“Beginning November 18th players across North America and Europe will journey with the dwarves deep into Middle-earth to reclaim the ancient kingdom of Khazad-dûm from the minions of Saruman,” said Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer of The Lord of the Rings Online.
And no, this isn't a loquacious announcement that LOTRO has slipped to November 18th, 2009 -- but that'd make far more sense than what Turbine is actually doing.
For the uninitiated (aka, those who don't read article titles), WoW: Wrath of the Lich King -- possibly the most-anticipated MMO expansion ever and one of the few 2008 PC releases that can challenge Spore to a bout of sales-fisticuffs and match the game blow-for-blow -- is crashing down the gates (and probably its own servers) on November 13th. Add to that the fact that LOTRO is basically WoW plus little big-footed people and minus about 9 million players, and you have a painstakingly composed financial suicide note ready to go.
Find out why Turbine chose to face the Lich King's wrath head-on after the break.
Economy got you down? No longer able to make those day-long trips to your local computer store of choice for all the latest and greatest software tools? Tired of paying top-dollar for programs that don't quite have the functionality you want? Well put away that wallet. We spent the past week showing you the best (and cheapest) software we've been able to find across different themes: graphics design, system optimization, games, and office/productivity, and have compiled our picks into this comprehensive list.
The era of quad-core mobile gaming draws closer as Asus gears up to release its G71 gaming notebook. Quad-core processors in notebooks are nothing new, but the G71 will use a true mobile quad-core CPU, specifically the Intel QX9300.
The 17-inch notebook uses a GeForce 9700M GT videocard with 512MB of GDDR3 RAM to push gaming pixels on the display's 1920x1200 resolution. Users can configure up to 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory, and on the non-volatile storage front, up to two 500GB hard drives for a total of 1TB. In other words, it will be a long time before you have to decide between installing a new game or storing porn.
Other features include a 2MP webcam, secondary keyboard display so you can keep an eye on your MSN Messenger IMs while gaming, optional Blu-ray drive, HDMI, eSATA, and everything else you'd expect to find on a modern high-end laptop.
Pricing and availability have not yet been announced, but did we mention it comes with a quad-core processor?
EndWar, a voice-controlled RTS hoping to finally end the war against finger-straining controller-based console RTSes, may soon be expanding its supply lines into PC territory. Even better, the news comes from a source PC gamers can't help but respect: former Total War dev Michael de Plater.
“Yeah,” he said, when asked if a PC version of EndWar is in the cards. “There’s no reason not to.”
"Console RTS. Crap. Next." Right? Wrong. de Plater, currently creative director on EndWar, continued:
“The stuff I worked on previously was Total War, which are PC games. In many ways, gameplay-wise, it’s a modern warfare, Tom Clancy version of Total War.”
We're not completely sold, but de Plater's words certainly put a damper on our parade of cynicism. Besides, we can't wait to talk a big game while simultaneously attempting to back it up -- and type up articles for your enjoyment, all at the same time. It'll be a nice excuse for our awfulabysmal unique RTS skills.
We don't get excited about much these days. When all we could muster over Deus Ex 3 deets was a guarded "Neat," it began to dawn on us that we might be suffering from chronic peace of mind, and that made us kind of upset, but not really. Fortunately, the kings of inapproPriate capitaLization have alerted various media outlets that they plan to trot out their highly anticipated collaborative effort on October 21. It's been all but confirmed that the LucasArts-BioWare tango has birthed a Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic MMO. And we're totally stoked.
The invitation, stamped with both LucasArts and BioWare's respective logos, boasts that "The wait is over," and gives members of the press a come-hither look with promises of "the official unveiling of the game that's been rumored about for years."
Gamasutra notes that the public may not see the game until a few days after the unveiling, thanks to embargos. Even so, we're marking down the minutes until BioWare and LucasArts yank the curtain off their latest (final?) group project. We'll make sure to give you a heads-up when it happens, assuming our keyboard doesn't malfunction while it's floating in a puddle of our drool.
At this month’s Professional Developer Conference Microsoft will be handing out the software development kit for their Surface tabletop computer. In an announcement made on the PDC’s site, Robert Levy sates that attendees will be able to “learn how you can become a part of the expanding partner ecosystem for Microsoft Surface and leverage your existing investments in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and Visual Studio to build engaging end user applications. Attendees will receive access to the Microsoft Surface SDK.”
This announcement comes as a sigh of relief to developers, who have been promised the SDK for some time now. The only known companies with access to the SDK are AT&T and Starwood hotels, whose projects are unknown. Microsoft has also been stating that the multitouch interface will be part of Windows 7, but is yet to detail how.
Let’s just hope that Chris Taylor and his boys get started on their version of Supreme Commander for the Surface ASAP!
Series originator Warren Spector may be out and about not making Deus Ex 3, but if we had a copy of UK mag PC Zone, and if we didn't know that Warren Spector wasn't slaving away on Deus Ex 3, we'd be hard-pressed to think that he wasn't. tl;dr: The game sounds pretty cool.
