Archived News:

Thursday, Jun 10, 2021

Electronic Arts Breached

Vice reports a breach at Electronic Arts has resulted in the theft of loads of data, including the source code for FIFA 21 and the Frostbite engine. This was revealed by forum posts by the perpetrators, but Vice's Motherboard confirmed this through EA: "EA confirmed to Motherboard that it had suffered a data breach and that the information listed by the hackers was the data that was stolen." According to an official statement from Electronic Arts, additional security measures are now in place, and it's expected that neither games nor players will be negatively impacted by this:
"We are investigating a recent incident of intrusion into our network where a limited amount of game source code and related tools were stolen," an EA spokesperson told Motherboard in a statement. "No player data was accessed, and we have no reason to believe there is any risk to player privacy. Following the incident, we’ve already made security improvements and do not expect an impact on our games or our business. We are actively working with law enforcement officials and other experts as part of this ongoing criminal investigation."

Along with their forum posts the hackers shared a small selection of screenshots claiming to demonstrate their access to EA data, but did not publicly distribute any of the internal data itself. Instead, the hackers are, at least ostensibly, trying to sell the information.

Get Control for Free

The Epic Games Store now offers Control for free, as Remedy's third-person action/adventure is the store's latest weekly giveaway. It will be yours to keep if you claim it over the coming seven days. As usual, after that it will be supplanted by a newer giveaway. After a couple of weeks of secrecy, Epic is once again unveiling its plans, saying next week's pair of freebies will be Hell is other demons and Overcooked! 2. Here are some details to help you decide if you want to be a Control freak:
After a secretive agency in New York is invaded by an otherworldly threat, you become the new Director struggling to regain Control.

From developer Remedy Entertainment, this supernatural 3rd person action-adventure will challenge you to master the combination of supernatural abilities, modifiable loadouts and reactive environments while fighting through a deep and unpredictable world.

Control is Jesse Faden’s story and her personal search for answers as she grows into the role of the Director. The world of Control has its own story, as do the allies Jesse meets along the way. Jesse works with other Bureau agents and discovers strange experiments and secrets.

Back 4 Blood Open Beta in August

The Back 4 Blood Website announces plans for open beta testing of this upcoming co-op shooter that's a spiritual successor to the Left 4 Dead series. The open beta will run from August 12-16. For those who have more bloodlust, there will also be an Early Access period for the beta from August 5-9 for those who preorder the game. A Back 4 Blood Beta FAQ has more details, including word that you can also register for Early Access without a purchase, but acceptance is not guaranteed, as spots are limited. Here's a refresher on the game:
Back 4 Blood is a thrilling cooperative first-person shooter from the creators of the critically acclaimed Left 4 Dead franchise. You are at the center of a war against the Ridden. These once-human hosts of a deadly parasite have turned into terrifying creatures bent on devouring what remains of civilization. With humanity’s extinction on the line, it’s up to you and your friends to take the fight to the enemy, eradicate the Ridden, and reclaim the world.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt Alpha Next Month

Sharmob announces Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt, a new battle royale game based on the World of Darkness tabletop series. A closed alpha test for the game is scheduled for July 2nd, and those interested in taking part should register on the official website. This will lead to an eventual free-to-play launch on Steam. Here's the Official Announcement Trailer and here are more details:
A third person free-to-play Battle Royale experience set in the Vampire: The Masquerade universe, developed in close collaboration with the World of Darkness brand team. For the first time ever, experience the concept of vampires at war as sects clash in the city of Prague, triggered by the arrival of strike-teams from the Second Inquisition. Use your supernatural powers, weapons and wit to eradicate your enemies and deal with the hunters – all while you struggle to maintain the Masquerade.
Continue here to read the full story.

