Archived News:

Tuesday, Apr 18, 2006

Guild Wars Expansion Plans

Guild Wars going semiannual on GameSpot has a revelation from the Jeff Strain podcast interview mentioned this morning (story) where the ArenaNet president says that future Guild wars standalone expansions should be appearing about twice a year. This would be half the wait for Factions, the imminent first such product that will be arriving about a year after the launch of the MMORPG. Word is:
Strain said that the third campaign was already well down the development path, and that the fourth installment was in the planning stages. Each campaign operates as a stand-alone MMO game with no subscription fees, although players who own multiple installments will be able to bring characters from one game into the others.

Seed Open Beta

Runestone announces they are accepting sign-ups for a week-long open beta test of Seed, their upcoming MMORPG:
Aarhus, Denmark - April 18, 2006 - Runestone Game Development, developers of the upcoming genre-shattering massively multiplayer game Seed, announced today that starting on Tuesday, April 25th, its beta testing program will be open for an entire week to all who apply.

"We are looking forward to seeing crowds of players experiencing our game world as well as stressing and testing our systems to the limit," said Lars Kroll Kristensen, CEO of Runestone Game Development. “This will mark the home stretch of the development process as we prepare for next month’s launch.”

Everyone is invited to enter the Open Beta Week. Players need only apply at www.seedthegame.com no later than Monday, April 24th.

This open testing phase will end just prior to the Seed launch on May 2nd, 2006. The client will then be available for free download, along with its 14-day free trial, at www.seedthegame.com.

Site Seeing

Sierra Entertainment's Eragon Product Section is live, dedicated to the just-announced tie-in with the upcoming dragon rider movie. Included is information and the game's logo (thanks Frans). Also, the Black Buccaneer Website has been renovated, the updated Flash home to the upcoming Voodoo-themed pirate game has both German and English sections. Included is a new gameplay movie in the trailers section, and the clip is mirrored on 3D Gamers, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, Strategy Informer, and Worthplaying.

The Late Show

  • Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter
    A new Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter movie offers a look at the now gold installment in the tactical shooter series. The movie is available on the Ghost Recon Website, and the clip is mirrored on 3D Gamers, FileFront, Gameguru Mania, and Worthplaying. Some of those mirrors carry a high definition 1280x720 version that is not on the official website.
  • GODS: Lands of Infinity
    Frogster Interactive now offers a new high-resolution GODS: Lands of Infinity movie, offering a look at Cypron Studios' imminent fantasy-themed RPG. Thanks Frans.
  • The Secrets of Da Vinci
    A new The Secrets of Da Vinci: The Forbidden Manuscript movie offers a look at the upcoming game that coincidentally (okay, who's kidding whom here?) echoes the theme of a pop culture phenomenon of the moment. The "making of" clip can be found on 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, FileFront, and Worthplaying.

Evening Q&As

  • Tabula Rasa
    Ten Ton Hammer's Tabula Rasa Q&A chats up Starr Long, producer on NCsoft's upcoming MMORPG: "Things are coming along very nicely. Most of our work of late has been on content. We are almost complete with our first planet, the forest world of Foreas and have started on the second planet, the harsh volcanic world of Arieki. We have also been progressing through the character class tree and are finishing up the second tier as we speak. We have tons of new creatures, weapons, wearables, etc. that we will be showing off starting at E3 this year."
  • Take Command: 2nd Manassas
    Computer Games Online's Take Command: 2nd Manassas Q&A discusses the just-released Civil War game with Mad Minute Games: "The story elements are magnificently brought to life by our scenario designers in the form of the written dispatches that are sent to the player via actual couriers throughout the scenario setting the context for the fight. And yes…couriers can be killed which delay the message and foul up communications (All very realistic and very exciting in the heat of battle!). We try and position the player during pivotal points in the battle while playing as officers from both sides. The player will sometimes play different leaders and sometimes the same leader in the carry-over scenarios."
  • Legend of Ares
    MMORPG.COM's The Legend of Ares Q&A discusses the just-announced MMORPG with June Lee: "One of the more unique qualities of the Legend of Ares is the warfare system. While there will still be the normal PvP encounters between players of opposing nations, there will also be a territorial warfare system implemented where players can participate to increase their nation’s size, honor, and abilities. Territorial wars will be organized events where players of both nations will have to sign up to participate. The ultimate goal of the T-wars is, as the name implies, to win areas of the map for each nation. Every area, once controlled, will bestow bonuses on the players of the winning side such as boosts to exp gain, money gain, attack power, and defensive ability. In addition to this, players of either side can also gain bonuses by increasing the number of enemies killed from their rival nation (honor points)."
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
    RPG Vault's The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion Team Q&A #2 asks the folks at Bethesda Softworks the following group question: "Speaking as a gamer, what is your favorite type of player character in Oblivion, and why do you find it particularly fun or special as well as a good fit for you?"
  • ABA Games
    Little Mathletics' Jamie Smart Q&A talks with Kenta Cho, the founder of ABA Games, about life as a one-man indie developer.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

