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NFS The Run: Official Announcement Friday, 29.04.2011
NFS The RunAs expected the official announcement of Need for Speed: The Run was made today and reveals - additional to yesterday's released teaser trailer - more details about the game:


Get ready to rip up the road! Adrenaline junkies and speed fiends will find themselves on the wrong side of the law this November when they race for their lives in Need for Speed™ The Run from Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS). The hottest blockbuster this holiday is a game that takes players on a heart-pounding cross-country race from San Francisco to New York. Launching on November 15, Need for Speed The Run lures players into an underground world of illicit, high-stakes racing. The heat is on – and it isn’t just the fuzz who are after you. Entering the race is just the beginning as you blow across borders, weave through dense urban traffic, rocket down icy mountain passes and navigate narrow canyons at breakneck speeds. Powered by DICE’s state-of-the-art Frostbite™ 2 engine, Need for Speed The Run takes the action racing genre to new heights with stunning visuals and car physics that hug the road even at top speeds all built around a gripping storyline. The cars are hot, the racing is intense and the story will have you at the edge of your seat… all the way from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Empire State building.

“This is the year that Need for Speed goes to the next level,” said Jason DeLong, Executive Producer at EA. “We think that Need for Speed The Run is going to surprise people with its intense, thrilling story and big action feel. But the game would be nothing without hot cars and crazy-fast chases. So that is what we’re delivering -- explosive racing that will have players flirting with disaster at 200-miles an hour.”

Using the groundbreaking Frostbite 2 engine, Need for Speed The Run will set the bar with unparalleled visual quality and enhanced physics. Need for Speed The Run will also take immersive storytelling to a new level with cutting edge performances that will draw the player into a world with no speed limits, rules or allies. Autolog, the Need for Speed franchise’s revolutionary social competition functionality, is back and better in Need for Speed The Run as it will continue to reinvent how people play games, track career progression and compare game stats.

Developed by Black Box, a studio of Electronic Arts, Need for Speed The Run will be available November 15, 2011 in North America and November 17, 2011 in Europe for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii and Nintendo 3DS.


» Need for Speed: The Run Teaser Trailer
» Official website of Need for Speed: The Run
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Shift 2 Unleashed: First PC-Patch released Friday, 29.04.2011
Shift 2 UnleashedThe first PC-Patch for Shift 2 Unleashed was released! (We talked about it here.)

The changes are as followed:

Release Notes:
-Common - Online - Catch Up Events - All users are prompted with the same message at the start of a catchup pack/catchup duel event
-Cars - Car wheels intersect or float in the air when the player uses wheels wirh a different diameter to the AI
-Online – Catch Up Modes – Once in-game there is no onscreen objective based message for either the fast car or the slower car/pack.
-VIP Rewards - SHIFT1 PC does not write the entitlement that SHIFT2 looks for correctly
-Online Modes - The host's car is not visible to at least one of the clients in an online lobby
-Online - Players cars are occasionally crashing during rolling starts before the player takes control
-Screen Transistion - Autolog - Player can momentarily get stuck within autolog when launching an event via the speedwall
-Front end - Loading screen - Speedwall - First lap of event sometimes not being recorded by total time resulting in unobtainable World and Regional times
-Cars/tracks - Visually the steering wheel when racing in cockpit views appears overly sensitive at the beginning of the turning circle
-Online - lobby timer - Lobby timer is not appearing to reset back to 1:45 for the client players after a host migration takes place. The new host does see the timer reset.
-Autolog - Speedwall - Erroneous speedwall times - Times can be set within and event which are unrealistic and unfeasible to acquire.
-Tracks - Drift - The last corner on Miami Park Drift track now gives more drift points
-Career - Drift – AI opponent scores are very hard to beat on Miami Park Drift in the last event in Drift Championship
-Camera initialization bug - Certain player views do not initialize correctly at race start
-Physics & Handling - Input lag/delay present on steering wheels
-Cars - McLaren MP4-12C - The Modern A Invitational event cannot be completed with Full Damage settings due to engine blowout
-Online - If a client joins a lobby at the 00:10 mark, he will be stuck in a technical hang in the lobby and the other players will be stuck in a loading screen technical hang
-Cars - Team Need for Speed Mazda RX-8 - The game can remain in a tech hang in the loading screen of events/races when the Team NFS Mazda RX-8 car is used.
-Common - Online – Catch Up Modes – Once in-game there is no onscreen objective based message for either the fast car or the slower car/pack.
-VIP - NFS Undercover VIP not awarded when playing shift 2
-Retail Only - Players stuck on a black screen at the start of offline events
-Photo Mode - Tech hang seen when taking photos in certain resolutions
-VIP - Hot Pursuit LE writes a different entitlement to SE, thus will not be picked up by Shift 2 VIP


