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Wednesday, Feb 07, 2018

Get The Red Solstice Free

Steam News announces that everyone has the chance to pick up The Red Solstice for free between now and Friday at 1:00 pm EST. This coincides with a 30% off sale on Solstice Chronicles: MIA as they also tease the upcoming release of Solstice Chronicles: SURVIVORS. Here's a description of the free game:
2280 A.D. The last few survivors of a ruined Earth seek a new home: Mars, a planet whose inhabitants didn't take too kindly to outsiders. The Red Solstice is a tense, tactical, squad-based action game. Fight to survive with up to 8 players in co-op, or lead your own squad in single-player mode.

Cities: Skylines Free Weekend

An announcement on Steam reveals a free weekend is now underway for Cities: Skylines on Steam, offering the chance to sample this urban planning game for Windows, macOS, and Linux between now and Sunday (thanks PCGamesN). For those who enjoy the power to create and destroy this provides, the game is also on sale for 75% off. Here's a refresher on what it's all about:
Cities: Skylines is a modern take on the classic city simulation. The game introduces new game play elements to realize the thrill and hardships of creating and maintaining a real city whilst expanding on some well-established tropes of the city building experience.

Take-Two Financials

Take-Two Interactive announces fiscal third quarter 2018 results, while also updating their outlook on future earnings. Word is they are still printing money, and one of their favorite printing presses remains the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Here's word:
Net revenue grew to $480.8 million, as compared to $476.5 million in last year’s fiscal third quarter. Recurrent consumer spending (virtual currency, add-on content and microtransactions) grew 64% year-over-year and accounted for 32% of total net revenue. The largest contributors to net revenue in fiscal third quarter 2018 were Grand Theft Auto® V and Grand Theft Auto Online, NBA® 2K18, WWE® 2K18 and WWE SuperCard, and L.A. Noire.

Digitally-delivered net revenue grew 8% to $258.4 million, as compared to $240.2 million in last year’s fiscal third quarter, and accounted for 54% of total net revenue. The largest contributors to digitally-delivered net revenue in fiscal third quarter 2018 were Grand Theft Auto Online and Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K18, WWE 2K18 and WWE SuperCard, and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI.

Net income increased to $25.1 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, as compared to net loss of $29.8 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, for the comparable period last year. Net income reflects $11.9 million of incremental income tax expense, or approximately $0.10 per diluted share, due to the application of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted on December 22, 2017. This amount is a reasonable estimate provided in accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission guidance. We will provide additional information about such estimate in our forthcoming Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2017.

Scrolls Ending Next Week

There's a status update on the Scrolls Website revealing Mojang will shut down their virtual card game on February 13th. This may seem sudden, but plans to close the game were first revealed in June 2015. At that time they only committed to keep the game running at least until July 1, 2016, so it's outlived that death sentence by over 18 months. Word is they are going out with a bang with a Scrolls tournament, and say they are working on releasing server software and modified clients to the community to allow them to continue with the game at some point in the future. Here are the details:
Server Shutdown
All good things must come to an end. As previously announced, the official Scrolls game servers were only guaranteed to be running until July 2016. Sadly, the time has now come for us to shut down the servers. This means that, as of Tuesday, February 13th, the current game client will stop functioning.

Community Tournament
There's a short & sweet tournament happening at 18:00 CET on Sunday, February 11th (EU evening / US morning). More details are available on the Scrolls subreddit You should join! I definitely will.

Play with Mojang!
On Friday, February 9th, a few people from around the office - old faces and new - will hop onto Scrolls to play a few matches. We'll start sometime after 15:00 CET, and play for a few hours. It should be a good chance to get some easy wins - a few newer employees will be playing their first ever matches!

Community Servers
We've made some progress towards being able to release the server software to the public, together with a slightly modified client that is able to connect to such servers. While we are still unable to guarantee this will happen or set a date, we have high hopes that we'll be able to do this in the next few weeks or months. If and when this happens, the game client/server will not be open source. However, the game database will be fully editable by the community. This would allow for some degree of customization, including tweaking card stats, making new cards out of existing rules, changing various configurable settings (such as gold gain), and modifying the set list of trials.

Downward Spiral: Horus Station Announced

3rd Eye Studios announces Downward Spiral: Horus Station, an outer space adventure that builds on the concept of Downward Spiral: Prologue, their previously released VR adventure. The new game will offer optional VR support, but will also be playable on a monitor. The Downward Spiral Website has more on this, including an announcement trailer. Here are some details from the announcement:
Downward Spiral: Horus Station lures players through a lost vessel abandoned by its crew. Solving the mystery of the space station will take wits and ingenuity as you fight or avoid dangers unknown. Use the ship's maintenance hardware - like bolt throwers, rail guns, and arc welders to take out threats, solve puzzles and find the truth of why Horus Station has been left drifting in space.

