Archived News:

Tuesday, Aug 02, 2011

Battlefield 3 Origin Preorders Include Beta Access

Following the revelation of some U.S. retail preorder bonuses for Battlefield 3, the Origin Website reveals the bonuses for preordering the military shooter sequel from EA's online service, including access to the game's open (as in closed) beta test, along with the Physical Warfare Pack, the Back to Karkand expansion, and some exclusive items for Battlefield Play4Free. Here's word on the beta and preloads through Origin:
Open Beta for Battlefield 3 (Origin Exclusive)

Players who pre-order the game from Origin will be granted early access to the Open Beta for Battlefield 3 when it goes live in September 2011.

Pre-load and Get Ready to Play at Launch

Pre-order the PC Digital version of Battlefield 3 Limited Edition through Origin to preload your game before it launches. Preloading insures means you can play the minute Battlefield 3 releases instead of waiting to install.

Blizzard TMs Mists of Pandaria

According to MMO-Champion, Blizzard has filed a new trademark registration for Mists of Pandaria, leading to speculation that this may be a title for an upcoming World of Warcraft expansion. Thanks nin.

Duke Nukem Forever Patched

Steam News announces the release of a new patch to automatically update Duke Nukem Forever, among other things, providing the promised inventory update that allows Duke to carry four weapons at once in the single-player campaign. The new version also adds the Valve anti-cheat system, tweakable FOV, makes VOIP push-to-talk, and more to Gearbox's shooter sequel. The full change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Prey 2 Trailer Commentary, Part 2

The Bethesda Blog now offers Prey 2 Trailer w/Developer Commentary - Part 2 with more insights from Chris Rhinehart of Human Head Studios about their Prey trailer. He explains the reasons Johnny Cash's Rusty Cage was chosen for the soundtrack before discussing the gameplay implications of what's shown in the clip, highlighting the players gadgets and abilities and the depiction of the pursuit mode in the upcoming first-person shooter sequel.

Sid Meier on Social Gaming

Better Know Sid Meier on IndustryGamers talks with renowned designer Sid Meier about his career and the game industry. On the topic of Civilization World on Facebook, he offers his take on social gaming: "Facebook has become an exciting new place to play games and we felt that we could create a fun and engaging Civilization experience for the platform, so we made a prototype and went from there. There are hundreds of millions of people on Facebook and it looks like they’re going to stay around for a while. The good news for all of us is that there are many different ways to play games today and all of them can happily exist together, so I don’t see a reason to predict the end of social games any time soon."

Pachter Clarifies Crunch Comments

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter clarifies for IndustryGamers his recent comments saying he didn't "whole lot of sympathy" for game developer complaints over crunch time. Claiming he was quoted out of context, he offers a very lengthy amplification of his thoughts on the topic, and concludes clarifying the distinction between his personal and professional opinions: "In conclusion, my PERSONAL opinion is that crunch time that pushes employees past a tolerable limit is always inappropriate, and I think Team Bondi employees had a valid reason to complain. They were not treated fairly. My PROFESSIONAL opinion is that while they were treated unfairly, they were not entitled to overtime, unless they can convince a jury that they were actually hourly employees. My personal and professional opinion is that unions are not likely to succeed in the game development world."

New Via Digital Distribution



On Sale

The Humble Indie Bundle #3 has now taken in over (Dr. Evil voice) one million dollars!

  • Anomaly: Warzone Earth on Steam. Save 67%.
  • Naval Warfare on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Paradox Strategy Pack on Steam. Save 77%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Previews

Into the Black

Link of the Day: The cartoon-character color wheel. Thanks Ant via Neatorama.

