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A moment of silence for our mouse buttons, please; Torchlight 2's impending arrival heralds a new dawn of button-mashing for dungeon-crawling gamers.

News Blips:

Torchlight 2Runic Games announces Torchlight 2. The sequel to the successful 2009 action-role-playing game features robust co-op support that enables players to journey with their friends. Additional planned features include new classes, dungeons, and enemies. "We’re so proud of everything Torchlight accomplished," said Runic Games' Chief Operating Officer Max Schaefer. "We feel that Torchlight 2 will not only give the fans everything they’ve asked for but far surpass its predecessor in terms of fun, balance, customization, story, and just being a great game to play with your friends."

Mass Effect 3 will be shaped by "over 1,000" story variations from the first two games of the series. BioWare Project Lead Casey Hudson commented on the sci-fi trilogy's adherence to fundamental action-RPG elements while granting flexibility for the overarching plot and player decisions. "We'd never be able to plan as many creative opportunities if we'd do it all up front," he said. "Instead, we record what a player has done in a playthrough, and then we have all of those choices available that writers can refer to as they build storylines. Numerically, it's over 1,000 variables that we'll have access to for shaping the Mass Effect 3 experience for people who've played the previous games." [CVG]

EA files three trademark registrations for the real-time-tactical series Syndicate. While EA hasn't issued any official word yet, the filings suggest a reboot of the acclaimed 1993 sci-fi game, originally helmed by Peter Molyneux during his time at the now-defunct Bullfrog Productions. Someone pinch me: One of the filings refers to "board games." Finally, a new distraction to supplant Monopoly. [Superannuation]

Enjoy buying boxed copies of games? You're not alone — 80 percent to 90 percent of game sales in 2009 were physical media. Data from an Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) survey indicates that boxed games fared strongly against the rise of digital distribution. "While there has been a great deal of focus recently on the slippage of revenues in the DVD market, the untold story is that consumers' embrace of home entertainment remains very strong, and packaged media is the preferred delivery instrument," said EMA President Bo Andersen. Of course, since most console games only are available on physical media, and console downloads are typically smaller games, we're not sure this really study means anything.

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