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Monday, Jul 19, 2021

Project 007 Details Spied

An IO Interactive Job Listing seeks an AI Programmer for Project 007 (thanks GamesRadar+). We only know so much about the upcoming James Bond game, but this seems to educate us a bit more. The listing calls for "[e]xperience working with 3rd person action games." Interestingly, word is console programming experience is "preferred." It also sounds like the plan is to develop AI almost smart enough to avoid tangling with James Bond:
You will be part of the team implementing our very own cutting-edge AI tech. Few AAA companies rely on their own AI technology, but at IO Interactive we have created a brand-new AI framework ready to be implemented across multiple projects. We have our own AI team and we want to grow it. Want to join?

The Protagonist: EX-1 Released

The Protagonist: EX-1 is now available on Steam, offering a turn-based RPG for Windows where you play as the protagonist. Okay, maybe that's not so unusual. Here's an Official Trailer with a look at what you're getting into. The announcement has some details:
The Protagonist EX-1 combines RPG and turn-based strategy elements with a gripping science fiction story to keep players entertained for hours. Personalise your campaign as you control Angel and the squad, customising their close-combat abilities and navigating through dynamic dialogue trees, where decisions can have drastic consequences! With characters voiced by an impressive cast, including Hollywood actors Temuera Morrison and Tony Todd, delve into a narrative of war, mystery and extra-terrestrial action as you defeat menacing alien foes and control the fate of the world below you.
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Metaverse

Ubisoft Announces XDefiant

Ubisoft pays off on its teasing with the announcement of XDefiant, a new free-to-play first-person shooter coming to PC and consoles with full crossplay support. Interestingly, the only PC platforms mentioned are Ubisoft Connect, Stadia, and Luna. First testing gets underway in the U.S. and Canada on August 5th for PC only. Those interested in participating should register on the XDefiant Website. Here's the XDefiant Worldwide Reveal Trailer with gameplay, cinematics, and developer commentary. Word is:
Developed by Ubisoft San Francisco and led by seasoned FPS expert Mark Rubin (executive producer) and Ubisoft San Francisco veteran Jason Schroeder (creative director), XDefiant offers an all-new experience to Tom Clancy games. Factions and characters, “Defiants,” are inspired by Tom Clancy games and beyond. Whether players are looking to play competitively or casually, XDefiant has something for everyone.

XDefiant, a Ubisoft Original, is a new take on the competitive FPS genre that offers players a high-octane gameplay experience, combining fluid and visceral combat with unprecedented freedom and personalization. XDefiant will immerse players at the forefront of the Tom Clancy universe at iconic locations in the throes of technicolor chaos, with maps mixing indoor and outdoor environments, ensuring smooth gameplay and unpredictable engagements.
Continue here to read the full story.

Tencent Purchases Sumo Group

CNBC reports that Chinese internet behemoth Tencent has wrestled out an acquisition deal with the Sumo Group. This increases an existing stake in the British game developer, and is said to have sent stock prices soaring:
Tencent said Monday it has agreed to acquire British video game developer Sumo Group for £919 million ($1.26 billion).

The Chinese gaming giant is offering 513 pence in cash per share for Sumo, a 43% premium to the company’s Friday closing price. London-listed shares of Sumo skyrocketed more than 40% on news of the deal Monday.

Tencent already owns a 8.75% stake in Sumo, which mainly develops games for other publishers. Sumo’s portfolio includes Sackboy: A Big Adventure, a title published by Sony, and several racing games based on Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

New NVIDIA Drivers

NVIDIA announces the release of new GeForce 471.41 WHQL drivers, which are game ready for NVIDIA DLSS support in Red Dead Redemption 2. The post includes this trailer with a look at how this improves visuals and framerates in the wild west shooter sequel. There's also support for The Farm 51's Chernobylite, new optimal settings for additional games, and support for a couple of newly validated G-SYNC compatible displays. Continue here to read the full story.

NVIDIA Flexes its ARM

NVIDIA is attending the Game Developers Conference to show off its technology running on ARM hardware, though its attempted ARM acquisistion seems to remain in regulatory limbo. The Official NVIDIA Blog shows off a pair of new demos of GeForce RTX technologies running on the ARM platform. This video showcases the demos, which feature Wolfenstein: Youngblood as well as a sample scene called The Bistro. Here are details on the demos:
The two demos include Wolfenstein: Youngblood with real time ray traced reflections and DLSS on an Arm-based platform for the first time ever. NVIDIA also showed The Bistro demo running with real-time ray tracing on Arm, with RTX Direct Illumination (RTXDI) and NVIDIA Optix AI-Acceleration Denoiser (NRD) enabled.

The demos are running in real-time on a MediaTek Kompanio 1200 Arm-based platform paired with a GeForce RTX 3060 GPU.
Continue here to read the full story.

Epic Games Store Adding Achievements and More

The Epic Games Store Roadmap on Trello details some new features coming to the Epic Games Store in future updates (thanks VG247). Additions will include a preview on hover on the store, achievements, and upgraded user profiles. No time frame is provided for when to expect these changes to go live.

