Archived News:

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

Gearbox Fights Aliens Lawsuit

Gearbox Software has filed motions to have claims dropped against them in a class-action suit over false advertising of advertised Aliens: Colonial Marines, reports Polygon, adding that another motion was filed requesting to remove the suit's class-action status. They argue that as the developer they should not be held accountable for the game and its marketing, which were the responsibility of publisher SEGA. The suit also alleges Gearbox steered development funding for Aliens: Colonial Marines, while the motion states that Gearbox supported development of the game with millions of dollars of their own money, which was never repaid. The story also includes word that this suit might have been settled a month ago with Gearbox dropped from the proceedings, except one of the plaintiffs could not be located to approve. It was later learned this was because he was incarcerated in Pennsylvania.

Ships Ahoy - Titanfall: Frontier's Edge

The Titanfall website announces the Frontier's Edge DLC for Titanfall is now available for Windows and Xbox One, offering a new Frontier's Edge gameplay trailer to illustrate the news. They note that this is part of the Titanfall Season Pass, and those happen to be on sale on Origin right now for 30% off (thanks Dealzon). Here's word on the three new maps this includes:

  • Dig Site – A critical asset on the Frontier, Dig Site is surrounded by sheer rock walls that offer natural protection against air assaults. Titans patrol narrow pathways between giant industrial processing plants while pilots leap overhead to attack from above
  • Export – An exporting hub built on the side of a mountain, Export recalls the boom-towns of the gold rush from centuries earlier. Focused on close-quarters combat, pilots use this to their advantage to gain speed and height, while titans lock down natural choke points that overlook the town below
  • Haven – Catering to the Frontier’s wealthy elite, this exclusive beach resort rests on the edge of a massive crater lake. Pilots will utilize the sheer walls of the hotel skyscrapers to gain high ground while titans attack from inside art galleries and luxury restaurants

Front Page Sports Football Returning

Cyanide Studio announces the upcoming return of Front Page Sports Football, though it's not clear if this is the online version of the tackle football series they showed off almost five years ago, as they call it "one of the most rich and detailed sport management games on PC." They say this will be released in time for the football season (opening night is September 4th), and here's all they are saying about it for now:
Football fever about to kick into full swing, and while you prepare to gorge yourself on the games and fantasy football, Cyanide is bringing back a blast from the past for you to enjoy this season: Front Page Sports Football! This classic American Football PC video game license from back in the 90’s is now being brought back to life as one of the most rich and detailed sport management games on PC.

With Front Page Sports Football players will be able to manage a US football team of their creation and make all the decisions that a real manager or coach would make during a season. Just like every other general manager, players will compose the best team (from the draft, signing free agents and the like, as well as manage many other details like morale, affinity, finances, training sessions, etc.

At the same time players will fill the role of coach, setting a game plan for every match through a playbook of over 2,300 unique plays. They will also have access to a range of orders and actions to improve management of the team. Players can also watch full 2D or 3D replays of their game and consult a wide range of statistics to improve his team moves, anticipate the reaction of his challengers, and much more.

Call of Duty: Ghosts: Nemesis Trailer

Here's a new trailer showing off the upcoming Nemesis DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts, the latest installment in this military shooter series. This is coming to Xbox next week and other platforms after that, fulfilling the game's Season Pass. PC gamers disappointed at not being able to grab this now can scratch that itch by heading over to Steam where they have a whole bunch of personalization and weapon packs to sell you. Here's word on the Nemesis pack's contents:
The four new small-to-medium multiplayer maps in Nemesis are designed specifically for Call of Duty's distinctive fast-paced, gun-on-gun gameplay.

