Updated: May 23, 2024 2:25 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Get Farming Simulator 22 for Free

It's Thursday, which brings another chance to build your game library for free, as everyone can now collect Farming Simulator 22 from the Epic Games Store as its latest weekly giveaway. If Green Acres is the place for you, pick this up between now and next Thursday and it's yours to keep. After that another giveaway will launch, but this is another "mystery game," as Epic seems to be enjoying the recent decision to stop announcing these things in advance. Here's word on today's agrarian gift:
Take on the role of a modern farmer and creatively build your farm in three diverse American and European environments. Farming Simulator 22 offers a huge variety of farming operations focusing on agriculture, animal husbandry and forestry - now with the exciting addition of seasonal cycles!

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 Full Reveal Next Month

A post from Activision has the official announcement of plans for Call of Duty: Black Ops 6, the next installment in the neverending Call of Duty series of military shooters. For now there's a little concept art and word that this is a "dark new chapter" in the series. But it won't be long before we know more, as a full reveal will follow the Xbox Games Showcase on Sunday, June 9th at 1:00 pm EDT. In the meantime there's this trailer pointing to this site for what seems to be an ARG, and the Call of Duty Blog has an invitation to the presentation:
Full Reveal Date Confirmed: Xbox Games Showcase, Sunday June 9th at 10 AM PT. Black Ops 6 Direct immediately following. Stay on this channel for further updates.
Continue here to read the full story.

Atari Acquires Intellivision

Atari announces it has acquired the Intellivision brand. The current version of Atari uses the name of the now-defunct original company, but that's okay, because the same is true of Intellivision. There's another small twist here, as the original Intellivision was Mattel's console system launched in 1979 as a direct competitor to the original Atari 2600. The announcement notes this, humorously saying this news puts an end to that console war:
Atari® — one of the world's most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers — announced today it has purchased the Intellivision brand and certain games from Intellivision Entertainment LLC. Intellivision Entertainment LLC will rebrand and continue its business of developing and distributing the Amico brand game console with a license from Atari to continue to distribute new versions of the Intellivision games on the Amico console.

Atari will seek to expand digital and physical distribution of legacy Intellivision games, potentially create new games, and explore brand and licensing opportunities as part of a long-term plan to create value from the Intellivision properties.

“Uniting Atari and Intellivision after 45 years ends the longest-running console war in history,” said Mike Mika, Studio Head at Digital Eclipse, an Atari-owned game studio.

Expeditions: A MudRunner Game Gets Free Update; Roadmap

Sabre Interactive announces the launch of a new free update called Breaking Ground for Expeditions: A MudRunner Game, the offroading game for Windows and consoles. The PC edition is now available on Steam and presumably arriving soon on the Epic Games Store. This adds a new map, new vehicles, over 20 new missions, and more. All this is on display in this trailer. There's more on the release in this post explaining how this free DLC is a departure that hints at the future of the franchise. Here's the included roadmap and more:

mudrunnersroadmap.jpg - 1,669,424 bytes

We hope this roadmap will give you a better understanding of what is to come. You should also know that we're currently exploring new ways to provide you with unique gameplay, particularly with the cave environment, which you can get a first glimpse of in today’s free Breaking Ground Update. Developing this new underground feature is a true technical challenge for the team, and we are excited about how it will change your experience throughout future seasons as we reveal exciting new caves.

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System Shock Remake for Linux and macOS "Shelved"

A new Kickstarter Update from Nightdive Studios reveals that plans to launch its System Shock remake for Linux and macOS are cancelled (thanks GamingOnLinux via Xylemon). It's almost a year since the launch of Nightdive Studios' System Shock remake, and the console editions are now live,  but these other versions are off the board. There is no mention of compensation nor even an apology, despite how Linux and macOS editions were specifically mentioned in the 2016 Kickstarter announcement for the project. Here's the terse announcement:

  • Is System Shock still coming to MacOS and Linux?

Unfortunately no, plans for MacOS and Linux releases of System Shock have been shelved.

Tennis Manager 2024 Released

Tennis Manager 2024 is now available for PC, and Rebound CG's sports management simulation is for sale on the Epic Games Store, GOG.com,* and Steam with a 10% launch discount. This service does come with a couple of faults: All three stores list this for Windows, but only Steam shows a macOS version for some unexplained reason. The announcement also mentions a loyalty discount specific to Steam that's not actually mentioned on Steam, though there is a discounted Tennis Manager 2023/Tennis Manager 2024 Bundle. Here's the Official Trailer Release and more:
It’s a big month for tennis. The leading developer and publisher of sports simulation games Rebound is thrilled to announce the release of Tennis Manager 2024 on PC and Mac, alongside the start of Roland Garros. This highly anticipated title brings an immersive and dynamic tennis management experience. Such as the coaching legend Patrick Mouratoglou, who actively participated in the design of the game, you play the role of a tennis manager who manages all aspects of a pro career, from player development and tournament planning to training and match strategies.
*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item. Continue here to read the full story.

