Archived News:

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2019

Funcom Inks DUNE Gaming Deal

Funcom announces they've entered into a deal with Legendary Entertainment and Herbert Properties to create games based on Frank Herbert's DUNE science fiction universe. They don't offer details on their first project with this license, but they say development will begin this year. Denis Villeneuve's new DUNE movie will apparently enter production this year as well, but there's no word on how or if they tie together:
Legendary Entertainment and Herbert Properties LLC have reached a licensing agreement with Funcom to develop video games based on the works of Frank Herbert’s DUNE, one of the world’s best-known science fiction universes.

The announcement comes as Legendary gears up for its already highly anticipated film adaptation of DUNE, directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, and featuring an all-star cast that now includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem.

Development will begin in Funcom’s Oslo studio later this year.

“Funcom has a strong history of working with beloved sci-fi/fantasy intellectual properties including our bestsellers Age of Conan and Conan Exiles,” said Funcom CEO, Rui Casais. “So many of us at Funcom, myself included, are huge fans of Frank Herbert’s work and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate withLegendary to bring the iconic DUNE universe to life for gamers all over the globe.”

GOG.com Ending Fair Price Package Program

GOG.com announces the impending conclusion of their Fair Price Package program:
On March 31st we are going to discontinue the Fair Price Package program. Let us explain the reasoning behind this decision.

We came up with Fair Price Package (FPP) as a way to make up the price difference between various countries. Some games on GOG.COM have regional pricing, meaning the price of the same game in one place can be higher compared to its price in North America. In countries where the game is more expensive, we give users the equivalent of the price difference in GOG Wallet funds. In actual numbers, on average, we give users back 12% of the game price from our own pocket. In some cases, this number can reach as high as 37%.

In the past, we were able to cover these extra costs from our cut and still turn a small profit. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. With an increasing share paid to developers, our cut gets smaller. However, we look at it, at the end of the day we are a store and need to make sure we sell games without a loss.

Removing FPP is not a decision we make lightly, but by making this change, we will be able to offer better conditions to game creators, which — in turn — will allow us to offer you more curated classic games and new releases. All DRM-free.

We wanted to make sure you have some lead time to still benefit from the Fair Price Package. The program will last until the 31st of March, 2019, so if you would like to take advantage of it, now is the time. The funds you gather from the program will keep the 12 months expiration date from the moment you’ve been granted your last funds.

Overkill's The Walking Dead is Dead to Skybound [Update]

Gamasutra reports Skybound is cutting ties with Starbreeze and is ceasing development of Overkill's The Walking Dead. The PC edition was released last year, but the console editions are still pending (Updated to remove an erroneous reference conflating this with Telltale's Walking Dead). Here's part of the official statement:
"As of today, we have terminated our contract with Starbreeze Studios and will discontinue all efforts on Overkill's The Walking Dead," reads an excerpt of Skybound's statement. "We did our best to work with Starbreeze and resolve many issues that we saw with the game, but ultimately Overkill's The Walking Dead did not meet our standards nor is it the quality that we were promised. We are exceedingly sorry to our fans and share their disappointment in the game."

DiRT Rally 2.0 Races Out

DiRT Rally 2.0 is out for PC and consoles, with the Windows edition now available on Steam. The game's breakneck off-road racing is on full display in an accolades trailer that accompanies the launch. The announcement also includes details on upcoming Season One content releases:
Codemasters has today released DiRT Rally 2.0 Day One Edition on the PlayStation® 4 computer entertainment system and the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X and Windows PC. Players can view the new accolades trailer on the official DiRT YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/dirtgame.

Sequel to the critically and commercially acclaimed 2015 DiRT Rally®, DiRT Rally 2.0 enhances the on-track experience, and creates the most authentic representation of rallying ever seen in a video game. New features including tire choice add a level of strategy, allowing racers to choose a compound based on the surface, length of race or driving style. Stage Degradation more accurately depicts the conditions faced by drivers at any point in a real race. Taking on a stage in 20th to 120th place will feel wildly different and offers a real challenge. Keeping the car balanced and on the very limit, through rutted and carved-up tracks, will require nerves of steel. Surviving each bespoke, characterful, fun yet punishing stage is an unrivalled experience.

