Archived News:

Wednesday, Nov 02, 2011 Día de los Muertos

Thief 4 Storyboards?

Eurogamer has some storyboards purportedly from Thief 4, the next installment in the beloved stealth series. These were spotted on a blog and posted to the TTLG forums, but all the originals have since been taken down.

Play Skyrim Three Hours Early?

GameZone notes there is currently some confusion about how global the 11.11.11 release date will be for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the upcoming RPG sequel. They quote Bethesda's Pete Hines saying: "All of the steam countdown clocks are currently wrong," and that the game's the Steam release "will be local time." Apparently this is not as completely local as that, as he says this means: "one (release time) for oz, one for UK/Europe, one for US (EST is planned)," and when asked "did you just announce 9pm PST on 11/10?" Hines responded, "that's what we are working on." So it's possible those on the west coast of the U.S. will get the game at 9:00 pm on November 10th. Thanks Acleacius.

Dota 2 Beta Invites Sent

The Dota 2 blog announces testers are being invited to help evaluate Valve's upcoming MOBA game: "Check your email, because the first batch of invites are going out!"

NBA 2K11 Multiplier Ending has word that 2K Sports is shutting down the multiplayer servers for NBA 2K11, just 13 months after the release of the sports simulation. This is by way of Kotaku, where they also report on the unfortunate timing of this in light of their recent report of significant problems with multiplayer play in the newly released NBA 2K12.

THQ's Losses; More Space Marine DLC Announced

Game Informer has word from a THQ post-earnings conference call that Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine has shipped 1.2 million units since the release of the action/RPG. On a related note, Eurogamer reports plans for another DLC pack for the game: "Due on all formats in December priced at 800 Microsoft Points or equivalent, the add-on includes a new Exterminatus co-op mode called Chaos Unleashed which sees you playing as a Chaos Space Marine fighting off both Orks and Imperial Guard Forces."

As for those earnings, THQ's Fiscal 2012 Second Quarter Results are in, reporting a net loss of $92.4 million ($1.35 per diluted share), "compared with a net loss of $47.0 million, or $0.69 per diluted share, in the prior-year period." Here's some polish for that: "We are encouraged that our second quarter performance exceeded our expectations, particularly in a quarter with a light release schedule," said Brian Farrell, THQ President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our two biggest quarters of the year remain ahead of us, and we are focused on execution. In Q3 we are planning for the largest quarter in our history, in terms of sales and earnings, driven by Saints Row: The Third, the uDraw GameTablet, and WWE ’12. With UFC Undisputed 3 launching in the fourth quarter, we are well-positioned to deliver a strong second half of fiscal 2012."

Ships Ahoy - DCS: Black Shark 2

The Digital Combat Simulator Website now offers digital distribution of the English edition of DCS: Black Shark 2, their combat flight simulation sequel, also offering an upgrade for owners of the first DCS: Black Shark for a 50% discount. Here's word on the game, which they say requires an internet connection for multiplayer play (including over a LAN):
“DCS: Black Shark 2” is a simulation of the Russian Ka-50 attack helicopter and the next entry in the Digital Combat Simulator combat series. "DCS: Black Shark 2" is a greatly improved version of the original "DCS: Black Shark" that brings many new features.

The Ka-50 "Black Shark" is a unique and deadly single-seat, Russian attack helicopter that has seen combat in the Northern Caucasus. It combines a high performance dual rotor system with a deadly weapons payload of guided missiles, rockets, bombs, and a 30mm cannon. The Ka-50 is also unique in that it has an ejection seat.

Ships Ahoy - To the Moon

Freebird Games now offers To the Moon, their unusual project they call an "inspiring piece of storytelling," and they are also accepting preorders for the game's soundtrack. Here's the tongue-in-cheek launch trailer, and here's a reminder of the game's unusual premise:
Join Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts as they enter a patient named Johnny's mind on his death bed to grant his final request. Watch and change the past as Johnny's life unfolds before you and takes you on a magical journey inside one's head that asks the greatest question of all: "What if...?"

If you had the chance to relive your life, would you change things? Would you try to achieve some grand goal? Could you find love? Fame? Fortune? Or would you realize that sometimes the past is meant to stay the same. Join Dr. Rosalene and Watts on their journey and travel To The Moon.