etc., etc.

  • The Lulu 3D Website now offers North American digital distribution of this adult-themed adventure game that's already available in Europe…
  • The Escapist - Issue #41 examines emotion in gaming, asking "Can a game make you cry?"…

Into the Black

The plumber installed our new water heater today. Everything seems to have worked out fine, and it seems we have more hot water pressure now, so that may have been an indication of the problems in the old one. My buddy Devicer tried to make me feel bad about not doing this myself, saying "the stupidest guy" on an unrelated mailing list he participates in performed such an installation himself. I said that was all well-and-good, but what did the smartest guy on this list do? We decided he probably called the plumber too.

Plumbed Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Stories: Where's the Sheriff of Nottingham?
Science!: Venus Express Transmits First Images. Thanks j.c.f.
Black holes collide in the best simulation yet.
Media: The Amish Outlaws (thanks Greg). Must be a 19th century microphone.

Command & Conquer 3 Revealed

Planet Command & Conquer (thanks Ant) has word that Command & Conquer 3 is unveiled in the new print PC Gamer magazine in what is obviously the promised (story) tease of a returning RTS franchise. The story includes a link to a scan of the cover of the magazine to verify things, and they say they are expecting an official press release soon.

Frontlines & Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Revealed

Marvel Ultimate Alliance Revealed on FiringSquad (thanks Frans) reflects an announcement from the newest issue of Game Informer magazine of a new Marvel Comics inspired underwear pervert game in the works at F.O.O.M. Raven Software. The action-oriented game will appear this fall on PCs and various consoles. They also pass along the revelation of development of Frontlines: Fuel Of War from the same magazine, this is a military first-person shooter from Kaos Studios, a new developer comprised of former members of Trauma Studios (story), creators of the Desert Combat mod for BF1942. The game will offer battles in a near-future environment, offering single-player and multiplayer support, and gameplay based on a moving front, rather than capturing spawn points. The game is expected for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 in Summer 2007.

PC Orrery Released

The Elder Scrolls Downloads Page has the release of the PC edition of Orrery, the new quest for Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion that's also now available on the Xbox 360 Live Marketplace. The 18 MB download carries a $1.89 purchase price, and word is: "Harness the power of the stars. Rebuild the defiled Orrery and unlock the secrets of this Mages Guild Inner Sanctum."

Gold - Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter

Ubisoft sends word that GRIN's PC edition latest special forces exploits of the Ghosts is complete, and due in stores on May 3:
April 18, 2006 – Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, today announces that Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter™ for the PC has officially Gone Gold! To celebrate this great news we are releasing the second official PC trailer to give a taste of what is in store for PC gamers in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter™. Check below for a quick rundown of what exactly this new trailer is all about. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter™ for the PC will be available in-stores on May 3rd, 2006!

Ships Ahoy - FFXI Expansion

The Final Fantasy XI Website (thanks Frans) has news of the release of the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion for the Square Enix's Final Fantasy MMORPG. The accompanying update explains that new features from the add-on will not be accessible until the service goes live tomorrow night.

