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I just had a flashback of Interplay's messy end-of-days saga a few years back... What a mess that was. Seemingly stepping in the footsteps of that once legendary game company, the Japanese group Gonzo keeps on cracking and shattering, in the midst of escalating corporate "restructuring". Just yesterday I was pitying them for their rumored loss of the Strike Witches 2 anime project. And today ANN brings word of another major, self-inflicted blow: the "divestment" of Gonzo's online game development studio Gonzo Rosso.

By the way, since it's April 1 in Japan already, we can stop using the parent company's obsolete GDH name. So as I was saying, Gonzo will cut off its game subsidiary in an attempt to further consolidate whatever resources is still has, entirely abandoning the gaming scene in order to focus on its anime business.

Some of Gonzo Rosso's best known MMORPGs include (...)

>  Continue reading 'Gonzo Cuts Off Game Division, Gonzo Rosso'...
Kadokawa, the Japanese anime / manga publisher that has inspired us with so many feelings of hatred lately, is turning its twisted eye over to the gaming industry. As of April 1, 2009, the parent consortium Kadokawa Group Holdings is opening a game development and marketing subsidiary called Kadokawa Games Ltd. The news has slowly been creeping its way to a few English websites since Friday, but the only known details are still those contained in the early reports.

Kadokawa Games is being set up with a capital of 250 million yen (US$2.5 million) as a fully owned subsidiary. Its focus will be on online games and the international market, with titles developed based on the already popular content owned by the publishing group. But the real kicker is the name (and former position) of Kadokawa Games' president: (...)

>  Continue reading 'Kadokawa Penetrates The Gaming Industry'...
Ever wanted an all-in-one game engine for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, DX9/DX10 PC games and MMOs alike? And had a crapload of money to spend on it? Well I guess the second part may be a bit tricky, so just for the sake of curiosity, the devs from Crytek will be introducing their new CryENGINE 3 game development solution at this year's GDC Expo (March 25-27) in San Francisco.

The package advertised in Crytek's announcement includes the CryENGINE 3Sandbox level editor - a 3rd generation "What you see is what you play" (WYSIWYP) tool designed by and for professional developers - and significant new features specifically designed for (...)

>  Continue reading 'CryENGINE 3 To Be Revealed At GDC Expo'...
Reviews were never “that friendly” regarding LucasArts' latest multiplatform lightsaber mayhem, the game being, many times, valued as “mediocre”. Well, it seems that fans are doing the right thing for once (that being stop believing every little piece of golden bullshit that some “objective” game reviewers and game sites tend to throw at them), since this title sold no more than 5.7 million copies, since its September release.

Obviously, the fact that it IS a multiplatform game helped a bit - well, multiplatform minus the odd PC component – but heck, according to the numbers, it is the fastest selling Star Wars game in the history of... Star Wars gaming.

Ze Source.
Some people like to betatest games, while others don't. Prior to the European Wrath of the Lich King Beta, I was proudly a member of the first half, but after that rentless mass murder of common sense, patience and last bits of humanity, I decided to take a break, keep my sweat inside and let it loose only when the actual game comes out.

But things are about to change. And not because it's yet another Blizzard game, but because Starcraft is one of those little jewels that made college life (ignoring retarded individuals, skipping exams and such) much more easy to bare. It seems that, according to Blizz's Paul Sams (chief operating officer), we'll be getting our Starcraft 2 Beta “in the coming months”, so stay tuned for that extremely lucky invite. Because I bet it won't gonna be easy to get it.

Ze Source.
Gotta love this world economic crysis. Umm, crisis, that is. Lots of people getting to spend more time with their friends and family (and have a good laugh over how they lost their job), lots of prices going down (in pure theory), and lots of companies becoming easy takeover targets. Especially those who thought they could get away with cheap thrills like Haze.

Well, the tide has now turned for the British game developer, as Crytek announced the acquisition of Free Radical's entire assets and business yesterday. Originally founded by some former Rare developers, Free Radical became synonymous with their TimeSplitters franchise. Last year, however, they went through some rough financial times, and saw their team getting decimated - leaving them an easy and, apparently, convenient pick for Crytek.

So what's next for Free Radical? (...)

