Archived News:

Thursday, May 04, 2017 Star Wars Day

New GeForce Drivers

The GeForce website announces the release of new GeForce Game Ready 382.05 WHQL drivers, saying these are optimized for Prey, Battlezone, and the Gears of War 4 multi-GPU update. They offer some performance results from Prey testing, saying an i7-6700K system can run the game at 1920x1080 on a GTX 1060, while you can experience 4K Prey with that CPU using a GTX 1080Ti or a pair of 1070s in SLI.

New AMD ReLive Drivers

AMD Support offers new version 17.5.1 AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition Windows Drivers. These likewise add support for Prey, and list the following issues as fixed:
Fixed Issues

  • Fixed an issue that may sometimes cause the error message "1603" during uninstall.
  • Radeon Settings may sometimes fail to update through the auto Radeon Software update feature.
  • Forza Horizon 3™ may experience minor graphics corruption in some game maps
  • Sid Meier's Civilization™ VI may experience an application crash when using Hybrid Graphics system configurations and windowed game mode
  • Radeon WattMan may fail to apply settings on some Radeon R9 390 series graphics products.
  • Added switchable graphics support for Unigine™ Superposition for XConnect and Hybrid Graphics.

Activision Blizzard Financials

Activision Blizzard announces first-quarter 2017 results, saying these were better-than-expected and record setting. Here's word: "For the quarter ended March 31, 2017, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were a Q1 record of $1.73 billion, as compared with $1.46 billion for the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 19%. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were a Q1 record of $1.39 billion, growing 50% year-over-year. GAAP operating margin was 29%. GAAP earnings per diluted share were an all-time quarterly record $0.56, as compared with $0.48 for the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 17%." Here's a bit of what they say about their audience reach that continues to praise the growth of Overwatch:

  • Activision Blizzard had 431 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs)A in the quarter.
  • Blizzard had the biggest Q1 online player community in its history with MAUsA of 41 million, up 58% year-over-year. Overwatch continues to be Blizzard’s fastest growing new franchise, reaching over 30 million players globally less than a year after launch. Overwatch is now the 8th billion-dollar franchise in Activision Blizzard’s portfolio. Hearthstone® MAUsA grew year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter, despite no content releases in the first quarter, and recently surpassed the 70 million registered player milestone life-to-date.
  • Activision had 48 million MAUsA in the first quarter, down year-over-year primarily due to expected softness from last year’s Infinite Warfare™ release. Activision expects to release Call of Duty: WWII on November 3, 2017. Last week’s reveal was the most watched livestream in Call of Duty history, and the reveal trailer became the fastest video to reach 10 million views in Call of Duty history. Though early, initial pre-orders for Call of Duty: WWII are off to a very strong start. Activision and its partners at Bungie expect to release Destiny 2 on September 8, 2017 and welcome PC players into the Destiny universe for the first time. Response to the Destiny 2 reveal was very encouraging, and pre-orders are off to a very strong start.

New Video Game Hall of Fame Inductees

The Strong National Museum of Play announces four new inductees into their World Video Game Hall of Fame. The honorees are Donkey Kong, Halo: Combat Evolved, Pokémon Red and Green, and Street Fighter II, and they say these won out over a field of a dozen nominees that also included Final Fantasy VII, Microsoft Windows Solitaire, Mortal Kombat, Myst, Portal, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, and Wii Sports. Previous honorees include DOOM, Grand Theft Auto III, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, Pac-Man, Pong, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and World of Warcraft.

Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade Launches

Stardock announces the release of Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade, expanding their 4X space strategy game with new systems and content. There are full details on what this includes on the Galactic Civilizations III website where they also point the way to where to buy the expansion or a bundle that includes the base game (which is required). There is also this new release trailer to show things off. Here's a rundown of what to expect:
Today, Stardock released Crusade, the long awaited expansion to its popular space 4X strategy game Galactic Civilizations III. Featuring a brand new "Civilization Builder" on Steam workshop, a new Galactic Citizens mechanic, interactive invasions, espionage, and much more, Crusade is a robust addition to the base game that brings a host of changes and updates.
The expansion adds many other anticipated features, such as new playable civilizations, custom fleets, an improved diplomacy system, and an updated graphics engine.
"Crusade is huge," said Stardock CEO Brad Wardell. "We've increased the game's depth so that it's morphed into something really cool. We've changed more than just the game mechanics, too - our new civilization builder on Steam Workshop is going to let modders go crazy. It's more than just creating a faction now - you can customize absolutely everything about your civilization, right down to diplomacy dialogue and ship fleets."
Some of the feature highlights of Crusade include:

