Archived News:

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009

Stargate Worlds Status

Gamasutra has quotes from Kevin Balentine, senior marketing manager at Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, responding to recent reports suggesting the troubled MMOG may not see the light of day. Balentine says the lights are still open, and they have people working on Stargate Worlds seven days a week, though he does grant they are dealing with tightened belts:
"It’s true that the production of Stargate Worlds has been significantly impacted by the greatest worldwide economic downturn in decades, but we are still raising enough money from angel investors to keep the dev team working.

"We are currently negotiating several deals that will cover our financial responsibilities and fund the remainder of development. When we sign those deals, you’ll hear about it. Until then, we’ll keep building Stargate Worlds, because right now, that’s the only thing that matters to us."

On Cryptic's Third, Cryptic Game

Two new trailers are now available for Champions Online, Cryptic's upcoming superhero MMORPG. There is a baffling "New Year's Trailer" (showing how boring peace can be in a game like this) posted on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell; and there's a new "Day as a Developer" clip posted on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell outlining what the production department does at Cryptic, with Jack Emmert making a cryptic comment about a third hitherto unannounced project Cryptic has in the works besides Champions Online and Star Trek Online. A later segment features Thomas Foss, lead content designer on that unannounced project. He describes the rapid prototyping stage they are currently in for this game, as the development team currently only consists of a half-dozen members. He concludes saying "maybe real soon I can show you what's going on." This presumably relates to the In Development images on the Cryptic Studios Website.

Mid-Week Sales

Steam News has word that every Strategy First game they sell is on sale for 50% off its regular price between now and April 13. They also have a complete bundle of their entire 26-game Strategy First catalogue for $74.99, which is $104.75 off the regular price. Also, Direct2Drive is offering GRID for $5.00 off through the end of the week as well as $20.00 off their Company of Heroes Complete Bundle Download (North America Only), which includes Company of Heroes Gold and Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor. The CoH bundle is to be released tomorrow.

Warhammer Online Quartermaster System

The Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Forums have a post from a few days back outlining a new Quartermaster program for RvR combat in Mythic's MMORPG designed to increase participation. They are looking for feedback on a plan that would award tokens for RvR combat that can be traded with Quartermasters for special items. Thanks IncGamers.

Jumpgate Evolution Trailer, Specs

As announced in this press release, a new gameplay movie from Jumpgate Evolution is now available on the Jumpgate Evolution Website. The press release offers a detailed description of the clip, as well as a discussion of NetDevil's efforts at keeping the system specifications for the game within reach. Here are those specs:
Minimum Specifications:

Windows XP/Vista, Intel P4 1.4GHz or better (2GHz if using Vista), 512MB RAM (1GB if using Vista), 64MB Graphics Card, Direct X® 9.0c, Broadband connection, 2x DVD ROM Drive, 8GB free hard disk space.

Recommended Specifications:

Windows XP/Vista, Dual-core Intel Pentium D, 2GB RAM, 256MB Graphics card with vertex and pixel shader capability.

Increased performance will be noticed on more powerful systems.
For full system requirements please visit http://www.codemasters.com/support.
Not compatible with all integrated sound/graphics solutions (inc. laptops).

New Project Aftermath & Demo

Gamesfaction now offers a new version 1.17 of Project Aftermath as well as a new version 1.17 demo for this arcade RTS game. The update fixes "a potential crash on mission 5 when you collect your 4th hero." The version 1.17 patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and The Patches Scrolls; and the new demo is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and The Patches Scrolls.

Wolverine Trailer

A new movie from X-Men Origins: Wolverine is called a gameplay trailer from Raven's upcoming superhero movie tie-in, though Wolverine's battle with a couple of helicopters looks cinematic from here. The clip is posted on ActionTrip and AtomicGamer. Also, MTV Multiplayer has a quick explanation of "why Wolverine wears indestructible pants."

