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Monday, Sep 09, 2019

EA Cloud Gaming Trial

A post on Medium Announces plans for a Technical Trial of Project Atlas, EA's cloud gaming service. According to The Verge this testing will commence tonight. We have no reason to doubt them, though we don't see where they say that. Whenever it begins, you need go to the EA website to sign up to Join EA Community Playtesting. Here's word on what they're hoping to accomplish:
Cloud gaming also has the potential to open even more doors around social interactions in games. As part of the trial, we’re testing the technical functionality of cross play that will allow players to play the games they love with others no matter where, or on what device, they have chosen to play — a major step toward cloud gaming finally uniting platforms in play. It will also allow for players to be able to save their progression on one platform and have that reflect in another. In fact during this trial, players in the cloud gaming trial can engage with the live PC environment on Origin. Players will also be able to test out their cross progression when they log in to PC after the conclusion of the trial. This is a very tangible connection between what is possible now and the future we aim to create.

Above all, our pursuit of cloud gaming is rooted in our games and our players. We’ve said all along that we want to be where our players are. We fully believe in more choices for our players, and connecting them to a world of play across more platforms and geographies. Just as subscriptions can be an incredibly strong proposition for players to access great content with minimal friction, when combined with cloud streaming we can make it even more compelling to jump into new games and connect with new communities. We want to make sure that our games are able to perform beautifully and seamlessly in any situation and on any platform.

RAGE 2 - Rise of the Ghosts This Month

Bethesda announces launch plans for RAGE 2 – Rise of the Ghosts, saying this expansion for the shooter sequel will be released on September 26th. Here's the overview: "An old threat has returned to haunt the wasteland once again in RAGE 2’s first major expansion. Explore a brand-new region, face a lethal new faction, and gain access to a new weapon and ability in Rise of the Ghosts. Get more details on Rise of the Ghosts and how you can get in on the action below." Here are the details:
The Ghosts were once a terror in the wasteland. Ruthless, vicious, tactical and cruel, they took what they wanted and left no survivors. Following the Authority Wars, they were nowhere to be found. At the time, many people assumed they had simply been wiped out and they began to fade into wasteland legend. In reality, they had found a higher calling; a strange woman named Iris promised them power and glory if they did everything she said. Iris and the Ghosts fled to the Overgrown City, where for years they underwent intensive brainwashing and were subjected to experiments that left them with powerful and mysterious nanotrite abilities.

Now they’re ready to reclaim their place in the wasteland. Under the watchful eyes of Iris, the Ghosts will prove to be a formidable new foe for Ranger Walker. He’ll need to navigate a huge new region called the Overgrown City and put a stop to their uprising before the Ghosts can gain a foothold in the wasteland. Luckily, he’ll have the new Void ability and the Feltrite Laser Launcher to add to his already-impressive arsenal. Rise of the Ghosts also introduces the new Ghost Motorcycle to the game, which players will be able to find in the Overgrown City and bring back to their Garage.

Rise of the Ghosts will launch on all platforms on September 26. Download it from the in-game store for 1500 RAGE Coins ($15). You need to be online and signed into your BNET account to access the in-game store.

The Rise of the Ghosts Expansion includes:

  • New story
  • New enemy faction – Ghosts
  • New region to explore – Overgrown City
  • New weapon – Feltrite Laser Launcher
  • New Ability – Void
  • New Vehicle – Ghost Motorcycle

You can also pick up the Digital Deluxe Upgrade for 2000 RAGE Coins ($20).

The Digital Deluxe Upgrade includes:

  • Rise of the Ghosts
  • Wasteland Wizard Cheat Codes
  • Battle Standard
  • Progress Booster

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Beta Details

A post on the Activision Blog has outlines what we need to know about the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare beta testing that begins this week on PlayStation 4. They include this Multiplayer Beta Trailer with a look at the game, and offer details on how to preload the beta. We'll pick things up below with Weekend 2, which is the first chance PC gamers will get to join in the action:
Weekend 2: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, & PC Beta (Crossplay)
The second Beta Test Weekend is for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC owners, starting from Thursday, September 19, and running to the morning of Monday, September 23.

