Archived News:

Thursday, Jun 18, 2020

Get Pathway for Free

The Epic Games Store now offers Pathway for free as their next weekly giveaway. Last week they also announced The Escapists 2 would be the other freebie this week, but this is still listed as coming soon, as Epic says they are investigating an issue with its release. They also reveal next week's free games are AER and Stranger Things 3. But they will come next Thursday, but for now Pathway is yours to keep if you pick it up between now and then. Here's more on that:
Pathway is a turn-based strategy game designed to provide players with approachable, fast-paced and fun squad skirmishes in an early 20th century pulp-adventure setting. Quickly run for cover, flank enemies and utilize your team’s special abilities to turn the tide of battle in your favor!

EA SKATE Returning

This tweet shows that at EA Play Electronic Arts officially announced the return of EA SKATE, confirming hopes for a revival of the skateboarding simulation series. They are not offering any details for now, but they say they've been waiting years "to make the right game at the right time with the right idea." They add "it is really early" and they "have a long way to go." They credit the fans, saying "you commented this into existence."

Future EA Game Teases

EA did not make the hoped-for announcement of a new Mass Effect game today, but they concluded their EA Play Live event with a bit of a sizzle reel of games that are "a little further out" starting about here. They tease projects from several of their studios, including Criterion, BioWare, DICE, and Motive, so feel free to scour them for details and speculate what may be in the works. Continue here to read the full story.

Star Wars: Squadrons Gameplay Trailer and Details

Here's the promised Official Gameplay Trailer from Star Wars: Squadrons, the upcoming space combat game set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. This page has details on the game and offers preorders in advance of its release on October 2nd. The video description sums up what we learned:
The second Death Star is gone, but starfighter pilots unite on both sides of the Galactic Civil War as it rages on in STAR WARS™: Squadrons:

Fight alongside your squadron to tip the scales in monumental fleet battles and compete in intense 5 vs. 5 dogfights. Get into the cockpit and triumph as a team by completing tactical objectives across known and never-before-seen battlefields, including the gas giant of Yavin Prime and the shattered moon of Galitan.

Customize the loadouts of starfighters such as the X-wing and TIE fighter and divert power between their weapons, shields, and engines as you roar into the fray. Immerse yourself in strategic multiplayer space battles and a thrilling STAR WARS™ single-player story, seen from alternating perspectives between the New Republic and the Empire.

Master the art of starfighter combat in the authentic piloting experience STAR WARS™: Squadrons. Available October 2, 2020 on PlayStation®4, Xbox One, Origin PC, Steam, Epic Games Store and Virtual Reality (VR) on PlayStation®4 and PC with cross-play support.
Continue here to read the full story.

Rocket Arena Next Month

EA announces a July 14th release date for Rocket Arena, the 3v3 multiplayer shooter that takes its name from a classic QUAKE modification. They illustrate the news with a new Official Reveal Trailer showing off the game's colorful environments and explosive gameplay. This page is home to the game with more details. This press release has more:
Developed by Seattle based Final Strike Games, a veteran-led multiplayer specialist studio, Rocket Arena is a newly evolved cross-play hero arena shooter where players and teams master the art of the rocket through a roster of diverse heroes, customizable play styles and highly competitive action. Set in the vibrant World of Crater, Rocket Arena introduces new blast and recovery mechanics, powerful rocket launchers that can be used in combat or to propel heroes around the map and signature character abilities to create a completely new shooter experience. The game will also feature regular seasonal events packed with free content, including new heroes, maps and in-game events. The first season kicks off July 28, just two weeks after launch. Players can experience Rocket Arena on July 14, 2020 when the game launches with cross-play on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Origin and Steam.
Continue here to read the full story.

