Archived News:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Rune: Ragnarok Becomes Epic Game Store Exclusive RUNE II

Human Head Studios announces RUNE II is the new title of the project formerly known as Rune: Ragnarok, also revealing the Viking-themed action/RPG sequel is now going to be an Epic Games Store exclusive when it launches this summer. If this raises questions or concerns, the chance to voice them will come on Friday afternoon, when they plan an AMA session on Twitch. They illustrate the announcement with a new Ages of Darkness trailer. Here's word:
RUNE II is finalizing development and will launch worldwide on Windows PC on the Epic Games store in Summer 2019.

For more details on the story, bad guys, quests, and other items players will discover in RUNE II, join Human Head at on May 24 at 3PM CST/1PM PST for a livestream and Ask Us Anything event to see further reveals and chat with the developers. Have a burning question you want answered? Submit it in the official RUNE II Discord ( in the #may-ama channel.

“We’ve spent the last few years building a story-driven brutal Viking experience and evolving it with the help of our fan base,” said Human Head Studios Co-founder and CEO Chris Rhinehart. “Players return to Midgard with a sense of familiarity, but with new mechanics such as god-given abilities, open world events, crafting, a full single/co-op campaign, along with UE4 enhanced visuals, making it a true sequel to the original.”

Inspired by the original Rune (2000), RUNE II is set in a dangerous Norse universe during Ragnarok, the end of days, where beasts and the last remaining humans alike struggle to survive. You have been chosen by the gods to be Midgard’s savior - receive their blessings and powerful abilities as you endeavor to end Ragnarok! Race against time to prevent the trickster Loki from destroying Midgard as he keeps the world in a perpetual state of chaos. Alone or with friends, you will battle legions of Loki’s minions in brutal melee combat, travel the world collecting rare resources, locate precious artifacts to weaken the Realm Gate and craft the mightiest weapons the Nine Realms have ever seen. Are you powerful enough to take down Loki...or will a new age of darkness begin?
Continue here to read the full story.

GOG Galaxy Version 2.0 Beta announces plans for version 2.0 of GOG Galaxy, the optional client for their DRM-free game store. Of course, there are a lot of these clients vying for a spot on your hard drive, but this seeks to be the one client to rule them all. Word is: "With GOG GALAXY 2.0 we’re going further, offering all gamers an app that will combine all their games and gaming buddies, from PC and console platforms, in one place." If this is something that hold interest for you, head over to the GOG GALAXY Website and sign up for the beta for the chance to check it out prior to release. Here are more details:
There are two things that matter to all of us gamers: the games we play and the friends we play them with. But as more titles come with dedicated launchers and clients, our games and gaming buddies become scattered in between them. With GOG GALAXY 2.0, you’ll be able to combine multiple libraries into one and connect with your friends across all gaming platforms!

“As gamers, we need to juggle between multiple clients to access our games and see what our friends are playing,” says Piotr Karwowski, Managing Director at GOG. “We believe gamers deserve a better experience, and this became the driving force to redefine GOG GALAXY client,” Karwowski adds. “GOG GALAXY 2.0 is designed for all gamers and extends well beyond existing GOG.COM users, into both PC and console platforms.”

Once you connect GOG GALAXY 2.0 with other platforms, it will import all your games into one library. You will see your friends activities and online status across connected platforms. And it’s designed to protect your privacy – your data belongs to you and will never be shared with third parties. We see it as an all-in-one solution for the present-day gamer.

Warframe: The Jovian Concord Released

Warframe Forums announce the release of Update 25, aka The Jovian Concord, for Warframe, Digital Extremes' free-to-play third-person shooter. This includes a visual overhaul, which can be seen in this trailer as well as modern parkour movement... hideous new enemies to confront, secret lore to uncover, and a deadly flying Eidolon boss to conquer." The update also brings a new Warframe to the mix. Here's word:
The Jovian Concord reimagines the original Warframe environment with a more ambitious level of physical terrain to explore. Using your Warframe's parkour skills, Tenno can propel to previously unreachable heights and new laboratories inside and weigh their chances outside by leaping across distant, floating platforms, crossbars, and antennas, or die trying.

Longtime villain Alad V's twisted experiments with Sentient technology have yielded hideous cyborg-like results -- Amalgam variants and Jetpack Agents -- whose laboratories hide a deeper sinister plot. Through new Sabotage, Rescue and Spy missions, and even a new gameplay mode, "Disruption", Tenno will piece together frightening tidbits of lore that could lay the groundwork for a looming war -- all before confronting Gas City's deadliest threat, the ever-present menace, the flying Ropalolyst.

