Archived News:

Thursday, Mar 03, 2016

Black Desert Online Launches

Daum Games has launched Black Desert Online, their MMORPG they say boasts "the deepest character customization system yet." The launch trailer shows off the game, and here's word on what it involves:
Pack your cloak, sharpen your weapons, and grab as many bags as you can carry, because it’s time to set off on an epic adventure! The highly anticipated MMORPG Black Desert Online is out today, bringing with it the deepest character customization system yet.

See what awaits in the all-new launch trailer for Black Desert Online, presented by Daum Games and featuring sweeping landscapes, ferocious monsters, and action-packed combat.

Choose from one of 8 classes and create your character using the incredibly precise customization tools, then enter the bustling world of Black Desert Online. Will you become a slayer of massive beasts? A wealthy trader? A master horse tamer? In this enormous open world lies an experience that promises to breathe new life into the MMO genre.
Purchase Black Desert Online here.

Key Features

  • A beautifully designed open world that’s as expansive as it is alive
  • Heart-pounding skill-based combat
  • Unprecedented character customization with incredible detail
  • Crisp next-generation graphics
  • Extensive open world PvP modes (Arena mode, guild vs guild, node wars, castle siege, and more)
  • Engaging story with deep lore and epic quests
  • Unique farming system - grow and perfect your crops
  • A personalized stable - catch, tame, and breed wild horses
  • Deep crafting, housing, fishing, hunting, and alchemy systems
  • Intuitive action gameplay complete with gamepad support

Continue here to read the full story.

No Man's Sky in June; Preorders Underway

No Man's Sky is coming to North America on June 21st and elsewhere on June 24th, and preorders for the Windows edition of the procedural space game are now underway on GOG.com and on Steam. Word is: "The pre-order incentive for No Man's Sky includes the Horizon Omega ship — faster engines, better guns, all to kickstart your trip and help you survive longer on the interstellar journey." And for the truly fanatical, iam8bit offers a $149.99 No Man's Sky "Explorer's Edition" (thanks Eurogamer) which includes a die-cast spaceship and other goodies along with a game code. Here's word on the game from GOG.com:
Intergalactic travel changes the notion of time. Unimaginable speeds connect impossibly distant worlds, dilating lifetimes, blending generations. A round-trip may find your world aged and unrecognizable, separated from your loved ones, irrevocably alien. In an intergalactic society, only the few set off towards the stars — explorers, those unafraid and with nothing to lose. They set off never to come back as far as our lifetimes are concerned. And thus, we still look up at an infinite sky, now within our reach, yet still untouched — a no man's land, a No Man's Sky.

No Man's Sky promises discovery of an infinite, uncharted universe. Its billions of stars, planets, unknown living creatures, breathtaking sights and lonely wastelands — all seamlessly connected — populated with explorers drawn to the distant mysteries of the horizon, eager to leave a permanent mark in their wake.

The frontier is merciless and dangerous. Exposed to a universe of extremities in your fragile suit and ship, you'll need resources and upgrades to get far — as well as the means stand your ground in fight.

Whether you journey to the center of it all or seek out the farthest reaches of existence, the trip will not be simple or dull. You'll catalogue things unseen, discover alien artifacts and reveal mysteries of the universe. If you survive.

The pre-order incentive for No Man's Sky includes the Horizon Omega ship — faster engines, better guns, all to kickstart your trip and help you survive longer on the interstellar journey.

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst Gameplay Trailers

The Mirror's Edge website offers two new gameplay videos from Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, the upcoming return of the parkour franchise. There is a movement video, which inspires them to say: "The fluid movement is one key pillar in the gameplay of Mirror's Edge Catalyst." The other video shows off combat, for those times when movement just isn't enough. If you couldn't guess from the previous description, word is: "The fluid combat is one key pillar in the gameplay of Mirror's Edge Catalyst." The article has more details on what we're seeing, including this on combat:
ATTACK TYPES
String together Faith’s fluid attacks when engaging with KrugerSEC or other enemies. Combine light and heavy punches to force enemies off balance or to gain an advantage when they’re stunned. Use your environment when fighting to build Focus, and dish out Swift attacks to fight without losing momentum.

FLOW AND FOCUS
Build up and maintain Focus by maintaining movement and action. When Faith has Focus enemies can’t hit her, but losing Focus makes enemy attacks a greater threat to your health level. Once Faith focuses completely, she enters into Flow, a state of awareness that allows you to attack in new and more powerful ways.
Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III: Awakening

Steam News announces the release of the Windows edition of the Awakening DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Here's a rundown on what it offers:
DLC 1 Awakening for Black Ops 3 with all new Zombies and MP content is available now!

