Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Lucas plans on launching yet another extension of his Star Wars franchise. Last week, the company bought a number of domains regarding a project likely to be titled "Star Wars 1313." The company now owns 1313starwars.com and starwars1313.com, which has many fans wondering what this mysterious project could be.

Whatever it is, it will be a video game, new evidence reveals.

Fusible, which first discovered the domain registrations theorized 1313 could refer to a movie based on Boba Fett. "CT-1313 was once an alias used by Boba Fett on Aargau when he was confronted by a clone trooper," the site noted.

However, additional information unearthed by Siliconera suggests that the project will not be a film, but a video game instead. Lucas filed a trademark with the USPTO earlier this month--and the trademark notes that it is for use as "video game software" and "entertainment services provided on-line."

Whatever 1313 is, it will likely be an online (multiplayer?) video game. Could this be a Boba Fett game--or something different altogether?

Shacknews - John Keefer

As with many online games, players will look for any advantage they can to win, including using hacks, cheats and unintentional loopholes in game code. Riot Games isn't taking too kindly to cheaters in its League of Legends game, and those violators are feeling the developer's wrath.

In a tersely worded forum post, Riot Game's Community Manager Andrew "Tamat" Beegle let the community know of the "bullshit" certain players were doing to create an unfair advantage and that the behavior was not going to be tolerated. An exploit--which allowed players to add extra Mastery points through a hacking client--had been found and closed as soon as it was uncovered. Beegle said action was being taken against the "scum of the earth cheaters:"

We have comprehensive logs and data that allow us to see precisely who did what, and also who was negatively affected by this malicious behavior. We’ve identified all of the players that have been using this exploit, and we’re going to be taking firm action against their accounts. As we continue to investigate and further analyze data, our primary commitment is identifying players negatively affected and doing everything within our power to make it right.

The forum response was overwhelmingly positive, with even one poster predicting there were me several forum threads in the next few days by users asking why they had been banned.

Here's a video showing the hacked masteries prior to the exploit being closed:

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Confirming much of a recent reveal from the UK, THQ officially announced Company of Heroes 2 today. The company is targeting early 2013 for the game, which will focus on the eastern front of World War 2. Players will take command of the Red Army to fight off Nazi invaders ravaging Mother Russia.

Company of Heroes 2 is being developed by Relic Entertainment, as expected, using the company's own Essence 3.0 Engine. Relic touts the sequel as featuring dynamic battle tactics, environmental destruction, and new commander abilities. Comments from THQ executive VP Danny Bilson mention a "strong post-launch digital content plan that enhances and expands the product's lifecycle." The announcement also teases the first screenshot, above.

"Company of Heroes 2 is a true successor, introducing a new front, new protagonists and new technology while retaining the unique mix of strategic gameplay and competitive multiplayer that made the original Company of Heroes such a success," said Relic producer Greg Wilson in the announcement.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Although Diablo 3 will likely sell quite well without much help from its marketing team, they still need to earn their pay. So, coming this week is a new 2D animated short called Diablo 3: Wrath, which will offer more backstory for the game.

Wrath, created by Titmouse Inc. and Aeon Flux director Peter Chung, was exposed by Blizzard with a "making of" video explaining how the short ties in with the game, using commentary from Chung and Blizzard's story master Chris Metzen, among others.

Diablo 3: Wrath will be unlocked when the game's Darkness Falls, Heroes Rise site hits 100 percent, which should happen around Tuesday, the same day that the previous character class videos had been released.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Warhawk managed to garner a dedicated fan base with its unique blend of on-foot, vehicular, and air combat. Five years later, LightBox Interactive has prepared a spiritual successor with Starhawk. Retaining many of the gameplay elements of Warhawk, LightBox expanded upon the formula, adding not only space combat, but a RTS-inspired "Build and Battle" mechanic that allows players to dynamically drop gameplay-changing cargo from the sky.

