Archived News:

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Get Civilization VI for Free

Sid Meier's Civilization VI is now available for free on the Epic Games Store, confirming the rumor that the "just one more turn" strategy sequel would be the store's next giveaway. This will be yours to keep provided you snag your copy before next Thursday when it will be replaced by their next freebie. As for that, they continue to play coy with us, as they once again list "mystery game" where they would normally tip off next week's free release. But if the Reddit post that correctly predicted the Civ6 release is correct, it will be Borderlands: The Handsome Collection followed a week later by Ark: Survival Evolved (thanks PCGamesN). Here's word on this week's release:
Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI
Civilization VI offers new ways to interact with your world, expand your empire across the map, advance your culture, and compete against history’s greatest leaders to build a civilization that will stand the test of time.

EXPANSIVE EMPIRES
See the marvels of your empire spread across the map like never before. Each city spans multiple tiles so you can custom build your cities to take full advantage of the local terrain.
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VALORANT Next Month

An announcement on the VALORANT Website reveals that Riot now plans to officially launch VALORANT on June 2nd, offering everyone full access to their new competitive multiplayer shooter. They admit this raises the question of "are we ready?" Discussing what they've learned during ongoing closed beta testing they break down their answer into sections like 'is the game ready?' and 'are the servers ready?'. They also address a couple of questions that have made some news: the readiness of their tools to deal with griefers and their anti-cheat technology. For better or for worse, that last topic may be foremost on many gamers' minds, since the game's intrusive anti-cheat system has made a bunch of headlines. They say they are not guaranteeing the game will be cheat-free, but they do express confidence in the measures they are taking to combat cheaters. Here's a bit:
Now the real question: has Vanguard been effective at tracking and deterring cheaters? Well… yes to the first, and not yet to the second. With VALORANT being the grand unveiling of Vanguard, we’ve gotten a lot of inputs that help us understand what cheats - and forms of cheating - we can effectively deter with the platform. But during closed beta we’ve held off on deploying the second half of our tech, our auto-banning systems, because we needed this time to understand what to action on, especially when it comes to hardware bans. This will be different at launch.

Up to now, while we’ve been able to track and understand the inputs by which we identify cheaters, many of our ban waves have been manually reviewed and implemented by our anti-cheat team (and they’ve still managed to ban thousands so far). Come launch, we will be more aggressive, widespread, and automated in our ability to detect and ban cheaters.
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Sea of Thieves on Steam Next Month

Xbox Wire announces Sea of Thieves will finally set sail on Steam on June 3rd. They celebrate the news with a new Steam Release Date Reveal Trailer and there are details on the news in the Steam Sea of Thieves FAQ, which explains that the PC edition will still require Windows 10. Here's a bit:
We’re delighted to announce that our ever-evolving pirate adventure Sea of Thieves will be launching on Steam on June 3, 2020. For over two years the members of our community have been sailing freely into fantastical adventure with Xbox Game Pass and on Xbox One and Windows 10, but as we go full steam ahead we look forward to onboarding a whole new community of PC players. We can’t wait to welcome these eager new pirates into the fold and watch them discover Sea of Thieves’ wide open world for themselves.

With a player base of 10 million pirates and counting and a host of exciting plans for the future, the wind is now in Sea of Thieves’ sails. Since launching on Xbox One and Windows 10 in March 2018, the game has been on a hugely eventful journey. From the arrival of its first free new adventures in The Hungering Deep to the enormous Anniversary Update that introduced Tall Tales and The Arena, and then on to the introduction of more regular monthly content releases in 2019 – most recently with Ships of Fortune in April – it’s evolved into the definitive pirate adventure – growing stronger with each slew of additions and ways to play.
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Borderlands 3 Add-on and Free Update Next Month

The Borderlands website recaps The Borderlands Show- Episode 7 with details on Takedown at the Guardian Breach, a new free update that will arrive in Borderlands 3 on June 4th. This will be followed by Bounty of Blood: A Fistful of Redemption, a new campaign add-on for the looter-shooter planned for release on June 25th. They also offer concept art on the upcoming fourth campaign add-on and a new SHiFT code. Here's a bit on Bounty of Blood:
You’ll travel to the harsh desert planet of Gehenna to claim a bounty on The Devil Riders, a vicious gang of bandits mounted atop fearsome beasts. The Devil Riders have been terrorizing the small town of Vestige, and you’ll have to team up with the locals if you want any hope of administering some frontier justice. Along the way, you’ll run into fresh faces like Rose, a warrior who’s adept with pistol and katana alike, and Juno, a rough-and-tumble brawler with a checkered past. Your actions will have a direct impact on Vestige and its denizens, as you help build the town back up through story missions and Crew Challenges alike. As you do your part to restore order to Gehenna, the narrator will chime in to provide commentary on the action, or just give a bit of insight into some characters’ innermost thoughts.

