Archived News:

Friday, Nov 20, 2009

2K Games Teaser Trailer

Kotaku has a trailer teasing a project from 2K Games that will be unveiled at Spike TV's 2009 Video Games Awards. The clip shows a soldier and the aftermath of some sort of disaster in Dubai, with the accompanying voice-over indicating the game will be a first-person shooter. Presumably we will learn more by Spike's VGA ceremony, which will be held on December 12.

Steam Bans Grey Market MW2 Keys

Steam users who purchased keys for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 through what turn out to be grey market sources have found themselves banned from playing the game. Apparently users have been able to buy discounted keys from sources that buy them in bulk for cyber cafes, foreign sales, and similar setups, only to find this is a no-no. A post to the Steam Users' Forums by Valve's BurtonJ says: "If you purchased just a cd key for the game then you purchased from an illegitimate seller and the game has been revoked." In a later post he clarifies: "I am sorry but you all did not purchase from a legitimate retailer. It is recommended that you contact the seller to request a refund. In the future, you should only buy unopened retail boxed copies from legitimate retailers or purchase via legitimate digital download services such as Steam and Direct2Drive." We saw a note about this yesterday with no working links to evidence of this, but found the sources today courtesy of a post on Voodoo Extreme.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy Beta Next Week

The Impulse Website has word that beta testing of the Diplomacy expansion for Ironclad's 4X strategy game Sins of a Solar Empire will commence next week:
Ironclad Games and Stardock Entertainment are pleased to announce the planned start of Beta 1 for Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy on Monday, November 23rd.

All Diplomacy pre-orders will be charged on Monday with access to the beta (which will not be fun, per our usual disclaimer). Beta 1 will not be feature complete but will contain: New Envoy cruisers, Embassies, Diplomacy tech tree (much more to come here, only the backbone will be present), Mission Generator, the beginnings of the Pirate changes, "Faster" gameplay options and more.

To pre-order Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy, just visit the Store.

PC MW2 Outsells CoD4

A post to the Infinity Ward Forum by Robert Bowling explains that in spite of the uproar from PC users expressing discontent over plans for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has outsold the original in its first week:
Yes, PC is the smallest percentage in terms of how much sold on each platform but that hardly means anything other than the PC is just the smallest market.

The PC version of Modern Warfare 2 has actually outsold the PC version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in it's first week. Making it the most successful PC version.

Essentially, all this percentage proves is that the console versions sold great, not that the PC version sold poorly, because that's actually not the case. The PC version has done tremendous in it's first week, better than our previous game.

NIMF Closing has word that the National Institute on Family and the Media (NIMF) is closing down on December 31 due to "the current challenging economic environment." The Minneapolis-based non-profit organization is best known for its annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card, which sought to inform parents about violent content in video games. Psychologist David Walsh, NIMF founder, said the following of the closure: "the work is far from finished and I look forward to transitioning the Institute's programs to worthy organizations that I am confident will continue to educate parents and caregivers on our rapidly changing digital culture." Thanks loonyboi.

Warlords Battlecry III and Impulse Follow-up

Stardock boss Brad Wardell follows up on yesterday's story about a complaint about Warlords Battlecry III purchased on Impulse not working properly. On further investigation, they have found the problem, and have replaced the version of the game on Impulse with a patched version that addresses the problem and adds some new content. Here's word:
As mentioned yesterday, the Consumerist never contacted Stardock or the game’s publisher Enlight about it. When I got your email I asked our Director of Publishing about it who reported what Enlight had told them.

However, I tried t he game myself and while the game does work, the random function is broken. This initially had been believed to be an issue on Vista and Windows 7 but it happens on Windows XP. Further investigation led us to discover that the latest official version of the game has this problem and that it is caused because when the developer removed SecuRom from the game a few years ago it triggered this.

