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Tuesday, Jul 09, 2019

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam Getting Free Week and Green Army Men Beach Party DLC

Tripwire Interactive announces the release of Green Army Men Beach Party, new DLC for Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, their military shooter the announcement calls "gritty," which seems ironic given the nature of the DLC. They also announce the game will go free-to-play later today on Steam, and it is also currently on sale. You can grab an umbrella drink and head to the beach party in this trailer and read on for more details on this DLC, which began as a mod:
Tripwire Interactive, Antimatter Games, and the Green Army Men Team released Rising Storm 2: Vietnam – Green Army Men Beach Party today, the latest DLC for the award-winning and critically acclaimed first-person shooter. Available now on Steam, players can look forward to taking part in the gritty and strategic 64-player matches Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is famous for with a twist in this brand-new DLC, filled with all the army-green plastic this summer can handle.

To celebrate the release of the new update Tripwire is kicking off a Free Week and sale on Steam that starts later today and runs until 10AM PDT on Tuesday July 16th – Don’t miss this opportunity to play for free and pick up the game at a low price!

After the success of the Christmas Green Army Men seasonal event, Tripwire Interactive, Antimatter Games, and the Green Army Men Mod team agreed to make the Green Army Men mod easily available to all Rising Storm 2: Vietnam players. The result is Rising Storm 2: Vietnam – Green Army Men Beach Party, a DLC add-on, completely complied and easily activated from within the main game.
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DayZ Battle Royale Alpha Signups

The Dayz Website is now accepting signups for Survivor Gamez, an upcoming battle royale mode coming to the survival shooter (thanks Rock Paper Shotgun). This requires ownership of a registered copy of DayZ for Windows and a "stable internet connection." Here's more:
Survivor GameZ is a battle royale survival game, which can be played solo or in duo co-op. Join the closed Alpha now!

HOW TO PLAY
The Survivor GameZ playground has three phases. Survivors will have to move to different zones while progressing through the phases. The first two phases have physical borders. If you wander outside of these borders into the unsafe zones, you will be punished via damage and, eventually, death.

Outbreak: Epidemic Breaks Out

Steam now offers Early Access to Outbreak: Epidemic, a new Windows and Linux free-to-play entry in the Outbreak series that offers four-player co-op action. Dead Drop Studios also offers Premium Content for the game with enhanced access to all the game's characters and additional difficulty modes. Last, but not least, there's also an Outbreak Ultimate Apocalypse with 14 items for the full Outbreak survival/horror experience. Here's the Early Access Trailer, and here is a full rundown:
The infection spreads like never before in Outbreak: Epidemic, the free-to-play co-op survival horror nightmare from Dead Drop Studios. Experience the nationwide epidemic as you and up to three friends lead Gwen, Renault, Kara and Tom through the undead apocalypse. Outbreak: Epidemic features the series classic tough-as-nails survival horror gameplay powered by the next-generation Outbreak engine. Experience the nightmare close up through over-the-shoulder claustrophobic gameplay as you blast and slash your way through the epidemic.

The free-to-play version allows you to play up to 4-player co-op (or solo) on any game mode or scenario across the Campaign, Onslaught and Experiments modes, so there's never a time where you can't group up and take on the undead. You'll have access to pick a single character, with some limited restrictions on progression and other systems. The free-to-play version also limits you to starting games on Easy or Normal difficulty (but you can join games on any difficulty). When you're ready to experience more of the nightmare, you can choose to buy an upgrade to unlock all the characters, their classes and the additional difficulty options.

The epidemic will begin as an Early Access experience where over time more content, including scenarios, game modes and more will become available. Any premium content will be offered at a discount during the Early Access phase. Your feedback will directly shape the game and your support will help it grow into the survival horror experience the world has been waiting for. You only have one life, can you survive the epidemic?

Key Features

  • Cross Platform Multiplayer: Play together across Windows and SteamOS!
  • Co-op Survival Horror: Classic Mechanics. 4-player co-op.
  • Alone: Play solo even without an internet connection.
  • The Cloud: Dedicated low-latency servers ensure no connection issues.
  • OTS: Claustrophobic over-the-shoulder gameplay brings the nightmare alive.
  • Defense: Utilize numerous firearm and melee weapons against the undead.
  • Story Mode: Experience the epidemic first hand as you fight through the story.
  • Onslaught Mode: Take out hordes of the undead with limited supplies.
  • Experiments Mode: Bonus modes with a unique spin on survival horror.
  • Incapacitate: Knock down your foes and escape before they reanimate.
  • Explore: In Campaign Mode search areas, read logs, find keys and solve puzzles to survive.
  • Difficult: Play across multiple difficulty modes.
  • Big Screen: Customizable gamepad, mouse and keyboard controls.

