Archived News:

Wednesday, Dec 08, 2004

The Punisher Demo

A playable demo for The Punisher is now available, offering the chance to sample Volition's game based on the vengeance-motivated comic book character. The 211 MB download is available on 3D Gamers, 4Players.de, ActionTrip, Boomtown (registration required), FileFront, Filerush (torrent), Fragland, Gameguru Mania, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying.

SÖLDNER Beta Sign-ups

The Official SÖLDNER: Secret Wars Website now offers the recently promised (story) sign-ups to beta test the upcoming SÖLDNER add-on (thanks Robert). Word is:
There will be several phases of the beta so don't worry if you won't be accepted at the start. If you are accepted as an 'Soldner - Addon' Closed Beta Program participant an E-mail will be sent to the address you provide with further details. Minimum requirements are: Age of 18, Broadband Internet Connection, 2 Ghz Processor, 512 MB RAM and a GeForce 3 equivalent video card.

Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction

Oxygen Interactive announces Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction, a first-person shooter slated for release in March 2005 for the PC, Xbox, and PS2:
Feeding the flames of conspiracy, Oxygen Interactive today authorised the March 2005 launch of Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction, a thrilling first-person-shooter for PS2, Xbox and PC.

Players assume the square-jawed role of Cole Justice, an ex government secret service agent, trained mercenary and all-round tough guy, recruited by 'the agency' for one final assignment. According to intelligence reports, a rogue government agency known as 'Hydra' has been developing weapons of mass destruction to sell to worldwide terrorist organisations. Hydra has been long suspected of funding its activities through unlawful means, including the trafficking of arms and drugs

The government no longer has control over this rogue agency and it has quickly become an embarrassment in need of urgent elimination

Developed by award-winning game studios, Kuju, Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction is propelled by the powerful Fire Warrior engine and takes first person shooting to a whole new altitude. Across five sprawling levels, gameplay spans from secret bases in Aztec ruins to military training camps in the Arctic Circle.

As a trained mercenary, Cole's weaponry consists of pistols, assault rifles, sub machine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers and rocket launchers weapons.

Remember. Believe nothing... Trust no-one...

Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction is being developed by Kuju and will be published by Oxygen Interactive in March 2005 for PS2, Xbox and PC, price to be confirmed.

Chrome/Advanced Battlegrounds Follow-up

 The Advanced Battlegrounds: The Future of Combat Product Page has been updated since our story this morning with a footnote that reads "Also Published as Chrome Gold in other territories," clarifying that this is indeed the original Chrome, rather than the renamed Specforce expansion.

Lineage II Expands

NCsoft announces the launch of a large content update for Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle, their MMORPG sequel:
NCsoft Corporation® (KSE: 036570.KS), the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games, today announced the release of an extensive expansion to Lineage® II: The Chaotic Chronicle, a massively multiplayer online game that was recently named the best role-playing game of 2004 by Scripps Howard News Service. The expansion, Chronicle 2: Age of Splendor, includes more than 500 megabytes of new features adding three new zones, wondrous underwater areas, rideable mounts, new monsters, items and spells as well as an in-game gambling system consisting of a racetrack, throwing dice and a lottery.

Evening Q&As

  • Sudden Strike 3
    The Sudden Strike 3 Q&A on FileFront talks with several of the folks at Fireglow about their upcoming World War II strategy game sequel: "Unlike the conventional RTS, Sudden Strike 3: Arms for Victory is a fully featured RTS with fully featured strategic part. (We would even say that we are trying to make another mini-revolution in the Strategy genre J ) In previous Sudden Strike line games the essence was 'who', but in the Sudden Strike 3: Arms for Victory the essence is 'where and when'. Now the player’s aim is not just crushing enemy defense. His aim is to use strategic means for obtaining strategic superiority, and then to make a decisive strike. Sudden Strike 3: Arms for Victory is very large-scale game. "
  • Stronghold 2
    Building a Better Castle with Simon Bradbury on The Adrenaline Vault Articles talks with Firefly Studios about their upcoming siege-oriented sequel: "One big addition for Stronghold 2 is the depiction of "living like a lord." In the first Stronghold we were happy with how the resource chains turned out and were very happy with the siege combat. What we weren't able to do partly because of technology and partly because of production time, was to explore the grittiness of peasant life and pageantry of the nobles in medieval times."
  • The Matrix Online
    The question of the week on The Matrix Online Vault discusses how pets will function in the virtual world within the virtual world in the upcoming Matrix MMORPG.