Galactic Civilizations IV Early Access

Early Access is now underway for Galactic Civilizations IV, the next installment in the Stardock's 4X strategy series set in space, where no one can hear you freestyle rap. "Great games are built on player feedback," said Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock. "We have always valued our community and encourage them to participate in the process as we develop new things. Putting Galactic Civilizations IV into an Early Access period during its Alpha phase allows us to hear what our players have to say now so we can deliver the best game possible later." Word is the Early Access phase is launching while the game is in alpha, rather than beta, because of the "dramatic changes from previous Galactic Civilizations games." The previously released Announcement Trailer has look at the game, and those interested in checking out the alpha can head over to the Galactic Civilizations IV Website for more, or to the Epic Games Store to purchase a copy. Here's more on the plan:
Stardock released an Alpha version of Galactic Civilizations® IV into Early Access today. As the all-powerful leader of a spacefaring civilization, the player must seek out new star systems and discover the exciting potential of the subspace realm. There are thousands of worlds to colonize and dozens of civilizations - both old and new - to encounter.

The game takes the best of what the award-winning space 4X strategy sandbox game series has to offer and adds many new and exciting features while vastly increasing in scope and depth. Galactic Civilizations IV utilizes new features like AI characters, star sectors, ministers, central control, a much bigger technology tree, and more.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Anacrusis Announced

Xbox Wire has the official announcement of The Anacrusis, a four-player, co-op first-person shooter from developer Stray Bombay coming to Windows, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Xbox Game Pass this (northern) fall. Here's an Announce Trailer with a first look at gameplay. As the description outlines, this includes elements specifically geared towards enhancing the game's replayability:
Every time you play The Anacrusis, the game changes. The AI Driver controls every aspect of the game, it spawns every enemy, directs each boss, and places all the weapons, gadgets, and health kits in the game. The goal is to deliver the perfect difficulty for your party’s preference, but it goes much further than that. The Driver knows how much of the story each player has experienced, so the secrets of the alien attack, and the relationships between the characters, and even more story beats unfold as you play. You’ve never experienced a co-op FPS quite like this before.

But wait, there’s more! Each time you play The Anacrusis, you’ll find new perks. The perks will change the way you play from game-to-game. You can stack all your upgrades to become your team’s offensive expert, spread your perks around and play for general utility, or specialize in healing to keep your friends alive. You’ll unlock more perks the more you play, and you’ll automatically share them with everyone on your team! Join our community Discord for regular development updates while we ready the game for launch in Fall 2021!
Continue here to read the full story.

Elden Ring in January

The grand finale of today's Summer Game Fest presentation was a new trailer from Elden Ring, the fantasy action/RPG in the works at developer FromSoftware and publisher BANDAI NAMCO. This features a game world created by Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R.R. Martin, the fantasy author who's never too busy for a side project. The clip is an official gameplay reveal which also unveils the game's release date, saying it is due on January 21, 2022. Here's word on the game:
Featuring a vast and seamless landscape with natural weather and time-of-day progression, players will become fully immersed in the world of ELDEN RING as they begin their journey and choose on their own path. Traverse on foot or horseback, alone or online with friends across grassy plains, suffocating swamps and lush forests. Ascend spiraling mountains, enter breathtaking castles, and witness other sites of grandeur on a scale never seen before in a FromSoftware title. ELDEN RING’s role-playing and customization options allow players to define their own unique playstyle. Experimentation is encouraged with a wide variety of weapons, magical abilities and skills found throughout the world; enticing players to follow previously unexplored progression paths.

ELDEN RING gives players the opportunity to chart their own path through its world. Choose to run headlong into fierce battles against daunting foes or take advantage of the game’s stealth and combat systems to gain the upper hand. It is up to the player to decide how to handle the many challenges that lay before them.
Continue here to read the full story.

CD PROJEKT Breach May Include Staff Details

A security breach update from CD PROJEKT has more on the breach and ransomware attack suffered by the company earlier this year. The company still can't confirm exactly what data were breached, but there are indications this included personal details of some employees:
This message is a follow-up on the February security breach which targeted the CD PROJEKT Group. Today, we have learned new information regarding the breach, and now have reason to believe that internal data illegally obtained during the attack is currently being circulated on the Internet.

We are not yet able to confirm the exact contents of the data in question, though we believe it may include current/former employee and contractor details in addition to data related to our games. Furthermore, we cannot confirm whether or not the data involved may have been manipulated or tampered with following the breach.