  • "Goldrush" is set in an abandoned gold mine in the Southwest United States, where an intricate network of cavernous tunnels and perilous shafts create the ideal setting for medium to long range combat; while two mine carts race along the abandoned tracks offering players a fast way to traverse the map. Players who complete the unique field order on Goldrush will unleash a howling pack of wolves that will descend upon their enemies.
  • "Subzero" drops players into a frigid Canadian submarine base that has been hastily evacuated, with control room, submarine pen and research facilities all left eerily empty. Built around the traditional three-lane design, this medium-sized map harbors a mysterious terror that will decimate your enemies upon completion of the map's unique field order.
  • In "Dynasty," players are transported to a lakeside Chinese village surrounded by picturesque mountains, vivid gardens, and spectacular architecture - a serene environment that is anything but Zen-like. Multiple pathways crisscross the village in this medium map with a variety of elevation and numerous back alleys that create flanking routes. The unique field order on "Dynasty" allows players to call in an air strike of vertical takeoff fighter jets, while one lingers behind to give you unmatched air superiority.
  • Nemesis cranks the frenetic multiplayer action to unprecedented levels with the fourth multiplayer map, "Showtime," a sadistic reimagining of the smallest map in Call of Duty® history, the fan favorite map from Call of Duty® 4: Modern Warfare® "Shipment." In the futuristic arena of "Showtime," blind corners and narrow pathways provide momentary reprieve from the outright mayhem within the central square comprised of several shipping containers. Tight confines call for shotguns and SMGs. Survive long enough to be rewarded with one of three killstreaks: lethal automated gun turrets at key locations on the map, an air drop with multiple care packages or a deadly gas attack that forces the action back into the center of the arena.

Closing out the final DLC Pack for Call of Duty: Ghosts is the dramatic conclusion in the Extinction narrative, "Episode 4: Exodus." Following the CIF Unit's harrowing escape from the alien underworld and the successful recovery of Dr. Cross and the cortex, the team has flown in to fight off the Cryptid army's siege of the last bastion of human resistance. Your mission is to get key personnel to safety by restoring power to the shuttle and launching the shuttle to a low earth orbit space station.

Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

  • Humble Weekly Bundle- Sci-Fi Edition on Humble Bundle.
  • Orcs Must Die! 2 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Red Faction Guerrilla on Steam. Save 90%.
  • Transistor on Steam. Save 33%.

Op Ed

Polygon - If Sony wants PlayStation Now to succeed, it has to treat us better than GameStop. Thanks nin.
Speaking of: Learn from PC, learn from Humble Bundle and Steam sales and Amazon's digital store. Learn from Netflix, learn from all the companies that know the value and potential of a deal. People are willing to spend a little money a lot of times, but nobody will test drive Jimmie Johnson's racing game for $4.99. Not even Jimmie Johnson.

Do a cursory amount of research, and you'll find that your pricing model is old and expensive.

Evening Previews

  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on Gearbox Software. Nisha's action skill revealed, with links to several video previews.
  • Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms on IncGamers.com.

etc., etc.

  • Lovely Planet is now available on Steam carrying a 15% launch discount on this intentionally cute shooter…

Steamships Ahoy - Pixel Piracy

Ahoy mateys! A new Steam community announcement from Alex Poskey announces that Pixel Piracy is now available on Steam as an official release, having left early access earlier today, as promised (thanks Batman). Alex also lays out some interesting details about the project, noting that development was 364 days from conception to launch, the game's pre-early access budget was 80 euros, it was approved by Steam Greenlight in 11 hours, and is one of the fastest games to work its way through the early access process. The game carries a 50% launch discount for the next week, and here's word on the release version:
The changelog from our previous version is WAY too long to even begin to describe, with around one thousand changes having been made, and ALL mantis bugs having been squashed!

Let me list off just a few of the major differences.

There is now an End-Game!

There is now a rather large compendium/tutorial that you can reach by pressing f1.

Cannon combat has been fixed and tweaked, with the focus being on cannon combat only applying BEFORE boarding, and cannon shots target showing in red.

We have DOZENS of new systems in place for all of our FREE content patches that we will be adding in the coming months. Yes, you read correctly, we plan on continuing work on Pixel Piracy TOMORROW. There will be no slow down in work, and we will continue pushing new content as we come out with it!

