Darkness II E3 Trailer

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Hey look, a new Darkness II trailer! Yay! Hey look, we’re hosting it ourselves, complete with age gate! Double yay! I’m not so sure about the cel-shaded look for this one, but I’m pretty damn sure about using a tentacle to rip a car door off and mess a dude up with it. I’ll be seeing 2K with Bill at E3 and you can be damn sure I’ll be all up in this game like nobody’s business.

Warhammer 40K: Kill Team announced for XBLA, PSN


I’m a very odd sort of Warhammer fan. I love Games Workshop’s stuff, but I won’t go anywhere near their miniatures games aside from the recent reissue of Space Hulk. So I tend to get my Warhammer jollies from other gaming sources, like the utterly fantasic Chaos in the Old World board game and hopefully, THQ’s upcoming Space Marine.

Today, THQ is announcing Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team, a downloadable co-op “arcade shooter” for XBLA and PSN. Of course it sounds awesome, because trigger words like “Imperial Forge World” and “Techmarine” are used in their press release. I failed my saving throw against press copy and got excited. I’m not made of stone.

But the truth of the matter is that this could just be a shameless marketing ploy- playing through the first level of it unlocks an “exclusive” weapon in Space Marine’s multiplayer game. So yep, it’s like a retailer preorder bonus but with this one you’ve got to buy a $10 hype-generating game. Hopefully, this game turns out to be pretty good. But in a worst case scenario, it could be another Red Faction: Battlegrounds. As in, a tie-in game made for a quick buck. If it sucks, you’ve paid $10 for multiplayer-only Power Sword. But here’s what they have to say about it-



THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) today announced the forthcoming release of fast-paced arcade shooter, Warhammer® 40,000®: Kill Team™ for Xbox LIVE® online entertainment network and Playstation® Network as well as a unique weapon unlock for Warhammer® 40,000®: Space Marine® that can be accessed by playing the game.

In this third person arcade style shooter, players take on the role of an elite Space Marine team sent to assault a giant Ork Kroozer en-route to an Imperial Forge World. Do you have what it takes to take out the Warboss and prevent the Waaaagh?

Kill Team™ allows players to choose from four unique classes, including ranged specialists the Sternguard Veteran and Techmarine, and more melee focused classes like the Vanguard Veteran and Librarian. With two-player same screen Co-operative play, multiple weapon upgrades and six iconic Space Marine chapters to select from, Kill Team is a must-play for fans of Warhammer® 40,000®.

Players who complete the first mission in Kill Team will unlock the deadly Power Sword weapon for use in multiplayer in the upcoming Warhammer® 40,000® Space Marine®. Sheathed in a power field, it cuts through armor and flesh alike and features unique animations, combos and damage output.

More information can be found on the Kill Team tab on Space Marine’s Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/spacemarine.

Kill Team is scheduled to launch for Xbox LIVE and Playstation Network in July for a suggested price of 800 Microsoft Points / $9.99.

About Kill Team

Jump into the rich world of Warhammer40,000 in this fast paced 3rd person action shooter. As one of the Emperor’s Elite Space Marines, you have been sent on a vital mission to assault a gigantic Ork Kroozer headed for an Imperial ForgeWorld. Choose your Space Marine Chapter and weapons class and commence the purging of brutal Orks and vicious Tyranids on board. Team up to form a 2-man Kill Team in same screen co-op mode and benefit from multiple team pickups to help survive the onslaught.

Jaws: Ultimate Predator Has Sharks, Corkscrews

No High Scores

One of the first 3D movies I ever saw was Jaws 3-D. You may remember this one, or you may have been lucky enough to have either missed it or suffered a head injury that wiped it from your memory. In the movie, Dennis Quaid works at a sea park, a sea park that takes in a baby great white shark. The shark dies, mama comes after it and lots and lots of dumb tourists are eaten when the sea park’s underwater tubes get beset by a murderous great white. Spoiler alert, in the end, the shark explodes. In 3D. Yes, the final scene was one shot to make you feel like you were covered in shark viscera. Sadly, that was the best part.

