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Archive for June, 2008

Rock Band 2 Announced

Monday, June 30th, 2008

It wasn’t a matter of “if” it was a matter of “when” MTV Games and Harmonix would finally announce a Rock Band sequel.  And we now have an answer: September 2008.  You can read some of the details below but maybe the most important ones are that the title is “exclusive” to Xbox 360 (for a bit), you won’t have to buy another round of instruments, and any downloaded songs for Rock Band will work with Rock Band 2.

Rock Band 2 builds upon its foundation as the first music game to introduce co-operative band gameplay, multiple instruments, a robust online multiplayer experience, an unrivaled offering of downloadable content and raises the bar by delivering an entirely new level of depth, connectivity, authenticity and features including:

  • Backwards compatibility with Rock Band downloadable music content. All previously purchased tracks will immediately load into your Rock Band 2 song list. No need to re-purchase or re-download.
  • The biggest and most diverse soundtrack ever featuring some of rock’s most prolific acts, comprised entirely of master recordings.
  • Major new and dynamic online modes that will connect the entire Rock Band community in more ways than ever before both locally and globally.
  • More variety of instrument choices than ever before with new and improved drum and guitar peripherals, enhanced functionality and innovative new designs – all fully compatible with the original Rock Band instruments.

“As successful as the original Rock Band continues to be, we’ve now had the benefit of the last eight months to listen to our fans’ requests and to build upon that foundation,” said Alex Rigopulos, co-founder and CEO of Harmonix. “Rock Band 2 is a second-generation band game that will elevate the music game experience to the next level.”

Rock Band 2 will make its debut on Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft this September and have an exclusive launch window in North America. Rock Band 2 will be available for additional platforms later this year.

Left 4 Dead in November

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Turtle Rock’s Left 4 Dead finally has a release date (mentioned in a Gametrailers interview), and that day is November 4, 2008.  Yet one more game vying for people’s attention in the busy, busy forth quarter!

Much More Battlefield on the Way

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Even with Battlefield: Bad Company just coming out, DICE big cheese, Ben Cousins, is already talking about four more games in the series that are in the works.  According to GI.biz:

At GDC Paris today, Ben Cousins, executive producer at EA’s DICE studio, has confirmed that the team is currently working on no less than five titles in its Battlefield franchise.

EA announced at the start of the year its first entry in the free-to-play market would be Battlefield Heroes, and the publisher is set to release Battlefield: Bad Company for home consoles this Friday.

But the team is also at work on three other games based on the series, including a traditional core game aimed at consoles, and a new collaboration with Neowiz specifically for the Korean market.

A Beatles Game?

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

According to the Financial Times, The Beatles have reps in talks with both Activision and MTV Games about the possibility of making a game centering on the band.

A final deal would be worth several million dollars, according to a person familiar with the talks, and could be reached in a matter of weeks. However, it would have first to win the blessing of both Apple Corps, the company established by the band to oversee its business interests, and EMI, the UK music group that owns the Beatles master recordings. Both declined to comment.

The surviving Beatles and their heirs have been cautious about exploiting their material on new platforms. They were slow to re-issue their albums on compact disc.

What kind of theme would you want to see in a Beatles game?  Yellow Submarine?  Sgt. Pepper?

Dragon’s Lair Celebrates 25 Years

Friday, June 20th, 2008

The classic animated game that was birthed onto laser disc in 1983, Dragon’s Lair, is celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary and Digital Leisure is commemorating the event with a discount price.  Here are the full details:

GORMLEY, Ontario, Canada – June 20, 2008 – Though it may seem like just yesterday that your pockets were being lightened two quarters at a time by the most revolutionary arcade machine on the market, it’s actually been 25 years, and now it’s time to celebrate!

Launched on to the arcade scene in June of 1983, Dragon’s Lair received worldwide acclaim with its ground-breaking animation and interactive gameplay. This would leave a mark on a generation of millions of faithful followers who fondly remember their first ‘Lair’ experience.  More recently, Digital Leisure gave Dragon’s Lair the royal treatment and remastered the original film onto Blu-ray High Definition to ensure this classic animated game could be enjoyed by an all-new generation of gamers.

“I can’t believe it’s already been 25 years!” said Dragon’s Lair creator and legendary film animator Don Bluth. “To think a small project conceived by Rick Dyer would become such a beloved classic is something I couldn’t have foreseen. I don’t think Dirk and Daphne have aged a day!”

The week of June 22nd is your opportunity to celebrate this milestone in video gaming history.  During the 25th anniversary week, Digital Leisure will be offering 25% off all Dragon’s Lair games from its website. As well, with your purchased copy of Dragon’s Lair on DVD, Blu-ray or on HD PC DVD your copy will be personally signed by original creators Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, John Pomeroy and Rick Dyer.

To top off the celebrations, Digital Leisure will also be giving away a giclee of the opening castle scene from Dragon’s Lair, hand-signed by all of the creators, a $500 value. This limited piece of animation art will be given away to one lucky Dragon’s Lair fan who enters their name at www.digitalleisure.com during Dragon’s Lair Week! Dragon’s Lair fans will also have the opportunity to purchase an original Dragon’s Lair movie-style poster autographed by all four creators!

