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Tuesday, Nov 06, 2018

  

ARK: Extinction Live; ARK Celebrates With Free Week

ARK: Extinction is now available on Steam for Windows, macOS, and Linux, offering a new expansion for ARK: Survival Evolved, the primeval survival game. This announcement explains how to transfer characters from their current servers into the expansion, and also reveals the game is free-to-play for the next week to give new players a chance to check it out. Here's word:

On launch you'll be able to transfer your existing character from your current server into Extinction. You will not be able to transfer items or tames. You can however transfer characters, items, and tames out of Extinction onto other maps. If you were around for the release of Scorched Earth or Aberration this is the exact same process those servers underwent.

There are no disabled engrams in Extinction like there was at Aberration's launch, meaning things such as Tek Teleporters are allowed. Creatures like flyers are also enabled on Extinction.

We will be introducing North American and European Extinction servers first. We will be releasing an initial start batch of servers, and bringing more servers online as needed so please be patient for us during this period. The servers will be the standard 70-player cap. Extinction will be included in all CrossARK clusters (except 'TheHundred'), as well as Conquest and Small Tribes servers. Extinction will not be supported in Primitive Plus on launch, but it is something we will consider looking into at a later date. Extinction will also not have NoTek/NTek-NoTaming, Primitive, or TheHundred servers for those currently playing on those subsets of gamemodes. The legacy network will get a few servers, however they will be in small supply.

ARK: Survival Evolved will be free to play for a week, starting November 6th 10AM PST through November 11th! On-board your friends and family who have not experienced to give them a taste of The Island, Ragnarok, or The Center yet for no cost during those few days. And consider buying it if you enjoyed your time on the ARK to keep on surviving!

Riot Games Sued Over Gender Discrimination

Kotaku has details on a lawsuit against Riot Games for gender-based discrimination filed by one former and one current employee of the League of Legends developer. Riot came under public fire for their office culture over the summer, prompting them to commit to drastic changes. They offer details on the suit, saying the plaintiffs are seeking to have this declared a class action:

The lawsuit alleges that, “like many of Riot Games’ female employees, Plaintiffs have been denied equal pay and found their careers stifled because they are women. Moreover, Plaintiffs have also seen their working conditions negatively impacted because of the ongoing sexual harassment, misconduct, and bias which predominate the sexually-hostile working environment of Riot Games.” Riot violated California’s Equal Pay Act and law against gender-based discrimination at the workplace, the complaint argues.

The plaintiffs are asking for compensation on unpaid wages, damages, and other penalties, with an exact amount to be determined at trial. They also ask the court to certify the suit as class action.

OVERKILL's The Walking Dead Shambles Out

Steam News announces that OVERKILL's The Walking Dead is now available for Windows as promised. Word is: "OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead is a four player co-op action FPS, where you fight the dead as well as the living. Set in The Walking Dead Universe, you and your group try to survive in a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C." Here's more on this zombie-infested action game:

OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead is an action-filled four-player co-op multiplayer first-person shooter set in Washington, D.C. after an outbreak brought the dead back to life. In this test of skill, strategy and teamwork players will band together with up to three friends on a variety of missions, securing supplies as well as survivors to strengthen their camp against the threat of both the dead and the living - by any means necessary.

A New Story Within the World of The Walking Dead. In OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead, players are introduced to Aidan, Maya, Grant and Heather; four people brought together by necessity and the willingness to do whatever it takes to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic world. Inspired by the rich story universe of Robert Kirkman’s original graphic novels, OVERKILL’s The Walking Dead sheds light on some of the events that take place in Washington D.C.

Welcome to the Wasteland of Washington D.C. Explore the capital after the outbreak, and discover what happened. Journey through the districts of the desolate city, and search lost neighborhoods such as Georgetown for loot, supplies and other survivors. Tread lightly, as any noise can be heard by both the dead and the living, and any mistake runs the risk of attracting a horde of walkers.

Rainbow Six Siege Operation Wind Bastion Revealed

The Rainbow Six Blog has details on year three, season four in Rainbow Six Siege, which they've dubbed Operation Wind Bastion. They offer preliminary details, saying it includes "a map that represents the pinnacle of military training facilities" along with two Operators from the Kingdom of Morocco. Ubisoft promises a full reveal on Twitch on November 18th during their pro league finals, and the announcement they sent us has some details not found in the blog post:

Today Ubisoft® reveals the first details of “Operation Wind Bastion” which will feature two new Operators, one Attacker and one Defender hailing from the Kingdom of Morocco. Operation Wind Bastion will also introduce a new Fortress map, which will be the first ever map to be heavily associated with an Operator.

