News Roundup February 9th

by Huey Chewwy

Tom Clancy's The Division gets the expected open beta next week, Amazon introduces a new free game engine, new DLC coming for Metal Gear Online, Motiga temporarily lays off a significant number of staff, get to know Far Cry Primal in a new trailer, Rocket League date for Xbox One, and new releases.

Open for all


After just having a closed beta for The Division, Ubisoft announced today that they will be doing a full open beta for the title next weekend.  The Division open beta starts on February 18th for Xbox One players, and the 19th for Playstation 4 and PC.  Ubisoft states that they have addressed most of the cheating issues on PC, and that all will be removed before the title's release.  Anyone who participates in the beta will also receive a special in-game reward when the full title is available.  Players can start pre-loading the beta beginning on Tuesday the 16th.  

A new challenger approaches!

Unity and Unreal Engine 4 might have some competition when it comes to free game engines.  Enter Lumberyard, a free 3D cross-platform game engine from Amazon.  Lumberyard allows the ability to create high quality games, access for storage and computing to the AWS cloud, and integrated Twitch support.  With the visual technology based on the CryEngine, Lumberyard is capable of rendering near-photographic 3D environments and real-time lighting effects.  With free access to the source code, C++, developers can easily customize different areas of Lumberyard for their project.

What is really interesting is the Twitch integrated support.  The Twitch ChatPlay allows developers to build gameplay mechanics that interact with real-time viewers on Twitch, similar to #iDARB.  Ideas that could be implemented include voting for powerups to give players, changing a level based on the number of viewers, or create chat channel commands.  This is an interesting feature that is built into the engine, something that developers could easily program with.

Along with Lumberyard is Amazon GameLift; an AWS service used for operating, deploying, and scaling session-based multiplayer games.  The great thing about this service is the ability to quickly scale high-performance game servers up and down to meet player demand.  This is done without any additional engineering or upfront fees.  Lumberyard is free, with no seat or subscription fees nor sharing revenue requirements.  The only thing Amazon will charge is any AWS services that are used.  Amazon GameLift will cost $1.50 per 1,000 daily active users plus standard AWS fees for AWS services used.  Lumberyard is currently in beta for PC and console platforms, with mobile and VR platforms coming soon.  This could be a really big move for Amazon with what appears to be a powerful free game engine backed by the mega company's servers and Twitch support.  With this just being introduced, it might be some time before we see some big projects from Lumberyard.

Money for expressions?

For those playing Metal Gear Online, coming in March is the "Cloaked in Silence" DLC pack that brings three new maps and one playable character to the fold.  The maps include environments set in Motherbase, the African mountains, and a large-scale building within Afghanistan.  The playable character in this pack, if not hinted by the name, is Quiet.  Her fast movement speed and jumping abilities allows players to high step on areas where a ladder would be normally needed to access.  Quiet also comes with the ability to cloak while running, which adds a boost to movement speed.  The Cloaked in Silence DLC is prcied nicely at $3.99.  MGO also adds Appeal Action, which are basically poses and emotes.  Of course, if you want to use these you're going to need to purchase them as they come in four different packs at $1.99 each.  If you are uninterested in purchasing any of the above DLC, there is some good news in the form of some free DLC also dropping in March.  The big part of this free DLC is the inclusion of a new mode titled Sabotage, where players must fulton or destroy the enemy's missile before the round expires.  To do this, the attacking team must hack into terminals to deactivate the electromagnetic barrier that surrounds the missile.

Get ready for the hunt

Far Cry Primal is shaping up to be quite the experience.  Before its release date on February 23rd, take a look at the latest trailer for the basic 101 on the game.  Training your animal companion to pee on enemies?  Check.

Trouble is brewing

Gigantic may have a lot of potential, but today's news indicates there is trouble brewing within developer Motiga.  The company announced today a temporary layoff of a significant amount of staff.  Motiga states that the financial situation of the company prevents the continuing support from the entire staff at this time.  The company is active in discussions with a number of investors, but not timely enough to avoid the very big decision of laying off a significant number of employees.  This entirely effects the development of Gigantic, which was set for PC and Xbox One.  The beta is still currently up on PC, though Motiga will continue to support the service for as long as possible.

It's ok to cheat here

If you were lucky (and old enough) to remember the days of Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64, you knew how much of a pain it was when your opponent looked at your screen.  It was easy to essentially cheat by looking at the other player's screen to see their position, weapons, and health.  This was obviously annoying for some people, but what about a game that actually required you to look at the opposing screen?  This is where the appropriately named Screencheat comes into play.  The game is currently available for PC, but will be soon available on Xbox One and Playstation 4 on March 1st of this year.  Check out the trailer to see the game in action.

Ready to blast off

Rocket League finally has a release date for Xbox One set in stone.  After the announcement of one of last year's breakout titles coming to Microsoft's system, a February release was said but no specific day.  Well mark your calendar's for the 17th, which is next Wednesday.  Rocket League will cost $20, but will include three of the previous DLC packs released on PC and PS4; Supersonic Fury, Revenge of the Battle-cars, and Chaos Run.  These packs include a load of customization options that include cars, decals, and paint types.  Don't forget about the exclusive Xbox One content such as the Warthog variant vehicle and Overcharge rocket trail.  Please note that while you will be able to play Rocket League on Xbox One, there will be no cross-play with PC players.

New releases for this week

February 9th

Firewatch (PC, PS4)
Overwatch Closed beta round 2 (PC)
Unravel (PC, Xbox One, PS4)
Final Fantasy IX (iOS, Android)
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia (PC, Xbox One, PS4)
Assassin's Creed Chronicles -3 game bundle (Xbox One, PS4)
Dying Light - The Following (PC, Xbox One, PS4)
Dying Light: The Following - Enhanced Edition (Xbox One, PS4)
Arslan: The Warriors Of Legend (PS4, PS3, Xbox One,PC)
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Lovers in a Dangerous Timespace (PS4)
Mop: Operation Cleanup (PS4)
Northern Tale (PC)
Siralim (PS4, Vita)
Breath of Fire III (Vita)
We Are Doomed (Vita)

February 10th

Rugby Challenge 3 (PS4)

February 11th

Level 22 Gary's Misadventure (PS4, PS3, Vita, PC)
Prospekt (PC)
Dream Catcher Chronicles: Manitou (PC)

February 12th

Hitman beta (PS4)
Q*bert REBOOTED: The XBOX One @!#?@! Edition (Xbox One)