In addition to the content available at launch, Codemasters recently announced additional content available through Season One, starting March 12:

  • Week 1: ŠKODA Fabia Rally, Citroën C4 Rally
  • Week 3: Monte Carlo Rally, Special Livery
  • Week 5: BMW M1 Procar Rally, Opel Manta 400, Special Livery
  • Week 7: Sweden Rally
  • Week 9: Ford Focus RS Rally 2007, Subaru Impreza, Special Livery
  • Week 11: Germany Rally

Players who purchased the Deluxe Edition received this Season One content as part of their purchase, plus Season Two which contains a similar level of content and features as part of their Season Pass. Day One or Standard Edition players will have the opportunity to purchase each season and piece of content separately from their digital store of choice.

Continue here to read the full story.

Trials Rising Released

Steam News announces the release of Trials Rising, a Windows motorcycle racing game featuring "over-the-top action and physics-bending" action. Word is: "With new tracks in exotic places all over the world and more ways to compete, Trials® Rising is the best one yet." Here's the launch trailer and here's the announcement:
Today, Ubisoft announced that Trials® Rising is now available on PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch™ and Windows PC for $24.99.

Ubisoft RedLynx, a studio based in Helsinki (Finland), returns with Trials Rising to bring the biggest and most compelling sequel of the franchise to date, combining the acclaimed classic gameplay, a fresh look, more competition and over-the-top action praised by fans, plus all-new features. The game was developed with Ubisoft Kiev (Ukraine) in collaboration with Ubisoft Odessa (Ukraine).

Set in epic locations around the world and featuring more than 120 tracks, Trials Rising lets riders travel to more than 30 countries and put their skills to the test through various levels of difficulty, beat the competition, grow their Fame under the eyes of experienced sponsors and work to become Trials champions. From the streets of New York to the Great Wall of China or from the Colosseum in Rome to the Pyramids in Egypt, riders will not be able to resist the thrill of astonishing exploits and crashes on their way.

Trials Rising places competition at the forefront: there is always someone to race against, whether you play single player or multiplayer. The ghost system displays actual riders and bikes as you play, so players can see how they overcome obstacles and beat them. Online Multiplayer mode features a Seasons & Divisions system that let players of similar skill levels race against each other, with the first season starting soon after launch. Each player will set out on a path to race against challengers to become the best Trials rider in the world and reach the top of the Leaderboard.

Party Mode makes a comeback, a "couch multiplayer" game mode where up to four players can compete on the same screen for even more wacky and fun gameplay. For even more couch gameplay, the new Tandem bike feature allows two players to ride a single bike and try to complete a track together.

Players will also have the freedom to customize their rider and bike gear with more than 2000 stickers and hundreds of customization items. Players can then share their custom gear with the community and earn in-game rewards when other players use them.

The Trials Rising Standard Edition includes the base game for $24.99. The Trials Rising Gold Edition includes the base game and 55+ additional tracks in the Expansion Pass with two major Expansions – Sixty Six and Crash & Sunburn – plus two Customization Packs, fun bikes and much more for $39.99.
Continue here to read the full story.

Darksiders III – The Crucible DLC Release

THQ Nordic announces that The Crucible is now available, offering new DLC for Darksiders III, the hack-and-slash adventure game sequel. You can view the game's launch trailer on the YouTube, and pick up a copy on GOG.com or Steam. Here's word on the wave-based challenge this presents:
In this mighty morsel of digital wonderment, competitors can expect to receive a truly earth-shattering experience: The Crucible!

A legendary challenge whispered with reverence across the universe. Not even the Creator could have envisioned such glorious spectacle as that which is found in this fabled arena.

  • 101 Waves of grueling combat, fit only for the toughest and most steadfast of warriors.
  • New armor sets to don as proof of your superiority.
  • New Enchantments never seen until now.
  • Rare crafting materials to improve your weapons and enhancements.

All provided by the generous, steady hand of the Crucible’s Overseer. That’s right, it is I! Targon! Founder of this stupendous arena, and the only one ever to conquer it. So what say you, challenger? Do you have what it takes to surpass me?

Continue here to read the full story.

Ghost Recon Wildlands Special Operation 4 Tomorrow

Ubisoft reveals details on Special Operation 4 for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands, which is due for Windows and consoles tomorrow. For those keeping score at home, this will be the last free major update for the second year of post-launch content for the tactical shooter, and will also kick off early access to the new Ghost War PvP class for season pass holders a week before this becomes available to other players. Here's a trailer along with the details:
Today, Ubisoft fully revealed Special Operation 4 for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Wildlands, the last free major update for the second year of post-launch content. Special Operation 4 will be released tomorrow, February 27, on PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X and Windows PC. The update will contain a brand-new PvE mode: Guerrilla, the new Sapper PvP class and several highly requested features from the community.

