Archived News:

Wednesday, Oct 09, 2019 Blue's News Anniversary (1996)

Some Blizzard Employees Walkout Over Hong Kong Controversy

The Daily Beast reports that some Blizzard employees staged a walkout today to protest the company's handling of a pro-Hong Kong protest at a recent Hearthstone tournament. Here's word: "The demonstration’s numbers fluctuated throughout the day, the two employees said, ranging from a dozen to 30, and the protesters departed sometime in the late afternoon. The protesters would have been visible to executive offices, which overlook the main plaza, the two employees said. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment." On a related note, Tim Sweeney reiterated on Twitter that "Epic supports the rights of Fortnite players and creators to speak about politics and human rights." He indicates this will remain the case, even if someone drops a dime on them to Tencent, the Chinese firm that owns 40% of Epic Games (not to mention around 5% of Activision Blizzard).

The Division 2 Delays Raid; Episode 2 and Free Weekend Next Week

Ubisoft announces an October 15th release date for Episode 2 – Pentagon: The Last Castle, which they call the biggest title update for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 since its release. This is when this will come to season pass holders and Uplay+ subscribers, and it will come the following week on October 22nd to all other owners of the game. As for those who do not own the action/RPG sequel, they are also planning a free weekend which will run from October 17-20. Word on Episode 2 is that it will offer two new main missions, a new technician specialization, a new conflict PvP mode, a new map called The Warf, along with fixes and improvements. They take the occasion to announce a delay to the release of the game's second raid: "As part of Ubisoft’s commitment to the overall fixes and improvements to the game, The Division 2’s second raid will be delayed. The additional time allows the development team to focus on the overall quality of The Division 2, while developing a raid that will better meet the standards of its players." This post has all the details on the new DLC, and the Episode 2 Story Trailer offers a look. Here's a bit more on the plan:
The latest episode in The Division 2's Year 1 free content plan features escalation in Washington D.C. for Division Agents, as Black Tusk Forces continue to wreak havoc around the city. In episode 2, players must fight to solve the ongoing outbreak crisis. It will be up to Agents to uncover the secrets insight the Pentagon before it falls into the hands of The Black Tusk.
Continue here to read the full story.

More on PC Red Dead Redemption 2

The Rockstar Games Website now has the PC system requirements mentioned this morning for the Windows edition of Red Dead Redemption 2. They also offer some screenshots of the western shooter running on PC, details on some new items this edition will include, as well as the following on PC-specific features the port will support:
Red Dead Redemption 2 for PC takes full advantage of the power of the PC to bring every corner of this massive, rich and detailed world to life from the windswept snowy peaks of the Grizzly Mountains to the dusty roads of Lemoyne; from the mud-spattered storefronts of Valentine to the cobbled streets of St Denis. New graphical and technical enhancements for deeper immersion include increased draw distances for better navigation; higher quality global illumination and ambient occlusion for improved day and night lighting; higher quality snow trails, improved reflections and deeper, higher resolution shadows at all distances; tessellated tree textures and improved grass and fur textures for added realism in every plant and animal.

Red Dead Redemption 2 for PC also offers HDR support, the ability to run high-end display setups with 4K resolution and beyond, multi-monitor configurations, widescreen configurations, faster frame rates and more.

My Beautiful Paper Smile Announced

Vicarious Publishing announces My Beautiful Paper Smile, which sounds a little creepy even before you learn this is "a psychological horror game about children trapped in a facility raising them to be 'perfect'." The official website is online, offering beta access to those who request it on their Discord. The site also has an announcement trailer, which amusingly does not display at this time because it's marked as "private," bit luckily, this link to the trailer works. You can wishlist this on Steam, where word is it will be released sometime next year. Here are the details on the game, which they say will be a four-chapter series:
In My Beautiful Paper Smile, players take on the role of a “Joyous”, a child part of the operation to make all children perfect by always smiling. However, the protagonist does not appreciate everything that has been done by the facility. The child wants to escape. This 4-chapter title brings a gripping storyline about children’s imprisonment, thrilling puzzles for players to solve, an eerie supernatural setting, and more.
“My Beautiful Paper Smile will touch everyone when they play through it as it takes on sensitive issues we all acknowledge but never talk about,” said Michael Brown, CEO of Vicarious Publishing. “This title puts childhood experiences of mental health into perspective with horror environments.”
Features:

  • Stunning hand-drawn graphics.
  • Developed in Unreal Engine 4
  • Unique unsettling atmosphere.
  • Deep engrossing story.
  • Free yourself and try to escape the authorities ‘education’ facility.
  • Use stealth to avoid detection
  • Run and hide from the faceless one.
  • Uncover the reason behind the operation.
  • Discover the dark mystery behind the authorities' twisted scheme.

