Updated: Aug 29, 2015 12:07 pm Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
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Saturday, Aug 29, 2015



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Call of Duty: Black Ops III Open Beta

Treyarch announces that the recently launched Call of Duty: Black Ops III beta is now open to all on Windows and Xbox One as it heads into its final weekend. They also announce some tweaks to the beta, including an increased level cap, a new map, and a new specialty. Here's word:

Treyarch announced via Twitter some new additions to the Black Ops 3 Beta currently available on Xbox One and PC. They are increasing the level cap to Level 34, introducing the map Stronghold into the rotation, and unlocking the new Multiplayer Specialist Reaper.

  • Real Name: Experimental War Robot (EWR)
  • Bio: Started as an expensive military R&D project to supplement Special Operations soldiers in the field, the EWR was a cutting-edge prototype combat robot, the most advanced in the world at the time. Budget overruns and embarrassing political incidents left the project all but a resource for scrap metal, except for the one prototype that remained.
  • Weapon: Scythe - Robotic arm that transforms into a high power Mini-Gun.
  • Ability: Psychosis - Infiltrate enemy DNI systems to simulate three decoy clones.

Over the course of the next few days, the team at Treyarch will be making tweaks to the Black Ops 3 Beta on Xbox One and PC, so stay tuned to @Treyarch, @CallofDuty and the Treyarch Blog for more updates on the Beta.

Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns in October

Guild Wars 2 website now offers a release date for the Heart of Thorns expansion for Guild Wars 2, revealing an October 23rd is when to expect ArenaNet's MMORPG expansion. They also offer a recent post introducing the Daredevil elite specialization for the Thief class in the expansion (Ben Affleck not included). Word is: "In the expansion, you’ll be able to specialize as the daredevil, a high-evasion death machine who roams the battlefield in search of their next target. The daredevil will wield a staff, use physical skills, and take advantage of unique dodge-roll abilities against the legions of Mordremoth."

Diablo III Season 4 Live

Battle.net announces that Season 4 is now live in Diablo III. Here's word on this time-limited challenge in Blizzard's action/RPG sequel:

Diablo III Season 4 is now live in all gameplay regions! To create a Seasonal hero, select your class, gender, and name as usual, then select the "Seasonal Hero" checkbox on the lower left of the screen.

What Are Seasons?
Seasons are an optional, recurring game mode that offers PC players the opportunity to periodically start fresh, leveling new Normal or Hardcore heroes from level 1 without any currency, resources, items, or previously earned Paragon experience. Similar to the separation between Normal and Hardcore game modes, Seasonal heroes will also have their own shared stash and Artisan progression. Any currency, materials, recipes, items, Paragon experience, and Artisan progression earned during a Season will be rolled over to a player's non-Seasonal profile once the Season concludes.

Season 4 will offer unique rewards and new challenges for players, including new Legendaries, an exclusive Transmogrification set only available to those who compete in each Season, and Season-only achievements called Conquests. Progress within a given Season will also be tracked on the Leaderboard system, and in the brand new Seasons Journey interface.

To learn more about Season 4, click here.

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Tech Bits

Saturday Safety Dance

Saturday Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

I thought yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina from all the discussion of the occasion, but I quickly realized I was a day off, and the anniversary is actually today. A mention of it was posted here briefly before I realized my error, and my comment was it seemed surprising this was that long ago, but only one day later I've grown more accepting of this, not because another 24 hours passed, but just in thinking more about it, and recognizing my perception was mostly based on not thinking too much about it. It's been a long haul getting New Orleans back into shape, and here's a salute to all those who remain committed to the area.

Decade Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Keeper of the Grove 3.
Monster Crusher.
On The Run.
Links: 10 Years Later: A Hurricane Katrina Retrospective by The New Orleans Advocate.
Science: Experiment confirms that quantum mechanics scoffs at our local reality.
Images: Powerful Photos of New Orleans, 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina.
Media: Last week Tonight with John Oliver - Lessons in geography.
Watch the trip your luggage makes at Amsterdam Schiphol.


