Archived News:

Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022

Activision Blizzard Walkout Plans

There's an interview with Mike Ybarra on the Los Angeles Times (may require registration or subscription) where the Blizzard honcho expresses optimism about changing the workplace culture that's spawned lawsuits over sexual harassment and other issues. In contrast, ABetterABK tweets about plans for Activision Blizzard employees to stage a walkout on July 21st. Showing Twitter is the perfect platform for communication, the notice is spread over a handy 17 16 tweets. One of them includes a graphic outlining several complaints about gender inequity and another points to the ABK Strike Fund Go Fund Me. Here's a bit:
In light of the recent attacks on the civil liberties of our employees, the employee-led Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination has scheduled a walk out action on July 21st, 2022

We are calling for protection of several communities of marginalized workers. Employees are actively facing state legislation that is putting women, LGBTQ+ employees, and their families at risk, with other vulnerable groups on the horizon.

Our walk-out demands focus on the protections of ABK employees from external threats like the recent overturn of Roe V. Wade, and internal threats such as retaliation and harassment while in the workplace.

For background on why this walkout is being held, the company's current healthcare policies do not adequately protect the workers of ABK.

The Crew 2 Free Week Starts Tomorrow

Ubisoft announces that Season 6 Episode 1 is now available for The Crew 2, the open-world driving sequel. The post also includes the news that the game will be free to try for a week beginning tomorrow. Here's a Free Week Trailer and word on some of the game's latest changes:
Quality-of-life improvements now available with the latest update of The Crew 2 include handling improvements, better color grading and a reworked weather system. Handling has been harmonized across the entire Rallycross vehicle category, and handling modifications have been made to some Touring Car vehicles, following player requests. Color grading has been improved to find the right balance of color, contrast, and brightness, as well as lighting. The new weather cycle brings more variety to the game world as well as a visual overhaul of snowy events.
Continue here to read the full story.

Steam Next Fest October 2022 Edition Announced

Valve officially announces the Steam Next Fest October 2022 Edition, saying this will get underway on October 3rd. As always, this will involve loads of time limited demos, so this gives you time to clear your schedule. Word is:
We're happy to share the official dates for Steam Next Fest, October 2022 Edition: October 3 - 10, with loads of free demos of upcoming games on Steam!

Steam Next Fest is an opportunity for developers to create/build audiences for their upcoming games on Steam. For players, it's a fun way to explore what's next with the added bonus of connecting with the developers themselves!

Read more and set a reminder for the fun here:

Developers interested in participating can find opt-in documentation HERE.

Diablo Immortal Roadmap

Blizzard News has an update on the first post-launch content update for Diablo Immortal, the mobile-first installment in the action/RPG series. This adds a bunch of content, clears up some bugs, and paves the way for tomorrow's launch of Season Two. The post also mentions that Blizzard is working to address botting in the game: "Recently, we have received reports of bots in Diablo Immortal—we are committed to continually monitoring all bot reports and will respond with disciplinary action as needed to ensure these accounts do not create a negative playing experience for our community. If you come across any bots while playing Diablo Immortal, please use the in-game reporting tool to alert us. This ensures we receive the reported player’s UID." What the blog does not address at all is concerns about the game's monetization, which has proven both profitable and controversial. For more on that topic, there's an interview with Mike Ybarra on the Los Angeles Times (may require registration or subscription) where the Blizzard boss says this is fine: "The monetization comes in at the end game," Ybarra says. "The philosophy was always to lead with great gameplay and make sure that hundreds of millions of people can go through the whole campaign without any costs. From that standpoint, I feel really good about it as an introduction to 'Diablo'." On that theme, a large section of the blog post is devoted to paid battle pass options:
For adventurers seeking additional treasures from their Battle Pass ranks, we have two paid versions they can upgrade their Battle Pass to for the full duration of the season: the Empowered Battle Pass and Collector’s Empowered Battle Pass.

Empowered Battle Pass: Includes all rank rewards from the free standard Battle Pass but also unlocks an Empowered track that provides additional rewards at each rank. Plus, you’ll receive the fearsome Bloodsworn Weapon cosmetic, unlocked at rank one, and the thorn-covered Bloodsworn Armor cosmetic, unlocked at rank 40.

Collector’s Empowered Battle Pass: Gives you access to all rank rewards and cosmetics from the Empowered Battle Pass. Plus, the Bloodsworn Avatar Frame, Bloodsworn Portal cosmetic, and a ten-rank boost, all provided immediately after upgrading.

