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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

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Azada Ancient Magic Coming Soon
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Big Fish Games recently announced the release of Azada: Ancient Magic for Windows users, also confirming that a Mac version will be released within the next month. In the puzzle adventure Ancient Magic players must use their puzzle solving wits to defeat a darker magic threat.

More about the game:

Big Fish Games Studios summons you back to the deep mystery and magic of Azada. Too afraid to enter the library, young Titus calls upon your courage and superior puzzle-solving skills to disarm the magical menace. Luckily, Titus has given you a magic medallion to call upon him when in need. Enter the lives of storybook characters in more than 20 magic puzzle books. Meet famous legends like King Arthur, Rapunzel, Henry Jekyll, Buffalo Bill, and many more. Can you unveil the dark hidden secret in Azada: Ancient Magic?
Visit the site below for more information about Azada: Ancient Magic.

Azada Ancient Magic
MacNN: Azada Ancient Magic Status

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IMG Reviews Depths of Peril
9:27 AM | Marcus Albers | 1 comment

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the new RPG game from indie publisher Soldak Entertainment, Depths of Peril. Here's an excerpt from the review:

The best thing about the game is simply the game world. How often is that cited as a selling point in a Role Playing Game? Well, in this one the world is just alive. The whole game is based around covenants, and you represent one in a competing covenant. The game AI controls the competing covenants that start out like you. This makes for exciting challenges as you compete with these covenants for reputation. This is part of the difficulty that can be tweaked in the game outset to, depending on the challenge you would like. Furthermore, you can barter, ally or go to full conflict with the rival convenants. Even more on the game world and its evolving nature, if a threat arises, it doesn’t fester. It grows. If city is in danger, it will fall. If there are monster outbreaks growing, they will grow. The world does not wait for its hero. This gives immediate gravity to each and every situation, which is unfortunately uncommon for games like this, which is again, all the more reason Depths of Peril stands out.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Depths of Peril
Depths of Peril
Soldak Entertainment
Buy Depths of Peril

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Eschalon Book II: Creature Features
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Basilisk Games, developer of the old school RPG title Eschalon: Book I and the upcoming sequel Book II, recently announced a new informational feature. Starting Monday, October 6th, the company will shift from answering fan questions each week to unveiling a new Book II monster each week. The updates will feature complete stats, lore, and a picture of the dangerous beastie.

Many of you have been following our weekly Q&A thread where we answer your questions regarding Eschalon: Book II . We've been mostly good at keeping up with it regularly, posting new answers usually over the weekends. If you haven't seen it yet, please follow the link and check it out!

I mention this Q&A Thread only because we have decided to run a feature in October where rather than answer a new question each week, we will instead unveil a new Book II monster complete with stats, lore and picture. We will link to the monster's page from here in the Recent Updates thread, so be sure to check here for the first monster on Monday, October 6th!
Head over to the link below to learn more about Eschalon's projects.

Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book II
Buy Eschalon: Book II

Frank Pearce Discusses All Things Blizzard
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GamesIndustry.biz recently published an interview with Blizzard Entertainment's Frank Pearce about the company's current and future game projects. The Q&A style article includes coverage of StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Blizzard's secrecy, and the recent merger with Activision.

Q: When it comes to putting together a sequel for a benchmark title like StarCraft, do you look around at what other companies have done in the genre since the original title?
Frank Pearce: Yeah, we've got a lot of guys on the team that are pretty passionate about playing RTS games, so they're playing all the games that come out as they're released. We don't try to chase feature sets for the sake of chasing them
If it makes more sense for the game because it's fun, or makes it more immersive, compelling or whatever it is, then we certainly want to do that. But a lot of the feature set we've got with StarCraft II, we've used our previous series of RTS titles as a foundation.
So like Warcraft III, the replay functionality wasn't something we contemplated from day one, it was an afterthought and wasn't implemented as well as it could have been - so that's something that we can do from day one for StarCraft II, which should be pretty cool.
We want to take the storytelling component in the single-player campaign to the next level, so we're talking about branching missions, decisions on the gamer's part in terms of the technology that's available to them - there's a lot of buzz on the Internet around social communities, and we've got those social communities around our games and we want to leverage that to bring those players closer together on Battle.net.