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Vane This Month

Developer Friend & Foe announces plans to be the vane of your existence with the launch of a PC version of Vane on Steam on July 23rd. The game is already available for PlayStation 4, and this trailer shows off the Windows version while the announcement adds some details on both the game and its soundtrack:
Tokyo-based independent studio Friend & Foe is proud to announce that after more than four years in development it will finally be releasing its hallucinatory adventure Vane on July 23rd, 2019 on Steam for $19.99. Additionally, the soundtrack will be on sale on Steam and Bandcamp for $6.99.

Vane initially launched on PlayStation 4 this past January, where it was praised by outlets such as Eurogamer, Frieze, VG247 and The Verge for its awe-inspiring art direction, themes of human evolution, and evocative synthy soundtrack.

Set in a ruined desert, Vane is an exploratory journey, where players will transform between bird and child form to unravel the land’s mysteries and create a path forward through this expansive landscape filled with ominous caves, mysterious machinery and harrowing storms. As they roam this mythical wasteland, the world reacts to their passage, evolving and building into something altogether different.

Vane is the culmination of more than four years of development by the Tokyo-based expat studio Friend & Foe Games, a team with AAA experience spanning titles like The Last Guardian, Killzone, Battlefield 3, and Bionic Commando. Developed with the conviction that players should find their own path through the world, Vane is an enigmatic and unnerving game that aims to leave an impact. The result is a minimalistic, stark environment that encourages exploration just to the edge of getting lost, all set to an all-original brooding synth soundtrack.

This PC release of Vane includes all the updates added to the PS4 version, including more forgiving checkpointing, better performances, and numerous bug fixes.

“We’ve always known Vane was going to be something of a marmite game, as it emphasizes mood and atmosphere over more conventional gameplay mechanics,” said art director Rasmus Deguchi. “We know it’s not a game for everyone, and that’s okay. Those looking for something a little more experimental, a little more arthouse, will find that Vane is unlike anything they’ve played before. We think a good number of PC players seek something a little more ‘out there’, and we believe Vane will satisfy that curiosity.”
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Bake 'n Switch Early Access This Fall

Bake 'n Switch is a new multiplayer game coming to Early Access in autumn of this year on Steam, offering the chance to make some dough, or some bread, or something. A new Early Access Announcement Trailer shows off gameplay, and they've cooked up far more puns than we ever could in the half-baked announcement:
Streamline Media Group today announced that its new, original IP Bake ‘n Switch will hit Steam Early Access in Autumn 2019 with a full commercial launch planned for PC and porting to other platforms further down the development pipeline. Bake ‘n Switch is a couch co-op and PVP game where strange, adorable dough creatures must be sacrificed to the Guardians of Dough in order to appease their hunger, thus gaining their help in fighting the Scourge!

“Bake ‘n Switch is our third original IP and we’re proud of what the team has put together. It highlights the growing capability of Streamline’s continued expansion into video game development,” said Alexander L. Fernandez, CEO of Streamline Media Group. “From original game development, co-development, and art creation, Streamline continues to innovate and show the world what can be done in opportunity markets such as Southeast Asia.”
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Haven Trailer

Haven is a "relationship-based" RPG coming to Steam and consoles next year. To help inspire Haven mavens, developer The Game Bakers offer this blog post with a new Gameplay Trailer with a look at the game. Here's a what this is all about:
In Haven, you share the journey of two lovers escaped to a lost planet. You play as Yu and Kay, gliding over the grasslands of a shattered world, unraveling its mysteries looking for a way to stay together.

“Haven is a very accessible RPG, a relaxing game. It’s purposefully a very different experience from Furi.” writes Emeric Thoa, the game creative director. “But as with Furi, we tried to make a game that you have never experienced before. The story of a couple fighting for their freedom, an established relationship: what love looks like when you’ve moved past the early seduction phase, when you can be your true self with one another… I don’t think that’s been done much in video games.”

