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Thursday, Dec 06, 2018

ATLAS Next Week

This reveal trailer shows off ATLAS, an new pirate-themed MMOG from ARK developer Studio Wildcard featuring naval combat and some fancy water effects. There is already a countdown on the ATLAS website showing that this will first set sail one week from today on Steam. Here's the description of what to expect:
From the creators of ARK: Survival Evolved comes ATLAS - a massively multiplayer first-person pirate adventure.

Stake your claim in the endless open world as you conquer territory, construct ships, assemble forts, plunder settlements and hire crew to join your powerful armada.

Campaign with over 40,000 simultaneous online players, as your influence expands from a small island, to a pirate empire that spans the Globe. Wage battle against enemy ships, dive deep into the briny water to explore sunken wrecks and claim your treasure!

Discover new lands rich with elements, tame natural and mythical creatures, raid forgotten tombs, confront powerful ancient gods and even build your own colonies, cities, and civilizations in this ultimate quest for glory!
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The Outer Worlds Announced

Obsidian officially unveils The Outer Worlds, a sci-fi role-playing game that was hinted at earlier this year by the discovery of its trademark. This trailer shows this off with a good dose of humor and Iggy Pop. The description includes some early details:
Watch the official announcement trailer for The Outer Worlds, a new single-player first-person sci-fi RPG from Obsidian Entertainment and Private Division.

In The Outer Worlds, you awake from hibernation on a colonist ship that was lost in transit to Halcyon, the furthest colony from Earth located at the edge of the galaxy, only to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy it. As you explore the furthest reaches of space and encounter various factions, all vying for power, the character you decide to become will determine how this player-driven story unfolds. In the corporate equation for the colony, you are the unplanned variable.
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Scavengers Announced

The Scavengers Website is now accepting signups from those interested in play testing this "co-opetition" shooter set in a frozen wasteland. Midwinter Entertainment introduced this at the Game Awards with this trailer which offers a helpful description:
In a not-so-distant future, a cataclysmic event has led to a new ice age, and a vast, frozen wasteland awaits exploration. The best chance of overcoming the challenges of this post-apocalyptic world is by working together. Faced with extreme weather and limited resources, hostile inhabitants and opposing players, explorers must team up to complete objectives, improve their gear, weapons, and tools, and ensure the survival of the human race.

Scavengers is a survival shooter “co-opetition” game from Midwinter Entertainment, an independent development studio founded by game industry veterans with the mission of creating meaningful connections through experiences that demand teamwork.
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Hades Early Access

Supergiant Games announces Hades, a new hack-and-slash game from this studio that created Bastion and Transistor. The Hades Website is live, revealing that this is available right now in Early Access. They have an Early Access FAQ to explain the process, and an Early Access Trailer to show off the game. This is offered through the new Epic Games Store, so there's another adventure to be had along the way for those who want to visit the underworld. Supergiant Games offers this brief description:
Hades is a rogue-like dungeon crawler in which you defy the god of death as you hack and slash your way out of the Underworld of Greek myth. Now available in Early Access.
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Far Cry New Dawn in February

Ubisoft officially unveiled Far Cry New Dawn at the Game Awards, saying the next installment in the shooter series has a February 15, 2019 release date. To prepare us, the Far Cry Website has a few articles up explaining the game's setting in Hope, Montana, 17 years after a nuclear catastrophe and offer this trailer showing a Mad Max vibe. Here's more on the open world game:
Today at The Game Awards, Ubisoft unveiled Far Cry® New Dawn, the newest installment of the award-winning Far Cry franchise. Set in a breathtaking post-apocalyptic world, Far Cry New Dawn will release on February 15, 2019 for PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X and Windows PC. Players can pre-order Far Cry New Dawn now for $39.99.

