Archived News:

Tuesday, Aug 06, 2013

Ships Ahoy - Divinity: Dragon Commander

Larian Studios announces the release of Divinity: Dragon Commander, saying the Divinity-based strategy game is now available for Windows via digital distribution as well as some retailers. A new launch trailer helps celebrate the release, and here's word:
You are the Dragon Commander. Your mission it is to reunite a broken empire and become the new emperor. Success depends entirely on your ability to efficiently rule your empire, build invincible armies and lead them to victory. Your secret weapons: your tactical insights, your leadership skills and your ability to turn yourself into a dragon.

Dragon Commander is not just any strategy game - it seamlessly blends real-time strategy gameplay with turn-based campaigning, role-playing an ascending emperor and controlling a formidable dragon

Europa Universalis IV Preorder Bonus DLC Plans

The Paradox Forums have details on how they will be offering the preorder bonuses for Europa Universalis IV after the release of the upcoming strategy sequel on August 13th. They also announce a new preorder incentive for those who preorder the Digital Extreme Edition via Uplay will get all the previously revealed bonuses plus a copy of Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Word is they will be offering the various preorder incentives as DLC on day one, including the utility to convert Crusader Kings II saved games for Europa Universalis IV, which will be $9.99. Here's the rundown:
Europa Universalis IV: Digital Extreme Upgrade - $7.99
Stars and Crescent Pack
Horsemen of the Crescent Unit Pack
Conquest of Constantinople Music Pack

Europa Univesalis IV: Pre-order DLC Pack - $6.99
100 Years War Unit Pack
The Purple Phoenix Expansion

Europa Universalis IV: Call to Arms Pack - $3.99
Winged Hussars Pack
National Monuments Pack

Crusader Kings II: Europa Universalis IV converter - $9.99
* copy of Crusader Kings II base game is not included

Saints Row IV Inauguration Station Released

A new trailer from Saints Row IV introduces the Inauguration Station, a method to manage your manifestation to run the nation in the upcoming Saints Row continuation. The Inauguration Station is now available on Steam right now, and players can upload their creations to the Saints Row website, where they note that you can "download your characters from Saints Row: The Third to update them for Saints Row IV." Continue here to read the full story.

SECRETS OF RÆTIKON Trailer

Indie developer Broken Rules announces a return to their PC roots, saying their upcoming SECRETS OF RÆTIKON is coming to Windows, OS X, and Linux (and "possibly consoles") when it's released this year. The SECRETS OF RÆTIKON website offers a first-look gameplay trailer, and here's word: "SECRETS OF RÆTIKON is a game where players fly like birds. They explore a beautiful rugged alpine landscape populated by wild animals. To progress through the game, players reactivate ancient machinery. It is a physical puzzle game as much as an exploration game. SECRETS OF RÆTIKON is a game for anyone who has ever dreamed of flying." Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: 6 Completely Insane Disguises That Actually Worked. Thanks nin.

Police Quest-Inspired Kickstarter Cancelled

The Kickstarter campaign for Precinct now reflects the cancellation of this fundraiser for a new game from Police Quest creator Jim Walls. It seems likely the campaign would fail after having attracted just $85,756 of its half-million dollar goal, and Joystiq has word from Robert Lindsley, president of Jim Walls Reloaded, saying they are now planning on creating a playable version of the game to better pitch it to potential backers, admitting the hiccups of a couple of recent campaigns have made for more wariness than they anticipated. They are supporting their new plan with a smaller fundraiser on the Precinct Website to raise $25,000 for their prototype, which should take a couple of months to develop. Thanks nin.

Assassin's Creed 4 Ocean Size and Harpooning Explained

Eurogamer has word from Ubisoft on just how open are the open-world aspects of Assassin's Creed 4, as Game director Ashraf Ismail estimates it would take "maybe half an hour" to sail across the whole game world. They say large portions of this will be open ocean, but multiple activities should be visible on the horizon wherever you sail. And for those of us raised on jet travel, they say the fast-travel system has been revamped to allow you to revisit areas without all that should you choose. They accompany the news with this trailer where lead game designer Sebastien Berton introduces the game's take on harpooning, showing concept art and video footage of our character harpooning a Great White Shark from the bow of a small boat (with obvious results). Sebastien's French accent is pretty thick, so closed-captioning may help understand what he's saying. Continue here to read the full story.

