Archived News:

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013

Warhammer Online Closes Tomorrow; Refund Details

The Warhammer Online website reminds us that tomorrow is the previously announced end date for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, and since the parting gift to the game's players was the game going free, it's still possible some players are due refunds for time purchased prior to the news. They have a Warhammer Online Refund FAQ to explain how this all should work. Thanks Massively.

DayZ Sales Soar

Maruk's Blog has sales numbers for DayZ for the 24 hours after Bohemia Interactive's zombie game hit Steam Early Access yesterday. Word is: First day of DayZ (Alpha). Hours passed 24. Copies sold: 175200. Survivors online: 142403. Bugs discovered: many. Work ahead: Hard.

YouTube on YouTube Game Takedowns

YouTube has responded to the rash of takedowns of game-related videos sending emails to some of the impacted users. Kotaku has the letter, which unapologetically explains the content matches at issue, noting many of these are music-related, saying: "Be aware of music. Many games allow you to turn off background music, while leaving sound effects enabled. And if you're looking for music you can freely use (and monetize!), check out our Audio Library." There have been numerous reports of erroneous takedowns during this process, but nothing in the letter addresses these.

EA Hackathon Follow-up

EA Code Wars website is now gone altogether, following the removal of the FAQ for their Hackathon competition after rules came to light that sounded like they were planning on profiting on the free labor of the participants. Polygon has some quotes from Electronic Arts indicating they are reworking the rules so that concerns about this are alleviated: "The language on the Code Wars site was confusing and unfortunately was posted prematurely," the representative told Polygon. "Most importantly, we have no intention to own participant code. We appreciate our fans bringing their concerns to our attention so we can address them, and that's why the site was brought down. We'll share more information soon and look forward to a fun developer event in February."

Ships Ahoy - The Walking Dead: Season 2

The first episode of The Walking Dead: Season 2, kicking off a five-part series based on the zombie show and comics. This can be purchased through GameStop PC Downloads and Steam. Here's word:
The Walking Dead: Season Two continues the story of Clementine, a young girl orphaned by the undead apocalypse. Left to fend for herself, she has been forced to learn how to survive in a world gone mad.

Many months have passed since the events seen in Season One of The Walking Dead, and Clementine is searching for safety. But what can an ordinary child do to stay alive when the living can be just as bad – and sometimes worse – than the dead? As Clementine, you will be tested by situations and dilemmas that will test your morals and your instinct for survival. Your decisions and actions will change the story around you, in this sequel to 2012’s Game of the Year.

The Season Pass gives you access to all five episodes as they become available (Episode 1 Available Now, Episodes 2-5 will be released periodically in 2014):

Episode 1: All That Remains
Episode 2: A House Divided
Episode 3: In Harm’s Way
Episode 4: Amid the Ruins
Episode 5: No Going Back

Total War: Rome II Campaign & Patch

SEGA Blog announces the Caesar in Gaul campaign is now available for Total War: Rome II, Creative Assembly's strategy sequel. Accompanying the expansion is a new patch to update the base game, and the patch notes for this can be found here. Here's a Caesar in Gaul trailer, and here's word on the pack:
Caesar in Gaul, the first campaign expansion for ROME II, is available to download now. Bringing Caesar’s Gallic war to life in thrilling detail, Caesar in Gaul offers a tighter scope in terms of time and geography than ROME II’s original grand campaign.

Playing as Rome or one of the key barbarian tribes in this seven-year conflict, players will experience a campaign map that represents an expanded, more detailed vision of Gaul and the south coast of Britannia. With multiple turns per year, this expansion also brings seasonal changes, with new gameplay effects and stunning visual alterations.

Caesar in Gaul also offers players a new historical battle to challenge their generalship. The Battle of Alesia, the decisive engagement of Caesar’s war in Gaul, offers a unique tactical situation in which the Romans must survive a twin-pronged onslaught of the massed Gallic forces.
Continue here to read the full story.

Borderlands 2: Headhunter 3: Mercenary Day Released

The new Headhunter 3: Mercenary Day pack for Borderlands 2 is now available. Here's word from Steam News on how this enhances Gearbox's role-playing shooter: "You’ve hit Frost Bottom in the third Headhunter Pack for Borderlands 2. Tis the season to be giving, so help Marcus save Mercenary Day and melt down The Abominable Mister Tinder Snowflake. Escape Frost Biters, warm up Gingerton and lend Small Tim a tiny hand. There will be lots of gift-giving and loot hunting as you collect new festive heads and skins!"

