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Friday, Jul 21, 2017

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Fortnite Head Start Early Access Underway

The first chance to play Fortnite is now available, as the Epic Games website notes that a head start period is now underway for those who preorder a founder's pack for the People Can Fly's survival game (thanks MacAllen). This four-day head start leads into the game's early access period, so we're not sure what the distinction is, but there it is. Founder's packs are required for early access, with packages ranging from the $39.99 standard edition through the $149.99 limited edition (which includes three copies of the game). All packages include in-game perks and items, as Fortnite will be free-to-play when it officially launches next year, and Epic has also promised the launch will be preceded by a free open beta. This post covers the news, and points the way to this FAQ to answer questions this may raise. Also, Gearbox Software announces boxed Deluxe Editions are now available in what they call stores in Europe. Oddly, we still can't find an official description of this game anywhere, so here's the E3 2017 gameplay trailer for an idea of what to expect, along word from the Gearbox announcement:

Fortnite is an “Action Builder” that invites the player to flex their creative muscle by building elaborate forts and defending them from hordes of monsters. Craft, build, and fight your way through the apocalyptic storms, all while leading a group of Heroes in the battle to save the world!

Continue here to read the full story.

Ghost Recon Wildlands Ghost War Open Beta Plans

UbiBlog has some details on a Ghost War four-vs-four PvP mode coming to Ghost Recon Wildlands in a free update this fall. They also say open beta testing for this will come to all platforms later this summer. We inquired whether this meant open to owners of the game or open to everyone, but received no reply from the Ubiverse. The post includes this trailer and these details:

Get ready to return to Bolivia, because Ghost War – the new PvP mode for Ghost Recon Wildlands – is coming in a free update this fall, with a 4v4 team deathmatch open beta on all platforms later this summer. In the new Ghost War mode, teams will fight to get a foothold in the country after the fall of the Santa Blanca Cartel. These teams will choose from a roster of specialized classes, including Scout, Sniper, Tank, and more. Each class will have its own strengths, weaknesses, and dedicated perks, so players will have to consider their combat strategy and pick a team composition that supports their playstyle. They will then take to the battlefield in open-environment maps, ranging from mountains and deserts to jungles and forests. As matches play out in all kinds of weather and at all times of day, players will have to marshal their knowledge of the Wildlands to help them claim victory.

“Our objective with Ghost War was to build upon the main game’s elements of co-op teamplay and open, tactical gameplay,” said Lead Game Designer Lucian Istrate. To expand the tactical toolset, the team has added a new suppression system that affects your vision while you’re under heavy fire, and implemented new sound markers to help players locate their enemies’ position. Istrate cautions that “all of these elements will make team play, communication, and strategic skills more crucial than ever.”

Ghost War was designed from the ground up with the community in mind. Similar to the pre-launch period of Ghost Recon Wildlands, the team in Ubisoft Paris brought a select group of community members to the studio to gather critical feedback during the development process. Visit the Ghost Recon news page to see some early impressions from our community members who got their hands on the new PvP mode.

Players looking to get a slice of the action before launch can join an open beta that will be available on all platforms later this summer. For the latest beta info, visit ghostrecon.com.

Continue here to read the full story.

Planet Coaster Licensed Content DLC

The Planet Coaster website offers three new DLC packs for Planet Coaster, allowing the chance to create rides based on three specific licensed properties. There is a Knight Rider KITT Construction Kit and a Back to the Future Time Machine Construction Kit for the moms and dads, as well as a Munsters’ Munster Koach Construction Kit for all the grandmas and grandpas (including the late, great Al Lewis, who's probably still hanging around somewhere). Here's word:

New premium downloadable content launching in Planet Coaster. Mix & match new scenery items with the endless combinations of unique themed building components and incredible community creations from Steam Workshop to build your perfect park. Position, combine and intersect items your way, and share your new masterpieces with Steam friends and the Planet Coaster community.

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Into the Black

Link of the Day: Join the Jaeger Uprising.

Diablo III Season 11 Live

Blizzard announces that Season 11 is now underway for Diablo III. This post from a couple of weeks ago has all the details on seasonal rewards this time around. Here's a summary:

Season 11 will offer unique rewards and new challenges for players, including new cosmetic items, pieces of an exclusive transmogrification set only available to those who participate in Seasons, and Season-only achievements or challenges called Conquests. Progress within a given Season will also be tracked on the Leaderboard system, and in the Seasons Journey interface.

