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Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020

Get Child of Light for Free

Ubisoft is currently offering the Windows edition of Child of Light for free via Uplay. This is yours to keep as long as you grab your copy before 9:00 am EDT on Saturday, March 28th. Here's a trailer from back when this RPG first launched, and here's word on the giveaway from Ubisoft:
From March 24 at 6AM PT - March 28 at 6AM PT, Child of Light will be available for free to download and keep on PC via Uplay. Set in the fantastical, watercolored world of Lemuria, Child of Light stars Aurora, a princess on a quest to save her kingdom with the help of a mystical companion named Igniculus. Throughout her journey, Aurora will recruit a colorful cast of allies to join her in the fight, confront enemies in turn-based combat, upgrade her team's skills and gear to take on bigger challenges, and solve puzzles to progress through the world.
Continue here to read the full story.

Endless Legend Free Week

Endless Legend - Emperor Edition is free-to-play on Steam through March 30th, offering the chance to check out this fantasy-themed 4X strategy game for Windows and macOS. The game is also on sale for 75% off if you want to pick it up, and for those who do own it, Amplitude is offering the Guardians expansion pack for free through Games2Gether. There's more on the plan in this post:
With everything that’s happening in the world, we know many of you are working from home or are otherwise cooped up inside. Games are a great way to spend some time with your friends and stay in touch, so many of you have been asking us about our next game, Humankind. As much as we’d love to share that with you, it’s still a bit too early!

Instead, we’re giving you the next best thing: Endless Legend is free to play for a week!

If you are a fan of the Endless franchise, now is a great time to introduce your friends to the games and universe you love! If you’ve played Endless Space but never tried Endless Legend, now is your chance to visit Auriga! And if you are new to the Endless universe or just waiting for Humankind, now is your chance to dive into our previous terrain-based strategy game!
Continue here to read the full story.

Outer Wilds Joins Steam in June

Outer Wilds now has a Steam Listing, showing this open-world, outer space action/adventure will escape The Epic Games Store's gravity on June 18th. As for Fig backers, Mobius Digital promised they will receive keys for both the Epic Games Store and Steam. Here's a refresher on what to expect for those who've been holding out for this one:
Welcome to the Space Program!
You're the newest recruit of Outer Wilds Ventures, a fledgling space program searching for answers in a strange, constantly evolving solar system.

Mysteries of the Solar System...
What lurks in the heart of the ominous Dark Bramble? Who built the alien ruins on the Moon? Can the endless time loop be stopped? Answers await you in the most dangerous reaches of space.

A World That Changes Over Time
The planets of Outer Wilds are packed with hidden locations that change with the passage of time. Visit an underground city of before it's swallowed by sand, or explore the surface of a planet as it crumbles beneath your feet. Every secret is guarded by hazardous environments and natural catastrophes.
Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty Updates Delayed

Infinity Ward tweets that the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Warzone updates mentioned earlier is being delayed (thanks Charlie INTEL). Here's the deal:
Tonight’s scheduled title update is being delayed and is set to release in the coming days. This update includes our new Operator, Talon, new free modes, and our next free multiplayer map, Khandor Hideout. Please stay tuned for more details and updates on release timing!

AI War 2: The Spire Arises Rises

The spire has arisen with the release of The Spire Arises, the first expansion for AI War 2, Arcen's Windows, macOS, and Linux real-time grand strategy sequel. You can see this in action in this trailer and pick it up on Steam. The add-on comes with new items and two new major factions, and it is accompanied by changes to the base game. Word is: "AI War 2 grows even larger with this new massive expansion, bringing this plus the base game roughly on par with the amount of content in AI War Classic plus its first four expansions. But that downplays the fact that we’re really emphasizing quality over quantity, despite the sheer scope of things." The patch notes have all the brevity of a Russian novel, so this just represents a small portion of them:
In addition to some new capturables, turrets, and other ships that are available in any game once this expansion is installed, there are two major new factions. The Scourge is your greatest foe, the smartest and most dangerous sub-group of the AI. The Fallen Spire is your greatest ally, providing you with unprecedented firepower.

You can use both factions, either, or neither in your campaigns as you wish. Thanks to lobby customization options, you can even force the Scourge to be your ally against other foes, if you prefer.
Continue here to read the full story.