We informed Enlight of this problem and they told us they were unaware of this issue and gave us the okay to find a way to fix the issue for Impulse customers. To that end, this evening we released an update to Warlords Battlecry 3 that incorporates a host of updates that were created by fans of the game.

In addition to addressing the problem mentioned on the forums it also adds:

- New Ogre playable faction
- New Goblin playable faction
- New Dragon playable faction
- 24 new Hero avatars
- Ships added for each race
- New terrain mini pack
- Four new Campaign locations on the world map
- New Event conditions
- New Hero classes: Tyrant, Horde Master, Dwarf Master, Wizard
- New Magic Spheres: Time Magic, Goblin Magic, Light Magic, Dwarf Magic - Lots of new skills for new items
- Three new Lair types
- 236 new Hero Portraits

Dreamkiller Patched

Steam News announces a new patch is automatically available for Dreamkiller, the action game from Mindware Studios. Here's word on the major change in the new version: "Fixed disconnection issues on non-local networks."

Star Trek Online Trailer

A new trailer from Star Trek Online shows off the final frontier in a space exploration clip from the upcoming Trekkie MMORPG. This is Jerry Bruckheimer-style exploration, as the peace lasts about 30 seconds, and then the shooting starts, and the rest of the clip features copious explosions. The clip is posted on GameTrailers and GameVideos.

BioShock 2 Trailers

Two new trailers from BioShock 2 are now available on Gametrailers, showing off 2K's upcoming first-person shooter sequel. There is a To Harvest Or Not To Harvest clip and a Turret Hack trailer.

Need for Speed SHIFT Trailer

A new trailer from Need for Speed SHIFT shows off content from the just announced Team Racing Pack DLC. The clip featuring new cars from the free DLC is available on GameTrailers.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Trailer

A new trailer shows off the Zerg changeling in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard's upcoming RTS sequel. The trailer can be found on GameTrailers and GameVideos.

Dark Void Trailer

A new trailer for Dark Void is on GameTrailers, offering a look at "The Watchers," one of the enemies in Airtight Games' upcoming jetpack-powered action game.

R.U.S.E Beta Keys

Keys for the upcoming beta test for R.U.S.E. are now being distributed. If you are interested in testing Ubisoft's upcoming real-time strategy game can hit up either Fileplay or IncGamers.

On Sale

Toys R Us Tempts Customers with pre-Black Friday Deals.

  • Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim on GamersGate. Save 60%.
  • Star Wars Galaxies: The Complete Online Adventures Premium Plus Pack on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Torchlight on Direct2Drive. Save $5.00 with the code 5OFFTORCH.

    Still on sale (previously reported)
  • 48 Hour Madness on GoGamer.
  • Alganon on Direct2Drive. Preorder and get beta access and in-game items.
  • Aliens vs. Predator on GameStop. Preorder and get three exclusive multiplayer skins.
  • Blood Bowl Dark Elves Edition on Steam. Save 10% on pre-purchases.
  • Capitalism II on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • Colin McRae DiRT 2 on Steam. Pre-purchase and save 80% on DiRT.
  • Crayon Physics Deluxe on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Dungeon Siege II Expansion Pack on GamerDeals. Only $1.99. Thanks Batman.
  • Elven Legacy on GamersGate. Save 50%.
  • Evochron Legends on GamersGate. Save 20%.
  • Frontlines: Fuel of War on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV on Direct2Drive. Now $29.95.
  • Hacker Evolution - Untold on Impulse.
  • Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile - Alexandria on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • Iron Grip Warlord on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • King's Bounty: Armored Princess on Steam. Save 10%.
  • King's Bounty: The Legend on GamersGate. Save 50%.
  • Kingdom Elemental: Tactics on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • LucasArts Premier Pack on Direct2Drive. Save 60%.
  • LucasArts "There's Action, Adventure & Puzzles" Bundle on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Luxor Complete Pack on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Luxor Games on Steam. Save 70%.
  • Nemesis of the Roman Empire on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • Ninja Blade on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Prince of Persia on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • Rogue Warrior on Steam. Save 10% on pre-purchases.
  • Rush for Berlin Gold on GamersGate. Save 50%.
  • Sango 2 & Takeda 3 on GamersGate. Save 50%.
  • Scrapland on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • SFI Mission 4-Pack on the Strategy First Website. Four games for $19.99.
  • Shattered Horizon on Steam. Three guest passes with previous and new purchases.
  • Star Wars Classics Pack on Direct2Drive. Save 50%.
  • Star Wars Galaxies: The Complete Online Adventures on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Supreme Commander Gold on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • THQ Classic FPS Bundle on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • Tropico Reloaded on GamersGate. Save 50%.
  • Warlords Battlecry III on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • X-Com Complete Pack on GamersGate. Save 40%.

