Archived News:

Friday, Jan 25, 2019

Anthem Demo Issues

VG247 reports on the issues many players are experiencing trying to access the VIP demo for Anthem, BioWare's upcoming mech action/RPG. EA Help offers this tweet and this one to explain what they're doing about it:
We're adding more server capacity to the #Anthem demo right now. Hang tight while we work to get everyone into the game.

We're looking into the infinite loading issue with the #AnthemGame demo. In the meantime, try relaunching the game and rejoining your mission to see if that helps you.

DRAGON BALL FighterZ Free Weekend

A free weekend is underway on Steam for DRAGON BALL FighterZ, the ballz fighting game for Windows. The game, which celebrates the first anniversary of its release tomorrow, is also on sale right now for 60% off. Word is: "DRAGON BALL FighterZ is born from what makes the DRAGON BALL series so loved and famous: endless spectacular fights with its all-powerful fighters." Here's a feature list:
High-end Anime Graphics
Using the power of the Unreal engine and the talented team at Arc System Works, DRAGON BALL FighterZ is a visual tour-de-force.

3vs3 Tag/Support
Build your dream team and sharpen your skills to master high-speed tag combinations.

Thrilling Online Features
Ranked matches, interactive lobby, crazy 6-player Party Match... There is something for every taste!

Exclusive Story Mode
Discover a never-seen-before scenario featuring Android 21, a brand new character whose creation was supervised by Akira Toriyama himself.

Spectacular Fights
Experience aerial combos, destructible stages and famous scenes from the DRAGON BALL anime in 60FPS and 1080p resolution!

Play Grimmwood - They Come at Night for Free

Also free on Steam for the next two days is Grimmwood - They Come at Night, a co-op survival MMOG for Windows (thanks Ant). This one is also on sale for the duration for 50% off, and the bundle of the game and its supporter pack are 41% off. The 50% off sale runs through February 4th, and anyone who has played the game for free qualifies. Here's a description:
Grimmwood is a challenging co-op MMO, which seamlessly blends together elements of survival, strategy and exploration into one game.

You are plunged into the middle of a mystical forest and you will be part of a village with up to 39 other human players; all of which you have never met before. Each day at midnight the monsters will attack your village and you have to band together to organize your defenses successfully in order to survive. In the daytime you explore the depths of the forest to gather its resources or you can stay within the safety of the village to construct or repair buildings and walls in preparation for the inevitable hordes of monsters which will attack you relentlessly.

Choose wisely though on what you want to do! Every action you take costs stamina points of which you only have a limited amount of during each day cycle.

H-Hour: World's Elite Free Weekend

Steam is offering one more free weekend, with the chance to play H-Hour: World's Elite until Sunday without taking out your wallet (thanks Ant). This is a team-based multiplayer, tactical, military shooter. This was designed by David Sears as a spiritual successor to the early SOCOM games he helped create for the PS2. This Windows game is still working its way through the Early Access process, and is on sale for half off for the weekend as well. Here's word on the game:
H-Hour: World's Elite™ (H-Hour) is a tactical, team-based multiplayer military shooter in which cooperation among players is required for success. The game uses a Third Person perspective to enhance the player's situational awareness. This battlefield perspective rewards strategic awareness and teamwork. Designed as a spiritual successor to the early SOCOM series, H-Hour is primarily a one life game that encourages players to think strategically and work as a team in order to avoid waiting in the dead room until the round ends. A respawn mode is also offered. This allows for player warmups and to help new players adjust to the Third Person perspective prior to joining the community in the more punishing one life game play.

Subnautica: Below Zero Early Access Next Week

Unknown Worlds announces that Early Access to Subnautica Below Zero begins on January 30th, offering a countdown timer ticking off the seconds until the release. They plan a livestream to celebrate at that time, providing links for potential viewers. They stress that this does not mean development is complete: "Below Zero is not finished. It is full of bugs. It lacks polish, runs poorly, and is missing features. We are offering Early Access not because we want your money, but because we want your feedback. We make better games when we make them with you." Here's word on how this follows the underwater action of the first Subnautica game:
Dive into a freezing underwater adventure on an alien planet. Set some time after the original Subnautica, Below Zero challenges you to survive a disaster at an alien research station on Planet 4546B. Craft tools, scavenge for supplies, and unravel the next chapter in the Subnautica story.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup


PUBG Corporation announces they are beta testing PUBG LITE in Thailand, as they contemplate a free-to-play version of PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS that will support lower-end systems. They offer system specs and details on what the beta includes for now, and say: "This test is limited to play in Thailand only for now and will help us determine if this is a viable product for other regions." Here's word:
Our goal for PUBG LITE is simple:

Deliver the PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS experience to players in areas where the core game’s required specifications are more difficult to achieve due to the hardware available. To this end, the PUBG LITE team has focused on balancing lower hardware requirements, without compromising on our quality standards. The end result is a build that is playable even on computers and laptops utilizing integrated graphics.

