server will shut down.

WildStar Announces Subscriptions or Play to Pay

NCSOFT announces a hybrid business model for WildStar, the upcoming science fiction MMORPG from Carbine Studios, saying it will support subscriptions as well as the ability to buy game time from other players. There's more on this on the WildStar blog along with a Business Model FAQ. Here's the announcement:

BRIGHTON, UK – 19 AUGUST, 2013: NCSOFT® and Carbine Studios today revealed initial details on the business model for WildStar, the much anticipated sci-fi MMO, outlining the different ways players can embark on their planetary adventure when it’s released in spring of 2014.

Upon purchasing WildStar through a retail outlet or digital download, players will receive 30 days free game time, plus three guest passes to give to friends for a week of galactic adventure. Players can then either opt to pay a standard monthly subscription, purchase a Game Time card, or use gold earned in-game to purchase C.R.E.D.D. from other players and avoid paying a subscription fee altogether.

C.R.E.D.D. (also known as a Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction and Development) is an in-game item that can be redeemed for game time. Players can sell C.R.E.D.D. to each other for gold in-game through each server’s Commodities Exchange at a rate established by the player community. C.R.E.D.D. can also be purchased for real money online at www.WildStar-Online.com. This model provides players multiple options for access to play – through a traditional MMO subscription or a ’play to pay’ approach.

Continue here to read the full story.

Panzer General Online Announced

Ubisoft announces Panzer General Online, a new multiplayer installment in the Panzer General strategy series in development at their Blue Byte studio in collaboration with Funatics Software. The free-to-play, web-based game is slated to enter closed beta testing later this year, and the Panzer General website is already accepting advance registration from those interested in participating. The site also offers an announcement trailer with a cinematic promoting the game. Here's word:

Focusing on intense strategic battles, players are able to play in both single-player and multiplayer modes. The single-player campaign functions as an advanced tutorial and lets the player take part in battles including the Battle of Omaha Beach and the Battle of Monte Cassino. The multiplayer mode challenges players to become the most effective general through strategic control of their units. Panzer General Online also incorporates elements of trading card-based games: players can collect and trade virtual miniatures of tanks, infantry and artillery to create their own personalized army.

Continue here to read the full story.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted Alpha Early Access

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has word that early access to the alpha version of Sir, You Are Being Hunted is now available to those who purchase the survival game through Steam or the Humble Store, as well as to their Kickstarter backers. You'd almost think the game was developed by a writer from this eloquent description: "Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a procedurally-generated British horror in which tweed-wearing robots hunt you for sport. Roam the landscape, scavenge for food, hide breathlessly in the undergrowth, flee in terror, and even fight back with stolen weapons. Sir is a stealth and survival game unlike any other."

Might & Magic X Legacy Early Access

Ubisoft announces early access is now underway for Might & Magic X Legacy through Uplay and Steam. Here's the deal:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. — August 19th 2013 — Today, Ubisoft announced Early Access for Might & Magic® X Legacy. For all pre-purchases of the game’s Deluxe Edition, players can now exclusively play the entire first Act of Might & Magic® X Legacy prior to the full game release and enjoy numerous exclusive benefits and features. This Deluxe Edition is available digitally on uPlay and Steam, and on retail via uPlay only.

Might & Magic® X Legacy is a video game project that initiates a process of cooperation between developers and gamers. As players will get access to a game still in development, they will be able to give their feedback so developers can deliver the best game possible. Early Access’s main objectives are to give players a first glimpse of the project and let them participate easily in its development.

The Open Development launch earlier this summer is also part of this early access process, which allows the development team to share its passion for the Might & Magic brand. The Open Dev Blog is the platform allowing Might & Magic® X Legacy enthusiasts to participate in the game’s development. Feedback from the community has already been taken into account, with features being added to the game based on community involvement.

Continue here to read the full story.

Forge Goes Free-to-Play

The Forge website has an update from a week ago announcing this multiplayer arena shooter is now free-to-play. They explain their philosophy about this: "Well, we continue to stand by our commitment that Forge will not be pay-to-win. As you see from our item store already, items are cosmetic. We hope in the future to add customization to cosmetic items as well. So the assassin could have a different dagger that gave her some kind of customization as well. For now, we will offer armor sets and XP boosts. We will be introducing 4 new sets including Bivröst Armor, Gullveig’s Armor, Armor of Muspelheim, and new war-painted helms: the Bardajalmor. For a while we had the idea of being a little more of a Freemium offering and charging for Progression. We have since decided from feedback from all of you to drop this idea and allow all access to the Item Store." A new version 1.11 patch is now live. Thanks Massively.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Next Month; Preorder Discount

Frictional Games announces Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs will be released on September 10th for Windows, OS X, and Linux, offering another survival/horror experience using the same setting as Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Here's word:

From the creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Dear Esther comes a new first-person horror game that will drag you to the depths of greed, power and madness. It will bury its snout into your ribs and it will eat your heart. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is survival–horror at its most unsettling; helpless and alone, no weapons to soothe your nerves, and the dim light of your lantern to offer any comfort.

