Archived News:

Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017

Agents of Mayhem Released

Steam News announces the release of Agents of Mayhem, a new action game from Volition. This post refers back to yesterday's launch trailer, and here's the description, which refers to Agents of MAYHEM, Regis Philbin style:
Agents of MAYHEM is the latest open-world, third-person action game from the creators of the Saints Row franchise!

  • In Agents of MAYHEM, you run a no-holds barred operation against a shadowy super-villain organization known only as LEGION and their mysterious leader, the Morningstar.
  • Following the global attacks on Devil’s Night, cities of the world are held by the LEGION’s Ministries, bands of powerful villains named for the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • Seoul is the personal domain of LEGION’s mad scientists, the Ministry of Pride – Doctor Babylon and his rogue’s gallery of supporting villains.
  • You play as a variety of Super Agents – each with their own distinct look, personality, weapons, and skills. Explore the city of Seoul to rout out LEGION operatives and their vile plans to take over the world.
  • MAYHEM’s Agents have a license to do what the hell they want, so long as they do whatever it takes to grow the agency and ultimately defeat LEGION.

Continue here to read the full story.

Non-VR EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone Announced

CCP announces EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone, an expansion for EVE: Valkyrie that will allow access to this space shooter without requiring a VR head-mounted display. This will also expand the game for VR users, as they will be able to fly alongside those using monitors. This is expected on September 26th, and will be a free update for current EVE: Valkyrie players. Here's the announcement trailer, and here are more details:
Today, CCP Games announced that on September 26, 2017, the fan-favorite virtual reality game, EVE: Valkyrie, will become EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone , representing a major expansion for the renowned multiplayer first-person spaceship shooter. Bursting out of VR and onto TVs and monitors, EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone enables PC and PlayStation®4 gamers to fly and fight alongside each other, both in and out of VR, in fully balanced online space combat.

Since its debut on Oculus Rift in March 2016, EVE: Valkyrie launched on PlayStation®VR and HTC Vive®, introduced cross-platform play, and received five extensive game updates packed with new maps, modes, enhancements, and improvements. Now, the Warzone expansion will dramatically upgrade the EVE: Valkyrie experience for both new and current players, introducing a huge range of exciting new features and gameplay systems.

At launch, incoming players can purchase EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone for $29.99, while all current EVE: Valkyrie owners will receive the expansion as a free download, replacing the base game. CCP has released a new trailer to announce EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone here: https://youtu.be/NEU3nqgo1I0

“If you can play first-person shooters, you can pilot one of EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone’s amazing ships,” said Andrew Willans, Lead Game Designer at CCP’s Newcastle Studio. “Not having access to VR hardware will no longer hold gamers back from diving weapons-first into intense and highly competitive space combat with friends. We look forward to seeing the already intense competition between Valkyrie pilots going up a notch, as more players from around the world can join existing pilots for space-dogfighting battles.”
Continue here to read the full story.

Destiny 2 Trailer

Bungie reaffirms that beta testing of the Windows edition of Destiny 2 will get underway on August 29th for everyone and 24 hours earlier than that for those who preorder the upcoming shooter sequel. They accompany the news with a new trailer showing gameplay on a PC running at 4K resolution. Word is:
Experience Destiny 2 in 4K with uncapped frame rates in the PC Open Beta August 29-31. Pre-purchase Destiny 2 on PC Exclusively at Blizzard Battle.net and get 24 hour early beta access starting on August 28.

Begin Destiny 2’s epic cinematic story campaign, fight below the surface of Nessus in the three-player cooperative Strike Inverted Spire, and enter the Crucible to put your competitive multiplayer skills to the test in two 4v4 modes. Learn more: https://www.destinythegame.com/beta
Continue here to read the full story.

