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Friday, Feb 14, 2020 Happy Saint Valentine's Day

Five New Google Stadia Games Announced

The Google Stadia Website announces five new games coming to Stadia, including three games that will debut on the cloud streaming service before they are released anywhere else. The three exclusives are Lost Words: Beyond the Page, Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks), and Spitlings. The other two releases are a Panzer Dragoon remake and the Serious Sam Collection. Also, since the three month free trial of the service is now coming to an end, The Verge has details on how to cancel your Google Stadia Pro subscription if you so choose, as well as word on now you can still play any games you purchased there after you cancel.

More VR Owners Than Linux Users on Steam

This tweet highlights a factoid from the Steam Hardware & Software Survey, noting that 1.31% of respondents report owning VR headsets, with Oculus Rift in the top spot at 0.4% (thanks Primalchrome). This is contrasted with the 0.9% of Linux users in the survey. It will be interesting to see how much next month's release of Half-Life: Alyx influences the stats in the survey.

Panzer Corps 2 Beta Access with Field Marshal Edition Preorders

Slitherine announces they are giving 48 hours of exclusive beta access to those who preorder the Panzer Corps 2 Field Marshal Edition on Steam. The World War II strategy sequel is expected on March 19th, but those who buy it in advance will get to try the pre-order beta next week from February 18-20. They also explain that other perks come with this edition: "Plus, you’ll get to enjoy exciting bonuses including the full digital soundtrack, the first two DLCs as soon as they’re published later this year, four digital wallpapers, 75 extra camo skins for your vehicles, and 4 bonus scenarios. No general would miss this opportunity." Here are some selected quick facts about the game:

  • 1.000 unit types
  • 61 scenarios in the single player campaign
  • Alternative History scenarios: land your panzers on US East coast
  • Random map generator for Skirmish, both single player and multiplayer
  • Live MP, Hotseat and PBEM, Co-op and tournaments
  • 4k support
  • Built in Unreal Engine 4
  • Flexible alliance configuration for co-op mode, free for all
  • Hundreds of custom camouflages and insignias can be assigned to any unit
  • Dozens of map skins for different locations, seasons and weather

TERROR SQUID Announced

Apt Games announces TERROR SQUID, a score-attack, "synth nightmare," bullet hell game coming to Windows, macOS, and Switch this Spring. They say this is the "first Norwegian developed arcade game" which can be played in an cabinet at Tilt in Norway. The game has an official website, a Steam Listing, and they introduce it with this creepy live-action trailer, and offer the following details:
TERROR SQUID is an easy to understand but difficult to master arcade game in which every enemy projectile is emitted by you, the TERROR SQUID. Set around a doomed planet, you’re a cosmic chaos entity spinning around the world emitting all manner of hazardous projectiles. What goes around comes around, as your inky bullet reign of terror circles around the globe creating an apocalypse of your own design. TERROR SQUID obliterates genre conventions of tightly choreographed patterns, and instead puts you in the role of your own worst enemy. Think fast and strategically as you weave through a bullet hell of your own making!

Your objective is to survive for as long as possible without getting hit by your own projectiles. Survive for long enough and you can release a primordial blast of dark energy, detonating your projectiles in glorious chain reactions.

Inspired by the spherical maps of Super Stardust and the short, intense action of Devil Daggers, TERROR SQUID is an endlessly addictive test of strategy and reflexes. Only the best players will manage to survive for even a minute in this unholy vector graphics apocalypse. Destroy worlds, ascend the leaderboards, and become one with the void in TERROR SQUID.
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Shenmue III Story Quest Pack Next Week

Deep Silver and Ys Net announce the Story Quest Pack for Shenmue III will be released on February 18th. Here's word on the second DLC for the action/adventure sequel:
Story Quest Pack sees our intrepid and fearless adventurer Ryo Hazuki cross paths with a familiar face from the past, Zhang Shugin, as Ryo becomes embroiled in a new escapade where nothing is as it seems…

The Story Quest Pack DLC will be available February 18 on the PlayStation Store and Epic Games Store for $5.99. Users who purchased the Complete DLC Collection will see the DLC being available automatically on the day of release.

