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Monday, Mar 05, 2012



NAMCO BANDAI GAMES announces a delay for RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED (shouting... I know!), saying the upcoming installment in Bugbear's arcade racing series will be released later this year, rather than this month, as planned. They say they will reveal the game's new release date and other related details "shortly":

NAMCO BANDAI GAMES Inc. can today confirm RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED will be released in North America later in 2012 to give the development team some additional time to pack the disc with features that will truly make the game sing. NAMCO BANDAI GAMES will be making an announcement shortly outlining the new release date, pre-order incentives and a full list of features that will excite fans of the series. RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and PC.

Assassin's Creed III Announced

Ubisoft officially announces Assassin's Creed III, confirming the previously revealed setting during the American Revolutionary War. This includes word that the game will be released on October 30, 2012, and an announcement trailer. Here's word:

SAN FRANCISCO - March 5, 2012 - Assassin's Creed® III will hit store shelves on October 30, 2012, encouraging gamers to experience the American Revolutionary War not written about in history books. The largest project in Ubisoft's history also introduces a new hero for the ages.

With a development cycle of over three years and twice the production capacity of any previous Ubisoft game, Assassin's Creed III is set to release on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Windows PC and is also in development for Wii UT from Nintendo. Assassin's Creed III is developed by Ubisoft Montreal in collaboration with six other Ubisoft studios.

Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution in the late 18th century, Assassin's Creed III introduces a new hero, Ratohnhaké:ton, of Native American and English heritage. Adopting the name Connor, he becomes the new voice for justice in the ancient war between the Assassins and Templars. Players become an Assassin in the war for liberty against ruthless tyranny in the most stylized and fluid combat experiences in the franchise to date. Assassin's Creed III spans the Revolutionary War, taking gamers from the vibrant, untamed frontier to bustling colonial towns and the intense, chaotic battlefields where George Washington's Continental Army clashed with the imposing British Army.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Showdown Effect Announced

Paradox Interactive announces The Showdown Effect, a Windows/OS X action game from Arrowhead Studios (Magicka) for release in the third quarter of this year. Word is: "The Showdown Effect is a 2.5D multiplayer action game inspired by 80’s and 90’s action movies where champions from different eras of time fight to the death, for fun, for glory and for awesome. Players will battle for the upper hand through cunning use of different weapons, the game's wide range dynamic environments and even the engine's own dramatic audiovisual effects." The Showdown Effect Website is online, offering info, screenshots, and an announcement trailer. Continue here to read the full story.

Dungeonland Announced

Dungeonland is one of three new games being announced today by Paradox Interactive, who say this is a cooperative action game set in a "crazy and dangerous medieval theme park" in the works at Critical Studio for release some time this year for Windows and OS X. Here's word from the Dungeonland Website: "Playing as The Rogue, The Warrior or The Mage, players will loot, level up, customize their hero and acquire new skills as they work their way through waves of monsters and traps leading all the way through deadly dungeons. From deadly jungles, to lush magical gardens and a dragon's lair, players will adventure through meticulously crafted themed environments all the way up to the tower of Dungeon Master himself. " The website has a trailer, some screenshots, and some further details. Continue here to read the full story.

RED Frontier Announced

The third of Paradox Interactive's three new game announcements is RED Frontier, a Windows "multiplayer real time strategy game, wrapped in the easy-to-pick-up and easy-to-play structure of a first person shooter," from Zeal Game Studios for release this year. There are screenshots, a gameplay trailer, and further details on the RED Frontier Website, including this description: "The player takes the role of a mercenary commander in the outer rims of the galaxy, fighting for control over the rare spaceship fuel Starvoid. On the battlefield, the player has an arsenal of combat droids, vehicles and ingenious abilities ranging from deployable machine gun turrets and minefields to repair nanoids and orbital rocket strikes. Everything is constantly refilled as the commander instantly is allowed to re-enter the battlefield after being eliminated." Continue here to read the full story.

All Zombies Must Die! Next Week

doublesix games announces All Zombies Must Die! will be released on Steam on March 12th, a considerable delay from the plan to release the Windows version of the shooter this past autumn. They say they have made it worth the wait:

All Zombies Must Die! combines twin-stick shooting with persistent role playing elements for a refreshing take on the well-worn subject of zombie slaughter. The fate of humanity rests in the hands of four unlikely heroes: Jack, the gamer; Rachel, the girl; Brian, the geek; and Luxo, the alien. Go it alone, or enlist the services of up to three like-minded chums to survive the zombie apocalypse.

