Archived News:

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 Abraham Lincoln's & Charles Darwin's Birthdays

Activision Results & Layoffs; New CoD This Year

Activision Blizzard Announces Fourth-Quarter and 2018 Financial Results. Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick calls these the best in company history, as a way of leading into a confirmation of the rumor they plan on celebrating with layoffs and a restructuring: "While our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential," he explains. "To help us reach our full potential, we have made a number of important leadership changes. These changes should enable us to achieve the many opportunities our industry affords us, especially with our powerful owned franchises, our strong commercial capabilities, our direct digital connections to hundreds of millions of players, and our extraordinarily talented employees." Kotaku has details from the earnings conference call, where Kotick clarifies that office staff is being cut (they place the number of jobs loss at about 800), but they are adding developers. Word is: "The company said it would be cutting mainly non-game-development departments and bolstering its development staff for franchises like Call of Duty and Diablo." Despite the name-check of Diablo, USgamer has another detail from the call, saying there will be "no major frontline release for Blizzard in 2019." Word is they will be concentrating on their already released games. One more tidbit from the conference call comes from Charlie INTEL, where they confirm the unexpected news to expect a new Call of Duty game from Infinity Ward this year. Word is this game will be "rooted in franchise history" and will feature "huge" multiplayer and a co-op mode.

The Division 2 Open Beta Next Month

We just learned about plans for an open beta test for The Division 2, and now Ubisoft comes through with details on the plan, saying testing will kick off on March 1st. This page is home to the beta, and the announcement has word on what to expect:
Today, following the private beta that completed this past weekend, Ubisoft® announced that the Tom Clancy’s The Division® 2 Open Beta will run from March 1 through March 4 on the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Windows PC. More details will be released soon. For the latest news about the Open Beta, please visit:

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 releases worldwide on March 15, 2019, on the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Windows PC.

Led by Massive Entertainment in collaboration with seven other studios around the world*, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is the next evolution in the open-world online shooter RPG genre that the first game helped establish. Set seven months after a deadly virus was released in New York City, Tom Clancy's The Division 2 will bring players into a fractured and collapsing Washington D.C. The world is on the brink, its people living through the biggest crisis ever faced in human history. As veteran Division agents, players are the last hope against the complete fall of society as enemy factions vie for control of the city. If Washington D.C. is lost, the entire nation falls. Building upon more than two years of listening to and learnings from The Division community, Tom Clancy's The Division 2 will offer a substantial campaign that organically flows into a robust endgame, to create a cohesive and meaningful experience for all types of players.

For more information on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, please visit: For the latest news on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 and all of Ubisoft’s games, visit Ubisoft News:

*Associate studios are Ubisoft Reflections, Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Annecy, Ubisoft Leamington, Ubisoft Shanghai, Ubisoft Bucharest and Ubisoft Sofia

Rainbow Six Siege Free Weekend Begins Thursday

Ubisoft announces that a free weekend for Rainbow Six Siege begins on Thursday, offering the chance to check out the latest installment in this tactical shooter series. This is coming to Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and Windows players can start pre-downloading this tomorrow. The game will be on sale for up to 70% off during the event, which applies to new editions of the game they are rolling out for Season 4. In addition to the new editions, Season 4 sees changes to how operators are unlocked, easing progression. Here are the details:
Today, Ubisoft announced that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege will be available to play for free from February 14 to 17*. This Free Weekend is the perfect occasion for newcomers to join the Rainbow Six Siege community. This Free Weekend also comes with up to 70% discounts on the game on all platforms starting today. For more information on the Free Weekend, please visit the Rainbow Six Siege official website.

In the meantime, Ubisoft also announced details around the Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Edition, Deluxe Edition, Gold Edition, and Ultimate Edition, to support the start of brand new content for Year 4 of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Players can purchase the new editions starting today. All current Year 4 editions will see a price reduction.

Year 4 of Rainbow Six Siege will introduce permanent DLC Operator Price Reductions, through the implementation of a scaling DLC operator pricing system. Older DLC Operators will be less expensive and more easily unlocked.

