PC Gamer latest storieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/feed/en-usWed, 08 Jul 2015 00:14:37 +0000yesOCZ Vector 180 reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/ocz-vector-180-review/A strong performing SSD to compete with the Samsung 850 Pro and SanDisk Extreme II.Wed, 08 Jul 2015 00:14:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ocz-vector-180-review/HardwareSSD <p> OCZ has been making consumer SSDs for almost a decade now, and during that time the brand has seen its ups and downs. Early models were known for high failure rates, with many users encountering problems that led to losing their OS partition and data. Although later models have been much more reliable, those dark years certainly damaged the brand’s reputation.&nbsp;Then OCZ ran into financial problems, and in late 2013 was acquired by Toshiba, a behemoth in flash memory manufacturing. The new OCZ has an infusion of fresh engineering talent and flash memory straight from the source, giving it a fighting chance against the likes of Samsung with its new SSDs.</p><p> OCZ has launched three new SSD ranges this year with geometry-inspired naming conventions.&nbsp;The entry-level model is the Arc 100, the Vertex 460A model is for the mid range and the Vector 150 and 180 are the enthusiast models.&nbsp;These are all based off 2-bit MLC Toshiba A19nm flash memory, the same type of NAND that is licensed to other brands. For example, the AMD Radeon R7 SSD and Fujifilm high performance HQ-Pro use this very same type of flash.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Specs</h5> <p> <strong></strong><strong>Capacity:</strong> 120GB, 240GB 480GB, 960GB<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">Price:</b> $80, $130, $250, $470<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">DRAM cache:</b> 512 MB (120GB, 240GB)&nbsp;1 GB (480GB, 960GB)<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">Sequential Read:</b> 550 MB/s<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">Sequential Write:</b> 450 MB/s (120GB), 530 MB/s (240GB+)<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">IOPS (read):</b> 85,000 95,000 100,000 100,000<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">IOPS (write):</b> 90,000 90,000 95,000 95,000<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">IOPS (steady write):</b> 12,000 20,000 23,000 20,000<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">Endurance:</b> 50GB/day over five years </p> </div><p> The OCZ Vector 180 is the company’s new flagship 2.5-inch SSD, designed to compete with the best performing consumer drives on the market, such as Samsung’s 850 Pro and SanDisk’s Extreme Pro SSDs. As such it’s in a relatively similar price bracket, with a $150 price tag for the 240GB model we’re testing, which closely matches the pricing on both SanDisk and Samsung’s drives.</p><p> It comes in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities, with a controller from Indilinx called the Barefoot 3. This controller features an ARM Cortex processor, with a co-processor called Aragon, along with a SATA 6GB/sec interface and a DRAM controller. Although OCZ keeps some details close to its chest, it’s the M00 Barefoot 3 in the Vector 180, which runs at a higher clock speed, close to 400MHz, while the M10 variant found in the lower-tiered Arc and Vertex drives run at 325MHz.&nbsp;The controller supports many of the usual features found in a modern SSD, with TRIM and AES-256 encryption, although it lacks the more sophisticated Opal encryption.</p><p> A small amount of DDR3 memory is provided for caching data, with 512MB of Micron DDR3 memory on the 120GB and 240GB models, and 1GB on the 480GB and 960GB models. This closely matches the configuration used in other brands, with more memory available in larger capacity drives.</p><p> There’s also a feature called power failure management plus (better shortened to PFM+) which provides at least some form of protection against data loss if power is unexpectedly cut from the drive. Although this doesn’t protect data held in the SSD cache waiting to be written to the drive, anything already stored on the NAND will remain in good order after a power loss.&nbsp;Power-loss protection is common in enterprise SSDs, surprisingly few consumer drives offer it. It’s absent from all of Samsung’s drives, for example, and the only other well-known example of a consumer SSD to offer this feature is Crucial’s MX100.</p><p> The package contains a few extras too. There’s a code for a downloadable copy of Acronis True HD, used to copy your entire system partition from your old hard disk to the Vector 180. There’s also a metal 3.5-inch mounting bracket, which is really only useful if your case is as old as the hills, since nearly every PC chassis now has plenty of internal space to mount 2.5-inch drives.</p><h3></h3><h2>Beyond the numbers</h2><p> As we found when we tested a wide range of SSD models in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-ssd-for-gaming/">the best SSD for gaming</a>, the differences in real-world performance between different brands and models of SATA SSDs is incredibly slim. You might see one SSD take an extra second to load Windows, or another with a higher sequential transfer rate, which is the headline performance figure most people see when they look at SSD performance.</p><p> But in reality, the most noticeable performance leap you’ll ever experience from an SSD is always that first jump from a hard disk, mainly because of the improvement in latency times. There’s no more waiting for the disk to spin up and a mechanical arm to move into place. Differentiating between SSDs now depends on more than raw benchmark results alone&mdash;at least until far faster PCIe SSDs become mainstream enough to change the game. Although we’ve fully tested many technical aspects of the Vector 180, OCZ has worked hard on improving the overall product offering.</p><p> One example is the warranty. A standard warranty of five years comes with the Vector 180, which is generally more than adequate, since the ten years offered by other firms is so long, the drive will likely be completely obsolete by the end of the period. But OCZ goes a bit further than just offering a five-year guarantee, with what it calls ShieldPlus warranty.</p><p> If you run into a problem, just enter your serial number, click a few buttons, print out a paid return shipping label and you’ll have a brand new replacement drive, without needing to worry about proof of purchase. Although it should be noted this service is at present only available in the US, Canada, European Union and Taiwan. Bad luck Aussies, Kiwis and others.</p><p> Another highly touted feature of the Vector 180 is better sustained performance than other SSDs. While most SSD firms tout excellent sequential read and write speeds, it’s the performance over time that may end up being a bigger factor. Out of the box and unused, an SSD usually performs as well as its quoted speeds. But over time, as cells are written to over and over, you’ll notice some performance degradation. The TRIM command restores much of this performance by performing garbage collection in the background, but you’ll also lose performance due to the need for additional error correction by the controller, which reduces overall write speeds.</p><p> With some clever tricks implemented in the controller firmware, by running simulations of long-term drive use, OCZ says the Vector 180 delivers better sustained performance than competing models, including the Samsung 850 Pro, with fewer signs of performance degradation over time.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/9009/ocz-vector-180-240gb-480gb-960gb-ssd-review/3">Anandtech's in-depth consistency testing</a> found that the Vector 180 did indeed have the fastest average IOPS over time, but&nbsp;it also&nbsp;had the highest variation, and became less and less&nbsp;consistent at larger sizes. The 240GB version performed the best in terms of consistency. That's an unfortuante side effect of the Barefoot 3 controller.</p><h2>SSD Guru</h2><p> OCZ has also completely revamped its&nbsp;SSD maintenance software. Now called SSD Guru, the interface is as simple as can be, with plenty of useful functions and features. There’s a health bar, showing the estimation for the number of drive writes remaining and a temperature indicator.</p><p> The status of two aspects of your system configuration that affect performance are also displayed: the BIOS AHCI setting and whether the Vector 180 is connected to a 6GB/sec SATA III port.</p><p> There’s also a firmware update tool and manual over provisioning. But perhaps most useful is the built-in Secure Erase function. Without support software, erasing an SSD can be like a voodoo ritual. It’s best done with a Linux distribution (Parted Magic works very well), loaded off a USB stick or a second drive. You then need to enter a few long commands. For data security reasons, as standard, a drive cannot be erased and wiped by any old process running on your computer. Before it can be erased, it has to be unfrozen. There are really only a few ways to do this. Putting your computer to sleep then waking it might do the trick, but the best way to do so in a desktop PC is by unplugging the power cable for a few seconds, then plugging it back in. It’s all quite messy.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nfB9rqNJQROS.PNG" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gimKG-ASaAZy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ssd Guru 1"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LbzL_WdfQAeZ.PNG" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vTBP82WX_Tq5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ssd Guru 2"></p><p> SSD Guru does all this for you. As long as the OCZ Vector 180 isn’t your system drive, the entire SSD is erased with a single click. It takes about 20 seconds. If the Vector 180 is your system drive, then OCZ provides a bootable ISO on its website that can be copied to a USB stick. It’s all been very well thought out.</p><p> In terms of functionality and appearance, it matches Samsung’s Magician software almost exactly, with one exception. It lacks a Rapid mode for caching to memory, which can provides a small performance boost when using Samsung’s drives (though Rapid looks great in benchmarks, it can be hard to notice in real-world use).</p><h2>Deep dive: Getting to the numbers</h2><p> We tested the OCZ Vertex 180 in a desktop PC running Windows 7 SP1 and the following hardware configuration</p><p> &mdash;Intel Core i7 4790K, clocked at 4GHz<br> &mdash;Nvidia GeForce GTX 970<br> &mdash;16GB DDR3-1600 RAM<br> &mdash;Asus Z87 Pro Motherboard</p><p> This was the same test PC used for the testing of all the SSDs in the group test mentioned above. As such, these results can be compared directly to those from that test.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GagVXSJQTImF.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HU-66D_Xyi9A.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ocz Vector As Ssd Scores"></p><p> In AS SSD the 240GB Vector 180 hits a high note in sequential read performance with 487.35 MB/sec, and sequential write performance of 475.65 MB/sec. These results are slightly short of some other high-end drives such as Samsung’s 850 Pro and SanDisk’s Extreme Pro, which both go over the 500 MB/sec mark, but it’s still a fairly good result.</p><p> The IOPS figures are better though, with almost 87000 read and 82000 write. Although this is slightly lower than the quoted figures, once again, this is a good score.</p><p> In both cases, larger capacities will improve on these scores.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wnUWWAMyQ0CC.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-VnbTLApCf4v.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ocz Vector Atto"></p><p> CrystalDiskMark results also come out a bit lower than other 240GB drives, showing just 430 MB/sec read and 480 MB/sec write.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xLx_muIxTQSn.PNG" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dSIe4zyW2Dc9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Vector Pcm"></p><h2>Conclusion</h2><p> Although its synthetic results aren’t top of the performance league, the OCZ Vector 180 scores adequately in all the tests, with some good scores in the (semi) real-world tests of PCMark08, too. While it doesn’t quite match other drives in sequential performance, it still does reasonably and the IOPS figures are also pretty good.</p><p> The extra features make a big difference. While plenty of firms now offer excellent SSD maintenance software, OCZ’s SSD Guru is just about as good as any of them. Although it lacks the Rapid memory cache mode of Samsung’s software, everything else is in place, with some useful extras like a manual TRIM command and built-in secure erase.</p><p> Although not quite class leading, its endurance is excellent too, with 50GB/day over five years in the 240GB model. This works out to just under 100TB over five years. While on paper it’s not quite as high as the 150TB offered by Samsung’s 850 Pro, it’s still unlikely to cause problems under normal daily workloads.</p><p> It’s also worth pointing out that quoted figures are usually a worst-case scenario. SSD endurance was once a major concern and a potential reason to avoid flash-based storage, but with the improvements in modern drives, unless you’re absolutely trying to destroy an SSD with writes, it’s unlikely you’ll ever hit its write limits.</p><p> Would we buy the Vector 180 over another drive? It depends. The performance of the Vector 180 won’t disappoint, but from our results, the Samsung 850 Pro and SanDisk Extreme Pro SSDs have a slight overall performance lead in synthetic tests. In the real world though, these differences will certainly be negligible.</p><p> More importantly, though the Vector 180 competes with some high-end drives, the more affordable Samsung 850 EVO and Crucial BX100 are just as good for gaming and cheaper thanks to a few dropped bells and whistles. The Vector 180's premium nets you software support, power-loss protection and a great warranty.</p> F1 2015 system requirements announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2015-system-requirements-announced/You'll need to be this tall if you want to ride.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 22:15:34 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2015-system-requirements-announced/CodemastersF1 2015NewsRacing <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_Y6F8yBjSTyT.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TEomtV_XWuD5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F1 2015"></p><p>Codemasters' new racing game <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2015/">F1 2015</a> will be out on July 10 (July 21 at retail in North America, actually), which makes this a fine time to figure out what you'll need to run it. And by "figure out," I mean, "Let's go have a look at <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/286570/">Steam</a>."</p><p>First up, the minimum:</p><ul><li><strong>OS:</strong> Windows 7 64 bit or Windows 8 64 bit </li><li><strong>Processor:</strong> Intel Core 2 Quad @ 3.0GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 @ 3.2GHz </li><li><strong>Memory:</strong> 4 GB RAM </li><li><strong>Graphics:</strong> Intel 4th Gen Iris Graphics or AMD HD5770 or NVIDIA GTS450 </li><li><strong>DirectX:</strong> Version 11 </li><li><strong>Network:</strong> Broadband Internet connection </li><li><strong>Hard Drive:</strong> 20 GB available space </li><li><strong>Sound Card:</strong> DirectX Compatible soundcard </li></ul><p>And then, the recommended spec, which is where you really want to be:</p><ul><li><strong>OS:</strong> Windows 7 64 bit or Windows 8 64 bit </li><li><strong>Processor:</strong> Intel Core i7 4770 or AMD FX 9370 </li><li><strong>Memory:</strong> 8 GB RAM </li><li><strong>Graphics:</strong> Intel 5th Gen Iris Pro or AMD R9 290 or Nvidia GTX970 </li><li><strong>DirectX:</strong> Version 11 </li><li><strong>Network:</strong> Broadband Internet connection </li><li><strong>Hard Drive:</strong> 20 GB available space </li><li><strong>Sound Card:</strong> Direct X compatible soundcard </li></ul><p>The vast gulf between the minimum and recommended specifications is a little unusual, but the low-end of the scale means that just about anyone should be able to play it. And you may well want to: We haven't laid hands on it yet, but F1 2015 <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2015-trailer-flaunts-shiny-new-engine/">looks a lot more promising</a> than last year's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2014-review/">decidedly dull release</a>.</p> Ark: Survival Evolved rolls out Unreal Engine 4 mod supporthttp://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved-rolls-out-unreal-engine-4-mod-support/Everybody mod the dinosaur.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 21:29:26 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved-rolls-out-unreal-engine-4-mod-support/Ark: Survival EvolvedNewsStudio WildcardSurvival <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2oqyzM96QaeZ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dGAbLrY50U54.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ark: Survival Evolved editor"></p><p>So you're riding on the back of a stegosaurus and you're thinking to yourself, "Yeah, this is pretty cool, but it'd be <em>really</em> cool if I had a quad-50 strapped to the back of this thing." You will therefore be happy to hear that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved/">Ark: Survival Evolved</a> now supports modding through the Unreal Engine 4 mod tools.</p><p>"The Ark Dev Kit is a simplified version of the Unreal Engine 4 Editor specifically compiled to streamline the process of creating Mods &amp; Maps for the Unreal Engine 4 game Ark: Survival Evolved, and to upload them directly to <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/app/346110/workshop/">Steam Workshop</a> for other users to download and play," the <a href="http://www.playark.com/workshop/">Ark mod tutorial</a> explains. The dev kit doesn't provide access to the game's source, but it does "does contain all of our editable source art for the game, as well as our editable maps and blueprint classes." </p><p>The editor will allow for the creation and modification of various aspects of the game including items, weapons, structures, AI behavior trees, and game logic. The tutorial site also offers instructions for playing mods or customized maps, for dino-riders who would prefer to just horse around with the strange creations of others, and of course there's a new Ark: Survival Evolved <a href="https://forums.unrealengine.com/forumdisplay.php?70-ARK-Survival-Evolved">modding forum</a>, where creators can find help and exchange tips.</p><p> "We'll have more tutorials in the upcoming days about how the specific features of Ark level design are put together, but for now, feel free to explore and modify 'TheIsland' map to poke around at how things work, including the stream sublevels and the zone area spawners," the studio wrote. "If you have any questions about the Mod Tools, feel free to post on this Forum. We encourage intrepid mod makers to help each other out here, the more the community can collaborate to build exciting new content, the better it’s going to be. Stay tuned to our Steam page, Twitter feed, and here for more information on upcoming ARK modding news, including a major initiative to mobilize the mod community that will be announced soon!"</p><p>I don't know if you can actually mount four M2 machine guns onto the back of a dinosaur (although I'm not sure what the point is if you can't) but Ark: Survival Evolved is already an <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved-sells-one-million-copies-in-less-than-a-month/">indie hit</a>, and full-on UE4 mod support is bound to make it even bigger. Tom spent an hour playing the game last week with Ark co-creator Jesse Rapczak, which you can still catch now thanks to the miracle of our <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/pcgamer/v/6850408">Twitch page</a>.</p> Your most tragic save game mishapshttp://www.pcgamer.com/your-most-tragic-save-game-mishaps/Corrupted saves, lost saves, and poorly-timed autosaves. We feel your pain.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 20:27:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/your-most-tragic-save-game-mishaps/Gallery AMD halts Mantle optimizations for current and future graphics cardshttp://www.pcgamer.com/amd-halts-mantle-optimizations-for-current-and-future-graphics-cards/The performance-boosting API will not be optimized for future Graphics Core Next devices.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 19:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/amd-halts-mantle-optimizations-for-current-and-future-graphics-cards/AMDHardwareNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0B6pqW70SRKT.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9nLdsnS-lW9V.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mantle"></p><p>Mantle, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/amd-announce-mantle-a-direct-access-graphics-api-that-will-debut-in-battlefield-4/">announced by AMD</a> in 2013, is a low-level API that provides developers direct access to its Graphics Core Next [GCN] line of GPUs, in 2013. What that means, essentially, is that developers can squeeze significant performance increases out of graphics hardware by not having to deal with the overhead of DirectX. The idea was interesting enough that John Carmack said, shortly after it launched, that Mantle could give enough of a boost to Steamboxes to make Microsoft and Sony "<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/carmack-shares-thoughts-on-steambox-and-amds-mantle/">downright hostile</a>" toward them. </p><p>But for whatever reason, it hasn't panned out, and now DirectX 12 is looming.&nbsp;Mantle offered great performance in a few games, but hasn't offered high-profile benefits over DX11&nbsp;since the release of Battlefield 4 in 2013. Hardware site <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/9390/the-amd-radeon-r9-fury-x-review/12">AnandTech</a> said in its review of the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X that "AMD has now thrown all of their weight beyond Vulkan and DirectX 12, telling developers that future games should use those APIs and not Mantle." AMD isn't killing off Mantle, to be clear about it, but it is moving on to other things. </p><p>"In discussing the performance results of the R9 Fury X with Mantle, AMD has confirmed that while they are not outright dropping Mantle support, they have ceased all further Mantle optimization. Of particular note, the Mantle driver has not been optimized at all for GCN 1.2, which includes not just R9 Fury X, but R9 285, R9 380, and the Carrizo APU as well," the site explained. "Mantle titles will probably still work on these products&mdash;and for the record we can’t get Civilization: Beyond Earth to play nicely with the R9 285 via Mantle&mdash;but performance is another matter. Mantle is essentially deprecated at this point, and while AMD isn’t going out of their way to break backwards compatibility they aren’t going to put resources into helping it either. The experiment that is Mantle has come to an end."</p><p>It wasn't a complete bust, as Mantle helped shape <a href="https://www.khronos.org/vulkan">Vulkan</a>, a new, presumably better low-level API <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/8363/khronos-announces-next-generation-opengl-initiative">announced last year</a> as the "Next Generation OpenGL Initiative." But the downside for gamers is that Mantle-optimized games&mdash;of which there are, fortunately, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Video_games_that_support_Mantle">relatively few</a>&mdash;won't enjoy those optimizations on future AMD graphics cards. Mantle-optimized games will still be playable (unlike my ATI 3D Rage edition of Mechwarrior 2, thank you very much) but the performance won't be anywhere near what it was when Mantle drivers were actively in development.</p> Show Us Your Rig: Digitalmindsoft's Chris Kramerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-digitalmindsofts-chris-kramer/Chris Kramer, managing director at Digitalmindsoft, shows off his Titan X power PC and ultrawide, curved monitor.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 19:18:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-digitalmindsofts-chris-kramer/Call to ArmsDigital Mind SoftMen of Warshow us your rig <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vK5cuoylQoms.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4-iGAj84-Tkn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Chris Kramer 5"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Show us your rig</h5> <p> Each week&nbsp;on <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig/" target="_blank">Show Us Your Rig</a>, we feature PC gaming's best and brightest&nbsp;as they show us the systems they use to work and play. </p> </div><p> Chris Kramer, managing director at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/digital-mind-soft/" target="_blank">Digitalmindsoft</a>, has one of the first setups we've seen on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig/" target="_blank">Show Us Your Rig</a> with a ultra&nbsp;wide, curved monitor&mdash;a trend that is slowly on the rise in the monitor world. He's got a clean looking rig powered by a powerful Titan X, but the above photo shows off something even more important: the triumphant return of adorable pets to the series. While I think we all could have done with at least 15 to 20 more photos of his dog, Kramer was kind enough to take some time and tell us about his PC.&nbsp;</p><h4>What's in your PC?</h4><ul> <li>Motherboard:&nbsp;MSI Z87-G45</li><li>CPU:&nbsp;i7 4790K @ 4400mhz</li><li>Cooler:&nbsp;Alpenföhn Matterhorn Pure</li><li>GPU:&nbsp;Titan X SC with backplate</li><li>RAM:&nbsp;16&nbsp;GB DDR3 @ 2400mhz</li><li>Storage:&nbsp;250GB SSD &amp;&nbsp;1TB Hybrid SSD</li><li>PSU:&nbsp;700 Watt BeQuiet</li><li>Case:&nbsp;Corsair Graphite 600T Big-Tower</li></ul><p>Little opportunity is left for upgrading this system, so the next one will be a fresh set-up. I have a second set-up in the office, which I will likely exchange with my home office system later next year.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LsukRFmtQE2a.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i_yKytEPE9xy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Chris Kramer 3"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Curved monitor</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1RFj2ZjoTgS2.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KhC80KxIp8jR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Chris Kramer 1"><em>Click the arrows to enlarge.</em></p></div><h4>What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?</h4><p>Definitely my curved 34” Ultra WQHD 21:9 screen. I always wanted to have a three screen set-up but never found an appealing solution, so I was pretty excited to pick this screen up. Even with the issues you are facing as an early adopter it’s paying off big-time and I feel the format has great potential.</p><h4>What's always within arm's reach on your desk?</h4><p>My Sennheister PC 363D 7.1 Headset, my Wacom Intous Pro, my phone and smartphone, as well as pen and paper for quick notes. I have everything needed to fight through the odds and ends of running a company nearby.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dH5Ec0TJQciq.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AGpkSd8-09U8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Chris Kramer 4"></p><h4>What are you playing right now?</h4><p>I’m trying to spend as much time as possible on our own games, especially Call to Arms. That way I can keep connected to the game and community. I feel, as a developer you need to know your game.&nbsp;</p><p>None the less, you can see me playing a couple of rounds of Insurgency from time to time. My most recent gaming adventures included Dying Light and This War of Mine. I played the latter together with my girlfriend and I enjoyed it purely for the fact that it told a lot about us. Sadly, I found out, that I’m not the tough person in this household&hellip;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FpEOEIkOSoGM.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vM-fNO9eLcAR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Chris Kramer 2" style="background-color: initial;"></p><h4>What's your favorite game and why?</h4><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herzog_Zwei" target="_blank">Herzog Zwei</a> did have the most influence on me. It boosted that unrivaled fascination for games that paved my way into the industry. Following closely are Dune II, Soldiers: Heroes of World War II, and Unreal Tournament.&nbsp;</p><p>Other than that, I don’t really have a favorite game lately. Your perception of games becomes quite odd once you are working behind the scenes. I’m looking at games from a different perspective and it’s extremely hard to turn that off. So sometimes, I just feel like it’s better if I invest the time I have on improving the games that I can actually influence and if that’s not the case then I’m playing games mostly for the social component. As you all know, that includes games that aren’t your first pick, but it really doesn’t matter if you are enjoying yourself with your friends.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B93WclfIRQav.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Tr93gtpO8cJP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kramer's office setup" class=""><figcaption>Kramer's office setup</figcaption></figure> ACE Team co-founder confounds us with The Endless Cylinderhttp://www.pcgamer.com/ace-team-co-founder-confounds-us-with-the-endless-cylinder/A massive cylinder flattens out an alien planet in this fascinating prototype.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 18:48:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ace-team-co-founder-confounds-us-with-the-endless-cylinder/NewsThe Endless Cylinder <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uM9SvqgJcc8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> Even though it’s an early prototype, The Endless Cylinder is the most sci-fi game I’ve seen in a good while. It scoffs at the space opera, instead&nbsp;embracing space weirdness. The only rational anchors the viewer is given merely hint at our own world. Spiky avocado trees wave in the background, predat-oral (you’ll see) creatures roam in search of food, and the player, a tiny trunk-nosed bugger, explores the strange landscape while the titular endless cylinder rolls ever onward, crushing everything at a snail’s pace.</p><p> I have no idea what you actually do in the game, but neither does&nbsp;Carlos Bordeu,&nbsp;co-founder of ACE Team (<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/zeno-clash/" target="_blank">Zeno Clash</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rock-of-ages/" target="_blank">Rock of Ages</a>). He does know you won’t just walk around, that there will be some kind of gameplay beyond simply&nbsp;exploring. There are hints that it might have something to do with preserving your sibling egg, but nothing is concrete quite yet.</p><p> Bordeu says The Endless Cylinder is a personal project and isn’t under development by the entirety of ACE Team. Which means it might be a while before we, or he, figures out what it is or if and when it’ll ever come out.</p><p> In the meantime, I’m okay with watching the video on repeat. That said, I can’t stop thinking about when the cylinder is coming for me.</p><p> Thanks to <a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/07/07/the-endless-cylinder-ace-team/">Rock Paper Shotgun</a> for bringing it to our attention.</p> Blizzard say no new Hearthstone classes in the works currentlyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/blizzard-say-no-new-hearthstone-classes-in-the-works-currently/Monk and Death Knight fans can probably stop holding their breath nowTue, 07 Jul 2015 18:30:25 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzard-say-no-new-hearthstone-classes-in-the-works-currently/BlizzardCard GameHearthstoneNews <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2sKpz4zIQb-g.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zAlNJTN3OnJd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Arthas Death Knight World of Warcraft"></p><p>As we&nbsp;revealed here&nbsp;last week&nbsp;by way of this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/next-hearthstone-expansion-teased-for-july-22/">adorably musical missive</a> from Blizzard, the next Hearthstone expansion will be announced on 22 July. However, for those of you hoping said expansion might add to the current pool of nine heroes, well... Nope.&nbsp;</p><p>Here's Senior Game Designer Ben Brode with the bucket of cold water...</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/3Otterz">@3Otterz</a> We aren't planning on any new classes at this time.</p><p>&mdash; Ben Brode (@bdbrode) <a href="https://twitter.com/bdbrode/status/618102234505568256">July 6, 2015</a></p></blockquote><p>Dry your eyes, Death Knight and Monk fans.&nbsp;To be honest though, this comes as&nbsp;no great surprise, nor is it,&nbsp;in my opinion, much of a disappointment. There's still tons of design headroom left to be had in the existing classes. (And in the case of Shaman, arguably a significant re-work needed before other heroes&nbsp;are added.)&nbsp;</p><p>Hearthstone is a long term and already&nbsp;lucrative project for Blizzard. New Heroes will only become a necessity once the current crop have truly grown stale, and my guess is that might be years away still.&nbsp;As for what the expansion <i style="background-color: initial;">will </i>include, well, the smart money is still on it being themed around the&nbsp;<a href="http://wowwiki.wikia.com/Argent_Tournament">Argent Tournament</a> from World of Warcraft.&nbsp;</p> Elite: Dangerous creator warns parents may be anti-VRhttp://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-creator-warns-parents-may-be-anti-vr/David Braben says virtual reality is great, but parents of younger users not be so enthusiastic. Tue, 07 Jul 2015 18:15:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-creator-warns-parents-may-be-anti-vr/David BrabenNewsvirtual reality <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JBGbSaYIRVCl.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Q6jsAlw7Bk6E.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Elite - Asteroid Field"></p><p>As the guy who masterminded <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous/">Elite: Dangerous</a>, you might expect&nbsp;Frontier Developments founder David Braben to be a big advocate of&nbsp;virtual reality. And as he recently told <a href="http://www.videogamer.com/xboxone/elite_dangerous/features/article/david_braben_on_elite_dangerous_kickstarter_vrs_problems_and_game_reviewers.html">Videogamer.com</a>, he does think it's pretty great. But he also has concerns about its potential long-term impact on an audience that's already "disconnected" from the world around it, and, perhaps more specifically, that audience's parents.</p><p>"I'm afraid, as an industry, about VR and how it will play out. It has that slightly 'bandwagon' feel about it. VR is great, don't get me wrong, and I enjoy it," Braben said. "But what I suppose the concern is, when [VR] goes broad, <em>if</em> it goes broad, is seeing your kids on the sofa, <em>even</em> more disconnected than they are now, with headphones and headsets on, I think from a parental point of view is going to be a negative."</p><p>"I think that as an industry we need to thinking about that now. About how we position it," he explained. "I think it's important that someone when they come into the room they can see what [you're] doing. Currently, that's not necessarily the case. It's that sort of thing that I think is important, and whilst [VR] is still at the moment, let's admit it, quite niche, we know of a number of production [units] coming very shortly. And so I suppose that's just a concern."</p><p>It's an interesting perspective, given that most concerns about VR center on either the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-pc-requirements-revealed/">costly technology</a> required to deliver a worthwhile experience, or the problems some users have with <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-creator-says-game-speed-is-key-to-solving-motion-sickness-in-vr/">motion sickness</a>. And despite its faint whiff of "you kids and your rock-and-roll music," I think there's validity to what he says. Not that we're going to end up living in a world of pale, malnourished VR zombies, trapped in a&nbsp;narcotic&nbsp;fantasy behind our visors, but that this is something the industry might want to get to grips with, before the&nbsp;moral panic (again) kicks into gear.</p> The latest Overwatch character revealed is Soldier: 76http://www.pcgamer.com/the-latest-overwatch-character-revealed-is-soldier-76/Who is Soldier: 76?Tue, 07 Jul 2015 17:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-latest-overwatch-character-revealed-is-soldier-76/Blizzard EntertainmentFPSNewsOverwatch <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/byhvUmpAA9c?rel=0&amp;vq=small" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"> </iframe><p> Soldier: 76. Is he a hero, fighting for justice and order in a world gone wrong? Or is he a reckless vigilante, endangering the lives of innocents in a selfish quest for revenge? And the greatest question of all: Is he wearing that mask because he's the kind of hypochondriac who's more worried about catching a cold than a bullet?</p><p> The answers, and the identity of the masked man, are&nbsp;revealed in the origin story video playing above and the <a href="http://us.battle.net/overwatch/en/blog/19809396/">lengthy bio</a> Blizzard posted yesterday. Soldier: 76&nbsp;is&nbsp;Jack Morrison, the first official Commander of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/overwatch/">Overwatch</a>, whose skillful stewardship helped bring about a golden age for humanity. But his promotion over fellow Overwatch officer Gabriel Reyes led to a rift between the two that never healed, and two decades later, Camelot, again, crumbled beneath the weight of ambition and envy.</p><p> It's a pretty good yarn, especially for a guy in a team-based online shooter, which generally speaking isn't a genre that's overly conducive to intricate plots and deep characterization. But Blizzard didn't get to where it is today by half-assing things, and while I do maintain a certain affection for the era when Diablo was just a jerk in the basement, this kind of fiction is a lot of fun for fans. And if you just want to shoot people in the face, that's cool too.</p><p> Speaking of which, Soldier: 76 packs an experimental pulse rifle that also fires high-powered Helix rockets&mdash;as befits his Soldierly status&mdash;and wears a pair of Super-Goggles (actually a "Tactical Visor") reminiscent of something Elton John might have rocked back in the 70s, or perhaps Commander Shepard at some future date.</p><p> Find out more about Soldier: 76 at <a href="http://us.battle.net/overwatch/en/heroes/soldier-76/">Battle.net</a>, and don't miss the gameplay trailer and screens below. Overwatch is set to go into beta this fall.</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UapMoRc6Xu8?rel=0&amp;vq=small" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0tWgRtv8RCGs.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/asSYJPpy6UW5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch Soldier: 76"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2dS6y1xISFOr.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AyqUp-86TKqL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch Soldier: 76"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UTLOE-iSTjyg.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7yM7DMJsP-Oc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch Soldier: 76"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Nu8DjG-tTJOu.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CZCpo5FdJaiP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch Soldier: 76"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e7cmrTzTRKaE.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GUAFh6-lOmoj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch Soldier: 76"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dXlCgbTvQAes.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zHSpGAxennXx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch Soldier: 76"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MJIPHSJfT2CE.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6eVagQBFB97x.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch Soldier: 76"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dGnsGvKOT-S5.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LsKApPKUa10C.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Overwatch Soldier: 76"></p> The Escapists: The Walking Dead announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-escapists-the-walking-dead-announced/Team 17's The Escapists gets an official makeover in collaboration withSkybound Entertainment.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 15:55:24 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-escapists-the-walking-dead-announced/News <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RTX4dMTrQhCj.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IzdZSZFb1RoM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Featured Creators"></p><p>Prison is probably a place you don't want to be, hence The Escapists&mdash;Team 17's top-down game about escaping the slammer. A prison full of zombies is a place you definitely don't want to be, hence The Escapists: The Walking Dead&mdash;Team 17's newly announced top-down tie-in about escaping the clutches of, well, the walking dead.</p><p>You control leading man Rick Grimes&mdash;no, not&nbsp;<a href="http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/simpsons/images/8/84/Death_of_Grimes.png/revision/latest?cb=20100920230418" target="_blank">Frank Grimes</a>&mdash;across a variety of perilous locations; each one requiring that you escape with a team of familiar faces.</p><p><a href="http://uk.ign.com/articles/2015/07/07/the-escapists-the-walking-dead-announced" target="_blank">IGN</a> has the exclusive announcement on this one, and so you can see the reveal trailer via their custom video-thing below:</p><iframe src="http://widgets.ign.com/video/embed/content.html?url=http://www.ign.com/videos/2015/07/07/the-escapists-the-walking-dead-announcement-trailer" width="560" height="315" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The Escapists: The Walking Dead is being created in collaboration with Skybound Entertainment, and will follow the timeline of the comics. It's due out later this Summer.</p> XCOM 2 creative director: "PC gaming is in a golden age"http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-creative-director-pc-gaming-is-in-a-golden-age/Jake Solomon talks modding, The Long War and why XCOM 2 is PC exclusive.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 14:02:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-creative-director-pc-gaming-is-in-a-golden-age/FiraxisNewsStrategyXCOM 2 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DnbQHz4USDSI.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e8g-5VdW7Hii.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Xcom2"></p><p>XCOM 2 will be exclusive to PC for a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xcom-2-creative-director-explains-why-its-pc-exclusive/" target="_blank">variety of reasons</a>. For one thing, focusing on a single platform gives Firaxis the chance to fully&nbsp;optimise their&nbsp;controls and interface around that specific experience. There's also&nbsp;another factor, which&nbsp;XCOM 2 creative director Jake Solomon revealed when we asked him&nbsp;what it was that appealed about PC-exclusive development.&nbsp;</p><p>"PC gaming is in a golden age," Solomon tells&nbsp;PC Gamer.&nbsp;"It’s the tip of the spear in terms of innovation, in types of gameplay being explored, in relationships between developers and their audience, and for Firaxis, it’s our home. It’s where we want to be."</p><p>The&nbsp;relationship between developer and audience will be further strengthened through XCOM 2's mod support. "Modding is one of those elements that brings people together in the community through their own creative expression of the franchise and this and helps our game live on over time," Solomon says, praising the long-standing mod communities of the Civilization series and XCOM's own The Long War mod.</p><p>"The&nbsp;Long War is awesome," Solomon says. "It definitely energized us to see XCOM going in different directions, and seeing people respond to it. That’s always reassuring as a developer because it means that the underlying systems are flexible and there is still lots of ground to mine in terms of gameplay."</p><p>But did The Long War have an effect on the sequel's&nbsp;development?&nbsp;"For XCOM 2 we&nbsp;aren't&nbsp;looking to add more&nbsp;as much as we are looking to improve the systems that make XCOM what it is," Solomon says.&nbsp;"Of course, that does end up adding a lot of depth in many areas, like procedural maps, more enemies, more soldier classes, etc."</p><p>For more on XCOM 2, including a longer interview with Jake Solomon, look&nbsp;out the next issue of PC Gamer magazine.</p> Mirror's Edge gets easier combat and an open worldhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mirrors-edge-gets-easier-combat-and-an-open-world/Our first look at the new Mirror's Edge, but how will its open world work?Tue, 07 Jul 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mirrors-edge-gets-easier-combat-and-an-open-world/Electronic ArtsMirror's EdgePlatformer <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Z-nqr6XWREOy.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/izo3bBel4Z7-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mirror's Edge 1"></p><p>I completed Mirror’s Edge four times, so I know the first person parkour-’em-up stupidly well. To me, Catalyst feels almost exactly like the Mirror’s Edge of 2008 in all the right ways. The platforming feels identical minus a couple of button press changes that only super hardcore players will notice, and my same muscle memory and sense of timing served me well during my hands-on at E3. For those worried that Catalyst might lose the very specific essence of the original, this doesn’t feel like a reboot&mdash;it feels like a true sequel.</p><p>My demo took place in a tiny snippet of what is apparently a seamless open world in Catalyst, a series of rooftops with three tasks to perform: a time attack run (Race), a chain of combat encounters (Delivery) and a challenge to climb to a high point in the world and hack a propaganda billboard (er, Billboard Hack). My main reaction to the demo was delight at how it felt to finally have more Mirror’s Edge in my hands, after seven years of championing the game to any poor bastard that will listen. There’s been six Call of Duty games since the first one came out&mdash;that Catalyst exists in a landscape of absurdly expensive triple-A games is a bit uplifting to me. Even better, what made the original Mirror’s Edge so special is seemingly still intact here. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mV65ppJhQ-ah.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sc_apVgkKTK7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mirror's Edge 2"></p><p>What this 13-minute demo didn’t do was outline how open world play will work, since this area of shiny rooftops was boxed off and honestly felt like it could be a level from the first Mirror’s Edge. This setting will start small then open up, but how big does it really go? The map screen in the menu suggests a huge open city, but the demo doesn’t answer the question of how that’ll feel to the player to travel from one place to another.</p><p>Greater changes come in the form of the combat, which was divisive the first time around, but has been overhauled so it’s noticeably easier. While it seemed a little too simple to me on first inspection, it might suit players who found the original’s fighting too challenging or fiddly. Attacks are now mapped to the x button on an Xbox controller, rather than the trigger (this is now just the barge button for opening doors), and as long as you hit the button in close proximity to an enemy, Faith will quickly take them out, sometimes with a pleasing third-person finishing animation. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KJOK0e7URRua.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UVtwaUSC7yLC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mirror's Edge 3"></p><p>The demo didn’t really have enough combat to make a call on it either way. Combat presented no immediate threat, and with no guns for faith to pick up, DICE clearly gave this a little more thought than the platforming. What’s obviously different is that you can pretty much fight while still running, whereas Mirror’s Edge sometimes required more of a duelling mentality, where you had to circle around cover and ambush enemies, distracting from the pace of level. Maybe a complex fighting system just isn’t that important to Mirror’s Edge&mdash;I’ll need more time with Catalyst to be convinced by this change.</p><p>Mirror’s Edge was well worth reviving, and this demo tells me that Catalyst will look and feel familiar to the game’s existing audience. DICE should now focus on showing players how the open world really adds to that.</p> Future Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC won't come to last-gen consoleshttp://www.pcgamer.com/future-dragon-age-inquisition-dlc-wont-come-to-last-gen-consoles/Couldthis mean DA:I's next DLC will be freed up for something special?Tue, 07 Jul 2015 10:51:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/future-dragon-age-inquisition-dlc-wont-come-to-last-gen-consoles/Dragon Age: InquisitionNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Lfj7o4M7SDmO.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WAUjr5bwcANa.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pixel Boost - Dragon Age Inquisition - 11"></p><p>Yes, this is technically a story about consoles&mdash;or, more accurately, a story about what won't be coming to consoles.