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Thursday, Aug 09, 2018

Battlefield V Closed Alpha Next Week

Electronic Arts offers details on a second Battlefield V closed alpha test that's getting underway on August 14th. They say codes are going out soon to a small group of players, and those with a valid Battlefield V Closed Alpha entitlement from the first closed alpha are automatically invited. They say, "Codes that have not been redeemed yet can also be used to access the Closed Alpha 2. Additionally, we will be sending out more invites through email to give even more players the chance to try Battlefield V." They also offer system requirements for the alpha and discuss their goals for testing:
We’ve read and acted on much of the feedback that we received during the first Closed Alpha. You’ll get a better glimpse of those changes during our Open Beta period, but for Closed Alpha 2, we would like you to focus on the matchmaking, squad joining functionality, as well as simply playing as you normally would, so that we can evaluate our tweaked leveling curves.

Hunt Showdown Free Weekend

Crytek announces a free weekend is underway for Hunt Showdown, their Early Access bounty-hunting first-person shooter. South American players will be pleased to see that the announcement includes word that they now have local servers:
Great news! We're doing a free Hunt weekend on Steam, starting right now. During the free weekend, the game will also be 20% off.

From Thursday, August 9th at 10 am PT/1 pm ET/ 7 pm CEST to Monday, August 13th at 10 am PT/1 pm ET/ 7 pm CEST, you can play Hunt for free on Steam. So clear your calendar, notify friends, and go download Hunt right now.

The free weekend event also coincides with the addition of South American servers to the game, bringing a new continent of players to the hunt, and a brand new set of six Steam trading cards to collect and trade while you're doing it. Shortly after the free weekend, the game will see the addition of the Water Devil, a new AI that will make wading through the Louisiana swamps where the game is set even more dangerous.

This your first rodeo? Let us fill you in: Hunt is a multiplayer, first-person bounty hunting game that combines the action, the thrill, and the tension of multiple genres into a unique new gaming experience. During each match, you must track and kill monsters—solo or in teams of two—then you need to get off the map with the prize before another Hunter takes you out.

Overwatch Summer Games Begin

The Overwatch Website has word that this year's Summer Games are underway in Blizzard's multiplayer first-person shooter. This includes the return of Lúcioball in a new stadium, a whole bunch of new skins and other cosmetics, as well as a return of previous Summer Games goodies as well. Here's the overview:
The Summer Games return for more fun in the sun! This year, we're celebrating the spirit of competition with a new Lúcioball arena and a smörgåsbord of loot. Unlock over 50 new seasonal items—including legendary skins like Waveracer D.Va, Fastball Zenyatta, and Cabana Ana—alongside our growing collection of summer gear from previous years.

Path of Exile Delve This Month

The Path of Exile has details on a new Delve expansion coming to Grinding Gear's action/RPG, along with a timer counting down to its release on August 31st (thanks PCGamesN, where they have a preview). Two new two sets of Supporter Packs are already on sale to support the expansion. Without delving too far into details, here's the elevator pitch on what this add-on will add:
In Path of Exile: Delve, you will delve into the Azurite Mine's infinite depths to extract treasure and discover its subterranean secrets. Our latest expansion features an infinite dungeon and socketable currency items, as well as a bunch of new unique items, skill gems, balance changes, graphics engine improvements and more!

Starpoint Gemini Warlords. Endpoint Released

Publisher Iceberg Interactive and developer LGM Games announce the release of the Endpoint DLC for Starpoint Gemini Warlords, saying this is the fifth and final DLC for the Windows spaceship combat game. The DLC is offered through GOG.com and Steam, and they note that the Steam version of the base game is currently on sale for 75% off as part of a sale on the entire franchise, including the new comprehensive Starpoint Gemini Warlords Gold Pack bundle. Here's the point of Endpoint:
About Starpoint Gemini Warlords: Endpoint
Many years have passed since the Solari Concord successfully established a foothold in Gemini – but they haven't stopped there; a combination of rising military strength and persuasive diplomacy has caused them to become the leading power in Gemini. After such a long period of turmoil, most other factions became exhausted, and were eager to side with anyone strong enough to provide some sort of stability.

The Gemini Protectorate, successor to the legendary Gemini League, is cornered, and controls only a small region of space, and another cut off enclave, when the Concord reaches its borders.

The Protectorate High Command is still not willing to yield, but options are few...what will be the price of survival?

