Archived News:

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2008

Spore Sales

EA announces that Spore has sold over one million units for PC, Mac, and DS since the launch of the life simulation a couple of weeks ago, and that over 25 million creatures, vehicles, and buildings have been uploaded to the Sporepedia (26,531,862 as of this writing). They also highlight the game's critical reception, pointing to its Metacritic score, which currently stands at 85.

Mac Spore Patch

The Spore Website has word that a patch is now available for the Macintosh edition of Spore. No version number is mentioned, but the change list is the same as the PC version 1.1 patch. Mac users can get the new version simply by launching the game.

MOTORM4X Offroad Extreme Demo

City Interactive now offers a playable demo for MOTORM4X Offroad Extreme, a 4x4 racing game that's due for release next month. This is an English demo in spite of the page being written in Polish (thanks Tiscali Games), and the 468 MB download is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Games On Net.

GameTap Goes Global

GameTap Partners with Metaboli to Form Global Service has news that Turner Broadcasting is partnering with online game distributor Metaboli to expand the GameTap service into Europe. This summer Turner announced they were seeking a buyer for GameTap (story), but this deal involves them managing GameTap during a transitional period, and then assuming the role of equity investor as Metaboli takes over the combined global online gaming service, which will continue to operate under the GameTap brand in the U.S. and the Metaboli brand in Europe.

Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches Next Month

Got Game Entertainment announces an October 5 release date for Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches, a first-person adventure that is based on classic Welsh legends, rather than a Fleetwood Mac song. The website has some screenshots and a trailer, as well as a "buy now" link that is presumably for preorders (though the order page says "in stock"). There is also a "play demo" link, but clicking that brings up a "coming soon" message.

Hinterland Movies

The Hinterland videos page offers a pair of new videos showing off Tilted Mill's upcoming fantasy-themed MMORPG. In one clip "A warrior and craftsman clear out a Goblin Patrol encounter," and in the other "A warrior, archer and acolyte win big after defeating a group of trolls." The videos are accompanied by a batch of new screenshots.

Red Alert 3 Q&A

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Q&A on GameSpot talks with Amer Ajami about EA's upcoming RTS sequel, focusing on the Empire of the Rising Sun. They discuss the reasons for including this new faction, their pop culture inspirations in designing it, the capabilities of the faction's units, and much more in a lengthy conversation.

Evening Previews

Into the Black

Frans has continued on his impressive roll, and more significant progress was made on the new server today. Among the noticeable changes is how the RSS feed properly now identifies itself to Firefox and MSIE. We're also set to resume a favorite feature from times gone by tomorrow, and I'm pretty confident it will be as popular now as it was then. I'd like to offer a hint, but I'd hate to give 2 much away in advance.

Atlantica Online Open Beta

The Atlantica Online Website is now accepting testers into the open beta of Atlantica Online, NDOORS' strategic turn-based MMORPG. NDOORS is taking an aggressive approach to attracting players, as the open beta includes random drawings offering the chance to win prizes like Wiis, PSPs, iPods, and thousands of dollars in cash. Prizes aside, here's a description of the game: "The strategic game play incorporated into the turn-based combat, mercenary and nation management systems will appeal to strategy and RPG players. The turn-based combat system offers players the chance to strategically plan every move of the nine characters in their group. The mercenary system gives players the chance to manage multiple characters’ development simultaneously. The town/nation management system adds a layer of strategic play where guilds establish control of cities or even countries and go to war with each other."

Tomb Raider Underworld Trailers

A few new trailers from Tomb Raider Underworld show off more gameplay from the upcoming return of curvy archaeologist Lara Croft. There's a "diving" trailer showing off some under water action (and Lara's wetsuit) on ActionTrip and FileFront. Also, a new Jungle trailer is on FileFront, though this highlights Lara's acrobatics in infiltrating a temple more than the jungle setting itself. Finally, there's a trailer promoting the game with gameplay footage on Tiscali Games that was released at this year's Eidos Moscow Summit.