Evening Previews

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Disneyland Made Out Of Lego. Thanks Mike Martinez via Digg. It's a small world after all.

Need for Speed SHIFT DLC Next Month

Electronic Arts announces the Team Racing pack, the first downloadable content for Need for Speed SHIFT, the latest installment in the racing series. The DLC is due on December 1, and while the press release only mentions the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions, we have confirmed with EA that the DLC will be released for the Windows edition of the racing sequel on December 1 as well. Here's a bit on what to expect:
The Team Racing mode brings a fresh new challenge to SHIFT by completely redefining online racing. In this mode, two teams of up to six racers will battle against each other for online supremacy. Individual driving strategy and playing it safe won't work as team tactics and 200 mph split-second decisions are required to push your team to the podium.

As part of the new content, players will also get access to these legendary racers:

. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 427
. 1967 Shelby GT-500
. 1969 Dodge Charger R/T
. 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T
. 1998 Toyota Supra Mark IV

The Team Racing content pack is custom-made for Need for Speed SHIFT, a spectacular racing game originally released in September 2009. The game introduces a brutal first-person crash dynamic and a signature cockpit view that delivers a true driver's experience. The game further personalizes the experience through the all-new driver profile -- a unique persona based on the driving skill and style of each player.

Shattered Horizon Patched

Futuremark Games Studio sends news that a new patch rolled out last night on Steam for Shattered Horizon. Though Steam announced the availability of new guest passes for the zero-G first-person shooter, they are mum about the patch, so here are the patch notes, outlining new control options, game changes, and bug fixes.

Classic id Weapons in RAGE

NowGamer has some excerpts from an interview with id Software's Tim Willits from an upcoming issue of Total PC Gaming magazine about RAGE, id's upcoming shooting and driving action game. The id Creative Director explains the game will feature many classic weapons from previous id Software games as well as some "new and unique" RAGE weapons. He doesn't specify which weapons they are choosing from a past arsenal that includes the lightning gun, nail guns, and of course the BFG, but he does say: "We are focusing not only on great weapons, but on engineering items that will add to the variety of gameplay. We will also have multiple ammo types available for a number of the weapons." The blurb also touches on economics: "Rage also has an economy where you are allowed to choose how you spend your money earned through combat and racing."

Diablo II Patch Status

An update to the Forums has the latest on the seemingly endless saga of the upcoming version 1.13 patch for Diablo II (thanks Rhialto). Blizzard's desire to update their action/RPG which is now over nine years old is laudable, so it seems forgivable that this patch has been in the works since at least March, about 8% of the game's lifespan (though the record for this is probably the 14-month development of Battlefield 2 1.50, which was over a quarter of the game's lifespan at that point). Word is the expanded stash that was holding things up has been dropped, but that the patch is still a ways off:
We've recently completed a revised version of the Diablo II 1.13 patch that removes the increased stash size. A larger stash will unfortunately no longer be a feature included in patch 1.13 due to the previously mentioned concerns. As higher priority work continues on Warcraft III we're hoping to complete our quality assurance tests for the 1.13 patch in the next few weeks. But as always, the types of issues that may appear and take higher priority are rarely foreseeable. We continue to plan a release based on our best intentions.