PlayStation 4 owners: If you’re a PlayStation 4 owner, regardless of whether or not you pre-ordered the game, you can resume and continue to play the Open Beta free for the entire Weekend 2 period (both the Early Access and Open periods).

Weekend 2: Early Access
The first two days of the weekend – Thursday, September 19, and Friday, September 20, – are free to all PlayStation 4 owners and do not require a pre-order. In addition, anyone who has pre-ordered the game on Xbox One, or on PC via Blizzard also can play starting Thursday, September 19. If you’re an Xbox One or PC owner and want to play Weekend 2 of the Beta for the longest possible time, be sure to pre-order. Check your local retailer or online here for pre-order information.

Weekend 2: Open
The rest of the Open Beta period, running from Saturday, September 21, to the morning of Monday, September 23, is accessible to all players on PlayStation, Xbox One, or PC, regardless of pre-ordered status. If you’ve got an Xbox One, Xbox Live Gold is required to play. If you have a PC, a account is required to play. Other than these prerequisites and an internet connection, you should have everything you need to play. And reminder, the Weekend 2 of the Beta Test will include crossplay.
Continue here to read the full story.

Project Resistance Trailer

Project Resistance Website now offers a Teaser Trailer for the upcoming spinoff that falls under the Resident Evil umbrella. For now, what they have to say is: "A brand-new team-based survival horror experience is coming." They do promise details this week, saying to expect more about this from the Tokyo Games Show on September 12th. Continue here to read the full story.

Remnant: From the Ashes Free Content Plans

Perfect World Entertainment and Gunfire Games announce plans to release a new Adventure Mode on Thursday for Remnant: From the Ashes, saying this will be followed a week later with the release of Leto's Lab, a new quest. Both updates will be free to owners of the survival shooter. Here's the full plan:
On September 12, “Adventure Mode” will bring a new layer of exploration to Remnant: From the Ashes, by allowing players to ”re-roll” the following biomes: Ruined Earth, Rhom and Yaesha without having to play all the way through the main campaign. Players and their teammates can activate the mode from the World Stone in Ward 13 and select to roll one of these dynamically generated biomes, then continue to explore dungeons, encounter new enemies, or fight their favorite (or toughest!) world bosses. In addition to giving players a chance to uncover all of the game’s secrets, all of their progress and items obtained in Adventure Mode stay with their character, so they can keep rolling in order to obtain all of the many weapons, armors, mods, and other items the game has to offer.

On September 19, “Leto’s Lab” will drop and take players on a quest through Research Station Alpha, where they will be challenged by light puzzles mixed with intense combat, including a new boss fight.

Once dynamically spawned in Ruined Earth, this unique dungeon will shed more light on the game’s intricate backstory and its enigmatic red crystals, a.k.a. World Stones.

Both Adventure Mode and Leto’s Lab are completely free and will appear as part of an automatic update to the game.

Unrailed! Early Access

Early Access to Unrailed! is now available on Steam, offering the first chance to play this railroad building game and its competitive and co-operative multiplayer support. Word is: "Featuring fast-paced moment-to-moment gameplay, procedurally generated landscapes and tricky terrain, Unrailed! challenges players to keep an unstoppable train moving to its destination." Train your eyes on the previously released Release Date Trailer for the most recent look at this. Here are more details:
Unrailed! demands strategy, coordination, and communication across a variety of gameplay modes because this train simply will not stop for anything! Plan ahead, cut down trees and rocks, lay down tracks to avoid hazards, upgrade your train with new wagons, and fend off any creature that gets in your way. Play with up to four players in co-op, take on Endless mode, where just one misstep can end your journey, or work as a duo to get your train to the station before your rivals in competitive multiplayer.

