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Friday, Apr 30, 2010


APB in June/July Subscriptions Details

Realtime Worlds and EA announce release dates and related details for APB (All Points Bulletin), saying the open world action game will arrive in North America on June 29, in mainland Europe on July 1, and in the UK on July 2. They previously announced that the game will not "require" a subscription fee, repeating this as recently as last September, but while the new announcement has word that "players can also earn game time by actually playing the game," it seems undeniable that this is a subscription game from the following:

Gamers can purchase a retail version of APB either in-store or via digital download at standard retail price of SRP $49.99. The game includes 50 hours of action gameplay out of the box plus unlimited time in APB's social districts customizing, socializing and trading in the marketplace. Once the 50-hours are up, players have flexibility: top up their game time from as little as SRP $6.99 for an additional 20 hours, or opt to purchase a 30-day unlimited package for only SRP $9.99 with discounts available for 90 and 180 days. In addition to this flexible payment model, players can also earn game time by actually playing the game. APB provides avenues for accomplished gamers or creators to earn rewards for their creativity and subsidize their ongoing costs with their in-game efforts.

More IW Vets Respawn

Four more former members of Infinity Ward have hit the respawn key and joined Respawn Entertainment, the start up developer formed by Jason West and Vince Zampella after they were fired by Activision. The four Infinity Ward expatriates are Preston Glenn, Zied Rieke, Chad Genier, and Sean Slayback, reports, and by their tally, a total of 16 former IW developers have now joined Respawn.

Left 4 Dead 2 Patched, New Mutation

Steam News has word that a new patch for Left 4 Dead 2 is now automatically available. This is a hotfix to close off an exploit, as word is: "Fixed original survivors cheating in Bleed Out mode by throwing first aid kits." What's Bleed out mode you ask? The Left 4 Dead Blog explains, while also revealing the "talking" Boomer plushy is now available in the Valve Store. Here's word on Bleed Out:

New Mutation
Bleed Out
Your health is a ticking away! With constant mobs chasing you, there's no time for standing around. You have no permanent health, only temporary health that is continuously ticking away. You won't find any health packs to restore your health, only pills and adrenaline. This mutation is for Campaign mode.

Remember, each week a new mutation will be coming out, so you need to check back every week.

Star Trek Online Rewards and Demo Plans

Atari announces rewards and referral programs that will kick off next week in Star Trek Online, Crytpic's Trekkie MMORPG. They outline The Star Trek Online Veteran Rewards program, an online referral program, and the Star Trek Online Winback Weekend, which "gives former players a chance to revisit the Star Trek Online universe and enjoy exciting new content." The demo will allow unlimited play in a limited version of the game, here's word on that:

The Star Trek Online Demo program will allow new users to download and play a trial version of Star Trek Online for an unlimited amount of time (some restrictions apply). The demo includes the “Stranded in Space” mission, which pits the player against vicious Orion space pirates. The demo client is available for pre-load on May 3, 2010, and will go live starting on May 7, 2010.

Garry's Mod Patched

Steam announces not one but two new automatic updates for Garry's Mod. The later patch has fixes for a startup crash on machines with no SSE2 support and fixes a TF2 map crash. The earlier patch has more substantial changes, which are listed here. Continue here to read the full story.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Updates

An update to the Star Wars: The Old Republic Website announces plans for a novel called Deceived that ties in with the upcoming Star Wars MMORPG. The book is being written by Paul S. Kemp "with the BioWare and LucasArts teams’ full cooperation and creative consultation," and it "tells the story of Darth Malgus and gives fascinating insight into his rise to fame and glory as the Sith Lord who destroyed the Jedi Temple." They also offer a new "holorecord" on Inhabitants, and announce that the Biographies section of the holonet now offers articles on General Garza, Mandalore, and Darth Malgus.

QUAKE LIVE Beta Updated "Premium" Plans Revealed

The Bethesda Blog has word that the QUAKE LIVE Beta has been updated, surprising in that we did not know that the free online version of QUAKE III Arena was still in beta. This change list outlines the new player invite system, and more. Here's word that indicates a "premium" version of the game is indeed in the cards:

One feature of our upcoming Premium Service known as ‘Start a Match’ is currently in private testing and allows for leagues and players to start servers for other players to join. This update brings new features to the Start a Match capabilities, including the ability to start servers without passwords, the ability to restrict servers by player invite and the ability to specify a custom map rotation.

Trapped Dead Announced

Headup Games announces Trapped Dead, a "mature Zombie survival scenario inspired by the successful Horror movies of the early 80s." The game is planned for release for PCs this November, and word is a co-op mode for up to four players is included as well. A preliminary Trapped Dead Website is live, and here's word:

The story takes place in the early 80s in a small town names Hedge Hill near Kansas City, Missouri. The sowing of a new genetically modified type of corn caused the existence of a new virus which mutated through the natural food chain. A dog bite of an infected animal caused a local outbreak of the virus which rapidly infected the inhabitants of the idyllic provincial town. Mike and Gerald, two college boys, are thrown into the middle of a terrifying horror scenario. Having pulled over to a gas station near Hedge Hill during what was meant to be an enjoyable road trip, they are unaware of the virus which has already reached the gas station and its staff…

Din's Curse Beta Patches

The Din's Curse Patches Page now offers new version 1.001 beta patches for both the PC and Mac editions of Din's Curse. The beta's carry their usual warning: "A beta patch means it has been tested, but not enough to be an official patch. So use at your own risk." The patch notes outline all the changes.

