Archived News:

Tuesday, Apr 02, 2019

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout Free Month Begins

Activision announces that the promised free month of free play is now available in Blackout, the battle royale mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. This is live on all platforms through April 30th, and all progress will carry over for players who choose to buy the full game. This trailer accompanies the news, which follows:
Blackout Free Access features all the intense action from Black Ops 4’s battle royale game mode, with both the original Blackout map that brings together characters, locations, weapons and gear from across the series, all in the biggest map in franchise history, as well as the brand-new Alcatraz map (Alcatraz map live today on PS4 with other platforms to follow).

During the Free Access window, fans will be matchmade with all Blackout players, and be able to play in solos, duos and quads. All progression made will be saved and transferred if players choose to upgrade to a full version of the game.
Continue here to read the full story.

What Happened with Anthem?

How BioWare's Anthem Went Wrong on Kotaku attempts to figure out how BioWare's latest effort went awry, leading to the lowest review score on Metacritic since the company's formation in 1995. This is based on interviews with 19 individuals involved in or connected to the development of the action/RPG. They say this paints a picture of a "studio in crisis," and talking about the departure of dozens of developers over the past couple of years, which one of their interviewees calls "stress casualties." There is also a response to this on the BioWare Blog that explains why they did not directly respond to Kotaku's request for comment on the article. They explain they accept the validity of such criticism, but did not want to participate in singling out individuals for blame. They also address the concerns raised about crunch: "We put a great emphasis on our workplace culture in our studios. The health and well-being of our team members is something we take very seriously. We have built a new leadership team over the last couple of years, starting with Casey Hudson as our GM in 2017, which has helped us make big steps to improve studio culture and our creative focus. We hear the criticisms that were raised by the people in the piece today, and we’re looking at that alongside feedback that we receive in our internal team surveys. We put a lot of focus on better planning to avoid 'crunch time,' and it was not a major topic of feedback in our internal postmortems. Making games, especially new IP, will always be one of the hardest entertainment challenges. We do everything we can to try and make it healthy and stress-free, but we also know there is always room to improve." Here's a bit from Kotaku on how rushing a few weeks old build into Early Access turned out to be a mistake:
“I don’t think we knew what Anthem was going to be when it shipped,” said one developer. “If we had known the shipped game would have that many problems, then that’s a completely different take than, ‘Oh, it’s okay to get this out now because we can improve it later.’ That wasn’t the case. Nobody did believe it was this flawed or this broken. Everyone actually thought, ‘We have something here, and we think it’s pretty good.’”

While talking to me, a number of former BioWare developers brought up specific complaints that were voiced by players and critics, then shared anecdotes of how they had made those same gripes to the leadership team throughout 2017 and 2018 only to be brushed off. It’s easy for developers to say that with hindsight, of course, but this was a common theme. “Reading the reviews is like reading a laundry list of concerns that developers brought up with senior leadership,” said one person who worked on the game. In some cases, perhaps they just didn’t have time to address the issues, but these former BioWare developers said they brought up bigger-picture concerns years before the game shipped.

QuakeCon Registration Next Week

A tweet from QuakeCon announces registration for this year's installment in Bethesda's game show will begin next week, and that the theme of the convention will be "The Year of DOOM":
It's gonna be a hella good time this July as #QuakeCon 2019 celebrates The Year of DOOM! Here's to 25 years of ripping and tearing! Registration opens April 11th! http://www.quakecon.org

Serious Sam: Tormental Early Access

Steam now offers Early Access to Serious Sam: Tormental for Windows, a top-down roguelike take on the Serious Sam franchise (tor-Mental, get it?). This is a different take than the first-person shooter of the original games, but certainly lives up to their frantic gameplay style, as can be seen in the Early Access launch trailer. Here's all you need to know about this:
Developed as part of the Croteam Incubator division, Serious Sam: Tormental is a rogue-lite twin-stick shooter where players embark on a journey through the tormented mind of a demigod of destruction – Mental. Players will face Mental's wicked imaginations and roam dark dungeons, beating various challenges and discovering secrets on the way.

Serious Sam: Tormental is fully playable solo or with a friend in couch co-op. The game features four playable characters and three different worlds, with randomly generated areas that offer infinite replayability.

The game launches with an Early Access roadmap promising new perks, areas, characters and more coming in the weeks and months to follow. For more information please visit Serious Sam: Tormental on Steam.

