Archived News:

Tuesday, Sep 08, 2009

Arkham Asylum Free DLC for PC Too

There are indications in the recently released console editions of Batman: Arkham Asylum that some free DLC is coming on September 17. Now Shacknews has word that although the PC edition is not due for release until a week from today, this DLC is coming to Windows as well as consoles. There is no word yet on what the DLC will include.

New Runes of Magic Mini-Game

Frogster America announces "Course of Terror," a new mini-game to be added to Runes of Magic on September 15 as part of the final content update for Chapter II – The Elven Prophecy. A batch of new screenshots accompany the announcement, and here's a bit to explain how this will work:
The dungeon consists of a chamber containing 45 fields, each with a seal that hides a range of different obstacles to challenge the adventurer. Each of these demands a special tactic: For example, ice barricades can only be overcome by using a heavy artillery piece. Players have to use the right tools for the job during the game‘s ten minutes. Clown ghosts constantly appear, making matters even worse for our heroes. Once adventurers discover the field containing the key, they’ll receive rewards as well as an entry into the next round. Special titles can also be unlocked using ‘ghost cards’, to reward players for completing the challenge.

PC LA Noire?

A post on superannuation links to a LinkedIn profile for Carl Ross where the Senior Lighting Artist listed the PC as one of the target platforms for LA Noire, the upcoming film noir-style game in the works at Team Bondi. This note has since been removed. Thanks VG247.

APB and Cashbox

Vindicia announces Realtime Worlds has signed on to use CashBox for billing in All Points Bulletin, the upcoming online life of crime game. It was recently revealed in the game's FAQ that APB will not use "the traditional monthly subscription model," so that's apparently not how this will be utilized, though word is: "Realtime Worlds will leverage Vindicia CashBox™ for its ability to support multiple business models -- subscriptions, virtual goods and virtual currencies -- and to simultaneously manage fraud while optimizing customer acquisition and retention."

DiRT 2 Trailer

Another trailer is now available on the DiRT2 UK Website to unpave the way for the imminent release of the rally racing sequel. The console versions of the game are out in North America as of today, and should be hitting Europe later this week, with the PC edition slated for release this December. The new clip is set at the Estadio Del Ray Rallycross. Vroom! The clip is also available on GameTrailers.com.

On Sale

Still working on a new format for this so it's not so unwieldy as new items are added throughout the week. The list is still manageable for now, so here goes:

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Robot Chicken - Cats Are Jerks. Thanks Ant.

Ships Ahoy - UO: Stygian Abyss

EA announces the availability of the new Stygian Abyss expansion for Ultima Online, the eighth add-on for the Methuselah of MMORPGs. The add-on is available via digital distribution from the EA Store as well as the UO Game Code Store. Here's a bit from the announcement, please note the URL for UOGameCodes.com below is incorrect:
Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss revolves around the introduction of the playable Gargoyle race. Players will also find expansive new areas to explore, including Ter Mur, the Gargoyle homeland, and the Stygian Abyss – the largest dungeon area ever introduced to Ultima Online. This sprawling dungeon contains new boss monsters of unparalleled difficulty, including the Medusa, Primeval Lich and the Stygian Dragon, as well as Player vs. Player zones where adventurers are turned against one another.

“We could not be more proud to release Stygian Abyss as the 8th expansion of the storied Ultima Online franchise,” said Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer for Mythic Entertainment. “As the 12 year anniversary of Ultima Online approaches, we are thrilled to offer a brand new Ultima adventure, including the new Gargoyle race and the massive Stygian Abyss dungeon, to both new and existing players.”

Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss will be available via UOGamesCodes.com and the EA STORE:
        • Stygian Abyss Expansion: $29.99 (EXISTING & FORMER ACCOUNTS ONLY)
        • Stygian Abyss Expansion & 30-Day game-time: $39.99 (NEW ACCOUNTS ONLY)

Additionally, consumers who purchase Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss from September 8th – 29th will receive a multi-use Alteration Token to transform current characters into Gargoyles, an exclusive gargoyle craftable pet, and decorative Stygian Abyss mob boss statues.*

Borderlands Movies

Episode one in a series of webisodic movies for Borderlands is now available, offering a lighthearted promotion for Gearbox's upcoming role-playing shooter narrated by Claptrap the robot, who channels a little Christian Bale for us. The clip is available on the YouTube. Also, the Gamescom 09 Borderlands Interview on MTV GameOne is an article in German, but the embedded interview with Randy Pitchford is in English (with German subtitles). The interview begins at about the 1:45 mark, and Randy once again explains the genesis of the game, the art change, the size of the game's arsenal, and other fairly familiar territory.