>  Continue reading 'Crytek Enslaves Free Radical Design'...
What do we know about 2K Boston? Ah, well, nothing “much”. They are just the bunch of insane (and let me add, extremely talented) people who brought us Bioshock. You know, the game that rocked your socks (be it clean, smelling like Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo, or still stuck on your sealing) in 2007. Hell, that was a great game. I actually finished it, too.

So, what does one expect from such a company? Nothing bad, I guess. Maybe even something good (and that's the sad part). New job listings were recently posted for their oh-so-demanding team, listings that may speak – or may not speak – for themselves. Do you think you meet the qualifications? Let's take a look, see:
This position requires a high degree of creativity. You will be required to work with the single-player team to form a "vision" of the multiplayer experience and use that vision to inform your design decisions. From there, you will help build a multiplayer design team and be responsible to guide your team through the entire production cycle.
Prior experience designing first-person shooter games is an absolute must. Understanding of online persistence is preferred but not required. MMO design or production experience also preferred.
Extending and enhancing Unreal Engine 3 with proprietary networking tech to address gameplay, performance, platform, production, tools, and QA needs.
Interfacing with Microsoft, Sony, and other providers for matching-making and other services.

Multiplayer – seems that we have a new “word of the century” win here. Every game tends to involve a decent bit of one on one, three to three or one on over nine thousand lolis action – just for self preservation. OK, I will bite this. And I will swallow it too, if it turns out to be as good as any normal human being would expect.
Three new Need for Speed games were announced today by Electronic Arts, leaving the gaming world - or at least the part of it that still has some common sense - in a blissful indifference, at best. While some might find the idea of a NFS threesome quite exciting, we dare question how EA will be able to churn out three quality titles in less than a year, after years of pushing the franchise down a steady slope.

Well, no use trolling over spilt booze, so let's get on with the news. As they say in the announcement, "we listened to the gamers when they told us they wanted a wider range of experiences" (big mistake!), so they're now ready to pop the cork off their new NFS games: Need for Speed Shift, Need for Speed Nitro and Need for Speed World Online.

NFS Shift sounds like your run-of-the-mill racing game (think Race Driver: GRID for instance), and this first screenshot shows nothing spectacular, either. "A racing game built by racers for racers", "a level of realism never before seen in a Need for Speed title", "an incredible authentic and immersive driving experience", "a stunningly realistic first-person cockpit viewpoint", "an unrivaled sensation of racing at high speed" - the usual PR talk. The one true flicker of hope shines from the fact that it's being developed by Slighty Mad Studios, formerly known as Blimey (the guys behind GT Legends and GTR 2). NFS Shift is planned for release on the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PSP in autumn 2009. (...)

>  Continue reading 'Need for Speed Does A Threesome'...
Because you can't have an MMO in this day and age without expanding it during the first few months after release (and bug-fixing it throughout its entire lifetime), Warhammer Online, too, is set to receive its first live expansion soon enough. Titled "Call to Arms", it will be rolled out - for free - in early March, and will be running through the beginning of June. At which point, presumingly, another one of these "live expansions" might follow.

Copy-pasting from GOA's announcement, Call to Arms will introduce an array of new content for WAR players, including two highly anticipated new careers - the Orc Choppa and the Dwarf Slayer - and a new dungeon zone called "Land of the Dead", set in the desert realm of the Tomb Kings. It will also include 3 in-game live events, a new Realm vs. Realm (RvR) Scenario, added functionality to the Realm Wars section of the WAR website, the opening of the official WAR Forums, and a new free trial version of the game.

In the announcement, Mark Jacobs from Mythic refers to this huge new Tomb Kings dungeon as a "spiritual successor to the Dark Age of Camelot dungeon, Darkness Fall", and restates their commitment to keep on delivering a massive amount of free content "now and in the future".

Below you'll find the full schedule of the Call to Arms live expansion, (...)

>  Continue reading 'Warhammer Online Expands With Call to Arms'...
All those Halo Wars trailers not detailed enough for you? Well then, have some jumbo-sized screenshots exposing more detail than you'll ever see on any TV, HD or otherwise - rendering them rather useless. In this latest batch issued by Microsoft, we see a Vulture fight set alight by pink laz0r pewpew, a besieged Covenant stronghold, and a highly unimpressive pose of a Warthog caught in mid-jump.

The release of Halo Wars on Xbox 360 is still set for February 27 in Europe, and March 3 in North America.

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