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Thursday, Nov 09, 2017

  

EA to Acquire Respawn

Electronic Arts announces plans to acquire Respawn Entertainment, developers of the Titanfall series. It looks like the deal is worth between $315 million and $445 million, with $151 million of that in cash, and the variable being up to $140 million based on performance milestones. Here's more:

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) announced today an agreement to acquire Respawn Entertainment, LLC, a leading independent game development studio and creators of AAA shooter and action games including the critically-acclaimed Titanfall™ franchise. Respawn brings to EA the proven leadership and studio talent behind Titanfall and Titanfall 2, two of the most highly-rated shooter titles in the last five years. The acquisition builds on a successful publishing partnership between Respawn and EA, with multiple projects currently in development – a new title in the Titanfall franchise, a game set in the Star Wars™ universe and a VR gaming experience.

“We’ve seen firsthand the world-class caliber of Respawn as a development studio with incredible vision, deep talent and an inspiring creative mindset,” said Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts. “Our longtime partnership is grounded in a shared desire to push the boundaries and deliver extraordinary and innovative new experiences for players around the world. Together, we’ve brought this to life in the Titanfall franchise, and now with the Respawn team joining EA, we have exciting plans to accomplish even more amazing things in the future.”

“We started Respawn with the goal to create a studio with some of the best talent in the industry, and to be a top developer of innovative games,” said Vince Zampella, CEO of Respawn Entertainment. “We felt that now was the time to join an industry leader that brings the resources and support we need for long term success, while still keeping our culture and creative freedom. EA has been a great partner over the years with Titanfall and Titanfall 2, and we’re excited to combine our strengths. This is a great next step for Respawn, EA, and our players.”

Continue here to read the full story.

GOG.com Celebrates Syberia 3: The Complete Journey with Syberia Giveaway

GOG.com is holding a free giveaway the first Syberia game to celebrate the launch of Syberia 3: The Complete Journey. The new bundle includes the adventure sequel and all its post-release content, and it's on sale for 57% off for the first week. As for the giveaway, they are offering gamers 48 hours to pick up their DRM-free copy of the first game in the series. Here's word:

GIVEAWAY: Grab your free copy of Syberia 1 until November 11, 6PM UTC, and discover how Kate's fantastic story begun in the sleepy village of Valadilčne.

Claim it through the button on the front page banner.

Syberia 3: The Complete Journey is now available, DRM-free on GOG.com with a 57% discount until November 13, 11PM UTC.

Kate Walker returns for another magical point & click adventure alongside the nomadic Youkoles and their peculiar beasts. A new villain is threatening their peaceful ways while Kate realizes she finally needs to put the shadows of her past to rest.

The Complete Journey includes the game's soundtrack, by acclaimed composer Inon Zur, and the DLC An Automaton with a plan, a new story starring the stubborn automaton Oscar, as he investigates Kate Walker's mysterious disappearance.

GOG Connect: Syberia 1 and 2 are now available on GOG Connect until November 13, 11PM UTC.

LawBreakers Free Weekend

The promised free weekend is now underway for LawBreakers on Steam, offering the chance to play Boss Key's shooter, pick up a copy for half-price, and perhaps win a copy of the Collector's Edition. This post on Steam outlines the particulars, starting with this overview:

The time to jump into the heart-pumping, in-your-face, omnidirectional gameplay of LawBreakers has never been better. Not only are we giving players the chance to try LawBreakers during a free weekend on Steam, but we've got a 50% off sale for both Steam and PS4 (North America only).

Be sure to grab LawBreakers at the lowest price it’s ever been - but don’t delay, this limited time sale ends on November 14!

STEAM DISCOUNT
Starts: Wednesday, November 8 10am PT / 1pm ET / 7pm CET
Ends: Tuesday, November 14 10am PT / 1pm ET / 7pm CET

Squad Free Weekend

Steam is holding another free event this weekend, announcing everyone has access to Squad through Sunday afternoon. The early access multiplayer shooter is also on sale for half-off for the duration. Here's word on the game's 100-player battles:

Squad is a 50 vs 50 multiplayer first-person shooter that aims to capture combat realism through communication and teamplay, emphasizing both strong squad cohesion mechanics as well as larger scale coordination, tactics and planning. It features large open maps, vehicle-based combined arms gameplay, and player-constructed bases to create a heart-thumping, visceral gaming experience which mixes organized tactical multi-squad planning with split second decision-making in real-world scale firefights.

