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Friday, Jun 16, 2017


John Guthrie Leaves Valve?

A post on NeoGAF notes that designer John Guthrie is no longer listed on Valve's "Our People" page (thanks RedEye9). They confirm this is an anomaly by pointing to an archive of that same page from 10 days ago where his bio is still listed. Oddly, that page has many historical listings for former employees, but Guthrie's bio is gone altogether. We tried to contact him to confirm this but have so far failed. John is an old-time friend of this site from the earliest days of the Quake community when he and cohort Steve Bond ran the site Quake Command under the handles Choryoth and Wedge. Unfortunately we've fallen out of touch over the years, something I can partially blame on John in a very meta way, as he was the one who first made me realize the efficiency found by not answering emails. John helped make both Half-Life games and both Portals, so if he's moved on, we offer him our thanks for his work on some of our all-time favorites. ValveTime tweets the news that John has left is confirmed, but doesn't say how. We also noticed that Steve Bond isn't listed on that Valve page either, and the last version of the page in the wayback machine listing Bond is from August 4 2012. This led us to discover this post saying Steve left Valve in 2010, so presuming that's correct, we're just seven years late in catching up. And a funny note in conclusion is that John Guthrie's Combine OverWiki entry is updated to reflect this news, and it looking that over we see that based on a logo he created for us, they say: "Before joining Valve, he helped design the website 'Blue's News'."

Dawn of War III Free Content Next Week

Relic announces a new Annihilation update for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III will come on June 20th with new modes and free content for the RTS sequel. Here's a trailer, and here are the details:

Dawn of War III players will soon be challenged to wipe their foes clean off the map as the game’s Annihilation Mode arrives on June 20th. The new mode will offer a classic take on RTS multiplayer, bolstered with the arrival of buildable turrets, a new map, and free skin pack.

New Modes - Annihilation
Annihilation is great for those looking for a classic multiplayer feel, but is also a perfect playground for squaring off against the AI. The game isn’t over until one team has lost all of their core structures, giving you lots of chances to rebuild for the comeback.
Annihilation with Defenses will give you a head start in base protection. Faction-specific turrets will defend your base from predetermined locations, buying you time to build up your army.
In Annihilation Classic, you don’t start with turrets but you can still build them if you’ve taken one of the new doctrines.

New Doctrines - Buildable Turrets
Speaking of turrets, three new doctrines – one per faction – will be added and unlocked for all players. Pick this as one of your three doctrines before a match, and you can build defensive turrets wherever you need coverage. Better yet, these doctrines will be available across all multiplayer modes and maps, not just Annihilation.

New Skins - Engines of Annihilation
House Raven – Imperial Knight Paladin: Close allies of the Techpriests of Mars, the Imperial Knights of House Raven stand against the enemies of Man, bringing devastation to challengers.
Exalted – Ranged Wraithknight: Shining in specially designed wraithbone, the Exalted Wraithknight is a glorious agent of the Craftworld.
Deathskulls – Gorkanaut: Deathskulls are the premier looters and scavengers among the Orks. This Gorkanaut is the ultimate junkyard manifestation of their love for destruction.

New Map – Mortis Vale
All existing multiplayer maps have been retrofitted to play host to Annihilation showdowns, but we’re also releasing Mortis Vale – a fresh battleground designed to shine in this new mode. Its gothic atmosphere sets the tone for war, and its open design allows for strategic assaults. Mortis Vale will be available for both 2v2 and 3v3 matches across all modes.

Continue here to read the full story.

Diablo III Introducing Challenge Rifts

A post from Blizzard introduces Challenge Rifts, a new way for players to test their skills and gear in Diablo III. They provide this trailer with a look, and offer the following explanation of what sounds a little like duplicate bridge for the action/RPG:

The breadth of build variety in Diablo III is vast, and it can take a lot of time to try them all. Challenge Rifts are a weekly opportunity to try a totally new build, receive a reward for your efforts, and compete with other players on a level playing field!

What Are Challenge Rifts?
Challenge Rifts are a weekly static version of a previously completed Greater Rift. To create a Challenge Rift, we pull a Greater Rift run directly from a player’s account. Once we have that snapshot, we make that exact character, including their items, paragon levels, skills, and gear available for everyone to play.

