Archived News:

Wednesday, Dec 14, 2011

CD Projekt Versus File-Sharers?

TorrentFreak reports that lawyers for CD Projekt are contacting individual file-sharers in Germany offering to settle accusations of pirating The Witcher 2 for €911.80 ($1,183.06). For corroboration, they point to this German page which does mention the game and that figure. Thanks Lance via Techdirt, where they note the danger such a "shakedown" can target innocent parties.

Risen 2 in April 2012

Deep Silver and Piranha Bytes announce a release date for Risen 2: Dark Waters, saying the pirate-themed RPG sequel is April 24, 2012 for U.S.A. and Canada and April 27th for Europe. The Risen 2 Facebook Page now offers the cover art for the game, and here's the latest description:
In Risen 2: Dark Waters, the Inquisition dispatches the hero to seek a remedy against the monstrous sea creatures that are interfering with the shipping lines, thus cutting off the islands' supplies. The pirates seem to know how to deal with these critters ... but they are hardly cooperative.

New gameplay elements add to the diversity of Risen 2; for example, players can also use firearms now. And, being pirates, adventurers can also employ special new skills called Dirty Tricks, allowing them to confuse or attack enemies in combat.

Deep Silver will release Risen 2: Dark Waters for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Windows PC, and PlayStation®3.

Little Big Bunch Indie Bundle

Little Big Bunch is the latest entry in the suddenly crowded pick-your-price indie bundle category. The games included are Explodemon, Frozen Synapse, NS Soccer 5, Munch's Odyssey, and Serious Sam Double D. In addition to being able to choose their own price, purchasers can also decide how their money is split between the developers and the GamesAid charity.

Child's Play Update

The Child's Play Website has the latest on this year's fundraising efforts by this game-related charity. They offer the results of their annual dinner auction, which raised $351,000 in a single evening. As of now, they are just $50,000 shy of their 2011 goal of $2,000,000.

Steamships Ahoy - X3: Albion Prelude

Steam now offers X3: Albion Prelude, the expansion for X3: Terran Conflict to pave the way for X Rebirth, the next installment in EGOSOFT's sci-fi series. Word is: "The X universe is undergoing a period of massive change. What started as a conflict of interest between the Earth and the races of the X Universe has now escalated into a full scale war. Play a part in a war scenario bigger than anything the X Universe has ever seen before!"

Ships Ahoy - Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

Steam News announces the release of the PC edition of Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, which is 25% off for its launch:
Thousands of giant insects and aliens once again ravage the earth, and only the Earth Defense Force can stop them. Defend the city of New Detroit against an infestation bigger and meaner than ever before. Destroy these monsters at all costs, even if it means turning entire city blocks into rubble!

Enjoy raw arcade shooter satisfaction on a gigantic modern scale. Collect over 300 weapons: assault rifles, rocket launchers, energy weapons, sniper rifles, grenade launchers and more! Play with 4 upgradeable armor types: Jetpack, Battle, Tactical, and Trooper. Experience Massive replayability through arcade style scoring, tons of weapons to collect, and multiple difficulty levels in every game mode!

On Sale

Today's Daily Wishlist Giveaway sale on Steam is Tales of Monkey Island for 75% off.

Evening Previews

  • City of Steam on the Official Website. Art Dev Journal. Thanks Cutter.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic on Character Class Guide. Thanks nin.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: GOLIATH trailer. Thanks Joker961 via zillah1985. Total budget: $150.00!

Guild Wars 2 Closed Beta Friday

A comment on reddit by ArenaNet in the I Am A chat mentioned earlier reveals plans to begin closed beta testing of Guild Wars 2 on Friday: "We will officially enter Closed Beta Testing this Friday. It will be marked with an increase in our pool of testers. To clarify, this phase of testing is still under NDA and is not open to the public. Based on the feedback we get from our current Closed Beta Testing, we will determine the next phases of our beta program in which we will open beta access to more people." Also, there's this follow up post indicating they are not offering any hints on the selection process for the beta for the MMORPG sequel. Thanks Guild Wars 2 Slovenija.

