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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013

  

Merc Elite Announced

Bigpoint announces Merc Elite, another upcoming entry in the burgeoning MOBA genre. Here's part of the announcement, including word the free-to-play game will enter beta testing this summer: "Merc Elite is the first MOBA game to take place in a futuristic military setting. It combines elaborate player-versus-player battles with 3D graphics. Gamers can decide between different character classes, including a refined weapons system for battles in the arena. Players will need more than just a daft hand with the weapons, though. Tactical skill, team play and strategy are also crucial factors for success. Merc Elite will go into open beta in the summer of 2013."

Ships Ahoy - Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist; Day One Patch Released

Today is the North American release date for Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist, the latest installment in Ubisoft's stealth/action series. The Splinter Cell website has a day one patch for the Windows edition they strongly recommend for all users except those who bought the game through Steam, showing a lengthy list of bug fixes the patch includes. Also, here's a new Invisible Trailer, visibly showing off the game's stealth elements. Continue here to read the full story.

League of Legends Security Breach

The League of Legends website announces that some of their North American account information has been compromised (thanks GameSpot). This is a serious matter, as credit card information is involved. Here's word:

What we know: usernames, email addresses, salted password hashes, and some first and last names were accessed. This means that the password files are unreadable, but players with easily guessable passwords are vulnerable to account theft.

Additionally, we are investigating that approximately 120,000 transaction records from 2011 that contained hashed and salted credit card numbers have been accessed. The payment system involved with these records hasn't been used since July of 2011, and this type of payment card information hasn't been collected in any Riot systems since then. We are taking appropriate action to notify and safeguard affected players. We will be contacting these players via the email addresses currently associated with their accounts to alert them. Our investigation is ongoing and we will take all necessary steps to protect players.{/quote

Ships Ahoy - The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

2K Games announces The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is now available in North America, offering a tactical third-person shooter based on the XCOM series of UFO strategy games. The launch trailer was released yesterday, and here's word on the release of the game:

NEW YORK - Aug. 20, 2013: 2K and 2K Marin, makers of BioShock® 2, announced today that The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is now available in North America and will be available internationally on August 23, 2013 for the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC. The Bureau is a daringly different blend of the strategy and action genres, resulting in a challenging tactical shooter that’s refreshingly deep, original, and according to Game Informer, “worthy of the XCOM name.”

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is a third-person tactical shooter that tells the cold war era origin story of the clandestine XCOM organization. Players step into the boots of Special Agent William Carter, a battlefield commander and The Bureau’s top field agent, and must lead a squad of America’s best against an overwhelming alien threat.

“In 2012 Firaxis’ XCOM: Enemy Unknown blazed a trail for the XCOM brand, which is an important part of 2K’s growing portfolio,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “Today, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified paves the way for continued expansion of the beloved XCOM universe.”

Continue here to read the full story.

NVIDIA Beta Drivers

The GeForce website now offers new version 326.80 beta GeForce drivers for NVIDIA graphics cards, saying these are ideal for the newly released Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist: "The new GeForce 326.80 beta driver is now available to download. An essential update for gamers sneaking into Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist, today’s driver ensures maximum performance and system compatibility in the brand new stealth title, which is jam-packed with PC-exclusive features and technology, including NVIDIA HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion, NVIDIA TXAA Temporal Anti-Aliasing, out-of-the-box NVIDIA SLI support, and much much more. For a full rundown, head on back to GeForce.com tomorrow when we’ll detail all of Blacklist’s impressive tech." Thanks Iggy.

FIFA 14 Demo Next Month; New Trailer Now

A new Gamescom trailer from FIFA 14 shows off gameplay from the next installment in this association football/soccer series. The game is due for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in North America on September 24th and in Europe on September 27th, and according to the description the playable demo is coming to all three of those platforms on September 10th. Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Dungeons and Dragons Online: The Shadowfell Conspiracy

The Dungeons and Dragons Online website announces the release of The Shadowfell Conspiracy expansion for Turbines D&D MMORPG. The expansion is available via digital distribution as a standard or a collector's edition (one of those non-resalable, intangible collectibles). "We’re thrilled to launch Shadowfell Conspiracy, our second major expansion to the game," said Aaron Campbell, Franchise Director of Dungeons & Dragons Online. "Players can now begin their journey as a high level, Iconic hero in the Forgotten Realms, and jump directly into new adventures in Wheloon. We’re also looking forward to our players getting their hands on our new Enhancements system, which takes DDO’s industry-leading character customization system to another level."

