Archived News:

Thursday, Aug 31, 2006

Just Cause Dated

Eidos announces September 27, 2006 as the North American release date for Just Cause, the upcoming third-person action game:
San Francisco, Calif. - August 31, 2006 – Eidos Interactive Ltd., one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, part of SCi Entertainment Group Plc (SEG), today announced that the highly anticipated video game, Just Cause will be available in North American stores on September 27, 2006. The game willl be available on the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft,, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, and Windows in North America.

Set in an incredibly detailed, tropical island nation spanning over 250,000 acres of diverse landscapes, Just Cause is a massive, free-roaming action game set in a rogue South American state suspected of stockpiling Weapons of Mass Destruction. Amidst bustling cityscapes, sandy beaches and sweeping mountain ranges, you play Rico Rodriguez, a Latin field operative and specialist in regime change who is tasked with overthrowing the corrupt government by a top secret US agency.

Featuring intense air, land and sea stunts, Just Cause brings you never before seen extremes allowing you to do crazy stunts like pulling a parachute while traveling at top speed on your motorcycle, jumping from planes to helicopters to boats, or driving off a cliff just to set yourself up for a stylish freefall.

Action-packed with over 300 missions to include story missions, side-missions and bonus missions, Just Cause players will enjoy endless hours of gameplay. With 89 air, sea and land vehicles at your disposal, you have the freedom to free roam and explore the massive world of San Esperito or tackle your assignments however you want: playing the island’s factions against one another, inciting a rebellion among the masses and building alliances with rebel forces and drug cartels.

“With one of the largest worlds ever seen in a video game, we are delighted to bring this title to store shelves on September 27”, said Bob Lindsey, VP of sales and marketing, Eidos. “Just Cause is packed full of extreme stunts, powerful weapons and a huge array of vehicles and next-generation graphics - gamers will be amazed by the unparalelled experience Just Cause delivers”.

Just Cause will be available in North American store shelves on September 27, 2006.

El Matador Imminent

The El Matador Product Section (thanks Frans) reflects a more specific release date for Plastic Reality Technologies' upcoming third-person action game. Where the site formerly listed Q3 2006 as a release date, it now lists September 2006.

Alien Arena 2007 Released

Planet Arena now offers the release of Alien Arena 2007, the latest installment in COR Entertainment's freeware shooter series. Word is: "Well besides the upgrading of many textures, models, and effects, the engine has gotten a host of new features such as real time shadows, better dynamic lighting, shaders, new mutators, games modes, far too much to list here. CRX 6.0 is not only faster, smoother than before, it's also much more stable and secure. Most of all...it's the maps! With 37 in total, it's hard to believe that so many of the old maps have been discontinued."

The Late Show

An HD version of the recent TeamFortress 2 trailer is now available, offering a snazzier look at the multiplayer side of Valve's upcoming Half-Life 2 episode. The trailer is available on 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, Filecloud, FileFront, Gameguru Mania, and Techgage. Also, the Sparta: Ancient Wars GC movie shows off the Egyptian zone in World Forge's upcoming RTS game, as well as naval combat. The download is available on 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and Worthplaying. Finally, likewise from the Games Convention is the Alpine Ski Racing 2007 movie, available on 3D Downloads and 3D Gamers.

Evening Q&As

  • Age of Decadence
    The Age of Decadence Q&A GameBanshee talks with Vince D. Weller about their upcoming RPG: "We are using Torque Game Engine that we had licensed from Garage Games, a huge indie hub founded by the ex-Dynamix people. Torque is an aging, but decent and well-supported 3D engine with a large and active community, so it’s a good choice for any indie developer. If I have to name a specific feature, that would be TorqueScript. For a game like AoD, a powerful scripting language is a must. As for the requirements, the game should run well on P3 500 with 128 megs of RAM. A working monitor will greatly enhance your experience."
  • HeroEngine
    RPG Vault's HeroEngine Q&A talks with Neil (Doogie) Harris of Simutronics about their MMORPG engine: "As we started showing our own game, Hero's Journey, we got incredible reactions from other developers - they were begging us to make HeroEngine available as a product. We expected to move down this road later in the cycle, after Hero's Journey shipped, but the happy news was that demand was so strong that we had to move sooner. We spent six months 'productizing' the code for external use - cleaning it up, documenting it, and creating training materials."

