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Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010


Braid to U.S. Stores

The Windows edition of Braid is heading into U.S. stores after a successful launch through digital distribution for this puzzle/platformer designed by Jonathan Blow. The game is being distributed by MumboJumbo, who offer the following description of the game in their announcement: "Developed by Number None, Braid is a platform game in a painterly style that allows players to manipulate the flow of time to solve puzzles. The journey follows Tim on his expedition to save the princess. In each world, the player has different powers that impact the passing of time in strange ways. The player must figure out how to use these powers to solve each of the 60 levels."

War of Legends Launches

Jagex Games Studio announces the launch of War of Legends, a subscription-free multiplayer real-time strategy game. This is a Flash-based game that can be played in a browser. Here are some screenshots, and here's a bit from the announcement: "War of Legends is a real-time strategy game based on Chinese myth law; living out the ancient legend, players either pledge their support to the incumbent, unscrupulous and merciless King or his valiant, righteous, yet unproven contender. Players will be required to rule empires, manage resources, and command vast armies to conquer their enemies, whilst attempting to defend their wealthy cities against similarly experienced armies in a bid to gain ultimate supremacy."

Ships Ahoy - Dark Void

Capcom announces that Dark Void is now available in North American stores, and the jetpack-powered action game developed by Airtight Games is also now available via digital distribution from the Capcom Store, Direct2Drive, GamersGate, Impulse, and Steam. A playable demo for the game is available, and here's a description of the game: "Combining a unique blend of aerial dog-fighting, with fast-paced ground combat, Dark Void creates an exciting third-person shooter experience. Bringing a whole new sense of tension and thrill is Dark Void’s unique vertical combat system. Players now must worry about enemies from above as well as what’s in front of them. Equipped for fierce in-air combat with a powerful jetpack, players will hurtle through the Void at blistering speeds while shooting down anything that gets in their way."

Peter Jackson Games?

Gamasutra reports on indications that director Peter Jackson may be contemplating game development, based on an interview on Ain't It Cool News. He talks of his involvement in game tie-ins with his current project, a Tintin movie, bit also talks of the possibility of breaking out and developing an original IP: "I think some of the ideas I've got, I'd rather do them as a standalone game," he said, "because that world is getting more and more interesting."

Game Developers Choice Awards Nominees

Nominees for the tenth annual Game Developers Choice Awards are in this press release, paving the way for the awards to be handed out at the Game Developers Conference in March. There are several categories, here are the game of the year candidates:

Uncharted 2 (Naughty Dog)
Dragon Age: Origins (BioWare)
Batman: Arkham Asylum (Rocksteady Studios)
Demon's Souls (From Software)
Assassin's Creed II (Ubisoft Montreal)

New NVIDIA Reference Drivers

NVIDIA has released new version 196.21 WHQL-certified drivers for GeForce accelerators. The new versions offer new PhysX system software and a number of game fixes, outlined here: "Adds SLI and multi-GPU support for many top new gaming titles including Avatar Demo, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, City Bus Simulator, Dirt 2, Ferrari Virtual Race, GREED: Black Border, Mass Effect 2, Mortal Online, Ninja Blade, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising Demo, Planet 51, RUSE, Serious Sam HD, and Wings of Prey." There are new drivers for Windows XP, Windows 7/Windows Vista 32-bit, Windows XP x64, and Windows 7/Windows Vista 64-bit. Thanks Ant via FiringSquad.

Mass Effect 2 Trailers

BioWare's Mass Effect Media Page has a pair of new Mass Effect 2 trailers, one from Machinima on the concept art from the RPG sequel, and part one of a four part Sci versus Fi feature that ties in with a program to air on SyFy tonight. Also "Improving The Franchise" is the theme of the Mass Effect 2 Extended Interview on which sits BioWare co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk in front of the camera to ask about how Mass Effect 2 improves over the original.

Free Game with AvP Prepurchase

Steam News has word that a free copy of Universe at War: Earth Assault is a free bonus for pre-purchase of Aliens vs. Predator. This is in addition to their previously announced pre-purchase bonus of three unique skins for each class in the game. On a related note, Computer and Video Games outlines preorder bonuses underway for the game at various UK retailers.

RACE 07 Patched

A new automatic patch for RACE 07 and the racing game's expansions is now available on Steam. The lengthy list of major changes follows. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

  • Men of War Franchise on Steam. Save 66%.

    Still on sale (previously reported)
      Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Nevermore? Mystery visitor misses Poe's birthday. Thanks Mike Martinez.