Redshirt Preorders

Publisher Positech announces the Redshirt website is now accepting preorders of this comedy sci-fi sim developed by the Tiniest Shark. Those who preorder the game will get immediate access to the newly launched beta test, and will receive Steam codes for the final version when the game is complete. They celebrate the news with a new trailer that explains life aboard the megalodon 9 space station. Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Defiance: Castithan Charge Pack

The Defiance website now offers Castithan Charge Pack, the promised first add-on for Defiance, Trion's TV tie-in MMORPG. Word is this offers "exclusive access to new story missions, gameplay rewards, vehicles, customization enhancements and more." Here's what the pack offers:

  • Play as the alien Castithan Species ­ create a new character or change your existing one
  • New Battle Arena Game Mode ­ an instanced single player ³horde mode²-style game that opens up a new story mission line, Castithan Charge Blade weapon and in-game item
  • Unique version of the Raptor ­ a new four passenger truck designed to help small groups of arkhunters to quickly traverse the terraformed Bay Area
  • Unique Castithan outfit
  • New Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3 system Achievements and Trophies

Titanfall Gameplay Trailer

The Titanfall website now offers the Gamescom trailer from Titanfall, showing off gameplay from the upcoming mech combat game. The clip shows off the game's Attrition mode on a map called Angel City. Continue here to read the full story.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Trailer

A new A World Unveiled trailer from Dragon Age: Inquisition goes behind the scenes with the developers of the next installment in BioWare's RPG series, who discuss their creative vision for the game. Continue here to read the full story.

Need for Speed Rivals Trailer

Gamescom 2013 trailer for Need for Speed Rivals is online, offering a cinematic look at the upcoming racing game. The clip depict the police in hot pursuit of a pack of racers and teases the threat of intervention by an undercover cop, as it turns out law enforcement has their own unhinged driver un a supercar to counter you. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

BF4 Open Beta in October; BF4 Premium & Battlepacks Detailed

EA and DICE unveil Battlefield 4 Premium, a bundle for their upcoming military shooter sequel offering a DLC subscription, early access, and other perks. They also announce plans for a multiplayer beta in October, saying this will be open to all platforms, with three days of early access for those who pre-order the Battlefield 4 Digital Deluxe Edition or who own either Battlefield 3 Premium, Medal of Honor Warfighter Digital Deluxe, or Medal of Honor Warfighter Limited Edition (but apparently not Battlefield 4 Premium). There is a new Paracel Storm multiplayer trailer on the Battlefield Blog along with details on premium and the beta, saying of the latter: "DICE GM Karl-Magnus Troedsson also revealed the Battlefield 4 open beta. Available for all gamers on PC, X360, and PS4, the beta will feature the Siege of Shanghai map in the classic Battlefield Conquest mode. Battlefield 3 Premium members and those who pre-order the Battlefield 4 Digital Deluxe Edition will have access to the exclusive beta early October for three days. Following that, the open beta will kick off. This will be the perfect opportunity for everyone to Prepare 4 Battle before the October 29 launch." They also offer this trailer hyping the premium bundle. Here's a rundown on all of that along with word on Battlefield 4 Battlepacks, and the "all-new layer of persistence and an exciting element of chance" they add to the game's multiplayer progression system:

COLOGNE, Germany – Aug. 20, 2013 – DICE, an Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) studio, today announced Battlefield 4™ Premium, an exclusive membership for Battlefield™ fans that provides a wealth of new content to keep the action going all year long. Battlefield 4 Premium members will receive five themed digital expansion packs: Battlefield 4 China Rising, Battlefield 4 Second Assault, Battlefield 4 Naval Strike, Battlefield 4 Dragon’s Teeth and Battlefield 4 Final Stand; and will also be granted two-weeks early access* to each. With Battlefield 4 Premium, DICE will serve up weekly content and unique personalization options so players can dominate the battlefield in style.

“Fan reaction to Battlefield 3 Premium has been nothing short of amazing. We are humbled to see more than 4 million people join in,” said Patrick Bach, Executive Producer, Battlefield 4. “With Battlefield 4 Premium we continue to roll out the red carpet, treating our fans like VIPs with a massive amount of new gameplay, exclusive new content and even more benefits at an incredible value.”

