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Thursday, February 20, 2003

Master of Orion III Mac Nears Completion
8:25 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

With the release of the PC version of Master of Orion III, the space-strategy game, just days away, IMG contacted MacSoft regarding the status of the Mac version. The good news is that MacSoft has a golden master candidate and is in the approval stages. If all goes well, Master of Orion III should go gold for the Mac shortly.

IMG's Tuncer Deniz recently spoke with MacSoft's Al Schilling and got the scoop on the latest developments of the Mac version:

I've got a GM candidate ready. We have to get the approvals from Infogrames before we can announce that we've gone gold.
We'll be sure to keep you posted on any further developments. In the meantime, be sure to check out our preview of Master of Orion III by following the link below.

Lastly, don't forget that Master of Orion III is available for pre-order through the IMG Store. IMG Pro/MacGames CD subscribers can pre-order it for just $39, while non-subscribers can pick it up for $49.

IMG Preview: Master of Orion III
Quicksilver Software
Master of Orion III
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Star Trek Elite Force II Mac Officially Announced
12:15 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

On Monday IMG ran a story where an Activision producer announced in a forum that a Mac version was in the works. Today, Aspyr has officially confirmed the Macintosh version of Star Trek: Elite Force II. Star Trek: Elite Force II is being developed by Ritual Entertainment, and the Macintosh conversion is being done by Westlake Interactive.

Here's more from the official PR:

After a brief prologue on the U.S.S. Voyager and a short stint at Starfleet Academy, the Hazard Team is assigned its toughest mission yet - duty onboard the Federation's renowned flagship, the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC 1701-E. Powered by id Software's QUAKE III: Team Arena engine, Star Trek Elite Force II permits players to break out of the confines of ship bulkheads and space station corridors, and undertake away team missions in open environments such as expansive alien landscapes, the void of space and deadly swamps. Additionally, players must master zero-gravity combat when they do battle on the hull of a starship.

Now set in the Star Trek: The Next Generation¨ universe, players can expect to face off against classic Star Trek antagonists such as the Borg, Klingons and Romulans. Players will also fight several never before seen alien species including a mysterious nightmare race. To help players gain the upper hand against such formidable foes, Star Trek Elite Force II allows players to arm themselves with 13 different weapons and gear including a phaserª, compression rifle, multi-functional grenade launcher, Romulan disruptor, tetryon gatling gun, a full-featured tricorderª, and several all-new weapons.

Over the course of the Star Trek Elite Force II, players will be able to explore different options or tactics when dealing with a threat, as opposed to being forced to pursue a particular path. Additionally, the game boasts a larger number of environments and a significantly longer gaming experience than the first Elite Force.

Star Trek Elite Force II marks the return of multiplayer Holomatch. Similar to the original game, Star Trek Elite Force II offers several multiplayer modes including modes found in the Elite Force Expansion Pack, but with new features and weapons like the Klingon Bat'Leth. Multiplayer modes include Holomatch, Capture The Flag, and Team Holomatch.

There's no word on when it will be released, but the PC version is slated to be released in June 2003.

Aspyr also let us know that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 for the Mac is now at Network Beta, meaning the internet code is now fully functional and in testing.

Activision: Elite Force II Heading to Mac
Ritual Entertainment
Aspyr Media
Star Trek Elite Force II
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Deus Ex II Interview, New Screenshots
8:25 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

Following last week's first look at Ion Storm's highly anticipated sequel Deus Ex II: Invisible War, PC gaming website IGN has posted an in-depth interview with the game designer Warren Smith and lead artist Chris Carollo.

The four-page interview examines some of the themes that made it into the sequel, the reasoning behind the game's design and gamplay, and even elaborates on some correlations between real life and game content :

IGNPC: How conscious are you guys of the correlation between the content of your game and the current global situation?

Harvey Smith: We have a running joke that's actually kind of creepy at times. Even on the first game, when we'd put something in the game, someone would point out that it had happened in the real world. Wow, that's creepy. It's not like we're forecasting or geniuses or anything. It's just when you take these elements -- conspiracy, control of power, left versus right, scientific advancement and the impact on culture -- and stir them together with an agenda, you're going to hit patterns that repeat.

We were even going to mix in religion with the first game. A lot of people don't know this but J.C. Denton was supposed to be a descendant of Jesus Christ. We were going to pick up the old theory that Jesus had kids and that J.C. Denton had DNA from Jesus. When you mix those elements around you come up with these recurring patterns.

I don't know if everyone knows this but if you fire up the original Deus Ex and you run around in Liberty Island when we made the skyline in the background we had pieces with the Twin Towers and pieces for the other parts of the city and for New Jersey. The texture memory was so high that I couldn't use it all. I took one of the pieces and put it on one side, flipped it and put it on the other. So I made New York out of one half of the city so the Twin Towers were out.

When people complained, we just explained that it had been destroyed by terrorist attacks. We start the game with the Liberty Island statue having been destroyed by terrorists a few years before. We just said that the towers had been destroyed too. And this was way before 9-11. Years. That's kind of freaky. There are correlations. We're using the WTO in this game and there are WTO riots in Seattle every few years.

