Archived News:

Monday, Jan 25, 2010

Settlers 7 Beta Opens

The beta test of The Settlers 7 on FilePlanet has opened up, and no longer requires a paid subscription, though you must have a registered account to participate. Here's word on testing: "Choose your own path to victory in The Settlers 7 Paths to a Kingdom™, the long-anticipated sequel to the award-winning strategy game. Embark on an exciting quest to create, build and manage your kingdom in the most innovative, customizable and re-playable version ever!" Thanks Voodoo Extreme. Update: This is open to North America only.

Mass Effect 2 Interview

BioWare On Mass Effect 2 on Gamasutra is an interview with Adrien Cho, lead producer on the sci-fi RPG sequel, which will be released in North America tomorrow. They discuss his background, what they sought to improve on over the original Mass Effect, reasons for increasing the emphasis on shooting in the sequel, story elements, the RPG genre, and more.

Ships Ahoy - Grand Ages: Rome - The Reign of Augustus

The Reign of Augustus expansion for Grand Ages: Rome is now available through Direct2Drive and GamersGate, updating the historical strategy game with an all-new campaign, new maps, new items, talents, and more. The add-on is digitally distributed, and should be coming soon to Steam as well. Thanks Big Download.

User-Run Telling for Tale in the Desert

eGenesis announces the launch of a player-driven server shard for A Tale in the Desert, their combat-free MMO that focuses on social and crafting gameplay. The new server will go live on February 20, when new and old players will be able to converge upon a version of Egypt where nothing is built and everything is open for the taking. Word is: "What makes this server truly unique is that every test will already be coded into the game and the speed of this telling will only be limited by the players themselves."

Silas Announced

Exalt Studios announces Silas, an upcoming kart racing game that will be the debut release from this independent developer. The game is slated to launch on May 20, 2010, offering multiplayer support through the internet or a LAN. The site has screenshots and a gameplay trailer. and here's a bit: "Looking to fire 10 rockets into the air, control them in-flight, then bring them down on your enemy? You can do that. Or maybe you just want to grab a glider, take it to the skies, and chain gun someone to death? You can do that too. Or, switch into turret mode, and shoot a barrage of lasers 360 degrees? Why not... and while you're at it, deploy stationary guns, launch projectiles, blast cannons, place ice traps, and escape it all with a well timed boost! This is Silas. Get ready for one of the most fun and addictive multiplayer and single player experiences you will ever have!"

Gamer Rehab Interview

There's an interview on Ten Ton Hammer with Dr. Hilarie Cash, co-founder of the reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program to learn more about how game addiction and rehabilitation is supposed to work. Perhaps not surprisingly, Dr. Cash thinks such addiction is widespread, estimating just under one in twelve kids is an addict: "Well, in the US the most recent research is suggesting that addicted video game players range of about 8.5% overall of kids between the age of 8 and 18; they meet the criteria for addiction." I don't know, she's no Dr. Phil.

Company of Heroes Soundtrack Moved

As noted on the Company of Heroes Website, Valve has moved the free Company of Heroes soundtrack, which was recently released for free, to the Company of Heroes Complete Pack Page.

Serious Sam HD Four-Packs

Steam News has word that they are now selling four-packs for Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter. Word is: "Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter is now offering a four-pack so if you've been itching to play with your friends this is the best way to do it as you can gift out your extra copies to your buddies!" Of course you can't actually play with your friends, since this Serious Sam remake doesn't support multiplayer at this time, but that it being worked on for a future patch.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: German Rock Band Scorpions to End Career. Thanks Joker961. 40-some years? Who knew?

No Choices for ME2 With No ME1 Saves

The Penny Arcade Website has a clarification from BioWare's Chris Priestly that the information they posted earlier that he gave them about players with no Mass Effect 1 saves being able to manually select Mass Effect 2 choices from a list of key decisions from the first game was not accurate: "Unfortunately I was working from a test build used by our internal testing department. While there are choice made by the player, new games of ME2 will have a certain pre-disposed assumption of what happened to your new character in ME1." Too bad, it seems a shame they won't release a feature developed for internal testing that would be enjoyed by some of the customers who will buy the game. Thanks nin.

AvP and Napoleon: Total War Get Steamworks

Steam News has word that SEGA's upcoming Aliens vs. Predator and Napoleon: Total War will ship with Steamworks support:
Two highly anticipated titles from SEGA, Aliens vs. Predator and Napoleon: Total War will ship with Steamworks support at retail and online, including among other features, Achievements, Matchmaking, Leaderboards, Stats, and Cloud. Aliens vs. Predator will ship on Steam and at retail in mid-February. Napoleon: Total War will ship on Steam and at retail in late February.

