Archived News:

Thursday, Jul 13, 2006

War Rock Beta Tomorrow

The Official War Rock Website is accepting registrations for the open beta of this upcoming free-to-play MMOFPS game, saying the testing will get underway tomorrow. Word is:
Though still in Beta test, gamers can play all three game modes (Mission, Infantry and Vehicle), pick from five distinct combat specialties and tote an armory-full of guns into the frontlines while driving the combat vehicle of their choice. Depending on the game-mode selected, players can duel up close and personal in war-torn streets or take their battles to land, sea and sky. Combatant vehicles range from motorcycles and Humvees, to gunboats and Blackhawk attack-choppers.

The Late Show

Thanks Frans.

  • Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
    The German Might and Magic Website now offers downloads of a new video showing off the combat, stealth, and magic in the previous three videos from Arkane's upcoming first-person M&M game. (Update: Not actually a Fire clip, so I'll save the Artie Lange AC/DC scream for later).
  • Company of Heroes
    THQ Germany now offers a new Allied Armor trailer from Relic Entertainment's upcoming World War II RTS game.
  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade
    Also on THQ Germany is a new Necron Wraiths trailer from Relic's upcoming Warhammer RTS expansion.

Evening Q&As

  • Demis Hassabis
    The Demis Hassabis Q&A part 1 on Computer and Video Games kicks off a two-part discussion with the ex-Bullfrog, Lionhead, and Elixir developer about his break from the gaming scene and his plan to start a new company to return with a new secret project, though part one is mostly about history: "Yeah, I mean ever since I can remember I've always loved games and particularly computer games and programming. I've always played games from a very young age - I was four years old when I started playing chess, and played for England and stuff. So videogames seemed like the perfect marriage of games and programming. I never really thought about any other career, even though I could have done all sorts of things."
  • The Ship
    The Ship &A on Computer and Video Games chats up Chris Peck of Outerlight about their just-released mystery game, learning along the way they are contemplating The Ship 2 and a 360 edition of The Ship: "I think inevitably, with a game like the Ship, the best fun is to be had online, killing other people. I think this is true of lots of games, beating an AI is never as much fun as beating friends, or indeed strangers. A human is always a more worthy opponent. However, the single player does have its place. The Arcade Mode is a great place to practice, and the Story Mode offers things that the online gameplay doesn't, and allows us to tell a story and develop the characters, as well as to use some of the technology, with lip-synching and facial expressions."
  • Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising
    The Gods & Heroes Q&A on talks with Stieg Hedlund about Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, Perpetual Entertainment's upcoming MMORPG: "GnH takes place in a fantastic ancient world inspired both by the history of Rome and the surrounding areas of Europe, as well as by the myths of those places. The timeframe is roughly 300 BCE, an interesting time, when Rome is a small city-state struggling for survival against rival tribes such as the Etruscans, Greeks, Gauls and Samnites. The gods and all the creatures of myth are alive and present in the world as well, some friendly to the player character and some presenting grave challenges to overcome as they are sworn to destroy him."
  • Prey
    Prey - Human Head CEO offers his closing comments on the sci-fi shooter on Games Radar collects some very brief thoughts from Chris Reinhart about Prey: "It's a breath of fun, fresh air in an industry currently enthralled by pretty, but ultimately vapid games."

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

HoMM5 D2D Patch

The Might and Magic Website now offers the new version 1.1 patch for the D2D edition of Heroes of Might and Magic V. The new version offers the same changes and additions as the standard patch that came out over a month ago (story).

RTS Toolkit

The Battle for Middle-earth II Website now offers "the one RTS Mod SDK to rule them all," with the release of the tools for the Tolkien RTS sequel. In addition to the tools to create and import custom content into BfME2, the SDK will also work with the original Battle for Middle-earth, Command and Conquer: Generals, and Command & Conquer Generals: Zero Hour. Thanks Frans.

Evening Consolidation

Thanks Mike Martinez.

Evening Safety Dance

Thanks Mike Martinez.

etc., etc.

Into the Black

I was in ye olde tech shoppe today when the UPS display caught my eye, reminding me that I had one of mine die recently, and most of my system was just plugged into a power strip. When I was checking out, the guy at the register joked about how all the thunderstorms lately must have gotten me worried, which it hadn't, I feel that much more negligent for failing to replace the UPS considering just how many electrical storms we've had since the old one went south.

Uninterrupted Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Play: Stickman Madness.
Link: USB missile launcher. Thanks Sharon.
Cats That Look Like Hitler. Thanks Producer.
Story: Dog Blamed for Hitting Woman With Truck. Except you need to step on the brake to put a truck in gear.
Gandolfini injured; 'Sopranos' delayed.
Media: The Yuyu.
Festival International du Cinéma d'Animation.
Snake Bites His Stomach.

Portal Revealed - TF2 Lives(!)

360, PS3 Half-Life 2 top EA's summer showcase--LIVE NOW on GameSpot (Update: GameSpot now has a more fleshed out article about this) has a running journal from an attendee of a press event being conducted today by Electronic Arts (thanks Frans). The presentation by Valve had word on console Half-Life 2 plans, a new project with the working title Portal (Update: It sounds like this is a new Half-Life 2 weapon), and word that TeamFortress 2 is still in the works as the multiplayer mode for Half-Life 2: Episode Two, long after being written off as vaporware (story, story, story, story, story, and story). Here's word:
Newell's gone on to discuss the episodic-gaming business model. Short version: Valve likes it. It will even let them explore new types of gameplay in a new upcoming game called Portal (which seems to be a working title). It looks like they took the portal concept from Prey and slapped it on a gun--you can shoot them into walls and floors to solve all kinds of crazy puzzles, teleporting objects around and stuff. Looks like a total mindbender.

