Archived News:

Thursday, Sep 11, 2008

New Sins of a Solar Empire Beta

Sins of a Solar Empire Website has word that a new version 1.1 Beta 2 for Sins of a Solar Empire is now available to registered users of Stardock's Impulse. The new version has balance changes and bug fixes for Ironclad Games' space strategy game, all detailed in the change notes.

Cross-Platform The Agency Eventually?

SOE's Wilson Talks Connected PC, PS3 Game Worlds on Gamasutra discusses The Agency, Sony Online Entertainment's upcoming counterintelligence themed MMOG. The focus is once again on the potential for cross-platform play between the PC and PS3 editions, which SOE has already said will not be supported (story). They quote executive producer Matt Wilson saying they actually have PC/PS3 gameplay working in their offices, and the story suggests they are considering this for the release version, but all the answers he gives seem to be reasons why they are choosing not to support cross-platform play. These include how PC games are more vulnerable to hacks than console games, the advantage the mouse & keyboard would give PC owners, and the logistics of applying updates to two different platforms. He does, however, offer an indication that they are keeping their future options open after the game is released: "And then the other part is leaderboards and other things. And maybe in the future, we'll start connecting them up and doing that. Again, it's never been a technology problem; it's more game balance and update calls."

NCsoft "Moving Away" from Dungeon Runners

Kotaku has a Q&A with David Reid, president of publishing for the newly formed NC West (story). He repeats that Tabula Rasa is safe for now, as the company is "doubling down" on its commitment to AAA titles. The same cannot be said of Dungeon Runners, a more lightweight game competing in the subscription-free space, saying they are "moving away" from the project, though he stops short of saying the game is going to get the axe.

WoW Character Transfers Expand

There's a PvE to PvP Paid Character Transfers FAQ on the World of Warcraft Forums explaining that Blizzard is expanding the premium service of character transfers to allow transfers of PvE characters to PvP servers. They head things off by answering the most obvious question first, which is why have they changed their policy in this regard: "Because World of Warcraft has matured significantly since the inception of Paid Character Transfers, we don’t feel that PvE-to-PvP transfers will have the negative impact on the game that we initially wanted to avoid when we started the service in 2006." Thanks Massively.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Gold - Combat Mission Shock Force MARINES announces the completion of development on Combat Mission Shock Force MARINES, the add-on module that brings units, weapons and equipment of the US Marines Corps to the tactical ground combat simulation, along with many additional Syrian forces, a new campaign, a number of standalone missions, and dozens of brand new Quick Battle maps. The module requires the original Combat Mission Shock Force, and will be released "later this month." In the meantime Battlefront continues to offer a preorder discount on their "Download & Hardgoods Delivery" option. The announcement also mentions a number of new features and changes to the base game MARINES will bring, and that a couple of days following the release of the module a "HUGE" version 1.10 patch will be released to bring these changes to owners of the original game.

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Next Week

The Witcher Website narrows the release date for The Witcher: Enhanced Edition to September 16 in North America and September 19 for the rest of the world. In June CD Projekt RED announced the extra-polished version of the Polish action/RPG would be released in "the first half" of this month (story) meaning this project is delayed one last time, albeit just by a matter of days. Improvements over the original game in this release include "new inventory, voice-overs, models, adventures, gestures, animations, languages, alchemy and sex cards, as well as improved stability, reduced loading times, and many more enhancements." Thanks Tim.

Saints Row 2 Co-op Movie

A new Saints Row 2 trailer shows off some cooperative gameplay from the upcoming open-world action sequel, which inspires so much cooperation they even have McCain and Obama playing together. The clip is available on AtomicGamer and FileFront. It seems safe to say that neither candidate approved this message.

