Archived News:

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2022

Dragon Age Loses Another Executive Producer

An update to the BioWare Blog announces that the next Dragon Age game is "right in the middle of Production." It offers a quick primer on the stages of game development to put that in perspective, and, oh, by the way, announces the game has lost another of its creators. Farewells are offered to Christian Dailey, who had served as executive producer. This is the second executive producer the game has lost after the departure of Mark Darrah in 2020. It's also the second blow to the team in a few months, as senior creative director Matt Goldman left the company in November. But the post makes the case for believing the game remains in good hands:
A strong leadership team of industry and Dragon Age veterans is in place to carry us through Production and beyond. The game’s Production Director is Mac Walters, who recently led the development for Mass Effect Legendary Edition and has an 18-year history with BioWare. Corrine Busche, who has been leading the design direction for Dragon Age, is our Game Director. She has a wealth of experience, including 15 years at EA, and a passion for the franchise. Benoit Houle is the Director of Product Development, and he brings an in-depth understanding of the franchise thanks to having worked on every single Dragon Age game – starting over 16 years ago on Dragon Age: Origins. I will also be working more closely with the Dragon Age team as they go through production while continuing to guide the studio.

Mass Effect Prototyping

The BioWare Blog Update mentioned above also touches on the next Mass Effect game. The two takeaways here are that the team is "really talented," and that right now those talents are being used to prototype ideas for the next installment in the space opera:
And of course, we’re also working on the next Mass Effect. The team, led by Mike Gamble, is made up of a team of veteran developers as well as some new, really talented people. They are all actively prototyping new ideas and experiences. AAA next-gen games take a long time to make – and we know our fans may want them sooner. But our Number One priority needs to be quality, and that simply takes time to get it right.

Steam Deck Orders Begin Friday

Official order-taking for the first Steam Decks will begin on Friday at 1:00 pm EST. Valve offers an update on what to expect, as this means some of those with reservations will be under the gun to act. There's also word on hopes the first docking units (Deck docks?) will leave the loading docks this (northern) spring:
Starting at 10am Pacific, we'll be sending emails out to the first batch of reservation holders via the address tied to their Steam account. Those folks will then have 72 hours to complete their purchase on Steam for the specific model they reserved. If they cancel or do not purchase in this time frame, we'll release their reservation to the next person in the queue.

Around the same time is when you'll start seeing coverage from the roughly 100 media outlets we sent early review units to, so there will be a ton of interesting content and coverage for everyone to check out.

We are also looking forward to getting the official Dock for Steam Deck into customers' hands. It won't be happening as early as we wanted, but we're excited to talk more about it soon and are planning to make them available in late spring.

Call of Duty Delay Report Sparks Non-Denial

Jason Schreier tweets the response he received from an Activision spokesperson to his report on Bloomberg saying the release of Treyarch's next premium Call of Duty game is being pushed from 2023 into 2024. That report did say a free-to-play CoD title will come in 2023, so as Jason notes, this rebuttal does not actually deny the report:
We have an exciting slate of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year and beyond. Reports of anything otherwise are incorrect. We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right.

Elden Ring Reviews

Elden Ring is due for official release on Friday. The first reviews are rolling out, gauging whether the action/RPG will live up to the anticipation generated by a collaboration between FromSoftware and author George RR Martin. At a glance it appears the hype for this project was justified. Here's a roundup:

Steam Deck Compatibility Tool

For those on the fence about getting a Steam Deck, Valve announces a new tool is now available to help with your decision. If you head over to the Your Library on Deck Page it will show a listing of all the games currently in your Steam library that feature support for the new hand-held PCs. Here's word:
Just a quick note before we get back to prepping for launch (three days left!): we've just released a new tool on the Steam Store for you to check the Steam Deck compatibility ratings of all the games you already own. We hope the page is pretty self-explanatory -- log in with your Steam account, and we'll show you the compatibility rating of each title in your library and what sort of experience you can expect to have if you ran them on Deck today. You can see this new page here.

While we've been ramping up and testing more titles than ever before, we want to remind everyone that this process is ongoing: we're testing new titles constantly and are going to continue past launch. The Steam back catalog is huge, and new titles are releasing every day -- just because we haven't tested a game yet doesn't mean it doesn't work well on Deck already. You're able to install any titles in your library, regardless of compatibility rating. For a refresher on the Deck Verified program, check out this page.

We've also set the Steam Deck store homepage live, showcasing Verified titles on Steam Deck. While this is intended to be the default view of the store only when browsing from a Deck, we know folks have already figured out how to find it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, so let us know if you have any feedback!

Seeker Anti-Cheat

A new anti-cheat company called Seeker Anti-Cheat announces itself to the world. Noting that reacting to new game exploits as they arrive is like playing whack-a-mole, this promises a more proactive approach. While this may provoke fears of intrusive DRM or kernel level drivers, it actually involves something even more intimidating: Teams of lawyers to take on the sites distributing the cheats in the first place. We are pretty sure this is a solution that's been in place since the dawn of computer games, but this effort is specifically branded for the purpose, and is being marketed as a service for game developers and publishers:
Seeker Anti-Cheat consists of a team of avid gamers, attorneys, and some prior military members who banded together after becoming frustrated with the inefficiency of anti-cheat systems. The team found a way to stop these cheats by taking a unique approach and attacking the source of the cheats rather than cheaters in-game. Seeker Anti-Cheat cuts off payment processors, removes websites from search engines, removes chat systems, shuts down advertising, and takes legal action against site owners. Seeker Anti-Cheat has found a way to stop hack sites from distributing cheats. Seeker Anti-Cheat focuses on first-person shooter games for PC and mobile but will cover any games publishers or developers contract with the company. All clients receive weekly reports on circulated cheats and website removal.

Earn a Michelin Star in Chef Life

Nacon offers new details on Chef Life, the first of the "LIFE Series" of simulations announced last year. The game is scheduled to come out of the oven for PC, PlayStation. Xbox and Switch on October 7th. An Announcement Trailer shows off some gameplay, and the announcement has details on the game. And since nothing says good food like a set of tires, the game will even potentially award you a coveted Michelin Star, just like Gordon "Bleeping" Ramsay:
Boasting a polished customization system, players can choose the appearance of their avatar, kitchen components, restaurant decor, and the menu they offer to customers from a selection of some 80 French and Italian dishes. Culinary and entrepreneurial skills will be essential to satisfy customers, but it is above all the quality of the dishes cooked by the player that will enable him to receive a MICHELIN Guide Star.

In this regard, for the first time in a video game, the MICHELIN Guide, an international reference in gastronomic recommendations, has advised the Cyanide studio to integrate in-game mechanics and content that offer real gastronomic challenges to players. Chef Life will include a rating system that reflects the player's ambition and excellence. The player must go to great lengths to satisfy the most demanding customers in order to earn a MICHELIN Star from the famous Guide and make their restaurant a must-visit establishment thanks to the quality of its cuisine!
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

We are being told to brace for a severe storm that will begin tomorrow and bring as much as a foot of snow to the area. This is not that unusual, it is still winter, and these things happen. But I have to marvel once again at how erratic things are, as it's over 60°F out there today. Talk about unpredictable! Guess I'll just have to make the best of it today before we get dumped on again.

Obituary: Procol Harum Frontman Gary Brooker Dead at 76.

Unpredictable Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.


Breakfast Link






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