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Tuesday, Feb 11, 2020

Activision Blizzard Games Leave GeForce NOW

The Verge reports that all of Activision Blizzard's games have been removed from GeForce NOW, NVIDIA's new cloud gaming service. Word is that so far whatever provoked this remains a mystery:
Nvidia’s GeForce Now feels like one of the very best ways to get a free taste of cloud gaming, but it’s got a gigantic catch — it lets you play PC games you already own only if the game publisher allows it. Today, Nvidia is revealing that Activision Blizzard is no longer playing ball, pulling down its catalog of games including Overwatch, WoW, and the Call of Duty series.

That means one of the service’s biggest publishers, as well as its Battle.net catalog of games, will no longer be available just a week after the service’s formal launch — a launch that was already missing many games from Capcom, EA, Konami, Remedy, Rockstar and Square Enix, all of which seemed to have pulled out after Nvidia’s beta period ended.

Nvidia wouldn’t tell us why this is happening now, but it’s strange, because Nvidia previously told us it was contacting every publisher ahead of launch to make sure they were OK staying on. Did Activision Blizzard reneg on a deal, or did Nvidia fail to get permission? We’re waiting to hear back on that from Nvidia; Activision Blizzard didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Project A Details

A series of tweets from HenryG have word from this esports commentator and former player on a visit to check out Project A, Riot's upcoming first person shooter (thanks Engadget). He says that he can't go into too much detail at this time. But he says this is the best game he's played since Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and highlights some impressions, along with the shortcomings of Twitter for such posts:
Hello! Strap yourself in. I had the chance to spend a day playing #ProjectA at Riot EU. Today, I'm allowed to share some of my initial thoughts and impressions. Please bear with me, I can't go into too much detail about the specifics of a lot of the gameplay until a later date.

If you're reading this and you're not familiar with what I do; I am known as HenryG, primarily a CS:GO commentator and former professional CS player. Down a similar vein to these upcoming tweets, I was also part of the first ever play-test of CS:GO in 2011 at Valve.

First of all, at its core, Project A is essentially a round based, 5on5, tactical shooter (most similar to CS:GO as a twitter surface level comparison), with the better (and slightly diluted) elements of class/hero based FPS games such as Overwatch or Apex Legends, for example.

The game mode we had access to was MR12, DE/SnD with a A & B bombsite with an attack/defence swap at half time.

In my opinion, these aforementioned classes and their own unique 'abilities' should be seen as tactical utility instead of potentially overpowered spell/ultimate combinations that other class-based games suffer from.
Continue here to read the full story.

Metro Exodus Sam's Story Released

Publisher Deep Silver and developer 4A Games now offer Sam's Story, the latest DLC for Metro Exodus, their first-person shooter sequel. This is available on the Epic Games Store, but the announcement also reiterated the recent news that Metro Exodus will be released on Steam on February 15th. Here's a Launch Trailer and here's the news:
Deep Silver and 4A Games are thrilled to announce that Sam’s Story, the second major story DLC for Metro Exodus is out now while also confirming that Metro Exodus will return to Steam on February 15.

Sam’s Story follows former U.S. Marine Sam - a Spartan Ranger who has worked under Colonel Miller since the nuclear war devastated Moscow and followed Artyom in search of a world outside of the Metro. Sam had long dreamed of returning to his homeland and perhaps even finding his father alive. The prospect seemed impossible in the darkened tunnels of the Metro but when the Spartans discovered that Moscow was not the only city left alive after the war, holding out hope didn’t feel so foolish anymore.

Sam, determined to find a way back to the USA, departed from the Aurora to make his way through Vladivostok’s tsunami ravaged harbours, ruined industrial buildings, and crumbling residential districts. However, to complete his journey, Sam will discover that he needs every tactic he has learned so far to survive, as his surroundings prove to be far trickier than expected.

In this expansive ‘sandbox survival’ level, players will experience another gripping story line featuring new characters, weapons and mutant variants, in a huge, non-linear environment that offers roughly five hours of all-new single player gameplay.
Continue here to read the full story.

