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Friday, Dec 10, 2021 Happy Birthday DOOM!

Get Call of Juarez: Gunslinger for Free

Techland continues to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Following last week's Crime Cities giveaway, the company is now handing out free copies of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, the wild west shooter. The Windows game is available on Steam, and it's yours to keep as long as you collect yours before midday Tuesday. Here's what to expect if you heed the call:
From the dust of a gold mine to the dirt of a saloon, Call of Juarez® Gunslinger is a real homage to the Wild West tales. Live the epic and violent journey of a ruthless bounty hunter on the trail of the West’s most notorious outlaws. Blurring the lines between man and myth, this adventure made of memorable encounters unveils the untold truth behind some of the greatest legends of the Old West.

Free Weekend Games

In addition to the giveaway mentioned above, and the XCOM 2 free weekend, Steam has several more games that are free to try this weekend (thanks SteamDB via Ant). Each game is also on sale, so you can continue your progress at a discount should you choose. Here's a roundup:

  • Save 60% on Dying Light on Steam. "First-person action survival game set in a post-apocalyptic open world overrun by flesh-hungry zombies. Roam a city devastated by a mysterious virus epidemic. Scavenge for supplies, craft weapons, and face hordes of the infected."
  • Save 75% on Europa Universalis IV on Steam. "Four centuries of detailed history come alive in Paradox’s classic grand strategy game. Lead any nation from Renaissance to Revolution in a complex simulation of the early modern world. Master the art of war, diplomacy and trade to shape and change your nation’s history!"
  • Save 76% on theHunter: Call of the Wild on Steam. "Experience an atmospheric hunting game like no other in this realistic and visually breathtaking open world. Immerse yourself in the atmospheric single player campaign, or share the ultimate hunting experience with friends."
  • Save 25% on Deadlokk on Steam. "Deadlokk is a 5v5 Space-MOBA and 1-3 Player Co-op roguelike. Gather resources to upgrade your ships and carrier. Find rare weapons and upgrades for the perfect build. Mount assaults on hostile ships, carriers and structures to achieve victory!"
  • Save 70% on Fear Surrounds on Steam. "Fear Surrounds is a horror-tinged take on the werewolf-style social subterfuge genre, where two evil spirits hide within a group of players and attempt to sabotage and murder them."

Sniper Elite 5 Announced

Rebellion announces Sniper Elite 5, a new installment in the sharpshooting series that's aiming for a 2022 release for Windows, Xbox, and PlayStation. The game once again puts the player in the boots of Karl Fairburne, who brings his keen marksmanship to France in 1944 "to destroy Operation Kraken." Word is: "Sniper Elite 5 continues the franchise’s unparalleled tactical sniping experience complete with incredible ballistics and an enhanced kill cam, taking the genre-defining feature to the next level. New customization options allow you to adjust your rifle, other weapons and ammo to suit the mission and your play style." Here's a Reveal Trailer composed entirely of in-game footage. This already has a Steam Listing and the PC edition will be coming to the Epic Games Store as well. Read on for more:
As part of a covert US Rangers operation to weaken the Atlantikwall fortifications along the coast of Brittany, Karl makes contact with the French Resistance. Soon they uncover a secret Nazi project that threatens to end the war before the Allies can even invade Europe: Operation Kraken. It’s Karl’s mission to take out the high ranking Nazi officers and end Operation Kraken once and for all.

Based upon real-world locations from France in 1944, the new game maps are the largest and most immersive in the franchise’s history. The game's new traversal system offers players an even greater sandbox of options when it comes to taking out their targets. Players can even invite a friend to help them on their mission with enhanced co-operative gameplay options.

Activision Blizzard Discourages Unionization

The Washington Post (may require registration or subscription) reports on a companywide email sent to Activision Blizzard employees today by Chief Administrative Officer Brian Bulatao. Apparently spurred by yesterday's indications that employees were considering forming a union, the email helpfully points out reasons why this may not be a great idea. "Activision Blizzard’s email presents a hard-line, anti-union message to pressure employees against supporting unionization," Cornell law professor Risa L. Lieberwitz tells the Post. "The email plays close to the line of illegality in the implication that Activision Blizzard’s ‘pledged’ progress in workplace conditions are linked to the company being nonunion." Maybe someone should warn Activision that if it doesn't stop picking at its problems, they will never heal? Here's the message to employees:
“We ask only that you take time to consider the consequences of your signature on the binding legal document presented to you by the CWA,” Bulatao wrote in the email. “Achieving our workplace culture aspirations will best occur through active, transparent dialogue between leaders and employees that we can act upon quickly. That is the better path than simply signing an electronic form offered to you by [the] CWA or awaiting the outcome of a legally mandated and regulated bargaining process sometime in the future.”

