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GameSpy shutdown taking Borderlands, Civilization titles offline 'temporarily'

The impending shutdown of online-service provider GameSpy Technology will "temporarily" take Borderlands and some Civilization games offline as publisher 2K Games moves them from GameSpy to Steamworks, while nearly 20 other titles will lose online support, 2K announced today. GameSpy Technology, which provides the online back-end for dozens of games, announced earlier this year that it would close May 31. On that date, 2K said today, online service for eight different games will "temporarily" be halted as the publisher migrates support from GameSpy to Valve's Steamworks platform. The titles in question are Sid Meier's Civilization 3, Civilization 3: Conquests, Civilization 3: Play the World, Sid Meier's Civilization 4, Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword, Civilization 4: Colonization,...
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Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure delayed until May

Adventure game Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure will now launch for Windows PC and Mac on May 7, the developer announced in a recent video update. Originally slated to launch April 22, the two week delay is to allow the game's creators to add more polish to the game. Tesla Effect tasks players with investigating crimes and questioning witnesses in post-apocalyptic San Francisco as "down on his luck" private investigator and series icon Tex Murphy. Tesla Effect starts after the events of 1998's Tex Murphy: Overseer, the game combines live-action with full-motion scenes and features interactive dialogue. Players can pre-order the game for $19.99 from GoG and Steam now. Those who pre-order Tesla Effect will receive the Tex Murphy Live Jazz soundtrack upon release and fourth Tex...
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World of Warcraft's Noblegarden lays eggs for players April 21-28

World of Warcraft players can partake in the egg-filled feast of Noblegarden April 21-28, according to a Battle.net post today. According to in-game lore, the annual Easter-like celebration traces its origins to ancient druidic festivals. Throughout Noblegarden, players can search low-level towns for brightly colored eggs, which can be hidden or sitting in plain view. Those eggs can contain prizes like chocolates, costumes, rare items and toys. The Noblegarden festival also offers daily quests, known as the Great Egg Hunt, as well as festival-appropriate clothing and merchants hungry for Noblegarden chocolate. You can check out the full list of seasonal items, including pets and mounts, in Battle.net's Noblegarden 2014 page. For more on the future of World of Warcraft, be sure to...
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Game of Thrones is the first 'free-to-play' TV show, and gaming is racing to catch up

Game of Thrones is a massive hit for HBO, both in terms of the raw numbers of people watching and the cultural impact the show has had on television in general. It maintains the cable channel’s status as the home of prestige television, as HBO is a place you go when you want to keep up with what people are talking about on Monday morning.It's also a giant "victim" of piracy. 1.5 million people reported downloading the episode "The Lion and the Rose" on its first day of availability online, with upwards of 200,000 people sharing the same copy of the episode. This is a record-breaking event in the world of media piracy, but HBO doesn't seem to care. Why does a cable channel get to sit out of the piracy discussion, and even crack jokes about the popularity of its content when the...
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Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings will help players meet in the real world April 26

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment is encouraging players of the collectible card game to meet in the real world with Fireside Gathering events scheduled for April 26. In Hearthstone, players gather around virtual tables for card battles. Fireside Gatherings invite players to assemble around real world tables to build decks, play tournaments and otherwise delve deep into the game. Those who do will unlock a special card back. You can see a list of April 26 events being held from Alabama to Hawaii on Blizzard's official Fireside Gatherings page, where you'll also find information on how to host your own event. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is available on Mac, Windows PC and iPad with Android device and iPhone versions to come. For more on the game...
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Wasteland 2 adds Linux support in major Early Access update

Wasteland 2's Early Access release now supports Linux, delivering on its Kickstarter promise to support that platform, Mac OS and Windows PC. The support arrived in a major update to the beta, inXile Entertainment said. In addition to Linux support, Wasteland 2 added another major area to its map, a new vendor screen, and about 400 other changes, all of which may be seen in these patch notes. Wasteland 2 added Mac OS support in late February "With these major systems implemented, Wasteland 2 is in the final stages of development," inXile said, adding that the Early Access release now includes more than 40 percent of what is expected in the final game. Wasteland 2 was one of the earliest major video game successes on Kickstarter, raising $2.9 million two years ago. A final release...
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Political-based strategy game ReignMaker now available for PC via Steam

ReignMaker, a game built around political strategy and match-3 tower defense combat from indie developer Frogdice, is now available via Steam for Linux, Mac and Windows PC. The game was Greenlit last month. In ReignMaker, players build and defend a city against would-be usurpers. It includes four culture spectrums, 10 different troop types and 50 towers spread across three continents. According to Frogdice, political decisions made throughout the game will affect the story and culture of each player's kingdom. "As your capital city improves, you will have access to more powerful spells, mightier elite troops, and better battlefield gear and armaments," the game's description reads. "Along the way you will also earn achievements, complete quests, and fill your Bestiary with enemies." ...
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Guild Wars' nine year anniversary festivities kick off April 22

