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Tuesday, Sep 07, 2010


Dragon Age Witch Hunt DLC Released

The Dragon Age: Origins Website has the release of the new Witch Hunt DLC for Dragon Age: Origins, BioWare's fantasy-themed RPG. The price for the PC edition is 560 BioWare points, which is $7.00 cash money (USD). Here's word on what that'll get you: "The dreaded Archdemon has been slain and the advance of the darkspawn halted by a lone, heroic Grey Warden. The kingdom rejoices, but at least one question remains: what happened to Morrigan? The sorceress joined the Wardens cause, but it is said her true purpose was not revealed until the eve of the last battle. She vanished into the shadows, and while rumors claimed she crossed over the mountains into Orlais no trace of her path could be found. She was never heard from again... until now. Nearly a year has passed since the Archdemon's death, and word has reached the Wardens that Morrigan has returned to Ferelden. She has been sighted in the southern wilderness where she was first encountered. Is it truly her? If it is, then why is she here and what secret does she carry with her? The Warden heads into the forest to find out and tie up this last loose end once and for all."

Aion Assault on Balaurea Expansion Released

NCsoft announces the release of Assault on Balaurea, a new free expansion for Aion, their fantasy-themed MMORPG, saying: "To celebrate Aion: Assault on Balaurea’s release, NCsoft is offering exclusive pets for a limited-time through select retailers." Here's word on the add-on: "Assault on Balaurea introduces the game’s passionate fans to the next exciting chapter of Aion in which characters align together to launch a massive counter assault against the invading Balaur in their homeland. Along with the ability to explore new and updated zones and instances, the expansion provides players with an increased level cap, new weapons, items and skills as well as enhanced flight mechanics. Because exploring is never fun alone, Aion introduces completely unique, functional pets equipped with in-game benefits to keep characters company along the way."

FireFall Revealed

The FireFall Website is online, as home to an upcoming free-to-play team-based action shooter from Red 5 Studios, the startup formed by former World of Warcraft team lead Mark Kern. They are accepting beta applications, and according to Eurogamer, the game is expected before the end of this year. The site has screenshots and a teaser trailer, and has this to say: "Earth will never be the same. After the Crystite Wars, humanity inadvertently invited the worst enemy ever conceived: THE MELDING. It surrounds us. It forces us to live in pockets of land protected only by the accidental discovery of repulsor technology. We continue to fight for land. For technology. For power. For our very survival. JOIN THE FIGHT. FIREFALL is a team-based action shooter. Join your friends in an epic online campaign across a vast open world to stop the Melding and fight for the survival of humanity against the army of the Chosen. Advance your army and character through technological upgrades. Level up different character classes. Compete for supremacy in various multiplayer game types. Push back the Melding. SAVE EARTH."

The Witness (Subtly) Revealed

As noted on Gamasutra, Braid creator Jonathan Blow quietly unveiled The Witness, his next project, at this year's Penny Arcade Expo. There's more on this on The Witness Website where Jonathan explains his low-key approach, and expresses happiness at being able to bring it directly to gamers. There are also impressions of this on Kotaku, where they have a ShakyCam trailer showing gameplay.

PC Championship Manager "On Hold"

The PC edition of Championship Manager is "on hold" reports Eurogamer, where they say Beautiful Game Studios is concerned about the decline in retail boxed sales, quoting studio boss Roy Meredith saying he "really, really couldn't say" when the PC edition would return. "We were fixated on one format; a format that was in decline in boxed copies. It didn't allow us any flexibility or agility: we weren't able to look in other directions because we had this behemoth of a PC game," he explains. "With the market shrinking it was quite a risky or dangerous situation to be in. So we took the decision to put the PC game on hold and build up our business in other areas."

PC Mass Effect DLC Pulled

A thread on the BioWare Social Network describes problems with the recently released Lair of the Shadowbroker DLC for Mass Effect 2, which is no longer available for purchase while they work on fixing it. Here's the word:

People using Xbox Live for the Xbox 360 can download and play Lair of the Shadowbroker. If you are an Xbox 360 user, please go ahead and enjoy the new DLC.