Fragmented Released

This announcement has word that Fragmented is now officially available on Steam, making it one of those survival games that managed to survive early access. The post outlines all that's changed over the course of early access and what's new in the release version. Here's the overview of the game:
You awaken stranded on a hostile alien world, after your journey to colonize the planet. Rhyldan, takes a catastrophic turn. Armed with only your fists, your wits and fragments of knowledge buried deep within a damaged clone’s mind, you must ensure the survival of the human race. Harvest local resources to get started, and hunt wildlife with crafted weapons to provide food and protection from the elements. As you survive you will regain access to knowledge and important skills to aid in your survival. Unlock advanced technologies to build giant structures, advanced weaponry and defenses, tame the wildlife, engineer and grow new living species, build robots and vehicles and use it all to support your allies or crush your enemies.

Fragmented is available in multiple rulesets allowing for PvP focused content, or working together with other players to survive against the environment. Play online or in single player mode. Players will have the option to host their own servers as well and tweak many of the settings to provide an easier experience or a much more harsh experience including hardcore options.

>observer_ Spotted

GOG.com and Steam now offer the release of >observer_, a cyberwar horror game with a stylized title. The game features cyberpunk themes, and the participation of cyberpunk legend Rutger Hauer. Here's a launch trailer with a look, and here are the details on the game from the description:
The year is 2084. If you somehow survived the Nanophage, odds are you were killed in the War. Those who live have turned to drugs, VR, neural implants— anything to distract themselves from this new reality. You are Daniel Lazarski, an elite neural detective known as an Observer, and part of a corporate-funded police unit whose purpose is to hack and invade suspects’ minds.

When you receive a mysterious message from your estranged son, a high-level engineer for the almighty Chiron Corporation, you journey to the seedy Class C slums of Krakow to investigate. But as you hack into the unstable minds of criminals and victims to look for clues, you are forced to relive their darkest fears. How far will you go to discover the truth?

With cyberpunk legend Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) as Detective Lazarski, OBSERVER is a first-person psychological horror story that focuses on a dark, dystopian setting. Developed by Bloober Team, the creators of Layers of Fear, OBSERVER is a horror experience meant for mature audiences. What you see will disturb you.

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Free DLC Next Week

Stardock announces plans to release a new patch for Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation next week, updating the real-time strategy game to version 2.4 and adding new co-op map pack DLC. This is coming on August 24th, and includes a UI overhaul among other changes. Here's the plan:
Today, Stardock announced the highly anticipated release of its major v2.4 update and a free Co-op Map Pack DLC for its massive-scale RTS game, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation.

"This is a major update for the game," said Stardock CEO Brad Wardell. "Nearly every aspect has been improved from the UI, to balance, to modding capabilities. As a thank you to our multiplayer community, we're also releasing a free DLC that includes maps that are specifically meant to play co-op with your friends."

v2.4 also features UI changes, campaign and scenario updates, improvements to the overall gameplay experience, and more. Here are some details about the features that have been added:

  • UI: A full menu reworking makes the game more accessible with new orbital ability icons, improved chat displays, and more.
  • Campaign and Scenarios: Several scenarios and all three campaigns have been updated to refine difficulty levels, adjust to the changes of previous updates, and improve the user experience.
  • Modding: Modders have access to more parts of the game and will benefit from several changes that makes modding more intuitive.
  • Balance: Changes to air units, anti-air, drones, and dreadnoughts will improve strategic diversity. The Substrate receives some additional changes in order to differentiate themselves from the PHC.
  • Vulkan Support: This graphics-rendering API offers enhanced OS compatibility and performance.
  • Updated Benchmark: The benchmark has been updated so that players can see how well their PC runs under Vulkan.

Support for Vulkan, a graphics rendering API that improves OS compatibility and performance, is also included in v2.4. Ashes of the Singularity was one of the first DirectX 12 games. With this update for Escalation, the game continues to bring cutting edge technology to its players by adding support for Vulkan.
The free Co-Op Map Pack DLC also releases with v2.4. The DLC includes 9 brand new maps deliberately designed for cooperative play. Spawn points are placed to keep teammates close together to allow for combined attacks and strategies. Clearly defined resources for each player prevents any fighting over spawn locations or expansion opportunities and keep the maps fair and balanced for everyone.

