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Test Psychonauts... For Free!

28 Apr, 2004, 00:57 | Posted by: DJG | Comments: 15
According to today's Double Fine Action News, testers are urgently needed for Psychonauts to get the game ready for E3. If you live in the SF Bay Area and can get to the Double Fine offices, this could be your chance to get in on some Psychonauts goodness.
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KOTOR: Sith Lords - First Look

24 Apr, 2004, 08:30 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Xbox Live Gamers | Comments: 6
From a tipoff at theforce.net's boards, you can read scans from EGM of the long rumoured KOTOR sequel and see the first screenshots. Just register at the link on this thread on Xbox Live Gamers and the scans will become available.

At last, some relatively good news coming our way.
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LucasArts lays off 29 staff

23 Apr, 2004, 21:39 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Gamespot | Comments: 44
Just reported by gamespot, LucasArts' woes continue with 29 layoffs.
A LucasArts spokesperson told GameSpot the cuts were made "to bring studio staffing levels into line with the current development slate." Other sources said the news was presented to LucasArts employees at a meeting held late Friday afternoon.
You can read the rest of this news report here.
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PC Gamer UK Wants You!

21 Apr, 2004, 21:06 | Posted by: DJG | Comments: 7
Do you have dreams of being a games journalist? Well, Mark Donald the editor of the UK's best selling PC games magazine PC Gamer UK has written an open letter to the good folk of the internet asking for their help.

It is as follows...<:MORENEWS:>

Hello,

This is an open letter to anyone who's interested in videogames writing or having the unique achievements of their gaming community aired to a wider audience.

My simple view is that news-stand games magazines and large sections of the gaming community have gradually drifted apart.

As editor of PC Gamer in the UK, it is painfully apparent to me that while the magazine does a reasonable job of fulfilling its review/preview functions, it does not adequately reflect the incredible diversity of culture and invention that now characterises the PC community online.

I'd like you to help us put that to rights. Games mags are constructed by small, tight-knit teams. In-house expertise is broad enough to cope with retail gaming, but the available resources are unable to cover the far-flung corners of gaming that now exist. That's partly why magazines have failed to keep pace with their communities.

In order to cover these communities properly, PC Gamer needs their representatives to help us out. I regularly read web-published articles which I think are easily good enough to appear in a magazine. But the writer may never have considered that opportunity. Perhaps they didn't think a games mag was an appropriate place for such an article. Perhaps they didn't think it was good enough. Whatever the reason, I'd like you to consider submitting your articles to PC Gamer.

What kind of articles are we looking for? Anything. Anything that you could imagine yourself, as a gamer, opening a magazine and being interested in. I'm trying to create a magazine that communicates the incredible experiences gamers have. A magazine that reports on the amazing transformations that dedicated communities have wrought upon the games they love. I think such a magazine would print articles about the destruction of Kerafyrm The Sleeper in Everquest. It would report on the morphing of games like Grand Prix Legends and Interstate 82. It could relate the tale of a dramatic duel in Jedi Knight 2 or cover the phenomenon of swoop bike races in Star Wars Galaxies. Anything at all. Single-player gaming, multi-player gaming, modding, MUDs, indy games. The building of the Space Station in There, the development of unique in-game body language. A well-argued opinion piece on the state of videogame interfaces. Crazy antics on stunt servers or a simple essay on how a game stirred an individual's emotions. Anything which says something fascinating about game culture. The only rules are it's got to be about games, and, if it's not about PC's then the article has to be applicable to the universal gamer. PC Gamer is not a console mag.

Articles can be of any length. And PC Gamer will pay for articles published. I can't promise to say yes to everything, but I am open to all ideas. And if you don't want to write but know of a vibrant gaming community we should cover then tip us off. We've recently been mailed by people involved with Trespasser, Grand Prix Legends and Interstate 82.

I hope this letter is not seen as a threat to some of the excellent websites that I regularly visit. Publication of an article in PC Gamer does not prevent its subsequent use elsewhere. Moreover, PC Gamer is not big enough to absorb the entire community's output. But if you have an article at your fingertips that deserves a wider audience then let us know.

Best regards,

Mark Donald
Editor, PC Gamer (UK edition)
Britain's Best-Selling PC Games Magazine

mark.donald@futurenet.co.uk


So start writing, folks!
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First New SWG Space Screenshots in Years

20 Apr, 2004, 18:25 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: IGN | Comments: 18
For those who grew up on the original Larry Holland X-Wing Combat Simulators, and have been left cold with the recent 'arcadey' Starfighter & Rogue Squadron type titles coming out of LucasArts, here's some exciting news.

New information about the long-awaited Space Expansion to Star Wars Galaxies has finally been revealed. IGN has this new article and posted these nine stunning looking in-game screenshots.
IGNPC: A lot of us have fond memories of TIE Fighter and the other space games Lucas has published. How directly has that legacy inspired (or even intimidated) you?

Haden Blackman: It's definitely inspired everyone on the development team. We're very determined to capture the feel of the X-Wing and TIE Fighter titles. In many ways, we're looking at Jump to Lightspeed as "X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter" online - much of our focus is on that dogfighting experience.
Check out the full interview and screenshots here.

Update: There are two new official webpages where you can check out the the latest "Jump to Hyperspace" info, FAQ, screenshots, concept art, and movies; View these pages at starwarsgalaxies.com and lucasarts.com
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Episode 3 Video Game Poster Revealed

20 Apr, 2004, 00:29 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: theforce.net | Comments: 6
There's a new photographed poster on TheForce.net that is claimed to be for a forthcoming Star Wars Episode III video game. If legitimate, it's probably the previously rumoured "Vader" game.

