Archived News:

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

BlizzCon 2021 Cancelled

A post to the BlizzCon Website has Blizzard's announcement it will not to hold a BlizzCon this year. In outlining the pros and cons of an in-person show, the post notes that the guidelines for gatherings in California and elsewhere remain moving targets. Here's part discussing the complexities of coordinating a show like BlizzCon and plans for a global event in early 2022 that will combine a smaller in-person gathering and a global online event:
Building an in-person BlizzCon is an epic and complex affair that takes many months of preparation—not just for us, but also for the many talented production partners, esports pros, hosts, entertainers, artists, and other collaborators we team up with locally and globally to put all of the pieces together. The ongoing complexities and uncertainties of the pandemic have impacted our ability to properly move forward on many of these fronts, and ultimately we’re now past the point where we’d be able to develop the kind of event we’d want to create for you in November.

But we don’t want to let too long go by before we connect with everyone again. So in the meantime, we’re planning a global event for the early part of next year, combining an online show along the lines of our recent BlizzConline with smaller in-person gatherings, and we’ll share more as our plans come together.

Call of Duty Anti-Toxicity Progress Report

A toxicity progress report on the Call of Duty Website discusses efforts that have been made to eliminate toxic behavior in online Call of Duty games. Word is over 350K accounts have been banned for racist names or toxic behavior along with the implementation of several new in-game filters to assist in such efforts. The post also looks forward to other ways these efforts will continue going forward:
We will continue to increase our efforts in the following areas:

  • More resources to support detection and enforcement
  • Additional monitoring and backend technology
  • Scrubbing databases to bring systems up to current standards
  • Consistent and fair review of enforcement policies
  • Increased communication with the community

We know we have a long way to go to reach our goals. This is just the start. Addressing this is an ongoing commitment that we will not waiver from. We look forward to making progress on this front and coming together with you to share in the fun and joy of playing together.

GRAVEN Early Access

Early Access is now underway for GRAVEN, the throwback first person shooter developed by Slipgate Ironworks and published by 3D Realms and 1C Entertainment. The Windows game is offered on GOG.com, the Epic Games Store, and Steam. The inspiration the game draws from HEXEN is on display in this Early Access Launch Trailer. Here's more:
Tear through eldritch terrors unleashed by heretical sects and demented sinners as a disgraced Priest of the Orthagonal Order. Unjustly exiled for attacking a fellow brother upon witnessing an evil act, the Priest now follows a mission ordained by The Creator: root out the evils corrupting not just the Order, but creation itself.

Steam Early Access begins the journey with the first of three planned regions: Cruxfirth, a rotting swamptown suffering from a plague that ends either in death or violent madness. Inspired by classic shooters, immersive sims, and action RPGs, GRAVEN encourages exploration and creativity with multiple ways to take on puzzles and combat alike.
Continue here to read the full story.

Apex Legends Arena Leaver Penalties Leave

Respawn tweets that problems have caused it to temporarily disable the leaver penalties for Apex Legends that were just added for arena matches. Word is the kinks should be worked out in time for the penalties to return this week:
We’ve temporarily disabled leaver penalties in Arenas due to the system sometimes issuing inappropriate punishments.

The fix for this is scheduled for later this week, so we’ll let you know when we’ve solved the problem and restored penalties.

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Next Month

SEGA announces Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game will arrive on PC and Consoles on June 22nd. As the year in the title reminds us, this game was announced in 2019 for release in conjunction with last year's games. The game was naturally delayed when the summer Olympics were postponed, and now it's back on track. Here's word:
Featuring 18 fun-fueled Olympic events, a robust Avatar Creator, and local and online play for up to 8 players, Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 offers aspiring Olympians of all ages a chance to pursue their own Olympic dreams at-home or online.

“The Olympic Games are a unifying symbol of sportsmanship and competition for athletes and fans throughout the world,” said Ian Curran, President & COO at SEGA of America. “Tokyo 2020 channels that positive spirit into a fun, arcade-style experience for friends and family to play together as we all look forward to the start of the Olympic Games this Summer.”

