Archived News:

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2021 National Voter Registration Day (USA)

Unannounced G.I. Joe Game Revealed

The Jobs at Wizards of the Coast page has a whole section listing job openings at an unnamed "New Raleigh-Durham Studio" (thanks Ars Technica). These reveal plans for a new multiplatform G.I. Joe action/adventure:
New Raleigh-Durham Studio is a new game development studio in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area led by industry veterans from WB Games and other AAA studios. The New Raleigh-Durham Studio is a development studio of Wizards of the Coast, a division of Hasbro. We are building a new development team with outstanding talent to create our first multi-platform, Action-Adventure video game set in the GI JOE Universe!

New World Already This Year's Most Played Game on Steam

Amazon's new MMORPG New World peaked at 707,230 users today according to SteamDB. This is the highest number of concurrent users in a game this year, according to IGN, surpassing the 502,387 peak users reported for Valheim earlier this year. They also note the game is popular on Twitch, as well, where at times it has attracted almost a million viewers to streams.

Valve Standalone VR Headset Plans?

A new video from VR industry reporter Brad Lynch outlining the trail of clues he followed to piece together details about Valve's efforts at creating a standalone virtual reality headset codenamed "Decker," which will not require an external computer. There's some analysis of this on Ars Technica, where they point out that Valve's history with hardware development should make it apparent that there are no guarantees this project will ever see the light of day. On the other hand, Brad commented on his own video saying more information has already surfaced, and he's planning another video this week to expose more: "I have already found some amazing new information since I released this video. This Friday, I'll do a live Q&A YouTube Stream to talk more about this." Here's a bit of what Ars says it has heard about Valve's VR hardware development:
Sources have previously told Ars Technica that Valve had at least two VR headset design concepts in the works, and in the concept stage, they diverged. During this preproduction phase, one prototype concept more closely resembled the Valve Index in terms of requiring some kind of connection to a PC and the existing SteamVR Tracking Boxes. The other revolved around a built-in processor à la Oculus Quest with aspirations to ditch external tracking boxes and adopt Quest-like "inside-out tracking."

The sources also suggest Valve previously had trouble getting any form of inside-out tracking to match the performance of Oculus Quest, and the company brought on at least one outside firm to work on a competitive option. Such a system's efficiency could very well have changed in the time since Ars heard these reports.
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UnMetal Released

UnMetal is now available, offering a 2D action game for Windows that's set in the 1970s and pays homage to media from the 1980s. It also features retro graphics and gameplay that recall the 80s as well. The Windows edition is available on the Epic Games Store, GOG.com, Humble Store*, and Steam (*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item). The console versions are on the relevant system stores. There's also a playable demo for Windows on GOG.com and Steam. Here's an Official Trailer and here are some very metal details:
UnMetal is a 2D stealth/action game that takes place in 1972, players assume the role of Jesse Fox, a civilian inadvertently embroiled in an unplanned mission to prevent an attack on NATO. Shot down and incarcerated by a commando unit for a crime he didn't commit (cue music), his new mission is to escape from the heavily guarded clandestine military base he now finds himself imprisoned in.

There’s always an inherent risk of death sneaking around military facilities you clearly have no business creeping around, in UnMetal both stealth and crafting play a major role as players progress through the myriad of levels doing their utmost to avoid detection. Players can combine found items like circuit boards,wire and even things like unscented,unpatterned single ply toilet paper via their inventory system in order to craft new items to assist their escape. Who would have thought mission critical items would also include a soldier’s glass eye and eye patch to make a slingshot?

Steel Assault Released

Here's more retro action, as Steel Assault is now available for PC and Switch, with the Windows, macOS, and Linux edition hosted on Steam. You can get a look at some 16-bit graphics and gameplay in the Launch Trailer. Here's word on your tastefully blue-haired protagonist:
Punch, whip, and zipline your way through a post-apocalyptic America in this 16-bit retro-style action platformer! Play as Taro Takahashi, a resistance soldier on a revenge mission against the dictator who lords over the ashes.
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Dead by Daylight: Hour of the Witch Next Month

Behaviour Interactive announces Hour of the Witch, new DLC coming next month to Dead by Daylight, adding the first new standalone survivor to the asymmetrical multiplayer action/horror game. The DLC will arrive for all platforms in October, but players of the Windows edition can check it out right now on the Player Test Build. Check out this page for instructions on how to access the PTB. The new survivor is Mikaela Reid, and she's briefly introduced in this Reveal Trailer. Here's word:
A horror storyteller herself, the latest addition to the Survivor ranks will certainly be a favourite among Halloween lovers. Haunted by the passing of her father, Mikaela Reid found comfort in the unlikeliest of sources: horror stories. The more she read, the more she also wrote, sharpening her own tales of horror while developing a keen interest in witchcraft.

