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Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014

  

Ships Ahoy - Omerta: City of Gangsters - Gold Edition

Kalypso Media announces the release of Omerta: City of Gangsters - Gold Edition, a boxed retail edition of the life of crime game, though this is also available digitally through distributors such as Amazon (though the boxed edition on Amazon is 33% less, for some reason). Here's a rundown on the game:

Omerta – City of Gangsters Gold Edition is a comprehensive version of the tactical turn-based combat game Omerta – City of Gangsters. It features the full edition of the celebrated prohibition era based game, as well as its major expansion ‘The Japanese Incentive’ and all previously released DLC (including ‘Serious Business’ and ‘Con Artist’).

Taking the role of a fresh-from-the-boat immigrant, with dreams of the big life, the player will work his way up the criminal hierarchy of 1920’s Atlantic City. Starting with small jobs, his character recruits a gang and expands his empire by taking territory from other gangsters. Eventually he establishes his own crime syndicate and becomes the de facto ruler of Atlantic City

Drone: Zero Gravity Demo

The official website for Drone: Zero Gravity now offers a playable demo of this side-scrolling 3D space adventure game. Here's the description the demo carries:

This is the first public release of DRONE Zero Gravity. In this demo you can test out two short levels. Please read the README doc. This is a 32bit version of the demo. You will need the 32bit version x86 of Visual C++ Redistributable Packages for Visual Studio 2013 in order to run it. A 64bit version will be available sometime early next month. With more updates.

Wargaming Boasts 100M Registered Players

Wargaming announces that the successful 2014 launches of World of Tanks Blitz and World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition have propelled them past the 100 million registered user mark. "World of Tanks created a new niche in the MMO market," explains Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming. "We started on PC, but with other platforms in mind. By the launch of World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition and World of Tanks Blitz we stepped into two new markets, taking our signature gameplay to console and mobile, and it’s the direction we will pursue in future." Here are some numbers for your crunching pleasure:

The Wargaming.net universe unites over 100 million registered users under its flag and will only keep growing. The tally of players is impressive with 100 million users populating World of Tanks and World of Warplanes combined. World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition has generated 3.8 million registered players in over 86 countries since its launch in February 2014. World of Tanks Blitz performed strong out of the gate with 5 million installs in the first month of its June launch, placed in the top three spot of the AppStore in 50 countries and averaged a score of 4.5.

The Golf Club Next Week

Canadian developer HB Studios announces The Golf Club will tee-off on Xbox One on August 19th, saying that is also the day the Windows version will end its early access phase and be officially released (the PS4 version will follow later in the month, pending certification). Here's word:

The Golf Club is a fully featured golfing experience where users can play against friends’ and rivals’ best rounds in turn-based/asynchronous competition modes enhanced by cloud-based technology. The game supports Tours & Tournaments, stroke play, match play, and 4-ball.

The Golf Club’s Greg Norman Course Designer allows players to build an unlimited number of golf courses, which can then be shared and played with friends online. New courses can be generated in a matter of seconds by selecting a theme, terrain features, and number of holes. Players can then enjoy a full suite of editing tools from changing the time of day to placing hazards and objects to create the ultimate golf challenge. Players can also discover new courses built by friends and the community by filtering through rank and difficulty, as well as interact with new members of The Golf Club through the Message Center.

Far Cry 4 Trailers

Ubisoft offers two new trailers from Far Cry 4, the next installment in the first-person shooter series. One is a Glimpse Into Kyrat trailer that could help promote tourism in the Himalayas, at least until the killing begins, about 40 seconds into the clip. Word is: "From the highest peaks of the Himalayas to the depths of its mythical past. Get a first-hand look into the unpredictable and treacherous world of Kyrat, where every second is a story." There is also a new Keys to Kyrat trailer which includes additional gameplay footage, though the purpose of this clip is to highlight a special bonus key promotion exclusive to the PlayStation editions of the game. The clips are accompanied by new details on the setting they show off:

Today, at Gamescom, Ubisoft® has pulled back the curtain and showed off some of the deep and varied experience that will be found in Far Cry 4: an extreme mission at the peaks of the Himalayas, and a journey into the mystical world of Shangri-Là. Ubisoft also provided more details on their PlayStation® exclusive promotion called the “Keys to Kyrat.”

