Archived News:

Thursday, May 02, 2019

World of Goo Free on Epic Games Store

The Epic Games Store now offers its latest free game, as World of Goo is now available with its promised 100% discount. As usual, they also take the opportunity to unveil their next freebie, saying Stories Untold will go free on May 16th when the World of Goo promotion ends. Here are some gooey details to refresh your memory:
Beautiful and surprising, the millions of Goo Balls who live in the World of Goo are curious to explore - but they don't know that they are in a game, or that they are extremely delicious.

Welcome to the multiple "Game of The Year" award-winning puzzle game - World of Goo. Drag and drop living globs of goo to build structures, bridges, cannonballs, zeppelins, and giant tongues.

Ghost Recon Wildlands Kicks Off Operation Oracle with a Free Weekend

Operation Oracle is now underway in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands, offering new free content for the tactical shooter. Those who don't own the game can still check this out, as the launch kicks off with a free weekend on all platforms, and this page has all the details on how to get in on the action. This trailer (NSFW) shows that Operation Oracle introduces a new character played by actor Jon Bernthal, who's set to hand out some punishment. Here's the announcement:
Today, Ubisoft announced that Operation Oracle and a free weekend for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Wildlands are available starting May 2 through May 5 on PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X and Windows PC.

Playable in single-player or co-op, Operation Oracle sends the Ghosts on a rescue mission for a Skell Tech engineer taken hostage by Unidad. This typical rescue mission will soon turn into something much bigger. Forget what you know about your enemies and friends as you meet Cole D. Walker, a Ghost Team Leader on the hunt for the truth.

Operation Oracle comes after two years of substantial post-launch support for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands and follows the completion of Year 2, which brought four free major updates to the game further expanding the Ghost Recon universe.
Continue here to read the full story.

Activision Blizzard Financials

Activision Blizzard Announces First-Quarter 2019 Financial Results revealing they earned and spent a big old pile of money during the quarter. Specifically: "For the quarter ended March 31, 2019, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were $1.83 billion, as compared with $1.97 billion for the first quarter of 2018. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were $1.39 billion. GAAP operating margin was 31%. GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.58, as compared with $0.65 for the first quarter of 2018." The numbers are all a bit dizzying, so here are some of their words to explain further:
Audience Reach

  • Activision Blizzard had 345 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs)C in the quarter, with 41 million at Activision, 32 million at Blizzard, and 272 million at King.
  • King MAUsC were up sequentially for the second quarter in a row driven by the Candy Crush™ franchise where MAUsC again grew quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. Candy Crush Friends Saga™ continues to attract both former and new players to the franchise.
  • Sekiro™: Shadows Die Twice launched in March to 90-plus Metacritic scores. The game sold-through more than two million copies worldwide in less than 10 days.

Deep Engagement

  • For each of Activision, Blizzard, and King, daily time spent per user increased year-over-year. For the Company overall, average time spent was approximately 50 minutes.
  • Daily time spent per player across the Candy Crush franchise reached a new high, driving the King network to a record of 38 minutes.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s core player base remains highly engaged, with total hours played and daily time spent per player growing double-digits versus Call of Duty: WWII.
  • The Company’s professional Call of Duty city-based league is off to a strong start, selling its first five franchise teams. In Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto, we are partnering with existing Overwatch League team owners who have first-hand experience of our esports strategy and capabilities and recognize the scale of the opportunity for a global Call of Duty league.
  • The second season of the Overwatch League commenced in February to sell-out crowds at the Blizzard Arena. Viewership hours for the second season to date are over 30% higher than in the first season.

2019 World Video Game Hall of Fame Inductees

The Strong National Museum of Play announces the 2019 class of inductees for the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The four new honorees are Colossal Cave Adventure, Microsoft Solitaire, Mortal Kombat, and Super Mario Kart. Here's word:
The games in the 2019 class of The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame traversed dark tunnels, played their cards right, fended off mighty foes, and sped across the finish line to win their esteemed places in the hall. Colossal Cave Adventure, Microsoft Windows Solitaire, Mortal Kombat, and Super Mario Kart have been inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. They emerged from a field of 12 finalists that also included Candy Crush Saga, Centipede, Dance Dance Revolution, Half-Life, Myst, NBA 2K, Sid Meier’s Civilization, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. The four inductees span multiple decades, countries of origin, and gaming platforms, but all have significantly affected the video game industry, popular culture, and society in general.

ESO Plus Free Trial ESO Plus Free Trial

The Elder Scrolls Online Website announces an ESO Plus Free Trial is underway, and is set to run all weekend. Here's what you need to know:
The ESO Plus Free Trial is now live and will run until Monday, May 6, at 10:00AM EDT. This is also during our 5-Year Anniversary Event, so there has never been a better time to check out the daily quests available within ESO’s dungeon and zone DLCs, completely free!

