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Friday, May 24, 2019

  

7 Games Free During Steam Spring Cleaning Event

A Steam Spring Cleaning Event is now underway, offering the chance to earn some flair for your Steam profile without spending any cash. Word is: "No purchase required. Simply complete daily tasks and projects during the event to earn trophies, unlock the Spring Cleaning badge, and gain emoticons and backgrounds for your Steam profile. These can be acquired through older titles already in your library as well as by diving into something new to your collection." There are also rewards for playing games you may not already own, but never fear, these can be played for free between now and Tuesday. Here's the list of seven games that are free (and on sale) for the duration of the event:

New CoD Will be Soft Reboot Called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare?

A tweet from YouTuber LongSensation reveals this year's Call of Duty came will be called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. This is unconfirmed, but Kotaku reports that they've heard this is the case from many sources, and this will be a "soft reboot" of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The game is currently being shown off to influencers, which seems to explain why they've got multiple sources for their information. They say more news is likely to come next week, and add the following about what to expect when the military shooter series resumes this fall: "It’ll be heavy on troubling, realistic emotional moments, very much inspired by the controversial No Russian campaign in Modern Warfare 2 that allowed the player to gun down civilians."

Splitgate: Arena Warfare Released

Splitgate: Arena Warfare is now available on Steam, offering a free-to-play multiplayer arena shooter for Windows that uses the portal mechanic akin to Valve's Portal series to add a new dimension to gameplay. You can see this in action in this launch trailer, and there are more details in the announcement, including word on an tournament next week:

Splitgate evokes your favorite memories of gaming’s most-revered shooters, embracing the classic feel of close-quarters arena action with a multi-directional twist. Create portals strategically around the map to cross huge distances and outmaneuver your foes in the blink of an eye. Designed with intuitive controls for both FPS newcomers and veterans to pick up and play, Splitgate’s near-limitless skill cap lets you pull off jaw-dropping, gif-worthy plays once mastered, rewarding constant jetpack movement, flanking and 360-degree ambushes.

Made with futuristically stylish visuals in Unreal Engine 4, Splitgate features a variety of ranked, unranked and custom games. Battle with friends, against rivals at your skill level in ranked multiplayer, or versus formidable AI to hone your skills. Players start each match on an equal playing field with the same loadout, but power weapons spawn regularly throughout the map to fuel your next killstreak.

Additionally, 1047 Games has teamed up with Twitch for the Twitch Rivals: Splitgate: Arena Warfare Tournament, featuring 16 teams consisting of four streamers each competing live for the chance to win $50,000. The competition kicks off at 9am PT/1pm ET on Tuesday, May 28, and all the action can be seen live at https://www.twitch.tv/twitchrivals.

Continue here to read the full story.

Railway Empire - France Released

Railway Empire - France is now available on GOG.com and Steam, offering the chance to take your train lines into France, home of Beldar and Prymaat Conehead. This trailer shows off the new content, and the announcement details what to expect, including an update for the base game, which is required in order to play the new DLC:

In the wake of Emperor Napoleon III’s exile, the French monarchy has collapsed for the second time, and the Third Republic has taken power. In the Railway Empire – France DLC players decide the country’s industrial future. Either take sides with a militaristic general and increase the strength of France’s borders in anticipation of war or help the minister of public work to rebuild the infrastructure of the country and undertake the controversial new “Eiffel Tower” project.

Features:

  • New scenario – 1874-1890
  • Map expansion: France (available in Free Game and Sandbox modes)
  • 10 historical engines: Coupe Vent (4-4-0) and Forquenot (2-4-2)
  • More than 12 new tradeable goods (wine and soft cheese) and 31 new cities
  • ‘Concession’ feature: The map is divided into sections. Buy concessions to gain access to new building grounds. Also available on the full North American map
  • New songs and updated characters

Continue here to read the full story.