Cobra Kai 2: Dojos Rising Announced

Here's one to appeal to your sensei humor. Developer Flux Games and publisher GameMill Entertainment announce Cobra Kai 2: Dojos Rising for Windows, Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch. This sequel will allow you to wax off, after waxing on in the first game (which is currently on sale). Here's word on how this this chance to be The Doors' buddy Mr. (or Ms.) Dojo Rising:
The Cobra Kai saga continues with Cobra Kai 2: Dojos Rising, releasing in fall 2022 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam. Eagle Fang, Cobra Kai, Miyagi-Do – which is your dojo? That choice begins your journey, but then it’s up to you to recruit the most powerful team as you master your fighting style and battle to solidify your dojo’s legacy as the All Valley Karate Grand Champion!


  • Exciting Game Modes: Jump into Story Mode and immerse yourself in an exciting new storyline that will have you fighting your way to the All Valley Tournament, or play Cobra Classics and relive epic moments from the show and more!
  • Select Your Dojo, Build Your Strength: Choose from Eagle Fang, Cobra Kai or Miyagi-Do dojos, and increase your skills by collecting chi and coins. Recruit and train new members to become the most powerful dojo and seal your destiny as the Grand Champion of the All Valley Tournament.
  • 28 Playable Characters: Play as your favorite characters from the show’s expansive roster, and use their special abilities and skills on your path to victory!
  • Online VS. Tournament: Jump into online Tournament mode and compete in the All Valley Tournament. Fight your way to secure your legacy as the ultimate champion.

Roots in the Sky - The Hand of Glory 2 Announced

Madit Entertainment and Daring Touch announce Roots in the Sky - The Hand of Glory 2. The announcement says this is coming Q3 of next year, though the Steam Listing differs, saying it's due in Q4 2023. This is a point-and-click adventure inspired by the classics in the genre. There's a chance to give your mouse pointer a workout right now, as The Hand of Glory - The Blowtorch Files is available for Windows on Steam completely free. Here's the Teaser Trailer and more:
Blending comedy, mystery and conspiracy-steeped intrigue, The Hand of Glory is a point-and-click adventure series inspired by genre classics like Gabriel Knight and Broken Sword. The first game saw disgraced former detective Lars Bundy seek redemption by pursuing the missing scion of an influential family, all while keeping a momentous personal concern a secret from those nearest to him. With help from a nerdy but talented intern named Alice, Lars soon found himself swept up in a thrilling chase from the sandy beaches of Florida to the lush green hills of Italy and a hidden temple in England.

Roots in the Sky picks up five years later, with Lars continuing to elude a rogue cult by working as a private security agent in Rome. There he tries to keep his identity secret from friends and foes alike, and his lurking personal crisis at bay. His hopes for anonymity are dashed, however, when his latest client is murdered in cold blood. Now the only way to keep his name out of the news is to solve the case himself before the police can investigate. But the hunter is also the hunted, and a deadly game of cat-and-mouse takes Lazarus and his returning cohort Alice on another epic odyssey through exotic locales in search of the truth behind a powerful artifact and an ancient legend about creation itself.
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

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Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Clerks 3 Official Trailer.

Gwent: Rogue Mage Tomorrow

IGN reports that CD PROJEKT RED will release Gwent: Rogue Mage tomorrow as a new single-player addition to the Gwent deckbuilding series. This game was revealed earlier this year, but the news that it will arrive so soon comes out of left field. The title was announced as Project Golden Nekker, but this was changed, likely because it stinks. At first it was unclear if the new game would maintain the connection to The Witcher, but word is it will, as IGN offers a brief preview:
We've had the chance to play Rogue Mage ahead of its release date, and it definitely feels reminiscent of The Witcher 3 version of Gwent, though obviously set amid a roguelike format. Much like the original, players will use Witcher world characters like Dandelion, Zoltan, and Yennefer, but Rogue Mage uses cards from the multiplayer version of Gwent. While this means the mechanics are a bit more complex, cards are presented in simpler packages that aren't nearly as daunting as logging into the multiplayer version for the first time.


The Square Enix Blog has details on the release of VALKYRIE ELYSIUM, saying the action/RPG will arrive on Steam on November 11th. This will be the fifth game in the series and its third console release, but the first time it will appear on PC. Here's a new Release Date Trailer and here's more on the game:
VALKYRIE ELYSIUM is a new action RPG that features an evocative world inspired by Norse mythology, excitingly fast-paced real-time combat, beautiful visuals, and a stunning soundtrack by series composer Motoi Sakuraba.

