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Thursday, Mar 08, 2018

  

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in October

Activision confirms the accuracy of recent deductions about Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 by officially announcing the next installment in the military shooter series. They say this will launch worldwide for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on October 12th. They accompany the news with this teaser trailer of a brief PTSD episode that includes confirmation of that IIII logo from James Harden's hat. They promise more details in a worldwide reveal on May 17th:

Black Ops is back! In what represents a game-changing experience, Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 will revolutionize the top-selling series in Call of Duty® history when it launches worldwide on Friday, October 12 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Call of Duty fans can tune in Thursday, May 17, when publisher Activision, a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), and award-winning developer Treyarch host the community reveal to a worldwide audience.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Division 2 Announcement and The Division Support Plans

Ubisoft officially announces Tom Clancy's The Division 2 following the inadvertant revelation of plans for the shooter sequel. The post there is the English version of the statement that leaked early. They have also posted a roadmap for the franchise, which they note is celebrating its second birthday. The roadmap includes plans to support the first The Division, which is covered in more detail in this State-of-the-Game update which discusses the next two patches. Here's word on the road ahead:

The Division’s second birthday is finally here! We have been hard at work since the launch of the game and have some news to share with our community. Yes, there is a Division 2 that is currently under development by Massive! The supporting studios that continue to make The Division possible - Red Storm, Reflections, Annecy - will also play roles in The Division 2’s development. More information will be revealed at E3 this year, and we cannot wait to show the world what we have in store!

This does not mean that work on The Division 1 is coming to a halt. We are going to continue supporting the game as players look forward to the following timeline of content:

  • April - Update 1.8.1, which includes the Xbox One X patch and the implementation of Classified drop rate changes discussed on a previous State of the Game. We are also introducing two new Legendary modes alongside a new Global Event: Blackout.
  • May - New Global Event: Onslaught.
  • June - Update 1.8.2, which will introduce two more Legendary mission modes and bring back Global Event: Outbreak. This update also marks the beginning of the brand new Shields monthly feature, in which achievements earned playing The Division will grant special rewards in The Division 2.
  • July - Global Event: Assault, with the continuation of Shields.
  • August - Global Event: Strike, with the continuation of Shields.
  • September - Global Event: Ambush, with the continuation of Shields.

It has been quite the journey so far, and we are just getting started. A huge thank you to our community for the support over the years. Here is to the future of The Division!

Get Amnesia Collection Free on Steam

Steam News announces that everyone who adds the Amnesia collection to their Steam libraries for a limited time (which is unspecified) will be able to permanently keep both horror games. Here's word:

Add Amnesia Collection to your account permanently and play for FREE starting now for a limited time! The Amnesia Collection includes both Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Once you click "Install Game" both games will remain in your account after the free period, so don't miss out on this opportunity to play these two dark survival horror games.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Released

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is now available on Steam, offering a melee action sequel for Windows. Here's the release trailer with a look using only game-engine footage, and here are details on what to expect from the game:

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Vermintide. The time has arrived to revisit the fierce first-person co-op slaughter-fest featuring visceral and ground breaking melee action, set in the apocalyptic End Times of the war-ravaged Warhammer Fantasy Battles world.

Our 5 heroes have returned to take on an even greater threat – the combined forces of a malevolent and destructive Chaos army and the swarming Skaven horde. Prepare to be challenged like never before as you and your team desperately try to survive the never-ending onslaught. Choose between 15 different careers, climb the talent trees, customize your arsenal to fit your unique play style, fight your way through a myriad of stunning levels, and challenge yourself in our new Heroic Deeds System. The only thing standing between utter defeat and victory is you and your allies. If you fall - so will the Empire.

Continue here to read the full story.

Dominari Tournament Early Access

Steam now offers Early Access to Dominari Tournament, a real-time strategy game they call a "micro 4X" game. This trailer shows things off, and here are more details:

Already the ruler of a vast empire, you’ve now set your sights on your enemies’ possessions. Your lust for power has no limits; a whole universe is there for the taking! Engage in intense 1-on-1 competitive multiplayer combat for the spoils of war in the addictive, intergalactic real-time strategy game, Dominari Tournament!

  • Battle in fast-paced one-on-one multiplayer wars against enemies online or versus an intelligent A.I. computer offline.
  • Activate, upgrade, and combine special abilities – from devastating striker missiles to resource management support upgrades.
  • Execute strategic moves to get the upper hand in battle: Skill is required to win!
  • Explore and expand a massive solar system by acquiring multiple planets.
  • With randomized symmetric maps, every battle is a new and exciting experience.

Continue here to read the full story.

