Far Cry 4 director leaves Ubisoft, starts new studio

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After seven years, Far Cry 4 director Alex Hutchinson has left Ubisoft. The veteran developer announced his departure on Twitter, while simultaneously revealing the name of a new studio he's founded with some fellow developers including former Warner Bros. and EA executive producer Reid Schneider.

"Extremely proud of all we achieved on Far Cry and Assassin's, but very excited to build something new," Hutchinson wrote. "Myself, [Reid Schneider], and some other wonderful people have founded a brand new company: Typhoon Studios."

"Probably won't have much to announce in the near future as we hire, build our studio, buy a coffee machine, and build Ikea furniture, but... we are hard at work imagining a brand new world to inflict on all of you, so stay tuned."

You can check out Typhoon Studios' logo on its official website, and it looks quite a bit like Ubisoft's logo. Far Cry 4 is one of the best action games from the past few years, so I'm excited to see what Hutchinson and his new studio are up to.

At Ubisoft, Hutchinson also directed Assassin's Creed III, but prior to that, he worked at EA on games such as Spore, The Sims 2, and Army of Two: The 40th Day.

Besiege update to add multiplayer and a level editor

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Medieval build-'em-up Besiege offers a lot of physics-based shenanigans for not very much money, letting you build vaguely Robot Wars-esque siege engines, before letting them loose on Medieval villages and fortresses. Released at the start of January 2015, it's still in early access—however, there's a big update coming that should breathe new life into the game.

The update's named, rather grandly, the Besiege Multiverse, and it will add co-operative and competitive multiplayer, a level editor, and an open sandbox you can mess around in to your heart's delight.

Excitingly, you'll be able to build levels while your friends are in there playing them. You'll also be able to fine-tune things like the physics and stats of units placed in the world.

There's no date yet for the Multiverse update, but developer Spiderling Studios hopes to have it released to the public by the third quarter of this year. It'll be free if you already own Besiege, while the price of the game will increase by $2 to accommodate the new features, when Besiege Multiverse arrives.

Valve is now selling a real-life Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 'Five Year Veteran Coin'

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Are you a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive veteran with an urge to blow a few bucks on silly swag? If so, then allow me to direct your attention the Valve Store on WeLoveFine, where a real-life version of the Five Year Veteran Coin is now available for preorder for $45.

The offer isn't open to everyone, though. As the FAQ explains, if you haven't earned the coin in the game, then you're not allowed to buy this physical rendition. And yes, they check: In order to preorder, you have to log in with your Steam account, and if there's no coin in your inventory, you're out of luck.

If it's simply a matter of timing—say, you're a four-year CS:GO vet—then "stay tuned," because the FAQ notes that "more purchasing opportunities" will be coming in the future. If your account is straight-up ineligible for some other reason, however, that's the end of it. "We have no way of allowing ineligible users to purchase the Coin, nor can we bypass any VAC bans or ownership checks to allow users to purchase," it says. For those who are eligible, purchases are limited to one, and only one, per account.

The coin, made from die cast zinc alloy with the "5" up front in copper, is 63mm in diameter and 3mm thick, and weighs just a hair under 56 grams. It arrives in a box with an acrylic cover that can be hung on a wall, and also includes an acrylic coin stand if a shelf display is more to your tastes. Worldwide shipping is included in the price, except to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Burma, Syria and Sudan, although you may have to cover VAT or other region-specific taxes.

Paradox sale discounts Stellaris, Cities: Skylines, Tyranny, Crusader Kings 2

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Paradox' varied, frequently excellent catalogue of sims and strategy games is on sale on Steam this weekend.

Highlights include the superb Cities: Skylines, true heir to SimCity's throne, which is 68 percent off. The gorgeous, evolving space 4X Stellaris is 40 percent off. Crusader Kings 2, actually one of the best games in the world, is 75 percent off. Glorious co-op wizard-'em'-up, Magicka, is also 75 percent off.

If you want to dig into Paradox' back catalogue you can grab Hearts of Iron 3 and the complete Crusader Kings 1 pack for cheap too.

Great sale. If you were short of something to sink your teeth into this weekend, any of the above will serve you well.

All aboard! We're going to Train Valley

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Train Valley is a nice indie game that's easy to learn but hard to master. The early levels are extremely simple, but the difficulty goes up really quick and you will soon find yourself struggling to complete all the objectives. You will use the Pause button more than you'd think.

The game has two modes: a classic mode, which is a series of objective-based scenarios that take place in the United States, Japan, Russia, and Europe, throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, and a sandbox mode. The levels do not actually take place in those locations exactly, but in geographical approximations of these places.