Sine Mora EX Next Month

THQ Nordic announces release plans Sine Mora EX, saying this expanded version of side-scrolling shooter Sine Mora will come to Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on August 8th, with a Switch edition to follow. Here's a trailer for this, which came out a few months ago to show off local co-op on the Switch, and here are details on how they're enhancing the original:

Sine Mora EX is a side-scrolling shoot'em up that provides a unique challenge, where time is the ultimate factor. Mixing classic shooter sensibilities with contemporary presentation, Sine Mora is a gorgeous shoot'em up offering both a Story Mode that weaves an over-the-top tale and an Arcade Mode that provides deep, satisfying gameplay to challenge fans of the genre. The story mode can be also played in local co-op mode.

Sine Mora EX features:

  • 16:9 Aspect ratio (instead of 16:10 which is still an option)
  • Full English Voice Overs (Original Hungarian ones are still available as an option)
  • Local co-op for up to 2 players in Story mode
  • 3 New versus modes: Race, Tanks, Dodgeball
  • New challenge levels
  • Improved Rendering

PLAYSTATION 4 PRO and PC ONLY: Native 4k at 60 FPS

Continue here to read the full story.

Age of Heroes VR Released

Steam now offers Age of Heroes (VR), a multiplayer fantasy combat game for Windows virtual reality. This requires either a Rift or a Vive head-mounted display. We received a press release calling this an early access release, but there are no early access labels attached to this that we can see. Here's the previously released announcement trailer, and here are the details:

Age of Heroes VR has launched today July 20th on Steam's Early Access at $29.99. Age of Heroes VR is an MMORPG-inspired VR multiplayer wave arena combat game that includes character progression and MMO raid-style combat. Choose your class (Warlock, Wizard, Priest, and Ranger) with up to five players as you fight terrifying bosses in different battles. Whether it's the Freezing Stronghold or the Hall of Death, adventure awaits as you move to cast spells, dodge attacks, and fire volleys of arrows.

Age of Heroes has a heavy emphasis on teamwork. Thanks to its MMORPG inspiration, players will need to work together to take down bosses. Strategy is a must in Age of Heroes, and it will be a grueling battle if players don't work cooperatively. Body movement is also a part of Age of Heroes, letting you move to dodge attacks and fling spells at your foes.

Game Features:

  • Extensive team cooperation and strategy
  • Unique and diverse classes and skills
  • Challenging and intriguing raids
  • Interaction with global players across different VR platforms
  • Loot collection and character development
  • Actual physical body movements in VR

Continue here to read the full story.

Euro Fishing: Foundry Dock Released

New Euro Fishing: Foundry Dock DLC is now available on Steam, offering more content for Euro Fishing, the game that looks to feed you by teaching you to fish. The original game simulates the great outdoors, while the new add-on offers urban fishing. Ever feel hungry after seeing a guy fishing off a traffic bridge in a city? Of course not, nobody has. Anyway, here's a trailer with a look at the DLC, and here are more details:

From the drum and bass soundtrack to the graffiti-specked walls around you, "Foundry Dock" mirrors the moody grit and grime of real urban fishing culture. Its setting takes inspiration from popular city-based fishing spots, such as Albert Dock in Liverpool and the Wharf in Cardiff, the mood shifting from tranquil to haunting as the sun rises and sets.

“We’re thrilled to finally show off 'Foundry Dock,' our first downloadable content for Euro Fishing,” said Mark Greenway, fishing business director at Dovetail Games. “Urban fishing is the biggest trend in fishing today, and we’ve captured all the elements that make it so exciting. 'Foundry Dock' brings something different to the world of fishing games, and we can’t wait to see what fans think when they finally get their hands on it!”

Fishing fans can look forward to 11 acres of docks from which to pluck carp, while expert anglers will have their skills tested by 20 new boss fish with a host of new achievements to unlock.

Continue here to read the full story.

