Archived News:

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2019

Xenon Racer Open Beta

Steam News announces that the open beta for Xenon Racer is now underway on Steam, offering the chance to test drive this futuristic arcade racing game. This will run for the next week, offering access to four out of the game's 40 tracks and two of its 18 cars with full customization options. Publisher SOEDESCO and developer 3DClouds.it are also offering three different ways to score a free copy of the full game during the beta: Keys will be given to randomly selected survey respondents, players who end up atop the leaderboards, and players who submit the most beautiful screenshots. A new car showcase video accompanies the news. Here's more:
We'd love to hear what you think, so if you have any feedback, please let us know via our survey: https://goo.gl/forms/8UIQZvgn0c87xEtn1. We're also giving away one Xenon Racer game key for a platform of choice for EVERY 100 respondents we get, so the more people respond, the more prizes we'll give out!

That's not all, because there's two more ways you can win the giveaway! We have a leaderboards contest and a photo mode contest.

Leaderboards Contest
End in first place on the online leaderboards of one of the 4 tracks in the game and win a Xenon Racer game key for a platform of choice! 4 keys in total will be handed out in total and winners will be announced in the Steam Community Hub of Xenon Racer as an announcement and on Discord (https://discord.gg/8C4VYkP).

Photo Mode Contest
Make the most beautiful shot in photo mode! Access photo mode in the pause menu during a race or select photo mode in the garage to set up your picture and use F12 to capture. Share it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #XenonRacer for a chance to win one of the 6 Xenon Racer game keys of choice! Winners will be announced in the Xenon Racer Steam Community Hub and on Discord (https://discord.gg/8C4VYkP).
Continue here to read the full story.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy in April

CapCom Unity announces that the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy will get its day in court on April 9th, and that preorders are now underway. Here's a legal brief:
OBJECTION! If it pleases the court, we’d like to present evidence that Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is coming to all major platforms on April 9th, 2019! Pre-order now, and get ready for your big day at the defense bench!

Both greenhorns experiencing their first day in court and veterans who can tell the difference between a ladder and a step-ladder will be able to enjoy the early days of Phoenix Wright in this bundle of games, complete with a modern UI and other improvements for current consoles. Everything you know and love about Ace Attorney is here, including the characteristic investigations, courtroom antics, updated autopsy reports, and zany cast of characters that define everything that these games are known for.

The rules are quite a bit different in these courtrooms. Far from your standard jury trial, defense attorneys must conduct their own investigations in the world of Ace Attorney, and a three-day trial system ensures a speedy verdict for the accused. It’s up to you to gather evidence and interrogate witnesses during the investigation phase, then separate the truth from lies and use everything in your arsenal in a court of law! From pressing witnesses for more information, to presenting evidence to dispute statements, you’ll need to use every bit of evidence, testimony, and maybe a bit of bluffing to prove your client’s innocence!

The Division 2 Free Year One Content Plans

Ubisoft announces details on a full year of free post-launch content coming to Tom Clancy's The Division 2 as well as what players who purchase a Year 1 Pass can expect. This trailer provides a look, and the Ubisoft Store is where to check out the various editions of the game, some of which include this Year 1 pass. Here's the roadmap:
oday, Ubisoft® announced the details for the Tom Clancy’s The Division® 2 first year of free post-launch content as well as the Year 1 Pass, which is included in the Gold Edition and Digital Ultimate Edition of the game, or available separately for $39.99. The Open Beta will be taking place this weekend from March 1-4 on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. 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.

