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Archive for May, 2008

Beyond Good and Evil 2 Going Casual

Friday, May 30th, 2008

According to Ubisoft big cheese, Yves Guillemot, the recently announced sequel to Beyond Good and Evil will be much more casual.  He discusses this in an interview with Next-Gen:

“We saw with Beyond Good & Evil that so many customers were extremely happy with the game,” said Guillemot. “We had a different audience at that time. We had more core gamers than casual gamers than we have today.

“We think the game was probably a little too difficult for the general gamers at that time. We’re going to make it more accessible and make sure that it’s really done for the new generation that’s come into videogames.”

The question is if this will alienate the fans of the original game that actually made it a cult hit in the first place.

Valve Announces Steam Cloud

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Steam has made a name for itself for its digital distribution model, and how players can access their game collection (for games they got that support steam) from any computer.  Now they have announced a new enhancement for the system called Steam Cloud.

This service is intended to allow players to keep their save games and configurations stored remotely on Steam, where they can be accessed whenever they want.  The move would allow players to protect their game saves from their computers crapping out, and quickly transferring saves to new systems.

Vanguard Gets an Update

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

The official community site for Vanguard – Saga of Heroes is trumpeting the release of the MMORPG’s latest update (it’s fifth).  The update includes tweaks to the character classes, a “citizen favor system” that will allow players to earn various mounts (among other things), and bring improvement in the game’s performance.

One Million Sign Up to PSN in Japan

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

SCEJ is tooting their own horn that about 1,000,000 people have signed up for their PS3 online gaming service, PSN.  The service originally went online in Japan in 2006, and currently has about 400,000 users logging on each month.

To celebrate the occasion, Sony is giving away 1,000 tickets worth 1,000 yen that can be spent on the service’s online store.

[Hat tip to Game Watch]

New Oddworld Confirmed

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

The possibility of a new Oddworld was swirling around the rumor mill last week.  Now the man behind the series, Lorne Lanning, is coming out to confirm that indeed a new game is in the works.  Gameindustry.biz has the skinny:

Reports of a new title emerged last week, following a speech given by Maxis co-founder Jeff Braun at Wilfrid Laurier University, where the industry vet revealed that he was working with Lanning’s studio.

“I can confirm that we’re working with Jeff on Oddworld stuff, but that’s all I can say at this time,” offered Lanning.

No word yet as to which platform the game will be heading.

Metal Gear Solid 4 to Have 90 Minute Cute Scenes?!?

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

The Metal Gear Solid series has long been known for its lengthy cut scenes, but CVG brings word that MGS4 will have multiple 90 minute cut scenes in it:

We know the Metal Gear Solid series is famous for its long cut-scenes, but this tops everything! Metal Gear Solid 4, the latest instalment in Hideo Kojima’s seminal stealth series, has cut-scenes (note the plural) that approach the 90 minutes mark.

For those troubled with time keeping, that’s the length of a feature film.

The news comes from PSW magazine, who’s been and finished MGS4, and then promptly whispered in our ears about the shocking 90-minute cut-scenes. The latest issue hits newsstands today, by the way.

Thankfully the game will let players skip the cut scenes if they choose. How many people will actually sit through all of these scenes?

Bethesda Softworks and Splash Damage Partner Up

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

The hip, happening folks at Bethesda Softworks has announced that they have entered a development partnership with the equally hip, happening folks at UK studio, Splash Damage:

May 22, 2008 (Rockville, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, announced today a long-term development partnership with the award-winning U.K. studio, Splash Damage™.

Splash Damage has been recognized by the industry for the quality of its titles and particularly for its skill in creating cutting-edge multiplayer games. The studio has received numerous accolades and awards for Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory™, including Game of the Year nods from GameSpy, IGN, and PC Format. Their latest game, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars™, won over 80 Editors’ Choice, E3, Most Wanted, and Game of the Year awards and nominations.

Bethesda Softworks continues to expand its development and publishing reach, with investments in a library of AAA titles and the opening of new offices in Europe and Japan in the past year. Best known for its 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®, Bethesda has in development a number of compelling titles, including the highly-anticipated Fallout® 3 due in Fall 2008.

“Bethesda Softworks has repeatedly been responsible for outstanding games as both publisher and developer.” said Paul Wedgwood, Owner and Creative Director of Splash Damage. “Both of our studios share a passion for creating great games, and we’re confident that this partnership will result in even greater experiences for gamers. We’re really looking forward to working with Bethesda.”

