Archived News:

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2019 National Tequila Day (USA)

Gone Gold - Control

Mikael Kasurinen tweets that development is complete on Control, Remedy's upcoming action/adventure game (thanks Gematsu). It was announced in March that the game carries an August 27th release date, and with the news development is complete, it sounds like it will arrive on time. Here's word:
It is done. New IP, new tech, new game structure, new direction, three platforms. And three years. What an achievement from the best dev team on the planet!
@ControlRemedy

Space Junkies Non-VR Open Beta Tomorrow

Ubisoft announces open beta testing of the non-VR edition of Space Junkies begins tomorrow and will run until August 7th. Those interested in participating can sign up on this page and pre-download the beta now. Here's the plan:
Today, Ubisoft announced that Space Junkies™, its jetpack-fueled arcade shooter, will hold an open beta beginning on July 25 (2AM PDT) until August 7 (2AM PDT) for non-VR players on PC, exclusively via Uplay. Players can pre-load the beta here: https://ubi.li/zr8hq

The open beta will give more players the opportunity to join the zero-gravity, fast-paced multiplayer competition, now while using a mouse and keyboard. Players can also join matches with both VR and non-VR players seamlessly across all platforms.

Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, Space Junkies features intense microgravity battles with seven different PvP modes playable across several maps, as well as a variety of characters each with unique characteristics. A variety of additional content has been added to the game since launch, including new game modes, characters, maps and weapons. New content drops through a season-based approach, with each season containing four episodes for a period of 16 weeks.

Valve Index Kits Shipping in U.S.

Valve announces that their Valve Index VR bundles are now immediately available in the U.S.:
The full Valve Index VR bundle is now available for immediate shipping in the US. Released late last month, the Valve Index VR system has been called the best VR experience currently available by numerous publications. Initial quantities were outpaced by demand so, as a result, users were asked to reserve their hardware as new kits were in production. Starting today, immediate orders are available for customers in the US and a similar announcement will be forthcoming for other US SKUs as well as those in other international territories. All prior reservations will be honored.

Bad North: Jotunn Edition Released

A new Jotunn Edition is now available for Bad North, adding new content to this "minimalist RTS" game. This is a free expansion, and the Jotunn Edition now replaces the original game on all platforms. This trailer shows this off in all its Jotunny glory, and the announcement fills in the details:
The Acclaimed Minimalist RTS Gets New Items, Enemy Type, Meta Progression, and Balance Changes For Both New Players and Grizzled Vets

In late 2018, developer Plausible Concept introduced the world to Bad North, a stunning minimalist RTS that took the genre down to its core elements and delivered an accessible yet challenging experience. Since then, it has spawned a community who has given a ton of feedback and Rich and Oskar have put together a massive content update that is free for all owners—Bad North: Jotunn Edition. This update is available today for Windows and Mac on Steam, GOG, Discord, and Kartridge. Console versions will receive this update in the coming weeks.

As the name implies, Bad North: Jotunn Edition boasts a giant amount of content offering new gameplay elements and systems including the ability to have select and start with commanders, selectable hero traits for each commander that give a unique attribute, four new items, and more. A new enemy type has been added to give your defenders another threat to worry about.

Meta progression has been added to Bad North: Jotunn Edition allowing you to unlock items and traits that you discover in previous campaigns and start with them when beginning a new campaign.

Beyond just content though, there are fundamental changes made to the campaign itself that make the game more accessible such as sharing gold among all units (previously tallied per unit), checkpoint islands to save progress during a campaign instead of starting all the way back at the beginning, enemy types being displayed on upcoming islands when viewing the map, buffed archers, and more.

Not all the changes make the game easier however; for anyone up to the challenge, a new “Very Hard Difficulty” has been added for seasoned Bad North vets. Bad North: Jotunn Edition is the definitive version of the game and gives plenty of reasons for players to go back and face the hordes of Vikings they’ve fallen to over the last year, and the perfect chance to jump in if you’ve never played before.
Continue here to read the full story.

Iratus: Lord of the Dead Early Access

Iratus: Lord of the Dead is now available in Early Access on Steam, offering a strategy/RPG for Windows where you play as a vengeful necromancer. The Release Trailer sets the stage for this release, and word is that new content, features, and other improvements will roll out during the Early Access process. Here's more:
Daedalic Entertainment and indie developer Unfrozen have unleashed the devilishly evil roguelike RPG Iratus: Lord of the Dead on Windows PC via Steam Early Access. Flipping the script on classic fantasy RPGs, Iratus: Lord of the Dead makes you a newly resurrected necromancer on a bloody quest for vengeance against the fools who imprisoned you.