Football Manager 2018 in November

SEGA announces Football Manager 2018 will kick off on November 10th, offering the latest installment in this association football/soccer series. Those who preorder for Windows, macOS, or Linux are also being given a headstart, as they will be able to start a season at least two weeks before that with the prerelease beta. There is also an additional preorder bonus for those who also own Football Manager 2017 (which is currently on sale). Here's the plan:
As football clubs across the globe are busy making their final signings of the summer, there's one addition that every football fan needs in their squad... and we're delighted to reveal that Football Manager 2018 will be ready for action on Friday, November 10th.

Anyone who pre-purchases Football Manager 2018 (for PC, Mac or Linux) through a SEGA approved digital retailer* will be able to start pre-season at least two weeks prior to the official street date through a fully-playable Beta version (single player careers started in the Beta can be continued in the full game).

In addition, fans who pre-purchase Football Manager 2018 (before Monday, October 9th) and have Football Manager 2017 in their Steam Library will receive a 'Contract Extension Bonus' discount of 25% off their purchase via Steam or the SEGA Store.

The first details of new features and updates in Football Manager 2018 will be revealed in late September through the Football Manager website and through the official FM social media channels (including Twitter and Facebook).

This year, for the first time, all three versions of the game – Football Manager 2018 (PC, Mac and Linux), Football Manager Touch 2018 (PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android) and Football Manager Mobile 2018 (iOS and Android) will be released on the same day.

*Pre-release Beta is available from SEGA approved digital retailers only; please check here for an exhaustive list of digital retailers and more details as to what constitutes a SEGA approved retailer.

Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder This Month

ACE Team announces an August 28th release date for Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder, their rock and roll sequel. This was originally announced for release last autumn, but we're not going to throw stones here. Here's a new trailer and here's the announcement:
It's time to boldly go where no boulder has gone before! Get ready to rock because ACE Team's Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder, the sequel to 2011's smash hit Rock of Ages, will be available digitally worldwide for Steam, PS4, and Xbox One at the end of August! First things first, here's the release schedule:

  • Steam - Americas and Europe on Aug. 28
  • PlayStation 4 - Americas on Aug. 28 and Europe on Aug. 29
  • Xbox One - Americas and Europe on Aug. 29

In this part Tower Defense, part Racing, part Art History lesson, and all-smashing game, you'll help the Greek Titan Atlas recover the weight on his shoulders as he runs through the ages. The problem is various famous rulers from Art History are getting in his way. Impressionism, Surrealism, Late Gothic, Renaissance, and more all are represented in the game, in amazing detail thanks to the power of Unreal Engine 4.

Explore lavishly developed artistic worlds as you smash hapless enemies and smoosh famous figures into obscurity. With new stages, characters, units, and boulders, ROA2 is truly a bigger and boulder game than the original. Oh, and ACE Team even beefed up multiplayer modes so more friends can now experience the pure pleasure of rolling a large boulder down a hill and devastating everything in sight. Play with up to four players online or locally with customizable banners and colors for each team! Partner up with your best friend to absolutely crush the dreams of your other two, not so best, friends in 2v2 War matches. If you want to prove you're the hardest rock of the bunch, the free-for-all Obstacle Course is the way to go.

Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder will be available digitally on Steam, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The standalone game will be priced at $14.99 on all three platforms with Xbox One players receiving 10 percent off their purchase during the first week. The game will also be available in a bundle on PS4 and Steam which contains:

  • Rock of Ages 2 + Classic DLC Pack + Rock of Ages ($19.99) - This package includes Rock of Ages 2; the Classic Pack which features the Smiley Boulder; Sisyphus avatar and three army banners; and the original Rock of Ages.

There will also be two DLC packs available at launch as well:

  • Binding of Isaac Pack (Free) - This DLC contains a very special Isaac boulder, three avatars (Isaac, Azazel, Blue Baby), and three Isaac-themed banners. This pack will be available for four weeks following release with all purchases of the game.
  • Classic Pack ($1.99) - This DLC is free for those on Steam and PS4 who own Rock of Ages and sees the return of the Smiley boulder and Sisyphus avatar, as well as three new banners. For Steam players, a bonus soundtrack is also included.

