Archived News:

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2020

Grounded Early Access

Early Access to the Windows edition of Grounded is now underway on Steam, offering the first chance to play Obsidian Entertainment's new survival game. Here's the most recent trailer for the game from the recent Xbox Showcase Trailer. This shows off the concept familiar from Land of the Giants, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Ant Man, depending on your era. Here's the description:
The world is a vast, beautiful and dangerous place – especially when you have been shrunk to the size of an ant. Explore, build and survive together in this first person, multiplayer, survival-adventure. Can you thrive alongside the hordes of giant insects, fighting to survive the perils of the backyard?

Explore this immersive and persistent world, where the insect life reacts to your actions.

Shelter and tools are critical to your survival. Build epic bases to protect you and your stuff from the insects and the elements. Craft weapons, tools, and armor, allowing you to better fight, explore and survive.

You can face the backyard alone or together, online, with up to three friends - the choice is yours.

Uncover the secrets lurking in the shadows of Grounded as you freely explore the backyard and progress through its mysterious story.
Continue here to read the full story.

Destroy All Humans! Released

Destroy All Humans! is now available for Windows and consoles, offering a modernized remake of this action/adventure game first released back in 2005. You can pick this up for PC on GOG.com or Steam and you can also get a Steam key on Green Man Gaming for 14% off with the code NEW14 and Blue's News will receive a commission. If you are interested in one of the special editions with physical rewards you should go through the official website. Here's a Crypto-137 Edition Trailer and here's a DNA Collector's Edition Trailer showing those off. The release is accompanied by the return of the playable demo which is likewise available on GOG.com and Steam. Here's the Release Trailer and here's more on the game:
The cult-classic returns! Terrorize the people of 1950s Earth in the role of the evil alien Crypto-137. Harvest DNA and bring down the US government in the remake of the legendary alien invasion action adventure. Annihilate puny humans using an assortment of alien weaponry and psychic abilities. Reduce their cities to rubble with your flying Saucer! One giant step on mankind!
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Phantasy Star Online 2 on Steam Next Week

Phantasy Star Online 2 is getting set to make its previously announced debut on Steam on August 5th. This comes just as Episode 4 launches in the free-to-play online RPG, and here's the Episode 4 Announcement Trailer with a look at what to expect from that. SEGA is also planning special rewards for those who play the game on Steam, and this post has more details on that along with a Steam Launch Rewards Trailer. Here's a bit on the plan:
The Phantasy Star Online 2 story continues in Episode 4 as players wake from a long sleep to find that there has been an internal invasion of fake ARKS members, mysterious enemies called Phantasms appear, and a new planet has been discovered in another dimension – Earth. ARKS will be able to unlock a new level cap and travel to new locations like Tokyo and Las Vegas in the pursuit of solving the mystery of the mysterious black shadow and purge the planet of the most powerful enemies encountered yet, including the mysterious organization called Mother Corps.

Phantasy Star Online 2 players are invited to join together online to explore numerous worlds with friends and experience PSO2's unparalleled action combat and character customization. Choosing from four unique races and nine classes, players can join forces with up to eleven other operatives at a time to experience unforgettable battles and boss fights.
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Travellers Rest Early Access

Travellers Rest is now available in Early Access for Windows on Steam, offering the chance to get in touch with your inner Jon Taffer and do a bar rescue on an inn that looks like it comes straight out of an old-school RPG. You can see this in action in the Updated Early Access Trailer. Here's a description:
Travellers Rest is a tavern management game where you can brew your own beer, run a farm, and build relationships. You are an innkeeper, on a journey to transform a run-down tavern into a bustling social space. Based in a cheerful fantasy setting, Travellers Rest is home to people to meet, places to explore, and lost magic. Along your journey you’ll discover new things to brew, farm, cook, and build to create your perfect fantasy tavern.
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

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Op Ed

  • Gamasutra - Op-Ed: Game development in a time of upheaval.
    "I believe that today there are few opportunities greater than delivering authenticity in our characters, which is an endeavor that has had special importance to me. As an Asian American who rarely saw characters who looked like me, I am keenly aware of the power of seeing yourself in the media you consume: an affirmational experience that for too many groups has been absent. Moving forward, my goal is to continue to tackle this issue, and find ways to continue to expand the viewpoints games can represent."

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Honest Trailers - E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Thanks Ant.

Othercide Released

How long, how long will I slide? No longer, as you can now take it on the Othercide on Steam with the Windows release of this new turn-based tactics game from Lightbulb Crew. Here's the official Launch Trailer, and here's more on the game, which is also available for Xbox One, and PlayStation 4:
Lead your army of Daughters to battle with all the skill you can muster. Your prowess in combat will decide their fate, shape their abilities and personality. Make the toughest decision and sacrifice one to heal another - survivors will get stronger, ready to fight the next battle.

