Archived News:

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mythic Acquires MMORPG Warhammer Rights

Mythic Entertainment announces the acquisition of exclusive worldwide rights to create MMORPGs based on the table-top Warhammer games. This apparently puts an end to remaining hopes for a developer supported release of Warhammer Online (story), the Warhammer-based MMOG that had been in the works at Climax before being axed (story). Here's the deal:
MYTHIC ENTERTAINMENT SECURES WORLDWIDE RIGHTS TO CREATE MMORPG BASED ON GAMES WORKSHOP’S WARHAMMER FANTASY WORLD

FAIRFAX, VA – MAY 18, 2005 – Mythic Entertainment, developer and publisher of massively-multiplayer online role-playing games including "Dark Age of Camelot" and the upcoming "Imperator," today announced that they have secured the exclusive worldwide rights to create massively multiplayer online games for PC and console set in the fantasy world of Warhammer, created by Nottingham, UK-based Games Workshop Group PLC. The first game based upon the dark, medieval world of Warhammer will be released on PC in 2007.

"I have always been a big fan of Games Workshop and Warhammer and I am thrilled that we are now able to work on one of the world’s greatest and most enduring fantasy gaming brands," said Mark Jacobs, CEO and president of Mythic Entertainment, Inc. "Our goal for this first of what we hope will be many Warhammer-based games is to create the single-greatest RvR-based MMORPG in the industry."

"Warhammer fans around the world can be assured that our new partnership with Mythic, a company with fantastic credentials in delivering great online games, will result in a truly compelling online experience," said Andy Jones, CEO of Games Workshop’s Entertainment and Media Division. "We are really looking forward to working closely with people who share our passion both for the world of Warhammer and for making games of the highest quality."

Evening Game Movies

  • X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse
    The X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse E3 movie gives a look at Raven's upcoming mutated superhero sequel. The download is available on 3D Gamers.
  • Fantastic Four
    The Fantastic Four E3 movie is now online, offering another look at Beenox Studios' upcoming comic book/movie tie-in. The clip can be found on 3D Gamers.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man
    The Ultimate Spider-Man E3 movie rounds out tonight's trio of superhero game offerings, showing off Beenox Studios' wall crawling action game. The movie is available on 3D Gamers.
  • Guild Wars
    This page on the Guild Wars Website has a new movie showing two soon to be opened areas from ArenaNet's MMORPG. Thanks Guild Wars Slovenija.
  • Lineage II
    The Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle Website now likewise features the latest movie from NCsoft's MMORPG sequel.

Evening Q&As

  • Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures
    The Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Q&A on GameSpy talks with Gaute Godager about PvP combat in Funcom's upcoming barbaric MMORPG: "I've always been of the opinion that PvP should be voluntary, fun and available for everyone in an online game. Some players prefer to PvP all the time, others never. The majority of players, though, are in between these two extremes. Our goal is to create a system where you can PvP with your main character when you want to, without any permanent penalties. There won't be dedicated PvP servers in Conan. PvP will be available to your character if you want to participate -- or you could shy away altogether."
  • Square Enix
    The Enix Q&A Session Report on GameSpy describes a public Q&A session with the developer about all their upcoming projects.

PC Dynasty Warriors 4

The Dynasty Warriors 4 PC E3 2005 First Look on GameSpot has scant first word on plans for a PC edition of Dynasty Warriors 4: "Koei recently sent along a list of games that it will be showcasing at E3, and on the list was a curious entry: Dynasty Warrior 4 PC, presumably a PC port of the long-running Dynasty Warrior series. While KOEI did previously announce a PC version of Dynasty Warriors, formerly known only by its Japanese name of 'Sengoku Musou BB,' we can't confirm whether Dynasty Warriors 4 PC is actually the American version of that game or something different."

