Archived News:

Thursday, Jan 22, 2009

PC Dark Sector in Russia

As noted on this page for the Russian edition of Dark Sector, the rumored PC edition of Dark Sector is now available for sale in Russia. A translation of the page gives the rundown on all this in English, and the page clearly shows the PC-DVD markings on the box, and offers PC system requirements. Digital Extremes has still not commented on any of this, and it is not clear if the Windows edition is headed to other territories. For the record, the system requirements include Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or the Athlon 64 equivalent, 1 GB RAM, and a DirectX 9.0c/Shader 3.0-capable graphics card. Thanks Roman.

Layoffs at Black Box & ACES

Report: EA Black Box Lays Off Majority of Staff on Gamasutra has word that upward of 200 of the 350 employees at the one-time developer of the Need for Speed series have been let go, which had been hinted at already. Gamasutra also reports that Microsoft has let go a large portion of the development team at ACES Studio, the internal group behind the Microsoft Flight Simulator series.

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix Demo

A downloadable demo for Puzzle Quest: Galactrix offers another sample of the sci-fi puzzle RPG dealie that also has a limited flash online demo. The downloadable demo debuted on Big Download, and mirrors are now available from AtomicGamer,, FilePlanet (registration required), and Gamer's Hell.

Ships Ahoy - Mayhem Intergalactic

Steam announces the release of Mayhem Intergalactic on Steam, an independently developed turn-based strategy game from Inventive Dingo. For the first week, they are offering the game at a 50% discount. Word is: "Wage war on your friends and enemies in this simple and engaging strategy game. Easy to learn and quick to play, Mayhem Intergalactic is surprisingly strategic. Play against the computer, or duke it out with friends over the internet. The universe shall be yours!"

I Am Alive Delay

Videogaming247 has word that of Ubisoft's post-earnings conference today included the revelation that I Am Alive is delayed, and the survival game is now part of the Fiscal 2010 lineup that's due before March 2010. You may recall the game was listed with a Q1 2009 release date just yesterday, so we're pretty sure this is some sort of record for quickest delay announcement ever.

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Ebook

The cdv Software Entertainment Website now offers free downloads of a Sacred 2: Fallen Angel "ebook" called Art and Vision. Word is: "As a free gift to fans of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, cdv Software Entertainment USA and Ascaron Entertainment are making available an e-book of the game's 'Art and Vision' today. This lushly illustrated e-book showcases hand-drawn character designs, renders and other artistic creations from the game's diverse universe, while also showcasing the progression of Sacred 2: Fallen Angel from an imaginative vision to an incredibly compelling RPG for next-generation consoles and PC."

Grimm Postmortem

There's a Postmortem of American McGee's Grimm on Gamasutra, though this is perhaps more of a mid-mortem, as eight episodes in the series are yet to be released, and the text of this article suggests it was written before the recent release of the eight episode season two. The article discusses what went right and wrong in development of the episodic adventure series, describing the technical hurdle of using skeletal meshes with the UE3 engine, the ups and downs of working in China, and more. An interesting element is how the game suffered a bit from some nebulous roles in the leadership of the project, which seems odd for a game with a designer's name in the title.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

It was 25 years ago today that this commercial (directed by Ridley Scott) had its single nationwide US television broadcast during the Super Bowl.

New NVIDIA Drivers

New version 181.22 ForceWare reference drivers are now available for GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, and 200-series desktop GPUs. These WHQL-certified drivers are "recommended for the best GPU PhysX experience in EA’s hot PC title Mirror’s Edge." There are new drivers for Windows XP, Windows XP x64, Windows Vista 32-bit, and Windows Vista 64-bit. Thanks Aemaeth.

Assassin's Creed 2 This Year & New Ghost Recon

Edge Online reports on Ubisoft's post-earnings conference call, in which Ubi CEO Yves Guillemot confirms development of an Assassin's Creed sequel and a new Ghost Recon game. Both games are on Ubi's schedule for release during fiscal 2010, which ends March 2010, but Guillemot expresses the goal of getting Assassin's Creed 2 out before the end of this year, praising the first game in the stealth action series for outstripping their sales expectations. He also apparently unofficially revealed plans for Red Steel II, a sequel to their Wii shooter. No title was revealed for the new Ghost Recon game. Thanks Mike Martinez.

