Archived News:

Wednesday, Jul 17, 2019

Ubisoft Financials Show Strong PC Performance

Ubisoft offers First-Quarter 2019-2020 Sales Results, saying these show higher-than-expected performance. "Our first-quarter net bookings came in well above target, thanks to the very robust performance of our games ‒ notably Rainbow Six Siege and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ‒ and a very strong increase in player recurring investment for PCs and consoles, led by record-high engagement levels per player," explains co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot. "As well as this very good start to the fiscal year, the positive reception for our games at E3 has confirmed our full-year expectations. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was highly visible among content creators and earned a record-high sentiment score out of all E3 games. Watch Dogs: Legion made a huge impression thanks to its innovative gameplay, putting the franchise back in the spotlight. Our games line-up for fiscal 2019-20 – which also includes Rainbow Six Quarantine and Gods & Monsters – is one of our strongest in the last five years. In the coming years, Ubisoft is ideally positioned to seize the many value creation opportunities that lie ahead and therefore to generate strong revenue growth and further increase its profitability."

PCGamesN notes that the included breakdown of net bookings by platform shows that the PC is now Ubisoft's most profitable platform:

Q1 2019-20 Q1 2018-19
XBOX One™ 18% 22%
PC 34% 24%
MOBILE 7% 7%
XBOX 360™, PS®3, Wii™, Wii U™ 0% 1%
Others* 5% 3%
TOTAL 100% 100%
* Ancillaries, etc.

Gears 5 Versus Tech Test Downloads

A Versus Tech Test FAQ on The Gears 5 Website has word that the Gears 5 Versus Tech Test client is now available for download in advance of Fridays testing of this Gears of War multiplayer mode. This is available for Windows 10 as well as Xbox One, and they explain how those interested can take part:
For Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or Xbox Game Pass for PC subscribers, access is included in your membership.

You can also access the Technical Test by pre-ordering digitally via the Windows Store. Search for ‘Gears 5’ in the Windows Store to download the Tech Test ready for the weekend.

If you are not running Windows 10 version 1903, you will need to update before you’ll be able to download the game. Please click here for more details.

For players on Windows 10 PC, check out the PC Requirements section to for minimum and recommended specs.

Night Call Released

Night Call is now available for Windows and macOS, offering a "Noire Novella Investigative Game." You can pick this up through Steam,, the Humble Store, or the Microsoft Store, and it is included with the Xbox Game Pass for PC. Here's the Launch Trailer and here are the details:
Modern day Paris. It’s chilly outside, the cold biting the tips of your fingers as you take another drag of a cigarette. With a flick of your fingers, ash falls to the ground alongside drops of rain. It hasn’t let up for days now. You switch on the lamp light of your cab and get ready to begin your shift, who will end up in the back tonight?

We look at Night Call as a strong narrative experience with light resource management and investigation mechanics. Its power is certainly in the stories being told by the 70+ passengers you’ll encounter in the back of your cab. Some passengers detail whimsical lighthearted moments, others peculiar and thought provoking, and a few will come into the backseat with very dark accounts exploring themes not often seen in games. Night Call is not one story but rather a collective narrative from all these characters who have something to share and contributing to the greater investigation that you are now charged with being a part of. Will you find the killer running rampant in Paris?

Night Call is intended for mature audiences, here’s the content warning we have in place on its store page verbatim:

Text references to violence, sexual acts, and use of alcohol. Potentially triggering dialogue with themes including tragedy, politics, religion and violence. Use of profanity and potentially offensive language.

You may have been coerced into aiding in this investigation, but the backseat of a cab is a confessional and its driver a confidant told the most intimate secrets before letting their passenger go and never seeing them again. Use this skill to bring a little bit of peace to the streets of Paris or it may be you who takes the fall. Start your shift, it’s going to be a long night.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ghost Recon Wildlands Gets Mercenaries Mode Tomorrow

Ubisoft announces a brand new game mode called Mercenaries will launch tomorrow for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands, their tactical shooter. This is an eight-player PvPvE free-for-all mode that offers rewards based on the number of games you win, including a Lone Wolf costume just for completing your first match. This trailer offers a look and all the details can be found on this page. Here's word:
Today, Ubisoft announced Mercenaries for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Wildlands, a free brand new game mode, will be available starting tomorrow, July 18, on PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X and Windows PC. Mercenaries is an eight-player free-for-all PvPvE gameplay experience. The objective is to call for rescue, locate and reach the extraction point, then be the first to board the chopper.

