Archived News:

Thursday, Mar 23, 2023

Far Cry 5 Free Weekend Underway

The promised free trial weekend is now underway in Far Cry 5 on all platforms, celebrating the fifth anniversary of the first-person shooter. Windows gamers can head on over to the Epic Games Store and get in on the action. If you end up deciding to buy this, all progression from the weekend will carry over. Here's a refresher on the game:
Welcome to Hope County, Montana, the land of the free and brave, but also the home to a fanatical doomsday cult known as Eden’s Gate. Stand up to cult leader Joseph Seed and his siblings, the Heralds, to spark the fires of resistance and liberate the besieged community.

Free Hope County in solo or two-player co-op. Recruit Guns and Fangs for hire to help defeat the cult.

Build your character and choose your adventure in the largest customizable Far Cry game ever!

Take control of iconic muscle cars, ATVs, planes, and a lot more to engage the cult forces in epic fights.

Men of War II Playtest

Best Way and Fulqrum Publishing have launched a playtest for Men of War II, the upcoming sequel to the World War II real-time strategy game. Its launch is due later this year, but right now its Steam Listing includes a "Request Access" button that will get you in on the action, err, strategy in a test that will continue into Monday. The Multiplayer Tech Test Trailer has look at what to expect, and here's a description:
Announced during the Future Games Show: Spring Showcase, the multiplayer tech test is the first time Men of War II has been publicly playable. The test features four multiplayer modes (of seven that will feature in the full game) and five varied maps, in addition to a set of nine single player tutorial missions that will take players from the basics through to advanced gameplay mechanics and systems.

Players will be able to choose from the 1st Infantry, 1st Tank or 1st Artillery battalion from the Soviet, German and U.S. armies, allowing them to try out over 80 units from the full game’s total roster of over 300. Each battalion features its own gameplay style and unique strategic opportunities resulting in a deeply rewarding experience that is easy to pick up, but difficult to master. Furthermore, the full game will feature individual battalion customisation and additional unit unlocks via in-game progression, expanding the level of control players have on the battlefield.
Continue here to read the full story.

Boundary Early Access Next Month

Studio Surgical Scalpels and Skystone Games announce Boundary will enter Early Access on April 13th on Steam, offering a multiplayer shooter set in space, where no one can hear you complain about lag. This is a long-time coming, as at one point this was supposed to arrive in 2020. There's no new video for this, but there is a new graphic showing three different Early Access versions to reflect your degree of support. These will range from USD$24.99 to $44.99, and more details are promised soon. Here's word:
Announced just now during the PAX East Digitial Showcase, Boundary revealed the prices of its 3 tiers of game packages for Early Access on April 13th.

“We’re thrilled to announce to our fans who have been waiting so long, that Boundary is finally ready to be played by you all this April,” said Frank Mingbo Li, Director of Studio at Surgical Scalpels. “We cannot wait for everyone to see just what we’ve been working on these last few years.”

With nearly 500,000 wishlists on Steam, Boundary is a next-generation high-quality competitive FPS that takes place in zero-gravity in the vacuum of space. In Boundary, players team up to take down opposing forces in captivating wide-open outer space arenas. Powered by an EMU suit, players navigate a harsh space atmosphere in orbiting installations where the goal is to engage enemy combatants in a 3-dimensional battlefield. Threats come from all angles and Boundary makes astronautical combat more akin to dogfighting where the angle of attack and position can make the difference between life and death.

Sonic Origins Plus Announced

SEGA announces Sonic Origins Plus, confirming recent rumors that an extended edition of the Sonic anthology is on the way. This will arrive on PC and consoles on June 23rd as a standalone release and as an expansion for those who already own the Sonic Origins collection:
Sonic fans, get ready to experience the definitive way to play classic Sonic the Hedgehog titles in one timeless collection! Developed by SEGA®, Sonic Origins Plus builds off the momentum of Sonic Origins™, the 2022 classic Sonic multi-game collection digitally remastered for current generation platforms, by adding all 12 Sonic Game Gear titles, playable classic Amy in Sonic the Hedgehog 1, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles™, and Sonic CD™, as well as playable Knuckles in Sonic CD.

