Archived News:

Thursday, Mar 26, 2020

Get World War Z, Tormentor x Punisher, and Figment for Free

In addition to this week's promised free releases of Figment and Tormentor x Punisher, the Epic Games Store is also now offering World War Z as a surprise freebie. The World War Z giveaway as Focus Home Interactive announces the game's promised cross-play support is now live between the Windows and Xbox One versions. Word is: "In addition, players on both platforms will now be able to play together in PvE missions and the wave-based Horde Mode Z (applies only to matchmaking on official game servers). PlayStation®4 crossplay is expected to arrive in the future." All three are yours to keep if you claim your copies between now and next Thursday when they will offer a pair of new giveaways, Gone Home and Hob. Here are details on this week's three free games:
World War Z is a heart-pounding four-player cooperative third-person shooter featuring massive swarms of zombies that recklessly rush their living prey.
Focused on fast-paced gameplay -- and inspired by the incredibly popular Paramount Pictures property of the same name -- World War Z explores new storylines and characters from around the world in tense, overwhelming, gruesomely exciting missions crafted specifically for modern PCs.

A musical action-adventure set in the recesses of the human mind...
Welcome to the world of Figment. A strange and surreal world; a place filled with our deepest thoughts, urges and memories, populated by the many voices we hear in our heads.

Everything in Tormentor❌Punisher can be killed in one hit, including bosses and yourself. Bosses change the shape of the arena, conjuring rooms and traps to make it more hellish and brutal. Demons adjust to your play style and punish you accordingly. Explore and discover new ways of killing enemies to gain cool upgrades. Reload your machine gun by firing your shotgun. Yeah, you read that right.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint Free Weekend Begins

Ubisoft announces the Ghost Recon Breakpoint free weekend is now underway, so the tactical shooter is available for all platforms until Monday. PC users can access the Free Weekend for Windows through Uplay or the Epic Games Store. This includes all the content of the full game, and the ability to continue your progress in the free game: "Any progress you've made in this or any previous Free Weekends will carry over if you purchase the full game. In addition, all of your progress from the first Free Weekend will carry over to this Free Weekend. " Here's word on the game:
Explore a diverse and mysterious open world ranging from barren deserts and dramatic fjords to futurist cities and arctic peaks. Featuring 11 unique biomes and home to Skell Technologies this remote Archipelago will challenge the Ghosts like never before. Use the environment to your advantage as you disappear into a jungle canopy to evade your foes or jump into a vehicle and charge into battle by air, land and sea. A seamless co-op experience means your squadmates can jump in and out at any time.

Control The Foundation Released

The Foundation is now available on the Epic Games Store, offering the first expansion for Control, Remedy Entertainment's supernatural action/adventure game for Windows. This requires ownership of Control, and you also must finish the main campaign before moving on to the add-on. It is also available as part of a Season Pass that will also include the AWE expansion which is expected this summer. Accompanying the add-on is an update to the base game, as word is: "Available to Control players on all platforms today is a free update including improved map readability, the new Shield Rush ability and revised Ability tree with the option of reallocating spent ability points and other quality of life improvements." Here is a Control - The Foundation Expansion Trailer and here is a The Foundation RTX Trailer from NVIDIA showing off the game's newly launched NVIDIA DLSS 2.0 support. Here's a description to lay some groundwork for The Foundation:
The Foundation Expansion includes new story content and side missions as well as new weapons and mods inspired by the Oldest House's mysterious origins.

The Astral Plane is colliding with our reality. Jesse Faden, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Control, must travel through the caverns of the Foundation to prevent the Astral Plane from consuming the Oldest House. The missing Head of Operations, Helen Marshall, may hold some answers to the mysteries surrounding this threat...
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Borderlands 3: Guns, Love, and Tentacles Released

Borderlands Website announces the release of Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock, the romantic new DLC for Borderlands 3. This represents the halfway mark in the season pass for the looter-shooter, and comes along with a new patch for the base game that raises the level cap to 57, adds three new Guardian Rank skills, and increases Guardian Rank. Here's the Guns, Love, and Tentacles Official Reveal Trailer and here's word on the gameplay and wedding festivities it brings:
What's New:

  • Explore multiple zones on the all-new planet of Xylourgos
  • Complete spine-tingling new story and side missions
  • Confront new enemies including alien beasts, mutated occultists, and formidable bosses
  • Add new Legendary Weapons, Class Mods, and other gear to your arsenal
  • Collect new Vault Hunter Heads and Skins, Vehicle Skins, and interactive Room Decorations

In order to reach Xylourgos with an existing Vault Hunter, you’ll also need access to Sanctuary III, the starship you get by completing Episode 5 of Borderlands 3’s main story missions. When you’re ready to travel to Xylourgos, look for the invitation—highlighted with a yellow exclamation mark—in Hammerlock’s study on Sanctuary III.