Anno 1800: The Seat of Power Released

The Seat of Power is now available for Anno 1800, offering the first DLC for Season 2 of the historical strategy game. In keeping with many of this evening's new add-ons, this also comes with improvements for the base game. This can be picked up through the Ubisoft Store or the Epic Games Store and you can read on for word on what this brings to the table:
Today, Ubisoft announced that Anno 1800™, the latest installment in the successful city-building and strategic franchise, is releasing the first DLC of the Season 2 Pass: Seat of Power, on Windows PC. In addition, all Anno 1800 players will benefit from a free update optimizing the influence system.

Seat of Power will allow players to construct a magnificent palace, establishing it as the heart of their industrial empire. The palace will have a profound impact on life in their capital. The building will house several departments giving access to passive bonuses and policies to boost the city’s economy. The palace consists of one main building and a variety of modules which players will be able to choose different styles for.

In addition, a free update for all Anno 1800 players releases today, which will impact the influence system. Three separate difficulty tiers will be added to the system, meaning players will now be able to choose the amount of influence they want to earn. The change is also possible for existing save games.
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Killing Floor 2 Gets New Map and Weapons

A new free Neon Nightmares update is now available on Steam for Killing Floor 2, kicking off a new event that adds new weapons and a new map to Tripwire Interactive's zed-infested first-person shooter for Windows. As noted here, they are also offering double XP for the next week along with a quadruple drop-rate and a half-off sale on select in-game items. This post has a new trailer along with all the details on the Neon Nightmares update. Here's a bit:
Event
Neon Nightmares

  • Liven up the night and make it bright with the Neon Nightmares update! Check out our new Cyber Rave cosmetic lineup that will be sure to light up any Zed party you throw! Take a trip down the multiple levels of Biolapse and take advantage of its layouts and traps to give those pesky Zeds a run for their own dosh. Want to impress your friends by throwing them the best Zed-killing soiree? Horzine has just the thing for you! Try the new HRG Incendiary Rifle and Compound Bow. They’ll surely bring the heat and the freeze. Party long and hard on the killing floor!
  • Event Ends on 4 / 21 / 2020
Continue here to read the full story.

Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition Launches

The Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition is now available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and consoles, and the PC editions can be found on GOG.com and Steam. This is a tactical roguelike RPG with card combat, and the addition of the game's two DLC packs along with the most recent updates are what make the new edition so darned definitive. There is also a new update for owners of the original game even if they don't own any DLC, and what this adds is also covered in the following details:
The Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition is now available on Steam! The Definitive version includes the base Deep Sky Derelicts game together with its two DLCs - New Prospects and Station Life - for the price of 24,99 USD / 24,99 EUR. Since its Early Access launch, the game has been expanded and enhanced with fresh content and multiple new features, which now creates a perfect moment to get the game in case you haven't done so already.

Also, for those of you who already own the game, the new update that came out today will enhance your DSD experience. Even if you don't own the DLCs, you will still get a number of base game features and elements updated, including:
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Call of Duty: Warzone Adds New Operator, and Weapons

The Activision Blog offers a new Call of Duty Overview Video along with details on a new map coming to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and a new operator, and four new weapons coming today to Call of Duty: Warzone, their free-to-play battle royale shooter. Update: Clarified the map is actually for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (thanks Sepharo). Here's the rundown:
Experience a new battleground with Khandor Hideout. This medium-sized map in Urzikistan supports 6v6 play and has long sight lines and interior spaces to complement diverse combat ranges. The large centrally located warehouse is a hub of activity and haven for CQB players. Hunt down your enemies and be wary of marksmen firing down lanes in Khandor Hideout. This new map is available tomorrow, so ready up to jump in and play.

A new Operator joins the Coalition – Talon. Talon comes alongside his fierce dog Indiana that’s also ready for combat. Indiana's skills are on display in Talon’s Finishing Move, one of many items in Talon’s bundle. The bundle also includes two Legendary weapon blueprints and two tier skips! Visit the Store this week and get the Talon bundle, available tomorrow, to jump into a Multiplayer match or drop into Warzone with this new Operator.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint Episode 2 Adds Sam Fisher; Free Weekend Coming

