Dust hasn't even began to think about settling around Fallout 3's cushy new spot on store shelves, but developer Bethesda already has the coordinates set for its next megaton's drop date. According to publishing exec Paul Oughton, Bethesda plans on releasing another title in its sprawling, freeform Elder Scrolls series of RPGs -- in only two years, no less.
"At the moment we've got Fallout 3 for this year and potentially there's a new Elder Scrolls title in 2010," said Oughton.
So, there's the "what" and "when," but how about the "where"?
"At the moment we're not that interested in the Wii. We're going to stick to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC," he noted, giving gamers everywhere one less thing to worry about.
Considering Fallout 3's boundless expanses, as well as Bethesda's potential plans for dog armor, d'awwwwdorable dog feet pajamas, and other downloadable things of the like, 2010 sounds like the perfect time to unravel a new Elder Scrolls. We do have one question, though: how can you follow up expeditions into and subsequent ass-kicking of hell itself? Kind of nuked the fridge there, we think.
Are you absolutely, er, perishing to play Left 4 Dead? Well, Valve has your back. Simply plunk down $5 on the undead murder simulator and you'll unlock a free demo on November 6 -- five days before everyone else.
"This pre-order promotion applies to all Steam PC pre-orders and all Xbox 360 and PC pre-orders from participating retailers in North America," read the press release. GameStop is the only confirmed retailer at the moment.
The demo will serve up both single player and co-op modes for 1-4 players. Since the demo's spewing a bubbling concoction of content, there is, of course, a catch: the demo -- like a zombie Undead American with a live grenade jammed down its throat -- will only be active for a finite amount of time.
"The demo concludes on November 18, when Left 4 Dead will be made available at retail outlets across North America and worldwide via Steam," notes the press release.
All told, though, we're pretty excited about this. Oh sure, we could give Valve a stern talking to for falling into the retail trap of giving preferential treatment to pre-orderers, but it's Left 4 Dead, guys. No matter how sordid the method of delivery, if we snag some hands-on time, we'll be too disgustingly over-joyed to care.
According to an announcement from Blizzard, World of Warcraft got bigger. We didn't see this coming or type up this article five months ago or anything! So, commence with the throaty gasps and whatnot. We'll be out not knowing about Star Wars: The Old Republic and, uh, not working here yet. Peace.
"It's been very rewarding to see gamers around the world continue to show such strong support for World of Warcraft," said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. "We remain fully committed to responding to that enthusiasm with a high-quality, constantly evolving game experience."
Jump past the break to see what qualifies you as a subscriber from Blizzard's look-at-all-the-ants perspective. Just, you know, if you're curious.
We can't help but feel for Fallout 3. When it's not having drugs pilfered right from under its nose, it's getting booted out of India. But, as the most oppressed and censored game since Barbie Murder Adventures (later toned down to the more family friendly Manhunt 2), it'd be anticlimactic if Fallout 3's launch week trotted in unhampered. Good thing, then, that Bethesda seems to have made one vocal Washington D.C. resident a little hot under the collar with a series of controversial promotional materials.
However, today's Fallout 3 ad removal is a tad perplexing, as it simply asks websites to cast all official Fallout 3 trailers into their Recycle Bins -- with no explicitly stated relation to the D.C. fiasco. Says the email from Bethesda marketing VP Pete Hines:
In connection with ESRB's advertising guidelines, you are instructed to remove immediately any of our Fallout 3 trailers from your website, pending further notice.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Our guess? Precautionary action -- brushing Fallout 3's "threatening" imagery under the rug to avoid more controversy. Great job on defending Bethesda's interests, though, (ESRB parent organization) ESA! So, who will the ESA tangle with next in its daring and valiant mission to "protect [game companies'] legal rights and legislative interests"? A quardiplegic kitten that licks people when its angry? An ally?
Well, kinda. Make no mistake, BioWare, EA, and LucasArts hope to four-legged race right past WoW's 11 million subscriber record, but even if WoW's legions commit to Blizzard's ludicrously popular MMO, marry the game, have adorable children, and then sell them to buy more WoW gold, the Old Republic team won't lose any sleep over the lost customers.
“Just look at the base of Star Wars fans, plus what BioWare can do," EA Games president Frank Gibeau told Videogaming247. "Trust me: we want to win. EA’s reputation is for wanting to win."
“This is going to be a powerful category and there’s lots of ways to compete in this category. [Blizzard] created a much larger opportunity for everybody else, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way.”
LucasArts online boss Tom Nichols elaborated, and also downplayed Blizzard's userbase as the be-all, end-all of the MMO market.
“When World of Warcraft came out, everybody thought, ‘No, the market is only this big, because that’s as big as EverQuest was.’ Blizzard showed that it could be much larger,” he said.
“Our goal is to show that by bringing storytelling to the genre that we can attract an even wider audience. Plus, we have the benefit of this huge brand, which has done very, very well for nearly 30 years.”
We think The Old Republic has a better chance of seizing WoW's spot on the winner's podium than any other MMO. How about you?
With all the recent hubbub about DRM (seriously, we're getting tired of using that link), it was only a matter of time until some brave soul stepped forward to behead the "draconian" menace*. Fittingly, that someone is Stardock, whose handiwork birthed the Gamer's Bill of Rights.
"While Stardock doesn't put copy protection on its retail games, the fact is that most publishers are never going to agree to do that," Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said of one sticky stipulation in the Bill.
