Archived News:

Tuesday, Dec 01, 2009 World AIDS Day

Ships Ahoy - DiRT 2

AMD announces the Games for Windows Live Edition of Colin McRae DiRT 2 is now available in North American stores. Since this is not Codemasters' announcement of the release, it concentrates more on the game's graphics and DirectX 11 support than the game itself. A playable demo for the Windows edition of the racing sequel was released earlier today.

Ships Ahoy - Rogue Warrior

The Bethesda Blog has word that Rogue Warrior is now available for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in North American stores:
Rogue Warrior is now available in North American for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Games for Windows, as well as on Steam. Experience an action-packed single-player campaign as well as intense multiplayer combat playing as the real-life Navy SEAL and founder of the elite SEAL Team Six, Richard “Demo Dick” Marcinko.

Featuring the voice of Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee, Mickey Rourke, Rogue Warrior was inspired by inspired by Marcinko’s New York Times bestseller of the same name and his subsequent novels based loosely on his own past military experiences. Marcinko’s defiant, crude, and sometimes ruthless behavior has earned him both glory and infamy in the history books.

For more details on Rogue Warrior, visit the game’s official website.

Ships Ahoy - Avatar: The Game

Impulse and Steam News announce they are now selling James Cameron's Avatar: The Game through digital distribution for North America, with other territories to receive the third-person movie tie-in on Thursday. Here's word from Steam:
James Cameron's Avatar: The Game is now available in North, Central, and South America via Steam and is coming Dec 3 to Additional territories.

Check out the PC Digital Exclusive Special Edition, which includes the base game plus 6 additional weapons and 2 skins, one Na'vi and one RDA factions.

About James Cameron's Avatar: The Game: Based on the highly anticipated film James Cameron's Avatar, the video game will take you deep into the heart of Pandora, an alien planet that is beyond imagination. Gamers will encounter the Na'vi, Pandora's indigenous people and discover other life forms the likes of which have never been seen in the world of video games before. When conflict erupts between the RDA Corporation, a space-faring consortium in search of valuable resources, and the Na'vi, gamers will find themselves thrust into a fight for the heart of a planet and the fate of a civilization.

NFS Patch & DLC

The Team Racing Pack recently released for the console editions of Need for Speed: SHIFT is now available for the Windows edition of the racing sequel. The DLC is included in a new version 1.02 patch described here: "Patch 1.02 includes five new cars (Toyota Supra Mk IV, 1967 Shelby GT500, 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T and the 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T). There is a new game mode called Team Racing which pits Team Red vs Team Blue in an intense battle for track domination. The maximum number of racers in an online game is increased from 8 to 12." The North American patch can be downloaded from the Need for Speed Website, Fileplay, and WorthPlaying; and the patch for all other territories is available from the Need for Speed Website, Fileplay, and WorthPlaying.

On AvP Multiplayer

IncGamers has some details from Rebellion about melee combat in Aliens vs Predator, the upcoming first-person shooter remake. "We have a kind of 'rock-paper-scissors' system where blocking beats fast attacks, heavy attacks beat blocks, and fast attacks beat the slower heavy attacks," explains Rebellion’s Tim Jones. "It really introduces a level of depth and skill into the melee combat which is obviously important when both the Alien and the Predator are so heavily armed with claws or blades."

Mirror's Edge 2 & Battlefield 3 Clues

The Portfolio of Oscar Carlén, DICE Senior Lighting Artist briefly revealed development of Mirror's Edge 2, as it listed a sequel to the parkour-inspired action game as well as Battlefield 3. This was before being outed by Joystiq, and now the assets from those games have been removed, and the current entry has been edited to read: "2009 - present : Lighting at EA DICE (Move along, nothing to see here...)."