After receiving an invitation to read her work at the renown Endless Halloween Festival, Mikaela found herself plagued by a series of disturbing events. Recurring nightmares. Strange visions. The disappearance of a friend. When she finally took to the stage on All Hallow’s Eve to tell her tale, a thick black Fog engulfed her, spiriting her away, to the audience’s amazement. Mikaela Reid was never seen again.
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Razer's Sustainability Initiatives

Declaring itself the "leading global lifestyle brand for gamers," peripheral maker Razer announces a new series of cartoon shorts to raise environmental awareness. These are sponsored by investment firm Franklin Templeton, seemingly part of a plan to "be proactive in addressing changing public attitudes toward the environment." Razer also notes its Razer Conservation Project in partnership with Conservation International as well as other sustainability initiatives. The video series can be found on this page. It stars Sneki Snek, and is aimed at all ages. Here's a bit more:
The first season consists of six bite-sized episodes and will tackle issues such as deforestation, over-fishing, air pollution, upcycling, slash-and-burn farming, and climate change. Viewers will learn about pressing environmental issues and what they can do to make a difference, as Sneki Snek shares advice on how to join the fight against climate change. The integration of environmental and social considerations in entertaining content aims to empower viewers with the practical information they need yet may not have access to.

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: ‘No Time To Die’ Has World Premiere In London. Wait, so this is actually happening?

Next Week's Battlefield 2042 Beta Confirmed

Here's a quick turnaround on the rumor below: Electronic Arts and DICE officially confirm the schedule for open beta testing of Battlefield 2042. As was speculated, those who've preordered the military shooter can access the beta on October 6th, and everyone else gets to join in two days after that:
The Battlefield 2042 Open Beta will feature the iconic Conquest experience on the Orbital map, previously showcased in the game’s reveal trailer. PC and next-gen console players will receive first-hand experience of playing the new, epic 128-player battles (64 players on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) through Conquest’s large-scale game mode, and will fight for control of key objective points on the map.

During the Beta, participants will have a chance to jump into the franchise’s signature brand of All-Out Warfare as one of four unique Specialists each equipped with their own individual styles, specialties and traits. Players can step into the shoes of Boris, a Russian engineer who comes with a SG-36; Casper, a South African camouflage and long-ranged attacks expert; Falck, a skilled German medic who specializes in Support; and Mackay, a Canadian outdoorsman and nomad who is equipped with a Grapple Gun.
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Battlefield 2042 Open Beta Next Week?

Self-defined leaker Tom Henderson continues to track down every shred of information to be found about Battlefield 2042. In this tweet Tom says the Origin API shows that the next installment in the military shooter series will gave an Early Access beta on October 6-7 which will segue into an open beta on October 8-9. Included is a screenshot of some code saying preloads will begin on October 5th. This is unconfirmed to start with, and a subsequent tweet states that "EA has now removed this from the API." There's no way of knowing if this is because it is not accurate, or if it's just an effort at putting the genie back in the bottle. Here's the tweet about the beta plan:
Origin API has confirmed that the #BATTLEFIELD2042 BETA will be from Oct 6th-7th for Early Access and Oct 8th-9th as an open BETA.

Preload is available Oct 5th at 06:00AM UTC.

New World Launches

Amazon Game Studios is now offering the chance to discover the New World, with the launch of New World, an ambitious MMORPG for Windows. This can be purchased and played on Steam, but naturally enough, you can pick up a copy on Amazon as well. Jokingly calling the game a "queue simulator," a tweet from SteamDB notes it is already putting up some impressive numbers: "Queue simulator New World beats Valheim's concurrent players peak and takes the 5th spot of all-time records with over 500,000 players." Here's the game's most recent Video Developer Diary, and here are some details:
Explore a thrilling, open-world MMO filled with danger and opportunity where you'll forge a new destiny for yourself as an adventurer shipwrecked on the supernatural island of Aeternum. Endless opportunities to fight, forage, and forge await you among the island's wilderness and ruins. Channel supernatural forces or wield deadly weapons in a classless, real-time combat system, and fight alone, with a small team, or in massed armies for PvE and PvP battles—the choices are all yours.
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The Sims Creator Working on Blockchain-Based Proxi

A story on Bloomberg has details on plans for Proxi, a blockchain-based game in the works at Gallium Studios in partnership with Forte Labs. Gallium was formed by Will Wright, formerly of EA Maxis, where he created The Sims, a game that managed to sell a lot of pixels without the trendy allure of the blockchain. A side note is the story is penned by Clara Molot, not Jason Schreier, so Bloomberg seems to be increasing its focus on games. Word is the game is based on players creating personal memories, and the blockchain will be used to give them ownership of their creations:
Given that users are creating personal memories in the game, Wright thought it was important that there be due ownership. He also tapped the extensive online forums of Sims creators to work alongside the game developers making the objects in Proxi, and wanted to make sure they get paid for their work too.

