Archived News:

Tuesday, Jul 21, 2020

For Honor Free Weekend Coming

Ubisoft announces a free For Honor weekend will get underway on Thursday. The melee fighting game will be on sale for 80% off, and if you decide to pick it up your progress during the free period will be retained. Here's the plan:
For Honor will be free to download and play on Xbox One, PS4, and PC from July 23-26, giving players the chance to cross swords with Vikings, Samurai, Knights, and Wu Lin across a wide variety of battlefields and game modes. The free weekend is also a chance to check out some of the recent additions of the Year of Reckoning, including a new Battle Pass and a rework for the Centurion.

The free weekend kicks off at 12:01 AM PDT on July 23 for PS4 and Xbox One; at 6:00 AM PDT on PC via Uplay and the Epic Games Store; and at 10:00 AM PDT via Steam. (Pre-load is also available on some platforms; PS4 players can start pre-loading at 12:00 AM PDT on Tuesday, July 21, while PC players on Uplay and Epic can start the download at 9:00 AM PDT.) PS4 and Xbox One players have until 11:59 PM PDT on July 26 to try everything included in the Standard Edition of For Honor, including the campaign and multiplayer modes, while PC players can keep battling until 1:00 PM PDT on July 27.

Rocket League Leaving Steam for Epic Games Store; Going F2P

Psyonix announces that Rocket League will go free-to-play this summer when it launches on the Epic Games Store. The move to a new storefront became an inevitability when Epic acquired Psyonix last year, but the switch in business models is unexpected. After the Epic Games Store launch the motorized sports game will no longer be offered to new players on Steam, but will still be playable (with cross-platform support) there. They also announce that those who've actually purchased the game will be granted Legacy status, which comes with some perks. Here are the details:
After nearly five years, millions of players, and billions of soccar matches played, it's time to talk about the next chapter of Rocket League. The game wouldn't be where it is today without our dedicated and amazing community. Today, we're excited to announce that we're gearing up to make that community even bigger. Beginning later this summer, Rocket League is going free to play!

What does this mean for the Rocket League gameplay you know and love? The core gameplay will remain the same, but we are refining the main menus to make exploring the game easier. Plus, we’re revamping and improving major features like Tournaments and Challenges, and introducing cross-platform progression! Rocket League action on the field will still be the same core, high-octane hybrid of sports and action you love today, and soon, even more players will share that love. That begins with Rocket League's release on its newest platform: the Epic Games Store.
Continue here to read the full story.

Fantasy Strike Now Free-to-Play

In other free-to-play news, Fantasy Strike is now free-to-play on Steam, offering unfettered access to this fighting game for Windows, macOS, and Linux. According to Sirlin Games: "Free-to-play, the good kind like DOTA2: Play all our characters online for free without any grinding or unlocks!" Here's word on how they plan to make their money and what this means to those who've already purchased the game: "First, the core pack: this gives access to five additional game modes: Arcade Mode, Survival, the awesome powerup craziness of Boss Rush, local versus, and online friend matches (founders who already bought the game already have and will retain all these modes). Next, there’s a lot of new cosmetics. Players can buy (sensible!) alternate costumes as well as alternate (non-gameplay) animations such as intros and win poses. Finally, there’s an optional subscription called Fantasy+." Here's an intro to the game:
If You’re New To Fighting Games
Designed to work great on keyboard, no need for a special controller. We’ve streamlined the genre to get you to the fun decision-making part as soon as possible. All moves are just a single button press, combos are easy, move lists are concise. We’ve cut the chaff to focus on the heart of the genre so we can show you why fighting games are awesome.

If You’re a Veteran
This game is designed by an ex-Street Fighter dev and hardcore player for play in tournaments. Mixups, rushdown, zoning, and the grapplers seeming too powerful on day 1. It’s got all that. And you can play it with pretty much anyone in the fighting game community, no matter what other fighting game they play, because you can all reach basic competency in Fantasy Strike in minutes and start playing for real. Plus you can play with a joystick, gamepad, Guitar Hero controller, or whatever else you want.

