Archived News:

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

Wasteland 2 Early Access This Week

inXile entertainment announces that now that the Wasteland 2 beta has launched, they are planning on launching Steam Early Access for the RPG sequel tomorrow. Here's word:
For the first time, gamers are getting the chance to play inXile entertainment’s Wasteland 2, which was successfully crowdfunded through Kickstarter in April 2012. More than ten thousand backers entered the backer beta on Wednesday, through their Kickstarter or late pledges to the project. Wasteland 2 will also be entering Steam Early Access on Friday, to allow late backers to purchase and jump on immediately.

Wasteland 2 is a post-apocalyptic RPG with old-school sensibilities, with a heavy focus on tactical turn-based combat, a deep and open world and reactivity to player choices. It is the sequel to 1988’s Wasteland, with the player taking control of a party of Desert Rangers striving to bring peace to the wastes. Set 15 years after the original, the game does not require familiarity with the original’s plot but does follow up on the original’s story in many ways.

The Wasteland 2 beta consists of the first four major areas of the game and related minor maps, along with character creation, world map travel, and random encounters. More areas will be added as the beta progresses. Beta backers and early access gamers will get exactly the same content here.

Terminal Reality Closed?

Gamasutra points the way to a Facebook post by Jesse Sosa that indicates that his former employer Terminal Reality may have closed down, which is supported by some of the comments that followed. Here's the post: "For those that have known me for a long time know that I was at TRI for 10 years. TRI seems to have finally shut down. A lot of different emotions are passing through me at the moment. I left there when I saw things going downhill but I have always kept up with them and hoped for the best.
Now that they're gone, I'm just kind of feeling nostalgic it seems. I hope they all land on their feet. Most of those guys are still like family to me. I know a good amount are on their way to Austin, so at least I'll be seeing them soon." Gamasutra has been unable to confirm this, noting that the Terminal Reality website currently states it is undergoing renovations.

Al Lowe Leaves Replay: Sex Actually Involved

GamesBeat has a report that Al Lowe has retired from working with Replay Games on the Leisure Suit Larry series he created. The post originally included comments from Lowe indicating the parting was on good terms, but an update subsequently clarified this is not actually the case, with Lowe vaguely stating "numerous reasons" were behind his decision not to renew his deal. Kotaku picks up the story from there, reporting that some of this traces back to an incident earlier this year where Paul Trowe, CEO of Replay Games, received probation after pleading guilty to displaying harmful material to a minor, a misdemeanor in Texas. That is the part that is not in dispute, though the explanations of what actually happened differs depending on the source, but it involved sending an underage girl a video of her boyfriend having sex with a man, which Trowe, who is openly gay, characterizes as an attempt to show her that her boyfriend was being unfaithful. They quote Trowe saying he would not have done this had he known she was only 16 years old. "There were many reasons for my departure, including that [2012] incident," Lowe explained to Kotaku. "As far as I know, Replay Games still has the rights (from Codemasters, owners of the I.P.) to do Leisure Suit Larry games, but they'll have to do them without me."

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Closed Beta

Blizzard announces closed beta testing is underway for the Reaper of Souls expansion before it is added to the open beta that is Diablo III, their action/RPG sequel. Here's word:
Invitations to this next phase of our public test are now being delivered to nephalem worldwide. If you've been invited to the Closed Beta, we'd love to hear all about your adventures on the forums, watch your live streams, and see screenshots and videos of your experiences in Sanctuary. Please keep in mind that Reaper of Souls is still in development, which means that all content in the Closed Beta is subject to change and isn't necessarily representative of the final game.

Dino D-Day Free Weekend

Steam News announces a free weekend is now underway for Dino D-Day, which is also on sale. Word is: "Play Dino D-Day for FREE starting now through Sunday at 1PM Pacific Time. You can also pickup Dino D-Day at 80% off the regular price!" Here's a refresher on this unusual game:
The year is 1942. Adolf Hitler has succeeded in resurrecting dinosaurs. The reptilian horde has trampled Europe and the Mediterranean. Can nothing stop the Nazi’s dinosaur army? Dino D-Day is a frantic, action-packed multiplayer game that transports you to a World War II that should have been.

Saints Row IV - Child's Play Pack

Steam News announces the Saints Row IV - Child's Play Pack is now available to help Saints Row IV players help charity:
Be charitable and support Child's Play! Show the world that you are the best President ever, by rampaging the Steelport Simulation with the Digital Dino outfit and the totally bananas Robochimp outfit. Spread your message of altruism on the streets from within the Retro Racer vehicle; it's what your parents always dreamed of for you!

