Archived News:

Thursday, Apr 07, 2022 National Beer Day (USA) - National Burrito Day (USA)

Get Rogue Legacy and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter for Free

Two games are now available for free from the Epic Games Store as this week's regularly scheduled giveaways. For the next seven days everyone can pick up Rogue Legacy and/or The Vanishing of Ethan Carter with a 100% discount. These will be permanent additions to the libraries of everyone who claims them in time. Next Thursday they will be replaced by a pair of different freebies, XCOM 2 and Insurmountable. You may already own The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, as this was part of a previous giveaway. Here are elevator pitches for each of today's gifts:

Rogue Legacy is a genealogical rogue-"LITE" where anyone can be a hero. Each time you die, your child will succeed you. Every child is unique. One child might be colorblind, another might have vertigo-- they could even be a dwarf. That's OK, because no one is perfect, and you don't have to be perfect to win this game. But you do have to be pretty darn good because this game is HARD. Fortunately, every time you die all the gold you've collected can be used to upgrade you manor, giving your next child a step up in life and another chance at vanquishing evil.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person mystery focused on exploration and discovery. As an occult-minded detective Paul Prospero, piece together the truth behind Ethan’s disappearance — and the fate of his family.

New World Free Weekend

New World is available to play for free all weekend on Steam, offering the opportunity to check out this MMORPG from Amazon Games with no obligation. As is generally the case, if you enjoy the game, you'll be able to buy it at a discount and continue playing where you left off. This post has a FAQ with all you need to know. This includes word on a free item available to all players:
What if I already have New World in my Steam library. Do I get anything for free?
While this event is primarily designed to allow and encourage new players to give New World a try, there is currently a free item available for existing players in the in-game store — the Black Bear Pelt Rug Housing Item, which is available to claim for free until April 18! We encourage existing players to tell their friends that they can try the game for free during this special weekend event. After all, New World is better with friends!

Football Manager 2022 Free Weekend

Another game is currently free to try, as you can kick around Football Manager 2022 for free this weekend on Steam. The Windows and macOS association football/soccer management simulation is also on sale for 33% off. Here's word on the game that's definitely not a quote from Vince Lombardi:
Football isn’t just about being the best and winning. It’s about overcoming the odds, realising your dreams, and earning your success. Fighting your way to the top and shocking the world or clawing your way back from the brink – these moments taste sweetest.

Activision (Not Raven) Game Testers Become Full-Timers

Bloomberg reports (may require registration or subscription) that Activision Blizzard has committed to converting 1,100 part-time or temporary game testing positions into full-time jobs, complete with pay raises. One might assume this would address some of the complaints of the Raven QA Department. It has been embroiled in walkouts and strikes as it attempts to form a union, with the tenuous nature of QA positions a main sticking point. But as Jason Schreier notes on Twitter, Raven staff are actually not part of the deal:
NEW: Activision Blizzard just told staff that all of its 1,100 quality assurance testers will be 1) converted from contract to full-time and 2) bumped up to at least $20/hour. A big win for QA in the wake of several worker revolts and a burgeoning union effort. Story soon

Slight clarification on my wording here: 1,100 is the number of temp and contract QA testers that are being converted to full-time, according to Activision Blizzard. There are other testers at the company who were *already* full-time staff.

And here's the catch: Activision will not give raises to Raven QA testers, who are unionizing, "due to our legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act," the company said in an email seen by Bloomberg News.

GUNDAM EVOLUTION Testing Begins Tonight

Playtesting of GUNDAM EVOLUTION begins tonight, as BANDAI NAMCO works towards the free-to-play launch of this hero shooter. Testing gets underway at 10:00 pm EDT, and those interested should head over to the game's Steam Listing and hit the "request access" button. Here's a new trailer and here's word on the game:
GUNDAM EVOLUTION is a free-to-play, team-based first-person shooter featuring 6v6 PvP combat, and presents a unique set of challenges that will require teams to craft and execute formidable offensive and defensive strategies to emerge victorious. The game offers three objective-based game modes: Point Capture, Domination and Destruction. GUNDAM EVOLUTION will officially launch on PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One in 2022.