*You must have reached Niaowu or have save data on which the game has been cleared to play.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Lara Croft is 52 years old today. Thanks ResetEra.

Remedy Financials Reveal Unannounced Game

A financial statements release from Remedy covering their 2019 full year results is now online. They say their growth strategy is bearing fruit, saying full-year 2019 revenue is up 57%, and that Control "launched to great critical acclaim." They report revenue of 31.6 million euros, which is up 57%, and operating profits of 6.5 million euros. They also say they are working on three projects: Vanguard, a collaboration on a second Crossfire project, and an unannounced game. Word is:
Remedy has continued work on the second Crossfire project in good collaboration with Smilegate, the game’s owner and publisher. Smilegate announced at the E3 2019 conference that they are teaming up with Microsoft on CrossfireX, which will be the first Crossfire title ever to be released on a console platform. The game will include Remedy’s single player campaign when it launches on Xbox One in 2020. Remedy was included in the Crossfire presentation at X019, a major Xbox consumer event held in London in November.

Our third, as yet unannounced game project is proceeding well. The team working on our fourth project, Vanguard, has reached the stage of having the first internally playable development version of the game. The goal of Vanguard is to create a game that combines long-term service-based multiplayer experiences with some of Remedy’s unique game features. Both projects are preparing for pre-production. Overall, we have continued to systematically develop Remedy’s production competences, processes and ways of working. A special focus has been on extending our capabilities of distributed development, including wider external development projects, co-developments with partners and outsourcing specific parts of the project.

Nexon Financials

GamesIndustry.biz reports on Nexon's latest financial results, saying the company's Korean business full-year revenues held steady "despite declines in China." Word is: "Both Maple Story and Maple Story M in Korea achieved their highest Q4 and full-year revenues in 2019, beating previous records set last year. Maple Story revenue grew 88% year-over-year in Q4, and the mobile version's revenue was up 114%. Full-year revenues were up 39% and 65%, respectively. FIFA Online 4 was also a solid contributor to Nexon's earnings last year, similarly seeing its highest Q4 and full-year revenues and surpassing the peak of FIFA Online 3." Here is an outline some financial specifics:
Nexon reported full-year revenue of ¥249.5 billion ($2.3 billion), down 2% year over year, operating income of ¥94.5 billion ($860 million), down 4% year over year, and net income of ¥115.7 billion ($1.05 billion), up 7% year over year.

For Q4, Nexon announced revenue of ¥49.2 billion ($448 million), up 7% year over year. Q4 operating income was ¥4.5 billion ($41 million), up 16% year-over-year, and net income was ¥3.3 billion ($30 million), down 50% year-over-year.

However, both operating and net income were both below the company's outlook. Operating income was low due to a ¥9.2 billion ($84 million) impairment loss on assets related to Pixelberry, including good will impairment. Net income, meanwhile, was further hurt due to a ¥11.4 billion ($104 million) foreign exchange loss on US dollar-denominated cash deposits, mostly offset by a ¥11 billion ($100 million) in deferred tax assets related to foreign tax credit at Nexon's subsidiary Neople.

DICE Awards 2020: Untitled Goose Game GotY

GamesIndustry.biz reports the winners of the 2020 DICE Awards, where Untitled Goose Game waddled away with Game of the Year honors. Here's the full list of winners:

  • Game of the Year -- Untitled Goose Game
  • Action Game of the Year -- Control
  • Adventure Game of the Year -- Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Family Game of the Year -- Super Mario Maker 2
  • Fighting Game of the Year -- Mortal Kombat 11
  • Racing Game of the Year -- Mario Kart Tour
  • Role-Playing Game of the Year -- The Outer Worlds
  • Sports Game of the Year -- FIFA 20
  • Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year -- Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Immersive Reality Technical Achievement -- Blood & Truth
  • Immersive Reality Game of the Year -- Pistol Whip
  • Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game -- Untitled Goose Game
  • Portable Game of the Year -- Sayonara Wild Hearts
  • Online Game of the Year -- Apex Legends
  • Outstanding Achievement in Game Design -- Baba Is You
  • Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction -- Control
  • Outstanding Achievement in Animation -- Luigi's Mansion 3
  • Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction -- Control
  • Outstanding Achievement in Character -- Untitled Goose Game (The Goose)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition -- Control
  • Outstanding Achievement in Audio Design -- Death Stranding
  • Outstanding Achievement in Story -- Disco Elysium
  • Outstanding Technical Achievement -- Death Stranding