Left 4 Dead 3 and Source 2 Clues?

A recent reddit Valve tour may spill some beans about what's up at the developer, as a photo of a monitor (blown up but blurry on NeoGAF) has emerged allegedly taken during the visit that shows an internal change log showing work progressing on Left 4 Dead 3 and Source Engine 2. This is unconfirmed, but plausible, as Valve has already seemingly confirmed Source 2, and it's not like they are reporting something farfetched like the continuation of the Half-Life series. Thanks Eurogamer.

War of the Vikings Announced

Paradox Interactive unveils plans for War of the Vikings, a new multiplayer action game from developer Fatshark based on the tech behind their War of the Roses. The game is due in Q1 2014 and it will first be shown off later this month to the attendees of Gamescom. This page is already accepting signups from those interested in participating in the alpha, though when testing is to begin is not specified. A War of the Vikings website is also already live, offering an announcement trailer, though this is just a brief cinematic to "axe" us if we're interested. Here's a bit from the announcement:
NEW YORK — August 6, 2013 — Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games and a cultivator of epic facial hair, today announced War of the Vikings, an all-new multiplayer game built upon the technology that drives Paradox’s medieval squad combat title War of the Roses. Developed by Fatshark, War of the Vikings is a new standalone entry into the War franchise that will pull players into the brutal and bloody Viking Age, challenging them to design a personalized warrior and sack England as a mighty Norseman – or defend it as a brave Saxon. Featuring intense close-quarters combat, authentically inspired settings and weaponry, rich customization options, and large-scale 64-player battles, War of the Vikings will add a new unforgettable experience to Paradox’s close combat arsenal.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Megabyte Punch

Reptile Games announces the release of Megabyte Punch, saying the fighting game will be sold at a 20% discount during its first week of availability. Here's the game's release trailer, and here's word:
Independent game developer Reptile Games is thrilled to announce their game, Megabyte Punch Megabyte Punch is currently available to the public via the Humble Bundle Store, Desura and Gamersgate. Described best as a mash-up of SSB, Megaman and Custom Robo. Megabyte Punch is an electro fighting/beat ‘em up game in which players can build and customize their own player. The game is currently on sale for $11.99 (US), 20% off its original price of $14.99 for PC (Windows), Mac and Linux. Megabyte Punch fans can also purchase a special edition of the game that comes with the original Soundtrack with 27 tracks, HD Wallpapers, and extra custom levels for $20.00.

In Megabyte Punch players battle various creatures in the story mode to get their parts and upgrade their own fighter; like Tornado shoulders for a whirlwind attack or powerful hips for a devastating pelvic thrust attack. Then, using the abilities of their customized fighter, they can compete in tournaments or battle against other players in a destructible arena.
Continue here to read the full story.

PAYDAY 2 Next Week

A Steam Community Announcement has word from developer OVERKILL that PAYDAY 2 will be officially released on Steam on August 13th, and will roll out for all platforms over a three day period (thanks Eurogamer). Here's word:
We have now made sure that everything is in order and that our contracts are in place. The weapon shipments have been ordered and are on their way to D.C. while Bain continues to work on attracting new contacts to Crime.net.

The PAYDAY 2 release date for Steam has been confirmed!

PAYDAY 2 will be out on Steam on August 13th. The other platforms will follow suit and be out between the 13th and the 16th.

The store page description will be updated shortly.

A big thank you to our PAYDAY community, to everyone who has helped us beta test the game so far and posted messages online, sent us feedback and told us how much you appreciate our work. We salute you.