Origin Access Adds Non-EA Titles

EA announces titles from WBIE are now part of the Origin Access program, the first non-EA titles to be included in this subscription program. They are also offering seven-day free trials for the next couple of weeks:

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) today announced the addition of six Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment titles to Origin Access*, marking the first major publisher outside of EA to introduce titles to The Vault. Origin Access members can now play games from the hit Batman™: Arkham series and LEGO® Batman series. In the coming weeks, more games will be joining The Vault including the award-winning indie title, The Witness, and a brand-new game, Out of the Park 19.

The new line-up of games entering The Vault will include:

Available now:

  • Batman™: Arkham Asylum
  • Batman™: Arkham City
  • Batman™: Arkham Origins
  • LEGO® Batman
  • LEGO® Batman 2
  • LEGO® Batman 3

Coming soon:

  • The Witness
  • Out of the Park Baseball 19
  • Lost Castle
  • Bulletstorm – Lite
  • Wasteland 2

For players who are not a member of Origin Access, they can try some of these games and the full line-up of titles in The Vault for free during a seven-day trial from now through March 26, 2018. Players can also access discounts on Origin game purchases. To learn more about member benefits, visit www.origin.com/store/origin-access.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Link of the Day: ‘Sopranos’ Movie Prequel in Works From David Chase. I woke up yesterday morning, and got myself a gun.

The Division 2 Revealed

A financial website called 4-Traders has first details (in German) on Ubisoft's plans for Tom Clancy's The Division 2, a sequel to Massive Entertainment's open-world first-person shooter (thanks GameSpot). The post is purportedly a blog update from Massive creative director Julian Gerighty. It's not clear why this would appear on this site, but lending a good deal of credibility to the report is the discovery of this image on the Ubisoft Website which is clearly a logo for The Division 2. Here is a rough machine translation of part of the post:

However, when we released our game in 2016, it was clear to us that it was just the opening chapter of a much bigger saga, so we're excited to share more with you today about what awaits you in The Division Universe next.

We are very pleased to announce that we are currently working on Tom Clancy's The Division 2 . The development is led by Massive Entertainment and driven by close collaboration with Ubisoft Annecy, Redstorm, Reflections, Ubisoft Bucharest and Ubisoft Shanghai. The Division 2 will be based on an updated version of the Snowdrop Engine that will help us realize our ambitions for this title. More importantly, we can also invest all the experience we've accumulated over the past two years in this sequel to make sure everything is going well.

But that is not all. The division continues. After the celebrations of our 2 year anniversary, we will support the game with 2 more title updates. These will be 2 brand new Global Events; Include more Legendary difficulty missions and an Xbox One X update that will rediscover the beautiful and emblematic New York City with all its stunning details in both 4K and 1080p.

In addition, as of June 2018, players will also be able to play 'Crests', which are specific achievements that will allow them to unlock The Division 2 rewards.

The teams are extremely grateful for all the support over the past two years and we can not wait to show you what we have planned for The Division 2 during the E3 2018 in June.

White House Games Summit Details

Reuters has more details on today's planned meeting at the White House with game industry representatives to discuss attempts to shift blame for gun violence onto video games. The meeting was called by President Trump who expressed a need for the kind of rating system for games that's already in place, though some parents, such as the president, don't heed it. "I look at some of the things he’s watching," Trump said last week about his 11 year-old son's media (presumably games). "And I say, how is that possible?" The new report notes additional attendees and sets an agenda for the meeting, saying it will be the first of several. There's more on this in The Washington Post where they also have an unconfirmed list of attendees, including those who will be across the table in an anti-gaming camp:

Trump has invited video game executives like Robert Altman, the CEO of ZeniMax, the parent company for games such as Fallout; Strauss Zelnick, the chief executive of Take Two Interactive, which is known for Grand Theft Auto, and Michael Gallagher, the leader of the Entertainment Software Association, a Washington-focused lobbying organization for the industry.

Three people familiar with the White House’s planning, but not authorized to speak on the record, confirmed those invitees. A spokeswoman for the White House declined to share a full list of participants on Wednesday. ESA confirmed its attendance this week, but the others did not respond to questions.

Opposite of them are expected to be some of the video-game industry's toughest critics, including Brent Bozell, the founder of the Parents Television Council, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican from Missouri, the three people said. After another shooting — the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — they each called on government to focus its attention on violent media rather than just pursuing new gun restrictions.

Oculus Rift Outage Fix and Compensation

Oculus is reaching out to customers after yesterday's outage with help for those who still can't get their Oculus Rift headsets working, and some compensation for those affected by their system's downtime. They don't confirm or deny that an expired security certificate cause the problems, but offer instructions on how to unbrick systems and collect some credits:

We've just released an Oculus software update that fixes an issue where Rift may fail to start up. If you're receiving the error “Can't Reach Oculus Runtime Service,” you'll need to manually update your Oculus software before you can use your Rift.

