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Tuesday, May 10, 2011 Happy Whacking Day (Springfield)


Modern Warfare 3 Details?

Kotaku has an unconfirmed report on details from Modern Warfare 3, saying they've learned of plans for the unannounced military shooter sequel from "sources who have seen the game in action." They say the game is in development at Infinity Ward with an assist from Sledgehammer Games, and that they've "also heard that Raven Software may be involved." They say the game will include more combat on U.S. soil, but "it looks like it won't be another take on Red Dawn, a post-U.S. invasion storyline already explored by Homefront," though that distinction is not explained. Here's a bit on the biggest change their sources indicate the series will undergo: "The biggest shift for the game appears to be in its breadth. We're told that Modern Warfare 3 will take place on a much larger, epic scale. It appears the game will explore the lead up to a blossoming set of engagements that could pull in other countries, creating a potential World War III scenario. The game will also feature large, urban destructible environments."

RIFT Free Trial

The RIFT Website has word on a trial version of Trion's MMORPG that will allow you one week of free play. Word is: "The RIFT Free Trial is your chance to enter the world of Telara! Create your ideal hero with the Ascended Soul Class System, and battle the rifspawn, free for seven days!"

StarCraft II Patched announces that a new patch is now automatically available for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty to update Blizzard's sci-fi RTS sequel to version 1.3.3. The patch notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Hearts of Iron III: Dies Irae Gotterdammerung

Hearts of Iron III: Dies Irae Gotterdammerung is now available offering new DLC for the World War II strategy game, Hearts of Iron III. Word is: "Dies Irae adds to the depth of playing Germany through World War 2. Specially designed events, mechanics and new graphics makes the Hearts of Iron experience even more engrossing. Emphasis on the aggressive nation of the war, catering to the player who want to control the outcome of the war." The DLC is available from Impulse and Steam.

Ships Ahoy - LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean

The LEGO Group and TT Games announce that LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game has set sail, and the LEGO-ized game based on the movies based on the theme-park ride is now available in North America for Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP, DS, and 3DS. Here's word:

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game re-creates the action, adventure and memorable moments of the Pirates of the Caribbean mythology in LEGO form, incorporating the humor of LEGO minifigures and fantastic worlds built from LEGO bricks and elements for players to explore. Players take on the role of more than 70 characters from the movies and experience all the pirate adventure, irreverent humor and amazing creatures of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, including the upcoming fourth film, Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Throughout the game, players will explore environments from the highly acclaimed movie series in more than 20 levels. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game features two-player Cooperative mode and Freeplay mode, which let players return to levels to discover new treasures.

Quote of the Day

"It is damaging traditional gaming for sure but... how it’s going to work out is anyone’s guess. The trend that I see is it’s probably going to be one of the biggest bubbles and explosions that our industry's seen in a long time and I think when it crashes it’s going to crash very hard. I don’t think there’s an economy there." -- Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack on social gaming.

J.U.L.I.A. Trailer

This trailer from J.U.L.I.A. provides a look at this sci-fi mystery/adventure game in development at Cardboard Box Entertainment. The game was announced last August with a Q1 2011 release window, so it has already suffered its first delay, and the FAQ on the J.U.L.I.A. website still lists that date, so its release date is currently TBD. The embedded trailer follows. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

  • Hearts of Iron III Games and DLC on Impulse. Save 70%.
  • Hearts of Iron III Games and DLC on Direct2Drive. Save 70%.
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection on Steam. Save 70%.
  • Kalypso Strategy Pack on Steam. Save, well, lots. Individual titles are 75% off.
  • The Witcher: Enhanced Edition on Save 50%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

BF3 Preorder DLC Details

The Battlefield Blog and the Battlefield 3 Website have new details on the Back to Karkand map pack that DICE announced as a preorder bonus for Battlefield 3 back in February. This includes a bit on what impact the military shooter sequel's new engine will have on these now-familiar battlegrounds: "From a gameplay perspective, destruction is the biggest addition compared to the original map in Battlefield 2 back in 2005. I remember this particular building by the square in the original where players could defend very effectively. Now, with the destructive power of Frostbite 2, someone can just RPG that building and expose the defenders within. At the same time, we need to be careful not to add destruction that breaks the tried and tested game flow of the map."

