Updated: Mar 03, 2015 09:36 am Eastern Standard Time (GMT -05:00)
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Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015

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Shadowrun Online Renamed; Launches Next Month

Publisher Nordic Games and developer Cliffhanger Productions announce Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown is the new official title for the project previously known as Shadowrun Online, also revealing plans to launch the co-op tactical combat game for Windows, Linux, and OS X on April 28th. They explain the new title was decided in collaboration with Kickstarter backers, and better reflects the nature of the game, as they found people assuming this was an MMOG just because they named it like one. "Especially for the boxed version, gamers need to be sure they can play the game alone at their convenience and not be forced into some online pattern or depend on any server activity for that matter explains Nordic's Gennaro Giani. "The new title also implies that Shadowrun Chronicles is here to stay." Here's word on the game:

Enter the world of Shadowrun and lead your team of runners into deadly missions in tactical co-op in this digital version of the Pen and Paper cyberpunk RPG classic.

Boston 2076: A dragon emerges from a hidden underground lab, laying waste to the city and spreading a strange disease, turning citizens into raging killers. The government and corporate forces lock down the city, abandoning its inhabitants. And this is only the start…

In our future, magic has awakened and with it creatures of myth and legend. Elves, Dwarves, Orks and Trolls walk the neon-lit streets, while the matrix connects everyone and everything as the corporate towers cast their long shadows across the globe. You are a Shadowrunner – an expendable asset on the edge of society, hired for the jobs no one wants to be connected with. Welcome to the dark side of the future, chummer. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

  • Run and Gun! Gripping tactical combat with over 50 different enemies from vicious gangers to combat drones and corporate wagemages!
  • Teamwork! Build up your team of runners or join with other players in live co-op to find the best combination of skill, magic and technology for survival.
  • Real consequences! Team members die and missions get taken by other runners.
  • You'll never run alone! Team up with friends or swap stories with other runners in the hangout.
  • Every move counts! Dive behind cover, hack security, send in your drones and use any weapon at your disposal to make it out alive.
  • Be who YOU want to be! Create your individual Shadowrunner in a level-free character system from over 60 different combat and non-combat skills, unique backgrounds and five metahuman races.
  • Shape the future! Developed jointly with the tabletop RPG books, so your actions in-game will shape the future of the Shadowrun universe!

Steamship Ahoy - Five Nights at Freddy's 3

Steam now offers the release of Five Nights at Freddy's 3 for Windows, a third installment in the fright-fest set in the scary environment of a pizzeria. Here's word on the game:

Thirty years after Freddy Fazbear's Pizza closed it's doors, the events that took place there have become nothing more than a rumor and a childhood memory, but the owners of "Fazbear's Fright: The Horror Attraction" are determined to revive the legend and make the experience as authentic as possible for patrons, going to great lengths to find anything that might have survived decades of neglect and ruin.

At first there were only empty shells, a hand, a hook, an old paper-plate doll, but then a remarkable discovery was made...

The attraction now has one animatronic.

Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows Free Expansion Plans

Yacht Club Games reveals details on Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, a new expansion for Shovel Knight that's coming for free to all owners of the throwback platformer next this spring (thanks nin). They offer some screenshots along with the following description:

Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows is a free expansion for Shovel Knight, a sweeping classic action adventure game that won over 70 Game of the Year Awards in 2014. You play as Plague Knight, the villainous master of alchemy, in a quest all his own. Using his maniacal scientific mind, Plague Knight is seeking to concoct Serum Supernus, the Ultimate Potion. However, to retrieve these ingredients, he must extract them from his former allies… the villainous knights of the Order of No Quarter! World class platforming, music, storytelling, and art all return in Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows; an explosive quest with a new play style, new story, new bosses, and more!

Resident Evil Revelation 2 Split-Screen Co-op Beta

A Steam Community announcement has word that a beta patch is now available for Resident Evil Revelations 2 / Biohazard Revelations 2 to enable the split-screen co-op feature missing upon release of the first-episode in the new series. Here's word on the patch, which is actually now available for those willing to risk a beta:

Soon we plan to release a beta branch on Steam which will allow two players to play the Story and Raid modes locally via a split screen. We want to get this feature in the hands of our PC players as soon as possible, so this option may not be 100% polished when it is released. Feedback from those who try it out is welcomed. For anyone who isn't satisfied with this option, refunds are available through Steam.

