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Friday, Aug 30, 2013

  

Natural Selection 2 Expansion Released; Free Weekend Underway

Unknown Worlds announces the release of the Reinforced expansion for Natural Selection 2, offering new free content for their action/strategy sequel. The release is free, but you know what they say about free lunches, and they have launched a Reinforcement Program which seeks funding to continue to produce such content. To see if you think it's worth it, a free weekend for the game us currently underway on Steam, and the game is on sale for 75% off. This launch trailer shows off the new add-on, and here's word:

Female Marines. Cluster Grenades. Biodome. Bone shield. Webs. Dual Railguns. Linux Support. Single Player Interactive Tutorial, Commander Tutorial, Special/Deluxe/Standard first person view models – Those are just some of the pieces of content released today. Look further back, and the updates have flowed . Released incrementally to everyone that owned NS2 before the release of Reinforced, twenty-four individual updates have dramatically increased performance, improved map layouts, completely revamped NS2 balance mechanics, and more. Together, these twenty four updates make Reinforced a monstor that everyone at Unknown Worlds is immensely proud of.

We are also immensely proud that Reinforced is free. Six months of game development is not cheap, and we have often discussed how we might continue to pay for keeping the studio focused on Natural Selection 2 full time. Various options were discussed – Including making Reinforced a separate Steam DLC, or introducing in-game micro-tran$actions. But these monetisation methods do not fit with our culture. Knowing we must pay the bills to keep the lights on, we decided to introduce the Reinforcement Program:

Continue here to read the full story.

Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition in November

The Baldur's Gate II website is now accepting pre-purchases of Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition, and Overhaul Games announces the spiffed-up version of the RPG sequel is due on November 15th, suggesting the project's "legal hell" may now be all cleared up (thanks nin). Here's word:

Lead your party of skilled adventurers into intense, tactical battles. Lure your enemies into deadly traps, call down magical meteors to smash them, and stop time itself to win the day. A diverse array of powers and abilities let you transform into a being of pure elemental force, or wield the might of the heavens with the Holy Avenger.

Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition combines both Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. Bundled with the game on PC and Mac, and available as DLC on iPad and Android, are four diverse new characters, each with their own epic quest. Venture to the distant sands of Zakhara with your new companions, or lead them in a raid upon the home of the gods.

Ships Ahoy - Port Royale 3 Gold

Avast thar! Kalypso Media announces that Port Royale 3 Gold is now available for Windows and PlayStation 3, offering the latest installment in the seafaring strategy series along with the Treasure Hunt expansion and two "micro-expansions." This trailer offers a look at the game and the Gold edition content, and here's word:

In Port Royale 3 Gold, players will embark on an epic adventure through the Caribbean during the turbulent 17th Century where the naval powers of Spain, England, France and the Netherlands fight for supremacy throughout the colonies. Take on the role of a young captain trying to build his fortune and reputation in the new world where three expansive campaigns offer three different paths for the young protagonist to follow: adventurer, trader and pirate.

Continue here to read the full story.

Metro: Last Light Tower Pack DLC Next Week

Deep Silver announces the Tower Pack DLC for Metro: Last Light will be released on September 3rd for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 (the European edition for PS3 is due the next day). Here's word:

The Tower Pack represents a fearsome challenge for every Metro fan. Players have to fight their way up through a heavily guarded tower, a virtual combat simulator. Each level is increasingly difficult – packed with hordes of enemies, mutants and other deadly threats. The best players in this combat simulator will need to master Metro’s unique, hand-made weaponry and deep combat mechanics in order to reach the top of the global leaderboards.

The Tower Pack will cost just $4.99 / £3.99 / €4.99, and is the second of four add-on content packs to be included in the Metro: Last Light Season Pass, which at $14.99 / £11.99 / €14.99 offers a discount over buying the packs separately, and also includes an additional exclusive weapon, the Abzats.

Batman: Arkham Origins GeForce GTX Bundle

NVIDIA announces the Batman: Arkham Origins GeForce GTX Bundle, as those planning getting the new superhero game or those planning a video card upgrade (or both), now have a chance for some synergy. Here's word: "For further info on the Batman: Arkham Origins GeForce GTX Bundle, and to discover which e-tailers and retailers are participating in the program, please visit the Batman: Arkham Origins GeForce GTX Bundle landing page."

