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Monday, Apr 15, 2013


Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse Announced

SEGA and Disney Interactive announce Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, a "complete re-imagining" of the 1990 Sega Genesis side-scroller coming to Windows, Xbox LIVE Arcade, and PlayStation Network this summer. The site offers some screenshots and a launch trailer. Here's word on the game:

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse first debuted on the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive in 1990 to critical acclaim. Excellent controls, music, and graphics helped to bring the magic of Disney to millions of SEGA fans around the world. The new Castle of Illusion will continue this tradition. Completely rebuilt from the ground up, Castle of Illusion has stunning visuals and new gameplay mechanics. Fans will enjoy the original storyline as they help Mickey save Minnie from the evil witch, Mizrabel.

“The original Castle of Illusion was tremendously entertaining and has a well-deserved reputation as a SEGA classic. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse brings this great game to a new generation,” said Chris Olson, vice president of Digital Business at SEGA of America. “Mickey is back and he looks fantastic.”

QuakeCon Preregistration Begins

The Bethesda Blog offers a reminder that preregistration begins tonight for QuakeCon 2013, though they fail to include the time (8:00 pm EDT). Word is: "Starting tonight you can ready yourself for QuakeCon 2013 by pre-registering and selecting your seat of choice in the BYOC! As in year’s past, QuakeCon is free to attendees, but these premium packages tend to sell out quickly and are available on a first-come first-serve basis." The event is scheduled for August 1-4 in the Hilton Anatole, in Dallas, TX. You can sign up on the QuakeCon website.

Divinity: Original Sin Stretch Goals in Play

The Kickstarter for Divinity: Original Sin has now surpassed the $500K plateau, triggering the first stretch goal of a new area in Larian Studios' role-playing game. The next goal, "traits & talents" kicks in at $650K, but they also announce that henceforth for every 1000 backers they enlist past the 10,000 mark "the lair of the monster beneath Phantom Forest will become deeper and deeper," as "a new level full of pitfalls, threats and riddles will be added!"

A Small Favor Kickstarter

Here's a Kickstarter for A Small Favor, a proposed 2D side-scrolling sci-fi adventure game developer ClickShake Games says will be reminiscent of LucasArts' hand-drawn classics. This will be loosely based on their browser-based game of the same name, which can be found here, but word is the downloadable version "will have an expanded storyline, improved artwork, and hours of new gameplay." They seek $30K to fund the game, which they plan to release this September for Windows and OS X. Here's word:

A Small Favor is a hand-drawn, 2D adventure that combines the gritty, futuristic setting of Full Throttle and Beneath a Steel Sky with the side scrolling sci-fi exploration of Another World. The game’s alien hero—a laser-gun wielding mercenary indentured to a ruthless gangster—craves a new life but is too deep in debt to pursue it. His luck appears to change when he stumbles upon the chance for a fresh start in exchange for just one small favor… but as he soon learns, a small favor can quickly become a big one. With a focus on story, exploration, and creative puzzle solving, the gameplay will rely on wit and lateral thinking—not the usual “try this on everything” inventory pitfalls that haunt the adventure genre.

Elder Scrolls: Arena Listing An Error

GameSpot has a follow-up from Bethesda Softworks about the news of a new Australian Classification Database entry for The Elder Scrolls: Arena. They say there's nothing to see here, and we should move along: "It should just say PC, not multiplatform," a representative told them. "We've notified them and they're going to fix. There is no new version of the game coming. Just a clerical mixup."

The Old Republic Rise of the Hutt Cartel Launches

The Star Wars: The Old Republic website has word that the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion is now officially live, following an early access period that began last week. Here's word:

In Rise of the Hutt Cartel, players will explore a new storyline on the beautiful and vibrant new planet of Makeb. Here players will continue their faction storylines as they fight against a nefarious new threat, the Hutt Cartel, attempting a take-over of the planet and all its resources. As players progress through the new levels they will earn new gear and abilities along with access to new Elder Game content. As part of the experience, players will also be able to acquire new technological gear including Macrobinoculars and Seeker Droids, which take players on galaxy-spanning new missions to unlock valuable rewards.

On Sale

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Evening Previews

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etc., etc.

