Archived News:

Friday, Jul 23, 2021 Max Payne Release Anniversary (2001)

Path of Exile: Expedition Sets Out

The Expedition expansion is now available for Path of Exile, offering the latest content update for this free-to-play action/RPG from Grinding Gear Games. This comes along with a reminder that the Path of Exile: Royale mode that was once an April Fool's joke has returned on weekends during the Expedition system. This page has all the details on Royale, and this one has more on Expedition. Here's the Expedition Official Trailer, here's the Royale Trailer, and here's a summary:
The latest expansion to the renowned free-to-play Action RPG Path of Exile: Expedition is now available on PC, and will be coming to Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles on July 28th. Additionally, fans can now experience Path of Exile: Royale on weekends throughout the length of the Expedition league.

Significant updates have been added with the Expedition expansion, including the Expedition Challenge League, four new merchant NPCs, 19 new Skill and Support Gems, massive balance changes, a flask system rework, plus some new item types.

Path of Exile: Royale, which was initially released as an April Fools’ joke, has been totally re-worked to feature a better spectator mode, leaderboards, improved terrain, interface upgrades, flask-refreshing troves and more.
Continue here to read the full story.

Q2 2021 US Videogame Spending Up

A new report from the NPD Group has second quarter 2021 video game spending figures for the United States. Word is the $14 billion spent on the hobby in April, May, and June is 2% over Q2 2020. Here are some details:
Gains were seen across PC, cloud and non-console VR content, mobile and subscription spending, as well as hardware. Console content and accessories experienced declines.

Overall content spending in Q2 reached $12.57 billion, an increase of 2%. Subscription content was the only content segment with double-digit percentage gains vs Q2 2020. Hardware posted a 12% increase, while accessories declined 11%.

Among the best-selling and most played games across all platforms in the second quarter were Among Us, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Call of Duty: Warzone, Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Clash of Clans, Coin Master, Fortnite, Garena Free Fire, Genshin Impact, Grand Theft Auto V, Homescapes, Mario Kart 8, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, Minecraft, MLB The Show 21, New Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Go, PUBG Mobile, Resident Evil: Village, and Roblox.

Hi-Rez Declares "Victory. Together."

Hi-Rez Studios announces a new slogan: "Victory. Together." The company says its new corporate identity highlights its "efforts to unite competitive gamers in strong, welcoming communities." This is being taken very seriously, the news comes along with a Victory. Together. Video and this blurb:
Today Hi-Rez, the acclaimed developer and publisher behind free-to-play hits SMITE, Paladins and Rogue Company, unveils a brand-new corporate identity that highlights the company’s efforts to unite competitive gamers in strong, welcoming communities.

Founded in 2005, Hi-Rez is a pioneer in the games-as-a-service space, offering free-to-play hits across consoles and PC platforms.

The company’s new slogan “Victory. Together” highlights the core objective of the company: to deliver games that offer the thrill of victory, and to build welcoming communities around those games. That is why every game in the Hi-Rez line-up is free-to-play, supports different game modes for different skill levels, includes characters that are representative of the whole of society and supports crossplay functionality so that regardless of what platform you game on, you and your friends can play together.
Continue here to read the full story.

June's Top Steam Releases

Valve offers its write-up of June 2021, highlighting the best-selling and most-played games played on Steam during the month. There's a full accounting of the top new titles for the month, as well as the free-to-play games with the highest levels of engagement. Part of the update also dips its toe into the boiling hot waters of the roguelike debate:
Games with 'roguelike' tags showed up in a big way during June, with numerous titles making successful debuts as Top Releases. Like other tags on Steam, players often discuss whether or not games have the elements required of the 'roguelike' tag. With each game providing unique aesthetics and differences in design, it's no wonder there is debate over how they should be tagged. The good news is that the tagging system is flexible in allowing many to be applied, while also letting players create brand new tags. Recent examples include 'traditional roguelike', 'roguelike deckbuilder', and the creative-hybrid 'roguevania'. Check out the full list of June's Top Roguelikes for all the details.

A Way To Be Dead Early Access

A Way To Be Dead is now available in Early Access on Steam, offering an asymmetrical multiplayer game where a doctor must track down four escaped patients amid a zombie outbreak. Take a look at the Launch Trailer for a look, and read on for the details:
A Way to be Dead is an asymmetrical multiplayer (4 vs 1) horror game where a bewildered doctor is on the hunt for a group of victims who are just trying to escape. Players can take on the role of Dr. Riley, the victims or even the zombies, as the action unfolds in the same universe as Roots of Insanity, Crania Games previous game. As the frenetic multiplayer action ensures, as the player witnesses the events of Roots Of Insanity from an entirely new perspective.
Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: I FILLED MY ISLAND HOUSE WITH PACKING PEANUTS. We certainly live in interesting times.