Anno 1404 Venice Specs

PC Games Hardware has word from Ubisoft that no demo is planned for the upcoming Venice add-on for Anno 1404, the strategy sequel also known as Dawn of Discovery. They also have the system specifications for the expansion:
The Minimal system requirements of Anno 1404 Venice:

• Processor: 3 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or comparable
• RAM: 1 GiByte
• Graphics card: 128 MiByte video memory with Pixel Shader 2.0

The Recommended system requirements of Anno 1404 Venice:

• Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 (2.4 GHz) or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (2.5 GHZ)
• RAM: 2 GiByte
• Graphics card: 512 MiByte video memory with Pixel Shader 3.0

Steam Patches

Now on Steam are new automatic updates for a few games. There's a new version of Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter, an patch for Madballs in... Babo:Invasion, and a new version of King Arthur - The Role-playing Wargame. There's also a new V2 Steam Locomotive DLC for RailWorks. Finally, there's also a new Left 4 Dead 2 Update that addresses a few bugs in the zombie shooter.

Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game to Expand

Sony Online Entertainment announces they will release The Nightsister’s Revenge expansion for the Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game later this month. Word is: "The Nightsister’s Revenge adds more than 200 new playable cards and more than 30 new loot cards to the Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game, bringing the total number of cards in the game to more than 1,600."

Karos Online Open Beta Prizes

With open beta testing of their MMOG Karos Online set to begin on Friday, NHN Corporation announces prizes they are offering for those who participate in the beta. They outline several ways to earn in-game gifts, including referring friends, entering gift keys, leveling up, and Guild building.

Unreal Development Kit Updates

Epic has issued some new materials to further support their recently launched Unreal Development Kit, which allows the creation of standalone Unreal-engine games. Their Unreal Engine 3 Video Tutorials Page has 171 free training videos covering 17 topics for UDK users. They have also revised the Epic UDK FAQ with more answers to frequently asked questions.

Brink Trailers

G4TV has another pair of trailers from Brink, the just-delayed first-person shooter in the works at Splash Damage. This clip shows off the game's objective-based gameplay as Paul Wedgewood previews the "Operative" class on a map called "Container City." The second clip is an X-Play preview of the game that includes more gameplay footage.

Mass Effect 2 Trailer

A new trailer for Mass Effect 2 is now available, introducing Samara. Word is: "Meet Samara, an Asari Justicar, who is skilled with immense biotic powers. Strongly driven by religious duty, she has forsworn family and given up all worldly possessions aside from weapons and armor, to wander the galaxy delivering justice." The clip can be found on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and WorthPlaying.

Split/Second Trailer

A new Split/Second trailer shows off this upcoming racing game that Disney describes as "an intense action-racing game, where speed meets strategy in a city rigged for destruction, set within the world of a hyper-competitive reality TV show." This trailer is available from Gamer's Hell and WorthPlaying.

Dogfights Trailer

A new trailer from iEntertainment Network show off Dogfights, the upcoming single-player World War II installment in their Warbirds series of combat flight simulators. The trailer is posted on Gamer's Hell and WorthPlaying.

On Sale

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Video Game High School. Thanks Ant.

Comcast Buying NBC Universal

CNBC.com reports General Electric has completed a deal to sell NBC Universal to Comcast, pending completion of a deal where Vivendi will sell its 20% stake in the entity. The deal may take up to a year before being approved by the FCC, but that approval is ultimately expected, which would leave Comcast 51% owner of NBC Universal, with GE retaining the other 49%. Word is: "Comcast wants NBC Universal largely for its lucrative cable channels, such as Bravo and CNBC. NBC Universal also spans the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, the Universal Pictures movie studio and Universal theme parks." GE currently owns 80 percent of NBCU, which is valued at approximately $30 billion, and they say: "The deal includes the spinoff of NBC Universal and $9 billion in debt. It also includes the merger of Comcast's content assets and a $6 billion cash contribution." Thanks Mike Martinez via Mashable.