Warhammer: Chaosbane Story Trailer

A new trailer for Warhammer: Chaosbane highlights the story from this upcoming action/RPG set in the Warhammer universe. Do you enjoy stories? Then stay a while, and listen:

In an age of lawlessness and despair The Empire of Man lay in ruins, torn asunder by civil war and wracked by famine and plague. And so it was, in the year 2301, that a Kurgan warlord named Asavar Kul united the savage tribes of the Chaos Wastes and made war upon the realms of men. The invaders entered the distant northern kingdom of Kislev and sacked its largest city, Praag. But in the Empire’s darkest hour, a nobleman from the south named Magnus rallied the people of the Empire to resist the invaders. The Imperial army marched to the rescue of the Kislevite capital fighting Kul’s army in a massive battle outside the city walls. Joined by mighty heroes from all across the land, Magnus defeated Kul in single combat, and the Chaos horde was scattered to the winds. Blessed by the gods and heralded as the true Emperor, Magnus returned to Nuln in triumph. But even as the Old World celebrated Magnus’s victory the Dark Gods were planning their revenge.

Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Landing at La Guardia Airport. Please wait until the captain turns off the seatbelt sign.

Overwatch Getting Replays

Blizzard announces plans to add a fully functioning replay system to Overwatch to allow players to re-watch gameplay besides that random ult that got play of the game. Word is this is already available on the PTR for the Windows version of the multiplayer shooter, and will come to consoles (and presumably the live servers) soon:

New Feature, Overwatch Replays Now on PTR
Experience your past Overwatch games from a whole new perspective with the Replay feature, now available on the Public Test Realm (PTR). Replays allow you to watch your previous matches from any vantage point. Whether you want a first-person, third-person, or a bird’s-eye view, you can see it all with this tool.

Hone your strategies by slowing down or speeding up the game to see exactly how a critical moment played out, or get a better view of the action from on high with or without the UI. The Replays feature is currently available on the PTR for PC only, but will be coming to consoles soon.

Accessing Replays
You can view available Replays from your Player Profile under the Replays tab. There you'll be able to load up your 10 most recent matches in all game modes (except for Tutorial and Practice Range). Replays will be available for the duration of a patch; as with Highlights, your Replays will be reset when a new patch launches.

Arma 3 Getting Aliens

If there's anything we learned from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull besides how to survive a nuclear explosion, it's that adding aliens only makes a successful franchise better. Hence, Bohemia Interactive announces Arma 3 Contact, an upcoming Arma 3 expansion that adds extra terrestrial forces to the military shooter. This is coming to Steam on July 25th, and word is will feature "a military science fiction singleplayer campaign, which will arrive together with a fresh new sandbox terrain, factions, weapons, vehicles, gear, and more." You can get a first look at the project in this announcement trailer and read on for more details, including word on free additions to the base game:

In the “First Contact” singleplayer campaign, players will assume the role of NATO drone operator Aiden Rudwell, who is deployed to Eastern Europe as part of a military training exercise. When a massive alien vessel suddenly enters the atmosphere, you are sent to investigate the extraterrestrial visitors and determine their intentions. However, amid the tension and chaos, armed conflict inevitably unfolds. Over the course of the campaign, players will engage in field science, electronic warfare, and combat reconnaissance, in an experience delivered in authentic Arma style.

Although conventional infantry engagements can be expected, a significant portion of the campaign will focus on non-shooting gameplay. This involves operating a mini UGV sampling laser and CBRN defense equipment to study strange alien anomalies, as well as controlling the electromagnetic spectrum with the aptly named Spectrum Device. This advanced modern tool – depending on what antenna is fitted – can be used for navigation, intelligence gathering, and deception.

Besides its story-driven campaign, the upcoming Contact expansion also brings various additions to the greater Arma 3 sandbox. One highlight is the massive new 163 km2 terrain set in the fictional Polish-speaking country of Livonia. With this new locale come two smaller yet capable fighting forces: Livonian Defense Force and Russian Spetsnaz. These new factions are equipped with their own combat fatigues, vests, and helmets. Furthermore, the expansion packs 5 additional weapons, 2 new vehicles plus variants, extra gear, and more.

Continue here to read the full story.

