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Game

‘A Plague Tale: Requiem’ is set for release on October 18th

A Plague Tale: Requiem — the to the 2019 game that features a pair of siblings fleeing Spanish Inquisition soldiers (as well as plague-ridden rats) — will arrive on October 18th. Publisher Focus Entertainment and developer Asobo released a today that features over ten minutes of gameplay through the brutal world of a war-torn France from several centuries ago. Siblings Amicia and Hugo are now a few years older and more skilled at getting out of tough scrapes. The game follows the pair as they fight their way through mercenary bands, ambushes, murderous soldiers and disease-ridden rodents.

Xbox Gamepass subscribers should note that the game will be available on the service on the same day of its launch, a that Microsoft continues to do with more titles (Asobo is also the developer of Microsoft Flight Simulator, which is also on Game Pass). Nintendo Switch owners can also look forward to a cloud version of Requiem. And of course, the game will be available for purchase on Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PCs.

In a , the game’s lead writer Sébastien Renard shed more light on what fans can expect in the sequel. Hugo, the younger sibling, has magical powers that are developing throughout the game and the elder sister Amica has honed her fighting skills. But even greater and more daunting obstacles lay ahead for the pair. “Our heroes will face their inner conflicts together with external ones. To begin with, they will discover a new part of France, Provence, which will offer new sights and sensations, leading them to believe in a kind of paradise. Unfortunately, the harsh medieval reality inevitably catches up, and their hopes vanish before they can get too comfortable,” wrote Renard.

You can get a closer look at Requiem in the trailer below.

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Game

‘Diablo Immortal’ has reportedly earned $24 million since release

Two weeks , Blizzard’s has earned approximately $24 million for the , according to . In an estimate it shared with , the analytics firm said the free-to-play game was downloaded almost 8.5 million times over the same timeframe, with 26 percent of downloads originating in the US. The bulk of Blizzard’s revenue from Diablo Immortal has also come from America. To date, US players contributed about 43 percent of all the game’s earnings.

To put Immortal’s early financial success in context, Hearthstone, the only other mobile game Blizzard has , earned about $5 million in May. Despite the vocal backlash to Immortal’s monetization systems, it’s probably safe to say no one expected the game to fail out of the gate. Instead, the worry for many fans was a scenario where Immortal was so successful for Blizzard that it went on to inform how the studio monetizes its future games.

For the time being, that fear seems unfounded. Diablo franchise general manager Rod Fergusson recently would feature a different set of monetization systems than Immortal. “To be clear, D4 is a full-price game built for PC/PS/Xbox audiences,” he tweeted after the game’s recent showing at Microsoft’s recent Summer Game Fest . Separately, Blizzard announced this week Overwatch 2 .

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Game

‘Diablo Immortal’ delayed indefinitely in China just before its planned release date

 was supposed to debut in China on June 23rd, but those who have been waiting for the game in the country will need to wait longer. NetEase, which co-developed the game with Blizzard, has pushed back the release date indefinitely. It that “the development team is making a number of optimization adjustments.”

However, there are other factors at play. NetEase found itself in the bad graces of China’s censors over a post on its Weibo social media service that seemingly referenced Winnie the Pooh, according to the . The cartoon character is used to mock Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In the wake of a screenshot of the post (which read “why hasn’t the bear stepped down?”) gaining traction, the official Diablo Immortal Weibo account was banned from posting anything. Discussions related to the post were also wiped from the service.

Currently, Diablo Immortal does not have a release date in China, though NetEase still expects to ship the game in the country. It promised players an “exclusive thank-you package containing legendary equipment” as a makegood for the delay.

The PC and mobile title debuted in other territories this month. According to reports, it raked in in two weeks as a result of its aggressive approach to monetization. China is the biggest gaming market on the planet and not being able to release Diablo Immortal there would likely have a severe impact on the game’s expected revenues. NetEase declined to comment to the Financial Times. Engadget has contacted Blizzard for comment.

It’s not the first time a game developer has run into issues with Chinese regulators over a Winnie the Pooh reference. Publisher Indievent to sell Devotion in China, leading it to cut ties with developer Red Candle Games, which included a blatant dig at Xi in the game itself. The studio, which is based in Taiwan, later a DRM-free version of Devotion on its own storefront.

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Game

‘Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl’ release now set for 2023

GSC Game World hopes to release Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl next year. The studio shared the updated release window in a trailer it premiered Tuesday during Microsoft’s Xbox Games Showcase Extended livestream. GSC had previously planned to release the game by the end of this year, but the likelihood of that happening diminished after the company was forced to pause development due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Some fans spotted Stalker 2’s new release window when Microsoft shared an update on Xbox Game Pass during its Xbox and Bethesda showcase on Sunday. “It happened a little bit earlier than expected, we were actually planning to reveal it in the upcoming days,” a GSC Game World spokesperson told PC Gamer on Monday. “But yes, the game now releases in 2023.”

