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Dune 2 RTS Is Free And Playable In Your Browser

Salty, old PC gamers remember Westwood Studios for many reasons, but it's mostly for Dune 2. Yes, this is also the same studio that created Command & Conquer, but its RTS predecessor that was responsible for establishing many of the genre's core conventions is the one based on Frank Herbert's fascinating sci-fi universe.

This '90s RTS is a topic of conversation today because it is now playable right in your browser. That's right: you can play Dune 2 in its entirety right now at play-dune.com (via Kotaku). The HTML5 app runs smoothly in your browser, though my iPad didn't want to make nice with it. It appears to be an imperfect port, with missing or slightly altered features and balance, but don't forget that it's entirely free.





Aliens: Colonial Marines Story Trailer »


You've surely heard by now that Gearbox Software's Aliens: Colonial Marines delivers a story that franchise rights-holder 20th Century Fox regards as official canon. The setup for that story is laid bare in a newly released trailer which is light on gameplay and heavy on exposition.

Colonial Marines is effectively a direct sequel to the events of Aliens, picking up not long after the events of Alien 3. A search and rescue force sent to investigate the U.S.S. Sulaco steps into the aftermath of a Xenomorph bloodbath, both aboard the ship and on the surface of LV-426. The new trailer features lots of nods for franchise fans, so give it a look.


Diablo 3

Blizzard had been planning to add a Team Deathmatch PvP option to Diablo 3 in a coming update, though a new blog post from lead designer Jay Wilson confirms that the mode has been officially shelved. The big issues seem to be the mode's lack of depth and the fact that classes are tuned and balanced for PvE play first.

As Wilson writes, "our core problem is that our Team Deathmatch mode doesn't feel like a great addition to Diablo III. It's not up to the quality that Blizzard gamers expect or that we feel you deserve, and it doesn't really fit with our goals for the rest of the game." The mode has been shelved entirely as a result, and the team is "going back to the drawing board" to work on a TDM "replacement."

That replacement, along with the still-confirmed 1v1 dueling -- coming in patch v1.0.7 "sometime after the new year" -- will be completely free additions to the core game.




Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider, which Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix will release on March 5, 2013, may feature some sort of multiplayer component that pits Lara Croft's shipmates against "Yamatai's scavengers" in "a variety of modes," according to a now-edited GAME UK product listing (as reported by All Games Beta). We've reached out to Square Enix for comment, as there's been no official talk yet of anything other than the story-driven campaign that reboots the series.

UNofficially, this isn't the first hint we've had that Tomb Raider will deliver something for the multiplayer crowd. Way, way back in 2010, a Crystal Dynamics job listing sought a producer to "take on a major production role in the multi-player part of an upcoming action adventure title" (via MTV Multiplayer). The job could conceivably have been for a different game, though don't forget that the studio has worked on nothing but Tomb Raider since 2006 (as far as the public knows).

Stay tuned for an update from Square Enix as soon as we hear back.




This new trailer is meant to prepare you for Visceral Games' Dead Space 3, which hits stores on February 5, 2013. There's still plenty of time to work your way through the series' first two games, but this "story so far" video does all the work for you. Spoilers ahead?

It's not as spoiler-y as you might think, revealing only the main beats of the previous releases. You'll still want to avoid the trailer if Dead Space/Dead Space 2 are on deck for the coming weeks, but even knowledgeable fans can appreciate this video refresher on Markers, Unitology, and other bits of lore from the Dead Space universe.

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BioShock Infinite's Reversible Cover Selected

The fans have spoken and the reversible cover image for BioShock Infinite has been chosen. Irrational Games has the result posted on its website, though you can also see the winning image above. This Songbird image nabbed itself 38 percent of the total votes, the most out of the six options offered.

The official cover art for BioShock Infinite wasn't terribly well-received among fans due to its somewhat generic feel. Irrational creative director Ken Levine admitted that he was ready for the backlash, explaining that the cover is meant to sell BioShock to mainstream audiences. The fan vote for reversible cover art is meant to give hardened gamers an alternative to the official art.

Sleeping Dogs

Whatever your chosen form of worship is, life tends to stop in the United States on Christmas Day. Whether that means family time or a day at the movies, you're still going to find yourself with some free time to play with.

Looking back over the video game releases of 2012, there's something of an embarassment of riches. We've gotten some solid games this year, games that surge thanks to original design and fresh spins on old chestnuts. Why not take today to catch up with some of those? Here are five contenders that you could have easily missed as the year unfolded...

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You saw the news of Battlefield 3's End Game DLC, due for a March 2013 release, earlier this week. Now you can take a first look at the fifth and final DLC release for Battlefield 3, compliments of a newly released trailer (via All Games Beta).

The minute-long montage focuses almost entirely on the content pack's new vehicle, the dirt bike. The ride allows for a driver and a single passenger, with the latter able to fire at whatever's ahead. The brief teaser also suggests that End Game's maps will be well-suited to this new vehicle, with proper roads, makeshift jumps, and tight corridors that couldn't accomodate larger vehicles.