For example, Florida, which is the third level of the second area, is represented as a coastal environment that offers unique challenges for your design due to the bottleneck effect of the map's terrain. You will be forced to map your design around two tunnels and a bridge in order to travel across the landscape.

The first level plays the role of a tutorial, it tells you the basics, how to build rails and how to move your trains, and it tricks you into a false sense of security about how relaxing and easy this game will be. Don't be fooled though.

As you make money, existing stations will expand and form cities around them, and new stations will pop up on the map. Connect these stations to your existing rail systems and you will have the oportunity of sending more trains around the map at any given time. Diverging rail lines need to have their tracks manually switched by the player before the train reaches the exchange.

However, misaligning just one track switch can have hazardous results: your train will end up in the wrong station (which will cost you precious money), or even worse, it could end up hitting a different train, ending in an explosion that will destroy the tracks nearby. If you don't have the money to repair the track, this can lead to isolated stations, which will also cost you serious money if your trains can't reach their destination.

Terrain is the only obstacle at the moment. Some terrain features are impassable, such as volcanoes, hills, rivers, while others can be built through at a cost (villages, forests). While you have directional control over where your tracks go, the game lacks elevation.

For instance, if you have a body of water in your way, your only escape is to path your tracks around it, because there are no options for bridge-building, tunneling or any form of elevated construction. This may make the game seem a little poor in content, but it's not a game-breaking thing.

The second mode is an open sandbox mode which lets players build train networks across the same maps as in the classic mode, but without the loss conditions or resource management (money is gone). This mode is only available for every map that is completed in classic mode and mirrors the set-up of each map.

The Germany DLC adds new levels to the game, adding a new area to the campaign. The game becomes even more challenging, since the DLC adds new unexpected conditions to the game, like biplane bombing or a super-train express moving across the map.

Train Valley is a perfect game for those evenings when all you want to do is lay down on the couch and play a quick game. It's not very expensive, and for $9.99 you can't really go wrong. If you are into challenging puzzle games witch nice graphics, this is certainly the game for you.

P.S. The devs announced a sequel.

Name: Train Valley
Developer: Flazm
Publisher: Flazm
Released: September 16, 2015
MSRP: $9.99

Nvidia Titan Xp introduced as 'the world's most powerful graphics card'

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Nvidia has revealed its new Titan, the Xp. It features 3840 Cuda cores running at 1.6GHz, and 12GB of DDR5X memory. The card runs on Nvidia's Pascal architecture and comes with a suitably titanic price tag of $1200 / £1,159. It's available now on the Nvidia site.

"They made 1080 Ti so fast that they need a new top-tier Titan," says PC Gamer hardware expert Jarred Walton. "It's the full GP102 chip, so just like we had GTX 780, the Titan, the 780 Ti and the Titan Black, we're getting the 1080, Titan X (Pascal), 1080 Ti, and Titan Xp."

GPU Engine Specs

NVIDIA CUDA® Cores 3840 Base Clock (MHz)1582
Memory Specs: Memory Speed 11.4 Gbps
Standard Memory Config: 12 GB GDDR5X
Memory Interface Width: 384-Bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec): 547.7 GB/s

Technology Support:

Simultaneous Multi-Projection: Yes
VR Ready: Yes
NVIDIA Ansel: Yes
NVIDIA SLI Ready: Yes - SLI HB Bridge Supported
NVIDIA G-Sync-Ready: Yes
NVIDIA GameStream-Ready: Yes
NVIDIA GPU Boost: 3.0
Microsoft DirectX: 12 API with feature level 12_1
Vulkan API: Yes
OpenGL: 4.5
Bus Support PCIe: 3.0
OS Certificates: Windows 7-10, Linux, FreeBSDx86

Display Support:

Maximum Digital Resolution: 27680x4320 @ 60Hz
Standard Display Connectors: DP 1.43, HDMI 2.0b
Multi Monitor: Yes
HDCP: 2.2

Graphics Card Dimensions:

Height: 4.376"
Length: 10.5"
Width: 2 Slot

Thermal Power Specs:

Maximum GPU Temperature (in C): 96
Graphics Card Power (W): 250 W
Recommended System Power(W): 600 W
Supplementary Power Connectors: One 6-pin, One 8-pin

Game sales on Twitch are now live, offering free "Twitch Crate" rewards and more

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Twitch has announced that the ability to buy games directly through its platform, a new feature that was first revealed back in February, is now live. The option will enable developers to make special offers to fans who are watching their games being played on the platform, and will also let partnered streamers earn money off of purchases made through their channel pages. Buyers will also be rewarded with free "Twitch Crates," which will contain randomized drops of items for Twitch including emotes, chat badges, and Cheer bits.