FORTRESS, a military training facility located in the Atlas Mountains, will provide players with a rare opportunity to test their skills inside a stunning mudbrick Kasbah with iconic architecture unique to the southern region of Morocco. The map will be comprised of two distinguishable sections offering a variety of open space, points of cover, and lines of sight for both close and long range engagements.

The full reveal of Year 3 Season 4 content for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege will be made November 18 during the Pro League Finals taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Transpose Released

Virtual reality game Transpose is now available on Steam for owners of HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headsets. This is a puzzle game where you work with past versions of yourself by recording your actions, and then playing them back for a solo co-op experience. This trailer offers a look at how this works. Here's a bit more:

In room-scale VR, Transpose players use their spatial problem-solving skills to manipulate their past actions and the environment, as VR’s motion tracking capabilities record players’ movements and play them back in real time. With three unique worlds containing over 30 mystifying levels, Transpose features nearly 8 hours of gameplay that challenges players to collect and sacrifice energy to power up a mysterious ancient machine.

Continue here to read the full story.

Developer on How Steam Works

Dude, Where's My Money: Part One: The Science of Steam on GamesIndustry.biz is a breakdown on what it's like for a developer to sell their game on Steam from AurumDust's Nikolay Bondarenko. The appeal of this to other indies is obvious, but it also offers some interesting insights into how Steam works behind the curtain (inside the valves?), discussing things like wishlist conversion rates, how Valve doles out promotional opportunities, the pros and cons of Early Access and more.

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Into the Black

Blizzard Denies Pulling Diablo 4 Tease

IGN has an official response to the rumor that a tease for Diablo 4 planned for BlizzCon was cancelled at the last minute. Blizzard did announce a mobile game titled Diablo: Immortal, but did not share any news about a new AAA installment in the action/RPG series, and the backlash is strong enough that it's believed to have hurt Activision Blizzard stock values. They recently announced they "currently have multiple teams working on different Diablo projects," but Blizzard denies to IGN that they had any intention of teasing any other Diablo games at the show:

"First off we want to mention that we definitely hear our community. We generally don’t comment on rumors or speculation, but we can say that we didn’t pull any announcements from BlizzCon this year or have plans for other announcements. We do continue to have different teams working on multiple unannounced Diablo projects, and we look forward to announcing when the time is right."

Bethesda Responds to Fallout 76 Exploitation Concerns

A thread on Reddit discusses various concerns about Fallout 76 security, and the possibility the upcoming RPG sequel will be vulnerable to exploits, noting the first mods to allow cheating in the game are already appearing. There's a statement about this from Bethesda on Eurogamer, and while the company states some of these claims are inaccurate, they do acknowledge room for improvement in this regard, saying they will be tightening up certain aspects of the game's security. Unsurprisingly, they don't go into detail about which concerns they do and do not see as legitimate:

"Many of the claims in the thread are either inaccurate or based on incorrect assumptions. The community has however called to attention several issues that our teams are already actively tracking and planning to roll out fixes for," a Bethesda spokesperson told us via email.

"Our goal is always to deliver a great experience for all our players. Cheating or hacking will not be tolerated. We know our fan base is passionate about modding and customising their experience in our worlds and it's something we intend to support down the road."

GRIP: Combat Racing Races Out

Wired productions offers the chance to get a grip with the release of GRIP: Combat Racing, a new multiplayer game where road range is the order of the day. This launch trailer shows off the game, which is available for Windows on Steam and is also out for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. They also say the launch day sees the first payoff on their promise to support the game with free tracks with the first such release. Here's word:

Honoring the commitment to bring further tracks to the game free of charge, and in celebration of today’s launch, the first bonus track has been released. Joining the 22 unique and gravity defying tracks already announced, the new course called SAAT Coast will challenge aspiring racers to employ super-human reflexes as they traverse a perilous jungle.

Taking full advantage of the current generation of gaming hardware and benefiting from the potential that comes with building on Unreal® Engine 4, GRIP: Combat Racing accelerates ahead of the racing crowd by offering players gravity-defying physics reaching speeds of over 767 mph - making it the fastest racing game on four wheels. Along with the breakneck speeds and intense action, players will generate countless unforgettable gaming moments – online or offline – with split- screen races and tournaments.

Continue here to read the full story.

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Out of the Blue

Today is election day here in the U.S., a chance to practice democracy in the hopes that one day practice will make perfect. Please don't suffer electile dysfunction and fail to do your civic duty. Morbo will now introduce the candidates - Puny Human Number One, Puny Human Number Two, and Morbo's good friend Richard Nixon.