Destiny 2 Accounts Rolled Back

Bungie Help tweets that Destiny 2 accounts were all rolled back today due to a problem with Hotfix 2.7.1.1 for the shooter sequel. Things are back online now, so apparently they've applied some sort of coldfix or hotfix fix, or something. This tweet explains what was lost:
Due to the rollback:

  • Any progress or purchase made between 8:30-10:30 AM PST will need to be redone
  • Silver spent during that time will be restored
  • Platform store-purchased Silver bundles will not be affected by the rollback
  • Fractaline will be returned to inventories

Division 2 Expansion Next Month, Bringing Seasons and Global Events

Ubisoft announces Warlords of New York, a narrative-driven expansion for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 they will release on March 3rd. Owners of the action/RPG sequel will not have to wait that long for a taste of this, as a prologue called Coney Island: The Hunt is expected tomorrow for Season Pass holders and a week from tomorrow for all other Division 2 players. They are also adding this new content to the Standard Edition of the game, saying: "While current The Division 2 players can purchase the expansion on its own, new players can purchase the Standard Edition, which includes The Division 2 base game and The Division 2 Warlords of New York expansion. The Ultimate Edition, which gives players both the game and its expansion, as well as all of The Division 2’s Year 1 content, classified assignments and unlocked specializations, will also be available." Here's a Warlords of New York- World Premiere Cinematic Trailer with a look at the story. They also announce that the new expansion will introduce new three-month endgame seasons and the return of global events to the game. And the base version of the game will be enhanced by the release of Update 8. There's a lot to this, so here's a full rundown:
A Narrative Expansion to Discover a New Area in New York City
In Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Warlords of New York, Division Agents will go on the ultimate manhunt for Aaron Keener, a former Division Agent who has now gone rogue. Keener, along with his network of Rogue Agents, is now a major threat to the burgeoning rebirth of civilization. To track down Keener, Agents will roam the untamed living open world of Lower Manhattan; a former Dark Zone that was recently hit by a devastating hurricane that hit New York City harder than anywhere else in the US. Agents are tasked to explore new zones, each with iconic locations such as Two Bridges, Chinatown, and Wall Street. To get to Keener, players must take down each of his Rogue Agents. Each Rogue Agent has their own unique back story and skill – which you gain once you take them down.

The Ultimate Vision of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Warlords of New York
After taking the time to hear and gather community feedback, core gameplay enhancements have been implemented across various topics such as build diversity, gear streamlining and even more meaningful loot.
Continue here to read the full story.

Outbreak: Epidemic Breaks Out

Outbreak: Epidemic is now available for Windows and Linux on Steam, offering a co-op survival game ripped from today's headlines. This is accompanied by the release of Outbreak Ultimate Apocalypse on Steam, offering the entire Outbreak series with a 48% discount. Here's the Release Trailer, and here's word:
The infection spreads like never before in Outbreak: Epidemic, the latest co-op (Steam Only) and single-player (Steam/Xbox One) survival horror nightmare from Dead Drop Studios. Experience the nationwide epidemic as you and up to three friends lead Gwen, Renault, Kara and Tom through the undead apocalypse. Outbreak: Epidemic features the series classic tough-as-nails survival horror gameplay powered by the next-generation Outbreak engine across the Campaign Mode, Onslaught Mode and Experiments Mode. Experience the nightmare close up through over-the-shoulder claustrophobic gameplay as you blast and slash your way through the epidemic.
Continue here to read the full story.

BATTLETECH Final Update This Month

Harebrained Schemes announces that with the conclusion of the Season Pass for BATTLETECH, the version 1.9 update expected later this month will be their final update for the mech combat revival, though they remain committed to customer support for the game (thanks Neutronbeam). They explain that they are embarking on "two brand new non-BattleTech projects." They illustrate the news with a Thank you from BATTLETECH and HBS video and a BATTLETECH Visualization Map video. Here's word:
Thanks again for all your support for BATTLETECH over the last 4 years. That support allowed us to deliver the first turn-based, tactical MechWarrior experience in more than 20 years and we truly appreciate the opportunity to make it for you. Your support, along with some great press, awards, and accolades allowed us to continue supporting BATTLETECH with nine free updates plus our Flashpoint, Urban Warfare, and Heavy Metal expansions. Thanks again for making all of this possible!

Now, with our season pass at an end, HBS is going to focus on two brand new non-BattleTech projects. Our last free update, BATTLETECH Update 1.9, will release in late February. After that, BATTLETECH will continue to maintain customer support.

Here's a video of Mitch saying all this but with more "Mitch".
Continue here to read the full story.

Mad Experiments: Escape Room Demo

The Steam Listing for Mad Experiments: Escape Room now offers a playable demo for this multiplayer escape game from PlayTogether Studio, a developer formed by former Ubisoft Montreal designer Clément Marthe. The full game is expected in April, and the description covers that more than the new demo:
Inspired by real escape rooms, the game will challenge up to 6 players to solve the puzzles of the intriguing mansion of Professor Cheshire. You have 60 minutes to explore, gather every clue you can find, examine objects, and unravel the secrets of this place.

