Archived News:

Thursday, Jul 02, 2009 World UFO Day

Alpha Protocol in October

SEGA announces an October 6 North American release date for Alpha Protocol for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. They celebrate the news with the release of a new developer diary movie for the espionage-themed RPG, which can be found on AtomicGamer.

Dawn of War II Patch Beta Live

Dawn Of War II Website announces the planned beta testing of the "There is Only War" patch for Dawn of War II is now underway on Steam. They outline the process for installing the beta, and word is: "The Beta period will run until Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 to account for the delay."

2K HUGE Game Pack on Steam

Steam News announces the availability of a new 2K HUGE GAME PACK, offering a 10% discount off the 59.99 bundle price through Monday, which makes the pack $53.99, compared with the $229.80 cost of purchasing the bundled games individually. Here is the huge rundown on what the huge pack includes, with no extra charge for the odd characters:
The 2K HUGE GAME PACK includes: Sid Meier's Civilization® IV, Sid Meier's Civilization® III Complete, Sid Meier's Pirates!, Shattered Union, Prey, CivCity: Rome, Civilization IV®: Warlords, Sid Meier's Railroads!, Railroad Tycoon 3, Railroad Tycoon II Platinum, X-COM: Terror From the Deep, X-COM: Apocalypse, BioShock™, X-COM: Interceptor, X-COM: UFO Defense, X-COM: Enforcer, Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword, Freedom Force, Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich, Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization.

New on GameTap

GameTap announces the addition of Runaway: The Dream of the Turtle to their subscription gaming service. They also announce this week's addition to their free game area is Rogue Trooper, the third-person shooter based on the 2000AD comic of the same name.

Killing Floor Patched

Steam News announces the release of a new automatic patch for Killing Floor, the co-op zombie game from Tripwire Interactive. The new version includes bug fixes, gameplay tweaks, perk tweaks, and more.

Play Splinter Cell: Conviction in 12 Hours

Splinter Cell: Conviction can be completed in 12 hours on the Official Xbox 360 Magazine predicts the amount of gameplay to expect in the coming stealth/shooter sequel (thanks 1UP). Ubisoft's Maxime Beland explains this is in the context of "normal" difficulty: "And then we're going to have the normal mode for normal gamers, that are going to spend 12 hours playing our game and not 30 because they're dying all the time."

Phantom Lapboard Update

A few recent updates to the Phantom Entertainment Blog describe drama at this company that at one time was promising a game-changing console system (thanks Mike Martinez). Apparently trading of their stock has been temporarily suspended by the SEC due to delinquent filings, and for a while they were actually accepting donations, but this has changed, and they are now refunding donations to make sure they don't run afoul of the SEC again. These updates come from the man who took over as CEO in July of 2008, who gives a perspective on the company's previous way of "doing business" (make air quotes when you say that), and what to expect going forward:
Since the Infinium days nothing was produced…only the HOPE and PROMISE of a product. Millions of dollars spent on theory and well….who knows what that management did. They were getting paid convalouted amounts of money, and well it was what it was.

Let’s push pin that in at 2002 just for a time frame.

I became the new CEO in July of 2008. With barely any money and a four person staff working on faith alone, the Lapboard will be available in July 2009 ( currently crossing the atlantic )

Evening Screenshots

L4D DLC & L4D2 Demo Plans

Computer and Video Games has word from Valve to expect the announcement of another DLC pack for Left 4 Dead for both Windows and Xbox 360 before the summer is over. "We plan to keep supporting Left 4 Dead 1. There will be some announcements coming before summer's out about what's coming there, and then we haven't shown everything that's in Left 4 Dead 2 yet," is what they hear from Valve's Doug Lombardi. "I think 8, 9 months from now once everything's been out for a while and everyone's had time to see the complete product of Left 4 Dead 2 and see continued support for Left 4 Dead 1, they may sort of see what we were up to and what the method of our madness was there." He also says that the release of Left 4 Dead 2 will be preceded by a playable demo. Deals

The good old gamers at announce the addition of some new old games to their DRM-free marketplace. They have added Crystals of Arborea and Ishar 3 to their Ishar Compilation, which remains at $5.99, and yes, those who bought this when it was a two-game collection can get the other two games for free now that this has become a four-game anthology. They also now offer The Pandora Directive, the fourth Tex Murphy game, for $9.99, and have added Personal Nightmare to their $5.99 selections, with the 1989 horror/adventure game earning the distinction of being the oldest of their vintage offerings. Finally, since no weekend is complete without a sale these days, they announce that starting tomorrow, all their pinball games will be 20% off through Monday.

