April 2012 Archives

AtlusAtlus Online has officially launched Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine (previously run by Aeria Games). As usual, this game has been in open beta testing (in the West), but has now officially launched, allowing gamers to immerse themselves in the Shin Megami Tensei world by acquiring and hunting demons.
NintendoNintendo announced its financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. The numbers aren't good, but read on for more details...
Already available through the PlayStation Store, Telltale Games' latest episodic effort is now available for the PC and Mac. The first episode of The Walking Dead is available as a download for $5, or the entire season can be pre-purchased for $20. The first episode is The Walking Dead: Episode 1 - A New Day, based on the television series of the same name. series allows gamers to take on the role of a Lee Everett, a criminal who gets a second chance thanks to the zombie apocalypse. A version of the game for the Xbox 360 will be downloadable tomorrow through Xbox Live Arcade for 400 points ($5).

Square EnixLast summer, Deus Ex: Human Revolution reached stores for the console and PC. Now, the Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Ultimate Edition is available for the Mac as a download or in retail stores. The game is set in the year 2027, with players unearthing world-shattering conspiracies as Adam Jensen, a cybernetically augmented agent. Human Revolution offers a variety of plot paths and role-playing game-style elements as Jensen is able to upgrade his abilities. The "Ultimate Edition" includes previously released downloadable content along with an art book and documentary.
Nordic GamesNordic Games previously announced that it plans to Relaunch the DreamCatcher label and has now hired Eric Wuestmann to serve as Sales and Marketing Director for North America. Wuestmann has worked for a variety of video-game-related companies, starting with Acclaim Entertainment in 1993.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has released two more games through the Xbox Live Arcade program. One of the downloadable titles will feel familiar to anyone who has brushed against the God of War games or their clones, while the other is an underwater action game similar to one released last year on the PC. Read on for the list of titles and more details...
THQTHQ has sold is ValuSoft division to Cosmi, a long-established seller of discount PC software. ValuSoft was THQ's label for budget PC games, including some of our (least) favorite games such as Codename: Nina - Global Terrorism Task Force. This transaction should improve THQ's financial position, while positioning Cosmi as the leader of budget software with titles such as Master Cook and 18 Wheels of Steel.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has released the UEFA Euro 2012 downloadable content for its game FIFA Soccer 12 (available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC). At FI, we don't usually busy ourselves with every bit of DLC, but this one is interesting. Without explicitly saying so, EA implies that the DLC will allow owners of FIFA Soccer 12 to "...compete for glory as their favourite European country in the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament..." Unfortunately, 24 of the 53 squads are generic, unlicensed teams. That won't provide much satisfaction for fans of the Ukraine, Estonia, Wales or the many others that aren't official. So, you can play as your favorite UEFA Euro teams, unless that team is one of the nearly half of the teams that aren't actually included.
TurbineTurbine, part of Warner Bros., is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its massively multiplayer online game The Lord of the Rings Online. The game was launched five years ago, transitioned to free-to-play, and is currently experiencing "...a party such as Middle-earth has ever seen!"
SonyWhile there are new games for Sony's various platforms, the big addition this week is that Skype (the communication service) is now available for Sony's Vita. There are also a variety of new downloadable games, so read on for the full list of titles and details...
MicrosoftGamers on Microsoft's console are about to get a lot more advertising. Microsoft has been working for a long time to make its consoles the go-to box for entertainment consumption, and is now busy pushing "standard 15- and 30-second spots across the Xbox Live Run of TV Apps." So, if you happen to be watching your entertainment through your Xbox 360, expect even more adds soon!
ActivisionBlizzardActivision Publishing, part of Activision Blizzard, has released its game Prototype 2: Infection for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC to stores. This sequel to Prototype is set 14 months after the original game and has Sgt. James Heller setting out to exact revenge from Alex Mercer (the protagonist of the first game). Activision has released "Radnet" content that includes events, challenges and avatar items that will only be included with new copies of the game, to try and ensure you don't buy a used copy (or wait too long) of this open-world action, virus-fuelled, super-(anti)-hero game.
Valve Organizational StructureLots of folks have been linking to this document, reportedly Valve's handbook for new employees posted at Flamehaus. Real or not, this document is unquestionably awesome. The handbook is worth a read, and while utopian, is certainly plausible. It's filled with gorgeous quips such as: "How does Valve decide what to work on? The same way we make other decisions: by waiting for someone to decide that it's the right thing to do, and then letting them recruit other people to work on it with them. We believe in each other to make these decisions, and this faith has proven to be well-founded over and over again."
MicrosoftMicrosoft announced its financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended March 31, 2012. For the quarter, Microsoft announced net income of $5.108 billion, compared to net income in the previous quarter of $5.232 billion. Read on to learn about the performance of the Microsoft division responsible for console and PC gaming...
MicrosoftToday's addition to Xbox Live Arcade is Trials: Evolution, developed by RedLynx. This is a new setting for RedLynx's motorcycle racing game in which vaguely-plausible–seeming physics is more important than rational or practical tracks. The game includes 50 tracks, with the ability to construct your own or download the opium-dream–addled tracks of other players.
THQTHQ still isn't ready to release full financial data on its fourth quarter and full fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, but they're giving out hints. Previously, THQ expected its fourth quarter to suck a lot. Now, THQ thinks the quarter will only suck some, with net sales coming in $20 million to $30 million higher than expected thanks to strong sales of Saints Row: The Third. That said, when THQ announces the full results in May, it's still going to lose a lot of money. The pre-announcement may have been a response to the recently dismal performance of THQ's stock.
SonySony has once again updated the PlayStation Store with more downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and Vita. The PSP appears to be entirely neglected this week, but that's hardly surprising given the Vita's presence. This week's games include two digital re-releases, an arcade game, and a light-gun–style shooter. Read on for the titles and more details...
Sony Online EntertainmentSony Online Entertainment has launched the latest update for its long-running massively multiplayer online game EverQuest. Called "Skyshrine," the expansion raises the level cap to 92 and adds a new zone with around 100 quests, events, and instances.

