Archived News:

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2023

E3 2023 in Doubt: Rumors

Following news that Ubisoft is not officially attending this year's E3 in favor of an E3-adjacent showing, IGN reports Tencent and Sega will be E3 2023 noshows as well. Following its previous reporting that all three consoles are skipping the show, IGN says rumors are starting to swirl that the show is in trouble, and may not come off at all:
IGN reporters have spoken with numerous individuals in publishing and PR who typically have knowledge of event strategies, all of whom expressed concern about the status of this summer’s event. Many told us that they hadn’t heard of anyone else who was planning to attend for sure, and some said they felt there had been a significant lack of communication from the ESA and organizer ReedPop as to what exactly they should expect from the show. Several described the situation as one where everyone was waiting for someone else to be the first to jump, but no one was willing to take the leap – and time was running out.

As one knowledgeable source put it ahead of the Monday news of Ubisoft’s departure from the show, “There’s no possible way this show can happen.”

Neither ESA nor ReedPop responded to IGN's request for comment in time for publication.

Dolphin Emulator Coming to Steam

Dolphin Website announces the Dolphin emulator is coming to Steam, offering another base of operations for this Nintendo emulator. The Steam Listing is live, showing this will come to Early Access this quarter. The bold print up top offers the warning that's standard with most emulation: "This app does not come with games. You must own an original copy of any game you want to use with Dolphin." Here's more on the program and what is and isn't legal:
Welcome to the World of Modern Emulation
Dolphin Emulator is your one-way ticket to nostalgia if you're looking to relive classics from the big N's cube-shaped and motion controlled consoles. Return to an era of gaming before the advent of microtransactions and experience a diverse library of thousands of titles that were released for these consoles over a span of 15+ years. Dolphin Emulator allows these classic games to be reborn into the modern era with support for 4K displays, modern controllers, and much, much more. All of this, fully Open Source and free to download.

How Does It Work?
Dolphin Emulator creates a virtual environment on your device that is capable of running games originally developed for two of the Big N's revolutionary consoles. However, Dolphin itself does not provide any of the games. It is just a tool to run legally obtained copies of these games. Once you have dumped copies of your games into a compatible format, you can launch them directly in the emulator.

February's Top New Games on Steam

A post on Steam details the top new releases for February 2023 on Valve's online store. This breaks down the bestselling new premium games as well as the top performing free-to-play titles. The related blog post discusses the results, singling out the remarkable performance of Hogwarts Legacy:
Extraordinary Wizarding
2023 is just getting warmed up, but it’s safe to say that one of the top releases of the year has already cast its spell. The excited anticipation for Hogwarts Legacy was enormous, yet its February debut drew acclaim from players all while exceeding the hype. It wouldn’t be fair to simply call Hogwarts Legacy a Top Release of February, as it soared to well beyond 850,000 peak concurrent wizards shortly after launching. That peak is the largest for any new release over the past year, along with making Hogwarts Legacy the most-played Top Release of 2023 so far.

Take a Turn
With a significant portion of February’s Top Releases combining strategy with turn-based gameplay, it’s clear that players value the freedom to deploy unique tactics at their own pace. For a lot of players, this harkens back to classic board gaming and tabletop sessions, where planning and decision-making skills were honed. The good news with these Top Releases is that no one is going to yell at you for taking too long! From fine-tuning the perfect combat mech in Phantom Brigade, weaving together brilliant stories in OCTOPATH TRAVELER II, or leading a supernatural expedition in Limbus Company, it's exciting to see players immersed in the strategy of these turn-based Top Releases.

Terra Nil Released

Terra Nil is now available for Windows on* and Steam, offering a strategy game developer Free Lives and publisher Devolver Digital describe as zen and meditative. There's also a mobile version available through Netflix. In a fresh take on life after the apocalypse, this is a "reverse city builder" that looks at cleaning up some of mankind's mess: "Terra Nil is all about rebuilding natural ecosystems that humanity destroyed. Enter a variety of diverse biomes, revitalize them using a variety of tools and buildings and then get out, leaving the land as if you were never there." Here's a launch trailer and here's more:
A reverse city builder
Use advanced eco-technology to purify the soil, creating plains, wetlands, beaches, rainforests, wildflowers, and more—then efficiently recycle everything you've built, leaving the environment pristine for its new animal inhabitants.

Different maps every time
Procedurally generated landscapes mean no two playthroughs of Terra Nil will ever be the same. Plan your build around randomized, challenging, and unpredictable terrain, including snaking rivers, mountains, lowlands, and oceans.
*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item. Continue here to read the full story.