To patch your Oculus software, you'll need to download 'OculusPatchMarch2018.exe' at https://www.oculus.com/rift-patch/. Run the executable, and select “Repair”. When the update is finished, launch the Oculus desktop app to continue the update process. Once the update is complete, you'll be able to use your Rift.

A step-by-step walkthrough is available here: https://support.oculus.com/217157135500529/

A manual update is only necessary if you're unable to start the Oculus desktop app - if you aren't seeing an error, the system will update itself to the new version automatically.

We’re very sorry for the disruption today. We’re providing a $15 Oculus Store credit (or currency equivalent) to people impacted by this issue. If you used Rift on or after February 1st, 2018 this credit will be added to your account automatically within the next 7 days. See this page for info about Oculus Store credits.

Sorry again for any inconvenience this may have caused, and thanks for choosing Rift.

H1Z1 Goes Free-to-Play

Daybreak Games announces H1Z1 is now free-to-play, the announcement coming a surprisingly quick eight days after the official launch of the battle royale shooter. This post announces the sale of Bronze, Silver, and Gold Battle Royale packs, and this post covers the transition to free-to-play, including how to apply for a refund. They note Steam's refund policy applies, so this will only work for those who bought the game within the past two weeks and have played for under two hours. This trailer celebrates the news, and here are the details, including word on the launch of the H1Z1 Pro League:

You asked, we heard you. Experience the game that put Battle Royale on the map and then redefined it with Auto Royale, for FREE. Yep, you read that right! Starting at approximately 10 AM PT, you can download H1Z1 for FREE!

You asked, we heard you. Experience the game that put Battle Royale on the map and then redefined it with Auto Royale, for FREE!

Free to play isn’t the only thing to get hyped about. The H1Z1 Pro League just confirmed the 15 esports teams that will be participating in the inaugural season, the official venue location in Las Vegas, and its streaming partnership with Facebook. More info can be found here

“We are very excited to announce that H1Z1 will be free to play starting today. Not only does this decision allow us to share our version of Battle Royale and Auto Royale with even more players, but it signifies the next step in making H1Z1 a must-watch esport. The Pro League is going to redefine esports when it kicks off in Las Vegas this April, and whether a person is an aspiring pro athlete or just wants to play with friends, we want everyone to have the chance to play the most competitive battle royale game.” -- Anthony Castoro, H1Z1 General Manager

To thank all of our loyal players who helped make awesome, game-changing decisions during our time in Early Access, we'll be rewarding everyone who already purchased the game with the “H1Z1 Appreciation Pack”, containing the following items:

  • Gasrunner Hoodie
  • Bloom Survivor T-Shirt
  • Splinter Camo ARV
  • 10 Victory Crates
  • 10,000 Skulls

We’ve also added Bronze, Silver, and Limited Edition Gold Battle Royale packs for the Free To Play Launch.

Continue here to read the full story.

Project C Announced

An MMORPG codenamed Project C will be the first project from Darewise Entertainment, a developer formed by Thief designer Randy Smith and Dishonored and Half-Life 2 art director Viktor Antonov. Details are scant for now, but they say this will be a AAA title, and there's a first piece of concept art on the Darewise Website, where they promise more information in the "near future." Here's what they have to say for now:

Darewise Entertainment is proud to reveal the first glimpse of its brand-new, massively multiplayer online game, codenamed Project C.

Project C invites the players to explore, conquer and dominate a massive hostile persistent sci-fi world. The game offers players genuine innovation in game design with emphasis on emergent memorable gameplay moments: a single-shard virtual world, continuously updated with new chapters of the game’s story, containing a fully simulated ecosystem of creatures and resources, in which player choices create permanent changes.

Project C is creatively spearheaded by the visionary talents of Thief designer Randy Smith and Dishonored and Half-Life 2 art director Viktor Antonov. The pair is supported at Darewise by a crew of industry professionals bearing considerable AAA experience across a number of world-renowned franchises.

Cities: Skylines Anniversary and Sales Milestone

Publisher Paradox Interactive and developer Colossal Order announce Saturday will be the third anniversary of the release of Cities: Skylines. They also reveal a milestone, saying the urban planning game has now sold more than five million units for PC since its launch. They are celebrating by giving all players a few bits of free content which connect to next week's release of Surviving Mars (Update: apologies for the original version of this article erroneously calling Surviving Mars an expansion). Here are some details:

Over the past three years, Cities: Skylines fans have definitively proven they can survive Natural Disasters, heavy Snowfall and self-inflicted anarchy of all sorts, but the question looms... can they survive Mars?

