System Shock 3 Development Acquired by Tencent

System Shock 3 Development Acquired by Tencent 1

Tencent has taken over the rights for System Shock 3, with OtherSide Entertainment stating they are happy to continue working on the franchise as a smaller Indie studio.

The aniticipated sequel to System Shock 2 had been in development limbo since its whole team had reportedly been laid off earlier in February 2020, putting the third game on ice. According to VGC and others, Starbreeze had undergone financial difficulties and sold the System Shock 3 rights to OtherSide, known for their work on Underworld Ascendant. Since then, the developers haven’t shared updates on the sequel until now.

With Tencent taking over the project, it’s unknown how much of the existing resources will be adopted to push development forward. System Shock 3, or alternatively a reboot of the series, was also announced sometime before the layoffs. Developed and published by Nightdive Studios, the game saw a demo, 2020 release stamp and extensive gameplay footage before going dark again. The responsibility now goes to Tencent to eventually finish a different System Shock sequel as a remake is also under development.

Exclusive look at System Shock 3 | Unity at GDC 2019 Keynote

Unity’s latest graphics innovations bring this world to life. HDRP and its Unified Lighting Model, Volumetric Fog, Deferred Decals, and Shader Graph have hel…

“It had been challenging for us to carry the project on our own,” Otherside wrote in a tweet and post. “We believe Tencent’s deep capabilities and expertise as a leading game company will bring the franchise to new heights.”

The System Shock series, was originally made in 1994 as a sci-fi first person shooter. It was hailed by critics and fans as an immersive game which inspired the likes of BioShock and Deus Ex as “spiritual successors” from developer Ken Levine who began working with 2K after developing System Shock from Looking Glass Studios. The company had since closed in 2000.

Command & Conquer Developers Release Source Codes for Mods

Command & Conquer Developers Release Source Codes for Mods

Electronic Arts producer Jim Vessella announced modders will be able to create whatever they want for players through official source codes being released for the real-time-strategy Command & Conquer Remastered Collection. The codes will correspond to its upcoming titles, Tiberian Dawn, Red Alert and all expansion packs while it becomes “one of the first major RTS franchises to provide their source codes to users.”

In a Reddit post to the Command & Conquer community, Vesella stated the .dll files are packed under a GPL 3.0 license, legitimizing every mod created with the code while making it openly available over the game’s menus.

“After discussing with the council members, we made the decision to go with the GPL license to ensure compatibility with projects like CnCNet and Open RA,” Vesella wrote, adding the remastered games share connections with older existing services adopted by communities.

“Our goal was to deliver the source code in a way that would be truly beneficial for the community, and we hope this will enable amazing community projects for years to come,” he said.

The DLLs enable modders to create their own maps to start skirmishes in, along with changing game mechanics to make new game modes, team/enemy units and even art design. According to Vesella, community users have already tinkered with the open source codes while modded content is expected to greet players once the game is unlocked on release.

ccr comparison slider image 1 original - Command & Conquer Developers Release Source Codes for Mods
Command & Conquer Remastered Collection – EA

Vesella also took time to discuss LAN Play support, which became a staple feature across competitive and casual Command & Conquer sessions.

“We had every intention of including LAN Play in the launch version of the game, but sadly this feature did not make it in time,” wrote Vesella, who cited the worldwide coronavirus pandemic as a setback for adding the feature in time for launch.

“We understand this feature is vital as both an avenue to play mods in multiplayer, and also to serve as a backup in case the online systems are ever down. We’re bummed this one got away, and will continue to keep this on our priority list going forward,” he added.

Command & Conquer Remastered Collection will also have Steam Workshop support, with mods being available in one place for users to download from. Players simply hit “subscribe” for the mod to download into the game as DLC. Updates for mods are also automatically downloaded and installed as part of the subscription feature, saving players a manual hassle.

Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is coming to the PC on June 5 and contains updated versions of Tiberian Dawn, Red Alert and expansions Covert Ops, Counterstrike and The Aftermath. The game can be pre-ordered over Origin and Steam.

