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Friday, November 21, 2008 Shipping Announcements

by Rainier on Nov. 21, 2008 @ 5:25 a.m. PST

Another day, another batch of games shipped to stores. Instead of giving them all their own posts, we grouped them, and so far there are announcements for:

We will update this throughout the day when new announcements become available. Read more for details ...

Left 4 Dead (X360/PC)

Set in a modern day survival-horror universe, the game casts you as one of four survivors in an epic struggle against swarming hordes of zombies and terrifying mutants. The four expansive campaigns offer single player and co-operative game modes. Left 4 Dead also features a Versus mode that allows players to take control of one of four types of "Boss Infected," with each "Boss" possessing a mutant ability instead of traditional firearms. In addition, Left 4 Dead offers gamers the chance to go "behind the scenes" of the making of the game via the "Director's Commentary" mode.

"Valve launched Left 4 Dead with a $10 million dollar marketing campaign spanning television, print and online advertising plus non-traditional outdoor placements in many major cities in the US and Europe," said Doug Lombardi, vice president of marketing at Valve. "These programs, in addition to the community-focused activities such as the 'Dude, where's my thumb?" photo contest have helped expose Left 4 Dead's innovative gameplay to gamers and put it on track to become one of 2008's top releases."

"The goal for Left 4 Dead was to create a game that blends the social entertainment experience of multiplayer titles such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress with the dramatic, narrative experience made popular in single player action classics such as the Half-Life series of games," stated Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. "The success of this experiment has resulted in tremendous pre-order performance, reviews, and the fastest-growing online player number of any Valve title."

Left 4 Dead (L4D) is now available at retailers worldwide for the PC and the Xbox 360.

Big League Sports (Wii)

There are multiple disciplines to master within tennis, basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse and hockey. But unlike other games the focus is not on the team - it's on whether or not you can deliver in specific, adrenaline-pumping moments. Whether it's acing an opponent in tennis, hitting a basketball shot at the buzzer, or bending free kicks around a goalie in soccer, Big League Sports offers a fresh interpretation of what a sports game can be on Wii.

"Big League Sports is perfect for family game night," said Dave Oxford, Activision Publishing. "The innovative Wii controls offer the kind of accessible head to head competition that gets everyone off the couch, playing and cheering!"

Big League Sports allows up to four players to compete in a variety of modes, including single game and tournament modes that offer hours of non-stop action. Players can also view their statistics and overall progress, as well as the trophies they have won. A character creation feature allows players to craft a character to their liking with dozens of customization options.

The game is out now for a suggested retail price of $39.99 and is rated "E" for Everyone by the ESRB.

Luminous Arc 2 (NDS)

Luminous Arc 2 is an epic strategy RPG loaded to the brim with content, including a wealth of new characters (and the return of a few favorites), beautiful hand drawn graphics, a stunning score from famed composer Yasunori Mitsuda‘s Procyon Studio, local and online multiplayer support, multiple endings, a redesigned user interface, and tons of other new features. More engaging, more challenging, more attractive, and more satisfying, Luminous Arc 2 is the definitive strategy RPG for Nintendo DS owners this holiday season.

New to Luminous Arc 2 is the innovative Engagement System, one of the most jarring changes series veterans will see in the game. (It's hard not to notice pictures of the Witches in their wedding outfits when Roland chooses to Engage with them.) The system is unique in that it offers Roland a variety of strategic possibilities so long as he keeps the Witches alive. Since the player will gain access to all the skills that a Witch has as well as stat boosts that vary per Witch for three turns, there are a lot of strategies one can build just focusing on Roland's Engagement.

In addition, the player will also have to decide who to include for a balanced party. Do they decide to field a party of all Witches? Or do they rely on some of the non-magic using members of the party to dish out some damage? It will be interesting to see which strategies end up proving superior in the myriads of online battles that are soon to come...

Don't forget: every copy of Luminous Arc 2 is bundled with a soundtrack CD featuring selected music from the game in a special oversized box, a rarity for Nintendo DS titles. Snag a copy, battle online, and show other players around the country who the master strategist is!

Making History Gold Edition (PC)

"This game is the result of a combination of suggestions and input from our fantastic player community as well as features and tweaks we here at Muzzy Lane have added to improve the game." says Muzzy Lane Product Manager Chris Parsons. "Our new Rise of the Reich scenario is a response to polls from the Making History Gaming Headquarters website. It turns out everyone wants to play the bad guy and take over the world! Rise of the Reich gives you a chance to do just that."

The Gold Edition further includes three broad-ranging scenarios created by our players using the Making History Editor. One is the ultra-realistic Blitzkrieg scenario, which closely follows the actual historical timeline. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Clash of Continents – a complete fantasy battle scenario in which nations are replaced by six independent teams fighting against time and each other to capture the world as quickly as possible. Finally there is Southern Star, which features the United States split into two nations – North and South – as a result of a very different culmination to the US Civil War. This counterfactual event dramatically alters the balance of WWII powers and creates some interesting questions: What if the two US nations had different allegiances in the war? Or just fought each other as civil war tensions flared up again? Together these new scenarios offer unique and challenging experiences for both veteran players and new recruits.

Making History Gold Edition is currently available for download ($19.99), as well top digital distribution sites. Boxed versions of the game are coming soon to many leading retail outlets.

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir (PC) - Europe

Developed by world-renowned studio Obsidian Entertainment, the second expansion pack for the acclaimed Neverwinter Nights 2 delivers thrilling original D&D® adventures made even more exciting by a host of new gameplay features. Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir is now available at retailers across Europe.

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir builds on the strong tradition of Dungeons & Dragons® computer games by marrying old-school concepts like full party customization and dungeon crawling with new innovations, such as a fully 3D Overland Map feature which allows for free exploration of the non-linear game world. The gripping storyline foreshadows the events that devastate the land in the latest Forgotten Realms® story arc by Wizards of the Coast.

The Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir Overland Map feature lets players explore the Chultan Peninsula and Sword Coast in a way never before possible in any Neverwinter Nights game. Players will explore well-known locations, like Neverwinter and Crossroad Keep, alongside lesser travelled areas, such as the xenophobic jungle nation of Samarach. Vicious monsters and groups of bandits populate the Overland Map, and the farther from civilization the player roams, the more difficult the encounters become.

The 20 to 30-hour campaign in Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir introduces new classes, including the fearsome Hellfire Warlock and the daring Swashbuckler, as well as brand-new spells, creatures, and playable races. Fans of the compelling multiplayer features of Neverwinter Nights 2 will be able to play through Storm of Zehir's campaign in the online cooperative mode, while modders can use the included editor to create their own campaigns and Overland Maps to share online.

Game Features:

  • Travel the Sword Coast and Samarach with the open-ended exploration of the new Overland Map. Use skills like Spot, Survival, and Hide to avoid ambushes and even find hidden locales and lost artifacts.
  • Create your own full party of adventurers. Devastate your foes with a squad of fireball-flinging Sorcerers, form a solid wall of steel with a party of Fighters, or strike the perfect balance in your party by spreading out the classes you choose for your characters.
  • Improved party gameplay with a sophisticated party conversation system, full party creation, and Teamwork Benefits.

Tomb Raider: Underworld (NDS/Wii/PS3/X360/PC) - Europe

Tomb Raider: Underworld is an epic adventure that delivers advanced exploration-based gameplay that gives players a new level of challenge and choice as they solve mysteries from exotic locations around the world.

"Tomb Raider: Underworld brings to life a realistic world that fully complements Lara Croft's bold personality," said Sean Vesce, General Manager of Crystal Dynamics. "We continue to innovate on the brand that defined the action-adventure genre and we are excited to introduce fans and gamers to an immersive, believable world that they can explore and conquer."

Tomb Raider: Underworld seamlessly blends exploration, grand scale puzzle solving and combat, taking players on an archeological journey to the ancient netherworlds of the Mediterranean, Thailand, Mexico, the Arctic Sea and more. As fearless adventurer Lara Croft, gamers uncover proof of the existence of the Norse underworld and the mythical Hammer of Thor, and embark on a perilous journey towards a forgotten power that, if unleashed, could lay waste to all of civilization. Lara's latest adventure introduces scores of new capabilities and state-of-the-art gear, including an active sonar map, multi-purpose grapple and an all-terrain motorbike. With fresh moves that are more intuitive and realistic than ever before, players must master these in order to navigate through treacherous environments and defeat a range of hostile enemies.

Beginning this Christmas, fans can extend their Tomb Raider experience with two new downloadable chapters that will be available exclusively on Xbox Live Marketplace for Xbox 360. The first new chapter, Tomb Raider: Underworld – Beneath the Ashes, will be available in December and takes place after the Underworld story has finished and features a new environment to explore and additional secrets to unlock. The second chapter, Tomb Raider: Underworld – Lara's Shadow, will follow in early 2009 and introduce a new playable character to the Tomb Raider experience.

Tomb Raider: Underworld, developed by Crystal Dynamics, is now available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, NDS, and PC.

TrackMania DS (NDS) - Europe

TrackMania DS allows players to drive at mind-blowing speeds in hi-octane racers on incredible tracks made of jumps, loops and turbo boost pads as they bid to become the fastest driver on the planet. View the extreme gameplay on the latest TrackMania DS trailer:

Choose from Desert, Rally or Stadium environments to select your race machine and go head-to-head with your mates in multiplayer mode. Other unique features of TrackMania DS include:

  • 3D Track Editor: Players can create their own adrenaline rush as they craft customised tracks for out-of-this-world racing
  • Single cartridge multiplayer: Up to four players can race on custom or in-game tracks using just one game cartridge via the local WiFi connection of the DS
  • TrackMania vehicles: These include the light and powerful Rally car, the hard to handle desert vehicle and the iconic TrackMania car, a stylised F1 racer
  • Three single player modes: Race, Platform and Puzzle provide a variety of challenges for even the most experienced racer
  • Hotseat multiplayer: Using just one game cartridge and one DS console, adrenaline flows as up to eight players take turns racing around custom or in-game tracks to set the fastest times in nail-biting competition
  • Three TrackMania environments: Desert, Rally and Stadium environments offer unique styles of gameplay

TrackMania DS is in stores now, by Ascaron Entertainment and 93 Games, bringing a new type of extreme racing to the handheld console

A Vampyre Story (PC) - Europe

A Vampyre Story is a point & click adventure for PC that tells the tale of the beautiful, gifted opera singer Mona De Lafitte, whose life is brought to an abrupt end by the vampire baron, Shrowdy Von Kiefer. Trapped in Draxsylvania Castle and doomed to a miserable existence as a creature of the night, Mona decides to run away to fulfil her dream of singing at the Paris Opera.

A number of challenges await the elegant opera singer as she comes to terms with her new vampire nature and learns to harness the supernatural abilities she has acquired. Froderick, a witty and mischievous bat, joins Mona on the quest to realise her dream, helping unravel brain teasing puzzles and adding humour to the proceedings with a consistent flow of wise cracks and sinister jokes.

A Vampyre Story is a beautifully crafted game with great aesthetic value conveyed through a cast of wonderful characters and a creative storyline. The game has been developed by Autumn Moon Entertainment, a company founded by ex-LucasArts employee Bill Tiller, who previously worked on adventure game classics The Curse of Monkey Island and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine.

Ex-LucasArts employee Bill Tiller's A Vampyre Story is now available in Europe.


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