Subterranean ne’er-do-well sim Dungeons 2 free on GOG

Dungeons 2

It’s about time we boarded up the windows here in the RPS treehouse for the weekend, but we leave you with a little gift, although admittedly a second-hand one. Presumably in an effort to drum up interest in the (quite good) Dungeons 3, Realmforge Studios have been giving away the second game in their Dungeon Keeper-ish a lot lately. If you missed the chance to pick it up last year in Humble’s giveaway, GOG are offering their DRM-free edition of the game here for the next day or so.

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One Piece: World Seeker’s anime piracy goes open-world

One Piece: World Seeker

Sometimes it feels like everyone and their dog is jumping on the open-world bandwagon, but pairing the free-wheeling cartoon pirate adventures of One Piece with a world that lets you bounce, swing and spin your way freely from fight to fight feels like a savvy call.

Enter One Piece: World Seeker, studio Ganbarion’s ambitious-looking project to drag the long-running anime and manga franchise into modern gaming relevance. Within, we’ve got a little bit of (subtitled, assuming you turn on captions) chatter from director Koji Nakajima, interspersed with a few moments of intriguing gameplay footage.

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System Shock Remake development being ‘refocused’

System Shock

When we last reported on the Kickstarter-funded System Shock remake from Night Dive Studios, all sounded relatively well, and the team were gearing up to expand the scope of their plans, from making a straight remake into something more akin to a modern-day reboot for the series.

Unfortunately, greater scope means a greater budget and investments in both time and manpower. After additional publisher support to back up this new vision didn’t come through, Night Dive are ‘taking a step back’ to reassess the project and get it back more in line with their original Kickstarter promises, as detailed in this (public) backer update from Stephen Kick, Night Dive CEO.

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Blazblue Cross Tag Battle’s pricing & first DLC announced

Blazblue Cross Tag Battle

Sometimes you get a hankering to turn the Anime up to 11, and sometimes you need to go even further. Arc System Works, still sizzling with success after Dragon Ball FighterZ, are gearing up for a PC release of Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, a mashup of their long-running Blazblue series, Persona 4 Arena (a spinoff of the excellent JRPG), the indie-developed Under Night In-Birth and American-made pseudo-anime RWBY.

While I had been worried that Arc System Works had lost their way and were planning on pricing the crossover fighting game to death, their recent announcement of the release date and pricing structure makes the planned 20-character season pass sound a little more reasonable than I was expecting.

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Rainbow Six Siege Invitational’s Quarter-Finals are live

And boom goes the dynamite

It took a lot of tactical face-shooting to get here, but the virtual bloodbath that is the Six Invitational is in its final days. Down to just 8 teams, the final few matches will be playing out over the course of today and the weekend.

At the time of writing, Brazil’s Faze Clan are in a very close-fought match against US-based Evil Geniuses. The high stakes match is being broadcast live via Ubisoft’s official Twitch stream, and if the action unfolding tickles your fancy, there’s a free weekend for Rainbow Six Siege running alongside the tournament.

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CCP reveal plans to crack down on EVE Online botters

eve-online-2

Like a lot of online games, EVE Online has a problem with botters – players who create automated bots to slave away in the asteroid mines. That problem only got worse since the MMO introduced its free-to-play ‘Alpha Clone’ accounts. Pressure from fans has led to this recent update on the EVE Online blog, in which creators CCP outline the state of the botting problem, and what they’re doing about it. Short version: they’re getting harsher.

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Orwell’s second season to kick off later this month

Orwell season 2

John enjoyed his time snooping around dystopian surveillance game Orwell, and if the bug I planted under his lapel can be believed, he’d be keen to play something else in a similar vein. Well he’s in luck. The second season of Orwell, subtitled Ignorance is Strength, is set to kick off soon. Putting you in the role of an officially sanctioned cyber-snooper acting for the greater good, Osmotic Studios’ episodic original could hardly be more timely. Season two will tackle “the rise of fake news, social media echo chambers, and the displacement of truth”, making it the first game in my knowledge to really grapple with our Trumpian age.

