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Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday

  

Eidos Montreal Layoffs

Kotaku reports that THIEF developer Eidos Montreal laid off 27 employees today, following up on earlier reports that between 20 and 50 staff were let go. They got this official statement on the topic:

Yes it is true we've let 27 people go today, unfortunately it's something that every major studio has to do sometimes in order to ensure you have the right set up for current and future projects. It's never a nice thing to do but we are genuinely trying to offer as much support as much as we can. We're trying to re-locate as many people as possible into other roles here or at our other studios and we've been in touch several studios in Montreal to arrange a career day for those affected by this. We're very thankful for all their hard work and we sincerely wish them well.

Abyss Odyssey Revealed

ACE Team announces Abyss Odyssey, the next game from this Chilean developer of Zeno Clash. There are few details for now, but according to the Abyss Odyssey Facebook Page, the first gameplay footage will be released tomorrow, which should help answer some questions about all this. In the meantime we have a couple of screenshots which suggest this will be some sort of platformer.

Blackguards Untold Legends DLC

The Blackguards website announces the release of the new Untold Legends DLC for Blackguards, Daedalic Entertainment's turn-based Dark Eye role-playing game. Here's a new trailer showing off the new DLC, and here's the pitch:

Untold Legends sheds new light on the background and heritage of Takate, the former slave and arena fighter who joins the player’s party in chapter 2 of Blackguards. Players learn how Takate became a slave gladiator, and get the chance to take revenge on the slavers that caused him so much pain.

”Untold Legends” offers new weapons, several new quests, more than 10 new battle maps and 25 previously unreleased music tracks. Priced $5.99, the DLC is available digitally for purchase through all major download shops such as Steam, GOG and Gamesrocket. Customers who purchased one of the retail editions of Blackguards can acquire the DLC through Gamesrocket.com. Customers, who purchased the Blackguards Contributor’s Edition via Steam will receive this first DLC automatically and for free.

Continue here to read the full story.

Ravaged SDK

The RDK (Ravaged Development Kit) is now available, offering an SDK to assist in the creation of new content for the base version of Ravaged as well as the upcoming Ravaged Zombie Apocalypse expansion for 2Dawn Games' open-world first-person shooter. Downloads of the RDK can be found on these forums along with a support thread. Word is: "The new RDK opens up the Ravaged engine by providing avid modders with the tools to import static meshes, skeletal meshes, textures, animations, make maps, assets, and general game content for Ravaged."

50 More Steam Greenlights

A Steam Community announcement reveals another 50 titles have received the greenlight for inclusion on Steam. This list outlines all the new approvals from 100% Orange Juice to ZED - Absolution.

On Sale

  • Drox Operative: Invasion of the Ancients on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Puddle on Steam. Save 66%.
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth on Green Man Gaming. Save 25% with code from Dealzon (20% in EU).
  • The Walking Dead: Season 2 on Steam. Save 33%.

Evening Patches

Evening Interviews

Op Ed

Gamasutra: Nicholas Lovell's Blog - Valve has just started the PC games race to zero.
Valve has just announced that developers will now be in charge of their own pricing on Steam. They can run sales, offer discounts and promote their games without talking a Valve representative. This is the beginning of PC games prices drifting downwards, with an endpoint of zero. Here’s why.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer

Game Informer now offers the promised first trailer from Batman: Arkham Knight, the just-revealed continuation of Rocksteady's superhero series. Game Informer also notes: "Pre-order bonuses have been announced as well including, a playable Harley Quinn, four challenge maps, and more." Finally, they have updated their April Cover Reveal story with a new video outlining their coverage. Continue here to read the full story.

Titanfall Launch Trailer

The Titanfall website now offers a launch trailer for Titanfall, Respawn's mech shooter that's due next week. Word is: "Stand by for Titanfall. Crafted by key developers behind the CALL OF DUTY franchise, Titanfall is the first next-gen shooter that combines fluid wall-running, double-jumping action with powerful, fast-paced titan warfare to set the new bar for online multiplayer gameplay. Already the winner of more than 75 awards from critics around the world, Titanfall is winning over fans with its thrilling, dynamic first-person action gameplay featuring elite assault pilots and agile, heavily-armored, 24-foot titans." Continue here to read the full story.