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Impulse Phase 3 Launches

The Impulse Website announces that Phase 3 of the Impulse digital distribution platform is now live, offering a new user interface, new features, and new developer tools. Here's the list of new features:
1. The Impulse client has had its user interface significantly improved and updated with features such as player rankings, achievements, intelligent match-making, and more. It also includes a new tray application that lets users track friends, receive update notifications, and much more.
2. The beta of Impulse Anywhere, a new web-based method for users whose home Internet connections are non-ideal to download their software on another machine, take the files home and install them.
3. The release of Impulse Reactor, a development platform that lets users add many new features to their games without having to re-distribute a third-party client (i.e. users don’t have to distribute the Impulse client). Impulse Reactor includes features such as intelligent match-making, multiplayer tournament support, NAT negotiation, friend lists, rankings, community features and much more. Gas Powered Games’ much anticipated PC game, Demigod, is being released next week and makes full use of Impulse Reactor.
4. Impulse Reactor Overlay, an in-game overlay that lets users instantly access chat, friends lists, profile data, micro-expansions, and more. Demigod will also be the first title to make full use of this.
5. Game Object Obfuscation (Goo) - An alternative method for developers to protect their intellectual property. Goo allows developers to associate licenses with people rather than their PCs which will eliminate the issue of “limited activations”. It also provides the underpinnings to support vendor neutral software downloads and transferring of licenses.

Steam Sacred 2 Patch Next Week

The Sacred 2 Forum has a thread concerning the whereabouts of the Steam edition of the version 2.40 patch for Sacred 2: Fallen Angel released last week (thanks Dave). The thread has a post made today by Ascaron's Anca Adelina Finta explaining that there is apparently one person capable of making the patch steam-worthy, who is not going to be available until next week:
I hate to bring the bad news, but we want you to be informed.

The Steam version will come next week because the Steam employee who has to change the version to be compatible with Steam is not in the house until next week.

We are very sorry, but there is nothing we can change about it.

Hinterland: Orc Lords Next Month

Got Game Entertainment announces Hinterland: Orc Lords is due for release in North America in the first week of May. This comes just a month after their last release date announcement, which promised Tilted Mill's fantasy themed RTS/RPG would be released in March. No reason for the delay is offered, but full details on the game can be found on the official Hinterland website.

The Secret World Details

Funcom follows on their recent ARG and movie for The Secret World by issuing a fact sheet with some new details on what to expect from this upcoming MMORPG. Meanwhile, there is also a preview/interview about the game on Vault Hub. The fact sheet is posted on Ten Ton Hammer describing the game's realistic environments and its class and level-free progression, as well as the following bits on gameplay:
Play how you want to play: The Secret World begins where other MMOs end. Start out as a modern-day hero and fight terrifying monsters - and feel powerful and in control from the moment you begin. Select from open-world missions that are tailored to your play style, whether you want to simply kill monsters, sabotage their lairs, embark on high-stake bounty hunts or investigate the hidden mysteries and dark conspiracies behind the secret societies that rule the world.

Enter the secret world:
The divide between reality and the supernatural is weakening. What begins as an evening at the local nightclub can become a night of terror now that ancient creatures stalk the streets. Face unspeakable horrors and explore unknown worlds beyond our own, or fight for control of the hollow-earth as you unravel the truth behind the legends and myths of our world.

Ships Ahoy - Assault on Dark Athena

Atari announces The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is now available in North America, offering Starbreeze Studios' follow-up to The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, as well as a remake of that first-person shooter tie-in with the Riddick movies. Playable demos of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions are available on their respective networks, and we've been reassured that an unannounced Windows demo is eventually coming, too. Here's word:
The Chronicles of Riddick Assault on Dark Athena contains a brand new full-length Riddick campaign in addition to a high-definition pixel-by-pixel remake of the universally acclaimed title Escape from Butcher Bay. In addition to the thrilling, visceral single player action, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena brings Riddick into the multiplayer arena for the first time, with six intense online multiplayer combat modes including the unique Pitch Black mode.

Reprising his role as Riddick, Vin Diesel brings his unique vocal talent to The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, creating a powerful anti-hero with a talent for chilling one-liners. Diesel is joined by a high caliber cast of actors including Lance Henriksen, Wade Williams, William Morgan Sheppard, and Michelle Forbes who brings depth and weary malevolence to Riddick’s chief adversary on the Dark Athena, Captain Revas. Starbreeze Studios’ proprietary ‘vo-cap’ technology ensures that every nuance of the actors’ vocal and physical performance ends up in the game, creating a uniquely absorbing experience.

