Archived News:

Saturday, Feb 20, 2021

Overwatch 2 Details

A new video from Blizzard from BlizzConline features Jeff Kaplan and the Overwatch team taking us behind the scenes of Overwatch 2, the upcoming new iteration of their multiplayer shooter. This offers a look at new Rome and New York maps, role updates, hero missions, progression, enemies, story development, and more. They say the game is currently playable, but they don't provide an outlook of when to expect the release of what they plan to be a "worthy successor to the original game. Additionally they offer three other new videos: An Overwatch Spotlight recapping the BlizzConline panels and events, and features on The Voices of Overwatch and Creating a Soundtrack. Finally, there's a recap of 55 new Overwatch 2 details revealed at BlizzCon 2021 on IGN along with a Jeff Kaplan Interview with even more on the game. Jeff tells us they plan on opening up with more communication about their progress going forward:
Our strategy for after BlizzConline in February is to be more communicative. I don't know if I can officially commit to monthly updates on Overwatch 2, but we definitely want to be more communicative. And our plan is not to go dark for an extended period of time. In fact, we were discussing as recently as yesterday the opportunity of there maybe being some cool stuff we could talk about in March or April to keep people updated and to keep people going. So it's very front-and-center in our mind to communicate more.
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Next Steam Games Festival in June

The Steamworks Documentation Website reveals the next Steam Game Festival will kick off on June 16th (thanks ResetERA). Word is:
The Steam Game Festival returns on June 16th, 2021! The Steam Game Festival is a multi-day celebration where fans can try out demos, chat with developers, watch live streams, and learn about upcoming games on Steam. For developers, the Steam Game Festival is an opportunity to get early feedback from players and build an audience for a future launch on Steam.

Wheeled Warriors: Ultimate Destruction Announced

PlayWay and Games Incubator announce Wheeled Warriors: Ultimate Destruction, a post-apocalyptic driving game that will let you get in touch with your inner Mad Max (or perhaps Taurus and/or Groove) when it's released on Steam. Here's a trailer with a look, and here's a bit on the game:

Games Incubator, part of the PlayWay Group, announces Wheeled Warriors: Ultimate Destruction - a game where you play the role of a driver in a post-apocalyptic world. You control an armored car that uses a variety of guns and armor elements. Choose the right equipment and accessories to create the perfect vehicle for racing in a brand new era.

Once you’ve built your dream machine of the wastelands, it’s time to test it out. Race against the drivers of other deadly cars and see if your design is the best of the best. Beat them with your superior driving skills or blast them to bits with your guns.
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Post-Apo Builder

Speaking of the inevitable apocalypse and PlayWay, the sim-crazed publisher is also working with Polish developer Septarian Games on Post-Apo Builder. This is a city-building game set in a post-apocalyptic future that's coming to Steam in Q3 of this year. Take a look at what to expect in the Reveal Trailer and read on for the details:
Build your own city in a post-apocalyptic future. Scavenge and fight for resources, everything counts! Restore civilization on the ashes of the fallen world! Explore wastelands to gather resources, protect and take care of your people!

Scavenge and gather for resources, everything counts! Build and manage city of survivors after a apocalypse. Take care of every aspect of life. Gather, build, farm, upgrade, win! Use parts of old technology to build machines, like cars, weapons and many others! Fortify your settlement and protect your people from raging animals and deadly bandits. Take command of your soldier and setup defenses. Fight off raiders, wild tribesman and natural disasters.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

We got off pretty easy again with the winter storm that ended yesterday, and are all cleared out already. We're not out of the woods though, as the next one is already expected to get underway tomorrow. I think I'm going to take advantage of the lull to pick up the makings of another batch of chili, which will be a nice way to stay warm if we get socked by the next one. Hope you are all safe and warm as well.

Chilly (Chili) Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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Friday, Feb 19, 2021

Diablo II: Resurrected Announced

Blizzard Entertainment announces Diablo II: Resurrected, confirming very long-running rumors that a remake of the classic action/RPG Diablo II is in the works. Word is: "Diablo II: Resurrected faithfully remasters Diablo II and its award-winning expansion with hauntingly detailed high-res 3D visuals and Dolby 7.1 surround sound, while preserving its timeless gameplay." This will include remade versions of all 27 minutes of the game's memorable cinematic cutscenes. There will also be an option to play this in throwback 2D sprite-based mode for an experience that's even closer to the original. This is coming to PC and consoles this year, and they are accepting signups for an upcoming technical test on diablo2.com (though the site isn't live as of this moment). Here's word:
Diablo® II, one of the most acclaimed titles in PC gaming history, returns . . . and Hell has never looked better. Blizzard Entertainment today revealed Diablo II: Resurrected™, the definitive remastering of Diablo II and its Lord of Destruction® expansion—two hallmark entries in the company’s genre-defining action role-playing series.