Serious Sam 4 Revives Over-the-top FPS Series on August 2020

Serious Sam 4 Revives Over-the-top FPS Series on August 2020

Devolver Digital and Croteam have announced the existence of Serious Sam 4, the next sequel to the long-time first person shooter series and a follow-up to 2011’s Serious Sam 3: BFE.

In a press release, Devolver stated the next game will mark the return of Sam “Serious” Stone as he rallies the Earth Defense Force to take their planet back from Mental’s alien invaders. Hordes of enemies are looking to give Sam a hard time as he fires back with upgradeable weapons, “perfectly-timed” one liners and countless rockets.

The game will also feature familiar enemies, including the Headless Kamikaze, Scrapjack, Kleer and Werebull. Other new enemies such as the Processed, Belcher and Brute Zealot add new challenges for players who have to dodge their special attacks and switch to heavier artillery accordingly.

ss 6b940fd678128f1049b34e2af1e6585eba77ba90.1920x1080 - Serious Sam 4 Revives Over-the-top FPS Series on August 2020
Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass – Devolver Digital

Adding to the experience, Serious Sam 4‘s campaign can also be played cooperatively with four friends online while its missions and side quests. Game modifiers can also change up the game’s mechanics to spice up the challenges while a legion system throws thousands of enemies at players in one session. Battlefields expand Serious Sam‘s, corridors and open shooting environments while giving players more space to dodge bullets and send their own back.

Serious Sam was born in 2001 as Croteam had developed The First Encounter for PC and Xbox. Its signature comedy and run-and-gun mechanics were solidified while Sam became locked in a nineteen-year-old conflict with invading alien ruler “Mental”. Sam also gains the ability to time travel after harnessing the Time-Lock, leading to some wacky level designs in Ancient Egypt, an alien homeworld and war-ravaged America.

The series gained an official sequel in 2005 before the First and Second Encounter were remastered in 2009 and 2010 with updated graphics and shooting controls. Serious Sam: BFE was released in 2011 and delivered a campaign set before the events of The First Encounter. According to its product page on Steam, Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass is also a prequel to the series, adding a new part of Sam’s story before he frantically travels through history and masters the Time-Lock.

ss 2e6824320cd0feeb609c4258264df0d832cf3375.1920x1080 - Serious Sam 4 Revives Over-the-top FPS Series on August 2020
Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass – Devolver Digital

Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass comes out August 2020 and is available for pre-order with bonuses for the PC and Google Stadia. A version for PS4 and Xbox One have yet to be announced.

Respawn Dedicates New Vancouver Studio to Apex Legends Support

Respawn Dedicates New Vancouver Studio to Apex Legends Support

Respawn Entertainment, creators of Titanfall, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order are celebrating their tenth anniversary with the unveiling of a brand new studio that will be based in Vancouver while allowing Canadian developers to take part in shaping the ongoing battle royale hit Apex Legends.

In an interview with GamesIndustry, Respawn COO Dusty Welch stated Respawn wasn’t ready for Apex Legends‘ surge since it was announced on Feburary 4, 2019. It was also surprise-released on the same day for free across current generation systems, taking in over a million players in less than eight hours after launch. Since then, Apex Legends sees a steady flow of players across casual, competitive and eSports platforms.

apex legends screenshot header - Respawn Dedicates New Vancouver Studio to Apex Legends Support
Apex Legends – Respawn Entertainment

The rise of Apex Legends also gave Respawn the idea of creating a Canadian studio, with a team mainly focused on adding support and maintenance for the live battle royale game for years to come.

“Vancouver is full of talented people in the games industry, so there was a natural fit,” said Head of Operations Henry Lee, adding it already has a foundation set with EA Vancouver on their campus. The new studio would hire internally and externally as Respawn connects more with Electronic Arts while over 80 new staff are expected to be interviewed.

