Updated: Jan 20, 2021 12:21 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2021

IOI Working on HITMAN 3 Progression Carryover Website

IO Interactive tweets they are working on getting their HITMAN 3 Progression Carryover Website running again so players can import their HITMAN 1 and HITMAN 2 progression into the just-released HITMAN 3. Part of it must be load-related, as they ask players to hit refresh on their Twitter feed rather than the website to learn when it's working correctly again:
We're hard at work on getting IOI Account back online to enable progression carryover.

We'll tell you when it's fully operational again. Please press F5 on Twitter instead of our site. We want it back up and running just as much as you do. Thanks!

EU Geo-Blocking Fines for Valve and Others

The European Commission announces €7.8 million (USD$9.4 million) in fines for Valve and PC game publishers Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home Interactive, Koch Media, and ZeniMax for breaching EU antitrust rules by geo-blocking the sale of games in the territory. Word is Valve's fine was highest because they refused to cooperate with the commission. The EC estimates the European game market is worth over €17 billion (USD$20.5 billion), so the over €1.6 million (USD$1.9 million) they fined Valve does not sound like it would cause them to change how they operate. Here's word:
The European Commission has fined Valve, owner of the online PC gaming platform “Steam”, and the five publishers Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax € 7.8 million for breaching EU antitrust rules.

Valve and the publishers restricted cross-border sales of certain PC video games on the basis of the geographical location of users within the European Economic Area (‘EEA'), entering into, the so called “geo-blocking” practices. The fines for the publishers, totalling over €6 million, were reduced due to the companies' cooperation with the Commission. Valve chose not to cooperate with the Commission and was fined over €1.6 million.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “More than 50% of all Europeans play video games. The videogame industry in Europe is thriving and it is now worth over € 17 billion. Today's sanctions against the “geo-blocking” practices of Valve and five PC video game publishers serve as a reminder that under EU competition law, companies are prohibited from contractually restricting cross-border sales. Such practices deprive European consumers of the benefits of the EU Digital Single Market and of the opportunity to shop around for the most suitable offer in the EU”.

HITMAN 3 Released

HITMAN 3 is now available for Windows on the Epic Games Store, offering the conclusion of IO Interactive's trilogy starring bar-coded assassin Agent 47. Here's the 4K Launch Trailer with a look. The Epic Games Store has its typical scant description, so here's more on the game from the official HITMAN 3 Website:
Death Awaits
Agent 47 returns as a ruthless professional in HITMAN 3 for the most important contracts of his entire career. Embark on an intimate journey of darkness and hope in the dramatic conclusion to the World of Assassination trilogy. Death awaits.

Play Your Way
Experience a globetrotting adventure and visit exotic locations that are meticulously detailed and packed full of creative opportunities. IOI’s award-winning Glacier technology powers HITMAN 3’s tactile and immersive game world to offer unparalleled player choice and replayability.

A World of Assassination
HITMAN 3 is the best place to play every game in the World of Assassination trilogy. All locations from HITMAN 1 and HITMAN 2 can be imported and played within HITMAN 3 at no additional cost for existing owners – plus progression from HITMAN 2 is directly carried over into HITMAN 3 at launch.
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ENCODYA Next Week

Publisher Assemble Entertainment and developer Chaosmonger Studio announce ENCODYA will come to Steam on January 26th, offering a point-and-click adventure telling the story of a girl and her robot. This was announced for release in 2020 so it's technically late, albeit by just a few weeks. They prepare us for the launch with a new Featurette #2 Trailer with a behind-the-scenes look at the game. Here's more on the game and the video: Continue here to read the full story.

PUBG GLOBAL INVITATIONAL.S Next Month

KRAFTON adds to yesterday's flurry of esports news, offering details on the PUBG GLOBAL INVITATIONAL.S and an accompanying PGI.S Pick’Em Challenge event for all PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS players. The PUBG Global Esports Website has all the details and a FAQ. Here's an overview:
Throughout the event, players can obtain voting coupons by watching the esports broadcast and/or by purchasing exclusive event in-game items. Starting February 6, these voting coupons can be used to predict the winners of PGI.S. Successfully predicting the winners will award Esports Points (EP), which can be redeemed for exclusive in-game items. 30% of the profits earned from the event’s item sales will be added to the event’s current $3.5 million USD total prize pool.

