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Monday, Aug 12, 2019

Tim Willits Joins Saber Interactive

Fortune has word that Tim Willits is joining Saber Interactive as the company's Chief Creative Officer, following the news last month of his departure from id Software after 24 years. Saber Interactive is an independent American developer with offices around the world. Their catalog includes World War Z, Spintires: MudRunner, and NBA Playgrounds. In a connection with id Software, they also contributed to Quake Champions. Here's a bit that includes some quotes from Tim on his new post:
As CCO, Willits will help Saber shape its overarching creative vision, helping the company expand its existing player base and working with the studio’s 500-plus employees in five studios around the world to come up with new intellectual properties.

A multi-national studio with that many employees might not sound like most independent developers, but Willits says the work style is much the same as—and drastically different from—how things work at a large developer/publisher like Bethesda or Activision.

There was an appeal in returning to that sort of environment for him. Until 10 years ago, id was an independent development studio that was able to chase impulses and pivot quickly. The company (and Willits) worked with Saber on Quake Champions years ago, and he says he was impressed with their operation.

“The agility of small teams and the opportunity to get stuff done quickly can’t be overstated,” says Willits. “I’m not saying anything bad about Bethesda—I love them—but smaller teams are exciting and fun. When someone has a good idea, we jump on it. If it doesn’t work out, we change it quick.”

Saber’s looking to keep that design philosophy, but it’s not planning to stay stagnant. Willits says the company is actively looking for new teams and studios in which to invest.

G2A Extends Keyblocking Tool Signup Deadline

The G2A Website has an update on their proposal to develop a tool to help developer block game keys (thanks GamesIndustry.biz). This was a response to complaint about illegally obtained keys being sold through the service, and they said they wanted at least 100 developers to express interest in such a tool before they underwent the time and expense to create it. They initially set an August 15th deadline for such notifications, but now say they are extending this cutoff until the end of this month, as only 19 companies have signed on so far. On a related note, Charlie Cleveland tweets that he figures G2A now owes Unknown Worlds $300K based on G2A's promise to refund developers 10X the credit card chargebacks developers have lost due to G2A key sales. Here's G2A's new update:
You may remember our last post where we offered creating a key blocker to help developers blacklist review and giveaway keys on G2A Marketplace.

Creating such a tool is going to be time-consuming and expensive for us. This is why it would be great if at least 100 developers signed up – we just want to make sure that our key blocker is going to be used by many.

19 developers have signed up so far. Here’s their list:

  • Beer Money Games,
  • Bossa Studios,
  • CCP Games,
  • Crimson Leaf LLC,
  • Deep Silver,
  • Dirty Beast Games,
  • Dynart,
  • Electrocosmos,
  • Farom Studio,
  • Fox Byte Games,
  • Hound Picked Games,
  • MetalBear,
  • Modoka Studios Entertainment,
  • Moonlight Mouse,
  • NYAARGH,
  • SimaGames,
  • Squidpunch Studios,
  • Tate Mutimedia,
  • Troglobytes Games.

Kudos to them!

We want to encourage more developers to join the cause, so we’re extending the deadline to the end of August 2019. This is also due to Gamescom coming up. We’ll get a chance to talk to many video game devs during the event and find out how we can help them more.

If you’re a developer and like our idea, don’t hesitate and sign up now!

Epic Changes B.R.U.T.E. Spawn Rates

Presumably in response to player unhappiness with the new Fortnite B.R.U.T.E. mechs, Epic posted to Reddit that they are reducing the chances B.R.U.T.E.s will spawn in the battle royale game to b.r.u.t.a.l.i.z.e. opponents (thanks Eurogamer.net):
We’ve lowered the spawn rates of the B.R.U.T.E. per Storm circle in Arena and Tournament playlists. We will continue to monitor the impact of this change in advance of next weekend’s Champion Series event.