“We started with who was passionate about making Apex, and we built a team around strong individuals as opposed to a project plan that you would conventionally start off a project around,” team director Steven Ferreira told GamesIndustry.

ss b76c3e22424cff02441d13448f4d8dfda89c11bd.1920x1080 - Respawn Dedicates New Vancouver Studio to Apex Legends Support
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Respawn Entertainment

It’s also the second studio for the team, who established themselves in 2010 after Call of Duty developers Jason West and Vince Zampella were fired from Activision. Dozens of Infinity Ward staff followed the pair to create Respawn, who developed and released their first game, Titanfall. The game later spawned a franchise, with a sequel and the eventual Apex Legends being brought to life. The studio also signed on to create a franchise with Star Wars Jedi after it was given the task of creating a single player-based action adventure with lightsabers.

The new team will be composed of several staff connected with Respawn Entertainment in their main California studio while others from EA Vancouver and local developers will be helping out in developing new content for Apex Legends as it continues to run on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Spire 06: The Vermission Prey

Terrible Warriors Spire 6

Spire 06 – The Vermission Prey

The Vermission Way was the great experiment that failed. Now the Spire is filled with empty rail tunnels that connect and reconnect to a twisting labyrinth of changing ideas and patterns.  It was a perfect way to avoid the authorities and sneak a squad of Gnoll veterans into Middle City.

The Vermission Way was the great experiment that failed. Now the Spire is filled with empty rail tunnels that connect and reconnect to a twisting labyrinth of changing ideas and patterns. 

It was a perfect way to avoid the authorities and sneak a squad of Gnoll veterans into Middle City. But in order to reach Middle City our Sage must first reach a tunnel he’s been in before…

I’m sure it’s the next left…
Can’t be far now…
What’s that noise? 

The Spire is published by Rowan, Rook, and Decard and was written by Grant Howitt and Chris Taylor.

Xyrie is played by Velvet Wells
Nharus is played by Sean Hunter
The GM is Justin Ecock

Music provided by Epidemic Sound

Follow us on twitter at @dicewarriors

Epic Games Starts Partial Refunds for Pre-Sale Purchases

Epic Games Starts Partial Refunds for Pre-Sale Purchases

Epic Games is solving a large caveat that comes with discovering a sale on games shortly after paying full price for them. Through what it calls a “Partial Refund,” it’s a way to essentially price match a game for shoppers who previously bought a game on their Epic Games Store.

An early account of the refund was tweeted out by Studio Mayday founder and game director Joshua Boggs, who was given an email after he bought a game before a sale. Shortly after, he received the price difference without a need to reach out.

Joshua Boggs on Twitter

Whoa whoa what?! I’ve clearly been around for too long because I find this refund for a discount I missed on the ⁦@EpicGames⁩ store absolutely mind blowingly generous. This is incredible?

“Some storefronts suffer heavily from the same psychology that surrounds deflation economics,” added Boggs, later threading the tweet with commentary about the effort by Epic Games to relieve customers of stress after discovering their title went on sale. The move by Epic Games also updates a precedent for a long time pet peeve for online gamers. Its distribution platform is among a few rare ones to give customers money back if they make a purchase without knowing about an upcoming sale.

Joshua Boggs on Twitter

If this move by Epic is going to roll out, they’re effectively ensuring stability in the trust of their store’s economy by encouraging people to buy without worrying if the game they’re buying will suddenly decrease in value later.

This guarantees that no customers are left behind as they save significantly during a sale. Epic Games’ email is also likely to become a regular occurrence with online gamers who may be surprised to find a few extra dollars deposited back into their bank accounts. According to Epic Games’ official refund policy, non-refundable products such as Fortnite V-bucks and other consumable-based game goods are not up for partial refunds. As for video games, a purchase made 14 days before a sale are up for Partial Refunds.

Customers can either wait for Epic Games Store to reimburse the price difference for them with an email notification. The refund can also be more directly managed by starting a refund request for the full game and later repurchasing it at a sale price. Epic Games is currently releasing Grand Theft Auto V for free through its Launcher while many other games from third-party studios are available to purchase. Every week, a game from the store also becomes free as a promotion.

The Last of Us Part 2 Coming with Limited PS4 Pro Release

The Last of Us Part 2 Coming with Limited PS4 Pro Release

Naughty Dog’s anticipated sequel The Last of Us Part 2 is being released with a special PS4 Pro decorated with engravings inspired by Ellie’s tattoo and the Fireflies group.