IGF Entry "Trail" For Free

Bit By Bit Games now offers free downloads of Trail, an experimental, minimalist platformer developed in under a month as an entry into the 2102 Independent Games Festival. Here's a trailer from the game, and here's a bit of the description:
Trail is an experimental, minimalist platformer, which was inspired by a child's belief about death. Trail explores the idea that you leave a trail in the world as you journey through life and when you eventually die you need to collect this trail to achieve final peace.

In Trail you play through a level forwards and then backwards from the point of your death.

When you are alive, the world is white and you drop a trail of memories behind you in the environment. Each memory you drop increases your score. If you touch a memory when alive it hurts you (sometimes it's painful to revisit the past).

The level is your life, so there does come a point where you will die - there is no escape, no-one is immortal.

Lord of the Rings: War in the North Demo an OnLive Exclusive

A playable demo for Lord of the Rings: War in the North is available, but is exclusive to the cloud-based OnLive service, reports Shacknews. Word is this will allow 30 minutes of play in Snowblind's just-released action/RPG.

Hard Reset Adds "Survival" Mode

A new version 1.2 patch is now available automatically via Steam for Hard Reset, adding a new "survival" mode to Flying Wild Hog's throwback shooter. This post has all the details on the new version, and here's an overview:
Flying Wild Hog's debut shooter turned a lot of heads when it was released last month, thanks to its fast-paced, destructive action, unconventional weaponry and incredible visuals. Flying Wild Hog is kicking the heart-pounding gameplay up a notch with the introduction of Survival Mode in the 1.2 patch, which is available today. Survival Mode unleashes wave after wave of robotic hell upon the player, who has make good use of weapon upgrades to delay the inevitable as long as possible. The new game mode is available in all of the game's difficulty modes, and brings with it two new maps, as well as leaderboards to compare scores with friends.

In addition to Survival Mode, the 1.2 patch adds full NVIDIA 3D Vision and Surround support, as well as support for multiple displays. A number of other gameplay tweaks and fixes are also introduced in the patch, with Flying Wild Hog busily working on future content and gameplay updates.

PC Dungeon Defenders Sells 200K

Trendy Entertainment, D3Publisher and Reverb Publishing announce that Dungeon Defenders has now sold over 250,000 units on Steam, Xbox LIVE, and PlayStation Network, and that 200,000 of those sales were for the PC. To celebrate they are planning special events for the vast minority of console users, because, well, who knows, there's probably a really good reason. Here's word:
Twain Harte, CA – November 2 – Trendy Entertainment, D3Publisher and Reverb Publishing announced today that its recently released action/tower defense/RPG mash-up Dungeon Defenders, with 200,000 units sold on PC alone, is a runaway success with over 250,000 sales total on all three platforms – Steam, Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation® Network. To celebrate, Trendy is announcing one of its many plans to continue to support the game across all platforms, with free, weekly community events for PS3 and Xbox 360 players. These events will allow gamers to play special game modes with the devs and have a chance to win unique loot found nowhere else.

Techland TMs "Zombie World"

Siliconera reports that Techland has filed for a trademark in the U.S. for "Dead World." Following the success of Dead Island, it seems logical to presume this will be some sort of follow-up to the zombie game. And if this means the mindless undead found a way off their island, what does that say about Gilligan, much less the professor?

Ubisoft Acquires RedLynx

Ubisoft announces the acquisition of RedLynx, the Finland-based developer of Trials. "The team at RedLynx has developed exceptionally strong digital brands that stand out for their high replay value, their long tail sales and their multiplatform positioning. We are delighted to welcome RedLynx to the Ubisoft family," says Yves Guillemot, DEO of Ubisoft. "Their expertise in asynchronous online games and physics-based game mechanics provides us with a great opportunity to bring their powerful brands, most notably Trials, to an even broader range of fast-growing digital platforms."

Child's Play 2011 Underway

The Child's Play Website has launched this year's drive to benefit hospitalized children. They've already raised close to a half-million dollars, and here's a bit on their plans:
The Child’s Play 2011 Holiday Season officially launches today, and we have a lot of exciting news to share! You may have already noticed that our website has been redesigned. If you’re new to Child’s Play, read up on what we’re all about. Our Donate page includes a brand new hospital map, complete with wish lists updated for the 2011 season. You can also head over to the Events page to view our event calendar, submit your own event for the calendar, or get more information about running a Child’s Play fundraiser.

