Updated: Jan 18, 2020 1:26 pm Eastern Standard Time (GMT -05:00)
Send News. Want a reply? Read this. More in the FAQ.   News Forum - All Forums - RSS Headlines   RSS Headlines   Twitter   Twitter

Saturday, Jan 18, 2020

Ubisoft Shakeup to Improve Gaming Experience

A statement on VGC from Ubisoft announces a shakeup to the company's editorial team to create more varied gameplay experiences. They tie this back to last year's news that the publisher/developer was delaying three games to rethink their approach after disappointment in the response to Ghost Recon Breakpoint and The Division 2. VGC says: "It’s believed that by spreading editorial’s responsibilities across a group of leaders, the team can help bring a more distinct identity to their respective games. VGC was also told that simply expanding the group’s resources and giving it some presence outside of Paris could have just as much of a positive impact." They offer this quote from an anonymous source: "In the previous system that editorial had, there were often the ideas of just one or two people getting put into every game. That’s why you tended to see such similarity, because it’s the same taste and opinion being replicated." Here's the short statement on the topic from Ubisoft:
“We are reinforcing our editorial team to be more agile and better accompany our development teams around the world as they create the best gaming experiences for players.”

Out of the Blue

Looking forward to a visit today from our friends from our old neighborhood, including the twins and Jedi the Jindo. This is for a sleepover, representing a milestone in getting our new home in order after the delivery of all our possessions made the place look like an episodes of a hoarders show. There's still work to be done to get rid of more stuff and get what remains in order, but that is now mostly concentrated down here in my office/mancave. So all-in-all most of the place is in pretty good order now, which is really encouraging.

Obituary: JRR Tolkien's son Christopher dies aged 95.

Orderly Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Stories: The Sword in the Stone Removed Ahead of King Arthur Carrousel Refurbishment at Disneyland. Thanks Boing Boing.
Portrait of a Lady: Painting found hidden in Italian gallery wall confirmed as long-lost Klimt.
Science: What Wolf Pups That Play Fetch Reveal About Your Dog. Thanks j.c.f.
Fish Oil Supplements Tied to Sperm Health. Thanks Max.
Scientists say hot ocean "blob" killed one million seabirds.
Media: GUNS AKIMBO Trailer (2020). NSFW.
Mom Guesses Who's Slept with Her Daughter - Lineup. NSFW.
A Security Joke: Brinks “High Security” Cable Lock Jiggled Open.
Auctions: Louis Vuitton just bought the world's second-biggest diamond.
Follow-up: Boeing addresses new 737 MAX software issue that could keep plane grounded longer. Thanks RedEye9.

Established 1995. Over 1.1 billion visitors since 1997.

Friday, Jan 17, 2020

Valve: Left 4 Dead 3 Not in Development

IGN has an official statement from Valve saying Left 4 Dead 3 is "absolutely" not currently in development, following the recent reveal of concept art for a new installment in the co-op zombie shooter series. Here's the full statement:
“We’ve seen rumors to this effect for the last couple of months,” Valve said in a statement. “We did briefly explore some Left 4 Dead next gen opportunities a few years ago. But we are absolutely not working on anything L4D related now, and haven’t for years."

“It’s clear some people are having fun creating misinformation to spin up the community and other outlets. Unfortunately, for now a new L4D game is not something we’re working on.”

Kingpin: Reloaded Announced

3D Realms announces they are working on Kingpin: Reloaded, a remake of Kingpin: Life of Crime, Xatrix Entertainment's first-person shooter from back in 1999 (thanks Indie Retro News). Here's a Reveal Trailer, and they offer some screenshots of the updated graphics along with the following details:
In a stylized noir art deco gangland that never was, the Kingpin rules above all else with a bloody fist. When his lieutenant Nikki Blanco leaves a no-name Thug battered and broken, the upstart criminal rises from a puddle of blood, lead pipe in hand and revenge in mind.

Kingpin: Reloaded brings new life to the Quake II engine classic. 4K resolution, ultrawide support, and improved graphics in Enhanced mode enable the beautifully-depicted metropolitan nightmare shine. Controller support makes the game more accessible for anyone who wants to explore the depths of Kingpin’s depravity. Overall improvements like new quest and conversation systems make Reloaded even better than the original.

