Shacknews - John Keefer

Music giant EMI isn't happy with the makers of Def Jam Rapstar. And when companies can't resolve their differences ... yeah, court battle.

EMI filed suit in New York federal court last week alleging that developer Terminal Reality and publisher 4mm Games failed to get the proper authorization to use many of the songs in the rap karaoke game, including songs by Kanye West and Lil Wayne, among others.

The EMI lawsuit said the company made several attempts to alert the game makers that royalties needed to be accounted for, but those contacts went unheeded, according a story in the Hollywood Reporter. EMI is claiming part ownership in 54 songs in the game.

Statutory damages could add up to around $8 million, and that does not include any profits from the game, which EMI also wants. Also at issue is the potential damages for the karaoke rights and music video aspects of the game, as EMI claims it owns the rights to distribute, display and publicly perform the songs listed.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Mojang is getting ready to release the 1.2.5 update for Minecraft, but doesn't want to inconvenience the mod community. So rather than roll out the update all at once, the company is making a pre-release of the patch available now, with the "real" update coming in a few days.

"We are aware that many of you use modded clients or play on the bukkit server implementation, and that patches causes a lot of overhead for you," Jens Bergensten said on the company blog "Neither are officially supported of course, but it's not in our interest to make it hard for people to play the game." With the pre-release, Mojang hopes to give modders and bukkit a head start.

So what's new in this upcoming update? You'll find a few bug fixes, like chat crashes, world generation and sound issues, and village door detection. Plus, it tweaks the block selection in Creative Mode, Mooshrooms use, and punching TNT blocks with flint and steel. Hilariously, three of the patch notes are about cat behaviors: wild ocelots no longer behave like tamed cats, and tame cats are both less eager to sit on things (less realistic) and less patient (more realistic).

Shacknews - John Keefer

A U.S. District Court judge in California has cleared the way today for a class-action suit by former NFL players to continue over the objections of Madden NFL franchise publisher Electronic Arts. The suit represents more than 6,000 retired players, including Tony Davis, Vince Ferragamo and Billy Joe DuPree.

The suit focuses on Madden NFL 09's historic teams, and alleges that EA used the players' likenesses in the game without their permission. EA filed a motion to dismiss, saying that California law and the First Amendment allow it to use the players' likenesses in its games without compensation. However, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg rejected EA's claims, allowing the case to proceed, according to a release from the attorney for the former players.

The game did not include player names or original uniform numbers, but players can edit the roster to include them. The suit alleges that, despite this fact, the likenesses of the players are obvious and that skill levels, height and weight for players in the game were consistent with their real life counterparts.

Shacknews - Garnett Lee

Jeff Cannata takes a well-earned week off but his Double Jump partner in crime Christian Spicer takes up the slack. He joins "Indie" Jeff and Ariel Angelotti to fill out the table around Garnett for this week's show. Our strong response to Journey sparked many discussions in the show thread last week, which reignites the conversation. From there the topic turns to good look at Xenoblade Chronicles, the game Operation Rainfall helped ensure got a North American release. After that Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and Silent Hill Downpour square off in a debate over which revered survival horror franchise has suffered the hardest fall. And there's some chewing on the latest PlayStation 4 rumors and other news bits before wrapping it all up in finishing moves.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 106: 03/23/2012

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Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here's the timing for this week's episode:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 00:00:30 â€" 00:28:40

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 1 00:29:15 â€" 00:58:01

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 2 00:58:54 â€" 01:26:55

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News 01:27:55 â€" 02:04:17

Jeff Cannata can also be seen on The Totally Rad Show. They've gone daily so there's a new segment to watch every day of the week!

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Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, The Wait is Over on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page, and follow him on twitter delriomusic.

Shacknews - John Keefer

InXile Entertainment and company chief Brian Fargo have blown past the goal it set on Kickstarter to get Wasteland 2 developed. Now, Fargo has added to that goal with the idea of getting another veteran RPG development studio into the mix.

Fargo is seeking an additional $500,000 in Kickstarter funds to bring Obsidian Entertainment into the fold to help with the game's development, Fargo said in a press release. Part of the Obsidian team are veterans Chris Avellone and Feargus Urquhart, both instrumental in the development of Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1 and 2, and Icewind Dale with Fargo at Black Isle Studios, and Neverwinter Nights 2 and Knights of the Old Republic II at Obsidian.

Obsidian's library of design tools for RPGs was a factor in his decision, Fargo said. "Regardless of the tech we use to develop the game, experience with these tools will help us efficiently design the game without wasting time and resources on the tools needed for development."