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Friday, Aug 28, 2015

XCOM 2 Delayed

The XCOM website announces a delay to XCOM 2, saying the this is now expected on February 5th. Firaxis' sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown was announced with a November release window, but now they admit they need more time. Here's word:

We want to give you an update on the release date for XCOM 2. We’ve set a high bar for the sequel and the entire team has been working hard to make sure we deliver a great follow-up to Enemy Unknown. We just need a little more time to make it the best possible game.

With XCOM 2, we want to have more depth, more replayability, and more investment in your soldiers and this extension will give us the time we need to deliver on our promise to you.

We appreciate your patience and continued support as we move towards February. Good luck, Commander!

HeadLander Revealed

Double Fine Productions announces HeadLander is their next game, a "retro-futuristic" action/adventure platformer (thanks PC Gamer). The HeadLander website is online with an announce trailer, and the description of the video reveals this is expected next year, and that the PC is one of the game's target platforms. Here's word:

COMING 2016 TO PC & CONSOLE: Headlander is a a retro-futuristic, side-scrolling, action-adventure game set in a world inspired by 70’s science fiction. It is a world of automation, a utopia gone wrong in which all of humanity have transferred their minds into robotic imposter bodies and are ruled by a deranged computer.

You are the last known human in the universe, and all that's left of you is a disembodied head. Seeking clues to your fractured past, you must travel through a hostile world of machines, using a special helmet that allows you to dock into and take control of any robotic host body. As you launch from one body to the next, you'll start to discover that things are not quite what they appear to be, and the fate of humanity has yet to be decided...

Continue here to read the full story.

LawBreakers Gameplay Trailer

The LawBreakers website now offers a new trailer with the first look at gameplay from LawBreakers, the recently revealed multiplayer shooter from Cliff Bleszinski's Boss Key Studios. Word is: "Watch the first gameplay trailer LawBreakers, the new FPS that's all about skill, not streaks. Which side will you fight for -- LAW or BREAKERS? " Continue here to read the full story.

Master of Orion Collector's Edition

WG Labs announces details about a Collector's Edition of Master of Orion, their upcoming 4X strategy expansion. This will include all three of the original games in the series, Early Access, an exclusive race, and more. They have all the details on the game's official website where they are already accepting preorders. Here's the whole plan:

WG Labs today revealed details about the Master of Orion Collector’s Edition. This special digital bundle for the reboot of the critically acclaimed sci-fi strategy game will include the first three legendary Master of Orion titles, a beautifully detailed digital art book, modernized orchestral soundtrack, special retro art style graphic motif, and an exclusive new race only available in the Collector’s Edition: the Terran Khanate. Players will also be granted Early Access—when available—so they can begin their quest for galactic supremacy ahead of other explorers.

The Master of Orion series set the bar for the iconic 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) strategy genre, and is the foundation for WG Labs’ reimagining of the legend. With the Master of Orion Collector’s Edition, players will have the chance to relive the classic version of the game. To complement the inclusion of Master of Orion 1, 2 and 3, a digital art book is also available, showcasing the game’s deep and intricate artwork. A digital version of the entire modernized orchestral soundtrack by Dave Govett, composer for the original Master of Orion, is also included to make this Collector’s Edition truly epic.

A special retro art style can be applied to replace the modern 3D spaceships with pixelated craft, reflecting the style of the original 1990s version. Finally, a unique race, exclusively for Collector’s Edition owners is available. Named the Terran Khanate, this race is an aggressive and threatening model of a future humanity that mirrors the Human Federation but with a warlike bent, giving players a new way to conquer the stars.

Sword Coast Legends Video

Here's the PAX Prime 2015 trailer from Sword Coast Legends, n-Space's Dungeons & Dragons RPG that's on display this weekend at the show. Those attending PAX are encouraged to visit the Wizards of the Coast in Booth 1642 for an opportunity to get your hands on the game. Continue here to read the full story.