For Windows, Mac, and Linux, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is available for $15.99 ($19.99 regularly) at these digital distributors:
Steam
GOG
Humble Store
Gamefly
GamersGate
Desura
Mac Game Store

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs' narrative-driven horror, free of combat and complex puzzles, instead encourages players to entrench themselves in the world, be consumed by its ambiance, and run for their lives. More info:
http://aamfp.com/

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Launch Trailer

A launch trailer for The Bureau: XCOM Declassified paves the way for tomorrow's North American launch of the tactical shooter based on the XCOM series. Continue here to read the full story.

AMD Catalyst Beta Drivers

AMD now offers new AMD Catalyst version 13.8 beta 2 drivers for Windows. The feature highlights indicate that this is were those with AMD/ATI graphics cards should turn to run Saints Row IV, which is due tomorrow:

  • Saints Row 4: Performance improves up to 25% at 1920x1280 with Ultra settings enabled
  • Splinter Cell Blacklist: Performance improves up to 9% at 2560x1600 with Ultra settings enabled
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Improves single GPU and CrossFire performance
  • Van Helsing: Fixes image quality issues when enabling Anti-Aliasing through the AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Far Cry 3 / Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon: Resolve corruption when enabling Anti-Aliasing through the Catalyst Control Center
  • RIPD: Improves single GPU performance
  • Minimum: Improves CrossFire performance
  • Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Improves CrossFire performance
  • CrossFire: Frame Pacing feature – includes improved performance in World of Warcraft, Sniper Elite, Watch Dogs, and Tomb Raider
  • Doom 3 BFG: Corruption issues have been resolved

Ships Ahoy - Race The Sun

Race The Sun is a "hardcore endless racer" for Windows, OS X, and Linux. Here's a launch trailer, and here's word:

The rules are simple: don't crash, rack up points, and keep boosting to keep your solar-powered craft in the ever-sinking rays of the sun. Race the Sun uses a mixture of hand-crafted and procedurally generated stages to provide a unique world every day, and invites users to create and share their own.

Features:

  • Endless racer for the hardcore crowd.
  • Infinite worlds that change daily for continuous challenge.
  • Ridiculously-hard Apocalypse Mode.
  • Tools for world-creation and -sharing.
  • 25 levels of ship upgrades and customizations.
  • Relay sharing. Pass your run off to someone else, or complete others.

Continue here to read the full story.

Dark Eye – Demonicon Trailer

The Gamescom trailer for Dark Eye – Demonicon is now online, showing off some of the locations in the upcoming action/RPG as well as some of the foes the player will face in concept art, cinematics, and gameplay footage. The game's website has details on what to expect when the Windows edition is released in October of this year and the console versions follow next year. Continue here to read the full story.

Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator Version 2.0

The Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator website offers a new version 2.0 of this spaceship bridge simulator for networked Windows computers. Here's word:

Artemis ships play in real 3D now, with climb/dive controls (button, keyboard, and joystick). Players can fly OVER a black hole, and come up underneath enemies.

The UI art has been completely revamped, new crisper fonts, custom screen controls torpedo controls, and significant changes to every game screen.

Artemis 2.0 can now support up to eight simultaneous bridges, which means up to 48 players. Multi-ship games got special attention during the development, with known bugs fixed and a lot of UI changes.

By popular request, there is now a full-fledged Player Versus Player mode, where any number of sides and teams can battle each other in arena sectors that can be tuned to limit torpedo and ship types, as well as the number of NPC ships on each side.

Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

  • 7 Grand Steps, Step 1: What Ancients Begat on Steam. Save 25%.
  • Avencast: Rise of the Mage on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Bad Rats: the Rats' Revenge on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Chaos Overlords on GOG.com. Save 60%.
  • Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! on Steam. Save 85%.
  • DRM-Free Bundle on Bundle Stars. Four indies for around $4.00.
  • Evil Genius on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Go Home Dinosaurs! on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Gothic 1 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Mass Effect Trilogy on GameStop PC Downloads. Save 50%.
  • The Prairie Dog Bundle on Indie Royale. Five indies for around $5.00.
  • Razor2: Hidden Skies on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Slam Bolt Scrappers on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends on Steam. Save 50%.

Evening Interviews

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

  • Cypress Inheritance is a new UDK game for Windows with a family-friendly open-world stealth gameplay dynamic…

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Asteroids: The Movie. Thanks Ant.

Child of Light Announced

Ubisoft has unveiled plans for Child of Light at GDC Europe, reports Gamasutra, calling this a JRPG-inspired game using the "Ubi-Art Framework tech developed for the Rayman series." Details like target platforms or release windows are not offered yet, but they do have word on the general plan from Far Cry 3 director Patrick Plourde:

According to Plourde, the downloadable title -- influenced by Japanese games like Final Fantasy VI and artists like Hayao Miyazaki and Yoshitaka Amano -- was started as an internal indie project within the developer and is targeted as a next-gen game.

The game is a side-scrolling game with JRPG-esque turn-based battles. Beyond its artistic and classic JRPG influences, Plourde cited Limbo as a huge influence on the game's direction, along with European fairytales.