The game includes many of the VALKYRIE SERIES’ defining elements: imaginative worlds, combo-based battle systems and summonable ‘Einherjar’ to assist you in combat. It fuses these with bold new ideas, including a thrillingly fast-paced and strategic action-based battle system, to create an excitingly fresh take on the acclaimed series.
Continue here to read the full story.

Forspoken Delayed Again

A tweet from Square Enix reveals another delay to Forspoken, the "other-worldly adventure" originally known by the working title PROJECT ATHIA. This was originally due on May 24th and then delayed to October 11th. Now we're told to expect it on January 24, 2023, as the previous missed targets are not deterring it from continuing to pick specific dates. Word is the game is in the final polishing phase, and the "strategic" six month wait is being blamed on "key partners":
As a result of ongoing discussions with key partners, we have made the strategic decision to move the launch date of Forspoken to January 24, 2023. All game elements are now complete, and development is in its final polishing phase.

We would like to thank you for your continued support and patience on this journey. Your excitement for the gaming inspires us everyday and we cannot wait to share more about four spoken with you later this Summer!

U.K. Regulator Examining Microsoft/Activision Deal

Microsoft's planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard continues to draw scrutiny. reports that the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority is also now investigating the deal. The regulator is soliciting third-party opinions for the next couple of weeks, and will complete the first phase of this inquiry on September 1st:
The CMA has until September 1 to complete the first phase of the investigation, in which it determines whether the deal could hurt competition.

If the CMA decides the deal is anti-competitive, then it would conduct a more in-depth assessment and allow the companies to propose actions that would address the concerns with the deal.

The regulator acknowledged that some of its counterparts around the world are also looking into the deal, and it will communicate with them "as appropriate."

Fall Guys Hits 50M

Mediatronic tweets that Fall Guys has now hit the 50 million user mark since going free-to-play just two weeks ago:
We're in absolute disbelief...

50 million players in 2 weeks!!!



The Tale of Bistun Next Week

Developer Black Cube Games and publisher IMGN.PRO announce a July 13th release date for The Tale of Bistun, an action/adventure based on a classic Persian poem. This will come to* and Steam, and both stores now offer preorders as well as a playable demo you can check out right now. The release date is highlighted in this trailer, which shows off some gameplay. Here's a description:
The Tale of Bistun follows an amnesiac stone-carver on his journey up the slopes of the intimidating Mount Bistun. He’ll have to battle legions of monstrous foes using fast-paced, melee combat and powerful magical abilities as he explores the real world and the mysterious place of forgotten memories, known as the Revelations Realm, in search of answers. All the while, a mysterious voice encourages him to keep going, recounting his every step and keeping close tabs on his quest through these beautiful but blight-infested lands.
*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item.

Op Ed

  • Vice - ‘Diablo Immortal’ Shows Self-Regulation Is a Failure in the Games Industry.
    "Diablo Immortal isn’t a bad game; it’s bursting with beautiful graphics, satisfying sound effects, and a tight gameplay loop Blizzard is known for. But the way it’s monetizing its player base is so predatory, the game has been banned in some European countries which recently introduced regulations on loot boxes, and other monetization schemes similar to Diablo Immortal. In the U.S., the video game industry has so far succeeded in arguing that it can regulate itself, but experts Waypoint has talked to say games like Diablo Immortal could change that. By not doing anything to hear out the criticism lobbed at it by disgruntled players in the hopes of capitalizing on the flood of profits on whales and early adopters, Keith Whyte, the executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling says Blizzard may be doing more harm than good to the industry."

Out of the Blue

There was a little excitement yesterday as I completed a walk with Adler, our neighbor's dog. Sandra did not come with us because she's got a sore paw. But having only one dog to wrangle turned out to be lucky, as another neighbor's dog got free and went after Adler. This was quite a circus. She was getting out of her car while holding the leash, and when her dog saw Adler, he managed to pull her out of the car, yank her to the ground, and break loose in the blink of an eye. He started nipping at Adler's backside but since I had a free hand, I was able to grab his collar. This dog and I were not previously acquainted, but he was a good enough boy to know that people are off the menu. So he did turn and mouth at my hand, but left all my fingers intact. This was actually good news for him, because my Plan B for loose dog attacks is to grab them by the tail and do a hammer toss (don't think I'm exaggerating, I've done it before, and would do it again in a heartbeat). The woman whose dog got loose was mortified, but I'm told she's never been able to properly control her dog, so apparently I was the only one surprised by the incident. Anyway, there are lots of lessons here for dog owners: First, learn to control your dog. Second, have a plan if you experience such an attack. Third, if someone else is walking your dog, make sure they're well-versed in the first two lessons.

Dog-Eat-Dog Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Link


Thanks Max.




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