Steamships Ahoy - Sanctum 2: The Last Stand

Sanctum 2: The Last Stand is a new DLC pack that's now available for Sanctum 2, the tower defense/FPS sequel. Here's word from Steam News:
Return to the Arc Islands for The Last Stand! Lume activity has increased exponentially and you and your fellow Core Guardians find yourselves more outnumbered than ever. Even out the odds by Utilizing the new Orbital Strike Relay tower and smash down a lazer from the sky into their FACE! Defend the Core on four new maps, one of them being a remake of the classic old Arc map. To help you face the new enemies in The Last Stand, the Bright Foundation has placed the most powerful weapon you've seen so far on three of the four new maps - The Rolfinator Defensive Turret, a turret that you can actually jump inside yourself and control to obliterate the enemies from afar.

Gabriel Knight's Linux Absence Clarified

A post on the Pinkerton Road forums from Jane Jensen clarifies that the report that Activision is blocking a Linux edition of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition is not accurate, because there never was a plan to create one. Here's word:
1. First, we never said MGX would be released on Linux only that Moebius would be. If you look down at the bottom of the kickstarter page it just says MGX is new and still TBD. So there were no promises broken or blocked by either Pinkerton Road or Activision. Keep in mind that from the start we realized that MGX was a game we were working with a publisher on, and we would have less control over. I don't see that as a bad thing. It's FANTASTIC that we are doing the GK1 remake. And that means working with the GK license holder. Also, to reiterate, MGX/GK1 is *not* being funded by kickstarter. That money all went into Moebius (and then some).

2. Secondly, we are thrilled to have gotten the license to release GK1 on PC, Mac, Apple mobile and Android. There is no anti-Linux conspiracy. We are also not releasing on console either, for example. It was simply a matter of "these platforms make the most sense in the market right now, let's release there and see how it goes". We may be granted permission to do more platforms later, but that depends on how well the game turns out and how it sells.

I know those of you who are passionate about Linux are disappointed, but there is nothing to be upset at Activision about (or, I hope, me!).
There's more about this in a follow-up post from Weldon Hathaway of Phoenix Online Studios:
Also, a note of clarification, as it seems my original post gave some folks the impression that this was something that happened along the way. That's not correct. Linux was never one of the platforms we would be developing for, I had just assumed that we would be doing all the same platforms that we were doing with Moebius. I wasn't aware that was not actually accurate until a couple of weeks ago so the misinformation from the announcement thread is 100% my fault for making a bad assumption and I am sorry for that.

On Sale

  • ACE Team, ATLUS Games and Tripwire Interactive on Humble Weekly Sale.
  • Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition on Steam. Save 80%.
  • Kerbal Space Program on Steam. Save 40%.
  • Spaceforce Constellations on Steam. Save 20%.
  • Strike Suit Zero on Steam. Save 75%.

Evening Previews

Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise Next Month

Paradox Interactive reveals their plans to release Conquest of Paradise on January 14th as the first expansion for Europa Universalis IV, their grand strategy sequel. They offer a new video developer diary where Studio Manager Johan Andersson discusses new features in the upcoming add-on, focusing on "the expanded gameplay and mechanics for the Native American tribes, including new nations, unique buildings, and nomadic peoples." Here's more on the expansion:

Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games and a ticket holder to paradise, today announced the release date for "Conquest of Paradise," the first expansion to Europa Universalis IV created by Paradox Development Studio. The expansion, which challenges players to conquer the New World for their ever-expanding empires, will arrive for PC, Mac, and Linux on January 14, 2014. Conquest of Paradise will feature a completely randomized American continent for players to face, as well as Colonial Nations and Native American Nations, in the critically acclaimed empire-building game.
Continue here to read the full story.

Fallout 1, 2, and Tactics Free in GOG.com Winter Sale

GOG.com has kicked off their winter sale, a which will offer daily specials from their online marketplace for DRM-free games. To help get things rolling, they are offering a 100% discount on Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics, making the seminal RPGs free for the next 48 hours. Here's word on what else is involved in the event:
To make sure gamers check in constantly during their two-week long special offer GOG.com is launching three diffrent types of exciting daily deals. Each day, a selection of deeply-discounted, great games--celebrated classic and new acclaimed indie--will be showcased by a well-known YouTube gaming channel in a daily sale up to 75% off. Meanwhile, GOG.com's community will also have their say - each day they will vote on which of two daily game bundles will get an up to 80% discount. If that wasn't enough each registered GOG.com user will receive daily Mystery Boxes with gifts of special sales or even the occasional free game. Of course, all of the games in this sale are covered by GOG.com's recently-announced 30 Day Money Back Guarantee everywhere in the world, so gamers can try out any title--new or old--they've been curious about with confidence.

