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Friday, Sep 21, 2018

Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close

USgamer has a confirmation of layoffs at Telltale Games following a reports on Gamasutra that originally indicated developer may have shut down completely, and it sounds like only a matter of time before it does. The company is retaining a small team of about 25 after the layoffs, which The Verge says came with very short notice and no severance pay. They are not specifying what this skeleton crew is working on, but it's reported that they are to finish The Walking Dead game and then the studio will close (thanks Ars Technica), with their planned Stranger Things game and The Wolf Among Us 2 reportedly cancelled. Telltale has been the subject of some negative headlines recently, as there have been reports of a toxic culture there, and they were sued in the spring by their former CEO, and their statement to USgamer indicates things have taken a turn for the worse:
Today Telltale Games made the difficult decision to begin a majority studio closure following a year marked by insurmountable challenges. A majority of the company’s employees were dismissed earlier this morning, with a small group of 25 employees staying on to fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners. CEO Pete Hawley issued the following statement:

“It's been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale as we worked to set the company on a new course. Unfortunately, we ran out of time trying to get there. We released some of our best content this year and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, but ultimately, that did not translate to sales. With a heavy heart, we watch our friends leave today to spread our brand of storytelling across the games industry.”

Telltale will issue further comments regarding its product portfolio in the coming weeks.

Overwatch Plans Include Torbjörn Rework

A new Overwatch update video, Jeff Kaplan explains, in his usual cheerful manner, that he has many things to talk about. Primary among them is word that Torbjörn is getting a rework, sure to delight critics of the stalwart engineer who do not recognize that there isn't a comp, map, or game mode that can't benefit from some lovingly placed turrets. He says that Torb won't drastically change before outlining drastic changes, including the removal of armor packs, the removal of turret leveling, the scrapping of the scrap system, and the addition of a new ability called overload that works a lot like the molten core ultimate formerly did to make him a more viable damage dealer. Molten Core is also getting changed so that Torbjörn can spray pools of liquid magma for AOE damage. Jeff offers a general outline of hero changes they are planning and changes to their colorblind mode that sounds like a great improvement over most such efforts. He also talks about events, teasing the imminent return of the Halloween event, but saying they are backing away from drastic gameplay changes for events while focusing more on improving existing systems. Finally he admits a social feature he's vaguely teased in the past is being delayed out of this year, and does not yet carry a new target window. Continue here to read the full story.

Amnesia: Dark Descent Adding Hard Mode

For those who prefer their games erect, Frictional Games announces plans to add a "Hard Mode" to Amnesia: Dark Descent, their survival/horror game that was not considered easy in the first place (thanks Rock, Paper, Shotgun). They say this counterpoint to the game's recently added "safe mode" will come with the Amnesia: Collection when it is released next week on Xbox One, after which it will be added to Amnesia: Dark Descent on PC and Xbox, saying they hope to get this done by the end of the year. Here's word on how this will add to the game's difficulty:
It is really just as the title suggests: a mode that makes it harder to beat the game. You know, in case The Dark Descent wasn’t stressful enough for you.

The Hard Mode has the following features:

  • Autosaves are disabled, and manual saving costs 4 tinderboxes
  • Sanity dropping to zero results in death
  • Less oil and tinderboxes throughout the levels
  • Monsters are faster, spot the player more easily, deal more damage and stay around for longer
  • There is no danger music when the monsters are near.

So in summary: the environments are harsher, the monsters more unforgiving, insanity is deadly, and death is final – unless you pay a toll.

You can pick between normal mode and Hard Mode when starting a new game of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The mode changes some fundamental elements of the game, and therefore can’t be changed halfway through.

A Machine for Pigs and Justine do not feature this mode.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: There's a Bob Ross toaster (and it chars an image of him on the bread). Remember, there are no burnt slices, just happy accidents.

STONE Released

STONE is now available on Steam, offering a "hip hop stoner noir" adventure staring a hungover koala detective (you know, the usual). This trailer celebrates the news with a look at the game. The description this offers is written in the main character's voice:
G’day I’m Stone. Here’s our Steam page. Play this feature length interactive story and see what happened. Yeah it was rough, but a good life lesson. Enjoy and remember don’t do this at home ya bunch of crazy animals. By the way this story really isn’t going to be for everyone. So enter at your own risk mate.

P.s I did a flaming feature list below. Like you need any more reason to WISHLIST this!

P.P.s I’m @StoneKoalaPI and follow @ConvictGames those mammals were crazy to tell my story!

FLAMING FEATURES:

  • 3rd person so you can rotate a drone cam around me and move me like Voodoo
  • Deep, reference heavy, hip hop influenced interactive story never told, mate.
  • Drinking, dancing and smoking for your pleasure. I recommend a Negroni.
  • Map based free roam so you can explore the world at your own pace. Here’s some tips:
  • Echo for great techno, Smoky Possum for some liquid gold and my flat. It’s comfy mates.
  • A cast of my mates. Like Les, weirdo and kanye lover and my gorgeous chookie Alex.
  • BTW if you see Cockie, tell her I’m sorry again. If you see Devil, run, run, run!
  • Amazing licensed tracks from sick up and coming indie musicians.
  • Like Ryan Little, Luchii, Ilkka S, Warchief, James Tottakai & More
  • Seriously the music is great. There’s hip hop, trap, stoner rock and heavy techno!
  • Also THERE”S CLASSIC MOVIES!!! Yeah you can watch film classics like
  • Sentimental Bloke, Night of the Living Dead & Story of the Kelly Gang ( CONVICT REPRESENT )
  • Hang out with me.
  • It’ll be bonza and hell, I think you’ll be a better bloke, sheila & person from it too.