PUBG LITE is a standalone product from the core PUBG game and as such has its own dedicated dev team that will create exclusive content and quality of life features while also adding maps and content familiar to PUBG players. And best of all, the PUBG LITE client is a free product, making it easier than ever to enjoy PUBG’s unmatched gunplay and heart-pounding Battle Royale experience.


Steam News announces the release of RESIDENT EVIL 2 / BIOHAZARD RE:2 on Steam, offering the Windows version of this survival/horror remake. This post reacts to reports of players encountering video issues during cutscenes, outlining how to solve this with the proper video codecs. Here's a launch trailer, and here's a description of the game:
The genre-defining masterpiece Resident Evil 2 returns, completely rebuilt from the ground up for a deeper narrative experience. Using Capcom’s proprietary RE Engine, Resident Evil 2 offers a fresh take on the classic survival horror saga with breathtakingly realistic visuals, heart-pounding immersive audio, a new over-the-shoulder camera, and modernized controls on top of gameplay modes from the original game.

In Resident Evil 2, the classic action, tense exploration, and puzzle solving gameplay that defined the Resident Evil series returns. Players join rookie police officer Leon Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield, who are thrust together by a disastrous outbreak in Raccoon City that transformed its population into deadly zombies. Both Leon and Claire have their own separate playable campaigns, allowing players to see the story from both characters’ perspectives. The fate of these two fan favorite characters is in players hands as they work together to survive and get to the bottom of what is behind the terrifying attack on the city. Will they make it out alive?
Continue here to read the full story.

Fallout 76 Survival Mode Plans

Bethesda announces details about a new survival mode coming to Fallout 76 in a future update. They also discuss other changes coming to the post-apocalyptic RPG with details on plans for Patch 5, which they say is due by the end of this month. Here's a bit on Survival Mode:
Survival mode is not for the faint of heart! All players, except your teammates or event groupmates, are automatically flagged as hostile toward one another by default. There are no “invitations” to PVP combat in Survival mode. You can attack other players without restriction from the first shot you line up, meaning every encounter you have with a stranger could turn deadly in the blink of an eye.

Further, level scaling in Survival mode will work the same way it does in Adventure mode today. This will help to level the playing field a bit and give newer characters a fighting chance against high-level players they might encounter during their adventures in the Wasteland. As a result, you’ll need to keep your wits about you during every hostile encounter, because even low-level characters can pose a real threat.

Ubisoft Changing Controversial Assassin's Creed Odyssey DLC

Ubisoft announces plans to change the ending of the Legacy of the First Blade - Shadow Heritage DLC for Assassin's Creed Odyssey following the negative reaction to how it removed player agency over their sexual preferences in the game (thanks Here's word:
After hearing player feedback and discussing within the development team we are making changes to a cutscene and some dialogue in Shadow Heritage to better reflect the nature of the relationship for players selecting a non-romantic storyline. These changes, along with renaming a trophy/achievement, are being made now and will be implemented in an upcoming patch.

We’ve also been carefully looking at the next episode, Bloodline, to ensure the paths that players experience mirror the choices they make in game.

Anno 1800 Delayed

Ubisoft announces a delay to Anno 1800, saying the newest installment in the strategy series is due on April 16th. This was previously expected on February 26th. They express regrets about the setback, but say the extra time allows for additional polish and tuning to allow them "to deliver a game that fully lives up to its potential." To this end, they say a closed beta will begin on January 31st, and we will start seeing videos and evaluations, as this does not involve any NDAs. The push to complete the game is not stopping them from looking past the release, as they say that as it nears they will reveal "some cool ideas for future post-launch content for the game." Here's the announcement:
Today we have an important update for all our Anno Union members: The release date of Anno 1800 will now be April 16, 2019.