ABOUT SERIOUS SAM: TORMENTAL

Serious Sam: Tormental is a a 3D rogue-lite top-down shooter set in the Serious Sam universe.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Fight against the wicked imaginations inside the mind of Mental, destructive god and Serious Sam's arch enemy, in an attempt to stop him once and for all.
  • Rich with content and replayability: procedurally generated dungeons, characters with unique abilities, randomized pools of powerful upgrades, tons of fun Serious Weapons ™.
  • The Vault ™: The final area contains many secrets and links to Mental’s identity, giving you more goals than just “defeat the final boss”. You will need to beat many challenges in order to stop Mental once and for all.
  • Mindmap: discover hidden ideas inside of Mental's mind - what enemies, weapons, and items is he imagining to use in the real world? Acquire those ideas, and use them by yourself. Can you discover all of them?
  • Every run, gather and combine random gun parts to construct unique powerful weapons.
  • Quests: beat various challenges to unlock new worlds, characters, Serious Weapons ™ and upgrades. Over time, you will discover new places hidden inside of Mental's mind.
  • Play together in local Co-op mode. Face stronger bosses, compete for (or share!) XP and revive each other with ankh pickups!
  • Tight mechanics and controls. Gamepad friendly. Precise visual collision similar to 2D games.

Continue here to read the full story.

Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl Breaks Out

Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl is now available for Windows on Steam, offering an action card battle game for virtual reality from the folks behind Arizona Sunshine. This does require a VR headset, and it supports HTC Vive (Pro), Vive Focus, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality. Here's a launch trailer and here's the skinny:
Friends turn foes as players step into Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl’s merciless VR battlegrounds. Unlock, collect and upgrade dozens of cards to build a powerful deck, and watch your cards come to life as you cast spells and summon forces to wipe your enemy off the map. Join a clan, take on opponents from around the globe in regular online tournaments, and claim your place on the global leaderboards. This is no friendly battle… this is war!
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Paradox and Romero Games Strategizing

Paradox Interactive and Romero Games announce a collaboration on an upcoming strategy game based on an original IP. This is a different genre from most of the games previously created by John Romero or Brenda Romero, née Brathwaite, but they say this "a project we’ve been wanting to work on for a long time." They don't offer a title or any details at this time, providing the chance to sign up on this dedicated website to "find out more before E3," so it sounds like we'll only have to wait a couple of months before this comes into better focus. In the meantime, here's what they have to say:
Paradox Interactive, a publisher and developer of games for worldwide audiences, and Romero Games have today announced they are working together on an upcoming strategy game based on original IP. Brenda Romero and John Romero, known for their successful work with Doom, Quake, Jagged Alliance, Wizardry 8 and many more iconic games, are bringing their decades of development expertise to this partnership with the strategy fanatics of Paradox Interactive, publishers of Cities: Skylines, Crusader Kings II, Stellaris and other hardcore strategy titles.

To get all the latest on this unannounced title, sign up for the newsletter here: romeroxparadox.com

“We are thrilled to work with industry legends, Brenda and John Romero, whose games we’ve grown up playing ourselves and long admired,” said Ebba Ljungerud, CEO of Paradox Interactive. “At Paradox Interactive, we’ve built a reputation for top-tier strategy games and we’re employing that expertise to help build something really special with the team at Romero Games.”

“This has been a project we’ve been wanting to work on for a long time, so it’s especially exciting that we’ll be partnering with Paradox Interactive to fully realize that dream,” said Brenda Romero, Co-Founder of Romero Games. “We can’t wait to tell everyone more, so make sure you watch this space!”

Randy Pitchford on Borderlands 3 and Exclusivity

News yesterday of a deleted tweet that teased a September 13th release date and Epic Games Store exclusivity for Borderlands 3 had us wary enough about being pranked to list it in an April Fool's roundup. Now a few updates on Randy Pitchford's Twitter feed suggest that there may be some actual fire causing this smoke. The Gearbox boss doesn't confirm or deny the story, and this tweet, and this one, and this one seem to claim ignorance of 2K's intentions, but there's a lot of hedging in there. Here's word:

2K/Take Two has exclusive publishing rights for Borderlands 3 and makes all decisions regarding price-points, territories, distribution and platform partnerships. Please direct all inquiries regarding any of those topics to 2K. We are *just* the talent. 1/3

As a customer, I’m happy to shop in different stores - already do! I’ve bought games from Xbox, Playstation, Switch, Steam, Origin, GOG, Humble, Uplay, Epic and other stores. To me, exclusives are fine when they come w/ advantages and when they are short – say, six months :) 2/3

For what it’s worth, 2K’s decisions aside, myself and the team at Gearbox have a very keen interest in cross-platform play. We believe multi-platform support is a pre-requisite and Epic’s leadership with cross platform support is helpful to our interests there. 3/3

Devil May Cry 5 Bloody Palace Released

The Devil May Cry 5 Website announces the Bloody Palace survival mode is now live in Devil May Cry 5 as a free update on all platforms for Capcom's hack-and-slash game. Here's a trailer showing this in action, saying "Bloody Palace is now open! Can you survive all 101 floors as Nero, Dante or V? 😈" There's no mention of this on Steam, but the website has a little more on how to access this mode:
Free Update: Bloody Palace Available Now !