Abandon Ship Kraken Trailer

Release the Kraken! Or at least the Kraken trailer from Abandon Ship, which shows off a sea monster encounter in the upcoming sailing ship game. The description is short: "In the latest Abandon Ship video we learn about the Cult of Haliphron. The Cult worship ancient sea monsters and are intent on world domination." Continue here to read the full story.

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Out of the Blue

The Deadwood Movie Might Actually Happen says TV.com (thanks Ant), based on reading new tea leaves from Comic-Con. This has been half-confirmed so many times in similar ways that by now I'm taking stories like bad news (the story has links within to the other reports I'm referencing). I've still got my hopes raised pretty high, but it's time to make this happen before it has to be about Al Swearengen and Seth Bullock's grandkids having a feud.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Drift Rally Champion.
Links: What's the Deal With the Crazy Spanish Workday? Thanks Slashdot.
Stories: Fox Teases "Kingsman" But Skips "Deadpool 2."
Justin Bieber banned from China for 'bad behaviour.'
Science: Scientists Reverse Brain Damage in Drowned U.S Toddler Eden Carlson.
Media: Bringing an axe to a gunfight.
This car was lifted into the air by a tornado in Hamburg, NY.
Follow-up: Moon Dust Bag, Accidentally In Private Hands, Auctioned For $1.5 Million.

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Thursday, Jul 20, 2017

Heroes of the Storm Adding Garrosh

Blizzard tweets an image revealing Garrosh is the new hero they teased as coming to Heroes of the Storm. Word is: "Lok'Tar Ogar, Heroes! Garrosh, Son of Hellscream, will soon devastate all those who stand against him in the Nexus!"

Shadow Warrior: Special Edition (2013) for Free

The Humble Store is offering Shadow Warrior: Special Edition for free for the next two days. This is not the original, which is usually free these days, but rather the 2013 remake from Wild Hog Studios. This involves a Steam key covering Windows, macOS, and Linux. Here's the description of the game from Steam:

Shadow Warrior is a bold reimagining of the classic 3D Realms’ shooter from independent developer Flying Wild Hog (Hard Reset) starring the legendary and quick-witted warrior Lo Wang. Combine the brute force of overwhelming firepower with the elegant precision of a katana to annihilate the merciless armies of the shadow realm in an exhilarating and visually stunning transformation of the classic first-person shooter.

Call of Duty: WWII Nazis Trailer

A new trailer from Activision introduces the latest iteration of the Nazi zombies from World War II that you never read about in fakehistory. The clip runs nearly two minutes, offering a cinematic introduction to all the undead you will have to kill when Call of Duty: WWII is released in November. Here's word:

Sledgehammer Games delivers an original and terrifying new co-op survival experience in Call of Duty®: WWII Nazi Zombies. Players will embark on a chilling and mysterious journey through a snowy Bavarian village in Mittelburg, Germany, as they attempt to recover priceless works of art stolen by the Axis powers in World War II. This village holds a shadowy secret key to an unimaginable and monstrous power. Nothing is as it seems in this zombies horror, as a dark and sinister plot unfolds to unleash an invincible Nazi army of the dead.

Continue here to read the full story.

Behold the Kickmen Kicks Off

Steam now offers Behold the Kickmen for Windows and macOS. This is a single-player association football/soccer simulation where the hook is the humorous claim that it was designed by someone who does not actually understand the game. Here's a launch trailer, and here's the explanation of how this started as a joke on Twitter:

BEHOLD THE KICKMEN started as a silly Twitter joke, and evolved like a beautiful flower into the year's least-exciting and mostly-incorrect Football Simulation. It's football, as seen through the eyes of someone with no understanding of, or interest in, the Laws of Football.

Start at the bottom of the Big Boring British Football Spreadsheet system and grind your way up, gruelling match after gruelling match, to become the best at the football that anyone's ever seen, and win the World Cup for your mantelpiece.

FEATURES: Kicking, Passing, Tackling, Squad Management and Doing Goals over and over. There's even a full Story mode, crammed with overblown melodrama and inane decisions to be made.

TWO WAYS TO PLAY! Hate football? No problem! The entire game can be re-skinned at the flip of a switch into a Dystopian Future Bloodsport!

