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Archive for December, 2009

EGM Back on Newstands March 2010

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Good news for fans of print media today!  EGM will be back on newsstands beginning March 2010 thanks to a distribution deal with Time/Warner. Even then, it’ll push the online portion too with “a special code included in each newsstand copy that upgrades each reader’s access to the new weekly interactive version of the magazine. This enhanced version of the digital publication, called EGM[i]: The Digital Magazine contains exclusive article extensions and original content throughout each issue.”

This premiere issue will “boast game previews, a new Review Crew featuring the return of Sushi-X, and commentary from a host of columnists including EGM personalities such as Quartermann, Dan “Shoe” Hsu, Sean “Seanbaby” Reiley, and many others.”

This has all the making of a awesome comeback a la Rocky, though maybe with less meat tenderizing.

Sony: “Hey, We Could Charge Money!”

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

There’s a piece of News from Gamesindustry.biz which picked up a report from Nikkei Japan in discussion with Sony Computer Entertainment Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Masayuki Chatani. As the report indicates some of Chatani’s comments lack context about the possibility of moving to a subscription model for online content but such a move by Sony would only make (monetary) sense.

“”We would face difficulties if our business depended solely on the sell-and-forget model. After we sell the hardware, though, we continue to sell products such as content and services,” he said.”

Though Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc., Kaz Hirai has denied that a paid service similar to Xbox Live is not coming,  with the infrastructure required to keep an online service running, the money lost on each PS3 unit, and Sony’s overall financial health, if I had to guess, I think Sony will start charging for full-featured online service in 2010.

“Rage” to be Published by ZeniMax

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Previous to id Software being acquired by ZeniMax, Rage was going to published by Electronic Arts.  So, really it was only a matter of time that this news would eventually be made. Bethesda Software (a subsidiary of ZeniMax and makers of the Fallout 3) now has publishing duties and “Electronic Arts Inc. will not be involved in the sales and marketing of RAGE.” Rest assured though the “ongoing development of RAGE is unaffected by this development.”

No word on a release date though.

Mysterious “Portal” Opens Above Norway

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I love this particular piece of news because it’s one of those “life imitating art” moments that makes me think about the (potential) prophetic abilities of games — and Valve in particular because of the whole Gordon Freeman look-a-like at the Large Hadron Collider.  From the report from dailymail.co.uk:

Witnesses from Trøndelag to Finnmark compared the amazing sight to anything from a Russian rocket to a meteor or a shock wave – although no one appears to have mentioned UFOs yet.
The phenomenon began when what appeared to be a blue light seemed to soar up from behind a mountain. It stopped mid-air, then began to circulate.

Witnesses from Trøndelag to Finnmark compared the amazing sight to anything from a Russian rocket to a meteor or a shock wave – although no one appears to have mentioned UFOs yet.

The phenomenon began when what appeared to be a blue light seemed to soar up from behind a mountain. It stopped mid-air, then began to circulate.

Within seconds a giant spiral had covered the entire sky. Then a green-blue beam of light shot out from its centre – lasting for ten to twelve minutes before disappearing completely.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute was flooded with telephone calls after the light storm – which astronomers have said did not appear to have been connected to the aurora, or Northern Lights, so common in that area of the world.

The mystery deepened tonight as Russia denied it had been conducting missile tests in the area.

Of course, it could all turn out to be some kind of massive prank (let’s hope) or some kind of viral marketing campaign for Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (which would be awesome), but for now we can look at the pictures and videos and speculate. A Russian rocket gone haywire? A solar flare bouncing off the moon? Extra-dimensional beings preparing to harvest our oceans and kill us all?

Lance Henriksen to “Score!” with Upcoming Aliens vs. Predator

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Today Sega announced that Lance Henriksen will be featured in the upcoming Aliens vs. Predator (currently in production at Rebellion and expected to arrive February 2010).

I’ll bold the awesome part of the press release:

Lance Henriksen will appear as Karl Bishop Weyland, a descendent of Charles Bishop Weyland, the founder of the infamous Weyland-Yutani corporation from the Aliens universe. He will lend his likeness and voice to the production.
“They’ve made me look very good,” said Lance Henriksen, “This is the first time I’ve been fully represented in a game, with my voice and how I look, and the Rebellion guys have done a great job. I might score from this game!”

