Archived News:

Friday, Aug 15, 2008

Maxis: Spore Doesn't Need Demo, Does Need DRM

Eurogamer has word from Maxis that there will be no demo for Spore, the now-gold life simulation, quoting executive producer Lucy Bradshaw, who also told them "yes, we'll add to the experience," when asked about expansions, but also mentioned plans to eventually distribute the flora editor that was axed from the game. She also addresses the game's controversial DRM scheme, saying
"We do have copy protection, it is a necessary part of our biz, but we've worked to make it something that does not punish the legit owners," Bradshaw said.

"You need to authenticate once at the first install. This happens online. You can install on three separate computers and you do need to register for the online features."

Space Trader - Updated

Meridian4 announces Space Trader - Merchant Marine, a sci-fi shooter/trading game under development at Hermitworks Entertainment. There are some screenshots in the Space Trader Product Section. Update: Seems this is a reissue of a previously available game (thanks JaguarUSF).

Second TF2 Unlockable Weapon

Today's Team Fortress 2 - A Heavy Update introduces the second Heavy class unlockable weapon as a Level 5 Minigun which has a 100% chance of slowing victims at the expense of doing 25% less damage:
The Heavy's second unlockable, Natascha, slows enemies with her bullets. Anyone damaged by her will move slower for an instant, encouraging them to find cover or turn and face the Heavy, mano-a-tiny-itty-bitty-mano. Unfortunately, Natascha is slightly weaker than Sasha, so she takes longer to finish off a victim. As a result, Natascha's great against fleeing cowards, such as Scouts & Medics, and less great against anyone actively trying to kill her master. Heavies that like to jump around corners and surprise groups of startled enemy crybabies will also find her very useful, although they should look for a Sasha-wielding enemy Heavy before they leap.

DC Universe Online Interview & Footage

Jace Hall Show, Ep 11 features an interview with SOE's John Smedley discussing DC Universe Online and offering ShakyCam footage of never-before-seen gameplay from the upcoming superhero MMORPG. The footage emphasizes the throwing of large vehicles and a heavy dose of man-ass, though there's some cleavage at the end for balance.

TrackMania Sale

Steam is offering a sale on TrackMania United Forever this weekend (thanks Dagok). Word is: "This weekend only, pick up one of the most entertaining car racing game ever in TrackMania United Forever for just $19.99. Offer ends August 18th."

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Need for Speed Undercover Announced

EA and Black Box officially announce Need for Speed Undercover (story), which will feature actress Maggie Q in its live-action sequences. The latest installment in the racing series is due on multiple platforms on November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe:
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – August 15, 2008 – Black Box, a studio of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced Need for Speed™ Undercover, the intense action racing title scheduled for release this holiday. The new game will feature international movie star, Maggie Q, as the lead character in the big-budget live-action sequences that propel the original story forward as players get behind the wheel. EA’s Need for Speed Undercover takes the franchise back to its roots and re-introduces break-neck cop chases, the world’s hottest cars and spectacular highway battles.

“Need for Speed Undercover features a deep and engaging story of spectacular Hollywood-style live-action that will transport players into the fictional world of the Tri-City Bay Area,” said Bill Harrison, Need for Speed Undercover Executive Producer. “Working with talent the caliber of Maggie Q allows us to deliver an unparalleled level of storytelling that will keep players engaged in between 180-mile an hour races.”

Maggie Q, who has starred in Mission Impossible III and Live Free or Die Hard, plays Federal Agent Chase Linh, a seductive handler who recruits and guides players as they go undercover. Players will take on dangerous jobs and compete in races in order to infiltrate and takedown a ruthless international crime syndicate.

“I’ve always been a fan of racing games and working on Need for Speed Undercover was an amazing experience,” said Maggie Q. “I was so impressed by the scope and quality of the overall production that goes into a videogame these days. It was like any other day on a Hollywood set; I felt right at home. The Black Box team is doing tremendous work here and I can’t wait to see the final game.”

Need for Speed Undercover is being developed by Black Box in Vancouver, B.C., and is slated to be in stores North America on November 18 and in Europe on November 21. The game will be available for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and Wii™ as well as the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo DS™, PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) handheld entertainment system, PC and mobile. More information can be found at

PC Dynasty Warriors 6 Plans

KOEI announces that Dynasty Warriors 6 is coming to the PC, saying the tactical action sequel that's already available for Xbox 360 and PS3 will be released for PC on November 18:
Burlingame, CA -- August 15, 2008 -- KOEI, recognized worldwide as the premier brand of strategy and action games, today announced that the company is bringing its mega-hit Tactical Action game, DYNASTY WARRIORS®6 to PlayStation 2 and to Windows-based PC.

