Archived News:

Monday, Aug 23, 2010

New Mass Effect 2 DLC Next Month

The Mass Effect 2 Website announces plans for new DLC for BioWare's RPG sequel called Lair of the Shadowbroker, to be released on September 7 for PC and Xbox 360 for the price of 800 BioWare or Microsoft points. Word is: "Liara T'Soni is tracking down the mysterious Shadow Broker, and no one is safe. She'll do anything to recover the man the Broker kidnapped... and the Shadow Broker's agents will do anything to stop her. Team up with Liara and chase clues from the luxurious heights of Illium to the Shadow Broker's own secret lair. Adds the Shadow Broker intel center, new research, and five new achievements – and the chance to continue a relationship with Liara."

Final Fantasy XIV Open Beta Next Month

A FINAL FANTASY XIV tweet indicates that open beta testing of the second MMO installment in the FINAL FANTASY RPG series will begin next month: "The FINAL FANTASY XIV Beta Test Phase 3 will end on August 25, then move to the Open Beta Test in early September. Get ready!" Thanks Computer and Video Games.

New Alien Swarm AI Director

An update to Alien Swarm adds a new AI Director and increases the difficulty of the freeware shooter, announces Steam News. Word is:
With that in mind, we've added "Onslaught" mode, which introduces an AI Director that dynamically generates swarms of aliens based on several factors, such as the squad's stress level. Onslaught works with any difficulty setting and ensures no mission plays the same way twice.

Speaking of difficulty, we've also added a "Brutal" difficulty level for those of you who told us "Insane" wasn't insane enough. How brutal is Brutal? Nobody on the Alien Swarm team has managed to complete a mission on it.

Counter-Strike: Source Beta Patched

Steam News announces the availability of a new automatic patch for the Counter-Strike: Source Beta with a boatload of fixes for the teamplay shooter. Here's the change list. Continue here to read the full story.

Neverwinter Interview

The Neverwinter Interview on GameSpot talks with Jack Emmert of Cryptic Studios about Neverwinter, their just-announced upcoming Dungeons & Dragons RPG. He explains the game's emphasis on online cooperative multiplayer makes it an OMG (online multiplayer game), rather than an MMORPG, how it will use the 4th edition D&D toolset, how the five included professions will be Fighter; Wizard; Rogue; Ranger; and Cleric, character customization, instancing, player-created content, the game's story, and more.

Alice: Madness Returns Interview

There's an Alice: Madness Returns interview on Gamasutra where they talk with American McGee and RJ Berg of Spicy Horse Games about their upcoming sequel to American McGee's Alice. Topics include how the project originated, RJ's and American's collaboration, the complications of Lewis Carroll's works being in the public domain, tech improvements, play testing, the challenges of collaborating with a publisher on the other side of the world, and more.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Fan replica of Fallout Plasma Rifle. Thanks Ant.

BF2 and BF2142 Downtime This Week

The Battlefield Blog announces some scheduled downtime for Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 this week, though this is due to a server move, rather than new patches for either of these DICE military shooters. Word is: "This is a quick and friendly notice about GameSpy's future datacenter move. They're on track for a move date of Wednesday, August 25 starting at 10:00 p.m. (22:00) Pacific Daylight Time. This will affect BF2 and BF2142 and they will be offline for approximately 6 hours starting at that time. This is not a patch for either Battlefield 2 or Battlefield 2142. All played stats and accounts will remain unchanged during this transfer."

R.U.S.E. Demo Wednesday

Ubisoft will release a playable demo for R.U.S.E. on Wednesday, reports Big Download after noticing online advertisements to that effect. The World War II real-time strategy game has already had an open beta and a free weekend on Steam, but there is no word on what the new playable demo will include, though presumably one thing it will not include is Ubisoft's intrusive DRM, which they recently announced would not be included in R.U.S.E.