Star Wars: The Old Republic on Steam

In still more free-to-play news, the Star Wars: The Old Republic Website announces this free-to-play Star Wars MMORPG is now available on Steam. Word is: "The Steam platform provides a new way for players--Padawan and Master alike--to play, discuss, and experience The Old Republic. Now you can earn new trading cards, emoticons, and more all while playing your original characters with full cross-save and crossplay, on or off the Steam platform!" Here's a refresher on the game:
STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™ is the only massively multiplayer online game with a Free-to-Play option that puts you at the center of your own story-driven STAR WARS™ saga. Play as a Jedi, a Sith, a Bounty Hunter, or as one of many other iconic Star Wars roles and explore the galaxy far, far away over three thousand years before the classic films. With 5 narrative expansions, become the hero of your own STAR WARS adventure as you choose your path down the Light or Dark side of the Force™.

Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break Rolls Out

Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break is now available for Windows on Steam as well as for Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The Launch Trailer offers a look (we won't even put a Rick Astley video there despite the temptation to Rock Roll everyone). Here's word on the new installment in the series:
Independent publisher Modus Games with developers ACE Team and Giant Monkey Robot today rolled Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break to release on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The Stadia version will release on August 14, 2020, and will be free for Stadia Pro subscribers. Check out the brand-new launch trailer now:

Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break delivers on the tower defense-style strategy and arcade-paced action of its predecessors while bringing new innovations to the series such as its robust level creator. Fans now have the chance to design their own courses and share them with the Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break community, giving the experience endless replayability as players bring their dream creations (or fiendishly tough challenges) to life.
Continue here to read the full story.

Blightbound Open Beta This Weekend

Ronimo Games' multiplayer dungeon crawler Blightbound is holding an open beta test this weekend on Steam in advance of its Early Access launch on July 29th. Here's what publisher Devolver Digital says about the plan: "The Open Beta is the perfect chance to preemptively nail down a party's co-op dynamics within this dark and stylish multiplayer dungeon crawler before it welcomes mages, warriors, and assassins into its Steam Early Access version on July 29 with a 10 percent discount from $19.99." Here's a refresher on the game:
Blightbound is a multiplayer dungeon crawler that tasks three heroes to venture down from their mountain refuge to face the abominations of the Blight - a mysterious and corrupting fog that enshrouds the land.

Explore handcrafted dungeons, fight a terrifying cadre of mystical and monstrous enemies, grab valuable loot and recover fallen heroes to expand your roster of available warriors. Each player will fulfill a specific role on the team - warrior, assassin, or mage - to overcome colossal bosses and solve clever puzzles.

On Sale

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Op Ed

  • Gamasutra- Morgan Baker's Blog - Deaf Accessibility in Video Games.
    "Deaf accessibility tools need to be integrated during this pre-production phase. Once the game enters production, it is extremely difficult to go back and say, “Hey remember all those sound effects we made? Turns out they aren’t accessible to deaf people.” Sure, it’s easy to add some subtitles, but what about all the other sound cues? There will be a lot of backtracking and last-minute, imperfect solutions might be implemented."

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: This very good dog can talk to her owner.

Crown Trick Announced

Team17 announces Crown Trick, a Prince Andrew-free roguelike adventure/RPG coming to PC and Switch in Q3 of this year from Tencent Games' NExT Studios. Word is: "Set in a procedurally generated maze-like dungeon, Crown Trick is steeped in strategic, synchronous, turn-based gameplay where enemy decisions and actions are only revealed when players make their moves, and features hundreds of weapons, skills, and items on hand to customise and evolve the combat style as the quest progresses." Here's an Announcement Trailer and here's more:
finalist in the Indie Prize (Asia) 2019 Awards, Crown Trick is set in the daunting Nightmare Realm, a labyrinthine, underground world filled with monsters and traps. Players will have to master the elements and combine dozens of skills, while planning the best strategy, to overcome deadly enemies that stand still until their plan of attack is executed. As the quest continues, players will have the opportunity to gain access to high-level skills – Familiars – secured from the elite monsters that roam the dungeon, increasing the chances of both success and survival.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ubisoft Apology

