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Friday, Aug 08, 2014

  

SSI Vets form TSI

Tactical Simulations Interactive (TSI) is a new developer formed by veterans of Strategic Simulations Inc. (SSI), which is today's second invocation of a classic computer gaming brand. And they are taking their roots seriously, saying they are looking to provide a new generation with the classic "gold box" RPG experience that made SSI famous. A TSI Games website is online, but this is currently just teasing us with a countdown that will hit zero on August 18th at midnight EDT. Here's what they have to say for themselves for now:

Tactical Simulations Interactive (TSI), a new independent video games studio with old school RPG sensibilities, has been established by Strategic Simulations Inc. veterans Paul Murray and David Shelley, and company President David Klein.

Drawing on their experience at SSI, the team at TSI aims to provide the next step in meaningful player experiences in the same way that SSI's ‘Gold Box’ titles did during the 1980s and 1990s.

David Shelley takes on the role of Producer/Lead Designer, while Paul Murray serves as Technical Designer at TSI. The team was integral to the international success of Strategic Simulations Inc.’s genre-defining RPGs, such as Curse of the Azure Bonds, Pool of Radiance, and Wizard's Crown.

David Shelley, Producer/Lead Designer, TSI said:
“Tactical Simulations Interactive is a return to providing the player full control of their party, with a focus on creating immersive and unforgettable story experiences, exciting exploration, meaningful social/political choices, and robust tactical combat.”

DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora Open Beta

The Fighter Collection and Eagle Dynamics announce they are now conducting open beta testing of DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora, the latest installment in their Digital Combat Series flight simulators. They show off the some work-in-progress footage in this video, and those interested in the beta can download it from the DCS Eshop. Here's a feature list:

  • Unmatched flight physics that allow you to truly feel what it's like to fly this legend.
  • Highly detailed, six-degrees-of-freedom (6 DOF) cockpit.
  • Interact with cockpit controls with your mouse.
  • Accurate Fw 190 D-9 model, squadron markings, and weapons.
  • Detailed modelling the Fw 190 D-9 instruments, weapons, engine, radios, fuel, and electrical systems.
  • Battle the P-51D Mustang in single and multiplayer games.

Another The Crew Beta This Month

The Crew website announces plans to conduct a second round of beta testing for the Windows edition of The Crew on August 25th. They say participants in the first beta (even if you redeemed a key without actually playing) are automatically included, and that anyone who preorders the game can also participate in the one-day test. Here's the deal:

Get ready for the second PC Closed Beta! Because you made our first Beta period such a resounding success, we’ve decided to open up another session for an end-of-summer driving bash. Prepare yourself and brush up on those driving skills. A massive persistent world loaded with exciting driving challenges, iconic places, amazing cars – and best of all, a world filled with friends to crew up with and rivals to compete against – awaits!

If you’ve already participated in our first Closed PC Beta – or simply redeemed your key for that Beta period – guess what? First, thank you for participating, and second, you’re automatically included in our second PC Beta! Simply log in to the game on August 25th, and get started. All progress from your first Beta experience will be reset.

DON’T HAVE A BETA KEY? REGISTER FOR ONE NOW!

/!\ Due to technical limitations, a limited number of keys will be distributed. If you’re chosen to participate, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with your access key. For GUARANTEED ACCESS into the Beta, pre-purchase The Crew from one of our retail partners below.

Chain of Command Announced

Indie developer BitBunch announces Chain of Command, a World War II real-time strategy game coming to Windows PCs, though a release date is not yet specified. There are details along with some concept art on the BitBunch website, where they are also accepting signups from those interested in the project. Here's word:

Change the course of history!
In Chain of Command the player assumes command of large bodies of troops and directs them to victory. Battle plans can be drawn directly on the historically
accurate maps and troops will execute these to the best of their abilities. Players need to adapt their plans as the situation changes due to enemy action,
unexpected changes in weather, the supply situation or to improve their lines of communication. Based on their battle performance, players can get promoted
to higher ranks, greater control and the chance to change the course of history!

Features
Chain of Command features a revolutionary control system based on the command hierarchy used in actual armies. This system allows players to effectively manage large amounts of troops by giving orders at different levels in the hierarchy. Maps are geographically accurate representations of the
battlefields in World War II, created using data from actual maps of the time. The detailed simulated environment in Chain of Command includes dynamic weather, logistics and communication. Units are controlled by an advanced AI system, making
them react realistically to changing battlefield conditions, freeing the player from micromanagement and allowing them to focus on higher level strategy.

