Archived News:

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

EA Cutting Hundreds of Jobs; Sunsetting Games

An announcement from Electronic Arts shows the painful times for game developers are just getting worse by revealing that the company is firing approximately five percent of its workforce, estimated to be about 670 individuals. The message from CEO Andrew Wilson also says EA is sunsetting unspecified games and "moving away from development of future licensed IP that we do not believe will be successful in our changing industry." Here's word on the job cuts:
In this time of change, we expect these decisions to impact approximately 5 percent of our workforce. I understand this will create uncertainty and be challenging for many who have worked with such dedication and passion and have made important contributions to our company. While not every team will be impacted, this is the hardest part of these changes, and we have deeply considered every option to try and limit impacts to our teams. Our primary goal is to provide team members with opportunities to find new roles and paths to transition onto other projects. Where that’s not possible, we will support and work with each colleague with the utmost attention, care, and respect. Communicating these impacts has already begun and will be largely completed by early next quarter.

Respawn's Star Wars FPS Cancelled

A follow-up post from Electronic Arts announces the cancellation of Respawn's planned Star Wars first-person shooter, which fits with its stated plan of reconsidering licensed IP. This also discusses mobile plans, and how the previously reported departure of Marcus Lehto will affect the Battlefield series. Here's word on the cancelled Star Wars shooter:
Respawn's unique ability to connect with players and create exceptional game experiences is unrivaled in entertainment. As we've looked at Respawn's portfolio over the last few months, what's clear is the games our players are most excited about are Jedi and Respawn's rich library of owned brands. Knowing this, we have decided to pivot away from early development on a Star Wars FPS Action game to focus our efforts on new projects based on our owned brands while providing support for existing games. It's always hard to walk away from a project, and this decision is not a reflection of the team’s talent, tenacity, or passion they have for the game. Giving fans the next installments of the iconic franchises they want is the definition of blockbuster storytelling and the right place to focus.

Remedy Controls Control

Remedy announces a deal with 505 Games to remedy its IP problems by putting it in complete control of the Control franchise. All rights to Control and Control 2 now revert to Remedy except the remainder of the original Control publishing agreement, which runs through this year. Here's how payment will work: "The maximum purchase price for the transaction is approximately EUR 17 million, which equals the amount that 505 Games has paid for the development of codename Condor and Control 2 to date including a minor premium. Remedy is entitled to set off certain receivables from the purchase price and, therefore, the cash flow effect from the transaction will be clearly less than the purchase price. Remedy will pay the net purchase price in three cash instalments during the next twelve months." Here are the other terms:

  • Termination of Agreements: Publishing agreements for Control, codename Condor, and Control 2 are immediately terminated by mutual agreement.
  • Reversion of Rights: For Control 2 and codename Condor, all publishing, distribution, marketing, and other rights licensed to 505 Games revert to Remedy with immediate effect. 505 Games will continue as the publisher of Control through a transition period ending December 31, 2024, under the terms of the original Control publishing agreement. In addition, 505 Games continues to administrate existing B2B deals for Control until their agreed expiration dates. After the transition period and the expiry of these B2B deals, 505 Games will have no future royalty or other rights to Control.

Gord: The Alliance Released

The Alliance is now available on Steam as new DLC for Gord, the Windows single-player strategy game from Covenant.dev and Team17. The content this adds includes a new campaign, new monsters, new NPCs, and more. The cinematic Launch Trailer is here with a look at the story this introduces. There's also a new patch updating the base game to version 1.5, and this post has details on that. Here's the deal:
Covenant.dev and Team17 Digital have today launched ‘The Alliance’ DLC for dark fantasy strategy game Gord on PC. Available for $11.99/€11.99/£9.99, ‘The Alliance’ brings a wealth of new content to Gord’s unforgiving primordial world, including a new campaign, three new monsters, three new Horrors, new NPCs, three new humanoid enemies, two new biomes, a multi-stage final battle, and the ability to tame certain beasts and monsters.

Created by a team that includes former Frostpunk and The Witcher 3 developers, Gord is a single-player dark fantasy strategy game where, to survive, you must build, but to prevail, you must conquer the darkness beyond the gates. Complete life-threatening quests in a dark fantasy world while managing a populace whose personal stories and well-being can decide the fate of your tribe.
Continue here to read the full story.

