Archived News:

Monday, Mar 08, 2021 International Women's Day

V1 Interactive Closing

A tweet from V1 Interactive announces the closure of this studio founded by Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto (thanks Gamasutra). Word is: "We are sad to inform you that V1 Interactive is officially closing. We want to thank all the talented people at V1, both past and present, who helped make the last 5 years wonderful. And a heartfelt thanks to the amazing community that supported us." The end of the company seems to be an outcome of the failure of Disintegration, as multiplayer support for the shooter/RTS hybrid ended in November, just five months after the game's release. This was the explanation: "While our player base showed interest in the single player campaign, the game unfortunately struggled to build a significant audience necessary for a compelling multiplayer experience." A follow-up tweet from Marcus Lehto confirms the company has been winding down since then with the sole purpose of providing a soft landing for its staff:
At V1, our priority has been to the wellbeing of our employees.

We’ve been transparent with them about the state of things for months and are making this decision now so they still have ample time to search for new jobs while being supported by our studio.

Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 4 Thursday

Milestone, Feld Entertainment, and Koch Media announce that Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 4 will arrive on PC and consoles on Thursday. The Launch Trailer takes a look at the game, and the announcement discusses returning features, lag-free multiplayer support, and how the new career mode enhances the new installment in the series:
One of the biggest improvements in Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 4 is the structure of the brand-new Career Mode. For the first time in the franchise history, players will face new ways to live their dream as a rider, both climbing the ladders and customizing their experience. The main goal is reaching glory - starting as a Supercross Futures and trying to become the best rider in the world. This means not only racing at the top level but improving your skills along the way. The new skill tree system is the key: collecting points through racing, special events, training and journal activities will give the chance to boost specific statistics that will impact rider’s performances.

On a landscape inspired by the Maine Islands, players will experience the new Compound, a land dedicated to free-roaming and races against friends. There will be many tracks available along with challenges and collectibles to discover.
Continue here to read the full story.

Anger Foot

Anger Foot is a first-person shooter about kicking ass and not slowing down to take names (thanks PC Gamer). Available on Itch.io as a prototype with a pay-your-own-price tag, Anger Foot is about using your angry foot to kick down doors, kick exploding barrels, and of course, kicking butts. It just received its first major update with new levels, new enemies, new kicks, and more. Here's a video showing off the new content. Continue here to read the full story.

Microsoft's ZeniMax Acquisition Gets EU Approval

The EU has approved Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax (thanks Gamasutra). This follows last week's news that the US SEC has signed off on the merger as well. These were seemingly the last two regulatory hurdles the deal had to clear, so it sounds like it's clear sailing from here:
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of ZeniMax Media Inc. by Microsoft Corporation, both of the U.S. ZeniMax is a company that develops and publishes games for personal computers (‘PCs'), gaming consoles, and mobile devices. Microsoft is a global technology company, which develops, publishes, and distributes games for PCs, consoles, and mobile devices. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the combined entity's limited market position upstream and the presence of strong downstream competitors in the distribution of video games. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.10001.

Monster Hunter Stories 2 PC Plans

Capcom offers new details on Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, including the news that the RPG sequel is coming to PC via Steam as well as to Switch when it is released on July 9th. The news is accompanied by a new trailer, word on preorder bonuses, and the promise that multiplayer details are on the way:
In addition to confirming the release date, a new trailer for Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin set the stage for the epic journey with Razewing Rathalos, announced the return of the self-proclaimed Felyne hero Navirou, and teased cooperative multiplayer quests. More information on the story and multiplayer content will be revealed at a later date.

Following the trailer, Ryozo revealed the content contained in the Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin Deluxe Edition, preorder bonus, three amiibo figures releasing alongside the game, and save-data link reward for players of Monster Hunter Rise. The deluxe edition will include Razewing layered armor sets and a Nergigante-inspired hairstyle for players, the Kuan Coat outfit for your Wyverian companion Ena, two new outfits for Navirou, and two sticker sets depicting the various companions players will encounter through their journey. Players who preorder Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin on either platform will receive the Kamura maiden outfit for Ena, while players on Nintendo Switch will be able to unlock three different sets of layered armor and daily bonuses using the new Ena, Razewing Ratha and Tsukino amiibo figures. Finally, those with Monster Hunter Rise save data will be able to unlock the Kamura Garb layered armor for their character. More information on pricing and preorders will be revealed at a later date.
Continue here to read the full story.

More on Marvel's Avengers Progression Changes

After negative feedback to last week's news of a rework for Marvel's Avengers to slow XP progression, Square Enix took to Reddit to further clarify its intentions (thanks Eurogamer). Here's the thinking behind the changes:
Currently, as you get to higher levels, the XP required between levels didn’t scale well, but your ability to crush enemies certainly does speed up at higher levels, so you could end up leveling up (“dinging”) 2 to 3 times per mission – with missions taking about 10-20 minutes in length.

So what’s the problem? This is great, you might say.

The problem we were seeing, and hearing, was that you would immediately get more skill points than you had time to review, apply, and get used to, before embarking on your next mission and gaining your next few levels. Hopefully, you can see the issue here.

