Archived News:

Thursday, Aug 27, 2009

Runes of Magic Patch

Runes of Magic Patch 1.9 'Naga's Awakening' Heralds Second Chapter is Frogster America's announcement that the first content from Chapter II of Runes of Magic is now live. Here are some new screenshots, and there's a new Runes Of Magic Elves Extended Trailer on GameTrailers. Here's a bit on the new content in the subscription-free MMORPG:
Players can explore the ‘Weeping Coast’ right away. In this swamp territory, adventurers will meet the Naga for the very first time. New quests tell the history of the region and ultimately lead to the bottom of the ocean. In the group dungeon ‘Heart of the Ocean,’ alongside fish people and other ocean dwellers, there lurks a powerful leader of the snake-like beings, ready to seize unwary players. With ‘Naga’s Awakening,’ Frogster has also raised the level cap to 52.

The content update also expands Runes of Magic with more open combat, and a Public Encounter. In ‘Varanas Nightmare,’ up to 150 players can step into nightmare world where the regional capital Varanas is in ruins and under siege by undead skeletons and nightmare beings. At the end of the three stage challenge for experienced player groups, there is an encounter with the Demon Lord himself – this is the first time that the eponymous fiendish lord of the first chapter makes an appearance.

Wolfenstein Dedicated Server

A Windows dedicated server for Wolfenstein is now available for those interested in running a multiplayer server for Raven's just-released supernatural shooter. The approximately 500 MB download is available on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

Section 8 Stats Portal, Trailers

SouthPeak Games announces plans to support Section 8 with a "ground-breaking" clan and stats portal for the upcoming science-fiction shooter. Word is: "This extremely robust online center offers players unprecedented information and coordination for everything they do in the game. It also allows for full clan management and recruitment. Everything will be accessible at www.joinsection8.com/stats and be available next week when the game ships in North America." The announcement has all the details. Also, there's a three-part ShakyCam series on GameTrailers showing Section 8 being demonstrated at GamesCom, here's part one, here's part two, and here's part three.

Splash Damage on Brink, Brink 2, and Brink 3

Splash Damage on Brink on Eurogamer is a video interview with Richard Ham about Brink, Splash Damage's multiplayer shooter that's due in spring 2010. The conversation with Splash Damage's seemingly well-caffeinated creative director discusses single-player versus multiplayer play, storytelling in a multiplayer game, aspects of the game that are different, and its "balls to the wall action." As for the future, there are ambitious hopes for this to be a franchise, and Richard says they already have plans for Brink 2 and 3.

Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3 Game Add-On Pack #2

The Bethesda Blog announces the Fallout 3 Game Add-On Pack #2 is now available in North America for Windows and Xbox 360, offering both the Broken Steel and Point Lookout DLC in one retail package. This looks like it was posted Tuesday, and word is the European release is tomorrow.

Singularity Walkthrough Movie

The Singularity walkthrough Part 1 of 3 on GameTrailers follows the theme that "time is your enemy" as we once again have the time mechanics of Raven's upcoming shooter explained to us. Having seen the tag line of the previous Singularity trailer, we're guessing parts two and three of this series are "Time is your weapon," and "Time is collapsing."

Dark Void "Hover" Movies

A movie showing off the jet-pack "hover" technique in Dark Void is now available on GameTrailers in two parts. Here's part one of the narrated clip, and here's part two. There's also another "hover" clip in the members only area of the Dark Void Website if you are willing to register.

Kingdom Under Fire II Trailers

Two new trailers show off more of Kingdom Under Fire II, the upcoming action/RTS sequel. The first clip is posted on FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and IGN; and the second clip can be found on FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and IGN.

CITIES XL Trailer

Monte Cristo's CITIES XL is on display in a new trailer from the urban planning/management simulation. This clip is located on FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and GameTrailers.