Guerrilla Mode expands on the game’s PvE experience with a unique challenge testing players’ endurance, skills and tactics. Solo or up to four Ghosts, players will need to defend key locations against increasingly deadly waves of Cartel and Unidad members. After each completed wave, players will have the opportunity to purchase and upgrade weapons, skills and attachments with resources gathered from dead enemies. Each choice will be impactful and strategy will be essential to overcome the challenge.

In addition to Guerrilla Mode, Special Operation 4 introduces a wealth of new Ghost War PvP–focused content, including:
Continue here to read the full story.

The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame Released

Steam News announces the release of the Windows edition of The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame, saying: "Bricksburg is in ruins and Emmet's friends have been taken! Team up with Emmet and a host of heroic characters to save their friends from the strange inhabitants of the Systar System. Journey into outer space, discover new worlds, and test your Master Building skills." Here's the official launch trailer and here's WBIE's take on the news, and how everything is awesome:
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO® Group today announced the launch of The LEGO® Movie 2 Videogame, inspired by the new big-screen animated adventure, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part from Warner Bros. Pictures now in theaters. The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame is available now for Nintendo Switch™ system, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X, and PC with a MSRP of $39.99. The physical version for Nintendo Switch will be available on March 4, 2019.

The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame is based on events that take place in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part as the story begins in the desolated wasteland of Apocalypseburg where alien invaders have left Bricksburg in ruins! Emmet, Lucy and his awesome crew of companions go beyond their world to save their friends from the strange inhabitants of the faraway Systar System.

“The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame brings the amazing locations and action from both the sequel and the original 2014 blockbuster The LEGO Movie, where kids can play as Emmet, Lucy and other loveable characters,” said Arthur Parsons, Head of Design, TT Games Studios. “Families and friends can journey together to complete quests and amass hidden relics to complete their collections in fantastical LEGO worlds environments/locations that come to life with a dizzying array of vehicles and creatures.”

“Imagination and creation are the hallmarks of LEGO play and The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame delivers on this promise,” said Sean William McEvoy, VP Digital Games & Apps, The LEGO Group. “Mission based building will empower players and put their creativity into action with the ability to build items anywhere to solve puzzles.”

Players can continue their adventures in The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame this spring with free DLC adding new locations to explore, new characters to meet and new challenges to face.
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

New Overwatch Hero Revealed

Blizzard reveals the 30th hero for Overwatch with a new Baptiste Origin Story, offering background on this combat medic they say is "coming soon" to the multiplayer shooter. The clip doesn't include any gameplay, and the description is brief: "Mobilize alongside the combat medic who made the shrewd decision to make the world a better place, one bandage... or bullet at a time: Baptiste." Continue here to read the full story.

More PUBG Anti-Cheat Efforts

A Letter from the Anti-Cheat Team on Steam outlines their latest effort to root out miscreants cheating at PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS, the battle royale shooter. Word is: "Each game of PUBG sees up to 100 users trying to beat already incredible odds. We understand that even one person playing unfairly can severely impact the fun of so many people, and thus we need to maintain a much higher level of security than other games." They call this a "quick update," but it's actually quite lengthy, covering reinforcement of technical measures, improvement of anti-cheat solutions, unauthorized program detection improvements, addressing vulnerabilities in the Steam system, and increased legal action. Since that last topic is the least common, here's more on related legal actions in Asia:
Hack programs that hinder a fair game environment are important to block, but those who develop, promote, and sell hack programs should always be a primary target as well. To prevent the spread of hack programs, we are working with law enforcement authorities and overseas offices to take strong legal actions both at home and abroad. Below is the outcome of the legal actions taken in 2018, and for the CN region, it is a result of close cooperation with Tencent.

  • Arrested 41 in Lianyungang, China in January, 2018
  • Arrested 3 in Huai'an, China in February, 2018
  • Arrested 11 in Xiangyang, China in February, 2018
  • Arrested 141 in Nanjing, China in April, 2018
  • Arrested 1 in Huai'an, China in April, 2018
  • Arrested 6 by Daejeon Metropolitan Police Agency, Korea in August, 2018
  • Arrested 1 in Wenzhou, China in September, 2018
  • Arrested 3 in Tangshan, China in October, 2018
  • Arrested 34 in Wenzhou, China in October, 2018
  • Arrested 11 by Yangcheon Police Station, Korea in October, 2018

In addition to the outcomes mentioned above, we are currently investigating hack programs sales with The Korean National Police Agency, law firms, and copyright protection agencies along with tracking the hack developers themselves. We will keep you updated as new investigation results become available.

