Editor: April 2011 Archives

Telltale Games has released the fourth episode of its adventure game series based on the Back to the Future films. Back to the Future: Double Visions is available to PC and Mac adventure gamers who subscribed to the entire season.
PopCap GamesPopCap Games announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire ZipZapPlay, a San Francisco (California)-based social game company. While the terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, PopCap expects to maintain the studio's San Francisco presence, with the new studio helping PopCap transition properties to Facebook.
MicrosoftMicrosoft reported its financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended March 31, 2011. Read on for more details...
Gravity Interactive has officially launched its persistent online game developed by WarpPortal, called Rose Online. By "officially launched," FI means that the previously operational game now has a cash shop allowing players to spend real money to "enhance" the game experience. This fantasy-themed online game has players exploring multiple worlds to resolve a battle between gods and goddesses.
Mobile and casual game publisher Gameloft announced limited financial information concerning its performance in the company's first fiscal quarter, ended March 31, 2011. For the quarter, Gameloft announced sales of €39.5 million (around $58 million) compared to sales of €33.0 million in the same quarter the previous year. That's hardly a specific indication of profitability, but Gameloft has been profitable with similar results in the past. Gameloft shares fell slightly on the news.
TurbineTurbine, part of Warner Bros., has launched the ninth major update for its massively multiplayer online game Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited. Called "Harbinger of Madness," the new content updates crafting, improves certain skills and has players exploring a laboratory hidden in the sewers of Stormreach.
UBM TechWeb, through its Game Developer magazine, has released the results of its tenth annual game developer salary survey. In 2010, average corporately employed game development professionals earned $80,817, while independent contractors earned an average of $55,493 and "independent game" team members earned an average of $26,780. Read on for a more specific breakdown...
Frictionless Insight is very sad this week, because while there are three new games downloadable through Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360, none of them involves a crime-ridden mining colony on one of Jupiter's moons. Read on for the full list of releases and more details...
Crave EntertainmentCrave Entertainment, together with Discovery Communications, says that its game Man vs. Wild: The Game is available in stores. Released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii, the game is based on the television show of the same name and has players dropped into five different, extreme environments and faced with survival challenges. The game was developed by F84 Games and developer Scientifically Proven.

Darkspore Reaches Stores

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Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game Darkspore for the PC is now available in stores and as a download. This role-playing-style action game set in the world of 2008's Spore lets players create detailed alien heroes and venture forth to collect intergalactic loot.
TurbineTurbine, part of Warner Bros., announced that it is bringing the operations of The Lord of the Rings Online in Europe back in-house. Starting on June 1, Turbine will assume customer service operations in Europe for the game from Codemasters Online.

EA's COO Departs Abruptly

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Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' Chief Operating Officer John Schappert resigned yesterday and is no longer with the company. The short notice and lack of a transition period suggests that Schappert will resurface at a competitor shortly.


UPDATE: According to reports from Reuters, Schappert has joined casual game competitor Zynga.

PlayStation 3Amazingly, the PlayStation Network is still down. The PlayStation Network was shut down on Wednesday, April 20th, making this the sixth day of the outage. This is absurd. That means no one can access the online functionality of a PlayStation 3 in North America and the UK (not only online games and the PlayStation Store, but functions like Netflix). Some have blamed the online group Anonymous, but Anonymous issued this denial, suggesting the outage is an internal Sony problem. Whatever the problem, Sony has a serious customer relations issue with this outage. Sony has made sure that all PlayStation 3-related activities involve the PlayStation Network (rather than allowing more independent online connectivity) ensuring that any error on their part prevents anything other than offline play in an online world. We can only point you at Penny Arcade's pithy summary.


UPDATE: Sony announced that "...between April 17 and April 19, 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network." Substantial, personally identifiable information appears to have been stolen, possibly including credit card information on all PlayStation Network users.