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dragonage.com/en_US/news/save-importer" target="_blank">Bioware has revealed</a> that all future Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC will be exclusive to PC, PS4 and Xbox One, with the PS3 and Xbox 360 being left in the proverbial wasteland.</p><p>Why should you care? Well, it seems strange to drop platforms mid-way through a game's life unless the thing you're working on really can't support that platform. As Dragon Age creative director Mike Laidlaw told&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-03-13-shards-side-quests-and-dlc-a-mini-inquisition-with-the-boss-of-dragon-age" target="_blank">Eurogamer</a> earlier in the year, the team faced "memory limitations" as a result of developing for the last-gen consoles.</p><p>"Yes we could have had more enemies on screen," Laidlaw said,&nbsp;"but instead we were able to think about how we could have enemies that work together - buffing each other, for example. Was there a potential for us, if we went beyond Gen 3, to go further? Sure, but we have to build a game that we are able to ship in the box."</p><p>In future that restriction won't exist, and that could mean good things for the final chapters of Inquisition's DLC. Chris enjoyed the game's last singleplayer add-on,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-jaws-of-hakkon-review/" target="_blank">Jaws of Hakkon</a>, but a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/final-dragon-age-inquisition-dlc-details-maybe-revealed-by-leaked-survey/">leaked survey</a> hinted that&nbsp;future DLC will be more integral to the story of the Inquisition.&nbsp;That&nbsp;survey referred to&nbsp;a "last adventure", and that "your next mission will determine the future of the Inquisition". It sounds pretty big, and hopefully this move will mean less development&nbsp;restrictions for Bioware.</p> Lumo: a charming platformer with old-school influenceshttp://www.pcgamer.com/lumo-a-charming-platformer-with-old-school-influences/A charming compendium of platformingTue, 07 Jul 2015 10:40:01 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/lumo-a-charming-platformer-with-old-school-influences/LumoPlatformer <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/j80UmOwLSuWH.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yDKGghi7xxFd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lumo 1"></p><p>After a decade making big budget games, and co-founding Crackdown studio Ruffian, Gareth Noyce has gone indie. Lumo is his first solo project, a cute isometric platformer that has echoes of Nintendo’s best 3D Mario games. You play a boy lost in a danger-filled castle, and must navigate him safely through 300 rooms of traps, puzzles, obscure game references and precise platforming.&nbsp;</p><p>The game’s rooms float against a colourful space backdrop, each presenting a different challenge or obstacle to traverse. It’s a series of self-contained platforming moments, reminiscent of the sublime Super Mario Galaxy games. But its roots go deeper: Noyce cites classic ZX Spectrum platformer Head Over Heels as his biggest influence. Lumo is steeped in gaming history, but with a modern sheen.&nbsp;</p><p>At first, I can’t jump. I’m waddling around the castle, carefully moving&nbsp;between shifting platforms and spinning flames. But then I get a power-up that lets me leap in the air, and I retrace my steps, hopping effortlessly over the platforms that caused me so much trouble earlier. It’s classic Metroid-style progression, and it’s really satisfying. Hopefully this theme continues throughout.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Q6M3vmpYQQ-N.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zcna2HjBPQUe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lumo 3"></p><p>Even at this early stage it’s surprisingly polished, and doesn’t feel like a one-man project. The art is chunky and colourful, with impressive lighting. Flames throw dancing shadows on the walls; the boy’s magic amulet casts a glow on his face. There’s a real fidelity to the world, even if it is cartoonish. Old-school gamers will also appreciate the Spectrum-era game references littering the levels.&nbsp;</p><p>The controls are tricky to get your head around. The boy only moves in four&nbsp;directions, and they’re relative to the orientation of the room. You’ll push left to go forward, because that’s where he’s facing, only to walk off an edge and fall to your death. It’s a curious control scheme, but I eventually got to grips with it.&nbsp;</p><p>The platforming starts out simple, but grows in complexity over time. One minute you’re standing atop a ball rolling through a narrow maze suspended over a deadly drop. The next you’re using fans to fire crates into the air and hopping over them. In one room a crate with eyes follows you around, love hearts popping out of its head. You have to lure it towards a raised platform, then use it as a step.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6oB4rSoaQ4qD.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/53L3FXzug35_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lumo 2" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>I’ve only played a fraction of the 300 rooms, and the game is already brimming with ideas. The real test will be keeping this invention up for hundreds more locations.&nbsp;</p><p>Right now Lumo is a refreshingly simple, back-to-basics game. It exists purely to be a fun, challenging platformer, without a story or any of the other trappings of modern game design tainting its purity. I can’t wait to play more.</p> Rogue Invader is a 1-bit roguelike shooterhttp://www.pcgamer.com/rogue-invader-is-a-1-bit-roguelike-shooter/Alien action in a monocolour world.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 10:21:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/rogue-invader-is-a-1-bit-roguelike-shooter/News <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/on8KhDMBSkGC.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pupS9cAErBpJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Roguie Invader"></p><p>Supporting my otherwise completely unsupportable&nbsp;theory that games are made by throwing darts into&nbsp;a wall of nouns, here's Rogue Invader. It's a 1-bit side-scrolling&nbsp;roguelike shooter. Yes, indeed. Distinctive visual gimmick&nbsp;aside, it's a robust sounding package&mdash;complete with minibosses, sidequests, procedural generation and weapon modification.</p><p>Here, for you, is a trailer:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EUOJR-rxuVQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The "1-bit HD" means the game is rendered through either black or white pixels&mdash;a bit like what Lucas Pope is doing with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/papers-please-dev-reveals-next-game-first-person-mystery-return-of-the-obra-dinn/" target="_blank">Return of the Obra Dinn</a>. Here, though, you're upgrading weapons and killing aliens, rather than exploring a 19th century ship.</p><p>Despite the trailer's request to thumbs-up Rogue Invader's Steam Greenlight page, it has now been accepted onto the store. You can find more details at&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=457197524" target="_blank">that aforementioned page</a>. Rogue Invader is due out later this year.</p> No Man's Sky video lends purpose and meaning to space explorationhttp://www.pcgamer.com/no-mans-sky-video-lends-purpose-and-meaning-to-space-exploration/18 minutes of fresh No Man's Sky footage.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 04:33:07 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/no-mans-sky-video-lends-purpose-and-meaning-to-space-exploration/AdventureHello GamesNewsNo Man's Sky <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CLcjvIQJns0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p>Plenty of people still aren't sure what <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/no-mans-sky/">No Man's Sky</a> is. We know all about the unprecedentedly huge, mathematically generated galaxy, but that isn't enough: people want objectives, and purpose! Hearing the demand, Hello Games founder Sean Murray visited <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLcjvIQJns0">IGN</a> to explain some of the more 'game-y' aspects of No Man's Sky. You'll see the results in the video embedded above.</p><p>Some interesting points: weapons and ships will be procedurally generated, with Murray mentioning "hundreds of thousands" of possible variants. The game's user interface is very Destiny-centric, while mining for resources is as simple as shooting at them. Oh, and alien creatures will headbutt you to death if you're not careful, but you'd be silly to retalliate: robot sentries guarding each of the planets do not negotiate.&nbsp;</p><p>All the details are in the video above, but the greatest pleasure is just seeing more of the game in action. Personally, I can't wait to do absolutely nothing of consequence in a foreign galaxy.</p> Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain gameplay video takes a different approachhttp://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-solid-5-the-phantom-pain-gameplay-video-takes-a-different-approach/Still has horses and cardboard boxes, though.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 03:36:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-solid-5-the-phantom-pain-gameplay-video-takes-a-different-approach/ActionKojima ProductionsKonamiMetal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainNews <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ur6vhxVg6gE" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p>You may recall a lengthy <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-40-minutes-of-metal-gear-solid-5-the-phantom-pain/">Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain gameplay demo</a> rolled out during E3 last month. It's hard to convey the series' focus on freedom in a single playthrough, though, so Hideo Kojima has released another video of the same mission, played out in a different way. Don't worry though: there are still horses and cardboard boxes.</p><p>The only available video is the Japanese version at present, though I expect an English one to pop up soon. Matthew Pellett had <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/metal-gear-solid-5-delivers-spectacular-open-world-stealth/#page-1">hands-on with the game</a> last month, noting that a stealth approach will require some restraint. "Those seeking the classic Metal Gear experience should know The Phantom Pain doesn’t disappoint when it comes to corner-hiding, throat-stabbing espionage&mdash;but to play it in this manner requires some extreme restraint when the game is urging you to experiment with all it has to offer."</p><p>Cheers to <a href="http://www.vg247.com/2015/07/07/metal-gear-solid-5-the-phantom-pains-alternate-e3-2015-gameplay-footage-video/">VG247</a> for the heads up.</p> Watch Dogs 'downgrade' controversy is a lesson learned for Ubisofthttp://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs-downgrade-controversy-is-a-lesson-learned-for-ubisoft/All Ubisoft footage at E3 2015 was playable on target machines, says CEO.Tue, 07 Jul 2015 00:03:01 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs-downgrade-controversy-is-a-lesson-learned-for-ubisoft/ActionNewsUbisoftWatch Dogs <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zGXbVnR9TWCU.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kHNqyhoULIjQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pixel Boost Watch Dogs Bad Blood 21"></p><p>Ubisoft had a pretty rough 2014, but if you can cast your mind back further than the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/third-assassins-creed-unity-patch-will-usher-in-300-bug-fixes/">Assassin's Creed: Unity debacle</a>, you'll remember people weren't too happy about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs/">Watch Dogs</a>, either. Compared to the game's hype-building 2012 reveal, the graphics in the final build fell short of breathtaking. It's not a phenomenon unique to Ubisoft: many publishers show off idealistic vertical slices at game conventions to sate the market's appetite for bleeding edge tech, but the practice has proven damaging for Ubisoft, according to CEO Yves Guillemot.</p><p>In an interview with <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/06/ubisoft-chief-mistakes-watch-dogs-yves-guillemot?CMP=twt_technology-gdntech">The Guardian</a>, Guillemot said the publisher's E3 2015 showing deliberately featured gameplay footage playable on target machines, ie, systems they're optimising the game to actually run on.&nbsp;</p><p>“With E3 2015 we said, OK, let’s make sure the games are playable, that they’re running on the target machines," Guillemot said.&nbsp;</p><p>"When we show something, we ask the team, make sure it’s playable, make sure gamers can immediately see exactly what it is. That’s what we learned from the Watch Dogs experience – if it can’t be played on the target machine, it can be a risk.”</p><p>Guillemot also addressed the question of why Watch Dogs turned out the way it did, and why it was delayed.&nbsp;</p><p>"It’s a real challenge to create those types of games,” he said. “When they come out, especially the first iterations, they are not perfect on everything. We think we launched a good quality game for a first step in a new brand with a new technology. It’s just so complex – seamless multiplayer, connectivity with mobile and tablets, so many things – it was maybe a bit too much for a first iteration.”</p><p>Despite all the fuss, Watch Dogs is actually a pretty decent game. "Creative hacking and covert multiplayer modes bring exciting new life to otherwise familiar open-world man-shooting," Christoper Livingston wrote in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs-review/">his review</a>.</p> How I would repair Call of Duty's negative image (by ruining it)http://www.pcgamer.com/how-i-would-repair-call-of-dutys-negative-image-by-ruining-it/If you could make the next Call of Duty however you wanted, what would you do?Mon, 06 Jul 2015 22:33:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-i-would-repair-call-of-dutys-negative-image-by-ruining-it/Call of Duty: Advanced WarfareCall of Duty: Black Ops 3FPSTriggernometry <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fg_jrRphSsS7.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_x559FCalrCN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Call of Duty Black Ops 3"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">TRIGGERNOMETRY</h5> <p> We write about FPSes each week in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/triggernometry" target="_blank">Triggernometry</a>, a mixture of tips, esports,&nbsp;and a celebration of virtual marksmanship.</p></div><p> There’s been at least one new Call of Duty game released every year since 2003. It’s one of the most successful entertainment products in the world, with Modern Warfare 3 <a href="http://investor.activision.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=624766">grossing a ludicrous 775 million dollars</a> in five days. The number of discarded CoD-branded Doritos packages and Mountain Dew bottles could be stacked to the moon (probably, I don’t know, just guessing). And yet you'd think no one likes it.</p><p>No matter what Call of Duty tries, <a href="https://twitter.com/m1lkcast/status/611722252468367360">as ESL associate producer Charles Watson</a> pointed out in a tweet, it's met with hostility every year.&nbsp;CoD has a terrible image problem, especially on PC, where its concurrent player counts aren't keeping up with the competition (go try to find an Advanced Warfare match). I still enjoy new CoDs,&nbsp;as much as I criticize them, but it's safe to say that we're collectively tired of them. I don't know if Activision can&nbsp;win back the sort of admiration CoD had from 2003 to 2007.&nbsp;</p><p>I know what I would do, though. As someone who has never made a game and doesn't have any idea how to, I know exactly what I would do. To be exciting again, especially to PC gamers, Call of Duty has to stop being Call of Duty.</p><h2>How I would ruin Call Of Duty</h2><p> If I were directing a Call of Duty, I’d start with a weird choice of writer. Mark Boal, who’s known for The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and contributing to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, is clearly a good writer, but I’d go after someone like&nbsp;True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto (which I probably only say because grumpy&nbsp;Colin Farrell is fresh in my mind). Or I’d hound Charlie Brooker (Screenwipe, Black Mirror), Fran Walsh (Dead Alive, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), Julie Taymor (Titus, Frida), or Bryan Fuller (a bunch of Star Trek, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal). I’d get someone you wouldn’t expect to write a war movie to write a war game.</p><p> And I’d insist we say&nbsp;<a href="https://www.callofduty.com/blackops3/what-would-you-do" target="_blank">something more interesting about war</a> than ‘are you willing to rip out your lungs and replace them with cyberlungs?’ I’d go to the Burma Campaign. Then the future. Then the First Barbary War. I’d pull ideas from Spec Ops: The Line, The Thin Red Line, and other things with “the line” in their titles (except maybe Walk the Line, but some&nbsp;Johnny Cash couldn't hurt). I’d kill every character with a speaking role. I'd break the fourth wall constantly. I'd make&nbsp;Leo Tolstoy a&nbsp;playable character. And then Leo Tolstoy would die in a space mission.</p><p> I’d make sure my gameplay designers were willing to be&nbsp;weird, too. It's not enough to write an interesting story, but then put the players in tried-and-true 'guy whispers in your ear to take the one on the left' scenarios.&nbsp;Call of Duty campaigns are all 'do this' and 'do that,' but they're&nbsp;the most fun when they give me some room to move, where I can make my own decisions about how to handle a situation. “We’re not making a movie,” I’d write in big letters on a whiteboard,&nbsp;even though I hired a filmmaker to design the story. I’d demand there be multiple solutions to every problem. I'd make not shooting anyone&nbsp;a viable option. We’d miss every deadline. They’d say I don’t know how to make a game (I don’t). I'd be fired.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t0TxkYQvTVyk.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bkxON9YdeZTE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="0000002989"></p><p> But if I could keep going, I’d bring the multiplayer back to the basics. Good ideas introduced in CoD 4&mdash;the ideas that had me obsessed with it for months&mdash;have been added to and iterated on and it's out of control. CoD 4’s unlock system was just about leveling. It was easy to set goals (I worked hard for the&nbsp;Barrett .50cal and was ecstatic when I unlocked it), and loadout decisions felt a lot more meaningful&mdash;they weren’t overwhelming, at least. I'd probably write some stupid team-wide email about efficient game design.</p><blockquote> Today’s CoDs feel more like blood-soaked spin-cycles, and that sense of ‘playing war’ has diminished. </blockquote><p> I’d slow it down, too. Ghosts' fast time-to-kill, crowded maps, and circular spawns weren’t much fun for me. I was constantly taking a couple shots to the back with no time to dance, no window for a comeback&nbsp;(maybe I've gotten slower, to be fair). I used to play Team&nbsp;Hardcore in CoD 4, where lethal bullets were the point, but back then I felt like I had more room to maneuver. My favorite maps were Overgrown and Crossfire, where&nbsp;I had this sense of playing guerrilla warfare, hiding in grass or fighting my way down a street. Today’s CoDs feel more like blood-soaked spin-cycles, and that sense of ‘playing war’ has diminished.</p><p> I’d make big maps&mdash;not&nbsp;Battlefield big, but bigger, more war-like and less arena-like. I’d make them rectangular instead of round, sort of like in that first Medal of Honor reboot, which failed, yeah, but had some good ideas. I’d include all kinds of ballistics modeling that no one wants. There wouldn’t be any drones or ‘system hacks.’ They'd tell me I have to include jetpacks, and I would say that I am&nbsp;but&nbsp;I totally wouldn't. Just guns, grenades, and the constant feeling that war is futile.</p><h2>The end of CoD</h2><p> At this point&nbsp;we’re over a year late and well over-budget (it doesn’t help that I hired David Lynch to write a dream sequence and insisted we motion capture an elephant). It’s the first time Call of Duty has missed a year since 2003. Somehow, I haven’t been fired, so I go on to make sure players can host their own custom dedicated servers. It’s really important to multiplayer shooter communities that they have the chance to, you know, build communities, I say. And so is moddability. Look at the most-played shooters today:&nbsp;if they’re not free-to-play, they’re probably moddable. My game isn’t going to go the way of Titanfall and Evolve. To hell with that. I insist we need to include&nbsp;a map editor&nbsp;and other mod tools, and we add another year or so to development.</p><p> By the time we're ready to reveal it,&nbsp;it's been a few years since any Call of Duty has released (assuming another developer didn’t have one cooking, which they would have, but this is my design). It’s now E3 2019, and investors are furious as I take the stage at some conference or other, but having waited so long, the&nbsp;players are eager to see what we've been doing.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dlfbtJz2Riic.JPG" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KHKnXWcrXHpH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pretend that's me on stage instead of Mark Lamia." class=""> <figcaption>Pretend that's me walking&nbsp;on stage instead of Mark Lamia.</figcaption></figure><p> “This. Is. Call of Duty,” I say to a rapt audience. There’s an explosion of smoke. The lights shut off. A giant screen above the stage flickers on and we see the 3D rendered faces of Sigourney Weaver and Michael Keaton arguing about the&nbsp;UN Security Council or whatever, with&nbsp;interspersed&nbsp;scenes of soldiers past and present scrambling through mortar fire and screaming at the audacity of the sun for shining on them. We finally land on one soldier, bloody and bruised, reaching a vista of fire and smoke. "The people really aren't for war," we hear a woman say. It's Jeannette Rankin, the only US congressperson to vote against entering&nbsp;WWII. "They just go along." Inception horn. Explosions. Some dumb title like 'Call of Duty: Forever At War' fades in. The crowd cheers.</p><p> CoD: FaW releases in November&nbsp;to critical acclaim (the word ‘masterpiece’ is used in every review). It's everyone's game of the year. Someone mods in all the maps and weapons from CoD 4 and Black Ops 2. Its concurrent player count&nbsp;dethrones League of Legends and&nbsp;Dota 2. Gabe Newell gifts me his knife collection as thanks for my contribution to video games.&nbsp;Activision lays off my 800-person team, and no one ever makes a Call of Duty again.</p><p>(Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 releases&nbsp;on November 6. The new multiplayer&nbsp;specialists&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-3-hands-on-wall-running-co-op-and-future-tech/">look kind of cool</a>.)</p> Star Wars: Battlefront 4K screens showcase the pale beauty of Hothhttp://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront-4k-screens-showcase-the-pale-beauty-of-hoth/The galaxy looks pretty sweet at 4K, even when you're in the middle of blowing it up.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 22:19:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront-4k-screens-showcase-the-pale-beauty-of-hoth/Electronic ArtsFPSNewsStar Wars Battlefront <p>The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront/">Star Wars: Battlefront</a> alpha test videos we told you about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront-alpha-details-and-videos-leak-all-over-the-internet/">last week</a> have been removed by EA (which we kind of expected), but you can still feast your eyes on these 4K screenshots from an alpha battle on Hoth, posted on AllGamesBeta. </p><p>These are "Star Wars Battlefront Closed Alpha Hoth Multiplayer 4K Ultra Settings Screens," as AGB succinctly put it, which essentially means that they're as sexy as they can possibly be. There is literally no other information about them on the site, but what else do you really need to know? Check out the full gallery, which by my quick count is 31 images in total, at <a href="http://www.allgamesbeta.com/2015/07/star-wars-battlefront-closed-alpha-hoth.html">allgamesbeta.com</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qVXcpFQXRwmf.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SLcs4Vsr9Eet.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/N_HJ2EB4RMmC.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3yMF8u3ZxE8b.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/V2QEc9yFSDGW.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Mssw5_c97sm-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iT1-vnGxS7me.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8piaDj6RxPWd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ocVf3j74RQGn.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FmTT2tvr9msc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ls8oME2GReKM.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/O8oVx5xp-13l.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/49nK_adGQki8.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QAZE70HaukpC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/svgb3VwnT7CJ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Aej2_4G3PAXp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sthw5-1CRLia.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AM-QBDMMh7te.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rf0E0F_8QiiU.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ffX-vYok_zE1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MdboSv5HSeG1.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fq8xf1bUNP5S.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kmGor-yFQMqA.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rmV0Wr0gvN4-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront 4K"></p> The Witcher 3 is getting a "very large update" in version 1.07 http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-is-getting-a-very-large-update-in-version-107/The Witcher 3 1.07 patch will add stashes, make changes to crafting and alchemy, and add a new "movement response mode."Mon, 06 Jul 2015 21:04:17 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-is-getting-a-very-large-update-in-version-107/CD ProjektNewsRPGThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ORYYQ4b9Qhma.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dzPXQpju0Ihv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 3"></p><p>CD Projekt has <a href="http://forums.cdprojektred.com/threads/52056-Patch-1-07-coming-soon-to-all-platforms!">announced</a> that a "very large update" in the form of version 1.07 is coming soon to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt/">The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt</a>. The patch will add a new movement response mode for Geralt, make a number of changes to the inventory system, and give Roach a bit of a tune-up.</p><p>A closer look at what's coming:</p><ul> <li>A new, alternative (optional) movement response mode for Geralt.</li><li>A player stash for storing items, available in various locations throughout the game. Stash locations are marked on the player's map.</li><li>Crafting and alchemy components no longer add to the overall inventory weight.</li><li>Books are now placed in a dedicated tab in the Inventory and books that have already been read are properly grayed out.</li><li>Multiple sorting options are now available in the Inventory.</li><li>Alchemy formulas and crafting diagrams can be "pinned", meaning all components and ingredients required to make them will be conveniently marked in the Shop panel.</li><li>Dozens of fixes for quest related issues, both major and minor.</li><li>A few performance enhancements, including the optimization of FX, scenes and general gameplay.</li><li>Various improvements to horse behavior.</li></ul><p>CD Projekt didn't get into how the new "movement response mode" will actually work, but Marcin Momot explained that it's intended to address complaints about how Geralt handles in the game. "Some players have been reporting that Geralt's responsiveness was not up to their preferences so we are introducing a toggle to switch between two types of responsiveness," he <a href="http://forums.cdprojektred.com/threads/52056-Patch-1-07-coming-soon-to-all-platforms!?p=1822007&amp;viewfull=1#post1822007">wrote</a>. "Once you play it, you'll be able to choose the one that fits you better." It's a selectable option, he added <a href="http://forums.cdprojektred.com/threads/52056-Patch-1-07-coming-soon-to-all-platforms!?p=1822059&amp;viewfull=1#post1822059">separately</a>, so that players who prefer the old system (or are at least used to it) aren't forced to endure unnecessary changes.</p><p>The only downside to the patch is that the studio has been so focused on getting it finished on time that there won't be any free DLC this week. A detailed breakdown of what the 1.07 update will entail will be released later this week.</p> Star Citizen executive producer leaves Cloud Imperium Gameshttp://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen-executive-producer-leaves-cloud-imperium-games/Alex Mayberry left the studio last month for "personal reasons."Mon, 06 Jul 2015 20:30:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen-executive-producer-leaves-cloud-imperium-games/Chris RobertsCloud Imperium GamesNewsStar Citizen <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t1trpVBdS1mJ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0qe2roC_iHMg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Citizen 4"></p><p>Cloud Imperium Games has confirmed that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen/">Star Citizen</a> executive producer Alex Mayberry left the company in June "for personal reasons." The bulk of his duties will now be assumed by Erin Roberts, the global head of production at Cloud Imperium and brother of studio founder Chris Roberts, whose previous production credits include Wing Commander: Privateer, Strike Commander, and Privateer 2.</p><p>"We were sorry that Alex had to leave the CIG family," a studio rep said in a statement, adding that his departure will have "no impact at all" on the game's development. "It's full steam ahead for us as always."</p><p>The studio emphasized that Mayberry's reasons for leaving the studio are "not connected at all to anything having to do with Star Marine," the FPS module of Star Citizen that was recently <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen-fps-module-is-delayed-for-the-foreseeable-future/">delayed indefinitely</a>. That postponement has attracted a considerable amount of scrutiny and commentary thanks to the roughly $85 million (that's right, <a href="https://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals">$85 million</a>) that Cloud Imperium has raised for Star Citizen through internal crowdfunding. It's been almost three years since the ongoing funding campaign began, and so far precious little has been released to backers (the main attraction is still&nbsp;<a href="https://robertsspaceindustries.com/module/arena-commander" target="_blank">Arena Commander</a>, its dogfighting simulation).</p><p>Mayberry's is the second high-profile loss that Cloud Imperium has suffered recently: Also in June, Senior Producer Travis Day <a href="https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/5233924/#Comment_5233924">left the company</a> to take up employment at Blizzard, as did "associate concierge" Chelsea Ann Day. </p><p>In a coincidental bit of timing, Cloud Imperium also [edit:&nbsp;formally]&nbsp;announced today that it has opened a new development office in Frankfurt, Germany, which will be staffed by "some of the top game developers in this part of the world." Many of those developers were involved in the creation of the CryEngine, the game engine underlying Star Citizen.</p><p>"We are extremely pleased to have them on our team and working with CIG in all aspects of creating Star Citizen. Their experience in working on CryEngine will pay huge dividends for us in the very near future," Chris Roberts said in a statement. "Some of their contributions are already showing up in in our single player game, Squadron 42, and our first person shooter elements."</p><p>Cloud Imperium recently put a new Star Citizen ship on sale, the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizens-latest-ship-is-a-400-luxury-passenger-spacecraft/">Genesis Starliner</a>, which can be purchased for $400.&nbsp;</p> This week’s PC gaming dealshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-game-deals/The best PC gaming deals of the week.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 18:50:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-game-deals/DealsHardware <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PULBFWNXSiar.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1PBAHOzkjSLj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="This week’s PC gaming deals"></p><p> We like cheap PC components and accessories. But you know what we like even more? Expensive PC components and accessories that are on sale! Each week, we have our&nbsp;bargainmeisters bring you a list of the best component, accessory, and software sales for PC gamers.</p><p> Some highlights of this week: Grand Theft Auto 5 is&nbsp;on sale, and&nbsp;not like the&nbsp;"discount" it had&nbsp;during the&nbsp;Steam Summer Sale. The Samsung 850 EVO SSD just keeps getting cheaper, and you can also get one of our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-mouse/" target="_blank">favorite gaming mice</a>, the SteelSeries Sensei Raw, on sale. There are a lot of great, older games on sale as well&mdash;like Hitman: Blood Money, Tomb Raider, and Thief Gold. And Darksiders is having a large sale over at GamersGate.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sb1EiqSTRwCB.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xogsAmxSJHmE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hardware Deals"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>DIYPC Gamemax-W full tower case</strong> is <a href="http://fave.co/1KHfvGn">$65 on Newegg</a> after a $15 rebate.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Cooler Master Nepton 120XL CPU water cooler</strong> is down to <a href="http://fave.co/1KHfx0Q">$90 on Newegg</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>500GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD</strong> is even cheaper than it was last week, down to <a href="http://fave.co/1eySNSX">$150 on Buy.com’s Ebay storefront</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong>If you are looking for a smaller model for a cheaper price, the <strong>120GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD</strong> is also on sale for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OAJ5N6I/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=PCGDeals">$56 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>SteelSeries Sensei RAW mouse</strong> is down to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FAJT6VK/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=PCGDeals">$36 on Amazon</a>.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zH9aHn-LRL6I.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b_1wP4rcanyg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Game Deals"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Grand Theft Auto 5</strong> is finally on sale, down to <a href="http://fave.co/1KHeheg">$46 on Green Man Gaming</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Darksiders 2</strong> is only <a href="http://fave.co/1KHbZvx">$6 on GamersGate</a>, or you can get the <strong>Darksiders Franchise pack</strong>&mdash;which includes <strong>Darksiders</strong>, <strong>Darksiders </strong><strong>2</strong>, and all of <strong>Darksiders 2’s DLC</strong>&mdash;for <a href="http://fave.co/1KHc2aG">$12 on GamersGate</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>If you are hyped for the new Hitman, <strong>Hitman: Blood Money</strong> is only <a href="http://fave.co/1eyOeId">$3.59 on Gamestop.com</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong>&mdash;</strong>&nbsp;The classic <strong>Thief Gold</strong> is <a href="http://fave.co/1KHdA4o">$2.79 on Gamestop.com</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Super Meat Boy </strong>is <a href="http://fave.co/1KHdZnH">$3 on Green Man Gaming</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The 2013 <strong>Tomb Raider</strong> is down to <a href="http://fave.co/1AG8XEw">$8 on Gamestop.com</a>.</p><p> <em style="background-color: initial;">A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to online stores. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which help support our work evaluating components and games.</em></p> ​ORIGIN PC delivers latest laptops featuring NVIDIA G-SYNC technologyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/origin-pc-delivers-latest-laptops-featuring-nvidia-g-sync-technology/NVIDIA G-SYNC enables smoother and faster gameplay.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 18:40:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/origin-pc-delivers-latest-laptops-featuring-nvidia-g-sync-technology/ <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gzU6dcy2RiSA.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3h7Z5qbDMvom.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Main 0301"></p><p>For decades, Windows PC gamers have come to accept screen tearing, stutter and input lag as unfortunate side effects of even the best graphics technology. Despite advances in gaming hardware over the years, it was only recently that NVIDIA was able to eradicate such long-standing nuisances at long last.</p><p>G-SYNC redefines gaming graphics by synchronizing a compatible display to the output of the GPU, rather than the other way around. The result? Smoother, breathtaking desktop gameplay with sharper, more vibrant, artifact-free graphics.</p><p>But why should this kind of innovation be limited only to the desktop? Enter <a href="http://www.originpc.com/landing/2015/nvidia-gsync-mobile/?utm_source=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_medium=Article&amp;utm_term=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_content=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_campaign=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article">ORIGIN PC, who has just introduced G-SYNC to laptop gamers</a> with the innovative new EON17-X and EON15-X powered by the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M graphics card.</p><p>Hailed as a game-changing innovation by industry powerhouses ranging from Id Software co-founder John Carmack to Paradox developer Johan Andersson and Epic Games executives Tim Sweeney and Mark Rein, the arrival of G-SYNC support on laptops provides the best of both worlds, with up to 4K resolution from a 15- or 17-inch display while on the go, with the option to play on even larger screens back home.</p><p><strong>G-SYNC to the rescue</strong></p><p>NVIDIA G-SYNC solves a major dilemma game makers have faced since the dawn of personal computing in the early ‘80s: The fact that screen refresh rates have been locked to 60Hz since television was first introduced in the United States.</p><p>Although traditional CRT screens have given way to LCD and now LED displays over subsequent decades, hardware manufacturers continue to build gear around this antiquated method, syncing GPU graphics to the same fixed refresh rate.</p><p>Naturally, this has created something of a conundrum for NVIDIA and others, because GPU frame rates tend to vary wildly, even during the same scene in a game. The customary methods of circumventing fixed refresh rates create their own problems with latency, resulting in many of the issues gamers face even today.</p><p>G-SYNC eliminates all of these downsides, making the gaming experience more responsive, with clearer, smoother graphics than gamers have ever thought possible.</p><p><strong>You may need faster reflexes</strong></p><p><strong></strong><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gkACVbpoQPOb.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yNCxUCmkkSEf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Maya Max01" style="background-color: initial;">In addition to eliminating the eyestrain, headaches or migraines many players suffer after lengthy exposure to traditional VSync-enabled graphics, G-SYNC addresses the input lag found on most systems.</p><p>For enthusiasts and pro gamers, G-SYNC makes any delay between what’s taking place on screen and your reaction simply unacceptable, and with many titles could mean the difference between life or death (or at the very least, who wins and who loses).</p><p><a href="http://www.originpc.com/landing/2015/nvidia-gsync-mobile/?utm_source=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_medium=Article&amp;utm_term=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_content=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_campaign=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article">ORIGIN PC’s</a> new EON17-X and EON15-X laptops narrow this hair-trigger gap significantly, allowing a virtually undetectable delay between keyboard commands and on-screen action. The difference is so significant, players may even need to gain faster reflexes and tighten up their skills to keep up.</p><p>G-SYNC makes possible a whole new level of gameplay longtime players could only dream of until now &mdash; and <a href="http://www.originpc.com/landing/2015/nvidia-gsync-mobile/?utm_source=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_medium=Article&amp;utm_term=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_content=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_campaign=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article">ORIGIN PC</a> is among the first to deliver NVIDIA’s latest and greatest graphics technology to laptops.</p><p><strong>Unrivalled performance</strong></p><p>It’s not just the impressive graphics performance that makes <a href="http://www.originpc.com/landing/2015/nvidia-gsync-mobile/?utm_source=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_medium=Article&amp;utm_term=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_content=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_campaign=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article">ORIGIN PC’s</a> new EON17-X and EON15-X the ultimate laptop gaming platform &mdash; both models are equally powerful in all of the other areas where it counts as well.</p><p>Powered by the latest Intel Core i5 or i7 Z97 quad core desktop processors, these laptops are also infused with <a href="http://www.originpc.com/landing/2015/nvidia-gsync-mobile/?utm_source=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_medium=Article&amp;utm_term=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_content=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_campaign=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article">ORIGIN PC’s</a> award winning CPU overclocking up to 4.5GHz so they won’t miss a beat while crunching away on even the most processor intensive games and applications.</p><p>Naturally, the core processor is paired with NVIDIA’s next-generation, state-of-the-art GeForce GTX 970M or 980M graphics, which can be custom configured to display either 1080p HD or 4K resolutions for hyper-realistic gameplay when coupled with G-SYNC.</p><p>Most impressively, the EON17-X and EON15-X manage to contain this raw power and speed while remaining almost 40 percent thinner and 30 percent lighter than previous generation models.</p><p><strong>Game on!</strong></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bVJfiSQLScyV.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3uZURflqSvdp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="3views01">Whether you’re an enthusiast, hardcore PC gamer or professional player, <a href="http://www.originpc.com/landing/2015/nvidia-gsync-mobile/?utm_source=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_medium=Article&amp;utm_term=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_content=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_campaign=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article">ORIGIN PC</a> delivers a true breakthrough with its EON17-X and EON15-X laptops featuring NVIDIA G-SYNC display technology.</p><p>Fluid gameplay, sharper graphics, lightning-fast refresh rates and faster reaction times all add up to a more extreme gaming and a competitive edge &mdash; all in a custom notebook package specifically tailored for you.</p><p>As always, <a href="http://www.originpc.com/landing/2015/nvidia-gsync-mobile/?utm_source=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_medium=Article&amp;utm_term=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_content=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_campaign=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article">ORIGIN PC</a> stands behind these laptops with free lifetime 24/7 US based phone and online support, which includes a one-year part replacement and 45-day free shipping warranty with free lifetime labor.</p><p>To learn more, visit <a href="http://www.originpc.com/EON17-X?utm_source=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_medium=Article&amp;utm_term=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_content=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_campaign=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article">http://www.ORIGINPC.com/EON17-X</a> or <a href="http://www.originpc.com/EON15-X?utm_source=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_medium=Article&amp;utm_term=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_content=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article&amp;utm_campaign=PC%20Gamer%20-%20%20NVIDIA%20GSYNC%20Sponsored%20Article">http://www.ORIGINPC.com/EON15-X</a></p> New Mortal Kombat X trailer unmasks the Predatorhttp://www.pcgamer.com/new-mortal-kombat-x-trailer-unmasks-the-predator/"There's something out there waiting for us, and it ain't no man. We're all gonna die."Mon, 06 Jul 2015 18:17:34 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/new-mortal-kombat-x-trailer-unmasks-the-predator/FightingMortal Kombat XNetherRealm StudiosNewsWarner Bros Interactive <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xMTA8HaKTMU?rel=0&amp;vq=small" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The Predator&mdash;<em>The</em> Predator&mdash;joins the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mortal-kombat-x/">Mortal Kombat X</a> lineup tomorrow, for players who have sprung for the Premium Edition of the game or the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/347880/?snr=1_5_9__405">Kombat Pack</a> DLC. Everyone else will have to wait another week, but you can pass a little bit of that time (roughly 90 seconds of it) watching the intergalactic hunter in action in the new MKX gameplay trailer.</p><p> Part of me thinks it's not really fair that the P-Man gets to use wrist blades, a spear, and a shoulder-mounted laser in what is ostensibly a fistfight. It's not that far out of line, I suppose&mdash;it's not like everyone else in the game is lacing up the gloves and memorizing the Marquess of Queensbury&mdash;but does he really have to use all three at once? That's some serious fatalizing right there. The kill on Jason at the end is a nice nod to the film, though.</p><p> The Predator goes on sale for non-Kombat Pack owners on July 14.</p> Build of the week: NES 3.0http://www.pcgamer.com/build-of-the-week-nes-30/The i5-4670K and GTX 750 Ti give this build slightly more processing oomph than the original NES.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 17:30:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/build-of-the-week-nes-30/Build of the weekHardware Smite World Championship prize pool capped at $1 millionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/smite-world-championship-prize-pool-capped-at-1-million/Hi-Rez Studios says the current system, in which a handful of teams get all the money, isn't healthy for anyone.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 17:17:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/smite-world-championship-prize-pool-capped-at-1-million/esportsHi-Rez StudiosMOBANewsSmite <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4mcJun8BSkKE.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IJASA2EtCA8W.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Smite"></p><p>Hi-Rez Studios has announced that it will cap the 2015 <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/smite/">Smite</a> World Championship prize pool at just $1 million, a small fraction of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-international-prize-pool-breaks-15-million/">$15 million</a> (and counting) prize pool that will be up for grabs at the 2015 International. The limit, according to&nbsp;Hi-Rez, is to improve the overall health of the Smite community, and esports in general, by ensuring a more equitable distribution of prizes to a greater number of players.</p><p>As Hi-Rez President Stewart Chisam explained on <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Smite/comments/3cai7v/as_smite_esports_grows_the_teams_asked_hirez_to/">Reddit</a> (via <a href="http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/hi-rez-capping-smite-world-championship-prize-pool-at-1m/0152230">MCV</a>), half of last year's $2.6 million prize pool was split between five players of one team&mdash;Cognitive Prime, now known as Cloud9&mdash;and 90 percent of the total prize pool handed out over the year went to the top four teams in the league. After consulting with players, team owners, and members of other esports communities, the studio decided that the imbalance wasn't good for anyone.</p><p>"In order to grow our sport over the long haul, we think it is important that we allow as many people as possible to make a living pursuing Smite eSports. This means having as many players as we can be able to make a decent and predictable wage by playing Smite," Chisam wrote.