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Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012


SimCity 5 Revealed?

NeoGAF has some images said to be scans from German Gamestar magazine showing off SimCity 5 for the first time. This is all still an unconfirmed rumor, but Maxis, creators of the urban planning series, is known to be working on a new project, and PC Gamer notes they have already committed to announcement next week at GDC. Thanks Joao.

"Major" Assassin's Creed Announcement Nears

Without revealing any details, the Assassin's Creed Facebook page teases a "major" announcement, saying: "A major announcement from Assassin’s Creed is only days away. Tune in to tomorrow for more details."

Redshirt Announced

Positech games announces they will be publishing Redshirt a comedic sci-fi simulation that places the player in the role of an ambitious low-ranking peon aboard a space station. The game is in the works for Windows and OS X at The Tiniest Shark for release sometime this year. The Redshirt Website is online, and here's a bit on the game:

Navigate the professional and interpersonal politics of the ubiquitous "Spacebook" to curry favor among friends and colleagues. As intense intergalactic conflict rages around you, it's up to you to accrue those all-important "likes" on your status updates! Whether you're looking for love, opportunities for promotion, or even a chance to play Zero-G golf with the captain, you can schmooze your way through social circles and claw your way up the career ladder. Perhaps you too can finally achieve the dream of an off-station transfer, or even the Redshirt's opportunity of a lifetime: being sent on an away-mission!

Baldurs [sic] Gate Teaser Trailer

A new Baldur's Gate Teaser Trailer is online seemingly associated with the new tease related to the RPG series. The clip spends 90 seconds gradually dissolving to say "coming soon," casting doubt on whether the folks behind this know what "soon" actually means (thanks nin via Kotaku). The thing is, this isn't actually from Beamdog, reports VG247, noting the missing apostrophe in the logo should have given it away.

The Banner Saga Trailer

The Stoic Website now offers an announcement trailer from The Banner Saga, the recently announced upcoming tactical RPG. The trailer features stylized cinematics, a couple of glimpses of gameplay, and a really long banner. Continue here to read the full story.

Catalyst Drivers Windows 8 Consumer Preview

AMD now offer a new Catalyst Drivers Windows 8 Consumer Preview for AMD/ATI graphics cards. They have also release new version 12.2 AMD Catalyst Application Profiles.

New Unreal Development Kit Beta

The UDK Website now offers a new February edition of the Unreal Development Kit, the perpetually beta software to allow the free development of Unreal-engine games and projects. The download is mirrored on Gamer's Hell.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Blizzard Cuts ~600 Staff

Blizzard Entertainment announces "staff reductions," as they are cutting approximately 600 positions, saying that: "The company anticipates approximately 90% of the affected employees will come from departments not related to game development," and that: "The World of Warcraft development team will not be impacted." The World of Warcraft Forums (thanks Joao via PC Gamer) have a message from Mike Morhaime with more on this. Here's a portion:

After evaluating our current organizational needs, we determined that while some areas of our business had been operating at the right levels and could benefit from further growth, other areas had become overstaffed. As a result, we need to scale down some of our departments and part with some of our colleagues and friends here at Blizzard. I know that you all understand how difficult this type of situation can be for anyone who might be affected, so I want to assure you that we'll be offering each impacted employee a severance package and other benefits.

I also want to emphasize that we remain committed to shipping multiple games this year, and that our development teams in particular remain largely unaffected by today's announcement. We're continuing to develop, iterate, and polish Blizzard DOTA, Diablo III, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, as well as other, unannounced projects. We'll have exciting news to share in the coming weeks regarding Diablo III's release date, and will soon be holding a private media event to showcase the latest work on Mists of Pandaria. It goes without saying that we're working hard to get all of these games in your hands as soon as possible.

Microsoft Flight Takes Off

The Microsoft Flight Website now offers Microsoft Flight, the free-to-play follow up to the Microsoft Flight Simulator series of flying games. With the series entering a new era with a name change and a different business model, MCV sits down with Microsoft's Joshua Howard about these topics. Here are his thoughts on the free thing: "Free-to-play was a really easy choice. The idea that we’re going to give away an experience that can introduce, for no cost, millions and millions of people to the magic that is flying just seemed like a no brainer. We believe people will get in, experience the free thing, realise that flying is magical, it is doable, it is achievable. And then they’ll become fans. And if they become fans then they’ll want to stick around. And a free-to-play model with downloadable content seemed to be a great fit for that."

Reckoning DLC Next Month

EA and 38 Studios announce Legend of Dead Kel, the first DLC for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the RPG developed by 38 Studios' Big Huge Games. The DLC is due on March 20th for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Here's a bit on what this is about: "Featuring a mysterious tale of intrigue, danger and dark magic on the island of Gallows End, players will encounter shadowy characters and new enemies, and will experience a host of new side quests, treacherous battles and exciting new challenges. The Legend of Dead Kel gives players access to Gallows End, a gigantic new continent to explore where players claim ownership of a vast personal estate and experience new weapons, Twists of Fate and other perks against new enemies." Here's a feature list:

  • An Epic New Questline – The Legend of Dead Kel is only part of the story of Gallows End. It intertwines with numerous side quests, multiple dungeons to explore and a colorful cast of characters
  • New Enemies, Dungeons, Items – Multiple new enemies and enemy variants, a new dungeon type: Dverga Fastings, three new Twists of Fate, eight new armor sets, eight new shields and 18 new unique weapons
  • The Ultimate Player Housing – Gravehal Keep is more than just player housing, it's a massive estate with multiple buildings and a full retinue of retainers, each with their own back stories, side quests, perks and quirks
  • Tons more to Explore – The Legend of Dead Kel DLC adds in more than 15% of additional land to traverse and explore in the already massively expansive world that is Amalur

Quantum Conundrum This Summer

Quantum Conundrum is due this summer, offering the next physics puzzle game from Kim Swift, who co-designed Portal at Valve before moving along to Airtight Games. This is reported on Computer and Video Games, where they say this applies to the Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 editions in Europe and PAL regions.

Minecraft Preview Build; Mod Support Plans

Saying the official release is planned for tomorrow, Mojang now offers a preview version 1.2 of Minecraft, the indie game everyone digs so much. Word is: "Full change log will be posted tomorrow, but it’s basically all the snapshots since Minecraft 1.1 packed into one :)." They also announce they have hired the four main developers of the bukkit community-based Minecraft server implementation to develop the official Minecraft API. Word is:

The plan is to build a fresh server API, and then extend it to support client-side modding (in one way or another). We will try to make it easy for bukkit users to convert if they wish to do so, but backwards compatibility is not guaranteed. We will, however, help bukkit to be compatible with 1.2, to avoid having a long gap while you wait for the official Minecraft server to catch up.

PC Jet Set Radio HD Plans

Jet Set Radio HD is coming to Windows PC, PlayStation Network, and Xbox LIVE Arcade this summer via digital download, reports Eurogamer. Details are scant, as they simply say this will offer an "upgraded HD version" of Jet Set Radio, originally released for the SEGA Dreamcast back in the 20th century.

Borderlands 2 Steamworks Support

2K Games and Gearbox Software announce Steamworks support will be included in Borderlands 2 when the role-playing shooter is released on September 18th. Here's the deal: "Borderlands 2 players will enjoy the benefits of Steamworks features, such as Steam Achievements, downloadable content, auto-updating, multiplayer matchmaking, Steam Cloud support and more. Customers who purchase the PC retail version of Borderlands 2 will also be able to enjoy all the great Steamworks features as well."

Game of Thrones Web MMORPG Details

Bigpoint reveals new details about their browser-based Game of Thrones MMORPG that was first revealed late last year. A preliminary website is online, and they say the game is in the works at Norwegian developer Artplant, and they say they expect it to go into closed beta testing in the fall. Here's a bit on how this will work: "Bigpoint’s design goal is to capture the show’s compelling drama and action and create a visceral gaming experience via an unprecedented level of visual fidelity. The bloodthirsty struggle for power, corruption, and deception will persist. To ensure survival of their dynasty, players must master combat and politics." They say more details will be revealed at next week's Game Developer Conference.

Game of Thrones RPG New Area Revealed

Cyanide Studio offers six new Game of Thrones screenshots from their upcoming RPG based on George R.R. Martin's novels. The new shots introduce a new original location that will be part of the game. Here's word on that:

Castlewood is an original location, playing a key role in the video game while fitting into the existing “A Song Of Ice And Fire” saga. The township of Castlewood will be one of the many places the two heroes of the game – Mors, sworn brother of the Night's Watch, and Alester, the Red Priest – will explore and fight through. From King’s Landing and Red Keep to the Wall, an Epic quest awaits our heroes, guided by revenge, loyalty, honor, and family, along a twisting plot filled with betrayal and vicious hardships.

Brick-Force Closed Beta

The Brick-Force Website now offers closed beta testing of this cross platform "Build, Share and Play" game. The beta is for the PC edition, but they expect to launch a browser-based version with cross-platform play around the time the game enters open beta in the spring. The Closed Beta FAQ has more details.

MechWarrior Online Trailer

PC Gamer has a MechWarrior Online trailer, offering the first look at Piranha Game's upcoming multiplayer mech game. The cinematic teaser shows an Atlas disembarking from a dropship like a lead zeppelin.

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

Happy Leap Day! Or as your boss considers it: An extra day to do business. A bonus profit opportunity. If this gets you angry, just remember, as Leap Day William teaches, nothing you do on Leap Day counts*, so this is an awesome opportunity for sweet, sweet revenge. Hope you're wearing yellow and blue and you have your own Leap Day miracle.

*Leap Day Willie is not an attorney, and his beliefs should not be taken as legal advice.

Leaping Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Monsters TD.
Boom Pirates.
Links: What is a Leap Year?
Stories: Razzies: Sandler's 'Jack and Jill' Gets 12 Worst-Film Nods. Thanks Neatorama.
Boeing delivers biggest 747 to secret VIP buyer. Thanks Devicer.
Backup Cameras Likely Mandated for 2014. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: When I Tell People I Work from Home.
Media: Tarantino - Seen From Below.
This Turtle Is Determined to Protect His Hood.
World Record Paper Airplane Throw.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
xkcd- Late-Night PBS.
Follow-ups: "Avengers" Gets Title Change, New Poster.
Electromagnetic Railgun Tested On Video.

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