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Thursday, Jun 07, 2012


Vivendi to Discuss Activision Sale?

Rumors have emerged that Vivendi SA will be deciding the fate of Activision Blizzard at a senior executive meeting this month, reports Bloomberg, citing "people with knowledge of the matter." Word is: "The main scenario to be discussed is a sale of part or all of Vivendi’s 61 percent stake in Activision, the maker of “Call of Duty” with a market value of about $13 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the meeting is private." Thanks GamesIndustry International.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Dawnguard Details

There's a big old preview of Dawnguard on Kotaku detailing what to expect from this upcoming expansion for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, saying it: "Sounds Like a Proper Old-School RPG Expansion." They came away from a conversation with Bethesda's Todd Howard with a load of information, all presented in easily digested bullets. Here are just a few points:

  • The main quest has two different tracks, one for Vampire Lord and one for Dawnguard.
  • Dawnguard will offer 10-20 hours of gameplay, depending on how you play.
  • Even though the two story tracks are separate, they'll come together at various key points in the story. "Whatever the Macguffin is," Howard told me, "both sides come together around that point, and then it diverges afterwards.

Arma 2: Army of the Czech Republic Announced

Bohemia Interactive Studios announces Arma 2: Army of the Czech Republic, new DLC for Arma II coming to the military shooter sequel in Q3 of this year. Word is: "The civil war in Bystrica is at its end. But it's not the end of fear for the people. War criminals like Colonel Miyovic still terrorize the country with their militia looting and murdering civilians. Forces of the Czech Republic Army are sent to restore order. After restoring partial order in Takistan; Allied forces were able to send in a small number of provisional reconstruction teams. Unfortunately local rebels are still planning operations to damage the reconstruction process. However, Czech forces are operating in the area and that should help change the status quo." There are some screenshots on the Arma 2 Website, and here's a feature list:

  • Czech Army - Bolster the Arma sandbox with a range of authentic Czech Army units and vehicles, including the L-159 Alca, Pandur II, and Dingo infantry mobility vehicle
  • Authentic Weapons - Pick from a range of new weapons, including those developed with Ceská Zbrojovka a.s.: CZ 805 BREN, CZ Scorpion EVO III and CZ 75 PHANTOM
  • Diverse Missions - Deploy across 15 new missions in the single player campaign, scenarios and procedural template gameplay modes
  • Verdant Environments - Explore the two new summer-season terrains: Bystrica and Bukovina

FTL Closed Beta This Month

Plot is Gameplay's Bitch has word from Tom Jubert (Penumbra) that he's been working on FTL: Faster Than Light, the upcoming spaceship simulation/roguelike-like game that had an extremely successful Kickstart. Tom informs us we should expect closed beta testing of the game to begin this month. Also, the FTL Website offers a recent pre-beta video #5.

Humble Indie Bundle V Expands

Humble Mumble announces that Braid, Super Meat Boy, and Lone Survivor are now being included in Humble Indie Bundle V. Word is: "If you’ve already purchased Humble Indie Bundle V, then Braid, Super Meat Boy, and Lone Survivor are already on your download page! The DRM-free games run on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and can be optionally redeemed on Steam."

It Came from E3 2012, Part 5

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc, etc.

38 Studios Bankrupt; FBI Investigating

38 Studios has declared bankruptcy, a company spokesman tells The Providence Journal, and the paper also reports that the Rhode Island State Police inform them that state and federal authorities have launched an investigation into the videogame company founded by former major league pitcher Curt Schilling (thanks Nomaar). They don't have details on the nature of the inquiries, saying simply that Rhode Island State Police superintendent Col. Steven G. O'Donnell says that his agency, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's office, and the Rhode Island attorney general "are working together to investigate activities that have recently come to light at 38 Studios." In 2010 38 Studios secured a now-infamous $75 million in loan guarantees from Rhode Island to relocate to the ocean state, and trouble repaying that loan preceded the layoff of their staff last month. Here's the statement from the company about its bankruptcy:

"This action comes after several weeks when the company has reviewed, considered and received the recommendations and advice with respect to potential avenues for relief that are currently available. After ongoing negotiations with the State of Rhode Island and potential investors and other interested parties, the Company has been unable to find a solution to the current stalemate."

Peter Molyneux's $78K DLC

Those used to unusual game plans from Peter Molyneux will not be disappointed by the write-up on New Scientist about what the Populous creator is up to. They outline what's up at 22 Cans, saying his new company plans 22 experiments "designed to explore the psychology of social-media users" in preparation for a fuller game based in these data (thanks Develop). Here's word on the first project, a PC/Mac game called Curiosity, which will feature a £50,000 piece of DLC and apparently zero gameplay:

The first experiment, "Curiosity", puts players in a virtual room containing a single black cube. Players tap away at the cube, causing it to fracture and shed tiny layers from the surface. Other fractures also appear because everyone playing the game is tapping away at the same black cube.

After an undivulged, large number of taps, the cube will open, revealing something "truly amazing, absolutely unique", says Molyneux. The twist is that only the player who performs the final tap will get to see inside the cube, and 22Cans will study how news of the revelation spreads. "We will rely entirely on social media," explains Molyneux. "How will this person prove it? That in itself becomes a fascinating aspect of this experiment."

Before the cube opens, a second phase of the experiment will be launched. Players will then be able to purchase one of a limited number of chisels to amplify their tapping strength. These range from a iron chisel, costing 59 pence, that is 10 times more powerful than just tapping alone, to a diamond chisel that is 100,000 times as powerful. Again, there is a twist: Molyneux will only sell one diamond chisel - and it will cost £50,000. "It's an insane amount of money," he admits, but the aim is to see whether pure curiosity will drive one player, or a syndicate of players assembled through social media, to buy the chisel. "This is not a money-making exercise; it is a test about the psychology of monetisation."

Two Guys From Andromeda AMA

The Kickstarter Page for the Two Guys SpaceVenture (by the creators of Space Quest, Two Guys From Andromeda) offers a little love to the Kickstarters for the Tex Murphy project and Carmageddon: Reincarnation, and also announces the Two Guys will be participating in an AMA on Reddit today at noon eastern time (thanks nin). On a related note, "Pledge Quest" to support Two Guys' SpaceVenture is a fan-created one-room puzzle to support the fundraiser (careful of spoilers, the walkthrough is included in the post).

It Came from E3 2012, Part 4

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

I was asked for an update on the Gunnar-man, and I am happy to report that he has not been marking territory in the house like he was. Unfortunately, two variables have changed, as right around when I added a second walk to the schedule we also made the decision we are not moving. That makes it tough to pin down what worked, but we're all enjoying our second walk, so I guess we'll just have to live with that mystery.

Mysterious Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Kings Game.
Last Mars Tower.
Spider Sphere Games.
Stories: Elvis Presley to be digitally recreated. Thanks brother19.
Media: 'Django Unchained' Trailer- Off The Chain.
How To Deal With Your Out Of Control Child.
Follow-up: Fourth "Transformers" To Pass The Torch.

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