It's the last week before the Xmas break, and the grapevine runneth dry. Soon, we will commence the annual Engluttification ceremony, a ritual of banishment in which we feed the Maw our entire Steam wishlists while singing an arcane carol of our own devising, Nth Days of Solstice, in which the famous partridge in the pear tree has Twice-Twenty Wings, and on each Wing I saw an Eye, verily, and a Mouth rejoicing for lo, the Great Catch-Up Period has come. But before that, there is still a little more News to cover.
Some games we're keeping under surveillance before we flee the premises: surreal turn-based RPG Entogious (18th Dec), construction-minded endless runner Project Bridge (18th Dec), 90s-style RPG Prophecy of the Shadow (19th Dec).
Right. The Maw retreats for another evening. I leave you with Paula West's warm bath of a voice.
(the) Gnorp Apologue is an incremental town builder about gnorps hitting a rock and splashy pixel particles. It's out now.
Bethesda say they're planning on updating Starfield every six weeks, beginning February 2024. Updates include mod support, city maps, new gameplay options, ship customisation upgrades, new methods of travel, and a major story expansion called Shattered Space.
One of the hackers responsible for last year's GTA 6 leak has been sentenced to an indefinite stay at a secure hospital, the BBC report.
Metal Gear Solid's Master Collection has been updated to version 1.4.0 with new graphical and resolution options. There are comparison screenshots at the Konami site.
The Epic holiday sale is also underway, with daily "mystery" free games. The first is Melvor Idle, an idle game inspired by Runescape.
The Epic Games Store will amend their policy to allow blockchain games rated Adults Only to return to the store, The Verge reports. The Entertainment Software Rating Board have been rating some games as Adults Only solely because of their blockchain implementation. Content restrictions on other kinds of Adults Only games - those given the rating for porn, gambling or hateful content - remain in place, Epic say.
Steam also now lets you mark games as private, if you opt-in to the beta update, alongside various updates to the shopping cart. Good news if you're really embarrassed by all those Ubisoft games you own, I guess.
Edwin is off sick and the Maw encroaches. Thankfully I am here to hold it back for a few hours.
IT IS THURSDAY - the second-to-last day before the holiday. I however am off sick (it's not because I've been over-festive, I promise), so this is just a drive-by reminder to FEED THE MAW before I retreat under the covers. I hope you're having a jolly December.
Armored Core 6's 1.05 patch sounds like one for those invested in the PVP of FromSoft's mech game, with the addition of ranked matchmaking (plus leaderboards), along with some new PVP maps and the ability to customise your nameplate. There's a bunch of other new stuff, too!
If you're in the UK, you can catch Elden Ring's soundtrack performed live in concert at the Royal Albert Hall next April.
The "narrative symphonic experience" will rearrange close to 50 tracks into lengthy suites designed to span the entire game from start to finish, and sync up with gameplay, video, lights and sound effects for what's said to be an immersive way to listen.
That incoming reboot of Jet Set Radio we saw a few scant snatches of during The Game Awards has had some new details teased via an internal Sega presentation.
The headline detail is that it appears to be going open-world, a notable change from the level-based rollerblading and graffiti-tagging of previous JSR games.
Bloober Team, developers of Layers of Fear, The Medium and notably the upcoming remake of Silent Hill 2, are working on a new horror game with the creators of The Walking Dead.
The project currently codenamed "R" will be based on one of Skybound Entertainment's IPs, and will see a proper reveal sometime in 2025.
Rocksteady's Suicide Squad game has seen a mysterious delay - not mysterious because of the delay, as Kill the Justice League has been pushed back for multiple years, but because it only affects Epic Games Store.
Epic's storefront will now get Kill the Justice League on March 5th, a month and a few days after Steam and PS5/Xbox get it on February 2nd. (And a few days more after those who play its early access release.) No reason was given for the specific delay, but Rocksteady will be refunding those who pre-ordered via EGS.
There's a patch for The Finals, which might be Graham's Game of the Year? Amongst other things, the update pulls a nerfaroo on the Heavy class, and there sure are some Opinions about that in the Steam comments.
Exputer has an interview with the game director of Remnant 2 which includes some thoughtful thoughts about boss design - and hints of a potential new game mode.
I wrote up a bullet hell shooter I stumbled on yesterday, Angel At Dusk.
Kerbal Space Program 2's For Science update is live - it adds an Exploration Mode with scientific objectives and associated progression trees. Here's some footage of all that.
Outgoing Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney has taken a few potshots at what he feels to be unnecessarily large development teams and the industry's preoccupation with cinematic visuals, as reported by Axios. Mahoney told the site that "our industry is in deep trouble right now, I think, because of throwing bodies at the problem of game development". He also feels that "we've been talking about cinematic graphics and sound since the days of the PlayStation 2" and that devs should focus on "fun".
Smarty-pants roguelike-meets-Tetris affair Loot River has been updated with a level editor - here's a video.
Morning music? Errr. Let's try some Bocchi the Rock.
Blizzard have released their 2024 roadmap for World of Warcraft, including the release window for the War Within expansion.
IT IS WEDNESDAY. What terrible revelations await us today? Hopefully nothing too dramatic - the Maw has started to glisten in an ominous way. FEED IT.