Continue here to read the full story.

Murder By Numbers Announced

Publisher The Irregular Corporation and developer Mediatonic announce Murder By Numbers, a "Hollywood whodunit" coming to PC and Switch next year. They offer this Announcement Trailer to show what they mean when they call this "quite possibly the only 90s-themed Hollywood detective game you'll ever need." Here's the Steam Listing, and here's more on the game:
Devised by game director Ed Fear (The Swords of Ditto, Heavenstrike Rivals), Murder By Numbers is a retro-inspired visual novel, injected with a colourful cast designed by the incomparable imagination of Hato Moa (Hatoful Boyfriend) and music by the legendary Masakazu Sugimori (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Viewtiful Joe, Ghost Trick).

Los Angeles, 1996. Honor Mizrahi was just an actress on a hit TV detective show. But when her boss ends up dead just minutes after he fires her, she finds herself starring in her own murder mystery. Teaming up with SCOUT, a reconnaissance robot thrown away after a mysterious incident, she sets out to clear her name - and a new detective duo is born.

Investigate a range of cases and unearth clues with SCOUT’s sensors, cracking hidden nonograms and piecing together proof one pixel at a time. Use that evidence to interrogate weird and wonderful characters across TV studios, glitzy award shows, drag clubs, and more as you seek to uncover an overarching story of conspiracy, deception and - of course - MURDER!
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding

First of Three Battlefield V Trials Tomorrow

A tweet from the Battlefield reveals that a free trial weekend for Battlefield V kicks off tomorrow on Origin. This will be the first of three such samples of the military shooter they have planned for this month. Here's a FAQ with all the details, and here's an overview:
OCT 10 – OCT 13
Weekend 1: Rush
The first weekend lets you try out Rush, the intense game mode where you never have a moment to waste. Attack or defend the objectives and always keep an ear out for artillery strikes when this mode is available for a limited time. Enjoy Rush on Operation Underground, Rotterdam, Narvik, Mercury, and other maps – and complete the Weekly Challenge to unlock the Captain Hadlow vehicle skin for the Stug IV.

OCT 17 – OCT 20
Weekend 2: Infantry-Focused Conquest
Engaging in the flag-capping rumbles of Conquest is the most classic way to experience Battlefield’s all-out war. You’ll be able to try the mode on the infantry-focused maps Operation Underground, Rotterdam, Devastation, Marita, and Arras. Complete tasks to earn a coveted weekly reward: the Trench Carbine.

OCT 24 – OCT 27
Weekend 3: Grand Operations
Take on a high-flying experience with Airborne, kicking off the multi-mode Grand Operations. Spearhead an upcoming invasion on the maps Twisted Steel, Narvik, Hamada, Rotterdam, and Panzerstorm. This weekend comes with a very special challenge for all of the community. Complete it together and earn the anti-aircraft Fliegerfaust gadget.

Red Dead Redemption 2 System Requirements

DSOGaming reports the official system requirements for Red Dead Redemption 2 after Rockstar revealed them through their fledgling game launcher. Here's what it takes to run the upcoming wild west shooter whether your PC is a tame rancher or a deadly gunslinger:
Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Requirements
Minimum Specifications:

  • OS: Windows 7 – Service Pack 1(6.1.7601)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K / AMD FX-6300
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB / AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB
  • HDD Space: 150GB
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

Recommended Specifications

  • OS: Windows 10 – April 2018 (v1803)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
  • Memory: 12GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB / AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB
  • HDD Space: 150GB
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare System Requirements

Blizzard's Battle.net now offers system specifications for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (thanks Charlie INTEL). Here's word on how modern your PC needs to be to run the military shooter:
Minimum Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows® 7 64-bit (SP1) or Windows® 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-4340 or AMD FX-6300
  • Video: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 670 / NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 or AMD Radeon™ HD 7950 - DirectX 12.0 compatible system
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Storage: 175 GB available hard drive space
  • Internet: Broadband Internet connection.

Recommended Specifications

  • Operating System: Windows® 10 64-bit latest update
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-2500K or AMD Ryzen™ R5 1600X Processor
  • Video: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 970 / NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1660 or AMD Radeon™ R9 390 / AMD Radeon™ RX 580 - DirectX 12.0 compatible system
  • Memory: 12 GB RAM
  • Storage: 175 GB available hard drive space
  • Internet: Broadband Internet connection

Activision Blizzard Faces Hong Kong Backlash

Blizzard's ban of a Hearthstone champion for voicing support for Hong Kong protesters continues to generate backlash. Yesterday's report mentioned the hashtag #boycottblizzard was trending, and BBC News notes that some are following through on this, including Mark Kern, who tweets that he's cancelled his subscription to World of Warcraft, a game he helped create. They also report this may be affecting sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, citing a journalist's cancelled preorder, but add that such boycotts rarely gain enough traction to impact a company's bottom line. There's also a report on Boing Boing noting a Reddit scheme to punish Blizzard by flooding them with GDPR personal information requests, calling these "punishing" and "expensive." Finally, Eurogamer says that Mei from Overwatch is becoming a meme to support the Hong Kong protests. To quote her from the game, "Our world is worth fighting for."