AMD's The Last of Us Part I Bundle

AMD announces an AMD Radeon RX Graphics Cards Game Bundle that gives a copy of The Last of Us Part I to purchasers of qualifying AMD graphics cards or prebuilt Radeon-powered PC. Here's word:
On March 28, gamers can dive into The Last of Us Part I, making its way to the PC for the first time. Today through April 15, 2023 AMD is offering a complimentary copy of the game (a $60 USD value) with a purchase of select Radeon RX 7000 or Radeon RX 6000 Series graphic cards – as well as with the purchase of eligible PCs equipped with select Radeon RX 6000 and RX 7000 Series graphics cards.

Saints Row 2023 Roadmap

A new Saints Row 2023 Roadmap lays out the immediate future for the recently released Saints Row reboot. This includes three expansions, free content, and several quality of life updates. The first releases on the schedule will be in May, and word is we should expect more details in the coming weeks. Here's an overview:
We’re super excited to be able to share an update on what we’ve been working on since you last heard from us. But first, a big THANK YOU to everyone for reaching out on our social channels, we really appreciate all your feedback since launch and we have tried to incorporate what we can into our future Quality of Life updates – which we’re incredibly excited for you to get your hands on!

As you know, we’ve been focusing on fixes and quality of life improvements ahead of releasing our new content. Our last update was a whopper worthy of FBs and we’re ready to deliver you an even bigger meal in our next big update in May. So, what have we been up to since then? Well, we’ve been working hard on brand new Saints Row content and we’re now ready to share what’s planned for the future. Let’s head into our DLC Roadmap.

Evening Metaverse

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: $189 “Smart” Lock Opened in Seconds (WaferLock C210) - Lock Picking Lawyer (video). Any bets? Thanks RedEye9.

PC The Last of Us Part I Released

The Naughty Dog Blog celebrates the release of The Last of Us Part I on PC, as the Windows edition of the acclaimed PlayStation action/adventure game is now available on the Epic Games Store and Steam. Word is: "We were determined to do this right by preserving an experience so many love while delivering it to a new platform. From a technical perspective, Naughty Dog’s engine used for Part I was optimized for PS5. Moving it to PC meant a large amount of tuning, tweaking, and even re-thinking, especially when it came to how we utilized the GPU. We made careful decisions on how to adapt the overall experience for the PC." Check out the Launch Trailer for a look, and read on for the description of the game:
Experience the emotional storytelling and unforgettable characters in The Last of Us™, winner of over 200 Game of the Year awards.

In a ravaged civilization, where infected and hardened survivors run rampant, Joel, a weary protagonist, is hired to smuggle 14-year-old Ellie out of a military quarantine zone. However, what starts as a small job soon transforms into a brutal cross-country journey.

Includes the complete The Last of Us single-player story and celebrated prequel chapter, Left Behind, which explores the events that changed the lives of Ellie and her best friend Riley forever.
Continue here to read the full story.

Steam Dropping Windows 7/8 Next Year

Valve announces that at the start of next year, Steam will discontinue support for Windows 7 and Windows 8:
As of January 1 2024, Steam will officially stop supporting the Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems. After that date, the Steam Client will no longer run on those versions of Windows. In order to continue running Steam and any games or other products purchased through Steam, users will need to update to a more recent version of Windows.

The newest features in Steam rely on an embedded version of Google Chrome, which no longer functions on older versions of Windows. In addition, future versions of Steam will require Windows feature and security updates only present in Windows 10 and above.

Get Alwa's Awakening for Free

The Spring Sale on GOG.COM* continues to roll along as it heads into its final week. Today it offers another freebie to go along with the thousands of games on sale. All new or current subscribers to the GOG newsletter can now redeem a free copy of Alwa's Awakening for Windows, macOS, and Linux. You have two days to lay your claim and it's yours to keep. Here's word on this metroidvania platformer that fully embraces the 8-bit era:
In Alwa's Awakening you play as Zoe, a heroine sent from another world to bring peace to the land of Alwa. Equipped only with a magic staff she awakens in a distant land and must set out to help the people. Traverse dangerous dungeons, meet interesting and fun characters and explore the world in this 8-bit adventure game. Just like the old classics you won't have a flashing arrow telling you exactly where to go and what to do next. Instead you are free to find your own way and by using your magic staff you can progress through the over 400 unique challenging rooms in the game.
*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item

Europa Universalis IV: Domination Next Month

Paradox Interactive announces April 18th is the release date for Domination, the next expansion for Europa Universalis IV, the grand strategy sequel. This is now available for preorder for those afraid shortages will lead to rationing. Here's a Pre-order Trailer with the sales pitch on that. Put on your gimp outfit and read on for more domination:
They say that no plan survives first contact with the enemy, but you’re different. You have the foresight to lay out a centuries long scheme to humble your enemies and write your own legend. The greatest empires in history are yours to command in Europa Universalis IV: Domination, a new expansion coming April 18, 2023.

In this add-on to Paradox Interactive’s flagship historical grand strategy game, you will experience new historical flavor and decisions for many of EU4’s most popular and powerful nations. New mission trees, historical government reforms, estate challenges and units add greater variety and, sometimes, tough choices as you must pick a path in a branching mission, entirely closing off some possible rewards.
Continue here to read the full story.

