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CD Projekt Red is working on a ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ follow-up and several new Witcher games

CD Projekt Red may be much busier than you expect. The developer has shared a long-term roadmap that elaborates and expands on its plans. To start, a project codenamed “Orion” is effectively a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077 that will “further develop the potential” of the sci-fi franchise. It’s in development by CDPR’s teams in Boston and Vancouver.

And while it’s no secret that there’s a new Unreal Engine 5-based The Witcher game in the works (it entered pre-production this spring), it’s really just the start of a new trilogy. You might not have to wait long to see the story reach its conclusion, either. CDPR hopes to release all three games within a six-year span, with the first (codenamed “Polaris”) serving as a technology foundation for the remaining two.

Other titles include “Sirius,” a The Witcher spinoff with solo and multiplayer elements aimed at a “broader audience.” It’s developed by The Flame and the Flood studio The Molasses Flood. Another project, “Canis Majoris,” is a “full-fledged” Witcher universe game built by an outside developer using UE5. And no, CDPR won’t be stuck making Cyberpunk and Witcher games for all eternity. “Hadar” will be new, from-scratch universe. It’s still in the extremely early stages of development (conceptual work only began in 2021), so it’s likely years away.

Regardless of what you play, you should expect online gameplay to become a staple feature. In its roadmap presentation, CDPR said “most” of its new games will have a multiplayer component. The company was shy on what this will entail.

CDPR isn’t shy about the reasons for the expansion. The wider catalog and cooperation with outside developers will help it “reach new consumers” while maintaining three lasting franchises. If all goes well, a producer best known for rare, single player-focused releases will offer a steady stream of games that help it become more of a household name akin to Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft — in size, if hopefully not in quality.

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Game

CD Projekt Red releases an official modding tool for ‘Cyberpunk 2077’

Cyberpunk 2077 now has an official modding tool. CD Projekt RED has launched REDmod, which provides players integrated support to easily install and load mods onto the PC version of the action RPG. As the developer’s official announcement notes, it will also allow players to modify and personalize their game by using the custom sounds, animations and scripts that come with the tool. CD Projekt Red promises to update the tool alongside future patches to ensure that it remains compatible with the game. It is a free DLC, though, and players don’t have to install it at all if they don’t want to.

As popular mod website Nexus Mods clarifies, while new mods are required to use a specific format to be compatible with REDmod, old mods will continue to work just fine. Older mods that aren’t compatible with the tool simply won’t show up in the new REDmod menu. That’s also were players can toggle mods that are compatible with the tool on or off. 

The free DLC is now available for download from the official Cyberpunk 2077 website, but players can get also get it from GOG, Steam or Epic.

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Game

Codename Red will take the Assassin’s Creed franchise to feudal Japan

The game Assassin’s Creed fans have been asking for years is finally on its way. During its Ubisoft Forward event on Saturday, the publisher revealed Codename Red, a new entry in the series that will be set in feudal Japan. Franchise head Marc-Alexis Côté called Red the “next premium title” in Ubisoft’s open world series and said Ubisoft Quebec was leading work on the project, suggesting it will hew closer to Odyssey than next year’s Mirage.

Côté also shared a teaser for Codename Hexe and called it “a very different type of Assassin’s Creed game.” Ubisoft Montreal, the studio that first created the series is leading development on the project, with Clint Hocking involved as creative director. Hocking may not be a household name, but he’s probably among the most influential designers at Ubisoft, with credits that include Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Far Cry 2. According to a recent report from Bloomberg’s Jason Scheier, the game is set during the latter stages of the Holy Roman Empire.

Neither game has a release date yet, but Ubisoft said they would both integrate with Infinity, a service Côté called “not a game per se, but a single entry point into the series.” Ubisoft was cryptic about what Infinity would involve but Côté said the company was exploring the possibility of creating standalone multiplayer experiences within the hub.

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Game

Latest Red Dead Online Update Adds A Survival Mode

Red Dead Online has been in dire need of multiplayer PvE game modes, and with today’s update, one has finally been added to the game. A new game mode, titled Call to Arms, adds a survival multiplayer mode to the game that should be similar to anyone that’s played GTA Online in the past. Along with Call to Arms, players can find some extra new content, including a new Crimes Contract.

