Archived News:

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2020 Happy Canada Day, Eh?

Trackmania Released

Trackmania is now available for Windows on the Epic Games Store, offering the newest installment in this hard-driving action series. This comes as a free Starter Edition or a premium Standard Edition as well as a couple of different subscription versions just to keep us on our toes. Here's a Launch Trailer along with word the different forms of access:

  • Starter Access: Free for players to race solo or multiplayer on quarterly renewed official campaigns, including 25 tracks, allowing players to earn medals and record scores in the regional rankings. Players will be able to enjoy other player’s creations on the Arcade Channel, try various editors (tracks, replays and skins) and map review servers. The weekly Nations League is also available for casual competitions.
  • Standard Access: In addition to the free content, Standard Access expands the content available with player creations, including the “Track of the Day” selection, and full access to replay, track editors and map review servers. Additionally, players can participate in daily competitions and keep every “Track of the Day” and “Official” campaign track. One year of standard access is available for $9.99.
  • Club Access: Including the above, Club Access allows players to join their favorite clubs to access exclusive content and activities such as skin customization, special campaigns, online rooms, training tracks and competitions. They can also create their own club to share their creations and organize events. Players can participate in the Open Grand League, organized by Ubisoft Nadeo, and try to qualify for the Trackmania Grand League. One year of the Club Access is available for $29.99 or three years for $59.99.
Continue here to read the full story.

Real-Time(!) Worms Rumble Announced; Beta This Month

Team17 announces Worms Rumble, a new real-time installment in the long-wriggling series coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 this year. Beta testing begins on July 15th, and if you are interested, you can worm your way in by signing up on this page. Here's an Announcement Trailer, and the Steam Listing offers this announcement:
Everyone at Team17 is incredibly excited to introduce our very first real-time Worms title, so check out the trailer below:

Worms Rumble is unlike anything we have ever done with a Worms game before, so get ready for:

  • Real-time combat
  • 32 Player online matches
  • Battle Royale & Deathmatch modes
  • The largest maps in a Worms game
  • Solo & Squad based gameplay
  • New customisation options
  • Cross-play between PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5

We’ll also be fully supporting Worms Rumble with ongoing content updates following launch. These will include new arenas, new customisation items for your Worm and much more!

Continue here to read the full story.

On Ubisoft's "Mob-Like" Culture

Ubisoft has featured prominently in the recent flurry of stories of misconduct in the games industry, including a report earlier today about measures they are taking to repair their culture. There's an article on Gamasutra examining what lead to this point, as they look at "how the publisher enabled a culture of abuse and control." They cite some of the public reports from the past couple of weeks as well as conversations they've conducted with "multiple anonymous sources." This paints a disturbing picture:
These accusations don't only come from colleagues at a single Ubisoft studio, but from people based around the globe. Ubisoft Massive, Ubisoft Sofia, Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft Paris, and the Ubisoft North Carolina customer support center have all been named as the allegations continue, suggesting abuse and harassment are endemic at the Assassin’s Creed publisher.

Following those reports, multiple anonymous sources reached out to Gamasutra to provide further insight into the accusations and culture at Ubisoft, specifically calling out those at the top of Ubisoft's ranks for enabling misconduct by instilling a mob-like mentality that protects and even rewards abusers while "hushing" victims into silence.

Cyberpunk 2077 is DirectX 12 Only

An interview on PCGH reveals that Cyberpunk 2077 will not support Windows 8, as it has no fallback DirectX support besides DirectX 12 (thanks DSOGaming). Here's word:
➤ PCGH: You've opted to use Direct X 12 Ultimate. Will there be a fallback so gamers who are still running Win 7/8.x can also play? Was there a decision between the lower-level APIs DirectX 12 and Vulkan, and if so, why did you pick DX12?

Marcin Gollent: Thanks to the introduction of DX12 support for Windows 7 SP1 that Microsoft introduced last year, the game will run on this system. We do, and will continue to, test Cyberpunk 2077 on Windows 7 in an attempt to iron out any edge-cases that might arise. Unfortunately, Windows 8 didn't receive its variant of DX12 libraries.

Regarding DX12 Ultimate, Cyberpunk 2077 will work absolutely fine with all DX12-compatible GPUs. What the "Ultimate" feature set does is it allows us to do more if the hardware allows for it. We opted to go with DX12 for two main reasons. Firstly, it is the standard API for the Xbox platforms, and with the game also coming to Xbox One, we naturally wanted to have it implemented as soon as possible. Secondly, it is the birthplace of DXR, and given we had plans to invest in DXR very early on, that made the choice to go with DX12 a pretty straightforward one.