Godfall Ultimate Edition Released

Godfall is now even more godly, as a new patch has updated the action/RPG to the Godfall Ultimate Edition. This is available for Windows on the Epic Games Store and, for the first time, on Steam. The game originally launched as an Epic Games exclusive, and those who bought the original version there have an ultimatum to purchase an upgrade to experience the ultimateness this offers. But there's also a free Exalted Update, because gods can be capricious. Here's a bit from this post to hopefully explain what this all means:
That brings us to today with the release of Godfall: Ultimate Edition, alongside the free Exalted Update. This release is a love letter to all of our fans, both those who have stuck with us throughout our journey and those who have not yet joined us. It is our largest update since launch, tackling many major community requests to create the most complete version of the game. We’re addressing things such as Valorplate homogeneity with Valorplate Shards, additional end game activities with the Exalted Tower of Trials and Spirit Realms, to even offering a revamped Story Campaign – for first timers, or veterans alike! We’re also incredibly excited to welcome new Godfall players on the Xbox and Steam platforms to Aperion.

Steam Deck Update

Valve offers a big Steam Deck Update with a roundup of everything to know about the portable PCs after a month in the wild. There's a lot there, so this is just a sample:
Deck Verified: 2000 strong and growing
In just one month we’ve passed a huge milestone with 2000 games now officially Deck Verified or Playable. It's been exciting to see the variety of games the community has been playing - new or old, big or small, every genre - it seems like players have been having a ton of fun on Deck. We're going to continue charging through the Steam catalog and can't wait to share the next big milestone here. We’re also listening carefully to customer feedback in this space, as we want to make sure the Deck Verified program is doing its job. To that end we’ve added a Feedback feature allowing customers to signal whether they agree or disagree with the Verified rating for each title.

Anti-cheat progress
One of our top priorities is to support as many titles on Steam as possible, and this includes titles that employ anti-cheat technology. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of developers, service providers, and Proton contributors we’ve made great progress in bringing these games to the Steam Deck community. The two biggest anti-cheat services, BattlEye and Easy Anti-Cheat, now have a streamlined path for developers that choose to enable support for Proton and Steam Deck. Elden Ring and Apex Legends are two examples of games which are taking advantage of this work, so far.

Medieval Engineers: Community Edition

Keen Software House announces the release of the Medieval Engineers: Community Edition. This is a new beta version that makes use of community contributions for quality of life improvements and bug fixes. The company explains this has been requested since the game was released out of Early Access, so perhaps we can call this Late Access. This blog post has all the details on how this works along with instructions on how owners of the game can access the beta. Here's a bit:
Thanks to the patience of our volunteers and the investment of resources from Keen Software House we have created a framework for continued, community-led, development.

Development of Medieval Engineers “Community Edition” is now, and will be, at the discretion of our volunteer staff, while Keen Software House will act in a support role. We will provide development resources such as servers, staff support, logistics, and communications support. In addition, we are committed to ensuring that our volunteers have the tools (and freedom) this kind of project requires, to continue to apply their passion to Medieval Engineers in this new “Community Edition”.

Forgive Me Father Leaves Early Access

Forgive Me Father is now out of Early Access, and the retro first-person shooter is officially available on the Epic Games Store,*, and Steam. For a look at the game's distinctive hand-drawn style, check out the Launch Trailer. Here's what publisher 1C Entertainment and developer Byte Barrel want you to know about this:
With a retro FPS flair and a horror comic book style, Forgive Me Father throws players into the shoes of either a Priest or a Journalist battling maddening monstrosities while wielding a powerful arsenal of weapons. It’s up to players to choose how to unravel the mysteries of the world and which abilities to invest in, so they can battle the madness that creeps in with every horrifying encounter.
*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item. Continue here to read the full story.

Orcs Must Die! 3 Tipping the Scales Released

Tipping the Scales is now available on Steam as new DLC for Orcs Must Die! 3, Robot Entertainment's action/adventure sequel. The add-on comes at full price, but the base game is currently on sale for half off. This post has details on the new content along with a Tipping the Scales Launch Trailer. Here's a bit:
In Tipping the Scales, the new Tuatara enemy race invades across five new maps including a new War Scenario! Bring your new gear to the fight to overcome the Tuatara’s special ability that limits the damage they can take. The Tuatara Assassin is especially dangerous as a stealth unit avoiding your traps!
Continue here to read the full story.