Deep Sea Tycoon 2 in NA

eGAMES And Pixel After Pixel Jump Head First Into Deep Sea Tycoon: Diver's Paradise reveals a sequel to the submerged mogul game due in North America this June. Update: Actually it seems this is just the North American title for the game long known as Deep Sea Tycoon 2:
Developed by Pixel After Pixel and Published by eGames, Deep Sea Tycoon: Diver’s Paradise promises to bring a new and fresh feel to an old fan favorite, the Ultimate Underwater Resort. Your adventure begins deep beneath the ocean waves, where sea life swirls around as you create the underwater paradise of your dreams. New camera angles and incredible graphics bring you up close and personal as you swim with seahorses, ride the turtles, feed the dolphins and save the whales. Take on amazing underwater adventures as you work your way through 30 challenging missions, exploring beautiful coral reefs and exotic locales along the way. Dive deeper into the multiple modes of play that will provide you with even more hours of entertainment. Your imagination is the only limitation as you choose from several lush environments to set up your own undersea getaway!

Ships Ahoy - Take Command: 2nd Manassas

Paradox Interactive announces the retail deployment of Take Command: 2nd Manassas, the Civil War sequel from Mad Minute Games:
New York, USA (April 18, 2006) – International publisher Paradox Interactive announced today that their newest PC strategy title, Take Command: 2nd Manassas, has shipped and will soon be hitting store shelves.

Take Command: 2 nd Manassas explores the titular 1862 battle of the American Civil War, a pivotal engagement of the Northern Virginia Campaign. Players are invited to take on the most crucial battles of America's Civil War and use all their tactical know-how to shape the future of the United States. Play as the Unionists or the Confederates and lead as the historically significant leaders through the authentic environments and battles of the Manassas campaign and TAKE COMMAND!

The title is rated T by ESRB, 3+ by PEGI and 12 years by USK. The suggested retail price is USD/EUR 39.99. The title is shipping in North America and Scandinavia today, on April 21 in Germany and May 5 in the UK.

“Take Command: 2nd Manassas is a great addition to our strategy stable and we are very excited about being able to launch this title simultaneously on download and in retail, a concept that has proven very successful with previous titles,” said Fredrik W. Lindgren, Director of Publishing at Paradox Interactive.

“Take Command: 2 nd Manassas plays out during a crucial time of the Civil War and while fans of this genre and era will instantly be able to relate to this title, strategy fans and history fans in general will find plenty to rejoice about,” said Norb Timpko, CEO of MadMinute Games. “We have focused on creating a game with depth, immense replayability, and a strong sense of realism. Players will be able to experience first-hand what it must have been like to take control on the battlefield.”

Take Command: 2nd Manassas will present the player with as many as 48 scenarios, 5 gigantic battlefield maps based on historical records from the Library of Congress and 3 modes of play. The linked scenario tree will allow results of one battle carry over into the next and players will control thousands of troops and direct them over 3D terrain. The ballistics for all weapons are accurate and players can play as any leader in Custom/Open Play Battles.

To play the recently released demo, please go to www.madminutegames.com.

Eragon Announced

Vivendi Universal Games Embarks On Its Most Epic Videogame Adventure Yet With Twentieth Century Fox's Highly Anticipated December 2006 Feature Film - Eragon is the not-so-concise title of a press release revealing Eragon, an upcoming tie-in with a feature film due this December:
LOS ANGELES, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) announced today they are bringing the fantasy-adventure Eragon to the Sony PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, Xbox 360® video game system from Microsoft, Game Boy® Advance, Nintendo DS(TM), the Sony PSP(TM) portable entertainment system, and the PC in November 2006. Developed by Stormfront Studios for consoles and PC, and Amaze Entertainment for handhelds, Eragon is based on the upcoming Twentieth Century Fox feature film inspired by Christopher Paolini's best-selling fantasy novel, featuring Edward Speleers, Djimon Hounsou and Robert Carlyle.

