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Friday, Jun 12, 2020 Superman Day

STAR WARS Squadrons Reveal Monday

A post on ResetEra shows an ad that was spotted on the Microsoft store for a game called STAR WARS Squadrons, showing some Rebel and Empire pilots and spacecraft and a caption saying "pilots wanted." This was quickly pulled, but naturally prompted some speculation. EA responded quickly to the leak, however, tweeting the same image along with a YouTube Link to where they will debut an official reveal trailer on Monday. Since any story is more fun with some rumors, VentureBeat chimes in with word that this is EA/Motive's Star Wars game that will come to PC and consoles this autumn. They cite "sources familiar with the game’s production" saying it is a space combat featuring iconic Star Wars vessels. They say it will feature a single-player campaign, but the emphasis is on multiplayer team battles. Here's EA's tweet on the topic:
Pilots Wanted. Tune in for the reveal trailer of #StarWarsSquadrons this Monday, June 15th at 8:00 AM Pacific Time: https://youtu.be/w0eRkhR1z6A
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CastleStorm 2 Demo

Have fun storming the castle! IGN has the announcement of plans for CastleStorm 2, saying Zen Studios' sequel will arrive for Windows and consoles on July 31st. This will add real-time and turn-based strategy elements to the original's hack-and-slash and tower defense. The PC edition is coming to the Epic Games Store where they are already offering a demo to check out in the meantime. According to IGN this is a limited offer and the demo is only available through the end of this month. Here's an Announcement Trailer and here's a description:
CastleStorm II levels up gaming’s greatest genre mishmash with ruthless destruction powered by Unreal 4, plus a whole new metagame of strategic, tactical conquest.

The heroes of the Kingdom confront the vile forces of the Undead, and you’ll plot your path to triumph for both sides in two epic story-driven campaigns. But not without some hands-on chaotic carnage and delightful devastation!

CastleStorm II returns to a classic fantasy land of medieval madness, rife with heroic knights, enchanting sorceresses, glorious griffins…and sheep. But a new threat rises – literally…as in, from the grave. Walking corpses. Headless horsemen. ZOMBIE sheep. All-around nasty necromancy. You get the picture.

Build an entire empire through gameplay that engages your inner hardcore strategist…then command – even CONTROL – your soldiers en route to triumph!
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Ironsmith Medieval Simulator Prologue Released

Publishers Ultimate Games and Gaming Factory announce Ironsmith Medieval Simulator, a Windows blacksmithing game in development at Polish studio The Epic Lore. This is coming to Steam in Q3 but you can take a whack at this right now in a free Prologue on Steam. They explain in this post that this is part of the Steam Festival, and they decided not to postpone the prologue demo despite the delay to the show. Here's a bit on the prologue and the game itself:
“The demo is just a little taste of the game. Players will get to experience some of the basic mechanics, while the full version will be much more extensive. Ironsmith Medieval Simulator is the kind of game we would like to play ourselves. Through all the years of the gaming industry’s development, blacksmiths were basically treated as the background for RPGs. It’s high time to change it” – said Radosław Kaśkiewicz from The Epic Lore.

The Epic Lore’s project is an ironsmith simulator with RPG elements, focused on a single-player experience. The developers also plan to implement co-op multiplayer.

The core of the game will consist of working in a blacksmith’s shop – crafting a whole range of products, from nails through great swords to dragon armour. The main plot will also play an important role. It will focus on a war-time story and partially depend on the quality of the player’s work at the blacksmith’s shop.

U.S. May Sales Chart

NPD analyst Mat Piscatella tweets about U.S. video game spending trends for May, saying: "MAY 2020 US NPD THREAD - May 2020 tracked spending across Video Game Hardware, Software, Accessories and Game Cards totaled $977 million, 52 percent higher when compared to a year ago. This is the highest tracked spend for a May month since the $1.2 billion achieved in May 2008." Also, there's a May 2020 Sales Chart on the NPD Group Website outlining the top selling video games for the month in the U.S. combining both retail and digital formats. Here's the chart:

Top 10 Selling Video Games (Retail and Digital) May 2020
Rank Rank Last Month Title Publisher
1 2 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Activision
2 5 Grand Theft Auto V Take Two
3 3 Animal Crossing New Horizons* Nintendo
4 4 NBA 2K20 Take Two
5 14 Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros.
6 10 Red Dead Redemption 2 Take Two
7 11 Minecraft* Microsoft, Nintendo
8 1 Final Fantasy VII: Remake Square Enix
9 28 Assassin's Creed: Odyssey Ubisoft
10 18 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Electronic Arts
* Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

AT&T May Sell WBIE

AT&T is reportedly looking to sell Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, its gaming division. CNBC says Take-Two Interactive, Electronic Arts, and Activision Blizzard are all interested in adding this to their cart and hitting the checkout button. Here's word:
AT&T is discussing a sale of its Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment gaming division in a deal that could fetch about $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Take-Two Interactive Software, Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard have all expressed interest in buying the gaming division, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. No deal is assured or imminent, two of the people said.