As an extra bonus, all players who helped test Unrailed! during closed beta will be upgraded to the full version of the game for free as thanks from Daedalic Entertainment and Indoor Astronaut. The feedback provided by players in closed beta was invaluable to the game’s development, and the team will continue to work with the community on new features, improvements, fixes and more throughout early access.

Key Features:

  • Unstoppable train action: Procedurally generated worlds offering immense replay value.
  • Discover loads of landscapes, inhabitants, quests and crafting elements.
  • Endless mode: Unlimited challenges with a mix of difficulty settings and wagon upgrades.
  • Co-op multiplayer: Play online or locally with co-op for up to four players.
  • Competitive multiplayer: Lay tracks in teams of two against real human opponents — who will get their train to the station first?

Continue here to read the full story.

Train Simulator 2020 Next Week

For more railroad action, Dovetail Games announces Train Simulator 2020 is on track for release on Steam on September 19th. Here's word on the game, which will support all $9,476.57 USD worth of DLC that's available for Train Simulator 2019:
Climb aboard the latest installment in the 10 year strong Train Simulator series and challenge yourself to drive diesel, electric and steam locomotives from across the globe. Start your engines and get to work as you master the skills, intricacies and challenges required to get to your destination on time – whether you’re hauling freight through the forested hills of North Carolina on Norfolk-Southern N-Line or getting commuters to work on time along the South Western Main Line – both included in Train Simulator 2020.

You’ll also get the chance to explore the Danube valley with the brand new and exclusive Nürnberg & Regensburg Bahn – only available in Train Simulator 2020. Both freight and stopping services run along this modern route, featuring two of Germany’s oldest stations at Nurnberg and Regensburg and the historic town of Neumarkt.

Finally, Train Simulator 2020 introduces a set of features to reach new heights of visual realism. There are now a range of new options including ambient light, sunlight strength, vignette and field of view control that let each user control how the game appears. From classic railroads in a sepia overlay to modern lines with bright fresh colours, players will be able to experience and capture their Train Simulator experience as never before!

Shenmue 3 Refund and Trial Version Plans

Shenmue 3 update on Kickstarter details how the refund system will work for backers dissatisfied with the change in plans to make the action/adventure sequel an Epic Games Store exclusive after initially announcing a Steam release. They also announce a trial version of the game will be released in the second half of this month, saying, "The trial version will feature a stand-alone act with objective that takes place in the first area of Shenmue III, Bailu Village. The game will be playable for an estimated 1 hours, and will be replayable after the objective has been cleared. There are lots of activities to experience and we hope you go back for more until the trial expires." Here's how refunds will work:
Concerning Refunds
Refunds will be honored for backers who had selected a PC version and are not satisfied with the proposed reward options.

Refund Request Processing
Refund requests will be accepted only through the backer survey during the survey period. Processing details will be announced at the start of the survey period.

Refund processing timing may vary depending on payment service and transaction status. It may take up to 20 business days to 3 months from the time the refund request is made until the refund transaction is completed.

We promise to proceed with refund request processing promptly and reliably, however, due to the fact that the campaign is now 4 years on, along with the complexity of the transactions and payment service system arrangements, we ask for your understanding that processing times may vary depending on individual transaction circumstances.

Refunds and In-game Rewards
The possibility is high that in-game rewards for backers who requested a refund may not be removed from the game. We ask for your understanding that production of in-game rewards has been well underway and that changing implemented content is difficult at this stage of development.

Survey system changes are currently undergoing final checks. An update will be posted with notification of the survey start. The wait will be just a little longer and your patience is appreciated.