Fight your way through floors of enemies and put your skills to the test in this classic DMC game mode.
The battles will be tough, and making it to the final floor won't be easy...
but true Devil Hunters will be able to show those demons who the real king of hell is.
Note: You must clear the main game on Human or Devil Hunter mode before you can play this content.
Continue here to read the full story.

Steamcraft This Month

Last Level announces an April 18th launch date for Steamcraft, a multiplayer shooter that's indeed coming to Steam. Despite its title evoking both companies, this involves neither Valve nor Blizzard. It's an MMO shooter in a steampunk setting, as shown in the previously released CGI announcement trailer. Here's more:
Last Level announcement the MMO shooter SteamCraft release date - April 18! In SteamCraft, players can let their imagination run wild and create a one-of-a-kind combat vehicle for land and air battles. To do this, they’ll be given a massive selection of components and an impressive arsenal for crushing their foes on land and in the air. There’s no limit to what you can create, so go ahead and build a terrifying, steam-powered, mechanical Frankenstein’s monster!

Every battle takes place in a randomly-selected location, so players need to be ready for any combat scenario. Your primary objective is to destroy everything that moves, and if you win, you’ll earn rewards and the ability to make your vehicle every crazier and more dangerous.

In SteamCraft, there are no rules. If you’ve got wheels, crush ‘em! If you’ve got missiles, blow ‘em up! If you’ve got machine guns, make Swiss cheese out of your enemies!

Features:

  • Advanced construction system that lets players create truly unique combat machines. Fight on land and in the air!
  • Over 600 construction components and over 40 weapons.
  • Realistic damage model: destroyed parts fly off of the vehicle according to the laws of physics!
  • Multiple gameplay modes, including deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag.
  • Exciting special effects, dynamic gameplay — that’s SteamCraft.

Continue here to read the full story.

LUNA The Shadow Dust This Summer

Publisher Application Systems Heidelberg (and they say all the good names are taken!) and developer Lantern Studio announce release plans for LUNA The Shadow Dust, a point-and-click puzzle adventure that had a successful crowdfunding campaign three years ago. Word is this will come to Windows, macOS and Linux, and its Steam Listing indicates it's due this year with a little lesson in Chinese, showing a 2019年夏 release date, which is summer 2019. In the meantime they say they will be showing the game off this weekend at EGX Rezzed 2019. For those who cannot make it to London for that, its Kickstarter Page offers a playable demo. This reveal trailer shows off gameplay and hand-drawn artwork, and more details follow: Continue here to read the full story.

Sean Murray on Fixing No Man's Sky

This video from a 2019 GDC Main Stage session features Sean Murray of Hello Games discussing the initial launch of No Man's Sky (thanks Ant). He addresses the negative reception their space exploration game met with and the challenges they faced in getting things on the right track. The description has a more detailed outline:
A small and unlikely team was behind one of the most ambitious and anticipated games of 2016. In this 2019 GDC Main Stage session, Hello Games' Sean Murray takes us behind the scenes during the intense and dramatic launch of one the biggest selling new IPs in recent years. He demonstrates how his team found the grit to deal with releasing an innovative and polarizing game into an increasingly vocal gaming landscape, and details how through determination and love in 2019 they have built to record player numbers and positivity amongst their most negative detractors. This candid and open discussion will show the power of focusing on what you do, rather than what you say, in the face of adversity.
Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Welp, we survived April Fool's Day. If you still see the Pink's News logo you can force a refresh to revert it, or just leave it be and enjoy my beautiful pink eyelashes until your browser decides it's had enough. I'm struck this year that the corporate co-option of this occasion has triggered what appears to be an end of any public "celebrations." There was a time when friends would actually prank each other, but in this era of commercialized gags, it appears to me that hardly anyone does this anymore. Not that I'm complaining, as there was never all that much actual humor involved, but it does seem odd that this has more or less become a viral advertising gimmick.

Co-opted Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Super Bitcoin Jumper.
Stories: Sound now 'equal' inside Royal Albert Hall. Now we know how many speakers it takes to fill all the holes.
Vaping may be more dangerous than we realized. Thanks RedEye9.
Science: MIT and NASA engineers demonstrate a new kind of airplane wing. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Rivers on Mars Flowed for More Than a Billion Years.
This remote area in Nevada is one of the darkest spots in the world.
Images: Weiner Dog enjoys riding around in his li'l Weiner-Mobile.
Media: Marvel Studios’ Avengers- Endgame - Special Look.
The Simpsons - April Fools.
THE DEAD DON'T DIE - Official Trailer [HD]. Thanks Acleacius.
Pot at the Canadian border - 22 Minutes. Thanks David.
RUN DANIEL! NSFW.
The Funnies: Adult Children.
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