Following Tom Clancy’s The Division 2’s endgame-first philosophy, players can look forward to a full year of free post-launch content that includes Episodes, free major content updates with additional narratives and missions, new PvP and PvE modes, and new specializations. Each specialization brings a new signature weapon and skill tree to unlock and master as players take on new high-level challenges. Players can expect the following content:

  • Tidal Basin, releasing shortly after launch, will reveal a new challenging stronghold held by the Black Tusks.
  • Operation Dark Hours, also releasing soon after launch, will be the first 8-player raid in the history of The Division.
  • Episode 1, D.C. Outskirts: Expeditions, releasing in Summer 2019, will take players to the surrounding areas of Washington to fight for the liberation of the city in two additional main missions, a new game mode to investigate the fate of a lost convoy, encountering unexpected threats along the way.
  • Episode 2: Pentagon: The Last Castle, releasing in Autumn 2019, will have additional main missions, with players storming the Pentagon and unveil the secrets that hide beneath one of America’s most iconic locations
  • Episode 3, releasing in Winter 2019 will close the first chapter of The Division 2 story and pave the way for more content to come.

For players who want to get their hands on new content as soon as possible, the Year 1 Pass will grant players the following:

  • 7-day early access to All Year 1 Episodes narrative content
  • Instant access to all Year 1 Specializations as they release
  • 8 Classified Assignments revealing more about the fall of D.C.
  • Exclusive cosmetics and additional in-game activities, such as base of operations projects and bounties,

Continue here to read the full story.

Metamorphosis Announced

Ovid Works announces Metamorphosis, a first-person puzzle/platformer coming to PC and consoles this fall. They also completely circumvent our desire to make a Franz Kafka joke by announcing this is indeed based on the author's famous novella of the same name, inspiring a Kafkaesque sense of powerlessness. The Metamorphosis website is online to support this, as is its Steam listing and a teaser trailer. Here's more on the game, which is not your child's A Bug's Life:
Ovid Works is proud to reveal that Metamorphosis, a first-person puzzle platformer about a man mysteriously transformed into a little bug, will launch in Fall 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Inspired by Franz Kafka’s seminal short story The Metamorphosis, Ovid Works’ video game reimagines salesman Gregor Samsa as he turns into a tiny bug and embarks on a quest to save himself and his friend Joseph, who has been arrested for reasons unknown. Inconveniently, Joseph can’t recognize your new arthropodal body.

To rescue Joseph and uncover the truth behind your metamorphosis, you must go on a perilous journey through a strange world which, like yourself, has turned twisted and unfamiliar. What once seemed like mundane dwellings has become an expansive obstacle course. You’ll have to leap, climb, and chart your path by using your newfound abilities to navigate the dingy nooks and crannies that exist within the cracks of civilization. Use your wits to unravel the truth and return to the life you once knew.

“We’re all big fans of Kafka here at Ovid Works, and we wanted to pay tribute to his strange, haunting, darkly comic worlds by envisioning them as a video game,” said Zaq Chojecki, Game Director at Ovid Works. “That said, we didn’t want to make this a straight adaptation, as video games are a completely different medium. I think Kafka fans and newcomers alike will find plenty of surprises in store as they delve deep into the world of Metamorphosis.”

“Metamorphosis combines the first-person traversal puzzles of something like Portal with the philosophical existential musings of early 20th century literature,” said Jacek Debowski, CEO at Ovid Works. “It’s really unlike anything else out there!”

Featuring:

  • First-person perspective from a bug makes you see the world in a whole new light
  • Challenging environmental puzzles that have you searching for clues, creating diversions, and overcoming obstacles
  • Rewarding exploration featuring unique movement mechanics that make full use of your tiny body and sticky limbs
  • A surreal story that players can influence, inspired by the curious imagination of Franz Kafka
  • Eccentric, colorful characters spanning the world of both humans and insects
  • A hand painted world that adds a layer of the fantastical to even the grittiest environments

Continue here to read the full story.

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock Expansion Next Month

Slitherine announces plans to release Battlestar Galactica Deadlock: Sin and Sacrifice on March 19th, offering a new expansion for this tactical game based on the science fiction television series. A product page for the add-on is now live, offering details and screenshots, saying this represents the conclusion of season one. Here's word on this "exciting new chapter set in the First Cylon War":
Lucinda Cain, the Agathon sisters and all the other protagonists of Battlestar Galactica Deadlock will need to face their greatest threat yet: Lachesis, the powerful IL-series commander, has awakened and nothing will be the same.

