Archived News:

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009 World Nature Conservation Day

More C&C4 Details

Command and Conquer DEN has information about Command & Conquer 4 translated from a preview of EA's upcoming real-time strategy sequel in the German-language Gamestar Magazine. The story has a bunch of details about the story and gameplay for those who hate surprises, and an interesting tidbit is that the lead producer on the project is Michael Glosecki, a member of the QA team for Dune 2, one of the seminal games in the RTS genre (this story originally incorrectly called Michael the "lead designer," apologies for the error). Thanks Ant.

New Wallace & Gromit Tomorrow

Telltale Games announces that The Bogey Man, the season finale episode in Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, is due for release tomorrow. Word is:
Last week, I received an email from a concerned fan wondering whether we had stopped working on (or otherwise forgotten about) Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures due to Tales of Monkey Island starting its release schedule. As it turns out, we totally haven't! The final episode of the season, "The Bogey Man", will be released on Wednesday. Yes, this Wednesday, July 29, 2009.

In the season finale, Wallace finds himself invited to become the newest member of the prestigious Prickly Thicket country club. What seemed like a chance to play a few relaxing rounds of golf soon turns into something much more sinister, as Wallace and Gromit unwittingly wind up in the middle of an ancient dispute threatening to tear the town apart!

On The Splinter Cell Conviction Delay

The Splinter Cell Conviction Official Blog has an update with outlook on the recently announced delay to the action/stealth sequel (thanks Mike Martinez). Word is:
Splinter Cell Conviction is a very important game for us. We want to ensure it’s a game that long-term fans and gamers new to the series equally enjoy when they play it. Previous Splinter Cell games have set the bar very high when it comes to quality and enjoyment, we are firmly focused on continuing this with Conviction.

After demonstrating the new vision for the game at E3 2009 we won many awards and got a lot of interest from fans and press alike. In order to live up to our own ambitions and your expectations, we strongly feel that giving our teams that extra time will allow us to present a game to you that will fulfill that potential. Due to this, we have decided to move the release date into Q1 2010. This extra time will ensure Splinter Cell Conviction becomes every bit the fantastic experience we want it to be.

Borderlands Blowout

The Randy Pitchford Interview Video on G4tv.com is a conversation between Gearbox's CEO and his doppelganger about Borderlands, their upcoming shooter/RPG. Among other things, Randy describes how the game's stylized art redesign happened, through what amounts to an insurgency in the art department. They also discuss co-op support, role-playing, the emphasis on the shooting aspect of the game, and more. They also touch on Brothers in Arms, and the distinct possibility they will eventually set the series in a different conflict than World War II and Aliens: Colonial Marines, which Randy indicates is waiting on Sega to decide when it will be more publicly discussed. There's another video interview with Randy on Giantbomb.com, and there are also previews of Borderlands on 1Up, Destructoid, Eurogamer (where they talk about the game Randy Pitchford is terrified to release), G4, GamePro, GameSpot, Giant Bomb, Kotaku, Strategy Informer, and Videogamer.com. Finally, here is a batch of new Borderlands screenshots.

Singularity Interview

The Brian Pass Interview movie on GameTrailers.com talks about Singularity with the senior producer on Raven's upcoming singular shooter. Brian describes the choices they are putting in the hands of the player, and the various interesting uses of the game's Time Manipulation Device (TMD) that can age items and enemies into dust, or reverse that process, though you don't seem to be able to revert enemies into babies. The clip includes gameplay footage and an indication that the game may just be delayed again, as last we heard Singularity was expected in March 2010, but Brian says to expect it in spring 2010, but only the last nine days of March are in the spring, making for a narrow release window.

PC Digital Sales Charts

Shacknews has sales figures from Direct2Drive and Steam for the week ending July 25. The lists offer interesting contrasts and similarities for titles offered on both services. The best-selling game on D2D for the week was The Sims 3, and the best selling title on Steam was preorders of Aion Collector's Edition, while the top selling title that's available on each is ARMA 2.

World War 2: Time of Wrath Demo, Patch

A new playable demo for World War 2: Time of Wrath is now available, offering a sample of this just released grand strategy game. The version 1.50a demo is available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell. There is also a version 1.50a hotfix for the game, offering: "Reduced GPU usage, some CTD with PBEM fixes and a few other tweaks are included in this small update." The patch is available from Matrix Games and mirrored on FileFront and Gamer's Hell.