A trip to Kyrat wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the highest peaks of the Himalayas. Throughout the game, players come across a series of missions located at the peaks of snowy mountains. The Himalayan missions push them to extremes as they encounter avalanches, ride snowmobiles and fight for each breath as they live the effects of high altitude. The wingsuit might be their only chance at survival.

Kyrat is also a beautiful land deeply rooted in its rich mythology. Shangri-Là is a fabled place that is part of that folklore and has been sought after by mortals in the hopes of finding enlightenment. Presented as a parallel and esoteric universe, Shangri-Là is a place where players transcend into the limitations of their own mind and go to a place where legends live. They’ll encounter a completely different set of mythical enemies with unexpected and surprising behaviors. Players have an ally, a noble white tiger, the protector of Shangri-Là. The tiger comes to the player's defense when provoked or can be sent to attack nearby enemies. The Shangri-Là bow, with the exclusive ability to momentary slow time, will also be available while players unlock skills within the main skill tree.

Continue here to read the full story.

Assassin's Creed Unity Trailer

Ubisoft celebrates Gamescom with a new trailer from Assassin's Creed Unity, showing off how the game's setting of Paris is depicted in the next installment in the stealthy action series. Here's how this casts light on the city of light: "In Assassin’s Creed Unity, all of Paris is your playground. From the skyward reaching spires of Notre Dame to the tunnels and slums inhabited by the city’s less fortunate, you can run, climb, and leap from nearly any surface. Follow Arno as he traverses the rooftops, streets, and back alleys of French Revolution era Paris all brought to life in breathtakingly intricate detail made possible by the next gen Anvil engine." Continue here to read the full story.

Armored Warfare Trailer

Here's a Gamescom "Urban Warfare" trailer for Armored Warfare, showing off more of Obsidian's upcoming mechanized combat MMOG. The clip includes battles in a city of sorts, as implied by the title, though some of the action also takes place in the surrounding countryside. Continue here to read the full story.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Trailer

A new "Sauron's Servants" story trailer from Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor offers more background on this upcoming Tolkienesque action game. Here's how WBIE describes this: "Talion sets out to wage war against Sauron’s servants, The Black Captains, who forced the Ranger to watch as his son and wife were murdered." Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

On Sale

  • Fable Anniversary on Steam. Save 20% on pre-purchases.
  • Jazzpunk on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Max Payne 3 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • PAYDAY 2 on Steam. Save 50%.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Robin Williams: A True Friend. Posted a year ago. Thanks Kenn.

R.I.P.: 'Game of Thrones' actor dies after 4 days of filming. And now his watch is ended.

Hollowpoint Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Hollowpoint, a co-op action-packed tactical RPG set in the 22nd century that's shooting for release on Windows and PlayStation 4 in the 21st century (specifically 2015). The news is accompanied by a Gamescom announcement trailer showing off gameplay, and the following description:

Hollowpoint puts players in charge of secretive Organizations of corporate mercenaries, taking on missions for pay and prestige alongside three other players in online co-op. Developed by Ruffian Games, the team behind Crackdown 2, Hollowpoint brings classic 2D side-scrolling action into the next generation with seamless 3D targeting into stages’ backgrounds. Hollowpoint features:

  • Old School Meets Near-future: Hollowpoint is played in a blend of traditional 2D side-scrolling action with 3D targeting, challenging players to take down enemies in front of them as well as in the background of their surroundings
  • Plan and Execute: Each mission is procedurally generated along with objectives, level layouts, and events, requiring a mix of strategic planning and skillful action to complete – no mission is merely “routine”
  • Organisation, Corporation, and Cooperation: Team up with friends via Steam or PSN and take on contracts together, handling your personal Operatives to succeed – or fail – together
  • Upgrade and Adapt: Earn experience and skill points to upgrade Operatives, and outfit them with the right abilities, weapons, and equipment for the job

Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Risen 3: Titan Lords

Deep Silver announces Risen 3: Titan Lords is now available in North America for Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, saying Piranha Bytes' action/RPG sequel will come to Europe on Friday. They mark the occasion with the release of a new trailer showing off the game's three factions, saying: "In their 'Factions' gameplay video, Piranha Bytes introduce the three factions of Risen 3: Titan Lords and takes you on an unforgettable, visually stunning journey. In Risen 3: Titan Lords, every faction comes with its own unique skills and tasks and offers a very unique style of play." Here's more on the game:


The world of Risen 3 is abandoned by all gods and suffers from the Titan Wars when a new threat rises from the soil. A young warrior is attacked from the shadows and deprived of his soul. He sets off to reclaim what is lost amidst the darkness that is spreading throughout the world. The banned Mages could be powerful allies on his quest. To get their help, he needs to find the Mage sanctuary on Taranis, also known as the Island of Thunder. Protected by the Guardians, the Mages search the mines of Taranis for crystals loaded with magic energy. Will the player join the Guardians to get in contact with the Mages? Or will he choose one of the other guilds in Risen 3 to reach his goals?

Continue here to read the full story.

Battle Academy 2 Next Month

Matrix Games announces Battle Academy 2 will head into battle one month from today on September 12th, saying the military strategy sequel will be available from their website or through Steam, though those with no patience for this can still take advantage of their early access program between now and then. Here's their description of how this depicts World War II's famed Operation Barbarossa:

In Battle Academy 2, players will have the possibility to join both sides and re-fight some of the key operations that made the east front legendary. Building on the qualities of its predecessor, the gameplay of Battle Academy 2 will preserve both the accessibility and dynamism that built its reputation while enhancing it with brand new tactical tools and vast amounts of new content as well. There are 4 campaigns, a random map generator, multiplayer modes with cooperative and versus gameplay and a unique skirmish mode that allows to generate an infinite number of customized scenarios, players should prepare for long, tough journey on the Eastern Front!

More King's Quest Details

We now have the official announcement to accompany today's news about Activision's revival of the Sierra brand for a new publishing label. They confirm plans for new Geometry Wars and King's Quest games and say the label will create other "contemporary reimaginings of beloved Sierra classics," as it focuses publishing games from edgy independents. The new Sierra also offer a reaction from old Sierra cofounder Ken Williams. "We’re very proud of what we created all those years ago with Sierra Online, and today’s news about carrying Sierra forward as an indie-specific brand is very encouraging," said Williams. "We look forward to seeing Sierra’s independent spirit live on, and are especially excited to see what The Odd Gentlemen will do with King’s Quest." They also offer more details on the new King's Quest game:

In development by the beloved and quirky studio The Odd Gentlemen (The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom), King’s Quest is a fully reimagined version of the fan-favorite Sierra game fit for both the old and new generation of King’s Quest players. Huge fans of the original King’s Quest series, The Odd Gentlemen are crafting a charming new adventure with an awe-inspiring art style, engaging puzzles, and a wondrous interactive narrative brimming with humor. In the new story, King Graham – revered as the greatest adventurer to ever live – shares his life’s adventures with his curious granddaughter, Gwendolyn. It is through these tales that Gwendolyn discovers the true greatness of her grandfather. King’s Quest is expected to make its heralded return in 2015.

Steam TV and Film Support Hints?

A tweet from Steam DB offers an image of some data structures they say were found in the latest Steam beta referencing TV series and film, suggesting that Valve may be broadening the entertainment options offered by their online service. Thanks Ant via Shacknews.

First Diablo III Paragon 1000 Livestream

Gabynator's Twitch channel is currently live-streaming this Diablo III player's final push to become the first to achieve Paragon Level 1000 in the action RPG. No word if there's a video anywhere of the thousands of hours of play that have led to this point. Thanks Rhialto.

