Archived News:

Thursday, Aug 12, 2010

ZeniMax Acquires Arkane Studios

The Bethesda Blog offers the QuakeCon announcement that Bethesda and id Software parent ZeniMax Media has acquired Arkane Studios, saying the Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic developer and BioShock 2 collaborator is currently working on an unannounced project with Bethesda Softworks. "We are very pleased to be able to bring another experienced, high quality developer like Arkane to the ZeniMax group of studios," says Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media. "Raphael and his talented team have earned a reputation for creating immersive, innovative games which enhances our ability to deliver AAA quality games to our many fans."

Men of War: Assault Squad Beta Plans

Men of War: Assault Squad Steam Community Website announces plans to launch open beta testing of Men of War: Assault Squad when the group reaches 10,000 members, a goal they are a mere 9,738 members shy of as of this writing. They also announce that as the closed beta rolls along in the meantime, they will invite five members of the group to join the closed beta of the real-time strategy sequel for every 500 members who join.

id: No Tech 5 Licensing

Eurogamer has word from id Software's Todd Hollenshead that they will not be licensing out the Tech 5 engine being used for RAGE to third parties. At one point the plan was to license the engine, but after id was acquired by Zenimax it was decided that the engine would be reserved for id's and Bethesda's internal development. "It's going to be used within ZeniMax, so we're not going to license it to external parties," Hollenshead told Eurogamer at QuakeCon today. "It's like, look, this is a competitive advantage and we want to keep it within games we publish - not necessarily exclusively to id or id titles, but if you're going to make a game with id Tech 5 then it needs to be published by Bethesda, which I think is a fair thing."

BioShock Infinite Interviews

The BioShock Infinite interview on Computer and Video Games chats with Irrational's Ken Levine about BioShock Infinite, their just-announced shooter sort-of prequel. He discusses the game and its unveiling, and describes how it fits into the BioShock story: "I guess "re-imagining" is a good way to describe it. Anything that was in the previous game has to earn its way into this game. We're open to explode any ideas, change any ideas, re-imagine any ideas. That's why we've been quiet for so long. That's a question we've had to wrestle with for a long time, and it took us a few years to get to the point where we were ready to talk about it. Now the team is super excited about it." There's also an article on where Levine explains why his team didn't create BioShock 2. "The reason we didn't do BioShock 2 is because... The time frame that game had, and the company understandably wanted another game in Rapture... But we felt we had said what we wanted to say about Rapture, about those kind of environments and that kind of feel," he explains. "We want to scare the hell out of people, we want to shock people, but we didn't want to have any of the tools, the crutches, that we knew how to do that with." Finally, there's also A Message from Ken Levine on the Irrational Games Website discussing the announcement: "Some of you were pretty certain it was an X-COM game, which I can now safely say it is not. It is also not part of the Freedom Force, SWAT, X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, Kingdom Hearts or Yar’s Revenge franchises. The time for discussing what Irrational Games is NOT doing is over."

Left 4 Dead 2 Community Campaigns

The Left 4 Dead Blog announces plans to support Left 4 Dead 2 with semi-monthly community campaigns. Word is: "Every two weeks we are going to feature a new community campaign on our servers. We will feature one campaign at a time to make it is easier to find games. We’ll be keeping it featured for two weeks so people can familiarize themselves with the maps for competitive play." They currently have 120 servers around the world running the first featured campaign, which is called 2 Evil Eyes. They offer complete instructions on how to participate.

Free Booster Trooper Weekend

A free weekend for Booster Trooper is now underway on Steam, where they are also offering a 50% off sale on this multiplayer platform shooter where: "You can run or fly around the map, blasting your enemies to bits with bullets, rockets, grenades, magma and other weapons from your arsenal." The free weekend runs until Sunday at 4:00 pm EDT and the sale ends Monday at 1:00 pm EST.

Ships Ahoy - Burn Zombie Burn!