BF Heroes Price Hikes

This forum post announces price changes for Battlefield: Heroes, EA's subscription-free online military shooter. In essence they have raised the cost of purchasing items using valor points, which can be earned for free from within the game, and lowered the cost of purchasing items with real cash money. Ars Technica reports on this and the reaction from players, who are not pleased at how these changes will make the game difficult to enjoy for free without spending a lot more time grinding for valor, referencing the original trailer for the game that specifically promised players would not be killed by obnoxious rich kids who can afford super weapons. Ars concludes their analysis of forum posts by saying: "The signatures in the game's forum have taken a humorous term—we've included some of them in this story—but this update has a very real chance of ending the game. People enjoyed Heroes because it didn't require a grind, and it wasn't expensive. Now EA has forced gamers to make a choice between three options: quit, start playing for hours a day, or get out the wallets. Bad news for the game's population, as none of those options are very palatable." Thanks RoTide.

Console Assassin's Creed II DLC Announced, PC Uncertain

Ubisoft announces plans for DLC for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions of Assassin's Creed II, saying a pack titled Battle of Forli will be released in January, and another titled Bonfire of the Vanities (shades of Tom Wolfe!) is slated for release in February. The Windows edition of the stealth action sequel is not due until early next year, so we inquired whether these DLC packs should eventually be expected for the Windows version and were told simply: "Nothing has been announced yet in regard to the PC version of Assassin's Creed II."

EVE Online: Dominion Released

CCP announces the release of the Dominion expansion for EVE Online, their science-fiction MMORPG. The changes in the expansion, which is free to all EVE Online subscribers, are extensive, so here is an overview:
EVE’s Lead Game Designer, Noah Ward, explains the driving force behind Dominion. “Our goal for EVE is to maximize human interaction and then leverage it to make a more meaningful, interesting game. Dominion was designed to give players more tools to mold their experience with better means of communication and extra rounds of ammunition. Undoubtedly, the compelling intrigue we’ve seen in EVE will never end as pilots fight to bend the universe to their will.”

Sovereignty changes require fresh strategies for those interested in controlling space, doing away with the entrenched siege battles of the past in favor of more active conflict. Alliances will now have unprecedented control over their territory, the power to change them to suit their own goals and playstyles. Their actions in controlled space will affect the valuable resources which become available to them through system upgrades, allowing them to increase the number of wormholes, valuable asteroid belts and even pirate forces within their borders.

Tank Ace Announced

GamesCampus announces plans to launch Tank Ace early next year, offering a third-person armored combat shooter set during World War II. Open beta testing of the game is planned for later this year. Word is: "In this action-packed WWII shooter, players will choose a historically accurate tank and then customize it by adding additional armor, different styles of camouflage, body art, kill marks, and clan insignias. Featuring realistic WWII battlefields and historically accurate specifications like realistic recoil action and tank tactics, Tank Ace is all about winning battlefield strategies."

Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim Patch

Paradox Interactive announces the release of a new patch with new content for Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, which can be applied automatically through the in-game update function for the RTS sequel. There's also a manual patch which is available through Gamer's Gate (direct link) with the following warning: "Please note - if you have purchased a digital copy, use the patch provided by that same digital download portal to avoid compatibility issues." Here's word on the new version: "The update adds free additional content to build upon the magical challenges that currently await loyal subjects of the strategy title, including two new missions, “Treacherous Tropics” and “Wizard Wars.” Furthermore, players will be treated to new features and a number of fixes across the board, including enhanced party options, further balancing among classes, and improved AI interactions." Downloads of the patch are mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, The Patches Scrolls, and WorthPlaying.

Empire: Total War MP Beta & DLC Next Week

SEGA announces plans to conduct a "1 VS 1 Campaign Multiplayer Open Beta" for Empire: Total War starting a week from today on December 7, the day they will also release the Elite Units of the America DLC for the RTS game. The beta will be conducted through Steam for owners of Empire: Total War who sign-up through Totalwar.com, though it doesn't look like sign-ups are available just yet. Word is: "This Multiplayer Beta will allow 2 players to go head to head or cooperative against the AI on the full campaign map of Empire: Total War, including all 3 theaters of war."

