The wallet threat level for PlanetSide Arena pre-orders just got greener

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Daybreak Game Company is delaying PlanetSide Arena again. The mega-multiplayer shooter that will offer 500-player team deathmatch and battle royale modes was originally supposed to launch on January 29th for PC, but that was delayed just before that date to March. Now, the launch is shifting to sometime in summer to coincide with the PlayStation 4 release. As part of the announcement, Daybreak is generously refunding all Steam pre-orders.

“We believe that delivering the most polished version of PlanetSide Arena that meets these expectations, on both platforms, outweighs any other consideration.”

While there’s no mention of the competition, it’s got to be hard to watch something like Apex Legends come out in your target market and immediately jump to 25 million players within a week of its surprise free-to-play launch. It was going to be hard enough to go against PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Black Ops 4, and Fortnite, and now you have to contend with this beast? Time to give everything another look!

You will never complete Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

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I like you a lot Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. I even picked you as my 2018 Game of the Year in a large field of really good games. You kept me engaged for fifty-ish hours schlepping across ancient Greece with Kassandra’s wit and strength, so you’d think I’d enjoy more of that. It seems churlish of me to complain about getting generous post-release content, but a firehose of Yoo-hoo chocolate drink will still result in a drowning.

New game plus and a level cap increase from 70 to 99 is coming in the February update. You’re trying to kill me, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Beat Saber has increased the known limits of human endeavor

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SteamVR, the virtual reality control system from Valve for Steam, has been beta updated thanks to data gleaned from Beat Saber players. According to Valve, they coded “sanity checks” into their tracking system based on what they thought was the upper limit of physical motion. Exceeding those checks caused errors as the system interpreted that data as tracking mistakes.

“It turns out that a properly motivated human using a light enough controller could go faster (3600 degrees/sec!) than we thought.”

Beat Saber players were turning their hands from palms up to palms down, and vice versa, in 50 milliseconds. Add that to the same pile as “the four-minute mile will never be broken.”

The unexpected nuance of White Tribe and its racist rump-colonial regime

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If you spend enough time playing wargames, you eventually start paying attention to the questions designers are trying to answer. Some seem to have no answer at all.  The “WW2 European Theater in an evening” problem has been out there for decades. Hitler’s Reich is the most recent one to strike out looking with a bewildered glance at the umpire. Sometimes answers come from unexpected directions, when talented designers change the question entirely so that the solution becomes obvious. Skies Above the Reich took what seemed to be an insoluble problem of solo daylight bombing over Germany, inverted the perspective, and wrapped it up in an impossibly neat package, like Fermat’s Last Theorem.

And sometimes the whole problem space shifts, and you don’t notice until the seismic disturbance knocks you over.

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Is this app a viral ad for a new Vampire: The Masquerade game?

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Tender, a new app that supposedly matches you with potential “soulmates” via blood, seems to be linked to Vampire: The Masquerade. The site is in “beta” but there’s a short personality quiz and it appears more will be added. The web app is owned by Paradox Interactive and you can even register with your current Paradox account.

The advertisement is featured in an entry on Trust No More, (which may be part of this alternate-reality “advergame”) and ties to “secret” memos from Jobe Preston, the (most likely) fictional CEO of Tender. TNM also has some codes and images to decipher.

Paradox Interactive purchased White Wolf Publishing, the owners of the Vampire license, in 2015.

God Eater 3 may not look like much, but that trailer music is fire!

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I have no idea what’s going on in the trailer for Bandai Namco’s God Eater 3. I didn’t play the first or second game, and none of this looks like anything I’d want to spend time learning, but that J-rock anthem is dope. There are monsters? A lingerie-and-monocle wearing librarian? A teen wearing manacles? I don’t know what the Ash Aragami are, and I suspect the ideas in my head are better than anything I’d see in the game, but check out those sick riffs.

God Eater 3 is available now on PlayStation 4 and Steam.

In Worbital, no one can hear you giggle. Unless you’re playing with voice chat.

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I spend a lot of time moping around, mourning the death of traditional RTSs after everyone else has gone off to play some dumb MOBA.  I can’t even muster the energy to rail against MOBAs, because I’m too busy being dejected that Starcraft online would just be a string of humiliating defeats. I’m a lot fun at parties. At least it keeps me busy. Mourning the death of traditional RTSs is a full time job.

