Archived News:

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022

Get DEMON'S TILT for Free

DEMON'S TILT for Windows is now available completely free on the Epic Games Store. This offers the chance to be a pinball wizard where the twist is bullet hell gameplay, rather than anything about sensory depravation. The game is yours to keep as long as you get your snag on over the coming week. After that comes a two-fer, as next week's giveaway will include both City of Brass and Total War: WARHAMMER. Here's the deal on DEMON'S TILT if you decide to give it a whirl:
TURBO CHARGED PINBALL RETURNS! Now with bigger sprites, more baddies, more secrets & MORE BULLETS! Demon's Tilt pushes the limits of the Video Pinball genre with SHMUP & Hack N' Slash elements.

New AMD Drivers

AMD Support now offers new version 22.3.2 Adrenalin Edition Windows drivers for AMD Radeon graphics cards. Among other things, these add support for Ghostwire: Tokyo and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. Here's word from the Release Notes:
Support For

  • Ghostwire™: Tokyo
  • Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands™
    • Up to 23% increase in performance in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands @ 4k Badass settings, using AMD Software Adrenalin Edition 22.3.2 on the Radeon RX 6900XT, versus the previous software driver version 22.3.
    • Up to 21% increase in performance in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands @ 4k Badass settings, using AMD Software Adrenalin Edition 22.3.2 on the Radeon RX 6800XT, versus the previous software driver version 22.3.
    • Up to 20% increase in performance in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands @ 4k Badass settings, using AMD Software Adrenalin Edition 22.3.2 on the Radeon RX 6700XT, versus the previous software driver version 22.3.
  • Additional Vulkan® extensions. Click here for more information.

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Pro Cycling Manager 2022 and Tour de France 2022 in June

NACON and Cyanide announce their annual cycling games, saying Pro Cycling Manager 2022 will arrive in North America on June 9th and Tour de France 2022 will follow on June 28th. Pro Cycling Manager is a Windows-only game combining team management and real-time racing. Tour de France is a simulation coming to both PC and consoles, bringing a new free mode and a bunch of improvements. You can follow along via the Pro Cycling Manager 2022 Steam Listing and the Tour de France 2022 Steam Listing. Here's an Announcement Trailer, and here are some details:
A new game mode and a range of improvements for Tour de France 2022
The game celebrating the third-most-followed competition in the world returns this year with 14,000km of racing across four different countries. Players can enjoy four game modes and manage 26 teams. The world's top cyclists, such as Tadej Pogačar, Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Primož Roglič and David Gaudu, are available to race with players in the game's 92 cycling stages.

Pro Cycling Manager 2022 introduces a new interface and more cyclist versatility
Combining management and real-time racing, Pro Cycling Manager puts players into the shoes of a sports director. Scouting, recruitment, sponsor management, training and race strategies are all tasks the director must do to reach the very top of the sport. This new edition has over 260 races and 680 stages, including the 21 official stages of the 2022 Tour de France.
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Disciples: Liberation Paths to Madness Released

Paths to Madness is now available for Windows on Steam as well as on consoles, offering new DLC for Disciples: Liberation, the strategy/RPG from developer Frima Studio and publisher Kalypso Media. Bargain Hunters on PC are in luck, as there's a 10% launch discount for PC only. Here's the Release Trailer and the pitch:
Starting today, players can join Avyanna in a new journey through Nevandaar as they travel the treacherous Paths to Madness in this just released DLC. But be warned, these paths are not for the faint-hearted, and exploring the darkest corners of Nevandaar is sure to unveil sinister secrets and perilous quests. Players that dare to traverse the paths will encounter the laboratory of a mad necromancer, a secret workshop of the veil, a demonic fortress rife with magic, and even a sacred grove of the Elven Alliance.

Cast your fears aside and step foot on the Paths to Madness, featuring new stories, allies, dungeons, and legendary relics. And, of course, who knows what powerful enemies await...
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NORCO Released

NORCO is now available for Windows and macOS on GOG.com and Steam, offering a new game in the venerable point-and-click narrative adventure genre. There's a 15% launch discount for those who act within the next week, and an Act One Demo if you need help deciding. The Launch Trailer takes a look at the game's retro style. Here's more on the game and the award it has already received:
NORCO, the first-ever winner of the Tribeca Games Award, blurs the boundaries between art and video games. Heavily inspired by the titular town of Norco, Louisiana, and the greater New Orleans region, developer Geography of Robots blends true stories and personal history with inspirations from Southern Gothic literature and pulp fiction to create a uniquely dark and captivating game experience.

