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Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017

  

Steam Direct Begins

A post from Valve announces the promised Steam Direct era is now upon us. They offer some details relevant to developers along with an outline of next steps for Steam. And with the end of Steam Greenlight, they discuss the fate of the some 3,400(!!) titles caught in the gears of that process:

The end of Greenlight
Last week, we disabled new submissions and voting via Greenlight and have been reviewing the remaining submissions. As of today, we've greenlit many of the remaining 3,400 titles that were remaining in Greenlight. There are a number of titles that we could not Greenlight, due to insufficient voter data or concerns about the game reported by voters. Titles that are not ultimately Greenlit may still be brought to Steam via Steam Direct, provided they meet our basic criteria of legality and appropriateness.

If you are a developer with a submission in Greenlight that was not Greenlit, you may be able to request a refund if you meet the following criteria:

  • If your current submission in Greenlight is your only submission, and it has not been Greenlit, or
  • If you have more than one submission and none of them have been Greenlit.

If one of these situations applies to you, please visit the Steam help site and select the "purchases" category to find your Greenlight submission fee purchase and request a refund.

New Brothers in Arms in Development

Randy Pitchford spoke with Geoff Keighley at E3, and the Gearbox boss followed on a recent rumor to confirm that a new Brothers in Arms game is in development. They are not actually announcing anything new in the military shooter series yet, but he does have more than a bit to say on the topic already:

It's not ready to make the big announcement, but we've had in development for some time a new Brothers in Arms game. It's authentic, it's got Sergeant Baker, it is the Brothers in Arms game that we all want to make, and we're doing it under our publishing label. I was really grateful when Ubisoft jumped in to help publish the original Brothers in Arms games, but as that relationship matured, I think for them they just thought the game looked pretty cool, and it was sort of a side-bet, and it turned out to be a big franchise and it became important to their business. And as that was true then they got more and more involved, and I think their interests with it were different from what we think Brothers in Arms is. We own the IP but we worked that out so that it's free and clear with Gearbox and now we can do the authentic game that Brothers in Arms fans really want. We haven't gotten to the point where we really are ready to announce it, but I think Brothers in Arms has always been strong because of its unique tactical gameplay. It's not just a raw shooter there's a lot more too it than just the skill test. But there's also a storytelling element, and we're really pushing that to new places. And our experience working with Telltale on the Tales [of Borderlands] series has taught us that you can actually make gameplay out of storytelling and you can have that be really engaging.

LawBreakers in August; Betas This Month

Boss Key Productions announces an August 8th release date for LawBreakers, the vertically unchallenged shooter designed by Cliff Bleszinski, formerly of Epic Games. This is now available for preorder through the LawBreakers website, where you can choose between the Core Edition the more deluxified Deadzo Deluxe Edition. They also announce details about an upcoming closed beta to be followed by open beta testing. Here's a new Harrier Role Analysis trailer and here's word:

Prepare yourself for intense gravity-defying combat as LawBreakers, the highly anticipated new multiplayer game from design legend Cliff Bleszinski and Boss Key Productions, prepares to launch on Aug. 8, 2017 on PlayStation®4 and PC.

Nexon America also announced today that there are two editions now available for pre-order for both PS4™ and PC – the Core Edition for $29.99 and the Deadzo Deluxe Edition for $39.99 featuring a variety of exclusive in game content. Pre-order now and receive additional, exclusive in-game character skins. Visit www.lawbreakers.com for more details.

For those attending the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this week, Boss Key Productions is unleashing LawBreakers to attendees, offering the chance to get hands-on experience with the game’s unprecedented vertical combat on PC, and for the first time on PS4™. Those at home can get a look at new reveals during E3, featuring the new Harrier Role, a support laser-specialist with beam-powered boots, and Vertigo, a suborbital station where high-flying skill reigns supreme.

Fans not attending E3 will have the opportunity to experience LawBreakers in the coming weeks during the game’s ‘Rise Up’ PC Beta event. Starting June 28th all key-holding Beta participants get a head start in the next Beta test, then on June 30th until July 3rd LawBreakers goes Open for the very first time on PC. Register at www.lawbreakers.com.

LawBreakers is a multiplayer FPS in which the laws of physics are shattered, creating intense gravity-based combat across an alternate futuristic landscape. Players choose whether to fight to uphold the “Law” or go out for blood as a “Breaker,” as they take part in a conflict raging across iconic locations including the boiling oceans off the Santa Monica coastline to a gravity-ravaged Grand Canyon.

