Archived News:

Thursday, Feb 13, 2020

Get Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Aztez for Free

This week's freebies are now available on the Epic Games Store, where they will be yours to keep of you grab your copies over the coming seven days. As they previously announced, these are Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Aztez. They also announce next week's giveaway will be collectible card game Faeria. Here's word on this week's gratis games:
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a story-driven open-world RPG that immerses you in an epic adventure in the Holy Roman Empire. Avenge your parents' death as you battle invading forces, go on game-changing quests, and make influential choices.

Aztez is a unique hybrid of beat 'em up and turn-based strategy, set in the world of the Aztec Empire. Highly technical, real-time, beat-em-up combat events resolve ongoing conflicts in your expanding empire.

Half-Life: Alyx Next Month

Valve Tweets that March 23rd is the release date for Half-Life: Alyx, the VR prequel to Half-Life 2 that resumes the long-dormant Half-Life series. They also offer some new screenshots for the game. The Half-Life: Alyx Steam Listing now sports the new release date, and here is the description of the game it offers:
Half-Life: Alyx is Valve’s VR return to the Half-Life series. It’s the story of an impossible fight against a vicious alien race known as the Combine, set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2.

Playing as Alyx Vance, you are humanity’s only chance for survival. The Combine’s control of the planet since the Black Mesa incident has only strengthened as they corral the remaining population in cities. Among them are some of Earth’s greatest scientists: you and your father, Dr. Eli Vance.

As founders of a fledgling resistance, you’ve continued your clandestine scientific activity—performing critical research, and building invaluable tools for the few humans brave enough to defy the Combine.

Every day, you learn more about your enemy, and every day you work toward finding a weakness.
Continue here to read the full story.

DayZ Free Weekend

Steam is offering the chance to play DayZ for Windows for free for the next few days. This post offers the This is DayZ Gameplay Trailer and the following explanation of the free weekend for the multiplayer survival game:
We are delighted to announce the upcoming DayZ Free Weekend, starting on Thursday, February 13th (10 AM PST), and ending on Monday, February 17th (10 AM PST). To play DayZ for free, head over to the DayZ store page and install the game – it’s as simple as that.

For those infected by the DayZ experience, there will also be a 40% discount on the base game, as well as a 10% discount on the recently released Livonia DLC, should you wish to continue playing after the free weekend ends.
Continue here to read the full story.

Play Last Year for Free

Last Year is free to play all weekend on Steam, offering the chance to check out this multiplayer horror game for Windows which came out (you guessed it) last year. This is an asymmetrical game for six players where one plays as a fiend tasked with killing the other five, who must also survive a hostile environment. This sample comes right as a new version 1.0.13 update goes live, adding a new map. Here's a trailer showing off the new map and highlighting the free weekend. If you end up buying the game after checking it out, it is currently on sale for 30% off. Here's more on what to expect:
Team up with four other Classmates to survive against a sixth player controlling a dreadful, horrifying Fiend, in this evolution of multiplayer horror games inspired by classic horror stories.

For these Classmates, their last year of high school might be their last year of life. After being transported to a nightmarish copy of their hometown through an occult game of cards, six classmates soon find out that they are not alone, and that to escape, they’ll have to work together against all manner of Fiends lurking in the shadows.
Continue here to read the full story.

Marvel's Avengers Preorders Include Beta Access

Square Enix announces preorders are underway for Marvel's Avengers, saying this will come in three editions: a Standard Edition, the Earth's Mightiest Edition, and Deluxe Edition on September 4th. They say that players who preorder any version will receive guaranteed access to the Beta, a Marvel Legacy Outfit pack, and an exclusive nameplate. They accompany the news with a new Embrace Your Powers Trailer. Here's more:
Square Enix® announced today that Marvel’s Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Edition and Deluxe Edition will be available alongside the Standard Edition on September 4, 2020. Further, players who pre-order any version of the game will receive guaranteed access to the Beta (at participating retailers), a Marvel Legacy Outfit pack, and an exclusive nameplate.

