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  1. Today's Deal: Save 80% during the GRID Franchise Sale!* Get Grid 2 for free until May 22 at 10AM Pacific Time. Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are! *Offer ends Thursday at 10AM Pacific Time View the full article
  2. Today's Deal: Atelier Franchise up to 40% off to celebrate the release of Atelier Lulua ~The Scion of Arland~ !* Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are! *Offer ends Thursday at 10AM Pacific Time View the full article
  3. Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games has revealed that Man of Medan, the first instalment in its Dark Pictures Anthology horror series, will be scaring up a storm on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on 30th August. Based on everything we've seen so far, the Dark Pictures Anthology looks to build on the popcorn-munching cinematic thrills of Supermassive's enormously enjoyable interactive slasher horror Until Dawn - particularly in regard to its choice-driven branching narrative - with each new entry set to dabble in a different sub-genre of horror. For the Man of Medan specifically, though, Supermassive is swapping creaking cabins in endless moonlit forests for a great big boat and a whole lot of water. As previously revealed, it follows a group of divers as they set out in search of rumoured WW2 shipwreck while on holiday. As a storm rolls in, however, the crew finds itself trapped aboard a seemingly abandoned ship, and forced to confront the secrets it's been harbouring all these years. Read more View the full article
  4. While Spyro is a peppy and cute little dragon, you've gotta admit: his flying skills could do with some work. Aside from when using power-ups or on speedway levels, Spyro's stumpy little wings can only take him so far, leaving players to jump and run their way across the game's platforms. Now, thanks to a newly-found Reignited Trilogy glitch for PS4, you can soar through the skies as Spyro wherever you want: and even fly outside level boundaries to discover some truly weird and wacky stuff, including planets and a giant floating dragon head. Oh, and I guess this could potentially be pretty useful for glitch speedruns. Flying is so much faster than walking. Read more View the full article
  5. In our recent post on User Reviews Revisited we covered our process for identifying off-topic review bombs on games, and how you can decide for yourself whether or not you'd like to see them included in Review Scores throughout the store. Back in 2017, we defined a review bomb as an event where players post a large number of reviews in a very compressed time frame, aimed at lowering the Review Score of a game. At the time, we wondered if there'd be "positive review bombs", but there were no examples of one. We decided to wait and see. A few weeks ago, in response to the Notre Dame tragedy, Ubisoft did something great for their fans by making Assassin's Creed: Unity available for free on Uplay, and committing funds towards rebuilding the monument. This led to a significant spike in players of AC: Unity on Steam, and a large number of positive reviews for the game. This led us, and members of the community, to wonder if this was finally a positive review bomb, and whether it should be considered off-topic. Data-wise, it doesn't quite fit the pattern of negative review bombs: in the case of AC:Unity there was a significant increase in actual players alongside the increase in reviews. That isn't necessarily the case with a typical off-topic review bomb (but, to be clear, we have seen some negative review bombs with that characteristic). Without reading the actual reviews, the data here all looks very much like a game that's gone on sale, or received an update. It's seen a spike in players, and as many people have come to realize, there's a fairly good correlation between player count and user reviews - if you get more players, you're going to get more reviews. But we also went and read a large chunk of the reviews. Some reference Notre Dame or the giveaway. But most just look like standard reviews of a new player, or a player that's returning to a product they bought a while ago. Ubisoft has released significant updates to AC:Unity since launch, and it appears that some players who bounced off it at launch have returned, and found themselves enjoying the game more. So it's not clear it's a review bomb. It certainly doesn't fit our original definition in the "aimed at lowering the Review Score" section, but back in 2017 the community's terminology around "review bombs" was also focused only on concerted negative efforts. It'd be nice to change that terminology to something that doesn't imply positive or negative, but that's really up to the community. But moving on. We thought we should still spend some time discussing whether it's off-topic. As a refresher - if we mark it off-topic, the only result will be that the Review Score won't include the reviews over this time period. In this case, the game clearly didn't change (although it does appear to have changed since some of the reviewers last played it). But the context around it has. It's not uncommon for us to see context changes around a game that then result in changes to the game's popularity. But are those games actually better, or worse, after those context changes? Should that be reflected in the Review Score? When thinking about whether it's off-topic, we