Monthly Archives: July 2020

Halo Infinite multiplayer is free-to-play

July 31, 2020 343 Industries has confirmed that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer will be free to play.

Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer portion will be free-to-play, according to a new leak.

In a listing for Xbox Series X, British and Irish retailer Smyths said: “The legendary Halo series returns with the most expansive Master Chief campaign yet and a groundbreaking free-to-play multiplayer experience.” The listing has now been amended, with the relevant section removed, though not before we got a screenshot of it, which you can see below.

Developer 343 Industries is yet to talk about the FPS game’s multiplayer modes in any real detail. The recent Xbox Games Showcase focused entirely on the game’s story mode, which was met with a lukewarm reception by fans, and declined to reveal anything regarding the game’s highly anticipated online mode. We’ve contacted Microsoft’s representatives for comment on the latest rumour and will update if we hear back.

Grounded hits 1 million players in its first 48 hours

More than a million players have checked out Grounded in its first 48 hours. Obsidian announced the news today on Twitter along with a special message of thanks from Grounded’s game director.

“Grounded has reached 1 MILLION players in the first 48 hours! Thank you everyone for playing and enjoying #thebackyard!” the company tweeted. “It’s amazing, it’s blown us away, the team is so happy, and we’re just overjoyed with all the support that we’re getting,” said Grounded game director Adam Brennecke in a video shot on his mobile phone in what appears to be his own backyard.

Brennecke took the opportunity to make some announcements about the road ahead for Grounded, which launched in Steam’s Early Access and on Xbox Game Pass’s Game Preview July 28. “We’re going to have monthly updates to the game, and the first monthly update is scheduled for August 27.” Brennecke didn’t have any specific details about what that update will contain, but he said to “stay tuned” for more information about what to expect as the date draws nearer.

After a US sale, the Razer Blade 15 (2019) is now £550 off in the UK, too

The Razer Blade 15 (2019) gaming laptop was recently on sale for $500 off in the US, but this discount didn’t extend to the UK – it does now, though, with a generous £550 (33%) discount on Amazon’s UK site, putting it at £1,099. It’s still on sale in the US, too, but not for its original $500 discount. Instead, it’s now $210 (13%) off in the US at $1,389.99.

The Blade 15 is a powerhouse of a gaming laptop, and at this discounted price it hits that revered price-to-value ratio where a gaming laptop ends up costing only as much as it would cost to build an equivalent fully-fledged desktop rig. Its mid- to high-end hardware means it can run any game on the highest settings at a smooth frame rate, and this frame rate will shine through on its 144Hz screen.

These laptops are probably being discounted because there are now models boasting newer 10th Gen CPUs, but the Blade 15’s Intel Core i7 9750H is no slouch. Combine this with its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, a GPU that’s a little quicker than the previous-gen Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, and you have a laptop that can run any esports game well above 144fps on ultra settings and pretty much any graphically intensive game at a smooth 60+fps on high settings.

DwarfHeim will head into Steam Early Access this fall

DwarfHeim, the co-op fantasy real-time strategy game coming from Merge Games and Pineleaf Studio, has shifted gears. Following a multiplayer beta test in June, the developer has announced that DwarfHeim will head into the Steam Early Access program this fall, allowing the player community to help guide the rest of development as the studio finalises the game.

“We want to make sure DwarfHeim is the best co-op RTS experience out there,” says Hans-Andreas Kleven, Pineleaf CEO, in a post to the game’s Steam page. “Our Early Access launch this fall will allow us to keep developing the game together with our community, seeing what features engage players the most, and learning what can be done to make DwarfHeim more fun.”

Early Access could prove invaluable to a co-op game like DwarfHeim, which will depend heavily on its sense of challenge versus balance. The idea is to lead a band of dwarves and help them establish a settlement, then protect it from assaults from hostile creatures and rival clans.

Final Fantasy XI is getting a new storyline next month

Square Enix is introducing a new storyline to Final Fantasy XI next month. While the 18-year-old game has continued to be updated with small patches, this is the first time the MMORPG will see new story content since 2015’s Rhapsodies of Vana’ diel update. Details about the new storyline have been shared in a blog post from producer Akihiko Matsui, who went into depth about all things from the rain in Tokyo to the changes being made to the Beastmaster job.

“The most exciting news I have to share is that a brand-new storyline will be coming to Vana’ diel!” Matsui shares. “This story, which will play out over the course of many version updates rather than just a few, explores a side of Vana’ diel that’s never before seen the light. Be aware that full completion of Rhapsodies of Vana’ diel is required to experience this wonderful new content, so I hope that those of you who haven’t yet experienced Iroha’s tale in full will take this opportunity to do so.”

As Matsui explains, you’ll need to finish the Rhapsodies of Vana’ diel content before you can experience the new storyline. The FFXI producer also went over changes to the Beastmaster job and how he hopes it’ll lead to greater synergy between the players and their pets.

