It's generally bad news when even the most ardent fans of a game aren't certain whether or not the game has launched. Along those lines, Darkfall may or may not have launched this week.
Sony announced a major reorganization that will go into effect on April 1, including immediate changes to its executive staff and a change to the way the company approaches the video game business.
Legacy Interactive, together with Paramount Digital Entertainment, has released Mean Girls as a downloadable game for the PC. This casual game based on the 2004 film of the same name has players engaging in a competitive match-three-style against other girls of North Shore High.
Mari Baker has been hired as the Chief Executive Officer of casual publisher PlayFirst and Jim Wandrey has been promoted to the role of Chief Financial Officer.
Nexon America is launching a major content update for its free-to-play (pay for fun) massively multiplayer online game Mabinogi today. Called Mabinogi: Pioneers of Iria, this expansion adds elves and giants as character races, in addition to a whole new continent and the usual slew of new items, monsters, skills and quests.
Stardock Entertainment has released the (minor) expansion pack for its PC game Sins of a Solar Empire. For $10, players can purchase Entrenchment to expand their game as a download from Stardock's site. The expansion adds starbases, upgrades to turrets, mine fields and other enhancements to the game.
Sony is pleased to share that there are now around 20 million registered accounts on the PlayStation Network (the network service for the PlayStation 3 and PSP that allows players to participate in multiplayer sessions and download new content).
Atlus has released Legacy of Ys: Books I & II for the DS to stores in North America. This compilation brings the two classic role-playing games to the DS, allowing up to four people to play together using the DS wireless connection.
Sony Online Entertainment's Tucson studio (formerly Octopi) has launched the ninth expansion for its game PoxNora, called Ancient Awakenings. This expansion for the online collectible strategy game adds new runes, (including champions) a new campaign and the ability to transform player shrines into strategic units (avatars).
Sony Computer Entertainment America indicated today that it plans to officially expand its game business to Latin America, selling hardware and services to the region. SCEA plans to launch a localized web site shortly that will include access to the PlayStation Store. "The Latin America expansion will specifically introduce the PS3 system, PSP system and PlayStation 2 system to 13 different countries in the region."
Casual publisher PlayFirst has launched its game Emerald City Confidential as a download for the PC and Mac. The title is an adventure game with a noire style set in the land of Oz. The game is available through major casual game portals.
While a placeholder site has been online for a few days, Robot Entertainment confirmed to FI today that it was founded by many of the founders of Ensemble Studios, the recently unraveled studio behind the Age of Empires franchise. Tony Goodman is Robot's CEO, and while Robot is working on its own games, it will also be providing additional content for Halo Wars.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has appointed Laura Fryer to the post of General Manager, Seattle Studios, WBIE. In this position, Fryer will oversee WBIE's internal studios located in Seattle, including Monolith and Snowblind. Prior to joining WBIE, Fryer was an Executive Producer for Microsoft Games Studios.
This week's PlayStation Store release for the PlayStation 3 is Flower. For $10, players can purchase this game that allows PlayStation 3 owners to navigate through a gorgeous 3D world using the SixAxis controller to...interact with flowers.
Sony Online Entertainment has launched Legends of Norrath: Against the Void, the sixth set for the EverQuest-themed online collectible card game Legends of Norrath. This latest set adds 280 new cards (and 16 new loot cards) to the game, while also introducing new avatars and scenarios.
Casual publisher Alawar Entertainment has acquired Belarusian developer Melesta, and will (creatively) rename the studio Alawar Melesta. Melesta will continue to develop its Farm Frenzy line of games for Alawar.
Legacy Interactive, in conjunction with Paramount Digital Entertainment has launched the casual PC game Clueless, based on the 1995 film of the same name, as a download. Clueless is a time-management fashion game in which success unlocks more of the film-related plot.
