Archived News:

Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020

First Quarterly Update on Diablo IV

Blizzard News kicks off a new series of Quarterly Updates on Diablo IV, offering insights into their plans for the next installment in their action/RPG series. This includes a Cannibal Family Turnaround Trailer which is a rotational view of some of the unmoving models in the game, which is not your typical video. Here's how they introduce the update:
The Diablo IV development team has been hard at work since BlizzCon and we are all still incredibly energized by the response to our announcement and follow-up blog posts. We can tell you are all excited to see more info coming from the team and about how the game is coming together.

Well, we have some great news for you today. We are stoked to deliver the first of our quarterly blog updates with you, and this one happens to be a doubleheader.

First, we have a word from our Lead UI Designer, Angela Del Priore, with some super cool updates on post-BlizzCon feedback, controller support on PC, and a deep dive into couch co-op. If you’d like to jump to her update right now, click here.

Our second update is by our Senior Encounter Designer, Candace Thomas. She shares a first look at a new set of enemies: the cannibal tribes of the Dry Steppes. You’ll see some amazing new art by Igor Sidorenko, read some of our in-world lore, and even watch video of these flesh-eaters in action. To check out Candace’s update, click here.
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Valve Seeks Host City Proposals for The International 2021

Valve is seeking proposals from cities around the globe who are interested in hosting next year's The International championship for Dota 2. They offer a promotional video and note that the event draws numbers comparable to the largest sporting events in the world:
Valve, the creators of numerous award-winning game franchises and developers of the Steam online games platform, is seeking proposals from cities around the world to host the 11th Annual International Dota 2 Championships (aka "The International"), to be held in the summer of 2021.

First held in Cologne, Germany in August 2011, The International has become one of the world's largest sporting events and set numerous records for the largest prize pool in all of esports with its community-driven purse ($34.3 million total prize pool in 2019).

Global viewership, international draw, and attendance rivals that of the NFL Superbowl, U.S. Open Golf Championship, and the Eurovision Song Contest. Since its launch in Cologne, the event has been held in Seattle, Shanghai, and Vancouver. Each year, tickets for the multi-day event sell out in minutes.
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Roberta Williams to Receive GDCA Pioneer Award

The Game Developers Choice Awards announce this year they will honor Roberta Williams with their Pioneer Award. Roberta certainly fits the description of pioneer, as she co-founded Sierra On-Line with her husband Ken and was the designer of some of the first graphical adventure games, including the King's Quest series. She will be honored at a ceremony on March 18th during the Game Developers Conference. Here's word:
Organizers of the 20th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), the premier accolades for peer recognition celebrating the industry’s top games, studios and developers, will be honoring the trailblazing storyteller and game creator Roberta Williams with this year’s Pioneer Award, which recognizes breakthrough tech and game design milestones.

The GDCA will recognize Roberta Williams for her influential work in the graphical adventure game genre, for creating the landmark games series King’s Quest and for co-founding Sierra On-Line with her husband Ken Williams. That company went on to publish a string of influential graphical adventures that pushed the technological envelope and helped establish video games as a true storytelling medium.
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Video Game Preservation Effort

MCV/DEVELOP has details on a new video game preservation network being launched by the National Videogame Museum aimed at preservation of video game history and heritage.
The National Videogame Museum (NVM) has launched a new initiative to develop best practice and share knowledge across the museum sector about preserving and exhibiting video games.

In conjunction with the Science and Media Museum, Bath Spa University, British Library and Museum of London and more, the NVM – which is situated in Sheffield, UK – has also partnered with BFI Southbank to launch of a new White Paper entitled “Time Extend” that details “video game history, heritage and preservation”.
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ARK: Genesis Part 1 Released

An announcement on Steam reveals the release of ARK: Genesis Part 1 for ARK: Survival Evolved, part of the ARK: Genesis Season Pass. Here's a trailer showing this off, and here are some details:
Expanding the ARK storyline with all-new mission-based gameplay, ARK: Genesis leads Survivors through beautiful yet lethal new worlds filled with exotic creatures, craftable items, and weapons unlike anything seen before on the ARK!