Elected Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Vehicle Simulator.
Story: Bill Gates brandishes poo to showcase reinvented toilet tech. Bill gets the good shit.
Science: The Next Big Thing in Health Is Your Exposome. Thanks j.c.f.
A Deadly, Fast-Spreading Form of Super-Ice Could Be Killing Off Alien Life-Forms.
Want To Regrow A Whole New Body- Flatworms Might Hold The Key.
Media: Backdraft training (wait for it).
Just because you can go fast, doesn't mean you should.
Weatherkid.
Follow-up: Spanish scientists: EnChroma glasses won’t fix your color blindness. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster just floated past Mars.

Monday, Nov 05, 2018 Guy Fawkes Night

Rumor: Blizzard Pulled a Diablo 4 Announcement

Blizzard missed an opportunity to mitigate the backlash to their BlizzCon announcement of Diablo: Immortal for mobile if an unconfirmed rumor on Kotaku is correct in saying that the company pulled plans to tease Diablo 4 at BlizzCon at the last minute. They attribute this to "two people familiar with Blizzard’s plans" who say the mobile announcement was to conclude with the news that a proper sequel in the action/RPG series is in development, but not yet ready to show. They describe the no comment they got back from Blizzard in an unusual way: "Blizzard said it did not immediately have comment on this story." The Diablo: Immortal announcement generated controversy, but this report recalls that Diablo III was not without its own issues. The game launched with an online auction house that was very unpopular, eventually provoking a major post-release rework amid shakeups atop the development team. From Kotaku's account, it sounds like they are still a little shell-shocked from that misstep, which may be why they would slow-walk an announcement:

The reactions could have been very different. Blizzard changed its BlizzCon plans for Diablo at some point in the last couple of weeks, those people familiar with goings-on at Blizzard said. One of those people told me that the Diablo team wasn’t yet ready to commit to an announcement, as Diablo 4 has changed drastically over the past four years and may continue to change further. (We’ve heard it’s gone through at least two different iterations under different directors.)

Hearthstone Celebrates 100M Players

Blizzard announces Hearthstone has passed the 100 million player threshold. They discuss the history of the strategy game, and say that to celebrate the milestone, they will be giving out rewards to those who play their cards right and attend their elegantly named 100 Million Players Celebration:

As a way of commemorating Hearthstone’s 100-million-player milestone and thanking players everywhere for bringing the game to life, Blizzard is holding a special in-game event from November 7 through 11. During the 100 Million Players Celebration event, players who log in to the game will receive a one-time reward of six free packs from the most recent expansion set, The Boomsday Project™. In addition, players will be able to complete a series of “Celebrate the Players” event quests to earn up to 500 gold—which can be used to acquire card packs from any set in the game and participate in the Arena mode, a fun alternative form of competition in Hearthstone.

New AMD Drivers

AMD Support now offers new Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.10.3 drivers for AMD graphics cards running under Windows. Word is these offer performance gains for Assassin's Creed Odyssey along with support for Forza Horizon 4:

Support For

  • Assassin's Creed® Odyssey
    • Up to 3% faster performance in Assassin’s Creed® Odyssey using Radeon™ Software Adrenalin Edition 18.9.3 on the Radeon™ RX 580 graphics card than with Radeon™ Software Adrenalin Edition 18.9.1 at 1920x1080 (1080p).RS-254
    • Up to 5% faster performance in Assassin’s Creed® Odyssey using Radeon™ Software Adrenalin Edition 18.9.3 on the Radeon™ RX Vega 64 graphics card than with Radeon™ Software Adrenalin Edition 18.9.1 at 2560x1440 (1440p).RS-255
  • Forza Horizon 4

Fixed Issues

  • Stutter may be observed when exceeding Radeon FreeSync range in certain high framerate scenarios.
  • System configurations with 16 CPU cores may experience a random system reboot during installation when upgrading Radeon Software from a version older than RSAE 18.8.1.

Known Issues

  • Some AMD Ryzen™ Desktop Processors with Radeon™ Vega Graphics system configurations may experience a black screen during installation downgrade to a previous Radeon Software version. A recommended workaround is to perform a clean install during Radeon Software installation.
  • Radeon RX Vega Series graphics products may experience elevated memory clocks during system idle.

Cheap Golf Tees Off

Steam News announces the release of Cheap Golf on Steam, offering Pixeljam's "surreal minigolf comedy" for Windows, Linux, and macOS which is also available on itch.io. This trailer introduces the game, its AI antagonist SUSAN, and a graphical style they call "retromodern," though we don't see much modern amid an ATARI 2600 level of retro. Here's word:

Hello, my name is SUSAN. and I am the host of CHEAP GOLF. Here are some things you should know about this game:

  • It is a surreal low-poly minigolf comedy. You will fling a boop into the goal many times and I will talk to you between levels. Eventually you will hear my voice.
  • There are many colors and sounds to tickle your eyes and ears. You will also use your hand quite a bit.
  • The game currently includes 3 episodes with over 140 levels of boop flinging.
  • You can make your own levels and cutscenes with the editor, but it's a hidden feature that I will only reveal if you ask me nicely.
  • I will be monitoring trillions of your nanogestures and modeling them into FEEL-THINKS, my favorite snack.

