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Things And Stuff: Thursday News Roundup

Call of Duty expansion named, Rise of Nations expansion trailed, True Crime sings its little heart out, and Nicely Crafted pockets a government grant.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

The American edition of PC Gamer magazine has reportedly confirmed the identity of the first planned expansion pack for World War II themed FPS Call of Duty. The expansion is being designed by Return to Castle Wolfenstein developer Gray Matter Studios (so that's what they're up to) and will be called "Call of Duty: United Offensive". It's due out later in the year, and we'll eat our dog tags if it's the last we hear of the Call of Duty series on the PC.

Another expansion due out later this year is Big Huge Games' Rise of Nations: Thrones & Patriots, and unlike United Offensive you can actually see how that's shaping up for yourself on the dear old internet, all thanks to a new trailer for the game, which lasts two and a half minutes and shows off the new campaigns and Conquer The World mode. Real-time strategy fans can pick it up right now assuming they don't mind the 65MB file size, which sound like quite a lot for such a small trailer until you realise the whole thing is presented at 640x480 resolution.

Hot on the heels of yesterday's multiplayer screenshots, Activision has issued another True Crime release today announcing that the upcoming PC version of Luxoflux's Grand Theft Also will feature an additional 32 songs on the soundtrack from the likes of Alice In Chains, Queensryche, Spineshank and Stone Sour. Fans of the genre may recall that True Crime already had Snoop Dogg, Westside Connection and a bunch of other hip hop acts on the disc when it shipped for PS2, Xbox and Cube. The most impressive thing about all this though is that even with the addition of these 32 tunes there is still nothing on the soundtrack that we would bother to listen to in our own time. Sorry guys.

Finally, those lucky bods at Cambridge-based Nicely Crafted Entertainment are to receive a government grant for research and development, courtesy of the Department of Trade & Industry. The grant is being allocated so that NiCE can demonstrate the feasibility of creating an entire virtual eco-system within a computer, complete with pretty birds, trees, flowers, etc, all of which will grow with the help of some hard-coded laws of nature. Best of luck to 'em. Next week: a government-funded study into the use of magic beans in golden egg retrieval.

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