Bounty of Blood will also boast a bevy of new game mechanics to complement its story, like the customizable Jetbeast hoverbike that’ll help you traverse the open plains of Gehenna in a hurry. “Every Western needs its horse,” says Matt. “For the Vault Hunter, it’s the Jetbeast, which is half jetbike, and half creature,” and can be outfitted with artillery like dual machine guns or mortar weapons. There’s also a slew of interactable objects found only on Gehenna that will aid you in combat and exploration. For instance, the Traitorweed can temporarily turn enemies into allies, while the Breezebloom will lift your Vault Hunter to great heights so you can reach otherwise-out-of-reach areas. And of course, there’ll be loads of new loot to chase after, including plenty of Western-themed weaponry.
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Observation Spotted on Steam and GOG.com

Publisher Devolver Digital and developer No Code now present the launch of Observation on GOG.com and Steam, offering this sci-fi thriller for Windows set in space, where no one can hear you ask HAL to open the pod bay doors. This follows a year after the game's exclusive launch on the Epic Games Store and Humble Store.* Observe the Steam launch trailer and read on for more on this BAFTA award-winning title:
Observation is a sci-fi thriller uncovering what happened to Dr. Emma Fisher, and the crew of her mission, through the lens of the station’s artificial intelligence S.A.M. Players assume the role of S.A.M. by operating the station’s control systems, cameras, and tools to assist Emma in discovering what is happening to the station, the vanished crew, and S.A.M. himself.

“Computers are eventually going to kill us all so I applaud developer No Code on tackling the tough issues and also trying to make some cash off that fear,” said Devolver Digital CFO Fork Parker.
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Field of Glory: Empires Gets Persia 550 - 330 BCE DLC

Persia 550-330 BCE is now available as the first DLC for Field of Glory: Empires, Slitherine and AGEOD's historical 4X grand strategy game. This is available on GOG.com or Steam, and requires the base game on the respective service to play. All the details can be found on the Slitherine Website and the short version follows:
This DLC showcases the lightning-fast ascension of Persia from a humble kingdom to one of the largest empires history has ever known. Initially, as Cyrus the Great, you’ll have to overthrow powerful neighbors, like Media, your former liege, Ancient Babylon and its mighty cities, or Lydia, ruled by Croesus, a man rich beyond dreams.
But that’s not all, as Athens and Sparta are vying for supremacy over the Hellenes world, and soon the Aechemenid Empire and the western nations will be on a collision course. These three have a low chance to stay at peace for long, so be always on the lookout for opportunities.

If you prefer to play as the underdog, a certain modest city in Italy might perhaps be a surprising contender. Or perhaps the young city of Carthage, its new empire still far from assured. Opportunities abound!

Missile Command: Recharged This Month

Atari announces Missile Command: Recharged is coming to Windows via Steam on May 27th along with a release for Switch. Noting this is just in time for the 40th anniversary of the original arcade classic, they offer this trailer to show that what's old is old again, as this is adapted from a version that's already available for mobile phones. Here's what to expect:
Based on the beloved arcade classic, and here just in time for its 40th anniversary, Missile Command: Recharged delivers a visually captivating, deliciously difficult experience expertly designed for play on modern devices. This new game from interactive entertainment producer Atari is a reimagined and, quite literally, recharged take on the iconic arcade game, Missile Command.

Protect cities from devastating aerial missile bombardment using all-new power-ups, defensive measures, and an arsenal of special counter-missiles. As a 21st century reimagining of the beloved original, Missile Command: Recharged appeals to those that fondly remember playing the original or its many iterations, and a whole new generation of gamers that are looking for fast-paced, arcade goodness.
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MX vs ATV All Out DLC Track Released

The 2020 AMA Pro Motocross Championship DLC is now rolling out for MX vs ATV All Out, the dirt-track racing game. This page has all the details on how this will involve the release of one new track a week to cover the 12 official tracks of the racing season along with a bonus track. This begins with today's release of Hangtown. Here's the DLC Trailer and here's more:
The 2020 AMA Pro Championship DLC includes 12 official tracks from the series that will be released beginning May 21 through August. The schedule for track releases will be continually updated here: https://mxvsatv.com/2020promotocross/

  • Hangtown
  • Thunder Valley
  • Florida
  • High Point
  • Southwick
  • Red Bud
  • Spring Creek
  • Washougal
  • Unadilla
  • Budd’s Creek
  • Ironman
  • Loretta Lynn’s

As a bonus, the Fox Raceway track will be made available for download as a part of this pack during the fall!