Burn Zombie Burn! is now available on Steam, where they are offering a 10% discount for the game's launch week. Here's the deal on the game: "The goals are simple: keep Bruce alive, as he tries to keep Daisy alive, and get the highest score possible. Standing (well, ambling) in your way is a never ending horde of the rotting, stinking and stupid undead. Fortunately our mild-mannered hero Bruce can get hold of some tasty weaponry. Burn, batter, shoot, maim, blow up, mince, and obliterate as many zombies as possible before they make Bruce their dinner…"

Ships Ahoy - Puzzle Quest 2

Steam now offers sales of Puzzle Quest 2. Word is: "Jump right into the action and customize your character with any one of four classes, each with different skills and abilities. Gain experience and earn treasure as you progress through the adventure, unlocking new spells and harder Match 3 challenges!"

Din's Curse Beta Patch

The Din's Curse Patches Page now offers new beta patches for the PC and Mac editions of Din's Curse, updating Soldak's action/RPG to beta version 1.005. The changes page outlines all that's new and different in the new version, including some graphics improvements, a new character option, and two new world options.

New ZDoom, GZDoom, DOOM Music Tributes

The Doomworld Forums have news on two updated DOOM source modifications releases. They have word on a new version 2.5.0 of ZDoom and a new version 1.5.0 of GZDoom. Word is: "The highlight is the new 'MiniBSP' system which harnesses the internal nodebuilder to allow polyobjects to have any arbitrary shape, instead of being limited to convexity. They can also travel all around the map. But there are also many other important changes, such as non-compressed extended nodes (also supported by PrBoom+ and Eternity Engine), support for using Byte Map Fonts in mods, compatibility options allowing a gameplay much closer to vanilla, and a ton of other enhancement and bug fixes." They also note that Steve Rot's Doom Tribute on MySpace Music offers Phobos Anomaly: Steve Rot's Doom Tribute and Hell On Earth: Steve Rot's Doom 2 Tribute, which offer a combined 34 songs rerecorded from Bobby Prince's much-loved DOOM and DOOM II soundtracks. Thanks Ant.

New Galactic Warfare COD4 Mod

Mod DB announces the release of a new beta version 0.8 of Galactic Warfare, the Star Wars-themed modification for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Word is: "Finally eight months of more modding, mapping, and scripting are basically done since the first release of Star Wars Mod: Galactic Warfare for COD4. Today we are happy to present our version 0.8b which is still beta because of some things which we think are necessary to call the project 'final'." Thanks Ant.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Teaching philosophy with Spider-Man. Thanks Acleacius.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Enemy Territory Source Code

The id Software FTP directory offers a little QuakeCon gift from id Software, as it now hosts the public C source code for Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, Return to Castle Wolfenstein single player, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein multiplayer (all direct links), which are all available under the GNU General Public License. These source releases contain no game data, so a retail copy of Return to Castle Wolfenstein will still be required to access assets from that game, while Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is free, and still available through Splash Damage. In each case the game's EULAs are still in full effect. The files are mirrored on Thanks Frans.

BioShock Infinite Announcement

Here's the official announcement for BioShock Infinite, the just-revealed upcoming installment in the first-person shooter series. The announcement comes with a few screenshots (and that CGI trailer for those having trouble viewing it on Irrational's website), reveals the BioShock Infinite Website is online, and includes word from Irrational's Ken Levine on the game's new technology: "In order to explore the floating city of Columbia, we needed an entirely new engine. To bring Elizabeth to life, we had to build brand-new animation and AI systems. To create wide-ranging indoor and outdoor firefights at 30,000 feet, we had to rethink, rebuild and expand the BioShock arsenal. The only thing gamers can be certain of is this: the rules of the BioShock universe are about to change." The game is actually set in 1912, a century before its planned 2012 release date, and here's word on the role the player assumes in the floating city of Columbia:
The player assumes the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the lost city to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood. He develops a relationship with Elizabeth, augmenting his abilities with hers so the pair may escape from a city that is literally falling from the sky. DeWitt must learn to fight foes in high-speed Sky-Line battles, engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and harness the power of dozens of new weapons and abilities.