Wield an array of occult powers to make your enemies recoil in fear, using the blood, guts, bones and souls of the fallen to create monstrous pawns for your own personal army. With four different skill trees to master (Alchemy, Magic, Ire and Destruction) and nearly 100 different minion skills to unlock, you’ll have plenty of choices to defeat your foes in turn-based combat.

Iratus: Lord of the Dead is a delightfully difficult roguelike that challenges your strategic prowess on all fronts, with permadeath affecting not only minions but enemies, as well. Body parts and essence are finite resources in the game’s sprawling dungeon overworld, so you’ll need to think carefully about what you conjure and how it’ll help you exact revenge.

Key Features

  • Be EVIL: Play as the villain and use dark necromantic powers to crush your heroic foes!
  • Craft an army from the body parts of dead enemies: Pick from 16 different types of undead minions like zombies, vampires, mummies, banshees and more with nearly 100 unique talents.
  • Advanced turn-based battle system: Learn your enemies’ weak points, exploit them with physical and magical abilities, and attack their minds to drive them insane.
  • Combat and choices with consequences: Classic roguelike features including character permadeath.
  • Choose from four types of necromancer talents that change the way you play, including Alchemy, Magic, Ire and Destruction.
  • Intelligent enemy AI and multiple difficulty levels to challenge even experienced RPG strategists.
  • Improve and expand your underground lair to grow in power.
  • Detailed 2.5D art style with fully animated effects evoking classic dark fantasy atmosphere.
  • Standout voice acting from Stephan Weyte, who played Caleb in the hit Blood franchise.

Continue here to read the full story.

Anodyne 2: Return to Dust Delayed to Next Month

Analgesic Productions announces a new August release window for Anodyne 2: Return to Dust, their RPG sequel. This is a delay from the plan for this to come to Windows, macOS, and Linux in May, but since that's already passed, the setback goes unaddressed. With the game due next month they pave the way with the Launch Trailer and some details:
Analgesic Productions is excited to announce Anodyne 2: Return to Dust will launch for Windows, Mac, and Linux this August for $19.99 on Steam, Kartridge, GOG, Itch, and Humble storefronts -- enter an evocative, surreal, lo-fi 3D and 2D world in the follow-up to 2013's standout adventure!

Anodyne 2 combines the thrilling scale and cinematic storytelling of 3D games with the tight design and easy-to-pick-up satisfaction of 2D Zelda-like adventures.

Nano Dust infects the islanders of New Theland, distorting their emotions and desires. You play as Nova, a Nano Cleaner who must explore the island, seeking out the sick and shrinking inside their bodies to suction up the Dust.

The art of Anodyne 2 reimagines the PS1 and N64’s lo-fi visuals, setting the stage for you to explore 3D cities, valleys, and wastelands. You’ll also shrink into the varied 2D mindscapes of characters, from snowy, aurora-lit valleys to perilous volcanic construction sites!

Features:

  • In 3D, run, jump and drive across gorgeous and haunting locales, speaking with strange and memorable characters.
  • Choose where you want to go! The sweeping vistas of New Theland quickly open up to exploration. Instantly transform into a car to quickly drive around the world.
  • In 2D, use your Nano Vacuum to collect dust, suck up and fight enemies, all while overcoming mind-bending challenges related to the characters’ inner lives.
  • Seek magical Cards which expand your access into New Theland’s outer reaches.
  • Experience the thrilling and emotional story of Nova. Her destiny is clear: she is the Nano Cleaner who will save New Theland. But strange characters & painful experiences will put her loyalty to the test...

Similar to the Final Fantasy franchise, there's no need to play the original Anodyne to understand the story in Anodyne 2: Return to Dust, but longtime fans will find connections between the two! Discover the true nature of the Nano Dust, Nova, and The Center, in the latest game from Analgesic Productions!

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding

Into the Black

Link of the Day: 9-year-old girl tossed into air by bison at Yellowstone National Park. Recalls the old saying... you don't need to be faster than the bison to survive an attack... just faster than your nine year-old daughter. Thanks RedEye9.