We want people to level up, in fact, we really want to see more people level up more Heroes, as playing the full Avenger roster should be the most fun thing you can do, but we don’t want the leveling up experience to be too overwhelming or diminish exploring each skill purchase.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Bus This Month

Publisher Aerosoft and developer TML Studios announce The Bus, a transportation simulation coming to Early Access on Steam on March 25th. As the name suggests, this puts the player in the role of a bus driver, allowing the fantasy of being Ralph Kramden. Or at least the German equivalent, as the game is set in a virtual Berlin, which is ambitiously depicted in exact 1:1 scale. This will bring a lot to the genre, including a deep economic component, custom designed routes, mod tools, and even multiplayer support. A glimpse of the visuals can be found in this alpha teaser trailer and the other videos on the TML Studios Channel. Here's more on the game and plans to drive it through Early Access:
The Bus’ massive, meticulously detailed in-game map allows players to edit lines and routes, timetables, tours, and more. Board and deboard passengers, oversee ticket sales, and maneuver through AI-controlled traffic that features a variety of vehicles, pedestrians, and complex traffic light routines. With the “Free Movement” feature, players can even explore the world “on foot” and walk freely inside of their busses. Dynamic weather patterns make for unpredictable workdays, while the full day and night cycle crank the immersion up to a whole new level.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Fabled Woods This Month; New Demo Released

Publisher Headup and developer CyberPunch Studios announce The Fabled Woods will sprout on Steam on March 25th. This "dark and mysterious" narrative short story has received a complete visual overhaul since it was unveiled last year. This can be seen in the Release Date Trailer and experienced first-hand in a brand new playable demo. You're not out of the woods yet, here's more:
The Fabled Woods is a narrative adventure that puts the player at the center of nested mysteries within an expanse of beautiful woodland. Starting at a forsaken campsite, the player progresses through the story by exploring the forest and discovering clues, guided by unknown voices.

Despite the picturesque beauty, ugly and terrible secrets lurk among the shifting boughs, a darkness that no amount of dappled sunlight can erase. Get ready to take the first step, and experience an unforgettable journey!

Features include:

  • Three intertwining narratives to be uncovered, piece by piece, as you hunt for clues as to what happened
  • Explore at your own pace in an experience built from the ground up for fans of the puzzle free, death free storytelling in games such as Gone Home and Firewatch
  • Fully voiced, hear the characters as they impart their tales of strange going ons and mystery to you, the player, all set in a living world built in Unreal Engine technology

Continue here to read the full story.

Nine Chronicles Goes Open Source; Coming to Steam This Year

Free-to-play, blockchain-based MMORPG Nine Chronicles is available on its official website, and developer Planetarium announces it will launch on Steam later this year. This is a delay, as the listing there still shows a "Mid 2020" release date at the time of writing. This news comes alongside the announcement that it is now fully open source, furthering the mission of empowering players with complete control of the decentralized game. The Nine Chronicles Documentation has links to the source code and other relevant information. Here's a previously released Nine Chronicles Teaser Trailer and more details:
Nine Chronicles is a free-to-play RPG set in a vast fantasy world - ruled over by its players, and supported by an economy where supply and demand are the greatest currency.
In 2020, during development of Nine Chronicles, Planetarium partnered with Ubisoft and Hashed to form a partnership focused on developing blockchain-based games where there is no central server, which allows players have full control of the world.

Now completely open-source, players and developers alike can use any part of the game, from the beautiful bespoke 2D assets to in-game logic and code, for whatever they like. Be it an extension of Nine Chronicles or something completely new and innovative, Planetarium is encouraging users to delve into the game's inner workings and get creative.

To support this goal, Planetarium is offering grants to developers who will use their open source toolkit to build content and helpful tools for the community.
Continue here to read the full story.

Realm Engine Early Access

Early Access is now underway on Steam for Realm Engine, a virtual tabletop world creation tool for Windows. Publisher Pixel Ghost and developer Blake Johnson call this system agnostic, so leave it behind if you visit a house of worship. It's free-to-play, includes hundreds of assets, and it is "continuously being updated with additional content and features." Supported by a couple of DLC asset packs, there's also a mention of an upcoming Elite version which will allow the creation of larger worlds, so that may be a premium release. Here's a trailer and the full monty:
Realm Engine allows for images of created maps to be exported for easy integration to other platforms and includes 100s of high-quality assets supporting a diverse range of campaign styles from arid deserts to ocean-based campaigns. Currently in Early Access, you can make or furnish each room in a crowded Inn or map out large village scenes for a chase scene. The base world supports 250 x 250 and the upcoming Elite version for later release will support unlimited sizes. Scenes can be set with dynamic weather and you may control fog, rain and the sun using intuitive sliders to tailor your needs. The dynamic lighting allows you to create very realistic scenes and light-levels experienced by the players. With a little practice you can achieve just the right mood for your setting. Fog-of-war is supported as well and adds an additional layer of realism.
Continue here to read the full story.

UK Sales Chart

The top 10 bestselling games in the UK for the week ending March 6th are as follows, according to GfK Entertainment:

# Title Publisher Last
Week
1 - Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury Nintendo 1
2 - Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Sony Computer Ent. 2
3 Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo 7
4 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Nintendo 6
5 Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Activision Blizzard 8
6 Super Mario 3D All-Stars Nintendo 13
7 Grand Theft Auto V Take 2 9
8 Minecraft Nintendo 10
9 Ring Fit Adventure Nintendo 14
10 Assassin's Creed Valhalla Ubisoft 12

Morning Crowdfunding

Out of the Blue

Happy International Women's Day 2021! At first I thought this was to celebrate international women like Gal Gadot and Sofia Vergara. It turns out to be an international celebration of all women with a focus on fighting gender bias. With all due respect to Gal and Sofia, that's probably for the best. They get enough attention every day as it is.

Obituary: Allan McDonald, Who Refused To Approve Shuttle Challenger Launch, Dead At 83. Thanks RedEye9.

International Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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