Ubisoft announces the launch of Deep State, episode two of Ghost Recon Breakpoint, adding new missions and Splinter Cell protagonist Sam Fisher to the tactical shooter. This trailer offers a look at the new episode for Season Pass holders. Here's the overview from the description: "Ghost Recon Breakpoint Episode 2, titled Deep State, launches with a mysterious new adventure and new options that can fundamentally change how you play the game. New classes, the ability to play without gear score, and Splinter Cell’s Sam Fisher have all arrived on the drone-infested Auroa archipelago, and we’re here to give you a look at just how deep this state goes." The Deep State Trailer explains more, and touts a free weekend for the game that kicks off on Thursday: "Fight alongside Sam Fisher in a new Splinter Cell adventure coming to Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Play the first mission free and customize your gameplay with the new Ghost Experience - available March 24! Play FREE this weekend starting March 26." Deep State comes alongside a new version 2.0 title update for the base game with a bunch of changes and new features. These include what they call the Ghost Experience, which is further detailed here and the complete patch notes can be found in this post. Here's a bit:
THE GHOST EXPERIENCE

  • Introducing the brand-new Ghost Experience! Pick one of our pre-selected settings or modify parameters to create the unique experience you want. Right when you boot up the game, you will be able to choose from two preset options or build your own combination:
    • Regular Experience: Play Ghost Recon Breakpoint the way it was released, with gear level and tiered loot.
    • Immersive Experience: A brand-new experience of the game that removes gear level and tiered loot entirely, and offers new tactical options.
    • Custom Experience: Choose your own selection of settings to create a personalized fit.

You’ll be able to choose from a variety of community-requested settings, such as stamina management, health regen, new HUD settings, and more!

Continue here to read the full story.

Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx

The big Half-Life interview on Eurogamer.net talks with game designer Robin Walker and level designer Corey Peters about Half-Life: Alyx and Valve in general. As the title of the piece indicates, this is a wide-ranging conversation. One topic of interest that comes up is a question about how they would feel if modders removed the VR requirement from the new game, which Robin interestingly says he would welcome:
I so want them to do that! I'm so excited to see that! There are a lot of people on the team who have asked this question many times. It's going to happen, and I can't wait. To some extent, everything we just described is about what does VR as a platform and experience bring to the table? And if that is not significant, then it's not interesting? We believe it's significant and interesting. And there's no better way than to play this game in non VR, I think, than to experience that. Of course, a bunch of people on the team probably will be super unhappy with me because they're worried about this. But we can't stop them. I think it would be a lot of work.

Bleeding Edge Drips Out

Bleeding Edge is now available for Windows on Steam, offering the new online brawler from Ninja Theory. Xbox Live's Major Nelson announces the Jeannie is out of the bottle, and that this is also now available for Windows 10 and Xbox One as an Xbox Play Anywhere release and for subscribers to their Xbox Game Pass for PC. These patch notes outline what's new in the launch version for those who participated in the game's technical alpha testing. Here's the Launch Trailer and here's a description of the game:
Grab your team and tear it up in Bleeding Edge, an electrifying online brawler where every fighter comes mechanically enhanced for mayhem!

Choose your fighter from a diverse cast of colourful characters from the edges of society: burn rubber as bold and beautiful Buttercup with her detachable saw blade arms, wreak havoc as Black-Metal rocker Niđhöggr with his electrifying guitar solos or slash up the streets as Daemon, New York’s most wanted assassin.
Continue here to read the full story.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Adds Free Map

A new free update is now available on Steam for Warhammer: Vermintide 2, launching chapter three of Curse of Drachenfels. This includes three missions and a new map to Fatshark's first-person melee action game, which is currently on sale for 75% off. This post on Steam has a screenshot of the new map, along with complete patch notes on the update. Here's word:
Heroes,
You can now play the third and final Chapter of the Curse of Drachenfels, Enchanter’s Lair on PC. This update consists of three new missions in total, is part of Season 2 and is free for all owners of Warhammer: Vermintide 2. You can find more information about Season 2 here.

HE'S IN THERE, ISN'T HE? THERE'S A PECULIAR STENCH.
You’ve seen him before. Now go get him, heroes! You can read more about Nurgloth the Eternal here.

Patch Notes
Continue here to read the full story.

Save Your Nuts Next Month

Though it sounds like a counterpoint to Ow My Balls, Save Your Nuts will bring a "chaotic" arena party game when it officially launches out of Early Access for Windows on April 16th. In the meantime, the game's Steam Listing now includes an updated playable demo for you to sample saving your nuts right now. Here's word:
We have been working hard this year and we are happy to announce that we are going to leave early access to fully release Save Your Nuts on Steam and consoles on April 16th, 2020!

