Updated: Jan 20, 2017 10:10 am Eastern Standard Time (GMT -05:00)
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Friday, Jan 20, 2017

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Werewolf: The Apocalypse Game Plans

Focus Home Interactive announces a "partnership" with White Wolf Publishing Werewolf: The Apocalypse, a new adaptation of the World of Darkness property coming to Windows and consoles. An Unreal engine game based on Werewolf: The Apocalypse was also announced back in the 20th century, but the project eventually faded into nothingness. An interesting thing about this news is that Paradox Interactive acquired White Wolf Publishing back in 2015, but the are not mentioned in this announcement as publisher, and the game is being developed by Cyanide Studio. More details are promised at the beginning of next month from the What's Next festival in Paris. In the meantime, here's word:

Paris-based video game publisher Focus Home Interactive is pleased to announce its partnership with White Wolf Publishing, license owner of the famous World of Darkness universe (Vampire The Masquerade, Werewolf, Mage Ascension).

The World of Darkness is a gritty vision of our own time. The world's most devious conspiracies are true. The divide between the rich and the poor is huge and corruption is rife. In the shadows of our declining societies, humans fall victim to supernatural horrors, all struggling for control.

The partnership between Focus Home Interactive and White Wolf Publishing concerns the adaptation in a video game of one of the most acclaimed licenses from the World of Darkness - Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The game will be developed by studio Cyanide (Styx: Master of Shadows, Blood Bowl, Call of Cthulhu). Become a werewolf, known as Garou (from French "Loup-garou" meaning werewolf), immersed in the atmosphere of their shamanistic and tribal world. Garou are Werewolf warriors opposed to urban civilization and supernatural corruption, all heading towards inevitable apocalypse.

"The World of Darkness has always attracted creatives with a strong passion for telling dark and immersive stories. So to work closely with the great talent at Focus Home and Cyanide exploring the savage Werewolves of this universe is an absolutely fantastic experience for us at White Wolf and we are more than excited to see this great and highly relevant IP realized in a video game¯," says Tobias Sjögren, CEO of White Wolf.

"We are pleased to partner with White Wolf to bring Werewolf: The Apocalypse to life in a video game for consoles and PC. We are excited to work on the World of Darkness universe, as this is formidable playground to tell the players a great story. We are also happy to partner with Cyanide Studio in this adventure. They are behind the original wish to adapt this universe, and we are faithful in their ability to create a game that will please both fans of World of Darkness and newcomers," says Cédric Lagarrigue, President of Focus Home Interactive

Out of the Park Baseball 18 Announced

Out of the Park Developments announces Out of the Park Baseball 18 will be released for Windows, OS X, and Linux on March 24th, offering a new installment in the sports series. The game once again features officially licensed names, logos, and players, and for the first time will feature a new challenge mode as well as players from the historical negro leagues. This page has details and is already accepting preorders. Here's more on the plan:

Out of the Park Developments, an official licensee of MLB.com, the MLBPA, and MiLB.com, today announced that Out of the Park Baseball 18 will be released on March 24, 2017. The follow-up to the acclaimed Metacritic 2016 PC Game of the Year includes several exciting new features and a treasure trove of deep improvements to its award-winning gameplay.

For the first time, Out of the Park Baseball 18 introduces an all-new Challenge Mode. This will allow series newcomers to enjoy a powerful way to learn the intricacies of this deep strategy title, while driving community engagement for all users via the creation of online profiles to share accomplishments on new leaderboards. The Challenge Mode is just the beginning of an all-new, long-term expansion of OOTP’s online platform -- more will be unveiled during the course of the 2017 baseball season.

Out of the Park Baseball 18 will also include:

  • 2017 roster sets with all Opening Day MLB rosters, as well as the complete minor league system from Triple-A to rookie leagues as well as the Arizona Fall League. All major league (and over a thousand minor league) player ratings will be based on the popular ZiPS player projection system. The 8 international leagues, as well as independent minor leagues in the US, also return this year with accurate rosters.
  • Historical Negro League clubs, thanks to a partnership with OOTP’s acclaimed historical database experts and Seamheads.com. This feature will allow baseball fans to explore the league’s rich history, create compelling what-if scenarios, pit major league clubs against their Negro League counterparts, and much more.
  • Improvements to 3D mode, including: Even more ballpark detail; better on-field player models and enhanced on-field decisions; and the ability to save all 3D highlights and watch a highlight reel, whether the game was played out or simulated.
  • Custom and real world tournaments for all the teams included in the game. National and international tournaments are a breeze to create, as is the ability to import historical teams.
  • Extensive AI improvements, including roster management, trades, and in-game decision-making.
  • A redesigned injury system that features detailed injury histories for all players, little nagging and long-term injuries, and more.
  • Many more improvements, including:
    • A beautiful new interface
    • Improved game recaps
    • An upgraded player morale/team chemistry system
    • Enhanced play-by-play text and league news
    • A sophisticated system for team relegation and promotion between leagues
    • The ability to retain player salaries in trades
    • The incorporation of many 2017 rule changes
    • Faster import speeds of historical minor league seasons
    • And more to be announced prior to release

Through January 27, customers may pre-order OOTP 18 for $31.99, a 20% discount off its full retail price. From January 28 to March 23, customers may pre-order OOTP 18 for $34.99, a 10% discount off its full retail price. All pre-order purchases include access to the Gold Master version on March 20, four days ahead of the official launch on March 24.

Urban Empire Begins

Kalypso Media announces the release of Urban Empire for Windows, a city planning game. In this you play a "City Ruler, not City Builder," much to the envy of mere mayors. This involves a 200-year term in office, and other variations on strict realism. This trailer offers a look at gameplay, and the announcement explains further:

Kalypso Media is proud to announce the release of Finnish developer Reborn Games’ highly anticipated new ‘City Ruler’ strategy title, Urban Empire on Windows PC. On a day where global politics is preparing itself for one of the most significant leadership shifts in recent memory, it is only fitting that Kalypso is set to introduce its own shift in strategy gaming with the innovative and ambitious Urban Empire. In our pioneering new ‘City Ruler’, we hand power over to you, leaving you to shape not only the physical landscape of your budding metropolis, but the political one as well.

In Urban Empire, players will assume the role of mayor, tasked with founding a new city in the fictional country of Swarelia. Select from one of four distinct families, each with their own values, talents and specializations, and guide them through 200 years of history, from the 1820s through to modern times, as you strive to remain in power whilst battling against the competing political parties who will serve to help or hinder your ambitions depending on your choices and playstyle. Manage your city’s infrastructure, economy, rights, laws, technological progression and cultural identity, forging a unique and personal Urban Empire of your very own!

To celebrate the launch of Urban Empire, Kalypso Media has prepared a launch trailer showing the core goals and mechanics of the game:

Continue here to read the full story.

Conan Exiles Video; Livestream Today

Funcom is planning a livestream today on PvP support in Conan Exiles. This tweet says thing will get underway at 1:00 on EST on Twitch. The developer also offers a new video from Conan Exiles, showing off more their upcoming barbaric survival game. The game's tagline is "survive, build, dominate," and they follow on their survive and build videos with dominate trailer. Grab your ball-gag, as they also offer this developer blog with more details on the whole domination theme. How can someone "see their own head rolling away from them?" We don't know either, but according to Funcom, the game will allow us to find out:

Combat is a key aspect of Conan Exiles and players will engage in brutal battles using anything from swords to warhammers and longbows. A violent fatality system ensures that they can slice each other in half or even see their own head rolling away from them in what is a savage and bloody combat system true to the spirit of the world’s most famous barbarian. To dominate the Exiled Lands, players will also have to build cities and fortresses to claim land, and they must go out and capture thralls to help them defend their settlements or create special weapons and armor. To truly dominate Conan’s world, they must also build altars to their god and bring them sacrifices to appease them. If they earn the blessings of their god, players will ultimately get to summon and take direct control of huge, towering avatars of the gods that can roam the world and crush both bodies and buildings under their weight. There will be several countermeasures against avatars and players can also choose to run and play on servers without avatars if they want to.

Continue here to read the full story.

Thimbleweed Park Trailer

A new Ransome trailer from Thimbleweed Park introduces Ransome the clown, a barely creepy inhabitant of the titular park in Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick's upcoming throwback adventure. Ransome is one of five playable characters in the game, and the clip is accompanied by a quick bio: "He's obviously a jerk, but Ransome's not full of *beep* when he says that in Thimbleweed Park, a dead body is the least of your problems. Between the haunted hotel, the giant pigeons clucking about "signals", and the town founder's obsession with vacuum tubes, this place is *beeped* up. Nobody in this town can be trusted -- not even the two *beepers* trying to crack the case!" Continue here to read the full story.

