Archived News:

Tuesday, Feb 09, 2010

Champions Online Free DLC & Communication Fixes

The Champions Online Website has news that the expansion previously known as Vibora Bay has been renamed Revelation, and Cryptic currently expects to release this for free to all Champions Online subscribers next month. There's an accompanying explanation that while they consider the content of this to be premium, they are making it free as a boon to the community to make up for other recent shortcomings. One shortcoming is the recent "Kitchen Sink" patch, which was not the panacea they planned, as outlined in a new State of the Game Update admitting the patch did not get sufficient testing. They promise to improve this process going forward, and also describe various ways they are looking to improve communication with their customers, admitting to their "failure with communicating to our community over the past couple of months." This communication issue and plans to resolve it are also touched upon in the latest issue of Ask Cryptic, which is one of the features they will use more in the future to keep in better contact with their users.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier MP Beta This Summer

A teaser trailer for Ghost Recon Future Soldier is online, promoting the tactical shooter announced earlier today. The clip is just a teaser, offering no gameplay, but it suggests the chance to get some hands-on play is coming sooner than expected, as it concludes saying, "multiplayer beta coming summer 2010."

Glitch Revealed

CNET News has an in-depth preview of Glitch, a Web-based social MMO currently in alpha testing at Tiny Speck, a gaming start-up launched by Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield and a few partners. They say Glitch is "built around sending players billions of years into the past to develop the optimistic future that today seems increasingly unlikely." They have more on the game's structure and concepts, as well as some background on Tiny Speck, and there's more on the new developer in a related feature called Watching the birth of Flickr co-founder's gaming start-up.

All EA Titles to Have "Online Component"

"In fiscal 2011 [April 2010 – March 2011], every one of EA’s releases will have an online component, both downloadable content and online play, and don’t forget that we have a full roster of titles coming from our online subscription site,, from our mobile and iPhone group, and of course, our social gaming team, Playfish," said EA COO John Schappert during yesterday's post-earnings conference call with investors. This was found by Edge Online in hashing through a transcript of the call put together by Seeking Alpha. Thanks Mike Martinez. 2.0 Preview

The StarCraft II Website has a new preview of the updated, including a video about Blizzard's online service where Greg Canessa explains what to expect from the upcoming upgrade.

Mount & Blade: Warband Video Interview

A new Mount & Blade: Warband Video Interview on the YouTube hears from Taleworlds Entertainment's Armagan Yavuz, lead designer on the upcoming hack-and-slash action/RPG expansion. Armagan, whose English is much more fluent than our Turkish, goes into detail on the multiplayer modes the new expansion is adding to the game.

On Sale

  • 48 Hour Madness on GoGamer.
  • Trine on Steam. Save 75%.

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

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: The iSlab. Thanks Ant.

Worms 2: Armageddon Coming to Steam

A post to Team17 Software's Facebook Page by Team 17 indicating Worms 2: Armageddon is coming to Steam, and they are gearing up for beta testing. Word is: "W2A on Steam is moving ahead, there will be a Beta test, so stay tuned for more info in the next few weeks." An earlier update indicates Alien Breed Evolution is being tested on Steam either currently or in the near future. Thanks MTechnik.

Mythic Valentine's Day Celebrations

Few things symbolize romance like MMORPGs, so Mythic Entertainment announces special Valentine's Day celebrations planned for Warhammer Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and Ultima Online. Warhammer Online is holding a Night of Murder Live Event from February 9-16 involving special quests and online gifts. Dark Age of Camelot's Valentine's Day Live Event is already underway, and will run through February 21 adds two new quests and revives some prior Valentine's Day events. Finally Ultima Online will celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th with virtual chocolates and roses.

Serious Sam HD, Garry's Mod, Toki Tori Patched

New automatic updates for three games are now available on Steam. A Garry's Mod Update fixes a few bugs from their previous bugfix for this Source-engine sandbox. Also, a new Toki Tori Update adds a community bonus level and achievement and fixes some minor bugs in this puzzle platformer. Finally, a new Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter Update is now available, updating Croteam's first-person shooter remake, and the changelist for that patch follows. Continue here to read the full story.

New UDK Beta

The Epic UDK Page now offers the February 2010 beta for the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), a free SDK which allows the creation of games using Epic's Unreal Engine. The new version adds a new color picker, a new package backup system to prevent lost work due to a crash, and more. Downloads of the new beta are mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell and WorthPlaying.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy and Trinity Ship

Stardock announces the release of Sins of a Solar Empire - Diplomacy, saying the latest micro-expansion for Ironclad's real-time strategy game is available through digital distribution on Impulse. This also marks the release of Sins of a Solar Empire - Trinity, which bundles the original Sins with both the Entrenchment micro-expansion as well as the newly released Diplomacy, with Trinity available in North American stores as well as online through Impulse. Word is: "Launching alongside Trinity and completing the Sins of a Solar Empire experience is Diplomacy. Diplomacy is the second and final micro-expansion for fans that already have the original game. In addition to adding 30+ new technologies to research and a faction “status” that allows parties to see what other factions think of them, Diplomacy also adds a new envoy cruiser that can transport peace-seeking parties to negotiate a truce, trade pacts or treaties which can change the entire balance of any given game."

