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You might have thought the release of American Truck Simulator would mean Euro Truck Simulator is old and busted, America is the new hotness. That’s how it works with sequels. In with the new, out with the old. Euro truck drivers can still play in their old world, but the developers at SCS Software have moved on to the New World, right?

Not so! Today they added France. The whole country. $20 gets you the Viva La France DLC. With Euro Truck Simulator 2 now includes France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Italy, Holland, and the UK (pending Brexit). American Truck Simulator includes California and a chunk of Arizona. Who’s the new hotness now?

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THQ Nordic has updated Nexus: The Jupiter Incident with official mod capability. The latest patch for the 2004 real-time strategy game adds Steam Workshop support. There’s not a lot of modding being done yet, but if the internet does what it does best, we should see Star Trek and Star Wars mods right around the time anime porn works it way into the community. That’s if amateur creators can be dragged away from the community in Sins of a Solar Empire, which seems to have become the home of space strategy modding.

THQ Nordic purchased the Nexus franchise from HD Publishing back in September of 2015. The publisher at that time had announced their intention to start work on a sequel as they considered Nexus an “overlooked, hidden gem” of the space strategy genre.

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, | Game reviews
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If you had told Charles B. Griffith he was responsible for one of the most perfect comedy videogames, he probably would have asked, “What’s a videogame?” Griffith was a prolific screenwriter from a bygone era. In the 50s and 60s, he was a go-to guy for producer Roger Corman when Corman needed a template for another crappy low-budget movie. I don’t know most of the movies based on Griffith’s scripts, but I can imagine what they’re like based on the titles: It Conquered the World, Attack of the Crab Monsters, Ski Troop Attack, Beast from Haunted Cave, A Bucket of Blood, Not of This Earth (apparently the last two aren’t as terrible as the others). Griffith is best known for Little Shop of Horrors, which was a crappy Roger Corman movie before it was a Steve Martin movie adapted to a hit musical. From this, you might guess better filmmakers could have made good movies from his scripts. We may never know.

But Griffith’s most enduring contribution is a videogame he had nothing to do with. Continue reading →

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Star Wars Battlefront will get content inspired by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The Scarif DLC pack recreates the tropical beach landscape shown in trailers for the upcoming movie. Shoretrooper enemies square off against Rebel infiltration teams, while TIE Strikers and S-Wing spacecraft buzz around the recently revealed AT-ACT walkers. New hero characters Jyn Erso and Orson Krennic will bring special powers to the firefights, and players will be able to load up with new weapons and Star Cards. Thanks to the generousity of Electronic Arts and DICE, (or perhaps a co-marketing deal with Disney) the Scarif pack will be a free update! Season pass owners will get access to the content on December 6th, while freeloading moof-milkers will get it on December 20th.

PlayStation VR owners of Star Wars Battlefront will also get a free X-Wing VR Mission with the Scarif DLC.

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Although Worms WMD is a welcome return to two-dimensional battlefields for the series, Team17 isn’t afraid of trying new things with the title. The upcoming Liberation update features the first-ever appearance of an aquatic vehicle for the battling annelids. The Drillboat not only turns the death sentence of water into another method of traversing the battlefield, it features an earth-chewing digger on the bow that allows it to grind tunnels out of the landscape. Not even the infamous Concrete Donkey can overcome water! The free update also adds some new weapons, a “war-torn” theme for areas, and new customization items.

The Worms WMD Liberation update is coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam on December 7th.

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, | Game diaries
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(This is the third entry in a weekly (or so) game diary by Bruce Geryk and Patrick Mullen about the boardgame Vietnam 1965-1975. The series starts here.)

For this American former fourteen-year old boy, invoking the Lens of History (the game seen through a historical lensas an alternate history) while playing Vietnam 1965-1975 begins the moment I start thinking about set up.

After the jump, starting at the beginning Continue reading →

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Think back to 2003 when Steam was first required to play Half-Life 2. It was awful, right? This bloated, unnecessary, digital rights management software was a blight on your PC. You just wanted to play basketball with Dog and flirt with Alyx Vance, so why did you need this? What good was it to you? Fast-forward to now and the PC gaming industry is unthinkable without it. In fact, it’s probable that you’ve purchased games that you otherwise never would’ve heard of thanks to Steam.

The same process is happening in China. Lisa Hanson of Niko Partners explains in a Gamasutra blog post that thanks to some unique business conditions, Steam is flourishing in China. Because Steam is required to play Dota 2, and because Steam is puzzlingly exempt from the kind of Chinese government censorship that other software distribution platforms must endure, China’s gamers are gaining access to games they otherwise could not purchase.

The fact that Steam had banned games peaked the curiosity of a few Chinese gamers who wanted to try out this platform and this led to many of them purchasing their second game on Steam, Grand Theft Auto V. Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) already had a huge presence globally and was marketed as the game to experience the American way of life. GTA V had a localized Chinese version and was considerably cheaper than the Western version of the game. The popularity of the game in China led to many live streamers playing the game on their channel and this in turn led to many more creating Steam accounts to buy and play the game.