H.A.W.X. Movies

Two new trailers from Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. show off some of the high flying action in the upcoming aerial combat game. There's an "extreme maneuvers" clip that's posted on ActionTrip, BiTT News, and Gamer's Hell. There's also an "air-to-air attack" clip that can be found on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, BiTT News, and Gamer's Hell.

Assault on Dark Athena Trailer

A new "desperation" trailer from The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena offers the lesson of the "opportunities" desperation can provide, which basically seems to be the opportunity to shoot people in the coming return of the Diesel-powered shooter series. The clip is posted on ActionTrip, BiTT News, AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, MyGameTrailers, and Strategy Informer.

Ubisoft Sales Up

MCV outlines Ubisoft's latest financial reporting, saying its €508 million in sales for the third quarter of 2008-09 is an increase of 12.9% (or 17% per cent at constant exchange rates) over last year, and Ubi's sales totals for the first nine months of fiscal 2008-09 total €852 million, an increase of 19.8% (24.8% at constant exchange rates). These results beat their projections, with Far Cry 2 and Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party each selling well, though Prince of Persia did not perform up to expectations. They offer outlook on this from Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot: "I think everyone was holding their breath a little going into the holiday season but in the end the video game industry did well, showing software sales growth in the UK of 23 per cent and consoles sales growth of 14 per cent and that is good news. At Ubisoft, we were confident that we had a line-up that offered games of quality to a diverse audience. And the results show the solidity of our line-up. We came out of the season with 17 per cent growth (at a constant exchange rate) over last year and we are pleased that we were able to outperform our targets. We are now looking forward to 2009 with our line-up aimed at continuing offering quality and innovative gameplay to the widest possible audience."

Microsoft to cut 5,000

Microsoft will be cutting 5,000 jobs following an 11 per cent year-on-year decline in net profit, reports MCV. They say some 1,400 employees will be let go immediately, with 3,600 cuts to follow over the next 18 months, which they hope will save them around $1.5 billion a year. Microsoft is not commenting at this time whether any of these cuts will hit the Xbox operations of its Entertainment and Devices Division.

Free amBX PC SDK

The amBX Developer Website now offers free downloads of a PC SDK for amBX, the technology that uses special peripherals to create environmental rumble, wind, and lighting effects for games. This is not very widely supported yet, but freeing up the SDK may help change that. Here's word on this software development kit: "It makes amBX very approachable and this is a major step forward in game development. The whole point of amBX is to immerse the player deeper into the game and the amBX SDK now allows developers to harness and control the most powerful immersion experience available in their games. The SDK makes a rather complex operation very simple at extremely low cost."

StarCraft and Brood War Patched

Blizzard Support now offers another new patch for StarCraft and its Brood War expansion, continuing the relentless support for the old school RTS game. The new version 1.61 patch address a few bugs and introduces a CPU throttling feature, in case anyone finds that appealing. The patch is currently only available for Windows, the MacOS patch is said to be "coming soon." The game and add-on can both be updated automatically via, and the manual StarCraft patch is available on ActionTrip and AtomicGamer; while the manual Brood War patch is posted on ActionTrip and AtomicGamer.

New Spore Plans

EA doubles down on the Spore franchise with a series of new 2009 spin-offs outlines the next steps for the Spore franchise, which include more details on the new Spore Galactic Adventures expansion pack, and word on plans for a new game for youngsters called Spore Creature Keeper. They also have aspirations for a Wii game called Spore Creature Heroes and a Spore game for the DS. Here's word on Galactic Adventures: "If you don’t like these so-called Planet Adventures, or if you play them until you get tired of them, you can create your own adventures using what EA calls an Adventure Creator. You can use that tool to essentially script out your own adventure. Bradshaw says many of these ideas came from fans, who have uploaded more than 65 million creatures and other creations to the Sporepedia. With the Adventure Creator, you can pretty much give a make-over to the planet using a drag-and-drop interface and dictate what happens on it." Also, VideoGamer reports that Maxis had plans to create a story-based expansion, a plan that changed based on user feedback: "The original idea, I can't go into detail but it was more of a fiction that gets layered over all of the games. Every game had a little bit of a layer, some added fiction on top. But the assets just kept coming in, and the community feedback and the critics feedback was just, 'More gameplay, more to do'." Also, Big Download Blog has some quotes from EA Maxis about the new projects.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Demo

The F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin demo is now available, offering the promised sample of Monolith's horror-themed first-person shooter sequel. The demo hasn't shown up on the official website yet, but the 1.76 GB download can be found on, AtomicGamer, AusGamers Files,, eXp Download, FanGaming, Gamer's Hell, and Games On Net.