Diablo II was hailed by Time magazine as “arguably the best role-playing game of all time, the best dungeon-crawler of all time and the best PC game of all time.”* Diablo II: Resurrected welcomes back veteran heroes and invites a new generation of players to experience the game’s sinfully dark storyline, thrilling loot chase, and visceral hack-and-slash gameplay with modernized visuals that take advantage of the latest gaming hardware.

Diablo II: Resurrected takes the 2D sprite-based classic and brings it into the present with full 3D physically-based rendering, dynamic lighting, revamped animations and spell effects—all stunningly delivered in up to 4K resolution.† All 27 minutes of the game’s classic cinematics, chronicling the journey of the mysterious Dark Wanderer, are being remade—shot for shot—from the ground up. The nightmarish sounds of Sanctuary and its memorable soundtrack have also been reinvigorated to support Dolby 7.1 surround sound. By leveling up the game’s audio and visual capabilities, Diablo II: Resurrected will showcase the depth of gameplay and hallmark designs that continue to entertain players around the world to this day.

Diablo IV Rogue Unveiled

A new Rogue Announce Trailer reveals the return of the Rogue class to Diablo IV, the upcoming next installment in Blizzard's action/RPG series. This offers a cinematic look at the ruthless brutality of the class. Word is:
Some call it murder. She calls it a job well done. Learn more at Diablo4.com

The Rogue is the newest addition to the Diablo IV campfire, combining range and melee attacks with incredible speed and mobility. Prepare to slaughter hordes of the damned with imbued weapons and specialized attacks.
Continue here to read the full story.

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic Announced

Blizzard announces the next step in World of Warcraft Classic is coming later this year when they launch World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic. This recreates the first WoW expansion, and World of Warcraft Classic players will have the choice of whether to advance any or all of their characters into the expansion, or to continue on as they are. All this is included in the price of a World of Warcraft subscription. For those who want the best of both worlds, they will offer the ability to optionally pay to "clone" each WoW Classic character and adventure in both Classic and Burning Crusade Classic. They say they will launch beta testing "in the near future."
Burning Crusade Classic builds on the epic foundation of World of Warcraft Classic, providing players with an opportunity to experience the next legendary chapter in the Warcraft® saga. Through the launch and over the course of content updates to follow, the recreation will bring back the features of the 2007 original, including:
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World of Warcraft: Shadowlands - Chains of Domination Announced

Blizzard News has details on Chains of Domination, a new content update coming to World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. It features this trailer and these details:
In Chains of Domination, the upcoming first major content update for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, players will delve into new depths of the Jailer’s hopeless domain, seeking to understand the true nature of his malignant plans.

Check back here to learn more details about upcoming features after the conclusion of the World of Warcraft Deep Dive panel. You can also watch the panel presentation beginning at 3:40 pm PST live Friday, February 19 free on BlizzCon.com.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Blizzard Arcade Collection

Blizzard announces the Blizzard Arcade Collection is available right now, featuring enhanced versions of some of their classic games: The Lost Vikings, Rock N Roll Racing, and Blackthorne. The collection is available for Windows on Battle.net, as well as for Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. This is also a bonus gift for those who have already purchased The Celebration Collection. Here's more:
The games in the Blizzard Arcade Collection come in their Original Editions and also upgraded Definitive Editions (details below), with each version featuring custom key mapping and the ability to rewind up to 10 seconds. The Original Editions of The Lost Vikings and Blackthorne also include “watch mode,” which lets players watch a playthrough of the game and jump in to take control at any point. The ability to save progress anywhere is also included in all versions of each game, with the exception of the Definitive Edition of Rock N Roll Racing. An array of bonus materials rounds out the Blizzard Arcade Collection, including game art, development assets, unused content, lore, interviews, and more.

Hearthstone Announcements

This BlizzConline recap has details from the announcements of tonight's opening ceremony. This includes three Hearthstone announcements. Year of the Gryphon kicks off in the coming weeks bringing new content to the card game. They also announce Forged in the Barrens, the first expansion of 2021, is now available for prepurchase. Finally they reveal Hearthstone Mercenaries, a single-player and competitive game mode coming later this year. Here's more on all three:

  • Blizzard is set to kick off another jam-packed year of content—the Year of the Gryphon—for Hearthstone®, its popular free-to-play digital card game, in the coming weeks. The new Hearthstone year will feature a new Core set of cards designed to shake up the game, and the introduction of the Classic format, which will let players craft decks and compete using the original Hearthstone cards as they were when the game launched in 2014.
  • Also coinciding with the Year of the Gryphon is the first Hearthstone expansion of 2021, Forged in the Barrens™, inspired by the iconic World of Warcraft® locale where millions of adventurers began forging their legends—available for prepurchase now at www.playhearthstone.com.
  • Later in the year, Blizzard will roll out Hearthstone Mercenaries, a single-player and competitive game mode in which players collect mighty characters from the Warcraft® universe and level them up in tactical battles.

