Archived News:

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 Bastille Day

Schafer versus Kotick, Round 2

Kotaku has a follow-up from Activision to the tongue lashing Double Fine Productions' CEO Tim Schafer dealt to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. After Schafer called Kotick "a dick" and a "total prick" and said he was "allegedly" a person, Activision took issue with the comment that "he makes a big deal about not liking games," and sets the record straight: "Tim Schafer's comment that Bobby Kotick 'makes a big deal about not liking games' just isn't true," says Maryanne Lataif, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Activision Blizzard. "Bobby has always been passionate about games, and loves the video game industry. But as CEO of a company that makes games enjoyed by millions of people worldwide, the demands on his time now make it difficult to play games as often as he'd like to or as much as he once did." Thanks joao.

Haunted House Remake This Fall

Atari announces they are remaking their old school adventure Haunted House for release via digital distribution this autumn for Windows, Xbox LIVE, and Wii. A trailer from the remake shows the player will be more than just a pair of eyes this time around, and here's word:
Atari has given Haunted House a modern gameplay update mixed with the proven fun factor and suspense of the original blockbuster game. Over thirty years have passed since your grandfather disappeared without a trace while searching for the magical urn, a mystery that has hangover the heads of you and your family for decades. Now a mysterious letter from the town of Spirit Bay has dragged you to Graves Mansion, to follow in the footsteps of your grandfather.

This classic game has been remade for a new generation authentic replication of arcade gameplay, rich 3D environments, interactive objects, dynamic storylines, and new characters. Come find out why the game that captured the hearts of a generation is set to do it again.

Guild Wars 2 Ranger Details

The Guild Wars 2 Website introduces the Ranger, another of the classes in Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet's upcoming MMORPG. They describe the class, and the stable of pets that can help the ranger lead the way (hooah!). On a related note, there's a Ranger interview on PC Gamer where they chat with Eric Flannum about the class.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior & More Steam Patches

Several new automatic patches are now available through Steam. An Aion Update brings the MMORPG to version 1.9, but there are no details on this (though details were released in March). A Greed: Black Border Update fixes a bug and improves performance. A new Moonbase Alpha Update likewise addresses bugs and adds "multiple optimizations." A Beat Hazard Update adds support for generic gamepads and mp4s, and also adds a few new commands. There's a Turba Update that incorporates some new refinements, and finally, an auto-patch for Sniper: Ghost Warrior has a bunch of changes, which are outlined below. Continue here to read the full story.

Darkness Within 2 Patch

A new patch is now available for Darkness Within 2: The Dark Lineage, updating the survival/horror sequel to version 1.02g. The patch is available from AtomicGamer, FileFront, Strategy Informer, and WorthPlaying. Here are the patch notes. Continue here to read the full story.

BioWare: Console is "the Past"

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a detailed write-up of BioWare cofounder Dr. Greg Zeschuk's Develop Keynote, mentioned earlier. They delve into what he conveyed about how BioWare does what it does. There is also mention of this address on PC Gamer, where they highlight a pertinent quote: "The future isn’t necessarily on console. That’s the past."

Pitbull Studios

Robert Troughton has opened Pitbull Studios, a new developer launched exactly one year to the day after the closure of Midway Newcastle, the developer formed when now-defunct Midway acquired Pitbull Syndicate Limited in 2006. This is reported on Develop, where they say the company will announce its first title soon, and that this will be a departure from the racing games with which they are associated.

Work at

Want to work at They have a help wanted for a Head of PR & Marketing position. If you can sell yourself to them, you obviously have some qualifications for the job.

Games for Windows Top LIVE Titles

The LIVE Activity for week of July 5 post on Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson's Blog has the Games for Windows Top LIVE Titles (based on UUs) for the week, which follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Bus driver saves 10 from blaze, finishes route. Thanks Acleacius. "You kept making all the stops!?" - "Well, people kept ringing the bell!"

Maxis Online Game Plans?

A post on superannuation notes an EA job listing for a position suggesting Maxis is taking another stab at the online gaming market following the demise of The Sims Online. Word is: "Maxis is seeking an experienced Development Director to lead the development of an unannounced next-generation Online simulation game," and among the requirements is: "Has shipped at least one online PC title," and "Has shipped at least one game with an online financial model, including online stores and DLC’s [sic]." A speculative comment by superannuation sagely points out that The Sims for Facebook or SimCity for Facebook "could be a very viable threat to the Zynga empire."

