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Friday, May 20, 2016

NASCAR Heat Evolution Announced

Dusenberry Martin Racing announces NASCAR Heat Evolution for Windows and consoles, a racing simulation planned for release on September 13th, just in time for the running of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 (I feel like the crazy pills just kicked in). Here's an animated logo (trust NASCAR to manage to squeeze a sponsor into a 10 second clip), and here's word on the game:
Dusenberry Martin Racing (DMR), NASCAR’s exclusive console simulation-style video game licensee, today announced the future of NASCAR gaming with NASCAR Heat Evolution – launching September 13, 2016. Marking the debut of the NASCAR video game series on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One, and also arriving on Windows PC, this new title will provide fans with a brand-new and authentic racing experience.

NASCAR Heat Evolution will immerse fans in the door-to-door excitement of stock car racing and allow users to live the experience of taking the checkered flag. Whether a casual or hardcore gaming fan, NASCAR Heat Evolution will dynamically adapt to any skill level and deliver a true-to-life racing experience. The new game will feature all of the top drivers, teams, and incredibly detailed tracks and environments, giving fans the opportunity to feel what it is like to be a racing legend.

“Our company is a team of highly skilled gaming vertans with a proven record of success in NASCAR game development and publishing. Our commitment to the NASCAR community is to consistently deliver fun, engaging and high-quality NASCAR games to the market,” said DMR Chief Executive Officer Tom Dusenberry.

DMR, whose licensing agreement with NASCAR Team Properties runs through 2020, partnered with Monster Games to create NASCAR Heat Evolution, bringing more than 100 years of combined NASCAR games experience to the project.

DMR President Ed Martin said, “To deliver an all-new NASCAR game experience, we assembled an all-star team of NASCAR game experts and started with a clean sheet of paper. What the DMR and Monster Games teams have come up with is going to amaze NASCAR fans.”

Elite Dangerous Expansion Next Week

Frontier Developments announces The Engineers DLC will come on May 26th to the PC edition of Elite Dangerous as part of the Horizons season pass for the outer-space shooter. They say the release will be accompanied by the biggest-ever free update for the game, adding that Horizons will launch for Xbox One on June 3rd. Here's word:
Elite Dangerous: Horizons is your pass to a full season of gameplay expansions for the award-winning space epic Elite Dangerous. On June 3, Elite Dangerous: Horizons comes to Xbox One featuring the first two Horizons expansions: Planetary Landings and The Engineers. Together, they unlock a vast range of new features including 1:1 scale planets to explore, surface bases to raid, new mission opportunities, new loot and crafting opportunities, and the high-speed SRV Surface Recon Vehicle.

New to PC on May 26, The Engineers opens up a world of customization options that change the way you fly, trade, explore and fight in the Elite Dangerous galaxy. Hidden on planet surfaces across the populated galaxy, each Engineer has a unique personality and history, and they just might choose to help you with their unique weapons and specialized modules… for the right price.

On May 26 Frontier will also launch its biggest ever free update for Elite Dangerous players on all platforms, featuring a new mission system, collectable loot and hundreds of gameplay additions and tweaks. Xbox One players will further benefit from the addition of Private Group play and fully customizable controls.

Homefront: The Revolution DLC & Framerate Patch Plans

Facebook post from Dambuster Studios announces some new free content is now available for Homefront: The Revolution and says more free missions are on the way for the just-released shooter sequel. They also acknowledge that the game has performance issues, and say additional patches are in the works to improve framerates. Here's word on the content and FPS issues:
The Revolution is now finally available worldwide, and we hope you are enjoying your first steps in Occupied Philadelphia as a member of the Resistance. It has been a long road for us, and we're only getting started.

But we're also aware that performance - particularly frame rate - is not currently where we want it to be, and we are working on additional patches to help address these issues and more. Patch notes per platform will be available on the community forums and on Steam when they go live.