Valheim Sells 3 Million

The Iron Gate Team announces that the impressive success of Valheim continues (thanks Jaysen). Just days after they announced the Viking survival game passed two million sales, they say the game has now blown past the three million mark. This milestone comes just 17 days since the game launched into Early Access. Here's the news:
This February has been truly wild! Less than three weeks into Early Access, we’ve already hit another milestone. Valheim has now been purchased by over three million brave Vikings looking to survive the 10th world of the Yggdrasil - or die trying - probably crushed by a falling tree.

To keep up with the old norse references, this is now equivalent to 74,319 longhouses stuffed with Vikings singing songs and celebrating victory with some great tasting mead, so.. SKÅL!
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Apple Requests Steam Details in their Epic Battle

AppleInsider has the legal documents from a court request filed by Apple that sought business details from Valve as part of Apple's ongoing legal fight with Epic Games over App Store royalties. Apple was looking to unearth Steam data they say is relevant to their defense, but Valve has so far refused the request. The article offers this concise summary of their position:
Valve argues that legal argument at the core of Apple versus Epic only pertains to mobile video games and apps, not desktop PC game distributors. Providing confidential sales and revenue information doesn't help Apple's case, according to Valve, and only provides data otherwise not available to competitors like Epic.

Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos Released

Up and adom, as Early Access to Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos is now underway on Steam for Windows, Linux, and macOS. This is a modernized sequel to the original ADOM (Ancient Domains of Mystery) from 1994, and while it features modern graphics, it also includes an ASCII mode for purists who want to play it with the flavor of the original. Here's the Release Trailer, and here's the pitch:
A sequel 25 years in the making, Ultimate ADOM takes everything players love about traditional roguelikes — procedurally developed levels, random enemy encounters, tons of skills, and a ridiculous amount of build varieties and playstyles — but with modern sensibilities like multiple graphics options, intuitive controls, and a slick presentation.

The original ADOM was a groundbreaking title that set the standard for dungeon crawler roguelike games, and Caverns of Chaos is bringing those ideas to the 21st century with a host of awesome new features that take advantage of modern hardware. In this latest trailer, the man behind it all, Thomas Biskup, details the Early Access launch and shines a light on the 25-year history behind the ADOM series.
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Learning Factory Early Access

Learning Factory is now available in Early Access for Windows, macOS, and Linux on Steam, offering a manufacturing game featuring machine learning, and, of course, cats. Word is: "Learning Factory is a factory automation game where you have to design and build increasingly big and complex factories to make goods for cats. However, it brings a unique twist to the genre thanks to machine learning: you also have to collect feedback from your feline clients and analyze their data with machine learning models until you understand how to really make them happy!" Here's an Early Access Teaser Trailer, and here's more on this festive feline factory:
Learning Factory is a factory automation game where you have to build an increasingly bigger and complex factory, named KOTOVOD and located on Mars, to make goods for cats. Then you get data about sales analyzing what cats liked or disliked, and use this data with machine learning models to optimize prices and make sure you’re selling what cats really long for. Backed by actual specialists in the matter and using real-world machine learning models, the game aims also at teaching how big data is collected and processed in machine learning. You will be learning about two of the most relevant technologies of our time while you play a super fun strategy game -- if you want to, that is; because at its true heart it’s above all a quirkily engaging factory automation game with lots of cats in it!
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TinyShot Released

Developer Allaith "ZAX"​ Hammed is not throwin' away his shot, as TinyShot is now available on Steam, offering a tiny 2D arcade shooter. This features hand-drawn graphics and action-packed gameplay, as shown off in this trailer. Here's more on the game, its developer, and the protagonist's Faustian bargain:
After signing a deal with the devil, “Tiny” is going down there, armed to the teeth, with the task of defeating waves of enemies. The 2D shooter is the debut title of Allaith “Zax” Hammed and a bloody tribute to the work of his favorite developer, Edmund McMillen.

“Because I really liked The Binding of Isaac & Super Meat Boy back when it came out, I took inspiration from both of them, and what came out was the prototype that [Headup] saw at the indie expo”, Allaith explains. “Overall, the creation of TinyShot and releasing an actual game is the most motivating and interesting thing I've done.”