Rugby 22 Announced

Publisher NACON and developer Eko Software announce Rugby 22, a new installment in the biennial sports simulation series. This will come to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox in January 2022, so you have time to get into shape before the games kick off. Here's word on this recreation of the rough-and-tumble sport:
The Paris-based development studio has used all its expertise in sports games (Handball 21, Rugby 18 and Rugby 20) and is making many improvements to this latest simulation. This includes more realistic AI, improved difficulty that adapts better to each player's level, and more lifelike star-player faces – especially on the latest-generation consoles – thanks to the use of photogrammetry.

Benoît Clerc, Head of Publishing at NACON, explained the goal for this new edition: "Rugby 22 continues and builds upon the great work started by Eko Software on the previous two games. We want to offer rugby fans the most authentic and complete experience possible with updated gameplay that has incorporated many improvements based on player feedback on the previous titles and by including official teams and competitions never seen before in a rugby simulation."
Continue here to read the full story.

Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards Released

Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is now available for Windows on Steam and on Switch (other consoles to follow), offering an action/RPG based on based on Incan mythology from Digiart Interactive and N-Fusion Interactive. Columbian actress portrays Aluna, a character she created for a series of comic books and who she also portrayed in Heroes of Newerth, S2's MOBA. This recent trailer includes a look at gameplay. Here's word:
Developed by Digiart Interactive and N-Fusion Interactive, Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is a rip-roaring romp through Inca lore featuring mythological gods, beasts, and tales that formed the backbone of 16th century Colombian culture. Venture from the Sanctuary seaside cliffs through the massive jungles of the New World, all the way to Nagaric’s Temple in the Volcanic Canyons in this pulpy period adventure.

Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards follows the exploits of Aluna, the warrior daughter of a Spanish conquistador and South American nature goddess Pachamama. Raised in early 16th century Spain, Aluna escaped to the New World only to realize it was her true homeland. Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards sets our heroine on a quest through Inca mythology as she strives to restore the amulet her goddess mother entrusted to her... and fulfill her true destiny.
Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Immunity to the Coronavirus May Persist for Years, Scientists Find (may require registration or subscription).

Unreal Engine 5 Early Access

The Unreal Engine Website announces that Early Access is now underway for Unreal Engine 5, the newest iteration of Epic's game development platform. This video introduces the release. The post includes a warning for newbs: "New to Unreal Engine? We recommend starting out with Unreal Engine 4.26. This is also the build you should use in production." But for those who are daring enough to walk on boardwalks in bare feet and risk eating raw cookie dough, the time is now:
Try UE5 Early Access today
If you're a game developer who likes to live on the bleeding edge, you can begin testing UE5 today. While it is not production-ready yet, you can use the Early Access build to start prototyping your next games.
Continue here to read the full story.

EA Chairman Probst Retiring

This SEC Filing reveals that Larry Probst is preparing to retire from his role as Chairman of the Board of Electronic Arts (thanks GameSpot). Probst, who turns 71 on June 3rd, has been with EA since 1984, and has served stints as president and CEO along the way. EA's current CEO Andrew Wilson is being appointed Chairman, subject to his reelection to the board. There's a letter to staff from Wilson on the EA website discussing the news and thanking Larry for his service:
When Larry first joined EA as vice president of sales, the company had approximately 50 employees and according to him, “it was an entirely different environment.” He went on to become CEO, and the rest is history.

In many ways, Larry helped to establish the core DNA of Electronic Arts - the cultural drive that pushes us to lead and strive for greatness in everything we do. From the beginning, Larry held an unshakeable belief that games were going to be the most significant form of entertainment on the planet. He taught us to embrace and lead the platform transitions that would come, instilled a constant commitment to quality, and challenged us every day to make Electronic Arts an incredibly meaningful part of people’s lives.

Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle Announced

Publisher Leonardo Interactive and developer Invader Studios announce Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle, a survival/horror game coming to PC and consoles in 2022 as a prequel to Daymare:1998. An Official Announcement Trailer looks to scare up interest in this, but be warned, it features none of the daylight the game's title suggests. It does offer a 2022 release window, which is when this is coming to PC and consoles. Here's a Steam Listing and more:
Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle is a third-person story-driven survival horror game prequel to the critically acclaimed Daymare: 1998. Step into the shoes of special agent Dalila Reyes, a former government spy now in the service of a unit called H.A.D.E.S. (Hexacore Advanced Division for Extraction and Search), and get ready to enter the most advanced experimental research center in the United States of America. Be careful though, because in the darkness of the desolate, labyrinthine depths of the military research center there is something terrifying and lethal awaiting you!

Lock and load one of the most innovative and technologically advanced weapons of all time and prepare to face never-before-seen creatures as you make your way through a series of evocative locations and unlock the secrets they contain.
Continue here to read the full story.

Escape from Naraka Announced

Publisher Headup announces Escape from Naraka, a speedrunning survival/platformer in development at XeloGames for release in Q3 of this year on Steam. This is appropriate for those who consider speedrunning hellish, as it is set in hell. Or at least a variant: "Speedrun in HELL! But it's not an ordinary hell. Taking inspiration from SEUM, Dark Deception and DOOM. There are secrets waiting to be found, collect them or not it's your choice, choose your destiny." Those inspirations are on display in the Announcement Trailer. Here's more:
Escape from Naraka puts you in a nightmarish, labyrinthine temple dominated by an evil demon called Rangda the Leyak Queen. Using 3D scan technology for world-building; most of the detailed environment assets in the game exist in real life.

To save your beloved one, you’re going to platform your way through diversely themed platforming sections, each one challenging you with new deadly trials as well as traps and terrifying enemies. Developing the arts of dodging and perfect placed jumping is just one part of your successful escape. You also need to collect essential abilities and find the fastest way through the courses.
Continue here to read the full story.

Reverie Knights Tactics Announced

1C Entertainment announces Reverie Knights Tactics, a tactical RPG from indie developer 40 Giants Entertainment coming to Windows and macOS via Steam as well as to consoles this (northern) autumn. The story driven game will feature turn-based battles on a 2D isometric grid and hand-drawn artwork, as seen in the Reveal Trailer. Here are the details:
Embark on an expedition to find Lennorien, the long-lost elven city to save the ones you lost, while fighting the goblin menace that spread terror across the continent! Lead your party of heroes, each one with distinct, special abilities and skills, allowing you to use multiple battle strategies to defeat your enemies. Discover a fantasy world featuring deep map and scenario exploration in an epic adventure, visual novel style! Craft new items and accessories from the treasures you collect and use them as tactical advantage every time you configure your characters.
Continue here to read the full story.

Causa Leaves Early Access

Causa, Voices of the Dusk is now officially available on Steam, following an Early Access run for this collectible card strategy game from Niebla Games. The game is free-to-play, supported by premium kits that bundle card packs, card backs, and in-game crystal currency. Here's a Steam Release Trailer and here's the deal:
Causa, Voices of the Dusk is an intriguing collectible card game in which your decisions will change the course of the game. Sacrifice cards to raise your Cause, and bring them back later to achieve the most strategic plays. Prove your abilities battling other players, and draft your way to Victory in extremely challenging campaigns.
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Spacegirl 2038 Released

Spacegirl 2038 is now available on Steam, offering a bullet hell shooter for Windows from Borsuk Software. As seen in the Launch Trailer, this is set in a claustrophobic maze-like atmosphere to increase the challenge. Here's more on this look at what to expect just 17 years in the future:
Spacegirl 2038 is a fun to play, fast paced arcade shooter with high energy music and retro graphics.

You play as Lara, a newly qualified pilot in the fleet, whose sister has gone missing. You've been told not to launch a rescue mission as you're too inexperienced, but since when have you listened? You must explore the strange alien world to find your sister and her crew and bring them home safely. Whether you leave a trail of destruction in your wake is up to you....
Continue here to read the full story.
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