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Friday, Jan 15, 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday

HITMAN 2 Levels for HITMAN 3 Require a Separate Purchase

A new HITMAN 3 Pre-Launch Guide paves the way for the game's launch on Wednesday. Developer IO Interactive reveals that the next installment in their assassination series will not actually allow players to access the locations from their copies of HITMAN 2 as promised when the game was announced. The complication is that the game will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store, which does not actually carry HITMAN 2. The HITMAN 2 locations will be sold separately through an Access Pass, and they say this will carry an 80% discount for two weeks after the HITMAN 3 launch on January 20th. They will be allowing players to carry over unlocks and progress from Steam versions of the prior games through a website. Continue here to read the full story.

Path of Exile: Echoes of the Atlas Released

Grinding Gear Games now offers the release of Echoes of the Atlas, the new expansion for Path of Exile, their free-to-play action/RPG. This is now available for Windows and macOS, and the console versions are expected to follow next week. Here's the Official Trailer for the add-on, and here is a feature list:
The Echoes of the Atlas expansion will deliver several new pieces of content and improvements such as:

  • End-game content including new pinnacle boss, The Maven, which requires players to defeat several bosses simultaneously in order to challenge her; New Boss Arena; Atlas Passive Skill Trees; 11 New Maps with Bosses; Craftable Watchstones and The Maven’s Orb.
  • New Ritual Challenge League
  • New items and skills
  • Rebalancing nineteen Ascendancy classes, three of which had major reworks
  • The return of Heist and Harvest leagues

Continue here to read the full story.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Development Update

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Development Update on Xbox Wire offers an Official Gameplay Teaser Video with in-game footage and details on a new protagonist named Skif. Here are some details on the clip:
The short scene takes place in the ruined school on the outskirts of the dead town of Pripyat. That’s an extremely dangerous place, and nobody would like to be here on their will. Still, the place doesn’t seem completely abandoned: there is a freshly started fire with a guitar nearby. However, Skif hardly has time to acknowledge that: he seems in a hurry. It looks like an inevitable danger is following him.

And here it is: an emission. A signature part of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, a powerful release of the anomalous energy from the center of the Zone. Emission happens from time to time and it’s extremely dangerous: it can kill you in the blink of an eye. When a stalker notices a start of emission, they should hide immediately and wait for the end of it, hoping they can get through. So that’s why Skif is in a hurry: he is certainly looking for cover in the nearby building.
Continue here to read the full story.

Humble Store Winter Sale

The Humble Store Winter Sale* is now underway, offering discounts up to 90% off hundreds of games. Also, there's still time to collect a free copy of Bomber Crew.* The sale will continue until January 28th at 1:00 pm EST.

*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item

Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 Announced

Publisher THQ Nordic and developer Feld Entertainment announce Monster Jam Steel Titans 2, a monster truck simulation coming to PC and consoles on March 2nd. Improvements over the original game include online multiplayer support, an expanded roster of trucks, and five new worlds. The Announcement Trailer offers a look at the fabled Mount Rushmore of monster trucks along with some gameplay. Here are some details:
Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 combines everything fans loved about the original and packs in more trucks, brand new worlds and online multiplayer! The expanded roster of trucks numbers 38 and includes fan favorites like Sparkle Smash, Megalodon, Higher Education, Avenger, and Backwards Bob! The five, brand new, in-game worlds expand on the Monster Jam universe, providing endless exploration and discovery for players. Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 also delivers on the competitive aspects racing fans crave, from head-to-head stadium racing to freestyle competitions to waypoint challenges. Players can challenge friends all over the globe with new online multiplayer up to six players. Follow @monsterjamgames for latest news and special discounts!
Continue here to read the full story.

Challenge Speedball Released

Challenge Speedball has sped out of Early Access and this Windows multiplayer paintball simulation is now available on Steam. This offers third-person shooter gameplay and the ability to design your own maps, as shown in this trailer. Here's the lowdown on gameplay and Speedball:
In this fast paced competition, teams of 1 to 5 players occupy a playing field filled with inflatable "bunkers". Each team tries to eliminate the other team by "marking" them with paint until they are all eliminated. They can also win by reaching the other team's home base.

Challenge Speedball is not just a paintball “shootout”, but a game involving much cooperation, communication and strategy among team players. In this time of COVID, this is a great opportunity for those who cannot leave home..