F1 2014 & 2015 Announced

Codemasters announces the roadmap for their Formula One series of racing games, saying F1 2014 will come to Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on October 17th, and also revealing plans for a 2015 installment in the series to follow for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. They offer this announcement trailer and some screenshots showing off F1 2014 and say the game that follows will hopefully not be so late in the year, in spite of how it moves the series forward. “Our title for the new generation formats will mark a huge step forward for the F1 series," explained creative director Stephen Hood. "We want to be out there earlier in the season and deliver new season content updates digitally as the 2015 season progresses; it’s very exciting for the series and our players." Here's word on both games:
F1 2014 is the culmination of five years of experience developing officially licensed, award-winning FORMULA 1 video games and delivers fans the most accessible experience yet. F1 2014 will incorporate this season’s seismic rule changes – the most significant in the sport’s 60 year history – including new aerodynamic regulations and turbocharged power units. All but two teams have changed their driver line-ups and new circuits have been added to the roster. Players will experience how 2014’s radically different new cars feel to drive as the season’s cars, circuits and teams are authentically represented.

F1 2014 also delivers a range of enhancements to create the most accessible FORMULA 1 video game from Codemasters to date. A new driver evaluation system quickly identifies player ability and tunes game settings to an appropriate level, whilst re-graded difficulty settings enable players to compete at incrementally higher levels as they become more experienced. Experienced gamers, who enjoy a more serious simulation of the demands placed upon FORMULA ONE™ drivers, can customise their settings to provide a true challenge.

In 2015, Codemasters will introduce a new FORMULA 1 title for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The title will launch earlier in the FORMULA ONE season and players will receive digital updates for the game as the 2015 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™ unfolds, enabling players to compete against the drivers and teams they watch week in and week out.

“This is the year it all changes – for the sport and for the game,” explained Stephen Hood, Creative Director for the F1 series at Codemasters.

“There’s been a dramatic shift in the sport; the largest shake up in the rules and regulations for a very long time and the new power units provide a very different kind of challenge, for both driver and team. By delivering all of these changes, F1 2014 will make for an exciting and refreshingly different experience. Additionally, with the new driver evaluation system analysing each player’s skill level and suggesting appropriate game settings, plus re-graded difficulty levels including a brand new Very Easy setting, we aim to deliver a thoroughly rewarding F1 experience for players of all abilities, from the novice to the seasoned pro.”
Continue here to read the full story.

Royal Quest Launches

1C Company announces the release of Royal Quest on Steam, offering a fantasy-themed MMORPG from Katauri Interactive (Space Rangers and King's Bounty). They say the game's setting on the world of Aura is huge and diverse, offering dozens of dungeons and outdoor locations in six main regions, five PvPvE areas, more than 1000 quests, about 200 different monsters, and six world bosses. Here's word:
"The world of Royal Quest is a place where magic and technology co-exist. It’s a world that might have perished under the onslaught of invaders from the Theron Empire, but which was persevered by King Roland and heroes who fought alongside him. Now the kingdom is ready to face off against the almighty Dark Alchemists and their twisted creatures once again.

Timesplitters: Rewind Still Ticking

It seems Timesplitters: Rewind will survive the Crytek shakeup, according to a report on One Angry Gamer. In light of news that Crytek U.K., the developer formerly known as Free Radical, is closed, they reached out to Michael Hubicka to ask about the state of this side project. It was previously stated that this project is being handled like a mod, and word is it's still progressing, saying: "We are still moving forward. We will be announcing a major change soon. [...]" Those ellipses apparently represent something they redacted after posting, as that say there is other exciting news about this project that cannot be shared yet.

