Archived News:

Thursday, Apr 12, 2018

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands Free Weekend

A free weekend is now underway in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands on Steam, offering the promised chance to sample this tactical shooter for Windows. Word is: "Play for Free from April 12th to April 15th. Your progression is saved if you decide to buy the game later!" This includes the chance to team up with Sam Fisher in the recently announced Splinter Cell Mission along with the base game, described here:
Create a team with up to 3 friends in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Wildlands and enjoy the ultimate military shooter experience set in a massive, dangerous, and responsive open world. You can also play PVP in 4v4 class-based, tactical fights: Ghost War.

TAKE DOWN THE CARTEL
In a near future, Bolivia has fallen into the hands of Santa Blanca, a merciless drug cartel who spread injustice and violence. Their objective: to create the biggest Narco-State in history.

BECOME A GHOST
Create and fully customize your Ghost, weapons, and gear. Enjoy a total freedom of playstyle. Lead your team and take down the cartel, either solo or with up to three friends.

EXPLORE BOLIVIA
Journey through Ubisoft's largest action-adventure open world. Discover the stunning diverse landscapes of the Wildlands both on and off road, in the air, on land, and at sea with over 60 different vehicles.

More Free Weekends on Steam

The Steam Sales Database notes The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Distrust, and Ballistic Overkill are all also free-to-play for the next two days on Steam (thanks Ant). Here are the three games, which are also all currently on sale if you decide you want to play on past Sunday:

  • Ballistic Overkill. "Ballistic Overkill is a bombastic, brutal, and bullet-filled multiplayer shooter. It blends classic arena shooter action with modern FPS gunplay giving you a fast paced class based shooter that'll leave your opponents bloody on the battlefield. With a progression system that means your wins actually matter and a huge map pool with 4 varied game modes, there's something for every shooter. Whether you prefer chasing team objectives or the thrill of classic deathmatch, Ballistic Overkill has the gun and the mode for you."
  • Distrust. "A helicopter crash left a group of explorers stranded near an Arctic base. As they try to find a way back, all they are doing is sinking deeper into a nightmare scenario. When they sleep, they attract a terrifying force that sucks the life out of their bodies, but the longer they battle exhaustion and stay awake, the less likely they are to survive..."
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. "Winner of more than 200 Game of the Year Awards, Skyrim Special Edition brings the epic fantasy to life in stunning detail. The Special Edition includes the critically acclaimed game and add-ons with all-new features like remastered art and effects, volumetric god rays, dynamic depth of field, screen-space reflections, and more. Skyrim Special Edition also brings the full power of mods to the PC and consoles. New quests, environments, characters, dialogue, armor, weapons and more – with Mods, there are no limits to what you can experience."

Epic Offers Gifts for Fortnite Issues

Epic apologies for Fortnite instability and downtime, and they come bearing gifts in compensation. They explain in this blog post:
It’s been no secret that over the past 24 hours we’ve been experiencing issues with our services that have prevented many of you from playing Battle Royale and Save the World. We’re sorry. We know how frustrating this has been.

We messed up here. As thanks for being awesome and patient, we’re doing the following:

  • For Battle Royale players, this weekend we’ll be offering a Back Bling gift that you can pick up in the store for free.
  • For our Save the World folks, this weekend we will be offering a Troll Stash Llama in the loot tab for free.

Next week, we will be granting a pack of Battle Stars to our Battle Royale players and Seasonal Gold to the Save the World players. This will require brief additional downtime, so we will be including it as a part of our planned update next week.

We’ll have a detailed postmortem of this week’s issues, and more information about how we will improve services for you in the future. Look for this later next week.

The Division Adds New Events

Ubisoft announces the release of a new patch for Tom Clancy's The Division, updating the open world shooter to version 1.8.1 on all platforms, including Windows. This brings two new global events along with other changes and enhancements, and you can find all the details in the patch notes. The changes are also discussed in a new State of the Game post:
If you missed the news, Update 1.8.1 released today on all platforms with new content, loot table tweaks and much more.

New Legendary Difficulty Missions

  • Amherst’s Apartment.
  • Grand Central Station.

New Global Events

Blackout
- Agents are equipped with Shock Ammo that stuns enemies. Shooting or running builds your charge meter. The more charge, the more damage you inflict.

Onslaught - Agents deal burn, bleed, and gas effects to enemies in addition to normal damage. Reloading changes the effect.

