Shacknews - Steve Watts

Eden Studios, the developer of Test Drive Unlimited and 2006's Alone in the Dark, has officially been closed. This comes as the end of a long closure process that began with layoffs in 2011.

Most of the staff was laid off in the summer of 2011, causing the rest to go on a (largely symbolic) strike and subsequently move on. Atari signaled the studio's closure in May of last year, when it was being prepared for "divestment," but said it hadn't been closed yet.

Eurogamer reports that it was finally closed in January of this year. Its final game, released in 2011, was Test Drive Unlimited 2.

Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 75% on Test Drive Unlimited 2!

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Update: Atari has provided Shacknews with a statement, saying that Eden Games is not closed. However, the company does confirm that it has "divested" from the studio: "Our earnings statement contained a report about the divestment of Eden Studios. We want to make it clear that the studio has not closed and that we will continue to support the console and PC games of Eden Studios, notably Test Drive Unlimited 2, while this process is underway. The divestment is in line with our previously stated strategy of exploiting our popular intellectual property library on mobile devices, where he have seen strong initial success, and via online games and licensing."

Original Story: Test Drive Unlimited developer Eden Games was as good as dead after owner Atari laid off most of the staff last year, but now it's official. In its financial results for last year, filed this week, the publisher confirmed it's been selling off what assets remain.

The results (via Edge) tell the sorry truth, if you want every last ounce of financial jargon.

It's all been downhill since Atari fired 51 of the French studio's 80 employees in May, sparking a symbolic strike. Test Drive Unlimited 2 wasn't received at all well, see, and Atari had ended up issuing free DLC in apology for its many "issues."

The Test Drive brand lives on, though. Atari has tasked Slightly Mad Studios with track-bound affair Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends, which is coming soon to PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.

A small number of former Eden members went on to found indie studio Blossom Mind.

PC Gamer
Steam Autumn sale
Do you hear that faint wailing in the background? That's the sound of a thousand bank accounts going "noooo!" at the appearance of the Autumn Steam Sale. Thankfully for our wallets, it only lasts until Sunday, with dozens of new deals every day. Consider it a warm up for the monolithic Steam Christmas sale next month.

The sale kicked off yesterday, but you've still got six hours to grab some of the fantastic day one deals. The marvellous Orcs Must Die is just £2.99 / $3.74 (we gave it a score of 90 in our Orcs Must Die review). Portal 2 is selling for just £6.79 / $10.19. If you haven't played Mass Effect yet, the first game is £2.49 / $4.99, and Mass Effect 2 is 75% off at £4.99 / $12.49.

If you're more partial to an arcade explodathon starring Gordon Freeman, Renegade Ops is £4.99 / $7.49 (or you can grab a four pack for £9.99 / $14.99). All of Dejobaan's games are also on sale as well, including AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome.

These games are also on sale for the next few hours:

Call of Duty: Black Ops
Duke Nukem Forever
Test Drive Unlimited 2
Risen
Sam & Max series
Men of War series
Oddworld series

 
These deals will switch out in 5 hours and 42 minutes from the time of writing. Keep an eye on the Steam front page for the next set of deals then.
Kotaku

Test Drive Unlimited Studio Stages One-Day StrikeAtari's plans to lay off more than 50 percent of Eden Games' workforce, plus alleged "mismanagement," were the catalysts for a one-day symbolic strike today by the developer of Test Drive Unlimited 2.


"For several years we are witnessing multiple leader changes at its head, they did not hesitate to get rich despite financial difficulties," said a statement by Eden staff, sent to Gamasutra. Developers at the Lyon, France-based studio complained that they've been subjected to layoffs for a decade, to no meaningful end other than the loss of jobs.


"Each time the recovery project was beautiful and promising, and ended in a failure," the statement said. "We are skeptical about the proposed [plan]."


Atari's unwillingness to negotiate, or so Eden employees allege, were the final straw, and so they struck "to show the employees' determination and mobilization."