This also includes an exact copy of the Greater Rift they completed with that character. Enemies, pylons, and the dungeons you encounter will all be exactly as they appeared when the original player completed their run. If you beat the original runner’s time, you’ll be rewarded with a weekly satchel filled with bounty and crafting materials and some Blood Shards.

Challenge Rifts will rotate every Monday, so each week you’ll have something totally new to try.

Continue here to read the full story.

Dota 2: Immortal Treasure II

The Dota 2 blog announces Immortal Treasure II is now available in Dota 2. Here's what this brings to Valve's MOBA:

Immortal Treasure II is now available, featuring all-new items for Pudge, Bloodseeker, Lina, Treant Protector, Elder Titan, and Chaos Knight. Each Immortal Treasure II you open also offers increasing odds to receive a rare Keeper of the Light mount or an ultra rare Necrophos scythe.

In addition to these items, this treasure has a very rare chance to drop another chest containing a Golden version of one of the Chaos Knight, Pudge, or Lina items. As with other treasures, the Golden chest will not contain duplicate items until each Golden variant has already been acquired, and the first potential Golden drop will always be for Chaos Knight, followed by Pudge and then Lina.

All Battle Pass owners can find an Immortal Treasure II ready to unbox in the Armory, and you can earn more of these treasures by increasing your Battle Level. Head over to the Battle Pass page for a preview of the new items and custom effects contained in today’s treasure.

It Came from E3 2017, Part 9

Evening Patches

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Long Live The King! Dang!

Warcraft III and Diablo II Remaster Plans?

Blizzard now lists a new job opening for a Lead Software Engineer for an "unannounced project" at their Irvine office. This is pretty generic, but according to Blizzplanet a previous version of the listing seemed to reveal plans to remaster Diablo II and Warcraft III. This wouldn't be a shock, since Blizzard recently announced plans to remaster the original StarCraft as well. Update: It turns out the original post is still online. Here's word:

Compelling stories. Intense multiplayer. Endless replayability. Qualities that made StarCraft, Warcraft III, and Diablo II the titans of their day. Evolving operating systems, hardware, and online services have made them more difficult to be experienced by their loyal followers or reaching a new generation.

We’re restoring them to glory, and we need your engineering talents, your passion, and your ability to get tough jobs done.

If you like wearing many hats, know small teams are the most effective, and look forward to challenges that will create millions of new adventures for our players, we would love to hear from you.

IO Interactive Goes Indie; Owns Hitman

IO Interactive gives a little clarity about the near future of their studio, which was thrown into a state of uncertainty by Square Enix's recent announcement that the developer was being put up for sale. Now IO announces they are once again an independent studio, and own the rights to their Hitman franchise. Here's word:

We’re very excited to share this message from the Io-Interactive CEO, Hakan Abrak:

In its 19 years of history, Io-Interactive has brought you original and exciting entertainment; from Mini Ninjas and Freedom Fighters to gaming’s most notorious criminals Kane & Lynch and of course our beloved Agent 47. With our latest game, we have not only transformed Hitman, but also moved our entire studio into the AAA digital era. Our live product has disrupted the video game business and has received recognition and praise from press, community and our fans.

There are many tales of hope, dreams, hardship and joy within these walls. We have never strived for the expected or predictable. Instead, we are always in pursuit for what feels original and real. Our passion and determination has never been greater and so that is why we have decided it is not the time to stop as we have many more exciting and original tales to tell.
Therefore I am proud to announce today that IOI is now officially an independent studio. We have successfully concluded our negotiations with Square Enix and have agreed to a management buyout. Crucially, we will keep all of the rights to the Hitman IP.

This is a watershed moment for IOI. As of today, we have complete control over the direction for our studio and the Hitman IP – we’re about to forge our own future and it’s incredibly exciting. We are now open to opportunities with future collaborators and partners to help strengthen us as a studio and ensure that we can produce the best games possible for our community.

I would like to say a big and sincere thank you to all of our players, community, friends in the media and everyone else connected to the studio for the messages of support that we have received in the last few weeks. I would also like to thank Square Enix; it has been a great family to be a part of and we are proud of what we have achieved together in the last eight years. IOI started as an independent studio and we will now return to those roots with an extremely passionate and talented team.