Batman: Arkham Knight Revealed

GameInformer.com reveals the April cover story for the print Game Informer magazine unveiling Batman: Arkham Knight, a fourth installment in the Arkham series of stealth/action games coming to Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 later this year. The new game marks the return of Rocksteady to the series as developer, after handing things off to WB Montreal for Batman: Arkham Origins. Game Informer promises a 14-page preview in the magazine, and also says they will be posting a trailer from the game a couple of hours from now. In the meantime, here is what they say about Arkham Knight, which will include the chance to get behind the wheel of the Batmobile:

The developer that made Arkham a household name is back. Rocksteady Studios' Arkham Asylum innovated with the freeflow combat system and stalking gameplay in 2009, and the team blew it all out to an open world in 2011's Arkham City. Rocksteady is hoping to raise the bar even higher on what will be its final Arkham game. Set after the events of Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Knight may just end the Dark Knight's journey.

As you've probably guessed from the cover imagery, the Batmobile is finally a core element of the gameplay. An entirely new area of Gotham City, far larger than Arkham City, has much wider streets to accommodate the new driving gameplay that is designed to integrate smoothly with Batman's gliding and grappling traversal. Batman chases down super villains Scarecrow, Penguin, Two-Face, Harley Quinn, and more.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2 Released

Telltale Games has released the Windows and OS X editions of A House Divided, Episode 2 of Season 2 of The Walking Dead, their episodic game based on the zombie comic book series. The Xbox 360 release is also now available, while the PS3 edition is expected tomorrow, and the iOS edition is due on Thursday. Here's word:

The Walking Dead: Season Two – A Telltale Games Series continues the story of Clementine, a young girl orphaned at the outset of the undead apocalypse, left to survive in a world gone mad. Players will struggle to outwit both the dead and the living in situations that will test their morals and control the flow of the story through the choices that they make.

“With the premiere of The Walking Dead’s second season, players quickly learned the unique challenges of surviving in the zombie apocalypse as our 11 year old heroine thrust back into Robert Kirkman’s relentlessly unforgiving world ravaged by the undead,” said Dan Connors, Co-Founder and CEO of Telltale Games. “Clem’s journey continues as even more problems arise, quickly reminding the player that safety is only temporary, and the bonds of trust may not always be as strong as they seem. This episode also introduces our first true villain for the series, the mysterious ‘Carver,’ who’s bent on tracking down her new group of survivors at all costs.”

Goat Simulator This Summer

Coffee Stain Studios announces a release date for Goat Simulator, which they themselves describe as the "world’s dumbest game." This first appeared as a satire video before interest in the concept inspired development as an actual game, and in keeping with that, the plan is to release the game on April Fools' Day. Here's word, which also describes plans to release the less-dumb A Story About My Uncle this summer:

Goat Simulator was inspired from old-school skating games, where, instead of being a skater, you’re a goat, and instead of doing skating tricks, you wreck stuff. Charging into a table and knocking it over yields points, and if you can manage to do it while doing a backflip first and a 360 afterwards, you’ll score even more points. With Steam integration, Goat Simulator will also support Steam Workshop where players will be able to make their own goats, missions, levels and more.

The first playable version of Goat Simulator for the public will be at the Coffee Stain Studios booth at GDC San Francisco, 17-21st March 2014. Visitors will also have the chance to try out A Story About My Uncle, a non-violent indie first-person adventure game developed by Gone North Games that is being published by Coffee Stain Studios and released in Summer 2014.

