Archived News:

Monday, Feb 25, 2008

SAGA Open Beta

Silverlode Interactive announces their subscription-free MMORTS SAGA is entering open beta testing starting tomorrow:
The World’s First Collectible MMORTS entered Open Beta testing on Tuesday, February 26th, 2008. All players who sign up at www.playsaga.com will receive accounts, allowing them to create nations on the Beta servers. For the duration of the Beta test, all game features will be unlocked and available to testers. At release, a full unlocked copy of SAGA will cost $19.95; however, promotions will be available during the open beta period to purchase the full version of SAGA at a reduced price.

During the stress test conducted on Saturday, February 23rd, the servers performed excellently, with no crashes or other server issues. The SAGA servers are expected to support up to 20,000 players per realm with thousands of simultaneous users. Should a greater-than-expected number of players attempt to login to the world at the same time, a login queue will be implemented and additional realms will be brought online.

Go now to www.playsaga.com to check out SAGA Open Beta!

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix Announced

Publisher D3Publisher of America and developer Infinite Interactive announce Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, a science fiction-themed installment in this series that started with Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. The game, which centers around match-four play, was prototyped with assistance from Australia's Film Victoria - Digital Media Prototyping program, and a release is currently expected this fall for PC, Xbox 360, and the Nintendo DS. A preview was posted on GameSpot last week (story) that offers some screenshots and an interview movie with creator Steve Fawkner.

DX10 Assassin's Creed Faster Than DX9

PCGH has a quick Q&A with Charles Beauchemin of Ubisoft about how the PC edition of Assassin's Creed will run faster under DirectX 10 than DirectX 9, though both versions will look the same. They discuss why this is the case, though this all applies to Windows Vista, and it is not stated whether Assassin's Creed will run faster under DirectX 10 and Vista than it will under DirectX 9 and Windows XP.

Evening Q&As

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Congrats to our old buddy Redwood, who has gone and gotten himself engaged to be married. Well done Sean!

Engaging Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: The Commanders Sister. Thanks Jason.
Links of the Evening: Social Media in the 1990’s.
Mobile Desktop at Improv Everywhere. Thanks Digg.
Stories: Michigan eatery builds a bigger burger. A proud day.
Starship Kimchi: A Bold Taste Goes Where It Has Never Gone Before.
Science!: Getting the public to pay attention to good science.
Insurance Fears Lead Many to Shun DNA Tests.
The God Particle.
Image: The Creepy Side of Gaming. Thanks Seth.
Media: Mementos - The Freshmaker.
Adidas Adicolor - Blue. I think I have a new theme song.
The revenge of Jimmy Kimmel. Thanks nin.
Follow-up: 'Doomsday' seed vault to open in Norway.

Ships Ahoy - Frontlines: Fuel of War

This press release announces that Frontlines: Fuel of War has shipped to stores worldwide for PC and Xbox 360 (thanks Gamer's Hell):
AGOURA HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--THQ Inc. (NASDAQ:THQI - News) today announced Frontlines™: Fuel of War™ has shipped to retail outlets worldwide for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows-based PC. Set against a desperate, near-future energy crisis, the game lets players experience the intense battlefields of tomorrow through a cinematic, single-player campaign and epic, 50-plus-player multiplayer games. Developed by THQ’s Kaos Studios, Frontlines: Fuel of War is available for the suggested retail price of $59.99 on Xbox 360 and $49.99 on Windows PC.

“Frontlines: Fuel of War is the biggest, baddest open-world battlefield on any platform, complete with a gripping, topical story and unparalleled multiplayer excellence,” said Kevin Kraff, director of global brand management, THQ. “The game continues the Kaos team’s strong history of FPS innovation, and we’re thrilled to be releasing it to gamers worldwide.”

“Frontlines brings the experience of next generation warfare to life with cutting-edge combat drones, infantry weapons, land vehicles, helicopters and jets all fighting on some of the most massive battlefields ever realized in a game,” said Frank DeLise, general manager of Kaos Studios. “We’re excited to introduce our unique frontline-based combat system and dedicated multiplayer servers for both Xbox 360 and Windows PC users.”