PC Alan Wake Announced

Remedy Entertainment announces Alan Wake is coming for Windows early next year, confirming recent indications that a PC edition of the third-person shooter/psychological thriller is in the works. They include the first screenshot from the Windows edition, and word that it will include content that's DLC on the Xbox 360 edition:
Remedy Entertainment is proud to announce the PC release of Alan Wake. Coming in early 2012, the game will give PC gamers the Alan Wake experience they have been patiently waiting for. Remedy is a developer with deep roots in the PC space (Death Rally and Max Payne 1 and 2), so the game will have the high resolution polish that longtime fans will expect.

The PC version of the game will also include The Signal and The Writer downloadable content.

Alan Wake tells the story of a best-selling writer suffering from writer’s block. He goes on vacation to the small town of Bright Falls with his wife, Alice, to gain back his creative flow. Shortly upon arrival, Wake finds himself trapped in a nightmare when his wife mysteriously goes missing. He keeps finding pages of a manuscript he apparently wrote, but can’t remember writing. The manuscript is coming true. An involving psychological action thriller, Alan Wake raises the bar in storytelling and creating a suspenseful cinematic experience.

C&C Tiberium Alliances Announced

EA officially announces Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances, an upcoming free-to-play, cross-platform (browsers/mobile) MMO strategy game set in the Command & Conquer Tiberium universe, explaining EA's recent acquisition of several domains related to the title. One of those domains is now live as a website for the game, where they are accepting signups for closed beta testing, which is set to begin tomorrow. Here's word:
REDWOOD SHORES, Calif., Dec 14, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --Sign Up Now for A Chance to Participate in the Closed Beta and Fight for Your Territory

Only the strong survive. Phenomic(TM), an Electronic Arts Inc. ERTS -0.24% studio, today announced Command & Conquer(TM) Tiberium Alliances, an all new free-to-play, massively multiplayer online (MMO) strategy game set in the Command & Conquer Tiberium universe. In the quest for world domination, players must choose their friends wisely and foster strategic alliances as they fight against each other and hordes of mutant enemies. Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances is the first truly portable MMO game with cross-platform accessibility on web browsers and mobile devices. Gamers can get in on the epic battle for world supremacy by signing up for the closed beta at . The closed beta starts on December 15, 2011.

"Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances is the first MMO and first free-to-play game for the long-running Command & Conquer series. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to forge new ground with this acclaimed franchise," said Martin Lohlein, Senior Producer, Phenomic. "We're hoping to deliver an experience that will allow our loyal fans to play their favorite franchise anywhere they go, while introducing the exciting world of Tiberium to new players."
Continue here to read the full story.

Aion Goes F2P in EU

Gameforge announces the European edition of Aion is going free-to-play beginning in February 2012, when players in the U.K., France, and Germany will be able to access the full game with no subscription fees, with the rest of western Europe to follow. As of now the North American website for NCsoft's MMORPG has no indications that the N.A. version of the game will be dropping subscription fees. The Aion Free-to-Play Page has details, and here's a bit:
Karlsruhe/Seoul, 14. 12. 2011 – Gameforge, Europe's leading provider of online games, and NCsoft®, the world’s premier publisher and developer of massively multiplayer online games, today announced a new and free to play business model for AION, the online role-playing game. From February 2012, players will be able to download the full version of the game for free and play without any subscription costs. AION will be launched in the UK, France and Germany first and will be accessible to play across Western Europe.

AION is one of the world’s most popular and numerous awards winning MMOGs including a very loyal fan base in Europe. Songyee Yoon, Chief Strategic Officer from NCsoft® commented that “by introducing the free-to-play model, we hope more gamers in Europe will be able to experience the epic story of Aion” and added that “NCsoft welcomes the partnership with Gameforge with its long MMO experience in the free-to-play sector and its excellent knowledge of the European market.”

Gameforge’s Executive Director Alexander Rösner also welcomes the collaboration: “In AION we have received a flagship title for our MMO sector which perfectly complements our current portfolio. We have worked hard with NCsoft® to develop a fair free-to-play model for new players as well as the current community. In the future we will of course continue to develop new content and extend it, working in close cooperation with the players.”