Set seventeen years after a global nuclear catastrophe, Far Cry New Dawn brings players into a wildly beautiful and radically transformed Hope County, Montana. Life has begun to emerge from the chaos, but the survivors now face a new threat – the merciless Highwaymen and their leaders The Twins, Mickey and Lou. Raised in a lawless frontier, the twin sisters and their band of scavengers live only for today and have descended upon Hope County to take all available resources. To push back this devastating threat, players must help the Survivors grow stronger, craft a makeshift arsenal and form unexpected alliances to fight for survival in a dangerous new frontier.
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Journey to the Savage Planet Announced

Typhoon Studios announces Journey to the Savage Planet, an adventure game set on an alien world they unveiled at the Game Awards with a teaser trailer. Typhoon is a recently launched studio co-founded by former Ubisoft Montreal creative director Alex Hutchinson and other industry veterans. They say their first game will launch for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One next year, and that we should expect more details on this soon. In the meantime, the Journey to the Savage Planet website offers A Message from Kindred Aerospace, a humorous live-action clip, and the trailer has the following description:
Launching in 2019 on PlayStation 4, Journey to the Savage Planet is an upbeat first-person adventure game set in a bright and colorful alien world filled with weird and wonderful creatures. As an employee of Kindred Aerospace, which proudly touts its rating as the “4th Best Interstellar Exploration Company”, players will be dropped onto an uncharted planet deep in a fictitious, far-away corner of the universe. Launched with high hopes but little equipment and no real plan, players are tasked with exploring, cataloging alien flora and fauna and determining if the planet is fit for human habitation.
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Get Company of Heroes 2 for Free

SEGA and Relic announce they are celebrating this year's fifth anniversary of the release of Company of Heroes 2 with a giveaway where everyone can pick up the base version of the World War II real-time strategy game for free. You can grab your free copy between now and December 10th on Steam, and all the game's DLC is also now on sale. Word is the celebration also includes a big tournament:
From December 6th at 10AM PT until December 10th at 10AM PT, players who have yet to dive in to this critically acclaimed World War 2 real-time strategy game can do so for free! Anyone who logs on to Steam during this period can add the Company of Heroes 2 base game to their library, and it's theirs to keep after the promotion ends. This is the perfect opportunity for new players to experience a fantastic single-player campaign, epic Theatre of War scenarios, and of course spectacular multiplayer battles throughout a variety of historical WW2 locations. To all the fans out there already playing Company of Heroes 2, make sure to spread the word to your friends, and recruit some new soldiers to fight on your side!

As well as the Company of Heroes 2 5th Anniversary Giveaway, Relic Entertainment and SEGA Europe are proud to present the finals of the Anniversary Classic, a massive tournament featuring some of the best COH2 players from all over the world battling head to head for a prize pool of over $20,000 USD!

Top level COH2 teams have been duking it out in qualifying rounds over the past few months, and it all comes to a head as the eight remaining teams go to battle for glory (and spoils of war) in the Grand Finals on December 8th & 9th. COH2 community casting legends A_E and Stormless will be covering the action from a studio in Manchester, and fans can watch the action unfold live on Twitch at Keep an eye on the Company of Heroes 2 Twitter account for more details!

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Free Trial

SQUARE ENIX announces a free trial is now available for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the latest (yet earliest) Lara Croft adventure. The Windows version is available through Steam, where it is also currently on sale, and the free period runs for the next two days. This post explains further:
Experience the beginning of Lara Croft's defining adventure with the Shadow of the Tomb Raider Free Trial. Journey to Cozumel, Mexico in the midst of The Day of the Dead celebrations, where Lara and her trusted friend Jonah must race against Trinity to find a hidden tomb.

Immerse yourself in Lara’s newest adventure, and see why critics are calling this a thrilling conclusion to Lara Croft’s origin story. After completing the trial, those who purchase Shadow of the Tomb Raider will resume right where they left off, keeping all of their progress and unlocks.