Blacklight: Tango Down Ships, Sequel Next Year

As noted on the Blacklight Tango Down Website, the PC edition of Blacklight: Tango Down is now available via digital distribution through Direct2Drive, Games for Windows, and Steam, offering this multiplayer military shooter from Zombie Studios that was released for Xbox 360 last week (word is the PS3 edition is due "in the coming weeks"). The game is said to offer "12 multiplayer maps, seven game types, four co-op missions, and literally trillions of weapon combinations." They also express their belief that Blacklight is "one of the next major entertainment properties," citing previously revealed plans for a comic book and a movie based on the game. Taking that a step further, Big Download has word that a sequel to the game is already in the works, as Zombie's Mark Long tells them there are no plans for DLC, but the sequel will improve upon the original with including larger maps and "controllable mech-like vehicles." Their current hope is to release Blacklight Tango Down 2 in the summer of 2011. Thanks TheWeaponeer.

Medal of Honor LE Trailer

A Medal of Honor "Limited Edition Announce" Trailer shows off the advantages of the just-announced "Limited Edition" of the upcoming Medal of Honor reboot. The limited edition, which is the same price as the standard game, offers early access to the game's shotguns, and an exclusive access to the MP7 submachine gun, and the trailer shows the effect these weapons can have on your enemies. Here's the embedded clip. Continue here to read the full story.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 "Environment" Trailer

A new Test Drive Unlimited 2 "Environment" Trailer offers some scenic vistas from Atari's upcoming racing game sequel, depicting environments, weather effects, and car modeling, which all show a good deal of attention to detail. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead Trailer

A new trailer from ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead shows off the just-released standalone shooter expansion from Bohemia Interactive Studios. The new clip is from the tutorial for the High Command system, described as a "lesser-known" feature of the game. Word is: "The walkthrough provides a sneak peek at the tutorial available in-game and demonstrates the simplicity of commanding larger groups of units; issuing direct orders, setting waypoints and conditions, and assigning the behaviour of groups of units. Getting to grips with the simple command interface is important, and doing so reveals an entirely distinct type of gameplay experience. High Command is a powerful tool, which puts you in dynamic control of the entire battlefield situation in a real time strategy viewpoint - with as much, or as little control, as you like." The embedded version of the clip follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Pro Cycling Manager: Tour de France 2010 Trailer

A new "special" trailer from Pro Cycling Manager: Tour de France 2010 celebrates the running of this year's Tour de France bicycle race. The footage is pretty familiar after the last clip from the bicycle racing sim, but includes overlays of the race's route. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

BioWare Working on "Small Scale" MMOGs has word from a keynote address by BioWare cofounder Dr. Greg Zeschuk from the now-underway Develop Conference, revealing more of their MMOG plans. He says that in addition to their full scale MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare is also exploring smaller projects: "Every year it's a little bit down. You can't blame the economy anymore. Really, it's about online. We're obviously working on Star Wars: The Old Republic, a big MMO. But we're working on smaller MMO type game games across the group - things all over the space," he says. "We explored lots of different kinds of games. We did some Facebook stuff. We did an iPhone game for Mass Effect. It wasn’t the best one – people point that out to us. We learned the hard way. The learning there was you have to iterate. The team went back and made some more games that we never released that were way better. Large scale MMOs. Small scale MMOs. We're going to continue to do triple-A console, but we're also going to be exploring pretty aggressively." Computer and Video Games highlights another comment by Zeschuk, who says they are "obsessed" with review scores, saying: "We're really driven by our commitment to quality in that way."

Stellar Dawn Announced

Jagex Games Studio announces Stellar Dawn, an upcoming free-to-play science fiction MMORPG that should be playable on most PCs and Macs when it is launched next year, as it uses Jagex's proprietary online games platform. The Stellar Dawn Website is live with information, screenshots, and a trailer, and they are also accepting beta signups from those interested in participating in the game's closed test. "Stellar Dawn will be Jagex’s biggest release to date and everyone at the studio is absolutely electric with excitement as we enter the final stages of development," said Mark Gerhard, Jagex CEO. "We are really happy with how well Stellar Dawn has come together. The team has deftly blended art, content and technology to provide the entertaining, long-term game appeal that we have become famous for. As we approach the public launch next year we will be revealing many more details about the game to the community on"

Asylum Announced

This press release looks to "lift the veil of secrecy" surrounding a game from Agustín Cordes, designer of Scratches. This game was previously referred to only as "Unnamable Project," but rather than bury the lede, the announcement skips it entirely, not actually mentioning the project's true title. Instead it points the way to Face The Horror, a teaser website, which reveals the game is called Asylum. The site has a new Asylum teaser trailer, and here's a bit from the announcement: "While details are still scarce, it has transpired that players will be able to explore at leisure a vast and vivid asylum known as the Hanwell Mental Institute, while diving into a disturbing horror storyline unlike anything that has ever been seen before in the adventure genre." The trailer concludes saying Asylum is expected in 2011.

