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Friday, May 13, 2011


The Witcher 2 DLC Will Be Free, Combat Trailer

A new trailer on shows how combat mechanics will work in The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings, CD Projekt RED's imminent RPG sequel. The clip demonstrates how one would kill a Witcher. The Witcher Website is counting down the seconds (literally) to the game's release next week, and ActionTrip (thanks joao) has word that the preorders of the game have gone well past the 100,000 mark. There's also a story on Gamasutra quoting Trevor Longino of Good Old Games saying their recent elimination of geo-IP checks was not specifically to allow Australians to avoid the censored version of the game planned for their territory. Finally, a Q&A on the Gamestop Facebook page (thanks Neoseeker via reddit) has word that while the game may have paid expansions, all the DLC offered as preorder incentives will be eventually released for free:

Let me announce that all our DLCs will be FREE. All of them. If anything will be for purchase, those will be expansion packs. First DLC (side-quest called "Troll Trouble") airs together with the game release.

Brink Patched, Free DLC Planned

Steam News announces the planned patch for Brink is now available, addressing some issues with the recently released first-person shooter. Also, the Bethesda Blog has word that to thank owners of the game for their support, the first Brink DLC will be released for free: "We would like to thank you for supporting Brink and for your continued feedback. To show our appreciation for your support of Brink, we will be making the first DLC for Brink available for free when it is released. This DLC is planned for June and will offer additional maps and new content for players. We’ll continue to provide announcements about the next title update, as well as the first DLC release as that information becomes available." The patch notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Square Enix on Eidos Website Hacking

A Statement on the Square Enix Website has more on the website hacks they've suffered at the Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Eidos Montreal websites:

Square Enix can confirm a group of hackers gained access to parts of our website as well as two of our product sites. We immediately took the sites offline to assess how this had happened and what had been accessed, then took further measures to increase the security of these and all of our websites, before allowing the sites to go live again. does not hold any credit card information or code data, however there are resumes which are submitted to the website by people interested in jobs at the studio. Regrettably up to 350 of these resumes may have been accessed, and we are in the process of writing to each of the individuals who may have been affected to offer our sincere apologies for this situation. In addition, we have also discovered that up to 25,000 email addresses were obtained as a result of this breach. These email addresses are not linked to any additional personal information. They were site registration email addresses provided to us for users to receive product information updates.

No dissemination or misappropriation of any other personal information has been identified at this point.

We take the security of our websites extremely seriously and employ strict measures, which we test regularly, to guard against this sort of incident.

Fable III Preloads on Steam

Steam News has word that those who have pre-purchased Fable III through Valve's online service can now preload the RPG sequel in advance of its release next week. They remind us this affords the last chance to get in on their bonuses: "Last Chance - take advantage of the Steam exclusive pre-purchase offer now and receive the Rebel's Weapon & Tattoo Pack -- a collection of four exclusive weapons and five exclusive tattoo sets to customize their rebel hero."

New UDK Beta

The UDK Website now offers the new May beta of the Unreal Development Kit, offering an updated edition of this free SDK for creating games with Epic's Unreal Engine 3. Here's the deal: "This month, we’d like to share a case study on using UDK for architectural previsualization. This story details how one university student created a highly realistic, interactive virtual walkthrough of a modern architectural schematic using UDK. In his first encounter with Unreal Engine 3, Luigi Russo created 'realistically scaled models that you can walk inside, offering the best possible view of the project. UDK was a lot easier to learn than I could have imagined'." The download is mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

Erik Wolpaw on Portal 2

This trailer features Valve's Erik Wolpaw speaking at N.Y.U. as part of the school's "Game Center Lecture Series." The topic at hand is Portal 2, the recently released puzzle/platformer sequel, and some of the thought behind how the game turned out. There is a write-up on this on Destructoid where some points of interest are transcribed, such as this bit on something that was cut from the final design:

Someone asked if Valve had cut anything particularly good from Portal 2, and after racking his brain, Wolpaw recalled that they had come up with a “Morgan Freeman, kind of, sphere,” but ended up not using it. No, seriously. “Like, you find him in this little ten-by-ten room, and he’s, like, the wisest guy about this ten-by-ten space. Doesn’t know anything about anything [else] -- is just blown away by the shit that’s five feet outside the ten-by-ten space -- but has a lot of advice that all, kind of, relates to things that were in the ten-by-ten space.” I wish I’d thought to ask if they had actually gotten Freeman to lend his voice to the sphere.