For detailed information about the free-to-play model visit

Just Cause Film Moves Forward, Third Game Coming

A new writer is now attached to Just Cause: Scorpion Rising, the upcoming film based on the Just Cause open-world action games from Avalanche Studios, reports Hollywood Reporter. This also includes a casual mention on the continuation of the series, saying: "a third game is now in development." Word is Bryan Edward Hill is rewriting the script for the project, and they offer his résumé, which includes NYU film school, work in the world of advertising, and some comic book credits, as he co-wrote Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box, a Witchblade mini-series for Top Cow and co-created the Image comic 7 Days From Hell, which is also being developed for the screen. They also offer a one-liner for the film: "The movie will focus on the origin of the Scorpion, aka Rico Rodriguez."

More on Guild Wars 2 Mesmer

ArenaNet follows the reveal of the Mesmer from Guild Wars 2 with more details on the final profession in the MMORPG sequel. Word is: "Introduced in the original Guild Wars, the mesmer has been revamped, reimagined and redesigned for a standalone role in Guild Wars 2. This signature profession celebrates its return to the Guild Wars series by demonstrating an enhanced command of the magic, illusion and sorcery that made the mesmer a profession favorite of the series." The Guild Wars 2 Website has the previously released trailer, and this page which doesn't help much, though they promise they will hold an I Am A reddit conversation at some point today. Here are the mesmer abilities revealed so far:

  • Illusions: the mesmer is the master of illusion on the battlefield, tricking its foes and sowing confusion among its enemies. Whether using casted lookalike Clones, or the impressively strong Phantasms, the mesmer can trick, deceive and decimate the enemy through the use of their illusions.
  • Shattering: Not only can the mesmer create illusions, but it can take them away. By using the mesmer’s various shatter skills, the mesmer can destroy their own illusions resulting in various attacks and support effects.
  • Mantras: As a skill with two phases, the Mantra ability demonstrates its power with the ability to be charged before battle. With the Mantra charged, the mesmer gains an instant casting skill that they can used to deliver immediate damage while charging other spells.

WoW Patch Notes

The World of Warcraft Website offers a new set of version 4.3 Hour of Twilight Patch Notes for Blizzard's MMORPG. These come in spite of the release of said patch over two weeks ago and one two three hotfixes since then, proving that keeping up with game patches can be confusing, even with a centrally updated MMORPG.

Op Ed

GameFront - The Spike Video Game Awards Don’t Need to Change, YOU Do!
The Spike VGAs aren’t for you. They never have been, and they probably never will be, because what you want doesn’t make for good television. You want to see a bunch of developers accepting their awards and giving big, insightful speeches that will stir your imagination and teach you a little something about how the best games of the year were made. That’s not good TV. Half the developers have never been in front of a camera in their lives, and even less of them are actually good in front of one. Of the few acceptance speeches that were allowed to air, I don’t think a single one failed to be waffling and awkward. People who are not you don’t want to see that. People who are not you would like to see footballers revealing which footballer will be the footballer on the football game that they’re looking forward to. Because that’s who the Spike VGAs are for — people who watch Spike, drink beer, and watch the f*ck out of some football.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Reader Fusman alerted me to what looks like an error I've been making in linking to stories on in an effort to avoid the problem I'm causing (oh the delicious irony!!). The site localizes links, and I thought that stripping out the regional part would make them work in all territories. Just to confirm this, I'd appreciate if a couple of readers outside of North America could confirm that this link is broken and this link works (and if it works, do the local parts of the URL ("us" and "en") change appropriately)?

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: TU-46.
Dibbles 2. Thanks Daniel.
Crazy Christmas.
Links: Rock of Ages- Everybody's Wiggin' Out. Thanks nin.
Austin Powers Gets A Musical Prequel.
Science: Arsenic in water near coal-fired US plants: monitor.
Images: My dad finally got his pilot's license today. He sent me this.
Media: Siri finds out Steve Jobs died.
Bearded Dragon playing Ant Crusher.
Dogs in Cars.
CD explodes at 23,000 rpm.
Auction: Bid For A Lunch With Mark Hamill In L.A.
The Funnies: xkcd: Plastic Bags.
Brain Rot: Nostalgic Memories of the NES.
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