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.
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
Sales-o-facts in NPD's first monthly report since the Nintendo 3DS launched include word that the handheld was out-sold by regular DSs.
Shacknews - Jeff Mattas
PC Gamer reports that an incredibly ambitious Russian mod team called World of Stalker has embarked on the monumental task of recreating GSC's survival-horror shooter series, .S.T.A.L.K.E.R., as a Crysis mod.

The team has dubbed the project 'Cryzone - Sector 23," and has released some early video footage (with Russian voice-over) that we've embedded after the break. Cryengine 2's brand new physics engine seems to improve things quite a bit over the original game, and you can already see the original game shining through, despite the early stages of the makeover.

World of Stalker also plans to tweak a few of the gameplay systems, such as including an enhanced healing system (similar to Far Cry 2) that enables players to inject themselves with healing drugs, or remove bullets from themselves, after having been shot. The Sector 23 section of the Ap-Pro forums has some more information about the project, provided your Russian (or browser-based language translator) is up to the task.

As far as we can tell, Cryzone - Sector 23 isn't a sanctioned effort, so there's no telling how long the project will survive, or if it'll be allowed to see a release

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Shacknews - Xav de Matos
One of my favorite PC games could make its way to your gaming collection, if you're willing to part with a crisp George Washington. As today's Games for Windows "Daily Deal," the GSC Game World-developed shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl is available for 99 cents (or 80MS Points).

If you're planning on picking the game up--or own it and haven't fired it up in a while--make sure to download the "Complete" mod, which adds a slew of enhancements to the game. The latest S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Complete 2009 mod kit is available right now, for free, on FileShack.

The Games for Windows marketplace is offering a new title for 99 cents each day until December 8. Previously the sale featured Viva Pinata and Deus Ex, among others.

More post-nuclear fallout action is planned for the far-flung future, with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 planned for release in 2012. The series' most recent entry, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, launched earlier this year.

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Shacknews - Xav de Matos
The week-long THQ sale continues on Steam today, this time offering discounts on the Dawn of War franchise (Ed. Note: This particular sale runs until November 1).

Both the original Dawn of War and its sequel--conveniently dubbed Dawn of War 2--as well as all expansions for the RTS franchise are available for 50% off.

This is also a good opportunity to pick Dawn of War 2 and the expansion Chaos Rising for your chance to participate in the upcoming beta for Dawn of War 2: Retribution, which begins in the new year.

  • Dawn of War Bundle (Gold & Dark Crusade) - $14.99 (down 50% from $29.99)
    • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade - $9.99 (down 50% from $19.99)
    • Dawn of War: Gold Edition - $9.99 (down 50% from $19.99
  • Dawn of War: Soulstorm - $9.99 (down 50% from $19.99)
  • Dawn of War 2 Gold Bundle (DoW 2 & Chaos Rising) - $19.99 (down 50% from $39.99)
    • Dawn of War 2 - $14.99 (down 50% from $29.99)
    • Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising - $9.99 (down 50% from $19.99)

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