Clone Wars Adventures in Open Beta

Yes, we have all heard about how George Lucas ruined Star Wars because he was obsessed with the toy industry’s revenue. But the cutesy TV series that renewed interest in the franchise (for audiovisual consumers) after a magnanimous ending with the Revenge of the Sith is turning out to be Lucas’ cash cow. Star Wars: The Clone Wars has a very well done TV show supplemented with some not-so-well-done video games to pull Younglings into the path of the Force and its mysteries.


It seems that after quite a terrible video game release with lackluster controls and wonky plotlines, LucasArts is aiming big with a kid-safe MMO. Clone Wars Adventures is a free-to-play web-based MMO based on the microtransaction business model. Players can play as a Jedi, Clone Trooper or a Padawan (?!) and battle it out with the heroes of the Clone Wars such as Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda.

Apparently, you can [S]peed through space in Star Fighter, take out waves of Battle Droids in Tower Defense or test your brain with Droid Programming puzzlesin this game. If you wish to test this out you can sign up for beta and give it a go.


As for me, though, I cannot stand an epic movie franchise being diluted down for kids. Sure, it’s family entertainment but long time fans need the depth and emotionally charged content of the first two movies instead of Ewok celebrations and stupid lake monsters with horrible grammar.

Game Companies Unite to Help Displaced RTW Employees

Remember All Points Bulletin? Yes that MMO that had you play as either brutal Enforcers or, um, brutaler Criminals? That MMO that was really, really bad? That MMO RealTime Worlds spent $100,000,000 making? Yes, you read that right. A hundred million dollars on a game that was complete hogwash. It sold less than 10,000 units apparently, and is thus one huge and massive failure when it comes to Massively Multiplayer Online Games.


The reason the game tanked was because you had to buy the game and then subscribe to it not because the driving controls were screwy or the game lagged and looked horrible even on a high end computer. People wanted to give the game a chance but in this era of microtransactions, that is not a sustainable business model.

Thus Real Time Worlds had to cut seventy five percent of its staff. That’s 157 people jobless after working on a massive AAA title and dreaming about achieving something that only the likes of Everquest and World of Warcraft have managed to achieve.

As an alleged ex-RTW employee says in a caustic comment on Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s article

The sheer time spent and money it took to make APB is really a product of fairly directionless creative leadership. Certainly Dave J has great, strong, ambitious ideas for his games. But he’s a big believer in letting the details emerge along the way, rather than being planned out beyond even a rudimentary form. For most of the lifetime of APB, he was also CEO of the whole company, as well as Creative Director. His full attention was not there until it late in the day. This has ramifications for how long his projects run many years, on average and the associated cost. This, in turn, means that the business model options were constrained, conspiring to place APB in a really difficult position, commercially. Ultimately, it’s this pairing of a subscription model cost with free to play game play that really did for the game. And many of us saw it coming a mile off. I must admit I’m dismayed about the scale of the failure, however. Many of us thought APB might do OK at retail and sell a few hundred thousand, though struggle on ongoing revenue, and gradually carve a niche. But it absolutely tanked at retail I believe (though I’m not privvy to figures) I think due to the critical mauling it received. It never made the top 20 of the all format UK chart. It’s scraping along the bottom of the PC-only chart, a situation I’m assuming is replicated in its major markets. And being at the bottom of the PC-only chart is not where you want to be as a AAA budget game. God knows what the budget was, but when you account for the 150-odd staff and all the launch hardware and support, it was in the tens of millions of dollars.

However, the gaming industry is quick to respond to capture this massive pool of unused talent. As Joystiq reports, Codemasters alone is looking for quite a lot of employees to fill its UK studio. The Creative Assembly and Activision are also looking for new talent in Europe. With a huge amount of gaming jobs going redundant these days, it’s good to see some heartening news come out of all this mess.

As one commenter says Every once in awhile, humanity doesn’t disappoint me. This is good news.

Halo Reach: Pirated Before Release

Poor, poor Microsoft. It seems that their line of Halo shooters is jinxed when it comes to pre-release piracy. Halo 2 was leaked, and so was Halo 3, with Microsoft issuing a 7,992 year ban on Xbox Live users who were caught playing the leaked version. Now, it’s Halo: Reach’s turn.


Though scheduled to be released on the 14th of September, this year, Halo: Reach wormed its way into the Xbox marketplace with a price-tag of a 9,999 Microsoft Points (or the princely sum of $1,250). Apparently this was the review distributable that could be unlocked by redeeming a special code in the marketplace.

And the hackers over at managed to get a ton of codes for their members.

The direct quote from the staff of GameTuts goes:-

As some of you guys know, Joakim posted a thread regarding ” I have reach ” and showed a few screenshots.
The thread, words, and work is all true.
The legend series of ‘Halo’ was ending with a bang, a bang of that will leave the re-playability high, keeping Firefight blazing.
We now pronounce this to you. The team of Game-Tuts have acquired Reach. This isn’t just a bunch of files thrown together and slapped into the JTAG External Memory.
Think of it this way, “Xport”, only if we can manage it correctly since a PIRS file of 6.87gb is a “god package” – quote from Cthulhu.
We are still working on this and more information is to come. The only thing I can say is that retails might have the ability to play Reach on the files information. PIRS files are signed by Microsoft and given the ability to be played on a retail.
The game “Halo : Reach”, as if all goes well, will be shown on a LIVE stream[Offline] via our channels, I believe we will have more than 1 stream. Expect a full blown amazement of a glorious game that we all have been waiting for in 2010.