ArenaNet will launch a series of in-game festivities for the original Guild Wars' nine year anniversary on April 22 that will run through to April 29. While some of the events have already been implemented, the complete event will open the Shing Jea Boardwalk, the Dragon Arena and Rollerbeetle Racing. Special non-playable characters will also appear, and there will be a 15 minute fireworks display at the beginning of every hour in the Great Temple of Balthazar, Lion's Arch, Shing Jea Monastery and Kamadan, Jewel of Istan. During the anniversary period, the game will also offer players special items that foes will drop. There will be festive items like bottle rockets, sparklers and champagne poppers, alcohol like hard apple cider, hunter's ale and iced tea, as well as sweets like...
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The Elder Scrolls Online's guild bank disabled

The Elder Scrolls Online developer Zenimax Online Studios disabled the game's guild bank feature today on European and North American servers, according to a post on the game's official forums. The developers did not explain why the guild bank feature was disabled in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game or when players might expect it to return. The halt could be in response to a bug that Reddit user Mistress-Rarity described earlier today. "Some of you may already be aware," Mistress-Rarity wrote, "but a game breaking bug has hit ESO that allows characters to duplicate stacks of materials in their bank. It is so simple, in fact, that it is possible to do it by pure accident. I will not explain this exploit, but it is the first result of googling 'ESO Item Dupe.'" The...
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Chroma Squad gameplay video shows you everything you missed at PAX East

A video from Chroma Squad developer Behold Studios shows off 30 minutes of gameplay featured during the demo at PAX East, which took place last weekend. Chroma Squad is a tactical role-playing game in which players control a Power Rangers-esque squad for a TV show. When the cameras aren't rolling, players will cast actors, purchase equipment and craft Mechas. In the video above, game designer Mark Venturelli walks players through creating a studio, recruiting actors and putting together a squad. Once in battle, Venturelli also briefly touches on the role of the audience, how to take out enemies and more. Alpha access to Chroma Squad is currently available to Kickstarter backers and those that pay $25 through the game's website for the Beta Tester Edition. The game is expected to...
Opinion
106 Comments

Blizzard silenced Hearthstone players, and it made the game amazing

A well-constructed Mage deck in Blizzard’s free-to-play collectible card game Hearthstone has the satisfying ability to take the enemy’s figurative arm over your knee to snap the bone in two.The Polymorph card allows you to turn any minion on the board into a sheep that can only hit for one damage, with one unit of health. It can take out some of the biggest threats from your opponent. The Fireball card costs four mana and deals six points of damage to whatever it hits. But the Mage's holy terror of doom is Flame Strike. It’s not a complicated card. You don’t have to set it up in order to bring destruction on your enemy. You don’t have to build your deck around it. It costs seven mana to cast, and deals four damage to every enemy minion on the board. It all but destroys...
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Three indies discuss the future of free-to-play games

The phrase itself conjures up emotions.The free-to-play model as it's been used in the last few years is divisive. Some see it as a way to lower the barrier to entry, to invite players into games without an upfront financial burden. Others see it used as a crass business model designed to get players to pay to win. It's not only players who wrestle with the revenue model. Developers we've spoken to are aware of its less than stellar reputation, even as they see its potential benefits. And some of them, particularly independent developers, are looking for ways to invoke the free-to-play model without the baggage associated with it. The free-to-play model is evolving, and the developers at Carbon Games, FrogDice and RobotLovesKitty showed us how. CARBON GAMES: AIRMECH ARENA Only a...
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Defense Grid 2 and the refinement of tower defense

Hidden Path's Defense Grid 2 builds upon the well-established, but consistently addictive tower defense formula that has engrossed players for more than a decade. The crowdfunding-backed strategy game takes the creep-killing fun of the original game, Defense Grid: The Awakening, and further refines — rather than redefines — it with a bevy of intelligent changes. Using resources that are doled out over time, Defense Grid 2 tasks players with building a series of defensive towers in an attempt to stop aliens from plundering their base. A variety of towers are available in the game's arsenal, from long-range cannon towers to low-cost gun towers to lasers, which quickly fire but deliver a continued burn. The goal, as in most games in the tower defense family, is to build the smartest...
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JetGetters dev cancels successful Kickstarter, No Time To Explain to launch for Xbox One

