Updated: Apr 04, 2020 2:48 pm Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
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Saturday, Apr 04, 2020

Free Pinball FX3 Care Package

This post on Steam announces the release of the Pinball FX3 Care Package for free, offering three premium table packs for Pinball FX3, the free-to-play pinball simulation (thanks Eli). There is a Marvel Comics set, a Star Wars Set, and an Aliens set. So you can be a pinball wizard, but there has to be a twist: These will be yours to keep if you add them to your library between now and April 8th. Here's more on the freebies:
Like many of you, the new normal for us at Zen Studios is working from home and staying inside as much as possible. We sincerely hope that you, your family, and your friends remain in good health and in good spirits for the weeks and months ahead.

To help keep those spirits high, we’ve created a special care package to offer hours of free Pinball FX3 content inspired by the iconic creations of Lucasfilm Ltd., Marvel and 20th Century Studios. This package is absolutely free until April 8, and all nine tables from these DLC three-packs are yours to keep forever: Star Wars Pinball (The Empire Strikes Back, The Clone Wars, Boba Fett), Marvel Heavy Hitters (Deadpool, Venom, Civil War), and Aliens vs Pinball (Aliens, Alien vs Predator, Alien: Isolation). To enjoy them, just make sure you’ve also downloaded Pinball FX3, which itself is always free.

We’ll keep our eyes open for you on the leaderboards. Enjoy the tables and – above all – please stay safe.

"Re-imagined" E3 2021 Scheduled

The Entertainment Software Association has announced dates for E3 2021, saying the next version of their giant gaming trade show will run from June 15-17, 2021. This is according to GamesIndustry.biz, who report this was shared with ESA partners. E3 2020 was to be held from June 9-11, but it was cancelled last month due to concerns about COVID-19. At the time of the cancellation, the ESA promised E3 2021 will be "a re-imagined event," though it's not yet clear how it will change.

Saints Row: The Third Remastered Revealed

A new ESRB listing is now online for Saints Row: The Third Remastered, apparently revealing plans for an updated version of Volition's open-world action/adventure which was originally released in 2011 (thanks Eurogamer). The rating summary does not indicate when this might be released, but does justify the M, Mature 17+ rating it will carry when it is:
This is an open-world action-adventure game in which players assume the role of a criminal syndicate known as the Saints. As players attempt to take over a fictional city and exact revenge on a rival gang, they engage in driving and combat missions to progress the storyline. Players use machine guns, shotguns, swords, rocket launchers, and grenades to kill rival gang members. Players can also attack pedestrians, and in one mission, players shoot at police and civilians to create chaos in a rival gang's territory. One scene prompts players to run over a certain number of pedestrians within a given time; another sequence allows players to dispatch enemies by putting grenades in their mouths. Players can also use chainsaws to hack at enemies, resulting in small chunks of flesh and large splatters of blood. Damage from certain guns can result in decapitation. During the course of the game, female characters are sometimes depicted in outfits that reveal large amounts of their breasts/cleavage or buttocks; characters are occasionally depicted nude, though their nipples and/or genitalia are obscured by blurry pixels. In one sequence, players can walk through an erotic club containing several phallic sex toys and sexual contraptions. Some game environments and dialogue contain drug paraphernalia or other references to drugs (e.g., marijuana leaves and water bongs on a table; a radio DJ telling a caller to try heroin). The words “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “c*ck” appear in the dialogue.

Rocksmith Team Making New Project, Rocksmith DLC Ends

The Rocksmith Website announces the Rocksmith team is "thrilled" to let us know they are working on a new project (thanks Polygon). They don't say what this is, so we'll have to wait for more details. But they do offer some bad news for fans of the real music game, saying this means they will not be producing further Rocksmith DLC. They do plan on continuing their weekly dev stream in a new format. Here's word:
We have big news today: The Rocksmith team, both here in Ubisoft San Francisco and globally, is thrilled to finally let you know that we’ve been hard at work on a new project!

To that end, we now need to shift focus away from DLC creation. As of this week’s Opeth Song Pack, Rocksmith Remastered has concluded its scheduled DLC releases. After 383 weeks of DLC releases, this pack brings us to a total of 1570 songs in the Rocksmith library, spanning over 7 decades (or 3 centuries, in the case of Bachsmith) and covering a multitude of genres for guitar and bass. For over a decade, we’ve watched players learn, grow, and constantly surprise us with your talent, creativity, and eagerness to help one another reach your goals. We truly could not be more proud to play a part in this guitar journey with you.

Although we will no longer be releasing new DLC, we still have weekly online content planned for Rocksmith fans. The Rocksmith Dev Stream will continue (in a new format), along with some more surprises. We will also continue to share updates for our new project when we’re ready on our website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Continue here to read the full story.

