Archived News:

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2008

Dragon Age Name Change, Tease Continues - Updated

Dragon Age Website has not yet been updated, still teasing saying: "More July 9, 2008." On what may or may not be a related note, however, EA sends word to expect a trailer from BioWare's upcoming RPG this weekend on both the telly and the internets in preparation for the game's showing at next week's E3. Update: The teaser page has been replaced with an update making it clear the news of the trailer debut already posted below is what they were teasing all along. Here's the announcement, which refers to the game's title as Dragon Age: Origins and once again confuses 1:00 am Saturday morning with Friday night:
Dragon Age™: Origins, the highly anticipated dark fantasy epic from leading video game developer BioWare is set to be shown during E3 2008! Beginning with a world exclusive trailer on GameTrailers TV, airing this Friday night at 1:00 AM on Spike TV and Spike HD, fans will get their first look at Dragon Age™: Origins before it is shown to media during E3 2008, July 15-17. The trailer will be available in high definition after it airs on TV at www.gametrailers.com

The Witcher: Versus (Formerly DuelMail) Launches

CD Projekt RED and one2tribe announce The Witcher: Versus is now live, offering the web-based combat game formerly titled The Witcher: DuelMail. The game suffered a delay to incorporate suggestions from beta testers (story), one of which was apparently to change its name. Here's word:
Warsaw, Poland – July 9 – Pick up your sword and slash your so-called friends into submission in The Witcher: Versus, the web-based dueling game formerly known as The Witcher: DuelMail. In The Witcher: Versus, players can finally fulfill their dreams of challenging a friend or complete stranger to a duel without having to put their real-world lives on the line. The game is free to play at http://versus.thewitcher.com.

The Witcher: Versus should be considered a serious hazard to productivity for anyone with computer access at work, due to its “just one more fight and then I’ll quit for today” nature. As a sorcerer, witcher or frightener, players challenge others to head-to-head battles with magic, swords, claws and more at their disposal. Winning a duel earns the player experience and money, which they can then use to upgrade their character’s attributes, learn new skills and buy new weapons in hopes of reaching the upper echelon of the game’s online leader board. The Witcher: Versus will be continually supported in the coming months with special events, competitions and more.

More than 48,000 people played the beta version of The Witcher: DuelMail, and the name was changed in celebration… or something. Just accept it – the name changed, and now The Witcher: Versus has launched with a number of improvements that have been implemented thanks to fan feedback during the beta. The game’s motion-captured animations have been overhauled, background visuals have been enhanced, balance between character classes has been improved, and new visual effects make spells and attacks even more impressive.

So what are you waiting for? Head to versus.thewitcher.com and start fighting everyone… and don’t worry about getting arrested.

Fallout 3 in AU Follow-up

Kotaku Australia has follow-up on reports that Fallout 3 has been banned in Australia (story), providing the OFLC's official report on the action. In short, it was not any violence or gore in the game that triggered it's banning, which was based entirely on the game's depiction of drug use. Here's the relevant quote from the OFLC report:
The game contains the option to take a variety of "chems" using a device which is connected to the character's arm. Upon selection of the device a menu selection screen is displayed. Upon this screen is a list of "chems" that the player can take, by means of selection. These "chems" have positive effects and some negitave effects (lowering of intelligence, or the character may become addicted to the "chem"). The positive effects include increase in strength, stamina, resistance to damage, agility and hit points.

Corresponding with the list of various "chems" are small visual representation of the drugs, these include syringes, tablets, pill bottles, a crack-type pipe and blister packs. In the Board's view these realistic visual representations of drugs and their delivery method bring the "science-fiction" drugs in line with "real-world" drugs.

Age of Conan Patch Notes

QJ.net reproduces a set of preliminary patch notes for a patch for Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures that's slated to go live tomorrow (thanks GamesRadar). The changes listed are quite extensive, but they were posted with a caveat from the developers at Funcom that they do not necessarily reflect the final live version of the patch.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames Movie

The open-world action of Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is on display in a new clip with gameplay from Pandemic's current project that demonstrates the ability to improvise your approach to missions. The movie is posted on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and MyGameTrailers.

Legendary Movie

A new gameplay trailer from Legendary highlights some combat in the first-person shooter currently in development at Spark Unlimited. The clip can be found on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and MyGameTrailers.

Velvet Assassin Movie

A new Velvet Assassin trailer shows off the buttocks-cam view of Replay Studios' upcoming World War II stealth game formerly known as Sabotage. The movie is posted on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Far Cry 2 Q&A

Ubisoft's upcoming sequel to Crytek's Far Cry is the topic of a new Q&A on Gamasutra talking with Dominic Guay about the Dunia engine, the multiplatform technology that underlies the shooter follow-up and a number of Ubisoft's other future projects. The exchange also includes a discussion of the state of PC games, relating to high-end system requirements, and recent comments by Crytek on the piracy issue. Here's a larger than usual excerpt:
This is a high-end PC game, and that's an interesting place to be right now, but it's not PC exclusive.
Dominic Guay: No. We kind of cover all our bases. Obviously, our key focus is going to be on the PC, and it's pretty scalable. We haven't defined any minimum requirements yet, but we have the game running on a Pentium 4 and an [Nvidia GeForce] 6600. Obviously, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of what you just saw there, but the key experience is still there. You have the same game on that system.

But we'll also be having a PS3 and 360 version shipping at the same time. For the gamer that has a maybe four- or five-year-old PC, he can play it on his PS3 or his 360.