LawBreakers (rated M) is set to launch simultaneously on PlayStation®4 and Steam at a starting price point of just $29.99 for the Core Edition and $39.99 for the Deadzo Deluxe Edition. All future content updates are included.

Continue here to read the full story.

Malthael Joins Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard announces Malthael’s Bargain is underway, an event in Heroes of the Storm that rewards playing in the MOBA with friends using heroes from the Diablo series. This celebrates the release of the latest patch for HotS, which adds Malthael from Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. This post has the patch notes, and this video has a spotlight on the abilities of the game's newest character. Here's word: "Once the Aspect of Wisdom, Malthael abandoned heaven after the Worldstone’s destruction. In secret, he had resolved to end the Eternal Conflict by becoming a Reaper of Souls and eliminating everything affected by demonic corruption, including humanity." Continue here to read the full story.

Destiny 2 and Beta Access with 1080 Cards

The GeForce website announces that purchases of a new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti graphics card will include a free copy of Destiny 2, Bungie's upcoming shooter sequel. Those who cash in on this offer will also get early access to the game's PC beta. Though no one's going to bat an eye at the $550-$700 the card will set you back, you should be warned that taking advantage of this offer will also require installing the GeForce Experience software. They illustrate the news with a new trailer showing off the game in 4K at 60 frames-per-second. Continue here to read the full story.

GTA Online: Gunrunning Released

Rockstar Games announces the release of the promised Gunrunning update for GTA Online, the online GTA5 hack-fest. Here's a bit on how they are lowering the bar to entry to kick this off:

Dominate the illegal arms trade in Southern San Andreas with Gunrunning, the latest update to Grand Theft Auto: Online. Your career as a prolific arms dealer begins with the acquisition of a Bunker. These underground fortresses serve as your base of operations for all Gunrunning activities, and each one is equipped with a computer terminal to tap into the Disruption Logistics network.

Start a Setup mission as a CEO, MC President or a VIP to source supplies, then assign your employees to manufacturing weapons, researching upgrades or split their time between the two. Your stock will grow over time (and more quickly with Staff upgrades) and when ready, reap the profits from your business by moving your merchandise to interested buyers across Los Santos and Blaine County. To ease the entry into this underground network for new would-be entrepreneurs, the required collateral to register as a VIP has been lowered to a $50,000 minimum Maze Bank balance.

KILLING FLOOR 2 The Summer Sideshow Begins

TripWire Interactive announces The Summer Sideshow will kick off later today in KILLING FLOOR 2, offering the first seasonal event for the zombie shooter sequel. This trailer offers a sideshow show, and here's a bit on the goings on:

The Summer Sideshow introduces a host of new content to KILLING FLOOR 2 and new ways to play during the one-month course of its event. The centerpiece of that new content is a new circus-themed map, complete with outrageous circus freak zeds that make scary clowns look like cute cuddly puppies. There will be a new set of specific objectives for this map, entitled “The Tragic Kingdom”, which upon completion will unlock the exclusive Sideshow Hazmat Suit (good for keeping clown blood-stained cotton candy from getting stuck to players). The Tragic Kingdom is a scary place, so players will have to make good use of the two new weapons included in the update: the HZ12 Shotgun is for the Support Perk only and the Centerfire Lever Action is primarily for Sharpshooter and Multi-Perk with Gunslinger.

There will be plenty of other cosmetic items to unlock as well; over 50 different items obtainable by earning tickets during normal gameplay that can be exchanged for things like new face paints. There will be some paid cosmetic DLC as well, that players can purchase through the shop.

Continue here to read the full story.

It Came from E3 2017, Part 3

Evening Patches

On Sale

  • Dying Light: The Following - Enhanced Edition on Steam. Save 60%.
  • Space Hulk: Deathwing on Steam. Save 40%.
  • Tyranny on Steam. Save 50%.

