Archived News:

Friday, Oct 31, 2008 Boo! Happy Halloween

On Mercenaries Sequels

Mercenaries 3 unmasked on GameSpot has a quote from EA's sequel-hating CEO John Riccitiello from yesterday's earnings call about continuing Pandemic's Mercenaries series beyond the current second installment. According to JR: "There will be a Mercenaries 3 and, if I have anything to do with it, there will be a Mercenaries 10."

WildTangent Cuts

Gamasutra reports that casual game developer WildTangent has closed its internal development team, and laid off about 20% of its workforce. The company is primarily a publisher, and will continue in this vein. The report also indicates that cofounder Alex St. John has stepped down from his role as CEO, though he continues on as chairman.

Red Alert 3 Patches

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Website now offers new version 1.02 patches for the various language editions of the real-time strategy sequel. Word is: "This patch for Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 corrected aggressive patch checks that could result in main menu sluggishnes [sic]." Though they are offering manual patches, they strongly recommend using the game's auto-update function if possible. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Interview

A New Galaxy- Daniel Erickson On Writing The Old Republic on Gamasutra is a conversation with BioWare Austin lead writer Daniel Erickson. Though the conversation touches on his work on Star Wars: The Old Republic, the upcoming Star Wars MMORPG, it focuses more on his career path from game journalist to game developer, and the BioWare method of writing for games.

Call of Duty: World at War Interview, Preview

Call of Duty: World at War Interview on Games On Net is a video interview with Noah Heller, senior producer on Call of Duty: World at War, the latest installment in the military shooter series currently being completed at Treyarch Studios. The article also offers a preview of the World War II game, talking about gameplay, graphics, and the new cooperative multiplayer support.

Jumpgate Evolution Movie

Limited Edition, a comic book-oriented blog, has several minutes of new footage from Jumpgate Evolution from their attendance of Eurogamer Expo 2008. Completionists will be pleased to know the video begins at the author's home, and traces his trip to the show. Those more focused on the game can find the ShakyCam footage of NetDevil's space combat remake beginning at about the 2:20 mark. The camerawork is not too steady, but it was obviously shot with a good camera, because the clip still does a good job of showing off the game's graphics. Thanks Massively.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Trick or treat!

Penumbra Collection Announced

Paradox Interactive celebrates Halloween by announcing the Penumbra Collection, all three installments in Frictional Games' horror-oriented series compiled under one penumbrella for release early next year. The collection includes the survival/horror game Penumbra: Overture and its sequel Penumbra: Black Plague as well as the puzzle-oriented expansion Penumbra: Requiem.

Alien Breed Revival

Develop reports Team17 is working on a revival of Alien Breed, a top-down action shooter unofficially influenced by the Aliens movie. Alien Breed was released for the Amiga in 1991 and for PC in 1993, and Team17 studio director Martyn Brown informs them that a new Alien Breed game has been in the works for several months and a release is expected next year, but that this is more than just a remake, saying: "I think it's safe to say that it's perhaps one of the larger indie digital titles to date and has pretty high production values." More details are expected early next year when press previews begin, but in the meantime, they offer this statement on the topic from Brown: "It's something we've always wanted to do, and despite being exceptionally close on a number of occasions to getting the right deal on various platforms, it never worked out. Fortunately sci-fi action is back in fashion, and we look forward to delivering Alien Breed - the details of which may surprise a few people when we cough them out."

EA Denies Spielberg Game Firings

Eurogamer reports that EA has "categorically" denied rumors of layoffs of staff working on a secret Steven Spielberg game. They say the publisher informs them development continues on the game, which Eurogamer calls an "emotional action-adventure for Xbox 360 and PS3."

Golden Joystick Winners

Gamesindiustry.biz reports the results of today's Golden Joystick Awards, recognizing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare the big winner at the show, as Infinity Ward's military shooter sequel won a number of the individually sponsored game of the year awards, as somewhere along the way the show seems to have been subdivided into categories like the "Activision Blizzard Retailer of the Year" and the "Official Playstation Magazine High Definition PlayStation Game of the Year."

MotoGP 08 Installation Warning

Pwn or Die Blog has news of an issue with the Windows edition of MotoGP 08. Owners of the just-released motorcycle racing game are warned not to change the default directory when installing the game. Problems caused by changing the default installation location are not specified, but the warning is reminiscent of a problem seen more than once over the years where uninstalling a program with a buggy installation routine from a custom location could remove other files from the system. A patch is promised over the next few days to correct whatever issue underlies this warning. Thanks Mike Martinez.