The Marvel's Avengers Deluxe Edition includes an exclusive Obsidian Outfit pack (six hero outfits), six exclusive Obsidian nameplates, and 72-hour early access.

Marvel's Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Edition features a full color 12” statue of Captain America. Designed by the artisans at Gentle Giant, this deluxe high-quality PVC statue captures every texture and detail on Captain America’s uniform. Marvel’s Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Edition also includes a copy of the Deluxe Edition, an exclusive SteelBook® case, Hulk Bobblehead, Mjolnir Keychain, Black Widow’s Belt Buckle, Iron Man’s Prototype Amor Blueprints, Kamala Khan’s Honorary Avenger Pin, a commemorative Avengers group photo, and 72-hour early access before the September 4, 2020 release date.
Continue here to read the full story.

For Honor Third Anniversary Event

Ubisoft announces a limited-time Peace Festival Event is now underway in For Honor to commemorate the third anniversary of their melee combat game. This trailer celebrates the event, and here's word on what to expect:
Today, Ubisoft announced that For Honor kicks off the Peace Festival, a two-week in-game event commemorating the game’s third anniversary, starting today until February 27. As the threat of the great cataclysm has cooled down, the leaders of Heathmoor have invited the greatest warriors from all factions to compete in the Honor Games to celebrate the Truce of Wyverndale.

Available to all For Honor players, this anniversary’s in-game event brings a variation of the fan-favorite limited-time game mode Carousel of Death. The first time a player dies in this 4v4 elimination game mode, they return to life five seconds later, but each subsequent death adds five seconds to respawn time. Victory is achieved when all opponents are dead at the same time. During the first week of the anniversary event, Carousel of Fire will add an additional twist with damage boosts and flaming geysers in the arena. Players will get to experience another twist to this game mode, yet to be revealed, in the second week of the event.
Continue here to read the full story.

Warlander This Month

Clock Drive Games announces February 26th as the release date for Warlander, their debut game described as a roguelike action-adventure with tactical combat. They celebrate the news with a new gameplay trailer, and you can look to the game's Steam Listing. Here's word:
Set in a bleak and unforgiving world, Warlander lets players customize their combat style as they progress through an action-packed journey as a vengeful resurrected hero. With a vivid art style and interactive environment, Warlander will entrance players with its intense combat and replayability.
“We struck the perfect balance of sword-fighting gameplay, an in-game progression system and punishing roguelike elements that captured the essence of the genre but also added our own twist to it,” said Goran Rajsic, creative director for Clock Drive Games. “As an indie developer, we put fun and engaging gameplay at the center of player’s experience”, he added.

Every path the players will explore in a procedurally generated world is different, full of dangers and opportunities alike. Players are encouraged to aim precisely and slice through the flesh of their enemies in a unique take on stamina-based combat. They will progress through the game by becoming stronger and more skillful, either by chopping their way across the battlefield or by using abilities to turn the environment into a deadly weapon. If you die in the game - you will be returned to life - at the cost of your progress and experience.
Continue here to read the full story.

Orion13 Released

Save 13% on Orion13 is now available on Steam, offering a VR sword combat game that is intended to be the first installment in a trilogy. This requires an Oculus Rift headset, but word is they plan to bring this to other VR platforms in the future. Here's a gameplay trailer showing off some of the game's hack-and-slash action, and here's a rundown on what to expect:
The first installment of a planned trilogy, Orion13 is a futuristic VR sword-fighting adventure that features intense hack-and-slash combat, complex full-body challenges, and a cinematic story arc complete with a cast of friends and deadly foes.