The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes in October

A new trailer from House of Ashes introduces the story from this next installment in Supermassive Games' The Dark Pictures Anthology. It also reveals a release date for the survival/horror game, saying it will be in the house for PC and consoles on October 22nd. The game can now be preordered through the official website, which offers the following description in BANDAI NAMCO's beloved all-caps:
A military unit searching for chemical weapons unearth something far deadlier. In the ruins of a buried Sumerian temple deep beneath the Arabian desert something evil is awakened. Savage and unstoppable, a nest of ancient and unearthly creatures has found a new prey to hunt……

Horrific discoveries and impossible decisions face the Unit as they strive to navigate a subterranean labyrinth and escape the terrifying threat. Will they each prioritise their own survival, or put aside their fears and their personal rivalries to fight together as one?
Continue here to read the full story.

Two Point Campus Announced

SEGA and Two Point Studios officially announce Two Point Campus, though this reveal was spoiled when Microsoft accidentally leaked details about it last month. As you can see in the Announce Trailer, this will do for education what Two Point Hospital did for health care — imbue it with dangerously incompetent negligence. Here's word:
In Two Point Campus, you’ll be tasked with building and running your very own campus environment, where the decisions you make will shape the lives of the students you enrol and the staff you hire. For the first time, build in the great outdoors as you develop your very own campus grounds, buildings, and surroundings. Lay down dorms, pathways, hedgerows and more with new easy-to-use creative tools. The only limit is your imagination (and your in-game bank balance).

The fun doesn’t stop there! The people of Two Point County have slightly different priorities when it comes to education, meaning your students get to enjoy a wide range of hilariously unusual courses such as Knight School, where they’ll learn jousting and practise the noble art of chivalry. The less martially inclined can hone their skills in Gastronomy, and collaborate on all sorts of oversized culinary delights, like gigantic pizzas and equally humongous pies.
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Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Free Guy - Official Trailer - 20th Century Studios. Bonus: Ryan Reynolds' Vasectomy. Thanks Neutronbeam.

New Painkiller Revealed

A brief aside during the Summer Game Fest revealed plans for a new installment in the Painkiller series. This was during a brief appearance by Saber Interactive head of publishing Todd Hollenshead. The former id Software CEO did not provide any details or specifics other than to say Saber is working on a new first-person shooter in the Painkiller franchise. Meanwhile, Koch Media takes the wraps off of Prime Matter, a new label under which the new Painkiller will be published.

Metal Slug Tactics Announced

Publisher Dotemu and developer Leikir Studio announce a partnership with SNK today announced Metal Slug Tactics, an exciting adaptation of the iconic series’ satisfying action through grid-based tactical warfare coming to PC via Steam, as part of Summer Game Fest 2021. Coming to PC via Steam, this is described as "an exciting adaptation of the iconic series' satisfying action through grid-based tactical warfare." The Reveal Trailer accomplishes its titular goal of revealing the game, and below we offer additional details:
Metal Slug Tactics’ challenging missions build levels from different combinations of hand-crafted terrain tiles, keeping battle layouts unpredictable and ensuring clashes are won through calculated strategy rather than memorization. Roguelite elements make missions highly replayable and victories feel truly earned, but should a cunning squad or fiendish boss persevere, rounds are quick to jump back into.

Paired with gorgeous pixel art and fluid animation which faithfully channels the series’ timeless aesthetic, Metal Slug Tactics is a natural extension of METAL SLUG’s beloved visuals. Each mission’s heated battle is energized through original music by Tee Lopes (Sonic Mania, League of Legends, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, and Streets of Rage 4’s Mr. X Nightmare DLC among other titles). Metal Slug Tactics is both a respectful homage to an all-time classic and an imaginative new way to celebrate the renowned series.
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Jurassic World Evolution 2 Announced

Dr. Ian Malcolm appeared at the SUMMER GAME FEST to debut the Announcement Trailer for Jurassic World Evolution 2, revealing plans for a new installment in the management simulation series coming later this year. The game's Steam Listing and official website should go live soon. In the meantime here's the description of the video:
Building upon the groundbreaking and immersive 2018 management simulation, Jurassic World Evolution 2 introduces a compelling, new narrative campaign set after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, incredible new features, and awe-inspiring new dinosaurs brought to life with captivating realism. Together with expanded construction and more customisation options, the result is an even bigger, better and authentic Jurassic World game.
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Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Announced