The latest installment of Zombies picks up where The Giant left off, as the Origins characters head to Der Eisendrache on a mission to stop the zombie apocalypse.

Go guns up in Black Ops 3 Multiplayer, featuring 4 new maps: Skyjacked, Splash, Gauntlet, and Rise.

  • Skyjacked: A reimagined classic that retains the same fast and frenetic gameplay from one of the most popular maps in Call of Duty® history.
  • Gauntlet: Plays up the core philosophy of Treyarch’s classic three-lane map structure with three distinct environments.
  • Splash: Set in an abandoned water park, an imaginative environment with waterslides, a lazy river and a wrecked pirate ship.
  • Rise: A Coalescence Corporation construction project catering to a mix of classic Call of Duty cover based combat.

Dead Island Definitive Edition Announced

Deep Silver announces plans to release the Dead Island Definitive Edition on May 31st for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. As the title implies, this will offer everything you need to enjoy the first two installments in the zombie series: remastered and "greatly enhanced" versions of both Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide, all their DLC, and a new Dead Island Retro Revenge mini game. They also offer this trailer to show off how these games have been updated. Here's word:
Deep Silver are bringing the iconic bone crunching, skull smashing, limb breaking, blood drenching fan loved Dead Island and Dead: Island Riptide to the next generation! Featuring fully remastered and greatly improved versions of both Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide set to deliver the ultimate Dead Island experience ever.

All three titles, Dead Island Definitive Edition, Dead Island: Riptide Definitive Edition and Dead Island Retro Revenge plus the compilation Dead Island Definitive Collection
are scheduled for release May 31st 2016 on Xbox One, PlayStation, and Windows PC.
Continue here to read the full story.

Tom Clancy's The Division Roadmap

Ubisoft unveils plans for the first year of post-release support for Tom Clancy's The Division, laying out a roadmap to follow next week's launch of the multiplayer shooter with a catalog of free and paid-for content. This trailer illustrates the news, and here's the plan:
Today, Ubisoft® revealed the post-release plans for Tom Clancy’s the Division™. This evolving online open world RPG will keep players engaged with on-going content that will build on the experience within the game long after release.

Following launch, players will be able to take on new tasks and challenges within the main storyline and end-game through daily and weekly missions as well as Dark Zone events. In addition to these ongoing activities, two free updates will be available to all players, adding new features and most-wanted functionalities:

  • Incursions: In April, the first free update will introduce the first incursion, a new challenging end-game activity developed specifically for squad play. Teams will be able to test their skills as they face seemingly unstoppable enemies to gain high-level weapons and equipment. This update will also add one of the community’s most-wanted feature, loot trading; allowing players in the same group to trade loot collected during a co-op game session.
  • Conflict: In May, the second free update will add new features to the Dark Zone and add a new incursion in the iconic Columbus Circle.

Three paid expansions will also be released over the course of the year and be available in the Season Pass, Gold Edition and Collector’s Edition of the game. Each expansion builds on The Division, continuing the player’s journey and progress with new content, gear and gameplay:

  • Expansion I: Underground
    Available in June, this first major expansion lets players explore the uncharted underworld of New York City. Players will chase deadly enemies with up to three other Agents through an endless maze of tunnels and subways.
  • Expansion II: Survival
    Available this summer, this expansion will challenge players to survive as long as possible by gathering essential supplies in a very hostile environment.
  • Expansion III: Last Stand
    Next winter, a new threat rises as players and their squad must prepare to defend against a relentless foe.

Tom Clancy’s the Division will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on March 8.

Continue here to read the full story.

Paragon Details

Epic Games reveals new details about Paragon, saying that early access to their MOBA will begin on March 18th, and that this will be made available through founder's packs which will go on sale on the 14th. They also reveal that all the heroes in their upcoming will be available for fee though playing the game. They outline more on how things will work in this reddit post which explains that there will also be a free beta this summer:
Founder’s Packs will cost $19.99, and include access to the game, skins, boosts, and other cosmetic items you can unlock by playing. Challenger Packs ($59.99) and Master Packs ($99.99) will include a huge number of skins, unlockable items, boosts, a unique skin, and a Founder’s Pack to give to a friend. We’ll be sharing complete details soon.