Key Features

  • Experience an all new storyline that follows the unexpected new path of the Gemini Protectorate
  • 8 brand new ship designs, covering all ship classes with a noticeable power edge in each of them
  • Multiple new and interesting characters entwined within the storyline
  • Story branching where you can choose how you wish to approach the challenges in front of you
  • Increased replayability as a result of multiple choices when accepting some story missions
  • Modified planetary assault where players can now strike decisively at individual planets, and automatically seize the whole enemy territory when the last planet is conquered

Total War: ROME II Rise of the Republic Campaign Pack

Steam now offers a new Rise of the Republic Campaign Pack for Total War: ROME II. As noted on Steam this comes alongside an Ancestral Update, saying, "make sure you opt out of the Ancestral Update beta in Steam and disable all mods before playing," pointing to this article for an explanation. Here's word on the galling pack:
The year is 399 BC, and Rome is poised for greatness. However, its very existence balances on a knife-edge.

The Gallic Senones tribe, led by chieftain Brennus, are newly settled in eastern Italy. Ambitious and fierce, they are but a javelin-throw from the nascent republic.

The tyrannical Dionysius rules Syracuse with an iron fist. He leads the war against Carthage, but his eyes range across the Mediterranean as he considers future conquests.

Under the guiding hand of the great philosopher-statesman Archytas, Taras in southern Italy is reaching the zenith of its glory and power. Rome’s meteoric rise is cause for concern, to be sure – perhaps an intervention is merited?

Meanwhile, Marcus Furius Camillus seeks the title and powers of Dictator. His vision for Rome is grand indeed, but can it survive the designs of the young republic’s neighbours?

A crossroads in history: a time of threat – and of opportunity.

A time for the republic to rise.

CrossCode Next Month

Deck13 and Radical Fish Games announce that CrossCode will be officially released on Steam on September 20th for Windows, Linux, and macOS. The throwback 2D action/RPG is now wrapping up its three-plus year Early Access run, and they say the completed version more than doubles the scope of the story and adds additional areas and combat. This post has more details, including their amusing take on quality control: "Also hopefully less buggy than previous major releases, since we do some internal testing this time!" They hope to have Steam Trading Cards and Achievements in the release, but reassure us that achievements will be tracked properly even if they are added later. They also outline plans for post-release content that will be free, and say they have ideas for DLC, but this "depends on how the release will work out," even though the game has already sold over 100,000 units. Here's more:
The full release will be huge and by far the biggest update the game has had so far.

Here is a list of things you can expect from CrossCode 1.0:

  • The complete main story with at least twice the amount of cutscenes
  • Awesome and dramatic plot moments™
  • A complete new area + dungeon + several extensions in existing areas
  • Rhombus Square - the largest city of the game
  • New party members!
  • Over 9 new enemy types + more variations
  • Over 13 new boss fight and other major battles
  • About 12 new quests
  • Several menu improvements and QoL additions
  • A complete German translation
  • Countless other small improvements/changes

F1 2018 Video Diary

Codemasters and Deep Silver offer a new video developer diary 3 for F1 2018, the upcoming Formula One racing sequel. This features Senior Car Handling Designer David Greco discussing car handling, so expect honesty, even if you can't handle the truth. Here's word:
The third of the four part series, which is available to watch now at www.youtube.com/formula1game, reveals that F1 2018's car simulation and handling has significantly advanced this year, with revamped suspension and chassis physics, the addition of real world F1 data for unprecedented accuracy, new “tire carcass” temperature for the first time, as well as manual deployment of the ERS system. The ultimate result of these enhancements is that the gamer can experience the pure sensation of the tire tearing into the track surface, and therefore giving a realistic and relatable feeling of grip, under all wear, compounds and weather conditions.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Gets Free DLC

A new Ni no Kuni II: REVENANT KINGDOM - Adventure Pack is now available on Steam as free DLC for Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, the RPG sequel which happens to be on sale for half-off at the moment. Here's word on what this offers:
The Adventure Pack DLC is now available to download for Ni no Kuni™ II: REVENANT KINGDOM on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and PC via STEAM®. This free DLC offers a new challenge for experienced players by adding additional floors to the Faraway Forest Cave, two new bosses; Blackhart and Zeta, as well as new quests that will be unlocked after completing the game’s story. Evan and his friends will also find new costumes and additional rewards to acquire in the Adventure Pack.

Op Ed

GamesIndustry.biz - "Netflix of games" a threat to developers.
"When working with a digital storefront, developers know how many copies they sell and how much they're charging for those copies. That makes figuring out how much money a game brought in a straight-forward process. Platform holders and creators may argue about how to split the pie, but at least they can more or less agree on how big the pie is.