Sierra Reviving King's Quest & Geometry Wars

The recently teased revival of the Sierra brand is explained on GamesBeat, where they say this will be the brand for upcoming new installments in the classic King's Quest and more recent Geometry Wars series. They say the Activision owned label will not be about re-releasing Sierra's back-catalog, but they plan to partner with "edgy" indie developers for future collaborations. "Sierra’s goal is to find and work with gifted up-and-coming indie developers working on their own amazing projects or who are passionate about working on great Sierra IP," is a quote attributed to Sierra's director of external development. "We’re in talks with a large number of other indie devs, and we can’t wait to share more details with fans in the near future." They have the following description of the two new games:

The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom developer The Odd Gentlemen are producing the new King’s Quest game. It is a fully “reimagined” take on the original series, according to Activision. The publisher promises that The Odd Gentlemen comprises a number of fans of the King’s Quest franchise. The studio intends to capture the same combination of difficult puzzles and engaging narrative as the originals. The adventure title is due out in 2015 for unspecified platforms — although the company notes it will release its software on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Steam.

While we wait for King’s Quest, we can all shoot some shapes in Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. Studio Lucid Games, which has produced a small number of mobile games, is taking on the latest entry in the popular shooter franchise. Dimensions will feature a single-player campaign with 50 different challenges in addition to 10 different battle modes. The game is due out this holiday, but Sierra once again didn’t mention any release platforms by name — but it is coming to “more platforms than ever before.”

SEGA Offers Aliens Lawsuit Settlement

SEGA has decided to settle the class action suit over the marketing of Aliens: Colonial Marines for $1.25 million, reports Polygon, where they have posted the legal filings in this case over whether the released version of the first-person shooter met reasonable expectations based on how it was demonstrated. The publisher is not admitting wrongdoing, but this if this settlement is approved by the court it will clear SEGA from future legal action in this matter. Gearbox is not included in this tentative settlement, as they continue to pursue their recent motion to be dropped from the suit, and the story also includes word that the plaintiffs have also filed a motion requesting more time to respond to Gearbox's request. Under terms of the SEGA agreement class members will be able to file claims, and details on how to do so will appear in the three places a video gamer is most likely to look, print issues of Guns & Ammo; ESPN; and Rolling Stone magazines.

Space Hulk: Ascension Edition Announced

Danish indie developer Full Control announces Space Hulk: Ascension Edition, an upcoming standalone edition of Space Hulk coming to Windows, OS X, and Linux in Q1 of next year. The Space Hulk Ascension Edition website is now online, and while there isn't much there yet about the boardgame adaptation, it does offer this announcement trailer, which is somewhat slow-paced. "We are happy to announce the next installment of our Space Hulk game," says Thomas Hentschel Lund, CEO of Full Control. "In Space Hulk Ascension, we have kept the core elements of Space Hulk that make it such a unique nerve shredding experience, but we have added new content and features, which take the game to a whole new level. It is a new and intense experience that will blow the minds of both new and old players." Here's word on the game, and how it differs from the original:

Space Hulk: Ascension Edition is a 3D, digital, turn based, strategy game, which builds upon the classic board game experience, and adds new RPG style mechanics, additional weapons and enemy types, an all-new chapter and loads of other new features to both the single player and multiplayer experience. Set in the isolated corridors and tomb-like chambers of ancient vessels lost in the graveyard of space, players lead a small force of fearless Space Marine Terminators in a ferocious fight for survival against hordes of predatory, alien Genestealers. The game comes with over 100 missions spread out over 3 complete campaigns, and all new flash missions. These are opportunistic mini-missions encountered as you explore the deep unknowns of the Space Hulk that can yield a tactical advantage or be a deadly trap.

The introduction of squad management and skill progression lets players build their own squads of hardened veterans. There are also new variations of Genestealers to face, and more complex maps to overcome, making the game more fun, challenging and rewarding to play. Space Hulk: Ascension Edition also introduces the Ultramarine chapter, combi weapons and the mighty Cyclone missile launcher as new weapon options, which are sure to shake things up on the battlefield.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox Exclusive; Skipping PCs

We noted the recent announcement of Rise of the Tomb Raider only mentioned the Xbox One, and this turns out to be no oversight, as the Tomb Raider Blog announces this installment in the adventures of Lara Croft will skip PC and PlayStation, and will remain an Xbox exclusive. Here's the spin, which makes no mention of money changing hands other than saying Microsoft "will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past." Here's word:

Tomb Raider in 2013 was a success due in large part to your continued support. Our goal has always been to deliver something truly special with Rise of the Tomb Raider. Today’s announcement with Microsoft is one step to help us put Tomb Raider on top of action adventure gaming. Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft.