0x10c in Carbonite; Community Version Planned

Speaking during a recent Team Fortress 2 livestream, Minecraft originator Markus "Notch" Persson reveals that at this point Mojang has no further plans to develop 0x10c, their planned sandbox space simulation game, saying "I’m just going to be working on small games for the rest of my life." The game's subreddit points to a Project Trillek subreddit, home to an effort to pick up the mantle of the game to release as a community project called Project Trillek, and USgamer has quotes from the developers on their ambitions. Thanks PC Gamer.

Teslagrad Demo; Contest

Desura now offers installation and downloads of a playable demo for Teslagrad, Rain Games' magnetic puzzle/side-scroller adventure that's due for full release this fall. Here's what this is all about: "The demo, available by direct download for Windows, Linux and MAC OSX, allows you to dive into the secrets kept in the Teslagrad Tower. This first public build features the first steps of the adventure, a final boss fight, and perhaps even certain clues about the legendary struggle between the ancient Teslamancers, and the wrath of an embittered king." The Rain Games website has more details on the demo as well as a "super awesome Teslagrad demo speedrun contest," offering a "unique" soundtrack CD as a prize.

X Rebirth Preorders

Steam News announces that Valve is now accepting pre-purchases of X Rebirth, offering a 10% discount on this advance commitment to EGOSOFT's space combat sequel:

X Rebirth represents a spectacular new beginning for the X series, offering loyal fans and newcomers alike a vast, vivid and extremely detailed universe to explore throughout the game. Varied gameplay elements such as action-packed space combat, detailed trading mechanics and high-speed space exploration with fast travel allow players to experience a truly unique space saga that will keep them hooked for dozens of hours. X Rebirth features a whole new user experience - it is easier than ever to start with, and remains as deep as fans expect it.

Aarklash: Legacy Next Month

Cyanide Studio announces a September 12th Steam release date for Aarklash: Legacy, which is a bit of a delay from the Q2 2013 debut originally announced for this game based on the Confrontation miniatures series. They also offer new details on the game in the Gamescom 2013 trailer for the tactical adventure/RPG. Word is: "Players will also discover the different characters that can join the party, as well as some of the enemies to be encountered along the way. Venture into the fantasy world of Aarklash and discover the fate of the last mercenary "Wheel Swords." Customize skills, experiment with different tactics and strategies, and collect artifacts to advance on the quest. Ultimately, promote synergy between companions and lift the veil on the odious plot against them." Continue here to read the full story.

U.K. Sales Charts

As usual, GfK Chart Track is here to brighten a Monday morning with their calculations of the bestselling games in the U.K. for the past week. The top 20 full-priced PC games chart has one new entry that's not a re-entry, as Europa Universalis IV joins the chart at number 10, while the Sims 3: Island Paradise continues to bask in the number one spot. It may remain there until it is eligible for the PC budget chart, as 40% of the full-priced chart is now Sims 3 SKUs. On the all platforms/all prices chart PAYDAY 2 steals the number one spot from Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition. Here's their summary of this week's activity:

‘Payday 2’ ends Minecraft’s three week run at the top of the chart and becomes 505 Games’ first No1 since Sniper Elite V2 back in Week 18 2012.

The sequel makes the jump to console following the great success of the original ‘Payday: The Heist’ which was released as a digital download only. ‘Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition’ (-14%) drops down to No2 while a strong boost in sales sees ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ (+60%) continue its impressive climb back up to No3. ‘FIFA 13’ (-18%) drops two places to No4 while Nintendo’s ‘Animal Crossing: New Leaf’ (-9%) holds its position at No5.

Further down the chart there is little movement with ‘The Last of Us’(-19%) still holding at No6 while ‘The Smurfs 2’ (-31%) is pushed down from No3 to No7. Both ‘Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes’ (-0%) and ‘Tomb Raider’ (-10%) are non-movers at No8 and No9 respectively. Perhaps in anticipation of the hotly awaited next instalment, Take 2’s ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ (+6%) just edges out Ubisoft’s ‘Assassin’s Creed III’ (-10%) for the No10 spot.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Today kicks off Game Developers Conference Europe, so there should be some news from there over the next couple of days.

My weird ear for celebrity voices popped up again over the weekend, as I became convinced the voice in the NFL's new TV promos is Forest Whitaker. A quick Google suggested I was wrong, but I heard it a couple more times and did a better search, and found out it is indeed his voice. The weird thing is that before this if you asked me if I thought I knew what he sounded like I would have answered probably not. Too bad there's not a way to capitalize on this odd skill: Like Name that Tune for voices or something.

Familiar Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Red Extinction.
Stories: Steve Jobs Biopic Crashes on Opening Weekend.
America's Last, Remaining Drive-Ins Face a New Threat. Thanks Slashdot.
Science: Obesity Death Toll Heavier Than Previously Thought.
Strange, Pulsating Star Found.
Almost orbital, solar-powered drone offered as "atmospheric satellite".
Media: Super Mario Bros 2 Corruptions.
The Video Game Years - 1981 Pt 3. Thanks Retroware.
Man on an Edge: What It's Like to Be a Window Cleaner in NY.
The Funnies: xkcd: Exoplanet Names. Thanks Jim.



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