News: August 2011 Archives

Fallout: Nuka BreakWe loved the Fallout fan film Nuka Break, a clip following the exploits of a former Vault 10 dweller on his quest to find an ice-cold Nuka Cola in the California wasteland. Now, Nuka Break is being developed into a series, and the first episode is online. To see the Vault Dweller and his two companions try to scrape together some caps, check out the embedded video after the break...
Hothead games has released its third DeathSpank game, following the events of the original DeathSpank and DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue. Hothead Games' The Baconing ventures into science-fiction, as DeathSpank is forced to deal with the Anti-Spank and unlock the secret from within the Fires of Bacon. The game is available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Mac.

Rock, Bacon, Scissors?

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MicrosoftIt's a big week for Xbox Live Arcade, with Microsoft releasing many different downloadable games for the Xbox 360 through the XBLA program. This week's releases include a compilation of fighting games, a Comedy Central-based brawler, a bizarre boulder, exploding pinball and a crispy pork product. Read on for the full list of releases and more details...
Kalypso MediaKalypso Media's game Tropico 4 for the PC is in stores and should reach Valve's Steam service tomorrow. Sequel to and the latest installment in the Tropico franchise, this latest game adds new buildings and missions to the series in which players take on the role of the dictator of a tropical island. Only by controlling the people and sustaining the local economy can players stay in power as El Presidente.
Mommy's Best Games, together with Croteam and Devolver Digital, has released Serious Sam Double D as a download for the PC. This page has a variety of download links for various game portals. The game transforms the storied Serious Sam first-person shooter franchise into a 2D-scrolling shooter in which Sam can stack his already impressive armaments for even more bullet-y action.
It feels like the game doldrums of summer must be over, because Sony has returned to filling its weekly PlayStation Store update with tons of downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP. This week's releases include a much-anticipated bacon-related action/role-playing game, an updated coin-operated arcade classic and a title based on an unlikely Comedy Central property. Read on for the full list and details on each of the downloads...
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has released the adventure pack for its game The Sims Medieval (that was released in March) called Pirates and Nobles. The game adds new clothing and accessories, but primarily adds an epic adventure that pits nobles against pirates, forcing players to choose sides while embarking on legendary quests. This expansion can be purchased in stores, but EA would vastly prefer that you give them more money by using EA's Origin download service.

Bodycount Rises Into Stores

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CodemastersCodemasters' game Bodycount is now available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Bodycount is a first-person shooter in which players attack an organization known to them only as "The Target" working on behalf of "The Network," operating in Asian and African war zones. Rather than pursuing the recent emphasis on realism, Bodycount promises arcade-style action with a diverse selection of firearms.
Electronic ArtsIt's football season again, as Electronic Arts releases the latest annual installment of its flagship football franchise, Madden NFL 12. This year's version is available in North America for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP and iOS. The game should reach stores internationally by Friday. While this year's version of Madden features a few updated modes and new rosters, the biggest innovation is the ability to pay Electronic Arts more money now to get discounts on giving EA more money later.

Achron Released for the PC

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Hazardous Software has released its real-time strategy game Achron as a download through Valve's Steam service. Achron is a multiplayer, science-fiction themed RTS that supports up to 15 simultaneous players in a single game, and even includes elements of time travel. As exciting as it sounds, the geezers here at FI just can't help but wish the game were the classic Archon, but flipping letters does not make it so.
Publisher Meridian4 has re-released Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood as a downloadable game on Valve's Steam service. This tactical action game has players taking on the role of Robin of Locksley as he ambushes nobles and infiltrates the environs of Sherwood. Here at FI, we weren't terrific fans back in 2002, but it was a passable game. Let's hope it improved with age rather than developing a stinky, moldy crust.
Telltale Games has released Hector: Badge of Carnage the second installment in a three-part adventure game series following the misanthropic "Fat Arse of the Law" as he hunts a psychopath. As with many of Telltale's games, even though this is only the second of three episodes, PC and Mac gamers will have to purchase the entire season. iOS users have the luxury of purchasing episodes piecemeal.
Sony Online EntertainmentSony Online Entertainment has launched the 61st major game update for EverQuest II, called "The War of Zek." This update continues the "Age's End" storyline launched with the Destiny of Velious expansion. In addition to tons of game tweaks and fixes, the update adds two major dungeons that can scale in difficulty to suit adventurers between level 60 and level 90. There's also a new Plane of War heroic dungeon and raid, and better matchmaking for those who want to dungeon delve. Remember when people weren't sure if World of Warcraft could beat out EverQuest II? Yup.
GameStopHere at FI, we weren't particularly excited when it was announced that PC copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, released yesterday, would include a token to play the game on the OnLive streaming system. We were so disinterested, we didn't pass on the news. Today, things got more interesting. A leaked memo (and upset customers) indicated that retailer GameStop was opening new copies of the game and removing the OnLive token. Initially, GameStop posted an explanation on Facebook, but that statement was later removed, and GameStop is now refusing to sell copies of the game (with the exception of pre-order customers), and will be returning the copies to Square Enix.


