Archived News:

Thursday, Mar 10, 2022 MAR10 Day

Get Cities: Skylines for Free

Cities: Skylines is now available for free on the Epic Games Store as the latest of its weekly giveaways. You may discover (or even remember!) that this is already in your library, as it was also given away during the holidays. If you do wish to pick this up, do so before next Thursday, and it's yours to keep. At that point In Sound Mind will takes its place as the next giveaway. Here's word on today's freebie:
Cities: Skylines is a modern take on the classic city simulation. The game introduces new game play elements to realize the thrill and hardships of creating and maintaining a real city whilst expanding on some well-established tropes of the city building experience. From the makers of the Cities in Motion franchise, the game boasts a fully realized transport system. It also includes the ability to mod the game to suit your play style as a fine counterbalance to the layered and challenging simulation. You’re only limited by your imagination, so take control and reach for the sky!

Overwatch 2 PvP Beta Next Month

A new Overwatch 2 Developer Update Video has the latest on the multiplayer shooter sequel from game director Aaron Keller. He speaks glowingly of the progress being made on the game, but also expresses regrets that failures of communication have left players in the dark. Aaron comes out and admits that Blizzard has "let you down when it comes to delivering Overwatch content." He says complaints about this have been heard, and commits to "more continual updates on all things Overwatch 2." Aaron admits that fully focusing on development of Overwatch 2 meant Blizzard fell down on its commitment to support the original game with new content. Thus he announces that PvP and PvE development are being separated to better support the original Overwatch and to get the sequel into testing sooner. PvP gameplay enters closed alpha testing today (details on that are here), closed beta next month, and public beta testing later this year. Those interested in the closed PvP beta should sign up here. Of course we already have PvP content in the original Overwatch, so Aaron describes what will be new:
Based on your feedback, we've taken some time to rethink Overwatch 2 with the singular goal of ensuring it is a living game, serving our players with exciting content on a regular basis. And, we are shifting our plan for Overwatch 2 to enable you to play it sooner. This starts with us decoupling the PvP features of the game from the PvE systems so we can bring you PvP sooner. This includes the new 5v5 team format, new heroes, new maps, the new Push game mode, significant hero updates and reworks, and many new gameplay features, including, for example, a new ping system. When you put it all together, this represents the most new content we have brought to our game since launch.
Continue here to read the full story.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök Dawns

Ubisoft announces the launch of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök for PC and consoles. Here's the Launch Trailer and here's the pitch:
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Dawn of Ragnarök expansion launches today on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation, 4, PC, Stadia, and Amazon Luna (and is included in a Ubisoft+ subscription). In Dawn of Ragnarök – Assassin’s Creed’s biggest expansion ever – players will play entirely as Odin (aka Havi) and explore the dwarven realm of Svartalfheim. The problem is that things aren’t going too well for the dwarves, nor Odin for that matter; Svartalfheim has been invaded by the fiery Muspels and icy Jotnar, and Surtr, the unkillable fire giant, has kidnapped Odin’s son, Baldr.

Fortunately for players, Odin will gain a powerful new weapon that will shift the tides of battle: the Hugr-Rip. The mythical bracer allows Odin to harness five powers from defeated Muspels, Jotnar, and giant ravens and use them to gain the upper hand in combat or to traverse new areas.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Last Cube Released

The Last Cube is now available for Windows, macOS, and Linux on Steam, as well as for Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch. This offers the chance to play as a cube, solving a series of puzzle challenges. That raises hopes you'll encounter a weighted companion human somewhere along the way, but it may be too much to ask for. The Launch Trailer illustrates the news, which follows:
The Last Cube features a unique sticker system, allowing you to stamp abilities onto your cube’s sides. Some will allow you to dash through barriers, others will create makeshift stairs, and some grant the ability to spin in place for easy maneuvering in tight places. Positioning your cube to acquire the desired stickers on the correct surface can range from pleasingly simplistic, to masochistic head scratchers as you scramble through The Last Cube’s 100+ puzzles. New mechanics are introduced at a breezy clip, rapidly expanding one’s perception of what your cube is capable of.

The Last Cube is a richly atmospheric puzzle game about guiding a cube through a plethora of mystifying, monolithic chambers as you uncover the story behind this peculiar world. Explore a wide array of brutalist architecture ranging from foggy nightmarish abysses, to oppressive lava lit factories, to uplifting natural landscapes full of golden rays of sunshine glistening against mountains. Coupled with an epic soundtrack that thoroughly enriches the ominous vibe, and an abstract story of a dying world on the cusp of ruin, The Last Cube is a moody, mysterious puzzler that fully immerses you in its derelict world.
Continue here to read the full story.