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Brawlhalla Season One and Battle Passes

Ubisoft announces Season One is now underway in Brawlhalla, their free-to-play fighting game. This also marks the launch of their first Battle Passes, a free one and a Gold Pass which is available for purchase from within the game. This trailer offers a look at what to expect, and here are some details:
Demon Island is the passage to the demon realm and a battleground where day and night exist in unison. Valhalla Legend Hattori, the Demon Bride, is at home in these harrowing lands as she takes on her ultimate form in this realm. Players can navigate Demon Island by progressing through 85 tiers of Brawlhalla content centered around Oni, spirits, and lost souls, with tier 85 unlocking Hattori’s Epic Skin.

Players progress through the Season One Battle Pass by earning Gems through General, Daily and Weekly Missions. One Daily Mission is granted to each player every day, with the ability to store up to three Daily Missions at a time. Once per day, players can recycle a Daily Mission for a new one. Weekly Missions open each new week of the Battle Pass and will not expire until the end of the Battle Pass season. If players want to progress faster through the tiers, they can unlock them immediately for 35 Mammoth Coins each.
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Monster Train Released

Publisher Good Shepherd Entertainment and indie developer Shiny Shoe announce the release of Monster Train, saying their deck-building strategy game set on a train ride to hell is now ready to leave the station. This is available for Windows on Steam with a 10% launch discount and they are offering an additional 10% off for those who already own Slay the Spire. Here's a Release Trailer with a look, and here's what the hell is in the cards for those who pick this up:
With three vertical play fields to defend at once, Monster Train brings a new strategic layer to roguelike deck-building games. Construct a deck of spells and minions from over 220 cards, plan your route carefully, and position your champions tactically to win. Choose your monster clans, recruit powerful units, and mix and match upgrades to fit your playstyle and make your deck even mightier.

Monster Train’s frantic Hell Rush online multiplayer mode lets eight players compete in real-time to see who can defeat heaven the fastest. Take on daily global challenges with special gameplay modifiers to test your skill, and design your own unique custom challenges to share with friends.
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Crumbling World Released

Crumbling World is now available on itch.io and Steam for Windows and macOS, offering a "dark fantasy action-RPG set in a sinister, slowly decomposing land." This uses procedurally generated levels, so they promise that no two playthroughs will be the same. The beta demo released last month still seems to be available on Game Jolt if you'd like a sample, and the Launch Trailer offers a look. Here's more:
Set in a sinister, slowly decomposing land where humanity has been driven to corruption, aligning with dark forces for survival, players must traverse gorgeous diorama-like levels in an attempt to bring back the age of light - before the world literally crumbles away entirely beneath their feet.

In Crumbling World, players will choose a combat class to suit their play style and fight off an onslaught of corrupted enemies, while leveling up and upgrading their abilities in a quest to save the world. They must upgrade their build carefully though - the wrong decision could be the difference between saving the world, or perishing along with it.
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On Sale

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C&C Remastered Will Include Source Code, But No LAN Support

In a post on Reddit, EA announces plans for the open source release of the source code for both Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert as part of the upcoming remaster of these RTS classics (thanks Kotaku via Phlegm). This will be in gamers hands soon, as the Command & Conquer Remastered Website currently has a timer ticking off the seconds until the release of the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection on June 15th. They are doing this to help support the modification community, and say they believe this is one of the first major real-time strategy franchises to make such an open source release. They also describe how they will support the distribution of modded content through both Steam and Origin and that the developers at Petroglyph have already created a nuke tank unit as their own first mod. The post also includes some bad news in the admission that LAN support will not be part of the initial release, as they say the COVID-19 situation has impaired their ability to develop and test this. They say it remains a priority going forward. Here's word:
So, what does it mean for Mod Support within the Remastered Collection? Along with the inclusion of a new Map Editor, these open-source DLLs should assist users to design maps, create custom units, replace art, alter gameplay logic, and edit data. The community council has already been playing with the source code and are posting some fun experiments in our Discord channel. But to showcase a tangible example of what you can do with the software, Petroglyph has actually created a new modded unit to play with. So we asked a fun question - “What would the Brotherhood of Nod do if they captured the Mammoth Tank?” Well, one guess is they’d replace the turret with a giant artillery cannon and have it fire tactical nukes! Thus the Nuke Tank was born. This is a unit which is fully playable in the game via a mod (seen in the screenshot above), and we hope to have it ready to play and serve as a learning example when the game launches.