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Announcement Monday

The Assassin's Creed YouTube announces we should block out Monday at noon EST for some sort of announcement about Assassin's Creed Valhalla. There's nothing else to know about this for the time being:
There is more to come in Assassin's Creed Valhalla… Set a reminder and tune-in on Monday 13th December at 9 AM PDT / 6 PM CET to know more!

Prison Tycoon: Under New Management Leaves Early Access

Prison Tycoon: Under New Management has been paroled from Early Access, and is now officially available on Steam. Now that the game has reached version 1.0, developer Abylight Studios and publisher Ziggurat also offer a new DLC called Roll Call. The DLC is completely free, and you don't even have to smuggle it into the prison in your butt. Here's more on the game and the DLC:
All the elements of a great tycoon game can be found in Under New Management, including finance and resource management, hiring staff, managing work flow, and more! As a prison Warden, it is your goal to rehabilitate, not punish, prisoners to turn them into productive members of society. In Under New Management, each inmate must work through their own issues that landed them in prison, and it’s your job to provide them with the help they need to get healthy.

Launching alongside the core game is the free Roll Call DLC, designed with content creators and streamers in mind. This DLC adds exciting personalization features for players, including a new character creation tool that allows them to rename and customize the look of their prisoners and staff. The DLC also introduces new Twitch integrations for streamers that allow them to name incoming inmates based on who is currently in their Twitch chat stream, along with letting them offer Drops that grant special in-game items to viewers.

Cities: Skylines Airports Lands Next Month

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue! Paradox Interactive announces Airports, a new DLC coming on January 25th to Cities: Skylines, the urban planning game. Appropriate to a game with "sky" in the title, the add-on will allow you to place and design airports, creating new transportation and cargo logistics to work out. Here's the Official Announcement Trailer. Please return your seatback and your tray-table in their original upright positions, and read on for more:
Key features of the Airports expansion include:

  • Modular Airport Building: Place and design your airport, connecting its various buildings by using concourse networks
  • Airport Progression: If your airport gets the approval of business travelers and tourists alike, you’ll be rewarded with expanded building options and bigger airplanes, creating a boon for the local travel industry.
  • Public transport: Make life easier for would-be travelers by placing dedicated airport buildings, allowing you to connect your airport to the city through base game transport types like bus, metro, and train stations.
  • Cargo Air Traffic: Tired of hiding your cargo terminals by themselves on the outskirts of your city? Create cargo terminals that are connected to the larger airport complex that fit in visually with other airport buildings, eliminating the need for older eyesores while hauling in new goods and materials.

Continue here to read the full story.

Nightingale Announced

Nightingale is a crafting and survival game in the works at Inflexion Games for release next year. This takes place in an unusual 19th century fantasy world and features first-person shooter combat, both of which are shown off in the Official Reveal Trailer. The Nightingale Website is home to the project, and you can now sign up there to register your interest in playtesting. Here's the elevator pitch:
You are stranded beyond our world, cut off by the sudden collapse of the arcane portal network. This catastrophic event has left you - and countless others - fighting to survive in a labyrinth of mysterious and perilous realms.

Prepare for a journey of adventure, danger, and discovery - as you search for a way back to the last haven of humanity, Nightingale.
Continue here to read the full story.

Scorn in October 2022

Following a misstep announcing a delay to Scorn, Ebb Software carefully unveils that October 2022 is the new release window for this first-person adventure game. And following its vow to communicate better, the development team also has a new update on Kickstarter discussing where things stand. Here's a Release Date Announcement Trailer and more:
Ebb Software revealed today that Scorn, the highly anticipated atmospheric first-person adventure game, set in a nightmarishly biomechanical universe, will be opening its twisted gates in October 2022.

Revealed on the Xbox Showcase, the announcement trailer teases players with an all-new in-game environment and invites speculation about the disturbing encounters awaiting players on their journey.
Continue here to read the full story.