Alganon Open Beta in September [Updated]

Massively reports open beta testing will begin in September for Alganon, the fantasy-themed MMORPG in the works at Quest Online. Update: The game is currently in closed beta, and we've gotten a clarification on the way to register for the beta, which is to sign up for an account on the Alganon Website and opt-in to the beta, and you can increase your chance of being selected before the beta opens to all by posting to this forum thread. Thanks Massively.

Sudden Attack Beta

GameHi announces open beta testing is underway for the westernized version of Sudden Attack, the military shooter said to be the number one game of its sort in Korea. Here's a bit on testing of the game, which is scheduled to go live in the fall:
For the first time players will get to try the Property Defense mode in the new map StormVille. Here each team must find, capture, and defend a specific area for a certain amount of time, in order to win the game. Unlike rules from other missions, the characters will respawn infinitely until the objective is met or time runs out. As well, players will have the chance to experience the game’s most powerful weapon yet, the MG43. This machine gun is Sudden Attack’s primary weapon, holding 100 rounds in a clip, the largest rounds in the game so far.

Risen Movie

Deep Silver offers a new movie from Risen, the upcoming RPG from Piranha Bytes. The clip is described as "presenting many different aspects of the RPG," and the description also provides you with the tools to impress everyone at your next symphonic/gothic metal trivia contest, as it says: "The new trailer is accompanied by the song "The Poet and the Pendulum" from Nightwish, the most successful symphonic/gothic metal band world-wide." You an find the movie on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, and Gamer's Hell.

Darkest Of Days Trailer

There's an "exclusive firearms training" trailer for Darkest Of Days on GameTrailers.com, offering the time traveler tips on how to use the vintage weaponry in the historical conflicts they will encounter in this alternate history shooter. They also touch on future weapons, up to, but not including the FMG, which is not covered by your security clearance.

East India Company Movie

A new movie is available to celebrate the imminent North American retail release of East India Company, the historical real-time strategy game centered around naval combat between sailing ships. The new "Meet the Nitro Team" movie introduces the Finnish developers behind the project (no translation required, provided you speak English). The clip is posted on the YouTube, AtomicGamer, and Gamer's Hell.

Wolfenstein Movies & Movie Sponsorship

Two more installments in the series of "graphic novel" movies for Wolfenstein are now available. The third clip is available on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell and the fourth clip is posted on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell. On a semi-related note, Activision announces Raven's World War II shooter will be a sponsor of the upcoming premiere of Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds:
Santa Monica, CA – July 27, 2009 – Activision Publishing (Nasdaq: ATVI) and id Software have signed-on for the highly-anticipated Wolfenstein to be a title sponsor of The Weinstein Company and Universal Pictures International‘s upcoming feature film by Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds.”

As an official sponsor, Activision will conduct a contest for two lucky winners to attend the “Inglourious Basterds” Hollywood premier at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theater on August 10. The prize pack includes two roundtrip tickets for a four day – three night stay in Los Angeles, two tickets to the premier and two tickets to the star-studded after party at Mondrian in West Hollywood. Check http://www.GameSpot.com for contest details, which begins today.

The assault on the Third Reich kicks-off with the newest chapter of the famed Wolfenstein franchise hitting U.S. store shelves on August 18, and a second wave continues the fight with “Inglourious Basterds” going nation-wide in theaters August 21.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Link of the Day: You Know What's Bullshit? Printers. NSFW. Thanks Efflixi. Well that's timely.

Bionic Commando(s) on Steam

Steam News announces the availability of Bionic Commando, GRIN's platformer sequel, as well as Bionic Commando Rearmed, the updated edition of the original side-scroller from back in the day. Not content to simply let you choose between the two games, they have figured out a way to tempt you into buying both: "Can't decide which to play? Pick up the Bionic Commando Pack on Steam, including both titles, and reach maximum Bionic potential. Players who own both games will enjoy access to three unlockables in Bionic Commando, including the "Retro" Nathan "Rad" Spencer skin, a Prototype Weapon and a secret room in the Fissure level."

Champions Online Open Beta Details

The Champions Online Website has details on open beta testing of Cryptic's upcoming superhero MMORPG, saying the beta will begin, as indicated, on August 17th and be administered through FilePlanet. Just yesterday Cryptic announced preorders are guaranteed a spot in the beta, and now word is: "Starting on August 5th, the open beta client will be available for download on a first-come, first-serve basis on FilePlanet. The site will be giving away 50,000 keys to North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand." Update: We have confirmed with FilePlanet high command that they will be issuing these keys to their paid subscribers, so this open beta is less "open" than most.

