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Friday, Jul 30, 2021 System Administrator Appreciation Day

Get Wanderlust: Transsiberian for Free is now offering another giveaway. You can pick up a copy of Wanderlust: Transsiberian for Windows, macOS, and Linux between now and Monday completely free. This will be yours to keep, and the only requirement is that you sign up for the newsletter. If you're already a subscriber, then all you have to do is claim the game. Here's word on this roadtrip adventure:
Board the Trans-Siberian railroad and travel 9,289 km from Moscow to Vladivostok. Clash with a vibrant culture as you meet people as strange to you as you are to them. Journey into a standalone Wanderlust adventure from the makers of The Witcher.

Two men embark on a trip to the easternmost reaches of Eurasia, onboard the longest railway line in the world. For one of them, it’s a dream come true. For the other, it’s not much more than a hassle. See the Siberian odyssey through their eyes.

Experience the longest journey through beautiful bespoke photography and rich literary descriptions that will transport you into the cold and beautiful wilderness.

Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator Playtest

A playtest of Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator is now underway on Steam, offering the chance to check out this upcoming alchemist simulator. Head over and hit the request access button to express your interest. Here's a Gameplay Overview Trailer and a post about the new testing:
Reworked Alchemist’s Path
Get ready to start your journey down The Alchemist’s Path with the completely reworked progression of 6 new story chapters! Complete a whole new set of quests and get valuable experience to upgrade your skills.

Alchemy Machine and Legendary Recipes
Brewing potions is fun and all, but the real challenge starts in the basement of your alchemy shop. Restore the Alchemy Machine left by your predecessor and discover Legendary Recipes such as Nigredo and Void Salt.
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Two Point Hospital Free Weekend

Publisher SEGA and developer Two Point Studios announce a free weekend is underway for Two Point Hospital for PC, Xbox, and Switch, The Windows, macOS, and Linux editions of the medical malpractice simulation are on Steam. This comes amid the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Sonic series, so some free Sonic-related items are also now available in the game. Finally, Two Point Hospital is currently on sale for 75% off if you are inspired to continue your medical practice after the promotion ends. Here's more on the crossover Sonic content:
With a choice of four costumes in which to clothe your staff (Sonic, Amy, Knuckles, Tails), you can rest assured that your personnel will be looking tip-top as they shape up to deliver the very best healthcare in Two Point County.

And with items ranging from a stunning Sonic statue, decorative rugs and even a giant Gold Ring, you can be sure to find something suitably themed to pep up your hospitals in true Sonic style.

David Brevik on Blizzard Lawsuit

A series of tweets from David Brevik of Graybeard Games has a reaction to the lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard over a "frat boy" culture of sexual harassment (thanks Black Square). Brevik is co-founder of Blizzard North where the Diablo series was born, and he reflects on what's going on at his former home. He describes his own zero-tolerance policy in such matters, which extends to Blizzard, as he says "I doubt I will ever support Blizzard in any way again." Here's the content of the four tweets:
This was NOT the culture at Blizzard North. We had just one incident and I fired the instigator right away. He happened to be my best friend of 10+ years, but it didn't matter. Post-Blizzard, there have been a few incidents and my policy is: no tolerance. I've fired them all.

I am happy that the employees at Blizzard are standing up to management and demanding change. I wholeheartedly support them.

However, this event has had such a profound impact on me, that I doubt I will ever support Blizzard in any way again.

I hope the victims find some justice. I hope this becomes a force for change, not just at Blizzard, but industry-wide.
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Forza Motorsport 7 Leaving Stores in September

The Forza Motorsport Website announces that the end of the road is nearing for Forza Motorsport 7. Though it will remain playable in solo and multiplayer as before, as of September 15th it will no longer be offered for sale. Here are the details, which are a bit more complicated than usual:
On September 15, 2021, Forza Motorsport 7 will reach End of Life status. This means that the game and its DLC will no longer be available to purchase in the Microsoft Store or available with Xbox Game Pass.

However, after September 15, players who already own Forza Motorsport 7 will still be able to download and play the game and its associated content as normal. In addition, features like multiplayer and online services will still be accessible for those who own the game.

For any Xbox Game Pass players who previously purchased DLC for the game, but not the game itself, we have good news! You will receive a token for the game through the Xbox Message Center so that you can continue playing Forza Motorsport 7. Token distribution will be through August 2. However, if after that date you have not received your token, please contact Xbox Support here. (Unused tokens will expire on September 15, 2023.)
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Icarus Delayed; Beta Next Month

Developer RocketWerkz announces a delay to Icarus, the upcoming survival game from the studio formed by DayZ creator Dean Hall. Just last month it was announced the game would arrive on August 11th. Now a new roadmap shows the release is expected in November. This will follow a series of beta weekends that will begin on August 28th. These are being called "open beta" tests, but they are not, as they require pre-purchasing the game to participate. Word is new features will be added to the beta every two weeks:
New features will be unlocked for the community to test every second weekend. “In the first Beta Weekend players will be invited to put Icarus’ core survival gameplay to the test,” says gamerunner Dean Hall. “Then we’ll start throwing more at them every two weeks. We’re really looking forward to playing Icarus with our community and hearing their feedback.”