The update will feature:

  • A new intro cinematic explaining the context of this nutty competition
  • 2 new arenas with new gameplay styles (soccer and basketball)
  • 2 new bonus items available when digging on red crosses
  • Lots of bug fixes (especially for online multiplayer) and visual quality improvements

Continue here to read the full story.

Medieval Dynasty

Medieval Dynasty is an action/adventure/RPG in the works at Render Cube to be published on Steam by Toplitz Productions. This was unveiled at last year's Gamescom and with it expected to be released into Early Access this year, they are now rolling out details. They recently released a new logo and some artwork as well as several videos: A Kick off Trailer, an Alpha Gameplay trailer on IGN, and a new First Look video. Here's word on the newest clip: "In today’s update video, you will get a peek behind the scenes as the game’s development team gives you a deeper look at what’s in store for players and how they’ve built the game’s immersive world. If that’s not enough, the video also features new gameplay footage — so you can get a look at the first steps you’ll take in-game as a commoner who is looking to make their mark in the world; from creating a home to building a homestead, and later, expanding into a thriving medieval town." Here's more on the game:
A mysterious land ruled by nobles and the clergy, where trade between the nations has introduced not only prosperity, but envy, greed, and distrust, awaits those who embark on their journey in Medieval Dynasty. Use the ever-changing landscape to turn your small plot of land into a home, a village, and a kingdom that will stand the test of time, as you and your descendants create a dynasty to rule for generations to come!

Begin with the simple life, by farming, hunting, and foraging, as you build a home for your family. Entice others to live near and work for you, build your home, a village, and ultimately a thriving city where your dynasty will reign for generations.

A massive medieval open 3D world awaits…grab your ax, hammer, or hunting bow –– and craft your legacy!
Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding

  • Arkade Blaster - The FPS Motion Controller - Indiegogo. "Players simply clip their iOS or Android phone into the Arkade Motion Blaster and connect to their favorite PC or mobile games for heart-pounding point-and-shoot gameplay in hundreds of games including nearly all of today’s top titles."

Out of the Blue

Amid the distressing general health news lately, we got upsetting specific news about one of our own here last night. Long-time forum participant Prez suffered a stroke he described as "a bad one," but beyond that we are still waiting to learn more. There are a lot of us keeping you in our thoughts right now Prez, and we are very hopeful you can make a swift and complete recovery.

Obituary: "Asterix" Writer Albert Uderzo Dies.

Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Stories: Newly approved novel coronavirus test gives results in 45 minutes.
Olympics 2020 will be postponed amid coronavirus concerns.
The plan to turn half the world into a reserve for nature. Thanks Max.
Science: Our Brains Are Just Making It Up As We Go Along. Fake it till you think it. Thanks Max.
Butterfly Wings Have a Hidden Structure That Rivals Vantablack in Its Darkness. Thanks Max.
New Study Shows 'Separation Anxiety' in Dogs May Not Be What You Think. Thanks Max.
Media: Neil Diamond “Hands.. washing hands.”
Stay Home – Save Lives (Feat. Danny DeVito).
SCIENCE CLASS: WHY Does Helium Make Your Voice Higher?
Auctions: Original Film Posters Online2020.
Follow-up: Antarctica's Denman Glacier melted 3 miles in 22 years.
The Funnies: Coffee Is Ready — StBeals.
Monkey User.

Monday, Mar 23, 2020

Samurai Shodown and More Coming to Epic Games Store

A Spring 2020 Update on the Epic Games Store reveals upcoming release plans. This includes word that the PC edition of Samurai Shodown is one of the games coming there this spring. None of these is explicitly called an exclusive, but according to Eurogamer Samurai Shodown, and Sludge Life will each be Epic Games Store exclusives. Here's a Spring 2020 Update Video, and here are the games:
Spring just arrived, and there’s no better time to share what fresh new games are arriving on the Epic Games Store!

  • Control: The Foundation
  • Totally Reliable Delivery Service
  • Industries of Titan
  • Sludge Life
  • Samurai Shodown
  • Diabotical
  • Dread Nautical
  • Among Trees

Continue here to read the full story.

