Archived News:

Thursday, Oct 11, 2007

On BioWare/Pandemic's Future

Gamasutra has coverage of a conference call about today's news that Electronic Arts is acquiring BioWare/Pandemic (story), though the focus is mostly on business. Interesting points are how care had to be taken to avoid conflict of interest for EA CEO John Riccitello, who stands to gain financially from his residual interest in BioWare/Pandemic parent VG Holdings, and how EA will now own the Mass Effect IP, and might (will?) publish follow-ups to the coming release that will be published by Microsoft. There is also a Q&A on the topic on Gamasutra with Josh Resnick, Andrew Goldman, and Greg Borrud of Pandemic Studios who discuss the implications of the move, and express their confidence that they will be able to continue as before under the new ownership.

Kane & Lynch Multiplayer Details

Eidos Unveil Innovative New Multiplayer in Kane & Lynch Dead Men offers details on a "Fragile Alliance" multiplayer mode in IO Interactive's coming shooter that actually does seem innovative. The mode involves up to eight players working to escape the scene of a heist with the most loot, with the twist of cooperative play mixed with a health dose of good old-fashioned back-stabbing:
Fragile Alliance is based on greed, betrayal and revenge, offering online gamers the choice of working as a team or back-stabbing their team mates and working for themselves at any moment. Up to eight players team up against police in a series of gripping heist scenarios, but from here the choice is entirely up to the individual player. The objective is to steal the loot and make it to the getaway point. The winner is the player who escapes with the most loot. How and when you make your move is up to you.

“We wanted to make a multiplayer experience using the theme, dynamics and atmosphere of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men” said Kim Krogh, Lead Game Designer, IO Interactive. “Fragile Alliance is a new way to use co-op in multiplayer. Play it like a soldier and you’ll lose, play it like a criminal and you’ll win”.

Ubisoft Not "Stalking" SCi

Ubisoft not interested by SCi Entertainment has an official statement from Ubisoft denying they are interested in purchasing SCi Entertainment, which would include Eidos, the Tomb Raider property among other things. The statement responds to recent rumors that Ubisoft was involved in the preliminary discussions of an SCi takeover (story).

Evening Q&As

  • StarCraft II
    The StarCraft II Q&A on StarCraft: Legacy talks with Chris Metzen about the upcoming RTS sequel (thanks Worldofwar.net). They ask him a series of 15 questions looking for specific details about the StarCraft canon.
  • Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
    WarCry's Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Q&A #8 asks three questions about the upcoming MMORPG. They just don't make Q&As like they used to.
  • Depths of Peril
    The Depths of Peril Q&A on Generation Gamerz part two and part three are both online, each asking a whopping four questions of Steven Peeler of Soldak Entertainment about the recently released action/RPG. Topics include the makeup of Clan Soldak, their future plans, his favorite platform, and more.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

etc., etc.

ForceWare Beta Drivers

The ForceWare Beta Release version 163 Page now offers version 163.76 beta drivers for NVIDIA accelerators under 32-bit Windows XP, while this page offers the beta drivers for the 64-bit edition of Windows XP (thanks Gamer's Hell). The accompanying notes specify the drivers are recommended for use with the TimeShift demo.

EA to Acquire BioWare/Pandemic

EA To Acquire BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios (thanks Nick) has word that EA has entered into an agreement to acquire BioWare/Pandemic in a deal that will involve up to $620 million in cash and $155 million in equity, as well as a loan of some pocket change totaling $35 million. Here's a bit:
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS - News) today announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp. -- the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. This acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position in key genres in interactive entertainment: action, adventure and role-playing games. The two studios have been recognized for creating some of the highest-quality games in the industry.

BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios have ten franchises under development, including six wholly owned games. BioWare Corp. is currently developing the highly anticipated Mass Effect, which will be published by Microsoft in November, and is in the early development stages of a massively multiplayer online game. Pandemic Studios is redefining open-world games with its upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flames(TM) and Saboteur(TM), in addition to several unannounced projects.

Pandemic Studios and BioWare Corp. employ roughly 800 people across four studios located in Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles; Austin; and Brisbane, Australia.

New ATI Catalyst Drivers

The ATI Drivers & Software Page now offers the promised new version 7.10 Catalyst reference drivers for ATI graphics cards. The new drivers offer adaptive anti-aliasing for the X1000 series, software Crossfire support for the Radeon HD 2600 and Radeon HD 2400 series, and significant reported performance improvements in a number of games.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Demo

Yahoo! Games now offers the promised demo for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward's upcoming military shooter sequel (thanks Steve). A free Yahoo! Games account is required to access the download, which is mirrored on 3D Downloads, 4players.de, ActionTrip, ComputerGames.ro, eXp.de, FanGaming, FileFront, FileShack, Fragland.net, Gameguru Mania, Gamer's Hell, and Internode Games Network.