AvP Has Dedicated Servers

Dedicated servers are the new black, thanks to Modern Warfare 2, and has word from Rebellion that Aliens versus Predator will include dedicated server support. "Despite rumours, Rebellion has always been planning to support dedicated servers for Aliens vs Predator PC and we can now officially confirm that this is the case. Rebellion has always appreciated fan support," says Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley of their upcoming first-person shooter remake. "We're really looking forward to the release of Aliens vs Predator as much as you guys are!"

Serious Sam HD Next Week

There's an exclusive Serious Sam HD launch date trailer on Eurogamer, which they point out reveals a November 24 release date for Croteam's shooter remake, which is available for pre-purchase on Steam. "Over the past years we have had loads of fans requesting that we bring the world of Serious Sam up to date and give him a high-definition makeover," says Croteam CEO Roman Ribaric. "The reaction we have had since we announced we were working on Sam has been simply amazing."

Ships Ahoy - King's Bounty: Armored Princess

1C Company and Katauri Interactive announce the release of King's Bounty: Armored Princess, which is available through digital distribution on Direct2Drive, GamersGate, Impulse, and Steam (10% off), with retail release plans to be announced at a future date. Here's a bit on the game from the announcement:
This new world of King's Bounty: Armored Princess is full of mysteries and dangers. The new character, the Princess, will encounter horrible creatures, huge monstrous bosses and a new race, the bloodthirsty Lizardmen. As in the multi-award winning 1st game, the player has many options to resist these new enemies. Various new skills and abilities, as well as her flying steed, will help her overcome the hordes attacking the kingdom. The Princess is also accompanied by a tamed dragon, at the very beginning it is small, but its abilities develop steadily until it becomes an incredible ally. The dragon will do its best to protect the Princess during the battles, starting with simple attacks and treasure hunting and finishing with fire breathing and volcano summoning.

The Saboteur "Softened" Version

The Saboteur Facebook page has reassurances for those who live in areas where a "softened" version of The Saboteur will be sold that it will not have any less gore and violence than the non-censored version of Pandemic's upcoming WW2 action/stealth game. Word is it will just remove some of the German symbols: "The Saboteur Community Update: I know many people have messaged me & have asked about softened versions of the game. In general the softened versions of The Saboteur only remove Swastikas from the game. The options for blood, nudity, language etc... are still available in ALL regions." There's also a post about the game on IncGamers where Tom French explains its GTA-style wanted levels.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Prypriat Aus Date

The N3V Games Website now lists February 18, 2010 as the Australian release date for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Prypriat, GSC Game World's upcoming first-person shooter sequel. This may be a hint about when to expect the game in North America, where it carries a Q1 2010 release window. Thanks The Patches Scrolls.

The Sims 3: World Adventures Patch

A new patch for The Sims 3: World Adventures updates the just-released lifestyle sim expansion to version 2.2.8. The patch offers the same fix "for save file incompatibilities that result in the Error Code 16 error message while saving" as yesterday's The Sims 3 patch, explaining why the game's website listed it as version 1.7/2.2. The patch is available from The Patches Scrolls and WorthPlaying.

On the MW2 Airport Massacre

There's a Jesse Stern interview on GamePro talking with the scriptwriter for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 about a number of pertinent topics, including the controversial airport mission. "People have really strong reactions to the airport scene and it's been fascinating because we all wanted to make it something that would be upsetting, disturbing, but also something people relate to," he says of the airport scenario. "As for the effect it has on you, that's not for us to determine. Hopefully, it does have an emotional impact and it seems to have riled up a lot of people in interesting ways. Some of them good. Some of them bad." He also describes how testing that level went:
When we tested the level, it was interesting. Steve Mancuda, who ran a lot of the testing, said people would get angry or sad or disgusted and immediately wonder what the Hell was going on here. And then after a few moments of having that experience, they would remember that they were in a video game and they would let go. Every single person in testing opened fire on the crowd, which is human nature. It feels so real but at the same time it's a video game and the response to it has been fascinating. I never really knew you could elicit such a deep feeling from a video game, but it has.