US MW2 and EU L4D2 Restricted in Germany

PC Games Hardware has word that the US edition of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the EU edition of Left 4 Dead 2 have been restricted in Germany by the BPjM (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien), so they cannot be sold to minors nor advertised. They point out that the German editions of both games are not impacted by this ruling, and oddly, the US edition of Left 4 Dead 2 and the EU edition of Modern Warfare 2 are also still unrestricted in Germany, at least for the time being.

EA's Gunhead and... Dark Space?

FZD School of Design website lists Gunhead as an in-development project at Electronic Arts Vancouver they are assisting with, but there's just a title, and no further details. Thanks superannuation, who also point out the client listing on the Feng Zhu Design Website shows Dark Space as another project for EA on which they are working, though it seems possible this actually refers to Dead Space.

Blur Trailer

A new "fast track" trailer from Blur shows off more of Bizarre Creations' upcoming racing game. The clip is posted on FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and WorthPlaying.

Ships Ahoy - LOTRO: Siege of Mirkwood

Turbine announces the digitally distributed launch of the Siege of Mirkwood expansion for Lord of the Rings Online, the Tolkien-inspired MMORPG. There's a new trailer showing off the expansion on The Lord of the Rings Online Website that's mirrored on FileFront, and the Release Notes outline what's new. Here's a bit of the announcement:
WESTWOOD, MA –December 1, 2009 - Turbine, Inc. today launched The Lord of the Rings Online™: Siege of Mirkwood™, the digital expansion to the award-winning massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG). Siege of Mirkwood expands the online world of Middle-earth where players join forces to press further eastward into the dark, foreboding and treacherous forest of Mirkwood and take part in the epic conclusion to Volume II of The Lord of the Rings Online. Siege of Mirkwood is now available as a digital download with an increased level cap, the new region of Mirkwood including the legendary evil fortress of Dol Guldur, major enhancements to combat and Legendary Items and the introduction of Skirmishes, randomized, repeatable instances where players will train customizable soldiers and take them into battle as part of the War of the Ring.

“Today we unveil LOTRO’s second major expansion and let players enter the legendary forest of Mirkwood and experience the climax and conclusion to Volume II of our epic story,” said Jeffrey Steefel, Executive Producer of The Lord of the Rings Online. “The response from our players and the press has been nothing short of outstanding and serve as a real validation of LOTRO’s position as one of the world’s premium online games.”

On Left 4 Dead 2 Sales & DLC

Valve announces that Left 4 Dead 2 has sold over two million copies in the two weeks the zombie shooter has been available, also mentioning that DLC plans for the game will be revealed soon:
Released just two weeks ago, over 2 million retails copies of L4D2 have been sold worldwide and the game appears to be on target to become one of the top selling Xbox and PC titles for the month of November. Sales to date are more than double the original title, which was released exactly one year prior to L4D2. And "Black Friday" promotions during the title's second week of availability in North American resulted in stronger than expected sales in L4D2's bid to become one of this year's best selling releases on both platforms.

"Left 4 Dead 2 is off to a great start with strong support at retail and great reviews from the press," said Doug Lombardi, VP of marketing at Valve. "Meanwhile the title has already been played by over 1 million Xbox LIVE Gold account holders, and news regarding L4D2 DLC 1 is coming very soon."

Mythos North America Plans

Redbana US Corporation announces plans for a North American release for Mythos, the online action/RPG originated by Flagship Studios before falling into the hands of HanbitSoft in the messy divorce that preceded the demise of Flagship. There's a video showing off the game on the YouTube from the Mythos Website, and here's word that says a North American closed beta nears:
The newly updated Mythos website features a brand new teaser trailer with never before seen footage of new content. Visitors can also stay updated on Mythos’ development with a calendar of upcoming announcements and an animated book that describes some of the newly added back-story. Fans of Mythos can still sign up for the official newsletter, with more information about the upcoming North American closed beta, explore concept art and new features, which will be added periodically leading up to the game’s launch.