PAX H1N1 Warning

The Penny Arcade Expo organizers report a case of the 2009 H1N1 Flu (aka the "swine flu") has been confirmed in one of the attendees of this weekend's Penny Arcade Expo, tweeting the following advice for attendees: "PLEASE if you feel symptoms (fever, etc) go to the doctor." Penny Arcade's Robert Khoo tells Kotaku: "This is the real thing. If you get this number of people together in this close a proximity it is the perfect storm for these kind of wild fire virus spreads." Thanks nin.

Ships Ahoy - Darkest of Days

Darkest of Days, the new first-person shooter from 8monkey Labs, is now available in North America, offering the chance to change history by influencing the outcome of some famous historical battles. The game is available via digital distribution on Direct2Drive and Steam News, with Steam offering a 10% discount until September 15. A playable demo is available, and here's a bit of the official pitch for the game:
Have you ever wondered what could happen if time travel was a reality? Have you ever thought about the possibility of going back in time to rewrite history for the better? That possibility is a reality in Darkest of Days, where players will travel back and forth through the annals time to relive some of mankind's most dire hours. By fighting through terrible events such as The Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest conflict of the Civil War, and vicious battles from both World War I and II, the player will attempt to save certain key individuals who were never meant to become involved in these truly monstrous events and thereby change human history for the better.

Ships Ahoy - Mini Ninjas

Eidos Interactive announces that Mini Ninjas is now available, offering this miniaturized martial arts action/adventure from IO Interactive for Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and DS. A playable demo for the game was released a couple of weeks ago, and here's the news on the release:
Mini Ninjas™, co-published in North America by Eidos Inc. and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, will be available from today for the Wii™, Nintendo DS™, PLAYSTATION®3 Computer Entertainment System, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Games for Windows. Developed by IO Interactive, Mini Ninjas will take you on a journey to feudal Japan where you’ll join Hiro, Futo, and the rest of the ninja clan on their biggest ninja adventure ever, as they embark on an epic and electrifying quest to restore harmony to a world on the brink of chaos.

“We are really excited to be launching MINI NINJAS™. It has been a fantastic adventure giving life to these fierce little guys.” Niels Jørgensen General Manager of IO Interactive. ”The game came from a deep passion within IO to develop something completely different and new for a wider audience. We really hope that people will enjoy the game as much as we do."

Mini Ninjas is rated Everyone 10+ with Cartoon Violence and Crude Humor. To learn more about Mini Ninjas at the official webpage: www.minininjas.com and join the fan group on Facebook.

Cities XL US Demo

The US demo for Cities XL is now available, following last week's release of the European demo for Monte Cristo's urban planning/management game. The demo will be active for the month of September, requiring online registration and allowing the creation of cities with populations of up to 22,000 on any of three maps. The demo is just under 1 GB, and the download is available on AtomicGamer, Big Download, ComputerGames.ro, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell. Word is:
Players will be able to build their city across three available maps (the full version of the game will include 25 maps for solo mode and 50 for the Planet Offer). Inter-city trading, the chat function and a limited avatar builder have all been included, along with the possibility to visit Capital City, a town that offers an example of what can be created with Cities XL.

Players can also create their own city journals and start a new city as often as they wish for the duration of the demo period. Developed by Monte Cristo Games, CITIES XL™ expands upon all the features that make city builders fun and interesting, while also letting players take their game online, as they interact with others in a persistent online environment.

Arsenal of Democracy Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Arsenal of Democracy, a new game based on Hearts of Iron II being developed by mod team BL-Logic planned for release in December of this year. Here is the box art and some screenshots, and here's the announcement:
ARSENAL OF DEMOCRACY - A “Hearts of Iron” Game The ultimate World War II simulation arriving this December

NEW YORK – September 8, 2009 – Paradox Interactive are excited to unveil a brand new Hearts of Iron game entitled Arsenal of Democracy, set to release on PC in December.

Developed by BL-Logic, a development studio made up by fans of the Hearts of Iron series and active member of the modding community, Arsenal of Democracy is the ultimate World War II simulation and is described by Project Leader Lennart Berg as “Hearts of Iron II on steroids!”

