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Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Happy National Day (Norway) Hurra, hurra, hurra!


Dead Island Trailer

A new trailer from Dead Island introduces the island of Banoi, the backdrop for Techland's upcoming zombie-themed survival/horror game. The clip, which is as evocative as the previous one, concludes saying to watch out for the Dead Island E3 trailer on the Dead Island Facebook Page. The embedded version is below. Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Fallout New Vegas: Honest Hearts

Steam now offers online distribution of Honest Hearts, the latest DLC for Fallout New Vegas, Obsidian's action/RPG sequel. Here's word on what this provides:

An expedition into the unspoiled wilderness of Utah's Zion National Park goes horribly wrong when your caravan is ambushed by a tribal raiding band. As you try to find a way back to the Mojave you become embroiled in a war between tribes and a conflict between a New Canaanite missionary and the mysterious Burned Man. The decisions you make will determine the fate of Zion.

Crysis 2 Map Pack Released

The Crysis 2 Website now offers sales of the retaliation map pack for Cryptic's first-person shooter sequel. Word is: "Retaliation features four maps that introduce new iconic locations to the fun, addictive and fast-paced multiplayer campaign that helped make Crysis 2 a critical and commercial success. New maps in Retaliation include 'Park Avenue', 'Transit', 'Shipyard' and 'Compound'." There are full details on these maps on this page, where it can be had for $9.99 USD. The pack is also available for Xbox 360, and will be released for the PlayStation 3 when things are straightened out there.

BioShock 2 Minerva's Den This Month

The Cult of Rapture announces to expect the release of the Minerva's Den DLC for BioShock 2 via Games for Windows LIVE in two weeks:

Minerva's Den will be headed to Games for Windows Live! Within the next day, some of you may notice new achievements appearing - and on May 31st you'll be able to download the final chapter of BioShock 2's story. Minerva's Den will be 800 Microsoft Points and available anywhere that supports Games for Windows Live.

(And, if you can't wait a moment longer to get back to Rapture, download our free add-on, The Protector Trials.) Please note: Both add-on packs require a copy of BioShock 2 to play.

To celebrate the release of Minerva's Den on PC, Steve Gaynor (its lead designer), has written a two-part, behind-the-scenes blog post about the history of the content. You can check out part one now. Part two will be available on release day!

Read Steve's post on the 2K Blog now.

Atari Dropping Cryptic

Atari's Financial Reporting for the second half and full year 2010/2011 results, reporting net losses for the year of €6.2 million, less than half their losses of last year, where they were in the red to the tune of €13.2 million. They say they expect continued improvement in Current Operating Income for the full year 2011/2012. They also announce plans to divest themselves of Cryptic Studios, saying the MMOG developer is accounted for as "Discontinued Operations." Also, strikes notwithstanding, they announce plans to reduce the workforce at Eden Games to approximately 30 employees. Here's word on the Cryptic situation:

In line with the previously stated strategy of fewer but more profitable releases and further expansion into casual online and mobile games, the Company has determined that external development creates more flexibility in the 3 changing marketplace. Therefore, the Company has made the decision to divest itself from Cryptic Studios. The divestiture process is underway and more details will be provided as appropriate.

As of March 31, 2011, the Company accounted Cryptic as a “discontinued operation” in the Statement of Income starting on April 1, 2009 and as “assets / liabilities held for sale” in the Balance Sheet as of March 31, 2011.

On a standalone basis and after intercompany eliminations, Cryptic accounted for revenue during the second semester of approximately €7.2 million and on a full year basis of approximately €15.9 million as of Fiscal Year 2010/2011 – as compared to approximately €4.5 million and €4.5 million on the second half and a full basis for Fiscal Year 2009/ 2010, respectively. The net results of Cryptic was a loss of approximately -€3.3 million for the second semester and on a full year basis of approximately -€5.3 million as of Fiscal Year 2010/2011, as compared to a profit of approximately +€0.2 million and a loss of -€12.6 million on a semester 2 and a full basis for Fiscal Year 2009/ 2010, respectively.

The results of Cryptic for both periods have been restated and included in the line “profit and loss from discontinued operations”

Portal 2 - The Final Hours on Steam

Steam now offers sales of Portal 2 - The Final Hours, the electronic book outlining the story of the creation of Valve's puzzle/platformer sequel based on Geoff Keighley's access to the game's development. This book was originally released through the iTunes App Store.

Duke Nukem Retrospective, Part 2

Duke Nukem Forever - History of a Legend part 2 is the second installment in this series of videos celebrating the Duke Nukem franchise in advance of the release of Duke Nukem Forever, the upcoming installment in the first-person shooter series. The clip features thoughts from several folks prominently associated with Duke, including Scott Miller, Joe Siegler, Levelord, Jon St. John, Steve Hornback, Brian Martel, and Randy Pitchford, all looking back at the development of Duke Nukem 3D. If you missed it, here's part one.

On Sale

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Mentos & Coke Rocket Fail. If you're going to be that late, you have to bring the awesome. Thanks Ant.

Rise of Immortals Beta Keys

Here's a reminder that we're giving away keys to the closed beta testing of Rise of Immortals, Petroglyph Games' upcoming fantasy-themed Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA). To request a key, please follow these directions.