The Jovian Concord brings with it the second new Warframe of 2019, the ethereal Wisp. Players will glide across the battlefield wielding her light-based Abilities to provide support to allies, deceive them with her unique Passive -- turning her invisible in air -- or incinerate them to ashes using four devastating Abilities.
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Bus Simulator 18 Official Map Extension Released

Steam now offers the Official Map Extension for Bus Simulator 18, the Windows Ralph Kramden simulation. As shown off in this trailer, here's what this brings to the party: "This map extension adds two new districts to Seaside Valley: Kerststadt, a bustling education and tech hub containing Seaside Valley’s airport, and Sonnstein, a rustic alpine village with winding mountain roads that encircle its gorgeous vistas. Also included are new tasks, mission-givers, and rider dialogue that further enrich the experience." Here are the details:
This Official Map Extension DLC adds nine missions, two new districts with 20 stops, new cosmetics, and unique rider dialogue to explore as you build upon your transportation network. The vibrant and busy Kerststadt will be full of students, entrepreneurs, and other busybodies that have places to be and want an efficient way to get there. On the other side of the spectrum Sonnstein is a laid-back, rural town where you can unplug and take time to appreciate the simpler things in life. New characters will help you lay the groundwork, but it will be on you to determine how you develop your company into these new regions. If that's too much pressure, recruit some friends and run your routes in multiplayer, fully supported in these new areas, just like in the base game.
Continue here to read the full story.

Vambrace: Cold Soul Combat Trailer

A new video for Vambrace: Cold Soul is the second in the three-part series of the game's features, this time focusing on the turn-based combat in this roguelite adventure. The game is set to pull you into its warm vambrace on May 28th, and here's more on what to expect:
Once your party is assembled, you will embark on a dangerous expedition to the frozen surface of Icenaire. It is there you will meet different types of enemies in the form of wraiths, mad survivors, cultists, and the most dangerous of all - Shades. Each character is able to perform one action per turn; you choose between individually ranged attacks, defense, skip, and flourish attacks. The last option depends not just on the character's class but also on your equipped relics.
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Planet Coaster Getting Ghostbusters DLC

Frontier Developments announces Ghostbusters DLC is coming soon to Planet Coaster, offering the chance to create theme parks about any movie you want, as long as it's Ghostbusters. This will add a narrative campaign featuring the voice talents of Dan Aykroyd (Dr. Raymond Stantz) and William Atherton (Walter "Dickless" Peck). Here's a reveal trailer featuring the Ecto 1 and some haunted trash bins, and here are more details:
Ghostbusters fans will be steeped in nostalgia as other fan-favourite ghosts and characters make appearances as the story progresses, including Slimer, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and even the legendary ECTO-1 car. A new in-game interactive dark ride, The Ghostbusters Experience, allows Planet Coaster players to engage with the game in a whole new way as they take on the role of a Ghostbuster to bust ghosts with their particle throwers and log their high score.

The most ambitious content pack for Planet Coaster to date, Planet Coaster: Ghostbusters includes:

  • A fully-voiced, narrative campaign featuring the voice talents of Dan Aykroyd and William Atherton.
  • A new in-game interactive ghostbusting ride, The Ghostbusters Experience.
  • A new, in-game Slimer-themed kiddie coaster, the RollerGhoster.
  • Classic Ghostbusters characters such as Raymond Stantz, Slimer, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and a few surprises!
  • Authentic scenery pieces and sounds straight from the 1984 original movie, including the Ghostbusters HQ, ECTO-1 and Ray Parker Jr’s classic Ghostbusters theme.

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: BIZARRE POLICE CHASE: Woman allegedly steals RV, causes two crashes prior to arrest. Poor doggie. I'm picturing Walter and Jesse furiously cooking meth in the back the whole way. Thanks Boing Boing.

JUST CAUSE 4 Los Demonios Announced

Publisher Square Enix and developer Avalanche Studios announce JUST CAUSE 4 Los Demonios, a new expansion coming to JUST CAUSE 4 on July 3rd, or June 26th for those who own the Gold Edition with its season pass. As a translation of the title suggests, Los Demonios (the demons) will add demonic forces to the already over-the-top action game, saying this will create a completely new sandbox experience for players. They offer a new development update covering the DLC, as well as a new spring update that's now live in the game, adding lighting improvements, destructible Black Hand statues, improved Black Hand combat vehicle AI, new mobile chaos objects, and destructible metal train bridges. Here's a trailer with a look, and here are more details:
When Rico & Javi, investigate a newly discovered temple off the shore of Solis, an archaeologist working with the Black Hand unexpectedly releases an ancient demonic force from its imprisonment.