Divinity II – Ego Draconis Necromancer Trailer

Another new trailer from Divinity II – Ego Draconis is now available, introducing the Necromancer from Larian Studios' upcoming action/RPG sequel. Word is: "In this new video, viewers will encounter the powerful Necromancer, a collector of limbs and other parts of fallen enemies who resides on your Battle Tower, waiting to do your bidding. The Necromancer’s chief talent: combining body parts to release the power of 'The Creature', a custom-created 'pet' that player's can party up with for extra healing or tanking power." The clip can be viewed on the YouTube and below. Continue here to read the full story.

BioShock 2 Pre-Sales on Steam

Steam News announces that pre-sales of BioShock 2 are now underway on Steam. The advance commitment will earn you a 10% discount off the purchase price, as well as a complimentary copy of BioShock, which can be gifted if you already own a copy of the first-person shooter. They also offer four-packs which are also eligible for the discount and come with four free copies of BioShock.

NPD All-Time Top 10

IndustryGamers has a list of the NPD's Top 10 best-selling games of all time, though all-time only goes back as far as their record keeping, which is to 1995. Word is: "Also, this chart does not include PC games and is focused on console/handheld titles." They offer analysis of the following list:

  1. Wii Play
  2. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
  3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  5. Wii Fit
  6. Mario Kart w/ Wheel
  7. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  8. Madden NFL '07
  9. Call of Duty: World at War
  10. Namco Museum

Hearts of Iron III Patch Plans

The Paradox Interactive Forums have details on an upcoming patch for Hearts of Iron III to update the World War II RTS sequel to version 1.4. The patch doesn't carry an exact release date, but they say "it is in the final stages of development." The patch notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Section 8 DLC Released

SouthPeak Games and TimeGate Studios announce the release of the Seek and Destroy Map Pack DLC for Section 8 that's now available for the Windows and Xbox 360 editions of the jetpack-powered shooter. They say the DLC "expands upon the game with three new maps for Multiplayer and Instant Action modes as well as adding 10 brand new achievements." Word is: "The 'Seek and Destroy Map Pack' is available now for 560 Microsoft Points. To purchase this new Downloadable Content, select 'Downloadable Content' from the Main Menu in-game and follow the instructions." Here are some Seek and Destroy Map Pack screenshots and a Section 8 Seek and Destroy trailer which is also embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

AvP Classic 2000 Patch Adds Widescreen Support

Steam News announces the release of an automatic patch for Aliens vs. Predator Classic 2000, the newly re-released three faction shooter from Rebellion. The patch adds widescreen support to the old-school game, an option to use unlimited save games, new high-resolution timer code, a frame-rate lock, and more. The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Dungeon Bandits Details

Cyanide Studio offers a new Dungeon Bandits Fact Sheet with details on Dungeon Bandits, the North American version of Dungeon Party, their subscription-free MMOG that's been in operation in Europe for a while now, saying: "PlayEnvy is introducing new, more dynamic content to a game that has already been enjoyed by thousands of European gamers." They say closed beta testing will begin January 22 and the game will launch on March 19. Word is: "Dungeon Bandits is a fast paced dungeon crawler that allows teams of up to 5 players to compete against other teams for the right to the dungeon’s treasure. Players must fight their way past challenging monsters, bosses, traps and face off against the opposing team in order to claim victory in a game that highly dependent on skillful strategy."

Mass Effect 2 DLC Details

BioWare Unveils "The Cerberus Network" a new vehicle for news and DLC delivery for Mass Effect 2, also announcing promised details on the day one DLC, which will indeed be free, as indicated. The Cerberus Network is free with purchase of the RPG sequel, and word is those who buy the game used can unlock a copy through a one-time, in-game purchase of an activation code. The game's first DLC will be released through the program on January 26 along with the game's North American launch, and they say this will add new missions and in-game items. Word is: "Included in this pack is a mission that introduces Zaeed, a rugged and deadly gun-for-hire who is recruited to join Commander Shepard’s mission to save mankind" (here are a pair of Zaeed screenshots). The announcement also includes news on a second bit of downloadable content, though they don't specify whether this will also be free:

After launch, BioWare will release another DLC pack for Mass Effect 2 that introduces the Hammerhead, a new vehicle in the Mass Effect universe. This agile hover tank features improved handling on rough terrain and maneuvers deftly in combat -- a necessity for players traveling across harsh planetary environments throughout the galaxy. In addition to this new vehicle, BioWare will release new missions and unique in-game items, including Cerberus Assault Armor which boost shields, health and heavy weapon ammo and the M-22 Eviscerator Shotgun.

StarCraft II Protoss Mothership Trailer

The StarCraft II Website has some StarCraft II fiction based on the Protoss Mothership from Blizzard's real-time strategy sequel. The multi-page article also includes a brief gameplay video showing the Protoss Mothership in action for about 30 seconds. Thanks Big Download.