The puzzles are quite hard and have been designed with multiplayer in mind, so even if you can play the game solo, it is a better experience to play with your friends.

Launching in April 2020, Mad Experiments: Escape Room will challenge players to:

  • Visual puzzles, riddles, an intriguing song, and many surprises. Every puzzle is unique!
  • Communicate with your teammates to share your discoveries
  • Each room is a chapter of the mind-bending story of Professor Cheshire and his experiments on the Human’s mind

Starbreeze Financials

GamesIndustry.biz reports the latest financials from Starbreeze, covering the calendar year 2019. They have been going through a financial restructuring and debt repayment, and the news is their full-year losses were $12 million. They offer the following outlook on the Swedish company's future:
For the full-year, the series -- driven primarily by Payday 2 -- accounted for SEK 109.4 million ($11.3 million) or 39% of all net sales. SEK 50.8 million ($5.26 million) was generated in the last quarter alone, accounting for 99.4% of the company's Q4 net sales.

This was driven in no small part by new content released in October, which CEO Mikael Nermark says "generated higher than expected sales and player numbers" for Payday 2. He added that this "confirms the interest in a future release of Payday 3" and confirmed additional updates will be added to Payday 2 in 2020.

Starbreeze now finds itself in a similar position to where it was six years ago. Payday 2 accounted for 88.5% of its revenue in Q4 2014 -- despite launching more than a year beforehand -- and 88.4% of revenues the following quarter.

All hope is on Payday 3, then, to fully revive the company's fortunes, with Nermark confident that a publishing agreement for the game will be announced before the end of H1 2020. He also expects a publishing agreement for mobile spin-off Payday: Crime War to also be finalised by this time.

He reiterated that with the reconstruction process complete, Starbreeze is now "fully focused on the core business -- creating games, with Payday front and centre."

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Cat Thinks Long And Hard About Its Next Move. Thanks Ant.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Season Two Begins

The promised Season Two is now underway for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Activision's military shooter sequel. The Activision Blog has more on this. Also, the term "68 GB" is currently trending on Twitter, because that's how surprisingly large the new patch is. Here are the details on what you get in exchange for such a large download:
Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® expands with new Season Two content today, jam-packed with free multiplayer maps, modes and weapons available for all players. Throughout Season Two, players across all platforms can continue the fight alongside their favorite Operators in all-new and returning fan-favorite maps, fresh in-game challenges and rewards, limited-time game modes, and playlists among the community celebrations.

In addition, the Battle Pass system gets all brand-new content, with Season Two starting today, as all players can unlock for free up to two new functional weapons, 300 COD points, calling cards and more just by playing. Those who want to bring their game to a whole new level with over 170 earnable items can also purchase the Season Two Battle Pass for 1,000 Call of Duty Points for access to unlock up to 100 tiers of new content.

“The community response to Modern Warfare since launch has been incredible and we’re thrilled to bring back some legendary fan-favorite maps and an iconic beloved Modern Warfare character, Ghost,” said Patrick Kelly, Co-Studio Head and Creative Director, Infinity Ward. “We’re committed to continuously fueling the fun with more and more content for everyone and can’t wait for players to experience what’s to come with Season Two.”
Continue here to read the full story.

2K Announces Developer 31st Union

2K announces that 31st Union is the new development studio they announced last year as the new home of Michael Condrey, formerly of Sledgehammer and Visceral Games. At this point they are following the ION Storm model, as the most tangible elements of this they reveal are a "new state-of-the-art development facility" and a "passionate and talented team." They also mention a "culture that champions inclusivity and greater representation," and tease an "ambitious and inspired" new IP, which will be revealed in the future. Here's word:
2K announced today that 2K Silicon Valley, the label’s wholly-owned development studio founded in February 2019 and led by video game industry veteran Michael Condrey, will officially be known as 31st Union. Alongside revealing its new state-of-the-art development facility, branding and core values commitment to further establish its identity, the studio also announced plans to expand its presence internationally, beginning with a European location based in Spain.

“31st Union is off to an incredible start with a passionate and talented team, an intentioned culture that champions inclusivity and greater representation, and an ambitious and inspired new IP that we’re extremely excited about,” said Michael Condrey, President at 31st Union. “Our name and studio represent the spirit of California in its rich diversity of thought, art, music, innovation and cultural representation that have defined the current golden age of entertainment and technology here in Silicon Valley. In revealing our new identity and announcing the expansion of our operations, we’re shifting into an exciting next phase of growth to include more voices and bring our vision to life around the globe.”
Continue here to read the full story.