I mention this because today, Majesco announced that they’re making a new Jaws game for the 3DS and the Wii titled Jaws: Ultimate Predator. Both games have you protecting your underwater domain from, get this, “human interlopers” and both have you performing a slate of combat moves such as the “Feeding Frenzy” and “Corkscrew Shred”. The Wii version appears to be the definitive version as it boasts bosses such as the Tiger Shark, Killer Whale and the Sea Serpent. Sea Serpent? Really? The Wii version also allows you to visit such far flung locales as Hawaii, the Great Barrier Reef and Amity Island. Ok, I can see those first two needing protection from human interlopers, but Amity Island? Come on Jaws. Now you’re just being a dick.

Personally, I think this is hilarious, a good mind set to be in given that I’m sure Bill will assign both of these to me. The fact that they’re hoping these games let a new generation experience “the same visceral underwater thrill” of the original movie, a movie that forever changed the landscape of cinema, is just too good to pass up. Sure, Majesco, I’m sure your game, where you pull off melee combos as a shark, is exactly the same thing as my wife still being afraid to go into the ocean some 25+ years after seeing Jaws.

I’m withholding from the redacting on this particular bit of PR majesty because it’s just too good to sully with my snarkiness.

Edison, NJ – June 2, 2011 – Majesco Entertainment Company (NASDAQ: COOL), an innovative provider of video games for the mass market, and Microprose, an executive producer for video games, announced today that JAWS: Ultimate Predator for the Nintendo 3DS™ system and Wii™ is in development for an expected release this fall. Set 35 years after the events of the iconic movie, JAWS: Ultimate Predator is an action-packed and intense game that pays homage to the classic film while putting you in control of one of the most terrifying forces in nature, the unstoppable killing machine that is the great white shark. The games are produced under license from Universal Partnerships & Licensing.

“The Jaws movie defined a generation and forever changed our perception of sharks,” said Jesse Sutton, CEO, Majesco Entertainment. “Sinking your teeth in as the ultimate predator is a strong and compelling concept underlined by the performance of our best-selling Jaws console games years ago. Never before released for Nintendo platforms, JAWS: Ultimate Predator lets a new generation experience that same visceral underwater thrill.”

JAWS: Ultimate Predator on the Nintendo 3DS™ system puts you in control of the hulking terror of the seas like never before, letting you experience the action through the eyes of the beast in startling 3D. Developed by n-Space and produced by Microprose, the Nintendo 3DS™ version of JAWS: Ultimate Predator lets you defeat an army of shark hunters and rule the ocean by unleashing deadly attack combinations such as Feeding Frenzy and Corkscrew Shred while using the Touch Screen to bite, ram and dodge enemies.

JAWS: Ultimate Predator for Wii™ transforms you into the fierce creature, protecting its underwater domain from human interlopers while hunting and killing prey with 20 different advanced attack combos. Fill up the Rage Meter and confront deadly bosses including the Tiger Shark, Killer Whale and Sea Serpent that match JAWS in strength and size. Explore real life environments and lush underwater settings from Hawaii to the Great Barrier Reef, plus the infamous locale where it all started, Amity Island. In addition, discover hidden collectibles and upgrade special abilities to unleash critical damage with maximum power and speed!

Both games are executive-produced by Microprose. The JAWS game for Nintendo 3DS™ is developed by n-Space and the JAWS game for Wii™ is developed by Tectonic Studios, a subsidiary of Collision Studios.

JAWS: Ultimate Predator for Nintendo 3DS™ and Wii™ is expected to launch this fall. For additional information about Majesco’s exciting line of products, please visit www.majescoentertainment.com.

Windows 8 and the Future of Windows Gaming


This is your Windows 8 user interface (UI). Not just tablet UI, the Windows 8 UI. It’s fascinating and terrifying. First, yes, this is very much derived from the Windows Phone 7 interface. I’ve played around with that some in conjunction with a book I’m developing at my day job and although it’s not immediately a looker, there’s an elegance to it I’ve grown to appreciate. As a way to work and navigate in a touch-based interface, I like it way more than I do iOS. This is the next step, but I’m way skeptical as to how well it’ll work with mouse and keyboard and with the existing ecosystem (a point I get to after the break).