Eden's demands include an audience with Atari CEO Jim Wilson, access to financial records regarding the health of the company, and assurances that Eden employees are treated the same as other Atari employees.


Atari gave no comment regarding the matter. More at the link.


Link Chevron Atari's Test Drive Unlimited Studio Goes On 'Symbolic Day Strike' [Gamasutra]


Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Eden Games – they behind Test Drive Unlimited 2 and the V-Rally series – and have had enough of their treatment from Atari, and in the face of enormous redundancies at the company and have gone on strike today. GI.biz report that in the face of sackings, the French studio has said enough, and are refusing to work. And they’ve a few choice words to explain why.

(more…)

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Eden Games, developer of the Test Drive Unlimited series and Alone in the Dark reboot, is on a "symbolic day strike" today to protest parent company Atari's plans to lay off a whopping 51 of the French studio's 80 employees.

"Eden Games pays now for Atari mismanagement," charges a statement posted by one of the strikers on the Test Drive Unlimited 2 forums.

Eden's Test Drive Unlimited 2 and Alone in the Dark reboot

The statement claims that "We had anticipated the problems faced by the company last year... For several years we are witnessing multiple leader changes at its head, they did not hesitate to get rich despite financial difficulties."

An anonymous Eden member has told Gamasutra that the studio decided yesterday to strike after making no progress in two weeks of talks with Atari, and that the layoffs are expected to occur "around June."

The unnamed employee claims that the compensation being offered "is basically half" of one that was offered to victims of a 2009 restructuring at Atari. One of the striker statement's wishes is to "be sure that an employee of Eden Games is compensated the same way as an employee of Atari."

Curiously, Eden also wishes to receive mysterious "financial records" its accountant has requested. The Eden employee mysteriously told Gamasutra that "Unfortunately we cannot give you the detail of the missing documents, this would break the confidentiality agreement." Missing, you say?

Eden's latest game, Test Drive Unlimited 2, received a lukewarm response from critics but the mystery employee told Gamasutra the studio expects it will sell 900,000 copies--an estimate, as Atari won't reveal numbers. "We believe it can be a long-time seller," said the Edenite, as "players continue to play and enjoy the game" even though "there were several issues at TDU2's launch."

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Quintin Smith)

Joystiq report that the Exploration pack for Test Drive Unlimited 2 has been released! Twenty new missions, two new mission types, two new cars (a Lancia Stratos and Dodge Charger), new clothes to wear and more, as well as a bumload of bugfixes that include “Cars no longer launched into the air by glitches in the road” and “impact with tress is now less severe”. Boo!

My dream online driving game would consist almost entirely of people climbing out of their cars to examine crash damage, their overweight avatars clutching their face in both hands and making noises of unfathomable sadness. Anyway, you’ll find the full feature listing of the Exploration pack after the jump
(more…)

PC Gamer
Test Drive Unlimited 2
Upon release, Test Drive Unlimited 2 was a bit of a mess. Thankfully Joystiq have reported that an update hitting the PC this weekend adds new content and irons out some of the bugs, and is available for free.

The Exploration Pack adds new cars, events and outfits. There's also a stereoscopic 3D mode added should you have the set-up and wish to race in all three dimensions. The complete patch list can be found after the jump.

New content

20 new events

2 new events types

Extreme convoy: one mistake and the mission is over

Timed convoy: it is a convoy mission...but with a timer!