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Mafia III studio Hanger 13 suffers massive layoffs

Mafia III

Hanger 13 gave the world open-ended crime caper Mafia III, a game that is at once a formulaic GTA-style action game, and an impressive slice of the American South in the 1960s (with a few fictionalised elements letting the team interpret New Orleans a little more loosely). It seemed to do pretty well sales-wise but today the chances of a Hanger 13-developed follow-up appear dim. The studio has been hit with substantial layoffs.

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Mechs V Kaijus has an awesome tower defence theme

MVKheader

I’m a Pacific Rim apologist. I describe it to people as “the best throwaway film I’ve ever seen”, largely because there’s a point in the middle where you can tell the writers said: “Ah, screw it” and embraced how ridiculous the whole thing is. It’s this bit, in case you were wondering.

Anyway! I’ve fantasised about battling monsters in oversized mech suits ever since, which is neat because I’ve just spent half an hour doing exactly that in tower defence game Mechs V Kaijus. The full game will be out in March, say the developers, but there’s already a free demo. I’m not normally a big fan of tower defence, but I am a fan of feeling awesome. MVK’s premise is a quick and dirty way to generate that feeling, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve to help.

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Where The Water Tastes Like Wine flows out February 28

Where The Water Tastes Like Wine

There are two things you should know about Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, the interactive fiction-ish anthology from Dim Bulb and Serenity Forge. One is that yer actual Sting is in it, supplying his dulcet tones to a hungry-looking wolfman who will narrate parts of the Americana odyssey. The second is that half of games journalism has written for it, including RPS escapees Cara Ellison and Leigh Alexander. Personally, Emily Short and Southern Monsters’ Kevin Snow are the names that make me particularly intrigued to play this. There’s a new trailer, seemingly narrated by Sting himself, which reveals WTWTLW’s release date – and, huh, it’s a lot sooner than I was expecting.

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Ring in the Lunar New Year with Steam’s latest sale

Steam Lunar New Year sale

If you go on Twitter, where every second image is of a dog being cuddled, rated, or dressed up as a Star Wars character, it’s a reasonable assumption that every year is the year of the dog – however Valve, not to mention the ancient Chinese zodiac, are here to tell you that’s not the case. As of today, it legitimately is the year of the dog, which is why Valve’s latest sale is adorned with images of famous game pups including Okami’s Amaterasu, Half-Life 2’s DOG, and I, er, don’t recognise any of the other doggos.

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Farming Simulator 19 announced, with shiny new horses

Farming Simulator 19

Skipping a whole number for this year’s iteration of the popular farm-’em-up, Giants Software is looking to the future with Farming Simulator 19, which has just been announced for release this Autumn/Fall. By the sounds of it, it should be a  comprehensive update, with a “complete overhaul” of the graphics engine, new crops and farming activities, plenty of shiny tractors, and horses. You can hear a solitary neigh in the CGI reveal trailer, before a man opens a barn door and then that’s all she wrote.

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Tim Schafer to headline EGX Rezzed this April

Tim Schafer

You’re already attending this year’s EGX Rezzed, of course. But if you haven’t yet booked your ticket to That London so you can play all them lovely games, here’s a piece of news that should cause you to get on that, post-haste. Double Fine’s Tim Schafer – he of the simian islands and the tentacular days – is going to headline the event, taking part in a Q&A with Eurogamer editor Oli Welsh, along with meet-and-greet sessions throughout the three-day shindig. That interview’s happening at 12pm BST on Friday 13th April, and will also be streamed live on Twitch, if you can’t make it to Rezzed.

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Shroud of the Avatar leaves early access March 27th

Shroud of The Avatar

The past few years have been dense with reboots, remakes and Kickstarter-funded drives to return old franchises to life. When it was first announced, Shroud of The Avatar seemed like a relatively safe bet; the original mind behind the Ultima series, returning to not only dust off the singleplayer and story-driven side of the franchise, but blend it with the fondly remembered gameplay mechanics of Ultima Online.