Another potentially big news item, although one I’m very skeptical of, is the rumor that Xbox 360 games will be playable in Windows 8. That notion is at once stunning and still believable, especially considering the amount of rumbling I’m reading about Xbox becoming a broader brand, intended to encompass all of Microsoft’s digital media efforts. Right now, however, the best source I’ve seen for this info is RumorPedia.net, so like, measure your expectations and stuff. This could be nothing but noise and I’ll not dig into it further until someone has a credible source.

Back to the “not a rumor” stuff about Win8…

Ars Technica has some additional tidbits about how this massive UI overhaul will affect existing apps and it sounds workable but kludgy as all hell:

However, this is not just a user interface for tablets: this is going to be the user interface for Windows. Windows 8 will still run Windows application—all of them, with pretty much the same system requirements as Windows 7. One of the application tiles is a full-blown Windows 7 desktop, and this is where legacy applications will run. The new-style interface and new-style applications will be clean and modern, but none of this extended to the traditional applications, which are stuck in their own little ghetto.

While this is understandable for truly legacy applications, it doesn’t appear to offer much of a transition path for software that’s still under active development. There are plenty of applications that are too complex and fiddly to ever be at home with a touch-first interface—consider a software development environment, or a fully-featured office suite. Leaving these stuck in a Windows 7 ghetto doesn’t seem like a good long-term option.

I don’t know. I really don’t see myself having to pull up a Windows 7 tile every time I want to load up an app that I bought before December 2012. And how will services like Steam deal with this? There’s some cans of worms here that could seriously make PC gaming a mess for awhile. On the other hand, in the long run maybe it’s for the best. If this is a better way to interact with our systems, both PC and tablet, then why put off the future any longer? Big transitions come with growing pains. Windows 7 would not have been remotely as successful as its been had Vista not gotten in line first, taking its lumps as developers and manufacturers learned to deal with the new code base.

I have my concerns, but I’m resolved to remain open-minded about the platform on which I’ll hopefully be playing The Witcher 3.

Diary of a Baseball Dynasty: The 2016 Ragtime Nine


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The best player in baseball is a 29 year old slugger patrolling left field for the Jefferson City Ragtime Nine. In seven glorious seasons he’s racked up Herculean statistics:

In 2013 he hit .338 and blasted a gaudy 62 homers and stole 73 bases. It’s the best season in league history. He was 26 years old. He’s won three MVP awards, is a five time All Star. He’s won two Gold Gloves. He is the absolute heart and soul of the Ragtime Nine, who have never felt the taste of second place in the National League Central, which is arguably the toughest division in the league. And yes, we wear the bow tie. You can do that sort of thing when you win.

His name is Kent Stover, and one month into the 2016 campaign he’s leading the charge yet again, hitting .400 and leading the NL in homers (8) and is third in stolen bases (13).

Yet chinks are showing in the armor of the Jefferson City Juggernaut. The team is aging. The fans, after seeing the playoffs every year have only one World Series title to show for it. The team is vastly over budget and many feel this season is the very last chance this core group has a legit chance to win it all.

Such is the drama in an Out of the Park Baseball fictional online league…

I have played the role of commissioner/owner of an Out of the Park Baseball online league since 2009 – though a couple of versions of the game; we port over the season each time a new version comes out. In fact, it’s the only way I play OOTP. Solo leagues just don’t do much for me anymore and if the league ever dissolved, my time with OOTP likely would, too. This is actually the second time I have commissioned a league – I did the same back with the classic OOTP 6 version from a few years ago.

It’s hard running these leagues. Well, not “hard” as much as it is tough to keep everyone together, find replacements as owners leave (and they always do), and keep running simulations every weekday. It takes up a huge chunk of time when you play commish.

But it’s worth it.

My father plays in the league, former GameShark writer Troy Goodfellow plays in it (his College Park Riots might be the worst team since the Seattle Pilots), Todd used to play in it until he quit in a huff (yes, a huff) in fact a lot of close friends play in the league—these are people I have known for years and years – especially my dad.

In all I run a 30 team fictional league – that’s fake players, fake teams, nothing “real” at al which is in my opinion by far the best way to enjoy a sports game.

When you start using real people you have an idea in your head (accurate or not) of how that player SHOULD play. Albert Pujols should be able to do *this* or Peyton Manning should be able to do *that*, but with a fictional league you don’t go into it with any preconceived notion of player ability. You see ratings, sure, but if it’s a fictional player you chalk it up to an off year – if a real player has an off year people are much quicker to assume the game engine is broken.

