Archived News:

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Ubisoft Financials Include Skull & Bones Window

Ubisoft's Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Earnings are now online, updating investors on the comings and goings of fat stacks of cash at the publisher/developer. The big news highlighted here is how three franchises each surpassed €300M in net bookings for the year (Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six). The report mentions Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, and Skull & Bones are all due this fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2023. As is generally the case, there was more news in the post-earnings conference call. For that VGC has us covered, saying Ubisoft used the call to reveal that all three of those games will come in the second half of the year, so the earliest we should expect any of them is October 1st:
Speaking on the company’s earnings call, chief corporate finance officer Frédérick Duguet narrowed the release windows for the three games to the second half of the fiscal year, meaning they won’t be released before October 1, 2022.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope were both previously confirmed for release in calendar year 2022, so they should arrive in the last three months of the year. Skull & Bones could release in this window too, or during the first three months of 2023.

Source of Madness Released

Those seeking an H.P. Lovecraft fix following the delay of Lovecraft's Untold Stories 2 are in luck. Source of Madness has departed Early Access, and this Lovecraftian roguelike is now officially available on GOG.com* and Steam. Word is the challenge this presents is enhanced by the eldrich magic of a neural network, so it learns just like a T-800. Here's a trailer and more:
Source of Madness is a Lovecraftian odyssey with ever-changing landscapes to explore and new monstrosities to face on every run. Each playthrough will feature not only unpredictable terrain, but up to billions of permutations of procedurally-generated beasts born of a neural network that concocts creatures from a seemingly endless abyss, offering a unique spin on the genre. These physics-rigged monstrosities climb and stretch in billions of different ways as they’re brought to life by a powerful machine-learning AI that will do anything to make your life a living hell!
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Card Shark Demo

Devolver Digital announces Card Shark, an upcoming adventure game "where you’ll need to play your opponents better than you play your cards." This will come to PC and Switch on June 2nd. But you won't have to wait that long if you play your cards right, as a playable demo is now available. You can find the Windows and macOS edition of the demo on Steam. Here's a trailer showing off the game's 18th century setting, and here's the deal:
Our adversaries tonight? An unscrupulous group of scoundrels and rogues, rumoured to possess an unlimited fund between them. If we stick to the strategies you’ve learnt, this will be a walkover." - Comte de Saint-Germain
Continue here to read the full story.

Gunbrella Announced

Also from Devolver Digital is the announcement of Gunbrella, a platformer where you are armed with, wait for it, a gun/umbrella. Here's a Reveal Trailer showing off how this accessory is both stylish and useful. Word is we can expect this to arrive on PC and Switch next year. Here's more on what to expect:
Meanwhile, Doinksoft (also Devolver Bootleg) has teamed up with the loose-cannon publisher for the stunning reveal of Gunbrella; a noir-punk action-adventure title set in a world dependent on a rapidly diminishing natural resource. Kinda like real life but with more rainproof weaponry. Gunbrella will glide onto PC and Nintendo Switch in 2023.

Players take the role of a gruff woodsman on a quest for revenge, armed with the mysterious Gunbrella: a firearm that doubles as an umbrella. His investigation becomes entangled with the inner workings of ghouls and gangsters, cops and cultists and the fallout of corporate exploitation.
Continue here to read the full story.

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Apogee Cofounders Feud Over DNF Blame

Reacting to the release of a leaked 2001 build of Duke Nukem Forever, Scott Miller made a post we mentioned yesterday discussing the troubled development of the first-person shooter sequel. Saying he was not a developer on the project, Scott accepts little to no blame for the game's problems. Far from it, he says those making DNF largely ignored his warnings about its direction, despite him being in charge of the company. It should therefore be of little surprise that fellow Apogee cofounder George Broussard took to twitter to defend himself, since he was the game's lead developer. It sounds like the way this all played out has ended a lifelong friendship, as George puts Scott on blast:
Scott's a clueless narcissist whose actions are what led to the Gearbox suits/friction that led to us losing 3DR & the Duke IP. Mind blowing the nonsense he spews. Not surprising due to his depth of manipulation and narcissism. Least I've had the class to keep thoughts private.