HP, Valve, & Microsoft's "Next Gen" VR Headset Revealed

HP announces a VR Headset saying they are collaborating with Valve and Microsoft on a "next gen" virtual reality headset (thanks PC Gamer via David). This follow-up to the HP Reverb is dubbed the HP Reverb G2. They don't have specifics, but you can give them your email address to be notified when they're available. There's also a listing for this on Steam, but the info there is also pretty vague. Word is:
The next generation HP Virtual Reality HMD–developed in collaboration with Valve and Microsoft–delivers an immersive, comfortable and compatible VR experience. It’s the new standard in VR.

Valve on Why Half-Life 2: Episode Three Never Happened

Valve Explains Why Half-Life 2: Episode 3 Was Never Made on IGN is an interview with Valve level designer Dario Casali discussing Valve's failure at executing the episodic model they envisioned for their follow-up to Half-Life 2. They sum it up by saying: "Casali ties it back to two things: the start of Source 2’s development, and Valve’s goal of making Half-Life games more than just another release." The conversation touches on the irony of the 12-year span between Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Half-Life: Alyx since the episodes were dreamt up because they didn't like the six year span between Half-Life and Half-Life 2. But as it turns out, as much as they wanted to crank out episodes, they didn't actually want to crank out episodes. Here's that part of the discussion:
While Episode One was successfully developed in about a year, Casali says “scope creep” became a problem. “We found ourselves creeping ever forward towards, ‘Well, let's just keeping putting more and more, and more, and more stuff in this game because we want to make it as good as we can,’” he explains, “and then we realized these episodes are turning more into sequels.”

Episode Two actually took two years to make – Valve started work on it at the same time as Episode One. The plan for smaller, faster releases didn’t line up with the studio’s ambition for the project, and the scope of Episode Two increased past its original concept. After Episode One shipped, some members of its team even joined the Episode Two team to help out. “I think at that point we realized, ‘Okay, maybe this episodes thing, it was a good concept, but we're not executing terribly well as far as getting things out quickly enough,’” Casali explains, so the team started rethinking things after Episode Two.

Valve on Why They Aren't Making L4D3 or Portal VR

Also on IGN is word from Valve debunking the idea that they are developing Left 4 Dead 3. "We did briefly explore some Left 4 Dead next-gen opportunities a few years ago," Valve explains. "But we are absolutely not working on anything Left 4 Dead-related now, and haven't for years." Robin Walker also tells them they decided against a virtual reality Portal game (aka vomit simulator) after briefing dabbling with the concept. Here are the relevant quotes:
Portal VR was another project which ended up being a blip on Valve's development radar. "We [looked] at our various IPs when we started... before we selected Half-Life... which is a really standard thing for us to do. When you're trying to explore something new, of course you start with 'What are all the tools we've got from the past that could help us rapidly learn here?'

"So we looked at various IPs and, yep, Portal was one of them, [but] we didn't get very far in that. It was pretty clear when we looked at Portal as a whole... If we can't do player movement, not as a result of their choice, but by launching them... momentum...standing on things... all that sort of stuff... then a whole swath of Portal's puzzles... the whole back half of Portal, or more... goes away, and we'd need some alternative thing.
Continue here to read the full story.

February Digital Sales Charts

Worldwide digital games market: February 2020 has the latest market analysis from SuperData, a Nielsen Company. They note that February did not feature any major releases, a stark contrast to February 2019, leading to lower spending on PC and mobile gaming, but that increases in mobile revenue more than make up for this. Therefore they report overall digital games spending is up 4% year-over-year. They also note that COVID-19 had a limited impact on last month's numbers, but that they expect it to lead to increases when they eventually tally the results for this month. Here's last month's super data from SuperData:
Digital games spending totaled $9.2B in February, up 4% year-over-year. Much like in recent months, mobile revenue (up 16% year-over-year) made up for lower console and PC revenue (down 22% and 6%, respectively). A release schedule largely devoid of AAA games resulted in limited spending on console games. In comparison, February 2019 featured the launches of major titles like Anthem and Apex Legends, which contributed to the year-over-year revenue drop across the free-to-play (down 49%) and premium console segments (down 17%).