Beginning of Match

  • 21.5% chance that between 1-3 B.R.U.T.Es will spawn
    • Previously was 100% chance that between 2-4 B.R.U.T.Es would spawn

Storm 1

  • 44% chance that between 1-4 B.R.U.T.Es will spawn
    • Previously was 100% chance that between 2-4 B.R.U.T.Es would spawn

Storm 2

  • 40% chance that between 1-2 B.R.U.T.Es will spawn
    • Previously was 100% chance that between 1-3 B.R.U.T.Es would spawn

Storm 3

  • 40% chance that between 1-2 B.R.U.T.Es will spawn
    • Previously was 66% chance that 2 B.R.U.T.Es would spawn

Storm 4

  • 10% chance that 1 B.R.U.T.E will spawn
    • Previously was 50% chance that 1 B.R.U.T.E would spawn

Storm 5

  • 3% chance that 1 B.R.U.T.E will spawn
    • Previously was 10% chance that 1 B.R.U.T.E would spawn

Minecraft Buries Super Duper Graphics Pack

The Minecraft Blog announces Mojang is ceasing development on the Super Duper Graphics Pack, a free visual upgrade for Minecraft they first promised during E3 2017 (thanks Ars Technica). Here's the post:
Some of you might remember us announcing the Super Duper Graphics Pack during E3 2017. Super Duper was an ambitious initiative that brought a new look to Minecraft but, unfortunately, the pack proved too technically demanding to implement as planned.

We realise this is disappointing to some of you – there was a lot of enthusiasm for Super Duper from inside and outside the studio – but unfortunately, we aren’t happy with how the pack performed across devices. For this reason, we're stopping development on the pack, and looking into other ways for you to experience Minecraft with a new look.

Minecraft is available on a wide range of platforms, and we’re constantly trying to make the most of the technical architecture of each one. We’ll be able to share more on that subject very soon.

Thanks for your patience, and sorry for not following through on our plans!

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Trailer

A new Multiplayer Gameplay Trailer offers a look at multiplayer combat from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. This is shot on a PlayStation 4 Pro, but does show off the game in 4K resolution. Here's word:
We’re back with more Call of Duty: Modern Warfare multiplayer gameplay! Captured in 4K on PlayStation 4 Pro, this gameplay includes 5 different game modes across 5 multiplayer maps, including one night variant!

View the footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ-fuJRgqUc&feature=youtu.be

  • Grazna Raid – Headquarters
  • Azhir Cave (Night) – Team Deathmatch
  • Hackney Yard – Cyber Attack
  • Azhir Cave – Headquarters
  • Gun Runner – Domination
  • Aniyah Palace – 5 Flag Domination

Don’t miss out on all the action! Pre-order now and get open beta early access beginning on September 12, first on PS4.

Continue here to read the full story.

Anodyne 2: Return to Dust Released

Anodyne 2: Return to Dust is now available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, offering adventure game sequel that publisher Analgesic Productions describes as an "evocative, surreal, lo-fi 3D and 2D world." This can be picked up through GOG.com, Humble Store, Itch.io, Kartridge, or Steam, and if you want a look to help you decide about this, there's a new Release Trailer. Here's word:
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.

Total War: SHOGUN II – Fall of the Samurai Becomes A Total War Saga

Creative Assembly announces Total War: SHOGUN II – Fall of the Samurai is now part of their Total War Saga series under the new title of A Total War Saga: FALL OF THE SAMURAI. This is now available on Steam, and all existing owners are receiving all of the game's faction pack DLCs except the Blood Pack for free. For everyone else, the Windows, macOS, and Linux game is now available for 75% off. There are more details on the change on the Total War Blog, and here's an overview:
FALL OF THE SAMURAI has always encapsulated what Creative Assembly believe a Saga title should aspire to in terms of their size and scope. These titles take the grand strategy and real-time battles of a core Total War game and channel them into an intense flashpoint of history, letting you experience and ultimately determine the outcome of pivotal moments in history when the future of entire nations hung in the balance.

FALL OF THE SAMURAI depicts the dramatic clash of traditional Samurai culture with the explosive power of modern weaponry, and now includes all DLC faction packs. Set 400 years after the events of Total War: SHOGUN 2, you must guide ancient Japan into the modern age as the arrival of America, Britain and France incites a ferocious civil war which will decide the future of a nation.