The Tribe Must Survive Officially Released

The Tribe Must Survive has survived Early Access, and this stone age strategy game is now officially available for Windows and macOS on the Epic Games Store and Steam. Word is: "After three months of intense tribal tinkering and an insightful journey in Early Access, the game emerges from the shadows today ready to captivate gamers with its quirky blend of strategy, survival, and roguelike elements." The 1.0 Release Trailer is the latest look at the game and the announcement includes more details:
Picture this: a dark, Lovecraftian Stone Age where cosmic disasters coincide with tribal group dynamics. By day, Tribe members work to provide for their community. At night, the faint glow of the campfire becomes your sole defense against what lurks in the dark. Manage wood, food, and other resources to keep the Tribe going in a world filled with threats that could end your run at any time - it’s exhilarating, challenging, and slightly terrifying.

“The Tribe Must Survive” has a steep mastery curve. Forge ahead and learn to adapt in a deeply atmospheric environment, steeped in darkness and sprinkled with unpredictable twists and turns. From Tribe members spiraling into Riots, to transformative spiritual practices, to making choices in life and death Events, there are many ways in which things can go wrong. Its blend of strategy, survival, base-building, and roguelike elements makes it an alluring playground for strategy survival genre fans everywhere.

Ships At Sea Released

Misc Games has released Ships At Sea into Early Access, and this seafaring simulation is now available for Windows on the Epic Games Store and Steam. Word is Early Access will continue into 2026 and the game will also come to consoles when it's officially released. Here's an Official Gameplay Trailer to help get your sea legs under you, and here are more tidings:
Ships at Sea is the culmination of creativity, drive, and innovation. Misc Games’ team of passionate industry professionals has taken the charm of the previous Fishing franchise and the feedback of their equally passionate community and created an all-new franchise, starting with this game.

Set in the unforgiving Norwegian Sea and around the harbors of Lofoten, Norway, Ships at Sea takes captains on their most realistic boating experience yet. Misc Games has harnessed NVIDIA’s proprietary WaveWorks water shader and Unreal Engine 5 to deliver the most striking, immersive experiences and cinematic-quality water simulation imaginable. Now with multiplayer capabilities, players can team up in a maximum party of four and complete various tasks and necessities.
Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Mobilization

Morning Safety Dance

Out of the Blue

I ignored news of overclocking issues with 13th gen Intel CPUs like mine for as long as I could, but I got a couple of BSODs yesterday, so I finally did turn off the overclock suggested by my motherboard, which is indeed from ASUS. This fixed the crashing. It also fixed an odd error I still can't figure out, but the overclock seems to have been the cause of the spellchecker in my HTML editor to identify properly spelled words as typos, which is some real wtf stuff right there. The follow up set me to troubleshooting a couple of other issues. I'm pretty careful about adding and removing programs, and this install of Windows 10 isn't that old, but I was shocked to find so much garbage to clean up. In fixing one program that wouldn't launch at startup I found a shocking number of traces of partially uninstalled programs all over the place. The good news is that I didn't break anything while removing stuff. There's a reason there are third-party uninstallers for Windows programs out there, and this illustrates that. I'm pretty nervous about using one of those, but considering how happily Windows will break itself, I should probably be more nervous about not using one.

Nervous Round-up
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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Fate of Baldr Released

The Fate of Baldr is now available for Windows, macOS, and Linux on Steam, offering the chance to experience Baldr's Fate (sorry) in a Viking action/tower defense game from Ananki Game Studio. Here's the Official Trailer with a look at close to a minute of gameplay. There's also a playable demo to allow you to tempt fate firsthand. Here's a post from the developers thanking everyone, and here's word on the game:
Play alone or in multiplayer coop and rise through the ranks as a Viking space warrior in this action tower defense game.

The fight will bring you to all the Nine worlds known from Norse mythology.
Strategically place your defenses and bring your true aim to save Baldr's soul and prevent the doom of Ragnarök!

Choose between four Viking classes, each with their own arsenal of powerful weaponry!
Continue here to read the full story.

Hunt: Showdown "New Era" in August

Crytek announces an "overdue update" with some clarity on plans to update its first-person shooter Hunt: Showdown. It comes in this video explaining that new current-generation console editions of Hunt will arrive on August 15th, kicking off a "new era" of the game while updating it to version 5.11 of the CryEngine. The post confirms that once the update is live, the game will no longer be playable on last-generation consoles. The only consolation (yowza!) for affected owners is that all their progress and entitlements will carry over if they upgrade to a current system. This is said to be the first in as a weekly series of such videos outlining what to expect, and it concludes with a first discussion of the new user interface and other hints at changes. There's also the promise technical details will be revealed about what the new version will bring to both the PC and console editions. Continue here to read the full story.