New AMD Drivers

AMD Support now offers new version Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition drivers for AMD graphics cards. These expand support and address some issues:
Support For

  • AMD Ryzen™ Mobile Processors with Radeon™ Vega Graphics
    • Up to 10% average performance gains with AMD Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 vs. 17.40 launch drivers for AMD Ryzen™ Mobile Processors with Radeon™ Vega Graphics. RS-285
    • Up to 17% average performance gains in eSports™ titles with AMD Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 vs. 17.40 launch drivers for AMD Ryzen™ Mobile Processors with Radeon™ Vega Graphics. RS-286
  • Dirt Rally® 2
    • Up to 3% performance gains with AMD Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3, on a Radeon™ RX Vega 64 in Dirt Rally 2. RS-287

Fixed Issues

  • Battlefield™ V players may experience character outlines stuck on screen after being revived.
  • Fan speeds may remain elevated for longer periods than expected when using Tuning Control Auto Overclock or manual fan curve in Radeon WattMan on AMD Radeon VII.
  • ReLive wireless VR may experience an application crash or hang during extended periods of play.
  • Zero RPM will correctly disable in Radeon WattMan on available system configurations when manual fan curve is enabled.
  • A loss of video may be intermittently experienced when launching a fullscreen player application with Radeon FreeSync enabled.

The Bard's Tale Trilogy Gets The Bard's Tale III and Legacy Mode

The Bard's Tale Trilogy is now complete, and available in full on GOG.com and Steam (thanks DSOGaming). This is thanks to the release of The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate along with a Legacy Mode update for inXile's remake of the RPG series. This post on Steam tells the tale, and offers a Thief of Fate Launch Trailer to illustrate the news. Here's word:
inXile Entertainment and Krome Studios are pleased to announce that The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate has been released for The Bard's Tale Trilogy!

As mentioned previously, Thief of Fate is huge in scope, and we hope that you all enjoy the blood, sweat and tears that have gone in to making it as fully realized as possible. We have greatly enjoyed remastering these classic games, and appreciate all the assistance that the community has given us for the remaster.

In addition to the release of Thief of Fate (now available on the default branch!), there are a variety of new quality of life and polish additions to all three games, as well as Legacy mode. A full list of changes is below, but the major points are:

Legacy Mode
Each of these options are available for selection ONLY when starting a new game. They can be individually selected, depending on your playing preferences!
Individual character inventory.

  • Miscellaneous changes (Special slot in BT1, no archery in BT1, no item charges in BT1 (has a chance to expire instead), more limited inventory space, wineskins restricted to BT3, rogues can only identify in BT3, spells and items restricted to those found in the respective games.
  • Game specific songs, as per the original releases.
  • Ability to use un-equipped items (as this was in <some> versions of the original release).
  • Automapping can be disabled, including that "misc differences" will add in a mapping similar to the original BT3 release.
  • Full XP requirements - to make leveling up more like the original releases, allows party attack anywhere, shops can buy and sell charged items at will. Oh, and battles are repeatable :).
  • Option to only allow saving at the Guild or camp. With "Misc Differences" enabled, BT3 will still allow saving anywhere, as that was in the original release.
  • Remove items and hints from empty houses.


There is also a "Legacy" button in the settings, that will display the legacy dialog so you can see what options are enabled, in your currently loaded game.

Continue here to read the full story.

World War Z Trailer

The zombies are coming! That's the warning from a new trailer from Saber Interactive to show off World War Z, their co-op shooter that's rushing to cash in on the 2013 Brad Pitt movie of the same name. The accompanying announcement reiterates the game's April 16th release date, but disturbingly only mentions the console editions. We're not sure if this means the Windows edition expected on the Epic Games Store is delayed, if this is just an oversight. Here's the announcement:
The “Zombies Are Coming” Trailer is the newest look at the game and shows off even more over-the-top, zombie-horde action - just in time to celebrate pre-orders being available at participating retail stores.

Powered by Saber’s dynamic Swarm Engine™, World War Z unleashes hundreds of fast-moving, bloodthirsty zombies at a time for a one-of-a-kind action experience. Choose from six distinct classes and an arsenal of deadly weapons, explosives, turrets and traps. Outlive the dead through intense four-player co-op campaign missions around the world, and battle both zombies and real human opponents in competitive, team-based Players vs. Players vs. Zombies (PvPvZ) multiplayer.