Alternatively, if you don’t have access to Sanctuary III yet or are looking for an excuse to play with a new character, you have the option to create a new Vault Hunter and have them bypass the opening acts of the Borderlands 3 story so you can head to Xylourgos right away. If you have a campaign add-on installed and would like to play that content with a fresh Vault Hunter, select Play on the main menu, followed by New Game; you'll then get to choose which storyline you want to jump into.

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Fallout 76 Wastelanders Delayed

Bethesda announces a one-week delay to the release of the Wastelanders update for Fallout 76. The free expansion is now expected on April 14th, as they explain that working remotely due to COVID-19 precautions has affected their playtesting schedule:
Like others around the world, we’re dealing with the critical situation that’s currently affecting so many of us. For the safety of everyone, we have transitioned to remote work, and are limiting our in-person interactions.

This has obviously changed the way we work, but rest assured that critical services for all our live games are fully operating.

However, this has affected our ability to do the final testing we need for Wastelanders and we must move the release date a week, from April 7 to April 14. We’ve done everything we can to minimize the delay and can’t wait for everyone to play. A special thanks to all our Private Test Server players for all your help.
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Life is Strange 2 Demo

A playable demo for Life is Strange 2 is now available for PC and consoles, with the Windows version available on Steam. Here's a Free Trial Trailer to illustrate the news, and here's the announcement:
SQUARE ENIX®, is pleased to announce a free demo of Life is Strange 2, the critically-acclaimed adventure game from the Life is Strange team at DONTNOD Entertainment and Square Enix External Studios, is available now.

The five stunning Episodes of this BAFTA award-nominated adventure tell the story of two brothers, 16-year old Sean and 9-year old Daniel Diaz, who have to flee their home in suburban Seattle after a tragic event that changes their lives forever. Further complicating matters is the manifestation of an exciting new telekinetic power that has far-reaching implications for Sean and Daniel and puts pressure on the relationship between them. Life will never be the same again.
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American Truck Simulator Colorado Announced

Following a not terribly subtle tease, the SCS Software Blog officially announces plans for a Colorado add-on for American Truck Simulator. They say this and their Idaho DLC are both expected by the end of the year, though this may end up changing due to COVID-19. Here's the Steam Listing, and here's a bit on the plan, but remember, please don't operate your truck while you're rocky mountain high:
After much guessing and debate, many of you came to the conclusion of which state we showcased in our recent teaser trailer. Today we are putting those theories to rest...
Introducing Colorado for American Truck Simulator

Home to some of the country's tallest mountains, a wide variety of biomes and an array of unique industries; this map expansion will bring beautiful landscapes and new road networks for drivers to explore and deliver to.
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Elite Dangerous Launch in June; Two Open Betas Planned

Frontier Developments announces plans for the upcoming addition of Fleet Carriers to Elite Dangerous, their space exploration and combat game. They say the delayed update will launch in June following an April open beta for PC gamers and a May open beta for PC and consoles. Before that they will hold a livestream on YouTube on April 2nd at 2:00 pm EDT to premier some gameplay and reveal more details. Here's the plan:
Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV) today revealed the first details on Fleet Carriers, an eagerly awaited update to the long running space simulator, Elite Dangerous. As mobile starships and trading hubs capable of transporting multiple allies, Fleet Carriers will be available to players in two betas ahead of full launch in June. A Frontier stream on April 2 at 18:00 GMT/ 11:00 PST / 14:00 EST will reveal further details. Tune in to watch here.

Experienced Commanders rejoice, as the long awaited Fleet Carriers venture forth into the galaxy, offering a range of new ways to experience Elite Dangerous with expanded emergent gameplay possibilities. Will you be a friend to the galaxy and support wayward travellers, or a tyrant who taxes those in need?

The most expensive investment to date and costing 5,000,000,000 credits, Fleet Carriers are individually owned and contain 16 landing pads of varying sizes for other players to dock their starships in, with a galaxy-spanning jump range of 500 light years.
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Galaxy Warfighter Next Month

Publisher JoyBits and developer Qplaze studio announce Galaxy Warfighter is coming to Steam on April 16th, offering Windows, macOS, and Linux gamers the chance to play this bullet hell space shooter that was first released on mobile. Here's an Announcement Trailer showing off gameplay, and here are details on the game:
Taking its roots from the classic games in the shoot’em up genre, Galaxy Warfighter conveys the old ideas in a new way. Piloting your fighter ship, you have to fight hordes of enemies with unpredictable strategies and attack schemes.