Allaith Hammed was born in Syria but had to flee to Europe due to several crises in his home country. He is now living in the Netherlands and now started his career as a game developer with TinyShot being his first game published.
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Evening Interviews

Evening Crowdfunding

  • Ecoser by Adam Stankiewicz — Kickstarter. "Ecoser is an ecosystem driven survival based game where you, the player, are born into one of the many cultures of Ecosia as one of the native people, known as Eepers. As an Eeper, you are raised in and taught the ways of thriving within the environment you live in. Your long term goal is to learn how to build up your own living culture while not causing too much damage to the ecosystem around you, such as making sure that animals you hunt for food do not become extinct, replanting trees so as to not cause deforestation, and building your town in environmentally friendly ways."

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Clever costume. Thanks Ant.

Worms Rumble Free Weekend

Let's get ready to rumble! That's because Team17 is offering the chance to check out Worms Rumble for free all weekend on Steam (thanks SteamDB via Ant). This is the new take on the squirmy strategy series that offers real-time arena-based combat for 32 players. The free weekend includes the chance to check out Battlegrounds Bank, a brand new arena that's shown off in this trailer. For those who enjoy their sample, the game is on sale for 25% off. Here's what to expect:
Worms Rumble is Worms like you’ve never played it before, with intense, real-time, arena-based 32 player cross-platform combat. Get ready for Deathmatch and Last Worm Standing modes where you’re only ever a Holy Hand Grenade away from death!

Use a variety of fan-favourite weapons like the Bazooka and Shotgun plus all-new additions to the armoury to bring the pain to your invertebrate opponents as you climb the ranks. Customise your worm, take part in challenges and seasonal events and experiment with new ways to play in The Lab. This is Worms, reinvented.
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Persona 5 Strikers Digital Deluxe Access Underway

ATLUS and SEGA announce the chance is here to play Persona 5 Strikers before its release, a statement so paradoxical it makes our heads hurt. The game's official release date is February 23rd, but they offer a Digital Deluxe Edition, and besides some additional content another of the perks this provides is immediate access to the action/adventure game. This is available for Windows on Steam as well as the PlayStation Store and the Nintendo eShop. Here's a Launch Trailer and some details from Steam:
Get ready for the road trip of a lifetime in Persona 5 Strikers! The Phantom Thieves are ready to strike back against corruption in this all-new action-oriented sequel to Persona 5.

Take control of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts as they travel across Japan, liberating the hearts of citizens who have had their desires stolen by Jail Monarchs. You’ll visit local destinations, learn new recipes, and investigate mysterious occurrences along your cross-country journey.

But this isn’t your typical Persona game! Each Phantom Thief is playable in combat and has their own unique playstyle. Hop into battle as Skull to shock enemies or use Noir's shotgun to control the waves of Shadows descending upon the Metaverse! The possibilities are endless!
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Dead of Winter Announced

Bad Logic Studios announces Dead of Winter, a survival/strategy game that's "coming soon" to Early Access on Steam. Here's an outline of the plan from the game's solo developer:
I'm pleased to announce that Dead of Winter will be coming soon to Early Access on Steam in 2021.

I am solo developing Dead of Winter and will be releasing the game in Early Access which will allow me to more thoroughly test and balance the game than I would otherwise be able to do on my own. This way when the game finally launches, it will be a far more polished and enjoyable experience for everyone!
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Perseverance Rover Lands on Rover Mechanic Simulator

Ripped from today's headlines, Perseverance Rover is now available on Steam as DLC for Rover Mechanic Simulator. This makes the player responsible for the continued operation of the rover that just touched down on Mars. This trailer shows off the new content, and here's a mission briefing:
In This DLC you will find new Rover, new Quests and learn about the real rover's construction and the purpose of it's scientific instruments such as: SHERLOC, MOXIE, PIXL, SuperCam, SCS, VCE, LCAM, RBAU, RIMFAX, RIMU, RMCA, RPA, RPAM, MEDA, RDS, GDRT, LCAM, SOXIE and many more!

In Perseverance DLC you will find detailed New Rover with:

  • over 1200 screws
  • over 200 new unique parts
  • 30 new quests!
  • new achievements!

The Perseverance DLC provides about 8 - 12 hours of additional gameplay.

Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

Today marks the launch of BlizzConline, so we should expect some announcements from Blizzard.

Today's special logo depicts Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II on the 12th anniversary of the release of Relic's real-time strategy sequel on February 19, 2009. As always, hats off to Walter "2" Costinak for his stellar art and design work. This one doesn't have an updater credit because it is from after the design change that requires the older logos to be tweaked.

Round-up Never Changes
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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Science
Thanks Max.

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