</p><p>The plan is to cap the World Championship prize pool at $1 million, and spread the rest of the money around to other events. $300,000 is going to the Summer Split and the Summer Showdown LAN later this month, as an example; the winner of the Summer Split will earn $50,000, but even the last-place finisher will take home $10,000. Hi-Rez still expects to award well over $2 million in prizes this year, "just in a smarter way that supports our teams better."</p><p>"We are busy planning out an esports schedule for this year and next that has a lot more live events. Some will be small but meaningful (like the Cloud9 vs AFK LAN last week), and some will be much larger," Chisam wrote. "Overall, we expect the eSports prizing for the next year to surpass that from the past year. We simply want to spread that prizing out more evenly across more events and more teams."</p> The wonderfully strange Cradle is out this monthhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-wonderfully-strange-cradle-is-out-this-month/Repair a mechanical girl, investigate a mysterious amusement park.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 15:30:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-wonderfully-strange-cradle-is-out-this-month/CradleFlying Cafe for SemianimalsNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cNJQWnalRnia.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kt_sapsOXfwu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cradle"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cradle-footage-contains-a-sad-robot-lady-a-flying-bus-and-a-lot-of-cubes/" target="_blank">Two years ago</a>&nbsp;this very&nbsp;month we were all&nbsp;like, "oooh, would you&nbsp;look at&nbsp;<a href="http://cradle-game.com/" target="_blank">Cradle</a>," a wonderfully odd first-person game featuring a robot girl, a flying bus, and many of the things that lie in-between. A release date eluded us at the time, but one's&nbsp;just been announced, and it's not very far away at all.</p><p>July 24th! Which is just under three weeks, calendar fans.&nbsp;To keep us going until then, developers Flying Cafe for Seminanimals have issued a 'pre-release teaser', which is a&nbsp;much better and more accurate name&nbsp;for the now-traditional launch trailer. Cradle looks scary and intriguing and unsettling and my cup of tea, and you'll find it on Steam in a few weeks.</p><iframe width="594" height="334" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1izji6bkJ4c" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Phillipa Warr&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cradle-a-dreamlike-exploration-game-set-in-the-strange-plains-of-sci-fi-mongolia/" target="_blank">spoke with</a> creative director&nbsp;Ilya Tolmachev two years ago about the project, but if you want the short version, here's the slightly awkwardly translated YouTube description:</p><p>"Cradle is&nbsp;a sci-fi first-person-view quest designed for the player to explore the surrounding world. The story is built around the relations of the protagonist and a mechanical girl who by quirk of fate found themselves amidst the desert. The player’s task is to repair the mechanical body of his companion and solve the mystery of the neglected entertainment park located not far from the yurt together.”</p> Triple Triad Online: keeping the Final Fantasy minigame alivehttp://www.pcgamer.com/triple-triad-online-keeping-the-final-fantasy-minigame-alive/Final Fantasy VIII's moreish card game lives on thanks to the efforts of a few fans.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 15:06:46 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/triple-triad-online-keeping-the-final-fantasy-minigame-alive/Editors PicksFinal Fantasy VIIISpecial Report <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wYtBiblWQx-V.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e-7TOWLWNRj9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Triple Triad 1"></p><p>When Cyril Bondue first played Triple Triad, the peculiar card-collecting minigame from Final Fantasy VIII, he became slightly obsessed. For Bondue, like many other fans of Squaresoft’s (now Square Enix) enduring JRPG of the late ’90s, playing Triple Triad became more important than the main game itself.&nbsp;</p><p>Flipping packs on the 3x3 grid, matching elements and snatching high-ranking cards proved far more intriguing than steering the oft aloof Squall Leonhart around Balamb, Dollet or Deling City&mdash;locales Bondue only cared to visit in order to seek out new NPCs with untapped and inestimable decks.</p><p>“I remember winning cards but being unsure of how I triggered this or that effect,” explains Bondue, about first playing the game in 1999. He laughs. “I was very bad, especially before I understood the rules. But I was looking at magazines and speaking more with people about the cards than the actual game itself. It meant so much more to me.”&nbsp;</p><p>Ten years on, Bondue decided to take his love for Triple Triad a step further. While still attending school in his native Berlin, he tried his hand at programming. But with no experience, he decided to create a fan project based on an existing franchise. Naturally, Triple Triad was at the forefront of his mind and thus Triple&nbsp;Triad Flash Online was born. Today, TTFO has over 36,000 registered users and hosts approximately 140 games per day, not to mention fortnightly championships which see 150-200 players face off for coveted character cards. Back in 2009, however, TTFO wasn’t as well established as it is now.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EnprgM86Qx2W.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BTh1uoOUR0hJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Triple Triad 2"></p><p>Version 1 was simple in its makeup: as a neophyte coder, Bondue struggled with sophisticated design but quickly noticed a distinct interest in his creation as the user base began to slowly multiply.&nbsp;</p><p>Like most card games, the speed in which any Triple Triad game plays out is variable, thus Version 1’s 30-second server requests meant bouts suffered tedious amounts of lag. Did the other player play their card? Which card? Where did they put it? This extended to the game’s chat function, meaning messages also took half a minute to deliver, and there was no way of inviting players to join games.&nbsp;</p><p>By 2011, Bondue realised the burgeoning community he had helped grow needed more from TTFO and decided to upgrade. Version 2 ushered in TTFO as it stands today, correcting all of the previous technical handicaps and punctuating the familiar interface with the equally familiar finger-clicking jingle which guarantees to set up camp in your head after first listen. Although keen at the time to overhaul its aesthetics, Bondue was clear to maintain the exact same ruleset.</p><p>“There’s the same rules, and I’ve chosen not to add any new cards,” explains Bondue. “I wanted to stick to the 110 original cards in order to keep the original balance of every original card. Adding cards can break this balance.”&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xah_TmPsRQma.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UArgAtgFPnwg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Triple Triad 3"></p><p>With the bimonthly championships, however&mdash;the site’s main attraction&mdash;Bondue can be creative in order to generate interest in both existing and prospective users. By battling through four stages of competition, players can capture spoils with little experience.&nbsp;</p><p>“Championships at TTFO are the only way to earn character cards,” says Bondue. “Character cards are level ten and therefore the most powerful in the game&mdash;they are very uncommon. Most players won’t have them but everyone wants them, and this encourages a lot of players to participate. Players don’t play with regular cards. You are given a set of cards [that] I choose and every new championship has its own set of rules.&nbsp;</p><p>“Whereas when you join the game at first you’ll only have level one cards, you can join a championship at any time and level. When you win a game you can take a card from your opponent. When it’s your regular cards, ones you’ve earned, you don’t really want to lose them&mdash;but here, the cards are given to you, they’re just there for the tournament. Championships make for more exciting games as you don’t have as much to lose.”</p><p>Recently, long-standing MMO Final Fantasy XIV introduced a reinterpretation of the Golden Saucer&mdash;a theme park-style area which featured in Final Fantasy VII&mdash;which boasts popular minigames from previous series instalments, including the revered Triple Triad.&nbsp;It’d be natural for Bondue to consider the impact this may have on TTFO. Yet he feels it could be good for the community by virtue of introducing a new generation to the game, thus potentially raising the profile of his fan site. Bear in mind Triple Triad is a game within a game from last century, where schoolyard card swapping was (presumably) far more&nbsp;commonplace in a world predating the digital age. The idea of getting younger players involved who can then migrate to a more focused arena can’t be a bad thing.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1Sn6vcasRPCi.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vHBSDVF0Gfd3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Triple Triad 4"></p><p>Although not specifically tailored to suit anyone but the TTFO community, Bondue is in the process of upgrading again with plans to roll out Version 3 at some stage later this year. Having worked on the particulars alongside community members since mid- 2014, a 3D Garden-esque lobby is set to offer a far more contemporary Triple Triad experience&mdash;and Bondue notes future Twitch livestreams as a possible way of further enticing new faces.&nbsp;</p><p>But the old faces are the pillars of the community. Peter Spencer, a moderator from Sydney, has been an integral member of TTFO since 2011.&nbsp;</p><p>“We’ve got players from all over the world,” he says as he praises the figurative closeness of the far-reaching group. “The majority are Europeanbased but there’s a strong North and South American presence, and there’s quite a few players from the Philippines and South East Asia who play a fair bit.</p><p> “Some of these players have got some really different ways of approaching the game. [They] are always thinking outside the box, which is really interesting. There are so many facets to it, all the rules and the way people approach it&mdash;you’re always learning. I learned quickly that you can’t expect to win every game. If you do that, you can’t have fun.”</p> Exploring the final frontier in Outer Wildshttp://www.pcgamer.com/exploring-the-final-frontier-in-outer-wilds/Having emotional space experiences in IGF favourite Outer Wilds.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:34:47 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/exploring-the-final-frontier-in-outer-wilds/Now PlayingOuter Wilds <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_nQSk9KeR1CX.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e3pA1DaU1B0b.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Outer Wilds 1"></p><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">NOW PLAYING</h5> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yUSvIoE4R8e2.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_JXb2Du1Y_S_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Outer Wilds"></p><p> In <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/now-playing/">Now Playing</a> PC Gamer writers talk about the game currently dominating their spare time. Today, Sam explores the final frontier in Outer Wilds. </p> </div><p> Here’s everything I knew about Outer Wilds before I started playing: it won a slew of IGF awards and the alpha is free on the&nbsp; <a href="http://outerwilds.com/">developer’s site</a>. That’s it.&nbsp;</p><p> I start in a crudely-rendered, bowl-shaped alien world, next to a spacecraft launch site. To take off, I need launch codes, available at the observatory on a hill opposite. A moon orbits above.&nbsp;</p><p> On my way to the observatory, I speak to a few of my fellow aliens, who are all interested in seeing what lies beyond the stars but know little about it. Oh, one more thing I know about Outer Wilds before I go any further: I have 20 minutes until the sun explodes.&nbsp;</p><p> I enter the observatory. A number of objects displayed here hint at worlds beyond this one. The most interesting is an artefact that changes shape every time you look at it. I don’t really take in the rest of the exhibits, to be honest, because once I’ve got the launch codes, I want to use the bloody things.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MnrWKC6GTPeL.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZwrkBlGnQnjc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Outer Wilds 2"></p><p> Back where I started, there’s a console where I enter the codes, and next to it, a wooden lift that takes me to my little round spacecraft. The ship looks like it was was cobbled together in Wigan by Wallace from Wallace and Gromit. There’s a small cockpit, a furnace thing that’s presumably the engine, a screen for cataloguing stuff and no built-in toilet. I love it. I get an immediate feeling of ownership, probably because it’s a bit lame to look at. Like my flat, only mobile.&nbsp;</p><p> I pop on a space suit, sit down and take off. The sky turns from blue to black – I’m in orbit, and the scale of Outer Wilds becomes clear. The&nbsp;bowl I just launched from was one tiny part of an entire, functioning solar system that now surrounds me. There’s something in every direction. At close proximity, the moon I saw from the ground earlier; a mighty sun; a cluster of dark rocks ominously shrouded in fog, a giant watery-looking blue planet, and various small craft, comets and odd structures leaving a light trail. Huh. This is space, presented in a moment not unlike arriving in Columbia in BioShock Infinite, or leaving Vault 101. The production values aren’t quite there but there’s a comparable sense of wonder.&nbsp;</p><p> I have a feeling that I’m about to go beyond my world and break new ground – Outer Wilds perhaps captures this feeling better than any game to date. Elite: Dangerous gives you the scale of a galaxy, but Outer Wilds makes space travel feel precarious, and also oddly real. It might be simply because the spaceship is so crummy, but regardless, I began Outer&nbsp;Wilds as a dreamer on the ground and became an astronaut.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8vjzPyoFTXmK.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/41zD-7oH3GcX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Outer Wilds 3#"></p><p> I go to the moon, where a fellow space traveller sits by a fire. I set a course for the big blue planet and ram through its watery surface, spying weird sea creatures before being thrown out again by the pressure. I try and fail to land on an odd free-floating structure that resembles a frigate from Star Wars. Instead I badly damage my craft.&nbsp;</p><p> I head into the arrangement of rocks covered in fog and nervously fire a camera drone into it, earning me a snapshot of what’s waiting within. I glimpse what looks like a tentacle in the distance and change course. I eventually come across a circular rock cave, and a small fire. I land and swim over in zero-gravity. Sitting next to the fire is a guy listening to music. Pretty much the last thing I expected to find here. Shortly after, I clumsily fly into a giant alien space mouth and die. I never get to see the sun explode.&nbsp;</p><p> When the game resets, I take off at once in search of new stories.</p> Dean Hall's Ion inspired by EVE Online, Minecrafthttp://www.pcgamer.com/dean-halls-ion-inspired-by-eve-online-minecraft/More details of the DayZ man's sci-fi game come to light.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dean-halls-ion-inspired-by-eve-online-minecraft/Dean HallMMONews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Bzgx9tB0QlSG.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ROHXBogNZgiA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dean Hall Ion"></p><p>Dean Hall&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dean-halls-next-game-is-ion-an-emergent-narrative-mmo/" target="_blank">didn't reveal much</a> about Ion at E3 the other week, but we later learned that it would feature an&nbsp;isometric viewpoint, and that if you click on another player their organs&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dean-halls-ion-has-organ-simulation-diablo-like-camera/" target="_blank">might fall out</a>.&nbsp;Thanks to an interview with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.polygon.com/features/2015/7/2/8885549/day-z-dean-hall-ion-e3%20" target="_blank">Polygon</a> (thanks&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamesn.com/ion/dean-hall-s-ion-is-eve-online-meets-minecraft-has-a-solid-road-map" target="_blank">PCGamesN</a>), we now know a little more. Ion is inspired by EVE Online, Minecraft's Tekkit modpack, and Space Station 13. Also&mdash;as with Lord British, famously, in Ultima Online&mdash;it will be possible for players to off Dean Hall in the game.</p><p>EVE Online's single, persistent server has influenced Ion, as has Minecrat's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.technicpack.net/modpack/tekkitmain.552547" target="_blank">Tekkit</a>, a collection of mods that, collectively, substantially empower the game's building mechanics. But the initial inspiration comes from&nbsp;<a href="http://spacestation13.com/" target="_blank">Space Station 13</a>, a collaborative space station sim-thing that Hall was raving about to us&nbsp;<a href="http://www.technicpack.net/modpack/tekkitmain.552547" target="_blank">two years ago</a>, when he first talked about what his next game might be. Speaking to Polygon, he now says of Space Station 13 that "it's incredibly intricate in what you can do, but also incredibly difficult to learn how to play. That was the core idea of the game".</p><p>Returning to the topic of Tekkit:</p><p>"My friends would say, let's play Tekkit, let's build a nuclear reactor, and I'd say, why? I want a context. I want it to occur in a broader scheme of things.&nbsp;That's what Ion is about. It's taking Minecraft and Tekkit and everyone's own separate worlds, their own servers, and mashing it all together, linking all the regions."</p><iframe width="615" height="346" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K_yq6zUzfnE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>You'll be able to learn the skills to become, for instance,&nbsp;an engineer, miner or doctor in the game, and there'll be a reputation system so players&nbsp;can make a name for themselves one way or the other. Watching over everything will be The Federation, with Dean Hall acting as president. "The Federation is run by me, by us as the game developers. We play characters in the game". And yes, players "could kill me as the president of the Federation".</p><p>Unlike DayZ, developers RocketWerkz have a more solid roadmap in mind for Ion, so its development will hopefully be less protracted. "Ion has a solid road map.&nbsp;But I guess that's why we haven't released a lot of details. Until we really lock that road map down, we don't want to say, this feature, this feature, this feature. I can talk to the parts that are there."</p><p>Read the full&nbsp;<a href="http://www.polygon.com/features/2015/7/2/8885549/day-z-dean-hall-ion-e3%20" target="_blank">Polygon</a> interview for more.</p> Talent Farming in LoL's Western Wastelandshttp://www.pcgamer.com/talent-farming-in-lols-western-wastelands/Team Dragon Knights' NA LCS failures highlight a major weakness in the western regions' talent-fostering capabilities.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 13:27:50 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/talent-farming-in-lols-western-wastelands/esportsLeague of LegendsLoLwatchMOBA <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-H6_52d7RR6p.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cSjY2waEMn0E.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="TDK NA LCS Stage, by Riot Games"></p><p>The Korean exodus has its detractors. Whether by nationalism or more general regional pride, the ubiquity and dominance of Korean players in literally every premier circuit has troubled especially those prone to chanting "USA! USA!" There's no denying that they're deadly effective, of course&mdash;Jae-hun "Fenix" Kim's solo quadrakill against Counter Logic Gaming sent the former North American leaders into a multiweek spiral downward. Over in Europe, Fnatic's Huni and Reignover Show (Seung-hoon Heo and Yeu-jin Kim respectively) draws in some of the best ratings the region's seen in its history.</p><p>There's also no denying that they deserve the bounties they reap. Even my pitiable little region here in Taiwan, with our severe lack of endemic sponsorships and struggles under China's titanic LPL shadow, can nonetheless attract Korean talents. That, honestly, suggests something fishy going on up north in the Korean peninsula. If esports is the meritocracy we'd like to pretend it to be, then certainly these young and mechanically impressive Korean talents should be reaping the material rewards they can't seem to find back home.</p><p>But there's <em>also</em> no denying that the very presence of Huni, Fenix, and all of these others at the top of the western circuits is an unspoken criticism of the general quality of western play. While there's more mechanical equality between individual players than in previous years (Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg is still the absolute best mid laner in the NA LCS, Koreans be damned), the top of the North American scene in particular is starting to get crowded out. The import players are very much the lynchpins to any one team's cohesion.</p><h3><strong>TDK's torment</strong></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ae63Ib8jSR2f.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0IaR1bO1G-Qp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="TDK Bischu, Riot Games"></p><p>Team Dragon Knights, they of the perpetual visa problems, was a particularly clear example of this. Geon-woo "Ninja" Noh and Jin-hyun "Emperor" Kim's emigration issues forced their new NA LCS team to sub in a wide range of alternatives, ranging from James Lattman to Aaron "Bischu" Kim, and subsequently crashed and burned out of the gates. Their 0-9 start to the summer split was reminiscent of Copenhagen Wolves circa 2013&mdash;Bjergsen's professional debut. And much like Bjergsen's debut, Ninja and Emperor's much belated presence is the only thing keeping the team in contention. </p><p>But why was this particularly true for TDK? Bischu, Lattman and everybody else they've tried are known players in the North American scene&mdash;it's not as if they've taken fresh rookies out of solo queue and told them to try and not feed double digits to TSM. Bischu, in particular, has been in the competitive scene in one form or another since June 2012. While a team with subs certainly aren't expected to take over the circuit's top rankers, their nine-game defeat streak was disastrous even against the likes of fellow rookie teams like Enemy or Team 8. Even Cloud 9, whose season's been likened to a dumpster fire, can at least pull it together long enough to batter TDK around.</p><p>Why is it that North American mid-Challenger players can be so easily made to seem like bronze scrubs when directly compared to Korean imports? Part of it can be blamed on North American solo queue, perhaps, where players have long complained of a lack of seriousness compared to its Chinese and Korean equivalents. But it's shortsighted to just leave it as a cultural difference without deciphering why that difference exists.</p><p>The fact is, even before the mass exodus, Chinese and Korean Challenger players had more to look forward to anyhow. The seriousness of ladder play is commensurate with the expectations of its top-level players&mdash;Korean Challengers, in particular, know that they're actively being scouted by organizations across the world. Same with the top level players of China's Ionia server, though focused more inward towards the region's billionaire sponsors. </p><p>If teams and organizations want to know why the quality of domestic players in North America and Europe are so comparatively poor, part of the blame has to go to themselves for not fostering a similar advancement program and environment back home. They default towards two courses of action when faced with roster issues: either to protect the players they currently have in the name of team cohesion (and to not make things worse in the short term), or to recruit foreign players to bandaid over their weaknesses.</p><p>Neither, I note, are inherently wrong. The problem is the almost exclusive dependency on just these two options. While the Challenger Series has done a lot over the last year to make the competitive scene somewhat more friendly to the semi-pro level, it's largely failed to bridge the resource and investment gap between domestic western players and their foreign competition, hindering the former's development. The lack of "true" substitute players or coaching and analytical investments for academy teams leaves Korean solo queue the better bet for talent hunting.</p><h3><strong>Building a battleground</strong></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i9U_i5lKR4u3.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CBymR1Zbnf07.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ADCL banner, Alphadraft"></p><p>But the problem isn't entirely on the team organizations themselves. It's at least partially the fault of local tournament organizers as well&mdash;and maybe on the LCS structure itself.</p><p>The LoL Pro League teams in China have an infamously rigorous competitive schedule this year, playing a whopping 44 games and then some over the course of a split. But on top of that's an entire constellation of secondary and third party tournaments too. There's also the LSPL&mdash;commonly and <em>mistakenly</em> considered the equivalent of the western Challenger Series circuit, except that the LSPL somehow fosters teams and talent that can legitimately challenge the likes of LGD and Edward Gaming.</p><p>If the western team organizations are guilty of not fostering a strong solo queue scene by neglecting the training of domestic candidates, western tournament organizers are guilty of not incubating the premade scene. The NA and EUCS are pale shadows of the competitive rigor of the LSPL, whose tournament schedule and structure mirrors its more internationally renown counterpart. The third party support that gives Challenger-tier teams both a platform and financial incentive to play top-tier League of Legends is largely absent outside of China.</p><p>Here, however, there are promising developments. Fantasy platforms like Alphadraft don't just provide greater liquidity and audience incentives to pay attention to "minor" leagues&mdash;they're also actively fostering their growth by hosting tournaments to showcase teams (and give people something to gamble over). </p><p>But my concerns here are more about the risks imposed by the platforms initiating such tournaments. We've seen what external performance incentives have done to the CS:GO scene&mdash;the more money at stake, the more likely that some greedhead's going to try and finagle a deal between the teams to affect the match outcome. This absolutely must be engineered against in the long term&mdash;the central cause of Starcraft: Brood War's decline was the image hit caused by Jae-Yoon "Savi0r" Ma's ignoble fall from grace as the central figure in the South Korean matchfixing scandal back in 2010. </p><p>Fantasy draft platforms are a bit of a Faustian bargain in this instance, as they bring everything a local scene could want to incentivize and fund its development, except for protection against corruption by externalities and greed. Only strong and centralized oversight can mitigate this problem&mdash;but I'm not sure if Riot's the right party to do so. Their recent actions against Renegades co-owner Chris Badawi demonstrated a clear bias favoring LCS teams over Challenger-tier organizations, or basically teams under their control and teams outside. While Badawi's actions are highly questionable, it's nonetheless extremely obvious that poaching and tampering protections overwhelmingly favors the established LCS organizations&mdash;at direct and detrimental cost to Challengers like the Renegades. Challenger teams have no such security against LCS teams that want to take advantage of the training and investments they've put into their players, and there are no indication that Riot's going to be implementing equivalent failsafes on their behalf.</p><p>Instead, maybe it's time that Unikrn, Alphadraft and Vulcun start talking amongst themselves about establishing a commissioner's office. If Riot won't offer the same level of protection to third-party organizations and unaffiliated teams, then it's up to said organizations and teams to protect themselves&mdash;and they can only do so by collective action. Various reasons and circumstances have, according to Unikrn VP Stephen "Snoopeh" Ellis, prevented the formation of a player's union among League of Legends teams and players. But an organized third party circuit is its own political entity, especially with the funding and backing that the fantasy draft companies have already established in just their inaugural year.</p><p>The Challenger-level competitors and teams determine a region's long-term viability. It is in everybody's best interest to foster its rapid and cultivated growth. There is no escaping the conclusion that the only feasible way to do so is to establish a strong third-party circuit&mdash;and this year, we have the tools and investments needed to do so. Time to see about founding a National MOBA League.</p> Runescape July update adds raids, another planethttp://www.pcgamer.com/runescape-july-update-adds-raids-another-planet/Venerable MMO adds raids, 14 years after launch.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/runescape-july-update-adds-raids-another-planet/JagexMMONewsRunescape <iframe width="620" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MhhAVvtpPLY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Elderly (in MMO terms) MMO Runescape has been going since 2001, in a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/runescape-3-released-launch-trailer-kills-anything-and-everything/" target="_blank">variety of forms</a>. It's finally evolved to point at which raids are to be added&mdash;raids being a firm&nbsp;staple of most modern&nbsp;MMO and MMO-like things. Raids are coming in Runescape's July update, along with a new planet named Mazcab populated by&nbsp;a "strange race of frog-like creatures", the goebies. As with any planet, you'll get there through a portal on a giant, dead space-boar's back&mdash;it's&nbsp;the fantasy version of EasyJet.</p><p>In addition to a whole other planet to explore, we can also expect&nbsp;fast lodestone teleports,&nbsp;a big cat tie-in with the WWF, and other stuff as detailed in&nbsp;<a href="http://services.runescape.com/m=news/behind-the-scenes---july-2015?jptg=ia&amp;jptv=community_news" target="_blank">this blog post</a>.&nbsp;But what of those raids? "These epic adventures offer a new take on high-level boss fights," developers Jagex say,&nbsp;"for groups of up to 10 players. Each raid boss has very different gameplay, with plenty of teamwork required even to reach each fight. There'll be two bosses with this first release, with plenty of plans for more in the future, growing in difficulty and rewards."</p><p>Raids, cats and more in the above video. (Thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.destructoid.com/14-years-later-runescape-has-its-first-raids-added-295411.phtml" target="_blank">Destructoid</a>.)</p> Final Fantasy XIV Mac port pulled from sale, refunds offeredhttp://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiv-mac-port-pulled-from-sale-refunds-offered/Recently released Mac version suffering from technical issues.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 11:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiv-mac-port-pulled-from-sale-refunds-offered/Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm RebornMMONewsSquare Enix <p><img alt="Final Fantasy XIV - Raaaage" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/v6VpRyul3iQb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mo8RhH6KTda8.jpg" unselectable="on"></p><p>Square Enix have temporarily&nbsp;pulled the Mac version of Final Fantasy XIV from sale, after it launched on 23rd June in a pretty dire state, and with a set of incorrect system requirements. They are, at least, offering refunds for the game: you can <a href="http://sqex.to/W-y" target="_blank">head here</a> to fill out a request form.</p><p>FFXIV producer and director Naoki Yoshida published <a href="http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/news/detail/0f6df59d2175ff4ddc26de3981641512f05a9e14" target="_blank">this blog post</a> on Friday announcing, and explaining, the decision to suspend sales of the game. It's a long, frank post, with a not particularly happy ending.&nbsp;There are complicated&nbsp;technical reasons why the Mac version&nbsp;isn't performing as well as the Windows one (it's also thanks to a development decision made to reduce costs), and while the developers are aiming to close the gap before they put it back on sale, Yoshida isn't hopeful that it will ever run as well as the Windows game.</p><p>They could have delayed the&nbsp;port until it was in better shape, of course. They could also have released accurate system requirements&mdash;Yoshida says that “in the chaos leading up to the multi-platform launch of our expansion, we released incorrect requirements, which were not updated prior to the Mac version’s official release".</p><p><p><img alt="Final Fantasy XIV 3" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZnGaMuijJG2c.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ki6i4HWTT2uP.jpg" unselectable="on"></p></p><p>On that issue, also from Yoshida's blog post:</p><p>"I believe that the biggest problem with the Mac version release was the significant discrepancy between the performance of the product our development team produced and the expectations our customers had for it, which was due to the lack of information available on our product when sales commenced, as well as other issues.</p><p> "[...] While the development and operations teams, as well as our entire company, were involved in this mistake, it was I who ultimately made the decision to release the Mac version under these circumstances and therefore bear sole responsibility, and I sincerely apologize to you all.</p><p> "Because of this situation, many of you purchased a product which your Mac hardware could not run at even the minimum system requirements, resulting in insufficient performance, for which many of you have expressed your dissatisfaction. Had we provided accurate information beforehand, I know many of you would not have purchased the Mac version, which is why we decided to offer full refunds. Once again, I apologize."</p><p>The above post goes into great detail about Square Enix's problems with the Mac version. They've pulled the game from sale until they can get it in better shape, and they&nbsp;can put together an accurate set of system requirements. If you've already bought FFXIV, you can continue to play, or you can request a full refund.</p> Consortium: The Tower Prophecy trailer makes impressive landinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/consortium-the-tower-prophecy-trailer-makes-impressive-landing/Skydive onto a skyscraper to unravel a mystery, in this ambitious sci-fi RPG.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 10:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/consortium-the-tower-prophecy-trailer-makes-impressive-landing/Consortium: The Tower ProphecyNewsRPG <iframe width="854" height="510" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KCugYkAJ2-Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.consortium-game.com/" target="_blank">Consortium</a> was an immersive-sim-style sci-fi RPG that plonked you in a spaceship as a sort of future secret agent,&nbsp;giving you free reign over your environment&nbsp;in order to complete your mission objectives. From what I've seen of the game, it reminds me of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentient_(video_game)" target="_blank">Sentient</a>, an ambitious&nbsp;adventure&nbsp;which set my imagination racing a million years ago. You can bet I'm intrigued by Consortium sequel <a href="http://thetowerprophecy.com/" target="_blank">The Tower Prophecy</a>, then, which takes the player character, Bishop Six, and literally drops them onto a sci-fi&nbsp;skyscraper. It also updates the engine from Source to Unreal Engine 4, meaning it's looking very pretty as a result.</p><p>Here's word on the second entry in the 'iDGi-1' trilogy, which will be doing the crowdfunding thing later this year:</p><p>"Building on the strengths of CONSORTIUM, The Tower Prophecy uses all of the core mechanics, interface systems, gear and dynamic fourth wall shattering concepts for an all new scope: The Churchill Tower, a massive, futuristic skyscraper in the heart of London, England. What should have been a straightforward mission to rescue civilian hostages from terrorists turns into a global debacle involving a deeply rooted conspiracy where Bishop Six will be forced to question his allegiances and the morality of meddling across the bounds of existence. <p> "Choose to stick to the mission blindly, or choose to question and explore its boundaries, unlocking monumental discoveries and shedding new light on the unfolding events. Fully interact with dozens of people from their world using our waterfall dialogue tree system, and choose to Fight, Explore, Sneak and/or Talk your way through the entire experience."</p><p>There's a new trailer above to whet your appetite for The Tower Prophecy, and I've put a trailer for the first game below.</p><iframe width="854" height="510" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hVss85E1y5E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Dawn of War 3 domain registeredhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dawn-of-war-3-domain-registered/By Sega, no less.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dawn-of-war-3-domain-registered/Editors PicksNewsRelic EntertainmentSegaStrategyWarhammer 40000: Dawn of War II <p><img alt="Dawn Of War 3" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RmTSCwHL1s43.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JXtZxY3zTH-h.jpg" unselectable="on"></p><p>Sega have registered the website domain <a href="http://www.dawnofwar3.com">www.dawnofwar3.com</a>, presumably in advance of a new <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Channel_5" target="_blank">Space Channel 5</a> game announcement. OK, so it might well mean a sequel for Relic's muscular strategy game is on the cards&mdash;Company of Heroes 2 was a while ago, after all. <a href="https://who.godaddy.com/whoisstd.aspx?domain=dawnofwar3.com">Whois Lookup</a> states that&nbsp;the domain was registered back in 2011 by Sega of America, and updated&nbsp;on March 26th of this year. Meanwhile, the registrant's email address appears to be that for Relic's IT department.</p><p>While Sega could just be registering the domain&nbsp;to protect it from squatters,&nbsp;a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/relic-says-a-new-dawn-of-war-is-a-strong-possibility/" target="_blank">couple of years ago</a> Relic did say that a new&nbsp;entry in the series&nbsp;was a "strong possibility". If you're wondering&nbsp;why you should be excited about&nbsp;a third Dawn of War, have a read of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dawn-of-war-retrospective-ten-years-of-war-in-the-41st-millennium/" target="_blank">our retrospective</a> of the original game.</p><p>Thanks, <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/3c5ai0/dawn_of_war_3_website_registered_by_sega_of/" target="_blank">Reddit</a>.</p> Victor Vran will release officially later this month, so here's a new trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/victor-vran-will-release-officially-later-this-month-so-heres-a-new-trailer/New ARPG by the creators of Tropico.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 02:04:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/victor-vran-will-release-officially-later-this-month-so-heres-a-new-trailer/Haemimont GamesNewsRPGVictor Vran <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GQHw0nvhV1U" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p>After five productive months spent in Early Access, ARPG <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/victor-vran/">Victor Vran</a> is set to officially release on July 24. Developed by Tropico devs Haemimont Games, the game has been feature complete since July 2, so I guess you could go <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/345180/">buy the Early Access edition right now</a> if you wanted.&nbsp;</p><p>The ARPG field is a crowded one, but Victor Vran claims to be bringing a "fresh perspective" to the genre. You'll be playing as the titular Victor Vran, yet deep character customisation appears to be one of the game's strong suites. You'll be able to jump as well, which is always nice, if unusual for an isometric action RPG.</p><p>The trailer above provides a bit of context for the ceaseless clicking you'll be doing on the game's many and varied demonic enemies. Check out some <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tropico-dev-announces-victor-vran-a-new-monster-hunting-action-rpg/">earlier gameplay footage</a> if your interest is piqued.</p> Mighty No. 9 studio has launched another Mega Man-inspired Kickstarterhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mighty-no-9-studio-has-launched-another-mega-man-inspired-kickstarter/Red Ash is inspired by Mega Man Legends.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 01:20:34 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mighty-no-9-studio-has-launched-another-mega-man-inspired-kickstarter/ActioncomceptNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_OI1MpoyT1Sf.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/j16iklWiUEw-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Redash"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mighty-no-9/">Mighty No. 9</a> may still be a couple of months away, but studio Comcept has already launched a Kickstarter to help fund another Mega Man-inspired title. This time the studio will draw from the legacy of Mega Man Legends, with Art Director Kazushi Ito and Director Masahiro Yasuma confirmed to be on board in addition to Keiji Inafune, who will lead the project. Dubbed Red Ash, the studio is <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mightyno9/red-ash-the-indelible-legend">after $800,000</a> to create a prologue chapter, which will serve "as a foundation on which to build future content".</p><p>"The primary goal with Red Ash is to tell a story on a grand scale," the Kickstarter page <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mightyno9/red-ash-the-indelible-legend">reads</a>. "All of the primary concepts are clearly visualized in the minds of the creative team, from the overall plot to historical background."</p><p>The prologue chapter is called the KalKanon Incident, and will serve as a "key jumping-on point for the universe". Comcept isn't sure how it will gather the funds for further content though.&nbsp;</p><p>"Whether it's through additional funding, revenue from "The KalKanon Incident" sales, or teaming up with a publisher, this is a story we are determined to tell, and we want all of our backers to be on the ground floor for the creation of this new game universe."</p><p>Red Ash isn't just a game, but rather<strong> </strong>two projects "based in separate, yet parallel worlds". Comcept is working on the game, while animation crew Studio 4C is working on an accompanying anime which has <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mightyno9/red-ash-magicicada-by-studio4c">its own Kickstarter campaign</a>. </p><p>At the time of printing Red Ash has already attracted $220,000 in funding, with nearly a month left to reach its $800,000 goal. Check out the pitch video below:</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bb3O0J4hxo0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p><strong></strong></p><p><strong></strong></p> The Division trailer sets the scene for a grim, post-apocalyptic NYChttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-division-trailer-sets-the-scene-for-a-grim-post-apocalyptic-nyc/Escape from New York.Sun, 05 Jul 2015 23:37:36 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-division-trailer-sets-the-scene-for-a-grim-post-apocalyptic-nyc/ActionNewsThe DivisionUbisoft <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CDLastDQdNM" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p>There's no shortage of games set in New York, but <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-division/">The Division</a>'s bleak apocalpytic vision is looking pretty exciting so far, if only because it channels Escape From New York. That impression is bolstered by the trailer above: what starts as a common flu quickly escalates into some deadly contagion, so a wall is erected around Manhattan in order to keep the infected inside. Escape From New York had no such contagion, but it <em>did</em> have a huge wall around Manhattan. If only The Division had Snake Plissken.&nbsp;</p><p>The Division won't release until early next year, but Ubisoft has been steadily releasing footage since a major showing at E3 last month. Here's the latest <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-division-heads-to-the-dark-zone-with-its-latest-trailer/">gameplay demonstration</a> of the Dark Zone, and here's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-division-preview-playing-pvp-in-the-lawless-dark-zone/">what Sam Roberts thought</a> after a hands-on session with the game. </p> Humble Store sale discounts DRM-free gameshttp://www.pcgamer.com/humble-store-sale-discounts-drm-free-games/Lots of good games available for cheap.Sun, 05 Jul 2015 12:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/humble-store-sale-discounts-drm-free-games/Humble StoreNews <p><img alt="Humble sale" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/H58PlC1ntNK0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" unselectable="on" data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/g2qfMRflSvGE.png"></p><p>Remember when you used to be able to share PC games with friends, and collect your PC games without worrying that the digital service you bought them on&nbsp;might shut down, and take your purchases with it? DRM-free games are amazing, so it's great to see a whole bunch of them on sale at <a href="https://www.humblebundle.com/store" target="_blank">Humble Bundle</a>.</p><p>The week-long DRM-Free Sale actually started yesterday, but yesterday's deals are still available for the next few hours. Today's crop includes the likes of Mark of the Ninja, Luftrausers, Kentucky Route Zero and&nbsp;Volgarr the Viking, and you won't need Steam to be able to play them. (Yes they also come with Steam keys). So far, I reckon this is a better sale than the recent Steam Summer one, so be sure to browse the selection at the above link if you're looking for something new to play. I would particularly recommend Kentucky Route Zero for £7.50, which is the cheapest I've seen the extraordinary, episodic adventure game.</p> Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-windows-10-edition-announced/Will be free if you already own the PC version.Sun, 05 Jul 2015 10:56:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-windows-10-edition-announced/MicrosoftMinecraft: Windows 10 EditionMojangNews <p><img alt="Minecraft Windows 10 Edition Beta Key Art" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jOc4WNvUMR87.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZwbnwhfkSZGa.png" unselectable="on"></p><p>Telltale's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-story-mode-detailed-at-minecon/" target="_blank">Minecraft: Story Mode</a> wasn't the only big reveal at this weekend's Minecon. Microsoft also used the occasion to announce a new version of Minecraft&mdash;Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition. It will be free if you already own the game on PC, or $10 if&nbsp;you don't, and<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Minecraft/comments/3c3e5m/announcing_minecraft_windows_10_edition_beta/csry0j5" target="_blank"> it's based on </a>the Pocket version of the game. The beta starts on July 29th.</p><p>Windows 10 Edition&nbsp;won't boast every feature of Minecraft, at least to start with, but Mojang say they're "aiming for feature parity" (see above link). Xbox Live and controllers will be supported, but won't be required, and it seems Mojang are aiming&nbsp;for dedicated servers further down the line. The seven-player limit mentioned below is because&nbsp;the game is&nbsp;based on Pocket Edition. Here's the feature list of Windows 10 Edition as it stands now:</p><ul> <li>Craft, create, and explore online with up to seven friends playing Windows 10 Edition Beta, through local multiplayer or with your Xbox Live friends online.</li><li>Play online and local multiplayer with other Pocket Edition players thanks to a free update, due to arrive soon after launch.</li><li>Multiple control schemes! Switch between controller, touch, and keyboard controls with little to no effort!</li><li>Record and share gameplay highlights with built-in GameDVR.</li><li>Help shape the future of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta with our built player feedback mechanisms!</li><li>Chickens, zombies, pigs, boats, armed skeletons, potatoes, zombies, baby squids, enchantment tables, villagers, naked sheep, iron golems, potions, ghasts, pickaxes, carrots, and all the weird and wonderful goodness you’ve come to expect from Minecraft.</li></ul><p>Mojang say that Windows 10 Edition won't replace the current PC version of Minecraftboth games will be supported equally. (Thanks, <a href="http://www.inquisitr.com/2225358/minecraft-windows-10-edition-clarified-based-on-pocket-edition/" target="_blank">Inquisitr</a>.)