Stardew Valley

There's finally a release date - 1st August - for Stardew Valley's big multiplayer update, which has been in public beta testing now for several months.

This is just for Stardew Valley's PC version, however. The multiplayer update will launch at a later time on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (and not at all on PlayStation Vita).

Here's a new trailer:

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Sir, You Are Being Hunted

Back in 2013, Big Robot Ltd. released Sir, You Are Being Hunted: a survival sandbox game that was well received due to its quirky British touches and terrifying robots. The developer has today unveiled its latest title, The Light Keeps Us Safe, which as a stealth-survival game seems to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor.

In the post-apocalyptic world of The Light Keeps Us Safe, the sky has "gone out", leaving only disturbing machines to patrol the land. It's a procedurally-generated hellscape. As the title suggests, players will need to use "powers of light" to defend themselves and escape from traps. The game also requires players to venture out of their bunker towards something called The Light, which is apparently where everyone else has gone. Very mysterious.

The new game will be released via Steam Early Access on the 11th of October this year. Conveniently, this is right before Halloween - ideal timing for players seeking to get into the spooky mood. Big Robot has promised a gameplay trailer will be released shortly, which should reveal a little more about the game before its release.

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PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds developer Bluehole has apologised for an in-game helmet design some fans found offensive.

The item, a pilot's helmet available in the game's mobile version, bore the Japanese rising sun flag - a reference to the country's imperial army and its World War 2-era military aggression.

It's a flag seen to be offensive by many Korean and Chinese people, BBC News and Bzit reported. Bluehole is based in Korea, and PUBG has a massive Korean and Chinese audience.

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No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky ambitious NEXT update is out next week, coming to PC, PS4 and, for the first time, Xbox One. It's been a year in the making and is, it's fair to say, big.

Right now, I've only had around 30 minutes with this latest version, so it's impossible to fully appreciate its scope - but, speaking as someone that's accrued hundreds of hours with the game and its three previous updates, it's already clear that NEXT marks a significant new chapter for No Man's Sky.

The first, most striking aspect of NEXT is, unsurprisingly, its visual overhaul - and, as the recent trailer will attest, it's genuinely remarkable just how different No Man's Sky looks. Its massively improved lighting, better atmospheric effects, and increased draw distances, alongside a gorgeous new cloud rendering system, improved textures, better water, an optional new third-person camera, and more, combine to create a much more subtle aesthetic.

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No Man's Sky

What a trip it's been. Back in 2013, when a little team that was working out of a busted-up old studio they shared with a taxi rank on a small street in Guildford revealed its follow-up to a series of cute cartoon racing games, it was one of those moments. No Man's Sky captured the world's attention like few other games have before it. And for three years No Man's Sky was given the world's stage, making headline appearances at E3 conferences and with creator Sean Murray guesting on big-name US talk shows. "I thought Morgan Freeman was God!" quipped Stephen Colbert as Murray appeared on The Late Show and showed off his procedurally generated universe. "You're actually the second God I've had on the show."

And then, after years of hype, No Man's Sky launched. Some people loved it - us included, who fell a little in love with this flawed but fascinating sci-fi opus. And some people didn't. And some of those people got angry. The weeks following No Man's Sky's launch were a hotbed of controversy and upset, with claims of broken promises - mostly pinned around the suggestion of multiplayer in the run-up to launch - and disappointment that this wasn't the game that some people had in their minds. Things got nasty, and Hello Games retreated into a silence from which they've only just emerged.

And in that time they worked, and worked hard on adding to No Man's Sky, building on those early foundations in league with a dedicated community that has helped Hello Games take its game to some remarkable new places. Big updates followed - the last of which, Atlas Rises, saw some one million people playing on the day of its launch - and then Hello Games went quiet again, working for a year on the most significant update yet, introducing true multiplayer and a whole host of new features that we've run through elsewhere on the site. The reaction has been staggering - Murray uploaded a clip of the game's Discord watching the latest trailer, fans swearily losing their minds at the sheer spectacle of it all. It was like that VGX trailer all over again.

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Sonic Mania

Fandom's a funny thing, isn't it? When a new SegaWorld opened up on the slightly tatty seafront at the foot of Brighton's Madeira Drive a good few years back, I was at the peak of my obsession with the company who'd brought blue sky joy to so many. And so I decided to head down to the opening in the Sega T-shirt I'd made myself to show my support, and at least one person appreciated the effort; someone in a slightly tatty Sonic the Hedgehog costume, who gave me a big, bright blue lollipop that had been reserved for winners of the colouring-in competition they were running that day. I was 21. I still have that lollipop, and I'm still proud of what I did.