At the beginning of the match, the extraction point is unknown and players will have no ranged weapons, gear or items. Players will need to locate and activate radio transmitters to shrink the possible extract zone on the map. In the meantime, players will fight to be the first to gain intel on transmitter locations while looting gear, weapons and money. After the first player has activated three transmitters, the chopper will head to the extraction point and once landed, the location will be revealed to everyone. The first player to fill their extraction gauge and board the chopper wins.

Mercenaries mode introduces a wealth of new mechanics including:

  • Looting for Gear: Players start the game just with a melee weapon and will need to find the best gear, weapons and consumables to fight the Unidad forces and enemy players. If a player dies, they will lose all of the loot gathered and start at square one when they respawn.
  • Armor: Mercenaries mode will feature a new health and armor system. Based on the gear players pick up, an armor bar will appear. This bar will absorb a percentage of damage based on the penetration capability of the opponent's weapon.
  • Health: If players are hit by a weapon that deals penetration damage, they will bleed and gradually lose a percentage of their health. If they are injured, they will be able to loot three different types of healing items to get back into fighting shape: medikits, bandages and syringes.
  • Destructible Doors: Destructible doors can be opened with CQC, behind which players may find intel, loot, or cover to aid them in their fight. Players will need to think tactically about when to use this as opponents will be able to hear the breaking doors if they are close by.

Additionally, as a thank-you to players, the Lone Wolf Costume will be given as a reward after completing their first match. Along with the Lone Wolf Costume, players will be able to receive a series of rewards based on their wins.

Continue here to read the full story.

Hunt: Showdown Reveals Trinity Mode

A new trailer Trinity, a new multiplayer mode coming to Hunt: Showdown upon the release of version 1.0 of Crytek's bounty hunting game on August 27th. According to Reddit, "Solo and duo players can opt out of matching with trios, 12 players total, it's coming with 1.0 and there will be more info on Dev stream this Thursday." Continue here to read the full story.

CODE VEIN Invading Executioner Trailer

A new trailer for CODE VEIN shows off the Invading Executioner, a boss/pole dancer from BANDAI NAMCO's upcoming action/RPG. Here's word on this extremely tall glass of water: "The Invading Executioner utilizes her scythe for swift attacks with rhythmic precision. She is also capable of harnessing the element of water for devastating area-of-effect attacks and to close the distance between herself and the player." Continue here to read the full story.

CCP Plans 10,000 Player Space Battle

CCP Games announces EVE Aether Wars: Phase Two, an upcoming multiplayer play test spinoff of EVE Online planned for August 18th. This will attempt to place 10,000 players in the same battle, powered by developer Hadean's Aether Engine, which is designed to push the boundaries of cloud-based MMOG technology. Participation is free, and those interested in taking part can sign up on this page. You can get a look at what they are working on in this video and read on for further details:
London-based tech start-up Hadean and CCP Games, creators of the biggest single-shard spaceship MMO game of all time EVE Online, have revealed the date for their hugely ambitious EVE Aether Wars: Phase Two playtest – Sunday 18 August.

Announced at EVE North, EVE Aether Wars: Phase Two is the next iteration of the partnership between Hadean and CCP Games that resulted in the original EVE Aether Wars, the ground-breaking tech demo that brought together 3,852 players in a single battle that saw the destruction of 88,988 spaceships live at Game Developers Conference earlier this year.

Phase Two is even bigger and better, with Hadean and CCP Games targeting 10,000 players in a single battle while also offering a richer, deeper gameplay experience that aims to set a new world record in large-scale multiplayer simulation. EVE Aether Wars: Phase Two is a rare opportunity for players to take part in a massively multiplayer space battle involving thousands of players while helping to advance CCP and Hadean’s research and development initiative.
Continue here to read the full story.

Green Man Gaming Summer Sale

The Green Man Gaming Summer Sale is underway. Besides sale prices, this includes a buy one, get five free promotion. Here's the deal:
This year’s summer sale will feature over 2,500 game deals including extra rewards for selected tagged games in the sale. The tagged games are divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze and here’s how it works:

  • Buy a Gold tagged game and get rewarded with 5 games free plus a 15% off voucher code to spend in the summer sale
  • Buy a Silver tagged game and get rewarded with 5 games free plus a 10% off voucher code to spend in the summer sale
  • Buy a Bronze tagged game and get rewarded with a 7% off voucher code to spend in the summer sale.