Morning Patches

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

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Out of the Blue

Today is IHOP National Pancake Day, a worthy cause on two fronts, as it aids Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, and it also glorifies pancakes, and free ones at that. I am a big fan of pancakes, and they were the first food I ever made myself that turned out well, so I have a soft spot for them. I think this is a good excuse to celebrate with pancakes for dinner. Now we need to find a more international version of the International House of Pancakes (huh?) and pressure them to help turn this into International Pancake Day at some point. You can't tell me that's an idea that would fall flat.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Shark Lifting 2.
A Blobs Tale 3.
BoxDude Tower Defense.
Link: Blade Runner 2 Is The Least Necessary Sequel Of All Time.
Science: What is blue and how do we see color? Huh? Thanks Derek.
The 7 Least Plausible Solutions To The Fermi Paradox. Thanks JDreyer.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Infrastructure (HBO).
Holy Crap, This Guy Has A Seizure While Skydiving. Thanks nin.
Punslingers. Thanks Mark.

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Monday, Mar 02, 2015

Bombshell Details & Trailer

Here's a new trailer from Bombshell, showing off gameplay from this Unreal-engine action/RPG in the works at 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment. It seems the trailer released when the game was revealed last year is no longer available, which may explain the description on this one, which reads: "Here it is! The REAL debut for Bombshell. She's robot-armed and dangerous, has a tri-pistol named Loverboy." The Bombshell website is online with details on the game and a FAQ recalling Duke Nukem Forever in explaining when Bombshell will drop: "When it's done... just kidding! (No, but seriously -- when it's done!) Bombshell is scheduled "to be done" for release in 2015." Here's an updated description:

From the creators of 2013's Rise of the Triad and legendary game maker 3D Realms comes Bombshell, an isometric action role-playing game for PC and consoles. Bomb disposal technician turned mercenary for hire, Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison must strong-arm her way across 4 planets in an Unreal Engine-powered galactic adventure to rescue the president from an apocalyptic alien threat. With out-of-this-world enemies, a never-before-seen arsenal of devastating weaponry and a host of genre-crossing mechanics, Bombshell is set to blow you away.

Continue here to read the full story.

RPG Character Transfer System

GamesBeat has details on a tool TSI Partners are showing at the GDC to allow character transfers from one game to another (thanks Daniel). Word is: "While this system from former Strategic Simulations, Inc., developers Keith Brors and David Shelley (remember those fantastic Gold Box Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games?) is part of the upcoming Seven Dragon Saga, it’ll also work with Kickstart darlings Shadowrun: Hong Kong and Torment: Tides of Numenera." They have a quote from TSI with more on how this will work:

“… We envisioned this as something that could be a real boon to players. We also wanted to keep things simple for developers and add greater utility to ‘Gateway’ over time,” TSI president David Klein told GamesBeat this morning. “Gateway creates a standard character format, so importing games don’t need to know the details of which game the character came from. If they see gaps between the character and their own format, they can use a query UI to allow the player make selections. And, as an example, if the Gateway format has the stats for strength and health, the importer could use them to derive unique stats like willpower; say the average of the two existing stats. The whole goal is to allow importing games to use as much or as little of the incoming characters as they feel comfortable.”

Skyrim Mod Size Limit to End

Bethesda Blog announces they are beta testing a new version of the PC Launcher and the Creation Kit for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, saying they expect the test to last about a week. The big change here is that this will remove the filesize limitation for mods for the RPG sequel on the Steam Workshop, which were previously capped at 100 MB. They offer instructions on how to participate in the beta, and how to revert back to the release version.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Patch 5 Will Add Party Storage; Mouselook

The BioWare Blog now offers Dragon Age: Inquisition Patch 5 Notes for Patch 5, an update they say will come to the RPG on all platforms, though they don't specify when. This will add party storage to the Undercroft at Skyhold, the ability to adjust the size of subtitles, and a mouselook toggle for the PC edition, though they warn: "this feature is still under development and does not act optimally under all conditions. We are continuing to work on this feature to improve it for future releases." Here are the notes: Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

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Into the Black

Pay for WoW Game Time with Game Gold

A post on Battle.net reveals the WoW Token, an upcoming in-game item for World of Warcraft to allow the ability to exchange game time for game gold. Here's how this works:

Coming soon to an Azeroth near you: the WoW Token, a new in-game item that allows players to simply and securely exchange gold and game time between each other.

Players will be able to purchase a WoW Token through the in-game Shop for real money, and then sell it on the Auction House for gold at the current market price. When a player buys a WoW Token from the Auction House for gold, the Token becomes Soulbound, and the player can then redeem it for 30 days of game time.