If you’d like to support Paragon, buy a Founder’s Pack on March 14 and jump in early. Or, you can sign up for the Beta at Paragon.com and join us for free in the Summer of 2016.

Total War: WARHAMMER Dwarf Campaign Trailer

Creative Assembly offers a new trailer from Total War: WARHAMMER showing off a Dwarf campaign walkthrough from the upcoming fantasy strategy game. This contains work-in-progress footage from an alpha version of the game. Word is: "Al Bickham talks us through this video, which provides a brief, work-in-progress look at a campaign played as the industrious but quarrelsome Dwarfs. The Campaign Walkthrough also includes a first look at the Dammaz Kron, or Great Book of Grudges, a brand new feature for Total War and one that is totally unique to these short but altogether vengeful warriors." Continue here to read the full story.

Thimbleweed Park Trailer

A new trailer offers a look at Thimbleweed Park, the upcoming crowdfunded adventure game from former LucasArts designers Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick. Here's what they say you are saying about this:
"Yeah, right," you're saying. "A point & click adventure that looks like it was made in 1987, one of the hottest indie releases of 2016?" Don't just take our word for it. Get a glimpse of what Agent Ray is up against in the first Thimbleweed Park story trailer and judge for yourself.
Continue here to read the full story.

STRAFE Next Year

Devolver Digital announces they will publish STRAFE, the upcoming remake of this 1990s shooter. They accompany the news with a new gameplay trailer, and promise to keep us informed via the STRAFE website. They also offer the following outline of their plans, in their own typically politically correct style:
The Void of Deep Space — Independent developer Pixel Titans and apocalyptic death cult Devolver Digital have entered a blood oath to usher in the brutally violent demise of all humanity, with the release of the greatest (and final) game of all time, STRAFE®, in early 2017.

Known to its previous victims as “the fastest, bloodiest, deadliest, most adjective-abusing, action-packed first-person shooter of 1996,” STRAFE® has pushed the limits of computer-generated photorealism and hardcore sci-fi action so far, it’s doomed the human species to a fate so terrifying, so unreal, billions quake at the mere thought of not getting a chance to play it on release day.

“People want blood. They want tight action,” said Thom Glunt, director of STRAFE®. “They want speed that makes their face melt off, so they can scoop up the soupy remains and toss it in the air like a liquid confetti. Nobody gets that like Devolver Digital.”

Devolver was also drawn to STRAFE®’s roguelike elements, with randomly-generated levels, enemies, secrets and monster closets that promise infinite replayability with pure mayhem every time. Players simply grab a gun, teleport into a unique level set, and paint the walls red, with ÜBER-GORE® technology that allows for ludicrously persistent gibs. The only thing greater than the blood flow will be the future cash flow.

“Once everyone is dead, then we can take literally all of their money,” said Fork Parker, Devolver Digital CFO. “Who’s gonna stop us? You? You’ll be a boiling puddle of entrails with more important things to do, like replacing the office chair you just dissolved through. And good luck, ‘cause you’re bankrupt.”

STRAFE® is set to indiscriminately terminate everyone you know and love in early 2017, releasing on PC, Mac, and possibly Linux, if everyone would stop fucking asking about it. Oculus Rift compatibility will give players the option to die in style, with dignity.

For more information, visit www.strafe1996.com or follow @Strafegame, @DevolverDigital and @BaueFuneralHome on Twitter.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

  • Blueprint Tycoon -- Steam Greenlight. "In Blueprint Tycoon you are tasked with running a settlement by gathering raw materials and crafting them into complex goods to be supplied to various Contractors for a profit. Create your own Blueprints for each Crafter/Harvester using multiple Workers with a multitude of Tools and try to create the most productive Blueprints."

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Into the Black

Link of the Day: GHOSTBUSTERS - Official Trailer (HD). Thanks Acleacius.