This is a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive so don’t wait for the next 25 years to get your copy of Dragon’s Lair. Visit www.digitalleisure.com for all of the details.

WoW Patch Notes

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Blizzard has slapped up info on what players can expect in patch 2.4.3 for WoW.  There’s quite a bit of stuff in there, but will probably stand out for most are the tweaks being made to better accommodate low-level players, such as adjustments being made to sub-level 34 players’ defense ratings, and characters at level 30 getting mounts (albeit with an apprentice riding skill).

Best Buy to Sell Used Games in Canada

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Best Buy (and Futureshop) are launching a pilot program in Canada for selling used games at their stores in competition with the likes of EB Games.  For now they will be trying it out in Calgary, but if it pans out, it will go national.  Report on Business has more on the program.

EA Extends Take-Two Offer Again

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Once more, Electronic Arts has extended the deadline on their offer to buy up Take Two Interative, the publisher behind Grand Theft Auto and a host of other series, and once more the Take Two board is not at all impressed with the offer.  Next Generation has some choice quotes from Take Two on the matter:

“The latest extension of EA’s unsolicited, highly conditional tender offer does not alter the fact that their proposal still significantly undervalues Take-Two, a fact that is reflected in the overwhelming number of stockholders who still have not tendered their shares,” he said.

“Our board of directors remains in unanimous agreement that the proposal is contrary to the best interests of Take-Two stockholders, and the board continues to recommend that stockholders not tender their shares to EA.

“The board remains focused on the strategic process that began formally on April 30 to consider all alternatives to maximize value. We believe that these alternatives, which may include a business combination or remaining independent, will deliver greater value to stockholders than the current EA offer.”

Take-Two CEO Ben Feder said, “Take-Two’s vast potential to create and enhance stockholder value has become even more evident in recent weeks, with the runaway success of Grand Theft Auto IV, a product pipeline that is one of the strongest and most creative in our history, and continued operational and financial progress. We believe that any alternative we consider must fully reflect the value we are creating and capture that value for the benefit of our stockholders.”

HP Blackbird 002 “Exhilaration Edition” Released

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Having actually played around with a Blackbird 002 a couple of months ago, we’re not surprised that HP and Voodoo have upped the ante again when it comes to raw computing power with the release of the HP Blackbird 002 “Exhilaration Edition”, each of which will be signed personally by chief technology officer, HP Voodoo Business Unit, Rahul Sood. Even with a passing knowledge of what constitutes PC computing power, you’ve gotta be impressed with specs like these:

Liquid-Cooled Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core Processor QX9770(1) – With a core speed of 3.2 GHz, a 2 MB L2 Cache and a 1,600 MHz Front Side Bus, the Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor QX9770 is the heartbeat of the system. Experience games the way they were meant to be played, and run multimedia applications without breaking a sweat. With Intel’s 45nm CPU coupled with HP Voodoo’s liquid-cooling solution, users have power and performance at their disposal.

NVIDIA Nforce 790i Ultra – The nForce 790i motherboard is Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core ready and designed to work and play well with the latest generation of Intel CPUs. It features full support for dual channel DDR3 1600MHz memory and beyond. And even though it arrives factory tuned for performance, the performance BIOS allows for complete end-user configuration.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 graphics cards in SLI – The Blackbird Exhilaration Edition features dual liquid-cooled GeForce GTX 280 Gpus, each with 240 multi-threaded processing cores.

Corsair 1,600 MHZ DDR3 memory – Corsair 1,600 MHz DDR3 memory, upgradeable to 4 GB(3), lets the Blackbird run the most demanding applications and games smoothly.

Creative Audio Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtremegamer FATAL1TY Professional – True 7.1 digital sound that was developed specifically for gamers. X-RAM provides earth-shattering quality and performance enhancement for games with X-RAM support.

Super Multi BLU-RAY disc and HD DVD-ROM drive- The Blackbird’s Super Multi Blu-Ray Disc and HD-DVD-ROM(4) drive gives users an expansive range of high-definition playback options. Users can enjoy next-generation media without sacrificing support for the titles already in their collection. Play BD-DVDs, HD-DVDs, DVDs, and CDs, and burn CDs and DVDs(5), all on a single optical drive.

Windows Vista Ultimate– To support the high performance needs of its users, the Blackbird includes Windows Vista Ultimate, the most complete edition of Windows.

You can trick out your own Exhilaration at the official Blackbird 002 site.