Sonic Origins Plus is set to release digitally and physically on Sonic’s birthday, June 23, 2023, for $39.99 USD for the entire game on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch™ family of systems and PC. Additionally, players who own Sonic Origins can purchase the Sonic Origins Plus Expansion Pack for $9.99 USD.

SLUDGE LIFE 2 Announced; Get SLUDGE LIFE for Free

Terri Vellmann & Doseone and publisher Devolver Digital announce SLUDGE LIFE 2, saying the first-person vandalism sequel will deface PCs later this year. You can follow the project on the SLUDGE LIFE 2 Website which looks like it was built with the very latest version of sludgeOS. For more there's a first trailer, which is safe for work, despite being filthy. To celebrate, the original SLUDGE LIFE is free to keep on Steam if you claim it within the next week. Here's the dirt:
Professional mischief-makers Terri Vellmann & Doseone and unprofessional publisher Devolver Digital have revealed SLUDGE LIFE 2 - the grimiest first-person vandalism sim since the first SLUDGE LIFE - will deface PC storefronts with rude words later this year. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the original game will be free to download on Steam through March 30.

Big Mud is missing - everyone's favorite rapping frog has vanished, and his closest homie Ghost (that's you) is on a mission to find him. Explore a bigger, weirder, gnarlier open world loaded with secrets, weirdos, jokes and, of course, plenty of spots to tag once as you search for the misplaced musician.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum in May

Daedalic Entertainment and NACON announce May 25th is the release date for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, a new Middle-earth adventure for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. A new Story Trailer celebrates the news, warning this "does not represent final quality" of the game despite how close we are to launch. There's also a brand-new Gameplay Showcase Video on Twitch where the developers showcase a bunch of gameplay. Here's word on how this will apparently allow you to alter the entire trajectory of the Fellowship of the Ring:
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a story-driven action adventure. Embark on a perilous journey as Gollum, chasing the only thing that is precious to you. Climb, leap, and sneak your way past dangers or into advantageous spots. Gollum is skillful and sly, and torn by a split personality. It is up to you to decide whether to yield to the darker side of Gollum or trust the kinder gentler hint of Sméagol.
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

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Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Is He The World's Best Speedcuber? One can only hope. I feel like there's a set of outtakes where the cubes melted from friction. Thanks Ant.

Obituary: Wild 94.9 Radio Host ‘JV’ Found Dead.

Get Chess Ultra and World of Warships Starter Pack for Free

Happy Thursday! As usual, Friday Eve includes the opportunity to get your snag on with the Epic Games Store. This week's two giveaways are now available, which are Chess Ultra and World of Warships — Starter Pack: Ishizuchi. Each can be a permanent addition to your library as long as you stake your claim before the cycle refreshes next Thursday at 11:00 am EDT. At that point the store will give away a whole bunch of Tunche. Here are quick blurbs on today's freebies:
Introducing Chess Ultra; the most breathtaking chess game ever made. Experience stunning 4K visuals, seamless online multiplayer, Grandmaster approved AI and full VR compatibility.

Have you just started out on your way in World of Warships? Dip your toes in the water with a Premium battleship and a set of sweet bonuses.

New AMD Drivers

AMD Drivers and Support now offers new version 23.3.2 WHQL-certified Windows drivers for AMD Radeon graphics cards. These add support for the Resident Evil 4 Remake, The Last of Us Part 1, and some additional Vulkan extensions. Word is they also fix a few bugs:

  • Support for:
    • Resident Evil™ 4 Remake
    • The Last of Us™ Part 1
    • Additional Vulkan® extensions. Click here for more information.
  • Fixed Issues
    • Application crash may be observed while playing UNCHARTED™: Legacy of Thieves Collection on some AMD Graphics Products, such as the Radeon™ RX 6700 XT.
    • Application crash may be observed while playing Genshin Impact™ on some AMD Graphics Products, such as the Radeon™ RX 6750 XT.
    • Corruption may be observed while playing It Takes Two™ on Radeon™ RX 7000 series GPUs.
    • Connection failure or black screen may be observed using Parsec client with AMD decoder setting.
    • The Performance Tuning Stress Test may intermittently lower GPU usage before test completion.
    • The Performance Metrics Overlay may intermittently resize across the display on some AMD Graphics Products such as the Radeon™ RX 6600M.
    • The Performance Metrics Overlay may have some missing units when enabled, or situationally become truncated after changing display scaling settings.