It's not surprising that GameStop is upset that an OnLive coupon was packaged in a game it sold in GameStop retail stores. GameStop wants to launch competing streaming services. There are arguments that GameStop may have created legal problems by pulling the OnLive coupons. FI isn't in a position to say with any certainty (as we don't know the agreements in place between Square Enix, OnLive and GameStop), but the fact that GameStop quickly changed its position and stopped selling the game suggests they may have a problem.

MicrosoftMicrosoft has released three more downloadable games for the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade. This week's releases include an online fighting game from Capcom, a game of puzzling contraptions and something straight from a Japanese game show. Read on for the full list and more details...
AtlusAtlus has released its game Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked for the 3DS to stores in North America. As fans of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise know, this game is much more than a string of random-seeming words slapped together into a title. In fact, it's a Japanese-style role-playing game adapted ("Overclocked"?) from the original for Nintendo's latest handheld console. Atlus specifically said that this version "carries even more weight" than the original, but doesn't that run counter to the whole idea of a portable console?
Sony has released several downloadable games this week through the PlayStation Store, including another Street Fighter game for the PlayStation 3, a tremendous adventure for someone named Hamilton and two PSP minis. For the full list and more details, read on...
Square EnixDeus Ex: Human Revolution from Square Enix is now available in stores in North America. The game has been released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Set in the year 2027, the game has players unearthing world-shattering conspiracies as Adam Jensen, a cybernetically augmented agent. Human Revolution promises a variety of plot paths and role-playing game-style elements as Jensen is able to upgrade his abilities.
GameStopRetailer GameStop reported its financial results for its fiscal second quarter ended July 30, 2011. Read on for more details...
UbisoftUbisoft has released its game From Dust, previously released on the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade as a download for the PC. The game has players controlling the destiny of a tribe struggling to survive against nature, where their only chance is your divine hand. FI hasn't tried the PC version of the game, but PC gamers are already complaining that the game requires an internet connection to start and plays like a problematic port of a console title.
NexonNexon America, the North American unit of Nexon Co announced very limited financial information concerning its fiscal second quarter results. As a business unit of a foreign corporation and not a publicly traded company, Nexon America doesn't have to report much, so the company wanted to emphasize that its revenues are 38% higher than in the same quarter the previous year. How high were revenues? Are they profitable? Nexon America didn't say, but they are taking in more money than before. FI would like to emphasize that we are only 3.7% more interested in this news than we were a year ago.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has released Toy Soldiers: Cold War from developer Signal Studios as this week's downloadable game through Xbox Live Arcade. This sequel to Toy Soldiers is a slightly more interactive version of the typical tower-defense genre, featuring Cold War-themed toys battling it out on the tabletop.
AtariAtari announced several senior appointments and emphasized that Atari is shifting its core focus from console and core PC games to casual games for mobile platforms and social networks. Robert Mattes has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer. Previously, he has served as Co-President and CFO of Authentic Response and CFO of Return Path and brings experience with online and micro-transactions to Atari. Atari has also appointed Owais Farooqui as Senior Vice President of Digital Publishing and Maria Pacheco as Vice President of Mobile operations. Farooqui previously worked at tournament company King.com, while Pacheco was previously Vice President of marketing for Vivendi Games Mobile. Both will be working on a "cohesive mobile, social and online strategy for the company designed to best leverage Atari's legendary gaming franchises..."
Crytek has released its CryENGINE 3 middleware as a free download (for non-commercial use). So, if you're a budding developer interesting in trying out the CryENGINE 3 SDK, you can do so without shelling out any cash. Crytek does expect a revenue share from commercial efforts, but that shouldn't stop individuals and teams from experimenting with the toolset.
The PlayStation Store has once again updated with new downloadable content, including two classic games and a variety of PSP Minis. Read on for the full list and more details...
UFO Interactive's game Puzzler World 2 for the DS is now available in stores. This sequel to the previously released Puzzler World includes around 1,200 puzzles including sudoku, crosswords and hangman-style puzzles.
PlayStation 3Sony has reduced the price of its PlayStation 3 console (the one with the 160 GB hard drive) from $299 to $249. The 320 GB model also drops $50 from $349 to $299. This is clearly an effort to keep the PlayStation 3 in the console race and ensure that more of Sony's boxes take their place in users' living rooms so that Sony can sell not only games, but also Blu-Ray and streaming content. While not surprising at this stage in the console cycle, the price drop also indicates that Sony continues to see the Xbox 360 as strong competition, at least in the North American and European markets.
KonamiKonami has released its game No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise for the PlayStation 3 to stores in North America. This third-person action game is an "enhanced port" of "No More Heroes," originally released for the Wii in early 2008. In the game, players must beat the world's top ten ranked assassins. To do so, the game supports the PlayStation Move controller for those who want motion control over Travis Touchdown's Beam Katana.