THQ Nordic announces Developer Nine Rocks Games

THQ Nordic announces Nine Rocks Games is a new development studio they've established in Bratislava, Slovakia. They say this is working on a new survival shooter that they will reveal soon. Word is the team behind this includes veterans of DayZ, Soldier of Fortune 3, Conan (2004), and Chaser (2003). Here's the announcement:
THQ Nordic today announced the incorporation of its new studio Nine Rocks Games in Bratislava, Slovakia. The team will be working on a game in the shooter/survival genre. More information on the project itself will be released in due time.

DayZ (2018), Soldier of Fortune 3 (2007), Conan (2004), Chaser (2003) are some of the projects the team has been working on before joining the THQ Nordic network of development studios.

“We are very much looking forward to setting up shop in our office, gradually optimizing our teamsize, and getting to work on our project”, comments David Durcak, CEO of Nine Rocks Games. “With THQ Nordic as a partner, our roster of talent found perfect conditions to collaborate on our first joint project.”

“We welcome the newest addition to the THQ Nordic network of studios: Nine Rocks Games,” said Klemens Kreuzer CEO of THQ Nordic. “I personally think it is always a great sign in business, when everything just seems to fall into place. The right people at the right time having the right mindset and a meaningful conversation… We are very happy to welcome the Slovak team onboard and are excited about our first project with Nine Rocks Games.”

Dead Cells: The Bad Seed Released

Evil Empire and Motion Twin have planted Dead Cells: The Bad Seed on Steam. This new DLC requires the original Dead Cells for Windows, macOS, and Linux, marking the 17th update and first paid content for the side-scrolling action game. Here's a recent Gameplay Trailer, and here's the announcement:
The exceptionally deadly new Dead Cells DLC, The Bad Seed, has planted itself on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch today from developers and publishers Evil Empire and Motion Twin for $4.99. Additionally, co-conspirators at Merge Games revealed Dead Cells - The Prisoner’s Edition today, a brand new megabundle coming to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on June 23rd - details below and at https://signatureeditiongames.com/collections/signature-editions.

The new DLC for the heavily lauded Dead Cells game, The Bad Seed, is the seventeenth update to the game but does not alter the critical path for players still looking to conquer the main storyline of the game. Rather, The Bad Seed introduces players to an additional path to take, sporting all-new optional biomes, granting them incredible new weapons, and sticks them in front of really dangerous and possibly questionably hard but definitely gross new enemies.
Continue here to read the full story.

Shadow Arena Beta This Month

Pearl Abyss announces closed beta testing will begin on February 27th for Shadow Arena, a new arena fighting game that's a spinoff of Black Desert, their sandbox MMORPG. The test will run until March 8th, and those interested in participating can sign up on this page. Here's the Official Reveal Trailer from last year, and here are more details on the plan:
Shadow Arena pits 40 players against one another in a ruthless competition to be the last person standing on the battlefield. Players can choose from one of nine playable characters in the beta, each with their own unique fighting style. To climb to the top of the pack, players must hunt monsters and collect loot to upgrade their gear and gain buffs. However, impeccable skill execution and well-timed evasive tactics are critical in turning fights in one’s favor to secure victory.

Shadow Arena was originally a game within Black Desert, but eventually evolved into its own stand-alone game. While Shadow Arena does draw from Black Desert, it has created its own unique style, drawing from the MOBA, battle royale, and MMO genres to create an arena fighter. Shadow Arena has two gameplay modes: solo and team. While players can boast their skill in the solo match, complex strategic gameplay is required in the team mode. Players can also enjoy a distinctive co-op mode with a new style of PvP action.

Shadow Arena will be released in the first half of 2020 for PC first and console later.
Continue here to read the full story.

TerraGenesis PC Release

Tilting Point and Edgeworks Entertainment announce the launch of a Windows edition of TerraGenesis - Space Settlers, their indie terraforming game. This is already available for mobile devices, and the free-to-play PC edition can be picked up through the Microsoft Store. Here's a video from a couple of years ago showing off the app version, and here are details on the release, which also brings new features to the mobile versions:
Tilting Point and Edgeworks Entertainment have launched a PC version of their indie terraforming game TerraGenesis. Featuring real data and science from NASA, TerraGenesis brings its deep, near-photorealistic outer-space gameplay to the PC platform after seeing cosmic success on mobile devices - the game has surpassed 16 million downloads, earning Edgeworks a Mobile Game Awards nomination for Best Indie Developer in 2018 and winning the Very Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco in 2017. Players looking to terraform planets can download the game for free on the Microsoft Store here.

