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Monday, Mar 04, 2013


Soren Johnson at Stardock

A post to the Elemental Forums by Brad Wardell reveals that Soren Johnson is working with Stardock "at least for awhile, to oversee the design of all our games." Johnson was lead designer on Civilization IV and more recently worked on Spore. Word is "I think his impact on our upcoming (think 2014/2015/2016) will be pretty obvious." Thanks Shacknews.

TimeGate Layoffs

TimeGate Studios has suffered some layoffs, reports Polygon, saying they confirmed this with the president of the studio, which most recently partnered with Gearbox on the critically panned Aliens: Colonial Marines. "Today, we had to make the difficult decision to let go of some great game developers. This is never easy, and we're doing all we can to assist those developers affected," TimeGate president Adel Chaveleh told Polygon. "TimeGate is preparing, as is the entire industry, for the transition to next-generation consoles and new business models. As part of this reinvention, all projects and strategic initiatives continue to move forward at the studio." Though not officially confirmed, their sources tell them 25 employees lost their jobs, saying this was because a publishing deal fell through.

Torment: Tides of Numenera Crowdfunding This Week

The Torment: Tides of Numenera Website has word that the promised crowdfunding for inXile entertainment's upcoming spiritual successor to Planescape Torment will kick off this Wednesday, and according to GameSpot, the RPG is tentatively expected for release on Windows and OS X in December 2014. To pave the way, this trailer (thanks Caio) offers an awesome NSFW endorsement of this project narrated by Obsidian Entertainment's Chris Avellone. Chris offers his thoughts on the project and the principals involved in its creation, all handily assisted by captions on gold paper stars, long known to be the best way to convey anything. Continue here to read the full story.

Far Cry 3 Patch Brings Base Resets

A new patch is now available for Far Cry 3 to update Ubisoft's shooter sequel to version 1.05 with new features promised last month such as a new Master difficulty level and the ability to reset bases so they can be re-taken. There are manual downloads of the patch on Gamer's Hell and The Patches Scrolls, and here are the release notes: Continue here to read the full story.

Dead Island Riptide Preorder Bonuses

Deep Silver provides details on the two DLC packs they are offering as preorder bonuses for Dead Island Riptide, the next installment in Techland's zombie franchise. Preorders "in regions where it is available" will receive the Survivor Pack, and North American preorders will receive the Fashion Victim pack, each of which will also be sold separately upon the game's release. Here's word:

Pre-order DLC #1: The Survivor Pack

  • A BBQ Blade! This special pre-order pack contains an exclusive weapon only available in the Survivor Pack. How better to dispose of the wretched zombies than with a sharp blade? Add in some workbench-modifying and hook it up to a few fuel tanks to bring some heat to a zombie’s heart. The so-called “BBQ Blade” lets you wade through zombie hordes with ease.
  • The coveted XP/stats booster: Want that extra edge to level up faster than your peers? Here’s your chance to get ahead of the pack.
  • Never get lost - A seamless digital strategy map allows you to track collectibles, keep tabs on your quest progress and flag custom strategies to share with your friends.
  • A special shop! The Survivor Pack will grant you access to a shop offering a special discount on weapons and items. Happy shopping!

The Survivor Pack DLC will be made available to everyone who pre-orders the game before its release in regions where it is available.

Pre-order DLC #2: Fashion Victim
Tired of seeing your character go around wearing the same clothes all the time? The “Fashion Victim” pre-order DLC includes a set of new skins for all the player characters (Logan, Purna, Sam B., Xian Mei, and “the new guy” John Morgan) in co-op mode.

In North America the Fashion Victim DLC will be made available to everyone who pre-orders the game before its release.

Evening Patches

On Sale

  • Crysis 3 on Origin. Save 33%. Thanks DEALZON.
  • Gatling Gears on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Greed Corp on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Sid Meier's Civilization Franchise on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Spectraball on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Syberia on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Syberia II on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Velvet Assassin on Steam. Save 75%.

Evening Q&As

Evening Previews

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: 15,000 Volts Through Wood. Thanks Ant.

Skyrim Beta Patch

The Bethesda Blog has details on a new version 1.9 update for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that's now in beta testing for the RPG sequel. The beta is available through Steam, and the post has instructions on how to opt in if you want, warning to back up your saved games if you participate in the beta. They say they hope to release this out of beta by the end of the month, and offer the following patch notes:

Skyrim 1.9


  • Legendary difficulty setting
  • Legendary Skills – Skills of 100 can be made Legendary. This will reset the skill to 15, return its Perks and allow the skill to affect leveling again. This effectively removes the overall level cap.