In The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena the player takes the role of Riddick, as played by Diesel, using stealth and action to overcome the merciless crew of the predatory Merc-ship Dark Athena which awaits its prey in the dark reaches of space. Cheating death through a series of spectacular battles and events, Riddick will fight for his life amid a storm of malevolence and horror. The Chronicles of Riddick series of games takes the player deeper into the universe of Universal Pictures’ films The Chronicles of Riddick and cult classic Pitch Black, which first introduced Diesel as enigmatic anti-hero.

Ships Ahoy - Flock

Steam announces Flock is now available for online purchase, and the offbeat platformer is now available via Impulse as well. Word is: "Protect your cornfields and lock up your livestock, because FLOCK is here! Pilot a UFO around vibrantly-colored landscapes in this charming sandbox puzzle game where you must herd animal life back to the Motherflocker. Capcom's Flock is now available to play via Steam worldwide." Here is where to find the latest gameplay movie from Flock.

Red Alert 3 Hotfix

A new hotfix patch for Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 is now available to update the RTS sequel to version 1.10. Word is: "This hot-fix patch for Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 fixes a network online issue preventing users with no internet connection from accessing the game. This issue was previously introduced in Patch 1.09 and is now fixed in 1.10. If you are unable to auto-patch online, please download directly here." In addition to the auto-updates and the manual patches on the Red Alert Universe Website, some or all of the language-specific patches are mirrored on AtomicGamer, FanGaming, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls.

Grand Ages: Rome Patch

A new patch for Grand Ages: Rome is now available to update this historical strategy game to version 1.11. The patch includes military behavior fixes, map overview tweaks, improved worker reallocation, multiplayer desync fixes, and more. The patch is available on AtomicGamer, FanGaming, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. On a related note, there is an interview with Lyubomir Iliev of Grand Ages: Rome developer Haemimont Games on gry.o2.pl where they discuss the project in both English and Polish.

Ships Ahoy - The Godfather II

The Godfather II is Now in Stores for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC has news that the second game based on the Mafia movie series is now available in North American stores, with the European edition due on Thursday:
“The Godfather II offers players the ultimate fantasy of being a Don - of finally being the guy who calls all the shots for the family,” says Executive Producer Hunter Smith. “By combining the strategic gameplay of thinking like a Don through the 'Don's View', with our intense, visceral 'Blackhand' combat, we are focusing on the game at the root of the Godfather franchise, the game of organized crime. In essence, we're creating a new niche in the open-world genre and are really excited to see how players will build their families and customize their own experience in both the single player campaign and multiplayer battles.”

The Godfather II takes all of the drama, action and family values from the classic Godfather films and brings them into an interactive experience. This means that players have to build and invest in their family, manage their rackets, takeover crime rings and even reach out to corrupt officials – all through the revolutionary Don’s View. The Don’s View is a 3D display of the player’s criminal empire and family tree, offering a birds-eye view of all three cities to better coordinate their take-down strategies, plan hits on rival made men, attack enemy compounds, and much more. As a Don in the Corleone family, The Godfather II puts the control in the players’ hands and allows them to live in the Godfather universe while creating their own story of deception, betrayal, and conquest in a 1960’s organized crime world.

Developed at the EA Redwood Stores studio, The Godfather II is rated M for Mature by the ESRB and 18+ for PEGI. The Godfather II will be available for MSRP $59.99 on the Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 and MSRP $49.99 on PC.

Ships Ahoy - Elven Legacy

The Elven Legacy Website has word that In-Co's fantasy strategy game is available via digital distribution and North American retailers now, with a European release expected tomorrow. There's a launch trailer for the game on YouTube, and here's word:
Elven Legacy invites players into a magical world, where fantasy strategy enthusiasts have the opportunity to restore the Elven race to glory. Play as elves, humans, dwarves and sorcerers in luscious 3D environments that immerse the player in a world full of adventure and mysticism. Featuring a thrilling, non-linear storyline and in-game tools that enable the player to create their own missions to share online in multiplayer mode, Elven Legacy is sure to satisfy any strategy fan for hours on end.

On the game’s release, lead developer Max Bodrikov said, “After working on this title for such an extended time, it is bittersweet to have the game reach its full release. When we started to develop Elven Legacy, we wanted to create a fantasy strategy turn-based title that would be accessible for all gamers and I'm confident that we reached our goal."

