Archived News:

Monday, Aug 11, 2008

BlizzCon 2008 Ticket Sales Broken Again

The BlizzCon 2008 has word that their complication has suffered a bit of a complication:
Due to continued extreme demand, the Blizzard Store is again temporarily unavailable while we make some adjustments to better accommodate the volume of BlizzCon ticket purchase requests. For continuing updates on sales availability, please visit the World of Warcraft forums here.

Hell's Highway PC Demo in Question

Though Gearbox Software's Randy Pitchford has already indicated they plan to create a demo for Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway (story), a more recent Q&A on the topic on Eurogamer indicates the chances of demo for the PC edition is a coin-toss:
We are 100 per cent certain there will be a demo for Xbox 360, 99 per cent certain there will be a demo for PS3, and about 50 per cent certain there will be a demo for PC.

Midway Cuts

This press release announces Midway's cancellation of a project that was in the works at its Austin, TX studio. The project was never announced, which normally might lead to thinking this was an Onion story, except the cancellation has the very real negative side-effect of costing a number of people their jobs, as many as 90 if we read correctly:
Midway Games Inc. today announced that it has canceled an as-yet-unannounced project in production in its Austin, TX, facility, and as a result Midway will have a reduction in force of a portion of the affected development team. The studio will remain open and will continue to operate both the Company’s Central Outsourcing Group as well as two teams that are working on unnamed prototype projects intended to expand Midway’s portfolio of new intellectual property.

This decision will allow Midway to maximize its development resources and apply manpower and capital to projects with the highest chances of success. The workforce reduction will affect approximately 90 of the 130 people currently employed in the studio. For further details on the reduction and the financial impact, please reference the report filed today on Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Matt Booty, interim CEO and president of Midway Games Inc. commented, “While this was a very difficult decision, we feel it was the right thing to do for the future of Midway. We view every game as an investment that must meet certain standards for quality, scheduling, and profitability. Midway remains committed to producing the highest quality entertainment, as evidenced by our strong holiday line-up which includes TNA iMPACT!, Blitz: The League II, and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe starring a team of MK characters and some of the most recognizable DC Comics personalities such as Batman, The Joker, and Superman.”

SunAge Patch & Demo Plans

The SunAge Website has word that a new patch is in the works for Vertex4's real-time strategy game, as well as a playable demo (thanks Gamer's Hell). Word is:
Work has begun on the next SunAge patch and the long-awaited Demo! We wanted to get a few new features, balance changes and general improvements (and fixes!) implemented before we released a Demo and we are well on our way.

For all of you who have the game, come join us on the Forums! We will be discussing balance changes and improvements for the game as well as inviting a select few to participate in testing the patch before it is released.

This is just a quick update. However, whether you have SunAge or not, stop by the forum and give us a shout! Tell us how we can improve your SunAge experience.

    • Come on the forums and discuss this news article!

Star Trek Online Q&As

The Star Trek Online Q&A on GameSpot talks with Craig Zinkievich of Cryptic Studios about the upcoming science-fiction MMORPG, among other things, asking what parts of the game remain from Perpetual Entertainment's previous go at the project: "We took some of the concept art--but the game design, assets, and engine are 100 percent Cryptic." Perpetual's legacy is also part of GameSpy's Jack Emmert Q&A, a conversation that also takes a look at the guiding philosophy behind development.

New X-Plane

The X-Plane Website has an updated version 9.20 RC-1 of this flight simulator for Windows Linux, and Macintosh. Word is: "X-Plane 9.20 Beta-1 is here now, with tons of features that people have asked for, and with many features from 9.10 that are designed for FAA-Certified flight-training. X-Plane 9.20 is one of the more FAA-Certified-feature-packed releases we have ever done." Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Multiwinia Media

The Multiwinia Mondays Page kicks off a new weekly media release for Multiwinia: Survival of the Flattest, Introversion's upcoming "retro-arcade multiplayer experience." Here's word on Multiwinia Mondays: "Every Monday for the next 6 weeks we will be showcasing a whole host of new content, including video tutorials of each of the 6 game modes, the latest screens, wallpapers, artwork and interviews with the developers themselves." The first movie and screenshots in this series is described like this: "This week we bring you 'Domination', an epic tale of stickman slaughter where you must fight your enemies for control of spawn points dotted around the map."