JoWooD to Shut Down

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JoWooDIn January, publisher JoWooD declared that it was bankrupt and was in negotiations with creditors. JoWooD hoped that it would be able to resolve the situation, restructure and continue operations within 90 days. According to this article from Boerse Express, JoWooD was unable to broker a deal with past and potential investors, making it extremely likely that the company will be dismantled and its 85 employees let go.
NintendoNintendo announced its financial results for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 and announced that it plans to release a new console in 2012. Read on for more details...
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive, together with 1C Ino-Co, has shipped the Majesty 2 Collection for the PC to stores. The compilation includes the fantasy-kingdom simulation Majesty 2, as well as the expansions Kingmaker, Monster Kingdom and Battles of Ardania.
NintendoThis week's downloadable games from Nintendo include a series of puzzle games and software for creating animated shorts. Read on for the full list and more details...
Publishers bitComposer Games and Viva Media, together with developer Ice-pick Lodge, have released Cargo: The Quest for Gravity as a PC download through Steam. The Gods are upset with humanity, and have reduced Earth to a series of islands unbound by gravity and overrun with mischievous fun loving "Buddies." Only by using fun as a weapon can players outwit the buddies and restore gravity to the planet.

Cohort Studios to Close

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Dundee, Scotland, based Cohort Studios is closing down, leaving the remaining staff of around 25 unemployed. The company's final game was the PSP Mini title Me Monstar: Hear Me Roar (to be released shortly).
The Next Big Thing from developer Pendulo Studios and publisher Focus Home Interactive can now be downloaded to the PC. This adventure game explores the premise that Hollywood movie monsters are played by actual monsters, with a life other than the one shown on the Silver Screen.
Burda:ic's free-to-play persistent online game Argo Online has now launched. As usual, the transition from open beta to full launch means that the "Core Mall" (otherwise known as an item shop) is now live so that players can spend real cash on this role-playing game with real-time strategy elements. The level cap has also been raised to 50.

Judgment Day Tomorrow

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TerminatorSkynet is now self-aware. It happened at 20:11 (presumably Pacific time). You might want to spend tomorrow in your personal bunker. Or perhaps a vault. It's Judgment Day.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the results of its latest "Undercover Shopper Survey on Enforcement of Entertainment Ratings," demonstrating that retailers continue to do a better job of voluntarily preventing the sale of "M"-rated games to underage shoppers. Read on for more details...
Zen Studios has released the Mars table for Pinball FX 2, downloadable for $3. The table offers pinball action set on Mars shortly after the first human colonization efforts.
MicrosoftThis week's new releases through Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360 include a platformer whose pants are fancy and a science-fiction-themed shooter. Read on for more details...

Bulletstorm Review

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Descriptive Text Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: People Can Fly (Epic Games)


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

Grayson Hunt isn't your average, run-of-the-mill, peace-loving space pirate. He's the kind of space pirate who once headed up the known universe's deadliest black-ops squad, has a half-billion credit price on his head, and likes to shoot bottles off the heads of prisoners while drunk. He's a nice guy. Since you can't be an infamous space pirate without a heart of gold, know that Hunt went the space-pirate route when he discovered his black-ops squad was assassinating innocents to cover up corruption and carry out the vendettas of the galaxy's elite. Mad at his former handler, General Sarrano, Hunt smashes his tiny vessel into Sarrano's flagship, crashing both on the resort world Stygia, where the natives are out of control and radiation rains from the sky.

Who names a resort world "Stygia?" That's just asking for trouble.

Sony has released more downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store including the Final Fantasy IV collection and several classic games. Read on for the full list and more details...