The SUMMER GAME FEST: Kickoff kicked off with the expected announcement that Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is in the works at Gearbox and 2K games for release in early 2022. Though this is a looter-shooter starring Tiny Tina of Borderlands, it is not technically part of the Borderlands series. It seems very much in the vein of Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, the Borderlands 2 add-on. The most striking revelation for now is the game's all-star voice cast:
Check out the action-packed, zany announcement trailer for the upcoming game, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, featuring Andy Samberg, Wanda Sykes, Will Arnett, and Ashly Burch, along with her royal highness.
Continue here to read the full story.

Microsoft "All-In" on Gaming

An article on Xbox Wire features a conversation between Satya Nadella and Phil Spencer where the Microsoft CEO and head of Xbox discuss why Microsoft is "all in" on gaming. This is excerpted from a larger article on Bringing the Joy and Community of Gaming to Everyone. On a related note, Eurogamer.net parses recent comments from Spencer, calling them a "thinly-veiled dig" at Sony's PC strategy "of releasing its PlayStation-exclusives on PC years after they come out on console." Here's Nadella's take on being all-in:
As a company, Microsoft’s all-in on gaming. We believe we can play a leading role in democratizing gaming and defining that future of interactive entertainment, quite frankly, at scale. There are really three, I think, areas or key areas where we believe we have incredible competitive advantage. First is our leadership in cloud computing; second, the resources we have to build out the subscription value with Xbox Game Pass; and third is our overall focus on empowering creators. I’m really excited about the opportunity in gaming.

New NVIDIA GeForce Drivers

With the new GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics cards now showing up in stores all over the place (hope you didn't have a mouthful of coffee when you read that), NVIDIA now offers new WHQL-certified version 466.77 GeForce drivers. These support the 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti cards, and are game-ready to support NVIDIA DLSS and NVIDIA Reflex in additional titles. Here's more from the announcement:
Our latest GeForce Game Ready driver brings you support for the new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, and a ton of enhancements and optimizations for a variety of games. DLSS comes to No Man’s Sky and The Persistence, Reflex heads to Escape From Tarkov and War Thunder, and there’s day-one support for CrossFire HD, Chivalry 2 and Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2.

Plus, we’ve got support for 7 new GeForce Experience Optimal Playable Settings profiles.

Starbase Early Access Delay

The countdown has been halted for the launch of Early Access to Starbase, Frozenbyte's upcoming "hybrid voxel/vertex-based space MMO with a fully destructible and infinitely expanding universe." This phase was supposed to commence on June 17th, but the desire to make changes based on feedback from alpha testers has pushed Early Access back to July 29th. That new date doesn't seem carved in stone either, though, as the announcement hedges, saying the "next release target is July 29th." The game's Steam Listing likewise lists "Targeting July 29th, 2021" as a release date. On the bright side, there are plans to offer many additional keys for closed beta testing between now and then. Here's an apologetic video message on the topic from Joel Kinnunen and Kai Touvinen, and here are the details:
The Early Access release of Starbase on June 17th is unfortunately going to be delayed. We have looked at the release-readiness of the game and listened to the feedback of our alpha testers, and decided to delay.

Missing Features & Lack of Testing
There's some key features that haven't quite made it into the game yet. These include the easy-build-mode and more tutorials (which are important for new players and the early-game experience), factory stuff, company controls and a number of other features that we feel are essential to the launch. We don't want to release without those features, or without having tested those features properly. So unfortunately we have to delay at the last moment.
Continue here to read the full story.

