The Thursday news, all in one post:
SALES /PLAYER COUNT & DEALS
The Epic Store gives away Midnight Ghost Hunt: https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/midnight-ghost-hunt
The next free game is a mystery.
GOG wants to bring us some peace, and has launched the Indie Chill Sale with up to 90% discounts during 7 days: https://www.gog.com/en/promo/2023_chill_indie_sale.
Steam has two new deals:
There's a new Humble Bundle: the Must-Play Metroidvanias Bundle, with 9 games to get during 20 days: https://www.humblebundle.com/games/must-play-metroidvania.
And Fanatical has launched the new Platinum Collection BYOB for June, with 15 titles to choose for your 3, 5 or 7 games bundle: https://www.fanatical.com/en/pick-and-mix/platinum-collection-build-your-own-bundle.
SOFTWARE & DRIVERS
INTEL Arc & Iris Graphics 18.104.22.16882
Intel® Game On Driver support on Intel® Arc™ A-series Graphics for:
- Diablo IV
- Street Fighter 6
Game performance improvements versus Intel® 22.214.171.12469 software driver for:
- Total War: Warhammer III (DX11) – Mirror of Madness Benchmark
- Up to 4% uplift at 1080p with Ultra settings
- Certain applications using Vulkan API may experience an application crash.
- The Last of Us Part 1 (DX12) may experience an application crash during gameplay.
- Unreal Engine 5.2 Editor may experience an application crash.
- Street Fighter 6 (DX12) – Battle Hub Benchmark may exhibit lower than expected performance
AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 23.5.2
- Support for:
- Performance optimizations for Microsoft Olive DirectML pipeline for Stable Diffusion 1.5.
- Boost your performance by an average of 2x in Microsoft Olive Optimized DirectML Stable Diffusion 1.5 using AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition™ 23.5.2 on the AMD Radeon™️ RX 7900 XTX graphics card, versus the previous software driver version 23.5.1. RS-579
>> There are no fixed issues.
MODS, EMULATORS & FAN PROJECTS
Witcher 3 director and Cyberpunk producer launch a new studio: 'After working for years in an increasingly conservative industry, we’re ready to make bold, impactful projects'
A team of CD Projekt veterans including Witcher 3 co-director Mateusz Kanik, producer Jędrzej Mróz, and Cyberpunk 2077 senior producer Marcin Jefimow, have launched a new studio called Blank that is currently working on "a character-driven game set in an apocalypse, with a twist or two."
Hideo Kojima says Metal Gear Solid 2 had to make 300 changes and was almost cancelled in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks
Hideo Kojima recently gave an interview to the magazine Weekly Tokyo Keizai, in which he talked a little about the run-up to the release of Metal Gear Solid 2 and how real-world events almost scuppered the game's release. At the time MGS2 was probably the most anticipated game in the world, and was due to release in November 2001. Then two months before the game's release, the September 11 terrorist attacks happened, killing just under 3,000 people and changing the course of the world.
Activision Blizzard CEO audaciously claims that sexism and harassment problems were made up by an 'aggressive labor movement' trying to 'destabilize the company'
In a new and frankly embarrassing interview with Variety, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said there's actually never been a problem with "systemic" harassment at the company, and that reports of such things were mainly the result of unions trying to cause trouble.
>> The balls of this guy...
Diablo 4 dev corrects day 1 patch statement, says the launch version will have 'very few' changes from the Server Slam build when it goes live
Day 1 patches are a very common thing in the videogame industry: You buy a game, preload it, and then before you can start playing it on launch day you have to download an often-massive update filled with all sorts of last-minute fixes and tweaks. Diablo 4 will presumably have its own day 1 patch when it goes into early access launch tomorrow, but we've now learned that not much is changing for the launch.
Stardew Valley's developer tweeted 'iridium scythe' and everyone is losing it
Stardew Valley developer Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone has a habit of being pretty quiet on social media, so when he does speak up everyone pays attention. Today he tweeted just two words: "iridium scythe" which is a nod to a tool upgrade apparently long-desired by way more players than I'd anticipated.
Start your tiny engines, a Hot Wheels Unleashed sequel is on the way
Milestone's big racing game about tiny cars is getting a sequel: Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged will launch on October 19, 2023 across PC and consoles. The sequel will have a ton more cars, 130 at launch, and five environments to race in. It'll also add motorcycles and ATVs, as well as new customization options for your rides, all of which can be shared with others online.
'No signs of remorse'—Sonic creator faces prison sentence and over $1 million fine in ongoing trial
Prosecutors in the Tokyo District Court are pushing for a heavy punishment for Sonic and Balan Wonderworld creator Yuji Naka, Abema Times (via VGC) reports. They want to hit Naka with a 2.5 year sentence and a ¥2.5 million fine (around $18,000/£14,000), as well as a "supplementary penalty" of ¥170 million (around $1.2 million/£975,000). Prosecutors have lambasted the game designer for showing "no signs of remorse" over his actions.
Firaxis hit by layoffs after Midnight Suns disappointment and departure of iconic creative lead
Civilization and XCOM studio Firaxis has been struck by a round of layoffs, Axios reports. Around 30 developers at the company have lost their jobs so that Firaxis can perform a "sharpening of focus, enhancements of efficiencies, and an alignment of our talent against our highest priorities," which I'm pretty certain is just a hyper-corporate way of saying 'we need to spend less money'.