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Thursday, Feb 23, 2017


Former Irrational Developers Form Ghost Story

A Ghost Story Games website is online as home to the "studio formerly known as Irrational Games" (thanks IGN). Word is: "We’re a Boston-area game development studio dedicated to making immersive story driven games for gamers that like a challenge. The studio was founded by a group of former Irrational Games developers, such as creative director Ken Levine, art director Shawn Robertson, executive producer Don Roy and more. We’ve been concepting, prototyping and experimenting on a new game for some time now and have attracted new talent along the way. You can learn more about our team and our vision here." Here's more:

Ghost Story was founded by twelve former Irrational Games developers and our mission is simple: to create immersive, story-driven games for people who love games that ask something of them. While we believe our new games will have strong appeal to fans of BioShock, our new focus allows us to craft experiences where the gameplay is as challenging as the stories.
We are not yet ready to share any more on our new game, but we invite you to join us and take part in our community, Sign up here.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Free Weekend

Steam News announces a free weekend us now underway in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare along with a sale on the shooter sequel. Here's word on the game:

Infinite Warfare delivers three unique game modes: Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies.

In Campaign, players play as Captain Reyes, a pilot turned Commander, who must lead the remaining coalition forces against a relentless, fanatical enemy, while trying to overcome the deadly, extreme environments of space.

Multiplayer combines a fluid momentum based movement system, player focused map design, deep customization, and a brand new combat rig system to create an intense gameplay experience where every second counts. Combat Rigs (Rigs) are the ultimate combat systems. Each Rig is a cutting-edge, tactical combat suit worn by the player and is built for totally different styles of play. Players will also join one of four brand-new Mission Teams to unlock calling cards, camos, emblems, and weapons unique to that team.

In Zombies, go back in time to fight the undead in a 1980s amusement park, complete with a plethora of rides, an awesome arcade, and a funky, functioning rollercoaster. Embrace previously beloved aspects of the mode like easter eggs, power ups, and novel weapons while experiencing innovations like brand-new team mechanics, the After Life Arcade, and Fate and Fortune Cards.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4 Free Weekend

Another free weekend is underway on Steam for NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4, which is also on sale for more than the duration of the event. The pitch on this game is almost shorter than its title:

The latest opus in the acclaimed STORM series is taking you on a colourful and breathtaking ride. Take advantage of the totally revamped battle system and prepare to dive into the most epic fights you’ve ever seen in the NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM series!

Prepare for the most awaited STORM game ever created!

Steep Adds Free Alaska Update

UbiBlog has word that Steep owners may be able to see Russia from the new Alaska update that's now free to owners of the winter sports game. Here's a trailer and the scoop:

The world of Steep just got a lot bigger, opening up the peaks of Alaska’s Denali to explore freely – and for free. Steep owners who install the latest title update on Xbox One, PS4, and PC can now access the Alaska map at no cost, and dive in to explore its winter-sports playground on skis, snowboards, wingsuits, and paragliders.

Alaska is huge, but there’s much more here than a new range of terrain to explore. The Alaska update features 21 new challenges, two new invitationals, a new Mountain Story, and new branded challenges every two weeks, so there’s plenty to keep you busy as you carve across its pristine spinelines and immense glaciers. There are even new Alaska-specific items and costumes for customizing your athlete – and like in the Alps, you’ll be able to meet other players as you explore, ensuring you’ll have a chance to show off your acquisitions.

You’ll also now be awarded XP for beating community challenges, which should come in handy now that the level cap’s been raised from 25 to 30. The update also comes with a host of bug fixes, so check the official patch notes for a full list.

Continue here to read the full story.

Mass Effect Andromeda Trailers

A new trailer from Mass Effect Andromeda is part two of their official gameplay series. This week's clip covers "Combat Profiles & Squads" following last week's video on "Combat Weapons & Skills." Here's the short description this carries: "Welcome to the Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay series. In this video, learn all about how to customize your character, progress your skills, and command your squad. In Mass Effect: Andromeda, you are on a mission to find a new home for humanity. How far will you go?" As a bonus, BioWare also offers this video where lovely actress Natalie Dormer talks about her role in the game playing Dr. Lexi T’Perro. Continue here to read the full story.

Unforgiven VR Early Access

Unforgiven VR is now available in early access on Steam, offering a first-person virtual reality shooter set in the wild, wild west. You'd be forgiven for expecting Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Gene Hackman to show up in this, but this is not a tie-in (though everyone does vaguely resemble Woody from Toy Story). This recent trailer offers a look at gameplay, and here's word on the game, which requires an HTC Vive headset:

Unforgiven is a VR multiplayer game for HTC Vive that let you become a western duelist and face other player in a real shooting duel where a split second can make the difference. The game lets you search for fast duels with anyone or duel the IA in several rounds to decide who wins and who losses. Thrive in the ruthless social world of Unforgiven and become a true legend.

The game is available on Early Access on Steam. The development has been divided in different stages grouping features, shaped by the community. From a dueling system and 4 characters it will grow by adding permadeath, cosmetic items, rewards on your head and a nickname system based on how you play. Will you be “Dirty Sullivan” or “Fast Sullivan” or maybe “Deadly Sullivan”?

The game is released at $4,99 and it will raise with every stage to approximately $29,99.

Continue here to read the full story.

