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Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 Happy Earth Day

Only 30K Cyberpunk 2077 Refunds Issued

Though word is Cyberpunk 2077 sold 13.7 million copies in 2020, Kotaku quotes CD PROJEKT CFO Piotr Nielubowicz talking to investors during an earnings call, saying CDPR only had to issue 30,000 refunds to disgruntled customers:
Only a tiny fraction of the overall Cyberpunk 2077 sales resulted in refunds, CFO Piotr Nielubowicz told investors during an earnings call earlier today. Out of the 13.7 million copies sold, the Polish developer apparently issued just 30,000 refunds.

As for the monetary impact, the “Help Me Refund” program CD Projekt set up to handle requests from customers dissatisfied with Cyberpunk 2077 only cost the company approximately $2.17 million, a drop in the bucket compared to the over $560 million CD Projekt took in as 2020 revenue. Over 95% of these refunds have already been processed.

“The last single-digit percent below 5% is probably the most difficult part,” Nielubowicz added. “Please take into consideration that we are refunding people all over the world and working with different banking systems. It’s not an easy task.”

Get Alien: Isolation and Hand of Fate 2 for Free

The new freebies are now available on the Epic Games Store where you can head over and claim your copies of Alien: Isolation and Hand of Fate 2 with a 100% discount. Many of you probably already own Alien: Isolation, as that was also one of Epic's holiday giveaways. You probably know the drill by now, these are yours to keep as long as you claim them over the next week. After that the new giveaway takes effect, which is revealed to be an Epic Champions of Renown package for Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms which is said to be valued at over $100USD. Here's more on this week's free games:
Discover the true meaning of fear in Alien: Isolation, a survival horror set in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger... Created using the CATHODE™ engine.

A new hero rises to challenge the Dealer in Hand of Fate 2! Master a living boardgame of infinitely replayable quests - unlock new cards, build your adventure, then defeat your foes in brutal real-time combat!

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Free Weekend

A free weekend for Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is now underway on Steam, where you can check out Fatshark's Windows action sequel for the next couple of days for free. If you like what you see, you'll be able to take advantage of a sale and pick this up for 75% off. Just don't dawdle. Time and vermintide wait for no one. Here's word on how this includes a sample of the just released Chaos Wastes expansion:
It’s time to assemble your allies - an Expedition awaits you in the Chaos Wastes as you search for salvation at the Citadel of Eternity. Prepare for the unexpected and overcome new challenges in this new rogue-lite inspired game mode with this free update to Vermintide 2.

The Chaos Wastes offer a great experience for both experienced players and new players alike, so never has there been a better time to onboard your buddies and get to chopping and blasting your way through the hordes of pactsworn!

Get Quiplash for Free

Quiplash is now available for free on Steam, offering a same-room multiplayer party game where players use their phones or tablets to participate (thanks Ant). This Windows, macOS, and Linux game is yours to keep provided you claim your copy between now and midday Monday. Here's an explanation:
For 3-8 Players and an Audience of thousands!

The team behind the hit party games YOU DON’T KNOW JACK, Fibbage, and Drawful presents Quiplash, the laugh-a-minute battle of wits and wittiness! Use your phone or tablet to answer simple prompts like “Something you’d be surprised to see a donkey do” or “The worst soup flavor: Cream of _____.”

No rules, no correct answers! Say whatever you want!
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24th DICE Awards Winners

The champagne has been drunk and the confetti has dropped on the 24th DICE Awards. IGN lists the winners, unsurprisingly topped by Hades, as Supergiant's roguelike has had a hell of a run:

  • Game of the Year: Hades.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction: Hades.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Game Design: Hades.
  • Action Game of the Year: Hades
  • Adventure Game of the Year: Ghost of Tsushima.
  • Family Game of the Year: Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
  • Fighting Game of the Year: Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate.
  • Racing Game of the Year: Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit.
  • Role-Playing Game of the Year: Final Fantasy VII Remake.
  • Sports Game of the Year: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2.
  • Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year: Microsoft Flight Simulator.
  • Immersive Reality Game of the Year: Half-Life: Alyx.
  • Mobile Game of the Year: Legends of Runeterra.
  • Online Game of the Year: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Animation: The Last of Us Part II.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction: Ghost of Tsushima.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Character: Miles, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition: Ghost of Tsushima.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Audio Design: Ghost of Tsushima.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Story: The Last of Us Part II.
  • Outstanding Technical Achievement: Dreams.
  • Immersive Reality Technical Achievement: Half-Life: Alyx.
  • Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game: Hades.

