It’s Friday! Or is it? Time is a social construct, so I could tell you it’s Wednesday today, and how could you prove me wrong? It’s Friday because it’s the fifth day this week, but when did this week start? Can’t prove that either, I’m afraid. Well, the calendar in the bottom right corner of the monitor says it’s Friday. Who told the computer that it’s Friday? Anyone could change that display in the settings. What I can say, for certain, is that events occurred and news transpired in this indefinable time period, and it’s been turned into bite-size chunks, here in the round-up…
Frictional Games set up an ARG for its new game (which, sorry for the spoiler, turned out to be a sequel to Amnesia: The Dark Descent). There were a number of videos that showed an archaeological or excavation team exploring a cave, and one of these piqued my curiosity. “Box 17, Card 9” is a recording left behind by two explorers, who find a totem or a grave, which is an upright piece of wood and plants, earth, and rocks at the base. The person holding the camera focusses on this, and the two stop and stare at the totem.
I’m not sure why. It’s not exceptionally scary. At the risk of sounding like your dad looking at the latest Tate exhibition, I could’ve done that myself. It’s not made of bones, or viscera, or wool dolls. But I think that plants can actually be frightening in their own right, without being found in a dark cave inhabited by a mutated monster. So, here are some flora that could spark a chill down your spine.
Hydnellum peckii is a fungus that grows in scattered singular entities on the forest floor. Some call it the “strawberries and cream fungus,” but I’m concerned if this makes you think of a sweet summery dessert. The fungus “bleeds” bright red droplets that contain an anticoagulant pigment—anticoagulants prevent blood from clotting. Why does Hydnellum peckii have this property? I don’t want to know, thanks.
Millennials love avocado on toast, wholesome memes, and little dainty cacti. Mammillaria elongata cristata is hardly Insta-goals, though. Native to Mexico, the cactus is sometimes called the “brain cactus,” because it occasionally structures itself like the lobes of a human brain. Horticulturalists are not aware of “any specific benefits” to this type of growth, so Mammillaria elongata cristata is doing this specifically to screw with us.
Last but not least, Dendrocnide moroides might be the most beastly of the bunch. Its first offence is that it looks like a normal plant—there are no bright colours or weird qualities to warn us of our impending doom. Its second offence is that the leaves are covered in tiny hairs that penetrate the skin. These then cause extreme pain, that may last several hours or several days, and it gets worse when the skin is touched or gets colder or warmer. So, just existing exacerbates the sting endlessly. What do you do? Scientists advise washing the affected area with hydrochloric acid, then using wax strips to pull out all the poisonous hairs, and never going outside ever again. I made up that last one. But, it’s smart. Here’s the news.
Valorant is Riot Games’ new tactical shooter to launch in summer for PC
Also known as Project A, the game is like a mix of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six Siege. A team of five players are pitted against another team of five players, switching roles from attackers and defenders, in different maps and playing as different characters. Eight characters have been unveiled, including Phoenix who wields flame to blind and block opponents and Sage who sends out orbs that heal allies or slow enemies. It’s a tactical shooter that relies on “precise skill, high stakes, lethal gameplay, and clutch moments that reward creative gameplay styles.” And, Riot Games has committed to a “dedicated 128-tick servers for all global players, for free; a custom-built netcode in pursuit of precise hit registration; server authoritative game architecture and proprietary anti-cheat prevention and detection from day one.” It’ll come to PCs in the summer of this year.
Lies Beneath is a seriously stylish horror VR game influenced by Silent Hill
“In terms of the world we’ve built, it pretty obviously draws inspiration from the comic world. I think of it as a kind of a cheeky mid-century American Creepfest, mixed with profoundly disturbing Junji Ito-style Japanese horror comic weirdness,” said creative director Brian Murphy. The game also draws from Resident Evil and Silent Hill for their “master class in creepy mood setting,” and the art style is intended to be a “living comic book.” Lies Beneath takes place in the mid-20th century United States, in a town called Slumber in Alaska. Mae returns to her home to save her father from the evil that is swelling at the centre of the town, and creates terrifying monsters with tentacles where their faces should be, and skittering skulls with spider-like legs. “We had people going through some of the more unsettling parts of the early game, and getting to see their reactions told us we were on the right track,” explained executive producer Hunter Hudspeth. “Our narrative designer, Miko, and I would come out of the conference room after a playtest to tell the team how it went, and we’d often be met with, ‘Yeah, we heard the screams. We know it went well.’”