D3: Devolver Digital Direct Next Week

Devolver Digital announces they will present D3: Devolver Digital Direct on Twitch and Steam on July 11th at 3:00 pm EDT. This will offer a look at some of their upcoming game projects with what they paradoxically call a live pre-recorded presentation. Read on for more details in their marvelously self-deprecating announcement:
Amid a groundbreaking new level of tedious digital showcases, Devolver Digital aims to raise the bar for overrated marketing videos with this year’s Devolver Direct on July 11 at 12:00PM Pacific Time. The seventh best indie game label will step up to the plate once more and whiff real hard with a live pre-recorded presentation on Twitch [http://twitch.tv/twitchgaming] and Steam.

This year’s showcase continues the tradition of overpromises with new game reveals, gameplay reveals, release date announcements, and special guests from the industry to help usher in these important marketing bullet points. And it’s nearly all gameplay because that’s what the youths of today demand.

The astonishing misuse of marketing budget will end with a few surprises and game demos available to play by the unwashed masses including Carrion, Disc Room, and an unannounced game. Maybe another game too, who can really tell where this is all leading.

Minecraft Dungeons Jungle Awakens DLC Launches

Welcome to the Jungle! The Minecraft Website announces the new Jungle Awakens DLC is now available for Minecraft Dungeons. This even comes with something for those who don't pick it up, as they announce new free content for the base game, including a new map. Here's the Official Launch Trailer and here's word:
It only took one loud alarm, seven snooze reminders, and a stressed editor yelling “TODAY’S THE DAY, GET UP UPDATE!” Jungle Awakens, Minecraft Dungeons’ first DLC pack, is finally up and will be rolling out today on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One!

This update features everything you could wish for from an awakened jungle; from new missions and game mechanics, to never before seen mobs and items – as well as a… unique challenge.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos Next Month

Publisher Dear Villagers and developer Artefacts Studio announce an August 27th release date for The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos, their "offbeat" tactical RPG for PC, saying it is coming to Steam, the Epic Games Store, and GOG.com. Here's their recent PC Gaming Show Extended Gameplay Trailer narrated by Felicia Day, and here's word on the game:
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos is a turn-based tactical RPG chock-full of charm, humour and chaos! Leading a ragtag company of unlikely heroes, players will embark on an epic adventure through the dreadful dungeon of Naheulbeuk, utilising both “strength” and “smarts” to overcome the very worst that the evil lord Zangdar has to throw at them.

With a stellar voice cast lead by Felicia Day (The Guild, Geek & Sundry, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos combines the fun, creativity and chaos of an epic fantasy tabletop campaign with the challenge of the very best tactical RPG games, delivering an adventure unlike anything you’ve played before.
Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: 'Beavis and Butt-Head' Returning With Two New Seasons (and Spinoffs) at Comedy Central. The show that amazingly predicted how desperately we would all need TP for our bungholes.

Crysis Remastered Leak Causes Crisis, Delay

Many thought that the Crysis Remastered Trailer that leaked yesterday wasn't legitimate, as it wasn't up to expectations for the upcoming first-person shooter rework. Now a tweet from Crytek reveals that the trailer was real, and the negative reaction makes them recognize there is still work to be done to bring this up to snuff. They announce that they are delaying the game's release in order to work on it further. Here's their post on the topic:
As you know Crysis Remastered will be coming to the world this year - and at the same time Crisis IP will debut on Nintendo Switch!

Your passion for the Crysis franchise deserves an undeniably high-quality game, and we are committed to delivering just that. To ensure that we meet that commitment, we need to delay the launch date (all platforms) and trailer premiere by a few weeks. Because they already started, pre-orders for Switch will stay open, but pre-orders for all other platforms will be delayed as well.

The features you're looking forward to are already set, but we want to take the time on polishing the game. You might be aware of the leak yesterday, and we want you to know: we've seen all the reactions - the good and the bad - and we're listening! We're still working on a number of things in the game, as well as the storefront. Please keep the love coming, and rest assure, you'll have the game you love shortly!

This extra time until release will allow us to get Crysis Remastered up to the PC- and console-breaking standard you've come to expect from Crysis games. We hope you understand what we're up too - and that you stay with us while we take the time to make a few more improvements. Stay tuned, and we'll have that game, in your hands as soon as we possibly can.

We'll keep you updated on our progress, so please hang in there, and check back here for updates!

