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Tuesday, Mar 07, 2017


Quake Champions Beta Signups announces signups are now underway for Quake Champions. Signups are underway on the game's new official website. Here's the news:

It’s almost time to return to the Arenas, so dust off your rocket jumping and Railgun skills – sign-ups for the highly anticipated Closed Beta for Quake Champions are now open on the game’s new official site. The Closed Beta is expected to begin in the coming weeks, and if you’re going to be attending PAX East this weekend at the Boston Convention Center, Quake Champions will be playable at the Bethesda Booth.

The new website is loaded up with details on many of the Arenas, weapons and Champions you’ll be able to check out when the game enters Closed Beta. Also, keep an eye out this week for more info and gameplay videos. On Wednesday, we’ll start our Champion profiles with a new trailer focused on Nyx, and on Thursday we’ll showcase the first Arena, Blood Covenant.

To celebrate the Closed Beta, we have a brand-new gameplay trailer, showing off all the frantic, skill-based fragging and intense speed players can expect from the next great Quake multiplayer game.

Ion Cancelled

Eurogamer has word that Ion is cancelled, saying development of this space survival game announced my Rocketwerkz in 2015 is over. Rocketwerkz was founded by DayZ designer Dean Hall, and Ion was a co-development project with Improbable, and they have statements from both Improbable and Dean Hall:

Here's Improbable:

"Ion was initially conceived as a project for co-development between Improbable and RocketWerkz. A lot has changed since then," the statement, sent to Eurogamer, read. "Dean Hall moved back to New Zealand from London, RocketWerkz has started work on a number of other games, and we have grown increasingly into a platform for games to be deployed on.

"We can definitely say that Improbable is not currently working on Ion. However, we have not previously commented on and cannot now comment on RocketWerkz' current or future plans.

"We are focussed on making SpatialOS available to developers, and supporting developers such as Bossa Studios and our SpatialOS Games Innovation Program partners as they make games on our platform. We currently have no plans to develop or release a game ourself."

Here's Dean Hall:

"We're not actively working on Ion, no," he told me in an interview. "I am not involved in that, no. Nor is RocketWerkz studio in New Zealand."

I asked him how long Ion had not been an active project for him and he said since he moved back to New Zealand in August-October last year.

"When I look at Ion," he added, "Ion could only happen with a company like Improbable, with the scale of technology like that, and that's not a game we could do alone."

LEGO Worlds Released

Steam News announces the release of LEGO Worlds. Here's word on this opportunity to bang your head against a brick wall: "In a galaxy of procedural worlds made entirely from LEGO bricks, will you... EXPLORE environments filled with adventure, then alter them? DISCOVER secrets and treasures, then play with them? CREATE your own models, then make a world your own? In LEGO® Worlds, it’s up to you..." This post has details on what's changed since early access:

As of now LEGO Worlds is no longer in Early Access, and has moved into it's v1 state!

We want to share one last Thank You to our Early Access community, and welcome new players to the fold as we move onto the next step in the LEGO Worlds journey. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time these past two years, and look forward to what comes next!

Also, we have one last surprise that is PC only. After you complete the 3 Starter Worlds, head to the Extras menu and type in the word BR1CK5. One extra treat for our illustrious building community!

For now though; get out there Master Builders! Show us what you can do!

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered Map Pack Details

Activision announces a Variety Map Pack for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, saying this will come to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on PS4 on March 21st for $14.99 USD. They don't reveal when to expect this for other platforms, but around 30 days is a good guess based on history. This blog post has details on the map remakes this will offer, and here is the rundown:

The pack features classic maps that have been remastered in full HD glory across a range of different environments:

  • Broadcast: Based on the TV station from the campaign mission “Charlie Don’t Surf”, this map provides a unique blend of confined corridors and wide-open spaces. Outside the station, the parking lot contains long sightlines, but once inside, cramped hallways and a computer-cluttered broadcast room provide ample close-range combat opportunities.
  • Chinatown: Set in a foggy downtown district, this nighttime map is lit up by flickering neon signs and a full moon. A re-imagining of the original Call of Duty multiplayer map “Carentan”, players will need to be careful on these streets, as almost every building in the map can be occupied, providing perfect cover for enemies waiting for a chance to line you up in their sights.
  • Creek: Set in a wide-open village ravaged by combat where concealment is the difference between life and death, a gaping ravine divides this map into two. Open clearings with sheer cliff faces and ample forested cover make this map ideal for snipers and long-range firefights.
  • Killhouse: A small training warehouse filled with various building mock ups that feature soft and hard cover points. Expect fast-paced and fierce firefights for maximum close-quarters chaos.