“This could not be a more perfect fit,” said Vlatko Andonov, President of Bethesda Softworks. “We are extremely impressed with Splash Damage and the quality titles they produce. They are highly creative and innovative, and have demonstrated a high level of dedication to their projects. We are confident that gamers everywhere will be thrilled with the offerings from this collaboration.”

More details about Splash Damage’s brand-new project will be provided in the coming months. For more information on Bethesda Softworks, visit www.bethsoft.com. For more information on Splash Damage, visit www.splashdamage.com.

Dungeon Party Announced

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

French game maker, Cyanide, has announced a new free-to-play MMOG that they have in the works called Dungeon Party:

Cyanide, a Parisian game development studio unveils DUNGEON PARTY, a MMOG that is currently under development for the Windows PC.

Patrick Pligersdorffer, CEO of Cyanide describes DUNGEON PARTY “as a game that leads two teams of intrepid players deep into a dungeon in search of treasure. Each team not only has to overcome the dirty tricks of the other side, but they also have to survive the numerous traps and monsters that lie within. The first team that gets out alive, WITH THE TREASURE, is the winner.”

Patrick feels that the zany humour and offbeat graphics will appeal to a wide audience of both hard-core and occasional gamers. “They’ll have plenty of fun in the short, quick-fire face-offs where there are plenty of twists and turns (both literal and metaphorical !). Getting to the treasure first is only half the story. You still have to get it out of the dungeon !” He continues “We’ve been working on DUNGEON PARTY for over a year now and it really is something a bit different. It’s certainly got everybody here excited ! Never has there been so much noise during the development of a game !! So we’re really looking forward to getting a beta test out the door this summer and getting some feedback from players.”

DUNGEON PARTY is a free MMOG for the PC platform. Two teams of up to 5 players compete over one or more rounds and victory is only assured when one of them gets out of the dungeon with the treasure. Players can choose from one of 6 character types and they can customise their hero with various items of clothing or other objects that might come in useful in a dark corner ! Regular tournaments promise games of even greater intensity and will allow all players to measure themselves against the best, thanks to a real-time ranking system. Get ready to don your finest magic robes or your must sturdy armour and let’s see if you have what it takes to become masters of the dungeon.

DUNGEON PARTY is currently under development and is scheduled for release early in the 4th quarter of 2008. In the meantime you keep up to date with events on www.cyanide-studio.com.

Jack Thompson Found Guilty of Misconduct

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Last year, anti-gaming crusader Jack Thompson faced a professional misconduct case by the Florida Bar, and now the judge who presided over it has come forth with his recommendations.  Of the 31 charges leveled against Thompson the judge has recommended going through with 27 of them.  These include:

• Knowingly making a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal
• Knowingly disobeying an obligation under the rules of a tribunal
• Communicating the merits of the case with a judge before whom the proceeding is pending
• Using means that have no purpose other than to embarrass, delay or burden a third person
• Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation
• Engaging in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, including to knowingly or through callous indifference disparage or humiliate litigants or other lawyers
• Making statements that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge

Game Politics has a detailed report on the matter.

Xbox Live Cap to be Raised to 350MB

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

The folks at Gameindustry.biz recently chatted with Xbox Live Arcade Grand Overseer, David Edery, about the online component for the Xbox 360, and it turns out that the cap on game size is going to get bumped up to 350MB:

Yeah, it’s a steady progress. We’ve been listening to our partners, listening to our customers to try and get a feel for what’s right. We don’t want the size limit to hit the roof because we think there’s some value in promoting small pick and play experiences that don’t cost USD 20 million, it’s good for the ecosystem.

WoW Graphic Overhaul Coming?

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Eurogamer recently had the chance to interview J. Allen Brack, Tom Chilton, and Jeff Kaplan about Wrath of the Lich King, where the discussion turned to graphics in the game, and the chances of them being upgraded at some point.  It the interview it was acknowledged that in a expansion after Lich King we will probably see such an upgrade, though the team is wary of other MMORPGs trying this in the past, and only being partially successful.

J. Allen Brack: That’s actually something we talk about every expansion. It’s interesting, two games have really tried that before, Ultima Online tried it and EverQuest tried it as well, and in each case it was only somewhat successful. In each case a lot of people continued to play with the original client, because it was faster, or they preferred it, or were just used to it or whatever. And so for me as a game developer, the idea that we would spend so much time and energy on something and have people go, “meh, that’s not really for me,” that’s not very exciting.

