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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

Arkane Vets Form WolfEye Studios

Raphael Colantonio, former President and Creative Director of Arkane Studios and former Arkane and former Executive Producer Julien Roby, announce the formation of WolfEye Studios. They are not revealing what they are working on just yet, saying they will officially unveil their first game on December 12th at the Game Awards. Here's what they have to say for now:
Twenty years after the creation of Arkane Studios, former President and Creative Director, Raphael Colantonio and former Executive Producer, Julien Roby, announce WolfEye Studios.

As a fully distributed team, WolfEye Studios aims to create games in which players live their own adventures in rich simulated worlds that respond to actions and decisions in ways that are unique to each playthrough. Today, the studio released a teaser image for its first title, which will be announced at The Game Awards in December.
Continue here to read the full story.

Blood of Steel Announced

Chinese developer Evolution Studio announces Blood of Steel, a PvP MOBA that will launch on January 9, 2020 on Steam as a free-to-play title. Some players won't have to wait that long, however, as a closed beta demo is expected at some time this month. A gameplay trailer accompanies the news, but does not live up to its title, as it doesn't seem to include actual gameplay. Here's word:
Evolution Studio, the Chinese-based development studio of YC Games is pleased to announce the free-to-play PvP MOBA game Blood of Steel will launch on PC for Steam in early 2020. In Blood of Steel, command your army and wage war against other players online using historical generals in authentic and dynamic locations. Later this November a closed beta demo will be released to test the server stability, latency and most importantly player feedback.

Blood of Steel is a PvP MOBA strategy game set throughout the Middle Ages where you lead legions to conquer cities, expand your territory and ultimately rule the world. Players assume control of legendary commanders from world history including Joan of Arc, Julius Cesar and Alexander the Great, each with their own distinct weapons and personalities, as you lead their troops to victory. Take control of multiple troop types from archers, calvary riders, swordsmen, spearmen, crossbowmen and more to gain the upper hand on the battlefield. Terrain plays an important part in warfare; players can choose from multiple maps comprising of open plains, lush grasslands, snowy fields, city streets and many other locales. Clever use of this terrain and management of a dynamic weather system incorporating variables such as rain and snow are key to victory.
Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Trying to aim with a controller - Crossplay. How I feel any time I try a console shooter. Thanks Ant.

Borderlands 3 Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot Announced

Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot is "coming soon" as the first story-based DLC for Borderlands 3, Gearbox Software's looter shooter sequel. This add-on involving attempting to rob Handsome Jack's casino was announced as promised during this month's edition of The Borderlands Show. The first details are found in this post along with an Official Reveal Trailer, which carries the following description: "Ready for the biggest score of your loot-hunting career? Moxxi has just the job for you, sugar: a good old-fashioned heist. Join her crew of ragtag 'experts,' battle your way through Hyperion security forces and crazed casino-goers, and claim The Handsome Jackpot's vault of loot for yourself." Here are the details:
Moxxi's assembling a crew to plunder a derelict space station casino and you've proven yourself worthy of joining her ragtag team of "experts." Successfully battle your way through Hyperion security forces and crazed casino-goers to reach a safe loaded with Eridium, cash, and all-new Legendary loot!

Requires Borderlands 3 to play.

This once-thriving destination is packed with unique zones worthy of Handsome Jack's lavish lifestyle and dirty dealings but has been on total lockdown since his death.

To reach The Handsome Jackpot you need to have played enough of the Borderlands 3 story to have access to Sanctuary III.

The enemies and loot aboard the station will scale to your Vault Hunter's level, ensuring that the casino heist missions and new Crew Challenges are suitably difficult and rewarding.
Continue here to read the full story.

On Diablo IV Leveling

System Design in Diablo IV on the Diablo III Website offers outlooks from the designers of the next installment in Blizzard's action/RPG series on items, "Elective Mode-style skill selection," power sources, keyed dungeons, and more. They also discuss character leveling, saying they are still deciding between whether Diablo IV will use level caps, or support "infinite" leveling:
We haven’t decided whether the character leveling and experience system should be finite or infinite. We’ve been discussing the pros and cons of both and would love to hear your thoughts. There seems to be some concern around infinite being worse because it will eventually overshadow all the power granted by other sources. However, we can control how much power each system gives, whether it’s infinite or finite.