Fallen Earth Q&A

Fallen Earth Q&A on Ten Ton Hammer chats with Lee Hammock, asking the lead programmer on Icarus Studios’ upcoming post-apocalyptic MMORPG questions about the state of the game, which is now feature complete: "Really, aside from content complete we’re primarily focused on getting the outside testing process rolling, but most of our energy is being spent on reaching content complete. We’re concentrating on getting missions, crafting info, vehicle stats, instances, levels, and storylines into the game now. Our next big goal is to get all of that in the game and running so we can switch over to a primarily bug fixing stage. Over the next few months players will see how our initial plans may have changed after they’re run through rigorous testing. Much a no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, no game design doc survives contact with the testers."

Runic Q&A

From the Ashes of Flagship on Edge Online is an article-format Q&A with Travis Baldree, president of newly formed developer Runic Games. The article highlights their ongoing ambitions to create an online action/RPG, but grants that this will probably not be Mythos, and does not rule out a console project:
Baldree is confident that Runic's future endeavors will still find an audience with gamers. "We very much believe in what we were doing with Mythos--creating a fast-paced MMO in the Diablo mold, that brought together socialization and visceral, fun combat," he says. "Our testers' response was great, and we think there's really a place in the market for what we were doing, even with Diablo III on the horizon. We really want to get there again."

With a new name but essentially the same staff, Runic still has ties to the people who founded the original Flagship Studios. But even with Runic's intimate involvement with Mythos, the relationship between the studio and that particular IP appears to be over.

"At present, we're proceeding under the assumption that continuing with Mythos won't be possible for us," Baldree replies when asked about the possibility of working with the game again. "There are some enormous obstacles to making that a reality."

He continues, "The future of the IP and technology are in question, and in cases like this, as engineers drift away it becomes increasingly difficult to make use of what's come before.

"We're fortunate enough to have our entire Mythos team on board for Runic--but the good folks from Ping0 who were responsible for the network back-end have begun to find employment elsewhere, so that door really does seem to be closing."

But perhaps it's best that Runic take advantage of this soft reset to embark on a whole new adventure. While Runic is currently focused on PC titles, Baldree admitted that his team has "long wanted" to do an action-RPG for consoles. The talented team is keeping its options open.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Some Opening Ceremony fireworks were faked (thanks Ant and Slashdot). Oh well, I thought there was one part of it all I liked. Maybe next time. Sigh.

BlizzCon 2008 Ticket Sales Fixed

BlizzCon 2008 Website has word that the glitch from earlier (story) is fixed, and that BlizzCon 2008 ticket sales are underway. Word is:
This morning, we experienced some technical difficulties with ticket sales for BlizzCon. Please be aware that no tickets were sold during the service interruption. If you reached the confirmation screen but did not receive an email receipt, the order did not go through.

We have found and addressed the source of this morning's issues, and ticket sales are now functioning correctly (though extremely high traffic volumes may still result in occasional delays). We'd like to apologize for the inconveniences caused by these issues, and to thank you for your patience as we resolved them.

Mount & Blade Final Beta

Paradox Interactive announces one more beta version for the multi-year beta testing of Mount & Blade, as the medieval-themed action/RPG is to have its full retail release in just over a month. The new beta is available on GameSpot (registration required), and word is:
NEW YORK - August 11, 2008 Paradox Interactive today announced the opening of the final beta, version 0.960, for their upcoming PC medieval, action-RPG title, Mount & Blade. Mount & Blade will be released in North America on September 16th and in Europe on September 19, 2008. To sign-up for the beta, please visit The beta period will be open for two weeks, closing on August 25th.

