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Farewell and good-bye

As some of you might have discovered already, the main Big Download site is now being redirected to our sister site Joystiq. The reason for this is that unfortunately this site is being closed after three years of operations. It's been a great ride to give all of our readers the most up to date news and features on the PC game industry and we hope all of you have enjoyed coming to the site as much as we have had working on it.

Going forward, our free and fast download service will continue to live on via Joystiq. PC game news will continue to be covered on Joystiq and our sister site Massively will also continue to cover the MMO beat which is still largely a PC game platform. And yes, WoW Insider is still going to be around with the best coverage on perhaps the biggest exclusive PC game, World of Warcraft.

We want to give our thanks to all of you who have visited Big Download for the past three years. Remember, the PC game platform, despite all those who have considered it to be dead, remains the single biggest game platform there is. We know all of you will continue to support PC gaming, from the small one man indie titles to the massive multi-million dollar budget blockbusters. Again, thanks for coming and keep playing.

Continue reading Farewell and good-bye

Big Download's News Bits & Bytes - April 29

Tomorrow we will have an important announcement concerning the future of Big Download. Stay tuned.

Continue reading Big Download's News Bits & Bytes - April 29

Interview: We chat with the new head of Nival's US operations

Long time PC gamers may be familiar with the publisher Nival Interactive. The Russia-based game developer and publisher is best know for its turn-based and real-time strategy titles. In the early 2000s it released a number of acclaimed games in this genre including the Etherlords series, the Blitzkreg series and the Silent Storm series. In 2006 Nival released Heroes of Might and Magic V for publisher Ubisoft to great acclaim and followed it up with two expansion packs.

In 2005 an American company called Ener1 Group announced that it had acquired Nival Interactive with hopes to expand its operations. However, for still murky reasons, things didn't work out and the previous owner of the company, Sergey Orlovskiy, took control again in 2007.

Now Nival is expanding its reach into the US market once again. Later next week Nival plans to officially announce that it will open up a new US-based office. In an exclusive interview with Big Download, we got Nival's North America's general manager David D Christensen to give us a little more info about the company's plans.

Continue reading Interview: We chat with the new head of Nival's US operations

Portal 2's first free DLC detailed (a little)

We knew that there would be free DLC for Portal 2. It was just a matter of time before it would be announced. Today Valve announced that its puzzle-shooter sequel would officially get its first free DLC pack this summer. The pack will be free for all of its platforms (PC, Mac, PS3 and Xbox 360).

The pack itself will contain "new test chambers for players, leaderboards, challenge mode for single and multiplayer modes, and more." Of course the free DLC pack with the promise of more to come just makes Portal 2 a bigger bargain than it already is.

[Via email press release]

Continue reading Portal 2's first free DLC detailed (a little)

New Firefall trailer shows off some pirate ship action

We are still excited about the prospects for Firefall, the upcoming free-to-play multiplayer shooter that's more than a little inspired by Tribes. Today the game's developer Red 5 Studios sent out a new trailer for the game that seems to take place in and around an abandoned pirate sailing ship.

The action is plenty fast and furious in the over 3 minute trailer that showcases some of the game's playable characters like the Assault, Recon and Medic classes. You will be able to experience all this action in the coming months as Firefall is due out sometime this winter.

Continue reading New Firefall trailer shows off some pirate ship action

Friday PC game sales are all over the place

No time to waste; there's a lot of PC game sales to report on today:

Continue reading Friday PC game sales are all over the place

Kickstarter.com raises over $1 million in pledges for indie game development

A couple of years ago, the Kickstarter.com web site launched. Its business model was and is based on the crowd funding idea as is became a place for people and small companies to ask for donations to help "kick start" various products. To celebrate its second anniversary this week, the Kickstarter.com web site decided to reveal some info about the funds it has helped to gather for various projects.

A total of over $53 million have been pledged over the past two years with over $40 million successfully donated via the site to its various projects. For game development $1,052,557 have been pledged. While that's a lot it still pales in comparison to the donations for music projects ($13,094,547) or film projects ($19,717,790).

Continue reading Kickstarter.com raises over $1 million in pledges for indie game development

Free version of CryEngine 3 now used by over 250 universities

Over two years ago, developer Crytek announced plans to allow universities to get a free license to use its CryEngine 3 graphics engine for educational use. This week Crytek announced that over 250 universities from all over the world have been granted such a license.

The engine is being used by schools for game development courses but it's also being applied to teach students about "hysics, computer science, architecture, film-making, art and design use" and more. As we recently reported, Crytek plans to offer up a free version of CryEngine 3 for anyone to use to make free stand alone games sometime later this summer.