Set in a gritty, distorted version of South Louisiana, NORCO puts you on the search for your missing brother in the aftermath of your mother’s death. You’ll team up with a fugitive security android and explore the sinking suburbs, run-down strip malls, drainage ditches, and verdant industrial swamps of Louisiana's petrochemical hinterlands.
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Far Cry 6 Launches Stranger Things Mission and Free Weekend

The promised Stranger Things cross-promotion mission is now available in Far Cry 6. As also promised, this kicks off a free weekend for the first-person shooter sequel, so everyone has a chance to get in on the action and check out what's new. Here's a trailer and more on the plan:
The Far Cry 6 Free Weekend is available starting today at 11 A.M. PT until March 27 giving players access to the whole game, including the “Stranger Things” crossover mission, The Vanishing, and all free downloadable content published to date, all playable together in co-op. Additionally, The Vanishing is now available for Far Cry 6 players for free.

The Free Weekend is available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Stadia, as well as Windows PC through the Epic Games Store and the Ubisoft Store. Players can also subscribe to Ubisoft+* on PC, Stadia and Amazon Luna. Players who want to continue exploring the island of Yara in Far Cry 6 will keep their game progression and enjoy discounts on the game and Season Pass.
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Activision Blizzard Facing Another Sexism Lawsuit

Another lawsuit has been filed against Activision Blizzard over "rampant sexism" at the company, reports Bloomberg Law (thanks Game Developer). This one is from an individual (listed as Jane Doe), but echoes the allegations in the two other sexual harassment lawsuits currently embroiling the company. Here's an excerpt of its claims:
Doe alleges she was often pressured to drink alcohol, to participate in “cube crawls” where women were subjected to sexual comments and groping, and to stay late after work to participate in a game called “Jackbox,” which Doe says she was told was to determine how well she’d fit in with the group. According to Doe, the game required each individual to suggest “creative answers” to various questions that were mostly sexual in nature.

The complaint alleges Doe started to dress “more conservatively” so she wouldn’t get sexually harassed, and that she tried to distance herself from offsite leadership dinners. She also complained about the excessive drinking and sexual advances made by her supervisors, but was told that “it was just her leadership being nice and trying to be friends with her,” the suit says.
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AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0 Will Support NVIDIA

AMD now offers the promised additional details on AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0. The AMD Community Website summarizes the full presentation on this technology. This will offer visual and framerate improvements on PC and consoles, including select NVIDIA hardware. Here's more on how this will be vendor agnostic:
FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0 is designed to boost framerates in supported games; however, it is fair to say that as FSR 2.0 is an advanced temporal upscaling solution, it will be more demanding on graphics cards than a spatial upscaling solution like FSR 1.0.

That does mean that while FSR 2.0 will support a broad spectrum of hardware, from both AMD and select hardware from our competitors, there are some caveats that gamers need to be aware of when compared to FSR 1.0. To start, though, we do want to say that as an open-source cross-platform solution, we are not placing any constraints on FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0 compatibility, and what we are talking about here are recommendations for an optimal experience using the technology.
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Highrise City Early Access

Highrise City is now available in Early Access on GOG.com* and Steam, carrying a 15% launch discount that's good through the end of the month (*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item). For those interested in the new heights this hopes to achieve, there's a Road Map on Trello. This has details on what to expect, including a building editor. The Early Access Release Trailer takes a look at the metropolises this can create. Here's more:
Highrise City offers a new spin on City Simulations & Tycoon games expanding the economy and resource management aspect. Experience a modern take on the genre enriched with a complex resource based economy system. Highrise City combines two genres in new and interesting ways: City Builders and traditional Economy & Resource Management Simulations. Highrise City offers you challenging gameplay and gives you all the possibilities and tools you need to create a living and breathing city. Take care of your city and make it grow and flourish into a giant Metropolis!