Compare that to subscription services, where the metrics a developer has for their game's performance will likely be limited to the number of times it was downloaded/streamed, or perhaps cumulative and average time spent playing. If companies use Netflix as a model (and why wouldn't they, at this point?), developers may not even have access to those except through third-party solutions with questionable accuracy."

Insurgency: Sandstorm Preorder Beta Begins

Focus Home Interactive and New World Interactive channel their combined interactivity to announce the launch of the promised preorder beta for Insurgency: Sandstorm, their upcoming first-person shooter. The game is due for official release on September 18th for Windows, with consoles to follow next year, but those who preorder the PC edition on Steam can play right now and through the weekend. This recent video shows some PvP gameplay, and if you are reading this around the time of posting, there is a Pre-Order Beta Launch livestream that's currently underway. Here are the details:
Focus Home Interactive and New World Interactive are excited to announce that Insurgency: Sandstorm will release on PC on September 18th, 2018. Players can jump into Pre-order Beta 1 and play three maps and four modes from the final release right now by pre-ordering the game on Steam at a 10% discount for £23.39 / $26.99 / €26.99. Owners of the original Insurgency, which now boasts a player population of over five million, will receive an additional 10% loyalty discount, available through the end of the year.

Pre-order Beta 1, which went live today, features three maps from the final version of the game, every game mode, dozens of weapons, and hundreds of loadout options (including explosives, armour, and ammo carriers). Combined with fully implemented vehicles and support fire, Insurgency: Sandstorm provides the most intense experience of contemporary war ever. Catch a glimpse of the action in the Raw PVP Gameplay video released last week, then get playing on Steam.

Press, content creators, and influencers can request an invite to Pre-order Beta 1 below. There are no NDAs or streaming restrictions on this test, and New World Interactive is greatly looking forward to getting feedback from all across the gaming community as they work on the launch build. Pre-order Beta 1 is due to finish on August 13, so please enjoy the game this long weekend.

A second Pre-order Beta will run from August 30 up until release on September 18, with access to the full suite of six maps from the launch version of the game. Insurgency: Sandstorm is due out on consoles in 2019, please look forward to more information about it closer to release.
Continue here to read the full story.

MONSTER HUNTER: WORLD Released

The Windows edition of MONSTER HUNTER: WORLD is now available on Steam, offering PC gamers the latest installment in CAPCOM's monster-hit console action series. Updated drivers for this are already available from NVIDIA and AMD, and VG247 offers tips on how to get the game running at 60fps in various resolutions. Here's the previously released PC Trailer, and here's part of the description of the game from Steam:

Welcome to a new world! Take on the role of a hunter and slay ferocious monsters in a living, breathing ecosystem where you can use the landscape and its diverse inhabitants to get the upper hand. Hunt alone or in co-op with up to three other players, and use materials collected from fallen foes to craft new gear and take on even bigger, badder beasts!

INTRODUCTION

Overview
Battle gigantic monsters in epic locales.

As a hunter, you'll take on quests to hunt monsters in a variety of habitats.
Take down these monsters and receive materials that you can use to create stronger weapons and armor in order to hunt even more dangerous monsters.

In Monster Hunter: World, the latest installment in the series, you can enjoy the ultimate hunting experience, using everything at your disposal to hunt monsters in a new world teeming with surprises and excitement.

Continue here to read the full story.

Torchlight Frontiers Announced

Perfect World Entertainment announces Torchlight Frontiers, saying the new installment in the Torchlight series will be a shared world experience for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Taking the action/RPG online seems like a natural move, especially considering Perfect World's MMORPG roots. Development is being handled by Echtra Games led by Max Schaefer, co-founder of Blizzard North and original Torchlight developer Runic Games (not to mention Flagship Studios, which is always better when it's not mentioned). The Torchlight Frontiers Website is accepting applications for beta testing, and offers this trailer with a look at what to expect. Here's the announcement:
Today, Perfect World Entertainment, Inc., a leading publisher of live service games, announced its newest development studio, Echtra Games, Inc., is working on the next iteration of the award-winning Torchlight series: Torchlight Frontiers. Set in the same beloved Torchlight universe from Torchlight I and II, this shared-world action-RPG brings back many of the franchise’s signature features and mechanics that captured the hearts of ARPG fans around the world. Led by former Runic Games and Blizzard North co-founder, Max Schaefer, the team developing Torchlight Frontiers is comprised of veteran developers who were responsible for the games that defined the ARPG genre, including the original Diablo and Torchlight franchises. Torchlight Frontiers will be available on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation®4.

