Archived News:

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010

Dragon Age II In February 2011?

VG247 shows the retail packaging for the upcoming Awakening expansion for Dragon Age: Origins, BioWare's RPG. This includes a drop card with a stylized dragon and a date of 02.01.2011, which they think may be an advance tease of a February 1, 2011 release date for Dragon Age II. We shall see.

BioShock 2 DLC Released

The Sinclair Solutions Tester Pack DLC is now available for the Windows version of BioShock 2, 2K's first-person shooter sequel. The DLC will be on sale through Microsoft Games on Demand starting tomorrow, offering the chance to get the add-on bundled with the game for a 400 MS point profit. They offer BioShock 2 for 25% off from 3/12 to 3/15, and for that period the add-on will be 400 Microsoft Points, but if you buy the DLC along with the game you will receive a gift of 800 MS points.

Mass Effect 2 Paid DLC Next Month

Kasumi's Stolen Memory is the name of the first DLC for Mass Effect 2 to be released outside of the Cerberus Network, reports Joystiq, saying this will be released on April 6 for Windows and Xbox 360. Word is BioWare is in the midst of an "internal discussion" to determine a price for this. They offer a brief description: "After downloading the DLC, players can get in touch with Kasumi on the Citadel, either in the middle of an ongoing Mass Effect 2 game or after the completion of the main story (lesson learned from Mass Effect 1 DLC!). Once recruited, Shepard aids Kasumi on a secretive mission of recovery, which requires a suave disguise and a run-in with an influential and predictably corrupt art collector. The content, which also provides the "Locust" SMG, a flash-bang grenade loyalty power and a new Achievement, should take about an hour and a half to complete."

More Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Capacity Coming

The Battlefield Blog announces plans to take down EA servers a couple of times for maintenance, saying this will affect all three Battlefield: Bad Company 2 platforms. They say they will "come up with even more hardware with more capacity to handle all the BFBC2 traffic. Once the maintenance is complete you will experience an improvement to your online experience." The update also outlines some stats from the battlefield:
Since launch a week ago, BFBC2 has already put EA servers through the following stress:
The 4 different soldier types have gathered a score of more than 34 Billion.
There's been more than 400M kills made.
1.3M roadkills
Squads and Teams have assisted each other to 6.2 Billion points.

The Settlers 7 Trailer

A new trailer is now available to show off the customization features in The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom, the upcoming strategy/management sequel. The video includes gameplay footage and an interview with Bruce Shelley, the strategy guru who is consulting on the game. The embedded HD version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Steam News will put different titles from SQUARE ENIX and Eidos Interactive on sale every day this week.

  • Gyromancer on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Gyromancer + Mini Ninjas Bundle on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Mini Ninjas on Steam. Save 50%.

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

Evening Previews

  • Splinter Cell: Conviction on GBASE. In German.

OpenGL 4.0 Announced

The Khronos announces the OpenGL 4.0 specification, calling this "a significant update to the most widely adopted 2D and 3D graphics API, and includes the GLSL 4.00 update to the OpenGL Shading language allowing developers to access the latest generation of GPU acceleration." There's an article about this on CNET News (thanks Mike Martinez) relating Khronos' claims that "OpenGL 4.0 exposes the same level of capability of GPUs as DirectX 11."

InstantAction Plans Revealed

A post on the Los Angeles Times Blog talks about how InstantAction is looking to compete with a growing group of cloud-gaming providers, a change in direction from service's launch as a home for web-based games. As new CEO Lou Castle explained last summer the service is capable of streaming even the most demanding games, and a post on CNET News elaborates, saying that games will indeed stream from the service, but will also be resident on user PCs: "In addition, InstantActin's [sic] technology enables progressive downloads but allows people to start playing, even while games are still coming over the Internet. Once the game is finished, it is resident on a user's computer. A full-scale, AAA console game sent over a high-speed connection would take about four minutes, said Castle, but players could begin the action in the interim." The article also explains InstantAction's business model: "Regardless of whether someone rents or buys, the games they choose--and no titles have been announced yet--play in the browser. However, the model allows publishers and players alike full choice over where the games appear: they could be embedded in Facebook, a reviewer's site, a fan site, an e-mail, or a player's blog. In that sense, InstantAction CEO Lou Castle said, the content being delivered by the service is much like a YouTube video."