HUMANKIND OpenDev Access for Pre-purchases

Ampliteam announces the chance to play HUMANKIND to anyone who has pre-purchased the Windows and macOS historical strategy game through the Epic Games Store or Steam. There's a new naval OpenDev scenario, and pre-order customers can play this from the Neolithic era to the Early Modern era, or 150 turns, whichever comes first. This trailer shows off the new Victor OpenDev, while this video will help you get started with the scenario. More details can be found in this blog post. Here's an overview:
WHAT IS OPENDEV?
We've always believed that making the best games means involving our players at every step of the development process. Over the past months we've been giving players access to targeted slices of the game to gather feedback, via in-game surveys and our G2G forums.

WHAT'S NEW IN THE VICTOR OPENDEV?
Quite a few changes have been integrated since the "Lucy OpenDev" from last December. Players will be playing on a new fixed map with lots of water, so things will be more focused on naval gameplay (maps will be randomly generated in the game at release).

We've also integrated lots of changes based on the feedback we got during the Lucy OpenDev and are very excited for you to check them out!
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Lacuna Release Next Month; Free Prologue Released

DigiTales Interactive and Assemble Entertainment announce a May 20th Steam release date for Lacuna, a pixel-art sci-fi noir adventure game for Windows. To whet everyone's appetites, a one-hour Lacuna: Prologue is now available on Steam, offering a free sample of what to expect. Here's a trailer with a look at the prologue, and here's more on the game:
In Lacuna, you’ll step into the tattered loafers of long-time Central Department of Investigation (CDI) agent Neil Conrad, who’s just been informed of a grisly murder that will soon turn his world upside down. Attention to detail and an inquisitive mind will prove vital as you put the scattered pieces of the case together until the truth reveals itself...or not. The story of Lacuna branches, and finally ends, based on your actions throughout the game — and there’s no going back. Don’t try rushing to the end, or you’ll pay a hefty price; play your cards right and you might just make it out alive.

Lacuna does away with the baggage of many over-used adventure game tropes such as the “point-and-click” mechanic, repeating dialogue options, counter-intuitive puzzles, pixel hunting, and interruptive story breaks. Instead, Lacuna utilizes normal WASD/controller controls, dynamic conversational choices, story-driven mysteries, optional interactables, multiple unique endings, and a story that marches onward in spite of obstacles.
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Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion Released

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is now available for PC and Switch. The Windows, macOS, and Linux edition of this action/adventure can be picked up on Steam. The Launch Trailer shows off this daring scheme by Turnip Boy, who is apparently unaware that this is how they got Al Capone. Here's word on how this lets you dig in as a sociopath root vegetable:
In Turnip Boy players take control of an adorable turnip who happens to be an absolute menace to society. After failing to pay taxes and getting evicted from his home, Turnip Boy must go on an epic quest to pay back his massive debt to Mayor Onion. Garden tools to solve plantastic puzzles, meet eccentric vegetables and fruits, and take on treacherous fights. Along the journey uncover what’s spoiling this garden community and rise to tear down the corrupt vegetable government!
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Tandem: A Tale of Shadows

Developer Monochrome and publisher Hatinh Interactive offer a Story Reveal Trailer for Tandem: A Tale of Shadows, a puzzle/platformer coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch later this year. The trailer shows off the game's Victorian setting, dreamlike quality, and admitted influences of Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Tim Burton. Here's more on the story:
The game follows a headstrong girl named Emma and an adorable teddy bear named Fenton as they attempt to find clues regarding Thomas Kane’s mysterious disappearance. Inspired by Jules Vernes, Conan Doyle and Tim Burton, each dimension in Tandem feels like a German expressionist or Dutch golden age art piece brought to life.

When Thomas Kane, the only son of a famous family of illusionists, inexplicably vanishes, 10-year-old Emma decides to investigate. On her way to the Kanes’ manor, Emma witnesses Fenton innocently bounce from a speeding carriage. The girl and the teddy bear chase after the wagon and enter the manor’s grounds. A captivating story of illusory dangers and shifting perspectives begins.