Battlefield 4 Premium membership includes five digital expansion packs** featuring new multiplayer maps and in-game content:

  • Battlefield 4 Second Assault – Includes four fan-favorite Battlefield 3™ maps now re-imagined with the power of Frostbite™ 3. Available first on Xbox One.
  • Battlefield 4 China Rising – Players fight for dominance across the vast and majestic Chinese mainland. Available December 2013.
  • Battlefield 4 Naval Strike – Experience dynamic ocean combat as the Chinese armada takes the fight to the sea. Available Spring 2014.
  • Battlefield 4 Dragon’s Teeth – The US strikes back engaging in all-out urban warfare. Available Summer 2014.
  • Battlefield 4 Final Stand – Bring the war to its epic conclusion. Available Summer 2014.
  • Two-weeks early access to all expansion packs for that competitive edge
  • Unique personalization options including camos, paints, emblems, dogtags and more
  • Priority position in server queues
  • New content every week
  • 12 bonus Battlefield 4 Battlepacks
  • Transfer Battlefield 4 Premium membership from Xbox 360 to Xbox One and PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 4

Battlefield 4 Battlepacks add an all-new layer of persistence and an exciting element of chance to the multiplayer progression system in Battlefield 4. Through the course of a player’s multiplayer career, they will receive packs containing random combinations of new camos, dog tags, knives, XP boosts, and gun attachments. In addition to what players will earn in-game through normal play, Battlefield 4 Premium members will receive the 12 bonus Battlefield 4 Battlepacks.

Continue here to read the full story.

Command & Conquer Getting Story-Driven Missions

EA announces new details about episodic, story-driven campaign missions planned for Command & Conquer, saying they will be available early next year to support this year's launch of their new free-to-play installment in the long-running strategy series. Here's word along with a new trailer to accompany the news:

COLOGNE, Germany. – Aug. 20, 2013 – Welcome back, General. Today at gamescom, the world's largest trade fair and event for interactive games and entertainment, Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) announced that episodic, story-driven Campaign Missions are in development for Command & Conquer™ and will be available early next year. The next installment of the award-winning real-time strategy franchise from Victory Games will launch in 2013 as a free* live service, with an emphasis on continually adding new content to the game, such as Campaign Missions, based on fan feedback.

Players can sign up now for a chance to access the Command & Conquer closed beta** at www.commandandconquer.com.

“When we talk about the new Command & Conquer being a service, we’re really inviting the community to help drive the design process and the evolution of the game,” said Jon Van Caneghem, Vice President and General Manager, EA. “Since our announcement, the number one thing fans have asked for is new story content, and we listened. We are excited to be delivering compelling, high quality Campaign Missions that will roll out to the service in 2014.”

The first Campaign Missions will follow the Asia-Pacific Alliance (APA), as they attempt to stabilize a world that once again teeters on the brink of war. Having sat comfortably as the world’s foremost geopolitical power for nearly a decade, the APA finds itself challenged on all fronts. The upstart European Union (EU), a high-tech, single-state entity with an increasingly expansionist agenda continues to flex her muscles, while a series of increasingly bloody uprisings have torn key APA and EU satellite nations asunder. Rumors point to a newly reconstituted Global Liberation Army (GLA) as the instigator, but witnesses have described technology far beyond the reach of any normal terrorist organization. Concerned, the APA dispatches an elite force to infiltrate the latest, most volatile rebellion, one targeting an EU backed dictator. Their mission - learn the truth about the GLA, undermine the EU and restore peace to the globe.

Continue here to read the full story.

Tom Clancy's The Division Coming to Windows

The Tom Clancy's The Division website now proudly displays the PC-DVD logo, confirming the upcoming tactical shooter is coming to Windows as well as next-generation consoles. There is an announcement of this on the official UbiBlog (thanks Polygon) where they offer a video explaining that the passion PC gamers have displayed helped make this happen. Here's word:

You asked for it (at least judging from the hundreds of comments on this UbiBlog post when the game was first revealed – and the thousands of comments on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere). And now Ubisoft is delivering. Today, Ubisoft confirmed that along with the previously announced PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, Tom Clancy’s The Division will be available on PC as well.