Gold - NWN2: Storm of Zehir

Atari and Wizards of the Coast announce that development is complete on Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, and Obsidian Entertainment's now-gold D&D RPG expansion will be available worldwide sometime next month. Here's a bit about the add-on: "The 20 to 30-hour campaign in Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir introduces new classes, including the fearsome Hellfire Warlock and the daring Swashbuckler, as well as brand-new spells, creatures, and playable races. Fans of the compelling multiplayer features of Neverwinter Nights 2 will be able to play through Storm of Zehir's campaign in the online cooperative mode, while modders can use the included editor to create their own campaigns and Overland Maps to share online."

Tomb Raider: Underworld Demo

The playable demo for the Windows edition of Tomb Raider: Underworld is now available, after appearing online yesterday before being quickly yoinked again. Download locations can be found on the Eidos Forums, where there's a warning: "Do not bother with the torrent download since it seems to be corrupted." Word on the demo is: "The demo will have players travelling to the western coast of Thailand - the second destination in Tomb Raider: Underworld - to experience a taste of the adventure that is to come. Gamers can master steep coastal cliffs, navigate perilous and crumbling ruins, evade vicious wild animals and use state-of-the-art gear such as the grapple or the new Field Assistance System to create and uncover paths that will take players deep into the challenging wilds of Thailand." Additional download locations can be found on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, AusGamers, Big Download, ComputerGames.ro, FanGaming, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Streaming Golden Joysticks

The Golden Joystick Awards Website has word that today's gaming awards ceremony can be viewed live via an internet stream. The awards show kicks off at 2:00 pm GMT, which is about 20 minutes from now.

Dante's Inferno Game Revealed

Variety.com has word on plans for a video game based on Dante's Inferno, the first cantica in Dante's Divine Comedy. There aren't many details for the game, as it has not yet been announced, but its existence comes to light because EA has been shopping the idea of a film tie-in with the property to movie studios. It is therefore not clear what sort of game this is, what platforms it targets, or where it is in development. They do report the game will offer a "modern interpretation" of the epic poem, and that it is due for release late next year.

EA's Takeover Tab

The price tag for EA's recent attempt to take over Take-Two Interactive is about $21 million, reports Variety.com, noting EA's financial reports yesterday included an unusual $21 million line item: "Certain abandoned acquisition-related costs."

Belgium Outlaws Game Rentals

Kotaku reports that game rentals have been outlawed in Belgium, where the Belgian Entertainment Association has gotten legislation passed to help protect the bottom line of its member organizations. According to a story translated from De Standaard Online, shops were not allowed to acquire new games to rent out beginning this past June, and will no longer be allowed to rent out their old games after December 1. This is probably being watched with great interest elsewhere, as many interviews with developers and publishers discuss the impact of rentals on game sales, though used game sales seem to be an even greater target of ire.

Battleforge Beta Signups

EA announces the Battleforge Website is now accepting signups from those interested in beta testing Battleforge, Phenomic's upcoming game that combines elements of collectible card games and real-time strategy. The game is set to launch early next year, and the beta is slated to kick off on November 7, and players in North America looking to guarantee a slot in the beta can preorder the game. Word is: "In BattleForge, players use virtual trading cards to build the perfect army and lay waste to their foes. The cards are the tools of war each representing a unit, building or spell that is conjured directly onto the RTS battlefield. They enable you to customise and combine factions, and play with a unique army of your own design. With no base building and production queues BattleForge players are instantly immersed into fast-paced RTS action."

Rumor: Steven Spielberg Game Layoffs - Updated

Update: EA has denied this rumor Original Story: Videogaming247 reports hearing a rumor of layoffs for the team at work on the Steven Spielberg game at EALA, following the announcement of significant workforce cuts at EA yesterday. The status of the project known by the code name "LMNOP" (Layoffs Mean No One Plays?) is uncertain, but since this game was not officially announced, there was not much certainty here before this rumor. They do not identify their source, but say they've heard that "almost everyone on the team has gone."

Unknown Revealed

How Frictional Games Does Frightening Without Fighting on Gamasutra is a Halloween-appropriate interview talking with the folks behind the horror-themed Penumbra series. They discuss the way the Penumbra games unfolded and the way the episodic format of the series shifted as they changed publishers. They also discuss the studios' next project that they recently teased, a more action-oriented game called Unknown, though this means more action-oriented for them, but it does not make it an action game: "Now this is not necessarily bad, and we still want to have some more complex puzzles in Unknown too -- but we want the base of the gameplay to consist of action.... without adding tons of pickaxes, shotguns and roaming zombies."

Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge for the Holidays

Tri Synergy announces they will publish Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge in North America, saying the turn-based strategy game will be available this holiday season. Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge once carried the title Jagged Alliance 3D and later JAZZ: Hired Guns, and a playable demo for the game was released this past summer. Here's a bit on the game: "Tons of firepower will let your team destroy anything standing, but smooth talk and a wad of bills can also go a long way towards ensuring success. With multiple story lines and endings, you’re in total control of your own fate."