Downward Spiral: Horus Station’s focus will be heavy on environmental storytelling, as the game features no dialogue or cinematics. Instead, players will have to piece together the plot through observation and interpretation as they navigate the derelict space station, accompanied by the electronic ambient soundtrack composed by platinum selling HIM frontman Ville Valo.

Additionally, 3rd Eye Studios is introducing an innovative control system that rethinks how movement works in zero-gravity. Rather than just float, players will have to push themselves off of the environment to propel themselves forward, or use tools just as they would in deep space.

The game also features a raft of options for how to experience it. Not only is it playable on both a regular screen and VR headset, the game is also playable in two player co-op, allowing players to explore the Horus Station’s deceptively immaculate, retro-futurist decor as an investigative duo. There’s also the option to entirely remove combat from the campaign for those who wish to soak up the story without enemies. In addition to Horus Station’s story campaign, there’s eight-player PvP and PvE multiplayer modes including Deathmatch, Horde and Survivor challenges.
Continue here to read the full story.

Warriorb Trailer

The Warriorb Website now offers a first trailer showing off gameplay from this upcoming platformer. You can also follow this game on Steam, where they offer the following description:
Being summoned to another world and forced into a physical body is never a pleasant experience. The fact that you find yourself imprisoned inside a ball does not help the situation, either. Using your enthralling powers you manage to shape the body into a better form – having two limbs is better than having none after all, right? You also create a pair of eyes to have a better look at your situation – it is even worse than you expected. Not remembering anything from your previous life might be a blessing at this point.
Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black


R.I.P.: Machinima and Strange Company founder Hugh Hancock passes away. Sad news, Hugh was a friend of this site from its very beginnings.
R.I.P.: Internet pioneer John Perry Barlow is dead at 70.

E3 Tickets on Sale Next Week

The ESA tweets that tickets to E3 2018 will go on sale for the general public on February 12 (thanks GameSpot). The E3 website explains that the first thousand tickets sold will be discounted:
Gamer Pass $149
* The first 1,000 gamer passes will be sold at $149. Once they are sold out, gamer passes will be $249.

E3 is open to gamers on a first-come, first-served basis and the number of passes is limited. A gamer pass is good for all three days of E3. Experience the excitement of the announcements, never-before-seen products, and industry-changing technologies, all under one roof. Be a part of the world’s biggest video game event.

Kerbal Space Program Making History Next Month

Private Division and Squad announce plans to make history next month with the launch of the Making History expansion for Kerbal Space Program on March 13th. There's no word on whether this will involve recovering booster rockets or launching an electric car into space, but it will bring enhancements to the simulation. This will include a history pack with premade missions as well as a Mission Builder to allow players to create their own scenarios. Here's word:
The new Mission Builder puts the process of creating and editing missions in players’ hands with endless possibilities. Players can customize their own missions to include launches, landings, rescues, malfunctions, explosions, repairs, and much more. Unique victory conditions, exciting challenges, and unexpected obstacles provide an array of complexity in these missions. Players can challenge others to complete their missions by sharing them with the Kerbal Space Program community.

“Kerbal Space Program: Making History Expansion will provide players with an entire new set of tools and content that fundamentally change how the game is played,” said Allen Murray, Vice President of Production at Private Division. “We can’t wait to see the creativity of the KSP community around the world as they create and share missions.”

Kerbal Space Program: Making History Expansion also features a History Pack containing a variety of pre-made missions inspired by humankind’s own space exploration. From spacewalking to crash landing and everything in between, players can attempt to recreate moments inspired by historic events, but with a unique Kerbal twist. Kerbal Space Program: Making History Expansion also includes a number of new parts and astronaut suits inspired by the Space Race that players can use throughout Kerbal Space Program.

The Surge 2 Announced

Those with the urge to surge will be pleased to hear Focus Home Interactive and Deck13 announce plans for The Surge 2, saying this RPG sequel will come next year to PC and consoles. Here's the first word on this, but they say we should expect more details as soon as today as they unveil this at Le What’s Next de Focus event in Paris:
After the success of The Surge, the hardcore Action RPG released in May 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, Focus Home Interactive and Deck 13 are happy to announce the renewal of their partnership and the development of The Surge 2, with a release date planned for 2019 on consoles and PC.