Play Overwatch Free Next Weekend

Blizzard announces next week they will hold another free weekend for Overwatch, their multiplayer shooter:

Attention, recruits! If you haven't already had the opportunity to suit up and save the world as one of the heroes of Overwatch, now's your chance.

From November 17–20, we're calling on all prospective agents: assemble your team and dive in during the Overwatch Free Weekend on PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One!

For this free weekend, we're making Overwatch's full roster of 26 heroes and 16 maps available for play in a variety of modes, including Quick Play, Custom Games, and the Arcade. Players will also have the ability to level up, earn Loot Boxes, and unlock a variety of different customization options.

Plus, if you decide to purchase Overwatch after test driving the game, you'll get to keep any progress that you made during the weekend—just be sure to use the same Blizzard, Sony Entertainment, or Xbox Live account that you played on.

For more details and to learn how you can participate, read on below!

TransRoad: USA Rolls Out

Publisher astragon Entertainment and developer Deck13 Hamburg announce the promised release of TransRoad: USA, their new business sim that travels the highways of the USA for fun and profit. The release trailer shows the game in motion, and the announcement lays out its roadmap:

The endless freedom of travelling the famous US highways is finally within reach of all truck and logistics fans: TransRoad: USA, the new business simulation by Deck13 Hamburg and astragon entertainment, lets them enter the race to the title of the United States’ biggest hauler today on PC!

The release trailer for TransRoad: USA will set the perfect mood for everyone looking to start their very own trucking adventure: https://youtu.be/QIcP2eXzJJ0

Three exciting game modes (campaign, quest and sandbox), up to five AI-controlled competitors, 37 US-American cities and a potential client base consisting of 77 businesses from 14 industries await the ambitious entrepreneur on the challenging way to his very own logistics empire in TransRoad: USA. Other features include seven different trailer types, hundreds of trucks, lots of drivers and of course a wide range of interesting challenges such as economic upturns, financial crises, demanding (and therefore especially lucrative) special orders as well as tricky missions in the quest and campaign modes.

The game’s freely zoomable 3D map ensures that the virtual manager will always stay on top of things when it comes to his trucks, contracts, clients. How about a little bit of relaxation between difficult decisions? The truck camera allows he player to follow individual trucks on their way across the whole country and to enjoy the lovingly modeled scenery. 19 famous landmarks such as the Hoover Dam, the Statue of Liberty or the Golden Gate Bridge can also be discovered by the player and will create a feeling of really travelling across the USA.

In addition to its own country music inspired soundtrack TransRoad: USA offers its players an internet radio plug-in that will give them the opportunity to add their favorite radio stations to the game and thus create the perfect musical score for their very own trucking adventure.

TransRoad: USA is available now on PC for 24.99 Euro/24.99 USD/22.99 GBP (RRP).

Continue here to read the full story.

Arma 3 Tac-Ops DLC This Month

Bohemia Interactive unveils new Tac-Ops DLC coming to Arma 3 on November 30th, saying this will add three new single-player missions to their military shooter sequel. Here's the big picture:

The Arma 3 Tac-Ops DLC Mission Pack consists of a set of missions that provide a true combat experience in an unrestricted war zone. Here, players will need to lead their brothers in arms through situations that require careful preparation, tactical movement and positioning, and skillful shooting – as well as the ability to adapt and improvise at a moment’s notice. The missions should take at least 8+ hours to complete altogether, which soon becomes more depending on people's playstyle and difficulty settings. Players are also strongly encouraged to replay the missions with a different approach – or even from another unit’s perspective in some of the operations.