The Cursed Crusade Co-op Trailer

A new trailer from The Cursed Crusade shows two player co-op gameplay and combos in the adventure game due this fall. This shows a split-screen, which is probably not available in the Windows edition of the game, but the clip's description also mentions online co-op. Word is: "Whether you're slashing through the streets of Zara or making your way through a plaza in Constantinople, your quest is more fun and more interesting when you share it with a friend, as evidence by this new co-op trailer that shows off the split-screen multiplayer excitement action-adventurers can look forward to!"

Hitman Absolution Announced

IO Interactive officially announces Hitman Absolution, following the very, very many recent indications that we should expect news on a fifth installment in their series of assassination games soon, and confirming it carries the title revealed in a recent trademark filing. A new Hitman Absolution Teaser Video accompanies the announcement, which promises more details on the Hitman Website, but that's still partying like it's 2006 with up-to-the-minute news on Hitman: Blood Money, so presumably that will get an update soon. In the meantime, word is the game is expected some time next year for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Here's more:

HITMAN ABSOLUTION follows Agent 47™, a cold-blooded assassin, who takes on his most dangerous contract to date. Betrayed by those he once trusted — and now hunted by the police — he suddenly finds himself at the center of a dark conspiracy and must embark on a personal journey through a corrupt and twisted world.

“For the first time we are taking Agent 47 on a personal journey which allows us to explore other parts of the Hitman® fantasy,” said Tore Blystad, game director, IO Interactive. “This is both a familiar and yet significantly different experience from other Hitman games; something our silent assassins will relish, as will all those new to the Hitman world.”

Showcasing IO Interactive’s new proprietary Glacier 2™ technology, the game has been built from the ground up. Boasting a cinematic story, distinctive art direction and highly original game design, HITMAN ABSOLUTION combines much-loved classic gameplay with completely new features never seen before in the Hitman franchise.

Ships Ahoy - The First Templar

Kalypso Media announces the release of The First Templar, saying the Windows and Xbox 360 editions of the co-op action/adventure game are now available in North American stores, and that the game's release through digital distribution is to be expected "in the coming days." Here's word on the game:

Follow the path of two unlikely heroes on their search for the Holy Grail. The young French Templar Celian teams up with the noble lady and proclaimed heretic Marie to unveil a grand conspiracy within the Order of the Knights Templar. The heroes face powerful opponents at every turn including the Saracen, King Philip of France and the Holy Inquisition.

The First Templar offers a captivating campaign that can be enjoyed alone or cooperatively with a friend. When playing solo, the player can switch freely between the two characters, leaving the control of the second hero to the game’s AI. At any time, a second player may join in and take control of the second hero.

Ships Ahoy - Brink

Bethesda Softworks announces the availability of Brink in North America, adding that those in Europe should expect the release of Splash Damage's first-person shooter on Friday. As well as being available in stores for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, the Windows edition of the game is also available via digital distribution on Direct2Drive, Impulse, and Steam. Here's a bit on what it offers:

Brink allows you to develop your character playing alone, with your friends, and against others online. Featuring dynamic battlefields, extensive customization options, and an innovative control system, Brink lets you choose your side, Security or Resistance, as you engage in heated battle for control of the Ark. Once an experimental, self-sufficient and 100%"green" habitat, the Ark is now home to the original founders, their descendants, and thousands of refugees made homeless by the rapid rise of the Earth's oceans.