</p> Bring a little Fallout 4 to New Vegashttp://www.pcgamer.com/bring-a-little-fallout-4-to-new-vegas/Add the garage workshop from the trailer,and a dog named Pal.Sun, 05 Jul 2015 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/bring-a-little-fallout-4-to-new-vegas/Fallout: New VegasMod of the WeekModsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jgnPKLU-TfyO.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/41D55S_dcKzG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F4mod2"></p><p>For those of us keen to play Fallout 4, November feels so very far away. Modders, however, simply couldn't wait that long to spice up New Vegas with a little flavor from&nbsp;Fallout 4.&nbsp;</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/mods/59353/?">Fallout 4 Garage Home mod</a> might help tide you over during&nbsp;the long months ahead. It adds a replica of the workshop we saw in the Fallout 4 trailer, complete with power armor, two new&nbsp;weapons, a&nbsp;workbench, a bed,&nbsp;and a Nuka-Cola machine outside the front door. You can find it on the map close to Wolfhorn Ranch, east of Nipton. The key to the front gate is under the wheel well of the ruined car parked next to the building.</p><p>There's another little treat for you: a dog named Pal will welcome your arrival, and you can make him a companion if you wish. You also may want to dress in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/mods/59183/?">a Vault 111 jumpsuit</a>, just to keep the mood going.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9i74rzHgQzmD.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yQSJLHT2c-JW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F4mod3"></p><p>No need to stop there. Another mod will replace your&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/mods/59170/?">Pip-Boy with one more closely resembling the one from the trailer</a>, its screen coated with dust, and featuring&nbsp;a wrist-mounted light bulb.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cp2geHxmTASl.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t3mxaZGKijoZ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F4mod4"></p><p>You can even get a Fallout 4 feel before you've started playing. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/mods/59314/?">Fallout 4 Main Menu Theme mod</a> will replace the New Vegas menu music with the new music from the Fallout 4 footage we've seen. You can choose between the theme from the "Let's go, pal" trailer, or the "Welcome to Boston" theme.</p><p>Since you're mucking with the menu anyway,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/mods/59415/?">this mod</a> will let you replace the New Vegas menu&nbsp;wallpaper slides with scenes from Fallout 4, like the door to Vault 111 and concept art from the trailers.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e5qbL9vvTeO5.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1UJXYsGhL-7Y.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="F4mod5"></p><p>And of course, there's&nbsp;the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/mods/38049/?">Wasteland Defense mod</a>, the mod that most likely (well, most <em>definitely</em>)&nbsp;inspired&nbsp;Fallout 4's base-building feature. Build a fort, manage supplies and supply lines, recruit guards, set up automated defenses, and protect&nbsp;your base from raids. Wasteland Defense has been around for years and is well worth trying.</p><p>No, it's not Fallout 4. We've still got a while to wait. In the meantime, at least we can pretend.</p> The most promising independent gameshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-most-promising-independent-games/The future of indie games is so bright we have to wear VR goggles.Sat, 04 Jul 2015 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-most-promising-independent-games/Galleryindie gamesMust Read Free games of the weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/free-games-of-the-week/Where were you on the night Henry Allen died?Sat, 04 Jul 2015 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/free-games-of-the-week/browser gamesFree GamesIndieThe Best Free Games of the Week <p><img alt="Dolly" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/woAgELIpfUCy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bw7s7SbFTCOf.png" unselectable="on"></p><p>Be a falafel, be a fish, solve a murder and experience death this week.</p><h3><a href="http://www.beadybox.com/falafel/" target="_blank">A Mini Falafel Adventure by Chris Nimmo</a></h3><p><img alt="Falafel" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gJqkdeEoBnQN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KsPXy9XsT1S5.png" unselectable="on"></p><p>It's been eight years since Chris Nimmo released A Mini Falafel Adventure, a teensy Metroidvania about a sentient falafel who, like all falafels, has an afro for a nemesis. I've had its bassy chiptune theme tune periodically stuck in my head since then, so playing Nimmo's expanded, fuller version feels like coming home. The <em>full</em> Mini Falafel Adventure contains the old game and then some, with new areas, bosses and powers, and more wonderful chiptunes from composer Reed Richards. It's one of the most characterful Metroidvanias you'll play, and one of the more original too: the Falafel's main power is its arsenal of bombs, their gusty pre-explosion farts allowing it to long-jump up sheer platforms.</p><h3><a href="http://blakemwood.itch.io/dolly" target="_blank">Dolly by Blake M. Wood</a></h3><p><img alt="Dolly" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/woAgELIpfUCy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bw7s7SbFTCOf.png" unselectable="on"></p><p>Oooooh! That's the appropriate response to Dolly, a beautifully framed platformer with a jolly lovely visual motif. Its levels are shaped to look like stuff, see: stuff like skulls, animals, and oh this is such an achingly pretty game. With its infini-wall-jumps, ouchy spikes, and dangerously spaced leaps, Dolly recalls the Knytt series and Super Meat Boy – I do enjoy a game that's both challenging and beautiful. (Via<a href="http://indiegames.com/2015/06/dolly_-_a_short_yet_amazing_pu.html" target="_blank"> IndieGames</a>)</p><h3><a href="http://gamejolt.com/games/the-night-henry-allen-died/60764" target="_blank">The night Henry Allen Died by Ludipe, Oluwagembi, celer_gut</a></h3><p><img alt="Henry Allen" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ReeNWljt4hmT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J0zCdKkgS3CX.png" unselectable="on"></p><p>You had me at 'isometric adventure game', Ludipe and co., but 'murder mystery' and 'exquisite pixel art' sealed the deal. You're investigating the death of one Henry Allen, in this enviably gorgeous detective game that reminds me developer Level 5's mystery-filled oeuvre. (Via <a href="http://www.adventuregamers.com/articles/view/28882" target="_blank">Adventure Gamers</a>)</p><h3><a href="http://froachclub.itch.io/fish-fly" target="_blank">Fish Fly by Froach Club</a></h3><p><img alt="Fish Fly" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S0kNCC72_EOF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wzmu4hBRQ8yU.png" unselectable="on"></p><p>A hand-painted, two-player shmup that's one of the loveliest games I've played this week (and it's been an extraordinarily good week for lovely games). Use the arrow keys (or the gamepad) to rotate your little fish, hitting baddies with your auto-bullet-stream to send them to a watery grave. Don't let its cute looks fool you: this is a tough, tough game. “The Fish Fly has one purpose in life - to capture the various plankton and wildlife found swimming in the muddy water. Bubbles are used to trap and extrude a beautiful, shining gem - and once enough are collected, they are used as an offering to the Sea Lords, who allow the humble Fish Fly to advance through to new waters.”</p><h3><a href="http://duendegames.itch.io/tonightyoudie" target="_blank">Tonight You Die by Duende Games</a></h3><p><img alt="Tonight You Die" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i-ccBQLOyh-S.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jBBdWgpDRTSO.png" unselectable="on"></p><p>A scary wandering game that deposits you in a creepy city environment. You will lose your way, thanks to the identical street lights marked eerily around your surroundings, and find it again as heading towards the light/s seems to be a sure way to find more world to explore. An industrial, droning, oppressive soundtrack reinforces that this is Not A Nice Place To Be In, changing a game of copy-pasted assets into one of fear, panic, and other bad feelings.</p> Open world, turn-based RPG AntharioN out this montHhttp://www.pcgamer.com/open-world-turn-based-rpg-antharion-out-this-month/July 15th, to be precise.Sat, 04 Jul 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/open-world-turn-based-rpg-antharion-out-this-month/AntharioNNewsOrphic SoftwareRPG <p><img alt="AntharioN" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CrrOMW4HQAe7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" unselectable="on" data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KMs0fbyGSXKJ.png"></p><p>Open world, turn-based, party-based RPG <a href="http://orphicsoftware.com/" target="_blank">AntharioN</a> is looking absolutely lovely, in&nbsp;an Amiga&nbsp;sort of way. It's an ambitious game, <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/879484120/antharion-an-old-school-rpg?ref=card" target="_blank">crowdfunded</a> a couple of years ago, and releasing&mdash;oooh&mdash;in less than two weeks. July 15th, to be exact.</p><p>Devs Orphic Software say their game is "an epic old-school fantasy RPG that combines tactical turn-based combat with the freedom of a huge living-breathing open world. You'll create and customize a party of four: choosing from seven races, nine classes and fifteen skills, before setting out to explore the fully interactive continent of Antharion. Explore dungeons, get thrown in jail, discover hidden passageways, burglarize homes, read books, create potions, become an infamous pickpocket, embark on a journey at sea and discover uncharted islands or persuade NPCs to do your bidding".</p><p>Baldur’s Gate, The Elder Scrolls, Ultima VII and Pool of Radiance are all mentioned as inspirations, but I'm getting of a bit of a Wizardry/Might &amp; Magic feel from the following trailer (only isometric rather than first-person, obviously). The bright, cheery,&nbsp;mid-90s art style won't appeal to everyone, but this could be something pretty special if&nbsp;the team manage to&nbsp;fulfil their&nbsp;sizeable ambitions. (Thanks, <a href="http://www.bluesnews.com/s/162998/antharion-this-month" target="_blank">Blue's News</a>.)</p><iframe width="853" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GoMO9QXVhVY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Galactic Civilizations 2 war report: part fourhttp://www.pcgamer.com/galactic-civilizations-2-war-report-part-four/"Our nymphomania means we recuperate losses quickly."Sat, 04 Jul 2015 11:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/galactic-civilizations-2-war-report-part-four/DiaryGalactic Civilizations 2Galactic Civilizations 2 diaryStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NX9EnJyYQ7Wd.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mQ8q4QLxrYss.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Deathcrab" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p><em>This diary was originally published back in 2007, when this site was just a cosy corner of CVG. We're republishing it here a few entries at a time, every Saturday. The other entries are&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/galactic-civilizations-2-diary/"><em>here</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><em>Tom has since switched careers to game development, and is now making a space game of his own, <a href="http://www.heatsig.com/">Heat Signature</a>.</em></p><h4>Day 12: The last bill and testament</h4><p>I'd been trading technologies with the Altarians&mdash;despite their earlier transgressions&mdash;so that I could keep up with propulsion advances without diverting research time from developing ridiculously powerful guns. Trading tech in GalCiv doesn't lose you that technology, so you don't have to worry about the cost to you, only how much you're benefitting a potential enemy. I was doing it on the assumption that the Altarians would never be a threat&mdash;or at least that the other three threats would kill me first&mdash;so I was being fairly generous. Alliances, Fertility Acceleration, Advanced Trade, I even gave them some of the lesser weapon technologies along the tech-tree branch I was climbing.</p><p>You're probably familiar with the literary technique of foreshadowing, so you may well be expecting to hear next of my demise at the hands of a now-mighty Altarian Empire. It didn't quite happen like that. In fact, shortly after our trading was complete, they surrendered under the might of a vast Drengin assault. They were out of the game.</p><p>But surrendered <em>under</em>, not surrendered <em>to</em>. Generally when a race surrenders, a report pops up informing you that they've given some of their ships to race X, some to race Y, and often quite a few to the race that conquered them. I am never race X or Y. I'd wondered if it was even possible for the player to be the recipient of these legacies, so consistently did I fail to inherit. This time, though, I got something! Two ships.</p><p>Slightly chuffed, I went back to tending my colonies, and clicked away a warning that the citizens of my colony on Amber II were becoming restless and thinking of joining the Drengin. Let them, I don't even remember which planet that is. Hang on, I actually <em>don't</em> remember which planet that is. I've never heard of it. Apart from Petroni and Banfield, mine are all named things like Blood, Death and Carnage (we overcompensate for our lovable physical appearance). I zoomed out. I'd inherited two ships, and the <em>entire Altarian empire</em>.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/H4BUObSMQtCW.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PM18awHIm_NM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GalCiv 1" class=""><figcaption>Oh. My. God.</figcaption></figure><p>It was hemorrhaging money, full of 150 billion profoundly unhappy people, and about to be invaded by a Drengin force the likes of which I'd never seen. But it was mine. I'd been clicking through three years' worth of turns because I was so screwed that there was nothing really to do. But now, with fifty new planets' worth of problems and an empire around eight times its previous size, I had something to think about. I saved, quit, and thought about it.</p><h4>Day 13: Learning fast</h4><p>Okay Altarian empire, let's see what you can do. Apart from sap my money and complain. Or get invaded and lose. I mean the <em>other</em> stuff. Military&mdash;can you make ships? Let's see... no, no you can't. One or two planets have enough factories to pump out the odd War Bastard, but I'm researching ships a whole tier bigger than those now, and these factories are simply too low-tech to cope. Planetary structures&mdash;got any? Make any? Not really and not really. Plenty there, but again all stone-age compared to my stuff. Really, guys, was your civ built to do anything other than surrender?</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1u7ylB_wSbaL.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Jg389i7HVEr-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GalCiv 2"></p><p>Yes, it turns out. Despite the profound lack of it evidenced in their own achievements, their colonies boost my overall Research rate enormously. Wow, <em>enormously</em>. The thing about Research is that every planet doing it is collaborating on the same thing. Everything else is per-planet, so a ship that can't produce ships quickly by itself might as well not be producing ships. But with my entire civ in research mode, every colony with so much as a library is getting me a little closer to HD Spike Drivers; a gun bigger than any I've researched before. In fact, we'll have it cracked in... one week. A single turn.</p><p>Scrolling down the list of research possibilities, the next rung up any given tech ladder would be done in one or two weeks. Research was about the only area where we were already competitive: we were a small race devoting all our resources to it, while everyone else was a huge race using only a small fraction of their potential. Now <em>we</em> were huge, and using it all.</p><p>There are two ways to catch up with someone: run faster than them, or keep running after they finish. I'd planned to hole up and research until I joined the Drengin at the top of the tech-tree, some time after they reached it themselves. Once we both had Black Hole Generators, I reasoned, their huge military advantage would be undermined. But now I was actually learning <em>faster</em> than them too&mdash;there was a decent chance I'd beat them there. All I needed was a little time.</p><h4>Day 14: The Bongolian Deathcrab</h4><p>Long story short, I got it. My enormous new hivemind of supergeeks plowed through the whole tech tree in under a year, and for an encore we researched the the hardest possible hulls and Ultimate Logistics, which would let me use the superships I created in fleets.</p><p>In the time it had taken to research these components, I'd been invaded a lot. The only three remaining races in the galaxy were all at war with me, and while the Drengin still inexplicably refused to land on my planets, the Yor and the Terrans <em>rained</em> troops down on me. Us Spectres have 12 billion people on every planet, and our nymphomania means we recuperate losses quickly, but the scale of the onslaught was such that we still lost one or two planets. So when it came to the fun part&mdash;designing my capital-class super battleship to use all the best technology in the universe&mdash;I was angry.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/m4g2qkiFTv6U.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8GTCGcLvhLF1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GalCiv 3" class=""><figcaption>The Bongolian Deathcrab, a crab-class craft.</figcaption></figure><p>This is how, by the end of the half-hour design process, I ended up with a ship that is too wide to fit on the screen. It is around twelve times the size of the Drengin battleships. It doesn't just have a Black Hole Generator&mdash;the most devastating transdimensional weapon conceivable&mdash;<em>it has ten</em>. They're spread along its one and a half <em>thousand</em> meter wingspan to make it even more impressive when firing, and two huge blades at either wingtip indicate very clearly that it's not something you want to crash into on a dark space-night.</p><p>I took almost as long settling on a name&mdash;most of the ones that seemed appropriate would be too obscene to mention on this site&mdash;and finally decided it would be related to the Bongolian Ultraprawn, the smallest and cheapest ship in my armada. The Bongolians do things in extremes. One day I'll actually get round to naming one of my planets Bongolia, and this will all make sense. Right now it's just <a href="http://www.stereolab.co.uk/discography/?no=80" sl-processed="1">an obtuse Stereolab reference</a>.</p><p>None of my colonies had anything like the production capabilities needed to produce a Bongolian Deathcrab before the heat death of the universe, so I'd have to buy one outright. It cost 15 trillion credits. I gulped, and clicked Accept.</p><p>It was enormous, and beautiful. It crushed a few local Yor fleets, then ran into a Drengin battleship&mdash;and instantly exploded. They already had Black Hole Generators.</p><h4>Day 15: "Fuck."</h4><p>Fuck.</p> Minecraft: Story Mode detailed at Minecon with trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-story-mode-detailed-at-minecon/Stars Patton Oswalt as the main character. Also: Cory Feldman!Sat, 04 Jul 2015 10:33:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-story-mode-detailed-at-minecon/AdventureMinecraft: Story ModeMojangNewsTelltale Games <p><img alt="Minecraft Story Mode" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QjhB4ZaNJf6i.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lH19lsY7TRam.jpg" unselectable="on"></p><p>We've known that Telltale are making a Minecraft&nbsp;spinoff for a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/telltale-are-making-a-minecraft-game/" target="_blank">little while now</a>, but until now&nbsp;details have been thin on the ground. We knew that it was an episodic adventure, and that it would be as "Minecrafty as possible", but would it be full of agonising choices, and 'Creeper will remember that'?</p><p>Well, Telltale and Mojang have just released a few more details at this weekend's Minecon, along with an exciting first trailer. As the description to the&nbsp;following YouTube video reveals, <a href="https://www.telltalegames.com/minecraftstorymode/" target="_blank">Minecraft: Story Mode </a>"is an adventure game, by Telltale Games, set in a Minecraft world. It is a five-part episodic series that will take you to the Nether, the Farlands, the End, and beyond! You will drive how the story flows through the decisions you make: what you say to people (and how you say it), and what you choose to do in moments of thrilling action.</p><p>"Players will control protagonist Jesse throughout the season, as portrayed by actor Patton Oswalt. Jesse and his group of friends revere the legendary Order of the Stone; four adventurers who slayed an Ender Dragon. The Order is the very best at what they do: Warrior, Redstone Engineer, Griefer, and Architect. While at EnderCon, Jesse and his friends discover that something is wrong... something dreadful. Terror is unleashed, and they must set out on a journey to find The Order of the Stone if they are to save their world from oblivion".</p><p>Patton Oswalt! Minecraft: Story Mode will be available to download "soon", and [UPDATE], <strong>Cory Feldman </strong>is <a href="https://www.telltalegames.com/blog/discussion/97267/minecraft-story-mode-reveal-trailer-and-first-cast-details" target="_blank">doing one of the voices</a>. Also Futurama's Billy West!</p><iframe width="854" height="510" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HAnRtMEDrvU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> The best graphics cardshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-graphics-cards/It's simply the most important component of any gaming PC. Make sure you get the right one for your next rig.Sat, 04 Jul 2015 00:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-graphics-cards/AMDBuying GuideFeatured Guidegraphics cardHardwareNvidiaTop Buying Guides <p>The CPU may be the brain of your PC, but when it comes to gaming, the graphics card is the beating heart that pumps pixels out of your obelisk of a tower and into your monitor. A graphics card consists of dedicated video memory and a graphics processing unit that handles all sorts of calculations, like mapping textures and rendering millions of polygons. The graphics card is, simply, the most vital component of your gaming PC. And these are the ones worthy of your next PC, whether it's a savvy middle-of-the-road build, a budget rig or a 4K monster.</p><p><strong>Update 7/3/2015: We've updated our recommendations for 4K gaming and a budget graphics card based on recent releases.</strong></p><br/> <h3>The best graphics card</h3><p>Nvidia introduced both the GTX 980 and <span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="GTX 970 Gaming 4G" data-link-text="the GTX 970"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NN0GEXQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestgpu">the GTX 970</a></span> in early September 2014, primarily focusing on the 980’s killer performance and impressively low power consumption. But the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 is the more important card: it’s priced closer to Nvidia’s typical mid-range graphics, while nipping the 980’s heels when it comes to performance. Eurogamer calls it “that rarest of things in the graphics card market&mdash;a genuine game-changer...its performance per pound ratio is so strong that some might say there's little point considering any other high-end GPU currently available&mdash;and that includes Nvidia's own flagship GTX 980.” </p><p>At a starting price of $330 (~£215), the GTX 970 offers 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 1664 CUDA cores, and a base clock of 1050 MHz. That may not sound incredibly fast, but the GTX 970’s base clock leaves tons of room for overclocking, and its boost clock can pass the 1500 MHz mark. Also, keep in mind the full specs to the right are only the base numbers from Nvidia. The card you'll buy from EVGA, Gigabyte, etc. will almost certainly be clocked higher.</p><br/><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">GTX 970 specs</h5> <p> <strong>CUDA cores: </strong>1664<br> <strong></strong><strong>Base clock: </strong>1050 MHz<br> <strong></strong><strong>Boost clock: </strong>1178 MHz<br> <strong></strong><strong>Single precision:</strong> 4 teraflops<br> <strong></strong><strong>Memory config:</strong> 4GB 256-bit GDDR5<br> <strong></strong><strong>Memory speed:</strong> 7.0 Gbps<br> <strong></strong><strong>Outputs:</strong> 3xDisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, dual-link DVI </p> </div><p> A direct spec comparison between the GTX 970 and older Nvidia hardware isn’t going to show you exactly how fast this card is. Because of improvements in Nvidia’s new Maxwell architecture used in the 980 and 970, the card is nearly as fast as the 780 Ti, which launched at $700. Nvidia has made architectural improvements with Maxwell that make its graphics processing more efficient, especially at higher resolutions like 1440p and 4K.</p><p> According to Nvidia, each CUDA core in the 900 series is 40% more efficient, which explains why the 970 can go toe-to-toe with the 780 Ti, which has 2880 CUDA cores to the 970’s 1664. Improved color compression helps performance at high resolutions. And the 970’s performance-per-watt is dramatically better than 700 series cards. While gaming, benchmarks show the GTX 970 drawing less than 200 watts of power, while competitors like the AMD R9 290X and the 780 Ti draw closer to 250 watts.</p><p> Let’s look at some actual performance numbers for the GTX 970.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7_h6gvObQJe0.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/24MSr30DkkiP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTX 970 Battlefield4"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/O4aGtqX5R_eb.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uqPMtGUu_1ET.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTX 970 BioshockInfinite"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/o5wE5FuzT32Z.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_wzwpmsOSFQ2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTX 970 Heaven"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OVWEeuj8R9-X.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iNAVCJC2BDLp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTX 970 Thermal"></p><p> The GTX 970 is currently the price/performance champion. It regularly outperforms or matches the R9 290X, an older card that currently costs $100 to $200 more.&nbsp;And there’s more goodness on top of that.&nbsp;</p><p> Nvidia’s GeForce Experience is a fantastic, regularly updated driver suite that includes Shadowplay for recording game footage with minimal performance hit. On Maxwell GPUs, Shadowplay can record 4K 60fps video (although with the 970, capturing at 1080p is more practical). It can stream straight to Twitch. Nvidia’s optimization tool can tweak your game settings automatically, if you don’t like making manual adjustments. Some new APIs and technologies from Nvidia GameWorks, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/09/19/nvidia-announces-gtx-980-and-gtx-970-maxwell-graphics-cards-for-550-and-329-here-are-their-new-features/">which I wrote about here</a>, are also exclusive to Maxwell.</p><p>Testing has brought to light the fact that the GTX 970 encounters performance issues when using all 4GB of its VRAM, due to the card's memory architecture. This problem wasn't obvious in regular usage and the review process because the 970 typically performed extremely well running games at reasonable settings (primarily&nbsp;gaming at 1080p and 1440p). Pushing the card to use all 4GB VRAM, by running games at 4K or with maximum anti-aliasing, can cause some serious framerate spikes.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-nvidias-gtx-970-slows-down-using-more-than-35gb-vram/">You can read more about these problems here.</a></p><p>There's a reason why the memory issue didn't show up <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-970-g1-gaming-review/">in positive initial reviews of the card like ours</a>: you have to go far out of your way, and run the card at resolutions/settings it's not really capable of handling, to spot any issues with its memory management. If you're still suspicious/confused about the 970's performance, <a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2015-nvidia-geforce-gtx-970-revisited">read Digital Foundry's excellent breakdown of the controversy</a>. It's a great, informative read.</p><p> The fact remains that the GTX 970's overall performance is fantastic for the price. It's not the card we recommend for 4K gaming or extreme performance. For most gamers, we still think this is the best value available.</p><p> If you’re convinced, there’s only one question left: which GTX 970 do you buy? Nvidia ships its cards to companies like ASUS, EVGA and Gigabyte, which install their own coolers on the cards and sometimes overclock them before selling them to consumers. The good news is that all these companies get the same parts, so performance won’t vary wildly from one to another. The bad news is that makes it a bit hard to choose one.</p><p>We recommend the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NN0GEXQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestgpu">MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G</a> because it's a great card with near-unanimous positive reviews: quiet, very overclockable, and much cheaper than some&nbsp;other 970 options at $340 on Amazon.</p><p>We can also recommend the Gigabyte G1 Gaming. These other versions of the GTX 970 should offer similar performance; the more expensive cards are often overclocked out of the box or come with more robust coolers.</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NH5T1MS/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestgpu">Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming on Amazon ($370)</a></li><li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NI647NE/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestgpu">EVGA GTX 970 on Amazon ($330)</a></li><li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NNXVPS2/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestgpu">Zotac GTX 970 on Amazon ($330)</a></li><li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NJ9BJ8G/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestgpu">ASUS GTX 970 on Amazon ($340)</a></li><li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NN0GIA0/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestgpu">MSI GTX 970 on Amazon ($340)</a></li></ul><h3>The best graphics card for 4K gaming</h3><p>4K gaming is here. It’s expensive. It’s demanding. It’s not quite practical just yet. But you can do it. And to do it well, you’re going to need a hell of a graphics card. We’ll always advocate the best single-GPU solution for gaming when possible&mdash;it eliminates a number of issues and complications that can pop up with SLI and CrossFire setups&mdash;and that’s why our new recommendation for the best 4K graphics card is the Nvidia 980 Ti.</p><p>Why&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YDAYOK0/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestgpu">the 980 Ti</a>? Because at $650, it delivers nearly all of the performance of the $1000 Titan X, but half of the VRAM. The thing is, the Titan X is such a monster, that leaves the 980 Ti with an ample 6GB of GDDR5 memory to play with&mdash;more than enough for 4K gaming, even with some seriously big texture files to deal with. And compared to SLI GTX 970s and 980s, the 980 Ti fares well, too.</p><br/><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-geforce-gtx-980-ti-review/">Here’s what we wrote in our review</a>: “On average, 970 SLI is only 5-10 percent faster than the 980 Ti, but depending on the game it may be as much as 20 percent faster...or 15 percent slower. For such a small overall gain in performance, we’d take the 980 Ti. The added VRAM will likely prove more beneficial with time, with several newer releases already using more than 4GB VRAM at maximum quality and high resolutions, and it leaves the door open to 980 Ti SLI in the future.”</p><p>A pair of 980s will offer better performance, but that will also cost you in the vicinity of $1000, whereas a single GTX 980 Ti is much cheaper and eliminates dual-GPU issues. A pair of 290X cards in CrossFire is a cheaper solution that can deliver 5-20 percent better performance than a single 980 Ti, but two of those cards will draw far more power and be noisier than a single 980 Ti.</p><p>There is one new, close competitor for the 4K gaming mantle, and that’s AMD’s R9 Fury X. It’s a powerful card that nearly matches the 980 Ti in performance. The Fury X also makes great strides over AMD’s last-gen cards in noise and power consumption, rivaling Nvidia’s quiet, power efficient cards. But in our testing, the 980 Ti had a couple advantages. It regularly eked out a small 5-10 percent performance advantage over the Fury X. It’s currently far more overclockable, to the tune of 15-20 percent, while the AMD Fury X can’t even hold a 10 percent overclock stable.</p><p>And the big one: the 980 Ti has 2GB more memory, which we’re already seeing games start to use at 4K resolution. The Fury X’s 4GB of memory could be a serious limiting factor for high-end games in 2016 and beyond.</p><p>That’s why the 980 Ti is overall the best card for 4K gaming. But keep in mind that even a single 980 Ti won’t be able to give you a completely consistent 60 fps framerate at 4K if you have to run everything on Ultra. Tweak a few settings and you’ll be sure to stay over 30 fps in demanding games like GTA 5 and The Witcher 3, and even reach 60 fps in plenty of games that aren’t on the bleeding edge.</p><h3>The best budget graphics card</h3><p><span class="hawk-widget-insert" data-widget-type="link" data-model-name="GTX 970 Gaming 4G" data-link-text="Nvidia’s GTX 970"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NN0GEXQ/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestgpu">Nvidia’s GTX 970</a></span> is such a good deal around the $330 range, it’s hard to recommend a budget graphics card in remotely the same price range. Why spend $250 or $300 on a decent mainstream card when you can spend just a bit more on an incredible price/performance value? For an affordable card, we want to drop down to around the $200 mark, and that's where AMD's refreshed R9 380 card wins the day.</p><p>The R9 380 is essentially last year's R9 285, with the same GPU, but some tweaks under the hood to power management, increased clock and memory clock speeds to slightly increase performance. More importantly, the R9 380 dropped the R9 285's price down to $200, and you can probably find one even cheaper than that. Our current budget card recommendation is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZQ9JK06/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=bestgpu">VisionTek R9 380 at a bargain price of $175</a>, but if you're willing to spend a bit more, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202149&amp;cm_re=r9_380_4gb-_-14-202-149-_-Product">Sapphire R9 380 4GB is a better option</a>. More on that in a sec.</p><br/><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Radeon&nbsp;R9 380 Specs</h5> <p> <strong>Stream processors:</strong> 1792<br> <strong></strong><strong>Core clock:</strong>&nbsp;970&nbsp;MHz<br> <strong></strong><strong>Memory clock:</strong>&nbsp;2GB/4GB GDDR5 at 1375/1425 MHz<br> <strong></strong><strong>Memory bandwidth: </strong>182.4 GB/s<br> <strong>Outputs: </strong>DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4a, 2x dual-link DVI. </p> </div><p>The R9 380 isn't quite as cheap as our previous favorite, the R9 270X, but it delivers significantly better gaming performance while coming close to the price. It's capable of delivering over 30 frames per second in Grand Theft Auto 5 at 1080p, 40+ fps in Shadow of Mordor and well over 60 fps in BioShock Infinite, all at ultra settings. Pretty damn good for a $200 card.</p><p>The biggest drawback of the R9 380 (and other similarly priced low-end graphics cards) is its 2GB of VRAM. 4GB would be much better for today's demanding games and would help the longevity of the card. There actually is a 4GB variant of the R9 380, but typically price at $240.&nbsp;We would've liked to see the 4GB of VRAM in the $200 model.</p><p>Thankfully,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202149&amp;cm_re=r9_380_4gb-_-14-202-149-_-Product">Sapphire's R9 380 4GB</a> card saves the day. If you're willing to spend $220, you'll get a card that can dabble with 2560x1440 resolutions (though at lowered settings) and is easily capable of gaming at 1080p. It's definitely still a 1080p card first and foremost, but 4GB of VRAM will give you plenty of memory for games with demanding high resolution textures.</p><p> AMD’s drivers and software aren’t as robust or up-to-date as Nvidia’s, but the AMD control center does, at least, make it very easy to overclock their cards. Since the R9 380 is already clocked up over its predecessor, the R9 285, just&nbsp;don't expect to get too much of an overclock out of it.</p> <h3>How we test graphics cards and others we tested</h3><p>Games are rarely bottlenecked by your CPU, but dozens of games every year will push your graphics card to its limits. It's the component you'll want to upgrade most frequently (though if you buy the right card, it should last you at least two years), and likely the part you'll spend the most money on. On a practical budget, it's critical to find the graphics card with the best ratio of price to performance. That's why our recommendation for the best graphics card is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970.</p><p>At $330 (~£215), Nvidia's GTX 970 is a killer card, outperforming cards released in 2013 that cost $100-$200 more. It's overclockable, quiet, and efficient in its power usage. Most importantly, it's able to run most of 2014's most demanding games at 60 frames per second, 1080p, and ultra settings. It's the best card for the price.</p><p>The GTX 970 is the card we'd recommend to most&mdash;but not all&mdash;PC gamers. Maybe you've got cash to burn, and need a card that can run games at 4K resolution. Or maybe you're trying to build a dirt-cheap gaming PC with an even cheaper graphics card. Our graphics card guide includes three picks for budget, mid-range, and crazy-high-end gaming PCs.</p><h3>Testing graphics cards</h3><p>Our graphics card recommendations are based on our own benchmarks and testing, as well as research into the reviews and testing done by other sites. Along with Maximum PC, we have benchmark data for a range of Nvidia and AMD graphics cards, including the GTX 980, Nvidia 700 series, AMD R9 290X, and more.</p><p>What makes the best graphics card? For PC gamers, it's a balance of price and performance. The graphics card must be able to run demanding games at high framerates and settings at 1080p, the resolution most gamers still use. It shouldn't cost more than other cards with comparable performance. The card should be fast enough to still perform respectably two years later, even if it can't run everything at max settings.</p><p>Graphics performance isn't the only consideration. The quality of game drivers and other software features supported by the card are important. The card's noise level, power draw and temperature matter, too.</p><h3>Competitors</h3><p>We decided the Nvidia GTX 970 was the best graphics card for most gamers after benchmarking the newest GTX 970 and 980 and comparing those numbers to other cards we’ve benchmarked, including their closest competitors: the AMD R9 290X, R9295X2, Nvidia GTX 780 and 780 Ti. And those are hardly the only cards we considered. We looked at past testing data, comparing numbers from our own testing, Maximum PC’s benchmarking, and data from Tom’s Hardware, Anandtech, and elsewhere.</p><p>AMD’s R9 290X outperforms the GTX 970 at 4K, but it’s $150 to $200 more expensive. Amazingly, the GTX 970 turns in better scores at 1600p despite its much lower price.</p><p>AMD’s R9295X and the Titan-Z are definitely more powerful cards, but they’re also incredibly expensive--$1000 and $3000, respectively, for dual-GPU single cards. The 970 is absolutely a more efficent card, and a much better price/performance pick for 1080p or even 1600p gaming.</p><p>Nvidia knows the 900 series is a game-changer, which is why they’ve discontinued the GTX 770, 780 and 780 Ti. The new cards deliver better performance at a lower price.</p><p>The GTX 980 is the only card we’d currently consider recommending over the 970, but you don’t get nearly as much for the price as you do with the 970.</p><h3>Future testing</h3><p>The Nvidia GTX 970 is the best graphics card for gaming for the forseeable future, but this is a fast-changing field. Dramatic price cuts often happen every few months, and Nvidia and AMD are always out to one-up each other. AMD will soon have new cards, or price cuts that make its cards more competitive against the GTX 970. We’ll be updating this guide in the future as new cards are released and the graphics field continues to change.</p><p><em>A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to stores like Amazon. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which helps support our work evaluating PC components.</em></p> Act of Aggression preorder trailer nails down the launch datehttp://www.pcgamer.com/act-of-aggression-preorder-trailer-nails-down-the-launch-date/We already knew Act of Aggression is coming in September, but now we've got the actual date.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 22:13:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/act-of-aggression-preorder-trailer-nails-down-the-launch-date/Act of AggressionEugen SystemsFocus Home InteractiveNewsRTS <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4AYqsMrn-4M?rel=0&amp;vq=small" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p>The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/act-of-aggression/">Act of Aggression</a> preorder trailer released yesterday may not be quite as informative as the faction videos we've been treated to previously, but it does carry with it one very important bit of information: a proper launch date.</p><p> Act of Aggression will go live on <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/318020">Steam</a> on September 2, a date that's not actually revealed in the trailer, but in the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AYqsMrn-4M">YouTube description</a>. Publisher Focus Home Interactive also announced that prepurchases may now be made at a 15 percent off the regular price of $45/£35, and that gamers who lay down their money ahead of time will also be granted access to the multiplayer beta. The beta is expected to begin in mid-July, and will be updated with new content throughout the summer.</p><p> Act of Aggression was announced <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/eugen-systems-announces-act-of-war-successor-act-of-aggression/">last year</a> as an old-school RTS follow-up to developer Eugen Systems' Act of War and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wargame-airland-battle/">Wargame</a> RTS franchises. It will feature resource collection, base building, and three unique, rock-paper-scissors-style factions fighting for dominance in the near future: The tough, lumbering <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/act-of-aggression-trailer-spotlights-the-us-army/">US Army</a>, the versatile, high-tech UNO task force <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-act-of-aggression-trailer-showcases-the-chimera/">Chimera</a>, and the Cartel, "a shadowy organization gathering together political men, arms magnates, [and] military decision-makers," who secretly wield the power of numerous private military companies. The Cartel doesn't have its own swanky trailer yet, but more information about them can be had at <a href="http://aoa.eugensystems.com/unit-day-05-cartel-infantry/">eugensystems.com</a>.</p> The "Summer With Dying Light" campaign gets weird on the weekendshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-summer-with-dying-light-campaign-gets-weird-on-the-weekends/Techland aims to make zombie killing a little more interesting with unique events held over six weekends in July and August.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:44:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-summer-with-dying-light-campaign-gets-weird-on-the-weekends/ActionDying LightNewsTechland <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6G7rlYZaRPyp.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BYP4XrJU6wS-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Summer"></p><p> If butchering zombies in creatively horrific fashions no longer gives you the same thrill it used to, Techland's upcoming "Summer With <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light/">Dying Light</a>" campaign might be just the thing to get your juices flowing again. The campaign will offer six unique, <a href="https://twitter.com/DyingLightGame/status/616637568650575872">one-time-only events</a> running over weekends in July and August, beginning on July 4 with the "Spider-Crane."</p><p> The Spider-Crane event, beginning at midnight PST and running until the same time on July 5, gives players unlimited grappling hook shots and drastically reduces fall damage, enabling some very unusual travel options through, and over, the streets of Harran. The next weekend will see the running of the Harran Marathon, details of which haven't been revealed. The remaining events haven't been announced at all, but will take place over the weekends of July 15-16, August 15-16, August 22-23, and August 29-30.</p><p> There's not much more to say about Summer With Dying Light&mdash;future events will be revealed through "official channels"&mdash;so instead, enjoy thjs Dying Light "Bug Compilation" video, posted a few days ago by tester Radek Maciag, who has sunk more than 5000 hours into the game over the past 2.5 years. As the YouTube description puts it, "Yeah, he's seen some things."</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ofldP7SmmHA?rel=0&amp;vq=small" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe> Sword Coast Legends videos showcase campaign creation toolshttp://www.pcgamer.com/sword-coast-legends-videos-showcase-campaign-creation-tools/Two new videos illustrate the creation, and operation, of a Sword Coast Legends campaign.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:36:49 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/sword-coast-legends-videos-showcase-campaign-creation-tools/Digital ExtremesNewsRPGSword Coast Legends <p> A pair of new <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sword-coast-legends/http://www.pcgamer.com/sword-coast-legends/">Sword Coast Legends</a> gameplay videos offer an "extended look" at the game's campaign creation toolset, and illustrate how it will play from the Dungeon Master's perspective during a "real" dungeon run.</p><p> The Campaign Creation video highlights what appears to be a very flexible campaign editor. Players can create and customize dungeons with various sorts of highly-detailed detritus, place and modify merchants, quest givers, and monsters, and string together individual encounters and quests into a larger, overarching campaign. Encounters can be left at default or built entirely from scratch, as can individual monsters in dungeons, via the game's "Creature Creator."</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6nfQ3wa9iBc?rel=0&amp;vq=small" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"> </iframe><p> Once complete, the campaign can be modified on the fly by the Dungeon Master. We've <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sword-coast-legends-video-introduces-the-dungeon-master/">already seen</a> how this system will work, but this new video is more of a "live fire exercise," as a group of four players embarks upon the adventure just built, while the DM manages the campaign separately. The nature of "threat," the resource used by DMs to modify dungeons, is clarified a bit, as are the DM's abilities: Traps cannot be dropped directly on players, for instance, and once the party enters a room, the default encounter can no longer be changed.</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1PUbc3ofBgY?rel=0&amp;vq=small" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> It looks impressive, and increasing or decreasing "threat" based on a party's success (or lack thereof) is an interesting way to go about limiting the Dungeon Master's powers. After all, it wouldn't be much fun if the DM could drop the hammer at will on a party that's been hanging on by a thread from the word "go." Sword Coast Legends comes out on September 8.&nbsp;</p> Why Silent Hill belongs on PChttp://www.pcgamer.com/why-silent-hill-belongs-on-pc/It's aResident Evil renaissance, but Silent Hill is stillstuck on past hardware.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:04:52 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/why-silent-hill-belongs-on-pc/Silent Hill <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1AVq5Ba7RVGW.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QmIt7OBwhAwW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Silent Hill Box"></p><p> It’s a goddamn Resident Evil renaissance. In recent years&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-4-hd-review/">Resident Evil 4 has been remade for PC</a> (it works this time!), Resident Evil 5’s Gold Edition came to Steam, the original from 1996 received&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-hd-remaster-review/">another HD remaster</a>, and next year&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-zero-hd-remaster-is-reportedly-coming-to-pc/">Resident Evil Zero will arrive on PC as well</a>. It’ll be nice to have the option to replay that one without having to date someone who owns a GameCube. But happy as I am to see so many classic Evils that are Resident getting spitshined for a platform I don’t have to hunt for memory cards to use, there’s a part of me wishing it was Silent Hill receiving this treatment instead.