For all Rainbow Six Siege Starter Edition owners, they will be converted to the progression system for unlocking the original 20 Legacy operators, for more information on this and the DLC Operator Price Reductions please visit the Rainbow Six Siege official website.

Additional Year 4 Editions line-up details are available below:
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Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Price of Survival Released

The Price of Survival is now available on Steam, offering the newest DLC for the Windows edition of Shadow of the Tomb Raider. This allows us to learn the price of survival, as this costs $4.99 USD. This video offers a look at gameplay, and this post has all that you need to know about this:
Return to the lush world of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and solve a mystery behind Lara Croft's greatest foe. While trying to crack the private codes of Trinity's leader, Lara must conquer a new single-player challenge tomb filled with poisonous traps, while defeating the elite soldiers that stand in her way.

Equip the new Hunter’s Array outfit, which is a Classic Trinity uniform that makes Lara’s footsteps quieter while running. The outfit also increases the effect of perception plants, providing longer-lasting vision to hunt enemies. Players will also receive the Silent Sting, a pistol outfitted with a silencer for stealthier kills. Finally, the Raptor’s Eye skill improves Lara’s skill tracking enemies, making their outline visible through walls and other obstacles.

As part of the update, tombs from the main campaign, “Judge’s Gaze,” “Underworld Gate,” “Howling Caves”, “Path of Battle,” “Temple of the Sun,” “San Cordoba,” and “Ancient Aqueduct” are all now playable in Score Attack and Time Attack modes.
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Arma 3 Free This Weekend

Bohemia Interactive announces that Arma 3 will be playable for free all weekend, starting on Thursday at 1:00 pm EST, allowing everyone to kick off Valentines Day with some the romance of a military first-person shooter. And if Cupid's arrow lands and you fall in love, the game will be on sale for the duration of the event. Here's the plan:
This Thursday February 14 until Monday February 18 (starting and ending at 19:00 CET/18:00 GMT/10:00 PST), players from all over the world will be able to get some action with the Arma 3 Free Weekend on Steam. Additionally, Arma 3 and all Arma 3 DLC packs (including the Arma Apex expansion) will be on sale with discounts ranging from 20-66% for the duration of the Free Weekend.

The Free Weekend gives Steam users access to the entire Arma 3 base game plus the Arma 3 Apex expansion content. This includes 50+ weapons, 30+ vehicles, 4 massive terrains with a combined landmass of 450 km2, a singleplayer and co-op campaign, individual showcase scenarios, a tutorial prologue campaign, training courses, a variety of multiplayer game modes (including the recently introduced Warlords mode), and the powerful 3D Scenario Editor. Free Weekend participants will be able to carry over all of their save games and Steam Achievements when they decide to purchase the game.

Besides the official game content, players can also make use of the wealth of free community-made content, including the 55,000+ items shared on the Arma 3 Steam Workshop. These items contain additional weapons, vehicles, gear, terrains, missions, multiplayer game modes, and much more. Some of the most popular Workshop items of all-time include the RHS Russian Armed Forces and United States Armed Forces add-on packs, the Halo-inspired Operation: TREBUCHET total conversion, the CUP ports of terrains from previous Arma games, and the original PLAYERUNKNOWN's Battle Royale.

Starbreeze Sells System Shock 3 Publishing Rights Back to OtherSide

Starbreeze announces they have sold the publishing rights to System Shock 3 back to OtherSide Entertainment. Starbreeze has had a rough go of it lately, as the Swedish game company is reorganizing and recovering from an insoder trading incident. Development of System Shock 3 was announced by OtherSide in 2015 and the publishing deal was revealed two years ago. Now word is OtherSide will repay Starbreeze's investment in developing a new installment in the action/RPG series and OtherSide will gain back all the project's publishing rights:
Starbreeze acquired the publishing rights for “System Shock 3” in 2017 and has since then partly financed the development of the game. The title owner OtherSide Entertainment and Starbreeze have now reached an agreement whereby Starbreeze returns the publishing rights for the game to OtherSide and will be able to recoup the development costs.

