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Computer Games

The Morning After: Amazon cancels its 'Lord of the Rings' MMORPG


Amazon told Bloomberg that it has canned its Lord of the Rings, developed with the help of China's Leyou, after being "unable to secure terms" to continue its development. However, sources claim that Tencent's recent acquisition of Leyou led to a contract dispute that ultimately killed the project. Amazon Game Studios is struggling to get games out there and keep them on sale. It canceled Breakaway in 2018 after lack of progress, and it dropped Crucible after poor feedback during testing. Another MMO, New World, has faced multiple delays and isn't expected to launch until the end of August. While Amazon remains committed to its Game Studios efforts -- its incoming CEO has stated his support -- they clearly haven't delivered results quickly.

Ubisoft delays Assassin's Creed Valhalla's first major expansion to May 13th


Assassin's Creed Valhalla's first major expansion, Wrath of the Druids, will come out a couple of weeks later than expected. It was supposed to be available on April 29th, but now Ubisoft has announced on Twitter that it will be released on May 13th instead. The video game developer said it pushed back the release date "to deliver a more refined experience" and promised to publish an article that provides transparency and insights into its dev process. To deliver a more refined experience, we're sharing that: Wrath of the Druids will now release on May 13 We're working on an article to provide transparency and share insights on our dev process Thanks for your patience. Keep an eye on our social channels for future news!

'Oxenfree II: Lost Signals' headlines a new crop of Switch indie games


The "one more thing" Nintendo had to show off at the end of its latest Indie World Showcase was a sequel to the supernatural hit Oxenfree. Set five years after the original game, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals sees a character named Riley returning to her hometown to investigate strange radio signals that are causing mysterious disturbances. It seems that, as in Oxenfree, you'll need to find the right frequencies on a handheld radio to solve puzzles. Night School Studio's sequel is coming to Switch and Steam later this year. OXENFREE II: Lost Signals from @nightschoolers and @mwminteractive is coming to #NintendoSwitch in 2021! Set 5 years after OXENFREE, guide Riley through a supernatural coming of age story, as you communicate with other-worldly entities.

Watch Nintendo's latest Indie World Showcase here at noon ET


A blue Switch Lite wasn't the only news Nintendo had up its sleeve this week. The company will host its latest Indie World Showcase at noon ET today. The stream will run for around 20 minutes and highlight some new indie games that are coming to Switch. You shouldn't expect updates on the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 or any other big first-party games, of course. Still, there could be some big surprises in store.

Google Stadia is getting 10 new indie games


With Google moving away from making its own games for Stadia, third-party indie studios could be crucial to its goal of stocking the service with 400 titles. Today, the cloud gaming platform is unveiling 10 new games via its Stadia Makers program, which was launched last March to give independent devs working with the Unity cross-platform engine an easy route to self-publishing their work. As you'd expect, there's no shortage of original storytelling and the games span a multitude of genres. The new additions include The DarkSide Detective: A Fumble in the Dark (April 15th), a sequel to the retro-style point and click puzzle game; Hundred Days - Winemaking Simulator (May 13th), for anyone who has ever wanted to own a winemaking business but feared taking the financial plunge; Foreclosed (summer), a narrative-driven mystery set in a cyberpunk world; and Figment 2: Creed Valley, a whimsical adventure sequel set in a human mind overrun by nightmarish creatures that represent insecurities and doubts. Additional games slated as coming soon include Grime, a side-scrolling RPG that sees players battling their way through a hellish landscape armed with "living" weapons; She Dreams Elsewhere, in which you play as a comatose woman on journey to confront her fears; Merek's Market, a chaotic crafting game that puts you in charge of a medieval armory; Death Carnival, a hectic top-down shooter (with online multiplayer) set within a televised blood sport where contestants battle mechs and monsters; Skyclimbers, a multiplayer city-building game meets action RPG that looks a lot like Horizon Zero Dawn; and Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch, which gives the iconic movie stoners their very own side-scrolling beat-em-up.

Tfue announces auction of NFTs depicting streamer in 'Fortnite,' 'Minecraft,' 'Call of Duty'

Washington Post - Technology News

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are certificates of ownership for a unique digital asset, be it a video clip, music, image or GIF, backed up by blockchain technology and typically purchased with cryptocurrency. The concept burst into the mainstream in early March when a work by digital artist Beeple sold for $69 million at a Christie's auction. Now outfits ranging from the NBA, to the band Kings of Leon, to celebrity chef Salt Bae are rushing to capitalize on the craze.

Scottish park recreated in Minecraft to allow virtual visits

The Independent - Tech

It comes as Jupiter Artland, which sits on more than 100 acres just outside of Edinburgh, prepares to reopen to local members on Thursday and to local visitors from 5 April following the easing of coronavirus restrictions. The park features artists' work including Sir Antony Gormley, Sir Anish Kapoor, Charles Jencks and Ian Hamilton Finlay – all of which have been recreated virtually to sit in "Minecraft Artland".

The Stealthy Mathematics of 'Hearthstone'


The situation in front of me looks dire. Four minions sit on the board, none of which are my own. They have a range of attack points, an onslaught that will surely deplete my remaining health points. A rope flies across the middle of the screen, igniting on the left and burning toward the right, signaling the impending end of my turn. I need to move fast.

YouTube Has a Disturbingly Creepy Minecraft Problem


On YouTube Friday morning, several hundred viewers watched a live, animated video of a female Minecraft avatar with bare breasts opening a present full of the poop emoji. In the video's thumbnail, two inflated breasts held up a poop Minecraft brick. It's one of several disturbing and grotesque animated Minecraft videos identified by WIRED featured under YouTube's Minecraft "Topic" page, a content-sorting feature introduced in 2019. Similar Minecraft-style thumbnails found there include an avatar with heart eyes and a bloody knife smiling at a chained-up woman in a bikini, a mother and father holding sticks up to a crying toddler, and a woman pregnant with feces about to sit on a man. The live videos loop for hours on end, some racking up tens of thousands of total views.

Watch artificial intelligence grow a walking caterpillar in Minecraft


The video above will be familiar to anyone who's played the 3D world-building game Minecraft. The algorithm takes its cue from the "Game of Life," a so-called cellular automaton. There, squares in a grid turn black or white over a series of timesteps based on how many of their neighbors are black or white. The program mimics biological development, in which cells in an embryo behave according to cues in their local environment. Some researchers have replaced the simple rules (e.g., any white square with three black neighbors turns black) with more complex ones decided by neural networks, machine-learning algorithms that roughly mimic the brain's wiring.