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Thursday, Jan 27, 2022 International Holocaust Remembrance Day

For Honor Free Weekend

Ubisoft announces a new pirate hero is now available in For Honor as part of Title Update 2.0 which kicks off Year 5 Season 4. Those interested in seeing what this adds to the melee combat game are in luck, as For Honor is free for all to try from today until Monday. PC gamers can check out the Windows version through the Epic Games Store or Ubisoft Connect. Here's word:
For Honor’s Year 5 Season 4 – Title Update 2.0 launches today, introducing a new playable Hero to the game: The Pirate. Armed with their signature cutlass and pistol, Pirates are the first of the Outlanders, an all-new group of Heroes coming from vast horizons. Players can purchase the new Pirate Hero from first-party stores for $7.99 as part of a package that includes the new Hero, one exclusive Ornament, one Elite Outfit, seven days of Champion Status and three scavenger crates. Players can also unlock the Pirate Hero on February 10 for 15,000 Steel in-game.

Coinciding with the launch of the title update, For Honor is free to play on PlayStation 4, the Xbox One family of devices, and Windows PC through Ubisoft Connect and Epic Games Stores, as well as on PlayStation®5 and Xbox Series X|S through backward compatibility, from today to January 31. Free weekend players will have full access to the Standard Edition of For Honor, which includes the story mode, all multiplayer game modes, 30 heroes, and 30 maps. Those who want to keep battling after the free period will be able to carry on their progression and heroes to the full game.

Hyper Scape Shutting Down

A message from Ubisoft on "The Future of Hyper Scape" reveals that the battle royale game actually has no future. The game's novel features included an emphasis on vertical combat and Twitch integration for streamers, but it failed to gain traction in the competitive genre. Word is it will shut down on April 28th:
We have made the difficult decision to end development of Hyper Scape and shut the game down as of April 28th. We set out to create a vertical, close-quarters, and fast-paced shooter experience and we are extremely grateful to our community for joining us on our journey. We will be taking key learnings from this game into future products.

To the Hyper Scape community, thank you for your passion and dedication to the world of Neo Arcadia both inside and outside of the game. Your devotion to the game we built will always be cherished.

Galactic Civilizations IV Beta

Beta testing is now underway for Galactic Civilizations IV, the next installment in Stardock's space strategy series. Those who participated in alpha testing are already in, and anyone else interested in taking part should register on this page. In addition to signups, it also offers a Beta 1 Trailer with a look at gameplay along with details on what to expect. Here's word:
Seek out new star systems and discover the exciting potential of the subspace realm in Galactic Civilizations IV! You are the all-powerful leader of a spacefaring civilizations and will discover thousands of worlds and dozens of civilizations - both old and new - as you explore the galaxy and try to build a civilization that will withstand the tests of time.

Choose from over a dozen unique civilizations - each with their own unique traits and abilities - and make your mark on the galaxy.

We had an amazing time with our community during the game’s alpha period, and now we’re ready to open the floodgates with the beta. All the civilizations that were previously locked during the alpha testing phase are now available to play, plus we’ve added one more: the Terran Alliance. You can look forward to plenty of additional new features and gameplay improvements throughout the beta, too, leading all the way up to launch later this year.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ed's in the Hall

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences announces Ed Boon as its 25th Hall of Fame recipient. Ed is Chief Creative Officer of NetherRealm Studios and is most famous for co-creating the Mortal Kombat franchise. His induction will take place next month during the D.I.C.E. Awards. "We are thrilled to have Ed be inducted into our Hall of Fame," says Meggan Scavio, president of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. "From his early work on pinball machines to his monumental achievements co-creating the Mortal Kombat franchise, Ed's dedication and perseverance to the craft and art of games has left an incredible legacy for fans and game developers alike."