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

3000AD vs. DC Rd 2

3000AD announces the completion of development of Universal Combat: A World Apart, another dispute with publisher DreamCatcher, and plans for future products Universal Combat Gold; Universal Combat Online; and Battlecruiser Next Gen (working title). They say the clash ends their relationship with DreamCatcher, a partnership that had already suffered through a prior dispute (story) that was eventually settled (story). Going back further, rights to the original Battlecruiser 3000 A.D. reverted to the developer after a dispute with original publisher Take-Two over the game's premature release. The blurbs on their upcoming projects do not include mention of Universal Combat: Hostile Intent (story), a project that was delayed when Universal Combat: Hold the Line was cancelled (story). Update: Derek Smart clarified with a post in the forums here that the work done on Hostile Intent is now part of the Universal Combat Online project mentioned below. Here's word on UC: A World Apart going gold for digital distribution, their gripe with DreamCatcher, and the hunt for a new publisher for the retail boxed version:
In other news, while Universal Combat - A World Apart, the eagerly awaited sequel to the original 2004 game, went Gold on 04-15-05 for release this May, several issues with the publisher (Dreamcatcher) have not only held up the boxed retail release of that title, but also led to the termination of the agreement. As a result, Dreamcatcher no longer has those rights as they have now reverted back to 3000AD Inc. We are in the process of negotiating with other interested parties for the boxed retail rights to this product.

We also recently terminated the Battlecruiser Millennium Gold and Universal Combat agreement which we also had with this publisher. Those rights have also now reverted back to 3000AD Inc and a cease & desist has been issued to Dreamcatcher, advising them to stop any further production and marketing of these two games or face legal action under the DMCA and other copyright infringement laws.

This issue with Dreamcatcher does not affect the e-commerce download version of UCAWA, which we expect to have available within the coming weeks once all the server side preparations have been completed and tested with our e-commerce partners (e.g. Trymedia, BMT Micro and others) who will be carrying the product.
And here are the game announcements:
Universal Combat Gold
Universal Combat Gold (UCG) is a stand-alone follow up title to the original Universal Combat game released in February 2004. It contains the full original game plus several enhancements, updates and features. Both the retail and e-commerce download version will be priced at $19.99. Estimated release date is Q3/05 (July).

Universal Combat Online
Universal Combat Online (UCO) is our massively multi player online game. Based on a vastly improved version of the Universal Combat - A World Apart engines, it contains a plethora of new advanced technologies and content to make it the ultimate futuristic battleground with our pioneered vast seamless space and planetary worlds. Both the retail and e-commerce download version will be priced at $29.99. The monthly fee will be announced at a later date. Estimated release date is Q3/06 (Sept).

Battlecruiser Next Gen (working title)
The eagerly anticipated next generation incarnation of the one that started it all, is on the Way. Using the Reality Engine, Battlecruiser Next Gen (BCNG) is designed from the ground up to give a total immersion experience. A completely seamless first person, space and planetary environment provides the most immersive sci-fi game ever developed. Pricing information will be announced at a later date. Estimated release date is Q4/07 (Nov).

Site Seeing - Age of Empires III

The official Age of Empires III Website has launched in honor of the upcoming installment in Ensemble's epic RTS series (thanks AoE3.cz). The site includes game information, high resolution screenshots, a developer's blog, video and music samples, and more.

Playboy: The Mansion Expands

Ubisoft announces plans for and expansion for Cyberlore's Playboy: The Mansion called Party Pack, offering the chance to expand into the role of The Hef by throwing more parties like those attended by the likes of Bill Mahr and various Baldwin brothers. Here's the deal:
London, UNITED KINGDOM - May 18, 2005 – Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest videogame publishers and Hip Interactive’s wholly owned subsidiary, ARUSH Publishing, in conjunction with Groove Games, today announced that a PC expansion pack is being developed for Playboy: The Mansion™. Developed by Cyberlore Studios for Playboy, the ‘Party Pack’ will feature new content, characters, and missions.

"Following the successful release of Playboy's first-ever video game, we will continue to provide players with additional features that will enhance the Playboy gaming experience," said Sarah Haney, Director of Entertainment Licensing, Playboy Enterprises, Inc. "The Party Pack represents Playboy's commitment to offering unique and fresh content as we strengthen our foothold in the gaming arena."