Commander: Napoleon at War Announced

Slitherine Strategies announces Commander: Napoleon at War, a Napoleonic follow-up to the World War II strategy of Commander: Europe at War. A product section for the game is online with some screenshots, and here's a bit on the game, which does not yet carry a release date:
Commander: Napoleon at War is the second game in the Commander series and is in development by Commander: Europe at War’s original developer Firepower Entertainment and historical games developer The Lordz Games Studio. Both studios are working under the Kameleon Project umbrella.

'Commander: Napoleon at War will not be re-inventing the strategic approach of its predecessor', continues Iain McNeil. 'We want to adapt the gameplay to the different war mechanics and troop movements of the Napoleonic era but keep the same fresh and simple gameplay approach that is easy to learn, but hard to master. Also thanks to the support of an ever growing community of fans, Commander: Europe at War has evolved into a great gaming experience and so we don't want to change too much of it'.

EA/Take-Two Follow-ups

Here's some of the inevitable more on EA's efforts at acquiring Take-Two Interactive (story). EA has launched a new website dedicated to the proposed deal, and MCV reports that Take-Two's pre-market stock valuation jumped around 47% this morning on the news of EA's $2 billion bid. Meanwhile, EA: We waited until GTA IV was complete before making $2bn move and Take-Two willing to negotiate with EA after GTA IV release discuss the timing of the move as it relates to Take-Two's marquee franchise. Sports games alone justify EA's Take-Two offer, says Pachter has some analysis from an analyst, and GameSpot offers more from Pachter, who puts his .300 batting average (story) on the line by predicting the move will happen whether Take-Two likes it or not. Meanwhile, GameSpot and Gamasutra each have Q&As on the offer with EA CEO John Riccitiello.

SCEI's Phil Harrison to Depart

Sony Computer Entertainment announces the resignation of Phil Harrison, who had served as Worldwide Studios president. The resignation takes effect at the end of this month, at which time Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO of SCEI, will assume Harrison's responsibilities. "Resigned" is often code for "fired," but the announcement doesn't include the 'spending more time with his family' code, so this may be a genuine resignation (GamesIndustry.biz is reporting there are indications Harrison may be joining Atari). Either way, the reasons behind the move are not apparent from the press release:
Tokyo, February 25, 2008 – Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) today announced that Phil Harrison, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS), will resign from Sony Computer Entertainment Group as of February 29, 2008. Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO of SCEI, will immediately assume responsibilities as president of SCE WWS, in addition to his current duties.

Prior to the launch of the original PlayStation, Phil Harrison joined Sony Electronics Publishing, Ltd. in 1992, which later evolved into Sony computer Entertainment Europe, and since then, he has made a tremendous contribution to the company playing a strategic role in the launch of four PlayStation platforms, as well as building strong relationships with game developers and publishers throughout the world. Since his appointment to the position of president, SCE WWS, Harrison applied his considerable skill, knowledge and expertise to lead SCE Group’s first party game development as well as aggressively pursuing the development of new online entertainment experiences.

“As one of the founding members of SCE, Phil played a key role in the development and growth of the PlayStation business and our industry,” said Kazuo Hirai. “It is sad to see him departing from SCE, but I wish to express my gratitude for his many invaluable contributions and also wish Phil the very best of luck in his future endeavors.”

“The past 15 years at Sony Computer Entertainment has been the defining journey of my life so far,” said Phil Harrison. “I am grateful to all the PlayStation family for their incredible support, guidance and friendship. It has been a privilege to serve as part of the team and be inspired by them on a daily basis. I am so proud of everything PlayStation has achieved and will continue to support its future in every way I can.”

Battle Rage Complete

The Battle Rage Website announces the completion of development of this third-person shooter from Destan Entertainment (thanks Gamer's Hell). At this point the game has no release schedule, as they are still hunting for a distribution deal: "Battle Rage is in its full version. As soon as we know any release dates we will announce that. Right now we're looking for the partners that could license the game."

New T.W.T.P.B.

The T.W.T.P.B. Website has a new brief prerelease demo for this shoot-'em-up game that was started as a challenge to create a game within eight hours. The game is now in a collaborative design phase with fortnightly releases. Here's word on the new version: "This time there is a whole new first level and a new boss in addition to some massive game play changes."

