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Emotional Support Catgirl Prototype Playable At GDC 2018

Posted on March 19, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

San Francisco, California —  Broken Joysticks Media, a Canadian technology and interactive entertainment focused blog platform announces the release of Emotional Support Catgirl (prototype version) on the Itch.io platform. Developed during the 52 hour Train Jam game development event leading up to GDC, Emotional Support Catgirl tells the narrative of a trans woman living in the Midwestern United States who finds comfort and support through the BBS systems of the 1990s.

Emotional Support Catgirl invites players to experience the journey of Nichole as she connects with an entire cast of other queer transwomen through a private bulletin board system between the years of 1999 and 2000. Emotional Support Catgirl’s adaptation of the Unity Engine provides players with a functional command-line and era specific commands used on bulletin board systems of the era. This is a game forged from the personal experience of its developers.

Train Jam is a gathering of game developers from a number of disciplines to develop experimental and interesting titles on the cross-America journey from Chicago, IL to SF,CA during the week leading up to the Games Developer Conference.  This year’s theme was given as “Odyssey” which resulted in 84 unique entries being submitted. More information on Train Jam can be found on their website – http://www. trainjam.com/ All 84 unique games submitted to the Jam can be viewed here – https://itch.io/jam/train-jam-2018/entries.

Key Features of Emotional Support Catgirl:

  • Replica of a 1990s / early 2000s Bulletin Board System.
  • Several different threads, replies and time-states available to players to experience the narrative.
  • Command-line driven gameplay.
  • Lots of green and black for the true throwback experience.
  • Queer as hell narrative.

A downloadable prototype of Emotional Support Catgirl can be downloaded for free at https://itch.io/jam/train-jam-2018/rate/235983. Emotional Support Catgirl will be playable on the GDC Showfloor along with all other 84 entries at booth N4918 during the Games Developers Conference.


The Mean Greens Will Get Bots In Future Update

Posted on March 14, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Plastic army infantry simulator and indie spiritual successor to the long dormant Army Men franchise, The Mean Greens will be receiving the much requested addition of online/offline bots in a future update. This news isn’t particularly new, the development of bots was originally revealed on Christmas Day but given that The Mean Greens is a smaller title with a very small player-base I thought it’d be a good reminder to our readers who maybe haven’t had a chance to play the game.

Supporting modes like free-for-all deathmatch and team death-match, The Mean Greens casts players as the tiny army soldiers that some of us may remember from childhood. Amusingly the arenas can range from lovingly crafted domestic settings like the inside of a bathroom, to toy castles constructed from wooden blocks to the inside of an aquarium.

I’ve enjoyed my time with The Mean Greens: Plastic Warfare, so much so that I even bought my own copy after playing it at a few conventions.  Sadly with player counts sometimes dipping into the single digits it can be difficult to find a single server that is populated enough to start a match. Here’s hoping that the eventual addition of bots will make The Mean Greens a little less barren.

Image Source: Youtube.com


H1Z1: Battle Royal Is Now Free To Play, E-Sports League Announced

Posted on March 8, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Daybreak Studios announced this morning that their once highly popular battle royale title, H1Z1: Battle Royale would no longer have an entry fee. As of today H1Z1: Battle Royale will be free to play on Steam.

For players who purchased the game for $19.99 USD between the games’ split from H1Z1: Just Survive in January 2016 and today’s free to play launch will receive a special “H1Z1 Appreciation Pack” which includes the following:

  • Gasrunner Hoodie
  • Bloom Survivor T-Shirt
  • Splinter Camo ARV
  • 10 Victory Crates
  • 10,000 Skulls

Editor’s Note: H1Z1 does use the much maligned and manipulative “loot box” mechanic which ties to drops with RNG (random number generated) aspects. Meaning you’ll pay cash up front and recieve pretty much anything in the box. Loot boxes are specifically designed to manipulate the customer into buying “just one more” and it’s a topic I’ve covered extensively.

In terms of the number of concurrent players actually waiting it out in the post apocalyptic world of H1Z1: Just Survive – according to stat tracking service Steam Charts the most popular month for the game was July 2017 when an average of 86,807 players would be trying to survive at any given moment. The player count steadily declined over the next six months with the past 30 days (prior to F2P) with an average of just 7,261 players at any given time. With just a few hours in, the playerbase has already more than doubled with 21,000 players online as of press time.