Crysis 2 Retaliation Map Pack Next Week

This trailer shows off the Retaliation DLC for Crysis 2, which will add four all-new maps to Crytek's first-person shooter upon its release via digital distribution for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on May 17. The included maps are Park Avenue, Transit, Shipyard, and Compound, and the clip shows gameplay on each. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Patch

A new patch is now available for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood to update the stealth/action sequel to version 1.03. The new version adds an updated binkw32.dll to prevent videos from crashing. The download is available on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, The Patches Scrolls, and WorthPlaying.

Valve: Steam Good for Retail

"Steam is good for retail. If you look at some examples of things we’ve done in the past, it shows that," Valve's Steam boss Jason Holtman tells MCV in an excerpt from their interview with Holtman and Doug Lombardi. "One thing we did with Left 4 Dead was have a free weekend, so every one of our customers were able to play the game. At the end of the weekend we give people the option to buy the game, and the Steam sales went up," he explains. "But something that people didn’t see was that retail sales spiked, too. And of course this happens. Everyone is talking about the game, but not everyone has a credit card, or credit on their card. Not everyone wants to make a purchase right away and lots of people are heading into the High Street anyway. So when we do promotions, we see sales spikes both digitally and online. People who use Amazon still go to bookstores. You can buy almost anything online, but people still go out to the High Street to buy things."

Namco Bandai Profits

Namco Bandai's quarterly financial report is on Gamasutra, where they note this shows "a modest revenue boost and a swing to profit." Word is: "The Japanese publisher reported ¥394.2 billion ($4.9 billion) in revenue, up 4.1 percent from the last fiscal year's ¥378.5 billion ($4.7 billion). The Tekken publisher also posted profits of ¥1.8 billion ($22.3 million), compared to the ¥29.9 billion ($371.8 million) loss in the previous fiscal year."

The Witcher 2 Trailer offers a new trailer teasing the French Monk in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, CD Projekt's upcoming RPG sequel. They ask: "What do you think a repentant French monk is doing in the game?" We don't know, but he better have the power to fart in your general direction.

Op Ed

Gamasutra - The Video Game-Home Video Disconnect.
Video games and Hollywood have always been the Woody Allen and Soon-Yi of the entertainment world. They’re together forever, but the fit has always been an odd one -- and a little creepy at times.

Yet, for all the talk of film and video game synergy, you don't see a lot of real world applications. Typically, the drill goes something like this: Studio wants to extend the reach of its upcoming nerd-friendly film; reaches agreement with game publisher; crappy game ensues (usually due to severely restricted development windows).

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Many of the Brink reviews are from console editions. There's also a post on Voodoo Extreme calling Joystiq's review methodology into question (thanks nin).

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Over the weekend I replaced my (theoretically) squirrel-proof birdfeeder because the plastic was beginning to crack and the hard to clean areas of the feeder made me concerned I was starting to poison the birdies with moldy seed. It seems that what started as an impulse buy of a teeny feeder a couple of years ago has blossomed into a full hobby, as we now have that feeder and a smaller one MrsBlue found that's filled with seed specifically to attract goldfinches, all hanging from a specialty pole attached to the deck railing. This is situated in the area formerly occupied by the Mulberry tree I felled, which is highly visible, so now we're just waiting for the birds to rediscover it in its new location.

Well-Fed Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Vital Bloodshed. Thanks Daniel.
Hobo 5: Space Brawls.
Ultimate Physics Game.
Links: Life-Size Portal Turret Replica, Including Laser.
Awful Good: Christian Bale Alignment Chart.
The 5 Lamest Things People Have Rioted Over.
Stories: Transplant man shows off 'handsome' new face. Thanks Dan =0).
Science: How Many Intelligent Aliens are Out There?
Images: It’ll Have You Doing Barrel Rolls.
Itty Bitty Donkey Kong.
Where The Wild Things Are- Star Wars Edition.
Media: Donkey Kong Doesn't Back Down. NSFW.
'ORIGINAL' NBA on NBC Theme. Thanks reddit.
EPIC Ping Pong. Anime can even make ping pong pervy.

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