Many of the video game titles within Warner Bros. Interactive are tied to Warner-owned intellectual property, including “Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones” and “The Lego Movie.” The unit also owns the “Mortal Kombat” and the “Scribblenauts” series. A deal might involve a commercial licensing agreement where AT&T can continue to get revenue from its IP, the people said.

Spokespeople at AT&T and Take-Two declined to comment. Spokespeople at EA and Activision weren’t immediately available for comment.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Free Multiplayer Weekend

Infinity Ward announces playlist updates are now live for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Warzone multiplayer. They also reveal that a Free Access Multiplayer Weekend is now underway where anyone with a free-to-play Warzone account can play with Modern Warfare players. Here's the news:
Free-to-play Warzone users can experience another Multiplayer Free Access Weekend on June 12 at 10 AM PT to June 15 at 10AM PT. It will include the latest 6v6 Multiplayer Maps Zhokov Scrapyard and Hardhat, as well as a few other fan-favorites. In addition, there will also be a Gunfight playlist during the Free Access Weekend featuring seven maps primed for fun, tactical and tension-filled engagements.

As we welcome players taking part in our Free Access Multiplayer Weekend, we’ll be updating playlists across Modern Warfare and Warzone:
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Destiny 2 Trials of Osiris Adjourned for the weekend

Trials of Osiris Megathread on Reddit indicates the Trials of Osiris that were supposed to start this weekend for Destiny 2 are disabled due to a lighthouse bug. Bungie tweets an explanation:
We are investigating an issue where players are unable to visit the Lighthouse after completing a Flawless Trials Passage.

Trials of Osiris has been disabled for the remainder of the weekend, and will be unavailable until this issue can be resolved.

Clash: Mutants Vs Pirates Early Access

Early Access to Clash: Mutants Vs Pirates is now underway on Steam, offering the chance to get in on a little this versus that action in this new third-person shooter/MOBA for Windows. This trailer shows off some gameplay, showing these are space pirates, so there are no parrots or peg-legs to be found. Here's a description of this free-to-play game:
Vicious space pirates are invading an alternate version of earth where mankind has been turned into ghastly mutants.
It is up to you to pick a side and either protect the earth as a part of its mutated defense force or join the space pirates and mercilessly conquer it.
Dive into the vibrant world of Clash MVP and experience a mix of styles ranging from medieval fantasy to science fiction. Engage in fast-paced action and turn the tables in the ultimate battle for the dominion over planet earth.
Continue here to read the full story.

XIII November Release Confirmed

Microids and PlayMagic announce that the XIII remake will be released November Xth for Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch. This confirms the date reported yesterday from an Amazon Spain listing for the first-person shooter remake. The news includes the first Gameplay Trailer showing off cel shaded graphics updated since the original was released back in MMIII. They also announce a Limited Edition that has both virtual and physical bonuses, which may mean it's only for the console editions. This is borne out by the Steam Listing, which offers the Golden Classic Weapon Skins Pack as a pre-order bonus. Speaking of Steam, they now also offer XIII - Classic if you can't wait to relive the game. Here's the deal:
The gameplay trailer unveils the artistic direction chosen, especially the cel-shading treatment, trademark of the original game! Discover the new look of two iconic environments of the game: Brighton beach or the FBI headquarters ; and get a glimpse of some of the weapons and useful items needed to progress through the game, hinting of the different play styles.

Will you play sneakily or choose the frontal confrontation?