Bug fixes after the break…

Continue here to read the full story.

Jason West Retires?

Respawn Entertainment co-founder Jason West has retired, reports Polygon, saying this is due to family-related issues, and that multiple sources tell them he will be gone for some time. There is a similar story on Kotaku saying they've confirmed this with two separate sources, adding that one "reliable source" says he hasn't actually been with the studio since last May. West formed Respawn with Vince Zampella in 2010 after the pair parted ways with Infinity Ward, the studio the pair also cofounded, leading to some eventually settled legal fireworks. Respawn bas not yet commented on these reports.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Trailers; Details

Ubisoft officially announces Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, saying it will feature "the most diverse and seamless Assassin's Creed world ever created" while managing to stir up more excitement one would imagine by unveiling the expected next installment in an annual franchise thanks to the trickle of prerelease leaks. The new seafaring installment in the stealth/action series will feature a new protagonist and setting, and is expected for Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and "other next generation consoles" (everyone playing the next generation drinking game take a shot and imitate Picard), though they will not all debut at the same time, as the only release date currently offered is October 29th of this year for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U. The news is accompanied by some screenshots (concept art, actually), the "world premier" announcement trailer that caused a sensation by being available on-and-off for a couple of days before its official release, and another trailer introducing the new main character, Edward Kenway, a "pirate trained by assassins." Here's word on the game and how to get a "limited edition collectible" poster by Todd McFarlane for preordering:

SAN FRANCISCO - March 4, 2013 - Today, Ubisoft announced Assassin's Creed® IV Black Flag, the next installment in the company's best-selling franchise. Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag introduces an all new hero and setting, and will feature the most diverse and seamless Assassin's Creed world ever created.

In development for nearly two years, the game is being spearheaded by one of the veteran Assassin's Creed teams in Ubisoft Montreal with support from Ubisoft studios in Annecy, Bucharest, Kiev, Quebec, Singapore and Sofia. Assassin's Creed® IV Black Flag will be released on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®4 from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., Nintendo's Wii UT system, Windows PC and other next generation consoles. The game will be available on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Nintendo's Wii UT system on October 29, 2013.

"With the new hero and new setting we are creating the boldest and most unique Assassin's Creed game yet, while still respecting the pillars of the franchise that have made it such a fan favorite," said Yves Guillemot, chief executive officer at Ubisoft. "Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag is based on a true, harsh and exciting part of a legendary era and will thrill longtime fans and newcomers alike."

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag tells the story of Edward Kenway, a young British man with a thirst for danger and adventure, who falls from privateering for the Royal Navy into piracy as the war between the major Empires comes to an end. Edward is a fierce pirate and seasoned fighter who soon finds himself embroiled in the ancient war between Assassins and Templars. Set at the dawn of the 18th Century, the game features some of the most infamous pirates in history, such as Blackbeard and Charles Vane, and takes players on a journey throughout the West Indies during a turbulent and violent period of time later to become known as the Golden Age of Pirates.

Continue here to read the full story.

U.K. Sales Charts

The latest GfK Chart-Track listing of the 20 bestselling full-priced PC entertainment titles in the U.K. for the week ending March 2 is online. This week Football Manager returns to its customary number one position as Crysis 3 drops to number three. The new Crysis game retains the top spot on the all-platforms chart.

3D Quake Editor

TrenchBroom is a fully 3D Quake level editor, to the extent it does not even have a 2D view. It's available for Windows, Linux, and OS X under the GPL.

Morning Q&As

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 think I may be sensitive to chlorine, not that there are many people who are particularly fond of the various effects of bleach. But I did a big bathroom cleaning yesterday, and the fact that my chest still feels tight reminds me that exposure to the nasty stuff always stays with me for a couple of days, which doesn't seem normal. The odd thing is I used to be a lifeguard, and took some pretty rigorous instruction and training in swimming pools, so this odd feeling of not being able to breath properly has the odd side-effect of making me feel that healthy exhilaration of having just worked out (something I need to experience through sensory recall for as often as I get off my ass these days). Oh well, at least the bathroom is sparkling.

Sparkly Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: SplitMan 2.
Stories: Tackling northern Japan's record snow. Thanks brother19.
Science: How a movie changed one man’s vision forever. Thanks reddit.
Baby born with HIV is apparently cured. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: Unbeatable.
Hamster Trolls Policeman.

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