Archived News:

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019

New Steam Library Launches

The Steam Blog announces the new Steam Library has officially launched out of beta, and is now available for all. Here's an overview:
The new Steam library was built with the belief that our libraries are valuable to us – for some customers, they contain more than fifteen years of games. From your absolute favorite AAA title that all your friends are playing, to that solo indie art project that only you seem to love, your Steam library represents your gaming history.

But, a good library shouldn't just be dusty shelves, it has to be a fun place to explore and find whatever it is that you're looking for. Whether you want to keep up to date about what's happening with your games, find a game to play with your friends, or explore what's happening in your game's community, your library should support you.

EA Financials

Electronic Arts Reports Q2 FY20 Financial Results, saying the figures they provide are "preliminary." This includes an updated business outlook and the "impact of certain tax matters" on their bottom line. The numbers in these reports make one's head spin, so speaking of spin, we'll just look at what they have to say about the quarter:
“It was an excellent second quarter for Electronic Arts. Our new EA SPORTS titles are thrilling core fans and bringing in new players, and our ongoing live services are growing with deeply-engaged communities,” said CEO Andrew Wilson. “With new games like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Need for Speed, Plants vs. Zombies and more great content across our top franchises, we’re set to deliver a lot of fun and excitement to players this holiday season, and continue our momentum in this fiscal year.”
Continue here to read the full story.

EA Plans Outlined

DSOGaming sums up the details from EA's conference call following the earnings reports mentioned above, saying new titles are in the works at Bioware, DICE, Maxis, and Criterion. Also, PCGamesN notes Electronic Arts has also revealed they are planning a new Star Wars game to follow the imminent release of Jedi: Fallen Order. That first report includes some tentative release windows, saying a new Battlefield game is not due until after April 2021 and that Dragon Age 4 will likely come after March 2020:
EA stated that Motive is working on a brand new IP. Furthermore, Bioware, DICE, Maxis and Criterion are working on new projects. EA Sports is also working on new titles (these are most likely its annual sport games). EA also has some new indie and third-party developer games that it will reveal at a later date.

The publisher has also confirmed that the next-gen Battlefield game will launch after April 2021. This means that there won’t be a next-gen BF game during the launch of the next-gen consoles. Moreover, Dragon Age 4 may probably come out after March 2022.

Electronic Arts also stated that it will deliver some exciting remasters of fan favourites. Although the publisher did not reveal any additional details, it did state that one of them is Command & Conquer.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Has $600M Opening Weekend

Activision announces the recent launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has raked in over $600 million in revenue in just three days. They call this the top-selling new premium release of the year, the biggest-selling digital opening in Activision history, and the biggest-ever Call of Duty launch for PC. They also note this once again compares favorably to a Hollywood blockbuster, saying the military shooter sequel's take outstripped the box office take of the number one movie of the moment:
Activision’s Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® had more than $600 million in sell-through worldwide in its first three days of release. The title has sold more units in its first three days than any other Call of Duty® game sold in its first three days in this console generation, and is the top-selling new premium game release of 2019. Modern Warfare also established a new record as the #1 top-selling digital opening in Activision history. With its blockbuster launch, in its first three days of release, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare more than doubled the box office opening of Joker.

Modern Warfare set new records on the PlayStation Network for the highest digital pre-orders and highest three-day digital sales ever on PlayStation 4. Modern Warfare also has become the #1 top-selling Call of Duty PC launch ever, as opening weekend PC sales on Blizzard® were significantly up over last year.

Drone Strike Force Demo

There's now a playable demo for Drone Strike Force on Steam, offering the chance to sample this online shooter that's currently in Early Access. Rather than drone on and on about this, we'll let the announcement do the talking:
Odisi Games and Nimble Giant Studios are proud to announce that players can now test their skills in Drone Strike Force for free. Download the trial to take on the challenge of warfare and experience the full game with access to three of the featured drones. Everyone who gets into the action with the free trial will score free bonus coins with purchase.

