Archived News:

Thursday, Sep 30, 2010

Mythic Entertainment MMOG Reenlistment

Mythic Entertainment is now offering a reenlistment program for lapsed players of Ultima Online, Warhammer Online, and Dark Age of Camelot to rejoin the MMORPGs for a two-week period. Word is: "Let the online pandemonium begin! BioWare Mythic has summoned all former Ultima Online™ (UO), Warhammer® Online: Age of Reckoning® (WAR) and Dark Age of Camelot™ players to join the Return of the Legends Re-Enlistment Celebration, beginning today, September 30. Returning legends will receive a hero’s welcome with free game time, bonuses, and events for the former players returning to the lands of Britannia, The Old World and Camelot."

Bohemia Interactive Acquisitions

Bohemia Interactive announces the acquisition of three new Eastern European developers: Altar Games, Black Element Software, and Centauri Production. Word is:
Bohemia Interactive, an award winning independent development studio and creators of the genre defining military simulator games Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis and Arma 2, are proud to announce completion of full acquisition of development teams Altar Games (located in Brno, Czech republic), Black Element Software and Centauri Production (both located in Prague). All four original development studios will continue operating both individually and cooperatively on various projects, as parts of Bohemia Interactive.

Real ID Opt Outs

Battle.net has word on new Battle.net privacy settings to allow opting out of the controversial Real ID program. Here's word:
We'd like to make you aware of the new Real ID-related privacy options we've introduced to Battle.net. These options provide Real ID users with additional tools for customizing the service based on their preferences, enabling the ability to opt in or out of the Real ID "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" features or to turn off Real ID altogether.

To access these settings, log in to your Battle.net account at http://www.battle.net/account. From there, click on the "Settings" tab located at the center of the Account Management menu and select "Communication Preferences" from the dropdown list. The new settings can be found in the "Privacy" section of the Communication Preferences page.

Left 4 Dead/L4D2 The Sacrifice Trailer

A new trailer from The Sacrifice shows off Valve's upcoming DLC for Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 that serves as a prequel to The Passing DLC. Valve also once again outlines how this will work as different DLC packs for each game, which will be free to PC owners:
Due for release on October 5, 2010, "The Sacrifice" is the prequel to "The Passing," and takes place from the L4D Survivors' perspective as they make their way South. In addition to advancing the story, "The Sacrifice" introduces a new style finale featuring "Sacrificial Gameplay" where players get to decide who will give their life so the others may live.

The Sacrifice DLC for L4D1 is a separate download than The Sacrifice for L4D2.

In The Sacrifice for Left 4 Dead 1 gamers receive the complete Sacrifice campaign with maps playable in Campaign, Versus, and Survival.

In The Sacrifice for Left 4 Dead 2 owners receive "The Sacrifice" campaign playable with the Left 4 Dead Survivors. In addition, those with Left 4 Dead 2 receive L4D's "No Mercy" campaign. Both campaigns are playable in Campaign, Versus, Survival, and Scavenge modes and both will feature the Left 4 Dead 2 Special Infected, items, and weapons.

"The Sacrifice" will be available for download on Xbox Live for 560 Microsoft Points and free to all PC gamers.

Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition

The Dragon Age Website announces plans for a new Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition, which will bundle Dragon Age: Origins with the Awakening along with all the DLC for the role-playing game. Here's a trailer from the bundle, which is expected on October 26, and here's the embedded clip. Continue here to read the full story.

Fallout: New Vegas Video Diary

The Bethesda Blog offers a third Fallout: New Vegas video developer diary highlighting development of the upcoming RPG sequel. Word is: "In this week’s episode, the team at Obsidian discuss the game’s art direction — sharing details on how they captured the essence of the Mojave desert and the classic, Rat Pack-era of Las Vegas."

On Sale

Today is the last day to receive a $5.00 discount from Direct2Drive on all purchases over $15.00 by using the code "PAX" at checkout.

Evening Metaverse

FINAL FANTASY XIV Launches

Square Enix announces that FINAL FANTASY XIV is now live on North America, offering the new MMO installment in the long-running FINAL FANTASY role-playing series. A 30-day subscription is included with the game, after which time it is $12.99/30 days.

TF2 In-Game Store and Steam Wallet Launch

Steam News announces that the Steam Wallet is now live, along with in-game transactions, as a new Team Fortress 2 Mann Co. Store is now in business to allow the purchase of in-game items from within the teamplay shooter sequel. They say this is the first of many upcoming Steamworks in-game stores where Steam Wallet funds can be spent, and a new TF2 Mannconomy FAQ explains the new in-game economics. Speaking of economics, Team Fortress 2 is now on sale for 50% off. This also entails a new Team Fortress 2 automatic patch with the following changes. Continue here to read the full story.