Into the Black

Splinter Cell Blacklist Trailer

Here's a new trailer from Splinter Cell Blacklist, the upcoming installment in the ongoing adventures of stealthy Sam Fisher. The cinematic clip features threats from terrorists (SAW's Jigsaw?) and offers stylized depictions of stealthy ("STALK") takedowns of various targets, a firefight with a bunch of guys who look more military ("STRIKE"), and Sam's echoing footsteps ("SILENCE"). The clip concludes reinforcing the game's August 20th release date. Continue here to read the full story.

Company of Heroes 2 Closed Beta Open to Facebook Affection

SEGA announces the beginning of a second phase in closed beta testing of Company of Heroes 2, the next installment in Relic's World War II RTS sequel. Though they still call it closed testing, word is anyone willing to "like" the game's Facebook page are being allowed in:

To get access to the Closed Beta playtest, players need to click on the “like” button on the official Company of Heroes 2 Facebook page at, where they will be able to access a key generation tool while the Closed Beta is running. The Company of Heroes 2 Closed Beta is hosted on Steam and players will need the free Steam client to redeem their key and play.

The Closed Beta features the game’s critically acclaimed competitive multiplayer and skirmish gameplay, giving players access to six maps, competitive gameplay, as well as the ability to play alone or with teammates against the AI. Players also get access to the first 40 levels of progression, and the ability to customize their loadouts to suit their play style using the all new Army Customizer.

Greg Wilson, Producer of Company of Heroes 2, commented, “After a successful first phase, we are delighted to be able to open the Closed Beta up to all of our Facebook fans and invite them to help us test and improve the game.”

Skyrim Development Ends; Bethesda on to "Next Adventure"

A post on the Bethesda Blog explains that Bethesda Softworks is moving on from post-release development for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and there will be no further DLC for the fifth installment in their RPG series, though they say there are still "minor updates" to be done. They speak with pride about the game's success, but say it's now time to turn their "full attention" to their next major project, which has been in preproduction up until now:

Skyrim has been a labor of love for us since we started designing it in 2006. We never imagined it would become the phenomenon it has. And that is because of you, the fans. It was all of you who made it a success. We can’t thank you enough for embracing the game, spreading the word, and making it your own.

For the last year and a half we’ve been working on new content for Skyrim; from the game updates, Creation Kit, Steam Workshop, Kinect support, to DLCs. Parts of our team have also been in pre-production on our next major project, and that game is at the point where it requires the studio’s full attention to make it our biggest and best work yet.

Even though we’re moving on, we’ll still have minor updates to Skyrim as needed. We’ve invested so much of ourselves into Skyrim and will never truly say goodbye to it.

We loved hearing your stories, your in-game triumphs, and your suggestions. One thing stuck out to us through those emails, letters, and postings. And that is – video games matter. They’re as important to you as they are to us. It’s not just about entertainment, it’s about your time. And you chose to spend it with our game.

Thank you again for all your support. We hope you stay engaged in the gaming community here and elsewhere. Keep spreading the word. Games are the world’s best entertainment because they can do what other forms cannot – fill you with the wonder of exploration and the pride of accomplishment. We look forward to sharing our next adventure with you.

The Secret World Launches New Raid

The Secret World website has details on a new Lair Raid that's now live in Funcom's conspiratorial MMORPG. Word is: "The barriers between dimensions are weakening and the players are able to enter the extra dimensional prison, The Island of Stillborn Stars, and battle the brutal Eidolon of the Outer Dark, which awaits them." This issue #6 preview video from last month offers an overview on the raid from game director Joel Bylos. Continue here to read the full story.

The Elder Scrolls: Arena Sighted

The Australian Classification Database includes a new entry added last week for The Elder Scrolls: Arena, registered by Bethesda Softworks and Zenimax Europe. There's not much to go on in trying to figure out what this signifies, this listing from April 9th states this title has received an "M" rating since it contains "fantasy violence." The Elder Scrolls: Arena was the title of the first installment in Bethesda's RPG series back in the 1990s, and the full version of the game was released for free just over nine years ago. Thanks

EA Ending Three Social Games

Calling the move part of a "sweeping company-wide restructuring" by Electronic Arts, Develop reports EA is planning to close The Sims Social, SimCity Social, and Pet Society, three social games provided through Facebook, saying the games will go offline on June 14th due to declining player activity. They are not offering refunds on the Playfish cash spacebux used in the titles, saying existing currency should be spent in the games between now and the closure, though it sounds like its all going up in smoke either way. They say each game has over one million monthly average users, with The Sims Social boasting 5 million MUAs, which prompts questions about how many users such games needed to be viable.