Steamships Ahoy - Trine [Updated]

Steam is now offering digital distribution of Trine, Frozenbyte's action/platformer with a fantasy theme. Update: This story initially described the price listed as $19.99, but it is now $29.99, as apparently the lower price was an error which was quickly corrected. Anyway, a playable Trine demo was released last week for your tryin' Trine pleasure, and here is a general overview of the game:
Trine is a fantasy action game where the player can create and use physics-based objects to beat hazardous puzzles and threatening enemies. Set in a world of great castles and strange machinery, three heroes are bound to a mysterious device called the Trine in a quest to save the kingdom from evil…

The gameplay is based on fully interactive physics - each character's different abilities help the player battle an army of undead and defeat hazardous contraptions. The player can at any time freely choose whoever is best suited for the upcoming challenge or puzzle: The Wizard is able to summon objects to help solve puzzles and create new ways to overcome obstacles, the Thief uses her agility and dead-on accuracy to swiftly surprise the monsters, and the Knight unleashes mayhem and physical destruction wherever he goes.

Ubisoft Picks Up Heroes Over Europe

Ubisoft announces they've picked up the publishing rights to Heroes Over Europe, the World War II aerial combat game in development at Transmission Games. Earlier this year publisher Red Mile indicated this project was in trouble after losing the support of Atari. With Ubisoft now keeping the game aloft, word is a worldwide release for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 is now planned for this September. Here are a batch of new screenshots from the game, and here's the announcement:
SAN FRANCISCO – July 2, 2009 – Today Ubisoft announced it will be publishing Heroes Over Europe, a flight combat game designed for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and Windows-based PC. The sequel to Heroes of the Pacific, the World War II flight combat game, Heroes Over Europe builds on the game's impressive legacy with intense dogfights, a highly detailed realistic visual presentation and even more online options.

"We are pleased to be bringing Heroes Over Europe to retailers worldwide,” said Tony Key, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Ubisoft. "The action-packed gameplay and realistic imagery in Heroes Over Europe will help bring some of history's most exciting air battles to life for an experience that gamers will enjoy.”

Developed by Transmission Games in Melbourne, Australia, and powered by an all-new engine, Heroes Over Europe is set to raise the bar for flight combat games with the all new "Ace Kill” close combat action, four online modes supporting up to 16 players and fully customizable aircrafts with localized damage. Visually, the game takes no prisoners with meticulously rendered environments including faithful recreations of London, Berlin and the French Alps, and ultra-realistic iconic warplanes of the era, all presented in stunning high definition graphics.

Heroes Over Europe is scheduled for worldwide release in September 2009. For more information about Heroes Over Europe, please visit:

Fallout 3 Steam Sale

Steam News announces a weekend sale on Fallout 3, the action/RPG sequel from Bethesda Softworks. The game is now offered for $24.99, a 50% discount off its usual $49.99 price tag.

ARMA II Diary Movie

A new ARMA II Developer's Diary Movie on the ARMA II website features an introduction to basic game controls and principles in Bohemia Interactive's military shooter sequel. The clip is narrated by Bohemia PR manager Jan Prazak, whose English is impressive while his Czech accent is not too hard to understand. The clip shows the player's physical presence in the game world, and various elements intended on giving this a greater sense of realism.

East India Company Movie

A new trailer from East India Company is now available, showcasing multiplayer action from the upcoming naval combat RTS game. Word is: "East India Company features five distinct multiplayer modes including 'Domination' and 'Last Ship Floating' and can support up to 12 players. Players can choose between 11 different ships for battle." The clip is available on the YouTube.

Risen to Rise in October

Deep Silver announces an October 2 worldwide release date for Risen, the Windows and Xbox 360 role-playing game from Piranha Bytes that at one time was being developed under the working title Project PPB. Word is that all voice-overs have been recorded and the game is now feature complete. "We're excited to be able to announce the release date for Risen this far in advance," says Deep Silver. "We've been in beta for a few weeks now and are focusing on stamping out the remaining bugs and optimizing gameplay."

