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Thursday, Jan 10, 2019

  

Bungie Emancipated (Again)

A new post on Bungie.net announces Bungie's "destiny" no longer lies in the hands of Activision, as they've negotiated an end to their partnership with the publisher that allows them to take publishing control of the Destiny franchise. This is not the first such emancipation for the developer, as back in 2007 they managed to break free from former owner Microsoft, though in that case Microsoft retained control of the Halo series. Here's word on what the future holds for Bungie and Destiny:

When we first launched our partnership with Activision in 2010, the gaming industry was in a pretty different place. As an independent studio setting out to build a brand new experience, we wanted a partner willing to take a big leap of faith with us. We had a vision for Destiny that we believed in, but to launch a game of that magnitude, we needed the support of an established publishing partner.

With Activision, we created something special. To date, Destiny has delivered a combination of over 50 million games and expansions to players all around the world. More importantly, we’ve also witnessed a remarkable community – tens of millions of Guardians strong – rise up and embrace Destiny, to play together, to make and share memories, and even to do truly great things that reach far beyond the game we share, to deliver a positive impact on people’s everyday lives.

We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny. Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects.

The planned transition process is already underway in its early stages, with Bungie and Activision both committed to making sure the handoff is as seamless as possible.

With Forsaken, we’ve learned, and listened, and leaned in to what we believe our players want from a great Destiny experience. Rest assured there is more of that on the way. We’ll continue to deliver on the existing Destiny roadmap, and we’re looking forward to releasing more seasonal experiences in the coming months, as well as surprising our community with some exciting announcements about what lies beyond.

Thank you so much for your continued support. Our success is owed in no small part to the incredible community of players who have graced our worlds with light and life. We know self-publishing won’t be easy; there’s still much for us to learn as we grow as an independent, global studio, but we see unbounded opportunities and potential in Destiny. We know that new adventures await us all on new worlds filled with mystery, adventure, and hope. We hope you’ll join us there.

ESA Pressing WHO on "Gaming Disorder" Plans

A story on Reuters reports that the Entertainment Software Association has been parlaying with The World Health Organization in an attempt to urge the WHO from making an official classification of "gaming disorder" as a health problem. Word is the two organizations discussed this last month in Geneva, and that another meeting is tentatively planned for this year:

The World Health Organization (WHO), which has spent years looking into the addictive nature of video games, put “gaming disorder” on its list of health problems last year, a decision set to be endorsed by governments in May, with potential impacts on, for example, healthcare policy and insurance.

The U.S. gaming industry group discussed the issue with WHO officials in Geneva last month, both sides said.

“It’s our hope that through continued dialogue we can help the WHO avoid rushed action and mistakes that could take years to correct,” Entertainment Software Association (ESA) head Stanley Pierre-Louis said in a statement.

The ESA called for “more conversation and education” before any classification was finalised.

The WHO defined the disorder as when gaming takes over people’s lives for a year or more to the detriment of other activities and the “continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

It said another meeting this year with the industry body was tentatively planned, but the dialogue did not imply collaboration with the games makers.

Get What Remains of Edith Finch for Free

As promised, the Windows edition of What Remains of Edith Finch is now available on the Epic Games Store completely free for anyone with a free account. Developer Giant Sparrow's adventure game was released less than two years ago, and still normally carries a $19.99 price tag. For further enticement, they offer the game's accolades trailer along with the following description:

What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of strange tales about a family in Washington state. As Edith, you’ll explore the colossal Finch house, searching for stories as she explores her family history and tries to figure out why she's the last one in her family left alive. Each story you find lets you experience the life of a new family member on the day of their death, with stories ranging from the distant past to the present day.

Continue here to read the full story.

Get A Story About My Uncle for Free

Another free game is available from Humble Bundle, where they are currently offering A Story About My Uncle completely free for anyone who signs up for the Humble Bundle newsletter. There's another layer to this offer, as it is fulfilled via a Steam key, so a free Steam account is required as well. They provide a gameplay trailer to show off what to expect along with this description of the Windows, Linux, and macOS adventure game:

Summary
A Story About My Uncle is a first person platforming adventure game about a boy who searches for his lost uncle, and ends up in a world he couldn’t imagine existed. Take help of your uncle’s mysterious inventions that let you jump incredibly high and far through beautiful scenery, uncover clues to your uncle’s whereabouts, and meet fantastical creatures that will help you on your journey.
The movement in A Story About My Uncle is a crucial part of its core gameplay – focusing on swinging through the world with a grappling hook that gives the player a wonderful sense of speed and freedom. Soar through a game world with a unique art style and a mysterious story that unravels before you.

