Steam

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I fully expected the story of Digital Homicide vs. Jim Sterling to fizzle out a long time ago. While the indie developer did file a lawsuit alleging Sterling of making libelous comments that impacted their bottom line, they also apparently lacked the funds to keep a lawyer appointed and had to resort to starting a GoFundMe to cover the cost of litigation. That campaign only managed to make a dismal $425, and that’s pretty much where all of this should have ended. Instead, litigation against Sterling is ongoing as the Romine brothers have opted to represent themselves in court, which is always a good idea.

The suit against Sterling is now joined by an additional lawsuit, this time filed by James Romine (one half of the dream team that makes up the Romine Brothers, owners of Digital Homicide) against 100 Steam users, seeking restitution to the sum of $15 million for personal injuries sustained by mean comments people left about him and Digital Homicide.
In response to a subpoena requesting the forfeiture of those 100 user’s information, Valve has decided to throw their hands up, say “screw this noise” and blacklist Digital Homicide from Steam. Every game developed by the studio has been excised from Valve’s storefront, although if you previously purchased one of their games, you’re still able to install it.
Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi confirmed this earlier yesterday, saying “Valve has stopped doing business with Digital Homicide for being hostile to Steam customers.” So hey, if you were ever wondering just how far you had to go to get a game removed from Greenlight… there’s your answer.
Digital Homicide is of course trying to turn the tables back on Valve, asserting that their poor community moderation is what lead to the lawsuit. They’ve also gone on to accuse Valve of interfering with business, breach of contract, “anti-trust issues.” You can read Digital Homicide’s statement here.
So there you have it, the latest chapter in Digital Homicide’s excruciatingly slow implosion. And all because some British weirdo in an ill-fitting suit said mean things about a video game. What a time to be alive.

The opening to the above trailer really “gets it” when it comes to the quality of the Sonic franchise. Speeding through Sonic’s history, it eventually hits a point where everything begins to rewind, and an admission that things haven’t been so great flashes up on the screen. In an odd moment of sobriety, SEGA realizes that what made the Sonic games so iconic are locked up in the 90s.

So here’s Sonic Mania, which appears to be taking a page from Mega Man 9 and 10’s book, and that kind of announcement is coming at what may be the most crucial time for this franchise. Generations was a hit, and Colors did well for SEGA, but the goodwill earned by those two titles was quickly undone by Lost Worlds and Sonic Boom. The latter of which marked a record low in sales for the franchise. If Sonic wasn’t on life support before, that certainly put him there.

Mania shows promise, though many could cite the “Sonic Cycle” as being in full effect here. However, Christian Whitehead, who spearheaded the HD remake of Sonic CD and the iphone ports of Sonic 1 and 2 appears to be closely tied to the project, and that’s the key element that might just set this thing apart. Sonic CD was incredibly well handled, and what was even more impressive about it was that Whitehead essentially had to remake the original physics engine from the ground up. While I haven’t played the iphone versions of Sonic 1 and 2, they are also held in high regard. Whitehead tried to remake a cut level and additional final boss stage for CD, but his efforts were shot down. He later got his chance to make a brand new level in an official capacity in the form of Hidden Palace Zone for the iphone release of Sonic 2. It looks like now he’s going to be able to do a whole lot more, as Sonic Mania will not only feature remixed versions of classic levels, but will have brand new levels with original assets. Even Sonic’s sprite has undergone a redesign of sort, though it retains just enough of the charm that made the original 90s design of the character work.

Sonic Mania will release in Spring 2017 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

The reveal trailer for Koei Temco’s Berserk Musou maybe leaned a bit too hard into the rapey aspects of Berserk. An accurate, if not a bit disarming representation of the source material they hope to adapt into a big dumb Dynasty Warrior-style game. Thankfully, the second trailer – while still leaning on the aforementioned rapey rape – features some actual gameplay. Sure enough, it looks like a Musou game, but for fans of the series it’s probably enough to get them invested leading up to the game’s late September release.

Which is kind of funny, because if you’ve played a Firaxis game at launch, you could probably discern it would be on face value alone.

Speaking with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Jake Solomon (lead designer on XCOM 2) expressed that Firaxis had NO IDEA their game could be shipping in such a janky state, claiming “I can honestly say that we didn’t know it would be this way […] I didn’t see these issues. We didn’t catch this stuff in compatibility testing.” Those issues include: missing animations, frequent framerate issues, corrupted saves, an issue dealing with flanked enemies providing no flanking bonus, hanging during “alien activity” phases, and – hell – how about just taking a gander at this thread on Reddit that thoroughly details issues with the game.

While I personally find it a bit questionable that that apparently none of these many issues popped up during play testing, I guess we’re just going to have to take Firaxis’s word on it. The developer is taking ownership of the bugs and intends to roll out patches over time that aim to resolve them. Without drawing specific comparisons to other troubled PC games, I’m just going to wait and see how far Firaxis is willing to go with their fixes before calling it a D-A-Y.

Konami has been totally silence about MGO3 on the PC, saying nothing more than “eh that’ll probably be coming sometime in January.” Well that sometime is tonight at 10pm (PT) according to Metal Gear Online community manager Robert Peeler, who announced in a twitch stream that the totally unnecessary and tacked on multiplayer mode for 2015’s game of the year will launch on PC in the form of a “small beta.” In order to take part in the beta, you’ll have to opt in via MGSV. But if you’re already playing MGSV, maybe just enjoy that game for what it is and don’t muck up the experience by delving deep into the world of Metal Gear Online.