Alternately, it may be an actual movie poster, and the 3rd installment of the prequel trilogy after The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones is titled "The Video Game". This will no doubt give much mileage to those who believe there has been too much digital trickery / special effects in the latest movies. check it out.

Update: More information from starwars.com
Star Wars: Episode III Making the Game Preview: Video-game players will be able to experience the stunning Jedi action of Episode III themselves in the new Star Wars: Episode III game, due out in Spring 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. This special feature shows how game developers at LucasArts worked behind-the-scenes and on the set to create the most authentic Jedi experience ever.
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LucasFilm.com Updated

18 Apr, 2004, 13:41 | Posted by: Jake | Comments: 15
Okay this may have happened a while ago and we missed it, but reader spaceship789 just pointed out that Lucasfilm's website got redesigned at some point. Why am I telling you this? Well, for one, the opening collage artwork is almost cool enough to melt the jaded heart of any fanboy.

LucasArts is even represented in the collage by characters from original titles like Armed & Dangerous and... Sam & Max? Yes oddly enough, Max appears at the bottom of the image, looking far happier than he's looked in his life. Maybe George is a Sam and Max fan or something, who knows? More likely than not, the artwork for the site was done long before Sam and Max got cancelled and it was too late to change it, but its funny how they keep showing up at the least appropriate times.
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David Fox Talks Classics, the Future

12 Apr, 2004, 14:38 | Posted by: Jake | Comments: 12
LucasArts veteran David Fox (known mostly for Zak McKracken, but also worked on Last Crusade, Maniac Mansion and Labyrinth) recently gave a talk at The Gathering (some sort of Norse geek get-together), and was interviewed by them. He talks about Zak, Sam & Max 2, dying in adventure games, and what he's been up to recently, all while wearing a Zak sweatshirt.
Have you in any way influenced the fact that it usually is almost impossible to die in most Lucas Arts adventure games?
Probably not much. I'd give most of the credit for this to fellow Lucas designer Ron Gilbert. He spent a lot of time playing Sierra adventure games and really disliked the way they used death as a way to impede the player and prolong the game... worse, you could die from doing simple things that in real life would never kill you. For example, while playing one of their games I remember picking up a piece of a broken mirror, cutting myself and dying. It felt like the designer had either taken the lazy way out by coming up with lots of silly ways to die so you'd have to waste time going back to an earlier saved game and trying again. All this rather than spending more time coming up with creative, challenging, yet solvable puzzles.
Thanks to Slashdot Games for the link. For more about David Fox, check out this website he runs with his wife, which lists many of their previous projects.
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Get Full Throttle on the cheap!

10 Apr, 2004, 01:08 | Posted by: Jake | Comments: 7
Thanks to Evan of Adventure Gamers for pointing this out: SoftwareOutlet.com is selling boxed copies of the original Full Throttle for a low low price of $7.99. That's totally cheap.

It is, however, the Macintosh version. But wait, fear not! With these instructions, you can play the Mac version in Windows with ScummVM! (MacOS X users can play it with ScummVM using these instructions) So you have no choice but to buy, buy, buy.

Update: If you're looking to save 9 cents, GoGamer has it listed for $9.90. Thanks to loonyboi for the link.
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There's a new editorial on TheForce.net about the history and impact of Star Wars games, and it seems to be wrong. The writer of the article talks about "early" Star Wars games failing to be "system sellers." Unfortunately, he's not talking about Rebel Assault, or TIE Fighter (which were at least "CD-ROM drive sellers"), and he's not even talking about Super Star Wars for the SNES. His definition of "early Star Wars game" is in fact Episode I Racer for the PlayStation 1.
You couldn?t rank a SW title back then with a Donkey Kong Country or a Doom game. Star Wars games then were mainly made for the simple Star Wars fan. You wouldn?t expect a SW game then to set sales records and sell out the first day of its release. It just wasn?t in the nature of a SW game to do such a thing. Come on, look at all of the PlayStation SW games like Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Power Battle, they are all laughing stocks.
Just for the record, in 1995 LucasArts was the #1 PC publisher in terms of market share, having 4 out of the top 20 titles of the year, due to Dark Forces, X-Wing Collectors Edition, TIE Fighter, and Full Throttle. Give it a read, and be confused.
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In a move sure to confuse everyone ever, LucasArts has run the following large recruitment advertisement, in the April issue of Game Developer magazine. The ad just says: "We're looking for experienced Artists, Programmers, Production Staff!" along with a gigantic picture of Sam and Max. Misleading much?

Attention talented game developers who might be lured in by the notion of working on a visually rich story-based comedy retro-throwback title: Send us things. Yes congrats you're hired. No, that game was cancelled, you'll be working on Republic Commando. Yes you're the one who will be adding the yellow and red stripes to the squad leader costumes. No, sorry all we listen to in here is the original score to The Phantom Menace. If you try to quit we will sue you.

In all fairness, it takes at least a month between when ads are sold for a magazine, and when the magazine actually goes to press and gets mailed out. That said, you'd think LucasArts would have chosen a more stable game to feature in the ad, wouldn't you? Unless Sam & Max Freelance Police was actually cancelled 100% spur of the moment without an ounce of prior warning (not that unlikely, really), they had to have known the game was skating on thin ice a month or so ago. Surely the same people who approved that ad running in Game Developer Magazine were at least only a few doors down from the people casting dubious glances at Mike Stemmle and his team for the last few weeks.

When questioned about the ad and the high possibility that it will severely confuse, anger, or depress the world's game developer community, LucasArts acting Acting General Manager and VP of Finance and Operations Mike Nelson claimed, "We were just testing them. But no, seriously, the game's still cancelled."

Thanks to the Adventure Gamer forums for the tip.
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