In Tandem: A Tale of Shadows, fans of puzzle platformers and action and adventure games will be able to peel back the curtain enshrouding five beautiful Victorian-inspired worlds. Players will alternate between Emma’s top-down view and Fenton’s horizontal side-scroller view, using the former’s lantern to cast shadows the teddy bear can cross. Intelligent obstacles and clever gameplay mechanics will force players to constantly remain on their toes.
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Hoplegs Early Access

Hoplegs is now in Early Access on Steam, offering a first chance to play this Windows platformer from WhyKev. In Hoplegs you play as a square head with individually controllable legs to navigate levels. This is shown off in the recently released Early Access Trailer. Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hop:
In Hoplegs you control a block with 4 legs to move around the level. Each button on your controller (or an assigned key on your keyboard) controls one of the 4 legs.

Hoplegs ships with 30+ levels on release. With its built-in level editor, players can create new stages with special features and a wide variety of objects, and share them with the community.

Hoplegs contains a long and difficult level that's only for the toughest players. Find unlockable items in hidden areas to customize your hat, face, box, and legs. You will be able to choose out of 20 legs - and more coming soon.
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Vylan Released

Vylan is now available on Steam, offering a tile-based Windows platformer from MostlyMadProductions. As seen in this trailer, the game features decidedly throwback monochrome graphics and "not super hard" gameplay, so you'll be chillin' like a vylan. Here's an explanation:
Vylan allows you to complete 100 levels in a set amount of time, with different mechanics preventing you from achieving your goal.

In Vylan you can disable the timer or increase the amount of time to beat a level allowing you to customize the difficulty of the game.
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Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: What happens if you put your head in a particle accelerator? Nope, you can't fool me into trying that again. Thanks The Flying Penguin.

New Battlefield This Year

After lots of rumor and speculation, post on the Battlefield Website discusses the future of Battlefield, saying two installments in the military shooter series are in development, one for PC and consoles, and the other for mobile. Word is the PC and console game boasts "the biggest Battlefield development team ever," and it is expected for release this holiday season. Otherwise this is pretty general for now, but it includes the promise of a reveal "soon™." Here's what DICE General Manager Oskar Gabrielson has to say about "the return of all-out warfare" in the PC/console edition:
2021 is an exciting time for us here at DICE. Working with more world-class development studios within Electronic Arts, we have our biggest team ever on a Battlefield game for console and PC. Our friends at Criterion and DICE LA are working with us on our shared vision for the game, while the team in Gothenburg is taking technology in the game to the next level. Together, we are creating a jaw-dropping experience for you to enjoy later in 2021.

We’re in daily playtesting mode right now: polishing, balancing, and making the best possible Battlefield game we can. I can tell you it is a bold step. It has everything we love about Battlefield – and takes all of it to the next level. Epic scale. All-out military warfare. Crazy, unexpected moments. Game-changing destruction. Massive battles, packed with more players and mayhem than ever before. All brought to life with the power of next-gen consoles and PCs.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Next Month

Frontier Developments announces that Elite Dangerous: Odyssey for Windows will arrive for Elite Dangerous on May 19th, opening a new era for the space exploration game. Console players will have to wait a bit longer, as their versions are now due in the fall, after last being expected in August. In Odyssey you'll be able to open the pod bay doors and odyssey from your spacecraft to explore planets and engage in tactical combat. It is available for pre-purchase from the Epic Games Store, the Frontier Store and Steam with an exclusive Pioneer suit skin preorder bonus. There is also still time to get the Deluxe Alpha Expansion from the Epic Games Store, the Frontier Store, or Steam. This includes the expansion, access an ongoing Alpha that ends on April 30th, the official soundtrack, and the Pioneer suit skin. A new release date trailer celebrates the news with a classic Bowie track (though we eventually learned that Major Tom's a junkie). Here's more:
Odyssey constitutes the most ambitious Elite Dangerous expansion to date, delivering on the promise of allowing Commanders to explore atmospheric planets on foot for the first time, taking on new missions, and engaging in intense tactical combat, expanding Elite Dangerous’ gameplay from the iconic cockpit experience players have come to know and love over the last seven years.
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Call of Duty: Warzone Season Three Begins