For example, say we’re talking about thousands of hours of gameplay . . . within those thousands of hours, we could choose to create a finite system that grants 1,000,000 times more power than an infinite system, making it practically impossible for the infinite system to catch up in power.

Also, power increase doesn’t need to be linear throughout the ranks—it can slow down as players reach higher levels. We believe the more important question is what experience feels best for players, and we can playtest various approaches to tuning to find the power curve that makes the most sense.

We have a couple reasons for having a different experience system in addition to a level cap. A level cap gives us the ability to grant players a sense of completion. But for players who want to go deeper into the game, a second experience system allows us to capture the fun of achieving those really difficult endgame goals and ranks. We can also introduce additional depth through this system, because players will be more experienced with the game at this point. Ultimately, our goal is to create a meaningful system that provides clear choices depending on your preferred playstyle in the endgame.

Team Fortress 2 Update Outlook

A video from the Valve News Network discusses the current scaled-back state of development of Team Fortress 2, noting that the lack of recent updates makes it apparent that the multiplayer shooter is in a bit of a holding pattern. Their discussion of this is prompted by a recent Operation Madness vs Machines interview, a self-interview based on a semi-recent visit to Valve. The VNN video's premise is that TF2 "is on hold." That's not technically what the "interview" says, which reinforces a disclaimer at the head of the document suggesting summarizing any of its contents is dangerous: "To minimize the chances of misunderstandings, each person should read the file on their own and not listen to other people’s summaries (tl;dr’s are quite dangerous here). Reading what other people say about my experiences has the risk of them injecting false information in their summaries (intentional or not)." The lengthy document makes it clear Valve is still supporting the game, and it answers a number of questions about how new content gets created. But it notes nothing is in the pipeline right now, and offers the following outlook on the possibility of a new update:
Q: If the TF Team does fully cut support to TF2, will they tell the community not to expect any more updates or will they just let players sit in eternal anticipation of the next update?

This is a bit of a loaded question, so it will get a loaded answer: They will let players sit in eternal anticipation of the next update.

Like I said earlier, Valve employees keep moving around to different projects that the company has going on. Why would Valve want to declare that TF2 is permanently dead when it still makes them money? What if Valve comes up with an amazing update idea that they want to implement for TF2 in the future?
What if there’s a slow period in Valve’s projects and the TF Team has time to make something new?

Valve doesn’t know right now when they will release the next content update. They would love to if they could, but they can’t because they have other, more important things in the company to work on.

Just like Valve won’t promise an update or a timeline because they may later backpedal on it, similarly Valve won’t ever announce that TF2 development is over because they may backpedal on that too. The backpedaling works in both ways (in this case it’s in favor of the TF2 community).

In short, yes this means players will have to sit in eternal anticipation of the next update.
Continue here to read the full story.

Stadia Launch Follow-ups

A post on VentureBeat reveals that the amount of data consumed by Google Stadia is in line with predictions, prompting them to call the game streaming service a "data hog." At between 4.5GB and 20GB of data per hour, word is: "That means just to play through the story of Red Dead Redemption 2, you will use more than 335GB of data on Stadia. Again, that’s at 1080p60. At 4K, you’re likely using at least twice that." Meanwhile, Kotaku's Jason Schreier tweets his understanding that Stadia's launch did not live up to Google's expectations: "Google Stadia is out today, and it already looks like a monumental flop. (I heard from one person involved that preorders were below expectations.) Question is, will they eventually stop trying to sell games and switch to an all-you-can-eat subscription model? Or just let it die?" In another tweet he says he does not think Google is going to give up on the project very quickly, but repeats his opinion that they are misguided in thinking they could sell full-priced games this way:
I don’t think Google is going to give up on Stadia that quickly — they’re building multiple game studios as we speak — but it was always asinine to think they could sell games at full price on this thing. Need to pivot, even if it means losing some of the biggest AAA games