Speaking of fundraisers, we are proud to announce that the annual Child’s Play charity auction will take place on Thursday, December 8th 2011 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, WA. Tickets are on sale now, with both individual and group tickets avaliable. Passes are $145 per person and $5,000 for table of 10. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.

On Sale

  • Geneforge Saga on Steam. Save 20%.
  • Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Star Wolves on Save 60%.
  • Toki Tori on Steam. Save 66%.

Evening Previews

Into the Black

Link of the Day: If Quake was developed today... Thanks Ant.

More on Deus Ex: Human Revolution Boss Woes

There's more information about the boss battles from Deus Ex: Human Revolution on The Edge Magazine Website following a Montreal International Game Summit conversation with David Anfossi, producer on Eidos Montreal's action/RPG prequel. As previously noted, development of these encounters was outsourced to Grip Entertainment, but Anfossi indicates that Eidos Montreal designed them, and they take responsibility for how they turned out:
"The problem was not the supplier, it was what we did with them," he said. "The boss fights were too much for the team to do internally in the time we had. We totally underestimated the effort to do that correctly. We had to work with an external supplier with that, but the design and everything is from the team at Eidos Montreal.

"We knew that it would be a weakness for the game, that we had to make a compromise to deliver it [on] two levels. First, the boss fights were forced, which is not the Deus Ex experience. Second, there is no mix [of] solutions to tackle the boss fights, which is not Deus Ex either.

"We knew that before the release of the game, but there had to be some compromise. It [was] our decision."

Gamer Food

This press release announces the launch of GamerFood, a series of nut snacks made especially for gamers thanks to the inclusion of the word "gamer" in the name as well as an apparent soaking in energy drink, as they are infused with caffeine, taurine, ginseng, and lysine. Their offerings consist of sunflower seeds, honey-roasted cashews, and flavored peanuts, and they go so far as to guarantee they will improve your gaming performance.

Michael Bay's Need for Speed The Run TV Ad

EA announces that Hollywood director Michael Bay is creating a TV Commercial for EA's Need for Speed The Run. Rather than expecting viewers to skip this commercial with their DVRs, word is they are counting on activity on the game's Facebook page to unlock this promotion created by the original 'splosion man:
Starting today, fans of the Need for Speed Facebook page will work together to unlock the trailer which features Need for Speed The Run game footage to showcase a heart-pounding, adrenaline-fueled race that perfectly reflects the game’s action-packed sequences. Bay is the world-renowned director of some of the biggest, most visually spectacular action films of all time, including Transformers, Pearl Harbor and The Rock.

To create this unique promotional spot, Bay spent time playing the game and spoke with the creative production team to get a feel for Need for Speed The Run and the franchise itself, which is known for bringing exhilarating racing action to the forefront of real-life car culture. In the trailer, Bay brings his vision and signature high-octane Hollywood style to The Run, adding his explosive touch to the blockbuster action already in the game.

Battlefield 3 Hacked to Work Without Origin?

Hackers have worked out a way to play Battlefield 3 without using the Origin service that EA requires of players of the military shooter sequel, reports Gamasutra. They have apparently acquired the cracked version of the game, saying it includes the following statement: "This release is dedicated to our fans worldwide who bought this game on [sic] legal way and don't want to install the trojan from Electronic Arts to play online." They also say EA has not yet commented on this situation. Thanks Destructoid.

Grand Theft Auto V Trailer

As promised, the new trailer for Grand Theft Auto V is now online to show off the next installment in Rockstar Games' open-world action series. The clip does not reveal the game's subtitle (presuming it will have one), but it seems to confirm recent rumors that GTAV will be set in a fictionalized version of Los Angeles, which may be called Los Puerta based on a glimpse of a road sign for the Los Puerta Freeway. The narration is from one character's perspective so there is no support yet for rumors that it will feature multiple playable characters. The version posted on that page seemed to repeatedly stop just after the one minute mark, so it's possible you may have to grab a downloadable version (as we did) to see the whole thing. There is no indication of when to expect the game's release. Continue here to read the full story.

GTAV Trailer Today

Here's a reminder that the first trailer for Grand Theft Auto V is expected today. The countdown timer is currently at just under two hours, so this should show up about noon EDT (4:00 pm GMT).

Paradox Bundles This Month

Paradox Interactive announces plans to release compilation collections for three of their most popular franchises later this month. On November 22nd they will offer PC gamers the Magicka Collection ($19.99/€19.99), the Hearts of Iron III Collection ($29.99/€29.99), and the Cities in Motion Collection ($39.99/€39.99). Each package includes the game along with its respective DLC. Here's word: Continue here to read the full story.

