Archived News:

Monday, Jun 22, 2020 Quake Released (1996)

Chris Avellone No Longer Contributing to Dying Light 2 or Bloodlines 2 After "Me Too" Allegations

Famed game designer Chris Avellone is accused of predatory sexual behavior a screed on twitter. This generated a couple of tweets in corroboration, including one from Monolith writer Samantha Wallschlaeger. Chris offers a couple of apologetic tweets that appear to be in response to this, but he does not directly confirm or deny any of the alleged details (thanks ResetEra). Gamasutra tweets a statement from Paradox Interactive saying that none of Avellone's work will be part of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2: "Bloodlines 2 publisher Paradox Interactive has been in contact to explain that Avellone was only 'briefly' involved in the project, and that 'none of his contributions remain in the game that Hardsuit Labs is continuing to develop'." And in this tweet Techland announces they are parting ways with Chris, who was contributing to the story of Dying Light 2:
We treat matters of sexual harassment and disrespect with utmost care, and have no tolerance for such behaviors - it applies to both of our employees as well as external consultants, Chris among them. This is why, together with Chris Avellone, we've decided to end our cooperation.

We are still working towards delivering the experience we promised in dying light 2. Both our narrative team, which Chris supported, and the whole development team of dying light to continue progressing efficiently, according to the plan revised at the beginning of the year.

MS Ending Mixer

In post on Xbox Wire Microsoft announces they are giving up on Mixer and will work to transition the Mixer community over to their BFFs at Facebook Gaming. The Mixer Blog explains what users can do with Mixer spacebux in the scant month before the changeover completes, and those with balances or subscriptions after the shift to the new platform will receive an Xbox Gift Card in compensation. The Verge reports that streaming stars with big money Mixer exclusivity deals like Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, Cory "King Gothalion" Michael, and Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek are being released from their contracts and are now free to stream elsewhere. According to a tweet from Rod Breslau Ninja and Shroud got full payouts (made $30 million and $10 million, respectively) after refusing offers of double that for Facebook exclusivity (thanks The Loadout). Microsoft's explanation of why they are making this change definitely includes words:
Ultimately, the success of Partners and streamers on Mixer is dependent on our ability to scale the service for them as quickly and broadly as possible. It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences we want to deliver to gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform. To better serve our community’s needs, we’re teaming up with Facebook to enable the Mixer community to transition to Facebook Gaming.

Beginning today, Facebook Gaming will make it easy for anyone in the Mixer community to join, if they choose to do so. We will work to transition the Mixer community over the next few weeks. Starting on July 22, all Mixer sites and apps will redirect users to Facebook Gaming. For Mixer Partners, streamers, and viewers, we expect you’ll have many questions – you can find more details on how we will support the transition to Facebook Gaming on the Mixer blog here.

Transitioning the Mixer community is a key part of a broader effort that Xbox and Facebook Gaming are embarking on, bringing new experiences and opportunities to Facebook, where every month more than 700 million people play a game, watch a gaming video, or interact in a gaming Group.

Secret Government Early Access

Secret Government is now available in Early Access on Steam for Windows, macOS, and Linux, offering a grand strategy game from publisher 1C Entertainment and developer GameTrek. This offers the chance to control world affairs as the leader of a shadowy secret global society. This is expected for full launch later this year after changes based on Early Access community feedback. They illuminate their plans with the Early Access Launch Trailer and reveal more of what they are conspiring on here:
Taking place from the 17th century to the modern days, Secret Government tasks you with leading a secret organization as you spread your influence across the globe, rewriting key historical events and deciding the fate of humankind. Manage your resources as you manipulate the actions of the world’s leaders. From strategically planting your agents in vulnerable regions, to infiltrating powerful institutions of authority, anyone can be your pawn as you exploit their resources and seize control over key decision-makers.

The Early Access version places you in the Glorious Revolution in England where you will face a hostile secret organization whose methods are similar to yours, but their goals are completely different. Act carefully not to raise the awareness of your clout in the country or otherwise you will be exposed and lose the level of influence already gained.
Continue here to read the full story.