DYNASTY WARRIORS 6 will debut on PlayStation 2 as a massive two-disc collection action-packed with the full cast of playable characters and pulse-pounding scenarios of the original release, plus platform-exclusive content including never-before-seen "Musou" mode stories, incredible new weapons, five additional stages and 10 new scenarios.

DYNASTY WARRIORS 6 for PlayStation 2 will ship to retailers starting November 18, 2008, while the version for Windows-based PC will be available simultaneously and exclusively through digital download. The game is already in stores for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Space Siege Q&A

Space Siege Q&A on Gaming Nexus talks with "someone at Gas Powered Games" about their just-release action/RPG. The someone is eventually identified as writer William Harms, who offers reflections on the game's plot, how it's different from Dungeon Siege in space, multiple endings, multiplayer support, and more.

Site Note

The site was spitting out database errors for a while this afternoon, preventing forum posts and many other functions. It looks like everything's cleared up now, but apologies to anyone who had problems with this.

New AoC DX10 Features & More Planned

DirectX10 Features in Age of Conan Exclusively Revealed at Games Convention has word that new Age of Conan DirectX 10 features will be shown off at GCDC as well as new content, as: "Funcom will reveal and demonstrate brand new and never-before-seen locations, content and features that will be put into the recently launched massively multiplayer online game ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’ in the months ahead."

No Steam Bionic Commando Rearmed

The Capcom Forums have word that a last-minute problem means the recently released Bionic Commando Rearmed (story) will not appear on Steam (thanks Eurogamer). Word is:
Actually, I do have some bad news on the Steam front. At the last minute, we've been unable to reach mutually agreeable terms with Valve on BCR, so they won't be carrying it (unfortunately you'll have to get it elsewhere). I won't get into the details but we do continue to have a good relationship with Valve and future Capcom titles we expect to be carried on Steam.

Game Music Royalties Follow-up

The Financial Times speaks with Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick, who responds to Warner Music Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman's recently expressed opinion that music games should be paying a higher royalty rate to music publishers for using "content [they] own and control" (story). Kotick says Bronfman's "one-sided comments" were not "respectful of how much we’ve done to bring new audiences into the market." He goes on to say: "We’re introducing a whole new group of artists to new audiences that is resulting in their iTunes downloads being exponentially higher than they would otherwise be, [as well as] new album sales and new merchandising opportunities." In response F.T. quotes a (presumably different) Warner rep, who says: "We hope that our partners in the gaming space appreciate not only the value of their own contributions but also those of the recording artists, songwriters, record labels and music publishers on which their games are significantly based." Most significant is Kotick's comment that seems to be a warning that they do not foresee bowing to pressure to increase royalties:
“I think his view was ... that [Warner Music] should be compensated the way they might for a performance on iTunes,” said Mr Kotick. “But this is an entirely different business that is very technically complex. We’re going to favour those publishers that recognise and appreciate how much we can add value to their artists.”

Saints Row 2 Movie

A new Saints Row 2 trailer introduces another of the gangs/factions in Volition's upcoming life of crime open-world action sequel. The clip shows off the Sons of Samedi gang, and introduces some of the voodoo-inspired faction's storyline. The clip concludes with an October 14th release date, but once again no PC logo (hmmm). The movie is available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames Q&A

Pandemic on Mercenaries 2: World in Flames on GameSpot is a conversation with Pandemic director Cameron Brown about the upcoming open-world action sequel, discussing gameplay, the differences on various platforms (like the lack of PS3 trophy support), and on how they have reworked the game's cooperative multiplayer play:
That was one of the big things we wanted to do over [with] Mercs. What we decided to do early on was we didn’t want you to go to any kind of special mode or arena. We really wanted you to play multiplayer and that it would be the full single-player experience. What we focused on was co-op, it’s just two players--you and your friend--in the game. We focused on this very easy to get into, drop-in, drop-out, co-op. I could be playing my game and see you pop up online, I could send you an invite and you jump into my game. There’s literally no interruption for me at all, I’m just playing around with the world. If I’m in a vehicle, you’ll appear there, like in the gunner’s seat. If I’m running around, you’ll appear beside me. We just keep playing the single-player game, with the two of us in there together. We can play from the opening credits to the final credits--all the way through the game in co-op.

Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway Q&A, Movie

This Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway Q&A is an internally conducted conversation where Gearbox's Randy Pitchford discusses the way commanding your squad will work in the upcoming continuation of their world War II shooter series. On a related note, a new trailer is now online that shows off the game's emphasis on teamwork. This clip can be found on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

2K Games at the Gate

GamersGate announces the addition of titles from 2K Games to their online game marketplace. Word is: "The first titles to be released under this agreement will be the strategy titles: Sid Meier’s Civilization® III: Complete and Shattered Union. Additional titles will follow, including the titles: Sid Meier’s Railroads!™, CivCity Rome™ and the classic action-adventure game Sid Meier’s Pirates!®."

