Updated: Sep 21, 2020 8:56 pm Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)

Monday, Sep 21, 2020

John Carmack on Microsoft's id Software Ownership

John Carmack tweets a response to the news that Microsoft is buying ZeniMax. The deal includes id Software. Since the former id technical director left the company when it was decided he couldn't work on their games while developing VR for Oculus, he now expresses hope that this will help him reconnect with titles he helped originate, like Doom and Quake:
Great! I think Microsoft has been a good parent company for gaming IPs, and they don’t have a grudge against me, so maybe I will be able to re engage with some of my old titles.

NVIDIA on Restocking Sold Out GeForce 3080s

A post from NVIDIA discusses the GeForce 3080 launch fiasco. They explain that the impact of bots and scripts on the quick sell-out of their new graphics cards is being over-stated, as many of these were manually cancelled. But they do say that they and their partners underestimated the unprecedented demand. Here's part of the explanation that discusses plans to restock:
What happened? I was really excited for the GeForce RTX 3080, but the launch has made it near impossible to find one and this is really disappointing.
The demand for the GeForce RTX 3080 was truly unprecedented. We and our partners underestimated it.

Over 50 major global retailers had inventory on the day of launch. Our retail partners reported record traffic to their sites, in many cases exceeding Black Friday. This caused crashes, delays and other issues for their customers. We knew the GeForce RTX 3080 would be popular, but none of us expected that much traffic on the first day.

What’s the overall GeForce RTX 3080 stock situation?
The GeForce RTX 3080 is in full production. We began shipping GPUs to our partners in August, and have been increasing the supply weekly. Partners are also ramping up capacity to meet the unprecedented demand. We understand that many gamers are unable to buy a GeForce RTX 3080 right now and we are doing everything we can to catch up quickly. Keep checking in with your favorite retailer to be notified of availability. You may use the GeForce RTX 3080 product finder to find available cards at local retailers.

Digital BlizzCon in February

Blizzard announces a save the date for their postponed digital edition of BlizzCon from February 19-20. They have re-dubbed the event BlizzConline. Here's bit on the plan:
Attune your chronometers, flip your hourglasses, set a notification on your phone—however you mark the passage of time, save the date for BlizzConline™, set to take place February 19–20, 2021!

While circumstances are keeping us from gathering in person this year, we’re putting together a little something early next year to channel the spirit of BlizzCon into the form of an online show. We still have a lot of planning to do, and it’ll be some time before we’re ready to share more details—but we wanted to provide a heads-up on how you can be a part of the online fun.
Continue here to read the full story.

New Steam News Hub

A post on Steam explains Valve's latest Steam Labs Experiment is a new personalized news hub:
Steam Labs Experiment 009: News Hub is nearing completion. As a big step toward its full launch, this update gives you the ability to browse the new and growing collection of participating gaming and technology news sources, and follow those which you wish to have appear in your Steam News Hub. The initial collection of sources available includes top sites serving players across seven languages, with more to come.

More Gaming News Choices
Up until now, the Steam News Hub has been a place to find updates and announcements directly from the developers of games you play, Wishlist, or follow. With this update, you now have a broader selection of news available to you. Add as many of these additional sources to your personalized News Hub as you like. They’re all available free of charge.

Includes Briefs, Articles, Videos, And More
Each news source brings different kinds of news and content, including rich media, screenshots, videos, or detailed guides and reviews. Some news sources are delivering quick blurbs that you can quickly scan in the News Hub, while other sources include their full articles. Included YouTube videos are even playable right in the news feed. And there's always a link to explore more via the news source's own website.

Serious Sam 4 Story Trailer

A new Story Trailer from Serious Sam 4 helps set the stage for the release of Croteam's first-person shooter prequel on Thursday. You can preorder the game on GOG.com and Steam. In the meantime, here's word on the game's story:
Serious Sam 4 is launching on September 24, 2020 and, for the first time in the series' history, delivers a story worthy of a blockbuster which elevates the series to a brand new level and promises an adventure Serious Sam fans have been waiting for.

Oozing straight from the proverbial feather quill of Jonas and Verena Kyratzes comes a story about defiance to an evil alien god eager to bring the Earth to an end. Serious Sam 4 is aiming to become a real B-movie of games, with an over-the-top plot, memorable characters, and – most importantly – heart.
Continue here to read the full story.