  • Civilization Builder: Create a faction with a custom leader, ideology, and abilities. Customize your civilization's galactic fleet and define custom conversation dialog for your friends and enemies.
  • Galactic Citizens: Citizens are created every ten turns and can choose numerous specializations to help boost their civilization globally or to enhance a specific planet. The unique promotions system will allow players to "spend" a citizen to make them into something like a saboteur or a martyr in order to gain large bonuses.
  • Invasions: Conquering an entire planet is no small feat. Now, players will send their legions to battle it out across the planet's surface. Invaders choose where they will land and defenders will choose where they will resist, both decisions requiring considerable strategic thinking.
  • Espionage: Citizens trained as spies can now be used to to take down adversaries from behind the scenes. Players can use spies to destroy planetary improvements, steal technology or assassinate enemy agents.
  • New Civilizations: The Terran Resistance, Onyx Hive, and the Slyne appear as new playable factions in Crusade. Existing civilizations have also received an overhaul to make each one more unique.
  • Missions: Subsidize ventures to the depths of the galaxy to search for resources, abandoned ships, or ancient technologies.
  • Ship Designer: This feature is now easily accessible from the main menu and allows users to choose from hundreds of ship parts to build an entirely custom ship. Easily browse available parts, create your ship, and upload it to the Steam Workshop to share with the world. Animated, organic ships are possible with the Ship Designer, too.
  • Updated Economy, Diplomacy, and Alliance Systems: Provides more depth to gameplay and weighs choices more heavily than before.

Adjusted economy, diplomacy, and alliance systems add depth, variety, and weight to players' choices. Violating an alliance now causes other civilizations to react negatively, which could have huge consequences on diplomatic relations. The new economic system encourages more frequent trading and provides bonuses and penalties based on your approval ratings, what you've researched, and more.

Continue here to read the full story.

Sudden Strike 4 in August

Kalypso Media announces an August 11th release date for the Windows, OS X, and Linux editions of Sudden Strike 4, saying the PlayStation 4 edition of the RTS sequel will follow on August 15th. Preorders are underway on Steam, and they are offering up to 25% of through a free Sudden Strike Quiz app for Google Play and the App Store. They talk about some new screenshots we can't find, but there is also a new third trailer in their General's Handbook series with a look at the game. Here's word:
Kalypso Media is also excited to share a selection of new screenshots that show the detailed, dynamic environments and incredible attention to detail paid to the units and gameplay mechanics of Sudden Strike 4. To give a look at the game from a developer’s point of view, Kalypso has also released three videos in a new ‘General’s Handbook’ series on YouTube. They feature Sudden Strike 4 Producer Christian Schlütter running through basic gameplay principles and discussing how the title has evolved throughout the development process.
Continue here to read the full story.

Dawn of Andromeda Dawns

Publisher Iceberg Interactive and developer GreyWolf Entertainment announce the release of Dawn of Andromeda on Steam, following an early access run for the space strategy game. The recent launch trailer offers a look at the game running in 4K resolution, and the accompanying announcement details the latest changes to the game:

Developer GreyWolf Entertainment and publisher Iceberg Interactive are delighted to announce that real-time space 4X title, Dawn of Andromeda, has now left Early Access and is available on Steam and all major digital game sites, at the SRP of $29.99. Having spent several months successfully in Early Access, the team has implemented much of the community feedback and guidance provided by dedicated fans.

Erik Schreuder, CEO of Iceberg Interactive, says “Today marks a major release for us, and our team is happy to report that we have arrived in space! We have worked tirelessly to provide fans with the best version of the game possible and we hope they will enjoy it with today’s full launch.”

Dawn of Andromeda is a real-time 4X strategy game, allowing players to ascend into the galaxy and take the reins of one of many civilizations and guide them through the myriad of dangers hiding within the galaxy. They will be able to expand their empire, colonize new planets, interact with other factions and characters, research new technologies and build fleets so powerful their enemies will tremble at the mere sight.

Explore a galaxy filled with not only diverse factions, outlaws, merchants, pirate clans and mercenaries but also anomalies, black holes, ancient artefacts, ruins and much more. Arriving in a new system may provide new opportunities, or open a whole new can of space worms.