So… any takers for this pretty petite pirated program?

PS3 Jailbreak is Finally Here


An Australian hardware modding unit called OzModChips is claiming that the PS3 has finally been jailbroken. If true, this is indeed quite an achievement, since Sony’s PlayStation 3 is a heavily locked down platform that is renowned for excellent security. The jailbreak will enable owners to back-up their games and even run pirated games.

The solution being tested by OzModChips basically requires you to purchase an USB dongle called PS Jailbreak. When plugged into the PS3 and booted, the utility present in the dongle is executed and the PS3’s security measures are deactivated. The developers are claiming that this won’t brick the system and since the PS3’s seal isn’t tampered with, warranty will also remain valid.

The final retail units of PS Jailbreak are ready and more information is available at PSXScene is vouching that PS Jailbreak is the real deal. It will be interesting to see how Sony reacts. According to unconfirmed reports, PS Jailbreak is generated with Sony’s official SDK (Software Development Kit) that makes it illegal to share. A lawsuit or two are definitely in the realm of possibilities. However, it might be difficult for Sony to shackle modders around the world, once the cat is out of the bag.

Dragon Age 2 Trailer Released: 8 March 2011 Is The Day

Dragon Age Origins from Bioware was one heck of a super duper RPG. It was crowned as one of the best RPGs till now. Personally, I found it so exciting that I completed that game 10 times. As a Dragon Age fan, I was badly waiting for a glimpse of the upcoming Dragon Age 2. Finally, Bioware has released a cinematic trailer of Dragon Age 2.


The story seems to be completely new and it has no relation between Dragon Age Origins. In the video you can see new weapons, powers and enemies. The game will be releasing on 8 March 2011 on PC, PS3 and Xbox platforms. You can also preorder it now. Here is the trailer, enjoy!


QuakeCon Sale on Steam!

It’s QuakeCon time! Yes, that conference that claims to be the Woodstock of gaming (4 days of Peace, Love and Rockets) is one of the largest gaming parties in the world and is run almost entirely by volunteers. It is gaming in its pure, unadulterated-by-nonsensical-business self. QuakeCon’s principal partner, Id Software (the developers of Doom and, of course, Quake) provides support for what is possibly the largest LAN Party on the planet.


However, the business part of the gaming industry will take good care of its sales while this party rages on. Valve’s Steam digital distribution portal has racked up a bunch of Id and Bethesda games in its QuakeCon Steam Sale that any respectable fan of action games absolutely needs to check.


Here’s a short listing of all the games up for grabs in the QuakeCon Pack that is selling for just $69.99!

image Call of Cthulhu ®: Dark Corners of the Earth

image Commander Keen

image DOOM Complete Pack

image Fallout 3: GOTY

image The Heretic + HeXen Collection

image QUAKE Collection

image Wolf Pack

image Rogue Warrior

image The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion GOTY

image The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind GOTY

I hope you lot have a blast after buying these awesome games! Buy the QuakeCon Pack at Steam!

Alien Swarm Mini Review

Why I term this a mini review is because I have not played this game online. Considering the fact that this is mostly an online-only co-op game, I have not played much. Nevertheless, the little bit of Alien Swarm that I have played shows that this game is pretty much one of the most generous gifts by Valve to the modding community at large. It’s also a pretty cool free game. Completely, utterly free.


What’s that? Access to a modding community, did you say?
Yes, sir. Alien Swarm is a decent game on its own right, but the included Source SDK as well as a level editor pretty much makes this game infinite. It also allows anyone to dive into some of the best games and mods available these days. I’d personally recommend FLIPSIDE and Weekday Warrior for anyone looking for a different gaming experience. Note: Mods that rely on existing content of Source-based games such as Half Life 2 or Team Fortress 2 will, of course, remain unavailable to those who only have Alien Swarm.

That’s all very good but how good is the game? Get on with the review man!
Oh yes, the game is very good. Pretty good in fact. Considering that this was originally an Unreal Tournament mod, the game has turned out to be something that we can waste lazy afternoons with!
The basic premise has you being in control of one of four classes of soldiers:-


The Officer with passive boosting aurasand access to the class-restricted shotgun.
The Special Weapons soldier dealing massive amounts of damage with autoguns.
The Medic the game’s healer who is invaluable when fighting Parasites and other aliens in general.
The Tech who has access to special weapons as well as the person who can open locked doors with a mini game. (I can imagine how flustering the experience would be when playing under hard mode!)


The game features quite a lot of weapons most of which I sadly have not unlocked. They will be opened in due time with online play and leveling up, I am sure!