Today’s update was revealed on the Rockstar Newswire, but here are all of the details on what to expect from the new update.

Survive and conquer

The highlight of this week’s Red Dead Online update is the addition of the Call to Arms survival mode. In a match, players and their friends have to survive up to 10 waves of enemies in arenas situated across the west, from Blackwater to Fort Mercer or MacFarlane’s Ranch.

To start a Call to Arms match, players have to check their Camp Lockbox for a message from the ever-mysterious “J.” After receiving the message, they will be able to start a Call to Arms match at any time. Players that play a match of Call to Arms this week will receive three times the usual cash, XP, and gold, as well as an offer for 30% off any novice or promising role item.

Quarrel with Cornwall

Red Dead Online's Cornwall contract.

Players may remember that Leviticus Cornwall plays an important part in the start of Red Dead Redemption 2‘s story. Well, players can bring the oil magnate trouble again with a new crime contract. The Cornwall contract is now available from Blood Money NPCs, and will take players from Cornwall’s factories in the Heartlands all the way to the docks of Saint Denis.

Quick Draw Club No. 2 launches

The second of Red Dead Online‘s new and revised season passes, the Quick Draw Club, launched today. Like the first pass, the Quick Draw Club No. 2 only has 25 ranks and is purchased with 25 gold bars, all of which can be made up by completing the pass. Players that purchase the pass, which ends on September 6, will receive $300, along with an extra 2,000 XP.

Discounts for Moonshiners

Every week, a certain clientele gets their own batch of discounts to take advantage of. This time around, the honorable brewers of the west, Moonshiners, can upgrade their operations at a discount. You can find a list of this week’s discounts down below.

  • Moonshine Shack — 5 Gold Bars off
  • Moonshine Shack Upgrades — 40% off
  • Moonshiner Cosmetics — 30% off
  • Norfolk Roadsters — 30% off
  • Sniper Rifles — 40% off
  • Emotes — 30% off

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Game

Blood Money Is A Great First Step For Red Dead Online

Red Dead Online fills a very specific niche for me. I love cowboys, Westerns, revolvers, and lever-action repeaters. Everything about the Old West’s depiction in media is exciting, from its gritty daily life to its even grittier characters. For a while, Red Dead Online failed to reflect any of that latter part, giving players the opportunity to play through Red Dead Redemption 2‘s five states without any of its charms. You made money by being a good guy, and your biggest crimes were hardly offensive. I mean, what’s distilling and delivering moonshine compared to robbing a train? Not much, I’ll tell you.

This is, of course, antithetical to everything in Red Dead Redemption 2. Yes, the game is a story of the third word in its name, but for most of it, Arthur Morgan isn’t a man seeking to right his wrongs. Instead, he’s still in the midst of them, and while his thoughts on robbing a train may be mixed, players reveled in the action. How couldn’t we? The train robbery is a cliché Western scene, something you’d expect from any piece of media about cowboy desperados looking to make a living outside the standard means.

Instead of anything so action-packed though, Red Dead Online has given its players long delivery missions, good-guy bounty hunting, and, ugh … nature-watching. If these concepts make up anyone’s idea of the West, they’re either from a different world or a stick in the mud. That’s why Red Dead Online‘s latest update, Blood Money, is such a step in the right direction, or rather, the game’s first step in the right direction.

Online redemption

So far, it feels as though Rockstar has been treating Red Dead Online like GTA Online. The delivery missions from the latter made their way into the former, along with the wait times and a multitude of incessantly boring jobs. For what it’s worth, the developer tried to put an emphasis on races in RDO as it does in GTAO, but racing in souped-up hot rods is infinitely more interesting than horses trotting across a barren desert. Finally, Rockstar brought GTA Online‘s best feature to Red Dead Online: a life of crime.