Real World Hero

Real World Hero is a City of Heroes-inspired drive too benefit three charities: Child's Play, Donate Games, and Operation Gratitude. Word is: "As players, we cooperate to run Task Forces, to take down zombies and Rikti Invaders, and to occasionally gather for a costume contest or two. When we leave the game, our super powers don’t come with us…but that doesn’t mean we’re powerless. We are a very large group of people. We -can- step up and become Real World Heroes."

New Games for Windows LIVE

A new version 3.1 client for Games for Windows LIVE is now available. Word on the update is it updates the in-game client to support DirectX 11 for future titles and make finding content for games easier along with some bug fixes.

Op Ed

The Game Reviews - Games Journalism and the Race Against Quality.
The potential problem is that more than simply having an ability to stay up to date, many games websites also have a vice-like imperative to stay up to date. These sites compete with each other to get their content online before their rivals, so they can gain larger readerships and thus acquire greater advertising revenue. I’m eager to refer to this specifically as a potential problem, because in many cases it is a good thing; driven by competition, content is genuinely provided far quicker than magazines could ever hope to. The problem comes if this system encourages websites to put up poorly thought out, poorly edited content, lured by the rewards that come with being the first to interview an industry luminary, cover a major event, or perhaps most dangerously of all, review a new release.

GameSetWatch - The Lion's Gate - Majors And Indie Publishing.
I hear a lot of bitching that innovation is dead in America. That’s a lie. The problem is that we have two industries at odds, neither of which is really equipped to present innovations to the masses.

First off, we have the indie community, which bewails its unrecognized genius and occasionally screams “sellout!” whenever someone in the community actually manages to make a hit.

Then we have the AAA industry, which often claims that it can’t take the kind of risks that innovation requires, given how expensive it is to make a AAA game -- and yet manages to make multi-million dollar flops all the time anyway.

Ars Technica - The reasons you need to buy Left 4 Dead 2 on PC.
The ability to find the best servers creates a more consistent online experience, Steam offers a great way to make sure you always have someone you know to play with, and the mouse and keyboard are much more accurate than playing with a controller. I don't want to start a flame war here, but if you have a decent gaming system, the PC version is less expensive, offers more content, will be updated more frequently, and has better controls. The game also scales wonderfully; I can play it on my MacBook Pro at a good framerate and it looks fine, but on my desktop I can crank the detail and have it look much better than even the 360 version.

Game Reviews

Thanks The Crypt.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

We had a pretty serious thunderstorm last night, a very unusual event for late November in the northeast, when a blizzard would be more expected. I spent a couple of hours comforting Hudson the wonder dog as the storms always freak her out, and the poor thing was shaking from head to toe. Now I get to learn the pain of trying to get over a sleep-deprived night without the benefit of coffee. Ouch.

Thunderous Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Forever Samurai.
Link: Honest HBO Warnings.
Stories: The Real Fred Flintstone. Thanks Devicer.
TRON Legacy Producer on Preserving the Original TRON dna and More.
No Dope- Ft. Lauderdale Man to Smoke 115,000th Joint.
Science: Tests loom for record solar plane.
Study Shows Memories May Be Enhanced By Sleep.
Images: Invaded Space. Thanks Boing Boing.
Pelittaako's photosets. With classic C-64 Ads. Thanks Rapsunapsu via eDome.
Media: What if Earth had rings like Saturn?
Guns 'n Gardens: How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse.
So You Cant Afford a Moving Truck !! OK.
Auctions: Ultimate NVIDIA 3D Vision Gaming PC - Charity Auction.
The Funnies: xkcd.
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