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Tropico 6 Announced

Kalypso Media announces plans to make Tropico great again with the return of El Presidente in Tropico 6. The new installment in the island dictator series is being developed by Limbic Entertainment and it should assume power next year for Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. They offer an announcement teaser trailer to promote the game and an extended announcement teaser with more than 30 seconds of bonus footage at no additional cost. The extra is from the teaser they released a couple of weeks ago with the first hint that this announcement was coming. Here's word:

In times of political turmoil and social unrest, the people are calling out for a visionary leader, one who will steer the fate of their country with foresight and ingenuity. Kalypso Media is thrilled to announce El Presidente’s glorious return in Tropico 6, launching on Windows PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation®4 and Xbox One in 2018. Prove yourself once again as a feared dictator or a peace-loving statesman on the island state of Tropico and shape the fate of your nation through four distinctive eras. Face new challenges on the international stage and always keep the needs of your people in mind, in spite of any negative press covfefe.

Tropico 6 represents a bold new lease of life for the much-loved series, with new developer Limbic Entertainment bringing exciting new ideas to El Presidente’s highly-polished table, as well as a stunning new engine developed in Unreal Engine 4. For the first time in the series, manage extensive archipelagos, build bridges to connect your islands and establish new means of transportation and infrastructure. Send your agents on raids to steal the wonders of the world, including the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. Customize your palace at will and give election speeches from your balcony, to win the favor of your subjects. Tropico 6 is the biggest, most beautiful and most ambitious entry in the series’ history, with many more exciting features to be announced in the coming weeks and months.

Features of Tropico 6

  • Play on large archipelagos for the first time in the series. Manage multiple islands at the same time and adapt to various new challenges.
  • Send your agents on raids to foreign lands to steal world wonders and monuments, to add them to your collection.
  • Build bridges, construct tunnels and transport your citizens and tourists in taxis, buses and aerial cable cars. Tropico 6 offers completely new transportation and infrastructure possibilities.
  • Customize the looks of your palace at will and choose from various extras.
  • Tropico 6 features a revised research system focusing on the political aspects of being the world’s greatest dictator.
  • Election speeches are back! Address the people and make promises that you can’t possibly keep.
  • Cooperative and competitive multiplayer for up to four players.

Continue here to read the full story.

Monster Hunter World Announced

CapCom Unity announces Monster Hunter World, saying "a PC version coming at a later date" after coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One early next year. Here's the announcement trailer and here are the details:

Introducing a brand new entry in the beloved co-op action RPG series, Monster Hunter: World, coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One early 2018!

It was roughly 13 years ago when I first saw a game I would fall in love with. The idea of venturing into the wilderness to battle menacing monsters with my friends while wielding massive weapons was the perfect combination of all I ever wanted out of a video game. I’ve been hooked for years and have hunted many monsters in this addictive series, constantly marveling at what the development team comes up with in each new game. Now with Monster Hunter: World, there will be a fully functioning ecosystem that I can’t wait to dive into.

As illustrated in the Announcement Trailer above, this latest entry brings hunters around the globe to a brand new world built from the ground up with stunning visuals to support completely new ways to hunt monsters. Our development team in Japan has created a living, breathing ecosystem of interactive flora and fauna. This ecosystem plays a key role in every hunt, allowing you to use natural environmental traps and even the hierarchy of the food chain itself as part of your strategy in battle. Leading your target to its natural predator is fantastic way to get the upper hand, if you can avoid getting yourself into more trouble.

Also for the first time in the series, Monster Hunter: World will see a global simultaneous launch window, along with a unified cross-region online multiplayer server! So now you can start planning hunts with your friends, no matter where they live.

Monster Hunter: World will be launching worldwide early 2018 on PS4 and XB1, with a PC version coming at a later date. We can’t wait to show you more of this beautiful world, and I’m sure you can’t wait to see more, so join me, producer Ryozo Tsujimoto and directors Kaname Fujioka and Yuya Tokuda for a live chat about this new project straight from E3 on Thursday June 15, at 12:30pm at twitch.tv/capcomunity. See you there!

Continue here to read the full story.

Destiny 2 in October

Activision announces an October 24th release date for the PC edition of Destiny 2, saying PC beta testing of Bungie's shooter sequel is destined to begin in August. The console versions will launch on September 6th, but as was previously announced the PC will trail this "global launch." They are also now offering preorders on the Blizzard Shop, though there are no incentives to counterbalance the disincentive of buying something sight unseen. In case all this seems to PC-centric, this new trailer shows off timed exclusive PlayStation 4 content, and there's also a new Our Darkest Hour E3 2017 trailer. Here are some details outlining a complicated hierarchy of exclusives that must have kept a team of lawyers pretty busy:

Bungie and Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), announced the early launch date for Destiny 2 on PlayStation®4, and Xbox One (PlayStation®Plus or Xbox Live Gold subscription, respectively, required for significant features, and beta access) scheduled for September 6. The PC version launch date is scheduled for October 24 and is now available to pre-order via Battle.net®, Blizzard Entertainment's online gaming service. Debuted during the E3 Sony Press Conference was Destiny 2's latest cinematic story trailer "Our Darkest Hour" featuring the ominous villain, Dominus Ghaul. The Destiny 2 console beta early access period for PlayStation 4 players who pre-ordered the game will begin July 18 at 10am PDT, while early access for Xbox One players who pre-ordered will begin on July 19 at 10am PDT. Following the pre-order early access period, the Destiny 2 console beta will open up to all PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players on July 21 at 10am PDT and will conclude at 9pm PDT on July 23. The PC beta kick off is planned for late August. Further details on the PC beta to come soon.

Continue here to read the full story.

Heroes of the Storm Season 2 Rewards

Blizzard announces schedule and reward plans for Heroes of the Storm 2017 Season 2. The new patch is going live this week, and so will Season 2, and they say it will run through the week of September 12th. They also outline the portrait and mount rewards to commemorate your Season 1 performance. Finally, they discuss changes to personal rank adjustments and Team League queue times:

With the introduction of our second 2017 season, we will be introducing following changes to the Ranked Play system:

  • Personal Rank Adjustments:
    • We’ve lessened personal rank point adjustments in Hero and Team League. This will allow players’ ranks to move more quickly during streaks of wins or losses.
  • Team League:
    • When average queue times for 2-player parties in Team League become lengthy, the leaders from additional 2-player parties attempting to enter the queue will see a warning message that they may be in for a long wait.
      • When this occurs, those party leaders can choose to enter the lengthy queue if they are willing to wait, or cancel the queue to find additional party members and get a match more quickly.

So, in short, we’re going to leave things as they are for now and continue working toward addressing the duo queue versus trio problem in Team League, which is the root of the majority of Team League match quality problems. We’ll keep you updated with updates as we have them. Good luck on the ladder!

Far Cry 5 Trailer

Here's the E3 2017 trailer from Far Cry 5, debuting gameplay from the next installment in the shooter series (thanks Hypothermia). There's more on the game on UbiBlog, where they outline details about extra ways to spend money on the game with collector's editions and a season pass. Here's word:

On February 27, Far Cry 5 will give you the chance to build a resistance and save Hope County, Montana, from the predations of fanatical doomsday cult The Project at Eden’s Gate. And when it arrives, fans on the hunt for collectibles can snag a collector’s edition packed with exclusive items designed to evoke Hope County – along with the game and its Season Pass.

The Hope County, MT Collector’s Case is available for pre-order exclusively from the Ubisoft Store. In addition to the Gold Edition of Far Cry 5 – which includes the Season Pass for access to future expansions, as well as a Digital Deluxe Pack that adds new vehicles, weapons, and outfits – the Collector’s Case includes a Deer Skull Trophy that measures 17.72 inches (45cm) wide, an exclusive Steelbook case, the official Far Cry 5 soundtrack, and a double-sided tourist map of Hope County.

Far Cry 5 will be available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on February 27, with enhancements for Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. For more on Far Cry 5 and the rest of Ubisoft’s E3 lineup, keep your eye on UbiBlog.

Continue here to read the full story.

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord Trailers

Two E3 2017 trailers show off Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, the wartorn RPG sequel in the works at TaleWorlds Entertainment. The game boasts combat improvements, and the clips show off the new sergeant system with a look at cavalry sergeant gameplay and horse archer sergeant gameplay. They accompany the clips with details on these battle and combat improvements:

TaleWorlds Entertainment has released two videos showing an extended look at the large-scale, epic combat in their upcoming follow-up to Mount & Blade: Warband – Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord.

KEY BATTLE IMPROVEMENTS
Battles are at the very core of the series and play better than ever in the latest installment.