Adventures of Chris Next Month

Publisher Graffiti Games and developer Guin Entertainment announce an October 8th release date for Adventures of Chris, their platformer for Windows, macOS, and Linux via Steam as well as for Switch. In this you play as an unlikely superhero in action inspired by 90s cartoons, as shown in this Coming Soon Trailer. Here's more on what this brings to the party:
Adventures of Chris is a ‘90s-inspired adventure platformer where you help a chubby underdog kid with wacky superpowers battle bizarre villains, unlock and customize special moves and spells, and save the world. After getting kidnapped and turned into a balloon by cartoon villains, you’ll escape and learn a bevy of skills such as how to throw lightning and bounce around like a basketball. Using these skills and more you’ll transform Chris from a weak kid into the ultimate hero, defeating the forces of villainy and making it home in time for dessert.

“Adventures of Chris is a totally normal story about the adventures I went on as a nerdy, chubby kid back in 1995,” said Chris Guin, CEO of Guin Entertainment. “It has a neat story with lots of humor that I think gamers will enjoy. In addition to a comedic story I added a variety of gameplay mechanics to make the combat diverse and entertaining. I had fun making the game and I hope it becomes a favorite for many.”
Continue here to read the full story.

ExoCorps Delayed

ExoCorps was supposed to enter Early Access on Steam last week, but that obviously did not happen. Developer/publisher Gingerbred says the new Early Access day for their stealthy jetpack shooter is October 9th. They are using the extra time to further tweak the game, and towards that end, they are running a multiplayer beta weekend that will get underway on Thursday. Here's more on the plan:
Independent developer Gingerbred today announced that their new sci-fi multiplayer shooter ExoCorps will now be coming to Steam Early Access for PC in early October in order to add further tweaks to prepare for its Early Access debut. They also announced a weekend player Beta will also run from 24th Sept through to the 28th September.

“We’ve made the decision to add a few more improvements to the game, in particular the games tutorial and user interface and also decided on a player Beta, and as such felt we needed to push back the games early access launch by a few weeks. We’re perfectionists at heart and want the game to represent the quality and expectation that players deserve” Said Gingerbred Co Founder and Technical Director Garin Mazaika.

Drawing gameplay inspiration from classic game titles such as Counter-Strike and Tribes, with a dash of the epic aerial duels featured in animes such as Macross, ExoCorps is a multiplayer arena FPS set in the near future. At its core, ExoCorps is a game where combat prowess and gaining the tactical advantage over your foe in a cat and mouse hunt to the death is the difference between success and failure.

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Microsoft Buying ZeniMax

Microsoft announces they are acquiring ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks for $7.5 billion in cash. This will make Microsoft owner of Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. The deal is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to be conclude by the end of fiscal 2021. As noted in a tweet by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, this means Xbox owner Microsoft is now actually publishing two games as PlayStation 5 exclusives. There's more on the deal in a post on Xbox Wire by Xbox boss Phil Spencer. Here's the announcement:
As the gaming industry transforms from a device-centric era to a player-centric era powered by new technology that provides the freedom to play with friends anywhere on any device, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) on Monday announced plans to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, one of the largest, privately held game developers and publishers in the world. Creators of critically acclaimed and best-selling gaming franchises including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout among many others, Bethesda brings an impressive portfolio of games, technology, talent, as well as a track record of blockbuster commercial success, to Xbox. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in cash.

With unique investments in content, community, and the cloud, Microsoft's gaming strategy differs from others by empowering people to play the games they want, with the people they want, anywhere they want. Games are the primary growth engine in gaming, and games are fueling new cloud-gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 15 million subscribers. With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will grow from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will be adding Bethesda's iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass. This includes Microsoft's intent to bring Bethesda's future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC, like Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios.
Continue here to read the full story.

Baldur's Gate II Turns 20

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of Baldur's Gate II, BioWare's D&D Forgotten Realms RPG sequel. To celebrate, the game is on sale on GOG.com for 50% off. A bunch of other RPGs are likewise discounted, including Divinity: Original Sin 2, Pillars of Eternity, Neverwinter Nights, and Icewind Dale 2. GOG.com also offers a Baldur’s Gate II Retrospective.