Killing Floor 2 Free Content and Free Weekend

Steam News announces a free weekend is underway in Killing Floor 2 as Tripwire Interactive celebrates the release of Killing Floor 2 Twisted Christmas 2018, which features a couple of new maps along with all sorts of additional holiday content, including the inimitable Gary Busey as Badass Santa. Here's a Season's Beatings Launch Trailer for Twisted Christmas, which takes advantage of Busey's eloquence, and here's word:
In celebration of Killing Floor 2's Twisted Christmas update, play Killing Floor 2 for FREE starting now through Monday at 10AM Pacific Time. You can also pickup Killing Floor 2 at 67% off the regular price!*

The update includes new maps, 4 new weapons, play as Badass Santa and much more!
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DayZ Leaves Early Access Next Week

Bohemia Interactive announces the seemingly endless dayz of Early Access for DayZ will come to an end next week with the official release of the survival shooter on December 13th. We'd say the zombie game is shambling out at that time, but that still sounds rushed since this will be almost five years to the day after Early Access began. Here's word, including the tip that there's still time to buy the game before it switches to its full price:
Bohemia Interactive today announced that DayZ, the open world, online survival game, is launching worldwide on PC on December 13th. Originally releasing as a Steam Early Access title in 2013, DayZ has attracted over 4,000,000 players and received a complete technology overhaul during its 5 years of development, along with numerous new features.

The post-soviet country of Chernarus is struck by an unknown virus, turning the majority population into frenzied infected. Fighting over resources has bred a hostile mentality among survivors, driving what’s left of humanity to collapse. You are one of the few immune to the virus – how far will you go to survive?

DayZ is an unforgiving, authentic survival experience. Up to 60 survivors on a server engage in a completely unscripted gameplay scenario with no goals given, except for one: to survive as long as they can, by all means necessary. There are no superficial tips, way-points, built-in tutorials, or help given to players. Every decision matters, and every mistake can be lethal. If you die in DayZ, you lose all your character progress and start over, as the game features a permadeath concept.

In DayZ, hostile player interactions – or simply just struggling through severe weather – can easily turn into intense, nerve-racking moments where you experience very real emotions. On the other hand, meeting with another friendly survivor in DayZ can lead to a true friendship that lasts a lifetime.
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Stellaris: MegaCorp Launches

Paradox Interactive gets down to business, announcing the release of the MegaCorp expansion for Stellaris, adding cutthroat economics to the cutthroat action in the sci-fi strategy game. A new trailer offers a rosy promo for MegaCorp that will have you looking to become a shareholder. Would you like to know more?
Stellaris: MegaCorp gives players a whole new way to make a name for themselves in the galaxy with Corporate Authority and Branch Offices allowing them to expand operations and influence across the stars. The economy can be ruthless when it’s all about the bottom line, but with MegaCorp, players can wield a number of profit-oriented features to build an empire anchored in the glorious ideals of space capitalism. Alongside a host of free updates coming to Stellaris, the new MegaCorp expansion will include:

  • Corporate Culture: Chief Executive Officers of a MegaCorp can conduct business on a galaxy-wide scale with a host of new civics. By building Branch Offices on planets within empires they have trade agreements with, the MegaCorp can add a portion of the planet’s Trade Value to their own network. Using the new Corporate Authority government type, construct an economic powerhouse and dominate galactic trade - for a brighter future.
  • City World: With Ecumenopolis, players can increase the population density of core worlds to truly epic proportions, eventually creating a planet-spanning megacity.
  • Caravaneer Fleets: Keep an eye out for the Caravaneers, nomadic interstellar wheelers-and-dealers who stay aloof from galactic politics, and always have a bargain up their sleeve. Expect surprises when these master traders wander through your space or when you visit their home systems.
  • More Megastructures: The budget has been approved for your own glorious Matter Decompressor, Mega-Art Installation, Interstellar Assembly or Strategic Coordination Center to acquire new scaling capabilities for your megalopolis.
  • Galactic Slave Market: Buy and sell labor on an industrial scale, set them free or keep them as livestock. The choice is yours!
  • VIP Status Comes with its Perks: Keep your economy competitive in a cutthroat galaxy with additional Ascension perks.
  • Advisors and music: 3 Additional Advisors and 4 music tracks to help you conquer the Galaxy.