</p><p> Silent Hill’s beginnings owe a lot to Resident Evil. It was initially conceived by Konami as an attempt to replicate the Capcom series’ success outside Japan–the nods to American horror like Jacob’s Ladder and Stephen King’s story The Mist are there because Silent Hill was intended to appeal to the US market, but they came filtered through Japanese sensibilities and were all the weirder for it. Silent Hill’s surprisingly coherent mythology takes the traumatic backstories characters in American horror fiction routinely suffer from and uses them to inspire its monstrosities, grounding them in psychological suffering.</p><p> That was best demonstrated by Silent Hill 2, still a fan favorite, which was ported to PC in 2002. Having played the PS2 original and the HD remake on 360, the PC version is easily the best. It has the bonus level that lets you play as side-character Maria, missing from some versions of the original, and the ability to quicksave. You might think quicksaving would make it less frightening, but what’s scary about Silent Hill 2 is its oppressive atmosphere, not the the worry you’ll get killed and have to re-do a bit.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GqiMDgJxSmy4.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1gzwR1Q9v4TZ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Silent Hill 2" class=""><figcaption>Silent Hill 2</figcaption></figure><p> The PC version also has better textures. You’d expect the 2012 HD remake to have the best visuals, but in rolling back the town’s famous fog to show off an increased draw distance it revealed some distracting failures. The lonely sequence in which you row across foggy Toluca Lake wasn’t as eerie when I could see the water below was a plain white untextured expanse, and monsters weren’t as frightening after I saw one spawn and fall into place as if flung from a catapult.</p><p> It’s a shame then that the PC version is so hard to find nowadays. It should be right there on GOG or Steam where I can gift it to my friends, with cloud saves and modern controller support so I can re-install whenever I feel like keeping myself awake all night. But at least Silent Hill 2 got a PC release in the first place, which is more then several other highlights of the series have managed.</p><p> The original, for instance, never did. It may have clunky translation and voice acting even by the standards of Japanese games, but that only enhances the first Silent Hill’s resemblance to a B-movie and its ability to surprise you once the backstory starts being revealed, like garish wallpaper flaking away to show the history of bloodstains beneath. Although re-released on PSN, that original game has never been remastered. (Meanwhile the original Resident Evil had two director’s cuts, a GameCube remake, and then a PC remake of the GameCube remake&mdash;who, me, jealous?)</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lRuw5rPVRQK5.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/z6Paw9c4HD02.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Silent Hill: Shattered Memories" class=""><figcaption>Silent Hill: Shattered Memories</figcaption></figure><p> It was re-imagined though, into 2009’s Shattered Memories, the best of the series not made by the original team. Its lead designer was Sam Barlow who also created&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/her-story-review/">Her Story</a>, and its first-person psychiatric interviews are an obvious resemblance&mdash;although here you’re the interview subject. The rest of the game was third-person and one of few to use motion controls effectively. Though given a late-in-the-day PS2 release it was best on the Wii, where the Wiimote doubled as your torch when investigating dark places and your phone when receiving voicemail messages. (They echoed out of the controller’s tiny speaker when held up to your ear, which was intensely creepy.) During chase sequences you used the motion controls to shove enemies off and yank furniture down to make obstacles behind you, while whipping yourself in the face with the cord if you’re as clumsy as me.</p><p> Demos for virtual reality games like Edge Of Nowhere make me think the third-person sections of Shattered Memories would suit VR, and newer motion controls–minus my old enemy, the cord–would be a definite improvement. The other reason I’d love to see Shattered Memories remade for VR is that it’s one of the least scary Silent Hill games, and the ability VR has enhance scares might actually kill somebody if applied to something as terrifying as P.T.</p><p> Being less scary isn’t a weakness, though. Shattered Memories trades the oppressive fear typical of the series for a rise-and-fall cycle of tension, pacing its chases out with areas in which you’re safe. Knowing the relief you feel at each escape is temporary and the return of its shifting monsters is inevitable means Shattered Memories evokes dread rather than terror, making you worry about things that aren’t there rather than surrounding you with leathery twitch-beasts forever.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pmc7ya1nQN6J.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/15Dm4sQCubMV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Silent Hill: Downpour" class=""><figcaption>Silent Hill: Downpour</figcaption></figure><p> Another Silent Hill we never saw on PC was 2012’s Downpour. Hardly the best in the series but also far from the worst, it transformed the town into an open world that would be at home on PC. Remove the transitions between suburbs necessitated by old hardware and you’d have a seamless Silent Hill worth experiencing. Although the main storyline was goofy, Downpour was full of sidequests that surpassed it; it’s basically the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion of Silent Hills. Among the highlights was a quest triggered by a “Have you seen this child?” poster for a missing girl. Go to her address and you find out she was autistic and her mother had set up a system of colored ribbons she could follow to and from school. Follow the ribbons across town and you’ll uncover one of the most chilling stories any survival horror game has told.</p><p> We may never get to play Silent Hills, the recently canceled sequel, on any platform. Still, having access to some of the best of Silent Hill’s old glories would be a consolation&mdash;and also mean I could finally get rid of all the consoles I keep just to play them on.</p> The Broforce "Freedom Update" adds two new Bros and Combat Flexinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-broforce-freedom-update-adds-two-new-bros-and-combat-flexing/On this Independence Day, celebrate by (virtually) chainsawing somebody in the face.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:45:46 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-broforce-freedom-update-adds-two-new-bros-and-combat-flexing/BroforceDevolver DigitalFree LivesNewsPlatformer <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xR9k7KsbMIc?rel=0&amp;vq=small" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/broforce/">Broforce</a> developer Free Lives is celebrating the July 4 weekend with <em>freedom</em>! That is, the Freedom Update, an ultra-patriotic patch that adds a pair of new Bros, new melee attacks, and "combat flexing."</p><p> First on the ticket is The Brocketeer, a "Golden Age" bro who wears a jetpack and launches devastating dive bomb attacks in his fight for liberty. Joining him in the battle against tyranny is Broheart, a Scottish-American hero of legend whose cry of "Freedom!" scatters all who stand in his path. Both characters, and the rest of the Broforce, can deliver roundhouse kicks and "organ punches," and even dish out that most American form of justice: A chainsaw to the face! Wicked sick, bro!</p><p> And of course, we can't forget the flexing. "No assault on terror would be complete without an impressive display of the bros' raw power, so we've introduced a new 'flexing' feature," the studio wrote. "Now you and your bros can cease-fire, flex your biceps in the face of evil, and exercise your right to bear arms so thick your shirts tear in half."</p><p> The update incorporates a number of bug fixes as well, to enemies, environments, bosses, and Bros, including Ripbro, Browilliams, Bro Dredd, Mr. Anderbro, and Rambro. A "second installment" to the update, expected to live in the new few days, will also add on some new levels. Full details are up on <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/274190/announcements/detail/101678365970379363">Steam</a>.</p> This week's highs and lows in PC gaminghttp://www.pcgamer.com/this-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming/Each week the PC Gamer escapes the Phantom Zone and heads for Earth to deliver a series of devastating hot takes.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:11:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/this-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming/Batman: Arkham KnightDota 2Hearthstonehighs and lowsShenmue 3Star Wars Battlefront <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VzJyoBTKSiek.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZtmIXeLC6MfK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront"></p><h4>THE HIGHS</h4><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: Feed me more Star Wars</strong></p><p><strong></strong>This week, brilliant voice actor Nolan North managed to hint at The Last of Us 2, revealed that Naughty Dog got rid of eight months of work to make PS4 exclusive Uncharted 4 and even discussed <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/viscerals-star-wars-game-similar-to-uncharted-and-1313/">Visceral’s as-yet unannounced Star Wars game</a> (which speculation suggests will feature Han Solo). Naturally only the last part is relevant to us, but North singlehandedly made a slow news week for the games media into a busy one.</p><p>“If you're a big fan of Amy Hennig and her style of story, she's gone to EA and is going to reboot a brand new Star Wars franchise in the style of Uncharted," North said at Metrocon last weekend, before saying it’s ‘along the same lines’ as Star Wars 1313 but ‘different’. It’s pretty exciting. The Uncharted games were excellent, and while 1313 looked like a kind of boring cover shooter, it tapped into the idea of exploring Star Wars’ seedy side, as the once-mooted live-action TV show was going to. I know Battlefront is imminent, but I don’t want to wait years for the next Star Wars game&mdash;months will be just fine, thank you. I can’t wait to see what Hennig is working on.</p><p><strong>Wes Fenlon: A knight to remember</strong></p><p>The new King's Quest, from Winterbottom developer The Odd Gentlemen, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/kings-quest-a-knight-to-remember-will-launch-next-month/">begins its episodic rollout at the end of July</a>. And I'm ready to love King's Quest again. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-the-kings-quest-demo-reignited-my-love-of-adventure-games/">I got to see a demo back in March that </a>showed the silliness of old King's Quest humor was still intact. My big question was how much of the adventure game DNA would remain. The demo I saw was promising, mixing in some light puzzle solving with exploration and funny dialogue. I'm hoping for some more involved puzzles later; designer Matt Korba was adamant that Daventry will open up and be explorable, with different ways to progress that allow puzzles to be fairly challenging. It all sounds great, and I'm actually excited about King's Quest being episodic. The structure hopefully gives The Odd Gentlemen time to take feedback into account, and it gives us an alternative to the Telltale episodic formula that's growing a bit stale.</p><p>After Telltale all but ditched adventure game mechanics for episodic storytelling, wouldn't it be perfect for King's Quest to show that the genre can still work in 2015?</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-pGO-qHJSDWM.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lV4Blj68Emx9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dota 2"></p><p><strong>Chris Thursten: Back in the trenches</strong></p><p>This marks the second week (ish) of my return to daily solo ranked Dota 2, but I’m really enjoying it. Given my preference for playing with a team, this is a side of the game that I’ve always had an on-again, off-again relationship with. Coming back has been a mixed bag, and the community hasn’t gotten any less toxic, but I feel able to deal with it. I’m practicing a bunch of new support heroes for a forthcoming games industry tournament (details soon!) and that places me in a decent position in solo ranked. When the thing you want to do is the exact thing nobody else wants to do, games tend to work out pretty well.</p><p>I am learning, I think, to accept the community’s prevalent attitudes with a certain calm. Genuinely nice, talkative players are incredibly rare: humble players moreso. The most common is somebody who will work with their team but smacktalk; players who are fine when things are going well and flame you when they’re not, only to turn on a dime again. This seems inevitable, an intractable part of the game, and I’m getting used to almost commending somebody at the end of a match only for them to fire of an ‘ez’ or ‘commend me pls’ - as close to shorthand for ‘I am a child and this is for children’ as you can get.</p><p>That almost sounds like a low but it’s not, really. It’s Dota. Players are fiercely protective of their status, equally dismissive of the status of others, but there’s nothing else like it. The game is not responsible for human nature, but learning to coexist with those humans is certainly part of the game - and I’m getting better at it.</p><p><strong>Tim Clark: ‘stoned again</strong></p><p>Just when I thought I was out, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/next-hearthstone-expansion-teased-for-july-22/">they pull me back in</a>. Just kidding, I was never even close to being out. In fact I haven’t even stopped buying Hearthstone packs since pretty much completing my collection. Instead I’ve been accumulating magical dust to complete my first all-golden deck, because I am both a man of a certain age with no children and thus a certain amount of disposable income, and also, I guess, an idiot. But a happy idiot. I’m honestly not even fussed about what the new content is. At this point new is new, and the thrill of opening packs to get box fresh spells and creatures is its own reward. You don’t have to thank me, but it’s my sort of madness that keeps a game like Hearthstone free for most folk.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/itX5PesYQVOg.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_N5XNZfGYB0L.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Allison"></p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">James Davenport: A familiar haunt</strong></p><p>P.T. was the brilliantly creepy PS4 teaser for Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro’s now cancelled Silent Hills game. Sadly, Konami has now erased all trace of both teaser and game from the world, but its unique spirit may have a new home to haunt thanks to British studio Lilith Ltd. Their take on P.T.’s domestic first-person horror in Allison Road is <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/allison-road-is-a-survival-horror-game-influenced-by-pt/">on display in a new thirteen minute gameplay video</a>. The footage is from a pre-alpha prototype, and the devs claim that what goes on here won’t be in the final game, so don’t be scared&mdash;or do, but take a peek. There’s walking and high-res textures and boo! I’m a ghost! Got you.</p><p>I don’t mourn the death of Silent Hills, which likely would have had little resemblance to the digestible, detailed design of P.T. I expect Silent Hills would have been forced into homage and (sorry, not sorry) ended up feeling too ‘Kojima’ for its own good. Allison Road, meanwhile, looks promising, and I hope it inspires more developers to throw out their own takes on P.T.’s beautifully constrained nightmare. I’m also particularly keen to watch folks try it out in VR. *Evil laughter, a light brush on your neck, a crow doing crow stuff*</p><p><strong>Tom Senior: Team Fortress forever</strong></p><p>I can forget Team Fortress 2 exists for years at a time, which is a shame, because it's still terrific. The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/team-fortress-2-update-ushers-in-contracts-new-maps-and-more/">Gun Mettle Campaign update</a> is just the excuse I need to stop prodding Arkham Knight .ini files and return to the shooter that's given me more entertainment than any other. The timeless colourful visuals still hold up and it feels good to rocket jump again, but the addition of lurid new weapons provides a fresh sense of purpose that makes the game even better. I want the leopard-print rocket launcher that I can press a button to look at, I really do, and I'm prepared to kill hundreds of Heavies to get it. Unlock trees, item drops and other progression systems can sometimes feel manipulative, but without that trail of breadcrumbs you get Titanfall, an excellent shooter with no interesting long-term goals. I may never play Titanfall again, but I might end up playing TF2 forever.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/m15lvAu1TZu8.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/73R-4ien1fxJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Shenmue 3"></p><h4>THE LOWS</h4><p><strong>Tim Clark: Hello, Sailor</strong></p><p>Confession time: I don’t understand the frothing <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/shenmue-3-will-see-the-return-of-classic-ryo-voice-actor/">enthusiasm for Shenmue 3</a>. That’s not to say I wish the game wasn’t happening. I’m not an entirely obsidian-hearted grinch, so I’m happy that people are excited they’re finally getting it. But&hellip; Why? The original game was remarkable for being&mdash;at the time&mdash;a crazily detailed attempt to recreate a young Japanese chap’s life, complete with banal forklift job at the docks, set against the backdrop of a pretty melodramatic revenge plot. I also recall the conversational stuff being so stilted that I wondered if it was actually designed to be intentionally wooden, as some kind of Lynchian nod. (It wasn’t.)</p><p>Was the story so good that you need to see it finished? Because even if the Kickstarter budget gets sailed past, and with Sony’s funding support, Shenmue 3 will surely only be an exercise in nostalgia. The idea that the game becomes open world if the $10m stretch goal gets hit seems bizarre. Surely that’s the sort of design decision that has to be factored in from the start. What would have been exciting to me is a new megabudget Shenmue that, like the original, tried to create a super detailed version of the Ryo’s life. But hey, there was a reason Shenmue was an expensive bomb the first time, and beyond superfans, it’s hard to imagine a wider audience in 2015 being any more receptive.</p><p><strong>Wes Fenlon: Not furious enough</strong></p><p>I really wanted AMD's Fury X graphics card to be revolutionary. Well, okay, I didn't expect revolutionary&mdash;but I hoped that, after two years of rehashed tech, AMD was really going to knock our socks off with high bandwidth memory and a graphics card that surpassed everything Nvidia's released over the past year. Instead, the Fury X is a powerful card <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/amd-radeon-r9-fury-x-tested-not-quite-a-980-ti-killer/">that doesn't really exceed Nvidia's 980 Ti</a>, and is short 2GB of VRAM by comparison. It also seems like the Fury X is held back by AMD's drivers. AMD is in a tough spot, because it doesn't have Nvidia's insane resources to put behind driver development, but the company needs to up its driver game for its cards to stay competitive.</p><p><strong>James Davenport: Personal computing</strong></p><p>This week I was reminded that our hobby doesn’t come without drawbacks. Having just moved to San Francisco from Montana, the first order of business on arriving at my new lodgings was booting up the PC. After assembling what might be the fourth particle wood desk in four years&mdash;a ubiquitous rite for those in their twenties&mdash;I slammed some wires into their respective sockets until the power button made a noise, only to have the bugger crash after landing on the desktop.</p><p>I ran through the entire gamut of troubleshooting steps without relief. With a steady, inferior California beer sweat coming on, I was close to giving up. I’ll spare the remaining diagnostic details for reasons of brevity and entertainment, but it turned out the CPU was overheating and the BIOS settings were entirely out of whack, probably from a frustrated keyboard slam. It wasn’t until 2AM or so that everything was working normally, but I celebrated in the only proper way: botching a fresh install of Fallout: New Vegas thanks to lazy, terrible modding experiments. PC gaming! Happy to be here, folks.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7vKJC6MbR3mQ.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Po9GFJcvSbEw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Batman"></p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: Finish Batman, please</strong></p><p>Batman: Arkham Knight is still sat on my harddrive, but I’m not touching it. I’ve downloaded the first of what is likely to be a series of patches for the game in the journey to Arkham Knight being finished on PC (because right now it’s totally not&mdash;and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-problems-were-known-for-months-prior-to-launch/">according to a report this week</a>, publisher Warner apparently knew that was the case), but I want to wait until it’s a version I’m happy with. It’s an ongoing disappointment, but I think one of the worst parts about the wait is that it’s going to get harder for PC players to avoid spoilers from console players. The secrets of its main quest and side stories are so worth experiencing first hand. With a universe like Batman’s, story is everything&mdash;the longer it takes for Rocksteady, Iron Galaxy and Warner to finish Arkham Knight on PC, the more likely it is that some idiot on the internet is just going to spoil it for you.</p><p><strong>Tom Senior: Seriously though, finish&nbsp;Batman</strong></p><p>My low of the week is also Batman, and because it's such a severe low and I was on holiday last week and didn’t have a chance to complain, I'm going to double down on Sam's point. It's not just the game's poor performance&mdash;Arkham Knight actually runs okay streaming off my SSD with a GTX 970&mdash;but this week I was sad to discover that the PC version actually looks worse than the Playstation 4 version. Arkham Knight PC lacks the console version's gorgeous thick rain and mud effects, and doesn't have the sheen that gives Gotham its sodden, glistening texture on PS4. It's somehow worse knowing that the game behind the port is good&mdash;magnificent in places&mdash;but when a company outsources a job, they don't also outsource responsibility for that job. It's going to take a long time for WB &amp; co. to earn trust back from customers on PC.</p><p><strong>Chris Thursten: 2 HOT 2 DOTA</strong></p><p>I didn’t really have any major gaming issues this week, so I’m going to do the British thing and moan about the frankly incredible weather we’ve had this week. I spent some time outside appreciating it, and then slightly more time inside rueing the fact that my PC is a heat-emitting monster that sounds like a dying Transformer when the temperature pushes summerwards. This meant that I had to drink more beer in order to stay cool, and then I wanted an ice cream, and long story short an hour later I looked at myself and saw a man in his pants playing Dota half-drunk in the dark and realised that I had nobody to blame but myself.</p> Skullgirls devs announce action-RPG Indivisiblehttp://www.pcgamer.com/skullgirls-devs-announce-action-rpg-indivisible/Inspired by Valykrie Profile and Super Metroid.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/skullgirls-devs-announce-action-rpg-indivisible/IndivisibleLab Zero GamesNewsRPGSkullgirls <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/q6dpw0wmSYGd.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WhZenYSzA4xw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Indivisible"></p><p>I'm not a huge fighting game fan (not unrelated: I am also terrible at fighting games), but I do love the art.&nbsp;The expressive, characterful pixel art of King of Fighters; the chunky brawlers in the upcoming Street Fighter V; and, yes, Skullgirls' costly animated art deco monsters. Well, Skullgirls devs Lab Zero Games have just announced their next game, and it's in a genre I'm much more interested in: RPGs. Not only that, but Secret of Mana composer&nbsp;Hiroki Kikuta is onboard. (Listen to this&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf58TiGtIe4" target="_blank">this beautiful composition</a> if you're not familiar.)</p><p>The game's named&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/IndivisibleRPG" target="_blank">Indivisible</a>, for some terrible reason, and it's inspired by Valkrie Profile and Super Metroid. You're probably throwing money at your screen already, but you should probably wait for the game&nbsp;to head to IndieGoGo (that funding campaign is "coming soon", along with a playable prototype, according to the announcement trailer below).</p><iframe width="640" height="390" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qgLtNAKTjhw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Inspired by southeast Asian and other world mythologies, Indivisible is&nbsp;"a new action/RPG IP, starring Ajna (AHZH-na), a girl who sets out on a globe-spanning journey to discover the truth behind her mysterious powers. On her quest she’ll be joined by a variety of unique heroes and gain new abilities to traverse the environments and defeat the enemies they’ll encounter along the way".</p> Infinifactory reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/infinifactory-review/Zachtronics' factory-building puzzler rolls off the production line.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:26:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/infinifactory-review/InfinifactoryPuzzleZachtronics Industries <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">need to know</h5> <p> <strong>What Is It?</strong> A block-based puzzle game about factory construction. <br> <strong>Reviewed On:</strong> Intel i5-2500K, 16Gb RAM, GeForce GTX 970 <br> <strong>Price:</strong> £18/$25 <br> <strong>Release Date: </strong>Out now <br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> In house <br> <strong>Developer:</strong> Zachtronics Industries <br> <strong>Multiplayer: </strong> Leaderboards only <br> <strong>Website:&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.zachtronics.com/infinifactory" target="_blank">Official site</a> </p> </div><p> When I wrote our&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/infinifactory-review-early-access/">review of the alpha version</a> of Infinifactory back in February, I felt like I should give it a score. That version of the game was an accomplished puzzle game, my favourite in years, with a campaign you could see from start to finish. It felt done. Playing the finished version of Infinifactory today feels like playing the game and its first expansion pack. It's <em>more</em> done.</p><p> Let's recap. Infinifactory is a creative puzzle game where you turn block-based factory components into complex machines. Each level has a different layout, a different schematic to match, and a different set of inputs that dispense various components and building materials at a fixed rate. It's your job to negotiate all of these different factors, a task that is 50% industrial design and 50% trainset construction.</p><p> You are doing this in order to please your alien captors, giving the game a comic streak that treads the line between black comedy and outright slapstick. The sci-fi setting justifies both the freeform nature of the environments you build in (you'll spend a bunch of time constructing factories on asteroids) and also allows Infinifactory to show off a surprisingly pretty side, particularly in its later missions. It's not all conveyor belts and starscapes: there are dazzling nebulae, cyberpunk skylines, and alien forests too.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zIG2vZr4TiKH.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-hDMsR7NxEFM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Infinifactory (9)"></p><p> You zip around by way of an always-on jetpack and manipulate blocks in much the same manner as Minecraft's creative mode. Every tool available to you behaves according to a consistent, heavily simplified physics system. Complexity arrives in the form of logic devices: sensors, blocks with different toggle states, and so on. These are introduced to you slowly, with puzzles dedicated to explaining each. Soon, the potential for creative combination skyrockets.</p><p>Since its early access launch, Infinifactory has gained three mini-campaigns that follow the main story (I won't say much more about the context for these, to avoid spoilers.) Each centres around a set of new blocks that change the way you build in variously subtle and drastic ways. The laser is a variant on the block-destroying eviscerator with much longer range and, crucially, the ability to be toggled on and off. The counter is a sensor that activates after a user-specified number of blocks have passed by it. My favourite of the new set is the teleporter, which acts as an environmental modifier. Teleporters move one block at a time (or the player) between separate areas of the world. Their usefulness is offset by the need to reassemble whatever it is that you tried to teleport on the other side: building devices to sensibly feed constructions in and out of teleporters is a gratifying challenge.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hFRN50UKSRa-.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LTVrfELOsSOH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Infinifactory (4)"></p><p> The genius of Infinifactory is not that it's a very well-designed puzzle game: it's that it makes you feel like a talented designer too. There's a tremendous satisfaction to watching a machine that you've slaved over diligently follow your orders. It's the videogame equivalent of those incredibly compulsive looping gifs of factory processes, but <em>you</em> made it&mdash;and the pride you experience in coming up with a solution feels 'earned' in a way that it does in few other games. It's appropriate, then, that Infinifactory allows you to output a gif of your creations at the touch of a button (these have been upgraded in a recent patch, too) and that, for those who want to take things further, there's the option to create and share user-generated puzzles via the Steam Workshop.</p><p> It's nice to be able to finally give Infinifactory the outright recommendation it warranted earlier in the year. This is the most generous game Zachtronics has made, opening up SpaceChem's lofty problem-solving up to anybody who can place blocks without sacrificing too much intellectual headroom in the process. The best Infinifactory solutions blow my mind, but I'm happy with my own ones too. It's that accessibility that makes Infinifactory special: not only is it clever, but it shares its cleverness with the player.</p> Card Hunter heading to Steam, with new expansion and co-ophttp://www.pcgamer.com/card-hunter-heading-to-steam-with-new-expansion-and-added-co-op/Free-to-play CCG gets System Shock-inspired expansion.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/card-hunter-heading-to-steam-with-new-expansion-and-added-co-op/Card Gamecard hunterNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8Mn3z1MQQJS7.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WkK6GThRknh9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Card Hunter Steam"></p><p>One of our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/most-original-game-of-the-year-card-hunter/" target="_blank">Games of the Year</a> (2013) is heading to Steam, alongside a new expansion inspired by A.I.-jerk classic System Shock. Until now, you could only play D&amp;D-style collectible card game&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cardhunter.com/" target="_blank">Card Hunter</a> in your browser, but later this month you'll finally&nbsp;be able to close that pinned&nbsp;tab, and add the game to your Steam library instead.</p><p>Developers Blue Manchu Games are embiggening their game with a new expansion, Expedition to the Sky Citadel, that introduces a new computerised Game Master named Cardotron 2000. Reassuringly, the devs say that "Cardotron 2000 is guaranteed 100% bug free and will definitely, never ever, lose its mind and raise an army of mutants and rebellious robots, as Shodan did in <em style="background-color: initial;">System Shock 2.</em> It is pure coincidence that [Blue Manchu founder and designer]&nbsp;Jonathan Chey, as a co-founder of Irrational Games, played a key role in breathing life into Shodan 15 years ago".</p><iframe width="640" height="390" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Bg7W5dTRDt0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If you're not too&nbsp;bothered about the Steam version, you'll be pleased to hear that EttSC will be heading to the browser version too, alongside the new co-op mode that's just been added to the game. Yes, that's right: Card Hunter's formerly&nbsp;single-player-only campaign&nbsp;is now playable with chums.</p><p>And a good thing too, as our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/card-hunter-review/" target="_blank">glowing review</a> ended with the following&nbsp;words. "If Blue Manchu can figure a way to get co-op into this thing, they might just have the best board game without a board of the decade on their hands."</p> The great Euro Truck Simulator 2 road triphttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-great-euro-truck-simulator-2-road-trip/Driving non-stop from Denmark to NorwayFri, 03 Jul 2015 13:45:34 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-great-euro-truck-simulator-2-road-trip/Best ofDiaryEuro Truck Simulator 2sim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EKLX-jojRKuG.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pcRbqg-gEwjA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PCG280.life diary.g02"></p><p><em>This article was originally published in </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-uk-july-issue-total-war-warhammer/"><em>PC Gamer issue 280</em></a><em>. For more quality articles about all things PC gaming, you can subscribe now in the <a href="http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/gaming/pc-gamer-magazine-subscription/">UK</a> and the <a href="http://shop.futureus.com/subscriptions/pc-gamer-subscription.htmlsg=AFQjCNFwngYO2epGqJngcofj1QufuKAarA">US</a>.</em></p><p>My journey begins in Odense, Denmark&mdash;the southernmost city in Euro Truck Simulator 2’s new Scandinavia DLC. It’s the third largest Danish city and was once ruled by Canute IV, the last Viking king. My road trip will take me through Denmark, over to Sweden, and up to Norway. There’s no way to set the GPS in Euro Truck if you’re not on a delivery, so I’ll be navigating entirely with a map and road signs. I have no idea how long it’ll take, but I’m sure I’ll see some amazing scenery along the way. Or maybe just a load of motorways.&nbsp;</p><p>My bright red DAF XF Euro 6&mdash;a modest but reliable truck&mdash;pulls away from Odense and I head east towards Copenhagen, or København as the Danes call it. To reach the capital I’ll need to cross the Great Belt Fixed Link, or Storebæltsforbindelsen, a bridge that connects the islands of Zealand and Funen. It’s not long before I see its two great towers in the distance, and as I cross it, ‘What a Feeling’ from Flashdance plays on the Danish radio station I’m tuned to. I’m feeling good. Spirits are high.&nbsp;</p><p>I make my way across Zealand, the most populated island in Denmark. To cross into Sweden I’ll have to take the Øresund Bridge, which anyone who’s watched Danish/Swedish crime drama The Bridge will be familiar with. This leads directly from Copenhagen into the Swedish city of Malmö. It’s an impressive structure, and I switch briefly to a thirdperson view to soak in its majesty. Euro Truck is a game of mostly grey roads, which makes the moments when you see stuff like this even more exciting.</p><blockquote>‘What a Feeling’ from Flashdance plays on the Danish radio station I’m tuned to.</blockquote><p>I arrive in Malmö, a city with 470km of cycle paths. Not that I care in my massive gas-guzzling truck. I head through the city and southeast towards Trelleborg, the southernmost town in Sweden. When I&nbsp;get there, I have my first accident. I drive a little too quickly around a roundabout and my truck rolls over and falls on its side. If this was the real world, that would be the end of the road trip. But luckily I’m able to call for help and magically respawn at a nearby garage.&nbsp;</p><p>Karlskrona is my next destination. It’s evening now, and the light is fading fast. The road between Trelleborg and Karlskrona is long and narrow, taking me through a picturesque slice of Scandinavian countryside. The sun finally dips below the horizon and I’m surrounded by blackness on all sides. It’s strangely eerie. I start designing a horror/ truck simulator game in my head. Silent Hill with heavy goods vehicles. Imagine it. ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ by The Rolling&nbsp;Stones plays on the radio as I roll into Karlskrona, which is the headquarters of the Swedish Coast Guard.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pNM9KTVAS_Om.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6964j0Ge6OIv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Euro Truck Simulator 2 " class=""><figcaption>Hey, trucks need to rest too.</figcaption></figure><p>My fatigue meter is almost full, so it’s time to rest. I pull into a motel and get a few hours’ sleep. I wake up to a grey, rainy morning. I switch on my wipers and headlights and head northwest to the next city on my route, Växjö. Surrounded by lakes, this beautiful city has promised to totally eliminate its use of fossil fuels by 2030. I show my appreciation by driving my big, smelly truck through it. I continue northwest and make my way towards the city of Jönköping, which is built on the banks of Vättern, Sweden’s second largest lake.&nbsp;</p><p>From here I head northeast to Linköping, a city that promises to be carbon neutral by 2025. The Swedish seem to care about the environment more than any other country, which makes me feel guilty about fouling the place up with my truck. Good thing virtual carbon emissions don’t count. I’ve been driving non-stop for an hour and a half now, and I’m still only halfway through Sweden. I’m finding navigation without the GPS surprisingly easy, but I’ve become obsessed with checking the map every other minute to make sure I’m not taking any wrong turns.&nbsp;</p><p>I’m heading towards Sweden’s capital now, Stockholm. To get there I have to pass through Södertälje, which is home to truck manufacturer Scania AB. I wonder if any hardcore Scania fans will see me driving through their town in a Dutch DAF truck and throw eggs at me, but I emerge on the other side of the city unscathed. I continue northeast to Stockholm, an amazing city I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a couple of times in real life. But, like all the cities in the game, its digital incarnation isn’t quite as impressive. I take some time in the capital to visit a garage and repair my truck, which has suffered hundreds of bumps, scrapes and bangs since I left Odense. The total cost is an eye-watering 27,000 euros. Ouch.&nbsp;</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1rladh1LRzGg.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GE9IOHrQDESI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Euro Truck Simulator 2" class=""><figcaption>The rain effects in Euro Truck are brilliant.</figcaption></figure><p>My time in Sweden is almost over. I’ve noticed that Scandinavia is much greener than other parts of Euro Truck’s map. It has a very different feel to other parts of the continent. The architecture, road signs and landscape feel unique, but I still haven’t seen anything that’s made me stop and go “Woah!” like Keanu Reeves in Bill &amp; Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I leave Stockholm and head to Västerås, the sixth largest municipality in Sweden. From here I make my way to Örebro, which is my route into the next country on my Scandinavian road trip: Norway.</p><p>It’s here, on the road between Örebro and Norway’s capital, Oslo, that the scenery starts to get much more dramatic. To the strains of Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’, I pass a chain of gorgeous lakes surrounded by dense forest. I’m so distracted by the scenery, spinning the third-person camera around my truck, that I slam into a passing car. The roads here are dangerously narrow. Luckily, no one seems to be dead, and I pull away with nothing worse than a 400 euro fine. I eventually cross into Norway, and by the time I reach Oslo, it’s the dead of night. I find a nearby station to refuel, then park in a motel to rest. </p><p>Oslo has been the capital of Norway since 1814, when the country gained its independence from Denmark. It’s one of the fastest-growing capitals in Europe, although if I crash into any more cars, that might no longer be the case. There are far fewer cities in the game’s recreation of Norway than its version of Sweden, and so the drive west from Oslo to Bergen is pretty barren. But I don’t mind, because it’s clear from the moment I arrive in Norway that this is the most visually splendid part of the new DLC. The game’s engine had to be upgraded for the scenery here, and it shows. It’s much grander, and prettier, than anywhere else in the game. </p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2ccHOcs2Sdib.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/E7ZZnUehLobR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Euro Truck Simulator 2" class=""> <figcaption>Rainy or not, Scandinavia is beautiful to look at.</figcaption></figure><p>The road to Bergen is long and mostly straight, but the countryside is so scenic that I don’t mind. But, once again, I become so enamoured by my surroundings that I have an accident. I crash my truck face-first into a wall, but luckily I don’t flip over and can continue driving. But then the dashboard starts blinking with a message: “Seek service immediately!” My engine is still running, but it’s seriously damaged, and keeps turning itself off in the middle of the road. I’m in the middle of nowhere, so I have no choice but to limp on to Bergen and find a mechanic there. </p><p>I’m drawing closer to Bergen, but night has fallen, so I decide to rest again. My fatigue meter is fine, but I don’t want to miss out on any of this Norwegian scenery. It’s a bright, sunny morning and I continue my journey, past a stunning mountain range, down winding roads, and through a series of tunnels carved into the volcanic rock. I emerge from one of these tunnels and find myself in front of Hardanger Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Norway. It’s every bit as impressive as Sweden’s Øresund, and leads right into Bergen itself. Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ blares triumphantly on the radio as I cross the giant bridge towards the city.</p><p>On the other side, there’s still a bit more driving to go before I reach Bergen. The roads continue to snake through the mountains, with a few sheer drops along the way. There are more tunnels too, including a few underground roundabouts that I’ve christened ‘undergroundabouts’. I can see why this Scandinavia expansion took so long to develop. It’s absolutely massive, and the scenery is unlike anything else I’ve seen in the game. As I draw closer to Bergen, I feel a bit sad that my journey is almost over. Euro Truck is a bizarre kind of therapy for me. It’s a meditative experience that makes me forget all the troubles in my life. Not that I have any real troubles, but you know what I mean. It’s pure escapism. With trucks. </p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wh3qSmO_Rdyl.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/keC5xg-btqTj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Euro truck simulator 2" class=""> <figcaption>The dark road to Bergen. Great name for a book.</figcaption></figure><p>Finally, I reach Bergen. It’s known as the City of the Seven Mountains, because of the mountains that surround it, which makes it sound like a location from Game of Thrones. It’s such a cool place that I’ve decided to go there myself in real life. But probably not by truck. My truck, incidentally, is a wreck. I’m low on fuel and I’m several thousand euros in debt because of those repairs in Stockholm, but I made it. The journey was 1,257 miles in total. I could have taken a shorter route, but I wanted to see as much of the continent as possible. In the end, it took me just under three and a half hours of non-stop driving to get from Odense to Bergen. In real life it would have taken a significantly more time-consuming fifteen hours. </p><p>Combined with the Going East DLC, which adds Eastern Europe to the map, the Scandinavia expansion makes Euro Truck Simulator 2 a dizzyingly massive game. Even though I feel bleary-eyed and exhausted after my three-hour road trip, I’m already planning my next one. Maybe I’ll take things to the next extreme and drive across the entire map, starting in Scotland and ending in Bergen. I can only imagine how long that’ll take. And maybe I’ll do it with an Oculus Rift. Delivering cargo for money is the core of Euro Truck’s structure, but next time you play it, don’t bother. Just pick a destination, drive there, and enjoy the scenery along the way. It’s more relaxing than yoga.</p> Trials Fusion trailer details Awesome Level Max expansionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/trials-fusion-trailer-details-awesome-level-max-expansion/That's the one where you play as a cat riding a unicorn.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/trials-fusion-trailer-details-awesome-level-max-expansion/NewsRedLynxTrials FusionUbisoft <iframe width="853" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/exlh8I9pDpY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Trials Fusion's Awesome Level Max expansion is out July 14th, and among other things it lets you play as a unicorn-riding cat wielding a firearm. That doesn't sound as funny as it did at E3&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/trials-fusion-expansion-features-a-cat-riding-a-unicorn/" target="_blank">the other week</a>, but it still might elicit a few chuckles before another thousand frustrating deaths turn our upside-down-frowns upside-down.</p><p>Because Ubisoft, a new trailer has appeared to let us know what we're in for: namely a new adventure as the animal pair above, plus classic Trials&nbsp;tracks, fan-made tracks and more.</p><p>Awesome Level Max is split up into two parts: the aforementioned 'Awesome Adventure' that "also includes eight new classic Trials tracks, various mini-games and an entertaining soundtrack", and the 'RedLynx vs. All-Stars Tracks' pack.</p><p>That's "a collection of more than 20 new tracks pitting RedLynx’s own track creators against the very best track creators across the world. The development team has collaborated closely with the fans over the past year, and half of the RedLynx vs. All-Stars tracks have been created by the best builders among the Trials Fusion community".</p><p>We gave Trials Fusion&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/trials-fusion-review/" target="_blank">85% last year</a>, and it didn't even have any cats or unicorns in it.</p> Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! announcement makes me hungryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/cook-serve-delicious-2-announcement-makes-me-hungry/In fact I might to have pop out after this to grab an early lunch.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cook-serve-delicious-2-announcement-makes-me-hungry/CookDelicious! 2!!NewsServesim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vh68InO0QECa.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UlApcOpvmJvI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cook, Serve, Delicious 2"></p><p>I've had breakfast, and now I want an early lunch, and it's all the fault of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vertigogaming.net/SSTE/" target="_blank">Cook, Serve, Delicious!</a> developers Vertigo Gaming. They've just announced a sequel to their cooking/restaurant management game, and its food looks so tasty I could just reach into my screen and great&nbsp;now I need stitches. While I send them the bill for my medical treatment, here's Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!'s&nbsp;mouth-watering announcement trailer:</p><iframe width="960" height="540" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QhvlNVCgMUU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>CSD2 "has you rebuilding your own restaurant in a massive skyscraper, earning money by cooking and serving customers delicious food and building up your restaurant’s reputation from a zero star dilapidated café to a five star world famous restaurant. Along the way you’ll jump into other restaurants in the tower for shift work, star in the biggest reality cooking show ever, participate in tournaments all over the world, uncover mysterious ingredients, and tons, tons more".</p><p>The original is on Steam&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/247020/" target="_blank">here</a> if you're curious, while this sequel is due in 2016.</p> Skyforge open beta starts this monthhttp://www.pcgamer.com/skyforge-open-beta-starts-this-month/July 16th, or earlier if you buy your way in.