Beginning today and continuing over the next week, roughly 50 games and "related in-game content" will be made available for purchase through Twitch, with titles including For Honor, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Smite, Tyranny, Atlas Reactor, Broken Age, Firewatch, and Warframe. Purchases can be made from live Twitch channels or a game's 'details' page, and can be downloaded and played through either the Twitch Desktop App or publisher-run services like Uplay.

A Twitch Crate will be awarded with every purchase of $5 or more, and Twitch will hold a weekly "Twitch Crates Gear Giveaway" draw throughout April as well, with a grand prize of more than $500 worth of streaming equipment. (You can also go for a "no purchase required" entry right here.) Games available through Twitch are currently only priced in US dollars, but Twitch aims to bring in "localized purchase experiences" soon.

Purchases made through Twitch are fulfilled by Amazon, and it seems to work smoothly enough once your accounts are connected appropriately; to buy For Honor, for instance, you'll need to connect both your Twitch and your Uplay accounts to your Amazon account.

More information about buying games on Twitch can be found on the Twitch Blog.

Terraria: Otherworld update reveals a new 'development partner'

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It's been a couple of years since the announcement of Terraria: Otherworld, the followup that is not a sequel to the 2011 crafting-and-survival game Terraria. Developer Re-Logic hasn't had much to say about it since, but today it took to its forums to share some "important news." The good news is that the game is still in the works; the bad news is that co-developer Engine Software has been dropped from the project for reasons unknown, and that means it may take a little (or maybe a lot) longer than expected to get things done.

"Our team had a clear vision for this game—one that we shared with all of you with much shared excitement—and, as much as we hate to say it (and in spite of all of the reforms we tried last year) the current state of the game is still equal parts far from that vision and well behind schedule," Re-Logic wrote.

"As a result, we have made the decision to move on from having Engine Software continue development of Terraria: Otherworld. Re-Logic has possession of the game (code, art, sounds, etc.) as it exists today, and we have been examining the array of options available to us to get TOW to a place to where we can confidently deliver on the vision and expectations we all have for this game. After taking a good hard look at everything, we feel that a new and fresh start/direction is the only way Otherworld will ever reach its full potential at this point."

Pipeworks, which has been working since last year on the console and mobile version of Terraria, has now been brought on as the "development partner" on Otherworld. The two studios will "examine the entire game, from top to bottom, to see how it fits with our high expectations and core vision for this project," and while Re-Logic didn't commit to updated release timing, it did warn that the "quiet period" will likely go on for awhile longer while Pipeworks gets brought up to speed. It also promised that "a full refresh of all of the Otherworld public-facing locations" is on the way—even the Terraria: Otherworld logo is changing.

"Come whatever may, quality is simply not something we are willing to compromise on to make a quick buck. It may be painful in the short term, but our sincere hope is that it will pay off for everyone in the long term," the studio said. "Clearly, had we known this would be the scenario way back then, we would have held off on announcing the game until a later time—but such is game development. That said, we are really happy and confident with the new team and new plan—and cannot wait to get back on track."

Re-Logic said it would share more "very soon," but added that it "will not delve into some areas out of either respect or confidence or the unknown."

Overwatch cheat maker ordered to pay $8.6 million in damages to Blizzard

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Last summer, Blizzard filed a lawsuit against German cheat programme maker Bossland for "copyright infringement, unfair competition and violation of the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision". Last month, we learned that the Overwatch developer was seeking upwards of $8.5 million in damages, despite Bossland's resistance, and now it appears a California court has ordered the latter to pay $8.6 million.

As reported by Torrentfreak (via the BBC), Blizzard argued that Bossland had "reverse-engineered and otherwise altered its games without permission". While attempting to have the case dismissed, Bossland did not defend itself in court but was nevertheless found guilty of 42,818 counts of copyright infringement—a case which follows similar court rulings in the UK and Germany. According to Torrentfreak, Bossland also faces around $177,000 in legal costs beyond the substantial court-ordered charge.

Despite the ruling, the BBC reports that the Bossland website is still active—and still boasting the tagline "botting is not against any law"—however, having tried to access it just now, UK browsers are met with the following message:

"On 16th March 2017, Bossland GmbH, and its directors Mr Zwetan Letschew and Mr Patrick Kirk admitted, in and for the purposes of proceedings before the High Court of England and Wales, that the sale of its software which it sells as Honorbuddy, Gatherbuddy, Demonbuddy, Hearthbuddy, Stormbuddy and Watchover Tyrant, to any person resident in the United Kingdom, constitutes an infringement of Blizzard’s intellectual property rights and an inducement to players of Blizzard’s games to breach their agreements with Blizzard."