often ask ourselves if the "general" Steam customer browsing the store would be better served if the Review Scores included the reviews. We don't want players buying games they don't have fun with, because that's not good for any of us in the industry, so we want that Review Score to be as useful as possible. But with that question in mind, it still doesn't seem like there's a single answer to whether context changes should be reflected in the Score. Some context changes are largely divorced from the game itself, such as news about the political convictions of the developer. Important to some customers, for sure, but unlikely to be something we would feel confident should be included by default for all users. But other context changes can be significant predictors of whether or not you'll be happy with your purchase. For instance, news that the live team of a multiplayer online game has been laid off is a context change that seems useful to have reflected in the Review Score for prospective buyers. In this case, the Notre Dame tragedy has made it so that AC:Unity happens to now include the world's best virtual recreation of the undamaged monument. That's a context change that could be increasing the value players are getting from the game, so perhaps the game really is better than it was before? Or maybe that's unrelated, and it's actually players feeling good about Ubisoft's significant donation to rebuilding the monument? Irrespective of the reason, perhaps this is a short-term temporal effect? Should temporal effects even be included in Review Scores? If a game was heavily focused on a time of the year, like Christmas, we suspect we'd see it have Review Score fluctuations around Christmas-time, as more people bought it and thought it was better on average than people who bought it at other times of the year. If visiting the virtual Notre Dame is a reason players have reviewing the game more positively, we'd expect the Review Score to continue to reflect it in the future, albeit at a lower volume. But that's still the case even if it's not the reason - the future Review Score would revert to where it was prior to this event. So, we're not really sure what to do here. It doesn't actually seem to be a review bomb in the way we've previously defined them, but maybe that's just our definition being wrong. But even if we define it as one, we're not sure whether it should be off-topic or not. The overall Review Score would decrease by 1.3% if we marked it, which wouldn't have any significant effect on its visibility in the store (see the FAQ below for more on that). So either way, the game itself wouldn't be affected by our decision. As a result, we've decided we're just going to leave it alone. But hopefully, this post has helped you understand that thinking behind why we've ended up there. If you have any thoughts on how we should approach this case, or similar cases in the future, we'd love to hear from you in the comments below. FAQ Q: Why wouldn't AC:Unity's visibility in the Steam Store be affected by the Review Score change if you marked it off-topic? A: There are a number of places in the Store where we factor in Review Scores when sorting games into lists. Games receive a "boost" based upon which user review bucket they're in (Mixed, Mostly Positive, etc). The actual boost amount is quite small relative to other factors in the Store, and it's essentially the same for all the Mixed or above review buckets. But there's a big boost drop-off as soon as a game drops below Mixed into the negative buckets, which occurs at the point where less than 40% of the user reviews are positive. A Mixed game receives over 500% more boost than a game in Mostly Negative. That might seem scary, but we're still talking about a boost that's small relative to many other store factors, and it's the minority case - 71.7% of titles on the Store are Mixed or above. In the case of AC:Unity, the positive review spike looks significant in the Recent Reviews view, but in the overall Review Score it only shifted from 59.7% up to 61%, both of which are squarely in the Mixed reviews bucket. Q: Why were people buying AC:Unity if it was free on Uplay? A: Any time there's an increase in visibility of a game, we generally see an increase in players and sales. Many of Steam's systems are designed to multiply player interest and activity around a game. Obviously, some players who saw the news might decide to go and buy AC:Unity to explore virtual Paris. But even players who already own AC:Unity may drive further sales, because they may decide to fire up AC:Unity to look at the Notre Dame. Steam will broadcast that activity in the form of toasts, achievements earned, trading cards, and so on, and that increases the visibility of AC:Unity to other players. For example, in the time period since the events in Paris, there's been more than a 500% increase in the number of toasts shown to players telling them that a friend has launched AC:Unity. You might expect that increase in visibility to have resulted in more players going over and picking it up for free on Uplay. It's possible that these are players who simply didn't know they could get it for free, in spite of the most prominent user review on the store page doing its best to let them know that.View the full article