Bastion Released for the PC

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Warner Bros. and Supergiant have released Bastion as a download for the PC through Valve's Steam service. Previously released as a download through Xbox Live Arcade, is an action-heavy role-playing game that has players uncovering the secret behind the Calamity that shattered the world.
UTV IgnitionUTV Ignition Games has released El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metaton for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to stores in North America. The game draws upon the events of the apocryphal Book of Enoch from the Old Testament, taking a bit of license and putting players in the sandals of Enoch as he battles for the Archangels. There's also a bit of Old Testament-style platforming, whatever that might be.
MicrosoftMicrosoft, with Gas Powered Games, has launched Age of Empires Online. This latest Age of Empires game mixes the franchise's traditional real-time strategy with elements of a massively multiplayer online game. Early game play with the Greek and Egyptian empires is free, with other content available as premium content packs. Players can then work co-operatively with other players to build their empire or battle against other players competitively.
Nordic GamesNordic Games, part of the Nordic Games Holding AB group, has acquired the JoWooD and The Adventure Company brands. Presumably, Nordic Games isn't acquiring JoWooD and its subsidiaries. Rather, Nordic Games is almost certainly acquiring all the assets of those companies including the games released under the JoWooD, DreamCatcher and The Adventure Company labels. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but the acquisition will result in the re-release of games such as Painkiller, SpellForce, ArcaniA, The Guild, Neighbors From Hell, Panzer Elite and Legend of Kay.
Developer Cryptic Comet has released its game Six Gun Saga as a download for the PC. This card-based strategy game has players taking on the role of a boss competing with other bosses for control over a town in the Wild West.
AtariHasbro's Wizards of the Coast unit announced that it has settled its dispute with Atari over Atari's license to make games based on the Dungeons & Dragons brand. In late 2009, Hasbro alleged that Atari was guilty of fraud and multiple breaches of contract, and demanded that the licensing agreement be terminated (in addition to compensatory damages). While the exact terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, Hasbro will get back the digital licensing rights for Dungeons & Dragons, while Atari will be able to continue marketing and distributing certain games, including Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale and the Facebook game Heroes of Neverwinter.
Developer exosyphen Studios has released its game Hacker Evolution: Duality as a download for the PC and Mac. This latest Hacker game has players using an artificial intelligence to counter the efforts of a sinister corporation, righting wrongs by cracking firewalls and changing data.
Google Plus has begun rolling out games on its social networking service, so if you are eager to spam you contacts with you G+ gaming activities, you may now do so.
EdgeTwo Tribes' game Edge for the PC and Mac is now available as a download through Steam. The game has players taking control of a cube in this retro-style platformer.
Fruit Ninja KinectThis week's Xbox Live Arcade release for the Xbox 360 is Fruit Ninja Kinect. While we at FI have nothing against Halfbrick's fruit slicing game, it makes sense as casual fun on iOS devices for under a buck. When it costs $10 so that Microsoft can pretend it has popular games available for the Kinect sensor, it's an overpriced disappointment. So, if you want to play $10 to stand in front of your console and wave your arms to do something meant for a casual flip of the finger on an extended bus ride, Fruit Ninja Kinect is now available.
DisneyThe Walt Disney Company announced its financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended July 2, 2011. Disney made plenty of money (the company reported net income in the billions), but FI readers are probably most interested in the company's Interactive Media segment that includes Disney's video game operations. Read on for more details...
THQTHQ announced a substantial realignment of its business. As the company stated, "THQ is in the process of transitioning its portfolio away from licensed kids titles and movie-based entertainment properties for consoles and has also decided not to actively pursue further development of the MX vs. ATV franchise at this time." To this end, THQ is closing two studios in Australia and getting rid of the development team in Phoenix, Arizona (but maintaining the quality assurance team in that location). THQ reiterated that its ongoing strategy involves:

  • High-profile console releases supported by downloadable content
  • Developing robust social media communities around properties such as the upcoming Margaritaville
  • Securing an ongoing revenue stream from massively multiplayer online gaming properties such as Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online
  • Make direct sales to consumers through a re-launch of THQ.com
It's an exceptionally quiet week for the PlayStation Store. The only full game added to the service is Far Cry 2, a first person shooter that shipped to stores in October of 2008. It can now be downloaded directly to the PlayStation 3 for $30. The game sends players to the jungles and savannahs of Africa where they are caught between two warring factions.

Is This The End?

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The EndHave you been contemplating your own mortality? Considering your own views of death? Did it occur to you that you could examine your thinking by jumping around in a side-scrolling platformer, collecting stars and playing a tile-based puzzle game? Channel 4 Education has launched The End to let you do exactly that. While entertaining and intriguing for anyone, the game is designed to help 14- to 19-year-olds go on a metaphysical journey and explore philosophical questions concerning mortality. The game was developed by Preloaded and can be played within a browser window.
MajescoMajesco's game Spy Kids: All the Time in the World for the DS is now available in stores. Based on the film Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D (that should reach theaters next week), the game has players taking on the role of the Spy Kids (Rebecca and Cecil) as they save the world from the Timekeeper with their platforming skills.
Take-Two InteractiveTake-Two Interactive, the company that includes labels such as Rockstar Games, announced its financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2011. Read on for more details...
RadioactiveAccording to this article at the New York Times, Kim Jong-il (leader of North Korea) has been working with a group of hackers based in China to hack into the servers of South Korean massively multiplayer online games such as NCsoft's Lineage. The hacks allegedly enabled bots to farm for gold that was then sold for real money used to fund the North Korean regime. The scheme reportedly brought in around $6 million over the course of two years. North Korea apparently denies the scheme, accusing South Korea of pursuing conspiracy theories. See? Your gaming habit can be used to fund the development of nuclear weapons.
The entire internet is correct. If you have Steam (and therefore the Source SDK), you should play The Stanley Parable. Really. It won't take long, and it's well worth it. As the author ("Cakebread") says, "...it's actually best if you don't know anything about it before you play it."
We have to jump on the bandwagon and agree that this live-action video of Team Fortress 2-style action from Corridor Digtal is at least a tiny bit awesome. But where's the spy-checking pyro?
Tindalos Interactive has launched its downloadable PC game Stellar Impact. Currently selling for €15, the game has players maneuvering gigantic battleships through space in online tactical battles.
Square EnixSquare Enix reported its financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2011. While the company reported weaker results in this quarter than in the same quarter the previous year, Square Enix rightly pointed out that it did fairly well given the lack of major releases, and expects strong sales of upcoming games. Read on for more details...
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts announced significant changes in the company's leadership. Peter Moore (formerly of Microsoft and most recently the president of EA Sports) is now EA's Chief Operating Officer (John Schappert resigned abruptly in April). Frank Gibeau is taking over as President of the EA Labels (which include EA Games, EA Sports, EA Play and BioWare). Barry Cottle will head EA Interactive (including Playfish, Pogo, EA Mobile and PopCap). The details of the changes are largely internal, but the move is a directional change for EA designed to better integrate social and mobile media with the rest of the company's efforts.
KonamiKonami announced the financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2011. Konami's video game operations experienced similar revenues as past quarters, but improved operating results. Read on for more details...
Mad CatzPeripheral manufacturer Mad Catz announced its financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2011. Mad Catz lost even more money this quarter, and reported weakness in areas other than PC peripherals. Read on for more details...
ZeniMaxBethesda Softworks, part of ZeniMax, launched the Agents of Change downloadable content for Brink yesterday. Available for owners of Brink on all platforms (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC), this new content is accompanied by a title update that fixes a lot in the game, including weapon balance and matchmaking. FI jumped on last night and found everything operating more smoothly, with better population in online games. Agents of Change adds two new battles, one in the Labs and another in the Founders' Tower. The most important point is that for just under two weeks, Agents of Change is free. After that, it'll run you $10.
Activision BlizzardActivision Blizzard, the entity that includes both Activision Publishing and Blizzard, announced its financial results for its fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2001. The company reported a strong quarter, although even the financial statements make it look unlikely that Diablo III will be released in 2011. Read on for the numbers and other details...