Stormrise Movie

A new Stormrise movie offers a look at Creative Assembly's upcoming console-centric real-time strategy game. In this clip you can "witness the skills of an Echelon sniper in action as he takes out a cloaked Sai warrior." The clip is available from ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky Patches

New patches are now available for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, updating GSC Game World's first-person shooter prequel to version 1.5.04. There is a 56 MB multi-language patch for the retail boxed edition of the game and another 57 MB multi-language patch for digital download editions. The patches can be found on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Website and the change log outlines the balance changes and numerous bug-fixes in the new version. Thanks YiYas.

Sacred 2 DRM - Non-Transferrable License

RPGWatch has details on the copy-protection planned for Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, Ascaron Entertainment's upcoming action/RPG sequel. They have an English translation of a German FAQ revealing the game will utilize the SecuROM DRM (in Germany, at least) that has caused controversy in recent games like Mass Effect (story) and Spore (story). Sacred 2 will allow unlimited installations and two activations, though only one of the two active installations can play online at one time. They offer a number of methods for deactivating an installation so another can be activated, and promise that if their activation servers are decommissioned they will remove this aspect of the DRM with a patch. An internet connection will be required for installation (which can apparently be accomplished using someone else's connection if necessary), and the game can be played without the DVD in the drive. Perhaps most interesting in light of recent discussions of used game sales (story) is that they say a purchase represents a license to play, rather than ownership of the game itself, and that this license is non-transferrable. Thanks Strategy Informer.

No Dead Space Censorship

The Dead Space Interview on IGN.AU talks with Glen Schofield about Dead Space, the upcoming science fiction horror game. While the game itself and the involvement of comic writer Warren Ellis are central topics, they also discuss Glen's recent mention of territories where the game has been banned (story), which may not have been completely accurate (story). He says the game has passed the Australian standards that have caused some games trouble, but he still indicates Dead Space has run into classification problems in Germany, Japan, and Korea, but that this will not inspire an edited version: "Australia is getting the full, complete version. No cuts. We're not softening it for anybody."

Mount & Blade Combat Details

The Mount & Blade Website looks to generate enthusiasm for the upcoming retail release of Mount & Blade, TaleWorlds Entertainment's medieval action/RPG by outlining how the game's combat system stands out from the competition. They quote lead programmer Armagan Yavuz saying: "What separates Mount & Blade from other action RPG’s is that that most RPG’s have more statistics-based combat, while we use skill-based combat." He goes on to say: "Even though the damage you do is influenced by the statistics of your character and his weapon, it is also based on physics formulas: the energy, speed and impact angle of the weapon. For example, if you are rapidly approaching your enemy while you’re mounted on a fast-moving horse, the damage will be much greater since the momentum of your horse is added to the speed of your weapon's swing."

Ships Ahoy - Children of the Nile: Alexandria

Tilted Mill Entertainment announces the availability of Children of the Nile: Alexandria on Stardock's Impulse platform, saying this first official city pack for Children of the Nile: Enhanced Edition will be coming to other providers "soon." The $5.99 city pack adds an Alexandria mini-campaign, described like so: "In Alexandria, you assume the role of the new Pharaohs of Egypt, in a three-scenario mini-campaign set during and after the final stages of Alexander the Great's career. Consolidate your power as Alexander's former lieutenants vie for control of his empire, all while growing a massive new Egyptian capital and constructing new massive monuments: the Great Lighthouse and Great Library of Alexandria!" Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Gold - X³: Terran Conflict

The EGOSOFT Website announces the completion of development on X³: Terran Conflict, a new standalone game that represents the culmination of the X series of space combat simulations. The announcement includes release details for the English version, saying it should be available next month: "The English language version of X³: Terran Conflict will be available from retail outlets on October 3rd, and you can pre-order from the Egosoft Online Shop NOW. X³: Terran Conflict will also be available for pre-load from Steam starting on September 25th." Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Worldshift Patch

New patches for Worldshift are in the tubes to update Black Sea Studios' science-fiction RTS game to version 1.0.21. The game can automatically update itself, or manual patches for the various localized editions of the game can be found on The Patches Scrolls. The patch notes have details on the new version, which adds a new "Bridges of Trial" location, adds a limited ability to pause multiplayer games, addresses some issues with Windows Vista support, and more.