To view the 4K launch trailer for Dawn of Andromeda via YouTube, please visit:


  • Eras; unique scenarios, each with a pre-designed galaxy and background story. You can play as one of the existing factions, each with their own victory conditions, traits, challenges and ongoing conflicts and relationships
  • Explore, expand, exploit and exterminate in this real-time space strategy game, featuring real-time combat in a dynamic and ever-evolving galaxy
  • Pre-designed, customizable and randomly generated races, each with their own unique background and traits
  • New factions and characters can join the fray mid-game; artefacts, ruins, anomalies and a huge variety of fascinating elements are scattered throughout the galaxy and can yield new research opportunities. Various characters such as outlaws, merchants, travellers and others roam the galaxy
  • Asymmetric gameplay. Not all races discover space travel at the same time, some have yet to discover it, some have already built a mighty empire, and some races are naturally stronger than others. However if you prefer a traditional 4X experience and like start an entirely symmetric game this is also possible - it’s up to you
  • Accessible gameplay, featuring a highly intuitive User Interface
  • Reduce micromanagement by appointing governors to your colonies and council members to your empire, all of whom can be levelled up. Each come with their own unique traits, happiness rating and experience
  • Multiple, customizable victory conditions, which can even be set to vary for each faction, changing how each faction operates and making for unpredictable friends and foes
  • Research incredible technology, from weapons so powerful they can destroy an entire planet, to Dyson Spheres
  • Explore ruins, anomalies and much more. You may even find artefacts you can study, projects you can start and come across interesting events and quests you can take on
  • In-depth diplomacy system. Make allies and enemies, but beware. Each action you take can change how the rest of the galaxy views you. Destroying an entire planet, or just praising or denouncing another race, can have a deep impact on the balance of the entire galaxy

Continue here to read the full story.

MotoGP 17 Adding Management Mode

Milestone announces a new Managerial Career mode coming to the MotoGP series with the release of MotoGP 17 next month. They explain how you can transition from being a rider in the bike racing sime to being a manager:
Milestone, one of the most important and established game developers specialised in the racing sector, is pleased to announce the Managerial Career, which is set to become one of the most exciting developments of MotoGP™17, the video game dedicated to the 2017 World Championship.

A new challenge is set: after experiencing the thrills of the Championship as a rider, feeling the adrenaline rush of racing on the tracks and becoming the champion, with the new Managerial Career, you will now be able to put yourself in the shoes of the Team Manager and take decisions that will determine the success of your team in the World Championship.

The meticulous, hard work of the talented people who have committed effortlessly to create a championship team lies behind the pit wall; the choices of a Team Manager are critical to the success of a champion, starting with the management of resources in order to create a winning team and to motivate young riders towards attaining the title! Each victory accomplished at the race weekends will increase your reputation and make you earn new credits, enhancing the riders’ performance at the same time.

The Team Manager will lead every aspect of the team like a deus ex machina, including:

  • Sponsors: as the reputation of your team grows victory after victory, you will be able to increase your visibility and receive offers from the Championship’s official sponsors, allowing you to get new in-game credits.
  • Bikes: being competitive means being able to race on high performance bikes and being a Team Manager means you can invest in the best models. Naturally, the more popular your team becomes, the greater your selection will be!
  • Riders: one of the main tasks of the debut season will be to choose the best riders for your team; the player, apart from racing with their custom rider, will also need to hire another 5 riders who will compete in all the categories, guided by artificial intelligence. The player will also manage the crew and prepare the riders for each challenge. Managing the activities and costs for both the team and riders will speed your journey to success.
  • Team Departments: as the Team Manager, you will oversee the various departments that make up your team, investing resources to improve the growth of the riders and your income after each race. The team consists of more than 10 departments (Nutritionists, Athletic Preparation Team, Sports Management, etc.) and with careful management, players can win the World Championship in three different classes!
  • R&D Department: although a team is chiefly made up of people and activities that need to be managed on a daily basis, a good Team Manager will invest in the R&D department so as to always guarantee not only the best bikes but also the best components which will ensure superior performance, race after race!