E3 2020 is still happening, in spite of coronavirus concerns
The Entertainment Software Association said that it is “watching the situation very closely” but, for the time being, it is “moving ahead full speed” for the event in June. Numerous industry events have been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and the latest event to be postponed is the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, United States. “Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we’re genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time,” said the organiser of GDC, and it plans to hold the event in the summer once it has finished “working with our partners to finalize the details.”
Half-Life: Alyx gameplay shows off the depth and detail of the new game
Half-Life: Alyx comes to all PC VR platforms on March 23, and Valve has released three videos that give us our best look at the upcoming game. Unlike Gordon, our heroine will chat, respond, and mumble to herself as she explores the conquered City 17. The game is tactile, and almost all objects in the environments are interactable—in one video, Alyx gingerly tips over a dead headcrab with her pistol. In a firefight, she’s able to catch throwables in mid-air and throw them back at her attackers, and a door requires her to manipulate a holographic sphere with both hands to unlock it. Valve also showed three of the movement options for Half-Life: Alyx, which are teleportation, continuous, and shift. It seems like the developer is pulling out all the stops for the new Half-Life game, and there’s even more to look forward to as it approaches its launch date.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary surprise launches on PC
The latest game to be included in The Master Chief Collection, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary gets 60fps, 4K UHD support, lots of keyboard and mouse customisation options, text chat, ultra-wide and alternate resolution support, and an option for the classic or modern sounds. The game is also available through Xbox Game Pass for PC, which is awesome, and 343 Industries is “putting the finishing touches” on the Xbox version of The Master Chief Collection. More information regarding that will come in time, and it seems that the compilation is ticking along ahead of the launch of Halo: Infinite in holiday 2020.
Star Wars: Project Maverick reportedly leaks on PlayStation Network
There were rumblings that two Star Wars games are in the works at Electronic Arts. One of these would be a Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order sequel, and the other would be a “smaller, more unusual project.” With the appearance of a “Star Wars: Project Maverick” and its dramatic key art, it seems that someone’s jumped the gun, somewhere. Jason Schreier, noted industry insider, said that he was aware of “Project Maverick” when prompted which stokes the rumours of a new Star Wars adventure. Nothing is confirmed, so we’ll keep you in the loop once we know more.
Amnesia is getting a sequel, and it’s set in the Algerian desert
Amnesia developer Frictional Games has announced Rebirth, a sequel to The Dark Descent. At the start of this year, it set up an ARG about its newest game, featuring a developing fetus, weird rocks, and spelunking gone wrong. There’s one with a letter that describes “thread-like black worms” inside a person’s eyes, and another one shows strange totems made of plants. One “source” tunes to a frequency that plays a woman’s voice, but only on that radio in that place, and a team of excavators find a doll made of sticks with a gold ring attached to it. The most recent video follows a person whose compass goes haywire over a pile of stones, and the recording corrupts. Now, we know that the new game will follow Tasi Trianon who will delve into the depths of the desert to find their fragmented past. Twisted monsters lurking in the shadows will return, along with weird portals and warped sanity effects. We’ll learn more as its release date approaches in late 2020.
Sounds like Hideki Kamiya is interested in a new God Hand game
Kamiya is very busy on Bayonetta 3, The Wonderful 101: Remastered, and Project G.G. Naturally, he’s now turned his eye to games that need a little pick-me-up, like the cult classic God Hand for the PlayStation 2. He tweeted that he would love to make a “super” sequel to the wacky brawler, and if he got the green light from creator Shinji Mikami and publisher Capcom, it would be a PlatinumGames project. This is all very well and good, but Kamiya does say that this is only conjecture. The company received a “capital investment” from Tencent Holdings, and this has let it leap into self-publishing its own games. But, this doesn’t mean PlatinumGames is able to do whatever it wants, despite it being free from publishing partnerships.
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