Timemelters Released

Where does the time melt? Timemelters is now out of Early Access, and version 1.0 of this time-traveling hero defense game is available for Windows on Steam. Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 editions are also in the works, and expected later this year. Here's the Launch Trailer with a look, and you can also experience gameplay first hand through the playable demo. Here are some details:
Grand Winner at the Ubisoft Indie Contest 2022, Gold Winner of Best Indie Game at NYX 2023, and winner of the Technological Innovation Award at MIGS 2023, TimeMelters features a unique time-shifting mechanic that allows players to rewind the clock and fight alongside their past selves to prevent doomsday after it’s happened. Scheme strategies and explore co-op game mechanics like aggro or support while playing solo. Better yet, enlist the help of a real-life buddy for free with the Friend Pass - only one copy of the game is required!

Rewind, fast forward, and pause version 1.0’s new revamped missions with spellbinding abilities on your own or as a duo. Experience real-time action-strategy gameplay across distinct single-player and co-op campaigns that twist time in never-before-seen ways. Solve puzzles, defeat bosses, and defend massive territories to gradually enhance your magic with the skill tree. Think fast with 40 mind-bending challenges and top the leaderboards in TimeMelters’ speedrun mode. The past, present, and future are in flux. Harness the hourglass before time slips away.
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Multiplex

Content creator videos.

Into the Black

Apologies for the outage this afternoon. The site was unavailable for over two hours today with some sort of connectivity error. Our server host straightened things out pretty quickly, so thank you to them. On a related note, I got another of those high-wind warnings from the electric company today, saying it was possible we'll lose power if things get bad enough. Hopefully mentioning this is good juju and nothing will come of this.

Last Link of the Day: Apple is turning William Gibson’s Neuromancer into a TV series. Thanks Neutronbeam.

Obituary: Richard Lewis Dies: Beloved Comic, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Actor Was 76.
Obituary: WWE Legend Virgil Dead At 61- 'An Incredible Athlete.'.

STAR WARS: Dark Forces Remaster Released

If you feel a slight disturbance in the Force, it's because the STAR WARS: Dark Forces Remaster is now available for Windows on GOG.com* and Steam, offering an updated version of this Star Wars first-person shooter originally released in 1995. Neither store features a launch discount, but GOG.com is giving customers who buy this in the first week a free copy of the original STAR WARS: Dark Forces (Classic, 1995). And for those who already own the original there, GOG is providing a 10% loyalty discount. Here's the Launch Trailer showing off the work Nightdive Studios put in to bring this classic into the modern era. Here's more:
Star Wars™: Dark Forces Remaster has been brought to life by the team at Nightdive Studios, fully remastered through its proprietary KEX engine, allowing the game to run on modern gaming devices at up to 4K resolution at 120FPS. New and returning players will enjoy Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster’s upgraded gameplay, high-resolution textures, enhanced lighting and rendering, and support for gamepads.

The original 1995 Star Wars: Dark Forces raised the bar for FPS games, offering players a significant degree of movement and interactivity, a large selection of items and power-ups, and engaging environments.
*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item. Continue here to read the full story.

Stellaris: Expansion Subscription Launches

A Stellaris: Expansion Subscription is now available on Steam, offering Stellaris players the chance to play the vast library of DLC for the sci-fi game through a monthly subscription (thanks DrkCntry). You must own the base game, and subscribing gives you access to over $300 in DLC for $9.99 per month, $19.99 for three months, or $29.99 for six months. Paradox is known for its floods of DLCs, and this follows similar plans already available for Crusader Kings 2, Europa Universalis IV, and Hearts of Iron IV. Here's word:
Over the years, as more content has been added to Stellaris, we have been hearing an ever-increasing number of requests for a subscription option as an alternative to purchasing them individually.