Ships Ahoy - South Park: The Stick of Truth

Ubisoft announces the release of South Park: The Stick of Truth, saying this action/RPG from South Park Digital Studios and Obsidian Entertainment is now available for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. The first reviews can be found listed among today's game reviews (the PC edition currently has a metascore of 84), here's a spiffy new launch trailer (NSFW), and here's word on the release of the game:

Written and voiced by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, South Park: The Stick of Truth is the definitive South Park experience. Arm yourself with weapons of legend to defeat Underpants Gnomes, hippies and other forces of evil in the epic quest to become... cool. Discover the lost Stick of Truth and earn your place at the side of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny as their new friend. Succeed and you shall be South Park’s savior, cementing your social status at South Park Elementary. Fail and you will forever be known as… a douchebag.

Continue here to read the full story.

Diablo III XP Bonus

Battle.net announces that for a limited time, playing Diablo III on Windows or OS X will net players a 50% experience point bonus in the action/RPG sequel to pave the way for the release of the Reaper of Souls expansion at the end of this month:

This hefty XP bonus gives your heroes a leg up on the new Paragon Leveling System, which just went live in patch 2.0.1. The new Paragon Leveling system not only allows ALL of your characters to share and contribute towards a single account-wide Paragon level, but it also grants bonus ability points with each Paragon level gained, which can be discretionally assigned to your character’s stats.

Asheron's Call Future Updates "Limited"

The Asheron's Call website has details on a new content update that should be live at some point today for Turbine's long-running MMORPG (thanks Gamasutra). The post includes the news that this will be the final content update for the game, though they plan on continuing to run the game as they have for the past 15 years. Here's word:

Once this next update is in the hands of the players, the updates to Asheron’s Call will be limited. We intend to fix critical bugs and continue maintenance and support on the game. While there is always a chance we will put out a small update if time permits, players should have the expectation that updates will be limited to maintenance, bug fixes, and perhaps balance iterations of February content such as the new Coliseum.

Let me reiterate that we have no plans to close Asheron’s Call. We plan to keep the game open and the servers running.

Although this change of focus is necessary for our company, we love the Asheron’s Call games and we want them to live forever. We understand that players who have been enjoying our monthly updates will be disappointed at the change to Asheron’s Call. Our long term plan is to make the game free to all active accounts. We are working on a date in the not-to-distant future where all active accounts will be able to play the game for free. Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2 will be a gift to our loyal players.

In addition, we have been working within the company to start an initiative sometime near the end of the year to allow players to run their own Asheron’s Call servers. We intend to put the call out to tech savvy enthusiasts that love Asheron’s Call to create a community for players who want to run their own Asheron’s Call servers.

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, as today is the day also known as Shrove Tuesday. So whether you are throwing beads, catching them, or not participating, have a good one. Speaking of what to do if you're not participating (and of Fat Tuesday, for that matter), today is also National Pancake Day, and the flapjack lovers at IHOP are celebrating the occasion by offering free short stacks of pancakes as part of a promotion they hope will raise more than $3 million for charity.

Fat Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Dino Shift 2.
Candy Ride - Level Pack.
Dude Quest.
Links: Modern Science Still Only Able To Predict One Upcoming Tetris Block. Thanks nin.
John Travolta called Idina Menzel Adele Dazeem: What's Your Travolta name? "Steven Hazeems."
The 14 synthesizers that shaped modern music.
Story: A Successor to Sagan Reboots ‘Cosmos’. Thanks j.c.f.
Science: Cancer Cases Rising At An Alarming Rate Worldwide.
Effective messages in vaccine promotion? When it comes to anti-vaxxers, there are none.
Scientists revive largest virus yet from 30,000-year-old permafrost.
Images: This is on my assignment in highschool chemistry!
Snake vs crocodile: A dramatic showdown. Thanks Laurence.
Media: Jerry's Place VR Progress Shots. Thanks Eurogamer.
Amazing remix using scenes from Breaking Bad. NSFW.
Controlling Avalanche Risk with 50 lb bombs.
Auctions: Arby’s Finally Buys Its Hat Back From Pharrell For $44,000. Thanks nin.
Follow-up: Scientists create accurate predictor of the next year’s flu virus.



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