In the meantime, the first free content in our post-launch Resistance Mode road map has been unlocked for all players today. All 8 individual pieces of the two new Punk and Anarchist outfits, plus the Punk and Anarchist full body clothing, can be found in your character's Gear and Clothing menu for players to customize their Fighters with. On top of that, two bonus Hail Mary boosters in your Consumables inventory offer a free instant revive to help you on your way to completing Missions on the hardest difficulty. Use them wisely!

Beyond improvements and content, we aim to have three additional polished Missions for Resistance Mode available by the end of June, with more free Missions to come after that.

Overwatch Beta Stats

The Overwatch website has some statistics from the recent beta testing of the imminent first-person shooter, and if you are thinking it's time for an infographic, then you're thinking right, so cue the infographic theme song (dammit, I told someone to write that!). We won't spoil all the joy of seeing the pictures of the numbers, we'll just offer this one statistical tidbit they lay out in the intro: "In just a little over 7 days, heroes from around the world joined forces for more than 4.9 billion minutes (that's over 81 million hours!) across more than 37 million matches of intense competitive action, incredible teamwork, and all-out fun." Also, a new Overwatch Digital Comic called "Mission Statement" is now available, featuring Pharah.

On Sale

Talos Principle 2 Revealed

During a Talos Principle Postmortem, Croteam apparently revealed plans for a sequel to this first-person puzzle game. This is noted on Rock, Paper, Shotgun where they point out that although the initial mention of this was somewhat vague, a tweet on the revelation was retweeted by Croteam, which seems a pretty definite confirmation of the news.

Two Techland Projects Revealed has word from a conference where developer Techland revealed they are working on two different unannounced upcoming projects. One is a new IP described as an open-world fantasy game with RPG elements that will offer co-op multiplayer as well as single-player support. The other game is more of a mystery, though they speculate it may be Dying Light 2, as they got Techland to confirm it will not be a new Dead Island game, but they would not deny it would be Dying Light 2. They also get specific denials that this will not be Hellraid or a new Call of Juarez game.

Free Forge - Halo 5: Guardians Edition for Windows 10 Announced

Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson (not to be confused with Cocoa Beach's Major Nelson) has the news that Microsoft is planning a Windows 10 version of Forge - Halo 5: Guardians Edition that will be completely free, and will include some new features specifically for the PC. Here's the plan:
Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re bring this same spirit of creation and collaboration to the PC later this year with Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition for Windows 10. Best of all? It will be absolutely free. In addition to the evolutions already present in the mode on Xbox One, Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition for Windows 10 will include some exciting new features designed specifically with PC users in mind, including:

  • Keyboard & Mouse Support – For the first time ever, Forgers will have the option of using a keyboard & mouse allowing for more precision control than ever before.
  • Increased Resolution – Support for multiple resolutions including 4k.
  • Test and Play with Friends – Enlist the help of Friends to help build, test, and play your Forge creations on Windows 10.
  • Build on Windows 10 and Publish to Xbox One – Experiences built on Windows 10 can be published to and played on Xbox One, opening the doors for countless new experiences to be enjoyed by players all over the world.

If you’re already finding yourself excited about the incredible possibilities that are opened up by expanding Forge to the Windows 10 platform, trust us, you’re not alone. 343 Industries UGC Director, Tom French, and his team are already chomping at the bit to get these new creative tools into the hands of the community.

Since we released Forge in Halo 5 we’ve seen so many amazing new things come from it – from weird mini-games we could have never anticipated to meticulously crafted maps that are even approaching the visual quality of internally built maps. The team has continued to wonder what we’d get if we could put Forge in the hands of as many people as possible, and making it free on Windows 10 literally gives the chance to anyone who wants to jump in and try their hands at building a cool new map for Halo 5. I’m excited to see what the future content from the community will bring!” –Tom French, UGC Director, 343 Industries
We’ll have a lot more to share about Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition on Windows 10 later this year, but look for even more exciting updates coming to the Forge experience in Halo 5: Guardians on the Xbox One in the coming months – including new environments, advanced file sharing capabilities, new pieces, palettes, props, and much more.