In TerraGenesis, players create and care for the life on their planet while turning it into a thriving paradise. Featuring realistic science and accurate maps with over 45 real-life planets, moons, and even historical versions of Earth to terraform, players are confronted with challenges and opportunities as they transform their world and create a new and unique society on the surface of each and every planet they visit.

New to the game, across both mobile and PC platforms, is the Governors feature, which gives players the ability to accelerate the growth of their worlds with the help of over 40 new and upgradeable characters. The Governors characters each have unique stories, backgrounds, and abilities that impact the development of a player’s world in specific ways (e.g. a fertility doctor Governor will increase their city’s birth rate).
Continue here to read the full story.

Broken Lines This Month

Publisher Super.com and developer PortaPlay announce February 25th is the PC release date for Broken Lines, their narrative, tactical-RPG that's also eventually coming to Switch. This was previously expected last year before a delay was revealed in November. For more on this you can visit the Steam Listing and the official website, which features the recent Story Trailer. Here's the elevator pitch:
The game drops players behind enemy lines in an alternate-history WWII, where they take control of a squad of soldiers who must fight not only battlefield enemies; but with their own sense of right and wrong to get back home. Through both tactical combat and immersive interactive dialogues, players will get a sense of the true horrors of war as they take their toll on the soldiers’ minds and bodies alike.
Continue here to read the full story.

Hokko Life Announced

Hokko Life, an upcoming "creativity-filled community sim game" in the works at Wonderscope, a solo studio formed by former Sony and Lionhead developer Robert Tatnell. This "invites players to escape the hustle-bustle and relax in their new home of Hokko." The Hokko Life Website is online, offering this Announcement Trailer showing off serene gameplay reminiscent of Animal Crossing. Here's word:
Build the town of your dreams with Hokko Life's creativity tools, which allow you to customize and design furniture, clothing, and much more! While away the hours fishing, farming and hunting bugs; or get to work building houses for your new residents. With complete creative freedom, what town will you build?

CRAFT: Head to the forest or the abandoned mine to chop; mine, and dig for resources. Take what you've collected back to town and craft them into materials you can use in your own designs.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

Over all these years I thought I had already experienced ever form of spam and scam email created. This morning I got a new one, however, when I received a surprise invitation from the Illumnati! They say: "Hello, Do you wish to be famous, wealthy and powerful? Be part of this elite organization called Illuminati filled with world leaders, business authorities, innovators, artists, and other influential members of this planet....to apply for membership contact us now and Join Our Global Unity. This is a limited offer!!" At first I was surprised that the Illumnati would even be aware of me, but then I realized, hey, they're the Illumnati! They know everything! So there, now I'm going to finally be in on the big picture of how the globe actually operates. I'm guessing I'll be sworn to secrecy, so apologies in advance for not filling you in!

Illuminated Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Links: Zoo will name a rat or roach after your ex and feed it to a snake on Valentine.
The Story of Huey Lewis Is Not a Tragedy. Thanks Cutter.
Preparing For The End Of The World, On A Budget.
Science: Michael Pollan Explains Caffeine Cravings (And Why You Don't Have To Quit).
Dog Training Methods Affect Attachment to the Owner. Thanks Max.
Doing this many push-ups reduces heart disease risk by 96%. This many being 40.
Media: How one dog won Westminster three times.
Wrestler dives off shopping mall balcony. Admit it, you've thought about it too.
Encounter with Koala. They get all the girls.

Monday, Feb 10, 2020

Boss Key's Proposed Aliens Shooter Details

Cliff Bleszinski tweets some information about an Aliens shooter that was a possible Boss Key Productions project when his studio was still in operation. Cliff has been talking a lot about games lately, so perhaps he is still feeling the itch that's lead to a couple of recent comments suggesting he's open to returning to the game industry. Here are the tweets about discussions of an Aliens game where you would play as Newt, presumably to mostly come out at night, mostly:

Funfact: Before BKP shut down we were in talks to do a new game in the Aliens franchise with Fox.