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock: Sin and Sacrifice comes with a brand-new story campaign with 11 story missions set after the original Battlestar Galactica Deadlock campaign and Battlestar Galactica Deadlock: Anabasis. They are new pages in the lore of the Battlestar Galactica universe and tell the story of one of the most critical junctures of the First Cylon war.
The expansion also comes with new features and content, including:

  • Colonial Fleet radio chatter voice pack - A new radio chatter system featuring over 1,100 unique recordings injects more drama and tension into the combats of Battlestar Galactica Deadlock, bringing knife-edge encounters to life. Radio chatter is present both in combat, and during cinematic replays, making the Battlestar Galactica fleet experience even more immersive.
  • The Colonial Heracles (new ship) - A heavy warship that emphasizes power over finesse. Where it isn’t covered in layers of armor plating, it’s lined with point defense turrets capable of sustaining high volume flak fields.
  • The Cylon Gorgon (new ship) – This mobile support carrier features advanced squadron repair and support functions. It is a sophisticated ship perfect for Cylon squadron tactics.

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock: Sin and Sacrifice will be released alongside the free Veterancy Update. this update includes free content for anyone who owns the base game Battlestar Galactica Deadlock, which includes the new crew Veterancy system, new Ships Inspector tool, new Jukebox mode, and more.

Million to One Hero Early Access

Early Access to Million to One Hero is now available on Steam, offering first crack at this pixel art platformer for Windows, Linux, macOS. The news includes a new launch trailer that introduces a "Launch Week Challenge" where players "will compete during this week to be the fastest in an in-game feat and the winner will get their own pixel art statue in the game." Here's more on the game, which includes a level editor:
Million to One Hero proposes an eccentric pixelated platformer with a powerful in-game editor that goes a step beyond just level creation: players can use it to create their own “adventures”. From creating quests, adding NPC’s and dialogs, to playing with the music or the climate of each level, the multiple narrative tools allow players to create their own stories and share them with the rest of the world.
Continue here to read the full story.

Hades' Star Early Access

Steam now offers Early Access to Hades' Star, a free-to-play MMO strategy game set in space, where no one can hear you say this game's title sounds like a reality competition set in hell. This supports Windows and macOS, and word is those who are already playing the mobile editions of the game can now access their games through the PC version. Here's word:
Hades’ Star is a space strategy game where thousands of players participate in one shared galaxy. You create and grow a space empire over time, in a persistent galaxy that constantly evolves. There are various stars to explore that offer different gameplay types that range from singleplayer, PvE to PvP.

Yellow stars are the perfect place to build your thriving empire and long-term economy. Red stars explode within 15 minutes, but offer an opportunity for resource gathering and player co-op. White stars last for 5 days and features up to 40 players from two corporations. During this 5 day period, you can plan future moves, communicate them to other corporation members, and see potential outcomes of future combat. Lastly, blue stars last for 5 minutes and are PvP events. Players can only send one battleship to these stars and the top 5 participating players combat each other using their ship’s modules and other NPC ships to destroy other player ships and be the last one alive.

Evening Interviews

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Blue Marble 3. Rube Goldberg, eat your heart out. Thanks Boing Boing.

GOG.com Announces GOG Direct to Account

The flurry of activity at GOG.com continues, as the DRM-free game store is updating their EULA and Privacy Policy following recent news of layoffs and the end of their Fair Price Package program. That latter news in part of the update, which also describes a new functionality called GOG Direct to Account "that will enable partnered platforms to activate, directly on your GOG.COM account, content purchased via these selected third party platforms." Here are the changes, which are set to roll out 30 days from now:
We’re updating our User Agreement and Privacy Policy, the documents that govern our relationship with you.