Angry Birds Friends Takes Flight

The Microsoft Store now offers Angry Birds Friends as a free-to-play game for Windows 10, celebrating this week's debut of The Angry Birds Movie 2. "We’re excited to release two of our most popular Angry Birds games on Windows 10, increasing their visibility and availability during this important period," says Alex Pelletier-Normand, Rovio's Head of Games. "We look forward to releasing Angry Birds 2 in September, and in the meantime hope Windows 10 PC users enjoy the fun and competitive element of Friends." In this recent video the development team discusses the game further. Here's the elevator pitch:
Angry Birds Friends offers the quintessential bird-flinging, pig-popping Angry Birds experience, but adds a fun competitive layer with bite-sized tournaments to pit yourself against your friends’ slingshot skills. With new tournaments released every week and thousands of levels to enjoy, the destruction is almost endless.
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding

Op Ed

Newsweek - Buying 'Borderlands 3' Has Become a Moral Decision, Screwing Developers.
"Borderlands 3 is still one of the most hyped about games of 2019, but an avalanche of negative press and toxic behavior has tarnished the brand. Employees who financially depend on the game being a success are being sabotaged by those that run their company. It's hard to ignore all the politics and drama when you just want to play a first-person shooter that has guns that shoot smaller guns with legs. There's a human toll to pay for all of this. With so much external baggage, it will be interesting to see how high that toll might be."

Need for Speed Countdown

Electronic Arts has started a timer on the Need for Speed Website ticking off the seconds until 9:00 am EDT Wednesday. They recently revealed plans for a new entry in the high-octane Need for Speed series, so it seems logical to expect this to be officially announced when the countdown reaches zero.

System Shock 2 Enhanced Edition Revealed

Nightdive Studios tweets their announcement of plans for a System Shock 2 Enhanced Edition, saying this is "coming soon." There are no further details on the plan at this time, but presumably this will be similar to the Enhanced Edition of the original System Shock they released last year. The System Shock: Enhanced Edition adds support for higher resolutions and other modern features to the seminal action/RPG.

Steam Workshop Adding Item Approvals

A post on the GlobalOffensive Reddit indicates Valve has a new submission process for user-created content for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (thanks PCGamesN). A post from Steam Support indicates this sort of item approval will come to other games where scams are prevalent:
For certain Workshops that have been the target of scams leading to hijacked accounts, newly submitted and updated items will be placed into a moderation queue. You'll be able view and edit the content during this process, but other players will not be able to view changes until they're approved.

For updates to existing items, subscribers will have access to the previously approved version if there is one.

The approval process should be completed in less than a day, with most items getting processed in less than an hour. If you have any questions on the process, please contact Steam Support

Crossroads Inn

"I went down to the crossroads tried to flag a ride." Publisher Klabater and developer Kraken Unleashed Studio offer a new Gameplay Trailer for Crossroads Inn, showing off the sandbox mode in this upcoming fantasy tavern simulation that got its start through crowdfunding on Kickstarter. This will be separate from the game's campaign, which is shown off in a previously released Story Trailer. Here's word on the game:
Crossroads Inn is a real-time management sim with role-playing games elements. The game consists of two unique modes offering totally different experiences. In Sandbox mode gamers will focus solely on managing their business and economy – to build their very own tavern, hire and oversee staff, manage the supply chains and create new dish recipes. In Campaign mode, micromanagement is just a prelude to a rich story as the kingdom is in turmoil and a shift of power is expected. Your Inn will soon attract the attention of important political and military figures, who are desperately trying to hold on to the reins of power. Gamers will become part of a large-scale drama full of political intrigues, vivid characters, treacherous NPC’s and dangerous quests inspired by RPG games – You will even have a damsel in distress to save!

’Crossroads Inn is our key game scheduled for release in 2019. We are die-hard fans of management sims and RPG games in Klabater. We decided to blend these two genres together in order to diversify our game and to add extra level of action to this somewhat ossified genre.’ Said Michal Gembicki, CEO of Klabater. ’We believe that many gamers who love classic sim games are also fond of old-school RPGs. Both genres have great heritage but we still lack one game that successfully mixes it together in a one tasty... dish (pun intended!)'
Continue here to read the full story.