The Steam version of the game addresses ‘zombie swarming’, with a new ‘treacle’ mechanic making it possible to wade through otherwise impenetrable crowds of zombies. Additionally, the gate-quest structure of the game has been re-jigged to improve the flow of play, making things less harsh towards the end of the game. As well as all this, the Steam version comes in tow with its own integrated leaderboards and achievements.

Taking on board feedback from the console versions of the game, doublesix has trimmed the fat, spruced up the core mechanics and put together an even more enjoyable Arcade RPG than before. The wait, it’s fair to say, has been worth it.

Depth Trailer

The Depth Website has the GDC trailer from Depth, an upcoming multiplayer stealth/action game set under the water. Word is: "For last year's GDC we showed off a trailer that focused primarily on the sneaking aspect of the game. This time around we're going to be showing you alot more of the combat / action side of gameplay , so you'll get a feel for the balance of power between sharks and humans." Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Mass Effect 3 Leaked

The Windows PC and Xbox 360 editions of Mass Effect 3 are available illegally online in advance of this week's official release of the action/RPG sequel. This is deemed mainstream news by Develop (though they aren't actually providing torrent links), who note that this seems to work in spite of EA requiring use of the Origin service for a one-time game activation.

New Haptic Controller Prototype

Engineers at the University of Utah have unveiled a new game controller prototype with a new form of haptic feedback, reports, saying this "delivers directional cues to the player by stretching the skin of the thumb tips in different directions." They offer a trailer showing off the design, and say they hope this will be ready for the public by the time the next generation of consoles arrives (here's hoping we've come up with a better term than "next generation" by then as well), and here's an outline of how this works from William Provancher, an associate professor of mechanical engineering:

"We have developed feedback modes that enhance immersiveness and realism for gaming scenarios such as collision, recoil from a gun, the feeling of being pushed by ocean waves or crawling prone in a first-person shooter game," Provancher says.

The latest game controller prototype looks like controllers for Microsoft's Xbox or Sony's PlayStation but with an addition to the controller's normal thumb joysticks, on which the thumbs are placed and moved in different directions to control the game. In the new controller, the middle of each ring-shaped thumb stick has a round, red "tactor" that looks like the eraser-head-shaped IBM TrackPoint or pointing stick now found on a number of laptop computer brands.

Tracing Rays Through the Cloud

The Intel Software Network has the latest progress on their ongoing experimentation with creating practical applications for ray tracing technology. Though they point out that "most of today’s high-end gaming PCs are unable to render complex, dynamic, fully ray-traced games at high resolutions and frame rates," they offer a counter-intuitive explanation of how it can apply to tablets by way of that cloud everyone is so excited about: "But Intel work to offload complex ray-tracing calculations to the cloud could eventually enable highly realistic games to be played on smaller, more mobile systems." Thanks Ant via Slashdot.

U.K. Charts

The weekly listing on GfK Chart-Track of the top 20 full-priced PC entertainment titles in the U.K. shows Football Manager 2012 continuing to kick balls and take names at the number one spot. A few older titles reemerge this week, and the one new entry is the Windows edition of Alan Wake, which debuts at #11. The more dynamic all platforms chart has a new number one, SSX, and a new number three, Mario Party 9.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

I couldn't be happier with how this weekend's batch of chili turned out. My recent variations on the recipe have backed off from my purist approach to adding spiciness though fresh peppers by adding a few more dried spices. This resulted in a more subtle heat that's sort of a roller-coaster ride, rather than being so fiery right from the start, and the use of some chipotle added the smokiness I was hoping to achieve. Good stuff.

R.I.P.: Guitarist Ronnie Montrose Dead at 64.

Fiery Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Working Stiffs.
Stories: Larry Flynt offers $1M for dirt on Congress.
Disability assessment office moving: 13th floor stair hike "not ideal". Thanks Neatorama.
Divorce Late in Life: The Gray Divorcés. Thanks Neatorama.
Science: Blast it or paint it? Asteroid to threaten Earth in 2013. Thanks HARDOCP.
Robotic surgeries costlier but safer: study.
Taking vitamin E linked to osteoporosis: research.
Images: Penguin Paparazzi.
First World Dog Problems.
Media: If Online Gamers Were Honest.
The Real Housewives of Disney.
Dangerously funny elevator prank.
The Funnies: Dilbert.

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