Updated: Nov 29, 2021 6:24 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

Monday, Nov 29, 2021

Company of Heroes 3 Multiplayer Test Tomorrow

Publisher SEGA and developer Relic announce a multiplayer "slice" for Company of Heroes 3 will go live tomorrow at noon EST. This will run through December 6th, providing players a free hands-on sample of what's referred to as a "pre-alpha" version of the RTS sequel. Participation requires a free COH-Development account, and you can sign up for one on this website. Once you're set with an account you can prepare by heading over to the Company of Heroes Website and pre-downloading the client. Here's a Multiplayer Pre-Alpha Overview Trailer and here's more:
The Multiplayer Pre-Alpha will allow players to jump online and get a first glimpse at some exciting new multiplayer combat. They can experience four Italian maps in a variety of game modes, including co-op vs AI opponents, competitive PvP and Skirmish vs AI, while trying out familiar and brand-new features like Full Tactical Pause in skirmish mode, vehicle side armour, Verticality, Battlegroups, and Veterancy. Two classic factions return, the US forces and The Wehrmacht, each bringing their unique and game-changing abilities to the battlefield. More factions will be revealed in the run up to launch, with Company of Heroes 3 promising more content than ever before.

Over on Relic's community platform CoH-Development, passionate players have already been sharing their valuable feedback since Company of Heroes 3 was announced with a Pre-Alpha Preview this summer. The studio is looking forward to hearing from its community yet again on the upcoming Multiplayer Pre-Alpha to ensure that, with the gathered feedback, they deliver the biggest and best multiplayer experience at launch yet.
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Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong Delayed

Nacon and Big Bad Wolf tweet to announce that Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong is being delayed again. Word is the World of Darkness RPG is now due on May 19, 2022:
Our focus is on crafting a world that draws you in, that requires you to make difficult decisions and live with the consequences. Swansong features lots of characters, choices, dialogues, and opportunities to decide how the story plays and our ultimate focus is on quality. With this in mind, we've made the difficult decision to delay the launch of Vampire: The Masquerade Swansong from February 2022 to May 2022.

This wasn't a decision we took lightly, but one necessary to ensure the highest possible quality while retaining a healthy work-life balance for our team. Granted, the pandemic also threw a couple of wrenches into our planning, but this delay will allow us to apply some additional polish and give us some extra time for QA. We are a small but very passionate team, eager to create an immersive experience that rivals the sort of personal storytelling you'd experience from a great tabletop session. One that leaves you with questions long after the credit credits have stopped rolling (but a reason to go back and see how things could have been different).
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GOG Losses Leading to Changes

GamesIndustry.biz has the latest financial reporting from CD Projekt. Word is: "The company reported total revenues up 38% to PLN 144 million ($34.7 million), while net profits were down 30% to PLN 16.3 million ($3.92 million)." Early work on new projects as well as the scramble to repair Cyberpunk 2077 are factors cited as drags on profitability. Another problem is the poor performance of GOG.com. On that topic, The Verge reports comments made to investors during a quarterly earnings call by CD Projekt CFO Piotr Nielubowicz. He says that there will be "changes to the team structure" at the digital games storefront, which will refocus on its core mission of offering a curated selection of games with no DRM:
“Regarding GOG, its performance does present a challenge, and recently we’ve taken measures to improve its financial standing,” CD Projekt CFO Piotr Nielubowicz told investors on a quarterly earnings call. “First and foremost, we’ve decided that GOG should focus more on its core business activity, which means offering a handpicked selection of games with its unique DRM-free philosophy. In line with this approach, there will be changes in the team structure.”

Nielubowicz said that some developers who’d been working on GOG’s online solutions will be transferred from the project. At the end of 2021, GOG is also leaving the Gwent consortium, a cross-division project related to CD Projekt’s The Witcher card game Gwent. This means it won’t bear any development costs or share any profits from the development consortium. CD Projekt previously called Gwent “the most important project of 2017 in the GOG.com segment.”

Void Slayer Announced

The mad minds at developer Madmind Crew and publisher Madmind Studio announce Void Slayer, a retro-styled first person shooter coming to Steam early next year. The twist here is that on some level the arena is your health: "Void Slayer is an arena-shooter FPS, in which the size of the arena and the health of the main character of the game are interconnected. The player's goal is to survive as long as possible among the enemies pressing on from all sides." Here's a Teaser Trailer along with more:
Void Slayer is a fast-paced shooter with a unique twist, where the arena is also your health. Armed only with your magic gloves, fight through countless hordes of enemies, advance your power and fight to avoid falling into the Void.
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Multiplex

↑ Official trailers. ↓ Content creator videos.