Set to be the biggest sale yet, this year’s deals (set live at different times throughout the sale) include top games including:

No Green Man Gaming Summer Sale is complete without a giveaway and this year we’ve got one grand prize as well as weekly bundle prizes that will be announced on Green Man Gaming’s Twitter channel. One lucky customer will stand a chance to win an INTEL® NUC KIT NUC8I7HVK and a choice of one of three bundles which include games such as Monster Hunter World, Devil May Cry 5 and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Full details can be found on the competitions page.

Overwatch Summer Games

The 2019 Summer Games are underway in Overwatch, offering new challenges and rewards in the competitive first-person shooter between now and August 5th. Blizzard offers this trailer to celebrate the occasion, and the following details on what to expect:
Summer Games is back for 2019, and we’re kicking it off with a new event feature, Weekly Challenges! In addition to the new rewards you’ll be able to earn, your favorite cosmetic unlocks from years past will be available, giving you a chance to catch up on any rewards you may have missed.

Log in now through August 5 to get in on the Summer Games fun!

  • Weekly Challenges introduce a new way for players to unlock limited-time rewards every week for playing Overwatch
  • 9 wins in Quick Play, Competitive Play, or the Arcade grant players limited-time sprays, player icons, and an Epic skin on top of standard earnings normally received for playing Overwatch
  • Once the week’s challenge has expired, the rewards will be replaced by a new set of sprays and icons, along with a new Epic skin for the new week
  • This year’s Summer Games includes 4 new Legendary skins and 3 new Epic skins
  • New cosmetics also include 1 highlight intro, 2 emotes, 3 victory poses, 9 new player icons, and 2 new sprays

Continue here to read the full story.

Killsquad Killing It

Novarama announces yesterday's Early Access launch for Killsquad is killing it, saying the action/RPG hit number one on the Steam Global Top Sellers List (it's currently number four). Here's more on this initial success:
Novarama just announced that the futuristic action RPG, Killsquad, today hit #1 on Steam’s Global Top Seller list, only a day after launching on Steam Early Access. While thousands of players are after epic bounty hunts, developers are already planning for the future, with plenty of additional content in the works to roll out in the coming months.

“We are extremely excited and humbled by the reception Killsquad has gotten so far, which is beyond our wildest expectations,” said Game Director Dani Sanchez-Crespo. “We are so grateful to our community for supporting the Early Access of the game and taking part in the future expansion of the Killsquad universe. The player feedback is essential in shaping the Killsquad experience and will help us fulfill its potential as a smash hit action RPG.”

Gloomhaven Early Access

Gloomhaven is now available in Early Access on Steam, and relevant to the story above, is currently the Global Top Seller on Steam. This is the digital version of a physical dungeon crawler boardgame that has a tactical emphasis. This post discusses the game's Early Access release and provides a development roadmap. Here's more on the game:
Whether you are drawn to the lands of Gloomhaven by the call of adventure or by an avid desire for gold glimmering in the dark, your fate will surely be the same.
Gloomhaven, the digital adaptation of the acclaimed board game, mixes Tactical-RPG and dungeon-crawling. Its challenges, legendary for their unforgiving nature, reward only the most daring players with the sharpest minds. With your party of fearless mercenaries, you will carve your way through terrifying dungeons filled with increasingly horrific and powerful monsters to reap the rewards…or die trying.

In the digital adaptation of Isaac Childres’ ultimate strategic board game (6 Golden Geek awards, “Board Game of the Year” in 2017), developed by Flaming Fowl Studios, you play as a squad of 2-4 mercenaries each with a huge selection of unique abilities.

MADievals Early Access

MADievals is now available in Early Access on Steam, offering the first episode of this comedic 3D point-and-click adventure from publisher Daring Touch and developer 2finger. This trailer offers a fun look at the concept and its medieval, err, madieval setting, and the announcement has details on the game and the plan to release more of it over time:
2finger and Daring Touch are happy to present to adventure game lovers MADievals, a new point&click which promises to rewrite the conventions of the genre. Whether in a good or bad way we still don't know, but we're sure that no one will remain indifferent in the face of the bold and unstoppable Rusty.

Immerse yourself in the comedy and grotesque atmospheres of MADievals!
A completely 3D point&click adventure like you haven’t seen for a long time, perfect for the whole family!