We’re happy to announce that we are adding a subscription option to Stellaris, allowing players to access all released DLCs for Stellaris at a fixed monthly fee. Future DLC releases will be available to subscribers on day 1.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake Released

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake for Windows is now on the Epic Games Store, GOG.com,* and Steam, offering a reworked version of this co-op adventure from back in 2013. This includes updated graphics, a rerecorded orchestral soundtrack, and the ability to play with a mouse and keyboard, as the remake does not carry a warning that a controller is required like the original did. Here's word from NVIDIA on the game's support for DLSS 2. Check out the Launch Trailer and read on for more:
Hailed by critics when it was originally released, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is back! Faithful to the gameplay and touching story from 2013, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake features rebuilt characters and landscapes based on the original and has been updated to the latest generation of graphics, performance, and gameplay. Paired with a re-recorded soundtrack with a live orchestra, prepare for an emotional experience that will take your adventure to all new heights.
*Blue's News may receive a commission on sales of this item. Continue here to read the full story.

Epic Investigating Breach Claims

Epic tells Eurogamer there's "currently zero evidence" its network has been breached, as it investigates an alleged hack by a ransomware gang. The Mogilevich gang claims to have 189 gigabytes of Epic data, including "email, passwords, full name, payment information, source code" now available for sale. Here's what Epic has to say about the situation:
"We are investigating but there is currently zero evidence that these claims are legitimate," an Epic Games spokesperson told Eurogamer this morning.

"[Ransomware group] Mogilievich has not contacted Epic or provided any proof of the veracity of these allegations. When we saw these allegations, which were a screenshot of a darkweb webpage in a Tweet from a third party, we began investigating within minutes and reached out to Mogilevich for proof. Mogilevich has not responded. The closest thing we have seen to a response is this Tweet, where they allegedly ask for $15k and 'proof of funds' to hand over the purported data."

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants in April

GameMill Entertainment announces Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants is coming to PC and consoles on April (naturally) 23rd. Despite the title, word is the turtles "are breaking out of the arcade" with the news, since this is an expanded version of a 2017 arcade cabinet game based on the 2012 TV series. Unless it's inspired by Turtles in Time, since the announcement says that too. The Official Announce Trailer shows off gameplay, and the announcement has further details:
Cowabunga! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are breaking out of the arcade with today’s announcement of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants, an expanded version of the 2017 Raw Thrills arcade classic. Play as the Turtles solo or in action-packed local co-op for up to four players when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants releases April 23, 2024, on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam.

Join Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo from the 2012 Nickelodeon series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in this exciting arcade-beat-em-up inspired by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. Battle your way across Coney Island, Dimension X and more on a mission to defeat the Foot Clan and your arch-nemesis Shredder!
Continue here to read the full story.

Blood On The Thames Announced

Team Firestorm announces Blood On The Thames, a narrative murder mystery game that will be its debut title when it launches this summer. This is set in Victorian England during the reign of terror of Jack the Ripper, a time when blood on the Thames would likely be invisible amid the everyday filth. The game's home is now live on Steam and it will arrive on the Epic Games Store as well. Here's a first trailer and more:
Intrigue. Deception. Unspoken secrets. Inconceivable truths. Players will immerse themselves in intricate and historical Victorian London streets, from the most lavish of lounge rooms to oppressive and shadowy industrial plants. Detective vision will help her Mini spot the most important details in the room, but it is down to the player to piece together how these strands might weave their way to the answers, no matter how horrifying.

However, it’s not enough to simply use Mini’s sharp senses to strike upon pivotal evidence for the case. Players will need to use all their cunning when interrogating suspects, using the right facts to exploit contradictions and further their investigations. The journey will take Minifrom the perceived sanctuary of the Ernests’ home to the police station, the banks of the Thames, the catacombs of the city, and perhaps somewhere not quite of this world.
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

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Morning Metaverse

etc.

Out of the Blue

So thanks for the help with my pdf printing issue yesterday. I'm usually pretty brave about admitting my stupidity, but I have to confess I was tempted to not revisit this out of embarrassment. There's not that much to what happened. A few of you commented that you were mystified that the settings in Acrobat couldn't handle what I was asking. This led to my lightbulb moment: People actually still use Adobe Acrobat! Printing from various browsers and other reader software was failing me, and I never once considered going to the source. I swore off it years ago when it was at the low-point of its security woes, and while it seems to remain a vulnerability, there's no denying it's the right tool for the job. Sure enough, branding my machine with the scarlet letter allowed me to print my label as easily as, well, printing a label. Acrobat also tried to install an intrusive browser plugin without permission, so yeah, Adobe still has feet of clay when it comes to security.

Marginally Improved Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Links

Stories

Science
Thanks Max.

Media

Auction

Follow-up

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