The second Beta Weekend will unlock Icarus’ base-destroying storms, followed by the arctic biome two weeks later, then the desert biome, and special faction missions set by the corporations vying for control of Icarus in the following weeks.
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Riot Opening Shanghai Studio

Riot Games is opening a new studio in Shanghai to focus on developing new games for a global audience, reports CNBC. Riot says this is part of it doubling down on its success in China. Then again, the developer is wholly owned (for now at least) by Chinese conglomerate Tencent. Here's more on the news:
“In China we have a lot of passionate players for ‘League of Legends’ and for Riot Games,” Leo Lin, VP and head of China for Riot Games told CNBC.

“So as a result, we would like to double down in China and continue to invest here including not only working on e-sports, but for example, game development and other things like entertainment.”

The Shanghai studio will hire “hundreds” of roles, according to a video message posted by Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT Announced

The silicon shortage continues, but apparently paper is still in good supply. AMD announces the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT Graphics Card, a new product that will offer "epic 1080p gaming," presuming that's your aspiration. Word is these will launch to widespread unavailability on August 11th:
Today, at ChinaJoy 2021, AMD introduced the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT graphics card, designed to deliver the ultimate high-framerate, high-fidelity and highly responsive 1080p gaming experience.

The Radeon RX 6600 XT is built on breakthrough AMD RDNA 2 architecture, offering 32MB of AMD Infinity Cache and 8GB of GDDR6 memory, and bringing advance features mainstream gamers to meet the ever-increasing demands of modern games, including:
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Vesper Released

Vesper is now available on and Steam, offering an adventure/platformer developed by Cordens Interactive. Word is: "Dive into a colorful, eerie world as you take control of a small android and - by manipulating light, ancient machinery and hostile robots - try to navigate a post-post-apocalyptic land on a mission to bring back the light and save your kind." Here's the Official Release Trailer, here's a suggested cocktail pairing, and here are some details:
Vesper mixes the gameplay of classic ‘90s atmospheric platformers with newly inspired mechanics. Take control of Seven, a small android stranded on an eerie planet once populated by a highly advanced civilization, now ruled by hostile robots that eradicate any signs of life that don't belong to their network. You’ll face thought-provoking questions about free will, determinism and more on a journey about the struggle between life and technology.

Use the Drive Gun to wield the light in order to overcome obstacles, take control of your enemies and turn them against each other. The game offers a variety of different solutions for every encounter, allowing you to hide in the shadows to avoid contact or engage enemies head-on. Choosing a path that fits your play style is the core design philosophy of Vesper.
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Skydrift Infinity Takes Off

Skydrift Infinity is now available on Steam, offering the chance to go to infinity and beyond in the Windows edition of this arcade aerial combat and racing game. Look! Up in the sky! It's a Release Trailer! Here's more on the game, and why it's not your grandfather's Mario Kart:
Skydrift Infinity is an action-packed arcade racer focusing on the experience of flying alone or with others, in a light, quick, fast-paced, air-combat style. During the various game modes, you can partake in deathmatches and armed races as well as other armed competitions, using modern aircraft, which are tuned to the max, with extreme weapons. Your goal is simple: if you can't beat them, shoot them!

Skydrift Infinity has the power to be one of the best and most entertaining couch coop racers. With a focus on the 3D aspect of dogfighting air races, the game is far superior to any known "party-racers" like ... you know what.
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Encased Leaves Early Access in September

Developer Dark Crystal Games and publisher Prime Matter announce September 7th is the official launch date for Encased. This post-apocalyptic RPG has been working its way through Early Access, but now it's nearly complete. The recent Preview Trailer offers the latest look at the game, and the announcement fills in some details:
Set in an alternative 1976, Encased has players exploring a hostile area called The Dome, a sealed wasteland packed to the brim with amazing technology but also deadly enemies.

Players start off in one of five disciplines – science, engineering, security, management, or convict - which affects their initial stats, specialization, and opens (or prevents) unique dialogue within the game.

As with all classical RPGs, the game is a mix of exploration, combat, and quest interaction as you journey across the environment crafting supplies and weapons while trying to ensure each day is not your last.
Continue here to read the full story.

Half-Life 2: Remastered Collection Mod Plans

The SteamDB Listing for a project called Half-Life 2: Remastered Collection is highlighted in a tweet by Tyler McVicker (thanks GamesRadar+). This was first discovered over a year ago and identified as a community mod. McVicker says this is being done by the team that brought us Half-Life 2: Update and has Valve's consent.
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