Also announced today was a partnership with Facebook for the H1Z1: Pro League which will feature 15 teams during its inaugural season.



Blizzard Celebrates Starcraft 20th Anniversary With Cross Game Promotional Event

Posted on March 6, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Blizzard has rolled out a whole wave of unlockable goodies across Diablo III, Starcraft 2, Overwatch, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original Starcraft on PC. Each game has a different reward to claim ranging from small profile portraits to exclusive skins featuring Sarah Kerrigan (yay!).

Here’s a breakdown of what players of each tittle will receive should they login between today and March 31st:

  • Starcraft Remastered (full version) – Starcraft 20th Anniversary UI Skin.
  • Starcraftr II – A set of three user interface skins (one per race), a portrait and a decal.
  • World of Warcraft – /salute a Starcraft mini-pet and receive the “Salute to Starcraft” limited time achievement.
  • Overwatch – Sarah Kerrigan Ghost Skin for Widowmaker.
  • Hearthstone – Play the Starcraft themed Tavern Brawl between March 21st and 25th and receive 3 free Kobolds & Catacombs packs.
  • Heroes of the Storm – 20th anniversary Protoss, Terran and Zerg display pictures featuring artwork from the original game.
  • Diablo III – Dominion’s Revenge pet.

I’m a little disappointed in the Heroes of the Storm reward in particular. Considering the amount of Starcraft Heroes – like Raynor, Kerrigan, Tychus etc – you’d think they’d have something a little more substantial than three display pictures. Both SCII and Heroes of the Storm even share the same engine! Rumor has it the next revealed hero will be from the Starcraft Universe but the dev team could have done so muchg better here.

For more details check out the official Starcraft II site.

[Image via SubControllers on Flickr]


Black Desert Online Celebrates Second North American Anniversary

Posted on March 5, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Kakao Games announced that they are making the 2nd anniversary of the launch of Black Desert Online in North America with a special “apreciation gift” for all players on March 7th. This free gift will enable players to claim a free boss level weapon and accessory – so there’s some sought after loot being given out to mark the occasion. Subscribers, Buy to Play and even Trial Account players are eligible for the appreciation gift, so if you want to get it on this freebie make sure to sign up for Black Desert Online before Wednesday.

The March 7th game update also includes a brand new UI and Mini-map (which honestly was one of my biggest complaints when I tried it out back in January 2017). New skills will also be added for all playable classes with this next patch in addition to the Spanish localization going live.

In the past 24 months over 3 million people have purchased Black Desert Online and actively play the game. With its focus on swift action based combat, eschewing the traditional character leveling system for one based off of the gear your character equips and the often talked about flexible character creator – BDO has certainly found a niche for itself among the other MMO offerings out there.

Alongside the trailer you can see embedded above and all of the news surrounding the free anniversary gifts, the dev team also released a series of info-graphics that depict some interesting facts about the EU and NA region. While North America has a larger population than Europe, North Americans spend significantly more time in BDO when expressed as total playtime in years across the region. While NA has the lead in playtime, EU has the lead in mounts with significantly more horses than the actual player population. In North America there are literally tens of thousands of characters who haven’t collected their first mount.


Jurassic World: Evolution Profiles The Chasmosaurus

Posted on February 27, 2018 by Joshua Rust

Developer Frontier Developments continues with their releases of profiles in their upcoming strategy-sim builder Jurassic World: EvolutionMost recently we seen the release of the Brachiosaurs profile. Before that we’ve seen the Ankylosaurus and Stegosaurus, as well as the Triceratops and Ceratosaurus. Now they are introducing us to the Chasmosaurus:

Jurassic World: Evolution will hit Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam later this summer.


Jurassic World: Evolution Introduces Us To The Brachiosaurus

Posted on February 20, 2018 by Joshua Rust

The Jurassic World: Evolution park keeps growing bigger and bigger as Frontier Developments has added another dinosaur to the stable: the long-necked Brachiosaurs. Previously we’ve seen the Ankylosaurus and Stegosaurus, as well as the Triceratops and Ceratosaurus. We’ve seen a lot of herbivores, maybe soon they’ll get into the carnivores!

Jurassic World: Evolution is expected to release sometime this summer on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.