Alongside a fresh trailer, the studio released a new vlog detailing some of the hardships its staff has had to endure since the conflict in Ukraine began. GSC recently resumed work on Stalker 2 after relocating some of its team members to Prague. The studio also changed the game’s subtitle from “Heart of Chernobyl” to “Chornobyl” to reflect the local Ukrainian spelling of the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster.

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Computing

Apple’s rumored release of its AR glasses demands patience

While the Apple rumor mill has recently been focusing on the company’s reported mixed reality headset, Apple engineers are also believed to be working on a pair of high-tech glasses featuring augmented reality (AR) technology.

The tech giant has remained characteristically tight-lipped on the matter, though a new report from 9to5Mac suggests that it’s aiming to launch the advanced specs in “late 2024.” That means they could arrive a whole two years after Apple’s AR/VR headset, which some suggest will be unveiled later this year before landing in stores in early 2023.

The information comes courtesy of oft-quoted analyst Jeff Pu of Haitong Intl Tech Research, who in a note seen by 9to5Mac said he believes that Apple will introduce its first AR glasses in the second half of 2024.

Additionally, Pu also claimed that Apple would launch the second generation of its AR/VR headset in late 2024, around the same time as the AR glasses and about a year after the first-gen headset seems set to land.

Not a great deal is known about Apple’s rumored glasses. Most leaks in recent months have referenced Apple’s AR/VR headset, with Apple engineers reportedly having recently presented a prototype of the device to the company’s top team, including Apple CEO Tim Cook.

It’s certain that the mixed reality headset will be the more advanced of the two devices, likely packing a suite of AR/VR technologies powered by Apple Silicon and possibly including an 8K display for each eye. The so-called “Apple Glasses,” meanwhile, will reportedly function primarily as a display for the iPhone, showing information transmitted from the handset.

With the first iteration of the rumored specs apparently a long way from any kind of launch, it’s possible that Apple is still fiddling with the design, so the final product could be markedly different from the one it’s playing with today. The company could even abandon the project if it feels it’s not making any progress with it.

There’s certainly a lot more information out there regarding the AR/VR headset, suggesting it’s well on its way to becoming a … ahem … reality.

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Computing

Apple’s AR headset release gets adjusted after missing WWDC

There is bad news for those who were hoping to get their hands on Apple’s rumored upcoming augmented reality headset. It looks like shipping dates will shift from Q1 2023 to Q2 2023 — that is, if you believe the rumors.

This bit of speculation comes courtesy of the ever-reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The delay is apparently due to the lockdowns in Shanghai, which have interrupted development timelines. Kuo tweeted out the bad news along with his own predictions for the headset:

(2/2)
1. EVT starting from 3Q22.
2. Media event on Jan 2023.
3. Delivery of development toolkit within 2-4 weeks after the event.
4. Starting pre-order in 2Q23.
5. Hitting store shelves before WWDC 2023.

— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) June 7, 2022

Kuo believes Apple will hold a special media event to announce the AR headset around January of next year with pre-orders starting in 2Q23. He also predicts the device will land in stores before Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference next year.

That last prediction is a bit interesting because Apple normally uses WWDC to highlight new software products including updates to operating systems. That would be the perfect time to unveil “realityOS”, the rumored name for the OS powering the headset. That said, with Apple usually showcasing no less than five operating systems (iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, watchOS, tvOS), adding a sixth may be a little overkill.

Apple could choose to unveil both the AR headset and realityOS before WWDC and still provide more developer-specific announcements at the actual conference.

Apple VR Headset Concept Antonio De Rosa

There are many who hoped that Apple would provide some kind of tease at this years’ WWDC, but alas there was none there. Allegedly, overheating issues prevented Apple from showing it off during the keynote presentation. The company has been demoing it internally, however.

As its latest new product category since the Apple Watch, this AR headset is one of the most highly anticipated new products from the company in many years. Apple will likely try to position the headset as a game-changer like the original iPhone was in 2007, the iPad in 2010, and the Apple Watch in 2015.

The headset is rumored to be powered by an Apple Silicon chip more powerful than the M1. If the rumored release date proves to be true, that means it’ll almost certainly be based on the recently announced M2. Apple claims the new 2022 MacBook Air with the M2 has about the same power efficiency as the M1 while being 20% faster.

While you may be a bit bummed out that we’ll have to wait even longer for Apple’s AR headset, there were quite a few interesting things announced at WWDC yesterday.