We’ve not covered Shroud of The Avatar at all since November 2014. Now, almost five years since it first raised $2m on Kickstarter, and over three years since it first debuted on Early Access, Portalarium reckon it’s about ready for launch.

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Secret of Mana’s 3D remake is out now on Steam

Secret of Mana

Aah, Secret of Mana, middle game in one of the most confusingly named trilogies in gaming. Known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 2 and barely known as anything in Europe due to a very small PAL print run. For those who could get it, it’s a fondly remembered if slightly awkward SNES action-RPG that skews a little more heavily towards the RPG side than most.

As of today, it’s back and looking downright fine; Square Enix’s 3D remake (first announced at Gamescom last year) is out today on Steam.

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Fear Effect returns next month, now isometric & tactical

Fear Effect Sedna

For those who grew up through the PlayStation 1 era, it was hard not to at least be vaguely aware of the Fear Effect series. Despite their genre roots lying in survival horror, awkward camera angles and all, their mix of stylish comic-style visuals, cornball sci-fi/supernatural espionage stories (with zombies, sometimes) and famously tacky ad campaigns helped the series stand out.

On March 6th, the series officially returns as Fear Effect Sedna, from Studio Sushee. Despite being a true sequel set four years after the PlayStation original, it’s metamorphosed into a real-time-with-pause squad tactics game somewhere along the way.

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Sea Of Thieves’ servers need plundering this weekend

Sea of Thieves

While I’ve not had the chance to find my sea legs yet, our Alec has greatly enjoyed his time thusfar with Rare’s upcoming co-op pirate sandbox adventure Sea of Thieves. Over the past month or two, beta testing events for the game have been stepping up, and now it’s in the final stretch of development. There’s just one thing left to do: Bracing for impact.

In order to help ensure that their servers don’t completely melt down on launch day, Rare are going to be running a series of Scale Testing beta weekends from now until release. The first of which is due to kick off tomorrow morning, 10am GMT, and end at the same time on Sunday morning.

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The original Devil May Cry trilogy gets the HD treatment on PC next month, plus a giveaway via Twitch Prime

Devil May Cry 3

It’s been a while since Capcom announced that the original Playstation 2 Devil May Cry trilogy would be making their way to PC, upscaled and polished up for modern machines. After going silent over the holidays, the Japanese publisher have finally piped up, and released a trailer for the updated bundle, along with a release date: March 13th.

Even though Dante’s iconic red duster never goes out of style, I feel that this debut on PC may be a little more than fashionably late. Even more strangely, Capcom may well torpedo their own launch plans by giving away the first of the three games to anyone subscribed to Amazon Prime as part of their Twitch perks package later this month.

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Stardew Valley’s multiplayer beta expected for spring

Stardewmultiplayerheader

My farm in Stardew Valley is a place of solace. It’s a shrine to quiet contemplation, a valuable retreat from the demands of sociability, a hidey-hole built just for me and my thoughts. Why would I want to invite someone in and spoil all that?

Actually, none of that’s true. I’d love to romp around Stardew Valley with a friend in tow, and I’ll soon get the chance to: Stardew Valley’s 1.3 update has entered its QA phase. Update 1.3 will bring official support for online multiplayer, along with other (smaller) new features like the signs pictured above. In a shocking example of northern hemisphere bias, dev Eric Barone’s blogpost also mentions that he’s “still shooting for a spring release for the beta” – so any time from March through to June.

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Kingdom Come Deliverance mod adds unlimited saving

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come: Deliverance deliberately doesn’t allow you to save the game whenever you feel like it, insisting that you either buy or brew a bottle of something called Saviour Schnapps first. It’s a heady beverage that saves your game even as it gets you drunk, and by the sounds of things it doesn’t seem too easy a beverage to come by. While the game does autosave on occasion, it doesn’t do so when you exit out, so it’s understandable that one of the very first Kingdom Come mods is one that does away with this punishing save restriction.

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