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Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015

Crusader Kings II Free Week

Crusader Kings II is now playable for free on Steam, and free access will run until midday Monday, and the strategy sequel will be on sale for 75% off until Friday. Here's a rundown on the game:
The Dark Ages might be drawing to a close, but Europe is still in turmoil. Petty lords vie against beleaguered kings who struggle to assert control over their fragmented realms. The Pope calls for a Crusade to protect the Christians in the Holy Land even as he refuses to relinquish control over the investiture of bishops - and their riches. Now is the time for greatness. Expand your demesne and secure the future of your dynasty. Fill your coffers, appoint vassals, root out traitors and heretics, introduce laws and interact with hundreds of nobles, each with their own agenda.

A good lord will always need friends to support him. But beware, as loyal vassals can quickly turn to bitter rivals, and some might not be as reliable as they seem... Stand ready, and increase your prestige until the world whispers your name in awe. Do you have what it takes to become a Crusader King?

Crusader Kings II explores one of the defining periods in world history in an experience crafted by the masters of Grand Strategy. Medieval Europe is brought to life in this epic game of knights, schemes, and thrones...

The Sims 4 OS X Released

The Sims website has word that the promised Mac OS X edition of The Sims 4 is now available. This FAQ attempts to anticipate any questions this might raise, including system requirements, and how owners of any of the Windows editions can get their OS X version of the urban planning sequel as well as any add-ons they have purchased at no additional cost. Windows saves are also compatible with the OS X edition, and they offer instructions on how to import them.

Paradox Interactive on GOG.com

GOG.com announces the addition of a bunch of Paradox Interactive games to their DRM-free marketplace, celebrating the news with a sale. Here's what's happening:
Today yet another awesome publisher, Paradox Interactive, becomes part of the most gamer-friendly DRM-free catalog around. We're kicking off the partnership with a weeklong 50% discount on four of the titles:

Europa Universalis
Hearts of Iron
Crusader Kings Complete -50%
Majesty Gold HD -50%
Majesty 2 Collection -50%
Victoria Complete -50%

Pollen Warning

Finnish developer Mindfield Games announces plans for the first public showings of Pollen, saying they will demonstrate their first-person virtual reality exploration game at next month's Game Developers Conference. The Unity-engine game is coming to Windows PCs late this year and will include full support for Oculus Rift headsets. The Pollen website is online with some details and this older teaser trailer, and here's word on the game:
Pollen is a first-person space exploration game set on Titan, the sixth and largest moon of Saturn and the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere and vast liquid seas, where life may exist. Pollen begins as the player docks and enters Research Station M. Inside the research station, the player moves from room to room and explores fully interactable virtual reality playground. Each step forward leads to new discoveries about the fate of the crew and the secrets that they have uncovered.
Continue here to read the full story.

Steamship Ahoy - Agent Awesome

Chaos Industries announces the release of Agent Awesome on Steam, offering Windows and OS X gamers a comedic strategy game first released as an Android app. This turns the tables on the tower defense genre for a little tower offense. Here's word: "Each of the 12 levels has been designed with both a combat and a stealth approach in mind -- and both styles bring the same rewards. Agent Awesome offers deep tactical gameplay that mixes elements of the tower offense and stealth genres." Here's more:
Play as the title character who -- after a night out with his pal, Michael Anger -- gets drunk-dared into showing he is the ultimate badass by storming and eliminating all the middle management of his former employer, E.V.I.L.

You must clear all 12 floors of the building while fighting or dodging hilarious enemies such as flying sharks and kombat koalas. Everything in the game has been tailored with the objective of making the player crack a smile.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Digital Comics

The Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number page on Steam now offers the first two issues of a free digital comic series based on the Hotline Miami games. Here's the deal: "The digital comic series delves into the backstory of the events of the first game and some of the new playable characters and factions in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. Each comic is viewable in the application on Steam and readers can flip through the digital pages as select tracks from the game’s soundtrack play in the background. The remaining three issues will be updated to the application leading up to the release of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number."

