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Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

The anime-inspired Tau are bringing their mecha suits to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution this month, with a new Tau Commander hero coming to Last Stand mode as paid downloadable content. Developer Relic also announced that new premium multiplayer chapters are in the works for the Chaos and Imperial Guard factions.

"The major themes that drove the design were to have a hero that was offensively potent but fragile, and to provide different avenues of playstyle," Relic's Clint Tasker explained in the announcement dev diary. According to Tasker, the Tau Commander can be set up to be offensive powerhouses, disrupt enemy forces, or support their allies.

Relic says that the Tau Commander will arrive alongside Imperial Guard Death Korps of Krieg and Chaos Word Bearers chapter packs in the next update, this month. The chapter packs traditionally cost $7.49. Relic hasn't announced how much the Tau Commander, the first new Last Stand DLC hero, will be.

While the Tau became playable in the original Dawn of War with the standalone expansion Dark Crusade, this will be their debut in the Dawn of War II sub-series.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

The closure of Homefront developer Kaos Studios earlier this year left the future of the near-future shooter franchise in question, but THQ announced today that a sequel's on the way. Surprisingly, it'll be made by Crysis creator Crytek.

THQ coyly avoids saying much about the game, but in 2010 it spoke of plans for a Homefront: London at some point in the series. Whatever this sequel turns out to be, it's headed to PC and consoles in 2014.

"Selecting Crytek to take Homefront forward underscores our strategy of working with the industry's best talent," THQ core games EVP Danny Bilson said in the announcement. "With Crytek's industry leading technology and legendary experience in the FPS genre, we're supremely confident that the next Homefront will deliver that AAA-quality experience that players demand."

Crytek is also unsurprisingly enthusiastic, with CEO Cevat Yerli saying, "We see Homefront as a really strong universe that has a lot of potential and that has been expertly created and marketed by THQ."

"We believe that bringing our level of quality, creativity and production values to the next Homefront title creates an opportunity for both THQ and Crytek to deliver a truly blockbuster game. It's really important to us that THQ has the faith in giving us a lot of creative freedom over one of its most important properties to allow us to bring the Homefront world to life in a new and innovative way."

Evidently, THQ's new strategy of focusing on "high-quality owned IP with broad appeal" includes using external studios to work on its own properties. That recent "strategic realignment" saw THQ close another two of its internal studios lay off around 200 people as it moved away from making licensed and kids' games.

The original Homefront launched to a lukewarm critical reception in March, but, according to THQ estimates, sold one million units in its first ten days. Today's announcement described Homefront as "a commercial success for THQ."

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Dawn of War III is on the way, but its predecessor is getting at least one more piece of downloadable content. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution is planning a new DLC pack to highlight another piece of 40K lore: the Ultramarines.

The pack is coming in a nebulous "future update," so we're in the dark for release timing. In the past, armor packs have cost $7.49, so this is likely to hit at the same price, but nothing has been announced.

In a blog post, we got a peak at the units. Each of them carries "a distinctly Roman Empire influenced look" according to Relic artist Matt Kuzminski. This manifests itself in ornate armor styles and stylish plating. Kuzminski calls the Dreadnought his "favourite element of this pack," modeled after the Forge World version. Old Space Marine models have been replaced with Scouts and Devastators to match the aesthetic.

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Today's Filter includes an announcement and gameplay trailer for The King of Fighters XIII, a multiplayer customization trailer for Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, a teaser trailer for Julius Styles: The International, a rambunctious Revoltin' Youth trailer, a character reveal for WWE '12, a map pack trailer for Homefront, a multiplayer drive though of Driver: San Francisco, a creepy gameplay trailer for Metro: Last Light, a stealthy trailer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and a behind-the-scenes trailer for Rage.

The King of Fighters XIII


Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine


Julius Styles: The International


Revoltin' Youth


WWE '12


Homefront


Driver: San Francisco


Metro: Last Light


Deus Ex: Human Revolution


Rage

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Though Homefront developer Kaos Studios was shut down in June, parent company and publisher THQ isn't giving up on the near-future shooter just yet.

Two new multiplayer maps will arrive "soon" in a new map pack, THQ has announced.

'The Rock' map pack will take players to 'Alcatraz,' the eponymous prison, promising "fierce close-quarters fighting." It'll also offer "large-scale warfare" in a battle to secure the North Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge in 'Bridge.'

As well as adding the two new maps, the downloadable content will open up existing arenas Waterway and Overpass for team deathmatch mode.

While platforms are not confirmed, THQ says that The Rock will be "available first" on Xbox 360, suggesting it'll hit others later. The 'Fire Sale' map pack took five weeks to hit PC, and has still yet to be released for PlayStation 3.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Having previously tarted the Space Marines up as the Dark Angels with Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution paid downloadable content, developer Relic has announced it's giving the Eldar a DLC makeover next.