Orcs Must Die! 3: Tipping the Scales Next Month

Robot Entertainment weighs in with news about Tipping the Scales, a new DLC for Orcs Must Die! 3. This will come to the tower defense game on PC and consoles on April 7th. It will add a new race, a new desert biome, new gear, new maps, and more. A Teaser Trailer takes a first look, and here are some details to tip the scales in this project's favor:
In the new Tipping the Scales DLC, Orcs Must Die! 3 players will battle it out against the brand new Tuatara Race, composed of four cold-blooded enemy types to challenge players cunning and abilities. Set in a new desert biome, players will come equipped with a new Hand Gatling Weapon, Briar Patch Trap and a Reptilian Carapace Trinket. All players returning to the game will have access to two new Endless Mode maps (Split Stairs and Secret Fortress), new Scramble Mode buffs and debuffs, and a host of fixes and improvements.

The Tipping the Scales DLC also includes five new scenarios including a War Scenario- Untrained Grounds (inspired by Orcs Must Die! Unchained Training Grounds map), Sandstorm Shelter, Oasis Outpost, Sand Sea Castle, and Desert Wall (War Scenario). Lastly, four Endless Maps, two new skins - Cygnus Sand Skin and Vorwick Sand Skin and six new Achievements will be included in this new DLC.
Continue here to read the full story.

Core Keeper Sells 100K

Core Keeper entered Early Access on Steam only two days ago. But developer Pugstorm and publisher Fireshine Games announce the sandbox mining adventure has already sold over 100,000 copies. Here's more on how many gamers have already decided this is a keeper:
From underground indie to sandbox success! Pugstorm and Fireshine Games (formerly Sold Out Games) are proud to announce that mining sandbox adventure Core Keeper has sold an incredible 100,000+ copies within the first two days of launching on Steam Early Access, making it the publisher’s fastest-selling digital title of all time.

“We have been truly awestruck by the reaction to Core Keeper and are so thankful to all of the players who have joined us on our adventure so far,” added Sven Thole, CEO & Animator at Pugstorm. “The launch success has cemented our future plans for the game, and we are very excited to listen to fan feedback and continue growing the game in the months ahead. This is just the start of Core Keeper’s journey.”

Ubisoft Cyber Security Incident Update

Ubisoft updates us on a "cyber security incident" last week. At this point they don't seem worried that players have any cause for concern:
Last week, Ubisoft experienced a cyber security incident that caused temporary disruption to some of our games, systems, and services. Our IT teams are working with leading external experts to investigate the issue. As a precautionary measure we initiated a company-wide password reset. Also, we can confirm that all our games and services are functioning normally and that at this time there is no evidence any player personal information was accessed or exposed as a by-product of this incident.

ItB: Strike Out

Last Link of the Day: MLB, MLBPA agree to CBA.

Skull and Bones Insider Program

Ubisoft announces an Insider Program for Skull and Bones, the upcoming seafaring action/adventure. This will allow invitees to play the in-progress version of the game as work continues towards its release. This will require strict adherence to a non-disclosure agreement as well as the Ubisoft code of conduct (a policy that could have saved the company a lot of headaches were it enforced sooner). If you can handle the restrictions and are interested in participating, you can sign up on this page. Here's more:
The Insider Program is on-going live testing initiative for which we're inviting carefully selected players to play an early version of our game in real conditions before anyone else. Meaning for the very first time, members of our Insider Program get to play Skull and Bones and get a sneak peek at the work our development team has been doing behind the scenes.

Why are we doing this?
Our main objective is to get real data & feedback. We want to see what our players do when they're free to play our game whenever they want, however they want. Most importantly, we want to know how they feel about the game.


Capcom announces EXOPRIMAL, a team-based action game coming in 2023 to PC via Steam and to consoles. This has a whiff of Pacific Rim, as it involves donning mech suits to do battle against dinosaurs, the proto-kaiju. An EXOPRIMAL Website is online, offering a Reveal Trailer and a Developer Overview video. Here's the battle plan:
Exosuits are grouped into different roles, and players will pilot these exosuits to hold firm against overwhelming dinosaur swarms in online-only, team-based action game modes.

Dino Survival, the main game mode, sees two teams of five players compete in a variety of PvE and PvP missions. Players will be transported to the scene of the latest dinosaur outbreak and follow Leviathan's guidance to complete objectives. The team that completes the mission first will emerge victorious.

Whether players are engaging the other team directly, or fighting alongside them against a common enemy, the aim is to accomplish objectives as quickly as possible.
Continue here to read the full story.

The DioField Chronicle Announced

SQUARE ENIX announces The DioField Chronicle, a fantasy, strategy/RPG coming this year to Steam and consoles. You can keep up with the project on the official website, which includes a Debut Trailer with a first look. Here's the enigmatic outline of the game's story:
The era of myths gives way to an era of great turmoil…

The world of men is mired in upheaval, as an age of war rages for years on end. A mercenary band arise from amidst the flames and the chaos, they who's fated deeds will be sung of in ages yet to come.

But when all is said and done, will the name "Blue Fox" come to be a byword for hope or darkest tragedy?
Continue here to read the full story.