Your mate,

Stone.

Continue here to read the full story.

Wizards Tourney Begins

Wizards Tourney is now available on Steam, offering a melee combat party game for Windows with support for up to four players. This includes local multiplayer support, which requires a game controller (which can be shared) and online support through Parsec, as outlined in this post. Here's a new trailer to celebrate the occasion, and here's more:
For lovers of non-stop party melees, Spanish independent studio A Bonfire of Souls is releasing Wizards Tourney on Steam (PC) today.

Wizards Tourney is a competitive party game for up to four players in which different warlocks and witches from around the globe challenge each other to prove who is the best wizard of all. Choose among 12 different characters and start the battle in 6 fantastical settings full of traps and obstacles. Wizards Tourney can be played online through Parsec.

“In Wizards Tourney you can compete either against your friends in the same computer or online if you use Parsec”, says David Báez, Game Designer and Programmer at A Bonfire of Souls.

“Select the magician you feel more comfortable with and start the the battle right away –direct gameplay just like classic party games do!”, highlights Álvaro Anaya, Game Designer and Graphical Artist at A Bonfire of Souls.

Wizards Tourney will also be released on PlayStation 4 sometime this year. The game has been awarded by the regional biz magazine Málaga Hoy as one of the best National Indie Games in 2018, and it has been selected by the PlayStation Talents program in Spain as a featured project.

Features

  • A chaotic and fun competition. Never stand still, take action!
  • Each trial is a different challenge and employs a unique game mechanic. Don’t forget to annoy your rivals!
  • The environment is different in each gameplay. Think fast or you will fail!
  • Wizards, sorcerers and conjurers from all over the world.
  • Simple controls and easy to learn rules. A tourney in which everyone can participate, but just the best will win!

Continue here to read the full story.

Farming Simulator 19 Video

With the game two months off, a new video from Farming Simulator 19 offers a look at crops being harvested in the upcoming agrarian simulation. They say this is the game's first gameplay video, but we're not sure that's accurate. This shows the addition of cotton as a new cash crop, and also provides some of the game's signature tractor porn: "In today's new trailer, Harvesting Crops, discover the basics of farming, including one of the new crops - cotton, using the latest brands, vehicles, and equipment in Farming Simulator 19." Here's more on how the game will let you sow your wild oats when it's released on November 20th:
Farming Simulator 19 is the deepest, most complete farming simulator ever as the multimillion-selling franchise takes a giant leap forward and provides the richest farming experience ever made for consoles and PCs. The game is an accurate simulator at heart, filled with deep management options, though it is also an accessible sandbox featuring two huge new maps, countless vehicles and a range of equipment to play with. Farming Simulator 19 boasts the franchise's largest roster yet with over 300 unique vehicles and equipment from all the leading brands, now including John Deere alongside Case IH, New Holland, Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson, Valtra, Krone, Deutz-Fahr, and many others.

At launch, Farming Simulator 19 will include two new American and European environments, filled with exciting new farming activities. Plant and harvest many types of crops including the all-new cotton and oats. Tend to your livestock – cows, pigs, sheep, chicken – and for the first time raise and ride horses to explore the huge environments.
Continue here to read the full story.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

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Out of the Blue

Congrats to the Cleveland Browns and their fans on the team's first victory since 2016. I have to confess I did everything I could to prevent this by picking the Browns in our football pools, even to cover the spread! But they overcame this tremendous handicap and pulled out an inspired come-from-behind victory. Here's hoping it doesn't take them another 635 days to rack up their next win.

Winning Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Chicka Boom. Don't Ya Jes' Love It?
Links: Colorado Mascot Shoots Himself In The Balls After Accidentally Facing T-Shirt Cannon Wrong Way.
‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Facts About Drugs and Alcohol. Thanks RedEye9.
Stories: Trent Reznor: "We are very excited and proud to be working with @damonlindelof & @HBO on WATCHMEN." Thanks nin.
A shocking number of Americans never leave home.
Science: Cases of Alzheimer's, dementia to double by 2060, CDC says.
"Gambling Brain" Studies Make Clear Why It's Hard to Stop Rolling the Dice. Thanks RedEye9.
On Ecstasy, Octopuses Reached Out for a Hug. Thanks Slick.
Media: This Anime Trailer For 'Star Wars: A New Hope' Is Honestly The Best Thing We've Seen In Months.
Dune Buggy makes impressive vertical climb.
Earth's deadliest animal.
The Worst Roofing Job Ever.
Follow-up: Big nutrition research scandal sees 6 more retractions, purging popular diet tips.
No, that Sunspot Solar Observatory didn't see aliens. It's far more grim.
Small satellite demonstrates possible solution for 'space junk'. Thanks RedEye9.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.
Adult Children.
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