So I don’t think there’s really a clear model as to how to do that successfully. The model we have with Wrath of the Lich King allows people with high-end machines some additional graphical effects, and then we’ll have some kind of fallback for the people who don’t. Will we need a graphical update from the ground up at some point? Yep, probably. And I’m positive we’ll talk about it next expansion.

Wrath of the Lich King Out Before Year’s End

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

According to the folks at Eurogamer, who have been scouring the financials of Vivendi, we can expect the next World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King in the second half of 2008.

If I was a betting man, I’d wager Blizzard will release the game close to that of the Warhammer MMO just to hurt their competitors sales at launch.

Uwe Boll on GTA movie: “I’m the right guy to do it”

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

CVG is reporting that Uwe Boll thinks that he’s the man for the job when it comes to directing a GTA movie.

“Grand Theft Auto would be super interesting for me, and I think I would actually be the right guy to do it,” he said, adding, “because my movies are all bloody and violent and I don’t have a problem with action scenes.

“But look, they will go, in the end, with a Michael Bay or a Brett Ratner, and it will be a PG-13 movie made for $150 million. I think it would be better to make a $30 million, very hard, brutal movie without compromising, but I’m not optimistic.”

This just makes me think of the old Adam Sandler skit where he’s constantly saying, “Noooo, they’re gonna laugh at you!”

Testing for Age of Conan Kicked Into High Gear

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Funcom and Eidos have sent word that over one million people have registered for the beta on their upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan.  Here’s the big, huge, gigantic press release:

Durham, USA – May 13, 2008 – Funcom and Eidos are proud to confirm some of the impressive figures powering the Age of Conan launch, and the two companies are happy to reveal that the Age of Conan Beta has passed 1 million sign-ups! As one of the most anticipated MMO’s ever, the 1 million mark confirms the amazing interest in the game.

“Funcom has not been able to find any higher beta numbers for MMOs in the western world,” said Morten Larssen, VP of Funcom Sales and Marketing. “We believe it represents the largest ever beta sign-up figure in the history of the genre.”

In addition to the incredible beta numbers, Funcom confirms that almost 800.000 gamers have signed up for the Clan of Conan newsletter. The hundreds of thousands following the development of the game have moreover resulted in a rapidly growing forum community. Last week Funcom registered over 115.000 posts on the official forums, across four languages. This comes in addition to Age of Conan discussions on external forums and in other languages.

In 2008, Funcom has also seen a tremendous growth in the amount of people who visit the official Age of Conan websites. Since January 2008, Funcom has registered more than 5 million unique visitors, from more than 200 countries. Last week alone over 725.000 unique visitors came to the Age of Conan sites.

The coverage and interest on external gaming sites has skyrocketed as a result of the growing anticipation. Age of Conan has topped numerous charts as the most read about, most popular and most anticipated PC game in development. As an example, GameSpot.com has Age of Conan as the #1 most read about upcoming game over the last month, on any format. The game has seen a similar interest on genre specific sites, including being the #1 most popular MMO over the last 12 months on MMORPG.com. Print gaming publications have also covered the game widely, and the game now has over 20 covers, including the coveted cover of PC Gamer US.

“How all of our strong figures convert into later sales and subscription figures is still unknown,” continued Larssen. “But our pre-order numbers in some important retail chains track as among the highest for any MMO launched.”

Age of Conan launches 20th of May in North America / Oceania and 23rd of May in Europe.

To celebrate the amazing community figures surrounding Age of Conan Funcom and Eidos today unveils a brand new trailer. Aptly called the Femme Fatale trailer, the new video can be downloaded in HD quality from the media section at http://community.ageofconan.com. For more information or to pre-order Age of Conan – either in English, German, French or Spanish – please visit the official websites.

GTA IV the Biggest Entertainment Launch Ever

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

It seems there’s a new title trying to grab this status every few years, whether it’s Halo 3, Harry Potter, the Dreamcast, or something else, the companies behind them are standing at the ready to announce that their product is the biggest selling entertainment-related doo-dad ever.

Now it’s GTA IV’s turn with the game having raked in about $500 million in its first week, which works out to be about 6 million copies of the game sold (with 3.6 million of those units selling on the first day).