Minion Masters Launches

Steam News announces the launch of Minion Masters, a free-to-play, skill-based minion brawling game for Windows. Here's word on the game's graduation from Early Access: "We’re extremely excited about the upcoming launch for Minion Masters, the crazy BetaDwarf take on Free-to-play skill-based minion action! It’s the game we always wanted to play, so we made it! Join us and over a million players, and show us your unique strategy!" Those who pick up the game before the end of this month can also get the Accursed Army Pack DLC for free. As for other premium purchases, there's another $54.97 USD in DLC to be had, as well as a Complete FORCED Collection that's currently 25% off its eye-popping $100.92 list price. This post has details on changes for the release version, and here's an overview of the game:

Engage in epic 1v1 or 2v2 battles, in this fast-paced strategic minion brawler that's easy to pick-up but hard to master.
In Minion Masters there are many different Masters with unique hero abilities and you collect awesome minions like fierce demons, cute creatures, devastating spells and much more.
Utilize your minions to destroy the enemy Master! When a minion has been summoned they can no longer be controlled, so place them wisely to win!
Game Modes

  • 1v1 - Fight against other players and see how far your skills can take you. The rank of Grandmaster awaits if you become one of the best!
  • 2v2 - Join with your friend or queue up with strangers to take down other teams in this super intense 2v2 action. Twice the minions, twice the action!
  • 1v1 Draft - Build your deck from a random selection of cards each run. You gain better rewards if you defeat more opponents, but be careful, 3 losses and you're out!
  • Mayhem - New crazy rules to try out every week!
  • Expeditions - Rewarding and challenging journeys!
  • Solo challenges - Hone your skills by practicing against AI Masters!

Conan Unconquered to Get Early Launch, Reveals System Requirements

Publisher Funcom announces a May 29th release date for Conan Unconquered, which will put Petroglyph's barbaric RTS game in the hands of players a full day prior to the previously planned May 30th release. Not to overwhelm you while you digest this huge shakeup, they also reveal the game's official system requirements, even no there's no one fewer day to buy a brand-new rig if it turns out your system isn't up to snuff. They also say the game will include a previously unannounced day and night cycle, but this is not shown in their new trailer, which discusses the game's co-op mode and the challenges this presents (it also still shows the old release date). Here's word along with the minumum [sic] and recommended specs:

The upcoming RTS game created by the Command & Conquer veterans at Petroglyph is now due to release late afternoon on May 29th, one day earlier than previously announced.

“We're eagerly looking forward to launch and to getting Conan Unconquered into the hands of players. The game has really come together and although the skill cap is high, it's tremendously fun to play,” says Lawrence Poe, Chief Product Officer at Conan Unconquered publisher Funcom.

The upcoming RTS has already received positive previews, with several journalists comparing it to the highly successful game They Are Billions. The game has a number of features that set it apart from the other games in the genre, however. Among them the fact that you control a hero, as well as the army you amass. Also, the game’s co-op mode and the newly announced challenge mode, in which players can challenge one another on a unique map with a unique leaderboard, look to be welcome additions to the RTS genre.

The system requirements were also revealed today, and are as follows:

Minumum:
Windows 7, 8 or 10 (64 bit)
8GB of RAM
Core i3 (dual core) @3Ghz+ or equivalent
Intel HD Graphics 620 or DX11 graphics card w/ minimum 1GB dedicated RAM
Storage – 10GB

Recommended:
Windows 7, 8 or 10 (64 bit)
8GB of RAM
Core i5 (quad core) @3Ghz+ or equivalent
Nvidia Geforce GTX 970 or AMD RX580 or better
Storage – 10GB

The game is currently available for pre-order on Steam and via  www.conanunconquered.com.

Battle Bolts Bolts out of Early Access

Battle Bolts is out of Early Access and is now officially available on Steam, offering a multiplayer turn-based strategy game from Windows that bolts out of the Croteam Incubator initiative. This is described as a recreation of a board game experience, which is shown off in the launch trailer. Here's word:

Published under the Croteam Incubator banner, Battle Bolts is a strategy multiplayer game where up to 4 players battle it out in a deadly arena by programming their moves in advance. In an effort to outsmart and outmaneuver their opponents, players can enjoy a traditional board game experience against friends and AI.

"I've always been a huge fan of board games. In a way, they have made an impact on my life almost as much as music has. So, in between composing for Serious Sam and The Talos Principle I've played around with prototyping different games that would take care of my board game itch." – explains Damjan Mravunac, founder and lead game designer at Shot Second.

"Finally, my mind was set on Battle Bolts, so here we are. It's everything I love about board games transferred to a screen. I can't wait for everyone to try it out." – Mravunac concluded.

Battle Bolts launches after a short and sweet Early Access campaign during which the team focused on adding online play, improving AI and further balancing game rules based on community feedback. In short, the number of bugs went down and the fun factor went up.