Atari Acquiring Nightdive

Atari enters into an agreement to acquire Night Dive, announcing it will be the new owner of the studio that's actually named (one word) Nightdive Studios (thanks Frans). Nightdive has famously created updated versions of classic games, and is currently putting the finishing touches on a highly anticipated remake of System Shock that's expected in May. The deal is expected to be completed next month. Here's word on the terms: "The purchase price of Night Dive will consist of (i) an initial consideration of US$10 million payable half in cash and half in Atari shares at the closing of the acquisition (see below) plus (ii) an earn-out of up to US$10 million, payable in cash over the next three years based on the future performance of Night Dive." Here's more:
Led by industry veterans Stephen Kick and Larry Kuperman, Night Dive is a full service development and publishing company with expertise in restoring, optimizing, and publishing classic video games. Night Dive has published over 100 titles and has garnered critical acclaim for their releases of seminal industry and fan-favorite titles including System Shock, Doom 64, and Quake.

Night Dive’s most recent project is a remastered version of classic FPS game System Shock, which is one of the most-anticipated retro releases of 2023. System Shock is now available for pre-order on Steam, GOG and Epic Games.

A key to the success of Night Dive is their proprietary KEX engine that makes classic games playable on modern hardware and gives the studio the ability to enhance and improve upon the original to meet the expectations of contemporary players. The studio’s reputation and deep industry knowledge have made them a go-to partner for some of the largest names in gaming and media and allowed them to develop a diversified portfolio of titles.

New NVIDIA Drivers

NVIDIA announces the release of new version 531.41 WHQL-certified Windows drivers. These are game ready for the Diablo IV open beta, which gets underway tomorrow. They also support the Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode coming next month to Cyberpunk 2077 as a "sneak peek into the future of full ray tracing." Word is the Diablo IV open beta will feature DLSS 2, but the full launch will also support DLSS 3:
The latest Game Ready Driver also includes Game Ready optimizations for the technology preview of Cyberpunk 2077’s Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode, and includes support for Deceive Inc.’s DLSS 2-enhanced release, Forza Horizon 5 ’s DLSS 3 update, The Last of Us Part I’s launch with DLSS 2, Smalland: Survive the Wilds DLSS 2-enhanced Early Access release, and Resident Evil 4.

When the Diablo IV open beta goes live, GeForce Gamers will get a DLSS 2 performance upgrade. And when Diablo IV launches June 6th, GeForce RTX 40 Series gamers can activate DLSS 3 for even faster performance in the highly anticipated title.

Game Ready for the Technology Preview of Cyberpunk 2077’s Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode
This is the driver to use for the best experience in the technology preview of Cyberpunk 2077’s Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode that enhances the game’s already-incredible visuals with full ray tracing, otherwise known as path tracing.
Continue here to read the full story.

LEGO 2K Drive Announced

2K and the LEGO Group officially announce LEGO 2K Drive, following the news of the upcoming racing game dribbling out. Word is the game will roll out on May 19th, representing the first AAA release in a multi-title partnership between 2K and the LEGO Group. Here is the modestly named Awesome Reveal Trailer and here are some details and only one forced brick reference:
Welcome to Bricklandia, home of a massive open-world LEGO® driving adventure. Race anywhere, play with anyone, build your dream rides, and defeat a cast of wacky racing rivals for the coveted Sky Trophy!

In LEGO 2K Drive, your awesome transforming vehicles give you the freedom to speed seamlessly across riveting racetracks, off-road terrain, and open waters. Get behind the wheel and gear up for tons of open-world exploration and thrilling races! Take on the exciting Story mode, jump into a single race or Cup Series tournaments, and let loose in off-the-wall minigames. Master the arts of drifting, boosting, and using power-ups to claim victory!
Continue here to read the full story.