Path of Exile: Siege of the Atlas Features

Grinding Gear Games today unveiled the promised details about Siege of the Atlas, a new expansion coming next month to Path of Exile, the free-to-play action/RPG. This includes a new Official Trailer with a look at what to expect. Here's a handy list of what's to come:
Siege of the Atlas Content and Features:

  • Updated Atlas: The end-game Atlas of Worlds has been simultaneously simplified and also made deeper. The region system has been removed, and individual Atlas Passive Trees have been replaced by one gigantic Atlas-wide passive tree which creates a more flexible way for players to engage in the content they like best while also increasing its challenge and reward.
  • Four Pinnacle Bosses: The new storyline is capped with four new Pinnacle Bosses, ultimate boss fights for players seeking additional challenges. These bosses can potentially drop a selection of extremely valuable new unique items.
  • Endgame Item Crafting: Players can master the Eldritch Implicit Modifier system to improve their best items. New currency items allow them to craft powerful new implicit modifiers onto items that enable new build opportunities.
  • Archnemesis League: Players can collect modifiers to use on Petrified Monsters that are encountered throughout Wraeclast in order to create their own mini-boss fights. Each modifier provides a reward and a monster behavior and will stack in subsequent fights to create progressively more dangerous and rewarding encounters. These modifiers can be combined to create recipes for even more challenge and reward.
  • Game Balance Improvements: Spellcasters and Archers have been targeted with a massive selection of balance buffs, so that they are even more competitive with Path of Exile's best builds.

Continue here to read the full story.

DEATH STRANDING DIRECTOR'S CUT in March

505 Games and KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS announce the PC edition of DEATH STRANDING DIRECTOR'S CUT will arrive on the Epic Games Store and Steam on March 30th. The news includes details on an upgrade for owners of the original DEATH STRANDING, which will be USD$9.99 instead of $39.99. There's also a protip, as DEATH STRANDING is currently 70% off on Steam as part of the Lunar New Year Sale, so you can buy that now and use it to upgrade should you choose. Here's word how the PC edition enhances the already enhanced Director's Cut:
DEATH STRANDING DIRECTOR’S CUT on PC enhances the groundbreaking title with higher frame rates, ultrawide monitor support, and a stunning photo mode. Thanks to the power of Intel’s new Xe Super Sampling (XeSS) graphics technology recently revealed at CES 2022, DEATH STRANDING has never looked more hauntingly beautiful. Navigate a fractured world as Sam Bridges on a treacherous journey to reunite America, complete with an expanded storyline, new stealth missions, combat abilities and more.

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Cockatoos’ Impressive Golfing Skills Prove They're Capable Of Complex Tool Use. Damn! Even birds are better golfers than I am. Thanks Max.

Get DAEMON X MACHINA for Free

DAEMON X MACHINA for Windows is now available for free on the Epic Games Store as this week's giveaway. The mech action game will stomp its way into your library as a permanent addition as long as you collect on the offer by next Thursday. When that deadline rolls around the new freebie will be Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, which was also a giveaway a couple of years ago. This trailer shows off some DAEMON X MACHINA gameplay on PC. Word is this version supports crossplay with the Steam edition:
The frenetic mech-action game puts players in the role of an Outer, a new breed of human who fights on the front lines against corrupted AIs known as “Immortals” in customizable mechs called Arsenals. In addition to the adrenaline-pumping story campaign, the title features online 1 vs. 1 or 2 vs. 2 Versus modes, as well as Co-op modes allowing up to four players to take on Colossal Immortals. All online modes support PC cross-play for both Steam and Epic Game Store owners.
Continue here to read the full story.

HITMAN 3 on Steam Gets Free Upgrade

Saying the HITMAN 3 launch on Steam "didn't go as planned," IO Interactive announces that everyone who purchases the assassination sequel by February 19th will receive a free upgrade. This will happen automatically beginning today:
So, here’s what we’re going to do: Everyone on Steam who has already bought HITMAN 3, or anyone that buys the game through to February 19th 2022, will be granted a free upgrade.

-> All HITMAN 3 Standard Edition owners will get a free upgrade to the HITMAN 3 Deluxe Edition.

-> All HITMAN 3 Deluxe Edition or HITMAN Trilogy owners will get a free upgrade to the Seven Deadly Sins Collection.
Continue here to read the full story.

GeForce RTX 3050 Released and Sold Out

NVIDIA announces the chance to "Step Up To RTX" with the launch of its new GeForce RTX 3050 graphics cards. Whether this is a good idea or not is moot, as the new cards are reportedly already "out of stock everywhere." Here's word on the cards, which interestingly chooses to rub the release in the faces of those of us continually thwarted by the ongoing unavailability of current graphics cards:
GeForce RTX 3050 graphics cards come equipped with 2nd generation RT Cores for ray tracing, 3rd gen Tensor Cores for DLSS and AI, and 8GB of high-speed GDDR6 memory. Meaning, for the first time, you can play ray-traced games on a 50-class GPU at over 60 FPS. RTX-powered ray tracing and DLSS are the new standard in gaming (there are already over 200 RTX-enhanced games and apps), and the GeForce RTX 3050 makes them accessible to millions of gamers.