“Perfect World Entertainment has had a strong working relationship with Max Schaefer, dating back to the original Torchlight game, and we believe in his vision to evolve the Torchlight series,” said Yoon Im, senior vice president of publishing at Perfect World Entertainment. “Max has put together an all-star team of developers, and we continue to be amazed by the sheer level of talent and wealth of experience that they bring to Torchlight Frontiers. We’re proud to have Echtra Games as a part of the company.”

“Evolving the Torchlight universe into a shared world has always been a goal for the franchise, and I’m excited that we’re finally able to make it a reality,” said Max Schaefer, CEO of Echtra Games. “Torchlight Frontiers will be a living, breathing universe that will still feel uniquely Torchlight, while we add our own creative spin to the game. The team is building something truly special, and we can’t wait for fans to play it for the first time at Gamescom and PAX West.”

Torchlight Frontiers combines the heart of the beloved Torchlight series with a shared, persistent and dynamically generated world. In true Torchlight style, players will team up with friends and devoted pets to hack and slack their way through a vibrant world, discover ancient ruins of lost civilizations and brave dungeons filled with riches and dangerous creatures. Additional details about Torchlight Frontiers will be revealed at a later date.

Torchlight Frontiers is headed to Gamescom and PAX West! Show attendees can be among the first to play an early demo of the game and meet the Echtra Games developers by visiting the Perfect World Entertainment booths at Gamescom in Germany (Hall 8, Booth# B41) from August 21 – 25 and PAX West in Seattle (Booth # 1115) from August 31 – September 3.

Learn more about Torchlight Frontiers at TorchlightFrontiers.com. Follow the game on Twitter (@PlayTorchlight) and Facebook.com/PlayTorchlight for the latest updates.
Continue here to read the full story.

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2019 Demo

There's now a playable demo on Steam for PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2019, the new installment in the association football/soccer series that's coming out at the end of this month (thanks Frans). Konami explains that they are including more in thus year's demo than in the past, saying, "The Online Quick Match will now be available in the this year's Demo, and the Exhibition Match and CO-OP Mode will also be playable all for free!" They also offer a barebones rundown of the demo's contents:
【Release Date】

  • August 8th, 2018

【Clubs】

  • FC BARCELONA
  • LIVERPOOL FC
  • FC SCHALKE 04
  • INTER
  • AC MILAN
  • AS MONACO
  • C.R. FLAMENGO
  • SÃO PAULO FC
  • SE PALMEIRAS
  • COLO COLO
  • FRANCE
  • ARGENTINA

【Stadium】

  • Camp Nou
  • VELTINS ARENA

【MODE】

  • EXHIBITION MATCH(Offline)
  • QUICK MATCH(ONLINE)
  • CO-OP(Offline)

Demo bonus

  • 10,000GP

August Twitch Prime Freebies

Twitch now offers the August set of free games for Twitch Prime subscribers, which includes Amazon Prime members. Redemption requires the use of the Twitch standalone client, and as always, they say these are free to keep forever as long as you claim your copies by the end of the month. Here's the rundown on the freebies:
Whew… how about all those July Prime Day games huh? Well, just because Prime Day has come and gone doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. August’s lineup includes some pretty awesome games... and they’re yours for FREE with your Twitch Prime membership!

Yours to claim and keep forever all month:

  • Jotun: Valhalla Edition
    Jotun is a beautifully illustrated action-exploration game themed around Norse mythology. You play as the viking warrior Thora who must prove herself to the Gods after dying an inglorious death. Only then will she be allowed to enter Valhalla.
  • Death Squared
    Put your teamwork (and friendships) to the test as you try and solve puzzles in this cooperative puzzle game! Each player must take control of a robot and guide it to it’s color-coded goal. If only it were that easy…
  • Antihero
    A turn-based strategy game where you must use your wits to out-steal and outsmart your opponents in a chaotically paced multiplayer game. Get ready to assassinate, blackmail and bribe your way to victory!
  • Wizardry Bundle
    Play through Wizardry 6, 7, and 8, and bring together the 3 artifacts needed to pursue godhood in the world of Dominus. Once you have assembled all 3 artifacts you must venture forth to Ascension Peak where true terror awaits.
  • Steamworld Dig
    A platforming mining adventure, highly influenced by “metroidvania” style games. Play as Rusty as you dig your way through the earth and collect riches along the way. Just beware of the ominous threat that lurks below…

Be sure to pick up this month’s Free Games with Prime by August 31 and they’re yours to keep forever.

