Archived News:

Saturday, May 01, 2021 May Day

Saints Row: The Third Remastered on Steam This Month

PCGamesN reports Saints Row: The Third Remastered is coming to Steam on May 22nd. Word is this is from Twitter, and while we couldn't locate the tweet in question, the May 22nd date certainly makes sense, since it's one year to the day since the game's release on the Epic Games Store. Here's a refresher on the remaster:
Remastered with enhanced graphics, Steelport the original city of sin, has never looked so good as it drowns in sex, drugs and guns.

Years after taking Stilwater for their own, the Third Street Saints have evolved from street gang to household brand name, with Saints sneakers, Saints energy drinks and Johnny Gat bobblehead dolls all available at a store near you. The Saints are kings of Stilwater, but their celebrity status has not gone unnoticed. The Syndicate, a legendary criminal fraternity with pawns in play all over the globe, has turned its eye on the Saints and demands tribute.

Scavengers Early Access

This tweet announces that Early Access to Scavengers is now underway on the Epic Games Store and Steam, offering everyone the chance to play this free-to-play strategic third-person shooter for Windows from Publisher Improbable Worlds Limited and developer Midwinter Entertainment. Here's a Gameplay Deep-dive trailer and here's a bit on the game:
Scavengers is your strategic survival battleground. Enter a free-to-play action shooter where squads of three compete to survive and dominate in a hybrid of sandbox-style PVE and class-based PVP. Choose from a roster of adaptive Explorers, arm yourself with a combination of unique abilities and weapons, and conquer the challenges of a hostile wasteland. Outthink and outfight enemy players and the dwellers of the frozen Earth.
Continue here to read the full story.

Shadow Cloud Provider Sold

Yahoo Finance reports that Shadow Cloud Computing service Blade has been acquired by Jezby Ventures. This follows a report last month that Blade sought such a deal after filing for bankruptcy protection. Here's more on the deal and its implications:
While the French startup has raised more than $100 million across multiple funding rounds, the company couldn’t keep up with pre-orders, didn’t generate enough revenue to be self-sustainable and couldn’t find cash to expand its service. Despite attracting 100,000 paid users, Next INpact reported that the company had no choice but to go into administration with the commercial court.

Several companies and a group of people submitted takeover bids. In particular, Blade CTO Jean-Baptiste Kempf teamed up with other employees, while Octave Klaba submitted his own offer. Klaba plans to keep all employees except Jean-Baptiste Kempf.

Now, it’s going to be interesting to see how the service changes over the coming weeks. Subscriptions currently start at €12.99 per month in Europe or $11.99 per month in the U.S. It’s unclear whether Shadow will remain available at this price point, how specifications are going to evolve and if the company is going to spin up more servers to attract new clients.

Free Call of Duty: Warzone Skin

Raven Software tweets that everyone who logs into Call of Duty: Warzone will get the 'Tortured & Rescued' Adler Skin for free. This is to make up for the problems with the Hunt for Adler event:
Starting right now and until the end of Season Three, anyone who logs into #Warzone will be granted the 'Tortured & Rescued' Adler Skin.

We'd like to thank everyone for participating in the Hunt for Adler limited time event and for being patient these past few days.

Imperator: Rome Support on Hold

A post on the Paradox Interactive Forums outlines reorganizations that have been made to the operations of Paradox Development Studios (thanks Eurogamer). This outlines how the developer is divided into three teams, known internally as PDS Green, PDS Red, and PDS Gold. The tree teams are working respectively on Stellaris, Crusader Kings III, and Hearts of Iron IV. Notably absent is Imperator: Rome, and the post goes on to say that support of this strategy game is currently paused:
You might have noticed that Imperator: Rome isn’t assigned to any of the studios mentioned above. The reason for this is that on a regular basis we analyze the projects we have in development, where they are at, what they are trying to do and also what people and resources we have working on them. As part of this analysis we realized that there was a need to bring reinforcement for a couple of the projects at PDS, and given where Imperator was at in the run up to 2.0’s launch, we decided that after the launch of the update we would move people from Imperator to these other projects. Right now we’re working on plans to regrow the team for Imperator and continue development, but for the short term we needed to focus our efforts on these other projects.