Hideo Kojima Honored

The New York Videogame Critics Circle announces Hideo Kojima is the third recipient of their Andrew Yoon Legend Award. Their annual ceremony is later this month, but they will honor the creator of Metal Gear Solid and DEATH STRANDING tomorrow at 8:00 pm EST on Twitch and YouTube. Here's word:
The Legend Award recognizes individuals and organizations that exhibit a significant, sustained body of work that shows exceptional achievement and innovation. Past recipients of the Legend award include Reggie Fils-Aimé, Jade Raymond, Richard Garriott, Todd Howard, Rockstar Games, Ralph Baer and earlier this month, Jerry Lawson, Brenda Romero and John Romero.

“There’s no one like Hideo Kojima; he’s proved that he’s a legend among legends,” said Reggie Fils-Aimé. “In the game industry that has always focused on franchises and marketing, Mr. Kojima has always been honest with us and himself. Yes, Mr. Kojima can market with the best of them, but he knows how to tell a unique, epic story as clearly and robustly as anyone, and he injects you with something brand new every time he releases a game.”

Opera Gaming

Browser developer Opera announce the acquisition of YoYo Games as part of the foundation of Opera Gaming, a new division focused on video games along with their Opera GX gaming browser. YoYo is the game maker of GameMaker, software that eases some of the ups and downs for those who fancy the idea of creating 2D games. Here are some details on the plan:
Opera GX, YoYo Games and GameMaker will unite under Opera Gaming, focusing on innovating across the gaming, game development, and browser experience. "We look forward to further growing Opera GX and driving the growth of GameMaker as part of a broader ecosystem, making it more accessible to novice users and developing it into the world's leading 2D game engine used by commercial studios," continued Krystian Kolondra. "Opera Gaming will be focusing on accelerating the growth of this emerging ecosystem, combining the 7+ million highly engaged gamers using Opera GX with millions of GameMaker creators. We are also thrilled to continue realizing synergies between YoYo Games' products and Opera GX."

Predator Joins Fortnite

"There's something out there waiting for us, and it ain't no man." Epic Games announces that the Predator has infiltrated Fortnite as part of the Chapter 2 Season 5 Battle Pass for the survival/battle royale. This trailer briefly shows off the elusive man-hunter for those who ain't got time to read, and here's word for those who do:
Patiently waiting to hunt its prey, the Predator has emerged from Stealthy Stronghold and is now ready to be unlocked as a Chapter 2 Season 5 Battle Pass Outfit!

Throughout the galaxy, there are few species feared more than the Yautja. Fearsome warriors that hunt for honor and sport, this one followed John Jones on its quest for a worthy competitor. Completing the Jungle Hunter Quests, players can also unlock the Predator Outfit with built-in Bio-helmet Online Emote, as well as a unique Heat Vision Hunter Spray, Banner, and Emoticon.

After unlocking this new Hunter in the Battle Pass, post your best screenshots from Stealthy Stronghold and/or using the Predator Outfit on Twitter and Instagram using the #Fortography hashtag, and we’ll share some of the best in an upcoming blog!
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

I feel like I have a new phone, even though it's the same Galaxy S9 I've had for nearly three years. That's because I finally decided to dare the fates and take it out of its case. This is something I contemplated close to a year ago when I visited my brother and noticed how sleek his iPhone seemed without a case. That was until a few hours later when he dropped it, and the screen cracked. D'oh! But I took the already slim case off the other day to clean it, and was amazed at how much smaller and cooler the phone felt. So considering its age, how I don't actually drop it, and I actually pay for insurance, I decided I would go for it. What do you think, am I being reckless, or do a lot of you go commando as well?

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Tuesday, Jan 19, 2021

The Medium System Requirements

Bloober Team now offers What Does a Medium Do, a new video they call the second in a "premonition video series" from The Medium, their upcoming psychological horror game. They also offer the game's system requirements, ranging from Minimum through Ray Tracing High, adding up to seven sets of specs in total, hopefully leaving most players with a happy medium (you knew we had to work that in there). Here's word on the clip:
Bloober Team today debuted the second installment in its premonition video series, which shines a light on how upcoming psychological horror title The Medium plays.