Plus, I enjoy creating my own personal sense of history and with a league like this, spanning several seasons with fictitious players.

It takes patience, though. One of the downsides in a fictional league is that you literally start from scratch. Who are these players? These teams? It’s all foreign.

However, after seven seasons we all know the league. Teams have developed strong rivalries; players jump ship via free agency to play against former teams – after you have spent the time to build that foundation there’s nothing quite like it.

When you combine that with the data dump that is baseball you have the makings of a great, great game. And while OOTP has its issues, it’s been a real cathartic experience playing in the league – when I’m stressed I can load it up and just look at stats, tweak my rotation, alter my lineup for the upcoming week’s sim. Of course it helps that I have been fortunate enough to win a lot of games.

But like I said…this season that could all change.

The past sim saw my 29 year old closer blow his arm out, again, shelving him for 9 months, effectively ending his run with Jefferson City. He’s a FA (free agent) next year and I can’t sign a guy coming off TWO elbow surgeries in a span of four years. Plus I am way over budget. My right fielder, an Australian named Russell Chivers, a potential Hall of Fame candidate, is now 36. He still has a decent bat but his ability in right field is about on par with Babe Ruth – after he’d been dead for 10 years. My #1 starter is a 34 year old ace that I have had since the league started (again seven seasons ago). We have a fair number of young players too, but the true core of this team is aging – fast. My farm system is fair, but keeping the team alive and replacing players with veterans has cost me a lot of young talent — talent that is now playing well …on other teams.

The 2016 campaign just started – we’re a mere 23 games into the season, sitting at 13-10, and already 3 games out of first. Uncharted territory.

Winning another division title is not going to be easy.

You can view the league here and I’ll be offering season updates as the weeks roll by.

http://ootp.digitalsportspage.com/html/leagues/league_100_home.html

Today in CRAZY ASS Developer Quotes


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Here’s the thing. I like Randy Pitchford. I’ve met him. I’ve spoken to him. I’m quite sure he doesn’t remember me, but hey, part of the job description. This is not always a two way street. He’s a normal and actually pretty funny guy. So when I read quotes like this I try to keep those two things in mind.

Eurogamer has Randy in full on “PR mode” in this brief Q&A article. Seriously you need to read this stuff.

Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford has claimed it “doesn’t matter” how critics judge Duke Nukem Forever, insisting that his team “know the game is great” and authors of “lowball” reviews would be “held accountable by the readers”.

and..

“First of all it is great, it’s very, very entertaining, it’s very fun. It’s also Duke frickin’ Nukem frickin’ Forever. One could not be a gamer in this world without consuming that and having that experience. You’re just missing out on an entire, ginormous aspect of video games history if you fail to participate. This game’s gonna ship and we’re all going to be there, so it doesn’t matter what the score is.”

You know what this tells me? When a developer openly dares critics to “lowball” a game? Duke Nukem Forever is going to get some low-ass scores.

And Randy Pitchford knows it.

Ubisoft Announces Start Date for Might & Magic Heroes VI Beta


Regardless of how many times publishers keep cranking out versions of HoMM, I still have a soft spot for this franchise. I know, I know. It’s been played out. There simply isn’t much you can do with this design template at this point, but well, sorry, I don’t care. I still love Heroes of Might & Magic even though UbiSoft isn’t even calling it a Heroes of Might & Magic game.

Might & Magic Heroes just sounds stupid.

Regardless, Ubi sent word last night that:

The BETA for Might & Magic Heroes VI will begin on June 28th. All fans who pre-order Heroes VI will receive a key to access the Beta and be among the first to experience hands-on time with multiple single-player and multiplayer maps.

Serious Sam 3: BFE Trailer


Another game we’ll get hands on time with at E3, Sam is a franchise I have always enjoyed and I hope Croteam can recapture the magic that made the original such a blast to play. From the trailer, yep, that’s a Serious Sam game.

Batman: Arkham City; Get Your Catwoman On


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There’s a lengthy “Pre-E3″ Batman preview at GameSpot today which reveals among other things that Catwoman will be playable, at times, in Rocksteady’s Batman sequel.