Combat is an intricate dance of spectacular actions and counters: plan ahead of time and set up impressive chains of abilities to outsmart the enemy. Fight in epic boss battles against the sources of Suffering - dread creatures pulled from the worst of Humanity’s crimes against itself.
Continue here to read the full story.

Maid of Sker Released

Maid of Sker is now available for Windows and consoles, with the PC edition available on Steam. This is a first-person survival/horror game set in a remote hotel "with a gory and macabre history from British folklore." Don't Overlook the Official Trailer and read on for more:
Steeped in rich Welsh folklore, Maid of Sker draws players back to 1898 to venture through the notoriously macabre Sker Hotel. With multiple ways for your stay at Sker Hotel to come to an end, use your time wisely as you navigate the halls and grounds, employing no-weapon survival tactics, and relying on your ability in keeping quiet to keep breathing.

Richard Pring, Game Director said, “we’re proud to announce that Sker Hotel is now open for reservations. We hope guests take in the sights and sounds, and sample the litany of delights we have on offer for them - they’re set to have an unforgettable experience!”
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Dr. Derk's Mutant Battlegrounds Early Access

Early Access to Dr. Derk's Mutant Battlegrounds is now available for Windows and macOS on Steam, offering a "wonky" new MOBA with stark untextured models. This features neural network training of characters based on the OpenAI that beat a team of professionals at Dota 2 a couple of years ago. Interestingly they are charging $4.99 for the game in a genre where all the major titles have long since gone free-to-play. Here's the Launch Trailer and here's more:
Dr. Derk’s Mutant Battlegrounds is an experiment in using deep neural networks in a game. As a player you train agents, “Derklings”, in a MOBA-style setting, and battle other players teams. The Derklings can be equipped with a number of upgrades, and the challenge is to figure out the best way to train and equip them to beat other teams.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Pegasus Expedition Announced

Developer Kalla Gameworks announces The Pegasus Expedition, a grand strategy game set in the 23rd century. This involves an inadvertent war set in space, where no one can hear you sing along with the car radio. Here's a Teaser Trailer with enough static images and exposition to make Ken Burns proud, and here's the pitch:
The Pegasus Expedition is a story-driven grand strategy game set two centuries into the future, in a key moment in humankind’s survival. Facing an overwhelming threat at home, humanity sends an expedition to the Pegasus Galaxy, with the goal of finding a refuge for the population of Earth, only to find themselves in the middle of an interstellar war they inadvertently started.

As you lead one of these fleets, your mission soon transitions from exploration to governance, conquest, and eventually a fight for survival. Players will experience a challenging story where nothing is self-evident, and every decision will have its consequences.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Long Gate Delayed

The Long Gate is playing the long game, as developer David Shaw announces a delay that pushes back its release to September 22nd. This first-person puzzle game was announced as coming this summer, so this is technically just a one-day setback to the first day of autumn. The macOS version will come later still, as only the Windows and Linux editions will be available at launch. Here's a refresher on the game:
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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For the People Early Access Delay

Early Access to For the People was planned to begin on Thursday, but this is being pushed back and now this will be released on Steam for the people on August 13th. The game's Russian publisher and developer say the extra time is to iron out some issues to ensure a quality release: "We are at the point where the game is already in the final stages of development and QA testing but still requires a bit more time to reach the required level of polish. As such, we made the decision to add a few more weeks to the schedule and ensure that you can enjoy the best possible version of For the People upon release. On behalf of the entire team, we apologize to all players who will now have to wait a little longer than expected." Here's a description of the game:
For the People is an acutely social visual novel set in an alternate history world plagued by totalitarianism and rampant bureaucracy, where you play the role of Francis River, the newly appointed mayor of the Iron-1 city, tasked with restoring public order and imposing the iron will of the party.
It falls to you to make difficult political decisions, maneuvering between the interests of your colleagues and the ordinary citizens, as well as participate in high profile investigations, while making sure to supply your city with everything it needs. There are no good and bad choices in your line of work, but everything you do will have consequences. Decide how you are going to approach every situation, take risks, write your own story, and watch your actions either make or break Iron-1!

Rising Star 2 Rises Next Month

Gilligames announces an August 12th release date for Rising Star 2, their upcoming rock star simulation that's a sequel to 2007's Shady O'Grady's Rising Star. They accompany the news with a recent video showing off customization options. The game is coming to Steam and their latest clip discusses Steam Achievements. Here's a bit on the game:
As a solo development project, the long-awaited sequel to ‘Shady O'Grady's™ Rising Star’ is a labor of love. As the rock equivalent of Football Manager, Rising Star 2 lets you customize your band, pick your set list, trash hotel rooms, rent your first digs, and secure a manager: it’s down to you to decide how your path to stardom plays out.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

We revived our Monday Night Mutant gaming group last night with an evening of Borderlands 3. Our game sessions have always been a little chaotic, and the wonky interface of the looter-shooter sequel added fuel to the anarchy. The game met with mixed reviews, but we had a lot of fun to start, so I'm looking forward to further adventures in the wasteland.