China is the second largest region for ownership of Grand Theft Auto V on Steam. Hanson notes that in 2015 Steam began accepting Chinese currency and AliPay, the regional equivalent of PayPal, which boosted the popularity of the storefront.

In fact, there are now more than 10 million Steam users in China, which makes it the second largest Steam region. It also allowed the average number of games owned to jump from 2-3 per user all the way up to 11 games owned per user in China. Removing these barriers had a hugely positive impact for game sales on Steam. A Chinese New Year sale went further towards growing the Steam user base.

Tencent, the publisher behind Riot Games, is taking on Steam in China with its own Tencent Games Platform. (Check out a commercial for the service here!) The publishing giant is bringing third-party games to their store from developers and publishers around the world.

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If you already own Darksiders on Steam or GOG, there’s a free upgrade to Darksiders Warmastered Edition available starting today. The Warmastered Edition from new publisher THQ Nordic (formerly Nordic Games) adds higher resolution textures, better quality cinematics, rendering improvements, and new effects. There’s also support for 4K video output, if that’s your thing. If you don’t already own the original title, the Warmastered Edition is on sale with a hefty discount.

Darksiders Warmastered Edition is also available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but like similar “HD re-releases” there’s no free upgrade even if you own the original title on the previous generation console.

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Hitman, the celebrated stealthy faffing about simulator from IO Interactive and Square Enix, has had one big issue holding it back. While the episodic release schedule has been a boon for the self-contained locations like Paris, Bangkok, and Colorado, a constant irritant has been the game’s online requirements. Since release, Hitman has required a connection to the home servers for players to access their unlocked mission rewards. No internet access? Sorry, Agent 47. No alternate starting points, no nifty outfits, and no optional weapons. With the latest patch, that’s all changed. The November Update features an offline profile that will allow players to use their unlocked bits and bobs while the servers are inaccessible as long as the items were unlocked while online. Hitman’s license to kill has been upgraded!

Hitman will be available in a physical retail release on January 31st with all first season episodes bundled together.

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, | Movie podcasts
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A movie making an Important Historical Point starring the woman who played Queen Something or Other in the Warcraft movie and the dude who played young Uncle Owen in the Star Wars prequels? For this week’s 3×3, at the 1:16, we change into a podcast about when one character is played by multiple characters in a movie.

Next week: Manchester by the Sea

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That’s video for the Foundation Update which was just released for No Man’s Sky. It’s a substantial addition to the space wanderer experience from Hello Games that mainly adds a customizable home base for players to return to after traveling. Along with base-building, the update features a new, harsher survival mode to test players’ scavenging and hoarding skills, farming, automated mining, buildable waypoints to help map systems, the ability to hire mercenary space freighters, and a revamped user interface. Will it be enough to overcome the post-launch backlash against No Man’s Sky? According to Hello Games, the Foundation Update is the “first of many” free updates to the game.

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Saints Row IV wasn’t exactly hurting for post-release content. I count 25 bits of DLC for sale for a grand total of about $60. Or you can get it all for $4.99 when you buy the Game of the Century upgrade pack. It’s your call. Most of the DLC is new costumes. Let’s face it: part of being a crazy over-the-top superhero is deciding what you’re going to wear. And now a lot more options will be available for free, because Volition announced official support for Steam’s Workshop. Now user-made mods can be easily added, browsed, and installed. Although some stuff has been available for a while, with official support, we can expect more stuff, and more quality stuff. For instance, this in-progress new textures mod could be promising for making the world look more “SR Miami style”, according to the author.

So what else is on the Steam Workshop? A lot of the items are more new clothes. For instance, a mod that lets you buy clothes you might see NPCs wearing, but that aren’t available in any stores. Now you can play as a cheap Iron Man knock-off (pictured). Or don this tasteful party dress. If it weren’t for the sultry off-the-shoulder style, I might want this T-shirt in real life.

Some of the mods break the game in weird ways. You can find the usual cheats, but you can also find some interesting gameplay tweaks. Here’s a mod that lets you bring different styles of homies into the game to fight with you. No, there’s no nude Kinzie. I checked for a friend of mine. You can be the Doof Warrior. This lets you fly beyond the actual sky. Apply weird rifts affects across a city block, or even throughout the whole city. Saints Row IV is, after all, a game about hacking the matrix. And now the matrix itself supports hacking the hacking. Whoa.

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Zen Studios and Bethesda have partnered on a trio of pinball tables for Zen Pinball. The Bethesda Pinball pack includes virtual tables based on Doom, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Ever since pinball tables became dazzling mixed-media productions filled with multi-balls, video graphics, and Dolby audio, Doom has been a logical candidate for being licensed to someone like Bally or Stern. It’s in virtual form, but we’re finally getting an official Doom pinball table! Bonus points for being based on one of the best versions of Doom. The first-person shooter’s dancing, blasting, and chainsawing from demon to demon seems a perfect fit for pinball.

The Bethesda Pinball pack will be available on the Xbox Store, PlayStation Network, and Steam on December 6th, and on mobile platforms December 8th.

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