Survivor Squad Adds Multiplayer and OS X Support

Endless Loop Studios has released a new version 1.06 patch for Survivor Squad adding Mac OS X support to the action/strategy game as well as a one-on-one multiplayer mode where one player controls the squad of would-be survivors and the other spawns infected to thwart them. A free demo is available to sample the game, and it is on sale this week for 50% off. Here's a trailer showing off the game's new multiplayer support. Continue here to read the full story.

King Arthur's Gold Beta

The King Arthur's Gold website now offers beta access to this 2D co-op wargame from Transhuman Directive, the indie developer of Soldat. This is paid access carrying a USD $9.99 pricetag, as they say the game is following the "Minecraft model" which includes a paid beta, and if possible, making enough cash to buy a small country (or in the case of this game, Camelot). A "beta mini-trailer" offers a look at multiplayer play from some private sessions, and here's a brief history of the project:
King Arthur's Gold was started in 2011 by Michał Marcinkowski. Completely self-funded, self-coded, self-marketed and literally made in a bedroom. Later joined by pixel artist and co-designer Max Cahill and musician David Pencil (of PennyArcade). Initially released undercover, the game's alpha version popularity kicked off because of its innovative multiplayer game design and features - mentioned on PCGamer, Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun and winning several indie game awards (including Best Game of the Year). After that it got a bit quiet because the developers hid in their dungeons to totally repaint graphics and recode the engine to use scripts (and boost the modding community). Following the Minecraft model it is now a new game (with the former alpha being called KAG classic) released as KAG Beta in mid-2013.

Guild Wars 2 Queen's Jubilee Begins

The Queen's Jubilee event is now underway in Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet's MMORPG sequel. This includes a new gladiatorial arena, and like most such celebrations, lots of hot air:
A celebration of ten years of Queen Jennah’s rule is about to kick off in Divinity’s Reach! The queen has commissioned a new gladiatorial arena for the occasion—the Crown Pavilion—as a shining symbol of her people’s endurance.

Take a hot air balloon ride with dignitaries from across Tyria to the capital of the Krytan nation, and be there for the opening ceremony. Join in the festivities and compete in ceremonial combat in Her Majesty’s honor!

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

The one thing I've struggled with a bit as I work towards mastery of the man-stove is grilling chicken breasts. My first efforts involved store-bought marinade and direct grilling, but they ended up a bit tough. I tried a brine and indirect method that left them looking like drowning victims, followed by attempts to pound them flat that were inconsistent at best. I think I've finally worked it out though: The last couple of times I made them I brined them and then used a simple rub and grilled over a very hot fire (550-600 degrees), and finally managed to create a juicy, flavorful dish. It took long enough, I don't want to estimate how many sub-par chicken breasts I've turned out up until this point.

Par for the Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Go Virus.
Forever Steve.
Links: 5 Dumb Myths About Prehistoric Times That Everyone Believes.
The PREDATOR 2 Motorcycle Helmet.
Story: Pa. couple's best man- their dying 2-year-old son. Tearjerker warning.
Science: Scientists make "Impossible Material" ... by accident.
Fujitsu supercomputer simulates 1 second of brain activity.
Google's Brin backs first lab-grown burger.
Images: Dogs being dogs. Thanks reddit.
Media: Warwick Davis and Carrie Fisher Reenact Return of the Jedi.
Giant Robot Mech meets Stan Lee.
Mine-Shaft.
Follow-up: Public divide on climate change: Right wing nature or human nature?
The Funnies: Brevity.

Monday, Aug 05, 2013

On Beat Hazard Ultra's Success

The Cold Beam Games website has word that Beat Hazard Ultra is now available on XBLIG, in an update that also describes the indie game's remarkable commercial success (thanks nin via Joystiq and Destructoid). Here's word:

  • 1 Man, 3 Years, 7 Platforms and 3,000% Profit
  • Beat Hazard has sold in excess of 700,000 copies
  • Grossed over $2.2 million.
  • With overall development costs in the region of $70,000, this gives a return on investment of 3000%!