Key Features:

  • Grappling hook: An empowering mechanic that gives you a sensation of speed, flow and vertigo like you’ve never experienced before.
  • Explore the world: Visit a wonderful and exciting world - from paradisal caves, to lost civilizations and harsh, mystical landscapes.
  • Emphasis on story: While searching for your uncle you will meet creatures with stories and fates of their own. Take your time to explore the world to dig deeper into the narrative.
  • Non-violent: A Story About My Uncle is a First Person game, but it is driven by non-violent gameplay and a heavy emphasis on story and atmosphere.

Continue here to read the full story.

Amazon Game Streaming Rumor

A subscriber-only article on The Information in reporting that Amazon is planning on expanding its streaming gaming reach beyond Twitch broadcasts with their own streaming service for playing games. This is attributed to "two people briefed on the plans," but remains unconfirmed. The Verge found ample evidence to support the rumor in several Amazon job listings directly related to cloud gaming and cross-platform support. The Verge notes that if this is true, that Amazon would have a leg up on rivals in this area like Sony and Google, since they have infrastructure in place to provide servers relatively local to lots of potential customers. According to Business Insider's reading of the source article, the streaming service isn't expected to arrive until 2020 "at the earliest."

Aftercharge Charges Out

Aftercharge is now available as promised on Steam, offering a three-versus-three multiplayer game for Windows and Xbox One with cross-platform support. The game tests the age-old conflict between an unseeable force and an indestructible object. Okay, that's not really usually a thing, but it's at the core of how this works. Here's a video primer on invisible robots, and here's more:

Stranded and isolated for decades by the very corporation they were built to serve, the discarded robot workers — the workonics — are ready to exact revenge upon their oppressors, the power-hungry Aftercharge Corporation. Harnessing their power of invisibility, they must work together to overthrow their invincible former masters.

Suited for multiple play styles, players can choose one of ten unique class-based characters, from either the workonics robots or deadly Aftercharge Corp. security enforcers. Teams of three must either destroy or defend the coveted energy extractors scattered across the various maps available in Aftercharge — moving invisibly, creating distractions, or going into full “seek and destroy” mode by unloading on foes with hard-hitting weaponry. Quick competitive rounds that require careful planning and strategy to achieve success will keep players’ blood pumping!

Continue here to read the full story.

PC Building Simulator Leaving Early Access This Month

Publisher The Irregular Corporation announces that PC Building Simulator is nearing the end of its Early Access phase, and is getting set to officially launch on January 29th. Here's more on their plans:

The alpha demo of PC Building Simulator enjoyed viral success in 2017 and was the 3rd most downloaded free Itch.io title that that year, with a successful critical and commercial stint in Early Access on Steam last year. The game has been lovingly crafted into a fully-fledged simulation to allow players to learn and build the PC of their dreams. PC Building Simulator currently boasts a ‘very positive’ user rating on Steam with more than 5000 reviews from its dedicated fan community.

The Early Access phase has had constant monthly updates since March 2018, allowing The Irregular Corporation to add all-new features such as custom water cooling, wiring, and overclocking, plus more than 200 new licensed parts - all of it coming together to create the most in-depth simulation possible. Further updates and parts are planned for PC Building Simulator in the coming months. The end of Early Access is not the end of new content.

ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN Multiplayer Trailer

BANDAI NAMCO offers a new trailer from ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN showing off multiplayer action from the upcoming aerial combat sequel. The game comes out on January 31st, so watch the trailer, watch your six, and read on for more:

The art of aerial dogfighting is one of the most dynamic forms of combat, experienced in three dimensions, setting the stage for a highly unique and challenging battleground. Now, with ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN’s multiplayer mode, players can enter dogfights with their friends and coordinate battle strategy to take out opposing players.

ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN’s multiplayer mode will consist of two gameplay variants; the first variant takes on a team death match format featuring 4 vs. 4 dogfights. The second multiplayer variant takes on a traditional death match format, enabling up to eight players to blow each other out of the sky. In both multiplayer modes, only players with skill, guile, and determination will taste victory!

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

R.I.P.: Verna Bloom Dead: ‘Animal House’ Star Dies at 80. "How interesting. I have a husband named Dean Wormer at Faber. Still want to show me your cucumber?"

THQ Nordic Reels in Outcast

Serial shoppers THQ Nordic announce the acquisition of Outcast, saying they've secured the intellectual property for Belgian developer Appeal's action/adventure series directly from its original creators. The announcement does not mention their plans for the franchise, just a bit about the transaction:

THQ Nordic today announced that the acquisition of the intellectual property “Outcast” has been finalized with the three original creators of the game.

The acquisition itself is being handled by THQ Nordic AB, based in Karlstad, Sweden, and daily operations (sales and distribution, evaluation of sequels & new content etc.) will be done via THQ Nordic GmbH in Vienna, Austria.

About Outcast
GameSpot’s Adventure of the year in 1999 puts you in the role of Cutter Slade, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, and right in the middle of the alien world of Adelpha. After a couple of things went South with a probe sent to a parallel universe, Cutter is given the job to escort 3 scientists, close the black hole and safely get everyone back to Earth. So one cakewalk of a job and he blew it... Damn it, Cutter…

Catherine Classic for Windows Released

SEGA announces the release of Catherine Classic on Steam, which is a Windows edition of this puzzle game from ATLUS that came to consoles in 2011. This is sudden, as this was not previously announced, but not surprising, as this was teased last week, and that tease was followed by the discovery of an ESRB rating for a Windows edition. This unification will fracture soon enough, as they will soon release Catherine Full Body for PlayStation 4 and Vita. A new trailer celebrates the PC release, and the announcement explains all:

SEGA® Europe Ltd. is delighted to announce that cult-hit Catherine™ Classic is available now for PC as a digital download for £14.99 / $19.99 / €19.99 on Steam. Catherine Classic will once more explore the pleasures and horrors of love, offer up heavy moral decisions and challenge its players in devious puzzles, now fully optimised for PC in all its Classic glory. Check-out the brand-new trailer here.

Catherine Classic tells a twisting tale of love, betrayal, and the terror of commitment. During the day Vincent has a hard choice to make: marry his long-time girlfriend Katherine or move on to the incredible blonde he just woke up next to — named Catherine. The story can take many paths: make the wrong choice and you could end up dead. At night Vincent's desperation results in terrifying nightmares in which he must climb his way up to survival, with various obstacles hindering his path. LOOK OUT for the sheep!!!

Players can choose either single player, local coop or versus mode for the tower's challenges to determine who is the better climber! Catherine Classic brings to PC the original critically acclaimed action-puzzler, with enhancements for modern PC like 4K resolutions, unlocked framerate, customizable keyboard and mouse controls and optional Japanese Voice Over included. Players will also receive free digital deluxe content – desktop and mobile wallpapers, avatars and soundtrack samples – when purchasing the game in the first two weeks following release.

The original version of ATLUS' classic action-adventure puzzler is available now for the first time on PC, ahead of the Catherine™ Full Body release on February 14th on PlayStation® 4 and PlayStation® Vita in Japan, with a Western Full Body release soon to follow. For more information about Catherine Classic or Catherine Full Body head over to www.catherinethegame.com.

Continue here to read the full story.

F for Fortnite: BBB Declares Battle Royale on Epic Games

Business Insider has word that the Better Business Bureau in Cary, North Carolina has slapped Epic Games with an F rating. Amid the skyrocketing popularity of Fortnite, Epic's battle royale sensation, word is Epic failed to respond to a majority of customer complaints sent to the BBB last year. As they note, companies like Epic have their own internal help desk, but word is that customers who turned to the BBB for resolution were largely met with silence:

As reported by WTVD in Cary, North Carolina, "Fortnite" creator Epic Games received an F-rating from the BBB following hundreds of complaints from upset customers. The BBB rating reflects how a company interacts with its customers, and Epic, which is based in Cary, received the failing grade for a perceived lack of response to customer complaints.