Blue Fire: Void Maker Early Access

Graffiti Games and Robi Studios now offer Early Access to Blue Fire: Void Maker on Steam. This will allow players to create and share their own Voids, and ownership of a copy of Blue Fire is not required. Here's an Early Access Trailer showing off some levels, and here's more of an explanation:
Launching as a free, fully-fledge DLC early next year and as a new free app on Steam, Blue Fire: Void Maker gives you the ability to create and share your very own Voids (abstract platforming challenges that require great mastery). Let your imagination run wild designing hardcore, epic or silly levels and sharing them with others!

In Blue Fire players embark on an extraordinary adventure through the desolate kingdom of Penumbra to discover the hidden secrets of this long-forgotten land. Explore mystical temples, where players will need to master the art of movement to survive increasingly difficult 3D platforming challenges. Along the adventure, players will slash their way through diverse adversaries, encounter survivors, collect valuable items, take on strange quests and more.
Continue here to read the full story.

Retired Men's Nude Beach Volleyball League Released

Retired Men's Nude Beach Volleyball League is now available for Windows on Steam. The game's nudity is said to be the occasional glimpse of a butt, so the only balls you have to worry about here are the volleyballs. Here's a trailer with a look. If you're interest, a virtual launch party with the developers at Snowrunner Games (Soda Drinker Pro) gets underway at 9:00 pm EST tonight, and this page shows how to attend for free. Here's word:
Take to the court and match up against your opponent in physically and mentally challenging beach volleyball!

Retired Men's Nude Beach Volleyball is a single-player narrative-based volleyball game set in beautiful locations across Massachusetts. Join the league and play as Len Rizzo as he navigates the later part of life one serve at a time.
Continue here to read the full story.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE Next Week

Epic Games announces the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE will launch on December 16th. Earlier this year evidence appeared suggesting the RPG remake was coming to PC. It was noted it would come at some point after today, so extra points to Wario64 for calling that shot. This will come to the Epic Games Store, where there are details and system specifications. Here's what to expect:
The classic RPG, that was rebuilt from the ground-up and released on the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5, will be arriving on the Epic Games Store on December 16. That’s next week!

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE brings both the main release and the FF7R EPISODE INTERmission DLC together in one package. Players will experience the sprawling city of Midgar as Cloud Strife and his team battle to stop Shinra corporation from draining the world of its energy.

This isn’t a remaster, but a complete reimagining of the original game from the ground up. Rather than completely remaking the whole game, the developers have focused all their attention on the opening city of Midgar, turning it into its own game for players to explore.

PUBG: Battlegrounds Goes Free-to-Play Next Month

A post on the PlayStation.Blog announces PUBG: Battlegrounds will go free-to-play on January 12th. This confirms some speculation that such an announcement was in the works. The official website is now accepting signups to link up your KRAFTON ID to earn rewards. This game has been out for years, and there are a lot of players who paid cash money to play. You are not being forgotten, as there are details on a special reward pack for those who own the retail edition. This includes seven cosmetic items and access to the premium Battlegrounds Plus, but it will only be available for about a month. Here's more on the changes coming to this first-person shooter that sparked the battle royale trend:
Battlegrounds free-to-play now gives us the opportunity to expand our community even more and bring all the thrills of PUBG and battle royale to everyone, while providing new friends, and let’s be honest, more targets for our existing player base. In many ways, going free-to-play was our natural next step. Since launch, it’s always been our intention to bring the Battlegrounds to as large of an audience as possible. It’s part of the reason we decided to launch in early access, it’s why we grew into consoles and other platforms, and it’s why we’ve expanded the PUBG franchise into other ventures like esports and entertainment. With free-to-play, we can finally fulfill an important and long standing goal of ours.

$70 Forspoken in May

It's come what May for Forspoken, as Square Enix and Luminous Productions have spoken, announcing a May 24th release date for this otherworldly adventure that was previously known by the title PROJECT ATHIA. That is now reflected on Steam, as is the game's eye-opening price, as it's available for pre-purchase for $69.99. The date was mentioned in The Game Awards 2021 Trailer, but this was not highlighted here. Here's more on the clip:
New action-packed gameplay featured in the trailer showcases how Frey’s quest in Athia will take her through a variety of diverse environments where she will learn how to use magic parkour to traverse across the unknown land in a fast and fluid manner, as well as her magic abilities to battle Athia’s dangerous beasts that she will encounter on her journey, including the newly revealed Breakzombies and Jabberwock.