Ships Ahoy - Medal of Honor 10th Anniversary Edition

EA announces in celebration of the 10th anniversary, they are now shipping the Medal of Honor 10th Anniversary Edition, a collection of the five PC games in the series. They are fudging their dates here a bit with this 10th anniversary stuff, as Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, the first PC installment in the series, was released in early 2002, and while this was preceded by two PlayStation Medal of Honor games, the first of these was released in November 1999, making this more of a ninth anniversary collection. Quibbles about the title aside, the $39..99 bundle will offer Medal of Honor Allied Assault, Medal of Honor Spearhead, Medal of Honor Breakthrough, Medal of Honor Pacific Assault Director’s Edition, and Medal of Honor Airborne (said to comprise "over 50 single player levels and dozens of multiplayer maps"), an exclusive Medal of Honor 10th Anniversary soundtrack, strategy guides "covering every mission in Medal of Honor Allied Assault." Exclusive in-game weapons, as well as documentaries, interviews with WWII veterans, behind-the-scenes footage on the making of the Medal of Honor franchise are also included.

Spore DRM Lawsuit

The Courthouse News Service has news of a class action lawsuit filed in US federal court against Electronic Arts over the digital rights management in Spore, the recently released life simulator (though their reporting of the details of the case is inaccurate). The suit is over the stealthy install of the SecuROM software, rather than the aspects of the DRM that have already been the source of controversy like activation limitations (story). Here's a bit from the court filing: "What purchasers are not told is that, included in the purchase, installation, and operation of Spore is a second, undisclosed program. The name of the second program is SecuROM, which is a form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) for computer game. Although consumers are told the game uses access control and copy protection technology, consumers are not told this technology is actually an entirely separate, stand-alone program which will download, install, and operate on their computers, along with the Spore download. Consumers are given no control, rights, or options over SecuROM. The program is uninstallable. Once installed it becomes a permanent part of the consumer's software portfolio. Even if the consumer uninstalls Spore, and entirely deletes it from their computer, SecuROM remains a fixture in their computer unless and until the consumer completely wipes their hard drive through reformatting or replacement of the drive." Thanks BingeGamer/N4G.

New Elite or Starion Info Nears?

The NeoGAF Forums have a teaser image for the upcoming issue 195 of Edge Magazine, showing a wireframe of what looks like a spacecraft, leading Videogaming247 to speculate this may tease revelations about plans to remake the classic space combat Elite. Elite co-creator David Braben has given indications in the past (story) that Frontier Developments may someday take on an Elite remake, but VG247's forum posters point out that wireframe looks more like it is from Starion, another space combat game from back in the day. Presumably we'll learn more on October 23 when the magazine hits newsstands.

Lionhead Gets Ridiculously Ambitious

As the release of Fable 2 draws near, GamesIndistry.biz has quotes from Peter Molyneux about his next game project that fit with the Lionhead designer's penchant for hyperbole. He says they've been working on their next project for a while, and will be "very, very different" from his previous games, and that "obviously it's ridiculously ambitious, but it's ridiculously ambitious in a very simple way." After talking a bit about the game, he points out he's not really talking about it: "I haven't said anything about the game to anyone, and neither should I until next year, but I think it'll surprise people."

On Brothers in Arms Violence

MTV Multiplayer speaks with Gearbox Software's Jeramy Cooke, asking the game director on Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway about the game's gruesome depiction of the violence of war as highlighted in their most recent game movie (story). An interesting aspect of the conversation is how Jeramy's late grandfather, who was in the British military for D-Day, did not approve of games like Brothers In Arms and the concept of selling a game about war. When asked if games will eventually cross "a line" with overly realistic violence, Cooke responds: "The more real it becomes, I think, in terms of graphical representation and physical representation, the more people are going to start to ask questions about ‘Is this right? How should I feel about this?’ I hope people will have that to some extent with our game. I hope they can step back from it for a minute and go ‘Why did I find that cool? Was that really a gross thing or was that something I should like?’"

Pro Duck Hunting Demo

OG Soft now offers a playable demo for Pro Duck Hunting, a sample of this game that allows you to wade into the virtual marsh to wage war on these creatures most fowl. They offer online purchase of the game if you like the demo, which is a 402 MB download which is mirrored on AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and Strategy Informer.

Depths of Peril Beta Patch

A new beta patch is now available for Depths of Peril, updating Soldak Entertainment's action/RPG to version 1.013, warning: "A beta patch means it has been tested, but not enough to be an official patch. So use at your own risk." What's new and different, mostly tweaks and bug-fixes, can be found in this change list.

Far Cry 2 Diary Movie

Gametrailers now offers part two of the Far Cry 2 diary movie highlighting the development team's research trip to Africa to research Ubisoft's upcoming first-person shooter sequel. The clip features 90 seconds of credits, an incongruous bluegrass soundtrack, and lots of travelogue footage, but very little gameplay. Along the way they learn how to tell if a female baboon is "ready for action," but we're pretty sure we don't want to know why.

