Here’s a roundup of today’s news found elsewhere on the internet:

Levine talks scrapped Irrational game (eurogamer) - Irrational Games has recalled how in 2005 the developer was pitching zombies and not Big Daddies to publishers.

Its proposed game, Division 9, was aiming for a Dawn of the Dead-style atmosphere where you took down a never-ending swarm of zombies from behind barricades. Base-building, resource-collecting and co-op were all part of the plan.

Art director Nate Wells and lead artist Shawn Robertson came up with the idea of a game called The Infected, which they took to Levine and evolved into Zombie SWAT.

"Vivendi was like, 'What's your pitch for SWAT 5?' 'Zombie SWAT,'" said Robertson. "Crickets."

Levine added: "I remember going around pitching it and the person would be, 'Zombies? Who wants to play a zombie game?" Apparently Irrational was told that zombies wouldn't be big in 2005.

Levine said that after putting together a short demo for Vivendi, the project got the green light.
Fortunately for the world, 2K Games stepped in and bought Irrational and the rest, as they say, is BioShock.

"I think we would have been very successful with [Division 9]. It would have come out around the same time as BioShock, maybe a little sooner," offered Levine.

[Thanks to Game Informer for the following gameplay trailer of Division 9. User beware, it contains depictions of violence – and graphics from 2005. GP]

Return to Ostagar released then pulled (eurogamer) - Delayed Dragon Age DLC Return to Ostagar has appeared briefly on Xbox Live before being pulled by developer BioWare.

According to BioWare's Chris Priestly, writing on the official forum, the problem this time is in a preceding patch.

"This morning a title update on the Xbox 360 for Dragon Age: Origins was made available in preparation for the release of Return to Ostagar," he wrote.

"This title update introduced a previously undetected issue that causes specialisation classes to not work correctly in Dragon Age: Origins.

"We are removing Return to Ostagar from Xbox Live until the issue is resolved and are recommending that you do not download the title update."

A fix for the title update issue should be available "as soon as possible", the developer added. Presumably once that's sorted we can expect to see Return to Ostagar made available on Live again.

It's not clear whether the Live issue will affect release dates for the PC and PS3 versions of Return to Ostagar, which takes players back to the scene of Duncan and Cailan's downfall near the beginning of the original game.

The DLC had previously been delayed after a problem was spotted at the last minute during certification.

BioWare is also working on an expansion for Dragon Age called Awakening, which is due out in March on all formats.

New Driver and Rabbids games on the way (eurogamer) - The final bit of business revealed by Ubisoft's financial report is that new instalments in two of its best-selling franchises are on the way.

First up is Raving Rabbids 4, as it's currently titled. Looks like this will be one of Ubi's few casual offerings as the company moves to focus more on Xbox 360 and PS3.

In addition, a new instalment in the Driver series is on the way. There's no name for it yet. Driv5r? Perhaps not.

Both games are due out in the next financial year, which means they'll hit the shops some time before April 2011.

Rumour: Rockstar turmoil afflicting Max Payne 3's August launch? (GameSpot) - What we heard: It appears as if Red Dead Redemption isn't the only title creating a strenuous work environment at Rockstar Games. Joystiq reports today that it has received word that a similar situation is unfolding at Max Payne 3 development house Rockstar Vancouver.

Joystiq’s source noted that Rockstar is targeting an August 2010 release for Max Payne 3, having delayed the game to late 2010 in December. The game was officially announced in March 2009 after having been first mentioned in March 2004.

"The game's story just went through another total re-write earlier this month (the third that I am aware of in the past two years) and that [means] the team would have to have all of the content done by April or May to make that August release date," he said.

The official story: Rockstar had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.

Bogus or not bogus?: Given that the Independent Game Developers Association has offered to mediate in the quality-of-life concerns at Rockstar San Diego, it seems like there is some credence to the purported Vancouver employee's claims.

EA strategy 'bankrupt' says ex-EA EVP (GameSpot) - After EA lowered its fiscal expectations earlier this week, analysts responded with politely reserved disappointment. The harshest of criticisms came from Wedbush's Michael Pachter, who merely suggested that the company "lacks introspection."

Not all reactions to the news were so diplomatic. In a post on his personal blog, former head of EA Mobile and Jamdat founder Mitch Lasky took issue with the publisher's direction, particularly the management team in the years since John Riccitiello took over as CEO. The most pressing of Lasky's concerns was the company's insistence on trying to grow its traditional gaming business.

"EA is in the wrong business, with the wrong cost structure and the wrong team, but somehow they seem to think that it is going to be a smooth, two-year transition from packaged goods to digital," Lasky said. "Think again."

"But by far the greatest failure of Riccitiello's strategy has been the EA Games division," Lasky said. "JR bet his tenure on EA's ability to 'grow their way through the transition' to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles. ... Since the recurring-revenue sports titles were already 'booked' (i.e., fully accounted for in the Wall Street estimates) it fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It's been a very ugly scene, indeed."

Lasky pointed to Spore, Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, and Need for Speed: Undercover as examples of expensive games that didn't hit with consumers the way EA had hoped. He also brought up the functional closure of Mercenaries 2 developer Pandemic, which he called "half the justification" for the $860 million acquisition of BioWare and Pandemic.

"And don't think that Dante's Inferno or [Star Wars: The Old Republic] is going to make it all better," Lasky said. "It's a bankrupt strategy."

Lasky wrapped up his assessment of his former employer by expressing surprise that the publisher has neither been acquired nor seen its board of directors oust Riccitiello and the rest of the management team.

Nope, Heavy Rain "Not Porn" (Kotaku) - French developer Quantic Dream, the studio behind the upcoming Heavy Rain, has spoken at length about sexes in game and the difference between sexual relations and porn. Sexy!

"There are a couple [of sex scenes], but it's definitely not porn," Quantic Dream boss David Cage told PSM3. "We don't intend to push the boundaries and be ultra-realistic in every detail. It's about real characters having emotions and doing what adults do when they fall in love.

The studio is making an adult game. Adult movies have nudity. They also have sex. Not all of them, though. Unfortunately.

Sex and nudity are a part of life. And if the studio is going to depict the real world for adults, then maybe its characters will take off their clothes. Maybe they'll fall in love. Maybe they'll have sex. And that's okay.