Command & Conquer Trailer

A second Beyond the Battle trailer offers a further behind-the-scenes look at the development of a new Command & Conquer at Victory Games (part one was released in May). Here's word on what this shows of the real-time-strategy revival: "In Part 2 of Beyond the Battle, we take a look at the development of an iconic GLA unit for the new Command & Conquer -- from concept to art production to implementation. Join us behind the scenes for new reveals, never before seen footage, and exclusive interviews from the lead developers of Victory Games." Thanks Ant. Continue here to read the full story.

Stunt Runner Kickstarter

A new Kickstarter campaign seeks $55K to complete development of Stunt Runner, a comedic physics-based puzzler from Kermdinger Studios where you control the environment, rather than the character. Here's the description of how they are attempting to combine two classics, The Incredible Machine and Lemmings: "Stunt Runner is a comedic, physics-based 2.5D puzzle game for PC, Mac and Linux that takes the best elements from classic games like The Incredible Machine and Lemmings with tributes to some of film's greatest themes and characters. In each level, you’ll purchase and place props which enable Smash to successfully traverse the obstacles on each set. How you spend your money and solve each puzzle will be up to you. Multiple solutions will be a cornerstone of our design. We plan to launch the PC and Mac versions at the same time, as we're building the game in Unity and porting to Mac will be fairly straightforward!"

On Sale

  • Ankh 2: Heart of Osiris on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Ankh 3: Battle of the Gods on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Children of the Nile on GOG.com. Save 60%.
  • The Darkness II on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Gates of Troy on Matrix Games. Save 50%.
  • Jack Keane on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Lucid on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Magrunner: Dark Pulse on Steam. Save 33%.
  • Post Apocalyptic Mayhem on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Spartan on Matrix Games. Save 50%.
  • Steam 4-packs on Green Man Gaming. Save 66-75%. Get an additional 20% off with the code on Dealzon.
  • Supreme Commander 2 on Steam. Save 66%.
  • The Starry Nights Bundle on Indie Royale. Five games and no Van Gogh for under USD $5.00.

Evening Previews

etc., etc.

Into the Black

R.I.P.: A good day to die. R.I.P.: Michael Ansara.

Marvel Heroes Patch Adds Human Torch & Speedier Progression

The Marvel Heroes website has news that a new patch is now live, updating the superhero action/RPG, to version 1.11.0.243 to be precise. This adds a hot new hero, the Human Torch, saying he is purchasable with cash, but can also be played in exchange for Eternity Splinters, a new in game drop. The accompanying update explains how these work in getting free upgrades, saying their drop-rate is "tuned to make Marvel Heroes slightly faster than other free-to-play games in terms of getting free heroes, as we continue to work towards the goal of being the most player-focused game possible." They go on to promise they "will continue to evaluate and iterate until we are 100% satisfied that we are meeting that goal." They also explain that old Cosmic Keys have been converted into an equal number of Eternity Splinters and outline a new zone added in this update.

Infinite Crisis Trailer

This new trailer is the first in a series of behind-the-scenes clips for Infinite Crisis, the upcoming superheroic MOBA from DC Comics, WBIE, and Turbine. Along with gameplay footage, the clip features interviews with the development team as well as Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer at DC Entertainment and Jim Lee, Co-Publisher at DC Entertainment, who talk about the DC Multiverse, and what this game represents. Continue here to read the full story.

Betrayer Announced

New developer blackpowder games announces Betrayer, an upcoming single-player first-person shooter set in colonial America that features the requisite zombies in the form of undead conquistadors. This is coming from a team that includes six veterans of F.E.A.R. and No One Lives Forever development back in their days with Monolith, including Shogo, NOLF, and F.E.A.R. lead designer Craig Hubbard. PC Gamer has some details and hands-on impressions of the "eerie" game along with screenshots and a gameplay trailer showing off its unusual art direction, where most everything is starkly black or white (lacking even grayscale), with the occasional splash of red. The plan is to begin offering the game via Steam Early Access on August 14th, and in the meantime we can get a sense of what this is about through the words of PC Gamer:
Betrayer doesn’t fit neatly into an existing genre. On the surface, it’s an FPS set in open, pristine American wilderness that happens to be crawling with undead conquistadors. But the game’s monochromatic art direction, gloomy tone, and sense of mystery distinguish it from other indie and horror projects.