Maximum Football 2.0 Patch

Matrix Games has kicked off a new patch for Maximum Football 2.0 that brings the tackle football simulation to version 2.2.90. The new version improves some animations, overhauls the passing decision-making process for QBs, improves AI play calling and timeout usage, fixes a number of bugs, and more. They says this marks the final update for Maximum Football 2.0 "for the foreseeable future." The patch is located on this downloads page and mirrored on FileFront and Gamer's Hell.

New Free Grimm Episode

GameTap now offers The Devil and His Three Golden Hairs, this week's episode of American McGee's Grimm, the fairy tale-inspired adventure game series. As always, this episode is freely available for 24 hours, after which a purchase or subscription will be required. Here's the accompanying description of the new installment: "In this episode, a young man must prove himself worthy of marrying the king's daughter by bringing the king three hairs from the head of the devil. While on his quest through Hell, the man manages to win the affections of the devil's grandmother - yes, grandmother - and encounters a blond, thumb-sucking devil. Is it possible that Grimm thinks this tale is in need of some serious rewrites?"

Braben on Used Game Sales

The David Braben Interview on talks with the Frontier Developments boss about The Outsider, Frontier's upcoming action/adventure game, while also getting thoughts on the industry in general from the man behind the classic space trading and combat game Elite. One topic that comes up has been getting a lot of play lately; the impact of pre-owned games on the business. Apparently the Elite residual checks have slowed, as Braben says pre-owned game sales are "damaging" to single-player games, which can be sold off after completion, suggesting some sort of rental market might be a better alternative. His idea naturally includes the thought that publishers be cut in on the rental revenue stream, though it seems suggesting taking a cut of resold games would serve the same purpose.

On Kane & Lynch Reviews

Kane & Lynch: How it feels to be critically panned on GamesRadar is a conversation with Jens Peter Kurup of IO Interactive about the review scores for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, which were mixed at best. The Q&A focuses on the impact negative reviews can have on a developer's morale, but no conversation of Kane & Lynch review scores would be complete without mention of the scandal surrounding GameSpot's lukewarm review being pulled from the site and the firing of editor Jeff Gerstmann, and how this may have related to Eidos ad buys (story and story). Kurup refers to the GameSpot dust-up as a "conspiracy theory." He goes on to agree with criticisms of the game's control scheme, but takes issue with how critics did not like the characters or the story: "If you want to mirror your happy face in shining knight's armour then Kane and Lynch 1 isn’t the place to look, and people have every right to dislike that. I just don’t agree. I’m sick of likeable characters." Yes, he did say "Kane and Lynch 1." Sequel anybody?

NCsoft Europe Cuts Confirmed confirms rumors of cuts at NCsoft Europe (story), saying 58 positions are being eliminated from the Brighton-based NCsoft division, which was just absorbed into the newly formed NC West (story). They say sources have indicated to them that development, marketing, and publishing positions are being eliminated.

Political Machine 2008 Patch

The Political Machine Website has news that a new version 1.5 patch is now available for The Political Machine 2008. The new version includes a number of multiplayer enhancements, the ability to print bumper stickers and campaign pins, and the newly announced vice presidential candidates from the current US presidential election. The patch is available automatically via Stardock's Impulse platform, and a manual patch can be found on Gamer's Hell.

World in Conflict Maps Coming has news on plans to release "Arizona" and "Valley," two of the winning maps fro the official World in Conflict map contest: "The two map-makers Slepnyrl and Gozeus charmed the World in Conflict team with a well-balanced Tug of War map and a visually stunning DX10 map in the contest, so we’re very proud to announce that the maps will soon be playable on the official World in Conflict servers."

id Software Q&A

All The Rage- A Sit With id is a QUA with Tim Willits and Todd Hollenshead of id Software about Rage, the upcoming driving and shooting game. Topics include the game's dystopian environments, shifting gears to develop racing elements, engine licensing, finding PS3 developers, creating environments more open than in their past games, and more.

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