  6. Rage 2's console release revealed a big divide in performance between the standard and enhanced machines. PS4 Pro and Xbox One X delivered beautifully smooth 60 frames per second gameplay, with a drop to 30fps on vanilla hardware. The big surprise? Even Microsoft's six teraflop monster 'only' ran at 1080p resolution, leaving it down to the PC game to scale up to higher resolution displays. But what does it take to hit 1440p or even 4K at 60fps? And in what other ways does PC scale beyond the console experience? First impressions are certainly promising. In common with Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, Bethesda has taken the brave move of shipping Rage 2 just with Vulkan API support, with no DirectX fallback. Settings-wise, the game is fairly comprehensive with plenty of tweakables to adjust, including toggles for contentious post-processing effects like chromatic aberation and motion blur. The game can run fully unlocked with frame-rates beyond 60fps (unlike the original Rage) and 21:9 ultrawide support is also baked in. There's even support for dynamic resolution scaling, which potentially could be very useful... if it were working. From what I've witnessed, internal resolution increases based on screen movement (?) with the end result being that jumping on the spot can deliver a higher quality image. It doesn't seem to scale according to GPU load as you would expect, suggesting that the feature is very broken right now. Regardless, I'd suggest turning this feature off, with the hope being that its functionality will be addressed in a forthcoming patch. Read more View the full article
  7. PlayStation Productions is a new studio set up by Sony to convert its video game franchises into blockbuster films and television. Its first slate of projects is already in production, according to Hollywood Reporter. The idea is PlayStation will leverage its own links to sister company Sony Pictures and work on adaptations in-house, rather than farming franchises out to external studios, and do it all better than some of the dodgy game-to-film adaptations of the past. Read more View the full article
  8. Team Sonic Racing™ is Now Available on Steam! Team Sonic Racing combines the best elements of arcade and fast-paced competitive style racing as you face-off with friends in intense multiplayer racing. View the full article
  9. Developer No Code has tirelessly described Observation as "2001 but from the perspective of HAL", a proposition that is as intriguing as it is unique, especially coming from a studio that features several people who used to work on Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation. Observation begins after an unexplained incident on the LOSS - short for Low Orbit Space Station - which sits in orbit around Earth. You hear a crew member frantically try to make contact with mission control, but around you everything is dark until the runaway space station spins past a light source, revealing nothing but a floating helmet and other wayward equipment. It immediately instills a sense of unease, a feeling that doesn't lift throughout the entire experience. Soon after this your role becomes clear. You're Sam (voiced brilliantly coldly by Anthony Howell), the station's System, Administration and Maintenance, alone with the crew doctor Emma Fisher (Kezia Burrows, a familiar voice given the setting after her role as Amanda Ripley in Alien Isolation). Emma has just gotten her bearings when a mysterious outside force tampers with your system and gives you one command: Bring Her. This leads Sam to make his first independent decision - he unceremoniously moves the whole station to Saturn. Read more View the full article
  10. Codemasters has just announced that an all-new Grid will be coming to consoles and PC later this year, with the fourth instalment in the series - called, simply, Grid - out on September 13th. It comes over a decade after the original - which, I guess, we should now call Gr1d - which saw Codemasters shake up the racing genre with its introduction of the rewind mechanic. The slightly less-than-stellar Grid 2 followed in 2013, putting a heavy American twang on the whole thing, and was quickly followed up by Grid Autosport - or Grid 2: We're Sorry Edition - in 2014. The new trailer, which features a host of GT3 and GTE machines as well as older vehicles, strongly suggests that the rewind feature will return for this instalment. It will feature racing across four continents, as well as input from Fernando Alonso, who's fresh from failing to qualify for this weekend's Indy 500 after McLaren painted its car the wrong colour and forgot to buy a steering wheel. Read more View the full article
  11. Sony has shown an early PlayStation 5 tech demo at an investor conference, captured for posterity by Wall Street Journal Tokyo journalist Takashi Mochizuki and embedded further on down this page. The demo - or a variant of it - was previously shown to Wired magazine, highlighting the enormous streaming and loading time advantages offered by the proprietary SSD technology that finds its way into Sony's next generation PlayStation. The presentation is based on Marvel's Spider-Man, developed by Insomniac Games. It starts off by showing a series of 'fast travel' warps around the game's New York map, with the PS4 Pro taking 8.1 seconds to complete a single jump. By contrast, the next generation hardware completes the same process in just 0.83 seconds. Roughly speaking, loading times are improved by an order of magnitude. The second element of the demo focuses on streaming open world data. In the original Wired piece, PlayStation system architect Mark Cerny explained that the speed of traversal in Spider-Man is limited by the constraints of the PS4 Pro hardware. The video shows this in action: as speed is increased, the PS4 Pro grinds to a halt as it streams in new information, with buildings popping in before the sequence starts up again. The same sequence on the new hardware shows traversal at jet fighter speeds, with no hitching or stuttering whatsoever. Read more View the full article