Season three for Call of Duty: Warzone is now underway in the free-to-play battle royale. A post from Raven Software has the news, outlining what to expect from the season, details on the new Battle Pass, and complete patch notes for the latest version. A Season Two Outro Cinematic caps off last season, while a new Squad up the World Trailer is a star-studded tribute to season three. Here's word on a new limited-time event that's now underway:
Starting on April 22nd, the new “Hunt for Adler” limited-time event will task Operators with unique in-game challenges in both Black Ops Cold War and Warzone to learn of Adler’s whereabouts. Complete these Intel Challenges to unlock Event rewards, including Weapon Charms, Calling Cards, a new Operator Skin, and more. You can find more details about this event in the Seasonal Event tab on the main menu between Play and Weapons once Season Three kicks off in Warzone. Once you’ve completed a full set of challenges in either Black Ops Cold War or Warzone over the course of the event, you’ll unlock an exclusive Adler skin for use in both games!
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NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139 Reviews

Reviews for NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139 are now appearing online. Here are some evaluations of the NieR Replicant remaster:

The Signifier: Director's Cut Released

The Signifier: Director's Cut is now available for Windows and macOS on GOG.com, the Humble Store*, and Steam, and it is also coming to the Epic Games Store at some point (*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item). Besides being for sale, it is a free upgrade for existing owners. This "definitive edition" of the tech/noir psychological thriller includes story and gameplay enhancements (and, of course, a fix for Superman's CGI mustache removal). Here's a Release Trailer and here's more on the release, including the significance of the Director's Cut:
The Signifier is a surreal first-person mystery adventure that blends experimental investigation, psychology and artificial intelligence. Move freely between reality, objective memories and subjective feelings, searching for clues in mind-bending environments, solving puzzles, and putting the pieces together to reveal the truth. The Signifier is nominated for five awards at Brazil's Independent Games Festival, including Best Game, Best Art Direction, and Best Narrative.
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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone Get NVIDIA DLSS

NVIDIA announces the addition of NVIDIA DLSS support for Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, offering those with RTX graphics cards a significant performance boost for the gaming breaks they take between cryptomining sessions. Word is: "Following the release of a new update today, gamers can enable NVIDIA DLSS in Call of Duty: Warzone, Modern Warfare’s multiplayer modes, and Modern Warfare’s co-op Spec Ops mode. Enabling NVIDIA DLSS in the options menu will result in boosted performance on GeForce RTX graphics cards by up to 70% at 4K." Two more games are also getting DLSS support, as it is also now enabled in Mortal Shell and the beta version of Naraka: Bladepoint.

Orbital Bullet Early Access

Early Access to Orbital Bullet is now underway on Steam, offering the chance to take a spin with this 360° roguelite shooter/platformer for Windows. A new Early Access Release Trailer takes you full circle with a look at gameplay. Here's more to help decide if you want to take this for a spin:
German publisher Assemble Entertainment and developer SmokeStab Studio are thrilled to announce today the Early Access launch of their highly-anticipated award-winning rogue-lite shooter Orbital Bullet. Now available on Windows PC via Steam, Orbital Bullet introduces a genre-bending 360° rotating level design, providing a whirling and swirling high-octane guns-blazing action-platforming experience where you’ll need to play a deadly game of “ring-around-the-rosie” in order to outsmart enemies and dodge all manner of propelled perils.
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Immortals Fenyx Rising - The Lost Gods Released

The Lost Gods is now available for PC and consoles, offering a third and final narrative DLC for Immortals Fenyx Rising, the mythological adventure game from Ubisoft. The Windows edition can be found on the Epic Games Store and the Ubisoft Store. As seen in this trailer, the DLC takes the game in an entirely new direction, featuring top-down brawling. Here's an explanation:
Immortals Fenyx Rising – The Lost Gods, featuring a unique top-down experience and brawler-style combat, returns to Fenyx’s story and their new life as a god. When disaster strikes the mortal world, Fenyx chooses a new hero to restore balance on Earth and reunite the lost gods. Players explore Pyrite Island as Ash, an enthusiastic mortal tasked with convincing Poseidon, Hades and other gods to return to the Pantheon.