Mini Ninjas Trailer

A new Mini Ninjas trailer shows off Kunoichi, another of the tiny martial artists in the upcoming adventure game. Word is: "Kunoichi is the younger and less mature of the girls. She looks up to Suzume like a big sister and adores Hiro. She is very acrobatic and uses her Naginata (spear) as a prop in her agile moves. Kunoichi is very quiet, doesn't reveal much about herself, and is a bit of a loner." The trailer is posted on FileFront and Gamer's Hell.

Dragon Age: Origins Voice Talent Movie

There's a Dragon Age: Origins Video Game Voice Talent Featurette on GameTrailers.com looking at some voice recording sessions for Dragon Age: Origins with the game's just-announced voice talent. We hear from BioWare about the process, as well as from Tim Curry, who seems to delight in playing the bad guy.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Summer Glau joins 'Dollhouse'. If that doesn't work will season three add Milla Jovovich?

EA: Marketing = 66-75% of a Game's Budget

EA’s chief creative officer describes game industry’s re-engineering on VentureBeat is an article offering EA chief creative officer Rich Hilleman's outlook on "re-engineering" their business in the changing video game market to appeal to a broader and less hardcore market. The article goes into detail on what EA is doing to capitalize on this trend, and IndustryGamers highlights Hilleman's comment that they expect to see further interim console changes, referring to the Xbox 560 and a PlayStation 3.5 before a true next generation cycle. The part we are especially fascinated by is the description of what portion of a game's budget is devoted to marketing, saying: "EA now typically spends two or three times as much on marketing and advertising as it does on developing a game."

Majesty 2 Preorder Bonuses, Movie

Paradox Interactive announces preorders for Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim are underway on GamersGate and Impulse. They say Steam preorders should follow and also mention Direct2Drive preorders, but the game doesn't seem to actually be listed there yet. The Preorders carry a 20% discount and a bonus of a free copy of Majesty Gold upon the release of the RTS sequel that's not actually titled Battlefield 942. Also, there's a new gameplay overview video from the game on the YouTube.

Aion Open Beta Starts September 6

NCsoft announces Aion Open Beta, Pre-Select and Headstart Program details, saying open beta testing of the westernized edition of this MMORPG will run from September 6-13. They also announce how the headstart program will operate and outline and the various improvements in the version 1.5 to be tested. Here's the pertinent part:
Within the next four weeks, NCsoft will treat European and North American gamers to two opportunities to jump into the world of Aion and explore Atreia as Asmodian or Elyos characters ahead of its release in Europe on 25nd September and North America 22th September. Aion’s Open Beta Test featuring version 1.5 will take place 6-13th September and will include numerous Western enhancements, including improvements to Aion’s innovative character customisation with a host of Western styles, as well as new zones, instances, skills, quests and continued game balancing and improvements. Open Beta will retain a level cap for both Elyos and Asmodians characters at 30 allowing players to focus on getting to the same level so they can explore the lands of Atreia together, as well as the Abyss.

Players who have pre-ordered Aion will be treated to a Pre-Select and a two-day Headstart period giving them the opportunity to explore, organise and progress through the game prior to the official launch. Pre-Select will take place on 18th September, while Aion’s Headstart will begin 20th September. Players can still participate in the Aion’s Pre-Select and Headstart programs by pre-ordering the game through several participating online and brick-and-mortar retailers. For a complete list please go to www.aiononline.com.

Tropico 3 Dates & Demo Plans

Kalypso Media announces October 16 as the new worldwide PC and Xbox 360 release date for Tropico 3, confirming the slight delay reported yesterday for the island dictator sequel (the one exception is Germany, where the PC edition is due on September 24). They also announce a playable demo will be released "the week commencing 7th September, 2009." Word is: "Tropico 3 goes back to the roots of the hit strategy series closely following the original Tropico story-line. Tropico 3 is being developed by Haemimont Games who previously developed the popular Imperium Romanum and Grand Ages: Rome for Kalypso Media." On a related note, Gametrailers has a three-part ShakyCam Tropico 3 walkthrough video shot off a monitor at GamesCom, here's part one, part two, and part three.