Three-Day WoW Downtime Credit

WoW Insider has word that all World of Warcraft players with active accounts on US, Oceanic, Latin American, European, or Russian realms will get a free three-day credit added to their accounts to compensate for the extended downtime that occurred when Blizzard updated the servers for their MMORPG to the recent version 3.02. Thanks nin.

Warhammer Online Free Character Transfers

Warhammer Online Announces that in the coming days Mythic will offer free character transfers from lower population servers to those with higher populations. They have a list of source and destination servers in both North America and Oceana, saying players can move to any available destination server based on rule set. The program will also allow the transfer of guilds, warning they "encourage guild leaders to take their time when preparing to transfer their guild as it cannot be reversed." Thanks Mick.

GTA4 PC Delay Confirmed

IGN has a confirmation of the delay for the PC edition of Grand Theft Auto IV, which is indeed now expected on December 2. They also elaborate on the recently released specs for the PC edition, which are now divided into minimum and recommended systems, with the recommended specs including an Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4Ghz or AMD Phenom X3 2.1Ghz CPU and a 512MB NVIDIA 8600 or ATI 3870 graphics card.

Legendary Release Dates

Spark Unlimited follows up on recent reports that Legendary is delayed, confirming a setback for this first-person shooter based on the myth of Pandora's Box and detailing when the release is expected. The new schedule calls for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions to ship on November 4, and the PC edition to ship on November 18. The announcement is accompanied by some new screenshots.

Jutland Nears

The Storm Eagle Studios Home (which may be Netscape enhanced) has new release information for Jutland, their upcoming World War I naval combat game. This sequel to Distant Guns was announced with a Fall 2007 release date, but it is now expected later this fall. Here's a bit on what this game looks to accomplish: "JUTLAND pushes the envelope of the real time 3D military simulations with the most realistic ballistics ever created in a commercial war-game. Every shell fired is physically introduced into the 3D Battle-Space, where it follows a true-to-life trajectory all the way to the target. If the shell actually hits the target in the 3D world, it must then penetrate the armor of the ship's hull, deck, or turret based on the thickness at the impact point."

Spider-Man Web Of Shadows Patch

The Spider-Man Web Of Shadows Website offers a patch for Treyarch's new superhero game, bringing all language editions to version 1.1. The new version addresses two specific stability issues and a problem with NVIDIA 7000-series accelerators, adds new video options to improve performance, and incorporates other general performance improvements. Save games from version 1.0 will still work after updating, and this patch is "highly recommended." Thanks Mitch-dk.

Hinterland Update

Steam News has word on a new free update for Hinterland available via Steam. The Halloween-themed update for Tilted Mill's strategic RPG adds new characters, followers, buildings, enemies, and items.

FIFA 09 Database Update

An update for the FIFA Manager 09 Database is now available to ensure that when you bend it like Beckham, he's wearing this week's uniform. The update is available from AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria Diary

A new developer diary video for The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria is online with more on the upcoming MMORPG expansion. Word is: "In this new video Cardell Kerr, Creative Director, and Ryan Bednar, Lead Game Systems Designer, discuss the two new classes to be added to the game with Mines of Moria – the Warden and the Rune-keeper." The movie is found on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and MyGameTrailers.

The Lord of the Rings Conquest Movie

A new The Lord of the Rings Conquest movie is online as a consolation prize for the just-announced delay to Pandemic's Tolkien-inspired action game. The clip is posted on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and MyGameTrailers.

Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Boo! Happy Halloween! As is our usual dorky way we are going to dress up the doggies for this evening to delight and amuse the trick-or-treaters and their parents. One or two children are invariably frightened by the pups as well, but nobody ever gets too badly traumatized, so I guess that's just the trick part in action. Anyway, hopefully I'll be more on top of things today than I was yesterday so I can wrap things up early enough to hand out some candy.

Candied Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Halloween Bubble.
GraveShift. Thanks Jay is Games.
Zombie Baseball.
Links: Best Video Game Pumpkins & Jack-O-Lanterns. Thanks Digg.
Exceptional Nerd-tastic Pumpkin Carvings.
Stories: Coventry man has transformed a front yard into a blood-and-gore spectacle.
A Future for Futurama? Thanks Digg.
Science: Enceladus Rev 91 Flyby (Preview of Cassini Spacecraft Activities Around Saturn). Thanks Jim.
Real-life Tony Starks. Thanks scorsese.fan.
Media: Macintosh Virus Discovered. And the Oscar goes to…
Awesome Stop Motion Mega Man.
The Price is Fail.
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