PLEASE NOTE: Kickmen has NO ONLINE MULTIPLAYER and NO LOCAL MULTIPLAYER, it's Single Player ONLY. Please don't buy it thinking it's at all sociable, because it isn't. Why, you ask? Because I wanted to make a Single Player game, I didn't want to make a Multiplayer game.

Continue here to read the full story.


PWND is now available in early access for Windows through Steam, offering a first-person shooter with a late access name. This trailer shows off the game's rocket arena gameplay, and here's part of the official description:

PWND features unparalleled three-dimensional rocket jumping action and a revolutionary scoring system that deliver an aggressively competitive shooter experience like no other. In PWND, the kill is just the beginning. In order to score, you must pwn by performing a close range victory dance on your downed opponent. But be careful! You’re completely vulnerable during your victory dance, so make sure your team has your back or you’ll find yourself on the wrong end of a pwn stack.

PWND takes place in a dystopian future where the excesses of 1980s culture still influence society. Decades of reliving the “decade of excess” resulted in an arms race of high-octane, consumer-driven hyper masculinity. The quest to crown the ultimate badass ramped up with the invention of the LAZER-US Resurrection Pods, a cloning device that allows users to respawn into new bodies after a violent death ruined their old one.

Continue here to read the full story.

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Into the Black

Blizzard Dropping XP and Vista Support

Blizzard announces that in October they will drop support for Windows XP and Vista in most of their games. They try to head off objections by pointing out they've supported these operating systems longer than Microsoft themselves did:

Starting in October of this year, we will begin the process of ending support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm.

Microsoft ceased mainstream support for these versions of Windows in 2009 and 2012, respectively, but since a decent portion of our audience was still using them at the time, we continued supporting them. However, there have been three major Windows releases since Vista, and at this point, the vast majority of our audience has upgraded to one of the newer versions.

The games will not run on these older operating systems once they are no longer supported, so we encourage any players who are still using one of the older OSes to upgrade to a newer version. We’ll be rolling out this change on a staggered schedule, and will post further notices as we get closer to making the change for each game.

Gigantic Launches

Perfect World Entertainment announces the official launch of Gigantic on Steam for Windows, marking the end of early access to this third-person "hero shooter" (though most would call it a MOBA). This post covers the new Steam Trading cards and emoticons that accompany the launch, and the GoGigantic website has update notes on the release version 1.0, and a handy overview of the game and its launch:

Welcome to STEAM and the *official* launch of Gigantic! After nearly five years in development, we’re proud to finally share our game with the world and begin the next stage of our journey! We’re extremely happy to now offer Gigantic in the same place as many of your other games. This month's release also introduces the first Hero since the arrival of our Eternal goddess – one who is more or less the antithesis of the honorable and ever-virtuous Zandora... So get ready to meet the confident and cunning fighter, Ramsay! Founder's and Ultimate Pack owners will unlock him right away for free, though anyone can take him for a stroll in the Practice Arena.

While this month's build marks the official launch of the game in the NA and EU territories, there is so much more to come for Gigantic! Every month, our goal is to introduce one new Hero or map to the lineup in each major release. In addition to this, you'll also see new gameplay changes and improvements, entirely new features, and more. On the back-end, we’ll continue working on the underlying systems to improve your game experience and expand into new areas of the world. This is only the beginning of Gigantic and Motiga, and we could not be more thrilled to continue our journey with all of you, our community!

Be sure to read through the notes below to see everything that’s changed, and to jump into the game this Thursday, 7/20 on any of our platforms to see the latest that Gigantic has to offer:

We’ll see you on the airship!

Path of Exile: The Fall of Oriath Next Month

Grinding Gear Games announces an August 4th release day for The Fall of Oriath, a new expansion for Path of Exile, their action/RPG. This add-on includes six new acts which they say effectively doubles the size of the current game. Here's a new trailer with a look at gameplay, and here are some details:

Grinding Gear Games has announced today that it's highly anticipated massive expansion, Path of Exile: The Fall of Oriath, will launch for PC on August 4th, 2017. Path of Exile: The Fall of Oriath features six brand new acts - doubling the size of current game. The Fall of Oriath also introduces a new Pantheon character-customization system that lets players wield the power of the gods themselves.

