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Archive for August, 2009

Sad About Sadness?

Aug 20, 2009

Technically, this isn’t a PC game, and it’s certainly not laptop friendly, but it is a development horror story that I’ve been following for awhile, so bear with me.

One of the earliest titles announced for the Nintendo Wii, Sadness quickly fell off the radar amidst claims that the developer was a fraud and it has become a storied example of vaporware (games that are announced but never released). The most recent news is still Polish developer Nibris’s storied absence from the 2008 Game Developer’s Conference after confirming that they would attend.

The game, a black-and-white Gothic-themed survival horror title, follows an aristocrat and her blind son has they travel through a game scenario based around Slavic mythology. Sadness first garnered fans’ attention with a very attractive and atmospheric trailer. However, the developers have yet to produce any substantial gameplay footage. The game’s publisher, Frontline Studios, parted with Nibris in 2007. Last year, when the dev relaunched their website, Sadness had an Autumn 2009 release date attached to it – a date that hasn’t changed since, and with Autumn 09 just around the corner, the complete lack of detail seems to indicate that the release isn’t happening.

Over on Destructoid, blogger Gamernerd101 rails against Nintendo for not supporting second party developers, listing Nibris of one of the casualties of the House of Miyamoto’s onanism. While Gamernerd101 has a point, Nibris is not a model example to use. It’s become clearer and clearer over the years that there was never a substantial plan to bring Sadness to market, just a surprisingly effective amount of viral hype.

New Rage Trailer From QuakeCon 2009

Aug 19, 2009

Rage, the new FPS from id software (you know id – they made a little game called Doom), was the subject of a gameplay preview at this year’s QuakeCon, and the shooter looks 1) like a massive departure from the sort of gameplay that the Doom faithful are used to and 2) completely awesome. Rage looks to be set in a Fallout-esque (or Mad-Maxian) post-apocalyptic future – the player controls a survivor of the apocalypse who was kept safe in a subterranean pod. Mutants and other threats abound in the game, which appears much more mission and plot based than it’s predecessors.

Another step outside the box is the addition of racing sequences to Rage. The player’s character will have a customizeable buggy that will grow with the player over the course of the game.

Rage is shooting for a 2010 release date and will drop on Windows PCs, Macs, the Xbox 360 and the PS3.

Take a look at the trailer:

Keeping Up With DCU Online

Aug 18, 2009

DCU Online has been one of the more hotly anticipated new batch of MMOs. Taking cues from City of Heroes and the upcoming Champions Online, DC and Sony Online Entertainment have added the characters and storylines of DC Comics’ (publishers of Batman, Superman and the megahit, Green Lantern-centric “Blackest Night” summer event) to massive superheroic gameplay.

This week, our friends at MMORPG.com sat down with Marv Wolfman – a longtime comics scribe responsible for the critically acclaimed relaunch of the Teen Titans in the 1980s and the classic miniseries Crisis On Infinite Earths. Wolfman is handling writing duties for DCU Online, contributing to a story laid out by fellow superstar creators Jim Lee and Geoff Johns.

One of the things that Wolfman reveals about the structure of the upcoming game is that, while the game deals with comic book storylines current and classic are referenced in the game, the players are still important to advancing the plot of the game. “Since it is an MMO and players mean something,” Wolfman says, “your interaction in that story will change the story.”

To read more of Carolyn Koh’s interview with Wolfman, click over to MMORPG.com; while you’re there, enter their sweepstakes to win one of five LapWorks Gamer’s Desks.

Blizzcon 09 Available On…Pay Per View?

Aug 18, 2009

Even as a WoW player, I can’t imagine why you’d want to watch Blizzcon (Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft developer Blizzard’s annual megaconference) on Pay Per View, but if you’re chomping at the bit to be in attendance and couldn’t nab a ticket, the option is available to you.

What I find very hard to resist, though, is the lure of a new in-game World of Warcraft pet: Grunty the Murloc Marine. I’m an in-game pet enthusiast, despite the fact that they don’t actually do anything (other than be adorable, as evidenced by the original game’s special edition panda cub pet). In 2005, Blizzard gave con attendees another Murloc pet, the envy-inspiring ‘dancing Murky’. Other confirmed goodie bag grabs include a Starcraft-themed vynil action figure and a Starcraft-themed Battle.net authenticator. All this despite Starcraft II’s recently announced delays.

The event, which is coming up on Friday, is set to include performances from recent Blizzard celebrity pitchman Ozzy Osbourne and Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain, Blizzard’s in house rock band made up of current employees (and the musical force responsible for instant classics like “I Am Murloc,” “Power of the Horde,” and “Rogues Do It From Behind”).

The less metal-inclined can still find news and announcements about the next Blizzard products in the pipleine, most notably Diablo III and Starcraft II. The rumor mill is also churning out some rumors about the next WoW expansion (playable Wogren, the destruction of a major Horde city and some odd race/class combos like Night Elf Mages), but I put most of those in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category, right along with people wanting to lay down $40.00 to watch the con on TV.

Champions Online Opens Open Beta

Aug 17, 2009

Starting today and ending on August 24, Cryptic Studios (who was involved with the original superhero MMO – City of Heroes) opens up the beta for their September 1-launching MMO Champions Online, an online game based on the popular pen-and-paper HERO System role-playing game (like Dungeons and Dragons, but with super powers).

If you can’t make the open beta, but have pre-ordered the game, you can get in on the Early Start for the game on August 28.  If you haven’t pre-ordered, the game will be open to everybody on September 1, 2009.  The game has drawn some fire from the hardcore for its incorporation of microtransactions (pay as you go content) for vanity items that have no gameplay affect, but has drawn praise for its gameplay and its cel-shaded look.

Welcome To The All-New LapWorks Blog

Aug 17, 2009

We’ve changed our look, but the blog is still a spot for us to discuss gaming buzz and rumors and share other laptop-esque bits of information with our readers.  Q3 2009 is chock full of MMO and PC gaming news, so expect a flurry of posting over the next week or so.

If you’re a PC gaming enthusiast using a laptop, try our Gamer’s Desk to provide stability and cooling as you play, and do your lap a favor.