The cosmetic-only Eldar Ulthwé pack will customise your multiplayer Eldar army with a new look styled after the forces of Craftworld Ulthwé. All units are deck out in slimming new black skins, with a fair number getting new and custom outfits too.

Eldar Ulthwe DLC

Tweaks include a Farseer insipired by Dawn of War - Dark Crusade character Farseer Taldeer, new robes for the Warlock Commander, a Wraithlord based upon concept sketches for the original tabletop miniature, fur cloaks and new helmets for Seer Council warlocks, and snazzy lightning decals for the Falcon and Fire Prism.

The Ulthwé DLC's price hasn't been confirmed yet, but it'd be surprising if it weren't the same as the $7.49 Dark Angels pack. It's due to arrive alongside the next Retribution update.

Relic recently revealed that it plans to let players "build your own custom mega army" in the still-not-officially-announced Dawn of War III, though there's no word yet on exactly what this will entail.

Cosmetic tweaks along the lines of the Ulthwé DLC are common in the original Warhammer 40,000 tabletop wargame. It's not difficult to imagine DoW 3 coming with a set number of alternate parts, accessories, and decorations for players to customise their armies, then selling extra packs of bits as DLC. Such a setup would allow players to tinker while still supporting the post-launch income stream Relic has created with these DoW 2 faction packs, though this is of course pure speculation.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Though Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III is still not formally announced, that hasn't stopped publisher THQ and developer Relic from talking about the RTS sequel. The latest revelations come from Relic marketing manager James McDermott in an interview with Eurogamer, covering topics including custom armies.

"Looking at what we had real success with with Dawn of War II - Retribution, with the DLC, and with customisation and building their armies and collecting being a big part of what 40k fans really love, we want to make that a big part of DoW 3," McDermott said. "There's going to be lots of opportunities to expand and build your own custom mega army. That's definitely an area we want to invest in. We see a good opportunity."

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution

Customisation is a staple of the tabletop miniatures wargame, from paint schemes and replacing figures' components with snazzier parts to flat-out inventing new factions. The most recent DoW only supports relatively limited custom paint options. How exactly will it all work in Dawn of War III? Until the game's revealed, who could possibly say. But custom armies!

McDermott also backed up THQ core games head Danny Bilson's remarks that Dawn of War III will combine elements of the first two with new elements and MMO aspects. DoW 3 "is going to have a much larger strategic component to it, more of a global battle going on with little tactical things, sort of MMO-like," McDermott explained.

"We're trying to leverage even more so on the Games Workshop tabletop game, and then combine that with the game mechanics people have said, 'If you were to make a DOW3 we would like this kind of balance of things,' and what we think would be good for strategy games as a whole."

Bilson had hinted in 2010 that Dawn of War 3 might be free-to-play, depending on how well the F2P Company of Heroes Online was received. Considering that it shut down in February this year, you can probably scratch that out.

McDermott also teased the announcement Relic is due to make at the Gamescom show in August, saying "There is something cool and I think people will be really pleased to hear about it." If we all wish hard enough for a surprise Homeworld 3 announcement, it might just come true.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

A dozen new pieces of wargear are coming to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution's Last Stand mode as paid downloadable content, developer Relic has announced.

"The design goal for Last Stand has always been that wargear would give you new ways to play, rather than straight-up be better. I've tried to maintain that design philosophy with these items," designer Clint Tracker explained in the announcement. "One, so that players do not have to buy it to compete for top scores and two, to stay true to the original intent of the mode. These items are here to create new and awesome ways for players to slaughter mobs of infantry in the two arenas."

Playing dress-up with the new wargear

Two new items will be released for each of the six Last Stand heroes, intended to be work together and support particular approaches. The Imperial Guard Lord General's gnarly bearskin shrug and shotgun, for example, will toughen up his turrets and help him tackle crowds of infantry. The Space Marine's snazzy new hat and shield, on the other hand, toughen him up and boost melee damage so he can happily go on hacking enemies to pieces.

Pricing for the DLC has not been revealed yet, though producer Jeff Lydell told GameReplays that it'll be "Purchasable per hero or in a bundle for the whole set." There's no word on a release date yet either. The previous DLC, a purely cosmetic Dark Angels skins pack, cost $7.50.

Presumably the new wargear will also be released for Dawn of War II - Retribution - The Last Standalone, the $10 standalone spin-off of Last Stand mode.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
More lovely Warhammer 40,000 video games shall flow forth from THQ, as the publisher's licensing agreement has been extended.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
The popular 'Last Stand' co-op mode from Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2 is getting a stand-alone release through Steam. It's scheduled for tomorrow and will hit at just ten bucks.
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