Some acts of fandom are a little more productive, though. Like those of Christian Whitehead and his cohorts, the Melbourne-based developer who's been behind a string of spectacular Sonic remakes, all climaxing in last year's outstanding Sonic Mania - a slice of pure concentrate fan service, ushered into life gracefully by Sega and offering an undoubtable high point for the series in some years. Not bad work from a small gaggle of enthusiastic Sonic fans given the keys to their favourite franchise - as well as a guiding hand from the people behind it all in the first place.

"The first game I ever really played was Sonic 2 - and that really set off my interest in video games," says Christian Whitehead over a slightly fuzzy Skype connection. "There was this special cheat debug mode, and for me it was the first time you could see some of the tricks of how games work. That really sparked my curiosity in how games are developed."

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Eurogamer

Rockstar has slapped a release date on nightclub-themed GTA Online update After Hours - 24th July, or as it's known to friends, next Tuesday. Look, here's a trailer.

The latest in a long line of free content drops for an online world that may yet outlive us all, After Hours lets GTA Online players set up their own nightclubs - though it sounds like the point of running these clubs is more what you do behind the scenes. It also lets you buddy up with one of GTA 4's favourite characters.

"Partner with legendary impresario Tony Prince to open and operate a top shelf Nightclub featuring world-class DJ acts Solomun, Tale Of Us, Dixon and The Black Madonna, and use it as a front for the most concentrated network of criminal enterprise ever to hit San Andreas," the Rockstar Newswire elaborates.

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Eurogamer

Online retailer Green Man Gaming has kicked off its Summer Sale with a range of deals across some new and classic PC titles - including some historic low prices on Dying Light: The Following, Prey and Grand Theft Auto 5.

The games currently listed with discounts only make up what GMG is calling the 'Early Access' sale, which runs for the next couple of hours. That's nothing at all to do with Steam Early Access, but just refers to the handful of games on offer in the warm up period before the full sale kicks off later this evening.

While we wait for those floodgates to open, here are some of the highlights we've spotted so far. (As a heads up, some of these discounts are applied once you've added the game to your basket.)

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Eurogamer

The Eiffel Tower is caught mid-explosion, pieces of it pulled out and hanging in the air, as if it's all part of one of those clever diagrams that shows you how complex things are put together. Why not? The Eiffel Tower - this strange, peaceful, mangled version of it - lies at the heart of Youropa, a game I meant to play for just half an hour the other day to see what it was all about. A game that instead drew me in for many hours of delight and genuine wonder.

God, Youropa is special. The developers name-drop classics like Portal and Jet Set Radio, and I can see what they mean, just about. But I'd also add The Witness and Psychonauts and probably a dozen other games, and yet that would all be misleading anyway, because while Youropa is clearly made from cherished pieces of favourite games it's also entirely its own thing with its own character.

Is it a platformer? Kind of, not that you spend much time jumping. Still, there are doors to open, a map to navigate from node to node, pressure plates and switches and enemies and lifts and all that platforming jazz. But it's all tied together with a glorious conceit that is hard to describe yet incredibly easy to understand once you see it in motion: each stage is a little blockish knot of land floating in space, and while you can't jump, you can walk up any surface that has a gentle curve to it, which means that you can walk over to a wall, walk up the wall, follow it over its own humped back and maybe round a corner, until you're pretty much upside down but still having a wonderful time of it all.

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Eurogamer

Years of playing hero-based multiplayer games have taught me one thing: if I am having fun with a character that is probably because s/he is overpowered, because I am too rubbish to play characters who are properly balanced. This appears to be the case with Brigitte, the Overwatch healer-tank knight errant whose prowess with a mace left me speechless (and often, concussed) when she launched on public servers in March. Blizzard says her Shield Bash ability - the essential prelude to knocking a rampaging Doomfist into a pit - is too effective for comfort, and must be nerfed. For shame, Blizzard! Let the girl bash in peace.

The next and currently undated Overwatch patch will extend the cooldown on Shield Bash by a crucial second, giving opponents marginally more time to run away, flank her or nuke the shield before she smacks them upside the chops with it. "Shield Bash is Brigitte's strongest ability, and its short cooldown makes it very difficult to play around," Blizzard's Geoff Goodman writes on the official forum. "We'd like to keep her Shield Bash and subsequent melee combos powerful and effective, while just allowing a little more counter-play against it.

"We've talked about possibly reducing her defense somewhere, such as reducing her barrier health. However, her tank-hybrid nature is a core part of her kit and we want to make sure she maintains that feeling of being a difficult target to take down. Overall Brigitte's win rate is still the highest of any support, despite dishing out the lowest amount of raw healing per second. This speaks volumes to how powerful her kit can be outside of her direct healing numbers."

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