City Update 5: European Cities 1 isn't a football score, it's the latest update for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Did I only write about this because I thought of the headline pun? No, but I would have.
Songs Of Conquest and Against The Storm, two great tactics-strategy-management games, are both now Steam Deck verified. Just in time for your visit to see your family this holiday.
Games Workshop's deal with Amazon to bring the Warhammer 40K universe to TV and film is now finalised, the tabletop game maker says. It's still years away from being a thing you can watch, though.
A technical issue has been preventing cheaters from being banned efficiently in The Finals, but a fix is on the way.
Some nice music to end my shift on.
Activision Blizzard and the ABK Workers Alliance union are at loggerheads over Acti ending hybrid working for QA staff in January - here's my report.
Obsidian once pitched a Fallout: New Vegas-style Elder Scrolls spin-off to Bethesda, according to New Vegas senior designer Chris Avellone, who envisaged the project as part of a release strategy of alternate studios working on the series. The pitch didn't get very far, however.
The pretty decent Tails of Iron has received a free endgame expansion.
Minimax have a new interview with former Mass Effect lead writer and Worlds Untold founder Mac Walters. It's an hour long and covers a bunch of stuff, from Mass Effect 3's ending through working with NetEase to not having enough time for Starfield.
EA have rebranded their Frostbite Engine and introduced a new handprint logo. Here's an excerpt from the announcement post, which has caused me to feel various emotions: "The sharp, cutting edges of previous handprints have also been smoothed out, creating more fluid shapes. This reflects our commitment to addressing Frostbite’s rougher edges, creating a smoother experience for both creators and players."
This Steam bundle gives you 10 extremely well-regarded story-driven games for 83% off, including Roadwarden, Card Shark and Paradise Killer.
Armored Core 6 is getting ranked online play in a new patch today, as reported by VG247.
Square Enix has dated SaGa Emerald Beyond for release on 25th April 2024. It "has the greatest number of branching plots of any game in the SaGa series", according to the Steam blurb.
Speaking of leaks, ransomware group Rhysida are reported to have leaked over a terabyte of hacked Insomniac Games data, after threatening to do so last week. The leaks apparently include further details of the developer's Wolverine game.
There have been a bunch of leaks for Rocksteady's Suicide Squad game - Rocksteady has responded, calling the situation "disappointing". The leaks include spoilers for various unannounced characters, together with the fate of Batman (we already knew he was in the game - he's one of the mind-controlled heroes you're sent to moider).
TUESDAY SETS IN. I am sitting outside a cafe in the drizzle. FEED THE MAW.
The cancelled TimeSplitters reboot in the works at recently closed studio Free Radical started life as a "Fortnite clone", before shifting to become an expanded remake of TimeSplitters 2 just earlier this year, it's been reported.
Elden Ring expansion Shadow of the Erdtree might see a release in February, right in time for the game's second anniversary, according to an apparent retailer leak.
Details for a set of tie-in accessories also made mention of a possible second expansion on the way for 2025.
The state of California has settled its sex discrimination lawsuit with Activision Blizzard, reaching a $55m agreement that will see former staff compensated and ActiBlizz commit to a number of efforts to "help ensure fair pay and promotion practices at the company” going forward.
The 2021 filing alleged that women were paid less than their colleagues and were offered fewer promotion opportunities.
A sad loss today, as actor James McCaffrey - best known for being the voice of Max Payne and Alex Casey in Alan Wake - has passed away.
As well as being the voice behind Sam Lake's likeness of the grizzled detective and FBI agent, McCaffrey appeared with his own likeness as Control's FBC director Zachariah Trench.
Shacklestein says: A quick reminder that **Vampire Survivors: Emergency Meeting** released today. --- Furthermore, I consider that notifications must be put in a fully functional state, and moderation policies and procedures made fit for purpose.
Shacklestein speaks truth. (Also, a belated heads-up that I actually have today off - this is just me teeing up the liveblog for the evening news shift.)
Here's another episode of Homeworld 3's Making Of doc, shedding a bit more light on the space sim's ship designs and audio.
Monster Hunter World is massively discounted on Steam this week. I mention this mostly because I had a terrible idea for a diary series called "Monster Flautist World", in which I try to solo the game with a hunting horn, but it turns out this isn't as hard as it may seem.
Unknown Worlds are teasing the early access launch of their next Subnautica game - we'll hear more in 2024.
Your recent excitement for the next game in the Subnautica universe has been infectious 😏— Subnautica (@Subnautica) December 15, 2023
While we're not quite ready to surface more info, keep watching this space. We'll share more about our Early Access plans in 2024! 🚀
Here's one I should have put in the intro above: grid-based first-person dungeon crawler Path of the Abyss goes into early access on 22nd December (don't worry, there's English language support, though it's a machine translation so expect some rough bits).
Art for the untitled TimeSplitters project that Free Radical Design had been working on has started to surface on the internet thanks to former employees.— TimeSplitters News & Archives (@ts_archiv) December 16, 2023
Credits: Will Brown, Elmo La Mantia, Callum Summers pic.twitter.com/5WFBfiVLcH
Some music to get your motor running - Shooting Star by The Pillows, as immortalised by the FLCL outro.
IT IS MONDAY. Sharpen the mistletoe! Electrify the tinsel! FEED THE MAW.