“I believe this is the best solution for us, although it is sad that we cannot complete the project with OtherSide. System Shock 3 is a fantastic title developed in cooperation with the industry legend Warren Spector and I am looking forward to seeing the game released”, said Mikael Nermark, acting CEO Starbreeze AB.

As previously announced, Starbreeze will focus on its core business of games development and publishing. Starbreeze holds publishing titles for “Psychonauts 2” and “Ten Crowns”.

RAGE 2 Trailer

Bethesda Softworks offers a new trailer for RAGE 2, showing off over nine minutes of pre-beta gameplay from the upcoming first-person shooting and driving sequel. Here's word on the trailer and release plans for the game, including details on preorder incentives:
A lethal dance-off for a sweet new ability, a high-flying trip over a hostile open world, a fight against a very angry man in a mech suit… RAGE 2 has it all in this brand new extended gameplay video. Don’t miss the ending for a sneak peek at what’s coming next!

RAGE 2 will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on May 14, 2019.

Pre-order to receive the exclusive Cult of the Death God mission and don Nicholas Raine’s legendary armor and Settler Pistol. The RAGE 2 Collector’s Edition is also available for pre-order.

Get the full breakdown of all the included goodies on
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World War Z in April; Specs Revealed

Saber Interactive announces April 16 is the release date for World War Z, their zombie game for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. This is based on the 2013 Brad Pitt vehicle and its recently cancelled sequel. Word is: "While World War Z’s core four-player co-op pits players against relentless swarms of AI zombies, the “Players vs. Players vs. Zombie”-mode (PvPvZ) offers a completely unique experience, challenging you to outlive both the living and the dead across a variety of competitive modes designed for 4v4 combat. What separates PvPvE in World War Z from other multiplayer games is the zombie swarm, which storms the arena throughout the match, forcing players to battle both each other and the undead and allowing the tide of the fight to turn in an instant." The game's Epic Games Store listing is now online, offering system specifications, which we've de-uglified:
Minimum Requirements
CPU Core i5-750 / Core i3-530 / AMD Phenom II X4-810
OS Windows 7 and later
Video Card AMD R7 240 GB / Nvidia GT 730 2GB / Intel HD 530
Storage 20 GB

Intel Core i7-3970 @ 3.50GHz
OS 64 bit Windows 10, DX11
Video Card GeForce GTX 960 / Radeon R9 280
Storage 20 GB

JUMP FORCE Ultimate Edition Launches Today

The official release of JUMP FORCE is later this week, but access to the manga fighting game begins today for owners of the JUMP FORCE Ultimate Edition, as a two-day headstart is one of the perks of its premium price. This post on Steam offers the launch trailer and the following explanation:
Created to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the WEEKLY JUMP magazine, JUMP FORCE sees 40 of the manga world’s most famous faces collide - including characters from iconic franchises such as DRAGON BALL, NARUTO and ONE PIECE.

Players will also be able to create their own avatar using customisation items from across each manga brand and fight alongside their favourite heroes online.

JUMP FORCE is available to play early on PlayStation®4, Xbox One and PC from Tuesday 12th February for those that have purchased the Ultimate Edition, or from launch on Friday 15th February.
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Unrailed Announced

Daedalic Entertainment announces Unrailed, an upcoming railroad construction game coming to Early Access on PC this summer. They are going a little off the rails here, as this will take a different route than the usual simulations, as this is described as a Roguelike game with multiplayer support. This will be officially unveiled this weekend at DreamHack Leipzig, where attendees will have the chance to play it in the indie booth. In the meantime they offer a gameplay trailer with a first look, along with these details from the announcement:
Delayed trains and cancelations – sound painfully familiar? Well soon players can prove that they can do better. Unrailed!, the new railroad-building rogue-like from publisher Daedalic Entertainment and developer Indoor Astronaut, is all about getting an unstoppable train safely to the station through a variety of maps featuring cooperative and competitive online and local multiplayer.