Killsquad Unseen Update

A post on Steam announces the Unseen update can now be seen in Killsquad, Novarama's Early Access action/RPG. A Colosseum of the Unseen Trailer shows this off, and the announcement shows this off, and the announcement describes all this offers, including a new game arena, new weapons, ultra widescreen support, and more:

The Colosseum of the Unseen

  • During veteran contracts, a portal can appear to challenge players. That is the gateway to the Colosseum of the Unseen, a mythical race of warriors. This is the ultimate training, but you can't enter if there are any Nightbringers and The Federation around.
  • These Colosseums that appear inside contracts will award you with Unseen Trinkets, extra loot and EXP... if you survive!
  • The Colosseum is also available in two new end-game Colosseum contracts at Vector 110. They can award you with items up to vector 110.
  • Colosseum Contracts award you with Unseen Trinkets, extra loot and even more EXP for your reputation.
  • Remember the Unseen want to test your skill, so this is our most challenging area.
  • Also, remember the rule of the Unseen: if one squad member enters the portal, all the squad enters the portal. So make sure you discuss what to you want to do if challenged.
  • Remember: every time you beat the Colosseum, you get EXP... if you survive!

Wait, Experience points?
We have added a new reputation system, which is a glimpse of things that will come in our next Update, Federation. Expect many more progression systems, but we wanted to give you this one right away:

Continue here to read the full story.

Space Junkies Development Ends

The Ubisoft Blog offers what's called a "final development update," for Space Junkies, the VR arcade space shooter developed by Ubisoft Montpellier. The update from a couple of weeks ago (thanks VentureBeat) says they no longer plan on releasing the non-VR edition that entered open beta testing in July. It appears they are also done with development of the original virtual reality version of the game, which was launched earlier this year, but say servers will remain online:
We will be bringing the Space Junkies non-VR open beta to a close on Wednesday August 28th at 9am UTC.

While this is the end of our journey in terms of development of the game, the team is proud to have achieved what we set out to do: create a fun and fast-paced competitive FPS in VR.

The game servers will remain open and accessible to players who purchased the VR version of Space Junkies so that Spacers can continue to take on each other in the many community tournaments we’ve seen since launch.

The current plan, however, is to not release the non-VR version of the game.

GreedFall Plans: No Denuvo, No Mods, No DLC

Updates to the GreedFall FAQ on the Focus Forums have some new details about Spiders' upcoming action/RPG (thanks DSOGaming). They note the game, which is due to launch on Steam later today, will not be using Denuvo DRM. And while plans can change, they also say the game will not support modifications, nor do they plan on releasing any DLC:
Q: Does the game use Denuvo?
A: The game doesn't use Denuvo.

Q: Will there be mod support?
A: We don’t have any plans to implement mod support.

Q: How long will the game be?
A: It will be 30 to 40 hours depending on how you play.

Q: Is this an open world game?
A: GreedFall is not an open world game.

Q: Will there be any paid DLC or a sequel?
A: There are currently no plans for DLC regarding GreedFall.

Borderlands 3 Launch Trailer

Gearbox Software posted the Borderlands 3 launch trailer to their twitter account, but this was apparently accidental, as they removed it pretty quickly. Of course it's hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube on the internet, so this lived on through Reddit. But now this is officially released to pave the way for the release of the action/RPG shooter sequel this Friday. This runs for about two minutes, and the soundtrack is early Queen single Seven Seas of Rhye. Continue here to read the full story.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I wondered whether being out-of-town for close to a week would mean the gang of 13 ducks that hang out in our pond would forget I was their friend with the oatmeal. But when I went outside to dump the dehumidifier water for the first time after our return I was assailed by 15 happy duckies. It was obvious the two newcomers were having trouble being completely accepted into the group by how they got chased around a bit, but they seemed to be trying to earn full membership. When I went out to pour out the water this morning, however, they were nowhere to be found, making me wonder if they'd already started flying south for the winter. A little later MrsBlue came down and pointed out that my theory was wrong and they were on the patio looking in at me. This was just the main 13 of them, so the pledges may have given up after their hazing, but the rest of them are still in the area for now. I don't know that much about migratory birds, so I have no idea when to expect them to leave, or whether they will come back to this same area next spring, but I'll be interested to see how this all plays out.