Elden Ring is GDC Awards GotY

Elden Ring took Game of the Year honors at last night's annual Game Developer's Choice awards. The ceremony also included a Lifetime Achievement Award for John Romero and a Pioneer Award for Mabel Addis: "This year, the GDCA was honored to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to John Romero, who helped pioneer the first-person shooter genre, the widely popular multiplayer gamemode “Deathmatch” and much more through his work on games such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake. This year’s Pioneer Award was posthumously awarded to Mabel Addis, widely regarded as the first female video game designer, who designed The Sumerian Game for the IBM 7090 in 1964. Mabel’s award was accepted on her behalf by Mabel’s grandson, Erik Johnson." Here are all the honorees:
The 23rd Annual Game Developers Choice Awards winners are:

  • Best Debut
    Stray (BlueTwelve Studio/Annapurna Interactive)
  • Best Visual Art
    Elden Ring (FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment)
  • Best Audio
    God of War Ragnarök (Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Best Narrative
    Pentiment (Obsidian Entertainment/Xbox Game Studios)
  • Social Impact Award
    Citizen Sleeper (Jump Over The Age/Fellow Traveller)
  • Innovation Award
    IMMORTALITY (Half Mermaid Productions)
  • Best Technology
    God of War Ragnarök (Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Best Design
    Elden Ring (FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment)
  • Audience Award
    God of War Ragnarök (Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Game of the Year
    Elden Ring (FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment)
  • Pioneer Award
    Mabel Addis
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
    John Romero

Omen of Sorrow Released

Omen of Sorrow is now available for Windows, PlayStation 5, and Switch, offering a monster fighting game from AOne Games and Eastasiasoft that debuted on Xbox. The PC edition is on Steam, where it carries a 15% launch discount for the next week. This is a traditional fighting game, but the combatants are all monsters of horror, literature, and mythology. You can see this public domain slugfest in action in this previously released trailer. Here's a harbinger of what this omen brings:
Horror-themed fighting game Omen of Sorrow is now available for Nintendo Switch, PS5 and Steam! Xbox versions will also receive the same content as a free update, including revamped story mode and cross-platform online play.

Omen of Sorrow is a traditional 4-button fighting game featuring monsters of classic horror and literature, powered by Unreal Engine 4 and presented in 2.5D cinematic style. The previously downloadable fan-favorite bloody countess Erzsébet joins the main roster, alongside a massive blood dragon at her command.
Continue here to read the full story.

World War 3 Operation Sunstorm Next Week

Publisher Wishlist Games and Developer The Farm 51 announce Operation Sunstorm, a new update coming on March 30th for World War 3, the free-to-play first-person shooter. This will kick off season 2 with new content based in Japan, including a new game mode called FUBAR. Here's the Announcement Trailer and a briefing:
Operation Sunstorm will have players battling it out in the heart of Japan as they expertly navigate the open shopping strips, narrow alleyways, and side streets of Tokyo’s urban landscape to gain tactical advantages and achieve victory. This new installment adds to World War 3’s ever-expanding warfront where players face-off in team-based skirmishes by fighting on the ground, driving tanks and vehicles, utilizing drones to survey the battlefield, and calling in tactical strikes for maximum damage. Up to 40 players can battle in two core game modes, Tactical Ops and Deathmatch, with matches fought on a range of stunning, realistic maps.

Introducing a new take on Tactical Ops that focuses on infantry battles, with limited vehicles available. Take arms and fight to seize or defend six bleeding capture points in heart-pounding 20 v 20 skirmishes . This new mode is now a permanent addition to World War 3 and features infantry trucks and the new revive mechanic , so players can keep their teammates in the fight if they’re down but not yet out.
Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding

  • SELINI by Cymban — Kickstarter. "SELINI is a nonlinear exploration platformer touching on the relationship between human and artificial intelligence in a non-verbal fashion. The game is about dark and corrupted replicants, alternated gravity, an old spaceship, a deserted fishing boat, replicas of worlds into other worlds, secret tribes and many more... Players need to get control of the last replicant and figure out what has happened."

Out of the Blue

Happy March 23, 2023, a delightfully palindromic number in U.S. format, where it is written 3/23/23. And although this M/D/Y format is uncommon in the rest of the world, we're in luck. The European Y/M/D notation for today is 23/3/23, which is also a palindrome. At least if you count the slashes, which we're allowed to do, since we're making up the rules here. There's a third way to skin this cat, as the British English way to express today's date is also 23/3/23. This reads the same as the European style, even though it uses its own D/M/Y date format. If it's too late to arrange any big parties for the occasion, there's plenty of advance warning to prepare for next year's April 24th festivities.

Palindromic Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Link


Thanks Max.



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