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Today was the first day all week that my net connection was not repeatedly interrupted by outages or subsequent attempts to address those outages. Just a couple more days like this and I'll be able to get rid of this nervous tic.

Nervous Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Links: 20 Things You Didn't Know About... Death. Thanks Boing Boing.
Youth Against Sudoku.
StreetWars. Coming to the Big Apple.
Stories: 'Apprentice' Figure Carolyn Kepcher Axed.
Hedgehogs humble McDonald's.
Science!: Live Long Die Young Answer Isn’t Just in Genes (registration required).
Media: Soldier vs. Ram.
Follow-up: Munch's stolen "The Scream" recovered by police.

TimeShift in 2007

TimeShift shifts into the future on Gaming Age (thanks Frans) has word from Vivendi that TimeShift, Saber Interactive's (appropriately titled, as it turns out) 4D shooter, is now set for a 2007 release. The accompanying story characterizes this as a delay, though when the game's last delay (from Spring of this year) was announced in May (story), no new release date was offered. Here's word on the game's new release window, which potentially puts the game's in stores more than a year after the demo came out (story):
Vivendi Games acquired TimeShift with the view that it would become a stand out FPS franchise. Our commitment to that vision remains, and so the decision has been taken to move the title into 2007 to give it the time and resources needed to fulfill its potential.

Dark Messiah Steam & LE Plans

Valve sends word they have partnered with Ubisoft to distribute Dark Messiah of Might and Magic digitally via Steam when the Source-engine RPG is released in October, estimating the price point at about $50. On a related note, Ubisoft announces plans for a Limited Edition of the game:
SAN FRANCISCO - August 30th, 2006 - Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, proudly announces that a limited edition of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic will be released in North America at the game's launch in October 2006.

The North American limited edition will feature:
- Dark Messiah of Might and Magic on DVD
- Unique in-game content extras
    o One multiplayer skin
    o Four single-player weapons
- Exclusive "Making Of" video and trailers
- Game soundtrack on Audio CD
- 12 collectible character cards

The Dark Messiah of Might and Magic Limited Edition will be available at Amazon, Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Eurpac, Fred Meyer, Frys, GameStop, Hastings, Microcenter, Transworld, Visco, and Ubi.com for a suggested retail price of $59.99.

The single-player mode of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is developed by Arkane Studios, and the multiplayer mode is developed by Kuju Entertainment, and the full game is scheduled for release on PC worldwide in October 2006.

For more information on Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, please visit the game's official website at www.darkmessiahmightandmagic.com.

Left Behind Beta Demo

Left Behind Games now offers the promised (prophesized?) playable demo for Left Behind: Eternal Forces, the controversial Christian-themed RTS game where you: "Join the ultimate fight of Good against Evil, commanding Tribulation Forces or the Global Community Peacekeepers, and uncover the truth about the worldwide disappearances!" Though it's not mentioned on the site, AOL Games, where the download is hosted, refers to this as a beta demo. Word is the demo offers four single-player missions and a tutorial.

More In-Game Ads

EA Signs Agreement to Offer Dynamic In-Game Advertising on Xbox 360 and PC and EA Signs Agreement to Bring In-Game Dynamic Advertising to Select Titles describes more plans to insert advertisements into video games, as EA has signed deals with IGA and Massive for in-game ads. Interestingly, one of the titles to get this treatment will be Battlefield 2142, which is not only set on the battlefield but well over 100 years in the future, bringing into question how these ads will live up to the "realistic" part of this description:
The initial EA title to incorporate dynamic in-game advertising via IGA is Battlefield 2142(TM), developed by DICE in Stockholm, Sweden. Fans of the franchise will see new, realistic brand presence integrated into contextually relevant game environments across the platforms and across the geographies where they play. At least two additional EA titles will offer dynamic ad serving capabilities through the course of the agreement with IGA.