A parasitic infestation now spreads across Solis, terrorizing its inhabitants and attacking any Black Hand forces that stand in its way. Rico must tackle a horrifying new threat and seek out answers to eradicate the demon invasion from the island permanently, before it’s too late!

Discover a completely new sandbox gameplay experience with Los Demonios, as demonic hordes, pulsing tendrils and spore-filled clouds infest the towns and people of Solis in an exciting new supernatural addition to JUST CAUSE 4.

Face the demons across new missions that will require all the skills and tools at Rico’s disposal to emerge victorious. Vicious demons spit corrosive projectiles, possess soldiers, and even take over military vehicles and turn them against Rico.

Seamlessly integrating into the JUST CAUSE 4 sandbox, the new missions enhance the crazy open world experience further and provide a return to the popular liberation gameplay of the JUST CAUSE 3. Introducing new weapons and equipment to unlock, including the Demon Crossbow and Demon Egg Supply Drop, Los Demonios lets you take the new tools of destruction into the open-world sandbox of JUST CAUSE 4 for explosive new action packed moments of glorious mayhem.

“Los Demonios is the second DLC pack in the ‘Dare Devils, Demons and Danger' Expansion Pass, and it brings a totally new experience to JUST CAUSE 4,” said Bryan Rodriguez, Creative Producer at Avalanche Studios. “For the first time, Rico is tangling with an otherwordly threat that will push him to his limits. This is our chance to see if Rico is as good at squashing demons as he is at toppling dictators!”
Continue here to read the full story.

THQ Nordic Reels In Piranha Bytes

THQ Nordic announces the acquisition of German developer Piranha Bytes, saying they've also snapped up three of the developer's intellectual properties, Gothic, Risen, and ELEX. They offer a FAQ on the topic, saying this will result in no personnel changes, and they do not plan on moving the company to Vienna. They also strongly hint that an ELEX sequel will come at some point, while declining to comment on the possibilities of Gothic or Risen remakes. Here's word:
THQ Nordic today announced that the acquisition of the Piranha Bytes team and trademark and the intellectual property Gothic has been finalised. Piranha Bytes' rights to Risen and ELEX were also acquired.

“Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.” John F. Kennedy (1961)

Although statements like the following should not be done within the context of a press release, we still do it:

All of us here at THQ Nordic welcome every single member of the Piranha Bytes team to our family. We already had our fair share of laughter (well, every time we meet in person), fun (conventions, Christmas- and Summer parties, or karaoke singing), tears (when the wrong person hits the karaoke stage), and sweat (Batman cosplay @Gamescom 2018 comes to mind) together, and from now on it is in an officially joint capacity as well. The closing of the transaction is subject to the approvals of the committees of Piranha Bytes.

The newly formed entity (Piranha Bytes GmbH, Essen, Germany) will host the entire development team and is a 100% subsidiary of THQ Nordic GmbH, based in Vienna, Austria. As in the past, the team will focus and concentrate on the creation of outstanding and unique RPG gaming experiences, having full creative freedom in doing so, whereas THQ Nordic GmbH will act as Piranha Bytes' publisher, responsible for distribution, marketing and further support.
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Overwatch Anniversary Event Underway

As promised, the Overwatch 2019 anniversary event is now underway. This offers new and returning cosmetic items, special lootboxes, and a free trial for those still on the fence about the now three year-old shooter. This trailer kicks things off with a look at the new goodies. There's also this post announcing a brawl schedule covering the next three weeks. Here's more on that:
You’ve pushed millions of payloads, pulled off countless incredible POTGs, and delivered an extraordinary amount of “Boops”—here’s to three years of playing Overwatch together!

As part of Overwatch’s Anniversary Celebration, we’re unlocking the brawl vault, giving you the chance to dive back into your favorite modes from our previous seasonal events. From now until June 11, you can fight yetis, score goals, and neutralize omnic threats... but you’ll need to plan your schedule accordingly.
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Standalone Dota Auto Chess Plans

Valve blogs about plans for a standalone version of Dota Auto Chess. They flew the Drobo team behind the project in from China to discuss collaborating on this, but they say everyone decided that it's best for Valve to develop their own standalone version while Drodo would continue to work on a mobile version:
If you’re like us, you’ve spent much of the last six months playing Dota Auto Chess. And if you’ve followed Valve closely over time, you know what usually comes next: we’ll play something we love or meet some people we’re inspired by and then figure out a way to work together. In fact, Dota 2 exists because a group of us here at Valve couldn’t stop playing the original mod. After we played the game, roughly 1 billion times, it was pretty clear that we should reach out to the creators, Drodo Studio, and start a conversation about working together.