Atkinson on Aus R18+ Fight

Atkinson won't surrender anti-R18+ fight on GameSpot has a profile of Michael Atkinson, the South Australian Attorney General widely regarded as the stumbling block impeding the adoption of an R18+ rating that would allow adults to purchase adult games in Australia. They outline his position that a discussion paper to assist in debating the issue will not be complete without images of the games being discussed, saying without images: "They’ll have no idea how violent or sexually depraved they are, and what kind of torture, drug use, and blood spatter they include." Atkinson also describes getting hate mail and death threats, and seems comfortable admitting that as this point he's willing to disregard the facts of the matter in the name of what sounds like a vendetta: "It's unlikely I’ll change my stance [on R18+ for games] anytime soon, considering the last death threat I received was pushed under my door at 2am, presumably by someone who doesn’t like my stance on R18+," Atkinson said. "It was like something out of a Hollywood film--letters cut from magazine headlines arranged together on a page. I receive abusive emails from anonymous senders on a daily basis. I get called a paedophile every single day. But I won’t surrender."

Hellgate: London Business Model Undetermined

Following yesterday's news that HanbitSoft is bringing Hellgate: London back to western audiences after the demise of the online portion of the action/RPG early last year, IncGamers contacted HanbitSoft for details on their business model. The game is subscription-free in Korea where it is supported by microtransactions, but a HanbitSoft rep tells them they "do not know anything for sure yet" about how the game will be monetized in North America and Europe. Think they'll be offering lifetime subscriptions?

Activision Thought $7M for Blizzard was "Insane"

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick says he thought $7 million USD was an "insane" price for Blizzard Entertainment when Davidson & Associates purchased Blizzard back in 1995. He describes a conversation at an dinner with Davidson & Associates where his reaction was: "Are you out of your minds? They’re like a contract developer! They have Warcraft but what else do they have? You paid SEVEN million! That’s insane!" 12 years later Activision and Blizzard merged in a deal reportedly worth $18.8 billion USD.

Aion Double XP Weekend [Updated]

Another double-XP weekend is coming in Aion, NCsoft's MMORPG, which will be a free for all starting January 22 at 8:00 pm local time on the east coast servers (EST), west coast servers (PST), and the Oceanic servers (AEST). Word is: "The experience bonus will run through the weekend before ending on Monday at 8am (server time)." Thanks Voodoo Extreme. Update: This story originally referred to a free weekend, which was incorrect. Apologies for the sloppiness.

No Half-Life in 2010?

The February 2010 print issue of Game Informer magazine reports there will not be a Half-Life game release in 2010, according to Blend Games. Of course no such release has been announced either, but Valve is known to be working on "stuff". According to the story: "it's not even clear what form a new game would take. It could be Half-Life 2: Episode Three or it may be Half-Life 3," though it's not clear where this information originates.

Square Enix Acquisition Plans?

Kotaku points out that Square Enix is raising capital through a ¥35 billion ($386 million) zero-coupon convertible bond. They offer outlook on this from Hiroshi Kamide of KBC Securities Japan: "The cost of borrowing monies is so low in the world at the moment, that Square Enix is being opportunistic in raising funds on the cheap today, just in case it feels like shopping for something."

Morning Previews

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Safety Dance

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Out of the Blue

We've had a break lately from the frigid temperatures that we've had around these parts, which has been quite pleasant. On the other hand, it's also been quite messy, as there's now a mud puddle in our back yard from melted snow that looks like a scene from Woodstock, which the dogs are tracking everywhere. Oh well, as long as they steer clear of the brown acid things will be fine.

R.I.P.: Country singer Carl Smith dies at 82. Thanks Mike Martinez.

Muddy Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Huje Adventure.
Super Adventure Game.
Links: 15 Annoying Things Most Girlfriends Do (That You Have to Put Up With).
Top 5 Sci-Fi Cliches That Need to Die. Thanks Joker961.
Stories: Hopper to divorce his fifth wife.
Science: Cyclone Power to turn waste motor oil into clean electricity.
Using copper and electricity to scrub air of greenhouse gas.
An Uninvited Guest. Thanks j.c.f.
Images: Lolcat Scrabul. Thanks Digg.
Media: The Internet Is Made Of Cats.
Sports of the World: Mexican Bull Poker.
Follow-up: Tobey Maguire is……NOT BILBO.
E. Coli Alert- Calif. Company Recalls 864,000 Pounds Of Ground Beef. Thanks Acleacius.
A Vibrant Fantasy World Has Science at Its Core. Thanks j.c.f.

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