More BF4 Commander Mode Details

The Battlefield Blog has a new Road to Battlefield 4 feature with a look at the return of Commander Mode to the military shooter series. They offer a look at the way Commander Mode worked in BF2 and discuss how it will work in BF4, sheepishly noting it is coming "back to the battlefield where it belongs, just as the community so many times has reminded me." This includes similarities to BF2 as well as changes, and there is a lot of detail to digest, but this part offers an overview:

In Battlefield 4, one of Lead Multiplayer Designer Thomas Andersson’s main goals was to create more Commander vs. Commander gameplay (similar to what can be seen in RTS games) than we’ve had before in the series. We also wanted to make it accessible on many platforms. When we had the technology to do real-time 3D and bring the hectic Battlefield to the Commander’s screen, we knew we wanted to focus on that and give the Commander live feedback on his actions in-game. More importantly, we wanted the Commander to be able to see his teams’ actions so the Commander could better support them.

We also decided to make the very important change of making the role of Commander a full-time job. There is no possibility of going between 1st person and Commander Mode like in BF2. We wanted to ensure the Commander is dedicated to supporting the whole team, not just themselves. We all remembered the BF2 “Commander supporting himself while in a tank ignoring his team” worst case scenario, and that’s something we wanted to avoid happening again.

Finally, we wanted to bring Commander Mode to mobile platforms. We made sure the mobile versions of it were on par with console and PC versions, to ensure any Commander can effectively support their team even when they’re away from home.

Shadow Warrior Preorders

Devolver Digital announces preorder deals for Shadow Warrior are now being offered by Steam, GOG, Humble Store, Get Games, and GamersGate. Here are the deals:

Pre-Order Bonus Steam includes:

  • 15% off standard price
  • Zilla Enterprises Z45 katana in-game weapon (Steam)
  • 75% off coupon for any current Devolver Digital game or Flying Wild Hog's 'Hard Reset'

Pre-Order Bonus GOG includes:

  • 15% off standard price
  • Classic Shadow Warrior katana in-game weapon (GOG)

Pre-Order Humble Store includes:

  • 15% off standard price
  • Shadow Warrior soundtrack
  • available at shadowwarrior.com

Special Edition (Steam Exclusive) includes:

  • Shadow Warrior
  • Serious Sam 3 sledgehammer in-game weapon
  • Hotline Miami katana in-game weapon
  • Shadow Warrior digital art book
  • Shadow Warrior soundtrack

Total War: ROME II Tips & 24/7 Support

How To Play Total War: ROME II is a new hub that's prepared to help get started with the upcoming strategy sequel, along with the promise of 24 hour technical support on this forum for the first two weeks after the game's launch. Here's word on the tutorial hub: "Covering the essentials from moving and attacking to a selection of new features like army stances; the hub includes just a few of the tutorial videos you’ll have access to in-game on September 3rd which will help you conquer the ancient world."

F1 2013 Hotlap Trailer

Here's a new trailer from F1 2013 showing another hotlap in Codemasters' racing sequel that's due for release in October. Here's what this offers: "In the Circuito De Jerez Hot Lap video, viewers get a taste of some of the classic content set to debut in F1 2013 as ten-time GRAND PRIXTM winner Gerhard Berger pushes the 1988 Ferrari F1-87/88C to its limits around the legendary former home of the Spanish GRAND PRIX. Former FORMULA ONETM driver and F1 2013 technical consultant Anthony Davidson narrates the hot lap, advising on how to maximize their speed around the iconic track in the new video, now playing at www.youtube.comm/formula1game." Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Ships Ahoy - Memoria

Daedalic Entertainment announces that Memoria is now available, offering this The Dark Eye-themed fantasy point-and-click adventure game for Windows and OS X via Steam or for OS X alone (for a higher price) on the Mac App Store. Here's the news:

Hamburg, August 30th, 2013 – Memoria, Daedalic’s latest point & click adventure release, is available now: Today, Daedalic Entertainment and Deep Silver are releasing the fantasy adventure game, which is set in the RPG universe of The Dark Eye. Memoria introduces two playable characters as well as two different storylines, set almost 500 years apart from each other. One of the stories continues the events of Daedalic Entertainment’s point & click adventure game Chains of Satinav.

There’s a lot of love coming from the international games press: „Gamona“ calls Memoria being „Daedalic’s latest masterpiece“ and rated it 90 %, which qualifies Memoria for their Gold Award. Another Gold Award is being granted by “GameStar” magazine, where Memoria scored 85 points. 9 out of 10 points is what the game scored with “GameReactor.de” – they call the game “a very special masterpiece.” To Eurogamer Memoria is by far the best Daedalic-title to date “You don’t something like this every day. Enjoy it!”

Steamships Ahoy - Game Dev Tycoon

Steam now offers the promised release of Game Dev Tycoon for Windows and OS X, offering wider access to this game that was originally restricted to the not-gigantic subset of the gaming scene using Windows 8. The game carries a 20% discount for the next week, and word is the game has received some further enhancements for this rerelease: "For the Steam release of Game Dev Tycoon we have updated the game with a longer story line, new features and completely re-balanced the game based on player feedback to make it more enjoyable. More info is available on our blog."