Out of the Blue

Happy May Day! Today is a second social gathering since getting the COVID vaccine. My softball buddies are all fully inoculated, so we're going to get together. Our general M.O. is to go to a bar in Manhattan, but that felt like a little much for us. Besides, the lockdown caused the permanent shutdown of our favorite watering hole. So one of us is hosting, and it's a nice day, so we can probably spend most of our time outdoors as an extra precaution. Here's hoping many of you are able to safely take such fledgling steps towards normalcy, even if completely back to normal remains a distant dream.

Obituary: Billionaire Eli Broad dies at 87, helped create Los Angeles art scene.
Obituary: Funeral held for ‘Star Wars’ model maker. Thanks Rick.

Round-up, Come What May
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Brunch Link

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Science
Thanks Max.

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Friday, Apr 30, 2021 Arbor Day (USA)

Titanfall 2 Free Weekend

A free weekend is underway on Steam for Titanfall 2, allowing a couple of days to sample this mech shooter from Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment without even having to pay for bullets. The free period runs from now until 1:00 pm EDT Monday. Here's why you might fall for the game:
Call down your Titan and get ready for an exhilarating first-person shooter experience in Titanfall® 2! The sequel introduces a new single player campaign that explores the bond between Pilot and Titan. Or blast your way through an even more innovative and intense multiplayer experience - featuring 6 new Titans, deadly new Pilot abilities, expanded customization, new maps, modes, and much more.

Toys for Bob Working on Warzone

In a tweet, developer Toys for Bob reveals it is now supporting development of Season 3 for Call of Duty: Warzone. Tweets from Nicholas Kole indicate this involved layoffs, saying: "Altho everyone I interfaced with and worked along was let go, I’m very glad it’s not a totally shuttering." However, GamesIndustry.biz has a statement from Activision saying this is not the case: "Reports of layoffs at Toys For Bob are incorrect," a representative told GamesIndustry.biz. "There has not been a reduction in personnel recently at the studio. The development team is operating fully and has a number of full-time job openings at this time. The studio is excited to continue supporting Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, and more recently provide additional development support to Call of Duty: Warzone." We can find an interesting perspective on this news in this tweet pointing out that Activision now has no fewer than nine studios working on Call of Duty:
This now means…

Infinity Ward
Treyarch
Raven Software
Sledgehammer Games
Beenox
High Moon Studios
Toys for Bob
Activision Shanghai
Demonware

…are now all working on Call of Duty.

VALORANT Voice Chat to be Recorded

Riot Games announces an update to its Privacy Notice and Terms of Service. Going forward all voice chat in VALORANT will be recorded for evaluation if reports are submitted about disruptive or toxic behavior in voice comms. The policy allows comm recording in Riot's other games, but the update says there are no plans at this time to do this for any game other than VALORANT. Word is to avoid having your voice recorded, you can turn off chat. Here's the summary of the plan:
We know reducing disruptive behavior is a complex problem that will require a long-term investment and many different approaches to address—particularly in terms of voice comms. There’s still work to be done on this longer journey but we’re committed to providing the social experiences that players deserve when they play our games. We’re exploring other approaches that we believe will improve in-game experiences and we’ll share an update about our plans in the coming months, but we believe that the ability to act on reports of disruptive voice comms is one of the first steps toward a community where we can all play together safely.

Epic Games Acquires ArtStation

Epic Games announces the acquisition of ArtStation, a repository for games, media, and entertainment creators to showcase their portfolios:
Today we are excited to announce that ArtStation is joining the Epic Games family. ArtStation provides a platform for creators across games, media and entertainment where they can develop and share their portfolios, post and discover job opportunities and make a living doing what they love. Together we will continue to grow the ArtStation community and integrate new features and tools that expand creators’ ability to showcase their talent and artwork.

At Epic, ArtStation will continue to operate as an independently branded platform while collaborating closely with the Unreal Engine team. By joining forces, the ArtStation and Unreal Engine teams will be able to empower the creative community with expanded tools, resources, and connections. And starting today, we will be reducing ArtStation Marketplace fees so creators can get even more value from the ArtStation platform. ArtStation Learning will also be free to all users for the remainder of 2021.

Siege Survival: Gloria Victis Next Month

Koch Media and Black Eye Games announce a release date for Siege Survival: Gloria Victis, saying the medieval survival/strategy game will come to GOG.com, the Epic Games Store, and Steam on May 18th. In the meantime, the playable Windows demo on Steam was recently updated if you want to check this out. Here's a recent Narrated Developer Gameplay Video, and here's more:
In Siege Survival: Gloria Victis your country has been invaded by ferocious warriors from the north and your city is now under a brutal siege. In your hands lies the fate of a small group of civilians who are trapped in the last remaining stronghold and are hanging on for dear life.