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/skyforge-open-beta-starts-this-month/MMONewsObsidian EntertainmentSkyforge <iframe width="853" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PX7Xp8eOB_U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>A handful of people are still making MMOs (MOBAs being all the rage now), and in that handful is Obsidian Entertainment, of Pillars of Eternity and South Park fame, and also&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/armored-warfare-hands-on-obsidians-tank-war-is-a-lot-like-world-of-tanks/" target="_blank">tanks</a> and online science fiction.&nbsp;<a href="http://sf.my.com/us" target="_blank">Skyforge</a> is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/obsidian-announces-tactical-tank-mmo-armored-warfare/" target="_blank">thing they're making</a> with&nbsp;Allods Online developers Allods Team, and they've just announced that its open beta begins on July 16th. (You can also buy a 'founder's pack' to get in on the 9th.)</p><p>'Is it free-to-play?' is the question you're probably asking, to which the answer is 'Yes'. It's free-to-play and it mixes&nbsp;sci-fi with&nbsp;ancient mythology, meaning it will allow you to "play like a god". (Hey. Some of us already do&mdash;oh I died again.)&nbsp;There's a new trailer above setting up the premise, and showing a bit of the game in action.</p> Slain! A gothic action platformer with a rocking metal soundtrackhttp://www.pcgamer.com/slain-a-gothic-action-platformer-with-a-rocking-metal-soundtrack/And lots and lots of blood.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/slain-a-gothic-action-platformer-with-a-rocking-metal-soundtrack/NewsPlatformerSlain <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tcU0CX0CQUii.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f48r1K4naHvk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Slain"></p><p>Amazingly, we don't seem to have talked about&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/SlainPCGame" target="_blank">Slain!</a> (<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/369070/" target="_blank">Steam link</a>)&nbsp;before, so here's a quick precis: it's a gothic action-platformer with a none-more-metal soundtrack, buckets and buckets and gore, scrummy pixel art, and a hero who looks almost&nbsp;exactly like our Witcher friend,&nbsp;Geralt. It's out this Autumn, and there's a new trailer showing all of&nbsp;those things below.</p><iframe width="640" height="390" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Rw1ek3H8yl8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The YouTube video title says 'June', but the footage was published yesterday&mdash;how confusing! Devs Wolf Brew Games, and publishers Digerati, have&nbsp;announced that&nbsp;Curt Victor Bryant, formerly of the band Celtic Frost, will be doing the soundtrack. 'Celtic Frost' sounds like&nbsp;the name of either&nbsp;a folk or metal band&mdash;and what do you know, it's&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CCIQFjAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.celticfrost.com%2F&amp;ei=UkOWVY3ZHIOeggSGl4WwBw&amp;usg=AFQjCNE_xOTuPGhP8bSC4xYjk76Q8ay3RA&amp;sig2=ckGQGpFOjQfcYfA13WLXUQ&amp;bvm=bv.96952980,d.eXY" target="_blank">the second one</a>. Here is a good picture from Google Images:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1lc14grvTjK6.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/m2sqt75w8ifu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Celtic Frost"></p><p>In Slain, "players control Bathoryn, a hero in a Gothic world, seeking to liberate seven great towers from 7 deadly overlords. </p><p>"Bathoryn must battle his way through a doomed land packed with gruesome pixel art foes before ascending (or sometimes descending) each tower, defeating puzzles, traps and monsters alike. At the heart of each tower, he must confront a mighty overlord. Defeat it and Bathoryn’s quest continues. Fail, and you’ll die gruesomely – mauled by werewolves, disintegrated by floating monstrosities, squashed by great weights or torn apart by hidden blades."</p> Dark Souls Arena mod lets you duke it out as the bosseshttp://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-arena-mod-lets-you-duke-it-out-as-the-bosses/Sif versus Ceaseless Discharge.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 01:07:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-arena-mod-lets-you-duke-it-out-as-the-bosses/Dark SoulsFrom SoftwareModsNewsRPG <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RiEWFU9xsdc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If you've ever dreamt of seeing Ornstein and Smough settle their differences with sword and hammer, then this forthcoming&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-review/">Dark Souls</a> mod will please you. Dubbed&nbsp;<a href="http://datehacks.freeforums.org/portal.php">Arena Mod</a>, it allows players to control each of the RPG's many and varied bosses in custom arena scenarios. Yes, that means you will theoretically be able to sic Sif onto Ceaseless Discharge. I can't imagine how that would work, but I look forward to finding out.</p><p>The mod is in development now by DaTeHaCKs, and is expected to release this September. According to the YouTube description, it's not just bosses you'll be able to control: all enemy characters will be playable, while the mod will also add some fixes to the camera and movesets, presumably to make controlling them a little easier to handle.&nbsp;</p><p>Sounds like a good way to pass the time as we await more news on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-3/">Dark Souls 3</a>, which Wes was lucky enough to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-3-preview-a-grander-sense-of-scale-but-still-familiar/">see in action at E3</a>.&nbsp;</p> F1 2015 trailer flaunts shiny new enginehttp://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2015-trailer-flaunts-shiny-new-engine/New instalment releases next week.Fri, 03 Jul 2015 00:09:28 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2015-trailer-flaunts-shiny-new-engine/CodemastersNewsRacing <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UjVmodaEOO8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2015-delayed-by-a-month/">F1 2015</a> is releasing next week, and it's probably worth more fuss than last year's instalment. It's the first F1 game to hit the new generation of consoles, which means Codemasters is using a brand new engine to power it. It's also the debut for the new Championship Season mode, which attempts to bring some of the drama of televised racing to the reputedly dry series. That means a 'broadcast presentation' style, as well as other attempts to make your otherwise mute driver hero a little more human.</p><p>There's also the ultra-realistic Pro Season mode, which means you'll be driving looooong races in cockpit view only, without the luxury of skipping practice and qualifying sessions. F1 2015 releases July 10. Hopefully it'll prove&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/f1-2014-review/">more exciting than last year's instalment</a>.&nbsp;</p> Risen developer Piranha Bytes announces Elex, an open-world sci-fi RPGhttp://www.pcgamer.com/risen-developer-piranha-bytes-announces-elex-an-open-world-sci-fi-rpg/Piranha Bytes also created the Gothic RPG series.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:28:41 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/risen-developer-piranha-bytes-announces-elex-an-open-world-sci-fi-rpg/NewsPiranha BytesRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Dae9i_qATjG_.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SUVd-InHVDVF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Elex"></p><p>Piranha Bytes, the developer of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gothic-3-forsaken-gods-enhanced-edition-out-now/">Gothic</a> and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/risen/">Risen</a> RPG games, has announced that its new project is an "Eclectic, Lavish, Exhilarating, Xenial open-world RPG" called Elex.</p><p>"Elex is a handcrafted action role-playing experience from the award-winning creators of the Gothic series, set in a brand new post-apocalyptic science fantasy universe that puts players into a huge, seamless game world full of original characters, mutated creatures, deep moral choices and powerful action," the press release states. </p><p>That's really all there is to go on at this point, although Piranha Bytes Game Director Bjorn Pankratz said Elex will be a "completely new game experience with a fresh setting, new assets and plenty of possibilities." I'm assuming those differences will be in contrast to the studio's previous series, both of which were relatively conventional fantasy action-RPGs.&nbsp;</p><p>Piranha Bytes isn't BioWare or Bethesda, but it's been making RPGs for close to 15 years and has created&nbsp;some interesting stuff, so I'm really looking forward to finding out what it's got in mind for "science fantasy." We could be waiting awhile for that, though&mdash;Elex isn't expected to be out until late 2016 or early 2017. In the meantime, you can follow along at <a href="http://www.elexgame.com/">Elexgame.com</a>.</p> Next Hearthstone expansion to be announced on July 22http://www.pcgamer.com/next-hearthstone-expansion-teased-for-july-22/Musical teaser seems to point to new card set reveal later thismonthThu, 02 Jul 2015 23:04:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/next-hearthstone-expansion-teased-for-july-22/BlizzardCard GameHearthstoneNews <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jGoIa6AYx48" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> The second best piece of mail I’ve received this month (the first being a desperately needed tax rebate from Uncle Sam), arrived in our office with no little fanfare today. By which I mean it literally arrived with a fanfare. When I opened up the small cardboard tube that had been&nbsp;sent to us by Blizzard, little trumpets played.&nbsp;I pulled out a&nbsp;scroll tied with ribbon, on which is&nbsp;the following message:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> <em>“Champions are gathering from around the world to witness the next exciting thing Hearthstone has in store. News travels far and wide in search of brave new faces ready to answer the call to arms &mdash; Are you one of them?&nbsp;</em><em style="background-color: initial;">Muster for battle and mark July 22 on your calendar. The next bit of news won’t come by carrier pigeon &mdash; thankfully, we have much better ways of communication now. Victory awaits.”</em></p><p> So what do we know? It's not entirely&nbsp;clear whether the date refers to the announcement of the new content, or potentially the content's&nbsp;actual arrival.&nbsp;<del>I would lean towards the latter, given that you don't muster for battle for a piece of news, you do it for the actual battling.</del></p><p>[<strong>Update</strong>: a&nbsp;<a href="http://hydra-media.cursecdn.com/hearthstone.gamepedia.com/thumb/8/89/Ironbeak_Owl(500)_Gold.png/184px-Ironbeak_Owl(500)_Gold.png?version=86d07ed8df60ac9558f2a23f2e33b6df">little bird</a> tells us to expect an announcement on 22 July.]</p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">GvG tease</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bqrOzAMXTa6k.JPG" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XPAXrvfBZfgH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hearthstone blueprint" style="background-color: initial;"></p></div><p>As for what the new stuff&nbsp;will be, well,&nbsp;the last time I got one of these oblique teaser messages from Blizz, it was of a Demolisher blueprint designed to hint at the then soon to be announced <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-goblins-vs-gnomes-latest-cards-reviewed/">Goblins vs Gnomes</a> card expansion. Given the logic that the rollout of new content so far has alternated between adventure modes (like the recent Blackrock Mountain) and card drops, it’s reasonably safe to say that 22 July will see the announcement of the next big card set.</p><p> As for how the next&nbsp;set will be themed, there are bound to be clues which smarter readers than me can pick up on in the text. But between the scroll and the trumpets, I get a distinct tournament vibe from it. Perhaps the new cards will all be participants in some grand joust. Or maybe there really is a tournament mode in the works, although I think that’s less likely as we’ve only just got <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstones-new-tavern-brawl-gamemode-is-madness/">Tavern Brawl</a>.</p><p>[<strong>Update 2: </strong>Those of you with keen ears might have already noticed, but the fanfare that plays in the video above&nbsp;is nearly identical to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0novLxg6HY" target="_blank">the theme from the Argent Tournament</a>, an event from World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion. This, along with the wording of the note, makes the Argent Tournament look like a strong candidate for the theme of the next expansion.]</p><p> Reddit seems to think <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/37crd3/more_pirates_vs_ninjas_expansion_hype/">Pirates vs Ninjas</a> could be a thing, but at lunch my colleague Tom was convinced Taurens vs Worgens is the way to go. I’m just happy new stuff is on the way, as getting my dome shattered by Patron Warrior was becoming a little old. At this point I would be keen for everyone to stop getting in here thanksverymuch. And who knows, maybe Druids will get a playable new class card.&nbsp;I will pray to my <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/becoming-a-golden-druid-a-tale-of-obsession/">leafy gods</a> tonight.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NDxgtUcNQpmf.JPG" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MKalh7sFqzgt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hearthstone note"></p> Indiependence Day is an anti-sale offering popular indie games at full pricehttp://www.pcgamer.com/indiependence-day-is-an-anti-sale-offering-popular-indie-games-at-full-price/Indie game developers vow that they will not vanish without a fight! They're going to live on! And they're going to survive!Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:04:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/indiependence-day-is-an-anti-sale-offering-popular-indie-games-at-full-price/indie gamesNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yJtdqauwQ8u1.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RSROncHQX-2L.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Indiependence Day"></p><p>Tomorrow, July 4, is Independence Day in the US, when people across the country get together and set things on fire to celebrate Jaden Smith punching out a xenomorph. The relevant point is that a number of indie developers have also come together to celebrate their own "Indiependence Day," by not putting their games on sale.</p><p>Indiependence Day is a response of sorts to the deep-discount game sales that we all take for granted, and that are especially prevalent among indie games. "Players have been conditioned, through bundles and mega-sales, not to pay full price," the site states. "And although money isn’t the primary motivating factor for a lot of us, if the dynamics of the industry don’t change, indie games will become an unsustainable model. Indie games have been such a source of creativity and originality over the last 10 years, and we want to keep them going!"</p><p>The games in the non-sale are still relatively inexpensive, topping out at $20, and the ones I've played&mdash;among them World of Goo, Tengami, 7 Grand Steps, and Hot Tin Roof&mdash;are really quite good. Of course, a game's "value" can only be determined by the individual gamer, and lots of people will argue that the "race to the bottom" has actually invigorated the indie scene. After all, when has it been better than it is right now? Even so, I like the idea, but given how accustomed we all are to buying games at 80 percent off, I can't say I'm entirely confident that it will be a runaway success. You can take&nbsp;a look at <a href="http://indiependenceday.org/">Indiependenceday.com</a>.</p> If you like Company of Heroes, you’ll like…http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-company-of-heroes-youll-like/From abird’s eye view of thebattlefield,down to the brutal detail ofa foxholeIf you like Company of Heroes, you’ll like these books, movies, and more.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-company-of-heroes-youll-like/Company of HeroesIf you like <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/suhsbUrAQL-H.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BpUGzOZyrf87.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Company of Heroes 2 preview thumb"></p><p>The grim beauty of Company of Heroes is that it gives aspirant World War II strategists a bird’s eye view of battlefield and takes them down into the brutal detail of the foxhole. It’s a war sim experienced from above and below, where the general sees all his decisions&mdash;good and bad&mdash;played out in realtime.</p><p>Relic’s original 2006 RTS game was a hit partly because of the delicate way it walked a line that felt satisfying and authentic. With the WWII experience already so well-executed in other genres&mdash;shooters and grand strategy sims&mdash;COH found a middle ground where it could show the conflict from a new angle. From its squad-based point of view, the tide of battle in COH could be turned by the presence of a single soldier or unit. This perspective also nodded to the intensely personal stories in films like <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saving_Private_Ryan">Saving Private Ryan</a> and the HBO miniseries <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Band_of_Brothers_(miniseries)">Band of Brothers</a>, both of which had appeared in the previous decade and enjoyed near-universal acclaim.</p><p>In this edition of ‘If you like,’ I’ve picked media that takes a similar, soldier’s-eye-view approach to WWII. They aren’t stories of far-removed commanders or politicians, but rather the men who had to carry out their orders in the various theaters of the 20th century’s most brutal war. Given the scope of WWII, any list of recommendations could be almost endless. So with that in mind, be sure to include your own favorites in the comment section below.</p><h4>Stalingrad, directed by Joseph Vilsmaier</h4><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/7QlK-l-vpZQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>With Company of Heroes 2, the series took its successful squad-based approach to the Eastern Front of the war. And in a way that reflected the much bloodier reality of the conflict between Germany and the Soviet Union in the east, the game <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/company-of-heroes-2-review/">adopted a darker tone</a> as well. In the 1993 German film Stalingrad, we witness the full arc of the famous battle played out through the eyes of a group of tight-knit German soldiers. </p><p>Stalingrad traces the story of an elite German unit as it takes part in what would turn out to be one of the turning points of the entire war. The <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad#Fighting_in_the_city">Battle of Stalingrad</a> played out in the city’s bombed out streets, sewer tunnels, and eventually its frozen countryside as the German army became surrounded. The film is ultimately a story of failure, but also one of friendship as resistance to the horrors of war. </p><p>COH 2’s turn to the east can also be seen as part of an increased focus in recent years on the cost borne by Eastern Europe during and after WWII. For a historical account of these developments, I’d recommend taking a look at author Timothy Snyder’s <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/books/review/Rubenstein-t.html?_r=0">recent contribution</a> to our understanding of the Eastern Front&mdash;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bloodlands-Europe-Between-Hitler-Stalin/dp/0465031471">Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin</a>.</p><h4>War Stories, written by Garth Ennis with various artists</h4><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">War Stories</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EKeg0RbFSUu-.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5ppTebM7P38C.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="War Stories Higher Res"></p></div><p>In <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Stories_(comics)">War Stories</a>, comics writer Garth Ennis turns his pen towards a variety of true-to-life experiences during WWII. Noted for his work on comics like Preacher and Punisher, in War Stories Ennis attempts to ground the larger conflict in discrete tales of individuals caught up in unpredictable circumstances. </p><p>The eight-issue series, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/War-Story-Dodgers-Vertigo-Stories/dp/1401203280">now collected in two volumes</a>, has a scope that takes in battles all over the European theater, from North Africa to the Battle of Britain to the final days on the Eastern Front before Germany’s surrender. In reviewing Ennis’s work, <a href="http://sequart.org/magazine/9830/on-garth-ennis-and-gary-erskines-war-stories-archangel/">Colin Smith notes</a> that his writing “isn’t a tale of events which feel as if they’re nothing but ancient history, long since settled and entirely predictable in hindsight. In taking us away from the commonplace and focusing on the lives of his small cast of touchingly-depicted individuals, Ennis constantly compels us to remember how chaotic and unpredictable his character’s lives are.”</p><p>If you see COH as I do, as somehow tipping its hat to warfare as carefully-managed chaos, it’s worth checking out Ennis’s War Stories.</p><h4>Kelly’s Heroes, directed by Brian G. Hutton</h4><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/nC4lVoCFZvk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If the dirty, impressionistic violence of Saving Private Ryan changed how a new generation of filmgoers saw WWII, then <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly%27s_Heroes">Kelly’s Heroes</a> serves as a reminder of an earlier approach to depicting the war. In the 1970 film starring Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland, war is hell, but it’s also a hell of an adventure. If you were to reverse engineer Saving Private Ryan as a kind of twisted, 1960s WWII Western, it might look something like Kelly’s Heroes.</p><p>The basic story deals with a group of disillusioned American soldiers who go AWOL in order to rip off a bank behind enemy lines. Sick of feeling like pawns in the ambitious games of crazy generals, the soldiers set out to win a piece of the war that they can take home with them&mdash;gold. It’s pure Hollywood but also hugely entertaining. The combat set pieces in the film range over the French countryside and could be ripped right out of the COH campaign. And as with so many older films that deploy practical effects well, the tank battles and infantry skirmishes have aged quite nicely. </p><p>Kelly’s Heroes doesn’t shy away from showing the costs of warfare, but rather confronts it with a kind of sarcastic humor and fantasy that’s also become an important artifact in dealing with the legacy of WWII. </p><h4>The Young Lions, by Irwin Shaw</h4><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">The Young lions</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HlbgeBpITxa8.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4xhM3vIYL2ie.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Young Lions"></p></div><p>Of all the American combat novels to appear after the conclusion of World War II, three proved to be definitive: James Jones’s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thin_Red_Line_(novel)">The Thin Red Line</a>, Norman Mailer’s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Naked_and_the_Dead">The Naked and the Dead</a>, and Irwin Shaw’s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Young-Lions-Irwin-Shaw/dp/0226751295/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_pap?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1435779182&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=the+young+lions">The Young Lions</a>. And of those, only Shaw’s 1948 work deals with the war in Europe rather than the Pacific. </p><p>Epic in its ambition, Shaw weaves together the story of three soldiers fighting on different sides of the war. Direct and suitably unadorned, his style is excellent at bringing the reader into the moment-by-moment experience of combat: “The firing stopped and it was quiet again, except for shouts from the wounded out in the field. When a man raised his head carefully to look over the embankment to see what could be done, the guns started again, and the grass on the edge of the embankment snapped and slashed through the air as the bullets cut through it. The remnants of the Company lay exhausted, then, along the ditch.”</p><p>What The Young Lions captures so vividly is the psychological dimension of combat and the way it changes the people caught up in it. The novel also highlights the almost absurd disconnect that exists between the fighting men on the ground and the commanders giving orders from eighty miles away. Just as COH closes this distance with its realtime approach, Shaw’s writing excels at telling stories of the war as it was fought in the ditch rather than the war room.&nbsp;</p><p><em>For more installments of ‘</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like/"><em>If you like...</em></a><em>’, check out Patrick’s recommendations for&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-dead-space-youll-also-like/" target="_blank"><em>Dead Space</em></a><em>,&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-the-witcher-youll-also-like/"><em>The Witcher</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-dishonored-youll-also-like/"><em>Dishonored</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-mass-effect-youll-also-like/"><em>Mass Effect</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-skyrim-youll-also-like/"><em>S</em><em>kyrim</em></a><em>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-fallout-3-youll-also-like/">Fallout 3</a>, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-deus-ex-youll-also-like-2/">Deus Ex</a> fans.&nbsp;</em></p> Report: Digital Extremes trespasser enjoys free lunch, discovers new gamehttp://www.pcgamer.com/report-digital-extremes-trespasser-enjoys-free-lunch-discovers-new-game/"Just shut up and act like you're supposed to be here."Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:29:01 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/report-digital-extremes-trespasser-enjoys-free-lunch-discovers-new-game/Digital ExtremesNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5YhThICxSLmm.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PImQMg7j3qil.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Warframe thumb"></p><p>Today's weird, amusing, and entirely unverified tale of discovery comes to us by way of <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Warframe/comments/3brx88/i_went_into_de_for_a_day/">Reddit</a>, where a fellow calling himself UndercoverLegend claims to have literally walked into the London, Ontario offices of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/digital-extremes/">Digital Extremes</a>, hung out, talked to some employees&mdash;who assumed he was an employee, too&mdash;tucked into a free lunch, and heard about a new game in the works called Keystone. The original post has been removed for containing specific information about the studio's location, but a redacted version has been put up on <a href="http://kotaku.com/guy-sneaks-into-game-studio-finds-unannounced-game-1715443529">Kotaku</a>.</p><p>The poster said he was able to track down the studio's location thanks to a statue of a <a href="http://warframe.wikia.com/wiki/Tenno">Tenno</a>, an ancient race of warriors in the free-to-play shooter <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/warframe/">Warframe</a>, which is visible through a window. Once inside, he bypassed the high-tech fingerprint locks with a combination of wit, daring, and masterful infiltration skills: "I just followed some tattooed dude into the door after he unlocked it," UndercoverLegend wrote. "He didn't even ask me any questions."</p><p>Emboldened, the intruder decided to see how far he could push his luck, which is how he discovered what is apparently Digital Extremes' new game. "At 12:01 pm the lunch lady says that food is ready over the overcom and I join up the line. There's a bunch of plates stacked and then you just grab the food buffet style," he continued. "I sat down and enjoyed my free lunch and started talking to some people. They told me they were working on a new game called Keystone. They said it was a FPS with cards (like magic the gathering style perhaps) but didn't explain that much about it."</p><p>He continued dicking around until about 6 at night, when he made his getaway along with "other" employees who had begun heading home. One of them actually said, "See you tomorrow," a sentiment he reciprocated. In a follow-up, he added that he didn't take any photos to confirm his adventure because he knew he was trespassing and "didn't want to look suspicious." </p><p>Again, this is all entirely unconfirmed, and it does sound a bit hinky. But not long after the story got out, Digital Extremes Community Manager Rebecca Ford <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Warframe/comments/3bwd1x/a_word_on_de_hq_privacy/">addressed the issue</a> directly. "A recent claim from a fan circulating the web alleges he or she spent the day with us incognito. Well, Canadians are known for being welcoming and polite!" she wrote. "We employ over two hundred passionate gamers committed to delivering kickass games like Warframe and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sword-coast-legends/">Sword Coast Legends</a> and while we're flattered someone would want to spend the day with all of us, please respect our privacy and know that, like any business would, we completely discourage any and all unlawful attempts to enter our Relay. We love our Tenno, but let's be respectful and law-abiding. Trespassing is never OK."</p><p>It's a funny story, if a bit creepy&mdash;and as for the new game, Keystone, we've reached out to Digital Extremes to see if it will confirm its existence. I'm not expecting it to happen, but I also wouldn't have expected that some guy could waltz into a game studio and spend the day faking out literally everyone he meets. </p> Jet Set Radio HD 5K galleryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/jet-set-radio-hd-5k-gallery/Over the 'hood, through the streets, and right into your brainit's Jet Set Radiooooo! In 5K.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/jet-set-radio-hd-5k-gallery/5KActionJet Set RadioJet Set Radio HDPixel BoostPlatformer Tales of Symphonia confirmed for PChttp://www.pcgamer.com/tales-of-symphonia-confirmed-for-pc/The HD remake of Tales of Symphonia is also being offered as a Tales of Zestiria pre-purchase bonus.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:00:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/tales-of-symphonia-confirmed-for-pc/Bandai NamcoJRPGNewsTales of SymphoniaTales of Zestiria <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/At4Mi8TuQnuV.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/an2R-08ovoxd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tales of Symphonia"></p><p>Bandai Namco <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tales-of-zestiria-is-coming-to-steam/">announced in June</a> that Tales of Zestiria will launch on Steam on October 20, which was happy news indeed for fans of the long-running "Tales Of" franchise. And now there's even more good news: An HD remake of <a href="http://blog.talesofgame.com/en/japan-expo-zestiria-collectors-edition-revealed-pre-order-bonus-symphonia-for-pc-and-more/">Tales of Symphonia</a> will join it in 2016.</p><p>"As we announced during our Level-Up event, 2015 is full of surprise for Tales Of fans. Bringing Tales of Zestiria to PlayStation 4 and PC was our first step towards the celebration of the 20th Anniversary, bringing Tales of Symphonia HD, an all-time favourite, to PC is now the second step!" Herve Hoerdt of Bandai Namco said. "We are working hard to bring more exciting content for Tales Of lovers in Western countries, and we hope that our efforts are appreciated!"</p><p>The Tales of Symphonia entry on <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/372360/">Steam</a> doesn't say much about the game, nor does it give any indication of price, but in spite of the relatively far-off (and vague) release date, it does list some&nbsp;system requirements, which are fairly easygoing:</p><ul><p><strong>Minimum:</strong> </p><ul><li>OS: Windows Vista 32/64 </li><li>Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+, 2.6GHz </li><li>Memory: 1 GB RAM </li><li>Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 8800GT / ATI Radeon HD 4830 </li><li>DirectX: Version 9.0 </li><li>Hard Drive: 7 GB available space </li><li>Additional Notes: Gamepad support </li></ul></ul><ul><p><strong>Recommended:</strong> </p><ul><li>OS: Windows 7 (x64) / Windows 8 (x64) </li><li>Processor: Intel Core i3-530, 2.93 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 940, 3.0GHz </li><li>Memory: 4 GB RAM </li><li>Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti / AMD Radeon HD 7850 </li><li>Hard Drive: 7 GB available space </li><li>Additional Notes: Gamepad support </li></ul></ul><p>Tales of Symphonia HD is also part of the Tales of Zestiria pre-purchase program on Steam. Four tiers of bonus "rewards" are on offer, based on the number of people who preorder the game: the "Classic Weapons Set," the "Classic Male Costumes Set," the "Classic Female Costumes Set," and finally, a free copy of Tales of Symphonia HD. The game will be added to Steam libraries automatically (if the final pre-purchase tier is achieved) when it's available, which will happen sometime next year. </p> Things I lifted over my head in Hardland, an Early Access RPGhttp://www.pcgamer.com/things-i-lifted-over-my-head-in-hardland-an-early-access-rpg/From dead goblins to Dire Apples, a comprehensive list.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:13:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/things-i-lifted-over-my-head-in-hardland-an-early-access-rpg/Early AccessHardlandRPG We played Ark: Survival Evolved with co-creator Jesse Rapczakhttp://www.pcgamer.com/were-playing-ark-survival-evolved-with-co-creator-jesse-rapczak/Co-creator of Ark: Survival Evolved Jesse Rapczak talks to us about the game and its quick success while we hunt down some dinosaurs.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:24:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/were-playing-ark-survival-evolved-with-co-creator-jesse-rapczak/Ark: Survival EvolvedinterviewlivestreamSurvival <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oVz4gX3YQMuO.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/I2UvWa5d3AuT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="ARK Survival Evolved header" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p><b style="background-color: initial;">Update: </b>The stream is over, but you can watch the whole thing&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/pcgamer/v/6850408" target="_blank">right here on our Twitch page</a>.&nbsp;</p><p> <b style="background-color: initial;">Original:&nbsp;</b>We're playing the Twitch darling&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved" target="_blank">Ark: Survival Evolved</a> with co-founder of Studio Wildcard and co-creator of Ark Jesse Rapczak. Jesse and I will be hunting and taming dinosaurs together while I talk to&nbsp;him about the game, its future, and the impressive milestone of hitting&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved-sells-one-million-copies-in-less-than-a-month" target="_blank">one million sales in less than a month</a>.&nbsp;</p><p> The stream will be live&nbsp;from 10:30-11:30am PDT, and you can watch here, or over on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/pcgamer" target="_blank">our Twitch page</a>, and&nbsp;join the conversation through Twitch chat. Raise your dino dongers, etc.</p> World of Warships announces open beta with ridiculous new trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-announces-open-beta-with-ridiculous-new-trailer/This may be the best large-scale surface action video ever.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:22:55 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-announces-open-beta-with-ridiculous-new-trailer/MMONewswargaming.netWorld of Warships <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jAAgZvVsW78?rel=0&amp;vq=small" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> I will readily admit that the thing that excites me most about today's launch of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships/">World of Warships</a> open beta is this World of Warships open beta trailer. That's not to say that the game itself won't be cool&mdash;I haven't played it, but I also haven't seen any "Wargaming, please sink World Of&nbsp;Warships" petitions on Change.org, so I assume things are going reasonably well&mdash;but any video that can make plodding, impersonal naval combat seem like the most exciting and action-packed thing you'll do this&nbsp;month is okay by me.</p><p> It's wildly inaccurate, of course&mdash;if your aircraft carrier is basically sharing a parking lot with an enemy battleship, you've got more problems than I can help you with&mdash;but that's half the fun. At the end, I was literally leaning forward in my seat, eyes wide, thinking, "You're not going to make it! <em>You're not going to make it!</em>" I won't spoil the outcome, but it was an unexpectedly intense moment. (And I was right. Sorry, SPOILER WARNING.)</p><p> Anyway, after a few "<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-adds-aircraft-carriers-for-upcoming-beta-weekend/">beta weekends</a>" and a further&nbsp;closed beta period that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-is-now-in-closed-beta/">began in March</a>, Wargaming.net has flung the World of Warships doors open to the world. The open beta features more than 80 American and Japanese warships along with vessels from the newly-added UK and Soviet Union, and a "robust signal flag customization system" that will "display a player's prowess on the water while providing buffs and advantages."</p><p> The World of Warships open beta is live now. Get the details and the client (it's free to play) at <a href="http://worldofwarships.com/">worldofwarships.com</a>.</p> Ark: Survival Evolved sells one million copies in less than a monthhttp://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved-sells-one-million-copies-in-less-than-a-month/Studio Wildcard says it was able to achieve the milestone without resorting to deep discounts.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:20:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved-sells-one-million-copies-in-less-than-a-month/Ark: Survival EvolvedNewsSurvival <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/N_cH7dvwR3W3.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/o7wDPCfE0_9i.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ark: Survival Evolved"></p><p>The online survival sim Rust broke <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rust-hits-1-million-sales-after-two-months/">one million copies</a> sold in early 2014, just two months after it hit Steam Early Access. That's an impressive feat by any sure, but <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved/">Ark: Survival Evolved</a>, the vaguely Rust-like game with rideable dinosaurs that became something of a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/directory/game/ARK:%20Survival%20Evolved">Twitch</a> sensation, has managed to match that number in half the time. </p><p>Jesse Rapczak, the co-founder of Studio Wildcard and&nbsp;co-creative director of Ark, credits a number of factors for the game's success, and it's no surprise that the&nbsp;dinos are top of the list. "[With] the timing of Jurassic World, dinosaurs are really big right now, so that [release timing] was kind of intentional. We wanted to be out and be the biggest dinosaur game around summertime," he said. The proximity to the Steam Summer Sale was a big help too, even though the game was only featured for a single day.</p><p>But the real secret of its success, he said, is simple word of mouth. "A lot of people have been streaming the game during this time, it seems like it's a very streamable game. People have a lot of fun, they're doing all sorts of stuff in the game, and I think that's kept it at the top of people's playlists. They see a lot of their friends doing fun stuff in the game when they're playing together," he continued. "That's really one of the things we designed the game for, with our tribe system, and I think a lot of people sharing the news of the game and sharing all the fun they're having has helped the world spread."</p><p>Doug Kennedy, Studio Wildcard's vice president of business development, said the developers make a point of engaging with the Ark community as often, and as extensively, as possible. "This is probably the cheesiest comment you're going to hear, but it kind of is the community's game, because we do have so many people in the forums listening to what the community is saying, and hearing what people are requesting," he explained. "That's taken to heart, and I think the development team really hears what's being said. If somebody likes something, we're going to try to make sure we get it in the game, and if they don't like things, we're going to try to find a way to fix that."</p><p>Interestingly, the ugly failure of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-stomping-lands-dinosaur-modeler-gives-up-moves-to-a-new-game/">The Stomping Lands</a>, which raised $114,000 on Kickstarter and then fell apart, also proved to be a boon of sorts. Rapczak said Studio Wildcard initially worried that people would be wary of another "Early Access dinosaur game," but that concern passed fairly quickly as disappointed Stomping Lands supporters began to embrace Ark.</p><p>He also made the point that while Ark appears at first blush to be similar to Rust, there are actually quite a number of elements that differentiate it. "We're very careful to call Ark an 'open world adventure game,' because it's not just about survival. And I don't think it's a very deep comparison [with Rust], to be honest. Ark has a lot of solo play that's available and that will become more available over Early Access. There's a lot of adventure and discovery in the game, attaining creatures and creating pets and having that AI that's in the game with you. I think it's a little bit of a deeper experience than a lot of the survival games that are out there right now."</p><p>"One of the reasons that this game is different from other survival games is that it really encourages cooperation and exploration," Kennedy added. "A lot of the other survival games out there aren't really aimed at cooperating. They're really aimed at solo survival skills, where with this game, you can do a lot of things with a village or a tribe or a group that you just can't do alone."</p><p>Studio Wildcard said big things are coming to Ark over the next couple of months, including a new Swamp biome planned for July, and then a Snow biome that will turn roughly a quarter of the map into a wintry snowscape. More dinosaurs are coming too, and in fact two new aquatic creatures, the Plesiosaurus and the Ichthysaurus, joined the Ark menagerie yesterday. More immediately, however, the developers are joining us (in the form of digital dino-wrangler Tom Marks) for an hour or two of streaming later today. You can watch that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/were-playing-ark-survival-evolved-with-co-creator-jesse-rapczak" target="_blank">right here</a> starting at 10:30am PDT.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ei_QTQl8QMKD.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M2RuVp9Lt5kk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ark: Survival Evolved Plesiosaur"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7XpHrh51TfKI.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pSJhizZbp6r0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ark: Survival Evolved Ichthywhateverthefuck"></p> The case against random hero selection in ranked Dota 2http://www.pcgamer.com/the-case-against-random-hero-selection-in-ranked-dota-2/Should Valve remove the random option from solo ranked matchmaking?Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-case-against-random-hero-selection-in-ranked-dota-2/Dota 2MOBAThree Lane HighwayValve <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ubzmK8pkR_uW.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/w9zYDJeeVyHq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rubick Augur"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Three Lane Highway</h5> <p> Every week, Chris documents his complex ongoing relationship with Dota 2, Smite, and wizards in general. The art above comes from the <a href="http://dota2.gamepedia.com/Garb_of_the_Cunning_Augur">Garb of the Cunning Augur</a> set for Rubick by Es'Kophan. </p> </div><p> The most significant difference between the majority of Dota 2's traditional&nbsp;game modes lies in the way you pick your character. Drafting is an essential part of the game, and opting in to different methods of drafting is a way of determining what kind of experience you want to have. I've written before about there being different Dotas for different players, and this is the most obvious way this manifests. If you play a lot of Single or Random Draft then your experience is fundamentally different to somebody who plays a lot of Captain's Mode&mdash;and so on.</p><p> Over time, Valve and Icefrog have made multiple tweaks to the way that All Pick works. They've adjusted the amount of time for picks and the amount of gold you lose if you fail to choose. When 6.82 launched last September, Valve acknowledged that ranked All Pick should work differently to unranked: they added a 'strategy period' to the beginning, enforced an alternating pick system, and increased the punishment for idling. Since then, the two variants of All Pick have amounted to (very subtly) different game modes.</p><p> I'd argue that these changes didn't go quite far enough. I've been playing a bunch of solo ranked again recently, and I'm struggling to come up with a reason why players should have the option to random their hero.</p><p> It's a fine idea in principle, and it works in regular All Pick (and in team ranked, for that matter&mdash;what I have to say really applies to solo games.) Randoming is a form of gambling that adds a degree of luck and chance to the drafting process&mdash;it can go well or disastrously and responding to your fortunes one way or another is an interesting strategic challenge.</p><p> This is fine if everybody involved agrees to it, but I don't think I've ever seen somebody say 'do you guys mind if I random' in solo ranked. Ever. It doesn't happen&mdash;what does happen is that someone loads in, immediately randoms, and then the five strangers they're matched with try to work around it. Or they don't try to work around it, and you end up with double mids or no support or no carries and the next forty minutes becomes an exercise in defying the mathematical likelihood that the game was lost before you started.</p><p> There's a lot of ways that solo players can make selfish decisions in the draft that screw their teammates&mdash;locking mid without any discussion, and so on. That stuff's unavoidable. In those cases, however, it usually stems from a player wanting to do something that will ultimately favour them in the match. Maybe they're insta-picking Queen of Pain because they're great with her. Even if they're wrong, the decision&nbsp;comes from a position of 'I want to win this game' and that's ultimately positive.</p><p> Randoming exposes players to huge risk&mdash;that they'll get a terrible hero, or a hero that they're terrible with, or a hero that requires somebody else to pick something to accompany it that they might not be happy to play (random Io being a good example of this.) Randoming doesn't express the desire to win the game&mdash;it expresses the desire to leave it substantially up to chance.</p><p> This is really bad for a competitive team game. The last thing Dota 2 needs is a 'screw everybody else on my team' button, and often that's what the random option amounts to. It's different in a one vs. one game&mdash;StarCraft comes to mind&mdash;because the time and energy that the player is gambling with is there own. Being able to random in solo ranked amounts to gambling with four other people's time too. I'd argue that Valve should do everything they can to reduce the amount that individual players can ruin games for other people. With this in mind, I don't think the random option has a place in solo ranked games.</p><p> <em style="background-color: initial;">To read more Three Lane Highway, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">click here</a>.</em></p> Watch a Dishonored player destroy the final level in stylehttp://www.pcgamer.com/watch-a-dishonored-player-destroy-the-final-level-in-style/Murder never looked so good.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:17:22 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-a-dishonored-player-destroy-the-final-level-in-style/ArkaneDishonoredNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5yjescToSzq4.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kFZvnc3LQUgi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dishonored" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p><em style="background-color: initial;">Spoilers for the final level of Dishonored, natch.</em></p><p>About a month ago, we posted StealthGamerBR's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-a-dishonored-player-make-short-work-of-dauds-assassins/" target="_blank">absurd takedown</a> of Daud's forces in Dishonored's Flooded District mission. Now, we get to see similar treatment of the game's last level. There's blood for the blood god, limbs for the limb god, bullets for the bullet god, and plenty of other creative killings performed in worship of their respective deities, probably.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4Ud_Yn_xHXg?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>And hey, while we're here, let's also post this other high-chaos stealth montage from a few weeks ago.