So in February we flew the Drodo team over from China to chat about the future of Dota Auto Chess, and to see if they’d want to collaborate directly with us (this was also during one of the worst weeks of snow we’ve had in years, sorry about that, Drodo). We had great conversations, but we both came to the conclusion that Valve and Drodo could not work directly with each other for a variety of reasons. We ended up agreeing that we’ll each build our own stand-alone version of the game, and support each other to the fullest.

Drodo has been working on their own, non-Dota mobile game and the beta is out now. We’ve worked with them to help the existing DAC mod players migrate their account progress over to their new game. It looks pretty cool so far, we encourage you to go check it out.

As for us, with Drodo’s blessing, a group of people here at Valve are currently working on a standalone Dota version. We’ll share more information about this soon.
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Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan in August

Publisher BANDAI NAMCO and developer Supermassive announce an August 30th release date for Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, which they call "a ghastly adventure on the high seas." They are now accepting preorders for the game, which comes as a "Curator’s Cut" with additional content that will come at a later date to those who do not preorder. The news is illustrated by this trailer and comes with the following details:
For those of your who are looking for a ghastly adventure on the high seas, your search comes to an end on August 30th as the first game of Supermassive Game’s The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, launches in the Americas for the PlayStation®4, Xbox One, and PC on STEAM®.

The development team at Supermassive Games are masters of narrative storytelling and Man of Medan is their latest creation that will surely envelop players in its compelling story and have them building genuine attachments to the cast of characters in this ghastly tale.

True horror aficionados will want to secure Day 1 access to the Curator’s Cut of Man of Medan by preordering the game – which starts today. The Curator’s Cut opens up a myriad of different options and an alternative path through the game, experienced from an entirely new perspective. The Curator’s Cut will reveal its secrets once the game has been completed once, from there, a new world of possibilities open up to players, including:

  • A new perspective from different characters are unlocked.
  • New options and choices are offered within each scene that requires player choice; new decisions means new outcomes to discover.
  • New scenes and secrets not featured in the original playthrough are also unlocked.

Note: The contents of the Curator’s Cut will be made available to players who do not preorder Man of Medan at a later date.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Vale Announced

Independent developer Flying Squirrel announces The Vale, an audio-focused game coming to Windows on Steam this August. This is a medieval action/adventure, and they say their unique take on the genre will bring a AAA experience to the visually impaired as well as the sighted. The announcement trailer offers a listen to gameplay, though it starts with an oddly text-only recommendation: "The Vale is an audio-based video game. Headphones are recommended." But besides that and the logo, the clip is entirety auditory. Here's more:
Players surround themselves in an emotional story of the second-to-the-throne — blind from birth and newly exiled to the edges of the kingdom as their elder brother is crowned king. Eager for this break from their sheltered existence, the hero experiences their first taste of adventure as they travel to the borderlands. The journey comes to an abrupt halt as hordes of invading troops, ravaging the land and heading towards the capital, attack the hapless caravan. A narrow escape leaves the hero stranded in hostile lands, alone and defenseless. Through the help of a local shepherd, players must master skills, branching magic, befriend companions, and survive the treacherous long and perilous expedition home — one that will reveal startling truths about their kingdom, the land, and the royal family.

Immerse yourself in the mystery of The Vale by watching the latest trailer below — best experienced with headphones:

Key Features:

  • Accessible Gaming For All: Haptic controller feedback, binaural audio technology, and cinematic voice acting guides players through battle, quests and cut scenes, making this an experience that is accessible to visually impaired and sighted players alike
  • Diverse Soundscape Environments: The bustle of busy villages, the gentle rustling of leaves through the trees in the forests, the eerie echos of the unknown in dank caves — full 3-dimensional sound surrounds players as they adventure over 20 diverse locations ripe for exploration
  • Immersive Medieval Combat: Players are immersed in the action in a way that is completely refreshing as enemies attack with random and story-based encounters, boss battles, and more. During combat, intuitive battle clamor guides players towards enemies as they attack and defend against their foes
  • Meaningful RPG Elements: Presented with a choice of gender and combat styles, players will guide their fully-voiced hero and build their potential as they unlock branching magic paths, loot enemies, hunt animals for valuable items, and visit shops to purchase weapons and armor — each with unique sounds and stats
  • A Story for the Ages: With branching narratives determined by player choice, over 20 side quests and more than 20 audio cut scenes, players will uncover twists and surprises as they travel the land and speak with the many unique and fully voiced characters they encounter

The Vale will be available for Windows PC via Steam this August. Players who wish to learn more may visit the official website:

Continue here to read the full story.