Express your creativity and design your players own look with custom jersey decals and colors. Give your player his/her own custom color paint balls.

Don’t like the playing field? Make your own with our easy and intuitive playing field generator. Upload all your creations to Steam Workshop to be shared with friends and even the whole Steam Community.
Continue here to read the full story.

Epic Sues Apple and Google in the UK

Epic Games is opening another front in their legal war against Apple and Google over Fortnite royalties. Epic's lawsuit against Apple is expected to start in January and they have also sued Apple in Australia. Now the BBC reports Epic is now also suing Apple and Google in the UK. Here are the details:
Epic Games alleges that both companies abuse their power by:

  • unfairly restricting competition from alternative app stores
  • stopping developers using their own payment-processing services for purchases
  • charging "unfair prices for the distribution of apps"

Epic Games is not seeking a financial payout but instead wants the court to order Apple and Google to:

  • reinstate Epic Games' software and accounts
  • let developers use their own payment-processing systems in their apps
  • let consumers download Epic Games' software outside of the App Store or Google Play

In a statement, Epic Games said: "We believe that this is an important argument to make on behalf of consumers and developers in the UK and around the world who are impacted by Apple and Google's misuse of market power."

Persona 5 Strikers Next Month

The Western release of Persona 5 Strikers is coming to PC and consoles on February 23rd, though players who preorder the Digital Deluxe edition will get to play the hack-and-slash sequel to Persona 5 four days early. A new All-Out-Attack Trailer accompanies the news, as do the following details:
Persona 5 Strikers takes players on an epic road trip with the Phantom Thieves, where they strike back against the corruption overwhelming cities across Japan. A summer vacation with close friends takes a sudden turn as a distorted reality emerges; reveal the truth and redeem the hearts of those imprisoned at the center of the crisis!

New story and sights - Persona 5 Strikers features a deep story campaign and thrilling combat that makes for a true Persona experience. Visit 6 different cities across Japan, cook tantalizing regional recipes, and lend a helping hand to those in need; then fight against the Shadows to uncover the source of the corruption within the Metaverse dungeons. Jump into the story whether you are a newcomer to the series or a longtime fan!
Continue here to read the full story.

Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition PC Details

Want to play Nioh 2 on PC? Nioh problem! Publisher KOEI TECMO and developer Team NINJA announce that Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition is still on track to launch on Steam on February 5th. They also unveil an early adopter bonus: "Also, players who already purchased their copy or who purchase their copy within the first three weeks from launch will receive the bonus pieces of armour “Sohaya Deserter Garb” and “Ornate Gold Armour” for use on their adventure." A PC Features Trailer shows off what to expect and they offer these details:
PC players will be able to enjoy the complete single-player and multi-player experience with crystal clear 4K Ultra-HD support, alongside ultra wide-screen compatibility, HDR monitor support, and 144Hz monitor support complete with silky-smooth gameplay at a consistent 60/120 FPS on compatible systems*. With full mouse and keyboard customization support, and gamepad compatibility, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the most definitive version of the title to date. To highlight these technical additions, Team NINJA released an action-packed new trailer to showcase the wide range of features on offer to PC players.
Continue here to read the full story.

Real Heroes: Firefighter HD Next Week

Ziggurat Interactive says Real Heroes: Firefighter HD will be released on January 21st, offering a first chance to play as a first responder in this updated first-person firefighting game. Real Heroes: Firefighter was originally released for Wii in 2012 and a remastered version for PC came in 2017. Now it's been modernized again, though this trailer shows that this is not the most HD of HD games. Here's more on this chance to kick ash and take flames:
Real Heroes: Firefighter HD is a first-person firefighting and rescue action game where players take on the heroic role of a real firefighter. As a newly graduated cadet starting out at a fire station in Los Angeles, the game’s hero must learn the tools of the trade, battle massive fires, and rescue citizens from deadly infernos. It’s time to put on a fresh pair of turnout pants, grab a Halligan, and take to the streets to battle man’s deadliest foe — fire!
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

I'm greatly looking forward to the premiere of WandaVision. It sounded quite unusual from when Marvel first revealed the show, and the scant details they've been offering in the lead-up to its launch have done nothing to diminish that impression. It looks like it will be fun to finally understand what's going on, though I imagine it will take a while to unravel, and I won't be surprised if it's a mystery that will span the entire season.

Visionary Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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