Red Orchestra 2 Pre-Purchase Discounts & Bonuses

Tripwire Interactive announces that pre-purchases of Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad are now being accepted on Steam in advance of the release of the World War II first-person shooter sequel on August 30. All pre-purchases come with a 10% discount, and they announce further bonuses, saying the Steam Digital Deluxe Edition of Red Orchestra 2 "will include weapon unlocks for RO2, special in-game items for Team Fortress 2, playable characters for Killing Floor and more." They also announce owners of the original Red Orchestra will receive additional exclusive in-game content and 20% off the pre-purchase. Here's the rundown on the bonuses:

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad - Steam Digital Deluxe Edition

  • Day 1 Unlock of the Elite Assault Weapons (MKb 42(H) and AVT-40)
  • Day 1 Unlock of the Semi Auto Sniper Weapons (SVT-40 and G 41(W))
  • 2 playable characters for Killing Floor - WW2 Russian and German Soldier re-enactors unlocked in KF the moment you purchase
  • Team Fortress 2 items - RO2 German helmet and Russian "Pilotka" hat ("vintage" if bought during pre-purchase)
  • Access to the final phase of the closed beta

Pre-purchase Discount: 10% off both versions (20% off if you own the original Red Orchestra)

Bonuses for owners of Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45:

  • An extra 10% discount during pre-purchase for a total of 20% off
  • Unlock the Kar98 and Mosin rifle bayonets on day 1
  • Special in-game item - show everyone your loyalty to Red Orchestra with the exclusive Russian Guards Badge/German Close Combat Badge

Port Royale 3 Announced

Kalypso Media announces Port Royale 3, saying the next installment in this seafaring economics simulation is due for release by the middle of next year for Windows and "next generation consoles." The game will be first demonstrated publically this month at Gamescom, and a look at what to expect can be found in these two screenshots. Word is: "In Port Royale 3, players will embark upon an epic adventure through the Caribbean during the turbulent 17th century where the naval powers of Spain, England, France and the Netherlands all fight for supremacy in the colonies. Players take on the role of a young captain trying to build his fortune and reputation in the new world colonies. The campaign consists of two different paths for the young protagonist to follow: adventurer and trader." Here's a feature list, which notes the return of multiplayer support:

  • Three paths to glory and fame – choose the role of adventurer/pirate, merchant or a combination of both
  • Exciting naval battles, coastal city sieges, raids and plunder await the adventurous player, while untold riches, power and glory await the more mercantile-oriented player
  • Multiplayer play
  • A deep economic simulation engine ensures a realistic trading experience
  • Real-world locations will immerse the player in the 17th century Caribbean

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North in November

WBIE announces U.K. release plans for The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Snowblind Studios' upcoming Tolkien-inspired action/RPG. They say the game's U.K. launch is expected in November, which is presumably the release window for the game in other territories, as well. Here's the deal:
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Snowblind Studios today announce The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, the anticipated new video game based on the revered The Lord of the Rings novels and films, will launch in the UK in November, 2011 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Games for Windows. The game’s Collector’s Edition, featuring behind-the-scenes looks at the game development, a specially crafted art book, digital download content and more, will also launch in November.

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, rated BBFC 18 (tbc), transports players to unknown lands, as yet unexplored in film, as they journey to the Northern lands of Middle-earth. Intertwining the characters and storyline of the novel and films, the game takes place in parallel with the well-known Ring Bearer’s quest, but in the equally harsh and contested lands to the North, as the battle for Middle-earth’s survival rages.

Developed by Snowblind Studios, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is an Action-RPG featuring a unique 3-player co-op system. Gamers must battle, explore and journey together, balancing their strengths and weakness as a cohesive Fellowship of Human, Elf and Dwarf, or falter and perish in their journey. In every aspect of the game – combat, exploration, healing, even loot gathering – the Fellowship plays a vital role.

Borderlands 2 Announcement Soon?

Gearbox Software is now developing Borderlands 2, reports Eurogamer, though the site is coy about the source of this, saying this is what it "understands." They say they've "heard" 2K Games will be announcing the role-playing shooter sequel soon, and that a "source close to the game" tells them the game is expected next year for Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

RAGE "Basically Done"

RAGE is "basically done" reports Computer and Video Games by way of Xbox World 360 magazine. "The game is basically done," says id Software creative director Tim Willits. "It's going to be available this fall so we are in the polish and refinement stage which is a great place to be. Now we have all the content done and played through the game and got a real sense for it." He explains this polishing involves things like tweaking the console visuals, and Tim expresses his enthusiasm for the upcoming first-person shooter: "It's different from Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein. It has so much to offer: the vehicle combat, the weapons, the ammo types, the items, the story. It really is the best game."