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Star Control: Origins Adds Free Reinforcements DLC

If you are overwhelmed playing Star Control: Origins, Stardock has your back, as they've sent in reinforcements with the new free Reinforcements DLC for the space strategy game. Players now have almost twice as many playable vessels in Fleet Battles mode, adding depth to fleet composition. This post has details on the new ships as well as the version 1.3 update that is part of the release, which is available on Steam. Here's word:
With the holidays approaching, we wanted to give our Star Control®: Origins™ community the gift of violence with the FREE Reinforcements DLC we put out today. Nearly doubling the amount of playable vessels for the Fleet Battles mode, Reinforcements will allow players to experience additional depth when putting their fleets together for combat.

Each new vessel has a unique weapon loadout and a sleek new design. All of the new ships are available for multiplayer and competitive play and have been carefully balanced for an equal and fun gameplay experience for all players.

In addition to the free DLC, a v1.3 update also released today. The update adds new features in order to entice additional exploration during the main game, including uncovering rumors of a Scryve super weapon, improved controls on the main Vindicator ship, and powerful new weapons waiting to be discovered. New weapons have also been added to the crafting menu, including the Fragmentation Missile, Rapid Laser, and more.

Jagged Alliance: Rage! Released

THQ Nordic subsidiary HandyGames announce the release of Jagged Alliance: Rage!, a new installment in the Jagged Alliance series that's now available for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. The Official Website is home to the project with all you need to know, and it offers this page to direct you where to pick up your copy. A new release trailer takes a look, and the announcement tries to seal the deal:
“Silent night … sniper shot … no alarm, all still calm. Four more steps and ending your turn ...” Rejoice in the newest Yuletide carol as Jagged Alliance: Rage! brings tactical jungle warfare to the holiday season this year. As of today, gamers on PC, PlayStation®4 and the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X can resume the roles of the beloved Jagged Alliance mercs in a brand-new adventure set 20 years after the original game.

Pulled out of retirement to clean out a jungle filled with brutes who are definetly on the naughty side of Santa’s list, Ivan Dolvich, Helmut "Grunty" Grunther, Charlene "Raven" Higgins and more of the old Jagged Alliance crew must battle through a hand-crafted campaign filled with twists and turns. Supporting both solo and two-player online co-op play, Jagged Alliance: Rage! is a spin-off bursting with outlandish characters, explosive gunplay, tactical stealth and even experimental drug powers. The SRP for the PC version is £15.99 / €19.99 / $19.99, and the console editions have an SRP of £26.99 / €29.99 / $29.99.
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Earthfall Adds Free Content

This post on Steam announces the release of new free content for the Windows edition of Earthfall, the cooperative first-person shooter. This includes new skins, a new progression system, and an overhaul of melee weapon audio. Here's the news:
The update introduces the devastating new ValkBait grenade, a host of new skins, an extension of the player progression system with levels 51 through 65 and updated audio design for melee weapons.

Led by Oscar-nominee Alan Rankin, renowned Hollywood sound studio Formosa Group was brought on by Holospark earlier this year to completely revamp Earthfall’s sound design. Players were first able to hear the improvements in October’s Invasion Update, which updated the audio of the game’s ballistic weapons. In this update, players will hear improved and realistic audio for the game’s melee weapons.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Battle Edition

Activision announces a new Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Battle Edition is now available exclusively on, offering a discounted entry into the Blackout battle royale mode in the shooter sequel. The introductory price for this is $29.99, about $29.99 less than the full version of the game, and about $29.99 more than some competing battle royale games. Here's more:
“Since launch, the response on Black Ops 4 from the PC community has been fantastic, and the game has continued to drive strong engagement with players,” said Rob Schonfeld, Senior Vice President, Global Digital and Mobile Commerce at Activision. “The Black Ops 4 Battle Edition is a great way to bring even more new players into the game and allow them to jump into the incredibly fun Multiplayer and Blackout modes which fans have loved so much since day one.”