May Digital Sales Analysis

A new May 2020 worldwide digital games market report from SuperData says that spending for last month was up 14% year-over-year compared with May 2019. Here's the update:
Digital games revenue totaled $10.2B in May, down 3% from April’s record-breaking total of $10.5B. Games continued their lucrative streak in May even though the month had few major game releases and an easing of COVID-19 lockdowns. Digital console revenue fell 27% from April to May due to fewer new releases, but a 3% growth in mobile earnings offset this gap. Overall spending was still up 14% over May 2019 ($8.9B), with PC up 8%, mobile up 14% and console up 23%.

Top Grossing Titles by Category
Worldwide, ranked by May 2020 earnings
PC CONSOLE MOBILE
1 League of Legends FIFA 20 Peacekeeper Elite
2 Dungeon Fighter Online Grand Theft Auto V Honor of Kings
3 Crossfire Animal Crossing: New Horizons Roblox
4 Fantasy Westward Online II NBA 2K20 Pokémon GO
5 Roblox Fortnite Gardenscapes
6 World of Warcraft West Call of Duty: Modern Warfare PUBG Mobile West
7 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Final Fantasy VII Remake Candy Crush Saga
8 Fortnite Madden NFL 20 Coin Master
9 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Minecraft Dungeons Last Shelter: Survival
10 World of Tanks MLB The Show 20 AFK Arena
Source: SuperData Arcade. Please visit http://bit.ly/sdarcade for more info.
© 2020 SuperData. A Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved
SUPERDATA
A NIELSEN COMPANY

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Op Ed

  • GamesIndustry.biz - How the games industry can put its diversity pledges into action.
    "The real problem doesn't lie with finding resources if a studio, publisher or individual is willing to put the time in. It's the refusal of thinking of diversity as an absolute necessity in the games industry that hinders its growth, a refusal itself based on the faulty assumption that consumers are predominantly white, or, perhaps more damaging, that Black characters and their storylines can be created by white teams without input from Black people. While sensitivity readers and community feedback specifically from Black players are vital tools at present to ensure accuracy, teams without any Black employees tend to unwittingly enforce stereotypes, as has just happened at the reveal of Neostream's Little Devil Inside."

More Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad Rumors

Eurogamer says it "understands" that Warner Bros. will officially announce a Suicide Squad game and a new Batman game called Gotham Knights at the upcoming DC Fandome event in August. They do not state where this understanding originates, but it supports speculation based on this weekend's discovery of new domains for SuicideSquadKillTheJusticeLeague.com, SuicideSquadGame.com, and GothamKnightsGame.com. They say the Gotham Knights game is being developed by WB Montreal and is the game that all the Court of Owls hints have been teasing. They report the Suicide Squad game is in development at Rocksteady, but that we shouldn't expect to see too much of it soon, as it's further off from launch.

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 Revealed

In a post on Steam, CI Games officially announces Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, saying they are aiming at an autumn release for this first-person shooter sequel. They point to a Coming Soon landing page, but there's just an image there for the moment. For now they are just telling us we should stay tuned for more details.

Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter Surfaces

Iron Wolf Studio announces Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter, an upcoming tactical simulator that recreates the tension of World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. This will put you in command of an American destroyer protecting a convoy from German U-boats. Word is: "The player will take full command of USS Janson (DD-524), a fictional Fletcher-class destroyer based on USS Kidd (DD-661), which will lead the escort group of an important convoy. It will be assisted by three AI-controlled destroyers that the player will be able to give orders to. From setting the formation, through ordering attacks and search plans to picking up survivors." You can see the concept in a new cinematic trailer and keep up with the game though its Steam Listing, which shows a Q3 2021 release date. The trailer refers to this as episode one, as they plan future installments to expand the game into the Pacific while adding surface and surface-to-air combat. Here's more:
The plot of Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter will be conveyed via highly detailed cutscenes which strongly tie into the game’s choice and consequence mechanic. The captain’s strategic decisions, as well as certain story-related aspects of the game will be controlled by the player, with consequences for both the situation in combat and plot development. Gameplay as such will focus on several key locations on-board: the combat information centre, the bridge, the sonar room, the engine room, and observation posts. The player will be able to switch between these locations at any moment in the course of the battle.
Continue here to read the full story.