Skag-Infested Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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The Funnies

Monday, Jul 27, 2020

Steam Adding Playtest Feature

SteamDB's xPaw tweets that Valve has quietly added a new feature to Steam to allow publishers and developers to offer direct access to playtesting their games (thanks Gamasutra). This can be seen on the Steam Listing for Total War: ELYSIUM where there's a button to request access to the Total War: Elysium Playtest. This is the explanation this carries: "Request access and you’ll get notified when the developer is ready for more participants."

Earthlock 2 Announced

We have an official announcement from Snowcastle Games for Earthlock 2 to go along with the Teaser Trailer that surfaced this morning. Word is the action/adventure sequel is in development for Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. A Steam Listing is now online and you can sign up for a newsletter on the Snowcastle Games Website. Here's more:
The Earthlock series is set on the planet of Umbra, which has stopped spinning on its axis, meaning half of the world is completely shrouded in darkness, while the other half is constantly baked in sunlight. Along the border in the middle, there is an area that gets the best of both worlds. The game’s story centres around a group of friends who must set out to find and rescue their missing family members.

The original Earthlock was a very classic turn-based late 90s JRPG-style experience, but with the success of the first game giving the team ample opportunity to grow, Earthlock 2 will take the franchise to the next level. Earthlock 2 will be an open-world action RPG with complex interlocking systems that work together to offer players extensive freedom to customise their own experience. There is a lot more about the game to share, but for now please enjoy this first tease of the game and one of the key gameplay possibilities that Earthlock 2 will explore:
Continue here to read the full story.

XR Revenue Projections Rise

A SuperData XR Quarterly Update on XR sales projects that XR hardware and software revenue is now expected to approach the $7 billion plateau. Here's their analysis:
XR hardware and consumer software revenue is now projected to reach $6.9B in 2020, up from a prior estimate of $6.3B. Popular VR headsets were hard to come by in Q2 as COVID-19 disrupted supply chains just as consumer demand for in-home entertainment rose. Continued strong demand, combined with new headsets launching in the second half of the year like the HP Reverb G2, mean VR hardware earnings are expected to generate $2.5B in 2020 and rise slightly year-over-year.

The Oculus Quest outsold the PlayStation VR in Q2 (177K vs. 155K) despite supply constraints. The PlayStation VR was the top-selling VR headset from Q4 2017 to Q3 2019, but this is the second quarter (after Q4 2019) that the Quest has topped the charts. The Quest (including future hardware updates) is expected to be the top-selling VR hardware through at least the end of 2021 now that Oculus has discontinued the Go headset to focus more fully on its higher-end standalone device.
Continue here to read the full story.

NVIDIA Hotfix

NVIDIA now offers a GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 451.85 to address some specific issues with their latest Game Ready Driver 451.67 (thanks PC Gamer). Among other things, these fix a crashing problem with Shadow of the Tomb Raider and a texture corruption issue with DEATH STRANDING. Here are the details:

This Hotfix driver resolves the following issues:

  • [Shadow of the Tomb Raider][DirectX 12]: The game may crash when launched with Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling enabled.
  • [Death Stranding]: Texture corruption may be observed during gameplay on GeForce GTX 16/RTX 20 series GPUs
  • NVIDIA Control Panel does not display the native resolution of some HDTVs with invalid timings
  • Some games may exhibit random freezes that lasts for a few seconds during gameplay.
  • Some displays may show a green tint when Windows Night Light is enabled
  • [Forza Motorsport 7]: Game starts to stutter after racing a few laps
  • [G-Sync Compatible] Adds support for the Samsung 27" Odyssey G7 gaming monitor
  • Windows 10 64-bit Standard Driver - Click Here
  • Windows 10 64-bit DCH Driver - Click Here

For assistance with choosing between Windows 10 Standard and DCH display driver, please visit the FAQ below:
NVIDIA DCH/Standard Display Drivers for Windows 10 FAQ