Thank you for your engagement.

Continue here to read the full story.

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Into the Black

"Remember, remember! The fifth of November, The Gunpowder treason and plot; I know of no reason. Why the Gunpowder treason. Should ever be forgot!"

Link of the Day: Everything You Need to Know About the Deadwood Movie (So Far). I'm one happy coc... Well, let's just say I'm happy.

Surviving Mars: Space Race Next Week

Paradox Interactive announces the countdown is underway for the November 15th launch of Space Race, the first expansion for Surviving Mars, their interplanetary colonization game. They celebrate the news with a new "feature breakdown" trailer looking at what to expect. They also offer more details, including word on a livestream on Wednesday:

Paradox Interactive and Haemimont Games have today announced that Surviving Mars’ first expansion Space Race will launch on November 15th, 2018 for PC, Xbox and PlayStation. With the introduction of rival colonies, players can look forward to a whole new side of extraterrestrial colonization with other settlements racing for milestones and key colonists as competitors, or issuing distress calls and trading as crucial allies. Either way, the cold expanse of space just got far less isolated with new rival colonies and new mission sponsors footing the bills.

Whether your approach to colonization of alien planets is fast and furious, or slow and steady wins the space, get all the information you need to get ahead in the new feature breakdown trailer here:

Or, check out the new expansion for yourself! Paradox is hosting a streaming event called Space Race - Rival Colonies Stream on the 7th of November at 17:00 CET 08:00 PST at the Paradox Mixer channel, and you can follow the Space Race here: https://mixer.com/paradoxinteractive

Surviving Mars: Space Race features include:

  • A Challenger Appears: Compete for milestones and anomalies with several other AI colonies backed by rival sponsors attempting to set roots on Mars and vie to become this planet’s superpower. You can trade with, respond to distress calls for, issue distress calls to, and even steal important colonists from these competitor colonies as you establish your territory on Mars.
  • Earth to Mars, repeat, Earth to Mars: No matter how deep in space you go, you need to follow the money. Each sponsor comes with unique, new sets of goals to complete as you further their individual goals for colonization.
  • Represent the Home Team: Each sponsor has their own unique vehicle and building that only their colonies can construct and take advantage of in their mission. Express the individuality of your space-faring conglomerate inside and out of your domes.
  • New Money, New Problems: Meet two new players in the fight for the final frontier. Japan and Brazil are now available as brand new mission sponsors and are ready to move heaven and Mars to make their mark!
  • Expect the Unexpected: Experience narrative events throughout your colonization process that help reveal the realities of life in the dome and challenge your management skills.

Continue here to read the full story.

U.K. Sales Charts

Red Dead Redemption continues to be the new sheriff in town according to GFK Chart-Track's write-up about their latest chart tracking video game sales in the U.K. for the week ending November 3rd. Word is: "‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ retains the No1 spot as it becomes the biggest selling second week for a title in 2018. Warner’s ‘Lego Harry Potter Collection’ re-enters the chart at No8 with the release of its Switch and Xbox One formats, while Sega’s ‘Football Manager 2019’ makes the Top 10 in its debut week in at No9. The No15 spot sees another re-entry due to the release of its Switch format, this time Activision Blizzard with ‘Diablo III: Eternal Collection’. Our final new release in The Top 40 comes in at No27 for Maximum Games’ ‘Call of Cthulhu’." There's no RDR2 to contend on their PC-specific chart tracking the same period, but the debut of Football Manager 2019 managed to kick Black Ops 4 out of the top spot, pushing The Sims out of their comfort zone. Here's their list of the 10 bestselling PC games in the U.K. for last week:

POS. TITLE LABEL LAST WEEK
1 * FOOTBALL MANAGER 2019 SEGA -
2 ˅ CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 4 ACTIVISION 1
3 ˅ THE SIMS 4 EA GAMES 2
4 ˅ THE SIMS 4: SEASONS EA GAMES 3
5 ˅ THE SIMS 4: CATS & DOGS EA GAMES 4
6 ˅ FOOTBALL MANAGER 2018 SEGA 5
7 ˅ THE SIMS 4: GET TO WORK EA GAMES 6
8 ˄ THE SIMS 4: BUNDLE PACK 9 EA GAMES 12
9 ˅ THE SIMS 4: CITY LIVING EA GAMES 7
10 ˄ THE SIMS 4: BUNDLE PACK 11 EA GAMES 14

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