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Shacknews - Steve Watts

Developer Interceptor has announced that Rise of the Triad will be arriving on July 31. Pre-orders for the game are now open, and include a handful of extra classics on top of the reboot you're actually paying for.

If you pre-order, you will get Rise of the Triad: Dark War, along with the Blake Stone games Aliens of Gold and Planet Strike. As previously reported, the game costs $14.99, so getting three more out of the deal isn't too shabby.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

After a grand fourteen years of development, splendid Half-Life mod Sven Co-op is wrapping things up. It's gone out with a bang, releasing on Friday a new version which adds co-op support for Gearbox's expansion Blue Shift. For old times' sake, gather a few friends, put on your HEV suits, and go adventuring in Black Mesa again.

"Version 4.8 will most likely be the final SC mod release, but this is by no means the end of Sven Co-op," the announcement says. "We have a major announcement to make soon," it teases, and we should hear something interesting in a few weeks.

Sven Co-op was jolly welcome back in the day, when co-op campaigns were pretty rare and Half-Life was ridiculously exciting. Yes, having a load of players running around as Gordon Freeman can make things a little silly, but it can also be a right lark.

Grab the mod from the mirrors. You'll need Half-Life to play it at all, and naturally Blue Shift too to join in that campaign. The 4.8 update also brings a ridiculous number of fixes and changes beyond Blue Shift, so do check the full changelog if you're interested.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

For some reason or another, everyone's being very coy about what they're releasing next week. Or perhaps almost nothing is coming out. We're getting the PC edition of gore 'em up Mortal Kombat, drive 'em up Trackmania 2 Valley, vamp 'em up Dark (delayed at short notice from last week), a Wii U re-release of fly 'em up Pilotwings, and potentially some exciting mysteries. Who knows?

PC

Xbox 360

PlayStation 3

Wii U

Vita

Nintendo 3DS

Shacknews - Steve Watts

SimCity is taking a unique (and not altogether practical) approach to reducing city traffic: balloons! The new "Airships" pack is available for $8.99, and includes two Airships, two balloon parks with ten unique balloons, and an Event Blimp for your stadium.

The two airships described on the official blog sound the most useful. A Commuter Airship transports workers, while a Tourist Airship brings in tourists. The tourist ship has a higher capacity than a bus, and the commuter ship sets a network between cities. Setting the ships in your city will eventually make the event blimp show up, and you can set up a commuting network with other airship-owning mayors. The balloon parks will make your city happier as well.

You can grab the DLC through the SimCity launcher, via Origin, or by clicking on an in-game billboard. Check out a trailer below.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Origin has been a success for Electronic Arts, generating $100 million in revenue with 9.3 million users after its first year. But VP Andrew Wilson says he wants to "re-establish Origin as a service to gamers, not as a means to drive transactions."

Wilson told Games Industry International that the seed of the Origin idea was "a service that made your EA games better," through connecting and enhancing the games. But he says since then, "The transaction component of that service has taken a disproportionate amount of the communication and mindshare of what we really try and provide."

Now the company is thinking about the next steps for Origin, and how it will offer better gameplay and social features. He says the goal is "really coming back to our roots as a service for gamers, versus anything else that it may have been perceived to have been over the last few years by virtue of its various permutations or changes in direction."

In the last year, EA has revamped the UI, added Twitch streaming, and released a Mac client.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

CCP says updates will be coming quickly for Dust 514 over the next six months, and has committed to a faster update cycle. It claims that starting with Uprising 1.2, it will be offering "near-monthly" due to a special arrangement with Sony to speed up the submissions process.

A recent blog post (via Polygon) says they are "intensely devoted" to updating the game, and have made a roadmap of fixes to the core game systems. Specifically, it will be targeting aiming and aim assist, controls, vehicle handling, and battlefield movement, as well as adding a welcome screen and tweaking how you get into a battle.

The next big update, coming in Uprising 1.2, is a new "Commando" dropsuit role. It lets you equip two light weapons for more versatility. Other dropsuits will get special "Neo" versions, as well as a variety of special plates and modules. Finally, the Planetary Conquest experience will be tweaked to give more power to the corporation officers, and to enable ISK transfers between characters. It will also include more range options for your weapons, improved visuals and sounds, and some UI alterations.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The World of Tanks beta for Xbox 360 is starting this weekend, Wargaming has announced. The test is pretty limited for now, only open for set times all three days this weekend, but Wargaming assures eager tankers that this is the beginning of several more phases to come.

According to the announcement, the beta will run between 3 PM and 9 PM PT each night this weekend (June 28-30). Those are concentrated play sessions to stress test the servers, and they request you hit up the forum with any feedback or bugs.

The invitations for this phase went out last night and today, so if you didn't get one, you probably aren't in the first wave. However, it promises it will be open to more and more players each weekend, so it sounds like they'll be starting new tests with some regularity. Beta sign-ups are still open.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Now's as good a time as any to give Borderlands a bash if you haven't already, as the FPS-RPG is the jewel in the crown of this week's downloadable deals. $22 will get you Borderlands 2 and its DLC season pass, plus the GotY edition of the first game.

Other bargains include Space Pirates and Zombies for $2, Natural Selection 2 for $9, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare for $9, and everything Anno 2070 for $25.