Warface Update Lets You Play as the Enemy

The Warface Website announces the Blackwood update is now live for the Windows version of the free-to-play first-person shooter and coming soon to consoles. This allows players to take on the role of the opposition Blackwood forces while also adding a new special operation with new open-ended missions. This Gameplay Trailer highlights the changes, and you can read on for more details:
Set on a volcanic island in the Northern Atlantic, the new Blackwood PvE mission continues the story of the WEGA-5 squad, first introduced in Operation Mars. The player’s squad has been captured by rival corporation Blackwood and are forced to fight against their own allies. That means that for the first time in the shooter’s history, players will be controlling Blackwood soldiers fighting against Warface corporation.

Operation Blackwood will also be the game’s first non-linear co-op mission. Players will be deployed at a starting hub location and are free to choose which of three enemy bases to assault first. Every base is guarded by a unique set of enemy troops, led by a powerful boss. Boss battles are packed with unique features. Players have to split up to perform fundamentally different tasks. Once players destroy one boss, the rest becomes more difficult to defeat. The difficulty sets the boss’s behavior and the tactics players will have to adapt to destroy it.
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Fishing: North Atlantic in August

Misc Games announcing that Fishing: North Atlantic will spawn in August, offering a sequel to Fishing: Barents Sea. They say: "Climb into the captain’s chair once again, this time in the majestic Canadian waters of Nova Scotia, braving the high seas across six realistic ports and fish habitats in search of ocean gold! " You can now wishlist the game on Steam, as they highlight in a new Steam Wishlist Trailer. Here's more:
Plan the course of your fishing career throughout the whole year - brave rain and snow while looking for the best fishing zones, all while keeping the ever watchful eye on your quotas. Fishing: North Atlantic features a huge range of 25 handcrafted boats, new weather systems with upgraded atmospheric effects and all new fishing methods such as harpoons and deep-line-buoy-fishing. The new advanced fish-AI requires the use of GPS and sonar to follow the movement of your prey, depending on weather and water temperatures. Start with harpooning swordfish and tuna and work your way up to setting deep lines to catch snow crabs or lobster and experience life as a deep sea fisherman without actually getting wet!
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The Academy: The First Riddle Released

The Academy: The First Riddle is now available for Windows and macOS on Steam, as well as for mobile. This offers a Professor Layton-style puzzle game in Harry Potter-esque setting, as shown in the Release Trailer. Here's word from Croatian developer Pine Studio:
“The Academy: The First Riddle is our most ambitious title to date, featuring breathtaking environments, captivating lore, and hundreds of challenging puzzles for players to sink their teeth into,” says Pine Studio’s Boris Barbir. “We’re eager for fans to unwrap the mystery surrounding Arbor’s Academy and shed light on the secrets hiding among the school’s darkest corridors.”

The Academy: The First Riddle places fans in Arbor’s Academy, a mysterious institution known for accepting only the world’s best and brightest students. As a freshman named Sam, players will solve over 200 puzzles and riddles scattered across the school’s campus. Over the course of this roughly 20-hour adventure, students will meet an array of memorable characters who will assist them on their quest to uncover the academy’s cryptic history.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

Happy birthday Quake, as it was 24 years ago today that the shareware version of id's first-person shooter was released. The game more-or-less marked the dawn of such games offering including full 3D, client-server multiplayer, and esports. It also marked the dawn of websites dedicated to game news, and I've noted often in the past, you would not be reading these words were it not for Quake. So here's a hats off to John Carmack, John Romero, Michael Abrash, American McGee, John Cash, Sandy Petersen, Tim Willits, Adrian (no relation) Carmack, Kevin Cloud, Trent Reznor, and the late Paul Steed for creating a game with such an enduring legacy.

Obituary: Paolo Giorgio Ferri, Hunter of Looted Antiquities, Dies at 72. Thanks Neutronbeam.

Quaking Links
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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