Deadly Walkers Kickstarter

A Kickstarter is now underway for Deadly Walkers, an upcoming first-person shooter that will pit players against zombies from the old movies (hopefully including that guy with the limp, the gory guy, and the one who yells "brains"). The game is a collaboration between India-based game and animation design house Animantz and Italian indie developer Dysotek, who hope to raise $20,000 so they can release the game for Windows and OS X this year. As for the game, if want something like The Walking Dead where there's a lot of discussion from everyone about how the apocalypse affects their feelings? This ain't that: "Deadly Walkers is 100% gore, action and death... a zombie FPS that will give you the feel and the breathless emotions of the old zombie movies. For the First time ever you will fight against real zombies... hordes of undead creatures that slowly will surround you to chew you up! Through your fire weapons you will be able to mutilate and injure their bodies, but only shooting to their head you will kill them!" Here's the game's website and here's a trailer that shows off environments and gameplay. Continue here to read the full story.

Worlds of Magic Trailer

The first gameplay teaser trailer from Worlds of Magic is now available to promote the Kickstarter for Wastelands Interactive's proposed fantasy-themed 4X strategy game as well as the Steam Greenlight campaign for the project. The work-in-progress clip is accompanied by an estimated release window, as they say that while it is still in the early stages of development, they expect to release the windows edition in January 2014. Continue here to read the full story.

U.K. Sales Charts

Here's the GfK Chart-Track chart of the 20 bestselling PC games in the U.K. for the week ending April 13th, where SimCity holds onto the top spot. Also, the site now handily summarizes their weekly U.K. chart data for us:

‘Bioshock Infinite’ holds on to No1 for a 3rd consecutive week.

There’s no change at No2 for a fourth consecutive week as ‘Tomb Raider’ has to again settle for 2nd place. Sales on both titles are down by similar margins, Bioshock Infinite sales falling 44%, while ‘Tomb Raider’ sales dip by 43% with just over 2,500 sales separating them. ‘FIFA 13’ (-21%) shimmies up one place to No3, past last week’s highest new entry ‘Defiance’ (-41%), to its highest chart position for 7 weeks.

The Trion Worlds title ‘Defiance’ falls one place to No4, showing strongest sales on Xbox 360 (75%) ahead of PS3 (20%) and PC (5%). There’s little change in the lower half of the Top 10 with ‘Luigi’s Mansion 2’ (-35%) a non-mover at No5 and ‘Black Ops II’ (-35%) and ‘Assassin’s Creed III’ (-30%) both up one place to No’s 6 and 7 respectively. ‘Gears of War: Judgment’ (-50%) slips 2 places to No8, but older titles ‘Lego Batman 2’ (-17%) and ‘Far Cry 3’ (-21%) sneak back into the Top 10, up to No’s 9 and 10 respectively. Lego Batman 2’s last appearance in the Top 10 was back in week 39 2012.

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Out of the Blue

Beware the ides of April, as it's tax deadline day here in the U.S. (except in Massachusetts where it's patriotic to pay your state taxes a day late, though federal returns are still due today). Today is also Jackie Robinson day in Major League Baseball, were teams will celebrate the civil rights pioneer by having all players wear Robinson's retired number 42, making Mariano Rivera the only player in the league who won't need a special uniform (his use of #42 was grandfathered when the number was retired).

R.I.P.: Nick Pollotta. Thanks TheCaretaker.
R.I.P.: Former US Rep. Charlie Wilson of Ohio dies at 70. Different Rep. Charlie Wilson.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Ghost Hacker 2.
Links: Tax Day Freebies. Thanks HARDOCP.
HOWTO spin a toothbrush on your finger. Live the dream.
A real Myst book. Thanks reddit.
Stories: Financial crisis caused by too many bankers taking cocaine, says former drugs tsar.
Amazing dad builds son a spaceship simulator. Thanks HARDOCP.
Some states dropping GED as test price spikes.
Science: Implantable, bioengineered rat kidney. Yum.
Bordeaux estate to turn carbon emissions into toothpaste.
New F-1B rocket engine upgrades Apollo-era design with 1.8M lbs of thrust.
Images: Captain Kirk's guide to fighting.
Gallery: Behind the scenes at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
Media: Louis CK - Stupid Facebook Posts. NSFW.
Game Sack - Gaming on a Budget.

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