Ships Ahoy - Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising

THQ and Relic Entertainment announce the launch of the Chaos Rising standalone expansion for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, Relic's sci-fi real-time strategy sequel, which is now also available as part of a new Dawn of War II – Gold Edition that includes the base game. In concert with the announcement, Steam News announces the Steam edition of the expansion is likewise now available in North America and Korea. Here's word: "Chaos Rising delivers an immersive single player experience, a level cap increase from 20 to 30, more powerful war-gear and introduces the traitorous Chaos Space Marines as a new playable army. Developed by THQ’s internal studio Relic® Entertainment, Chaos Rising offers a suite of multiplayer options via Microsoft’s free Games for Windows – LIVE® service, and is now available at retail and online outlets nationwide for a suggested retail price of $29.99. The Dawn of War II – Gold Edition, which contains both the original Dawn of War II and its expansion Chaos Rising, is also available for a suggested retail price of $39.99."

EverQuest Underfoot Convorteum Launch Offers

A new Convorteum zone is live today for EverQuest Underfoot, Sony Online Entertainment announces, announcing a special offer for EverQuest subscribers who don't yet own Underfoot: "Current and Inactive EverQuest subscribers who have yet to purchase Underfoot can enjoy a free three-day trial of the expansion from March 10, 2010 through March 12, 2010." There is also a special deal for those who do already own the add-on: "Additionally, EQ subscribers who have already purchased Underfoot can login to experience Convorteum on March 10, 2010 and will receive an exclusive Gnomework Mercenary Skin if redeemed prior to March 31, 2010." There are more details on the EverQuest Website, and here are some screenshots and a a Convorteum gameplay trailer, which is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Din's Curse Beta Patches

The Dins Curse Patches Page now offers new patches for betas of Din's Curse, updating the Windows and Mac betas of Soldak Entertainment's upcoming action/RPG to version 0.909. This page offers the change list for the new version.

Derek Smart & Quest Online

The Quest Online About Page now lists 3000AD owner Derek Smart as their President, as Massively reports that David Allen has parted ways with the Alganon developer. Also, word on that page is: "Alganon is scheduled for Official Release the week of April 8th, 2010," to follow the game's "soft launch" in December. David Allen's departure is not explained, nor is Derek Smart's role with the game, though 3000AD announced Galactic Command Online, their own MMOG, late last year. Alganon was recently revealed to be subscription free.

Cuts at Rebellion?

Approximately 20 staff have been laid off from the Oxford U.K. headquarters of Aliens vs Predator developer Rebellion Studios, reports Develop, quoting "a source close to the matter." They also say it is also "all but confirmed" that Rebellion's Derby studio is closed, following indications earlier this year that this was happening, saying the staff from Derby has been "put on consultancy." They state they've been unable to clarify the nature of the staff cuts.

Unreal Engine 3 Adds Steamworks & NVIDIA Support

Epic is adding native Steamworks support to Unreal Engine 3, reports Gamers Daily news, saying they've signed an agreement "to deliver Valve’s Steamworks suite of services to all licensees of Epic’s industry-leading Unreal Engine 3 for use in their products, free of any additional fees." Epic also announces NVIDIA 3D Vision support for the Unreal Engine 3, stating the stereoscopic 3D support will be available to all licensees of their game engine, and also to users of the free Unreal Development Kit.

EALA Vets Form Supergiant Games

Supergiant Games is a new developer formed by former EALA developers "who quit our jobs in 2009 to move into a house together and make games." Here's word on their plans: "We’re working on a game for digital download platforms that we hope to release in 2011. If you’re around GDC 2010, we’d love to have you play it and get your opinion on it. We’ll have Supergiant Cookies to give out and normal size business cards." Thanks Big Download.

Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge Announced

LucasArts announces Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge for this summer, following recent indications that a remake of the second Monkey Island game is coming. A batch of screenshots accompany the announcement, and here's word on how the new version improves upon the original Monkey Island 2: "Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge expands on the highly successful The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. Signature special edition features including high-definition graphics, a re-mastered musical score, full voiceover, and an in-depth hint system all return in the sequel. Plus, experience all new unique special edition features that let you interact with the world of Monkey Island like never before."