Playing as Catwoman wound up being a bit more brief than we would have liked as her playable portion in the work in progress version of the game was just a brief fight with thugs in a room. The sequence let us get a feel for how she handles in a fight. Unsurprisingly she’s faster than Batman and has a lighter feel overall. We were able to pull off some lengthy combos almost immediately thanks to her speed.

It’s a hefty preview so give it a look. Still, I can’t stand it when articles refer to “us” and the Royal We. I’ve never understood that. “We” didn’t play anything. This preview was written by one Ricardo Torres. So who is this ‘we’ he’s on about?

Early morning tangent, my apologies. So, anyway, Catwoman!

"The Dragon" Expansion coming for Talisman

Oh boy, I love Talisman. It’s a completely stupid roll-and-move game at heart, but there’s quite a lot of character and charm to it and it remains the template upon which almost all light RPG-on-a-board games are built. Basically, flip a card and roll dice at a monster until it dies and gives you experience and/or treasure. And it is responsible for the single greatest card in any game ever- the Horrible Black Void.

Fantasy Flight has done of lot of crappy things lately, like retheming the classic DungeonQuest to fit in with their inane “Terrinoth” world and completely ruining the simple combat system in that game, but fortunately they took on the Talisman license from the now-defunct Black Industries before they started doing things like that. They’ve mostly done right by Talisman and have even released some good original expansions for it that are more or less in the spirit of the classic editions of the game. The next add-on has been announced, and it’s The Dragon. It appears that this replace the traditional Crown of Command goal, adding a new inner region and a “boss fight” with one of three dragons looking to usher in an “age of flame and danger” (snicker).

Details are scant, but there’s mention in the press of 300 tokens used to track the influence of the dragon lords. I’m going to need some more information before I come down on it of course, but Talisman should remain a simple, unfussy game without influence markers, token fidgeting, or other needless mechanics that interfere with its core simplicity and directness. So I’m a little worried that they’ve gone and pulled their typical “fix what ain’t broken” M.O. This is a Q3 release, so there’s still plenty of time for them to sway doubters like me. Press follows, along with some cornball fluff text.

Untold ages hence, a powerful wizard waged an epic battle with the Dragon King who ruled over the Firelands. Unable to slay the Dragon King, the wizard devised a ritual, using his most powerful magic to uproot the Dragon King’s tower, stone by stone, and banished the Dragon Lord into a horrible black void. Free to enter the Valley of Fire, the sacred birthplace of dragonkind, the wizard forged the Crown of Command in its eldritch fires. Now, eons later, the unceasing prayers of the Dragon Cults have been answered. Three of the Draconic Lords have returned.

Fantasy Flight Games is pleased to announce the upcoming release of Talisman: The Dragon!

Epic Challenge

Playing with The Dragon expansion, players will encounter even more choices and strategic challenges, including a new, dual-sided Inner Region for their heroes to conquer. The alternate sides allow you to face familiar terrain along a path that requires all new tactics, or to venture into the Dragon Tower, where a hero’s every step meets opposition by the Dragon King’s minions and leads him ever closer to an ultimate confrontation with the Dragon King, himself.

Three new Draconic Lords vie for rulership of the Firelands–Varthrax, Cadorus, and Grilipus. Talisman grows more dangerous as they struggle to claim dominance over their territory and the Crown of Command. The winner shall rule as the new Dragon King, ushering in a new era of flame and danger. Each of the three new Draconic Lords has his own personality and strengths, and each is an awesome opponent.

Any hero who dares confront the Dragon King must be prepared for an epic battle!

New Stories

Talisman: The Dragon brings to life six new characters to confront the draconic challenges that lie ahead. It also adds over 300 new tokens and cards that expand the Draconic Lords’ influence over the land of Talisman and weave the stories of each Draconic Lord’s quest for control of the Crown of Command. New rules pace the increase of the Draconic Lords’ influence, and the heroes’ quests become more and more dangerous as the draconic influence increases.

Now, for those brave adventurers who seek the Crown of Command, the quest means more than power and influence. It is a race to save the land from the Dragon King’s tyrannical rule. Should the new Dragon King claim his throne and the Crown of Command, the new era of dragonkind will begin, and all living things shall bow before their might!

Look for the new Draconic Lords to invade Talisman in the third quarter of 2011.