The update also includes changes to drop rates of Classified Gear items, improved availability of Division Tech, changes to the Exotic loot table and much more. You can find the full list of changes in the Patch Notes.

Rainbow Six Siege Boasts 30M Players

More from Ubisoft, as they announce Rainbow Six Siege now has more than 30 million registered users. Here's word on the milestone for the tactical shooter:
Coming off the release of Operation Chimera, Rainbow Six Siege has surpassed 30 million registered players – and that's not the only achievement it's clocked. The ever-growing community also came out in force for the first major tournament of the year, the 2018 Six Invitational, which saw record numbers including 321,000 peak concurrent viewers and more than 6.2 million hours watched across all channels.

British Academy Games Awards Winners

BAFTA announces the winners of 2018 British Academy Games Awards, honoring What Remains of Edith Finch as Best Game after the somber storytelling game's win last month for Best Narrative at the Game Developers Choice Awards. Here are the winners:

  • FELLOWSHIP - TIM SCHAFER
  • ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT - HELLBLADE: SENUA’S SACRIFICE Development Team - Ninja Theory Ltd/ Ninja Theory Ltd
  • AUDIO ACHIEVEMENT - HELLBLADE: SENUA’S SACRIFICE David Garcia Diaz - Ninja Theory Ltd/ Ninja Theory Ltd
  • BEST GAME - WHAT REMAINS OF EDITH FINCH Development Team - Giant Sparrow/Annapurna Interactive
  • BRITISH GAME - HELLBLADE: SENUA’S SACRIFICE Development Team - Ninja Theory Ltd/ Ninja Theory Ltd
  • DEBUT GAME - GOROGOA Development Team - Jason Roberts, Buried Signal/Annapurna Interactive
  • EVOLVING GAME - OVERWATCH Development Team – Blizzard Entertainment/ Blizzard Entertainment
  • FAMILY - SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY Development Team - Nintendo EPD/Nintendo
  • GAME BEYOND ENTERTAINMENT - HELLBLADE: SENUA’S SACRIFICE Development Team - Ninja Theory Ltd/ Ninja Theory Ltd
  • GAME DESIGN - SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY Development Team - Nintendo EPD/Nintendo
  • GAME INNOVATION - THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD Development Team - Nintendo EPD/Nintendo
  • MOBILE GAME - GOLF CLASH Paul Gouge, Alex Rigby, Gareth Jones – Playdemic/Playdemic
  • MULTIPLAYER - DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN 2 Development Team - Larian Studios/ Larian Studios Games
  • MUSIC - CUPHEAD Development Team - StudioMDHR Entertainment Inc./StudioMDHR Entertainment Inc.
  • NARRATIVE - NIGHT IN THE WOODS Scott Benson, Alec Holowka, Bethany Hockenberry – InfiniteFall/ Finji
  • ORIGINAL PROPERTY - HORIZON ZERO DAWN Development Team – Guerrilla/Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
  • PERFORMER - MELINA JUERGENS as Senua in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

SpyParty Steam Early Access

SpyParty is now in Early Access on Steam, offering the next stage of development for this competitive espionage game for Windows from indie developers Chris Hecker and John Cimino. There's an update about this on the SpyParty Blog along with a new video celebrating the news. In short, "In SpyParty, one player is the Spy, hiding in plain sight at a fancy cocktail party, trying to accomplish missions while blending in with the other guests. The other player is the Sniper, peering into the party from outside, with one bullet to stop the Spy." This game has been in testing for over eight years now, and the Steam description outlines its current state:
SpyParty is a competitive espionage game about human behavior, performance, perception, and deception. While most spy games have you machine-gunning stuff, blowing things up, and driving fast, SpyParty has you hide in plain sight, blend into a high-society cocktail party, deceive your opponent, and detect subtle behavioral tells to achieve your objectives and not get shot. Finally you can be like the suave and confident spies you find in films or books, risking it all by doing the final mission right in front of the sniper as the clock runs out! There are plenty of games that explore being a super-powered commando with an infinite supply of ammunition and no brains; SpyParty is a new and quite different game about the more interesting, deeper, and more subtle aspects of being a spy.

The current main gameplay mode is 1v1 Spy versus Sniper online multiplayer, although there is limited single-player Sniper play right now, and a single player Spy and Sniper practice mode for trying out missions and whatnot.
Continue here to read the full story.