The latest quickfire video entitled What Does A Medium Do? explains what it means to be a medium like Marianne - the game’s protagonist - and showcases some of the unique psychic abilities she is able to use to navigate the spirit world and unravel its mysteries.

medium-reqs.jpg - 223,356 bytes

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Play Ghost Recon Breakpoint Free This Weekend

Ubisoft announces that a free weekend for Ghost Recon Breakpoint will run from Thursday to Sunday. The details are on the Ubisoft Website where you can preload the tactical military shooter. Here's a Free Weekend Trailer and here's what's happening:
Play Ghost Recon Breakpoint for free this weekend!

From 21st to 24th January, download the game for free and discover the dangerous Auroa Island. Become a Ghost and fight against your worst enemy, ex-brothers in arms gone rogue, on their territory.

During this Free Weekend, you will also have access to the new Ghost Recon Breakpoint 10-day live event: Operation Amber Sky. Team up with Rainbow Six operators Ash, Finka, and Thatcher on new exclusive missions!
Continue here to read the full story.

Fortnite Championship Series Details

Epic kicks off a flurry of competition announcements today with 2021 and Chapter 2 Season 5 Details for the Fortnite Championship Series. They outline format adjustments, and say the prize pool will rise to $20 million. Here's a trailer along with an overview:
At the end of 2020, after considering feedback from the community we announced we’re standardizing the Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) format to Trios for all of 2021 with more info coming in the new year. Now we’re ready to share more details on FNCS for 2021, including prizing, format, broadcast plans, gameplay adjustments, and additional tournament offerings. We break it down below.

2021 FNCS
Our overall goal is to create better consistency throughout the year and tie the 2021 seasons together for a more cohesive experience. For 2021, the pinnacle of Fortnite Competitive, FNCS, will have $20,000,000 in prizes - compared to $17,000,000 in 2020 - and format tweaks also after considering player feedback.
Continue here to read the full story.

Rainbow Six Siege Road to Six Invitational Kicks Off

Ubisoft has kicked off another Road to Six Invitational event in Rainbow Six Siege. This includes a Battle Pass with both free and premium tracks, which will help build the prize pool for next month's Six Invitational tournament. This trailer kicks things off, and this page features a complete guide to the event. Here are the details:
Today, Ubisoft announced the Road to S.I. in-game event is returning to Tom Clancy’s® Rainbow Six Siege, running every Thursday through Monday between January 21st and February 22nd. The Six Invitational 2021 Battle Pass is also available, which contributes to the Six Invitational prize pool.

The ultimate competitive Stadium map is back, combining elements of both the Border and Coastline maps. All Operators will be unlocked in a three-minute, three-round, unranked Plant Bomb, with Pick and Ban mode. The Captains - Mira, Capitão, Ash, and Vigil – and their teams will harbor outfits from the Battle Pass themed content.

The Six Invitational 2021 Battle Pass is still available until February 22nd with one Free track and one Premium track, available for 1200 R6 Credits. This year, the Battle Pass includes 100 tiers and 135 rewards to earn before February 22nd. Progress through the tiers and obtain exclusive gear for the Captains and their teammates, as well as additional exclusive content. 30% of the revenue from this Battle Pass will support the Six Invitational 2021 prize pool, up to a maximum of 3 million USD.
Continue here to read the full story.

Dota Pro Circuit Winter 2021 Season

The Dota Pro Circuit Winter 2021 Season update has details from Valve about the competitive scene for Dota 2, their MOBA. They say the winter season kicks off this week and will feature six weeks of daily action. Here's more:
In preparation for this season we’ve revamped the in-client watching experience and you’ll find a ton of new ways to watch and follow along with the scene. The “Watch” tab now has a comprehensive schedule and shows you the the current team standings. You’ll quickly get a snapshot of where things stand and what games are happening in the moment and where to watch. You’ll also be able to follow your favorite teams to make sure you never miss one of their matches. We’ve also updated the DPC app (iOS and Android) so you can follow along and track the new leagues and teams there as well.

If you’ve been following professional Dota for a while you’ll know we’ve explored a few ways for you to cheer on your favorite teams. In the coming weeks you’ll be able to back your favorites by purchasing content packages featuring in-game effects, sprays, emotes, loading screens and (of course) chat-wheel lines from your favorite teams. This content is coming straight from the teams themselves and they are submitting some great stuff for you to equip across your account.