I have *so* much more to say on this having known him since high school in the 70s. You can just see how he uses opportunity to try to make himself look better tossing an ex friend (of 40+ years) and biz partner under a bus. Def a guy you wanna do business with!

John Romero's About to Make You His Book

John Romero tweets that he's written a memoir, and Doom Guy: Life in First Person is now available for preorder. For those interested, the id Software and ION Storm cofounder will also sell you an autographed copy. Here's word:
If you missed the news, my memoir is now available for pre-order! To sum it up, it's a positive story of gratitude for a life in games. Code and games changed the trajectory of my life. I cover everything in detail, including lessons learned. http://tinyurl.com/4vcssfp2

Personalized, autographed copies can be pre-ordered from our shop.

Out of Reach: Treasure Royale Free Week

A free week is underway on Steam for Out of Reach: Treasure Royale, a first-person pirate-themed battle royale from developer Space Boat Studios and publisher PlayWay (thanks SteamDB via Ant). The free period runs until May 16th, and those interested in collecting (and kicking) booty after that can buy the game at a 90% discount. Here's a trailer with some gameplay and more of what to expect:
Gather a crew, create your banner and start a rebellious career of a pirate who cares only about his treasures and his rum! Sail the seas, look for trouble, be the last pirate standing to retrieve all the treasures the archipelago can give you! Although you may not survive every single raid, your achievements, fame and glory will!
Continue here to read the full story.

Lovecraft's Untold Stories 2 Delayed

1C Entertainment and Blini Games announce that Lovecraft's Untold Stories 2 will remain Lovecraft's unreleased stories for a while longer, as the launch of the action/RPG sequel is being delayed. It was just last week that we were told this would arrive six days from today. Now the game no longer carries a release date, so its stock tanked rapidly. Word is the need for additional development was revealed during testing, though it's not clear why it took this long to figure that out. Here's the deal:
Originally scheduled to release later this month, 1C and LLC Blini Games have pushed back the release date after feedback from additional rounds of testing, to further polish its gameplay features, improve its balancing and create a truly worthy successor to the previous instalment, which has attained a cult-classic status. With the development team committed to making sure that the game provides the most enjoyably insanity-inducing experience it can, the new release date for Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2 will be announced soon.

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia Begins

Developer Matrix Software and publisher Happinet have released Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia for Windows on Steam. The game's fantasy setting and grand strategy gameplay are shown off in this trailer. Those who pick this up during the first week get a 15% discount. Here's word on the game and the upgrades over the console editions for PC gamers:
Set in the continent of Runersia with six major powers at war, Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia finds players tasked with building an army of over 100 knights and 50 monster types to lead their nation towards a continental conquest in this simple, yet deep war simulation title. Developed by an all-star cast of Japanese game developers, including scenario writer Kenji Terada (Final Fantasy), art director and character designer Raita Kazama (Xenoblade Chronicles), and composer Sato Tenpei (Disgaea), Brigandine: The Legend of Runersiadelivers a classic and authentic SRPG experience delivering hundreds of hours of enjoyment wrapped within a deep turn-based battle system, world conquest systems, and stunning new campaign.
Continue here to read the full story.

Terraforming Mars Hellas & Elysium DLC Released

Hellas & Elysium is now available as DLC for Terraforming Mars, adding two new maps to the sci-fi strategy game. Those interested can purchase this where they got the original game, whether it's the Epic Games Store, GOG.com*, or Steam. The game and the DLC are both based on tabletop counterparts, so this can be considered tried and true. Here's word:
Terraforming Mars is an adaptation of the eponymous board game, developed with the help of the original designer, Jacob Fryxelius, and offering all the content and features from the original board game such as the draft variant. The game previously already received a first DLC, Prelude.

In this strategic turn-based game, players play as a corporation and compete to transform Mars into a habitable planet by building facilities, researching innovative technologies, and managing their resource productions. Players can take up the challenge of Terraforming Mars either in solo or in multiplayer with a maximum of 5 players.
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Morning Crowdfunding

Out of the Blue

I've been having a lot of fun walking Sandra and Adler, my Yellow Lab friends, especially since the weather has become so pleasant around here. They are such sweet doggos. But I am running into a little frustration with Sandra, who, at almost 13 years old, doesn't always want to walk that much. She's still healthy and limber enough to walk, she's just being lazy. But the exercise is important to keeping her in good shape, so I've taken to bribing her with treats to help her motivation. It's a little counter-productive to snack while exercising, but sometimes it's about the lesser of two evils.