The goal is $2.1 million with 17 days to go before the Kickstarter funding ends. The original $900,000 goal was reached with two days, with the additional funding going to a Linux and Mac port. That massive positive response to the idea of a sequel, plus the fact that oversees fans can now donate through PayPal at the Wasteland 2 portal, leads me to believe that another $500,000 in the time left should be a cakewalk.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

A fortuitous find from the father of a classic game designer is leading to an update for modern systems. Jordan Mechner, the designer behind the original Prince of Persia, thought he had lost the Apple II source code for the 23-year-old game. But like most things you lose, it was just buried in a box at his parents' house.

Mechner blogged that his father found an old box in a closet while doing some spring cleaning, and opted to send it over. Among the finds were the 3.5" disks of the code, which he says he's been trying to find for ten years. "I knew it wasn't like me to throw stuff out!" he says.

So Mechner is setting out to transfer the data on those disks to a readable format for current Apple computers. He warns that "it might take a little while" since he's busy with other projects, but he'll document the progress on Twitter and Facebook. Most of us already have plenty of ways to play the classic Prince of Persia if we want to, but it makes for an interesting story about a lost artifact.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Sega expects to post a 7.1 billion yen (approximately $85 million) loss for the year ending March 2012, and has announced it will be streamlining its business and canceling unspecified games as a result. The company says that the "challenging economic climate" necessitates a structure shift, including more digital content development. We don't know which games are on the chopping block, but we know a few that aren't.

The company says that IPs like Sonic the Hedgehog, Football Manager, Total War, and Aliens are expected to perform strongly, and indicated no plans to cancel those games. Other unspecified games are being canceled, but those could be projects that haven't been publicly announced yet.

Sega didn't give indication of how this might impact its studio structure or if layoffs are expected. Presumably, the renewed focus on digital games means we'll see more output to download services like PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, along with more games in the mobile market. Shacknews has contacted Sega regarding the game cancellations, and will update as more information becomes available.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Halo's design aesthetic is mostly known for bright colors and glowing lights, and not so much for bent steel and rust. But Halo 4 is a new start for the series, and 343 Industries is trying to put its own stamp on the franchise. The concept art for a multiplayer map called Warhouse shows a bit of grime in the Halo universe.

A post from 343 on Halo Waypoint describe's Warhouse's tight corridors and half-finished construction. The gas-mining ship beat out other ideas including a jungle-bound stage or a science facility. 343 wanted the map to feel "memorable, from an interesting and unseen part of the Halo universe."

From a gameplay perspective, Warhouse is a symmetrical map tuned to Slayer. The team says they built landmarks to make it easy to find your way without getting lost, and wanted the symmetrical points to assure balance against competing teams.

We've heard the developers talk about the story from a conceptual perspective, but most of what we've seen ourselves has been related to the multiplayer -- from much of the recent in-game footage to this concept art. Microsoft and 343 have been playing the campaign pretty close to the vest for the time being, so Halo fans will have to rely on multiplayer bits for their fix.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Pleasing reverse-tower defense Anomaly: Warzone Earth has already invaded PC, Mac, iOS and Android, and now a date has been set for its Xbox 360 campaign: April 6, almost exactly a year after its first strike. It'll launch at 800 Microsoft Points ($10).

Anomaly, if you've missed it on other platforms, involves leading your armoured convoy deep into enemy territory to stop an alien invasion. Like in a tower defense, paths are laid out and fortified with turrets, but you're playing the aggressor, directing your squad's route to hit weak points. You expand and upgrade your forces along the way, grabbing resources and powerups.

Developed by 11 Bit Studios, it's all jolly good fun. Don't just take my word on it, mind. Our Jeff enjoyed it too, reviewing the PC edition.

But how does one control such a strategic game on a console? For those who are not averse to humour, and humorous videos especially, here's a fictional yet comedic video exploring the issue:

Mount & Blade: Warband - Alice O'Connor

The Mount & Blade gang at Taleworlds are elevating another mod, this time turning fan-made mod Mount & Musket: Battalion into the paid expansion 'Napoleonic Wars' for M&B Warband. The multiplayer-only DLC drags the warfare sim into the real world during Napoleon's conquest of Europe, with over 220 unique units including engineers, artillery and musicians.

"We re-made it completely from scratch: bigger, better and more," developer Flying Squirrel Entertainment explained in a forum post. As well as shiny new graphics, Napoleonic Wars boasts bags of extra features over the original mod, and has been given a rebalancing.

Arriving this spring, Napoleonic Wars offers five nations from the early 19th century. Warfare's a bit jazzed up since Warband's medieval setting, with guns, artillery including cannons and rockets, and engineers able to construct barricades and plant explosives to destroy enemy structures. There's also a new 'Commander Battles' mode, putting you in charge of squads of bots.

2011's standalone release Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword was also based upon a mod.