Haven is a story-rich adventure, with touching characters with whom you fall in love as you follow them through their challenges and everyday life. But it’s also a (J)RPG with an innovative combat system that lets you play the two characters at the same time, chaining actions using tactics and timing. “It’s a game with many inspirations, but to sum it up, Haven is kind of the lovechild of Journey meets Persona” explains Emeric Thoa in his blog post about the game experience and influences.

The light science fiction world of Haven is coming to life thanks to the dreamy art direction and an original electro soundtrack by Danger, with a range of tracks that will carry players from the energy of a sunny morning to the tension of a fight in the mountains at night.

Haven is a solo game at its core, but at any time, a second player can jump in locally. Players can then share a moment of exploration and progression together.
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Steam Summer Sale Concludes With Giveaway

Valve announces the conclusion of the Steam Grand Prix, saying that to cap off their Steam Summer Sale they will be giving away an additional 5000 games:
CONGRATS, DRIVERS!
A valiant effort was made by all, with Team Corgi in 1st place, Team Tortoise in 2nd place and Team Hare placing in 3rd!

DON'T FORGET TO REDEEM YOUR TOKENS AT THE PIT STOP

THANKS FOR PLAYING

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Grand Prix. We realize that the race track had some unexpected turns – we tried to straighten them out when we could, and we’ll anticipate the curves better next time we invite you to the races.

As an extra gift for those that participated, we have randomly selected 5,000 users that contributed from any team in the Steam Grand Prix to receive the top game from their wishlist. Users that were randomly selected will receive their gift within 48 hours from the end of the Steam Grand Prix.

The Pit Stop remains open through the end of the sale, so be sure to exchange those tokens for the Summer Sale badge, profile backgrounds, and more before July 9th, 10 am PDT.

NVIDIA Releases SUPER RTX Cards and New Drivers

NVIDIA announces the availability of their new GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER and GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER graphics cards, saying these offer "best in class performance, plus ray tracing." They also announce the release of new GeForce Game Ready 431.36 WHQL drivers with day one support for the new cards, adding that these support new G-SYNC compatible displays and offer performance boosts for Tom Clancy's The Division 2, Metro Exodus, and Strange Brigade. A flood of reviews accompanies the releases, and here's a roundup:

  • ASUS GeForce RTX 2070 Super STRIX OC Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.
  • EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 Super SC Ultra Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.
  • EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 FTW3 Ultra Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.
  • MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming X Trio Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.
  • MSI GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER Gaming X Graphics Card on Guru3D.
  • MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Super Gaming X Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.
  • MSI GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER GAMING X TRIO on TweakTown.
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER: TITAN Xp Graphics Card on TweakTown.
  • Palit GeForce RTX 2060 Super JetStream Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.

Kingdom Under Fire II Coming West

Publisher Gameforge reveals they've acquired the western publishing rights to Kingdom Under Fire II, saying they will be bringing the Windows edition of Blueside's MMORPG/RTS game to North America and Europe later this year. This trailer celebrates the news with a look at gameplay showing off what they describe as "a game unrivaled in its epic scale." Here's the announcement:
Gameforge — the leading Western publisher of popular multiplayer online games, including AION, Elsword, Guardians of Ember, OGame, SoulWorker, and TERA — today announced that it has acquired the North American and European publishing rights to Kingdom Under Fire 2, the long-awaited and highly-anticipated massively multiplayer online action roleplaying game from South Korean developer Blueside. Kingdom Under Fire 2, the latest in the popular Kingdom Under Fire series, will finally be available to Western gamers later this year for Windows PC.

Originally announced in 2008, Kingdom Under Fire 2 is the latest and most ambitious entry in the award-winning Kingdom Under Fire series, combining massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) and real-time strategy (RTS) genres for a hybrid title unrivaled in its epic scale. Kingdom Under Fire 2 has received numerous accolades during its region-limited beta — including winning MMOGames’ “Most Innovative” award at Gamescom 2015 — and is the next installment in the Kingdom Under Fire series after the highly-rated 2004 Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders. It remains one of the most fan-anticipated games throughout Western territories.
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Outbuddies This Year

Headup Games reveals Outbuddies is coming to Windows in late fall this year, calling the crowdfunded game Metroidvania with a chuckle about Kotaku's recent rant about the term. The game will come to Steam and will follow next year on consoles. Here's the Announcement Trailer and here's the announcement:
Your friendly neighborhood publisher Headup happily announces Outbuddies, a classic Metroidvania* exploration game including local co-op elements. After its Kickstarter campaign in 2017, German solo developer Julian Laufer created an intriguing adventure about the Old Gods, strange creatures and the remnants of a lost world. Headup is very happy to support Julian's efforts by publishing this wonderful old school game for PC and later on for consoles, too.