Sony Online Entertainment also took this opportunity to claim that the transition to a free-to-play game has been going well. According to SOE, concurrent usage of EverQuest is up 40% and unique log-ins have increased 150%.

NIS AmericaNIS America has released its game Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention for the Vita to stores in North America. This is similar to the game released as Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice in 2008, along with all of the downloadable content released for that strategy game (with role-playing elements).
Warner Bros. and CD Projekt Red have released The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition for the Xbox 360 and PC. This version of the game that was released last year for the PC includes around four additional hours of quests and 35 minutes of new cut-scenes and cinematics. More importantly, there is now a version available for the Xbox 360 of a game previously only available for the PC. This sequel to The Witcher continues the story of Geralt of Rivia as he battles both magic and men in a dark, fantastic world. (The PC version is also available as a download.)
345 Games has released Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to stores in North America. This is a compilation of the games Deadliest Warrior: The Game and Deadliest Warrior: Legends (and all of the associated downloadable content), both of which were released as downloadable titles and are based on the Spike TV program. As before, the game lets players battle as historical warriors such as William Wallace and Sun Tzu.
NintendoNintendo has released Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir for the 3DS to stores in North America. The game follows the story of a girl named Maya who is trapped in a haunted house. Players work to rescue Maya using the 3DS cameras to experience augmented reality in which ghosts appear in real-world environments.
AtlusAtlus has confirmed that it will shut down the servers for its game Demon's Souls for the PlayStation 3 on May 31, 2012. While the surprise hit has had a substantial and impressive run, the release of its spiritual successor, Dark Souls, has stolen some of its thunder. Atlus is requesting that everyone sign in one last time on May 31st. Why not... that's as good a day to die as any.
Microsoft has released Fez as a download for the Xbox 360 through the Xbox Live Arcade program. Developed by Polytron, Fez has been an indie darling, in development long enough that it has won awards, well before its release. The game features Gomez, a 2D creature, suddenly experiencing a 3D world. This platformer is playable from four different classic 2D perspectives, as Gomez explores the world.
D.C Douglas is the voice actor responsible for the voice of Legion (from Mass Effect 3) and Albert Wesker (of the Resident Evil franchise). Unfortunately, with the demise of both characters, Douglas is (for the moment) saying goodbye to video game voice acting. To that end, he's created a video mash-up so Wesker and Legion could collaborate. See the embedded video after the break.
Spiderweb Software has released Avernum: Escape from the Pit as a download for the PC. This is a remastered version of the role-playing game released as Exile: Escape from the Pit in 1995. The game begins as players are banished to Avernum, an underworld nation striving to return to the light of the sun.
Hi-Rez Studios has officially launched its PC game Tribes: Ascend. While this latest game in the Tribes franchise has been in beta testing for a while, the game is now "official." Built on the Unreal 3 engine, the game is a multiplayer online shooter with a long-running cult following.
Russian publisher 1C has released its game Men of War: Condemned Heroes as a download for the PC. This latest strategy game in the Men of War franchise follows the tale of a Soviet penal battalion during World War II. Players carefully manage court-martialed former officers through a series of four campaigns covering the era of 1942 to 1945.