Continue reading Free version of CryEngine 3 now used by over 250 universities

Disciples 3: Resurrection announced

The Disciples turn-based strategy game series will be getting a new installment soon. The franchise's current owners Akella has just announced plans to release Disciples 3: Resurrection. Despite its title its being called a "large-scale sequel" to the last game in the series Disciples 3: Renaissance.

The storyline sees the Undead Hordes coming back to the land of Nevendaar and of course you have to stop them. The game's press release claims that it will have a whopping 70 hours of gameplay along with two storyline characters, four leaders of the Undead Hordes, two bosses and over 50 new units. No release date for the game was announced.

Continue reading Disciples 3: Resurrection announced

Need For Speed The Run to use Battlefield 3's Frostbite 2 engine

After a trailer for the game made its way to the internet on Thursday, Electronic Arts has officially announced its plans for Need For Speed The Run, the next game in the long running driving game series. The game is being developed by EA's Black Box studio and will use the Frostbite 2 engine for its graphical basis. That's the same graphics engine that's being used for Battlefield 3.

The game's premise keeps the racers vs cops theme that Criterion broke back for Need For Speed Hot Pursuit. However this time the game centers on The Run, a highly illegal cross-country race from San Francisco to New York City. Players will have to "weave through dense urban centers, rocket down icy mountain passes and navigate narrow canyons at breakneck speeds" while also evading the cops. The game is due out on November 15.

Continue reading Need For Speed The Run to use Battlefield 3's Frostbite 2 engine

Oddworld: Hand of Odd revival announced

A real time strategy spin-off of the Oddworld game franchise that was started and then abandoned is getting a revival. Eurogamer reports that developer Just Add Water is working with Oddworld Inhabitants on the game, titled Oddworld: Hand of Odd.

The game was first announced by Oddworld Inhabitants way back in 1998 but the game was canceled after a year of development. Just Add Water plans to use the original design document for Oddworld: Hand of Odd but will make its version in a more casual design direction. The game is still a ways off and won't be released until sometime in 2012.

Continue reading Oddworld: Hand of Odd revival announced

Marvel Universe MMO to be free-to-play game; hires Brian Michael Bendis as writer

Gazillion Entertainment has been quiet about the details of its plans for its super hero themed Marvel Universe MMO game since it was first announced over two years ago. That all changed late on Thursday at a press conference that was streamed at the Marvel.com web site.

The main revelation from the press conference was that the game, currently in development at Gazillion's Secret Identity studio, will be a free-to-play game when it launches. This shows more evidence that this business model is becoming more and more mainstream compared to the older monthly subscription model.

It was also announced that Brian Michael Bendis, one of the most prolific writers for Marvel Comics, will be the head writer for the Marvel Universe MMO game. Bendis's credits include writing a number of Marvel's big crossover event mini-series including House of M, Secret Invasion and Siege.

According to the live stream, the game will feature a "grand, epic tour, a reimagining of some of the biggest events in Marvel history. " One big difference between this game and Sony Online's recently launched DC Universe Online is that the Marvel MMO will allow players to play as the mainline Marvel characters. Yep, instead of creating your own character to team up with the Marvel heroes you will play as Captain America, Thor, Iron Man or Spider-Man, among others. Also Dr. Doom will be the main bad guy in the game's story.

The game will be released for the PC but Gazillion is not commenting if the game will be browser-based or not. They are also not commenting on the game's release date yet.

Continue reading Marvel Universe MMO to be free-to-play game; hires Brian Michael Bendis as writer

Big Download's News Bits & Bytes - April 28

The weekend, and indeed the end of the month, is fast approaching. We have plans to check out Darkspore. What about you?

Continue reading Big Download's News Bits & Bytes - April 28

Mythos launches in Europe; US players welcome

Yet another MMO game that once was lost has now been found. Today marks the official public launch of Mythos Europe. The free-to-play fantasy MMO game started life at Flagship Studios but that studio's closure in 2009 caused the game, still in beta, to be shut down. Korea-based Hanbitsoft bought the rights to Mythos and together with partner Frogster helped bring the game back to life.

Apparently, folks in the US can download and play the game from its European servers. That's good news for US Mythos fans as we are still waiting for our own version of the game. The US Mythos web site hasn't been updated since July 2010 and there's no word on when, or even if, a beta test will begin, much less the game's official launch.

Continue reading Mythos launches in Europe; US players welcome

Big Civilization V patch released on Steam

As promised, developer Firaxis Games has released a massive new patch for 2010's turn-based strategy game Civilization V. The patch is now available for automatic download via Steam and the huge patch list is available to check out on the Steam web site.

There's lots of changes and improvements to many of the game's AI features in this new patch along with lots of gameplay changes as well (for example, the game's Stealth Bombers can now get promotions). There's also a boatload of change to the game's user interface and there's also been some bug fixes for mod support, achievements and more.

Continue reading Big Civilization V patch released on Steam

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