Archived News:

Friday, Nov 08, 2019

Death Stranding Simultaneously Coming to Steam and Epic Games Store

With Death Stranding out on consoles today, 505 Games announces the Windows edition of Kojima Productions new action game will debut simultaneously on the Epic Games Store and Steam, and it can already be preordered in anticipation of its launch in the summer. Here's the game's elevator pitch:
Developed by Kojima Productions, Death Stranding is one of the most anticipated projects of the decade. Starring Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) as Sam Bridges, the game takes place in the near future, where mysterious explosions have rocked the planet, setting off a series of supernatural events known as the Death Stranding. With spectral creatures plaguing the landscape, and the planet on the verge of a mass extinction, it’s up to Sam to journey across the ravaged wasteland to save mankind from impending annihilation.

Airplane Mode Announced

The 13th annual Desert Bus for Hope charity event is has hit the road, and is now underway. AMC announces that on Tuesday this will feature a special prerelease version of Airplane Mode, an upcoming game which is set to take off on Steam next year. While Desert Bus involves driving a bus in real time through the desert, Airplane Mode involves being a passenger in a real-time flight across the Atlantic, perfect for those who find Desert Bus too engaging. Here's a Teaser Trailer and here are some details:
Players take the role of a window seat passenger for the real-time duration of the flight, experiencing every travel detail – from taxi and take-off to meal service, in-flight entertainment and the behaviors of the cabin crew and fellow passengers. Airplane Mode presents players with randomized flight events in every session, creating an endlessly replayable experience for flight enthusiasts and content creators alike. Additional features include:

  • Fairly accurate satellite imagery of your flight path;
  • Carry-on bag with a book, headphones, pen, and charging cable;
  • Overhead reading light and complimentary aircraft information card;
  • IFC-produced inflight safety video;
  • Chance of inclement weather (turbulence), bad WiFi, and delays;
  • Authentic ambient noise; and
  • Inflight magazine filled with travel articles, crossword and Sudoku.

Continue here to read the full story.

JUMANJI: The Video Game Released

JUMANJI: The Video Game is now available for Windows and consoles, and the PC edition of this movie tie-in can be found on Steam. Here's a Launch Trailer with a look at gameplay and a listen to a narrator who insists the game's title is pronounced "Jumunji." Here's what this brings to the party:
Follow the wise words of your intrepid guide Nigel and head off for adventure in this brand new 3D action adventure game that sees players take on the role of Jumanji's greatest heroes, Dr. Smolder Bravestone, Ruby Roundhouse, Franklin "Mouse" Finbar and Professor Shelly Oberon as they fight their way through waves of deadly marauders and dangerous, exotic creatures.

Team up with friends in online or split-screen modes as you seek to find the precious Jewels of Jumanji taking on deadly enemies to save the world and find a way home. Hunt for Jumanji board pieces in the jungles, dodge deadly traps in underground catacombs and fight your way through winding city alleyways. Choose your hero and use their unique abilities and weapons to survive the unpredictable and fantastical world of Jumanji.
Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

  • Ninja Thinks Fortnite Streamers Caught Cheating Deserve Special Treatment.
    Words fail me.
  • - Has Blizzard solved the sequel dilemma?
    "Blizzard's solution with Overwatch 2 is elegant and clever, combining the best aspects of many of those approaches -- and avoiding a lot of their pitfalls. It intends to maintain a level playing field between the existing Overwatch and its sequel, with the core PvP game being playable between the two titles, and all the PvP updates to Overwatch 2 being rolled back into the original game free of charge. The sequel, then, will focus on expanding the Overwatch franchise to include elements it has only dabbled with so far -- PvE modes and a story-driven game.

    This approach is hugely generous to players of the existing game, which of course makes sense given that the last thing Blizzard wants to do is drive away players who continue to pay for microtransactions. But it also manages to step far enough away from the original title to justify its positioning as a full-priced sequel rather than a mere expansion."

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Cooking on Rough Seas. Probably saves time on stirring.