Valve Not Working on Linux Steam

Valve On Steam Part Two on is a recent interview about Steam conducted with Valve's Doug Lombardi. Though a recent job posting for Linux engineers spurred speculation that a Linux version of the Steam client is in the works, Doug indicates that at the moment this is not something they are developing, saying: "There's no Linux version that we're working on right now." There's also an interesting follow-up on NPD's digital distribution data, which has already been called into question by Impulse and GamersGate. "Yeah, we're unsure as to how they came up with those numbers, so commenting on them would feel strange. ...," Doug comments. "It does point to what we've been trying to say forever which is that the PC is not dying, the business is just moving elsewhere. And to their credit, they're starting to make strides to give everyone that information and paint a more complete picture. But again those reports that came out weren't based on any data that we've provided, so it is what is. ..." Thanks Ant via Linux Today.

Neverwinter Announced

Atari announces Neverwinter, a new co-op role-playing game set in the city of the Dungeons & Dragons city of Neverwinter planned for release next year. This follows indications from a couple of weeks ago we referred to as cryptic, which turns out to be coincidentally prescient, as the game is being developed by Cryptic Studios, to be directly based on a new upcoming book trilogy by R.A. Salvatore, who is also creating the story for 38 Studios' upcoming Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. The Neverwinter Website is live with hints about character classes and newsletter signups, and here's a bit from the announcement:
Once a bustling location, Neverwinter has faced a great many disasters in the past hundred years. Rule of the city remains unclear following the unfortunate demise of the last Lord of Neverwinter and factions still battle for dominance after the all-consuming Spellplague took a high toll on the population. Even Neverwinter’s dead are beginning to rise from their graves and march upon the city they once called home.

“We're beyond thrilled to develop a brand new version of Neverwinter. It's been years since the original became a gaming icon and we’re honored to work with such a great franchise," said Jack Emmert, COO of Cryptic Studios. "We've been working closely with Wizards of the Coast and R.A. Salvatore to create an authentic D&D adventure filled with compelling fiction and exciting gameplay."

In Neverwinter, players choose to become one of five classic D&D classes and team up with friends or computer-controlled allies to form five-person co-op groups. Players also create their own storylines and quests utilizing an extremely user-friendly content generation system, tentatively codenamed Forge.

On Medal of Honor's Taliban Controversy

MCV has a story saying a "major news broadcaster" has spiked a story about the upcoming Medal of Honor game after learning that it was based on inaccurate information, as while players will be able to play as Taliban forces, there are no British forces in the game to shoot when playing from that side as one MP claimed. They proceed to point out other inaccurate reports about the military shooter sequel that are floating around, and also report the UK Department for Culture Media and Sport "has declined to endorse fresh calls to ban Medal Of Honor at retail." They also quote a prominent UK retailer saying they still intend to sell the game, though they would honor an official ban if one came down. Finally, Develop quotes EA Games president Frank Gibeau calling the game a "creative risk," and saying it would not be altered based on the outcry of politicians and media groups.

Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge Patch

Matrix Games announces the release of a new patch for Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge to update this operational-level World War II wargame to version 4.1.235. The patch is available on this page, and here's word on what the patch is for: "This major update includes fixes for a number of crashes and freezes that affected some players in addition to resolving some AI issues. Also coming in this update are a few tweaks to the scenarios and assorted other bug fixes."

A Tale of Two Cities and Free Les Miserables Game

The Enter The Story Website now offers Les Miserables: The Game of the Book as freeware. If we were making a game adaptation of the classic novel it would be a stealth/action game where you go around breaking necks and stealing loaves of bread, but this game is designed to allow you to experience and even change Victor Hugo's story, as word is: "This is the first time the story of Les Misérables has ever been made into a game: The first time that readers can enter the world of Les Misérables and just explore in any direction they want." They also now offer another game adaptation of a classic novel, with the release of A Tale of Two Cities (which is not free). If we were adapting the Dickens Classic it would be an epic battle between Kirk and Khan that would give Kirk the opportunity to use the "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done" quote to good effect, but apparently there is not a single starship in the game, which uses the novel's French Revolution setting. Here's a teaser trailer from their book adaptations.