While being faithful to the original material, the XIII remake is aiming to please the most sophisticated gamers of today. Players will also be delighted to know the team was able to remaster the original game soundtrack and the actors’ voices.
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Get Hitman: Absolution for Free

GOG.com is offering Hitman: Absolution absolutely free for the next 72 hours to celebrate the final days of their big summer sale. Here's word on some of the bargains you can grab in addition to your free copy of IO Interactive's Windows assassination game: "The finale of our Summer Sale is now live with 3000+ deals up to 95% off, including The Witcher Universe Collection with the best deal for the series yet, build your own bundles with extra discounts, and deals for games like Metro Exodus (-50%), Life is Strange: Complete Season (-80%), Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition (-50%), Diablo + Hellfire (-15%), and more." Here's a refresher on Hitman: Absolution:
Hitman: Absolution follows the Original Assassin undertaking his most personal contract to date. Betrayed by the Agency and hunted by the police, Agent 47 finds himself pursuing redemption in a corrupt and twisted world.
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Unreal Fest Online 2020 Next Month

Epic Games announces Unreal Fest Online 2020, a free one-day virtual event on July 14th to support the use of the Unreal Engine. Here's the plan:
Coming to you from the comfort of your own home on Tuesday, July 14, Unreal Fest Online is a free one-day virtual event that brings together Unreal Fest and Unreal Academy to offer an exciting and informative program of sessions that’s open to everyone.

Unreal Engine creators can choose between five content tracks: architecture; automotive; games; film, TV & live events; and cross-industry. With a choice of sessions for each timeslot in each track, there are over 50 sessions in total, and each session includes a live Q&A.
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Tribes of Midgard Announced

Gearbox Publishing announces Tribes of Midgard, a new game developed by Norsfell Games coming next year to Steam and PlayStation 5. This trailer shows off gameplay where you help stave off an invasion of giants during Ragnarök by yourself or in co-op with up to nine more of your closest Viking pals. Here's the Tribes of Midgard Website and here's more:
Set in worlds full of dark creatures, hidden gods, and abundant materials to be uncovered, players begin the game as a Viking living in a village that houses the Seed of Yggdrasil, which is the last bastion that protects the gods from the other realms. You can see the latest trailer here: https://youtu.be/xIcXZQwik_c
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The Long Gate Announced

Developer David Shaw announces The Long Gate, a first-person puzzle game coming to Steam this summer. This incongruously combines spelunking and electrical engineering, as "you'll need to master the principles of circuit engineering to progress through the mystery-filled caverns." Here's the Announcement Trailer showing this in action, and we'll get to see more next week during the Steam Game Festival, Summer Edition when they will offer a limited-time playable demo. Here's more:
Players are free to explore the mysterious caverns of The Long Gate on their own terms as almost all the puzzles can be completed in any order. The puzzles themselves also take a step away from the regular binary approach of a puzzle game as many of them offer multiple options for success

The ancient and alluring caverns of The Long Gate are filled with remnants of mysterious machinery. Exploring the labyrinth of caverns and interacting with this cryptic machinery will prove vital to mastering the three types of circuit-based puzzles; digital, analog, and even quantum. To ensure the quantum puzzles accurately portray real quantum circuits, developer David Shaw has partnered with the quantum computing company D-Wave.
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HyperBrawl Tournament This Summer

Indie developer Milky Tea Studios announces HyperBrawl Tournament, is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch this summer, offering more ways to play their  "high-adrenaline arcade-style sports brawler." This is available now on Apple Arcade, but they say it is being "rebuilt from the ground up to leverage the power of PC and consoles." Here's a PC & Console Announcement Trailer and here's more on the game:
Smash, brawl and score your way to victory in relentless, high-adrenaline, 1-4 PvP arena battles. Master the HyperCurve, that allows you to seize control of the ball mid-flight to score legendary goals and channel the HyperForce, with its devastating, game-changing, power.

In a combination of sports and brawling, the heroes can choose different abilities and awesome weapons to bring into the arena as they fight for control of the ball, throwing it into the opposition’s goal to score points. Outside of that, there are no rules so don’t be afraid to fight dirty. You’ll have to do more than fight though, as the key to victory is mastering the HyperCurve, and using the HyperForce at the most critical moments, to turn the tide of the match.
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Humble Launches Black Game Developers Fund

Humble Games has launched their promised new Black Game Developer Fund. They have a FAQ explaining their mission, and here's the part that sums it up:
We want to help Black game developers to have increased access to funding and make great games. The fund is for developers who do not currently have a signed publishing agreement for a specific game. We offer multiple ways we can support teams, from publishing your game, providing you funding to help you self-publish your game to giving you a startup fund to help you build a prototype to pitch. $1 Million is not a cap but a target. We may fund more or less depending on applications received. Funds are allocated based on the individual needs of the project and its projected success upon launch.