Obituary: NBA great Bob Lanier, Hall of Fame center for Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks, dies at 73.

Lazy Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Link

Stories

Science
Thanks Max.

Media

Auction

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 Happy Whacking Day (Springfield)

EA Reveals Four Unannounced Titles Including a Major IP and a Remake

Electronic Arts Reports Q4 and FY22 Financial Results, with CEO Andrew Wilson calling FY22 "a record year, with hundreds of millions of players around the world joining in our games to play, watch, and create with one another." Word is net bookings for the fiscal year were $7.515 billion, up 21% year-over-year. Live services and other net bookings were up 17% year-over-year. As usual, the results were accompanied by a conference call for investors, where the real action takes place. PC Gamer reports that Battlefield 2042 is said to be now using the "Vince Zampella/Respawn model." And for the big news, VGC relates EA's plan to a release a "major IP" as well as a remake in Q4 of FY23 (which ends on March 31, 2023). These will be two of four games yet to be officially announced. Here's word on all four:
The four undisclosed titles scheduled for release in the fourth quarter are listed as “Major IP”, “Partner Title”, “Remake” and “Sports Title”.

Ancient Arenas: Chariots Announced

Ancient Arenas: Chariots is one of two new game announcements today from Slitherine. This chariot racing game is a spiritual successor to Qvadriga, a strategy game from 2014. The teaser trailer suggests this will be more dynamic than Qvadriga, but it's all cinematics, so who knows? This chance to get in touch with your inner Ben Hur is "coming soon" to Steam. Here's more:
Centred around one of ancient Rome’s most gruelling and dangerous sports, Ancient Arenas: Chariots is a chariot racing simulator that is coming soon to PC. Acting as a spiritual successor to 2014’s Qvadriga, the turn-based game sees players upgrade their chariots, train their horses, and ask favours from the gods for the best chance at victory.

Field of Glory: Kingdoms Announced

Field of Glory: Kingdoms is the other new game announcement from Slitherine today. This is a new installment in this turn-based tactics series, offering the chance to add your own dash of darkness to the Dark Ages. The game has a Steam Listing saying it's "coming soon." That vague release window is reinforced by this trailer, which offers an odd animated tapestry in lieu of gameplay. Here's word:
Field of Glory: Kingdoms, the latest title from award-winning studio AGEOD, unfolds just after the Great Schism in 1054, and encompasses more than two centuries of epic European, African, and Middle Eastern history. Acting as an all-powerful ruler, players here can engage in high-octane battles using the FOG Medieval turn-based system.
Continue here to read the full story.

New AMD Adrenalin Drivers; AMD FSR 2.0 Launches Thursday

AMD Support now features new version 22.5.1 Adrenalin Edition Windows drivers for AMD graphics cards. These do not affect most users, as they are primarily to support the three new 6000 series cards released today. For other Windows 10 users, there is a fix for an aero bug. AMD also announces its new RAISE THE GAME BUNDLE which will give a Saints Row game and Sniper Elite 5 to all eligible AMD Radeon RX 6000 purchases. Finally, looking forward, that announcement also reveals that support for AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) 2.0 will arrive in the first games on Thursday:
The next-generation of the widely adopted AMD open-source, cross-platform upscaling technology, FSR 2.0 helps boost framerates in supported games by using previous frame data to provide similar or better than native image quality at all resolutions. It supports a wide range of graphics products and platforms, including AMD and select competitor solutions, without requiring dedicated machine learning hardware. The first game to add support for AMD FSR 2.0 is DEATHLOOP by Arkane Studios and Bethesda, which is expected to be available via an update on May 12, 2022. Additional games planning to add support for the technology in the coming months include Asterigos, Delysium, EVE Online, Farming Simulator 22, Forspoken, Grounded, Microsoft Flight Simulator, NiShuiHan, Perfect World Remake, Swordsman Remake, and Unknown 9: Awakening.