Continue here to read the full story.

Top New Steam Games for April

To supplement Valve's weekly bestseller lists, a post on the Steam Blog recaps the 20 top-selling new games released on Steam during the month of April 2019. Here's an outline of the criteria they came up with for this report "To generate this list, we started by enumerating all the games released between April 1 and April 30. We then looked at revenue earned by each of those games in the first two weeks following that game's release. From that list, we took the top 20 games by revenue to make our final list. Finally, we sorted the 20 games by release date." Here's a reformatted version of this list, which, as they say, is in release date order:

  • Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, a wacky physics-based tactics game released in Early Access on April 1st, 2019. Appropriate release date for a game that doesn't take itself too seriously, right?
  • SUPER DRAGON BALL HEROES WORLD MISSION, a Tactical-Card game set in the Dragon Ball Heroes universe. Released April 4th, 2019.
  • ISLANDERS, a super chill minimalist strategy game released April 4th, 2019 and already adding new content to the game.
  • MarZ: Tactical Base Defense, a top-down strategy and tactical defense game released April 4th, 2019.
  • Supraland, a first-person adventure puzzle game released April 5th, 2019.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy / 逆転裁判123 成歩堂セレクション, a collection of the first three games in the popular courtroom adventure series, released April 9th, 2019.
  • Vacation Simulator, a quirky VR simulation game from the makers of Job Simulator, released April 9th, 2019.
  • Zanki Zero: Last Beginning, a post-apocalyptic simulation game with a deep narrative and elements of RPG and dungeon crawling, released April 10th, 2019.
  • Pathway, a strategy RPG set in the 1930s great desert. Released April 11th, 2019.
  • Weedcraft Inc, a game about the business of producing, breeding and selling weed in America. Released April 11th, 2019.
  • Staxel, a sandbox farming game for singleplayer or with friends. Exited Early Access on April 11th, 2019.
  • One Finger Death Punch 2, a lighting-fast stickman brawler with cinematic kung-fu moves. Released April 15th, 2019.
  • Forager, a 2D open world crafting and resource management game. Released April 18th, 2019.
  • Pagan Online, a fast-paced hack-and-slash action RPG released in Early Access on April 18th, 2019.
  • Katana ZERO, a stylish neo-noir, action-platformer featuring breakneck action and instant-death combat released April 18th, 2019.
  • Driftland: The Magic Revival, a real-time strategy city builder. Released April 18th, 2019.
  • Paper Dolls Original, a first-person horror adventure game steeped in Eastern culture, released April 19th, 2019.
  • Mortal Kombat 11, you've probably heard of this series before. It's popular and back for it's 11 edition with more detailed fighting action. Released April 23rd, 2019.
  • Imperator: Rome, deep grand strategy game set in Roman times. Released April 25th, 2019.
  • MORDHAU, a multiplayer medieval slasher with horses. This game hovers around the #11 position for most simultaneous players on Steam at any given time. Released April 29th, 2019.

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Well, we're on the cusp of the Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S., a solemn occasion which is also considered the unofficial start of summer. That's fitting in these parts, where the weather has been particularly warm the past few days. This kicks off the grilling season, and we will indeed be opening Mastovia. As I've previously mentioned, this will mark the end of an era, as our imminent move will require switching from a charcoal grill to propane. Luckily, there's a WIRED article to make me feel better about this called Grilling Over Gas Is Objectively, Scientifically Better Than Grilling Over Charcoal. That made me feel better for about two seconds before I saw the companion piece Grilling Over Charcoal Is Objectively, Scientifically Better Than Grilling Over Gas, so it turns out they are just messing with me.

Cooked-up Links: Thanks Ant.
Stories: Home intruder steals nothing, cleans home instead, homeowner says.
High-Tech Sleeping Pods Among New Ideas Being Tested At Airport Innovation Lab.
Everest traffic jam creates lethal conditions for climbers.
Science: NASA officially orders its first segment of a lunar space station. Space 1999 here we come.
Stronger than aluminum, a heavily altered wood cools passively.
Media: The Matrix low budget version. Awesome.
Finding the ship lost for more than 300 years. Thanks RedEye9.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Pitch Meeting.
Follow-up: Officials fighting U.S. measles outbreaks threaten to use rare air travel ban.
The Funnies: Brevity. You know nothing, Jon Merlot.



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