This wasn’t an easy decision for us because we know how much you are looking forward to the release, and we ourselves can’t wait to have you all experience the full game. Since the announcement of the game at Gamescom 2017, we have always been committed to deliver the best Anno experience possible at launch.
We are very happy with where the game and its wide mix of new and classic features are today, but we know that it can be even better with a little additional polish and tuning. These extra weeks will allow us to deliver a game that fully lives up to its potential.

Of course, you don’t have to just take our word for it! Starting next week on January 31st, our Closed Beta test will allow many of you to get your hands on the game to see for yourself how we are bringing the world of the industrial revolution to Anno. On that note, we are also happy to confirm that the Closed Beta won’t have any NDA- so feel free to discuss, create videos or to stream the game to your heart’s content.

In the coming weeks to launch, you can look forward to more news and details regarding Anno 1800 right here on the Union, as we discuss an all-new feature, give you more details on the multiplayer, lift the curtain on Anno 1800’s campaign and preview the game’s orchestral soundtrack. You should also keep an eye out for previews from a variety of websites who recently got their hands on the game.

Finally, we wanted to let you know that the Anno 1800 journey won’t end at launch. We will share more details closer to April 16th but can assure that we have some cool ideas for future post-launch content for the game.
We are humbled by your excitement and passion for the game, and hope you support our decision to take a little more time to make it as polished as it can be.

PlanetSide Arena Delayed - Closed Beta and Founder's Season Planned

Daybreak Games announces a delay for PlanetSide Arena, the upcoming battle royale installment in their online shooter series (thanks MP1ST). The game was announced last month for release next Tuesday, but they've identified "crucial feature enhancements and core systems improvements we can make that will lift PlanetSide Arena to the level it deserves." They say they will run a closed beta test starting next Tuesday which will lead to a founder's season for preorder customers that will begin on February 20th, offering exclusive rewards. Here's part of the announcement:
What we’ve discovered during playtesting is that while we’ve made significant strides towards that goal, there are crucial feature enhancements and core systems improvements we can make that will lift PlanetSide Arena to the level it deserves. This game is a passion project for our team, with massive potential to occupy a unique space within the PlanetSide series and the overall shooter genre. And while we agonized about this decision down to the deadline, we ultimately decided taking extra time to supplement our feature set, fully optimize engine performance, and improve server infrastructure was absolutely necessary to deliver the quality, polished game the PlanetSide community deserves.

That’s why today we’re announcing that PlanetSide Arena will now launch on March 26, 2019. Along with our new date announcement, we're also introducing an exclusive Founders Season to get our most dedicated fans in before launch (more details below). We know the delay will be frustrating to some, but we believe this game will be truly special, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill your – and our – lofty expectations.

Rainbow Six Siege Ban Wave

PCGamesN notes a "gloriously big ban wave" recently hit Rainbow Six Siege, the tactical shooter sequel. Ubisoft has not commented on this publicly, but it was quite public in the game, as the kill feed named and shamed offenders, in each case saying they were "banned for being boosted by a cheater." This can be seen in videos a couple of videos on Reddit, and there is another post there warning not to play with sketchy friends to avoid being caught up in something like this. After basking in some sweet schadenfreude, fans of the game may be interested in this post from a couple of days ago that shares thoughts from the balance team on where they want to take the game in future patches, including specific changes they are planning.

Atomic Heart Video

A new video from IGN shows off about 10 minutes of gameplay from Atomic Heart, a game that features what they call "BioShock-on-acid weirdness (in a good way)." Here's word on the game from its description on Steam:
Atomic Heart is an adventure first-person shooter, events of which unfold in an alternative universe, during the high noon of the Soviet Union. The main character of the game is a special agent, who was sent to a highly secret object by the Soviet government after it went radio silent.

Soviet setting with a pitch of insanity, action-packed gameplay and a thrilling story will keep you entertained for the whole duration of your journey into the world of Atomic Heart.

Unfold the secrets, restore peace and order, and show the Motherland what you got!
Continue here to read the full story.

Sunless Skies Launch Trailer

A new launch trailer for Sunless Skies shows off Failbetter Games' RPG sequel that's due to graduate from Early Access on January 31st. A post on Steam discusses the launch, attempting to influence influencers into streaming the game with charitable donations:
We hope you are as excited for the full release as we are! We'll be going live at 1800 GMT on 31st January with the launch update, which includes The Blue Kingdom region and a host of fixes, updates and stories.

