Updated: Jun 14, 2024 11:59 am EDT (GMT -04:00)

Friday, Jun 14, 2024 Flag Day (USA)

Next EGS Freebies Revealed

The free games box on the Epic Games Store is now updated with next week's giveaways, saying next Thursday the store will start handing out free copies of Freshly Frosted and a Rumble Club Free Game of the Week Bonus. Upcoming giveaways are normally revealed on Thursday, so this relieves the the concern we expressed about the future of the freebie program when this announcement didn't come yesterday.

Monster Hunter Stories Released

CAPCOM announces the global launch of Monster Hunter Stories for PC, PlayStation 4, and Switch, and the Windows edition of this updated Monster Hunter RPG is on Steam. The Launch Trailer is here to get this party started. Here's the story on the game and a couple of limited-time bundles:
Note: For the bundle products, "Monster Hunter Stories Collection" and "Monster Hunter Stories Deluxe Collection", the limited bonus of both titles will be available to anyone who purchases the bundle by 11:59 p.m. EDT on August 31st, 2024.

Monster Hunter Stories is an RPG that takes the world of Monster Hunter and expands upon it in new and exciting ways! No longer are you hunting monsters, but raising them! In this deep story featuring heroes known as Monster Riders, you will live alongside monsters and form lifelong bonds with them.

The first installment of the Monster Hunter Stories series returns, fully voiced in Japanese and English, with additional features such as a new museum mode where you can listen to music and view concept art, allowing you to dive even deeper into the world of Monster Hunter Stories.
Continue here to read the full story.

Crime Boss: Rockay City Playtest Sunday

505 Games and INGAME STUDIOS announce another playest will start on Sunday for the Steam Edition of Crime Boss: Rockay City. You must request access, but everyone who applies will get in. This will help vet the game while giving players a chance to see all that's been done to recover from the rockay launch for the heist shooter. Word is: "Crime Boss: Rockay City has come a long way since our initial launch last year! And we can't wait to welcome more of you into this incredible community. We have a super bright future ahead of us." The news also reveals the Steam edition will get an additional 20% launch discount along with the inclusion of all the game's DLC. This post has the details. Here's more on the game itself:
Welcome to the 90’s Rockay City! Heist, loot and shoot your way to the top of the criminal underworld! Build your criminal empire in the singleplayer rogue-lite campaign or put together a crew with your friends in action-packed co-op multiplayer heists!

Heist, steal and rob it all!
Become a notorious criminal legend in this tension-packed, over-the-top, first-person shooter.

Use a wide range of weapons and equipment to combat police forces and rival gangs while you make off with the score! Go guns blazing or undetected with immersive stealth gameplay in highly randomized heists. Build your squad and successfully rob banks, hold up stores, raid armored trucks and more!

LOLLIPOP CHAINSAW RePOP in September

Dragami Games announces LOLLIPOP CHAINSAW RePOP will be digitally released worldwide on September 25th for PC via Steam and for consoles. A first trailer shows off this remaster of the 2012 zombie action game. This promises the "definitive version" of the game, with improved framerates and graphics, quality of life improvements, and additional content. A first trailer is here to show this in action. Here's more:
LOLLIPOP CHAINSAW RePOP is a remake of the original LOLLIPOP CHAINSAW (2012), on which Yoshimi Yasuda lead development as producer. RePOP is a definitive version of the game which leaves the story unchanged, with the focus on quality-of-life improvements and additional gameplay content.

Watch Juliet, a descendant of zombie hunters, as she fights alongside her boyfriend and family to stop a zombie apocalypse starting in her high school in "Juliet's 18th Birthday."
Continue here to read the full story.

The Crust Next Month

VEOM Studio and Crytivo announce July 15th is the release date for The Crust, its crowdfunded lunar factory simulator. It will come to both the Epic Games Store and Steam. Here's the Release Date Announcement Trailer with a look. Read on for more:
Fresh from Kickstarter success, the game will launch into Early Access, allowing players to get acquainted with humanity’s future home on the moon. The Crust, inspired by Rimworld and Factorio, merges factory automation with colonist management against the backdrop of a hopeless humanity left destitute on Earth.
Continue here to read the full story.

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Out of the Blue

Maybe I should go out and buy a lottery ticket to press my luck. I won our Final Jeopardy prediction game again yesterday by guessing the correct response based on the category before the question (answer, technically) was revealed (I won't say what it was out of consideration for time-shifters). It feels like cheating because I my response was literally the only thing I could think of that fit the category, but a win's a win, right?