On Sale

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

  • Battlefield Hardline on EA News. Multiplayer concept art.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Last Week Tonight- Tobacco's Legal Bullies. NSFW.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong Fundraising Ends and Continues

The Kickstarter campaign for Shadowrun: Hong Kong wrapped up just minutes ago, vastly exceeding the final one million dollar stretch goal for the cyberpunk RPG, ending up collecting a total of $1,204,726. Now Harebrained Schemes has launched a second chance campaign to give those who missed out on backing the project a final chance to participate and qualify for some rewards. This second campaign will run between now and March 13th on BackerKit, offering packages ranging from $15.00 to $150.00. Thanks nin.

Ship Ahoy - Total War: ATTILA

SEGA announces that Total War: ATTILA is now available in all regions, offering the latest installment in Creative Assembly's historical strategy series. Here's the game's launch trailer, and here's the announcement:
Total War™: ATTILA is now available to purchase at retailers and available for digital download.

The Dark Ages approach. A time of famine, disease and war, where refugees in their thousands flee from a sweeping tide of destruction and death. Desperate barbaric tribes rally against the ailing might of a dying and divided Roman empire; the light of civilization gutters and dims. In the great steppes of Scythia, a vast and terrifying force gathers, led by a warrior king whose thirst for conquest is utterly unequalled.

The Scourge of God, the very herald of the apocalypse, Attila the Hun.

In the next instalment in the multi award-winning Total War series of strategy games, Total War: ATTILA introduces exciting new gameplay mechanics which improve and add to numerous core turn-based and real-time Total War systems. The world will darken around you as Attila’s forces descend on your homeland creating a unique vision of survival strategy.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Evil Within: The Assignment DLC Next Month

Bethesda is committing to a March release for The Assignment, the initial DLC pack for The Evil Within, their survival/horror game. This first installment in a three-part season pass previously carried only the more general release window of early this year. They celebrate the news with the release of the first trailer from the pack, saying: "As we put the final wraps on our trailer for The Evil Within’s first add-on, The Assignment, we wanted to give a little tease of what to expect when the content releases this March. Stay tuned for updates!" When they say "little tease" they are being quite accurate, as it runs under 15 seconds, more than a third of which is logos. Continue here to read the full story.

EVE Online Tiamat Expansion Launches

CCP announces that the Tiamat expansion is now live in EVE Online, their science fiction MMORPG. This page has a profile of the content in the free update, the patch notes have all the details, and this recent video diary discusses some of the features this brings. Here's a summary: "Tiamat's additions to the EVE universe focus on the evolving universe storyline, a new tactical destroyer, improvements to our new physically based rendering graphic system, and changes in corporation tools, projectile weapons and more." Continue here to read the full story.

Anachronox & Other Square IP Pitches Sought

Square Enix announces they are accepting pitches from independent developers interested in developing games using some Square IPs, including the cult classic Anachronox, along with Gex and Fear Effect. This is part of an initiative they call the Square Enix Collective, noting that the first project carrying this label, Goetia, just passed its initial funding goal on Kickstarter. Details on how interested developers can take a crack at this can be found on the Square Enix Collective website, and here's a bit:
In terms of the process, submissions using our IP is pretty much the same as for original IP, with a few exceptions which you should be aware of.

Firstly, we’ll pre-approve anything internally that is published on the Feedback platform. That means that if something goes out for community voting, we need to be happy with it first. If you submit something we don’t approve, we’ll tell you why – but to be clear, this is really about making sure ideas are relevant to the franchise. It *doesn’t* mean that we’re looking for straight-up sequels – we’d love to see different takes on those universes. What would Gex look like in a side-scrolling adventure, or a turn-based strategy? So feel free to mash up genres, and get creative.

The Feedback process is then basically the same – we throw the idea out to our community and let them vote and feedback for 28 days. At the end of that period we’ll weigh up the response, and then decide whether or not to proceed further.

If the response is good, then it’s into crowdfunding, which no doubt begs an important question: Why ask gamers to pay for a game to be made if it’s using our IP? Well, because it will still be the responsibility of the independent developer to build the game – and the developer will still be the key beneficiary of its success.