Well, and if you think that the usual enemies are too easy, Galaxy Warfighter will put you face to face with the ruthless bosses. You should not underestimate them. The game will continue to increase in difficulty.
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Yacht Mechanic Simulator Announced

Yacht Mechanic Simulator is an upcoming game that will allow you to build your own yacht empire, perfect for those times when your actual yacht is in dry dock. This is said to be coming soon, and it now has a Steam Listing for your wishlisting pleasure. Here's the Official Trailer with a look at gameplay and here are some details to see if this floats your boat:
Become a millionaire and build your own yacht empire!
Yacht Mechanic Simulator lets you have a taste of luxury as you renovate, redecorate, test, and sell state-of-the-art yachts of various sizes.

Scout for abandoned motorboats and give them a new life. Repair fractured hulls at your workshop and get to work on any damaged equipment. Remove the bolts that hold your engines in place and use a crane to take them out of your yacht. You can fix them, upgrade them, or even replace them entirely with better ones!

Cater to your clientele by creating gorgeous interiors! Edit, move, and replace hundreds of different decorative elements and turn your yacht into a temple of beauty.
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Gatherings & Competitions

Epic Games Publishing Announced

Epic Games announces they are now a third-party publisher, announcing Epic Games Publishing is partnering on upcoming projects from gen DESIGN, Playdead, and Remedy Entertainment. Similar to the Epic Games Store, they plan an aggressive royalty structure, promising developers at least half the profits after expenses. "We’re building the publishing model we always wanted for ourselves when we worked with publishers," says Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. Here's an accompanying Announce Trailer and here is what they are revealing of their plans for now:
Today, Epic Games is announcing a new multiplatform publishing effort with a developer-first approach. gen DESIGN (The Last Guardian), Playdead (Inside, Limbo), and Remedy Entertainment (Control) are the first partners to announce relationships with Epic Games Publishing.

The Epic Games approach to publishing fundamentally changes the developer/publisher model, and aims to have the most developer-friendly terms in the industry, so that creators can focus on making great games.

  • Full creative freedom and ownership. Developers retain 100% of all intellectual property and full creative control of their work.
  • Fully-funded projects. Epic Games Publishing will cover up to 100% of development costs, from developer salaries to go-to-market expenses such as QA, localization, marketing, and all publishing costs.
  • 50/50 profit sharing. Developers earn a fair share for their work -- once costs are recouped, developers earn at least 50% of all profits.

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Half-Life: Alyx Playable Without VR

A video on Twitch from the Valve News Network (NSFW) shows Half-Life: Alyx being played on a flat monitor without the use of a VR headset (thanks Wccftech). This is apparently done through basic control commands, prompting VNN's TylerMcVicker to exclaim, "this is so f**king cool that it just works." The short clip shows him navigating using mouse and keyboard and issuing a command to bring up "fake VR" hands. This is a little janky, but strongly suggests the type of mod to make the game playable without VR as Valve's Robin Walker recently alluded to may come sooner rather than later.

Cities: Skylines - Sunset Harbor Rises

Sunset Harbor is now available for Cities: Skylines, adding new DLC to the PC and console editions of Paradox Interactive's urban planning game. The Windows, macOS, and Linux edition of the add-on is available on Steam. This requires Cities: Skylines to play, and comes alongside additional new content in Cities: Skylines - Coast to Coast Radio and the Modern Japan Content Creator Pack. Here's the Release Trailer and here's the blueprint:
Paradox Interactive today announced that Sunset Harbor, the newest expansion for Cities: Skylines, is now available on Steam, Xbox One and PlayStation®4. Cities: Skylines - Sunset Harbor is available for a suggested retail price of $14.99 / £11.39 / €14.99 on Steam, and $14.99 / £12.49 / €14.99 MSRP on Xbox One and PlayStation®4. City builders on these platforms can rejoice as this is the first time a Cities: Skylines expansion is available simultaneously on PC and console! Sunset Harbor adds many new features including the Fishing Industry, new transportation options such as intercity buses and trolleybuses, the Aviation Club and new maps.
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This is the Zodiac Speaking in September