TF2 Double Crouch Jump Bug Fixed

The Team Fortress 2 Blog announces the demise of the Scout's notorious Double Crouch Jump bug in Team Fortress 2, which involved the "Scout not being able to double crouch jump without looking like his legs are made of raw bacon strips held up in a wind tunnel." They offer a tongue-in-cheek explanation for the existence of the bug, and conclude the update pointing to a new Swamp Theme expansion on TF2maps.net.

Silent Hunter 5 Date & CE Details

The Ubisoft Forums announce a March 4, 2010 release date for Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic, also revealing plans for a collector's edition for the next installment in the naval combat simulation series. They offer a list of contents for the Collector's Edition:
-Silent hunter 5: Battle Of the Atlantic PC DVD-Rom
-Game manual
-Official guide, containing all in-game details
-Authentic map of the Battle Of the Atlantic
-SH5 original Soundtrack
-7 unique submarine & enemy ship skins
-One iron box

Command & Conquer 4 Public Beta Soon

EA community manager APOC tweets that the Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight multiplayer beta is opening to the public soon: "C&C 4 beta will be going PUBLIC very soon, every RTS fan in the world can give CNC 4 MP a test-drive, RT please."

Medal of Honor Using Two Engines

The upcoming Medal of Honor game will use two separate graphics engines. A Medal of Honor tweet reveals the single-player campaign in the military shooter will use the Unreal Engine 3: "As many of you may have read, we are using a heavily-modified Unreal 3 Engine for Medal of Honor's single-player campaign." A follow-up tweet says DICE is using their Frostbite engine for the game's multiplayer side: "I guess the cat's out of the bag. Medal of Honor's multiplayer will be using the Frostbite engine." On a related note, Planet Medal of Honor points to a preview of the game on Planet IGN where DICE's Patrick Bach admits that rolling the dice on the game's multiplayer development will probably lead to some dicey results: "I think it would be hard to not have anything feed in," answers Bach, "But then again we're not striving to make a new Battlefield – the goal is to make a completely new IP and make sure we get the best possible multiplayer experience for that IP. I've been play-testing it – and it really is good. We're using the Frostbite engine and it's amazing to see how it can build a completely different experience." Finally, a later tweet clarifies that footage of the game in the recently released Medal of Honor trailer is solely the Unreal Engine 3: "Just to clarify, all of the footage in our trailer is Unreal Engine 3...not Frostbite :)"

Front Mission Evolved in Spring 2010

SQUARE ENIX announces plans for a spring 2010 release for Front Mission Evolved, their giant robot combat game. The announcement is accompanied by some new screenshots and more on the game. Here's a bit: "Featuring Hollywood style production values and a totally immersive storyline, players are thrust deep into a swirl of destruction, conspiracy and crumbling alliances, and battle through intense combat situations as man strives to create the ultimate humanoid fighting machine in a war against terror."

Playing Mass Effect 2 with No ME1 Saves

A post on Penny Arcade has reassurances for those looking to play Mass Effect 2 who don't have access to their saved games from the first installment in BioWare's RPG series, amid all the talk of how your Mass Effect 1 saves will influence gameplay in the sequel. They spoke with BioWare Community Coordinator Chris Priestly, who offered reassurances that character creation in Mass Effect 2 allows you to manually select your choices from a list of key decisions from the first game. Thanks nin, who ended a 48+ hour gap between Mass Effect 2 stories here that could have cost us our internet license.

Serious Sam Forever Multiplayer Demo

The Serious Sam Forever Website announces "Phase one of Serious Sam Forever's development is over!" A multiplayer demo is available for this modification that adds Serious Sam gameplay to Croteam's updated Serious 2 engine. Word is: "The highlight of the demo, the multiplayer AI Bot system, is unparalleled in any time period and will give new and long-time players alike a fun new way to experience Serious Sam! Play alongside human and AI players in some of your favorite game modes like Capture the Flag and Deathmatch!" Though it is not mentioned anywhere on the website, this is still a modification, so it requires Serious Sam 2 to play. They list a couple of mirrors, and the download is also available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and WorthPlaying.

BioShock 2 Soundtrack Plans

The soundtrack for BioShock 2 will be released digitally through iTunes and Amazon, though a physical CD release is not planned, making this the rare modern musical release to appear on vinyl (through the special edition) and not on CD. The score for the underwater shooter sequel is composed by Garry Schyman, who wrote the music for the first BioShock as well. Thanks Gametunes.net.