Apex Legends Season 5 and Cross-Play Announced

EA announces the Lost Treasures Collection Event for Apex Legends, which gets underway on June 23rd in their battle royale shooter. This trailer shows off this Season 5 content, which offers the chance to unlock up to 24 items. EA also announces that cross-play is coming to the game soon, so PC and console gamers will soon be able to compete head-to-head. Here's word:
Find what you’re searching for in the Lost Treasures Collection Event. In the new “Armed and Dangerous Evolved” LTM it's snipers, shotguns & Evo Armor only, with no Respawn Beacons. Instead, you'll be able to revive your fallen teammates with a new item: the Mobile Respawn Beacon. You’ll start each match with one in your inventory, so choose wisely when and where to deploy it. Complete challenges and visit the store to unlock up to 24 exclusive items. Journey to the new Crypto Town Takeover to take advantage of the all-seeing Holographic World Map. Complete the collection to call yourself a champ and unlock the new Mirage Heirloom. Happy hunting, Legends!
Continue here to read the full story.

FIFA 21 in October

Also at their Play event EA announced an October 9th release date for FIFA 21, the next installment in their soccer/association football series:
This year, fans of EA SPORTS FIFA can unlock new innovations powered by PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Go from visual to visceral with blazing fast load times, deferred lighting and rendering, enhanced animation technology, off-ball humanisation, and more. FIFA 21 will launch worldwide on October 9, 2020 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam and Origin - and will come to Google Stadia this winter. EA Access and Origin Access Basic members will be able to try the game starting October 1st, and Origin Access Premier members will get full access to play. All Access* members will continue to receive on-going benefits in FIFA throughout the season. Fans can also pre-order FIFA 21 to get early access to the game along with other incentives, more info on all the pre-order offers is available here.

It Takes Two and Lost in Random Teased

EA reveals two more EA Originals titles: It Takes Two, the next game from Hazelight and Lost in Random, which is in the works at Zoink Games. Details are scant for now, but they do offer a very enthusiastic first pitch for It Takes Two in this video from Josef Fares and an Official Teaser Trailer for Lost in Random. Here what they say about these games:
It Takes Two is the next IP from the critically-acclaimed Stockholm based studio behind A Way Out, which was also published under the EA Originals label. Under the leadership of multi BAFTA award-winning game director Josef Fares, Hazelight Studios is setting out to deliver a visionary game that reinvents the genre, taking players on a wild and wondrous adventure together. Launching in 2021, Josef Fares outlines his vision for the title as a uniquely varied co-op game that takes audiences through an emotional journey in a fantastical world.

Gothenburg based studio Zoink’s Lost in Random is a gothic fairytale action-adventure, with a very modern message. As another new IP set in a twisted dystopia where uncertainty and chaos are feared, the game follows Even, a courageous young girl, and her living dice companion, Dicey. Together, the two embark on a perilous journey where they must learn to embrace the unknown and play the hand they’ve been dealt, in a bid to break the curse of Random. Players can play Lost in Random in 2021 when the game releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC via Origin and Steam.
Continue here to read the full story.

Something Ate My Alien Released

Something Ate My Alien is now available on Steam, offering a 2D puzzle/digging game for Windows, macOS, and Linux. This trailer shows off gameplay and the game's hand-painted art style and there's also a playable demo for download on Steam and Game Jolt. Grab your alien recipe book and your antacids, and read on for more:
Something Ate My Alien is a 2D, digging and puzzle platformer game where you take the role of the AI Antalasia, and control your little Alien blobs to explore the planets you visit! Your task is to dig through the ground of the different worlds and find all the items required by the pirate that is hijacking you. During the adventure on each planet you have to battle environmental dangers, fight off wildlife, solve secret puzzle chambers, and all this while surviving on a depleting oxygen supply and a threat far scarier than the local wildlife.
Continue here to read the full story.

Waking Awakens

Publisher tinyBuild announces Waking is now available for Windows and Xbox One, offering an "introspective action/meditation adventure." Here's the Launch Trailer with a look. You can pick up the PC edition from GOG.com and Steam and Steam also offers the playable demo. Brew some coffee and read on for more:
An immensely personal game, Waking sees players delve into their own memories, experiences, fears, and desires to overcome being locked in the all-encompassing darkness of a coma. With real-world guided meditations, third-person exploration, and intense combat, Jason Oda’s ambitious introspective adventure is wholly unique, and driven by the desire for players to look within themselves.
Continue here to read the full story.