Need for Speed Heat Races Out

EA announces Need for Speed has gone into heat with the official release of Need for Speed Heat, the latest installment in the high-octane racing series. Last week's Official Launch Trailer offers a look which carries a "flashing images" warning. Here's the news:
Today, Ghost Games™, a studio of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) have announced Need for Speed™ Heat is available worldwide on the PlayStation®4, Xbox One and Origin™ for PC. Need for Speed Heat sends players to Palm City, a brand-new open world where street racers choose their way to play; earn Bank in sanctioned events by day, or risk it all to build Rep in underground races by night. Big risks could mean big rewards, it’s up to the player to make the call.

“At its core Need for Speed is about custom rides, adrenaline-filled races with cops and without them and showcasing the latest in car customization. With Need for Speed Heat we’ve dialed those core tenants up and dropped them into a vibrant new world,” said Riley Cooper, Creative Director at Ghost Games. “Heat offers two firsts for the series including a unique day and night cycle that offers players two ways to play, and customizable avatars so they can express themselves beyond just their wheels.”
Continue here to read the full story.

Kerbal Space Program 2 Delayed

Kerbal Space Program 2 is now expected in Take-Two Interactive's 2021 fiscal year, which runs from April 2020 through March 31, 2021. The sequel was announced early this year with a Spring 2020 release window, but PC Gamer notes the setback was mentioned in the investor conference call following Take-Two's financial reporting yesterday. Here's what the company had to say about temporarily grounding the launch:
"Kerbal Space Program 2, the sequel to the beloved original space sim, is now planned for launch on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, in fiscal 2021, in order to allow more time to make the experience as terrific as possible," Take-Two president Karl Slatoff said during an investors call.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Adds Free Maps

A post on Reddit announces the addition of two new free mutliplayer maps to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, saying, "We’ve added Krovnik Farmland to Ground War and Shoot House to Multiplayer!" The post also has details on other changes going live today in the military shooter: "And yes, all of this new content is available for everyone, for free, across all platforms! We’re so excited to share this new content with all of you and this is just the beginning. Thank you all for playing and keep the feedback coming!" Here's a portion of the extensive patch notes:

  • Backend fixes to prevent crashes and improve stability across all platforms, include dev errors, and various performance fixes.
  • Fix for a few bugs where some streaks and Field Upgrades were able to be flown out of bounds without penalty. General out of bound fixes were also added.
  • Fix for a bug where a player being killed by an enemy with a Variable Zoom Scope would not see the zoom function in the killcam
  • Fix for the Semtex warning audio being heard at the same volume whether in a building or outside
  • In Headquarters, players were able to place a Tac Insert and respawn when their team owned the point. This has been fixed.
  • Fix for various collision issues across maps
  • Added UI that shows when XP events are active in playlists menus
  • Sprint and Tactical Sprint speeds are now back to speeds in Beta
  • Fix for a bug where the progress of the bomb defusal can be seen by the team that planted the bomb
  • Fix for a bug that revealed players to UAVs when they fired their weapons, even if they had Ghost and a silencer equipped
  • Fixed an issue where if multiple Personal Radars were active on a team, and are both marking the same enemy, only one player would see the enemy on their minimap.

U.S. Videogame Spending Edges Up

A post from the NPD Group notes that consumer spending on videogames in the U.S. increased by one percent in the third quarter of this year compared with Q3 2018 (thanks TechSpot via Neutronbeam). They note year-to-date sales are also up by one percent. This seems fairly trivial, but of course considering the scale of the industry, it turns out to represent a lot of money. Word is console spending was up considerably, offsetting declines in digital PC spending among other things. Here's part of the accompanying explanation:
According to the Q3 2019 Games Market Dynamics: U.S.* report from The NPD Group, overall total industry consumer spending on video gaming in the U.S. reached $9.18 billion in the third quarter of 2019 (July - Sept.), an increase of 1 percent compared to the same time period last year.

