Digital publisher Stardock believes Games for Windows - Live will collapse if Microsoft continues to let the Xbox team hack away at it.
Gas Powered Games has finally put out a demo for PC multiplayer strategy game Demigod.
I've enjoyed many horrendous dreams through years of game-induced sleep-deprivation, but I've never had such a stupid nightmare as "trying to launch a multiplayer-only game which doesn't work in multiplayer". Yet that's what the Gas Powered Games boys, and their loyal fans, have had to put up with for the past month. If faith was ever panhandled, this beggars belief.
Admittedly, Stardock's developers didn't expect that targetting an exclusively hardcore market would lead to such ludicrous levels of piracy (85 per cent of copies were pirated, primarily because of an early release by American retailer GameStop), and that their legitimate players would be completely unable to find working multiplayer matches at launch as a result. But, as I understand it, it was their choice to force every copy, including the hundred thousand pirated copies, to be constantly connected to their own servers (which is a strange thing to do for a company ostensibly not interested in copy-protection) using inadequate net code, and it was this self-manufactured denial-of-service attack that was impressively "duh". If Multiwinia hadn't already won this year's Darwin(ian) Award for self-declared immolation, Demigod would have been the prime contender.
So, suffice to say, if Eurogamer had reviewed this at the launch of the digital download, it would have been beaten black and blue without even a cursory glance at its key elements. Now, however, with the European release, and Stardock CEO Brad Wardell declaring it "fixed", we've unleashed our analytical might.
Stardock boss Brad Wardell reckons multiplayer strategy game Demigod will break 100,000 users before launching in Europe next Friday, 29th May.
But the April US launch has been anything but smooth and, recalls Wardell on the Stardock site, "definitely hurt the game".
The problems started when US retailer GameStop broke the street date through miscommunication, causing users to flood online over the Easter weekend when the servers weren't ready. Illegal copies of the game also caused a massive influx of unregistered players.
2D Boy co-founder Ron Carmel believes you, the consumer, are forcing PC publishers to rethink and perhaps abolish DRM altogether. The mob is Rome, after all.
Stardock boss Brad Wardell reckons the Demigod connectivity issues will be cleared up this week.
Most games are derivative in some way, but few are as open about their influences as Demigod, the upcoming RTS/RPG mash-up from Gas Powered Games (creator of Supreme Commander) and Stardock (them what made Sins of a Solar Empire). "The closest thing to Demigod is the Defence of the Ancients mod for WarCraft III" says the press material bluntly.
Stardock and Gas Powered Games will start testing the persistent online multiplayer in Demigod next week.
Beta 3 runs from 19th February. Sign-ups will end a week after that date.
The specific area of focus will be the Pantheon: a persistent universe charting the war between the Forces of Light and the Forces of Darkness. Developer Gas Powered Games wants this feature to run for "years to come".
Peculiar bedfellows, perhaps? There was always going to be a clash somewhere in this year's Coming Attractions as we sorted our way through 12 categories, but you could argue there's more that unites fighting and strategy than divides them. Both are about trying to take maximum of advantage of your opposition's weaknesses, both reward patience, concentration and consideration, and as of Red Alert 3 both have a thing for impractical women's clothing.
Atari has picked up co-publishing rights to PC action strategy game Demigod, and plans a release sometime next year.
Gas Powered Games boss Chris Taylor will be talking about Demigod ahead of the Leipzig Games Convention next month.
Gas Powered Games has told Eurogamer that Demigod is "completely playable" and "fairly certain" for a 2008 release.
Gas Powered Games shows more.
Supreme Commander developer Gas Powered Games has unveiled its brand new title as Demigod.
According to Games for Windows magazine it is a blend of RTS, RPG, and action; very similar to Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients.
The big idea is that you control a Hero and charge around the map killing enemies to increase your powers, before stomping on your opponent and smashing their puny face into pieces.