Biomutant Trailer Shows Off Combat, Traversing the World, and a Mech?

Posted on February 19, 2018 by Joshua Rust

Developer Experiment 101 looks like they may have a winner on their hands. If they can deliver on everything they are promising: a one-of-a-kind hero with  a plethora of different gaming mechanics. In this new video, they show off some of these things such as using the crossbow to traverse the land, a glider, there’s even a mech!  This is probably one of my most anticipated titles of 2018. It looks a bit Fable-ish and Zelda-ish, but with a whole new, different kind of hero. Can Experiment 101 deliver us a new classic, it’s quite possible. See the video below and see for yourself!


Biomutant is heading to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC later this year. We’ll keep you updated as soon as a firm release date has been announced.


SEGA’s Make War Not Love Promotion Is Back For Year 5

Posted on February 13, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

SEGA’s annual “Make War Not Love” promotion is back for another round of community earned freebies and deep discounts on some of their more recent titles. 

This year SEGA has chosen a motif similar to the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects”, by titling this year’s giveaway as “The Unusual Suspects” and placing characters from Dawn of War III, Company of Heroes 2, Total War: Warhammer and Endless Space 2 in a police line-up, similar to The Usual Suspect’s theatrical poster. 

By signing up with your Steam account and authorizing SEGA to send you promotional emails over the course of the 5 day event you’ll gain access to two classic SEGA Genesis Titles – Revenge of Shinobi and Streets of Rage 2. 

Each day has a community incentive to reach an unspecified total number of hours played across all titles per day to unlock an addition free game + DLC. As of the writing of this post the insentive for Feburary 14th has already been reached with a Total Warhammer II DLC and full copy of 2008’s Vikings: Battle for Asgard available.  

Of course, SEGA isn’t giving away free titles just for fun (although wouldn’t that be grand of them?) – they’re obviously doing this to bolster the online population of their recent titles and get those games into the hands of potential owners. The following discounts are available until February 18th: 

  • Total War: Warhammer (original game) – 60% off 
  • Total War: Warhammer 2 – 10% off 
  • Dawn of War III – 66% off 
  • Company of Heroes 2 – 75% 

If you don’t own any of the above games to participate in the unlocking of extra freebies – it might be worth it to sign up and stick around just to see what surprises have yet to come. 


Relic Entertainment Drops Support for Dawn of War III

Posted on February 8, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Developer of the Warhammer 40k RTS series Dawn of War and publisher SEGA have stated that they are ending support for the latest installment, Dawn of War III, just 10 months after the game launched.

Dawn of War III was a weird beast – not entirely traditional Real Time Strategy title and not entirely a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. DOW3 fused both related genres together in an experience that had commanders still ordering around medium sized armies but with the MOBA like objective of destroying the competitors core before their own core is taken out.

So now, as is so ever common in the AAA gaming space – a once promising title anticipated by the existing fanbase, will be abandoned because the game couldn’t attract all of the players in the world. By abandoning what made the Dawn of War franchise a long-time genre staple and adding in mechanics no one asked for- we’re left with a title that has a smaller player base than a Dawn of War 1 expansion chosen at random.

Below is the statement that Relic/SEGA released to Eurogamer.

“While Dawn of War 3 has a dedicated player base, it didn’t hit the targets we were expecting at launch, and it hasn’t performed the way we had hoped since. It’s been tough for us as professionals who want to make great games for our players, and for us as people who care a lot about what we do.

When a game underperforms, plans need to change. With Dawn of War 3, we simply don’t have the foundation we need to produce major content. We’re working in close partnership with Sega and Games Workshop to determine the best course of action, while shifting focus to other projects within our portfolio.”



Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Confirmed For Consoles

Posted on February 7, 2018 by Joshua Rust

Obsidian Entertainment has just announced that Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire will be coming to consoles later this year. It was first just announced as  PC only title. With the original game having been ported to the consoles as well – we figured it was just a matter of time before the sequel confirmation would be announced for consoles.

The game is coming out on PC this April, while the tentative date for the console versions is expected Holiday 2018.  It is being ported to consoles by developer Red Cerberus. Here is an older video showing off some of the gameplay for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire:


Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire will release on PC in April. The Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch version will be available Holiday 2018. We will keep you updated as more information comes to light.