The Sinking City Trailer

A new trailer called "Rotten Reality" is now available for The Sinking City, the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired investigation/action game in the works at Frogwares. This helps us understand why the city is sinking, as word is it "focuses on the horror and rotten powers gripping the city." The game is expected on June 27th, and the description of the clip offers this overview of gameplay:
Tortured by his past and otherworldly visions, Charles W. Reed, a private investigator finds himself in Oakmont, Massachusetts, seeking salvation from the creeping insanity that afflicts him.

Once a trade harbor, known for its lucrative smuggling business, Oakmont now lives in secluded isolation from the rest of the world, under a flood of supernatural origins.

In this place of decay and superstition; players will have to deal with the dregs of mankind, follow clues they wish they had never found, and unveil a cosmic horror threatening the world itself.
Continue here to read the full story.

March U.S. Sales Charts

NPD Group now offers U.S. games sales figures for the month of March 2019 as well as the year-to-date through the end of March. As before these come with a slightly confusing set of mismatched footnotes trying to clarify which results include digital sales. We've brought the confusion to their attention in hopes it will be fixed eventually, but are including the footnotes with the charts for completeness:

Top 10 Selling Video Games (Retail and Digital), March 2019

Rank  Rank Last Month  Title  Publisher
1  NEW  Tom Clancy's The Division 2^  Ubisoft
2  NEW  Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice^  Activision Blizzard (Corp)
3  NEW  MLB 19: The Show  Sony (Corp)
4  NEW  Devil May Cry 5  Capcom USA
5  7  Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*  Nintendo
6  5  Red Dead Redemption II  Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
7  9  NBA 2K19  Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
8  NEW  Grand Theft Auto V  Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
9  NEW  Yoshi's Crafted World*  Nintendo
10  10  Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII^  Activision Blizzard (Corp)

Top 10 Selling Video Games (Retail and Digital), YTD Ending March 2019

Rank  Rank Last Month  Title  Publisher
1  1  Kingdom Hearts III  Square Enix Inc (Corp)
2  NEW  Tom Clancy's The Division 2^  Ubisoft
3  2  Anthem^  Electronic Arts
4  3  Resident Evil 2 2019  Capcom USA
5  5  Red Dead Redemption II  Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
6  4  Jump Force  Bandai Namco Games (Corp)
7  6  Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*  Nintendo
8  NEW  Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice^  Activision Blizzard (Corp)
9  7  Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII^  Activision Blizzard (Corp)
10  8  New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*  Nintendo

Digital Not Included
> ^ - PC Digital Not Included
*** No digital sales included in ranking.
^ sales not included

NPD’s U.S. top 10 games list, ranked by dollar sales, includes full-game digital sales (from participating publishers) as well as sales for physical formats sold at retail and online across console, PC and portable platforms.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • ADATA XPG Spectrix D60G DDR4-3000 32GB Memory Kit on TweakTown.
  • AMD Radeon VII vs. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Graphics Card on TechSpot.
  • Intel Core i7-9750H vs i7-8750H CPU on TechSpot.
  • ViewSonic ELITE XG240R 144 Hz FreeSync Monitor on TechPowerUp.


Out of the Blue

Today is National Solitaire Day of all things, celebrating the classic card game where there's no one to accuse you of cheating. We may think of Civilization as the original one-more-turn strategy game, but an article on Business Insider celebrates the occasion by asking experts why Solitaire is "so addictive." Enjoy. By the way, you should put that black six on the red seven.

Solitary Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: Aykroyd Pens A "Ghostbusters" 60s Prequel.
Gwendoline Christie correctly predicted who would end up on the Iron Throne 2 whole years ago.
New Coke To Return For "Stranger Things" S3.
Stories: Washington is 1st state to allow composting of human bodies. Thanks Slashdot.
Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Debuts at Cannes. Thanks David.
Science: Scientists Have Created a Sound So Loud It Can Vaporize Water on Contact. Thanks Kxmode.
“Quacks” blamed for HIV outbreak that infected hundreds of kids.
Surprise! When Los Angeles cleaned up its air, childhood asthma cases dropped.
Media: Toy Story 4 - Official Trailer 2.
Danny Macaskill: Danny Daycare.
FlightLapse - MilkyWay.
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