The story-driven, action/adventure game will fully immerse players in a robot-ruled, dystopian society saturated in intense colors. Players take on the role of Orion13, a newly self-aware robot warrior who believes her memory implants are her own. She has just one mission: to escape her enslavers and find her way home.
Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Battle Royale Speculation

Charlie INTEL details the latest speculation that a battle royale mode called Warzone is coming to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (thanks Sgt. Spazum). They show an image posted to Reddit that was found by glitching the game after its recent gigantic patch. There is speculation that this corresponds to the new "Classified" entry on the game menu, and that this will eventually bring a last player standing mode to Modern Warfare. We've also seen speculation that Warzone may be a free standalone game. On a related note, Game Life reports that Activision is doling out copyright strikes to sites posting such images, so feel free to post and share them to help their lawyers continue to be able to afford shiny new suits.

Starbreeze Insider Trading Conviction

A report in Swedish has word on the conviction of a former executive of Starbreeze for insider trading (thanks Reddit via VideoGamer). This follows up on the news of the 2018 arrest of this unnamed individual from the financially troubled company. The convicted culprit is reportedly not former Starbreeze CEO Bo Andersson, who was cleared after it was discovered that his bank pressured him into selling his shares ahead of the company's restructuring announcement. It is not clear if this conviction will result in any jail time, but that over $70,000 in ill-gotten gains will have to be repaid to Sweden. Here's the translation of a report from SweClockers:
At the end of 2018, Swedish game developer Starbreeze ended up in financial troubles after a series of unsuccessful investments in, among others, the VR headset Star VR. The company then went into reconstruction, and in conjunction with this, two of the company's then executives became the target of an investigation by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority (EKB).

The reason for the investigation was that the managers had sold shares in the company before the restructuring decision was made. One of the two was the company's then CEO Bo Andersson Klint, who was released from suspicions in 2018. It did not go as well for the other high-ranking executive who's now been convicted, reports Dagens Industri (paywall).

Chief prosecutor Thomas Langrot noted in his original indictment that this kind of insider crime is extra serious when carried out by a board level executive. The final punishment is probation and a fine. The amount of the fine is equal to the profit achieved through the crime, which is stated to be SEK 700,000 (USD 72 678) and is due to the Swedish state.

Black Mesa Release Candidate

An update on Steam from Crowbar Collective announces they are now testing the waters with a release candidate for Black Mesa, their Half-Life remake that's been winding its way through Early Access at full speed Valve Time (thanks RedEye9). This post has details on how to participate in the beta if you're so inclined. Here's word on their goals for this release:
What We Are Looking For
Most importantly, game breakers. We obviously want the 1.0 experience to be as smooth and enjoyable as possible, so if you find any crashes or progression blockers, please let us know so we can fix it. The game has been very stable during our internal testing, but we need to test on a wider set of players and machines.

We are also looking for difficulty spikes. Throughout all of earthbound we rebuilt combat spaces and upgraded the AI of the HECU and Vortigaunts. We think this dramatically improves the combat in the game. Let us know what you think, and let us know if there is a section that feels too hard.
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The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes Trailer

Wild River Games offers a new gameplay trailer for The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes, a multiplayer role-playing game that will come in a few months to Steam. This is based on The Dark Eye, a pen-and-paper RPG that's very popular in its native Germany. We haven't made note of this project prior to now, so it is a good time to catch up with a full description:
The Dark Eye (TDE) is a role-playing system plunging groups of players into the fantasy world Aventuria. TDE has a long tradition, with the first edition appearing in 1984.

The new computer role-playing game Book of Heroes was developed in close cooperation with the rights owner, Ulisses Spiele; their cooperation ensures that the upcoming game meets the demands of role-playing fans. Book of Heroes is a classic role-playing game with a clear top view. The character mode is extensive: players can choose from 12 different professions and four species and adapt the appearance of their character as they wish. Every created character has their personal agenda, tasks, and missions as well as procedurally generated quests and maps. If you like, you can play in single-player mode and hire a few companions at the Inn of the Wild Boar or you can play with up to four friends in cooperation mode.
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CORRUPTION 2029 Gameplay Trailer