Gods Will Be Watching Answers Prayers for Mercy

Deconstructeam and Devolver Digital announce the release of a new "Mercy" update for Gods Will Be Watching, showing a little mercy to those struggling with some of the more difficult areas in the adventure game. They explain: "The update to the critically lauded title brings new challenge settings that adjust the game’s overall difficulty and a new option to remove the element of chance from decisions made throughout the game. It’s still no cakewalk though, chumps." Those who enjoy a good challenge need not fear, as the game's original difficulty is preserved: "New challenge settings range from Original Mode, which keeps the game’s full difficulty intact, to a new Puzzle Mode that removes all elements of chance and Narrative Mode for gamers looking to just experience the story with minimal obstacles to success."

Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition Announced

Square Enix and United Front Games announce plans for a Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition, saying this will be released in PAL territories on October 10th for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Word is this will update the game's dated graphics, which have 2012 written all over them:

SLEEPING DOGS: DEFINITIVE EDITION is a re-mastered update of the critically acclaimed SLEEPING DOGS which released in 2012. The capabilities of today’s hardware have truly brought the vibrant Hong Kong experience to life. In addition, a total of 24 pieces of downloadable content have been integrated into the gaming experience including the story-extending episode Year of the Snake and the horror-themed add-on Nightmare In North Point.

“It was an exciting opportunity for the original development team to be able revisit a game we’re so passionate about”, said Dan Sochan, Senior Producer at United Front Games. “We’re giving old and new fans a lot reasons to pick up the game, as we’ve gone beyond just increasing resolution and running at 1080p. We listened to the fans: we tuned gameplay, we added to the ambience of Hong Kong, increased audio fidelity and pushed the visuals further than we could on the previous generation of consoles.”

Metro Redux Uncovered Trailer

4A Games' Metro Redux is on display in a new "Uncovered" trailer from the first-person shooter remake that's due for release in North America on August 26th. Word on the new clip is accompanied by this description: "Improved graphics, complete with Ranger, Spartan and Survival game modes, hours of additional content and features packed into games that were rebuilt on 4A Games' brand new engine -- Metro Redux from Deep Silver is a beautifully re-mastered package for newcomers and Metro fans alike." Continue here to read the full story.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Trailer

Here's a new behind the scenes video for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, pulling back the curtain on development of the upcoming Tolkien-inspired action game. Word is a couple of the game's actors are on display in the clip to spill the beans on the game: "Get a look behind the scenes of this autumn’s highly anticipated action game, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, as Troy Baker, who stars as Talion (The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Origins) and Alastair Duncan, who stars as Celebrimbor (Mass Effect, Uncharted 3), discussing their experiences creating the game." Continue here to read the full story.

Das Tal Alpha Testing

Alpha testing of Das Tal is underway, offering an early crack at this sandbox PvP MMORPG, helping refine the game and support its Steam Greenlight campaign. You can see some very early gameplay footage in this video, and if you are interested in testing, you can sign up using this form. Here's a bit on the game: "The game is a new take on our beloved sandbox MMORPG genre, for the first time enabling players to create their own custom server rule sets without having to deal with the legal problems of freeshards and the hacker-infestation of modern survival sandboxes."

Evening Interviews

On Sale

  • Legends of Eisenwald on Steam. Save 50%.
  • A Midsummer Gamer's Dream on GOG.com. Save 70%.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Link of the Day: All-New Thunderbirds Revealed! Thanks Kareem.

Sierra Entertainment Revival

Sierra Entertainment ceased to exist in its original form a long time ago, most obviously when Ken and Roberta Williams sold the company, which helped usher in the first golden era of computer gaming (there is some history on the SierraGamers website). The company formerly known as Sierra On-Line eventually wound up the property of Activision after their merger with Vivendi, but now a Sierra website has popped up suggesting the brand is being revived. The site has a caption reading GamesCom 2014, which gets underway next week in Cologne, Germany, so we should learn more about this soon enough. This seems similar to how Infogrames started using the Atari brand several years ago, but the dynamics are different, because Activision is a far more established brand than Infogrames and the Atari brand is considerably more recognizable than Sierra. We shall see.

Battlefield 4 & Kingdoms of Amalur Free Trials

Origin's Game Time now offers timed trial versions of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Battlefield 4. Those interested in Kingdoms of Amalur can play the game for as much as 48 hours, though this will require diapers, as the time runs continually once you first launch the role-playing game. They offer more time than that to check out Battlefield 4, as the military shooter sequel will be good for a week, saying: "7 days. 64 players. Use Game Time to explore every inch of the battlefield. This is the entire Battlefield 4 experience." Taking advantage of either offer requires an Origin account, and word is that these offers are for a limited time only. The Battlefield Blog specifies they will stop offering downloads of the BF4 trial on August 14th.

