We’re not even sure what a “next-gen” is anymore (The next batch of consoles? Current PCs? What’s the Wii?), but whatever it is, it’s almost here, according to gaming’s own bells-and-whistles-slinging Xzibit-equivalent, Crytek.
This month’s GDC Expo, which runs from March 25-27, will see the unveiling of Crytek’s most ambitious project yet: CryEngine 3. The “all-in-one game development solution” promises to allow for development on most any machine – DX9, DX10, Xbox 360, PS3, etc. -- provided that said machine isn’t afraid of staring straight into the face of oblivion and watching it blink and contort its retched features at an infuriating 13 frames per second.
However, the engine certainly seems to be designed with “upcoming” systems in mind.
“Our complete game engine solution enables realtime development, ensures teams are able to maximise their own creativity, saves budget and creates greater gaming experiences. Also with our solution developers can start working on their next generation games today,” said Cevat Yerli, CEO & President of Crytek.
“CryEngine 3 is a revolutionary change from our previous PC-only engines – and we’re applying a similar revolution to the service we provide to developers using the software to create extraordinary games.”
The question, then, is whether or not Crytek’s newfound desire to join the cool kids club will lead its wandering gaze to spend less time hovering on the PC gamers who first gave it some love. However, knowing Crytek’s penchant for mind-blowing graphics – in addition to current-gen consoles’ somewhat surprising ability to remain graphically relevant at this stage in the game -- we doubt our concerns will matter too much in the long run.
When worlds collide, things tend to end badly. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning tried to send its ragtag, wax-on, wax-off-trained team of novices against WoW’s dojo, and it lost more than a few teeth. And now, Warhammer’s taking one giant leap right into a different world: its own.
Mythic recently announced (and presumably carried out) mergers between 43 servers on the first ever MMO competitor on The Biggest Loser. Characters and items stored on closed servers were apparently transferred to pre-existing, less corpsified servers.
If your old server’s now hosting TF2 matches for angels, note that all of your character’s items, friend lists, guild info, and ignore lists should have transferred to your new server, while items listed for auction, guild alliances, and in-game mail and attachments, unfortunately, will forever languish in the Internet’s lost-and-found box.
(On the bright side, though, we just discovered that "server merger" is really fun to say. Try it. Hey, don't judge us; we're bloggers -- not grief counselors.)
So, for those among you whose entire world was destroyed, how are the new digs looking?
Along with introducing a myriad of new notebooks to the public this year, Asus is looking to update their gaming notebook, the G71, at CeBIT as well.
The G71Gx, Asus’ update on an old favorite, has been upgraded to hold an Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M graphics card (the fastest available), an Intel Centrino 2 processor, up to 12GB of DDR2, and 1TB of storage.
There’s no word yet on pricing or availability for this new beastie, but we can expect that it will cost a pretty penny.
It's hard to find good freeware games that are original, but not overly wacky. A lot of the more unique titles can tend to be a little esoteric--they don't offer your traditional platform gaming or simulated RPG, instead opting for a crazy mix of minimalist design and weird gameplay. It sometimes works, but more often than not, these games fall to freeware's version of the bargain bin.
That's not the case today, however! We've scoured the Web to find some awesome free hits that represent a good mix of zany and traditional gameplay elements. In this roundup, you'll become a historian, play a card game, recreate your favorite Steam experiences in 2D, and shoot down enemy planes. It's a tall order, but we think that you're up for the task. Click the jump and check out the unique titles we're showcasing in this five-game freeware roundup!
Update: Looks like we (along with a few other websites) spent too much time losing ourselves in Hollenshead's beautiful blues and -- hearts full of hope -- skimmed over his real meaning entirely. Maybe if they'd stop making these alarm buttons so red and shiny, we'd be less tempted to press them so often.
“When it’s done,” you’re done. Go running back to Duke Nukem Forever. You knew what this was.
While speaking with GameTrailers TV at last month’s DICE Summit, id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead gave gamers the signal to look out over the horizon, because Rage is a comin’.
When asked whether his company’s latest monosyllabic murder simulator would blow its top in 2010, Hollenshead replied, “No, we'll be out this year."
Well, that’s good enough for us. Rage will be published by Electronic Arts and will probably aid F.E.A.R. 2 and Sadness in helping some website establish a “Best Game Ostensibly about a Vague, One-Word Emotion” award category for their best games of – take of whiff of that new release window smell – 2009. We can’t wait to hear more.
If you fix it, they will come, apparently. After a somewhat sloppy launch, PC RPG The Witcher managed to stick its landing with The Witcher: Enhanced Edition – a re-release (or free patch, if you purchased the original game) that weeded out the game’s bugs in a motherly, primate-esque fashion, while also re-bewitching players with as many new features as possible for a world where kitchen sinks have yet to be invented.