Permafrost Announced

Winter is coming. SpaceRocket Games and Toplitz Productions announce Permafrost, an open-world survival game set in a frozen wasteland, following The Day After Tomorrow theory of climate change. The game has a Steam Listing with a TBA release date and a first post discussing the project. We have a teaser trailer that includes a first look at gameplay. Here are the details:
In the wake of the cataclysmic 'shattering', an apocalyptic moon phase phenomenon, humanity finds itself teetering on the brink of extinction as the world succumbs to an eternal deep freeze. The game reveals the collapse of existing political and economic structures and the deadly winter cold that has resulted in the deaths of billions of people.

As a survivor, adaptability is key. Brave the bone-chilling sub-zero temperatures which will have an effect on character capabilities, hunt elusive prey, and repurpose salvaged machinery to craft the tools needed for survival. But beware, for in this frozen wasteland, danger lurks at every turn—from hostile factions vying for control to the ever-present threat of natural predators.
Continue here to read the full story.

Game Crossovers

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Microsoft Just Released Their Own MacBook (video). Thanks RedEye9.

Arrowhead Studios Gets New CEO

Arrowhead Studios announces Shams Jorjani as its new CEO, revealing Johan Pilestedt is stepping down from the role, but will remain chief creative officer and chairman of the company he founded. This follows the breakthrough success of Helldivers 2, and Pilestedt explains how this is a positive step for both the company and himself:
“I’ve been thinking about the journey ahead for Arrowhead, the future games we’re going to be making, and running the organisation beyond the 120 or so developers we have currently,” he tells us. “I realised that running an organisation of over 100 people to however large it is going to get… it means I will [have to choose] between deepening my love for game creation, or the business track.

“Over the last year going to launch of Helldivers 2, I’ve been pulled more towards the business side of things, and not able to focus as much on the creative side. That made me realise I needed to make some decisions, both for the success of the business but also myself.

Venture to the Vile Released

Venture to the Vile is now available on Steam, offering a 2.5D metroidvania for Windows from Studio Cut to Bits and publisher Aniplex. A Launch Trailer is here to show off the game's lush graphics and platformer gameplay. It carries a 10% launch discount and there's a playable demo to help you decide if it's worth it. Here's a description:
Venture to the Vile is a spooky 2.5D Metroidvania set in the strange town of Rainybrook, which has been overrun by a mysterious entity known as the Vile.

Absorb the Vile’s powers, fight through treacherous grounds that were once your home, and find your lost friend Ella before it’s too late!

Jump, swing, and fight your way through dangerous enemies as you explore a carefully crafted 2.5D world full of puzzles to solve and secrets to discover. Unlock new abilities to overcome the Vile’s monstrosities — even if it means losing your humanity.
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Enotria: The Last Song Demo

Steam now offers a Windows demo for Enotria: The Last Song, and this sample of this upcoming soulslike is also available on PlayStation 5. This is accompanied by a video Dev Diary called Behind The Mask introducing the game. Here's a description of the demo, which promises eight hours of gameplay:
The Enotria: The Last Song demo experience starts in Quinta, the City of Actors. As the Mask of Change, players will face the Authors, formidable foes that created the Canovaccio, a twisted eternal play that keeps the world in an unnatural stasis. The demo will have 4 distinct weapon classes, each with a variety of unique weapons and 6 unique masks to discover that bring with them devastating new playstyles and distinctive passive abilities. Augment different playstyles by choosing from over 20 spells and 30 perks to make your Mask of Change build your own.
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Sanctua Announced

Solo French developer Choose Red announces Sanctua, an asymmetric co-op party game coming to Steam in Q2 2025, with playtesting expected to begin this year. A Reveal Trailer is here to show off the Unreal Engine 5 game's setting in an Egyptian tomb and some clear Indiana Jones-inspirations. Here's more:
This asymmetric co-op party game challenges players to either survive the deadly perils of a procedurally generated tomb or embrace the role of the sinister force that stalks their every move.

Built in Unreal Engine 5, Sanctua captivates with its visual splendor and detailed environments. Unlike other communication-based party games, it features a top-down camera that offers a clear overview of the surroundings—if you have enough torches to light your way, that is! Despite its mature setting, the game is light on graphic violence, making it suitable for everyone.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

We've seen a couple of cicadas in the area, but until reading an article about this year's spoke in the multi-year cycles for the noisy critters I didn't realize we aren't really in its path, and we shouldn't expect the crazy invasion coming to some areas. But that's okay, because what we do have is an incredible incursion of lymantria dispar dispar, aka gypsy moths (a common name which is weirdly still acceptable considering it contains what's now considered an ethnic slur). According to the USDA these "are among America’s most destructive, non-native invasive insect pests." And they are everywhere. Walking around we are constantly encountering caterpillars hanging from threads, presumably taking a break from ravaging all the leaves in the area, which are definitely worse for wear. There were exterminators on site yesterday, and I know the government does a lot of spraying to abate the problem. Hopefully whatever poison being used is reasonably safe for people, because there's a lot of it floating around.

Infested Round-up
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