Top Grossing Titles by Category
Worldwide, ranked by February 2020 earnings
PC CONSOLE MOBILE
1 League of Legends FIFA 20 Honour of Kings
2 Dungeon Fighter Online Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Candy Crush Saga
3 Crossfire Grand Theft Auto V Gardenscapes - New Acres
4 Fantasy Westward Online II NBA 2K20 Last Shelter: Survival
5 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Fortnite Clash of Clans
6 World of Tanks Madden NFL 20 Pokémon GO
7 World of Warcraft West Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Monster Strike
8 Roblox Apex Legends Coin Master
9 Fortnite Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Homescapes
10 Dota 2 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege Fate/Grand Order
Source: SuperData Arcade. Please visit http://bit.ly/sdarcade for more info.
© 2020 SuperData. A Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved
SUPERDATA
A NIELSEN COMPANY

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GOG.com's Free Spring Sale Goodies Collection #1

GOG.com announces the release of their Spring Sale Goodies Collection #1, another batch of freebies that are not actually games. Here's word:
If you love to immerse yourself in games, now is the perfect opportunity. Our Spring Sale Goodies Collection #1 includes free content for some of the top titles available on GOG.COM: A Plague Tale: Innocence, Darkest Dungeon, GreedFall, Styx: Shards of Darkness, Obduction, The Surge 1 and 2, Unforeseen Incidents, and Vampyr.

Be quick and claim this unique giveaway before it ends on March 25th, at 2 PM UTC.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Just 3 full minutes of cats and dominoes. Here it is folks, your moment of Zen. Thanks Neutronbeam.

Half-Life: Alyx Released

Half-Life: Alyx is now available on Steam, offering a new virtual reality game set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2. This requires a VR headset, and is free for owners of Valve's Index. There's also an article on Steam Support on streaming the game, since a headset is not required to spectate. Here's word on Alyx:
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.
Continue here to read the full story.

New NVIDIA GeForce Drivers

NVIDIA announces the release of their new version 445.75 GeForce WHQL drivers. These add support for NVIDIA DLSS 2.0 and are game ready for Half-Life: Alyx, Resident Evil 3, and the Ghost Recon Breakpoint Ghost Experience update. Finally, these also add support for the ACER XB273GX, a newly validated G-SYNC compatible display. Details on DLSS 2.0 can be found in this story below. NVIDIA says these are offered through the GeForce Experience application, but they are also available for download on the GeForce Drivers Page.

ITTA Next Month

Publisher Armor Games Studios and developer Glass Revolver announce an April 22nd release date for ITTA, the bullet hell shooter they unveiled earlier this year. This is coming to Windows via Steam as well as to Switch, and they celebrate the news with a Launch Date Announcement Trailer. This is described as a "boss-rush style adventure game about loss, grief and hope" that's the output of solo developer Jacob Williams. The origins of the project are interesting to say the least: "ITTA began life during Jacob's stay at a psychiatric facility, which is where he started development on the game. In spite of its bleak origins, the game invites players to fight for survival in a world where themes of despair live alongside those of hope, beauty, and compassion." Here's more on the game itself:
ITTA is a bullet-hell adventure set in a world filled with monstrous bosses. When Itta wakes up and finds herself surrounded by her dead family, her only guide is a strange spirit that takes the form of the family cat who gifts her a glowing revolver for protection.

As Itta, players must seek out the powerful beings locked away beneath this seemingly peaceful world and go toe-to-toe against them in harrowing battles. From hulking ancient golems to toothy horrors, Itta’s journey will push both you and her past their limits. Luckily, you can change up your combat style by finding weapons with unique attack styles, and if the going gets too tough, toggle on invincibility or player damage multipliers at any time.
Continue here to read the full story.

NVIDIA Launches DLSS 2.0

A new post from NVIDIA discusses the launch of version 2.0 of their Deep Learning Super Sampling technology, calling this "a big leap in AI rendering." They say this is already available for Deliver Us The Moon and Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and in separate articles they announce this launching today for MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries and coming soon to Control (and this week's first Control DLC). They offer screenshots of DLSS 2.0 visuals and this video of it in action, showing this also offers significant performance improvements. Here's a bit:
DLSS 2.0 offers several key enhancements over the original version:

  • Superior Image Quality - DLSS 2.0 offers image quality comparable to native resolution while rendering only one quarter to one half of the pixels. It employs new temporal feedback techniques for sharper image details and improved stability from frame to frame.
  • Great Scaling Across All GeForce RTX GPUs and Resolutions - A new AI network more efficiently uses Tensor Cores to execute 2X faster than the original. This improves frame rates and eliminates previous limitations on which GPUs, settings, and resolutions could be enabled.
  • One Network For All Games - The original DLSS required training the AI network for each new game. DLSS 2.0 trains using non-game-specific content, delivering a generalized network that works across games. This means faster game integrations, and ultimately more DLSS games.
  • Customizable Options - DLSS 2.0 offers users 3 image quality modes - Quality, Balanced, Performance - that control the game’s internal rendering resolution, with Performance mode enabling up to 4X super resolution (i.e. 1080p → 4K). This means more user choice, and even bigger performance boosts.
    Deliver Us the Moon - DLSS 2.0 substantially boosts performance while maintaining --and in some cases improving-- image quality.