We are counting on the continued support of all our players; simply by having fun with everything we’ve released so far for HITMAN – and we want to encourage more of you to try our game. We have more details to come on our plans for that next week.

Thank you.

Agony Delayed; New Trailer

Floating Forest trailer from Agony shows off some gameplay from this first-person, survival/horror game set in Hell, which turns out to the a heck of a strange environment. They warn right off the bat that some of the violent footage will be disturbing, and in case it isn't, they've also included flashing images to further bother people. On the other hand, the video contains some full frontal nudity, so you can balance the demonic dismemberment with glimpses of demonic boobies. They are also holding a Kickstarter vote for the game's cover art for those who still buy boxed versions of games (the post says this would conclude June 11th, but we're told voting is still open). We don't recall an official release date for this game, but whatever it was it's been delayed by "several months" to some other unspecified date. Steam currently lists it as due in 2017, and when we inquired about this, we were told they are currently targeting Q4. Here's word, which, like all good delay announcements, focuses on the good news:

Due to the fact that Agony will be released in a boxed version, all game content has to be submitted much earlier, than in a case of only digital version. (Sending marketing materials to stores, creating thousands of physical boxes, and many other changes in the game itself, which must meet the additional requirements of the box version). As a result, we decided to postpone Agony's release for several months.

This will also give us extra time to polish and expand the game. We decided to take advantage of this opportunity and give Agony fans something they fought during the Kickstarter campaign and what was unfortunately not financed - more playable characters! Many of You have asked for it, so expect something amazing and hot in this respect!

We have also added a number of different endings to the game, which will be an award for the most hardcore players, who will take their time to find all of the secrets, hiding in the shadows of hell. It is also worth mentioning that all seven endings joins together, and creates one complete story!

Continue here to read the full story.

Dungeons 3 Trailer

Here's the E3 trailer for Dungeons 3, which Kalypso offers to show off gameplay from the upcoming new installment in the series. The accompanying blurb gives their outlook on showing the game to the public at E3 as well as its upcoming release:

Kalypso Media and Realmforge Studios have unleashed something wicked at E3 2017 as a new gameplay trailer for Dungeons 3, their acclaimed dungeons sim management game launches today. Scheduled for a Fall 2017 release, Dungeons 3 will deliver its trademark humour and devilishly sinister game mechanics on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation®4 and for the first time in the games’ history, Xbox One, and promises to be the biggest and best entry in to the Dungeons series to date.

In Dungeons 3, the Dungeon Lord has successfully united the forces of evil and established the roots of his dark empire, leading him to the next step in his diabolical quest: expansion! Through enticing the dark elf priestess Thalya from the fluffy clutches of the surface world to become his chief lieutenant, the Dungeon Lord has found a way to direct his campaign of conquest from the confines of his underground lair. With Thalya on the front line, and the united forces of evil to support her, players will have to use every trick in the book to best those do-gooders of the overworld, once and for all!

The team are busy demoing a brand new build of Dungeons 3 on their booth at E3 2017, but for those not able to make it over to California, Kalypso has today released a new gameplay trailer showcasing some of the thrilling new dungeon mechanics, huge overworld maps and despicable creatures players can expect to see when the game launches.

Continue here to read the full story.

It Came from E3 2017, Part 8

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

  • Corsair Crystal 570X Mid-Tower Chassis on Techgage.
  • Cougar Immersa Headset on techPowerUp.
  • MSI Z270 MPower Gaming Titanium Edition Motherboard on ocaholic.
  • Thunderbolt 3 Cable Roundup on TweakTown.
  • Xtorm EVOKE 10.000mAh Solar Charger on Nikk Tech.


Out of the Blue

Happy birthday to my better half (or more, if we were talking real percentages), MrsBlue. She turns 29 today, so please don't bring up our recent 20th wedding anniversary, or I'll have to turn myself into the authorities.

Birthday Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Monkey Go Happy Cabin Escape.
Science: Hacking the human lifespan.
Worm regenerates into two-headed creature in ISS study. Thanks j.c.f.
Media: NICEST Car Horn Ever: DIY.
Old man jamming out to Metallica.
Parrot Attacks Mormon Missionaries.
Follow-up: Report reveals years of suffering, death from therapies for “chronic Lyme.”

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