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Saturday, Feb 22, 2020 George Washington's Birthday

Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access This Year

A post on Bell of Lost Souls reveals plans to launch Baldur's Gate 3 into Early Access later this year (thanks Reddit). This was revealed during an investor presentation at the New York Toy Fair where Hasbro said this will be part of a spate of releases that will see the launch of at least one new D&D video game every year from now until 2025. Here's word:
Specifically there are 7 games in development: Baldur’s Gate 3 and Dark Alliance are the two that have already been announced, but according to Hasbro, we should be seeing at least one new D&D video game every year from now until 2025. And while there was no mention of the newly opened Archetype Entertainment, the WotC owned game studio working on its own sci-fi project, it was revealed that Baldur’s Gate 3 is scheduled for Early Access later this year, so players will be stepping into the world of mind flayers and Minsc a lot sooner than you might have thought.

As far as the other games, neither Hasbro nor WotC have made any reveals, but we can look at M:tG’s approach to get a clue for what their roadmap might be like. Points like “new categories for new audiences” shows that Hasbro is looking to scoop up as much of a newer crowd as they can. What kinds of games might introduce new players to D&D? Some sort of mobile game for sure, but beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

MotoGP 20 in April

The MotoGP Website announces MotoGP 20 is due on Windows and consoles on April 23rd (thanks DSOGaming). Here's the plan for the next installment in the motorcycle racing series:
Ready to live a pure MotoGP™ experience, from the box to the track?
MotoGP™20 will be released on April 23, right after the official MotoGP™ Championship kick-off.
Experience real-world physics, more realistic graphics and all the improvements to live the thrills of the Official 2020 Season like you never had before.
After the great success of the previous chapter, the MotoGP™ videogame now goes beyond with even more exciting news and features.

Discover the new Managerial Career and manage your Entourage, take decisions that can make the difference on the track. A brand new Historic Mode to collect the most iconic riders and bikes. A faster and more natural AI. New editors to customize your bike. And the best online experience to go Beyond. Together.
Continue here to read the full story.

Grounded Details

A Steam Listing has appeared for Grounded, offering a tentative 2021 release window and new details for this survival game from Obsidian Entertainment revealed late last year (thanks Wccftech). They don't specify when Early Access will commence, but they do include a bit on what it will include:
Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
“We want to make the best experience possible and putting an exact timeline on an early-in-development game is very challenging. That said, we also want to be transparent with our community, so we will give you our best guess with the understanding that these plans may change. The current target for Grounded’s full release is sometime in 2021.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
“There is a ton of great content we want to deliver with Grounded, but more importantly some of the ideas and features may change dramatically based on the feedback we receive from the community. Our current plan for the full release is to have the following features:

  • Complete storyline
  • Steam Achievements and Cards
  • More bugs! The insect kind.
  • More environments and biomes
  • More crafting recipes
  • Additional features and updated systems to improve the entire experience”

Continue here to read the full story.

Population Zero in May; No Longer F2P

Russian developer Enplex Games announces Population Zero will launch in early May as an Early Access release on Steam. They also reveal that they are dropping the free-to-play business model and this will be a premium buy-to-play game. Those interested in becoming founding members can pre-purchase the game through the official website. A new trailer highlights the news and shows off some environments and gameplay, and the announcement offers more details:
Enplex Games, the creators of Population Zero, have announced the shift to paid distribution model and an early May 2020 release on Steam. An ambitious blend of exploration and MMO with a slice of survival in the remote and seamless world of Kepler, Population Zero will be released as a buy-to-play title on May 5 via Steam Early Access - the most trusted and convenient game marketplace in the observable universe. Players are already able to add Population Zero to their Wishlist. Those who wish to get added cosmetic bonuses and guarantee access to closed beta events can pre-order the game on the Official Site.

From the beginning, Population Zero has been focused on narrative-driven survival in a harsh alien environment. The main plot with various side quests and numerous non-playable characters eager to shed light on Kepler’s mysteries have attracted fans of classic sci-fi.
Continue here to read the full story.

Lumote Launch

Lumote is now available on Steam, offering a 3D puzzle platformer for Windows. This features a striking colorful design which is shown off in this trailer. Here's what you need to know about this:
Luminawesome Games is excited to announce their debut release Lumote has launched today for Windows on Steam. Possess, jump and think your way through this beautiful 3D puzzle platformer with vivid visuals and quirky characters. Play as Lumote a squishy bioluminescent creature on a quest to overthrow the Mastermote. Solve a world of puzzles by taking control of its inhabitants.