Dead Cells Sells Three Million Copies

Motion Twin announces that Dead Cells has sold three million copies since entering Early Access on Steam. They celebrate the milestone with the release of the 19th major update for the Windows, macOS, and Linux editions of the metroidvania inspired, action-platformer. They call this The Update of Plenty, and discuss it in a new video blog while offering the full patch notes here. Here's word:

Motion Twin and Evil Empire announced that Dead Cells has sold 3 million copies over the course of its lifetime since hitting early access on Steam in 2017 and that the title has received its 19th major update today, which is available now for PC with console planned for release in the coming weeks.

Update 19 makes a lot (no, a lot) of smaller changes to the game, including sweeping changes to items and weapons - many of which were completely reworked, nerfed or boosted.
Continue here to read the full story.

A Plague Tale: Innocence Sells Over a Million Copies

In more sales figure bragging, developer Asobo Studio and publisher Focus Home Interactive announce that A Plague Tale: Innocence has sold over one million copies worldwide spanning PC and consoles. Looking to add to that tally, they note that the Windows edition is 66% off on Steam as part of the ongoing Summer Sale. They point out that the adventure game appeared on many "Best of 2019" lists and was nominated at The Game Awards for Best Narrative. "The entire team at Asobo Studio is extremely proud of the path A Plague Tale: Innocence has taken in one year with Focus Home Interactive by our side," said David Dedeine, Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of Asobo Studio. "Every day more and more players are discovering the story of Amicia and Hugo, which is for us the greatest source of motivation. We can't wait to bring other adventures and strong emotional experiences!"

Cyberpunk 2077 Removing Phallic Symbols for Japan and Wall-Running for All

PC Gamer reveals that Cyberpunk 2077 will be censored in Japan, hearing from CD PROJEKT RED that the sci-fi RPG will remove nudity and "genital shaped objects." Word is: "the changes have been made in order to comply with the Japanese rating agency CERO's requirements. Instances of nudity will be covered up with underwear in Japan, including on the protagonist." Another thing that's being cut from the game in all regions is wall-running. This was previously shown off, but a recent article on GameReactor says this is being ditched. Level designer Max Pears explains they are apparently done banging their heads against the wall getting this to work:
"Ah, the wall running" Pears exclaimed, "that is something that we removed due to design reasons, but there's still going to be a lot of flexibility in how you move, that's for sure".

IL-2 Sturmovik: Desert Wings - Tobruk Announced

Publisher 1C Entertainment and developer Team Fusion Simulations reveal IL-2 Sturmovik: Desert Wings - Tobruk, saying this expansion for IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover (musical interlude) will take off this summer on Steam. This will bring more than 40 new aircraft and variants to this air combat simulator along with new tanks, artillery, vehicles, and ships. It also features a 385 square km map of World War II Tobruk in precise detail. Here's an Announcement Trailer and here's the flight plan:
In this exciting new IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover - Blitz Desert War expansion, you can fly with over 40 aircraft and variants from the Royal Air Force, the Luftwaffe or the Regia Aeronautica. See combat in the legendary Spitfire, sturdy Hurricanes, stubby Martlets, and rugged Kittyhawks, or take wing in deadly Messerschmitts and Macchis. The game introduces a flyable Wellington bomber, as well as updated versions of the Ju-88 and Heinkel 111H. Desert Wings allows bomber and fighter jocks of all skill levels the opportunity to fully challenge themselves in this historically based campaign.
Continue here to read the full story.

More on Ubisoft versus Misconduct

The repercussions of allegations of sexual misconduct continue at Ubisoft, as Gamasutra shares some internal email revealing how the company is dealing with the situation. Word is they are creating a "multidisciplinary working group" to find "better solutions and tools to detect, report and resolve any incident or serious problem without delay and in an impartial manner." This will include an "anonymous online reporting tool" they hope to have in place by the end of this month. Ubisoft was implicated in reports of harassment and other misconduct that surfaced last week that resulted in a leave of absence for Assassin's Creed creative director Ashraf Ismail and an internal investgation of their culture. They promised further steps, and the report on Gamasutra seems to outline some of them. Here's a bit:
Cornet, meanwhile, explained Ubisoft will also be launching an audit into its current processes and practices, along with several investigations that will be conducted by external partners including Rubin Thomlinson LLP and Reddock Law Group.

"These investigations can typically take two weeks to two months depending on the case. While an investigation is ongoing, we are not able to communicate on the details because we need to protect the confidentiality of all parties involved and avoid influencing the investigator’s work," wrote Cornet.