"Accordingly, Bossland and its directors are no longer permitted to advertise or offer for sale such software to UK residents."

MSI taps Corsair to liquid cool its GTX 1080 Ti Sea Hawk cards

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All-in-one liquid coolers have become popular alternatives to air cooling because they're relatively easy to install, sometimes offer better performance, and require zero maintenance (unlike regular liquid cooling). They're not just for CPUs, either—MSI announced a pair of new GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Sea Hawk cards that have been outfitted with AIO liquid coolers from Corsair.

The GTX 1080 Ti Sea Hawk and Sea Hawk X are the same except for the clockspeeds, with the latter sporting faster frequencies in both Gaming and OC modes.

Here is a look at the Sea Hawk X's clocks:

OC Mode: 1,569MHz base, 1,683MHz boost
Gaming Mode: 1,544MHz base, 1,657MHz boost
Silent Mode: 1,480MHz base, 1,582MHz boost

And here are the clocks on the regular Sea Hawk:

OC Mode: 1,506MHz base, 1,620MHz boost
Gaming Mode: 1,493MHz base, 1,607MHz boost
Silent Mode: 1,480MHz base, 1,582MHz boost

Both cards sport a full-coverage cooler attached to an AIO kit based on Corsair's Hydro Series H55 design. It consists of a 120mm aluminum radiator with a quiet fan attached. This is what keeps the GPU cool, while the memory and VRM are both air cooled in each card.

There's also a solid metal backplate on both Sea Hawk cards. This provides rigidity, if that's something you're concerned about.

Both cards also stick with Nvidia's reference power requirements, requiring 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe connectors. And as for display outputs, they come with HDMI 2.0, dual-link DVI-D, and three DisplayPort 1.4 plugins.

MSI did not say when these cards will be available or for how much.

HTC unveils Viveport monthly subscription service

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The HTC Vive virtual reality headset marks its first year anniversary this week, on April 5, and is set to mark the occasion by launching the "first-ever subscription model for a VR app store"—named Viveport Subscription.

Billed as "a new way to navigate the burgeoning VR app marketplace", Viveport will cost users £6.99/regional equivalent per month, and will run a one month free trial for newbies. For that, you'll get unlimited access to your apps of choice—Viveport Subscription will launch with over 50 apps—with the ability to rotate out selections each month and try apps prior to purchase.

"VR is changing every industry imaginable, from gaming and entertainment, to art, design, engineering and education," says HTC Vive's VP of sales Peter Frolund. "The fact that we can offer a subscription model just shows the sheer amount of developers that have already engaged with Vive. This celebration and these offers are a chance for us to thank the people that have been on this journey with us from the start, as well as invite new people to the party as we look ahead to even more exciting developments going forward."

Furthering the festivities, HTC is also giving away a free copy of Vive Studios' VR action game Arcade Saga and is also offering new customers £100 off Vive headsets on April 5. More information on the Viveport Subscription service can be found on the Vive Blog.

Batman: Arkham VR announced for PC, release date set

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The game Louise Blaine dubbed "the ultimate in heroic wish fulfilment" on GamesRadar, Batman: Arkham VR is breaking from its PlayStation exclusivity and is heading to PC. Due April 25, the Dark Knight will star on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive devices.

Supporting both Oculus Touch and Vive controllers, Batman: Arkham VR weaves another Arkham-set mystery for the Bat to solve—one which is said to "threaten the lives of his closest allies."

"Bringing Batman to VR was a very rewarding experience for us here at Rocksteady," says Rocksteady's creative director Sefton Hill. "The Dark Knight has always been an incredible character to work with due to his psychological depth, so it’s really exciting to use this immersive medium to delve deeper into his psyche than ever before. We’re thrilled that PC players can finally wear the cowl for themselves and take on the role of the World’s Greatest Detective with the addition of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift versions."

And here's an excerpt from Louise's review:

"It’s completely understandable that there’s no brawling or Batmobile action, but hearing the roar of your favourite vehicle between scenes is a tantalising tease of what a full Batman VR game could be. Cleverly adding a sense of movement without any actual flight, you use the grapnel gun to fire yourself from scene to scene and from each area in the Batcave. It’s just like the Move teleporting but the added sense of bringing a gun from your belt and firing it layers in an extra sense of depth. I did this by firing my grapnel, it doesn’t matter that I’m not whizzing through the air."

