Archived News:

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009

Ships Ahoy - Heroes over Europe

Today is the announced release date for the Windows version of Heroes over Europe, the sequel to Heroes of the Pacific, and while we haven't seen an official release announcement for the World War II aerial combat game, it is now available for digital distribution through GameStop and Steam.

Guild Wars 2 Art Books on Sale

The Art of Guild Wars 2 book is now for sale on the Guild Wars 2 Website. Here's word: "The Art of Guild Wars 2 is a hardbound book packed with 128 pages of eye candy by ArenaNet's award-winning artists. The vivid collection of concept art offers a long-awaited glimpse into the world of Guild Wars 2. Within these pages you'll visit the undead realm of Orr, meet the mysterious sylvari, and behold the fiery war machines of the charr. This book is a must-have for any Guild Wars fan."

Left 4 Dead 2 Demo Details

Shacknews has confirmation the Left 4 Dead 2 demo revealed earlier will indeed be for preorder customers when it is released on October 27, confirming previous indications. The demo will be for PC and Xbox 360 customers who preorder the game, but there's no word at this time when the demo will be released for the world at large.

MS EA Takeover Rumors

Reuters reports that Electronic Arts stock is up on the day based on rumors that Microsoft is planning a takeover bid. They hash through the possibilities with some analysts, and seem to believe it's not happening:
"There's talk that Microsoft might be interested in acquiring Electronic Arts. It's unsubstantiated chatter, but it's out there," said Frederic Ruffy, an options strategist at in New York.

But Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at Global Equities Research, said Electronic Arts was not on Microsoft's "radar screen" based on his industry contacts.

"Our contacts just don't see Microsoft buying Electronic Arts, no synergies whatsoever, and also not Microsoft's corporate primary focus right now," Chowdhry wrote in an e-mailed note.

Order of War Interview

There's an Order of War Interview on Gaming Nexus discussing the just-released World War II strategy game with CEO Victor Kislyi. They discuss the game's inspiration, its balance between authenticity and gameplay, fighting "WWII fatigue," controlling large numbers of units, the future of strategy games, multiplayer support, the possibility of expansions, and more.

Elemental Interview

The Brad Wardell interview on Shacknews is a Q&A with the Stardock boss to probe for information about Elemental, the upcoming fantasy-themed strategy game. They discuss how there aren't many developers perusing games like this anymore, ideas stolen from Civilization, making a more accessible game, combat, strategies, multiplayer modes, and more.

EVE Scandal of the Week

Massively has details on the latest scandal in EVE Online, the space based MMORPG where the next scandal is always less than 12 parsecs off. The latest is some wrongdoing by a member of their volunteer program, who apparently accessed details about other members of the program, though the extent or full ramifications of the breach are not clear at this time. There is this warning from CCP: "All players, particularly those who are or have been in the EVE Online volunteer program, should be aware that any e-mails sent from the domain are bogus and have been sent from someone pretending to be an official representative of CCP."

On Sale

The Direct2Drive offers seem to all be North America or US only.

  • Champions Online on Save 40%, today only.

    Still on sale (previously reported)
  • Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Assassin's Creed Director's Cut on Direct2Drive.
  • Celtic Kings: Rage of War on Save 25%.
  • Complete Strategy First Catalog on Save 50%.
  • Dark Void Preorders on GameStop. Outlines the preorder bonus.
  • Drakensang: The Dark Eye on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Elven Legacy on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Eve Online: Apocrypha on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Madballs on Steam. Save 20% plus a free Guest Pass.
  • MDK on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • PlanetSide: Aftershock on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Risen on Save $10.00. Thanks Big Download.
  • Spellforce Platinum on Save $2.00.
  • Titan Quest Bundle on Direct2Drive. Only $5.00.
  • Tropico 3 Pre-purchase on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Unreal Tournament 3 Black Steam. Save 60%.
  • Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition on Steam. Now $1.99.
  • Unreal Deal Pack on Steam. Save 60%.

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Zero Punctuation: Beatles Rock Band and Guitar Hero 5. NSFW. Thanks Ant.