On PC Bad Company 2 and Free DLC

There's a new Battlefield: Bad Company 2 interview on WorthPlaying talking with senior producer Patrick Bach about the military shooter sequel. One of the answers reflects on the effort they are putting into the Windows edition, saying: "I think the PC gamers will be amazed with the quality that we get out of the PC. We have DirectX 11 support, we support all the latest sound and graphics, and we even have support for nVidia's 3-D screens, so there's a lot of cool stuff going on when it comes to the PC version." Patrick also explains Bad Company 2 will have an in-game store, which will offer both free and paid-for DLC:
One thing that's also very interesting is how we see our customers. We see the game as the first step to a longer experience. We have an in-game store where you get free content or you can buy new content to the game, so it's a very integral part of the game that we will have a long post-launch campaign. I think people will be thrilled to see what's in that already. On day one, you will get some really cool stuff.

Wil Wheaton Keynotes PAX East

The PAX Expo Organizers announce that "Gamer Geek Icon" Wil Wheaton will deliver the Keynote address at PAX East, the east coast edition of the Penny Arcade Expo coming to Boston, MA next month. "We’ve always considered Wil as the keynote speaker for PAX, so it’s only appropriate he kick off the first PAX East," said Robert Khoo of Penny Arcade. "Wil is one of us. We accept him. Wil speaks to all gamers, from the console jock to the keyboard fanatic to the pen-and-paper devotees." You can register for the event on this page, but at this point only day passes for Friday and Sunday remain.

The Sims 3 Patched

The Sims 3 Website has word on new patches for The Sims 3 to update the lifestyle simulation to version 1.10, the World Adventures expansion to version 2.5, and the new High-End Loft expansion to version 3.1. Word is: "To install this update, please start your game and use the 'Updates' tab in your Launcher." Word on what's new follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Next Assassin's Creed Setting and Multiplayer Details

Ubisoft's investor conference call today included details on the next Assassin's Creed game, saying it will be set in Rome, where Assassin's Creed II's Ezio will use his skills to take on the Templars. According to VG247 the game will "also include what Ubi called 'innovative' multiplayer, where players can participate in an assassination mode against friends online."

Ubisoft Sales Results

Ubisoft announces sales figures for the third quarter 2009-2010, which was October through December 2009 according to their financial calendar. Word is: "Sales for the third quarter of 2009-10 came to €495 million, down 2.7%, or 2.0% at constant exchange rates, compared with €508 million recorded during the same period of 2008-09. For the first nine months of fiscal 2009-10, sales totaled €661 million versus €852 million in the corresponding prior-year period, representing a decrease of 22.5%, or 22.1% at constant exchange rates. This performance is in line with the revised targets announced on January 13, 2010." They also announce they will roll out their controversial new DRM scheme in the coming months:
A platform of online services for PC titles offering gamers a more in-depth gaming experience as well as providing an innovative solution for reducing PC game piracy. The first games to benefit from this solution will be released in the coming months.

January Steam Hardware Survey Results

The Steam Hardware Survey now reflects the results of the January poll of the hardware owned by users of their service. They highlight a couple of interesting trends, including how DirectX 10 adoption is almost up to 50% and how quad-CPU adoption is up almost 16% over the past 18 months. A couple of other developments are highlighted on Ars Technica (thanks Mike Martinez), where they point out that the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 is being adopted more rapidly than the 32-bit edition, and they think Windows 7 will be the predominant operating system on the service by the end of this year.

E3 Attendee Registration Begins

The E3 Expo 2010 is now accepting attendee signup for this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, which will be held June 15-17 in the Los Angeles Convention Center. This is a trade-only event that's not open to the general public (*wink* *wink*). This page offers a complete list of exhibitors, updated through today.

LEGO Universe Beta Signups

The LEGO Universe Website is now accepting applications to beta test this upcoming MMOG built from LEGO blocks. Word is: "Sign up now for your opportunity to become one of our chosen heroes that must answer the call. Your mission is to test LEGO Universe for bugs, so prepare yourself to strap on your suit of armor and help your friends battle the dark forces of the Maelstrom!" Thanks VG247.