Portal 2 Now Available

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The most anticipated release of the day is surely Portal 2 now available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC (and, obviously, as a download through Steam). Building on the hit game Portal, Portal 2 has players exploring new Aperture Science facilities in either a single-player campaign or two-player cooperative campaign.
Square EnixSquare Enix has released Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection for the PSP to stores in North America. This is the 20th anniversary edition of the role-playing game, including a "graphically enhanced" version of Final Fantasy IV as well as The After Years (a related adventure) and an Interlude that connects the two.
Sony's game SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs for the PlayStation 3 is now available in stores in North America. This latest installment in Sony's team-based tactical shooter franchise takes place in Southeast Asia after a NATO fleet is struck by terrorists and civil war breaks out in the region. The game supports 32 players in online multiplayer sessions, stereoscopic 3D and the PlayStation Move controller.
MicrosoftFor those who don't like downloaded things through Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), three XBLA games have been released on a retail disc Triple Pack that includes Trials HD, Limbo and Splosion Man. This Triple Pack of XBLA games is now available in stores for the Xbox 360.
Sega SammyConduit 2 from Sega, part of Sega Sammy, is now available in stores. This Wii first-person shooter and sequel to The Conduit has players continuing to investigate the alien conspiracy that controls the government, as players take Michael Ford to continue his battle against the Drudge and their co-conspirators.
Warner Bros. has released the newest Mortal Kombat game, and the first since Warner Bros. purchased substantially all the assets of Midway. Mortal Kombat is available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and matches up-to-date graphics with the traditional 2D fighting plane of the Mortal Kombat games.

Pinball FX 2: Mars Review

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Descriptive Text Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Zen Studios


Platform: Xbox 360
Reviewed on Xbox 360

Nearly a century in the future, humanity has begun its colonization of the red planet, revealing not only a stark and dangerous landscape, but ancient alien ruins scientists have only begun to understand. How did we perform this feat of science, engineering and willpower? With pinball, of course!

Mad CatzMad Catz confirmed today that it has received a firm committment from private investors to purchase approximately 6.35 million shares of Mad Catz common stock for $1.92 per share ($12.2 million before issuance expenses) and warrants to purchase approximates 2.54 million additional shares of common stock. The company will use the proceeds from this issuance to repay the $14.5 million of convertible notes issued in November 2007 as part of Mad Catz's acquisition of Saitek. Remaining proceeds from the issuance will be used to reduce Mad Catz's outstanding borrowings from its revolving credit facility.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) – those folks responsible for the letter rating that U.S. gamers see on boxes – is introducing a revised and "streamlined" rating process for downloadable games that will appear on consoles. The system that was introduced in 1994 was designed for big retail releases, and not for games with shorter development cycles and lower budgets. The new process is shorter, simpler, presumably much cheaper, and designed to encourage downloadable games (such as those that appear on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade) to pursue ratings.
NintendoNintendo has released a new slate of downloadable content this week for the Wii and DSi, including a baby simulation and a Mega Man adventure. Read on for the full list and more details...
PlayStation 3 ConsoleSony is gloating that (as of the end of March), cumulative sales of the PlayStation 3 had exceeded 50 million units since its launch in 2006. That's quite a few consoles, but keep in mind that (at around the same time in its lifecycle) the PlayStation 2 had sold nearly twice as many consoles.
Matrix Games, together with developer Ntronium Games, has released Armada 2526: Supernova as an expansion for the PC game Armada 2526. This 4X-style strategy game combines elements of turn-based strategy with real-time strategy in that the overarching game is turn-based, but battles allow for real-time elements. The expansion adds a new trade system, new star, new planets and a new espionage system.