“So what’s all the buzz about? Well, according to our latest sales data, The Witcher has sold more than 1,2 million copies around the world! 'More numbers,' you might say, but let me finish before J Because of those numbers, The Witcher has jumped onto the list of the 100 bestselling PC games in history,” said CD Projekt marketing coordinator Karol Zajaczkowski.
“Not bad, huh? Nevertheless, bragging is not the most important thing here. What’s important is the fact that we would like to thanks all of you - our fans. We did it once before with the anniversary movie, and we just can’t stop thanking you for making The Witcher a popular choice among PC games. You are the real proof that sometimes going upstream, no matter what people say, is worth taking a risk. Without you, none of this would be possible and none of our dreams would ever come true.”
So, did you help buoy Geralt and co. to the top of the heap? If not, consider yourself grounded from the above helping of the warm-and-fuzzies until you've contributed some words of encouragement and a totally manly ass-slap to one of PC gaming's greatest -- yet somehow under-the-radar -- success stories. And hey, you'll even get a pretty decent game out of the whole deal too.
Some game developers and publishers are vehemently opposed to used game sales, and for them, Amazon's announcement of a new used-game trade-in program is nothing to jump for joy over. For everyone else, it just might be.
The Good More options is always a good thing, right? The obvious comparison here is to GameStop, and Amazon bursts out of the gates with over 1,500 eligible titles. But the real surprise is how the trade-in values compare. Amazon appears to be offering more than both GameStop and Game Crazy on most titles. For example, Little Big Planet (PS3) fetches $29 at Amazon versus $26.25 at GameStop and $22.73 with Game Crazy. In that same order, Left 4 Dead for the Xbox 360 pulls in $26.50, $24, and $22.73 respectively.
Not only that – it’s also over-taken World of Warcraft on the PC sales charts! (Anyone? Anyone?) In fact, according to NPD, Dawn of War II has quietly commandeered a place atop most every PC sales chart in existence: US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia – you name it.
Naturally, publisher THQ – who’s definitely feeling the heat emanating from the economic laser slowly inching toward its region (wink, wink) – is pleased as punch, whatever that actually means.
“We have built ‘Dawn of War’ into a premier PC gaming franchise based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe,” said Brian Farrell, THQ president and CEO.
“We are pleased with consumers’ strong response to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II across many of our key markets and believe the game’s success clearly demonstrates our primary objective of delivering high quality games with strong global appeal.”
We, for, er, a few, welcome our new RTS overlords. How about you?
You hear that, GameStop? Capcom thinks you’re all washed up. Maybe it’s time to let the younger, prettier, and – most of all – immaterial new generation start helping you across the street, because your time’s running short. In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Capcom VP of strategic planning Christian Svensson explained why.
“Absolutely. No question in my mind. Digital distribution on PC ties directly into our strategy," Svensson replied when asked whether or not digital beats retail. “We will probably do as much digital selling as retail in the current climate,” he later added.
“To that end, on the PC side, I’ve spent the past year building up a digital distribution channel that has about twenty different partners. We’re ready on the console side, and we were the first Japanese publisher to do anything on Steam.”
Just in time, too. Our collection of game manuals was starting to get a little out of hand.
Developer Creative Assembly’s new-er RTS, Stormrise, isn’t a simple, no-strings-attached type of girl like its sister franchise-in-arms, Total War. No sir – while Total War only aims to please (and succeeds, by the look of things), Stormrise won’t relinquish the key to its post-apocalyptic chastity belt without a little wining and dining first. However, whereas Windows XP’s reliable charms might’ve brought the princess back to your castle back in middle school, Stormrise wants – nay, needs – more.
"Stormrise has been designed for DirectX 10 and Vista only right from the start," said Stormrise lead designer Artem Kulakov."Vista only. DX10 only. No fallback option. We have never suggested this or hinted at it, so it shouldn't be a surprise."
But why bet the success of a new franchise on a pie-in-the-sky setup that only 25% of PC gamers can even access? Short answer: consoles.
"DX10 has offered a lot of advantages over DX9," Kulakov added. "First of all, DirectX 10 allowed us to simplify the rendering engine. It matches capabilities of next generation consoles better than DX9, which is important for us considering that Stormrise is a multi-platform title. We had fewer driver-specific compatibility issues with Stormrise compare to our previous games released with DX9."
Person-with-bad-idea-during-a-recession-says-what? Consoles and RTSes (especially those of the obscure, generically titled variety) are notorious for their inability to play nice together. Really, it's like putting all of your eggs in one basket with a gaping hole in the bottom; the expected outcome is as clear as day, so why even do it?