Do you think that it would be dangerous if it were only a high-end PC game?
DG: If it were only a high-end PC game? Considering the amount of time we spent on that game and the investment, yeah, it's probably not a good idea to make an only high-end PC game, because you'll only limit your market a lot.

That seemed to be something was more feasible in the past. The market for high-end PC games is kind of shrinking, piracy is big, consoles have become more capable.
DG: Well, yeah, but games were always scalable on the PC, to a certain extent. Games usually let you have a two- or three-year-old PC and still be able to play, even if it isn't optimal or anything.

There have been examples of, at the time, high-end games that required almost for you to have a brand-new PC. That might not be possible anymore, actually. Not in this period, for sure.

They ran into some problems last year with Crysis. Crytek did come out and say that they don't believe that they can stick to being PC-exclusive for their games in the future. Obviously, you've already made the decision not to.
DG: Yeah, I've read that. I think they referred to piracy as a major issue for them. Their game was perceived as being very high-end - and it is true that in order to get the kind of quality we were used to seeing in their videos, it did require a pretty high-end PC - but you could play their game on a lower-end PC, and you could still get a very good framerate. I don't know how much of it is piracy or not.

Evening Q&As

Evening Previews

  • Battlefield Heroes on GameShark.
  • Jumpgate Evolution on GameSpy and IGN.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Conquest on IGN.
  • Multiwinia on 1Up.
  • Puzzle Quest: Galactrix on IGN.

Evening Screenshots

Metaverse

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Crying Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Tipping Point.
Bubblin.
Link: 7 Movies Based on a True Story (That Are Complete BS).
Story: A Road Rally for the Rich and Richer. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science: The Migration History of Humans: DNA Study Traces Human Origins Across the Continents. Thanks j.c.f.
Media: Presto - Pixar Short. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Jedi Gym. Thanks dakslf.
Van Gogh's Starry Night built in Second Life. Thanks Digg. This world was never meant for someone as virtual as you.
Follow-up: Salmonella infects over 1,000; peppers now eyed.

C&C3: Kane's Wrath Patched (Really)

The C&C3 Support Forums indicate the problematic (story) version 1.01 patch for Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath is now officially live (thanks The Patches Scrolls), with the following word from community manager Apoc: "And again, if you downloaded it through Large Downloads yesterday and are having issues, please re-install your game, and re-install the patch through autopatcher or download manually at the links I am going to post here shortly." Unfortunately some comments in that thread indicate that after patching some users are still experiencing the desync problems the patch is intended to address.

Fallout 3 AU Fallout

Kotaku Australia has word that Fallout 3 has been officially refused classification In Australia, confirming indications that the content of the upcoming RPG sequel was not meeting the Aussie Office of Film and Literature Classification's standards (story). This makes it illegal to sell the game down under, though it is possible that an edited version of the game will be resubmitted for approval, but at this point Bethesda has refused to comment on this situation. It is not clear why the game was refused classification, as it contains scenes depicting drug use as well as a good deal of gore, either or both of which can run afoul of the OFLC.

Morning Q&As

  • Winter Wolves
    In The Company of Wolves: Celso Riva Interview Rock, Paper, Shotgun chats with Celso Riva of Italian developer Winter Wolves about life as an independent, and their various projects like The Goalkeeper, Magic Stones, and Supernova 2.
  • Quotable
    BioShock shouldn't have worked on Eurogamer is another striking developer quote (following the recent chestnut about game length), as Blue Omega's Jason Minkoff suggests that making a good game is secondary to it actually succeeding: "Take BioShock: no frigging way that thing should have actually worked out. Fantastic game, awesome design, and beautiful artwork, but the thing is a damn underwater Steampunk 1930s combo thing. How should that ever have done well?"

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Correction

In reporting the release of the introductory movie from Neverwinter Nights 2: Mysteries of Westgate the other day (story), the developer of the D&D RPG adventure pack was misidentified as original NWN2 developer Obsidian Entertainment, when in fact Mysteries of Westgate is being created by Ossian Studios. Apologies to Ossian and to you for causing confusion here.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Some friends gave us a freestanding air conditioner they were no longer using, figuring we could make occasional use of a portable unit since there is no AC in most of our usually cool house (portable is theoretical in this case, as it weighs as much as a window unit, but has wheels). So this thing has an adaptor for the window to draw fresh air, and one of the lights on the front panel was to warn that the water needs emptying, so I figured it had some sort of internal reservoir to collect condensation. Amid the recent heat wave we decided to give this thing a try, and while it could not cool our entire downstairs (there was no way to just close it off in the living room), it helped a bit, so we ran it a couple of times. Last night MrsBlue noticed a puddle of water on the floor, demonstrating that the assumption it was collecting internally was incorrect (not to mention that this theory that should have been tested better, considering the outcome). Sadly this already seems to have been enough to cause a slight of warping of the wood floor where it was standing, which is not a prominent spot, but a bummer nonetheless.

Warped Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Telekinetic Eric.
Indian Outlaw.
Link: Build a Giant Pedal Powered Tank.
Stories: Many Theaters Showing ‘Dark Knight’ Will Leave the Bat Signal On Till Dawn. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Teenager finds baby bat in her bra. Thanks Boing Boing.
Media: Star Wars X-Wing Pilots - The Deleted Scene.
Guitar Hero? This Is...Guitar Fever! (Another Comedy Rip Off.
Goalkeeper Brain Cramp. The old self fake-out.
Follow-up: Actors' union agrees new pay deal.
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