Mount & Blade is a single-player, third or first-person action/role-playing game with a focus on medieval combat. Developed by the Turkish development house TaleWorlds Entertainment, the BETA version of the game has received acclaim worldwide from gamers impressed by the game’s realistic horseback combat, luscious graphics, and open-world sandbox gameplay. The latter enables players to roam the map freely in a medieval world that offers activities ranging from hunting down bandits, to trading for profit in the game's complex economic system, to becoming a commander and taking part in the wars, with the ultimate goal of becoming a great lord of the realm.

Mount & Blade will be available for purchase in stores and for digital download at GamersGate, the leading digital distribution platform creating easily accessible gaming experiences for gamers worldwide. For more information, please visit

Strong Bad Episode One & Demo Released

Telltale Games now offers Homestar Ruiner, the debut episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, with the PC edition available from the Telltale Games Website for all territories. Additionally the North and South American WiiWare editions are on sale though the Wii Shop Channel, with the WiiWare edition for Europe, Australia, and New Zealand expected on Friday, August 15. Homestar Ruiner is available as a standalone release or as part of a season pass for all five monthly episodes, and there is also a demo version on this page for those looking to sample the webcomic-inspired adventure. A walkthrough of the game is also now online.


Will Wright Interview on Eurogamer talks with the designer about Spore, EA Maxis' upcoming evolutions simulation you may have heard of already, kicking off a Spore Week to supply additional hype for the game. The interview gets pretty heavy right away, asking Wright about his religious beliefs, leading to this highlighted bit: Most criticism of religion in Spore is from militant atheists, claims Wright. Along the way, Wright also hints at new projects in the wings, some of which may be smaller in scope, and then shifts gears to suggest an MMOG may be part of the game's future evolution, though it seems the main point he was making was about how the game's user-created content bridges the gap between single-player and MMO-type gameplay: "So for Spore we tried to figure out, how do we get the best aspects of a massively-multiplayer game without all these huge design limitations?"

BlizzCon 2008 Tickets on Sale

This press release announces that tickets for BlizzCon 2008 are now on sale via the official website of the upcoming Blizzard-centric gaming convention, and tickets are sure to sell out fast in spite of their $100 price tag. Word is:
BlizzCon is a celebration of the global player communities surrounding Blizzard Entertainment®’s Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® game universes. The event will take place October 10–11 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, and will feature an array of activities, including developer panels, contests, tournaments, hands-on gameplay with upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games, and more.
Update: If you are having trouble getting through, you are not alone, as the WoW Forums (on page 68 of a 96 page, and counting, thread) confirms that no tickets have been sold at this point due to technical difficulties, saying: "I can tell you that we have confirmed that no tickets have been purchased at this time, so no one should fear that they are going to be sold out while they are refreshing."

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Q&A & Audio Samples

Not Content to Cash Out: CD Projekt’s The Witcher Enhanced Edition Q&A on GameCyte talks with Maciej Szczesnik and Tom Ohle of CD Projekt RED about the imminent enhanced edition of The Witcher, planned for release as a new game and as an update for owners of the original edition of the action/RPG. They discuss planned improvements to the games graphics and gameplay, delving into the reasons for working so hard on a game after its initial release. As the enhanced edition will also offers improvements to the games dialogue, they offer a couple of before-and-after samples of rerecorded segments compared with their original counterparts.

Bionic Commando & PhysX

Capcom & GRIN announce the upcoming release of Bionic Commando (not to be confused with the even more imminent release of Bionic Commando Rearmed) will include NVIDIA PhysX for cross-platform physics support:
SANTA CLARA, CA—AUGUST 11, 2008—CAPCOM Co., Ltd., GRIN Entertainment, and NVIDIA® Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the world leader in visual computing technologies, today jointly announced that CAPCOM’s upcoming Bionic Commando video game will use GPU-accelerated NVIDIA PhysX™ technology to enhance the game’s debris, smoke, dust, and weapon effects. Bionic Commando, which will be released by GRIN in early 2009, is one of many titles to take advantage of NVIDIA PhysX technology, interactive entertainment’s most pervasive physics engine.