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10 Reasons To Love Alan Tudyk (as if you needed them). Didn't need them, but needed a reason for good cheer, and the existence of Alan Tudyk is an excellent one.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: 3D Truck Simulator.
Story: Facebook's Zuckerberg sues hundreds of Hawaiians to force property sales to him. Thanks Slashdot.
Science: Sitting Too Much Ages You By 8 Years. Two-year-old in a stroller is actually 10. Thanks Slashdot.
Customizable Soft Robot Fits Around Heart To Help It Beat.
Media: Han Solo: A Smuggler's Trade - A Star Wars Fan Film. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Things aren't always as they seem.
Pulling a Steel Beam Apart.

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Thursday, Jan 19, 2017

Gone Gold - For Honor

UbiBlog announces that For Honor is gold, and reveals Ubisoft's plans to celebrate the launch of the melee action game with Twitch events and in-game rewards:

Twitch and Ubisoft are collaborating to make the month before the launch of For Honor a special one for Twitch viewers and streamers. During the upcoming beta from January 26-29, select Twitch streamers, community members, and For Honor fans will be chosen to represent the three factions of For Honor in War of the Factions. When War of the Factions comes to an end, one faction will be crowned the winner, and rewards redeemable in the full game will be given to all beta participants (with special awards going to the victorious faction).

Once For Honor is released, another crop of rewards will be delivered to Twitch Prime members starting February 14. Members will receive 10-day Champion Status, which comes with XP boosts that can be shared amongst friends along with more XP from crafting, more loot at the end of each match, and a special emblem they can use to customize their warrior.

The upcoming closed beta will also be the first time to get your hands on the Nobushi – a new hybrid Samurai hero that blends both the Vanguard and Assassin Hero types. Hoping to wield a naginata of your own? There’s still time to sign up for a chance to participate in the closed beta at forhonorgame.com/war.

Might & Magic Showdown Early Access

Steam News announces the release of Might & Magic Showdown as an early access title. This is a "PvP combat experience" based on virtual miniatures from the RPG series. Here's the idea:

Set in the rich RPG fantasy universe of Might & Magic with its diverse bestiary, Might & Magic® SHOWDOWN is a tactical PvP combat experience where you command a team of customizable miniature heroes and creatures to overcome your opponent by mixing strategic planning and real-time action in quick, bite-sized sessions. Build your team and bring the miniatures to life through a combination of visual personalization and programmable actions that will define your playstyle and ultimately bring them to the battleground for the Showdown!

Micro Machines World Series Announced

Codemasters & Deep Silver announce Micro Machines World Series, a revival of the Micro Machines franchise that will come to Windows and consoles in April. This brief trailer illustrates the news, and some details on the plan are included in the announcement:

Codemasters & Deep Silver announced today that the legendary gaming franchise, Micro Machines, will be racing its way on to PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one entertainment system by Microsoft, and Windows PC in April 2017. Micro Machines World Series retains the manic social gameplay of the beloved series, updated with stunning HD visuals showcased in the return of classic locations such as the garden, kitchen, workshop and many more that fans will race through with a vast array of miniature vehicles.

In addition to classic game modes such as Race and Elimination, Micro Machines World Series introduces all new Battle Arenas which allow you to wreak mass destruction on a miniature scale against your friends or AI. Meanwhile, Team Play lets you work together using your vehicles’ unique skills in modes such as “Capture the Flag” and “King of the Hill.”

Designed with an emphasis on fun at every turn, Micro Machines World Series is the ultimate pick-up-and-play experience for players of all ages and abilities, offering intuitive, easy to learn gameplay that make the controller impossible to put down.

Codemasters’ VP Publishing, Jonathan Bunney, commented, “The original Micro Machines was a breakthrough multiplayer racing game, and remains much loved in the gaming community. We saw great success earlier this year with our free-to-play mobile game, but this brand new console title takes the franchise to its greatest levels of multiplayer mayhem, and enables you to play with your friends on the same sofa or across the world.” Bunney continued, “Whether you’ve been playing Micro Machines since the early days or are new to the craziness of racing and battling vehicles across household environments, this incredibly fun experience is a welcome break from all the serious multiplayer alternatives. With the support of Hasbro and being able to feature some of their biggest brands, such as HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS, G.I. JOE, OUIJA and NERF, this represents the very best of social gaming.”

