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Big Download's News Bits & Bytes - January 31

Good bye January. You are cold, you don't leave us with very much light during the day and you give us lots more snow that we know what to do with. Don't let February hit you on the way out.

Big Download's News Bits & Bytes - January 27

It's almost the weekend. Time to see if the free version of Champions Online is worth it (we suspect the answer is, "Yes).

Warsoup announced

While it's not the first game that merges the first person shooter and the real time strategy genre, the newly announced game Warsoup is certainly the first that has the word "soup" in the title. The game, from an unnamed developer, was first announced via a YouTube video posted today. The game's official web site has also launched but at the moment it's pretty much a place holder site.

The video, which can be seen after the jump, goes over the basics for the sci-fi themed game which it says aims to combine the best of StarCraft with Halo. The video shows off the game's deliberate minimalist art style and its face-based gameplay where players have to build structures and use a mini-map while at the same time engage in first person shooter combat. The game video also boasts that it will have a solid matchmaking and online stats service. Warsoup is slated for release for the PC and Mac but no release date was announced.

[Via Kotaku]

Did Activision reveal PC port for Bungie's next game franchise?

When Activision announced earlier this year that it would be the exclusive publisher for the next original game from Halo creator Bungie, both parties would not confirm which game platforms the title would appear on. Today, during an investment conference, a slide may have revealed that Bungie's next game series will indeed show up for the PC.

The online slide was part of Activision's presentation today during the BMO Capital Markets 18th Annual Digital Entertainment Conference. As you can see above the listing is for Bungie's new title to be for "Con" (consoles) as well as PC and online. If this is indeed the case it would be the first internally developed PC title from Bungie since Oni was released way back in January 2001 (Both the PC ports of Halo 1 and 2 were handled by developers outside of Bungie).

Xbox 360's Kinect head claims "hardly anyone plays first person shooters on the PC anymore"

When a console exec claims something is true on the PC platform, it should be taken with a grain of salt. That's exactly what happened in a recent interview with Kudo Tsunoda, the head of Microsoft's upcoming Kinect motion sensing camera program. In the interview, Tsunoda used first person shooters to help explain a point that games that use the Kinect tech should not be ported but made specifically for the camera.

He states, "If you think about the way that first person shooters evolved, they started on the PC. People for the longest time tried to port shooters from the PC onto the console." He added, "Halo did an awesome job of building a first-person shooter exclusively for the console, and now hardly anyone plays first person shooters on the PC anymore. It's all about the console." We wonder how the tens of thousands of players that sign on at one time to play Modern Warfare 2, Counter-Strike or Counter-Strike Source on Steam feel about that statement.

[Via VG247.com]

Halo PC and Mac owners to get a "visual flair" in Halo Reach

Yes, there are still a number of people who play the PC and Mac versions of Halo online. Indeed, since Microsoft shut down the original Xbox Live service for the first Xbox console, players of Gearbox Software's port of Bungie's first person shooter are the only ones now that can play the sci-fi first person shooter online. Now owners of Halo for the PC and Mac will be getting something extra if they purchase Halo: Reach, the upcoming and final Xbox 360 Halo game from Bungie.

According to the Bungie forums, owners of both the Mac and PC ports of Halo (that includes the Halo: Custom Edition from Gearbox) that still have their multiplayer key and have played the game in online multiplayer matches up until May 26,, 2010 will be able to use the key to get a tiny extra in Halo: Reach. The forum message from Bungie's Roger "Sawnose" Wolfso states, "The reward is a small 'visual flair', as was described during the last days of Halo 2 for players of that game." He adds, " ... it's just a little indication that people have been part of a certain Halo community for a while, and we wanted to give them a nod." Sorry owners of the PC port of Halo 2; you don't get anything as "Bungie wasn't involved in that port." More info on exactly how to use the key in the game will be revealed in the coming weeks.

[Via Giant Bomb and Joystiq]

Entertainment Weekly has game figures in top 100 characters of past 20 years

Lists. So-called serious journalists hate them but other journalists and most of the general public love at least to talk about what is contained in the list. Entertainment Weekly's newest issue has their attempt at listing what they are calling the 100 greatest characters in the last 20 years (EW is celebrating its 20th birthday this year).

The full list is now online at the EW.com web site and there's a few PC-video game characters among the many movie and TV fictional heroes and villains. Lara Croft managed to make it all the way to the 17th position while Halo's Master Chief was rated as the 59th greatest character. For some odd reason EW put three other game characters in a group called the Game Guys in the 93 position (the group included Niko Bellic from Grand Theft Auto IV). What? No Duke Nukem or Gordon Freeman?

More details on Halo MMO come to light

It's been known for several months that before its shutdown Ensemble Studios was working on a project that would have brought Microsoft's Halo game franchise to the MMO genre. Now a new IncGames article sheds some more light on that canceled project. Former Ensemble team member Dusty Monk claims he worked on the game, code-named Titan, from 2004 to 2007.

Monk, who is now the founder of the new development studio Windstorm Studios, said that the project was designed to compete directly with Blizzard's audience for World of Warcraft. So why was the project eventually shut down? Monk says Microsoft had some new people come in to be in charge of their game division and felt that they need to go in more of a casual game direction to compete against Nintendo's Wii console. He states, "So part of this changing of the guard at Microsoft came along with the changing of the attitude to this very expensive, very long and very protacted $90 million USD project we were working on . . ."

Could Bungie return to the PC and Mac platforms?

Bungie is one of the most well know game developers in the world but for the past decade the studio has made first person shooter games in the Halo series for just one platform; Microsoft's Xbox/Xbox 360 game console. Their upcoming game Halo: Reach is scheduled to be the last Halo game for Bungie and perhaps the last game they make that will be exclusive to the Xbox platform.

Before the Halo series, however, Bungie was known as a multi-platform developer, making games for the Mac (the Marathon series) and the PC (the Myth series) and other consoles. So does that mean Bungie will embrace the PC and Mac platforms for their games beyond Halo: Reach? Industry Games posed that question to Bungie's community manager Brian Jarrard who stated, " . . . we're not looking at one particular piece of technology right now. All options are open right now, so long as we find the best possible fit for our creative vision and what this project is going to be."

Video Games Live sells MP3 player with exclusive live music tracks


The Video Games Live music concerts tours have been going on for a few years now all over the world but what if you happen to live in a part of the world where there are not any plans to hold such an event? Today Video Games Live announced that they are selling an exclusively branded MP3 player that will hold 10 exclusive live performances of a number of game music from those concerts.

The $50 MP3 player is currently on sale at the Video Games Live web site. The 2 GB player comes with headphones, a USB adapter, support for an internal speaker and a microphone for recording voices. The 10 music tracks have not been released before now and include live recordings of music from games like Halo, Warcraft, Mass Effect, Civilization IV and more.
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