Lucky Round-up
Thanks Ant, Neutronbeam, and Max.

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Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

Hell Let Loose Free Weekend

Steam currently offers the chance to play Hell Let Loose for Windows free, giving everyone all weekend to check out this hardcore military shooter set during World War II. This is a chance to experience the games' 50v50 battles and real-time tactics, and pick up a copy at a 40% discount if you decide to reenlist. Here's the recruiting pitch:
Join the chaos of war and be a part of the most iconic battles of the Eastern and Western Fronts, including Carentan, Omaha Beach, Stalingrad, Kursk and more. Hell Let Loose drops you into the action, where you will have to fight across fields, bridges, forests, towns and more war-torn environments! Lumbering tanks will be dominating the battlefield and crucial supply chains fuelling the frontlines, you are essential to the colossal, combined arms warfare.

GTFO Free Weekend

A free weekend is underway on Steam for GTFO, offering the chance to sample this horror-themed first-person shooter or, well, GTFO. The game is on sale for half off if you decide you want to pick it up. This post has a free weekend FAQ, and here's a refresher on the game:
Your team of prisoners is dropped into the Rundown when a new Work Order is issued by The Warden, the mysterious entity holding you captive. The Rundown is a series of expeditions, each one taking you deeper into a decayed research facility called The Complex. You descend level by level, scavenging tools and resources that help you survive in a perilous network of tunnels where gruesome creatures lurk in every shadow. Complete all the expeditions to fulfill the Work Order and clear the Rundown.

Willy's Wonderland - The Game Released

Willy's Wonderland - The Game is now available for Windows on Steam and for consoles, offering a 2.5D beat-em-up based on the Nicolas Cage movie of the same name. The movie drew comparisons (which were denied) to Five Nights at Freddy's, but as seen in the Release Date Trailer, this game bears no resemblance to that. Here's word on the game and its mobile origins:
Willy’s Wonderland – The Game is a 2.5D beat ‘em up game based on the film of the same name, in which a group of Animatronics come to life and slaughter people who dare visit Willy’s Wonderland.

Players take control of either The Janitor or Liv as they face the hordes of evil commanded by the nefarious Animatronics - Tito Turtle, Siren Sara, Arty Alligator, Cammy Chameleon, Willy Weasel and more!
Continue here to read the full story.

Medieval Dynasty Console Co-op Patch This Month

An announcement on Steam details plans for an update coming to Medieval Dynasty for PC and consoles on June 27th. This will add co-op and crossplay support for the survival RPG currently only on Steam everywhere except for GOG.com, due to a complication: "Due to the specific nature of GOG.com, its players will receive update including the new map and additional content, but we are still working on the introduction of the Co-Op mode on this platform." Here's a Console Co-Op Mode Update Launch Trailer and more:
Current gen console players will be able to join the fray with their PC counterparts as Medieval Dynasty expands its dominion cross-platform, expanding their co-op adventures in the Middle Ages. Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 console gamers will now get a chance to experience Piastovia for themselves, the heart and soul of the Oxbow where their epic journey and exciting new quests will begin.

Not only does the co-op mode introduce a whole new player experience for current gen console players to enjoy with their friends, but they’ll also notice that villages within the Oxbow come alive with a newfound vibrancy, teeming with activity as village folk go about their daily lives and conduct their chores.
Continue here to read the full story.

Demos & Freebies

  • Skatemasta Tcheco on Steam (Windows). "Tcheco is back! Be prepared to survive even crazier stages! Smash, pulverize and destroy - but never lose your gorgeous smile."
  • Seed of Pandora: Legend of the Gaia Tree on Steam (Windows). "Join Bastien and his friends as they traverse across the continent of Pandora in this epic RPG adventure. Discover the many secrets of this fully realized 16 bit style world."

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown on Steam in August

Ubisoft announces the Windows edition of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown will be found on Steam on August 8th, bringing the platformer to an additional sales platform. Here's a PC Distribution Update Trailer with a look and here's the entirety of the game's description:
Use your Time Powers, combat, and platforming skills to perform deadly combos and defeat time-corrupted enemies and mythological creatures.

Discover a cursed Persian-inspired world filled with larger-than-life landmarks and explore a variety of highly detailed biomes, each with their own identity, wonder, and danger.