Dear Diaries

RPG Vault Anarchy Online It's Alive #2 is online, as "Funcom's Terri Perkins recounts some of the diverse social interactions that help bring its player community to life" in Anarchy Online. Also, Neil Goldberg’s Composer Diary on Gamer's Hell offers some sound thinking from the author of the soundtrack to A Tale in the Desert II.

Evening Previews

  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl on GameKult (in French - Translated here). Casting doubt on the game's readiness. Includes 80 screenshots.

Evening Screenshots

Mac to PC Gaming in Jeopardy

Yahoo! News - New GameSpy terms threaten Mac to PC online gaming is a story following up on recent reports (story) expressing concern over the future of Mac support from the gaming software middleware provider/journalism hybrid. The report describes the end of discounts based on lowered sales in Mac products coming to an end, making Mac to PC multiplayer interoperability economically unfeasible:
GameSpy's fee still ran into thousands of dollars per game, but Mac publishers were willing to pay it to put their customers on a level playing field with their PC counterparts. But now, with that discount gone, GameSpy licensing costs have skyrocketed for Mac publishers.

GameSpy is now asking for an amount that, in some cases, is the equivalent of 50 to 100 percent of the total Mac development budget, according Adams. Doubling the cost of development just to make the game play with PC users isn't something that Aspyr can afford to do, she added.

"What GameSpy is asking for now is more than what I'd pay up front for a game license," said MacSoft general manager Al Schilling. Like Aspyr, Mac game publisher MacSoft has seen its discount with GameSpy evaporate in recent months, according to Schilling.

The Settlers 5 Delayed

This Ubisoft Page announces a delay to Heritage of Kings: The Settlers (apparently we'd previously incorrectly listed this title forwards, instead of the correct backwards), the upcoming fifth installment in BlueByte's The Settlers series of strategy games. The game's English release was previously expected this quarter, but the page now lists a new release date of February 2005. Thanks Frans.

Hearts of Iron 2 Gold

Paradox Entertainment (thanks Frans) announces that Hearts of Iron 2 is gold, and that Paradox Interactive's World War II strategy game sequel has gone gold, but will miss out on the holiday sales season by shipping in the beginning of 2005 in North America, Scandinavia, Russia, France, the U.K., Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, Poland, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Portugal and Mexico, specifically, "The game is scheduled to be shipped to stores on January 4 in North America and will be available on all markets by mid-February." Here's a bit:
In Hearts of Iron 2, you are the supreme leader of a country of your choosing during the tumultuous struggle of World War II, with the goal of winning the War through warfare and diplomacy. To achieve your goals you need to guide your nation through a multitude of aspects including alliances, technological advances, strategic thinking and military production.

Chrome = Advanced Battlegrounds

Update: This story originally presumed this to be the Specforce expansion, but the EB Games listing for this game puts the shipping date at 12/13/04, so it looks likely that this is actually the renamed version of the original Chrome. This DreamCatcher Games Page (thanks Frans) has details and screenshots from Advanced Battlegrounds: The Future of Combat, either the new name for Techland's shooter Chrome, or the follow-up formerly known by the working title Chrome SpecForce (story) when it was to be published by Strategy First. Here's how the project is described:
Grab your choice from over 20 destructive hi-tech weapons including heavy machine guns, rocket launchers and plasma rifles as you set out to seek-and-destroy your enemy once and for all. Take control of awesome vehicles like four-wheelers, speeder bikes and giant mech-robots as you battle across gigantic landscapes, huge air masses and vast oceans.

Dr. Who Game Plans

The Doctor Who News Page at Outpost Gallifrey (thanks HomeLAN Fed) has news that plans are in place for a game based on the cult-classic science fiction TV series, Dr. Who:
Game Prototype Development investment funding was provided for two projects. IR Gurus Interactive Australia will develop a game of the world’s longest running science fiction television series Dr. Who, and Iron Monkey Studios will develop Darkenlight, a darkly-twisted, humorously spooky game of fighting action and exploration set in an enigmatic world where nothing is quite what it seems."

Ships Ahoy - PC Chronicles of Riddick

The Chronicles of Riddick continue on PC on GameSpot offers the low-key announcement that the PC Developer's Cut of Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay has shipped to stores. Here's a bit on the game:
Escape from Butcher Bay is a de facto prequel to the big-budget sci-fi film epic, The Chronicles of Riddick, which performed poorly at the box office earlier this year. Its protagonist, Richard B. Riddick, is a hardened, antiheroic criminal who is locked up in the titular prison at the game's start. Players control Riddick as he navigates his way through the interplanetary penitentiary, and lays down some of the backstory behind The Chronicles of Riddick and the first film to feature Riddick, Pitch Black.