New Glest

The Glest Downloads Page offers a new version 3.1.1 of Glest (thanks Gamer's Hell), a freeware RTS game, described thusly: "The core game allows the player to take control of two completely different factions: Tech, which is mainly composed of warriors and mechanical devices, and Magic, that prefers mages and summoned creatures in the battlefield."

Silverfall: Earth Awakening AU Website & EU Releases

A new Australian Silverfall: Earth Awakening Website is home to this upcoming add-on for Silverfall, the hack-and-slash RPG. Earth Awakening has also been released in a couple of territories, the German Silverfall Website announces the German availability of the expansion, while its release in France is likewise outlined on the French Silverfall Website. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Fragged - Whew!

FPS players feel better after dying than after killing others, say researchers (thanks Ant and Boing Boing) summarizes the results of a study in the February issue of the journal Emotion showing that the reaction to players who are killed in first-person shooter games tend to experience feelings of relief, rather than anger, and conversely, players experience "anxiety, anger, or both" from earning a kill, rather than feeling joyous. Another interesting tidbit from the study includes that while players "who tested higher for psychoticism (based on a pre-trial psychoticism questionnaire) experienced less anxiety from killing enemies," the participants in the study "showed no signs of desensitization over the course of multiple play sessions." We take all these bits of research with a large grain of salt whether they show positive or negative trends about gaming, and the results of this study are described as tentative too boot, but it is always interesting when man bits dog, and the outcome of a study contradicts intuition and/or the results of other research.

Morning Q&As

  • PC Gaming Alliance
    Can These Men Save PC Gaming? on Tom's Games (thanks BeyondUnreal) offers a Q&A with Epic's Mark Rein on the new PC Gaming Alliance (story). Along the way Rein responds to CliffyB's negativity about PC gaming by jokingly calling his colleague an idiot.
  • The Club
    Ben Ward addresses The Club on Play.TM is a Q&A about Bizarre Creations third-person action shooter, discussing the departure from the racing genre, the game's sporting elements, gunplay, characters, locations, environments, and more.
  • Brothers in Arms
    The Kristin Price Q&A on WomenGamers.Com talks with this associate producer on the Brothers in Arms series. Topics include her personal background and work in the industry, as well as a bit about the game.
  • Ensemble
    There's also a very brief Q&A on HeavenGames talking with an unnamed member of Ensemble Studios about future game, learning they are prototyping a game at the moment, while probing for details about future sequels.

Morning Preview

Game Guidance

There's a new Blademaster Video Tutorial on the Hellgate London Website. And now, your moment of Zen.

Morning Mobilization

Monday Game Reviews

Monday Hardware Reviews

etc.

  • The Nexuiz Website has been updated, and now offers details and a video from the coming version 2.4 of this freeware shooter…

Out of the Blue

Most years I talk about the Oscars in advance of the Academy Awards®™© and fail to see the program itself. This year I failed to mention them (basically because I lost track of when they were somewhere along the way), but did get coerced by MrsBlue into watching the broadcast. Seems like we saw the appropriate picture when we checked out No Country for Old Men, but as always, will end up seeing whatever we see of the honorees after the fact (There Will Be Blood is the only other choice I'm particularly worked up over).

Oscar-worthy Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: The Booze Test - Name That Alcohol. Thanks User Friendly. 97% (hic!).
Fantastic Treasures.
Links of the Day: David Perry's Game Industry Map 2.0.
The Ebb and Flow of Movies Box Office Receipts 1986 - 2007.
Stories: Oscars Become Coen Country With 4 Wins and Oscar '08 TRIVIA.
Golden Raspberry Awards.
Man dies in cake-eating contest. Thanks Digg. Marie Antoinette prime suspect.
Science!: The orange, purple and green cauliflowers that scientists claim could be healthier for you.
Paper Cups Versus Styrofoam Cups Surprise Winner. Thanks Neatorama.
Image: Giant Mario quilt -- a honey of a gamer crafter project.
Media: Star Wars IV: A Three Year Old's Summary.
Frank Caliendo - doing Bush, De Niro, and more....
David Alan Grier talks about running the L.A. Marathon.
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