Aion is Now "Truly Free"

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NCsoftNCsoft has updated its massively multiplayer online game Aion to version 3.0, but (more importantly), NCsoft has finally converted the game to a free-to-play business model. The update adds new housing, mounts, zones and multiplayer instances. NCsoft is calling the game "Aion Truly Free," but you can still spend real cash (in the form of NCoin) to speed your advancement. In a game with a reputation for grinding, that makes cash expenditures nearly mandatory.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has released three more downloadable games through the Xbox Live Arcade. This week's entries include a fighting game, an esophageal journey and a physics-based puzzle game featuring liquid creatures. Read on for the full list and more details...
SonySony has revised its current estimate for the results of the financial year ended March 31, 2012. The new estimate (coming after the end of the period in question) is dramatically lower than the forecast Sony released on February 2, 2012. The big problem is an aggregate tax expense of around ¥300 billion (around $3.7 billion), that results from the company adhering to U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Sony tries to make GAAP sound scary, but it's important to ensure that companies working with U.S. markets report their financials on a comparable basis. Really, this reflects poor performance, particularly in the company's U.S. electronics business, and the manner in which Sony chooses to treat intercompany transactions. As Sony points out, this result will not impact the company's cash flow, but is still a significant valuation issue. Unsurprisingly, unsubstantiated rumors concerning massive Sony job losses are now circulating.
SonySony has updated the PlayStation Store with a variety of new content this week, including a new fighting game with "Skull" in the title, some older downloadable content for Grand Theft Auto IV and plenty of pinball. Read on for the full list of downloadable content for the PlayStation 3, Vita and PSP, and for more details...
Paradox InteractiveNaval War: Arctic Circle, from publisher Paradox Interactive and developer Turbo Tape Games, is now available both in certain retail outlets and through major download portals. This modern naval simulation has players exploring two campaigns, one from the perspective of NATO, the other as the Russian Navy. Both campaigns have players battling to secure resources in the North Atlantic.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth is now available as a download for the Xbox 360 through the Xbox Live Arcade program. The game can be downloaded for 800 points ($10), and is a tactical action game in which players lead ground forces against an alien threat erecting defensive towers in Earthy cities.
NintendoNintendo's game Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii is now available in North America, but only from GameStop (so if you go to purchase Xenoblade Chronicles, be prepared to be harassed until you buy a slightly greasier copy for a few cents less). The game itself is an epic Japanese-style role-playing game with elements of fantasy and science fiction that works a whole lot better with a Classic Controller (sold separately). The game tells the story of Shulk, the man who wields the Monado blade, as he battles the Mechon.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: 11 bit Studios

Platforms: Xbox 360, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android
Reviewed on Xbox 360

That comet approaching the Earth? It wasn't a comet. It broke into two parts as it neared, crashing onto Baghdad and Tokyo, enveloping those cities in domes of energy we dubbed "anomalies." Impenetrable to traditional remote sensing, we sent ground forces to investigate, pushing them into combat against an alien threat that was both entrenched and well-armed.

MOO 2 Explains China

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We won't dwell on this one. Let's just leave it by saying that it's positively awesome when an economics blog uses Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares to explain Chinese policy decisions. Thanks, Timothy!
As reported by NY1 (New York City's local news network), New York state has been working with a variety of gaming networks (including Microsoft and Sony's services) to block more than 3,500 accounts held by registered sex offenders. The state is working to stop convicted sex offenders from connecting with youths online through online gaming. This follows two past cases in which a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl were lured into abusive situations after meeting a predator online.
Electronic ArtsBioWare, one of Electronic Arts' studios, has been coping for weeks with fan criticism of Mass Effect 3's ending. Today, BioWare announced that it will release free downloadable content this summer that will clarify the ending and give more information on each player's "personal journey." According to Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder and general manager of BioWare, "With the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team's artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effect universe."
Electronic Arts' Golden PooThe Consumerist has awarded the "Golden Poo" award to Electronic Arts, naming EA the "Worst Company in America" based on votes in a competition with other companies such as Best Buy, Comcast and Bank of America. According to the Consumerist, "Some may look down their noses at the idea of voters picking a video game publisher as the Worst Company In America, but that is the exact kind of attitude that has allowed EA and its ilk to nickel and dime devoted customers for a decade." Frankly, the award is, in many ways, just silly publicity. We know there are a tremendous number of far worse companies than EA in America, ranging from anti-consumer to blatantly criminal. That said, we're lending a link to the "Golden Poo" because it clearly indicates how irritated gamers are with EA for trying to monetize just about everything gaming related (and making people pay for Javik).