Synergia Released

Synergia is now available on Steam, offering a cyberpunk action thriller from solo developer Radi Art that got its start through a crowdfunding campaign. Here's a previously released Official Trailer with a cinematic look at the concept. Here's more on the story:
Cila, a veteran cop with a sour outlook and anger issues expects nothing more from life besides the smell of ozone, blinding neon lights and the ever-present manhole steam. At least, until a shady friend replaces her broken-down housedroid as a favor. Advanced, more efficient and remarkably perceptive, unit M.A.R.A. begins to penetrate Cila's toughened exterior and possibly even heal her new owner's old wounds – if Cila can decipher the recurring nightmare the process brings. Soon Cila and Mara forge a unique - if sometimes uneasy - bond. Unbeknownst to Cila, just as her life begins to find its new normal, the technological giant Velta Labs gets wind of Mara's existence and takes a mysterious interest in the android. A war unlike any before it is brewing on the horizon, its players are silently being selected and one android's fate may spell the difference between peace, war, the blossoming of a new religion, or a technological singularity beyond comprehension.
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

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Op Ed

  • GamesIndustry.biz - Lessons learned guiding Riot Games through a cultural crisis. By Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent.
    "As most people in our industry know, almost two years ago, Riot was rocked by a media firestorm. The reports -- which were spearheaded by investigative reporting from journalist Cecilia D'Anastasio, then with Kotaku now at Wired -- painted Riot as rife with sexism and toxic working conditions. In the weeks that followed, we passed through stages of denial, anger, depression, and then came to the acceptance that we needed to do more to weed out destructive behaviors and create a more inclusive culture."

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: DR. NO - James Bond Revisited. Thanks Ant.

SUCCUBUS: Prologue

A SUCCUBUS: Prologue is now available on Steam, offering the chance to sample this upcoming action/adventure where you play as a priestess of lust who battles opponents with demonic abilities and the power of bewbs. The Steam Listing for the full game still lists its release date as TBA. But you can ride the bus of the prologue for a taste, though it appears to be more censored than what we've previously seen. Here's what this demo includes:
UNLEASH YOUR RAGE
Become a demonic priestess of lust - Vydija, and use her unique skills to take revenge on your enemies.
Regain your kingdom making hell tremble under your hooves! Left no one alive if they won't bend the knee.

SUCCUBUS: PROLOGUE FEATURES
The Succubus Prologue is a part of the full version of the upcoming game - Succubus, and it includes:

Continue here to read the full story.

TOXICANT Early Access

Early Access to TOXICANT is now underway on Steam, offering a first crack at this survival/horror game previously known as Undermine. Here's an Early Access Trailer with a look, and here's what to expect:
TOXICANT (formerly Undermine) offers a sinister twist on the survival horror genre, featuring randomized levels and roguelike elements.

  • Traverse a series of increasingly difficult randomized levels, upgrading your stats and gear along the way
  • Use items like compasses, maps, beacons, and the MonPro 2000 to aid you in navigating the depths of the mines
  • Collect miner's notes and secret documents to learn the story of a conspiracy gone horribly wrong
  • Sample an assortment of nourishment and libations in your quest to survive: expired canned food, toxic mushrooms, rancid wine, and more!
  • Salvage old mining equipment and use it as a weapon, or a shield (Can't find any? How about a board with a nail in it!)

Continue here to read the full story.

UK Sales Chart

GfK Entertainment lists the top-selling games in the UK across all platforms for the week ending July 25th:

# Title Publisher Last Week
1 - Ghost of Tsushima Sony Computer Ent. 1
2 Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo 4
3 - FIFA 20 Codemasters 3
4 Paper Mario: The Origami King Nintendo 2
5 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Nintendo 6
6 The Last of Us Part II Sony Computer Ent. 5
7 Minecraft Nintendo 8
8 Grand Theft Auto V Take 2 7
9 Forza Horizon 4 Microsoft 12
10 Ring Fit Adventure Nintendo 20

Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

I completed a satisfying project yesterday when I put together a set of steel wire shelves to use as a pantry in the storage area adjacent to my office down here in the BlueTower man-cave. The tricky part is that this needed to be assembled within those tight quarters, and this turned out to be a bit of a circus. When I got it all put together I learned that what I thought would be a snug fit was a not-fit. I failed to account for a protruding two-by-four that made the shelves about one inch too wide to fit between the wall and a PVC sewer pipe by the ceiling. This meant I had to swap the location of the shelves with another smaller set I recently placed along the wall on the other side of that pipe. So I cleared off those shelves, and was able to tilt them to pass below the pipe. The larger shelves were a problem, however, as there was no angle that would allow them to fit under the same way. So I needed to partially disassemble them to make this work. It was a little annoying and frustrating to have to re-do the work of stocking the smaller shelf unit and assembling the larger one but I eventually got it all worked out and the shelves are in their new homes. We had a bit of a problem storing some of our food to start with, and with the additional stockpiling the pandemic lockdown inspired, this had become a bit of a crisis. So adding more shelf-space is a considerable relief that was well worth the aggravation.

Round-up Pantry
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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