New Take Two COO

Take-Two Interactive names Gary Dale COO has word that Gary Dale is the new chief operating officer of the publisher/developer that's been spending much of its time lately fending off the advances of Electronic Arts. According to MarketWatch: "Dale will be responsible for Take-Two's publishing labels, sales activities, international expansion and business development initiatives."

Rise of the Argonauts Q&A, Movie

The Rise of the Argonauts Q&A on GameSpot UK chats with Liquid Entertainment's Ed Del Castillo about the upcoming action/RPG and what will set it apart: "We have a rich, compelling story for the player first and foremost, and all the gameplay mechanics serve this experience. If you're playing this game to kill 5,367 boars and rats or to min max your character, you're going to be disappointed. Instead, we have streamlined RPG features, slick, brutal real-time combat, and a truly compelling world that begs to be explored." There's also a new "Rise of the Argo" trailer from the game on the Codemasters Website where Charley Price and Rico Sablan discuss Jason's ship and its pivotal role in the game. The clip is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Runic Interview

Captaining The Lifeboat: Runic Games’ Max Schaefer and Travis Baldree on GameCyte is an interview with these survivors of the sinking of Flagship Studios. They discuss the way Flagship's collapse unfolded, Runic's failed efforts at retaining the Mythos IP, and their plans to continue to focus on PC games though they must start from scratch after losing all the tech they created for Hellgate and Mythos. Schaefer also provides an update on the last remaining vestige of Flagship: "It’s barely open. It’s just open enough to take care of the final affairs, but for all intents and purposes it’s closed down."

Diablo III Q&A

‘Diablo III’ Designer Describes How Game Will Appeal To ‘Diablo’ Fans And Broad Audience on MTV Multiplayer continues this ongoing exploration of their conversation with Jay Wilson about Diablo III. This time around they discuss the concerns of fans over the way health potions will now be part of monster loot.

Ships Ahoy - Mac Battlestations: Midway

This press release announces Robosoft's pride in their Macintosh port of Battlestations: Midway, saying this "reinforces Robosoft¹s commitment to being a market leader in porting the best-selling AAA titles from PC/ Consoles to the Mac platform." What they don't mention is the Mac edition of the World War II action/strategy game seems to now be available from Feral Interactive.

Empire Total War Movie

A new Empire Total War trailer shows off naval battles in the upcoming strategy game, the first time sea combat will be featured in Creative Assembly's Total War series. The age of sail combat gameplay clip is posted on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

It Came from QuakeCon 2008, Part 11

  • QuakeCon Recap on LinuxGames (thanks Ant). Carmack's Linux pessimism and confirmations of intentions to OpenSource the DOOM 3 engine next year (not the Q3A engine, as origianlly posted, apologies for the error).

Work at Gearbox

Gearbox sends along a help wanted:
Award-winning video game developer Gearbox Software is looking for talented developers to work on upcoming titles for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and Windows PC. Open positions abound, please visit our website for more information! Announced projects are only a small part of Gearbox’s future – contact us to learn more! Come create incredible games with one of the most successful independent game developers in the world!

For more information, please visit
To apply email your resume and link to online portfolio to

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

We ended up watching some more Olympics last night; if memory serves, the few hours I've seen of this year's games are more than I've watched over the past few summer and winter games put together. We caught some swimming, and some of those swimmers had the broadest shoulders I've ever seen… and then we saw a men's race (badoom-bah!).

Swimming with the Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Links: Radio Tales of the Strange & Fantastic. Zdim's old-time radio site revamped to include an embedded media player.
Top 5 Reasons You Should Not Use a Shotgun for Zombie Defense.
Target Has 79-Year-Old Taken In For Mental Evaluation After She Demanded Cash Refund.
Stories: 'True Dungeon' Lures Would-Be Dragon Slayers.
Boy, 9, nearly blinded by exploding joke pen in birthday party prank. Thanks Digg.
Man fined for carrying gobstopper.
Science: Moon mission delayed until 2009.
Auction: Send Your DNA to Space through Operation Immortality.
Image: APOD 2008 August 14 - Perseid Trail. Thanks brother19.
Media: Top 10 Most Difficult Games. Thanks VideoSift.
Quit Playing Video Games And Get Laid.
Follow-up: CERN to Start Up the Large Hadron Collider. Now Here's How It Plans to Stop It.
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