“CAPCOM is extremely excited to work with GRIN to bring the world-class franchise of Bionic Commando into the 21st century,” said Ben Judd, producer of Bionic Commando at CAPCOM. “CAPCOM has also always been strong partners with NVIDIA and with Bionic Commando we are taking things to a new level by adding GPU-accelerated PhysX to increase the title’s realism.”

“Physics is changing the industry. We evaluated all of the commercial physics systems out there for gaming, and the choice was easy,” said Bo Andersson, CEO at GRIN Entertainment. “NVIDIA PhysX runs faster than other solutions and it works across PCs and consoles, which is important to us because Bionic Commando will ship on all major platforms. We believe PhysX will help make the game seem even more lifelike and immersive.”

Wickedly Interactive Formed

Wickedly Interactive is a newly formed video game publisher located in Toronto, Canada that plans to bring more Korean MMORPGs to western audiences, saying later this month they will unveil a "proprietary technology platform" for their games:
Toronto, CANADA--August 11, 2008-Wicked Interactive (, a newly formed North American MMO publisher, announced today that it has launched a new online game publishing group and entered into a strategic partnership with Yedang Online. Yedang Online is one of the largest leading online game publishers and developers in Korea. Wicked Interactive will bring Yedang Online's top properties, PristonTale, PristonTale2 and Ace Online, to North America this year.

Extreme Gamers Pretty Extreme: NPD

Videogaming247 has a new NPD Group report that identifies an "Extreme Gamers" segment of the market that is certainly pretty hardcore, saying 3% of gamers fit into a category that purchases about eight games a month, and spends 45 hours a week gaming (though later in the report this number seems to be listed as 22.3 hours). The article, based on data collected through January, also reflects on platform preferences: "According to the report, while the PC is used more than any single console for gaming, Console Gamers, Young Heavy Gamers and Extreme Gamers are more likely to use consoles than a PC to play video games." Here's a bit more from the report, which offers some interesting correlations:
Amongst next-generation console owners, PlayStation 3 owners are most likely to own other next-generation consoles compared to Wii and Xbox 360 owners. While 45 percent of PlayStation Portable owners also own a Nintendo DS, only 21 percent of Nintendo DS owners also own a PlayStation Portable. Only 10% of PlayStation 2 owners also own the PlayStation 3.

Both Console Gamers and Extreme Gamers dominate when it comes to the number of hours spent playing video games per week, with an average of 8.2 hours per week and 22.3 hours per week, respectively.

When it comes to purchasing power, Extreme Gamers lead all segments, buying nearly 24 titles across all their systems in the past three months. This is over seven times more than the second leading purchasing segment, Console Gamers, who on average purchased only 3.2 games in the past three months.

Xfire Adds Video Capture

Xfire announces the addition of a video capture function to their server-browser/instant messenger client. Details on recording movies are on this page, and word is the function even includes "Xfire Flashback," a TiVo-like ability to capture gameplay that occurred five to ten seconds before a recording is initiated.

Red Alert 3 Premier Edition, Movie

UK game e-tailer GAME has details on an "exclusive" Red Alert 3: Premier Edition (thanks Ant and Planet Command & Conquer), set to offer the following goodies in addition to the Command & Conquer RTS game: A collector's tin, five exclusive multiplayer/skirmish maps, a bonus making-of DVD, a soundtrack, and an exclusive beta key to a future C&C game. Also on the Red Alert 3 front, BBC News has an inside Electronic Arts feature that offers a behind-the-scenes movie shot at EALA that mostly focuses on progress on Red Alert 3.

Star Trek Online Facts

The Star Trek Online Fact Sheet on Binge Gamer (thanks N4G) anthologizes all the revelations from yesterday's unveiling of Star Trek Online at the Trek Convention in Sin City. What we know includes that players are all Star Fleet or Klingon ship captains in the game (I so wanted to be ensign redshirt) and that the game launch sooner than you think (though no stardate is specified), but a number of other revelations are outlined in the fact sheet.