Fans of the Deus Ex franchise should head over to IGN through the links below and take a look.

On a seperate note, Ion Storm has recently posted new screenshots on the Deus Ex II website. To access the pics, click on the link below, and navigate to their "Screenshots" section.

IGN: Deus Ex II Interview
IMG: Further Deus Ex News Revealed
Deus Ex II: Invisible War Official Website
Ion Storm

Shadowbane Drops NDA; Adds 20,000 Testers
8:25 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

UbiSoft and Wolfpack Studios have announced they are dropping the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for Shadowbane, allowing current and future beta testers to begin spreading the word on this upcoming Massively Multiplayer Online RPG. In addition, they plan on opening the current beta even wider, giving up to 20,000 new testers an early taste of the fun.

Here are a few more details from the site's news post:

The Shadowbane NDA prohibits the release of privileged screenshots and game information to the general public by testers, this agreement will end today.

During the next several days, new testers to the North American beta test could still be required to accept the electronic NDA, even though the legal agreement is no longer binding. Ubi Soft is currently in the process of removing the NDA from all beta acceptance procedures and documentation. Ubi Soft also expects to admit 20,000 new applicants to the Shadowbane beta during the next several weeks of testing.

Those looking to play the game in Asia might be interested to know the title's Hong Kong publisher En-Tranz, will also be allowing a large number of players in over the coming week as well.

Shadowbane is set for release on March 25 for Mac and PC. Stay tuned to IMG for more information on the game in the near future.

Shadowbane NDA Dropped
Wolfpack Studios

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Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne Interview At Gamespot
8:25 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

PC Gaming website Gamespot posted a new interview Wednesday with Blizzard Entertainment's Bill Roper on the upcoming Warcraft III expansion pack, The Frozen Throne.

The interview focuses mainly on gameplay issues such as the story background, unit assignments, and general game design issues:

GS: We were surprised to hear how many new features and units will be in The Frozen Throne. How much of a challenge will it be to balance all the additions for multiplayer?

Bill Roper: Balancing a game like Warcraft III is always challenging, but we do have a great advantage when working on units for the expansion set. Many of the units in The Frozen Throne are designed to fill holes that we found by playing hundreds of games and watching thousands of matches in the community. Listening to both recreational and professional players also helped us decide where each race needed a boost, which then allowed us to address some of these issues with the new units. The real difficulty lies in the fact that we have to look at more than just the new units in regard to balance. We also need to go back and see how their abilities interact with and affect the units that are already in the game. Oftentimes, this requires making small adjustments to the older units as well, but we are dedicated to spending the time required to make sure that when the expansion comes out, it all works together.

Meanwhile, the good folks over at Blizzard Entertainment have unveiled more of the new units that will grace the expansion set. The Shadow Hunter, fighting with the Orcish Horde, are "masters of voodoo magics who can use their spirit-powers to both heal their allies and place curses upon their hapless enemies."

Click on the links below. They're cool.

Gamespot's WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne Interview
Blizzard Entertainment: Shadow Hunters
WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne
Blizzard Entertainment
Buy WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne

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Lineage: Episode 12 Released
8:25 AM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story

The 12th episode of NCsoft's hit massively-multiplayer online RPG, Lineage is now available for download. This latest episode adds a number of new areas to explore along with adding some new game features. These new features include allowing players to register as a resident of a certain town, and then gaining certain benefits from protecting that town, including gold and even the ability to become mayor.

Here's a snippet from the press release:

In Episode XII, players can explore the city of Aden and its surrounding lands that include the Twilight Mountains, where giants run amok, the Tower of Insolence, a mysterious place where only the best adventurers survive, or the Scar of Lindvior, a crater made when Lindvior the wind dragon crashed to the earth. In the center of town lies the Great Castle of Aden, which offers enormous rewards to the players who conquer its walls. Siege and triumph over Aden, and you'll become the ultimate ruler of all the land and wield influence over Lineage's other six castles.

Aden also introduces new game systems to enhance the player experience. The hometown system allows players to register as a resident of a village. The selection of the town's mayor is based on each registered players' contribution to protecting the area. All players who register with a village, city or town are paid a monthly dividend for their contributions to keeping it safe. This "cyber community" within Lineage represents a redistribution of power and wealth through more democratic means.

Additionally, the new alliance system means pledges in Lineage can band together to become more powerful than ever.

Future plans for Lineage will be announced soon, as NCsoft prepares to roll out Part II of the Lineage story and bring even more enhancements to the game's experience.

To download the latest episode, all you need to do is connect to any Lineage server. For more information on Lineage, follow the links provided below.

Lineage: Episode 12 released

Mac Games News for Wednesday, February 19, 2003

IMG Reviews Logitech MX70012:27 PM
Myth 3 MP Beta Preparations10:54 AM
Uplink in Beta Testing10:12 AM
Blender 2.26 Released as Open Source8:39 AM
Feral Updates on Worms Blast, CM48:39 AM
Interview Talks Future of HoMM8:39 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, February 19, 2003 on one page

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