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Monday, Dec 09, 2013

  

Alien: Isolation Art?

We still don't know if Twentieth Century Fox's recent trademark for Alien: Isolation will actually result in a game, but we do know what the cover will look like. At least that's the case if this post on NeoGAF is correct about the image it includes being leaked the cover art for a new game from SEGA based on the sci-fi series. There is also another piece of concept art proving the old adage that in space no one can hear you scream "why is everything so green?" Thanks Polygon.

Assassin's Creed IV Blackbeard's Wrath DLC Tomorrow

Ubisoft announces the Blackbeard's Wrath DLC for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will be released tomorrow for the Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 editions of the stealth sequel, while the patches for the PS3 and PS4 editions are expected Wednesday. Here's word on the DLC, which is included in season passes:

Three new characters join the hunt, Blackbeard, the Jaguar and The Orchid, each character bringing their unique skill set to battle for the title of best assassin.

Blackbeard, wielding a sword and a short temper is not to be trifled with. His reputation as a feared pirate is justly received and his preferred kill moves include using his tremendous strength to throw his targets off balance and then quickly finishing them with one clean strike.

The Orchid, a Templar-friendly deadly assassin grew up in China, serving as a military advisor in the Quing dynasty where she honed her murderous skills. She executes opponents swiftly and gracefully with her katana, an extension of her mind and body.

The Jaguar, Cuali, an Aztec warrior from Mexico, took to the sea to fight against the Spanish conquest of Central America. A fighter, he survived the destruction of his community and joined forces with a growing contingency of native Templars who sought renewed peace and order. Driven by a mystical force, The Jaguar fights like his namesake, striking swiftly and quietly with his preferred weapon, a discreet axe.

All three characters are available in Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag multiplayer starting Tuesday, where they will join the hunt for survival.

Battlefield 4 Patch

The Battlefield Battlelog has details on a new patch that's now live for the Windows PC edition of Battlefield 4, DICE's military shooter sequel (thanks Michael). Word is this fixes bounding box lag when changing stance among other things:

Dec 9 PC Game Update Notes
Shot behind cover when changing stance
Sometimes the character stance could get into a multiple frame desync and be part of the problem where you got shot even though your character was actually behind cover. This would mostly affect players doing transitions into crouch and prone as well as moving when crouched. The impact was smaller in a standing stance. This bug fix eliminates this particular desync issue.

We have also increased the camera height when crouching and moving to more accurately reflect the actual height of your soldier in that stance (the first person camera was too low when crouching and moving, resulting in that you had a poor representation of how much of your soldier that was actually out of cover.)

  • Fixed one of the most frequently occurring client crashes
  • Fixed broken collision on containers with open doors. The bug previously made grenades bounce back even though the doors were open.
  • Fixed a bug in Defuse mode where defenders could win the round by killing all the attackers without disarming the bomb, if the bomb was disarmed in the previous round.
  • Miscellaneous stability fixes further reducing the number of client crashes
  • Fixed side gunner jitter when aiming in attack boats & transport helicopters
  • Fixed some instances of frame rate drops when shooting at large Levolution objects after they have been destroyed (like the radar dish on Rogue Transmission)
  • Fixed broken aiming for passengers on the China Rising dirt bike
  • Fixed a bug where the sound when capturing a flag was not playing correctly
  • Removed a bug that would double save during MP round transition and SP level transition. This fix will reduce the occurrence of corrupted save files.

Supreme Ruler 1936 Early Access

BattleGoat Studios has commenced Early Access for Supreme Ruler 1936 on Steam, offering the chance for those interested in the game to get access to the beta test by preordering the strategy sequel. They remind us the beta "is missing some features, content, and graphical updates, and other elements are in-progress or 'under construction'," while offering this description of the game:

Supreme Ruler 1936 is Real Time Geo-Political Strategy Game for PC and Mac. Take control of a nation in the World War II era and guide it through a significant Military Campaign, or attempt one of many Set-Piece Historical Scenarios. Players can also customize their play experience with the Sandbox Mode and play as any Nation with their own preferred Victory Condition.

Dota 2 Frostivus is Coming

The Dota 2 blog announces the Frostivus festival is coming (for the lost of us?). There are details on the Frostivus page, but things are still pretty vague for now. They do mention this is connected to the "longest night of the year," so this is likely to surround the winter solstice, which is December 21st. Unless it's cancelled like last year.

On Sale

  • Conquest: Frontier Wars on GOG.com. Save 60%.
  • The Darkness II on Steam. Save 75%.