PC users currently are experiencing a technical issue with the downloaded file that prevents ALL PC users from playing the DLC. We are aware of this issue and have taken the following steps:

        • We have removed the incorrect file from the download section so no further incorrect downloads will occur

        • We are working on a fix for the issue and will get a working file up for PC users ASAP

More detail
If you downloaded the incomplete file (it is essentially 1.5 Gig of zeroes) this will not harm your system
You will NOT be charged again once the correct file is ready for download
We do not have a more accurate eta for the correct PC DLC, but when we do I will let you know.

As soon as we have more information I will post it here. We are sorry that this occured and we appreciate your patience as we work to get the fix to you.

Theatre of War 2: Korea Becomes Theatre of War 3: Korea

A new Theatre of War 3: Korea Product Section is live, revealing that the number has been iterated for this game that was originally announced as Theatre of War 2: Korea. The section now offers a bunch of new screenshots from the Korean War strategy sequel. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Talent Announced

Treyarch announces some of the Hollywood luminaries lending their talents to Call of Duty: Black Ops. Word is: "Activision Publishing, Inc. and leading game developer Treyarch, announced today that award-winning actors Gary Oldman and Ed Harris have joined the cast of Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops, with David S. Goyer having come on board to provide script consultation and story development support. Oldman, known for his work in The Professional, Dracula, Batman: The Dark Knight and most recently, The Book of Eli, will reprise his role as Viktor Reznov from Call of Duty: World at War; and Harris, best known for his roles in films like The Abyss, A History of Violence, Pollock, Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff, will play one of the game’s main characters, CIA operative Jason Hudson. Filmmaker David S. Goyer’s writing credits include the blockbusters Batman: Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Blade and the upcoming Superman: Man of Steel."

South Korean Steam Ban Possible reports on the possibility that Steam will be banned in South Korea. They explain this is due to the service and some of the games it carries supporting the Korean language, but neither have been officially rated or approved there. They say the cost of rating all these games would be great, but that: "An insider from the department suggests, 'complete block is on the table, but are seeking alternate options.' It could be that Steam will continue to operate in the country, but with a significantly reduced library." Thanks Mike Martinez.

King's Bounty: Crossworlds Trailer

The King's Bounty: Crossworlds Product Page offers new screenshots and a new gameplay trailer from this upcoming expansion for King's Bounty: Armored Princess. The expansion is expected for release on September 17, and here's word on what it will offer: "The new release in the series will include the “Orcs on the March” expansion, the two new independent campaigns “Champion of the Arena” and “Defender of the Crown” and a convenient editor with help system. This editor will allow you to create additional content for the game and alter it in any way you wish. King’s Bounty: Crossworlds requires King`s Bounty: Armored Princess installed on your PC!" Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Evening Screenshots

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

We mentioned the death of Relic designer Brian Wood in passing yesterday, but details in the story we saw were scant. This article has more on the story, saying that Wood's last act was to swerve his car to the right to bear the brunt of an oncoming car, sparing his wife and unborn child from a head-on collision that likely would have killed them all. It's a moving story, and a heartbreaking one as well, especially since it seems drug use by the other driver likely played a role in the accident.

Ships Ahoy - Jimmy's Vendetta for Mafia II

The Jimmy's Vendetta DLC for Mafia II is now available on Steam, offering new content for 2K Czech's open-world life-of-crime sequel. Here's word on the new DLC: "Jimmy's Vendetta will take players into an alternate perspective of the mob through the eyes of Jimmy, a mercenary. Jimmy is the guy the other guys call when they need to finish the job. Jimmy's Vendetta features dozens of intense newly created arcade-style, city-based missions that keep Jimmy driving, shooting and rampaging through Empire Bay. Missions will unlock as they progress, activating a slew of assassination and timed vehicle missions ending in dramatic shootouts and explosive car chases. Players will rack up points for performance, power slides, and skill shots. The scores will be immediately posted to the new leaderboard system, providing extensive re-playability, as players work to rise to the top of the ranks. Get to know Empire Bay – the executioner’s way."

Ships Ahoy - R.U.S.E.