Peloton Getting Game

Peloton is planning on launching an in-app video game for Peloton bike owners, reports The Verge. Considering how these bicycles are built from the ground up to ride the information superhighway, using them to gamify exercise seems overdue already. Here are some details:
Peloton is entering the video game business. Today the company announced its latest idea to get people to exercise: an in-app video game tentatively called Lanebreak. The game, which will only be available for Peloton bike owners and subscribers, involves riders changing their cadence and resistance to meet various goals and control an on-screen rolling wheel. Players can choose a difficulty level, the type of music they want to hear, and the duration of the track before starting. The game isn’t available yet, but a members-only beta will open later this year. Peloton hasn’t share details around how people will be able to sign up.

The game’s vibe and interface reminds me of the Rainbow Road in Mario Kart, with a track trailing off into the universe. It’s more or less the same on Lanebreak, except instead of controlling Mario, you’re pedaling to keep your tire moving and meet specific goals. There are three types of challenges and ways to earn points: Pickups, which means that so long as you’re in the lane that the game commands, you’ll earn points; Streams, which reward you based on your cadence; and Breakers, which reward you based on energy output.

Out of the Blue

I want to let everyone know what's going on with John Keefer, who is in the hospital recovering from surgery. John is a long-time member of this corner of the gaming community who's served as an editor and/or editor in chief at GameSpy, CrispyGamer, GameFly, WarCry, The Escapist, Shacknews, Neowin, the Esports Observer, and more. He's one of the real good eggs, and he's handling his unexpected health issues with the same grace and aplomb he's handled the ups and downs of online life. The reports from his surgery are optimistic, and one can only hope things will continue to go in the right direction as he recovers. Please join me in wishing John best wishes and hopes he gets well soon.

Recovering Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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Sunday, Jul 18, 2021 National Ice Cream Day (USA)

New Tom Clancy Game Reveal Tomorrow

A tweet from Ubisoft reveals plans to unveil a new Tom Clancy game tomorrow. We are told to tune in via YouTube tomorrow at 2:00 pm EDT for a first look. Twitter is currently going crazy with speculation that this will be a new Splinter Cell game. We shall see. Here's all we know for now:
Tomorrow, things are going to get wild

Tune in at 11AM PT / 8PM CEST for the worldwide reveal of a brand-new game in the Tom Clancy’s universe.
Continue here to read the full story.

Warframe Reveals The New War Expansion and Crossplay Plans

At this weekend's Tennocon 2021, Digital Extremes announced The New War, a content expansion for Warframe that will arrive in the free-to-play shooter later this year. It's not specified exactly when the launch will arrive, but the plan is to bring it to the game on all platforms simultaneously. This is a part of a commitment to coordinate all futures launches in the same way to support the game's upcoming crossplay and cross-save functionality. Word is: "During TennoLive, DE demonstrated the in-development Cross Save and Cross Play functionality, which will empower Warframe players to seamlessly continue their adventure in the Origin System, as well as matchmake [sic] with other players, across every platform that Warframe is available on. DE also surprised viewers by confirming that Warframe is currently working for mobile devices and is actively in development." Here's a The New War Reveal Trailer and more on the plan and how it was unveiled:
Over an action-packed, cinematic, live gameplay demo of nearly 30 minutes, The New War shocked audiences by showing Corpus Engineer Veso, Grineer Soldier Kahl-175, and even fan-favorite Dax warrior Teshin -- all playable in a Quest for the first-time ever. With Earth’s mightiest bastion, Cetus, burning and the pride of the Corpus fleet lying in ruins, the combined strength of the Tenno and their allies might be the key to this new war. Rebecca Ford, Live Operations and Community Director at Digital Extremes, “The New War will continue Warframe’s very personal and intimate storyline with a dramatic narrative, unexpected experiences and cinematic action sequences like we showcased today.”

Digital Extremes also continued their tradition of bringing the Warframe community together and enhancing the TennoLive viewing experience with a one-time only, in-game Relay event. This year, players experienced an immersive reminder of some of their most momentous and shocking plot moments to date, as well as an unexpected first-ever look at Nidus Prime and a classroom of Tenno inside the fabled Zariman.
Continue here to read the full story.

NightDive Teasing PowerSlave Remake?

NightDive CEO PowerSteve tweets a teaser, presumably for the next classic game to get one of NightDive's modernized makeovers. There's a discussion of what game the image is from, but the favorite theory is PowerSlave, aka Exhumed (thanks PCGamesN). For a refresher, here's a trailer and description of this Build-engine first-person shooter from its GOG.com Listing:
Destination: The ancient Egyptian city of Karnak. Alien forces possessing horrifying powers have sealed off the once thriving community from all outside contact. As a covert operations specialist, you have been trained for all forms of contingencies. Nothing can prepare you, however, for the nightmare you are about to enter...

Features:

  • First-person viewpoint action.
  • 20+ levels of nonstop gameplay through an ancient Egyptian city and the tomb of the Pharaoh Ramses.
  • Real time fully 3D rendered gameplay allows you to move between floors within a single level
  • Cross bridges and swim through underwater grottoes.
  • With just a machete to start, search for 7 other weapons including hand grenades, a flame thrower, an M-60 machine gun, and a magical cobra staff.
  • Dynamic lighting creates stunning visual effects.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

While browsing around I saw something that I couldn't believe at first, but a quick verification shows to be true. Warning, disturbing observation about how old we're all getting follows. Wil Wheaton is now 48 years old. Sir Patrick Stewart took on the role of Jean-Luc Picard in 1987 when he was 47. Yup, Will Wheaton is now older than Patrick Stewart was at the onset of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I keep repeating "make it not so," but it seems to remain true nonetheless.

Truthful Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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