In the latest PlayStation Blog post by Global Marketing VP Mary Yee, the console’s three-decker body is covered with a matte finish while its face is etched with Ellie’s ivory-based tattoo design. A branch stands across the system with shiny detailed leaves. A firefly, symbol of the opposing group of survivors from The Last of Us, make their presence known again in front of Ellie’s design.

wM2CopioPeMLRnYxBEnyZW - The Last of Us Part 2 Coming with Limited PS4 Pro Release
Image Provided by PlayStation

The game’s bold logo is scrawled across the updated DualShock 4’s trackpad while a miniature version of Ellie’s design is drawn over the right controller grip. Its face buttons are also in black-in-white and forego the traditional pink, red, green and blue designs.

“When we first revealed The Last of Us Part 2, we had no idea how quickly fans would embrace Ellie’s tattoo,” stated Naughty Dog Art Director John Sweeney.

“Within a day, we started seeing real-life versions showing up on social media and fans have been sharing photos of their new tattoos with us week after week ever since,” he added. This created an opportunity to bring the popular tattoo onto a new PS4 Pro and Dualshock 4 to coincide with The Last of Us 2‘s release, letting players use them in a continuing journey across a cordyceps-ridden America.

49910238438 c648b7ca19 k - The Last of Us Part 2 Coming with Limited PS4 Pro Release
Image Provided by PlayStation

The console’s release with The Last of Us Part 2 is also accompanied with PlayStation’s own Limited Edition Gold Wireless Headset, which also features the tattoo across its head cushion while the game’s logo is decorated on the side. A licensed 2TB Game Drive is also coming from Seagate to give PS4 players a space upgrade under a similar design.

The Last of Us Part 2 comes out exclusively for the PlayStation 4 on June 19, 2020 on physical and digital editions. Its limited edition console comes with the PS4 Pro, DualShock 4 and physical copy of the game for $499.99 CAD MSRP. Its special DualShock 4 controller can also be purchased separately for $74.99 CAD while the Game Drive and Wireless Headset come at $114.99 and $119.99 CAD, respectively. Pre-orders for the game, system and accessories can be pre-ordered through online retailers.

Report: 93rd Academy Awards Postponed Due to COVID-19

Report: 93rd Academy Awards Postponed Due to COVID-19 1

The 93rd Academy Awards are reportedly being delayed, according to sources who told Variety “Hollywood’s biggest night” might find a different date.

According to the report, the next Oscars is due for February 2021, but could be pushed down the year due to COVID-19 causing production delays. On anonymity, the sources stated “it’s likely they’ll be postponed,” while others corroborated the claims with new dates up for proposals. A conflicting source says the original date is still set for airing and live syndication at ABC.

Since March 2020, the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has caused ripples in entertainment. The changes reached the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who stated in April that films no longer need a seven-day theatrical run to make the award qualifications. Films can now be up for nominations by digital releases, setting a new precedent for the way audiences are experiencing cinema during an age of social isolation.

Academy head David Rubin later told Variety “It’s impossible to know what the landscape will be,” adding the event will continue to celebrate movies regardless of a live TV form or otherwise.

The new rule also goes deeper into streaming territory, with digital giant Netflix taking over 24 nominations for films such as The Irishman and American Factory in last year’s Academy Awards. Of course, its own studio releases a few of their online titles onto the big screen as a limited theatrical run to make the qualifications.

A new air date for the 93rd Academy Awards has not been confirmed or officially announced yet while it’s reportedly on-course for February 2021.

Pixels & Ink #312 – Next Gen is Coming

Auto Draft 344

This week on the Pixels and Ink Podcast we have two different but equally engaging topics on the board. In the first half, Alex, Cole, Liam and Jordan talk about the nature of next-gen gaming and how a summer without E3 is potentially shaping up to be a fantastic one for games. And in the second half, Lindsay takes over for Liam as the crew talks about their favourite collectables, the ones that have stuck with them over the years, and the ones that they allegedly stole from Anime North 10 years ago. All that plus Nightwing’s butt.