Guild Wars 2 Interview

The Guild Wars 2 interview on Strategy Informer hears from Eric Flannum and Jon Peters on the topic of ArenaNet's upcoming MMORPG sequel. Topics include the game's new timeframe, what kind of system the new graphics require, voice acting, quests, soloing, instances, microtransactions, how they're still on track to enter beta testing later this year, and more.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Interview

The GSC Game World interview part two on concludes this conversation with Sergiy Grygorovych, translated from its original Russian. Here's part one of the interview, which was conducted back in September 2010. The conversations focuses on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series of first-person shooters, with specific topics including digital distribution, piracy, the novels based on the series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-Fest, MMOGs, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, patches, finance, movie adaptations, and more. Thanks Rhialto.

F.E.A.R. 3 F**king Run Trailer

A new trailer from F.E.A.R. 3 shows off more of the F**king Run multiplayer mode in Day 1 Studios' upcoming shooter sequel. The clip details how this mode involves teamplay, the "wall of death," and, of course, f**king running. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

New Digitally Distributed Games

On Sale

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

PES 2012 This Fall

Konami has announced first details on Pro Evolution Soccer 2012, reports MCV, who say the next installment in the association football/soccer simulation is due on Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP, and PS2 this autumn. "Team work is what separates the world’s greatest teams from their peers, and is the hub of everything within PES 2012. PES 2012 focuses on the core elements of top-level football: attacking play, freedom of movement, the creation of space, and working together as a unit both up field and in defence," says creative producer Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka. "These elements combine to create a game that flows and ebbs like a real match, with individual shows of brilliance changing a game, and more control over every aspect of play within a wide-ranging yet instinctive control system. PES 2012 will turn the heads of fans everywhere."

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Delayed Again

In the investor conference call following Ubisoft's 2010-2011 financial report, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot revealed Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, is still off in the, well, future, saying the military third-person shooter sequel is now due in the first quarter of next year. The game was first announced for release in the 2010 holiday season before it was delayed to this month. That previous delay was said to "provide additional time to our development teams to realize their vision" as well as to avoid the Christmas rush, and in an odd bit of déjà vu, the reasons this time are exactly the same, as Guillemot said: "It will be released in fiscal Q4 as we want first to have the best quality possible, as well as to avoid the very crowded Christmas landscape in the shooter genre."

Modern Warfare 3 in November?

Kotaku reports they have "learned" that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is in the works and will be released on Nov. 8, 2011, attributing this to "multiple sources," who reveal details about the story and game modes in the military first-person shooter sequel. They seem pretty convinced this is all bona fide, saying: "we've gone to great lengths to nail down as much as possible the veracity of our sources. We believe that the imagery and chief details are accurate. That doesn't mean things can't change before release, but this appears to be a full run down of where Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software is [sic] on Modern Warfare 3 as they add the final polishing touches." They offer a gallery of art said to be from the game, as well as a separate article that makes no effort to avoid possible spoilers. Here's a bit from the first article, which makes an effort to avoid such spoilers:

The single-player campaign, which appears to wrap up most of the unanswered questions and character fates of the first two Modern Warfare titles, also introduces new characters who appear to be destined for future Modern Warfare games, especially two Delta Force operatives codenamed "Frost" and "Sandman".

Multiplayer in the game returns with a chunky list of playable maps as well as two types of Spec Ops modes: "Survival" and "Mission".

Wargame: European Escalation Announced

Focus Home Interactive announces Wargame: European Escalation, a Cold War real-time strategy game in the works at RUSE developer Eugen Systems for release in the first quarter of next year. Here are a couple of European Escalation screenshots, and here's a bit on the game:

Wargame: European Escalation features intense real-time battles, stunning graphics, and the amazing IRISZOOM™ system, which allows a continuous zoom from a global view of the map to the heart of the action. With real strategic gameplay, rich content, integration of EugenNet© and its numerous online services, Wargame: European Escalation will unite all the world’s biggest strategy fans.