  12. EA's Team of the Season promo for FIFA Ultimate Team used to be considered one of the best times to play the game. But with FIFA 19's incarnation, players are kicking off. The promo adds unique, more powerful versions of players determined to be in each major league's team of the season. For example, Leicester City and England midfielder James Maddison is in the Premier League Team of the Season, with an 88-overall rating special card. In previous years, EA has added fun methods to obtain Team of the Season cards without having to buy packs and hope for luck. One of these methods is Upgrade Squad Building Challenges, which reward players with untradeable Team of the Season cards in exchange for a squad of high-quality cards. These Squad Building Challenges usually require a grind most FUT players enjoy. Indeed some FUT players spend all year planning for these end of season Squad Building Challenges. Read more View the full article
  13. If you were wondering why those final two Game of Thrones books are taking so long, we now partially know the answer. George R.R. Martin has revealed he's been working on a video game - one that's rumoured to be a FromSoftware title. If that last bit is true, I can totally forgive him for the wait. A few weeks ago, the initial rumour was unleashed by video games industry Varys Liam Robertson and YouTube channel Spawn Wave, claiming Martin is working on "some sort of Souls-like game" by FromSoftware with an open-world style, different kingdoms and abilities that can be collected from each area, with Martin "work[ing] on and real[ising]" the world. That was the last we'd heard of the project - until yesterday, when Martin himself provoked further speculation. In a blog post released to celebrate the final episode of HBO's Game of Thrones, Martin briefly mentioned he's "consulted on a video game out of Japan". Martin didn't elaborate further on the title, but a source familiar with FromSoftware's ongoing projects gave Gematsu further information. Apparently the game is internally being called "GR" and has been in development for the past three years. Again, it's supposed to be an open-world title with horse riding, published by Bandai Namco, and the brain child of a collaboration between Hidetaka Miyazaki (creator of the Souls series) and George R.R. Martin. Read more View the full article
  14. Nintendo mobile games Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes will be shut down in Belgium at the end of August. Both are being pulled over the "current unclear situation in Belgium regarding certain in-game revenue models". In other words, the country's recent stance on loot boxes. Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem Heroes both have a premium currency you can buy with real-world money, and various in-game items you can purchase outright. But it's clear these are not the problem. Read more View the full article
  15. It's the small things that make all the difference. I'm near the end of the tutorial section of Blood & Truth, the new standalone PlayStation VR title from Sony's own London Studio, and between all the action and theatrics of a short run through the basics of this on-rails shooter it's been a struggle to catch my breath. Now I'm sitting in the passenger of a 4X4 alongside my newly liberated comrade, peering out the window to take potshots at bad lads on motorbikes - a standard video game set-piece, given new life by the wonder of VR - but that's not what makes it special. For that, strain your ears to hear beyond the gunshots and explosions to hear what's blasting out the radio: Tim Deluxe's 2002 banger It Just Won't Do. It's an upbeat summer smile of a track, a number that every dance floor in the UK capital seemed to bounce to during the early 00s, and despite sitting in a jeep that's racing through an anonymous stretch of virtual desert it feels so very, very London. Maybe that shouldn't be a surprise, seeing what follows - a gangster-infested shooter that's steeped in the cinema of Guy Ritchie, taking place in a caricature of the capital that, despite its embellishments, feels authentic - or where Blood & Truth is being developed, in the heart of Soho. Think back a little further to the history of this studio, and it all begins to make more sense. Back in 2002 - around about when It Just Won't Do was hitting the airwaves, in fact - this same developer was making its name with The Getaway, an open world action game cast firmly in the mold of Grand Theft Auto whose standout twist was its authentic depiction of London. The studio has charted an often fascinating course in the years since, working on EyeToy and SingStar, but my heart skipped a beat when I saw it had returned to its old stomping ground for The London Heist, perhaps the standout title in the VR Worlds collection that accompanied the launch of PlayStation VR. Read more View the full article
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