The story of Betrayer is expressed through scattered clues—gravestone engravings, artifacts, notes, and other evidence that you find in the world. Assembling these clues pieces together the truth of what happened to an abandoned British settlement. One of colonial history’s greatest mysteries, the Roanoke colony, was among the inspirations for this premise, says creative lead Craig Hubbard. “The social situation of that time was really interesting,” says Hubbard, formerly the lead designer on Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, F.E.A.R., and the NOLF series. “I don’t know if you’ve read about what it was like to be in the Pilgrim colonies, like if you broke the law, but they’d like… pile stones on you until you died. It was just brutal and horrific and that’s great subject matter for an atmospheric and eerie game.”
Continue here to read the full story.

Alice: Otherlands Kickstarted

The Kickstarter campaign for Alice: Otherlands concluded last night, managing to exceed its $200K funding goal by over 10%. This means American McGee should be able to acquire the film rights that bear his name for American McGee's Alice. The intent is to uses these to create a series of animated shorts with the goal of eventually making a feature film. This post has word:
After 20 days and much nail-biting, the Alice: Otherlands campaign has reached a successful conclusion. Coming in at over 222kUSD, the funding will allow us to create a series of animated short films, pursue larger animated series possibilities, begin development work on a feature film and access larger funding options for a possible feature film production in the future. All thanks to the kind support of our backers on Kickstarter. You rock!

For those of you who missed out on the action of the race – there’s still a post-campaign funding option via PayPal. Just follow THIS LINK and you’ll be taken to the PayPal campaign page.

U.K. Sales Charts

GfK's latest U.K. software charts are out, with their all platforms/all prices chart showing Minecraft: Xbox 360 has dug in for another week at number one. On the full-price PC chart we see The Sims 3 Island Paradise enjoying a Corona in the top spot, and the PC budget chart has details on what bargains gamers are hunting. Here's GfK's summary:
Microsoft’s ‘Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition’(-9%) holds the No1 spot in the All Formats Chart for a second week.

It’s a quiet week for new releases and so the 4J studios developed title finds itself largely unchallenged at the top. ‘The Last of Us’ (-2%) which held the crown for six weeks prior to Minecraft’s ascent to the top climbs a place to No2 as does Nintendo’s ‘Animal Crossing: New Leaf’ (-0%) to No3. Following a strong week on week boost in sales EA’s ‘FIFA 13’ (+33%) continues to climb back up the chart reaching No4.

Even more impressive is the climb of Ubisoft’s ‘The Smurfs 2’ (+115%) which following its debut two weeks ago flies up the chart to No5 no doubt helped by their second outing on the big screen. Activision Blizzard’s ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ (+48%) is also back in the Top 10 up from No16 to No7 following a near fifty percent boost in sales. Square Enix’s ‘Tomb Raider’ (+1%) is a non-mover at No9 while ‘Assassin’s Creed III’ (+11%) just edges out ‘Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros’ to round off the Top 10 at No10.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Any other Amazon customers get a mail this morning offering "Up to 50% Off Select Blu-ray Books in Our Deal of the Week"? No big deal, but I thought it was funny, and they don't usually make errors like that. Hey, maybe it's not an error. Maybe the long awaited era of high definition books is finally upon us.

R.I.P.: Colts defensive tackle, hall of famer Art Donovan dies.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Transmorpher 2.
Stories: UK’s biggest ‘fatberg’ discovered in London sewer. Thanks Boing Boing.
Peter Capaldi Is The Next "Doctor Who".
The photo that broke a mother’s heart.
Images: The Weird Error Message Gallery.
Media: YouTube Complaints Part 2!.
Man does multiple back flips down a sand dune.
Footbag Fella.
The Funnies: xkcd: The Mother of All Suspicious Files
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