Din's Curse Announced

Independent developer Soldak Entertainment announces Din's Curse, a single-player/co-op action RPG for PC and Mac tentatively planned for release this year ("however it will be released when it's done"). A Dins Curse Overview is online, outlining the premise, and linking to the game's forums, which are already running. The game will feature 141 class combinations and an "infinite" number of towns "with vastly different problems" thanks to the game's dynamically generated content, and word is: "Your actions have real consequences in this dynamic, evolving world. Your choices actually matter." Here's a bit more:
In Din's Curse, you will explore an extensive underground, slaying dangerous monsters, solving dynamic quests, dodging deadly traps, and in your spare time, plundering loot. Quell uprisings, flush out traitors, kill assassins, cure plagues, purge curses, end wars, and complete other dangerous quests or the danger WILL escalate. Not all is as it seems though, traitors will gladly stab you in the back, renegades can revolt against the town, spies can set up ambushes, and items might even curse or possess your friends.

The Witcher 2 Leaked Video FAQ

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings leaked video FAQ is a new document entirely devoted to The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings trailer recently "leaked" onto the internets. The FAQ is penned by Tom Gop, CD Projekt RED Senior Producer, who repeats that the leaked video does not represent the game's final graphics, that the voices are all placeholders, outlines how much of the original The Witcher team are working on the sequel, that the PC is the game's only announced platform, that they do not currently have a set release date, and more.

C&C4 Voice Services

Command and Conquer DEN has a press release from Vivox announcing the voice communications outfit has signed a new deal with Electronic Arts to provide integrated voice services in upcoming online games (thanks Ant). Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight will be the first game to feature Vivox when the RTS sequel is released:
"Command & Conquer 4 is a huge leap forward for RTS games," said Rob Seaver, CEO, Vivox. "EA recognizes the impact that voice will bring to Command & Conquer 4, both tactically and socially, and it is a terrific title to kick-off our relationship. With voice, players will experience and create new levels of gameplay for themselves, making the connections they need to move ahead and win the game. It is amazing to work with EA to craft a new experience for the RTS genre, and we expect to keep innovating with future EA titles."

Command & Conquer 4 Tiberian Twilight, the next installment to the bestselling, critically acclaimed real-time strategy franchise, will feature new levels of competitive multiplayer gameplay, including new features such as the 5v5 objective-based multiplayer mode. This functionality will elevate the social real-time-strategy experience, with the focus on teamwork and cooperation, which will be further enhanced with Vivox' voice chat.

Modern Warfare 2 Surprises Remain has word from Infinity Ward that some surprises remain in Modern Warfare 2, in spite of all the advance publicity for the military shooter sequel also known as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a Modern Warfare Call of Duty Game (or something like that). "There are some huge surprises. What's awesome is, we've done all the press we've done so far, we've shown Cliffhanger, we've shown some Favela, we've set the tone of what Modern Warfare 2 is, and yet there is something we haven't talked about that, and the reason we haven't talked about it is because once you see it you completely forget everything we've already talked about. It becomes this whole new game. That's what I'm excited for," Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling tells them. "There are a lot of surprises. Some stuff we will never talk about till launch, and that's just because we want that… it's emotional stuff that we want to have that emotional response when you play, not read it in a magazine and then you're like, oh yeah I know about that."

New Aion Servers This Weekend

IncGamers has statements from NCsoft about delays users have been experiencing getting into Aion, the just launched MMORPG. Users were experiencing long queues to enter the game during the headstart program, which NCsoft says was an unusual circumstance, and their MMOG correspondent reported no delays getting into the game on Tuesday. There's an update to the story reporting NCsoft informs them that server caps have been increased, and that two new servers will launch this weekend, one for North America, and the other for Europe.

Ships Ahoy - Supreme Ruler 2020 GOLD

Paradox Interactive announces that Supreme Ruler 2020 GOLD is now available in North American stores and on the internets through the magic of digital distribution. Here's a bit from the announcement, which is accompanied by some new screenshots:
Paradox Interactive announced today that Supreme Ruler 2020 GOLD is available in retail stores in North America and through digital download on all major digital distribution outlets. The strategy title, which offers players a chilling glimpse of a world on the verge of World War III, includes Supreme Ruler 2020 and its official expansion Global Crisis.

Developed by BattleGoat Studios, in Supreme Ruler 2020 GOLD, one must grab control of a nation on the brink of total anarchy. In Global Crisis, you face an even more devastating and realistic experience through a sandbox-style campaign that incorporates real-world headlines and political strategies with thrilling gameplay.

