1up brings us word directly from Valve Software regarding the dust-up we reported on yesterday. The hacker who goes by the name of MaddoxX turns out to be, unsurprisingly, full of shit. Here’s the statement by Valve director of marketing Doug Lombardi: "There has been no security breach of Steam. The alleged hacker gained access to a third-party site that Valve uses to manage the commercial partners in its Cyber Café program. This Cyber Café billing system is not connected to Steam. We are working with law enforcement agencies on this matter, and encourage anyone with more information to e-mail us at Catch_A_Thief@valvesoftware.com." (Thanks, Gary.) The story continues from there, though, because even if this smoke-blowing move by the hacker doesn’t affect regular users of the Steam service, it still represents a breach of security; and MaddoxX seems intent on wrapping himself up in criminal charges by sticking to his threats of releasing more information to the public. All well and good; I just hope Valve doesn’t go for entrapment this time around.
It has been awhile since the last backwards compatibility update for the Xbox 360, but those diligent folks at Microsoft gifted us yesterday with a new raft of original Xbox titles now playable on your shiny, Bruce Lee console. Evil Avatar has the full list here. Three things stand out to me: Phantom Dust is a glorious game and you should now track down a used copy if you don’t already own it; Panzer Dragoon Orta‘s popularity baffles me; and why the fuck would the programmers spend time on Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee when they could have done Stranger’s Wrath? Try again, steef. This update brings it up to about 70% of my old collection playable on my 360. That’s good, because my (refurbished) Xbox is developing something that sounds like smoker’s cough.
Speaking of backwards compatibility, the PS3 is expected to receive something kinda similar to an update in May. With the recent firmware release, PlayStation games downloaded from the Sony story were allegedly going to work right on the PS3. Unfortunately, they don’t. Apparently, this is due to a problem with the game code that has been adapted for download, as new versions of the games are expected in May. These new versions are expected to be fully compatible with the PS3, so that you can play them off the console’s hard drive.
Three brandy-new downloadable games are soon to hit the PlayStation Network (in the UK/Europe, at least), and 1up has the details. Shoring up the fledgling Live Arcade competitor will be some original content in the form of David Jaffe’s Calling All Cars, which will surely herald a new era for the developer until he sees something shiny, as well as familiar gameplay-given-facelift titles Nucleus (sub-atomic Geometry Wars?) and Super Stardust HD, which is a remake of an old Amiga game that I never experienced, and plays like Asteroids-in-orbit. Though we only have the UK/Europe dates now (May 18th, May 25th, and June 15th respectively) it’s a safe bet that we’ll hear about releases in other territories soon enough.
You may have caught it already, but Microsoft’s questionable tactic of slapping the Shadowrun license onto a team-based shooter has apparently paid off, at least for Tycho of Penny Arcade. I have fond memories of the 16-bit Shadowrun games, so I was bemused when it was announced that the revival of the franchise for the 360 wouldn’t even offer a passing glance to the world of RPGs. Still, I can get behind a solid game, whatever the license may be. I may occasionally stifle a sniffle at what could have been, but just ignore me. That’s my private time, anyway, so butt out.
Let’s finish up this Friday with a look at some of the customizability options in Bioware’s upcoming Mass Effect. A few days ago, IGN updated their original look at three of the six player classes with an article finishing off the remaining. I’m pretty fond of the way Bioware approaches their console RPGs, allowing the player to customize to his heart’s content, but having the narrative sense to work it all together in a linear (generally satisfying) story. The six classes, for the curious, are Soldier, Engineer, Adept, Infiltrator, Vanguard, and Sentinel, and the player’s choice will determine things such as proficiencies, starting skills, and usable gear.