Edited Fallout 3 For AU Release, Interview

Internode Games Network has a follow-up on the fallout from the banning of Fallout 3 down under (story) saying that the edited edition (story) of the RPG sequel has been approved for sale in Australian territories with an MA15+ rating. It's not clear exactly what was removed to earn this rating, but indications that the game's drug use was being excised entirely were not accurate, as the game will still carry the following consumer advice: "Strong violence, drug references and coarse language." On a semi-related note, there's a Fallout 3 interview on where Pete Hines answers questions about the game, though this is about the project as a whole, and not about the whole Australian kerfuffle.

Artificial and Ignition Not Merged

Artificial Studios has word that they are not actually merging with UK developer Ignition Entertainment, saying "Despite widespread rumours, Artificial Studios did not 'merge' with Ignition Entertainment. Although the remaining team went on to become the foundation of Ignition Entertainment's Florida studio" (thanks Gamer's Hell). The original report on the merger (story) seems pretty unequivocal, and includes quotes Jeremy Stieglitz, founder of Artificial Studios. This new report from programmer Tim Johnson indicates he also joined Ignition at technical director, but departed due to differences of opinion, so this merger may have reverted to a rumor when Johnson left Ignition.

New Open Arena

The barebones OpenArena Website has the release of a new version 0.8.0 of OpenArena, the open-source first-person shooter based on the GPL Quake III Arena engine. Word on the front page is that the mouse doesn't suck, good news for shooter fans, though possibly a disappointment to sucky mouse enthusiasts, and more complete details on what's new and different are listed in this forum post. The new version is 310 MB, and the download is mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

Star Trek Online Debut Trailer

The Star Trek Online Website has the debut trailer that launched at the Star Trek convention yesterday for Cryptic's upcoming Star Trek MMORPG. The clip is said to be 100% in-game footage, described like this: "See Star Trek Online! Our debut trailer shows some of the environments, ships and combat you will experience as you discover the future of the Trek universe. Explore the final frontier as the captain of your own starship and adventure on planets, in space and inside ships!" The trailer is on the Star Trek Online Videos Page along with the webcast debuting the trailer, where Leonard Nimoy introduces the game and Jack Emmert, and Jack goes on to field questions about the project.

Supreme Ruler 2020 Patches

The BattleGoat Forums offer new that a new update 3 is automatically available for Supreme Ruler 2020, bringing the global strategy game to version 5.3.1. The post outlines all the changes in the update, including a new scenario, and this forum post has word on a subsequent small version 5.3.2 update that is now available to address a bug in update 3. Manual editions of both patches can be found on The Patches Scrolls.

BioShock 2 Q&A

Gameplayer's BioShock 2 Q&A is a short conversation with Jordan Thomas of 2K Marin who is asked about what he can discuss about the follow-up to BioShock, the immersive first-person shooter. They discuss goals for the next BioShock game, continuity on the development team, the response the first game met with, and more.

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Well, the Olympics are in full swing (and swim, and run, etc.), but watching the events has never been my thing. We did catch some highlights of the opening ceremonies that were very watchable though: the most impressive fireworks show I have ever seen, by a very wide margin. Normally fireworks on TV make me think it would be more impressive to be there in person, but in this case, it seemed the only vantage point better than TV may have been from an aircraft, as the show seemed to literally cover miles.

R.I.P.: Soul legend Isaac Hayes dies.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Jump Gear.
Links: The Periodic Table of Awesomements. Thanks Neatorama
Stories: Pinning their passion on the Olympics.
'Ghost course' haunts cyclists.
Family's Olympics horror.
Science: Gravity, erosion rob Utah park of popular arch.
Media: Caravan Destruction. Thanks Dark Roasted Blend.
The Shockwave Jet Truck.
Shotgun Golf.
Teh Funnies: UserFriendly.
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