Saturday Crowdfunding

  • HAMSTER GAME by JMAA — Kickstarter. "HAMSTER GAME is a top-down roguelike shooter that's inspired by being the deranged lovechild of Binding of Isaac and Hotline Miami. A game that pays homage to everything the 90s gaming has brought to us: Doom, pizza, heavy metal, violence and gore, and so on."

etc.

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Friday, Apr 03, 2020

Valorant Breaks Out

With closed beta testing underway for Valorant, there are videos appearing all over of Riot's upcoming multiplayer shooter. Here's a Google Search and a Twitter Search that will lead you to a treasure trove. There's also an inside look at the VALORANT bootcamp on ESPN with some hands-on impression of being slaughtered in the game by a bunch of pro players. Last weekend. Here's a Welcome to the team Dev Diary from Riot from the event. And here's a list of various articles that look at the game to some degree or another:

Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Season 3 Next Week

This tweet announces Season 3 for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare/Call of Duty: Warzone gets underway on April 8th. The tweet includes an image that hints at the content this will bring to the military shooter combo, so feel free to start speculating.

Steam Passes 24M Concurrent Users

The Steam Game and Player Statistics Page shows a new high concurrent user count of 24,157,126. Will it break 25M this weekend? Who knows. But please remember, these statistics are for entertainment purposes only. Please, no wagering.

Pode Released

Pode is now available on Steam, offering a co-op puzzle adventure for Windows that previously debuted on Switch. Developer/publisher Henchman & Goon is very proud of the reception the Switch version was met with: "Pode won the development award for Best Casual Game and was selected as a nominee for the People's Choice Awards for Best Quality of Art at GameConnection 2018, and in 2019 won three national awards in Norway for 'Best Art', 'Best Audio' and 'Best Fun for Everyone' as well as 'Best Art' at Nordic Game Awards. But the team is most proud of praise received from Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larsson (see tweet)." Here's the Steam Launch Trailer and here's word:
Pode is a co-op puzzle adventure game about two unlikely travel companions - a rock named Bulder, and a fallen star named Glo, going on an exploratory journey within a mysterious and magical mountain. Through unique individual talents the duo revitalize the environment around them by working together to solve mind-bending puzzles. Featuring a musical track composed by the acclaimed Austin Wintory and visually inspired by Norwegian art and culture, Pode is a stunning exploration game that can be played alone or with a friend.
Continue here to read the full story.

In Other Waters Released

In Other Waters is now available on GOG.com and Steam, offering an puzzle/adventure game for Windows and macOS that's set in, well other waters (other than Casablanca, perhaps?). This carries a 10% launch discount for the first week. Here's a trailer and here's a description:
Guide Ellery—and keep her safe—as you dive deeper and explore an underwater alien landscape. The planet’s unique life, and its dark history, are yours to uncover and the bond between you and Ellery will be tested by the secrets you learn. Through this shifting narrative, In Other Waters asks questions about the nature of “natural” and “artificial” life, and investigates what it means to be a human in an epoch of extreme environmental destruction. For life to continue, it must change.

Freely dive into an expansive section of seafloor, from shimmering reefs to inky depths. Unlock upgrades and make discoveries that allow you to open up new paths, uncovering strange creatures and environments as you do.
Continue here to read the full story.

Darkest Dungeon PvP DLC Announced

This post on Steam announces the talk of PvP multiplayer coming to Darkest Dungeon was no joke, and new The Butcher's Circus DLC is coming soon to on Steam for the turn-based RPG for Windows, macOS, and Linux (thanks Game Informer). Here's the feature list:
Features:

  • New Hamlet Location: The Butcher's Circus
  • Engage in no-holds-barred PvP combat with teams of 4 heroes (without risking your Campaign heroes)
  • Climb the ranks to show off your command of heroes and ability to weather misfortune and violence
  • Unlock banner components and use your creativity to assemble your own duelist heraldry
  • Strategize with new gladiatorial trinkets that can mean all the difference in pitched battles against other heroes
  • A gleefully warped musical theme by Stuart Chatwood, Narrator quips by the esteemed Wayne June, and all new gripping sound FX by Power Up Audio

Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Obituary: ‘Lean On Me,’ ‘Lovely Day’ singer Bill Withers dies at 81. What an amazing talent he was.

Modern Warfare Multiplayer Free Access Weekend Begins

The promised Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Free Multiplayer Weekend is now underway for owners of the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone. Here's how this works:
That’s right: all Modern Warfare and free-to-play Warzone players can square up together in a varied and fast-paced Multiplayer Moshpit, all weekend long.

If you haven’t played Modern Warfare Multiplayer, now’s the chance to see what you’ve missed. Experience the world-class gameplay, deep weapon customization, and gritty, photorealistic environments that make Modern Warfare Multiplayer the ultimate online playground.
Continue here to read the full story.

