Archived News:

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 Armistice/Veterans/Remembrance Day

Single-Player Shadowbane?

As noted on superannuation, Ubisoft has filed a trademark registration for Shadowbane, seemingly planning a non-MMO revival of Wolfpack Studios' MMOG that closed earlier this year after five years of operation. The TM will cover: "Game software and electronic game programs, namely software games recorded on CD-ROM and digital video discs for computers; software games recorded on CD-ROMs, digital video discs, and cartridges for console and individual, portable gaming systems; software games that are downloadable from a remote computer site and electronic game software for mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and handheld computers."

Need for Speed SHIFT Patch Plans

EA's Need for Speed Forums have details on an upcoming patch for Need for Speed SHIFT. The patch will have a bunch of tweaks and fixes for all platforms, boosting the multiplayer limit from 8 players to 12 players among other things. There are also a few changes specific to the Windows version of the racing sequel, including improved ATI graphics card support, which is discussed in detail on Legit Reviews.

Section 8 Patched

A new patch for Section 8 is now automatically available through Games for Windows LIVE to update this first-person shooter from TimeGate Studios. Here are some of the changes, courtesy of IGN:
    • Tank controls have been tuned, making them more intuitive and responsive

    • The improved automatch system offers enhanced responsiveness when searching for a server

    • Bot AI has been improved. Bots will now follow and defend allies and will pursue retreating targets more aggressively

    • An improved stat tracking framework

    • Addressed GFWL/Section 8 login issues

ECA Goes Green

There's a call to action on the Entertainment Consumers Association Website where they urge US gamers to support proposed legislation that would address E-waste and energy consumption from gaming:
E-waste and energy consumption are two key areas where our voices and concerns can be heard in the intersection of gaming and environmentalism. Right now, the Senate is considering two bills which could help green our hobby. To that end, we’re asking you to tell your Senators to support S. 1397 the Electronic Device Recycling Research and Development Act and S. 1696 the Green Gaming Act of 2009.

S. 1397 would fund research and programs to expand recycling of consumer electronics, like game consoles, ensuring the proper disposal of any harmful chemicals in them, and the recycling and reuse of components. S. 1696 asks the Secretary of Energy to insure that game consoles have reasonable electricity consumption rates in line with other consumer electronic devices.

These bills are an important step in insuring that our hobby is environmentally responsible, and we ask you to tell your Senators to support them.

Steamships Ahoy - FINAL FANTASY XI Ultimate Collection

Steam now offers the North American release of FINAL FANTASY XI Ultimate Collection a bundle of the original Final Fantasy MMORPG, four expansions, and three add-on scenarios. The bundle also includes 30 days worth of game time. Also now on Stream is the action/RPG A Farewell to Dragons and racing game GM Rally.

Steam Updates

Steam News now offers a new automatic update for Shattered Horizon, with some fixes and tweaks to the just-released zero-G shooter from Futuremark Game Studios, including a FPS counter. They also offer the Steam edition of the new Grand Theft Auto IV patch. Also, owners of the Steam edition of Torchlight can now access the game's level editor under the Steam tools menu. Finally, they have new language support for Painkiller: Overdose and Painkiller: Black Edition, which are now available in German, French, and Spanish. Also, they announce Spaceforce: Rogue Universe now has support for French, German, and Spanish.

Dragon Age Image Comparison

GameSpot has some screenshots from Dragon Age: Origins allowing a direct comparison between the Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 editions of BioWare's new RPG. It's not exactly the good the bad and the ugly, but it's readily apparent that the console versions are fighting for second place to the superior PC graphics, which is no surprise. Thanks Ant.

Direct2Drive Top 10

Direct2Drive announces the 10 bestselling games on their digital marketplace for the week of November 1-7:

  1. Dragon Age: Origins
  2. Dragon Age: Origins Digital Deluxe Edition
  3. Dragon Age: Origins Digital Deluxe Edition w/ Prima Guide
  4. Borderlands
  5. Torchlight
  6. Tropico 3
  7. Civilization 4: The Complete Edition
  8. Aion
  9. Fallen Earth
  10. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

id Software Hiring

id Software lists a bunch of job openings at the Mesquite, Texas-based developer. Looking at the long list of openings, one might begin to expect they have added another project to their current workload, but that is just conjecture.

DiRT 2 Interview

The DiRT 2 Interview on The Reticule chats with Adam Askew about Codemasters' rally racing sequel. They discuss the already-released console versions, as well as the Windows edition, which is due next month: "The last few months have been all about taking advantage of the very latest technology to ensure that DiRT 2 provides the best racing experience of 2009 to our PC gaming community. We’ve worked closely with Microsoft and AMD to implement a DirectX11 rendering pipeline, with which players will experience the highest levels of visual quality and performance that the game has to offer. This doesn’t mean we’re leaving DirectX9 behind – the game will still look great with a DirectX9 setup and our scalable EGO game engine will allow the game to be enjoyed on machines that are several years old."