More EA Games Join Steam

As announced at today's EA Play event more EA games are now available on Steam. They promise more for the future, saying new games will be added to the service as they are released, and saying you'll soon be able to subscribe to their EA Access service through Steam as well. Here are the games they just added to Valve's storefront:

Evening Crowdfunding

Gatherings & Competitions

Cyberpunk 2077 Delayed

CD PROJECT RED tweets that they are delaying the release of Cyberpunk 2077 from September 17th to November 19th (thanks MacAllen). They say the sci-fi RPG is feature complete, but they plan to use the extra two months to iron out bugs and tweak game balance. Here's their message:
We have decided to move the launch of Cyberpunk 2077 from September 17th November 19.

Those of you who are familiar with the way we make games know that we won't ship something which is not ready. "Ready when it's done" is not just a phrase we say because it sounds right, it's something we live by even when we know will take the heat for it. At the same time we are fully aware that making such a decision costs us your trust and trading trust for additional time is one of the hardest decisions a game developer can make. And despite we think it's the right decision for the game, would still like to apologize for making you wait longer. Our intention is to make Cyberpunk 2077 something that will stay with you for years to come. In the end, we hope you understand why we did what we did.

At the time we are writing these words, Cyberpunk 2077 is finished both content in gameplay-wise. Quest, the cutscenes, the skills and items; all the adventures Night City has to offer - it's all there. But with such an abundance of content and complex systems interweaving with each other, we need to properly go through everything, balance game mechanics and fix a lot of bugs. A huge world means a huge number of things to iron out and we will spend the additional time doing exactly that.
Continue here to read the full story.

DIRT 5 on October 9th

Codemasters announces October 9th as the release date for the PC and current console editions of DIRT 5, the latest installment in their off-roading racing game. This makes good on the October release window they mentioned when the game was first announced. They celebrate with the release of a new trailer highlighting the game's career mode. Word is: "Codemasters today released a brand new trailer that digs into the Career mode of the upcoming DIRT 5. Narrated by DIRT 5 voice actors Troy Baker and Nolan North, the trailer digs into the Career mode's five playable chapters and 130 events." Here's more on the topic:
DIRT 5’s Career mode focuses on the highly successful ‘DIRT Series’ - a global racing event across various disciplines featuring the world’s greatest off-road racers. The player starts their fledgling career going up against an established field. The line-up includes superstar and fan favorite, Alex ‘AJ’ Janiček and Bruno Durand, a veteran who quickly becomes the game’s antagonist. The rivalry between AJ and Bruno creates the opportunity for a new up-and-coming driver to make their mark and build their legacy in the sport.

DIRT 5 features a star-studded cast with the biggest names from gaming and motorsport culture. The iconic Troy Baker (AJ) and Nolan North (Bruno) voice the main characters. The Career is tied together with the help of James Pumphrey and Nolan Sykes from racing enthusiasts and YouTube sensations, Donut Media. The entire story comes to life via the ‘DIRT Podcast by Donut Media’ featuring special guests including current W Series World Champion, Jamie Chadwick and YouTube star, SLAPTrain.
Continue here to read the full story.

West of Dead Released

West of Dead is now available for Windows and Xbox One, with the PC edition of this twin stick shooter available through GOG.com, Steam, and the Xbox Game Pass for PC Beta. Here's the previously released Launch Trailer featuring the voice acting of Ron Perlman, and here's word on the game:
Step into a dark underworld of gunsmoke, brimstone and danger. Raw Fury and indie team Upstream Arcade have released the cover-based, twin-stick, roguelike action game West of Dead today on Xbox One and PC via the Microsoft Store, Steam* and GOG.com for $19.99. It is also available with Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass for PC. In this mythic spin on the Old West, where evil souls linger, you'll explore a procedurally generated purgatory that changes every time you enter. But the deeper you get, the more challenging the horrors become...

West of Dead stars the peerless voicework of Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy) as main protagonist William Mason, a dead man who awakes in purgatory, bound to resurrect with no memory of who he once was. In a world of light and shadow, you'll need to make smart use of cover and ammo to take down your enemies and survive. Fight to vanquish the evil spirits hellbent on hunting you down while piecing together the mystery of your own past. Venture into purgatory again. And again. And again!
Continue here to read the full story.