Lance Henriksen will appear as Karl Bishop Weyland, a descendent of Charles Bishop Weyland, the founder of the infamous Weyland-Yutani corporation from the Aliens universe. He will lend his likeness and voice to the production.

They’ve made me look very good,” said Lance Henriksen, “This is the first time I’ve been fully represented in a game, with my voice and how I look, and the Rebellion guys have done a great job. I might score from this game!

I’m sure someone has written a study on this, but no video game ever has resulted in real-life “scoring” and though the statistical data regarding “scoring” thanks to being in a video game isn’t available, I’m pretty sure the result is the same. It’s not going to happen.

Kim Swift Heads to Airtight Games

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Don’t know who Kim Swift is? Well, she was one of the minds behind Portal and “was hired by Valve straight out of college along with her senior project team to create the award-winning title Portal, she has held key roles on teams that developed some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed and popular titles such as Left 4 Dead, and more recently Left 4 Dead 2.”  And now she’s headed to Airtight Games, which is currently working on Dark Void, but Swift will be involved with “innovative” and “new and broader gaming markets.”

Valve’s loss is surely Airtight’s gain. Best of luck, Kim!

I suggest everyone have a listen to this episode of GFW Radio, when the crew spoke with Erik Wolpaw and Kim Swift during GDC 2008 specifically about Portal.

(more…)

Dead to Rights: Retribution Crotch Bite

Monday, December 7th, 2009

From the official press release:
Dead to Rights: Retribution features a seamless combat system that allows main character Jack Slate to combine gunplay, hand-to-hand combat and command of a ferocious AI partner [which allows canine-mouth-filled-with-fangs-to-crotch combat] . In addition to this diverse set of tools [and crotch biting], players can also actually play as Jack’s canine companion Shadow for a completely different, yet satisfyingly brutal, gameplay experience.
Just look at that pciture above! Going for the throat is so passe!
Watch for Dead to Rights Retribution in the early part of 2010. In the meantime, check our review of the original game.

From the official press release:

“Dead to Rights: Retribution features a seamless combat system that allows main character Jack Slate to combine gunplay, hand-to-hand combat and command of a ferocious AI partner [which allows canine-mouth-filled-with-fangs-to-crotch combat] . In addition to this diverse set of tools [and crotch biting], players can also actually play as Jack’s canine companion Shadow for a completely different, yet satisfyingly brutal, gameplay experience.”

Just look at that picture above! Going for the throat is so passé!

Watch for Dead to Rights Retribution in the early part of 2010. In the meantime, check our review of the original game.

Isaac Clarke Returns!

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Dead Space fans will be happy to know that Electronic Arts has announced a sequel, brining Isaac Clarke into the limelight, which is a bad thing for Isaac — drooling, gore-covered Necromorphs are not very warm and cuddly — but great for the rest of us.

In part EA says: “We’re thrilled to jump back into the series, making the next chapter in Isaac’s journey. The infection continues to spread throughout space and our hero Isaac Clarke is the only person able to contain it. There are still loads of necromorphs that need killing!” said Steve Papoutsis, Executive Producer of Dead Space 2. “In Dead Space 2, not everything is exactly as it seems. Expect plot twists that will surprise you and a huge cast of twisted, disgusting monsters that are sure to scare the daylights out of you.” No word on a release date, but I’m guessing this time next year (or a little earlier).

The Armchair Empire’s reviews of Dead Space Extraction (Wii), Dead Space (360) and Dead Space Downfall (DVD).

Tony Hawk: “Critics are snarky”

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Gamesindustry.biz has reported that the latest iteration of the Tony Hawk skateboarding franchise, Ride, “failed to enter the top 40 All-Formats chart in the UK.”  However, it should also be noted that “despite missing the All Formats charts, the game entered the Xbox 360 chart at 32, and fared a little better on PlayStation 3 at 29. The game did not make the Wii charts, according to data from GfK Chart-Track.”

Besides some day and date reviews that praised the game and awarded high review scores, the apparent “consensus” of the enthusiast press is one of general “hitting it with a blunt instrument until dead.” In other words, not kind – to the game or the skateboard controller.  To which Tony Hawk responds via Twitter “Most snarky critics had their minds set before ever seeing/playing the game. I’m proud of what we created; it’s innovative, responsive & fun.” (Exactly 140 characters! Is there anything this guy can’t master?)