More BC2 VIP DLC This Month

An update on the Battlefield Blog has details on the expected second batch of free DLC for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 for customers with the VIP code that comes in new copies of the military shooter sequel. The DLC was promised before the end of the month, and true to that it will be released for all platforms on March 30. They offer details and screenshots for the Arica Harbor Conquest and Laguna Presa Rush maps in the DLC. They explain their DLC philosophy, tossing a couple of grenades at their "direct competitors" along the way:
VIP members will be able to expand on the deep and ever changing sandbox experience, which in itself provides near endless hours of entertainment, by having new content to keep things fresh. It also plays a vital part in making sure you, the players get proper value for the money you’ve invested in Battlefield: Bad Company 2. This is why these map packs are available at no extra cost, contradicting the industry standard and what our direct competitors are doing. Of course, it also helps avoid segmenting the community, making sure everyone can play together having the same maps available. There will be future paid downloadable content as well but these packs will focus on expanding other parts of the game experience rather than the selection of maps available for the basic game modes. We’re dedicated to taking care of this product for a long time – helping you avoid “mapathy” without getting nickel-and-dimed.

EA Servers Return

An update to the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 forums by Barrie "Bazajaytee" Tingle confirms the server outage reported last night is cleared up: "EA servers are now back up and running."

Just Cause 2 DLC Details Leak?

A post on The Something Awful Forums has details on DLC plans for Just Cause 2 apparently uncovered within the recently released demo for the action sequel form Avalanche Studios. The spoiler-protected forum post has word on a few different packs and several individual items. Thanks LittleMe, who also sends along a link to an amusing video: Just Cause 2 - Overthrowing the oppressive government of Panau... one bubble at a time. Also, here's a Just Cause 2 "Rocket Launcher Jump Stunt" trailer.

Techland Interview

The Techland interview on FirstPersonShooters.net is a minimally formatted conversation with Haris Orkin, discussing his tastes in gaming and his work writing on games, including western shooter Call of Juarez. Several specific questions about Call of Juarez are met with "no comment" responses, and Techland's seemingly terminally delayed Warhound project goes unmentioned.

Op Ed

TechRadar UK - For and against DRM in games. Thanks Ant via Digg.
Silent Hunter V is just the first of many planned titles to include this 'feature', though a recent revelation that it's already been cracked may throw a spanner in the works. Nonetheless, gamers hate it with righteous passion, while the publisher thinks it's safeguarding PC gaming. So who's right? Well, everyone.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Spot the new product.

Out of the Blue

Frans rolled out another enhancement here yesterday, fixing up a long standing feature intended to make it easier for readers to keep tabs on what forum posts users have already viewed. Unviewed threads and posts have a red asterisk to denote their status, which has always been the case, except in the past this feature would not be able to keep tabs on this unless you closed and restarted your browser between visits, which made it pretty pointless for most users. This behavior has been refined, and these asterisks should now properly track read and unread posts for logged-in users. This forum post explains the feature in detail. Thanks Frans!

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: REDDER.
Uber-Boat.
Metal Slug Brutal 3.
Links: The Dirty Secrets of Beloved Videogame Characters.
The top 10 geek anthems of all time.
10 children’s characters who were definitely on drugs. Thanks Digg.
Stories: Who Cheats- Docs and Stay at Home Moms. Thanks Boing Boing.
Christopher Nolan takes flight with Superman. Thanks nin via Dark Horizons.
Science: Salty, sweet- study says fat is the sixth "taste". Thanks Acleacius.
How blast-proof suits work.
Dogs That Detect Bedbugs.
Images: Infographic: How Did YOU Get Fired From Activision? Thanks Digg.
Physics Win.
The Newest Superhero.
Media: Cycles.
Your My Documents.
The Video Game Bosses' Lament.
Follow-ups: Chile quake moves city more than 10 feet. Thanks Boing Boing.
Half Million Seeds Now in "Doomsday" Vault. Just a hop to the North Pole away. Thanks brother19.
Disease Cause Is Pinpointed With Genome. Thanks j.c.f.
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