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Monday, Mar 28, 2011


Choplifter HD Announced

inXile Entertainment announces Choplifter HD, a revival of the helicopter rescue franchise planned for release this fall. The news is accompanied by this trailer and these screenshots, and there's a timely interview on Big Download discussing the project with Brian Fargo, learning how they secured the rights and their goals for the project. Brian also indicates they expect to release a playable demo. Here's a portion of the announcement:

In Choplifter HD, players take on the role of an up and coming rescue pilot asked to join the elite, international helicopter rescue team C.H.O.P.R. (Coordinated Helicopter Operations, Preservation and Rescue). Pilots will be trained to command a variety of helicopters deployed on more than 20 different missions ranging from captured military prisoner extraction to saving survivors of viral outbreaks. Pilots must bank, hover and touch-down in perilous conditions in order to make their rescue and complete their mission. Developed and published by inXile Entertainment, Choplifter HD dares players to risk their lives in order to save others.

Mass Effect 2: Arrival Trailer

This trailer shows off the Arrival DLC for Mass Effect 2, which is due for arrival tomorrow. Will Commander Shepard be able to protect Earth from the Reapers? Will Captain Reynolds be able to protect Earth from the Reavers? And what about Naomi? Stay tuned…

Crysis 2 DirectX 11 Patch Debunked

Our skepticism of the report from earlier that a Crysis 2 DirectX 11 patch is due today turns out to be well-founded. The MyCrysis forums confirm that such a patch has not been confirmed (thanks Grifter via eXophase). Here's word from Crytek:

No patch was ever confirmed, I have no idea why this website even posted such information. This thread is locked just the same as the others for trying to spread inaccurate information. When there are any big announcements regarding Crysis 2 they will be posted on MyCrysis, if you read something about a patch for example, but don't see it on, then it isn't genuine.

Molyneux Wants a Say in Syndicate Remake

With rumors, confirmations, and trademarks all suggesting a remake of Syndicate is coming some day, Computer and Video Games has word that the creator of the original sci-fi series is interested in participating. "Yes, of course. It's a great feeling to see something you've created still have life or meaning. But my first thought is: 'I wish I could just spend a day with them saying what I thought was really special about Syndicate, or another title for that matter," Peter Molyneux tells them. "They're smart people and I'm sure they'll work it out. But it's like a parent watching their kid grow up and do something with their life - you still want to be a little bit involved. There's been a Populous DS. That was okay, it didn't do brilliantly. Again, I wish I had ten minutes with them at the start."

NPD Asks Analysts to Stop Sharing Sales Data

NPD is asking gaming analysts to avoid sharing its proprietary sales data with the media, repots Gamasutra. A little under six months ago NPD stopped sharing monthly hardware unit sales figures with the media, and restricted the information given for monthly software sales, but they tell Gama they are not trying to "freeze out the media" with these moves. "We have heard from our clients and retail partners that NPD information is increasingly out in the public domain without proper attribution, incorrect context and in other ways that is not in the best interest of our clients or the industry. It is our responsibility and right to manage the usage of that information, and our Financial Services clients have agreed to help us and the industry in this regard," NPD tells them in a statement. "There was no 'warning' issued at all. We are not freezing out the media as it has been portrayed. Instead, we are looking to work even more directly with the media than we already do to ensure our information and insights are used responsibly."

Rogue Admin Survey

Network World has a follow-up to their recent story about "rogue" administrators running game servers on their company networks. They ran a survey on whether readers thought such behavior is okay, and only about one-third of more that 1,000 respondents said this was never appropriate. This leaves almost two-thirds of their responses saying it is okay to run a game server on a corporation's network, broken down as follows: 17.1% say it is only okay with permission, 37% say it's okay if this causes no harm, and 11.1% took the outlaw approach that it was okay as long as you don't get caught.

Gaming Mouse Maker Knocks Gaming Mice

A press release from WarMouse makes the case for how their gaming mice are the only such products worthy of the category, attempting to demonstrate that other gaming mice do not stack up, and in some cases don't outperform low-end office mice. Ignoring for the moment that their data are based on their own research using their own testing software, it bears pointing out the factor they were testing was multiple button click speeds, which may not be as important in many cases as tracking speed and accuracy. Here's what their internal tests show: "In extensive tests that involved 500-click series of randomly generated commands, WarMouse was able to determine that the 18-button Meta is 30.89 percent faster than the second-fastest mouse, the Razer Naga, and 111.85 percent faster than the combined average speed of mice using a conventional icon and pull-down menu interface." Thanks Ant via Slashdot.