Experience Lives

The Whole Experience, Inc makes the surprising revelation that they've revived Experience, the science fiction first-person shooter they first announced a decade ago. We have three new screenshots from the game, which is set on a planet called Dagoth Moor, where you are the Quagmire, the planetary custodian. They will be revealing more soon, but in the meantime, here is the basic plot: "One massive Exod plant was discovered by the Seers of the Renmus tribe. This plant was different than anything they had ever seen before and it was moved into the safety of their cave. For nearly a generation the plant continued to grow there in the Seers home cavern. The elder Seer had heard of an old prophecy claiming that in a time of need at the end of the world a stranger would come and restore balance to the planet. There inside the massive Exod plant your body has finally grown and it is time to fulfill that prophecy."

World of Warcraft Patch Woes

WoW Insider reports on the new World of Warcraft update in a report they are calling: "The disaster of patch 3.0.8." They describe numerous problems, and state: "In short, patch 3.0.8 has been a disaster. If Blizzard feels that this patch lives up to the quality of content they released in Northrend (or if they, unbelievably, somehow though this was meant to be a bugfix patch for Northend, that ended up screwing up more things than it fixed), then they need to take a long, hard look at their quality assurance system again." Thanks Massively.

All Aspect Warfare Website

A new All Aspect Warfare Website dedicated to All Aspect Warfare is live as a home for 3000AD's upcoming science fiction action combat game. The site includes a new developer's blog on how the game is progressing, and offers a whole bunch of new screenshots from a beta version of the game.

Pirate Galaxy Announced

European MMOG publisher gamigo AG announces Pirate Galaxy, a 3D browser-based MMORPG with a science fiction theme that's currently in beta testing. The Pirate Galaxy Website is live with information, screenshots, and a trailer from the game, and word is beta testing will open to all in the coming weeks. In spite of being entirely browser-based, they express confidence that the game will offer a state-of-the-art experience. As for gameplay, word is: "In the game, the player takes the role of a daring starship pilot, exploring the galaxy and outlying planets, hunting for worthwhile crystals and artefacts and fighting with other players against malevolent alien species."

Mirror's Edge Afterthoughts

Mirror's Edge Afterthoughts from is a Q&A with Tom Farrer from DICE about Mirror's Edge, their parkour action game. They discuss the reasoning behind why things are done the way they are in the game, and along the way get a hint about an Easter egg: "There is one particularly odd one. There is something you can do on level 8 that causes a rat the size of a bus to run down the street. It is so obscure, though, so I doubt anyone will find it."

Zeno Clash Interview

The Zeno Clash Interview on Mod DB talks with ACE Team about Zeno Clash, their upcoming melee combat game. They discuss the trials and tribulations of being an independent developer, how they transitioned from mod development, their use of the Source engine, creating proper first-person sighting mechanics, and more. More details about game mechanics are promised in an upcoming second part of this interview.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

So I'm driving MrsBlue to the train station yesterday when we had a bit of a scare. As we approached a couple of cars waiting at a traffic light, our car demonstrated a noticeable reluctance to stop, even though we were going all of about 10 mph. I could feel the anti-lock brakes pumping, but I don't think it was due to the road being slippery, I think it may have been ice on our brakes, but either way, it was a real heart-stopping moment as we came this close (picture me holding my fingers really close together) to tapping the car in front of us as I stood on the brake pedal with both feet. Obviously a collision at that speed would have been trivial (all jokes about the other driver claiming whiplash aside), but that was still far too much excitement for first thing in the morning, or any other time for that matter.

Slippery Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Grow Tower. Thanks Jay is Games.
SAS Zombie Assault.
Links: Left 4 Dead Proposal. Thanks Kotaku.
True Art Crime Heist- Case of the Stolen Rembrandt. Thanks Digg.
Stories: Canada’s Hokey Pokey cause of England dust up.
Rising fame for Obama 'lookalike'. Thanks brother19.
Science: Researchers tout wireless microgrippers.
Warming in Antarctica Looks Certain.
Acupuncture 'works for headaches'.
Images: Obama inauguration viewed from space.
Media: Zero Coordination- The n00b effect. NSFW.
Bratz Dolls Give Girls Unrealistic Expectations Of Head Size.
ReacTable Role Gaming.
The Funnies: Geeked: "A Sad Day."
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