When you put a WoW Token up for sale, you’ll be quoted the amount of gold you’ll receive once someone buys it—you’re guaranteed to get that amount no matter how the market moves.

The WoW Token was created to give players with lots of extra gold the option to use it to help cover their subscription cost, and give those who want to purchase gold a way to do so from fellow players through a secure, easy-to-use system. The Token will be making its debut in an upcoming patch—in the meantime, check out the FAQ below for details on how it works. {/quote

Unreal Engine 4 Free

Epic Games announces they are dropping subscription fees from Unreal Engine 4, making the game engine and all future updates free to use for everyone, with the only stipulation being a 5% royalty after the first $3,000 in quarterly gross revenue per commercial product. The latest version of Epic's development system launched about a year ago with that 5% royalty as well as a $19.00 monthly fee, which has now been dropped. There's a post from Epic CEO Tim Sweeney covering the news on the Unreal Engine website including this video. Here's word on the deal:

This is the complete technology we use at Epic when building our own games. It scales from indie projects to high-end blockbusters; it supports all the major platforms; and it includes 100% of the C++ source code. Our goal is to give you absolutely everything, so that you can do anything and be in control of your schedule and your destiny. Whatever you require to build and ship your game, you can find it in UE4, source it in the Marketplace, or build it yourself – and then share it with others.

Continue here to read the full story.

Fallout 4 Announcement at E3?

A tweet from shinobi602 answers a question about whether Bethesda will unveil Fallout 4 at this year's E3 with a vague affirmative, saying: "I would say that's a safe assumption." This has been the subject of speculation since Bethesda recently announced its first-ever E3 conference. As noted on PSU, shinobi602 is known to be the source of accurate insider information in the past, so while this is completely unconfirmed., it is being taken pretty seriously. When asked to rate how likely this is to happen on a scale of one to 10, he replied "11."

Trine 3 Announced

Frozenbyte announces Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power, saying the next installment in their platformer series is due for release for Windows this year. The Trine 3 website is online, offering the game's announcement trailer, but details are pretty scant at the moment. What they say for now is: "The Three Heroes embark on a new adventure through an enchanting fairytale world full of wonders, puzzles, dangerous foes and strange magic - coming 2015!" There's a little more on the Frozenbyte website, where they note that this has been in development "for quite a long time actually!" Continue here to read the full story.

Stealth 2 Next Month

Curve Studio announces that Stealth 2: A Game of Clones will sneak onto Windows PCs and additional consoles in early April, when the Wii exclusivity for the stealth sequel expires. This is a follow-up to Stealth Bastard: Tactical Espionage Arsehole, which was released for free in 2011. "The best thing about making a sequel is the opportunity to look at the all the reviews and comments about the original game and ask 'What can we do better this time around?," says Curve Managing Director Jason Perkins. "With Stealth Inc 2, we’ve not only made a much larger game, we’ve spent a lot of time adding depth to the experience and balancing the difficulty and pacing of the game." Here's more:

Curve Digital is very happy to announce that Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones, will be available on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One and PC in early April.

Stealth Inc 2 is the sequel to ‘Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark’, also fondly known as ‘Stealth Bastard: Tactical Espionage Arsehole’ on PC. The series is known for its challenging platforming, clever puzzles, dark sense of humour and wonderful puns. Stealth Inc and Stealth Inc 2 were both created in-house by the indie publisher.

The sequel expands on the action-platforming gameplay of the original in every possible way, introducing a metroidvania style overworld, hidden secrets, customisable clones with a wide range of silly hats and brand new gadgets and equipment to play with.

We’ve also kept everything about the original we know players love: robots, lasers, gratuitous blood splatters, sarcastic messages and of course, plenty of challenging test chambers each with their own ranking system and leaderboards.

Battlefield Hardline Premium Announced

EA and Visceral Games official announce Battlefield Hardline Premium following speculation about the shooter sequel indicating some had actual suspicions there would not be a season pass for the game. Here's the news that should alleviate these fears:

Visceral Games™, an Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) studio, today announced Battlefield™ Hardline Premium*, an exclusive membership program delivering new content and early access to Battlefield Hardline fans to fuel their cops and criminals fantasies all year long. Battlefield Hardline Premium members will enjoy four new super features – Masks, Gun Bench, Competitive Play, and Legendary Status – as well as two weeks early access to four story-themed digital expansion packs. In addition, members will receive monthly rewards and access to exclusive in-game events and items that ensure players execute heists and roll into high-speed chases in style.