Total War: Shogun 2 Patched

Steam News announces the release of a new automatic patch for Total War: Shogun 2, offering some multiplayer fixes for The Creative Assembly's real-time strategy sequel. The list of changes follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Quote of the Day

"Not only were we excited about the contract that we were able to get with Activision but they seem really committed to being hands-off," Bungie composer Marty O'Donnell tells IndustryGamers. "They really seem committed to agreeing that they are the publishers and they need to support in all the ways publishers support [titles] and they were looking for developers that were completely self-sufficient essentially - except maybe we need some money once in a while - but self-sufficient in terms of not needing to depend on them for production or development or some of these other things. They want a team that has a proven track record - a team that can go out and get it done. And so the hands-off nature of it is really appealing to us. Right now, maybe this is the honeymoon period, but it seems like the right thing for us at this time."

Impulse Top 10

Here's the list of the 10 bestselling games on Impulse for the week of March 20-26:

  1. Sins of a Solar Empire - Trinity
  2. The Sims Medieval
  3. Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition
  4. Sword of the Stars - Complete Collection
  5. Crysis 2 Limited Edition
  6. Starpoint Gemini
  7. Evochron Mercenary
  8. Sins of a Solar Empire Expansion Bundle
  9. Fate of the World
  10. Sins of a Solar Empire - Diplomacy

On Sale

Strategy First is donating 20% of online sales between now and April 11th to Japanese earthquake/tsunami relief. The 5th Anniversary Sale on GamersGate offers a huge selection of games up to 75% off.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Darkspore Open Beta

Steam News announces the open beta for Darkspore is now available on Steam, offering the chance to take a crack at the upcoming Spore-based action/RPG in the works at EA's Maxis studio. The beta will run through Friday, and they are also offering a deal on pre-purchases of Darkspore 4-packs: "Now through Friday of this week, get and play the free Darkspore™ beta on Steam. Also, Steam announces an exclusive pre-purchase offer: a four-pack of Darkspore for the price of three. So grab some friends and join the sci-fi universe of Darkspore, a fast-paced new online Action-RPG from Maxis and Electronic Arts in which you battle across alien worlds with your customized squads of heroes."

Blizzard: "There Are Lots of Projects That We're Not Talking About"

A Blizzard interview on MCV talks with Blizzard cofounders Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce on a variety of topics. They talk about World of Warcraft, the Activision Blizzard merger, and their great relationship with "Bobby" (while no last names are used, we assume they mean Kotick and not Brown). They also seem to reveal they have more unannounced projects than is known, as they show some fancy footwork when asked about the MMOG codenamed Titan. On the topic Mike says, "You’re referring to our unannounced MMO project, which is unannounced, so I can't really tell you much about it," to which Frank adds: "And there are lots of projects that we're not talking about." When pressed to enumerate these unannounced projects, Mike switches back to the game he just said he can't talk about: "We can't I'm afraid. But on Titan what we can say is that we think of it as a next generation MMO. We’ve learned a lot over the past 12 years in developing and running WoW, so we've called upon some of our most experienced developers to seed a new project. It’s definitely not going to be a sequel or replacement for WoW. It will be a different experience set in a different world. But we don’t have anything else to say." Thanks Tom via Blizzplanet.

Portal 2 "Bot Trust" Trailer

The second of Valve's four planned "investment opportunity" videos from Portal 2 offers another look at the upcoming fist-person puzzle game sequel that's due next month. The new Bot Trust trailer demonstrates the leaps of faith the game's robotic co-op protagonists must make in order to succeed. As before, the clip is narrated by Aperture Science CEO Cave Johnson. Here's the embedded clip. Continue here to read the full story.

Crysis 2 DirectX 11 Speculation

German Website PC-Max has some speculation on plans to release a patch for Crysis 2 to enable DirectX 11 support. They round up a couple of forum posts on the topic and Twitter posts by Crytek's Tiago Sousa (which don't seem to address DirectX 11), and say one forum post says such a patch will be released today, though the source they cite,, is down at the moment, preventing us from verifying this. Thanks MajorD via Tech2/ PC.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Confirmed

The Capcom Blog follows up on the rumor from Friday about a new Resident Evil spin-off series, saying SOCOM developer Slant 6 is working on Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, a squad-based third-person shooter that will offer a "reinterpretation" of the events in Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3. They say this spin-off series is due this winter for Windows as well as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and that "Zombies and Bio-Organic Weapons (B.O.W’s) add to the mix as players not only compete against an opposing squad but also tackle this third unpredictable element, creating a brand new style of gameplay and breaking the conventions of traditional team based shooters." They also reveal multiplayer plans: "In addition, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City will deliver a number of competitive online multiplayer modes. Each one of these will provide a unique gaming experience thanks to the three way combat between the Umbrella Security Service, US Special Ops and threat of zombies and B.O.W’s that could only exist in the deadly and twisted Resident Evil Universe." Finally, they have demo news for console players: "In addition, we can also confirm that Resident Evil: The Mercenaries will ship with a playable demo of Resident Evil: Revelations."

