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In another cooperative development deal, Topware and Ukrainian developer Blackwing Foundation are preparing the intriguingly named Scivelation for the PC, Xbox 360 and the PS3 for the spring of 2012. The story takes place after the Earth is devastated by a war that neither side wins. The world is now being governed by military forces traveling in giant floating cities. This third-person stealth shooter includes a music score by John Moyer, bassist for the rock band Disturbed. No gameplay footage was available for the game at the time of the show, but there should be some coming soon.
And last on the Topware menu: Pirates of the Flying Fortress, a full-scale expansion for last year’s Two Worlds II, which reportedly sold 2.5 million copies on all platforms. Topware has taken into account some of the feedback that they received from fans from the first game while creating Pirates. The game opens up more of the map from Two Worlds II, adding a group of islands off the northwest coast of Antaloor. The story is separate from that of the original game, so you don’t have to have played it to enjoy the expansion. However, you do have to have TWII installed on your platform of choice (PC, Xbox 360 or PS3). Pirates, with its 10 hours of new material, will be available in October 2011.
When I created my meeting schedule for E3 2011, I wanted to make sure to leave myself some time to wander around the show floor. I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be, but publisher Konami was nice enough to help me out. The guide for my booth tour pretty much just showed me where everything was and left me to my own devices. So, I got to see lots of games, but I didn’t manage to get much useful information about each. I played a few minutes of Silent Hill: Downpour in 3D on the PS3 (the game will be 2D only on the Xbox 360). My demo was mostly spent being chased by unknown enemies in dark and spooky environments, and the 3D wasn’t all that effective. Hopefully that will be improved before the game’s October 2011 release. I played Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker on the Xbox 360, but the more important news was on the Sony front: If you own the game on both the PSP and the PS3, you can start the game on one console and continue it on the other. Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater was also shown on the 3DS, but I didn’t get to play it. My most pleasant Konami surprise was a tricky fantasy RPG called Blades of Time, which casts you as a female bounty hunter plying her trade on a magical island. During combat, you can create as many as 10 clones of yourself and rewind time by as much as 30 seconds, allowing you to flank your opponent while it’s occupied by one of your doppelgangers. This mechanic was easier to use than I expected, and the graphics are excellent, even for a game that won’t be released until January 2012. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Blades of Time on either the Xbox 360 or the PS3.
My final E3 2011 stop, just as it was last year, coincidentally, was to the GameForge booth to check out a browser-based MMO in the universe of a popular TV sci-fi series. Last year it was Battlestar Galactica Online. This year it’s Star Trek: Infinite Space, which takes place in the Deep Space Nine timeline of the franchise. Built using the Unity 3D engine, Infinite Space has you completing story missions lasting approximately10 minutes each, alone or in up to five-player co-op. There are also PvP and Defend the Station missions in this free-to-play MMO for the PC and the Mac. Michael Okuda, graphic designer for much of the Star Trek TV series, was brought in as a consultant for Infinite Space, and was sitting just behind me during my demo, which was a thrill for a Star Trek nerd such as myself. The game is set to launch in the fall.
Also in the GameForge cubicle, but not on my original schedule, I got a quick demo of Runes of Magic, a completely free-to-play MMO that has been live for a couple of years, but which is getting a significant content upgrade. During the week after E3, the game’s level cap will be raised to Level 68, characters will be able to add a third layer to their abilities, and you will have more room in your inventory bags. You can solo through the game, but membership in a guild is recommended, and groups can have up to 12 players. Also added to the game will be NPCs who have not appeared anywhere in the previously released areas of the world. And in a nod to those players who don’t have cutting-edge PCs, a scaled-down 3.5 GB client is available for download, rather than the 8 GB one for rigs with higher-end stats (it supports DirectX 10, which is rare for games these days, and has a maximum screen resolution of 1920×1200). GameForge claims that they have five million registered “players” (don’t use the word “users” with them), and the game looks like a quality product, especially for free with no micro-transactions. And if you want to try it before you do the download, a Facebook version of the game is planned for a fall release.
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