Lumote is a game about two opposing powers in a struggle for control. Blue power controlled by Lumote and red by the Mastermote. You play as Lumote, whose only abilities are to jump and to possess. You must take control of the world's inhabitants, the Motes, and use their abilities to progress. Depending on whose power controls a Mote, their behaviour will either help or hinder you on your journey into the depths as you search for the Mastermote.

The world of Lumote is a single massive environment containing six towers and fifty puzzles. Each tower marks your mastery of a specific Mote and unlocks a new set of puzzles to explore. Solve the puzzles to bathe the world in the blue light of Lumote and extinguish the red light of the Mastermote.
Continue here to read the full story.

Monster Jaunt Released

Monster Jaunt is now available on Steam, offering a multiplayer strategy party game for Windows and macOS. This is the first commercial release from one-developer studio Sketch House Games. This includes local multiplayer and also supports Valve's Remote Play Together program, allowing friends to play online, even if only one of them owns the game. This trailer offers a Developer Walkthrough showing off how this works. Here's word:
Monster Jaunt is a strategic party game that values skill over luck. Taking inspiration from Euro-style board games, up to four players compete as rival tour guides determined to take their vacationing monsters on the best holiday ever. Each monster yearns for something different; the Chinchilly might prefer to warm up at the beach, and the Polarave would love a lively festival or a frigid ski lodge, but an Owlgebra would prefer a quiet museum. It’s up to you to plan an ideal route and draft the most fitting customers you can for this most epic of holidays.

To do that, you’ll compete with your friends in 20 minigames. These run the gamut from high-speed penguin races to competitive inventory management to cupcake-based social deduction. Each minigame is entirely skill-based, and those who perform best get first pick on which monsters they want to join their touring caravan. There are no dice rolls in Monster Jaunt!
Continue here to read the full story.

Nira in April

Baseline Games announces an April 24th release date for Nira, saying that is when their survival/exploration game will launch in Early Access on Steam. You can see the game's 8-bit graphical style in the new Early Access Trailer and keep up with development on the Baseline Games Blog. Here are the details on the plan:
Today, Baseline Games has revealed the release date for Nira to be April 24th, 2020. A new trailer was published showing a player progress throughout the game. Starting with nothing, a player can explore an endless procedurally generated world looking for resources, which can then be used to craft items and build a base. Players are free to do what they want and can choose to spend their time doing a range of activities like farming, fishing, cooking, taming, riding animals and even flying a plane. But the world of Nira is not without its dangers... During the night, creatures arise, and players will have to carefully prepare by building defenses and weapons to survive.

Nira will release in Early Access on Steam. Through Early Access, Baseline Games hopes to get player feedback, and eventually determine the game's future together with the community.
Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

  • PC Gamer - As anger over the Epic Store subsides, what's next?
    "With over 100 million users now building libraries on the Epic Store, and a billion Steam accounts already in existence, how Valve and Epic work together, if at all, feels like the next stage in this story. If some of my friends are going to reject the Epic Store entirely, and others like me are going to have both Steam and Epic libraries, I'd love for those friends lists and multiplayer functions to talk to each other. That's something Epic CEO Tim Sweeney expressed interest in when I spoke to him at GDC last year, where he suggested that platform social features ought to be more like email: tyler@steam should be able to talk to james@epic. But as with crossplay, this is the sort of thing you'd expect to hear from the company that doesn't own a majority of the market. Meanwhile, Discord becomes more useful with every new platform.

    Any hopes of total platform unification ought to be abandoned, though, as it seems like our libraries will only get more divided. Rockstar clearly wants more people to use its launcher, and Bethesda's got one now, too. One of the most surprising things about Amazon's upcoming MMO, New World, is that it's releasing on Steam and not some new Amazon launcher. Steam just isn't the assumed default now."

Out of the Blue

Thankfully the freezing weather I mentioned yesterday is abating. So we have plans for an adventure today to go for a little hike with Jedi the Jindo along with our neighbor and her two seeing-eye school dropout labs. This will be fun for the doggos to get to socialize, and educational for us as well, as we will learn how to access the nearby hiking trail.

Trailing Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Links: The Pursuit of the Pankera. A "new" Heinlein novel!?!
The Day Bob Dylan And Andy Warhol Met And Fought Over Edie Sedgwick. Thanks Acleacius.
Science: Frozen bird found in Siberia is 46,000 years old.
Media: Westminster Dog Show Obstacle Course Winning Run.
Items magically teleport from one bag to another - Gear Swap.
Follow-up: Billie Eilish scores biggest opening week of all time for a Bond theme. Thanks Redwood.
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