Evening Consolidation

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Top 10 Funniest Google Suggest Results. Thanks Devicer.

Still More Legal Fallout

Duck and Cover has some analysis of court documents from the legal battle between Interplay and Bethesda Softworks over the Fallout rights, as they examine Bethesda's efforts at getting the case thrown out of court. Bethesda disputes that Interplay's deal with Masthead satisfies the requirement that a Fallout MMOG be under development by now, asserts that Interplay violated the "non-assignability" of the rights, and says Interplay's sales of the older Fallout games is also a violation of their deal.

Age of Conan Wants You Back

Funcom announces another invitation to former subscribers of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures to return and play for free to see all the improvements to the MMORPG since its launch. They are offering a free two-week subscription to ex-players, and as an incentive returning players will earn double experience. They are also promising those who re-subscribe the chance to get access to the beta test for The Secret World, a free copy of the expansion and more, depending on how long they re-up for. Now how much would you pay? But wait! There's more:

Besides receiving an incredible experience boost throughout November, players who choose to continue subscribing to the game after their free period can look forward to a range of exclusive rewards:

     • Subscribing for 1 month gives 7 days extra game time for no additional cost

     • Subscribing for 3 months also guarantees a spot in open beta for The Secret World

     • Subscribing for 6 months also gives a level 40 helmet with a 10% XP modifier

     • Subscribing for 12 months also gives a free copy of the Rise of the Godslayer expansion

In addition, the rewards for the lower tier subscriptions are also included in the higher tier subscription, which means that you will get all these exclusive rewards if you choose to subscribe for 12 months. This is a time-limited offer only, and is also available to current players. Players who have signed up for these subscription plans in October have already secured their respective reward. The Secret World beta reward includes access to the later stages of the closed beta, and a date for access will be announced later. The free download of the expansion will become available when the expansion launches.

C&C4 Layoff Rumor Follow-up [Updated]

Planet Command & Conquer has a follow-up on the rumor that the entire development team for Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight will be laid off following the release of the RTS sequel as part of the rash of layoffs at EA. Update: This story has been removed, as it was apparently based on a bad translation, and was not accurate.

Mythic Status Report

A new Executive Producer's Letter on the Warhammer Herald has reassurances from Jeff Hickman about the future of Mythic and their games amid rumors that layoffs at EA have heavily impacted Mythic (thanks IncGamers). He gives the optimistic outlook for each of Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, and the following overview:
With all that is going on within Mythic Entertainment and EA, I would like to take a moment to reinforce the studio’s dedication to both our games and our players. At Mythic, we remain committed to our games and the passionate people who play them – we’re going to continue to deliver the content and service that keeps you playing. We want to assure our community that we will maintain the same high level of customer support you’ve come to expect and continue to improve our games with an exciting schedule of patches, live events and new content.

Cecil/Gibbons Minesweeper Confirmed

IncGamers has a confirmation from Revolution's Charles Cecil of recent reports that his upcoming collaboration with Dave Gibbons is "loosely based on Minesweeper." The game is currently a prototype, and Cecil says: "Since we are at an early stage, I think that it is a bit premature to comment too much, since everything may still change."

World of Warcraft Deadline

As Blizzard announced last month, today is the last day to merge your World of Warcraft login with Word in the FAQ is: "After November 11, 2009, you won’t be able to log in to the game unless you merge your account with a account. You will need to log in using your account username (your email address) and password." The European FAQ previously said D-Day in Europe would be November 12, but now this says November 11.

QUAKE LIVE Exploit Fixed

The QUAKE LIVE Website outlines a new update for id Software's online shooter that addresses a few bugs and closes off an exploit in the game, though the nature of the exploit is not revealed. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Star Trek Online Specs

The Star Trek Online Website now offers system requirements for Cryptic's upcoming Trekkie MMORPG. There's also a Star Trek Online Interview on NowGamer talking in detail with Craig Zinkievich about the game. Here are the system specs:
System Requirements
OS: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 Ghz or AMD Athlon X2 3800+
Memory: 1GB RAM
Video: NVIDIA GeForce 7950 / ATI Radeon X1800 / Intel HD Graphics
Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Soundcard
DirectX: Version 9.0c or Higher
HDD: 8GB Free Disk Space
Network: Internet Broadband Connection Required
Disc: 6X DVD-ROM

Recommended System Configuration
OS: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)
CPU: Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon X2 5600+
Memory: 2GB RAM+
Video: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 3850+
Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Soundcard
DirectX: Version 9.0c or Higher
HDD: 8GB Free Disk Space
Network: Internet Broadband Connection Required
Disc: 6X DVD-ROM

Modern Medal of Honor Rumors Resurface

MCV says they can confirm indications that the next installment in the Medal of Honor series of military shooters will be set in the modern era, following in the back to the future footsteps of the Call of Duty series. They attribute the news to a "reliable industry source," and they say the game will be officially announced before Christmas and released in February/March 2010 which seems like a short turnaround from announcement to release. EA recently discussed plans to "revitalize" the franchise.