Insanity's Blade Kickstarter Funded; New Demos

CausalBitGames announces the Insanity's Blade Kickstarter is funded, paving the way for this throwback 8-bit game. They celebrate the news with updated co-op demos for Windows, OS X, and Linux. Here's word on the game: "The ultimate trip to hell, 8-bit style! Take a father’s journey to hell in order to save the souls of his wife and child. Insanity’s Blade: The Chronicles of Thurstan is the first in a series of games based around the journey of a sword possessed by a father’s powerful grief and hatred. This first game is the tale of the swords creation."

AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome for the Linux

Steam News announces the release of a Linux edition of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome, Dejobaan Games' "semi-sequel" AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! -- A Reckless Disregard for Gravity. They explain: "The new game brings you 82 remastered levels from the original and 43 brand new ones that are twice as fast and includes Aaaaaculus! mode with full native Oculus Rift support by your buddies over at Owlchemy Labs! :)"

Overgrowth Early Access

Overgrowth is now available for early access on Steam, and is currently on sale for 17% off its regular price. This trailer offers a rundown on this action/adventure for Windows, OS X, and Linux that's a spiritual successor to Lugaru. Here's word: "Overgrowth is a third-person 3D action game that allows you to leap and climb through sprawling levels as a ninja rabbit, and engage in intricate and brutal combat with a variety of weapons and enemies. It is still very much in development, so while the mechanics and features are mostly in place, there is no campaign, and players mostly experiment with the easy-to-use modding tools, and fighting in the arena."

On Sale

Evening Previews

etc., etc.

Star Wars: Attack Squadrons Revealed

Disney-owned LucasArts reveals a free-to-play Star Wars game called Star Wars: Attack Squadrons in development for Windows PCs at Area 52 games. A preliminary website for the game is online, offering the following elevator pitch: "Star Wars: Attack Squadrons is a free-to-play online space combat game where players customize iconic Star Wars ships and engage in high-velocity 16 player dogfights in fabled Star Wars locations. There is also a "join the beta" button that doesn't seem to work right now, which suggests testing will begin soon. There's also a post about this on IGN with a cinematic reveal trailer. Continue here to read the full story.

Dying Light Nighttime Trailer

This new trailer is a nighttime gameplay walkthrough for Dying Light, Techland's zombie game that's expected for Windows and consoles next year. The day/night cycle will be integral to gameplay, and word is the clip "is showcasing the darker side of the game's revolutionary day-and-night-cycle mechanic and gives a glimpse into different strategies that players will adopt depending on the time of day in order to survive." Here's a bit more from the description: "Slow, apathetic, and easily visible, the infected are not much of a threat in daylight. But this relatively safe state of affairs is turned upside down as the sun sets. At night, it is you who is at a disadvantage. Without daylight, the senses of the infected become more acute while their thirst for human flesh skyrockets. They run, jump, and climb, so there is really no place where you are safe anymore." Continue here to read the full story.

Star Citizen Dogfighting Module Delay

A new Roberts Space Industries Letter from the Chairman has an update from Chris Roberts on the status of dogfighting in Star Citizen, RSI's crowd-funded space combat and exploration game (thanks InBlack). He explains that the overabundance of funding they received has allowed them to proceed faster than anticipated, which, counterintuitively means they are delaying the dogfighting module they intended to be one of the first elements of the game released to the public. He explains that they are holding this back to implement their own netcode, rather than using Crytek's, while expressing other concerns about doing things as they originally planned. "So rather than force the team to crunch through the holidays chasing something 'good enough'," Roberts writes, "I am going to make the tough choice to delay the dogfighting module for a couple of months to allow us to take our time and deliver something special." The post is very lengthy, so this is a relatively short excerpt:
Outside of having the dogfighting use the proper backend there is a lot of finesse and detail that needs to go in to get the dogfighting ready for the community’s consumption – The HUD, Damage states, various FX – these are all in progress and look very promising but in my personal opinion aren’t quite ready for prime time.