ArcheAge: Unchained Testing

The gamigo group announces the launch of test servers for ArcheAge: Unchained, offering the chance to try out the "Buy2Play" version of the fantasy MMORPG and its upcoming Shadows Revealed update before they officially launch on October 15th. Participation requires installation of Trion Worlds' Glyph client. Here's a video of a livestream where the developers discuss the testing plans, and here are more details:
Two test servers are welcoming everyone to the vast world of ArcheAge: Unchained. Fans of epic Fantasy MMORPGs can freely experience the full content of Unchained, the new features and the improved graphics of the upcoming release update Shadows Revealed. To access the test servers, a registration on Glyph is required.

The test servers will be open until October 13th. Until then, all players can get their own impression of the much anticipated Buy2Play version of ArcheAge, which is scheduled for release on October 15th. The Shadows Revealed update will be released simultaneously for the Free2Play version on the same day.
Continue here to read the full story.

PHAGEBORN Online Delayed; Closed Beta This Weekend

Games Revolted announces a new January 30th release date for Early Access to PHAGEBORN Online, their collectible card game. This is obviously delayed after it was planned to come over the summer. They say an open beta will come between now and then, and also announce another opportunity to participate in a closed technical test will come this weekend. If you are interested in participating, you can sign up here. Here's a previously released gameplay trailer, and here's more on the plan:
The developers of this upcoming dark fantasy online card game promise a lot of side events before the game enters Early Access like tournaments, streams with surprise guests, and what's particularly interesting - an open beta for the game which will run longer than the current weekend Closed Beta tests.

The next opportunity to test your skills and prepare for the madness-ridden, dark fantasy world of Phageborn will be this weekend, in their 2v2 beta test which will be held from 12th till 13th October!

Phageborn's 2v2 mode is where the complexity and depth of Phageborn is combined with the need for strategic teamplay. Teammates who manage to successfully cooperate by amplifying the strengths and mitigating the weaknesses of one another greatly increase their chances of victory.
Continue here to read the full story.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

"Welcome to Blue's News." That was the greeting posted here on this date in 1996, marking the move to our own domain. At 23 years old, this means the site qualifies (just barely) as a millennial! We certainly look our age. Appearing to be 23 is a compliment for most people, but the internet operates on something akin to dog years, a formula which would make the site 161. We're actually not that concerned with a few crow's feet, but it's important to be physically fit as you age, and it's fair to say the site isn't as limber as some that are younger. This strained analogy leads to this post on our forums by Frans, who invites discussion of this video which shows off a proof-of-concept for a responsive design for the site to make it far more usable on mobile devices. This was proposed by our own Kxmode, who volunteered to work towards making this a reality, despite (and thanks to) the fact that he does such work professionally. He and Frans have been toiling away on this for a while now, so there's more to it than just a video, though there's still more to be done before this is rolled out. We're very excited about this, and hope to bring it to you soon. But how long such projects take seems to work on an inverse of that dog years comment, so I won't try to put a date on it. As Frans notes, a discussion of this is welcome, so feel free to comment on this story here, but it will probably be more helpful to add any feedback about specifics of the plan to Frans' post. We may be asking a couple of the regulars here to check out the beta version of the responsive design, so you can also feel free to volunteer for that. As I say, such testing will be very limited, so please don't be upset if you are not part of this eventual "closed beta" when the time comes. I cannot thank Frans and Kxmode enough for all the effort they are putting into this. And I cannot thank all of you enough for all the support over all these years. Happy birthday to us!

Birthday Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Oh Flip.
Links: Chinese Officials Respond To NBA Controversy By Moving Millions Of Citizens To NHL Re-Fanification Camps.
Science: After Five Years Of Trials, Doctors Create Human Liver From Scratch. Next up? Fava beans. Thanks Max.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded for work on lithium ion batteries that 'revolutionized our lives'
Scientist's movie shows how fast 'Star Trek' Enterprise really travels. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: Rotifers: Charmingly Bizarre and Often Ignored.
Cat Does Moonwalk.
Google Maps Flying Rabbit.
Follow-up: Scientist Who Discredited Meat Guidelines Didn’t Report Past Food Industry Ties. The other steak drops. Thanks j.c.f.
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