Stalk lamp-lit streets and take down rival gangs to let the Kingpin know his end is nigh. Kingpin’s immersive sim elements allow the Thug to recruit other gangsters with a conversation system. Increase the Thug’s influence through multiple hub-based missions. Run with the gang on a violent warpath with upgradeable weapons including Tommy guns, bazookas, and more. Location-based damage leads to bloody, thrilling battles: kneecap, maim, or go for the head.

If that sounds too extreme, try No Violence mode. However, the “colorful” language proudly used by Kingpin’s gangsters remains. Lean even further into that era and start fragging in Gang Bang mode’s old-school multiplayer.
Continue here to read the full story.

Joe Biden on CDA and Video Games

In a Joe Biden interview in The New York Times, the former US vice president and current presidential hopeful discusses technology, saying he's in favor of revoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says that online platforms aren't liable for things their users post on them. He also talks about his dealings with silicon valley during his time at the White House. In one of his signature freewheeling rambles he calls the executives he spoke with "creeps," "righteous," and "arrogant," referring to their output as "games to teach you how to kill people." Here's the perspective on current technology from someone who still refers to phone calls as coming through a switchboard:
And you may recall, the criticism I got for meeting with the leaders in Silicon Valley, when I was trying to work out an agreement dealing with them protecting intellectual property for artists in the United States of America. And at one point, one of the little creeps sitting around that table, who was a multi- — close to a billionaire — who told me he was an artist because he was able to come up with games to teach you how to kill people, you know the ——

CW: Like video games.

Yeah, video games. And I was lectured by one of the senior leaders there that by saying if I insisted on what Leahy’d put together and we were, I thought we were going to fully support, that they would blow up the network, figuratively speaking. Have everybody contact. They get out and go out and contact the switchboard, just blow it up.

And then one of these righteous people said to me that, you know, “We are the economic engine of America. We are the ones.” And fortunately I had done a little homework before I went and I said, you know, I find it fascinating. As I added up the seven outfits, everyone’s there but Microsoft. I said, you have fewer people on your payroll than all the losses that General Motors just faced in the last quarter, of employees. So don’t lecture me about how you’ve created all this employment.

The point is, there’s an arrogance about it, an overwhelming arrogance that we are, we are the ones. We can do what we want to do. I disagree.

Battle Brothers Blazing Deserts DLC Announced

The Battle Brothers Website announces plans for upcoming Battle Brothers DLC called Blazing Deserts, not to be confused with blazing desserts, like crepes suzette (thanks DocZ). This third DLC for the turn-based tactical RPG is expected sometime in Q2, and it will be accompanied by a "sizable" free update with QOL improvements and balance changes. Here's a full rundown on what to expect:
The focus of the DLC will be on expanding and enriching the existing world with a new land of burning deserts and lush jungles to the south. Across these lands you’ll find a unique culture loosely based on historic Arabian and Persian cultures of the medieval ages built atop the ruins of the Ancient Empire in the world of Battle Brothers. You’ll find new lore and a different political system, equipment not seen anywhere else, and fresh contracts to earn your stay with. There’ll be a new late game crisis, new legendary locations and several new beasts roaming the wilds. This DLC will be our biggest one yet for Battle Brothers.

Here’s the rough list of features we’re aiming for:
Continue here to read the full story.

Baldur's Gate 3 Teasing Something for Next Month

Something's brewing, tweets Baldur's Gate 3. The tweet includes a short embedded video with the following tagline: "Something's brewing 02.27.20," so it will be more than a month before we learn what this means for the RPG sequel. If you're looking for clues, the clip also includes some footage of some motion capture actors and the following quote: "There've been many developments since last you were in Baldur's Gate my friend. It's time to return." - Volo. Thanks PC Gamer.

NPD's Bestelling Games of Last Year and Last Decade

NPD Group tweets their tally of the top 10 best-selling videogames of 2019 along with their list of the top 10 bestselling games of the decade from 2010-2019 (thanks ResetEra). So were the 2010s the decade of Grand Theft Auto V or the decade of Call of Duty? Or why not both? Here are the lists:
US NPD SW - 2019 Top 10 Sellers - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was 2019's best-selling game.