Gone Gold - Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 2

Developer Straandlooper Animation and publisher Telltale Games announce the completion of development on Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 2 - Senseless Acts of Justice, saying the point-and-click adventure sequel will be released in autumn for Windows, OS X, iPhone, and iPad. Word is:
‘Hector: Badge of Carnage Episode 2 - Senseless Acts of Justice’ sees our anti-hero hunting a psychopath and pulled down a twisted trail of meat, sin, sleaze, and more meat. The new game promises to be even more crude and distasteful than the first in the series. The adventure introduces gamers to a whole host of new environments and colourful characters from the world of Clappers Wreake - the crime-ridden town in the armpit of Great Britain.

Square Enix Acquires True Crime: Hong Kong

Square Enix has acquired the project United Front Games was developing as True Crime: Hong Kong before the game was cancelled by Activision earlier this year, reports Gamasutra. Since it was axed, the Vancouver-based developer has continued "scaled back" work of the project, which was expected in November for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, though this is no longer certain, as Square Enix London Studios general manager Lee Singleton tells them: "We're not talking about release timings or formats at this time." There's also word that the game will probably undergo a name change, as while the work-in-progress was picked up, the True Crime intellectual property remains the property of Activision. "It's too early to say what the name will be," says Singleton. "I can honestly say I think this is going to be pretty straightforward."

Battlezone II Beta Patch

A new version patch for Battlezone II is now available, continuing the epic unofficial support for the action/strategy sequel by two of its programmers, Ken 'Ultraken' Miller & Nathan 'GSH' Mates. The patch is available on this page, where word is: "The Public Beta patch is a cumulative patch for Battlezone II that includes a number of fixes and new features, such as Windows XP/Vista/7 compatibility, DirectX 9 graphics, easier hosting of multiplayer games without opening ports at your router, integrated voice chat in multiplayer games, over 100 maps for multiplayer installed with the patch, stability improvements, and a lot of other fixes and features."

Op Ed

Kotaku - Why Debates About Video Games Aren't Really About Video Games. By Ian Bogost.
Put differently: the content of the messages we hear from Gore, Yee and others is less important than their function: to position video games as an instrument within a chosen context. For Gore and Games for Change, that context is political aspirationalism. For Yee it's family values. For Scalia its constitutional security. For Temecula resident Strickland it's civic performance. Just as the economist Robin Hanson has argued that politics isn't about policy, so video game debates aren't about playing games.

Ars Technica - How to ruin your PC port in five easy steps. Thanks Mike Martinez.
Even without the hacking aspect of things, I don't want to set up an EA account to play a game on Steam. Now my EA account is an Origin account, and I may or may not be able to re-download my EA games if I delete them, because EA and Valve are butting heads over this and that. I bet when you played Grand Theft Auto IV you were looking forward to creating an account on the Rockstar Games Social Club, right? I have a great time playing Section 8: Prejudice, but for some reason the game forces you to use Games for Windows Live, and when I log onto that useless service to play the game it boots my wife from the 360 if she's watching a movie on Netflix. What does Games for Windows Live get me that Steam, the service I used to buy the game, does not? Nothing. It only adds an extra layer of complexity and annoyance. It's a net loss.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

It was interesting to see all the stories yesterday about the anniversary of the launch of MTV, since I worked there back in the day. I just can't believe how inaccurate all the news outlets were about this, as they call it the networks' 30th anniversary, and there's no way someone as young as I could have worked there that long ago.

Video Killed the Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Storm Ops 2: Desert Storm.
Colliderix - Level Pack.
Links: Failbook: Ritng in Shrt Frm.
Princess Leia Costume Made of Duct Tape. No, not the slave bikini.
Stories: A lottery game with a windfall for a knowing few. Thanks Slashdot.
Snake on a car gives family ultimate driving distraction. Thanks brother19.
Images: Space shuttle era ends with Atlantis.
Cat Beard.
Media: Euclideon Island Demo 2011.
Top Of The Food Chain FAIL.
Formation Proximity. Thanks Jim.
The Funnies: Multitasking.
Follow-up: A Rose for Norway
Spartacus: Vengeance Trailer.
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