Fall of Liberty Announced

Codemasters joins forces with Spark Unlimited for ‘Fall of Liberty’ announces Fall of Liberty, which is the working title for an alternate-history World War II first-person shooter in the works at Spark Unlimited (Call of Duty: Finest Hour) slated for release in fourth quarter of 2007. The Fall of Liberty Product Section is live, and here's word:
Codemasters today announces a publishing agreement with Spark Unlimited, the U.S. studio responsible for Call of Duty: Finest Hour, for ‘Fall of Liberty’ (working title) an intense and cinematic next-gen first-person shooter epic set in an unnerving World War II alternate reality.

Codemasters will publish Fall of Liberty as a major Q4 2007 title for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC.

Fall of Liberty will take players to new battlegrounds in World War II - ones born from a changed moment in history that led to the Nazi invasion of 1950s America. Presenting this scenario as a powerful and realistically crafted alternate history, Fall of Liberty will deliver an explosive action experience in a world where famous real-world locations appear startlingly different under Nazi occupation.

“Spark is very excited to be working with Codemasters to bring to life an event gaming experience that will dramatise what might have happened if history had taken a different course,” says Craig Allen, CEO of Spark Unlimited.

“We share a desire to immerse players in an incredible and intensely realistic vision of an alternative world history that will uniquely define Fall of Liberty in the FPS genre. Codemasters is providing Spark the opportunity to present something radically different than typical WWII scenarios as the player is not cast as a liberator of Europe but as a defender of freedom in enemy-occupied America.”

Fall of Liberty changes reality by twisting one historical fact: In 1931, Winston Churchill was hit by a taxi on 5th Avenue in New York. In reality, he survived the accident but walked with a cane for the rest of his life. But what might have followed if Winston Churchill had been killed in the accident? Without his voice to lead a country to war, the events of WWII change dramatically; the Normandy invasion never happens and the UK and all of Europe come under Nazi rule by 1945.

Building on the successful conquest of Europe, Nazi intelligence develops superior weapons and vehicles so that on December 7, 1951 they are able to launch an all out surprise attack on America - beginning with a mass invasion of New York.

Arvoch Conflict Revealed

The Arvoch Conflict Website is online, revealing this squad-based 3D space combat simulator in the works at StarWraith 3D Games (thanks Frans). The site includes screenshots along with a gameplay movie from the project, which doesn't carry a release date (though it sounds like this may be distributed digitally). Word is:
Over 100 years have passed since the last encounter with the Vonari. The Alliance has used the time to research and reverse engineer advanced alien technology in an effort to better confront the Vonari threat. The result is a new breed of powerful spacecraft and weapons. But a mysterious development by the Vonari is about to shake humanity's confidence at its core...

Arvoch Conflict brings elements of real-time strategy, adventure, and exploration to the traditional theme of first person perspective 3D space combat simulation. Offering a wide range of ways to play and modify the game, it provides a unique feature packed template for space-sim fans to engage in.

3DR/DNF Rumors Follow-up

A comment by George Broussard on the Shacknews Forums (thanks Frans and FiringSquad) follows up on yesterday's rumors of departures from 3D Realms that may impact the development of Duke Nukem Forever (story). George offers a snide remark about the site's investigative journalism, and the portion excepted below, which addresses how close the game is to completion, while not actually denying the reported defections have occurred:
Physics and animation systems are virtually finished and shippable. It's simply maintenance and polish from here on out. We haven't needed to make substantial changes to those systems in months. The changes we have made, were made without great effort. Things are never as bleak as they appear, as is often the case when you simply have one side of the story.

C&C3 Demo Plans

Command and Conquer DEN (thanks Ant) noticed a quote from yesterday's Mike Verdu Q&A (story) about Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, outlining plans for a single-player demo for the coming RTS sequel:
A single-player demo will be published for sure. Depending on whether there is time or not, a multiplayer demo will be released as well. In Any case at least 1 demo will be released.