Battlefield Hardline Premium membership includes:

  • Four super features:
    • Masks – New player masks with unique gameplay benefits tied to the theme of each mask.
    • Gun Bench – Provides players with the ability to visually customize their weapons and track their kills per weapon.
    • Competitive Play – Support for competitive play through Battlefield Hardline Premium-access only tournaments and ladders.
    • Legendary Status – Provides replayability of the entire progression system.
  • Four digital expansion packs featuring new multiplayer maps, modes, vehicles, in-game content and a story themed throughout all four:
    • Battlefield Hardline: Criminal Activity – Players have to make a name for themselves in fast-paced, highly-destructible new maps littered with small-time crime jobs. Available summer 2015.
    • Battlefield Hardline: Robbery – Take down the opposition head on and progress through key locations with major cinematic action. Available summer 2015.
    • Battlefield Hardline: Getaway – This is frantic, high-speed chases that immerse players deeper in the heist. Available fall 2015.
    • Battlefield Hardline: Betrayal – There is a rat in every operation and players will have to find out who to trust. Available winter early 2016.
  • Two weeks early access to all expansion packs
  • 12 Gold Battlepacks
  • New personalization options including gun camos, ammo skins, and more Battlefield Hardline Premium exclusive in-game items
  • Access to double-XP, in-game missions, and more Battlefield Hardline Premium exclusive events
  • Priority position in server queues

Beyond 35,000 Prototype

The Beyond 35,000 website offers a free playable Windows, OS X, and Linux prototype for Beyond 35,000, a "hyperfuturistic," "omnidirectional" precision racing game. They plan on revealing more at this week's Game Developers Conference, and for now here is an alpha prototype teaser trailer and the description we have:

The game is a blend of classical arcade racing with free flying. Stay close to the ground or snap your racing vehicle to any nearby wall or ceiling for an extra speed boost. With free flying and this snapping mechanic, players are spinning and tumbling through the winding levels.

It is designed for 4 player split screen local multiplayer, but we also have a single player mode, where you can race other player's ghosts online. The art style is quite distinct and abstract and the soundtrack consists of driving electronic IDM music.

Continue here to read the full story.

U.K. Sales Charts

Dying Light debuts at number one on the GfK Chart-Track chart of the top 30 bestselling PC games in the U.K. for the week ending February 28th, and Techland's new zombie game also sits atop the all platforms top 40. Here's the deal:

Warner Bros. Interactive secure their first No1 crown in just over a year with ‘Dying Light’ taking top spot.

The title has been available for almost a month on digital platforms but that does not prevent the physical release becoming the publisher’s first chart topping title since ‘The Lego Movie Videogame’. It’s also the third consecutive new IP to take top spot in the last three weeks. For developer Techland it marks another zombie themed No1 following the success of their Dead Island series. ‘Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’ (-15%) climbs to No2 despite a drop in sales. Another debutant lands at No3 in the form of ‘Dragon Ball Xenoverse’. Impressive sales for the new release see it claim the best week 1 in the UK for a Dragon Ball title.

PS4 exclusive ‘The Order: 1886’ (-56%) is knocked down to No4 in its second week. ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ (-5%) and ‘FIFA 15’ (-11%) are both non movers at No5 & No6 but Ubisoft’s ‘Far Cry 4’ (-40%) slips three places to No7. In its third week on the chart Take 2’s monster hunter ‘Evolve’ (-54%) is also down sliding five places to No8. The seemingly ever present ‘Minecraft: Xbox Edition’ (-28%) & ‘Minecraft: PlayStation Edition’ (-22%) round off the Top 10 at No9 & No10. A third debutant makes its mark in the Top 40 this week with ‘Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires’ landing at No21 for Xbox One and PS4. Price promotions also help propel Bethesda’s ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’ (+80%) back into the Top 40 as it climbs 20 places to No25.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

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Out of the Blue

This is the fifth week in the last six where the first day of the work week has involved shoveling out from a major snowstorm. I am almost afraid to admit I don't even mind at this point, as I am getting pretty good at it, and since it's happening so regularly, I feel less sore every time I do it. It's not like I'm going to complain when it finally stops, but the bad weather has managed to help me get into a little better shape over the winter, which is more than a little counterintuitive.

Counterintuitive Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Chain Reaction Shooter.
Family Rush.
Link: Notes on watching -Aliens- for the first time again, with a bunch of kids. Thanks JDreyer.
Media: OUTLAST: PART 7 (Teens React- Gaming).
Red Neck trucker says NO to this blonde trying to merge... Pretty definitively.
Bouncing dog jumps to beg at dinner table.

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