Tim Schafer Blasts Bobby Kotick

The Tim Schafer Interview on Eurogamer chats with the CEO of Double Fine Productions about what they are up to, along with some personal questions about his favorite yada yadas of all time. A couple of game-related topics are how the lawsuits over Brutal Legend occupied some of his valuable time, but in the end didn't impact the game, and his desire to do a Psychonauts sequel, of which he says: "Psychonauts was the first thing I made that I actually owned. That and Brutal Legend. So it's the first thing I could do a sequel to. The trick would be convincing a publisher it's been out there long enough, that it's had enough time to get around. People ask me for it all the time." There's also a sensationalist aspect to the conversation, as they ask him about Activision, and his reply, highlighted in a separate post, goes after Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, and does not mince words: "His obligation is to his shareholders," Schafer said. "Well, he doesn't have to be as much of a dick about it, does he? I think there is a way he can do it without being a total prick. It seems like it would be possible. It's not something he's interested in." He goes on to criticize Kotick's attitude as being that of a "widget-maker," saying "I don't think he's great for the industry, overall," and expressing hopes that he will: "go to an industry that makes more money. Ball bearings… something that suits his passions more. Weapons manufacturing?"

E.Y.E Trailer

The E.Y.E Website now offers a new gameplay trailer and some new screenshots from this upcoming Source-engine first-person shooter/role-playing hybrid. Here's word accompanying the update, with points added for not breaking character: "Our hackers have intercepted several strange files containing some pictures and videos. According to our cyber tracking, these documents emanate from E.Y.E and are dated from July. And still according to our information, they would soon emit some new documents in the cyberspace. We stay vigilant and we follow the specific procedure for this kind of case."

Storm over the Pacific Tutorial Trailers

The Matrix Games Website features links to three new video tutorials for Storm over the Pacific, the World War II strategy game. The tutorials cover moving land units, launching amphibious invasions, and commanding a naval battle, and word is these should assist in succeeding at the just released playable demo for the game.

Op Ed

BitMob - Is Steam for Mac Really a Game-Changer?
Microsoft bought Bungie, and Halo was released as the flagship title for the Xbox in 2001 (a Mac port eventually surfaced in 2003). Feeling shafted, many Mac gamers blamed Bungie’s defection on a lack of support from Apple. The fact that other developers and publishers -- such as LucasArts and Valve --dropped their Mac development efforts around this time did nothing to dissuade them.

Apple has since lagged behind in driver updates and relevant graphics libraries, and, perhaps most tellingly, offered next-to-no advertising or marketing support to games on the Mac.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Today is the second straight rainy day around these parts. This is especially welcome, and not just for the obvious break from the stretch of near 100-degree heat we've been having, but also because we've almost no rain for over a month before this. The effect of this combined with the heat was dramatic, as I was walking on the trail with the pups the other day, and the yellow and brown leaves dropping all over the place made it seem like autumn. As a result, they have also been rationing water here (with restrictions on lawn watering and a prohibition on car washing), and there were concerns in some nearby cities that water reserves were dropping low enough that there was a danger that the shortage could impede fire-fighting, which is pretty scary.

Wet Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Bubble Tanks TD 1.5. Thanks Jay is Games.
Double Fall 2.
Links: Seinfeld's Greatest George Steinbrenner Moments.
19 Facts You May Not Have Known About the Star Wars Universe.
The 9 Stupidest Superhero Secret Identities.
Stories: New obesity drug works, but FDA has safety worries.
Going green on an electric scooter.
Effort underway to remove tons of fat from London’s sewers.
Science: Is Time Disappearing from the Universe? Thanks Neatorama.
'Voice Blind' Man Befuddled By Mysterious Callers. Thanks Neatorama.
NASA: First half of 2010 breaks the thermometer.
Images: Awkward Family Pet Photos. Thanks Neatorama.
Media: Atari 2600: 4:31 of Atari history as well (as) interviews.
Gary Numan performs "Cars" with an orchestra of actual cars. He feels safest of all.
If Movies Were Real.
Follow-up: Stem cell method put to the test in Parkinson's study.
Stem cell therapy 'first' in trial on arthritic knees.
The End of the Beginning for BP.
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