Continue here to read the full story.

Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth Released

Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth is now available on GOG.com and Steam, offering an interactive novel based on the bestselling book. This is the foundation of what will eventually be a three-part release. Here's the deal:
Based on Ken Follett's world-bestseller, ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ retells the story of the village of Kingsbridge in a whole new interactive way. Play as Jack, Aliena and Philip and change the events of the book through exploration, decision-making and dialogues. This interactive novel is released in three 'books', containing 7 chapters each. This season pass includes access to all three books, which will be automatically added to your Steam library on the date of release.

12th century, England: In a time of great poverty and war, a small town begins the construction of a cathedral to claim wealth and security for its people. In their struggle to survive, lives and destinies intertwine. Philip the monk becomes prior of the small abbey of Kingsbridge. At the same time, a boy called Jack is raised in the woods by his outlawed mother. His apprenticeship as a stonemason paves his way to become a gifted master builder. Together with the disgraced noblewoman Aliena, Jack and Philip begin the construction of one of the greatest cathedrals England will ever see.

A full season of content spanning over 3 parts:
Book 1: From the Ashes (available August 15th 2017)
Book 2: Sowing the Wind (available soon)
Book 3: Eye on the Storm (available soon)

Haimrik This Fall

1C Company announces an autumn release window for Haimrik, adding that Below the Game's upcoming action/adventure is coming to consoles in addition to Windows. They illustrate the news with a new Gamescom 2017 trailer showing off some gameplay. Here's the explanation:
Haimrik also presents itself in a new gameplay trailer which unveils more of the game’s locations, enemies and puzzles that players will come across. They will be guiding Haimrik on his perilous journey to find his mother and hopefully save the whole kingdom along the way. Although he’s just a young scribe, Haimrik has a great power at his disposal – the power of words. He literally walks on words, activating some of them and turning them into physical objects. For example, if ‘fire’ burns him to a crisp, then ‘water’ can help him deal with it.
Continue here to read the full story.

Light Fall Trailer

Indie Canadian developer Bishop Games offers a teaser trailer showing off Light Fall, a 2D platformer coming to Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in March of 2018. The description of the clip dares to call the game "unique," and they are preparing to prove that by showing it off at Gamescom. Here's the elevator pitch: "To help players maneuver their way across this mysterious land is the Shadow Core - a magical box beneath your feet that can be summoned at anytime and used as a platform to jump on or wall hop off of - making Light Fall essentially a platformer where you can control your own platform." Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Previews

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Playing Tic Tac Toe. Thanks Ant.

Blizzard's Battle.net Brand Returns

We joked about the illogic of an "unbranding campaign" when Blizzard announced plans to drop the name Battle.net from their online service. They made the switch earlier this year, and it's taken them under five months to realize what we could have told them all along, that this was a mistake. Fortunately for them, there's still time to remedy their error. This post explains:
When we announced that we’d be transitioning away from the Battle.net name for our online-gaming service, we suspected that the shift would be challenging. We understood that Battle.net stood for something special—it represents years of shared history and enjoyment, community and friendship, for all of us and our players.

Battle.net is the central nervous system for Blizzard games and the connective tissue that has brought Blizzard players together since 1996. The technology was never going away, but after giving the branding change further consideration and also hearing your feedback, we’re in agreement that the name should stay as well. Take it from the developer formerly known as Silicon & Synapse, and Chaos Studios, names are important too.

Moving forward, to help offset some of the original concerns we listed back in September, we will be connecting “Blizzard” to “Battle.net” in our logo for the service and in general when we refer to it in print: Blizzard Battle.net.

We appreciate your feedback and look forward to many more years of bringing players together online.