Plans for Age of Conan

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Funcom is getting the word out on what they’re planning to do with their new MMORPG in the coming months:

Durham, USA – June 13, 2008 – After the incredible initial success for Age of Conan, a whole world of MMO players are eagerly anticipating the future plans for one of the most popular online games ever released. While Age of Conan has already evolved massively since launch, numerous expansive additions are yet to come. Funcom and Eidos are therefore proud to lift the veil on Age of Conan’s promising future, and today the two companies reveal selected features which are now in production. (more…)

Wii Gets Some Hockey

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Today 2K Sports announced that NHL 2K9 is on its way to Wii this fall, complete with the ability to use the Wii Remote as a hockey stick. We just hope it has the option for a more traditional control scheme. At least for the hockey part. The Wii Remote and Nunchuk would be essential for the fighting, which probably won’t be included since Mario — that’s Super Mario, not the other Mario — will be included in the on-ice action.  At least for the Wii version, since there it will also be released for PS3, Xbox 360, and PS2.
Here’s a snippet from the official release:

2K Sports, the sports publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), today announced that the next iteration of the popular hockey franchise, NHL 2K9, will be coming to the Wii™ console from Nintendo this fall. As the first and only officially licensed NHL and NHLPA video game for Wii, NHL 2K9 will offer fans the fun opportunity to play like the pros using the Wii Remote™ controller as a hockey stick, and enjoy playing hockey in a wholly unique and entertaining experience like never before.

“Nintendo is thrilled to have 2K Sports’ NHL 2K9 on the Wii platform this season,” said Steve Singer, VP of Licensing at Nintendo of America Inc. “This title has been highly anticipated by our Wii consumers who will now be able to use the Wii Remote to face-off, play hockey, and fire a slap shot in their living rooms.”

In celebration of NHL 2K9 for Wii, Nintendo’s most iconic video game character, Mario, will be walking down the red carpet during the 2008 NHL Awards tonight at the Elgin Theatre, 6:15 p.m. ET in Toronto. Fans in attendance will also have the special opportunity to meet and greet Mario and have their picture taken with him.

“It’s our goal this year to bring the fun back to hockey video games,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “NHL 2K9 for Wii includes the full feature set as available on other platforms, and added Wii Remote controls and other exciting features specific for the Wii console will allow dedicated fans the opportunity to fully enjoy and embrace NHL hockey in a brand new experience.”

NHL 2K9, being developed by Visual Concepts, is not yet rated by the ESRB, and will be available this fall for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Wii console from Nintendo, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system.

Flagship Bleeding Staff

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

According to a blog post by audio and gameplay programmer Guy Somberg (a post that has since been removed), things haven’t been going so well at Flagship since Hellgate: London came out.  Most notably, staff has been leaving in droves.  Both Gameindustry.biz and Next Generation have scooped up the story and ran with it.  Here’s the post:

Work is depressing right now. Never mind the fact that Hellgate isn’t as popular as anybody had hoped. Never mind the fact that there exists a term “Flagshipped,” meaning where a company basically overpromises and then screws you. Never mind the fact that the forums are totally populated by people who do nothing but complain and talk about how much the game sucks. Never mind the fact that people do the same thing in the game itself. (more…)

nVidia Chimes in on PC Exclusive Games

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Eurogamer has a new interview with nVidia’s Roy Taylor, where they discuss all sorts of things to do with the wonderful world of video cards.  One other topic that did come up that is of particular note is what Taylor thought of the future of PC games and exclusives on the thing.

Roy Taylor: I think that we’re going to see more digital authentication, and we’re going to see more of an approach that says that PC games aren’t products – they’re a service. You’re going to start out with a basic service, which is the game, and then increase the value of that service through patches, mod packs, expansions, maps and so on. That’s the direction it’s going to go, because the pirates are just killing the developers – and I think it’s really unfair what they’re doing. (more…)

Crysis Warhead Announced

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

A new game set as a parallel story to Crysis is in the works, and it’s being handled by Crytek Budapest on the CryENGINE 2. Crysis Warhead will be PC only, and is due out this fall. Here’s the press release:

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Maximum freedom, maximum explosions and maximum Psycho! Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS – News) and award-winning independent studio Crytek today announced Crysis Warhead® – the parallel story to Crysis, one of the most critically-acclaimed first person shooters and PC games of 2007. Shipping exclusively for the PC this fall, Crysis Warhead is the first title to be developed at Crytek’s Budapest studio, and is built on a new, enhanced and optimized version of Crytek’s CryENGINE® 2 technology. (more…)

Itagaki Leaves / Sues Tecmo

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Tecmo’s main developer, and the brains behind the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden series, Tomonobu Itagaki, has left Tecmo, and is suing the company for not honoring completion bonuses owed him after he finished Dead or Alive 4.  1Up has a copy of the official statement that Itagaki sent to Japanese news outlets:

“I, Tomonobu Itagaki, hereby announce that on the 14th of May 2008 I filed a complaint in the Tokyo District Court against Tecmo Co., Ltd. for unpaid completion bonuses, and against the President of Tecmo, Yoshimi Yasuda, for such unlawful acts as unreasonable and disingenuous statements made towards me, claiming damages in total of 148 million yen. I also announce that this complaint was delivered to the defendants on May 22nd of the same year. In addition, I hereby announce that I have today submitted a letter of resignation to Tecmo Co., Ltd. stating that I will resign as of the 1st of July, 2008. (more…)