Archived News:

Monday, Dec 09, 2019

First Epic Games Store Exclusives Ending

The Epic Games Store officially launched one year ago Saturday, disrupting the game marketplace with an attractive royalty structure and an aggressive approach to exclusivity. But as PCGamesN notes, the first EGS exclusives are starting to trickle out to other storefronts, since many of their deals covered the first year of availability. The first is open world co-op action/RPG Ashen, which is now available on GOG.com and Steam. They also note the next couple of games with exclusive periods that will soon conclude:
On December 10, Hades – a mythology-themed roguelike brawler from the makers of Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre – will hit Steam. The game’s gotten some substantial updates since its early launch on Epic, but will still be marked as an Early Access title, and the full launch is scheduled for the “second half of 2020.” No word yet on price or discounts, but Hades is currently $24.99 USD on Epic.

Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek also hits Steam on December 10. The colourful horror prequel got a much more mixed response than Epic’s other two launch exclusives, but you should expect to see it for around $29.99 USD.

GOG GALAXY 2.0 Open Beta

GOG.com now offers GOG GALAXY 2.0, which is now available to all as an open beta. This is the new version of the game launcher for their DRM-free store that is also designed to organize your entire game library, including those hosted on other services. Here's word:
Let’s put an end to resource-heavy clients running all the time and us juggling between multiple apps to access our games and see what our friends are playing. GOG GALAXY 2.0 conveniently shows you all your games as one library and makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with your friends across PC and console platforms.

“For the past few years, we’ve seen continuous fragmentation of our game collections and gaming friends lists, further proving the need for an application that unites them all,” says Piotr Karwowski, Managing Director at GOG. “And I’m sure there are even more clients and launchers on the way,” Karwowski adds. “We’re amazed and thankful for the reaction from the community to the app and taking it even further by creating integrations with 20 gaming platforms – allowing everyone to see all their games and friends in GOG GALAXY 2.0.”

The closed beta brought numerous big updates like seeing friends’ online status from different platforms in GOG GALAXY 2.0 or adding Global Search. The latter allows multiple options – finding games and friends, launching games with a single press of a key and giving the ability to manually add any game to the library.

GWENT: Merchants of Ofir Released

The GWENT Website announces the new Merchants of Ofir expansion is now live for the Windows and iOS editions of GWENT: The Witcher Card Game. They illustrate the news with this trailer and offer complete patch notes for the version 5.0 update. Here's more:
Meet the mysterious merchants from the exotic land of Ofir and behold their magnificent wares! Collect over 70 cards from the new expansion. Experiment with new combos. Reinforce your decks with powerful additions to all factions.

INTRODUCING STRATAGEMS
Stratagems — are the new card-type of cards created to level up your deckbuilding experience. Choose a stratagem when building an army to determine which unique bonus is gained for going first in the match. Let the best strategist win!

NEW MECHANIC: SCENARIOS
Read the developer notes

CLAIM YOUR FREE MERCHANTS OF OFIR KEG
Log in to the game before December 16th, 11:59 AM CET, to claim a free Merchants of Ofir keg, granting you 5 cards from the expansion, including a guaranteed rare or better card!

OFIRI BARGAIN PACK & CARAVAN RAID PACK
Celebrate the release of Merchants of Ofir with a new limited-time offer, now available from the in-game shop!
Continue here to read the full story.

GTFO GTFO into Early Access

10 Chambers Collective announces GTFO is now available in Early Access on Steam, offering a horror-themed four-player co-op first-person shooter from this studio comprising former PAYDAY developers. "Explaining the Rundown" is the title of the latest trailer from the game. "When you start GTFO you are presented with the Rundown, this is the work orders you’ve been given by The Warden," explains Simon Viklund of 10 Chambers Collective. "Each work order represents an expedition down to the Complex, which will vary in type of environment, the population of monsters, what kind of objective you have and other variables. What is always constant in GTFO, is that survival hinges on the cooperation between the members of the team. Work together or die together." Here's more:
GTFO is a 4-player co-op action/horror FPS game, made for hardcore gamers looking for a challenge. The game takes place in a terrifying underground facility called “the Complex”, where your team’s survival relies on your ability to communicate, coordinate - and count your bullets. As ammunition is scarce, firing your weapons is always the last resort. The game made headlines already in 2018 when it was playable for the first time at E3, and landed awards such as “Best Cooperative Game”, “Editors’ Choice Award” as well as nominations for “Best of E3”, with journalists describing it as a mix of Left 4 Dead and Aliens. Today, it is released as Early Access on Steam.
Continue here to read the full story.

TOTAL TANK SIMULATOR Announced

Publisher 505 Games and developer Noobz announce TOTAL TANK SIMULATOR, a physics-based armored combat game coming to PCs next year via Steam. The Announcement Trailer offers a look at gameplay, which also includes aircraft and infantry, but apparently no textures. The announcement has more details on the game, and outlines a plan whereby the number of gamers who wishlist this will end up determining what sort of launch discount the game will carry:
A physics-based tactical World War II battle game at heart, Total Tank Simulator features more than 50 battle maps and hundreds of historical or classified units and weapons. In the role of a military Commander, players will deploy massive armies and leverage their fleet of tanks, planes, cannons and infantry to fight tactically through intense battles.

Three game modes will challenge players to use strategic thinking and unleash creativity, including Sandbox Mode, Shadow Mode (survival mode) and Campaign Mode, with six different playable factions permitted in each game mode. Players will battle through a carefully detailed and totally destructable experience across the burning sands of the Sahara Desert, the emerald green fields of Europe and the snowy plains of Russian Taiga, among other detailed environments ripe for total destruction.