Describing the idea and process behind the creation of Arsenal of Democracy, Berg goes on to say, “During the years of the Hearts of iron II lifecycle, I made a list of improvements in the forums and these became the guidelines to the new game. So we went ahead and implemented these along with many more ideas until we had pretty much replaced and enhanced everything from the original. The end result, in our very humble opinion, is the ultimate World War II simulation.”

KEY FEATURES
* Increased resolution and windowed mode freely selectable
* Totally reworked combat mechanics, new missions and realistic combat behavior and losses
* Several new technologies
* New espionage interface and reworked espionage system
* One of the most detailed economy and production system found in any Hearts of Iron game
* Realistic logistics system
* Everything is moddable
* AI reworked and now poses a genuine threat, even to experienced players
* 4 new battle scenarios

Gold - Tropico 3

This Twitter Tweet announces Tropico 3 is gold, and is still presumably on track for its recently revised October 16 release date (September 24 in Germany). A sample of the island dictator sequel developed by Haemimont Games should be released this week according to that same release date announcement. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Prey for Zenimax

USPTO Assignments on the Web lists Zenimax as the new owner of the Prey trademark showing it was transferred from Scott Miller's Apogee to Scott Miller's Radar Group in June before a subsequent transfer in July to Bethesda and id Software parent Zenimax Media. Also, this listing and this listing show new trademarks they've subsequently filed for Prey since then. Thanks superannuation. Prey was announced in the '90s, dropped off the map for a while, and was ultimately developed by Human Head Studios and released in 2006. In May 2008 Prey 2 was announced by Radar Group, but we recently heard from Human Head that they were not developing the sequel, and Radar Group was non-responsive to questions about the topic.

APB Beta in Weeks

Eurogamer has word from Realtime Worlds that beta testing for All Points Bulletin (APB) will commence in weeks. With community officer Chris Collins telling them: "We're weeks rather than months away from starting closed beta." Beta applications are still being accepted if you want to help test the upcoming subscription-free online crime game.

Disney Adds Seropian and Wideload

CNBC.com has news that Bungie co-founder Alex Seropian has joined Disney Interactive Studios to oversee in-house video game development. The move also includes the acquisition of Wideload Games (Stubbs the Zombie & Hail to the Chimp), the studio Seropian formed in 2004, but financial terms are not being revealed. The article speaks of convergence between casual and core games, "Look at Pixar," they quote Seropian saying. "They are successfully making films that appeal to both families and film nerds – and that opportunity exists in games." There's no word on how Disney's recent acquisition of Marvel will play into this, since that deal is not officially finalized yet.

New Battlezone II Patch

A new Battlezone II patch 1.3 Public Beta 5.1 continues the unofficial support for Pandemic's action/strategy sequel by original programmers Nathan Mates and Ken Miller. The new version has new DirectX 9 performance optimizations (most noticeably in the terrain rendering), re-enables high-res shadows, addresses various crash bugs, and updates the max vertex count for models from 2730 to 20,000 verts/model to allow mod authors to use more complex models.

King's Bounty: Armored Princess Website

A new King's Bounty: Armored Princess Website is live, with more background on 1C Company's upcoming adventure/RPG. The site includes media, hosts the game's official forums, and has loads of details on characters and gameplay from the project.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

I'm thinking of a number between 750 and 870:

Out of the Blue

We had a fine old time at a Labor Day cookout yesterday, and the food was great, in spite of not being cooked by me. We also had a grown-ups and kids touch football game which was a lot of fun, but now has me pretty sore, a reminder that I should probably be a little more active on a day-to-day basis.

R.I.P.: Louis Rosen, 91, dies, worked on first nuclear bombs.

Sore Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Tetris Friends Online.
Mechanaught.
HeadSpin: Space Race.
Links: 10 Weirdest Places To Be Born. Thanks Neatorama.
22 TV series not ruined when two characters hooked up. Thanks Digg.
Story: Stewart may return to ‘X-Men,’ closes door on ‘Star Trek’. Thanks Digg.
Science: Cyborg Exoskeletons May Soon Become as Common as Bicycles.
How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? Thanks j.c.f.
Images: Arcade in Congo. Wonder if they're playing Congo Bongo?
Media: Tour de France prank. That's so great.
Know your Meme- Fail!
The many deaths of South Park's Kenny McCormick.
Follow-ups:
(Cleverer the first time edition)
Take this ROM and..- indie dev quits mainstream job via Super Mario.
900 Members of Dragon Con Set World Record For Largest Performance Of 'Thriller.
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