In the massive ARK: Genesis - Part 1 expansion, Survivors wake up within a virtual simulation accompanied by the strangely familiar ‘HLN-A’ companion. Together they must overcome the simulation’s rigorous tests and only by fighting, building, taming, and exploring this new world will Survivors uncover the secrets behind this forbidding place. Only the toughest and smartest Survivors will pass all of the simulation’s grueling challenges. Will you be one of them?
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Warlander Released

Warlander is now available on Steam, offering a roguelike action/adventure/RPG from Clock Drive Games featuring sword combat. You can get a look at this in action in the recent release date announcement trailer. Here are the details:
Clock Drive Games has today launched its highly-anticipated debut title Warlander on Steam for $14.99 USD/EUR. The title is a roguelike action-adventure with advanced sword combat, making for a satisfying fighting experience. 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.

Every path that players explore in procedurally-generated worlds is different yet full of dangers and opportunities alike. In order to advance, players must be quick and precise with their combat as Warlander brings a unique take on stamina-based combat. As players progress through the game, they become stronger and more skilled, either by chopping their way across the battlefield or by using abilities to turn the environment into a deadly weapon. With a permadeath implementation, when players die, they resurrect and lose all of their progression and experience.
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Mystic Pillars Next Week

Indian developer Holy Cow Productions announces Mystic Pillars will come to Steam on March 4th, offering Windows gamers the chance to play their story-based puzzle game, which is already available for mobile. This trailer shows off some of the game's puzzles and its serene atmosphere. Here's a full description:
Mystic Pillars is a creative blend of intriguing puzzles and immersive narrative set in ancient India. The kingdom of Zampi has been plagued by a mystical drought for years. As a mysterious traveler roaming the land, you must restore the once prosperous kingdom. Solve puzzles and destroy the magical pillars blocking the water. As you travel across the kingdom, you will meet the people of Zampi and slowly uncover what events transpired that led to the downfall of Zampi.

Mystic Pillars re-imagines the traditional Indian board game Ali Guli Mane or Chenne Mane in Kannada -- similar to the popular board game known as Mancala across the world. Puzzles become more complex and challenging as you progress through the story -- with different configurations as you proceed further in the game.
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FUSER Announced

NCSOFT and Harmonix announce FUSER, a new musical mashup game from the developer of Rock Band. This is planned for release this year for Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch. All the details are on the FUSER Website where there's also an Official Announcement Trailer. Here's a bit:
Powered by Harmonix's proprietary technology, FUSER will allow players to seamlessly blend vocals, bass lines, and other instrumentation from a multitude of different music genres and artists to define their own unique sound through seamless, innovative gameplay. Players will also be able to share their creations socially, making their game performances available for watching online.

"When we first saw FUSER, we instantly knew it was something special," said Dr. Songyee Yoon, CEO, NCSOFT. "It takes the amazing developer pedigree that Harmonix has developed over decades and distills the essence of creating, listening to, and sharing music where every player can be their own star. We can't wait to see all the creations people will make."
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Edgar - Bokbok in Boulzac Released

Edgar - Bokbok in Boulzac is now available on Steam for Windows and Linux. This is an offbeat adventure game from indie French developer La Poule Noire (The Black Hen). Here's the Release Trailer, and here's word on the game, which they say can be completed in between two and five hours:
French developers La Poule Noire announced that Edgar - Bokbok in Boulzac, a point-and-cluck adventure following Edgar, his beloved chicken and the dark secret beneath the colourful city of Boulzac, launches on Nintendo Switch & Xbox One and Steam for PC (Windows & Linux) today.

Join 40-something eccentric outcast Edgar as he sets out to Boulzac to save his beloved squash alongside his trusty hen, and instead uncovers an unearthly secret at the heart of the city. A colourful, surreal and utterly bonkers point-and-cluck narrative adventure, Edgar is a comic narrative game set in a weird and rich universe. The action takes place in a small city, reminiscent of the french countryside with its share of cliché and fascinating characters.
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GOG.com Expands Refund Policy

GOG.com announces an updated refund policy for their DRM-free game marketplace. Word is all users are now entitled to a 30-day money-back refund even for games they have downloaded, installed, and played. This FAQ has all the details, and here's an overview:
Everyone at GOG believes in a 'gamers-first’ approach. It means that every part of our store is designed with gamers in mind and your purchase safety and satisfaction come first for us. The latest update to our voluntary Refund Policy adds another piece to this customer-friendly experience. And it all sums up in one sentence: starting now, you can get a full refund up to 30 days after purchasing a product, even if you downloaded, launched, and played it. That's it.