"Some of these investigations end in sanctions (warnings with required training, suspensions, dismissal), while others prove groundless. I hear the need for greater transparency, and one of the ways we will do that is by better tracking and sharing indicators on where we stand.
Continue here to read the full story.

Death Stranding and NVIDIA DLSS 2.0

NVIDIA announces details on their partnership with Kojima Productions to enhance the upcoming PC edition of Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima's action game. Showing things off in a Last Chance to Pre-Purchase trailer, they explain the game's support for DLSS 2.0 technology on NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards:
DEATH STRANDING is rendered by Guerrilla Games’ Decima Engine with beautiful, realistic photogrammetry textures, high definition models, and stunning landscapes. In addition, the PC edition of DEATH STRANDING is enhanced with a range of new features, headlined by NVIDIA DLSS 2.0. Powered by dedicated AI processors in GeForce RTX GPUs, called Tensor Cores, DLSS 2.0 is a deep learning neural network that boosts frame rates while generating beautiful, crisp game images. It gives gamers the performance headroom to maximize game settings and increase output resolutions, for a superior, higher-fidelity experience. To learn more, stay tuned to GeForce.com for our DEATH STRANDING DLSS article that’ll go live nearer to the game’s release.

“DEATH STRANDING already has the reputation of being a visual stunner, but NVIDIA DLSS 2.0 helps make the PC debut something special. The extra performance NVIDIA DLSS 2.0 delivers in DEATH STRANDING allows gamers to unlock the vast graphical potential of the PC platform by increasing the graphics settings and resolution, delivering on the vision we have for the game.” - Akio Sakamoto, CTO KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS.
Continue here to read the full story.

Solitaire 3D Released

Solitaire 3D is now available for Windows, Linux, and macOS on Steam, adding a third dimension to the classic card game that's more or less 2D in its physical form. Here's a video showing off the game's madcap action, and here's the pitch:
Featuring over 100 different solitaire games in a single product, Solitaire 3D contains all your favorite games – Spider, Pyramid, Klondike, Freecell, Tri-Peaks – and many, many more.

With Solitaire 3D you can also create your own personalised card decks, and print them out to create real-life card decks. Compete with players across the world with online high scores for each game.
Continue here to read the full story.

Party Animals This Year

Recreate Games announces Party Animals will come later this year to Windows and consoles, with the PC edition set to party on Steam. They claim that interest in this cutesy brawler was so great that demand for the demo crashed their server during the Steam Game Festival, Summer Edition, despite competing for attention with more than 900 other temporary demos. They offer a new trailer they call unofficial, so don't try and use this to get into any parties. Here's word:
Party Animals’ unique physics engine, developed in-house by Recreate Games, features completely physics-driven character movements, leading to seemingly haphazard, floppy encounters that are both unpredictable and hilarious. Will your punch land in that sweet spot and send your foe flying off the stage, or will it knock your own character completely off balance? Get tangled up in a rumble with your friends and frenemies, and all you can do is hope for the best!

Featuring a variety of game modes in local and online multiplayer, including free-for-all skirmishes and objective-based gameplay, Party Animals journeys through an eclectic mix of environments where anything can happen - such as all-out lollipop warfare between a cute dinosaur and a fluffy shark!
Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

  • PC Gamer - Steam's new Point Shop makes you face the awful truth of how much money you spend on Steam. Thanks Phlegm.
    "For Valve, the Points Shop seems like yet another clever way to keep people absorbed in the Steam ecosystem, a little nudge towards spending more money. But I'm not sure the designers thought about what Points do if you never spend them. They'll just keep piling up with every purchase. For me, I think the Points Shop may actually do the opposite of what Valve wants. It'll make me hesitate, just a little guilty, every time I'm about to buy a game."

Out of the Blue

So the wildlife dude came to check out the bird's nest in the vent in our home. Somewhere along the way I figured out this is actually the bathroom fan vent, rather than a dryer vent, so it wasn't likely to cause a fire, but it still seemed advisable to deal with it. He found no eggs, so he just removed the nest, rather than relocating it. So in the end this is something I could have done myself. But we no longer own a ladder tall enough, and there was nesting material that went way back there, suggesting more than one nest may have been involved over time. This required a lot of work to remove, so it was for the best that we got a professional. Especially considering how reasonable his rate turned out to be. After being used to pricing in the suburbs of New York City it's quite refreshing to experience how things are handled in our new more rural digs. The vent is now all cleaned out and has a much more critter-proof cover, so we can be pretty confident this is taken care of for the foreseeable future.

Nested Links
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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