At the same time, the SUNLESS SKIES 10k Challenge goes live! We're donating £1 to SpecialEffect for every minute of SUNLESS SKIES streamed in the 24 hours after launch.

Find a streamer who is taking part by searching twitter for #sunlessskies10k. We hope you'll show them support and help us raise some much-needed funds for a great cause!
Continue here to read the full story.


PIKUNIKU is now available for Windows, macOS, and Linux (and Switch), offering a puzzle/exploration game with a cutesy art style that belies its darker dystopian themes. The launch trailer offers some stop-motion animation along with gameplay footage to show what this is all about. The PIKUNIKU Website has more details on the game and links to where you can pick up a copy. Here's word on the game, including an appeal to the fringe with its talk of a deep state conspiracy:
Pikuniku is an absurdly wonderful puzzle-exploration game that takes place in a strange but playful world where not everything is as happy as it seems. Help peculiar characters overcome struggles, uncover a deep state conspiracy, and start a fun little revolution in this delightful dystopian adventure. Players can set off on a remarkable journey alone through a word full of memorable inhabitants with sometimes bizarre requests for help or pair up with a friend in cooperative levels custom designed for two players.
Continue here to read the full story.

Guardians of Ember Relaunch Plans

Publisher Gameforge announces plans to relaunch Guardians of Ember later this year, saying the action-oriented MMORPG will return as a free-to-play game. Besides the new business model, they promise other enhancements: "This new version of the game is now F2P and features numerous improvements -- to gameplay, missions, character customizations, the UI, and more -- and expanded regional localization support across North and South America, Europe, and select Asian territories." They are offering the chance to be selected for closed beta testing on the Guardians of Ember Website. A new trailer shows off gameplay, and below you can find more on the plan:
Guardians of Ember combines the Hack’n’Slash and MMORPG genres into an action-oriented multiplayer online game, creating a pulse-pounding combination accessible to hardcore fans of and newcomers to either genre. Players choose from among four races and six different character classes and optimize their skillsets with endless options. Combat is brutal, tasking players with calculating their attacks for optimal damage in order to tear the opposition to shreds. Featuring fifty-eight different regions, over sixty randomized and challenging dungeons, and foes from all planes of existence, Guardians’ world of Olyndale is vast and filled with challenges. Those who join the crusade to reclaim the holy ember — alone or with friends — are in for an epic adventure where they’ll enact righteous fury against evil.
Continue here to read the full story.

GOD EATER 3 Trailer

The latest trailer from GOD EATER 3 shows off character customization and transforming weapons in the upcoming action/RPG sequel. Here's word: "This latest entry of the GOD EATER action-RPG series will include a robust character creator, brand new giant enemies to slay alone or with a group of allies, all-new weapons and dynamic battle mechanics, engrossing storyline, as well as dual Japanese and English voice acting. GOD EATER 3 will launch on February 8, 2019 throughout the Americas for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and PC via STEAM®." Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Previews

  • Far Cry New Dawn on "Hands-On: Mad Maximum Effort: Road (Warrior) Testing."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Cooler Master MH751 Gaming Headset on TechPowerUp.
  • Creative Outlier ONE Plus In-ear Headphones with Built-in MP3 Player on Mad Shrimps.
  • MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z 11 GB Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.
  • Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD on TweakTown.
  • StarTech Mini Thunderbolt 3 Dock on TweakTown.

Out of the Blue

Our gingerbread festival yesterday was a roaring success. The kids and adults all had fun, and the cookies turned out great. In the background we even had the Great British Baking Show playing, which is surprisingly a favorite of one of the twins (perhaps more surprisingly, the boy). I enjoyed the process as well as the show, and have to admit I may be in the process of being drawn in by baking. I've always found this daunting, but if it would actually be cool if I overcame being intimidated, as my grandfather was a big on baking after growing up working in a family bakery. I even have some old recipes of his I could try out, which is pretty cool.

Half-Baked Links: Thanks Ant.
Stories: Disney Considers Ending "The Simpsons."
Science: Is Ancient DNA Research Revealing New Truths — or Falling Into Old Traps? Thanks j.c.f.
Fried chicken increases risk of death by 13 percent in some women. Thanks RedEye9.
Media: Honest Trailers - Unbreakable.
Your friend who always has a knife. Thanks Boing Boing.
VaevTissue - -Train Your Immune System- With Used Tissues.
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