BF2 Patch & Free Bonus Packs Tuesday

The Battlefield Blog has the update first mentioned yesterday about the version 1.50 patch for Battlefield 2 first mentioned during the Bush administration. DICE says the patch will be released next Tuesday, though skepticism on this point should be forgiven, since at one point release of this patch was promised for before Christmas 2008. They also announce the free release of both the Euro Forces and Armored Fury booster packs for all players, which will make for a ginormous update. The full update includes the change log, and here's a bit:
After nearly a year of development and three public beta tests Battlefield 2 v1.50 is ready for release. The update will be released on Tuesday 1st September at 5pm UK, 6pm Europe. Stay tuned for release announcement in the near future!

As part of Update 1.50 we are glad to announce that not only is Highway Tampa now a required install included in the update but Euro Forces (Great Wall, Taraba Quarry and Operation Smoke Screen) and Armored Fury (Midnight Sun, Operation Harvest and Operation Road Rage) is now FREE for all Battlefield 2 players. Including the brand new map, Operation Blue Pearl this brings EIGHT new maps that everyone can play and will be added to ranked Battlefield 2 servers world wide. The Booster Pack content is included in the update and has made the file just over 2Gb in size.

Server providers around the world will have access to the client file so find your closest host for best download speeds. To install Battlefield 2 Update v1.50 you must have Battlefield 2 updated to version 1.41 or Battlefield 2 Complete Collection from EA Store installed.

Dragon Age Voice Talent

BioWare announces some of the voice talent in Dragon Age: Origins, saying the upcoming fantasy-themed RPG "has the largest cast of characters of any game BioWare has ever made," and will feature the voices Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: The Chick Captain) among others. Here's a bit:
EDMONTON, Alberta--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Leading video game developer BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS), has secured a star-studded voiceover cast for its upcoming blockbuster game, Dragon Age™: Origins. Featuring Tim Curry, star of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Broadway’s Spamalot, as well as Kate Mulgrew, well-known for her role as Capt. Kathryn Janeway in “Star Trek: Voyager”, Dragon Age: Origins also includes notable cast members Tim Russ (“Star Trek: Voyager,” “Samantha Who?”), Claudia Black (“Stargate SG-1,” “Pitch Black”) and Steve Valentine (“Estate of Panic,” “Crossing Jordan”). Dragon Age: Origins marks BioWare’s return to fantasy, created from the ground up to take players through a dark epic tale filled with violence, lust, and betrayal.

Tim Curry will play the villainous Arl Rendon Howe. Howe is the calculating villain, cultured and charming, with an insatiable lust for power, who never hesitates to harm anyone who gets in his way. Kate Mulgrew will lend her vocal flair to Flemeth, a powerful witch who maintains her immortality through the darkest of means, and who plays a pivotal role in the player’s survival. Both roles provide the actors with the opportunity to bring their considerable talents to bear in their portrayal of these characters.

Champions Online Discount Subs Return

The Champions Online Website outlines the return of their six-month and lifetime subscription offers through Monday after announcing they were sold out (thanks Zanger). Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has sparked demand, and they ask patience if you experience problems with their account server, though these issues may be worked out by now. Here's the deal:
Earlier this week, we gave notice that we were running out of special Lifetime and 6-month promotional subscriptions. Within a day, the rest of our supply had been sold out, leaving a number of you confused and upset. The response to this promotion has been overwhelming and we want to thank everyone who posted on our forums, called customer service and sent e-mails over these past few days.

After further consideration, and to meet the needs of our community, we have decided to reinstate the Lifetime and 6-month subscription promotional programs with no supply limit until 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time) on August 31st.

At Cryptic, we are dedicated to our community. We look forward to seeing you when Champions Online launches this September!