No WoW: Burning Crusade Open Beta

WorldofWar.Net (thanks Ant) has word that there will be no open beta test for World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade like there was for the original WoW, though they admit this may change going forward:
While we do plan to host a closed beta at some point in the near future, at this time we do not have plans for an open beta, like what was experienced just before we launched classic World of Warcraft. It's always possible that our decision on this matter may change, so your best bet is to periodically check the website for updates, but I'd implore you not to get your hopes up, as it is very doubtful that these plans will change.

Battle for Atlantis Renamed

3D Gamers has some screenshots and the GC movie from Day of Atlantis, revealing this new less-descriptive title for World Forge's upcoming RTS game formerly known as Battle for Atlantis. The movie offers a few minutes of footage from the game.

The Early Show

A Blitzkrieg 2: Fall of the Reich Russian movie (direct link) offers a high resolution look at Nival Interactive's upcoming standalone WW2 RTS expansion (thanks Frans). Also, the Pacific Storm: Allies GC intro movie is online, along with a batch of five gameplay movies from Lesta Studio's upcoming strategy expansion, available on 3D Gamers. Finally, the Firaxis Games Video Tour (Part 3 of 3) on the Apolyton Civilization Forums concludes this video virtual tool of the Firaxis offices. "Included within is an exclusive look at a promotion piece for Ultimate CivII, the third CivII expansion pack that in the end was renamed Multiplayer Gold Edition."

Morning Q&As

  • Crysis
    The Crysis Q&A on Game Informer Online talks with Crytek CEO and President Cevat Yerli about their upcoming first-person shooter: "Moreover, the goal is quality. It means that we are not going to ship a multiplayer element that does not achieve the same quality bar as we are looking for in the single player. So we are shooting for, in the single player part -- well, it might sound a bit arrogant to say this – but we are shooting for the best shooter of all time. So whatever it takes, we’ll try to achieve that. From the gameplay to the content, effects, innovations, technology – every aspect of Crysis is supposed to be leading. We cannot and will not look at Crysis as a game that potentially has a weakness. That is the way we are looking at it. We are looking at every part within itself – the storyline, dialog, acting, everything."
  • Engine Programming
    The Game Engine Tech Q&A on FiringSquad talks with Marko Kylmamaa of DICE Canada about game engine technology: "One of the problems with harnessing the full power of 64-bit CPU’s is the lack of adoption of 64-bit operating systems. Due to this it’s difficult for the game developers to make full use of the 64-bit execution potential without providing a separate set of executables compiled for the different operating systems. The current Battlefield 2 technology has been thoroughly tested on the 64-bit architecture for guaranteeing a solid performance, and optimizations have been made where possible with such architectures in mind."

Morning Preview

Morning Screenshots

Thursday Game Reviews

Thursday Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Today I must wish a happy birthday to one of my very favorite people in the world, Hudson the wonder dog! Yes I am aware that I tend to use the term people loosely, as it lumps Hudson in with folks who do not share her humanity, but what the heck. We learned on her first birthday the dangers of overindulgence to celebrate such an occasion, so the plan is to show her how much we love her and appreciate her. In other words, we're not really doing anything different today than most any other day.

R.I.P.: Actor Glenn Ford dies at age 90.

Birthday Links! Thanks Mike Martinez and Ant.
Links: GGL's First Annual Top Gaming Colleges Survey. Thanks Digg.
Nightmare dental instrument from 1939.
Stories: Pilot locked out of cockpit during flight. Thanks brother19.
Science!: Rich nations' greenhouse gases up, despite Kyoto.
Astronomers watch supernova go bang.
Media: Simpsons and Star Trek themes, together as one...Finally!
Follow-up: Probe readies for lunar death plunge. A sci-fi snuff film.
Teh Funny: ActionTrip Comic Strip - Riding the Open Beta Train.
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