Unrailed!'s first gameplay trailer can be found here:

This train just doesn’t stop: while you're fighting for resources against the clock and gluttonous camels, communication is key. The railroad leads you through procedurally generated landscapes, each with its own obstacles, geographic peculiarities and weird inhabitants, some of whom mean the track-laying troupe no good. With a variety of modes available for two to four players in several difficulty settings, Unrailed! offers nearly limitless replay value.

Key Features:

  • Unstoppable train action!
  • Rogue-like gameplay: Procedurally generated worlds for immense replay value.
  • Various landscapes, inhabitants and quests.
  • “Endless mode“: Constant new challenges with various difficulty settings.
  • Crafting elements: Railroad tracks don't construct themselves, after all.
  • Co-op multiplayer: Online or locally in Party Mode.
  • Versus Mode for competitive track-laying.

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112 Operator Announced

Jutsu Games announces 112 Operator is coming early next year, offering a sequel to 911 Operator. This is a take on the same concept, as 112 is the phone number to dial in many countries and from many mobile phones for emergency services. The game now has a Steam listing with images and details, and this trailer accompanies the news, though this just offers footage of real-life disasters. Here's word on the game:
Short Description:
Manage emergency services in any city in the world! Dispatch units, take calls and face situations caused by weather, traffic or changing seasons. Help the city survive escalating events like riots, organized crime, terrorist attacks, cataclysms, natural disasters and many more!

Key Features:

  • Help on a scale bigger than ever before - act on many, completely different levels - from taking care of a single neighborhood, to coordinating several operators’ work in the world’s biggest metropolises.
  • Full 3D visualisation will give you the inside view of your units’ actions. Choose from over 100 000 areas, such as districts, municipalities, and tens of thousands of real cities from all over the world.
  • Dynamic weather, based on authentic, historical data. Watch the incidents change as day or night comes, traffic increases and seasons pass. Watch out for extreme conditions that may lead to cataclysms and natural disasters.
  • Completely new Career mode. Follow the commands of your supervisors and see your actions affecting people you’re in charge of or those who need your help. Sometimes your mistakes will only be followed by a reprimanding e-mail, sometimes they’ll influence your own life.

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Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB PCIe M.2 Solid State Drive on
  • AMD Ryzen 5 2500X and Ryzen 3 2300X CPU on AnandTech.
  • ASRock Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX 590 8G OC Graphics Card on OC Inside.
  • ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate (Intel Z390) Motherboard on TweakTown.
  • Corsair One i140 small form factor gaming PC on The Tech Report.
  • Dell XPS 13 9380 + Intel Core i7 8565U Ubuntu Linux Performance Benchmarks on Phoronix.
  • MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Ventus 6G OC Graphics Card on

Out of the Blue

Well, the local weather called for winter nastiness, and this does not look like a false alarm, as the snow has already started falling out there. This is called Winter Storm Maya, so I guess we should be thankful this didn't show up in 2012 and end the world. As it is, this doesn't seem like a snowpocalypse on any level. But they are calling for one to three inches of snow and ice followed by freezing rain, so road conditions will probably be pretty bad. Please take care and stay safe if you are in the affected areas.

Wintery Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: All the sad young literary fakes. Thanks Boing Boing.
Stories: Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are reportedly working on a new Star Wars trilogy.
Fox News host admits on air that he hasn't washed his hands in 10 years.
Science: Eating 'ultraprocessed' foods accelerates your risk of early death, study says. Thanks RedEye9
Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature.' Thanks Acleacius.
Badass Dinosaur With a 'Mohawk' of Spikes Uncovered in Patagonia. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: Westminster Dog Show Photos: Who’s a Good Dog? All of Them. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: I've No More F---s To Give. NSF Fing W.
Key & Peele: Competition in the Work Place.
At least it wasn't a tree. NSFW.
Follow-up: Teens With Antivax Parents Are Turning to Reddit For Advice on Getting Vaccinated.
Anti-vaxxers plan to subvert changes to vaccination laws.
Toys-R-Us Emerges with New Vision, Team & Global Strategy. Thanks LinkedIn.
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