The idea that Wright is building a game half with the Gallium team and half with the creator community itself, “is actually a really profound idea and it wouldn’t be possible without blockchain,” said Kaiser Hwang, vice president of creativity and community at Forte.

Agatha Christie - Hercule Poirot: The First Cases Released

Steam now offers the release of Agatha Christie - Hercule Poirot: The First Cases, a game that looks at the early work of Hercule Poirot, Dame Agatha's fictitious Belgian detective. Here's a Launch Trailer showing off gameplay, and how Poirot was already sporting his proud mustachio despite his youth. Here are some clues about what to expect:
In his early years as a detective, a young Hercule Poirot is invited to a reception by the influential Van den Bosch family, for the announcement of their daughter’s engagement. But tensions among the guests run high as a snowstorm descends on the town, trapping everyone inside the manor. The happy event is soon marred by the murder of one of the guests! Poirot being in the right place at the right time immediately begins to investigate. What buried secrets and deadly rivalries will he uncover?
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In Sound Mind Released

In Sound Mind is now available for Windows and consoles, and you can pick up the PC edition of this psychological horror game on the Epic Games Store, GOG.com, or Steam. The launch trailer shows off the game's creepy environments, and the handy flashlight that will assist in your first-person exploration and combat and help you stay compos mentis. Here's a Launch Trailer, described thusly: "Today’s launch was accompanied by a new trailer that showcases the trials that players will need to go through if they hope to solve the myriad of puzzles and mysteries at every corner." Here's more:
In Sound Mind is a first-person psychological horror experience that pits players against the unpredictable dangers stirring deep within memories. Created by the team behind the legendary Nightmare House 2 mod, and featuring a haunting soundtrack by musical sensation The Living Tombstone, In Sound Mind twists seemingly simple recollections into shocking encounters with terrifying threats, unbelievable scenes and a mysterious talking cat for good measure.
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Keyword: A Spider's Thread Released

Keyword: A Spider's Thread is now available on Steam, offering an interactive detective thriller for Windows. If you're stressed out from trying to hack into your children's social media to keep them safe, take a relaxing break with this game about trying to hack into your child's social media to keep them safe. But your creepiness is not just virtual, as you will also go all Rear Window, spying on your neighbors through binoculars. There's a playable demo that will only be available until October 7th, which makes it an early entry in the next Steam Next Fest. Here's new trailer and here are some keywords:
In Keyword: A Spider's Thread, you’ll depend on skills of logical deduction, hacking, and social engineering to solve challenging puzzles as the only means of finding your missing daughter.

Play as Guo, a father with a complex past, who must use all the tools at his disposal to find his daughter, Sala. Solve problems as you would in real life, hack into emails and social media, and dive into the dark web to find your daughter’s whereabouts.

Keyword: A Spider's Thread allows players to use binoculars to spy into the homes of neighbors, discover lurking enemies, and look over the city of Toronto to find important clues and put the pieces together.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

I had a brush with stupidity yesterday. I got a friend request on Facebook from a cousin (the husband of a first cousin, once removed). I felt bad that I had somehow never added him before. Then he messaged me with a thank you and asked if I'd heard about the "new GGF." I figured this was him announcing he was a great grandfather or something. He explained that it was a Global Green-Grant Fund, saying it gave him money he didn't have to pay back, and asking if I would be interested in their information. So, yeah, I got phished by a scammer. He had used my cousin's photo and name, clearly attracted by his name including the fact that he's a pastor and how he's wearing his collar in the photo. I felt very stupid for not checking better at first. The fake cousin had but 13 friends, and none were any of our relatives, including his wife. I notified Facebook and the account was suspended within minutes. I'm just glad my carelessness had no real consequences that I know of (at least until this guy clones my identity and starts sending friend requests). I like to think had this involved sensitive information or finances or something I would have been far more careful, but it's just another reminder to be on guard at all times.

Phishy Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Link

Story

Science

Media
Thanks The Flying Penguin.

Auction

Follow-up

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