Or do, I’m not your mother.

UPDATE 1/13/16: Aaaaand it’s gone. The beta was pulled earlier today after Konami discovered an exploit that allowed users to gain free MB Coins (MGSV’s form of microtransaction currency.) There’s no word yet on when the beta will return to Steam.

You're telling me I can get Subnautica for 25% off? Greeeeeeeeeat

You’re telling me I can get Subnautica for 25% off? Greeeeeeeeeat

The annual Autumn Steam sale has begun and it sure looks dire. Not only is it kicking right off the bat with some early access garbage, but this sale is lacking some features many have come to regard as standard. These missing features include the flash sales, community picks, and lightning deals. These compromises were made for the sale’s theme, exploration, which roughly translates to “haha fuck you, find the deals!” There’s not even any trading cards, which seems like an odd thing to not include considering how much they’ve played into past sales.

As I mentioned, the deals themselves aren’t even that great, though that could change as the sale progresses, and in the end the deals are what matters the most. Still, it’s a little disheartening to see Steam’s idea of a sale this year amount to “whatever, put a shark on here and tell them to find the deals,” considering the one thing you could always expect from Steam sales was some weird meta game. It just seems low effort.

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Publisher Versus Evil must have seen what happened with Arkham Knight and decided “hey, let’s do our customers one better.” Afro Samurai 2 has now been delisted from Steam and PSN, with copies disappearing from the libraries of each poor unfortunate soul who purchased the game. Refunds are being issued automatically. Steve Escalante of Versus Evil had the following to say about the decision to delist the game:

We could not do, in good conscience, volume 2 and volume 3. So we’ve begun the process, it’s been a long process to figure it out because Sony has never really had to do this in this way, but we’re returning all the money. So across the board we’re putting out an apology saying ‘sorry about this.’

It’s a rather surprising move considering how many other publishers would simply leave their product up for purchase, so good on them.

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Oh hey, would you look at that. Arkham Knight, previously pulled from Steam for being a fat load of broken garbage, is now back on the marketplace. Furthermore, it appears some of the game’s more glaring issues have been patched, including missing effects, stuttering, and a capped framerate. Hooray!

Ok, maybe celebrating is a bit premature, as it appears the latest version of the game has a host of problems all its own. Here are the big ones to watch out for:

  • Hard drive paging issues, which force users to restart the game periodically. This seems to mostly affect users running Windows 7…
  • 12GBs of suggested RAM for computers running Windows 10 in order to ensure a smoother performance and prevent similar paging issues to those experienced by Windows 7 users. (This was put out by Warner Bros but at the time of this writing is not reflected on the game’s steam page.)
  • No SLI support because what year did you think this was?
  • Although not reported by Warner Bros. directly, there are reports of others experiencing stuttering during cutscenes, the game failing to launch, and in general continuing to be kind of a mess.

The icing on the cake: reviews dated before the 28th of October on the Steam page for Arkham Knight are now being listed as “pre-release” reviews, even though the game totally released prior to now. At this time, it’s not clear exactly who is tagging these reviews as being for a pre-release title, or whether or not it’s the byproduct of the game being delisted and then returning. All things considered, though, it’s patently erroneous. (Update: it looks like these tags are now being removed, although if you still want your sweet delicious icing, you can read this Digital Foundry report that states nothing about Arkham Knight has been improved since the September interim patch.)

If you’re wondering what our review score is for the PC version of Arkham Knight, it’s a 1/10, with zero bloodstained crowbars out of a possible 5 for a combined total of Burn This Game in a Garbage Heap.

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I don’t have an image to represent that, so this’ll have to do.

 

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If you’re like me and you wanted to go and buy someone a copy of Bad Rats their morning, only to find that the Steam storefront was down, well, here’s the reason why.

Last week, a vulnerability allowed others access to your account provided they had your username. This was done from a loophole in the password request system. It’s since been fixed (hence the downtime earlier), but the exploit may have been available since the 21st.

There is some good news. Valve seems to be able to detect who may have been effected, and will be issuing password resets to those impacted. Also, if you had Steam Guard enabled, then you should be fine, as it’s a two-step process based on hardware. Still, that would only impact someone’s ability to log in, and passwords for those with Steam Guard may have been modified.

I am rapidly running out of Batman pictures.

I am rapidly running out of Batman pictures.

I was hesitant to report on the leaked memo from EB Games Australia that has been making the rounds for a couple days now. Primarily because WB themselves had planned to issue a statement within the week about the current state of  the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight. Well, wouldn’t you know, it sounds like that leaked memo is prooooobably legit, as WB doesn’t expect the next interim patch to drop until August.

As an update, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Rocksteady and our partners are targeting an interim patch update for existing players to be released in August. This update will address many of the issues we listed in our June 27 update.  We will provide additional details as we finalize that interim patch over the coming weeks.

We would like to thank you for your continued patience and invaluable feedback. We are continuing to monitor and listen for any additional issues and are driving towards a full update for everyone as quickly as we possibly can.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Meanwhile, some industrious young fellow by the name of Kaldaien has posted a hotfix on the Steam forums that helps resolve stuttering and other performance issues in the game, especially those encountered when running Arkham Knight at 60FPS. Having already tested the fix myself, I can say that it does actually fix a lot of the performance issues with the game, though some minor stuttering and screen tearing is prevalent. It still makes it much more playable, and that’s the most important thing.

If you want to try the fix for yourself, you can find more information here.