Set in the rarely explored period of 1975-1985, Wargame: European Escalation pits NATO (USA and Western Europe) against the Warsaw Pact (Soviet and Eastern European countries) in battles that explore “what could have been.” The specter of nuclear warfare loomed large over the real Cold War, but this catastrophic outcome was the ultimate last resort as everyone knew that the first one to start nuclear hostilities would end up wiped out just the same. Large, armored offensives through Europe would certainly have been the core of this hypothetical war; and this is what the game’s explosive campaign takes you through!

Diablo III Interviews

There's an interview on Gameplanet and another on each talking with Blizzard's Leonard Boyarsky about the just-revealed followers system in Diablo III, the upcoming action/RPG sequel. Leonard outlines each of the three followers' skills and personalities, their backgrounds and skills, how far along you are in the game when you encounter them, how they heal, and more.

Age of Empires Online Interview

The Age of Empires Online interview on Strategy Informer chats with Danan Davis and Chris Taylor about the upcoming online installment in the real-time strategy series. Topics covered include the game's switch in developers, attitudes towards microtransactions, diversity of strategies, PvP, MMO-style elements, and more.

Square Enix's Losses

MCV has Square Enix's financial reporting, which follows on the company's warnings of losses by reporting the developer/publisher indeed lost £91 million ($148 million USD). Word is: "Square Enix blamed the loss on weak console game sales and the delay of a Final Fantasy XIV which launched last year. Negative player feedback for the online subscription-based PC RPG resulted in Square Enix extending the game’s free trial in October last year, while the PS3 version was delayed to improve its quality. The latter SKU has not yet been released."

Sega Sammy's Profits

Sega Sammy financial year ended March 31st netted 41.5 billion yen (approximately $514 million USD) in profits, reports MCV. Word is: "In total, Sega Sammy’s console and PC games division shifted 18.7 million units throughout the year. Europe was identified as the largest market, accounting for 8.2m sales, following by 7.8m in the US. Looking forward, the company expects to sell 23.2m units worldwide in the next financial year, with Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games highlighted as one of the biggest releases."

Op Ed

VentureBeat - Why I (and probably 600,000 others) stopped playing World of Warcraft. Thanks nin.
I think Blizzard dropped the ball by trying to artificially extend the life of the expansion by making the game too hard for casual players. I got to the end of Cataclysm and started running heroic dungeons — suped up versions of the regular dungeons that are designed to be the next natural level of progression. They have better rewards that are more suited to their difficulty. And I was struck by just how hard those dungeons were.

Like, really hard. Ridiculously hard. Enough to make me start yelling at my screen.

Joystick Division - Rethinking Online Gaming. Thanks Joker961.
Forget ever-improving graphics and blazing processors and goofball motion controls. The greatest advancement in console gaming over the last decade has been online play. From old friends halfway across the country to that dude right down the street whose apartment smells like a summer camp bathroom, online gaming lets us play with people we can't or don't want to hang out with in person, something that was impractical to impossible just ten years ago. Recent events have shown the downside of online dependency, though. Can the internet be trusted as a vital foundation for a video game, or should online be treated as a special bonus instead of a core feature?

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Happy Friday the 13th, here's hoping everyone gets lucky today. I poked around online for superstitions to mock for the occasion, but this turned up one I can completely get behind: "Touch blue and your wish will come true."

Superstitious Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Blow Things Up 2.
Lots of Tanks. Thanks Retro Remakes.
zOMGies 2.
Links: Mini Golf for Phobia Fixers. Thanks Neatorama.
6 Things You Won’t Believe Got Banned By Modern Governments.
The Scale of the Universe. Thanks Flying Penguin.
Stories: Batman busted. Thanks Batman.
Duluth 'ball slasher' arrested again. Thanks Boing Boing.
Ex-Marine who survived impalement- ‘Just a lucky guy’. Thanks Boing Boing.
Science: Jupiter's moon Io may have a molten core, mantle.
Children can 'recall early memories', Canadian study suggests. Thanks Boing Boing.
Mystery of hot planets’ ‘backwards’ orbit unravelled.
Images: Royal Wedding Comparison.
Media: Batman Beatdown of the Day.
Snooker Streaker. Don't look Ethyl!
Moving Sidewalk Shenanigans.
The Funnies: Friday the 13th: Part X.

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