German Sacred 2 Demo

A German language demo is now available for Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, ASCARON Entertainment's now-gold action/RPG. The 1.7 GB download is available on the German Sacred 2 Website, and mirrored on AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell. Playing the demo will require an understanding of German, or a lot of patience.

Gold - Sword of the Stars: A Murder of Crows

Lighthouse Interactive announces development on the A Murder of Crows expansion for Sword of the Stars is now complete, and the add-on for Kerberos Productions' 4X space strategy game will be available in the UK on October 10. Preorders are being accepted by exclusive online retailer GamersGate, where they say A Murder of Crows will be available online on October 9, and they have four new screenshots celebrating the news. Playing A Murder of Crows will require either Sword of the Stars: Collector's Edition or the Born of Blood expansion.

Gold - Commander: Napoleon at War

Slitherine Strategies announces that Commander: Napoleon at War is gold, saying they have now completed development on the sequel to Commander - Europe at War, and it will be released via Matrix Games and on the Slitherine Strategies Website on September 29. The turn-based strategy sequel will offer eight campaigns "including the Grand campaign and a number of small campaigns including France’s assault on Austria in 1805 up to the 100 days campaign ending at Waterloo in 1815."

FreeStyle Street Basketball Closing

FreeStyle Street Basketball Website has a farewell message from this subscription-free online basketball game, saying the final tip-off will be tomorrow. The announcement calls the game a "great success," which is presumably meant in that GLaDOS sense, given the game's demise. No reason for the closure is offered, but the game is operated by Sierra, and their projects have been on the bubble since Sierra parent Vivendi merged with Activision to form Activision Blizzard. Thanks MxxCon.

Ships Ahoy - Nostradamus: The Last Prophecy

Encore Software announces that Nostradamus: The Last Prophecy is shipping to stores, just as Michel de Nostredame predicted in 1552. The Machiavellian adventure game features puzzles based on astrology, alchemy, pharmacy and ancient runes, as well as the opportunity to dress in drag, so there's basically something for everyone. Word is: "During your search, you encounter a series of murders and political intrigue that could destroy the French royal family. Use only your wits and courage to save Renaissance France, changing the course of history!"

The Witcher Strands of Destiny: Deception Mod

The Strands of Destiny Website offers the debut release of the Deception modification for The Witcher, CD Projekt RED's RPG. The mod adds a new area, a new story with 4-5 hours of gameplay, new art, new voice acting, and more. Downloads of the mod are mirrored on ComputerGames.ro and Gamer's Hell.

On Fallout 3 Mod Tools

Pete Hines On Fallout 3 Mods on Rock, Paper, Shotgun talks with the Bethesda Softworks spokesman about Fallout 3, the upcoming RPG sequel. They discuss the game, their perspective on cynicism towards the project, and mod support, which Pete says hasn't been ruled out, just because it won't be included out of the box: "Is that to say it’ll never come out? No, I’ll never say that. If we have the time, we’d absolutely like to put them out… It’s just the tools take time. They don’t magically appear. Someone’s got to write help files for what all the scripts do, and get it released as a consumer product. Because it’s not in that state otherwise. Developers will make do with anything."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

More hard work by Frans today resulted in some further improvements around here, and some account cleanup on the forums, where a handful of spam posts had shown up. These were pruned as were their accounts, along with a staggering 20,000-some accounts registered by spam bots that hadn't managed to make any posts. Prevention being the best cure, the tireless Frans then implemented a Captcha system to thwart such automated sign-ups. No word on any internet pharmacies or ED drug manufacturers have gone out of business as a result.

Pruned Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Sniper Duty.
Link: Hacking the Esquire E-ink Cover.
Stories: Strippers by the pool- Vegas casinos get sexier. Thanks Devicer.
'Hail cannon' has neighbors ready to explode. Thanks brother19.
Science: Aging Brains Respond Less Strongly to Rewards.
Hunting Gear Taps Into What a Deer Sees, and Doesn’t. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: The Show Must Go On. Talk about grace under fire.
Mortal Kombat ... like you've never wanted to see it before.
Josh Groban 2008 Emmys TV Show Theme Songs.
Follow-ups: Polar bears resort to cannibalism as Arctic ice shrinks.
New Salvo in Splenda Skirmish.
The Funnies: xkcd - A Webcomic - Spore
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