R.I.P.: Rutger Hauer: Blade Runner actor dies aged 75. "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."

Wolfenstein: Youngblood Launch Trailer

Here's the Official Launch Trailer for Wolfenstein: Youngblood, the new installment in the alternate-history shooter series. The description notes this is due on Friday, though a tweet from Bethesda has already stated the OC version will be available tomorrow, just in time for the launch of QuakeCon 2019. Here's more on the game from the description:
The world is full of monsters—but as a Blazkowicz, killing monsters is what you do. Embark on an action-packed, blood-soaked journey as Jess and Soph Blazkowicz to find your missing father, BJ, and kill every Nazi in Paris.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood is the biggest and most open-ended Wolfenstein game in the series, and the first Wolfenstein game that can be played in online multiplayer co-op or single player with an AI companion.

https://Wolfenstein.Bethesda.net

Get the Wolfenstein: Youngblood Deluxe Edition and receive the Buddy Pass, which lets you invite a friend to play the entire game alongside you, even if they don’t own the game! You’ll also receive the Cyborg Pack which comes with cosmetic skins for your Power Suit and weapons. Pre-order now and receive the Legacy Pack, featuring skins inspired by BJ Blazkowicz!
Continue here to read the full story.

On GTA Online Casino Gambling

The release of the Grand Theft Auto V Title Update 1.47 included the long-awaited opening of the Diamond Casino & Resort. It was assumed this would work like other gambling dens such as the ones in Red Dead Redemption 2 and feature ersatz gambling limited to in-game currency. But it's long been possible to purchase in-game currency with real money, and in the casino in-game currency can be used to buy chips. BBC News breaks this down, opening up the discussion of whether this constitutes gambling. They note that there is no legitimate way for players to convert in-game currency back into real cash, but they also acknowledge that there are ways to do so on the black market, which leads to the potential conclusion that GTA Online now offers online gambling. The way this works in the game suggests Rockstar may feel the same way, as the story notes: "Some players reported that while they could walk around the casino area, the gambling tables were blocked in their country where gambling is illegal."

June 2019 Digital Game Revenue

SuperData Research offers their analysis of the worldwide digital games market for June 2019 with a list ranking game revenue by category. They cap this off with a little further analysis, commenting on the successful launch of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, the enduring strength of the player base for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, Overwatch surpassing the $1 billion mark for in-game spending, and publishers experimenting with steep discounts:

Top Grossing Titles by Category
Worldwide, ranked by June 2019 earnings
PC CONSOLE MOBILE
1 League of Legends Fortnite Honour of Kings
2 Dungeon Fighter Online FIFA 19 Pokémon GO
3 Fantasy Westward Online II Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII Clash of Clans
4 Crossfire NBA 2K19 Candy Crush Saga
5 Fortnite Grand Theft Auto V Perfect World
6 World of Tanks Mortal Kombat 11 Game for Peace
7 World of Warcraft West MLB The Show 19 Monster Strike
8 FIFA Online 3 Devil May Cry 5 Homescapes
9 DOTA 2 Tom Clancy's The Division 2 Puzzle & Dragons
10 Roblox Days Gone Clash Royale
Source: SuperData Arcade. Please visit http://bit.ly/sdarcade for more info.
© 2019 SuperData. A Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved
SUPERDATA
A NIELSEN COMPANY

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled has one of the best launches in genre history. We estimate Crash Team Racing sold 552,000 digital units worldwide in June despite launching late into the month, marking the second-best launch month of any racing game on console, behind Ubisoft’s The Crew 2 in 2018. Digital sales were likely boosted by the above-average download rates seen so far this year but also point to the sustained popularity of the Crash Bandicoot IP.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege‘s player base is as strong as ever. June was Rainbow Six‘s best month for Monthly Active Users and sixth-best month for in-game spending on the back of the Operation Phantom Sight update, despite the title being well into its fourth year. Total in-game revenue rose to $36.8 million across console and PC in June, an increase of 50% from May and 9% from June of last year.

Overwatch surpasses $1 billion from in-game spending. Blizzard’s MOBA shooter became the 64th game on either console, PC or mobile to generate over $1 billion from in-game content alone. Overwatch is also Activision Blizzard’s sixth IP to hit this mark, after World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Destiny, Candy Crush and Hearthstone.