You can download the patch here:

» Shift 2 Unleashed: Patches
» Download from NeedforSpeed.com
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Need for Speed: The Run [UPDATE] Thursday, 28.04.2011
NFS: The Run» ShopTo.net leaked a new NFS title called Need for Speed: The Run - apparently coming on November 18th, 2011. The trailer on the website reveals first details about the game:



NFS TR BoxartBased on the trailer NFS: The Run seems to be a story-focused driving game, with pursuits with the police. Several cities run across the screen, like San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas and Denver - maybe locations where the player is placed in the game, following the story?
We will see...

According to earlier rumours it's possible that this NFS game is developed by EA Black Box, who created after NFS Undercover the free online-racing-game NFS World.

Update:
EA indirectly confirmed the title, as the teaser trailer was posted in the official » NeedforSpeed Youtube-Channel. Tomorrow we can expect more information. (Source: » Twitter)

It's called The Run. An illicit, high-stakes race across the country. The only way to get your life back is to be the first from San Francisco to New York.

No speed limits. No rules. No allies. All you have are your driving skills and sheer determination as you battle hundreds of the world's most notorious drivers on the country's most dangerous roads.

In Need for Speed The Run, you'll weave through dense urban centers, rocket down icy mountain passes and navigate narrow canyons at breakneck speeds, all the while evading a relentless police force prepared -- and willing -- to use lethal force to take you down. In stores November 15.


» VG247 (Source)
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Sony Playstation Network hacked Tuesday, 26.04.2011
PSNIt seems like Playstation 3 users will have to wait for the Shift 2 Unleashed Legends Pack a little longer, since Sony still couldn't bring the Playstation Network online, after a downtime of 6 days and counting.

As if the downtime isn't already enough, Sony just announced the worst possible news, that the PSN was compromised:

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your PlayStation Network or Qriocity user name or password for other unrelated services or accounts, we strongly recommend that you change them, as well.


I have to say, words fail me.

You can find more information on the official Playstation blog:

» Update on PlayStation Network and Qriocity
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Shift 2 Unleashed: Legends Pack Cars and Tracks Tuesday, 26.04.2011
Shift 2 UnleashedAs previously » announced the Shift 2 Unleashed Legends Pack was released today and contains 13 new cars and 5 classic race tracks.

Your new rival will be Matt Powers, the drifter for Team Need for Speed who took second place in the 2011 Formula Drift opener. If you can beat him, you can get your hands on his 1974 Porsche 911 RSR.

Porsche Carrera RSR 3.0 (1974)

Here can find a list of the cars, which will be available in the Legends pack:

» Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA (1965)
» Austin Mini Cooper S (1965)
» BMW 3.0 CSL Gr.5 (1975)
» Ford Capri RS3100 Gr.4 (1974)
» Ford Escort Mk1 RS1 600 (1971)
» Ford GT40 Mk1 (1965)
» Lotus Cortina Mk1 (1963)
» Jaguar E-Type Lightweight (1963)
» Nissan Fairlady 240ZG (S30) (1971)
» Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R (C10) (1972)
» Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 (1974)
» Porsche 914/6 GT (1970)
» Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe (1965)

The tracks are the following:

» Dijon-Prenois (1972)
» Hockenheim (1982)
» Monza (1958)
» Rouen-Les-Essarts GP (1966)
» Rouen-Les-Essarts Short (1952)
» Silverstone (1975)

The SHIFT 2 Unleashed Legends Pack is available tomorrow for 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE® Marketplace or $9.99 on the PlayStation® Network.
You can find more information about the DLC here:

» Shift 2 Unleashed Legends Pack
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NFS-Planet Easter Egg Search 2011 Wednesday, 20.04.2011
Happy EasterThe annual easter egg search starts again at NFS-Planet! The easter bunny hid 15 easter eggs, just like the one you can see to your right.