BioShock Infinite Revealed now offers the promised CGI trailer from Irrational's upcoming game, revealing the project's name as BioShock Infinite. The steampunk-influenced clip seems to be set around the turn of the 20th century, though we don't remember our history lessons including references to buildings floating in the clouds carried by hot air balloons, but we may have just skipped class that day. The clip runs about 140 seconds, and concludes with logos for Games for Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, and the PlayStation Network. Update: There's a preview from a press event on Shacknews, describing a game set in the late 1800s surrounding Columbia, a city in the clouds that's an aerial Rapture, offering the promise of a better tomorrow and harboring a sinister secret. The telekinetic young woman from the clip is explained as an AI ally named Elizabeth. They say the game is slated for a simultaneous release on all three platforms in 2012.

Dungeons Officially Announced

Following our early word from Germany comes the official English announcement of Dungeons, with Kalypso Media saying to expect the upcoming Dungeon Keeper-style strategy game in the first quarter of next year. Here are some Dungeons screenshots and pieces of concept art and here's a bit on the game:
In Dungeons, our protagonist falls victim to a devious plot hatched by his vile, nasty and thoroughly vicious ex-girlfriend and finds himself at the bottom of the underworld hierarchy and the top of the dungeon pile which in this world is about as bad as it can get. Our Lord must have his revenge, and make his way back down the dungeon levels to his rightful place -- but first he must deal with his new bosses, the three despicable Dungeon Lords who stand in his way.

At his disposal are his dim-witted goblin minions who dig tunnels and build rooms to lay out his lair and trap ever stronger and braver heroes who dare to enter, not forgetting to plot his revenge against his ex-girlfriend and his new bosses who think it’s great fun to bombard him with useless tasks. It goes without saying that a malicious and sneaky creature such as our Dungeon Lord has more than a few tricks up his sleeve. Revenge will be sweet indeed.

CSI: Fatal Conspiracy Announced

Ubisoft announces CSI: Fatal Conspiracy is in development for PCs and consoles at Telltale Games, while following the lead of the multiple installments in the television series by also announcing CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Unsolved! for Nintendo DS. CSI: Fatal Conspiracy is expected this October for Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, and here's word on what it is about: "CSI: Fatal Conspiracy features five new connected cases written by the same writers from the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Players will experience an authentic crime-solving video game with real CSI characters, heart-pounding interrogations and enhanced graphics. A unique story structure that unveils the truth piece by piece brings a new level of suspense and intrigue to the top-selling franchise."

Worms Reloaded Trailer, Preorders

A new Worms Reloaded Trailer shows off more of the upcoming installment in Team17's squirmy strategy series. The clip shows off some gameplay, highlights some classic Worms features making their return, as well as improvements. Also, the game is now available for pre-purchase through Steam, where the advance commitment comes with a 10% discount and exclusive in-game items: x6 Worms Hats and x10 Forts. They also offer sales of four-packs, which carry an even steeper discount.

QuakeCon Steam Sale

Celebrating today's launch of QuakeCon, Valve kicks off a QuakeCon Steam Sale, which will run for four days, offering daily specials. Today's one-day discount is 66% off on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Game of the Year Edition and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Game of the Year Edition Deluxe. They also launch a QuakeCon Pack, which includes every single game in the Steam catalog from both id Software and Bethesda Softworks for about a 75% savings off the cost of purchasing them individually. Thanks nin.

Global Agenda Patched

Steam now has a new automatic patch for Global Agenda, updating the online third-person shooter from Hi-Rez Studios to version 1.36. Word is: "Version 1.36 introduces significant modifications to the Agency-vs-Agency system, as well as a variety of cleanups and improvements to the previously released Sandstorm functionality." The patch notes also mention maintenance today that should have the servers offline for the next few hours. The full change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Dungeon Revealed

German website PC has news that a game called Dungeon is in development at Kalypso for release some time next year. They describe gameplay that sounds similar to that of the Dungeon Keeper series, where the player will populate a dungeon with traps and other deterrents to would-be adventurers. They have a couple of screenshots from a beta version of the game, and say it will be playable at the upcoming Gamescom convention in Cologne, Germany.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 Delay

A delay to Test Drive Unlimited 2 will push the release of the racing sequel into early next year, announces Atari. The game was previously scheduled for release in North America on September 21 of this year, but they say: "The new release date will provide the developers with additional time to fully enhance the connected console multi-player experience for consumers and deliver the ultimate blend of exhilarating open world racing and a luxurious, fast-lane lifestyle." The game's beta testing is undergoing an unspecified scheduling change as a result, and they say they will be rewarding those already signed up with an exclusive in-game item.