Why?
We want to let you know about few changes: (1) We’re adding a new functionality - GOG Direct to Account that will enable partnered platforms to activate, directly on your GOG.COM account, content purchased via these selected third party platforms; (2) we’re concluding the Fair Price Package program that some users were eligible for. For more details please see here. (3) We’ve also refreshed our Voluntary Refund Policy now offering refunds for GOG Wallet funds.

What?
We wanted to reflect all this in our policies. Plus we did some minor tidying up of the documents. You can see the updated terms here.

How?
We’re notifying you now by email, the updated versions are on the GOG.COM website and the changes take effect 30 days from now (you'll find more information about this in our User Agreement).

Do I need to do anything?
Nope.

What if I have questions?
Please contact us here and we’ll be happy to help.

Tech Support: Error Unknown Released

Publisher Iceberg Interactive and developer Dragon Slumber announce the release of Tech Support: Error Unknown for Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can pull up a chair at the help desk and view the launch trailer for a look. The announcement has more details, including word to expect a new Endless Mode in an upcoming free update:
Tech Support: Error Unknown is a unique adventure game that recruits players as new-starters in the IT department of a large high-tech corporation. From a virtual desktop interface, you’ll chat with customers and colleagues via an organic procedural dialogue system, solving puzzles, making discoveries and decisions that radically affect the branching narrative. Will you serve the company, or sabotage it from within?

The choice is yours.

In addition, Tech Support: Error Unknown will soon receive a free update: Endless Mode. Players will be able to fight to reach the top of the leaderboards, taking on 3 challenges at 2 difficulties;

Speed: Complete as many tickets as you can within 10 minutes.
Money: Earn a target amount of money as fast as possible through completing tickets.
Perfection: Complete as many tickets as you can, as fast as you can for a high score. First mistake ends the game.

Alt-Frequencies Announced

Accidental Queens announce Alt-Frequencies, an audio-based mystery game coming to PC and mobile this spring. Here's a teaser trailer, and true to the game's nature, this is an audio tease and the video does not seem relevant (though we won't rule out some dense ARG in the visuals). Following that concept, the Alt-Frequencies Soundtrack is actually already on sale. Here's word on the game:
What happens when everyone is stuck in a time loop without knowing? Lauded development studio Accidental Queens announced today that its new game, Alt-Frequencies, is coming to PC and mobile this spring. Alt-Frequencies takes players on an audio-based journey where interactive investigation meets podcasting, and players are tasked with unravelling a mystery taking place between multiple radio stations among a disparate group of people.

In Alt-Frequencies players will solve a series of puzzles to progress in their investigation. A radio/audio format is used as the game’s key mechanic, delivering an innovative and original method of non-linear storytelling. Alt-Frequencies supports Visually Impaired players and Blind gamers by utilizing a solid game design that allows players of various disabilities to be included in the game.

Players will get an intimate look into the lives of radio hosts, conspiracy theorists, students, politicians, underground activists, train station managers and even a dog as they manipulate and redistribute information between them and impact their lives in various ways.

“Alt-Frequencies stays faithful to the spirit of A Normal Lost Phone & Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story,” said Miryam Houali, co-founder and artist at Accidental Queens. “The story is based on real-world situations and daily interactions and aims at raising awareness about important social issues that becomes more clear as you progress through the game.”
Continue here to read the full story.

Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing Diary

Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing is an airship combat game in development at Tribetoy for release on Steam and consoles in April. An introduction to the game is found in this previously released trailer. Tribetoy also now offers a first video developer diary with the following explanation: "This first Dev Diary offers a deeper look at how players must command their crew of drones, manage resources, and negotiate with other NPCs. Since Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing is set around the idea of a reality show, players must make alliances with other competing captains, then find the ideal time to stab them in the back. Look, it’s called Bow to Blood; you’re not here to make friends." This originally launched as a PSVR game, but the new versions will be playable with or without virtual reality. Here's word:
Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing is a single-player action-strategy roguelike in which you’ll oversee a flying airship in a multi-stage competition being broadcast as a deadly reality TV show. You’ll have to use keep your wits about you, as you manage your ragtag crew to keep your vessel afloat, fend off incoming attackers, gather resources, and search for treasure. Like any good reality show, forging temporary alliances is the name of the game, as players team up with NPCs to conspire against the most dominant threats. Just be aware that there’s little honor among sky pirates and only one captain will be crowned victorious.