The key features of the Arma 3 Tac-Ops Mission Pack include:

  • 3 Singleplayer Operations – Designed for the experienced Arma player, this Mission Pack features three challenging military operations:
    • Beyond Hope - Nine years prior to the "East Wind" conflict, civil war rages through the Republic of Altis and Stratis.
    • Stepping Stone - NATO reinforcements responding to the "East Wind" crisis must first secure the strategic island of Malden.
    • Steel Pegasus - During the invasion of Altis, NATO forces stage a daring air assault to open a second front.
  • Authentic Warfare – Experience what true military combat is like with missions that favor intelligence, caution, and patience above all else. Fight alongside multiple armed forces, and lead your unit to victory, alive.
  • Evolving Battlefield – Discover how your conduct and decisions on the battlefield can affect the operation by completing, failing, or ignoring (optional) objectives.
  • Replayability – Replay a selection of missions from a different unit’s perspective to gain a greater understanding of the operation. Try out various tactics and figure out how to achieve your objectives in different ways.
  • After Action Report (AAR) Videos – Develop your understanding of military tactics and combat with practical mission-specific insights from one of our military consultants.
  • And More – Listen to newly composed music tracks, unlock additional Steam Achievements, and take advantage of new scripted systems to help create advanced custom Arma 3 scenarios.

Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE Launches

Publisher Devolver Digital and developer Croteam now offer Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE on Steam, offering a virtual reality take on the newest installment in the hectic shooter series. This supports Windows and Linux, and requires either a Vive or a Rift headset. This video provides a look at this in action, and the announcement has more details:

Croteam and Devolver Digital have launched Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE to complete an unbelievable run of premiere VR releases this year including Serious Sam VR and The Talos Principle VR. The VR remaster of Croteam’s best-selling shooter is available on Steam with a 10 percent discount for all users plus an additional 10 percent off for users that own the standard Serious Sam 3 [http://store.steampowered.com/app/567670/].

Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE is a virtual reality action shooter, a glorious throwback to the golden age of first-person with true VR locomotion support, online cooperative mode, and versus deathmatch. Serving as a prequel to the original indie and Game of the Year sensation, Serious Sam: The First Encounter, Serious Sam VR 3: BFE takes place during the Earth’s final struggle against Mental’s invading legions of beasts and mercenaries.

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Obsidian Tease

A tweet from Obsidian seems to tease a new game announcement, as it lays out the developer's resume to date with a conspicuous line of question marks apparently signifying their next project (thanks VG247). Here's what they posted:

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

Neverwinter Nights 2

Alpha Protocol

Fallout: New Vegas

Dungeon Siege III

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Pillars of Eternity

Armored Warfare

Pathfinder Adventures

Tyranny

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

???

Why Call of Duty Reenlisted in WWII

How The New Call Of Duty Reinvents Old Battlegrounds on Newsweek hears from Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg about Call of Duty: WWII, the just-released military shooter that revisits its original setting (thanks GameSpot). One tidbit from the conversation is how this return to World War II came to be, as Hirshberg explains that the developers at Sledgehammer wanted to go back to the future and make Advanced Warfare 2 before the executive branch exerted creative influence:

“Sledgehammer wanted to make Advanced Warfare 2,” Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg told Newsweek. A sequel to 2014’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare seemed obvious, as it was regarded positively by fans and critics alike. But Hirshberg and his colleagues saw a deeper trend emerging from their millions-strong audience. Many fans called for the franchise to return to its real history roots; the first six installments of the multi-billion dollar franchise were all set during World War II. And he was confident that Sledgehammer would be the studio to go there. “We knew they would become historians, that they would tackle it with authenticity, give it tremendous care and we also knew they would capture the unspeakable scale of World War II.”