Why PC… and why now? Much of the credit goes to the vocal and passionate PC community. “Since E3 we have been carefully listening to what has been said on the internet,” said Executive Producer Fredrik Rundqvist. “I can’t stress enough how important it has been for us to feel your support, interest and commitment to the game. Your opinions matter to us. The positive energy you bring back to the team will help us create the best game possible. One of the most frequently discussed topics has been that of releasing The Division on PC. With that in mind, I’m very pleased to announce that the game will be available on PC. Massive Entertainment has its roots in PC development with titles like Ground Control and World in Conflict. You can be certain that we will provide you with a first-rate PC experience.”

EA Offering Origin Game Guarantees

Electronic Arts announces "The Great Game Guarantee" for Origin customers, providing a money-back guarantee on digital purchases, saying customers can return games that don't meet with their satisfaction within 24 hours of first launch or within a week of your purchase, whichever comes first (preorders can be returned within a week of the game's release, or 24 hours of first launch). There are further details on how this all works on this page. This only works for EA-developed and EA-published partner games for now, and does not apply to DLC, though they are looking into the ability to expand the program to cover games from other publishers and developers. Market leader Steam has been known to accede to requests for refunds on a case-by-case basis, but has no comparable official refund policy in place. Thanks Verno.

World of Warplanes Launches Next Month

Wargaming announces September 26th is the official launch date for World of Warplanes, saying their MMO flying game will take off on that date in both North America and Europe. The recent Gamescom 2013 trailer offers a cinematic look at the game, though no gameplay. Word is: "Having amassed close to three million beta registrants and seen more than 202 million total combat flights to date, World of Warplanes will go live with more than 100 different aircraft models across the United States, Germany, Russia, Japan, and the recently announced line of the British planes." Continue here to read the full story.

Black Ops 2 Plagiarism Accusation

Black Ops 2 Zombies Origin DLC ripped off my stuff is a post from Hollywood concept artist FRUIZ claiming Treyarch's Origins map in the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Apocalypse DLC is based on a couple of paintings he posted on his blog, saying "They just should call me and hire me, I'm a big fan of their games." The case is laid out by CoD Zombies Fan Page administrator Jaxendale in this video which shows some striking similarities between FRUIZ's art an what's been shown of the giant robot confrontation in the DLC. Interestingly, Jaxendale's YouTube channel has been deleted since posting that video, but it is preserved on Game Front, where they have reached out to both the artist and developer Treyarch for comment, though they have not yet received any replies.

Morning Patches

Op Ed

GamesIndustry International - The Celebrification of Developers.
Creating luminaries will lead to all the benefits that more people in games can bring: a bigger and brighter community, plus new and fresh talent making exciting games. However, celebritydom demands storms, turmoil and gossip.

Today, there's no shortage of scuffles, gaffs and controversies swamping out of the indie scene, fuelled by Twitter and picked up and over by the press. Successful developers are exposed to the skinner box of worship and animosity every time they open Twitter, Reddit or a forum.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Gamescom 2013 gets underway tomorrow, and opens to the public on Thursday, but apparently some of the opening shots for this will be fired later today.

We were having some oddness lately on our Twitter feed, which is basically our headlines, minus the bulleted roundup posts. Apart from the outage when they recently updated APIs this had been running pretty smoothly, but recently the feed stopped picking up most of our updates. Frans got everything up on a lift and figured out this was because I had unexpectedly started using a different feature within Blammo that wasn't making nice with our Twitter integration. Now that I'm aware of what not to do this is working fine again, so huzzah and kudos to Frans for figuring out what was wrong, and apologies for the outage.

Tweety Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Vault Runner.
Da Vinci Cannon 3.
Links: Twohy, Diesel Talk Future "Riddick" Films. When does the Fast Five tie-in start?
Stories: Dick Van Dyke "Fine" After Car Catches Fire.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan: 'How long can anyone stay at the top?'
Science: Fungus and bacteria play game theory to make biofuels.
Images: 36 Landscapes That Prove That Video Games Are Art. Same proof for vans.
Media: The Kids' Guide to the Internet. Thanks The Flying Penguin.
"Samir, Please!". Thanks nin.
Ozell Williams. Crazy jumping skills. Thanks reddit.
This is what it looks like when a building implodes.



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