We Happy Few: We All Fall Down Released

We All Fall Down is now available on Steam, a new expansion offering a happy ending for We Happy Few, the action/adventure "set in a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England." This requires the base game, and it is offered separately, or as part of a season pass with the game's previous two add-ons. Also, according to GameSpot a documentary called The Cost of Joy: The Compulsion Games Story, will debut on December 19 with a look at the making of the game. Here's the We All Fall Down Launch Trailer, and this announcement has more details:
We All Fall Down returns to the dark origins of We Happy Few’s drug-riddled world and eliminates survival mechanics in favor of fast-paced action and storytelling. As Victoria Byng, players must wrestle with the effects of withdrawal, speak out against the government, and take up arms against the Bobbies to shine a light on the dismal truth of society. To accomplish her mission, Victoria can maneuver around the city’s rooftops, engage in close combat with her whip, and stealthily take out opponents from afar with the new dart gun.
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American Fugitive Gets Free DLC

State of Emergency is a new DLC that's now available on Steam completely free for owners of American Fugitive, the top-down shooter inspired by the original Grand Theft Auto. You can run, but you can't hide from the details on this:
Rising crime levels in Redrock County has forced the army into action. The former plastic toys factory has been commandeered as a makeshift operating base and military vehicles and weapons have been deployed in an attempt to control the criminal element wreaking havoc in town. This is War.

American Fugitive: State of Emergency cranks up the chaos, featuring; destructive chaotic weaponry, devastating military vehicles, a brand new star rating, 10 new challenges AND 3 new achievements/trophies - testing your mettle with new NPC ‘Sarge’.

Hit the road in a military-grade Westmoreland Tank and go off-roading in an army 4x4 jeep, or take your new arsenal on foot blasting your enemies with a bazooka and wielding the destructive power of the mini-gun. The free update also includes 3 new achievements/trophies to unlock, as well as 3 new additions to the runaway soundtrack!

Set in 1980s middle-America within a sleepy rural town, American Fugitive invites you to play as Will Riley. By no means a killer, but no angel either, you face life in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. Fuelled by grief over the cold-blooded murder of your father, and armed with a burning desire for vengeance you’ll need to break out of jail to find the real culprit. Simply put: It's payback time.

Neverwinter Infernal Descent Drops in January

Developer Cryptic Studios and publisher Perfect World Entertainment announce Infernal Descent, a new module coming to the PC edition of Neverwinter on January 21st. This is based on Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus, the latest Dungeons & Dragons tabletop adventure, and word is its release on consoles will follow "at a later date." Here's the Announcement Trailer, and here's word on what this will bring to the free-to-play MMORPG, which will kick off with a three-week event beginning tomorrow:
Adventurers will unite with new heroes to rescue Vallenhas Manor from the fiery depths of Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells.

Infernal Descent marks the debut of Neverwinter’s first-ever campaign for level 80 characters, plus a new endgame dungeon and adventure zone set on Vallenhas Estate, which is chained in limbo. To celebrate the game’s venture into the Nine Hells, Neverwinter will also kick off the Hell Pit event tomorrow on PC, a special three-week challenge inviting heroes to survive the horrors of the Lower Planes.
Continue here to read the full story.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

The death of anyone in our community is sad news, but an untimely death is particularly poignant. From the first reports it's not clear what took Brad McQuaid's life at the age of 51, but that's way too early. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Brad's family, friends, and fans.

Obituary: EverQuest developer Brad McQuaid dies.

Sad Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: Watchmen creator Alan Moore: Modern superhero culture is embarrassing. Thanks RedEye9.
Your dog’s real age in ‘dog years’ revealed. Needs a curve for breed. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Stories: Apollo 12 Is NASA's Forgotten Mission To The Moon. Stuck between the first (11) and the "problem" (13). Thanks RedEye9.
Woman says her dog sniffed out her ovarian cancer 4 times.
Noah Hawley Will Write And Direct The Next STAR TREK Movie. Thanks David.
Science: Human patient put in suspended animation for the first time.
Is There Actually Science Behind 'Dopamine Fasting'?
Why office noise bothers some people more than others. Thanks Slashdot.
Images: Hilarious decal "fixes" a dented vehicle.
No, Greta Thunburg is not a time-traveler in this old photo. Thanks RedEye9.
Media: Woodland creatures sing a Bellini opera in beautiful short film. Thanks Neutronbeam.
FLYING Leaf Blower RC airplane Mk2.
10 year old Japanese drummer, Yoyoka, kills on drums.
Follow-up: Boeing may need to redesign engines on 7,000 jets after a fatal accident last year. Different 737. Thanks RedEye9.
The Funnies: StBeals.
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