EVE Online Expansion Announced

CCP announces Into the Abyss, a new expansion for EVE Online coming to their space MMORPG next month. They are currently celebrating the game's 15th anniversary, and this video helps with that. Here's word on the new expansion:
Today at EVE Fanfest, CCP announced 'Into the Abyss,' the newest expansion for EVE Online, their deep and uniquely player-driven spaceship MMO game. Launching in May 2018, EVE Online: Into the Abyss will be delivered as a free update to all players, both for those with subscriptions and those playing for free.

EVE Online: Into the Abyss injects ground-breaking, transformative gameplay into EVE Online and presents a new adventure for players, inviting them to explore dangerous uncharted territory with strange new inhabitants and potentially vast rewards. This content will be just as unfamiliar to veteran EVE players as it is to novice players entering the game today.

'Into the Abyss' adds exciting exploration and survival gameplay in the form of Abyssal Deadspace, a brand new hostile environment filled with hazardous environmental effects and mysterious adversaries, the Triglavian Collective. Players can enter pockets of Abyssal Deadspace from almost anywhere in New Eden. On entry, players fight and explore their way through a series of unpredictable encounters, using their skills to take on growing risks in the hope of coming out the other side with high value cargo.

Players will be searching for the new mutaplasmids, only found in Abyssal Deadspace. Mutaplasmids can be combined with existing modules to transform them into Abyssal modules, potentially increasing their power vastly or breaking them beyond repair. However, the challenges that players confront become more difficult the deeper they venture into Abyssal Deadspace… and failure means death. Faced with increasing danger from perilous encounters; do you continue and risk your spaceship in the hope of finding greater riches, or return home to exploit your rewards?
Continue here to read the full story.

Tower of Time Begins

Tower of Time is now officially available on Steam, offering a dungeon crawling RPG for Windows and Linux (thanks Acleacius). This post covers the launch, thanking Early Access participants for their feedback, and inviting the community to join their Discord Channel. Here's word on the game:
Tower of Time is an incredible adventure packed with over 50 hours of gameplay, hand-crafted levels, and a rich story told through animated cinematics. Taking classic RPG gameplay to the next level, Tower of Time features flexible character development, thousands of pieces of loot and equipment and the complex and tactical real-time combat system.

Engaging story of epic proportions
Immerse yourself in a world where technology meets magic with devastating consequences. Gather a group of diverse champions and lead them through the tower. Hundreds of lore books and scattered pieces of information slowly reveal the history of Artara as your party of adventurers approach their fate.

Deep tactical real-time combat with pause or slow-time
Take ultimate strategic control of each battle with the Arrow-Time combat system that slows the action down to a crawl or pauses it. Plan ahead and position your party where you need them for ultimate effect. Use Arrow-Time to react to new threats, deploy devastating new spells and attacks and counter enemy attacks. No two encounters are ever the same.

Banner Saga 3 in July

Versus Evil announces a July 24th release date for the PC and console editions of Banner Saga 3. Here's the game plan:
Versus Evil, a leading independent video game publisher in partnership with Stoic, an indie video game developer, today announced that the third and final chapter in the award winning Viking RPG trilogy, Banner Saga 3 will launch on July 24th, 2018 for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Mobile platforms are expected to launch later on in the year.

The team also unveiled the PC pre-order offer details for the ‘Dredge Ally Pack’. Fans who digitally pre-order the game through Steam and other digital PC retailers will get the following in-game items as a bonus:

  • Dredge Stoneguard Character - Rank 10 Hero called Kivi
  • Unique Combat Ability: Tank
  • Unique Dredge Item - Sculptor's Tools
  • Exclusive Dredge Heraldry
  • Unique Heroic Title: “Shield Cleaver’
  • Exclusive Banner Saga 3 Overture Track – by Grammy-nominated and two-time BAFTA winning composer Austin Wintory

“Banner Saga 3 represents the feeling of closure but also immense accomplishment to a trilogy that has been at the very fabric of our lives for many years. We’re ever thankful to the fans and backers that have shared this epic journey with us and helped us deliver what we feel is a fitting end to our Viking adventure.” Said John Watson, Technical Director of Stoic.

There will be three digital versions of the game at launch. The Standard Edition of Banner Saga 3 on PC will cost $24.99, while the Deluxe Edition will be priced at $29.99 and will include the game’s official soundtrack composed by Austin Wintory in addition to a digital wallpaper, world map and the ‘Gold Wasp’ in-game title.