But sometimes I get a vacation.  Sometimes something like Infested Planet, Tooth and Tail, or Offworld Trading Company comes along and brings me a little joy.  Today is one such day.

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Microsoft wants to put Xbox Live in everything

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Microsoft is planning to make Xbox Live available for Android, Apple iOS, and Nintendo Switch. Thanks to an overly descriptive tease for a session at GDC 2019, (that’s since been edited to be much less revealing) we now know that Microsoft is ready to start talking about this vision of the future.

Get a first look at the SDK to enable game developers to connect players between iOS, Android, and Switch in addition to Xbox and any game in the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs.

While there has been some work on this front already, this would seem to go much farther than just signing into your Xbox Live profile in Minecraft on the Switch or Android platforms. The session description implies they are looking to allow non-Xbox games to use Xbox Live features, for example, giving players Xbox achievements in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Interestingly, PlayStation is not mentioned in the panel text. The lack of a PlayStation call out shouldn’t be surprising considering the intense rivalry between Sony and Microsoft in the gaming space.

Your cool purple suit in Apex Legends will not be available on other systems

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If you’re enjoying Apex Legends, the surprise launch free-to-play battle royale game from Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment, there is a caveat you should keep in mind. While the developers are working on cross-play so friends on different systems can play with each other, producer Drew McCoy confirmed to Eurogamer that cross-progress, or cross-purchasing on different systems, will not happen. Unfortunately for players that like to migrate from console to PC and back as their situation permits, the studio says that it’s not technically possible due to the way the game was built. This means you will likely want to commit to your platform of choice before spending any real money on in-game cosmetics.

McCoy also explained a couple of the more puzzling aspects of the game. You don’t get a Titan in Apex Legends or any parkour shenanigans, despite the game being part of the “Titanfall universe,” because both systems were just too darned awesome for battle royale.

“The choice to not have those came about because of play-testing against our goals: to have a strategic, learnable, masterable, deep game.”

What about those of us that liked the high learning curve of Titanfall? It may be disappointing that this is what we get instead of a proper Titanfall 3, but there’s slim hope we’ll get something. Vince Zampella, Respawn’s CEO, teased some encouragement, and EA’s Andrew Wilson told investors in the company’s earnings call that Respawn would use Apex legends to “as a ramp point” to deliver a “premium” Titanfall experience later in 2019.

Wargroove earns its doggy delights

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Wargroove, Chucklefish’s homage to Advance Wars, has already broken even on its development costs according to the studio. That’s pretty good for a game that’s only been out for a few days. Apparently, there’s a market for simplified war games with cutesy art and throwback pixel graphics outside of Nintendo’s platforms. You blew it, Big N.

Chucklefish now turns to its future plans for the game. Bug-fixing, some quality-of-life improvements, and possibly a bit of DLC. Where is the cat general, Wargroove?

Blackstone Fortress has plenty of figures, but not much character

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The latest dungeon crawl to sprawl across my table is Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress, a hundred plus dollar monstrosity that Games Workshop has stooped to my level to offer.  That level being people who would play a Warhammer game, if not for the painting of a bunch of miniatures, the finding of a tape measure, and the task of pressing into service a friend who will then have to paint his own miniatures.  We can share a tape measure, however. If I were willing to go to those lengths and drag someone along with me, I’d be playing Netrunner regularly.

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Smash Piranha Plant, where are you?

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Are you missing your Piranha Plant code for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch? Maybe you have the code, but the wily plant hasn’t shown up in your game? You’re not alone. Trust Nintendo to make getting a DLC character needlessly confusing.

It’s all in the support page. If you purchased a digital copy of Smash before today, you should’ve already gotten a code emailed to you. If you purchased a physical copy, you needed to have registered the game with MyNintendo to get a code. Those messages are going out in batches. But some folks haven’t gotten a code, or they’ve entered their code, and the DLC still hasn’t shown up. It’s all a bit of a mess in the support forums as Smash fans clamour for their free character.

The next scheduled DLC character for Smash Ultimate is Joker from Persona 5, but he costs $5, and hopefully there will be less confusion around his release.