Lightspeed Frontier Early Access

Early access to Lightspeed Frontier is now available for Windows, OS X, and Linux on Steam, offering a sandbox space exploration game with LEGO-style custom ship construction. Here's an older trailer showing off gameplay, and here's word:

It’s time to assemble the ultimate spaceship for galactic domination as open-world sandbox, spaceship building and exploration game Lightspeed Frontier launches into Early Access via Steam (PC) today for $14.99. Lightspeed Frontier, from Riveted Games and Crowdwork Studios, is a light-hearted space-adventure game where players build ships from block modules before exploring the galaxy via open-ended missions. Mission outcomes have a lasting effect on the surrounding environment as well as the galactic stock market that controls the economy. For those interested in meeting with the development team, Lightspeed Frontier is playable this weekend at PAX East in booth 10052.

As captain, players embark on an adventure to discover the mysteries of the universe as they complete missions to reap the riches of the galaxy. During exploration, captains decide whether to practice diplomacy or engage in riveting battle with crime lords and space pirates. As a savvy space entrepreneur, players must compete against greedy corporations that are monopolizing business to become the most successful captain in the galaxy.

Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Cement Truck Flips Over and Collides with Van. The stuff of nightmares.

BattleTech Beta Delay and Release Date Outlook

The BattleTech forums reveal the backer beta for the new BattleTech game is delayed, attributing this to a "series of unfortunate events" (thanks El Pit). Harebrained Studios goes into detail on those events, which included problems that struck upgrades to their development infrastructure as well as issues when they upgraded to a new version of the Unity engine. They also reveal that their latest release window is late summer/fall after previous indications the crowdfunded mech game was expected this summer. Here's the latest outlook on when to expect the beta and the game:

As you can imagine, it’s been a frustrating few weeks in the studio. The entire project slowed dramatically just as we were attempting to hit the gas for the final weeks until Beta launch. The team continued to push as hard as they could, refusing to give up on our March 15th target date, but the slowdowns and instability were punishing. The leadership group decided to step back and take a good, hard look at the situation. We decided it was best to stop the crunch and focus on finishing the infrastructure and editor work before reviewing our quality level and reassessing the target date for the Backer Beta.

Now that our technical issues are behind us, the team is focused on quality and on delivering an experience that shows the world why HBS loves BattleTech and why everyone else should, too. As soon as we have a new target date that we can confidently announce, we’ll send out another update. We are dedicated to delivering a great Backer Beta, even if that means taking a little longer with it.

Regarding the final release date for BATTLETECH: As noted during our livestreamed dev Q&As and on our forums, once we unlocked all of our Kickstarter stretch goals, our estimated release date of May was no longer valid. Way back then we said things like "Summer 2017.” Now that we're further along, we're targeting a Late Summer / Fall release of the game - but we won't be announcing a more exact release date until we're much closer in!

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands Released

The GeForce website announces Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is now available for Windows, giving NVIDIA another chance to brag about the NVIDIA GameWorks effects supported by the new third- and first-person shooter. The game is available on Steam and Uplay, and here's a bit on what to expect:

A third-person open-world shooter (with an FPS aim-down-the-sights mechanic), Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Wildlands contains a wide variety of exotic regions. You'll scout out and partake in combat in jungles, salt flats, lakes, coca plantations, mines, highlands, and canyons. Each area is vividly detailed, and designed to immerse you as much as possible into the action. Enhancing the natural vistas is a persistent day and night cycle and a varied weather system, making each adventure feel unpredictable and different. In an effort to make the country as authentic as possible, the developers took a two-week field trip to get a first-hand look at its many environments. Ubisoft also utilized military consultants and certified botanists to further develop the game's systems, and they claim that the regions' numerous non-playable characters behave like normal people, complete with their own jobs, allegiances, and motivations. All of this makes Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands feel like a lived-in, unscripted world.