In this final post-launch adventure, players will be introduced to new gods and monsters, discover new regions full of challenges and secrets, and take on challenging new enemies. As part of a new progression system, players will also have access to powerful upgrades, specialized bonuses, and unique fighting styles, in addition to two brand-new abilities:
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Almighty: Kill Your Gods Next Month; Playtest Next Week

Once you find your gods, Publisher Versus Evil and developer RUNWILD Entertainment announce the chance to kill them is coming, as Early Access to Almighty: Kill Your Gods will launch on Steam on May 5th. But there's a chance to try this co-op action/RPG before then, as a public playtest will run from April 26-28. Here's a Release Date Announce Trailer and here's more on this opportunity to commit deicide:
In Almighty: Kill Your Gods, you take on the persona of an Alpha, a magical warrior infused with the power of your ancestors, reborn to take a stand for your tribe against the tyranny and oppression of the Elder Gods. Almighty: Kill Your Gods is a game about reclaiming and rebuilding your home in the face of impossible odds, armed with your magic gauntlets you’ll hunt demons, monsters, and gods taking them down with devastating ranged or melee attacks, or utilizing amulets to summon powerful spells.

Aside from big action and god sized fights, Almighty: Kill Your Gods is an action RPG geared around resource management, crafting and customization as much as it is about intense combat, allowing players to experiment with various loadouts with the freedom to create their very own playstyle and look.
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Worldbox Announced

For those who aspire to be a god, rather than kill one, indie developer Maxim Karpenko announces Worldbox, a sandbox god simulator coming to Early Access on Steam by the end of this year. If your urge to play god is especially strong, you can currently buy the alpha version directly from the developer. The game allows you to build your world, populate it with life, and smite everything with a variety of destructive powers when you are displeased (or bored). You can get a look in this trailer and read on for more:
In Worldbox you can build your own world and fill it with life. Create different creatures: sheep, wolves, humans, orcs, dwarves, and even Dragons or UFO! Watch how civilizations progress and interact with each other; or you can use your powers to destroy. Start fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, launch meteorites -- everything is up to you!
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Hotel Architect Announced

Swedish developer Pathos Interactive announces Hotel Architect, an upcoming simulation/management game based on the hospitality industry. A First Look Trailer includes some gameplay, and concludes by noting you can sign up for beta testing on the Hotel Architect Website. Here's more on this chance to become a famous architect like Art Vandelay from the game's Steam Listing:
Create your hotel from scratch! Design the layout and hire a construction firm that sends its workers to lay the foundation and rise your walls. You can then choose freely which activities to be conducted in certain parts of your establishment. Install amenities, place decorations and choose between different wallpapers and flooring. When your wallet is big enough, you are able to expand your hotel by buying new property lots. Prices may vary between lots depending on their location - lots directly adjecent to historic sites or other tourist attractions tend to be expensive.

Hotel Architect plays out on different locations all over the world, such as England, Paris, Amazonas, Egypt and Las Vegas. Each location has its own challenges with different guest archetypes. Knowing the costumers better than they know themselves is the key here. By adjusting the type of services provided you can effectively integrate into any environment.
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Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack Released

The Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack is now available on Steam, offering a Windows bundle of three Mysterious series Atelier RPGs: Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings, Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX, and Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX. The subtitles in the Launch Trailer are English, as is the announcement:
KOEI TECMO America and developer GUST Studios are excited to announce that the Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack is now available to purchase across North America for the Nintendo Switch™ system, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, and Windows PC via Steam®. This collection, known as the ‘Mysterious’ series, is set during the Mysterious era, a time full of miracles beyond human comprehension, focusing on four alchemists and their extraordinary experiences. The heartwarming trilogy offers the most complete versions of the games to date, packed with a large amount of the previously released DLC for the titles, and all-new content for the DX versions.

The Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack includes: Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX, Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX, and Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings DX, available as a digital-only offering for purchase individually or together in a specially priced Deluxe Pack containing all three games.
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Out of the Blue

Happy Earth Day! This is our annual reminder that we're not taking as much care as we should with our home. It always reminds me of what my elementary school principal said about the occasion. Every day should be Earth Day.

Earthy Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Science
Thanks Max.

Media

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