Top 10 Best-Selling Games, 2019 Year

All Platforms
Rank 2019 Year Top 10 Games (Physical and Full Game Digital from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation, STEAM, and Xbox platforms for publishers in the Digital Leader Panel) ranked on dollar sales Publisher
1 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 Activision Blizzard (Corp
2 NBA 2K20 Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
3 Madden NFL 20 Electronic Arts
4 Borderlands 3 Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
5 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros. Interactive
6 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Electronic Arts
7 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* Nintendo
8 Kingdom Hearts III Square Enix Inc (Corp)
9 Tom Clancy's The Division 2 Ubisoft
10 Mario Kart 8* Nintendo

US NPD SW - 2010-2019 Top 10 Sellers - Grand Theft Auto V was the best-selling game of the decade.
Continue here to read the full story.

Cyberpunk 2077 Delay Won't Prevent Crunch

The transcript of yesterday's CD Projekt RED conference call reveals that the delay to Cyberpunk 2077 will not prevent the dreaded crunch that so often is part of wrapping up a game's development (thanks VG247). This comes despite a couple of promises that the developers of their RPG would not have to crunch to complete the game. Here's the question and the answer provided by the company's joint-CEO Adam Kiciński:
P6: And is the development team required to put in crunch hours?

AK: To some degree, yes – to be honest. We try to limit crunch as much as possible, but it is the final stage. We try to be reasonable in this regard, but yes. Unfortunately.

Steam Coming to Chromebooks

Android Police report that Valve is officially bringing Steam to Chromebooks, though it is not yet revealed when this will happen (thanks TechRadar). Word is this will come through the Linux support in Chrome OS, so this is something you can do already, but at this point it is not officially supported. They also note that most Chromebook hardware will only be up to the task of playing a limited number of games:
The next question, of course, is just what sorts of games would even be worth playing on a Chromebook when run directly on local hardware. Currently, most Chromebooks have extremely limited 3D acceleration performance, with only the most recent devices like Samsung's Galaxy Chromebook possessing vaguely passable GPUs. Liu said we could expect that to change: more powerful Chromebooks, especially AMD Chromebooks, are coming. Liu would not explicitly confirm that any of these models would contain discrete Radeon graphics, but told us to stay tuned.

NVIDIA Hotfix Driver

NVIDIA now offers a new version 442.01 GeForce hotfix driver for Windows 10 to update their Game Ready Driver version 441.87 (thanks DSOGaming). Word is these address three specific issues:
This Hotfix driver resolves the following issues:

  • [Call of Duty Modern Warfare] Streaming of gameplay using StreamLabs OBS will randomly stop
  • [The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine] Game may crash when a user reaches a specific cut scene
  • [SLI+G-SYNC Stutter] User may experience minor stuttering when using NVIDIA SLI in combination with G-SYNC.

Windows 10 64-bit Standard Driver - Click Here
Windows 10 64-bit DCH Driver - Click Here

*Please note: Windows 8.1x64 is not supported on Turing GeForce RTX 20 and GeForce GTX 16 series graphics cards.

Out of the Blue

I really enjoyed HBO's Watchmen series. I also liked Zack Snyder's movie adaptation, which many did not, so I may not be the one to trust on this. But the show was better received across the board, so I'm in a firm majority on this. So it would stand to reason I'd be unhappy that its showrunner says he will not return for a second season, which HBO indicated effectively brings the show to a conclusion. That is not the case, though, I think this is an excellent call. The program erased my concerns that there was a story to be found for a sequel to the graphic novel, so I won't doubt they could find fuel for a new season. But it was really such a strong single arc that I have no problem with them calling it here. The meandering of season two of Westworld perhaps serves as a warning, as I enjoyed that, but not with nearly the same fervor as season one. The odd thing about the USA Today article on the news (thanks Neutronbeam) is how it concludes saying: "Sorry, fans, but the season-ending cliffhanger will likely never be resolved." But I don't think the ending was nebulous at all. Does anyone feel it was unclear what the next step would be (pun intended) after the final frame? I sure don't, which may be why I don't think there needs to be a season two at all.

Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Stories: Can ‘Star Trek’ Chart a Way Forward?
Man Busted for Impersonating Extremely Mediocre Former MLB Pitcher.
Science: Eating differently on weekends can lead to 'metabolic jet lag,' long-term health problems, experts say.
A new robotic pigeon can bend its wings like a real bird. Thanks Max.
Middle-age misery peaks at 47 years of age, study says.
Media: Squidworm - Deepsea Oddities.
Jeopardy Burn.
KIYA Key Safe Opened FAST.
Follow-up: Tardigrades Can Survive In Space, But They Have One Surprising Weakness. Thanks RedEye9.