Venerable previous-gen 50-class cards are fast falling behind in popular rasterized titles, they lack the performance for competitive gaming in the most popular shooters, they’re unable to offer their users transformative ray-traced effects that take image quality to the next level, and they can’t benefit from the miraculous performance boosts offered by NVIDIA DLSS.

Capcom Financials

Capcom's Consolidated Results for the Nine Months Ended December 31, 2021 have the latest financials from the Japanese publisher/developer. Read on if you have a yen for more details:
Capcom Co., Ltd. today announced that in its consolidated business results for the nine months ended December 31, 2021, net sales were 88,163 million (up 35.9% year-over-year). Operating income was 35,096 million yen (up 43.9% year-over-year), and ordinary income was 36,148 million yen (up 50.1% year-over-year). Net income attributable to owners of the parent was 26,708 million yen (up 52.4% year-over-year).

During the nine months, Capcom’s core Digital Contents business drove up revenues with solid digital sales growth for new releases Resident Evil Village and Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin as well as for catalog titles, leading sales volume for home video game software to exceed 25.8 million units (up 30.3% year-over-year). Capcom also made efforts to steadily increase earnings through leveraging its major brands in films, licensed products and in esports, as well as in its Arcade Operations and Amusement Equipments businesses. As a result, Capcom achieved its highest net sales as well as highest levels of all profit items for the end of a third quarter in company history.

Kao the Kangaroo to Return

Tate Multimedia announces that much like a boomerang, Kao the Kangaroo is returning, and a new game starring the boxing marsupial will bounce onto Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch this summer. A new Announcement Trailer shows off some 3D platformer action and an attempt to fight a bad case of the crabs. The announcement explains that like the Fast & Furious series, it's all about family:
Kao - pronounced K-O - will be familiar to any fans of 3D platformers in the early noughties, having made his debut on SEGA’s legendary Dreamcast back in the year 2000. Now, two decades on, Kao is back in business and about to embark on his biggest adventure yet, setting out to find his missing sister and solve the mystery of what happened to his long-lost father.

Players will join Kao as he picks up his magical boxing gloves and travels the world confronting famous fighting masters who are under the influence of disturbing, dark power, all while exploring a colourful and vibrant world alive with activity and visual flair.
Continue here to read the full story.

Submerged: Hidden Depths Announced

Uppercut Games announces Submerged: Hidden Depths, a sequel to Submerged, an exploration game released in 2015. This doesn't yet have a release date, but promises a "relaxploration" experience when it arrives on Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation. Here's a relaxplorating Announcement Trailer along with some details:
Submerged: Hidden Depths is a ‘relaxploration’ adventure that sees sibling duo, Miku and Taku, uncover the mysteries of a sunken city in a vast and vibrant world. Lost at sea in their fishing boat, our protagonists will need to scale crumbling skyscrapers, encounter new creatures and solve long abandoned puzzles  if they’re to piece together this enigmatic story.

There’s a sensory fullness to Submerged: Hidden Depths that creates a relaxing experience, with rich and colourful environments, soothing sounds of the ocean and calming sunrises. Players are invited to slow down and immerse themselves in the serenity at their own pace.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

Jeopardy! spoiler: Hat's off to Amy Schneider on the conclusion of her historic Jeopardy! run. The depth and breadth of her knowledge are remarkable, as is her ability to focus completely on the game. These qualities helped her utterly dominate to an extent that I was starting to wonder if Ken Jennings was getting nervous, even as she was still more than 30 wins shy of his record. I'm really looking forward to this year's Tournament of Champions when she takes on Matt Amodio, another new legend of the game. I wonder if the player who knocked her off will have any sort of run? It usually seems to not work out, though Jonathan Fisher racked up a win streak after beating Matt, so anything's possible. We shall see.

Obituary: RIP Billy the Artist.

Jeopardy! Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Link

Story

Science
Thanks Max.

Media
Thanks Acleacius.

Follow-ups

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