Torchlight Editor

TorchED, the Torchlight editor is now available, offering the ability to customize Runic Games' action/RPG. Downloads of the editor can be found on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Worthplaying, and the Runic Games Forums is a good place to look for support on this. Also, there's a Torchlight Interview on Gaming Nexus chatting with Runic Games co-founder Erich Schaefer about their new action/RPG. Topics are pretty general, including one of those questions for "those who have been living under a rock."

Borderlands 2?

Gearbox on Borderlands 2, Pitchford’s Valve remarks and tons more on VG247 talks with Gearbox Software's Mike Neumann about the new role-playing shooter. He still won't be pinned down about plans for a demo and talks about how some of the inflammatory remarks attributed to Randy Pitchford were taken out of context. He also talks about the possibility of a sequel, saying Borderlands 2 is a "no-brainer":
Yes, I can probably confirm that there’s a chance of a Borderlands 2 [laughs]. I mean, with anything, especially a new IP, if people want more and you can make more, and everybody can make money and do good business there, it obviously makes really good sense to do that. Obviously nothing so far is planned. We’re working on DLC. We haven’t really had any talks about a sequel, other than water cooler talk like, “Wouldn’t this be cool” kind of stuff. But yeah, Borderlands is really exciting. Everyone here loves the franchise, and it seems like the public is really coming back with praise and love. So yeah, if everything makes sense, Borderlands 2 seems like a no-brainer to me.

Assassin's Creed 2 Interview

The Behind The Scenes - Assassin's Creed 2 Interview on IncGamers has video interview and a transcript of the proceedings as Ubisoft Montreal's Benoit Lambert, Sebastien Puel, and Francois Roughol all answer questions about Assassin's Creed II. The clip includes some new gameplay footage. Also, there are some new screenshots from the action/stealth sequel on GameInfoWire.

Combat Mission Shock Force Patch now offers a new patch for Combat Mission Shock Force updating the military strategy game to version 1.21. Word is: "This information is for the current v1.21 patch of Combat Mission Shock Force. This patch is "incremental" and requires at least v1.10 version of the game. You need to first patch the game up to v1.10 (or v1.11, or v1.20) before applying this patch. If you have the Marines or British Forces module, your game is already automatically at least at version 1.10 or v1.20, respectively. If you have the base game only, make sure you have the previous patches installed."

L4D2 Demo and Steam Patch

Steam News has word of an automatic update that's available for the Left 4 Dead 2 Demo that fixes an "issue with sound and mic settings being reset when changing lobbies or returning to lobby that affected some Windows 7 and Windows Vista users." There's also a new Steam client update.

Game Reviews

Thanks The Crypt.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

It's Veteran's Day here in the US and Armistice Day elsewhere. Here's a salute to vets.

I'm a little off schedule this morning, pain/drugs from my tooth extraction had me up late and consequently sleeping late. The dentist was sort of appalled at the dentistry that she had to clean up, so it must have been terrible, because it's hard to get doctors to speak ill of each other. Sigh.

Veteran Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Level Editor.
Wake Up the Box.
Fastest Time Wins.
Links: Bear attack on bush plane in Alaska. Duct tape FTW. Thanks Ian.
I Think the Google Logo Designer Is Having Marital Problems.
'Star Wreck,' from Finland with love. Thanks Morris.
Stories: Pushchair amputation risk recall.
Surprise! Unknown Asteroid Buzzed Earth. Thanks Slashdot.
Use of laser guns in Chicago to catch speeders is questioned. Thanks Slashdot.
Science: Tiny Robot Swarms Will Study Tiniest Sea Life. Thanks theAntiELVIS.
A New Spacecraft to Explore on Waves of Light. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Mind Reading (Neural Decoding) Goes Mainstream.
Images: Tears of the veteran. Thanks Kxmode.
4 Neck Guitar. Thanks Kxmode.
That’s a WIN in my book.
Media: Roombas Playing Pac-Man.
Star Wars Gangsta Rap: Chronicles. Thanks Wolfen.
The Decade in Seven Minutes.
Auction: Hindenburg airship beer auctioned.
Follow-ups: Commercial space operations seeing big cash infusion.
U.S. Takes Down $9 Million RBS WorldPay Hacking Ring. Thanks Slashdot.
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