Battlefield 1 Free Weekend

Those who are unable to take advantage of the Prime Gaming Battlefield 1 giveaway because they aren't Amazon Prime subscribers still have the chance to check out the World War I shooter for free. The game is free to check out all weekend on Steam. Though that's a limited offer, Steam is also giving away the Battlefield 1 Shortcut Kit: Vehicle Bundle free to keep over the coming week. Here's more on the free weekend:
Discover every part of a global conflict from shore to shore – fight in besieged French cities, great open spaces in the Italian Alps, or vast Arabian deserts. Swarm the battlefield in massive multiplayer battles with up to 64 players. Charge in on foot as infantry, lead a cavalry assault, and battle in fights so intense and complex you'll need the help of all your teammates to make it through.

Activision Blizzard's Lawsuit Response

A tweet from Jason Schreier reproduces a letter Jason says was sent to Activision Blizzard staff last night to address the lawsuit filed against the company over a toxic workplace culture. In the letter Blizzard president J. Allen Brack addresses the allegations:
I personally have a lot of emotions coming out of yesterday, and I know you do, too. The allegations and the hurt of current and former employees are extremely troubling.

I know that many of you would like to receive more clarity. While I can't comment on the specifics of the case as it's an open investigation, what I can say is that the behavior detailed in the allegations is completely unacceptable.
Continue here to read the full story.

Orcs Must Die! 3 Lives

Robot Entertainment announces that Orcs Must Die! 3 is now available for PC and consoles, following about a year of Stadia exclusivity. Word is: "The critically acclaimed series that’s been enjoyed by over eight millions [sic] players is now available for console and PC players to unleash orc-devastating mayhem." The Launch Trailer celebrates the game's second coming, and here's more on this celebration of orcicide:
Orcs Must Die! 3 ushers orc-slaying mayhem to a previously unimaginable scale. Solo or with a friend by your side, arm yourself with a massive arsenal of traps and weapons. Slice, burn, toss and zap hordes of repugnant orcs in this long-awaited successor to the award-winning series.

New to the series, War Scenarios pit players against the largest orc armies ever assembled. Mountable War Machines give players the essential firepower to heave, stab, carbonize, and disarticulate the abominable intruders.
Continue here to read the full story.

EVGA RMAs DOA RTX GPUs

EVGA has confirmed for PC Gamer that it's replacing the RTX 3090 graphics cards that suffered untimely deaths while playing the closed beta of New World, Amazon's upcoming MMORPG. An EVGA spokesperson says: "Yes, all failed 3090’s are being replaced." The story also notes that a new video from JayzTwoCents reports EVGA is cross-shipping replacements for expediency, so they must have stumbled across a batch of unobtanium to make new ones. Finally, a follow-up post on the New World Test Forums confirms that the game has been patched to prevent this problem from recurring, despite prior assurances it was not happening in the first place:
We have implemented an update to reduce GPU load in menu screens by clamping FPS - this does not affect settings in game world available via the Settings/Video menu!

Football Manager Adding Women's Football

Sports Interactive and SEGA announce plans to bring women's football to the Football Manager series of soccer/association football games. Word is: "The result of this landmark work will not be a standalone women's football management simulation. Instead, women's football will be fully incorporated into FM's living, breathing world, with managers able to take control of either men's or women's clubs and move between them seamlessly." This will not even remotely happen overnight, as it is described as a "multi-year project." In a blog post on the Football Manager Website, Miles Jacobson delves into the details on the plan. Here's an overview:
Sports Interactive™ and SEGA® Europe Ltd. can today proudly announce that work has started on a multi-year project to bring women's football into its iconic Football Manager™ series.

The result of this landmark work will not be a standalone women's football management simulation. Instead, women's football will be fully incorporated into FM's living, breathing world, with managers able to take control of either men's or women's clubs and move between them seamlessly.

The studio has not set a definitive date for when the project will be completed; but the intention is to incorporate the women's game as soon as realistically possible. Sports Interactive's development team is committed to ensuring that women's football is represented as authentically as possible and with the level of realism and attention to detail that the series is renowned for and will not announce a launch date until these standards have been met.

American McGee Up for "Moar" Alice

Game designer American McGee tweets that he is standing by in case Electronic Arts comes calling on him to make a new American McGee's Alice. Here's more, err, moar on his willingness to go back down the rabbit hole:
While I (and Alice fans) would have liked the next @EA horror project to be a new "Alice" game... this does at least move us forward in line.

At some point in the future, execs at EA will shout "need moar product!" and someone will reply, "Alice?" And we'll be ready!

Out of the Blue

Happy 20th birthday to Max Payne, as the third-person shooter first rolled out on July 23, 2001. Developer Remedy offers this video to mark the occasion. To celebrate we're now proudly displaying the Max Payne logo that first appeared here in June of 2001. Thanks Walter "2" Costinak for his epic work on the original logo, and thank you to Scott for adapting it to our current format.

Obituary: Jets assistant Greg Knapp dies from biking injuries.

Bullet Time Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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