THQ Quarterly Profits

THQ Reports Record June Quarter Results reports quarterly profits for THQ, compared with losses in the same period last year, saying they were the third-ranked independent publisher in the US and UK for the June quarter. The upswing is largely attributed to UFC 2009 Undisputed, and the retail ass the MMA game is kicking, with Red Faction: Guerrilla also getting some of the credit. Word is: "For the fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2009, THQ’s net sales climbed 77% to $243.5 million from $137.6 million in the prior year. On a non-GAAP basis, for the three months ended June 30, 2009, the company reported net sales of $233.9 million, up 93% from $121.1 million a year ago." THQ also announces plans to issue $90 million in convertible senior notes, now that convertible weather is here.

Trine EU Patch

A new patch for the European edition of Trine is now available, updating the action/platformer to the same version 1.03 as the recent Steam patch. The EU retail patch is available on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. There's also a version 1.03 patch for the Metaboli version, which is available from AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. There's a patch log on The Patches Scrolls.

Ships Ahoy - Defense Grid

Hidden Path Entertainment announces Defense Grid: The Awakening has shipped to stores in North America. As promised, the boxed version of this tower defense game provides a DRM free installation, as well as a code for the Steam edition to support online features:
AUSTIN, TEXAS – July 28, 2009 – Defense Grid: The Awakening, Hidden Path Entertainment’s critically acclaimed tower defense strategy game for PC, has shipped to retail stores in North America through a partnership with Aspyr Media. Gamers who purchase Defense Grid: The Awakening in stores will receive two products in one package. First, A DRM-free version of the full game on the included disc allows for local profiles to be created for saves, achievement tracking and score ranking. For players who want to take their Defense Grid: The Awakening experience online for Internet leader boards, online rankings and achievements, a code is included in the box that will allow them to download the full game from the Steam digital distribution platform for no additional cost.

Released through digital distribution in December 2008 to tremendous praise, Defense Grid: The Awakening takes the best features of the addictive tower defense genre and fuses them with the Gamebryo engine to deliver beautiful 3D environments, spectacular effects, a dynamic soundtrack and deep strategy gameplay. Ensuring AAA quality and impeccable game balance is a development team with a pedigree that includes franchises such as Age of Empires, Half-Life, Crimson Skies, Homeworld, MechWarrior, and Rise of Nations.

Defense Grid: The Awakening finds humanity struggling against an invasion by a relentless alien force. The player is tasked with defending key outposts with the aid of ancient, but powerful, defense towers and an artificial intelligence construct. Intuitive controls and a range of objectives make it fun for players of any skill to progress through the 20 story levels, and the dozens of additional challenge modes. Ten different tower types, each with unique strengths, allow for multiple strategies as players scheme to take down wave after wave of invading creatures, each more powerful than the previous.

Defense Grid: The Awakening is rated E10+ (for gamers 10 and older) by the ESRB. For more information on the game please visit www.hiddenpath.com.

Tropico 3 System Specs

GameDebate offers system requirements for Tropico 3, the island dictator sequel that's currently in closed beta testing (thanks Mike Martinez). They say these are the recommended specs, and minimum stats are not provided:
Tropico 3 System Requirements*

Intel CPU - Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz
Nvidia Graphics Card - Geforce 7600 GT 256MB
Direct X - 9
Ram - 1 Gbs
AMD CPU - Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4800+
ATI & Intel Graphics Card - Radeon X1600 Series
Hard Disk Space - 5 Gbs

* System requirements displayed are based on recommended system requirements and should be used as a guide only.

Dark Salvation Now Available

Mangled Eye Studios announces Dark Salvation is complete, and this horror-themed first-person shooter built on id's Tech 3 engine from Quake III Arena is now for sale. The Dark Salvation Orders Page offers two ways to get the game; there's a limited edition boxed version that includes the game DVD and an audio CD (they say this can be autographed on request) as well as digitally distributed edition at a lower price. Here's a bit on the game: "You take on the role of a dead woman named Talia who is given new life by a magical object of the Underworld called the Spirit Crystal. This object gives her the power and ability to wield heavy weaponry and cast magic from each of those weapons."