West of Dead Open Beta

The open beta of West of Dead is now underway on Steam, offering 10 days of testing for this top-down action shooter set in a western-themed purgatory. Here's the previously released Announcement Trailer with a look at the game and its stylized graphics. This post explains how to collect a beta key through this website while also offering more details:
Love is for the living and you are dead, my friend. But no one said dying would be easy! Welcome to Purgatory, the wild west inferno for the damned in West of Dead, the fast-paced 360 cover based twin-stick shooter is running a beta starting Valentine’s Day! Because nothing says ‘I love you’ like hot demonic lead!

West of Dead stars Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy) as the voice of main protagonist William Mason, a dead man awakened with only the memory of a figure in black, his existence setting into motion a chain of events that have truly mythic consequences.

Evolving the twin-tick shooter genre by introducing tactical cover usage, West of Dead throws you into the unknown procedurally generated hunting grounds of Purgatory, where your skills will be put to the test as you shoot, dodge and slide your way through the fetid, hell-spawned filth of the underworld. Love ain’t always pretty. Or has a pulse.
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Street Fighter V: Champion Edition Released

The Street Fighter V: Champion Edition is now available for Windows and consoles, offering the newest iteration of Capcom's fighting game sequel. The PC edition is available on Steam as either a Champion Edition Upgrade Kit for owners of the game, or a Street Fighter V - Champion Edition Bundle for $4.99 USD more which includes the base game as well. Here's a Launch Trailer and here's a description:
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition is now available and new character Seth has joined the Street Fighter V roster, bringing the playable character count to 40 diverse fighters!

Champion Edition pairs the Street Fighter V base game with the Street Fighter V: Champion Edition Upgrade Kit, offering players instant access to all 40 characters, 34 dynamic stages and over 200 stylish costumes. Players can then fight their way through a variety of exciting single-player and multi-player modes!

For those who have been waiting on Champion Edition, now is a perfect time to join the fight! Early-bird-purchasers (before Feb 27) will receive a new costume color for all 40 characters! READY? FIGHT!
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WARRIORS OROCHI 4 Ultimate Released

WARRIORS OROCHI 4 Ultimate is now available for Windows, and consoles, which KOEI TECMO calls the "supreme" experience in the action sequel. The standalone version on Steam is now updated to be the Ultimate edition, and they also have an Ultimate Upgrade Pack for those who already own the original. Here's the Launch Trailer, and here's the ultimatum on the new edition:
Today, KOEI TECMO America and developer Omega Force released their electrifying 1 vs. 1,000 action game, WARRIORS OROCHI 4 Ultimate on the PlayStation®4 Computer Entertainment System, the Nintendo Switch™, the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X, and digitally on Windows PC via Steam®. The new game is available as both a standalone title for those who haven’t yet experienced WARRIORS OROCHI 4, or as a special Upgrade Pack for those who already own the previous game.

The latest in KOEI TECMO’s dynamic crossover series features characters from DYNASTY WARRIORS, SAMURAI WARRIORS, and the gods of ancient history joining together in an all-out fight against swarms of enemies as they seek answers to why they were reunited in this mysterious new world to battle against Odin and his evil army. All-Star characters and fan favorites from past KOEI TECMO games like Ryu Hayabusa and Joan of Arc join the Ultimate cast, boosting the number of playable characters from WARRIORS OROCHI 4’s already staggering 170, to the eye-popping new count of 177.
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Hippocampus: Dark Fantasy Adventure Next Week