According to CVG's copy of PC Zone, Eidos Montreal is developing Deus Ex 3 as a prequel to the rest of the series. Set in 2027, the game follows "average joe" Adam Jensen, a security officer doling out his particular brand of uniformed justice at a lab specializing in biomechanical augmentations -- aka, nanotech's predecessor. Fortuitously, however, Jensen's life takes a turn for the interesting when a team of "black ops commandos" storms his company's base of operations, snatches a security plan penned by Jensen himself, and uses the plan to guard a fortress kill people.
From then on, the security officer with a penchant for doomsday plans embarks on an action-packed mission full of Deus Ex's trademark fusion of RPG and FPS gameplay conventions -- with a twist. In Deus Ex 3, your stats won't directly affect your gunplay. Instead, stats will manifest themselves through "a vast array of fully upgradeable and customisable weapons," as well as weapon upgrades and character augmentations. So yes, the game is still very much an RPG.
Fortunately, the game, even in its early state, has been given a big thumbs up from Warren Spector, with members of the original Deus Ex team in consultative roles on the project.
And for lapsed fans, distraught by Deus Ex: The Invisible War's, well, everything, you'll be happy to hear that Eidos Montreal has scooped up multiple earfuls of fan complaints, sifted through them, and modified its game accordingly. For example, ammo types will return to Deus Ex's M&M style menagerie of flavors and colors, as opposed to The Invisible War's newcomer-friendly universal ammo.
Oh, the game also brings with it the controversial addition of an auto-regen health system -- ala Call of Duty -- and a cover system that takes a few pointers from Gears of War, but we'd probably post a separate news article if that wasn't the case.
Now let's just hope the game makes it out soon. Otherwise, it might end up looking a tad Jetsons by the time it hits shelves.
Crysis Warhead, despite releasing less than a year after Crysis, has received a few more oodles of critical acclaim than its predecessor. And, as a nice bonus, it also run admirably on rigs that aren't chock-full of wallet-devouring tech and don't display disturbing signs of sentience. Thus, it makes perfect sense that Crytek has decided to jab a toothpick through the multiplayer half of its latest opus and pass out some free samples.
Starting October 6th, a few quick clicks at www.mycrysis.com will provide you with an activation code for the weekend's festivities. Once signed-up, you'll have full access to Crysis Wars from 11:00 AM PDT on October 10th to 11:59 PM PDT on October 12th. To be clear, this isn't just a demo. It's the entire, 21-map multiplayer portion of the game.
“We have been extremely pleased with the reception we have received from gamers and press for Crysis Warhead,” said Cevat Yerli, CEO and President of Crytek. “Crysis Wars is definitely a big reason for this success and something we are dedicated to, not only as a part of future Crysis titles, but in terms of releasing new modes and continued support for our growing community.”
Great idea on Crytek's part. So, those of you who pirate games for "demo purposes," will temporary full access to a game put an end to your swashbuckling ways?
Hate the blissful feeling that accompanies plucking a brand new game from the patch on launch day? Think digital distribution is just too convenient? Well then, you'll be one of the backward-thinking few who actually appreciate Ubisoft's Far Cry 2 pre-order deal. Simply stroll over to your nearest participating game store, place a few dollars in the cash register, and unlock "hours" worth of crucial gameplay! Have a looksie at what's on the other side of the hoops you'll soon be jumping through:
The Georgian: The Georgian informant has gone into hiding at the Fuel Depot in UFLL territory, find him and discover what your predecessor learned from him about the Jackal’s location.
The Bolivian: The Bolivian informant is on the run, trying to escape the country by stealing a plane from a small airfield in APR territory. Try to get to him before your predecessor does.
Special Delivery: Your employers have more information for you about your predecessor – learn the location of his new dead drop and raid it to find information about his secret meetings.
Le Francais: A French smuggler and arms dealer who may have been providing arms to the Jackal has been tipped off, and your predecessor is trying to stop him from crossing the border. Find out what Frenchman’s price is.
For those of you who don't pre-order, or who plan to (legally) download the title, we don't really know what to tell you. So far, the "bonus" seems to be limited to retail channels, but we'll contact Ubisoft for more info.
In the meantime, however, don't worry too much. We already pre-ordered the game months ago.
We've already shown you our picks for top-notch open-source (or freeware) graphics applications and system optimizers. To celebrate the start of the weekend, we're going for the gusto this time around: games. But the difficulty in this list stems from the fact that there are a ton of excellent games in the independent scene right now. We frequently profile these as much as possible on the Maximum PC monthly CD, but even then, it's tough to pick five examples of top-quality games--we could fill an article with five hundred. Your favorite open-source game might not have made our list this time around, but feel free to leave comments about other awesome alternatives you've sampled!
Now that the disclaimer's out of the way, cancel your appointments and throw up your away message. It's time to game, and it's time to game for free. Check out our list of awesome free games after the jump!