Evening Patches

Evening Interviews

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

NSA's Game Spying

The NYTimes.com, theguardian.com, and ProPublica report that the U.S. National Security Agency's spying on citizens extends to participation in online games. This is according to documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, which say U.S. and British spies have infiltrated various games in toon form to keep tabs on the goings-on since at least 2007. They have a specific statement on World of Warcraft: "We are unaware of any surveillance taking place," said a spokesman for Blizzard Entertainment. "If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission." Word is this surveillance extended to Xbox LIVE, but their big focus seems to be Second Life, and they were apparently so many CIA, FBI and Pentagon spies caught up in Linden Labs' metaverse a "deconfliction" group was required to keep them out of each other's virtual hair (we always wondered how that "game" reported such high user counts). Apparently they fell for some signature Second Life hype: "Second Life has proven that virtual worlds of social networking are a reality: come hear Cory tell you why!" Linden Labs solicited the NSA in an invitation to discuss the game's espionage potential with Linden CTO (and former Navy officer with NSA contacts) Cory Ondrejka, promising virtual worlds gave the government the opportunity "to understand the motivation, context and consequent behaviors of non-Americans through observation, without leaving U.S. soil." Current Linden Labs execs declined the opportunity to comment on this, and these days Ondrejka is helping safeguard our privacy at Facebook. They offer details on another such operation which may have resulted in a lucrative deal for another contractor to monitor activity within games. And while the Brits did bust up a credit card crime ring in Second Life, for the most part, this initiative has been about as productive towards national security as one might imagine a bunch of spooks playing MMOGs would be:

The documents do not cite any counterterrorism successes from the effort, and former American intelligence officials, current and former gaming company employees and outside experts said in interviews that they knew of little evidence that terrorist groups viewed the games as havens to communicate and plot operations.

Games “are built and operated by companies looking to make money, so the players’ identity and activity is tracked,” said Peter W. Singer of the Brookings Institution, an author of “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know.” “For terror groups looking to keep their communications secret, there are far more effective and easier ways to do so than putting on a troll avatar.”

GOG.com's Money Back Guarantee

GOG.com announces a new money-back guarantee policy for games purchased through their digital marketplace with irretractable problems. This is now in effect, and also applies retroactively to games purchased within the past 30 days:

So, you bought a game on GOG.com and you've run into some trouble launching and playing it on your system, despite the fact it meets the specs we've put on the game's catalog page? This happens rarely, as our test lab does its best to assure your experience with our titles is as smooth as possible. But it does happen. And when it does, we want to give you the best support you'll ever get from an on-line store. Just navigate to our Support section--it's quite possible that the solution to your problem is already posted there. If not, just fill in a ticket describing your troubles and our top men will do their best to fix it all for you, so you can enjoy your purchase.

But what if they cannot find a solution? If such a rare event should occur, we'll give you your money back. Simple as that. If you buy a game on GOG.com and find that it doesn't work properly on your system, and our support cannot fix the problem, you get a full refund. It's a worldwide guarantee, and you have whole 30 days after the purchase date, to contact us about the refund.

There's even more! If you bought a game by mistake, or simply changed your mind about a purchase, you can get a full refund within 14 days, as long as the game wasn't downloaded. If in any doubt about our refund policies, please consult our FAQ.

We hope our Worldwide Money Back Guarantee will make you feel secure while you expand your DRM-free catalog on GOG.com. Having that said, we're confident that our titles won't give you any trouble in 99.9% cases!

NOTICE:
Even though this policy is introduced today, its effect goes back 30 days. If you bought a game within the last 30 days and have any of the trouble described here, contact us! We have you covered.

U.K. Sales Charts

The new GfK Chart-track charts are online showing the bestselling games for the past week in the U.K. It's basically just a re-shuffle of the deck on the full-price PC chart, where Football Manager 2014 remains at number one. There's a little more movement on the all-platforms/all prices chart, as Gran Turismo 6 races in at number eight. Here's this week's dense data dump:

With both new consoles off and running it's no change for the Top 3 with Activision Blizzard at No1 with 'Call of Duty: Ghosts' (+2%), EA at No2 with 'FIFA 14' (-15%) and EA at No3 with 'Battlefield 4' (-35%).

Ubisoft climb 1 place to No4 with 'Assassin's Creed IV' (-15%) and Rockstar/Take 2 climb 2 places to No5 with 'Grand Theft Auto V' (+19%). There's no change at No6 with Warner's 'Lego Marvel Superheroes' (-13%) and Ubisoft climb 2 places with 'Just Dance 2014' at No7 (+70%). The lone new entry at No8 within the All Formats Top 40 is Sony's 'Gran Turismo 6' for PS3. It's been 3 years since 'Gran Turismo 5' on PS3 and that title marked the highpoint for the series in terms of week 1 sales (selling close to 5 times the amount shown for GT6). But of course, consumers have a new Sony console under the TV right now, or are considering a PS4 purchase right now, which will affect GT 6's sales. Plenty of titles within the Top 40 have moved up a few places thanks to retailer promotions this week, for example Take 2's 'WWE 2K14' up 8 places to No14 (+191%) and Sony's 'LittleBigPlanet PS Vita', re-entering at No38 (+116%).

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

The heavy snowstorms that rocked the midwest last week were supposed to bury the east coast by now, but the closer the storms came, the more conservative the forecasts became, and we ended up with a pretty uneventful rainstorm here, rather than a blizzard. The effect on yesterday's football games was fantastic, though, as every snow game turned out to be pretty memorable. If I had my way, every NFL team would play in a dome that had snowmakers on the roof so we could have such conditions for every game of the season.

Seasonal Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Zombudoy 2: The Holiday.
Link: 5 Animal Rights Campaigns That Managed to Screw Over Animals.
Story: The Major Problem With Cheap Electric Cars.
Science: Mosquitoes can smell your ankles.
Newborn babies may be more developed than we think.
Media: Battlefield 4 - The Patient Rocket (BIZARRE KILL). Thanks reddit.



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