Hi-Rez Studios has converted its persistent online shooter Global Agenda to a free-to-play game. Players can now explore this class-based shooter with role-playing game elements without paying a subscription. Of course, the conversion means that there is now a cash shop that offers better items and accelerated progress for real-world currency.
Phantom EFX has released Battle Slots, a "slot-based role playing game" downloadable for the PC. If you're remotely confused as to what this might entail, imagine walking into a Las Vegas casino, wanting to play Puzzle Quest and only having to pay 300 pennies per pull to do so.
Matrix Games and developer VR Designs have launched Advanced Tactics: Gold, an updated version of Advanced Tactics: World War II. This new version of the game covers modern and fantasy scenarios, as well as World War I and World War II. A new bank of scenarios combined with the ability to create scenarios makes this turn-based strategy game extremely flexible.
This week, Microsoft has released Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes and Yar's Revenge as downloadable games for the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade. Read on for more details on the games...
Activision BlizzardActivision Publishing, part of Activision Blizzard, has released Squinkies for the DS to stores. Based on the toy line of the same name, the game is just as engaging, with players indulging in mini-games to collect and display Squinkies.
Sony's game Patapon 3 is now available in stores for the PSP (and also as a download). This rhythm-based game has players once again taking an army of Patapons on a quest adding new quests and online battles to the adventure.
Wargaming.net has officially launched its persistent online game World of Tanks. As one might guess from the title, the game has players driving (World War II-era) tanks into battle against one another in an effort to elevate their clan to supremacy.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, together with TT Games, has released Lego Ninjago: The Videogame for the DS to stores in North America. Based on the Lego Ninjago toy line, the game has players mastering the art of Spinjitzu and battle as either "heroic Ninjas or villainous Skulkins." The game should reach Europe and Australia later this week.
Paradox InteractiveWe prefer not to mention every release of downloadable content (and frankly, there's not really a distinction between expansions and fractional DLC, anyway), but just can't ignore this one. Paradox Interactive released the downloadable expansion for Magicka, Magicka: Vietnam. We still can't quite wrap our heads around this one, so we'll just leave you with Paradox's words: "Answer the call of duty to take up arms against the Goblin-Cong, trudging through a napalm-scorched battlefield with a bad company of up to four wizard GIs... I love the smell of Magicka in the morning."
Sony has released more downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store. Among these games are a puzzle oriented Might and Magic, a game where tiny creatures shout "Pata-pata-pata-Pon!" and an assassination simulation. Read on for the full list and more details...
UbisoftUbisoft's Game Michael Jackson: The Experience is now available for PlayStation 3 consoles with Move and Xbox 360 consoles with the Kinect. The game was released last year on other platforms, and has players singing and dancing along to Michael Jackson's iconic songs, with movement in the style of Ubisoft's Just Dance games.
THQTHQ has released SpongeBob SquigglePants for its uDraw Game Tablet and the Wii system. This SpongeBob SquarePants-themed game includes more than 100 microgames that have players using the uDraw stylus.
AtlusAtlus' game Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga for the Xbox 360 is now available in stores in North America. Atlus describes this role-playing game as the definitive version of the game previously released as Divinity II - Ego Draconis. The game was also released late last year for the PC.
THQTHQ's game Fantastic Pets for Kinect-enabled Xbox 360s is now available in stores in North America. This pet simulation-style game allows players to create pets ranging from puppies to dragons and interact with them using voice and gestures.
KonamiKonami's game DanceDanceRevolution has been released for the Xbox 360. The dancing game includes 20 tracks spanning decades and a dance mat controller on which players can stomp rhythmically.