ICBM Announced

Would you like to play a game? Slitherine announces ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile), an upcoming strategy game that is indeed inspired by WarGames, the 80s movie where Matthew Broderick wins the Cold War. In ICBM you will control a nuclear superpower and prepare it for the outbreak of a global nuclear war. The ICBM Product Page has details, screenshots, an Announcement Trailer, and word that 5% of this game's proceeds will go to their K-Project fund to support independent studios. Here's word:
In ICBM, players will attempt to maximize the destruction of their enemies with the best offensive strategy, all whilst limiting damages to their own Homeland cities. Fight against advanced AI in single player or face up to 6 human opponents in online competitive mode. Form alliances, but remember that betrayal is always an option ­– like in the Cold War age, there are no reliable allies.

The race to arms will always run fast: each ICBM game can be played in less than half an hour. In this real-time strategy game, every player can adjust the game speed; slow down during deployment or while choosing the next development in the technology tree, and speed up while waiting to build missiles. Even in the nuclear age, offense is the best defence. Sooner or later, the warheads will be launched. Will you and your country be ready?
Continue here to read the full story.

World of Warcraft Classic Banwave

A post from Blizzard on the World of Warcraft Forums discusses a recent banwave in World of Warcraft Classic, saying the banhammer has hit over 74,000 accounts for violating their EULA. A majority of these were "using gameplay automation tools." There's an article going into the economics of current-day gold farming on WIRED, which interestingly has "russian-bots" as part of the URL, but does not actually mention Russia or any other specific country of origin in the body (thanks RedEye9). In their post, Blizzard explains why it can sometimes seem like they are slow to act on bot accounts:
We use powerful systems to determine if the suspected player is using an identifiable cheat, and our heuristics (which we do not outline publicly) are constantly improving and evolving. But when we examine a suspect and these measurements aren’t out of line, we have to manually gather evidence against the accused player, which can be very time consuming and complex. It’s worthwhile though, because we never want to take action against a legitimate player.

PAX West and PAX AU Replaced by PAX Online

A noted in a post on Penny Arcade there will be no face-to-face PAX West or PAX Australia this year (thanks David). They cite protecting the safety and health of our community, which it seems safe to assume is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this goes unmentioned. They say the events are being replaced by PAX Online, will run from September 12-20 and is free to the public. They say they've held off on this announcement until they were prepared to answer all the following burning questions about how this will unfold:

SO WHEN DO BADGES GO ON SALE?
They don’t! PAX Online will be free and open to the public. If you can access the internet, you can go to PAX Online.

BUT WHAT ABOUT PANELS?!
Going “online” generally means the addition of Streamed Content, and boy have we got that covered. Three channels’ worth, to be exact, with literally nonstop content running non-stop each and every day In addition to digital adaptations of the panels, concerts, and competitions that pack our theatres at a traditional PAX, we’ve got some new and exciting stuff as well as a few surprises planned, thanks to both our friends in Australia as well as our EGX friends in London bring you even more special content.

IS ESPORTS CONTENT?
Yes, content means Esports too! We’re hammering out a lot of the details that we can’t wait to announce, but for now we can say that PAX Online will be “hosting” “some” “tournaments” “throughout” the week.

Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

Here's a thank you to forum regular Dark, who had a bunch of game keys laying around gathering dust, so he offered them to me to give them away to you. I want to reward those of you kind enough to support the site, so here is how this will work. This forum post has a list of the games. Most of these are from Steam. If you are a supporter and are interested, make your own post to the thread with a list of any or all of these that you would like to play, in the order of preference. At some point I will have a drawing and determine a draft order. The person who comes out at number one will get the first game on their list. Everyone after that gets the first game on their list that's still available until they are all given away. There is one caveat: Dark says these are all valid as far as he knows. I trust that he's not messing with us, but I can offer no guarantees these will actually work. Good luck to all who participate, and thank you to Dark for making this possible.

Obituary: Vera Lynn, WWII Allied Forces singer, dead at 103.
Obituary:
Jean Kennedy Smith, last surviving sibling of JFK, dies.

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