The original Bow to Blood launched as a PlayStation VR exclusive in August 2018, where it received rave reviews from Upload VR, DarkStation and Push Square, and this newly christened multiplatform release adds a slew of new content. This update drastically enhances the game with an all new Hard Difficulty setting, more enemy ships, and improved art making airship destruction more eye popping than ever. Those with the PSVR game will receive all the new content, along with the option to play outside of VR, for free. PC players will be happy to know that the Last Captain Standing release will offer Oculus Rift and HTC Vive support for the full immersive experience.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, The Tale of a Timeless Tome Next Month

BANDAI NAMCO announces The Tale of a Timeless Tome, new DLC coming on March 19th to Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, Level-5's action/RPG sequel. They say: "The new episode will include new memories of Evan’s friends, more fighting methods, new locations, and characters." This will be released on Steam and PlayStation 4 for $14.99 USD, or for free for owners of a Season Pass. Here's more:
Evan and his friends hear a rumor about a mysterious rabbit dressed in a tuxedo that is being seen in people’s dreams. Evan decides to investigate by staying at the Goldpaw Inn. When Evan falls asleep, he finds himself in a dream world and encounters the rabbit who tells them he is the conductor. Who is this off character and what is his objective?

Along with new story elements players will be able to discover new Methods to help customize their style of battle. One of the new methods, “Wizard’s Companion” may sound familiar to Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch players. Find out what Evan and his friends can do with these new Methods!

The Solosseum Slog is a new battle arena that challenges players against strong enemies. Winning will net players new items as a reward!

“We at LEVEL-5 have been working hard the past several months on finalizing new content for Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. Today we are excited to share that we will be releasing a new chapter for Ni no Kuni II, ‘The Tale of a Timeless Tome.’ Players will gain a deeper understanding of their favorite characters, journey through new areas, and much more. We appreciate our fans’ patience and will have more to share soon.”

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

On the heels of dealing with Jedi the Jindo's thorny problem I described yesterday, the Gunnar-man practically scared the life out of me and himself last night. As an older (14 now) gentleman, he understandably usually sleeps through everyone going upstairs to bed in the evening. But at some point he awakens and comes up when he realizes he's alone down there. Last night he managed to lose his footing at the top of the staircase, and had a horrible sounding fall all the way back down. From the sound of it this was more of a slide than a tumble, but I was still worried I'd find him with a broken leg or worse. Thankfully he's still quite sturdy, and seemed to have suffered no lasting effects from his misadventure, though it obviously scared him as much as it did me from the way his heart was pounding. MrsBlue has allergies and we don't do carpets or rugs in the BlueTower, but this has me wondering if there's some sort of temporary runner I could put on the stairs to give him better footing and safeguard against future accidents. Either way, I plan on waking him in the evenings and carrying him upstairs from now on.

R.I.P.: Dick Churchill, Last Survivor of ‘The Great Escape,’ Dies at 99. Thanks Neutronbeam.

Scary Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Monsiv.
The Farlanders.
Links: Lucky Charms flavored beer to launch this weekend. Thanks Max.
Stories: Cat Bites The Hand That Feeds; Hospital Bills $48,512. Thanks RedEye9.
Science: DARPA wants to build a bullshit detector for psychology’s “replication crisis.” Thanks Max.
Physicists set world record in tabletop plasma acceleration with laser drill.
Media: STAR WARS: ALWAYS. Edited by Topher Grace!
Russian Spare Tire. It's better than bad, it's good!
Helping out your bro. Who's a good boy?
Follow-up: Texas lawmaker not worried about measles outbreak because of ‘antibiotics'. Don't mess with stupid.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.
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