I feel that the Dogfighting module, especially with Star Citizen’s greatly increased profile, needs to be more polished than a typical “alpha”. There are a lot of eyes on the game, and more than a few people wanting us to fail. Because Dogfighting is the first module that will involve significant gameplay, it has to be good – I don’t feel that we will get a pass just because it is pre-pre alpha.

So we had two choices: either fork development and spend time building something that would involve throwing away work in order to meet the December deadline and deliver something that wouldn’t have the level of polish I’m happy with, or stay on course to build something that would lead directly into the finished game.

Dota 2 Access Opened to All

The Dota 2 blog announces that Valve has removed all restrictions to accessing Dota 2, and the free-to-play MOBA now accessible to all Steam users. Here's word:
For the past several months, access to Dota 2 has been granted through a queue system that gated entry into the community. We’ve used this system to gradually increase the size of our playerbase, as we ramped up our infrastructure and improved the experience for new players. As we have recently completed a set of server management upgrades as well as released a huge number of enhancements to the new user experience, we’re going to remove all restrictions to playing Dota 2.

Signups are no longer required to access the game, and we encourage everyone to join the 6.5 million active monthly users currently playing Dota 2. If you have a friend who hasn’t tried Dota 2 yet, be sure to take advantage of the new recruitment feature to get additional bonuses for both you and your friend.

To download and start playing Dota 2, you can head to the Dota 2 Steam page and click the green ‘PLAY GAME’ button. We hope you’ll join the Dota 2 community.

South Park: The Stick of Truth Censored for Australia

South Park: The Stick of Truth will be censored for release in Australia, in spite of the cartoon-based action/RPG being tagged with the country's relatively new R18+ (adults only) rating. Speaking with Ubisoft, Player Attack learned that the game is being "slightly modified" for release down under. They also note an oddity in how this all came about, saying the game seems to have been rated twice, once as "Codename" and three weeks later under its official title (you can see both listings use the same file number). Further, both of these indicate a "modified" version of the game was being rated, so they are continuing to try and determine whether an uncut version of the game was rejected before these approvals.

PAYDAY 2 Free Holiday DLC

It's not noted on Steam News, Overkill Software now offers free holiday-themed DLC for PAYDAY 2, their heist sequel. The PAYDAY 2: The Charlie Santa Heist has all the details on this, and this trailer shows off the new mission. Continue here to read the full story.

Divinity: Original Sin Alpha for Backers

Larian Studios is now offering alpha access to Divinity: Original Sin for backers of the Kickstarter for the next installment in their Divinity series of RPGs. This trailer celebrates the news, and here's word on what this includes: "Initially, the alpha will be single-player only but multiplayer will be added in the future. Sounds and music, animations, and all that other good stuff may be placeholders to be updated as the alpha rolls along. Alpha builds will be updated on a regular basis through Steam and players in the alpha can capture and stream footage with no NDA." Continue here to read the full story.

EA Hackathon Concerns

The EA Hackathon 2014 website has details on a competition underway to rapidly create a Windows or mobile app. GameInformer reports that this originally included details in a FAQ noting that EA would reserve the right to use submissions under a royalty-free, irrevocable, but non-exclusive license. Any concerns this may cause are possibly being addressed, as they also note that not long after this came to light, EA removed the FAQs and Rules page from the competition website, so it's possible this is being revised.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

While I wasn't paying attention another snow storm rolled into these parts overnight, and it's already starting to accumulate out there. It looks like the aftermath of this will be eased by pretty warm temperatures over the next couple of days and there's rain to follow, so it doesn't seem like this is laying the groundwork for a ♪white Christmas♫, but with a week to go until Christmas Eve there's plenty of time for that to change. Good thing it isn't winter yet!

Shoveled Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Live Puzzle 2: Christmas Edition.
Christmas Gifts.
Link: Recruiter Forgets To Hang Up, Leaves Adorable Voicemail.
Stories: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Goyer Teaming Up for 'Sandman'. Thanks nin.
Shia LaBeouf Accused of Plagiarism After Debuting Short Film Online.
Nirvana, KISS among Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.
Science: Glaxo Says It Will Stop Paying Doctors to Promote Drugs.
Earliest evidence of cat domestication found in China.
Images: Panoramic image of Curiosity Rover under Mars's night sky.
Media: Music Modem.
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