Archived News:

Monday, Jun 01, 2020

Epic Freebies Increase Sales and Epic Games Store Mobile Plans

A video Interview on GameSpot talking with Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. They report that he actually says that the games they've given away actually end up selling better in the long run. They say: "In an interview as part of our Play for All coverage, Sweeney explains that giving players the choice to try a genre for free has led to many recognizing their love for it, and inspired additional sales as a result. He doesn't mention specifics, but does say that developers have noticed an increase in sales across other platforms and stores after their games have been included as part of the free initiative." Moving on, as they note here, when they asked about plans for the Epic Games Store he told them they are hoping to launch a mobile versions:
"We'd like to bring the [Epic Games] Store to iOS in the future, and we will bring it to Android," Sweeney said. "We think it's a good way to help the industry [move] forward and it's another way where Epic as a game developer had built up this audience around Fortnite and learned how to operate a distribution platform on PC and Android.

"Now, as we've done with many things from the Unreal Engine to the Epic Online services, we open it up to all other developers to use with their games and are trying to serve the industry and provide a really interesting alternative to the ecosystem."

Drox Operative 2 Early Access

Early Access to Drox Operative 2 is now underway on Steam, offering a first crack at visiting the final frontier in this starship action/RPG sequel. Here's a recent trailer from, the game, and here's a description:
As a Drox Operative it's NOT your job to manage an empire, you are after all the captain of a single starship. It IS your job to pick the winning side and maybe even help them conquer the galaxy if you're being nice, more importantly though is to rake in as many credits as possible, well that and build the deadliest ship in the known universe. Who will you back as an Operative? The ancient, mature, or young races? The pacifist or militaristic races? The xenophile or xenophobe races? The races that value freedom or the races that use slave labor? The strong or the weak? Your actions and inactions will impact trillions of alien lives!
Continue here to read the full story.

Northgard Map Editor and Workshop Support

This post on Steam has details on a major update on Steam for Northgard, adding a Map Editor and Steam Workshop support to this Windows, macOS, and Linux strategy game of Norse mythology. Shiro Games also now offers a new external tool and new tilesets to assist with your new creations. There are details on this page and in this video. Here's more:
Bringing a whole new level of customization to Northgard, as well as a longer lifespan, the Map Editor allows you to create and modify battlefields almost limitlessly. You can populate your maps with buildings, resources, decorations and AI factions of your choosing. You also will have full control over the visual design and layout of the map.

This update is also coming with an external tool allowing even more customization, giving you the ability to change the values of units or buildings such as attack/defense power, health, price and more. You are now able to write scripts to set up maps with certain units/resources or even to choose entirely new victory conditions and create your own personal game experience.
Continue here to read the full story.

Wira & Taksa Against the Master of Gravity Demo

Peruvian developer 3S Design announces Wira & Taksa Against the Master of Gravity, an action/platformer coming to Windows. The game is not due until Q3 of this year, but its Steam Listing already includes a playable demo to sample right now. This trailer shows off the game's 2.5D design and gameplay where inverting gravity takes the place of jumping. Here's word:
Levels aren’t easy to get through since the universe is made by traps, enemies and many jigsaws. For this reason, the game is designed so you can complete it using the two character (Wira and Taksa).

If you use both characters balancedly, the player will be capable of going through each level and free the pacific planet Nun from the spell of the mischievous Master of Gravity.

Wira & Taksa Against the Master of Gravity is played in an orthogonal perspective but it’s entirely built in 3D. Each level contains parts which turn 90 degrees to the right so players can discover and explore new areas hidden at first sight.
Continue here to read the full story.

Madden NFL 21 Announcement Postponed to Support Protests

A tweet from EA Sports announces that due to the civil unrest in the United States they are postponing the Madden NFL 21 announcement they planned to make today (thanks VentureBeat). They are taking a strong stand on the situation:

Tomorrow, we had committed to celebrating Madden NFL 21 with you, but we're not going to do that now.

We stand with our African American / Black community of friends, players, colleagues and partners. Our immediate attention is on actions we can take to drive change against the unjust treatment and systemic bias that is plaguing the nation and our world.

We'll find another time to talk football with you. Because this is bigger than a game, bigger than sports, and needs all of us to stand together and commit to change.

Codemasters Gets Official WRC Rights

Racing specialist Codemasters has secured the rights to make official games based on the FIA World Rally Championship series. This deal begins in 2023, and VGC says they understand that current license holder Bigben Interactive will continue to release WRC games between now and then. They also say that in the meantime Codies will continue to developer the DiRT series. "We’ve discussed bringing our passion and world-class rally game experience to represent the world’s premier rally championship on many occasions. We believe we can grow the franchise in the same way we have for Formula 1," a Codemasters spokesperson tells them. "We are excited about finally bringing WRC to our portfolio of racing games, something which our passionate community of players has been requesting for a long time."

Nebula Awards Honor The Outer Worlds

The 2019 Nebula Awards Winners have been announced (thanks Neutronbeam and JDreyer). This year's edition of these science fiction writing awards includes honors for video games, declaring The Outer Worlds the winner in this category:
WINNER: The Outer Worlds, Leonard Boyarsky, Megan Starks, Kate Dollarhyde & Chris L’Etoile (Obsidian Entertainment)
Outer Wilds, Kelsey Beachum (Mobius Digital)
The Magician’s Workshop, Kate Heartfield (Choice of Games)
Disco Elysium, Robert Kurvitz (ZA/UM)
Fate Accessibility Toolkit, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (Evil Hat Productions)

Ikai Demo

A playable demo for Ikai is now available on, offering a sample of this recently announced first-person psychological horror game set in feudal Japan. Here's word on the game and the demo:
Fear and anxiety prevail after the darkest tales from Japanese folklore come to life in this first-person psychological horror game. Live the horror from the feudal era's beliefs as the priestess of a temple.