Rio Reaches Stores

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THQTHQ, together with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products, has released its game Rio to stores in North America. Based on the film of the same name that should reach stores later this week, the game is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and DS. In the console versions of Rio, players can engage in four-player mini-games set to music inspired by the movie. The DS version of Rio encompasses a rhythm-based adventure.
NintendoNintendo has released even more downloadable games for the Wii and DSi, including a game featuring cartoon birds, a tattooing simulation and a game that lets you escape from prison. Read on for the full list and more details...
Chime Super Deluxe Publisher: Zoe Mode Entertainment
Developer: Kuju Entertainment


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

Chime was originally released more than a year ago on the PC, and it reached Xbox Live Arcade later last year. It may have taken a while for Chime to find its way to the PlayStation 3, but the version that is now downloadable from the PlayStation Network is more polished, more detailed and has even more content than the versions originally released on other platforms.

800 North and Digital Ranch have released Dino D-Day as a download for the PC. This class-based multiplayer action game posits a world in which the Nazis have resurrected dinosaurs and are using them to win World War II. The game asks a question you probably haven't asked: Can you "...blast a kamikaze pterosaur out of the sky with your Thompson sub-machine gun?"
11 Bit Studios has released its game Anomaly: Warzone Earth as a downloadable game for the PC. The game is the reverse of a traditional tower defense game – players must strategically attack alien emplacements to recapture occupied cities fortified with massive turrets.
MTV Games may have recently exited the music game business, but MTV Games announced that it will launch 345 Games, a group that will develop games based on Comedy Central and Spike TV properties based on the success of the previously released Deadliest Warrior game. 345 Games' first titles will be Deadliest Warrior: Legends and Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon, both of which should launch on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network late this summer.
I-play, part of Oberon Media, has released Vesuvia as a download for the PC. Vesuvia is a match-3-style game that sets players on a quest where matches direct movement across the play area.
Gravity Interactive has eliminated monthly subscriptions for its massively multiplayer online game Ragnarok Online. As with many such games that have gone free-to-play, while the monthly subscription has been eliminated, it's then been added as an optional VIP package that offers "improved experience rates, monster drops, larger storage capacity and access to special NPCs and areas."
This week's additions to Xbox Live Arcade are The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile and Red Faction: Battlegrounds. Read on for the details...
Publisher Viva Media (together with developer Black Lion Studios) has released Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops is now available both in physical stores and as a download through leading PC download portals. The game is set in 2025, with players venturing forth to discover why third-world nations are sporting embargoed American weapons systems.
NCsoft's massively multiplayer online game City of Heroes has launched its 20th update, City of Heroes Issue 20: Incarnates. The content expansion adds two new "Incarnate Trials," allows characters to discover and fill four new Incarnate slots (for end-game powers) and includes two new plot-related Task Forces.
Sony is offering two more downloadable games for the PSP, and two PSP minis for the owners of Sony's portable system. This week's additions to the PlayStation Store include Star Drone and a game set in the Red Faction universe. Read on for the full list and more details...
KonamiKonami's game Karaoke Revolution: Glee - Volume 2 for the Wii is now available in stores in North America. This second Glee-themed Karaoke Revolution game has players once again grabbing the microphone to sing alongside the characters from the Glee television show with songs from the series.
Take-Two Interactive2K Play, the casual label of Take-Two Interactive, has released its casual game Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do to stores in North America. This Xbox 360 game includes 20 carnival-themed party-style games designed for the Microsoft Kinect controller.
PopCapPopCap Games announced that it is launching an experimental label called 4th & Battery (named after the location of PopCap's Seattle Headquarters). 4th & Battery is intended for "really strange or marginal ideas, and to give out designers a safe area to hone their chops." The first game to be released under the label will be Unpleasant Horse, a game that will be released for free on the iPhone and will feature a... less than pleasant horse.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has released Darkest Hour, a stand-alone game using the Hearts of Iron engine, developed by modders. The mod/stand-alone expansion includes several single-player campaigns ranging from the outbreak of World War I through the cold war. The game is available from GamersGate and other download portals.
Big Sandwich Games has released its game Hoard for the PC and Mac as a download through Steam. Released last year for the PlayStation 3 through the PlayStation Network, this game has players taking on the role of a dragon in a fantasy kingdom, burning villages and collecting treasure.

Spiral Knights Launches

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Sega SammySega, part of Sega Sammy, has launched its persistent online game Spiral Knights for the PC. The game has players awakening on a hostile, alien world, striving to replace equipment and survive on a harsh planet. Three Rings is best known for its online game Puzzle Pirates, but a little known fact is that Three Rings was formed after Sonic the Hedgehog stumbled onto something sharp.
Publisher Iceberg Interactive, together with developer Vertigo Games, has shipped Adam's Venture 2: Solomon's Secret to stores. This PC game should be available for sale on Friday in retail stores and online. Adam's Venture 2: Solomon's Secret has Adam Venture and his crew exploring 1920s Jerusalem after escaping the Caverns of Eden, while searching for the Lost Garden of Eden.
NintendoNintendo has released a new selection of downloadable games for the Wii and DSi, including a baseball management simulation and a classic, SNES platformer. Read on for the full list and more details...
Crabby, the dungeon helperIt's April 1, and that means the internet is awash in attempted jokes spoofing standard business. It's a Friday, so there's not much real news (in gaming – we're not talking about all those wars and economic catastrophes that currently straddle the globe) to confuse with the jokes. We'll continue to add to this item throughout the day, cataloging some of the better (or the least bad) jokes posted to celebrate April First. Read on for the full list...

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Editor in April 2011.

Editor: March 2011 is the previous archive.

Editor: May 2011 is the next archive.

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