Production Line Early Access This Month

Positech announces Production Line will enter early access on May 18th, though the game has been available for a few months in what we can only assume is early early access. They celebrate the news with this teaser trailer showing the game in its alpha form, and you can catch up on development in the Production Line video blog #25 that came out a few days ago. Further, with the game still in development, they are allowing early customers to vote on developer priorities to help steer things along. Here's a bit on the game:
Production line is the new car factory management/simulation/tycoon game from Positech Games, the developers of Democracy & Gratuitous Space Battles, and publishers of Big Pharma. This game is designed to appeal to the efficiency geek in all of us, the person who cannot help but organize things for maximum performance. The closet entrepreneur, the stats-geek, Is that you? if so...welcome to your dream game (we hope!)
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: The Birthplace of Soy Sauce.

Tom Clancy's The Division Free Weekend

UbiBlog announces a weekend of free play in Tom Clancy's The Division gets underway today, offering the chance to sample the open-world shooter. They offer a scrunched-down graphic with a schedule so people with better eyesight than I have can see when this begins. Here's word:
This weekend, the pandemic-ravaged streets of The Division’s Manhattan are yours to explore for free. Starting May 4, you’ll be able to download and play the full game at no cost on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and hit the streets as an agent of the elite Division to reclaim Manhattan. Activated as a last resort after New York is devastated by a mysterious new disease, you’ll battle alongside other players in a fight to take back the streets from criminals, mercenaries, and flamethrower-wielding creeps called Cleaners.

Starting May 4 and running until May 7 (see above for exact times and dates for each platform), the free weekend is a chance to temporarily experience the Standard edition’s content – including its co-op features, its PvP Dark Zone, and a year’s worth of tweaks and improvements – the same way you would if you’d bought the game. And if you decide you want to keep adventuring after the free period ends, you can grab the Standard or Gold edition at a hefty discount for a limited time and continue where you left off, with your skills and inventory intact.

Steam Gifting Changes

Steam News announces Valve is making some changes to how gifts are handled on Steam. The intent is to make it easier to give games to friends more reliably through the service. Here's word on the changes, which are already in place:
Today we’re announcing changes to gifts on Steam. The gifting process has had a bunch of friction in it for a while, and we want to make it easier for you to share the games you love with friends. Steam Gifting will now be a system of direct exchange from gift buyer to gift receiver, and we will be retiring the Gift to E-mail and Gift to Inventory options. Here's a quick breakdown of benefits from the new system:

Scheduling Gifts Is Even More Straightforward
Go ahead and buy a gift months in advance and have it delivered to a friend on time, every time.

Declined Gifts Resolve The Way They Should
In the old system, a declined gift would sneak back into the giver's inventory and remain on their bill. Now, if a recipient already has the title, or just doesn't want it, they can click decline and the purchase is refunded directly to the gift giver.

Safe Cross-Country Gifting
No more worrying if a Gift to E-mail or Gift to Inventory is going to work for a friend, gifts sent through the new system will always work on the receiver's account. When there is a large difference in pricing between countries, gifting won't be available and you'll know before purchase.

Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days This Month

This trailer offers a first look at gameplay from Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days, the upcoming top-down shooter that's being rushed to market as a tie-in with Quentin Tarantino's breakthrough 1992 movie. This is accompanied by an official release date, as Big Star Games now says the game is coming to Steam on May 18th. Here's a bit on the game's approach:
Unique Time-Rewind Gameplay
Don’t try again, rewind. Control characters for overlapping bursts of time, in a single-player co-op mode and discover endless possibilities.
Take advantage of this highly addictive and strategic mechanic in tension-filled robberies and shootouts.

18 bloody heists
Adrenaline-filled heists with tons of blood and cops to shoot at as you dodge the law enforcement.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Surge Trailer

A new behind-the-scenes trailer from The Surge is now online with a look at this hardcore action/RPG that's coming to Windows and consoles on May 16th. The clip features developer interviews and footage showing off an emphasis on melee combat not usually seen in a sci-fi game. Here's more on what we're seeing here:
Delve into The Surge's industrial, near-future Earth setting, which tackles issues of environmental destruction, corporatism and misuse of technology relevant to our own world. Taking control of the exo-suited Warren, players will explore rich, secret-filled environments and venture deep into the heart of tech company CREO's devastated facility - all while battling crazed employees with fried cranial implants and robots gone haywire.

Using the limb-based targeting system, players can exploit enemies' weaknesses – though as Deck13's Thorsten Lange states, “the same rules apply for the enemies.” Positioning is of the utmost importance, and even the smallest misstep can end in death. Warren isn't an “overpowered superhero”, and combat animations were given credibility through extensive motion capture sessions with a stuntman, resulting in combat that feels weighty and satisfying.
Continue here to read the full story.

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