Just browse through the site and if you can find at least 5 eggs, you get
the chance to win one of the following prizes!

Whereever you find an easter egg, just click on it and it will be marked as "found". Of course you'll need a NFS-Planet account and you have to be logged in. Once you could find at least 5 eggs, you automatically participate in the raffle where you have the chance to win one of the following prizes:
  • 1x Shift 2 Unleashed (LE) for PS3
  • 1x NFS Hot Pursuit (LE) for PS3
  • 5x NFS Hot Pursuit Fan Package
  • 1x Need for Speed Jacket
  • 1x Shift 2 Unleashed T-Shirt & Cap
  • 1x NFS Hot Pursuit Big Box Set à 3
  • 1x NFS Hot Pursuit Standee
  • 1x NFS Hot Pursuit Floorsticker Set à 3
Many thanks to Electronic Arts for the prizes.

The easter egg search is only open to egg hunters until April 30th 2011. The winners will be announced a few days later.

Not registered yet? Get here a free member account!

Rules:
Each person can only participate once. Registration of multiple accounts and unallowed manipulations are not permitted. A valid "discovery" of an egg is only the explicit click
on an egg, which opens a popup and registrates the discovery.
The winners will be notified by e-mail. If the winner provides a wrong e-mail or postal address and/or the prize can't be delivered, the entitlement to the prize drops. If we don't receive an answer within 14 days, the entitlement to the prize expires.
The winners agree that their names may be published on the NFS-Planet website.

» NFS-Planet Easter Egg Search 2011
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Shift 2 Unleashed: Legends Pack DLC announced Wednesday, 20.04.2011
Shift 2 UnleashedElectronic Arts just announced with the Legends Pack the first content DLC for Shift 2 Unleashed. It features 13 classic cars and five race tracks from the 60-70's era.



The included cars are as follows:
- Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA (1965)
- Austin Mini Cooper S (1965)
- BMW 3.0 CSL Gr. 5 (1975)
- Ford Capri RS3100 Gr.4 (1974)
- Ford Escort Mk1 RS1600 (1971)
- Ford GT40 Mk.I (1965)
- Ford Lotus Cortina (1963)
- Jaguar E-Type Lightweight (1963)
- Nissan Fairlady 240ZG (S30) (1971)
- Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R (C10) (1972)
- Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 (1974)
- Porsche 914/6 GT (1970)
- SHELBY COBRA "DAYTONA" COUPE® (1965)
- Team Need For Speed Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0

Following tracks are featured:
- Dijon-Prenois (1972)
- Hockenheim (1982)
- Monza (1958)
- Rouen-Les-Essarts GP (1966)
- Rouen-Les-Essarts Short (1952)
- Silverstone (1975)

The Legends Pack will be released on April 26th and is available for 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE and $9.99 on the PlayStation Network respectively.

» Order Need for Speed Shift 2 Unleashed at Amazon.com!
» Order Need for Speed Shift 2 Unleashed at Amazon.co.uk!
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Shift 2 Unleashed: Patch is in the works Thursday, 14.04.2011
Shift 2 UnleashedMartin Griffiths, PC Lead at the Slightly Mad Studios revealed the first details about an upcoming patch for Shift 2 Unleashed. In a detailed posting he explains some specifics of the graphics engine and clarifies some misunderstandings with the anti-aliasing problems:



There has been some confusion that our anti-aliasing uses the CPU - it does not. In the graphics options the 'Normal' mode uses MSAA with a special sampling trick to produce correct results at triangle edges - the 'HIGH' method extends this with a depth based search which requires a GPU with high bandwidth because the shaders are sampling many depth pixels for each pixel in the scene. Any performance issue on particular hardware is down to the characteristics of that GPU - there isn't anything we can do about this without a driver update.

To better balance very high-end CPUs the patch will include a 3rd anti-aliasing method which is CPU based - MLAA. We are working with Intel R&D to add this. On quad-core (and above) systems this will allow AA without any GPU cost and little impact to the frame rate to what you see when running with AA turned off currently. This will also help AMD based quad-core too.