Battlerite Royale Going Standalone

There's a post on the Future and Battlerite Royale on the Battlerite Website announcing that Battlerite Royale is becoming a new standalone game, rather than a new game mode for Battlerite. They say they are working to release this into Early Access next month, but amid the announcements they admit they haven't worked through all the details yet, saying, "There is still work to do before we have all the answers regarding what this means for you as a Battlerite player and we will return with more information when we have a more detailed FAQ fleshed out." They say they that on Monday they will release a roadmap for the rest of this year, and in the meantime offer this explanation for the change in plans:
There were several factors that lead to this “new game mode” becoming a “new game.”

As we continued to develop Battlerite Royale we saw more and more potential in it with every passing day, but we also noticed the difficulties with keeping Royale in the same frame as a “Team Arena Brawler.” With the constraints from Arena limiting us and after seeing the huge reaction from Battlerite Royale’s announcement, we made the decision to protect the integrity of both experiences and create a new game instead of a new game mode.

When the decision was made, we suddenly could do more to make the best possible Royale experience. We re-designed Champion ability kits, rebalanced stats, added new gameplay systems, and removed systems. We also had to develop new matchmaking and rating systems, create a new interface, and a separate onboarding experience.
Continue here to read the full story.

Discord Nitro Store Beta

The Discord Blog announces a Discord Store Beta is now live, as the chat provider seeks to sow discord in the digital distribution world. This is rolling out today to about 50,000 Canadian Discord Nitro subscribers today. They have a couple of twists to offer compared to the competitions. Discord Nitro include a "curated" storefront to help with discovery and they will have some "first on Discord" exclusivity on select independent games. They explain they will also be providing a Universal Library tab to serve as a unified launcher that covers other game providers, just in time to interrupt the inevitable complaints about having to add another such service to your system. Here are some details:
Beyond Nitro — The Store
You ever been in one of those smaller boutique book shops with recommendations from employees written on little note cards? We love that hands-on personal approach to sharing great content with others. We think this kind of cozy neighborhood book shop vibe would be great for games. It reduces clutter and makes it easier to find what you want.

Alongside the upgraded Nitro, we’ll be launching a curated game store experience similar to one of those cozy neighborhood book shops with recommendations about the hottest and newest games from us to you.

The Discord Store Directory
We’ll be showcasing a variety of titles that we think you’ll like. As the store grows, we’ll rely on our community and our team to make the store feel super personal and focused on games that we genuinely think you’ll enjoy! Here’s an example of a Discord employee’s recommendation of Dead Cells:

For our store, we’re excited to announce we’ll be supporting “First on Discord” titles — indie games that we’ve helped bring to life. Supporting indie games pushes the boundary of creative game design and is important to innovation and the long term health of the industry. Of course, we think the games are really cool too!

To be very clear, First on Discord games are temporarily exclusive. They’re literally first on Discord — usually 90 days and then the developers can sell anywhere else they want. This beta won’t have any First on Discord titles, but we’ll be showing off some soon!

One Convenient Library
One more surprise for today! We know it’s frustrating to have a bunch of game launchers, so we’ll be adding a Universal Library tab to the Discord home screen as well.

If you want, Discord can scan your computer for games. Then, you’ll be able to launch any of your games through Discord even if they require another launcher (Discord will boot the other launcher and game). This way, you don’t have to worry about which game boots from where!

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Well it seems a little incongruous amid the sweltering heat, but preseason tackle football begins in earnest tonight following last week's hall of fame game. My hometown New York Football Giants will be part of the proceedings, as they take on the Cleveland Browns. This seems natural, as folks will get a first chance to see the first two picks in the draft as pros. Of course this also means that we're putting a national spotlight on a game between last season's two worst teams, but I guess you have to take the bad with the good.

R.I.P.: Richard H. Kline Dead: ‘Camelot’ Cinematographer Was 91.

Rookie Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Poly War 2.
Stories: Oscars Popular Film Category: Academy Members React.
Media: This Toddler Being Harassed By A Pack Of Puppies Might Be The Best Thing You Watch Today.
Massive Explosion in Italy. Michael Bay worthy.
He just wants to play. Murder dog!
Follow-up: 'Superman' actress Margot Kidder's death ruled a suicide. Thanks RedEye9.
Southern California fire may have been set intentionally.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.