Just Cause 2 Preorder Bonus Trailer

The Just Cause 2 Media Page has a new trailer showing off the toys added to the arsenal of those who preorder Just Cause 2, Avalanche Studios' upcoming action game sequel. Preorder bonuses include the Agency Hovercraft ("the ultimate in amphibious transport"), Rico's Signature Gun ("this deadly accurate and powerful pistol has precision, power and flair"), a Bull's Eye Assault Rifle ("this lightweight and lethal automatic rifle features increased accuracy and a higher magnification scope), the Chevalier Classic ("a hot set of wheels and with an increased top speed and superior handling"), and the Chaos Parachute ("featuring a skull motif").

Star Trek Online Beta Extended by One Day

The Star Trek Online Website has news that the beta test for the upcoming Trekkie MMORPG has been extended by an extra day, presumably accomplished by slingshotting a starship around a star to warp the space/time continuum. They add: "Of course, these extended Open Beta Test times will not impact the planned Head Start for our supportive pre-order customers."

Mumbo Jumbo Pops PopCap for $4.6M

MumboJumbo announces a Dallas jury has awarded the casual games developer $4.6 million USD in their lawsuit against former partners PopCap games, citing fraud, tortious interference, and breach of contract. Word is: "In 2006, MumboJumbo and Seattle-based PopCap Games, Inc., reached an agreement whereby MumboJumbo would produce, distribute and sell certain PopCap games in North America. In finding for MumboJumbo, a jury in the 193rd Civil District Court in Dallas County, Texas, agreed that PopCap breached the contract when it went behind MumboJumbo's back and decided to market and sell its games on its own."

Majesty 2 - Kingmaker Trailer

The announcement trailer for Majesty 2 - Kingmaker is now available, showing off the recently announced upcoming expansion for 1C:Ino-Co's RTS sequel. The clip is posted on the YouTube, and here's word: "Offering fans a preview of what to expect from the first expansion to Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, witness the goblin invasion as the green menaces of the night terrorize the lands of Ardania."

Assassin's Creed II PC Date, Specs

Ubisoft finally reveals the release date for Assassin's Creed II, saying March 16 is when gamers in North America can get the assassination game sequel. They also offer the minimum and recommended specifications for the PC edition, which follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Another I Am Alive Multiplayer Hint

Another indication that I Am Alive will include multiplayer component is found in Paul Robinson's LinkedIn Profile, which lists his current position as game director at Ubisoft and offers the following note: "Game Director for I Am Alive - we're doing some exciting stuff and if you are a lead mp designer, drop me a line" (thanks Blend Games). This further bolsters suspicions sparked by a job posting from last month for a Lead Multiplayer Designer for Ubisoft Shanghai, where the survival/action game is under development.

The Secret World Viral Website

The Kingsmouth Website offers an official home to this beautiful seaside small town in the northeast of Maine. Kingsmouth is a fictional place, however, and one of the locations in The Secret World, Funcom's upcoming MMORPG. Thus Funcom warns: "Just remember: Dark Days are Coming. Kingsmouth may not be so sleepy for much longer." The site was quietly launched last week, and the hunt for clues is already underway, as word is: "The website was just discovered this weekend, giving further fuel to the fires of conspiracy that rages within The Secret World community."

Avatar: The Game Patch

Avatar: The Patch is now available for Avatar: The Game to update the tie-in with Avatar: The Movie to update it to 1.02: The Version. The new version addresses some bugs, including some that caused issues restarting the game. The patch is available on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, The Patches Scrolls, Strategy Informer, and WorthPlaying.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Squad Rush Details

The Battlefield Blog has details on the Squad Rush multiplayer mode in Battlefield Bad Company 2, DICE's upcoming military shooter sequel. They offer a gameplay trailer on the YouTube and describe the mode thusly: "Squad Rush puts a squad of four players versus another squad of four players for a max of eight player matches in this intense one crate/two base infantry only version of the Rush gamemode." There are also details on how this mode will be exclusive for 30 days to preorder customers on GameStop, though this only applies to console versions in North America. For PC owners they say: "No Exclusive Access on PC, however we'll make the gamemode available at launch instead."

Gold - Strategic Command WWII Global Conflict

Battlefront.com announces Strategic Command WWII Global Conflict is gold, and that they are now accepting preorders for the World War II strategy sequel. Preorders are now underway, though in spite of the completion of development, digital distribution is still 4-6 weeks out, with boxed copies expected a couple of weeks after that.

Op Ed

Eurogamer - Guns Don't Kill People - Games Do.
Society has a problem, and there must be a cause. What has been influencing society increasingly recently? Well, everybody's playing videogames these days. That must be it - look, little Johnny's sitting in front of the TV instead out playing in the park. Problem identified and neatly gift-wrapped.

You can substitute this Rickets problem for any number of society's modern day ills, including obesity and violence, because the underlying argument is nothing new.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

  • Mass Effect 2 on never mind.

Hardware Reviews

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