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AEwQdwLO6vk?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>And... Actually, here's a link to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/StealthGamerBR/videos" target="_blank">StealthGamerBR's&nbsp;channel</a>, featuring plenty of cool murder montages and&nbsp;a gratifying lack of&nbsp;unbearably smug commentary. Good work, person who is much better at games than me.</p> Star Wars: Battlefront alpha details and videos leak all over the internethttp://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront-alpha-details-and-videos-leak-all-over-the-internet/EA had better fetch a mop.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:50:57 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront-alpha-details-and-videos-leak-all-over-the-internet/FPSNewsStar Wars Battlefront <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_QJ370F_TbS6.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_IAIku_vId2c.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars Battlefront"> </p> <p> Star Wars Battlefront closed alpha testing begins today. The way we know this is that videos of the upcoming shooter&nbsp;have leaked&nbsp;all over everywhere, despite EA's best efforts to mop up the resulting mess. </p> <p> Here, for instance, via the cheeky scamps at&nbsp; <a href="http://www.allgamesbeta.com/2015/07/star-wars-battlefront-alpha-leaked.html" target="_blank">All Games Beta</a>, are a few such videos: </p> <iframe frameborder="0" width="560" height="315" src="//www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x2wbbse" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> <iframe frameborder="0" width="560" height="315" src="//www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x2wbcvb" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> <iframe frameborder="0" width="560" height="315" src="//www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x2wbefn" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> <br> <p> And here's one from YouTube: </p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TOi_16HcpQc?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> <p> Of course, all of these are liable to disappear at any moment, as EA does its best to control the flow of information. What they won't be able to remove is the details being mined and posted to places like&nbsp; <a href="http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1073555" target="_blank">NeoGAF</a>. There you can find lists of the weapons and vehicles included in the alpha. </p> <p> By the sounds of it, Twitch users&nbsp;attempting to stream the alpha are having their access revoked mid-broadcast&mdash;the publication of such footage being a breach of the NDA agreement that accompanies closed alpha acceptance. Those poor, poor Bothans. </p> Euro Truck Simulator 2 is expanding with new citieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/euro-truck-simulator-2-is-expanding-with-new-cities/Are you hungry for more Hungary?Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:06:28 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/euro-truck-simulator-2-is-expanding-with-new-cities/Euro Truck Simulator 2Newssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i8_Qa8ZoSaSa.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hZ841NqcaDSr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ets2 Hungary Update 006"></p><p>The world's&nbsp;best game about transporting wood shavings to Strasbourg is about to get a little bigger. As part of the upcoming 1.19 expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2, the&nbsp;Going East! expansion will gain two additional Hungarian cities.</p><p>Szeged and&nbsp;Pécs will be added to the Southern side of the country. You can see screenshots of the new areas below. As&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.scssoft.com/2015/07/territory-expansion-in-upcoming-ets2.html" target="_blank">explained on SCS blog</a>, "quite a few kilometers of new roads were created to provide good connection to the older section of the map.</p><p>Update 1.19 is currently in closed beta testing. No release date has been given, but a public test is expected soon.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zg5Y6pSuThSW.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3mmSP_3qX8a1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ets2 Hungary Update 002"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/g6KB9HZnTP20.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/v2zgLMhXwwHr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ets2 Hungary Update 003"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WwqQbGm2Qfil.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gpBO688xjzOa.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ets2 Hungary Update 004"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/omkJY8roRSKS.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6y-yEEjTPSPY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ets2 Hungary Update 001"></p> Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiv-heavensward-2/Final Fantasy XIV’s first expansion balances series tradition with fresh adventure.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:29:16 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiv-heavensward-2/Final Fantasy XIV: HeavenswardMMOReviewsSquare Enix <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5> <p> <strong>What is it?</strong> The first expansion of the formerly troubled, but now excellent, MMO.<br> <strong>Influenced by</strong> World of Warcraft<br> <strong>Reviewed on</strong> i5-3230 CPU, 8GM RAM<br> <strong>Play it on</strong> Core 2 Duo CPU, GeForce 8800 GPU, Radeon HD 4770<br> <strong>Alternatively</strong> Guild Wars 2<br> <strong>Copy protection</strong> Square Enix account<br> <strong>Expect To Pay</strong> £29.99 / $39.99<br> <strong>Publisher</strong> Square Enix<br> <strong>Developer</strong> Square Enix<br> <strong>Release date</strong> Out now<br> <strong>Multiplayer</strong> MMO<br> <strong>Link</strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://eu.finalfantasyxiv.com/heavensward/">Official site</a> </p> </div><p> There are a lot of expectations to live up to when your game bears the Final Fantasy name. They all need to have epic, twisting storylines, magical landscapes, and plenty of Moogles. It’s all part of the the series’ DNA. But despite possessing all of these things many still don’t consider the MMOs of the collection to be ‘proper’ Final Fantasy games. Those people are missing out.</p><p> FFXIV has long balanced the trappings of a traditional Final Fantasy game with the demands of the MMO format to great success (let’s forget about its very first iteration; A Realm Reborn erased all of that bad blood long ago). Its first expansion, Heavensward, adds a huge new section to the map of Eorzea, the power of flight and several new classes without tipping those finally balanced scales. Where TESO fails to&nbsp;marry the expectations of single-player&nbsp;Skyrim with a world filled with other people, FFXIV and its expansion succeed.</p><p>Taking you into the heart of the once sealed-off city of Ishgard, Heavensward opens on a solemn note. Given the pre-expansion revelations in the city of Ul’Dah that saw your friends in dire straits, it’s a fittingly frosty start, but to see it you’ll have to have complete the main questline of A Realm Reborn and all of its subsequent patches first. It will take you a while if you’re starting as a completely new player, but the journey is well worth it, and boosts can help first timers level-up quickly and cut dungeon queue times. Unless you really want to play as the new scaley Au Ra race, you can wait until you’re ready before spending your cents on Heavensward.</p><p> The new areas are vast and designed to take full advantage of the new flying mounts. Camps pepper the snow-besieged hills of Western Coerthas, while the Sea of Clouds swims with tiny Islands waiting to be explored. It’s a real shame that you can’t take advantage of that flight-based design straight away though. You’re stuck on foot until you unlock all of the aether currents in any given area to ‘learn’ what the surrounding winds are like. Some are dotted around the hills and obscure high points, while others are unlocked during quests. It does start to feel dull as you run from one end of the map to the other doing classic MMO busywork&mdash;slaying five Bandersnatches here, setting three chocobo traps there&mdash;but once you get them all and you finally take flight all of that tedium is forgotten. Taking to the skies is glorious: the trees of the Chocobo forest and the fluorescent pompoms of the Churning Mists make for splendid spectacle. Flying makes even the most mundane of delivery quests a real joy.</p><p> The fighting is equally grand. The new classes&mdash;gun-toting Machinist, sword-wielding Dark Knight and globe-spinning Astrologian&mdash;add a nice mix to party line-ups, as do the new skills for the existing classes that accompany the level cap rise to 60. With every new move comes a new layer of strategy to consider. While many players are still finding their feet over what works best in any given situation, it’s the newfound sense of greater choice that’s most exhilarating. Currently Dark Knights, with their ability to heroically leap ahead into battle, seem to be winning in the popularity stakes. I don’t tend to play defensive classes, but I can see the appeal of swinging a greatsword in people’s faces, dark magic emanating from my body in a weirdly stylish fashion.</p><p> Instances have gone from bare-bones ‘punch the boss until it falls over before getting the next bit of story’ affairs, to multi-part stages filled with tension and purpose. Early on in the Heavensward story you&nbsp;return to the dungeons of halatali for a rescue mission (no spoilers), but instead of having to face the full gamut of obstacles, a section of it has been cordoned off and filled with new challenges for you and your AI partners to complete. It’s a simple but effective twist, that gives all of your sword-swinging actions a greater sense of impact on the story.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jyTkAr1sSbed.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/L-NWvhRzzKsO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ffxiv 4"></p><p> The new dungeons are all welcome additions, each adding further environmental twists. Instead of smacking mobs into submission and then moving on, there are now dragons changing the field with their burning breath, or secret passageways hidden behind bookshelves to contend with. It’s the little changes like this to an already successful formula that keep the new dungeons fresh.</p><p> There’s a lot on offer here, and while I sunk over 40 hours into the main story line I have yet to see the end of it. The amount of new things to do on offer is equal to that of the base game, which is a huge feat for an expansion, and there’s still plenty more on the way. The new Alexander Raid is yet to be added, and substantial updates have been promised further along the line to keep adding to the story.</p><p> If you already play FFXIV then Heavensward gives you even more of what you know and love. For those that have been eyeing up those chocobos from the sidelines, well, there’s no escaping the catching up you’ll have to do, but that shouldn’t put you off. The base game has changed a lot over the last year and has effectively transformed itself into the ultimate Final Fantasy themepark. Even if you don’t know your Tonberrys from your Cactuars it’s well worth playing for the sheer variety of adventures on offer. Now is definitely the time to get involved.</p> Kerbal Space Program gets second official modhttp://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-gets-second-official-mod/Asteroid Day mod has you do strange things with telescope.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:10:46 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-gets-second-official-mod/Kerbal Space ProgramNewssimSquad <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NkWOZtCoRUaw.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S6R_Y8rcC-GD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Kerbal Asteroid Day"></p><p>Yes, I know. This is <em>old</em>. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.curse.com/ksp-mods/kerbal/232196-asteroid-day" target="_blank">Asteroid Day official mod</a> for Kerbal Space Program was released for Asteroid Day, which was two whole days ago. As an act of contrition, I have consigned myself to the shame barrel. It is dark and damp in here.</p><p>Asteroid Day is a global awareness movement focused on protecting Earth from asteroid attacks, presumably because a lot of people saw the film Armageddon and&mdash;so moved were they&nbsp;by Bruce Willis's nuanced performance&mdash;their&nbsp;priorities were&nbsp;indelibly rewritten. In celebration for the day, and presumably because asteroids are a thing in space, the developers of Kerbal Space Program released a new official mod for their game.</p><p>The mod adds four new parts, a new experiment and a "unique contract". The contract is based around the B612 Foundation's planned&nbsp;<a href="http://sentinelmission.org/" target="_blank">Sentinel mission</a>. The job is to position&nbsp;a telescope around Eve’s orbit. "When deployed with an antenna and a power source between Eve and Kerbin, aligned to face away from the Sun, and activated," explain SQUAD,&nbsp;"the telescope will begin to map the orbit of the outer planet in a 200° vision cone for passing asteroids." Sounds like a piece of cake.</p><p>This is the second official mod for Kerbal Space Program. The first was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-official-mod-brings-the-world-cup-to-space/" target="_blank">based on&nbsp;the World Cup</a>.</p> Colonise earth and moon in Anno 2205http://www.pcgamer.com/anno-2205-preview/When medieval town-building turns into moon-mining.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/anno-2205-preview/Anno 2205Blue ByteEditors PicksStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ycc-k8LYTl2b.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2xaTr_Y1JXtc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Anno2205 Screen Overview E3 150615 4pmPST 1434360441"></p><p>Anno 2205 is from&nbsp;Ubisoft’s newest studio, BlueByte Mainz&mdash;however, BlueByte Mainz is&nbsp;also Related Designs, an old studio that’s worked on the Anno games since 1995. This is Ubisoft’s newest strategy sim&mdash;however, it’s also of the Anno series, and experimentation isn’t in its nature. This is a game about the future and a game of the past. </p><p>Anno 2205 follows directly on from the previous Anno, 2070, a futuristic city-builder damned by its appalling uPlay implementation. The setting is again the future, but another leap forward, with the moon once again within mankind’s grasp. The game has you as a corporate leader managing cities on both Earth and the moon. </p><p>Notably, Anno 2205 is focused on being ‘multi-session’ so players will gradually build cities all over the Earth and head to the moon to build outposts. All your resources&mdash;whether moon or Earth-based&mdash;can be traded between your cities, allowing for specialisation, like the new SimCity once promised. “This is the most believable game world that we think we’ve created so far.” says Dirk Riegert, Creative Director. </p><p>The world you build certainly looks very shiny&mdash;not as beautiful as the stylised tilt-shift of Cities: Skylines perhaps, but it has a love of detail all its own. There’s a rugged extremism to the seas rolling beneath sharp-cragged mountains and the virgin plains. That’s a welcome contrast to soulless modernity of its steel-and-glass housing, which could be straight out of the Richard Rogers school of architecture, and to the Usborne Futures design of its manufactories. The way construction bots are cast underground out of hot metal, the equatorial spaceport has a space elevator, desalination plants look like sea-surface flat turbines, flying cars are everywhere, and the Arks from Anno 2070 are being mined for their tech&mdash;it’s all nostalgically Arthur C. Clark. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fyVjyS6cQ-K-.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eu6kbsq63Njr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Anno2205 Screen MoonMaintenanceStation E3 150615 4pmPST 1434360429"></p><p>On the moon, there’s another visual language, all realistic and low-g, like the 1970s moon landings; the prefabs bunkers are squat, small and always low. The great mining engines scraping away at the regolith and KREEP for non-Earth minerals like Helium-3, are contrasted to the glassed-in hydroponics facilities, where racks of glossy plants rotate in a misty hothouse. Amidst them are field generators, top-heavy towers like sunflowers, to shield the buildings from the inevitable meteor impacts.</p><p>Those shield generators point to a big compromise, which makes the hard science-fiction man in me groan but which I completely understand; the decision that in the battle between science and gameplay, gameplay wins. “Of course, we try to combine it, to mix both aspects, but if we have to make a choice, it’s a game so gameplay comes first.” says Riegert. So, for example, unlike Cities: Skylines, the road traffic is just art and has no effect on the economy. Similarly, the studio has split the gameplay from Anno 2070, with street-based economies on earth and influence-area-based on the moon, so that the individual sessions are easier and layouts are more flexible. “That was a message from the players after 2070; they said that this was the maximum complexity that they could take.” </p><p>Notably, many of the factories and utilities in Anno are expensive to build, but modular and cheap to expand&mdash;for example, by adding another robot-pressing line. They can also be improved in a second way, by adding logistics support, robot workforce, or money-saving techniques, meaning their layout is extremely flexible. By contrast, very large structures, like bridges or dams, can only be built in particular locations.</p><p>Other sections hinted at wider specialisation&mdash;your company levels up as your population increases, facing off against other companies, and allowing you to progress up a tech tree&nbsp;which was a blank slate in the version we played. There were also two types of grayed-out maps visible on the Earth map that we weren’t allowed to play. I'm guessing that these are either a different biome, quest-oriented maps with specific events, or maps reintroducing the combat that’s currently conspicuous by its absence. Aside from the city-building, there are also wanderers on the Earth and Moon who give you quests but they weren’t implemented.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ayFu-9KeQqOP.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ia5M1jsINoCz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Anno2205 Screen PortArea E3 150615 4pmPST 1434360451"></p><p>Our only concern is the speed with which we completed the game’s main city-building content. I had a single hands-on session lasting barely an hour, with an alpha build and a pile of resources. Within that, we managed to build cities on the Earth and the moon at the highest level. Of course, quests, limited resources and varied landscapes will extend the lifespan, as they did for Banished, as will your own quest for perfection, but it’s a little worrying. </p><p>The Anno model was rather archaic before it made 2070’s brave leap into the future. 2205’s timeline jump isn’t as big, but its new mechanics are promising. I'm still not entirely sure why the numbers always add up to 9, but it certainly makes remembering the series easier - 1404, 1503, 1602, 1701, 0009&hellip;</p> Cities: Skylines dev will support game "as long as we possibly can"http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-dev-will-support-game-as-long-as-we-possibly-can/New stuff planned for Gamescom reveal.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:18:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-dev-will-support-game-as-long-as-we-possibly-can/Cities: SkylinesNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FCP6WM-WTfmW.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Bg-Wr_V6_rQc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cities19" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>It shouldn't be a surprise, given that it's sold over one million copies, but Cities: Skylines developer Colossal Order has pledged to support the game for "as long as we possibly and technically can while people enjoy playing."</p><p>In a huge&nbsp;<a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/cities-skylines-ceo-zombies-are-cool-but-leave-natural-disasters-to-us--1297846" target="_blank">TechRadar</a> interview,&nbsp;CEO Mariina Hallikainen talks about the overwhelming success of the Paradox-backed citybuilder, as well as the work undertaken by the community through mods.</p><p>In recognition of the game's support,&nbsp;Hallikainen explains that they won't move on to a sequel until it doesn't make sense to continue supporting last March's release.</p><p>"I think the point where we have to move on to a sequel is when the technology is in such a state that it doesn't make any sense to continue working on Cities: Skylines,"&nbsp;Hallikainen says. "I'm hoping that will be some years in the future because there's so many ideas we want to add to the game before going there."</p><p>As for what's next for the game, Hallikainen says, "We're going to be focusing on some great expansions and getting free updates out to generally improve the game. We're also very focused on improving the modding tools to allow them to do even cooler stuff."</p><p>More information is due out at Gamescom, this August. The game's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-patch-brings-30-new-buildings-and-pedestrian-tunnels/" target="_blank">most recent patch</a> brought new buildings and pedestrian tunnels.</p><p>Thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vg247.com/2015/07/02/cities-skylines-dev-to-continue-content-support-as-long-as-we-possibly-can/" target="_blank">VG247</a>.</p> Allison Road is a survival horror game influenced by P.T.http://www.pcgamer.com/allison-road-is-a-survival-horror-game-influenced-by-pt/Walk around a scary house, make scary things happen.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 04:44:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/allison-road-is-a-survival-horror-game-influenced-by-pt/HorrorNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fJUqf2FARqqx.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/G-a084lwNggk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 2.24.56 pm"></p><p>It wasn't long ago that everyone was mourning the death of "true" survival horror games, but the last&nbsp;couple of years have seen a huge, unexpected resurgence for the genre. P.T., a playable&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/del-toro-hits-out-at-konamis-scorched-earth-cancellation-of-silent-hills/">Silent Hills</a> teaser exclusive to PS4, has been&nbsp;among the highlights, and it looks like Allison Road is itching to follow in its footsteps. P.T. is no longer available on PS4, and Silent Hills is no longer in&nbsp;development, so it's a canny move on British studio&nbsp;Lilith Ltd's part to work on a game like this.</p><p>As the footage below demonstrates, Allison Road not only borrows the P.T. aesthetic, but it's also audacious enough to directly reference the former game. While the video shows&nbsp;"real gameplay", it doesn't spoil any actual events, and is intended only to convey the atmosphere of the game.</p><p>"At this point pretty much all of our core mechanics are in place, however, some actually didn't make the cut-off for the video," the YouTube description reads, naming the inventory system as still a work-in-progress.</p><p>This is only a pre-alpha prototype, but it's already looking good. It's long at 13 minutes, but make sure you watch until the end to see what all the fuss is about. No release window has been announced.</p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/__i_LoRKhJ0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Team Fortress 2 update ushers in contracts, new maps and morehttp://www.pcgamer.com/team-fortress-2-update-ushers-in-contracts-new-maps-and-more/Gun Mettle Campaign offers weapons in exchange for skill-based challenges.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 02:37:17 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/team-fortress-2-update-ushers-in-contracts-new-maps-and-more/FPSNewsTeam Fortress 2Valve <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8rFJxjj0T--t.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ph6wTLYTKXAx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 12.14.23 pm"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/team-fortress-2/">Team Fortress 2</a> is getting a substantial new&nbsp;update in the form of the Gun Mettle Campaign. The campaign will offer two&nbsp;contracts per week over a three month period, with each offering a new skill-based challenge. Examples include "get a kill with a reflected projectile as Pyro", or "survive 1000 damage in a single life as Heavy".&nbsp;</p><p>Completing contracts will grant campaign-exclusive weapons or an unlockable weapon case. These weapons will come in six grades of rarity but won't give you a competitive advantage, according to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/gunmettle/faq/">Gun Mettle Campaign FAQ</a>. Instead, each (and by 'each', I mean every single weapon assigned to every single player) will come with a unique paint job. If you don't like a weapon, you can sell it.&nbsp;</p><p>Access to the Gun Mettle Campaign will set you back $5.99. Some of the profits will go to the map creators responsible for maps featured in the contracts. These maps, which come in the form of Borneo, Suijin and Snowplow, as well as the new Valve-built map Powerhouse, will roll out free for anyone not partaking in the Gun Mettle Campaign. More info&nbsp;<a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/gunmettle/faq/">over here</a>.</p> Cities: Skylines patch brings 30 new buildings and pedestrian tunnelshttp://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-patch-brings-30-new-buildings-and-pedestrian-tunnels/Update may affect installed mods.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 01:26:25 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-patch-brings-30-new-buildings-and-pedestrian-tunnels/Cities: SkylinesNewsParadox InteractivesimStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bkD7YP-uQPqP.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wNsHXlZGz1uG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cities Skylines"></p><p>A new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines/">Cities: Skylines</a> patch brings 30 new buildings, pedestrian tunnels, better auto-save functionality and a tonne of bug fixes, according to an announcement on the&nbsp;<a href="https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/30-new-buildings-auto-save-train-fix-more-1-1-1b-is-here.867193/">Paradox website</a>. The patch addresses a bunch of mod-related bugs, which means some installed mods will be affected until their creators have made a few adjustments.&nbsp;</p><p>The bug fixes include trains no longer getting stuck on map borders, de-zoned areas no longer magically re-zoning themselves, and a long list of more subtle fixes. It's also possible to unsubscribe from all mods at once now, which will come in handy as modders work to fix their wares to accommodate the new patch.&nbsp;</p><p>"Due to some improvements with how mod-specific options are displayed in-game a fair amount of popular mods will be incompatible with 1.1.1b," the post&nbsp;<a href="https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/30-new-buildings-auto-save-train-fix-more-1-1-1b-is-here.867193/">reads</a>.&nbsp;"We recommend using the steam launch options <em style="background-color: initial;">"-disableMods"</em> and <em style="background-color: initial;">"-noWorkshop" </em>until the mod creators have done the necessary, albeit very small, changes. More info on what needs to be done by our modders can be found <a href="https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/small-changes-on-modding-api-in-the-upcoming-update.866737/">here</a>."</p><p>The full patch notes are&nbsp;<a href="https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/30-new-buildings-auto-save-train-fix-more-1-1-1b-is-here.867193/">over here</a>. In the meantime, why not check out some of the most&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-worst-places-to-live-in-cities-skylines/">hellish cities ever created in Cities: Skyline</a>, or see what happens when you build a city&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-strange-tale-of-a-cities-skylines-town-with-only-one-house/">with only one house</a>.&nbsp;</p> Shenmue 3 will see the return of classic Ryo voice actorhttp://www.pcgamer.com/shenmue-3-will-see-the-return-of-classic-ryo-voice-actor/He'll also record a message for you, at a price.Thu, 02 Jul 2015 00:35:52 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/shenmue-3-will-see-the-return-of-classic-ryo-voice-actor/AdventureKickstarterNewsShenmue 3 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/F1THHwJSQBS2.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OkiwF7RpsTEq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Shenmue 3 Slide"></p><p>Despite earning over $3 million on Kickstarter,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/shenmue-3/">Shenmue 3</a> is still an unknown quantity. Creator&nbsp;Yu Suzuki said recently that the&nbsp;game will need&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/shenmue-3-needs-10-million-to-truly-have-the-features-of-an-open-world/">much more than $3 million</a> to be a full modern imagining of the original series, and up to $10 million for it to take place in a fully-featured open world. It's hard to know what the game will be if it falls short of those goals, but one thing is now certain:&nbsp;Corey Marshall,&nbsp;the original Western voice actor for the first and second instalments, is returning for the new one.</p><p>That's good news for Shenmue fans, but it's also a new way for the studio to attract funding for the project. "Corey is as excited for Shenmue's return as we all are, and to help out, he has magnanimously offered his voice for a special reward," the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ysnet/shenmue-3/posts/1280725">Kickstarter update announced</a>. That special reward involves a personally recorded message from Ryo himself, but it'll set you back $1,000.</p><p>The crowdfunding campaign has proven beyond doubt that there's demand for a Shenmue return, but why? If, like me, you don't understand the phenomenon at all, Andy Kelly makes&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-im-excited-about-shenmue-3/">a good case for it</a>.&nbsp;</p> Humble Borderlands Bundle gets even biggerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/humble-borderlands-bundle-gets-even-bigger/Five more add-ons have been added on to the Humble Borderlands Bundle.Wed, 01 Jul 2015 23:57:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/humble-borderlands-bundle-gets-even-bigger/BorderlandsFPSGearbox SoftwareHumble BundleNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eDxNyOrLSEqq.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/T7DkTbGwVLkq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Borderlands 2"></p><p>The original <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-new-humble-bundle-heads-for-the-borderlands/">Humble Borderlands Bundle</a> was an impressive collection of Borderlands to begin with, featuring the original game and three add-ons for whatever you want to pay, plus Borderlands 2 and three of its add-ons for beating the average purchase price. Now, as promised, there's more.</p><p>The additional content is all included at the "beat the average" level, which at the moment is just north of $7. At that price (or anything higher), it will also come with the Claptrap's Robot Revolution DLC for Borderlands, and the four Headhunter packs for Borderlands 2: Bloody Harvest, Wattle Gobbler, Mercenary Day, and Wedding Day Massacre. I'm no expert on Borderlands, but I think by now we must be getting pretty close to "everything."</p><p>The Humble Bundlers make a point of not disclosing how the money it takes in is divided up, but with the Borderlands bundle having raised well over $1.4 million so far, it has to be good news for the National Videogame Museum, the charity it supports. The bundle will remain on sale until July 7 at <a href="https://www.humblebundle.com/">humblebundle.com</a>.</p> Hardware report card: Nvidia vs AMDhttp://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/We rate the strengths and weaknesses of the GPU giantsto help you decide whichgraphics cards to get.Wed, 01 Jul 2015 23:07:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/AMDgraphics cardHardwareNvidia <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/o565U-EBQYGb.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ff79AWJwmQXo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia vs AMD card funnier"></p><p>The AMD R9 Fury X is here, marking the first time since 2013 that both AMD and Nvidia have had new, competitive GPU hardware out at the same time. The GTX 980 Ti and the Radeon R9 Fury X are both priced at $650 and aimed at high-end 1440p and 4K gaming. The Fury X represents a huge release for AMD, while Nvidia’s been releasing a steady stream of Maxwell graphics cards since late 2014. Against that backdrop, we thought it was time for a check-in: where do AMD and Nvidia stand right now, where are they going, and most importantly, whose graphics cards should you buy?</p><p> First off, neither company deserves your abiding loyalty. Don’t blindly follow AMD or Nvidia from one graphics card release to the next, singing their praises over the competition. It should go without saying that you should head where the best product is. And when we’re talking graphics cards, the best product isn’t just about hardware. It's about driver performance and updates. It's about software and exclusive features. And it's about the accessories that work with those graphics cards, like G-Sync and FreeSync monitors.</p><p>In this feature I've&nbsp;taken a look at each of these areas and graded AMD and Nvidia on how they stand right now. Here are the categories; click a link to jump to the page in question.</p><hr> <h4>Report card table of contents</h4><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/">The graphics cards</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-2">Graphics driver updates and performance</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-3">Graphics driver software</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-4">Exclusive features: Gameworks and TressFX</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-5">FreeSync vs. G-Sync</a></p><hr> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YcZ0MvmpR1ed.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pa0dDev70gM9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Amd R9 Fury X Side"></p><h2>The graphics cards</h2><p> It can be tough to keep track of every card in the GPU market. Here are the ones you should know about right now, divided into some rough performance tiers. I’ll talk about how Nvidia and AMD cards match up in&nbsp;performance and price beneath each chart.</p><h3>High-end</h3> <div> <table> <colgroup><col><col><col><col></colgroup> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong> Specs </strong></td> <td><strong> R9 Fury X </strong></td> <td><strong>GTX&nbsp;980 Ti </strong></td> <td><strong>GTX&nbsp;Titan X </strong></td> <td><strong>GTX&nbsp;980</strong> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> VRAM </td> <td> 4GB HBM </td> <td> 6GB GDDR5 </td> <td> 12GB GDDR5 </td> <td> 4GB GDDR5 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Stream processors/CUDA </td> <td> 4096 </td> <td> 2816 </td> <td> 3072 </td> <td> 2048 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Base clock </td> <td> 1050 MHz </td> <td> 1000 MHz </td> <td> 1000 MHz </td> <td> 1126 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Boost clock </td> <td> 1050 MHz </td> <td> 1075 MHz </td> <td> 1075 MHz </td> <td> 1216 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Memory clock </td> <td> 500 MHz (1 GHz effective) </td> <td> 1750 MHz (7GHz effective) </td> <td> 1750 MHz (7GHz effective) </td> <td> 1750 MHz (7GHz effective) </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Memory bandwidth </td> <td> 512 GB/s </td> <td> 336 GB/s </td> <td> 336 GB/s </td> <td> 224 GB/s </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Texture units </td> <td> 256 </td> <td> 176 </td> <td> 192 </td> <td> 128 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> ROP units </td> <td> 64 </td> <td> 96 </td> <td> 96 </td> <td> 64 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Compute </td> <td> 8.6 TFLOPS </td> <td> 5.6 TFLOPS </td> <td> 6.14 TFLOPS </td> <td> 4.6TFLOPS </td> </tr> <tr> <td> TDP </td> <td> 375W </td> <td> 250W </td> <td> 250W</td> <td>165W</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Price </td> <td> $650 </td> <td> $650 </td> <td> $1000 </td> <td> $500 </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div> <table> <colgroup><col><col></colgroup> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong> Specs </strong></td> <td><strong> R9 390X </strong></td> <td><strong> R9 295X2</strong> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> VRAM </td> <td> 8GB </td> <td> 4GB x 2 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Stream processors/CUDA </td> <td> 2816 </td> <td> 2816 x2 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Base clock </td> <td> 1050 MHz </td> <td> 1018 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Boost clock </td> <td> 1050 MHz </td> <td> 1018 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Memory clock </td> <td> 1500 MHz </td> <td> 1250 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Memory bandwidth </td> <td> 384 GB/s </td> <td> 320 GB/s x 2 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Texture units </td> <td> 176 </td> <td> 176 x2 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> ROP units </td> <td> 64 </td> <td> 64 x2 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Compute </td> <td> 5.9 TFLOPS </td> <td> 11.5 TFLOPS </td> </tr> <tr> <td> TDP </td> <td> 275W </td> <td> 500W </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Price </td> <td> $429 </td> <td> $630 </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div><p>AMD releasing the R9 Fury X at $650 was an aggressive move, matching the 980 Ti at the high-end. The Fury X’s power usage is right in line with the 980 Ti, which is a great improvement over AMD’s last generation of cards. And it comes very close on performance, but not quite close enough for us to recommend it over the 980 Ti. Improved drivers may give the Fury X a performance edge, but currently it’s lacking overclocking potential and frametime consistency, and the 4GB of memory is going to be a limitation in future games. <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/amd-radeon-fury-x-review/">As our colleagues at Maximum PC summarized</a>, “Fury X looks great on paper, but it needs fine-tuning and drivers to realize its potential.”</p><p> The 980 Ti, meanwhile, is a much smarter buy than the more expensive Titan X, offering very similar performance for $450 less. The 6GB framebuffer is ample for most of today’s games even at 4K, and by the time you’re actually using 12GB of VRAM, you’ll probably want a newer, faster card than the Titan X. The other extremely high-end option is AMD’s R9 295X2, a dual-GPU card that can still slightly outperform the mighty Titan X, and now costs only $630. That’s a ton of performance for the price, but it has drawbacks. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-geforce-gtx-titan-x-review/">As we covered in our Titan X review</a>, the dual-GPU 295X2 posts lower minimum framerates with some severe frametime stuttering problems (you can see better evidence of this&nbsp;<a href="http://techreport.com/review/28513/amd-radeon-r9-fury-x-graphics-card-reviewed/8">at The Tech Report</a>), draws huge amounts of power, and needs some serious cooling to stay operational. It’s a beast of a card, but from an efficiency standpoint, the 980 Ti and Titan X are better buys.</p><p> Finally, we’ve got the GTX 980 and the R9 390X. AMD’s new 300 series cards are actually refreshes of the previous 200 series graphics cards, using the same GPU technology. The GPUs are old, but AMD has made some tweaks, including adding memory up to 8GB on the 390X (and the 390, which we’ve put in the mid-range category) and clocked that memory 20 percent faster than the otherwise very similar 290X. GPU clocks are also up a bit, and&nbsp;AMD's also done some under-the-hood tweaking to power management and done work on the driver side to improve performance over the 200 series.</p><p><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/sapphire-amd-tri-x-r9-390x-review/">As Maximum PC’s review of the 390X shows</a>, the card comes close to the GTX 980’s performance, as the 290X did before it...but the GTX 980 is a much stronger overclocker, while running quiet and drawing far less power.</p><p> The 390X is priced aggressively, and the 8GB of VRAM is a nice touch, but it’s hard to say how valuable it will be. The 390X is definitely a card better suited to high-end 1080p and 1440p gaming than 4K gaming, where that extra memory is especially valuable. You could save even more money by buying an older 290X with 4GB of memory if you’re gaming at 1080p.</p><p> While we don’t know what Nvidia cards will be coming to market in the next six months, we do know that AMD has the R9 Fury coming in July, which is $100 cheaper than the Fury X. They’re the same cards, but the Fury is air-cooled instead of liquid cooled. There’s also the small form-factor Fury Nano, and a dual-GPU Fury, coming in the fall. Those cards will give AMD a much stronger line-up, and at $100 cheaper than the 980 Ti, the R9 Fury will potentially be a great high-end buy.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AWHFyCGsTniE.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OvSYYfIY96Lz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970"></p><h3>Mid-range</h3> <div> <table> <colgroup><col><col></colgroup> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong> Specs </strong></td> <td><strong> GTX 970 </strong></td> <td><strong> R9 390</strong> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> VRAM </td> <td> 4GB (3.5GB full bus-speed) </td> <td> 8GB </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Stream processors/CUDA </td> <td> 1664 </td> <td> 2560 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Base clock </td> <td> 1005 MHz </td> <td> 1000 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Boost clock </td> <td> 1178 MHz </td> <td> 1000 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Memory clock </td> <td> 1750 MHz </td> <td> 1500 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Memory bandwidth </td> <td> 196 GB/s (3.5GB)28 GB/s (512MB) </td> <td> 384 GB/s </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Texture units </td> <td> 104 </td> <td> 160 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> ROP units </td> <td> 56 </td> <td> 64 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Compute </td> <td> 4 TFLOPS </td> <td> 5.1TFLOPS </td> </tr> <tr> <td> TDP </td> <td> 145W </td> <td> 275W </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Price </td> <td> $330 </td> <td> $329 </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div><p><br> AMD matched the price of the GTX 970 with its R9 390, which, like the rest of the 300 series, is a slightly tweaked version of the older 200 series cards with 8GB of VRAM. Its core clock is a bit higher, and its memory clock is increased 20 percent.</p><p> Price-wise, 8GB of VRAM at $330 is a hell of a bargain. Still, the GTX 970 vs. the 390 is pretty much the same as the GTX 970 vs. the 290: it’s going to win on overclocking, volume and power efficiency with slightly better performance. And neither card is suited to 4K gaming, which is where more VRAM is especially valuable. The GTX 970 is the better card, though it’s possible that, two years from now, its 3.5GB of full-speed memory will be a limiting factor in memory-hungry games.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2jYv18wHQA-z.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HoprAFqmd7Xx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sapphire R7 370"></p><h3>Low-end</h3> <br> <div> <table> <colgroup><col><col><col><col></colgroup> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong> Specs</strong></td> <td><strong> GTX 960 </strong></td> <td><strong> R9 380 </strong></td> <td><strong> R7 370 </strong></td> <td><strong> R7 360</strong> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> VRAM </td> <td> 2GB / 4GB </td> <td> 2GB / 4GB </td> <td> 2GB / 4GB </td> <td> 2GB </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Stream processors/CUDA </td> <td> 1024 </td> <td> 1792 </td> <td> 1024 </td> <td> 768 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Base clock </td> <td> 1127 MHz </td> <td> 970 MHz </td> <td> 975 MHz </td> <td> 768 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Boost clock </td> <td> 1178 MHz </td> <td> 970 MHz </td> <td> 975 MHz </td> <td> 768 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Memory clock </td> <td> 1752 MHz </td> <td> 1375 MHz / 1425 MHz </td> <td> 1400 MHz </td> <td> 1625 MHz </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Memory bandwidth </td> <td> 112 GB/s </td> <td> 182.4 GB/s </td> <td> 179.2 GB/s </td> <td> 104 GB/s </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Texture units </td> <td> 64 </td> <td> 112 </td> <td> 34 </td> <td> 48 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> ROP units </td> <td> 32 </td> <td> 32 </td> <td> 32 </td> <td> 16 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Compute </td> <td> 2.3 TFLOPS </td> <td> 3.48 TFLOPS </td> <td> 2 TFLOPS </td> <td> 1.61 TFLOPS </td> </tr> <tr> <td> TDP </td> <td> 120W </td> <td> 190W </td> <td> 110W </td> <td> 100W </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Price </td> <td> $199 / $240 </td> <td> <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/7744002/type/dlg/http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&amp;N=100007709%20600565502&amp;IsNodeId=1&amp;bop=And&amp;Order=PRICE&amp;PageSize=30">$199 / $220</a> </td> <td> <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/7744002/type/dlg/http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&amp;N=100007709%20600565503&amp;IsNodeId=1&amp;bop=And&amp;Order=PRICE&amp;PageSize=30">$149 / $180</a> </td> <td> <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/7744002/type/dlg/http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&amp;N=100007709%20600565501&amp;IsNodeId=1&amp;bop=And&amp;Order=PRICE&amp;PageSize=30">$109</a> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div><p> In the realm of cheaper graphics cards, AMD overwhelms Nvidia with options. The GTX 960 is a good card, and its Maxwell GPU will draw less power than the AMD GPUs while delivering much better performance than the R7 370 and 360, which are very much budget cards. The R9 380 outperforms it by about 5 - 10 fps, <a href="http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-radeon-r9-390x-r9-380-r7-370,4178-6.html">according to Tom’s Hardware’s tests</a>, though the GTX 960 can close some of that gap by overclocking.</p><p> Thankfully, there are 4GB versions of both the GTX 960 and the R9 380, which we’d recommend: 2GB of VRAM just isn’t enough these days. The R9 380 is a strong performer for its price, and the better bargain overall, though for a budget build, you may need a stronger power supply than you’d buy for a GTX 960 setup.</p><h4> <strong>Nvidia: A</strong></h4><p><strong></strong>Nvidia’s Maxwell GPU is power efficient and fantastically overclockable, with a hard-to-beat option in each pricing tier.</p><h4> <strong>AMD: B</strong></h4><p><strong></strong>The new Fury X is strong, but the rest of AMD’s aging, rebranded cards are outmatched against the more efficient Nvidia GPUs, though priced well. AMD’s Fury cards coming in the fall may help level the field.</p><hr> <h4>Report card table of contents</h4><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/">The graphics cards</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-2">Graphics driver updates and performance</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-3">Graphics driver software</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-4">Exclusive features: Gameworks and TressFX</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-5">FreeSync vs. G-Sync</a></p><h2><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3O7xU4oDRJuK.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZWDmDk8lsDdC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X SLI"></p></h2><h2>Graphics driver updates and performance</h2><p>I remember buying a $2000 laptop in 2006 with grand designs: its AMD processor and ATI GPU would be powerful enough to play games that the average laptop would choke on. And I also remember the neverending nightmare that dealing with drivers for that graphics card turned out to be: I eventually had to go to third-party drivers to get the laptop to play nice with my TV. Drivers were a problem for ATI a decade ago, and they still seem to be a problem for AMD today.</p><p>As our colleagues at Maximum PC <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/amd-radeon-fury-x-review/">pointed out in their Fury X review</a>, Nvidia released 10 WHQL GameReady drivers in 2014 and has released eight in the first half of 2015. AMD released four in 2014, and hasn’t released a single one since December. AMD does put out beta driver releases roughly once per month, but they can and should do better about optimizing for new game releases and getting those out to all gamers, not just the ones seeking out beta releases.</p><p>Nvidia’s GameReady drivers aren’t guaranteed to offer great performance for a new game. Sometimes performance improves significantly in driver releases post-launch, and sometimes those launch-day drivers have issues with SLI performance or other graphical features. But Nvidia is better than ever at frequently updating its drivers, which means those launch problems are less frequent and fixed more quickly. Nvidia has also worked hard in recent years to improve driver support for multi-GPU SLI setups.