Mark Adams, president of Westlake Interactive, contacted IMG with some exciting news regarding their projects in development. Those of you who have been salivating over the "Unimaginable Project" listed on the Project Status page can finally sleep in peace. Westlake is "unofficially" announcing that they will responsible for the port of LucasArts' Escape from Monkey Island, to be published by Aspyr Media:
"Unimaginable" is Escape from Monkey Island, and Jesse Spears is working on it. We're just waiting to make sure we have all the proper approvals (and Aspyr has had a chance to issue a press release) before we put it "officially" on our web site.
Westlake's experience and success in the Macintosh gaming market made them the clear choice for handling the conversion of this game.
Mark also provided updates on several games that are scheduled for release in the next several months: Jeopardy, Rune, Elite Force, and Livin' Large:
Jeopardy has been submitted to Hasbro for approval, so it should be off to duplication soon (if they don't find any problems).
We just received the final code for Rune, and will be merging that into the Mac code quickly. Then a short beta test (its already looking very good) and it should be done.
Elite Force is getting close to final, the beta test so far has gone smoothly.
Gamecenter has reported that they have confirmed with Blizzard Entertainment that Warcraft III, a real-time 3D RTS/RPG hybrid, has indeed slipped to an expected late 2001 release. As the article notes, this news does not come as a shock -- Blizzard has a long history of delaying games and missing projected release dates. However, such delays have nothing to do with technical issues; they are almost always the result of Blizzard's obsession with detail, depth and balanced gameplay.
Even viewed in light of the massive Diablo II, WC3 is by far Blizzard's most ambitious project. The 3D RTS will feature many RPG-like elements, with small parties led by Hero characters that can gain stats and acquire better weapons during the course of the game. Players will be able to choose from one of five separate 'races'; balancing all five armies so that combat isn't unfair and yet making each race distinct and interesting is going to be a massive undertaking, but Blizzard is certainly up to the task.
Here's an excerpt from the Gamecenter article which details the delay and its effect on the Mac version of the title:
Blizzard Entertainment has confirmed that its eagerly awaited real-time strategy game, Warcraft III, has been delayed and is now scheduled for release in the second half of 2001. When Blizzard announced the game at last year's European Computer Trade Show in London, the company stated that it planned to get the game out for a late 2000 release.
The delay is no big surprise, considering Blizzard's track record; the company has consistently been late on nearly all of its games. However, the delays haven't really mattered in the end, as almost all of Blizzard's games have had considerable critical and commercial success. Diablo II, released this year after two years of delays, shot straight to the top of the sales charts and is easily one of the most successful games of the year.
Blizzard changed the text on its Warcraft III page to say that the game would be released later next year. Although the site indicated that the Mac version would be released at the end of this year, a Blizzard spokesperson told Gamecenter that was a mistake. Blizzard's Debra Osborne told Gamecenter that the company would try to release the Mac version simultaneously with the PC version, or soon after, as it did with Diablo II.
Klink! Software has released Tanks of Terror, an OpenGL kart racing game for the Mac.
Klink! Software is proud to announce the release of Tanks of Terror!
Tanks of Terror is an OpenGL kart racing game for Power Macintosh with tanks, big weapons, and even bigger bosses. Its advanced and scalable engine features true 3D environments, indoor and outdoor maps, dynamic colored lighting, weather, time, and gravity. The engine also features effects like tidal liquids, transparencies, animated backgrounds, multiple surfaces, interactive and destroyable objects, and complete camera controls (chase, first-person, and top-down views, with controllable zoom and pan.)
Wrapped around this engine is a fun game with 6 worlds, 34 maps, and 5 race modes -- including deathmatch! Internet-ready networking games and great physics round out the package.
The download allows you to play one world (5 maps, 1 boss) and 1 network-only battlemap. Registration is $15, which gives you a serial number that immediately unlocks the full game!
As we await the anticipated release of this Trek-themed third-person title, many more reports on the game's features and gameplay are beginning to surface. A PC beta version Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Fallen has reached several news sites, and provided them a detailed look at the game in action.
PCIGN has updated their preview of this Simon and Schuster title with more comments after playing much of the way through the beta version. While they allege this third-person camera view game should have been called "Trek Raider," they mean this in the most complimentary sense, praising the title for its adventure-style elements that set it apart from the overcrowded 'shooter' genre. According to their report the game offers a high level of interactivity and puzzle-solving as well as combat, and there is minimal travel back and forth so you don't have to repeatedly cross the large levels again and again just to solve a simple "find the switch" objective. Much praise is also given to the new animation and aiming features added to the base Unreal engine.
Here's an excerpt which details the third-person perspective of the game:
But I have to say that The Fallen takes the strengths of third-person gaming and runs with them. First and foremost is the sense of character that grows out of the game. Being able to see your character (or at least their back) reinforces the sense that this is a DS9 game. It also makes the game play out more like a TV show where you’re watching the characters from above rather than looking through their eyes. Third-person gaming also allows for a more refined interaction with the environment. Negotiating obstacles is a little easier because you can see exactly where your feet are.
Several weapons allow you to switch temporarily to a first-person view for aiming, as is shown in the screen shot.
For more details, screen shots and movie downloads, read the rest of the preview. Watch IMG for details on the Mac OS beta of this game; the final version is due in late October/early November for a simultaneous Mac/PC release.