Bungie Bringing Huge Changes To Destiny 2’s ‘Sandbox’ With March Update

Posted on February 1, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Today Bungie outlined exactly how they’ll be improving Destiny 2 over the next couple of months. In a brand new roadmap and feature breakdown the Destiny 2 outlined plans for update 1.1.3 (Feb), 1.1.4 (March) and 1.2.0 (May). Some additions are small but should have been present from the launch in my opinion – namely PC Public Chat, tweaks to the shader system and Heroic Strike Modifiers. Others like unique Nightfall Rewards, Quit penalties in the crucible and Iron Banner 6 v 6 will have a larger impact on Destiny 2’s playability.

Perhaps the largest of all of these planned changes (and the most complex from a player standpoint) is the “sandbox” changes. This might just sound like adjustments to the large open PVE sandbox that Bungie spent so many years creating but in reality it is a bunch of smaller adjustments to weapon damage, player movement, player health, respawn time and other factors that will provide players with more “hero moments”, especially in Crucible matches.

Their blog  post does note that not all of these changes may make their way in to the final 1.1.4 Patch at the end of March but overall when combined these changes should make crucible and P.V.E a lot more interesting.

Some of the individual changes that compose the “Sandbox” adjustments include:

–          Faster attack animations.

–          Increased Super ability re-charge time.

–          Higher overall maximum speed cap.

–          Buffs to underutilized weapon types like Shotguns, Fusion Rifles, Hand Canons and Sniper Rifles.

–          Major changes to the Arcstrider.

More of the changes involved in the Sandbox adjustments are available in the blog post. Alongside this three month roadmap Bungie also revealed that virtually no new P.V.E content will be making its way into the game until the new Raid tier drops with 1.2.0 at the end of May. Below you will find the full roadmap as posted on the Bungie blog.




Epic Games’ Paragon To Cease Operations on April 26, Refunds Available For All Players

Posted on January 27, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Visually stunning, action focused M.O.B.A Paragon will cease operations on April 26th developer Epic Games announced in a statement to the remaining players within the Paragon Community yesterday.  

The Paragon Team thanked all of the players who have stuck with the game and, in what is probably the most honest / direct statement I’ve seen from a AAA developer in a long time, admitted that their vision for Paragon wasn’t sustainable. Despite their best effort the Paragon Team ‘failed’ their player base and were sorry to see Paragon shut down. 

Refunds for the Paragon Game (originally priced at $19.99 USD for Early Access) and any in-game purchases can be requested directly from Epic Games themselves. Often when it comes time for the online portion of a particular title to be sunsetted, developers and publishers rarely offer any form of refund at all. This is not only a welcome change of pace from what we’ve become accustomed too from AAA publishers but should also foster some goodwill within the Paragon community, despite the bad news. 

Below is the full statement announcing Paragon’s closing. Epic Game’s other Unreal 4 engine title, Fortnite, has been hugely popular – drawing in more than 40 million players thanks to its free Battle Royale mode.  

“Hey Everyone,

It’s with heavy hearts we’ve decided to close down Paragon.

We truly appreciate everything you’ve put into Paragon. We received many passionate ideas for where to take the game; the outpouring of thoughtful suggestions is another testament to this incredible community.

After careful consideration, and many difficult internal debates, we feel there isn’t a clear path for us to grow Paragon into a MOBA that retains enough players to be sustainable.

We didn’t execute well enough to deliver on the promise of Paragon. We have failed you — despite the team’s incredibly hard work — and we’re sorry.

To try to make this right, Epic is offering a full refund to every Paragon player for every purchase on any platform. This refund will come directly from Epic rather than your platform provider.

To request your refund, follow these steps:

  1. If you’re not playing on PC, link your Epic account (create one if necessary).
  2. If you play on PC, or have already linked your Epic account, you can request your refund here.

We’ll continue operating Paragon servers until April 26, 2018. As the player population continues to  decrease, matchmaking times and quality will further degrade.

Thank you for joining us on this journey and for your dedication to Paragon.”