Here's a further follow-up to the story below and the Ubisoft situation in General. An article on Numerama, which is written in French, discusses the contents of a video in which Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot discusses what's being done to change the company's culture (thanks ResetEra). Word is this was not distributed externally, but they say they were able to access it through several sources. The video apparently includes an apology, with Guillemot saying he is "véritablement désolé" which according to a machine translation roughly means "really sorry." Here's a bit more of a translation discussing further measures they are taking going forward:
For 10 minutes, Yves Guillemot announces a series of measures intended to "change Ubisoft for the better ." In addition to the measures already announced , such as the use of outside consulting firms to carry out surveys, the creation of a "Head of Workplace Culture " position and the setting up of an alert system internally, the company now wants to go further.

A "Support and Recovery Center ," intended for victims of harassment, will be created and will allow them to be put in touch with specialized psychologists. The center will be managed by an" independent partner ," it is specified, who also manages the reception of messages from employees wishing to testify to problematic behavior. In addition, "all employees will have to follow training in order to prevent harassment and discrimination," and managers will be obliged to follow "intensive" courses.

More on the Ubisoft Scandal

A new story on Bloomberg delves further into the allegations of sexual misconduct embroiling Ubisoft that have resulted in the departure of some high profile staff at the French publisher. This is paywalled, but has saved everyone some money by springing for this and summarizing the report. This includes more on Serge Hascoët, the company's chief creative officer until he left earlier this month. Word is: "Hascoët is alleged to have regularly held company meetings in strip clubs, to have made sexually explicit comments to staff and to have given colleagues weed-laced cakes without their knowledge." The article states that influence from Hascoët and Ubisoft marketing were the reasons female characters were not given a more prominent role in the Assassin's Creed series:
New claims include a reduction in screentime for Victorian London-set Assassin's Creed Syndicate co-star Evie, whose eventual role was made lesser in favour of her brother Jacob.

The same happened in Ancient Egypt-set Assassin's Creed Origins, when its original pitch to "injure or kill off" main character Bayek in favour of his wife Aya was scrapped.

The same happened in Ancient Greece-set Assassin's Creed Odyssey, when its original pitch was to have Kassandra the only playable character. This too was ditched to give players a choice between Kassandra and her brother Alexios.
Continue here to read the full story.

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) Early Access Next Month

Oliver Keppelmüller announces the first shots will be re-fired at Fort Sumter on August 21st with the Early Access release of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) on Steam. This real-time strategy game will allow you to play as either side as you recreate 11 historical battles from the war between the states. This Pre-Alpha Trailer offers an early look while this more recent trailer shows a bit of the battle of Gettysburg from the beta. Here's more:
Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) is a real-time strategy game combining a strategic campaign with tactical battle game-play. Run your nation, muster, manage and support great armies, and maneuver them to defeat the enemy. Once the opposing armies meet, command your troops to victory in battles fought on historical battlefields.
Continue here to read the full story.

Solar System Colonist Announced

Publishers PlayWay and Game Hunters announce Solar System Colonist, developer Asteroid Miners' upcoming exploration game set in space, where no one can hear you whining about wanting to go to Toshi Station to pick up some power converters. This trailer offers a quick look, and the game's Steam Listing says this is coming soon." Here's the quick pitch:
Solar System Colonist is a game that will allow you to conquer the solar system. All you have to do is prove that you are a relentless space colonist! Pilot the ship, choose the planet you want to inhabit and build a new home on it. But remember! There are no rules or laws in space...

Asteroid Miners, GameHunters & PlayWay S.A. will give you soon the control wheel of a space airship, which you can navigate between space debris, following the route to your new home. You can also learn the history of different planets and influence their future; they can become outposts of trade between colonies, research facilities or military bases. And this is just the beginning of what the game offers!
Continue here to read the full story.
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