Some people have noted that the game doesn't scale well with SLI/Crossfire - SLI performance scaling doesn't just automagically happen, it requires quite close collaboration with the GPU makers. We've been in regularly contact with NVidia and ATI throughout the development of the game, with their performance teams feeding back on any areas where we could improve, pooling our expertise with theirs. About 6 weeks of programmer time was spent pre-shipping on SLI/Crossfire scaling - we needed another 4 weeks since we went gold because of the complexity of implementing this in such a large engine. Both GPU makers have devoted a lot of time to some complex issues.

So yes, the upcoming patch includes SLI/Crossfire scaling. To give you an example a GTX 295 will go from 48fps to nearly 70fps in 1080p. Also the rendering team found some further optimizations so that normal (non SLI) graphics performance should be 5-10% faster with the patch.

Input lag - we've solved the latency issues reported using some wheels. There was a dead-zone issue and a threading problem introduced very late in development that have been fixed.

Garage screen crashes/CTDs - a fast button press issue that wasn't seen during development is also fixed in the patch.

A black screen issue on starting a race requiring a pause/unpause to fix is also addressed. This was caused by a timing difference with the protection system.

NVision - some reverse/double stereo issues with the mirrors and environment maps have been addressed in the patch. NVidia very kindly provided us with more hardware for the render team to address this - Kudos to them for that.

There are also some more minor fixes in the patch - the above represent the vast majority.



The patch for Shift 2 Unleashed is almost finished and has to run through EA's QA (Quality Assurance), but maybe we can expect the release of the patch at the end of this month.

» Posting von Martin Griffiths
» VirtualR (Source)
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NFS Hot Pursuit: Patch v1.05 Thursday, 14.04.2011
NFS Hot PursuitA new patch for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (PC) was released, fixing a bug, where players could experience crashes when prompted to "Press Any Key".

If discover more bugs in NFS Hot Pursuit can report them directly to Criterion at their Bugzilla.

You can download the patch here:

» NFS Hot Pursuit: Patches
» Criterion Games
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NFS World: Patch R5.18 Thursday, 14.04.2011
NFS World OnlineThe new patch R5.18 for Need for Speed World was deployed and introduces - among other things - the new Dolby Axon Voice Chat Technology.

Read the complete release notes here:



New Features:

- Dolby® Axon voice chat technology has been added to the game. Players can now voice chat with each other when they have joined a Group of up to 8 players
- A new ‘Download Size’ option has been added to the Game Launcher to help reduce download times for new players who do not plan to use the ‘Maximum’ Level of Detail graphics option in game.
- NOTE: Existing installations already have these ‘Maximum’ textures downloaded. We advise these players do not change this option from ‘Maximum’ to ‘Standard’ as this will prompt the client to download additional files (and thus causing additional download times for these players).
- Players can now purchase Tiered Card Packs from the Safehouse. Each pack contains at least one performance part meant for a specific car Tier
- An all new Dodge Viper SRT10 (Team Escape Edition) is now available for purchase from the Car Dealer
- An all new Pontiac GTO ’65 (Team Escape Edition) is now available for purchase from the Car Dealer
- The Pontiac GTO ’65 is now available for purchase with cash from the Car Dealer (previously available exclusively for SpeedBoost)
- A new Group HUD has been added. Players are now have the ability to invite an entire group to a Private Match with a single click

Bug Fixes/Changes:

- Made improvements to the game client’s stability
- Visual Packages that appear the same as each other have been consolidated in the Body Shop
- Fixed an issue that caused drivers to not receive a set of Team Escape powerups by default
- Replaced a placeholder thumbnail image for the ‘Royal Purple’ Dodge Charger’s custom wheels in the Aftermarket Shop
- Fixed an issue in Team Escape that caused team-mate’s distance to finish value to show an incorrect value in the post-race screen
- Fixed an issue that caused all Lamborghini Murciélago LP 640’s Visual Package’s to appear within the Street category
- Fixed an issue that caused the ‘Players Joined’ counter to remain at 1/8 when inviting players to a Private Match
- Fixed an issue that caused the Durability warning icon to clip into other objects in post-race screens
- Fixed an issue the caused a red border to appear around the game launcher on systems with ATI graphics cards
- Replaced an incorrect finish line icon for the ‘Home Run’ Team Escape event



» Official NFS World Website
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