Each completed event gives access to a new wreck

20 new wrecks give 2 new cars (10 wrecks = 1 car):

Lancia Stratos version Rallye

Dodge charger 1969

3 new discovery levels

1 new set of clothes (explorer) Male/Female

2 new MP Races (Specifically for the Lancia Stratos version Rallye)

3D on PC & PS3

TV Media: Help Channel (to explain new features and content)






The update includes the following Gameplay improvements:

Players can sell their cars in the used car dealer (including cars won in duels)

Effect of collisions with rocks and trees is now less severe

Instant challenges have been tweaked to exclude very short or very long races

Cruising as a passenger now unlocks roads

Lower car-road impact sounds

New restrictions on MP races (to stop the prevalence of top end cars in all races)

Session lost messages are now more descriptive

Koenigsegg CCXR performance tweaked to be competitive with Bugatti Veyrons

Y axis inversion option added

Additional race restrictions added to avoid Bugattis having complete dominance

Lobby: Club cars are now allowed in multiplayer and solo modes

We scrutinize savegames for specific hacks and take measures when they are detected

Nat info text displayed on the Start screen if a potential network configuration problem is detected

Lobby: « With/Without collisions » info added

Lobby: « Inner club » & « club vs club » info icons added

Players can now cancel on the search games loading screen

Chat window moved and positioned according to the game mode




The update includes fixes for the following documented bugs:

Cars can be launched into the air by glitches in the road

Cars can end up in the sky if the player goes to the map while their car is falling

Possible to get through walls/scenery by going in and out of map mode

Unable to enter sessions with a co-driver

Cars sometimes turn invisible

Unable to start a multiplayer race with the Caterham Superlight R500

Unable to play club races with club cars

The Final Cup can be repeated to earn the grand prize an unlimited number of times

Missing car door interior when switching to some low-res models

Stickers not appearing when in a friend's garage

Invisible avatars immediately after a club upgrade

Hawaii - collision problem on the "Hydro House"

Collisions problems in many sectors

Infinite loading in sticker shop when no more storage space is available

Crash when loading a photo in MyTDUHouse

Crash at the end of chase mode online

Crash at end of a duel

Crashes in chase mode & freeride

Crash when exiting a championship challenge

Other random crashes

Sticker shop: Matt paint available twice, replacing metallic as an option

Mylife Info : Incorrect number for clothes (collector box) & road unlocked (cruising box)

Pause menu: MyLife and Player info incorrect for levels higher than 60

Gameplay icons not removed when you press start on the results screen

Wrecks: Instant Challenge invites still active when opening wrecks popup

Map : Players sometimes displayed at the top-west corner of the map, in the sea

News: Not possible to delete news items

Club member list not updated when the president fires someone (members not notified)

Disappearing GPS road sections on Hawaii

Logitech on-wheel LED not accurately representing RPM and engine danger zone

Unable to sell pre order and DLC cars in game

Casino: Rankings not appearing correctly

Casino: Roulette exploit

Casino: Crash on slot machines when another player wins a jackpot and leaves the room

Casino: Crash at level 10 cut-scene

Casino: Crash when you use back on track at the entrance to the Casino in Hawaii

Casino: Changing profile when you win a car makes it impossible to win or purchase cars


PC Gamer

Atari have released a patch to fix some of the major issues with Test Drive Unlimited 2. Disappearing friends lists, invites, Clubs, save file corruption and login issues are all tackled in the update. As a way of saying sorry for the launch problems, Eden Games will be releasing the first chunk of premium DLC to all players for free.

The patch notes were posted on the Test Drive Unlimited 2 forums. Sadly there's no mention of a fix for sunglasses getting stuck on racer's faces.

Friends list should no longer disappear
Login issues should be resolved
Friend invites should now consistently work
Club issue should be fixed. Clubs are now online.
Further enhancements to prevent file corruption have been added.
Additional back-end functionality to recover previously corrupted save files has been aded.

 
Eden Games have made a statement explaining their decision to release the Exploration Pack DLC for free. "Our community has been amazing and helped us quickly identify a number of issues, which we have made significant progress in addressing in the upcoming patches. We really appreciate your patience in this matter and we would like to announce that we will be making the first premium DLC for the game free for everybody as a way of saying thank you."

The exploration pack adds new wrecks to the game that will let players discover and unlock the Lancia Stratos version Rally and the 1969 Dodge Charger.
...

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