The aptly named Party Pack brings some of the most famous Playboy parties to the virtual Hef world, including Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Playmate Of The Year party, Hef’s birthday and the incredible Halloween bash. Players also will see new animations, celebrities, Playmates, and rewards, and be challenged with new, exciting missions.

“We’ve seen the growing popularity of Playboy: The Mansion since its release in January, and the way people love throwing parties and hosting photo shoots with models and celebrities,” said Jim Perkins, president of ARUSH Publishing. “With the feedback from gamers, and the way consumers passionately have embraced the game, a Party Pack expansion makes natural sense.”

Playboy: The Mansion allows players to step into the virtual slippers of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and run the Playboy Empire by throwing parties, mingling with celebrities and Playmates, and creating the iconic magazine. The multi-platform game shipped on January 25th and is available from major gaming retailers.

“Ubisoft is thrilled to continue the Playboy gaming adventure with this new PC expansion," says John Parkes, EMEA Marketing Director at Ubisoft. "Fans of the original release will be excited to revisit the virtual Playboy Mansion and discover parties and places that only privileged celebrities have experienced.”

For more information on Playboy: The Mansion, please visit www.playboythemansion.com or www.ubi.com

Alan Wake Announced

Remedy Entertainment officially announces development of Alan Wake for PC and next-gen consoles, though the existence of their upcoming "psychological action thriller" has been public knowledge for a couple of weeks now. Here's the announcement, which is accompanied by some new screenshots on the Alan Wake Website, but does not include a release date:
REMEDY UNVEILS ALAN WAKE, A PSYCHOLOGICAL ACTION THRILLER

Remedy Entertainment Ltd, a leading developer of cinematic action games, unveiled Alan Wake, their new title, today at the E3 expo (Electronic Entertainment Expo, ATI Technologies Inc. stand) in Los Angeles.

Alan Wake is a psychological action thriller, a unique new take in the world of gaming. The game is set in an idyllic all-American small town and its surroundings in the state of Washington. Alan Wake, the game's protagonist, is a bestselling horror writer, who writes a novel about his darkest nightmares. In the game, those nightmares come true. As with Remedy's previous games, story and atmosphere are fundamental elements.

"In Alan Wake we want to weave the story tightly into the gameplay.
Combining intense and cinematic storytelling with player freedom is an interesting and exciting challenge," says Sam Lake, Lead Writer, "Mood and atmosphere are essential parts of a thriller, and we want them to be present throughout the whole gameplay experience."

The game features a massive, open world for the players to explore. The game design is mission based with the player as the driving force behing the action, and as with their previous games, Remedy again focuses completely on delivering the best possible single player experience.

"We're putting a huge effort into building a free-roaming, living world for the players." says Petri Jarvilehto, Lead Game Designer, "The true power of the next generation comes from the dynamic nature of the environment, not only making things pretty, but also making the world more versatile, varied and immersive."

The use of light is a significant gameplay element. Remedy has developed proprietary new technology to support the gameplay of the title and to push the high definition visuals to the next level.

Alan Wake is currently being developed for the next generation consoles and PC's. Remedy has not announced a release date.

The official website www.alanwake.com has been updated with more in-game screenshots of the game.

Brothers In Arms: Earned In Blood Announced

Ubisoft and Gearbox officially announce Brothers In Arms: Earned In Blood, confirming the title for the World War II shooter sequel first revealed last night (story). The first screenshots from the project are now available, and here's the announcement of plans for a release on PCs and current consoles for this holiday season:
San Francisco — MAY 18, 2005 — Today Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, and acclaimed developer Gearbox Software, announced the development of Brothers In Arms Earned In Blood™ for current-generation video game consoles and for the PC. Scheduled for holiday 2005, Brothers in Arms Earned in Blood™ is the next chapter in the compelling Brothers in Arms™ story.