Freedom Fighters on GOG.com

Also on GOG.com is the re-release of Freedom Fighters, which marks the first digital distribution of IO Interactive's alternate history third-person shooter. This 2003 release has been stripped of DRM and updated to operate on modern PCs. Here's the game's Intro Trailer and here's a refresher:
Freedom Fighters is an intense third-person action game set in an alternate history New York during the invasion of a foreign superpower. Take on the role of Chris Stone, a hard-working plumber, and rise through the ranks of the resistance to prove yourself as a charismatic leader.

Liberate supplies, scavenge weapons and use the 'recruit and command' system to grow the resistance and lead up to 12 freedom fighters into strategic conflicts throughout the campaign. Travel across the city and complete interconnected missions where your actions in one level affect the battles in another.

Originally released in 2003, IO Interactive's cult classic is now available digitally in its original form for the first time.
Continue here to read the full story.

Hades Sells a Million

Supergiant Games tweets that their new action/RPG HADES has sold a hell of a lot of copies:
Hades has now sold more than 1,000,000 copies.

700,000 of these were during our Early Access development. To all our Early Access players: Thank you so much. We designed Hades for Early Access, believing you could help us make a better game. That's just what you did.

Zelter Early Access Next Month

Developer G1 Playground and publisher Super.com announce Zelter, an action/survival game set during a zombie outbreak. This is coming to Early Access on Steam on October 22nd. This departs from similar games by employing a cutesy pixel-art style which can be seen in this trailer. Here's the Zelter zeitgeist:
Zelter takes a cute pixelated art-style, adds a dash of upbeat music, and mixes it all together for a post-zombie-apocalypse crafting and survival experience like no other. Use your skills to craft tools for survival and defense, start a farm, and head out into the world to scavenge supplies while saving lives. Zombies will come for you eventually — so prepare yourself and your home by getting your defenses ready and your machine gun turrets fully loaded. After all — a zombie apocalypse is tough to overcome, even if it’s in a charming pixelated universe. But don’t lose hope — keep crafting and carry on! Zelter will arrive on Steam’s Early Access on October 22, 2020.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

It was very nice to see Schitt's Creek kill it at the Emmys last night. Like the Academy, MrsBlue and I were late to catch onto how good the show was. But also like us, in the end they appreciated its greatness.

Obituary: Mount Everest sherpa, first to climb peak 10 times, dies at 72.

Schitt's Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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Sunday, Sep 20, 2020

Pirate Commander Announced

Developer RockGame announces Pirate Commander, an upcoming game that will allow you to get in touch with your inner Dread Pirate Roberts (or at least Guybrush Threepwood). The game's Steam Listing is home to the project, and the Announcement Trailer offers a look. Here's a treasure trove of details, though we think they mean galley and not gallery:
Pirate Commander is survival sandbox game. You will manage the entire ship. You will have to take care of the crew and their physical and mental health, food, drinking water, medicine, weapons and ammunition.

Use ports to upgrade gallery
Use ports to upgrade and expand your gallery and equip yourself with better and better ship equipment.

Prepare weapons, load cannons, set up masts, fight fires
Our crew will have to prepare weapons, load cannons, set up masts, fight fires, take care of supplies, maintain mental health through diet, sleep and entertainment, and of course fight. In addition, the game has a manual cannon aiming system, thanks to which the fights are very satisfying and dynamic.
Continue here to read the full story.

GORSD Releasd

I'd like to buy a vowel, Pat. GORSD is now available on Steam, offering a Windows arena combat game where you do combat with a single bullet. Here's the Launch Trailer and here's word on how you're not throwin' away your shot:
GORSD: Intense arena combat, set deep inside the heart of darkness.

Born from a womb-eye, you discover a world seething with challenges created by an unknown power. For what purpose were you created? Uncover the truth of the GORSD.

  • You have just one bullet, fire it, control it and collect it.
  • 1-4 player couch battles
  • 8 multiplayer game modes with modifiable rules, set over more than 70 unique maps.
  • 7 hour single player game, set in a large overworld containing more than 60 battle stages.
  • Strategize by not only thinking about where you need to go, but also where your projectile needs to go.

Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

Off to a late start here because MrsBlue and I got off to an early start today and got in a hike. This was in the state park where I went to summer camp. It certainly lived up to my recollections of how beautiful the area is. It was a little cool, which made for excellent hiking. But this is also a reminder that the change in seasons is coming, and it may not be long before the weather stops accommodating such activities. We've been having a good time with our new hobby, so here's hoping the weather cooperates a bit.

Hiked-up Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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