But before you start planning coordinated incursions, brave rescue missions, and political upheavals, you'll start the game by creating a personalized character with a highly malleable appearance. You can adjust almost everything imaginable: hair color and style, musculature, eyes, facial structure, beard length, scars and burn marks, camouflage designs, and lots of others. You could likely spend an hour or more creating your ideal in-game persona, but you could just as easily pick from one of many randomized motifs as well. Once your character is set, you'll find yourself inside a helicopter with the rest of your crew, ready to deploy.

Post-Release Mass Effect Andromeda MP Maps Free

Replying to a question about distribution plans for post-release multiplayer maps in Mass Effect Andromeda, BioWare's Aaryn Flynn tweets that these will be free (thanks PCGamesN). It was already announced the game will have no season pass, but the Aaryn was specifically asked if multiplayer maps will be free like they were with Mass Effect III. It turns out this will be the case, as he answers: "It's going to be just like ME3."

SEGA Acquires Crytek Black Sea

SEGA has acquired the remnants of Crytek Black Sea and renamed it Creative Assembly Sofia. Gamasutra has this word on plans for the Bulgarian developer formerly known as Black Sea Studios: "Going forward, the folks at Creative Assembly Sofia are expected to contribute to Creative Assembly's future projects. The company most recently collaborated with 343 Industries on the development of the real-time strategy game Halo Wars 2, which was released last month."

Crusader Kings II Expands

Paradox Interactive announces the release of the Monks and Mystics expansion for Crusader Kings II. This can be picked up through the Steam or the Paradox Store, though Steam is involved either way. The expansion adds new gameplay, units, and as the title implies, some religious and mystical elements, leading them to note this adds actual cults to the cult classic. Here's a release trailer, and here are further details:

In a world ruled by fear of the afterlife, the wise person takes good care of their soul. Do good works. Build new churches. Defend the faith against heretics, heathens and the corruption that lurks in the heart of all. But what if there were more to the spiritual world than charity and chants? What if you could unlock the secrets of the universe – or turn your back on God entirely? Are you ready to gamble your eternal soul in Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics?

Monks and Mystics is the newest expansion to Paradox Development Studio’s beloved classic Crusader Kings II. In this new add-on, your ruler has the chance to join religious societies to improve their standing with both humankind and God (or the gods). Join a monastic order and pursue traditional virtues and learning, or seek out the kind of knowledge only available to those skilled in alchemy and astrology. You can even join underground religious cults to weaken the church or pray to elemental forces of darkness to unlock new and terrible powers.

Monks and Mystics features include:

  • Monastic Orders: Special societies devoted to religious learning and pious behavior for most of the world’s faiths.
  • Secret Societies: Assassins, underground religious orders, and devil worshipers operate in the shadows to undermine the established order.
  • Relics and Treasures: Find religious relics, craft masterwork weapons, or commission spectacular jewelry to add to the glory and power of your realm.
  • New Councilor Commands: No more idle advisers, as your councilors can put their skills to work while attending court.

Continue here to read the full story.

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Out of the Blue

Following my viewing of the O.J. miniseries I thought I should seek out that ESPN documentary that has also received acclaim. And there it is, convenient as anything in my cable's on-demand section. Just like you want it, parts one, three, four, and five. Wonder if they are covering up the real killer in part two? I really want to like my cable provider, but they make it so damn hard.

Provided Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Give Up, Robot.
Science: Eating Soy Tied to Reduced Breast Cancer Death Risk.
Maintaining an active sex life may lead to improved job satisfaction, engagement in work. Thanks Hypothermia.
You Can Hear The Difference Between Hot and Cold Water. Thanks Hypothermia.
Media: Catch of the Year. No Ball Involved. Thanks Neutronbeam.
These two are an unlikely pair of sleeping buddies. Thanks viperfour.
The Big Bang Theory but with Ricky Gervais as the whole studio audience. Sums it up.
Follow-up: Bill Paxton's Cause of Death Revealed.

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