This demo is meant to test the key features of the final game. It is currently on Alpha so we'll develop it further in Ikai. Don't forget to add it on your Steam wishlist if you enjoy it.

Take-Two CEO: Stadia Overpromised

The often disgruntled arm of the gaming community are not the only ones dissatisfied with Google Stadia. GameSpot reports that Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick stated that Google overpromised about their cloud game streaming service. Here's their report on comments Zelnick made during the recent Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference:
"Streaming technology is upon us," he said. "The launch of Stadia has been slow. I think there was some overpromising on what the technology could deliver and some consumer disappointment as a result."

Most of his comments, though, were focused on the business aspect. Zelnick was critical on that point as well, appearing to suggest that it doesn't have immediate plans for Stadia and stressing that it wasn't the "game-changer" it was made out to be.

"Anytime you broaden distribution you potentially broaden your audience, which is why we supported the release of Stadia with three titles initially and will continue to support high-quality streaming services as long as the business model makes sense. Over time I believe streaming will work... The belief that streaming was going to be transformative was based on a view that there were loads of people who really had an interest in interactive entertainment, really wanted to pay for it, but just didn't want to have a console. I'm not sure that turned out to be the case."

Dr. Livingstone, I Presume? Demo Next Week

Developer Vulpesoft announces Dr Livingstone, I Presume? will journey onto Steam in Q2 of next year, offering a puzzle game based on the exploits of famed African explorers Henry M. Stanley and Dr. David Livingstone. You won't have to wait that long to explore what this has to offer, however, as they plan to offer a limited time demo from June 9-15 as part of the upcoming Steam Summer Game Festival. They celebrate the news with a Teaser Trailer and offer the following details:
Your name is Henry Stanley. As a New York Herald journalist you’ve been sent to Africa to find the missing traveler and explorer, Dr Livingstone. After many months of searching you’ve managed to reach the village of Ujiji, where as you heard, you can find elderly white man. Hoping that you have reached your destination, you crossed the threshold of the house indicated by natives. This is the place where the real adventure begins!
Continue here to read the full story.

Signs of the Sojourner: Prologue

A new Signs of the Sojourner: Prologue is now available on Steam for Windows and macOS, offering a free sample of this narrative card game from indie developer Echodog Games. If this inspires you to pick up the full game it is available here. Here's word on the sojourn this offers:
Your deck is your character, reflecting your experiences and shaping your relationships. Make decisions about who your character is in this world, pushing forward with the cards you’re dealt.

You take over your mother's store after her death, traveling to diverse locations in order to acquire goods for the shop. Along the way, encounter optimistic stories, compassionate characters, and delightful surprises in a world where travel is difficult and climate change has made life hard.

EB Games Offering Previously Denied Fallout 76 Refunds in AU

EB Games has agreed to provide refunds to Australian Fallout 76 customers whose requests were previously denied between November 14, 2018 and October 31, 2019 (thanks Channelnews). The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission explains: "Consumers had complained to the ACCC that EB Games representatives had advised them they were not entitled to a refund after they experienced a range of faults with the Fallout 76 game, including problems with servers and bugs in the game." EB Games now acknowledges "they are likely to have misled consumers about their consumer guarantee rights in relation to faults with the online video game." Word is Eligible customers should request a refund through by August 1, 2020. Those who accept a refund will lose access to the game. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has the following statement on the matter:
“The Australian Consumer Law provides consumers with the right to ask for their choice of a repair, replacement or refund when they have purchased a product that has a fault which amounts to a major failure,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“Retailers must ensure that they train their staff so they do not misrepresent to consumers their consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law, including the right to obtain a refund in certain circumstances.”

The Commission 1920 Remaster Announced

A Steam Listing is now live for The Commission 1920, Developer 302 Interactive's planned remake of The Commission, their organized crime grand strategy game for Windows and macOS. This recent post announces the extremely short turnaround for this project, as the original game was released under two years ago. They do not make it clear at this time if owners of the first version will have to pay for the second. Here's a bit on the remaster plan:
The Commission 1920 will be released with a number of improvements and new features. Rackets (illegal activities which generate profit) and traits have been rebalanced, with some new ones to discover!

Want to dig up some dirt on other families? You can now gain intel on opposing families and target enemy units for assassination or recruitment. You can also reward units for their hard work by assigning titles, granting benefits, but also fueling the jealousy of their disloyal peers.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

Frans continues his impressive work on the site as we roll out another new tweak today. This is another improvement to our Twitter account which we've changed a bit in recent times to increase its usefulness for followers. At one point this just posted most of our headlines, but was refined to show a more select group of stories and include some of the text. With the latest change we go hurtling headlong into the noughties with the addition of hashtags to our tweets. I know right? We're totally keeping up with the Kardashians on our way to dominating social media. Anyway, a big thank you to Frans for working this out, and here's hoping some of you find this enhancement useful. #socialmedia #hashtag #hashbrowns

Obituary: Christo Dead: Famed Sculptor Dies of Natural Causes at 84.

Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.


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