During the trial period, you gain access to the following ESO Plus benefits:

  • Full access to DLC game packs—new zones, quests, dungeons, and more
    • Includes the Imperial City, Orsinium, Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, Shadows of the Hist, Horns of the Reach, Clockwork City, Dragon Bones, Morrowind (zone and story), Wolfhunter, Murkmire, and Wrathstone
  • A Craft Bag offering you unlimited storage for all of your crafting materials
  • Double Bank space for all the characters on your account
  • 10% increase to Experience and Gold acquisition, Crafting Inspiration, and Trait Research rates
  • Double Furnishings and Collectibles space in player housing
  • Exclusive ability to dye costumes
  • Double Transmute Crystal storage

For Honor Year 3 Season 2 Begins

Ubisoft announces that Year 3 Season 2 of For Honor is now underway, offering a new hero, a new map, and various improvements to the melee combat game. A new trailer called "The Making of Sakura" and these patch notes accompany the post, which follows:
Year 3, Season 2 of For Honor has begun, and a new Hero – the Hitokiri, a terrifying warrior for the Samurai – has joined its roster. Wielding a huge Masakari axe, the Hitokiri are ghostly, remorseless executioners who wander the battlefield inspiring fear in their opponents. Available as a female version (named Sakura) or male (Yato), the Hitokiri can enter a special state known as Mugen-ryu, which enables them to perform special moves and chain heavy attacks. The Hitokiri is available now to Year 3 pass owners; other players will be able to unlock the Hitokiri for 15,000 Steel starting on May 9.

Year 3, Season 2 also introduces a new map, Canopy, a Samurai settlement at the heart of a sacred grove. Designed for Tribute mode, but also playable in Elimination, Skirmish, Brawl, and Duel, Canopy is now available for free to all For Honor players. Also free are new improvements and balancing updates focusing on the Lawbringer and Raider Heroes; for a full list of changes, check the official patch notes.
Continue here to read the full story.

Close to the Sun Released

The Epic Games Store now offers Close to the Sun, a first-person horror game set in an alternate history where inventor Nikola Tesla's dreams of completely changing the world were fully realized. Here's a launch trailer, and here's more of an explanation:
Award-winning global publisher, Wired Productions and leading Italian game studio, Storm in a Teacup, are today proud to announce that the Nikola Tesla-inspired first-person horror game, Close to the Sun, is available now at EpicGames.com, for $29.99 in North America and €29.99 in most European countries*. Players will aboard themselves onto a breath-taking and unforgettable experience.

Grounded in an alternative 19th Century where famed inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla was able to fulfill his potential and change the world forever, Close to the Sun sees players step onto the Helios, a colossal vessel for scientific research, steeped in horror and mystery. As the heroine, Rose, players find themselves walking the massive area looking for their lost sister on the majestic yet mysterious ship created by Tesla. Where is Ada and what happened? Grand halls stand empty. The stench of rotting flesh lingers in the air. Silence. A single word is painted across the entrance… QUARANTINE!
Continue here to read the full story.

Guard Duty Released

Guard Duty is now available on Steam, offering a Windows, Linux, and macOS comedy/adventure game. They describe this as "Monkey Island meets Monty Python," though this leaves us disappointed the title isn't Guard Doody. The game features a retro art style, which is seen in this launch trailer. Here's the description of the game and its two radically different settings:
Tondbert, loyal Guard to the Castle of Wrinklewood, is having a rough day. A little too much ale at the local pub, a lapse in judgment, and the next thing you know a hooded figure has slipped into the kingdom and kidnapped the princess -- an event that will have consequences well into the future.

A thousand years later, in a small orbital station, Agent Starborn is a member of a resistance group embarking on a last ditch effort to overthrow evil and take back the Earth -- a quest rooted in the depths of history.

Discover how these two playable characters' fates are intertwined and you might just save humanity in the process.

Key Features:

  • Monty Python-esque comedy adventure spanning two drastically different time periods
  • Hand-crafted pixel art with hundreds of detailed animations
  • Streamlined puzzle design and inventory -- the feel of a classic without all of the faff
  • Integrated "to-do" list of current objectives ensures you'll never feel stuck
  • Full voice acting and original soundtrack with 30+ unique musical compositions

Continue here to read the full story.

Pandemic Express - Zombie Escape Early Access

Pandemic Express - Zombie Escape is now available in Early Access on Steam, offering an open-world zombie escape game for Windows. This comes with a few promotions baked in, as it carries a 34% launch discount, and all customers who've recently purchased a game from tinyBuild gets an additional 10% off. Also, anyone who picks this up in its first three days gets and additional copy for free to gift to a friend. This post covers all the news, and offers a launch trailer with a look at gameplay. Here's more:
Welcome to Pandemic Express - Zombie Escape! We've played a lot of Zombie Escape-style mods, and wanted to make something standalone, and on a large scale. Up to 30 players spawn in a large world. One of them gets randomly infected, and has to spread the infection turning everyone into zombies. The human players desperately try to escape on a train through an onslaught of what seems like endless zombie hordes.