Metro 2033 Limited Edition Revealed

THQ announces plans for the Metro 2033 – Limited Edition for PC and Xbox 360 editions of the upcoming post-apocalyptic first-person shooter. This is a more limited Limited Edition than some of the elaborate setups we've seen lately, offering four art cards and an exclusive in-game automatic shotgun. This page offers images of the LE.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier PC Plans

Ubisoft tweets a confirmation that although today's announcement of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier only mentions the Xbox 360, the tactical shooter sequel is coming to Windows and PlayStation 3 as well: "And to answer all of you, #GhostRecon Future Soldier will release on X360, PS3 and PC. More details later." Also, Ubileaks tweets: "To those who wondered, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will also release on PS3 : same experience, same development team and same release date." Finally, they have also posted an image of the game's new skull logo.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Announced

Ubisoft has made their promised big announcement, unveiling plans for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, a tactical shooter sequel due this holiday season. The announcement only mentions an Xbox 360 edition, and they are offering access to the game's multiplayer beta test for those who purchase the 360 edition of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction. Word is: "Created by the award-winning team behind Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter® and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter® 2, the game will feature cutting-edge technology, prototype high-tech weaponry, and state-of-the-art single-player and multiplayer modes. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will go beyond the core Ghost Recon franchise and deliver a fresh gameplay experience, with an unparalleled level of quality that will excite long-time fans and newcomers alike."

Ships Ahoy - BioShock 2

2K Games announces BioShock 2 is now available worldwide, offering a sequel to the Objectivism-themed first-person shooter. The new game adds multiplayer to the mix. This inspires 2K president Christoph Hartmann to say this settles the whole art question: "BioShock represented a watershed moment in the gaming industry when it illustrated that games, like feature films, can be viewed as art - both in art design and in the rich depth of the narrative." Here's word on the game:
The single player serves as a sequel to the original game and provides fans with an unsettling storyline, dazzling visual design and the evolution of the genetically enhanced shooter gameplay. Set almost a decade after a grueling civil war consumed the once magnificent city of Rapture, evil reverberates through the halls and a wickedness once thought gone forever returns along the Atlantic seaboard. An unspeakable series of kidnappings from local seaside communities by an unseen monster leads to the repopulation of Little Sisters in Rapture’s failed utopia under the ocean. Players must step into the boots of one of gaming's most iconic characters, the Big Daddy, as they traverse through the fallen city, fending off attacks from an army of genetically modified Splicers, while searching for escape and the key to their survival.

Multiplayer in BioShock 2 provides fans with a rich and engrossing prequel experience that expands upon the fiction of Rapture’s origins. Set during the year before Rapture’s descent into chaos, players assume the role of a Plasmid test subject for Sinclair Solutions, a key provider of Plasmids and Tonics in the underwater city that was first explored in BioShock. Players will enter into areas from the original title as they struggle to gain superiority in frantically paced battles.

Deus Ex 3 Subtitle?

Siliconera notes that Square Enix has trademarked Deus Ex: Human Revolution in Europe, noting that Square Enix also now owns trademarks Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex Human Revolution (with and without the colon) in North America. They speculate that this will be the subtitle for Deus Ex 3, the upcoming action/RPG prequel. Thanks Eurogamer.

Diablo III Female Monk Reveal

Blizzard unveils the female monk from Diablo III offering the official take on the character first spied on The Jace Hall Show. A full description, screenshots, and concept art are included. Thanks IncGamers.

WoW's Chinese Saga Continues

World of Warcraft Seeks Reapproval in China Gov't Tangle reports the latest from China, where World of Warcraft has been bouncing around for a while in an attempt to clear local regulatory hurdles. If you think western bureaucracies can be impenetrable, try and make sense out of this: "The China operator of World of Warcraft, one of the world's biggest online games, said Sunday it will seek new government approval for the game, dragging it further into a turf war between two Chinese regulatory agencies. will apply to China's publishing regulator to release The Burning Crusade, an expansion pack for World of Warcraft, it said on the game's official Web site -- even though its players can already play the expansion. NetEase has been operating World of Warcraft with approval from China's culture ministry, but the ministry is locked in a dispute with the country's publishing regulator over who is entitled to regulate online games. The publishing agency has regulated online games in the past and ordered games it did not approve of to shut down."

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

We got missed by last week's big winter storm, but the forecast for these parts tonight is pretty dire, calling for as much as a foot of snow. In a perverse way I think I'd enjoy that on some level, but I recoil when I realize this, recognizing that some folks will end up frozen as a result, and I could end up one of them with a walkway to shovel. Okay, I probably won't freeze, a backache is no prize either.

R.I.P.: Representative John P. Murtha, Ex-Marine and Iraq War Critic, Dies. Thanks Mike Martinez.

Dire Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Fathom.
Foreign Creature 2.
Links: 15 games this generation that wasted your time and money. Thanks Digg.
The Prisoner viewable online.
Stories: Australian sword swallower sets Guinness world record.
Teen Crashes Car Into School, Drives Down Hall. Living the dream. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science: Re-Engineering the Human Immune System.
Images: 25 Ironic Signs. Thanks Digg.
Please don't do that to me. Thanks Digg.
APOD- 2010 February 9 - Night Launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Thanks brother19.
Media: Modern Warfare 2 PC Unlimited Predator Missile Glitch. Thanks Joker961.
A deer bringing a complaint to the front desk.
Ugly Furniture Store Commercial.
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