Icarus Studios Restructures

The Fallen Earth Website announces a restructuring at Icarus Studios, co-developer of the post-apocalyptic MMORPG Fallen Earth. The announcement is sort of vague, implying that jobs have been lost without quite coming out and saying so. Word is:

As a result of today's reorganization and in an effort to maintain development, the combined companies will support core members of staff for ongoing customer service and continued development of Fallen Earth and company projects.

Team leads are continuing production and development on Fallen Earth Blood Sports Patch 1.4, scheduled for release on May 7. Community support and scheduled events, such as Slots Night (scheduled for tonight, April 30), will continue as announced.

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Into the Black

Link of the Day: Quake Level Name Generator. For the old-timers.

Free MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries Released

Mektek.Net now offers the promised MechWarrior 4 Free Release, a 1.7 GB download that is delivered through their MTX content delivery system. The Free Release includes the original mechs and weapons of MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries as well as the Clan and IS Mech Packs and all the Mektek mechs and weapons, and various other improvements. Word on some additional enhancements follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Announced

Activision Publishing announces Call of Duty: Black Ops, saying the next installment in the Call of Duty series is in development at Treyarch and will launch on November 9, 2010. "We can’t wait for our community to experience Call of Duty: Black Ops," says Mark Lamia, Studio Head for Treyarch. "We have focused our entire studio on this game, with dedicated multiplayer, single-player and co-op teams creating the most intense, gripping and riveting experience possible for our fans on all fronts." This comes in advance of the Call of Duty trailer promised for the wee hours of tomorrow morning, and word is immediately following the broadcast, the Call of Duty: Black Ops Website will launch with further information on the project.

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes Announced

Focus Home Entertainment announces The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, the next installment in their series of adventure games based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famed fictional detective. The announcement is fairly vague, saying: "The Sherlock Holmes series is known as one of the best franchises in PC adventure games. It has been praised by critics and has captivated more than a million of players around the world. End of 2010, the famous detective Sherlock Holmes will be back on PC and Xbox 360 for a great adventure, and probably for the most dangerous investigation of his entire career." The news is accompanied by a teaser trailer, which is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Split/Second Trailer

A new "survival" trailer shows of just how tricky survival will be in Split/Second, considering all the environmental hazards in the action/racing game in development at Disney's Black Rock Studio. The clip features gameplay footage and developer narration. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Eschalon: Book II Lengthy

Basilisk Games tweets about the amount of content in Eschalon: Book II, the imminent indie RPG sequel. Word is: "Book II is big. First time through on difficult mode will take most players 35-50 hours depending on how much you choose to explore." Thanks Kxmode.

Team Fortress 2 Patch, Statues

Steam News has word on another new patch that's automatically available for Team Fortress 2. If this has you wondering just how often Valve's teamplay shooter has been updated, the Team Fortress 2 Website estimates this is the game's 119th patch, saying they are celebrating this with news of two 12" statues of the heavy that will be available for preorder from Gaming Heads on May 3 in your choice of red or blue. Most of the links on that site are broken, so we can't see how much these are going to cost, but they say these will be limited editions. The patch notes for the new version of TF2 are below. Continue here to read the full story.

Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition Halfling Details

The Blood Bowl Website has details on the Halflings, one of the 11 new races to be added to the fantasy-themed sports of Blood Bowl in the Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition, which is slated for release by the end of this year. They offer screenshots, and explain: "Today, we welcome the Halflings! Too small to develop a game based on passes, too slow to outrun opponents and too weak for all-out assaults, Halflings are truly a unique race in the Blood Bowl universe."

Op Ed

Gamasutra - How Does The Infinity Ward Fiasco Affect Call Of Duty? Thanks Joker961.
Infinity Ward has a large fanbase. Out of the millions of Call of Duty consumers, there is a core contingent that is aware of what's going on at Infinity Ward right now. They know that the studio created a Call of Duty game every other year with Treyarch, and they know that Infinity Ward is the series originator. This group is concerned about the future of the franchise and is disenchanted with the publisher of one of their favorite series.

Kotaku - Death and Ethical Violence. Thanks Mike Martinez.
For me, the biggest problem a game can have is a disconnect between myself and those I am being asked to ruthlessly gun down. I like to know why I am killing that guy or blowing that building up. If I am thrust into the body of a character and tasked with a very serious act, one that I would morally oppose in the real world, I am extremely turned off if there is any confusion as to why. It can be something as simple as "These guys are invading Earth!" or "Your kidnapped daughter is in there!". Sure, I would prefer it to be something a bit more meaty and original, but without any proper context behind the violence, for me, the immersion is immediately and irreparably broken.

BitMob - Complexity Versus Simplicity: Two Approaches to Strategy.
Recently, however, I've tried to reach out of my comfort zone and try games that normally wouldn't appeal to me. Both Greed Corp and Napoleon: Total War fit this criteria quite nicely. My experience in the strategy genre consists mostly of StarCraft and the Advance Wars series. Because I love both of these games, I thought exploration of the deeper recesses of the genre would produce satisfying results. Greed Corp appealed to me because it was lighthearted take on turn-based strategy, much like Advance Wars; Napoleon offered an encompassing realism that would test me.

Gatherings & Competitions

  • BioShock 2 Vid-Cap Contest. Win $5,000 and a Big Daddy suit. For residents of the U.S. (except Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, North Dakota, or Vermont), Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, or the Republic of Ireland.

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