Two Battlestations Pacific DLC Packs: One Today

Eidos Interactive announces the release a new pack for Battlestations: Pacific via Windows LIVE and Xbox LIVE today, with another pack planned for release on July 23. Today's new pack is called the Mustang Pack, which adds six new units, including the P-51 Mustang (the Cadillac of the skies!) and the theoretical Super Yamato Class battleship, as well as 18 pieces of nose art. Here are some screenshots from the new pack which will set you back 160 points on the Windows LIVE or Xbox LIVE marketplaces. The other pack is called The Carrier Battles Map Pack, which is planned for release on July 23 for 800 points. Here is how that's described: "The Carrier Battles Map Pack gives gamers four new maps, playable across all five multiplayer modes. Take part in a clash of carriers at Midway, do battle at dawn in the mist of the Philippine Islands, experience the fury of Kamikaze attacks in the rocky islands of the Leyte Gulf and take control of your forces amongst the mountain peaks and glacial waters of the icy Aleutian Islands." Finally, we must admit to missing the release of the promised "Volcano" map pack, which looks like it is now available.

Midway/Warner Sale Moves Forward

The sale of most of the assets of bankrupt Midway Games to Warner Bros. has been approved by a Delaware judge, according to a report on Other legal actions stood in the way of this deal, including a recent lawsuit over the Mortal Kombat rights, but the story indicates these have been cleared up, and the sale of most of Midway's assets to Warner Bros. for approximately $33 million has been approved.

Asteroids Movie Plans

The Hollywood Reporter has word on plans for an Asteroids movie, odd enough news to stand out in the world of movie adaptations for video games, which are known for inspiring head-scratching. They say Universal won a four-studio bidding war to pick up the film rights to the classic story-free Atari arcade game and that the feature adaptation will be produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who is also producer on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, so he obviously enjoys a challenge.

StarCraft II Interview

StarCraft II Interview on Shacknews talks with Dustin Browder about Blizzard's upcoming RTS sequel. The lengthy conversation delves into detail about gameplay and the current state of the long-in-development project. They also discuss the new, which Dustin says is "up in the air" right now:
I can't tell you a whole lot because in reality, anything I say might be a lie. We're still working on it, and it's kind of up in the air. I kind of wish it wasn't, but it kind of is. What you saw today is not where we're going. It's a version that we have that has a lot of problems that we don't like. It was never meant to be the final version, but we're getting further and further away from that being close to the final version. We're trying to do more and more stuff.

We're hoping to have support for casual leagues, support for professional leagues, hardcore leagues. Hoping to do a lot more with friends, more with replay sharing. A lot of it you can probably guess, but what makes ship, what doesn't, what comes in later patches--what we decide to do with it exactly does depend. And I've got a design meeting today, and it's about what's going on with

Empire: Total War Q&A

There's a Creative Assembly Interview on Strategy Informer where Kieran Brigdan answers questions about Empire: Total War, their newly patched RTS sequel. Topics include changes introduced in the new version 1.3, other changes they have planned, further DLC plans, modification support, supporting the game through Steam, and more.

Op Ed

Gamasutra - Can Games Become 'Virtual Murder?'.
If, in this hypothetical future, we're capable of stripping away our empathy and compassion to murder a 99% realistic virtual human (and maybe even enjoy it), will we be psychologically any different from people who actually murder those of flesh and blood? Having perhaps unintentionally trained ourselves to become cold-blooded killers through systematic desensitization, will we be emotionally capable of doing the same thing in waking life?

IncGamers - WoW is Killing itself. Thanks Ant.
Yeah, that's right, you heard me. WoW is in the act of committing suicide, and Blizzard don't even know it. Now, before you get all huffy and angry with me (save that for later, you Blizzlovers, you), allow me to give you a bit of background. And when I say background, I mean way, waaaaay back, to the games that inspired WoW in the first place, and to where these games went wrong.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Saturday is Fourth of July, which is Independence Day here in the US. This means the holiday may start as soon as this evening for some folks, so if you are hitting the roads, please be careful out there, and of course please also take care if you engage in any shenanigans involving explosives.

Indie Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Water Werks.
Rabbit Wants Cake.
Link: The Craziest Costume Changes in Comics.
Science: NASA fuels space shuttle for leak test.
Scientists find a black hole that's "just right".
Ant mega-colony takes over world.
Media: Groundhog Day Horror Recut.
Groundhog Day Horror Recut.
The cutest little Mega Man ever says -PEW PEW PEW!
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