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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

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Splinter Cell Reaches Final Candidate
8:19 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

After a lengthy beta testing period, Aspyr Media's product status page finally shows Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell to be at Final Candidate. This means the game has made it through testing and is now in the approval process.

This stealth action title is based on the writings of Tom Clancy and features impressive graphic effects and special stealth gameplay techniques like split jumping to avoid enemies. The final system requirements are posted on Aspyr's site:

  • Mac OS X, version 10.2.8 or later
  • PowerPC G4/G5, 867 MHz or faster
  • 256MB of RAM(512 recommended)
  • 1.7 GB hard drive space
  • 32MB of VRAM
  • DVD drive required to install and play
  • For more on Splinter Cell, check out Aspyr's mini site or IMG's hands-on preview. Stay tuned to our news for any word on the game shipping to stores.

    Aspyr Project Status
    Splinter Cell
    IMG Preview: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
    Aspyr Media
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    IMG Reviews Dominions II, Demo Available
    9:42 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

    Inside Mac Games has posted a review of Shrapnel Games' Dominions II: The Ascension Wars. Here's a clip from the review:

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    Dominions II (D2) is a turn-based strategy from Shrapnel Games. Rather than the typical premise of you assuming the role of a regular military commander, you assume the mantle of a demi-god or ‘Pretender’. The goal for each Pretender is to spread their gospel to other territories on the map. Up to seventeen people can play Dominions II at once. This can be accomplished via email, computer AI or TCP/IP.
    In related news, a demo and patch for Dominions II are now available on

    IMG Review: Dominions II: The Ascension Wars
    Shrapnel Games
    Dominions II
    MGF: Dominion II Demo
    MGF: Dominions II 2.12 Patch
    Buy Dominions II

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    Blizzard Patches WoW Patcher
    8:19 AM | Johan Hansén | Comment on this story

    In order to ensure smooth future patches of their ongoing beta of the highly anticipated MMORPG World of Warcraft, the developers at Blizzard Entertainment has released a minor patch that will fix a small bug in the patcher software itself.

    From the World of Warcraft community site:

    We have become aware of a bug in our patching system that would have prevented future patches of the beta client from being delivered properly to all of our beta testers. In order to fix this, we need all beta testers to download a standalone patch. This patch will also allow us to test our standalone patching capabilities of the World of Warcraft beta client in case future updates need to be made via multiple methods, i.e. through the Blizzard Downloader, mirrored patch files, or by any alternate delivery systems.
    To get the 1.2MB sized patch, head over to the World of Warcraft community site and follow the instructions found there. Mac users having trouble installing the patch should be aware of a bug which requires at least 3GB of free HD space. See the WoW page for more details.

    Blizzard Entertainment
    World of Warcraft
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    Majesco Strips Down Bloodrayne Marketing
    8:19 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

    In an interesting crossroads between the gaming world and the rest of the entertainment media, the Majesco marketing department is undertaking an interesting experiment with the publicity budget for the upcoming release of their vampiric sequel Bloodrayne 2.

    In advance of the game's October release date, the Majesco marketing suits have hit two major venues designed to expose the svelte half-breed to a more mainstream audience... of sorts.

    On September 18th, the Bloodrayne 2 cast of characters will be performing in their very own music video, lip syncing to Evanescence's hit "Everybody's Fool." The video, rendered with Bloodrayne 2's in-game engine, features Bloodrayne mimicing the lead singer of the theatrical metal band, while a trio of the game's baddies man the instruments for MTV 2's "Video Mods" TV show. While the full video won't be exposed until the september airdate, a muted 30 second sample is available from the official Bloodrayne 2 website.

    Over on the print side, Bloodrayne will be stopping the presses in this October's issue of Playboy. In this year's edition of their gaming issue, a pixelated version of the vampire killer will be appearing topless. According to Majesco PR, this marks the first time a video game heroine will appear nude in the revered men's magazine.

    Neither of these two publicity stunts tie into the Bloodrayne movie, currently in shooting in Romania. The feature film, produced by Vancouver's Brightlight Pictures, depicts a young Bloodrayne chasing around the East European countryside in the early 18th century, coming to terms with her new powers and purpose in life while working for the Brimstone Society. The movie, rumored to be budgeted at a healthy $50 million USD, will star screen legend Ben Kingsley, with Terminator 3's Kristanna Loken playing the title character. The movie is expected to hit the screens by late 2005.

    While it's been no secret that game designers have been relying more on existing intellectual property and mass media to make up for the ever-increasing development costs, this affront on the popular media appears to be unprecedented in the gaming industry. The words of Majesco vice president of Marketing Ken Gold, taken from an interview back in 2002, most likely best represent the mentality behind the marketing drive:

    Our promotion should resonate with visitors of as well as with the core video game player, and end up being mutually beneficial for both companies.
    While it's not a reporter's job to editorialize events in the news section of any magazine, we here at IMG welcome your feedback on this seemingly controversial subject. Head over to IMG's forums to contribute your two cents to the converation.

    IMG Forums: Bloodrayne Marketing Move
    Bloodrayne 2

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    Will Wright Talks Sims 2
    8:19 AM | Jean-Luc Dinsdale | Comment on this story

    Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement that the PC version of Maxis's The Sims 2 has gone gold, PC gaming website Gamespy has posted a three-page interview with the game's legendary designer, Will Wright.

    While the questions posed in the post don't delve too deeply into the philosophy, the procedures, or the design ethic behind the game creators' modus operandi for creating the sequel, the interview does offer us a rare view of the game from the normally private Will Wright -

    The sims in The Sims 2 are a whole lot deeper than their counterparts from the original game. Aside from needs and wants, they have memories, fears, etc. What kinds of things can players expect as they interact?

    Will Wright: You will notice that they have much more awareness, not just of their momentary situation, but also of relationships and time. If you give your sim a traumatic childhood they will grow with phobias and could become socially dysfunctional. The psychological failure side of the game has been vastly expanded.

    Will even answers the question of what was learnt by the oft-mocked, multiple expansion packs of the original title:
    You once mentioned that the plethora of expansion packs for the original Sims game helped your team determine the feature set for The Sims 2. What, specifically, did you learn from the expansions?

    Will Wright: When you're dealing with contemporary (virtual) life there are almost no limits to what you could put in the game, the trick is to find the things that actually make the game more fun. Some of the things we discovered that players really enjoyed from the expansions include:

  • Indirect agent control (townies in Hot Date / pets in Unleashed)
  • Embedded mini-games (souvenirs in Vacation, magic in Makin' Magic)
  • New locations to visit (most expansions)
  • With the PC version of the game expected to ship out to retailers for a September 17 release date, many Mac gamers have expressed curiosity over the game's Mac release date. While Maxis' General Manager Neil Young has assured Mac fans that a Mac version of the popular simulation game is in the works, the identity of the publisher and an official release date of the Mac version are still unknown.

    Never fear, however, as the crack(pot) reporters here at IMG will relentlessly search for the answer to this and all your Mac gaming questions in their never-ending quest for the truth. Click on the link below to read the interview for yourselves.

    Gamespy: Will Wright Talks The Sims 2
    The Sims 2
    Buy The Sims 2

    Mac Games News for Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    IMG Store: Pre-Order MYST IV Revelation12:09 PM
    'Jaws' Game In Development8:35 AM
    More DOOM 3 for Mac Tidbits8:13 AM
    Macs & PCs Most Popular Online Gaming Tool8:11 AM
    Quick Review Of Carmack's QuakeCon 2004 Speech8:11 AM
    Sims 2 PC Reaches Age Of Maturity8:11 AM
    View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, August 24, 2004 on one page

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