Players will experience real non-linear Metroidvania gameplay and uncover five distinct areas, all with remarkable puzzles, environmental hazards, epic boss encounters and captured Wozan to uncage. The helpful Buddy unit will procedurally map the area and function as a handy quality of life tool that can be controlled at will to manipulate your surroundings using various abilities like hacking, scanning, and telekinesis.

Outbuddies features a highly skill- and mechanics-based progression system, both in terms of combat and platforming abilities. Each of the game's four upgradable weapon systems is also an essential survival tool, that has to be chosen wisely in order to stand a chance against Bahlam's various traps and unforgiving foes. Bosses were designed to live up to genre highlights such as Dead Cells, Dark Souls and Hollow Knight and will require split-second reflexes and profound memorization of attack patterns to stand a chance.

The local co-op option invites a second player to explore and experience Outbuddies together by taking control over the invincible "Buddy" unit. Support each other on your journey home, solve puzzles and overcome Bahlam's hostile maze. This will also provide an opportunity for team-speedrunning as a very unique take on the scene.

Outbuddies will be available on Steam in late Q3 2019. The 2D platformer will follow to Nintendo Switch, "PS4" and Xbox One in 2020.

*(Yes Kotaku, we heard your thoughts about the established term "Metroidvania". We're using it anyway.) :)
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Neverwinter Uprising Rises Next Month

Perfect World Entertainment announces Uprising is coming on August 13th to Neverwinter, adding new a new race and additional content in the 17th module for the Windows edition of the free-to-play MMORPG. They also announce that that is when they will reveal when Uprising will rise on consoles. A trailer offers a look at what this will add, and here are the details:
Today, Perfect World Entertainment Inc., a leading publisher of live service games, and Cryptic Studios announced Neverwinter’s seventeenth module, Uprising, is coming to PC on August 13; the launch date for consoles will be announced at that time. The latest update for the free-to-play MMORPG set in the Forgotten Realms introduces an all-new playable race of the Gith. These psionic warriors are seeking retribution against the Illithid, intruding on Halaster Blackcloak’s lair of Undermountain, which culminates in a 10-player Endgame Trial against the Mad Mage himself. This update also includes fresh PvP content, a renovated Protector’s Enclave, recrafted Early Game experience and much more.

The conflict between the Illithid and the Gith erupts within the caverns of Undermountain, offering players the unique opportunity to challenge Halaster Blackcloak in an endgame, 10-player trail when he emerges to deal with these threats to his realm. Adventurers’ extended stay in Undermountain was very prosperous for Protector’s Enclave, leading to renovations across the city. Users setting forth into Protector’s Enclave and beyond will also find an updated Early Game experience - with adjustments made to several zones and stories. Following the class optimizations in Undermountain, players can look forward to an all-new PvP map and gear to earn. Finally, a Fashion system overhaul will keep adventurers looking their best, and an additional ‘Tales of Old’ event will revive more dungeons from the past- giving players more dungeons than before - binding form and function.
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Op Ed

VG247 - Epic Games is so aggressive because it wants the PC games market to itself.
"So why is Epic so aggressive, even after taking into account the potential consequences for developers and crowdfunding platforms? Why is the focus on securing games instead of creating a better service than Steam? To understand that, let’s talk about diapers…"

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I mentioned the other day we were ending up paying someone to haul away an old refrigerator because it was not working well enough to qualify for free recycling through the power company. After it was all said and done, I think this may have turned out for the best. It seems pretty clear that this place was renovated after the fridge was moved downstairs, as even with its doors removed, it would not fit through the upstairs doorway. And it would not even fit out through the sliding patio doors downstairs until the doors from that were removed, which was a bit of a project in and of itself. I think we got extremely lucky when we found the guys to do this, as they dealt with all the obstacles very competently as they arose, and they were extra considerate and careful about not damaging anything along the way. Maybe everyone who has to deal with moving such cumbersome items has the same aplomb, but I am now extremely grateful we got this done the way we did. Of course we now no longer have an official Indiana Jones nuclear bomb shelter, but life is full of tradeoffs.

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