Chinatown Detective Agency Released

Publisher Humble Games and developer General Interactive invite us to party like it's 1990 with the release of Chinatown Detective Agency on the Humble Store* and Steam. This is a side-scrolling, point-and-click adventure with a cyber-noir setting and throwback graphics, which can be seen in the Launch Trailer. Here's a tease:
Midnight in Singapore. Your contact’s a no show, your client wants answers and your empty bank balance hangs over you like a neon-tinted Sword of Damocles. Welcome to 2037. Welcome to Chinatown Detective Agency.

The world is in a state of flux as the global economy nears the nadir of its decade-long collapse. Singapore stands as a last refuge of order but even here the government struggles on the brink of chaos. That’s where you come in. You are Amira Darma, once a rising star at INTERPOL, now a freshly minted Private Investigator in the heart of Chinatown, and your first client is about to walk through your door…
*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item. Continue here to read the full story.

Hello Neighbor 2 Preorders Get Beta Access

Preorders are now being accepted for Hello Neighbor 2, the chance to return to Raven Brooks to tackle another mystery. The game isn't to arrive until December 6th, but pre-purchases include exclusive beta access. Interestingly, the Hello Neighbor 2 Alpha remains available for now for free on Steam as well. You can buy the PC edition through the Epic Games Store or Steam, and console preorders are also available on PlayStation and Xbox. Here's a video developer blog discussing the news and here's more:
Hello Neighbor 2 is a stealth horror game about uncovering your creepy neighbor’s secrets. You are a journalist looking to solve the Neighbor’s case, since no one else dares to. Play against a complex opponent controlled by an advanced AI that learns from you and all the other players! As time passes and the Neighbor adapts to the players’ patterns, his own behavior will change and surprise you. Will you be the one to outsmart the Neighbor and find out what he’s hiding?
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

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Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Russian Doll Season 2 - Official Trailer.

Wander the Black Desert for Free

Black Desert is currently free on Steam. and Pearl Abyss' MMORPG is yours to keep if claim your copy by April 13th. Anyone who gets this will also want to also snag the this Gift Pack, which is always free. This update has the details, as the free offer comes as new content is released:
Mountain of Eternal Winter and Drakania have OFFICIALLY arrived in Black Desert!

Want to start your adventures in the Black Desert world? Then this is your chance to start by getting the Black Desert Game Pass for FREE!

Start your new adventure in the Mountain of Eternal Winter NOW.

Epic and LEGO's Metaverse Partnership

Epic Games announces a partnership with the LEGO Group "to build a place for kids to play in the metaverse." This sounds a little like an attempt to pick up the ball LEGO dropped during the past decade of Minecraft. Arguably the biggest fans of both LEGO and the Metaverse concept are well-heeled adults, so they might find this news more exciting than the kids. Here's a block of text on the plan:
The LEGO Group and Epic Games today announced they are entering a long-term partnership to shape the future of the metaverse to make it safe and fun for children and families. The two companies will team up to build an immersive, creatively inspiring and engaging digital experience for kids of all ages to enjoy together.

The family-friendly digital experience will give kids access to tools that will empower them to become confident creators and deliver amazing play opportunities in a safe and positive space.

Circle Empires Tactics Rolls Out

Publisher Iceberg Interactive and Developers Luminous have circled back to the Circle Empires series with the release of Circle Empires Tactics for Windows on Steam. This third installment in the strategy franchise carries a 10% launch discount for the next week and there's also a bundle that rounds up all the content in the series for 15% off. The last game, Circle Empires Rivals, featured multiplayer support, but the new one ups the ante with simultaneous turn-based combat. Here's a release trailer along with some details:
Play as the leader of the oppressive Human Empire, the brutal Lizard-Orc alliance or the cunning Wizards of light and darkness. Level up your leader and gain new skills allowing you to implement different strategies.

Each faction offers unique units and creatures, each with their own special abilities and traits. Play to your strengths to emerge victorious!