Then Disney bought them and that got lost in the shuffle, darnit.
...
Ripley would be alive and be your "Cortana/Anya." You'd play as grown Newt. On Earth. Weyland-Yutani are weaponizing the aliens in a Black Mesa style facility and, of course, all hell breaks loose.
...
Your robotic pal i.e. Bishop? A new one named "Casey" after her doll in Aliens.
...
(FPS, obviously.)
...
I always said I'd never want to work on someone else's IP. Only exceptions for me personally? Aliens and Transformers.
...
(Erase ALL canon after Aliens, BTW.)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Season Two Begins Tomorrow

The Activision Blog has details on Season Two of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which gets underway tomorrow in the latest installment in this shooter series. As they previously hinted, this will include the return of Lt. Simon "Ghost" Riley, which is shown off in the accompanying Season Two Trailer. The post has details on what to expect from the new season, including new maps coming at launch, others that will follow, new game modes, what to expect from the Battle Pass, more content coming to the Modern Warfare Store, new trials & missions, and more. Here's a bit:
Season Two of Modern Warfare returns Ghost to the firefight and brings more Multiplayer experiences through maps, modes, and an all-new Battle Pass. Plus earn rewards to climb through the Season Two Ranks with more ribbons to earn, new challenges to complete, and new missions for both Multiplayer and Special Ops.

In Season Two, Al-Qatala agents have stolen a Soviet nuclear warhead and smuggled it into the city of Verdansk. Combined with previously obtained chemical gas, Al-Qatala is determined to cut off Verdansk from the rest of the world. On the brink of a global catastrophe, Captain Price sends in Ghost to track down the location of the warhead and lead key Operators before it’s too late.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Harvest Announced

The Breach Studios announces The Harvest, which they call a "fresh new take on Class-Based Hero-Shooters." But that's not the only box they say this checks, saying it "combines the charisma of hero-shooters, the adrenaline of battle royale games and the ability system of MOBAs to create a whole new gaming experience." This does not yet have a release date, but the plan is for it to first launch in Early Access on Steam later this year. A Pre-Alpha Trailer shows off some gameplay, and the announcement has further details:
THE HARVEST is a fresh new take on Class-Based Hero-Shooters. Fight along with your teammates from different civilizations against other players to take control of the universe's essence. Define your combat style as you play, gaining and combining different abilities to become the last squad standing. Discover this new sci-fi universe and get ready, THE HARVEST has begun!

Dynamic Class-Based System
The Harvest goes beyond the common class systems in the shooter genre thanks to the Dynamic Class-Based System. Choose your Breacher, select your base set-up and build your full potential during combat in a flexible abilities system.
Continue here to read the full story.

Grand Prix Legends 2020 Demo

A Grand Prix Legends 2020 Demo is now available on the GPL World Website. This offers the chance to check out the latest version of Grand Prix Legends, a racing game released by Papyrus way back in 1998 (thanks John). The game has been lovingly maintained for more than two decades by dedicated modders, so this represents their latest efforts. Here's a recent Promotion Movie about the game, and here is a newer Grand Prix Legends 2020 Demo Trailer explaining the project. Here's word on what to expect:
What is Grand Prix Legends (GPL)?
GPL is a racing simulation for the PC that was published in 1998, yes you read correctly, 22 years ago. In 1998 GPL simulated the 1967 Formula 1 Grand Prix season and included eleven historic race tracks. In 2020 it simulates much more...

Why a GPL 2020 Demo?
Thanks to the GPL community who has kept this ancient software alive in the last two decades

  • by still driving it offline against the AI and online against humans,
  • by extending it with new mods simulating new racing series, like F1 1955, F1 1965, F1 1966, F1 1967 Extra, F2 1967, F1 1969 Extra, Can-Am 1966, Can-Am 1971, Sportscars 1967,
  • by creating over 600 tracks,
  • and by creating many tools & utilities,

Continue here to read the full story.

Battlecraft - Tactics Online Early Access

Battlecraft - Tactics Online is now available in Early Access on Steam as well as mobile phones. This sounds like the offspring of Battlefield and Warcraft, but this is a "simultaneous turn-based strategy" game Sigil Entertainment describes as "a fresh twist on the classic tactics genre." Here's the Launch Trailer, and here's the skinny:
Battlecraft offers both desktop and mobile gamers a fresh twist on the classic tactics genre. The game lets you craft a hard-hitting army from 20+ unique heroes, deploy your troops, and win by predicting your opponent’s next move.

DEVELOPER QUOTE
“Battlecraft was born out of my love for chess. So with chess as a starting point, I came up with the idea of having actions play out simultaneously in turns. This way, you get this chaotic, exciting feeling while still having time to think about your choices. Battlecraft also provides some interesting rock-paper-scissors interactions: You can dodge attacks or read your opponent – then attack them where you think they will go next!” – Nikola Todorovic (Founder, Sigil Entertainment)
Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Russian Multiplication - Numberphile. Like an Abbott and Costello routine.