Star Wars Battlefront II Specs

The GeForce website now offers NVIDIA's assessment of the performance you can expect from their graphics cards to run Star Wars Battlefront II, the upcoming Star Wars action sequel. They also point the way to this post about the recent beta that offers general system specifications. NVIDIA recommends a GTX 1060 to run the game at 1920x1080, a GTX 1070 for 2560x1440, and a GTX 1080 Ti for 3840x2160. And here are the system specs:

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS (PC)

Minimum Requirements

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
  • Processor (AMD): AMD FX-6350
  • Processor (Intel): Intel Core i5 6600K
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Graphics card (AMD): AMD Radeon™ HD 7850 2GB
  • Graphics card (NVIDIA): NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 660 2GB
  • DirectX: 11.0 Compatible video card or equivalent
  • Online Connection Requirements: 512 KBPS or faster Internet connection
  • Hard-drive space: 25GB

Recommended Requirements

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 10 or later
  • Processor (AMD): AMD FX 8350 Wraith
  • Processor (Intel): Intel Core i7 6700 or equivalent
  • Memory: 16GB RAM
  • Graphics card (AMD): AMD Radeon™ RX 480 4GB
  • Graphics card (NVIDIA): NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1060 3GB
  • DirectX: 11.1 Compatible video card or equivalent
  • Online Connection Requirements: 512 KBPS or faster Internet connection
  • Hard-drive space: 25GB

Ascent: Infinite Realm Announced

Kakao Games announces plans to publish the western release of Ascent: Infinite Realm, an MMORPG currently in development at Bluehole, the South Korean studio behind TERA and PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS. This reveal trailer offers a look, and here's the announcement:

Today, Kakao Games has announced that it will be publishing the new MMORPG Ascent: Infinite Realm, or A:IR, in Western territories. This upcoming MMORPG for PC is being developed by Bluehole, a leading South Korean studio known for the highly successful Tera and their recent blockbuster hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

A:IR was unveiled during today’s G-Star Bluehole media showcase in Busan, South Korea. The media briefing showcased A:IR’s open world―marrying a steampunk setting with high fantasy magical elements―as well as the Realm vs Realm (RvR) aerial combat feature that pits all kinds of fantastical ships against one another. A:IR will be playable at the Bluehole booth (A04) during the G-Star exhibition, held at the Busan Exhibition & Convention Center (BEXCO).

Watch today’s new trailer for a first ever look at A:IR’s gameplay and features: https://youtu.be/uvZo59uhz5E

Kakao Games expects to prepare a first Beta test for Ascent: Infinite Realm in the first half of 2018. Initially, Kakao Games intends to localize the game in English, German, and French.

Minsung Kim, CEO of Kakao Games Europe, said: “All of us at Kakao Games are very proud to be able to work with the remarkable talent at Bluehole and bring their new AAA MMORPG to Western audiences. We are confident that we can localize their creative vision effectively and help make A:IR into a massive global success.”

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

I had a dentist appointment yesterday, but I got a call from the office to postpone it until next week. I joked with the young lady who called that I have a 48-hour cancellation policy, so I was going to have to charge them. She thought this was delightful, and promised to tell the doctor. Then I got a call about 45 minutes later, saying they had received the lab delivery that provoked the setback, so I could come in sooner if I wanted. I asked if my original appointment was still available, and was told it was already filled. Had I called them to cancel the appointment with three hours notice, the indeed would have charged me for my appointment, but in this case they were able to find someone to take my appointment in the time it takes to get a pizza delivered. It really does make me want to print up a bill for them.

R.I.P.: Overwatch and League of Legends veteran, Dennis 'INTERNETHULK' Hawelka, has died.
R.I.P.: Bond girl Karin Dor, star of You Only Live Twice, dies.

Billable Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: AFO Reloaded.
Story: Louisiana Deputy Shoots, Kills 12-Pound Family Dog. Complains about cost of the bullet. Thanks Boing Boing.
Science: The future is here: Genetically engineered stem cells save a patient.
Superlong Supernova Explosion Defies Scientists' Understanding of Stars. Champagne Supernova.
Breast cancer 'can return 15 years after treatment ends'.
Media: Cannabis commercial mocks prescription drug commercials.
Honey Badger Houdini. Thanks Boing Boing. Maybe just set him free?
Jon Stewart Gives Conan NYC Citizenship Test.
Adam Savage won't work with Jamie Hyneman anymore. Thanks RedEye9.
Follow-up: Quest To Stop Mosquitoes With Bacteria Gets EPA Approval.
Kevin Spacey: Completed film to be reshot without accused actor.
Universal's 'Dark Universe' in Peril as Top Producers Exit.



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