Wings! Remastered Edition Takes Off This Year

Kalypso Media announces plans to bring an HD remastered edition of Wings! to PCs, reviving this World War I aerial combat game that was a hit on the Commodore Amiga back in the day. This is coming to Windows; OS X; and mobiles later this year, with a PS3 edition to follow at some point after that. They are proud of the game's arcade nature, calling it "more than just a simulator," and still hold a grudge, as we can't recall the last time someone invoked "hun." Here's word: "Relive the action, glory and seat of the pants daring of a WWI Allied fighter pilot! You'll strafe Hun armies, bomb enemy aerodromes and match wits against deadly Aces in heart-stopping dogfights, the loser going down in flames...without a parachute! More than just a simulator, Wings! Remastered Edition features genuine arcade action and an emotion-packed role-playing experience. Wings! Remastered Edition is the easy to play air combat simulation you've been waiting for... no complicated keyboard commands. Just fly and shoot!" Here are some screenshots and here's more on the remake:

Wings! Remastered Edition is the great comeback of the Amiga hit-game from 1990. The game has been completely reproduced in stunning HD graphics, high-quality sound effects and a masterful soundtrack re-scored with real instruments. Jump into the cockpit and enjoy this re-mastered classic game experience!

Features of Wings! Remastered Edition:

  • Experience a dramatic World War I storyline from the perspective of a combat pilot unveiling right before your eyes!
  • Re-live the horrors and glories of the 56th Squadron as it strives to survive to the end of the war
  • Dogfight, bomb & strafe enemies in a variety of dramatic missions!
  • Play through over 230 diverse missions taking place between 1916 and 1918
  • Enjoy a completely re-scored orchestral soundtrack by Sound of Games, the leading game music production team!

Ships Ahoy - Frontline: Road to Moscow

Slitherine Group announces the release of a new Windows PC edition of Frontline: Road to Moscow later today, offering this World War II strategy game that first launched for mobiles. Here's the deal:

In the PC version of the game players will find all of the elements that made the iOS version so popular. 30 breathtaking scenarios based on historical battles, a wide variety of tactical situations ranging from capturing an armored convoy to recovering important documents, a large array of units with possibilities of customization and specific upgrades, and an eye-catching art direction all come together to deliver an epic journey on the Eastern Front! Obviously this version has been enhanced to suit the specificities of this new platform; therefore the controls are perfectly adjusted to the mouse/keyboard combo and players can select graphic settings adapted to their computer.

Thanks to a smooth learning curve, a straightforward gameplay, and a very affordable price of $9.99, Frontline: Road to Moscow is the perfect entry point to the wargaming world. Players will be glad to note that for the launch week we also offer a great discount of 20%. Reaching the gates of the Soviet capital has never been so cheap!

Get more information on Frontline: Road to Moscow from its official Steam product page.

Lucius II: The Prophecy Announced

Shiver Games announces Lucius II: The Prophecy, saying this gory adventure sequel to Lucius is slated to come to Steam early next year. This announcement trailer shows off the game's eerie Saw-like setting and some of disturbing goings on. Here's a bit on the game:


Shiver Games has been developing Lucius II: The Prophecy for almost two years, ever since the release of Lucius. The gameplay and feel of Lucius II has been improved by adding features many felt were missing, while still respecting the humorous and shocking integrity of the original game. “The main goal has been to add more freedom and to deliver a sandbox-type setting for the murderous kid – Be ready to use your creativity for inflicting pain and suffering, because this time the restrictions are gone and the sins have multiplied!” said Johannes Aikio of Shiver Games.

The story of Lucius II continues where the original left off: Lucius emerges as the lone survivor of the burning wreckage his parents once called home, unscathed from the ruthless slaughter he had unleashed. He had taken the weak and punished the wicked. He had looked through their souls and found the true selves they had been hiding.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

The Gunnar-man and I were taking a walk when I spotted some odd movement that was hard to figure out, even though it was maybe ten yards off. Then whatever it was saw the dog, got startled, and hopped backwards a bit, revealing this was a combination of two birds, as a hawk had taken down a white dove on someone's lawn. That's right, I was witnessing the origins of the cliché about war and peace, an actual hawk versus dove scenario. The dove laid there for a second, so I thought he was already dead, but he suddenly took off, flying low and fast to try and take advantage of the distraction. The hawk decided this would not stand, and instantly set out in hot pursuit. They both disappeared over a rooftop, allowing me the chance to believe the dove got away, even though I find that extremely unlikely. This made me wonder about where the victim came from, as I don't recall ever seeing white doves around here, so I looked them up on the Wikipedia to figure out their natural habitat. The answer apparently is that they don't have one, and they are bred to be released at ceremonial events. And while the preferred breed for this is homing pigeons, which can be recovered after, they will also use disposable ringneck doves for this purpose. What happens to these kind of doves after they are released? Apparently just what I was witnessing. I don't know about you, but I know the only thing I'll be thinking about the next time I see one of those dove release ceremonies.

Ceremonial Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: StealthBound Level Pack.
Black IV - Time of Revenge.
oO.
Science: Let's Cool It in the Bedroom.
Media: Everything Wrong With Tomb Raider In 15 Minutes (NSFW). LARA!!!! Thanks Kotaku.
Rollie the armadillo playing with a toy.



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