The Banner Saga 3 Legendary Edition is priced at $39.99 and includes everything that comes in the Deluxe Edition as well as the exclusive ‘Shadow Walker’ Heroic Title, the ‘Petrie Clan Ring’ exclusive legendary item and digital novel ‘Gift of Hadrborg’.

Heroes of the Storm Dev Update

A new Heroes of the Storm Development Update covers a great deal of ground about Blizzard's MOBA. They discuss MMR and matchmaking, including plans to introduce MMR and rank decay and to revisit performance-based matchmaking. They also talk about changes to ranked play and the reduction in the number of placement matches each season for frequent players. They also say they are adding a third hero ban to draft games and are looking into player swaps. They also discuss new hero balance and how to deal with it following a couple of overpowered releases in a row, and cap things off with a discussion of toxicity and reporting.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Why Flying is So Expensive. Thanks RedEye9.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Sells 1M

Fatshark announces Warhammer: Vermintide 2 has sold more than one million units since the release of the melee action game for Windows some five weeks ago. "We are genuinely humbled by the reception of Warhammer: Vermintide 2 from gamers all over the world," says Martin Wahlund, CEO Fatshark. "We reached half a million units within the first week, and one million within five weeks, which is far quicker than we ever expected." They say they will celebrate this news with a 10% off sale on the game on Steam starting at 2:00 pm EDT today. Here's a refresher on the game:
Vermintide 2 is a visually stunning and ground breaking melee action game pushing the boundaries of the first person co-op genre. Set during the apocalyptic End Times of the Warhammer world – the game introduces the dark, bloody and twisted forces of Chaos as an enemy faction. Other new features include 15 hero careers, new environments, talent trees and the proprietary Heroic Deeds System.

Arma 3 Patch and Tanks DLC

Bohemia Interactive now offers Tanks, a new DLC pack for Arma 3, adding three new armored vehicles to their Windows military shooter sequel. This premium pack is available through the Bohemia Interactive Store and Steam, and the base game is required to play. That base game is also receiving an update, and the announcement has details on that free patch as well. Here's a launch trailer for the DLC, and here's word:
Celebrated with a new launch trailer, Bohemia Interactive today released Arma 3 Tanks DLC - a new downloadable content pack for the PC-exclusive tactical military shooter game Arma 3. Tanks DLC features 3 new armored vehicles (which come in multiple variants with various liveries), as well as a singleplayer mini-campaign and a showcase scenario starring the new vehicles.

Aside from the new premium content, the package is also accompanied by a major platform update. This update is free for everyone who owns Arma 3. It significantly enhances the experience of operating an armored vehicle, introduces new targeting features, and adds free new bonus content such as a competitive multiplayer mode, time trial races, new anti-tank weapons, additional vehicle variants, decorative objects, and more.

Key Features

  • T-140 Angara Main Battle Tank
  • Nyx Armored Weapons Carrier
  • Rhino Mobile Gun System
  • "Altis Requiem" Mini-Campaign
  • Showcase "Tank Destroyers"

Free Platform Update Highlights

  • Enhanced Armored Vehicle Experience (applies to ALL armored vehicles in Arma 3)
  • 3D Interiors
  • Improved Handling
  • Extended Damage Model
  • Vehicle Customization
  • Upgraded Audio
  • Fire-Control System
  • New Missile Flight Profiles
  • "Vanguard" Multiplayer Mode
  • 3 Time Trial Challenges
  • 2 Anti-Tank Launchers
  • Additional (Anti-Tank) Vehicle Variants
  • Decorative Objects
  • Official Soundtrack
  • Steam Achievements

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

  • Escape Doodland by PlayWay — Kickstarter. "Death and destruction came into Doodland. This happy and joyful land is going to change. Forever. You play as one of Doodlers, a peaceful inhabitant of happy doodle world, attacked by a merciless monster. There are only two options: run as fast as you can or die." Here's the Steam listing and a trailer showing off the hand-drawn art.

Morning Patches

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Night owls have a 10% increase in mortality risk, study says. Now this is weird, I always thought we all share the same 100% mortality rate. I guess there really is a good reason to try and get more sleep after all. The more you know!

Immortal Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Insurgents.
Stories: The strange story of Australia’s wild camel. Thanks RedEye9.
Officers fired after claiming mice ate half a ton of marijuana. Officer Cheech, can you confirm Officer Chong's story?
Science: Could post-surgery healing process trigger cancer spread in breast cancer?
Media: This 11-Year-Old Racing Prodigy Is Breaking Records.
1954 How to dial your phone by Bell System.
Clickbait.
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