Salt and Sacrifice Pours Out

Salt and Sacrifice is out for Windows and PlayStation, and the PC edition is available on the Epic Games Store. This follow up to Salt and Sanctuary is another soulslike platformer, and you can check out its distinctive art style in the Launch Trailer. Here's word:
Progress through zones inhabited by terrifying creatures, wicked traps, and platforming hurdles while pursuing Mages. Track the Inquisitor’s magic targets and face off against scorching Pyromancers, virulent Venomancers, and repulsive Corpumancers that bend the very elements to their devious wills. Overcome Mages in combat and destroy their hearts to grow more powerful by turning their bones into new weapons and armor sets before advancing onward.
Continue here to read the full story.

Lost in Play Announced

Happy Juice Games announces Lost in Play, a point-and-click adventure coming this summer to PC and Switch. This trailer offers a look at the game's art style, which is directly influenced by modern-day cartoons. The Windows release is coming to Steam, where there's currently a playable demo. Here's more on this game for kids of all ages:
Lost in Play delivers a feel-good adventure where a brother and sister explore dreamscapes and befriend magical creatures. Lost in their imagination, siblings Toto and Gal must work together to solve puzzles and make their way back home. It’s a one-of-a-kind, family-friendly 2D adventure designed to rekindle a spirit of nostalgia amongst players.
Continue here to read the full story.

WWE 2K19 and 2K20 Sunset Plans

A tweet from WWE 2K22 announces that after wrestling with the decision, 2K is shutting down the multiplayer servers for WWE 2K19 and WWE 2K20 on June 30th:
Attention WWE 2K community: On June 30, 2022, we will sunset support for WWE 2K19 & WWE 2K20 servers. This includes all online functions, such as online matches & Community Creations. We are turning our full focus toward supporting #WWE2K22. Thanks for your continued support!

On Sale

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Evening Postmortems

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Honest Trailers - Uncharted. Thanks Ant.

Obituary: Apple is discontinuing its last iPod model.

EA SPORTS Losing FIFA License

Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) announces that it has extended a license to EA SPORTS to release FIFA 23 later this year, but that this will be EA's last installment in the series. FIFA will release its own non-simulation games ahead of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in November. Discussions are said to be underway with publishers, developers, and investors for a "major new simulation football title for 2024" (presumably FIFA 24). In return, EA SPORTS announces how excited it is to have been kicked to the curb. Word is a "new era" begins in July 2023 following the "most expansive FIFA ever" this year. After the FIFA break, EA's new series will be titled EA SPORTS FC. This explains trademark filings for that name discovered in 2021. Here's more:
Everything you love about our games will be part of EA SPORTS FC – the same great experiences, modes, leagues, tournaments, clubs and athletes will be there. Ultimate Team, Career Mode, Pro Clubs and VOLTA Football will all be there. Our unique licensing portfolio of more than 19,000+ players, 700+ teams, 100+ stadiums and 30 leagues that we’ve continued to invest in for decades will still be there, uniquely in EA SPORTS FC. That includes exclusive partnerships with the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A, the MLS – and more to come.

This new independent platform will bring fresh opportunity – to innovate, create and evolve. This is much more than just a change of symbol - as EA SPORTS, we’re committed to ensuring EA SPORTS FC is a symbol of change. We’re dedicated to meaningfully reinvesting in the sport, and we’re excited to work with a large and increasing number of partners to expand to new authentic experiences that bring joy, inclusivity and immersion to a global community of fans. I look forward to sharing more detail on these plans in the coming months.

Steam Antitrust Case Moves Forward

Bloomberg Law reports that Valve will have to face a class action lawsuit about "most favored nation” policies for Steam pricing. The case was filed in January 2021, and Valve has failed in its efforts at getting it dismissed. A previous ruling in the case went in Valve's favor, but word is the plaintiffs will have their day in court:
Judge John C. Coughenour let part of the case move forward in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, saying it’s plausible Valve exploits its market dominance to threaten and retaliate against developers that sell games for less through other retailers or platforms.