Get SYMMETRY for Free

GOG.com announces a 48 hour giveaway of SYMMETRY, saying this "retro-futuristic" action/strategy game is yours to keep if you claim your copy before the offer expires. Here's a SYMMETRY Trailer and here are some symmetrical details:
A research spaceship reaches an abandoned planet. Nothing is what it seems here and the situation quickly slips out of control. Can the crew manage to survive and get back home?

SYMMETRY is a survival management game set in a retro- futuristic, sci-fi universe. Your main goal is to manage the crash survivors and help them withstand the desolate, extremely cold environment in order to fix their spacecraft and escape. The non- obvious plot is accompanied by an atmospheric musical score and graphic design that sustains the harsh and mysterious ambience.
Continue here to read the full story.

RESIDENT EVIL 3 Breaks Out

RESIDENT EVIL 3 is now available on Steam, offering the Windows edition of this remake of Capcom's survival/horror game. In addition to this (timely) game based on escaping a deadly pandemic, this also includes Resident Evil Resistance, a new asymmetrical survival game in the Resident Evil setting. The game doesn't carry a launch discount, but RESIDENT EVIL 2 / BIOHAZARD RE-2 is half-off on Steam for the next couple of weeks. Update: Thanks to Cram for pointing out that you can get 22% off on a Steam key for this at Green Man Gaming. This post has the Launch Trailer and the details, including word that Jill Valentine will join the Resistance as a playable Survivor on April 17th::
Resident Evil 3
Resident Evil 3 stars Jill Valentine—one of video games’ most iconic heroines—as she escapes from a doomed Raccoon City while being pursued by the unrelenting bioweapon Nemesis. Familiar foes and fresh new content come to life with modernized gameplay and vivid graphics made possible by RE Engine, previously utilized to create the acclaimed Resident Evil 7 biohazard, Resident Evil 2, and Devil May Cry 5.

Resident Evil Resistance
A Mastermind plots a deadly course by manipulating the environment and wielding a strategic deck of cards that create dangerous obstacles including vicious creatures, traps, and weaponized security cameras. In turn, Survivors must work together using their individual special abilities and the items they come across to thwart the Mastermind, and escape the experiment before time runs out.
Continue here to read the full story.

New AMD Radeon Drivers

AMD Drivers and Support now offer new version 20.4.1 Adrenalin 2020 Edition Windows drivers for AMD graphics cards. These fix some issues in Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm while adding support for today's release of Resident Evil 3. Here's the full rundown:
Support For

  • Resident Evil 3™

Fixed Issues

  • Overwatch™ and Heroes of the Storm™ may experience a black screen or application hang while gaming for extended periods of time on some Radeon RX Vega series graphics product system configurations.
  • HDR may fail to enable or be detected in applications and games using the Vulkan® API.
  • Doom Eternal™ may fail to launch in some hybrid graphics system configurations.
  • Radeon ReLive streaming may fail to launch or may crash when a stream session is started with performance metrics overlay enabled.
  • Some clock values may fail to populate for a limited number of graphics products in the Radeon Settings Hardware information tab.
  • Hotkeys can no longer be assigned to a single digit or character as this has the ability to block or cause interference with some default Windows® functionality.
  • Some Radeon FreeSync Premium supported displays may not list all supported refresh rate options in Windows® when Radeon FreeSync Premium is enabled in the displays OSD settings.

Known Issues

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Boundary – Orbital Security Detail This Year

An update on the PlayStation.Blog about Boundary – Orbital Security Detail mentioned here yesterday failed to recognize that this first-person shooter is coming to PC as well as PlayStation 4 (thanks Polygon via Neutronbeam). The game is set in the zero-gravity of "low orbit" space, where no one can hear you quote Owen Wilson from Armageddon saying "we're just in the beginning part of space, we-we haven't even got to outer space yet." Producer Yongliang "CT" Cui from Surgical Scalpels Studio says the game is feature complete, and is coming to both platforms this year. The post includes a trailer with cinematics and gameplay along with details on what to expect. Here's  a portion discussing the environment and player classes:
Zero Gravity Combat
We call our armed astronauts AO, or Astroperators, and you’ll need to think like one in Boundary. Movement is turned on its head in space: you have full freedom of movement and you aren’t restricted by gravity like you are in most shooters.

But keep this in mind: as many possibilities as zero gravity opens up, it brings even more challenges.

A well-trained AO knows how to use the environment to their advantage. Floating debris makes for a good blind spot to conceal your approach, a solar panel might be a good spot to plan an ambush against an unsuspecting foe, and you can even use your grapple hook for substantial acceleration from one point to another.
Continue here to read the full story.