Agony: Lords of Hell Kickstarter

Madmind Studio has kicked off a Kickstarter for Agony: Lords of Hell, a real-time strategy game set in the world of sexy survival/horror game Agony. Rather than sort through the various gnostic visions of the hereafter, the plan is to create four different hells, each following a different dogma. Here's a Gameplay Trailer (NSFW) complete with blurry boobs. Having managed to navigate the tricky waters of games depicting the afterlife and nudity, the team is ready to take the culture wars to the next level. Here is an actual line from this project's actual press release: "Christianity vs Hinduism? FIGHT!" The hope is to crowdfund a very precise $72,101.00 in a campaign that will run for a month. The game has a Steam Listing, and in a reverse of the traditional demo concept, access to an exclusive demo will come after you pledge. The interesting pitch here is that the project's goal is actually impossible:
In Agony: Lords of Hell, our ambition is to do the impossible – to create not one but four otherworlds that describe the world's largest, most popular religions.

Completely different visions of Hell, found in the holy books of individual religions, will require the preparation of many assets, unique mechanics for each fraction, dozens of new characters and beautiful scenery. So, to achieve our vision, we would appreciate your support.
Thanks to the Kickstarter campaign, we will not only be able to fulfil our ambitious plans but also enable players to decide how big and extensive the Agony Lords of Hell project will be.
The game is powered by Unreal Engine 5, supporting all the latest technologies, including the destruction of the environment based on the "Chaos" technology, a dynamic day and night system, the Niagara system and many more.
Continue here to read the full story.

Sifu Gets Arenas Mode and Steam Release

Arenas Mode is now available in Sifu, offering a fourth expansion for SloClap's kung fu action game. This is available on the Epic Games Store and PlayStation, and also marks the game's promised debut on Steam and Xbox. The Launch Trailer is here to kick ass and take names, and this description fills in some details:
You and I have unfinished business: As new Sifus join the fray today, developer Sloclap has also launched a full, free game expansion - Arenas Mode - available to new and existing players on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store. The Arenas Expansion will push the most experienced Kung-Fu masters to their limits in 45 merciless challenges spread over nine dynamic locations, completely separate from the main story mode. Adding over 10 extra hours of gameplay to the already demanding title, even the most accomplished of martial artists will be put to the test as they face a whole new type of challenge across five new modes.
Continue here to read the full story.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Free DLC

A Treacherous Adventure is now available on Steam, offering new free DLC for Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Fatshark's melee action game. This introduces the Tower of Treachery, a follow-up to Trail of Treachery. Word is "the Ubersreik 5 face off with the necromancer, Sofia Fuegonasus, to stop her reign of terror." This previous update explains, and includes an Official Trailer with a look at all this in action. Here's the explanation:
We're delighed to announce that the second part of A Treacherous Adventure - Tower of Treachery - is coming to Steam on March 28th!

This FREE update sees the Ubersreik Five re-tread familiar ground with reignited purpose. Sofia Fuegonasus has taken over Olesya's old hideout, and is attempting to spread her corruption throughout the Grey Mountains, Bretonnia and the Reikland. It's up to you to put a stop to her deathly plans...

Navigate both Olesya's and Sofia's traps and illusions. Will you make it to the top of the tower?
Continue here to read the full story.

DROP - System Breach Drops

DROP - System Breach is now available on Steam, offering a hacking simulation with some action to go along with all the strategy. Developer Etherfield Studio and publisher MicroProse provide this trailer to celebrate the release with a look at gameplay. Here's a knowledge drop:
Face an unfolding story campaign with unique missions
You are a promising hacker with huge ambitions, an empty bank account, and the burning desire to prove yourself. When your actions attract the attention of a notorious hacker group, The Swarm, life gets complicated - real quick.
Your world turns upside-down when simple jobs hurl you into a power struggle between The Swarm, different factions, and megacorporations that could decide the fate of the world’s fragmented networks.

Explore the procedurally generated world of the side quests of the DROP system
To survive the world of DROP you will need respect, notoriety, and cold, hard cash to improve your gear. Face a wide variety of missions but remember: the higher the risk the higher the pay.
Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding

Out of the Blue

To follow up on my complaining, I did finally get in to play the Diablo IV beta. This played really well, and gameplay was fluid and fun, which is to be expected. I ended up putting in a lot of time on Diablo III, and I'm sure it will be the same with Diablo IV. It's weird, because in this series there have always been times when the machinations of the skinner box seem way too visible. But that's so baked into Diablo at this point it is expected. Now I just need to stop clicking everywhere I want to go! It's a habit from the first Diablo that I've never fully shaken. It's hard for me to hold down the mouse button to follow the cursor, but for the sake of my hands and wrists I'm going to try and break this habit once and for all.

Clicky Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.




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