NIS America Delays YS VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA on PC Due To Technical Issues

Posted on January 19, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Nippon Ichi Software America has decided to delay the PC release of action RPG YS VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA until an indeterminate date while they work the specific game-engine bugs that are hampering performance.  In particular, testers reported during the second closed beta test on PC reported nasty issues like memory leaks and severe frame-drops under certain circumstances. These issue stem from core technical decisions with the game’s engine, which was originally designed for the PlayStation 4. NIS will now have to dig deep into guts of YS VIII and make changes that aid performance on PC.

Here’s a breakdown of the specific issues reported during the recent closed beta:

Low framerate issues and memory leak problems were apparent from the earliest PC builds we received. To help combat these, we looked into the drawing processes, which lead to an overall improvement in performance. However, we are still encountering framerate drops in specific circumstances. The systems regulating these framerate issues are heavily reliant on the architecture of the original PlayStation 4 version and, as such, are not existent in PC architecture. The memory leak issues are somewhat less complicated and expected to be resolved this weekend. But in order to solve these issues, we have determined that we must modify the core level of data in the game.”

The PC version will receive the updated localization patch that will also hit the PlayStation 4 and Vita at the end of this month. Once these localization changes are complete NIS will be shifting develop duties for the PC version of YS III to a different unnamed external developer who will work specifically on the game engine, level and PC specific optimization that this port will require before release.

“Once the changes from the relocalization efforts have been implemented at the end of this month, we will be moving development to an entirely different developer who will primarily focus on frame rate improvements as well as other PC optimizations. Once that process begins, we will monitor the progress and determine the release schedule. We will also be sure to give regular updates to our progress.”

Due to this delay NIS America will be opening up Steam Refunds for YS VIII: Lacrimosa for those who have pre-ordered the game. When we have more details about the release date for the PC version of YS VIII, we will be sure to bring it to you. A Nintendo Switch port was also announced this past month for release sometime in the Summer.


Final Fantasy XV’s System Requirements Aren’t For The Faint of Heart

Posted on January 16, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Final Fantasy XV is finally about to hit Windows PC this March after nearly a year and a half of PlayStation exclusivity. If you’re wondering about how finely tuned your gaming rig will have to be to render Noctis. Prompto, Ignis, Gladio and their sweet ride, the Regalia, you might want to sit down ft a moment.

16GBs of RAM, 6GB of video RAM and an AMD 8350 are required just to play the game in 1080p – which seems a bit excessive considering the PS4 achieves the same resolution at 30FPS with just 8GB of RAM and a much lower clocked CPU.

Now to be fair, Comparing PC specs to console specs is apples to oranges considering just how optimized a console port can be under the right circumstances. Still you might be wondering how much HDD space you’ll need for XV? Oh just 150GB.

Recommended Specs for 1080p
• AMD 8350 or Intel i7 3770
• 16GB
• At least 100GB free
• GeForce 1060 6GB variant or Radeon 480 8GB variant

Recommended Specs for 4K
• Windows 10
• Intel 7700k or AMD Ryzen 1600x
• 16GB
• At least 150GB free
• GeForce 1080TI

With all of the talk of technical specs out of the way – the Windows version of Final Fantasy XV does being some new additions: namely a drivable boat and a brand new map / set of quests that take place in the ruined capital city.
Here’s a rundown of features provided by Square Enix. A benchmark to test your own rigs against the FFXV behemoth will be released on Feb 1.

• Expanded Map: Insomnia City Ruins – all-new side quests and enemies such as Cerberus and Omega will be available through the expanded map of the Crown City of Insomnia. Players will also take on the Rulers of Yore.
• A fully-controllable Royal Vessel boat, expanding the world of Eos and allowing players to explore the area between Cape Caem and Altissia. Players will also be able to fish aboard the vessel and discover new fishes and dishes.
• A new accessory that can activate the new action “Armiger Unleashed” – players will be able to unleash powerful attacks while the Armiger is summoned. After collecting all of the royal arms, players will be able to find an accessory in an unidentified part of the world, enabling access to Armiger Unleashed.
• A new first-person camera mode, allowing players to experience the game from Noctis’ perspective.
• More than a dozen pieces of downloadable content including weapons, Regalia car skins and item sets
• Archive – players can review the “Cosmogony” stories scattered throughout the FINAL FANTASY XV world. Additional local myths and legends will also be placed in various new locations, allowing players to obtain more information about the world.
• Quest to obtain and Strengthen Regalia Type-D
• New Trophies
• The FINAL FANTASY XV base game


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