The Black Ops 4 Battle Edition offers the full Multiplayer and Blackout experiences, and is compatible with all existing copies and online lobbies for those modes on PC. For fans interested in getting their hands on even more, an upgrade to the Digital Standard Edition on PC – includes Zombies mode, 1,100 Call of Duty Points and Digital Edition bonus items – will also be available for purchase.

Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon Game Early Access

Chef: A Restaurant Tycoon Game is now in Early Access for Windows on Steam, offering the chance to see what developer Inner Void is cooking up in this food service simulation. This trailer shows off how you can customize your avatar, kitchen, restaurant, menu, and more as you work your way up the food chain. Here's more:
Prepare yourself for a real sandbox experience where all your management choices matter as you build your gastronomic empire. What will it be? A steakhouse? A vegan paradise? A pasta palace? An experimental cooking lab? Only you can figure out which path is best for your establishment.

Chef allows you to personally don a kitchen apron and embark on an exciting career in the wild world of professional cooking. Starting with nothing but pocket change, a small restaurant, and an ambitious dream, you’ll ascend from the life of a humble cook to that of a world-famous chef. Enjoy your new kitchen!
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Evening Interviews

Evening Mobilization

etc., etc.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Goes F2P; Adds Battle Royale

Lana! Valve announces Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is now free-to-play, and is also entering the danger zone with the addition of a new battle royale mode called Danger Zone. Those who have already paid for the the multiplayer shooter are being rewarded with Prime Status, which can be earned or purchased by everyone else, bringing its own perks and rewards. This page is home to the new mode, and the announcement has more details:
A new battle-royale game mode for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), dubbed Danger Zone, is now available. In addition, CS:GO has gone free to play.

The next time existing owners of CS:GO login to play they will have their game files automatically updated via Steam to include the new Danger Zone mode. In addition, these players will be automatically upgraded to Prime Status (both free of charge).

Meanwhile, all Prime Status players are now eligible for the new Prime-exclusive Danger Zone Souvenir MP5-SD | Lab Rats.

Those new to CS:GO will have the option to play or pay their way to Prime Status ($14.99 US).

CS:GO is one of the world's most played online games and a leading esports title.

New AMD Adrenalin Drivers

AMD Drivers & Support now offers new version Adrenalin Edition drivers for AMD graphics cards. As you can infer from the extra decimal, this is a minor update, which they describe as "optional." The Release Notes clarify why, noting the new release includes support for the Epic Game Store, which is an unusual basis for a driver update. Thanks [H]ardOCP.

Fortnite Battle Royale Season 7 Kicks Off

A new trailer for Fortnite Battle Royale promotes the new Season 7 in Epic's survival shooter with some holiday cheer as well as a holiday ambush. Word is: "Takes [sic] to the slopes and skies in Season 7. A mysterious iceberg has smashed into the island, bringing new frosty locations and gameplay, including a new flying vehicle: the Stormwing. Jump in now and start playing." Meanwhile, another new video outlines what's included in the Season 7 Battle Pass. Word on that is: "The Season 7 Battle Pass has over 100 rewards to unlock. New this season: Wraps! Customize your vehicles and weapons with a new look as you battle for your Victory Royale. The Battle Pass is available in-game for 950 V-Bucks." This post has the compete patch notes. The intro reads:
Season 7 arrives as the Iceberg collides with the island. Discover new areas such as Frosty Flights, Polar Peak, and more! Uncover what’s in the new Battle Pass, rule the skies with the new X-4 Stormwing plane, and change the style of some of your favorite weapons and items with Wraps in Battle Royale. Explore Fortnite Creative, a new experience where you can create, play, and save anything you can imagine on private islands! In Save the World, the Stand and Fight campaign comes to an exciting conclusion as Canny Valley Act 3 is released!
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DYNASTY WARRIORS 7: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition Released

Steam now offers the release of DYNASTY WARRIORS 7: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition for Windows (aka 真・三國無双6with 猛将伝 DX), an updated version of this action game set in China's Three Kingdoms era. This includes the base game, its Xtreme Legends expansion, and some DLC content along with other gameplay and quality-of-life improvements. A new trailer shows this off, and the announcement explains more:
KOEI TECMO America announced today that DYNASTY WARRIORS 7: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition is now available for the first time digitally on Windows PC via Steam® for $19.99.