Red Faction: Guerrilla PC Features

PC Games Hardware spoke with the folks at Volition about the upcoming release of the Windows edition of Red Faction: Guerrilla, discussing the technology powering the shooter sequel and its deformable environments. They discuss the game's custom engine, features unique to the PC version like Sun Shafts (God Rays) and Screen-Space Ambient Occlusion, visual quality, advantages of SLI or Crossfire, the choice of Havok over PhysX for physics, DirectX 9 & 10 support, lack of DirectX 11 support, and more.

Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Plans

Kotaku has an article analyzing comments from Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot on addressing piracy. These mostly focus on piracy of DS games, but they also point out one comment that indicates they may be working on some new internal DRM for PC games: "Altogether on console, the piracy is low," says Guillemot. "On the PC the piracy is quite a lot. We are working on a tool that would allow us to decrease that on the PC starting next year and probably one game this year."

Gaikai Interview

The David Perry interview Part Two on GamesIndustry.biz continues their conversation with developer/entrepreneur David Perry about Gaikai and plans to bring cloud-based gaming to the PC (which Perry calls "a 'wet dream' for investors"). There's also a new Develop Blog by Perry discussing "The bizarre genesis of Gaikai." Along the way he speculates that Gaikai could 'transform games journalism' by allowing game demos to be linked in previews, even though it seems pretty possible to link to a game demo in a preview without Gaikai.

New Crysis Wars EX

MyCrysis has the release of a new version 1.01 of the Crysis Wars EX modification for Crysis Wars, the multiplayer component of Crysis Warhead, the first-person shooter from Crytek. The new version has some additions, improvements, and a balance tweak, but they say the main purpose of this release is to clear up some issues in advance of their first content update.

Op Ed

StarcraftWire.net - The No-LAN Controversy - A Closer Look.
I am excited to see what BNet 2.0 will offer to replace LAN support and I will not be too quick to judge as I have faith in Blizzard creating quality games and support (which they have being doing for over a decade). I also believe that one of Blizzard's reason to have all players participate in BNet 2.0 is part of their "secret" marketing plan. They plan to monetise BNet through paid features instead of having a monthly fee for BNet. By attracting all players, sponsors, and leagues to one single realm and area, Blizzard can use this system to actually gain money from all their hard work on the network. Having said that, one might say this is just a conspiracy theory.

GamesRadar - Marketing bullshit gamers should stop being a part of.
Perhaps we're cynical though. Age of Conan's special edition did at least come with free beer. Free, fake, digital in-game beer. No, we're not being cynical at all, are we? Let's face it. This is the same marketing model as putting toys in cereal boxes to make sugar-rabid 3 year olds choose one shape of reconsitituted corn shaving over another. Except that you're paying an extra £15 for the toy.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Working with technology can cause one to anthropomorphize their devices, inspiring comments like "I think printers hate me," which is something I uttered more than a couple of times yesterday. I think one of the problems is I keep getting these all-in-one printer/scanner/fax machine dealies, which suit my needs, but obviously have more ways to fail. Anyway, over the years my printers have tended to be cruel to me, and yesterday another went tango uniform, right as I needed to send a fax (decoding the error message, it was telling me "you're screwed"), so I am now on my fourth all-in-one in about five years, spanning three brands and various price points. I think if I suffer another premature device demise I'll just give up and buy separate a printer and fax. Maybe it's my fault for overburdening, since we do average about a page a week in printing, which doesn't even account for the added impact of 10 faxes a year.

R.I.P.: EGM Writer Passes Away.

Printed Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Gliding Thunder.
Play Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals.
Twin Shot 2.
Links: Peter Pan and Tinkerbell Got Married. Thanks Dan.
Stories: Iced coffees 'a meal in a drink'.
Russian Navy UFO records say aliens love oceans. Thanks theAntiELVIS.
Science: Joule adds CO2 to sunlight to make fuel.
Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man.
Forensics Myths Debunked.
Auctions: Complete Nintendo Game & Watch Collection On eBay.
Images: Dinner for 13, minus gravity.
Media: Killing 22 final bosses in 5 minutes.
An 11-year old plays Contra for the first time. Thanks jimnms.
Jake Lloyd: Ten Years After Star Wars Ep One. Thanks Kxmode.
Follow-ups: Foxconn Worker Had 16 iPhone Prototypes, Girlfriend Given MacBook.
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