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wefWtOSCRual.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Hc-PsuIEQYkh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia Geforce Experience Driver"></p><p>When The Witcher 3 was released, some Nvidia card owners pointed out that the game performed poorly on 700 series Kepler GPUs, and that Nvidia was deliberately crippling Kepler’s performance to push sales of its newer Maxwell cards. Afterwards, Nvidia released the 353.06 driver that delivered some performance improvements on Kepler cards. As for Nvidia sabotaging Kepler’s performance over time, it’s hard to find any real evidence of that, and that assumption ignores the incredible complexity of modern games, the millions of lines of code that go into making drivers compatible with a vast array of games and hardware, and the changes in GPU technology that make newer hardware more efficient at certain tasks. From what we’ve seen, Kepler performance has remained equivalent, or even improved slightly, with driver releases since 2013.</p><p>Frequent driver releases are important, but not as important as driver performance. While most benchmarks use average framerates as a guide to a graphics card’s general performance, minimum framerates and frametimes tell a story that’s just as important: how smooth or stuttery a game’s going to be. And this is where AMD’s drivers fall short.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Frame-Rating-Dissected-Full-Details-Capture-based-Graphics-Performance-Test-5">When PCPer first explored the importance of measuring frametimes</a>, it showed that AMD’s cards (particularly in CrossFire) posted far more varied frametimes than Nvidia’s. Things aren’t as bad today, but even the brand new R9 Fury X is struggling to produce even, consistent frametimes. <a href="http://techreport.com/review/28513/amd-radeon-r9-fury-x-graphics-card-reviewed/7">Check out TechReport’s detailed benchmarks</a> to see how AMD’s flagship card compares to the much smoother 980 Ti and Titan X.</p><p>Their conclusion: “the Fury X struggles to live up to its considerable potential. Unfortunate slowdowns in games like The Witcher 3 and Far Cry 4 drag the Fury X's overall score below that of the less expensive GeForce GTX 980. What's important to note in this context is that these scores aren't just numbers. They mean that you'll generally experience smoother gameplay in 4K with a $499 GeForce GTX 980 than with a $649 Fury X. Our seat-of-the-pants impressions while play-testing confirm it. The good news is that we've seen AMD fix problems like these in the past with driver updates, and I don't doubt that's a possibility in this case. There's much work to be done, though.”</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VvDt845JRb-E.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uD6utJ2Czyxz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="AMD Catalyst Omega header"></p><p>AMD needs to improve both its frequency of driver releases and its frametime consistency to match Nvidia. Easier said than done, of course, because Nvidia has a huge army of software engineers working on its drivers. But until AMD improves in this area, drivers will continue to be a knock against buying its hardware.</p><h4><strong>Nvidia: A</strong></h4><p><strong></strong>Nvidia’s drivers aren’t always perfect, but they release new updates frequently, are on the ball for big game launches, and generally improve performance with new releases.</p><h4><strong>AMD: C</strong></h4><p><strong></strong>AMD’s drivers lag behind on performance, in general, and are also less frequently updated, which is especially problematic for game performance on launch day.</p><hr> <h4>Report card table of contents</h4><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/">The graphics cards</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-2">Graphics driver updates and performance</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-3">Graphics driver software</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-4">Exclusive features: Gameworks and TressFX</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-5">FreeSync vs. G-Sync</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/l8eWanthQoWF.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2cUPtbQ6TLIs.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia Geforce Experience Screen"></p><h2>Graphics driver software</h2><p>Since Nvidia introduced the GeForce Experience, it’s been continuously adding useful features to the software. In-app driver updating is convenient. Game optimization is nice if you don’t like messing with settings, though it’s our least-used feature. Dynamic Super Resolution, enabled in GFE or in the Nvidia Control Panel, is a convenient downsampling solution for running games at higher resolution. Most importantly, there’s ShadowPlay, which can do DVR background recording and manual recording at up to 4K 60fps and 130 megabits on Maxwell, and up to 2560x1600 on older Kepler GPUs. 4K recording is currently extremely demanding even for SLI Titan Xs, but it’s an option.</p><p>To AMD’s credit, they’ve attempted to match Nvidia’s features with Gaming Evolved, but the software isn’t as good. GeForce Experience is a utility: it does what you want it to, and doesn’t bother you with anything extraneous. AMD Gaming Evolved, by comparison, ties into Raptr, and wants you to use the social gaming service. It advertises free-to-play games within a busier, messier UI.&nbsp;And its video capture solution is limited in quality and options compared to Nvidia’s, topping out at 1080p.</p><p>AMD Gaming Evolved is unpleasant to use: it feels like software built out of sponsorship opportunities rather than a tool made to improve the experience of using AMD’s hardware.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/As6tXxg_TEGW.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Woc9PsLcZf0d.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Amd Gaming Evolved"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-EEahQBQRluJ.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DQ2rnz48MqY1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Amd Catalyst Control Center"></p><p>AMD does have one software strength, and that’s overclocking within the AMD Catalyst Control Center. Overclocking Nvidia cards requires downloading separate software, though those tools, like MSI Afterburner and EVGA PrecisionX, give you lots of valuable information on the card’s voltage, temperature, clocks, etc. Catalyst Control Center’s overclocking utility is more basic, but it does let you quickly and easily overclock its graphics cards. That’s a plus.</p><p>Both Nvidia and AMD support multi-monitor gaming through Nvidia Surround and AMD EyeFinity, but we haven’t spent much time with either recently to know how they compare in support and ubiquity. You can find a list of games on the <a href="http://www.wsgf.org/mgl/ef_s">Widescreen Gaming Forum</a> that have native multi-monitor support.</p><h4><strong>Nvidia: A+</strong></h4><p><strong></strong>Nvidia’s GeForce Experience makes driver downloads easy and offers some great features that are regularly improving.</p><h4><strong>AMD: C+</strong></h4><p><strong></strong>AMD has matched some of Nvidia’s software features, but in an application filled with ads and extraneous social elements.</p><hr> <h4>Report card table of contents</h4><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/">The graphics cards</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-2">Graphics driver updates and performance</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-3">Graphics driver software</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-4">Exclusive features: Gameworks and TressFX</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-5">FreeSync vs. G-Sync</a></p><h2></h2><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rU5r7O-VSf-T.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wq3ZyOZpdKEH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia Hairworks Witcher 3 Wolves"></p><h2>Exclusive graphics features: Nvidia GameWorks and AMD TressFX</h2><p>For years, AMD and Nvidia have been landing exclusive partnerships with game developers to optimize games for their hardware. An Nvidia or AMD logo appears before the title screen, and framerates often favor the partner’s graphics cards thanks to close collaboration. More recently, both have developed some exclusive technology to feature in those games that also performs better on their own hardware.</p><p>For AMD this was TressFX, used for Lara Croft’s hair in Tomb Raider. Nvidia has a much wider library of technology called GameWorks that it offers to game developers. GameWorks includes post-processing like TXAA and HBAO+, HairWorks for hair and fur rendering, PhysX for GPU-accelerated physics, and more. As proprietary software, GameWorks is naturally optimized for Nvidia’s hardware. And this causes some problems.</p><p>The most basic problem: some GameWorks features aren’t available to AMD card owners. That sucks for AMD owners, but it does make sense: Nvidia invests a good deal of time, manpower and money into developing these proprietary technologies. And some features like Nvidia HairWorks that do work on AMD cards <a href="http://arstechnica.co.uk/gaming/2015/05/amd-says-nvidias-gameworks-completely-sabotaged-witcher-3-performance/1/">tend to brutalize AMD’s performance</a>. AMD has called this intentional sabotage, while in other instances developers have blamed AMD for not working with them to optimize game performance.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Md4Hmgtl8q0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/206517-revisiting-gameworks-amd-nvidia-tangle-over-optimizations-to-the-witcher-3-wild-hunt">This passage from ExtremeTech</a> does a good job of summarizing this issue:</p><p><em>“Whether GameWorks impairs performance on competing hardware depends entirely on how you parse the meanings behind the statement. Nvidia would argue that incorporating a GameWorks library doesn’t intrinsically impair competing hardware because HairWorks is an optional, user-controlled setting. Integrating a GameWorks library doesn’t impact performance in the title as a whole &mdash; if HairWorks doesn’t run properly on an AMD chip, turning it off fixes the problem (from Nvidia’s perspective, at least).</em></p><p><em>AMD would argue that “impair” has a wider meaning than Nvidia has assigned it. As we discussed last year, one of the differences between the two firms is that AMD tends to rely more on source code optimization than Nvidia does, which means closed-source libraries tend to hurt Team Red more than Team Green. Claiming that AMD could write its own libraries to accomplish essentially the same tasks ignores the fact that game developers adopt libraries to simplify their lives, and relatively few of them are willing to adopt two different solutions for doing the same thing. Practically speaking, AMD doesn’t have the financial resources to attack Nvidia head-on in this fashion in any case. Thus, from AMD’s perspective, GameWorks absolutely impairs its own ability to optimize code.”</em></p><p>AMD is more of a proponent of open source software than Nvidia, but that’s the way it goes with the underdog&mdash;AMD doesn’t have the same investment in software engineering that Nvidia has with GameWorks. Still, they put their money where their mouth is with TressFX, making it open source and working to ensuring that it can run as well on Nvidia hardware as AMD’s own.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i1EiWMPTSgqr.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/R1kGo8W8QqcO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Amdtressfx"></p><p>Nvidia’s GameWorks libraries may be good for game developers, and it’s fair for Nvidia to keep that code proprietary. Nvidia’s assistance in development and driver optimization, with engineers embedded within development studios, is also a good thing. But the way games are increasingly optimized along Green Team and Red Team party lines is bad for PC gaming overall. It’s limiting and punishing to some players, often for the sake of marketing and branding opportunities. Both companies are guilty of this, and it’s unlikely to stop any time soon.</p><h4><strong>Nvidia:</strong><strong> B-</strong></h4><p><strong></strong>Graphics libraries and support help developers, but exclusivity can be harmful to the platform as a whole.<strong><br></strong></p><h4><strong>AMD:</strong> <strong>B</strong></h4><p>More limited graphics features and optimization issues aside, AMD is more committed to open source with tech like TressFX. But it still makes exclusivity deals that can be harmful to the platform.</p><hr> <h4>Report card table of contents</h4><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/">The graphics cards</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-2">Graphics driver updates and performance</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-3">Graphics driver software</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-4">Exclusive features: Gameworks and TressFX</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-5">FreeSync vs. G-Sync</a></p><h2><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AqcdI1pLSqqn.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BV62yM6Qn6pW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Acer Xg270hu"></p></h2><h2>Variable refresh technology: G-Sync vs. FreeSync</h2><p>Nvidia’s G-Sync is a great variable refresh technology. It allows a monitor with a special G-Sync board to sync its refresh rate to the output of an Nvidia graphics card, presenting a smooth framerate from 30-144 Hz (there are some 4K G-Sync monitors that can’t refresh up to 144 Hz, but the technology supports it). It’s a proprietary solution that’s also a bit expensive, as it requires that hardware module installed in the monitor. But variable refresh is a fantastic technology, and once you see the smoothness, it’s very difficult to go back.</p><p>AMD has its own solution called FreeSync, which uses the <a href="http://www.vesa.org/news/vesa-adds-adaptive-sync-to-popular-displayport-video-standard/">VESA Adaptive Sync DisplayPort standard</a>. G-Sync only works with Nvidia graphics cards, and FreeSync only works with AMD graphics cards. The difference is that FreeSync does not require any added hardware, making it more open and ideally cheaper in the long run.</p><p>G-Sync has its own advantages, <a href="http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Dissecting-G-Sync-and-FreeSync-How-Technologies-Differ">as this PCPer dissection of the two technologies shows</a>. G-Sync’s dedicated hardware gives it an edge at low refresh rates, and Nvidia also recently introduced G-Sync support on laptop screens and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/g-sync-coming-to-gaming-laptops-also-updated-to-support-windowed-mode/">added support for windowed mode</a>. Nvidia is also ahead of AMD in monitor availability, but there are more monitors featuring both technologies on the way.</p><p>Both technologies are a great improvement to your gaming experience.</p><h4><strong>Nvidia: A-</strong></h4><p><strong></strong>G-Sync’s technology is more powerful and there are currently more monitors available, but at a higher price.</p><h4><strong>AMD: B+</strong></h4><p><strong></strong>FreeSync is currently a slightly more limited technology, but monitors are available at better prices.</p><h2>Conclusion</h2><p>AMD's big play with the Fury X and High Bandwidth Memory have at least brought them back into relevant competition with Nvidia, but there's still a lot of work left to do. The 300 series cards are rebrands of older cards with great prices and some nice bumps in VRAM, but none of the architectural or power improvements of Nvidia's graphics cards. Hardware-wise, AMD's next six months look promising, with several more Fury cards on the way.</p><p>Software remains Nvidia's real strength. Their drivers are simply better than AMD, and they're updated more frequently. The GeForce Experience is a great piece of software, and AMD Gaming Evolved is not. AMD needs to up its driver game to improve frametimes in demanding games and get day-one drivers ready for major releases.</p><p>Unfortunately, both companies are likely to continue to make exclusive deals with game developers to optimize their game for one graphics company or the other, which is bad for PC gaming as a whole. More optimistically, the benefits of High Bandwidth Memory will have an even bigger impact on graphics cards as AMD and Nvidia adopt HBM 2.0 in the future&mdash;hopefully in 2016. AMD needs to continue improving its drivers and capitalize on its early start with HBM before Nvidia comes out with its own implementation.</p><hr> <h4>Report card table of contents</h4><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/">The graphics cards</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-2">Graphics driver updates and performance</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-3">Graphics driver software</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-4">Exclusive features: Gameworks and TressFX</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware-report-card-nvidia-vs-amd/#page-5">FreeSync vs. G-Sync</a></p> The International prize pool breaks $15 millionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-international-prize-pool-breaks-15-million/The Compendium seems to be selling quite well this year.Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:59:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-international-prize-pool-breaks-15-million/Dota 2MOBANewsThe InternationalValve <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-BQ5RQHqRaW5.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ys4wOvK1UgoC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The International Compendium"></p><p>Last year's International Dota 2 Championship tournament, better known simply as <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-international/">The International</a>, had a prize pool well in excess of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dota-2s-compendium-raises-10-million-for-the-international-prize-pool/">$10 million</a>. That's a lot of money. It's also a lot less than what's already&nbsp;on the table for this year's event.</p><p>Valve ponied up the initial $1.6 million for the International prize pool, which it then bolstered through sales of <a href="http://www.dota2.com/international/compendium">The Compendium</a>, a kind of interactive, multi-level virtual book with unlockable in-game items. The base Compendium is $10 while the Level 50 edition goes for $27, and you can also spring for individual levels to gain access to specific items. Higher levels mean more stuff, and also more money for prize pool, which is the point of the whole exercise: 25 percent of all Compendium sales go into the pot for the competing teams to fight over.</p><p>The $15 million prize pool, minus Valve's $1.6 million slice, means Dota 2 fans have contributed $13.4 million to the big show. Borrowing <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dota-2-international-2015-will-have-biggest-prize-pool-in-esports-history/">Phil's trick</a>, that means $53.6 million, give or take a few hundred grand, has been spent on The Compendium this year. </p><p>Can that possibly be right? It sounds utterly ridiculous, and I'm not great at the whole "math" thing, but I keep checking and that's the number that keeps coming up. And it's not over&nbsp;yet: The Compendium will remain on sale until The International is over, according to <a href="http://www.polygon.com/2015/7/1/8878775/valve-the-international-2015-ti5-prize-pool-15-million">Polygon</a>, and this year's event doesnt even begin until <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-announces-dates-for-the-international-2015/">August 3</a>.</p> The Sims 4 Spa Day game pack is coming soonhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-spa-day-game-pack-is-coming-soon/It's Spa Day! Spa Day! Gotta get down on Spa Day!Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:59:02 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-spa-day-game-pack-is-coming-soon/Electronic ArtsMaxisNewssimThe Sims 4 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZSh8GTDEQS2_.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wTT94hehsBOi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Sims 4 Spa Day"></p><p>Are your Sims suffering from stress? Hardly surprising, given the seemingly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-update-adds-pools-murder-rate-skyrockets/">murderous tendencies</a> of so many&nbsp;capricious players.&nbsp;Luckily, the Sims will&nbsp;soon be able to take a load off &nbsp;with a relaxing spa day, in the upcoming <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4/">Sims 4</a> game pack entitled&mdash;you guessed it&mdash;Spa Day.</p><p>The Sims 4 Spa Day will include three new spas created by Maxis, as well as a new gymnasium&mdash;all available in the game's library, which can be placed wherever you want. Sims can spend time (or make time) in the sauna, get a massage, or take a mud bath, and boost their Wellness skill by giving massages to other Sims, doing yoga, and meditating. A higher Wellness ability will unlock new yoga poses, better massage skills&mdash;steady, not like that&mdash;and a "special surprise" for high-level meditation. You'll also be able to create your own spas, so your digital peeps can relax someplace with a more personal touch.</p><p>The Sims 4 Spa Day Game Pack will be out on July 14. Pricing hasn't been announced, but the previous game pack, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ea-wants-you-to-go-down-to-the-woods-today-for-a-sims-4-expansion/">Outdoor Retreat</a>, was $20, so I'd expect something in that range. Details beyond that are few, but such as they are may be found at <a href="http://www.thesims.com/news/spa-day-game-pack">TheSims.com</a>.</p> How to play GTA 5 heists with complete strangershttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-play-gta-5-heists-with-complete-strangers/Spoiler: Don't.Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:52:54 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-play-gta-5-heists-with-complete-strangers/ActionGalleryGTA 5 Report: Arkham Knight problems were known months prior to launchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-problems-were-known-for-months-prior-to-launch/QA testers reported "thousands" of bugs in the PC version, but Warner was focused on the console releases.Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:30:49 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-problems-were-known-for-months-prior-to-launch/ActionBatman: Arkham KnightNewsRocksteadyWarner Bros Interactive <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KfnpM9etQ1uj.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AWjd2KUPHxVS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sad Batman Arkham Knight"></p><p>We know now that the PC version of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight/">Batman: Arkham Knight</a> is an absolute mess. Lest there be any doubt, it's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/warner-bros-is-suspending-sales-of-batman-arkham-knight-for-pc/">not even&nbsp;possible</a> to buy it on Steam now, and when a publisher halts sales of one of its biggest releases of the year because of technical issues, hoo boy, you know you've got problems. But the game's shoddy state didn't come as a complete surprise to everyone. In fact, according to a <a href="http://kotaku.com/sources-warner-bros-knew-that-arkham-knight-pc-was-a-1714915219">Kotaku</a> report, Warner Bros. knew it was going to be a train wreck long before it came out.</p><p>Two separate sources, speaking anonymously, told the site that Warner was well aware of the problems, because nearly all of them had been around for the better part of the year. Unfortunately, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles turned out to be "not nearly as easy to work with as [Rocksteady] expected," and so the vast majority of the QA team, comprising around&nbsp;100 people, were focused on console bug&nbsp;hunts. Testing was also conducted at 720p resolutions, well below what most PC gamers expect, and compounding the problem even further, Warner allegedly&nbsp;declined to employ external firms that specialize in testing PC games because it was worried about details of the plot leaking ahead of release.</p><p>"We reported literally thousands of bugs that were specific to the PC version relating to the frame rate," one Kotaku source said. "All sorts of fucked up texture issues. The Batmobile in particular has always fucked things up on PC."</p><p>The report also claims&nbsp;that developer Rocksteady did not actually work on the PC edition, which was instead handled by Iron Galaxy. Rocksteady focused solely on the console versions of Arkham Knight, and only became involved in the PC release after it went off the rails. "WBGames is working with the PC developer IronGalaxy to address the issues ASAP," Rocksteady Game Director Sefton Hill <a href="https://twitter.com/Seftonhill/status/613432514091307008">tweeted</a> last week, adding that Rocksteady will "provide any support" to get the game working properly.</p><p>So why, in light of all that, was it released? The answer is something of a letdown: The sources say that Warner simply thought it was good enough. That's better than a straight-up conspiracy to screw with PC gamers, I guess, but picking between&nbsp;incompetent and&nbsp;indifferent&nbsp;isn't much of a choice.</p><p>None of this is really a surprise&mdash;I mean, of course Warner knew this was going to happen, because how could it not?&mdash;but even so, it's depressing to see it spelled out so starkly, and to know that the whole ugly mess could have been avoided if the PC had been given equal priority during development. The report goes into quite a bit of depth about Warner's checkered history on the PC (<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/warner-pulls-mortal-kombat-x-patch-after-data-deletion-reports/">Mortal Kombat X</a>, anyone?) and is well worth reading in full at <a href="http://kotaku.com/sources-warner-bros-knew-that-arkham-knight-pc-was-a-1714915219">Kotaku</a>.</p> Path of Exile: The Awakening launch date announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/path-of-exile-the-awakening-launch-date-announced/The Awakening will be the fourth act in Path of Exile's storyline.Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:17:52 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/path-of-exile-the-awakening-launch-date-announced/ActionGrinding Gear GamesNewsPath of ExileRPG <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eFCCkTw3e04?rel=0&amp;vq=small" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Grinding Gear Games has announced that The Awakening, the hefty expansion to the 2013 action-RPG <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/path-of-exile/">Path of Exile</a>, will be released&nbsp;on July 10. The Awakening will serve as&nbsp;the fourth act to the game's story, featuring&nbsp;new areas, monsters, and end-game maps that enable players to explore beyond the realm of Highgate.</p><p> The expansion will also add "legendary" new bosses to defeat, powerful skill gems, a "socketable passive tree" that can be modified through the addition of jewels, more than 110 new Unique items, and a new equipment set called the Maraketh Weapons. The interface has also been upgraded, with more customization options and various changes suggested by the Path of Exile community.</p><p> All of that will probably have those of you who have actually played Path of Exile nodding your heads furiously. For the rest of us, there's&nbsp;the Path of Exile: The Awakening trailer above to&nbsp;help clarify things a bit, and we've got&nbsp;a closer look at what's coming in the expansion&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/path-of-exile-the-awakening-expansion-news/">here</a>. And since I'm piling on the reading, don't miss our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/path-of-exile-review/">review</a> from January of last year, in which we declared Path of Exile (minus The Awakening part) to be&nbsp;"an exceptionally generous free-to-play action-RPG."</p> Messi gets tricky in Fifa 16 videohttp://www.pcgamer.com/messi-gets-tricky-in-fifa-16-video/Magic dribbling with Lionel Messi.Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:45:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/messi-gets-tricky-in-fifa-16-video/EA SportsFIFA 15NewssimSports <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TiNO8u2Sfs0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Fifa 16 &nbsp;hopes to bottle magic by mocapping the arcane&nbsp;shimmies of Lionel Messi. It's all in support of the "No Touch Dribbling" feature coming to this year's Fifa, which gives players extra off-ball movement while still in possession, allowing for smarter feints or, in Messi's case, moments of stupefying brilliance.&nbsp;"Always watch the hips" an Aston Villa coach once told me, but that doesn't work when a man can change direction faster than humans can blink.</p><p>Fifa 16 is due out in September. Here are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fifa-16-a-host-of-small-changes-hope-to-make-a-big-impact/">Ben's impressions</a> of the game in action. And here are&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=191ceh8MDuI&amp;feature=player_embedded">seven minutes</a> of Messi being Messi why not.</p> Mass Effect 3's endingshttp://www.pcgamer.com/mass-effect-3s-endings/Mass Effect 3 is a game full of endings. Here are the best ones.Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:40:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mass-effect-3s-endings/Mass Effect 3RPGWhy I Love <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Cwg4E1z2R4Oe.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Vjg-kUKMlB99.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Me3"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Why I Love</h5><p>In <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love/">Why I Love</a>, PC Gamer writers pick an aspect of PC gaming that they love and write about why it's brilliant. Today, Phil praises Mass Effect 3's endings. The good ones, that is.</p></div><p>That's right, I love Mass Effect 3's endings. Come at me, internet.</p><p> Actually, don't. Because&nbsp;I don't love Mass Effect 3's final endings. They were fine. Reasonable. Good, even. The standard complaint against <em>those</em> endings is that they don't reflect your decisions through the trilogy up to that point. That's not entirely true&mdash;the ending I picked was perfectly in sync with Shepard's actions and decisions over three games. The 'pick-from-three-options' Deus Ex-a-like structure was pretty cheap, but it ultimately resolved a seemingly unresolvable plot thread.</p><p> That's beside the point, though. Mass Effect 3 is a game about endings. Every main mission is an ending. Most of the side quests are an ending. From the start, the story is concluding and stripping away everything that had been built over the past two games. Many are brilliant; the kind of memorable farewell that has genuine&nbsp;emotional resonance. That's quite an achievement for a big-budget&nbsp;RPG series about fun space adventure.</p><p> It should go without saying that I'm going to be spoiling Mass Effect 3. And the&nbsp;Citadel DLC, too.</p><p> <strong>Brilliant Ending #1: Mordin</strong></p><p> Granted, ME3 leans a little&nbsp;heavily on sacrificial resolutions.&nbsp;Mordin, Legion and, ultimately, Shepard her/himself can&nbsp;all potentially&nbsp;offer&nbsp;themselves up for the greater good. Mordin Solus is my favourite of these, precisely because he isn't a capital-H hero. He's a scientist, who's greatest achievement in the eyes of his people becomes his greatest source of regret. His guilt over his involvement in the Krogan&nbsp;genophage is apparent in Mass Effect 2, as is his belief that it was necessary.</p><p> By ME3, it becomes clear that he's determined to fix what he's come to see as a mistake. Assuming your Shepard isn't a colossal dick, he gets to do that. He carries himself well as he steps into the&nbsp;elevator leading to the room that will simultaneously release the cure and kill him in a big explosion. But there's a hint of sadness there&mdash;a small crack in his resolve. Unlike many of Shepard's companions, Mordin isn't a hardened badass. And yet he's sacrificing himself anyway, because it's his mistake to fix. As he says to Shepard, "My project. My work. My cure. My responsibility."&nbsp;</p><p> His final muttered bars of Gilbert &amp; Sullivan might be a step too far into fan service, but so what?&nbsp;He's earned it.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/r9EezwDaSNWb.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EHf-eq4TpOwo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Me3 2"></p><p> <strong>Brilliant Ending #2: Thane</strong></p><p> There's no grand sacrifice&nbsp;to Thane's ending. He was dying. Then he dies. There is, however, a quiet, sad triumph. Thane's story revolves around his son, Kolyat,&nbsp;and his desire to rescue him from a life of crime. By the time of his death, he's succeeded. Kolyat stands with him, as does Shepard&mdash;who, in my game, he was romancing. He's surrounded by his family, and&mdash;save from the fact that he won't get to share in Shepard's final battle&mdash;content with what he's achieved.</p><p> This isn't a fate experienced by many major game characters. The Mordin end? Sure. The Shepard end? Sure. Dying in a hospital, surrounded by loved ones? Not usually, no. Mass Effect is&nbsp;a game series about big, galaxy-shifting decisions and impossible odds. And yet,&nbsp;Bioware still takes time&nbsp;to remind us&nbsp;to cherish the things that matter to us as individuals; both&nbsp;the&nbsp;people we love, and the goals we're driven to achieve.</p><p> <strong>Brilliant Ending #3: Citadel</strong></p><p> As should be evident above, Mass Effect 3 is a pretty sombre game. The Citadel DLC pack couldn't be more different. It's brilliant; a campy celebration of the series'&nbsp;successes and quirks. Tonally, it has no place in the main campaign. It's better experienced after the fact, as an almost&nbsp;non-canon epilogue filled with jokes and&nbsp;fan service.</p><p> There are too many great moments to mention, and it feels pointless to pick out individual bits for praise. It's the most consistently funny Bioware has ever been, helped largely by the fact that it's deconstructing and poking fun at deeply ingrained tropes and systems.</p><p>It also functions as an ending proper, too. The final conversation&mdash;after the threat has been defeated&nbsp;and the party has petered out&mdash;is between Shepard and his/her&nbsp;closest companion. "We've had a good ride," that companion will inevitably say. "The best," Shepard states, summing up three games and hundreds of hours in two simple words.</p><p>I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Hale's performance throughout the series, but even I'll admit that Mark Meer offers the best delivery of this line. It's emotional, almost unbearably so, and a reminder that it was&nbsp;more than just the fans who were saying a final&nbsp;goodbye to a character they'd grown to love.</p> Tripwire Interactive on Killing Floor 2's world of gorehttp://www.pcgamer.com/tripwire-interactive-on-killing-floor-2s-world-of-gore-2/Persistent blood and ragdoll intestines are just two things to love about Killing Floor 2...Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:36:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/tripwire-interactive-on-killing-floor-2s-world-of-gore-2/Sponsored <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_OY2EaU6R8Cl.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0RunwvQ6HHLj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sponsored Killing Floor 2"></p><p> It seems that whenever you might be beginning to wonder if we've reached peak zombie in games, another undead army comes lurching out of the shadows. The latest can be found in <a href="http://www.geforce.com/games-applications/pc-games/killing-floor-2#utm_campaign=Killing%20Floor%20Angle%202%20(Interview)&amp;utm_medium=Article&amp;utm_source=Killing%20Floor%20on%20GeForce">Killing Floor 2</a>, Tripwire Interactive's sequel to its multi-million selling co-operative survival horror FPS. Set in continental Europe after an undead apocalypse, it takes the basics of Killing Floor and turns everything up to the maximum to create a compelling and graphically intense slice of gore-filled action, in which you and your teammates battle against waves of increasingly brutal Zeds. It's available now on Steam Early Access; we caught up with Tripwire vice president, Alan Wilson, and art director David Hensley, to find out more.</p><p> <strong>For those who've just joined us, can you give us a quick intro to Killing Floor 2?</strong></p><p> <strong>David Hensley: </strong>Killing Floor 2's a six-player co-op survival horror game with an emphasis on realistic gunplay, visceral combat, extreme gore. The gameplay's arena-based and it's random every time you play it; the way the spawning works. So even though there are only a few maps, the game's got an immense amount of replayability. You also have persistent stats, so the game tracks your progress and you can level up and unlock skills. It's really about surviving against horrible monsters with your friends, and really cool environments.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fTATBUhD8tE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><strong> It feels like a massive refinement of the original; was that your aim?</strong></p><p> <strong>DH:</strong> Our original vision for Killing Floor 2 was not to reinvent the wheel, it was to take the really fun core concept of KF1 and fully realise it as much as we could. We didn't want it to just be Killing Floor with better graphics; we wanted to improve on a few key features. The perks system has been heavily expanded, so now you have more levels, you can unlock skills... The AI itself we've focused on a lot; as you ramp up the difficulties in KF2, the AI has new attacks and new behaviours. In KF1 we just scaled their health and speed and stuff like that, so we wanted it to be a different experience on each difficulty. But yeah, that was the core idea: take what worked with KF1, don't mess with it, get it really polished and add a few new cool things that really make it work to go into the sequel.</p><p> <strong>Alan Wilson: </strong>Someone asked me recently what we decided to change about KF1, and the start point wasn't about what should we change, it was actually that we sat down and thought, what are we not going to change; how do we define that core that is KF1 that's so simple yet so fun and so addictive. That was a big piece of it this time around; we've done sequels before and you learn lessons as you go. This is about thinking about, what are the things that we have to preserve, and then, as Dave said, then it's about, okay, if we preserve that, what can we now layer on top of that base? So yes, it's take the original game, take the pieces that we think really attract people, and then it's about refinement, it's about adding new twists and new tweaks that fit with that core base.</p><p> <strong>What have you done to improve the online experience?</strong></p><p> <strong>DH:</strong> KF1 was kind of difficult to find a server with the old server browser, so we've included a party system where you can invite your friends to the party and search for games together. It makes finding an online game to play a lot easier. So while that doesn't really mess with the gameplay it's something new that we've added that just makes the overall experience a lot better.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4LcriOSSR22b.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/E0liG9iXTHzG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Killing Floor 2"></p><p> <strong>Is there any sort of matchmaking going on?</strong></p><p> <strong>DH:</strong> Right now it just throws you in the best server based on the options you picked, but it doesn't take perk level into account. It really just looks at, you have a couple of filters you can search for, it looks at that and then it takes the best ping server. And that's something that over time, through Early Access, we'd like to improve; to match you with better players, players that are more on your playing level.</p><p><strong> How do you balance attracting new players with keeping your existing fans happy?</strong></p><p> <strong>DH: </strong>That's a tricky one. I think all the updated graphics and animation went a long way to attracting new players. And the new gore system. I think not changing the core of Killing Floor is how we kept the original players.</p><p> <strong>AW: </strong>And that part of it as well, about keeping those core players, it's interesting that in the ramp-up to this, once we announced last year, that core player base – you know, we sold quite a few million units – they were all huge evangelists for the game, and that made a very big difference. Those millions of people started talking about it on Reddit and 4chan and anywhere else, about, "Oh God, KF2's coming," and lots of people who still hadn't heard of Killing Floor 1 are going, what's that, why should I care? And a lot of the fans were telling them, this is a game I've played for the last five years, from a developer we love who gives us lots of free stuff; you should take notice. And so people did, which is very gratifying.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MnCYJoBBTbWq.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AXneVGFlfMpw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Killing Floor 2"></p><p><strong> You've been on Steam Early Access for just over&nbsp;two months; have you been getting lots of feedback from players?</strong></p><p> <strong>DH:</strong> We've been getting insane amounts of feedback. Players are really vocal about the perks, and specifically the Berzerker perk, so we're taking a lot of that feedback into our future updates. We're still trying to process all the feedback, because there's so much of it.</p><p> <strong>AW: </strong>There is a point worth making, which is that we were looking for feedback, we hoped we'd get a lot of feedback, and we have got an <em>enormous </em>amount of feedback, and most of it is constructive. Dave's hideous task is planning, how do we actually take that feedback forward, which pieces do we pick out , which do we tweak, how do we do it effectively, because we don't want to get into the thing of, okay, so we'll tweak this number today and if you don't like it we'll change it back to something else tomorrow, because it'll never settle down, and you'll never get a consistent opinion of it that way, so we're trying to do it in bigger pieces, which is challenging.</p><p> <strong>DH:</strong> One thing that I thought was really interesting is the sheer amount of YouTubing and streaming there's been, and there are a lot of feedback videos that are really well articulated on YouTube. The tricky part is that some feedback some fans will like, and then when you change it you piss off other fans, so we need a process to decide what's best for the game, based on what the community wants.</p><p><strong> And has the community started making maps and mods yet?</strong></p><p> <strong>DH:</strong> Yes.</p><p> <strong>AW:</strong> Someone did a quick count yesterday; there's already 60 maps released, and you're going, excuse me? We've just got the basics of the editor out there, we haven't even finished the editor, it's fairly staggering.</p><p> <strong>DH: </strong>We don't support code mods yet, but players have decompiled our scripts and they're already making code mods even though we didn't release the code SDK yet. So they're kind of unstoppable.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ct1c_t4MQNSF.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2ppGB5zMJ8MO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Killing Floor 2"></p><p><strong> Rather than use Unreal Engine 4 you're using a modified UE3; what's been modified?</strong></p><p> <strong>DH: </strong>We've done quite a few changes; probably the biggest one is the rendering. Unreal Engine 3 is a forward-rendered engine and it doesn't do dynamic lights that well. We have a deferred renderer and all of our lighting is dynamic. So we really wanted to have all the lights flickering, swinging and destructible lights, and the only way we could do that was get into deferred. The deferred rendering affects the look of the shaders quite a bit too, and that's what helps give KF2 its unique look.</p><p> We also have the gore system, which is something we've put quite a lot of work into, and we have a persistent blood system, where instead of just decals, which is the way the regular Unreal engine works, we have a blood map that covers the entire level, that you can kind of reveal as you're shooting Zeds and spraying blood everywhere, and it never fades away throughout the whole match. And that's something that's built into the base of the world geometry. It's been our dream since... even in Red Orchestra 1 we wanted blood that never faded away.</p><p> <strong>AW:</strong> It's always been <em>your </em>dream...</p><p> <strong>DH:</strong> We finally figured it out.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Mu2PfaVgTmmn.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xOMw3NBzvSkw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screenshot00004"></p><p><strong> Killing Floor 2 uses quite a few NVIDIA GameWorks effects; what sort of results will we see in-game?</strong></p><p> <strong>DH:</strong> One of the ones we shipped is HBAO+, which is this really high quality ambient occlusion. We're really using GameWorks effects to just level up the look of the game; some of them are only available on Ultra setting, so you've got to have some really good hardware to run it, but it really does make the game look a lot better.</p><p> We've been working with NVIDIA to integrate FleX into the engine, and we haven't shipped that yet; that's something we're in the middle of working on now. The game already looks gory but when we add FleX it's going to take it to a whole other level. If you know about FleX it's all about a unified physics system, for fluids, soft body dynamics, so there's a lot of cool stuff we're doing with that. Actual physical fluid blood, ragdoll intestines... It's really some of the coolest stuff I've ever seen.</p><p><strong> Sounds fantastic; so it's been a fruitful relationship with NVIDIA?</strong></p><p> <strong>DH:</strong> Yeah, it's been really great working with NVIDIA, they've actually helped us add FleX to the engine, and they've done quite a bit of work. It's really a collaboration, more than us just using their technology. They actually get really excited to work on the gore; I think artists just love working on gore!</p> GTA 5 July 4 week doubles in-game money and rep rewardshttp://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-july-4-week-doubles-in-game-money-and-rep-rewards/Celebrate independence day; buy a monster truck.Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:21:47 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-july-4-week-doubles-in-game-money-and-rep-rewards/ActionAdventureGTA 5NewsRockstar <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CJRjmCJ0RNCC.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/G6VMufeiV6GJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTA Online 1"></p><p>Los Santos&nbsp;will celebrate independence day in true GTA style this weekend, with a sale on monster trucks and firework rocket launchers. Vendors will offer 25% off these items, along with the sovereign bike and a bunch of star spangled clothing. It's times like these that I'm reminded of the rousing words of&nbsp;words of president Thomas Whitmore of the 1996 flick Independence Day&nbsp;"We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day with monster trucks woo!"</p><p>You can also twice as many GTA dollars for participating in the Independence Day Online Event Playlist, which features a series of "patriotic-themed" jobs, including parachuting mission Guns and Gasoline, the Road Tripping team deathmatch contest and more, though none let you play Will Smith and punch an alien.&nbsp;If you don't fancy the playlist, you can earn double rep for completing any job.</p><p>The event is live now, and set to run until July 6. Find out more on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rockstargames.com/newswire/article/52459/get-double-gta-and-rp-in-gta-online-now-through-july-4th">Rockstar Newswire</a>.</p> The Witcher 3 gets another free DLC questhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-gets-another-free-dlc-quest/Where the Cat and Wolf Playis out now.Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:05:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-gets-another-free-dlc-quest/NewsThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WHnqbV_jQkym.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/K9YI0imhh4uc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher"></p><p> There's just the one piece of free Witcher 3 DLC this week, but CD Projekt Red says it's a big one. "One of the biggest pieces of DLC yet," in fact. It's a new quest, called&nbsp;Where The Cat and Wolf Play.</p><p> Here's the description:</p><p> <em>"You'll explore a forgotten village and discover its terrifying secret. Find out who or what slaughtered its inhabitants and use all your witcher skills to confront this mysterious force.</em></p><p> <em>"The Cat and the Wolf have clashed once before. Any guesses where this might be going?"</em></p><p> Dance party? I hope it's a dance party.</p><p>The DLC is available now, and can be grabbed from&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/378645/?snr=1_5_9__405" target="_blank">Steam</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/game/the_witcher_3_wild_hunt_free_dlc_program" target="_blank">GOG</a>, or through GOG Galaxy, by following the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/news/free_dlc_13_the_witcher_3_wild_hunt" target="_blank">instructions on this page</a>.</p>