"Christopher Paolini's amazing fantasy worlds, characters and adventures portrayed in Eragon offer fans of the genre an opportunity to step into Eragon's world and live out the dragon rider legacy," said Bruce Hack, CEO of VU Games. "Eragon is sure to be one of the most anticipated movies of 2006 and we are excited to bring this rich story to gamers worldwide."

Battle for Middle-earth II Patch Plans

As noted on the Battle for Middle-earth II Website (thanks Frans), the EA Forums have a preliminary update on the upcoming version 1.03 patch for the Lord of the Rings RTS sequel, along with news that they are also preparing a subsequent version 1.04 patch that will provide further balance changes. The version 1.03 patch will also incorporate balance changes, more details on that are promised for Friday, and it will also offer new maps and more:
This is just a general update that patch 1.03 for The Battle for Middle-earth 2 is in its final testing stages and should be ready for launch very soon. The patch will include numerous technical fixes, increased de-sync fixes, extensive balance changes, and the additon of 5 brand new multiplayer maps - all new locations to BFME 2, and one of which is the return of a popular BFME 1 multiplayer map - Fords of Isen..2

Dear Diary

The Crash Bang Opera part two of two on the Bugbear Entertainment Website (thanks Frans) concludes a two-part journal on the construction of the audio effects in FlatOut 2, describing the fun they had wrecking actual cars to provide the sound effects for crashing virtual cars within the upcoming racing sequel.

Morning Q&As

  • Gods and Heroes
    MMORPG.COM's Gods and Heroes Q&A talks with Stieg Hedlund and Chris McKibbin of Perpetual about their upcoming MMORPG: "We are very excited about working with SOE Platform Publishing. As to how the relationship works, Perpetual is funding, producing, developing and operating G&H. This means that we handle everything internally, from running the live team, hosting the game servers, account services/billing, to technical support, and working with the community. SOE Platform Publishing handles retail marketing, PR, manufacturing, and our North American distribution. They bring an incredibly experienced marketing, PR, manufacturing, and distribution team to the table that helps to put more copies of the game on the shelves in more locations around North America."
  • 2006 FIFA World Cup
    2006 FIFA World Cup Q&A on Strategy Informer is an in-house conversation with EA's Steve Schnur asking questions about the soundtrack in the soccer game like the following Passover-inspired query: "How is the 2006 FIFA World Cup soundtrack different from other game soundtracks?"
  • Guild Wars: Factions
    A new VGM Daily Podcast interviews Jeff Strain of ArenaNet about Guild Wars: Factions, the upcoming continuation of their MMORPG.

Morning Previews

  • IL-2 Forgotten Battles Pe-2 and Pe-3 on SimHQ.
  • Stacked with Daniel Negreanu on Worthplaying.

Morning Screenshots

Gatherings & Competitions

Crashday & Quake 4 SDKs

Thanks Frans.

  • The Quake 4 SDK Documentation Page offers a new SDK for Quake 4, corresponding to the upcoming version 1.2 patch. The SDK is available for Win32 and Linux.
  • The SDK for Crashday (direct link), is now available, offering the chance to add custom vehicles and tracks to MoonByte's combat/stunt racing game. No support for this will be provided.

Tuesday Game Reviews

Tuesday Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Okay, it's a long season, and anything can still happen, but the Mets' hot start is so torrid that I feel I have to follow-up on my opening day jokes about their prospects. After 12 games, the amazin's are now in first place by five games. This is the first time in Major League history this had happened, and we're talking a history that runs back 130 years! Again, a 162 game schedule is specifically to allow everything to eventually find its level, and they've only played the dreaded Braves once, but that is still pretty darned impressive.

Red Hot Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Stories: Next 'Big One' in San Francisco could kill 5,000. On the 100th anniversary of the last big one.
Posthumous book by 'Iceman' claims credit for Hoffa slaying.
Science!: Who Killed the Lindbergh Baby?
Nemo Beware Fish Tank Can Be a Haven for Salmonella (registration required). Really? From swimming in their toilet?
Images: Photo pool - laptop stickers.
Media: Real Liger. Bred for its skills in magic.
Raging Ryan. Wow! Language (and rage) warning.
How to Stir a Hot Beverage Correctly.
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