And there’s no better time to buy and collect those bonus coins than with the Halloween Sale! Drone Strike Force will be 50% off the regular price for the duration of the Halloween Sale. That’s right, sweet Drone vs. Drone action for less than ten bucks ($9.99 USD).

Blazing Sails Announced

Iceberg Interactive announces Blazing Sails, an upcoming battle royale game with a pirate theme set on the high seas. This is due to set sail for Early Access on Steam next year. In the meantime, they offer this trailer and the first details:
Fight for survival in Blazing Sails, a pirate battle royale game! Create your own unique pirate and ship. Band together with other players to command your mighty vessel! Navigate land and sea for loot, resources, unique weapons and ship upgrades. Sink every other ship to win the skirmish!
Continue here to read the full story.

More No Man's Sky Plans

A new No Man's Sky Beyond Development Update 3 has word on a new patch coming today for the space exploration game, as well as an outline on Hello Game's further plans for future enhancements and improvements:
Patch 2.15 releases today on all platforms. It introduces a number of new features to bring the community together and highlight the amazing work you do: a showcase for the best community bases, and brand new weekly missions.

Weekend Missions
Very shortly, the Space Anomaly’s first weekend mission will go live. Nada’s spacetime loom has detected a concerning pattern resonating across the universe, and they need help from their explorer friends to investigate. Readings indicate a disturbance in reality, where an anomalous – and possibly sinister – force has begun to leak through to this universe…
Continue here to read the full story.

Remnant: From the Ashes Celebrates 1M Sales with New Content

Perfect World Entertainment and Gunfire Games announce Remnant: From the Ashes has now sold more than one million copies, prompting them to call their third-person shooter this summer's breakout hit. They plan to celebrate the milestone with the release of additional free content tomorrow with new in-game rewards, and a hardcore mode they say players have clamored for. They have details on this plan in this post on Steam, which has a roadmap for further content releases which will stretch into next year, including one coming in late 2020 they intriguingly label as "top secret." A new trailer shows off this hardcore mode, and the announcement has more details:
Hardcore Mode is a new game mode where death is truly the end. Players create a new Hardcore character and play until their first death, after which they are permanently lost. To maintain a level playing field, Hardcore characters can only play online with other Hardcore characters and will not be able to random matchmake. Players will have to manually invite friends or other stalwart Survivors to a game. The most dangerous challenges will also receive great rewards, as defeating a World Boss on Hardcore mode will drop new rings with powerful effects. These items will be available to all of the characters on a player’s account (old and new, Standard and Hardcore) after they’ve obtained them. This means all future characters, including those in Hardcore mode, will begin their journey with greater potential.
Continue here to read the full story.

Diablo Team at ExileCon

Grinding Gear Games reveals additional details on ExileCon, next month's convention dedicated to Path of Exile, their action/RPG. This will run on November 16th and 17th in Auckland, New Zealand, but they promise to stream highlights of the festivities for those who cannot make the trip. Those who can will get to experience a bunch of reveals and announcements first-hand. They will also get to rub elbows with some giants of the genre, as Blizzard North founders David Brevik, Max Schaefer, and Erich Schaefer will be in attendance, and there will be a special session with these creators of the original Diablo. Here's more on the plan:
Today, Grinding Gear Games provided additional details about ExileCon, the first convention dedicated to their award-winning RPG, Path of Exile. ExileCon is taking place in Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday, November 16 and Sunday, November 17, 2019 at the beautiful Aotea Centre and will feature huge announcements and hands-on previews for large expansions to Path of Exile including the 3.9.0 expansion (December 2019) and the highly-anticipated 4.0.0 mega-expansion (late 2020 launch estimate). The event culminates with the 2019 Path of Exile race finals and the spectacular ExileCon Closing Party.

Neon Abyss Demo

Steam now offers a playable demo for Neon Abyss, a colorful upcoming platformer being developed by Veewo Games and published by Team17 for release next year. There's a Demo Trailer to show off what this includes, and they offer the following details:
Team17 and Veewo Games have today announced the launch of a demo for upcoming roguelike, Neon Abyss. Now available on Steam, the Neon Abyss timed demo allows players to drop into the heart of the vividly coloured, procedurally-generated dungeons, and destroy the enemies and modern god-like bosses that plague it.