Ships Ahoy - Gates of Troy

Matrix Games announces the availability of Gates of Troy for online purchase. The DVD edition of Slitherine's strategy game is going to be available in two weeks. Word is:
In Gates of Troy you will lead your nation to victory in the ancient world’s greatest battles. Capture romance and adventure as you work your way to the far off shores of Troy. Control a vast empire and fight epic sized battles on 3D battlefields. With 6 new campaigns and 19 new heroes to come to your aid it will take all the planning in the world to build your cities and conquer your enemies. Greece is in your hands in Gates of Troy!

Morning Q&As

  • Auto Assault
    The Auto Assault Q&A on MM Hell learns more about NetDevil's upcoming automotive MMORPG by chatting with Scott Brown: "Auto Assault is very much about player advancement. The player has attributes and skills that affect what they can use and their abilities during combat. As you level up and complete missions you get new points you can spend to make these improvements. The vehicle is what contains your current set of equipment. There is a lot you can change and customize to fit your play style. The player will have the ability to own many vehicles at the same time."
  • Vatan
    The Vatan Q&A on Warcry News Network is a quick article-format Q&A with Bruno Cesteiro, of FY Software about their space combat game: "We're not trying to compete with million-dollar budget titles,” Cesteiro says. “Doom 3 technology using stencil shadows, per-pixel lighting, etc., won't be in Vatan. That kind of technology doesn't work in outdoor environments."
  • Sigonyth: Desert Eternity
    The Sigonyth: Desert Eternity Q&A on Access Gamer talks with Dawid (Zolthar) Makowski of New Desert about their recently unveiled MMORPG: "Sigonyth: Desert Eternity is the name of the planet, where all the action takes place. The eldest citizens call it “eternal desert” because of desert that spreads all over the area, just like on Mars. There is insufficiency of water, moreover, the air composition favors mutations, so it all makes the planet very harsh environment to live in."
  • Just Cause
    The Avalanche Studios Q&A on Experience Gaming discusses progress on Just Cause with Avalanche Studios' Christofer Sundberg: "Big, big and big! We wanted to create a very free game, where players can have fun, experience exciting missions and blow a lot of things up."
  • Year-end
    HomeLAN Fed's Games In 2004-2005 Q&A with Brian Sullivan continues this year-end series by talking with the president of Iron Lore.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Wednesday Competitions - MersCON

The Space Interceptor Website has details on Merscom's MersCON, a virtual convention that will allow the opportunity to interface with the developers of Space Interceptor: Project Freedom and possibly win prizes including signed copies of the game and a chance to appear as a character in Space Interceptor 2.

Wednesday Game Guidance

Tentonhammer has posted an EverQuest II advanced crafting guide to accompany their basic crafting guide, which has itself received an update.

Wednesday Game Reviews

Wednesday Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

I got a spam in the nature of the Nigerian scams that purported to be from Mrs. Yassir Arafat... I thought this demonstrated well enough that these things have jumped the shark, but that was before I came to the end of the letter directing further inquiries to the law firm of Batman & Associates... if Barrister Batman is handling the case, maybe there's some legitimacy to all this?

Play time: Quzzle.
Links of the Day: National Lampoon's Safe Toy Shopping Guide. Thanks T.
Your Santa's Helper Name. Thanks Jim (Wriggly Monster-Fairy). I'm Lucky Bunny-Elf.
Stories of the Day: Pa. Sues College That Gave Cat an MBA. Thanks zombie69.
Second Career for Old Robot Art.
What corporate America can't build: a sentence.
Science!: Raw Eggs? Hair of the Dog? New Options for the Besotted (registration required).
Studies: Lost sleep equals gained weight.
New Comet Now Visible to Naked Eye.
Image of the Day: Gordon Freeman. Thanks complicity.
Media of the Day: One Horn Goring. Thanks ASLayerAODsk. OMG.
Auction of the Day: HAUNTED GHOST WHEELCHAIR NOT A JOKE. Thanks Jim.
Follow-ups: Cap Harnesses Human Thought to Move PC Cursor. Thanks Joe.
It's official: Mars once had water. Definitely. Probably.
Panel Weighs in on Hubble Rescue Mission..
Hardee's Monster Burger Creates Uproar. Have we run out of good things to be outraged over?
Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
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