The iPhone will finally get customizable lock screens with iOS 16. You’ll also be able to use your iPhone as a webcam with MacOS Ventura.

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Game

The first ‘Final Fantasy XVI’ gameplay trailer reveals a summer 2023 release window

Final Fantasy XVI is due to hit PlayStation 5 in the summer of 2023 — and Square Enix has a hot new trailer to prove it. The title’s first gameplay trailer showcases the massive monsters called Eikons and the Dominant humans that inhabit them, and presents chaotic, cinematic battle scenes in a medieval-inspired world.

FFXVI was officially revealed in September 2020 and developers promised to drop more information about it by the end of the following year. But in December 2021, the development team announced the game was nearly six months behind schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that we’ve waited an extra half a year, the gameplay trailer is finally here.

“In our latest trailer, we’ve introduced several new Eikons, as well as provided a more detailed peek at our action-packed battle system and the freedom it gives players,” FFXVI director Hiroshi Takai said on the PlayStation blog. “As for development progress, I’m happy to announce that the game is fully playable from start to finish; though, from optimization to brush-up, there is still a mountain of challenges to tackle as we head into our final push.”

It seems like Square Enix is back on track with its FFXVI development timeline, aiming to release the game on PS5 next summer. It’s set to be exclusive to PS5 for a limited time.

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AI

High-end braking company, Brembo to release AI braking system in 2024

High-end Italian brake manufacturer Brembo announced in October its plan to release Sensify, an AI-enhanced braking system that promises both “driving pleasure and total safety” when it rolls out via an unnamed manufacturer in 2024. Going beyond anti-lock brakes, traction, and stability control, it replaces hydraulic controls with electronic ones for design flexibility and, potentially, more precise control.

Incorporating AI into vehicles isn’t new, as algorithms control playlists, maps, driver assistance, and even “self-driving” to various degrees. AI-based brake systems, however, are enough to raise eyebrows about how exactly they will work or enhance safety.

“As you start to deal with artificial intelligence and neural networks, they’re only as good as the training data you have,” said J. Christian Gerdes, an engineering professor and co-director of the Center of Automotive Research at Stanford University. “If you have a new case that represents something it hasn’t seen before, it’s hard to know in advance what it decides to do.”

Autocar UK reports that Sensify is using a “dedicated app” to program itself based on data and enhance the driving experience. The system supposedly will use predictive algorithms, sensors, and data management tools that give it a “digital brain” capable of controlling each wheel independently.

Gerdes says that modern anti-lock brake systems, first introduced in the 1970s, are a Band-Aid for wheels locking up under heavy braking. “What would make more sense is to have an understanding of what’s going on at each of your wheels. And to then intelligently ask for brake force at different wheels.”

Car with various labels describing the Sensify system

Brembo Sensify system
Image: Brembo

Despite the digital footprint with AI and Sensify, the physical mechanics have more of a presence compared to the software in the Sensify system, according to Brembo chief executive Daniele Schillaci. The exec told Reuters “the mechanic and software contents will soon be equivalent and by the end of the decade software will become predominant in braking systems.”

The company plans to open a technology lab in Silicon Valley by the end of the year to further its digital strategies. Brembo says, “Data collection is leveraged to improve the driver experience and allows the system to be constantly updated,” but how it will handle questions like privacy and security of that collected data is unclear.

One of Sensify’s benefits is adapting to driving styles, adjusting to weather and road conditions, and shorter locking times. Brembo also says its system will be cheaper over the life of a car because it removes brake fluid by adding electromechanical control, has lower maintenance costs, lower disc consumption, and lower or zero drag torque. In an electric or hybrid vehicle, better control of regenerative braking can help reduce the battery size.

What happens when there is a hardware failure in that AI brain? In a demo for Autocar UK, Brembo explained the system has two ECUs (electronic control units) that are connected as a fail-safe but send their commands separately.

The system is set to be released in 2024. Brembo said that it’s designed to work on multiple car types like sedans, racecars, SUVs, and commercial vehicles, but it’s not clear how much it needs to be customized for each type.

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Game

Sonic Frontiers targets Breath of the Wild fans with late 2022 release

As recent leaks had claimed, Sega is gearing up to release another Sonic the Hedgehog game and it’ll be called Sonic Frontiers. The name refers to the nature of the upcoming title, which will be unlike any past installment in the Sonic universe. Put simply, it sure looks like Sega is hoping to draw in Breath of the Wild fans with its next Sonic game.

Image: SEGA

Sonic Frontiers was introduced alongside a teaser trailer at The Game Awards 2021, giving fans their first look at the next installment in the lengthy Sonic the Hedgehog video game series. The upcoming titles will differ from the existing games in one big way, however, by bringing the hedgehogs to their first open-world environment.