Neo Steam Launches

gamigo announces the English commercial launch of Neo Steam, their subscription-free MMORPG that combines steampunk sensibilities with anime art direction set in "an alternate reality where electricity was never invented" (thank goodness someone at least had the wherewithal to "invent" steam). Here's a bit from the launch announcement: "NeoSteam is set in an impressive, cool 3D fantasy world full of challenging quests and thrilling PvP-battles. Players enter an alternate reality where electricity was never invented - everything is instead powered by NeoSteam. Alas, the supply of NeoSteam is finite, dragging the two major powers to an inevitable war. Battles rage between the Elerd Kingdom and Republic of Rogwel over Rope Isle – the last available source of NeoSteam."

Project Entropia now Planet Calypso

Colonists receive call for help from the new Planet Calypso announces with the transition to the CryEngine 2 complete, the project formerly known as MindArk's Project Entropia is now First Planet Company's Planet Calypso. The game remains subscription-free, relying on taking a rake from in-game transactions, as the game's economy is based on real money (using a fixed exchange rate of 10:1 between PED currency and the USD). They celebrate the relaunch by offering "elite" items for a limited time. Here's a bit:
As an exclusive benefit to players who sign on now, Planet Calypso's 'Second Golden Age' has been declared. As the new version is brought fully online, and new and improved features are added, players are being given a chance to find elite items that will never be made public again. Additionally, as a thank you for helping to make sure the planet is ready, veteran and former colonists are all being given a very special gift. A brand new pair of Gullaldr sunglasses, now more important than ever since the introduction of day and night cycles, will be waiting. Colonists will have the ability to directly impact the new world as they can interface directly with the development team should they have any problems. This will help Planet Calypso smoothly implement its new and improved features.

Empires in Arms Patch

Matrix Games has a new patch for Empires in Arms they call a "major update" for the Napoleonic strategy game. The new version 1.06.03 patch comes with a new scenario editor and updated documentation, and here's a bit on the patch: "This major comprehensive update comes with dozens of bug fixes, an updated manual, several improvements leading to a smarter AI, and a few rule tweaks. It is strongly recommended that all Empires in Arms customers upgrade to this version."

Borderlands Interview

The Borderlands Interview on Strategy Informer chats with talkative Randy Pitchford and one-time web entrepreneur Steve Gibson about Borderlands, the "role-playing shooter" in the works at Gearbox Software. They highlight a couple of topics that have already been discussed fairly extensively, Diablo has a huge influence on Borderlands and Borderlands art style took a massive shift that Pitchford initially knew nothing about.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Mobilization

Game Reviews

  • Champions Online on Games32.
  • Hearts of Iron III on Examiner.com.
  • Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Complete Edition on GameZone.
  • Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal on GameZone.
  • Wallace & Gromit Episode 4: The Bogey Man on GameZone.

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

We have some work being done on the chimney here at the Blue Tower, as it was starting to deteriorate to the point where we feared it would come tumbling down one day. Contradicting that theory is just how much effort was required to remove the old brick, as the whole place was shaking at times as this process unfolded. Thankfully, that part of the project is complete, and in just a few weeks the headache the demolition gave me will start to ease.

Demolished Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Ricochet Kills.
Paper War.
Another Small Favor.
Link: The poodles transformed into pandas, horses and even snails. I'm hiding this from the Gunnar-man.
Stories: Farmers issue warning after fatal cow attacks.
Batplane. Thanks j.c.f.
Clive Thompson on the New Literacy.
Science: Steam-powered car breaks century-old speed record. Thanks Slashdot.
An Environmentally Friendly Mosquito Repellent?
Scientific Experiment Raises Prospect of Babies With 3 Parents. Thanks theAntiELVIS.
Media: Taste the Cake (half life machinima). Thanks Ian.
Follow-ups: U.S. Chamber of Commerce seeks trial on global warming. Thanks Slashdot.
Mars, and Step on It. Thanks j.c.f.
The Funnies: Mass Effect 2 New Tech Revealed.
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