Jumpala Released

Jumpala is now available on GOG.com and Steam, offering a platformer for Windows, macOS, and Linux that features a lot of jumping, in case the title wasn't a tip-off. You can see this in action in the Launch Trailer and you can also try before you buy since there's a playable demo. Here's the skinny:
Independent games publisher Versus Evil in partnership with Yokereba Games today announced that action puzzler Jumpala is now available on Steam for PC. Jumpala is a fast-paced competitive game that's all about superpowers, sabotage, and stage control. Lightning-fast reflexes and some keen strategy will be the order of the day as players look to stay one step ahead of their opponent.

Players will choose between 7 characters each with unique abilities as they race to the top of the stage and platforms plummet from beneath their feet. Players turn the platforms their color as they land them, claiming them and earning points for each claimed platform that falls off the stage. Players must vie for control for the platforms and achieve the highest score at the end of each match. A Special meter allows players to activate their character's special moves, allowing them to drop bombs, freeze opponents in place, and more. Power-ups drop throughout the matches, turning each match into a nail-biter.
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Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Neeson Wanted For New "Naked Gun." Well it certainly doesn't qualify as sacrilege. Replacing Nielsen with Neeson is an interesting concept. Credit Liam for saying it will "either finish my career or bring it in another direction. I honestly don’t know."

Obituary: Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton dies at 75.

HITMAN 3 Reviews

HITMAN 3 is coming out tomorrow, and the first reviews of IO Interactive's assassination series are now hitting the Internet. Here's a roundup:

Startopia and Urban Chaos on GOG.COM

GOG.COM announces that Startopia and Urban Chaos are now available on their DRM-free marketplace, updated to operate on modern PCs. Startopia was released in 2001 and Urban Chaos is from 1999, so here's a quick refresher:

Today two classic titles published by My Little Planet return to GOG.COM to bring us joy once more!

Startopia is a management game where you rebuild the network of space stations to a standard accepted by the individual alien races, attracting them to harness their expertise and research new technologies.

Urban Chaos, on the other hand, throws you into the heart of a modern urban jungle where you'll need a lethal combination of stealth, physical agility, and martial art skills to survive.

Both Startopia and Urban Chaos games are available on GOG.COM with a 25% discount that will end on 26th January 2021, 2 PM UTC.

ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN 2nd Anniversary Update

BANDAI NAMCO celebrates the second anniversary of the release of ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN. They say the newest installment in the aerial combat series has now sold more than 2.5 million copies since it first took off in 2019 and offer a free update for the game adding new skins and new emblems. This can be picked up on Steam where they have this trailer and these details:
Added 10 new skins and 10 new emblems
Skins and emblems can be viewed by choosing "Select a Skin" and "Select Emblem".
Note: Skins and emblems can only be changed in campaign mode after completing campaign mode once.
In multiplayer mode, they can be changed from the beginning.
Continue here to read the full story.

Zombie Army 4: Dead War Season 2 Final Mission

Rebellion now offers Dead Zeppelin for Zombie Army 4: Dead War offering good times/bad times in the final chapter of Season 2 of the undead Sniper Elite spin-off. This can be picked up on the Epic Games Store, and is included for purchasers of Season Pass 2. You can get a look at this this trailer, and we ramble on with more below:
Dead Zeppelin is the third and final mission in Season 2’s thrilling new Death from Above campaign. The Resistance airfield may have been saved, but the jarring terror of an undead airship and its hellish arsenal still looms over mankind.

You and your fellow deadhunters must chase the demonic airship down and bravely dare to board it. Will you be able to destroy it before it rains death upon the Earth?
Continue here to read the full story.

HighFleet Announced

Resurrected publisher MicroProse announces HighFleet, a 2D aerial combat action/strategy game where combat is waged between giant airships. This is coming to Steam in Q2 of this year, and the Steam Trailer provides a look at gameplay and the game's dieselpunk aesthetic. Here's a bit:
In a world with no memory of its past. The House of Sayadi sends its thousand-ton military ships to the skies. Stirring the peace of nations inhabiting the earth they strive to bring back what they have lost.

As a commander of the Sayadi Task Force you’ve been sent to regain control of the rebellious Kingdom of Gerat by whatever means necessary. To succeed will require careful exploration, clever resource management, cautious diplomacy and building a fleet capable of ruling the skies unchallenged.

But maybe a much greater destiny awaits you in this journey. As this forsaken land still hides the mysterious prophecies of a long forgotten past.
Continue here to read the full story.