DC Universe Online Freed

The DC Universe Online Website reveals that the promised free-to-play era is now underway in SOE's superhero MMORPG. This page outlines the three different ways to play the game: Free, premium, and via subscription.

Silicon Knights Layoffs Confirmed

Silicon Knights has confirmed recent rumors of layoffs at the Too Human developer to Kotaku, though they say the number of jobs that were lost is 43, rather that the 70+ originally suggested. They say: "Last week Silicon Knights experienced layoffs due to extended contract negotiations falling through with a potential partner," declining to say who this partner was, though it was not X-Men: Destiny publisher Activision. Looking forward, they tell Kotaku: "The company is currently refocusing and returning to its roots, working on one of its most requested titles for the next generation."

Dota 2 Beta Expands

The Dota 2 Blog has word that the beta testing of Valve's upcoming MOBA game is expanding by giving each of its current participants a couple of beta invites to distribute as they see fit (thanks Destructoid). They celebrate with the release of the first part of the official Dota 2 comic, Tales from the Secret Shop. Word is:
Once you’ve read today’s part, make sure you fill out the Dota 2 Survey in Steam to secure your place in the upcoming invitations (if you haven’t restarted your Steam client for a few days, you might need to do that before clicking that link). The extra data the survey provides will allow us to ensure we invite a wide spread of players and hardware.

One thing everyone will tell you is that Dota is a game that’s more fun with friends. Because of that, we wanted to make sure everyone we invited could bring a couple of friends – so everyone who receives Dota 2 will be given two extra copies that they can hand out to whomever they’d like. You’ll find your extra copies in the Steam section of your Steam account’s item inventory, and you can use the Steam Trading feature to give them to your friends.

Make Something Unreal Live

Epic Games announces the return of their Make Something Unreal competition with "Make Something Unreal Live," which will culminate with a live event in April, 2012 at The Gadget Show Live. Once again this will offer a commercial Unreal Engine 3 license, though this time around it will be Unreal Engine 3 for iOS.

Op Ed

GameFront - What a Reviewer’s job is Not.
It is not a reviewer’s job to boost the Metacritic scoring average of your favorite game. It is not a reviewer’s job to boost the Metacritic scoring average of your favorite game. It is not a reviewer’s job to boost the Metacritic scoring average of your favorite game. It is not a reviewer’s job to boost the Metacritic scoring average of your favorite game. It is not a reviewer’s job to boost the Metacritic scoring average of your favorite game.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Yesterday I wrote about the postponement/cancellation of trick-or-treating in our area. Following that theme, today it seems only appropriate to mention that last night was supposed to be the beginning of the U.S. pro basketball season, except it was cancelled thanks to the ongoing NBA labor dispute. Congratulations to the millionaires and billionaires on each side of this dispute for their latest foot machine-gunning, as they continue to do as much damage as possible to the image of a sport that so recently experienced such huge success. Clown outfits for everyone!

On the brighter side of negotiations, I got a note from DirecTV saying they've come to a deal with News Corp, so I won't have to switch to cable to ensure continued access to some of my favorite things to watch on the telly: Giants games, Archer, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Justified.

Hoop Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Canyon Shooter 2.
Absorption Games.
Links: 26 Ads for Products That Must Exist in Video Games.
Stories: Utah Man, Shoots Neighbor For 'Telepathically Threatening' Him: Police.
'Field of Dreams' property sold; complex planned. Thanks Neatorama.
Mexico Soldiers Seize Catapults Used to Fling Pot. Thanks brother19.
Science: NASA looking at building tractor beams for space.
How Probiotic Yogurt Works. Thanks Boing Boing.
Uranus Bright Spot Intrigues Scientists, Leads Astronomers To Ignored Region.
Images: Adorable Minecraft creeper and candy.
Top 5 Tomb Raider Models (and Costumes). Thanks Digg.
Halloween 2011- Reader Costume Picture Gallery. Thanks Neatorama.
Media: Transformers in 1-D.
Piano Playing Blues Singing Dog. So awesome.
Dog can balance just about anything on his nose-head.
The Funnies: The Glory of the Watercoolest.
Follow-up: U.S. Navy marks railgun milestone. Thanks HARDOCP.
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