Cities: Skylines - After Dark Trailer

Paradox Interactive offers this new trailer from Cities: Skylines - After Dark that they are showing at PAX Prime to promote their upcoming urban-planning expansion, and they are also holding a panel discussion at the show to discuss modding the game. Word is: "The trailer features an extensive look at the beautiful new nighttime city-scapes in After Dark." Continue here to read the full story.

Borderlands Movie Plans

Lionsgate is planning "a tent-pole feature film" based on Borderlands, Gearbox Software's first-person shooter franchise. The studio has concentrated on young adult titles the past few years, and has more recently begun dabbling in game-related projects with Telltale and Starbreeze. Here's word:

Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a premier next generation global content leader, is teaming with the publisher and creators of Borderlands®, and renowned producers Avi and Ari Arad to adapt Gearbox Software's critically-acclaimed blockbuster video game Borderlands into a tent-pole feature film, the parties announced today. Borderlands is an action role-playing first-person shooter video game created and developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K, a wholly owned label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).

The award-winning Borderlands franchise has been lauded by critics and over the years has built a passionate global fan base, shipping more than 26 million copies around the world since its launch in 2009, including 8 million copies shipped during Take Two's fiscal year 2015 alone. Set in the frontier of a sci-fi universe, Borderlands is best known for Gearbox's blending of irreverent humor and characters, with a unique comic-book art style, and co-operative four-player genre-bending, loot-grabbing gameplay. It's a franchise that in the last six years has ushered in a new and popular category of first-person shooters.

The Borderlands film creative team will be led by producers Avi and Ari Arad, who are responsible for some of the most successful motion picture and television franchises in history, including Iron Man, Spider Man, The Amazing Spider Man, X-Men, Ghost Rider and Blade.

"We believe that we've brought together the right partners, the ideal creative team and the perfect property to launch a new motion picture tent-pole for a global audience," said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger. "Part of our strategy in entering the game space under Peter Levin has been to source new brands with built-in audiences that will translate into great films and television shows. The Borderlands games don't pull any punches, and we'll make the movie with the same in-your-face attitude that has made the series a blockbuster mega-franchise."

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Interviews

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: This Much Will Kill You.

Satellite Reign Released

5 Lives Studios warns to get out your satellite umbrella, as they have launched Satellite Reign, a spiritual successor to Syndicate created by this developer formed from the ashes of SEGA Australia. Details on the release are on the official Satellite Reign website where they also have a launch trailer featuring a bunch of gameplay. Here's how they describe their game:

Satellite Reign is a real-time, class-based strategy game, set in a futuristic open-world cyberpunk city. You command a group of 4 agents through rain-soaked, neon-lit streets, where the law is the will of mega-corporations.

Our programmer Mike Diskett worked on the mid 90s classic Syndicate, and was the project lead on its sequel Syndicate Wars. Our goal for Satellite Reign was to take this criminally neglected genre and evolve the ideas and themes to bring them into the 21st century—while adding our own unique spin on the concept.

Continue here to read the full story.

Big Pharma Released

Cliffski's Blog announces the full release of Big Pharma, offering no side effect warnings whatsoever for this strategy sim from Twice Circled. Here's word:

So its that day! The lab management/strategy game Big Pharma, developed by Twice Circled and published by Positech Games is officially released. woohoo! Its now playable in English, German and French on Windows/OSX and Linux. Plus you can now grab it from Steam as well as the Humble Store as well as GoG or direct from us. Hurrah!

Games take a long time to make, and a lot of work, blood, sweat, tears, and debugging. The first time the phrase ‘Big Pharma’ was used between us was on 21st February 2014, and we were going back on forth on ideas and names before then, so its at least eighteen months in development. That may not sound long by the standards of Duke Nukem et al, but it is a long time to stay focused on one game as an indie. Hopefully its going to pay off :D

Age Of Empires: Castle Siege Released

Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson announces the release of Age Of Empires: Castle Siege for Windows 10, a disappointment to those of us expecting such revelations from Windows 10's Major Healey. Here's word on the new installment in the strategy series:

Age of Empires: Castle Siege invites you to guide your empire through the Medieval Era on your Windows PC or touch screen device. Choose from one of several civilizations, including the Britons, Teutons, and Kievan Rus. Upgrade your keep, fortify your walls, and garrison defensive troops to protect yourself from marauders. Then, train an army to raid other cities, and command them in battle to dismantle your opponents’ defenses. Over the ages, you’ll research technology, live through famous battles, and recruit a variety of heroes to your side, including Saladin, Richard the Lionheart, and Joan of Arc. Outsmart your attackers and outplay your victims to earn achievements and climb to the top of the leaderboards. Take command, and make your mark on history!