Microsoft has released another two downloadable games for Xbox Live Arcade:
As part of its ongoing effort to compete with movie rental service Netflix, Blockbuster has decided to try out game rentals with its "Total Access" program. Starting in the second quarter, Blockbuster will begin renting Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox and PlayStation 2 games to allow Total Access customers to rent games (in addition to movies) by mail or through their retail locations.
Big Fish Games, in conjunction with Activision, has shipped its game Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst for the PC to stores in North America. The title is the fifth game in the Mystery Case Files series of hidden-object games and has players exploring a sinister, 19th century mansion.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has shipped F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin to stores in North America. This sequel to the original F.E.A.R. is being released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC and follows the events of the original game, sending players in pursuit of Alma (the frightening girl from the end of F.E.A.R.).
Tomy has shipped My DoItAll for the DS to stores in North America. My DoItAll isn't quite a game, it's more of a toolbox with everything from mini-games to a voice-changer and calendar. The idea behind the software is that it should provide tons of tools for a (young) DS owner to keep track of friends, stay organized, play and communicate.
505 Games is working with Discovery Communications (The same group that runs the Discovery Channel) to release a series of pet simulation games for the DS that will have children learning to raise and care for puppies, kittens, ponies and dolphins. The games (Puppy Playtime, Kitten Corner, Pony Paradise and Dolphin Discovery) should be available in the first half of this year.
Merscom, a publisher of casual games, announced partnerships today with Lifetime Networks and Ukrainian Dotar Games.
Sony Online Entertainment has added comic book writer Marv Wolfman to the team at working on DC Universe Online. To be more precise, Wolfman has joined WildStorm Productions, working alongside SOE to develop the upcoming superhero-themed massively multiplayer online game for the PC and PlayStation 3.
3 on 3 NHL Arcade is now available as a downloadable game for the PlayStation 3 through the PlayStation Network. The game costs $10 and features fast-paced, short-handed hockey with no rules. The game allows up to three players on one console to challenge up to three players on another console in multiplayer mayhem, and will be released for Xbox 360 gamers next week.
StarWraith 3D Games, has launched Evochron Legends as a download for the PC. This latest Evochron game continues the franchise's tradition of open-ended space combat/exploration/trade simulation, adding war zones in which players can participate in military action against the alien Vonari.
NHN USA has launched Splash Fighters through its ijji.com portal. This online 3D fighting game for the PC requires a minor download, and while ostensibly free to play, more powerful items can be purchased for cash.
Crytek, the German developer behind games such as Far Cry and Crysis, has acquired the assets and business of Free Radical Design Limited. Free Radical is a Nottingham, U.K. developer best known for its Timesplitters games. Late last year, Free Radical went bankrupt, so it is an open question to what extent Crytek intends to retain the facilities and staff formerly held by Free Radical.
Publisher Tozai Games has released R-Type Dimensions as this week's download for the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade. This arcade-style scrolling shooter (that includes R-Type and R-Type II) can be downloaded for 1,200 points ($15) and includes the graphics that represent the original as well as a 3-D adaptation of the original game.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) and TT Games plan to release Lego Battles for the DS in the third quarter of this year. The game is actually being developed by Hellbent Games and will have players build bases and armies from Lego blocks and then battle the computer or other players.
Guinness World Records has shipped the latest version of its book compiling gaming-related achievements, the Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer's Edition, to stores in North America. The book should be released in the U.K. on February 11.
Disney is working on a persistent-world massively multiplayer online game set in the universe of the Pixar film Cars. Not surprisingly, the MMOG is being called The World of Cars Online, and will let players create cars as avatars, build tracks and garages, compete in mini-games against characters from the film and (most importantly) race. The game should be released in the third quarter of this year.
Merscom has released Coyote's Tale: Fire and Water as a PC download through major portal sites. The title is a hidden-object game in which players search through animated environments set in Mexico to find objects that will stop the gods from plunging the world into chaos.
The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Executive Director Jason Della Rocca will step down from his post on March 31. He will remain with the IGDA long enough to facilitate the transition to his successor. Rocca has worked with the IGDA since 2000, when the organization had 500 members (there are now around 15,000).