Just Cause 3 Patch Tomorrow; Sky Fortress Next Week; DX 12 Eventually

SQUARE ENIX announces that the Sky Fortress expansion for Just Cause 3 will be released on March 8th for owners of the AIR, LAND AND SEA expansion pass for the action sequel, and that the pack will go on general sale a week after that for those who prefer to buy things after they already exist. They use the occasion to reveal plans to release a patch tomorrow to pave the way for the expansion and also address some issues like long load times and crashes due to memory leaks and other bugs. On a final related note, a new Power of DX12 video from Microsoft (thanks DSOGaming) revels in the fast adoption of DirectX 12, and reveals a number of titles that will receive makeovers with the new Windows 10 exclusive API, including Just Cause 3. Here's a recent Sky Fortress trailer, and here's word on the plans:
SKY FORTRESS contains a brand new set of missions that introduce a new threat – the eDEN Corporation and their huge and terrifying Sky Fortress, with its army of deadly robotic drones. To tackle his deadly new adversary, Rico Rodriguez will use a new upgradeable, rocket-powered, weaponised ‘Bavarium Wingsuit’ fitted with shoulder mounted machine guns and auto targeting missiles - alongside his new ‘Eviction’ personal defence drone and ‘Bavarium Splitter’ assault rifle, all of which can be carried over into the main game.

“The new content will fundamentally alter how our players approach the game - we’re really looking forward to seeing how fans adapt to the new Wingsuit,” said Tobias Andersson, Senior Producer at Avalanche Studios. “The new story missions, challenges and gadgets that can be taken into the main game really mix things up, and we can’t wait for players to revisit Medici and start getting even more creative."

The SKY FORTRESS pack will be priced at $11.99 / €11.99 / £9.49 whilst the AIR, LAND & SEA Expansion Pass is available for $24.99 / €24.99 / £19.99. All three content packs will be available before the end of summer 2016 and released one week early to Expansion Pass holders.

In preparation for the new content, the main game will also be receiving a new update on Friday March 4th that includes the following fixes:

  • Reduced initial loading time and in-game loading screens by 20-50%
  • Fixed several memory leaks resulting in crashes
  • Reduced a number of random crashes
  • Improved streaming of game world
  • Some performance optimizations related to hitches and stuttering
  • Implemented DLC system in preparation of the Air, Land and Sea packages

Continue here to read the full story.

More DirectX 12 Ports Planned

As mentioned above, Just Cause 3 is not the only title featured in The Power of DX12 video from Microsoft. They don't say when everything's coming, but the clip includes DirectX 12 footage from the following games: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Forza Motorsport 6, Quantum Break, Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Fable Legends, King of Wushu, Ashes of the Singularity, and the aforementioned Just Cause 3. Here's all they say in the description of the video: "DirectX 12 is a ground-breaking Microsoft technology that gives game developers the ability to harness the full capabilities of a PC’s GPU(s) and raise the bar on graphic fidelity and immersive gameplay." Continue here to read the full story.

Path of Exile Expansion & League Launch Tomorrow

Grinding Gear Games reminds us that the Path of Exile: Ascendancy expansion for Path of Exile will launch at 3:00 pm EST tomorrow, adding that the Perandus Challenge League will commence simultaneously, offering a new competition set in the action/RPG. Like the game, the add-on is free-to-play, and you can find details about it on the Path of Exile website, where they also have this trailer from last year. Here's word on the expansion and the league:
The Perandus Challenge Leagues
Launching alongside Path of Exile: Ascendancy is the Perandus Challenge Leagues. These brand new leagues offer players the wealth of the Eternal Empire. Discover caches of Perandus family treasure, slay their guardians and claim the coins contained within. Anyone lucky enough to uncover one of the lost caches will discover something remarkable: fistfuls of glittering coins that can be exchanged with Cadiro Perandus himself for vital equipment and ancient artifacts.

Path of Exile: Ascendancy Features:

  • The Trials of Ascendancy: Seeking a worthy successor, Emperor Izaro constructed deadly trials throughout Wraeclast to find candidates. Six types of lethal traps have been crafted by Izaro into elaborate puzzle rooms - an entirely new gameplay type for Path of Exile.
  • The Lord's Labyrinth: Having proved your mettle in the Trials of Ascendancy, you earn the right to enter Izaro's Labyrinth. Years have passed, but its traps are as dangerous as the day its doors were first opened. With an entirely new system for generating sequences of random areas, the overall layout of the Labyrinth shifts every day, uncovering new puzzles and secrets.
  • Emperor Izaro: Entombed forever in his own creation, Emperor Izaro lives on. You will face Izaro multiple times during the Labyrinth and the fight will evolve depending on your actions in previous encounters.
  • Ascendancy Classes: Long ago, nineteen competitors entered The Lord's Labyrinth, each representing a different style of combat. Their powers can be claimed by those who prove themselves worthy by defeating Emperor Izaro. There are 19 new Ascendancy classes, each with its own additional Ascendancy Skill Tree to master.
  • Enchantments: Izaro's power can also be used to infuse items with powerful properties. These enchantments trigger specific skills and effects to occur on certain conditions. Each time the Labyrinth is completed, you maybe add one of these enchantments to an item.
  • Powerful New Gems: Ascendancy introduces a set of devastating new skills and support gems to customize your character with.
  • Exotic New Items: Featuring dozens of Unique Items and Divination Cards designed by Path of Exile's community, Ascendancy adds tantalizing power for players to discover.
  • Challenge Leagues: The launch of Ascendancy also marks the start of our latest challenge leagues. These leagues provide an ideal opportunity for a fresh start for returning players.

