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Saturday, May 05, 2012 Cinco de Mayo. Happy Birthday Wolfenstein 3D.


Free Radical on LucasArts and Battlefront III

A lengthy feature on Eurogamer looks back at the rise and fall of developer Free Radical games. The article's into states it was once to be called "Did Haze Kill Free Radical," but their research resulted in more of an indictment of mainstream game development in a piece ultimately titled "Free Radical vs. the Monsters." One interested contention, highlighted by GameSpot, is that LucasArts actually wanted their ambitious plans for Star Wars: Battlefront III to fail. Here's what he says about the sequel where the idea was that "players could seamlessly transition from a small-scale gunfight into a space battle simply by climbing into a ship and taking off":

But LucasArts began to press hard on other, less quantifiable, issues. "Stalling tactics," says Graeme Norgate. "If a publisher wants to find something that is wrong with a milestone, it's very easy for them to do so as there are so many grey areas within a deliverable. If the contract says, 'Graphics for level X to be release quality,' who can say what's release quality? And there you have it."

"LucasArts hadn't paid us for six months," says Norgate "and were refusing to pass a milestone so we would limp along until the money finally ran out. They knew what they were doing, and six months of free work to pass on to Rebellion wasn't to be sniffed at." Part of the eventual agreement between LucasArts and Free Radical saw certain assets passed on to Rebellion Studios. For a time LucasArts was tempted by the thought of a hastily put together Battlefront 3, but nothing came of it. When presented with the allegations put forth by this investigation, LucasArts said simply that it does not comment on rumour and speculation.

On EA and Indies

An interview on Rock, Paper, Shotgun talks with Nels Anderson of Klei about working with EA's Partners program. After EA took some heat for offering an "indie" bundle, Anderson explains that a lot of those games could not have been created without EA, which some would say is the reason this all doesn't qualify as "indie." Here's one of his comments:

First, all the games in this bundle were published via the EA Partners program. It’s the same group that Valve uses to release their games on consoles. It’s actually a very small group of people within EA and the people that run it are separate from EA’s internal studios.

And it really is a partnership. I never saw anything that could even be vaguely considered creative pressure. EAP got on board with the games because they liked the concepts and the developers! I think they understood that total creative freedom was very important to all the developers involved in these projects.

Saturday Previews

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Saturday Safety Dance

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Game Reviews

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Out of the Blue

Happy Cinco de Mayo! And happy birthday Wolfenstein 3D, as id Software's seminal first person shooter was released (brace yourself) 20 years ago today.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Undo The End.
John Citizen 2.
Links: The 6 Greatest Video Games We'll Never Get to Play.
Stories: 'Cinco de Mayo' _ plenty of beer, little history.
Connecticut Senate passes medical marijuana bill.
Company’s ‘LaserSaber’ looks just like ‘Star Wars’ Jedi weapon.
Images: Underwater Dogs. Thanks Devicer.
Media: Star Wars: The Old Republic - "Hope" Fan Film.
Freeman's Mind: Episode 41 (Half-Life Machinima). NSFW.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Free Bird Seed.

Friday, May 04, 2012 Happy Star Wars Day!

Elder Scrolls Online Website; Trailer

The Elder Scrolls Online Website is online as home to the just-revealed MMO installment in Bethesda's RPG series. This is more-or-less a placeholder at the moment, but it does offer an announcement trailer bringing the game's logo into view following a dramatic buildup. No gameplay or cinematics are included, but there is also now a new screenshot on the Bethesda Blog. Continue here to read the full story.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Preorders; Specs

The CAPCOM Blog has word that preorders are now underway for the Windows PC edition of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. The PC version of the survival/horror shooter is on track for its previously announced May 18th release, and include an explanation that it will not contain additional content. They also offer system specs: Continue here to read the full story.

Dead Island: Game Of The Year Edition Next Month?

Siliconera has word on the discovery of a British Board of Film Classification rating for a Dead Island: Game Of The Year Edition. This includes words this is to be released in the U.K. on June 30th, with the timeframe probably more of a revelation than plans for the inevitable GotY SKU.

Dungeons of Dredmor DLC & Steamworks Next Month

Just a couple of days after announcing plans for free DLC for Dungeons of Dredmor, Gaslamp Games announces this will be released one month from tomorrow. They also reveal the "You Have to Name the Expansion" pack will add Steamworks support to the dungeon-crawler. They also have word on how to get in on the beta through their IRC channel, if you are daring enough to both use beta software and IRC.

Gatherings & Competitions

On Sale

Evening Screenshots

Thanks Gamer's Hell.

Evening Consolidation

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Into the Black

Ridge Racer Unbounded Demo

The Ridge Racer Unbounded Page on Steam now offers a playable demo for the latest installment in the Ridge Racer series of racing simulations. We have no details on the demo itself, but here's a brief overview of the game: "RIDGE RACER Unbounded brings an unexpected dimension to the series, delivering an original blast of ferocious racing adrenaline. Join the Unbounded street racing gang, lead by Kara Shindo, and test your driving skills against rivals in every street and alley of Shatter Bay. Prove your worth, get respect and expand your turf." Thanks Frans.

Last Stronghold 3 Patch Next Week

Firefly Studios announces plans to release a new patch for Stronghold 3 a week from today, saying the version 1.10 patch is their last planned update for the strategy sequel. Then new version will include a bunch of user-requested changes and a new "Coronation" multiplayer mode. Here's word:

In Coronation Mode players will race to become the King of Kings. Players start off at the lowly rank of “Village Idiot” with limited access to buildings and military units. By generating honour players can move up the ranks, gaining new technology and weaponry along the way. For the first time in a Stronghold game Coronation mode also features upgradable keeps, which have their own defences and provide additional housing for workers and troops. The first King to achieve the rank of “Emperor” will win the game and can rightly claim to be the ultimate Stronghold Lord.

Continue here to read the full story.

Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition Announced

The Blood Bowl Website announces Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition, an updated edition of their Warhammer meets tackle football mash-up expected this September. The new edition will add three new races, a new stadium, and a new World Championship mode, though it's not stated if this is an expansion or a new product, but as we wait for more details, they offer some screenshots in the meantime, and here's a bit on what's new: "World Championship mode expands even further the solo experience of Blood Bowl. From national qualifying games to continental cups to the final tournament, the competition just got bloodier! The online mode will of course be available with its intense matches, vicious private leagues, and global rankings! Get ready for another round of high fantasy football as Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition races for the touchdown!"

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Out of the Blue

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