Stronghold 3 Details

SouthPeak Interactive announces they will publish Stronghold 3, something they already announced back in May, when they said the game was due in Spring 2011, though they now say it's due in Q1 2011, which means it's either coming earlier than previously planned, or it's expected between March 20 and March 31. They take this opportunity to share some new Stronghold 3 screenshots as well as some new details about the next installment in Firefly Studios' strategy series, describing new state-of-the-art graphics, a new physics engine, the addition of night sieges, and improvements to the game's signature castle-building element, including how village construction is no longer restricted to a grid to allow for more free-flowing designs. The announcement also includes five new screenshots.

John Carmack: No New id IP for Years

John Carmack expresses doubts that id Software will launch any new IPs over the next decade in an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine as reported by Computer and Video Games. "I doubt we're going to do another IP. It's scary to say it, but maybe not in the next decade even, because we want to support Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake - and hopefully we can add Rage onto that - and I don't want five teams here. Three is scary enough," he says. "Obviously if Rage is a success then we'll want to do a Rage 2." Given the lengthy development cycles of modern games, this is not a very surprising admission, and if RAGE is released next year, it will be id's first new IP in 15 years, as QUAKE was released in 1996.

Field of Glory Patched

Matrix Games now offers a new patch for Field of Glory, updating their war gaming system to version 1.3.3. The patch is available on this page, where word is: "The 1.3.3 update includes significant improvements in evasion logic, additional allied army unit images, new maps for the DAG, an auto deployment feature, AI improvements, and plenty of fixes. Particularly important fixes include the resolution of several multiplayer issues from 1.2.8 including some crashes and freezes."

World of Tanks Trailer

A new "tank destroyers" trailer and some new screenshots from World of Tanks shows off another class of vehicles from the armored combat MMOG. Word is: "The trailer showcases the whole new class of combat vehicles available in the game – tank destroyers - pointing out both their strengths and weaknesses. The video touches upon tactics and strategies the players driving these monstrous tank-crackers can use to contribute to their side's win." also urges interested parties to apply for the game's closed beta test. Here's the embedded version of the clip. Continue here to read the full story.

Soul Master Open Beta Today

Soul Master enters open beta testing today, offering the chance to check out this free-to-play MMORTS game. In conjunction with the launch of the beta, they are running a countdown signature event and a few other competitions, offering in-game credits as prizes. The test should open at 2:00 pm EDT, and this page has client download and patching instructions.

MicroVolts Closed Beta Today

Closed beta testing of MicroVolts gets underway today, so if you applied to test this toy-themed online third-person shooter, you should check your mail for an invite. If you didn't sign up as a tester, they are still accepting registrations.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

A couple of follows-ups: That dry-erase resignation was faked, as the site posting it was just punking everybody (which is turning into a grand tradition). Likewise it turns out Isiah Thomas will not rejoin the Knicks, as it seems the team was punking us too. Actually that makes sense to me now; After failing to sign LeBron James, the team figured the best way to cheer up Knicks fans would be to not rehire Isiah, and they were probably right. Of course, rooting for my favorite teams has been an ongoing trip to crazy land for a while now, so maybe I'll start getting used to it.

Faked Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: League of Evil.
Twin Cat Warrior.
Links: Happy Birthday Sam-I-Am! 50 Years of Green Eggs and Ham.
Pencil Tip Micro Sculptures By Dalton Ghetti. Thanks MrKawfy.
An invective against birthday dinners. Thanks Digg.
Stories: Topless sunbather quizzed for 'troubling' boys. Thanks Mike.
Science: New brain scan to diagnose autism.
Scientists on the brink of developing cancer-detecting breath test.
New superbugs spreading from South Asia: study.
Images: Space Invaders. Thanks Digg.
The Real Street Fighters. Thanks Digg.
A Collection of Cool Stylized Movie Posters.
Media: Remix: First Slice.
Predator's Teenaged Son.
200 children versus a professional soccer team.
Follow-up: Swine flu pandemic over, says world health body. It started?
Following protons on a trip to (and through) the LHC.
The chance of bankruptcy at MGM grows. Thanks Digg.
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