It's clear that Starhawk will live and die by its multiplayer. However, unlike its predecessor, Starhawk also offers a single-player campaign--one that players will not want to miss.

While it's tempting to simply jump into the multiplayer offerings immediately, it's helpful to give the single-player campaign a try, if only to better come to terms with the game's varied mechanics. With many players already familiarized with the game through the online beta, getting a tutorial will probably be the only way players can be competitive.

The single-player narrative tells the story of Emmett, and it unfolds through a series of comic book-inspired cinematic sequences. Mixing sci-fi and western elements, the story plays out not unlike that of Joss Whedon's Firefly--but with a more heavy-handed approach. I found it difficult to get truly absorbed into the world, with the comic book style more befitting of a game like InFamous.

In many ways, the campaign's real purpose seems to be to "train" players for the online offering. The story didn't immediately grab me, and the stiff in-engine animations make the single-player experience feel phoned in. Regardless, the story mode does do a great job of walking the player through the various mechanics. In the first level, you learn simply how to run around, jump into a vehicle, and ultimately, build walls and turrets to fend off enemies.

Clear objectives are marked on the in-game HUD, and the slow progression of abilities makes what would otherwise be an overwhelming game into an accessible one. Later levels will introduce other vehicles, like the titular Hawks.

I didn't have a chance to play much with the game's online offerings, but those modes are probably best tested after the game has a chance to be populated with the masses. However, if the single player is any indication, the blueprints for truly fun online battles are definitely there. The controls feel spot-on, no matter what mode of transportation you choose. And while you certainly feel powerful in many of the game's more impressive vehicles, you never feel impotent when on foot. For example, a player on the ground equipped with a rocket launcher is a formidable foe against a Hawk.

The "Build and Battle" mechanic--which allows you to call upon new resources dynamically--also shows a lot of promise, adding RTS and tower-defense mechanics to an otherwise "standard" affair. The flashy entrances these platforms make--literally dropping out of the sky--do not get old. Having a turret kill an enemy by landing on it is incredibly satisfying.

It will take a lot more time and community involvement to see how Starhawk ultimately fares. However, our pre-release impressions of it are quite favorable. Starhawk will be available on PS3 tomorrow.


Field Reports provide our first-hand experience with the latest games, but should not be considered a review.

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Are you bored this weekend? Need something to pass the time? Tune in each week to FileShack, where we round up the very best video game demos, patches, mods, and tools from our files database.

FileShack for the week of May 5, 2012 features a Rimelands: Hammer of Thor demo, the Eastern Front mod for Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, and more.

Rimelands: Hammer of Thor demo

Rimelands: Hammer of Thor by Diceworks is a "dice-based steampunk roleplaying game," where players take on the role of a gorgeous treasure hunter as humanity re-emerges from the Overwinter Vaults after a thousand year ice age. Check out the full Windows demo or the Mac demo.


Eastern Front mod for Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts

Are you excited by the recently revealed Company of Heroes 2? You should be! While you drool in anticipation, check out the Eastern Front mod for Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, which describes itself as "mimicking a Relic expansion pack," while adding a fully featured Soviet faction!


UFO: Alien Defense free game

Anxiously waiting for more news about XCOM: Enemy Unknown? Why not play the free, open source UFO: Alien Invasion, a squad-based tactical strategy game featuring a turn-based gameplay system similar to the original X-COM? Download the client for Windows or for Mac.


Dark Scavenger demo

Developed by Psydra, Dark Scavenger is an "adventure game that combines strategic turn-based combat with unique point-and-click mechanics." After crash landing on a sinister planet, you must work with three oddball aliens to repair your starship before becoming consumed in galactic war. Download the demo for Windows or for Mac.


Space Pirates and Zombies demo

Vist hundreds of star systems, each unique with their own factions, in a galaxy now colonized by humanity in search of a galactic treasure cache near the center of the universe. Build your fleet, upgrade your starships, and evade the ever-present zombies as they seek to annihilate all living creatures in the demo for Space Pirates and Zombies.