  • Advanced Formations – Merge and split forces at your behest, with intuitive but powerful control over the movement, form and behavior of every unit! Order heavy infantry to hold together, shoulder-to-shoulder in a slowly advancing but near impenetrable shield wall; or launch your cavalry in lightning charges using the skein formation.
  • Battlefield AI – AI commanders can execute complex tactics, utilizing the advanced formation options to present a formidable challenge. Their behavior is drawn from actual historical tacticians, for example Alexander the great, who used his superior cavalry forces to rout their counterparts in the opposing army, before delivering a crushing blow to the enemy’s main force. This not only creates the feeling of an authentic medieval battle but also proves effective in-game, as in reality.
  • Sergeant System – Commanders now designate units to other lords in battle, including the player! Execute the orders issued by your commander throughout the fight, and use your own instincts to do your part and help secure victory on the field of battle. Lead the horse archers as they skirmish and harass the enemy to disrupt their lines before your allies finish them off, or take control of the cavalry and charge into the fray to devastate entire units at once!

KEY COMBAT UPDATES
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord also features greatly updated combat, which builds on previous installments in a number of ways while retaining its intuitive, direction-based core that made it so popular among players.

  • Directional Shield Blocking and Shield Bash – These two features revitalize the sword & board gameplay, making it a more engaging experience than ever before! Blocking in the wrong direction will not necessarily get you killed but it will cause your shield to break faster, leaving you defenseless against missiles and vulnerable against multiple foes. Shield bashing, a highly requested feature, temporarily stuns your opponent and knocks them back, lowering their defenses and giving you room to breathe.
  • Attack Chaining – Swings that complete their motion can now be chained into follow-up attacks which can catch your opponent off-guard after a miss. Unbalanced weapons such as hammers and axes also use the momentum of the first swing for a faster follow-up!
  • Improved Animations and Combat Engine – Huge effort has gone into making Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord’s combat as fluid and visually appealing as possible. Damage dealt is now calculated with a great degree of physical depth, factoring in the weight distribution of every individual weapon. This means that whether you are executing a perfectly timed thrust while thundering towards a hapless archer on horseback or shooting an arrow across the battlefield to whittle down your opponent’s infantry forces before the melee, the game will understand all of the forces involved and produce consistent, realistic and satisfying results every time.

Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: WWII Trailer

A new trailer from Call of Duty: WWII reveals multiplayer gameplay from the upcoming World War II shooter. This is more cinematics than gameplay, and in spite of the title, there's not so much as a "f**k you" from an opponent to convey that what we're seeing is multiplayer. Here's the description that accompanies the trailer:

Fast-paced, grounded combat returns in Call of Duty®: WWII Multiplayer. Armed with an arsenal of iconic Allied and Axis weaponry, players are immersed in brutal gameplay as they fight to liberate a continent in the throes of tyranny.

The new Divisions feature redefines how players invest in their MP career, giving them the chance to choose from five divisions, each with their own specialized training and weapons skills. In War Mode, an entirely fresh Call of Duty experience, players must works as a team and fight for control through multiple strategic objectives.

Continue here to read the full story.

Absolver Trailer

Publisher Devolver Digital and developer Sloclap offer a new trailer from Absolver, their upcoming melee combat game. They promise the chance to get in touch with your inner Jackie Chan with the "stagger style" combat shown in the clip. They say the game is due for Windows and PlayStation 4 on August 29th, and in the meantime urge everyone to head over to this page to register for the closed beta test. Here's more on the game:

Absolver is an intense online combat experience featuring real-time flow of attacks, dodges, feints and counters, with all aspects of gameplay customizable, including combat styles, weapons and even individual attack sequences in the player's Combat Deck.

Absolver puts players behind the mask of a Prospect, who has taken a sacred vow and chosen to join the Absolvers, an elite corps of combatants fighting to maintain stability in the world. Monitored by the Guides, the new rulers of the fallen Adal Empire, players will wander these forsaken lands and encounter other Prospects online in order to learn their place in this world and eventually become Absolvers. Along the way, they will learn new combat styles and attacks, and acquire better weapons, powers and armor.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Congrats to the NBA champs, as well as the NHL champs, though I'll stick to avoiding spoilers for the DVR crowd. You'd think at some point the NBA and NHL would take measures to keep their postseasons from drowning each other out, but I guess they're okay with things as they are. But it's not like they need to accommodate the weather, as these are both indoor sports.

Championship Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Color Switch: Challenges.
Link: The Sopranos anniversary: TV's most heartbreaking death explained. Thanks Capella.
Story: Former NBA bad boy Rodman is back in North Korea.
Science: Jupiter Now Has 69 Moons. Thanks Boing Boing.
'Seductive names' make vegetables more appealing.
Media: Best of Mayor Adam West.
Bear Cubs Climb Fence.
Somedays you just can't get rid of a bomb.



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