Mastertronic Layoffs

U.K.-based game publisher Mastertronic is cutting about 40% of their staff, reports Eurogamer.net. This is the second company to use the name, as the original Mastertronic was eventually folded into SEGA, and the name was revived in 2004 when it was bought back by one of the company's original founders. Here's the statement from the Mastertronic's Andy Payne:
We knew that the business models we had been supporting were becoming unsustainable for us and some of our partners. The stress in the market is everywhere; indeed, every day we read about another studio, publisher, retailer or service company restructuring their business or, worse still, closing their doors and ceasing to trade. Only last week we found out about two major platforms reducing their staff numbers. This week another publisher has started their process of cutting back running costs and overheads. There is pain everywhere

Maia Earns $1M

Maia, the indie simulation available via Early Access on Steam is an indie success story, as Develop reports the game has now earned over a million dollars between Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Early Access. They also report the game's creator Simon Roth is forming a developer called Machine Studios. "The real reason I wanted Machine Studios rather than Simon Roth Incorporated is I thought it would be really narcissistic and weird, for one," Roth explains. "And also, I didn’t want my employees to have to put on their CV 'I worked at Simon Roth,' when it could be Machine Studios. And so it gives them a better thing to say what they worked for."

Defiance Game Not Dependent on TV Series

Following news of a new Defiance expansion coming next week, Polygon inquired what would happen to the MMORPG if the SyFy tie-in series was cancelled, learning that the game will soldier on even if this happens. "We were standing alone for nine months after the first season of the show ended," says lead designer, Trick Dempsey. "We do really have a stunning following. Defiance has its own legs and runs on its own really well." He goes on to discuss specifics about season two, and expresses confidence that the game will continue past that. "We would definitely survive if there were no season three," Dempsey said. "But I would be much happier if there were."

On the Legality of "Code Stripping"

MCV is taking on the issue of "code stripping," with a few different articles about companies that buy boxed games in territories where they are sold cheaply and reselling them in markets where the prices of these games are higher, a situation that raises its own questions about game pricing. They have a story with background on all this, an article discussing whether or it is legal, and a special report on how upset some retailers are over this situation.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Op Ed

St. Albert Gazette - Video game documentary as vacuous as games themselves.
We are led down a rabbit hole of mendacity about how video games are good, how they have a unique and fundamental role in society (that will never dissolve, only change form), and how we’re only now beginning to understand and explore how they can improve human existence.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I saw a question in the forums about the next Payday 2 experience for me and the Monday night co-op crew. As it turns out there was not one, as after a discussion we decided this was not the game we'd expected and gave up for now. We were hoping to pull off slick stealthy Oceans 11-style heists, but as I've already described, every job was just a Heat-style bloodbath where we had to wipe out entire police forces to escape, and since our style of play is to just to play together and not level up when we are apart, it was going to take forever to get to the point were we could play the game as we wanted. I consider this a fault of the game that it does not have better beginner missions, but I also have to admit the possibility that if Payday 2 did play the way I envisioned it, it may just have been super-boring, but we'll never know. We decided to make sure we were set with a couple of other options for next week, and in the meantime actually tried a four-player Terraria game, which was fun, though a little odd, because I was the only one with more than a token understanding of the game. I think it would be fun to try that again, but on Monday I think we'll end up playing something with a little more action.

Heisted Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Bomb of Love.
Magic Runes.
Inkthings.
Link: Guy jumps off a building, slides down a roof and lands on stairs for fun. Thanks Creston.
Stories: Your ‘Craft’ Whiskey Is Probably From a Factory Distillery in Indiana.
L.A. TV Anchors Punk'd by Fake DWP Spokesman Louis Slungpue.
Science: Dept. of Energy hunting fault tolerance for extreme scale systems.
Images: Eye-Tracking Heatmaps. Thanks Boing Boing.
Media: Mike Tyson Mysteries - San Diego Comic Con 2014 Sneak Peek. Thanks nin.
New Trailer Debuts for Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar'.
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For - Redband Trailer.
When They Needed to Say Goodbye to Their Companion Cube, Incineration Was The Only Choice.
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