Hitman: Absolution Charity Offer

Gamechanger is now running a "put a hit on cancer" promotion, offering a free copy of Hitman: Absolution for anyone who donates at least one dollar to help fight pediatric cancer. They are also on hand at PAX Prime to shave heads of volunteers, saying Square Enix will donate $47 to the charity for everyone who adopts the Agent 47 look (bar code not included). Thanks PC Gamer.

HTC RE Vive VR Headsets Delayed

Those surprised that the HTC (RE) Vive VR headset being made in partnership with Valve was announced for release this year will be less surprised to learn that HTC has now revealed the VR headsets will not be widely available until 2016 (thanks VG247). The Verge has word from a press release stating: "HTC will offer the first commercial Vive units via a limited quantity of community and developer systems" later this year, "with larger quantities shipping in calendar Q1 2016." This more closely aligns their release with competing units from Oculus Rift and Sony Project Morpheus, which are also both due next year. No reason for the setback is provided.

Gigantic Beta Signups

Developer Motiga announces closed beta testing is getting underway for Gigantic, their not miniature MOBA shooter for Windows 10 and Xbox One. Testing will be on weekends to start with, and will later expand to full-time, and those interested in being among the first to go hands-on with the game should sign up on this page. Word is: "New features and regular content updates are planned for closed beta players, including French, German, and Spanish language support. Opening the door to more players during the closed beta will allow Motiga to further refine and test the game in a controlled way, with a full release planned for later this year." Here's a quick refresher on the game:

Gigantic is free to play* and pits teams of five heroes—each with a massive guardian monster—against each other in explosive battles across a variety of fantasy battlefields. The game combines intense combat with strategic map control, and the first team to defeat the enemy guardian seizes the battlefield and wins the game.

* Xbox Live Gold membership sold separately for console play.

Team Fortress 2 Gun Mettle Tradeups

The Team Fortress blog announces only one week remains for those interested in buying a pass to the Gun Mettle campaign for Team Fortress 2, which still offers access to all past contracts as well as the remainder of the campaign for the teamplay shooter. They also announce a new option to allow trading up for better items. Here's word:

Speaking of those: If you've got ten campaign-exclusive items just sitting around, we've got good news for you. Now you can trade them in for a higher-tier item! Simply click on any Gun Mettle item in your inventory and choose "Mann Co. Trade-Up" from the drop-down menu to give it a shot!

We're also shipping the Gun Mettle Cosmetic Case, an exclusive community cosmetic item collection now available as a weekly random drop for folks who own a Gun Mettle Campaign Coin. Just like the weapons, all of these 16 cosmetics have a chance to contain Strange capability, and the nine hats in the collection have a chance at being Unusual.

Morning Patches

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

August is drawing to a close, and this weekend will be the third NFL preseason games, so whether we're ready or not, the football season is almost upon us. A thank you to Batman, who has put together this year's leagues, and once again well have a straight league to just pick the winners, and a more challenging spread league where you have to account for the point spread. Good luck to all participants, who should be prepared for random drug testing throughout the season.

R.I.P.: Darryl Dawkins dies at age 58

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Big Bad Ape.
Keeper of The Grove 3.
Fire and Might 2.
Stories: Prometheus 2 is definitely Ridley Scott's next film. Despite popular demand.
Woman Downs Entire Bottle of Cognac Because She Couldn't Take It on a Plane. Thanks Cutter.
Images: My 6 year old son made this.
Media: The Mythbusters Do Walter White's Machine Gun Booby Trap.
Usain Bolt accident with cameramen.
200KM/H Crash Test.



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