Colin McRae: DiRT 2 Demo

Codemasters has released the promised playable demo for Colin McRae: DiRT 2, allowing a test drive of the Games for Windows LIVE edition of the next installment in this rally racing series. Word is: "The playable demo enables gamers to compete in two of Colin McRae: DiRT 2’s exhilarating events. In the ‘Trailblazer’ event, players take on the ultimate test of rally car against the challenging Moroccan terrain on a point-to-point track filled with flat-out straights and hair-raising hairpins in the Mitsubishi Eclipse GT. In the second event, gamers compete in a ‘Landrush’ race at the spectacular Ensenada Port circuit set in Baja California, where players go wheel-to-wheel in an 8-vehicle riotous race over lethal bumps and killer jumps in the heavy duty West Coast Choppers Stuka TT." The demo is available from AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, eXp Download, FanGaming, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, Strategy Informer, and WorthPlaying. Also, there's a hotfix for the game running under ATI accelerators that can be downloaded from AtomicGamer and Worthplaying.

Ships Ahoy - Men of War Gold Edition

Aspyr and 1C Company announce that Men of War Gold Edition is now shipping to North American stores, offering a bundle of the original Men of War as well as the Red Tide standalone expansion for the World War II real-time strategy game. A playable demo for Red Tide was released last month, and here's a bit from the announcement:
Men of War: Red Tide is a stunning mixture of RTS and a third-person action that introduces a new fighting force known for its brutal efficiency during the height of World War II. Played out across more than 20 missions, Men of War: Red Tide has players take command of the feared "Black Coats", the nickname given to Soviet Marines, an elite combat group specializing in engagements near the shoreline. The player has direct control of new game units including the Black Coats, new tanks, self-propelled guns, armored trains, landing craft, artillery and new enemy emplaced weapons to capture and use. New air support options include new fighters, bombers, hydroplanes, cruisers, destroyers and gun boats which provide naval fire support.

Cities XL Discovery Offer

Monte Cristo announces a new way to sample Cities XL with their "Discovery offer," a way to try the urban planning game for one month for a fee, as the playable demo has long expired. Word is:
Don’t have a copy of Cities XL yet but are interested in seeing what the game has to offer? Our new Discovery offer is just for you!

With this offer you can play Cities XL Planet (online mode) for 30 days for only 9.99€ (9.99$, £7.99). You will have access to all the online features of Cities XL Planet, including 5 slots to build your cities and all the latest game updates.

Once the 30 days are over, you can either:

- subscribe to Cities XL Planet for 1 to 3 months to keep your cities and play online
- buy Cities XL Solo to access the solo version of the game
- go for the Premium Pack, which includes both the solo game and a three months access to Cities XL Planet.

For more information on these different offers, check our www.citiesxl.com/buy webpage.

We are looking forward to seeing you in the Cities XL universe!

Fallen Earth Interview

The Fallen Earth interview on MMORPG.COM talks with Colin Dwan, Project Manager on the post-apocalyptic MMORPG. They discuss what to expect in the coming months, plans for new skills, crafting, balance, the setting, PvP, and what they've seen from players in the game they did not anticipate.

Arsenal of Democracy Interview

The Arsenal of Democracy interview on GameZone chats up Lennart Berg, co-project lead on Arsenal of Democracy, BL-Logic's World War II tactics game. They cover topics that include historical research, the allure of the World War II setting, combat, espionage, AI, modding, and their goal of "adding the depth of a real hardcore WW2 simulation, without having to give players spreadsheet syndrome and losing gameplay and ease of use."

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Thanks Ant.

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