Independent Games Festival Awards

The 24th annual Independent Games Festival Awards were handed out yesterday at the Game Developers Conference. The winner of the big Seumas McNally Grand Prize was Inscryption from Daniel Mullins Games. Here's the full list of honorees:
The winners of the 24th annual IGF Awards are:

  • Best Student Game ($2,000)
    Live Adventure (Live Adventure Team)
  • Excellence in Design ($2,000)
    Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games)
  • Excellence in Visual Art ($2,000)
    Papetura (Petums)
  • Excellence in Audio ($2,000)
    Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games)
  • Nuovo Award ($2,000)
    Memory Card (Lily Zone)
  • Excellence in Narrative ($2,000)
    Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games)
  • Audience Award ($2,000)
    Mini Motorways (Dinosaur Polo Club)
  • Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($10,000)
    Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games)

AK-xolotl Demo

A playable demo is now available on Steam for AK-xolotl, allowing players a chance to check out this top-down arena shooter for Windows. The official launch of this project from solo developer Daniel Piqueras Constantin has a TBA release date. A new video shows off the game's pixel-art look. Here's a bit that, among other things, explains its tongue-twister title:
AK-xolotl is a top-down roguelite, featuring the cutest amphibian. You're an axolotl with an AK (duh!) that goes on a rampage, shooting down their next meal!

Progress through the ecosystem and show who the real apex predator is! Advance through several maps that mix the best of both worlds: procedurally generated biomes, for a randomized experience, and carefully handcrafted room layouts, to achieve the perfect pond atmosphere.
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On Moderating Toxicity

Ars Technica recaps a GDC talk where three presentations discussed ways enhanced moderation in online games can combat toxicity. This is a complex topic with many nuances, so there's no clear consensus among the panelists about the best way to proceed. But points are made about best practices, progress, and what more can be done in the future. Here's a portion that illustrates how tricky automating moderation can be:
Due to its focus on an 8-and-up age range, the game has hard rules on prohibited chat content, which its automatic moderation system catches. (Star Stable Online revolves entirely around text-based chat.) On top of that, the SSO administrative team also uses AI (the "anti-tox bot" Oterlu) to filter and check for potentially abusive language. Oterlu's founder Alexander Gee says the AI needs to be trained on game-specific verbiage in every supported language instead of crawling popular text repositories like Wikipedia.

Gee offers a sample sentence as if typed by a child player: "Whinfell today you suck, can see you are only 10." Any outsider to SSO or any bot trained on general language might look at that sentence and immediately assume this chat message is disparaging to someone named Whinfell who is 10 years old. But in this case, a horse in SSO is named Whinfell, and the number is its in-game level. In this context, the player is airing out her frustrations with their under-leveled horse.

Imp of the Sun Rises

Imp of the Sun is now available on the Epic Games Store and Steam, offering an action/platformer for Windows. The Launch Trailer impishly casts the light of day on some gameplay. Here's word on what to expect:
Developed by Sunwolf Entertainment and published by Fireshine Games (formerly Sold Out Games), Imp of the Sun is a nonlinear 2D action-platformer set in a lovingly hand-drawn, Peruvian-inspired world. Discover the four corners of the empire as you set out on an adventure as Nin, an imp created from the final spark of the sun, on your quest to restore the sun’s power before the world is plunged into darkness.

From the bright peaks of the Andean mountains to the dense Amazonian jungles, explore the empire and refine your skills in streamlined gameplay built for fluid movement and fast, combo-based combat. Discover new abilities and become more powerful as you venture across the empire to defeat the Four Keepers in any order you choose, all set to a stunning Peruvian soundtrack and striking art style.
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In Stars And Time Announced

Developer insertdisc5 and publisher Armor Games Studios announce In Stars And Time, a time-looping RPG coming to Steam next year. The Reveal Trailer takes a look at some retro gameplay in glorious black & white. Here's where this plans on taking us:
In Stars and Time tells the story of Siffrin and their adventurer friends—a found family bound together by fate in order to end the tyrannical reign of an evil king. But as victory is just within the party’s grasp, a tragedy occurs, the clock resets, and they have to do it all again.

As Siffrin’s the only one who notices this loop, each new start wears away at his cheerful veneer, yet he keeps going in hopes he can end this temporal tragedy once and for all.

In Stars and Time is a time-looping RPG adventure. With each loop, Siffrin gains a new perspective on the world around them, opening up new solutions to puzzles and allowing them to make better choices in conversation. Equip memories as armor, pray to the Change God to improve your team’s capabilities each loop, and challenge deadly foes to Rock, Papers, Scissors as Siffrin seeks the truth.
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