MW2 UK Sales Record

MCV has word that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is now the best-selling game in UK history, after 41 weeks at retail. The previous record-holder was Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, which dethroned Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. They also have the latest UK multiformat sales charts, where Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days took over the top spot in its first week. They attribute this to a big marketing push, and say the original Kane & Lynch topped out on the charts at #14.

Black Prophecy Info and Trailers

There's a Black Prophecy preview on MMO Reviews based on checking out the upcoming space combat game at Gamescom. They picked up some information on the game from Dennis Hartmann, PR manager of Gamigo, and they offer several high-resolution clips from the game, showing character creation, ship combat, and a look at modules, crafting, and skills with a level 30 character.

Mafia II Roundtable Interview

With Mafia II due in North American stores tomorrow, there's a Mafia II roundtable interview on Gaming Nexus where Director of Creative Production at 2K Games Jack Scalici answers questions from several journalists. They discuss the lengthy gap since the release of the original Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven eight years ago, what they have improved, challenges the game's Czech developers faced in creating authentic 50s Americana, development obstacles, the possibilities of seeing more current time periods depicted in future games, environments, capturing the period, historical accuracy, and more.

Civilization V Interview

The Civilization V Interview on Strategy Informer chats with Jon Shafer, lead designer on Jon Shafer's Sid Meier's Civilization V, Firaxis' upcoming turn-based strategy sequel. Topics include how they're gearing up for the game's release next month, keeping the game fresh for its fifth go-around, the timing of releasing the game editor, modding, combat changes, plans for post-release support, and more.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

  • Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris on Blue's News.

Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

  • Acer Aspire AZ5700-U2112 23-inch All-in-One Desktop Computer on TweakTown.
  • ADATA Nobility Series S805 USB Flash Drive on MADSHRIMPS.
  • ASUS EAH5830 HD 5830 DirectCU Voltage Tweak Graphics Card on Tweaknews.
  • Asus' Bamboo-infused U33Jc 13-inch Notebook on The Tech Report.
  • AXIS M3204 IP Camera on TechwareLabs.
  • brite-View CinemaGo HD Media Player on Test Freaks.
  • Cooler Master CM Storm Inferno Gaming Mouse on
  • HP PhotoSmart e-All-in-One D110a Printer on
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Graphics Card on Linux on [Phoronix].
  • OCZ RevoDrive 120GB PCI Express SSD on Techgage.
  • Patriot Gauntlet PCGT25S USB3 Drive Enclosure on Benchmark Reviews.
  • POV GeForce GTX 460 768MB TGT Ultra Charged Graphics Card on Guru3D.
  • PowerColor PCS++ HD5770 Graphics Card on XtremeComputing.
  • Razer Imperator Gaming Mouse on PureOC.
  • Samsung Wave Cell Phone on t-break.
  • Sharkoon Nightfall Mid Tower Case on TweakTown.
  • Zalman ZM-NC2500Plus Notebook Cooler on Futurelooks.


  • Gamer Party is a new UK-based casual game developer formed by veterans of Atari, EA, and Vodafone…

Out of the Blue

MrsBlue noticed some water had entered one of the bins where I have charcoal for the grill as well as some bagged ashes and other barbeque detritus. Since some of it was damp, she laid it out to dry on the lawn on Saturday. As luck would have it, we had what seemed like a monsoon all day yesterday, so all the paper involved has gone from being slightly damp to being so drenched that it will never dry, while the charcoal briquettes actually dissolved. Oops.

R.I.P.: RIP, Jack Horkheimer, -Star Gazer- and TV astronomer. Thanks Ant.

Melted Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Puzzle Brawler.
Links: 3 IMDb Pages That Only Exist In Your Worst Nightmares.
Most Quoted Lines by Movie Geeks. Thanks Digg.
Images: Show Off!
Digital camouflage. Thanks Digg.
An Epic Meeting.
Media: Wow! I had no idea Garry’s Mod could do this.
Experiment using the Starwars Force Trainer men v. women.
Why you should keep your Facebook settings private. NSFW.
Follow-up: xkcd: I Don't Want Directions.
Nerd Party. Thanks Digg.
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