Players were also introduced to a new character in Forspoken—the maddened evil sorceress, Tanta Prav—who is voiced and performed by The Walking Dead’s (TV Series) Pollyanna McIntosh. “It’s been wild playing Tanta Prav and I’m excited for players to meet her and experience her as Frey does: a remorseless, unrelenting powerhouse, full of secrets,” said McIntosh. “I think she will prove to be a ruthless adversary for players as they follow Frey on her journey in the land of Athia.”
Continue here to read the full story.

More on the Expanse

An official press release is now available for the episodic Expanse game revealed last night. Here are more details on The Expanse: A Telltale Series:
The Expanse: A Telltale Series is set prior to the events of the TV series. Players take on the role of Camina Drummer (played by actress Cara Gee in both the game and TV series), the leader of a rag tag scavenging crew on the hunt for a mysterious treasure on the edges of The Belt. As Drummer, players must work with a mix of big personalities, square off against a bloody mutiny, explore locations beyond the belt and, most of all, make tough decisions that will decide the fate of The Artemis spaceship and its crew.

“Working with a fantastic IP like The Expanse is both daunting and thrilling,” said Jeff Litchford, COO for Deck Nine. “We wanted to pick a character and story that hadn’t already been told – one that players could really influence but that also stayed true to the books and series for the fans. The collaboration with Telltale has enabled us to bounce around ideas and approach things from the different perspectives each company brings to the adventure genre as we work to tell the best story possible.”

More on Wonder Woman

News of the reveal of the Wonder Woman game was accidentally posted twice last night. Now we go for the three-peat, as this press release offers the official announcement. This is not packed with details, but there's more than the nothing revealed about this open-world action game in development at Monolith. This includes word that it will utilize the Nemesis System created by Monolith for its Middle-Earth games:
Warner Bros. Games and DC today announced a new third person, open-world action-adventure videogame featuring the beloved, iconic DC Super Hero, Wonder Woman. In development by Monolith Productions, creators of the critically acclaimed Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor™ and sequel Middle-earth: Shadow of War™, the single player open-world action game will introduce an original story set in the DC Universe and allow players to become Diana of Themyscira in the fight to unite her Amazon family and the humans from the modern world. Powered by the Nemesis System, gamers will forge deep connections with both enemies and allies as they progress from a heroic fighter into a proven leader.

Homeworld 3 Trailer

A new Gameplay First Look Trailer for Homeworld 3 shows off the upcoming return to the space strategy series. The clip shows off a return of the signature orange-hued outer space of the series, but doesn't really show off as much actual gameplay as the title suggests. The game is in the works at Blackbird Interactive, and it is currently expected by the end of next year on the Epic Games Store and Steam. Here's the brief description of the clip:
Tactical, beautiful, and wholly unique, the GOTY-winning sci-fi RTS returns with Homeworld 3. Assume control of Fleet Command and battle through fleet combat in dazzling, fully 3D space while the award-winning story unfolds on a galactic scale.
Continue here to read the full story.

Cuphead - The Delicious Last Course in June

Studio MDHR announces a release date for Cuphead - The Delicious Last Course. It was over a year ago that a delay for the Cuphead DLC was revealed. Now word is it will arrive for the challenging arcade game on June 30th. "We’re beyond thrilled to finally be sharing a release date for The Delicious Last Course with our fans," says Co-Director Chad Moldenhauer. "As with so many of our fellow developers, creating games during these unique times has brought with it a host of challenges, and we’re so grateful to our Cuphead community for their patience and excitement as we’ve pushed to make The Delicious Last Course a true high watermark of the studio’s art, design, and animation." Here's the Release Date Announcement Trailer and here's word:
In Cuphead - The Delicious Last Course, stalwart brothers Cuphead and Mugman are joined by the clever, adventurous Ms. Chalice - known to fans of the original as the wise Legendary Chalice - for a rollicking adventure on a previously undiscovered Inkwell Isle! With the aid of new weapons, magical charms, and Ms. Chalice's unique abilities, players will take on a new cast of fearsome, larger than life bosses to assist the jolly Chef Saltbaker in Cuphead's final challenging quest!
Continue here to read the full story.