TEAM FORTRESS 2. WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? Hey, they're still making it! It's got a totally exaggerated, crazy art style now. Looks a little like Spy vs. Spy or No One Lives Forever, kind of a '60s spy feel. It's going to be the included multiplayer mode in Episode 2! Class-based, etc. You know the drill. Great news for shooter fans. We all thought this game was dead years ago.

And hey, Half-Life 2: Ep 2 wlil ship for Xbox 360 and PS3 simultaneously with the PC. The console games will basically include all of the HL2 back content, so you'll get everything on there that you can get on the PC. Who expected all this Valve news?

Atari Sells Driver

Atari to Raise $24 Million Through Asset Divestiture (thanks Frans) has word that Atari has sold the Driver franchise, along with most of the assets of Driver developer Reflections, to Ubisoft for a reported $24 million. Word is: "Atari will maintain sell-off rights for a three month period for all Driver products except Driver: Parallel Lines, which the company retains until end of calendar 2006. Specific financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed and the agreement between the two companies is subject to normal closing conditions. The Company anticipates closing of the transaction to be completed prior to the end of its fiscal second quarter ending September 30, 2006."

The Lord of the Rings: The White Council Announced

This press release announces The Lord of the Rings: The White Council, an RPG that's planned for release on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 late next year that's based on the LotR movie series. The game is being overseen by EA's Steve Gray, and is presumably the project that's previously been teased under the working title Project Gray Company (story). Here's the announcement:
CHERTSEY, UK July 13, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today the development of The Lord of the Rings™, The White Council™, an all-new role playing game (RPG) for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and PC. The game, inspired by the New Line Cinema feature film trilogy that grossed more than $3 billion, will feature an original storyline derived from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings novels under an agreement with EA. The game is scheduled to ship in late 2007.

“Our extremely talented and dedicated team is committed to creating an incredible new experience for fans of The Lord of the Rings and role playing gamers,” said Steve Gray, executive producer, The Lord of the Rings, The White Council. “With its next generation gameplay and epic new storyline, we think The Lord of the Rings, The White Council will be a huge success.” Players have the freedom to explore the open world of Tolkien’s Middle-earth™ in The Lord of the Rings, The White Council.

Players can choose their role as a man, an elf, a dwarf, or a hobbit. Each role’s destiny is to become a hero allied with the White Council, whose members include the famed characters Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel, and Elrond.

A combination of stunning graphics and expansive environments, along with the freedom of movement demonstrates the innovation and quality of the next-generation RPG, where players can create their own adventures. The Lord of the Rings, The White Council has not yet been rated by PEGI. For more information about the game, please visit:

The Early Show

There's a new Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow movie on the official website for the tie-in with the movie sequel tie-in, offering the E3 trailer for the game in low and high resolution. The downloads are mirrored on 3D Gamers.

Morning Q&As

  • Star Trek Legacy
    The Star Trek: Legacy Preview on Computer and Video Games offers an article-format Q&A with Mad Doc's Dr Ian Lane Davis about their upcoming Trekkie Game: "Star Trek has very grown-up themes of humanity, politics and personal drama, and the story is best told by characters who have a firm identity. If the character is young and constantly changing, it's harder to portray the changes and conflicts in the drama."
  • CivCity: Rome
    The CivCity: Rome Q&A on FiringSquad converses with Firefly's Simon Bradbury about CivCity: Rome, their upcoming ancient urban planning game: "Firefly is the developer but the daily production overview is being handled by Firaxis, we are developing it but they are constantly critiquing it. Its actually a great way for two developers to work together, no falling out so far! We have also had many design meetings with Firaxis, with Sid and other designers and producers as we try and ensure that what is already quite a natural fit (the game) feels a part of the Civ family."
  • Midway
    Marketing Midway: Steve Allison on Redefining An Image on Gamasutra (thanks Mike Martinez) is an article-format conversation with Midway's Chief Marketing Officer: "If you ask someone about Midway, they’ll say Mortal Kombat, Spy Hunter, Rampage. They still don’t say, Stranglehold, Unreal Tournament, Psi-Ops. We have a long way to go."

Morning Previews

  • Hard Truck: Apocalypse: Rise of Clans on GamingExcellence.
  • Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on 1Up and IGN.
  • Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption on 1Up.

Morning Screenshots

Gatherings & Competitions

QuakeCon 2006 Website now offers details on the tournaments at this year's QuakeCon extravaganza, where a combined total of $100,000 in prizes will be distributed to the winners of four tournaments. Thanks FiringSquad and Frans.

Thursday Game Reviews

Thursday Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Wow, damage from that Tornado I mentioned last night was more significant than I was aware at first, thank goodness there were no injuries reported. According to this story one of the businesses that was damaged is one of the local Chinese restaurants where I've been food poisoned, which is right across the road from the multiplex that I've decided to avoid in the future, but I promise these are coincidences, and I do not actually have any control over the weather.

Blown Away Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Play: Game Designer Trivia. Thanks Joystiq.
Story: Gas giveaway leaves a few drivers fuming. Crashes highlight this safe driving celebration.
Science!: It’s Corn vs. Soybeans in a Biofuels Debate (registration required).
Silk 'could help repair nerves'.
Media: Lewis Black demands CNN banner disappear. Thanks Digg.
Dick van Dyke Show Blooper Reel.
Follow-up: Airwaves Again Safe for South Park Scientology Spoof.
Teh Funny: FoxTrot.
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