It’s important for us to say that this update is possible thanks to your respect for all the time and hard work put into creating the games you buy on GOG.COM and playing by the rules. We're grateful for that and encourage you to continue to do so.

Star Wars Battlefront II: The Age of Rebellion Begins

Star Wars Battlefront II Forums have tons of details on a new The Age of Rebellion update that's launching today in Star Wars Battlefront II, bringing a bunch of new content based on the original movie trilogy to the Force-powered shooter sequel. Word is: "We’ve got Age of Rebellion Co-Op locations (7 in total!), two new Reinforcements in the form of the Ewok Hunter and ISB Agent, 4 new Blasters, 4 Capital Ships for Co-Op, Hero improvements, AI upgrades and two new Heroes Vs. Villains maps." A Community Update Trailer fills in more on what this involves, and here's another overview from the clip's description:
Return to the era that started it all with the Ewok and ISB agent in Star Wars Battlefront II – in the next free content update coming February 26! Play Co-Op throughout classic locations including the ominous Death Star II and the dusty alleyways of Mos Eisley, equip and modify new weapons, and more.
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Trials of Osiris for Destiny 2 Next Month

Bungie tweets that the Trials of Osiris from the original Destiny are coming to Destiny 2, their first-person shooter sequel. This includes a video with some gameplay footage of this PvP mode and some developer commentary on their work to "really stick the landing." The clip concludes saying this will launch on March 13th. Here's word from the developer:
The wait for Guardians is over – Bungie announces that beloved, pinnacle PVP mode, Trials of Osiris returns on March 13th as part of the upcoming Destiny 2 season, Season of the Worthy. The player-favorite 3v3 pinnacle PvP is back with some of the favorite armors, weapons and maps from Destiny 1, such as Cauldron, Exodus Blue and Anomaly.

“We kept hearing the players talking about it, we were also feeling it amongst ourselves, I can’t wait to bring back a version of the Trials that I actually remembered from Destiny 1” has explained Justin Truman, Production director at Bungie.
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Hotshot Racing Announced

Publisher Curve Digital and developers Lucky Mountain Games and Sumo Digital announce Hotshot Racing, a single-player and multiplayer arcade motorsports game coming this spring to Steam and consoles. The Official Reveal Trailer offers a look at the game's throwback graphics and tire-melting action. Word is: "Hotshot Racing channels classic arcade racers sporting colorful polygonal visuals, boost-fuelled drift gameplay and a silky smooth 60 frames per second in the game’s single-player modes regardless of platform." Want to know more hotshot? Here goes:
Hotshot Racing is set to emulate and expand upon the classic ‘90s arcade racing game formula featuring eight different hotshot drivers to choose from (each with their own personality and multiple varied four-wheeled rides), 16 personality-filled sun-baked tracks from across the globe, and multiple game modes for players to prove their driving prowess.

“When we first played Hotshot Racing we were immediately transported to the halcyon days of our youth when we used to pop 50p coins into classic arcade racers like Virtua Racing, Crusin’ USA, SEGA Rally and others that used to punctuate seafronts across the UK” said Simon Byron, Curve Digital’s Publishing Director. “It’s fantastic to see this type of gameplay make a triumphant return and we can’t wait to see what people make of it!”

Hotshot Racing will also feature multiple single-player and multiplayer game modes - both online and offline including 4-player local split-screen co-op.

There’s the traditional Grand Prix mode where challengers race on multiple tracks in multi-round championship, Time Trial mode where players complete laps as they wish to seek out the fastest lap time for the online leaderboards, Cops and Robbers mode where the criminals need to evade capture to secure a big cash bonus whereas the police need to take them down, and the Drive or Explode where players need to race to checkpoints to avoid exploding.