New Commandos Game in Development

Kalypso Media announces the formation of a new internal developer called Claymore Game Studios to create a new installment in the Commandos series. We can expect more news about a return to the World War II strategy franchise, but for now their main message is they are hiring to fill out the team. Here's word:
Kalypso Media Group has announced today, Claymore Game Studios, its third internal game development studio, has begun production of a next-generation installment in the Commandos strategy series. Claymore Game Studios is named after the first successful Commando mission ‘Operation Claymore’ in 1941. Based in the town of Darmstadt, a tech hub in Germany near the city of Frankfurt, with good housing, an array of public transport links and recreational activities.
Continue here to read the full story.

Pendragon Announced

Developer inkle (80 Days, Heaven's Vault) announces Pendragon, saying their next narrative strategy game will be set during the Arthurian legend. This is expected this summer, and its Steam Listing and official website are now online. Pull this teaser trailer from the stone and you can be king. Or at least you'll get a quick look at what they have in mind. Here's more:
Pendragon is inkle's next evolutionary step in strategic narrative games. An epic character-driven Arthurian legend told turn by turn on the field of battle itself, Pendragon creates its story as you play, with every move you make pushing the narrative in new directions while every dialogue choice and story twist opens up new gameplay opportunities.

AD 673. Camelot has fallen. The jealous Sir Mordred has broken the fellowship of the Round Table with hatred and lies. Now Arthur Pendragon faces his final battle.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan Adds Second Free Friend's Pass

BANDAI NAMCO announces they are offering owners of The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan a second free friend's pass to help share the fear of this survival/horror game. This video shows how this works. Here's an overview:
The best gaming experiences are often shared with friends and starting today, all existing owners of The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan will gain access to another free Friend’s Pass – enabling players to experience one full playthrough of the game via Multiplayer Shared Story mode with a friend that does not own the game.

Immerse yourself in the world of The Dark Picture Anthology series once again, connect with a friend, and get ready! The offer is open until May 1st on PlayStation®4, Xbox One, and PCs via STEAM® – and the friend must be playing on the same platform. To access the game, your friend must download the Trial version of Man of Medan first. The Friend’s Pass will be provided via a patch. For more detailed instructions, see below:
Continue here to read the full story.

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam - Talvisota - Winter War Released

Talvisota - Winter War is now available on Steam as a new free official mod for Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, which is required to play (and is currently on sale). This completely transforms the setting of the original game from the sweaty jungles of Southeast Asia to the frosty forests of Finland. Here's the Launch Trailer and here's the announcement:
Publisher and developer Tripwire Interactive is pleased to launch the Talvisota Team’s Talvisota: Winter War mod for Rising Storm 2: Vietnam today. Available for FREE later today to all owners of Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, Talvisota: Winter War brings a fully-fleshed mod that converts the same esteemed gameplay mechanics of Rising Storm 2: Vietnam and transforms the backdrop from the hot, humid climate of Vietnam in the 1960’s and 70’s to the frozen forests of Finland, during the 1939-40 Soviet-Finnish Winter War.

Talvisota: Winter War arrives as a fresh and frozen way for fans to play, launching with full voice acting support, six brand new weapons, four vehicles, eleven new maps, skiers, and more. Other additions for the Talvisota: Winter War mod include new music, historically accurate customization options, and new commander abilities. For a full list of new additions, please visit the Steam Store page.
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Out of the Blue

We arrived in our new more rural home last year around the start of summer. This allowed us to fully enjoy the serenity of the nearby pond, as a family of swans and a large raft of ducks spent their time serenely paddling the days away. There were geese here when we first arrived, but they were rounded up and "relocated" (hmmm) shortly after that, and only a handful returned. That has made this spring a revelatory experience. The baby swan left a couple of months ago, and the pair of them has been completely missing for weeks now, so I assume the next time we see them they will have a new youngster in tow. The ducks are quite scattered as they quietly pursue their mating rituals. But the geese, who have returned in force, are being complete maniacs. They are clearly in the throes of mating as well, but this is a violent noisy affair. They spend a lot of time chasing each other across the pond, and it's hard to tell when this is to woo members of the opposite sex and when it's to intimidate rivals (unlike the ducks, it's hard to distinguish gender for the geese). And when they aren't chasing they are honking. And sometimes they are honking when they are chasing too. And this is not confined to daylight hours, they sometimes make noise well into the wee hours of the morning. MrsBlue and I don't actually mind this at all, as it's not that disturbing, and it's pleasant to be surrounded by actual nature. But I imagine some of our neighbors feel differently about it, and to be fair the novelty might wear off for us after a few years too. But so far it's been interesting to watch (and hear) their antics. Honk if you're horny!!

Untitled Goose Links
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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