For Honor Season 3 Today

UbiBlog announces Season 3 of For Honor gets underway today, offering more details on what to expect now from the melee combat game. This previously released trailer offers a look at the plan, and the post offers some new information:
Season Three of For Honor, titled Grudge & Glory, begins tomorrow, August 15. When it hits, you can expect new Heroes, new maps, new gear, gameplay changes and coming soon, ranked matches. The two new Heroes will be available immediately to Season Pass holders on August 15, while other players will be able to unlock them starting August 22 for 15,000 Steel each. The two new maps – Viking Village and Sentinel – along with all the new legendary gear and gameplay updates are free to all players starting August 15. Ranked mode will also be launching in For Honor following some additional testing from the development team.

The new Heroes are the Highlander and the Gladiator, who fight for the Vikings and the Knights, respectively. The Highlander is a beefy Hybrid who swings a massive claymore – the biggest sword in the game – and can switch between a counter-attacking defensive form, and an offensive form that enables powerful attacks while eliminating the ability to block.

The Gladiator is an Assassin who carries a trident, a shield, and very little armor, making him a nimble contender. He can punch opponents away, creating enough space to set up attacks and stuns, and his large stamina meter and fast cooldowns mean he’s a force to be reckoned with.

Reputation level is now increased to 40 from 30, and there’ll also be a new gear rarity, raising the maximum gear score from 144 to 180. Finally, Grudge & Glory comes with a number of gameplay tweaks and updates, with more planned in the future, including the addition of dedicated servers.

During the final testing, the development team discovered a bug with the duel tournament feature that will require a fix. A fix is already being worked on, but the bug will delay ranked mode, which could launch as early as next week. The team will continue to provide updates on ranked mode via Twitter and our forums.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ancient Frontier Next Month

Fair Weather Studios announces a September 21st release date for Ancient Frontier, their turn-based strategy game set in space, where nobody can hear about your hernia operation. They describe this as "X-COM meets Battlestar Galactica." There's a new lore preview on the game's Steam page, and the announcement has details on the game:
Indie game developer Fair Weather Studios has announced their new turn-based strategy game, Ancient Frontier, will launch on September 21st, 2017. Ancient Frontier is a sci-fi turn-based strategy with RPG elements that sets players off on a story-driven single player experience.

Ancient Frontier features two full story driven campaigns featuring full voice over, tactical turn-based combat, and RPG elements. Set in the same universe as Fair Weather's previous title Bladestar, set forth into galactic conflict based in the frontier far removed from the comforts of the core systems. Corporations actively war against each other, Raiders pillage and burn easy targets, and the federation seeks to instill law and order in the midst of it all.

Starfleet
In Ancient Frontier, players will be able to build and command their own fleet of ships to take to the battlefield in tactical turn-based combat that features everything from ship specific abilities to unique story-driven objectives. After a successful battle, players can upgrade their ships by using resources to unlock new technology via the tech tree. In addition, ships will gain experience and become more powerful as they level up. Be warned, however. A ship destroyed in battle is forever lost to the endless vacuum of space.

Players will have access to over 35 unique ships to build their fleet and two fully-fledged story-driven campaigns to play through featuring main quests and optional side missions. Ancient Frontier is set to launch on Steam on September 21st, 2017.

  • Two fully-fledged campaigns with fully voiced dialogue.
  • Dynamic initiative based turn based combat.
  • RPG elements including experience progression for ships.
  • Permadeath - once a ship is gone, it's gone.
  • Fleet management - choose which ships to take into battle.
  • Over 35 unique ships to command.
  • Customize your playstyle by unlocking technologies in an extensive Tech Tree.
  • Two major factions and three sub-factions.
  • Large, detailed space maps to fight across.
  • Resource management - scavenge for resources and spend them to upgrade and obtain new ships and upgrades.
  • Dozens of different weapon systems and abilities to control.

Songbringer Next Month

Wizard Fu, a studio consisting of a lone developer, announces Songbringer will be released next month, coming to PC and Xbox One on September 1st and to PlayStation 4 on September 5th. This trailer shows off the throwback look of this RPG, which is quite old school, and here's a rundown on the game:
Play as Roq, a space-faring planetary surveyor who wakes up shirtless on a strange planet. With the help of your robot companion Jib, it’s your job to save the universe from the ancient evil army you’ve accidentally awoken. Only by exploring the harsh world of Ekzerra, mastering the dungeons and defeating its fearsome bosses will you unlock the secrets of your own power and return the galaxy to peace.