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden developer The Bearded Ladies offer a Shady Oaks Motel Gameplay trailer offering a first look at gameplay from CORRUPTION 2029, the upcoming tactical strategy game from the Swedish developer. Here's more on what the game will have to offer that's shown off in the clip:
The video explains the background story set in a dystopian America and shows several ways to solve conflicts against the inhuman enemies that got infected by the CORRUPTION. Different types of weapons, special augmentation skills like shields, leaps, decoys and camouflage as well as partially destructible environment and advantageous positions offer numerous opportunities to overcome the opposition.
Continue here to read the full story.

Miasma Caves This Month

Developer Windy Games announces that Miasma Caves will depart Early Access on February 28th, offering the official release of this non-violent exploration adventure. The official website is where to look for all the details on this game. Here is the most recent trailer showing off gameplay, and here's word on stinky spelunking this will offer:
In Miasma Caves players venture into the nearby cave system as Draconid Lesath to uncover treasures that have been long forgotten in order to appraise and sell them to restore her village to its former state. Instead of having to fight dangerous creatures, players will have to contend with the very environment itself, avoiding cave-ins and finding their way back out of the subterranean labyrinth before their health depletes.

With the latest update, players will encounter new creatures within the cave system including the mischievous Duskling which if not caught may take off with hard-found treasure. The Pangomole has also surfaced in the cave system, masters of digging the Pangomole is capable of breaking through a large radius but following it may have its consequences, as their efficient digging may cause cave-ins. Along with the Duskling and Pangomole players may also encounter the enchanting Will o’ Wisp which if followed may lead players astray. Catching a Will o’ Wisp however will give players access to a strong temporary light source aiding them in their exploration.
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Out of the Blue

Thanks very much to everyone who has participated in the discussion I started yesterday about launching a Patreon program. There was a lot of agreement in the comments about several aspects of this. Probably most interesting is that while there were different outlooks on what individuals are willing to pay, there is a fairly strong consensus against having rewards tied to higher tiers. The eventual ad-free version of the site seems to be the only perk a majority find appealing. In the meantime before that launches, such support can be absolution for the use of ad-blockers (which is one of the reasons this is necessary in the first place). There was also mixed sentiment about Patreon itself, so we'll definitely explore ways to allow more direct contributions. The other thing that came up in many comments is a reminder of the ongoing clamor for Blue's News merchandise, t-shirts in particular. So that's also something that will have follow on all this. Frans and I are still working through how is best to proceed, so there's still time to provide feedback. Please still feel free to share your reactions in the forums or email.

Obituary: Paul English, Willie Nelson's Longtime Drummer, Dead at 87.

Rewarding Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Links: A Weekend at Concours d'Lemons, the World's Worst Car Show.
Stories: Driver caught using carpool lanes with stuffed dinosaur passenger. Thanks Boing Boing.
Federal Bill Seeks to Make Companies Responsible for Plastic Waste. Thanks Acleacius.
Beer Waste Helps Montana Town Save Money On Water Treatment.
Science: A tiny area of the brain may enable consciousness, says "exhilarating" study. Thanks Max.
The Food We'll Eat on the Journey to Mars (Algae Caviar, Anyone?).
'Ghost' DNA In West Africans Complicates Story Of Human Origins. Thanks Max.
Images: Photo of mice brawling on a subway platform wins wildlife photography award.
Media: Epic NPC Man Supercut - Season 20 & 21.
Real Lawyer Reacts to The Witcher (Law of Surprise?!).
Skunk Sprays Inquisitive Bear. Poof little guy.
Follow-up: Jim Bakker selling fake coronavirus cures now.
The toxic reach of Deepwater Horizon’s oil spill was much larger — and deadlier — than previous estimates. Thanks Acleacius.
Diabetic Alert Dogs Can't Reliably Detect Blood Sugar Changes From Diabetes. Thanks RedEye9.
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