Ships Ahoy - The Witcher 2

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is now available, offering CD Projekt RED's sequel to their 2007 action/RPG. The game is available in stores, and the Digital Premium Edition is available for download from Direct2Drive, GamersGate,, Impulse, and Steam. Here's word:

The second installment in the RPG saga about the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, features a thoroughly engrossing, mature storyline defining new standards for thought-provoking, non-linear game narration. In addition to an epic story, the game features an original, brutal combat system that uniquely combines tactical elements with dynamic action. A new, modern game engine, responsible both for beautiful visuals and sophisticated game mechanics puts players in the most lively and believable world ever created in an RPG game. A captivating story, dynamic combat system, beautiful graphics, and everything else that made the original Witcher such a great game are now executed in a much more advanced and sophisticated way.

Ships Ahoy - Fable III

The Windows edition of Fable III is now available in North America, offering PC gamers the chance to check out the latest installment in Lionhead's role-playing series. Besides the retail version, the game is also available via digital distribution from Direct2Drive, Games For Windows, and Steam. Here's a bit on the game:

Five decades have passed since Fable II, and Albion has matured into an industrial revolution. However, the fate of the kingdom is in peril. Lead a revolution to take control of Albion, fight alongside your people, and experience love and loss while defending the kingdom against a looming threat. Your choices as ruler will lead to consequences felt across the entire land.

New GeForce Beta Drivers offers beta version 275.27 reference drivers for GeForce graphics cards. The new drivers offer performance improvements for GeForce 400 Series and 500 Series GPUs, and adds support for the new GTX 560 GPUs. The full changes are listed in the release notes (Adobe Acrobat format), and this article outlines all the changes, noting they offer: "improvements to the NVIDIA Update application, performance increases in numerous games, 3D Vision enhancements, improved monitor scaling, and improved HDTV resizing and scaling, our latest drivers once again advance the capabilities of your video card and your system." The new drivers are available for Windows 7/Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7/Windows Vista 64-bit, and Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 64-bit.

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game Demo

A playable demo is now available for LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game, offering the chance to set sail with a playable demo of the LEGO game based on the Johnny Depp film series. The demo is available for download from AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and WorthPlaying.

Faery: Legends of Avalon Demo

A playable demo Faery: Legends of Avalon is now available, offering a sample of adventure/RPG in English, German, Spanish, Italian, and French. Word is: "This trial version offers you the chance to explore the island of Avalon, and to complete the first main & side quests from the great adventure that awaits you. It is the ideal opportunity to discover this incredible role-playing game and become familiar with the extraordinary world of Faery! This demo is available in English, German, Spanish, Italian and French!" Thanks AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, Strategy Informer, and WorthPlaying.

World of Tanks Patched

A new patch is now available for World of Tanks to update the MMO third-person shooter to version 0.6.4. These patch notes outline all the changes, which include new vehicles, and more. Word is: "Together with the new game content, the patch will also bring enhanced physics and server modifications crucial for managing the growing community of the game."

Harrison and Kaminsky Join Gaikai (registration required) has word that Phil Harrison and Robin Kaminsky have joined the advisory board at Gaikai, Dave Perry's cloud-based service. Says Perry: "The first use of Gaikai's open cloud is to disrupt how video game advertising works today. Instead of paying to move people around on the Internet, our Web partners can bring state-of-the-art games directly to the players on their websites. The cost of getting people to experience the latest video games will plummet. We greatly value the advice and input of Robin as we roll out this new service."

Op Ed

The Tech Report - Cheating on my CDs and DVDs with Steam.
From a gamer's perspective, Steam seems to offer the best blend of social features, cloud storage, automatic updates, and ease of use of any current distribution system. I'd like to see Valve work to integrate other commonly used third-party gamer tools into the package. For instance, the ability to merge my Xfire friends list and chat capabilities with Steam would be great. This would eliminate having to maintain duplicate lists and manage multiple IM programs.

Fragmentation worries me, as well. If every game studio decides it wants a piece of the pie, how many of these delivery platforms will we have to put up with? I'm certainly a proponent of healthy competition, but the danger of alienating gamers with too many sales channels and social networks is something that aspiring services need to consider.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

A couple of highly anticipated games hit today, L.A. Noire and The Witcher 2. I think in a rare twist for me I'll probably play the console game first, as that will provide a chance for a patch for The Witcher, should it be required like the first time around.

Consolidated Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Cubium Level Pack.
Fighter Patrol 1942.
Trunc N Duck.
Links: The Disappearing Face of New York. Thanks Boing Boing.
CAPTCHArt. Thanks Neatorama.
Chevillotte (Very) Table Pool Table.
Stories: Bag Soaked With Chihuahua Urine Draws Bomb Squad.
"Family Guy" Creator Reboots "Flintstones".
Nepal's 'Super Sherpa' breaks his own Everest record.
Science: ORNL energy harvester turns heat waste into electricity.
Coffee mooted as a breast cancer preventer.
Media: Fox Debuts Terra Nova Full Trailer and Images. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Swearing toy. NSFW.
Frisbee Trick Shots.
College Baseball Rain Delay Jousting.
The Funnies: Get Fuzzy. Thanks brother19.
Follow-up: Fukushima Reactor 1 melted down, 2 and 3 may have too.
Japan evacuates residents beyond Fukushima no-go zone.
Monkey HIV vaccine 'effective', say researchers.

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