The company “allegedly enforces this regime through a combination of written and unwritten rules” imposing its own conditions on how even “non-Steam-enabled games are sold and priced,” Coughenour wrote. “These allegations are sufficient to plausibly allege unlawful conduct.”

Continue here to read the full story.

We Were Here Forever is Here

Despite the title, We Were Here Forever has not been here forever. But it is here now, as today marks the launch of this new installment in the We Were Here series of co-op puzzle games. This can be picked up for Windows with a 10% launch discount from the Epic Games Store and Steam. A look at the goings-on can be found in the Official Release Trailer. Here's more:
The clock strikes the hour and thus it is finally time to enter Castle Rock once more in We Were Here Forever! In this asymmetrical co-op puzzle game, you will make your way through previously unseen parts of Castle Rock. For the first time in the series, you’ll eventually leave the Keep. Once outside, you begin to uncover the story of Rockbury and the town’s inhabitants, who once planned a resistance against the King in order to escape this mysterious realm. Every adventure can unfold differently thanks to a more freeform design allowing players to choose where to explore first.
Continue here to read the full story.

Kingdom Eighties Announced

Raw Fury and developer Fury Studios announce Kingdom Eighties: Summer of Greed, a strategy game coming "Soon™" to Steam. This is an homage mash-up, as it's a new installment in the Kingdom series as well as "a story-driven love letter to 1980s Americana." The Announcement Teaser Trailer offers a look at the game's pixel art graphics. And if the 80s setting seems familiar, well, Stranger Things have happened. Here's word:
Kingdom Eighties will surprise experienced players and series newcomers alike, as well as anyone that remembers sitting around in their pajamas in front of the television on a Saturday morning. When the mysterious Greed threatens a small, middle-American town, a ragtag band of brave kids is dragged into an epic struggle of seemingly insurmountable odds to save their families and their home.
Continue here to read the full story.

Rogue Company Patch Adds Map

These Patch Notes on Steam have the details on a new Rogues Rising update that's now available for Rogue Company. This adds a new map called Vertigo, a U2-free level that derives its name from its setting on the face of a sheer cliff. This also kicks off a new narrative event called Juke's Gambit for the free-to-play shooter. Here's a previously released trailer with a look. For more, case a pair of roguish eyes on the following details:
In the latest update, Rogue Company has retaliated against Jackal's attack on Meltdown by assaulting a newly discovered Jackal outpost!

This update also introduces a brand new skirmish map, Vertigo, a Jackal outpost built upon a cliff face. Don't slip!

As for Project Saint, we have added improvements, such as dynamic scoreboards, to give players a more complete experience when playing matches.
Continue here to read the full story.

Kyle Rittenhouse-Inspired Shooter on Steam

Acquitted is a top-down zombie shooter for Windows recently launched on Steam (thanks DailyDot). Loosely based on the high-profile Kyle Rittenhouse case, this involves an acquitted shooter who must also shoot his way out of the courthouse to claim his freedom. As seen in this trailer, the game does not hide its agenda. The Soviet Union and Antifa flag-waving mobs are depicted as zombies caused by "decades of bad parenting & education that has physically manifested into a skateboard-swinging, feces-flinging horde of undead rage." The message clearly has an eager audience, as the game currently carries the enviable "overwhelmingly positive" review label. Here's more on the pwnage:
Piss bottles. Bats. Bike locks. Face the media-manufactured outrage of braindead mobs in a fully destructible, randomly generated riot zone as you try to get home from court alive after each self-defense trial. Shoot, hack, blast & build walls & turrets vs tricky AI in this brutally intense shooter!
Continue here to read the full story.

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Out of the Blue

The Westworld - Season 4 Official Teaser is here. And apparently Season 4 is almost here as well, as it concludes with a June 26th date. I was obsessed with Season 1, but the two follow-ups were mixed bags. I'm not saying this doesn't look like anything to me. I'll still watch the new season, but as the story moves towards its conclusion, I've lost any expectation that it will live up to how it began.

Obituary: Vicky White, Alabama corrections officer who escaped with Casey White, has died in hospital, sheriff says.

Robotic Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Story

Science

Media
Thanks VideoSift.

Auction

Follow-up

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