Grim Dawn Dawns

Thanks to Tom for reminding us we failed to note the official release of Grim Dawn last week on Steam after an extended Early Access period for the action/RPG, an apologies for the oversight, as this only leaves as couple of hours to get in on the launch discount the game has carried for a couple of years. This post from developer Crate Entertainment addresses the crowdfunded game's release:
It's been a long road to release, but we are finally here!

We would like to thank all of our early supporters (on our website, the Kickstarter and here on Steam). You have helped make this project bigger and better than we even dreamed when we first set out to create it.

Though the release is now a part of history, this does not mean that we will not continue to support the game. You can still look forward to more updates, modding tools, Survival Mode and a full Expansion.

Thank you again, and we hope that you enjoy the game!

Egypt Civilization Announced (Not by Firaxis)

We did our best to avoid confusion with the headline, as Russian developer Clarus Victoria announces Egypt Civilization, a turn-based strategy game with a title that's going to cause mix-ups with Firaxis' Sid Meier's Civilization series, at least until they hear from Take-Two Interactive. We presume this might cause a name change, but many games have been able to use the word "civilization" in their titles, and a recent explosion in the legal department at the BlueTower wiped out our entire team of lawyers, so we don't have any actual expertise on the trademark implications here. In the meantime, this is scheduled to be released in Q3 2016 for Windows and OS X. The Egypt Civilization website is live, offering details and a trailer. Here's word:
In Egypt Civilization players will act as the Grand Vizier, right-hand man of the almighty Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt. Starting from 5000 B.C. you will guide the Egyptians through all the hardships to prosperity and power. Get ready to march into faraway lands, fight catastrophes and hardships. The game covers almost 4000 years of Egyptian history, starting from the dawn in 5000 BC till the decay in 1070 BC.

During the game players will control all three capitals of Ancient Egypt. Hierakonpolis – predynastic period. Memphis - Old Kingdom. Thebes – Middle and New Kingdom. All cities are accurately rebuilt according to historical and archeological documents.

As the Grand Vizier, players will control the life of Ancient Egypt – manage resources, assign workers, build new districts, temples and palaces.

Egypt Civilization is being developed jointly with the Russian Academy of Sciences. The game takes advantage of knowledge collected by Egyptologists during the last 200 years. Egypt Civilization efficiently combines turns-based history-driven gameplay with educational elements and tell players the story of Ancient Egypt.

Morning Previews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I had a good news bad news day with my bird feeder yesterday. The good news was another sign of spring, as some red-winged blackbirds were out there feeding after returning from a southern vacation. The bad news is that a bit later I spotted the first real breach of my feeder by the industrious Mr. Squirrel, something I feel obliged to admit since I've endorsed my feeder's immunity to such shenanigans many times in the past. I found him out there managing to cling upside down to the feeder as he chowed down on all the seed he could handle. He may have been aided by some forsythia branches I've left too close to the feeder, and it may have just been a miracle that he managed to hang on after leaping to the feeder, but however he accomplished it, he won that battle. Now I have to keep tabs on this situation and see if this represents a new chapter in our struggle, or if this was just a one-off fluke victory for the enemy.

Well-fed Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: The Tiny Empire.
Bola Soccer - Play on Crazy Games
Link: This Ludicrous New Instrument Makes Music with 2,000 Marbles.
Science: Killer asteroid insurance costs less than you think.
Study: Stubborn Kids Are More Likely to Be Successful. Not sure where I went wrong.
Scientists Extend Life by 35 Percent in Mice by Clearing Cellular ‘Litter’.
Media: Foo Fighters - Official Band Announcement (NSFW). Thanks nin.
Full Trailer- Disney & Pixar's "Finding Dory."
Fido vs Spot. Awesome Welsh Terrier reminds me of a little Hudson.
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