Circle Empires Tactics offers a wide range of difficulty levels for both single-player and co-op. Choose the difficulty level that fits your experience (or ego), from new recruit to descendant of Sun Tzu.
Continue here to read the full story.

Tencent Closing Game Streaming Service

Reuters reports that Chinese media entertainment and tech conglomerate Tencent is shutting down its Penguin Esports subdivision by early June. Word is: "Tencent said on Thursday that Penguin Esports had stopped taking new users or live-streaming hosts and had also blocked existing users from topping up their accounts with immediate effect. The app will be removed from all app stores and will stop operating by June 7, it added." Tencent's decision to shutter this Twitch-like service in China is chalked up to changes in its business strategy. However, the article notes that regulatory crackdowns by the Chinese government have made the environment for such a service increasingly unwelcome:
The company said on its official WeChat account that the decision to shut down the six-year-old platform, where hosts could live-stream themselves playing games in a model similar to Amazon's Twitch, was made because of "changes to its business development strategy". It did not elaborate.

Beijing last year blocked the company's attempt to create a $10 billion videogame streaming behemoth through the merger of the market's top two players Huya and DouYu on antitrust grounds. Huya said at the time it planned to merge Penguin Esports into the new entity.

A wide-ranging Chinese regulatory crackdown has targeted tech giants over the last year and a half, forcing them to revamp once common market practices and driving Tencent and peer Alibaba Group to draw up layoffs plans, Reuters has reported. read more.

Best Forklift Operator Early Access

If you've ever watched a video of a forklift operator destroying a warehouse and said "I could to that," you're in luck. Steam now offers Early Access to Best Forklift Operator. This chance to drive a propane-powered vehicle of mass destruction includes full VR support to further immerse you in your work. Here's the Early Access Launch Trailer and here are some uplifting details:
Best Forklift Operator is a simulation game that gives players a unique opportunity to test their skills as an operator. It will be up to them to ensure that the supply chain is not interrupted, and the goods will make it to factories and warehouses. At the very beginning of the game, there's a mandatory training sequence. After getting proper permissions, the real career starts. Players will be able to earn money by completing new tasks quickly and efficiently. However, every mistake results in a financial penalty.
Continue here to read the full story.

Walkabout Mini Golf: Myst Revealed

Cyan tweets about plans for Walkabout Mini Golf: Myst, an upcoming DLC pack for Walkabout Mini Golf VR (thanks Boing Boing). Myst is a classic which put Macintosh computers on the gaming map, and it has been re-released several times for various platforms over the decades. But its serene puzzles can be quite challenging, so this will be a chance to do some more straightforward gaming in the game's beautiful environments. Here's word:
We're thrilled to announce a new partnership with the awesome folks at  @Mighty_Coconut to develop Walkabout Mini Golf: Myst- a DLC for their game which will be released later this year!

On Sale

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Op Ed

  • Kotaku - Maybe We Don't Need All These Expensive Video Game Remakes.
    "My first thought on reading that was: wow, that’s a lot of money to remake a couple of games that weren’t that popular, and which are still available and playable today. My second thought was: maybe that money and time could have been spent making a new Max Payne game instead? Or even a new video game entirely?"

Out of the Blue

After a slight delay, today is officially opening day for Major League Baseball. I used to be a die-hard baseball fan, but strikes, PEDs, and the abject misery of rooting for the Mets has taken a severe toll on my enthusiasm. The week-long setback to the opener was due to another strike, and it's hard not to suspect that the reduction in steroid-use reports are probably just failures in testing, so some things haven't changed that much. But the Mets are finally under new management, and the team is now spending money like a drunk sailor again. This is obviously helpful in a sport with the softest of salary caps. So while baseball remains more than a little tainted, the chance to watch a contending team for the first time in a while has me feeling the sentiment in the marvelous Thomas Boswell book title I've mentioned several times in the past: Why Time Begins on Opening Day. On the other hand, this team that boasts both Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer has Tylor Megill starting on opening day, so I should probably take a beat here.

To go along with the occasion, it's National Beer Day here in the US! It's also National Burrito Day, though obviously Hot Dog day would have been more appropriate.

Major League Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.


Thanks Max.


Thanks Acleacius.

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