Blood Money lets players live the outlaw life and make an (albeit modest) living doing so. Can criminal activity be as lucrative as being a trader or moonshiner? No way. Is it more interesting than any of the game’s high-paying roles? Absolutely. And that’s because Rockstar is finally appealing to those Old West clichés, all of which have stayed around for good reason.

Whether you’re sticking up a stagecoach, robbing homesteads, or hopping onto a train in Red Dead Online‘s first train robbery, Blood Money’s content lets players steep themselves in the mythology of Old West action. Butch Cassidy wasn’t taking pictures of deer he saw or collecting wildflowers. He was in shootouts, robbing banks, and sticking up trains. That’s the Old West of legend and the one that Red Dead Online should seek to let players relive.

To that end, Blood Money is a good start. Some may call its missions rehashes of other content present in the game, but I can’t ignore context. There’s a difference between riding back to an objective with a bounty and riding with stolen government property — that difference being that I feel like an outlaw. If Red Dead Online can continue to expand on the plethora of content that takes inspiration from Old West action, the game will move from being something I enjoy because it is set in the Old West to something I love to play because it actually embodies the feel of the Old West.

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Game

Red Dead Online’s Season Passes Are Live Service Perfection

There’s something to be said about making games shorter overall. The older you get, the less time you have to sink into a 40-hour long game. You have work to do, bills to pay, and generally don’t want to spend all three or four of your free hours over the course of a day in front of a screen.

But a lot of games, especially live-service titles, want you nowhere else. They want you stuck in front of your monitor or TV, playing. More ideally, they want you progressing through a battle or season pass — some massive ladder of rewards, cosmetics, and other nebulous extras with a flashy prize at the end. It’s only natural to want to reach the end. After all, why purchase a game’s battle/season pass and not finish it? We may tell ourselves that we’ll reach the final rank, but that’s a spur-of-the-moment decision every time. Life has a mind of its own and often decides that we can’t dedicate tens of hours to a game to complete a hundred-rank pass.

I don’t think the right solution to this problem is telling people to change their lives so they can start finishing these passes they spend upwards of $5 on. Instead, passes need to adapt and fit our lives. That’s why when Rockstar announced the Blood Money update for Red Dead Online, I was especially excited for the new, compact passes that would come with it.

The game’s standard pass system, the Wheeler, Rawson & Co. Club Pass, is as long as its name. The season passes last around three months total and have upwards of 75 ranks, with the second such pass featuring a whopping 100 to progress through. While a pass that size means players get a ton of rewards, they also have to sink hours upon hours into Red Dead Online to actually finish it. I feel like that’s not something I, along with a ton of other people, have time for.

Instead, players can now buy a Quick Draw Club Pass. It started on July 13 and runs until August 9. The best part? It only consists of 25 ranks. It’s compact and lets players breeze through every rank easily over the course of about 10 hours. For a person that can’t sink tons of hours into a game, this is pretty much the perfect alternative to the gargantuan passes in games like Fortnite.

In fact, it’s not clear why the industry standard for passes doesn’t shift to something much smaller like the Quick Draw Club Pass. For instance, Call of Duty: Warzone‘s latest season pass is a full 100 ranks, which is extremely difficult to progress through if you’re only playing Warzone. A smaller battle pass would leave players with a filled-out pass and all the cosmetics they want, and even give developers the chance to sell more battle passes.

We shouldn’t have to work to fill out passes for games; they should work for us. Logging in to your favorite game to play doesn’t need to feel like a chore, and thanks in part to its new, compact pass, Red Dead Online isn’t one anymore. I’m not concerned with how much XP I’m getting because I know that regardless of what I do, I’ll be able to complete the entire thing. That experience needs to extend out from Red Dead Online into other live service titles.

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Game

Do Red Dead Online’s Changes Make It Worth Playing In 2021?

Since launching in 2018 alongside Red Dead Redemption 2, Red Dead Online has felt like the outcast in Rockstar’s family. It doesn’t get nearly as much attention as GTA Online, nor does it receive the same type of content drops, and its player base certainly isn’t as large. But with a new update coming for the game that will add more content for every player, it’s worth wondering if now is a good time to finally get into Red Dead Online.

