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Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter Available on Steam

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 29, 2010 9:34 AM CST
filed under news, pc

Croteam's HD-ifying of the second game in the Serious Sam series is complete and ready for purchase for all you steam users out there. The game features better visuals, new additions to the original campaign as well as a co-op play feature and additions to the game's 16-player multiplayer. All this is available for a meager $19.99.

Hit the jump for a complete list of additions and features in this re-release.

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Infinity Ward Employees Sue Activision

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 28, 2010 2:52 PM CST
filed under industry, news

Hoo boy, things are getting very serious with the media debacle that is Infinity Ward and Activision. A group of around thiry-eight Infinity Ward employees have filed a lawsuit against Activision claiming the publisher has not paid the full amount of bonuses and royalities owed to the developer since the release of Modern Warfare 2; going so far as to say that Activision is intentionally holding the developer's payment hostage in order to keep employees working at IW to develop (and subsequently reap the rewards of) Modern Warfare 3.

According to G4TV, the employees taking part in the suit include "a significant portion of the members of the creative team" for Modern Warfare 2.  Information filed within the suit mentions that Activision has paid Infinity Ward around $28 million for the game, but is charged for witholding an additional $54 million for 2009's profits, not including amounts yet to be payed for the games success in 2010. In addition to the money owed, the IW employees are seeking anywhere from $75 million to $500 million in punitive damages. The suit also mentions Activision's breach of contract by failing to pay terminated or departing employees their due within seventy-two hours of their end of employment.

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You Ask The Questions for Fatshark’s Gunnar Johansson!

by Alex Rubens Apr 28, 2010 3:46 AM CST
filed under news

Later this week I will be interviewing Gunnar Johansson of Fatshark Games regarding the company and their PC/PS3 title Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West.

I'm giving YOU the opportunity to ask him questions! Make sure to submit all questions BY midnight on Thursday (4/29/10). You can submit them by leaving a comment below.

High Voltage: The Conduit Sucked, Conduit 2 Will Be Better

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 27, 2010 6:43 PM CST
filed under news, wii

The Conduit had a lot of hype behind it. The game's development represented a certain openness to the gaming community. High Voltage saw a problem and wanted to be the first to tackle it; be the first to make a "hardcore" Wii game and realize the dreams gamers had for first person shooters. So we watched, with baited breath as the game developed, impressed along the way by the community's opinions and input. The end result? Aside from great controls, meh.

It appears High Voltage is aware of this as they updated their blog and spent quite a bit of time talking about the Conduit 2. From what they wrote they seem to agree the The Conduit had some flaws; particularly in terms of art direction and an overall lack of gravity to the game's events.

At various points throughout the development of C1 we would discover something new about the technology, build a new graphics feature, and then have to make hard decisions as to whether or not we had time to rework existing art content to take better advantage of the latest features...The result was a game that is fun to play and is solid overall, but never quite manages to excite its audience with inspired visions of a darkly futuristic world that’s being torn apart by aliens.

The post goes on to talk about the developers commitment to not add content to the game unless they are a hundred percent in love with it. They also mention refinements the've introduced to Quantum 3 engine that will further help improve the game's art work. You can check out the rest of the post via the link below.

[via The Conduit 2 - A Message From High Voltage]

Eight More Depart from Infinity Ward, Total Now at 26

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 27, 2010 12:02 PM CST
filed under industry, news

As predicted, more senior staff have parted ways with the Modern Warfare 2 developer since the sacking of Infinity Ward founders Vince Zampella and Jason West. Designers Keith Bell and Charlie Wiederhold in addition to level designer Preston Glenn departed from the studio not long after the departure of five other senior staff members. 

In addition to these three, five more left yesterday including lead character artist Joel Emslie, artist Brad Allen, weapons artist Ryan Lastimosa, lead programmer Robert Field, and Kristin Cotterell, who is actually a human resources and recruitment specialist. Don't they seek out new talent for up and coming developers by the way? Wonder where this is going...

With these departures and the ones from the previous weekend the total number of employees to leave Infinity Ward is around 26, according to Kotaku. No matter how Activision may try to spin it, seeing this many employees seemingly follow their former bosses out the door presents itself as a huge debaser to the publisher's claim that Zampella and West were schemers and scammers out only for themselves. Based on the snowball like effect of these departures its a pretty strong certainty that only more will leave.

Square Enix Gets New Label for “Extreme” Western Games

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 27, 2010 10:29 AM CST
filed under industry, news

According to Square Enix, western developed games tend to be a bit, erm, violent. Since the publisher is often behind the localization of western developed titles over seas, SE apparently felt the need to develop an all new label under which they would publish the more "extreme" games brought to the publisher's homeland. Thusly, the Square Enix Extreme Edges publishing label has been created to do just that

The label will be used to publish games that get a CERO rating of D or Z, the Japanese equivalent of the ESRB's M and AO rating. The thought process behind this new label is to further help consumers distinct between the more extreme and mildly rated games. The best thing I can compare this to would be  Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. One is intended for a more mature audience and provides distinction to show it.

Since SE owns Eidos there's sure to be a number of new games to be published under the new label. It's good to see new avenues open up for more games to reach out farther into different locales of the industry.

[via siliconera]

Get Real: Complaining that Games are Unrealistic Shows a Lost Grip of Reality

feature

by Jon Lehtinen Apr 26, 2010 10:07 PM CST
filed under editorials, features

As a consequence of maturing, one gains an increasing appreciation for one’s time. This notion has come into sharp relief in my own life as my call center job evolved into an IT career, formal schooling gave way to professional development hours, and serial dating yielded a wife and child. There is no such thing as having more free time after earning pair of degrees if you are serious about your career, and family obligations will always supersede personal recreational time. To my chagrin, I seem to becoming… a grown up.

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Modnation Racers (PSP) Preview

feature

by Alex Rubens Apr 26, 2010 7:22 PM CST
filed under features, previews, psp

When the PS3 version of Modnation Racers was first shown off at E3 last year, I was skeptical as to how the game would traslate over to the PSP.  After I got some one on one time  with a preview build of the game however, I no longer have any doubts that the portable version of Modnation Racers is as competent a title as its PS3 counter part.

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Capcom, Other Developers Have Maxed Out Consoles?

by James Pikover Apr 26, 2010 6:41 PM CST
filed under news

According to a recent report from Tom's Guide, Capcom's US VP stated to an audience attending the 3D Gaming Summit that Capcom, as well as other game developers, have already managed to use 100% of the processing power of game consoles. While this is no surprise for Nintendo's Wii, and perhaps the Xbox 360 because it's similar architecture to the PC, the 3-year old PlayStation 3 is still confounding many developers, and even those in Sony's own ranks haven't made such bold claims.

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Go for Ludicrous Speed with the Split/Second Demo

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 26, 2010 12:39 PM CST
filed under news, ps3, xbox 360

Disney Interactive wants your next street race to be utterly ridiculous, and to give you a taste of what Split/Second's high octane, explosion filled action has to offer the studio has released a demo of the game's airport track, the very same one used to showcase the game at major industry events. The demo is currently available exclusively for the Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Gold Members only) with a PS3 demo arriving May 11th.

Blackrock Studio focused on filling Split/Second with huge bangs and whistles by letting players trigger Hollywood style explosions that change the nature of the track and throw their opponents off Kilter. The studion also worked on Pure which was a bit of a sleeper hit when it released, and if nothing else provides some solid reputation for the developer in making high quality, fun racing titles. The demo is around 800 megs so you should definately check it out until the game releases May 18th.

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