The Kickstarter campaign for tinyBuild's "fighter hi-jacking game," JetGetters — which successfully completed funding earlier this week — was canceled by its creators due to a "delay" in the game's development cycle. TinyBuild announced the news officially via Kickstarter. The 517 backers that pledged money will get their funds back, as well as access to the tinyBundle — a promotion that gifts seven of the developer's games, of which three have been released. The game will still be released for Linux, Mac, Ouya, Windows and SteamOS, though it's expected next year, rather than this holiday season. Speaking about the cancellation, tinyBuild explained that it wanted to be "up front and honest." "During the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX East)," the...
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The unusual game that was born out of the debilitating failure of Retro/Grade

Eighty hours a week for four years. $70,000 out of pocket. Matt Gilgenbach, like many indie developers, poured his heart, soul, life and finances into one single, all-encompassing passion project: Retro/Grade.And then it failed, well at least financially failed. "It was a financial disaster," he said. "We got positive critical response, but it didn't resonate in terms of sales. Or maybe we failed to market it. "I'm still not sure what the problem was with Retro/Grade." The two man team that made up 24 Caret Games went their separate ways and old memories came back to haunt Gilgenbach. "I struggled with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder for a large part of my life," he said. "That sent me down into a depressing episode. "All of these memories were flooding back about how...
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Hide-and-seek horror title The Flock coming to Steam

Dutch indie developer Vogelsap will release its hide-and-seek based survival horror title The Flock through Steam as part of an agreement with Valve, the company told Polygon this morning. The Flock is an asymmetrical multiplayer title designed for three to five players. These players because the Flock, deformed humanoid monsters with gnarled limbs and protruding bones, roaming a barren and dark world in which all life has perished. Gameplay is similar to red-light-green-light in that players must catch each other while they are unaware in order to take them out of the game. Players must become a being called a Carrier by gaining control of the Light Artifact, a mirror that shines a beam of light wherever it is pointed. The Carrier is slower and weaker than all other Flock, making...
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Why Square Enix uses DRM

Square Enix uses digital rights management to earn profits and protect its intellectual property, Square Enix America's senior manager of business and legal affairs Adam Sullivan told TorrentFreak. Square Enix has "a well-known reputation for being very protective of our IPs," Sullivan said, and it employs DRM to further that goal. "The primary benefit to us is the same as with any business: profit," he said. Though he acknowledged that some players have problems and there is "no perfect solution yet," DRM also has other benefits that help developers. "When F2P began trending, lots of people thought it would be the death of DRM. I remember talking with one F2P developer who couldn't imagine why hackers would want to attack his game, since it was free and all. Two months later they...
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Chaos Reborn Kickstarter surpasses crowdfunding goal

The crowdfunding campaign for Chaos Reborn surpassed its funding goal, according the game's Kickstarter page. As of this writing, the campaign has received $193,695 in pledges of its $180,000 goal from 4,721 backers with 11 hours remaining. "Chaos Reborn has been funded with just 34 hours to go on the clock," developer Julian Gollop wrote on the Chaos Reborn's Kickstarter blog. "Thank you to everybody who backed the project and promoted it. Thanks to my team for working after hours to make the prototype possible, and providing all the art and publicity material during the campaign. And thanks mum for being such a vocal supporter!" The designer of XCOM: UFO Defense launched the turn-based strategy game's crowdfunding campaign last month. It's planned for a spring 2015 release on...
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7 Comments

Relativity hands-on: walking on the ceiling

Relativity's hook is difficult to explain, and developer Willy Chyr knows it.I sat down in front of his MacBook last week on the PAX East 2014 show floor to play his first-person puzzle game and was greeted with an introductory message that told me to press space "to walk into wall." I didn't know what that meant. Seconds later, in a large white room, I walked up to a wall, pressed the spacebar, and my entire perspective changed. Two virtual feet I couldn't see planted themselves on the wall, and gravity obeyed. The camera position switched and the floor changed color to ground me in my new surroundings. The former wall had become the floor, and I was on my way to solving my first puzzle. In Relativity, everything is relative. This is Willy Chyr's first game. Last week, he brought it...
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Hands-on with Aaru's Awakening's 100 percent hand-drawn platforming

When Reykjavik, Iceland-based Lumenox Games revealed Aaru's Awakening last year, its hand-drawn aesthetic was its most defining feature. Aaru's Awakening had graphical creativity on lock from the moment its developers started showing it off. At PAX East 2014, we had the opportunity to see if the gameplay could live up to the high bar its designers set. You play as Aaru, a mythical creature that looks like a hybrid between a human crawling on all four limbs, a long-haired savannah cat and an anteater. In the PC version we played, Aaru moves with standard WASD controls. The mouse serves multiple purposes, the most significant of which is Aaru's teleportation ability. Aaru's Awakening is a side-scrolling platformer with a twist: You're often forced to traverse terrain that you can't...
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