F.E.A.R. 3 Trailer

A new F.E.A.R. 3 "Almaverse" trailer offers a frightening glimpse into Alma Wade's mind in the upcoming horror-themed shooter sequel. Word is: "The new trailer from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment gives players a frighteningly close look at the Almaverse, the landscape of Alma’s nightmarish psyche. This Almaverse, inhabited by Alma’s demented visions, was under her control in both F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin. Players only gained small glimpses into the Almaverse as she allowed it – until now. As the pregnant Alma grows closer to giving birth in F.E.A.R. 3, she begins to lose control of the Almaverse and unimaginable evil bleeds into players’ reality, with terrifying results." The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Gold - Lionheart: Kings' Crusade

Paradox Interactive announces that development of Lionheart: Kings' Crusade is complete, and Neocore Games' now-gold strategy game is slated for release on October 8. A new faction trailer is now available to celebrate the news, and here's a bit on the game: "Assemble your armies and prepare for an invasion. Developer Neocore Games today announced the development of the real-time strategy game, Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade, has completed. Lionheart: Kings’ Crusade is created by the developers of King Arthur: The Role-PlayingWargame and Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come."

Cultures Online NA Launch

Cultures Online is now live in North America, announces gamigo, offering a free-to-play browser-based continuation of the Cultures series of Settlers-style strategy/building games. This trailer show off the game and its Viking theme, and here's word on the game: "In Cultures Online, players can form tribes to settle an island together. They can loot resources from each other by winning PvP combat and fight for the top spot in the rankings. Funatics, the developers behind the Cultures series, created the latest version entirely in Flash. Smooth zooming allows players to see even the tiniest of details in their Viking world."

1C Company on Game Profitability

The 1C Games Interview on Gamesindustry.biz (registration required) talks with Nikolay Baryshnikov of 1C Company about the changing face of the games industry and the attitude of the Russian government towards gaming. Perhaps most interesting is an answer they highlight separately (registration required) where he talks about how their company will continue pursuing niches, saying "it's almost impossible to make money even on a good game." He goes on to explain: "Because marketing budgets are tens of millions dollars, consumers are expecting that they're going to pay $40 or $60 and get amazing things. Hundred hours of gameplay, tens of thousands of hours of DVD footage, super multiplayer, this and this and this. If we did this it would be, I don't know, $200 million... If we produce something of great quality but it lacks this component or that component, then press says, 'oh, 85. I played the game, it's kind of nice, but it has no video or any of this shit'. And consumer says 'it doesn't have multiplayer, I'm not going to buy it.' So it's catch 22." He explains their philosophy: "Try to find a niche like we did with IL2 or Rig'n'Roll or Men Of War, and try to number 1, 2 or 3 – the top three in the niche. Not compete with hundred million dollar development, with Call of Duty 7 – but make the best game and target it at much smaller groups of fans."

Manual Borderlands Patch

Gearbox Software now offers manual downloads of the new version 1.40 patch for Borderlands, their role-playing shooter. The new version accommodates the game's fourth DLC and addresses a bug where certain items would be destroyed when loading a map other than the location where they were originally found. There are two patches, one for Germany and one for all other territories. One or both downloads are mirrored on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, The Patches Scrolls, and WorthPlaying.

LIVE Activity

The list of LIVE Activity for week of Sept 20th from Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson includes an updated list of top 20 Games for Windows LIVE titles (based on UUs). The list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Game Reviews

Scared to open the package: adventures in game writer bribery. Thanks Ant via Slashdot.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

We're getting quite the rainstorm today around here. I guess this is more welcome than I would have expected, as we just recently got a phone message from our village saying they were lifting the restrictions on car washing and lawn watering they imposed in July due to drought conditions. The thing is, I figured they had been lifted long ago already, so it's a lucky thing I'm too lazy to wash my car or water the lawn.

R.I.P.: Hollywood legend Tony Curtis dies at 85.

Wet Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Sift Heads World Act 6.
Notebook Wars.
Fantastic Contraption 2.
Links: Interesting Stuff from Old Gadgets.
Pinball Coffee Table.
Stories: Snooki Signs Book Deal to Write Novel.
Months After Winning $1M In Lottery, Man Wins $2M. Thanks Roger.
Christopher Nolan Confirms Batman 3. Thanks nin.
Science: Solar Or Wind Power- Why Not Both?
Astronomers discover planet that could support life.
Stonehenge Skeleton Proves Site's Prehistoric Importance.
Images: Real Life Pac-Man Discovered.
I'd Like to Tap Her Mana Pool.
Amazon Recommendation FAIL.
Media: Summer of Music: Too Many Pools.
Man And Crocodile Play And Swim Together Like Best Friends.
Pool fail.
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