If you’re an old returning player (like I often am), Red Dead Online has pretty much never been better. The game has received updates that, although sparse, have added more content. Beyond simple story missions, you can pick up various roles that add more depth to Red Dead Online‘s five states. Three other Telegram Missions have also been added, with the promise that more are on the way. Red Dead Online has even gotten more matchmaking content, although it’s still nowhere near as thrilling as GTA Online‘s stunt races.

Roles and gold

For new players, the story’s a bit different. Red Dead Online‘s early game isn’t nearly as exciting as GTA Online‘s. In GTA Online, you can still steal a plane, drive a fast car, or participate in small-scale robberies. Red Dead Online‘s early game is tethered to its story missions, which are pretty lackluster and bare-bones. Worst of all, they don’t get you much money.

Making money in Red Dead Online‘s current state requires two things: Time and gold bars. The latter is the game’s premium currency, which players can slowly build up by completing challenges every day or finding treasure marked on treasure maps. You don’t earn full gold bars at a time, though, with gold nuggets, or 0.1 gold bars, being paid out. That makes the process of earning enough to buy your way into Red Dead Online‘s interesting and moneymaking content a bit of a slog.

Most of Red Dead Online‘s content is found in its roles, which have players take on various professions around the West. However, even these jobs are a mixed bag, with some receiving updates from Rockstar and others remaining unchanged from their release. The most interesting role by far is the bounty hunter, which lets players tackle some of the game’s more interesting PvE missions. The bounty hunter role is so popular that Rockstar added an extra 10 ranks to the role, along with some extra legendary bounties.

Outside of bounty hunting, players can be a trader, which revolves around hunting, a naturalist or nature watcher, a collector who scans the West with a metal detector, or a moonshiner, which is one of the slowest roles in the game to make money with. It may seem like I’m saying these roles are all pretty boring, but they’re not. They all have their upsides and their downsides, but each makes the game more interesting than it would be without them.

Blood Money update

Now, a ton of new content is heading to Red Dead Online with its upcoming Blood Money update. On July 13, players will be able to start working in organized crime, just with an Old West twist. It’s not clear what players can expect in terms of a payout from this role yet, but if Blood Money is full of free, PvE content, it’s sure to be a great addition to the game.

Red Dead Online hasn’t really gained any footing since its release, but with Blood Money arriving soon, it feels like 2021 might be the year that all changes. The game still needs a lot more content to be a competent live-service game, but at this point, things are looking up for Rockstar’s black sheep.

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PlayStation Now welcomes Red Dead Redemption 2, Nioh 2, and Olympics 2020

There has been a lot of focus on game streaming recently, but sometimes nothing beats good, old-fashioned gaming directly on the console or PC. Of course, there’s a nearly limitless selection of games than you have time to play them all, let alone have the funds to buy them all. With a PlayStation Now subscription, however, you can enjoy both kinds of gaming and have an ever-growing library of titles. This July, that catalog grows with the addition of noteworthy sequels to award-winning franchises, as well as a new game that will let you virtually live one of the world’s biggest upcoming sports events.

God of War may be known for its brutality, but it has also been lauded for its narrative. It all started in Greece with the well-known pantheon, but the latest title dumps Kratos and his son Atreus in the hard world of Norse gods and monsters. Which, of course, means more kinds of gods and monsters to finish off.

Only loosely connected to the famed Yakuza series, Judgment takes on a different atmosphere in the form of a detective story. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Yakuza game if there weren’t any fights with the underground crime network of Japan. Another uniquely Japanese title is Nioh 2 that takes you in an alternate and otherworldly version of Sengoku-era Japan to battle the yokai that threatens the world above.

An entirely new game to be added to the PlayStation Now list is the official video game tie-in to the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Sports fans will be able to take part in over 15 official events in realistic-looking venues for the summer Olympics. The game also supports multiplayer so you can make it a global event just like the real Olympics.

Although PlayStation Now is commonly regarded as a game streaming service, it also offers the option for downloading some games directly on PS4 and PS5 consoles. Unfortunately, it seems that the critically-acclaimed Red Dead Redemption 2 is available only for download, and that fact isn’t sitting well with some PS Now subscribers.