Immerse yourself in a Persian mythological​ fantasy through an intriguing and original story as you use your wits to solve puzzles, find hidden treasures, and complete quests to learn more about this corrupted place.
Continue here to read the full story.

Melvor Idle: Into the Abyss Released

Into the Abyss is now available on Steam, offering new DLC for Melvor Idle, a burst of activity for the idle adventure for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Read on for more, but remember, if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you:
A new chapter of Melvor Idle unfolds with Into the Abyss! The defeat of Bane has had unforeseen consequences, shaking the very foundations of the world. This disruption has caused a massive fracture on the world’s surface – and drawn the attention of a powerful new adversary. Xon, the Abyssal King, has answered the call of chaos…

Seizing the opportunity to bridge his Abyssal Realm with the overworld, Xon’s goal is clear: to conquer the overworld with all the might of his vast and fearsome armies. You stand at the frontline of this new conflict, tasked with the monumental challenge of stopping Xon before his dark ambitions come to fruition!

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Watchmen Chapters 1 & 2 - 4K Teaser Trailer.

Get Redout 2 for Free; EGS Freebies Ending?

Redout 2 is now available for free on the Epic Games Store, offering the chance to own this racing sequel for free. Today's other giveaway of an Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms content pack is also now available. You have a week to collect, and they're yours for keeps. But it's not clear if we should expect this promotion to continue next Thursday. Epic promised its first freebie when it launched the store in 2018, and has given away a ton of games on a regular basis since then. There's no announcement that this plan is changing, but the usual listing showing next week's giveaways is missing from today's news. So it's possible this gravy train is ending, as in the past even secret releases were promised as "mystery games." Barring further clarifications, we'll know more in a week. In the meantime, here's word on today's freebies:
Redout 2 is a tribute to classic arcade racing games and the sequel to the critically acclaimed Redout, where racing through the dystopian wastelands of a semi-abandoned Earth is one of the galaxy’s most popular sports. Reach impossible speeds in exhilarating futuristic races across an extensive single-player campaign and competitive multiplayer. Deep control systems, robust hovership customization and a killer soundtrack make Redout 2 the premier anti-gravity racer.

All players who log into Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms through the Epic Games Store between Thursday, 6/13/2024, at 11 AM Eastern and Thursday, 6/20/2024, at 11 AM Eastern will receive Duke Ravengard's Champions of Renown Pack. This pack is worth over $100 USD and can be yours for FREE, just by logging in! Get ready to level up your game with this exciting offer!

FragPunk Testing This Month

NetEase announces the closed alpha test promised during the recent announcement of FragPunk for Windows will begin on June 27th. Testing will feature 70 shard cards, 10 playable heroes, 15 weapons, and four maps. Those interested in vetting the 5v5 hero shooter can request access right now on Steam for the chance to participate, and word is the initial test will concentrate on players in North America. A new World Premiere Extended Trailer shows off more of the game and encourages testing signups. Here's more on the game and the test:
Players can bend the rules of combat to their advantage, as they pick their heroes, customize their weapon loadout, and choose from a selection of shard cards that shift every round in this free to play experience. FragPunk is developed by Bad Guitar, a subsidiary studio of ThunderFire which is one of the primary studios under NetEase. The game will come to Xbox Series X|S and PC in 2025.

FragPunk's Closed Alpha Test will feature 70 of shard cards with varied rule bending powers, 10 playable heroes with unique abilities, 4 playable maps and 15 usable weapons, some of which feature unique abilities! Apart from that, a multitude of in-game rewards have been prepared for players to discover and enjoy during the first closed alpha test.
Continue here to read the full story.

Still Wakes the Deep Next Week

The Chinese Room and publisher Secret Mode announce Still Wakes the Deep will launch on June 18th for PC and consoles, awakening a first-person horror/adventure from the developer of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, and Dear Esther. The Launch Trailer is here with a look at this narrative game and its setting on an oil rig in the North Sea. This highlights the game's Scottishness, and the latest on the game is it will include a Scottish Gaelic language option in addition to support for English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese. Word is 2.5% of Scotland's population reported "some Gaelic-language skills" in the 2022 Census, so hopefully most of those approximately 137,500 Scots are gamers. Here's a refresher on the game:
You are an offshore oil rig worker, fighting for your life through a vicious storm, perilous surroundings, and the dark, freezing North Sea waters. All lines of communication have been severed. All exits are gone. All that remains is to face the unknowable horror that’s come aboard.
Continue here to read the full story.