Continue here to read the full story.

DOOM Eternal More Than Doubles DOOM (2016) Player Count

The SteamDB listing for DOOM Eternal shows the peak player count on Steam for the shooter sequel reached 104,891 concurrent users this weekend. This is a good start for the shooter sequel, and this is all the more impressive since the game is not a Steam exclusive. By comparison, the 2016 version of DOOM, which is exclusive to Steam, topped out at a peak of 44,271 players. Thanks VG247.

Dog Trainer Announced

Just in time to celebrate National Puppy Day, publisher Frozen District and developer Moonlit announce Dog Trainer, an upcoming simulation of raising a four-legged friend without the chance of ruining your carpet or your slippers. This has a Steam Listing showing a TBA release date, but they say they will be announcing when to expect this shortly. Here's a Reveal Teaser Trailer and here's more on this chance to raise a virtual best friend:
Dog Trainer is a unique simulation game that brings the joy and challenges of owning a dog into virtual reality. From the creation of a one-of-a-kind pup to everyday fun and work with their pet, players will take care of their dog, tend to his (or her) needs and most importantly create a powerful bond between best friends! It’s the newest production of two Polish game-dev companies – the developer Moonlit (Deadliest Catch: The Game; Model Builder) and the publisher Frozen District (creators of the Steam hit House Flipper).

The idea behind this game was born from a love of our four-legged friends – and one of them in particular. Meet Sir Miles von Vet (a.k.a. Milo), the joyful border collie owned by Michał (the founder of Moonlit), and honorary member of the company. As Michał says: Milo is my best friend, and I can’t imagine my life without him as I take him everywhere I go – including my office. Making video games is what I do for a living, so I always look for new ways to bring awesome experiences from real life to virtual reality. As a dog person, I’ve noticed there are no games that simulate the real challenges of raising a dog – and I know that it’s hard, but extremely rewarding work. Since taking care of Milo is such an important part of my life and source of multiple emotions every day, I dreamed of making a game about that. And now it’s happening.
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Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Free Update Next Month

Capcom Unity has details on the third free title update for Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, saying this is now live on consoles, and will come to the PC edition of the action/adventure on April 9th. They offer screenshots (including one of a development roadmap, video Developer Diary 5, and version 13 patch notes with the details. Word is:
Get ready, Hunters! The third Free Title Update for Iceborne (version 13.00) is now live on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (coming to PC on April 9th), bringing you two of the toughest challenges in the game: Raging Brachydios and Furious Rajang!

For an overview on what’s included in this update as well as a sneak peek of what’s to come, watch our latest Developer Diary below. And make sure to read the version 13.00 Patch Notes for even more details.
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Out of the Blue

I was mistaken about our virtual party being yesterday, it is actually this evening. This means we got to watch the season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which was a great. We also got to catch up with both season three Westworlds as we hadn't yet viewed last week's. I'm glad I got to see them both at once, since episode one was confusing enough that it was good to follow with one that was easier to, well, follow. It was also good to see the new one immediately, as it had a fun Easter egg, and my news feed filled with headlines to spoil it immediately after the show aired. It's not that big a deal, but it was more fun to see it go by unexpectedly. Finally, happy National Puppy Day, though I think this should be International Puppy Day. What could bring the whole world together better than puppies?

Puppy Love Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Links: WIRED’s Video Guide to Extreme Indoor Activities.
Sci-fi film timeline: Next stop Soylent Green.
Science: NASA pauses work on James Webb Space Telescope due to coronavirus, weighs risk to other science missions.
Media: Monster Challenge. Thanks Gizmodo.
The Billion-Euro Nuclear Reactor That Was Never Switched On. Ready... Fire... Aim!
Volunteers show acts of kindness in helping battle coronavirus. Thanks Kxmode.
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