Gary Schyman, the man behind the music of BioShock and BioShock 2, is returning once again to work with Ken Levine and the Irrational Games team on scoring BioShock Infinite. The news is confirmed in an official announcement from Levine that came at the start of his appearance for yesterday's Reddit AMA session.

“His score is very different from the first two games, yet very much guided by the same aesthetic principles," Levine said of Schyman's current work. "We were lucky to have him and I can't wait until you get to hear some of his stuff. He's working in a different, sparer style, but it's awesome.”

You can hear some of that style right now in a newly released excerpt from BioShock Infinite's soundtrack, the full version of which is a packed-in exclusive included with the Premium and Ultimate Songbird versions of the game.




Star Trek Game Beams Up In April 2013

The upcoming Star Trek game from Namco Bandai is now officially set by the publisher and partner Paramount Pictures for release on April 23, 2013. The game's story serves as a bridge between the events of the 2009 blockbuster Star Trek and its 2013 follow-up, Star Trek Into Darkness.

The release announcement also reveals a pre-order bonus in the form of the "Elite Office Pack," offering "exclusive items and unique uniforms" for Kirk and Spock, the two stars of this co-op-enabled game. The pre-order bonus comes with five separate costume packs that let you outfit Kirk and Spock in a variety of themed duds.




Battlefield 3's End Game DLC Details Emerge

The Aftermath DLC is now live and available on all platforms for Battlefield 3 players, which means that the fifth and final pack -- End Game -- is going to be here soon as well. Electronic Arts and DICE share the first official details in a newly updated product page on Battlefield.com.

End Game adds four new multiplayer maps "designed for high speed combat and action" to the game, along with three new vehicles (dirt bikes and lightweight anti-air vehicles are mentioned), a new dropship "with vehicle drop capabilities," and the return of the Capture the Flag game mode.

There isn't a specific release date confirmed yet for End Game, but expect it to arrive sometime in March 2013.

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Borderlands 2: Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt Trailer »


Hey, look at that: rumors of a Borderlands 2 DLC pack titled Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt are true. 2K Games and Gearbox Software confirmed the news this morning in a media blast and 2K blog post, confirming that the third DLC pack for September 2012's fan-favorite looter shooter will be coming on January 15, 2013.

Like the previous two DLC releases, Hammerlock will cost $9.99 (800 MS Points) on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC platforms. Players will be sent off to explore the Pandoran continent of Aegrus on a hunting trip. A new villain and self-proclaimed Handsome Jack superfan presents himself shortly after you arrive and it's not long before you're taking on an assortment of new baddies in an effort to stop him.

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The Albert Hughes-directed web series, The 7 Wonders of Crysis 3, continues today with its second episode, The Hunt. The focus in this gameplay clip is primarily on the 2013 game's bow and arrow weapon, used here to hunt a pack of Ceph aliens.

There's a little light machine gun action and a large set of explosions as well, just to ensure that you don't start to think that Crysis 3 doesn't also bring in some heavy firepower. As the title suggests, however, this second episode is all about the hunt. Also, it's about showing off more of those slick, slick graphics.

Infocom Founders Will Be Honored At D.I.C.E. 2013

Dave Lebling and Marc Blank co-founder Infocom back in the 1980s, introducing the PC gaming world to classic text adventures like Zork, A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Planetfall. In February 2013, Lebling and Blank will be presented with the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Pioneer Award at the annual D.I.C.E. Awards in Las Vegas, NV.

The D.I.C.E. Summit -- short for Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain -- is a yearly developer-focused gathering that focuses on game design and production. It's smaller than E3 and not nearly as product-driven, with the primary goal being to bring creatives together to discuss their craft. The event will conclude with the D.I.C.E. Awards as Lebling and Blank follow previous Pioneer Award winners like Pitfall! creator David Crane and Asteroids designer Ed Logg.

If you'd like to hear more from Lebling and Blank on Infocom and the Pioneer Award news, give this Wired article a look. Infocom fans especially should spend some time playing around with the uniquely presented interview.




BioShock Infinite "Lighthouse" Gameplay Video »


Want to start your day with a look at the first five minutes of BioShock Infinite? Because that's a thing you can do, thanks to a new video share from Irrational Games and 2K Games. It's the same sequence that members of the media played through during a recent hands-on preview event.

You could be forgiven for mistaking the start of BioShock Infinite for the start of BioShock. Once again, the game opens on a stormy ocean with a lone lighthouse sitting out in the middle of nowhere. Only this time, your journey goes up rather than down, as a rocket sends protagonist Booker DeWitt hurtling into the sky toward Columbia.

In related news, Irrational also announced yesterday that creative director and lead writer Ken Levine will be hosting a Reddit AMA tomorrow, December 20, 2012, at 2pm ET. You can check that out here.

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