The length of the demo is determined by the difficulty level chosen by players, with 15 minutes of fast-paced action available to those selecting ‘easy’; 18 minutes for ‘medium’ difficulty players; or 24 minutes of gameplay for players looking to take on the abyssal atrocities in ‘hard’ difficulty.

Neon Abyss key features:
Continue here to read the full story.

Jumanji: The Video Game Early

Outright Games comes right out an announces they are now accepting preorders on their website for Jumanji: The Video Game, including a limited-run collector's edition, which is only being sold in the U.S. They also announce this tie-in with the decades-spanning movie series will be released on November 8th for all platforms. Since the game was announced for release on November 15th, this makes it a rare early release from an industry where delays are the norm. Here's more on the plan so you can smell what the Rock is cooking:
This limited run edition contains the full game, its original orchestral soundtrack, an exclusive character art poster and detailed replicas of the original Jumanji board game pieces. All of this comes packaged in an authentic board game style gatefold box for the most dedicated adventurers to add to their collection!

Brought to you by leading worldwide family entertainment publisher Outright Games, Jumanji: The Video Game is a brand new 3D action adventure game that sees players take on the role of Jumanji's greatest heroes as they fight their way through waves of deadly marauders and dangerous, exotic creatures in online, or split-screen modes.

Disney Classics Re-Released

The promised re-release of Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King is now available for Windows and consoles, with the PC edition offered on and Steam. This bundle of these two 16-blit platormers is said to be "complete with new features, enhancements and a plethora of bonus content for both original fans and new players to explore." Here's more on what to expect in this unbroken circle of life:
The collection contains fan-favorite versions of each original title featuring upscaled graphics to support high definition displays and additional upgrades to enhance playability on current consoles. A brand-new “final cut” of Aladdin and an original Aladdin “tradeshow demo” that has not been publicly available since 1993 are also included.
Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

CNET - Blizzard's Hong Kong censorship is a symptom of gaming's deep-rooted fear of politics.
"Publishers, and developers in many cases, are terrified of "politics." Terrified of discussing it, terrified of engaging in it. Terrified of offending the worst sections of its audience by placing its games in the midst of any type of political discourse. Consider Ubisoft's Houdini-esque claim that The Division 2, a video game about social collapse and environmental terrorism, wasn't in any way political. "

Midday Mobilization

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

My father-in-law's funeral was a yesterday, and was quite a moving affair. Many funerals have eulogies from officiants who write them based on discussion with the family, but this is the first time I was part of that process. I came away terribly impressed by how she managed to take in so many stories and recollections and turn it into a coherent narrative. This resulted in a terrific eulogy that was very accurate and quite lovely. So the official part of our trip is done, though I've learned that our whirlwind of family activities will continue into this evening, so this may sidetrack another evening update. Our return flight is Saturday, but since most of the out-of-towners are departing tomorrow, we plan to look into seeing if there's a way to move this up. It probably won't work out, but if it does, it will mean a quicker return to a normal schedule here.

Obituary: John Witherspoon, Actor in ‘Friday’ and Other Hit Movies, Dies at 77.

Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: 3.
Links: Stargate Turns 25: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich on Sci-Fi Cult Classic. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Stories: Mars Inc. vowed to stop deforestation in West Africa. It failed. Thanks RedEye9.
Peter Luger given zero stars in brutal New York Times review. Surprising, but it's been a long time for me. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science: Scientists may have found the root of anxiety, opening a door to treatment. Thanks Max.
Antarctic ice cliffs may not contribute to sea-level rise as much as predicted. Thanks Max.
Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin can battle major depression, scientists find. Thanks Max.
Media: Quantum Supremacy & AI, with Stephen Fry.
Which Planet is Closest: Spoiler: You're Wrong-
Sad Cat Diary.
Follow-up: HBO Orders "Thrones" Spin-Off "Dragon." Thanks Ant.
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