Flash Plants vs. Zombies

A Flash version of Plants vs. Zombies on the PopCap Website offers an online way to sample the vegetable versus carnivore action of Plants vs. Zombies, their offbeat strategy offering. The online version offers links to download the free trial version of the game, and here is word on the online version:
The Flash version of Plants vs. Zombies includes:

      • 3 available game modes (Adventure, Endless Survival, Vasebreaker)
      • 14 levels of Adventure mode
      • A zombie not found in the PC version!
      • 6 zombie types and 12 plants with which to stop them
      • Graphics and gameplay faithful to the PC version
      • Unlike most of our web based games, PvZ streams in the music of the PC version as you play
      • Enhanced performance features of Flash 10

Left 4 Dead 2 Demo Next Month

Speaking at an EA event at the Tokyo Games Show, Valve has revealed a playable demo for Left 4 Dead 2 is expected on October 27, reports Joystiq. Valve has already stated a demo will precede the game's release and that there will be early demo access for preorders, but those matters are not mentioned, nor is whether the demo is coming to PC, Xbox 360, or both. Update: To be clear the story says this was announced by Valve, and not EA, as this article originally stated. Apologies for causing any confusion.

L4D Crash Course This Month

Valve announces that the Crash Course DLC for Left 4 Dead (and Left 4 Dead 2) is due on September 29:
September 23, 2009 - Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress, and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced that Crash Course -- the second downloadable content (DLC) update for its co-operative zombie thriller, Left 4 Dead (L4D) -- will be made available worldwide on September 29 on Xbox 360 and PC.

Crash Course delivers new single-player, multiplayer and co-operative gameplay to both platforms, and bridges the gap between the end of the "No Mercy" campaign and the beginning of "Death Toll" in the original game.

While containing both Survival maps and a Co-operative Campaign, the primary goal of Crash Course is to deliver a complete Versus mode experience in just 30 minutes, resulting in a streamlined version of the game's existing Versus campaigns. A recharge timer for infected teammates has also been added, and item spawn behavior has changed for more balanced gameplay.

Slight Borderlands PC Delay

IGN reports that the release of Borderlands is slightly delayed, and Gearbox Software's RPG/shooter will be released in North America on October 26 and internationally on October 30, respectively delays of six and seven days from the game's previously announced release dates (interestingly, October 26 is a Monday, while game releases in the US are usually Tuesdays). The console versions are not effected by this, as word from 2K Games is: "We're optimizing the PC version which takes a few days longer than expected."

THQ Takeover Rumors

MCV reports rumors that Warner is gearing up to make a bid for THQ, which are substantial enough to have driven THQ's stock price up 13% yesterday. They quote industry analysts saying Viacom, Electronic Arts, and Fox/NewsCorp are also potential suitors for THQ, apparently intrigued by the allure of THQ's WWE license.

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Well, today is my third day completely off the coffee, and I am pretty miserable, but not from caffeine withdrawal. Here's my promised explanation for why I'm off the coffee. I recently got a referral to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor to investigate a pain in my throat, thinking I had developed a Rock Band related singing injury like throat polyps. Instead I was diagnosed with Laryngo-Pharyngeal Reflux Disease (LPRD), where stomach acids get past the upper sphincter and into the throat, irritating and even damaging vocal chords and possibly even the lungs. Unlike the similar, more common GERD, which causes heartburn, most people with LPRD don't have significant symptoms, and it is referred to as one of those "silent" diseases (so the occasional bouts of heartburn I suffer are likely not due to this). Abstaining from caffeinated beverages is part of the recommended treatment, as is staying away from fat, spicy foods, soft drinks, alcohol, and about anything that is enjoyable, so we'll have to see about all that going forward, but for now I'm being good. I am also on a prescription medication for this called Protonix, which is the reason for the misery that I mentioned earlier, as I am suffering intense backaches, one of the rare side-effects of the drug. I will talk to the doctor today to find out how long these might persist, and whether I need to switch meds as a result. The good news is that the pain in my throat has gone away surprisingly quickly, suggesting that however troublesome the treatment is, the Doctor's diagnosis seems to have been spot on.

Acid Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Mushroom Madness.
Links: 10 Best Things We'll Say to Our Grandkids.
Colorado woman survives 5 days in the mountains after crashing car. Thanks Neatorama.
Story: Long Lost Brothers Find Each Other at Work. Thanks brother19.
Science: Tiny technologies could produce big energy solutions.
Images: BioShock, Circa 1882.
APOD: 2009 September 22 - Aurora Over Yellowknife.
Tetris Tiles.
Media: Left 4 Dead - Luggage Check.
Super Mario Bros controlled with theremin.
He Puts It in the Wrong Place Video. Extremely NSFW. Thanks nin via Digg.
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