Twitch Supporting The Banner Saga 3; Gifting First Two Games

Twitch announces they are gifting The Banner Saga 1 and 2 to Twitch Prime members, and donating money to the development of The Banner Saga 3 for those who play the first two games in the tactical RPG series. They say the games will be available for a limited time, and do not specify whether they will remain yours to keep after the specified period. Here's word:

Independent publisher Versus Evil today announced a promotion with Twitch Prime, which gives Twitch Prime members the chance to download and play both The Banner Saga and Banner Saga 2 for a limited time for FREE. The Banner Saga will be available to download between 23-28 February, while Banner Saga 2 will be available between 2-6 March.

Twitch Prime will also donate $1 towards the development of Banner Saga 3, developed by Indie developer Stoic games and published by Versus Evil (up to a maximum of $200,000) for every person who downloads and plays either game through the Twitch Launcher between 23rd February and 6th March.

"Working with the Twitch Prime team has been amazing," said Steve Escalante, General Manager of Versus Evil. "They are clearly fans of the Banner Saga, which has helped us craft a great value for fans. Their commitment to the Twitch community and their commitment to support indie development with this offer is extremely generous."

Twitch Prime members who download the games during this promotional window will also get exclusive content for Banner Saga 3, which is currently under development. Stoic launched a Kickstarter for Banner Saga 3, the final chapter in the planned trilogy, on 24th January. Funds raised will be used to help make the conclusion to this epic saga even better. The campaign, which funded in just a few days, will end on 7th March.

Free Steam Audio SDK

Valve announces the launch of The Steam Audio SDK as a free beta. In spite of the name, this does not actually operate through Steam. Here's word:

The Steam Audio SDK is available now via a free Beta.

Steam Audio is the product of many years of academic and industry research and development, and is designed to enhance all interactive products, specifically VR applications. It is the next generation of the Phonon spatial audio tools previously developed by Impulsonic, which is now part of Valve.

The Steam Audio SDK is available free of charge, without any royalty requirements. Supporting multiple platforms (Windows, Linux, macOS, Android), Steam Audio is not restricted to any particular VR device or to Steam.

Visit the Steam Audio Community Hub to hear examples of what's possible with this technology.

The Steam Audio SDK currently supports the Unity engine and includes a C API for integration into other game engines and audio middleware.

Continue here to read the full story.

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Into the Black

Ghost Recon Wildlands Open Beta

The promised open beta testing of Ghost Recon Wildlands is now underway. This will run through Monday, offering the chance to get your virtual boots on the ground in the latest installment in the Tom Clancy shooter series. Here's word from last week's announcement of the plan:

Running through February 27, this Open Beta features all of the same content found in the Closed Beta and more, including an additional province to explore called Montuyoc. Set in the Bolivian Altiplano region, this province contains heavily defended strongholds where the Santa Blanca trains some of its toughest soldiers.

Learning how to use all of the tools in your arsenal is key for taking on the Santa Blanca. First and foremost, use your fellow Ghosts. Whether you’re playing in co-op with up to three other players or going solo with cooperative AI, the other Ghosts can provide valuable distractions and cover fire when things start to heat up. And don’t forget transportation – jeeps, helicopters, APCs, and a large assortment of other vehicles can all become part of your strategy when infiltrating a Santa Blanca base (or escaping from it). Your environment can also be used to your advantage in Ghost Recon Wildlands. Itacua is a lush region with plenty of vegetation to hide you from enemy view when scouting for enemies. Meanwhile, the cover of night or a strong storm may be what keeps you from being spotted around Montuyoc’s lakes and sparse terrain.

As a special bonus, if you participated in the closed beta or the open beta – and start up the retail version of Ghost Recon Wildlands before March 31 on the same Ubisoft account – you’ll also gain access to the special “Unidad Conspiracy” reward, which includes three exclusive missions that features a brewing conflict between the local Unidad military and the Santa Blanca.

Railway Empire Announced

Publisher Kalypso Media and developer Gaming Minds Studios have busted out the thesaurus to announce Railway Empire, a new tycoon game centered on railroads starting in the early days of rail transport. The game is scheduled to pull into the station by the end of this year, and they plan on further showing it off at GDC next week. In the meantime they offer this trailer and some more details:

In Railway Empire, you will create an elaborate and wide-ranging rail network, purchase over 40 different trains modelled in extraordinary detail, and buy or build railway stations, maintenance buildings, factories and tourist attractions to keep your travel network ahead of the competition. You’ll also need to hire and manage your workforce if you want to ensure an efficient train service, whilst also develop over 300 technologies ranging from mechanical improvements to the trains themselves to workplace infrastructures and advanced amenities as you progress through five eras of technological innovations.

However, you can’t just build and research your way to the top – the competition never sleeps, and to keep your business on track you’ll have to survive against up to three rival tycoons. To get to the top you may have to resort to more cutthroat tactics as you attack and sabotage your opponents through raids and industrial espionage.

Features of Railway Empire

  • Exploit the economic opportunities of the United States in an extensive campaign, working your way step by step from coast to coast across this great continent.
  • Lead your Railway Empire to success by establishing a comprehensive rail network and optimizing transportation of passengers and goods.
  • Master challenges and objectives through a range of scenarios, or create your perfect railway network in construction mode without any financial pressure.
  • Over 40 historically accurate locomotives and more than 30 different wagons can be acquired over the course of the game, and must be put to use in the best way in order to take advantage of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Invest in over 300 new technologies across five different eras to progress and maximize the potential of your rail network.
  • Compete with up to three rival companies, and even sabotage their efforts with the use of bandits and spies.

Continue here to read the full story.

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