Alongside Mod Support, I wanted to be transparent and address a feature which many of you have also been passionate about, which is LAN Play. Earlier this year, we had every intention of including LAN Play in the launch version of the game, but sadly this feature did not make it in time. Unfortunately LAN Play became the key impact of the Covid-19 situation as we realized the challenge of developing / testing a “local area network” feature in a workplace time of social distancing. We understand this feature is vital as both an avenue to play mods in multiplayer, and also to serve as a backup in case the online systems are ever down. We’re bummed this one got away, and will continue to keep this on our priority list going forward.
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Total Tank Simulator Rolls Out

Total Tank Simulator is now available on Steam, offering this total simulation of World War II combat from indie developer Noobz from Poland (thanks JDreyer and DreyerSon). This post has the release news, a launch trailer, and word that the game is on sale for 10% off for the next week. Another post discusses all they are learning now that the game is out in the wild and their plans for addressing some issues with a day one patch and upcoming hotfixes. Here's more on the game, which, contrary to the title, is not totally about tanks:
DEPLOY YOUR FORCES AND GET PERSONAL
Play as a commander deciding your army configuration and tactical deployment on the field on massive battles. But also experience first line action instantly by taking control of individual units on the fly, from tanks or planes to snipers and more.

EVERY BATTLE IS UNIQUE.
From infantry to aircraft, super-secret projects or tanks, LOTS of tanks… there are over 200 different units at your disposal, seriously - check them out!
You won’t run out of maps either. With more than 50 unique maps you will never know if your next battle is going to be deep in the Sahara Desert, in the green fields of Europe or in the snowy plains of Russian Taiga.
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The Persistence Released

The Persistence is now available for Windows and consoles, with the PC edition offered on Steam and in the Vive and Oculus stores. This was originally exclusively for PlayStation VR, but now includes monitor support along with virtual reality. The Persistence is a survival/horror game set aboard a doomed starship where you play as a clone combating monstrosities creating by a malfunctioning clone printer (it's not clear if this is a driver issue, clogged ink cartridges, or if the printer just needs a reboot). This also includes asymmetrical multiplayer support where up to two players can connect to the game via mobile devices. The Launch Trailer shows off cinematics and gameplay, and here's more on what to expect:
Set in the year 2521, The Persistence charges players with surviving on board a doomed deep space colony starship overrun with horrific and murderous mutants. Play sees them fighting their way through the depths of an ever-changing labyrinth to bring the ship back to Earth, with this new version heightening the tension thanks to enhanced environments and post-processing effects.
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Starena Released

Starena is now available on Steam, offering an arena combat game with RPG elements for Windows. This allows you to customize your weapons and mechanical combatant to prevail in battles where every contest is a boss fight. This trailer shows off some combat and crafting and the game's voxel-powered graphics. Here's more:
In Starena, each battle is a boss fight against a new unique enemy with its own mechanics, special moves and weaknesses. All of them are bigger, stronger and meaner than you -- only your skills and wits will allow you to overcome every challenge!

Starena also includes some RPG elements. You can customize your weapon and mecha with the parts you pick during your battles, crafting unique weapons that are truly yours. You’ve got something else on your corner other than your skill and cunning: the audience, always willing to cheer for the underdog! Give them what they want by achieving in-game dynamic goals and they’ll help you with medkits and other special items. You can also personalize your entourage by choosing your best fans who will accompany you to the arena. Each can help you in different ways; you can position them in different places among the crowd so you always know where to turn for help!
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Just Die Already Announced

DoubleMoose announces Just Die Already, a wacky sandbox game involving the madcap antics of senior citizens. This is from the designer of Goat Simulator, which is readily apparent from the Announcement Trailer which shows the same kind of disregard for realism in physics and gameplay. Here's a Steam Listing which shows you'll be able to start messing with the olds this summer. Here's more on this game of elder abuse, saying a demo is expected soon:
Set in a bizarre imaginary world, Just Die Already sees competitors of the more senior persuasion completing outrageous challenges in order to reserve their place in the World’s Nicest Retirement Home. A Mayhem Sandbox world filled to the brim with crazy tools and contraptions, it’s a game in which players – either solo or with up to three friends – can delight in the experimental, working out ever more incredible ways to secure the game’s fabled golden tickets.

“When we started making the game, there wasn’t all this going on,” says Armin Ibrisagic, gesturing around at all the global craziness. “So it does feel a little weird introducing such a ridiculous, over-the-top sandbox game when the world is so grim at the moment. That said, maybe supergluing a rocket pack to the back of an octogenarian and sending him flying into a construction site just to see what happens is the type of escape we all need right now?”
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Out of the Blue

Here's more from the engine room, as Frans has tracked down and addressed an issue with the search function here. A couple of different things were causing problems, but now that they are addressed, trying to search for news stories results in much more reliable and useful results. There are a couple of ways this may be further refined going forward, so further tweaks may follow. In the meantime this has made a drastic improvement.

Searchable Links
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Links

Science

Media

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