Anthem Redesign Plans

There is an update on the BioWare Blog where Casey Hudson offers a status report on Anthem a year after the release of their multiplayer action/RPG. He describes their realization that getting the game into the state that they want "will require a more substantial reinvention than an update or expansion." He says they will continue running the current version of Anthem, but that over the coming months they will embark on a longer-term redesign of the experience, "specifically working to reinvent the core gameplay loop." Here's the post:
One year ago, we were preparing to launch Anthem – a game that represented a big leap into new territory for us as a studio. It was an exhilarating and terrifying experience to go out to the world with something new and different, and we are grateful to all the players who have come along with us on the journey. It has been a thrill for us to see the creativity of our players in designing customized Javelins, and watching them master Anthem’s flying and fighting gameplay. I am so proud of the work the team has put into this game, and at the same time there’s so much more that we – and you – would have wanted from it.

Over the last year, the team has worked hard to improve stability, performance and general quality of life while delivering three seasons of new content and features. We have also heard your feedback that Anthem needs a more satisfying loot experience, better long-term progression and a more fulfilling end game. So we recognize that there’s still more fundamental work to be done to bring out the full potential of the experience, and it will require a more substantial reinvention than an update or expansion. Over the coming months we will be focusing on a longer-term redesign of the experience, specifically working to reinvent the core gameplay loop with clear goals, motivating challenges and progression with meaningful rewards – while preserving the fun of flying and fighting in a vast science-fantasy setting. And to do that properly we’ll be doing something we’d like to have done more of the first time around – giving a focused team the time to test and iterate, focusing on gameplay first.
Continue here to read the full story.

YAGER Gets Tencent Investment

There's a new YAGER meister in town, as German developer YAGER drops a YAGER bomb, announcing Chinese tech giant Tencent has made a strategic minority investment in the studio behind Yager and Spec Ops: The Line. Word is this will help fund their current title The Cycle as well as future games:
Berlin-based game development studio YAGER has today reported it has received a strategic minority investment by Tencent. As YAGER has moved into self-publishing, this fresh capital will be used to strengthen the company’s development and publishing activities for its current title, the competitive quest shooter The Cycle, as well as other upcoming projects.

“Tencent is not only the world’s leading games company but also a prolific investor with a stellar track record. We’re humbled to join the line-up of Tencent partners, which reads like a games industry Who’s Who,” said YAGER CEO Timo Ullmann. “We’re confident that this will greatly enhance the scope of our business, not just by getting access to Tencent’s network and resources, but by tapping the vast industry know-how Tencent possesses.”

AREA MAN LIVES Announced

Cyan and Numinous announce AREA MAN LIVES, a story-oriented VR game that re-imagines and completes a previous project from Numinous Games called Untethered. Here's the game's Steam Listing, which shows a June 30th release date. Here's a genuinely strange Teaser Trailer, and here's a bit on the game:
Have you even dreamt of being a local DJ so you could talk to area man? Well you're in luck, as here's the unusual concept this game presents:

AREA MAN LIVES sets the player in the hot seat as a small town radio show DJ. As the game begins, the on-air sign lights up, and the producer reminds the player that they have to speak, out loud, to begin the show. The player continues to interact with their voice, recording commercials and interviewing callers. They play records and pass the time with their odd-duck producer until their shift ends. Only when local townspeople start calling in does the player discover just how strange their coastal community can be. When the stakes are raised, can the player do anything to prevent the death of the area man who insists on saving the day?
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Void Destroyer 2 Released

Void Destroyer 2 is now officially available on The Humble Store and Steam, following an extended Early Access run for this RTS/FPS sequel. This provides a chance to destroy the void, leaving behind a totally better void (or something like that). A Cinematic Trailer introduces the concept, while this Gameplay Trailer shows it in action. You can also join in on discussion of the project in the Steam Forums and the game's Discord. Here's the pitch:
Void Destroyer 2 is now available on Steam and the Humble Store after about 3 years and 4 months of early access. Void Destroyer is inspired by some of the best genre design elements found within space RTS, space combat flight simulators, and open world RTS. As before with Void Destroyer 1, this single-developer project includes both RTS and FPS gameplay putting the player in the role of both pilot and commander, with the flight model using momentum based Newtonian physics. Where Void Destroyer 1 primarily featured a linear campaign, Void Destroyer 2 is primarily an open world sandbox with multiple factions that includes the option of a story based campaign. Starting with a single small ship: work as a mercenary, trader, bounty hunter, or pirate to build up funds. Upgrade your personal ship and add to your fleet, until you are capable of taking a base from one of the established factions. Manage a larger scale economy from this base and build up further until you wipe out your enemies. If you chose, attempt to conquer the entire sector map or see the campaign story to its conclusion.