A fearless knight named Rusty Steelknee, hunter of precious relics, arrives in the Realm of Manzasun. Nothing is known about him, apart from the fact that he’s never separated from his helm, his horse Spoffy or his cast iron drawers, and that his purpose is to take possession of the Idol Lamp, kept inside the Ascension Temple.

The realm, though, has been afflicted by a curse, the CuPeNEver, and surrounded by a terrible eternal darkness. Very soon, Rusty – due to both his proud temper and a series of not exactly accidental coincidences – will become involved in something much bigger than him.

But Rusty will know how to tackle the adventure head-on, and with his self-deprecating sarcasm he will be able to disentangle himself from extraordinary situations!

  • Fascinating and mysterious story, full of absurd and zany scenarios.
  • Funny dialogues with lots of bizarre characters.
  • Unusual puzzles but with their own logic.
  • Ability to switch to 2D pixel art as many like nowadays, provocative women to conquer and a final prize of a million golden doubloons to win! (Okay, these last ones are not true, but the game is really funny, promise!)

Continue here to read the full story.

Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood Knocks Up Steam

Developer Andrew G. Schneider announces he's knocked up Windows and macOS with the release of Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood on Steam. This is the PC version of a hybrid text-based RPG based on the legends of the altruistic outlaw. This trailer shows off the game, and the announcement has the details:
As showcased in the launch trailer, you'll be able to forge your destiny and fight to liberate Nottingham in this epic story-driven RPG blending a text-based adventure with resource management and base building set within a lushly-illustrated Sherwood Forest.

Define the deeds and identity of Robin Hood, outlaw of Sherwood Forest; recruit allies, forge alliances, find love; and chart a path between war, negotiation, and dangerous magics. Your choices are remembered and your actions shape the world, but you can’t do it alone.

Originally launched on iOS in 2017, Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood comes to Steam with over 100,000 additional words added and restructured game mechanics.

Developer, Andrew G. Schneider said: "Nocked’s desktop launch is more than just an additional hundred thousand words, hundreds of pieces of new art, and an hour of music; it’s a complete restructuring of the game, where narrative begets mechanics to create a complete story-based RPG experience."
Continue here to read the full story.

Hardware Reviews

  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X vs. Intel Core i9-9900K CPU on TechSpot. 36 game benchmark.
  • Apple MacBook Air (2019) Laptop on The Verge.
  • Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB Gaming Mechanical Keyboard on AnandTech.
  • MSI RTX 2060 Super Gaming X Graphics Card on LanOC Reviews.
  • ORICO TCM2-C3 & PCM2-C3 NVMe M.2 SSD Enclosures on Nikk Tech.
  • Razer Turret Mouse and Keyboard for Xbox One on
  • Team Group T-Force Vulcan Z DDR4-3200 MHz CL16 2x8 GB RAM on TechPowerUp.
  • Zotac GeForce RTX 2070 Super AMP Extreme Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.

Out of the Blue

We've been lucky in finding takers for some of the boxes and paper we've found ourselves buried in as we unpack from moving. But this still left us with a lot more that needed recycling. Our previous home was more suburban and this kind of stuff was handled by curbside pickup, but, while we're not exactly in the country now, things are definitely a bit more rural. So yesterday MrsBlue and I found our way to the local dump, which was a new experience for both of us. Once we figured out the system, it was surprisingly easy and cool. We knew we had to pay for what we were dropping off by weight, but were not expecting the system to involve weighing our car before and after our dumping to calculate the difference. Pretty cool.

R.I.P.: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dead at age 99.

Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Toast Up.
Links: It’s Time Video Games Stop Glorifying Violence...
Is it okay to laugh at the Florida man meme? Thanks RedEye9.
Why do so many people still believe the moon landings were a hoax? Thanks RedEye9.
Stories: Colombian man arrested in Spain trying to smuggle cocaine under toupee. Thanks Boing Boing.
What I Learned From Quitting Coffee After 15 Years Of Daily Consumption. Thanks RedEye9.
'Meth-gators'- Tennessee police warn flushing drugs could create hyper-aggressive alligators. Thanks Boing Boing.
Science: New research on Tunguska finds such events happen less often than we thought.
Media: Honest Trailers - Shazam.
So You Need a Photographer?
Welsh Terrier Dog enjoys Playground Equipment. Love that breed.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Savage Chickens.
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