Trion Worlds has launched the latest major update for its massively multiplayer online game Rift. Called "Legacy of the Fallen," this update adds new player-vs.-player rifts, an epic quest line and a 10-player raid called "Drowned Halls" among other tweaks and improvements.
Wargaming.net, the folks behind games such as the Massive Assault series and Order of War are opening a North American office in San Francisco to strengthen the company's presence in the American markets. The office will be led by Jeremy Monroe, who will serve as General Manager for the company.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has released FuelCell and Gagne International's game Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet as this week's Xbox Live Arcade downloadable game for the Xbox 360. This scrolling shooter with adventure elements has players solving puzzles and battling enemies in a claw-equipped saucer working toward the center of the mysterious Shadow Planet.
Namco Bandai GamesNamco Bandai Holdings reported its financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2011. The company reported slightly lower game sales despite increased company profitability, probably because of the company's reliance on 3DS titles. Read on for more details...
SonySony has released a new group of downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store. This week's downloads include a role-playing game of epic scale, a riff on a coin-op classic and a Warhammer 40,000-themed shooter, among others. Read on for the full list and more details...
NIS America's game Bleach: Soul Resurreccion (that's how they spell it) for the PlayStation 3 is now available in stores. Based on the Bleach anime and manga, this action game has players experiencing the stories of various Bleach characters in the battle against the Arrancars.
Playdead has released the critically acclaimed platformer Limbo for the PC through Steam. This dark and atmospheric game features challenging levels and lucifugous brain parasites.
Warner Bros. has released Sesame Street: Ready, Set, Grover! for the Wii and DS to stores in North America. This is a Sesame Street-themed adventure game designed to get young gamers moving and teach them healthy habits such as physical activity, hygiene and nutrition.
DisneyDisney's game Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension, based on the upcoming Disney Channel movie, is now available for the PlayStation 3, Wii and DS. The game supports the PlayStation Move and allows gamers to play as one of eight characters from the movie, platforming and using "wacky gadgets" to defeat enemies.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has released its game Pirates of the Black Cove as a downloadable game for the PC. This strategy game combines elements of real-time strategy and role-playing games to allow players to lead a band of pirates through an open world on a quest to become King of all Pirates with the support of three different piratical factions.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has launched its "Season Ticket" for EA Sports. This is part of EA's ongoing efforts to find even more sources of revenue. EA Sports fans will pay $25 per year to receive a few perks for participating EA Sports games. Players will be able to download full participating games three days prior to the title's scheduled release. Of course, that game will stop working without a disc when the physical version reaches stores. Those who pay for the EA Sports Season Ticket will also get a 20% discount on downloadable content and access to title-specific premium web content. The first five participating franchises are Madden NFL Football, NHL Hockey, FIFA Soccer, Tiger Woods PGA Tour and NCAA Football. Sound exciting? We didn't think so.
SonySony announced that it has acquired Sucker Punch Productions, the studio behind the Sly Cooper and inFamous franchises. The financial terms under which Sony has acquired this Bellevue, Washington-based developer were not disclosed. Sucker Punch's leadership will continue to run the studio in conjunction with the team at Sony's Foster City Studio. Sony did brag that Sucker Punch's games have sold a total of around seven million units.
Activision BlizzardIn a recent presentation (summarized here, among other places), Blizzard (part of Activision Blizzard) announced certain features for the upcoming game Diablo III that will evoke a dubious reaction from many Diablo fans. The biggest points include that Diablo III will require a persistent internet connection. That makes sense in that Blizzard wants to prevent offline cheating for characters that come online, but will disappoint gamers with lesser or irregular internet connectivity.


Even more controversial is that there will be an in-game auction house that will support both in-game currency and real-money transactions. So, while this will be a hit with many players and certain profit center for Blizzard, many other players will be offended that some will be able to use real cash to improve their character. Hardcore characters (the ones with perma-death) will only be able to purchase items with in-game gold. Blizzard will take a cut of auction sales, so should rake in plenty of money from this feature.

Gameloft announced preliminary information on its sales for the first half of 2011. For the six months ended June 30, 2011, Gameloft reported sales of €76.8 million (around $109 million) compared to sales of €66.6 million in the same period the previous year. Gameloft noted that the numbers would have been even stronger were it not for the weak dollar making sales look even smaller in Euros. Since this isn't the full financial release, this simply demonstrates that Gameloft's sales continue to grow, based on the strength of its mobile and casual downloadable games.

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This page is an archive of entries in the News category from August 2011.

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