Lost Ark in February

The Official Website for Lost Ark now offers an official release date for Amazon Game Studios' free-to-play MMORPG. The game is now to launch on February 11, 2022, with Early Access starting on February 8th for those who purchase Founder's Packs. Here's a new Launch Reveal Trailer and here are more details:
The phenomenal participation and enthusiasm we’ve seen throughout our Closed Technical Alpha and Closed Beta have us extremely excited to bring Smilegate RPG’s beloved game to more players around the world. If you missed our November update announcing the additional countries Lost Ark will be available in, checkout our announcement.

You can learn about the offerings of each of the Founder’s Packs on our Founder’s Pack page, and if you want a closer look at some of the cosmetic items included, check out our Founder’s Pack showcase article.
Continue here to read the full story.

Model Builder in February

Publisher Green Man Gaming and developer Moonlit announce a February 8th release date for Model Builder, a simulation of the hobby of assembling plastic model kits. Here's a new Teaser Trailer with a look, and more can be seen on the Steam Listing. This game took considerably longer to put together than planned, as it was announced in 2019 as coming by the end of 2020. One reason for this may be the explanation of recently added new features:
Many exciting new features have already been added in preparation for the launch, all of which add another layer of complexity, realism and most importantly, fun to Model Builder’s gameplay. One such addition is Quick Assembly, a feature that allows players to simply click a button and connect the next piece of the model, making the process more accessible while still remaining true to the feel of being a real model builder.
Continue here to read the full story.

Have a Nice Death Announced

Publisher Perfect World Entertainment and developer Magic Design Studios announce Have a Nice Death, an action/roguelite featuring hand-drawn 2D graphics. The project has also enlisted the assistance of Dead Cells lead developer Sébastien Bénard as a consultant. This sounds like it combines The Seventh Seal and The Office (our analogy, not theirs) in a game where you play as Death as the overworked CEO Death Incorporated, depicted as a mega-corporation. Here's the Official Announcement Trailer and here's part of the announcement itself:
Have a Nice Death is a hand-drawn 2D Action Rogue-Lite where gamers will assume the role of Death, Founder and CEO of Death Incorporated, the massive underworld organization responsible for processing souls in the afterlife. As the company’s fearless leader, they will explore the darkly charming, procedurally-generated departments of the corporation’s headquarters to round up and rehabilitate rogue employees who have been ignoring company protocol and snatching up far too many souls on Earth. Getting the department bosses — also known as Sorrows — and their minions under control, however, is a difficult task and will require multiple runs to complete. Luckily, players will have an arsenal of weapons, spells and special skills on hand to get the job done.
Continue here to read the full story.

Android Games on Windows Next Year

The Verge has details on an announcement from The Game Awards that Google will launch the ability to play Android games on Windows next year. This gives us time to figure out how to fit our PCs into pockets. Here's a word on the plan:
“Starting in 2022, players will be able to experience their favorite Google Play games on more devices: seamlessly switching between a phone, tablet, Chromebook, and soon, Windows PCs,” says Greg Hartrell, Google’s product director of games on Android and Google Play, in a statement to The Verge. “This Google built product brings the best of Google Play Games to more laptops and desktops, and we are thrilled to expand our platform for players to enjoy their favorite Android games even more.”

Google spokesperson Alex Garcia-Kummert tells The Verge that the company has built this app on its own, which means Google hasn’t partnered with Microsoft, BlueStacks, or others here. The upcoming app will also allow players to resume games on a desktop PC, after playing them on a phone, tablet, or Chromebook.

Gatherings & Competitions

Out of the Blue

Happy birthday DOOM! The first-person shooter that changed the gaming world was originally released on December 10, 1993, and thus is 28 years old today. For a proper celebration of the occasion, John Romero tweets he will be livestreaming today playing on Ultra Violence mode. This will get underway at 3:00 pm EST (8:00 pm GMT) on TheRomero Twitch Channel. John promises a Q&A and giveaways along with all the gibs. The Romero (who came up with that clever nickname? Oh yeah, it was me!) famously co-created the game with his cohorts at id: Adrian Carmack, John (no relation) Carmack, Kevin Cloud, Tom Hall, Sandy Petersen, and Dave Taylor. And no discussion of DOOM is complete without a mention of the soundtrack by Bobby Prince, which seemed to magically overcome the manifold limitations of MIDI. Happy birthday DOOM, here's to the next 28 years.

Obituary: Lina Wertmüller Dead- First Woman Nominated for Best Director Was 93.
Obituary: Former Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas, 33, found dead in his home, police say.

DOOMed Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Link

Science
Thanks Max.

Media

Follow-up

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