  • First standalone ‘Zombie Mod’ on a massive scale
  • Unique co-op experience with ad-hoc teams, vehicles, a large open world, and a train
  • Distinctive art style & game atmosphere

Continue here to read the full story.

The Swords of Ditto Gets Free Mormo's Curse Expansion

An announcement on Steam reveals the release of Mormo's Curse, a new free expansion for The Swords of Ditto, the roguelite action/RPG for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Word is: "The Swords of Ditto expansion is now live! Mormo's Curse is a free and expanded and revamped version of the charming adventure RPG on Nintendo Switch. The Mormo's Curse expansion features a trove of new locations, new weapons and toys, new enemies and bosses, and no more permadeath for the adorable adventurers." They also offer a suggestion: "If you are an existing player, we recommend that you start a new game to experience Mormo's Curse as it was intended." Here's a launch trailer, and here's more:
The game structure has been totally gutted, and the divisive permadeath feature has been removed. You will still fail a story if you die while climbing Mormo's Palace at the end, or if you play in Hero Mode, but otherwise, if you fall, you will collapse and wake up in your house having dropped some cash and fragments. The game is now more forgiving and easier to enjoy.

The end game has been drastically improved, with much more to do, and more variation in the game's rules. For example, when you defeat Mormo, in the next story she will cast one of her curses on you, changing the rules of the world for that story. (The Time Curse that was cast in the Timeless Update remains as one of those curses).
Continue here to read the full story.

Epic Games Store Freebies Will Continue Throughout 2019

An Epic Games Store Update brings us up-to-date on what's going on in Epic's digital storefront. They name check a few of their recent launches, and then touch on where things stand with a few of their initiatives. They announce a delay to the rollout of some promised new features, the appearance of their first few offerings on The Humble Store, and word that their program of offering a new game for free every two weeks will continue for the rest of this year:
We also have a delay to announce. A month ago we published the Epic Games store roadmap to share our release plans for new store features. We’ve shifted features targeted for April to May and June as development efforts have focused on supporting online features required for new game launches. Be on the lookout for future updates and regularly check out the “Recently Shipped” section of the Trello Board to keep tabs on our progress.

The partnership between Humble Bundle and Epic that was announced at GDC is now bearing fruit. Today you can buy Metro Exodus and Dangerous Driving, and pre-purchase Borderlands 3 at the Humble Store; more games are coming! https://www.humblebundle.com/store.

Since launch, the Epic Games store has offered a new free game every two weeks, leading to more than 25 million free game installs so far. We’re humbled by the overwhelming response and we will continue to support developers and publishers in releasing awesome games for free throughout 2019.

Anthem Creators Moving to Dragon Age 4

Some of the Anthem team at BioWare are turning from killing bugs to slaying dragons, as GamesRadar+ notes that they are transitioning to the Dragon Age 4 development team. They point to a tweet from Mark Darrah that artfully reveals he's working on the new installment in the Dragon Age series and a tweet from Michael Gamble where the Anthem lead producer defers to other BioWare employees as the new leaders of the project. Recent reports indicate that Dragon Age 4 development has been rebooted at least once along the way, and that its developers were put to work on Anthem, so to some degree this is to be expected. It's not clear how long it will be before they start sharing details on their plans for Dragon Age 4.

STAR WARS Battlefront (Classic, 2004) on GOG.com and Steam

GOG.com announces that they are celebrating Star Wars Day (May the 4th) by offering STAR WARS Battlefront (Classic, 2004), the action/shooter that recreated memorable moments from the Star Wars movies. Not to be outdone, the rereleased game is also now available on Steam. The game includes multiplayer support, and a post on Steam by AnthonyBF2 explains how to work through the process of getting online an playing. In case some of the details about this game are fuzzy after 15 years, here's a refresher:
LIVE THE BATTLES

STAR WARS™ Battlefront is an action/shooter game that gives fans and gamers the opportunity to re-live and participate in all of the classic Star Wars battles like never before. Players can select one of a number of different soldier types, jump into any vehicle, man any turret on the battlefront and conquer the galaxy planet-by-planet online with their friends or offline in a variety of single player modes. Single player modes include "Instant Action", "Galactic Conquest" and the story-based "Historical Campaigns" mode that lets gamers experience all of the epic Star Wars battles from Episodes I-VI, fighting from the perspective of each of the four factions within the game.

Fight as a soldier on the front lines where every weapon and vehicle you see is yours. Take the Empire head on or crush the Rebellion - by yourself or with an army behind you.

  • Pick your side - Rebels, Imperials, clone troopers or battle droids.
  • Choose your weapons wisely - each soldier has different weapons and capabilities.
  • Battle on unique planets from the entire Star Wars saga.
  • Pilot over 30 vehicles including AT-ATs, X-Wings and Snowspeeders.
  • Fight up to 32 players in massive online battles!

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