Releasing in April 2017, Micro Machines World Series will support up to 12 players online and four players on the same screen across a variety of racing and battling environments. Each of the 12 vehicles has its own unique load-out of weapons and abilities. The game will launch with a massive range of customization options.

Continue here to read the full story.

Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach Released

Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach is now available for Windows, offering a turn-based strategy game using Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K setting. This is on Steam where they also have a link to buy physical miniatures from the series. Here's the lowdown on the game:

The unforgiving planet of Alaric Prime is the perfect place to wage an apocalyptic battle between the ferocious Space Wolves chapter of Space Marines and the rampaging Ork Hordes of Grukk Face-Rippa. Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach, the turn-based strategy game, releases today and there’s going to be blood.

The game comes with 2 massive campaigns as the Space Wolves, fighting a battle to the death in hopes of saving the Knight World of Alaric Prime and the entire Sanctus Reach system from a terrifying fate.

In the new Skirmish mode, players can recreate the army of their dreams using over 30 different unit types for each faction. Locations can be changed, from dreary cityscapes that were once famous Knight Houses, to arid wastelands and deserts, from which Orks hone their battle skills and train for the WAAAGH!

In editor mode, players can generate a custom battlefield specified to their very own tastes. Moving around cover and placing obstacles to either complicate the combat, or an open field of battle where they face the enemy seemingly instantly, with no place to run or hide from their opponents.

Multiplayer is a deep addition, allowing players to play as either Orks or Space Wolves against each other.

Stars in Shadow Released

Stars in Shadow is now available on Steam, offering a 4X space strategy game for Windows inspired by the classic games in the genre. This launch trailer accompanies the news, and the announcement of the release touches on plans to continue this as a series:

Four months of hard work in Early Access pays off today, as developer Ashdar Games releases its classic 4X turn-based strategy title Stars in Shadow (PC) on Steam and various other digital download platforms. Time well-spent in the Early Access program has secured much useful feedback and advice from the 4X community, and has ensured that the game is now packed with tons of new features.

Two brand new factions have been implemented, strategic zoom is added, as well as the Galactic Council. Moreover, various new minor races can be discovered and the option to use slaves for scientific experiments is now made available to all players.

Sven Olsen, lead developer of Ashdar Games says: “It’s the achievement of a goal that we’ve been working towards for more than six years, so we’re pretty excited about it. On the other hand, there’s still a lot we want to add to the game, so it doesn't feel as if the project is coming to an end but rather a new chapter in which we plan to work on many new additions to the Stars in Shadow universe..."

Stars in Shadow is now available on Steam and all other major digital portals at a SRP of $24.99. Publisher Iceberg Interactive has set a 25% discount for the duration of the launch week.

Continue here to read the full story.

BattleBorn Update Unlocks All Core Characters

Gearbox Software announces the arrival of the Winter Update for Battleborn. They call this the biggest update for the MOBA to date, and as noted in this blog post, it unlocks all 25 of the game's core characters. Here's more on that:

All 25 Core Characters Unlocked!

That’s right, 25 badass playable characters, no waiting! With this update, the core 25 characters will be unlocked for all players after completing the Prologue. Learn more about unlocking characters and character select changes in this post.

What about the character unlock challenges? The unlock challenges now award a brand new champion skin upon completion! If you’ve already completed any of the challenges, just jump into a match or mission where that challenge could be completed (Ex. Galilea’s kill 800 minions – complete any match), and you’ll be credited with the corresponding skin upon completing the match or mission.

What if I unlocked a core character with a Hero Key? Don’t fret, you’ll get that Hero Key back! Any Hero key used to unlock one of the 25 core characters will be automatically returned. You can now reuse this key to unlock any of the newest characters 26 – 29, or the 30th character on release.