Pro Cycling Manager 2016 Announced

Focus Home Interactive announces two new official Tour de France videogames, as Cyanide Studio continues their annual development cycle for the racing series. This includes plans for Le Tour de France 2016 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and Pro Cycling Manager 2016, coming to Windows. Here are some screenshots, and here's word on the PC game:
On PC, become the sports manager for a team of professional riders, and take part in a great 2016 season packed with new features, during more than 200 competitions (550 stages) including the famous Tour de France 2016 and La Vuelta. It is up to you to coordinate every aspect of a team's life: recruiting, contracts with cyclists and sponsors, managing the staff, training and handling the race calendar… in addition to making real time key decisions during the stages. Play by yourself or challenge managers from all around the world in an entirely rethought online multiplayer mode (create competitions, races, rules, co-op events…)!

In this new edition, the Pro Cyclist Mode, which lets you play as a young cyclist whom you guide to the top, is back with more interactions between you, your teammates and your manager. The Career mode provides a more intense challenge thanks to a new objective and sponsor system. This 2016 edition is more realistic, thanks to its graphical improvements, new sceneries, clearer interface, improved relaying of information, and a more advanced AI that takes into greater consideration cyclists' physiological abilities and also improves shape and behaviors during breakaways. Finally, you will be able to share content with the community using the Steam Workshop to constantly renew your game experience.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III - Eclipse Dawns

Call of Duty: Black Ops III - Eclipse is now available on Steam, offering DLC for the Windows edition of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the futuristic black ops shooter sequel. This second add-on pack adds a bunch of multiplayer environments to the game, and expands the included zombie campaign with more undead action. Here's word: "In the latest episode of the Zombies experience, the Origins characters head to 'Zetsubou No Shima', a tropical island where experiments with Element 115 have created horrors beyond belief. Battle your way through four stunning Black Ops III Multiplayer environments: Spire, Knockout, Verge and Rift."

Wargame Red Dragon: The Netherlands DLC Released

Eugen Systems now offers the chance to go Dutch in Wargame Red Dragon with the release of The Netherlands DLC for the Windows, OS X, and Linux RTS game. To help make it easier to get started with this, the game is on sale for 70% off this weekend on Steam. Here's word on the new DLC and the sale:
Wargame is back again with a brand new DLC for the million-selling franchise's third installment, Wargame Red Dragon. In this new expansion for the spectacular real-time strategy game from Eugen Systems, the Dutch units are finally playable! Choose between 80 units and enter into a coalition with West Germany! To celebrate this DLC release, the Wargame Franchise Pack will be available at 70% off this week-end on Steam - May 19-23.

The Netherlands have a foundation of unique, indigenous, units such as the YP-408 and the YP-104 that are joined by the Korps Marinier and the Special Forces unit, KCT. Most nations buy foreign gear second hand and often obsolete, but the Netherlands has access to some of the best units that other countries have to offer. Following their units are local variations of French, English, American and German units like the Cheetah, the YPR-765, and the AMX-13 / FL-12.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Well I got my Oculus Rift yesterday and set it up. It's a beautiful hardware presentation, probably the nicest packaging and setup I've seen, and I have some favorable first impressions, but haven't really had a lot of time yet to check out the things I want to. Seems my hardware is up to the task, though I do have a nag banner on the Oculus interface warning my system is underpowered, but so far it's been fine. I'm looking forward to checking this out more, though I may not be able to over the weekend as much as I want, as though the headset works fine with my glasses, it presses them against my face, which is quite uncomfortable. This is going to make it difficult to play for extended periods until I get some contact lenses, which won't happen until Monday at the earliest.

Virtual Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Pest Hunter.
Story: Daniel Craig Turns Down New Bond Deal?
Science: The Martian author Andy Weir calls for massive new space station to prep humans for Mars trip.
Americans could prevent roughly half of all cancer deaths by doing these four things. I'm four for four.
Hubble Telescope Captures Incredible Up-Close View of Mars.
Images: My DIY Oculus Rift Alienware X51 R3 PC Travel Case. Thanks Michael.
Another "Assassin's Creed" Poster.
Media: These Lizards Have Been Playing Rock-Paper-Scissors for 15MY.
Simon's Cat Logic - Why Do Cats Love Boxes?!
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