STRAFE Alpha Demo

A Kickstarter update for STRAFE announces the release of playable Windows and OS X demos for this throwback shooter, though this carries a warning that this is a pre-alpha build which is pretty broken. (thanks Eurogamer). Here's word on the release, along with all the appropriate warnings about the demo's unfinished state:
That means it’s pre-Alpha, BROKEN and not representative of the final game. It was custom built in days to get into the hands of streamers. The overwhelming positive response encouraged us to release it to the public. BUT this is A TINY FRACTION and modified version of STRAFE® that lacks most final features likes:

  • Custom options (inverted mouse, FOV/visor/gun sliders, etc)
  • Procedural level generation
  • Finished enemy AI and pathfinding
  • Secrets
  • A ton of things, you get the idea

We love what we’ve seen. But unfortunately it might not run on your particular computer right now. It might have major bugs, like enemies literally dancing for death. It might begin WWIII after your computer is mistaken on radar for a nuclear warhead. And if you don’t remember Doom’s elevator lifts, you might get stuck and not know how to move forward. Press E toward the ground, damn it.

Gas Guzzlers Extreme: Full Metal Zombie Released

Iceberg Interactive announces the release of Full Metal Zombie on Steam, offering undead DLC for Gas Guzzlers Extreme, the car combat game. A new trailer shows this off, and in celebration, the game is on sale for 75% off for the next week. "The Gamepires team really delivered in this DLC, the content is so rich and deep that it really is like an entirely new game," said Iceberg Interactive CEO Erik Schreuder. "Full Metal Zombie delivers action packed gameplay, and a Zombie apocalypse like no other PC racing game!" Continue here to read the full story.

World of Tanks Generals Beta

Wargaming is beginning closed beta testing of World of Tanks Generals, the turn-based virtual card game spin-off of their World of Tanks series. You can apply for the beta on the game's official website, and this will start on the PC web-based edition of the game with Android and iOS testing to follow. They show the game off in a order of battle trailer, and explain the beta thusly: "Included in the Closed Beta test are over 200 unique cards split between three factions—the USA, Germany and the USSR—and divided into several types. With an army of cards and a host of strategies available, every battle is an intense skirmish of sudden strikes, tactical trickery and dynamic dueling where you must adapt to survive." Continue here to read the full story.

Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth to Add 100-200 Hours of Gameplay

A post to the Binding of Isaac website from a few days ago announced details on Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth, an upcoming expansion for Binding of Isaac: Rebirth that should extend the game by a whopping 100-200 hours (thanks CVG). Here 's the deal:
The game expansion will be called Afterbirth.it will come out sometime this year (hopefully around the middle)

this expansion will feature:

  • 100+ new items
  • a full new game mode that will totally change how you play
  • 10 new challenges
  • a new playable character
  • a new alternate final chapter
  • new alt floors
  • new game endings
  • new final bosses
  • tons of new bosses and enemies
  • new item pickups, cards, pills, etc.
  • tons of new achievements and rewards for beating the game on hard
  • new co-op babies
  • new transformations
  • and more… :|

you could almost get lost in all that new content! it should easily extend the gameplay time by another 100-200 hours…

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Morning Previews

Morning Mobilization

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I mentioned last week that it was the third Monday in a row that we got hit with a serious snow storm as if it was intentionally scheduled to start the week. This week is not doing anything to change the impression that this process is running on auto-pilot, as the snow took yesterday's holiday off, and arrived today. It's good to know the weather has a sense of humor.

Funny Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Gun Mayhem Redux.
Emperor Games.
Cubestern.
Stories: Martin: 'Thrones' will get bloodier than my books.
Need for Speed video game police car on school run. Thanks HARDOCP.
Three Texas Families Who Took a Pass on the Fracking Boom. Thanks Digg.
Science: The Computer Simulation That Almost Started World War III.
Sexual reproduction makes humans less prone to disease over time.
Canada's next-generation military smart gun unveiled. Thanks Slashdot.
Image: IRL GTA V Cover.
Media: Video shows man grab Girl Scout's money.
The Funnies: Penny Arcade - Attempted Recidivism. Thanks nin.