World War Z is expected to launch on April 16, 2019, for PlayStation®4 and Xbox One.
Continue here to read the full story.

GTFO Documentary

A new video provides a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of GTFO, the action/horror game in the works at 10 Chambers Collective. This is an indie Swedish studio formed by developers who helped create PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2 back when they were with OVERKILL Software. Here's word:
Today, they’re releasing a short documentary about the making of GTFO - the studio’s first game - featuring interviews with the developers and previously unseen gameplay footage. We get to see the evolution of GTFO, from the first rough sketches of the enemy designs to how it has grown over its three years of development. For example they’ve put a lot of emphasize on dialogue, hiring Adam Gascoine as writer - known from The Last of Us and DOOM - and contracted experienced actors to keep the voice acting at the highest level.

"You're almost always running out of ammunition. You're almost always running out of health.", says Simon Viklund, member of 10 Chambers Collective, in the documentary, highlighting the game’s focus on stealth and strategy rather than running and gunning. “If you want to survive you have to use all your tools and instincts to detect a combat situation before it happens, prepare for it, and control the action.”

New information on GTFO is also disclosed, such as that the story will not unfold via the traditional story campaign mode, but will evolve through free continuous updates of the game. In the documentary, two types of environments are shown - mentioning that it’s inspired by Ridley Scott's work, such as the first Alien movie - but that more will be added in these updates.
Continue here to read the full story.

Touhou Luna Nights Dawns

An update to Touhou Luna Nights on Steam brings this Metroidvania-style platformer for Windows to version 1.0 and marks the game's emergence from Early Access. To celebrate, the game is on sale for 20% off, and it is included in a Game Magazine Bundle for 36% off, a Touhou-Inspired Bundle for 16% off, and a PLAYISM Metroidvania bundle for 15% off. Here's a trailer, and here are some details:
Touhou Luna Nights is a Japanese 2D action-exploration (Metroidvania) game released to Steam Early Access in August 2018. The main character is Sakuya Izayoi, brought over from the popular Touhou Project series. Featuring Sakuya’s power of controlling time and hardcore knife battles beautifully rendered in sprite animation, the Touhou Project’s “grazing” system adds extra fun to the action, allowing you to recover HP and MP by closing in on enemies and further spicing up the fight.

Touhou Luna Nights has enjoyed huge popularity with players thanks to its beautiful sprite animations for finely detailed movements and its slew of Touhou Project character-specific moves based on their respective special powers, and boasts a 98% positive rating on Steam. Additionally, taking advantage of the features of Early Access, the developers have answered fans’ requests with the addition of high attacks, customizable button configuration, and more.
Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I was walking the Gunnar-man and his besty Jedi the Jindo last night when Jedi started fussing with his back paw. Every step he took he'd spin around and mouth at it as if he had a pebble stuck in it or some sort of wound/injury. I tried to take a look at it, but he is super-sensitive about his feet being touched to start with, and he was having none of this: He started yelping and crying before I even touched him, and then snarled and snapped at me to let me know that examining it was off-limits. We were pretty close to his house, so I tried to get him to proceed so we could deal with it there, but by now he was screeching and crying with every step. This left me with little choice but to carry him. Luckily he weights all of about 35 pounds, and, as I say, we were close to home. Once we were there, his people papa held his head while I removed a very nasty thorn from his paw. That did the trick to end his torture, and last I saw, he was licking the paw and acting quite relieved. This all reminds me of the story of Androcles and the Lion, attributed to Aesop, and later a play by George Bernard Shaw where a brave hero is befriended by a lion after removing a thorn from his paw. I'm going to have to call BS on that one, as if a dog who loves me dearly wouldn't let me examine his wounded paw, I can pretty easily imagine the mauling that would result in trying to doctor a wild lion. Anyone who wants to try this to prove me wrong can tell me how it works out.

Thorny Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Theseus.
Stories: Starbucks' music is driving employees nuts. A writer says it's a workers' rights issue. Thanks Slashdot.
There's a Dead Humpback Whale in the Amazon Jungle and Nobody Knows Why. Thanks Digg.
Pentagon Report Slam Military’s Humvee Replacement. Thanks RedEye9.
Science: Evidence for man-made global warming hits 'gold standard': scientists.
Annual stool test may be as effective as colonoscopy, study finds.
Media: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - Official Trailer.
Swim training in Russia. I feel like the biggest wimp right now.
Family.
Follow-up: FLAT EARTH "documentary Beyond the Curve fragment.". ROFL. Thanks Digg.
The Funnies: Adult Children: Cold Coffee.
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