The creators behind the Marathon: Rampancy mod for Unreal Tournament have sent us a quick email noting there will be an alpha release of the mod later today. Earlier in the week, we brought you word of this project which is attempting to bring the Marathon multiplayer "feel" to UT (and is not to be confused with the complete Marathon overhaul project, Resurrection). Here's a clip from the creators:
Well, the day's finally here, the mod's almost ready to go out the door, and I'm about ready to collapse. An ---> ALPHA <--- version of Marathon|Rampancy will be released around dinner pacific standard time for those of you who want to check it out.
I'll be posting a lot on our forums today to keep everybody informed of the status of the mod and what you should expect, so if you want to maximize your enjoyment of it, please stop by the forums and read the posts.
Stay tuned to IMG and our sister-site Macgamefiles for more on the mod once it is actually available. Be sure and check out the screen shots at the web site for an idea of what to expect -- the one thing that has always been missing from the Unreal Tournament weapons set is a flame thrower, don't you agree?
Marathon Rampancy Web Site IMG News: Marathon/UT Mod in the Works
FiringSquad has a posted a short preview of LucasArts' Monkey Island 4 (a.k.a Escape From Monkey Island) based on a demo that was released for the PC last Friday. Keeping in tradition with previous Monkey Island games, Monkey Island 4 features an off-beat plot, snazzy visuals and loads of sarcastic dialog. Here is an excerpt from the preview:
The plot starts out strangely enough. Your wife, fresh back with you from the honeymoon, is declared legally dead and the Governor's Mansion (your home) is about to be demolished. It seems that an Australian (of all things) land developer is taking over the island and driving the inhabitants out of their homes through hostile take-overs. Naturally, in Monkey Island, a hostile takeover means something quite different from what you'd expect. Remember "Insult Swordfighting" in the 3rd installment in the series? Keep that train of thought...
The fan site MyMyst was nice enough to point out that they have posted a quick Q&A with Cyan's chief technology officer Brice Tebbs. Earlier today, we noted a test release of this 3D adventure game was available for PC users. According to MyMyst's site, this test actually coincides with the game being Gold Master on the PC. In the short interview, Tebbs answers several Mac-specific questions regarding realMyst. Here's an excerpt:
What about the Mac version of realMYST?
The Mac version actually works. It just needs too much RAM right now. We are still trying to optimize the mac version and working with Apple on some stuff. We didn't want to delay the PC release, because of that. We want to be sure the PC version comes out for christmas. We have considered making it a MacOS X product but we haven't done this yet. Rand plays it on his PowerBook.
What are the system requirements for the Mac version?
The big issue on the mac is video card spec. The 2nd generation iMacs, those with a slot loading CDROM and rage 128 chipsets are probably the minimum you would want. The product expects a powerful computer. This is because we didn't want to compromise the products visual quality and we hope that It will have a long shelf life. We won't have final MacOS minimum requirements for a while.
These high system requirements aren't too surprising, given the amazing screen shots we've been seeing on the web. Trying to recreate the impressive pre-rendered Myst world in a 3D engine is quite a feat. We'll keep digging at Cyan for more concrete info on a Mac release date, and let you know if we find anything. Be sure to check out the MyMyst site for more info on the game, and look for the official site to appear online soon.
MyMyst Fan Site
Late Thursday Cyan Interactive and The Adrenaline Vault posted a test version of Cyan's upcoming realMYST , a full-3D replica of the original blockbuster adventure game. Unfortunately Cyan only released the PC version, even though the game is also destined for the Mac platform. We have contacted Cyan about a Mac version of the test, and currently await a reply. However, this is a common sitution and should not be a cause for worry; many titles in the past have had PC-only public test versions (such as Diablo II), primarily because the Mac version requires less hardware testing.
Even if you can't enjoy the test version, the download page has some very interesting comments by artist Steve Ogden. Here is an excerpt:
"The differences between the Stoneship Age in the original Myst and realMYST are as varied and pronounced as the difference between looking at postcards from a place and actually going there in person. In the original Myst, you were only permitted certain views of the age, frozen in space and time. In realMYST, you can walk around and look pretty much wherever you want to, whenever you want to. In the original Stoneship, the weather and time of day never changed. In realMYST's Stoneship, the weather and time of day are continuously changing. In the original, hardly anything moved. In realMYST, just about everything moves. In realMYST, Stoneship is alive. "
realMYST is currently set to envelop Mac and PC gamers in the MYST world sometime this fall. Mattel will be the publisher, and despite the lack of a Mac test version, a simultaneous release is expected.
realMYST Test at Adrenaline Vault Cyan
Gamepro.com recently interviewed Patrick Blanton of Wolfpack Software , makers of the hotly-anticipated upcoming Massively Multiplayer Online RPG Shadowbane. The interview mainly focusses on the game and how it encourages Player vs. Player and Guild vs. Guild combat, while other games of this type try to discourage such things. Patrick adresses one of the biggest concerns of gamers, "newbie jumping" -- veterans hacking those new to the game into pieces just for amusement or for the paltry amount of gold they carry. Here is an excerpt:
To this end, we've gauged the penalty of death to vary depending on the relative strength (or weakness) of the opponents. If a newbie were travelling in a dangerous area (which is hard to do -- you'd really have to be going out of your way) and happened to be killed by a high level player, the result would basically be a "free teleport" back to town. We don't reward people for killing indiscriminately, because we don't want combat to be about that. We want people to engage in combat for the right reasons -- a guild war, perhaps, or a territory dispute."