NINJA GAIDEN: Master Collection Released

NINJA GAIDEN: Master Collection is now available for Windows and consoles, and the PC edition can be found on Steam. This bundles three titles from KOEI TECMO's action combat series — 2007's NINJA GAIDEN Sigma, 2009's NINJA GAIDEN Sigma 2, and 2012's NINJA GAIDEN 3 Razor’s Edge. In keeping with the console roots of the series, these games do not support mouse and keyboard, so a controller is required. There are also issues with the PC ports, as noted by several gaming publications, so be aware of what you're getting into. Here's a Launch Trailer and here are details on each game in the anthology:
The NINJA GAIDEN: Master Collection brings the nostalgic yet timeless high-speed action of the NINJA GAIDEN series to the current generation of consoles, allowing both newcomers and returning fans the opportunity to enjoy exhilarating battles against fearsome opponents. Players will follow the adventures of Super Ninja Ryu Hayabusa across three of his most renowned 3D outings – each packed with most of the previously released game modes and DLC costumes. Games featured in the Master Collection include:

  • NINJA GAIDEN Sigma (originally released in 2007): Vengeance is born. The greater fiend Doku, sent by the Vigoor Empire to obtain the Dark Dragon Blade, decimates Hayabusa village. Young Ryu Hayabusa sets out to avenge his clan and to take back the fallen blade from the evil empire.
  • NINJA GAIDEN Sigma 2 (originally released in 2009): Hayabusa faces off against the Supreme Ninja Overlord, Genshin, and his Black Spider Ninja Clan in their attempt to steal the Demon Statue that has been protected by his father for generations. Hayabusa ventures around the world on a quest to retrieve the Demon Statue as he cuts down all greater fiends in his path to ultimately destroy the Archfiend.
  • NINJA GAIDEN 3 Razor’s Edge (originally released in 2012): A mysterious alchemist, the Regent of the Mask, places a deadly curse on Hayabusa, as the Dragon Sword is absorbed into his arm causing great pain and suffering. While he struggles with his curse, the Regent intends to destroy the world within 7 days – meaning Hayabusa must overcome his agonising fate to stop the Regent and save the world.
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Nimoyd - Survival Sandbox Demo

A playable alpha demo is now available for Nimoyd - Survival Sandbox on Steam, offering the chance to draw a line in the sand in this voxel-based survival game for Windows in the works at Nudge Nudge Games (say no more). This is a small, self-funded indie project, but the developer says it has been attracting a lot of attention from publishers. Here's a Gameplay Overview Trailer that looks at about 20 minutes of footage, and here's the game's raison d'etre:
We are big survival fans, and we got a bit bored by how many survival games become rather boring mid to late game. So, with Nimoyd, we simply try a few ideas which hopefully push the survival genre a bit forward, away from the item grinding. We've added not only a life sim-like building editor with cute decorations like you have never seen before in a voxel game, hopefully, but also NPC nations and diplomacy, city interaction, as well as NPC friendship and marriage. On top of it, huge generated cities in which each building can be entered and destroyed; a generated dungeon crawl system will hopefully make the game stand out too, together with the NPC governor and an NPC family system. Additionally, the whole planet is an ecosystem that reacts to your actions, whether you are good (Gaia) or evil (Underlord). Multiplayer is in development too.
Continue here to read the full story.

Loria Goes Free

GOG.com announces Loria is now 100% free for Windows, macOS, and Linux, allowing everyone to experience the game's retro real-time strategy without a penny of real-time spending. This is because the game's developer is turning its complete attention to the Kickstarter Campaign for LIQUIDATION, a planned fantasy/sci-fi RTS game. As a result, the good news of Loria going free is counterbalanced by the bad news that it will no longer be supported going forward. Here's a trailer and the storia on Loria:
Loria is a homage to classics from golden era of strategy games, with modern spin on controls and user experience.

Game introduces not just RTS elements but also RPG elements such as: hero units, collecting items and quest driven missions offers for a more interesting take on the RTS genre.

Goal of Loria is to take the best concepts from the classics and create a modern user-experience, intelligent AI, smooth controls, pleasing aesthetic and to add interesting content.
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

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Out of the Blue

Well, as noted earlier this week, the summer game festival season should get underway in earnest today with the SUMMER GAME FEST: Kickoff Live! Official Stream today at 2:00 pm EDT. A whole bunch of shows will follow, some associated with next week's E3, and some not. So make sure your seatbacks and tray-tables are in an upright and locked position, and prepare for takeoff!

Take-off Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Science
Thanks Max.

Media

Follow-up

The Funnies

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