Players will be free to explore a vast open world filled with a variety of landscapes, including forests, open fields, waterfalls, deserts, and other regions. In addition to the teaser trailer, Sega has released a handful of screenshots showing the kinds of environments players can expect.

SEGA

Sonic will, Sega says, still have his ultra-fast running ability and players will be tasked with battling enemies spread throughout the open-world environment (Starfall Islands). We see a cinematic version of those kinds of battles in the launch trailer, but Sega hasn’t yet shared any gameplay footage.

Stone structures in flower field

SEGA

Though additional details aren’t yet available — the Holiday 2022 release date aside — it is pretty clear Sega is targeting fans of existing massively popular open-world games like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo raked in tens of millions of sales with its hit Zelda title, with Breath of the Wild proving to be the most popular installment in the game franchise (via Wikipedia).

An open-world environment was one of the rumors that had been circulating since Sega teased a 2022 Sonic game earlier this year. The big question, though, is whether the company can manage to pull off something as excellent as Breath of the Wild. Some early commentary from players points out that while the idea of an open world is great, the actual environment revealed by Sega seems out of place with the cartoon hedgehogs.

Shallow lake with trees

SEGA

We’ve only seen a few screenshots from this world, so it’s unclear how robust it may be and what kind of buildings it may feature. It is possible that Sega plans to bring the classic landscapes from its side-scrolling titles to the upcoming 3D world, but whether it’ll pull off a style that complements — rather than contrasts — the animated characters is another matter.

Sonic’s modern design history has already been filled with some questionable choices, namely the movie version of the character that somehow managed to reach the promotional stage despite looking like, well, this. Hopefully, Sega took notes amid that design debacle and will be extra careful to give players the kind of world they want, not just cartoon hedgehogs in awkwardly realistic biomes.

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Game

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade PC release has one big catch

The Game Awards brought a big announcement that Final Fantasy fans have been waiting a long time for: Square Enix’s Final Fantasy 7 Remake is finally coming to other platforms. Specifically, Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade – an enhanced PS5 re-release of the original remake – will be coming to PC later this month. Sadly, there’s a rather big catch with this PC release.

Square Enix Co., LTD.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade is an Epic Games Store exclusive

That catch is the fact that Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade is going to be an Epic Games Store exclusive, at least at first. Exclusivity deals kept the game off PC to begin, and now that it’s finally coming to the platform, it seems another exclusivity deal is keeping Final Fantasy 7 Remake off the store of choice for many PC gamers.

It’s possible – likely, even – that this is just a timed exclusive for PC. Many Epic Games Store exclusivity deals are timed, after all. If that turns out to be the case, then we’d expect to see Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade come to Steam after a year of availability on the Epic Games Store, giving it a potential Steam release date of December 17th, 2022.

Unfortunately, Square Enix doesn’t say whether or not Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade is a timed exclusive in a post to its website announcing the port. It looks like we’ll have to wait for more information, but we know for sure that if you want to play Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade the moment it lands on PC, the Epic Games Store is your destination.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade PC release date and specs

If you’re not bothered by the fact that Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade is an Epic Games Store exclusive, then here’s some good news: the game will be available on PC in a matter of days. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this announcement is the game’s release date, which is December 16th, 2021.

Square Enix Co., LTD.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade will be here in less than a week, and it’ll include the DLC that’s been released up to this point. The main draw of the Intergrade version is FF7R Episode INTERmission, which is a side story featuring Yuffie that takes place alongside the main game. That’ll be present in the PC version, as will the DLC weapons, armor, and summon materia that were released for the PS4/PS5 versions.

Square Enix has also shared minimum and recommended PC specifications for the game. At a minimum, you’ll need an Intel Core i5-3300/AMD FX-8350 paired with a GeForce GTX 780/Radeon RX 480 (3GB) and 8 GB of RAM. You’ll also need to be running Windows 10 64bit (ver. 2004 or later), DirectX version 12 or later, and you’ll need at least 100GB of free space on your machine.

Square Enix Co., LTD.

To hit the recommended specs, you’ll need the same Windows and DirectX versions and the same amount of free space. As far as hardware is concerned, the recommended specs require an Intel Core i7-3770/AMD Ryzen 3 3100, 12GB of RAM, and a GTX 1080/Radeon RX5700 (8GB). Square Enix says the game can run at 1440p with the recommended specs, so you don’t need a beastly rig at all to run Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade.

We’ll let you know if Square Enix confirms anything about a potential Steam release, but otherwise, look for Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade to land on PC via the Epic Games Store on December 16th.

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