The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

Key events

System Shock 2, Riddick and Banished free when spending in GOG Big Fall Sale

SpaceChem 70 pence! SimCity 2000 and Sensible World of Soccer 1.50!

The GOG Big Fall Sale - autumn sale - has begun, and again offers free games at certain spending thresholds. At 3.29 you get the revered System Shock 2; at 9.79 the solid Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena; and at 19.49 Banished (which presumably has had a lot of work done since we looked at it).

Vin Diesel announces new Chronicles of Riddick game

Vin Diesel announces new Chronicles of Riddick game

Escape from Butcher Bay team on board.

Mr. Riddick himself, Vin Diesel, has spilled the beans on a third game in the Chronicles of Riddick series.

The untitled installment is being developed by Starbreeze team members who worked on 2004 prequel Escape from Butcher Bay, which expanded the Riddick movie series' world with its own story.

Diesel's own team at Tigon Studios will also work on the new project, Screencrush reported (thanks, OXM).

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Starbreeze signs Unreal Engine 3 deal

Will Syndicate reboot use Epic's tech?

Starbreeze, maker of The Chronicles of Riddick and The Darkness - and the developer rumoured to be behind EA's unconfirmed Syndicate revival, has signed a long-term licensing deal to use Gears of War engine Unreal Engine 3.

ZeniMax buys MachineGames

Starbreeze alumni using id Tech 5.

ZeniMax Media - the company that owns Bethesda, id, Arkane and Tango - has bought another studio: MachineGames.

Tigon: Hollywood needs to wake up

Videogames are "the Field of Dreams".

Ian Stevens, boss of Vin Diesel's production company Tigon, believes videogames are "the Field of Dreams", and that Hollywood needs to start treating them as more than the proverbial action figure.

Vivendi didn't believe in Riddick, claims Tigon

"Nobody really gave a sh*t."

Vin Diesel's production company Tigon Studios has recalled the struggle that The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay had finding an audience, because "nobody" - not even publisher Vivendi - "really gave a sh*t".

PSN update: demos, DLC, more demos

PSN update: demos, DLC, more demos

inFamous! Marvel vs. Capcom! Red Gorillas!

There are demos aplenty on the PS3 Store this weekend, including tasters for inFamous, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

There's plenty more content for existing PS3 games as well. The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena gets a map pack as does F.E.A.R. 2. There are some monster-themed costumes and level-making tools for LittleBigPlanet, plus some special Live recordings by Alice Cooper for Rock Band. Alice, remember, is a man. It's so confusing.

Also, note the excellent puzzler Fading Shadows for download on PSP. This costs 12 quid but is well worth the money. Pop over to our Fading Shadows review to find out more.

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UK charts: Wii Fit on top yet again

Newcomer Riddick overshadowed at two.

Nintendo's Wii Fit tops the UK All-Formats chart for the 13th time this week, edging closer to the 18-week all-time record set by Who Wants to be a Millionaire? in 2001.

Face-Off: The Chronicles of Riddick

We've not had much out of Starbreeze Studios since the release of The Darkness back in June 2007, and that's a real shame. The Darkness may well have had its issues (like Jackie's complete inability to get around with anything other than a leaden shuffle) but it was a superb shooter, with plenty of original touches, a good storyline and one of the most astonishing game engines seen in that time period. It was the first Xbox 360 game I played that didn't look like an Xbox 360 game. It looked better, a generation beyond. In terms of lighting, post-processing effects, characters, motion blur... nothing could touch it, and even now in a market saturated with Unreal Engine 3 shooters, it has a look that is all its own.

The PlayStation 3 code on the other hand wasn't quite as decent. The same gameplay, the same geometry, but just about everything else was tangibly cut-down compared to the original. The first casualty was the resolution - down from native 720p to a teeth-clenchingly unimpressive 960x540. Anti-aliasing? Gone. Lighting effects? Pared down. Textures? Lower resolution, in many places. In short, an unimpressive port, but at least the coolness of the game remained intact and it remained an enjoyable adventure.

So here we are getting on for two years later with Starbreeze's latest effort: a retooling of its 2004 technology-defying Xbox release, The Chronicles of Riddick. The Darkness engine is back in full effect, powering an HD version of the original Escape From Butcher Bay, along with a brand new single-player campaign, Assault on Dark Athena. Online multiplayer modes are also bundled into the package.