Destroy All Humans! Collector's Editions

Preorders are now underway for Destroy All Humans! on the official website for Pandemic Studios' upcoming action/adventure remake. This reveals plans for a couple of special editions with extras, including one that comes with an eye-popping $400 price-tag. Here is a Collector's Edition Trailer and here are the details:
In Destroy All Humans! your quest is to bring down the fragile human government and harvest the DNA of its puny citizens. While you're at it, take a break and snatch the two special Destroy All Humans! editions directly from the hands of the earthlings!

Can you truly appreciate the cow? Then our DNA Collector's Edition is exactly what you need! Are you searching for something extragalactic? Does Furon blood flow through your veins? Then look no further than the Crypto-137 Edition!

Pre-order here: https://destroyallhumansgame.com

Destroy All Humans! Crypto-137 Edition
This unique example of human craftsmanship is brought to you by your benevolent Furon overlords! The Crypto-137 Edition will be available at selected retailers for an SRP of € 399.99 | $ 399.99 | £ 349.99 and contain the following items:

  • Game Destroy All Humans!
  • Crypto-137 Figurine* 60cm / 23" high | 30cm / 12" diagonal Approx.
  • Crypto Backpack
  • Keychain
  • 6 Lithographs
  • Eye-popping anti-stress toy
  • Premium Box 90cm * 38cm * 37* / 35" * 15" *15 Approx.
  • Including All In-Game Crypto Skins

*North hemisphere not transparent. No Brain Juice included - sorry.

Destroy All Humans! DNA Collector's Edition
Holy cow! The DNA Collector's Edition will be available at selected retailers for an SRP of € 149.99 | $ 149.99 | £ 139.99 and contain the following items:

  • Game Destroy All Humans!
  • Crypto'N'Cow Figurine 23cm / 9" high Approx.
  • Keychain
  • 6 Lithographs
  • Eye-popping anti-stress toy
  • Premium Box 35cm * 30cm * 30cm/ 14" * 12" *12" Approx
  • Including All In-Game Crypto Skins

Continue here to read the full story.

Truck Driver Gets Steering Wheel Support

SOEDESCO announces details on steering wheel support for Truck Driver, their upcoming transportation simulation. This would seem like a natural inclusion, but they say this feature is being added at the request of the community, so pat yourselves on the back for helping steer them in the right direction. There's a post on the topic on Steam, though since the game is coming to consoles next month ahead of its PC release in November, they are first announcing the wheels supported by the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 editions. The news includes this new video on the topic which includes livestreamed gameplay footage. Here's more on the game:
About Truck Driver
When you inherit a truck from your father, you take a chance and move to a new city. Here, it’s up to you to make a name for yourself and earn the respect of the local community. Drive through a seamless open world, work with all kinds of people ranging from a constructor to a lumberjack and honor your father by making it as a Truck Driver!

Features
Enjoy a trucking experience focused on your career as a truck driver
Build stronger relationships with the local community with each job
Customize your truck with tons of parts and tune it to your liking
Explore a vast open world and watch it progress with you
Navigate through diverse landscapes and interesting locations

Hardware Reviews

  • The ASUS Pro WS X570-Ace Motherboard on AnandTech.
  • ASUS Radeon RX 5700 XT Graphics Card on Overclockers Club.
  • ASUS Radeon RX 5700 XT ROG STRIX Graphics Card on Guru3D.
  • ASUS Radeon RX 5700 XT STRIX OC Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.
  • Cooler Master MH751 Headset on APH Networks.
  • Novatech The Reign VIPER MKII PC on Vortez.
  • ROCCAT Kova AIMO Mouse on Vortez.
  • SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 5700 XT PULSE OC Graphics Card on TweakTown.
  • Sapphire Radeon RX 5700 XT Pulse Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.
  • Sapphire Pulse RX 5700 Graphics Card on ThinkComputers.org.
  • Seagate 16TB IronWolf, IronWolf Pro, and Exos X16 HDD on TweakTown.

Out of the Blue

It seems clear our Twitter changes are being well-received. There's been no negative feedback for the new system, and we had a one percent uptick in followers since they were announced. Thanks for the social media support, and a huge thank you to Frans for jumping in and quickly programming the changes after we made the plan. #hashbrowns.

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