Void Destroyer 2 is also highly moddable, featuring an XML based file architecture that is relatively easy to work with. It is possible to add new weapons, ships, bases, missions, and even new factions. The Void Destroyer 2 community is primarily based out of the game's Steam Forums and its official Discord server. Please visit if you have any questions!
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Bloodroots This Month

Paper Cult announces Bloodroots will be available on digital stores on February 28th for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Switch, offering a fast-paced action game starring Mr. Wolf (presumably not Winston). The PC edition will come to the Epic Games Store where they are now offering a 10% discount on preorders. Here's a Release Date Trailer and here are some details:
Betrayed and left for dead, Mr. Wolf is hell-bent on finding his killer and enacting revenge - alone, and vastly outnumbered.

Thankfully for Mr. Wolf, the world is your weapon in Bloodroots - a relentless action game that unfolds across the sprawling Weird West. You’ll choreograph spectacular, ultra-violent combos by making use of everything around you, from hatchets, to ladders, to...carrots? It’s improvise or die, as Mr. Wolf fights his way to the center of the mystery: why was he betrayed?
 
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Gunhouse Released

Gunhouse is now available on itch.io and Steam, offering the Windows edition of this side-scroller previously released on PlayStation 4, Switch, Vita, and mobiles. An all platforms trailer shows off the game's wacky, hand-drawn graphics style. Here's a description of this unusual mashup of the puzzle and tower defense genres:
Gunhouse is part puzzle, part active tower defense, as you make big combos to launch a hail of bullets and special attacks at the alien invaders who would like nothing better than to consume your delicious orphan friends. The game contains infinite levels, upgradeable weapons, a newly-tuned survival mode, a weird story by Brandon Sheffield (Street Fighter 30th, Indivisible), a unique hand-drawn art style, music by Hyper Light Drifter composer Disasterpeace, and code by Frog Fractions creator Jim Crawford.
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Tears of Avia Announced

Publisher PQube and developer CooCooSqueaky announce Tears of Avia, a turn-based strategy/RPG coming to PC and Xbox One in Q3 of this year. Word is: "Build a party of charismatic allies and utilise the vast skill-tree system in combat as you explore the beautiful world of Estera!" The game's Steam Listing is online, as is an Announcement Trailer showing off the game's anime style. Here's more:
Explore the World of Estera
The stunning world of Estera awaits, full of beautiful hand illustrated locations. Venture deep into murky woods, roam vibrant towns and ransack long forgotten tombs. From the dizzying heights of Tower Of The Ancients to the harsh lands of Arralash, the world is yours to discover!

Control the Flow of Combat
Customise your party to your own playstyle and carefully combine the five classes with their unique abilities. Explore the many combos between over 100 skills, which chain and react to one another to create an exciting amount of layers in Tears of Avia's combat!

Shape the Story your Way
Lead your party across Estera on your search for the forgotten city of Avalon and a long lost love. However, every action you take on the way can influence the narrative of your playthrough. There are no right or wrong choices, but the consequences can shape the way your journey unfolds!
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Out of the Blue

Didn't end up watching any of the Oscars last night. We had no interest, but sometimes I find myself sucked into such things out of curiosity. I also didn't watch any of the debut weekend of the XFL. This is despite being a fan of the NFL, but I don't watch college football, either. I also don't watch much baseball anymore and almost zero basketball or hockey. So I think I only have so much bandwidth for sports. This could partly be attributed to how disappointing the Mets are generally, and how truly wretched the Knicks are, but as I say, I think I may just be at my limit with the pro tackle football I do watch. On the other hand, it seems the New York XFL team won handily, so maybe I'll end up being drawn in by the intoxication of success.

Sporty Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Play: Connect Four.
Links: Oscars 2020 winners: The complete list of results.
Stories: Bill Gates 'not buying our hydrogen yacht.'
World's largest firework set off in Steamboat Springs, breaking records.
America's pig problem. Thanks RedEye9.
Science: Solar probe embarks on unprecedented mission to map sun's polar regions. Safer to land on a pole, or the dark side?
Media: How It's (actually) Made - Pre Packaged Sandwiches (NSFW). How's your appetite?
Bill Murray with the best thing you’ll see today. Thanks Acleacius.
Painting the Superman: Call to Action PF - Sideshow Behind the Scenes.
The Funnies: System32Comics.
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