Publishers are experimenting more with steep discounts. As the free-to-play business model continues to take mindshare in the industry, publishers seem more open to significantly lowering unit prices for catalogue AAA franchises in order to expand the player base. EA’s Sims 4 and Take-Two’s NBA2K19, two franchises that benefit immensely from add-on content purchases, both saw huge spikes in unit sales after prices were brought down below $5.

Vane Released

Vane is now available on Steam, offering a Windows version of this action/adventure that's been the Vane of PS4 gamers' existence since the beginning of this year. This trailer shows off what to expect, and the announcement has more:
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.
Continue here to read the full story.

Tannenberg Gets Free Latvia Expansion

In a post on Steam M2H and Blackmill Games announce the release of a free Latvia Expansion for Tannenberg, the World War I first-person shooter. This includes a new Latvian riflemen squad, a Baltic map, and new weapons including smoke and gas grenades. This video shows off some of this new content, and the announcement covers other new features this brings, including NCO command powers, a squad leveling overhaul, and an update to the latest version of the Unity engine. Here's a bit on the history that this new content reflects:
The Latvian Riflemen were formed in 1916 and fought valiantly against German invaders to defend their homeland. The low-lying Baltic region provides a novel new battlefield, with marshes, sand dunes, and the wooden fortifications of the German Wall.
Continue here to read the full story.

Biotope Early Access

Steam now offers Early Access to Biotope, an aquarium simulator for Windows and macOS. This touts its high level of detail and authenticity, though we don't see any evidence of the toile funerals that are part of the hobby. This trailer offers a serene look, and the announcement immerses us in the details:
Biotope is the first and only photorealistic aquarium simulator to date available on PC. The game makes it possible to cultivate, breed and trade populations of fishes and plants, and actively influence their life cycle.

“Playing Biotope is like having your real aquarium in your computer screen”, claims Stefan Weyl, Managing Director at 2tainment. “ You can even use authentic equipment such as filter pumps, lamps, and decorative objects”.

Biotope will be released in Early Access and it will remain like that between 6-12 months. The full version of the game will contain more chemical and biological stats to manage.

Features

  • Choose from three Starter Kits: Empty Tank (Tutorial), Amazon or Malawi Aquarium.
  • Use your monthly budget and keep an eye on the statistics.
  • Browse the Blue World Store.
  • Breed healthy and robust animals to increase the DNA rating of your fishes to the maximum.
  • Take care of your fishes and keep their stress levels low. A stressed fish will quickly get sick and will not reproduce.
  • Create your biotope according to the preferences and needs of your fishes, and they will thank you with good breeding values and offspring.
  • Complete quests and earn additional budget for the expansion of the aquarium.

Continue here to read the full story.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Here's a weird aspect of our recent move. We were formerly in Westchester, a suburb of New York City. New York is widely regarded as one of the best places in the country to find good Chinese food, but despite being just 35 miles north of the city, we were unable to find a good nearby Chinese restaurant the whole time we lived in Westchester. In fact, the ratio of times I ate local Chinese food and got food poisoning versus a good meal is infinite at 3:0. Our new home is another 35 miles north of our old one, but despite being twice as far from Manhattan, we've found two perfectly good Chinese restaurants in the area. Even funnier is how these violate a golden rule one learns about finding a proper Chinese joint in NYC, which is to avoid those with the menu above the counter with pictures of the food... so far we haven't found one in the area that does not feature such picture menus. I guess this is one of those rules that was meant to be broken.

Moo Shu Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: Is Bruce Hay the Most Gullible Man in Cambridge? Thanks Digg.
This "Westworld" Detail Involving Dolores Is Something I Can't Unsee Now.
When Did Neil Armstrong Step on the Moon?
Stories: Neil Armstrong’s Death, and a Stormy, Secret $6 Million Settlement.
Europe heat wave to bring record-breaking temperatures.
Beaches across America showed unsafe levels of pollution last year, a study finds.
Science: Microbes and the Moon.
Inuit population in Canadian Arctic has unique genome adapted for extreme cold, study finds. Thanks Max.
Media: Alaskan Tries To Scare Off A Moose With A Hose, Moose Placidly Resigns Himself To A Shower.
What Happened To Sonic The Hedgehog? Old vs. New (React- Gaming).
Formula Off-road Double Backflip With A Half Twist.
Follow-up: Boeing Posts A Loss And Big Drop In Sales As 737 Max Stays Grounded.
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