"So the publishers are telling us, 'Put your money where your mouth is. Why don't you guys develop something that you think is suitable that would protect our IP, but would be more acceptable to users?'"
"We're investigating what would make users happy to protect their needs, but also provide some security for the publishers. ... We're actually developing a technology that would do that."
Although Wardell's plan still has all four limps planted safely in the cradle, he does have one concrete idea. "We want that license to be yours, not per machine. ... It's not your machine buying the game. It's you," he said, voicing his hope for unlimited downloads of a purchased game.
When asked if his solution could be defined as DRM, however, Wardell was hesitant to slap the newborn plan with gaming's three scarlet letters.
"The problem with 'DRM' is that it's so loosely defined. ... Stardock's products use activation, and I wouldn't say that it's DRM," he emphasized. "We're just verifying if you're real customer."
All told, though, we think Wardell is really onto something. Now, with time out of the way, it's just a matter of how many bricks we'll have to chuck through John Riccitiello's window until he actually listens.
We don't claim to be businessmen, but even we have to say LucasArts' rationale behind Star Wars Galaxies' continued existence seems a little off. When asked whether the troubled Star Wars MMO would step down gracefully or take a lightsaber to the gut, LucasArts senior online exec Tom Nichols replied:
“We’re still committed to Star Wars Galaxies. A couple of things: a demonstration of that commitment includes a recent trading card game that we launched in August. It’s doing very well for us and we have a new expansion pack being planned for that."
“I think the market will definitely support [both Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Wars Galaxies]."
He also noted that the two games feature different mechanics, which he believes will attract different audiences.
But if you've never played either game, what can Galaxies throw your way to entice you to its shriveled up side of the force?
“Shortly we’re going to release a new Hoth encounter that recreates that classic battle in the Empire Strikes Back, and that’s exciting content for our Galaxies community, so we’re definitely committed to the product.”
A Hoth level. Added to one of the few Star Wars games in history that didn't already have one.
Galaxies fans, feel free to tell us why we're wrong/why we should die in a fire.
The wait is over. Today, LucasArts and BioWare finally force unleashed the first details on their joint MMO production, and it sounds like the best thing that could possibly come from Star Wars and gaming's unholy union aside from a Jar-Jar killing sim where you blast Jar-Jars with a Jar-Jar launcher*.
The game will take place a few hundred years after KOTOR 2 caught fire and skidded off a cliff to an eventual -- and undeniably painful -- halt, and will cast you as a jedi, sith, or something else that you probably won't bother with. As with any BioWare title, MMOTOR will focus on story foremost, spicing up the MMO genre with BioWare's top-notch storytelling prowess.
And oh will there be story content. According to BioWare president Greg Zeschuk and CEO Ray Muzyka, the game isn't KOTOR 3, "it's KOTOR 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. There's that much to it."
"It's a whole galaxy. It's a galaxy of Star Wars," they added.
In order to make such an ambitious story possible, The Old Republic will saddle you with single-player RPG-esque companion characters. You can change and manipulate them, and they can assist you throughout your adventures. As such, the game will "allow players to carve out their own epic stories," with your actions affecting the entire game world, as well as your characters' morality.
Even crazier, every class and faction configuration will have its own storyline. Lead writer on the project Daniel Ericson even claimed that his latest progeny could feasibly be played like a single-player RPG. There's that much story.
“If you’re a BioWare fan, you’re going to get everything you ever imagined from an extension of KOTOR,” he said.
We couldn't want this any more if it came with a ticket to beautiful women and infinite money island**. How about you?
*The alt fires are lightsabers and Hayden Christensen.
Being a blight upon the 99.8% of the gaming industry that enjoys making money, it's not too surprising that piracy has a place at gaming's Bad Guy table, where maniacal cackles flow freely and glasses are always half-empty. However, when one of PC gaming's great beneficiaries, the PC Gaming Alliance says piracy isn't so bad -- just misunderstood -- well, jaws drop.
That's exactly what happened when we heard about PCGA Pres. Randy Stude's plan to plant a money tree in piracy's apparently fertile soil.
"Let's monetize every one of those pirates, and let's advertise the hell out of them," Stude told Gamasutra.
Fearing that the big cheese had finally snapped, we nearly missed his explanation, wherein he said that such monetization should be "blatant." For instance, he noted, developers could plaster six times the number of in-game ads around unauthenticated versions of a game. The end result: pirates get an "inferior" version of a game, while developers rake in cash from ads.
"Don't throw [pirates] off [of the server], but show an ad every time a new level loads. The [paying customer] gets a billboard, a passive, less-aggressive ad than [pirates] are going to get," Stude added, demonstrably sane.
So those of you who play but don't pay, if Stude's grandiose plan were enacted, would you willfully download Far Cry 2: Viagra Blue Edition, or would you finally change your ways?
Get your fedora hat, gas up your Weird Edsel, and practice avoiding all sorts of untimely deaths, because we're about to take you on a whirlwind tour of some of the most fun freeware adventure games you can find. It feels like there's never a shortage of freeware adventure titles on the ol' Internet. But it's definitely a little tricker to dial down and find the games that are worth playing--especially in the adventure genre, where the first three to five minutes of gameplay can greatly affect your interest in going through the rest of a game's storyline.
We've hand-picked five adventure games that you need to slap on to your hard drive this instant. Check out our comprehensive list, including details and screenshots, after the jump!