World of Warcraft Shadowlands is getting PvP World Quests

It looks like PvP World Quests are making their return in World of Warcraft‘s Shadowlands expansion. That comes from Wowhead, which stumbled across a quest in the beta that gives them the option of either killing players or skeletons to complete it.

The quest is called State of Decay and can be found in Maldraxxus. It involves exploring a tower called The Spike, which is owned by the quest giver Zo’Sorg. While you’re in the tower, you’ll have a debuff called Free For All that leaves you hostile to your faction. Zo’Sorg is a new PvP vendor who lends his name to the quests themselves, which are called the Trials of Zo’Sorg. Wowhead also notes that if you adventure through the Shadowlands with War Mode on you’ll stumble across new PvP World Quests with Zo’Sorg in the area.

PvP World Quests were a popular feature back in Legion as you could do PvP objectives in free-for-all PvP Areas. They didn’t return for the Battle for Azeroth expansion, but it looks like they’re back again, which is a nice touch.

Win an Alienware gaming PC by playing LoL, Fortnite, Valorant, or CS:GO

Alienware’s Aurora gaming PC lineup offers some fantastic gaming performance, without question. If you’re sitting on some dated hardware and could do with an upgrade, and if you like gaming, Dell Alienware is running a competition that will almost certainly be of interest to you.

The 2020 Alienware Games competition is underway (running July 17 to September 11) and, in case you missed it, it gives you the chance to play some great online multiplayer games to earn points and potentially win an Alienware Aorus R9 gaming PC, among other rewards (available only for those in the US or Canada). Collect points by playing competitive games of League of LegendsFortnite, Valorant, and CS:GO, and you’ll have a chance of winning.

This year’s competition is run in partnership with Playwire and Overwolf, a platform that “enables creators to build, distribute, and monetise in-game apps” (think of it as an overarching app store for game-specific overlays and apps). Simply download the 2020 Alienware Games app to log and track your accumulated points, which are then used as entries for the competitions.

The Sims 4 has racked up 30 million players since launch

July 31, 2020 More than 30 million have played The Sims 4.

Over the past 20 years The Sims has cemented itself as one of the most iconic videogame series in the world. But even as the franchise closes in on its 20th birthday, it’s surprising just how well The Sims 4 – now nearly six years old in its own right – continues to sell.

In a recent financial update, developer EA revealed that The Sims 4 now has more than 30 million players across all platforms. A more specific breakdown wasn’t given, but it was also noted that “daily, weekly, and monthly active player totals reached record highs for a first quarter”.

The life simulation game is following on some fine form, too. In an earnings call last year (via SeekingAlpha) EA CEO Andrew Wilson revealed that The Sims 4’s player count “has grown every year since we launched”. Thanks to the addition of three new content packs over the course of that financial year (Seasons, Get Famous, and Strangerville, for those of you keeping score at home) Wilson said there was a “35% year-over-year increase in active players and our strongest year of engagement yet for the game”.

Double Fine’s best games are going cheap in new Humble Bundle

If you’re looking to add some Double Fine games to your collection ahead of the Psychonauts 2 release date this new Humble Bundle will keep you sorted for a wee while. The Double Fine 20th Anniversary Humble Bundle includes titles Psychonauts, Grim Fandango, Gang Beasts, and more. The sale kicked off July 30 and will be live through to Thursday, August 13.

If you donate £0.79/ $1.09 or more, you’ll get you access to Psychonauts, Double Fine Adventure, Amnesia Fortnight 2012, Amnesia Fortnight 2014, and Amnesia Fortnight 2017. If you put up more than the given average at the time, you’ll get Day of the Tentacle Remastered, Broken Age, Brutal Legend, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin, Massive Chalice, and Costume Quest. Alternatively, you could donate $9/ £7 to get all the previously mentioned games alongside Rad, Gnog, 140, Thoth, Mountain, Everything, Escape Goat 2, Gang Beasts, Kids, Full Throttle Remastered, Grim Fandango Remastered, and Headlander.

As the website points out, the haul of games would usually set you back around $300, and any donation you make goes towards charities SpecialEffect, Girls Make Games, and another of your choice. The Double Fine Humble Bundle has only been going for just over a day, but it’s already shipped 10,187 bundles as of writing.

Football Manager 2021 release date delayed due to COVID-19

You’re going to have to wait a little bit longer to get your yearly fix of Football Manager. Developer Sports Interactive confirms that Football Manager 2021 will be delayed due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19. The update was shared on the developer’s website and details what’s going on at the studio right now.

“What I can confirm today is that, despite all the problems going on in the world, there will be new Football Manager games released later this year,” the blog post reads. “They will be delivered a little later than we’d originally planned, but they’ll have exceptionally strong feature sets… albeit different to those we thought we’d settled on back in January when I completed my ‘dream feature set’.”

The update goes on to say that while the pandemic has been challenging for the developer, it has been luckier than most and remains financially healthy. One example given was that the studio managed to make Football Manager 2020 free-to-play for a fortnight in March without suffering any drawbacks. The free spell clearly worked, too, as the FM20 player count jumped to 129,637 on through Steam during those two weeks.

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