Until The Last Plane Lands Soon

Until the Last Plane is a management simulation where you operate a World War II airbase from a throwback top-down perspective. This output of a small independent team is coming to Steam on March 4th, and in the meantime you can check out this trailer for a look at what to expect. Here's more of the flight plan:
This is the story of people who fought in the World War II: brave pilots who soared through the vast skies, and the smart engineers who helped them by managing their planes. In Until the Last Plane, you've been assigned to the management of a WWII airfield. Spend your military goods wisely, recruit pilots, and create the right parts for your planes. When you're ready, send a squadron out to accomplish your next mission!
Continue here to read the full story.

Speed Limit Next Month

Publisher Chorus Worldwide Games announces Speed Limit will race out for PC and consoles on "the week commencing February 15 2021," and the Steam Listing for Gamechuck's retro arcade game specifies a February 17th release. A new Release Date Trailer shows off the game and its eclectic mix of six different genres and multiple points-of-view. If you want to take this for a spin, the playable demo is still available on Steam. Here are all the details:
A daily train commute gone wrong: Speed Limit is a one-take, non-stop arcade experience that never slows down. No cuts, no lapses in the chaos, Speed Limit is an old-school action extravaganza boiled down to its core elements: Hard. Fast. Addictive.

Additionally, thanks to gameplay that transports players to a different genre and perspective every couple of stages, not only does Speed Limit keep you on your toes, but it also promises an experience that showcases the very best of retro gaming. From running and gunning inside a commuter train, through tearing up the streets in a convertible, all the way to a speed-of-sound breaking fighter jet, as the speed intensifies, so does the challenge. Speed Limit is fast, varied, and unforgiving. From the moment you start to the moment you die, you are in control. And it'll take all your skill to survive.
Continue here to read the full story.

Curved Space This Year

Maximum Games announces they will publish Curved Space, saying Only Midnight's twin-stick space shooter will come later this year. This represents a delay, but is not much of a curve, as the game was previously expected in autumn of last year. They offer an Announcement Trailer for the already announced game along with a description and some logrolling:
“We are thrilled to have partnered with Maximum Games,” said Andrew Czarnietzki, co-owner and lead developer at Only By Midnight. “Working with the Maximum team has afforded us the opportunity to bring our vision to reality and we are confident players will love the intense, wild action of Curved Space,” added Jen Laface, co-owner, creative director and producer at Only By Midnight.

Curved Space is an intense arcade-style shoot ‘em up that takes the classic formula and plunges it into the weirdest reaches of space. Battle cosmic space-invading spiders across curved landscapes where bullets hug the terrain while the horizon drops sharply out of sight. Players will have to hunt for weapon power-ups and upgrades while dodging enemy fire, blasting interdimensional bugs, and wrangling some enormous boss monsters.
Continue here to read the full story.

Cris Tales - Collector's Edition

Modus Games is now offering pre-orders of Cris Tales - Collector's Edition, a jazzed-up version of the upcoming time-traveling JRPG. They say there are limited quantities available through the new Maximum Games Store and that shipping is only available in the US. The announcement we received only mentions the console editions, there's a listing for a PC version as well. The game will be delivered on PC through a Steam code, but the price as the console versions, so presumably the physical extras are included. The playable demo is still available through GOG.com and Steam to help you decide if this is worthy of this commitment. Here's what makes this so darned collectible:
The Collector’s Edition is full of must-haves for any soon-to-be time mages, and includes:

  • Collector’s box
  • An adorable Matias plush
  • Lithographic art prints
  • 3 character stickers
  • Set of 4 enamel character pins
  • A 60-page artbook
  • 4 desktop wallpaper downloads
  • 8 phone wallpaper downloads
  • 10 character avatars

Out of the Blue

I stumbled in our NFL playoff pool this weekend when I over-thought my Bills pick and switched to the Ravens, thinking their superior defense and experience would carry the day. I don't like switching picks because it feels so much worse to switch to the wrong team than to pick the wrong team to start with. This is evidenced by my disappointment in getting this one wrong is so much stronger than my happiness last week when I switch to the winning team. I guess there's a lesson in there about risk aversion, but I don't know enough psychology to figure out what it is. Anyway, the first two rounds of the playoffs were amazingly entertaining. So as always, it's a bit of a letdown to suddenly get to the point in the season where there are just three games left. But it looks like these will all be great matchups, so at least there's the promise that these will be good ones.

Obituary: Harry Brant, fashion icon and son of Stephanie Seymour and Peter Brant, dead at 24.

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