Double-digit percentage gains were seen across digital console content, mobile and subscription spending, with declines across hardware, accessories, physical console content and digital PC content offsetting much of the gains seen across the other segments. Year-to-date (Jan. – Sept.) consumer spending has also increased by 1 percent, to $27.9 billion.

Sales of video game content reached $8.1 billion in the third quarter, up 3 percent when compared to a year ago. Gains in mobile, subscription and digital console content sales drove the market higher. Year-to-date content spending also increased 3 percent, reaching $24.7 billion.

Games such as Borderlands 3, Candy Crush Saga, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V, Madden NFL 20, Minecraft, NBA 2K20, and Pokémon Go were among the best-performing titles of the third quarter.

Headsnatchers Released

Headsnatchers has graduated from Early Access, and is now officially available for Windows on Steam, offering a party game with support for local and online multiplayer. This post covers the release and features patch notes for all the changes in version 1.0 along with the Launch Trailer showing players in their quest to get a little head. Here's more on the game:
Challenge your friends to insane brawls, where the goal is to pluck heads from shoulders and use them to get that much-desired victory! Headsnatchers has 25 ridiculous maps with unique, yet unlikely, weapons and features, with their own steps and rules to follow. Well, they’re more like guidelines. Nobody likes rules. Dunk your buddies’ heads through hoops like LeBron, kick your grandpa’s gobbler through a portal to hell like Doomguy™ and flush your sister’s brain-basket down the toilet like the dooky you pushed out five hours after you shoved that XL pizza down your face. You name it, Headsnatchers has got it. Probably.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters Early Access

Early Access to The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters is now available on Steam for Windows, macOS, and Linux, offering a Korean survival/horror adventure game that (naturally) features schoolgirls. This release does not include the ability to play through the entire game, and this post has a roadmap of what will lead to a full release. The Launch Trailer takes a look at what to expect, and here's more:
The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters is an atmospheric, story-driven game. Immerse yourself in the warped Sehwa district as you encounter an engaging cast of characters, solve puzzles, discover revealing clues, and fight for survival against a relentless psycho.

Heroines, forced to confront their worst fears, rarely emerge unscathed. Over the course of the story, Mina will encounter dangerous scenarios from which she could sustain permanent damage. Craft items to anticipate future dangers to avoid injury.

Dark Song is now more fearsome and powerful than ever before. Falling into her grasp could spell instant death. Running and wielding your flashlight makes you an easy target. You must precariously balance the urgency of exploration with your absolute need to survive!

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Multiplex

Op Ed

  • Polygon - In 2020, I can no longer abide the 100-hour RPG.
    "I wish more games would follow in Obsidian’s footsteps here, because I’m realizing that I have no more patience left for the 100-plus-hour RPG. Sometimes, a game catches my attention. Perhaps the combat looks excellent, or the protagonist seems cool. And then the hype train begins: 'Hundreds of hours of deep and complex quest content,” the game promises. “An ongoing narrative that requires your constant attention. You’ll collect a party of characters you love like your own family — and choices you make can crop up 40 minutes later to devastate them.'

    Every time I hear a game described in this way, I break out into a cold sweat. That’s not exciting! That is a threat."

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

We had a brief snow flurry around here just moments ago, a reminder that the climate in the new home of the BlueTower is surprisingly cooler than the old one. We only moved about 30 miles north, but it's about 10℉ colder here right now than where we came from. I guess this is another preparation that our recent trip to Minneapolis helped us with.

Cool Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Tik Ball.
Story: New Texas Law Allows Police Officers To Adopt Their Work Dogs After Dogs Retire. Thanks RedEye9.
Science: World's First Penis And Scrotum Transplant Is Fully Functional Over One Year On. Thanks Max.
Doctors aren't worried about new HIV strain — here's why.
Media: Testing 9 New Mini Cheetahs. Thanks Boing Boing.
Tracking your plastic- Exposing recycling myths.
Follow-up: "No Time to Die" Is The Most Expensive Bond.
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