This is the Zodiac Speaking is a detective game in the works at Klabater and Punch Punk Games, who announce this will be released on September 24th for PC and consoles. This is a single-player psychological thriller based on the infamous Zodiac Killer, a serial murderer whose crime spree back on the 1960s and 1970s remains unsolved to this day. Word is: "The co-author of This is the Zodiac Speaking script is Lukasz Orbitowski, one of the best Polish writers, laureate of the prestigious Paszporty Polityki award and nominated for the Nike award. Together with Krzysztof Grudziński, Head of Punch Punk Games and creator of highly acclaimed Apocalipsis: Harry at the End of the World game, they plunged into the iconic setting of 70s’ California to produce an immersive and mature story for people with nerves of steel!" For more details you can check out the game's official website and Steam Listing and a Teaser Trailer is now available to further tantalize you. Here's more:
This is the Zodiac Speaking is a noir, fact-based single-player psychological thriller. Game offers two different gameplay modes. One blends storytelling with stealth and action gameplay elements while second (Detective mode) put emphasis on storytelling to let you fully immerse in Zodiac investigation. In-game visuals stylishly refer to vintage 70's and unique atmosphere of California at the time. Game plot is based on the story of Zodiac, one of the most famous never-caught serial killers. Play as Robert Hartnell, a San Francisco journalist, who one day receives a phone call from the mysterious Zodiac, greeting him with the memorable ‘Hello, this is the Zodiac speaking’. This event will inevitably lead Robert to confrontation with American famous criminal.

'The story of the Zodiac killer is a dark moment in American history. There are many books and TV series on the subject, but we want to let players to really experience this story. We want you to feel chills on your back, and to become, instead of being a passive recipient, a part of these dramatic events.' – said Krzysztof Grudziński, Head Producer in Punch Punk Games.
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Down the Rabbit Hole Pops Up

Down the Rabbit Hole is now available, offering a virtual reality take on the Alice in Wonderland concept from Cortopia Studios. This requires a VR headset, so you'll have to have already gone down that rabbit hole to play. If you have, this can be picked up on Steam for Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality. It's also on the platform specific stores for Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, and VivePort and is expected early next month for PlayStation VR. Here's the Launch Trailer and it makes you curiouser and curiouser, here's more on the game:
Down the Rabbit Hole is an amazing VR adventure that serves as a prequel story to Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland tale. Players will assume the role of a girl who has accidentally wandered into Wonderland prior to Alice’s arrival and must find her way home. But which way? Players control her fate by plotting her journey through an immersive, 3D comic book world that wraps around them. Through the game’s many twists and turns, players will find themselves exploring the wondrous corners of Wonderland, solving puzzles, uncovering secrets and making choices about the girl’s backstory along the way. They’ll also discover and collect hidden invitations to a marvelously mad tea party. The more invitations found, the more guests to attend. For those who are curiouser, it’s an unimaginable experience that they’ll never forget.
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Lumberjack's Dynasty Early Access Next Month

Toplitz Productions announces Lumberjack's Dynasty will launch into Early Access on Steam next month. If you're feeling déjà vu, it's because they said the same thing in October, but this did not lumber out on November 21st as planned. The last we saw of this was the Gamescom Trailer which remains the most recent look at the game. Wood you like to know more?
Get ready to live the lumber-lifestyle, as publisher Toplitz Productions has set a mid-April 2020 Early Access release date for its forestry business simulation, Lumberjack’s Dynasty. In the game, players will enjoy an outdoorsy lifestyle, living on an old family homestead in need of loving restoration as they set out to build a burgeoning timber business that will last for generations. Lumberjack's Dynasty will give players unique and challenging story quests to complete as they restore their inherited family home to its former glory and build a timber empire their in-game family will be proud to carry on with.

As part of an agreement with the machinery manufacturer Ponsse, players will control heavy equipment based on an original license from the company. See the first images of in-game machinery below:

Lumberjack's Dynasty combines the traditional life simulation genre with elements of the role-playing genre, creating a modern forestry simulation game, Lumberjack’s Dynasty challenges players to manage forests, harvest timber, and produce high-quality lumber and other products for sale. They will get behind the controls of heavy logging equipment and harvest prime timber as they grow to become major producers in the lumber industry while ensuring the prosperity of their family for generations to come — creating a true dynasty!
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Gatherings & Competitions

Out of the Blue

I got an email yesterday from a reader named Rob who offered a suggestion that seemed quite worthy of exploration, especially considering how simple and straightforward it is. He pointed out that it might be better to present the links that follow the Out of the Blue section in a bulleted format, like many of the other link sections we provide. He noted that this might provide better readability, and I can't say I disagree. So I figured I would just try it this morning and gauge everyone's reaction. So below are today's links in bulleted format. Feel free to offer opinions on whether this is an improvement over the usual table, or if you'd rather see them as before.

Obituary: Eric Weissberg, 'Dueling Banjos' Bluegrass Musician, Dead at 80. Thanks RedEye9.

Morning Linkfest.
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Link of the Morning:





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