With its unprecedented combination of authenticity, compelling story and squad-based action, Brothers In Arms Road to Hill 30™ has established itself as a benchmark for military action games. Brothers In Arms Earned In Blood™ builds upon the elements that have made Brothers in Arms Road to Hill 30™ a runaway success by adding new features and game modes. Featuring a new single-player narrative, new multiplayer missions, an all-new cooperative-style game mode, and new weapons and vehicles, Brothers In Arms Earned In Blood™ promises to lead the way this holiday season.

“Based on a true story Brothers In Arms Road to Hill 30™ renewed the WWII shooters category by offering the most authentic and emotional trip into the brutal reality of war like no other competitors did before”, said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubisoft. “Considered as the most authentic WWII shooter ever Brothers in Arms™ returns and gamers can expect Earned In Blood™ to once again be the best this fall.”

Developed by Gearbox Software with the collaboration of Ubisoft Shanghai studios, Brothers In Arms Earned In Blood™ will be shown to select media behind closed doors at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, May 18-20, at Ubisoft’s booth, #1300, in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Key Features:

• Next Volume of Brothers In Arms™ – The award-winning WWII shooter returns with more of the action, story and authenticity that has critics and fans raving.
• New Single-Player Narrative – Experience authentic WWII combat as Sergeant Joe Hartsock and lead your squad beyond Carentan to liberate all of Normandy.
• New Multiplayer Missions – Taking online tactics to new heights, Brothers In Arms Earned In Blood offers more unique multiplayer missions and improved online support on PC and consoles! (Including the bundled addition of modification support for the PC).
• Skirmish Mode – Brothers In Arms Earned In Blood™ features an all-new cooperative Skirmish mode that allows one or two players to take a tour of duty through a series of authentic and harrowing custom combat missions.
• New Weapons and Vehicles – Arm yourself with additional authentic weapons and command new vehicles like the M10 “Wolverine” Tank Destroyer.
• More Challenging and Dynamic Combat –Featuring close quarter urban environments and a new, next generation artificial intelligence system, Brothers In Arms Earned In Blood™ promises to take authentic military action to the next level.

Game Movies

Site Seeing

A new True Crime 2 Teaser Website is online (thanks Frans) place-holding the future home of the life-of-crime sequel. The site includes the E3 trailer for the game. Also, a new Webzen Website is online, offering news and information about their various upcoming massively multiplayer games.