To celebrate its third birthday and five million milestone, Cities: Skylines players are getting a new unique Rocket City building called Xchirp Launcher, an astronaut Chirper, and a new free radio station - Official Mars Radio! Tune into Mars beginning this Friday, March 9 and jam out to space musical electro songs like Perfect Wave, Mission Stardust, The Return of Sputnik, Moon Zero Two and Aiming for Jupiter. As Paradox gears up for the release of Surviving Mars (next week!) on March 15th, all Cities owners will also get 10 percent off pre-orders on Steam.

Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger Awakens

Paradox Interactive announces the release of Waking the Tiger, a new expansion for Hearts of Iron IV that adds the Chinese front to the World War II real-time strategy sequel. You can learn more details or pick this up through the Paradox Interactive Website, where they offer this release trailer to celebrate the news. Here are the details, including word on a free update that's also available for all owners of the base game:

Are you ready to beat back the imperialist aggression of the world’s bullies? Paradox Development Studio is happy to announce the release of Waking the Tiger, an expansion to Hearts of Iron IV that makes major improvements to many aspects of the game, while drawing players’ attention to the Chinese Front.

The Chinese Republic is barely 25 years old and has still not found the unity it seeks. But now, pressed by Japan, China’s factions might find in war the common cause that eluded them in peace. New leaders and focus trees for Nationalist China, Communist China, the warlord states and the Japanese vassals add more depth and history to one of history’s forgotten fronts
Take up arms in humanity's darkest hour in Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger
Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger includes:

  • Chinese National Focuses: Divided and under threat, China has great reserves of manpower and diplomatic flexibility
  • Chain of Command: Unite your armies under a field marshal who can take advantage of the many skills of the generals under his direction.
  • Decisions and Missions: Historical decisions and national missions give you new places to spend Political Power, as you deal with domestic politics or start special projects.
  • Commanders’ Traits and Abilities: Commanders’’ traits can now unlock powerful Command Power abilities, allowing great flexibility and creativity.
  • Updated Axis Focus Trees: Alternate historical paths for the German Reich and Imperial Japan, including parliamentary rule in Japan and the return of the Kaiser to Germany.
  • Acclimatization: Over time, troops will learn how to survive in the desert or harsh winters, giving these veterans an edge on the battlefield.
  • And More: Capturing battlefield equipment, and a revitalized air war system that has room for Volunteer air wings.

As usual, the expansion will be released alongside a major game update that is freely available to all Hearts of Iron IV players.

Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Park Baseball 19 3D Engine Trailer

Out of the Park Developments is gearing up for the promised March 22nd launch of Out of the Park Baseball 19. To pave the way, they offer a new trailer to show off the new 3D engine they announced is coming to the sports simulation sequel. The game will now show players pitching, hitting, fielding, running the bases, and hopefully adjusting their crotches and spitting. Those who want to step up to the plate early can preorder the game from the OOTP Baseball Web Store to get a discount and a three-day headstart on its release. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Morning Patches

Op Ed

If a possible mass shooter wants to hone his craft, don't hand him a virtual boot camp (Opinion) - CNN.
"My argument here is not that virtual reality games are going to cause people to become violent, or that law enforcement or the military, for example, shouldn't have access to them. But if a possible mass-shooter wants to hone his craft, we shouldn't hand him an over-the-counter digital boot camp."

CNN Editorial Claims Games Are 'Virtual Boot Camps' For Mass Shooters - Jim Sterling on YouTube.
"An unbelievable editorial published this week joins in on resurrecting long-discredited claims that violent videogames can train you as an effective killer."

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Happy International Women's Day! I celebrated by allowing MrsBlue to sleep in while I shoveled snow. I would have left it for later, but the contractors were due bright and early, and I needed to clear a path for them. It seems like we got somewhere near the promised foot of snow, but it was all compacted down into a few inches that was quite heavy. But it came up well, and I managed to survive the experience with my back intact and my heart still ticking, so I'm making a note here, huge success.

Successful Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Air Wars 2.
Links: The dangerous social cycle that makes us buy things we don't need. Thanks Digg.
This Professor Has Documented 2,000 Soda Machines in Video Games.
Stories: McDonald's- Backlash to International Women's Day Arches Stunt.
A Phrase For Our Time: Merriam-Webster Adds 'Dumpster Fire' To Dictionary.
Florida wants to spring forward into permanent Daylight Saving Time.
Science: Jupiter's winds run deep into the planet.
Science in a bottle- 132-year-old experiment washed ashore in Australia.
As thousands of cheerleaders exposed, what to know about the mumps.
Media: OVERWATCH: Mega Dorito Battle.
Bird: 1 Cat: 0.
Blinded by the light.
Follow-up: Study: Bones found on Pacific island in 1940 are likely Amelia Earhart's.



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