Songbringer is an action RPG inspired by the original Zelda games with real time combat, a wide range of weapons and a ton of hidden secrets. World maps are generated from a six-letter world seed, which determines the layout of the overworld and dungeons.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/sbUNUAmM4vI

Features

  • Single-player action RPG
  • Local co-operative two player mode
  • Full gamepad support, including rumble
  • Real time combat
  • 7 kinds of weapons including the nanosword, boomerang-like top hat, bombs, blink orb, ghost sword projectile, lighter and kilobombs
  • Hundreds of unique items and powerups
  • Some items can be combined, for example: ghost sword + lightning cube = lightning sword
  • Hidden items, secret entrances, secret pathways, bomb-able walls
  • Original soundtrack
  • Online leaderboards highlight the top players based on completion time, percentage of map uncovered and percentage of items found
  • Roguelike-inspired permadeath option which gives a higher score on the leaderboard and allows for faster runs
  • Approximately 6-12 hours of gameplay per adventure, depending on thoroughness
  • Procedurally generated overworld and dungeons
  • Each generated world contains: 1 overworld, 10 dungeons and 13 primary bosses

Continue here to read the full story.

Johnny Depp Co-Producing The Secret World TV Show

Funcom announces a TV series is in the works based on Funcom's MMORPG The Secret World, saying this is being produced by Johnny Depp's production company Infinitum Nihil in partnership with G4C Innovation's Gudrun Giddings. Just two weeks ago Funcom rebooted the game as The Secret World Legends due to poor sales and reviews, but word is the rights to produce a TV series were picked up with The Secret World first launched back in 2012. Here's more:
Funcom is excited to share the news that Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and G4C Innovation’s Gudrun Giddings have partnered to produce The Secret World, a TV series based on Funcom’s massively multiplayer online game The Secret World and its reincarnation, the shared-world online RPG Secret World Legends. The TV series is based on the universe of the Secret World IP and centers on a team of undercover agents and the shadowy war between secret societies, the Illuminati, Dragon and the Templar. Central to the plot is also the battle against the supernatural in an adventure that spans across our world, multiple dimensions, and incorporates the realms of ancient myths and legends as well as today’s conspiracy theories and headline news.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

  • Exzore- The Rising by Tiny Shark Interactive — Kickstarter. "Exzore: The Rising is a third-person, open world, RPG game set in the fictional world of Eogaan, during the medieval times. Damien Clive, ex-commander of the ‘Exzore’ army unit, loses everything after being betrayed. He emerges from the ashes to seek retribution and regain his honour."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 and Vega 56 Graphics Cards on Legit Reviews. Ethereum Mining Performance.
  • Cooler Master MasterPulse MH320 Headset on techPowerUp.
  • Fractal Celsius S24 Liquid Cooler on LanOC Reviews.
  • Gigabyte Aorus X5 v7 Laptop on TechSpot.
  • NETGEAR ReadyNAS 626X 10Gbe NAS on TweakTown.

Out of the Blue

Chill man! It's National Relaxation Day. The only thing better would be International Relaxation Day, but there doesn't seem to be one of those. So if you are celebrating in the U.S. today, please consider also doing some relaxing for those in other countries.

Laid-back Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: HyperFleet.io.
Stories: Stunt driver dies while filming 'Deadpool 2' in Vancouver.
Ric Flair has surgery as his team asks for prayers.
Science: Dangers of the total solar eclipse: Traffic, eye damage, wildfires, clouds and camera damage.
Device That Revolutionized Timekeeping Receives an IEEE Milestone. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: sbemail 207 - Too Cool.
Secret Life of Pets.
Don't Be A Sucker - Anti-Fascist PSA from the 40s.
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