The game includes all of the flashy action of DYNASTY WARRIORS 7 and DYNASTY WARRIORS 7: Xtreme Legends, while also adding in much of the DLC released to date – including the ability to equip two weapons instead of one; not to mention character levelling, weapon customization, and the ability to play as historic Chinese figures in both Challenge and Legend modes.

DYNASTY WARRIORS 7: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition’s rich story transports gamers to the heart of the Three Kingdoms; enabling them to play through the historic storylines of Shu, Wei, Wu, and Jin in true one-versus-thousands gameplay. Two-player co-op, both online and offline, is also available through Conquest mode.
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Warhammer Vermintide 2 Goes Back to Ubersreik Next Week

Fatshark announces a December 10th release date for Back to Ubersreik, the new DLC for Warhammer Vermintide 2 that returns to areas from the original Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide. This is coming on Steam, and in the meantime they offer an in-house interview with lead level designer Daniel Platt discussing the process of adapting maps from the first game to the sequel. Word is: "Vermintide 2's Back to Ubersreik DLC lands on December 10th in all its remastered and amplified glory, complete with its foreboding gothic architecture, narrow murky streets and crumbling ancient monuments, all set under a chilling night sky. It’s time to return where it all began and ended."

Truck Driver Trailer

A new tractor-trailer trailer offers the first look at gameplay from Truck Driver, the upcoming cargo transportation simulation in the works at SOEDESCO and Triangle Studios. Their explanation of the clip does not mention this is coming to PCs, but the game's Steam listing says otherwise. Here's word:
SOEDESCO has revealed the first gameplay trailer for Truck Driver, the trucking experience that’s on its way to PlayStation®4 and PS4 Pro, as well as the family of Xbox One devices including Xbox One X. In this trailer, players can get a first glance at the different features that Truck Driver has to offer. Two important aspects highlighted are the variation of clients and cargo in Truck Driver, and the focus on career progress in the game.
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Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Amid all the hubbub yesterday on Facebook about my negligence in cleaning up after my dog walk was my unspoken amusement that a second poop bag remained unaccounted for after it was all said and done. I knew it was missing, but was too caught up in the first scandal to worry too much about it. Today I discovered it in the driveway of one of the doggies' best friends, Elvis the Woodle, who, in spite of being named after the king, is actually female. In contrast to yesterday's lost bag, which was sitting untouched, this one had been run over at least once, and had burst. The good news is that it was frozen solid, so what looked like a horrible mess came up cleanly without a trace. Meanwhile, I think I need to start a campaign to place more public garbage cans around our village to help stop the scourge of miscreants like myself.

Recidivist Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Total Party Kill.
Links: 2019 Golden Globe Nominations- Full List of Nominees.
Stories: Penis Facials: Skin Care Trend Uses Circumcised Infant Foreskins. Thanks Boing Boing.
Visalia teacher arrested for forcibly cutting kid's hair in class while singing 'Star Spangled Banner.' Thanks again Boing Boing.
Science: From a Deceased Woman’s Transplanted Uterus, a Live Birth.
Zainab Mughal, toddler in need of rare blood, sparks worldwide search for donors.
Carbon dioxide emissions rise in 2018, scientists say.
Follow-up: Researchers say they created a 10-minute universal cancer test, but experts remain skeptical.
Falcon 9 misses landing after latest SpaceX mission to the ISS.