TimeShift Demos

Playable demos for TimeShift are now available, offering samples of Saber Interactive's 4D shooter that last we heard is due at the end of this month (story). The demos are available on Sierra's FTP Server in three flavors: US, German, and EFIS (UK/Italy/France/Spain), and there is also a corresponding torrent seed for each. Mirrors of the US edition can be found on 3D Downloads, ComputerGames.ro, FanGaming, FileFront, FileShack, Fragland.net, Gamer's Hell, and Internode Games Network. The German edition is also on 3D Downloads, 4players.de, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and GamesFire, while the EFIS edition is mirrored on 3D Downloads, ComputerGames.ro, FanGaming, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

German Handball Manager 2008 Demo

A German-language playable demo for Handball Manager 2008 is now available on the Heimspiel - Handballmanager Website (worth a visit just to check out the picture of Stefan Kretschmar to see what a handball star looks like). The 623 MB download is mirrored on FileFront and Gamer's Hell.

AVENCAST: Rise of the Mage Demo

Publisher Lighthouse Interactive and developer ClockStone Software now offer a playable demo for AVENCAST: Rise of the Mage, their imminent action/RPG. Word is: "The demo will allow players to experience AVENCAST’s unique combat and spell casting system as they battle numerous demonic enemies. A tutorial will also be available to allow players to hone their skills before heading into battle. With more than 1.5 hours of gameplay, over 20 different spells to master, countless items to uncover, vicious enemies to battle, and exotic environments to explore, players will soon discover whether they have what it takes to rise to the challenge and save their world." The download is available on 3D Downloads, ComputerGames.ro, FileFront, FileShack, Gamer's Hell, and Internode Games Network.

AGON: The Lost Sword of Toledo Gold, Demo

Private Moon Studios announces AGON: The Lost Sword of Toledo is gold, and next installment in this adventure series should be available in stores soon (they have apparently abandoned the episodic format after calculating the 14th installment would not be completed in our lifetimes). The news is accompanied by a playable demo, coincidentally nearly four years to the day after the release of the previous AGON demo (story). The new demo is available on FileFront, Gamer's Hell, Internode Games Network, and PixelRage.

Maximum Football 2.0 Patch

Matrix Games now offers a new patch for Maximum Football 2.0, updating this American Football sim to version 2.1.8. Word is: "This latest update file includes added functionality to depth charts to make sorting and filtering information easier, a more intelligent hurry up offense process, and plenty of other improvements." The 47 MB patch is available on this downloads page.

Evochron Renegades Patch

The Evochron Renegades Website offers a new patch to update this space combat simulator to version 1.078. The update incorporates numerous tweaks and fixes, all of which are available in the update for previous versions, which also serves as an updated demo. The corresponding dedicated server has been updated as well.

Beowulf Trailer

A new movie from Beowulf is now available on the Ubisoft FTP server (direct link), called the "authenticity" trailer, which is an odd word to use for a project based on a poem that includes a dragon. The movie discuses realism, the game engine, and gameplay features, and it can also be found on FileFront and Gamer's Hell.

Histwar: Les Grognards Testers Sought

Battlefront announces they are seeking beta testers for Histwar: Les Grognards:
Histwar™: Les Grognards, the truly epic wargame by Jean-Michel Mathé, is nearing completion after nearly 10 years of research and development! Histwar™: Les Grognards brings to life the pageantry, savagery and brilliance of the Napoleonic era like no other wargame before, putting you in charge of a Napoleonic army on the battlefields of the early 19th century (1805-1814). From its innovative three tiered AI system, the overwhelming level of editing and customization, its unflinching depiction of period combat in gloriously detailed 3D brilliance, and it's wealth of historical knowledge and accuracy Histwar™: Les Grognards is going to be in every way the bleeding edge of Napoleonic combat simulation.

The game is entering the final beta stage this month and Battlefront.com is looking for skilled beta testers to help with putting the finishing touches on what is going to be without a doubt the new reference wargame for Napoleonic buffs. Only a handful of people will be selected for this closed beta. Applicants should at least:

        • have participated in one beta test before
        • have knowledge about the Napoleonic military era and wargaming
        • be available for the next 3 months
        • have a good internet connection and be willing and able to download large files regularly

Morning Q&As

Morning Previews

Gatherings & Competitions

New zelTF QW TeamFortress

The zelTF Website offers version 1.3 of this standalone QuakeWorld Team Fortress compilation. This package includes everything needed to get playing packaged into an installer.

Thursday Game Reviews

Thursday Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I was driving MrsBlue to the train this morning when we each asked the other if they had passed wind (the kind of intimate conversation that one gets married to experience). When the answer was no, we thought something had died in our car (the smell was that bad), but then I saw I had stepped in dog poo, which is not the easiest thing to check for while driving. I must have stepped in it between our house and our car, which means it was on our walk, which means I need to go shopping for a "Curb Your Dog" sign, though I may need to make one of my own, as I'm pretty sure the store-bought kind won't offer the level or profanity I am seeking.

Poopy Links! Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Unreal Flash 2007.
Stories: Are Reality TV Producers Liable?
Science!: New scanner may replace metal detectors.
Auction: Hail-o Sparta Second Female Spartan Up For Sale.
Media: Ninjas and The Matrix (Doogtoons).
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