Hippocampus: Dark Fantasy Adventure is an action/adventure coming to Steam on February 20th. Publisher Bad Vices Games and developer Valkyrie Initiative fancy this a Dark Souls-style experience, saying this also includes DMC and adrenaline parkour elements. You can get a look at gameplay in this let's play video (NSFW). Here's word on what to expect:
Hippocampus is a third person hack and slash with fast paced combat system and platform phases, focused on mutilations and different enemy behaviors. Play as Lord Moebius who made use of a dangerous hallucinogen, the datura stramonium, to make his memories vivid in order to meet again Lorelei, his lost betroathed. Face the monstrosities given birth by the hallucination, solve environment puzzles to access new areas and discover the truth behind the disappearance of Lorelei.
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Totally Reliable Delivery Service in April

No fooling, Developer Five Games and publisher tinyBuild announce an April 1st delivery date for Totally Reliable Delivery Service, though they don't offer a tracking number for this physics-based logistics game. You can get a look at gameplay in this new Release Date Trailer. Here's word on the game, which will come to Windows and macOS on the Epic Games Store as well as to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch on April Fool's Day:
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a ragdoll physics-driven sandbox game that up to 4 players can enjoy together.

Work together (or against each other) to deliver packages to customers using a variety of vehicles and odd machines. Safe deliveries are rewarded, but mayhem is highly encouraged!

  • Local and Online Multiplayer. Go it alone to ensure the safety of your deliveries, or join your friends and put your teamwork to the test.
  • Controlled Noodly Chaos. Unpredictable ragdoll physics meets snappy platforming. Sprint, leap, dive, and grapple with ease, but collide with something and you'll be knocked out cold!
  • A World of Distractions. Take a break from deliveries and play around! The world is chock full of toys, vehicles, and machines that can be used for work or play.
  • Ragtag Crew. Customize your blue-collar worker and get your rear into gear, it's time to deliver!
  • Delivery Service. 100+ Deliveries and Objectives, from delivering ramen to totally not bombs.
  • Vehicles. 20+ Land, Air, and Sea Vehicles for you to explore this giant world.
  • Character Customization. Thousands and thousands of combinations for customizing your character!

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Op Ed

  • Ars Technica - What the CEO of Epic Games gets wrong about video games and politics.
    "Sweeney is trying to walk a thin tightrope here, allowing for wide-ranging individual expression as a platform holder while trying to maintain political silence as a corporate entity. But those dueling principles can come into inherent conflict because producing and selling games, like producing and selling any other work of art, involves any number of inherently political choices and expressions."

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy Valentine's Day! Here's hoping this brings your heart's desire, even if it's solitude. MrsBlue and I think we will celebrate with a romantic night of take-out Chinese food.

Thanks again to everyone who is participating in the ongoing discussions of our patronage plans, including the further feedback yesterday to my post Wednesday. A new sentiment emerged in yesterday's comments, as some expressed a willingness to support the site while continuing to allow ads to run once we get the ad-free version going. Frans and I discussed this, and it seems likely we'll be able to offer patrons the option of not opting out of ads if they so desire. Some also expressed interest in being able to pay for patronage via check. Please offer your outlook on this to help me figure out if I need to look into getting a post office box. We're not sure when all this will get underway, but next week is a distinct possibility.

Valentine Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Stories: Turtle fossil the size of a car unearthed, shows signs of ancient croc battle. Gamera! Thanks Max.
A man robbed a bank on a first date and forced his date to be his getaway driver. Like a movie plot.
Pizza sends record number of people to the ER in 2018. Thanks Acleacius.
Science: Want Unlimited Clean Energy? Just Drill the World's Hottest Well.
Bats’ immune system may be why their viruses can be deadly to people. Thanks Max.
With a litter of tactics, scientists work to tame cat allergies. Thanks Max.
Images: Aubrey Plaza posts adorable 'Parks and Recreation' reunion photo for Galentine's Day.
Media: Full "No Time to Die" Theme Released.
The Iron Mask Trailer: Schwarzenegger Vs Chan In Fantasy Epic.
How Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Should Have Ended.
Astronaut Christina Koch Posts Video Of Reunion With Dog After Year In Space. Thanks Acleacius.
Follow-ups: Virus infects more than 1,700 health workers in China, 6 die.
In Defense of the Myers-Briggs. Thanks Max.
"Avenue 5" Renewed, Maybe "Donovan" Too.
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