Q: How interesting has it been for you to watch the success of World of Warcraft?
Frank Pearce: I don't know if I'd describe it as "interesting" as much as exhausting. We've got almost 3000 employees worldwide now, and the majority of that growth is due to the success of World of Warcraft.
As a company we've found ourselves spread very, very thin - because the World of Warcraft community has a voracious appetite for content. That development team is 130 people, they're working on content patches, they're working on an expansion set, they've got their hands full - and then we've got the other development teams that we need to continue to support as well.
So it's great, it's a great problem to have, but it is a lot of work. We've learned a lot, made a lot of mistakes along the way. It's been good experience for us, I wouldn't say that we've regretted it... but "interesting" isn't how we'd describe it necessarily.
Check out the full interview at the link provided below.

GamesIndustry.biz: Frank Pearce Interview
Blizzard Entertainment

Penny Arcade Adventures Episode Two Preview & Interview
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Joystiq and 1UP have posted new information about the second episode of Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. Based on the characters from the Penny Arcade comic strip, the latest chapter in the episodic adventure game allows players to continue the adventure with Tycho and Gabe. Joystiq offers screenshots of Episode 2 as well as the results of an interview with Penny Arcade Adventures Producer Joel DeYoung, while 1UP features a preview of the next installment's wacky action.

From Joystiq:

• There are now difficulty levels, including an Insane Mode (unlockable only after beating the game). Special collectibles and pickups are only available if you play Insane Mode. Comparatively, Episode 1's difficulty is "a little easier" than medium.
• All the weapons have been replaced. Tycho gets a shotgun, Gabe has new fist upgrades and your player now possesses -- wait for it -- a hoe! Also changed are the special attack minigames.
• You now have, among other new items, a revive potion. Healing won't be enough to bring your troops back to life. "Just adds a little bit of depth to it," said DeYoung.
• The real-time reaction for defense has been made more obvious (e.g. "Block!" now appears when you need to push block), but nothing analogous for attacking has been added.
• You can import your Episode 1 character, but if you don't, your new player will start at level 13. Imported characters can update their appearance at the start with new clothing. DeYoung is "pretty sure" you can get to a max level for the episode whether or not you import a player.
From 1UP:
For starters, Episode II features expanded adventure and role-playing elements. One of the series' more unusual features is its overall structure -- a turn-based combat system reminiscent of the Mario RPG series wrapped in an adventure-game context. But Holkins and Krahulik admit that the first game's adventure aspect was somewhat underwhelming due to the repetition of a limited number of small locations; the follow-up will offer larger and more detailed environments with more substantial item puzzles to solve.

DeYoung demoed a section of the game set in the Cloying Odors Sanitarium, a mental asylum run by the Brahe clan's long-time nemesis, a posh hunter named Wolfington. In order to enter the sanitarium, Tycho and Gabe and the player's character must confer with Tycho's niece, Anne-Claire, in order to build a fuse that will complete an electrical circuit and allow the party to venture ahead. Inside the asylum, they have to fight through a mob of mental patients in order to reach Wolfington's office.

The combat sequences have likewise been beefed up; players can bring over their existing party into the new episode, and character stats reflect the fact that they're considerably more powerful than they were initially. Also, each character has new gear; due to eldritch energies their weapons were imbued with at the end of the first episode, the trio has been forced to dig up new weapons. Gabe has spiked knuckles, Tycho has traded his tommy gun for a double-aught, and the player's user-defined character has swapped out his (or her) rake for a hoe. The battles demonstrate refinements based on user suggestions; for instance, the timing to block enemy attacks is now much clearer, since the almost imperceptible flash of the first game has become a label urging players to defend. Enemies will compensate by employing many more advanced techniques.
Visit the sites below for more information about the episodic adventure game.

Joystiq: PAA Episode 2 Screens
Joystiq: PAA Episode 2 Interview
1UP.com: PAA Episode 2 Preview
Hothead Games
Penny Arcade
Penny Arcade Adventures

Mac Games News for Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Apple Introduces New iPod nano and iPod touch5:21 PM
DeathSpank Trailers Available6:00 AM
EVE Online: Economy, Politics, Player Avatars6:00 AM
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince Coming In 20096:00 AM
StarCraft II: Q&A Round 446:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, September 9, 2008 on one page

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