The Surge 2 keeps what fans and critics loved about the original – hardcore combat utilizing a unique, dynamic limb targeting system and deep character progression – while also expanding greatly upon the formula. The Surge 2 takes place in a brand new environment: a sprawling, devastated city with larger and more ambitious level design, made possible by Deck13’s upgraded and improved engine. Combat is more brutal and tactical than ever, with even more options thanks to an expanded limb targeting system. In addition, more abilities, weapons, implants, and drones give players a vast arsenal to build their character with, in their fight against the array of diverse new enemies and bosses.

Fear the Wolves Announced

Ukrainian developer Vostok Games announces Fear the Wolves, a post-apocalyptic battle royale game planned for both early access and full release later this year. Survarium developer Vostok is composed of former S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developers, so they have plenty of experience creating bleak environments for us to enjoy. Here's word on what this will bring to the battle royale genre:
In development for several months, Focus Home Interactive and Vostok Games – the developing team behind the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise – chose the annual press event “Le What’s Next de Focus” taking place in Paris on February 7-8, to unveil Fear The Wolves, the post-apocalyptic First Person Shooter Battle Royale. Releasing in 2018, the game will offer a new and original take on the growing Battle Royale genre.

Fear the Wolves drops players, in squads or as lone wolves, into the oppressive environments of a radiation-ravaged Chernobyl. The classic Battle Royale mode forces them to fight to be the last man standing out of 100 fighters. Another intense and original game mode will also bring a fierce new twist to the genre.

To secure the top spot, players will need to worry about more than just other survivors. Across the hostile wastes, everyone is threatened by deadly anomalies and the dynamically-changing weather. Along with a day-night cycle, this constantly forces survivors to adapt their strategies, and players can find protective gear that allows them to explore dangerous off-limit zones. All the while, the howls of mutated creatures echo through the wasteland…

Into the Breach This Month

FTL developer Subset Games announces a February 27th release date for the Windows edition of Into the Breach, a turn-based strategy game that shares FTL's retro feel (thanks Rock, Paper, Shotgun). The announcement trailer from way back offers a look at gameplay, and here are more details on the project:
The remnants of human civilization are threatened by gigantic creatures breeding beneath the earth. You must control powerful mechs from the future to hold off this alien threat. Each attempt to save the world presents a new randomly generated challenge in this turn-based strategy game from the makers of FTL.

Key Features:

  • Defend the Cities: Civilian buildings power your mechs. Defend them from the Vek and watch your fire!
  • Perfect Your Strategy: All enemy attacks are telegraphed in minimalistic, turn-based combat. Analyze your opponent's attack and come up with the perfect counter every turn.
  • Build the Ultimate Mech: Find powerful new weapons and unique pilots as you battle the Vek infestation across Corporate-Nation islands.
  • Another Chance: Failure is not an option. When you are defeated, send help back through time to save another timeline!

Continue here to read the full story.

Overwatch Year of the Dog Includes New Map

A new developer update video for Overwatch features Jeff Kaplan wishing everyone a happy Year of the Dog, and discussing Blizzard's plans to celebrate the occasion along with other Overwatch news. Specific topics include the new map, updates to Capture the Flag, competitive CTF, new skins, and more. Here's a breakdown:
Overwatch’s Lunar New Year celebration returns February 8! Join game director Jeff Kaplan as he talks about what to expect from this year’s festivities—including a new Capture the Flag competitive mode, new Capture the Flag map, over 50 new seasonal items, and more.

0:27 – Jeff breaks down the new map Ayutthaya
1:17 – Updates to Capture the Flag explained
2:46 – Competitive Capture the Flag explained
3:34 – Jeff shares details on the new Lunar New Year skins

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

We're getting some snow right now in this area, a pretty steady downfall that's accumulating pretty quickly. The temperature is just on the border of freezing, though, and the forecast says this should turn to rain later. This tempts me to ignore it and let it sort itself out, but the last time I was clever like that I ended up with an ice skating rink after everything refroze, so I'll probably go out and shovel rather than risk a repeat of that ridiculous outcome. Once slippin', twice dry.

Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: 3D Car Simulator.
Stories: All the Star Wars movies and shows in development right now.
New Hampshire winner of $560M lottery says she made a 'huge mistake'.
Science: Sedate a Plant, and It Seems to Lose Consciousness. Is It Conscious? Thanks j.c.f.
Why dog breeds have so much more variety than cat breeds. Thanks RedEye9.
The Mutant, All-Female Crayfish That Reproduce by Cloning Themselves. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: When your custom character appears in a cutscene.
Media: Spawn Camper - Epic NPC Man.
(4) YOU’RE A TROLL! - TRAP ADVENTURE 2 (Adults React- Gaming).
The Life of a "Pinhead" -A Pinball Documentary. Thanks reddit. Bonus Clip.
Follow-up: Elon Musk’s Tesla roadster is going farther out into the Solar System than originally planned.
The Funnies: Sunny Street.