Distant Worlds 2 Launches

Distant Worlds 2 has launched, offering a second installment in this pausable, real-time, 4X strategy series. This can be picked up on the Epic Games Store,, and Steam in addition to the Slitherine Store, where it is "Distant Worlds Week." It's also available on GeForce now if you want to play in the cloud (or nebula, since it's a space game). Here's the launch trailer with a look, and here are more details:
With the first installment setting the standard for the sci-fi 4X genre as fans have come to know it today, Distant Worlds 2 builds on this by launching players into a living galaxy in constant evolution. No two adventures will be alike as the game generates events that happen independently of one another within the game world. Galaxies can feature up to 2,000 star systems including tens of thousands of planets, moons, and asteroids, providing a deeply immersive experience that will be different every single time.

Distant Worlds 2 is all about player choice and the freedom to explore the game world and play the way you want. Automate the various tasks in your empire, so that you can focus on the areas that you enjoy most. Play only as an explorer without worrying about economics and trade, or manage the home planet, leaving your faction's AI to exploration and defensive duties. The powerful AI engine has been created so that you can also play as Ship Designer only, if you choose, with the rest of the galaxy evolving and living independently in the background.
Continue here to read the full story.

Descent: Underground Resumes; Renamed

Little Orbit and Descendent Studios announce a settlement in the legal battle over the game announced as Descent: Underground. The project started with a Kickstarter to make a new installment in the Descent series of 6DoF shooters. Then it was learned that the rights to use the Descent title were in flux, at best. In the end, rights to the game are being purchased from Descendent by Little Orbit. Little Orbit will complete development and release the game under the less snappy, but more descriptive title Ships That Fight Underground:
Little Orbit Inc. and Descendent Studios are pleased to announce they have reached a settlement to their ongoing dispute. An agreement has been reached for Little Orbit to purchase all rights, game IP, and assets relating to the computer and video game referred to as Ships That Fight Underground and formerly referred to as the "Descent®" reboot. Moving forward, Little Orbit shall be solely responsible for the development and publishing of the game.

Matt Scott, President and CEO of Little Orbit added: "Both parties know this has been a challenging situation for all involved, and Little Orbit will be providing more details soon for the rest of the game's development schedule and release."
Continue here to read the full story.

Aztech Forgotten Gods Released

Remember, Aztech Forgotten Gods is out for Windows and consoles, and the PC edition is available on the Epic Games Store,, and Steam. This is a stonepunk action/adventure that looks at the little-understood high-tech elements of the Aztec empire. The recent Release Date Reveal Trailer takes a look at this unusual juxtaposition. Before we forget, here's more:
Aztech Forgotten Gods is the cyber-stone action-adventure following Achtli, a young woman who battles the colossal Forgotten Gods. To uncover the truth behind her far-future Mesoamerican metropolis, she'll have to turn the Gods' power against them, as she soars through the city with power and grace using an ancient artifact, remnant of a time long forgotten.
Continue here to read the full story.

Google Working on Emulation for Stadia

A Google Cloud and Tech Seminar Agenda noted in this Reddit post has indications that Google is working on expanding the number of Windows games playable in the cloud on Stadia (thanks The Verge via Neutronbeam). Word is the company is working on its own Proton-like software emulation or a compatibility layer to allow games to run under Linux with little or no modification. Here's word:
Detailed overview of the technology behind Google's solution for running unmodified Windows games on Stadia. This is a deep technical walkthrough of some of the core concepts with the goal to allow curious programmers to better understand such technologies and potentially to build their own.

Diablo 2 Vets Form Moon Beast Productions

Peter Hu and Phil Shenk announce the formation of Moon Beast Productions, a new development studio that's already at work on a new original IP. Peter and Phil are famously veterans of Blizzard North, where they helped create Diablo II, and of Flagship Studios, where they helped create headlines. Here's what's being revealed for now:
Today veterans of Blizzard North’s Diablo II and Flagship Studios Peter Hu and Phil Shenk have announced the formation of Moon Beast Productions, a new game development studio with work already underway on an unannounced new original IP.

With the formation of Moon Beast Productions, the duo is rekindling a partnership that helped deliver the groundbreaking Diablo II and Lord of Destruction at Blizzard North. Drawing on their formidable experience building decades of acclaimed ARPGs, the co-founders are focused on a new title and game setting with all the creativity and deep systems design they’re known for, plus some very forward-thinking, genuine innovation.
Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Multiplex

Content creator video.

Out of the Blue

I got some good news from Amazon today, though I was expecting it. Attracted by a sale price last month I decided to upgrade my Kindle to the latest model, since mine was starting to show signs of battery fatigue. As I learned the last time I did this, the process is flawed. If you want to trade in your old model as I did, you must send it in and wait for it to be accepted before getting credit on a new model. Fearing the sale would be over by the time my trade-in was okayed, I put myself through the ringer of speaking with tech support to ensure they would still honor the sale price when it was all said and done. After all, that was the motivation for all this to start. The good news is that I was able to get this okayed. The bad news was the delivery estimate showed my new Kindle wouldn't arrive until the end of this month, about a six-week process. But as I say, this isn't my first rodeo, so I was optimistic this would change. Sure enough, I received an update today saying my new Kindle will arrive tomorrow. I'll try and hold off my withdrawal symptoms. It was a lot of trouble, but it feels worth it. Between the sale, the trade in, and the bonus credit, a top-of-the-line paperwhite ended up costing me $60.

Bargain Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.




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