Path of Exile: The Fall of Oriath Features:

  • Act 5: The Fall of Oriath: Return to Oriath. Home to the oppressive templar theorcracy. Explore frozen mountaintops, pristine temples and anarchic city streets. Leave a trail of furious destruction as you seek vengeance for your exile.
  • A Single Playthrough, A Complete Story: The previous difficulty level system has been removed to make room for another five brand new acts, bringing to the total to ten. In these five acts, you will weave through both new and familiar locations and witness the drastic results of your past actions.
  • Claim the Power of the Gods: Path of Exile's new pantheon system provides you with potent powers taken from the gods themselves. But beware, the gods won't go down without a fight.
  • New Ways to Play: With dozens of new items, new skills, new locations, new boss fights and more, Path of Exile: The Fall of Oriath will keep even the most die-hard fans busy for many months to come.

Check out the new Path of Exile: Fall of Oriath Trailer here:

Continue here to read the full story.

Space Tyrant Early Access

Space Tyrant is now available on Steam as an early access release for Windows, Linux, and macOS. In spite of describing it as "a galactic roguelike-lite 5X from the guys who made Bejeweled, Peggle, and Plants vs Zombies," they also say matches can be completed during a lunch break (even if your boss is a tryrant). Here's an early access trailer and here are some more details:

Independent video game developer Blue Wizard Digital have announced that chicken-nugget-sized space strategy game, Space Tyrant, is now available in Early Access on PC, Mac, and yes, even filthy Linux. Conquer the universe on your lunch break in a galactic roguelike-lite 5X from the guys who made Bejeweled, Peggle, and Plants vs Zombies!

Space Tyrant offers hours upon hours of swift gameplay within its tactical combat and strategic scheming, meaning quick deaths and lightning-fast victories --- no time for cultural victories or diplomacy.

"Space Tyrant has all the family-friendly fun of the games I worked on at PopCap, like Peggle and Plants vs Zombies," said studio boss Jason Kapalka, "but with more alien space armadas and explosive airlock murder."

"It's like a metaphor for modern society or something," adds executive producer Isaac Aubrey, "only with evil bunnies in power armor."

A 10% launch discount is available to gamers who buy the game in it’s Early Access launch week. Thereafter, the standard edition of Space Tyrant will be available for $19.99/€19.99/£14.99. The game is currently available on Steam and coming soon to other digital retailers.

In Space Tyrant, you'll find a zero-attention span mega-empire builder where you can enjoy titanic space battles and huge galaxy-wide conquests but not run over your employer-mandated allotment of lunch-eating minutes.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

  • ALASKA - A Personal Murder Mystery - with demo by Adam Reed — Kickstarter. "Indie Story Driven games are a bit of a rarity, as they can be a challenge to get right. So many games I've played, both indie and AAA, lose focus on the story, but for me the story is the most important part! I have played games where the story starts off well but then loses the plot half way, and for me that game then loses itself. I have worked hard on Alaska's story, even stopped developing for a moment to just solely work on the story, the script, and because of this I believe Alaska's shining light really will be that plot line."

Gatherings & Competitions

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Out of the Blue

Today is the 48th anniversary of man's first walk on the moon. Or as my buddy MrKawfy calls it, the day astronaut Michael Collins almost became the most famous Michael Collins. And speaking of my caffeinated buddy MrKawfy, it's his birthday, so here's a toast to him (scalding hot coffee, of course). And speaking of caffeinated buddies, today kicks off the annual San Diego Comic-Con. And speaking of speaking of things, I'm going to stop now.

Moonie Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: PacMan FPS. Needs moar strafe.
Faraway Puzzle Escape.
Stories: What to expect from the O.J. Simpson parole hearing. A glove fitting?
CEO applauded for response to employee using sick days for mental health.
Watts In Talks To Helm "Spider-Man" Sequel.
Science: “Atypical” mad cow disease detected in Alabama.
Why dogs are friendly - it's written in their genes. Science!
Media: The Shape of Water - Official Trailer. Thanks RedEye9.
Family Guy Tribute to Adam West.
Storm The Dog Rescues Fawn From Drowning.
Auctions: Moon dust heading to auction after galactic court battle.
Judge Halts Intimate Madonna Items Up for Auction.
The Funnies: Sunny Street.


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