Although you don’t participate in the fighting directly, their survival and that of the entire city is left to you as they try to support and supply the remaining soldiers who defend the walls on what little resources you can manage.
Continue here to read the full story.

myFloppy Online Released

Strangest.io now offers myFloppy Online, a virtual pet game based on everyone's favorite obsolete storage medium. This Windows game is available for free on Itch.io and Steam. If you're still holding out hope that this won't be extremely strange, this trailer should disabuse you of that notion. Here's more on this game that's not your grandparents' Tamagotchi:
MyFloppy is a virtual pet revolution that invites gamers to step into the wacky online world of Floppy- the world’s most beloved floppy disk! Design your Floppy avatar, customize your room, battle, rob and visit other Floppys online!
Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: 10 percent of you will be Goblinized today. Who knew? Thanks Neutronbeam.

Get Tonight We Riot for Free

GOG.com is now giving away free copies of Tonight We Riot, a retro-inspired side-scrolling brawler for Windows, macOS, and Linux from Pixel Pushers Union 512 and Means Interactive. This can be claimed by clicking the banner on the GOG.com front page, and it's yours to keep as long as you claim your copy by 9:00 am EDT on Sunday. The Launch Trailer shows off this game that Variety calls "an unapologetically political, socialist game about worker liberation in the face of overpowering capitalism." Here's more:
In a dystopia where wealthy capitalists control elections, media, and the lives of working people, we’re faced with two choices - accept it or fight for something better.

Tonight We Riot doesn’t have just one hero. Instead, you play as a movement of people whose wellbeing determines the success of your revolution.
Continue here to read the full story.

CD PROJEKT Bonuses

Cyberpunk 2077 turned out to be a big financial success for CD PROJEKT, despite problems with the sci-fi RPG that got it removed from the PlayStation Store, inspired lawsuits, and forced CDP to offer refunds. It therefore shouldn't be a big surprise that Bloomberg reports that all of the company's employees will receive performance bonuses. As is often the case, these are heavily weighted towards upper management:
Some employees told Bloomberg they will receive profit-sharing bonuses of about $5,000 to about $9,000, while other more senior employees said they will get closer to $15,000 or $20,000. Managers and directors will likely receive much higher bonuses. In a statement, a CD Projekt spokesperson said that the company had allocated a total of $29.8 million to 865 employees, for an average of about $34,000 each. (Staff also received separate, smaller performance bonuses earlier this year.)

In contrast, just five of CD Projekt’s board members received bonuses totaling $28 million.

Star Wars Pinball VR Released

Zen Studios now offers Star Wars Pinball VR, a virtual reality version of Star Wars Pinball with a "mix of new and classic remastered content." This pinball simulation is available for Steam VR, Oculus QuestOculus Quest 2, and PlayStation VR. You can check this out in the Launch Trailer, but we won't Force you to watch it. A description follows. Many Bothans died to bring us this information:
Star Wars Pinball VR jumps out of hyperspace featuring eight amazing tables, including two never before released: The Mandalorian and Star Wars Classic Collectibles. The other six tables are remastered fan-favorites: Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars Rebels, and Masters of the Force.

Beyond the incredible realism added by VR, Star Wars Pinball VR enhances the core Star Wars Pinball experience with new features exclusive to this release:
Continue here to read the full story.

The Caretaker Released

The Caretaker is now available on Steam, offering a top-down, dungeon-crawler survival game for Windows from Squid Monkey Studios. Our hopes this would be a Jack Torrance simulator are dashed by the Gameplay Trailer depicting a battle through a post-apocalyptic voxel wasteland. Here's more:
Squid Monkey Studios launches their dungeon crawler survival game, THE CARETAKER. Set in the modern day, players must survive the aftermath of a sabotaged Research Power Facility which horribly mutates the inhabitants of a small city. Exploring human ignorance, regret and pride, The Caretaker unveils its plot through the lives of fallen victims and the encounters of failed experimentation.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

So the Jacksonville Jaguars were on the clock for the first pick in the draft for 116 days, but it still took them almost the full 15 minutes to submit their pick in last night's NFL draft? Okay, I guess it's understandable to want to bask in the spotlight when it's shining on you, even if that's because you had the worst record in the league.

Basking Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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