Dota 2 Eminence of Ristul Arcana Bundle

Valve announces a new Eminence of Ristul Arcana bundle is available now in The International Battle Pass for Dota 2. This page has details and here's an overview:
After so long exploring the playground of the mortal realm, Akasha returns now to the dangerous Court of Ristul, where fiendish new plans are set to begin. Celebrate her rise to power with the all-new Eminence of Ristul Arcana bundle, available now in The International Battle Pass.

This Arcana bundle includes a new model and base items, new animations, custom Sonic Wave and Blink, custom deny effect, ambient effects, a special whip melee attack animation for targets in close range, a Sonic Wave pain meter, and over 500 new Arcana-exclusive voice lines. Torment 1000 heroes with Sonic Wave in your victories to unlock the Royal Decree alternate style.

Banners of Ruin Announced

Goblinz Studio announces Banners of Ruin, a deck-building strategy game in the works at MonteBearo for release on Steam. The game will start off in Early Access, which they say will begin in less than two months. Here's what's in the cards:
Build your deck and fight your way through the city of Dawn's Point with card based combat and up to 6 members in your party. Characters loyal to your cause have a set of unique cards and abilities that may augment your deck in powerful, exciting ways. Defeat each of the elite opponents in your path to the city's Guard Captain and cripple the Enders at their core. You and your brethren may fall at this attempt, but there will always be others to carry the torch. House Blackfoot will remember, and they will never relent. Encounter a series of scenarios as you travel through the city which may help you, but at the expense of some moral ground.

WARBORN is Born

Publisher PQube and developer Raredrop Games announce the launch of WARBORN for PC and consoles, with support for cross-play between all platforms. The Windows and macOS edition of this turn-based tactics game is available on Steam. Here's a trailer showing off the game's anime style, the integrated map editor, and more. Are you born for war? Read on for more to decide:
Warborn features:

  • An exciting single player campaign with 40 missions
  • Four different factions led by commanders who each pilot unique units
  • Online multiplayer with crossplay between Nintendo Switch, Steam and Xbox One
  • A map editor to create and share your own battlefield

In Warborn, you assemble and command an army of elite units wearing technologically advanced suits of war, known as Variable Armour. Strategise from a top down view on various maps made up of different hexagonal terrain tiles, call the shots and watch the action unfold in dynamic mid-combat cutscenes!

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Helheim Hassle in August

Norwegian developer Perfectly Paranormal announces Helheim Hassle is coming to Steam, Xbox One, and Switch, Xbox One on August 18th, with a PlayStation 4 version to follow. They offer this Release Date Trailer along with details on this entry into the crowded "body desecration puzzle/platformer" genre:
Helheim Hassle is a comedic yet macabre narrative adventure game, from the same universe as previous hit Manual Samuel, that is as much about friendship as it is about body parts. You play as Bjørn, a pacifist Viking who hates the idea of dying and going to Valhalla (who then ends up dying and getting taken to Valhalla) as he seeks to negotiate his way out while helping the mysterious Pesto on a quest to retrieve a certain magical item... In return, Pesto will try to grant Bjørn a permanent residence in Helheim - what a hassle!

Players will be tasked with completing up to 70 quests over 14 levels, requiring the use of all manner of different body part combos to complete the game’s unique puzzle-platforming challenges. On this adventure, players will come into contact with 80 different characters from all walks of life (and death) ranging from frustrated god souls, bear ghosts, dragons, elves, dwarves and blue-collar goblins; all voiced by 24 professional voice actors delivering 3,700 lines of spoken dialogue!
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Out of the Blue

Happy Superman Day! This is a fairly recent phenomenon with somewhat cheesy origins. April 18th would be a logical choice, since the first issue of Action Comics featuring the character was released on that date in 1938. But the June 12th date was cooked up by DC Comics in 2013 as "Man of Steel Day" to promote Man of Steel, the movie which was to debut two days later. Blatant commerciality aside, there is still a pretty cool aspect to this. To honor the fact that Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster are from Cleveland, a few years ago Superman Day became a legally recognized designation in Ohio. Word is:
The twelfth day of June is designated as "Superman Day" to recognize the Ohio birthplace of one of the creators of the superhero who stood for "truth, justice, and the American way." For on this day, let it be known that Superman is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Superman!

Links! Up in the sky! It's a bird...
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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