Want a file mirrored with Shacknews? Submit a news tip here!

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

You've run out of new stories to read, listened to the latest episode of Weekend Confirmed, and still want more Shacknews? While these threads have expired, you can join thousands of other gamers as we discuss everything from videogame industry news to politics in the Chatty. Make sure you log-in and check your filters if you can't see the following:

OverloadUT bites the bullet to pre-order Endless Space, a 4X turn-based game in space, to give Shackers an initial impression based on the alpha. Did you miss the gameplay stream? Check out his full hour-long recording!

pancake humper records some Assassin gameplay Super Monday Night Combat after the game's accidental release.

kramweil wants to know about the games you wish existed. Homeworld 3? Half-Life 3? Too boring? losder5000 has an idea for you.

action wombmate wants to know how much realism games really aim to have? Would a completely realistic game be entertaining? Find out what Shackers think!

MikkleThePickle stirs the chatty with an opinion article arguing that consumers should buy new games when they agree with the game's content business model, and used when they disagree. Would your perception change if next generation consoles banned used games, as some rumors suggest?

Is it possible to buy a modern PC gaming system on a budget of $500.00? warcrow wants to know. Test your hand at building an economical system and see how it compares with Shacker builds. Or you could just build the most expensive system possible. Maybe even fry's "trigger rig" will keep up.


The Warp Zone

Welcome to The Warp Zone, where the posts are crazy and the lols don't matter.

Shackers and biofrog watch the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S III and debate the resulting gadget. Is the Galaxy S III your next smartphone? Or are you going to wait to see the next Apple iPhone? My Nokia Lumia 900 suits me just fine, thank you.

boring gegtik thinks he has the best read of the month, but Hoax steals his thunder with a blast from the past.

Str8Dog has an idea on sprucing up his bland laptop. multisync needs restrained.

Want to meet up with Shackers like EricZBA at events like QuakeCon? Find the latest and most up to date information on upcoming meetups at Shackmeets. New events are announced all the time!

Shacknews - Tyler J. Smith

Shacknews receives a slew of new screenshots and trailers for upcoming games everyday. The most anticipated titles receive their own post, because we know you're eager to see that content. For the rest, we have the Daily Filter, a place to feature all of the media we add to our enormous database on a daily basis.

Today's Filter features a tutorial for Port Royale 3: Pirates and Merchants, a gameplay trailer for Rainbow Moon, and much more!

Port Royale 3: Pirates and Merchants


Rainbow Moon


We also have a developer diary for Sorcery, and new screenshots for Sniper Elite V2, Hitman: Absolution, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, and LittleBigPlanet Karting. Be sure to check out additional trailers and screenshots on each game page!

Shacknews - Garnett Lee

The announcement of the Elder Scrolls Online met with mixed response. Today we get to see a cinematic trailer for it and learn a few of its secrets from the upcoming article in Game Informer. From there we turn to mobile sensation Draw Something, which has dramatically cooled since being bought be Zynga for $210 million and has now added branded words to its library. And on this celebration of Star Wars Day we look at the fate that befell Star Wars Battlefield 3 and its developer Free Radical from the excellent interview with one of the studio's founders over on Eurogamer.

Check out today's episode of Shacknews Daily.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

As you put the finishing touches on your Thor codpiece in preparation for going to see The Avengers this weekend, you can be secure in the knowledge that the movie will live on as a virtual pinball table. Zen Studios announced an Avengers table for Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX 2 today, coming as part of the "Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles" four-table pack.

The set will be coming soon for Zen Pinball 2 on PlayStation 3 and Vita, and Pinball FX 2 for 360. Zen didn't mention a release window, but it did issue a swanky trailer showing off the table in action. We can almost guarantee it's the most exciting virtual pinball trailer you'll see today.

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