"The implementation of Move controls is also quietly, understatedly brilliant. The fact that you can just look down, see the gadgets and take one from your (height adjustable!) belt is incredible. One particularly nasty crime scene requires you to rewind the action using your forensic scanner. Rotating the controller slowly speeds through the action and the result is masterfully immersive. Add in a story conclusion that I won’t spoil, but makes the most of just how terrifying VR can be, and this isn’t just a brilliant experience but a glimpse at just how the long term future of gaming could feel if the industry gets VR right."

Besides the Touch and Vive controllers, Batman: Arkham VR's PC iteration will support PS4 Dual Shock 4 controllers, Xbox One controllers and the Steam controller. It's due April 25, 2017.

Dungeon Rushers, a light-hearted adventure

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A young boy named Elian dreams of more than serving drinks and heads out for a life raiding dungeons and getting sweet loot. He meets a few friends along the way, including an accountant dwarf and a sneaky minstrel, and they form a band to go on adventures and find more loot.

The gameplay consists in exploring a dungeon and fighting in it while doing missions. The exploring takes place on a top-down “board”. Each room is a single square and every turn your party moves to the next square chosen out of up to four directions.

You reveal the map as you explore but unless you use special powers, like Elian revealing two squares in each direction or Thorgrim identifying a treasure or event spot, you have no idea which way heads to treasure or leads into certain doom.

Every move is a risk, and that’s both stressful and exhilarating. It’s basically exactly what Dark Souls taps into to keep people playing, except Dungeon Rushers does it with a smile. Traps can be overcome but only if you have the finite resource that is stamina, event locations can either be a blessing or a curse, and there could be enemies waiting on the very next square but you’ll never know until you move.

The combat is very classically turn-based, the order decided by what level a character’s Speed is. Each character takes a go with a straight attack, a special attack that uses Mana, an item, or Guard. Heroes and Enemies each get two rows, and only ranged weapons or magic attacks can reach the second row until one enemy in the front row gets defeated.

There is no avoiding getting hit so winning just involves outlasting the enemy. This wouldn’t be so bad except that health potions, like all other items in the game, are finite. You can only buy one from the shop between missions and if you’re lucky you might either be able to craft one or find a healing event in the dungeon, but otherwise you can only face a certain amount of battles in a level before you die and have to play the whole thing again.

One remarkable part of the game is the easy-to-use level editor, which is rather neatly built into the main game. After a few levels a short dialogue plays where Thorgrim suggests that building their own dungeon would be a good way to earn some extra coins. I can’t say I ever got any money for my creations, but making a dungeon was strangely addictive.

Secret doors, red herrings, different types of loot, keys, password-encrypted doors, even different types of dead end are available for you to customize. Then, at a click, you can upload it to Steam Workshop or easily overwrite it if you tweak it later.

The game also has DLC available, which adds skins to the game, letting you change the appearance of your heroes. At the moment of writing this review, there are two skin packs: the Veterans and the Dark Warriors, and a third one has been announced for May 2017, the Pirates Skins Pack.

Dungeon Rushers is the type of game where you want to continually press on and find the new exciting thing in the next dungeon, not to mention some more excellent funny conversations. That’s fun. You do not want to make all the right moves then find yourself up against an unbeatable group of foes.

Name: Dungeon Rushers
Developer: Goblinz Studio
Publisher: Goblinz Studio, WhisperGames
Released: September 6, 2016
MSRP: $14.99

Play God of War developer's bizarre PC arena combat game for free this weekend

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Have you ever want to play a game where you were a stack of pancakes, a pug, or a cheeseburger, rolling around and knocking other players off of a platform? Well, this weekend you can because Ready at Dawn is holding a Steam open beta for its bizarre arena combat game Deformers.

Deformers puts you in control of ball-shaped creatures called Forms. They look like food, animals, and other creatures, and you control them in multiple different modes, including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Form Ball, which looks a lot like Rocket League. The two deathmatch modes have you shooting objects at your opponents and rolling into them to knock them off a giant floating platform. The Rocket League-like Form Ball, on the other hand, tasks you with knocking a ball into a net and scoring goals.

The rolling action game looks quite a bit different from Ready at Dawn's previous work, which has consisted of two God of War games and The Order: 1886.

The open beta lasts from now until 12 AM PT/3 AM ET on April 3. It's a 2.5 GB download, so it shouldn't take long to download if you have a decent connection. It's worth noting that the beta is experiencing some server issues, so your ability to play may be postponed for a bit depending on when you start.

If you aren't able to jump in this weekend, then you don't have to worry. Ready at Dawn has said that it plans to have at least one more beta before launch to give more people the opportunity to jump in.

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