The website for the Eastern North Carolina Better Business Bureau lists 271 complaints made against Epic in the last year, the vast majority of which were left unanswered. As a company with an international product played by millions of players each day, Epic does have their own private support desk for concerns complaints, but some frustrated customers looked to the BBB to help resolve their situation.

Bungie Ends Destiny 2 Puzzle Challenge; Unlocks DLC

Bungie announces they are unlocking the new Bergusia Forge DLC for Destiny 2, despite players' failure to decipher the puzzle that this unlock required. The internet and the game community seem capable of solving most mysteries and ARGs, even those that aren't announced, so it's surprising this direct challenge turned out to be a stumper, but that's what happened. This post is from yesterday, so the DLC is now live:

Today, at 2PM Pacific Time, the Bergusia Forge will be unlocked for all players who own the Annual Pass.

While coming together as a community to solve puzzles can be fun, setting this puzzle up as a gate between you and new content that you want to play has not been an ideal experience. As such, we will be decoupling the puzzle from the final offering of the Black Armory. All Annual Pass owners will be able to experience the Bergusia Forge when the puzzle is solved or when the deadline expires - whichever happens first.

We realize that many of you have been working hard to solve the puzzle of the Niobe Labs. Whatever the outcome, it will remain open for Annual Pass owners who still want to test their problem solving skills. There is a Ghost and an Emblem to earn as evidence that you completed the challenge.

We love trying new things with Destiny, but we’re also flexible enough to pivot when you point out room for improvement. We’ll continue to monitor the conversation about this event and learn from your feedback as we create future content releases.

Thanks for playing. Enjoy the final forge.

A.V.A: Dog Tag Closed Beta Next Week

Korean developer Red Duck announces plans for closed beta testing of Alliance of Valiant Arms: Dog Tag (aka A.V.A: Dog Tag), saying an approximately two week test kicks off next week. They are seeking to refine this online first-person shooter into an sports game, and invite those interested to apply to participate in the testing on the game's official website or join the discussion in their Discord server. Here's more on the testing plans:

The second Closed Beta test will bring a slew of new features and improvements for players to dive into and test out: In the brand new Shooting Range option that can be found in the inventory, players can choose their weapons and attachments to directly test recoil and handling, allowing them to try each weapon with different types of weapon mods before heading into a game. The game will also introduce custom channels providing the opportunity to create rooms to test and play with friends.

Red Duck is also working on redesigning and upgrading the functionality of the UI and in-game HUD. The HUD now shows more detailed analysis of damage dealt and taken as well as additional information about each round played. The UI redesign is almost completed and will contain various new functions. Based on feedback from the community, the game will also include a separate option to manually set the Field of View.

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

  • ADATA SX8200 Pro 512GB NVMe SSD on TweakTown.
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X & 2970WX Graphics Card on Vortez.
  • ASRock X399 Phantom Gaming 6 Motherboard on TechPowerUp.
  • Corsair IronClaw RGB mouse on Guru3D.
  • Corsair M65 RGB Elite Mouse on Vortez.
  • Teufel CAGE 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset on Nikk Tech.

etc.

Out of the Blue

We submitted our blood for testing earlier this week, and today MrsBlue and I head off to the doctor for our annual physicals. I've got my fingers crossed, which I think is scientifically proven to help one's health, so I'm taking care of my end.

Physical Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Some Knights Left.
Stories:
Crime & punishment edition
Adul Saosongyang arrested for stealing his roommate's $10 million lottery ticket.
Four Kids Break Into Houston Carmax, Crash $800,000 Worth of Vehicles in the Lot: Police. Thanks ViperFour.
Science: New Evidence Suggests Dogs Reached North America 10,000 Years Ago. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Watch Scientists Brew Their Own Lava. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Astronomers detect more mystery radio bursts from beyond the Milky Way.
Media: 15 Minutes by Tim Minchin. NSFW.
Freeway sign crushes car in terrifying dashcam footage.
Moose walking down the median.



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