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Into the Black

Galaxy of Pen & Paper Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Galaxy of Pen & Paper, an RPG inspired by tabletop games in the works at Behold Studios for release this year. There are some details on the game on the Behold Studios website where they also offer this recent trailer with a look. This is not fantasy-themed, but rather a sci-fi game set in space, where nobody can hear you roll a D20. Here's the deal:

Behold Studios, the creators of Knights of Pen & Paper and Chroma Squad, today announced an all-new game, Galaxy of Pen & Paper, to be released in – and take place in – the future. Built completely from scratch using handmade pixels and original artisanal code, Galaxy of Pen & Paper is a role-playing game (RPG) inspired by classic tabletop games, and will include all of the character customization, die-rolling, and bickering with the GM that players love. Galaxy of Pen & Paper, which is both developed and published by Behold Studios, will release in 2017 for Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs.

In Galaxy of Pen & Paper, players will assemble a customized party of sci-fi characters, and control them alongside the in-game Game Master on a quest for adventure, loot, and plenty of laughs. This all-new game will include spaceship battles, a new combat system, planetary exploration, stories with multiple decisions, and more new features than can fit in the known universe. Galaxy of Pen & Paper is developed and published by Behold Studios, the original creators of the critically acclaimed Knights of Pen & Paper.

Continue here to read the full story.

Overwatch Event and PTR Plans

An Overwatch tweet wishes everyone good luck and great fortune as it promotes a Year of the Rooster event coming next week to Blizzard's shooter. The Chinese new year begins on January 28th, but their in-game celebration begins on the 24th. The tweet includes a brief video showing off a Mei skin that will be part of all this. They have a retweet from Overwatch Korea showing a new D.Va skin. There's more on the game in this developer update video where Jeff Kaplan discusses their PTR philosophy, explaining that the purpose of the PTR is not as much for balance testing as stability testing. He also touches on how many players ignore the PTR since it's not always available, suffers from long queue times, and offers no player rewards. He talks about potentially incentivizing testing and explains that it's not the best use of their time, so hopefully he understands why gamers don't all think the PTR is the best use of their time either. He goes on to talk about planned changes to the game, like reworking Sombra (in spite of describing her as a "fantastic hero"), Roadhog's perpetually broken hook, their difficulties in balancing D.Va, and toning down Ana's healing. Continue here to read the full story.

Call Of Cthulhu Trailer

A new Depths of Madness trailer from Call Of Cthulhu shows off some of the insanity that will drive the horror in the upcoming Lovecraftian RPG. Here's word on the clip and the game:

Developed by seasoned studio Cyanide, Call of Cthulhu for consoles and PC is an RPG-Investigation game blending psychological horror and stealth mechanics, in a deeply immersive world with an oppressive atmosphere. Today ushers in a new trailer, depicting protagonist Pierce’s submersion into the depths of madness, as he investigates a mysterious death on Darkwater Island, Boston.

A Private Detective, Edward Pierce is a mission to find the truth behind the death of an acclaimed artist and her family on a backwater island. Pierce is used to trusting his instincts, but with whale mutilations and disappearing bodies, this is only the beginning as reality becomes skewed. As your investigation leads you closer to the sphere of influence of the Great Dreamer, you will start to doubt everything you see. You will have to find balance between your own sanity, and your determination in finding out what lurks in the shadows - as they say that madness is the only way that can bring you to the truth.

On a mission to find the truth behind the death of an acclaimed artist and her family on a backwater island, the player will soon uncover a more disturbing truth as the Great Dreamer, Cthulhu, prepares its awakening...

Continue here to read the full story.

Diablo III Season 9 Underway

Battle.net has word that Season 9 is now underway in Diablo III, Blizzard's action/RPG sequel. This latest iteration of this optional mode involves new challenges, conquests, and rewards in this optional mode. Update: Turns out this went live almost two weeks ago, apologies for being behind the curve. Here are some Season 9 details:

Diablo III Season 9 is now live in all gameplay regions! To create a Seasonal hero, select your class, gender, and name as usual, then select the "Seasonal Hero" checkbox on the lower left of the screen.

Alternatively, you can use the Season Rebirth feature to continue your adventures on an existing character by starting over this Season. You can select a character for Rebirth on the Hero Selection screen. Simply hit the "Rebirth" button in the lower right-hand corner and begin your next adventure!

Any of the gear or items equipped on your character or in your inventory will be automatically stripped from the hero and mailed to your non-Seasonal characters, similar to the rollover process that occurs with your stash space when a Season ends. In addition, your character will be reduced to level 1, ready to start the process as though they were freshly created!

For more details on the Season Rebirth feature, be sure to check out our original blog here.

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