Southbound Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: FoxBot.
Links: Swarovski Goatse bracelet - Boing Boing. We live in a magical time.
Stories: Pierce Brosnan Ready For A Female Bond.
Washington state lightning strikes- 1,250 recorded within three hours. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: DOCTOR SLEEP - Final Trailer.
How Dangerous Can Ocean Waves Get? Wave Comparison.
Here’s A Good Reminder To Never Mess With A Fully-Grown Elephant.

Sunday, Sep 08, 2019

Initial Borderlands 3 Reviews Will be U.S. Only

VG247 reports that initial reviews of Borderlands 3 will probably only be from U.S.-based websites. They are based in the U.K. and say they've been informed that review code is being restricted to American outlets due to security concerns. They also reveal the review embargo ends tomorrow morning at 10:00 am EDT, so we should see reports from sites that have received review code at that time, while overseas outlets will have to play catch-up once they get a hold of their own copies.

Total War: WARHAMMER II Adding Gotrek & Felix

Total War: WARHAMMER II – Gotrek & Felix FAQ has details on plans to add these new characters to the fantasy strategy sequel (thanks PC Gamer). Here's word: "Gotrek and Felix are legendary adventurers and mercenaries, known throughout the Warhammer world by those that sing their praises and curse their names. Veterans of countless minor scrapes and grand battles, both are formidable warriors in their own right and would make a welcome addition to any army, if a commander is able to keep their attention for long enough…" Here's an explanation of how they will be rolled out:
The Gotrek & Felix DLC is exclusively available in September’s print issue of White Dwarf Magazine – you just need to follow the instructions on the special card you‘ll get with your copy.

White Dwarf is available from all branches of Warhammer and Games Workshop stores from independent stockists, and through Games Workshop’s online web store. It’s also available through all good newsagents and bookshops that stock it.

After that period of exclusivity, Gotrek & Felix will be available to anyone for free through Total War Access from the 17th of October.

If you already have a free Total War Access account, they will appear from that date in your inventory alongside your other free items. If you don’t have a Total War Access account yet, you only need to go here to sign up for free – and you’ll also get all the latest news and exclusive freebies and offers from Total War as a result.

Steam Top 10

Here's the new list of last week's bestsellers on Steam:

  1. Remnant: From the Ashes
  2. StarLadder 2019 Berlin CS:GO Major Championship Viewer Pass + 3 Souvenir Tokens
  3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition
  4. Gears 5 Ultimate Edition China Only
  5. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
  6. Valve Index VR Kit
  7. NBA 2K20
  9. Grand Theft Auto V
  10. Destiny 2

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

We had a pleasantly uneventful travel day that even included an unsolicited upgrade to a very roomy exit row. We arrived home safely, but we don't have much time to decompress as we have to rush off this morning to a birthday party for the twinsies. We're happy to make the effort though, as they are very dear to us. It's hard to believe they are turning six years old, as we became friends with them and their folks when they were barely one.

Obituary: Robert Axelrod, Actor Who Voiced Lord Zedd in ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,’ Dies at 70.

Twin Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: Why xkcd Creator Randall Munroe Wrote the World's Most Extreme 'How To' Book. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Stories: "Joker" Wins The Golden Lion At Venice.
Glasgow Police Stop a 3,000 Person Hide-and-Seek Game at an Ikea. Thanks Slashdot.
Tom Hanks To Play Major Matt Mason.
Science: Study accidentally reveals biological aging may be reversible.
Media: WowCraft Ep 43 "Getting Ahead in Classic."
Video of Pitbull Being Dramatic While His Nails Are Clipped. Thanks Neutronbeam.
How Stabilisers Reduce A Ship's Roll.
The Funnies: "Poser" - FoxTrot.
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