To Hell with Hell Released

To Hell with Hell is now available on Steam, offering the full version of this top-down Windows shooter following its "roughly 20 years" in Early Access (give or take). The Release Trailer goes to hell and back to show off some gameplay, and here are some damned details:
It is February 25th, 2020, our final day on earth. A day that started just like any other day but someone went and left the doors to hell wide open. The apocalypse has arrived and during these last hours, we’d like to invite you to try out To Hell with Hell.

After roughly 20 years in Early Access, a final update was just released, adding new weapons, a new biome, new enemies and a new bossfight to the game. The time has come that you finally slip into the role of Natasia, a Russian stripper on her way to work when all hell breaks loose.
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Invasion of the Invasion Machine

Early Access to Invasion Machine is now underway on Steam, offering first crack at a sandbox real-time strategy game set in the Middle East. This Unity-engine project is the work of one-person development studio Pixel Machine. Word is: "Although inspired by real wars fought in the past decade, this game depicts a completely fictional conflict and is not an attempt at social commentary." The Early Access Trailer shows off the game's depiction of modern warfare. There is no word at this time when this will see its full release, but the game currently carries a 10% launch discount. Here are the details:
Introduction
Invasion Machine is a blend of a sandbox manager and RTS. Your goal is to command troops in an occupied province, in an effort of bringing back peace and order. Kill your enemies, help the civilian population, preserve the resources and the lives of your own soldiers.

The Setting
What led to our recent occupation of this land is still at the center of a heated political debate. What followed the invasion, was the worst scenario we may ever have imagined - we hoped we’d be able to instill better leadership and let this country rebuild itself. But that’s not what happened, though. Our toppling of the local government created a power vacuum in the area - which is now quickly leading to an unprecedented rise of new powers - the druglords, locally known as Guerrillas. If we don’t stop this transformation, this entire country is gonna explode. We were not preparing for this kind of wae, and it seems it’s the last moment when we can still turn things around.
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Ramiwo Released

Ramiwo is now available on Steam, offering a "trippy and wondrous" exploration/walking simulator indie developers Bill Deerbuch/Matto describe as arty, surreal, and different, saying: "Grant your brain some sweetmeat." Here's a trailer showing how this brings you the joy of walking from the comfort of your gaming chair. Here's word:
Ramiwo challenges you to visit a vast variety of wonderful worlds. Part of the game is discovering how to play and ultimately traverse and navigate to worlds end. With 96 worlds to visit and 4 gates leading from one to the next, you will enjoy abandoned cities, lush nature and surreal landscapes on your adventure. Worlds are marked on a cube and explored areas are visually marked while unknown worlds remain hidden. Ramiwo offers wonderful journey to beautiful and mysterious lands in a compelling download of bliss.
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Out of the Blue

I know this comes right on the heels of the launch of the Blue's News support campaign, so the timing is not ideal, but as Ferris Bueller sagely put it, life moves pretty fast. So here goes:

Those of you who were part of the QUAKE community back in the day may remember Jen Bailey Bergen, though you may need to be reminded of her nickname of Mynx to draw the connection. Jen was Paul Steed's inspiration for the Mynx player model in Quake III Arena. She also quite memorably helped many gamers with her Dear Mynx advice column on Planet Quake. And now she could use our help in return. She recently suffered a pair of broken ankles, and is currently incapacitated and struggling with medical bills. This is all complicated by her preexisting rheumatoid arthritis, so she is in a world of pain of all varieties. Jen is a good egg in a bad spot, so I'm sharing this in case some of you are in a position to help her out. This page is a central hub for those raising cash to help get her through all this. Thanks Redwood for bringing this to my attention and thanks to all of you who can assist with this.

Mynx Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Story: Maria Sharapova retires from tennis after 19-year pro career.
Science: Researchers create new state of light. Thanks Neutronbeam.
NASA says its InSight lander has detected over 450 'marsquakes.'
Media: Drone in storm - Ciara.
Gliding.
I'm Thirsty!
Follow-up: Coronavirus closures reveal vast scale of China’s secretive wildlife farm industry. Thanks Jdreyer and Max.
No Time To Die is reportedly almost three hours long – a new Bond movie record.
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