Star Citizen Hangar Module Released

Roberts Space Industries now offers downloads of the Hangar Module for backers of Star Citizen, their upcoming crowd-funded space shooter. This does not offer gameplay, but demonstrates one of the systems in the game. Word is: "With this early release you will be able to walk around your pledge ship for the very first time. Your Hangar will evolve to become your home base as Star Citizen comes together and we’re excited to allow backers this early look. Please remember that this is an extremely early build intended as a reward for our dedicated backers. The QA process has only just begun; many bugs have yet to be ironed out and many features will be added in future revisions." Thanks IncGamers.

Tactical Intervention Open Beta

The Tactical Intervention website announces that beta testing for the re-launch of this shooter from one of the co-creators of Counter-Strike is now open to all, with no keys required. This is a build up to the game's official launch on September 12th, when new content will be added. Here's the outline:

The time has come: now everybody has the opportunity to test the new FPS by Counter-Strike co-developer Minh "Gooseman" Le in an open beta on Steam. On various maps, players await an action-packed tactical shooter, which is characterized by team play, different game modes, and many strategic elements. To participate in the open beta, players can install Tactical Intervention easily via the Steam website or by using the search function of their Steam client and can start downloading the game at once.

When the games launches on 12th September, eleven different maps will be available and many others are on their way to being ready. With the never-before-seen Airport and Monaco - 1337 Games is preparing to introduce two brand new maps into the roster. Developers of FIX Korea are currently giving the finishing touches to these two scenarios that not only look great, but will bring new gameplay and surprises. Furthermore, players can expect regular content updates for Tactical Intervention: from release on, the online shooter is constantly expanding with new maps, weapons and equipment.

Blackguards Closed Beta

Daedalic Entertainment puts out the call for players to participate in closed beta testing of Blackguards, an upcoming turn-based RPG which, like the just-released Memoria, is set in their Dark Eye universe. Here's word on the game: "Blackguards is a turn-based RPG with strategic combat and combines the studio's high standards of storytelling and unique characters with thrilling action and an elaborate 3D environment. Challenging quests lead the player through a dark story of doubt, treachery and loss." And here's how to get in on the testing:

Hamburg, August 30th, 2013 – Daedalic Entertainment is looking for gamers who are interested in taking part in an closed beta test phase for their upcoming turn-based RPG Blackguards.

Players from all over the world will get the chance to play-test the sinister RPG which centers around a party of criminal „heroes“, way before the actual release in November 2013, and to influence the development with their feedback.

All players need to do to be part of the open beta test phase, is sending an email to betatest@daedalic.de, and mentioning why they want to be chosen, and what their gaming experience is. Participation slots are limited, chosen participants will receive more details from Daedalic Entertainment. The closed beta test runs from September 04th until October 02nd, 2013, participants need to be at least 16 years of age. Participants will also see their name appearing in the creadits of the final game.

Borderlands 2 Level Caps Explained

With a second Ultimate Vault Hunter pack on the way for Borderlands 2 next week (once again highlighting the pitfalls of "ultimate" in your title), Gearbox Software explains how the second level cap boost will work, noting that each Ultimate Vault Hunter pack boosts the cap by 11 levels, so both must be installed to raise the level cap from 50 all the way to 72. They have a chart outlining the benefits of owning one or both of the packs along with the following explanation:

As you can see, Ultimate Upgrade 2 Pack does more than just add 11 new levels for characters to grow into – it also includes a challenging new map (Raid on Digistruct Peak) for hardcore players!

Packed full of ultra-powerful enemies, Raid on Digistruct Peak is an unrelenting gauntlet for Pandora’s toughest to prove their mettle. Those that defeat the challenge at Level 72 will earn rewards unlike anything Borderlands 2 players have seen before – most notably, the ability to wield insane loot that exceeds the Level 72 cap (just imagine what a Level 80 Conference Call looks like) …and face even harder foes. For more details on that, hit up this article on Digital Trends.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

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

Today kicks off PAX Prime in Seattle, so we may see some unexpected announcements today or over the weekend. This encompasses the labor day weekend, but at this point the entire summer is one big rolling game convention, so a show marking the summer's unofficial conclusion makes as much sense as anything.

Prime Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Airborne Wars 2.
Zombotron 2.
Science: Swedish Engineers Invent 'Nano Gas' That 'Instantly Neutralizes' Carbon Pollution.
Neuroscientists find a key to reducing forgetting—it's about the network.
Single gene change increases mouse lifespan by 20 percent.
Images: Chinese person with a random English word as a tattoo.
Google Street View Image of the Day.
Follow-up: Ars does Soylent, Day 3- Moderation leads to actual for-real enjoyment.



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