Complaints aside, keep in mind that making money is what companies do. Electronic Arts will continue to charge consumers for everything possible, and if you don't like that, don't give them your money. If you pay and complain, you're just inflating the size of message boards while ensuring EA will stay its course.

Final Fantasy in PradaToday is an odd day for product integration. The strangest announcement is that the current issue of Arena Homme+ (a men's fashion magazine) is being released with renders of characters from Final Fantasy XIII-2 wearing items from Prada's 2012 Spring/Summer collection. So, now that you know Lightning, Noel, Snow, Sazh and Hope are all wearing Prada, FI is certain you will drop that controller and rush to spend more money on an outfit than you spent on your console.

Less surprising is that Electronic Arts will be integrating Unilever products (the conglomerate with brands such as Lipton, Dove, Hellmann's, Vaseline, and St. Ives). This is mostly basic cross-promotion, such as the "Dove Hair Spa" that launched in January. Really, it's just advertising, but it helped spice up that headline.

MicrosoftToday, Microsoft has added two more downloadable games to the Xbox Live Arcade Program, including a compilation of pinball tables and a game that has players hurling overpowered pitches in an amusement park. Read on for more details...
SonySony has released its weekly payload of downloadable games through the PlayStation Store. Read on for the full list of titles and more details...
Amazon.comAmazon.com has launched an instant video app on the PlayStation 3, meaning that PlayStation 3 owners can now stream video from their Amazon accounts. Amazon users with Amazon Prime can also watch all of the Prime Instant Videos (included with the cost of their Prime membership) through this app.
Perfect World Entertainment officially launched Blacklight: Retribution as a free-to-play persistent (and competitive) first-person shooter for the PC. The game has been in open beta, so the actual launch of this multiplayer shooter means that the cash shop is fully functional, letting players tweak their game experience by supplementing with real-world cash.
ZeniMaxBethesda Softworks, part of ZeniMax Media, has released the Fallout 3 & Oblivion Double Pack for the Xbox 360 and PC to stores in North America. This compilation includes both Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. You can have post-apocalyptic science fiction role-playing and post-apocalyptic high fantasy role-playing, all in the same box.
CapcomCapcom has released the Devil May Cry HD Collection for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to stores in North America. This compilation includes Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 2, and Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition all re-released with HD-quality graphics.
LucasArtsLucasArts has released Kinect Star Wars for Xbox 360 consoles with the Kinect sensor. The title features a variety of mini-games ranging from bike or pod racing to turn-based lightsaber dueling to galactic dance battles. There is even a central story mode called Jedi Destiny: Dark Force Rising that explores the events between the Episode I and Episode II films with many of the mini-games.

Mass Effect 3 Review

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Mass Effect 3 Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: BioWare

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC
Reviewed on Xbox 360

The Reaper invasion has begun. The galactic cycle is nearly at a close. An immensely powerful artificial life streams into the galaxy, prepared to execute every sentient species that has achieved more than a modicum of technological progress. With Earth and every other homeworld at risk of total annihilation, only Commander Shepard can unite the disparate races to save the galaxy from the Reaper threat.

O-Games has released Titanic Mystery for the Wii and DS to stores in North America. This hidden-object–style adventure game has players searching the newly built Titanic II for a bomb that could lead it to the same watery grave as its predecessor.
Game Developer magazine, part of UBM TechWeb announced the results of its 2011 Video Game Industry Salary Survey. In 2011, the average game industry salary was $80,817, based on around 4,000 responses from game industry professionals (salaries of students, educators, and professionals earning over $202,500 were excluded from the final results). Read on to see the average salaries for U.S. respondents by discipline:

Davidson Rejoins Team17

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Team17 announced that Andy Davidson will be returning to the fold. Davidson created the Worms franchise and is returning "...to scratch the creative itch that's been bothering me for the last fourteen years." Davidson will be working on Team17's recently announced and upcoming Worms Revolution game.
KarapyssIt's April 1, and that means a variety of "April Fools" jokes are extant on the web. We'd like to say that recent massive job losses are pranks, but (sadly) that's not the case. You'll have to try and find solace in this list of silliness that we'll continue to update as new gags are revealed:

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2012 is the previous archive.

May 2012 is the next archive.

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