This doesn’t mean that we’re walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC. Those are great systems, with great partners, and amazing communities. We have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming to those platforms this December, and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is available on PS4.

Goat Simulator Sells "Almost 1 Million"

Goat Simulator has already sold "almost" one million copies, Coffee Stain Studios explains to Joystiq, noting this means the surreal game that started as a joke made back the developer's initial investment in "ten minutes," generating more revenue in four months than all their more serious efforts earned in the preceding four years. They explain that they realized they needed to actually develop the game when the humorous trailer they created for the premise collected more than one million views. Thanks nin.

Steam Tags Leave Beta

The beta tag has been removed from Steam Tags, reports Steam News, saying the new feature is now ready for prime time:

With the launch of the Steam Tags beta back in February, we gave Steam customers the ability to "tag" any game or software with genres, themes, attributes, or any other term or phrase that would help customers find similar products. In the time since the feature launched, customers have applied tags more than 4 million times and across almost every product in the Steam catalog.

Our goal for Steam is to keep getting better at helping each customer find the next games that they want to play. Tags are a critical component in helping the Steam store better understand which products are related, which in turns contributes to better recommendations of games for customers. While there are a number of important components in making confident recommendations for customers, this blog post will focus primarily on tags.

So, how do we measure the effectiveness of tags? Let's start by looking at a couple areas where the store is currently generating recommendations and have been affected by the existence of tags.

If you visit a product page for a game on Steam, you'll notice a section just above the reviews called "More like this". With the addition of tags, we can better figure out which games are most closely related thematically and stylistically. As a result, the amount of traffic through the 'More like this" section of the product page has tripled, which indicates to us that customers are finding those suggestions much more relevant.

F1 2014 Trailer

This new trailer from F1 2014 offers a look at a hot lap in Bahrain, where it never gets all that cold. They say this first hot lap video from the next installment in the Formula One racing series is the first chance to hear the new character of the engines in this year's cars. Word is: "The 2014 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX was run as a night race for the first time this year, and the hot lap video shows Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari taking on the 15 corner, 10 year-old Bahrain International Circuit dramatically lit up by hundreds of floodlights and against a striking backdrop of fireworks" Continue here to read the full story.

Mortal Kombat X Kano Trailer

A new trailer from Mortal Kombat X with an official introduction of the Kano character, leader of The Black Dragon international crime syndicate. Word is: "Narrated by Mortal Kombat co-creator and NetherRealm Studios’ creative director Ed Boon, the new gameplay video features the overgrown Jungle environment and guides players through Kano’s character variations and play styles. Kano’s variations include 'Cutthroat,' 'Cybernetic' and 'Commando'." Continue here to read the full story.

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

I added a note about Robin Williams to Into the Black last night after it was originally posted, so I wanted to offer a sad R.I.P. for the late comic for those who missed it. If you don't remember, Robin was a real gamer who used to tell first-person shooter stories on late night TV and even named his daughter Zelda. Here's a link to a photo of Robin and one of our buds in 1987 that was posted here in 1999

The co-op mutants were at it again last night (pretty late, hence this morning's delayed update). I did a little thinking on why I was unable to get all the audio last week when using ShadowPlay to record our session, and I think the reason it was only getting my voice is that the Turtle Beach headset I use has a 3.5mm mic plug, but the rest of the audio runs through USB, which is decoded separately from my motherboard. So we played without trying to record last night, and I'll look into whether there is a way to record my headset, or if I need to get one that also uses a 3.5mm jack for audio to try this.

Sad Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Invert Selection.
Smart Pen.
SAS Zombie Assault 4.
Links: Remembering Robin Williams: The Actor and Comedian's Best Roles.
Science: Earth’s gravitational pull may partly melt a bit of the Moon.
The Domestic Cat Genome Has Been Fully Sequenced, and It's Fascinating.
Images: Oregon Trail IRL.
Aerial Photography From WWI Shows the Massive Scale of Devastation. Thanks JDreyer.
Media: Watch Conan O’Brien break Robin Williams news to audience.
My GoPro Array.



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