Linux World of Tanks Port?

The World of Tanks forum raises the question of whether a Linux port of World of Tanks would be a viable project, or would it tank. They seek feedback on whether there is interest in playing such a port, and also gauge interest in working on creating a penguin-powered edition of the MMO third-person shooter. Thanks Ant via LinuxGames.

Crysis 2 Manual Patch

A manual version of the day one patch for Crysis 2 is now available, for those having a problem with the automatic patch released last week for Crytek's first-person shooter sequel. The download can be found at ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, The Patches Scrolls, and WorthPlaying. A reminder of what the patch does follows. Continue here to read the full story.

A Valley Without Wind Trailer

The Games By Design Blog has a new progress report on A Valley Without Wind, Arcen Games' upcoming side-scrolling survival game, discussing interiors, perma-death, a new Skelebot, and more. They offer a new trailer showing off all that stuff, as well as 17 new screenshots.

U.K. Charts

GfK Chart-Track has the top 20 bestselling PC games in the U.K. for the week ending March 26. New games dominate, as The Sims Medieval jumps into the top spot and Crysis 2 is number two, and number three is last week's new entry, Total War: Shogun 2. Other significant movers are Homefront dropping four spots to number six and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood falling seven spots to number 10. MCV offers the top 40 all platforms chart, where Crysis 2 is holds the number one spot.

Op Ed

Games On Net - Sometimes Story is Overrated.
OK, time for a massive about face. I’ve banged on for months about the importance of story and how, for me at least, story and character take precedence over everything else in an RPG. Whilst that still remains true, I have an admission to make. I have an almost unholy love for action RPGs, or, as I like to call them, games of acquisition. As good as a story might be, sometimes you just need the gaming comfort food that is killing hordes of enemies and collecting the sweet, sweet loot that explodes from their ruined corpses. Diablo III is still “when it’s done” months away, but fellow fans of indiscriminate killing and incremental upgrades need not fear, there are a couple of games right around the corner that should keep us going until Blizzard finally decides to throw us a freaking bone.

Mod DB - Why The "Why We Removed The School Shooter Mod" Article Pissed Me the Hell Off.
It has been asserted by some that the removal was ‘no big deal’ because the ‘School Shooter Mod’ was a “troll mod”, or one that was started for the sole purpose of riling up a bunch of people via its outlandish and potentially offensive content. While that can be argued either way, ultimately it is irrelevant. The true intentions of the mod team are only for they themselves to know, and not for anyone else to judge. The bottom line is that they made a mod on a site that hosts mods, and in an ill-advised attempt to appease some outspoken critics, the host of the site censored the mod in direct contravention of the most basic principle of modding – utter creative freedom. Moreover, they allowed a few to dictate to the many what they can and can’t create or use, and in one fell swoop have changed their basic role from archivists of mods to content police. For those who ask what the big deal is in removing one mod, I implore you to consider that concept very carefully. With such a precedent set, can we really be sure such a thing won’t happen again, this time maybe to a mod you personally are interested in and are excitedly following? Again, once started, where do you stop?

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Metaverse

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

It's just a few days until the end of March, and it better get warmer pretty quickly if it's going to "go out like a lamb," as it's supposed to. We had a couple of beautiful days before the beginning of spring, but I think for the most part the Groundhog Day predictions of an early spring were not accurate. It's enough to shake one's faith in woodchuck weathermen.

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the Three Mile Island accident, an unsettling coincidence as bad news continues to come out of the crippled reactors in Japan.

R.I.P.: Paul Baran, Internet and packet switching pioneer, is mourned.

Unsettling Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Red Dragon Rampage.
Super Fighters Rampage.
Links: 'Camelot' vs. 'Game of Thrones' vs. 'Borgias'.
Images: Twilight Goes Beyond Where Even Trekkies Will.
Media: Gadgets.
The Least Equipped. Thanks Boing Boing.
Firemen dig 5-foot-deep trench to free dog from rabbit hole.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Follow-up: Amy Adams to play Lois Lane in 'Superman'.

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