The Whispered World 2 Announced

Daedalic Entertainment announces The Whispered World 2, a return to the setting of one of their first adventure games, saying this is coming to Windows and OS X late next year. This trailer offers a cinematic introduction to the sequel, and here's word:
With completely new 3D visuals, The Whispered World 2 will take players back to Silence, a world made of dreams. We accompany Noah, a teenager, who lost his little sister Renie in the hazardous real world and now hopes to find her again in Silence. His quest leads him to another visually impressive and emotional adventure, where players get to solve plenty of mysteries surrounding Noah, his sister and the dreamscapes of Silence.

Apart from an emotionally rewarding yet humorous story, adventure-fans can look forward to a reunion with old friends and many new features.
Continue here to read the full story.

Elite: Dangerous Alpha for Backers

Frontier is now distributing the first alpha build of Elite: Dangerous for backers of their upcoming return to the world of their Elite sci-fi shooter series. They offer this developer diary video to show what this will include. Those interested in getting in on the action can still back the game through its website. Here's word on plans for alpha testing:
Backers who pledged for access to the Alpha will experience different Alpha phases over the coming months, providing early access to Elite: Dangerous while it is being developed and the opportunity to give invaluable, focused feedback to Frontier and help further shape the game.

The aim of Phase One – ‘Single Player Combat’ is to test key aspects of ship control and combat systems. Piloting a Sidewinder with varying weapon configurations, players progress through 8 single player scenarios – initially designed to familiarize players with the controls, gradually increasing in difficulty and complexity.

SOMA Trailer

A new gameplay trailer from SOMA shows off an area from the upcoming sci-fi/horror game from Frictional Games. Word is: "Upsilon is the first environment highlight, and all footage was captured directly from gameplay." They are targeting a 2015 release for Windows and PlayStation 4. Continue here to read the full story.

Long Night Demo

The Long Night Kickstarter offers a playable demo for Long Night, an upcoming survival/horror game from indie developer Trickster Face. In addition to attracting backers, they are hoping this can also inspire support for the game's Steam Greenlight campaign. Here's word on the game, which they hope to release in April 2014: "Long Night is a third person survival horror where you play David, a teenage boy who needs to fight his fears and rescue his friends, locked up in their own nightmare. Long Night brings back and improve the first Resident Evil gameplay (Exploration, Enigma, Survival, Boss Fight), adding some true annexes story to the main quest, more fluid control and a credible, horrific story. Gameplay: Chase, hiding places, mental state management, exploration, enigma and unique bosses fights."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Acer C720 Chromebook on [Phoronix].
  • AOC Q2963PM 29- UWHD MyMulti-Play AH-IPS Monitor on eTeknix.
  • ASRock Z87M Extreme4 (LGA 1150) Motherboard on eTeknix.
  • ASUS USB-AC56 Wireless Adapter on LAN OC.
  • BitFenix Shadow on techPowerUp.
  • Cooler Master Eisberg 120L Prestige on ocaholic.
  • Dropcam HD Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera on Bigbruin.
  • GeForce GTX 670 vs GTX 770 on ocaholic.
  • Genius Energy Mouse with Smartphone Charging on TweakTown.
  • GIGABYTE G1.Sniper Z87 Gaming Motherboard on Hardware Heaven.
  • NZXT Phantom 530 Full Tower Chassis on Pure Overclock.
  • SanDisk Optimus Eco SAS Enterprise SSD on The SSD Review.
  • Silverstone Fortress Series FT04 Chassis on eTeknix.
  • XFX R7950 Double Dissipation Video Card on Legit Reviews.

etc.

  • The Fallout Lanius team announces plans for another live-action not-for-profit fan film called Fallout Lanius Crossroads. You can keep tabs on what they're up to through Facebook and YouTube

Out of the Blue

I had a 12 win week in Beat the Insiders, which isn't as good as it sounds since a lot of us did well. The good news, so to speak, is I was so far down in the rankings I still ended up being listed as "most improved" for the week by moving up two spots. The comeback continues when week 15 gets underway tonight, so watch out! A mere dozen wins stand between me and first place.

Beaten Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Go Repo.
Deadly Road Trip.
Link: 5 Reasons the Video Game Industry Is About to Crash.
Story: FDA finally addresses problem of antibiotic overuse by meat industry — sort of.
Media: Tom Cruise's war is endless in the first Edge of Tomorrow trailer. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Every Fighting Game, Ever.
Moving Illusions
What You Get When You Pour Molten Aluminum Into An Ant Hill. #sadismasart. Thanks nin.
The Funnies: Brevity.
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