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The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

Hello darkness, my old friend...

Vin Diesel must be breathing a sigh of relief. It looks like the fourth instalment in the Fast and Furious franchise is going to be a healthy box office hit. This is good news for the rumbling slaphead, since it means you no longer have to look back to the 2005 family comedy The Pacifier for a bona fide hit in his filmography. If you ignore that effort (and you probably should - Diesel co-stars with a comedy duck) then you'd have to rewind back to the halcyon days of 2001 and 2002 for the original Fast and the Furious, and XXX as the only other two Diesel star vehicles to break the magic hundred-million-dollar ceiling.

So Diesel is one of those actors whose celebrity is at odds with his box office appeal. The Chronicles of Riddick, in particular, was a fairly embarrassing flop, losing a lot of money for Universal and pretty much putting an end to the Riddick saga. Well, on the cinematic front at least.

As Xbox owners are no doubt aware, while Riddick floundered on the big screen he was being lavished with praise by gamers. Indeed, should Diesel's movie career ever stall, he's probably better placed than almost any other actor to become gaming's first crossover star. More than most of his contemporaries, he seems to understand that appearing in a videogame needn't be a cynical payday or contractual obligation. With shrewd input and guidance, Diesel has shown, a starring role in a game can be just as effective at maintaining the right profile as a movie or TV gig.

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Atari defends Riddick PC DRM

But wants to eventually remove it.

Atari has defended the decision to use DRM to protect the PC version of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, claiming only 10 per cent of owners have used one of their three installations, and only four people have been unable to play because of the anti-piracy measures.

Diesel "begged" for Riddick multiplayer

Added it late in development.

Actor and games magnate Vin Diesel has revealed that he "begged" for developer Starbreeze to include an online multiplayer mode in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena.

Riddick demo on Xbox Live now

Coming to PSN soon.

Atari and Starbreeze have made a 360 demo of imminent Riddick reboot, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, available on Xbox Live.

Coming Attractions: Action & Adventure

Get juiced and get thinking.

We've had indie and esoterica, sports and music, MMOs and RPGs, and fighting and strategy, which just leaves the glamour girls of action, adventure, shooters and racing to strut their stuff.

January is traditionally a time of year for videogame trend-spotting: putting money on the big themes that may help define the coming months. Here's one for 09: filing for bankruptcy. And here's another: Vin Diesel. These trends do not appear to be related.

New Riddick content "about 11 hours"

More than just an expansion.

Atari has said that Assault on Dark Athena, the new adventure built on top of Escape from Butcher Bay, lasts about 11 hours, is based on an upgraded

True Riddick sequel

True Riddick sequel "couple of years out"

Dark Athena is "episodic expansion".

Vin Diesel's Tigon Studios has said it sees upcoming Riddick title Assault on Dark Athena as an "episodic expansion", revealing that work on a true sequel to the 2004 Xbox classic is already underway.

Speaking to Eurogamer TV at the recent Atari Live event in London, Tigon head of production Ian Stevens said: "We've really tried to maintain that core experience [of the original] and embellish it for Assault on Dark Athena, which we see very much as an episodic expansion of Escape From Butcher Bay.

"We're not calling it a sequel; we've got a sequel in mind that's a couple of years out if you guys want it, and you like this and you tell us you want more."

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You don't often hear fairytales in the world of games development, but the story of the making of the original Chronicles of Riddick game, Escape from Butcher Bay, comes close. Little-known developer stumbles across edgy, independent film licence Pitch Black; secures rights for itself direct with star's production company; starts making excellent, off-the-wall Xbox stealth game before it even hears about a big-budget movie sequel; not-that-arguably does the character much better justice than the movie studio; is showered in plaudits, fan-love and game sales.

New details emerge of Riddick multiplayer

New details emerge of Riddick multiplayer

Has Pitch Black and CS-style modes.

Starbreeze plans to put a creepy Pitch Black multiplayer mode in Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, where one person becomes likes-the-dark Riddick, while the others are bog standard guards with guns and torches.

But if those guards manage to take down the stealthy hunter Riddick, then they become him next round, according to Official Xbox Magazine. "Athena him!"

Dark Athena will sport regular 12-player deathmatch and capture the flag. There's also an appealing Butcher Bay Riot mode that has three teams of four battle to be the first to activate a central power cell.

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