Evening Crowdfunding

Next BioShock Rumors

A tweet from a couple of weeks ago purports to offer details about the next BioShock game, showing a logo for BioShock Isolation (though there's a warning the title may change). This comes from a relatively obscure account called Oops Leaks. The tweet says the new BioShock is set in yet another isolated dystopian city, will use the Unreal Engine 5, and is being developed by Irrational Games veterans and others. Word is it will be officially announced in Q1 2022. A subsequent tweet takes a look at a presentation slide saying this "might" involve an above-ground city sharing a border with a second, subterranean city. To be clear, there are no particular bona fides to suggest this is accurate, but it has belatedly gone viral, and is being widely reported. This interest has inspired a new update with words of caution: "Since this has all gone viral, I want to remind you that since all of these screenshots are from 2019, the information there may be outdated. To avoid confusion, I will clarify some of the nuances." Here's some of that clarification, which, to be clear, is all unconfirmed at this point:
The game will not necessarily be called Isolation, take that as a working title. The studio itself does not fully understand what to call the game, but as far as I know, they will leave the numbered parts with Rapture, assuming its return in the future.

Ken Levine is not involved in development, he is working on the project inside his studio Ghost Story Games. The announcement of the game is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022, but I also do not exclude its appearance on the TGA, judging by the latest messages from Geoff.
Continue here to read the full story.

Another Steam Record

Following news on Saturday of the new concurrent user record on Steam comes a new record. As seen on SteamDB, the new all-time peak is now 27,384,959, over 200K more users than the 27,182,165 concurrent users reported on Saturday.

Mobile Denuvo

Irdeto's Denuvo doesn't have many fans among game players. On the other hand, real gamers also dislike cheating. So those who are fond of the anti-tamper and digital rights management software for PC will be pleased to hear it is now available for mobile devices as well. In fact, you may already be using it, since it's been out there since June. Though this is often disputed, the company says its software has no impact on game performance:
Denuvo Anti-Cheat and Denuvo Anti-Tamper for PC have a strong track record of protecting AAA PC titles for over a decade, and since June 2020, that same technology has been applied to mobile games to offer the same superior level of protection. The technology includes key security features such as integrity verification, protection against static and dynamic analysis and state-of-the-art obfuscation to ensure maximum protection against cheaters and hackers. It is also fine-tuned to each individual game title to ensure there is no performance impact while guaranteeing no false positives and maximum detection.

Denuvo’s solutions are built by gamers who are aware of the common hacks that cheaters use. The team ensures that there is zero performance impact during gameplay through profiling and the solution is easy to integrate on the final app which does not require source code modification. Working closely with game developers, all Denuvo security features are configurable to match the customer's needs.

Out of the Blue

Happy Hanukkah to all who are celebrating, as the festival of lights began at sundown last night. So put on your yarmulke and tell your friend Veronica. Today also marks Cyber Monday, an occasion designed to figure out if you still have any spending money left after Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. This is a little obsolescent now that most shopping, including Black Friday, has been swallowed up into to the giant katmari that is the Internet. But Cyber Monday it is, and the good news is there are more bargains to be found if you are still in the market.

Obituary: Acclaimed Artist and Fashion Designer Virgil Abloh Dead at 41.
Obituary: Pioneering Actor David Gulpilil Has Died.
Obituary: Filipina believed to be the oldest person in the world passes away at the age of 124. Thanks Slashdot via Ant.

Celebratory Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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Sunday, Nov 28, 2021

Marvel MMOG Plans Revived?

A tweet from Miller shows a slide from an investor presentation from EG7 revealing plans for an MMOG based on the Marvel Comics universe (thanks Eurogamer). EG7 is the parent company of Daybreak, Piranha Games, and more, and the slide says a AAA MMO using the Marvel IP is in the "near to long-term pipeline." The tweet offers the recent history of this project, saying it revives an "unannounced AAA Marvel MMO that appeared in the GeForce Now leak and which had previously been cancelled in 2018." This additional tweet offers more details from another slide:
The new AAA Marvel MMO is being developed by Dimensional Ink Studios and spearheaded by CEO Jack Emmert, whose lengthy resume includes DCUO, City of Heroes/Villains, and Marvel Universe Online (which was also cancelled before release though ultimately succeeded by Marvel Heroes.)

Western City Renovator Announced

Septarian Games announces Western City Renovator, a tycoon game where you locate and revive ghost towns in the American west. This has PlayWay written all over it, and sure enough, they are the ones who present the Announcement Trailer. The game also now has a Steam Listing. Here's more on this unusual premise:
Complete missions and assignments for Western Rail Company on a planned railroad route.
Discover and restore abandoned cities and locations. Find out why cities were abandoned.
look for evidence and pieces of story.

Build your dream western city.
Solve citizens problems, provide support for railroad constructors and fulfill their requests
Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

etc.

Out of the Blue

Today is an autumn milestone in these parts, as we have our first snowfall of the season. At various points this has threatened to become a heavier storm, but so far it's remained what you'd describe as a dusting. If we needed to go out it would be no problem. But since we don't, we're happy we can just hunker down and ignore it. I hope the weather is better near you, and if it isn't here's hoping your travel plans are as nonexistent as ours.

Snowy Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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