Elven Legacy has been rated “T” for “Teen” by the ESRB and is published worldwide by Paradox Interactive. Elven Legacy is also available on all leading digital download portals for a suggested retail price of $29.99 / €29.99.

WoW Equipment Manager Delay

The World of Warcraft Forums announce the promised Equipment Manager will not be included in the upcoming version 3.1 content update for Blizzard's MMORPG as had been planned (thanks Eurogamer). Word is:
In order to ensure that this feature meets our standard of quality, we will be taking some extra time with the Equipment Manager and it will instead be released some time after patch 3.1. We understand that this feature is a widely anticipated addition and apologize for this minor delay.

Velvet Assassin Music Video

A new extended music video for Velvet Assassin is now available to show off more of Replay Studios' upcoming World War II stealth game. The clip includes pre-rendered and gameplay footage, all set to the strains of Young by Hollywood Undead. The clip is posted on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Flock! Movie

A new trailer from Flock! that reveals the presence of Blanka from Street Fighter as a cameo in the upcoming platformer. You can find the clip on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

New FreeCiv

FreeCiv version 2.1.9 is now available, updating this freeware, open-source strategy game with changes and fixes as outlined in this forum post. According to LinuxGames this includes features ported over from the Warclient multiplayer enhancement effort. Thanks Ant.

E.Y.E Revealed

The E.Y.E Website offers a gameplay movie introducing E.Y.E, a Source-engine shooter/RPG due for release this spring from Streum On Studio. The game is set in a dark future, with the player in the role of an "elite soldier from a strange and secret society, which is looking by any means to take the power of the almighty Federation. The arrival of a mysterious and monstrous force, emanation from mankind’s fears and terrors is thwarting this intent." The solo campaign is said to feature nonlinear levels, and there will be full co-op support with a campaign and some special missions. The trailer shows off the player leveling up, and here's word on role-playing elements: "The player will be able to make his character's characteristics evolve, buy some new equipment and several cybernetic implants, make some researches on new technologies, use dozens of psi powers. He will also have to deal with his psychology and his mental balance in order to not sink into madness."

Op Ed

Ten Ton Hammer - What is a Free MMOG?
"The longer I look at this problem, the harder it gets to solve. Basically, a free game to me has always been one that costs nothing to download or install (ruling out Guild Wars) and nothing to access even end-game content (ruling out Wizard101). So long as a piece of equipment is not needed to successfully complete end-game content, I don’t consider lack of access to it without paying to mean much (leaving Dungeon Runners in the mix). I want readers to not have to spend a penny from beginning to the level cap to enjoy the games I recommend, but who am I to define the end of the game? See, I told you it was complicated!"

WarCry Network - RoleCraft- Home Is Where the RP Is.
"Above and beyond that base, housing opens the door for a huge amount of roleplaying events. On one end, they can be as grand as hosting large gatherings of friends, family, and guilds, only limited by the size of the house. On the other end, they can be a players' sanctuary, base of operations, and armory, among other things. Houses within an actual RP neighborhood may help facilitate the meeting of roleplayers who, wandering about the wild places of the game world, may never chance upon meeting each other."

Morning Previews

  • Luna Online on RPG Vault. Peek #2 - Character Customization.
  • Star Trek Online on MMORPG.com. Writing for Star Trek Online.

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Did you have a Voodoo 3 accelerator back in the day? Brace yourself: that day was a decade ago, as it was ten years ago today Voodoo 3's started showing up on store shelves.

Voodoo Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Fantasy Kommander.
Links: How to Tell if a Movie is Going to Suck. Thanks Digg.
9 Words That Don't Mean What You Think. Thanks Devicer.
Stories: Beware the perils of caffeine withdrawal. Thanks brother19.
Dog swims 6 miles through shark-infested waters, survives 4 months on a desert island. Thanks Digg.
Science: Game Simulations Answer Baseball’s What-Ifs. Thanks j.c.f.
Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory.
Scientist Forced To Remove Earthquake Prediction. Puts baby on rocket to Krypton.
Media: Unreal Tournament Meets Sonic the Hedgehog Video. Thanks Digg.
Singing Keyboardist Dog. That's awesome.
Ta Dah!
The Funnies: Pearls Before Swine. Thanks brother19.
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