Morning Q&As

  • Half-Life 2
    The Half-Life 2 Q&A on Gamecloud chats with Doug Lombardi about the future of Valve's shooter sequel, including word on DoD: source: "The team is cranking to finish this summer. We'll be showing more after e3, and I think folks are going to be pleasantly surprised by what's developed over the past few months."
  • Hellgate: London
    The Hellgate: London Q&A on Gamecloud is short conversation with Dave Brevik of Flagship Studios about their debut title: "There were several reasons behind this decision. First, the team wanted a new challenge and first person was something that almost all of us had not done before. We saw it as a great design, art, and programming challenge and so it interested us from the start. Second, we feel that the perspective is much more immersive. You get more of a sense of role-playing. You are the person in the world instead of you are commanding an avatar in the world. We wanted to remove that disconnect so the quests and the experience felt more personal."
  • Alan Wake
    The Alan Wake Q&A on Gamecloud is a brief Q&A with Remedy's Sam Lake and Petri Järvilehto about their upcoming action game: "And we also wanted to make this open world as dynamic as possible. So we’ve been putting a huge amount of effort into building the simulation. Light is completely dynamic, including the day & night time cycles, trees and foliage and water reacts to the wind. Morning, day and dusk all feel completely different and the transitions in weather and time are completely seamless. So, tech-wise it was a pretty straightforward decision for us to start building our own technology. There’s no engine on the market that would’ve allowed us to do the things we want to do with Alan Wake, and building our own engine allows us to get technology to completely support the gameplay."
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
    The S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl Q&A on Gamecloud discusses GSC Game World's upcoming shooter with Oleg Yavorsky: "Firstly, we didn’t expect the project to be that big and resource-demanding. At some point we found ourselves piled under a mound of features, part of which (such as life simulation for instance) have never been implemented in any game. Therefore, experimenting on AI and unusual linking of survival-shooting-RPG experience took us a great deal of time. Luckily, at this point that huge stage is over and we can be proud of the fact that nearly all the features initially declared (and some extra added later) have worked out for us. We are very keen to stick to the promises made. The development of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has, without a doubt, been an immensely valuable experience for us, particularly on gameplay design and programming side."
  • X3: Reunion
    RPG Vault's X3: Reunion Q&A talks with Egosoft's Greg Kingston about the upcoming space combat sequel: "Something we cannot state enough - complete freedom for the player and the ability to follow whatever path they wish. What we have built into X3 is to make the various choices more relevant and have more consequences in the game. New means of managing fleets and factories will be introduced, in part as a result of community feedback. The community has also been heavily involved in improvements to the overall economy and combat AI."
  • Real Time Worlds
    Back in the game David Jones' hot new set o' wheels on GameSpot is a Q&A with David Jones, one-time GTA designer, about the upcoming MMOG from Real Time Worlds that will eventually make its way from the PC to mobile platforms: "I like the feeling that it's not black and white...that you're not necessarily either in the game or you're not. I think what mobile gives you is, if you're really into the game you're playing, or your friends are into it, and you're away for a few days or something, it's just the fact that it's a device that will let you keep in touch, keep doing things and not have to break your connection with the game space 100 percent. And I also think it's, thinking further down the line, some people might much prefer playing games on a much higher strategic level on your phone. Some people may actually just want to do that all the time."
  • Misc
    Gamecloud's attempt to flood the internet with Q&As also continues with brief Q&As about Company of Heroes and TimeShift and Advent Rising and Dungeons and Dragons Online.

Salvo Demo

The downloads page on the Salvo Website now offers up a demo version of Salvo, SprueGames' strategy game set in the era of wooden ships and iron men. There is a 267 MB windows demo and a 293 demo for MacOS. Word is: "Players will also be able to read the 'mission introduction' to the rest of the scenarios and campaigns that will be found in the retail game, allowing them a peek into the exciting engagements they will be able to soon participate in. It should also be noted that the demo is not crippleware by any means. Virtual captains don't have to put up with time limited gameplay, or the inability to save the game, or feel cheated out of any other game resource. Play the demo as you see fit. After all, a demo is meant to let players sample the actual game, not twist into 'beat the clock'."

It Came from E3, Part 1

The expo actually kicks off today!

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Wednesday Game Reviews

Wednesday Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Fox re-ups '24,' 'Arrested' (thanks MMS) has the good news for us Arrested Development fans, revealing the quirky sitcom has been renewed. Reading between the lines suggests that negotiations over the no-brainer renewal of 24 may have been used to leverage the return of Arrested. If that's the case, hats off to the men in black that pulled off that mission. Woot!

I fought the Links, and the Links won! Thanks Mike Martinez, Ant, and EvilToast
Links of the Day: Triplexgoldteeth.com.
Star Wars: The Lamest Characters.
Stories of the Day: Fans Orbit in Star Wars Galaxy.
Politics creates a disturbance in the Force.
Donald set to unveil World Trump Center. Or we could just erect his towering ego on the spot.
Science! Air Force Seeks Bush's Approval for Space Weapons Programs (registration required).
Why Teens are Lousy at Chores.
Children Beat Adults in Memory Contest. Hey, the little show-offs have less to remember!
Images of the Day: Art imitates life.
Mysterious crop circle.
Cliche Hell- Star Wars.
Media of the Day: Scottish Sobriety Test. Thanks ASLayerAODsk.
The Real Gilligan's Island (Season 2) - Pie Fight Director's Cut. Thanks ASLayerAODsk.
Auctions of the Day: Michael Jackson Swiss chocolate candy bars.
Chevrolet Nova Stretch Snowmobile. Thanks Devicer.
Xbox 360 faceplates start trading on eBay.
Teh Funnies: Dr. Fun.
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