A special pre-launch promotion on Steam for Total Tank Simulator from publisher 505 Games will allow the community of players on Steam to collectively play a role in determining the launch price of the game by creating wishlist tiers that unlock special discounts. In-game items will also be made available as each tier is unlocked.

  • Tier 1: 50,000 wishlists = Secret Weapons or Special Tactics units will be available for each of the original factions.
  • Tier 2: 75,000 wishlists = Secret Weapons or Special Tactics units + Officer Units + 10% release discount for one week.
  • Tier 3: 150,000 wishlists = Secret Weapons or Special Tactics units + Officer Units + 25% release discount for one week.

Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Happy birthday to Kirk Douglas, one of the last survivors of Hollywood's golden age. The Kirkster turns 103 today, which is all the more remarkable considering he suffered a serious stroke almost 24 years ago. And I still wouldn't bet against him being able to kick my ass. We may all be Spartacus, but there's only one Kirk Douglas. Happy birthday Kirk! (I know you're reading.)

Link of the Day: Fire Sled. How has this guy managed to thwart Darwin for so long?

Obituary: Pete Frates, inspiration for 'Ice Bucket Challenge,' dies at age 34.

New Studio Developing New BioShock

2K announces the formation of a new studio called Cloud Chamber, saying they are working on a new installment in the BioShock series (this is my BioShocked face). The developer will have offices in San Francisco and Montreal, headed up by industry veteran Kelley Gilmore, "the first woman in 2K history to launch and lead a development studio." Details on the new installment in the philosophical shooter series are scant, and a title is not being revealed for now. Word is development "will span the "next several years." Here's more:
2K today announced the founding of Cloud Chamber™, the newest, wholly owned game development studio under the Company’s publishing label. A collective of storytellers eager to push the frontlines of interactive entertainment by making unique, entertaining and thoughtful experiences that engage the world, Cloud Chamber will build its team at two locations: 2K’s San Francisco Bay Area headquarters in Novato, Calif., as well as in Montréal, Québec, which marks the first-ever Canadian office for a 2K studio. In addition, 2K announced that Cloud Chamber has started to work on the next iteration of the globally acclaimed BioShock® franchise, which will be in development for the next several years.

2K today announced the founding of Cloud Chamber™, the newest, wholly owned game development studio under the Company’s publishing label. A collective of storytellers eager to push the frontlines of interactive entertainment by making unique, entertaining and thoughtful experiences that engage the world, Cloud Chamber will build its team at two locations: 2K’s San Francisco Bay Area headquarters in Novato, Calif., as well as in Montréal, Québec, which marks the first-ever Canadian office for a 2K studio. In addition, 2K announced that Cloud Chamber has started to work on the next iteration of the globally acclaimed BioShock® franchise, which will be in development for the next several years.

“As we continue growing our product portfolio, we remain inspired by opportunities to invest further in our valuable IP, great people and their collective, long-term potential,” said David Ismailer, President of 2K. “BioShock is one of the most beloved, critically praised and highest-rated franchises of the last console generation*. We can’t wait to see where its powerful narrative and iconic, first-person shooter gameplay head in the future with our new studio team at Cloud Chamber leading the charge.”

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Specs

With MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries set to launch tomorrow, the Epic Games Store now offers system specifications for the new BattleTech action game (thanks OC3D via Neutronbeam). Here's what Piranha Games says it will take for your PC to properly operate a giant mech:
Minimum
OS Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (64-bit versions)
CPU Intel Core i3-7100/AMD Ryzen 3 1200
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/AMD Radeon R9 280X
RAM 8GB
DirectX Version 11
Storage 55GB free space (SSD)

Recommended
OS
Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (64-bit versions)
CPU Intel Core i7-6700K/AMD Ryzen 7 1700
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070/AMD RX Vega 56
RAM 16GB
DirectX Version 11
Storage 55GB free space (SSD)

Languages Supported
English, French, German, Russian

Out of the Blue

Today is Green Monday. This was originally cooked up by eBay, and apparently at one point the green was meant to evoke environmental concerns as well as money, though over time the focus has shifted more and more towards profits. This makes me sorry I only learned about the existence of Buy Nothing Day after the fact (it was November 29th this year). I'll try to remember that one for next year.

Obituary: René Auberjonois, actor featured in ‘Star Trek’ and Altman films, dies at 79. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Obituary: Robert Walker Jr. Dies: Star Trek Actor And Hollywood Offspring Was 79.
Obituary: Caroll Spinney, Who Played Big Bird And Oscar On 'Sesame Street,' Dies At 85.
Obituary: Paul A. Volcker, Fed Chairman Who Waged War on Inflation, Is Dead at 92.

Green Links: Thanks Ant.
Link: Paul Reubens going on 20-city tour for Pee-wee's Big Adventure's 35th.
Stories: Disney Says ‘Rise Of Skywalker’ May Pose Seizure Risk. Thanks Slashdot.
California waitress gets $1,000 tip after restaurant was closed for a week. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science: The physics behind how fire ants band together into robust floating “rafts.”
Study says climate change is starving the oceans of oxygen.
Media: First Trailer: "Wonder Woman 1984."
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE - Official Trailer (HD).
'Star Trek: Picard' TV Spot #1 - startrek.
It doesn't get much cuter than this. Clearly already better than I am.
The Funnies: FoxTrot.
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