Space for Sale Early Access in Summer

Mirage Game Studios announces Space for Sale will enter Early Access this summer, kicking off this sandbox space/survival game focused on real estate sales. A new trailer called The Great Pivot features the team discussing alterations to the design to accommodate Early Access, which includes changes to make for a more replayable game in general. Here's word:
3...2...1...takeoff! Get your rockets and space suits ready as Space for Sale launches into Early Access on Steam this summer! Start your very own space realtor adventure, solo or with a friend! All of this is topped off with a new dev diary entry.

In today's dev diary, Mirage Game Studios' Lead Artist Toby talks with Simon, their Game Director, about the changes the studio had to make for Space for Sale to pivot it into an early access title, how Space for Sale is moving towards becoming a more replayable game, about finishing planets, and their bigger focus on community building while introducing their new Community Manager, Masha!
Continue here to read the full story.

Demos & Freebies

  • ASKA on Steam (Windows). "Lay claim to unspoiled lands and pave the way for a fierce Viking tribe. Craft the ultimate settlement solo or together with up to x3 friends. Trust in the Gods and the power of the Eye of Odin and summon intelligent NPC villagers to provide camaraderie and relief from the toils of survival."
  • Dungeon Clawler on Steam (Windows). "Dungeon Clawler is a Roguelike Claw Machine Deckbuilder. Build your unique deck, fight enemies by grabbing weapons and items from a claw machine and find special artifacts that help you on your quest to reclaim something you lost... Aim carefully to claw your way through this dungeon!"
  • Edge of Sanity on Steam (Windows). "Set in the unforgiving lands of Alaska, Edge of Sanity is a Cthulhu-inspired, 2D survival horror game. Uncover a disturbing story while madness claws at your mind. Lead a group of survivors and explore, scavenge and survive together - against untold eldritch horrors." Here's a trailer.
  • Once Human on Steam (Windows). "Once Human is a multiplayer open-world survival game set in a strange, post-apocalyptic future. Unite with friends to fight monstrous enemies, uncover secret plots, compete for resources, and build your own territory. Once, you were merely human. Now, you have the power to remake the world."
  • Wizard of Legend 2 on Steam (Windows). "Face perilous magical trials in the fast-paced rogue-lite follow-up to the acclaimed original, featuring up to 4-player co-op and vibrant new 3D visuals. Master new Arcana and elements, experiment with spell combinations, and become the next Wizard of Legend!"

On Disco Elysium's Cancelled Follow-ups

An extremely lengthy article on PC Gamer has the follow up to the news that groundbreaking RPG Disco Elysium will not be getting a sequel, and the remainder of its development team was laid off by ZA/UM. This combines public information, interviews, and some off-the-record comments to fill us in on the surprising amount of drama involved in the cancellation of more than one attempt to capitalize on the game's success. Here's a small bit:
Since 2019, A Disco Elysium sequel, a sci-fi RPG in a new setting, and a full-size Elysium spin-off game have been canceled or "paused," while a heated personal and legal dispute between founding members hangs over ZA/UM's every move. That last canceled game, described as "a spin-off about one of the most beloved characters in Disco Elysium" and spearheaded by one of the first game's principle writers, wowed other teams at the studio in an internal demo at the end of last year. It could have been on our SSDs as early as 2025.

This project was cancelled in February, much to the shock of most ZA/UM employees, and nearly the entire team⁠—including that Disco Elysium writer, Argo Tuulik⁠— was laid off. I spoke with 12 current and former employees, including Tuulik and fellow X7 lead writer Dora Klindžić, to find out what went wrong. Studio ZA/UM itself did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Morning Gatherings & Events

Out of the Blue

I thought I had a nature tragedy outside my office this morning when I saw a robin lying on the grass just outside. Its wings were splayed out awkwardly and I was sure it was likely dead, or injured at best. I went out to see if it could be helped, and when it heard me it immediately startled awake. It hopped to its feet, gave me a glance, and flew off. I've never seen a bird "napping" on the ground, and it's hard to imagine this is what was actually happening. I think it's more likely it ran into a window or had some other mishap that left it stunned. Either way, I'm happy it was okay, and glad if I helped it awaken, because laying around like that seems like an easy way to become a snack.

Obituary: Howard Fineman, veteran political journalist and former MSNBC analyst, dies at 75. Thanks Devicer.

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Thanks Ant, Neutronbeam, and Max.

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