Ubisoft announces that Eugen Systems' real-time strategy game for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 R.U.S.E. is now available in North America. Offering support for multi-touch screens and PlayStation Move (and devoid of Ubisoft's always-on DRM), R.U.S.E. features gameplay that emphasizes deception, as described here: "Using military strategy and wartime tactics such as camouflaging troops, luring opponents with decoy units, sabotaging enemy plans and more, players must use their brainpower as the ultimate weapon in order to lead their armies to victory. Featuring fast-paced, addictive cooperative and adversarial skirmishes, players can test their strategic skills with up to eight players at a time." For a look at the game, here's the R.U.S.E. Launch Trailer, and if you're interested in trying it firsthand, you can try the recently released playable demo. Here's the embedded version of the launch trailer. Continue here to read the full story.

Chris Taylor on PCs

Chris Taylor offers an optimistic outlook on the future of the PC to, where the Gas Powered Games CEO cites the rise of web-based games and the increasing influence of Steam as reasons for his rosy outlook. "It's a matter of time before you're playing a game of the quality of a triple-A game that we know and love, like a Supreme Commander 2 or a StarCraft II, in a browser experience," Taylor says of web-gaming. "There's no reason that won't happen within five to eight years." He also says that he foresees sales of the PC edition of Dungeon Siege III through Steam will be competitive with the console editions: "That creates an incredible intensity in the PC business that had been lost. So I would say put down even money that we'll see the PC version competing against the console version when it comes out next year."

David Allen Speaks

The Real History of Quest Online on David Allen's Website has the former managing member of Quest Online's response to critical posts by new QOL President Derek Smart and the subsequent lawsuit filed against him by his former company over development of their MMOG Alganon. This public spat was already ugly, and this does nothing to change that, as in the lengthy post Allen says this situation has cost him his home, makes numerous accusations of legal wrongdoing, and takes on Derek Smart head on, giving a history of Smart's public conflicts and attempting some armchair analysis along the way. He does conclude on an up-note: "It was a privilege to found, build and run QOL, create, develop and launch Alganon, and to work with the outstanding team that was formed. As I work through what has unfortunately become a nightmare, I’ll remember what so many of our team members shared with me: QOL was the best job I ever had." Thanks Carsten.

BRINK Video Diary

"Minds on the Brink" is the title of the fifth BRINK video developer diary, which is now available on the Bethesda Blog to conclude this series on Splash Damage's upcoming first-person shooter. Word is: "The fifth and final Brink video documentary is now available to check out above. Focusing on the crazy ideas generated by Brink’s developers, the doc highlights the impressively balanced arsenal of weapons that you’ll have access to in the game."

TRON: Evolution Trailer

A new TRON: Evolution Trailer looks at development of TRON: Evolution: The Video Game, how it ties in with the upcoming TRON movie TRON: Legacy.The clip features commentary from some of the developers of the game and one of the stars of the movie, the delightful Olivia Wilde, who describes how some scenes in the movie were created with the game in mind.

DirectDraw Hack

A new DirectDraw Hack offers a homebrew DLL wrapper to allow older games that use DirectDraw to be played on Windows 7, which does not include DD support. The wrapper was created to get the Wing Commander series working, though it might work on other games as well, and the source code is included for those looking to expand further on this project. Thanks nin via Slashdot.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I noticed something seemingly floating in the dining room, and on closer examination found this monster had set up shop. Knowing my affection for arachnids, MrsBlue warned that it needed to be relocated by me soon, or she would end up relocating it to the inside of the vacuum cleaner. Of course I wanted to get that picture first, but by the time I put the camera back in its place, the spider was nowhere to be found. I took down the web, hoping that would discourage her from using the middle of the room for her trap, and later found the web reconstructed, but again, with no sign of its builder. I took that one down as well, and have not seen a sign of the web or the spider since. I just hope the next time I see her is not because she's eating one of us or one of the doggies.

A Web of Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Ragdoll Spree.
Links: The Best Back-To-School Comedies Of All Time.
Stories: Airline CEO: Nix co-pilot, save money. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: Russia in color, a century ago. Thanks The Flying Penguin.
Media: Real Life Rocket Jump.
Cheating Death - Near Misses With Trains.

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