Here's our selection of this weekend's PC deals:

GameFly

Amazon

  • Acceleration of SUGURI-X Edition + cloudphobia + Flying Red Barrel + GundeadliGne + QLIONE - $9.99 (64% off)

  • Astroloco: Worst Contact + Doom and Destiny + Salvation Prophecy + Sol Survivor + Symphony [some Steam] - $9.99 (80% off)

  • BIT.TRIP BEAT + BIT.TRIP CORE + BIT.TRIP RUNNER + BIT.TRIP VOID [Steam] - $9.99 (75% off)

  • Blockland + Dead Pixel + Derrick the Deathfin + Tower Wars + Triple Town [mostly Steam] - $9.99 (80% off)

  • Borderlands GotY [Steam] - $7.49 (75% off)

  • Borderlands 2 [Steam] - $14.99 (50% off)

  • Borderlands GotY + Borderlands 2 + Borderlands 2 DLC Season Pass [Steam] - $21.99 (72% off)

  • Borderlands 2 - Psycho DLC [Steam] - $4.99 (50% off)

  • Borderlands 2 - Mechromancer DLC [Steam] - $4.99 (50% off)

  • Dark Fall: Lost Souls + Dark Fall: Lights Out + Darkness Within + Darkness Within 2 + Last Half of Darkness: Society of the Serpent Moon - $9.99 (88% off)

  • Dream Pinball 3D + Hotel Giant 2 + Insecticide + Legendary + Raven Squad Online + Section 8 + Trine + Two Worlds + Velvet Assassin - $9.99 (88% off)

  • Foreign Legion: Buckets of Blood + Garshasp: Temple of the Dragon + Primal Fears + Ticket to Ride + Tiny & Big: Grandpa's Leftovers [Steam] - $9.99 (75% off)

GamersGate

Get Games

GOG

GOG has a huge huge summer sale with 50% off a bajillion games and daily deals with mega-discounts. You'll find cracking bargains like System Shock 2 for $4.99 in the main sale, but the way to handle any sale with daily deals is to wait and see if games you want come up in dailies first. So I won't list regular sale stuff.

These and more are at these prices until 6am Pacific on Saturday morning:

Green Man Gaming

It also has 25% off these games and more with the voucher code GMG25-BAWQB-8UQWG. I skipped most of the pre-orders because they'll likely be cheaper at some point before launch.

Humble Bundle

Pay what you want for Aquaria, Fractal, Organ Trail, Pulse, and Stealth Bastard Deluxe. Beat the average price to get Broken Sword: Director's Cut, Frozen Synapse, McPixel, NightSky and Waking Mars too. Steam keys if you pay at least a dollar. All are for Android, PC, Mac, and Linux, except for Pulse, which is Android-only.

Or, pay what you want for Eets, Shank, and Shank 2. Pay at least a dollar for Steam keys.

Impulse

Indie Royale

Pay what you want, above a minimum, for Bloody Trapland, Gatling Gears, Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs Death, and Sniper Elite V2. Most come with Steam keys.

Steam

As well as being on sale, Space Pirates and Zombies is free to try this weekend. Click here to install it through Steam.

Subset Games

Ubisoft

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Saints Row 4 has shown off its flashy pre-order duds, and they are appropriately absurd. Putting down your reservation at participating retailers gets you two extra superhero costumes: the Iron Rogue for men, and Queen Amazonia for women. Given that this game will feature superpowers, it's only fitting.

The costume announcement comes alongside a new trailer for the game, in which senior producer Jim Boone explains how The Boss (aka The President) meets the alien overlord Zinyak. Then the video moves into showcasing new weapons and moves, like the Blackhole Launcher and Death From Above ability. Finally, it highlights another Professor Genki experience called Mind Over Murder.

Saints Row 4 is due on August 20 for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Check out the trailer below.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

In many ways, PS4 represents a complete turnaround for Sony. While PS3 was a $599 beast of a console packed with a bizarre proprietary Cell chip, PS4 is a cheaper, developer-friendly system that utilizes familiar x86 architecture. Why did Sony's approach to PS4 change so drastically?

Mark Cerny, system architect of PS4, admits that while PS3 was a powerful console, they had "completely the wrong attitude" going into that generation of hardware.

When first presented the Cell chip, Cerny admits that he "wasn't thinking about the practical reality of making a game with SPUs." Speaking at Gamelab 2013, Cerny said that he was "ashamed" to admit that "I never imagined that the cost of Cell would be one of the factors that caused the PS3 to ship at a price of $599."

"I was just staying focused on the task at hand, which was to best use the chip that had already been designed," he added.

Working with Sony's software development team, he was tasked with trying to figure out how to make games on Cell. By working internally to solve the puzzle of Cell, Cerny said that "we had a tremendous lead over every third-party team that would try to make games for the platform. The third parties hadn't even been briefed yet, let alone start work on their PS3 engines."

"Our feeling was that Electronic Arts and Rockstar better watch out--our proprietary first party systems were going to show them who had the right stuff," Cerny said. "This was, of course, completely the wrong attitude, but at the time, we just didn't know any better."

"We were all working on behalf of Sony Computer Entertainment's US game teams, and we were just thinking about our individual game titles. We weren't thinking about the platform at all," Cerny pointed out. At launch, developers were not happy with PS3.

A few years after the launch of PS3, Sony had to begin planning its next-generation console. With the help of Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida, Cerny became chief architect of PS4. Surprisingly, Cell was still something that Sony was considering for PS4, even in spite of outspoken issues with development. "The most obvious path forward was to continue to use Cell," Cerny said. "Though the learning curve had been steep, it was clear that mastery of SPUs was leading to some amazing titles, like Uncharted: Drake's Fortune... it was definitely an option to continue using Cell, perhaps even enhancing it, making it more powerful and easier to use."

Ultimately, Cerny decided to talk to third-parties about what they wanted from Sony's next console, taking the opposite approach to PS3's design. The early feedback on PS4, so far, has been quite positive.

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