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AI

KPMG decides on Red Hat OpenShift to construct AI platform

Where does your enterprise stand on the AI adoption curve? Take our AI survey to find out.


Red Hat and KPMG LLP today revealed they are working together to make the Red Hat OpenShift platform, which is based on Kubernetes, a foundational core of the KPMG Ignite AI platform.

The KPMG Ignite platform combines machine learning algorithms with document ingestion and optical character recognition capabilities to analyze both structured and unstructured data. Kubernetes has emerged as a preferred foundation for building AI platforms because it makes it simpler to dynamically orchestrate the consumption of IT infrastructure on behalf of containerized applications.

Developers employ containers to build AI models out of modular components that are easier to create and update. In most cases, the volume of data a monolithic approach to constructing an AI model requires simply isn’t practical.

The Red Hat OpenShift agreement extends an existing alliance between Red Hat, now a subsidiary of IBM, and KPMG, a system integrator that often competes with IBM. The ongoing alliance between Red Hat and KPMG suggests that, despite potential conflicts of interests with its parent company, systems integrators such as KPMG are not walking away from their existing relationship with Red Hat.

It’s not clear, meanwhile, to what degree organizations are now relying on external service providers to build and deploy applications infused with AI. However, just about every global IT service provider has launched an AI practice to help organizations overcome a chronic shortage of data science expertise at a time when many of them are engaged in an AI arms race.

A recent survey published by KPMG notes the COVID-19 pandemic drove increased adoption of AI in the past year as organizations accelerated a wide range of digital business transformation initiatives. Some of those organizations worry that even though they need to at least keep pace with rivals, they may be deploying AI too far ahead of AI regulations that are still being debated, the same survey finds.

Most applications that are being infused with AI models are being built in the cloud because of the massive amounts of data involved. IT organizations that are building these applications, however, don’t want to get locked into a single cloud platform. It’s become apparent that some cloud platforms are simply more optimized than others for running certain classes of workloads, noted Stu Miniman, director of market insights for cloud platforms at Red Hat. The Red Hat OpenShift platform makes it possible for organizations to build and deploy applications as they best see fit on any public cloud or on-premises IT environment, Miniman said.

Red Hat and IBM may have been late to the cloud, but as hybrid cloud computing environments continue to evolve, the combined companies are now enjoying a “second mover advantage” at a time when the bulk of enterprise IT applications are still running in on-premises IT environments, said Miniman.

Cloud service providers are especially focused on AI workloads because of the sheer volume of infrastructure resources required to build and sustain them. IT organizations that can at least demonstrate an ability to move workloads will be able to command better cloud pricing terms.

It is, of course, still early days for AI in the enterprise. Many organizations struggle to bring together a diverse range of cultures in organizations that include data scientists alongside developers and IT operations staff. Each of those communities within an IT organization is likely to have their platform preference. In the case of organizations that decide to employ the expertise of KMPG, however, that platform decision has already been made.

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Netflix and CD Projekt Red are hosting a ‘The Witcher’ convention on July 9th

The Witcher fans, you may want to turn down any and all invitations to hang out on July 9th. Yes, it’s a Friday, but it’s also when Netflix and CD Projekt Red are holding a virtual The Witcher convention with events that tackle both the games and live action series. The developer says it won’t be announcing a new game during WitcherCon, but you can expect standard convention fare. There will be deep dives into the making of (as well as behind-the-scenes footage for) not just the show and the games, but also the anime film and franchise merch. 

The convention will also feature interactive panels that put a spotlight on people who brought the games and the show to life. Plus, there will be expert explorations of The Witcher lore. WitcherCon will stream on Netflix and CD Projekt Red’s YouTube and Twitch channels. The event will be available for streaming at 1PM ET on July 9th, but there will be a second streaming airing at 9PM with content unique to it. 

In addition to announcing WitcherCon, Netflix has also released a trailer for The Witcher’s second season. While it’s only a few seconds long, it teases Ciri’s story in season 2, which (unfortunately) doesn’t have a premiere date yet.

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