Eric Watson

Eric Watson

Eric is a freelance writer who enjoys talking about video games, movies, books and Dallas-based sports teams. Every week he watches a random film from his collection of several hundred DVDs and live tweets about it @RogueWatson. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla. He lives near Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and daughter, two dogs, two cats, two fish tanks, some hermit crabs and a bookshelf full of Transformers.

Publishers Pull Out of Epic Mega Sale Amid Pre-Sale Discount

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The Epic Games Store has been the epicenter of controversy as Epic has targeted numerous publishers and developers for exclusivity for PC releases. With their first major store-wide sale currently ongoing, they’ve managed to hit yet another controversial snag. Several publishers, big and small, have opted to temporarily pull their games from the store, presumably to avoid devaluing games that haven’t been released yet.

The problematic part of the sale is Epic offering $10 off any game that’s $14.99 or more purchased during the sale, including pre-orders. The discount is entirely on Epic’s part, but clearly some publishers aren’t happy with such a significant discount for games that haven’t been released yet.

Paradox pulled Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 from the store. It’s a long-awaited sequel of a mature action RPG that’s not due to release until 2020. Klei Entertainment also pulled Oxygen Not Included, which is currently still in Early Access.

Epic released a statement to Kotaku via email: “If a developer or publisher chooses to not participate in our sales, we will honor that decision. Paradox Interactive has chosen to not participate in the Epic Mega Sale and the game has been temporarily removed from sale. If you’ve purchased Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 during the period when the discount did apply at the time of check out, Epic will honor that price.”

Shortly thereafter, 2K Games pulled Borderlands 3 from the sale, one of the most anticipated games releasing in the latter half of this year. Like with Paradox, Epic will still honor the sale price if you were lucky enough to pre-order and receive the discount before it was removed.

Hopefully future sales from the Epic Games Store will result in clearer communication between Epic and publishers, so shoppers don’t have to scramble to sneak in discounts before games are pulled.

Microsoft

Head of Xbox on Fighting Online Toxicity: “Gaming Is for Everyone”

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Executive VP of Gaming at Microsoft and Head of Xbox Phil Spencer published a blog on promoting inclusivity and online safety in gaming. These are areas which gaming has notoriously struggled as its emerged into the realm of a billion dollar mainstream media empire. The blog, titled “Video games: A unifying force for the world,” details commitments made by the Microsoft team to combating toxic behavior and supporting safety features.

“This widespread embrace of gaming and its global communities have turned video games into the world’s leading cultural industry, bigger than movies or music,” writes Spencer. “But it also comes at a time when digital life includes a growing toxic stew of hate speech, bigotry and misogyny.”

To that end, Spencer outlines three areas Microsoft is focusing on:

  1. Proactive and vigilant in regards to online harassment. “We will identify potentials for abuse and misuse on our platform and will fix problems quickly. We are also intent on expanding the composition of our safety team so wide-ranging perspectives can help us identify future safety problems and solutions.”
  2. Content moderation and safeguards. “We will make it easier for parents and guardians new to console and PC gaming to discover and create Child or Teen accounts. This year, Microsoft Stores rolled out a series of family workshops to help parents understand the tools available to them on console and PC, and this summer we are launching Gaming Summer Camps offering young gamers new ways to explore life skills and practice healthy habits that can be used in gaming and everyday life.”
  3. Work with other companies to improve online safety. “Multiple teams working in areas like moderation, user research, data science, and others are already aligning with industry partners to share insights, and best practices in areas of safety, security and privacy.”

Spencer encourages other companies to join in establishing a proactive stance in making gaming a more accessible and inclusive community.

Discover New Slime Skins in Slime Rancher DLC Secret Style Pack

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Monomi Park has announced a new paid DLC pack for Slime Rancher. The Secret Style Pack (June 18) adds new alternate cosmetic skins for all 20 slimes.

Once installed, new treasure pods can be found scattered throughout the alien slime-filled world of the Far, Far Range. Each treasure pod will contain a new secret style for a slime. Each style can be turned off and on at the ranch house to make every slime appear with its new skin.

Note that it’s purely a cosmetic change. Slimes will still act, and eat, according to their normal slime type.

Below is a list of the new slime styles:

  • Sparkly (Pink Slime)
  • Monochrome (Quantum Slime)
  • Heavy Metal (Rock Slime)
  • Shattered (Mosaic Slime)
  • Tiger (Tabby Slime)
  • Nebula (Dervish Slime)
  • Angelic (Phosphor Slime)
  • Nightshade (Tangle Slime)
  • Radiant (Rad Slime)
  • Devilish (Fire Slime)
  • Arcane (Boom Slime)
  • Pre-Jellasic (Saber Slime)
  • Royal Jelly (Honey Slime)
  • Boomerang (Quicksilver Slime)
  • Lilypad (Puddle Slime)
  • Retro (Glitch Slime)
  • Ruby Red (Crystal Slime)
  • Gilded (Gold Slime)
  • Cheshire (Hunter Slime)
  • Guardian (Lucky Slime)

The Secret Style Pack will arrive first on PC (Steam, Epic Games Store) and later on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Slime Rancher is one of our favorite family-friendly games of the last several years (read our review). It’s currently available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One and rated E10+.

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech Review

Posted by | PC, Reviews, Switch | No Comments

Available On: Switch, PC (Steam, May 31)

Over the last several years, Swedish indie developers Image & Form Games have been quietly and expertly expanding their colorful robot-filled SteamWorld universe. Impressively each of these games embodies completely different genres, such as action-platformer with SteamWorld Dig and turn-based tactical strategy in SteamWorld Heist, while still maintaining lovely 2D artwork and funny robot heroes.

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech features a full on fantasy world – but still starring quippy robots, and adds yet another new genre to the SteamWorld library: deckbuilding RPG. The card-based combat is intuitive and rewarding, bolstered by the colorful SteamWorld art design.

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Epic Mega Sale at the Epic Games Store

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Epic Games have kicked off their first ever store-wide sale at the Epic Games Store with the Epic Mega Sale. From now until June 13 you can find digital PC games up to 75% off.

Highlighted games include The Walking Dead: The Final Season at $4.99, Metro Exodus for $34.99, Hades at $6.99, Slime Rancher for $4.99, and The Witness at $9.99.

In addition to the sales prices, all games priced $14.99 or above will be discounted with a further $10 off. The $10 discount will be automatically applied when checking out with any game priced $14.99 or higher. Note that the discount applies only to games and not DLC or add-ons.

Epic is offering two helpful conveniences that I haven’t seen other digital stores such as Steam use before. First, if you pre-ordered a game via the Epic Games Store, you’ll automatically be given a $10 refund. There’s no need to cancel your pre-order only to purchase again to take advantage of the discount.

Second, people often feel bad when they purchase games not knowing a major sale was just around the corner. For anyone who purchased a game between May 2 and May 15, you’ll be refunded the difference in the sale price.

Normally the Epic Games Store features a game that can be downloaded completely free, similar to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Gold membership. The Epic Games Store does not require a membership, other than signing up, and the free game rotates every two weeks. However during the Epic Mega Sale, a new free game will be available every week, instead of every two weeks.

The current free game is Stories Untold, which will be available until May 30. After that is RiME, which will be free starting May 23.

The Epic Mega Sale ends June 13.