The game is quite good to look at, with soft bounced lights, realistic shadows of unrealistic things (see next screenshot) and some great effects. There is talk about how you can play this game in first person and the video does not look bad at all!


In all, this game is pretty awesome and I can’t wait to see some Indian servers go up. Not until they stop playing Counter Strike: Source, of course.

Get Alien Swarm today!

EA Announces Alice: Madness Returns, Reckoning, Sims 3 Expansion Pack, Shank and More

Looks like it has been a pretty busy day at EA with them launching 6 new games today. EA today announced 6 new games including Alice: Madness Returns, Expansion Pack to Sims 3, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Active NFL Training Camp among others.

Alice: Madness Returns

Alice Madness Returns

Gaming visionary American McGee returns to Wonderland as EA and Spicy Horse Games announce Alice: Madness Returns, the dark and deranged sequel to the year 2000 PC hit, American McGee’s Alice. Designed with the same dark style of the original, but now featuring entirely new visuals, story and game design, Alice: Madness Returns is a fun and addictive action adventure set to release on PC, the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system. Alice: Madness Returns will be available in 2010 for the PC platform, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 users.

EA And Klei Entertainment: Shank


EA and award-winning independent development studio Klei Entertainment announced today that the highly anticipated downloadable action game, Shank, will be available for download on August 24 for PlayStation Network and August 25 for Xbox LIVE Arcade. Shank blends classic side-scrolling action game play and unique stylized 2D art direction with a revenge story penned by award-winning game writer Marianne Krawczyk. The game was recently nominated for multiple Best of awards, including Best Action Gamefrom and Best Downloadable Gamefrom

Shank will be available for download beginning August 24, 2010 on the PlayStation Network for $14.99, and August 25, 2010 on Xbox LIVE Arcade for 1200 Microsoft Points. More on the game at

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a game in partnership between EA and 38 Studios, LLC. Reckoning is an epic, open-world role-playing game set in Amalur, a mysterious and magical new fantasy world created by New York Times best-selling author R. A. Salvatore. Reckoning will be available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC platform. Reckoning will be available for sale starting July 22. Fore more information visit

The Sims 3 Late Night Expansion Pack

Sims 3 Expansion Pack

EA also announced an expansion pack for the popular Sims 3 label. The Sims 3 Late Night Expansion Pack gives players VIP treatment in a dynamic urban setting filled with high rise homes, parties, celebrities, bars and even vampires. Sims 3 expansion pack is still in development and will be released worldwide this fall starting October 26, 2010. Buy Sims 3 from Amazon.

EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp

EA Sports Active

EA and EA Sports also announced a new Football-based training program called Active NFL Training Camp for the Wii that put users right into the football drills and conditioning workouts of an NFL training camp. Active NFL Training Camp is still in development phase and will be sold for $99.95. Buy EA Sports Active from Amazon.

This definitely looks like a huge summer full of games for gaming folks who can get their hands full with these titles and several others which will be coming up in the summer and fall of 2010.

Microsoft Announces Kinect Prices And Xbox 360 4Gb Console

Today, in a press release Microsoft announced the new Xbox 360 4 GB console and the pricing scheme for the Kinect. The new 4 GB variant of the Xbox 360 console will feature inbuilt Wi-Fi N support, touch-sensitive buttons,Xbox 360 and 4 GB of internal flash storage. The Xbox 360 4 GB variant will begin shipping on August 3, with a price tag of $199.99.

“Kinect for Xbox 360 offers tremendous entertainment value for the whole family,” said Dennis Durkin, Xbox 360 chief operating officer. “With full body, voice and the ability to play games with your friends right out of the box, Kinect is the most unique, complete and affordable way for everyone to enjoy controller-free fun and entertainment.”

Along with this, Microsoft also announced the price point of the Kinect. Existing Xbox 360 owners can purchase a Kinect add-on pack with Kinect Adventuresfor $149.99. A bundle of the Xbox 360 4 GB console, Kinect Sensor and the Kinect Adventurewill be sold for $299.99 to the general public.

The Kinect Adventure pack will let users play  20 adventuresby navigating, ducking, jumping, and dodging obstacles without the need of a controller, or a balance board.

The Kinect Adventure

Here is the link to the full press release.

Alien Swarm: New Free Shooter From Valve

If the name Alien Swarm sounds familiar to you, that is because there was a fairly popular mod of the same name for Unreal Tournament. Apparently, while no one was looking, Valve quietly hired the team behind the mod – Black Cat Games.

For the past two years, they have been working on major Valve projects like Left 4 Dead and Portal 2. However, at the same time, they also continued working on their pet project, a sequel to their original claim to fame.

The new Alien Swarm runs on Valve’s Source engine and will be made available tomorrow for free. The game is a top-down shoot-em-up, which supports up to 4-player co-op mode. Alien Swarm will also have four unique classes of characters, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Like in the original game, the player will be tasked with killing waves of aliens.



Modders will be pleased to know that Valve will release the full game code, in addition to releasing the SDK. Head over to the official website for more screenshots and trailers.

Hat tip: Rock, Paper, Shotgun